Quote for the week

Posted October 31, 2007 by ambrielle
Categories: Creationism/ID, Quotes, Religion

Tags: , ,

images-1.jpgAgain from FSTDT (it’s like a supermarket of stupid), but this time I recommend you going to the original source:FixedEarth.com. Several commenters at fstdt have called Poe on this (See here for Poe’s Law if you haven’t spent any time at all on creationism/evolution sites and/or had your head buried in the interweb sand.). I’m not so sure though. It seems like a lot of effort to go to, and once he/she descends into rants about Kabbalistic vs. Biblical Universes, let alone Satan’s Empire of Babylon….

“From Copernicanism Through Big Bangism
Modern Cosmology’s Model Of The Universe
Is Built Solely On ASSUMPTIONS
1) It must be assumed that the Sun is stationary in the “solar” system relevant to the Earth (and to the Moon) and that it has never traveled East to West daily across the sky as observed by everyone on Earth throughout all history.
2) Likewise, it must be assumed that the Earth rotates West to East ccw (counterclockwise) on an “axis” every 24 hours at an equatorial speed of c. 1040 MPH in spite of there being nothing but mathematical evidence for this motion whatsoever.
3) It must be assumed that the Earth is also orbiting the Sun annually (ccw) at an average speed of c. 67,000 MPH.
4) It must be assumed that the Earth’s axial alleged tilt of 23.5 degrees–in combination with its assumed annual orbit around the sun–is the only available scientific explanation for the seasons.
5) The Earth’s atmosphere must be assumed to be just an airy, fixed extension of the alleged rotating Earth. It is assumed and must be assumed that this atmosphere must have the remarkable ability to synchronize speeds of objects in it at all altitudes–birds, clouds, jets, low orbit satellites, alleged geo-synchronous satellites over 22,000 miles out–and to be unaffected by alleged Earth movements of speeds ranging from 1000 MPH to 67,000 MPH to 500,000 MPH to 660,000,000 MPH. This assumption is mandatory once the rotating Earth assumption is made and can not be ignored in the helio model of the eclipse phenomena.
6) A particularly fantastic assumption necessary to accommodating the precise Solar Eclipse Phenomena in the Helio Model involves the bold reversal of the Moon’s observed direction of travel. Acceptance of this occult slight of hand from the Arcane Math Department of Mystic U. has no basis in reality, of course. Rather, it must be coupled with prior acceptance of the other assumptions of a rotating Earth orbiting a stationary Sun. No moon reversal means no accurate eclipse forecasts and no accurate eclipse forecasts means no heliocentricity model.
7) It must be assumed that the Stars do not move around the Earth diurnally as observed by everyone who has ever lived.”

Marshall Hall, FixedEarth.com 2007-Oct-30

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The Society of Homeopaths vs. The Quackometer

Posted October 30, 2007 by ambrielle
Categories: Badscience, Woo

Tags: , ,

anne-petitclaire_ducks_med.jpgMy education in quackery has undergone a steep learning curve over the last year or so reading Ben Goldacre’s columns in The Guardian and his blog Badscience, and hanging around in the Badscience Forums. Consequently, homeopathy has become one of my bugbears. For the uninitiated, in this incredible ‘parallel universe’ the laws of physics, chemistry and biology do not seem to hold, and serious diseases such as Malaria and HIV/AIDS are treated by water or sugar pills. Let’s also be clear that homeopathy is NOT herbalism. In fact one of the principle tenets in homeopathy is that the more an ingredient gets diluted, the more potent it is. Homeopathic remedies DO NOT HAVE ANY MOLECULES OF ACTIVE INGREDIENT. Sorry, but this can’t be emphasised enough, especially to people who confuse homeopathy with herbal remedies, which although not highly purified, should contain some sort of ‘active’ ingredient.

Over the past few weeks, this part of the blogosphere has become a little more exciting, with the news that the Society of Homeopaths, which has pretensions to regulating homeopaths in the UK, used legal threats to suppress the post of another blogger, Dr. Andy Lewis who runs The Quackometer blog. What was so extraordinary about this incident was the fact that the SoH did not write to Dr. Lewis and ask him to change the parts of his post they had issues with but they sicced their lawyers onto his web hosting company. Dr. Lewis removed his post while he tried to sort out what the problem was. Meanwhile, the whole thing has been replicated dozens of times on skeptical and science blogs (see here for some links).
Andy then sent a polite letter to the SoH, asking just what they objected to. No reply as yet, of course. However, in response to this matter being written about by Ben Goldacre in The Guardian, the SoH has posted a rather bizarre letter to the editor, which thus far, only seems to appear as a press release on their website.

Anyway, the next installment in this little saga is on offer at The Quackometer. I recommend reading the whole article. It demonstrates the kind of double-think (or cognitive dissonance) that most homeopaths must excel at.

Finally, I just had to include this pic from LOLquacks:

by Dr. Danny Chrastina, LOLquacks.blogspot.com

Quote for the Week

Posted October 21, 2007 by ambrielle
Categories: Quotes

Tags: , ,

Heh. This just popped up on fstdt.com

mk016.jpg“The Church has a proven history of using faith to triumph over science. When Christians switched to battling with the weapon of science, they began suffering one defeat after another. Evolutionists have good reason to crow about their victories in public schools and in institutes of higher learning. Over the years, they have mopped the floor up with creationists, having won virtually every major contest. With creation science having such a dismal record, I think it’s time to look for a better strategy”

Todd Strandberg, Rapture Ready 2007-Oct-21

It pains me that people like this need to take just one more little step of logic to join reality, yet refuse to do so.

Pet woo

Posted October 4, 2007 by ambrielle
Categories: Badscience, Woo

Tags: , , ,

images-4.jpegOkay, so generally I’m going to deal with things that affect humans. The usual woo topics of medicine and religion. But I also love animals, and have always had pets so I thought I would include a post about this lady, as she’s a ‘local’ woo-monger (is that a new word?) and there are some parallels with recent news stories about acupuncture.

I don’t really have a problem with people treating their mild self-limiting symptoms with various useless alternative therapies with their own cash (It’s not ok for the NHS to offer unproven CAM under the guise of ‘choice-based treatment’), besides of course the insult to rational thought and scientific thinking. However, pets are pretty much defenceless against the woo-inclinations of their owners. They rely on us for food, shelter and proper preventative and ongoing medical care.

Catherine O’Driscoll practices something called Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT).What is this, you ask? Apparently,

EFT is similar to acupuncture, but instead of using needles, you stimulate energy points on your body by tapping them with your fingertips. The process is easy to memorise and you can do it anywhere. EFT is based on time-honoured Eastern discoveries that have been around for over 5,000 years and, more recently, Albert Einstein, who told us back in the 1920’s that everything (including our bodies) is composed of energy. These ideas have been largely ignored by Western healing practices and that is why EFT often works where nothing else will.

Ho hum. Yet another ‘Eastern tradition=good medicine’ canard.

“Emotional Freedom Technique works on the energy body, and is used to release emotions and thoughts which cause problems in our lives, and which can lead to ill health. EFT is great for behavioural problems in animals, too. It has been shown to work powerfully for both humans and animals.”

It might claim to be based on 5000 year-old ideas, but according to this article, “Emotional freedom techniques (EFT), or tapping, was developed in the US in the 1990s.” It relies on the same ‘meridian systems’ that acupuncture is said to stimulate. (If you want to know more about meridians, go here, but don’t say I didn’t warn you). However, looking at the ‘evidence’ we see only evidence for the placebo effect. See here. Additionally, there is no evidence that meridians actually exist. For example, when you compare ‘proper’ acupuncture with sticking needles in randomly, there is no significant difference in perceived outcome. The recent actual paper is behind a paywall (I will blog about this issue later) but has been extensively discussed in the blogosphere (for example see here, here and here).

EFT is a technique invented by a guy called Gary Craig, and is a derivative of TFT (Thought Field Therapy) invented by Roger Callahan. Apparently, EFT can cure asthma, diabetes, blood pressure, and neuropathy, among other more psychological conditions such as phobias, PTSD and anorexia. Impressive stuff indeed. One Eric Robins, MD states that “Some day the medical profession will wake up and realize that unresolved emotional issues are the main cause of 85% of all illnesses. When they do, EFT will be one of their primary healing tools …. as it is for me.” It’s news to me that diabetes was caused by unresolved emotional issues.

But anyway, back to pets. The amazing curative powers of EFT on diabetes in humans will have to wait for another post.
To learn how to do EFT from Ms. O’Driscoll, will only cost you £170 for a two day workshop, or £50 for an hour over the phone. Bargain! Now, I don’t know what form of EFT Ms. O’Driscoll practices, but
whilst I was writing this post I wondered if all the animal meridians had been mapped, and I came across this site by a Silvia Hartmann. Apparently you DON’T tap on your animal, you TAP ON YOURSELF, and through some previously undiscovered and undefined law of physics, you can cure your pet! You don’t even have to be in the same room. Wow. Does this mean I could control any animal I like, just by tapping myself in strange places? This thinking puts EFT firmly into the realms of the paranormal.

Anyway, whilst this is big-time woo, I guess this kind of thing is generally harmless, as it’s generally useless. I can’t help wondering if actually spending time with and having contact with your pet will do just as good a job at correcting any antisocial behaviour. Maybe I’m being just a little snarky, but I had the impression that most of the behavioural problems in pets this technique purports to treat are actually better corrected by educating and training the owner, not the pet.

The next post is going to deal with something a little more…erm, less harmless, which is expounded on by Catherine O’Driscoll on her website Canine Health Concern, (check it out, you’ll be amazed at the badscience contained therein).

Quote for the week

Posted October 1, 2007 by ambrielle
Categories: Creationism/ID, Quotes, Religion

Tags: , ,

images-3.jpegI know it hasn’t quite been a week yet, but I wanted to post this classic before I forgot. It’s another one from Fundies Say the Darndest Things, because surprisingly often, they say the darndest things about SCIENCE.

FSTDT! Post of the Year for 2005

“One of the most basic laws in the universe is the Second Law of Thermodynamics. This states that as time goes by, entropy in an environment will increase. Evolution argues differently against a law that is accepted EVERYWHERE BY EVERYONE. Evolution says that we started out simple, and over time became more complex. That just isn’t possible: UNLESS there is a giant outside source of energy supplying the Earth with huge amounts of energy. If there were such a source, scientists would certainly know about it. [emphasis added]”

awesomestnerd, SmashBoards 2005-Nov-07

Latest science news: Sperm as stem cells?

Posted September 26, 2007 by ambrielle
Categories: Cool science

Tags: ,

images-2.jpeg I have a bit of an interest in reproductive technology and stem cells, and this is quite an interesting story, although it sounds as if it’s still in the early stages. It seems that the researchers think a particular subset of spermatogonial cells can be manipulated to form other tissue types, such as blood vessel, brain and muscle cells.

This is great news for guys of course. A source of relatively easily accessible stem cells (but sorry guys, you can’t produce them the fun way, there needs to be a “small little sample of flesh from the testicles”) that could be used in later in life to treat a number of diseases. As long as there is genetic compatibility, the cells generated could also be transplanted into other people, including females.

The stem cells isolated are naturally multipotent (can generate many types of cells), and this is an advantage over other types of adult stem cells which have undergone genetic reprogramming (“induced pluripotency”), which seems to carry a risk of making them malignant. So far, the research has only been carried out on mouse models, and they have not yet discovered a way to produce desired cell types at will.

A lot of the press release is speculation of course, but the Nature paper shows that they now have the ability to isolate and purify these particular cells (due to the expression of a specific protein on the cell surface) and the efficient production of large numbers of cells which retain the ability to become multipotent adult spermatogonial-derived stem cells (MASC’s), but not, it should be pointed out, germline cells.

I wonder what the reaction of the religious community is going to say to this? After all, these are not embryonically derived cells. But, every sperm is sacred?
ABC science story
Weill Cornell Medical College – press release
HHMI News

Full Text version of the actual paper

Quote for the week

Posted September 25, 2007 by ambrielle
Categories: Quotes

Tags: , ,

I like quotes. I like peoples signature quotes. So I’m going to have a quote for the week, which has been begged, borrowed or stolen from various internet sources and personalities/crackpots.

Today:

“LOL, I think that I am the one that is missing something. Because I fail to see how “glyphosate” resistant weeds is an arguement FOR evolution. I do not even know what glyphosate is so how can that be evidence for anything. Maybe for you it is evidence, for me it is just a word that I do not know the meaning of.”

JohnR7, Christian Forums, 2006-Sep-19 taken from FSTDT.com

One day I’m going to do a post on logical fallacies, but for now, who can pick the major one in this quote?