Thursday, April 17, 2014

10 People who predicted the end of the World... More than once.

With the recent Blood Moon there are several people going around that are "predicting" that the end of the world is near... again. Most notable of those predicting the end of the world is Pastor John Hagee.

This whole "end of the world" thing has once again got me thinking about all of the people who have made doomsday predictions, and more than once.

I decide to look around Wikipedia and have found quite a number of people who have made multiple doomsday predictions that didn't happen.

So here are ten people that made multiple end of the world predictions:

Harold Camping

If I'm going to start this list I might as well start it off with him.

Harold Camping, the now infamous evangelical preacher and founder of the Christian radio station Family Radio, used some mathematical equations, along with some calender dates and dates in the Bible, to predict when the Rapture was going to occur, and the eventual end of the world itself.

Most of you are probably thinking I'm referring to his failed 2011 end of the world predictions, which I am. I'm also referring to his failed end of the world prediction for 1995, and his three failed end of the world predictions in 1994.

One would think that someone whom had failed to predict the end of the world four times before that no one would listen to this guy's last end of the world prediction. But alas, not only did people listen, but they also spent millions of dollars on an advertisement campaign that basically told people they were about to die.

Pat Robertson

I'm sure most people in America know who Pat Robertson is. He's the host of The 700 Club, as well as the founder of the Christian Broadcasting Network and Regent University, and is considered to be one of the most famous televangelists in the United States, if not the world.

He's also made a failed prediction about the end of the world... twice.

His first failed prediction was that the "Day of Judgement" would happen sometime in late 1982. He didn't give a specific day when it would happen, only that it was going to happen sometime around then.

For his second failed prediction he did give a specific date of when it the end of the world might happen, that date being April 29, 2007. Ofcourse for this prediction he didn't actually say that the end of the world would happen on that, only that it might happen.

Warren Jeffs

Leader of the notorious polygamist cult the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and convicted child molester, Warren Jeffs predicted, twice while in prison, that the world would end.

His first prediction for doomsday was for December 23, 2012. When that failed to occur he blamed his followers for that failure due to a "lack of faith" (because apparently you have to have a lot of faith inorder to make the apocalypse happen) and then moved his prediction to New Years Eve of that year.

I guess his followers still lacked enough faith to bring about the end of the world. Or maybe he just got the date wrong again?

Or maybe he's a obscene liar as well as a pedophile.

Herbert W. Armstrong

Herbert Armstrong was the founder of the Worldwide Church of God and Ambassador College. Throughout his lifetime he and and his advisers met with numerous leaders in various governments throughout the world, for which he described himself as an "ambassador without portfolio for world peace."

He also made four end of the world predictions, all of which clearly failed.

His first end of the world prediction was that the Rapture was suppose to occur in 1936, and that only followers of his church were going to be saved.

When that failed he revised he prediction that the end would happen sometime in 1943, and when that failed he revised it again for 1972, and when that failed he revised it again and said that the world would end in 1975.

Considering that fact that he failed to predict the end of the world four times, why anyone, more or less heads of state, would ever listen to this guy is beyond me.

Ronald Weinland

Founder of the Church of God, Preparing for the Kingdom of God (damn that's a long name) a splinter sect of the Worldwide Church of God (what a surprise), and convicted tax evader Ronald Weinland predicted that Jesus Christ would come back and that the world would end on September 29, 2011... and May 27, 2012... and May 19, 2013.

You're not reading that wrong. Ronald Weinland, three years in a row predicted that the world would end, and each and every time he did... nothing happen.

No word yet from him on whether or not the world is suppose to end this year.

Yisrayl Hawkins

Born Bill Hawkins, founder of House of Yahweh, former member of the Worldwide Church of God (go figure) and convicted child molester Yisrayl Hawkins has made, much like his fellow former Worldwide Church of God member and convicted felon Ronald Weinland, several failed end of the world predictions.

The first end of the world prediction (which he made in 1999) was that the world was suppose to end sometime in the middle of 2002 via nuclear war.

When that failed he then "predicted" that the world would end on September 12, 2006 by nuclear war, then June 12, 2007 by nuclear war, and finally June 12, 2008 by nuclear war.

This pattern of failed predictions tells me two things about him: He's obsessed with nuclear war, and he's bad at making predictions.

Nazim Al-Haqqani

Turkish Cypriot Sufi Sheikh and leader of the Naqshbandi-Haqqani Order, Nazim Al-Haqqani, also known as Shaykh Nazim, is a well respected promoter of Sufi Islam, as well as a promoter of tolerance and peace.

He's also made multiple doomsday predictions.

His first failed prediction was that in 1980 Mahdi would appear and rid the world of evil. When that failed he predicted it would happen in 1988, which obviously also failed.

Finally he predicted that just before the year 2000 came around that the "Last Judgement" would occur and then, the end.

He might be a good guy, but he's bad at predicting when the world is suppose to end.

Charles Taze Russell

As known as Pastor Russell, Charles Russell is the founder of the Bible Student movement, which would later become those annoying door knocking on a Saturday Morning when you're trying to sleep in and refusing life saving blood transfusions people, the Jehovah's Witnesses.

Much like any other typical cult leader... I mean high profile religious leader, Charles Russell made a couple of end of the world predictions.

His first prediction was that Jesus would return in 1874, which according to Charles actually did happen, only that Jesus was invisible. He then predict that the world would end sometime in October 1914 (and before you say he probably thought the world was going to end due to the fact that World War I was going on, I should let you know that he made this prediction in 1892).

His second fail doomsday prediction was also his last, as he died in 1916, and couldn't continue making any more bogus predictions.

Despite of his death however the Jehovah's Witnesses decided to continue the tradition he start and made several more failed doomsday predictions (1918, 1920, 1941, and 1975).

Leland Jensen

Leland Jensen was the founder of Baha'is Under the Provisions of the Covenant, and also held a "doctorate" in natural medicine and chiropractics (I.E. fake medicine).

It's not that surprising to me that someone with that type of "education" would make a couple of end of the world predictions, which he did.

His first prediction was that the world would experience a nuclear holocaust, starting on April 29, 1980.

When that failed he then predicted that the world would be hit by Halley's Comet on April 29, 1987, after it was pulled into Earth's orbit on April 29, 1986.

Is it just me, or did he seem to be a little obsessed with April 29?

Edgar C. Whisenant

Sometimes smart people can believe in really strange things. Edgar C. Whisenant is a prime example of that.

Whisenant was a NASA engineer as well as a Bible student, which on it's surface doesn't sound that bad, but underneath apparently the combination creates a person that constantly believe that the Rapture is going to happen.

Whisenant made numerous end of the world predictions, the first one being sometime around September 11 to September 13, 1988, then October 3, 1988, then September 30, 1989, then 1993, then 1994, and so on and so on.

He made so many doomsday predictions that people stopped counting them and started to ignore him.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

It's been a bad month for Anti-vaccers

The Anti-vaccination movement has had a pretty bad past month, and I would feel sorry for them too if it wasn't for the fact that their propaganda (which is mainly based upon a long since dis-proven and fraudulent study by Mr. Andrew Wakefield that was published in 1998 in The Lancet, and formerly retracted in 2010) has scared parents into not getting their kids vaccinated, which has caused numerous deaths and unnecessary illnesses, as well as permanent injuries.

First is the news reports of multiple outbreaks of measles in several communities in the United States and Canada. Many of the people who have gotten infected are young children who were deliberately not vaccinate, the results of which have been directly attributed to causing these outbreaks.

Suffice to say there has been quiet a bit of backlash against the Anti-vaccination movement, which they rightfully have coming to them. Also, since these outbreaks first started making the news there have also been multiple articles published telling parents why they need to ignore the Anti-vaccination movement and vaccinate their children, which I feel is sort of sad because it shows we as a society have to publish numerous articles about why you need to vaccinate your children and make them immune to diseases that could kill them because some parents have been scared into not doing so.

Then there is ofcourse what happened to the cult... I mean group formerly known as the deceptively named Australian Vaccination Network, which is now known as the still kind of deceptively named Australian Vaccination-Skeptics Network.

What happened to the group is that it finally changed it's name after it lost an appeal against the New South Wales Office of Fair Trading, which had ordered the group to change it's name in 2012 due to group's deceptive sounding name. Shortly after the group changed it's named, it also lost it's charity status. Now I admit I'm not sure what that means for such a group under Australian law, but here in the United States that would mean losing what ever tax exemptions that comes from having been recognized as a charity by the government.

Then there's what happened to Jenny McCarthy when she asked on Twitter what one looks for in a potential partner. Now for most talk show hosts/Playboy Playmates/D-list celebrities most people would have given some BS answer. In Jenny's case however most people were very honest. By honest I mean that a lot of people were telling her that they want someone whom vaccinates their children and accepts the science behind why you should (as well as calling her a kid killer).

Finally there's the situation that happened to Chili's Bar & Grill, which was going to give 10% of the money it made from all sales on April 7 to an autism awareness and support "charity". While on the surface this sounds like a great thing for Chili's to do, there was just one little problem with this: The "charity" they were planning to donate to wasn't a autism awareness and support group. It was a Anti-vaccination group called the National Autism Association.

Almost immediately after the announcing that Chili's was going to be donating 10% of it's sales to this group there was a huge public outcry over this, as well as threats of boycotts. Within a few days time the executives at Chili's reversed their decision to donated to the ANN. This decision was praised by people who accept science and have common sense, but was also scorned and ridiculed by stupid people who still think that vaccines are dangerous and cause autism, and that there is some kind of conspiracy by pharmaceutical companies to cover it up. Suffice to say that some of the comments made on Chili's Facebook page is something that psychologists might want to study, but also shows the type of people that supports the Anti-vaccination movement.

So in the end it has been a bad month for the Anti-vaccination movement. They've had so much bad press and so many people are standing up to them, but I for one could not be happier about it!

Friday, April 4, 2014

10 reasons why AIDS Denialists and the Anti-Vaccination Movement are a lot alike

AIDS Denialism and the Anti-vaccination movement. Two groups that promote what many scientists and and doctors and skeptics alike consider to be the two most dangerous and deadly types of pseudoscience there is. In fact many skeptics have debated which one is more deadly!

Regardless of which one is more deadly, both of groups have an awful lot in common, and I've come up with about ten different things that both groups have in common:

They become very upset when someone questions their claims.

Anti-vaccers and (as I have learned in the past few weeks) AIDS denialists really do not like it when someone questions what they are claiming. It doesn't matter how nice you are to them, or how many facts you present to them, if you question their claims they will become very anger and start throwing around accusations and insults and start spamming people with a bunch of propaganda. This is of course annoying at best, and usually just something that gets them blocked on an internet site, but sometimes they take it to the next level and start doing the next thing on this list...

They use intimidation tactics.

AIDS Denialists and Anti-vaccers just seem to love to use intimidation tactics. Many times these intimidation tactics can be a benign type, like fear mongering and emotional appeal, which is used to sway people who might be on the edge of whether to believe them or not over to their side, or it can be an aggressive type, like death threats, or threats of lawsuits, or harassment, which is used in an attempt to frighten people away from questioning their claims, or to stop skeptics from debunking them.

They claim to do research.

Both AIDS Denialists and Anti-vaccers will often say that they have done their own research into the claims that they are making, and then through this so called research they will claim that they have come to a conclusion, and then proclaim that their conclusion is correct and that all others are incorrect. This is ofcourse if they're not simply claiming that the contradictory information isn't apart of some "big pharma" disinformation propaganda campaign to "slander" Anti-vaccers and AIDS Denialists. And that's another thing...

They think there is some kind of big pharma conspiracy.

Many Anti-vaccers and AIDS Denialists sincerely believe that not only what they believe is true, but they also believe that pharmaceutical companies also know "the truth" and that they're keeping this so called truth hidden from the public so that people will keep buying their products, products that Anti-vaccers and AIDS Denialists believe that no one actually needs and sincerely believes is dangerous.

The reasons why these two groups claim that the pharmaceutical companies are keeping this so called "information" hidden is because if people knew "the truth" (i.e. their truth) that they would no longer buy anything from these pharmaceutical companies and they would go out of business. That, or according to some Anti-vaccers and AIDS Denialists, vaccines and HIV medication is part some kind of NWO/Illuminati plot.

They have no problem censoring people.

Ever make a comment on an Anti-vaccer's or AIDS Denialist's page or comment section for a Youtube video, and said comment either criticizes what they are saying, or debunks what they're saying? Well then you probably know that not many people are going to see it because most administrators of such sites will usually remove such comments pretty quickly... and probably ban you. While this type of censorship is bad they do have every right to do it because they have every right to control the content that is on their webpages.

Some of these people will take the censorship of people who disagree with them to the next level and actually try to get entire webpages and videos from various social media websites removed, either by flagging a webpage or a group or a video as inappropriate or harassing, or even by sending out bogus DMCA takedown notices (which is illegal).

There's no science behind their claims.

While I have no doubt Anti-vaccers and AIDS Denialists sincerely believe in their claims, the fact is that there is no science based evidence behind either of these groups claims. In fact all of the claims made by both of these groups have been disproven by scientific research, which is why no legitimate scientist or doctor takes these two groups claims seriously and try to get other people not to listen to these groups.

They endorse alternative medicine.

Considering the fact that both Anti-vaccers and AIDS Denialist believe in big pharma conspiracy theories it should not be surprising that people in both groups prefer to use and endorse alternative medicine.

Many of the biggest endorsers of the anti-vaccination movement and AIDS denialism are either homeopaths, or naturopaths, or are in some other type of pretend medical field.

Many of the sites that promote these two groups and their beliefs also sell alternative medical products.

They encourage stuff that has legal consequences.

Both groups tend to encourage their followers to do stuff that could lead to a person getting into legal trouble, such as getting sued, being imprisoned, or even having their children taken away.

For Anti-vaccers the legal consequences could result from falsifying vaccination records inorder to get their child in school, to getting sued by the parent of a child that got sick from their child due to a disease that was preventable through vaccination.

For AIDS Denialists, especially for ones that have HIV, the legal consequences could result in them being imprisoned if they have sex with someone and they don't disclose their HIV positive status with simply because they don't believe that HIV exist, or that it causes AIDS.

Their beliefs have lead to deaths.

It is an undeniable fact that the claims from both of these groups have lead to numerous deaths, all of which could have been prevented.

With the AIDS Denialists the deaths are of people with HIV infections who decided not to take any medication that would suppress HIV because they believe that HIV either doesn't exist, or it doesn't cause AIDS. Sometimes it's not just them that die, it's also their children if their children had contracted HIV from their mother while their mother was pregnant with them, and they refuse to let their children have any medication that would suppress HIV.

With Anti-vaccers the deaths come from either their children after they get infect by a vaccine preventable disease and just could not fight it off, or the deaths come from other children that their child infects that were not vaccinated because they were either to young, or couldn't get vaccinated for various medical reasons.

They both act like cults.

Both the Anti-vaccination movement and AIDS Denialists engage in behavior that some would describe as being very cultish like. For example:

They don't like people questioning them. They have enemies lists. They completely disregard what facts are brought before them. They can't stand being question. They put out articles that are blatantly false. They have no regard for rules or laws. And they try to destroy people that take them on.

Sounds like a lot like a cult, and I bet many people would agree with me too.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Protect Desperate Patients from the Houston Cancer Quack

A petition at Change.org by Skeptics for the Protection of Cancer Patients asking the United States Congress to protect cancer patients and their families from being exploited by Stanislaw Burzynski.

Rep. Darrell Issa: Protect Desperate Patients from the Houston Cancer Quack

The petition:

We are writing to request your urgent attention to a matter that involves the exploitation of cancer patients, their families, and their communities.

For nearly 40 years, Houston cancer doctor Stanislaw Burzynski has been treating cancer patients for decades with an unproven chemotherapy he calls “antineoplastons.” Following an agreement in the 1990s with the FDA, he has only been able to administer the drug under the auspices of clinical trials. For this questionable treatment, he charges patients exorbitant fees (often hundreds of thousands of dollars) to participate in a trial and claims to cure the most difficult, almost uniformly fatal pediatric brain cancers. His claims are not supported by science and evidence - despite running more than 60 trials over 15 years he has not published the results of a single clinical trial.

On Friday, November 15, 2013, many concerning issues about Dr. Burzynski were detailed in a front-page exposé in USA Today, including his past use of antineoplastons as an AIDS and Parkinson’s treatment. Sickeningly, critics of the Clinic have found a pattern going back 20 years of patients publically celebrating unambiguous signs of disease progression as signs that antineoplastons were working.

The FDA recently released site inspection notes about Stanislaw Burzynski’s clinic. Their findings were horrific:

-- Burzynski “failed to protect the rights, safety, and welfare of subjects under your care.”
-- “Forty-eight (48) subjects experienced 102 investigational overdoses“
-- Burzysnki allowed overdoses continue: “Overdose incidents have been reported to you [....] There is no documentation to show that you have implemented corrective actions during this time period to ensure the safety and welfare of subjects.”
-- All baseline tumor measurements were destroyed: “Your [...] tumor measurements initially recorded on worksheets at baseline and on-study treatment [...] studies for all study subjects were destroyed and are not available for FDA inspectional review.” Without any measurement there is no way to determine any actual efficacy of the treatment, making Burzynski’s claims unsupported and unpublishable.
-- Burzynski’s reported success rates are inflated: He “failed to comply with protocol requirements related to the primary outcome, therapeutic response [...] for 67% of study subjects reviewed during the inspection.”Nonetheless, these inaccurate outcomes are used to convince dying patients antineoplastons can save them.

Other issues cited by the FDA included:

-- Paying patients who failed to meet the inclusion criteria for the study were admitted to Burynski’s trials;
-- Burzynski did not report all adverse events as required by his study protocols, and many exhibiting toxic effects were not removed from treatment;
-- Adverse events were not reported in a timely fashion (in one case 7 years);
-- The FDA received two different versions of a pediatric patient's records during an inspection, especially significant because the child apparently died of a known side effect of antineoplastons.

Shockingly, these observations were made after a decade of abysmal site reviews by the FDA. Currently, Burzynski’s trials are subject to a partial clinical hold, which means Burzynski is still treating patients already on his protocol.

We are asking that you:

-- Encourage the FDA to dissolvethe Burzynski Research Institute’s clearly deficient Institutional Review [ethical oversight] Board and to place a permanent hold on any more cancer patients receiving antineoplastons;
-- Investigate how Burzynski has been allowed to conduct experiments on pediatric cancer patients while repeatedly cited for violating rules designed to prevent uncontrolled human experimentation.
-- Investigate why the FDA allowed this abysmal researcher to advance to phase 3 clinical trials without publishing a single phase 2 trial;
-- Protect cancer patients from abuse through legislation and FDA oversight reform.          

Please help end a medical ethics scandal that involves eight times as many patients as the Tuskegee Experiment. I look forward to your response on this important matter.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

5 Things I've noticed about... Cults

Cults... those groups of seemingly nutty people that have been around with us since forever.

Most cults tend to die off, but some do stick around and in some cases evolve into religions.

Now many cults do have a lot of things in common but I've noticed five certain things about them.

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

5. They're self destructive.

With a few notable exceptions most cults will eventually die off and cease to exist.

Most of the time a cult will cease to exist due to it's leadership's abusive and controlling behavior, which sometimes results in either a member getting kicked out for some minor infringement, or a member getting fed up with the behavior of the leadership and leaving. These combined with the public's finding out about a cult's abusive behavior, plus what ever strange beliefs they may have, might keep some people from wanting to join, and thus the the cult eventually dies out due to it being unable to gain new members.

Ofcourse sometimes a cult dies off not slowly and gradually, but very quickly due to it's members committing criminal acts that forces law enforcement to imprison most of it's members (those that come peacefully that is) or they get killed by law enforcement because they refuse to be arrested, or the members commit mass suicide or murder/suicide.

4. They isolate people.

Almost every cult there is encourages (or forces) it's members to engage in some form of isolation. For some this may be as minor as encouraging it's members to have as little contact as possible with people that are considered to be possibly "harmful", to having no contact with people who left the cult, to outright isolating themselves from society in general.

Sometimes this isolation isn't the result of a cult encouraging it's members to stop having contact with other people, but instead encourages them to engage in behavior with non-members that is usually considered to be bizarre, imposing, or abusive. Such behavior often times causes non-members to not want to be around any of these members, regardless of whatever relationship they may have with these people.

Regardless of however a cult does it, ultimately a cult will usually end up causing a member to be isolated from those that were closest to them (i.e. friends and family).

3. They're financially ruinous.

Many cults encourages it's members to do things that can cause them to go broke, or at least set them back financially.

One of the ways that cults ruin people financially is that they encourage their member to give large sums of money to the cult. This can be done either through encouraging it's members to give large donations to the cult directly or any "charities" it runs, or encouraging buying overpriced products from the cult, or requiring it's members to pay large sums of money inorder to advance through the cult.

Other ways that cults ruin people financially is by encouraging their members to make bad financial decisions. This could be done either through encouraging their members to make bad investments into things that the cult likes, or to quit a job because the cult doesn't approve of the job, to quiting a job and leaving to go work for the cult.

Regardless of how a cult does it, with the exception of maybe it's leadership, a cult will often times leave a person worse off financially then they were when they joined.

2. They engage in dangerous pseudoscience and alternative medicine.

Almost every cult there is promote some kinds of pseudoscience, which for the most of them isn't actually dangerous, but then there are some types of pseudoscience that cults promote that really are dangerous, particularly concerning medical issues.

One example of this would be the Jehovah's Witnesses who strongly "discourages" (i.e. threatens to excommunicate) it's members from receiving blood transfusions, which has lead to needless deaths.

Another example of this would be Scientology and their "stance" on psychology, in that they believe that psychology is evil. This type of belief can cause people to not seek out or engage in any type psychiatric help when they really need it, which could cause a person to commit suicide or even an act of violence.

Some cults even go so far as to use no modern medicine what so ever. Christian Science is probably one of the best examples of this as they believe that praying will heal a person, and that they do not use any type of medicine at all, instead relying entirely on God's will and prayer.

1. They don't actually have to be religious or organized.

While many cults are generally organized and have religious aspects to them, there are some groups out there that are neither religious or organized, but because of it's own actions and the actions of it's members, many people would argue that they are cults

The 9/11 Truth movement and the Anti-vaccination movement are just two examples of groups that while neither are religious or organized into one single group (although there are several separate groups for both movements) both movements have been accused of being cults due to the movements' continuous promotion of the same stuff that has been debunked for years, and the behavior of both movements' adherents.

Then there are groups that are organized into one single group that are not religious, but because of it's promotion of pseudoscience and other things that are just not possible, as well as how it treats critics, they are considered to be a cult by many people who have examined the group. The Zeitgeist Movement is a prime example of this.

Regardless of whether or not it's religious or organized or neither, a cult is a cult, and it could potentially damage and even destroy your life, so it's best to avoid them.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

And now... Part Six of Debunking House of Numbers

Finally, after over a month of fighting illegal DMCA takedown notices, threats of having his Youtube channel being taken down, threats of lawsuits (as well as other types of threats), having his personnel information shared by a bunch of AIDS denialists, as well as some of those same AIDS denialists trying to silence him in one of the most blatant examples of censorship abuse in internet history in what was a clear attempt by the creators of the "documentary" House of Number to silence any criticism of their so called film, and to hide the truth about their blatant deceptiveness and lying, Myles Power has finally released Part 6 of his Debunking of House of Numbers series.

In this part Myles's friend James Gurney from History of Infection talks about HIV replication and the evidence of it's existence.

Please enjoy!