Friday, December 15, 2017

#1938: Barry Martin

Barry Martin is the owner of the blog, where he channels the spirit of former president J.F. Kennedy: “The information on this blog was given to me by a spirit, President John F. Kennedy,” says Martin. Apparently post-demise Kennedy has taken a keen interest in New Age woo, and freely relates to mr. Martin, through automatic writing, information for instance “concerning our friends, the Pleiadians and dolphins.” The Pleiadians  – we’ve had ample opportunity to deal with them already – are humanoid aliens that come from the stellar systems surrounding the Pleiades stars. Dolphins, according to Kennedy/Martin, are “a gift from the Pleiadians”. Sayeth Kennedy: “The Pleiadian realms, the planets are roughly about 90 to 95 percent water. Their atmosphere is the same type as on earth, although the light there is a bit hazier. The sky is a bit hazier in some places. They brought dolphins to our world. Dolphins are Pleiadians. Man will communicate and interact freely with dolphins much more one day. Just as dogs inhabit the earth as pets, dolphins will be the new pet of man, as the world after the Shift will be about 87 percent water with many inlets and waterways and much sea water.” One may lament that JFK seems to have lost some of his eloquence after passing over to the spirit realm, but death generally tends affect people’s ability to come up with memorable turns of the phrase.

Apparently JFK was no fan of Clinton. Regarding the 2016 election, JFK said that “Mrs. Clinton will most likely win the 2016 Election. This is not something that makes us happy. She is a member of the New World Order.” There is also plenty of stuff about Atlantis and aliens and ancient technology and suchlike, and Kennedy helpfully tells us that under some ranch in the American southwest, “one would find the remains of crystal generators that powered whole cities, whole continents, nations and civilizations. With the power of crystals, this would enable mankind to power cities with a smaller output of electricity than mankind uses. This is a different type of electricity and is truly peaceful. It’s a form of clean fusion.” Kennedy’s grasp of the concepts electricity and fusion seems somewhat tenuous. Perhaps this was Robert Kennedy. It seems that Martin occasionally channels Bobby Kennedy as well.

In any case, everything will ostensibly culminate in “the Revelation of life everywhere in the universes,” which “is going to happen in 2018 we believe.” (It is not entirely clear who “we” refers to.) Also, there will be a major Shift that “will include major seismic and weather events, starting in about 2018 and lasting well into the 2020’s. The world will survive these events, but look much different geographically. The planet will be about 83% water and the population will be much lower.” It’s a poor prophet who can’t give us a proper Armageddon. Apparently the Shift will bring back Martin Luther King, only in this reincarnation he “will be a white man”. So it goes.

We assume that our Barry Martin is a different character – and way less hateful – than Monroe School District superintendent Barry Martin, who thinks books featuring gay characters are unsuitable for children.

Diagnosis: Mostly harmless, and one of the characters that frankly provide some color (mostly teal and pastels) to the Internet. (The other Barry Martin, superintendent, is a different matter.)

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

#1937: Abby Martin

Abigail Suzanne “Abby” Martin is an “investigative journalist”, presenter of The Empire Files, and formerly host of Breaking the Set on the Russian network RT America. A relatively well-known figure, Martin has been heavily involved in various foundations and “documentaries”. She also claims to have grown weary of viewing politics on a Left–Right axis, but what she offers is nevertheless more or less a liberal version of Breitbart-style conspiracy mongering.

She was long a 9/11 truther who labeled the official story as government “propaganda”, saying of the attacks that “I’ve researched it for three years and every single thing that I uncover solidifies my belief that it was an inside job and that our government was complicit in what happened,” where “research” in this context means trawling conspiracy theory websites guided by confirmation bias and motivated reasoning.

In fairness, she has said that she “no longer subscribes” to the idea that 9/11 was an inside job, but even if she doesn’t there are plenty of conspiracy theories she does subscribe to. For instance, Martin is an important promoter of conspiracies surrounding water fluoridation, and devoted at least one Breaking the Set show to the topic. Like so many fluoridation conspiracy loons, Martin invoked studies showing the dangers of fluoridation, neglecting completely the fact that those studies employed dosages many times as high as would be physically possible for humans to get exposed to through water. But as most chemically illiterate people, the rather fundamental idea that the dose makes the poison remains beyond Martin’s grasp. She also ran various conspiracy theories targeted at Monsanto, the big bogeyman of liberal conspiracy theorists everywhere.

Diagnosis: Often described as a spokesperson for the Millenial generation, Martin is probably at best a specimen of Millenial conspiracy mongerers. Addle-brained fop. Don’t listen to her.

Monday, December 11, 2017

#1936: John Marshall

Intelligent design creationism (ID) is pseudoscience, and as with most branches of pseudoscience, proponents of ID see the theory’s lack of popularity among those who actually has some expertise in the relevant areas not as a result of ID’s lack of scientific merit but as a result of conspiracy and/or bias. ID’s proponents themselves, of course, do not possess such expertise. A fine example is John Marshall, a professor of internal medicine at the University of Missouri-Columbia and ID apologist, who claims that mainstream scientists are trying to kick intelligent design “off the playing field of science” even though, according to Marshall, ID is “as much science as Darwinian evolution is science”. It isn’t. Marshall, of course, is not a biologist, and does not appear to have extensive knowledge of the relevant fields. Nevertheless, “as a theory, I believe that intelligent design fits the evidence of biology better than Darwinian evolution,” says Marshall, since that’s what he chooses to believe, regardless of evidence or principles for good scientific inquiry or evaluation of evidence (Marshall, in a 2007 talk in which he asserted his stance, failed to answer questions (from scientists) about ID’s testable predictions, for instance, which are sorely missing). He did bring up the standard false analogy involving DNA and information, however, saying that DNA is the “most complex, densely packed, elaborate assembly of information in the known universe” and even bears similarities to computer codes or a language, which is misleading at best. There is a nice, brief discussion of Marshall’s claim that ID is science here.

Marshall is also a signatory to the Discovery Institute’s laughable petition A Scientific Dissent from Darwinism.

Diagnosis: Marshall is a scientist. But being a working scientist in one field doesn’t mean that your dabblings in a different field are anything but pseudoscientific. Marshall is also a pseudoscientist.