News From Around The Blogosphere 3.11.10

1. School cancels prom to turn students against gay teen – Constance McMillen was planning to wear a tuxedo and attend the prom with her girlfriend in a small town in Itawamba County, Mississippi. And after the ACLU stopped the school from denying her right to attend the prom the school got even by canceling the whole thing and making the student body know it was McMillen’s fault. And the town’s mayor chimed in, supporting the school. Because that’s just the kind of classy folks they have in Itawamba County, Mississippi.

2. Zimbabwe anti-vax religious sect gets 100 killed – Who needs vaccines when you’ve got prayer? Except, you know, if you actually want people to live.

3. Pope’s exorcist finds the devil isn’t in the details but in the Vatican – Rev. Gabriel Amorth has the silliest resume on Earth. He’s been the chief exorcist for the Vatican for 25 years. His favorite movie? You guessed it. It’s The Exorcist. He alleges to have treated over 70,000 cases of demonic possession and sadly, I have no reason to doubt that claim.

But even the fearless priest becomes still, his voice grave when asked whether the devil can strike inside the Vatican City.


“He has tried already. He did it in 1981 by attacking John Paul II by working with those who armed Ali Agca. And also now with the attack on Christmas Eve night when the crazy woman pushed down Benedict XVI.”

. . .

Amorth confesses, “The devil resides in the Vatican.”While admitting that it is hard to prove, he says the consequences of the devil’s work are evident: Cardinals who don’t believe in Jesus, bishops who are linked with the devil. As early 1972 Pope Paul VI talked about the “smoke of Satan” that hovered in the Vatican, but it is more recent events like the pedophilia scandal the church is confronted with and the grisly murder by a Swiss guard of his commander and wife that Amorth uses as evidence of the devil’s presence.

Apparently humans can’t do anything against the Church without it being attributed to the devil.

4. More child abuse for Catholics to downplay – Two ex-Vienna choir boys have come out with accusations that they were raped by Church officials. But remember. It’s really the devil that’s doing it.

5. Robert Kennedy Jr. spreads false, malicious rumor in the Huff Po – The media has wised up to the anti-vaxxers, so the only source willing to take them is the Huffington Post due to its total lack of anything that could even remotely be considered by anyone on planet Earth as journalist standards. So now the anti-vaxxers got their man, RFK Jr. to push their libelous accusations about Dr. Poul Thorsen. Of course not a single word of it has any basis in fact. But then again, when have the anti-vaxxers or the Huffington Post ever care about facts?

But here’s one interesting story posted at the Huff Po:

6. Buying ghosts in a bottle – I have to at least give credit to the scammers for creativity. And it’s nice to see such witty skepticism expressed in the MSNBC clip embedded on the page.

7. PZ Myers eats your god with vegemite:


5 Responses to News From Around The Blogosphere 3.11.10

  1. kwombles says:

    In reference to the Huffington article by RFK; there may be some factual basis to this. The Atlanta NBC affiliate ran a piece on Thorsen and has a CDC statement concerning the matter. The anti-vax community certainly gets a lot wrong, certainly isn’t tight to the truth, but it may just be that in this matter, they have gotten a nugget of truth. We don’t know; I’ve been unable to get anywhere with the universities on this.

    I’ve written several articles on Countering over it.

    • mjr256 says:

      Kennedy and the Age of Autism writers may have gotten right that there’s an investigation in Denmark and that Thorson is somehow involved, but everything else is entire nonsense. Thorson isn’t even a major player in the studies Kennedy is trying to use this case to invalidate. They’ve launched an entire campaign of articles to push the rumor even more. When 95% of an article is baseless, I feel justified in calling it bullshit.

      Orac does a full takedown of the anti-vaxxer claims here:

  2. kwombles says:

    Sigh. I’m not defending RFK or the antivaxxers. I am suggesting that as mainstream media confirms details, that these details be acknowledged. I’m not suggesting going to anti-vaxxing sites for information and think it’s going to be legitimate 9/10ths of the time.

    I’m advocating being above-board, honest and acknowledging when a scientist who has worked on legitimate science appears to be connected to an investigation.

    If you’re science-based, evidence matters. Dismissing the accurate information just because the anti-vaxxers put it out first isn’t being evidence-based.

    • mjr256 says:

      Whether or not Thorson is responsible for a crime has yet to be determined, and if he is guilty of a crime, it has no baring on the research he had a marginal role in producing.

      I think we both agree that Kennedy’s piece is pure muckraking designed solely to persuade the public to dismiss legitimate research. Out of 7 sources, only 1 of them, the NY Times, is legitimate. He even has the audacity to use Age of Autism & Safe Minds as sources, which defeats the purpose of sourcing your work in the first place. It’s a sham article with an overt agenda, and I see no reason to defend it on any grounds whatsoever. If Thorson has committed a crime, let me hear it from the authorities, not disreputable individuals like Kennedy who have no respect for truth and honesty whatsoever.

      • kwombles says:

        We’re talking at cross purposes here.

        I don’t defend RFK or the anti-vaccine sites. My blog is Countering Age of Autism for a reason. I spend a whole lot of time countering their misinformation.

        I’m not saying Thorsen is guilty of a crime. I’m not saying even if he is that it has any impact on the research.

        I commented because the link related to that was to David Brown’s piece at LBRB (and David and I have conversed about this matter and our attempts to get verification of the original Aarhus statement). David’s post now appears to have gone further than it should. It’s not the best rebuttal to the RFK piece(and the original garbage put out by AoA et al.) now that we have two mainstream media outlets linking Thorsen by name.

        That’s my point.

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