Monday, December 26, 2022

#2602: Ted Broer

More wingnut conspiracy theories! And whereas last post’s David Brody, say, at least make an attempt to appear reasonable to those who don’t know better, Qanon conspiracy theorist Ted Broer is unconcerned with such airhead fripperies. According to Broer, America has been “duped” by its corrupt and compromised elected representatives; indeed, explains Broer, most members of Congress have been “compromised” by their involvement in things like pedophilia and human sacrifice and have indirectly handed control of the country over to Lucifer.Over 50 percent of Congress – in my opinion, probably closer to 70 percent – has been compromised or is being controlled in one way or the other.” If you feel that he missed an opportunity to provide sources for his estimate, you have sort of misunderstood how the minds of people like Ted Broer work.


They have basically given control of the government to the military industrial complex that Eisenhower warned us about. They have, in turn, taken this military industrial complex and they have given it over to the CIA. The CIA has given it over to the Sabbatean Kabbalists … These are the Druids, these are the ones that were taught the ancient forms of worship by the fallen angels. These are the bad guys that run the planet and they, in turn, have given over their control to Lucifer to control the energy field around the planet.” Yeah, those darn druids. One may wonder about the unnecessary middlemen, though – why not give control right over to the druids? That, we suspect, is one of the questions Broer wouldn’t quite understand the point of. “It’s all to control the thoughts and the minds of everybody on the planet,” concludes Broer, who has at least determined to avoid such a fate by ensuring that his mind is completely isolated from any part of reality.


Also, fluoridation is really a Nazi mind-control program.


Now, we haven’t bothered to actually listen to the radio show he runs with Austin Broer (presumably a relative or husband), but we’ll include the blurb for the latest episode we could find – it probably gives you the flavor:


Episode 1830 - Who are the weirdos supporting Biden? Pseudo President gets massive blowback due to speech from Hell. Modern Psychiatry is demonic! AR 15’s vs F 16? Think Afghanistan. An excellent open letter to Biden. How the media was censored. The schools are perversion indoctrination centers! California power grid is a mess. Country Star dropped due to his wife’s correct anti-woke comments. Plus much more. High energy must listen show.”


We’re assuming that Ted Broer is identical to the nutritionist and health-and-supplement woo author who has published a number of books on weight loss, appeals to nature and GMO conspiracy theories. In any case: don’t listen to any of the nonsense that falls out of nutritionist-Broer’s mouth either. Insofar as they are the same, they seem to have walked a long journey from faddish but boring food pseudoscience to zeh-lizard-people-are-trying-to-use-nanobots-to-5G-charge-my-precious-bodily-fluids, but it is a pretty natural development – there was never any affinity for reality in any of his thoughts anyways. It really isn’t that surprising that Qanon, white supremacy views and unhinged pizzagate nonsense are to a large extent promoted by self-declared nutritionists, yoga teachers and weightloss gurus these days.


Diagnosis: Relatively minor, we suppose, but he makes a lot of noise. He is really a rather sad figure – at least the Qanon people at the top, like the Watkinses or Coleman Rogers, get to produce the bullshit. Think how sad it is to be a consumer of it … then again, it’s clear that Broer actively uses his imagination freely to add color and fluff.

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

#2601: David Brody

David Philip Brody is a fundie evangelist and Chief Political Analyst for the Christian Broadcasting Network. Brody is most famous for working as a microphone and publicity agent for various wingnut political figures, including David Lane, Jenna Ellis and – not the least – Donald Trump; Brody has been aptly called “Trump’s court journalist. In addition to providing air time for Trump to hold campaign rallies, Brody has for instance, in fawning terms, expressed his admiration for Trump’s “bravery”, “guts” and “moxie” in calling for a ban on all Muslims from entering the US, and he has offered suggestions for how to turn it into a full-scale religious war.


Someone’s got to promote such views. Brody is generally disappointed that other media won’t, and was furious when the “hipster soy boys” (oh, yes) at Twitter, who are sitting on “their satanic beanbags somewhere in their soy latte cafe,” suspended the personal account of conspiracy theorist and white supremacy-sympathizer Marjorie Taylor Greene – Brody has a long history defending her, in particular her feeble and stunningly idiotic attempts to compare Covid-19 mask mandates to the Holocaust. Brody is, in fact, a big fan of anti-vaccine conspiracy theorist Stella Immanuel too, and yes: he is antivaccine, and has repeatedly promoted an impressive range of antivaccine tropes in multiple tirades against Covid-19 vaccines – ostensibly against vaccine mandates, but when you lead with the government “risking the health and safety of millions of Americans” when promoting this very experimental vaccine, you are an antivaccine conspiracy theorist. Brody also pushed the standard antivaccine delusion that vaccine “mandates” would be in violation of the Nuremberg code, which concerns medical experiments (which the vaccine is not and never was after having been made generally available). He also cites the Cutter incident to sow fear, uncertainty and doubt – effective, of course, to those unaware of the legacy of the Cutter incident and why nothing similar could happen with the Covid-19 vaccine. (Interestingly, he complains about the profit-driven Big Pharma, but – being unwilling to criticize capitalism – quickly leaps to claim that  the government is to blame that the Big Pharma’s quest for profit has negative consequences; barely dodged a head-exploding cognitive dissonance there, eh, David?) He was, obviously, mad as hell over face masks, too. Where he did want the government to intervene with force and censorship, however, was access to internet pornography during the pandemic, which Brody calleda major, major issue”.


Brody has more recently promoted numerous QAnon conspiracy theories, such as baseless conspiracy theories about the FBI search of Mar-a-Lago. When met with apposite mockery, Brody and guest at his program The Watercooler, Anna Perez, accused their critics of not “getting your facts straight”, relying on QAnon material to determine what said facts should be.


As an author, Brody has written the wingnut campaign manual The Teavangelicals: The Inside Story of How the Evangelicals and the Tea Party are Taking Back America (2012) and The Faith of Donald J. Trump: A Spiritual Biograph (2018, with Scott Lamb), which is as good an example of the fundie wingnut genre of Donald Trump-finds-God fan fiction as any. Trump endorsed it, calling it “a very interesting read”. We’re sure he would have found the claims in the book both interesting and surprising. But we are even more sure Trump didn’t actually read it. Brody is, by the way, also on the record praising Trump’s “1950s mindset in relation to BLM protests.


There’s a good David Brody resource here.


Diagnosis: A rather central figure on the religious right crazy clown circus circuit, Brody does epitomize contemporary religious wingnuttery pretty brilliantly, complete with intense paranoia, anti-democratic and almost romantic yearnings for Strong Men as leaders, and endorsements of any and all ridiculous wingnut conspiracy theories, up to and including Qanon-nonsense.

Sunday, December 18, 2022

#2600: Morgan Brittany

Celebrity loons are generally trite, and Morgan Brittany is a faded B-list soap celebrity (Dallas) turned wingnut commentator and columnist for the WND. She is also a recurring guest on Hannity. There is something narratively satisfying about her fate.


Brittany hit her new career running in 2014, with posts e.g. about how the government was showingno urgency to stop [Ebola] from entering the U.S. and claiming that the perceived lack of efforts showed that Obama intended to use the disease to test out the non-existent FEMA coffins, declare martial law and seize guns. Why was there preparation being made for FEMA camps to house people in isolation?” wondered Brittany, since that’s the kind of stuff people like her wonder about. (Similar questions were asked by Laurie Roth, Steve Stockman, Rick Wiles, Mychal Massie and Erik Rush, for instance).


A similar ploy was apparently lurking behind the 2015 riots and demonstrations in Baltimore (after Freddie Gray was killed by the police), which according to Brittany were all “planned” by President Obama to privilege African-Americans above all others and usher in “the breakdown of our society.” Having stumbled upon the end game of Obama’s plan for a race war, Brittany concluded that if the Baltimore police officers who were indicted in the death of Gray were not convicted, then “perhaps Obama will have to institute martial law to preserve order, form a national police force and postpone the 2016 elections.” I don’t think the chaos in Baltimore ‘just happened’,” said Brittany. No, it didn’t ‘just happen’, we suppose. At least she was more assertive here than she was a year before, when she was just asking the question about whether Obama deliberately tried to stir up the situation in Ferguson to distract people from his latest executive order on immigration. She did explicitly state, though, that Obama wished to use the increase in child migrants to incite an anti-Obama revolution, which he could use to introduce martial law,” “confiscating our guns and ammo,” and create a “totalitarian stateand a long line ofmilitary arrests.


Together with Ann-Marie Murrell and Gina Loudon, Brittany authored the book What Women Really Want. We dare dismiss its theses without having read it.


More recently, she has focused on promoting COVID conspiracy theories and anti-vaccine nonsense on Twitter.


Diagnosis: Yeah, whatever. Just forget her, shall we?

Thursday, December 15, 2022

#2599: Billye Brim

Billye Brim is a televangelist and end-times preacher and one of the most tireless combatants in her own evangelical wet-dream imaginary battle against the hordes of demons currently plaguing the US. The Women’s March in 2016, for instance, was definitely “driven by demons”; it was was dominated by “the kingdom of darkness” and Brim urged residents of D.C. to “control those demons that were in those women.”


And Brim is there to help. For instance, she almost single-handedly took authority over the demons working to prevent Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation in 2018 through an apparently very effective prayer effort against them – apparently God Chuck Grassley and Mitch McConnell gave her the authority to take spiritual control (“Now that is someone in authority giving us authority to pray”), whereupon she firmly went on “telling that devil what he can’t do. I’m taking authority over those demons because the young people down there [Congress], and the leaders, were definitely affected by demons.”


When not engaged in combat with demons, Brim is responsible for the Billye Brim Bible Institute, which is an “accredited” online Christian college – she emphasizes “accredited” in all the promotional materials, but it is unclear who or what accredited the … blog, primarily, it seems.


She also appeared in the legendarily bizarre movie The Trump Prophecy about self-declared prophet Mark Taylor. Apparently the theme of the movie reflects Brim’s own experiences, e.g. when her otherwise unidentified friend Max, ostensibly an ex-Muslim who converted to Christianity after receiving multiple visitations from Christ, called her in September 2016 to tell her that he had been visited by Jesus “who told him that Donald Trump was going to be president.” Just like that, apparently.


She has also written numerous books. On some of them, she’s “Dr. Billye Brim”.


Diagnosis: In religious wingnuttery’s competition to be as extreme and insane as possible, Brim is making a fair bid. Her influence beyond those who have already left any trappings of reality far behind is probably limited, however.

Sunday, December 11, 2022

#2598: William Briggs

William Briggs is a policy advisor to The Heartland Institute, former visiting professor of statistics in the Department of Mathematics at Central Michigan University and self-declared “epistemologist”, which is … an interesting assessment not exactly supported by his publications. Briggs does have some genuine credentials in statistics and even atmospheric science, but seems to have left science behind because academia has been corrupted by wokeness and the tyranny of facts evidence expertise. Scientists don’t, in general, agree with Briggs’s conclusions about what they are doing, and evidence suggests that Briggs has some trouble with, well, evidence that doesn’t fit the narrative he wishes to tell (he does love good narratives, though). He has authored a number of books and posts defending intelligent design creationism, climate change denialism, stop the steal conspiracy theories, COVID contrarianism and various anti-gay nonsense, and he seems to be somewhat popular – at least the Discovery Institute and associated anti-science venues like Evolution News and Views consistently praise his work – for his vehement attacks on science, which he tends to represent as being a somewhat nebulous and shapeless conspiracy against zeh people (i.e. against religion and conservatism).


Indeed, Briggs usually formulates his attacks on science as criticism of experts, an amorphous group of people whom he disagrees with and who are, accordingly, in some sort of conspiracy to stamp out freedom and free thinking. An example of the kind of evils scientists are up to, according to Briggs: in 2017, some scientists published a (pretty poor, it seems) study suggesting that they had used transcranial magnets to target and temporarily shut down regions of test subjects’ brain in a way that altered the subjects’ behavior and opinions. Briggs and Joe Miller went into deranged panic mode, with Briggs imagining, with no foundation in anything,  that the study would lead to “eugenics” targeting conservatives: “Basically what they’re doing is they’re trying to bring back eugenics even, in a way. Because they’re identifying what they say are biological constituents for belief. Therefore they’re able to test for these biological constituents” (all of which is a stunningly dumb thing to say). (Miller, by the way, suggested that transgender people would use magnets against people of faith: “The whole transgender crowd, they see their main opponent as being those of faith and so obviously they’re going to use any aggressive tactics they can to move forward that agenda.”)


Climate change denialism

As a climate change denialist, Briggs appears to have helped draft the Realist Catholic Climate Declaration, which claims that “earth’s climate has always changed, is changing now”, that we cannot know (only “surmise) the human contribution to current climate change, and that “[t]he salvation of souls is of more pressing concern than the air temperature,” which must count as one of the feeblest non-sequiturs we have ever encountered. Briggs’s primary position, however, seems to be to claim that “the climate of the earth has never stood still, and never will. That means efforts to ‘battle’ or ‘stop’ climate change are futile”, just like the fact that you will die some day means that medical treatments for anything is pointless.


Briggs was featured in Marc Morano’s film Climate Hustle 2: Rise ofthe Climate Monarchy, produced by the industry-funded climate change denialist organization CFACT, where he tried to argue that what environmentalists really want is “everything that’s against freedom” and tried to explain how climate change could be used as a pretext for authoritarian political goals – Briggs characterised environmentalism as a eugenicist and racist movement. He was also featured in CFACT’s original Climate Hustle film.


Indeed, according to Briggs, climate change is not at all a dire issue: “Not only are things not as bad as we thought, they are much, much better. And they’re improving. Crop output is up, the world is greener, storms are down in frequency and number, and on and on […] But why are things better? Because of the beneficial effects of releasing carbon-dioxide into the atmosphere”, which some might consider a surprising claim giving his skepticism elsewhere that human emissions can affect climate. But hey: know your audience and so on.


Briggs has, in fact, published on climate change-related topics, both with Christopher Monckton and with David R. Legates and Willie Soon (of Soon-and-Baliunas fame). With the latter, he wrote e.g.Learning and Teaching Climate Science: The Perils of Consensus Knowledge Using Agnotology, according to which students should be exposed to climate science skepticism: All sides must be covered in highly debatable and important topics such as climate change, because authoritarian science never will have all the answers to such complex problems.Yes, it’s the teach the controversy gambit, no less. The paper itself relied heavily on misrepresenting data and arguments from other authors in the field.



Briggs has written extensively about LGBT+ issues – often as a “senior contributor” to The Stream – and his writings run the whole gamut of paranoid silliness. Briggs claims for instance that bans on conversion therapy are a product of a “corrupt democracy” and that instead “pro-transgender, pro-sodomy, pro-perversion speech of any kind is hate speech and must be condemned, expunged, ridiculed, excoriated, punished”. He has also tried to connect the Paris Climate Accord to conspiratorial efforts to promote transgender rights – “the undead corpse of global warming” is apparently currently mostly a ploy for diversity advocates (= sexual perverts) to gain power over freedom-loving conservatives and Christians.


2021 Capitol Insurrection

Briggs has long been pushing Trump’s stop the steal conspiracy theories, and posted several … interesting tweets (since deleted) during the 2021 Capitol insurrection (scroll down here) voicing his support for a violent takeover of government. Explaining himself, he afterwards stated that “the Capitol protest was only to be expected the way the government [who? Trump’s?] has treated its people. Voting fraud, like when Nixon had his election stolen, was real and provably significant” … since if you assert, very firmly, that it was, you don’t need evidence – and Briggs offers none of the latter. (It was, for the record, neither real nor provably significant.) Also, “Masks in the general public don’t work, a well-known fact” – again, if you don’t like the facts, state the opposite as assertively as possible, and the facts will hopefully recognize that they’re not welcome and go away.


COVID Contrarianism

Oh, yes. Briggs is a major contributor to COVID denialism and associated conspiracies, such as the thoroughly debunked myth that the coronavirus was created in a laboratory and engineered to kill – by a conspiracy Chinese and American scientists (it can’t be exclusively Chinese … otherwise, how could you combine it with the conspiracy theory that Anthony Fauci had a hand in it?)


An early promoter of the casedemic myth, Briggs has long and erroneously claimed that increased testing for COVID would “make a dead epidemic seem still alive” and lead to “mak[ing] coronadoom zombies” – experts (Briggs hates those) who use corona alarmism to justify measures that threaten Briggs’s freedom. Many of his views are laid out in his post “A People’s History of COVID-19” (no link), which is a good example of how to tell a narrative by wilful misrepresentation, quote mining and lying by omission. The target is, of course, those darn scientists – zeh experts – who are confused airheads who always change their minds in the face of new evidence and use whatever means they have to scare people in an attempt to subjugate them. “early on, the healthy were touting the benefits of vitamin D, zinc, quercetin and even drugs like ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine (HCQ). This angered Experts, perhaps because they didn’t think of it first,” says Briggs. Yes, it’s all a conspiracy by SCIENCE to hide the truth: the CDC, the media, the libruls, and in particular the experts: hide the fact that ivermectin is efficacious (it isn’t), that “natural immunity” is better than vaccines [it isn’t], and that masks don’t work [they do] – notably, Briggs constantly point to suggestions that masks didn’t protect very significantly from contracting the disease, which most reasonable people probably knows was never the point.


And those same experts are, of course, hiding the huge numbers of vaccine injuries (yes, Briggs is of course antivaccine – what did you expect?). But take his argument in full, for it really reveals so much that Briggs doesn’t really get (or that he lies about): “There was an enormous rise in VAERS (the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System) reports. Critics scoffed that COVID received more “scrutiny”, therefore the increase in VAERS reports . . . was not real [indeed, those are the facts], It was a conspiracy theory to say, for instance, that myocarditis rates were rising because of vaccinations among the young. Who didn’t really need to be vaccinated anyway, because they suffered least from infections. And then it was acknowledged myocarditis could be caused by the vaccines, but that myocarditis wasn’t serious. Except in ‘rare’ cases.” The experts are of course right about the explosion of VAERS – it’s not hard to find clear evidence of overreporting. That is no conspiracy theory, of course; nor is it a conspiracy theory to criticize antivaccine conspiracy theorists who misuse the database (like Del Bigtree). But no one ever downplayed myocarditis – Briggs only wants you to think they did. Myocarditis was noticed, and taken seriously. Indeed, looking at the details about and concern shown for myocarditis sort of undermines Briggs’ VAERS point; but his is ‘the people’s story’ – you are not supposed to look at the details. And of course Briggs lies when he says that young people ‘didn’t really need to be vaccinated anyway’. They do, and the risk of COVID is vastly higher than the risk of serious myocarditis if they get the vaccine. There is no mischief here; Briggs, though, will spin it until it looks that way. No surprise there. Do you think Briggs knows the science? Of course he doesn’t.


Or take his comment that: “Your lack of a vaccine negated mine. The vaccinated needed to be ‘protected’ from the ‘epidemic of the unvaccinated.’ Nobody ever explained how a vaccinated person’s vaccine failed when they came near an unvaccinated person. Again, it cannot be explained except by magical thinking.” One wouldn’t think intelligent people needed such an explanation, but it was provided anywaysvirtually everywhere anyone talked about vaccines, also long before COVID. Apparently, Briggs thinks that ‘Experts’ at one point thought the vaccine was gonna be 100% effective (and quote-mines a meticulously selected series of quotes from early on to suggest that such a view was prevalent). No one actually ever thought that. But this is not about actual facts.


It’s interesting, though, that his book – coauthored with Intelligent Design creationist heavyweight Douglas Axe – is all about accusing his opponents of alarmism and panic-mongering. Self-reflection is not his strong suit: this is the guy who used a small nonsense study to go utter apeshit hysterical about how trans-people would initiate eugenics programs against Christians using brain magnets. And he calls himself an “epistemologist”, no less.


Diagnosis: It is easy to get proof of conspiracy when any case of anyone changing their mind in light of new information is interpreted as mask slipping. Briggs is in epistemic hell: his credence in evidence from science is 0, and in his own story 1. From those priors, there are no updates available – any input is evidence for what he already believes; nothing could change his mind, and any piece of evidence that doesn’t fit his narrative is just evidence for how stupid everyone else is; also conspiracies. But he does, indeed, have a significant audience. That is scary.

Thursday, December 8, 2022

#2597: JT Bridges

JT Bridges is “a professor of philosophy at Southern Evangelical Seminary in North Carolina” and Catholic fundamentalist who is also associated with the Discovery Institute, for whom he has for instance written the post “Hylomorphism as a Metaphysic for Intelligent Design Science”. In the post, Bridges attempts to use medieval philosopher Thomas Aquinas to “give a philosophical justification for the conclusions arrived at scientifically by ID theorists” (emphasis in the original). That shouldn’t be too hard, given that Thomas, rooted in the teleological thinking of Aristotle, provided the (possibly) oldest and, given modern knowledge, dumbest design argument. The Thomistic tradition he initiated has, however, been extremely careful to emphasize the compatibility (indeed, integration) of science and faith, which makes it at least somewhat notable that Bridges tries to use it in a blatant attack on science – desperately asserting, against all fact and reason, that intelligent design creationism is “scientific” is a rather feeble attempt to sidestep the irony.


Otherwise, Bridges is very fascinated by the concept of information, the scientific use of which he, like creationists in general, doesn’t quite grasp. He is quite sure, however, thatthe Darwinian mechanism are [sic] not capable of building this type of information and the only known source is something like conscious activity”, despite the evident falsehood of that claim.


Bridges is also affiliated with Norm Geisler International Ministries.


Diagnosis: At least he doesn’t claim to be a scientist – though some religious groups strangely thinks he is. But he is anti-science, and has devoted ample time and effort to promote science denial and pseudoscience. Certainly not one of the good guys.

Sunday, December 4, 2022

#2596: Eric Braverman

Eric R. Braverman is the founder and director of PATH Medical, a clinic that ostensibly focuses on “brain health”, as well as founder and president of PATH Foundation NY and – at least formerly – Total Health Nutrients, LLC, a dietary supplements online shop and promoter. Though he is, indeed, an MD, Braverman is heavily into the branch of quackery known as orthomolecular medicine, and advocates dropping medicines in favor of untested nonsense he conveniently happens to sell, in particular large doses of nutrients for treating schizophrenia and other illnesses – Braverman has described himself as “one of the foremost experts on the integration of conventional and alternative medicine.” He is also a self-declared rabbi and “certified in anti-aging medicine” by the American Board of Anti-Aging Medicine, which is not a serious medical board. Already back in 1987, Braverman co-authored a book, The Healing Nutrients Within, with quack legend Carl C. Pfeiffer, in which they advocated for what they called ‘Pfeiffer’s Law’: that “if a drug can be found to do the job of medical healing, a nutrient can be found to do the same job. When we understand how a drug works, we can imitate its action with one of the nutrients.” The claim is deranged bullshit. There is a good portrait of Braverman here.


PATH’s claims for itself are, shall we say, not exactly modest. Apparently, PATH “treat[s] causes, not symptoms,” a familiar quack phrase that should raise all the red flags there are. And the range of conditions they promise to cure include everything from Alzheimers through allergies, blurred vision, fat craving, insomnia, arthritis, dry cough, chest pains, hear issues and Parkinson’s, to cold/clammy hands, tinnitus and weight gain – all being “deficiency symptoms” that can be treated through “natural approaches (including supplements). It should be needless to say that the claims are bullshit and based on guesswork, useless diagnostic tests and pseudoscience. Their website does for instance offer a free “Brain Deficiency Quiz” claimed to relate common symptoms to neurotransmitter deficiencies that can ostensibly be corrected with supplements. They are understandably unclear about how this test has been validated. Though Braverman’s CV lists a number of papers, mostly in bottom-feeding journals, there is predictably a striking shortage of outcome studies on his “natural treatment approaches” to back up any of the ambitious health claims he is making.


Commercially, PATH Medical seems to be sustained largely through conducting expensive and scientifically unsupportable tests and assessments, including BEAM testing, head-to-toe ultrasounds, a neuromuscular-skeletal review, and they test more than 250 “medical and aging markers. We suspect that if you are already willing to shell out up to 100,000 dollars, Braverman and his team will find something wrong that they can ‘cure’. BEAM testing (or qEEG), for instance, has few medically accepted uses, and Braverman’s claim go far beyond uses that have even been suggested by mainstream researchers, much less by the evidence. But it’s fancy; we’ll grant him that.


Even the team at PATH should raise suspicions, as it features people like John Pillepich, a “Ph.D. in holistic nutrition” from Clayton College of Natural Medicine, a now-defunct unaccredited diploma mill, who also served as “chief science advisor” for Total Health Nutrients.


Needless to say, Braverman and PATH has had some conflicts with medical boards, as well as with the New York Attorney General for their marketing and billing practices (especially misleading patients into thinking that their nonsense woo would be covered by insurance).


His books include The Amazing Way to Reverse Heart Disease Naturally: Beyond the Hypertension Hype: Why Drugs Are Not the Answer (with Dasha Braverman) and a big pile of garbage on how to reverse aging.


Diagnosis: Yet another one, and Braverman is glitzier and fancier and more professional-looking than most. Given that people are understandably concerned about health, his nonsense will surely continue to ensnare a significant number victims, and we are sure that many of them will sing PATH’s praises afterwards – after all, when you’ve spent 10,000 dollars to cure something that the people offering you the cure convinced you that you were suffering from, you are not going to want to find out that you got conned.


Hat-tip: Quackwatch

Friday, December 2, 2022

#2595: Michelle Brannick

Chiropractor Nicholas LeRoy used escharotics to treat a woman’s cervical dysplasia after he lost his license. The consequence was that a woman lost her uterus. Escharotics is idiotic and dangerous pseudoscience but nevertheless popular among alternative medicine practitioners.


LeRoy did suffer some blowback for lying to his patients and treating them with dangerous quackery without a license, but that didn’t really stop him: Instead, he sold his practice to Michelle Brannick, whom he has been teaching everything he thinks he knows about treating dysplasia. LeRoy also continued to consult with Brannick on all cases until she was able to do everything the way LeRoy would have done them. And more women will suffer grievous injuries at their hands.


And Brannick is a quack’s quack. (We will cover LeRoy at a later stage.) Brannick is a licensed “Naturopathic and Chiropractic Physicianmis-educated at the pseudo-educational institution Bastyr, and she offers and recommends a range of nonsense and quackery. She is anti-vaccine, of course, and a fundamentalist conspiracy theorist: Her website contains numerous links to familiar conspiracy websites and resources, including Gary Null (Brannick apparently agrees with Null that all conventional medicine is a conspiracy to keep people sick) and the website Notmilk, which claims that Swiss cheese causes Alzheimer’s and milk protein is causes autism (as well as every other illness from cancers to colds). And of course she touts homeopathy, even claiming that homeopathic arnica 30C should be available in every household.


Diagnosis: Utterly deranged, and genuinely dangerous. Avoid at all costs.


Hat-tip: Harriet Hall @ Sciencebasedmedicine

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

#2594: John Brandt

John Brandt is a New London-based preacher, fundamentalist and young-earth creationist. And Brandt has the evidence for the age of the Earth on his side: “I have written evidence, and he [someone who subscribes to scientific consensus] has theoretical evidence, all of which is only assumption. It all depends on what you are willing to believe. Consider that only documented evidence counts.” And that means Brandt wins, for “The only written document with such information is the Bible. We Bible-believers have written proof of what we believe and teach. The Bible has no less than Jesus’ witness, In six days God created the heavens and the earth.’” It might be instructive, but probably isn’t, to know Brandt’s definition of ‘evidence’. At least, according to Brandt, science has none of it, and “without empirical evidence, science must ‘create’ time, with no beginning, just an accident. And in the process, imagine a beginning, like, ‘Wow! That was a big bang!’”. We suspect Brandt hasn’t actually read the relevant scientific publications on the topic, but why would he? “All the information we need is in the Bible, but not the details.” One is left to wonder why science still sticks to the Big Bang hypothesis – surely there must be demons involved.


Diagnosis: Minor – we don’t know anything else about Brandt than his rantings on the age of the Earth – but apparently relatively representative for how a large number of Americans view science and religion.


Hat-tip: Sensuous Curmudgeon

Sunday, November 27, 2022

#2593: John E. Brandenburg

a.k.a. Victor Norgarde (author alias)


John E. Brandenburg is a (legit) plasma physicist who went bonkers sometime in or before 2012, when he started ranting about aliens and ancient astronomy nonsense, including what he deemed to be evidence of a thermonuclear war on Mars in the distant past. His books (e.g. Life and Death on Mars: The New Mars Synthesis) quickly became popular in various New Age and woo groups. Brandenburg’s primary evidence for his claims is certain ratios between Xenon isotopes in Mars’s atmosphere, which he claims can only be due to nuclear weapons. That is not the case. His claim is dumb. Brandenburg’s findings have yet to pass peer review (pseudojournals like J. Cosmology don’t count). The ideas have provided him with ample space on various pseudoscience and conspiracy theory fora such as Coast to Coast AM, however.


Now, Brandenburg initially presented some rather mainstream – well-backed scientific – ideas about natural nuclear reactors on Mars (like there are on Earth). His take changed at some point around 2012, however – not only was Mars was the target of “an ancient planetary nuclear massacre” but the attacks “were targeted on sites of previously reported artifacts”. ‘Wait, what artefacts?’ you may ask. Oh, yes – it’s the fabulously silly Face on Mars claim – yes, that one: the go-to example of silly pareidolia for critical thinking teachers everywhere: yes, due to the human brain’s natural tendency to interpret things as faces, an eroded hill did, in fact, look somewhat face-like in low-resolution images – the illusion goes away at clearer images of higher resolution, but Brandenburg and his ilk don’t want to look at those. This is Richard Hoagland territory, and it pretty much entails widespread conspiracies about UFOS and government coverups. So Brandenburg endorses those, too. His defense of the Face of Mars hypothesis is absolutely wildly hilariously inept.


In later revolutions in Brandenburg’s descent down the rabbit hole, his ‘evidence’ suggests that there is a hostile alien civilization out there with plans to kill us all. He has apparently discovered a number of other alien artifact in NASA photos, too, including what he takes to bean ancient drone abandoned” on Mars’s surface.


Although the Mars nuclear war idea is Brandenburg’s most famous, he has written about other stuff, too. His 2014 book Cosmic Jesus: The Metaphysics of How the God of Israel Became the God of the Cosmos, for instance, discusses among other things “the relationship between GEM theory (Gravity-Electricity-Magnetism) and Gematria” (oh yes, it does) and how the Bible, through a “sophisticated mathematical allegory”, shows Jesus as the repairer of the effects of the collapse of the fifth dimension to subatomic size.”


Diagnosis: We suspect that since many people initially leaned toward the hypothesis, Brandenburg just decided “what the heck, I’ll just run with it” for fame and fun, though given his subsequent efforts it is hard to avoid concluding that he has, indeed, gone completely off the rails. Probably harmless, though.


Hat-tip: Rationalwiki; Pharyngula

Thursday, November 24, 2022

#2592: Mario Bramnick

Mario Bramnick is an incoherently deranged wingnut, hardcore dominionist, self-declared ‘prophet’ and president of the Hispanic Israel Leadership Coalition (HILC). Partially through that position, Bramnick seems to have become a rather important person in the dominionist movement’s attempts to bring their Taliban-style fundamentalism abroad (that said, he is vigorously opposed to globalism – or, as he puts it, ‘every globalist spirit’, since globalism is a manifestation of the Antichrist.) Indeed, Bramnick seems to have got some serious clout.


Together with Jim Garlow and Eric Metaxas, Bramnick is also affiliated with the World Prayer Network, an outgrowth of a prayer movement initiated in 2020 to frequently gather and pray for God to intervene and overturn the 2020 US election results – in December 2020, for instance, Bramnick thanked God in advance for giving Trump victory, declaring that “Father, President Trump won in the natural, and Father, we decree that he will be seated as the president for another four years, Father. We bring that down on the Earth realm. We decree it” (the reference of ‘we’ is somewhat unclear; it seems that Bramnick sometimes loses track of the distinction between himself and God). Later the same month, he prophesied that the electors would come to their senses on December 14 when they voted to certify the results:  We decree and declare that the hammer of God would come to expose what Satan’s dominion is trying to take over,” said Bramnick:Satan’s hammer is no match for the Maccabee of God, for the hammer of God. And I decree by December 14, we will be victorious exposing the fraud and that President Trump will be declared our president for another four more years.” Fortunately for Bramnick, his followers tend to bracket their Biblical literalism when it comes to dealing with false prophets. It is worth pointing out, however, that according to Bramnick, Trump is anointed by God – “our Cyrus for this hour” – both for spiritual and political purposes, and he is deeply grateful to God for giving “us a man after your heart” and for equipping Trump “supernatural wisdom” for the protection of the American people (especially, apparently, when it comes to immigration policy).


Currently, their biweekly prayer calls, featuring guests like Sidney Powell and Michael Flynn, are focused on asking God to thwart President Biden’s plans; Bramnick himself has called on God to shake the Senate” to prevent Democrats from enacting their agenda – said agenda might superficially look like it concerns infrastructure or economy or healthcare, but they don’t fool Bramnick: it is all a series of attempts at “scheming and plotting against the Lord and his anointed one.” The media, too, according to Bramnick: the media is run by demons that seek to “incite anger, fear, despair” – unlike himself, apparently –“under the prince of the power of the air, Leviathan, twisting spirits.”


Together with Harry Jackson, Bramnick also arranged a 2018 election-themed prayer event “Rise Up 2018” at which they blessed and deputized various Trump officials on behalf of Christ so that they could help Trump’s fight against the forces of darkness in the spiritual battle against demonic liberal forces that the US is currently embroiled in. Apparently Bramnick and Jackson had the authority to deputize on behalf of God: “God has given us authority to tread upon serpents and scorpions and over all the power of the devil.” Jackson, meanwhile, called the event ‘bipartisan’, which is sort of illustrative. 


Diagnosis: Completely deluded and completely insane – yet Bramnick wields a scary amount of power and influence, also, apparently, outside the US. You should, unfortunately, be afraid.