Wednesday, June 29, 2016

#1683: Elbert Guillory

Elbert Guillory was, until 2016, a State Senator for Louisiana, most recently representing the Republican party (that has varied), ostensibly because the Dixiecrats were racist and Democrat-supported policies harm the black community; according to Guillory welfare and even food stamps are used, apparently intentionally, as a way to control it. Besides, Frederick Douglass was a Republican.

Beyond Louisiana Guillory is most famous for his unflinching support of creationism and initiatives to get creationism taught in public schools. In particular, Guillory supported the infamous Louisiana Science Education Act, which opens up precisefly for teaching creationism (and was designed to do so). His reason for supporting the Act – or, in fairness, opposing a 2013 move to repeal it – is somewhat novel however: when a voodoo doctor correctly (allegedly) diagnosed his condition (how would he know if he didn’t also see a real doctor?), Guillory realized that he should keep his mind open about science: “Yet if I closed my mind when I saw this man – in the dust, throwing some bones on the ground, semi-clothed – if I had closed him off and just said, ‘That’s not science. I’m not going to see this doctor,’ I would have shut off a very good experience for myself.” Yes, that’s right: Guillory is skeptical of science but keeps an open mind (in the sense of “endorses”) voodoo. His speech has gone down as one of the great moments in Louisiana history, and note: the move to repeal the bill in 2013 failed in a 3-2 vote where Guillory voted with the majority. Which means that it was their support for voodoo that won the day for creationism among Louisiana legislators.

To back up his distrust of science, Guillory pointed to an imaginary past when “when scientists thought that the world was flat, [a]nd if you get to the end of it, you’d fall off,” (there really, really wasn’t) and they would burn people who disagreed at the stake. We don’t think it was the scientists who burned people at the stake, but Guillory’s support for the education act was already premised on an amazing inability to distinguish science from fundamentalist religion, and in that respect his reasoning is rather illuminating.

Diagnosis: It’s hard not to judge the people of Louisiana as a group when faced with something like this, but we should try to reserve our judgment for Guillory himself. The “loon” epithet really doesn’t do justice to the abysmal mess of delusional crazy that is the mind of Elbert Guillory.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

#1682: Thomas G. Guilliams

The Discovery Institute’s petition A Scientific Dissent from Darwinism was supposed to gather signatures from scientists skeptical of the “Darwinist dogma”. As such, it was an abject failure. True, the relatively modest number of signatories includes some frothing fundamentalists on the faculty at various bible schools, but relatively few of the signatories are real scientists. And some are people like Thomas G. Guilliams. Now, Guilliams does have a Ph.D. Molecular in Biology, and does – as opposed to the vast, vast majority of signatories – have a reasonably relevant educational background. But Guilliams is currently VP/Director of Science and Regulatory Affairs, Ortho Molecular Products, Inc. Yes, readers: that’s orthomolecular medicine, which is as quacky as quackery comes. Guilliams himself is listed as an “integrative practitioner at, an online community of woo practitioners. Now, Guilliams does in fact have some publications that seem legitimate – though in fields unrelated to evolution, of course – but is also the author e.g. of “The Original Prescription: How the Latest Scientific Discoveries Can Help You Leverage the Power of Lifestyle Medicine”. So much for science.

Diagnosis: The deeper you look at the signatories to the Discovery Institute’s list, the shoddier it becomes. Guilliams is a pseudoscientist and crackpot galore, but he’s in good company among said signatories.

Monday, June 27, 2016

#1681: John Guandolo

John Guandolo is a former FBI agent who talks to wingnuts and conspiracy theorists about the threat of Muslim infiltration. Actually, like most of their ex-Muslim and ex-secret-agents Guandolo is … well, his background isn’t quite like the picture he conveys. But he tells wingnuts and conspiracy theorists what they want to hear, so they’re apparently more than willing to overlook that somewhat substantial dent in his credibility.

According to Guandolo himself he was an FBI agent until he was forced out by the “Muslim radicals” who control the agency. That’s right; the FBI has become, covertly, more or less a front for Islamic radicalism, and the people in charge – despite recognizing the stellar work Guandolo did on gathering intelligence – finally got tired of him bringing to light uncomfortable facts about Islamic radicals, so they booted him. In reality, Guandolo apparently resigned from the FBI because he was having sex with a confidential informant in a federal corruption case, and resigned before they could question him about it.

How deep does the radical Muslim infiltration go? Well, according to Guandolo, John Brennan converted to Islam when he served in Saudi Arabia as the “culmination of a counterintelligence operation against him to recruit him”. And Guandolo is more than willing to elaborate upon how dire a situation this puts the US in, but tends to neglect to provide, you know, anything to back up the assertion. The WND ran it anyways, of course. Rick Wiles also hosted Guandolo on his show to explain how Brennan is seeking to “aid and abet the enemy” through assistance to Muslim Brotherhood agents who are infiltrating the government (the goal is to replace the Constitution with Sharia law, of course). On the show Guandolo also suggested that President Obama is a Muslim, although he admitted that he couldn’t offer a “100 percent guarantee” (most of us would rather be interested in the evidence than a guarantee, but then again we are not raging, paranoid nutjobs and may accordingly use different parameters) – but he could assert that Obama “is significantly sympathetic to the cause of our enemies” and that he and other top officials are accordingly “absolutely not upholding their oath of office and need to be removed” and put in jail (“treason”, he calls the fact that Obama wants to work with U.S. Muslim communities to combat extremism) – apparently he hopes that president Trump will ensure that everyone Guandolo disagrees with on political matters will be arrested and the practice of Islam is properly regulated by law to ensure that the liberty and freedom we know and love are upheld. He also falsely claimed that the Islamic Society of North America is a front group for Hamas. Guandolo was invited back after the Boston bombings to claim that Islamic radicals are operating in “every locale across the United States” and must be named and shamed. If not, Guandolo claimed, such extremists will infiltrate school boards and the sheriff’s departments and cause America to go over the “tipping point” beyond which we become a nation controlled by Al Qaeda (at least that seems to be what he was claiming; it’s not entirely coherent. And once again, Obama is actively seeking to impose Sharia law. Indeed, Tennessee is apparently already under Sharia law.

In 2015 he also blamed the mass shooting at an Oregon community college on Obama’s “pro-jihadi ideology”. The shooter was not a Muslim. But you know: He was an Islamist terrorist nonetheless. “While there are reports Chris Harper-Mercer’s online dating profile identifies him as a ‘Republican’ of mixed race, the evidence available as of today reveals he is sympathetic to terrorists and jihadis,” said Guandolo. He didn’t specify the “evidence” part. And Mercer was clearly fueled by Obama’s “anti-Christian rhetoric, his pro-progressive-left socialist, Marxist, revolutionary ideology,” as well as “his anti-police policies and actions and the Department of Justice and attorney general who support these.” That’s what Islamic extremism is all about. Added Guandolo to radio show host Vince Coakley: “I think this is a much more reasonable answer to why this happened than the fact that we have too many guns, which is what the president immediately came out and said.” It really, really isn’t, you know. But then Guandolo wouldn’t be able to identify “reasonable” if his life depended on it. Apparently Black Lives Matter is a front for Muslim extremism as well.

Now, Guandolo’s crazy is the kind of insanity that might pass muster on the fringes of, but Guandolo’s audience actually includes several big figures in the rightwing movement. David Barton is a fan, of course, but Barton has never had much of an aptitude for the distinction between truth and falsehood. More disconcertingly, the 2015 crop of GOP presidential candidates didn’t express any qualms about appearing alongside him at Frank Gaffney’s National Security Action Summit”.

Diagnosis: Frothingly insane, paranoid conspiracy theorist – but since he tells people what they want to hear he is apparently also well-respected by frighteningly many gohmerts on the fringe, and even exerts some influence on people with real power.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

#1680: Nina Gryphon & Chris Brennan

To hard to believe, there are actually people out there who genuinely believe in astrology. Plenty, in fact, and we cannot hope to cover every practitioner here, even though they all deserve entries. The present entry concerns a group that suffered sufficiently bad karma (since being publicly outed as an astrologer is objectively bad for you even if you don’t realize it yourself) to be featured in the news prior to the 2012 election after having participated on a panel at some astrology convention in New Orleans, where they decided that Obama was going to win the election. Yeah, they got that one right. We are not impressed.

-       Nina Gryphon is an astrologist and corporate lawyer who offers “expert astrological consultation” to the Chicago area. Apparently it was her study of the Aries ingress – the time when the Sun enters the sign of Aries – that clinched the prediction for her.
-       Denver-based Chris Brennan, however, while asserting – apparently without irony – that the charts told him Obama were entering into “peak periods of eminence” that would remain “consistent throughout the election” (whereas Romney’s seemed “to falter a few weeks before the election”), he admitted that Obama may face trouble after the election, since “the ingress of Saturn into Scorpio may trouble him.” He also hedged the conclusion a bit, since we “should all be aware of the Mercury retrograde that will occur on election day.”

The sad thing is that they apparently think they are helping, and that their predictions can assist people in decision making. It’s actually pretty scary if you think about it.

Diagnosis: These people are allowed to vote (although, since the movements of distant balls of rocks or gas determine the outcomes anyways, one wonders whether and why they would bother). That should probably concern you.

Friday, June 24, 2016

#1679: Glenn Gruenhagen

More delusional derangedness in the state legislatures, this time in Minnesota. Glenn Gruenhagen has been serving as a representative since 2010, and has been a vocal proponent of climate change denialism and associated conspiracy theories. According to Gruenhagen, climate change is a “complete United Nations fraud and lie,” and as a source he cites “the latest facts from CPAC,” no less, which “show that in the last sixteen years there’s been no global warming.” Yeah, that one.

Oh, but he is also into gay rights conspiracies, as you probably expected. According to Gruenhagen, homosexuality is a “sexual addiction” and an “unscientific lie” (keep in mind Gruenhagen’s reference to CPAC for his scientific facts). On what grounds is it unscientific? “The human genome map was completed in 2003. There is no gay gene. Okay?” It’s interesting to ponder what else would be “unscientific lies” by that criterion. Gruenhagen dismissed Alfred Kinsey’s work on the grounds that he was a “filthy, perverted unscientific liar” and called for all of his research to be destroyed. He has also asserted that “the concept of sexual orientation was started by Sigmund Freud … he’s a pervert, he’s a moron in my opinion, and I don’t believe in anything that he came up with.” Granted, “in my opinion” isn’t much worse as a source of scientific evidence than CPAC. He has also urged his constituents to “resist the implementation of the gay agenda in public and parochial schools,” and has claimed that in Massachusetts there have already been cases where “citizens who would not succumb to politically correct speech have been charged with hate crimes.” That information (false, of course) he got from the anti-gay organization MassResistance, Brian Camenker’s group. Which may, in fact, be an even more ridiculous source of “facts” than CPAC.

Diagnosis: Moron who tries to weigh up for his lack of intellectual clout with passionated hatred, paranoia, conspiracy theories and bigotry. Which is pretty common, but never a particularly pretty sight.