Thursday, July 31, 2014

Using fluoride bans to push other nonsense

Today on Facebook The Industry of Stupid posted what I consider to be a pretty ridicules screen shot:
(Let it noted that TIOS doesn't endorse this, they just posted it to show off some peoples' stupidity)

The first sentence says there has been some controversy over adding synthetic fluoride to water supplies, and sadly this is true. What they are claiming is that there has not been enough controversy. Many others would say differently and say that it's been to much controversy, and that there shouldn't be any controversy at all because the amount of fluoride added to most water systems is in such low doses that you would have to drink over three times as much water as the recommend daily intake inorder to ingest enough fluoride for it to be toxic to you.

Odds are you would probably die of water poisoning before you would die of fluoride poisoning if just from drinking water.

The sentence says that water fluoridation is a serious issue. This is somewhat true, but only in the financial sense and whether or not water fluoridation is worth the cost. All other concerns are are the result of not understanding the science behind water fluoridation, as well as fear induced paranoia brought on by conspiracy theories and junk science regrading water fluoridation.

The last sentence states that fluoride, along with GMOs and vaccines rank among the "greatest crimes against humanity".

Besides the fact that these two things have nothing to do with water fluoridation, this isn't simply not true, it's actually quite the opposite.

Both GMOs and vaccines are not only safe, they have also been two of the most beneficial things for humanity by decreasing starvation and decreasing one's chances of dieing from an infectious disease.

Not only is this person trying to push the made up controversies surrounding water fluoridation, they are also trying to couple this with the made up controversies surrounding GMOs and vaccines to make it sound like they are all the same in a sense.

The only thing these things have in common is the fact that people believe they are bad for you and that they are part of some conspiracy, as well as the fact they all have been beneficial to our overall health.

Last, the picture in the screen shot itself claims that 98% of all European counties ban water fluoridation. This is not accurate. Most places in Europe do not ban water fluoridation, they just choose not too.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

(Pseudo)Science Proves Hugging Trees Is Good for (nothing) Health

Yesterday I saw an article from a website called Earth We Are One that claimed that hugging a tree can be good for our health (read the article here).

Obviously I am skeptical of this, and with a very good reason.

First, the title alone makes it sound like trees can affect your physical health, but in the third paragraph it clearly states that all it affects is your mental health (with the exception of headaches), particularly mental illnesses, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), concentration levels, reaction times, and depression, and that they can do all this through altering your "vibrations".

While being around and touching a tree might affect you mental health and help you with all the things stated, the effects are only temporary and can be achieved through other means, such as meditation or listening to soft music.

In other words hugging a tree is nothing more than a placebo, and doesn't alter your vibrations because the vibrations that are being talked about do not exist.

As for being able alleviate headaches, headaches tend to go away on there own, but a person can make a headache go away faster if they put themselves in a relaxing situation, which I imagine being near a tree and away from other stresses can do for a person, but the tree itself is not doing anything to help you, it's all you.

Second, there are only two references in the entire article, and neither one are even close to being reliable.

The first one is a site called Blinded By Science, which is a website created to sale a book that is nothing more than a bunch of New Age woo coupled with pseudoscience.

The author of the book, Matthew Silverstone, is not a scientist. It clearly states so in his "about" section, and that he has no scientific or medical degrees, just ones in economics and international business.

The second reference is from Natural News...

Besides the fact that the part that the article is referencing Natural News is talking about water vibration, which has nothing to do with what is being discussed, the Natural News article itself is pretty much just a rewritten version of the article from Earth We Are One, and it also only has links to two other sources: Natural News and Blinded By Science.

Plus, it's Natural News, the worst "science" website out there. Referencing it in any way other than to show why you shouldn't reference it would for most people automatically invalidate whatever it is you're talking about.

The third and final thing that stuck out to me is that the article talked about how other studies confirmed that hugging trees are good for you.

While this sounds goods and makes it seem like there may be something to this tree hugging thing, the problem is that there are no links to these so called studies. There should be atleast a few on there because the article claims that there are "countless" studies confirming tree hugging is good for you, but the only two references on there are from non-reliable sources.

This is nothing more than a mixer of pseudoscience and New Age woo, and despite it's claim it has no science proving that tree hugging does anything for you beyond the placebo effect.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Another reason not to like Jenny McCarthy

I have plenty of reasons not to like Jenny McCarthy, what with her pseudo-scientific belief that vaccines are toxic and causes autism (both of which have not only been proven false, but are also based off of fraudulent research) which due to her "activism" in spreading this belief scared millions of parents into not vaccinating their kids, which has also caused measles to return to the United States. But now I have another reason to dislike her: She's a dangerous driver.

During her new Sirius XM radio show (why do people keep giving her jobs despite of all the damage she has caused) she brought up some "amusing" stories about how her son calls the police on her... a lot.

One of the stories she told was that her son called 911 on her because she went outside to smoke (and for some reason she thinks she is qualified to give health advice) and he thought she had abandoned him, and she had to explain what happened to the 911 operator.

Now she might find that funny, and I'm sure some people might find that story funny too, but I don't because her son was probably terrified the whole time.

This ofcourse is forgivable as her son was never in any danger.

But then she also talked about another incident involving her son calling 911 on her that one person on my Skeptic Wars Facebook page commenting on this story so adequately put it, "it appears that potentially killing innocent people because of her selfish entitlement extends beyond her antivax idiocy."

The story goes is that she was texting while driving while her son was in the car. That is dangerous as heck in itself and shows how little she cares about others as she is willing to put her son and other people in danger just so she can send a text message to someone while getting to where ever she is going on time.

Her son, showing that he is clearly the smarter and more responsible of the two, called the police on her.

So, what was Jenny's reaction you might ask? Pull over? Stop texting?

Nope, she grabbed her son's phone and threw it out the window!

She was doing something while driving that is as dangerous as driving drunk, her son does the right thing and calls the cops on her, and she prevents him from doing so.

Not only did she pretty much punish him for doing the right thing (she took his phone away), but she probably scared the heck out of him.

So, still think she is someone to take advice on anything, let alone health advice from?

Source: Mediaite

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Mike Adams crossed the line, and in a way that can't be ignored.

In terms of moral and ethical boundaries Mike Adams is well known for crossing the line often with his promotion of dangerous pseudoscience and disgusting conspiracy theories, as well as calling anyone that promotes real science, debunks his claims, or criticizes him a shill. He also says some other pretty horrible things about his critics (most of the time this is ignored because none of his critics really cares what he says about them, they're just more concerned over what he promotes and how he influences people), and in the case of Jon Entine, threatens to sue them.

A few days ago he crossed another line, and this one may just get him thrown in prison.

On his main website, Natural News, Adams wrote an article that can be best described as endorsing and encouraging the murder of anyone that supports Monsanto and the biotech industry in general (read his article here).

To quote his article:

"Monsanto collaborators who have signed on to accelerate heinous crimes being committed against humanity under the false promise of 'feeding the world' with toxic GMOs."

and...

"that it is the moral right — and even the obligation — of human beings everywhere to actively plan and carry out the killing of those engaged in heinous crimes against humanity."

That pretty much says it all. He is saying that people that support GMO foods and the biotech industry should be killed, and that it is justifiable to do so.

He later went on to say that:

"For the record, in no way do I condone vigilante violence against anyone, and I believe every condemned criminal deserves a fair trial and a punishment that fits the crime. Do not misinterpret this article as any sort of call for violence, as I wholly disavow any such actions. I am a person who demands due process under the law for all those accused of crimes."

Yet those two lines, plus the title, Biotech genocide, Monsanto collaborators and the Nazi legacy of ‘science’ as justification for murder, clearly shows he means otherwise.

He then "endorsed" a website call Monsanto Collaborators which has a list of people that are claimed to be "collaborators" with Monsanto. Not surprising the people on this list are critics of his.

A day later in a poor attempt to do damage control (and perhaps avoid law enforcement investigating him) he went on to denounce Monsanto Collaborators, and not unexpectedly claimed it was a "shill" website meant to defame the anti-GMO movement. This denouncement looked not only very suspicious, but also makes one wonder why he would endorse such a website in the first place.

This denouncement means nothing, mostly because of his endorsement of killing GMO supporters, but also because evidence has pointed towards him as being the person in-charge of that website (read here and here) or at the very least being involved with it. This should be pretty obvious too considering the fact that everyone mention on the "collaborators" list are, as I said before, huge critics of his.

Mike Adams has been receiving a lot of criticism over the past couple of month, starting with his obvious attempt to intimidate Jon Entine to get him to retract an article that criticized him by threatening to sue Entine, as well as him intimidating Forbes to take down said article (you can still read the article here) to criticism of his appearance on Dr. Oz, to other random everyday criticisms of him.

Despite this criticism of him, all of which has been brought onto him by his own behavior as well as endorsement of dangerous pseudoscience and promotion of conspiracy theories, he has no right to make threats like this. Doing this will get you in trouble with law enforcement, and it does appear he is being investigated by the FBI.

The best way to counter criticism is by making good arguments with logic and evidence. Mike Adams does none of that. He just makes wild accusations and calls anyone that criticizes him a shill.

Update: Mike Adams has done some "cleaning up" of his original article by deleting certain parts that could be considered death threats. How ever, the original article can still be read here.

Special thanks to This Week in Pseudoscience for the link.

Monsanto Collaborators is also down due to "Bandwidth allocation exceeded", but you can still see the site here.

You can also read more about this situation here at Genetic Literacy Project.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Can't tell if dumb bigots... or trolling (actually, I'm pretty sure it's trolling)

A few days ago while lurking around one of several skeptic Facebook groups that I belong too I came across this article from a website called Pink News.

The article was in concern over a flyer that was being posted around Clintonville, Ohio for... well, you can see for yourself:
Yes... you're reading that right. It's a flyer for a Straight White Guy Festival.

Now, I know many of you are probably thinking "this can't be real, right"?

Well it could be real because despite our society's advances in the field of race relations, there are still racist people in this country, but I don't think it's real, and I have several reasons why I believe this is so.

Lets take a look at what is not on this flyer that most would have had.

First, there's no contact information of any kind on these flyers.

Most racist groups would have placed on such a flyer either a mailing address, or a phone number, or an e-mail address. At the very least they would have put a website name on there inorder to help promote their group if they were unwilling to place on the flyer direct contact information.

The second thing that caught my eye is that the flyer doesn't say who is putting on and sponsoring this festival.

Any racist or bigoted group that was putting on and sponsoring such an event would not have left their name off. Most hate groups want people to know that they are sponsoring such an event in hopes of recruiting people into their group.

At the very least they would have put the name of a front group on the flyer in an attempt to hide who is really organizing this so called festival, while at the same time trying to recruit new members.

Now lets take a look at what the flyer does say on it.

First is the title of this "event" Straight White Guy Festival.

The name of this alleged festival looks more like something a dumb college frat boy would have created and doesn't realize that this sort of thing is racist and bigoted as hell, rather than a person that is part of a racist and bigoted group.

Now before anyone says it I'm very well aware that bigots are not known for their intelligence, but atleast they would try to come up with something a little more creative than that.

Second thing I noticed about the flyer was that it contradicted itself.

The flyer says "Come help us celebrate our enjoyment of being straight white and male" but it also says "Everyone welcome".

If this festival is intended for straight white males then how come the flyer is also saying that anyone who is not straight, white, or male can attend?

A racist and bigoted group would never have put "Everyone welcome" on such a flyer. They either would have put nothing on there, or they would have made it very clear that only straight white males would have been allowed to attend (or atleast straight white people).

The final thing about this flyer that leads me to believe that someone is trolling in real life is that while there is a location for this "festival", a date, a time, and that beer will be available, according to WBNS-10TV no permits have been taken for such a festival, and while I'm not sure of the local laws concerning festivals at local parks, most places would make you apply for a permit to hold such an event, and to sell beer at it.

Taking all these things into consideration I can only come to the conclusion that this is some kind of joke.

I'm not sure if the person that created these flyers intended on them being racist or anti-racist, but it's still pretty offensive either way.

Ofcourse it could be real and some racist group is intending to hold a festival without getting or knowing they have to get permits first, as well as not knowing how to make a proper flyer.

If they have their festival they'll find out the hard way that you need to have the proper permits.

Friday, July 18, 2014

5 Things I've noticed about... Truthers

Truther, a term that came from the 9/11 Truth movement, but has become more than just an ironic and demeaning term for 9/11 conspiracy theorists.

A Truther can be someone believes in conspiracy theories other than the 9/11 conspiracy theories.

With this in mind I've taken a look at these people, and while I've noticed alot of traits about them, I've narrowed it down to about five different things.

So here are five things I've noticed about Truthers:

5. It's a broad and encompassing term.

For most people when they hear the word "Truther" they think of someone whom is apart of the 9/11 Truth movement, or just someone whom believes the myth that the US government, or Israel, or the Illuminati committed the 9/11 attacks. While this is true, "Truther" has become a more broad term and could include not just a member of the 9/11 Truth movement, but any conspiracy theory.

What a Truther really is is a type of conspiracy theorist that both claims they want to know the truth about a conspiracy theory, and then claims they already know what the truth is, but in reality it's anything but the truth.

Think of this type of person as someone whom asks you where the nearest large body of water is and you tell them that there is a pond 100 feet behind them, but they don't believe you and then tell you that nearest large body of water is two miles away, despite the fact that the pond is clearly behind them, and all they would have to do is turn around to see it. Even if they do turn around they'll just insist that it's not really a large body of water.

That's another thing about Truthers...

4. They keep "Moving the Goalposts".

For anyone who has had a "conversation" with a Truther type of conspiracy theorist you probably already know what I'm talking about, but for those who don't I'll explain.

Truthers, when confronted with evidence and/or logical arguments that contradicts or disproves their conspiracy theories, will often claim that what is being presented to them is not enough evidence to disprove what they are claiming isn't true, or that the evidence that you are presenting to them isn't true, and in either case they will claim to need more.

When a skeptic gets into an argument with a Truther and they start doing this a person like myself will usually determine that either the Truther is too dumb to realize what they are doing, or too deluded to realize what they are doing, or are in serious denial and are trying to hold on to what they believe or want to believe is real, but somewhere in their minds they know they're wrong.

Besides just "Moving the Goalposts" another tactic that Truthers like to use is...

3. They call everyone that disagrees with them a shill.

Truthers are under the assumption that they are right, and that everyone else who does not agree with is wrong. For those that continue to insist that the Truther is wrong then the Truther just seems to naturally assume the skeptic is either a sheep that has not "woken up" to "the truth" (their truth mind you) or someone who is being paid to say what they are saying.

Accusing someone of being a shill will often leave many skeptics to question whether or not a Truther seriously believes that a person is a shill, or if they're calling someone a shill as a way to avoid having to address the evidence and logic that a skeptic brings up.

Skeptics are not the only people get accused of being a shill. Truthers accuse each other of being shills, usually over a disagreement about who committed a "conspiracy", how they did it, and for what reason.

Most people would think that with two Truthers, despite their disagreement over how it was done, who did it, and for what ever reason a conspiracy took place, that they would show some unity, but they don't. Infact...

2. They're often aggressive with each other.

To a skeptic watching a Truther try to argue with another Truther can be the most hilarious thing to watch. Not only do these arguments show that their is no solidarity among Truthers of a certain conspiracy theory, but they also seem to try to one up each other in bogus and false claims, as well as sheer insanity.

Ofcourse this only happens with two Truthers that are near or equally aggressive. If one Truther is a newbie or just not as near aggressive as the Truther they get into an argument with, the aggressive Truther can be very domineering as well as very intimidating, and could cause some people to leave a Truther movement, or cause others to form their own Truther movement, or try to force that one aggressive Truther out (but this rarely happens).

The probable reasons why some Truthers are so aggressive towards other Truthers is that they are trying to weed out the weak (a sort of Truther hazing as some might see it) or they're trying to "identify" possible "shills", or they could just so seriously believe that their conspiracy theory is correct that they feel they must do what ever it takes to prevent the spreading of false information by others, including fellow Truthers.

Then there are just those that are naturally aggressive towards others and probably have some serious mental health issue.

Regardless of whether they are arguing with a fellow Truther or a skeptic a Truther will always do this one thing...

1. They will always bring up the same stuff that they think is evidence.

Regardless of whether or not a Truther will keep moving the goalpost on someone, or call them a shill, or just get really aggressive with another person, they will always use the same discredited arguments, and use the same debunked evidence that they believe is real evidence.

The arguments a Truther will make concerning any conspiracy theory are as predictable as phases of the Moon, and the reason I say that is like phases of the Moon they constantly repeat themselves over and over again.

Sometimes the arguments that they make are so common and in lock step that we skeptics know what a Truther is going to say before the Truther says it.

I guess that's the way of the Truther. Keep making the same debunked arguments over and over, while at the same time denying any real evidence.

Maybe we shouldn't call them Truthers. Maybe we should call them "Mythers"? Or liars.