News From Around The Blogosphere 10.23.09

October 23, 2009

1. 800 Nigerian scam websites shut down

In a statement EFCC, which has previously relied on raiding cyber cafes and complaints from the public to clampdown on the crime, said it has now adopted smart technology working in conjunction with Microsoft, to track down fraudulent emails.

When operating at full capacity, within the next six months, the scheme, dubbed “eagle claw” should be able to forewarn around a quarter of million potential victims.

2. Health insurance companies declare past rape a pre-existing condition – After 2 men slipped her a knockout drug, Christina Turner feared she’d been raped. As a precaution, her doctor prescribed a month’s worth of anti-AIDS medicine, which turns out to have made her virtually uninsurable. Several months later, she lost her health insurance. But although she never developed HIV, when considering whether or not to cover her, health insurance companies decided the HIV medication raised too many health questions and told her to come back in 3 years. Where’s the outrage, Sarah Palin?

creationists3. Happy birthday, Creationist Earth

. . .in 1658, Archbishop Ussher determined that the world was created precisely at 9am, 23 October, 4004 BC, making today the official creation day, and the earth 6012 years old.

4. FDA and FTC go after Andrew Weil – Weil is one of the most notorious “alternative” “medicine” conmen working today. Now the FDA and FTC have sent him a warning demanding he stop selling bogus herbal flu remedies containing astragalus on his website. And of course leading Quack Profiteer Mark Adams is very grumpy about this no doubt because he suspects he might be next.

5. Mumps epidemic in Brooklyn

The outbreak was traced to a child who went to Britain – where the illness is more common because of lower levels of vaccination – and then attended a summer camp upstate, apparently infecting dozens of kids.

Thanks anti-vaccinationists!


Another outbreak of an easily preventable disease & Christian Death Paradox

August 27, 2008


Before I begin, I noticed something last night about the Kim Stagliano’s anti-vaccine blog I commented on 2 days ago. This is the one where she laughs at the measles epidemic because her only knowledge of the disease seem to come from sitcoms where character developed chicken pox, which she seemed to think was the same as measles and which she seemed to be unaware was a potentially fatal disease. Maybe I’m wrong, but now it seems that she has adding “and Chicken Pox” to the title of her blog when I only recall it reading “When Did Measles Go From Entertainment To Epidemic?” Maybe I’m wrong and chicken pox was always part of the title but she must have at least gotten a pingback message informing her that someone has linked to her blog, so it’s very plausible she may have read my blog or the blog of someone else who mocked her idiocy and changed it after the fact.  Not that this would change the absurdity of her blog but at least it would clarify that she does indeed understand that measles and chicken pox are 2 different diseases. Anyway, if anyone knows for sure, let me know. 

Moving on. 

The United States is suffering from the worst measles outbreak in a very long time, particularly in the San Diego area. This disease is prevented with a single vaccine, the MMR vaccine. The first M stands for measles. Now another easily preventable disease, mumps (the second M in the MMR vaccine) is plaguing Canada. All of this because of misplaced fears of vaccines. This time it’s mainly the result of superstitious religious thinking that getting vaccinated shows lack of faith in god. Now in his blog, Steve Novella points out the obvious inconsistency of this sort of thinking:

“I wonder if they feel it is blasphemy to wear a seatbelt, or use sunscreen, wash their hands, cook their food thoroughly, or do any of the common-sense things people should do to reduce their risk of infection or disease.”

But this brings me to a much larger logic inconsistency when it comes to religion: if god’s got a divine plan and god performs miracles to protect people from dying “before their time,” why see a doctor at all? I call this argument, The Christian Death Paradox, though it can be adapted to many, if not most other religions:


Christians hold the viewpoint that death is a positive thing so long as you’re on Jesus’ saved list, since now you’re with god in paradise. But if this is the case, why do Christians respond to death and tragedy as if these are bad things, the same way an atheist would? I morn the deaths of loved ones and view events like 9/11 as bad things because I believe that I’ll never see these loved ones again and these lives are lost forever.

Christians, on the other hand, believe they will see their fellow Christians again and that they’re going to a better place. So why don’t they react the same to death as they would if they were simply moving away and not going to see these people again for just a few years? Why do Christians even bother to go to the hospital when they’re sick if they believe death will take them to a better place? Why do they lock their doors at night? Why do they look both ways before crossing the street? 

Christians still haven’t satisfactorily answered this paradox. Why oppose abortion and condemn what they perceive as the murder of babies if the babies are going to a better place? If life is just God’s waiting room and you view a fetus as a life, why not abort fetuses? If life is but a joke, why not spare already saved people (since Catholicism has recently declared there is no limbo and never was) from living it?

I asked a Christian in a text comment on YouTube why she’s so scared of dying and why she goes to such great lengths to avoid death if she is so convinced she’d go to better place? She couldn’t answer the question so employed a dodge by insisting that that’s “testing” God and only Satan tests God. Believers just believe and testing God shows they lack faith. I insisted that what I describe is not a test. If she’s so certain God exists and that she’s going to Heaven, then where’s the test? As the religious community that has developed mumps in Canada point out, taking secular medical action would be the test. And leaving your door unlocked at night is hardly suicide. to not rely on god to protect your home would be the test. Choosing to rely on god’s wisdom rather than medical science is a show of faith, not doubt. So again. I told the woman I was communicating with on YouTube to stop dodging and to just answer the question:

Why are you scared of death?

I never got an answer that was even remotely satisfying.