‘Faith Healer’ Peter Popoff caught on camera…again

June 10, 2011

Many years ago, James Randi exposed the disturbing truth about Peter Popoff on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, that Popoff was the worst kind of fraud, one who preys on desperate people’s most sacred beliefs while giving them false hope of miracle cures to their often uncurable diseases:

After being exposed, Popoff disappeared for a while, only to return years later peddling the same old sham faith healing.

But now agents from the Center For Inquiry have infiltrated Popoff’s show with recording equipment that captured Popoff shamelessly up to his old disgusting tricks as well as them giving out tracts exposing Popoff’s trickery to audience members on their way out:

 

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Derren Brown exposes the faith healers by inventing his own

April 28, 2011

News From Around The Blogosphere 12.22.10

December 22, 2010

1. Catholic Church tells hospital they should have let patient die – A pregnant woman who was almost certainly going to die came into St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center. The doctors knew that in order to save the woman’s life, they’d have to abort the fetus. And it worked. But the Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix didn’t like that decision and so they essentially excommunicated the hospital from any Catholic affiliation. They actually punished a hospital for putting patient life first. Though I guess it’s not really a punishment since now the hospital administration can continue to act ethically without having to give the misguided and ignorant opinions of Catholic officials another thought.

And speaking of the Catholic Church…

2. WikiLeaks uncovers another possible Vatican scandal – The Vatican originally agreed in writing to take up observer status with the International Task Force on Holocaust Education, Remembrance, and Research, referred to as the ITF. Then, according to a U.S. diplomatic cable from WikiLeaks, they reneged on the agreement amid controversy over the role of the war-time pope.

She added that the deal “had fallen apart completely … due to Vatican back-pedaling,” according to the cable, which was published by the newspaper.

The message says this decision “may have been taken by the Vatican’s relatively inexperienced new deputy foreign minister (Ettore Balestrero), and if so, would not be the first time he has complicated Vatican foreign relations.”

However, it added: “The Vatican may also be pulling back due to concerns about ITF pressure to declassify records from the WWII-era pontificate of Pope Pius XII.

Yup, you can always count on the Vatican…for a good scandal.

3. Gallop poll suggests America is gradually moving towards accepting evolution – When it comes to accepting evolution, America is somewhat of an embarrassment to the rest of the world. In recent years, polls have shown that up to 47% of Americans are Young Earth Creationists. But a new poll suggests that number is now only 40%. Still not anything remotely to be proud of but it suggests that maybe our efforts to take on the creationists may be yielding positive results.

4. Sanjay Gupta embarrassingly uncritical of John of God – Unfortunately, CNN hasn’t put up the video yet of this segment, but I’ve linked to their blog about it. For those who don’t know, John of God is a Brazilian con artist posing as a faith healer. He does nothing we haven’t seen other “faith healers” who have been exposed as frauds have done, and yet Sanjay Gupta and his guests still found him to be “mysterious.” In fact, given how many times they reminded the audience during this segment that the universe is mysterious and there are still things we don’t know, Gupta made it clear that journalistic and scientific integrity was not very high on his list of priorities. I intend to write to CNN to express my outrage over the segment and demand that they fire Sanjay Gupta for his anti-intellectual nonsense. I hope others will join me in this campaign.

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News From Around The Blogosphere 10.14.10

October 15, 2010

1. Faith healing couple loses custody of baby

I was disturbed to read about the Oregon couple who did not seek professional medical attention for their 10-month-old baby because of their faith healing practice. Their baby is now facing blindness in one eye.

The Oregon Department of Human Services won custody yesterday of little Alayna Wayland. Her parents, Timothy and Rebecca Wyland, have been charged with first degree criminal mistreatment for failing to provide adequate care according to CBS News.

Another child is safe from the harm of religion.

2. FDA warns 8 companies to stop marketing miracle cures – There are depressingly several companies the FDA caught selling sham treatments for autism and Parkinson’s disease, among other conditions through chelation therapies only intended to remove toxic metals from the body. These treatments are not only fraudulent but also dangerous, as they are capable of causing dehydration, kidney failure and even death.

“These products are dangerously misleading because they are targeted to patients with serious conditions and limited treatment options,” said FDA’s Deborah Autor, director of compliance. “The FDA must take a firm stand against companies who prey on the vulnerability of patients seeking hope and relief.”

If the companies do not comply immediately, they will face legal action.

3. Rachel Maddow reports on Conservaepedia’s project to rewrite the Bible:

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What they died for

July 27, 2010

Over the last few days, there have been a number of news stories that have gotten my attention that seem to be connected. Now I’m not going to tell you what the connection is. I’ll let you see if you can figure it out.

1. Baby drowns in baptism – Don’t get this confused with this story from two years ago about a man believed to have drown in baptism or this story from last year about a dozen people drowning in baptism.

2. Oregon faith-healing parents trying to get their kid back while facing criminal charges for first-degree criminal mistreatment after not seeking medical treatment for their 7-month-old daughter who developed a LARGE growth over her left eye. The father was previously married to another woman but she died of breast cancer four years ago after not seeking or receiving any medical treatment for the condition. I guess fool him once, shame on him; fool him twice, even greater shame on him for not learning a god-damned thing!

3. Utah overturns Warren Jeffs convictions and orders a new trial – Allegedly the reason is that the jury instructions were erroneous. Just think, he might get to rape more kids just yet! Praise Joseph Smith!

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News From Around The Blogosphere 7.3.10

July 4, 2010

1. Age of Autism shills for no one…but themselves – And of course Lee Silsby, who sell drugs they claim can treat autism. Oh, never mind. Anyway, the website “Bling Is The New Black” is selling Age of Autism merchandise now, specifically $35.50 t-shirts, 15% of which goes to Age of Autism. Shit, did I say $35,50 t-shirts. For that price, they better have been provided by Jason and the Argonots.

2. In related news, Mr. Andy Wakefield is coming to NYC – He of course is the former Doctor Evil and now just Mr. Evil since he’s been stripped of his medical license 12 years after it should have been taken away. But for some reason an organization calling itself the National Autism Association is hosting him. They even have the stones to call him “Dr. Wakefield” while making a brief acknowledgment that he’s not a doctor. Yeah, and they pretty much gloss over the whole part about him being completely discredited in their description of the event. Fortunately, he’s chosen the wrong city to pollute and I vow to help lead the charge to make his stay in NYC as unpleasant an experience as possible.

3. Vampire slaying kits too rich for my blood – Mark Edward has an interesting piece on the growing number of vampire slaying kits being sold online. I’d love to keep one in my home as a conversation piece because they really are beautifully made. Just not at the prices they’re being sold, which would frighten both Van Helsing and Buffy.

4. Jimmy Carter calls religion one of the basic causes of female oppression – Holy shit this guy becomes more awesome with age!

5. Judge orders medical care for child instead of faith healing – In another perfect example of what’s the harm in religion, Circuit Judge Douglas V. Van Dyk gave the state temporary custody of the child and ordered medical treatment as directed by doctors at Oregon Health & Science University for a child of parents who believe in faith healing.

Timothy J. Wyland, 44,and Rebecca J. Wyland, 23,of Beavercreek appeared in court without an attorney. The couple, members of the Followers of Christ church, seemed stunned by events and close to tears.

The 1,200-member Followers of Christ church has received extensive media attention in recent years. The church rejects secular medicine and relies on faith-healing rituals — laying on of hands, anointing with oil, prayer and fasting — to treat illnesses.

At least a dozen Followers of Christ members attended Thursday’s hearing, including Carl Worthington, who was convicted last summer of criminal mistreatment for failing to provide adequate medical care to his fatally ill 15-month-old daughter.

Great job, judge. You may have single-handedly saved this kid’s life.


News From Around The Blogosphere 3.12.10

March 13, 2010

1. Texas school board pushing Conservative and Christian spin on American history – Who’s pushing it? Why it”s the recently voted out creationist Don McLeroy. Essentially, they feel that American history is too liberal and atheist, so therefore, students should be taught about all those times Conservatism won out. That should be easy, right? Slavery? No. Keeping evolution out of schools? No. Black suffrage? No. Women’s suffrage? No. Segregation? No. Abortion? No. I guess they want a class to teach about the Great Depression that followed 12 years of conservative presidents, the early 90’s recession that followed 12 years of conservative presidents, the current economic crisis that followed 8 years of conservative rule, and of course Watergate.

2. A Winnipeg man, Rob Johnstone, struggles to find non-religious alcohol rehab program – I don’t understand why everyone’s always whining that AA is religious. Just because a group of people congregate in a church to kneel before god, pray to that god for strength, confess their sins, and acknowledge that they’re sinners by nature and thus powerless to change their sinful ways–that’s no reason to accuse AA of being a religion.

3. ‘Under God’ sustained in Pledge by Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals – By a final vote of 2-1, Michael Newdow lost again to get the ‘Under God’ removed from the Pledge of Allegiance. That’s a very small amount to lose by though. At least someone in that decision was persuaded so that leaves room to be hopeful that we may prevail in the near future. Here’s the decision (PDF). Newdow’s next step is to ask the appeals court to rehear the case. If that’s rejected he says he’ll appeal to the Supreme Court.”

4. Ancient DNA found in fossil bird egg shell –

“We were really surprised to discover that ancient DNA is well-preserved in fossil eggshells, particularly the heaviest bird to have existed the elephant bird called Aepyornis, which is now extinct,” said Murdoch doctoral student Charlotte Oskam, who undertook the research.

5. Scientists discover 600 million-year-old origins of vision

By studying the hydra, a member of an ancient group of sea creatures that is still flourishing, scientists at UC Santa Barbara have made a discovery in understanding the origins of human vision.

. . .

Hydra are simple animals that, along with jellyfish, belong to the phylum cnidaria. Cnidarians first emerged 600 million years ago.

“We determined which genetic ‘gateway,’ or ion channel, in the hydra is involved in light sensitivity,” said senior author Todd H. Oakley, assistant professor in UCSB’s Department of Ecology, Evolution and Marine Biology. “This is the same gateway that is used in human vision.”

There once again goes the “irreducible complexity” of the eye argument. And of course for those keeping track, that’s 599,994,000 years before the existence of the entire universe, according to Young Earth Creationists.

6. Simon Singh leaves The Guardian

“Being sued for libel is not only ruinously expensive, writes Simon Singh, it takes over your whole life. Which is why this will be his last column”

This is deeply sad. Singh is a fantastic science journalist and we could use people like him more than ever. But it’s inspiring to see him continue to fight for his article exposing chiropractic and for UK libel reform.

7. Surgeon goes into the faith healing business

Dr. Issam Nemeh is a certified surgeon in Cleveland, Ohio but is now using his hands more for praying over people. Numerous medical miracles are being reported by people after visiting and being prayed for by Dr. Nemeh. However, Nemeh refuses to accept the credit for any miracle that takes place with an individual. He says GOD heals people with the Holy Spirit. Nemeh insists he is only an instrument.

Well, we agree on one thing:  he’s a tool.

8. Cancer researchers in British Columbia make lymphoma ‘breakthrough‘ –

The discovery by a team of 26 scientists from throughout North America and Europe shows a new way to predict the 15 to 25 per cent of patients who will have a poor prognosis if they aren’t treated more aggressively from the time of diagnosis.

As Carl Sagan said, science delivers the goods.

9. $cientologists try to censor German film

Bis Nichts Mehr Bleibt, or Until Nothing Remains, dramatises the account of a German family torn apart by its associations with Scientology. A young married couple joins the organisation but as the wife gets sucked ever more deeply into the group, her husband, who has donated much of his money to it, decides to leave. In the process he loses contact with his young daughter who, like his wife, is being educated by Scientology instructors.

Scientology leaders have accused Germany’s primary public TV network, ARD, of creating in top secret a piece of propaganda that sets out to undermine the group, and have demanded to see it before it is broadcast.

Oh, come on! When have the Germans ever been known for making propaganda films? Kidding. I hope the film makes a gazillion dollars.