Saturday, September 30, 2017

#1903: Robert Oscar Lopez

Robert Oscar Lopez is a former Associate Professor of English and Classics at California State University, Northridge (a position he apparently abandoned to “save his soul”), “ex-gay” who at one point decided to give up his homosexual lifestyle (he claimed to be straight back in 2012, but has later admitted to being bisexual), and known as one of the most incoherently fuming anti-gay wingnuts in the US. Lopez is popular with anti-gay groups since he himself was raised by a lesbian couple (as detailed in his not particularly well-hinged essay “Growing up with two Moms”), and has later written a book (basically) about how his childhood made him a morally corrupt, stupid and evil person (not his exact words): Jephtha’s Daughters; Innocent Casualties in the War of Family ‘Equality’ (2015). He has also written articles for outlets such as Public Discourse, CrisisMagazine, BarbWire (profile here), and the badly misnamed American Thinker, attacking, as he puts it, those “cruel” (and “violent) gay rights advocates who “foolishly took it upon themselves to carry on the tradition of perversion and excess by making their subculture ground zero for old patterns of social breakdown.” Gay people will never be happy, says Lopez; at least he’s gonna do his worst to ensure that they won’t.

Lopez submitted an amicus brief in Obergefell v. Hodges, where he basically argued that marriage equality is bad for gay people’s kids because RightWingWatch criticized Robert Oscar Lopez.

He has also written a series of gay erotica fiction under the title “Mean Gays”, which is not for the faint of heart. The first book in the series – at 600 pages – is Johnson Park: Five Gay Boys, One Street, Too Much Shade.

Lopez’s anti-gay commentary typically concerns the idea that allowing same-sex couples to raise children is a “crime against humanity akin to slavery (almost every “scenario involving a same-sex couple with exclusive custody of small children is adult misconduct at best or a crime against humanity at worst,” according to Lopez, who comforts himself with the idea that gay parents and their supporters soon “will be dead” and their lives “long-forgotten” like the Berlin Wall), and that it puts children at risk of exploitation and sexual abuse (concerning a Rutgers student who committed suicide after his roommate secretly recorded video of him kissing another man, Lopez claimed that he probably killed himself because he was raped by gay pedophiles when he was a teenager). He has also called same-sex adoption “racist,” claimed that being gay is a “choice,” and accused LGBT activists of being “full-body totalitariansas well as trying to persecute Christians.

According to Lopez, most gay people are child abusers who also try to brainwash kids into adopting their lifestyles, and he has defended anti-gay legislation in Russia and India as being necessary to quash the gay community, which is dominated by child predators – LGBT people are likePol Pot” and are “after your kids, plain and simple”. “The West’s gay community is sick, and I cannot blame countries outside the West for deciding to take extreme measures,” writes Lopez. Gay men abusing boys is also a recurring theme in his own gay erotica. He has, however, repeatedly emphasized that he is heterosexual now.

Lopez on child-rearing
Lopez, who thinks gay parents like Elton John are disgusting terrorists, has argued (in “Breeders: How Gay Men Destroyed the Left” – not that Lopez cares much about the Left) that gay men plan to use surrogate mothers to bear their children as “breeding slaves”, envisioning in the process a dystopian future where women are nothing more than prisoners to an elite overclass of gay men. “Gay men are men,” wrote Lopez, and such, they eschew the company of women: “Gestational surrogacy is a dream come true for woman-hating chauvinists who are bound to congregate under such an umbrella,” comments that really tell you far more about Lopez than about gay men in general.

Of course, Lopez’s opposition to gay marriage is really all about the children. As mentioned, he has repeatedly claimed that gay marriage is equivalent to slavery, and thus a violation of the 13th Amendment (“champions of dad-only families seem to clash openly with what’s stated in the 13th against slavery”), ostensibly because it “means that same-sex couples are entitled to children that they’ve acquired, inevitably, through financial exchange, and states have no way of prioritizing the natural pathway of human beings from conception into the custody of their fathers and mothers,” which would have been an argument against adoption in general, not gay marriage, if it were coherent enough to deserve the designation “argument” (in fact, since it needs the premise that children are like slaves – “any kind of arrangement where you have a legal contract upon another human being is banned,” says Lopez – it would be an argument against parenthood in general). Similarly, in 2013, he criticized extensively the same-sex marriage law in Hawaii, which he said is uniquely offensive because it reminds Hawaii’s large Asian-American community of post-war human trafficking, because  married same-sex couples “end up buying children overseas,” which is false and not really what the word “trafficking” means, but Lopez’s main concern isn’t accuracy or truth here. He also warns us that the US government will have to pay reparations in the future to kids raised by gay parents.

Lopez on the difficulty of being a fanatic anti-gay activist
Not only does Lopez lament gay rights; he has also written about the difficulty of being a vitriolic, hateful anti-gay bigot like himself (don’t forget that he is the victim here). In December 2013, for instance, Lopez wrote about how Christmas can be a very difficult time, since he often feels like no one is understands or even wants to talk about his staunch opposition to LGBT equality: “At Christmastime, those of us who can see the truth about these gay issues face multiple conflicts,” lamented Lopez. “The LGBT lobby has been ruthless about intruding into all our relationships both personal and professional to indoctrinate people in its sexual ideology,” and now he is left spending Christmas with people who apparently don’t appreciate his rants about how gay people “destroy” themselves and society: “Why does it have to be so hard,” Lopez wonders, to talk about the “crimes” of the gay community during Christmas supper?

Though marriage equality proponents are most numerous on the Left, Lopez admits that there are a number on the Right, too; some of these are “clueless”, some are “scared” by the cruel marriage equality proponents; but most of them are “compromised conservatives, who are being blackmailed or threatened by pro-gay people close to them, but behind the scenes. This is a much larger group than you know.” Evidence? Well, if you care about evidence for such claims you probably wouldn’t be reading Lopez in the first place. The very fact that there exists alleged conservatives willing to not attack gay marriage at any opportunity should be evidence enough that gay marriage proponents must be in a conspiracy to blackmail them in the shadows.

Though he is mostly concerned with anti-gay issues, Lopez has also written about e.g. how “the modern American university has become a taxpayer-subsidized left-wing gulag” because things he disagrees with tend to be “gulag”.

After the 2016 election, Lopez predicted that “pro-Trump intellectuals” like himself “will go down in history as even cooler than the 300 Spartans at Thermopylae.”

Diagnosis: Incoherently hateful madman. And evidently he’s got quite a bit of influence on the Religious Right.

Friday, September 29, 2017

#1902: Raúl Erlando López

Raúl Erlando López is another one of those precariously few young-earth creationists with a real degree so cherished by the creationist community and who are therefore heavily used, promotion-wise, to try to give creationist a sheen of scientific legitimacy to the scientifically illiterate. Of course, López’s degree in atmospheric science is irrelevant to the scientific disciplines creationists most explicitly reject, such as biology, geology and astronomy, but choices are limited when you’re a young-earth creationist. Also, López is hardly a scientist – he might have published some articles in the 1970s, but he currently seems to be publishing exclusively in the Journal of Creation Research, Answers Magazine and similar young earth creationist venues. He is nevertheless a signatory to most of the creationist petitions and lists, such as the Discovery Institute’s bankrupt A Scientific Dissent From Darwinism and the CMI list of scientists alive today who accept the biblical account of creation.

Diagnosis: Yet another denialist who rejects science because of his commitment to religious extremism, but notably for being among the vanishingly few of those who have a real degree, albeit of course in a completely unrelated discipline. Not among the loudest or most flamboyant participants in the anti-science brigade, he still deserves an entry.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

#1901: Thomas Lodi

Cancer woo is big business (just see the previous entry), and few things are more repugnantly ludicrous than pushing homeopathy for cancer – though we suspect that most people aren’t really aware of how amazingly ridiculous the magical pseudoscience of homeopathy actually is. Well, at the Oasis of Healing in Arizona, Thomas Lodi will offer you homeopathy for cancer. Apparently, Lodi used to be a real MD (remember that MDs aren’t necessarily trained in science and there is thus no particular reason to think that they are particularly immune to pseudoscientific nonsense), but apparently decided along the way to become a Homeopathic Medical Doctor specializing in “integrative oncology” instead (yes, the state of Arizona allows you to call yourself HMD, and they even allow you to perform surgery).

At the Oasis of Healing there are few limits on what kind of nonsense they’re willing to push (while, predictably, hinting at Big Pharma conspiracies). The guiding principle appears, predictably enough, to be a return to “nature” and natural remedies, though as far as we can tell they fail to explain precisely what makes homeopathic remedies more “natural” than conventional therapies – “natural cancer cures” is mostly an apparently effective marketing ploy. Well, cancer is itself natural, and Lodi seems to agree: “Cancer in fact, is the name that we have given to the extraordinary effort of the body to protect us against chronic irritation. Consequently, cancer has been termed, ‘the wound that wouldn’t heal’. And the term ‘cancer prevention’ is misused to include receiving vaccinations and diagnostic screening, such as mammograms. These and all others under this category of cancer prevention have nothing to do with the prevention of the development of the healing process that we have termed cancer.” Yes, according to Lodi, cancer is a “healing process”, like all disease: “It must be remembered that ‘disease’ is the body attempting to re-establish optimal functioning. Health is not the absence of disease nor is it the absence of anything. It is the presence of something. It is the ability to regenerate, rejuvenate and procreate. Health is the condition that results when one lives according to the biological laws that govern the functioning of the organism.” I hope even those with little or no medical background are able to see how insane this nonsense is (it sounds a bit like this).

So what does Lodi suggest for treating cancer? Intravenous vitamin C – a favorite among cancer quacks, and more or less completely useless – and Insulin potentiation therapy (IPT), which must rank among the crazier and more insidious types of delusional quackery out there. How IPT manages to count as “natural” is anyone’s guess – though, once again, “natural” is of course only a marketing ploy; it doesn’t really mean anything.

In short: Lodi’s suggestions won’t help cure cancer, but insofar as his patients also renounce conventional therapies that do, few of them will end up in any position to provide negative testimonials (Lodi’s got testimonials). He also recommends “massage therapy or acupuncture” to “…. assist with opening energy meridians and allowing the lymph to drain more freely reducing the toxic load on the body,” and “[f]ocusing on the power of prayer or meditation will help strengthen the spirit and mental well-being which will add another level to the success of a patient healing from cancer.” It won’t.

His main focus seems to be on cancer prevention. Lodi recommends: Living Foods, juicing, oral & IV supplements, chelation therapy, lymphatic drainage, structural integration, infrared sauna, EWOT and colon hydrotherapy. None of these will remotely protect you from cancer, but some of them, like chelation therapy, are actively harmful. Lodi’s evidence? Testimonials, of course. You really didn’t need to ask. He’s got not a shred of evidence. But lack of evidence has never stopped people like Lodi, who apparently travels around to promote his nonsense, as well; he appeared for instance at the 2013 “A Cure to Cancer Summit”, a New Age conspiracy quackfest if there ever was one – the kind of event where the organizers actually used the fact that it featured Robert O. Young in its marketing campaign; yes, that’s the kind of company Lodi keeps.

Diagnosis: We think it is important to emphasize that Thomas Lodi is not only a crackpot offering to treat you for serious illnesses his alternative recommendations won’t treat; he is also (for that reason) a really, truly shitty person. Apparently he is also one of the more influential characters in “natural cancer cure” schemes. Stay well away.