Monday, November 29, 2021

#2499: Lori Bakker

Loon celebrity and televangelist Jim Bakker is one of the most legendary and insane loons alive in the world at the moment, and any opportunity to remind people how utterly insane and how much of a fraud he actually is, should be taken. But his wife, Lori, who often accompanies him on his show, is quite a piece of work herself, and she deserves her own entry – partially but not only because she thinks that her convicted fraudster husband is just like King David and the Apostle Paul and “one of God’s greatest generals”. In addition to co-hosting the Jim Bakker show, Lori Bakker is the founder and president of the organization Lori’s House, which “provides spiritual and other forms of assistance to pregnant women and to those who have undergone the pain of abortion.”


In general, Bakker espouses the kinds of views you’d expect from wealthy fundie frauds, such as the common but utterly ridiculous persecution complex. In 2018, for instance, Bakker warned her viewers that they really needed to support Trump; for if liberals gained power, they’ll throw Christians in “mental illness centers”. According to Bakker, those who oppose Trump consider Christians “mentally ill” and are just looking for an excuse to “put us all away” (you should also splurge a bit on the survivalist junk the Bakkers are selling. “I’m not kidding,” Bakker assured us. Then she, for some reason, refers to the time when women who were considered unclean were ostracized, based on rules codified in the Bible (she didn’t mention the codified in the Bible bit). Later, she and Jim claimed that the Democrats were trying to outlaw the Bible.


Though she nominally cares about women, and has even written a book about women in the Bible, she did not care about the 2016 Women’s March on Washington, rather asserting that the women who marched against President Trump were probably survivors of childhood abuse (survivors of abuse are by default notoriously unreliable): “Most women like that [?] have been molested, they’ve been abused, they’ve been whatever in their life. […] And they just need the healing of the lord.


She is particularly concerned about abortion, however. According to Bakker, abortion is linked to Satanic baby-killing rituals – there are even Satanic temples hidden inside Planned Parenthood clinics. And the activities of these occult forces increase around Halloween: “I will tell you, especially on Halloween, that many many many many Satanic rituals – abortion rituals – are performed. It’s the truth.” She needed to add the last sentence to reassure viewers who might have suspected otherwise.


Diagnosis: Oh, good grief. Even after all this years of loons, it remains baffling how anyone can listen to these people and think that they’re anything but hysterical, incoherent maniacs.

Monday, November 22, 2021

#2498: Mary Baker

Mary Baker is the one-time leader of Conservative Moms for America – an organization that seems to be quite obscure, although Lloyd Marcus was at least affiliated with them – and at least a one-time speaker for the Tea Party Express. In a blog post for Tea Party Nation, Baker, who is Black, warned thatgay supremacy is becoming a monster that carries greater evils than white supremacy ever did.” After all, according to Baker, white supremacy was never that big of an issue: “When white supremacy tried to make a mark in American history it was viciously attacked and quickly put down by the people of our nation.” At least it is pretty clear that Baker is blissfully unaware of American history.


But why, exactly, is “Gay Supremacy” a greater threat? For one thing, gay rights activists are apparently motivated by “hate” and bent on their opponents’ “utter annihilation;” moreover, “Gay Supremacy’s hate reaches much farther than a specific group of people. Their [sic] is no common ground that can be reached. Their [sic] is no searching of the heart or consideration of God’s principles. Their hate is generated only by self centeredness and hate for anyone who disagrees with them.” Yup, the crux of the issue is that white supremacists were at least Godly; gay people are not.


Diagnosis: Completely delusional. Utterly beyond hope.

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

#2497: Judyth Vary Baker

Judyth Vary Baker is a curious and colorful figure, generally pretty obscure but also rather well-known in JFK assassination conspiracy circles. Baker claims to have been Lee Harvey Oswald’s lover and girlfriend prior to the assassination, and has spent a number of decades trying to clear Oswald’s name and rather blame sinister forces and conspiracies. Her story doesn’t even remotely hang together, but she nevertheless has a surprising number of fans.


Two typical gaps in her stories:


-       Though Baker and Oswald might theoretically have been with the Reily Coffee Company together, Baker, who was married at the time, has not the slightest bit of evidence to indicate that they were ever romantically involved or even knew each other: Baker has a number of love letters written by her at the time – the dates work out, but unfortunately the name of the addressee has been torn off of all of the letter, which to most people would perhaps induce a veneer of “something’s off with her story” but to Baker’s audience of dingbats rather indicates that the conspiracy was more extensive than everyone else thinks.

-       According to Baker’s story, Baker and Oswald were recruited by the CIA initially to produce a bioweapon for the purpose of killing Fidel Castro: a cocktail that included both a virus designed to knock out Castro’s immune system and cancer cells that would infect him and kill him. Oswald and Baker – a highschool dropout and a nineteen-year old girl with no science background –were supposed to develop the cocktail and biologically engineer appropriate cancer cells for the CIA covertly in the kitchen of their apartment. “But didn’t the CIA have poisons that would work? And labs? And experts?” you might ask. The answer is that close-minded people like you are not among the target audience for Baker’s tale of sinister conspiracies. She has admittedly modified her story over time in response to thorny questions, though.


There is a decent rundown of other worries people might sort of immediately have with Baker’s story here and a couple of unsolvable contradictions here. It is worth noting that one of her own explanations for why she doesn’t have any evidence is, literally, that her dogs ate it (it was “badly chewed by puppies”).


Baker has, however, written more than one book about her version of events – the fact that they rather blatantly contradict each other is explained by the claim that she deliberately laced earlier books, since details have been uncontrovertibly falsified, with disinformation: “I wrote a bunch of nonsense because I didn’t want to get sued,” said Baker – and received some attention when she was featured in the documentary series The Men Who Killed Kennedy (in the later conspiracy theory episodes that were subsequently withdrawn). She is promoted by well-known conspiracy theorists like James Fetzer, which should not lend her much credibility.


Her accounts are full of all sorts of other interesting tidbits, too. Did you know that she invented the word “nerd” ad suggested it to Dr. Seuss (ostensibly a close acquaintance of her when she was a child), who adopted it. She also once broke up a witches’ coven just when they were about to perform a human sacrifice.


Diagnosis: Colorful and enjoyable, mostly, and unlikely to harm anyone – perhaps except, inadvertently, JFK assassination conspiracy theorists.

Sunday, November 14, 2021

#2496: Preston Bailey

Preston Bailey, jr., is Executive Director of something called the Spiritual Warfare Center, and author of the breathlessly insane fundie conspiracy nonsense book SPIRITUAL WARFARE: Defeating the Forces of Darkness. He apparently likes to call himself “Dr. Bailey”, since he apparently has a Doctorate of Ministry and PhD in “Counseling” from the Biblical Life College and Seminary – which makes you very significantly less suitable for offering counseling for anything than spam is.


Bailey is apparently also a sometimes TV show host, and has made a number of appearances in various media talking about the occult and Satanic ritual abuse – and yes: we probably should talk about the harms caused by the in retrospect profoundly embarrassing nonsense Satanic panic of the 80s and 90s, but Bailey is certainly not the person to talk to: he takes the paranoid rumors and incoherent nonsense of the panic at face value. Bailey is, however, on the board of directors of several Christian Counseling centers in North America that specialize in childhood trauma, demonization and dissociation – according to Bailey, he “has counseled thousands of demonized people and hundreds of people who were ritually abused and led many Satanists, witches, warlocks, and those involved in the occult to Christ”. You are well advised to stay far, far away from those centers.


Now, demons don’t apparently just “attack anyone without reason”, as Bailey sees it; rather, a doorway must be opened. And you can open a doorway in many ways, including “practicing white or black magic, sexual immoral behavior, drugs, sins of ancestors, a passive mind such as hypnosis, fortune telling, spiritism or communicating with demons, association with demonized people, fears, possessing a cursed object, someone placing a curse on you, worshipping idols, New Age or false religious practices, rebellion, any work of the flesh such as uncontrolled anger, criminal behavior, abusing children” and other actions. You are probably possessed, in other words.


For a good illustration of how Bailey’s mind works, you can check out his exchange with Rick Wiles in an interview on Wiles’s TruNews show on how the “New World Order” is trying to restore the “Luciferian government” that existed before Noah’s Flood and will accelerate the End Times. When Wiles asked Bailey if then-President Obama – Wiles believes and might still believe that Obama is literally a demon – was of Illuminati bloodline, Bailey responded no … according to Bailey’s unnamed Illuminati “source”. Rather, according to Bailey, the Illuminati ostensibly considered Obama to be the “forerunner of the Antichrist” and that there would be an Illuminati coming to the White House soon enough: Hillary Clinton. (As for the bloodline part, as Bailey sees it – he seems to have confused a range of cheap novels for academic resources – you have to be born into the Illuminati, “so if you hear these people who claim ‘well I joined the Illuminati and blah blah blah’ well they’re lying, that’s just not true, they have delusions of grandeur.” That Bailey is intimately familiar with delusions doesn’t mean that you should listen to him on the topic.


What is profoundly scary is that Bailey was, apparently, for many years “appointed by different governors as Chairman of the Task Force on Child Abuse and Chairman of the Juvenile Anti-crime Task Force” and “has assisted law enforcement agencies in occult crimes”. Now, this is of course according to himself, and Bailey has a demonstrated significant problems with distinguishing reality from paranoid delusions, but if there is any basis in reality for the claim, then he might be directly to blame for some needless suffering caused by the actions of delusional “Satanic panic” maniacs.


Diagnosis: No, Jack Chick comics is not a suitable substitute for a psychology curriculum, but the Biblical Life College and Seminary doesn’t care. The result is that insane clowns like cartoon-fundie caricature Preston Bailey are walking around trying to – and thinking that he does – “help” people. “Deranged” and “delusional” doesn’t even begin to describe him, and yes: He seems to be causing real and serious harm to real people.

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

#2495: Miranda Bailey

The movie The Pathological Optimist is a biographical movie about Andrew Wakefield, one of the most infamous frauds alive today and, as the guy who virtually founded the modern antivaccine movement, someone who is morally responsible for a large number of deaths. According to the blurb for the movie, however, the movie “takes no sides, instead letting Wakefield and the battles he fought speak for themselves.” To put it briefly: presenting views like “the Earth is flat”, “black people should have fewer rights than white people” or “the Holocaust never happened” in a manner that tries to be neutral on the merits of the claims – “without taking a side” – is presenting those views in a more positive light than they deserve. It is, accordingly, taking a side. (And no: there is no controversy about whether the MMR vaccine leads to autism; it doesn’t. That’s settled.) Miranda Bailey, the producer behind the movie, is thus, by attempting not to take a side, providing direct support for Wakefield and the anti-vaccine movement, which makes her an anti-vaccine activist.


And Bailey’s film no more “lets Wakefield and the battles he fought” speak for themselves than Loose Change lets the events of 9/11 speak for themselves. By telling the story the way she does – it’s a hagiography more than a documentary – Bailey is choosing a narrative, and it is rather obvious for instance that the only people interviewed are Wakefield and his followers – criticism are supplied by poorly produced archival footage, which Wakefield or his supporters get to respond to. There is a decent review of the movie here and a brief one here.


Now, it is important to point out how unlikely it is that Bailey herself is just a naïve and incompetent pseudo-documentary maker; Bailey has expressed anti-vaccine sympathies and conspiracy theories in the past, as documented here, especially in relation to California’s SB277 law. She has also expressed support for a wide range of woo, pseudoscience and junk medicine, beliefs that typically make one well-disposed for accepting antivaccine nonsense.


Diagnosis: Anti-vaccine activist and conspiracy theory promoter; indeed, few people have done more to promote antivaccine conspiracy theories than Miranda Bailey. A terrible person. Should be shunned.


Hat-tip: David Gorski & Sciencebased medicine

Sunday, November 7, 2021

#2494: Kent Bailey

Kent G. Bailey is a professor emeritus of psychology at Virginia Commonwealth University, and a self-declared paleopsychologist. He has written several books on human paleopsychology, which is dumber than it sounds – “speculative pseudoscience” doesn’t really quite capture it. Bailey is also an occasional columnist for the WND, where he for instance has explained why it is, from “a paleopsychological standpoint, […] simply […] not natural, normal, or fair” for a woman, like Hilary Clinton, to run for president of the US, ostensibly since back in cave-dwelling times only 70-year old overweight men ran for the position of directing the executive branch of the federal government. In particular, it would be unfair for a “cerebral old lady to be forced into combat with an imposing, 6-foot-3-inch, 237-pound septuagenarian who drives a golf ball 300 yards and eats nails for breakfast – yes, Bailey did describe her opponent as “warrior extraordinaire Donald Trump”. Given how mired Bailey is in pseudo-Freudian pseudoscience, you should feel free to read whatever you like about Bailey into that description.


In fairness, Bailey did go on to offer several “paleopsychological observations” about why women are not suited as national leaders – for instance, “when a woman is faced with male aggression, her first instinct is to cry for help and then find a male protector to do the fighting for her” – all leading to the conclusion that “if Hillary Clinton is elected, the continuing infantilization and feminization of American men will further explode, society as we know it will crumble, and the regression back to our pagan roots will be complete.” Oh, yes, well … you may have thought that he was on the verge of trying to offer a secular – if abysmally deranged – case for complementarianism, but as the last sentence shows: he really wasn’t.


But yes, Donald Trump is the “quintessential warrior male” that we have apparently all been waiting for to defeat “the pagan forces of progressivism and political correctness.” And it isn’t just women who are unsuited for office, but anyone tempted to adopt feminine values: For instance, “[w]e have seen how poorly our current [this column is from 2015] girly-man-in-chief, Barack Obama, has dealt with the world of violent supermales out there.” There is a curious parallel here to end-times prophets: Bailey keeps warning us that if we elect women to office, “society as we know it will crumble, and the regression back to our pagan roots will be complete,” but he also seems to wish for that – racism, tribalism, simplemindedness, ignorance – to happen (the reason may well be some fundamental struggles with the is–ought distinction).


Diagnosis: Landing a job as a psychology professor at a respectable university these days is no mean feat. Apparently, it wasn’t always that way. Good grief.