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Anti-vax Minibosses

March 4, 2019

Mo’ Momo, mo’ problems. CFI’s Bed Radford stands ready to bring some sanity to communities gripped by fear of the “suicide game” that is actually an internet hoax.

So much anti-vaxxer stuff today! SO MUCH! 18-year-old Ethan Lindenberger, who got himself vaccinated against his anti-vax parents’ wishes, will now testify before the Senate Health Committee in a hearing on disease outbreaks.

In British Columbia, health officials are investigating the role of local homeopaths in the current measles outbreak. Get ready to get mad:

CBC has identified at least four homeopaths operating in B.C. who’ve advertised a process known as homeoprophylaxis on their websites, suggesting it can protect children from illness. It’s sometimes referred to as a homeopathic alternative to immunization, and proponents claim it’s been used to prevent diseases as serious as smallpox, cholera and polio.

The treatment depends on so-called nosodes — highly diluted substances made from diseased tissue, pus, blood or other excretions from a sick person or animal.

And then get madder: Texas State Rep. Bill Zedler, an anti-vaxxer, seems to think that antibiotics cure measles.

Julia Belluz looks at how major digital platforms are addressing the pernicious spread of antivax propaganda, but David Gorski nonetheless says far more needs to be done to quash the promotion of all kinds of dangerous medical pseudoscience, such as fake cancer cures.

Anti-vaxxers have now reached the status of video game villain, as the developers of the mobile strategy game Plague, Inc. announce that they plan to add the anti-vax movement into the game’s mechanics.

At Skeptical Inquirer online, Harriet Hall dismisses Dr. Oz’s new claims that lemon water will improve your health.

At the UK’s Spectator, Matt Ridley takes the news media to task for thoughtlessly parroting bunk science, like the recent claim that insects are going to disappear. Ugh, don’t you hate it when stupid, gullible writers just repeat everything without questioning it?

Brad Plumer at the Times looks at how both the pro-science and anti-science crowds “weaponize” the weather to make their points about climate change.

The Good Men Project profiles some of the work of Nigerian humanist activist Leo Igwe, who explains why he thinks humanists need to form communities of their own—for defense:

A community is a necessity for humanists because one potent mechanism that religious believers use to undermine humanism is ostracization. They sanction those who exit religion or those who live as non-religious persons. Religious believers cut off family and community ties. They treat non-believers as social outcasts. Building a community is critical in beating back the tide of persecution and abuse that humanists suffer in Nigeria.

Berry Craig at Forward Kentucky laments the obnoxious efforts of the Kentucky Prayer Caucus to require “In God We Trust” signs be posted in every public school:

Public schools in Kentucky need “In God We Trust” signs like a Kentucky bluegill needs a bicycle.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch urges the state legislature to nix another one of these damned “Biblical literacy” bills:

A religious studies course is a fine option to allow in schools — something that could offer a comprehensive, fair and historical look at the significant influence religion has had and continues to have on humanity. Baker’s legislation, however, should never have been voted out of committee. The House should follow the example of other state legislatures across the country — and the Constitution — and reject this bill.

A truly ugly bill in my own state of Maine that would prohibit teachers from having opinions about or discussing big political issues is unanimously rejected by the House Education Committee. A particularly disturbing part of the bill would bar teachers from “segregating students according to race,” which sounds fine but wait for the punchline, “or singling out one racial group of students as responsible for the suffering or inequities experienced by another racial group of students.” There it is.

Republicans in the West Virginia statehouse put up a display in the rotunda linking Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar to the 9/11 attacks. NBC News says:

One staff member was physically injured during the morning’s confrontations, and another official resigned after being accused of making anti-Muslim comments. …

“‘Never forget’ – you said. . .” read a caption on the first picture. “I am the proof – you have forgotten,” read the caption under the picture of Omar, who is wearing a hijab.

Holy Koolaid in YouTube has a video about how Susan Gerbic and colleagues busted the “seatbelt psychic” Thomas John, the same exploits that were covered in the big New York Times feature.

Grace Slick of the band Starship (and Jefferson Airplane and Jefferson Starship) sells the rights to “Nothing’s Gonna Stop us Now” to Chick-fil-A, and then donates the proceeds to Lambda Legal. Nice. “Chick-fil-A pisses me off,” she wrote. Hehehehehe.

Headline of the Day, from an Earther piece based on an AP article:

Underground Garbage Fire in Arkansas Has Been Burning for Over Seven Months

So many jokes.

Runner-up Headline of the Day, from Gizmodo:

The Fake Sex Doctor Who Conned the Media Into Publicizing His Bizarre Research on Suicide, Butt-Fisting, and Bestiality

This is an exposé of Dr. Damian Jacob Markiewicz Sendler, “a serial fabulist.” And boy does he try to weasel his way out of confronting his lies, and once cornered, compares himself to, of all people, Trump:

“You have to understand that in the world where people use—even the President of this country uses Twitter and creates falsehoods every day,” Sendler said. “How do we then quantify the degree of guilt that you can do, right? Because, you see, if the most powerful man can do this eight, nine thousand times… and he doesn’t care. He still does his thing, and people still support him because they believe in the agenda that he executes.”

Quote of the Day

At OneZero, a publication at Medium, Brian Bergstein takes a deep look at the hypothesis/belief that we’re all living in a computer simulation:

To put stock in the simulation hypothesis without any evidence, you have to believe that this time, we’ve hit on an accurate description and not just a handy metaphor. But that makes it more religion than science, because the simulation hypothesis can’t be disproved. After all, any evidence that calls it into question will be dismissed as having been put there by the simulator.

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Linking to a story or webpage does not imply endorsement by Paul or CFI. Not every use of quotation marks is ironic or sarcastic, but it often is.