Jill Stein to WaPo on Vaccines: She’s Just Asking Questions

By Bo Gardiner

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Dr. Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate for President, finally received her big chance yesterday to straighten out the growing concern about her position on vaccines.

With people like me unfairly maligning her, as her supporters have been pouring in here and to The Friendly Atheist to tell me, she had the opportunity to unequivocally reassure us and the American public that vaccines were safe and that she strongly encouraged their use.

The Washington Post began with a softball question to begin their interview: do vaccines cause autism?  Here was the doctor’s reassuring reply:

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Just In Case There’s Any Doubt Jill Stein Sows Distrust in the U.S. Vaccination Program…

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Let’s simply let her supporters answer.

Here are some comments from angry Jill Stein supporters on the Friendly Atheist Facebook page in response to my article criticizing her statements on the U.S. vaccination program.   It was gratifying to see these dwarfed by many thousands of likes and shares, as was a lovely mention as well by the national progressive humanist group Center for Inquiry’s Paul Fidalgo in his daily roundup of humanist news:

Speaking of Stein, Bo Gardiner does a good overview of Stein’s many pseudoscientific predilections.

But it’s a veritable online rule that people who disagree are the most likely to comment, and comment they did.  

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My Heartbreaking Conclusion: Jill Stein Is Anti-Science, Bad for the Environment, and Now Fully Earns Anti-Vax Label

[A version of this article appeared on July 27 at The Friendly Atheist.]

By Bo Gardiner

In a 2013 speech, Jill Stein calls for the imprisonment of GMO producers based on discredited claims, ignores the environmental damage that would produce, and says the difference between the major parties is mere “window dressing” [Source: YouTube].

 

I’m a strong progressive with socialist leanings, but more than anything else, I’m an environmentalist working for biodiversity – it’s my life’s passion.  I campaign hard for Greens running in local elections.  While a government environmental scientist, I successfully blew the whistle more than once on politicized agencies’ illegal actions to permit corporate pollution.  I pushed my agencies hard to put science over politics and stop dragging their feet on climate change.  While working for a nonprofit conservation group, I managed successful statewide biodiversity campaigns, criticizing politicians and government agencies who were obstacles.  In my personal life, I’m a naturalist and organic gardener, who lectures about gardening for wildlife.

For these reasons, I would not dream of voting for Jill Stein, and will be voting for Hillary Clinton for President.  Does this surprise you?  It shouldn’t if you’re looking deep enough.

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Did a New Official UK Report Really Say That Police Should Consult Psychics?

[Excerpts from my post at The Friendly Atheist]

By Bo Gardiner

It would certainly seem so, judging by newspaper coverage of the UK College of Policing draft report proposing new standards for police.

FBI consultant and former TV psychic Patrick Jane suspects a psychic tipster is really the murderer on The Mentalist series finale

The Independent in the UK ran the initial story with the headline “Detectives investigating missing persons cases ‘should consider the advice of psychics’, says College of Policing.” The opening sentence read “Detectives investigating missing persons cases should consider tips from people claiming to have supernatural abilities, according to new proposals from the College of Policing.”

That certainly sounds like the College wants detectives thinking, Hmm, forget Sherlock, I’d better send for psychics to get the expert help I need on this tough case! The paper goes so far as to report that experts want psychics taken seriously

So, the message is that the College is totally into psychic vibes, right?
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India’s News Media Warns Public That Solar Eclipses Can Make Them Sick, Contaminate Food, and Cause Tsunamis

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Crowds in the Ganges River attempt to cleanse away ‘dark energies’ from a 2010 solar eclipse

The Internet continues to reveal the world in the 21st century is not what a lot of us think it is.  Take the London primary school in a Hindi neighborhood, which yesterday banned its students from watching the solar eclipse outside for “religious and cultural reasons,” arranging to shield them from its evil energy by making them watch it on TV inside.  British media drew unflattering attention to the ban, with The Telegraph noting:

Hindu scriptures say that an eclipse makes believers impure.  And fundamentalists believe that they need to bathe immediately after an eclipse and chant the name of God to overcome the forces of darkness.

However parents said children were disappointed by the decision, arguing that religious superstition had been allowed to overshadow science.

It’s a big deal in India, where astrologers are given regular slots during TV news programs.  Yesterday morning, TV News Desk warned its readers that eclipses make you sick and to cleanse themselves when it’s over: Continue reading

Galactic Wisdom for Sale, Only $200 (Alien Implants Removed, No Extra Charge)

Ted Mahr

Vendor of Galactic Wisdom, Ted Mahr

Craig Sailor of the Bellingham (Wash.) Herald has published a most enlightening interview with the host of “Out of This World Radio” on KKNW, Ted Mahr.  Ted runs the upcoming Galactic Wisdom Conference, which is “dedicated to the awakening of all human beings.”  Tickets sound steep at $97-247, but if you think about it, that’s dirt cheap when you look at what he promises you’ll be able to do there:

  • Speak to benevolent extraterrestrials (ETs).
  • Obtain ET protection.
  • Learn amazing and profound insights from people in contact with ETs.
  • Find and remove any alien implants you may have.
  • Contact your angels.
  • Talk to the dead.
  • Communicate with water.
  • Have an appointment with a medical psychic.

Mahr, a disbarred attorney, assures Sailer this is not about conning gullible people, because he’s “getting better at identifying the charlatans.”  Glad that’s straightened out.  Sailer asks Mahr what got him into this: Continue reading

New Age Rape Culture: Astrology Pseudoscientists Blame ‘Rape-Prone’ Women & the Planets That Make Men Rape

After posting about one astrologer’s statements recently on an Indian TV news program (Rape Horoscopes: India TV News’ Latest Ratings Ploy, Dec. 3), I wondered if this was an isolated madman, or if this was a thing.  My sad report: it’s a thing.  I’ll let the astrologic community speak for themselves.  My comments are in italics prefaced with “Note.”

Before we get to the “experts,” let’s look at how this plays out in discussion forums, such as this Vedic Astrology board:

J.S. Sandhu asks: “What causes a child’s sexual abuse?  The close affliction of Rahu or the most malefic planet to Venus or the lord of the seventh house…?  What planetary influences cause a rape?”

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