Tuesday, June 30, 2015

#1401: Edward Boudreaux

There are a few creationists with backgrounds in science, and they tend to be milked by the movement for what they’re (perceived to be) worth; never mind that the scientific disciplines in which they have their backgrounds are irrelevant to any discussion of evolution. Their existence also demonstrates that you can (at least some places) get a science degree without the faintest clue about how science or evidence works. Edward Boudreaux is a case in point. Boudreaux is a theoretical chemist, Professor emeritus of chemistry at the University of New Orleans, Louisiana, and an “adjunct professor of chemistry” at the ICR. As such he has written a number of creationist tracts with a particular focus on the supposed impossibility of abiogenesis. The claims made there have yet to be widely applauded or recognized for their contributions to or understanding of the science. I don’t think it is necessary to go into his claims in detail – you probably know them already without reading his tracts – but he clearly doesn’t even have a minimal understanding of evolution: “Such characteristics (clear evidence of complex design imparting tailor-made functions) defy the probability that any random evolutionary process could account for such unique specificity in design,” says Boudreaux; the cue, of course, is “random evolutionary process,” which – as anyone who understands evolution would know – doesn’t exactly suggest any profound understanding and is arguably a contradiction in terms.

Boudreaux is probably most famous for his contributions to Edwards v. Aguillard in 1987. Indeed, his testimony was cited several times in the ruling, strongly suggesting that it didn’t exactly help the anti-science side. He is also a signatory to the CMI list of scientists today who accept the Biblical account of creation.

Diagnosis: Yep, completely predictable. Might he be a plant trying to make creationists look silly?

Monday, June 29, 2015

#1400: Leslie Botha

And still they come. Now, we have encountered SANEVax before, but to sum up: SANEVax is an anti-vaccine group specializing in stupid misunderstandings and lunatic conspiracies about Gardasil, often by way of toxin gambits. Leslie Botha is their Vice-President of Public Relations. She also has a radio show (and website) called Holy Hormones Honey!, which is … not a place to turn to for medical advice. The show is an outlet for anti-vaccine propaganda and “complementary and alternative medicine” quackery. The pitch? Well, here she claims that “[i]f one does the quick math, it becomes obvious that nearly 10% of the women who received the Gardasil vaccination experienced an adverse reaction,” based on 7802 reports of [possibly] adverse reactions out of eight million vaccines given. It is not an isolated math slip incident. And Botha’s medical information is not better than her math. She has even promoted Andrew Moulden and appeared with Mike Adams on the Alex Jones show. Heck, she has even been involved in the Shaken Baby Syndrome denialist movement.

Diagnosis: Oh, there are plenty of these, and Botha is a standard case: utterly confident in her own delusions, and completely uninterested in anything that would go against the conclusions she has intuited her way into. And of course: completely, insanely wrong.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

#1399: David Booth

WhatDoesItMean.com is a website devoted to conspiracy theories and rants of such levels of quality that it is often the target even of other conspiracy nutters. And yes, it also sports the delectable web design that characterizes that particular type of website. Now, most of the stuff published on the website consists of links to “news” published elsewhere, but also – and most famously – the rabidly insane column by Sorcha Faal.

Who? Well, until 2004 the website was run by David Booth (still the owner of the website), but in 2005 it was suddenly claimed to be run by a “Russian scientist” named Sorcha Faal, though none of the details like workplace or academic affiliations could be verified. Besides, the name is not remotely Russian but Gaelic, and indeed: By 2009 someone had evidently informed Faal of that, and the site was accordingly claiming that “Sorcha Faal” was the title of the head of the “Order of Sorcha Faal”. It has been, uh, speculated that Sorcha Faal may be … hold your hats … David Booth himself. It’s not A. True Ott.

In any case, Sorcha Faal gives you the goods (“American Rebel Forces Attack Gas Pipelines, Explode Trains As US Civil War Nears,” “Obama Plan To Destroy Gulf Of Mexico Like Ukraine Horrifies Russia,” “Obama Gay Love Affair With Top US Republican Senator Shocks Russia,” “Obama-Monsanto Mass Genocide Plot Stuns Scientists,” “Americans Celebrate Last Year As Free People”) based primariy on what’s currently popular on the more extreme conspiracy forums, InfoWars, Richard Hoagland’s homepage and so on (including the ravings of Amitakh Stanford), sometimes backed up by (non-corroborated) quotes from high-level Russian sources. The reports sometimes get reposted on forums like as Above Top Secret and Godlike Productions, where even regular posters will call it out as bullshit.

Diagnosis: No seriously, even for batshit insane, incoherent conspiracy theories, this is stunningly crazy. Probably pretty harmless, though.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

#1398: Ty Bollinger

As you probably know cancer is a target for quackery like nothing else, and Ty Bollinger has, over the years, managed to make something of a name for himself in cancer quackery circles – at least to the extent that his name pops up now and then when truly insane woo is the topic of discussion (for instance in the stories of Chris Wark or Judy Seeger). Which is why, of course, he appeared at The Cure to Cancer Summit in 2013, a quackfest conference like no other (well, like Autism One), I suppose). And Bollinger seems to be into it all. If you, for any reason, should happen upon his blog at CancerTruth.net (and there is not a non-deranged reason in the world why you would), you’ll find posts on laetrile (no less), pH quackery and sodium bicarbonate cures, all of it with more than a hint of everyone’s Robert O. Young (who may not attend the 2015 version of the Cure to Cancer Summit, if there is one) and Tullio Simoncini.

Diagnosis: Just stay away, will you?

Thursday, June 25, 2015

#1397: Gary Boisclair

Gary Boisclair is a village idiot and acolyte of Randall Terry who is most famous (well, if at all) for mounting a primary challenge to Keith Ellison – despite not having lived in Minnesota since 2003 – on a platform that, well, seems to consist primarily of not liking muslims (his campaign ad was removed from youtube for violating their policy on shocking and disgusting content). Otherwise, he is most familiar from his anti-abortion campaigns with Terry, for instance when he donned a chicken costume to protest the Supreme Court nomination of Elena Kagan (“Pagan Kagan”).

Boisclair’s primary complaint was that Ellison swore his oath of office on a copy of a holy book full of religious tribalism that threatens unbelievers with horrible fates, and of which Boisclair said that if its religious commands were followed they would be incompatible with the US Constitution. Indeed, some proponents of Ellison’s religion, Boisclair alleged, may be extremists who want to make those religious commands governing principles for the US. We clearly can’t have that, can we? – anymore than we can accept pagans on the Supreme Court! Think of the Constitution.

Diagnosis: Good grief.