Sunday, April 17, 2016

And you're certain you've chosen the "One True God"?

A follower of this blog sent me the idea for this blog topic (and some great ideas - thank you!).  You may, too, have encountered this.

"I am amazed, to no end, at the ignorance of some believers - when I suggest that I am a skeptic or an atheist and they respond with: 'So you are into Scientology' (often not even stated as a question)"

He suggested that he tries to respond with "You have no idea about Scientology and other religions but you're certain you chose the 'true' one?".

I have often encountered the "Are you a Scientologist?" or "So you believe in Christian Science?" when I mention that I accept the theory of evolution.  It is clearly a sign that the person knows little about science and nothing about either Scientology or Christian Science.  (I've often remarked that 'Christians' will argue with me against Christian Science - they'll say "It's not Christian" and I'll say "It's not science".)

Scientology, for those that don't know, was created by man (as most religions seem to be - given their misogynistic views) - a man - L. Ron Hubbard.  He was a science fiction author (many would argue that Dianetics was his greatest work of fiction) who created Scientology in the middle of the 20th century.  It is not based on science, it is not based on reality - it is a money hungry cult (the difference from other religions is so subtle that there isn't one).

Christian Science (Church of Christ, Scientist) was created by a woman (wow!), Mary Baker Eddy (and she didn't do anything to shed the "master" teachings of Christianity and other monotheistic religions) in the late 1800s.  Christian Science preaches about healing oneself without medical intervention and, as I recall, about the idea that matter only exists if you believe in it (and that matter really doesn't exist).

For someone to ask if I'm a Scientologist or if I'm a "Christian Scientist" suggests that they are not aware of the teachings and beliefs of either of those religions and one must wonder if they know much about competing religions aside from a headline in the newspaper or what their church leaders have decided to tell them about it.  I don't think it'd be a stretch to say that they probably don't.

In reality the problem is deeper than that - many people know little about their own faith and only have heard or accept the whitewashed versions told to them.  Many haven't read their bible in its entirety and many are rather ignorant about the history of their faith.  In street-level debates, I've seldom encountered a believer who is even aware of completely undisputed facts about Christianity.  During a recent conversation with a believer, they expressed utter disbelief when I stated, factually, that the gospels were not written down until decades after Jesus' supposed death and resurrection (I could only imagine their response had I mentioned that Jesus had as many as 18 foreskins!).

I think this only goes to demonstrate that believers don't accept their religion to be true because they've carefully examined a variety of faiths and picked the one they believe is most plausible.  It's likely that they hold to their current faith because they were indoctrinated into it and haven't dared question it because of the strict protestations of their supremely jealous non-existent sky-daddy.



Friday, April 15, 2016

My Dear Friend Robbie Thomas

(Update 4/16/16: Late last night, I was informed that Robbie Thomas has resorted to threats of physical harm.  As a result, all comments are going into moderation and the Sarnia Police have been notified.  If your answer to criticism of your claims is to threaten physical harm, you've already lost the argument.  However, Robbie Thomas (Robbie Poulton) is either a real physical threat to participants in this blog and http://robbiethomas.sarnia.com or this is further evidence of his lies.  If he honestly believes that he is psychic, he's delusional.  If he's delusional, he may very well act out on his threats.  If he knows the psychic game is just a sham, that makes him an even bigger scumbag but not likely to assault someone.  For the safety of all of us, we're not taking any chances.)

My identity is one of the worst kept secrets in the world.  I have been pretty public about who I am and about my beliefs. And for a good number of years, I've been extremely critical of Robbie Thomas who claims he is psychic (he isn't).  He's tried to find out who I was -- he even called people who I blogged about to see if they would identify me.  No such luck.

For the past few months, I've been, as ME, not my pseudonym, me, the real me, calling people that Robbie has abused, been writing emails to people that Robbie claims support him and even identified myself to Robbie in person.

So he's now trying to blackmail me - threatening to tell people who I am or where I live (he's wrong, which makes it even funnier) if I don't take down the blog about him (http://robbiethomas.sarnia.com - which, by the way, isn't mine to take down) and apologize. That's not going to happen, Robbie.

Robbie Thomas, the truth is not on your side.  You can continue to lie and I will continue to point out your lies.  You can continue to harass and abuse people and I will continue to expose you for what you are (not psychic and a pretty big asshole).

And, Robbie, if I'm wrong, prove me wrong.  Identify a single case that you've solved with your psychic abilities and I'll post a retraction as well as petition to have the Stop Robbie Thomas site taken down.  In other words, the blog will live forever.




The Church of Chiropractic

I've blogged before about the church, err, practice of Chiropractic before.  The "DC" after a Chiropractor's name is short for "Doesn't Count".  They aren't medical doctors, they don't practice real medicine and they are often anti-science. Chiropractic is far from what they want you to believe it is. 

Mark Crislip reviews a recent paper that has been pretty actively discussed in and outside the Church (of Chiropractic).  To quote his background section in the article:
The basic theory and practice of chiropractic, as pulled out of thin air in 1895 by DD Palmer, is complete, utter, 100% nonsense. There is no subluxation complex, there is no inane, er, I mean, innate, intelligence (I think my spell check has become conscious), no disease caused by misaligned vertebrae that is fixed by having the spine adjusted by a chiropractor.
If a patient is seeking care for neck pain and receiving diagnosis and treatment based on chiropractic, they are receiving pure, unadulterated pseudo-science.
The article, as are almost all articles over at sciencebasedmedicine.org, is definitely well worth the read.  Check out the whole article.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

It's so nice to be back

Wow, so much has changed in the past couple of years yet so much has stayed the same.

First of all, I've corrected the old Stop Robbie Thomas site so that it can be viewed again (http://stoprobbiethomas.blogspot.ca) -- I'm told that the stoprobbie.com domain didn't get auto-renewed because of an expired credit card.  Oh well, the posts are back and hopefully a few of us can spend a bit of time getting new content on the site.

Secondly, I'll try to get back to regular posts on this site but there's always so much going on in my life and my horoscope suggests it is only going to get busier for the next month or so.  (If you believe in horoscopes, this blog might not be your cup of tea.)  If you have a topic that you'd like me to blog about or if there's something you think I might be interested in, skeptic@sarnia.com is the best way to get in contact with me.

For a different dose of skepticism, I encourage you to check out http://www.meetup.com/Sarnia-Port-Huron-Freethinkers.  The organizer has been quite active and pulled together a number of events already.   


Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Collect the million bucks or shut up & It's YOUR god, you prove it exists

I get email - often from people who agree with my desire to get people to think critically or from people who have something that they think might interest me or the 2 people who read my blog.  However, I also get email from crazy people, people who firmly disagree and others who think/claim that I'm stupid.

First of all, I don't want you to accept what I say - learn for yourself and come to your own conclusions.  I would like for you to understand what constitutes evidence and data and to understand how to evaluate it. 

"Psychics"
Since the majority of my blogs covered psychics for a while, I seem to get a lot of email from people who "want (me) to know something" or to "get the facts".

Explain to me how he was able to give the name of my uncle who had passed away and even the day he passed away. He couldn't have known any other way.
This is a common statement that I hear from people who disagree.  There are a number of things that I think need to be addressed when statements like this are made.  Asking for a copy of the "reading" (ie. video or audio) might help in ruling in/out some approaches.  (I've NEVER been given a copy of a reading by someone who firmly believes in psychics - I have asked numerous times.)

First of all, I'm skeptical to the suggestion that it is as it is stated.  I am fairly certain that the "psychic" didn't say "So, let's first talk about your uncle Jack Smith who died on August 12, 1984."  The "psychic" likely approached it as most cold reading is done - "I'm getting contact from a person, their name starts with a "J" or an "R" or a "S"".  To which the person probably responded "Maybe my uncle Jack?"  "And it seems to me that he died possibly in the summer." "Yeah, he died in August." 

Another thing to consider is that the "psychic" may have been able to get the information another way.  Since appointments are often made, the "psychic" could have searched genealogy sites, newspapers, facebook, etc. for information on the clients before they attended.

The reality is that stories are often exaggerated, details are left out and new information is added.  If your psychic could really do what you're claiming, send him to http://www.randi.org/ to collect his million bucks or shut up.

Real psychics don't charge for their services and they don't profit from it. (In response to my "collect the million bucks")
Right! Errr. Wrong.  I would suggest, then, that psychics don't exist simply because I've never met a self-claimed psychic who offers their services and doesn't charge for it.  By your statement, Robbie Thomas, Sylvia Browne, John Edwards and others are not psychic.  The evidence of their claims would also support your statement.

Pick on the people who are doing the real harm like drug companies.
I've talked about the REAL harm that psychics do - check back through my blog you lazy (or information ignoring) baffoon.  Or check out http://www.whatstheharm.net/.  If it were true that drug companies were causing real harm and offering no benefit, it does not make psychics, all of a sudden, less wrong.  It doesn't make them smaller liars or more honest.  (I do disagree with the suggestion that drug companies are "all bad" - though I'd be the last to suggest that they couldn't be better but that's not the point of this blog entry.)

"God Exists"
(If) you're so certain that god doesn't exist, present your evidence.
This is a tired claim - I'm not the one making the suggestion of existence so the burden lies on YOU (the god believer) to proof that he/she does, in fact, exist.  Until then, god almost certainly does not exist.

May god have mercy on you.
And may my invisible purple unicorn treat you fairly.  Ridiculous statement answered with the ridiculous.  It is like threatening someone who doesn't believe in hell with eternal suffering in hell.  I'm not worried about your god because I'm not concerned about smurfs, fairies, gods or anything else that doesn't exist.




Friday, March 18, 2016

Free Speech? Come on Marilyn Gladu

It has been broadly reported that Marilyn Gladu recently claimed, when referring to Trump, “the only bright light is that he has sort of restored freedom of speech to America".   The Sarnia Observer

Though I don't disagree with the suggestion that Donald Trump is saying things without thinking or saying things that many, even if they do believe such, would never say in public, let's not equate that, simply, with free speech.

Donald Trump, through his actions, has demonstrated that free speech is not absolute - he has spent considerable time and effort to take away the speech of others.  Trump's threats of lawsuits and actually following through with some are an affront to free speech not an encouragement of it.  Free speech also comes with the rights of others to express contrary views. 

Consider when a joke was made about Donald Trump's inane "birther" claims about Barack Obama.  Donald Trump was offering 5 million dollars for Obama to release his passport and college records.  To show how stupid of a request it was, Bill Maher offered $5 million to the charity of Trump's choice (Maher suggested The Hair Club for Men) if Trump could provide proof that he wasn't "the spawn of his mother having sex with an orangutan". 

Donald Trump, Marilyn Gladu's champion of free speech, sued Bill Maher. (Unsuccessfully, mind you.)

More recently, at Trump rallies, dissenting views are silenced by Trump - people are kicked out.  That's not free speech, that's the desire to say whatever you want without allowing others the opportunity to respond. 

For more on what a free speech advocate would be advised not to do, see The Atlantic: The Lawsuits of Donald Trump.

Marilyn Gladu, you have the right to say whatever you would like.  We have the right to point out when something you say is absurd - that's free speech.  Suing me would suggest you don't think the right of free speech is for everyone.

(Which brings me to this: At some point in the future, I'll tackle Marilyn's views on the separation of church and state, her belief that Muslim immigrants "want to kill everybody" and other public statements she has made that we should all find absolutely appalling.)

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Homeopathic Vodka - Get yours today!

I know I've spent a lot of time picking on Homeopathy and claiming that it is silly until I discovered this:
www.homeopathicvodka.com. This could very well be the product that saves Homeopathy from ridicule.

Unlike Homeopaths distorting what Homeopathy really is, the makers of Homeopathic Vodka have made this product accessible and stayed true to the teachings of the founder of Homeopathy - Samuel Hahnemann.  Even better than telling you exactly what is in their product, they make it so you can make it at home - safely and effectively.

Sorry for the short blog entry - I feel like without www.homeopathicvodka.com in my system, I'm going to die - so I'm off to get another bottle.