Monday, April 29, 2019

#2181: Sam Rohrer

Sam Rohrer is the president of the Pennsylvania Pastors’ Network, a branch of Let Freedom Ring, Inc., and former member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives (128th District, 1993–2010). Rohrer is an alumnus of Bob Jones University, South Carolina’s attempt to out-madrassa the Taliban, and it shows. Indeed, Rohrer was awarded the 2013 “Alumnus of the Year” at the annual Bob Jones University Bible Conference, which he probably richly deserved. 

Rohrer is the kind of person who tries to argue that a literal reading of the Bible reveals that gun rights come directly from God, and that Jesus’ teachings on non-violence should not be taken literally; it’s apparently the only part of the Bible that shouldn’t. Meanwhile, gun control is part of an Agenda 21 depopulation plot that the government – at least Obama’s government – tried to set in motion. Indeed, Rohrer is heavily into Agenda 21 conspiracies, and thinks that the nonbinding framework for sustainable development “is a control of our property, it’s a control of our legal system to the local level” (the hows matter less than the grand, paranoid narrative, apparently). 

It is also a sin for the government to be compassionate, says Sam Rohrer.

Politically, Rohrer is a full-blown theocrat who claims that “God’s law must always reign supreme” over man’s law. “No court has the authority to overturn what God says and what God defines to be a matter of marriage in this case, so that’s the clearest example where man’s law counters what God has said is what something ought to be.” Purely for political reasons, he also claims to love the Constitution, of course. To back up his claims, Rohrer asserts that if you don’t do as Rohrer thinks God says (i.e. that Rohrer says) that you should do, then the nation will fall under God’s judgment, in which case  “you go nowhere but down.Accordingly “politicians and everyone who serves in any capacity in any level of civil government is automatically also a minister of God,” and should recognize this obligation. Apparently it’s all about liberty. People like the sound of “freedom”, “liberty” and “the Constitution”, but Rohrer’s fans don’t seem to have the faintest idea what those words could possibly mean (which is why Rohrer ends up, in all earnestness, saying things like “if you put somebody in office who is an enemy of freedom, who is a practicing Muslim, as an example, or a Communist, as an example, an atheist, they will act on what they think is right, but it’s not going to be what agrees with biblical correction.”) Rohrer is apparently a fan of David Barton, whom Rohrer explicitly thinks is a pillar of honesty, which to him then means that the extensively documented dishonesty in Barton’s works can easily be dismissed as a malicious conspiracy.

Threats to his vision I: Immigrants
There are ample threats to Rohrer’s vision for America, though. Islam, for instance. Rohrer was quite shocked by the 2018 elections, when two “devout Muslim women who hold to a view of God and law and morality that is completely opposite to our Constitution” were elected. The lack of self-awareness is pretty intense, even by fundie theocrat standards. At least his stance on immigration follows the same lines of lack of reasoning; as Rohrer sees it, America has “changed the historic biblical rules” (?) regarding immigration, and “this is a reason why God must discipline our country.” As a consequence, we have now “millions of people” who “have no respect for our God, they serve primarily the god of Allah and they embrace Sharia law,” which permits them to engage in terrorism. Until the US endorses the letter and spirit of the First Amendment and realizes that it cannot tolerate “two competing Gods … we’re going to find ourselves in increasing trouble.” As a solution to the ills, Rohrer suggested that we should require immigrants to “accept the God of the Bible,” just like the Constitution prescribes. It is probably worth mentioning, in this context, that “progressive Christians” aren’t really Christians either.

Indeed, Muslim jihadists had by 2016 infiltrated the Obama administration at the highest levels, and (then-)CIA Director John Brennan is, as Rohrer sees it, a Muslim convert who is on the side of the terrorists.

When push comes to show, however, the main problem is immigrants in general, not really their religious convictions. The recent refugee caravan, for instance, is a “fight against God himself”. Rohrer’s reasoning is … weak, but it ends with concluding that those who favor immigration are on the side of the Antichrist. Of course it does.

Threats to his vision 2: The gays (of course)
Another threat is, of course, the gays. It was obvious to Rohrer gay marriage could not be legalized since judges should rule according to “moral law” established by God, and having, in fact, been legalized, it is threatening to “destroy the very fabric of our nation and, like everything else that is not working according to Rohrer’s convictions, will “invite God’s judgment on the nation” (mass shootings, for instance, are part of said judgment). Gay marriage will apparently lead to “tyranny” as well, for good measure, and the judges responsible for legalizing it are “activist judges” and “ideological idealists” that “may have been motivated by an intentional defiance of God.” The legalization of gay marriage also means that “the moral position leadership of our country has been forfeited,” says Rohrer; apparently the new moral leader of the world – here Rohrer agrees with many religious right leaders – is Russia.

He also lamented that gay rights activists don’t realize that they, too, have lost a “great, great freedom” with the legalization of same-sex marriage. His reasoning behind the conclusion isn’t really reasoning.

Threats to his vision 3: Women
And then there are women. Apparently having women in power is a sign of God’s judgment. When making the claim, Rohrer hastened to add that “the real condemnation is not the women in office, the condemnation is the disregard and the absolute inability for male leadership to perform as God intended it,” so that he wouldn’t come across as sexist.

Miscellaneous Trumpisms
Shocked by the “lack of respect” shown by some people toward President Trump, Rohrer promptly and predictably declared that opposition to Trump “creates the circumstances … out of which will come the Antichrist,” explaining (or whatever you prefer to call it) that the “enemies of Christ” (globalists, Islam and the cultural “establishment”) are “all working together” because “they hate God, they hate the Constitution, they despise Jesus Christ, they want to destroy Israel and the United States.” And those who don’t support Trump’s immigration policies are definitely on the side of the Antichrist.

After all, as Rohrer sees it, it was God who put Trump in office, no less. Rohrer didn’t explain how God did that (without committing voter fraud).

There is a decent Sam Rohrer resource here. Rohrer is not to fond of rightwingwatch, and has said that if civil war breaks out, it will be because of groups like Rightwingwatch and others who don’t think what he thinks they should think.

Diagnosis: As deranged, confused and fanatical as they come, and unfit for any audience. He’s got one, though, and must be considered moderately dangerous.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

#2180: Brian Rohrbough

This is really a tragic case, but we need to cover it. Brian Rohrbough is the former (2008) vice presidential candidate of America’s Independent Party, running on the ticket with Alan Keyes, and president of the splinter anti-abortion group American Right to Life. 

Rohrbough’s career as a fanatic wingnut started for real when his son was killed during the Columbine High School Massacre; Rohrbough – understandably enough – sought explanations, and settled, completely without foundation in reality, on the conclusion that America was plagued by a “culture of death”, specifically manifested through (or caused by) legalized abortion and the removal of religion from public school classrooms; specifically, Rohrbough blames school violence on the theory evolution: “This country is in a moral free-fall [it really isn’t, by any coherent standard]. For over two generations, the public school system has taught in a moral vacuum, expelling God from the school and from the government, replacing him with evolution, where the strong kill the weak, without moral consequences and life has no inherent value,” because as Rohrbough understands it (which is not) the theory of evolution is a value system. He did, of course, offer no evidence for a causal link or even a correlation between teaching evolution and moral deterioration, for rather obvious reasons.

Diagnosis: Yes, it is mostly a tragic case, and perhaps we should really call out the spineless journalists who give him opportunities to spread this nonsense on e.g. primetime national TV instead. But there is no way around the fact that Rohrbough is a deeply delusional loon either.

Friday, April 26, 2019

#2179: Wayne Rohde

Wayne Rohde is an antivaccine activist, and the founder of the antivaccine group the Vaccine Safety Council of Minnesota, occasional blogger for the antivaccine conspiracy website Age of Autism, and a rich source of trite, endlessly repeated and falsified (and repeated again) antivaccine tropes. Rohde is an attorney, and has, as far as we can tell, no background in science or research. He is nevertheless an active figure at antivaccine conferences and was in 2019 asked to serve on the new Minnesota state council on autism together with fellow antivaccine conspiracy theorist and health freedom advocate Patti Carroll; that state council was initiated by state senator Jim Abeler, a chiropractor and fellow anti-vaccine activist, who justified the appointment of Rohde and Carroll by invoking the balance fallacy. Rohde himself is an executive for the group Health Choice, which advocates that chronic health conditions in children are caused by “unhealthy choices” including “side effects of vaccine choices.” This is not true.

To people like Rohde, vaccines are to blame for most ills. Here, for instance, is (a discussion of) Rohde trying to connect Harold Ramis’s death to vaccines through desperately bizarre speculation. Then he refers to some garbage studies by Shaw and Tomljenovic, websites that say the opposite of what he says that they say, and vaccine court cases. (Indeed, Rohde has written a book about vaccine courts: The Vaccine Court: The Dark Truth of America’s Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, which seems to be mostly an instance of Badger’s Law). Of course, Rohde is mostly JAQing off. But it was the vaccines. Nothing in what he says has anything to do with facts, truth and evidence, but if you start with an idea, stick to it dogmatically, and don’t care about what is actually the case, you can connect almost anything to it with enough ingenuity.

Of course, Rohde denies being antivaccine; instead, he is – when it suits him – an advocate for health freedom. By claiming to be pro-freedom, he gets to call his opponents “fascists”, or “medical fascists”. He likes that. He also likes questioning the motivations of those who disagree with him.

Diagnosis: crackpot conspiracy theorist. He is quite vocal, however, and seems to have some influence in the antivaccine movement. Dangerous.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

#2178: Coleman Rogers

QAnon. We are not even going to begin to try to explain the details (see this) of this grand unified conspiracy theory, meme and wingnut delusion, but it did at least emerge from a series of incoherent posts on 4chan in 2017 by someone calling themselves QAnon or Q. Through conspiratorial bullshit, paranoia and deep state fearmongering, Q’s cryptic messages have led to the creation of a remarkable, complex structure of nonsense that still enjoys a (relatively small) group of thoroughly insane followers – or more precisely: the conspiracy works by Q leaving a couple of vague, nonsensical “crumbs” (“[m]any sound like they were written by Deepak Chopra channeling Alex Jones”) that commenters freely use to build whatever insane web of delusions they wish to build. Now, who exactly is behind the conspiracy theory (schema) is unclear, but a couple of promoters (in additional to an unknown number of Russian bots) have been identified, such as Coleman Rogers, known as Pamphlet Anon on his youtube videos and InfoWars appearance.

Rogers’s career took off after Reddit shut down the QAnon Reddit board in April 2018 due to “encouraging or inciting violence and posting personal and confidential information”. Rogers and his wife Christina Urso subsequently launched a plan to replace mainstream media (often a target of Q’s posts) with a continuously streaming YouTube network made up of self-described “researchers” putting together Q’s clues, called the Patriots’ Soapbox. The channel is more or less a continuous broadcast of a Discord chatroom with audio commentary from various volunteers and moderators, including calls for donations. It is, of course, utterly ludicrous; you can search it out yourself; we’re not providing any links.

Rogers has a background as zealous participant in an internet “meme war” where he would claim e.g. that liberals murder children and worship Satan, notions that are currently central to the QAnon mythology. Now, Rogers denies knowledge of who Q is, or that he himself might be Q. Suspicions that he has more insider information than he let on to abound, however. Meanwhile, other wingnut conspiracy theorists have accused him of being part of a deep state conspiracy. So it goes.

Diagnosis: It remains very much unclear whether Rogers believes any of the QAnon stuff or not (or whether he cares). He is nevertheless a serious loon, and one who has actually managed to gain some influence over mostly angry, older and less internet-savvy tinfoil hatters.

Hat-tip: Rationalwiki, NBC.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

#2177: Chuck Rogers

Chuck Rogers is an internet crank and the creator of the website Conservative Fact Check, more appropriately known as the Conservapedia of fact checking, a site “dedicated to providing a conservative alternative to enormously liberal-biased fact checking sites like,, and” I.e.: he doesn’t like the facts other fact checkers use, so he’ll construct his own. As “definitive proof” of Politifact’s bias, Rogers added up all the times Politifact had called a political claim a “pants on fire” lie and noted that conservatives were more likely to receive that designation than liberals: “To have any semblance of fairness, PolitiFact should play it 50/50 and present an equal number of lies from both sides. They clearly are not concerned with any pretense,” said Rogers, who didn’t actually dispute any of the “pants on fire”-designations. Moreover, “[t]hey also unfairly tarnish Michele Bachmann as a liar, when anybody who follows her already understands that many of her statements aren’t meant to be truthful in the first place – she simply says what she feels.” Or, put more succinctly, it is unfair to call Bachmann a liar since she doesn’t even try to speak the truth. At least it is clear that an important motivation for Rogers and his project is not knowing what factsare.

Rogers is also a birther: “I don’t doubt for a second that Obama’s birth certificate is a forgery — many other people, including Mr. Donald Trump, have said the same thing, so the evidence is overwhelming.” So he doesn’t know what evidenceis either. 

The site doesn’t seem to have made much by way of inroads, and it is hard to avoid suspecting parody (though there is quite a bit of evidence suggesting it isn’t). As for Tea Party activists spreading false voter fraud conspiracies: “We can’t blame the Tea Party for spreading these. As mentioned, many of them are politically and mathematically unsophisticated, but they make up for that with enthusiasm, and that’s what counts. By spreading these reports of voter fraud – whether true or false – they’re helping raise awareness of the voter fraud issue.” So, not only does Rogers not know what facts are; he doesn’t care either. 

Diagnosis: It’s hard to rule out parody, but there is quite a bit of evidence that Rogers is, in fact, completely and utterly delusional.

Friday, April 19, 2019

#2176: Samuel Rodriguez

One of the more powerful figures on the religious right, Samuel Rodriguez is a fundie pastor and founder and president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference (NHCLC/CONEL), the largest Hispanic Christian Evangelical/Pentecostal organization in the world. As such, he is also a frequent advisor of lawmakers, wields a substantial influence on policy making, and has been a featured speaker in the White House and at Congressional meetings. Currently he also serves on the board of directors for the National Association of Evangelicals, is chair of The Congress of Christian Leaders, and one of the leaders of the dominionist New Apostolic Reformation (NAR).

Though frequently portrayed as a political moderate – and despite his frequent self-comparisons with MLK (a cross between Billy Graham and Martin Luther King, Jr. “with a little salsa tossed in,” according to himself) – Rodriguez is solidly wingnut. For the 2016 election he effectively endorsed Trump, for instance, claiming that his very freedom to preach the gospel would otherwise be at risk. (He has also endorsed Jared Kushner, but that’s a different story). Now, Rodriguez does indeed disagree with many fellow wingnuts on the topic of immigration when it suits him (he is on record defending Trump’s wall, however), though his professed reason is that the immigration of evangelical Christian Latinos is part of the salvation and replenishment of Christian America, which is currently under threat of secular persecution – “there is an attempt to silence the voice of Christianity, there is an attempt to silence the voice of truth, of righteousness and Biblical justice,” says Rodriguez – and a bulwark against Islam. Rodriguez was also co-founder and former vice president of the NAR-led, South Carolina-based political project The Oak Initiative, a religio-political organization with a mandate to save America from an imaginary Marxist/Leftist/Homosexual/Islamic enemy, and represented the Initiative on conference calls in preparation for Lou Engle’s rally The Call, Detroit, in 2011, the purpose of which was to help cleanse the city from the demon of Islam by engaging in “spiritual warfare” (Rodriguez resigned from the organization when media started to pay attention). As part of his “nonpartisan” outreach efforts, Rodriguez has participated in numerous religious right rallies, including the 2012 prayer-and-fasting-to-beat-Obama rally “America for Jesus”, filmed an ad for GOPfaith, and appeared for instance in a Champion the Vote’s “nonpartisan” mobilization DVD “One Nation Under God” with James Dobson, David Barton and Newt Gingrich. There is a good portrait of Rodriguez and his wingnuttery here. For anyone still in denial and who doubt Rodriguez’s wingnuttery, the NHCLC has a formal agreement to make Liberty Counsel their official legislative and policy arm, and Mat Staver is a board member of and chief legal counsel to the NHCLC. 

There is a good resource on Rodriguez’s involvement with the NAR here; Rodriguez has for instance asserted that Cindy Jacobs, who routinely claims that her prayers stop terror attacks, save the economy, prevent coups, heal medical conditions, cure insanity, and resurrect people, is “a legitimate prophet of God.”

Rodriguez is, of course, staunchly opposed to marriage equality and abortion, both of which he claims to be the work of demonic spirits: Jezebel, which pushes people into “sexual perversion”, and the spirit of Herod, which is responsible for abortion. He has also called marriage equality an assault on religious freedom because views he disagrees with threaten his religious freedom and are therefore unconstitutional. “This is not an issue of equality. This is an attempt to silence the church of Jesus Christ,” says Rodriguez, a claim  so dumb that it is quite superfluous to point out the laughable false dilemma on which it rests. (It is, of course, this kind of nonsense that for instance qualified him for participating on Rubio’s Religious Liberty advisory board.) “There’s a great probability that in our lifetime,” said Rodriguez, “that we may have to be imprisoned and suffer great persecution, prosecution, as a result of our commitment to biblical truth, to Jesus, to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. We are there, my friend,” because America is currently engaged in modern-day Baal worship. “That’s not hyperbole,” Rodriguez asserted, which is technically correct: it isn’t hyperbole; it’s pure delusional fantasy. His evidence is that “many Christians have had conversations” about this very topic, which is not evidence. Since he is deeply confused about the difference between disagreeing with him – or making policy decisions he doesn’t approve of – and violating his religious rights, it is little wonder that he feels persecuted or thinks that marriage equality will lead to anti-Christian discrimination and hate speech laws. It doesn’t make the idea less silly, however.

Rodriguez also promotes right-wing positions on economics and government regulation, and has for instance taken part in a “prayercast” to ask God to defeat the ACA, signing onto declarations that oppose progressive taxation and embraced rhetoric about people being “enslaved” by government and “uber-entitlements.” He has promoted the LIBRE Initiative, saying that it is anti-Christian and anti-American to “punish success”, and embraces a prosperity gospel view of wealth. 

Rodriguez is also the author of e.g. Be Light and Agenda of the Lamb, and executive producer for the 20th Century Fox motion picture The Impossible: The Miraculous Story of a Mother’s Faith and Her Child’s Resurrection.

There is a good Samuel Rodriguez resource here.

Diagnosis: Rightwing fundie extremist. He claims to be nonpartisan and moderate, since lies for Jesus apparently don’t count. Extremely dangerous.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

#2175: Charles A. Rodenberger

It’s somewhat interesting to go dumpster-diving in the Discovery Institute’s ridiculous anti-evolution petition A Scientific Dissent From Darwinism, and see what you dredge up. Charles A. Rodenberger appears to be fairly typical of the signatories – at least among those who seem to know what they actually signed their name to (many apparently didn’t). Rodenberger (apparently the husband of author Lou Halsell Rodenberger) does have a Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering, University of Texas, Austin, which of course is completely unrelated to evolution and should therefore not give him any authority when speaking about matters related to biology, and was for a while professor at Texas A&M University. Currently Rodenberger is retired, but continues to teach Sunday school and write for Livestock Weekly as a “creation scientist”. Rodenberger has said that he is “convinced that Evolution is a nonscientific teaching based on faith because the laws of physics and chemistry prove that evolution of living molecules from the random interaction of hydrogen atoms is statistically impossible,” which, of course, is both false and entirely irrelevant to the theory of evolution. (He is not entirely specific about what “laws” he is referring to, but it is not unreasonably to suspect it would be the laws of thermodynamics, which would be indicative of a breathtaking lack of understanding of physics, evolution or both.) At least he has implored the United Methodist Church to teach the “evolution/creation controversy” in church. Churches are of course great venues for settling scientific debates. This was never about scientific debates, of course.

Diagnosis: A fairly typical representative of the signatories to the Discovery Institute’s list: has a real degree, but is perfectly willing to reject any piece of science when it doesn’t fit what he wants to believe. Well into his 90s, Rodenberger is probably not a major threat to civilization, but as a typical representative of a way of thinking that certainly is, we nevertheless think it is worth giving him an entry.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

#2174: John Rocker

John Rocker is a former MLB pitcher and columnist for the WND. His main qualification seems to have been once saying that he hated New York because if you rode the NY subway you might have to sit next to a “queer with AIDS,” and because of the foreigners: “The biggest thing I don’t like about New York are the foreigners. I’m not a very big fan of foreigners. You can walk an entire block in Times Square and not hear anybody speaking English. Asians and Koreans and Vietnamese and Indians and Russians and Spanish people and everything up there. How the hell did they get into this country?” (Rocker’s rant manages to go downward from there.) Now, Rocker did get criticized for those remarks, however, and therefore concluded – entirely predictably – that criticizing him is a violation of his right to free speech. Here is Rocker ranting about a diversity seminar put on by the USDA where the speaker, to Rocker’s horror, claims that “ ‘America was founded by outsiders, who are today’s insiders, who get very nervous about today’s outsiders.’ He claimed the pilgrims were ‘illegal aliens’ and spends the next few minutes promoting amnesty. The indoctrination [is] paid for by you the taxpayer.” Rocker blames the communists: Seminars that promote diversity and anti-rasism and suggesting that America was founded by people of immigrant descent are “[r]eminiscent of the re-education centers of Maoist China or Soviet Russia.” Indeed, “The United States government is apparently readying itself for a massive war against Middle America,” says Rocker, citing InfoWars.

As a columnist, Rocker has at least realized that you ought to appear smart and well-read, and one hallmark of Rocker’s columns is therefore extensive use of words and references to events he apparently doesn’t quite understand. “The mid-’60s Democratic Congress along with Lyndon Johnson orchestrated the once ‘taboo’ New Deal, which was destine to eradicate poverty forever!,” says Rocker, in a column where he tries to argue that “[w]e haven’t quite reached the level of expectable in the American mentality as it relates to the deterioration of individual responsibility and its replacement by the proverbial government crutch, but rest assured that day is just around the corner.Here is Rocker giving financial advice. (It’s pretty funny.)

Diagnosis: It is hard to avoid concluding that Rocker is genuinely dense, and the WND should be ashamed of themselves for being so irresponsible as to give him his own column.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

#2173: Derrick Robinson & the FFCHS

Derrick Robinson is the president of Freedom from Covert Harassment and Surveillance (FFCHS). I suggest reading the name of that group again. Yes, the FFCHS is committed to fighting the use of (in particular) electromagnetic frequency (EMF) weapons (a weapons-grade version of this) ostensibly deployed by the powers that be to harass and monitor citizens, even driving them to acts of madness. Aaron Alexis, perpetrator of the Washington Navy Yard shooting, had for instance contacted the FFCHS before going on his killing spree to seek relief from what he believed was an attack by electromagnetic frequency. The FFCHS is not the appropriate place to turn to if you think this is happening to you. 

Like many others, Robinson, a Cincinnati-based janitor, is convinced that nefarious groups of people are following and controlling him, presumably as part of a test of neurological or other weapons, and he claims to have been tortured and abused by gang stalkers and “neurological weaponry” since leaving the Navy in 1982. “People will say you are delusional,” Robinson admits, but he insists that he isn’t. There are, in fact, quite a number of people with similar stories, and’s stated mission is accordingly to seek justice for those singled out by “organized stalking and electromagnetic torture.” Apparently they have also arranged conferences and contacted government representatives who have sometimes pretended to take their complaints seriously. The group’s website is here. Here is their page on how to protect yourself from attacks. It is a very fascinating page, though it seems to have been partially hijacked by quacks peddling supplements and woo to a receptive audience. One of their tips is to use orgone, which in very many ways is probably the appropriate response to the threat. The suggestion that you get a concealed weapons permit is a bit more worrisome. (“The stalkers know I have a gun and know I am a crack shot, because they followed me to the shooting range and watched when I applied for my license” – user Dona.)

Apparently Robinson is also Executive Director at People Against Covert Torture and Surveillance, International. We are not entirely sure how this organization is related to the FFCHS. He has also been interviewed on Coast to Coast AM, of course.

Diagnosis: Let’s just be tactful and leave this section blank, shall we?

Friday, April 12, 2019

#2172: Scott Alan Roberts

Ancient aliens did not visit Earth to guide human evolution and lay the foundation for modern civilizations, but Scotty Roberts is one of those who think they did. It is all explained in his book The Rise and Fall of the Nephilim: The Untold Story of Fallen Angels, Giants on the Earth, and Their Extraterrestrial Origins, which is precisely as scholarly and intellectually compelling and rigorous as the title promises. Roberts’s guiding premise is a couple of passages in the Bible and the books of Enoch about Nephilim, giants and angels, which he interprets through an impressively delusional mass of associations and pseudoscience – including numerology – to arrive at the conclusion he had already decided was true, namely (it seems) that angels, which Roberts concludes must be aliens from outser space, begat the Nephilim. The Nephilim then mated with humans to produce a special bloodline of magic beings, and the Great Flood happened to destroy these “demonic hybrids” and remove all traces of alien DNA from the human gene pool. But then, Roberts actually seems to admit that what he is doing is not science or fact but theory and philosophy (he is not actually doing theory or philosophy either), therefore he can apparently also dismiss objections based on fact or science without engaging with them. His educational background apparently consists of a ride on the Bible college circuit.

Numerology? Oh yes: “In the occult science of Numerology, the number 33 represents the ultimate attainment of consciousness. Keeping that in mind, it is very interesting to note that the geographic location of Mount Hermon, the very place where the Watchers are said to have descended to the earthly plane, lies on the 33rd parallel, which is a latitude of 33° north of the equator. If you trace the 33rd parallel to the exact geographic global opposite from Mount Hermon, you will find yourself directly on top of the most controversially mythic place in current ufological history: Roswell, New Mexico. Mount Hermon, where the Watchers descended to the earth, and Roswell, New Mexico, are exact polar opposites on the same 33rd degree north latitude. The global coordinates of Mount Hermon and the Roswell crash site are no accident, and speak to some deeper, perhaps secret significance.” Of course, Roswell and Mount Herman are not even remotely global (or “polar”) opposites, but that observation would presumably be precisely the kind of fact in which Roberts is not interested. 

Apparently Roberts is not just any kind of whacko with a website, however – he actually seems to enjoy a bit of status on the ancient aliens conspiracy theory scene and has for instance arranged conferences (such as The Paradigm Symposium: Re-visioning our place in the universe; yeah “paradigm”– few things scream “crackpot” like (mis)use of the word “paradigm”) with luminaries like Erich von Däniken, George Noory, and Giorgio A. Tsoukalos. Roberts is also the founder and publisher of Intrepid Magazineand editor-in-chief of SyFy’s Ghost Hunters official publication, TAPS ParaMagazine. His other books include The Secret History of the Reptilians and The Exodus Reality.

Diagnosis: Completely unfettered by the constraints that control the intellectual capacities of the narrow-minded, such as reason, accountability or fact. Probably relatively harmless, but it isa bit disconcerting to note how popular this kind of nonsense actually is.

Hat-tip: Pharyngula

Thursday, April 11, 2019

#2171: Keith Roberts

A.k.a. GodsWordIsLaw

Keith Roberts is a raging, maniacal, religiously fanatic bigot known by the handle @GodsWordIsLaw (and, it seems, @GodsLandGodsLaw), though his Twitter account seems to be suspended at present. He was also the founder of the organization Christians for a Moral America and, for a few months in 2012/2013, generally known as perhaps the most homophobic and hateful lunatic on Twitter, especially in the wake of getting into a spat with Ricky Gervais after writing “Thank God for Christopher Hitchens’ death” the day after Hitchens died and subsequently telling Gervais that “Atheism is poison, may God have mercy on your soul before he dropkicks you into HELL” (no, he doesn’t seem to understand the concept of mercy; it’s not the only concept he doesn’t grasp). And when George Michael had to cancel some concerts due to pneumonia, Roberts claimed that “[a]pparently George Michael has AIDS. Figures since he’s a homosexual and it goes with the territory. Another sodomite bites the dust?” and encouraged his supporters to “[p]ray for George Michael’s demise. He has chosen a satanic lifestyle and must meet an appropriate end”. In general, Roberts has expressed concerns with a political environment that is supportive of gay rights: “We have an OBLIGATION to the general public to make sure homosexuality is recriminalized. Sodomy is destroying the health care system.” He would also engage with critics, offering nuggets of insight like “What a whiny old queer you are. You’ll be six feet under soon (AIDS) so hopefully we wont have to put up with it much longer.”

Here is Roberts arguing that atheists die sooner than Christians.

Diagnosis: A minor character, but a pretty deranged one. He’s been quiet for a while, so maybe he has come to his senses? We’ll include him nonetheless.

Monday, April 8, 2019

#2170: David Roberts

David Roberts is an Ohio-based new age crackpot and woo merchant. His impressive repertoire of pseudoscience and nonsense can be viewed on his website The Game of Time. According to the website Roberts is also a Pleiadian starseed upon whom is bestowed the task of sharing the infinite wisdom of the stars with us mere mortals. We’ve had the opportunity to encounter a number of Pleiadian starseeds before.

Roberts’s website is sometimes a bit challenging to make sense of, but there are at least plenty of New Age ramblings, weird color schemes and 1990s-style clip art (rainbows shooting out of things is a recurring theme). Topics include: the law of attraction, pseudopsychology, subtle energies, quantum woo, pseudoexistentialism, time travel, parallel dimensions, and a variety of impressively misunderstood concepts and ideas from something resembling science, complete with stream-of-consciousness associations and equivocations (“remember that another way say Light is Energy, and another is Matter,” says Roberts, channeling Humpty-Dumpty). Apparently everything is ultimately magic; light is magic, energy is magic, leverage force and gravity are magic (“[o]f its many magical qualities, none are as impressive as the infinite reach of gravity”), magnetism is magic (“[a]nother form of invisible attractive force we don’t understand is magnetism” – yes, f***ing magnets, how do they work; and “[m]agnetism is also related to another form of magic – electricity”), sound is magic (“[s]ound turns out to be a gravitational phenomenon, so by these definitions is already a form of magic” – dare anyone suggest that there might be something off with Roberts’s definitions, then?), as is fire, chemistry, desire, thought, choice, reinterpretation, cooperation, genius, visualization, subconsciousness, fear, love, deception and – not the least – money (“a form of stored magic”). 

There are also miracles. “To anyone who is grounded in science and logic like myself, the idea of a miracle can discredit one’s theories,” Roberts admits, but … well, we’ll let him explain it himself: “We find ourselves here in the third dimension, with corresponding rules. Another way to say fourth dimension would be our subconscious world [pretty sure those two expressions are not semantically equivalent]. Yet another would be the universe itself [ditto], thus it seems that our three-dimensional experience extends into the fourth dimension. The fourth dimension is also the realm of possibility. Beyond that lies the fifth dimension and what we might call the beginning of the “spirit world”, where it seems the rules change and new possibilities open up. Beyond the spirit world, rules change once again and eventually, in the tenth dimension, impossible things become possible.” It’s admittedly more of a “claim” than an “explanation”. Here is Roberts’s time theory. Which is more of an incoherent stream of associations than a theory.

If you have money to offload, you can purchase Roberts’s Pleiadian Healing Tarot Cards, which are produced with clip art and allow up to seven people to share their energy – they don’t divine the future, but will rather heal the soul and open your mind up to the different dimensions of existence in the multiverse. Falsify that, you science worshippers! You can also order his pdf books Heal Yourself in Time and 12 Dimensions of Consciousness and Beyond.

Diagnosis: Mostly harmless. But according to his website, he has “worked on this project for eighteen years,” which is profoundly sad. 

Hat-tip: Rationalwiki. Roberts is apparently not happy with his rationalwiki entry; his response is here.

Saturday, April 6, 2019

#2169: John Robbins

John Robbins is a New Age and alternative health author, environmentalist & animal rights activist, nutritionist (the quack kind) and fringe anti-GMO conspiracy theorist. Robbins was originally heir to the Baskin-Robbins icecream empire, but decided to make a career as a woo guru instead. He has subsequently published several books promoting vegan diets and cancer quackery, characterized by little concern for factual accuracy but great affinity for conspiracy theories; they include Diet for a New America (successful enough to make it onto this list of non-recommended health books; some of the inaccuracies and straightforward lies of the TV version of the book are discussed here), Healthy at 100: The Scientifically Proven Secrets of the World’s Healthiest and Longest-Lived Peoples (the phrase “scientifically proven” at least shows rather nicely that the claims have little to do with science or scientific evidence), Reclaiming Our Health: Exploding the Medical Myth and Embracing the Source of True Healing (oh, yeah) and Voices of the Food Revolution: You Can Heal Your Body and Your World with Food! (hint: you cannot; food is not medicine). Robbins is known to write compellingly and convincingly, which is actually not that hard if you can use whatever falsehood and inaccuracy you could think of as premises for your conclusions (your readers, being non-experts, wouldn’t be able to tell anyways). Robbins is also on the advisory board of Naked Food Magazineand the founder of EarthSave, which was created as a response to the success of his book Diet for a New America. Not the least, Robbins participated in the conspiracy flick Thrive, though has later admittedly distanced himself from the core nonsense of that movie. Currently, Robbins is promoting his bullshit (such as “empowerment packages”) together with his son Ocean Robbins.

Robbins is a relatively significant figure on the anti-GMO activist scene. In 2013, for instance, Robbins (John and Ocean) organized, together with fringe lunatic and former yogic flying instructor Jeffery Smith (this guy), a “GMO Mini-Summit”, featuring an impressive line-up of GMO-related conspiracy theorists such as Thierry Vrain and Consumer Reports’s Michael Hansen, and an equally impressive range of PRATTs, denialist talking points and references to the spectacularly debunked and retracted Seralini study.

John and Ocean Robbins are currently running the “The Food Revolution Network,” a chemophobia-promoting, veganism-hyping organization well-known for its commitment to delusional pseudoscience, such as the 11-part video series “The Quest for Cures … Continues” (available at the thetruthaboutcancer website, a conspiracy page nicely illustrating Badger’s law), featuring Ty Bollinger as well as Ocean Robbins. The series is reviewed here, and there’s another good review here. “If you ignore the information I have to share with you, you are leaving yourself open to getting one of the diseases we all dread,” warns Ocean Robbins in a promotional video. “Alternative facts” does not even begin to describe the character and amount of misinformation that follows. Apparently the Robbinses at one point attempted to hoodwink Sanjay Gupta into service for one of their quack summits, but Gupta – otherwise no stranger to hype and shaky evidence foundations – wisely shied away from their rambling trainwreck of woo and conspiracy mongering.

Diagnosis: Another marketing-savvy quack, and a dangerous one: to those with little background in science or medicine, Robbins’s claims may perhaps come across as more reasonable-sounding than the wild-eyed, semi-coherent conspiracy theories of, say, Ty Bollinger or Mike Adams, but that’s a result of marketing savvy, not because any resemblance of a foundation in evidence, accountability or fact. 

Thursday, April 4, 2019

#2168: Joel Robbins

Joel Robbins is a (licensed) chiropractor and “naturopathic physician” who operates the Health & Wellness Clinic of Tulsa, Oklahoma (currently Robbins Natural Health, it seems). Robbins has a degree from the British West Indies Medical College, a diploma mill, and a bogus naturopathic “degree” from a diploma mill called the Anglo-American Institute of Drugless Therapy, credentials that are worth paying attention to when assessing both the reliability of his practice and his general character. He nevertheless seems to enjoy a reputation as something resembling an authority in certain woo circles; Judy Seeger proudly mentions studies with him, for instance, and he made it onto this list. According to himself, “Dr. Robbins views traditional medicine as being useful for crisis care – saving a life –but it does little to address the cause of health problems,” a common and ridiculously false trope among altmed hucksters and crackpots that often reflects these people’s crackpot idea of some underlying, magical cause of all disease that scientists don’t recognize, most commonly: “Nutrient deficiencies and toxicity," which Dr. Robbins believes "are the basic contributors to disease.” This is, of course, nonsense.

Robbins is perhaps most famous for being one of the most ardent promoters of live blood cell analysis, which can hardly be described as anything but a scam: based on a picture of the patient’s blood cell, the practitioner will prescribe various treatments and dietary supplements (usually conveniently matching the practitioner’s own store). As a diagnostic procedure, live blood cell analysis has absolutely no scientific merit, and no foundation in evidence or facts. It has, however, been pushed by MLMs. Indeed, the multilevel marketing company Infinity, of Scottsdale, Arizona, which pushes the scam together with “enzyme pills” that can help with the enzyme deficiency their salespeople discover by using the tests (they falsely claim that that “enzyme deficiency” is widespread among American people), lists Robbins as a member of its Professional Advisory Council. Even grand woomeister Andrew Weil dismisses such tests as “completely bogus”.

In addition to bogus nutritional advice, Robbins’s clinic offers and recommends juicing, enzyme therapy and detox programs, as well as vitamin injections (a scam), IV therapy (another scam) to “promote removal of toxins, including heavy metals and chemical, [l]iver cleanse, [i]mmune System boost [and n]utrition replenishment”, and oxygen therapy (yep, a scam, that one too). And rest assured: Robbins’s brand of chiropractic is of the most deranged pseudoscience kind conceivable, based on the idea that “[c]hiropractic care is the art and science of assisting the body in returning to a state of health by increasing the communication between the brain and the body”; according to Robbins’s institute the brain’s “ability to communicate that message to the body for healing is sometimes hindered due to nerve and blood vessel impingement,” which Robbins can fix “by mechanical realignment of bones of the body as needed.” Needless to say, none of this is even coherent from a reality-based point of view.

And if you don’t know what’s wrong with you – or whether anything is – don’t worry: Robbins and his institute have a battery of tests in addition to live blood cell analysis, from “neurotransmitter testing” to “bio-meridian screening”. They will definitely find something, and luckily have a cure to sell you for whatever is found as well.

Diagnosis: He seems to have quietly scrubbed his website of references to his diploma mill diplomas, but the information remains as trustworthy as ever. Crackpot and bullshit promoter.

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

#2167: Rita Roark & Sara Ebarb

Rita Roark used to be a science teacher at Negreet High School in Negreet, Louisiana, a position she used as a platform to teach kids that the Bible is “100 percent true, promote young Earth creationism and tell her students that evolution was an “impossible” and “stupid theory made up by stupid people who don’t want to believe in God” – “if evolution was real, it would still be happening,” Roark allegedly said: “Apes would be turning into humans today” (a variant of this, only dumber.) Nope, not a hint of understanding of evolution or science (or the Constitution). Roark would also for instance feature Christianity-related questions on her science tests. 

Her practices were, though apparently typical of the area and the school, of course unconstitutional, and Roark achieved some fame when her practices were brought to light in Lane v. Sabine Parish School Board, a case filed by the ACLU on behalf of the parents of a Buddhist student. When the student, C.C., failed to fill in the expected answers on Roark’s Christianity-related “science” questions, Roark would belittle him in front of the class, and even calling Buddhism “stupid”. When C.C.’s parents objected to the practice, the Sabine Parish superintendent Sara Ebarb told them “this is the Bible Belt”, and suggested that the family either convert to Christianity or move to another school. 

Diagnosis: Dangerous fundie who, like fundies often do, hate the Constitution and should have no business being let even near a science classroom (other than as a strikingly obtuse student). But she is pretty zealous about winning souls for Jesus, and in some Louisiana schools, that is apparently precisely what the goal of education should be.