Respectful Insolence

One of the things that I’ve noticed over the last (nearly) nine years blogging about pseudocience, quackery, and conspiracy theories is that a person who believes in one form of woo has a tendency to believe in other forms of woo. You’ve probably noticed it too. I’ve lost count of the examples that I’ve seen of antivaccinationists who are into other forms of quackery, of quacks who are 9/11 Truthers, of HIV/AIDS denialists who are anthropogenic global warming denialists, and nearly every combination of these and many other forms of pseudoscience, pseudohistory, and denialism. Several years ago, a blog bud of mine, Mark Hoofnagle, coined a very descriptive term for this phenomenon, crank magnetism. It’s stuck, and has entered widespread use in the skeptical world.

Of course, there’s crank magnetism, and then there’s crank magnetism. Some cranks, for instance, only attract a handful of different forms of woo, while remaining (seemingly, at least) rational with respect to almost everything else. A very “special” few people, though, take crank magnetism to a whole new level, a level undreamed of before the establishment of the Internet allowed them to spread their crankitude to the entire world at the click of a mouse. One such person always comes to mind right away when thinking of crank magnitude, and that’s Mike Adams. Adams is the founder of one of the largest repository of woo in the entire world, NaturalNews.com. Over the years, I’ve pointed out examples of Adams’ support of cancer quackery, antivaccinationism (particularly anti-flu vaccinationism), genetics denialism, anti-GMO (genetically modified organisms, for those not familiar with the lingo) anti-psychiatry every bit as virulent as that of Scientology (which shouldn’t be surprising, given that Adams apparently used to be a Scientologist), and New World Order conspiracy theories (Adams does, after all, frequently appear on Alex Jones’ show and his various online video and podcast networks). Lately, he’s been indulging in some of the scariest fringe political views, in which the government is coming to take his guns; it wouldn’t surprise me if he’s a survivalist. It all goes way back, too. After all, Adams got his start scamming people to subscribe to his website and service to protect them from the feared Y2K bug and has been known for running a software company that designs, well, spam software. Most recently, Adams has developed a website in which he claims to be able, in essence, replace PubMed, at least for those attracted to quackery.

So just when Adams has embraced every form of pseudoscience known to humankind (seemingly), producing virulently anti-science rants and videos blaming science for everything evil in the world, how much lower could he possibly go? Easy.

Now Adams is denying evolution. Well, not exactly. He’s intentionally confusing abiogenesis with evolution in order to attack atheism. I kid you not:

Ask any scientist where life on our planet came from, and they’ll usually give you a one-word answer: “Evolution.” Immediately thereafter, they will usually give you a condescending look that also implies you’re an idiot for not knowing this “scientific fact” that everyone else has accepted as true.

It turns out, however, that the scientist is suffering from a delusion. Evolution doesn’t even encompass origins of life. Rather, evolution (i.e. “natural selection”) explains a process by which species undergo a process of adaptation, fitness and reproduction in response to environmental, behavioral and sexual influences. No rational person can deny that natural selection is ever-present and happening right now across bacteria, plants, animals and even humans, yet natural selection can only function on pre-existing life forms. It does not give rise to non-existent life.

This is about as big a “Well, duh!” observation as I’ve ever seen from Adams, and he’s a master of the “Well, duh!” observation ladled with a generous helping of pure burning stupid designed to take that observation and build a straw man so massive that when the stupid burns it, the fire can be seen from space. No scientist who knows anything about evolutionary biology would so stupidly confuse evolution with abiogenesis (the development of life from non-life). Even someone as scientifically ignorant as Adams appears to know the difference between the two. Unfortunately, that doesn’t stop him from ascribing scientifically ignorant views to evolutionary biologists and other scientists who recognize that evolution is the best current explanation for how the diversity of life came about and then ranting about how evolution can’t explain the ORIGIN OF LIFE! (Yes, there are many caps in the rant.) He even goes so far as to accuse scientists of believing in magic, an accusation so rich in irony that I have a hard time believing it, given some of Adams’ previous “pearls.”

Then, of course, to Adams scientists are all hopeless atheists who believe…well, what Adams thinks atheists believe is so bizarre that I think I will let his own words speak for themselves:

Conventional scientists, of course, will go through tremendous contortions to try to remove any idea of a designer, engineer or Creator from their worldview. That’s because nearly all of them are devout atheists who also disavow any belief in consciousness, free will, the soul, God or spirituality. According to their own explanations, they themselves are mindless biological robots suffering from the mere delusion of mind created as a kind of artificial projection of mechanistic biological brain function.

See my mini-documentary “The God Within” for a more detailed exploration of this:

The twisted philosophy of many scientists also raises bizarre ethical lapses, such as their belief that killing a lab rat, or a dog, or even another human being is of no ethical consequence since all those creatures are not actually “alive” in any real way. This is why drug companies, vaccine manufacturers and science in general feels no remorse for conducting deadly experiments on children, blacks, prisoners or minorities.

I reviewed “The God Within,” which, let’s face it, should really have been titled “Science Is Evil,” because that was the relentless message of the YouTube video. In that movie, Adams managed to paint science as the reason why Hitler and the Nazis did what they did—shades of Ben Stein!—as well as an ideology that demands that humans must be mindless biological robots who have no morals, scruples, or concern for their fellow beings because if there is no God then there’s no reason to behave ethically, no morals, no goodness.

As amusing as all this is, there is something even more amusing still, a one-two punch squashed my irony meter flat as though it were stomped on by Godzilla or run over by a steamroller. First, Adams accuses scientists of being “arrogant.” I kid you not. A man who believes himself to be a “scientist” while being amazed that objects look very different and even alien under the microscope thinks that scientists who have actually dedicated their lives to studying science are “arrogant” for telling pissants like Adams that they are clueless and don’t know what they are talking about. Truly, Adams is the man with no self-awareness. I wonder if that could be a Saturday Night Live sketch. If it ever is, I want royalties.

Now here comes the second punch in the one-two punch:

Their faith-based beliefs are always described as “facts” while they proclaim other people’s beliefs are “delusions.” You cannot argue with any group of people who are wholly convinced their beliefs are facts because any critical thinking you might invoke is automatically and routinely rejected as a matter of irrational defense.

Yes, Adams actually wrote that, amazingly enough. He even wrote what comes next, in which he trods over ground that cranks and quacks, particularly fundamentalist religion-inspired quacks and cranks, have trod over so many times before. Not surprisingly, the example Adams chooses is vaccines:

As an example of this, ask any doctor or pharmacist this question: “Is there such thing as an unsafe vaccine?”

The answer you will be told is a condescending “No!” In the faith-based beliefs of the scientific status quo, no vaccine can ever be harmful by definition. Vaccines are beyond questioning in their belief system, and so the very question of asking if a vaccine could possibly be anything less than 100% safe doesn’t compute. It contradicts their faith, in other words.

It’s like asking a devout Christian whether there might be no God. The question is so contradictory to their belief system that it cannot be processed.

This is, of course, a very silly, very disingenuous example. Any vaccine that makes it to the point of being sold by a pharmacist is indeed very safe. Moreover, no one denies that there are vaccines whose safety isn’t what we would like. (The anthrax vaccine comes to mind.) However, those vaccines are generally not sold in pharmacies and not distributed widely among the population. So it’s unlikely that a pharmacist would ever have encountered an unsafe vaccine.

Now the next part is even more hilarious. The reason it’s so hilarious is that it’s an example of Adams thinking that he can actually trap physicians, pharmacists, and scientists in their own “logical fallacies” and contradictions. Of course, Adams wouldn’t know what a real logical fallacy is if it bit him on the proverbial posterior, which is why he can type something like this with a straight face and a smug air of condescension:

You can test this further by asking a vaccine-pushing doctor, “Is there anything that could be added to a vaccine that would make it unsafe?”

After careful thought, an honest doctor might answer, “Well, sure, there are all sorts of toxins that could be added to a vaccine that would make it unsafe.”

Ask them to name some examples. Sooner or later, they should stumble onto the self-evident answer of “mercury,” a deadly neurotoxin which remains present in many modern vaccines.

Ask the doctor, “Has any safe level of mercury ever been established for injection into a child?”

The answer, of course, is no. Logically, no vaccine containing mercury can be considered “safe” regardless of the level of mercury it contains. Thus, by merely asking a few direct questions, you can easily get an honest doctor to shatter their own false belief about vaccines — a belief based on the faith-driven delusion that there is no such thing as an unsafe vaccine (no matter what it contains).

So much misinformation in such a compact form. Truly, Adams is talented when it comes to obfuscating and lying. The reason, of course, is that the answer to his question is not “no.” It is yes, and the tiny amount of mercury that remains in a few vaccines (and virtually no childhood vaccines any more) is too small to cause harm. (It doesn’t cause autism, either.) Doctors’ belief that vaccines are safe is not based on faith, quite unlike Adams’ fanatical belief that they are dangerous. It’s based on facts and scientific and clinical studies.

Adams goes on to rant about “scientism” without actually knowing what the word means, peppering his continued rant with more examples of just how little he understands science. He even throws in a contradiction of his own. After having pointed out that natural selection works to cause the evolution of living organisms in the beginning of his screed, Adams now claims that natural selection is not enough to explain the evolution of the diversity of life, and he does so using arguments so stupid that only the most brain dead fundamentalist creationist could use them without blushing. But, then, this is Mike Adams we are talking about:

Even the theory of natural selection based on purely mechanistic genetic inheritance contains enormous gaps in logic and is therefore a matter of faith. For starters, there isn’t enough data storage in the human genome to fully describe the physical and behavioral inheritance of a human being. The massive failure of the Human Genome Project also comes to mind: Here’s a project that promised to solve the riddle of the origins of nearly all disease. Once the human genome was fully decoded, disease would be eliminated from humankind, we were all promised.

No, we were not promised any such thing. While it’s true that the Human Genome Project was a bit oversold with respect to the rapid, concrete results that it would produce, not even its wildest boosters claimed that the HGP would eliminate disease from humankind.Be that as it may, I just addressed Adams’ claim that there is not enough data storage in the human genome to produce a human being. It’s pure misinformation based on a misunderstanding of genetics, as is this statement about human consciousness:

And there’s another huge contradiction in the scientific community. Most conventional scientists claim that consciousness is an illusion which somehow arose out of natural selection so that individual members of a species could operate under the illusion of free will. Yet, at the same time, they claim this false “mind” has no actual impact on the real world because it is, by definition, an illusion.

So how can an illusory phenomenon drive natural selection and evolution if it has no impact on the real world?

I’d really love to know what scientists Adams is reading and speaking to, because I’ve never seen a legitimate scientist claim that consciousness is an illusion that arose out of natural selection to produce the illusion of free will. That’s yet another straw man version of evolution for Adams to immolate with burning stupid. I’d also love to know who ever said that this “mind” has no impact on the real world. Trying to keep track of Adams’ misrepresentations of science is really getting exhausting.

The bottom line is that Adams is as antiscience as they come, but he has his own contradiction going on. As he castigates science as being anti-God, anti-spirituality, its own dogmatic form of religion, and the root of all evil, including the Holocaust, at the same time he desperately craves the imprimatur of science. Indeed, he even tries desperately (and wildly entertainingly fails) to claim the mantle of The Real Scientist. He just can’t figure out that the reason he is viewed with such low regard by scientists is because he is not a scientist. He is a crank, and even as a crank he is a joke.

Comments

  1. #1 Pris
    The Dark Side of the Force
    October 23, 2013

    Oh wow. I think I’ll get rid of my irony meter and replace it with a binary irony detector that just tells me when there is irony around or not.

    And since what that idiot wrote is a black hole of stupid that gives me a headache the size of a planet I’ll focus on something else.

    ‘Pissant’ is a funny word, and I wonder about its etymology. Is it anything to do with piss or ants?

  2. #2 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    October 23, 2013

    @Pris,

    According to Wikipedia on the etymology (and entymology) of “pissant”, “A pissant, also seen as piss-ant has its origin the word pismire, a 14th-century term for ant.[1][2] The term is also used as an insulting noun, and a pejorative adjective.
    The original pissant is any of a certain group of large ant species, commonly called wood ants, that make mounded nests in forests throughout most of Europe. The name pissant arises from the urine-like odor produced by their nesting material—needles and straw from pine trees—and the formic acid that constitutes their venom.”

  3. #3 Denice Walter
    October 23, 2013

    After viewing Adams’ *piece de resis-* I mean, *piece de merde* docu, I went over to his divinitynow.com** site wherein he showcases his spirituality videos including one in which the Meister sings! ( or raps – or halfway between, I suppose) ” We’re doing alright”- I listened to THAT. Uh.

    Also I’ve never heard a legitimate researcher claim that “consciousness is an illusion”- in fact, some people study it and its many products.

    ** isn’t ‘divinity’ a type of candy 19th century folk made? As in,
    ” I want some divinity NOW!”

  4. #4 Allie P
    October 23, 2013

    He’s just built himself a whole army of straw men there, hasn’t he? I don’t know any scientist or doctor that responds to his proposed questions in the way he says they will.

  5. #5 palindrom
    October 23, 2013

    I guess in Adams’ thinking, something like “it seems likely that consciousness is a poorly-understood emergent property of neural activity” must translate to “consciousness is an illusion”. He doesn’t seem to “do” nuance.

  6. #6 Baron Scarpia
    October 23, 2013

    I am a postgrad philosophy student. My main interests are ethics and logic.

    So I think I have enough experience to say that even before we get to Adams’s ‘science’, his article is a mammoth block of Wrong sandwiched between thick layers of Wrong and coated liberally in Wrong.

  7. #7 Eric Lund
    October 23, 2013

    Baron @5: I think, and Wolfgang Pauli would probably agree, that you’re being generous here. Mikey is so far out there that “not even wrong” is a fair description. Open your textbook to the section on the Dunning-Krueger effect, and you’ll see Mike’s picture.

    As for Mike’s calling scientists “devout atheists”, I’m not sure whether that phrase should be called an oxymoron, or a regular moron.

  8. #8 Chris Hickie
    October 23, 2013

    Adams exists because he has an audience. It is their existence that is worrisome. There will always be Adamses.

    Arthur C. Clarke wrote “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” Picture, if you will, a civilization going backward in knowledge and thinking skills, so that things that should never have been mistaken for technology and science are now accepted by more and more people as magic.

    Welcome to our world, circa 2013.

  9. #9 Nick Theodorakis
    October 23, 2013

    ‘Pissant’ is a funny word, and I wonder about its etymology. Is it anything to do with piss or ants?

    http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=pissant
    http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=pismire

  10. #10 Beamup
    October 23, 2013

    @ Eric:

    I think we have to go even beyond Pauli here. Adams is Not Even Not Even Wrong.

  11. #11 AnObservingParty
    October 23, 2013

    Rage. White-hot blinding rage. And as someone whose original field of study was physical anthropology, specifically human evolutionary biology and comparative primate anatomies, I could go on for days on this statement inwhich apparently “evolution” is completely interchangeable with “natural selection” alone: Rather, evolution (i.e. “natural selection”) . That’s sophomore biology.

    @ Chris, You’re right and its terrifying. There are people on their computers right now accepting Adams’ word salads.

    Interestingly, it’s funny that so many AVers use that “humans were meant to handle these diseases” but then deny the very forces that might contribute to potential resistance. Of course, none of the diseases they discuss fall into this in reality, especially overs the 1000s of generations that suffered through them. But it’s SO stupid it hurts.

    When did it become cool to deny science? Take mainstream religion out of it. When did it become ok to think that little magic men are responsible for working the computer one is sitting at? Because that is on par with this nonsense. How long can you argue with lunacy?

  12. #12 Denice Walter
    October 23, 2013

    OT- but are woo-meisters recognising their own ever TRULY OT @ RI?

    More on Natural News- where the woosters comes to roost.

    features a show called ‘LInderman Unleashed”- which yesterday featured Jake Crosby ( as lilady noted here):

    I couldn’t hear the tape via NN but Jake’s site, Autism Investigated, worked better.
    ( Warning: lots of adverts- esp first 5 minutes)
    Briefly:
    Jake takes forever to say anything.
    You’ve heard most of it.
    Brian Hooker was shut out,
    Mark and SafeMinds and the Canaries should be shut out ( Mark “forced out”) of future hearings. Mark may become the “autism czar”.
    Jake isn’t exactly thrilled with Dan either, that’ll be the next show.

  13. #13 Chris Hickie
    October 23, 2013

    @AnObservingParty–word salad about sums it up, as in the same level of information as a roomful of monkeys randomly picking words from a dictionary and then letting a grammar/spell checker make it almost seem coherent.

  14. #14 JGC
    One of my favorite Dilbert cartoons
    October 23, 2013

    Dilbert: Well? What do you think of my new poem?

    Dogbert: I once read that given infinite time, a thousand monkeys with typewriters would eventually write the entire works of Shakespeare.

    Dilbert: But what about my poem?

    Dogbert: Three monkeys, ten minutes.

  15. #15 Calli Arcale
    October 23, 2013

    Oh my goodness. Does Adams ever actually interact with real people one-on-one who are not his sycophants? Does he do all of his shopping via Amazon now so that he need never experience direct human interaction? That is the only explanation I can contrive for how he could, with a straight face, concoct crude strawmen of scientists, have imaginary conversations with them, and operate as if this means he’s had actual conversations with real people. Seriously, he seems to be actually basing his conclusions on what sorts of people scientists are based on ones that he’s invented and had imaginary conversations with.

    I now believe he may actually be crazy.

    Denice — divinity is indeed a type of candy, and it’s still popular. My mom is crazy about it. It’s sort of like a cross between meringue and fondant. I looked it up on Wikipedia to see where it originated, and it actually says it’s an early 20th Century thing.

  16. #16 Johanna
    San Francisco
    October 23, 2013

    I’ve made divinity. Delicious but very, very sticky. It’s not quite as much work as taffy, but it’s close.

    I doubt Adams is anything resembling sweet and delicious.

    (and I think I need to finish my tea before posting on RI in the mornings…)

  17. #17 Sullivanthepoop
    October 23, 2013

    I truthfully refuse to go to natural news at all. It makes me incredibly sad that so many people take what Mike Adams says as fact when it is so obviously lies. Not just lies, but lies that are ill constructed by an idiot.

  18. #18 Jenora Feuer
    October 23, 2013

    The one scientist I have heard saying ‘consciousness is an illusion’ would be neurobiologist Dr. Michael Persinger, who’s a bit out in left field himself. This is the fellow who created the ‘God Helmet’ which was said to induce religious feelings and visions in a laboratory via weak magnetic fields, and which has had trouble being replicated; there’s circumstantial evidence that the suggestibility of the person sitting in it has more of an effect than the magnetic fields, effectively making the helmet a rather fancy placebo.

    That said, his actual theory is closer to palindrom’s mention above of ‘it seems likely that consciousness is a poorly-understood emergent property of neural activity’; basically, his theory is that consciousness is the effect of taking the massively parallel processes going on in the brain and serializing them through the language center. The net effect is that decisions are only ‘recognized’ by consciousness, the decisions were already made by lower-level processes. Consciousness then becomes just a control function on the feedback loop of decision-making.

    At least, that’s my understanding. It’s been a while, and he’s gone rather out into woo-ville as time went on, including trying to induce telepathy via ELF fields.

  19. #19 Antaeus Feldspar
    October 23, 2013

    @Jenora -

    Hmm, interesting (re: Persinger). I remember, in a college course I took on artificial intelligence, encountering a similar view: that at least part of our perception of our consciousness is illusory: we think that we are aware of ourselves thinking as we think, but we are instead thinking about what we just thought. That sounds so similar, yet different enough, from what you describe as Persinger’s view, that I don’t know if what we were talking about was in fact Persinger’s view.

  20. #20 Shay
    Wallowing in nostalgia
    October 23, 2013

    I once worked or a colonel who used to refer to me as “you little pissant.”

    For the record, I’m not little.

    <iWhen did it become cool to deny science?</i

    It's not denying science. It's speaking truth to power! Just ask ex-Governor Palin.

  21. #21 Shay
    October 23, 2013

    SIgh. Total italicize fail. Curse you, lack of preview function.

  22. #22 Lucario
    Sunny SoFla
    October 23, 2013

    Oh. My. DOYC.

    Just when you think Mike Adams couldn’t sink any lower….

    It’s official. I think Mike Adams could very well be the biggest troll on the Internet. Period.

    BTW, should quoting Adams on a health-related topic be considered the equivalent of a Godwin?

  23. #23 Roadstergal
    Warily watching the San Francisco woo from over the mountain
    October 23, 2013

    I am fully willing to believe that Mike Adams’s consciousness is an illusion.

    Divinity is tasty, but, like Turkish Delight, I think my childhood expectations were raised so high by the name that the reality was inevitably disappointing.

  24. #24 Kiwi girl
    October 23, 2013

    It’s more than a little sick to see these “natural therapy” type proponents disparage scientists for doing animal experiments when:
    - they also do them
    - they don’t seem to have ethics committees overseeing their work or follow proper protocols (e.g. the various OECD ones)
    - they use extremely poor designs, e.g. often cannot see how animals were selected in the various treatment groups
    - they don’t take what statistical analysis they would like to do into their consideration of methods
    and then waste 10s of animals in proving nothing. Often these animals dying after they have grown large tumours, and apparently euthanised later than the point at which a proper scientist would do it. This is not indicative of a positive attitude towards the lives of lab animals.

    They really should shut up about animal trials – people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.

  25. #25 Dan J. Andrews
    October 23, 2013

    That has to be the best demonstration of being self-unaware I’ve ever read. It should be a standard by which we can compare all others.

    A few years ago I was asked to attend a church sermon because the pastor’s series was on Lies the World Has Taught Me, and that week’s sermon was on Evolution. He started out with “I’ve studied this for a long time now and….”, then proceeded to confuse abiogenesis with evolution (and went even more wrong from there with brain-dead tropes like scientists are fleeing evolution, it is crumbling, etc).

    After I approached him and pointed out that he had confused the origin of life with the theory of evolution. He just nodded and smiled. So I tried again, thinking he hadn’t understood. He nodded and smiled. I tried a third time. He nodded again. At that point I realized I was dealing with someone who either was an idiot in the classic sense, or someone so deluded he really couldn’t understand the difference.

    Before I gave up I told him about Dr. Francis Collins (evangelical) and suggested he read Dr. Collins’ book. I didn’t tell him exactly what was in the book….I was hoping he’d pick it up and start reading it and accidentally have some knowledge slip by his denial shields. Of course, he nodded and smiled. sigh.

  26. #26 Denice Walter
    October 23, 2013

    Because I returned earlier than expected, I thought that the minions might wonder what Mike DOES believe in since he scoffs at evolution, vaccines and SBM.
    Well, wonder no more.

    from divinitynow.com:
    Mike advocates that – mostly quoted verbatim-

    we are conscious beings
    there is an intelligent creator
    we have Divine rights
    ethics matter
    we are judged for our actions
    Life has value
    Awareness is divine
    we are all spiritually connected
    consciousness is in all living things

    He explores;

    philosophy and ethics
    religion and spirituality
    phyysics and cosmology
    parallel worlds and the multiverse
    consciousness, free will
    power of intention
    Karma and spiritual reckoning
    origins of life
    sociology and psychology
    why EVIL exists etc.

    Elsewhere he speaks about his admiration for Rupert Sheldrake’s ideas ( @ NN) and how he learned so much from Gary Null ( Health Ranger.com ) so we can surmise that his views towards the airy faery adorned with grandiose profundity-mimesis. Which is about it.

    Why do these guys always tell you that science has little to say about the Spirit and then themselves say little about it except repeatedly chiming about … spirit, the spiritual, the non-material, the incorporeal, on and on, endlessly, just saying the words over and over and informing us little about these concepts or the experiences which they represent-
    just tossing them about like confetti and then congratulating themselves about their soulfulness or suchlike..

    But then, what would you expect from wankers anyway?

  27. #27 herr doktor bimler
    October 23, 2013

    Most of Adams’ arguments seem to involve the imaginary scientists in his head saying stupid things

    Ask any scientist where life on our planet came from, and they’ll usually give you a one-word answer: “Evolution.”

    If that straw man were any larger, you could use it to burn Edward Woodward alive as a human sacrifice to the Celtic pantheon.

  28. #28 Narad
    October 23, 2013

    we are conscious beings
    there is an intelligent creator
    we have Divine rights
    ethics matter
    we are judged for our actions
    Life has value
    Awareness is divine
    we are all spiritually connected
    consciousness is in all living thing

    … The comet Starseed is to leave the womb planet Earth. The Starseed is a comet of prophesy.
    Life seeds egg planets throughout the galaxy.
    When life leaves the womb planet, it attains immortality in the galactic star school.
    When the embryonic nervous system can decipher the genetic code, it receives instructions for leaving the earth‑womb and contacting higher intelligence.
    There is no choice.
    Life must leave the womb planet to survive and evolve.

  29. #29 Francois T
    Philadelphia, PA USA
    October 23, 2013

    With anti-vaxers, the fun never stops.
    Witness this meta-analysis paper in JAMA about flu vaccine and a possible cardioprotective effect. The antivax are foaming at the mouth so bad, you’d think they’ve inhaled mustard gas.

    http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1758749

  30. #30 herr doktor bimler
    October 23, 2013

    Needs more Krautrock, Narad.

  31. #31 Krebiozen
    October 23, 2013

    Narad,
    I must admit to having a soft spot for Tim Leary, as bonkers as he was. You inspired me to dig out my copy of ‘The Game of Life’ , which tries to interpret the periodic table, I Ching, the tarot deck and the genetic code as some sort of message to mankind (from whom I have no idea) telling us to get off the planet. Crazy, but entertaining, unlike the Health DeRanger who is just crazy.

  32. #32 ELISABETH
    Oz
    October 23, 2013

    I’d like to get Mikey and his fellow believers herded together as an fMRI study sample. (It seems a sufficiently large diseased population.) Comparisons between Controls and “Mikeys” would be interesting.
    There has been some research into “magical thinking”. All quite fascinating! I’m inclined towards putting the Mikeys in a class of psychopathology.
    Recently, when I winced and moaned at parents who were refusing their son a blood transfusion on doctrinal grounds, my brother reassured me that it was simply a cultural form of natural selection. I confess it was surprisingly reassuring…!

  33. #33 RB
    October 23, 2013

    I realize this is a simplification and there are more than few earlier antecedents, but it seems to me the worldwide financial crisis was the thermonuclear explosion; and the distrust of institutions (both public and private) and appetite for doomer conspiracies and personalities (of which Adams is an energetic exemplar) are the fallout.

    If the analogy holds, that fallout has a half-life. There’s a keyed-up desperation in Adams’ tone and blunderbuss approach. Could it possibly be his sales and traffic have flattened or declined to the point of needing a juiced-up marketing blitz? Add a few more explosions and gaudy cameos, now that the franchise is suffering at the box office? Who knows.

  34. #34 Narad
    October 23, 2013

    Needs more Krautrock, Narad.

    > 0:05 Space
    > 16:00 Time

    Indeed. Tim seems to have still been relying on the warble-tube that appears in the unintentionally hilarious Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out LP to deliver his voice. How on earth anyone arrived at the conclusion that multicolored klobásy were “psychedelic” rather than, say, reminiscent of food spoilage beats me.

  35. #35 herr doktor bimler
    October 23, 2013

    Slightly OT, but the seminal paper in the field of Positive Psychology has turned out to be essentially fraudulent:
    http://retractionwatch.wordpress.com/2013/09/19/fredrickson-losada-positivity-ratio-paper-partially-withdrawn/

    The first author is claiming that all the gibbering nonsense and metaphors-treated-as-physical-models and arbitrary-numbers-presented-as-empirical were all the second author’s work and not *her* fault (she just signed off on it), while second author has gone to ground.

    Relevant here because late last year Orac was directing some Respectful at an exercise in homeopathy / CAM apologetics, which in turn claimed support from the fraudulent paper in question:
    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2012/12/17/just-how-stupid-do-homeopaths-think-we-are/#comment-224876

    (see comment #12 in particular).

  36. #36 Science Mom
    http://justthevax.blogspot.com/
    October 23, 2013

    Mikey’s ignorant screed is nothing more than a tantrum because he can’t be in the (science) club. And what is it that children do when they feel rejected?

  37. #37 Denice Walter
    October 23, 2013

    But Science Mom, he has a *science* degree from a *university* ( but both remain nameless – btw- see Health Ranger.com/ profile), does serious internet research and- and- and- has an expensive microscope which he uses to look at cheap snack food at high magnification..

    PLUS on his show for GAIAM TV, he wears a white lab coat.

  38. #38 Kelsey
    October 23, 2013

    There was lots of burning crazy in his rant, but nothing really all that uncommon for him. However, one thing stuck out for me: I find it so sad that he is propagating the unfortunately common trope that atheists are lacking in morals because of a lack of belief in gods. Far too many people believe this to be true, and it is far too often used as a weapon for discrimination.

  39. #39 herr doktor bimler
    October 23, 2013

    Can’t help wondering, does Mike espouse any specific religious beliefs himself? Or is he content with claiming a vague ecumenical Spirituality — enough to establish his superiority over the amoral mechanistic godlessness of scientists, without risking any conflict with the beliefs of visitors to his site or the loss of their custom?

  40. #40 Militant Agnostic
    In the land of muslima 4x4 rednecks
    October 23, 2013

    HDB

    Or is he content with claiming a vague ecumenical Spirituality — enough to establish his superiority over the amoral mechanistic godlessness of scientists, without risking any conflict with the beliefs of visitors to his site or the loss of their custom?

    It works for Oprah.

  41. #41 Julian Frost
    Gauteng East Rand
    October 24, 2013

    @RB #33, an interesting analogy with more than a modicum of plausibility, I would say.

  42. #42 Julian Frost
    October 24, 2013

    RB #33, an interesting idea with more than a modicum of plausibility.

  43. #43 Science Mom
    http://justthevax.blogspot.com/
    October 24, 2013

    Denice @37, precisely. He fabricates ambiguous science credentials, dresses like we do, tries to speak like we do and and even bought a damn microscope. How can we NOT be taking him seriously?! Commence temper tantrum.

  44. #44 Denice Walter
    October 24, 2013

    @ herr doktor:

    I’m not sure about specifics but he HAS claimed NOT to be a Scientologist. Could’ve fooled me.

    If you look at some of his beliefs ( see my # 26 above) there seems to be deism- perhaps with a sprinkling of ancient alien galactic insemination/ biogenesis. Now that’s universalism!
    I see a bit of Hindu influence as well as Christian – i.e. karma, sin, etc .

    I can’t recall him ever saying anything undeniably Christian- – as he is ‘said to have been born’ in the US midwest and is a species of WASP, I assume he has had the upbringing.
    He does however go out of his way to wish this fans Christmas – not ‘holiday’- greetings.

  45. #45 Dangerous Bacon
    October 24, 2013

    One could say that Mike has jumped the shark, but to be more accurate he is _orbiting_ the shark.

    He’s morphing into the Miley Cyrus of altie entrepreneurs – anything to get attention (short of driving the NaturalNewsMobile into the White House gates while wearing a clown suit).

  46. #46 herr doktor bimler
    October 24, 2013

    here seems to be deism- perhaps with a sprinkling of ancient alien galactic insemination/ biogenesis. Now that’s universalism!
    I see a bit of Hindu influence as well as Christian – i.e. karma, sin, etc .

    So, an eclectic mix-&-match trying-on of different beliefs to see which best expresses his religiosity and sensitivity, much as one combines clothing and accessories, with a similar emphasis on what is currently in fashion? Theologically indistinguishable from atheism?

    I’m going to go out on a limb here and speculate that when Adams isn’t conjuring up a straw-man army of atheistic scientists, he’s brandishing particular scientists’ statements of their spiritual feelings, as proof that Science Agrees with him.

  47. #47 Calli Arcale
    October 24, 2013

    DB — the concept of “orbiting the shark” is fantastic, and terribly apropos. I will have to remember that one!

  48. #48 Greg
    Jenkintown
    October 25, 2013

    Wow, a triple threat of woo.

    On a hilariously ironic note, Orac, your sidebar is running an ad for Airborne gummies. I know you prolly don’t have real control over that, but it is funny.

  49. #49 chris manwaring
    Seoul
    November 4, 2013

    ya this guy is about as big of a joke as it comes… and he actually hurts people… a friend of mine had a baby and wont get him vaccinated and all she does is quote me articles off naturalnews… i blogged about Adams a few weeks ago, and in his online biography he actually states that states that :
    “he has expertise in psychology, anthropology, cosmology, U.S. history, philosophy, economics, money and finance, nutrition, politics, civil rights, plant biology, intellectual property law, chemistry, physics, quantum phenomena, agriculture, linguistics, microbiology, neurolinguistics and more….”

    As well as:

    Photo-reading books at the speed of one page per second

    Instantly grasping the “big picture” of any concept, including quantum computing, nanotechnology, homeopathy, the politics of medicine, etc.

    Automatically remembering long numbers (like my credit card numbers for multiple cards)

    Seeing the world with unprecedented clarity (understanding, for the first time, what’s really going on out there)

    Gaining new control over my own mind and emotions

    Learning advanced physical skills (I took up gymnastics training at the age of 34)

    Mastering new mental skills like the study of foreign languages

    Greatly accelerating my speed of thinking, writing, and creating new things”

    … how do people actually take this guy seriously? great article and keep up the good, rational work :)

  50. […] political parlance, you know he’s a member of the 1% when it comes to crankery. To prove it, he also “questions” evolution and a couple of years ago he produced a short film that portrayed science as the inevitable gateway […]