Wednesday, October 30, 2019

#2259: Matt Singleton et al.

Matt Singleton is a Baptist minister in Louisville who also runs an Internet talk-radio program. A staunch supporter of the nearby Ark Park, Singleton is a fierce critic of evolution, calling teachings on evolution a lie that have led to drug abuse, suicide and other social afflictions. His criticisms have, not the least, been directed at Kentucky’s academic standards for public schools, which, as they should, include evolution: “Outsiders are telling public school families that we must follow the rich man’s elitist religion [no less!] of evolution, that we no longer have what the Kentucky constitution says is the right to worship almighty God,” Singleton said. “Instead, this fascist method teaches that our children are the property of the state” – relatively silly though possibly effective rhetorical gambit showing that someone is completely out of touch with anything resembling reality, of course.

Singleton made the comments when the Kentucky science standards were up for review in 2013. He was not the only one. Parent Valerie O’Rear, for instance, said the standards promoted an “atheistic world view” and a political agenda that pushes government control. Dena Stewart-Gore, meanwhile, suggested that the standards would marginalize students with religious beliefs, leading to ridicule and physiological harm in the classroom, and create difficulties for students with learning disabilities: “The way socialism works is it takes anybody that doesn’t fit the mold and discards them,” she said, adding that “we are even talking genocide and murder here, folks.” This would be an unusual definition of “socialism” outside of America.

Diagnosis: No, there is probably nothing you can do. It’s hopeless. 

Monday, October 28, 2019

#2258: Stephen Sinatra

Though he is, indeed, a cardiologist, Stephen T. Sinatra is better known as one of the most prominent and comprehensively lunatic woo-meisters, or “integrative medicine” practitioners, working in the US at present. In addition to being a cardiologist, Sinatra is a “certified bioenergetic psychotherapist”; we can probably safely assume that the certification is worth about as much as the bioenergetic psychotherapy it certifies. He also the proud owner of certifications from the Massachusetts Society for Bioenergetic Analysis, the Certification Board for Nutrition Specialists and the American Board of Anti-Aging Medicine, a discipline that is emphatically not recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties or the American Medical Association. All the certifications mentioned are of the kind that conveys less credibility on any practitioner bothering to obtain them. Sinatra is furthermore the author of the monthly newsletter Heart, Health & Nutrition and founder of Heart MD Institute, and proprietor of the “Healing the Heart” workshop, the psychospiritual component of a “healing” program where patients would, among other things, request guidance from “spiritual powers”. Sinatra is frequently featured on questionable talkshows, broadcasts and media outlets, including the Dr. Oz show and Suzanne Somers’s dangerously crazy book of cancer woo.

Bioenergetic psychotherapy is crackpottery based on the lunatic ravings of Wilhelm Reich, and has nothing to do with bioenergy as it is understood in real sciences – even practitioners occasionally admit that it is not science but instead “informed by science.” (It is not informed by science in any legitimate sense of the word “informed”.) Bioenergetic psychotherapy is, however, a classic tooth-fairy science underpinned by “worthless studies designed to generate false positives – the kind of in-house studies that companies sometimes use so that they can claim their products are clinically proven.”

In his books and newsletter, Sinatra otherwise promote a broad palette of quackery, from nutritional supplements to detoxification. In particular, according to Sinatra, to maintain good health you need to resolve your emotional blockages” as well as physical ones: “whenever you confront a person with an illness, you have to involve everything, including the spiritual.… Every illness has a psychological and a physical component.” (Or put more succinctly: if you’re sick, or the advice you take from him doesn’t work, it’s your own fault.) His “metabolic cardiology” seems to be a kind of energy medicine – Sinatra is a disciple of James Oschman – focusing on the use of electroceuticals such as grounding or “earthing”, ostensibly to improve the body’s capacity to heal at the cellular level (Sinatra is one of the most prominent promoters of the quackery of earthing in the US). This is not how anything works, of course. 

And by the way, apparently the current epidemic of type 2 diabetes is also directly caused by rubber-soled shoes, which insulate us from Mother Earth’s vital 3.83 Hz vibrations, a frequency that “thins our blood so it’s like red wine, not ketchup.” You don’t want your blood to be like ketchup.

So what is the rationale for earthing? As Sinatra explains it, the Earth is a reservoir of free electrons, and without a connection to this reservoir, our cells are unable to balance harmful positive charges; he also includes pictures from live cell microscopy to illustrate how positive charge makes blood cells clump. Of course, our cells don’t need an infusion of electrons and live cell microscopy is a bogus test – Sinatra’s pictures are also unable to show a positive charge, and the blood cell clumping is an artifact that anyways would be irrelevant to the alleged health effects. 

Sinatra also claims that we are bombarded by electromagnetic radiation from modern technology, which may disrupt subtle electrical communications in our body; grounding reduces these induced voltages. In reality, of course, there is  no evidence that EMF disrupts communication in our body or that grounding would offer any help whatsoever if it did (subtle” is probably a key term here). Ultimately, however, it’s all about the New Age: earthing is important since our connection with the earth carries information that helps align us with the greater network of intelligence of our planet. Try finding scientific evidence to contradict that, ye philistines. And the point about aligning with an intelligence network is wild imagination not supported by anything in science or reality.

But, ah, yes, the part of Sinatra’s claim you were waiting for: vibrations. Perhaps the (current) core idea in Sinatra’s otherwise somewhat amorphous medical philosophy is vibrations. According to Sinatra, “the whole essence of life is really vibration … when people are sick, their vibration goes down,” but “if we can increase the energy of our cellular framework … our lives will thrive … Vibration is the key to life.” What it means, or how Sinatra measures decreasing vibrations, is of course unclear (we have, of course, left the world of real medicine – or reality – far behind at this point). But he is pretty clear about what causes lowering of your “vibrational energy:

-       Drugs/Alcohol/Sugar
-       Chronic illness
-       Negative emotions – hostility, fear, anger, shame, resentment, depression …
-       Over-vaccination in the newborn and infants [Sinatra is of course anti-vaccine; what did you expect?]
-       Living in the energy of entitlement
-       Living in a false self – My life is a lie
-       Any misrepresentation of … The Truth!

That last one is rather revealing, though: This is cult-speak. Stephen Sinatra is trying to build a cult. Otherwise, you should in particular avoid consuming veal, since the angry vibrations in the flesh of animals raised inhumanely can be passed on to those who consume them. Fortunately, you can also increase your vibrations by eating “high vibrational foods,” many of which you can coincidentally and conveniently find in his online store. “[G]rounding the body, FIR sauna and the utilization of very low frequency pulsed electromagnetic waves” also help “assist the quantum energy of the body.” According to Sinatra “[t]his is the new wisdom that will assist us in the good vibe/bad vibe technological age.” “Wisdom” is certainly not an apt term for any of it.

As for EFM, “the chaotic, unseen, and unfelt environmental electrical fields we humans are increasingly exposed to from all the electronics, appliances, and telecommunications in our lives,” what is Sinatra’s evidence for harm? Well, Sinatra will baldly assert that the evidence shows that power lines cause leukemia in children, which is false, and that cell phones cause brain cancers, which is equally untrue. Primarily, however, Sinatra will point out that “[i]llnesses like multiple sclerosis, autoimmune disorders, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, and autism have been proliferating in recent years. The incidence of cancer is up, particularly among young people,” so electropollution must be the cause. Correlation is causation, even when there is, in fact, no correlation.

Sinatra has promoted other kinds of pseudoscientific nonsense, too, of course. He is for instance co-author, with Jonny Bowden (proud holder of a “degree” from the diploma mill Clayton College of Natural Health), of the book The Great Cholesterol Myth: Why Lowering Your Cholesterol Won't Prevent Heart Disease-and the Statin-Free Plan That Will. Though less flagrantly nonsensical than his vibration woo, the book – which, to emphasize, hardly enjoys any better foundation in science than his claim that misrepresenting his claims may cause you ill-health by lowering your vibrations – is probably even more likely to cause actual harm to people than his vibration nonsense. (There is an overly fair review of the book here.)

Diagnosis: Egregious nonsense and lunatic New Age ravings, all of it. Of course, if you are able to distinguish evidence-based medical claims from lunatic New Age ravings, you are probably not in Sinatra’s target audience, and he does seem to have found one, for whom the fact that he is, indeed, an MD will probably give him some unwarranted credibility. And make no mistake: despite their laughable silliness, Sinatra’s advice has the potential to cause real and serious harm. Dangerous.

Friday, October 25, 2019

#2257: James Simpson

Accuracy in Media is a wingnut “media watchdog” run by Don Irvine. It was founded with the expressed purpose of combatting “liberal media bias” but actually – and predictably – ended up combatting accuracy instead, in favor of promoting wingnut conspiracy theories. It’s a perfect fit for wild-eyed conspiracy theorists like Jim Simpson, who for instance opposed the Obama administration’s comprehensive immigration reform plan because he believed it to be part of a Marxist push to destroy America and potentially make President Obama a dictator. He also accused the “illegal immigration lobby” of using the tactics of Nazis and Communists in promoting “ideas that are self-evidently destructive,” and asserted that there would be no room for compromise because reform proponents are Marxists and Marxists will only be “emboldened” by attempts to compromise: “When dealing with Marxists, the ‘moderates’ compromise away our rights, our livelihoods and our country to people and agendas that are inherently destructive to our society,” said Simpson and warned that immigration reform would mean the end of America, for instance because immigrants want to “destroy the culture” and ultimately “create a huge pool of voters” that they can use to institute “despotic governments.” “Accuracy” is not an apt term to describe any part of Simpson’s rant.

Immigrants destroying America – as part of some liberal plot to “dilute” America with not nice people – is of course a recurring theme in Simpson’s, uh, thinking. For instance, Mexican immigrants are often “child rapists” who are coming to the US because they will ostensibly get off easier in the justice system. Another common topic is of course voter fraud, something that Simpson is very concerned about, based on little evidence beyond what his paranoid imagination can dream up: In a 2014 rant, for instance, Simpson argued that  voter fraud is a massive, “existential threat to our American Republic,” but the only “proof” of voter fraud happening he managed to list was college students voting in the state where they attend school, which is legal (not counting his references to Kris Kobach’s infamously dishonest and silly voter roll “crosscheck” system, which was carefully designed to yield false positives that weren’t controlled for). Of course, in Simpson’s mind, campaigns to replace the electoral college with a national popular vote and efforts to restore felons’ right to vote also count as conscious efforts to increase voter fraud. So there is that. “Democrats’ attitude toward voter fraud is the voting version of reparations for slavery,” complained Simpson.

Simpson thinks boycotts of companies by people he disagrees with are “economic terrorism”; it’s different when his side engages in boycotts, of course, since his side only engages in boycotts when they “are attacked first”.

Diagnosis: Yes, he is a fairly typical specimen, but that doesn’t make the delusional, paranoid garbage that passes for thought in Simpson’s head any less garbage. And people do listen to him, it seems.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

#2256: Frank Simon

The American Family Association is a group of bigoted, unhinged fundamentalists. The national leaders are crazy enough, but the wild-eyed Talibanists you find in their various state chapters might occasionally be even crazier. Frank Simon is the director of the Kentucky chapter, and he believes that the 1962 Supreme Court decision prohibiting government-led prayer in schools led to “the AIDS epidemic and the drug culture” (as well as teen pregnancy and violent crime). Accordingly, legalizing government-led school prayer is “one of the best ways of returning God’s protection to America,” Simon thought, and promptly started a petition to change the Constitution.

No fan of gay people, Simon has a long history of anti-equality activism that borders on the, shall we say, unhinged, in particular through his group Freedom’s Heritage Forum, which in practice is just a de facto lobbying wing for his church. He has for instance promoted, in addition to pseudoresearch by Paul Cameron, Scott Lively’s The Pink Swastika, a piece of Holocaust revisionism that claims not only that gays weren’t systematically murdered by the Nazis, but were rather the architects of the Holocaust. And as Simon sees it, the evil continues: “There are hundreds of children in America who are dying of AIDS because they were sexually abused by homosexuals,” Simon said back in the early 2000s, based on data he found in the place where he usually finds data for his claims. There really are not, and it should be unnecessary to point that out. 

In his anti-gay campaigns, Simon is locally famous for using any means possible to win, and has a long history for instance of paying for anti-equality ads where he tries to link homosexuality to pedophilia. In 2004 he mailed what was more or less gay porn (graphic descriptions of sexual acts) to 65,000 households as part of his attempt to prevent renewal of the Kentucky Fairness Ordinance. The move seems to have backfired somewhat.

Diagnosis: Raging maniac. But Simon is resourceful and desperate enough to use any tricks at his disposal, and has been doing so for decades. So yes, he’s had an impact. It is less clear whether he is overall helping his cause or not.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

#2255: Matthew Silverstone

His book. B.M. Hegde
is a legendary promoter
of quantum woo whose
career seems mostly
devoted to claiming that
Ayurvedic medicine is
superior to science-based
medicine. It is perhaps
 indicative of something
that they managed to
spell his name wrong
on the book cover.
Matthew Silverstone is a self-styled “serial entrepreneur” and possible poe. Silverstone has apparently, through spending “two years researching amongst other things the property of water”, made “discoveries that prove very simply how acupuncture works.” And it “is nothing whatsoever to do with chemistry but it is all to do with the unique properties of water and vibrations.” Right. Vibrations. And properties of water that have nothing to do with chemistry (one is forgiven for suspecting that Silverstone doesn’t really know what chemistry is). 

And how come Silverstone made such an amazing discovery that had thus far eluded science? “Western science ignores things that it does not understand, and energy flow is one of those subjects.” Scientific progress is hardly characterized by ignoring things science doesn’t yet understand, but according to Silverstone “If you ask most scientists with a western trained background they will look at you blankly when talking about energy flow.” Well, scientists tend to understand thermodynamics, but Silverstone's ideas are of course not about energy but about shimmering, magical spirit-stuff, like the Force. Admittedly, we have no doubts that Silverstone is able to confront scientists in ways that leave them baffled. Despite his contempt for science, though, “I have managed to provide overwhelming evidence that acupuncture works on simple scientific principles; namely vibrations and the unique properties of water. It is through water that the energy is transferred throughout the body.” Wanna bet on whether his scientific explanation and “overwhelming evidence” involve more than vague handwaving?

Silverstone is, however, more famous for his book Blinded by Science, which advocates tree hugging. Which is fine. We are sympathetic to tree hugging. But not for the reasons Silverstone thinks tree hugging is a commendable practice. According to Silverstone, he has scientifically validated that hugging trees is good for you, and his research shows that you don’t even have to touch a tree to get better, you just need to be within its vicinity to obtain a beneficial effect. Of course, Silverstone does not have the faintest idea what “scientifically” could possibly mean – nor “validated” or “research” – but apparently his conclusion is based on public health reports concluding that children function better in green environments and that “access to nature can significantly contribute to our mental capital and wellbeing”. Silverstone doesn’t go for “access to nature” as the causally efficacious feature here. No, Silverstone’s project is “proving scientifically” that it is … the vibrational properties of trees and plants that give us the health benefits: “everything vibrates in a subtle manner, and different vibrations affect biological behaviours,” claims Silverstone. The exact mechanisms are left as nebulous as the evidence he purports to have, of course, but you need to have a pretty closed mind and be pretty Big Science brainwashed to think that exactitude, detail, evidence or accuracy has anything to do with anything. The whole thing is really pretty much a variant of some branch of Taoism, just peppered with random assertions that things are “scientifically proven”.

Diagnosis: Mostly spam. Dressed in the garb of New Age pseudoscience. But still spam.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

#2254: Alyssa Shull

Alyssa Shull is a graduate of Oral Roberts University, and the founder of The Pink Lid, a conference for teen girls “about self-worth, identity, value, and purity.” We hope, for the sake of self-worth, identity and value, that the conference fails to have an impact among its intended audience (we care less about purity, and so should you). Shull has also written for the Religious Right magazine Charisma, being none too pleased with Beyoncé’s 2013 performance at the Super Bowl and pinning the blame on Satan: “Beyoncé has this beautiful gift, that the enemy (Satan) has twisted to use for his kingdom” and that her performance is further evidence that ‘we need to be aware of the devil’s ploys so we can resist them!’,” claims Shull. She also suggested that a woman is responsible for not “displaying her body to people” in a manner that “causes men to stumble”; evidently radical Islamists are way ahead of the US on questions regarding moral responsibility. For good measure, she also buys into the Illuminati sign nonsense: Beyoncé “danced in a way that should only take place between a husband and wife (well minus the Illuminati signs and the worship ‘I want to feel your energy’ part).” But then, Oral Roberts University doesn’t exactly teach people critical thinking or how to navigate the world in a manner sensitive to truth, reason and evidence.

Diagnosis: Just don’t listen to her nonsense, and you’ll be fine. Unfortunately, too many people do seem to listen to her.

Monday, October 14, 2019

#2253: Sherry Shriner

Oh, heavens. 

The rabbit hole is a fascinating place, but the webs of lunacy are often woven according to logics so foreign to any rational mind, that unravelling the ideas going into them is tricky. For instance, the National Economic Security and Recovery Act (NESARA) was a set of proposed economic reforms suggested during the 1990s by one Harvey Francis Barnard, who printed 1000 copies of his proposal titled “Draining the Swamp: Monetary and Fiscal Policy Reform” (note that first part) and sent copies to members of Congress, believing it would pass quickly on its merits. It didn’t. Instead the ideas, unbeknownst to Barnard, took on life as a cult-like conspiracy theory promoted by Shaini Candace Goodwin, a.k.a. “Dove of Oneness”, a former student of The Ramtha School Of Enlightenment and “cybercult queen”, who claimed, contrary to all fact and reason, that the act was actually passed with additional provisions as the National Economic Security and Reformation Act, and then suppressed by the Bush administration and the Supreme Court, who orchestrated e.g. the 9/11 attacks and the Iraq War as distractions from NESARA. Goodwin has managed to recruit a number of drone-like followers, including real, physical groups of people at least in Utah and the Netherlands, who pass out fliers and organize weirdly incomprehensible public protests. Sheldan Nidle is one of the followers, and has added his own mix of UFOs and prophecies into the conspiracy. Another active promoter of NESARA is one Jennifer Lee has, who has produced reports on how various otherworldly and “interdimensional” beings are helping behind the scenes to get NESARA announced.

But these loons are not the topic for the present entry. And Sherry Shriner, who is, is not a NESARA cultist. Shriner, who apparently thinks of herself as an Internet evangelist (“Servant, Prophet, Ambassador, Daughter, and Messenger of the Most High God”), does indeed take NESARA seriously, but instead of joining the cult she sees NESARA as a conspiracy run by malevolent reptiloid aliens she feels have been controlling the U.S. Government for a long time. I suppose it is best to just quote a section from one of her many websites, nesarasucks (hyperlinks in the quote are removed and replaced by ours): “BEWARE Of The Deceiver Maitreya & Sananda Esu Immanuel!! See Maitreya’s involvement with the H1N1 Vaccine and RFID Bracelets ... Mass Chip Implantation and Murder See the Bible Codes at [hyperlinks removed]. He’s an evil, wicked, liar who wants to destroy mankind. Wake up People!!! The Lies of the 5th Dimension & The Coming Lies of Maitreya – Who is now being replaced by Sananda! Why? Because Maitreya was destroyed by our Orgone! Sananda has been stood up to replace him! NESARA is the economic and political program of the Antichrist. Known as the National Economic Security And Reformation Act it is better described as a 
National Evil Snake, Annunaki (and) Reptilian Association or simply,Neo-logical Excrement Spread Artfully Round America.” And so on. “Once these Reptiles and Lizards are in control they will ratify parts 2&3 of NESARA that nullify part 1 and begin their own agenda of cannibalism and murdering the inhabitants of America,” proclaims Shriner. Readers may imagine the color schemes and font variations in the original for themselves. 

Shriner, though, promotes lots of other stuff, too, including prophecies about crashing starships and upcoming locust invasions, angels, Planet X, FEMA concentration camps, the “New Age Alien Agenda”, Jesus – not the fake Jesus promoted by the church, but the real one – and “her ancient grandfather King David” (there are apparently zombies, too, involved in the conspiracy). There is, unsurprisingly, a lot of stuff on Zionism as well (“The Talmud and the New World Order”). Apparently, her side is winning, though: “Governments in Terror over Twin Sun’s Arrival – The Twin Sun has arrived into our atmosphere and the aliens and evil beings are in TERROR! They’re all in a panic folks because it signals their coming demise!!” You haven’t noticed that “The Second Sun – The Second Sun is Here”? Well, that is because “[t]hey are trying to hide it with volcanic ashes and extreme clouding.”

Of course, we cannot do the range and depth of Shriner’s ideas any justice here. But it isn’t all innocuous, silly nonsense. Shriner actually drew some media attention to herself in 2017, when a former follower of hers, Barbara Rogers, shot and killed her boyfriend after Shriner warned said boyfriend that Rogers was a “Vampire Witch Reptilian Super Soldier” who would do him harm. A recurring feature of Shriner’s teachings is that the evil forces that manifest in or take over humans can only be discovered through minute details in their appearances and interests, so her followers should be wary and careful around friends, colleagues and family members (we suspect that becoming a follower of Shriner will quickly limit the number of people in the first two categories). In the case of Rogers, it was apparently a picture of Rogers enjoying beef tartare that set off Shriner’s alarm clocks. The subsequent murder of course only confirmed Shriner’s suggestions: “When the demon manifested in her, if it was the demon or a lizard, if she had both, a human's no match for that kind of supernatural strength,” said Shriner, and she wondered whether Rogers was “triggered” to kill her boyfriend after watching a movie in the Resident Evil series with him; Shriner said that the movie is based on a female “super soldier,” whom she knows. Resident Evil is not based on someone Shriner knows.

Shriner’s website offers extensive information on Orgone blasters that will ostensibly kill zombies and evil beings, and keep away aliens and demons. We are sure that there will be few zombies and demons around after you deploy an orgone blaster. Shriner has raised more than $125,000 in a GoFundMe campaign to deploy the blasters.

Diagnosis: At least she is pushing at the limits of hysterical gibberish, but it is only harmless nonsense until someone gets hurt. She should have received the help she needs a long time ago.

Friday, October 11, 2019

#2252: David Shormann

David Shormann is a Texas-based young-earth creationist, president of the “Dive into Math” program, and homeschooling activist with a PhD in marine chemistry. Though a biblical literalist who “believe a biblical framework provides us with the most rational interpretation of the past,” Shormann is according to himself also “a natural history researcher”, and claims that science confirms a literal reading of Genesis. Shormann claims to like science. He doesn’t have the faintest clue what science is or how it works, of course. He doesn’t really like science. According to Shormann, “[t]reating Earth history as just that, history, I can find physical and written testimony that the Earth is only 6,000 years old. And just as most of us have no problem believing Jesus Christ was a real person who lived 2,000 years ago, we should have no problem believing there were about 4,000 years from the Beginning to Christ’s birth. Studying natural history can be an interesting, fun, and adventure-filled pursuit, but it is not real science, and shouldn’t be treated like it is.” Just like history isn’t a science (Shormann explicitly claims that history isn’t science, a standard, utterly delusional talking point pushed by Answers in Genesis; it’s easier for them to assert this as an assumption, since they can then go post-modern relativist and claim that their own preferred creationist narrative is just a “different interpretation”. The idea of testing hypotheses about the past through their predictions about current observables, entirely parallell to how one tests, say, laws of nature, has evidently not crossed his mind – empirical evidence: how the *** does it work?

Shormann’s name was brought to some attention in 2011, when he – despite because of his dislike of science and public schools – was appointed by Barbara Cargill to the science review panel that should evaluate instructional materials submitted for approval by the Texas Board of Education for use in Texas public schools. In that role, Shormann was given ample opportunity to display his belligerent incompetence. His view of biology textbooks is worth quoting at some length: “Also, in the 21st century, high school and college biology textbooks are becoming bloated monsters. Something has to go to make room for teaching 21st Century advances in biology, including epigenetics and bioinformatics. Many chapters have way too many pages devoted to speculative historical claims about origins, dogmatically asserting only one interpretation (evolutionism). A pro-science person would want to reduce or remove the history to make room for 21st Century science. An anti-science person would reject the 21st Century science in favor of page after page about origins. Ask the atheist which they would choose to include in an already oversized biology textbook, new science or history? If they would rather keep the history, then they are anti-science, which contradicts their claims of being pro-science.” 

As for Shormann’s argument that humans and dinosaurs coexisted? “The fossil record shows many things lived at the same time as extinct dinosaurs, including extant (meaning still alive) starfish and coelacanths. Apparently, the so-called freethoughts activists say we’re lying about the human-dino coexistence thing because we have yet to uncover a fossil of a human riding a dinosaur while holding a coelacanth that ate a starfish. Unless this fossil grouping is found, then atheists will claim the Bible is a book of lies and Christians who believe it are liars. Therefore, since freethoughts activists apparently never lie, and possess a perfect understanding of history, we can trust them over God’s word! And if we don’t buy into their belief that freethoughts activists are the source of historical truth instead of God, they will make laws to suppress our skepticism. Of course, I’m joking here, but are the atheists? Unfortunately, I don’t think so.” The fact that there are no species of Mesozoic starfish or coelacanths still extant is not the biggest problem with Shormann’s “reasoning” here. Note also the conflation between scientific biology and atheist activism, a recurring feature of Shormann’s, uh, thought. In 2013, he protested an event held at the Houston Museum of Natural History called “Answers In Science: What On Earth Do We Know?” that criticized creationism. That they criticized creationism means, Shormann declared, that the museum is engaging in bigotry: “Not only are they attacking Christianity, they are attacking one man in particular, Ken Ham. It is un-American to support such religious intolerance and false claims that Christians are ‘anti-science’.” The word “criticism” apparently doesn’t exist in Shormann’s vocabulary.

The screaming bald eagle cover and title of Shormann’s book The Exchange of Truth: Liberating the World from the Lie of Evolution nicely sums up his brand of jingoistic science denial.

Shormann is also a signatory to the Discovery Institute’s silly petition A Scientific Dissent From Darwinism – without having any expertise on evolution, of course; there is a correlation here.

Diagnosis: Flaming creationist and belligerent anti-scientist – not that he would be able to distinguish science from stream-of-consciousness rant if his life depended on it. But althoughhe is  a crazy fanatic, he is also Texas-based, and being a lunatic denialist is no obstacle to achieving the power to influence science and educational policy in Texas, quite the reverse, it seems. 

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

#2251: Theodore Shoebat

We suppose some readers may take a morbid interest in checking in on Theodore Shoebat on a regular basis with the question “who does Theodore Shoebat want to murder today?” (There is a list of people Shoebat wants murdered here.) Theodore Shoebat is the deranged spawn of fake ex-terrorist Walid Shoebat, and even more unhinged than his father. A self-proclaimed “Christian Militant”, Shoebat jr. regularly engages in incoherent screeds fuming with impotent, murderous bloodthirst, which are so over the top that even many other American Taliban figures want little or nothing to do with him. Shoebat is also a self-proclaimed proud fascist” and fan of Franco.

Non-Christians and religious freedom
Shoebat is explicitly opposed to freedom of religion: only “idiots” and “morons” support the freedom of religion, according to Shoebat. He has therefore called for establishing blasphemy laws, for atheist and other non-Christian books, including the Qur’an, to be burned, for blasphemers to be “burned at the stake” and for atheists to be subjected to an inquisition and then put to death (the aim of the inquisition thus being somewhat unclear). Laying out his theocratic vision for America, Shoebat explains that “[o]nce someone begins to teach and to exhibit the signs of a diabolical belief system or an explicitly anti-Christian sentiment, then that person is most definitely determined to be a threat to the body. Once that person is determined to be a threat, then he has to be coerced to either stop what he is doing, reject it, or once he has become so obstinate about it, then the last resort is death.” Expressing non-Christian viewpoints cannot be tolerated, according to Shoebat, “because as soon as you allow attacks on Christianity [non-Christian viewpoints = attacks on Christianity, of course] to be enabled and to thrive, then the Christian spirit begins to decay, it begins to decline and all sorts of moral evils take place like public acts of sodomy, public acts of desecration and degenerate behavior and murder. It just spirals and it goes on and on and pretty soon you have cannibalism, pretty soon you have bestiality and pedophilia.” Part of the problem is of course how fanatic non-believers are: “when you see how fanatic they are, how much they hate Christianity, how much they hate God, how much they hate the church, you really can’t tolerate people like that and those people need the death penalty.” No, we still remain pretty convinced that this is not a poe.

He is, however, especially opposed to Muslims. Of course, he agrees with the most deranged radical Islamists on most issues, in particular the treatment of homosexuals (he has called on God to bless Chechnya for killing gay people, for instance), but sees no problems harmonizing his hatred of Islam and his hatred of homosexual people: according to Shoebat, Islam in general, and ISIS in particular, are “homosexual cults”. He has therefore suggested that Muslims should be hunted down and killed just like we did to the Native Americans – yes, Shoebat also thinks that was the right thing to do with Native Americans: “Any Indian that expressed any sort of anti-American sentiment, [Andrew Jackson] killed them. He had no tolerance for evil and wicked people. He got rid of them and he purged the society of these pagan heathens and he did an American Inquisition and that’s what we need now … Homosexuality? Death penalty. Blasphemy? Should be punished. Pagans coming in to your land? Kill the pagans, defeat them, convert the to Christianity.” Apparently, Andrew Jackson was the epitome of American Values, as Shoebat sees it. MLK, meanwhile, was a “modernist antichrist and Christ-denier.

Still, Shoebat did praise ISIS for the Paris terror attacks, or, as he put it, for murdering “Satanists” in Paris. In his article “France Is a Godless Nation that Deserves to Be Attacked”, Shoebat argued that France has a long history of killing Christians and therefore needed to be punished, and that those who died while attending an Eagles of Death Metal concert were “worshippers of the devil” and got what they deserved. Similarly, he praised the Manchester terrorist attacks, declaring that he had no sympathy for the victims because they are all “sodomite-lovers” and “sluts.”

Shoebat has also called for the invasion of India, forced conversion of its “natives” to Christianity (“You need to Christianize the land. We need to destroy these false religions, end of story. Hinduism is an evil, demonic, anti-Christ religion. It needs to be uprooted from the earth and it has no place in the world”), and for SWAT teams to shut down yoga studios in the US: “I think the U.S. government needs to crack down on this evil, demonic thing called yoga … You’re teaching yoga, have the SWAT team bust open the doors to that place and just arrest everybody.” Oh, and “Judaism is Satanic as well, of course.

He mostly takes a dim view of other Christians, too. When he learned that the Christian chain Chick-fil-a distanced themselves from anti-gay marriage statements made by the chain’s owner and sponsored an LGBTQ film festival, he declared that all employees of Chick-fil-a should be “burned at the stake. Of course, such people are not, really Christians: As Shoebat sees it, Christians who don’t think every LGBTQ person should be killed are not Christian and should themselves also be executed. When radical anti-gay extremist Peter LaBarbera admitted that genocide might not be in line with mainstream Christian ideals, Shoebat called him a “filthy pig” and “demonoid”. Yes, even LaBarbera. The traitors are everywhere. Glenn Beck, for instance, is a practitioner of “Chrislam trying to lure his audience into Islamo-Mormonic deistic universalism, with the help of guys like James Robison, Franklin Graham, and David Barton. Michael Brown, on the other hand, is in a Satanic conspiracy with “sodomites” and “La Raza terrorists,” and anti-Islam activist Robert Spencer is “now supporting the Islamic jihad. Indeed, any version of Christianity except Catholicism is Satanic; after all, “Martin Luther gave birth to Nazi ideology, and Nazism is going to return again with Luther as its prophet. Catholic Christendom will rise again and destroy the demonic religion of Luther,” declares Shoebat.

Shoebat has also, in a moment of astounding lack of self-insight even for him, attacked Ayaan Hirsi Ali for suggesting that Christian Fundies can be just as bad as Muslim ones. 

A fierce critic of homosexuality, homosexuals and gay rights, Shoebat regularly expresses his opposition to what he calls “gay sharia” and “homo tyranny”. As Shoebat sees it, “[t]he homosexual movement is the most hateful and most vile group in all of the Western world. The sodomites are supremacists; they believe that they have the superior lifestyle, a disposition and constitution more superior than the ‘others,’ who they consider as inferior breeders. This is the ideology of sodomism. Sodomism is the ideology of homosexual superiority, in which the homosexuals desire to usher in – through propaganda, violence and state coercion – a utopia in which homosexuality is seen as a supreme ideal, and those who believe in the conjugal union as is affirmed and established by the Christian Faith, are viewed and treated as enemies.” Ultimately, according to Shoebat, the gays will slaughter all the Christians in concentration camps. Yeah, we have freed us from the chains that anchor us to reality a long time ago.

To deal with the gay question, Shoebat suggests not only burning the rainbow flag but adopting thoroughly medieval views on homosexuality, and he has (repeatedly) declared his support for an “inquisitionwith the goal of exterminating gay people. And it is urgent: gay people must be executed before they succeed in their effort “transform the Scouts into a Nazi-like gay youth club” that will be used to attack Christianity. And make no mistake (Shoebat will not hesitate to remind us): “there is only one solution to the homosexual agenda, and that is death”, since gays “are no different than terrorists and should be treated as such”. So the best solution is to “bring back the inquisition. He did, however, receive some pushback from other anti-gay activists over his claim that Jesus would personally kill gay people, which led him to declare that there was an “inquisition” targeting him in order to make him renounce his views (thereby confirming our suspicion that he doesn’t quite understand what “inquisition” means). His father fortunately came to his defense, pointing out that Jesus destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, hence illustrating that according to the Bible, Jesus would, indeed, personally beat homosexuals to death if given the chance.

He has also complained that homosexuals have sent him death threats, promptly declaring that “all” homosexuals therefore want to kill all Christians. As an example, when the Duck Dynasty series landed in some controversy in 2013 over some comments by Phil Robertson, Shoebat concluded that “[t]he Sodomite nazis are going after Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty , simply because he pointed out a truth to the darkness of the sick, violent, and twisted mindset of homosexuals […] Now they they are suspending him. What the homosexuals want to do to Christians in America is what Muslims are already doing to Christians: slaughter and enslave them. This is why we must fight this evil, and help save persecuted Christians in the Muslim world. Donate now and save Christian lives.” (Note the coda.) “The only thing vile in this situation is what sodomites contrive and partake in, they indulge themselves in acts so diabolical, in things worthy of death (Romans 1:32), and yet we are so careful to make sure that they are tolerated. The sodomite just quoted spoke of ‘loving and committed gay and lesbian couples.’ Really? Let me show you how sinister these morally inept and demonic followers of Satan are …” (and then he cites exactly one example of an abusive gay couple.) Yes, according to Shoebat “the homosexual agenda” is “about conquest, and the persecution of Christians”: “If they succeed, we will live under an outright Homosexual inquisition, and if they really had their way, they would build a homosexual empire.” In conclusion, gay men hold a demonic hatred toward women, and homosexuality and cross-dressing should therefore be outlawed: “Outlaw the sodomite before he outlaws you,” says Shoebat: “You either make the sodomites submit to Christian morality, to the law of God, to the law of Heaven or they will force you to submit. There is no other choice;” and just to be clear: by “submit” he means “be put to death”, because homosexuals, like atheists and “fanatical feminists” and Muslims, “war against the Faith, promote death and hate life”: “a noble government will arise and give these perverts the only thing they need: the sword!

Shoebat did, however, criticize the 2016 Orlando massacre. He criticized it because it should have been “The State”, not Omar Mateen, who “killed the sodomites”, by firing squad. Then he declared that the real victims of the attack were people like him who are being unfairly painted as radicals simply because they openly advocate putting gay people to death.

He is also a supporter of vigilantes in other countries who attack LGBT people, and wants the same to happen in the US, saying that “I wish America had this stuff”  – physically assaulting gay activists is, as he sees it theologically justified – though he also wishes the police would be “given the opportunity to kill more gay people, of course. Killing homosexuals should certainly not be considered a hate crime; after all, “fags kill each other all the time, and the reason why they kill each other all the time is because they’re demon-possessed people and Satan wants them to kill each other because Satan hates humanity.”

Apparently, part of the problem with homosexuality, according to Shoebat, is its link to cannibalism, apparently because of Jeffrey Dahmer. His explanation for drawing the connection is worth highlighting, since it is probably even more deranged than you imagined! You see, the problem with America is that it is too individualistic, only punishing criminals for the crimes they have committed instead of imposing collective punishments in an effort to root out the beliefs or behaviors that led to the crime in the first place. Hence, the correct response to the crimes of serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer would have been to not only punish him for his transgressions, but then also outlaw homosexuality because “it leads to serial killers, it leads to cannibalism, it leads to murder” and is a danger to the collective Christian society. And make no mistake, gay people really want to be murderers and cannibals and the only thing keeping them from doing that is that it’s against the law, as Shoebat sees it. Given Shoebat’s own predilection for murder and torture, combined with his stupidity, it is not hard to see where he is coming from. He did cite what he took to be evidence for a connection between homosexuality and Dahmer, though: a series of papers released by the American Psychological Association that suggest that “rates of military sexual trauma among men who served in the military may be as much as 15 times higher than has been previously reported,” from which he concluded that gay soldiers are committing tens of thousands of sexual assaults every year and that “[c]annibalism and homosexuality and rape are all interconnected.” Critics may point out some holes in the reasoning, but then they wouldn’t be true Christians.

In his criticisms of Southern Decadence, an annual rave for gay people in New Orleans, Shoebat was determined merely to follow the evidence wherever it would take him. Where it took him was that he wanted all the participants killed, of course. They should be killed because they regularly kidnap young boys and rape and kill them during the event. A weakness of Shoebat’s argument is of course that the evidence he relies on is taken from nowhere but his own deranged excuse for a mind. 

Shoebat also wanted the publishers of National Geographic tortured and “burned at the stake” (“this is the problem that I have with the First Amendment … In the Catholic Church, the whole damn crew behind National Geographic would be tried and once they are found guilty, they would be burned at the stake”) because they featured a nine-year-old transgender girl on their cover. Shoebat called the girl “Little Nazi Hitler”: “The kid is obviously evil, obviously a reprobate, obviously just diabolical. You’re a freak. You’re a little demon. You’re a little Nazi Hitler … This little freak would not mind sticking people like me in a gas chamber,” proclaimed Shoebat. “This is sick shit.” There is clearly some sick shit here, yes. 

In general, Shoebat thinks that transgender children are “utterly wicked” and that “parents who encourage this behavior should be arrested and executed.” He wants the children executed, too.

On women
Shoebat believes that women should be banned from voting and holding office. I don’t believe in women in politics,” Shoebat has declared: “I don’t believe in women voting. I don’t believe in the suffragist movement, I don’t believe in women in politics. If they’re so righteous, let them stay at home and teach their children that righteousness.” Indeed, the failure of mothers to raise their children to be proper Christians, he warned, is leading to everything from “losers drinking out of beer bongs and smoking pot” to restaurants serving “steaks made out of human flesh;” yeah, that stream-of-consciousness rant took a somewhat surprising turn, even by Theodore Shoebat’s standards. Meanwhile, feminists who do things he doesn’t like should be “burned at the stake”, of course.

When Trump suggested that women who undergo abortions should be punished, Shoebat agreed, and called women who undergo abortions “sluts”. Then he called for their execution by firing squad.

Miscellaneous politics
Shoebat is a sometime Trump supporter, criticizing what he takes to be aSatanic conspiracy” against the president, mostly because he hopes that Trump will kill Muslims, but also because he hopes Trump will soon enact legislation to have gays and abortionists executed. However, after Trump waved a Rainbow Flag at one of his rallies, Shoebat withdrew his endorsement and called for Trump’s execution instead.

As mentioned above, Shoebat expresses deep admiration for (his image of) medieval Christianity, including the genocide of Cathars, Waldensians and heretical Christian sects on account of their “false beliefs”. He has also criticized evangelical Christian leaders for condemning the genocide. As Shoebat sees it, we ought to return to the Middle Ages, when they had no “fag problem. Indeed, Shoebat has called for a a return to absolute monarchy, pointing out that he doesn’t believe in democracy: “Democracy. More like Demon crazy. The first attempt at democracy was in the Heaven, when Satan and the demons wanted to reform the government and oust out the King, God. God believes in monarchy, Satan believes in democracy. Hence democracy is demon crazy.” At least it looks like an argument. He has also called for a new “crusade”, claiming that “God wants one”.

Shoebat believes that one of the most serious problems facing us today is witchcraft, and he want “practitioners” of witchcraft to be put to death (but of course). And since Hillary Clinton, according to Shoebat, has been using black magic to gain popularity, she should be put to death. In fact, Clinton is also a devil worshipper – Shoebat literally cites his own imagination as evidence for the claim – and a lesbian who “would love to see the death of all Christians. I kid you not. Do not think for a second that that woman, if she had the chance, would [hesitate to] put people like me in concentration camps, would put Christians in concentration camps and kill Christians,” so “What do you think she deserves? This type of woman, this evil, wicked woman, what do you think she deserves? She deserves the death penalty. End of story.”

No fan of Obama, Shoebat has pointed out that “[i]n the most national prayer breakfast, Obama diverted the subject from ISIS and began to express his hatred against the Christian Crusades. The reason for this is because Obama hates Christians and Christianity, and is himself a Muslim jihadist. He continues to support Islam while hating Christianity, and heavily funds and supports the jihadists in Syria. His own family are Muslims and work with terrorists.” 

Sensing some opposition from other rightwingers to some of his proposals, Shoebat has also declared that “both Stephen Bannon and Ann Coulter are absolutely evil, they are enemies of Christendom and are filled with the spirit of Antichrist;” Coulter, in particular, is a “fascistic bitch” who should be put to death for associating with “fags.” The same, apparently, goes for Pam Geller and Tomi Lahren, who is a “little Nazi’ worthy of being put to death for being pro-choice, as well as Milo Yiannopoulos and Gavin McInnes, and not the least Marco Rubio: Shoebat ostensibly longs for the days when Marco Rubio would be hung from the gallows. It is important to weed out the less-than-ideologically-pure in this crucial battle against the totalitarianism of the gay rights movement.

Shoebat has some views on Brexit, too: “Britain Just Left The EU, And This Will Eventually Lead To A Revived Nazi Germany That Will Go To War With Christendom,” Shoebat declared after the 2016 referendum in a completely random stream of consciousness. We haven’t bothered to determine whether he thinks the fulfillment of his prediction is a good thing or not.

To pull all the strands together, Shoebat has released 858-page book titled Christianity is at War: The Manifesto for Christian Militancy. We recommend maintaining a safe distance to anyone who has actually read it.

There is a decent Theodore Shoebat resource here.

Diagnosis: Possibly the most deranged, hateful and bloodthirsty person with regular access to media in the Western world and possibly anywhere, Shoebat seems determined to demonstrate that there is, indeed, a position to be carved out on the extreme side of ISIS. An utterly repugnant character, of course, but it’s hard to look away.