News From Around The Blogosphere 5.28.10

May 28, 2010

1. Bachmann military prayer amendment defeated – The National Defense Authorization Act, proposed by Rep. Michele Bachmann, would have given military chaplains the new freedom to push their own religion’s specific prayers on soldiers. But fortunately, House leaders rejected it. I guess Bachmann didn’t pray enough.

2. Self-proclaimed ‘mindreader’ dismissed from jury because of his ‘powers’ – So what are these amazing powers?

Drew McAdam’s act includes reading thoughts, duplicating drawings done in secret and bending cutlery Uri Geller-style.

. . .

But the 54-yearold was sent home after officials recognised him as the human lie detector on Five’s Trisha chatshow.

He revealed: “The clerk had seen me doing body language and mindreading.

“Then he told me he was surprised that they had even let somebody like me on a jury in the first place.”

Best excuse to get out of jury duty EVER! I’m stealin’ it. At least one of the participants in the courtroom is bound to know someone named Charles.

Ernest Willis

3. Baptists fighting Catholic child rape monopoly – When Tina Anderson was 15, she was raped by a Trinity Baptist Church member named Ernest Willis, who got her pregnant. But when she accused Willis in the church, here’s how the pastor at the church responded:

When the pastor heard Anderson’s allegations, he told her that if she had “lived in the Old Testament,” she would have been stoned to death for not reporting the attack sooner.

“He also said I had ‘allowed myself to be put in a compromising situation,’ Anderson said. The pastor decided she needed to be “church-disciplined.”

“I was completely humiliated,” Anderson said, her voice quavering at the memory. “I hoped it was a nightmare I’d wake up from, and it wouldn’t be true anymore.”

Wow. Just wow.

4. Teacher fired from Catholic high school over Facebook poll – Abby Nurre, a teacher at a Catholic high school answered a Facebook poll about her if she believed in God, angels or miracles. She answered “no,” which resulted in her being fired from her job:

Now she’s out of a job because, as the school board put it, she violated “a policy that prohibits employees from advocating principles contrary to the dogmatic and moral teaching of the church.”

Cause as everyone knows, education means believing what you’re told no matter what.

Andrew Wakefield teaches a lesson in how to make disciples and influence people

May 27, 2010

‘Health Freedom’ rally participants suffer from Nazi Tourrettes

May 27, 2010

Yeah, I’m pretty sure the Nazis subjected the Jews to shitty music too. Coincidence?

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News From Around The Blogosphere 5.26.10

May 27, 2010

1. Oh, the irony! – For a long time now “alternative” “medicine” fans have decried the wonders of supplements while condemning real medicine such as vaccines because of the evil toxins in the form of trace amounts of lead, mercury, and other heavy metals. Turns out though that these very same “toxins” they’ve been complaining about can be found in many, if not all, supplements!

Nearly all of the herbal dietary supplements tested in a Congressional investigation contained trace amounts of lead and other contaminants, and some supplement sellers made illegal claims that their products can cure cancer and other diseases, investigators found.

The levels of heavy metals — including mercury, cadmium and arsenic — did not exceed thresholds considered dangerous, the investigators found. However, 16 of the 40 supplements tested contained pesticide residues that appeared to exceed legal limits, the investigators found. In some cases, the government has not set allowable levels of these pesticides because of a paucity of scientific research.

Investigators found at least nine products that made apparently illegal health claims, including a product containing ginkgo biloba that was labeled as a treatment for Alzheimer’s disease and a product containing ginseng labeled as a treatment to prevent diabetes and cancer. They also described a salesperson at a supplement specialty store who claimed that a garlic supplement could be taken instead of blood pressure medication.

Any product that claims to treat, cure, prevent or mitigate a disease is considered a drug and must go through strict regulatory reviews.

Ooh, busted!

2. Illinois tax dollars going towards giant Christian phallus – Though Illinois is refusing to pay the money they owe to public schools, that didn’t stop them from paying $20,000 to Friends of the Cross to fix their giant crucifix. Ya think they’re overcompensating for something? Local atheists are looking to sue.

3. Spitzer Science Center’s IRrelevant astronomy videos continue to earn serious geek cred – They already did a funny video featuring Felicia Day from The Guild and various Joss Whedon projects. And now here’s a video featuring Wil Wheaton and Amy Okuda (Tinkerballa from The Guild). Wil Wheaton plays both Wil Wheaton and the voice of the robot:

First human ‘infected with computer virus’

May 27, 2010

This isn’t going to make the conspiracy nutters too happy. I on the other hand think it sounds awesome. Though perhaps not so much for potential future people who have their bodies hacked.

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‘Health Freedom’ is Health Slavery

May 26, 2010

Today was the vaccine denialists’ day to rally for so-called “health freedom” in Grant Park in Chicago. This gambit is popular among the certifiably insane whose views are so utterly stupid and debunked that they dishonestly try to appeal to Americans’ sense of democracy and fair play even though reality isn’t up for a vote. Creationists have their “academic freedom” rhetoric too.

But it really just boils down to what I call the “I’m just sayin’…” gambit or, for those who have seen the film Thank You For Smoking, the “Ice Cream Freedom” gambit:

As Nick Nailor explains in the film clip above, this is just a tactic used to distract people from the real debate.

But as for the ‘health freedom’ rally in Chicago, Mr. Andy Wakefield, fresh off his losing his license to kill, I’m told was the keynote speaker. There were also satellite rallies in Edison, New Jersey, Washington, and New York City.

But I wouldn’t worry too much. I went over to the NYC rally. I was planning on just recording whatever speech they had planned and trying to get some short interviews with people without coming out as a critic of their views. But when I found the place, they kept one of the doors open to the outside and I could plainly see that there were only about ten people in the room. This was a half hour after it was supposed to start and I hung out outside for a little while. No one else seemed to show up, so I didn’t even bother to go in. I just left. Now maybe this just wasn’t very well publicized. Or maybe they just don’t have the numbers we all feared they had.

So if we were able to get 400 people to attend the North East Conference on Science and Skepticism (NECSS) this year and all they could muster in NYC for their big event was ten people, I think we’re in pretty good shape.

So far I’ve only read one in depth report of what actually went on at the Chicago Rally, and from that account, it sounds like the vaccine denialists have a worse case of “Nazi Tourrettes” than Glenn Beck.

But here’s also an hilarious report from a skeptical group that attended the Chicago rally…and got their pictures taken with Mr. Wakefield…while handing him a note telling him what a scumbag he is:

Dear Andrew Wakefield,

I know that you truly believe that what you are doing is helping people and that the ends justify the means, but I just want you to know that the things you are doing – the actions you have taken in the past have hurt people – killed people. Your work has scared and manipulated parents into not vaccinating their children, putting them and their entire community at risk, all in the name of safety. Children have died because of you. I just want to make sure that you fully understand that.




Liberty U leader Ergun Caner exposed as complete lying fraud

May 26, 2010

Everything about me is a total lie. This isn't even my shirt.

Ergun Caner has for a long time referred to his radical Muslim turned evangelical Christian past in his sermons. He’s made a big deal about this. It’s pretty much the most famous thing about him. And it’s all 100% bullshit!

The main problem with Caner’s journey from Jihad to Jesus is that much of it is fiction, a complex lie made up to give his conversion more authenticity. He fabricated almost everything. For someone who allegedly fought jihad, Caner’s understanding of the very basic tenets of the faith he is a so-called expert in is rudimentary.

Caner does not know the difference between Islam’s article of faith and the first chapter of the Qur’an. He’s claimed that the lunar month of Ramadan lasts for 40 days. In his book, he writes that he performed all of the rakats (daily prayers). The actual word is salah. It’s not a difference most people would know, but he says he is an expert on Islam. Muslims, he once said, followed something he called the “tobaad.” He’s claimed to have debated Muslim scholars who’ve never heard of him. Court records from his parent’s divorce indicate that he was in Ohio when he was a young child, long before his alleged move from Turkey. On his books, his middle name is Mehmet (Muhammad in Turkish), yet it is listed as Michael on his concealed-weapons permit in Virginia. Before 9/11, he went by E. Michael Caner.

In one speech, Caner told a crowd that outside the mosque in Kabul there was a sign that read, “Do not teach the women to read and write.” The story may or may not be true, but Caner, to give authority to the tale, told the crowd what was written in the native tongue: “bahasha uwtara muwtara seeteeroh.” That’s neither Dari nor Arabic nor Urdu nor Turkish nor Pashtu. It is an entirely made up language.

To his audience, Caner’s tale of moving from darkness to light reaffirmed their convictions about the superiority of Christianity and the decadence of Islam. But the facts eventually caught up with Caner, thanks to a Muslim student in London who methodically went through his speeches and interviews, chronicling each and every one of his lies. Others quickly piled on, including some within the church.

Ironically, in 2005, Caner came to the defense of Florida-based preacher Jerry Vines who angered the Muslim community with his demonization of the Prophet Muhammad. A piece in the Florida Times-Union quoted Caner, who defended Vines by saying, “No one expected a Baptist preacher to actually research.”

That’s precisely why Caner’s duplicitous persona went unchallenged for so long. No one expected a preacher to so boldly fabricate his entire background. It was all a ruse, intended to play off the evangelical movement’s ignorance and fear of Islam.

Of course he’s denying he’s ever intentionally misled people about anything while still maintaining the now thoroughly exposed lie on the bio page of his website. And the really sad part is that the people he duped all these years are still defending his lies. Incredible!