Sunday, May 27, 2012

#333: David Reagan

David Reagan is a Bible scholar and head of the Lamb and Lion Ministries. He also host of a weekly show on DayStar and an author of several books, including the children’s book “Jesus is Coming Soon!” and lots of stuff on the imminent rapture (signs, what it is like to live in the (current) end times, America’s role in the end times, and so forth). He also publishes the magazine “Lamplight” on, well, endtime stuff. An overview of central endtime signs is here. Among the telltale signs are the current, historically completely novel phenomena “love of self (humanism), the love of money (Materialism), and the love of pleasure (hedonism),” and the fact that Christians are currently persecuted in the US – they’re not even allowed to beat up gays anymore! Furthermore, people today know stuff! Tell me that isn’t an endtime sign. Not to mention the EU, “wars and rumors of wars”, and the “acceleration of life”. And don’t forget the earthquakes!

The positive spiritual signs are equally compelling: the proclamation of the Gospel to the whole world, a great outpouring of the Holy Spirit, and spiritual illumination to understand prophecies that have been “sealed up” until the end times. Right … (in fact, the last one refers to the publication of Hal Lindsey’s “The Late Great Planet Earth”, which according to Reagan was “the number one best seller in the world with the sole exception of the Bible for the next ten years!” (references not provided)). According to RaptureReady “David Reagan stands among that rare breed of individuals that are well-known for being a dependably source of reliable information.” Right.

See him describe hell here. Apparently, hell is an evolved Hades and exists “because God cannot be mocked”.

Oh, and global warming is a terrible myth. And the Nobel Prize is a conspiracy against America.
Diagnosis: Good, old-fashioned madman. Probably limited impact, but you never know.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

#332: Gene Ray

Gene Ray is a legend. He is clearly not entirely stable, but is such a prominent feature on the Internet that he must be included here. He is most famous for inventing the Time Cube Theory, and even put up the legendary Time Cube website back in 1997.

What is the time cube theory? It is a little hard to say, but it has something to do with the world passing through four simultaneous days in the course of a day. The reason we don’t believe Ray is correct, is because our educational system is a conspiracy to make us stupid. Ray knows. He is the wisest person in the universe – at least he repeatedly asserts so on his websites and when “explaining” the hypothesis (often instead of explaining the hypothesis, in fact). Let’s give it a shot: time is cubic. The fundamental observation is that the Earth has four corners that sweep through four simultaneous days, defined as "sun up" (representing “the indian race”), "midday" (representing “the white race”), "sun down" (representing “the asian race”) and "midnight" (representing “the black race”). The midday and midnight are known as the "major" time points, while sun up and sun down are the "minor" time points, created where the major opposing forces meet. These points are occupied by Socrates, Jesus, Einstein and Clinton. Ray also seems to claim that the opposite hemispheres of the Earth are rotating in opposite directions (which is an interesting claim, though not because it is likely to be true). The opposition between them accordingly entails “zero existence”.

Ray has offered $10,000 to anyone who can prove that his hypothesis is false. Insofar as his hypothesis is premised on the assumption that all of science, math, logic, and empirical observation are false, this may be difficult. More here. More on Gene Ray himself here.

He also runs the websites AboveGod, Thegreatestthinker and Thewisesthuman.

Selected quotes (verbatim):
-“-1 x -1 = +1 is stupid and evil.”
-“Tis Time to kill any educator who does not teach Cubicism above cubelessness. ... It is not immoral for students to kill all educators who ignore Nature's Harmonic Time Cube or suppress free speech rights to debate Time Cube Creation Principle.”
-“There is "absolute proof" that You are personified pyramid.”
-“TimeCube is above God. God is ignorance. You may be academically retarded.”
-“ONEism is demonic Death Math.”
-“The academia created 1 day greenwich time is bastardly queer and dooms future youth and nature to a hell.”
-“If the 4 racial components of 2 sex pole hemispheres agreed to a cubing of the sphere as a spiritual unity, heavenly music of cubed sphere could be audible on Earth simultaneously to every human ear, not discord, but harmony”.
-“Man evolves from teenager - in cube metamorphosis but ignores teenager to worship a male mother, guised in woman's garb, churchman called father. Adult god is adult crime 
upon their own children. More holocaust deserved!

You get the gist. If you visit his websites you’ll see i) that every sentence is like the selected quotes, and ii) some rather striking color and font schemes.

Another claim to notability is that Gene Ray may in fact be the one existing counterexample to the stopped clock phenomenon. None of the few sentences on his website that are at all intelligible on the website appear to be remotely sensible.

Diagnosis: Although Ray is often described at the craziest guy on the Internet (no mean feat), one sometimes gets the uncanny feeling that he is more self-aware than he lets on, and that he takes some delight in it. In any case he’s probably harmless.

#331: Fazale “Fuz” Rana

Fuz Rana is an old earth creationist. As such, he belongs to the more “scientifically respectable” creationist tradition called “intelligent design”. Rana does research. In the new ID journal “BIO-complexity”, he contributed a paper trying to explain why harmful bacteria would exist if they were created by a good and benevolent god. He argues that they were created to be perfect, but have since evolved their harmful natures. Sounds familiar? Yup, it is the same drivel young-earth creationist and certified (and more or less self-proclaimed) raving lunatic Georgia Purdom (covered a couple of posts ago) published in Answers. In other words, Rana is a brilliant example of what the “scientifically credible” ID movement (“as opposed to” the inherently religious creationist movement) really amounts to.

Rana is a biochemist (the educated sidekick to the unfailingly dense Hugh Ross – they often work together) and an unfailing apologetic for religious fundamentalism. Hence, he either fails to understand the fundamentals of evolution, or – which may be just as likely – he just lies, blatantly, about the existing palaentological data.

Oh, and Rana also doesn’t believe that there is intelligent life on other planets, which is fair enough. The evidence, however, is that there was one unique Jesus who died for all sinners; since he didn’t on other planets such aliens must be without sin or else not exist. The latter is the more plausible option, it seems.

Diagnosis: Kook and fundamentalist, standard mix, who tries to pass as a near-scientist and is almost as convincing as such as kids who dress up as Dr. Doom on Halloween.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

#330: Sandi Radomski

Radomski is an element of an almost uncountable horde of delusional woo-peddlers. Her particular brand is “Energy Psychology Treatment of Allergy-like Reactions”, and she is the proprietor of “Allergy Antidotes”. The technique? Applied kinesiology to alleged allergies or sensitivities to specific substances. With this tool, Radomski can diagnose a patient without an allergen sample – it is enough that the patient think about the substance. In other words, Radomski can help you figure out whether your illness is allergy related, and then you can pay her to remedy it – and the illness is allergy-related whenever Radomski wants it to be. A perfect scheme, and Radomski doesn’t even need to know how allergic reactions actually work (she probably doesn’t) to exploit it: “It is important that I am not referring to allergy in the strict medical definition of a histamine reaction […] I am viewing an allergy as anything that weakens the body's energy system.” Touché. And she cites woowielder Roger Callahan in support. More here.

Applied kinesiology is of course pure bullshit. In fact, not only are the claims so far removed from anything resembling reality that it wouldn’t be worth testing; researchers have actually tested applied kinesiology and – guess what – it doesn’t work.

The final part of the treatment regime is the laser spray: “The Laser Spray Treatment entails stimulating the reflex points on the ears, hands and feet with a laser beam to balance the body's energy system in relation to an energy toxin. The energy toxin can be a reactive substance, negative emotion or thought or traumatic scene. Slowly spray the laser beam over the entire ears (front and back), hands, and/or feet while the patient is holding or thinking about the energy toxin.”

Diagnosis: Idiot. Could be a fraud, but I am very unsure whether that would make it better or worse.

#329: Georgia Purdom

Purdom is a molecular biologist and young earth creationist associated with Answers in Genesis. Her view of science is summed up here, if you can stomach it. She is fond of the “different worldviews” gambit, and has pointed out (with Jason Lisle) that “[t[he Christian worldview accounts not only for morality but also for why evolutionists behave the way they do. Even those who have no basis for morality within their own professed worldview nonetheless hold to a moral code; this is because in their heart of hearts they really do know the God of creation, despite their profession to the contrary. Scripture tells us that everyone knows the biblical God, but that they suppress the truth about God (Romans 1:18-21)” – a good, question-begging (though that’s not its worst sin) premise for a fruitful debate.

She is a frequent contributor to AiG’s journal “Answers”. To vol.2 she contributed (with John Francis) the article “More Abundant than Stars”, rambling on about the fledgling field of “creation microbiology” in an attempt to review the literature. They proposed to classify microbes according to baraminological concepts (no experiments, data or evidence provided). She also contributed “The Role of Genomic Islands, and Displacement in the Origin of Bacterial Pathogenicity” – another review paper about bacteria without evidence, data or experimental results, and without any testable hypotheses presented – just a rambling rant on how bacteria adapts (but don’t evolve!). It ends, though, with the one substantial claim: “From the creation perspective, all bacteria were originally created ‘good’” (as in the “good” bacteria in our digestive system), then along came the Fall … and that says it all, doesn’t it? No evidence, just a peevish point about how “[a] creation model is needed to understand how bacteria become pathogenic in a post-Fall world.” Surely evolutionary theory won’t give us that, so evolution is false. (It seems like one of Purdom’s favorite pastimes is to confuse and contradict herself on the evolution of bacteria)

She was also, with Menton and Andrew Snelling, one of the AiG associates behind the op-ed designed to correct some “misconceptions” about them.

As a good loon, Purdom is of course able to take any strong evidence for a hypothesis to be evidence for a completely opposite one by applying the standard creationist data handling rules: distort, mangle, quote-mine, confuse and assert. She was an early critic of Richard Lenski’s famous experiment, entering the fray even before ultramoron Andy Schlafly launched his helplessly gomeric attacks.

Purdom has claimed that there is a direct link between evolution and the Holocaust – not in terms of the standard, refuted claims that Nazi ideology was somehow based on evolution (it wasn’t; it was hardcore and explicitly creationist), but because once you start compromising on the Biblical account of creation it is a step down the path to full-blown genocide.

Diagnosis: Moronic hackjob with a real education and a pathological inability to admit that evidence and data are kinda important in science. She’s diligent, and as such moderately dangerous.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

#328: Bob Proctor

Bob Proctor wants you to be successful, and can coach you – for a reasonable fee – on how to achieve your dreams. His method is detailed in Rhonda Byrne’s classic, well-research and documented scientifically revolutionary book “The Secret”, and its sequel. Proctor even calls himself “master of the law of attraction” and featured prominently in the movie adaption of Byrne’s ding-ding delusional, garbled nonsense. You can read an interview with Proctor here (interviewer is an obviously gullible idiot by the name of Allison Kugel).

“There is a Science of Getting Rich.  Scientific Laws that govern whether you are wealthy or poor and they are just as exact as those that govern the Universe. Learn and use them and you will attract money in abundance just as certainly as the force of gravity holds you to the earth,” says Proctor, and means it literally when he talks about how to use “the law of vibration and attraction” and the “vacuum law of prosperity” to attract whatever you want. And of course there is a conspiracy – scientists know about the law, of course, but don’t want to talk about it because it’s dangerous for their careers (never mind that there’s a rather obvious self-defeating element in that argument).

Diagnosis: Either a total moron or a fraud. In either case, people like Proctor are dangerous, both because they mislead people and because the strategy really is a positively formulated version of blame-the-victims-for-their-misfortunes so well-known from religious wingnuttia.

#327: Randall Price

Price is the founder and President for World of the Bible Ministries and a prolific author. He seems to have a real education, but is currently Distinguished “Research Professor” and Executive Director of the Center for Judaic “Studies” at Liberty University. World of the Bible Ministries is an organization that, according to themselves, do “research in the biblical lands and educating the public on archaeological, biblical issues and the Middle East conflict through books, media, and conferences”. He is most famous for fielding an expedition to Turkey to find Noah’s Ark in 2009. Too bad Ron Wyatt already found it (of course, Price peevishly had to point out that the Ark purportedly found by a Chinese expedition in 2008 was fake after being thoroughly scammed by them; also here. It does at least tell you quite a lot about the level of scientific credibility his “biblical archaeology” can flaunt.

Diagnosis: Total moron and proof that critical thinking ought to be part of the curriculum for any college education but isn’t. Probably harmless by himself, but Liberty University is a genuine force of evil.

Monday, May 14, 2012

#326: David Prentice

David Prentice is a member of the Family Research Council and used to be science advisor to the terminally moronic denialist Sam Brownback. Prentice is most famous as a stem cell research opponent who (against his better judgment) has attempted to claim that we don't need to fund embryonic stem cell research because adult stem cells can do so many things. The claim was backed up by the claim that adult stem cells have treated at least 65 human diseases. Scientists were curious about the number, so when checking the list (if you have access), they found that one was included because of an anecdote in a newspaper article, others only because of statements of personal opinion in Congressional testimony, and of the cited references few if any actually support any claim of a treatment. It is discussed here, among some of Brownback’s antics. Karl Rove (and others) nevertheless repeated the claim, of course. Clearly, being a science advisor to a reality- and reason-hating fundie like Brownback is no easy thing, but Prentice hasn’t really even been trying.

Diagnosis: Another utterly dishonest, fundamentalist denialist. There are lots of them, but we should at least expose a couple – Prentice caused some stir in the looney-bin of the hardcore wingnuts, but his lasting impact is unknown.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

#325: Janet Porter

Janet Porter is another writer for WorldNetDaily and well-known SPAGger. In a 2010 commentary she claimed that America is cursed by God (Deuteronomy 28:12) in order to warn against America borrowing money from other nations (she also lied outright and claimed that – apparently relatedly, though it is not obvious how –the Obama administration planned to institute death panels). The curse apparently visited upon America appears to be budget deficits (which, of course, is the current administration’s fault) – and Obama’s death panels. Fortunately she has also claimed that Americans should use the most effective weapon they have to bring down Obamacare: prayer. That would in fact be her usual strategy; with respect to the case at hand she arranged “May Day: A Cry to God for Our Nation in Distress” (“Porter said Cynthia Dunbar, a lawyer who serves on the Texas State Board of Education, will attend and ask God for forgiveness for how the nation has removed Him from American schools”).

She is also head of Faith2Action; and guess who was behind this one.

Predictably, she is unhingedly anti-gay, and doesn’t care whether she has to lie through her teeth to convince others. Truth is simply not important as long as lying could possible serve to back up her delusional charges. Despite the lunacy of her ravings, she does have some power, and she is – among other things – behind Ohio’s notorious “heartbeat bill” to restore God’s blessings to America (endorsed by both Bachmann and Perry), though there is in fact some evidence that this one may be backfiring.

Porter also warns against forgetting praying in Congress, or even worse – praying to anything but her own deity. As evidence for the danger, she pointed out that because America was “dedicated to God” and Haiti was “dedicated to Satan”, that's why Haiti is poor and America is rich.

Porter is also a young earth creationist defending floodgeology, she touts cancer quackery, and she’s a Christian dominionist and follower of Gary DeMar and Gary North (when confronted with it, she claimed that she had never heard of dominionism, despite the fact that she has repeatedly explicitly advocated it using that very term). And with that we can conclude that Porter’s is the complete array of crazy. In fact, Porter actually believes that Obama is a Soviet spy.

But no matter her other antics, this simply has to be read – this is taking hysterically incoherent delusional paranoia to hitherto unexplored heights.

There is a good Janet Porter resource here.

Diagnosis: Stark raving mad. In fact, Porter is in fact the purest crasy, untainted by reason, sanity or truth. By Grey’s law she’s also evil.