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Prepare to be Disappointed

October 28, 2019

Nick Little, CFI’s legal director who heads a legal department with a budget of $0 trillion, writes ominously about the delight taken by some evangelicals over Pastor Greg Locke’s video in which he burns Andrew Seidel’s book The Founding Myth, putting the phenomena of book burning in a grim historical context:

It is impossible to see a book burning without one’s mind being cast back to the darkest hours of modern Europe, and the rise to power of Adolph Hitler and the Nazis. In 1933, the Nazis held mass burnings of books by liberals and socialists, pacifists and homosexuals, and, most centrally, Jews. The knowledge contained in such books was not destroyed, but, instead, it was publicly and symbolically demonstrated as worthless, contrary to the governing ideology of the new Germany. Celebrating the conflagration, Joseph Goebbels announced “The era of extreme Jewish intellectualism is now at an end.” Into the bonfire, along with the books, went the notion of free speech and debate, the discussion of differing views, and the idea of societal progress through study and research. And in a mere 10 years, the Nazis had progressed from burning books, to burning cities, and burning whole peoples, again, primarily the Jews, in the gas chambers and furnaces of the extermination camps.

The Christian Post is publishing a series of pieces by people who have left the Chistian faith (and perhaps come back), and this one, coming via Friendly Atheist, focuses on how the Bill Nye/Ken Ham debate from 2014 did the trick:

When [Ham] debated Bill Nye the Science Guy on the scientific legitimacy of creationism, I was about halfway through law school and organized a debate watch party, ordered pizza, and gathered my evangelical colleagues to root for Ham together. So imagine how devastating it was to watch my childhood icon be so embarrassingly destroyed before my very eyes.

At The Fix, an addiction and recovery website, “Adam N.” reflects on Alcoholics Anonymous from the perspective of an atheist:

The changes brought about by a life in AA can indeed seem profound, even miraculous. We are surprised. One day we could think of nothing but alcohol or drugs, and would obsessively, energetically and compulsively shape our lives around the need to use them constantly, regardless of the horrendous damage done to ourselves and to those around us. The next day (seemingly) we are caring, sober, responsible, unselfish and kind people, almost entirely transformed. We do not recognize that there is within us this capacity for transformation which is perfectly and entirely explicable on humanistic grounds. Because the change is beyond our understanding, we apply the spiritual caulk, the fill-all in our understanding that is “god”. But the caulk is not needed. Miracles happen every day. I know. I am one of them. If you are reading this, you are probably one too. But god is not required to make sense of them. In fact, in so doing, we denigrate and belittle our own innate capacity for transformation and positive change.

The head of NHS in the UK tells the Professional Standards Authority that giving professional accredidation to homeopaths is a huge mistake. The Guardian reports:

In the letter, dated 22 October, they said the accreditation gave a “false impression” to the public that the society’s treatments were clinically and scientifically established. … “While the Society of Homeopaths may appear to meet some of the PSA’s procedural standards, the basis of their practice remains fundamentally flawed.”

Satire site News Thump reports:

Scientists at the Kettering Institute of Sugary Water Research and Development had carried out a huge, multi-year study into the effectiveness of homeopathic remedies on a test sample of thousands, only to realise at the last minute they couldn’t remember which group they’d given plain, ordinary water to.

“It’s really frustrating,” said head researcher Simone Williams. “We gave one group just normal water to treat their symptoms, whilst the other group got a placebo to mimic the effect of treatment without the effective ingredient.

“Things were going really well, and it seemed the double-blind structure of the study was working perfectly – patients recovered or died seemingly completely at random, which is just what you’d expect if we’d designed the test properly. …

… “Obviously, the only thing I can do is write up the study to show everyone who got better was treated homeopathically and then apply for huge medical funding based on this unequivocal proof.”

Bishops in the Vatican vote to recommend to the pope that he allow for married priests. Oh, also something about protecting the Amazon rainforest or whatever.

A metal “canister-type object” fell from the sky and smashed into a guy’s mobile home in Kentucky, and the FAA says it’s not part of an aircraft. Nor a piece of a train. It can’t be aliens, though, because it has writing in English. DEEP STATE???

Also in Kentucky, a local official warns the good cititzens of Henderson about Dia de los Muertos celebrations. City Commissioner Patti Bugg says someone might try to “summons…you know, a loved one from the grave.” Summons, like, a court-ordered appearance? GHOST COURT.

At the Detroit Lakes Tribune, Blane Klemek recalls examples of absurd cryptid “sightings” in the area:

A road-killed, hairless badger was photographed and reported to authorities as possibly a chupacabra. It didn’t take long for hysteria to take hold and a local television station to pick up the story, too.

The folks behind NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) are launching “NaCoWriMo,” National Conspiracy Writing Month. The Verge reports:

Where NaNoWriMo requires participants to write a 50,000-word novel, the inaugural NaCoWriMo asks them to produce a “deep, viable, and complete conspiracy theory.” Its creator Tim Hwang hopes these fake plots can illuminate a pervasive cultural phenomenon — helping both participants and spectators understand how conspiracy theories emerge. He just hopes people don’t take them too seriously.

Prepare to be disappointed, Mr. Hwang.

The American Jewish Committee releases its 2019 Survey of American Jewish Attitudes about Antisemitism, a survey of American Jews, which shows that 84 percent believe that antisemitism has gone up in the last five years, though fortunately very few claim to have been a target of antisemitism. 31 percent, however, avoid “publicly wearing, carrying, or displaying things that might help people identify” them as Jewish.

Facebook, that bastion of truth and democratic values, is rejecting pro-vaccine ads and waving through antivaxxer propaganda.

There is a “crisis in cosmology” as another study shows the Universe expanding more rapidly than predicted, reports Business Insider. Well, at least one study author calls it a crisis, but where some see a crisis, others see an opportunity. In April, Nobel Prize-winning scientist Adam Riess said, “[This] may be the most exciting development in cosmology in decades.”

James Temple at MIT Technology Review reports that organic farming is not the Earth-friendly practice it is espoused to be. “Organic practices can reduce climate pollution produced directly from farming,” he writes, “which would be fantastic if they didn’t also require more land to produce the same amount of food.” D’oh!

The Cleveland Clinic publishes a study purporting to show the benefits of pseudoscientific “functional medicine,” but as David Gorski helpfully points out, “I must emphasize that this study doesn’t show improved health outcomes due to functional medicine.” Oh, well, I guess we’re done here.

Kellogg’s has gone too far this time, celebrating GLAAD Spirit Day with a disgusting orgy of cereal mascots all mixing their various sugar-and-wheat-based dry breakfast products in a slurry of milk and SIN.

Kesha plays a hypocritical televangelist in her video for “Raising Hell,” which recalls for me (because I’m so very old) Phil Collins as the televangelist in Genesis’s 1991 “Jesus He Knows Me.”

Wired: A “confessions of a psychic medium” piece in which said medium admits it’s all a crock of poo.
Tired: A “confessions of a psychic medium” piece in which said medium says crap like this in Marie Claire:

Because I’m a natural medium, I was born with these abilities so I didn’t have to learn to develop them. I just have to set my intention and connect to the client in front of me to call the spirit realm, essentially like a telephone. I can feel the spirit when they step into the room and see exactly what they look like. I speak to them telepathically and then repeat the messages to the client; usually, the spirit takes me through their death, which is how I validate who the spirit is with the client.

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.