Saturday, November 17, 2018

#2104: Tom Perkins

Tom Perkins is a rich venture capitalist and founding partner of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. Perkins is also delusional, and in a way that seems to have become rather common. In response to a Matthew Yglesias column, Perkins stated that “[w]riting from the epicenter of progressive thought, San Francisco, I would call attention to the parallels of fascist Nazi Germany to its war on its ‘one percent,’ namely its Jews, to the progressive war on the American one percent, namely the ‘rich.’” The persecution complex is strong with this one – “This is a very dangerous drift in our American thinking. Kristallnacht was unthinkable in 1930; is its descendent ‘progressive’ radicalism unthinkable now?” – and although we generally shy away from discussing fiscal policies here, it strikes us as important to emphasize how lunatic Perkins’s Godwin venture actually is. Asking Perkins to pay more in taxes is not “like genocidal anti-Jewish rioting orchestrated by Hitler”.

Perkins followed up by revealing his own take on an ideal democratic system: “You don’t get the vote if you don’t pay a dollar in taxes. But what I really think is it should be like a corporation. You pay a million dollars, you get a million votes. How’s that?” Now, Perkins followed up by stating that he was just “trying to be outrageous,” before doubling down on the rich people/Holocaust comparison (“the parallel holds”), adding that progressive taxation is persecution and “if Germany had American gun laws, there would have never been a Hitler,” which is not only stupid but reveals an almost stunning lack of understanding of the social and political situation in Germany at the time (including details about whoand how many people supported Hitler). Other subjects Perkins discussed were how the Koch brothers are victims of “persecution”, the evils of “child labor laws” and the non-existence of racism. On the question of whether he felt that he might have lost touch with the real world, Perkins responded that “philosophically,” he said, “nobody can prove that they are connected to reality,” an answer that must be characterized as a marvel of delusional hubris.

Apparently he has also written a book.

Diagnosis: Good grief. “Conspiracy theorist with a persecution complex” doesn’t even begin to suggest the inane delusions of Tom Perkins. At least we have to assume that he hurts rather than helps his cause. The notion that one is being persecuted, however, is a very common among lots of different interest groups, from antivaxers to evangelicals. Use Perkins as a mirror.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

#2103: Shelley Penney

The alkaline diet is a diet fad and type of nature woo that has recently gained quite a bit of popularity. The guiding idea is that altering your blood pH through diet change to make it more alkaline is a means to health benefits. As an idea, it is as stupid and insane as they come, because i) ) changing your blood pH will quickly lead to alkaliosis and death and certainly no health benefits, but ii) it doesn’t matter since it is impossible to change your blood pH through diet anyways. There is, in short, no evidence (not even the slightest) for any of the claims made by proponents of the diet, and the dietary recommendations – which are usually related to alkaline pH values at a rate little better than random chance – are often harmful for different reasonsFacts, however, tend to be of minimal importance to promoters of the idea, who often push it as part of some MLM scheme. It is  of course common to mention that diet can alter urine pH (which may reduce the impact of kidney stones), something that is unrelated to your blood or the rest of your body.

One ardent promoter of the alkaline diet, is Shelley Penney, who runs the blog Real Water Health. RWH pushes in particular alkaline water, which ostensibly contains “millions of added electrons” to make the water alkaline and improve cell hydration. The blog does contain a list of 17 “Peer Reviewed Articles on Alkaline Water”, but a quick scan shows that these are articles discussing research on acidosis; none of them mention any benefits from actually drinking alkaline water. So it goes.

Penney herself is a retired nurse with interests in “health, peace and abundance”. Apparently she skipped the chemistry classes one would have hoped nurses (or any student with a highschool diploma) should have had. Penney claims, for instance, that “because it is very alkaline, ionized water may dissolve accumulated acid waste and return the body to a balance.” (The notion of “balance” involved is presumably this one.) She also claims that “keeping our body fluid pH in an alkaline state may be the first line of defense in fighting any disease,” which is technically true since an arterial blood pH much lower than 7.35–7.45 would quickly kill you. Of course, ionized water (which has a pH around seawater in any case) will not have the slightest effect on your body fluid pH. 

Diagnosis: A disgrace to her profession, currently wasting her life on pushing harmful nonsense. A sad and sordid affair.

Hat-tip: Rationalwiki

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

#2102: John Pendleton

John Morris Pendleton is one of many creationists littering youtube and traveling around giving lectures to anti-science audiences. Pendleton is apparently a chemist scientist automotive technician with a BA in chemistry, though he likes to dress up in a lab coat to read the Bible to determine how old the Earth is, and does claim to have “worked in cancer research for 1 1/2 years”. His repertoire consists of plenty of familiar creationist PRATTs – in his youtube videos these are rattled off after his standard declaration “Hello, I’m a scientist” (he’s not) – with a particular emphasis (it seems) on scientists hiding evidence for young earth creationism. For instance, according to Pendleton there are cave paintings that show humans and dinosaurs together, but scientists won’t let you see them – his evidence being primarily, it seems, that archaeologists have closed off certain caves with cave paintings to the general public, which could only be because they want to prevent them from seeing evidence that goes against the official narrative.

There is a splendid takedown of his nonsense here, which also goes into details on Pendleton’s specific claims, which we cannot be bothered to do (visit the videos if you are interested). Among Pendleton’s beliefs are, beyond the inerrancy of the Bible, the idea that the speed of light is not constant, that the Leviathan mentioned in the Bible is actually a Tyrannosaurus rex, that radiometric dating is unreliable because it yields results he doesn’t like, and that the pre-Flood average lifespan was 912 years. Among his more novel claims, however, is the claim that giants not only once roamed the Earth, but survived the Flood (Noah himself, by the way, was 3.30 meters tall) and that UFOs are nothing other than “ultra-dimensional visitors of the spiritual world;” i.e. demons, devils and fallen angels: “It is not wonder, because Satan himself he disguises himself (sic) as an angel of light (or a UFO),” says Pendleton. “Demons-UFOs”, however, aren’t actual spacecraft, but illusions used to deceive humans. Moreover, not only did dinosaurs coexist with humans (they were vegetarian back then); they are still alive in the swamps of Congo and in various lakes such as Loch Ness.

Apparently Pendleton is the founder and director of the Grupo Internacional de Científicos Creacionistas, an organization dedicated to “unmasking the lies” of evolution, and a frequent speaker at creationist conferences especially in Central and South American countries, and has produced a number of videos not only for youtube but for Christian television. Apparently, he was also part of “the team that won the debate on CREATION AND EVOLUTION at the University of Morelos in Cuernavaca, Mexico in 1994” – so it goes – and has translated booklets by Ken Ham into Spanish. Apparently Carl Baugh has been impressed by Pendleton’s work, which is not a badge of honor.

He is apparently currently living in Zacatecas, Mexico (but we include him nonetheless), where he delivers his creationist message in local churches and (for instance) public schools, something the state government apparently has allowed him to do.

Diagnosis: Laughable nonsense, of course. We think it is unlikely that he will manage to convert anyone not already lost to dimwittery, but the fact that he apparently has access to public schools should really be a cause for concern.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

#2101: Mike Pence

A.k.a. A disturbingly good reason to be hesitant about wanting President Trump impeached even if the opportunity were to arise.

Mike Pence, the 48th Vice President of the US and formerly Governor of Indiana, radio show host and Represenative from Indiana’s 6th District, is a fundamentalist science denialist and occasional conspiracy theorist. Though appearing to many to be far more balanced, stable and boring than Trump, it is possible to make a case for the claim that Pence is, in many ways, crazier. 

Fundamentalism, anti-gay campaigning and anti-feminism
Claiming to have received his political mandate from Jesus himself, Pence has long campaigned to obliterate the distinction between religion and politics, and maintains a close relationship with various dominionists (although it would admittedly be an exaggeration to call him a dominionist himself). Indeed, he first received national attention when he introduced (and signed into law) a bill that would allow private individuals and companies to discriminate against LGBT people on “religious freedom” grounds. 

In 2000 (Pence’s history of anti-gay campaigning is as long as it is insane), Pence stated that “Congress should oppose any effort to recognize homosexuals as a ‘discrete and insular minority’ entitled to the protection of anti-discrimination laws similar to those extended to women and ethnic minorities,” and his campaign website called for “an audit to ensure that federal dollars were no longer being given to organizations that celebrate and encourage the types of behaviors that facilitate the spreading of the HIV virus” but rather redirect resources toward institutions that “provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behavior”. Meanwhile, homosexuality “is incompatible with military service because the presence of homosexuals in the ranks weakens unit cohesion.” According to Pence, Obama thus wanted to “advance a radical social agenda,” and he falsely claimed that anti-discrimination efforts would mean that pastors “could be charged or be subject to intimidation for simply expressing a Biblical worldview on the issue of homosexual behavior.” As for marriage equality, Pence has reminded us that “societal collapse was always brought about following an advent of the deterioration of marriage and family”. This is incorrect.

Pence is known to adhere to the rule that men should avoid spending time alone with women to whom they are not married, ostensibly to avoid temptation. He seems less than cognizant about what the rule tells us about his character. It is worth thinking about.

As a radio show host, Pence expressed numerous notable opinions about a variety of subject matters. In 1999, he argued, in an op-ed, that the Disney film Mulanwas a piece of liberal, feminist propaganda: “Obviously, this is Walt Disney’s attempt to add childhood expectation to the cultural debate over the role of women in the military,” though he seemed very satisfied that Disney apparently undercut their own argument by letting Mulan fall in love: “Moral of story: women in military, bad idea,” said Pence.

Science
Despite the hysteria from the political class and the media, smoking doesn't kill” – Mike Pence

Pence is a creationist and has a long history of advocating intelligent design creationism, arguing for instance that evolution is “just a theory” and “just one of many theories”; apparently it follows that these many theories are all equal. Also, the science of evolution hasn’t remained the same since Darwin; therefore it must obviously be bullshit. (It is, in other words, abundantly clear that Pence doesn’t have the faintest idea what a scientific theory in general, and the theory of evolution in particular, actually is). In a 2002 statement on the floor of the House of Representatives Pence told his colleagues that “... I also believe that someday scientists will come to see that only the theory of intelligent design provides even a remotely rational explanation for the known universe.” Wishful thinking comes no more delusional than that.

Pence recommends abstinence-only sex education, which demonstrably doesn’t work to achieve the stated aims. But facts be damned when purity and spiritual hygiene are at stake. For similar reasons, Pence claimed that “condoms are a very, very poor protection against sexually transmitted diseases.”

As for embryonic stem cell research, Pence is opposed to it, wants it banned, and claims that there are alternatives that “obviate” the need for embryonic research, which is bullsit.

Pence also has a long backstory as a climate change denier; he “does not accept the scientific consensus that human activity is the primary driver of climate change,” and claims that “global warming is a myth” and part of a “liberal environmentalist agenda” to raise taxes. Indeed, according to Pence “the earth is actually cooler today than it was about 50 years ago”. This is incorrect, but Pence has probably realized that with his intended audiences there really is no limit to how egregiously he can lie and get away with it; a similar example is when he imagined his way to the claim that there is “growing skepticism in the scientific community about global warming.” After all, Pence has patiently tried to explain to them that COcan’t cause global warming because CO2is a “naturally occurring phenomenon”. More recently, however, Pence has actually come out admitting that he, with a bit of hedging and lots of hesitation, accepts that “there’s no question” that human activity affects climate and the environment. If you expect a more reasonable voting and policy-related behavior, you probably shouldn’t hold your breath, however. 

Finally, Pence is largely responsible for passing “the cruel sham known as right-to-try”, which is largely, and despite the rhetoric, an effort to limit the powers of the FDA to intervene when scams are pushed on people in desperate situations.  

He denies that he is anti-science, though. He just rejects the parts he disagrees with. He likes the rest.

Miscellaneous

Diagnosis: Fundamentalist anti-scientists are hardly uncommon; neither are fundamentalist anti-scientists in positions of power. But few of them (there are admittedly some) have more power than Mike Pence.

Hat-tip: Rationalwiki

Saturday, November 10, 2018

#2100: John Peloza

John Peloza is – or at least was – a California high school teacher. Peloza is also a creationist, and very unhappy that lying about science while trying to manipulate public school students into adopting his religious beliefs is illegal in the US. (Peloza did for instance give a student a Bible and told another Jewish student that she would go to hell if she did not convert to Christianity.) In 1994, Peloza sued his school district for forcing him to teach the “religion of evolutionism”, a case he of course lost (the ruling is here for those interested in revisiting a number of familiar creationist PRATTs). The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled, as they had to, that there is no such religion. Of course, the suit itself showed that Peloza has a dangerously dim understanding of science, and was rather obviously unsuited for the job he had. And indeed, Peloza was subsequently reassigned to teach physical education instead of science.

Diagnosis: Yet another fine (if ultimately minor) example of the kinds of challenges truth, reason and science are up to, and a scary illustration of the kind of nonsense you can hold onto while still being considered qualified for teaching high-school kids. We have no idea what Peloza is up to these days, however.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

#2099: Meghan Pearson

Meghan Pearson is a reiki practitioner and wellness blogger who primarily writes about vegan food. Though perhaps not a big name on the quack scene, Pearson does have a bit of a profile, insofar as her rants have been published by the Huffington Post. An example is her post titled “My Love Affair With Naturopathy”, the occasion being her visit to a naturopath (Toronto-based and therefore not separate-entry-qualified Erin Wiley). 

That article is pretty much as bad as you’d expect. Apparently, Pearson has a number of health problems (it’s a bit interesting how people promoting wellness and natural health very often do) and an attraction to all things “natural”, which to Pearson seems to mean that naturopathy can help her when conventional medicine does not. So according to Pearson, “Western” medicine never goes to the source and its recommendations are driven by big money, as opposed to the recommendations from altmed practitioners who sell untested supplements and treatment regimes unfettered by the dictatorial constraints of reality and evidence.

Well, so Pearson, given her “nutritional background and knowledge [she has no relevant education, of course], and my keen interest in Eastern medicinal techniques [i.e. orientalism]”, sought out naturopath Erin Wiley and was apparently mightily impressed when Wiley hooked her up to electrodes and “measured” a bunch of things in her body – the instruments both said “ping” and produced some sciency-looking charts – and promptly decided that Pearson suffered from, of course, “a condition called ‘adrenal fatigue,” a favorite fake diagnosis among quacks everywhere. Pearson, of course, who wouldn’t be able to distinguish a real medical condition from a dolphin chakra if her life depended on it, happily accepted it all and bought in. Those darned science-based people with their integrity and evidence-based diagnoses would never have come up with anything like this.

Diagnosis: Yep, it’s a paean to letting oneself be fooled. I suppose, in a sense, it is a bit mean to call out the victim – and make no mistake: Pearson is a victim here – but she wrote up a glowing review (and not marked as an ad) for Huffington Post, and we have some sort of duty to remind people not to trust the advice of people like Meghan Pearson. (Besides, it's not like she's completely innocent herself, being a reiki practitioner and very much willing to share nonsense about nutrition.) 

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

#2098: John Pearrell

John Pearrell is pastor of Gateway Community Church in Covington, Georgia, which is affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention. Pearrell is a young earth creationist, and has spent quite some efforts promoting his creationist views in letters to the editor of outlets like Rockdale Citizenand Newton Citizen– a local village idiot, in other words, but a persistent one. In “Read Genesis carefully before dismissing the creation story”, for instance, he dismisses evolution as “a theory” and not “a hard science” (he would, of course, not be able to recognize science if it hit him with a stick, and has certainly not read his biology carefully) and focuses on assembling evidence for the Biblical creation story. “Moses is the editor of the entire Genesis account, not the author,” says Pearrell: “Moses did research and compiled ancient writings that existed in his day to give us this first book of the Bible. Bet you didn’t know that.” Indeed, we didn’t, and neither, of course, does Pearrell. Apparently, though, “[w]hat we read about the creation account comes from the pen of Adam.” And given that Adam was as close to an eyewitness as you could get, the case is – to Pearrell’s mind – closed: “I have chosen to believe the account of the person there (Adam), rather than the scientists who weren’t there.” Of course, according to Genesis, Adam was technically not there either. To demonstrate the power of his evidence: “Genesis 5:1 tells us that, ‘This is the written account of Adam,’” says Pearrell, who is clearly not using the King James Bible, at least (which has “This is the written account of Adam’s family line”, and then lists his descendants, at 5:1). (Meanwhile, “the story of the flood, that’s the written account of Noah, the guy who experienced it”). Teachers and scientists who claim otherwise are just lying to you. 

For further evidence, Pearrell helpfully guides us to the webpages of Answers in Genesis and the Institute for Creation Research. Elsewhere, he has pointed out (well, repeated) that “the problem is we don’t have scientific proof for evolution; we have theories of evolution;” moreover, “[i]n the real world, you have complex creatures below many of the simplest creatures they are purported to have evolved from.” He really doesn’t understand how any of this works, does he?

And of course, there is a conspiracy. Evil “college professors” are trying to hide the fact that we are “discovering more and more the implausibility of the Darwinian modelthe prevailing model today being punctuated equilibrium theory rather than the gradual change of Darwin.” Apparently that’s supposed to be some kind of objection. We suspect that Pearrell doesn’t really know what punctuated equilibrium is any more than he knows what evolution, or science, is – apparently he actually confuses punctuated equilibrium with the creationist idea of “sudden appearance”. Indeed, as Pearrell sees it evolution doesn’t count as science since it doesn’t fit “the two major criteria of scientific investigation – namely, that it be observable and repeatable,” which displays an utterly basic – but common among creationists – misunderstanding of what science is (hint: a scientific hypothesis must have observable consequences, and those observations must be repeatable (given a proper definition of “repeatable”); it’s not the phenomena described by the hypothesis that must be repeatable – why on earth should that be required? Indeed, the whole point of science is that the phenomena described by the hypothesis are unobservable or unobserved). And since evolution isn’t science, it is taught in public schools only because “Athiests [sic] want double standard when expressing their views in public.” Nope, the difference between scientific theory and religious creed is entirely lost on him.

Moreover, Darwin was a liar: “Case in point is when Darwin unearthed his Australopithecus he hid for 50 years under the floor board of his house, evidence that clearly contradicted his find.” It takes one to know one. The first Australopithecus fossil was discovered in 1925. It did not contradict “his find”.

Diagnosis: “Maybe I am a moron,” suggests Pearrell in one of his letters, and promptly goes on to make the best possible case for that hypothesis. Of course, Pearrell is hardly a major figure in the antiscience movement, and some may think we have given him a bit too much space here, but his claims are so densely – but typically – idiotic that we simply couldn’t resist.

Monday, November 5, 2018

#2097: Vinnie Paz

A.k.a. Vincenzo Luvineri (real name)

Vincenzo Luvineri, or Vinnie Paz, formerly Ikon the Verbal Hologram, is an Italian American rapper for the hip hop group Jedi Mind Tricks (JMT) and frontman of the supergroup Army of the Pharaohs. JMT is primarily known for some pretty outspoken bigotry and crankery, and in the case of Paz it doesn’t seem to be all for show. Paz likes to write lyrics that are rather explicity about how much he enjoys punching faggots in the teeth and – this being a striking case of lack of self awareness – how homosexuality equals savagery. There is a fine list of quotes here. A Muslim, Paz also likes to compare himself to Mussolini (“we like to quote fascists,” says Paz) and Ayatollah Khomeini, and has claimed to find Iran’s regime preferable to the US one.

More importantly for our encyclopedia is JMT’s promotion of 9/11 conspiracy theories, AIDS denialism, anti-fluoridation conspiracies, and deranged antivax lunacy. Paz has for instance claimed, in an InfoWars interview, that polio vaccines killed more people than they cured – this is not correct. In another striking example of lack of selfawareness, Paz also urged us to “not believe the fearmongers”.

Diagnosis: Ok, so another celebrity loon. But Paz is awfully dumb, so it’s hard to avoid him. How much his audience actually buys into his nonsense is unclear, but he is certainly not helping.

Hat-tip: Rationalwiki

Saturday, November 3, 2018

#2096: Anne Paulk

Anne Paulk is the executive director of Restored Hope Network, an ex-gay ministry largely consisting of former members of the now defunct Exodus International. Paulk, who identifies as an ex-lesbian, has some rather confused ideas about homosexuality. Apparently, she has even, uh, written a “study” (a “survey”, in fact, conducted among people whom Paulk expected to give the answers she wanted) showing that homophobia is not an issue, that homosexuality, to the extent that it exists, is caused by sexual abuse, and that  “sixty-six percent of [lesbian] women had incurred sexual abuse early on in their lives” (of course she also complained that the media wasn’t interested in her results, citing bias). Paulk is prepared to “offer Biblical answers for those struggling with same sex attraction,” which apparently includes telling them that gay men are punished by God with disease and early death for having sex with other men. Indeed, gay people are apparently “naïve” for thinking that God won’t do as she likes and punish them. Behind their sins and proclivities is Satan, of course, who is working in particular through his trusted servants teachers, who have “brainwashed” students into supporting gay rights, thereby pushing society into a “downward spiral” dominated by “gay propaganda.” As for parents who come to know that their children have fallen victim to homosexual lifestyles, Paulk asks them to remember that those kids are “rebelling against God” and recommends having a “healthy detachment” from them due to their “choices;” after all, denouncing your children tends to work out well for everyone involved.

Now, reparative therapy is dangerous pseudoscience and its success rate dismal, but according to Paulk this is largely because Satan is always trying to drag victims patients back into homosexuality. Moreover, reparative therapy is also being thwarted by Satanic means like facts and evidence and Satanic minions like experts and the government – opponents of ex-gay therapy are “abusing kids” and making sure the government begins “sacrificing our youth to HIV/AIDS, syphilis and gonorrhea.”. Indeed, the opposition to reparative therapy is clearly being driven by demons: it is, as Paulk sees it, obviously “demonic” that evidence, truth and reality are telling people “lies” about the opportunity people have to find “hope and healing” from homosexuality.

Her output includes the book Love Won Out: How God’s Love Helped 2 People Leave Homosexuality and Find Each Other, coauthored with her then-husband John. John Paulk later came out as ex-ex-gay, denounced reparative therapy and in the process also became Anne’s ex-husband. She has not been particularly eager to discuss this issue apart from lamenting how John Paulk has been “disobedient” to her God.

She also participated in David Kyle Foster’s anti-gay movie “Such Were Some Of You”.

Diagnosis: At least people like her are not exactly, shall we say, finding the tune with today’s kids, and for the most part seem hell-bent on marginalizing the anti-gay movement. Still, reparative therapy has produced, and continues to produce, plenty of suffering. Don’t forget that while you reward Paulk with the pointing and laughing she richly deserves.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

#2095: Rand Paul

He probably needs no introduction, but Rand Paul is in any case the junior United States Senator from Kentucky, serving since 2011. Son of Ron, Rand Paul’s main qualification for an entry here is the fact that he is one of DC’s most prominent antivaccine apologists (after Congressman Bill Posey). NowPaul is in fact arguably an MD (ophthalmologist), but he is also a member of the deranged crank organization the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, which sort of negates any credentials he might (perhaps) have on paper.

With regard to vaccines, Paul has bought heavily into the antivaccine propaganda, claiming in 2011 that “I have heard of many tragic cases of walking, talking normal children who wound up with profound mental disorders after vaccines.” There is, of course, no link between vaccines and “profound mental disorders”. In fact, Paul clarified his comment a few days later, saying that “I did not say vaccines caused disorders, just that they were temporally related ... I support vaccines, I receive them myself and I had all of my children vaccinated.” Indeed, for all we know, Paul may, in fact, not believe that vaccines cause “profound mental disorders” (though the evidence is at best inconclusive and may have made the first comment just to appease the conspiracy theorists that tend to flock his events; it doesn’t matter – the mere willingness to cater to the antivaccine crowd in this manner makes you a serious loon. (In fact, the “temporal relation” claim is dubious, too.) In any case, Paul subsequently tried to frame his point, in typical antivaccine fashion, as a “health freedom” issue – what he opposes is really state- og government-mandated vaccines: “I think the parent should have some input. The state doesn’t own the children. Parents own the children.” Parents do not own their children. More recently, Paul has come out in support of conspiracy theorist and antivaxxer Michael Snyder’s run for Congress.

An opponent of rights to health care, Paul has stated that a right to health care equals slavery for health care workers, since you would in that case “have a right to come to my house and conscript me” and “have a right to beat down my door with the police, escort me away and force me to take care of you.” This is not how having a right to something works, but the description may be instructive when it comes to understanding how Paul conceives of e.g. constitutionally enshrined rights. He seems to have some serious difficulties with ownership-slavery relations, to the extent that normal people should be a bit concerned about putting him in any position of power.

As you’d expect Paul has also voiced support for a number of crank wingnut conspiracy theories related to the North American Union, such as the NAFTA Superhighway and the Amero. He has also toyed with religiously motivated historical revisionism, including claiming that the US is a Christian nation whose laws must be based on the Bible; in fact, we wouldn’t need laws if everyone were Christian, said Paul, which is demonstrably idiotic unless intended – we suspect it is – as a no-true-Scotsman gambit. Like David Barton’s books, Paul’s books are riddled with fake “quotes” by the founding fathers to support his agenda.

On climate change, Paul’s position is that “while I do think that man may have a role in our climate, I think nature also has a role,” which is such a feeble attempt at waffling that it justifies chalking him up as a denialist. In 2011, Paul chastised President Obama – not BP – for BP’s handling of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill; apparently Obama’s criticism was “anti-business” and “un-American”. Then he thought that people should stop playing the blame game because shit just happens.

There is a decent Rand Paul resource here.

Diagnosis: Conspiracy theorist and, more significantly, conspiracy theorist enabler. And Paul has a significant following (even though he seems to lack his father’s charisma) and as such quite a bit of power to realize the deranged aims of such conspiracy theorists. Extremely dangerous.