Monday, October 14, 2019

#2253: Sherry Shriner

Oh, heavens. 

The rabbit hole is a fascinating place, but the webs of lunacy are often woven according to logics so foreign to any rational mind, that unravelling the ideas going into them is tricky. For instance, the National Economic Security and Recovery Act (NESARA) was a set of proposed economic reforms suggested during the 1990s by one Harvey Francis Barnard, who printed 1000 copies of his proposal titled “Draining the Swamp: Monetary and Fiscal Policy Reform” (note that first part) and sent copies to members of Congress, believing it would pass quickly on its merits. It didn’t. Instead the ideas, unbeknownst to Barnard, took on life as a cult-like conspiracy theory promoted by Shaini Candace Goodwin, a.k.a. “Dove of Oneness”, a former student of The Ramtha School Of Enlightenment and “cybercult queen”, who claimed, contrary to all fact and reason, that the act was actually passed with additional provisions as the National Economic Security and Reformation Act, and then suppressed by the Bush administration and the Supreme Court, who orchestrated e.g. the 9/11 attacks and the Iraq War as distractions from NESARA. Goodwin has managed to recruit a number of drone-like followers, including real, physical groups of people at least in Utah and the Netherlands, who pass out fliers and organize weirdly incomprehensible public protests. Sheldan Nidle is one of the followers, and has added his own mix of UFOs and prophecies into the conspiracy. Another active promoter of NESARA is one Jennifer Lee has, who has produced reports on how various otherworldly and “interdimensional” beings are helping behind the scenes to get NESARA announced.

But these loons are not the topic for the present entry. And Sherry Shriner, who is, is not a NESARA cultist. Shriner, who apparently thinks of herself as an Internet evangelist (“Servant, Prophet, Ambassador, Daughter, and Messenger of the Most High God”), does indeed take NESARA seriously, but instead of joining the cult she sees NESARA as a conspiracy run by malevolent reptiloid aliens she feels have been controlling the U.S. Government for a long time. I suppose it is best to just quote a section from one of her many websites, nesarasucks (hyperlinks in the quote are removed and replaced by ours): “BEWARE Of The Deceiver Maitreya & Sananda Esu Immanuel!! See Maitreya’s involvement with the H1N1 Vaccine and RFID Bracelets ... Mass Chip Implantation and Murder See the Bible Codes at [hyperlinks removed]. He’s an evil, wicked, liar who wants to destroy mankind. Wake up People!!! The Lies of the 5th Dimension & The Coming Lies of Maitreya – Who is now being replaced by Sananda! Why? Because Maitreya was destroyed by our Orgone! Sananda has been stood up to replace him! NESARA is the economic and political program of the Antichrist. Known as the National Economic Security And Reformation Act it is better described as a 
National Evil Snake, Annunaki (and) Reptilian Association or simply,Neo-logical Excrement Spread Artfully Round America.” And so on. “Once these Reptiles and Lizards are in control they will ratify parts 2&3 of NESARA that nullify part 1 and begin their own agenda of cannibalism and murdering the inhabitants of America,” proclaims Shriner. Readers may imagine the color schemes and font variations in the original for themselves. 

Shriner, though, promotes lots of other stuff, too, including prophecies about crashing starships and upcoming locust invasions, angels, Planet X, FEMA concentration camps, the “New Age Alien Agenda”, Jesus – not the fake Jesus promoted by the church, but the real one – and “her ancient grandfather King David” (there are apparently zombies, too, involved in the conspiracy). There is, unsurprisingly, a lot of stuff on Zionism as well (“The Talmud and the New World Order”). Apparently, her side is winning, though: “Governments in Terror over Twin Sun’s Arrival – The Twin Sun has arrived into our atmosphere and the aliens and evil beings are in TERROR! They’re all in a panic folks because it signals their coming demise!!” You haven’t noticed that “The Second Sun – The Second Sun is Here”? Well, that is because “[t]hey are trying to hide it with volcanic ashes and extreme clouding.”

Of course, we cannot do the range and depth of Shriner’s ideas any justice here. But it isn’t all innocuous, silly nonsense. Shriner actually drew some media attention to herself in 2017, when a former follower of hers, Barbara Rogers, shot and killed her boyfriend after Shriner warned said boyfriend that Rogers was a “Vampire Witch Reptilian Super Soldier” who would do him harm. A recurring feature of Shriner’s teachings is that the evil forces that manifest in or take over humans can only be discovered through minute details in their appearances and interests, so her followers should be wary and careful around friends, colleagues and family members (we suspect that becoming a follower of Shriner will quickly limit the number of people in the first two categories). In the case of Rogers, it was apparently a picture of Rogers enjoying beef tartare that set off Shriner’s alarm clocks. The subsequent murder of course only confirmed Shriner’s suggestions: “When the demon manifested in her, if it was the demon or a lizard, if she had both, a human's no match for that kind of supernatural strength,” said Shriner, and she wondered whether Rogers was “triggered” to kill her boyfriend after watching a movie in the Resident Evil series with him; Shriner said that the movie is based on a female “super soldier,” whom she knows. Resident Evil is not based on someone Shriner knows.

Shriner’s website offers extensive information on Orgone blasters that will ostensibly kill zombies and evil beings, and keep away aliens and demons. We are sure that there will be few zombies and demons around after you deploy an orgone blaster. Shriner has raised more than $125,000 in a GoFundMe campaign to deploy the blasters.

Diagnosis: At least she is pushing at the limits of hysterical gibberish, but it is only harmless nonsense until someone gets hurt. She should have received the help she needs a long time ago.

Friday, October 11, 2019

#2252: David Shormann

David Shormann is a Texas-based young-earth creationist, president of the “Dive into Math” program, and homeschooling activist with a PhD in marine chemistry. Though a biblical literalist who “believe a biblical framework provides us with the most rational interpretation of the past,” Shormann is according to himself also “a natural history researcher”, and claims that science confirms a literal reading of Genesis. Shormann claims to like science. He doesn’t have the faintest clue what science is or how it works, of course. He doesn’t really like science. According to Shormann, “[t]reating Earth history as just that, history, I can find physical and written testimony that the Earth is only 6,000 years old. And just as most of us have no problem believing Jesus Christ was a real person who lived 2,000 years ago, we should have no problem believing there were about 4,000 years from the Beginning to Christ’s birth. Studying natural history can be an interesting, fun, and adventure-filled pursuit, but it is not real science, and shouldn’t be treated like it is.” Just like history isn’t a science (Shormann explicitly claims that history isn’t science, a standard, utterly delusional talking point pushed by Answers in Genesis; it’s easier for them to assert this as an assumption, since they can then go post-modern relativist and claim that their own preferred creationist narrative is just a “different interpretation”. The idea of testing hypotheses about the past through their predictions about current observables, entirely parallell to how one tests, say, laws of nature, has evidently not crossed his mind – empirical evidence: how the *** does it work?

Shormann’s name was brought to some attention in 2011, when he – despite because of his dislike of science and public schools – was appointed by Barbara Cargill to the science review panel that should evaluate instructional materials submitted for approval by the Texas Board of Education for use in Texas public schools. In that role, Shormann was given ample opportunity to display his belligerent incompetence. His view of biology textbooks is worth quoting at some length: “Also, in the 21st century, high school and college biology textbooks are becoming bloated monsters. Something has to go to make room for teaching 21st Century advances in biology, including epigenetics and bioinformatics. Many chapters have way too many pages devoted to speculative historical claims about origins, dogmatically asserting only one interpretation (evolutionism). A pro-science person would want to reduce or remove the history to make room for 21st Century science. An anti-science person would reject the 21st Century science in favor of page after page about origins. Ask the atheist which they would choose to include in an already oversized biology textbook, new science or history? If they would rather keep the history, then they are anti-science, which contradicts their claims of being pro-science.” 

As for Shormann’s argument that humans and dinosaurs coexisted? “The fossil record shows many things lived at the same time as extinct dinosaurs, including extant (meaning still alive) starfish and coelacanths. Apparently, the so-called freethoughts activists say we’re lying about the human-dino coexistence thing because we have yet to uncover a fossil of a human riding a dinosaur while holding a coelacanth that ate a starfish. Unless this fossil grouping is found, then atheists will claim the Bible is a book of lies and Christians who believe it are liars. Therefore, since freethoughts activists apparently never lie, and possess a perfect understanding of history, we can trust them over God’s word! And if we don’t buy into their belief that freethoughts activists are the source of historical truth instead of God, they will make laws to suppress our skepticism. Of course, I’m joking here, but are the atheists? Unfortunately, I don’t think so.” The fact that there are no species of Mesozoic starfish or coelacanths still extant is not the biggest problem with Shormann’s “reasoning” here. Note also the conflation between scientific biology and atheist activism, a recurring feature of Shormann’s, uh, thought. In 2013, he protested an event held at the Houston Museum of Natural History called “Answers In Science: What On Earth Do We Know?” that criticized creationism. That they criticized creationism means, Shormann declared, that the museum is engaging in bigotry: “Not only are they attacking Christianity, they are attacking one man in particular, Ken Ham. It is un-American to support such religious intolerance and false claims that Christians are ‘anti-science’.” The word “criticism” apparently doesn’t exist in Shormann’s vocabulary.

The screaming bald eagle cover and title of Shormann’s book The Exchange of Truth: Liberating the World from the Lie of Evolution nicely sums up his brand of jingoistic science denial.

Shormann is also a signatory to the Discovery Institute’s silly petition A Scientific Dissent From Darwinism – without having any expertise on evolution, of course; there is a correlation here.

Diagnosis: Flaming creationist and belligerent anti-scientist – not that he would be able to distinguish science from stream-of-consciousness rant if his life depended on it. But althoughhe is  a crazy fanatic, he is also Texas-based, and being a lunatic denialist is no obstacle to achieving the power to influence science and educational policy in Texas, quite the reverse, it seems. 

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

#2251: Theodore Shoebat

We suppose some readers may take a morbid interest in checking in on Theodore Shoebat on a regular basis with the question “who does Theodore Shoebat want to murder today?” (There is a list of people Shoebat wants murdered here.) Theodore Shoebat is the deranged spawn of fake ex-terrorist Walid Shoebat, and even more unhinged than his father. A self-proclaimed “Christian Militant”, Shoebat jr. regularly engages in incoherent screeds fuming with impotent, murderous bloodthirst, which are so over the top that even many other American Taliban figures want little or nothing to do with him. Shoebat is also a self-proclaimed proud fascist” and fan of Franco.

Non-Christians and religious freedom
Shoebat is explicitly opposed to freedom of religion: only “idiots” and “morons” support the freedom of religion, according to Shoebat. He has therefore called for establishing blasphemy laws, for atheist and other non-Christian books, including the Qur’an, to be burned, for blasphemers to be “burned at the stake” and for atheists to be subjected to an inquisition and then put to death (the aim of the inquisition thus being somewhat unclear). Laying out his theocratic vision for America, Shoebat explains that “[o]nce someone begins to teach and to exhibit the signs of a diabolical belief system or an explicitly anti-Christian sentiment, then that person is most definitely determined to be a threat to the body. Once that person is determined to be a threat, then he has to be coerced to either stop what he is doing, reject it, or once he has become so obstinate about it, then the last resort is death.” Expressing non-Christian viewpoints cannot be tolerated, according to Shoebat, “because as soon as you allow attacks on Christianity [non-Christian viewpoints = attacks on Christianity, of course] to be enabled and to thrive, then the Christian spirit begins to decay, it begins to decline and all sorts of moral evils take place like public acts of sodomy, public acts of desecration and degenerate behavior and murder. It just spirals and it goes on and on and pretty soon you have cannibalism, pretty soon you have bestiality and pedophilia.” Part of the problem is of course how fanatic non-believers are: “when you see how fanatic they are, how much they hate Christianity, how much they hate God, how much they hate the church, you really can’t tolerate people like that and those people need the death penalty.” No, we still remain pretty convinced that this is not a poe.

He is, however, especially opposed to Muslims. Of course, he agrees with the most deranged radical Islamists on most issues, in particular the treatment of homosexuals (he has called on God to bless Chechnya for killing gay people, for instance), but sees no problems harmonizing his hatred of Islam and his hatred of homosexual people: according to Shoebat, Islam in general, and ISIS in particular, are “homosexual cults”. He has therefore suggested that Muslims should be hunted down and killed just like we did to the Native Americans – yes, Shoebat also thinks that was the right thing to do with Native Americans: “Any Indian that expressed any sort of anti-American sentiment, [Andrew Jackson] killed them. He had no tolerance for evil and wicked people. He got rid of them and he purged the society of these pagan heathens and he did an American Inquisition and that’s what we need now … Homosexuality? Death penalty. Blasphemy? Should be punished. Pagans coming in to your land? Kill the pagans, defeat them, convert the to Christianity.” Apparently, Andrew Jackson was the epitome of American Values, as Shoebat sees it. MLK, meanwhile, was a “modernist antichrist and Christ-denier.

Still, Shoebat did praise ISIS for the Paris terror attacks, or, as he put it, for murdering “Satanists” in Paris. In his article “France Is a Godless Nation that Deserves to Be Attacked”, Shoebat argued that France has a long history of killing Christians and therefore needed to be punished, and that those who died while attending an Eagles of Death Metal concert were “worshippers of the devil” and got what they deserved. Similarly, he praised the Manchester terrorist attacks, declaring that he had no sympathy for the victims because they are all “sodomite-lovers” and “sluts.”

Shoebat has also called for the invasion of India, forced conversion of its “natives” to Christianity (“You need to Christianize the land. We need to destroy these false religions, end of story. Hinduism is an evil, demonic, anti-Christ religion. It needs to be uprooted from the earth and it has no place in the world”), and for SWAT teams to shut down yoga studios in the US: “I think the U.S. government needs to crack down on this evil, demonic thing called yoga … You’re teaching yoga, have the SWAT team bust open the doors to that place and just arrest everybody.” Oh, and “Judaism is Satanic as well, of course.

He mostly takes a dim view of other Christians, too. When he learned that the Christian chain Chick-fil-a distanced themselves from anti-gay marriage statements made by the chain’s owner and sponsored an LGBTQ film festival, he declared that all employees of Chick-fil-a should be “burned at the stake. Of course, such people are not, really Christians: As Shoebat sees it, Christians who don’t think every LGBTQ person should be killed are not Christian and should themselves also be executed. When radical anti-gay extremist Peter LaBarbera admitted that genocide might not be in line with mainstream Christian ideals, Shoebat called him a “filthy pig” and “demonoid”. Yes, even LaBarbera. The traitors are everywhere. Glenn Beck, for instance, is a practitioner of “Chrislam trying to lure his audience into Islamo-Mormonic deistic universalism, with the help of guys like James Robison, Franklin Graham, and David Barton. Michael Brown, on the other hand, is in a Satanic conspiracy with “sodomites” and “La Raza terrorists,” and anti-Islam activist Robert Spencer is “now supporting the Islamic jihad. Indeed, any version of Christianity except Catholicism is Satanic; after all, “Martin Luther gave birth to Nazi ideology, and Nazism is going to return again with Luther as its prophet. Catholic Christendom will rise again and destroy the demonic religion of Luther,” declares Shoebat.

Shoebat has also, in a moment of astounding lack of self-insight even for him, attacked Ayaan Hirsi Ali for suggesting that Christian Fundies can be just as bad as Muslim ones. 

A fierce critic of homosexuality, homosexuals and gay rights, Shoebat regularly expresses his opposition to what he calls “gay sharia” and “homo tyranny”. As Shoebat sees it, “[t]he homosexual movement is the most hateful and most vile group in all of the Western world. The sodomites are supremacists; they believe that they have the superior lifestyle, a disposition and constitution more superior than the ‘others,’ who they consider as inferior breeders. This is the ideology of sodomism. Sodomism is the ideology of homosexual superiority, in which the homosexuals desire to usher in – through propaganda, violence and state coercion – a utopia in which homosexuality is seen as a supreme ideal, and those who believe in the conjugal union as is affirmed and established by the Christian Faith, are viewed and treated as enemies.” Ultimately, according to Shoebat, the gays will slaughter all the Christians in concentration camps. Yeah, we have freed us from the chains that anchor us to reality a long time ago.

To deal with the gay question, Shoebat suggests not only burning the rainbow flag but adopting thoroughly medieval views on homosexuality, and he has (repeatedly) declared his support for an “inquisitionwith the goal of exterminating gay people. And it is urgent: gay people must be executed before they succeed in their effort “transform the Scouts into a Nazi-like gay youth club” that will be used to attack Christianity. And make no mistake (Shoebat will not hesitate to remind us): “there is only one solution to the homosexual agenda, and that is death”, since gays “are no different than terrorists and should be treated as such”. So the best solution is to “bring back the inquisition. He did, however, receive some pushback from other anti-gay activists over his claim that Jesus would personally kill gay people, which led him to declare that there was an “inquisition” targeting him in order to make him renounce his views (thereby confirming our suspicion that he doesn’t quite understand what “inquisition” means). His father fortunately came to his defense, pointing out that Jesus destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, hence illustrating that according to the Bible, Jesus would, indeed, personally beat homosexuals to death if given the chance.

He has also complained that homosexuals have sent him death threats, promptly declaring that “all” homosexuals therefore want to kill all Christians. As an example, when the Duck Dynasty series landed in some controversy in 2013 over some comments by Phil Robertson, Shoebat concluded that “[t]he Sodomite nazis are going after Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty , simply because he pointed out a truth to the darkness of the sick, violent, and twisted mindset of homosexuals […] Now they they are suspending him. What the homosexuals want to do to Christians in America is what Muslims are already doing to Christians: slaughter and enslave them. This is why we must fight this evil, and help save persecuted Christians in the Muslim world. Donate now and save Christian lives.” (Note the coda.) “The only thing vile in this situation is what sodomites contrive and partake in, they indulge themselves in acts so diabolical, in things worthy of death (Romans 1:32), and yet we are so careful to make sure that they are tolerated. The sodomite just quoted spoke of ‘loving and committed gay and lesbian couples.’ Really? Let me show you how sinister these morally inept and demonic followers of Satan are …” (and then he cites exactly one example of an abusive gay couple.) Yes, according to Shoebat “the homosexual agenda” is “about conquest, and the persecution of Christians”: “If they succeed, we will live under an outright Homosexual inquisition, and if they really had their way, they would build a homosexual empire.” In conclusion, gay men hold a demonic hatred toward women, and homosexuality and cross-dressing should therefore be outlawed: “Outlaw the sodomite before he outlaws you,” says Shoebat: “You either make the sodomites submit to Christian morality, to the law of God, to the law of Heaven or they will force you to submit. There is no other choice;” and just to be clear: by “submit” he means “be put to death”, because homosexuals, like atheists and “fanatical feminists” and Muslims, “war against the Faith, promote death and hate life”: “a noble government will arise and give these perverts the only thing they need: the sword!

Shoebat did, however, criticize the 2016 Orlando massacre. He criticized it because it should have been “The State”, not Omar Mateen, who “killed the sodomites”, by firing squad. Then he declared that the real victims of the attack were people like him who are being unfairly painted as radicals simply because they openly advocate putting gay people to death.

He is also a supporter of vigilantes in other countries who attack LGBT people, and wants the same to happen in the US, saying that “I wish America had this stuff”  – physically assaulting gay activists is, as he sees it theologically justified – though he also wishes the police would be “given the opportunity to kill more gay people, of course. Killing homosexuals should certainly not be considered a hate crime; after all, “fags kill each other all the time, and the reason why they kill each other all the time is because they’re demon-possessed people and Satan wants them to kill each other because Satan hates humanity.”

Apparently, part of the problem with homosexuality, according to Shoebat, is its link to cannibalism, apparently because of Jeffrey Dahmer. His explanation for drawing the connection is worth highlighting, since it is probably even more deranged than you imagined! You see, the problem with America is that it is too individualistic, only punishing criminals for the crimes they have committed instead of imposing collective punishments in an effort to root out the beliefs or behaviors that led to the crime in the first place. Hence, the correct response to the crimes of serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer would have been to not only punish him for his transgressions, but then also outlaw homosexuality because “it leads to serial killers, it leads to cannibalism, it leads to murder” and is a danger to the collective Christian society. And make no mistake, gay people really want to be murderers and cannibals and the only thing keeping them from doing that is that it’s against the law, as Shoebat sees it. Given Shoebat’s own predilection for murder and torture, combined with his stupidity, it is not hard to see where he is coming from. He did cite what he took to be evidence for a connection between homosexuality and Dahmer, though: a series of papers released by the American Psychological Association that suggest that “rates of military sexual trauma among men who served in the military may be as much as 15 times higher than has been previously reported,” from which he concluded that gay soldiers are committing tens of thousands of sexual assaults every year and that “[c]annibalism and homosexuality and rape are all interconnected.” Critics may point out some holes in the reasoning, but then they wouldn’t be true Christians.

In his criticisms of Southern Decadence, an annual rave for gay people in New Orleans, Shoebat was determined merely to follow the evidence wherever it would take him. Where it took him was that he wanted all the participants killed, of course. They should be killed because they regularly kidnap young boys and rape and kill them during the event. A weakness of Shoebat’s argument is of course that the evidence he relies on is taken from nowhere but his own deranged excuse for a mind. 

Shoebat also wanted the publishers of National Geographic tortured and “burned at the stake” (“this is the problem that I have with the First Amendment … In the Catholic Church, the whole damn crew behind National Geographic would be tried and once they are found guilty, they would be burned at the stake”) because they featured a nine-year-old transgender girl on their cover. Shoebat called the girl “Little Nazi Hitler”: “The kid is obviously evil, obviously a reprobate, obviously just diabolical. You’re a freak. You’re a little demon. You’re a little Nazi Hitler … This little freak would not mind sticking people like me in a gas chamber,” proclaimed Shoebat. “This is sick shit.” There is clearly some sick shit here, yes. 

In general, Shoebat thinks that transgender children are “utterly wicked” and that “parents who encourage this behavior should be arrested and executed.” He wants the children executed, too.

On women
Shoebat believes that women should be banned from voting and holding office. I don’t believe in women in politics,” Shoebat has declared: “I don’t believe in women voting. I don’t believe in the suffragist movement, I don’t believe in women in politics. If they’re so righteous, let them stay at home and teach their children that righteousness.” Indeed, the failure of mothers to raise their children to be proper Christians, he warned, is leading to everything from “losers drinking out of beer bongs and smoking pot” to restaurants serving “steaks made out of human flesh;” yeah, that stream-of-consciousness rant took a somewhat surprising turn, even by Theodore Shoebat’s standards. Meanwhile, feminists who do things he doesn’t like should be “burned at the stake”, of course.

When Trump suggested that women who undergo abortions should be punished, Shoebat agreed, and called women who undergo abortions “sluts”. Then he called for their execution by firing squad.

Miscellaneous politics
Shoebat is a sometime Trump supporter, criticizing what he takes to be aSatanic conspiracy” against the president, mostly because he hopes that Trump will kill Muslims, but also because he hopes Trump will soon enact legislation to have gays and abortionists executed. However, after Trump waved a Rainbow Flag at one of his rallies, Shoebat withdrew his endorsement and called for Trump’s execution instead.

As mentioned above, Shoebat expresses deep admiration for (his image of) medieval Christianity, including the genocide of Cathars, Waldensians and heretical Christian sects on account of their “false beliefs”. He has also criticized evangelical Christian leaders for condemning the genocide. As Shoebat sees it, we ought to return to the Middle Ages, when they had no “fag problem. Indeed, Shoebat has called for a a return to absolute monarchy, pointing out that he doesn’t believe in democracy: “Democracy. More like Demon crazy. The first attempt at democracy was in the Heaven, when Satan and the demons wanted to reform the government and oust out the King, God. God believes in monarchy, Satan believes in democracy. Hence democracy is demon crazy.” At least it looks like an argument. He has also called for a new “crusade”, claiming that “God wants one”.

Shoebat believes that one of the most serious problems facing us today is witchcraft, and he want “practitioners” of witchcraft to be put to death (but of course). And since Hillary Clinton, according to Shoebat, has been using black magic to gain popularity, she should be put to death. In fact, Clinton is also a devil worshipper – Shoebat literally cites his own imagination as evidence for the claim – and a lesbian who “would love to see the death of all Christians. I kid you not. Do not think for a second that that woman, if she had the chance, would [hesitate to] put people like me in concentration camps, would put Christians in concentration camps and kill Christians,” so “What do you think she deserves? This type of woman, this evil, wicked woman, what do you think she deserves? She deserves the death penalty. End of story.”

No fan of Obama, Shoebat has pointed out that “[i]n the most national prayer breakfast, Obama diverted the subject from ISIS and began to express his hatred against the Christian Crusades. The reason for this is because Obama hates Christians and Christianity, and is himself a Muslim jihadist. He continues to support Islam while hating Christianity, and heavily funds and supports the jihadists in Syria. His own family are Muslims and work with terrorists.” 

Sensing some opposition from other rightwingers to some of his proposals, Shoebat has also declared that “both Stephen Bannon and Ann Coulter are absolutely evil, they are enemies of Christendom and are filled with the spirit of Antichrist;” Coulter, in particular, is a “fascistic bitch” who should be put to death for associating with “fags.” The same, apparently, goes for Pam Geller and Tomi Lahren, who is a “little Nazi’ worthy of being put to death for being pro-choice, as well as Milo Yiannopoulos and Gavin McInnes, and not the least Marco Rubio: Shoebat ostensibly longs for the days when Marco Rubio would be hung from the gallows. It is important to weed out the less-than-ideologically-pure in this crucial battle against the totalitarianism of the gay rights movement.

Shoebat has some views on Brexit, too: “Britain Just Left The EU, And This Will Eventually Lead To A Revived Nazi Germany That Will Go To War With Christendom,” Shoebat declared after the 2016 referendum in a completely random stream of consciousness. We haven’t bothered to determine whether he thinks the fulfillment of his prediction is a good thing or not.

To pull all the strands together, Shoebat has released 858-page book titled Christianity is at War: The Manifesto for Christian Militancy. We recommend maintaining a safe distance to anyone who has actually read it.

There is a decent Theodore Shoebat resource here.

Diagnosis: Possibly the most deranged, hateful and bloodthirsty person with regular access to media in the Western world and possibly anywhere, Shoebat seems determined to demonstrate that there is, indeed, a position to be carved out on the extreme side of ISIS. An utterly repugnant character, of course, but it’s hard to look away.

Monday, October 7, 2019

#2250: Naveena Shine

Naveena Shine is a Seattle-based splash of color who received some attention in 2013, when she decided to find out if she could live without food, subsisting only on water, tea and sunshine – in other words, by photosynthesis. She could not. She dropped out of the experiment after 47 days, having lost 20% of her body weight. As reason for quitting the experiment, she cited negative feedback: “From the feedback I am getting, it is becoming patently clear that most of the world is by no means ready to receive the information I am attempting to produce.” After all, “I was just asking a question, but there was just so much negative response that that means the question can’t even be asked,” and “now that I am ending the experiment I will never know.” It is hard to imagine a sillier conclusion, but then, initiating the experiment in the first place suggests certain general problems with judgment. (She also cited financial issues: insofar as she was confining herself to her house so that she could film every moment of the fast, she was unable to pay her rent and bills.) It should be pointed out that in 2013, Mrs. Shine was 65. We are just assuming that she is still around, but given her level of judgment we would hesitate to bet on it.

Though the medical establishment had suggested to her that her hypothesis was based on some poorly calibrated priors, Shine pointed out that “a doctor can’t see living on light because he looks through different lenses.” At least she got out in time; others have not been as lucky.

Diagnosis: Hopefully harmless, but the comments on her youtube videos do not inspire confidence.

Saturday, October 5, 2019

#2249: Scott Shifferd

Scott Shifferd, jr. is the minister of Dean Road Church of Christ in Jacksonville, and a creationist. Like most creationists, Shifferd doesn’t remotely understand evolution. Rather he regurgitates talking points from young-earth creationists who really, really don’t understand evolution either. The results are dismal. Shifferd’s top ten reasons “why evolution is false” read like a series of self-parodying jokes; but then Shifferd never cared about reasons. He cares about the Bible. For instance, one reason for why “evolution is false” is the “Pagan Origins of Evolution: Evolution emerged from pagan mythology and was promoted among Greek philosophers like Anaximander […]”; indeed, apparently (ostensibly according to 1st century BC sources) “one of the beliefs of the ancient Egyptians was that evolution was the origin of life describing swamps and marches being impregnated with life and the early beastial life of men living in caves, gathering food, discovering fire, and developing unintelligible sounds into languages.” This is … not the theory of evolution, and his “reason” would of course not have been a reason, but a familiar fallacy, even if it were. Then (after a couple of other, similar non-sequiturs) we get the familiar ones: did you know that “[e]volution rests on refuted conjectures and frauds.” Why? Because all “missing link[s]” (no, he doesn’t know anything about evolution) have turned out to be hoaxes, like the Piltdown man. And Haeckel’s embryos. And so on. It doesn’t matter that the claims have been refuted a thousand times already. This was never about accuracy, truth or honest assessment.

Elsewhere Shifferd has argued that atheism is false because evolution cannot explain morality. We can probably safely conclude that Shifferd has taken as few (philosophical) ethics classes as (science-based) biology classes. 

Of course, Shifferd wouldn’t know what “science-based” means: “Atheists uses pseudo-science to support their assertions. Science is observable and testable, but the evolution of many kinds and life arising naturally from non-living material is not observable or testable.” This, of course, is not remotely how it works. Science is based on hypotheses being tested against the observable data the hypothesis predicts, not that the contents of the hypotheses are observable – that’s sort of the whole point of science, to learn something about stuff that go beyond direct observation from the testable consequences of claims about such stuff. And “the evolution of many kinds” is, indeed, very much testable. (Abiogenesis, of course, is not part of the theory of evolution.)

Diagnosis: Ok, so this is probably just another village idiot speaking to his congregation, and he probably doesn’t really care about understanding the stuff he is talking about. It is still nonsense though, and he deserves to be called out on it.

Thursday, October 3, 2019

#2248: Lisa Shiel

Lisa Shiel first made (sort of) a name for herself as a frequent commenter on various science-related blogs, committing the most beautiful illustrations of fractal ignorance and misunderstandings you can imagine. In 2009, she channeled her efforts into an apparently self-published book, The Evolution Conspiracy vol. 1: Exposing the Inexplicable Origins of Life and the Cult of Darwin. Shiel has a masters degree in library science. She does not understand evolution. According to the blurb (we won’t pretend to have read the actual book), Shiel’s work is ostensibly novel in that she sets her religious beliefs aside: “Instead of criticizing evolution in an effort to promote her personal beliefs, she’s chosen to examine evolutionary theories and the evidence attached to them through a secular lens.” That may be the case, but is hardly a guard against deranged nonsense. As Shiel sees it, “[t]he theory of evolution involves numerous complicated and confounding strands,” which is somewhat contradicting her claim, on the blurb for the book, that evolution is “deceptive in its simplicity” and that “anyone can understand evolution”. How many strands? “almost as many strands, I dare say, as DNA itself” (so: two; dare we suspect that Shiel’s knowledge base on DNA is somewhat shaky?). For instance, scientists are now talking about genetic driftas a major driver of evolution – clearly this must be bollocks; it is apparently also unscientific since “no one has ever reproduced the creation of a species via either natural selection or genetic drift,” which is, needless to say, not quite how testingworks in science. Moreover, “toss into this mess the recent discovery that some species ‘evolve’ genetically while remaining unchanged anatomically,” and “the recent discovery that cryptic species can fool us too – two creatures look identical, but their DNA identifies them as different species.” At this point it is only right and proper to toss up your hands and declare conspiracy. At least she is refreshingly straightforward about her contempt for science; young-earth creationists tend to try to talk their way around that part.

Indeed, Shiel is currently promoting herself as an “author of paranormal adventure fiction and nonfiction,” and her most popular work may not be her confused anti-evolution rants, but her books Backyard Bigfoot and Forbidden Bigfoot: Exposing the Controversial Truth about Sasquatch, Stick Signs, UFOs, Human Origins, and the Strange Phenomena in Our Own Backyards, in which she not only criticizes the mainstream position that “Bigfoot are nothing more than large, bipedal apes” and argues that this is “merely disinformation”, but, according to an Amazon reviewer, “gives her arguments on why she believes Sasquatch has metaphysical properties.” Apparently the book lays out her views on fairies and crop circles, too. She has written several novels as well. Probably more than she thinks. 

Diagnosis: Exceptionally confused, but probably harmless.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

#2247: Maya Shetreat-Klein

Yes, she is a genuine MD. But no: you should not take medical advice from her. Maya Shetreat-Klein is the author of the book The Dirt Cure: Growing Healthy Kids with Food Straight from Soil”, detailing the eponymous dirt cure, a health regimen Shetreat-Klein apparently developed through dealing with her own son’s ostensibly mysterious illness at one year old, an illness that apparently caused a sudden delay his development. Through her work, she – according to herself – “began to uncover the surprising roles food play in many modern childhood (and adult) ailments.” According to Shetreat-Klein, modern food production, with pesticides and GMOs, are to blame; at least “there is mounting evidence that these food transformations are some of the root causes of illnesses manifesting in childhood and beyond.” “There is mounting evidence that X” of course means that X hasn’t been established with any significant degree of likelihood (but that Shetreat-Klein and her ilk are certain that it will be established regardless of the state of the evidence), and usually that there is little evidence beyond poorly designed studies in predatory journals. (Apparently her son’s illness was caused by soy allergy; “once she removed it from his diet, his development went right back on track as if he’d never faltered.”)

The Dirt Cure blames the food and pharmaceutical industrial complexes (she has plenty of conspiracy theories and shill gambits for you) for filling our foods with toxins, and describes “the mounting evidence” (yes, again) of how these toxins are provoking huge rises in chronic childhood illnesses, as well as cancer and illness in adults. Perhaps the worst villain is RoundUp, which she ties to Agent Orange and which she – damned be the evidence pretty conclusively showing the opposite – thinks is stored in the body to make us sick. Apparently everything was much better 200 years ago, when we knew exactly what we were eating and the average life expectancy in the Western World was 35.

Now, in fairness, the main thesis of the book, that sterile environments contribute to the prevalence of allergies, does actually have some evidence to support it. But Shetreat-Klein really isn’t concerned with the state of the evidence; she takes the thesis as a starting point for fully embracing appeal to nature as a guiding creed. And it’s not like exposure to germ will only help prevent allergies, as Shetreat-Klein sees it: it will help boost your health and energy, too

Shetreat-Klein seems to have abandoned her medical training more or less completely in favor of random appeals to nature (where “nature” means whatever she wants it to mean). Currently she subscribes to terrain medicine, a long discarded view of medicine that once became the basis for naturopathy, and her website describes her as “neurologist, herbalist, shaman, astrologist” (no less). And of course, once you start down the path to the dark side, it is hard to stop. Shetreat-Klein has for instance given talks on “Herbal Medicine in Pediatric Neurology” (as well as a talk on her dirt cure) at the anti-vaccine and quackery summit AutismOne.

Her website is pretty illuminating: you’ll get a special offer on the “Shetreat 28 day cleanse” (we didn’t bother to check the new price) and an invitation to “learn which healing practice will help you connect with the Earth.” She even has something called “The Intuition Prescription”, a masterclass that will help you “[t]une into your inner voice, tap into the power that resides within you, and find balance between science and the sacred”. We wager a guess that there won’t be much of the former in her “balance”. Oh, and then there are the “6 Ways Drumming Heals Your Mind, Body and Spirit.” In short: this is what post-truth looks like in a medical context.

Diagnosis: Yes, she is somewhat marketing savvy and knows how to tap into fashionable new age trends. You really, really shouldn’t take medical advice from her, however.