2010 This Year In Skepticism – January

January 2, 2011

Here is the first part of my look back at the big skeptic-related news stories from last year. I’m just covering last January in this piece but I’ll try to cover more than one month in the next installment.

Yet another well-designed study hit another nail in the coffin of the hypothesis that the MMR vaccine is linked with autism. Then researchers concluded that there was a lack of evidence supporting special diets for autism.

New smart phone apps emerge that debunk creationism

California said no to creationist curriculum

Pat Robertson blamed the Haitian earthquake on a mythical pact the nation never made with the devil–true story–thus earning him a nomination in the douchebag of the year awards.

Vatican Bank accused of laundering $200 million.

Stephen Baldwin said he’d rather see his daughter die than lie about Jesus, earning him a solid nomination in the douchebag of the year awards.

The arrest of the businessman responsible for selling dowsing rods, aka magic wands, as bomb detectors.

UK’s General Medical Council concluded that anti-vaccine prophet Andrew Wakefield acted “dishonestly and irresponsibly.”

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation pledges $10 billion to vaccines and Doctors Without Borders vaccinates 2,100 kids against Measles in Pakistan – both were big victories for public health around the world.

Skeptics fail in homeopathy-based suicide attempt – The 1023 campaign sparked a great deal of attention on this little publicity stunt and made homeopathy look incredibly stupid.

Star of Scientology orientation film gives farewell performance – Larry Anderson, an actor and long-time member of $cientology who starred in their orientation film left the cult.

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Star of Scientology’s Orientation film gives a farewell performance

January 29, 2010

Larry Anderson, an actor and long-time member of the Cult of $cientology who starred in their orientation film has split. In the orientation film he said:

“If you leave this room after seeing this film and walk out and never mention Scientology again, you are perfectly free to do so.  It would be stupid, but you can do it.  You can also dive off a bridge or blow your brains out.  That is your choice.

“But, if you don’t walk out that way, if you continue with Scientology, we will be very happy with you, and you will be very happy with you.”

When the guy who welcomed you in and told you that leaving “would be stupid” leaves, that should tell you something. He spent an estimated $150,000 on $cientology but had additionally spent $119,711 for future services that he never collected on and which Tommy Davis promised to return to him. Eleven months later, Anderson is out and he still hasn’t gotten his money back. That should tell you where $cientology’s interests really lie.

You can hear excerpts from Larry’s conversation with Davis here.