Respectful Insolence

Recently, there have been grumblings in the ranks of Orac-philes. All is not entirely well. Or, at least, all is less well than usual. Even more unusual, I feel your pain. I really do. We’ve been enduring a stretch when the anti-vaccine movement has been unusually busy for an unusually long time, leading vaccines to take over and dominate as the main topic of this blog for more than the last week. This has led not only to my getting tired of the topic, but to some of you apparently becoming tired as well of the sheer burning stupid that only the anti-vaccine movement can lay down with such density and consistency. Even so, I like to think that I managed to get at least a couple of “serious” posts about the Internet as an anti-vaccine tool and motivated reasoning as a contributor to the persistence of anti-vaccine beliefs. Still, it’s true that I owe it to myself to do a serious post (or two, or three), if only to maintain my own sanity and to induce regression to the mean as far as the level of discourse on this blog goes.

In the meantime, there’s always Mike Adams.

I know, I know. I shouldn’t give a crank like Adams so much attention, and of late I’ve actually been trying to resist the siren call of his crankery, especially when I’m tired and not up for a detailed scientific treatise, which is the very time when the temptation to attack such a “target-rich” environment is at its strongest. However, Adams has outdone himself this time, and that’s saying a lot. In fact, it is through you, my readers, that I learned about this pièce de résistance of crankitude, entitled The God Within:

You’ve even asked for-nay, demanded!-that Orac apply a heapin’ helpin’ of not-so-Respectful Insolence to this video, and Orac is nothing if not a benevolent blogging Plexiglass box of multicolored blinking lights. Besides, I’m drawn to such things like cats to catnip, so much so that I had thought of saving it for Friday to do an installment of Your Friday Dose of Woo. Unfortunately, when I sat down to blog last night, I couldn’t resist. The power of Adams’ nonsense compelled me. It’s like The Secret, Expelled!, and What the Bleep Do We Know? all rolled up into one, but dumber. Far, far dumber.

Move over, Deepak Chopra, there’s a new quantum consciousness woo-meister in town, and his name is Mike Adams. If The God Within is any indication, Adams is evolving into Deepak Chopra with a lobotomy (crossed with Alex Jones, of course, given Adams’ recent penchant for 9/11 Truth and other brain dead conspiracy theories, and Ben Stein, given that The God Within so blatantly steals its accusations that science leads inevitably to genocide right out of the Expelled! playbook). You’ll see what I mean if you watch his video; that is, if you dare, if you can handle the full 22 minutes and 50 seconds of neuron-apoptosing woo.

Adams goes wrong right from the start when, as narrator, he says:

I’ve always admired physicists. They seek answers by asking questions of nature, and when they follow a rigorous scientific approach to the quest for knowledge they refuse to be sidelined by dogma, personal belief, and trickery.

This is hilarious if you know Mike Adams. While he claims to admire pure physicists who are not swayed by dogma, Adams clearly hasn’t learned the lessons that they teach in that he engages in nothing but dogma, personal belief, trickery, and outright pseudoscience in everything he writes for his website. Adams then proclaims science to be the quest for Truth, which is also nonsense. To paraphrase Indiana Jones, if it’s big-T Truth you’re looking for, go to philosophy or religion; science is about evidence, observation, facts, making models, and testing these models against reality. Particularly funny in this introduction is how Adams castigates current science for being in the thrall of big corporations, a criticism that, if it had been nuanced and not come from a total loon like Adams, has a grain of little-t truth to it. What made me chuckle is how Adams accuses corporate science as appropriating the language of science, which, of course, is exactly what Adams does on a daily basis to promote the rankest pseudoscience, quackery, and conspiracy theories. It’s also exactly what he does in this video.

The centerpiece of The God Within is an extended attack on Stephen Hawking and in particular, Hawking’s recent book, co-authored with Leonard Mlodinow, The Grand Design. I haven’t read this particular book; so I can’t comment authoritatively on specific claims that Adams makes about it. However, Adams being Adams, which means being an inveterate promoter of pseudoscience and misinformation, I’m more than willing to take P.Z. Myers‘ and Kim Wombles‘ word against his when it comes to what’s actually in Hawking’s book. There’s plenty of woo left over without my having to point out more than that, as PZ put it, Adams’ video is “more like the bad book report by the sixth grader who skimmed a few chapters the night before it was due, only in this case the sixth grader also has video editing software and has stolen a lot of sciencey-looking clips to gussy up his pathetic efforts.”

More interesting to me is how Adams tries to relate quantum physics to his views on medicine and consciousness. Indeed, he starts right out arguing that physicists are stuck in the “Newtonian era of consciousness,” in which “conventional physics is a lot like conventional medicine.” Never mind that “conventional physics” moved beyond Newtonian physics a century ago; such niceties do not concern Adams when he has a metaphor to pursue, namely that “this mainstream view of physics is to reality what conventional medicine is to healing.” Oddly enough, if Adams had stopped there, what he said would be arguably fairly close to true, just not in the way that he had intended it. As usual, Adams manages to get things exactly the opposite of what is reasonable and scientific. In any case, uses this turd of an argument as a jumping off point to argue that “conventional physics,” like “conventional medicine,” has all the technical jargon of science but none of the soul.

Here’s your first hint: “Soul” is not what science is about.

As he usually is whenever he tries to discuss science, Adams is full of crap when he next argues that “conventional” physicists are not allowed to talk about consciousness, free will, or the “connectedness” that, according to Adams, has been “shown to exist” between all things in the universe. Someone should tell Victor Stenger that or point out that Hawking is a physicist. Of course, both of them speak about such topics in a way that enrages Adams, to whom, as always, it’s all conspiracy, all the time. Scientists are “silenced,” you see (Expelled!, perhaps?); they can’t look at quantum connectedness or discuss free will or speculate about consciousness. Except that they do all these things. Adams just doesn’t like the conclusions they come to while doing so. The reason, according to Adams, is because such questions bring up questions about God or the intersection between “intention” and the physical universe. (The Secret, anyone?) He even defines the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum physics as “shut up and calculate,” an “intellectual security blanket” that supposedly protects physicists from questions of philosophy and free will.

See why I refer to Adams as Deepak Chopra after a lobotomy?

As if to reinforce that impression, Adams delves into pure silliness at one point. Basically, after taking umbrage at a chapter in The Grand Design entitled The Theory of Everything, Adams actually cites the dictionary definition of physics to argue that physics is not the study of everything and then huffily accuses Hawking of overreach based on his inability to find a definition of “physics” that encompasses the “study of everything.” I kid you not. This is followed by a tirade accusing physicists of arrogance, while castigating them for not trying to answer questions, such as “Is there a God?” or “Why are we here?” or “What happens after we die?” The first question can be a scientific question, depending on the specific claim for God; the second question is not really a scientific question at all; and the third question could someday be a scientific question but at present is beyond the realm of science to answer. None of this stops Adams from making an assertion that “consciousness is physics” in a way similar to E=mc2. This is, of course, a meaningless simile. Not that that stops Adams from arguing that physics cannot be fully explained without taking consciousness into consideration.

It’s at this point that Adams builds up a straw man so tall that it puts the Burj Khalifa to shame by claiming that Hawking, and modern physicists, do not believe in consciousness. This is, of course, a truckload of fetid dingos’ kidneys. First, modern neuroscientists are the ones probing the nature of consciousness. Most physicists have little interest in the topic, and fewer still study it. More importantly, the real argument of modern science is not that consciousness doesn’t exist. That’s the straw man. I have yet to hear any serious neuroscientist actually make that argument. What the findings of modern neuroscience indicate more and more is that consciousness is entirely a product of the brain; in other words, it’s entirely due to the physical brain, not some external “mind” or soul. Adams also conflates the question of free will with that of consciousness and stirs it up into a toxic brew of deterministic stupidity by claiming that Hawking (and, by extension, science) believes that we are all deterministic robots completely lacking free will. Adams, as usual, is a pyromaniac in a field of straw men, firing his flamethrower of burning stupid hither and yon with abandon, frying any trace of reason, intelligence, science, and logic from anything he hits. In fact, his straw man is related to what real scientists say about free will and consciousness only by coincidence. For example, Adams quotes Hawking:

It is hard to imagine how free will can operate if our behavior is determined by physical law, so it seems we are no more than biological machines and that free will is just an illusion.

However he leaves out what Hawking wrote next:

While conceding that human behavior is indeed determined by the laws of nature, it also seems reasonable to conclude that the outcome is determined in such a complicated way and with so many variables as to make it impossible in practice to predict. For that one would need knowledge of the initial state of each of the thousand trillion trillion molecules in the human body and to solve something like that number of equations. That would take a few billion years, which would be a bit late to duck when the peron opposite aimed a blow.

Because it is so impractical to use the underlying physical laws to predict human behavior, we adopt what is called an effective theory. In physics, an effective theory is a framework created to model certain observed phenomena without describing in detail all of the underlying processes.

So basically, Hawking appears to be arguing that free will probably doesn’t exist, but that the functioning of the brain and body is so incredibly complex that it’s impossible to predict thoughts and behaviors with any degree of accuracy. In other words, free will might not truly exist if one could precisely know what is necessary about these trillion trillion molecules to be able to make precise predictions of their behavior, but in the real world the illusion of free will is so good that it, for all practical purposes, it suffices. This is a lot different than claiming that human beings are nothing more than deterministic robots, utterly devoid of consciousness, mind, and free will. These sorts of arguments are also the kind that make my brain hurt. To me, for all practical intents and purposes, it doesn’t matter whether we actually have free will or not, because to all intents and appearances we do, whether it’s illusion or not, and there’s no real way to prove it one way or the other.

In any case, Hawking appears to be asserting the conventional view among neuroscientists that “it is our physical brain, following the known laws of science, that determine our actions, and not some agency that exists outside those laws.” Adams does not like this; he does not like it at all. However, as they say, you are entitled to your opinion, but you are not entitled to your own facts, although Adams sure thinks he is, misrepresenting Hawking as “utterly denying” the existence of the mind, consciousness, or the “connection with spirit.” Well, the latter Hawking does deny, but the first two, not so much. To Adams, just like to Deepak Chopra, there is an external thing called “the mind” that communicates with the brain, which then controls the body. Adams even uses the hoary old example of a remote control helicopter, whose rotors can be made to turn by applying current to the wires leading to the motor but that is really controlled from a distance by the remote control, an argument that is no different, and no less ridiculous, than when Michael Egnor used an analogy in which a cell phone is the brain receiving signals from the mind. Of course, all of this makes me wonder if Adams, for all his belief of having free will, is in fact a robot, the only difference between him and the rest of us “biological robots” being that Adams is remote-controlled, perhaps by aliens.

But I digress.

What Adams’ video comes right down to is the complaint that so many woo-meisters have against science, namely that it goes against what they want to believe. In this, he is no different than a young earth creationist denying evolution and using incredible contortions of science and logic to try to “prove” that the earth is only 6,000 years old and that those fossils don’t demonstrate that the earth is actually much, much, much older. Adams, like Deepak Chopra, does not like the implications of the science suggesting that consciousness resides entirely within the brain because he wants to believe in a greater mind and that his mind (such as it is) is somehow “connected” with the universe. Similarly, he doesn’t like modern medicine because he doesn’t like how it does not support his magical, mystical, vitalistic beliefs about how the body works, such as the existence of a “life energy” that distinguishes living from dead, flows through certain channels, and can be manipulated by magical healers (like reiki masters) to produce miraculous healing.

So here’s Adams engaging in a pleasant fantasy of life forces, cosmically connected minds that are separate from the body, and total free will, when along comes science to tell him that physics and biology don’t work that way. It’s a bummer maaaaan, a total buzz kill. So Adams lashes out, just as creationists lash out, and just as Ben Stein lashed out against science in Expelled! Like Ben Stein, Adams even rails against determinism for absolving people of all responsibility of their actions and will absolve all criminals of any crimes.

Yet at the same time, Adams goes Stein one better, invoking a Minority Report-like scenario and claiming that the implication of a deterministic view is that humans can be held responsible for “pre-crime.” Basically, Adams takes Hawking’s observation that predicting behavior would require “knowledge of the initial state of each of the thousand trillion trillion molecules in the human body and to solve something like that number of equations” to infer that if such a thing were possible then it would be possible to predict who will be committing crimes in the future. This is utter nonsense as well, and not just for practical reasons. The reason is that behavior is an incredibly complicated interaction between the brain, body, and environment. Currently, it is impossible to predict what sorts of environments a person will be in that would influence his behavior. A criminal exposed to one environment might be an upstanding citizen in another. Sometimes, all it takes to trigger a crime is a single incident, which can be random and completely unpredictable. In other words, behavior is probabilistic and influenced by what happens to a person, the latter of which can’t be predicted with any accuracy.

Given this buildup, I bet you know what the finale is. Yes, it’s the same as Ben Stein visiting the ruins of a Nazi concentration camp in Expelled! At around the 18:00 mark, Adams states that the view that we are all deterministic robots with no free will or mind leads to genocide. He even includes a shot of a pile of sculls and bones, as if to underscore the point. The hoary argument is tarted up and trotted out again to bore yet another generation of scientists with the claim that, without a view that there is a consciousness or soul, there is no reason that, for example, the U.N. couldn’t or shouldn’t reduce regional overpopulation by going in and slaughtering the surplus population because, you know, we’re all just robots and not “real people,” anyway. At its core, this argument is no different than the argument that we need religion or God to be moral.

Of course, no attack on science as leading to evils such as this would be complete without just one more thing, and, quite frankly, I’m rather surprised that Adams was able to restrain himself long enough so that this one thing didn’t appear until after the 20:00 mark. That’s right, at around 20:21, Adolf Hitler makes an appearance, with Adams intoning that it’s “all the easier to poison millions of Jews if you don’t think of them as human beings and instead consider them mindless robotic machines waiting to be exterminated.” He even shows a Photoshopped picture of a smiling Hitler reading Hawking’s book while ominously warning us that, had Hawking’s book existed at the time of Hitler, Nazi crimes would no doubt have been carried out under the name of science and the idea that the Jews were nothing but “mere soulless animals,” robots without consciousness. Actually, just because someone carries out horrific acts ostensibly in the name of science doesn’t make that science wrong; it just means that person found a way to use it as a justification for evil.

Adams obviously doesn’t know history. The Nazis did invoke science to justify their atrocities, or at least gussied up their rationale in scientific-sounding language. Nazi doctors were told that they were “physicians to the volk,” not physicians to individual Germans, and Jews were denigrated as parasites and bacteria endangering the health of the volk, a cancer that needed to be cut out. In propaganda, they were portrayed as subhuman. Indeed the opening scene of arguably the most infamous Nazi propaganda film Der Ewige Jude consisted of shots of rats emerging from a sewer juxtaposed with shots of Jews in a Polish ghetto. The voiceover informed the audience that, as rats are the vermin of the animal kingdom, Jews are the vermin of the human race and, like rats, Jews spread disease and corruption. In other words, the Nazis did just fine portraying Jews as less than human two years before Stephen Hawking was even born!

Evil always finds a way to demonize the target of its hate, and portraying the enemy as being less than human is a tactic that’s been used to justify murder and genocide for thousands of years. To argue that this parody of Hawking’s view is uniquely dangerous because it permits the dehumanization of people, making the justification of their extermination easier reveals a profound ignorance of history, is basically the same brain-dead argument that Ben Stein made about evolution and atheism in Expelled! Sadly, evil always finds a way, and always has. In fact, it took Expelled! three or four times the time to plumb the same depths of stupid that Adams manages in less than 23 minutes.

With his prolonged rant, all delivered in a sophorific “serious” documentary tone, Adams reveals the depths of his hatred of science. To him, science isn’t just that inconvenient method of discovering knowledge about nature that doesn’t support his quack beliefs, but is a method that leads to evil and mass genocide, even though horrific atrocities have been committed in history by people who fully believed that souls, free will, and consciousness all exist the way that Adams does. In fact, in an accompanying post touting his new video, Adams makes his view of science and scientists even clearer than he does in The God Within, referring to science as “psychopathic in its applications” and stating that science has become evil:

A psychopath is defined as “A person with an antisocial personality disorder, manifested in aggressive, perverted, criminal, or amoral behavior without empathy or remorse.”

Yet this perfectly describes the behavior of many corporations operating under the label of “science.” The GMO seed companies, pesticide companies, fluoride chemical companies, psychiatric drug manufacturers, chemotherapy makers and vaccine manufacturers are, in effect, “psychopathic” in their behavior. They all claim to be operating as “scientific” entities, however, and they aggressively attack those who disagree with them as being “unscientific.” It is this perverted, criminal and amoral behavior — and a total lack of empathy for living beings — that qualifies much of today’s “scientific” corporate behavior as inescapably psychopathic.

In another accompanying editorial, Adams goes even further than just attacking “corporate science” to attacking all science:

Do you now understand how these core, distorted beliefs of the scientific community are evil in nature? They are diabolical. They deny the value of you and everyone else as a living, conscious being. This is why science offers the perfect pretext for genocidal crimes against humanity. This is why the Nazi war machine and its IG Farben chemical experiments on Jews were all carried out in the name of science. This is why “science” can give us atomic weapons, GMOs, population control vaccines, mass chemical poisoning and the rampant destruction of our world — because science is based on an empty, mindless, soulless philosophy that denies our conscious existence.

Then Adams throws in the hoary old “science is a religion” canard:

“Science” has become the Godless, mindless, soulless platform from which the darkest evils of our world now fester and attempt to expand their domination. GMOs, chemical pesticides, rampant over-vaccination of children, fluoride chemicals in the water, chemotherapy poisons… the list seems endless.

“Science” has found a way to measure the electrical impulses of a heart beat but is incapable of understanding what it means to have a heart in the first place. “Science” says you should abandon any belief in your own God or spirit or creative force in the universe and instead put your faith in them as if they were gods! Believe in science, they insist, but nothing else.

And let’s not forget the insistence that only Adams’ woo is the way to “true understanding,” whatever that means:

The real answers to the questions that matter can only be found through channels that are more advanced than science itself: philosophy, spirituality, consciousness and even meditation — these are all channels through which knowledge and wisdom can be gained. These are the pathways of true understanding where the integration of mind, body and spirit takes place.

One person undergoing a spiritual journey in a single afternoon can learn more about life, consciousness and the universe than what would be gained by a scientist with three PhDs and a lifetime of mindless “scientific” research.

Adams even argues that science has produced the atom bomb and other tools of mass killing and now, conveniently enough, a philosophy that justifies mass killing using those tools.

After such a pile of pure idiocy from Adams, I can’t help but wish that Stephen Hawking could respond. Given that Adams fancies himself a rapper, it would be fun to see Hawking school him. It’ll never happen, but if it could, do you think that Adams could withstand the might of a slow Hawking rap like this:

There, I needed that. A little wafer of humor to cleanse the palate of Adams’ hateful idiocy. In fact, it’d be cool to see Einstein and Hawking team up to school Adams. Vaccine Zombie and Don’t Inject Me versus the Theory of Relativity and A Brief History of Time?

The outcome is–dare I say it?-predetermined.

Comments

  1. #1 Cale
    May 12, 2011

    Good God. It scares the crap out of me, seeing all these people who think we need some kind of ‘higher power’ or ‘spiritual authority’, for lack of a better term, to keep them from mass genocide, rape, theft, etc. It says alot about the person who holds these views.

    Whenever someone trots out that old chestnut, all I hear is “If I wasn’t afraid of eternal damnation…. oh the things I’d do.” Do we really live in a world where the only thing that keeps the majority of the population from destroying each other is belief that a God will spank their butts if they do? I’m sure many have made this point before, but I still don’t think it’s been made enough.

    For the record, I’m not an atheist, though that’s not exactly relevant.

  2. #2 wood757
    May 12, 2011
  3. #3 Orac
    May 12, 2011

    I know. I tacked on a couple of select quotes from Adams’ post about his video. Ugh.

  4. #4 s
    May 12, 2011

    He even argues that science has produced the atom bomb and other tools of mass killing

    Where would Adams and all the other loons and woomeisters be without the science – computers, telecommunications, the internet – that has enabled them to spread their idiocy world-wide?

  5. #5 augustine
    May 12, 2011

    Nazi doctors were presented as the “physicians to the volk,” and Jews denigrated as parasites, bacteria endangering the health of the volk, a cancer that needs to be cut out.

    Uncanny resemblance to the way ORAC-philes refer to the unvaccinated. Why do you think they call them “free riders”? Because they have been reduced to seeing people as animals.

    It’s an angry group that’s been taught and learned to hate people. You’re leading a great group of the human race here. Viva la Cult.

  6. #6 JohnV
    May 12, 2011

    @augustine

    “Why do you think they call them “free riders”? Because they have been reduced to seeing people as animals.”

    Because they are free riders? This isn’t a tough concept and I’d figure anyone with a few neurons able to bump into each other would understand this.

    “It’s an angry group that’s been taught and learned to hate people.”

    Ah well, I guess had I read this first I’d realize you were too dumb to understand the concept of free riders. Also, considering the comments you made with regard to the child of one of the commenters here, could you project any harder?

  7. #7 Greg Fish
    May 12, 2011

    augie = Mike Adams? The two sound an awful lot alike and both seem to have the same reading comprehension as a jar of pickles…

    Just a thought…

  8. #8 Composer99
    May 12, 2011

    From the ugh troll:

    Why do you think they call them “free riders”? Because they have been reduced to seeing people as animals.

    The rhetorical response to the rhetorical question is a complete non sequitur. The concept of free riders comes out of economics and the social sciences, which can hardly be accused of treating people as animals.

  9. #9 augustine
    May 12, 2011

    free rider = parasite

    Thank you johnnyv for providing evidence.

  10. #10 Cale
    May 12, 2011

    http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/856/mikeadamscomment.png/

    I left a comment on Mike Adams’ video. Of course, ‘comment pending approval’. Luckily, through the magic of prntscrn, I can show you all.

    I love how genefire there decided that a guy spending his life in a wheelchair is unqualified to comment on the human experience. Unless there’s some kind of level of sarcasm there I’m not detecting.

  11. #11 Kristen
    May 12, 2011

    Funny, all Adams’ video accomplished here is causing me to want to read Hawking’s book.

  12. #12 JohnV
    May 12, 2011

    I’m sorry augustine, but we can’t ignore the concept of herd immunity because people get offended by it and its implications.

  13. #13 augustine
    May 12, 2011

    I’m sorry augustine, but we can’t ignore the concept of herd immunity because people get offended by it and its implications = JohnnyV rationalizing his agreement with my remarks. (denigrated as parasites, bacteria endangering the health of the volk, a cancer that needs to be cut out.)

    Hey, it’s Ok just put on your badge and helmet so I can see you coming.

  14. #14 ArtK
    May 12, 2011

    Hmmm… I see that augustine has switched main tactics. Instead of trying (and failing) to argue based on science, s/he is morphing into a “tone troll.”

    C’mon augie, be a brave anti-vaxer. Fight past those bad words, “sticks and stones” and all that. Wear your hurt sensibilities like a badge of honor. Stand up proudly and say “Yes, I am a parasite! What are you going to do about it?” (Extra points if you stick out your tongue, or even better, cough on someone.)

  15. #15 Cale
    May 12, 2011

    Augustine, do you really intend to compare a bunch of scientists trying to prevent disease to freaking Nazis?

    I guess it’s too much to expect you to realize just what an ignorant turd you sound like right now.

  16. #16 Lawrence
    May 12, 2011

    Obviously boring troll supports the “de-humanizing” of pro-vaccine supporters, in particular the wonderful rendition of Paul Offit & co. dining on the corpse of a baby for Thanksgiving.

    So, do you maintain your own logical consistency here & repudiate that type of behavior on the anti-vax side?

  17. #17 augustine
    May 12, 2011

    @ArtK

    You stand up proudly and say “Yes, I am a vaccine nazi! What are you going to do about it?” (Extra points for you if you cross your arms holding syringes in each while squirting the contents out. Bonus if you scowl your face like you mean it.)

  18. #18 Mu
    May 12, 2011

    From Wikipedia:
    Parasitism is a type of symbiotic relationship between organisms of different species where one organism, the parasite, benefits at the expense of the other, the host.
    There are two kind of unvaccinated, and one half of them seems to fit the definition to the i. They take advantage of the lack of infectious diseases due to the vaccinations while at the same time diluting the herd immunity.
    The second half are the more like pathogens, not caring about the survival of the host but only interested in spreading their own kind at all cost.
    I think we all know which Orac-phobes are in which category.

  19. #19 augustine
    May 12, 2011

    The second half are the more like pathogens, not caring about the survival of the host but only interested in spreading their own kind at all cost.

    Who’s the host? ORAC?

    The second half are the more like pathogens,

    Which ones are like cancer? or rats?

    Don’t stop now keep it going. How about read a few lines from Mein Kampf, or whatever political equivalent that you people prefer.

  20. #20 Lawrence
    May 12, 2011

    Who’s dehumanizing who now, boring troll?

  21. #21 Denice Walter
    May 12, 2011

    Like Old Faithful, we can rely upon Mikey to spew off a wicked vent of steam and detritus at regular intervals. Just last week, we were treated to his stylings as a cognitive psychologist. Today, I am extremely glad that my video player would take *forever* to play a 22+ minute *piece of resistance* (or piece of whatever-else-you’d-like-to-call-it) so I didn’t watch at all.

    Nearly 100 years ago, post-WWI, there was a movement called the *Krisis des Wissenschaft* ( sp.?)- after witnessing the slaughter of modern warfare, a few scientists questioned what science had wrought- psychology was Watsonian, pure s-r, legitimately soul-less and mind-less. Freud was writing about the “death instinct”. However, I firmly doubt that Mikey A. is discussing Mr Kohler’s ideas for solving the crisis.

    Mikey likes to drop names and quotes of “famous scientists” to impress his marks. He also likes to say “physics” and “philosophy” a lot. A while back, I wrote about woo-meisters being unable to tell where the dividing line between art and science lies -not that what they produce has any artistic merit- however, it is fictional, creative advertising, raconteur-manship as well as gamesmans-ship. Mike teaches us the value of a liberal arts education as well as one in science: it’s probably the only reason that I have such a high tolerance for concentrated nonsense like his : actually, most of the time, it’s extremely funny to me- I always liked farce.

    I find that he – and Null and Mercola- like to talk about “corporatism” in medicine and science: seems that it is all one big money-making scheme to sell-sell-sell the consumer on new, expensive products that are *absolutely* necessary for life to continue- hitherto-unseen conditions are “created” to market new drugs. Why does that sound *so* familiar? I venture that these *truth tellers* have more in common with corrupt pharma than they’d like to admit – except mandated research, of course. He critiques *corporate* science while promoting corporations (like the several he owns) *without* science.

    I’m sure that Mike would deem my criticisms the product of an *elitist*, international, liberal, “socialist” education- which he and the others, mind you, *attempt to ape*- which probably includes(( shudder)) atheism. He’d be right. However, my beliefs encourage me to seek solutions *now* in this *world* and call out those who take advantage of others.

    A long time ago, concerning adaption and evolution, James wrote: “Consciousness loads the dice”. Mikey just threw “craps”.

  22. #22 Mu
    May 12, 2011

    Damn, my hypothesis already disproved by Augie’s mere existence; I forgot the troll group that doesn’t care about anything but being fed. Science works!

  23. #23 Denice Walter
    May 12, 2011

    @ Greg Fish: I don’t think that they’re the same- different ways of using language- *however*, I’m sure that the *petit eleve* picks up many talking points from *meisters* Mike and Gary.

  24. #24 PsyberDave
    May 12, 2011

    The article on the main page of Natural News is so incredibly chock full of wrong. One headline calls Francis Crick the “Father of DNA” as if he invented it. In fact, it says he was the “co-discoverer of DNA”. Never mind that DNA was discovered 60 years before Watson, Crick, et al. did their famous work of *modeling the 3 dimensional structure of DNA as being a double helix*. Am I being too nitpicky?

    Natural News hates science and yet doesn’t even know what it is.

    Come to think of it, I think that’s very much like any hate group that mischaracterizes and misunderstands their objects of obsessive derision.

  25. #25 JohnV
    May 12, 2011

    @augustine

    There is no need to rationalize. People who are benefiting from herd immunity are free riders. I’m not rationalizing anything, I’m stating a fact.

    Now, some people are “herd immunity denialists” and others are simply unaware of the concept so they’re one class of free riders. Others, such as your compatriot Sid Offit knowingly benefit from herd immunity and at times are proud of their free riding.

    If you think noting this makes someone a Nazi, then I expect that in a year or 2 when you’re in 11th grade and learning world history you’ll be really surprised.

  26. #26 Militant Agnostic
    May 12, 2011

    I love how genefire there decided that a guy spending his life in a wheelchair is unqualified to comment on the human experience. Unless there’s some kind of level of sarcasm there I’m not detecting.

    Of course Hawking did not spend all his life in a wheelchair, but facts and woos are nearly mutually exclusive.

  27. #27 wheatdogg
    May 12, 2011

    sculls and bones?

    A little spell-check fail there, sir, unless the video shows
    a lab skeleton rowing team.

    After reading about Adams’ complete fk-up of physics, I don’t have the nerve to watch it myself. I suffered through What the Bleep … and that was bad enough. Thanks for going where I fear to tread.

  28. #28 Composer99
    May 12, 2011

    An earlier attempt at mockery by me of the ugh troll is caught up in moderation for links. Guess I should go all ‘sean michael’, ‘Neil Craig’, or ‘Crack Emcee’ on the comment thread here and loudly whine about being censored.

    Suffice to say, there is a world of difference between:
    (a) noting that people, who are for the most part members of affluent majority groups, who refuse to vaccinate behave in a manner consistent with the phenomenon of free-riding, and
    (b) comparing members of long-persecuted minorities to vermin who must be exterminated

    That the ugh troll keeps conflating the two categories suggests either (a) cluelessness or (b) dishonesty.

    I know the troll will want to suggest option (c) wisdom, but based on the troll’s efforts today and yesterday, I think we can safely conclude that (c) is off the table.

  29. #29 Denice Walter
    May 12, 2011

    “Just when I thought I was out…..” Chapter XLI

    Much as I despise being the bearer of bad tidings:
    AoA posts two new forays into anti-vax creative writing today ( one video, one Hewitt)

  30. #30 Kristen
    May 12, 2011

    Funny, all Adams’ video accomplished here is causing me to want to read Hawking’s book.

  31. #31 Kristen
    May 12, 2011

    Sorry about the double post earlier. Apparently if I close my laptop and open it later the comment posts at both times.

  32. #32 Jud
    May 12, 2011

    It’s an angry group that’s been taught and learned to hate people. You’re leading a great group of the human race here. Viva la Cult.

    Way to exemplify that Christian love.

  33. #33 abb3w
    May 12, 2011

    Interesting that comparing humans to animals or robots gets taken to say that it’s fine to treat humans badly, not that animals or robots should be treated better.

  34. #34 LovleAnjel
    May 12, 2011

    Thank for describing this so I don’t have to watch it. Now I want to read Hawking’s book.

    “all the easier to poison millions of Jews if you don’t think of them as human beings and instead consider them mindless robotic machines waiting to be exterminated.”

    The absence of that reasoning was no impediment to mass slaughter and torture, or the willingness of people to participate. Actually the direction this should logically go in, that Adams doesn’t follow, is that the Nazis themselves were robotic planned machines and thus can’t be held accountable for their predictable, predetermined actions. But that would make his position look bad.

  35. #35 JayK
    May 12, 2011

    I’m in the middle of a lit review of cognitive history and a small deconstruction of mind-body dualism, so Hawkings’ book will make for an excellent citation. I hadn’t read this one, usually they’re outside of my research, but I just grabbed it.

    Maybe Mike Adams fancies himself as the next Rene Descartes?

  36. #36 ArtK
    May 12, 2011

    @JohnV

    If you think noting this makes someone a Nazi, then I expect that in a year or 2 when you’re in 11th grade and learning world history you’ll be really surprised.

    That was an insult to 9th graders everywhere. My 8th and 9th grade sons think Augie is hilariously dumb. They know the difference between a Nazi and someone who thinks that vaccines are good and important.

    Augie’s just parroting the language used by a lot of people these days. People who have studied world history, and even people who lived through WWII and certainly should know better. It’s part of a simplistic world view that uses “Nazi” as shorthand for “something I don’t like” and some black-and-white thinking. Anything that isn’t good is bad, and all bad things are the same.

  37. #37 stripey_cat
    May 12, 2011

    Presumably “sophorific” is the nature of those 9am lectures in your second year, when being at university is no longer new and exciting and you don’t yet have final year exams looming close overhead?

  38. #38 someareboojums
    May 12, 2011

    Mike Adams CQN[1] is a monster raving megalomaniac and, at the same time, breathtakingly stupid about a lot of things, which makes for an interesting combination. Reminds me a bit of Wilbur Glenn Voliva — but that’s not important now[2].

    Interesting, that reference to Newtonian physics. It’s been noted many times that relativistic physics didn’t replace classical physics, but absorbed it. By that analogy, modern science-based medicine did not invalidate the discoveries of pioneers from the era of Koch and Pasteur, but built upon them. Of course, Mike Adams reckons that his own genius really will replace all that, sweeping the old and the new before it. Dream on, Mikey, dream on.

    [1] I’ve proposed over at PZ’s place that cranky quack naturopath Mike Adams be designated “Mike Adams CQN” to distinguish him from the fundie homophobic boob “Mike Adams FHB.” With your support, we can stamp out crank confusion in our lifetimes.

    [2] Yeah, so Airplane cracks me up — what of it?

  39. #39 augustine
    May 12, 2011

    If you think noting this makes someone a Nazi…

    No! I don’t think you’re german. You are a Vaxxine Nazi!

    Everybody doesn’t want to get on your train. But you’ll have none of that nonsense.

    It’s not that the people not getting on are rats. You view them all as pathogens.

    Its the philosophical question, “who is man?”. You’re answer: Pathogens, vectors, rats, stupid, dangerous, uneducated.

    You think science will give you security and certainty to protect you from this big bad world. It won’t. It’s an illusion of protection. It’s an illusion of security. No matter how hard you worship it.

    Now go back to your medical priests, get your health prophecy, and take your pills. It’s predictable.

    “Nazi” as shorthand for “something I don’t like”

    You must be good at teaching your kids how to construct strawman arguments to get what they like.

  40. #40 Anglachel the Common Sense Pagan
    May 12, 2011

    One day, hopefully, people will realize that spirituality and religion have no place in science. There is no need for Hawking or anyone else for that matter to go about questioning if there is a God or matters to do with the soul. They aren’t theology majors! Theirs is not the study of spiritual matters. Therefore, it would only make sense that they would keep to their area of expertise.

    Saying that we are impacted and adapt ourselves occording to physical law is just fact! And in such cases, it is an interesting question on how much of our decisions and reactions are actually under our control. However, this does not take away free will. Say you have two children. Both go through the same type of horrible abuse over the same amount of time. One grows up to become a abuser, the other grows up and becomes an advocate for the abused.

    Both were impacted by their past. Both made decisions about their lives that were affected by what happened to them. But the outcomes are not the same because of free will, which caused one to choose to use his/her experience to make a difference, while the other continued along the cycle of abuse.

    Which shows that Hawking was correct in how the physical world affects how we opperate, and his comments after that show how even though this is so, how physical law affects us is determined by each individual, making the robot argument bunk.

    Science is Godless because it SHOULD BE! It is about verifiable fact, things that can be measured, tested, and proven. The concept of God is not something that can be proved or disproved by science in my opinion. Things of the spiritual realm are not material. They can not be measured or tested. Which is why things of a spirital nature have nothing to do with science.

  41. #41 someareboojums
    May 12, 2011

    I’m not deliberately sockpuppeting, by the way.
    It’s Google Accounts doing it, honest.
    - jre

  42. #42 Mu
    May 12, 2011

    Its the philosophical question, “who is man?
    Science is about facts. If it’s truth you’re looking for, Dr. Augie’s philosophy class is right down the hall.

  43. #43 ArtK
    May 12, 2011

    @augustine

    You think science will give you security and certainty to protect you from this big bad world. It won’t. It’s an illusion of protection. It’s an illusion of security. No matter how hard you worship it.

    And you accused me of constructing a strawman? Have you no self-awareness at all? There’s quite a bit of projection going on there. You’re the one who wants to throw out a solution (vaccines) to a problem (infectious disease) because it’s not perfect.

    BTW, my stating that there is a group of people who equate “Nazi” with something that they don’t like isn’t a strawman. It’s based on an analysis of what people say and write. If people use a word, like Nazi, away from it’s usual definition (something related to the German National Socialist Party in the 1930s and 40s, and all that came from that), we have to look at context clues to see what they mean by the word. Having seen “Nazi” and “Holocaust” used in many, many contexts, the only common meaning I can derive is “something the speaker doesn’t like.”

  44. #44 Scott Cunningham
    May 12, 2011

    Mike Adams, health deranger:

    “Science” has become the Godless, mindless, soulless platform from which the darkest evils of our world now fester and attempt to expand their domination. GMOs, chemical pesticides, rampant over-vaccination of children, fluoride chemicals in the water, chemotherapy poisons… the list seems endless.

    The smear campaign against science by the forces of make-believe continues.

    Empiricism works, empirical evidence shows. Idealists feel resentful, and slink back to their rooms to write solipsist screeds and fantasize about running over scientists with Plato’s cosmic spheres. We can imagine a lot of beautiful things that simply aren’t so.

    But then, Mike Adams’s imagination seems to be full of chemical pollutants, conspiracy theories and coffee enemas. You’d think he’d be happy to hear there’s no evidence to suggest most of the hobgoblins of his mind are real. Adams seems to be fighting not to wake from a nightmare.

    Oh, and I can’t resist

    fluoride chemicals in the water

    We must preserve the purity of our precious bodily fluids!

  45. #45 augustine
    May 12, 2011

    Science is about facts.

    Really? Is empiricism the only way to gain a fact?

    Does science have all the facts? And what about the gap between facts? At what liberty do you fill that in? And who determines what facts are emphasized? Who is this “fact” manager that tells us what we shall do with our lives?

    One little tidbit you forgot. Medicine is not a science. Based in science maybe. But not a science.

  46. #46 augustine
    May 12, 2011

    Mu

    Science is about facts.

    “Science is built up of facts, as a house is with stones. But a collection of facts is no more a science than a heap of stones is a house.”

    -Henri Poincare

  47. #47 Anglachel the Common Sense Pagan
    May 12, 2011

    Did I say that science held all the facts? No, I did not. I said science is about facts. Things that can be measured, tested, and proven. It does not determine which facts are emphasized. People do that. When you start filling in things, things that have not been or can not be measured, tested, and proven, you are no longer dealing in facts. Facts are objective.

    Science is objective.

    It is people who are not.

  48. #48 Dangerous Bacon
    May 12, 2011

    Since science is “distorted”, “soulless” and evil to the core, I’m sure NaturalNews will never again cite any scientific study in support of its nostrums and supplements.

    Sure.

  49. #49 Composer99
    May 12, 2011
  50. #50 augustine
    May 12, 2011

    Science is objective.It is people who are not.

    Those people are called scienTISTS.

  51. #51 Narad
    May 12, 2011

    Maybe Mike Adams fancies himself as the next Rene Descartes?

    I think Swedenborg is closer to the mark.

  52. #52 Isaac Domagalski
    May 12, 2011

    “a pyromaniac in a field of straw men”

    I’m stealing this line.

    Although I haven’t read The Grand Design, I have read A Brief History of Time, and I can tell that Mike Adams is making massive strawmen about Dr Hawking, based off of what I remember from the book. In ABHOT, Hawking describes how once his muscular disease took over, he had to work out all of his equations in his head. I think Dr Hawking believes in consciousness.

  53. #53 Anglachel the Common Sense Pagan
    May 12, 2011

    Scientists when conducting studies have to opperate under certain RULES! Studies go under a rigourous process of verification before being allowed to be put out and the results of the studies are considered fact.

  54. #54 Composer99
    May 12, 2011

    I’ll take “tiresome troll shtick” for $100, Alex.

  55. #55 Johnny
    May 12, 2011

    The second video was OK, but I prefer the work of MC Hawking
    *NSFW*
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=89jt7zJzkNQ&feature=related
    *NSFW*

    You think science will give you security and certainty to protect you from this big bad world. It won’t. It’s an illusion of protection. It’s an illusion of security. No matter how hard you worship it.

    Well, a good understanding of science (including the understanding of the world we live in that science has brought us) and a .45ACP will go a long way in protecting a person from the dangers of the world. And like a good gun, I don’t worship science (or any thing else), but I use it as the tool it is.

    Does science have all the facts?

    No, otherwise it would stop.

  56. #56 scott
    May 12, 2011

    augustine:

    “Does science have all the facts? And what about the between facts? At what liberty do you fill that in?”

    Well, I guess if science hasn’t filled in the gap yet, then people like you have the liberty to fill it in with what ever nonsense you like. Of course just inserting whatever belief you want is foolish and just the opposite of logical, it’s not really a gap filler, but rather an illusion you’ve created for yourself which helps to confirm your imaginary highly subjective biases.

  57. #57 Cale
    May 12, 2011

    Equating people you don’t like to Nazis is such an old tactic, and so overused, that it even has a name: “Godwin’s law.”

    Sorry to use EncyclopediaDramatica as a source, and for those who are offended by it feel free to ignore my link, but it is the best explanation of the phenomenon I find:

    http://encyclopediadramatica.ch/Godwin%27s_Law

  58. #58 mhops
    May 12, 2011

    I read these comments frequently and it’s clear that most discussions devolve very similarly with a few commenters, (lovingly, the RI ‘trolls in residence’) steering the direction into a very frustrating series of “oh yeah, I know you are but what am I?!” back and forths.

    Augustine, and others, it seems clear to me what you DON’T like, but what I’m interesting in learning from you is this: What exactly do you stand FOR? If science and modern medicine (as we know it, with all of its imperfections and short-comings) does not work well for you, what system would you prefer in its place? How would this system work and what would it look like?

    These are honest, genuine questions — I’m not trying to provoke anyone.

  59. #59 Yojimbo
    May 12, 2011

    @ mhops – It won’t tell you explicitly. If it did you’d be able to address the arguments directly, and it would no longer be able to call “straw man”.

  60. #60 inspiringsalmon
    May 12, 2011

    Really? Is empiricism the only way to gain a fact?

    Yes, if by “fact” you mean a “verified observation of objective reality.”

    Or, put another way, please identify one fact you have come across that was not obtained via empiricism.

  61. #61 TomZ, a miasma of incandescent plasma
    May 12, 2011

    No surprise that Adams is a LIAR LIAR LIAR! A cursory glance at what top-tier scientists say about our level of “connectedness” with the universe shows we know we ARE connected to everything.
    Neil deGrasse Tyson: “We are all connected, to each other – biologically, to the Earth – chemically, to the rest of the universe – atomically.”
    Carl Sagan: “The beauty of a living thing is not the atoms that go into it, but the way those atoms are put together.”
    Sagan again: “The cosmos is also within us, we’re made of star stuff, we are a way for the cosmos to know itself.”

    Just look up “Symphony of Science” on youtube, here’s a great example: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XGK84Poeynk

    Tell me the realities of scientific inquiry doesn’t blow your mind, Feynman: “…It’s all really there, but you gotta stop and think about it, about the complexity of it, to really get the pleasure.”

  62. #62 herr doktor bimler
    May 12, 2011

    Why do you think they call them “free riders”? Because they have been reduced to seeing people as animals.

    Puzzled, I am. In all my experiences of riding public transport, I have never seen a cow or a cat or some other non-human animal caught by a ticket inspector for free-riding. I’m not aware of any evidence or even any popular prejudice that animals are more likely to free-ride than humans.
    So why should accusing someone of “free riding” carry the implication that they are animals? Really can’t see the link.

  63. #63 Chris
    May 12, 2011

    mhops:

    Augustine, and others, it seems clear to me what you DON’T like, but what I’m interesting in learning from you is this: What exactly do you stand FOR?

    Here is a hint (I believe it is his first comment).

  64. #64 plutosdad
    May 12, 2011

    I never knew “free rider” meant “bacteria”, I thought it was just a selfish person who takes advantage of others. Funny that language thing.

  65. #65 herr doktor bimler
    May 12, 2011

    You would think that if ‘free rider’ were such a hatefully potent dehumanising term, the Nazi propagandists would have used it in their campaign of antisemitism. But no, I can’t find it anywhere. Nor did it feature in the Rwanda genocide; nor in the rhetoric of Stalin and Mao and the Khmer Rouge against their imagined class enemies. It’s as if none of these eliminationist rhetoricians were doing their job properly.

    The alternative is that calling someone a ‘free rider’ compares their behaviour to a mildly asocial breach of the social contract.

  66. #66 Anonymous
    May 12, 2011

    Just a heads-up: Trine Tsouderos is currently Tweeting about the interview she just did with Dr Oz. Example Tweet:

    “#droz impressions: Said Mercola is right sometimes. I asked how he knows if there arent data. We went back and forth on that a bit.”

    http://twitter.com/#!/ChicagoScience

  67. #67 Prometheus
    May 12, 2011

    “mhops” (#55) asks:

    “Augustine, and others, it seems clear to me what you DON’T like, but what I’m interesting in learning from you is this: What exactly do you stand FOR?”

    “augustine”, for one, is simply a contrarian – the sort of person who likes to post comments just to see if he/she can get a response. No matter what the topic, you can count on “augustine” to come out on the opposing side.

    Science-based medicine? (S)He’s against it. Exposing quacks? (S)He’s against it. Trying to maintain public health? Not on “augustine’s” watch!

    Then there are the “topic trolls” who have a closed-minded obsession with a certain issue (e.g. “vaccines-cause-autism”) and can be counted on to pop up whenever their particular fetish is under discussion. They travel light and never think to pack their data when they go trolling.

    There are others, like “Th1Th2″, who may actually have serious psychiatric problems. These folks insist on their own peculiar (and eccentric, to say the least) interpretation of concepts that are significantly different from reality. For example, no matter how many times we tell him/her that injecting dead organisms isn’t an “infection”, Th1Th2 can’t seem to grasp the concept. It’s difficult to have a discussion when you can’t even agree on what the words mean.

    In short, most of the “trolls” don’t stand for anything. They are either simply contrarian (e.g. “augustine”), delusional (e.g. Th1Th2) or are parroting dogma that they don’t themselves understand.

    I hope that helps.

    Prometheus

  68. #68 Denice Walter
    May 12, 2011

    @ Prometheus- I believe that augustine is most definitely a “he”- witness some very strong reactions to out-spoken, intelligent women – he definitely has a more, shall we say, *traditional* perspective. While I see contrarianism contra SBM, I’d say that he does seem to take a certain stance, perhaps betrayed by his choice of a ‘nym ( an early Christian Church Father, who famously said, “Give me chastity… but not yet”) and isn’t exactly enamoured with atheists. References to “philosophy”, “science”, and other monolithic abstractions, unsullied in their lack of contact with the real world, smack of adolescent idealism.

    There’s always the vanishingly small possibility that he’s a very talented dialogue writer who has managed to fool us all with his simple verbal expressions although I wouldn’t place any real money on that. Neither do I think it’s some sort of *zen of writing* – “let’s get back to basics”.

    He doesn’t seem to want to answer questions about his educational background despite many questions- which sets off bells and whistles for me- most of us here are willing to say exactly *what* we studied if not *where*. I also don’t pick up on any expressions that scream out “undergrad” or any older age cohort.

  69. #69 Roger Kulp
    May 12, 2011

    This may be a little to esoteric for even Orac’s readers,but I’ll post it anyway.

    I trust most of you are familiar with Murray Bookchin,a man whose writings I greatly admire.Bookchin,a socialist/ Trotskyist leaning anarchist writer,whose life would take too long to detail here,wrote dozens of books,and articles,all of which are well worth reading.One of these, was written in 1997,is about the decline of anarchism in apost-60s America,and is called “Social Anarchism or Lifestyle Anarchism: An Unbridgeable Chasm”.The “lifestyle anarchists” Bookchin writes about have the same sort of Luddism,that runs deep in the antivax movement.

    This little book caused quite a stir in the anarchist community,to say the least.In response to his critics, Bookchin wrote the essay posted here

    http://dwardmac.pitzer.edu/Anarchist_Archives/bookchin/whither.html

    There is a section here,that is describing one of his critics,and damned if it doesn’t describe Meyers,Olmstead, and the rest perfectly.I’m only going to cut and paste a few partial paragraphs.Any interested parties can go read the essay,or better Murray’s original book,which he refers to by it’s initials SALA.

    The second full-size book that contains a response to SALA is Beyond Bookchin: Preface to a Future Social Ecology (BB) written by David Watson (more widely known by his pseudonym George Bradford).[7] The leading writer for the Detroit anarchist periodical Fifth Estate, Watson is an individual whose writings I criticized in SALA for technophobia, anticivilizationism, primitivism, and irrationalism. …

    For many years, in many different essays, as I pointed out in SALA, Watson has sharply rejected civilization, presumably in its Western form (although he devotes little space to denunciations of Oriental despotisms, with their megamechanical armies of serflike gang laborers). Thus, he told us in 1991: “Civilization is coming to be regarded . . . as a maladaption of the species, a false turn or a kind of fever threatening the planetary web of life” (CIB, p. 10). It has been little more than “a labor camp from its origins” (CIB, p. 12); it is “a machine, an organization,” “a rigid pyramid of crushing hierarchies,” “a grid expanding the territory of the inorganic” (CIB, p. 12). Its “railroad leads not only to ecocide, but to evolutionary suicide” (CIB, p. 13).

    …The rise of civilization becomes humanity’s great lapse, its Fall from Eden, and “our humanity” can be “reclaimed” only through a prelapsarian return to the lost Eden, through recovery rather than discovery–in short, through a denial of humanity’s advance beyond the horizon of prehistory.

    This sort of rubbish may have been good coin in medieval monasteries. But in the late Middle Ages, few ideas in Christian theology did more to hold back advances in science and experimental research than the notion that with the Fall, humanity lost its innocence. One of the Enlightenment’s great achievements was to provide a critical perspective on the past, denouncing the taboos and shamanistic trickery that made tribal peoples the victims of unthinking custom as well as the irrationalities that kept them in bondage to hierarchy and class rule, despite its denunciations of Western cant and artificialities.

    …On the subject of modern medicine, our poet–as he styles himself–delivers himself of the sublime view that “it could conceivably [!] turn out to be medicine which extinguishes humanity rather than ecological disaster or human conflagration” (BB, p. 115). Not nuclear war? Not a terrifying and rampant epidemic? Not even “ecological disaster”–but medicine?[9]

  70. #70 Sastra
    May 12, 2011

    He even shows a Photoshopped picture of a smiling Hitler reading Hawking’s book while ominously warning us that, had Hawking’s book existed at the time of Hitler, Nazi crimes would no doubt have been carried out under the name of science and the idea that the Jews were nothing but “mere soulless animals,” robots without consciousness.

    If science provides no evidence that anyone has a “soul,” then Nazis would hardly use science to argue that Jews are distinguished from the good Aryan races because they are “mere soulless animals,” robots without consciousness. That does nothing to show that they are different, and thus deserve less consideration, than other people.

    On the contrary, it is much easier to denigrate and de-humanize others by using some spiritual “other means of knowing” … and discover that Jews (or whoever) have no souls. As Anglachel wrote, “The spiritual realms are not material. They can not be measured or tested.”

    How … convenient. How the hell then could anyone provide data that persuades skeptics that no, Jews do indeed have souls too, once someone claims to “learn more by undergoing a spiritual journey in a single afternoon … than what would be gained by a scientist with three PhDs and a lifetime of mindless ‘scientific’ research?” What would you point to? How could you compare?

    One cannot count on such elevated discoveries making sense, or being benign, or being egalitarian. And they are irrefutable. At least you’ve got a chance to shoot down something that at some point claims to be “scientific.” You can pin down something in this world. You can’t touch Transcendent Truths with the cold, objective analysis of science.

    More’s the pity. As Bronowski pointed out, it is not a good thing for humans to believe things “with no test in reality.” And, IIRC, the Nazis did indeed argue that the Aryan race was created by God with a divine nature — and the Jews evolved from apes, and had no souls. A grand divide, a hierarchy of one group over the other. The problem then wasn’t the science part – it was the “spirituality” part.

  71. #71 herr doktor bimler
    May 12, 2011

    IIRC that was a major element in the Nazi rejection of “Jewish science” — it was materialist, insufficiently ‘spiritual’.

  72. #72 Orac
    May 12, 2011

    D’oh! That’s absolutely correct! How could I have forgotten to mention that?

  73. #73 The Very Reverend Battleaxe of Knowledge
    May 12, 2011

    Also, before they invented “Aryan Physics” to fight the creeping corruption of “Jewish Physics”, both Phillipp Lenard and Johannes Stark had won Nobel Prizes in Physics. Presumably Mike Adams has done so as well, thus validating his competence to pronounce on the basic foundations of the discipline. Would it be too much to ask to see the long-form version of that Nobel citation before deciding whether to believe his crap? Thanks in advance, Mike.

  74. #74 J.C. Samuelson
    May 12, 2011

    Wow. I couldn’t make it through the whole thing. The juxtaposition of teh stupid and extreme hubris in the person of Mike Adams is too much to take.

  75. #75 meg
    May 12, 2011

    Rev Battleaxe, you beat me to it! “Hitler’s Scientis” by John Cornwall is an excellent read on the topic.

    However, it should be remembered, that Hitler was all for ‘natural remedies’, as was Hess. They didn’t trust science at all. (Hitler was also very sceptical of the idea of nuclear weapons.)

  76. #76 GlaxoPharma Com Orbital
    May 13, 2011

    MESSAGE BEGINS————–

    Shills and Minions,

    Maybe it’s all the darling (and now safely out of their culling phase) hatchlings scampering about our quarters here on the station, the reproductive hormones or I’m just getting soft from “hanging out” with Miss Flinders, but I think it’s just so cute that Augustine has learned how to use logical fallacies. He’s discovered that he can accuse others of using “strawmen”, “red herrings” and “ad hoc ergo propter hoc” just like the big girls and boys. I really don’t think he has the slightest clue as to what they mean, but the verve with which he has embraced them is almost . . . endearing. Always such a joy when the training sheath comes off the battle claw and we’re all grown up.

    Lord Draconis Zeneca, VC, iH7L
    Forward Mavoon of the Great Fleet, Suzerain of V’tar and Pharmaca Magna of Terra, Seed Progenitor of the Creche of 36

    PharmaCOM Orbital HQ
    0010101101001
    —————————————— MESSAGE ENDS

  77. #77 technically impartial
    May 13, 2011

    … this “Augie” character. Is he for real? I mean, I thought he was just a satire at first, but now…

    Fine, I’ll bite. It’s Friday afternoon here and I’m cranky.

    Look, augustine, to be a Nazi you have to adhere to a VERY specific and extraordinarily repugnant political ideology. Being in favour of vaccination (I like to refer to those people as “sane”) is not even remotely connected to that blood-soaked piece of hatred; I also hate to break it to you, but their relationship to what we know as science is… tenuous. By which I mean they tended to take what they liked and let the rest take a flying leap, usually what they turfed were the facts. Other posters have referred to “Aryan Physics” and Hitler’s favour of “natural remedies” – but anyone who’s looked into that pack of monsters knows that they were also enraptured by astrology and a hodgepodge of mystical mumbo-jumbo.

    It is frankly insulting to anyone and everyone who has suffered at the hands of the Nazis to imply that they are.

    The question you raised about science having all the facts is idiotic; of course it doesn’t. Science doesn’t pretend to. Science has never pretended to.

    Now, please, stop it. I’m feeling embarrassed for you, and I need to save it for when I go back to reading budget coverage.

  78. #78 DLC
    May 13, 2011

    Trust crumbs like Adams to add in Argumentium Ad Nazium to any discussion.

  79. #79 WMDKitty
    May 13, 2011

    Free rider?

    Huh. I’ve always heard it as “freeloader”.

    Same difference.

    BTW, Stephen Hawking is living proof that just because your body broken, well… you still have your brain, man. I just wish I had his … I dunno, he’s, like, defied the odds with ALS, man. He’s, like, too stubborn to die. I admire that.

    (I refuse to call him an “inspiration” because, as a disabled person myself, that stuff just grinds my gears.)

  80. #80 Dr Aust
    May 13, 2011

    “[Adams is like]…. Deepak Chopra with a lobotomy”…

    Heh. Nice one.

  81. #81 sophia8
    May 13, 2011

    Denice Walters@19: A while back, I wrote about woo-meisters being unable to tell where the dividing line between art and science lies -not that what they produce has any artistic merit- however, it is fictional, creative advertising, raconteur-manship as well as gamesmans-ship.
    That connects to something that I’ve noticed a lot – that Adams and all the other woomeisters, conspiracy-mongers and anti-science ranters all primarily (or even wholly) use Youtube videos to spread their messages.
    It’s because videos/TV shows are the natural entertainment media. Watching & listening is easy – we’ve been doing it since we were born; reading, by contrast, is pretty hard work – there’s extra mental/neurological processing involved. That gives you time to notice the content of the words and maybe think about what you’re reading.
    A good illustration of this is the Alex Jones video Orac posted a while back – all ranting, spitting, gesturing, shouting. It was old-time preacher-style theatrics – very impressive if you just sat back and let it wash over you. Reading a bare transcript of what Jones was actually saying wouldn’t have impressed anybody and would have shown him up for the goon that he is.
    Adams et al like putting across their messages on videos because their core audience don’t like to be made to think about anything – they prefer to just sit back and be entertained. Read up on the facts? Don’t make us think! Hey, look at this other neat Youtube video I found….

  82. #82 harey
    May 13, 2011

    Oh no, I just watched this pile of idiotic bullshit with bad animated formulae and serious looking scientists in white coats, now I feel like banging my head against the wall. Nicely deconstructed though.

    A few comments from a physicist: Mike Adams claims to be a fan of quantum mechanics, however, he does not even understand what the basic interpretations actually is. He claims that the ‘Copenhagen Interpretation’ is deterministic, which is plain wrong, it is actually quite the opposite. The Copenhagen Interpretation acknowledges the non-deterministic nature of quantum mechanics, it sees the wave functions as probability functions, i.e. we cannot know where the particle will go next, but we can calculate the probability of it doing certain things. This is exactly the opposite of what Mike Adams seems to think it is. But is sure has a paternalistic evil name, those danish monsters!

    Also a small comment about the ‘theory of everything’ Adams mentioned in the videa. I haven’t read Hawkins book, but generally, physicists use the term ‘theory of everything’ to refer to a theory that unites all the forces of nature (i.e. strong, weak, electromagnetic and gravity), currently those cannot be described under a single theory. Technically, such a theory can describe everything, practically it cant because of the sheer complexity of systems. Even if we would have a theory of everything, many problems would stay unresolved because of the sheer complexity of, for example, galaxies. It might be a stupid name, but physicist really like dramatic names. The same goes for the ‘god particle’, it’s simple a rather mysterious postulated particle that has not yet been found but should exist. And few physicist would actually call the ‘god particle’ that, we know it as ‘Higgs boson’, sounds less like scientists are evil monsters that want to rule the world though.

    This seems to be a fallacy common in physics-pseudoscience: argument ad weird-name-physicists-give-stuff. It is also common when it comes to dark matter and dark energy as well as black holes. Because clearly, if stuff is named ‘dark’, people cant possible know anything about it. Sigh.

  83. #83 plutosdad
    May 13, 2011

    @59 herr doktor bimler

    Puzzled, I am. In all my experiences of riding public transport, I have never seen a cow or a cat or some other non-human animal caught by a ticket inspector for free-riding. I’m not aware of any evidence or even any popular prejudice that animals are more likely to free-ride than humans.

    Here is the evidence of those animal free riders!

  84. #84 stripey_cat
    May 13, 2011

    Once again, my personal bemusement rises as people who claim that *we’re* too distanced from “the whole” engage in exceptionalism. What could be more holistic than for consciousness to be an emergent phenomenon of the physical universe? What could be less holistic than a distinct, special, and intangible soul?

    Kind of like the people who say we should respect nature, and then assume plant-medicines were put there for our own personal benefit, and engage in anthropic-principle wanking about everything from climate to basic constants.

  85. #85 herr doktor bimler
    May 13, 2011

    This seems to be a fallacy common in physics-pseudoscience: argument ad weird-name-physicists-give-stuff.

    When Adams finds out about penguin diagrams he’ll deduce that quantum physicists have devoted their lives to defeating Batman.

  86. #86 lilady
    May 14, 2011

    @ herr doktor bimler: There is an entry on Wikipedia regarding the genesis/usage of the phrase “penguin diagrams”.

    It’s a rather funny story about collecting on a wager made during a darts game in a pub. Is it true?

  87. #87 herr doktor bimler
    May 14, 2011

    I first read the story in Scientific American a while ago so it MUST be true.

  88. #88 Stephen W
    July 17, 2011

    Mike Adams is clearly still upset about being denied admission to medical school

  89. #89 Christian Arsenault
    August 2, 2011

    I usually don’t look at those studies… I prefer to look at the results… and if we follow Mike Adams’s style of life, the results are just extraordinary… thousand thanks Mike to be conscious and alerting us…

  90. #90 Chris
    August 2, 2011

    Christian Arsenault:

    I prefer to look at the results

    What results? Where are they tabulated?

  91. #91 Antaeus Feldspar
    August 2, 2011

    I usually don’t look at those studies… I prefer to look at the results…

    That’s pretty much the attitude that in the financial realm enabled Bernie Madoff to get away with his Ponzi scam for decades. People said “Do I want to take a hard look to find out if these results are legitimate and sustainable? No, I want to believe they are!”

    and if we follow Mike Adams’s style of life, the results are just extraordinary…

    Careful, to “follow Mike Adams’s style of life” you need to bring in hundreds of thousands of dollars a year selling shoddily made supplements and telling blatant, easily debunked lies with a straight face, and not everyone’s cut out for that.

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