Tuesday, February 27, 2018

#1971: Sue McIntosh

Medical Voices is a pseudoscience & conspiracy webpage with a particular focus on promoting anti-vaccine material. It is not a good place for information, but notable for soliciting material from some of the most widely recognized quacks and crackpots on the Internet, such as Joe Mercola and Suzanne Humphries, and for really trying to make their posts look like serious studies, which they are not by any measure of imagination.

Sue McIntosh is an MD, but not one to trust for advice remotely medical (nor probably anything else). McIntosh is a rabid conspiracy theorist and anti-vaccine activist, roughly on the lizard-people-are-eating-Arkansas trajectory, and as such a good match for Medical Voices. Her views are nicely laid out in her article “Stop All Vaccines!”, in which she complains that children are being protected from more and more dangerous diseases by vaccines she labels “toxic”, and laments how delusional conspiracy theories about vaccines are not taken seriously and are even ridiculed just because they are ridiculous. Ridiculing ridiculous conspiracy theories can, as McIntosh sees it, only be a result of – wait for it – corruption and conspiracy. Therefore, McIntosh concludes, doctors and scientists are motivated only by profit, to create illness rather than health … and the purpose, apparently, is population control (for which getting rid of vaccines altogether would of course be a far more effective means – perhaps we ought to speculate about McIntosh’s own motivations for trying to get people to stop getting them?).

Diagnosis: The word “toxic” is sort of a dog whistle – it clearly displays to informed readers that the author using it has no clue about basic chemistry and is the victim of a severe case of Dunning-Kruger. McIntosh is a moron and – despite her formal qualifications – obviously completely unfit to offer health advice.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

#1970: Charles H. McGowen

A brief glance at the signatories to the Discovery Institute’s silly petition “A Scientific Dissent from Darwinism” yields preciously few actual scientists – and even fewer people with actual expertise in any relevant area – but plenty of people like Charles H. McGowen. McGowen is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine, but we have found no actual research to his name. Instead, McGowen is the author of creationist books like In Six Days (1976), described as a “treatise on the creation/evolution controversy”, and its sequel In Six Days: A Case For Intelligent Design (2002), which is marketed as (yet another) “great teaching tool”; i.e. it is a book intended to hoodwink audiences, in particular children, with no background knowledge in the field. McGowen himself seems to have done no actual research on evolution or design, but then the Intelligent Design movement was never about science or research anyways, but about public relations.

McGowen apparently Rejects theistic evolution in part because it “requires a refutation of the absolute, inspired, inerrant truth of God’s Word,” which shows that his dissent from “Darwinism” is at least not a scientific dissent. McGowen is also Contributing Editor for the Reformation & Revival Journal.

Diagnosis: At least there seems to be little remotely scientific about McGowen’s forays into biology or his dissent from science. Just another fundie loon, in other words. There are plenty of those. At least he serves as a good example of the kind of people who signed the Discovery Institute’s petition.

Friday, February 23, 2018

#1969: Daniel McGivern

Expeditions to find Noah’s Ark are a dime a dozen, and they tend to end with delusional religious fanatics proudly proclaiming that they have found it, since if you’re delusional enough to engage on a project like this to begin with (other than for the laughs), you are usually not the kind of person who has the faintest trace of a clue about how to assess any evidence you may come across. Ron Wyatt found it; Bob Cornuke found it in 2006; a Chinese team found it in 2010 (though that was probably a hoax rather than a matter of delusion); and in 2011 a team of “scientists” led by Daniel McGivern discovered two large sections of Noah’s ark resting just below the surface atop Mount Ararat in Turkey – it was Pat Roberston’s Christian Broadcasting Network that used the term “scientists”, by the way. Apparently the team used military satellite imagery and ground penetrating radar technology to locate the ruins, which they promptly believed were wooden. “The evidence is overwhelming,” McGivern added. “This is the large piece from Noah’s ark.” Methinks McGivern has a poor grasp of the meaning of the word “overwhelming”. Other people who saw the satellite images maintained that the structure in question looked suspiciously like rocks.

The discovery would apparently have been “the greatest event since the resurrection of Christ,” though McGivern curiously seemed to have had no plans to actually excavate it. He did plan an expedition, however, led by a local guy who have apparently been involved in Noah’s Ark hoaxes before, but apparently that expedition came to nought. Even the WND appears to have been skeptical.

Diagnosis: Ok, so we’re not entirely sure McGivern is actually a loon. But anyone who listens to him certainly is, and apparently some people did.