There are some antivaccine lies that just never die. Well, actually, most of them are very much like Jason Voorhees, Michael Myers, and Freddy Krueger in that, just when you think you’ve killed them at the end of the latest confrontation, they always come back. Always. As an example of this, let’s go back four months ago. Remember back in November when I discussed a particularly pernicious antivaccine lie that’s been spread by Kenyan Catholic Bishops and the Kenya Catholic Doctors Association? It was the claim that the tetanus vaccine used to prevent neonatal tetanus in young women in Kenya is laced with a “sterilization chemical” that causes miscarriages. As I described in my own inimitable fashion, it’s been a particularly dumb conspiracy theory that nonetheless seems to have legs. Similar claims, dating back at least to the 1990s, that there is “something” in vaccines that results in infertility and sterilization, have been unfortunately very effective in frightening people in Third World countries and have played a major role in antivaccine campaigns that have delayed the eradication of polio.

Enter Lawrence Solomon. You remember Lawrence Solomon, don’t you? He’s what I referred to last summer as a rising star in the antivaccine movement. A conservative columnist for the Financial Post, when first we met him he was complaining about a “conservative ‘failure’ of skepticism” on vaccines because, apparently, conservatives haven’t been antivaccine enough for his liking. (Maybe he’s happier with more recent developments.) Indeed, Solomon used some seriously brain dead arguments about herd immunity indistinguishable from the nonsense they regularly spew over at the antivaccine crank blog, that wretched hive of scum and quackery known as Age of Autism. He’s also a rather obnoxious Twitter presence, frequently “challenging” people to prove him wrong, apparently not realizing that his arguments are such hoary antivaccine nuggets (of the variety produced out of the hind ends of mice and other rodents) that I and most skeptical bloggers already have numerous times over the years.

Speaking of AoA, it would seem that Solomon decided to get into the antivaccine website/blog business and directly compete with AoA. He’s recently launched a site called VaccineFactCheck. It’s generally a repository for antivaccine misinformation that, Solomon being the inexperienced pseudoscience activist that he is, makes The Thinking Moms’ Revolution look as though they are actually living up to their deluded sense that they are thinking, and that’s hard to do. As an example, I present to you Solomon’s post Vatican: UNICEF and WHO are sterilizing girls through vaccines.

Brace yourself. Stupid is coming:

Vatican Radio last week charged that United Nations organizations promoting population control are using vaccines to surreptitiously sterilize women in Third World countries. Kenya’s Ministry of Health, along with the UN organizations — World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF — deny the charges, which carry the full weight of the Vatican. Vatican Radio is the official “voice of the Pope and the Church in dialogue with the World.”

“Catholic Bishops in Kenya have been opposed to the nationwide Tetanus Vaccination Campaign targeting 2.3 million Kenyan women and girls of reproductive age between 15-49 years, terming the campaign a secret government plan to sterilize women and control population growth,” reported Vatican Radio, as it took the occasion of the ordination of a Kenyan Bishop, Joseph Obanyi Sagwe, as an opportunity to remind the world of its concern.

Is this the same nonsense that the Kenyan Bishops were spouting in November that I deconstructed in detail? Why yes. Yes it is. Notice how Solomon pointedly describes Vatican Radio as the “voice of the Pope and Church in dialogue with the world,” as if to imply that the Vatican actually endorses the position of the Catholic Bishops. In fact, the article cited is a pretty dry, straightforward news report about the ordination as Bishop of Kakamega of Joseph Obanyi Sagwe that mentions the factoid about Kenyan bishops’ claims about the tetanus in passing, along with a bunch of other facts about the ordination. It neither endorses nor refutes the Kenyan Bishops’ claims about the tetanus vaccine. I also note that Solomon’s very headline also tries to make it sound as though the Vatican itself is accusing UNICEF and the WHO of trying to sterilize girls in Kenya using vaccines. The Vatican endorses no such claim.

None of that stops Solomon from continuing to parrot the very pseudoscience and misinformation that surfaced about the tetanus vaccine back in November. I refuted them then, and Dr. Jen Gunter just refuted them yesterday. Doubling down on the misinformation, Solomon even posted a follow up to his original article implying that the Vatican was endorsing the Kenyan Bishops’ claim that UNICEF and the WHO are spreading around tetanus vaccines laced with hCG to sterilize their girls with a disingenuous “Q&A” about hCG in a vaccine might cause sterility. One notes that he refers directly to the “Vatican’s explosive charge” here. Once again, as the news story makes clear, there is no evidence to indicate that it is the Vatican that is making this charge. It is clearly the Kenyan Bishops who are making this charge. The two are not the same. Bishops do not necessarily speak for the Vatican, and Vatican Radio just reported it as a single paragraph in a straight news story.

In any case, Solomon, ever the clueless antivaccine flack, believes a lot of nonsense in order to believe there’s any credibility to the Kenyan Bishop’s charges:

Have UNICEF, WHO and the Kenyan government been secretly using HCG-laced tetanus vaccines as a population control measure, as the Vatican and its Kenyan bishops maintain? The bishops sent vials of the tetanus vaccines from the batch reserved for females of reproductive age to four unrelated laboratories inside and outside Kenya. All four showed that the tetanus vaccines were laced with HCG. In contrast, tests performed on 50 vials of tetanus vaccines for general use in the population showed all 50 to be clear of HCG.

I discussed this all in detail before, but I suppose I should do it briefly (for Orac) again.

Before you can understand the why the claim that beta-hCG is in the tetanus vaccine would produce fear that the vaccine is in reality a sterilization agent, you need to know about a previous experimental vaccine. hCG is what is commonly referred to as the “pregnancy hormone.” Pregnancy tests are based on detecting hCG, which can first be detected about 11 days after conception and whose levels rise rapidly thereafter, peaking in the first 8-11 weeks of pregnancy. In the past, attempts have been made to produce a vaccine that targets hCG and thus results in the inability to conceive a child. It is a technique that falls under the category of immunocontraception. It takes little more than a quick trip to Wikipedia (among other sources) to learn that as far back as the 1970s, hCG was conjugated to a protein known as the tetanus toxoid in order to make a vaccine against hCG. The reason is that hCG itself did not provoke enough of an immune response. It’s not necessary to know all the details and history. However, from the 1970s on, there have been clinical trials of such vaccine contraceptives using hCG, and it is possible to prevent pregnancy by this approach, although antibody response against hCG declines with time.

Now here’s the problem. As the WHO has already noted, even if the findings of beta-hCG in the vaccine vials were real, hCG is present at far too low a level to be an effective immunocontraceptive, and the blood tests presented by the Kenyan Catholic Doctors Association are actually do not show any evidence of beta-hCG being used to sterilize women:

Additionally, the findings of the laboratory tests purported to be from a woman called St. Michael (explained below) all come out with normal values from the reference values assuming that the woman is not pregnant. The highest level of the β-HCG hormone was found to be 1.12 mIU/ml (and 1.2 mIU/ml for S-Quantitative β-HCG). There was no control used (or presented) and it would have been interesting to see what the result will be with tap water. There is a situation where ant- β-HCG antibodies can be produced by the body and that can act as a contraceptive, however, this requires the administration of at-least 100 to 500 micrograms of HCG bound to tetanus vaccine (about 11,904,000 to 59,520,000 mIU/ml of the same hormone where currently less than 1 mIU-ml has been reported from the lab results.

Also, as Dr. Gunter notes, the Kenyan Catholic Doctors Association didn’t actually measure beta-hCG in vaccines, but reported values from the blood of women vaccinated with the tetanus vaccine. She also pointed out:

Tetanus vaccine laced with the beta-hCG hormone wouldn’t do anything anyway. After all women inject themselves with beta-hCG to trigger ovulation in infertility therapy all the time. I hope I don’t have to point out that it would be rather counter productive to use an abortifacient in infertility therapy. Also, hCG doesn’t have a very long half-life, i.e. it clears the system pretty quickly. It is usually undetectable by 7 days after injection, which is why after hCG injections women typically wait at least a week to do a pregnancy test to avoid false positive from the injection. Then there is the basic physiologic/evolutionary concept that a hormone dangerous to pregnancy wouldn’t be produced in pregnancy. And if you believe in intelligent design, no omnipotent intelligent being would design pregnancy that way either!

Finally, Solomon, like the Kenyan Bishops, is about 20 years out of date. The vaccine in which hCG was linked to the tetanus toxoid was tested back in the 1990s more than 20 years ago, which, not coincidentally, is around the time that claims that UNICEF and the WHO are trying to sterilize young women in the Third World with vaccines started popping up in the Philippines. It is possible to prevent pregnancy by this approach, but antibody response to hCG declines with time and the contraceptive activity is not sufficiently durable to be useful as a long-term contraceptive. Moreover, as I discussed last time the original scientist who developed the hCG-tetanus toxoid vaccine to be used as a contraceptive pointed out that a similar hCG vaccine using a different carrier, LTB, is now being tested. He also pointed out that the tetanus toxoid carrier was replaced with LTB to avoid the very misinformation that has been associated with the valuable tetanus vaccination.

Lawrence Solomon likes to claim that he’s not antivaccine but that he’s just citing facts. However, with launch of his new website, and his parroting long-discredited antivaccine conspiracy theories like the one claiming that the WHO and UNICEF are trying to use the tetanus vaccine to sterilize young women in Third World countries, Solomon has officially entered the territory of Age of Autism, NaturalNews.com, The Thinking Moms’ Revolution, and other rabidly antivaccine propaganda websites. That is not a good place to be, and he’s not even particularly smart or creative in his regurgitation of antivaccine pseudoscience. Worse, as Jen Gunter points out, neonatal tetanus is deadly. Lawrence Solomon is thus helping to perpetuate misinformation that will lead to the painful deaths of Third World newborns from neonatal tetanus.

Oh, and Mr. Solomon should also realize that even one of the originators of this claim, MaterCare, even issued a press release that basically says, “Oops, we were wrong!” without actually admitting any real error, even saying in one of its numbered points that the “language used and the accusations in Kenya are almost identical to the 1990’s scenarios” and even goes so far as to characterize what’s going on in Kenya as “an unfortunate re-cycling of inaccurate information.”

Freddy, Jason, and Michael Myers are back.

Comments

  1. #1 e canfield
    March 23, 2015

    You’d think that with all the supposed attempts at sterilization through vaccination, that the world population wouldn’t be going up so rapidly. Not very impressive attempts, I must say

  2. #2 Denice Walter
    March 23, 2015

    Not entirely OT as anti-vaccine lunacy, like Spring itself, has sprung…

    AoA today:
    – Heckenlively writes that he, Mikovits and Hooker will appear at the Commonwealth Club** in SF as ‘whistleblowers’ and are being compared to Ellsberg and Snowden- the show will go on in a few weeks.

    – Ginger Taylor ( who doesn’t live in California) discusses Dr/ Senator Pan in a rather strident piece. It seems that anti-vaxxers object to his legislative attempts to curb exemptions as well as blocking their tweets.

    Seriously- California is a lovely place and not all of its inhabitants are as loony as Heckenlively and Hooker.

    Perhaps some minions might like to tweet sanely at Dr Pan?

    ** weren’t other anti-vaxxers from TMR etc shown the door/ cancelled in the past few years there?
    I think that there was to be an event at the Palace of Fine Arts.

  3. #3 Renate
    March 23, 2015

    @ e canfield
    Never let facts mess up a good story.

  4. #4 Johanna Mead
    San Francisco
    March 23, 2015

    IIRC, it’s not too tricky to get into Commonwealth Club events. I can’t see ’em charging much, if anything, to see Heckenlively speak. Who fancies going?

  5. #5 Orac
    March 23, 2015

    What does Heckenlively have to do with this post?

  6. #7 JGC
    March 23, 2015

    Vatican Radio is the official “voice of the Pope and the Church in dialogue with the World.

    “And now, from those wonderful people who brought you Boston’s Child Sexual Abuse scandal…”

  7. #8 Johanna Mead
    March 23, 2015

    Was responding to Denuce at #2. If you feel like I’m derailing things, delete as apt and please accept my apologies.:)

  8. #9 Denice Walter
    March 23, 2015

    Sorry.

  9. #10 Orac
    March 23, 2015

    No biggie. I only get annoyed when commenters derail things early on in the comment thread, because the earlier in the thread it is, the easier the thread is to derail. Seriously, bringing up off-topic stuff should not happen until there are at least 10 comments in the thread. Every so often, I tend to express my pique if I’m in less than a happy mood, as some regular readers have probably noticed. Think of it this way. If someone does it on the very first comment, there will definitely be an annoyed reaction on my part. The farther into a comment thread we go, the less chance of a reaction, with virtually no chance by around 15 or 20 comments.

    The solution? Add on-topic comments to get the thread over 10 or 20, and then go wherever the comment thread evolves. 🙂

  10. #11 Orac
    March 23, 2015

    “And now, from those wonderful people who brought you Boston’s Child Sexual Abuse scandal…”

    Except that there’s no evidence I could find that the Vatican even endorses the crackpottery of the Kenyan bishops and doctors promoting this nonsense.

  11. #12 Chris
    March 23, 2015

    I tried commenting on Solomon’s anti-vax blog, but he is denser than a black hole. He seems to think hospital medical care did not change the first half of the 20th century.

    • #13 Orac
      March 23, 2015

      Have you ever looked at his Twitter feed? 🙂

  12. #14 Denice Walter
    March 23, 2015

    Does anyone know what set Lawrence Solomon off?

    Suddenly, he became an anti-vaccine advocate.
    Does he have a personal connection to “vaccine damage” or does he just – as a conservative ( libertarian?)- despise governmental interference in people’s lives ( or whatever it is they’re squawking about now)?
    He seems to have come out of nowhere- not that he’s not going nowhere.

  13. #15 Matthew Rollosson
    March 23, 2015

    From Vatican News:

    “The joint team of experts appointed by the Catholic Church and the Minister of Health in Nairobi have declared that the vaccine used in the campaign against tetanus in Kenya is safe, even if the three samples contained the Beta HCG sub unit which, according to what the Kenyan Bishops denounced, is a permanent population control tool . This was announced by CISA Catholic agency in Nairobi, according to which the three samples will be subjected to further analysis.”
    http://www.news.va/en/news/africakenya-tetanus-vaccine-the-first-tests-deny-t

  14. #16 Politicalguineapig
    March 23, 2015

    Orac: “Except that there’s no evidence I could find that the Vatican even endorses the crackpottery of the Kenyan bishops and doctors promoting this nonsense.”

    On the other hand, there’s no evidence that the Vatican has told these guys to knock it off. The fact that the Vatican declines to say anything on the matter, and takes no steps to reign the bishops in is rather telling.

  15. #17 LIz Ditz
    United States
    March 23, 2015

    Complaint: can we please get a better quality of AV numpties?

    I am speaking specifically of Solomon in this instance. Genevieve H (who I believe is a biologist) went into great detail on why the Kenyan bishops were mistaken at The Rational Catholic blog, on November 12, 2014.

    Matercare said there’s no there there about the Kenya manufactroversy on December 10, 2014.

    Why oh why is Solomon (and whatzername Brogan) trying to sell this steaming pile of lies now?

    (For some reason, the deal in Kenya made me gibber.)

  16. #18 capnkrunch
    March 23, 2015

    Orac@11

    Except that there’s no evidence I could find that the Vatican even endorses the crackpottery of the Kenyan bishops and doctors promoting this nonsense.

    But they aren’t doing anything to stop it either. Obviously they are aware of these bishops’ views:

    Catholic Bishops in Kenya have been opposed to the nationwide Tetanus Vaccination Campaign targeting 2.3 million Kenyan women and girls of reproductive age between 15-49 years, terming the campaign a secret government plan to sterilize women and control population growth.

    No mention of how this is dangerous (potentially infant killing) garbage or even an attempt to distance themselves (the Vatican) from it. Not entirely the same but it reminds of the Rush lyrics, “If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.” Personally I think you are giving the Vatican far, far too much credit.

  17. #19 capnkrunch
    March 23, 2015

    Dang, PGP beat me to it. I’m glad I wasn’t the only one who was thinking that.

  18. #20 TBruce
    March 23, 2015

    Does anyone know what set Lawrence Solomon off?

    Suddenly, he became an anti-vaccine advocate.

    He’s been writing antivax stuff for 2 or 3 years as I recall, although nothing like his output in the past year. He has been a denier of anthropogenic climate change for years, touting his, shall we say, unique views that fossil fuels are the BESTEST THING EVAR for the environment.
    Now that his stance is more and more busted, he probably needs to cash in on some other wingnuttery. – antivax!
    Rumor has it that a book is in the works. What a surprise.

  19. #21 Chris
    March 23, 2015

    Orac: “Have you ever looked at his Twitter feed?”

    Yep.

  20. #22 Orac
    March 23, 2015

    I rather suspect that Solomon’s impetus to start the VaccineFactCheck website was likely his editors telling him to knock it off using his Financial Post column to spread antivaccine BS.

    Hmmm. I wonder if he’d dare show his face in the comments here. 🙂

  21. #23 Chris
    March 23, 2015

    I would love to challenge his CV. Apparently there is not much known about him nor his education. He has been very coy, and most of the stuff is sourced back to himself.

  22. #24 TBruce
    March 23, 2015

    Have you ever looked at his Twitter feed? 🙂

    What a pest. Solomon puts the “twit” in Twitter.

  23. #25 lilady
    March 23, 2015

    Solomon posted multiple anti-vaccine articles on the Financial Times, using Dr. Gregory Poland’s study of MMR vaccine effectiveness and safety. Solomon chose an article which is behind a pay wall and he engaged in the most blatant forms of cherry picking and quote mining. Links to Solomon’s Financial Times articles were provided to AoA readers by Anne Dachel and her flying monkey squad came out in droves to carpet bomb the Financial Times.

    I’d like to see Mr Solomon come here to defend his statements about the safety and effectiveness of MMR vaccines and his newest ludicrous statements about the vaccination programs in place in Africa to prevent neonatal tetanus infection.

  24. #26 Orac
    March 23, 2015

    What a pest. Solomon puts the “twit” in Twitter.

    He’s also utterly clueless about when his arguments have been utterly dismantled. He’s rather like the Black Knight in Monty Python and the Holy Grail that way. After all his arms and legs have been chopped off, metaphorically speaking, he still thinks he can win and that his opponents, by turning their attention elsewhere from him, are fleeing because they are afraid of him.

  25. #27 GregH
    March 23, 2015

    …likely his editors telling him to knock it off using his Financial Post column to spread antivaccine BS.

    Now if they’d only tell him to knock off the anti-climate science BS, we’d be all set. Censorship!

  26. #28 Matthew Rollosson
    March 23, 2015

    “On the other hand, there’s no evidence that the Vatican has told these guys to knock it off. The fact that the Vatican declines to say anything on the matter, and takes no steps to reign the bishops in is rather telling.”

    This isn’t about the Vatican or the Catholic Church.

    Nevertheless, the Pontifical Academy for Life stated clearly that the benefits of vaccines, including those grown on fetal cell cultures, outweigh the risks.
    http://www.ncbcenter.org/document.doc?id=7

  27. #29 Dan Andrews
    Canada
    March 23, 2015

    I think he’s a good example of crank magnetism. He was (is?) an environmental columnist, and could be counted upon to ignore the scientific consensus in order to promote some cherry-picked quote-mined single study, or zombie talking point.

    His book, The Deniers, is so full of easy to debunk “facts” you’d think he’d be too embarrassed to show his face again; if you ever need examples of logical fallacies for a class to dissect, that book could fill your first few weeks. The critical thinking skills demonstrated in it are so bad you just laugh at loud.

    Disclosure: I never read the whole book, but someone brought in a copy to the lab, and we’d take turns reading out loud some of his points. It was good for a laugh….along with a sad sob and multiple face-palms.

    I’d wager that within, ohhhh, 3-5 years, he’ll have adopted another crank conspiracy, and will milk that for a while next.

  28. #30 palindrom
    March 23, 2015

    The Catholic Church has in generally been pretty much OK with science in general for a long time. They accept evolution (with an escape clause about God being happy about it, or something) and global warming, which to me are the main litmus tests, so to speak. The current Pope (yay!) is causing some consternation among the wingnuts, which is a Good Thing in my book.

  29. #31 Kdog
    Durham,NH
    March 23, 2015

    I can never figure out the folks who care so deeply about unborn children (those not born because of nefarious contraception plots) and don’t seem to care at all about real live children who are apt to die from vaccine preventable disease. It boggles the mind.

  30. #32 Dangerous Bacon
    March 23, 2015

    “You’d think that with all the supposed attempts at sterilization through vaccination, that the world population wouldn’t be going up so rapidly.”

    Not to mention the World Depopulation Conspiracy that relies on vaccination (with lesser inputs from chemtrails, fluoride etc.).

    I despair at the miserable failure of our evil plans 🙁

  31. #33 Emma Crew
    March 23, 2015

    @kdog, that’s because underneath it all, it’s also about controlling women and keeping them so busy with babies that they don’t have time to demand to be treated like human beings with agency rather than chattel.

  32. #34 herr doktor bimler
    March 23, 2015

    I think he’s a good example of crank magnetism.

    Or, more cynically, Solomon is hoping for crank magnetism to affect his audience. “If I can make people stupid enough, they might shift over to my variety of free-market pro-carbon-industry conservatism!”

    From his perspective, every hippy-leaning anti-vaxxer is a potential convert to his cause, only needing to be convinced that glibertarianism is the true intellectual home of anti-vax thought.

  33. #35 Helianthus
    France
    March 23, 2015

    Related to the tetanus vaccine:
    While some nutjobs are reviling vaccines in any form, other people are working at saving lives with them:

    Tetanus Vaccine Boosts Cancer Vaccine In Fighting Brain Tumor

    If the article is somewhat accurate, that’s a pretty neat approach to treat brain cancer.

    Sidenote: For the US history specialists, there is a (obscure?) reference to Paul Revere.
    (I only heard of him via David Weber)

  34. #36 Dorit Reiss
    March 23, 2015

    I think this is the first Solomon article on vaccine issues I have seen, from January 2014: http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/lawrence-solomon/vaccine-skeptics_b_4548510.html

  35. #37 palindrom
    March 23, 2015

    Helianthus — In the US, Paul Revere is a near-mythical figure due largely to a poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow commemorating his “Midnight Ride” —
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Revere%27s_Ride

    I gotta admit, it’s a catchy poem.

  36. #38 Politicalguineapig
    March 23, 2015

    Matthew Rolloson: “This isn’t about the Vatican or the Catholic Church.”

    Did you not read the headline? The Vatican appoints Catholic bishops. Catholic Bishops in Kenya are telling women not to get the tetanus vaccine, and lobbying against it. So, yes, I’d say that does make it the Vatican’s problem.

    Palindrome: “The Catholic Church has in generally been pretty much OK with science in general for a long time.”

    Well, they’ve had to pretend that in order to wave away the bad PR that followed the trial of Galileo. The vast majority of Catholics probably believe that science and their particular brand of religion can coexist- until they bump up against something that requires them to chose. It’s the same thing with the Hippocratic oath and Catholic doctors- at some point, the patient’s going to end up losing.

  37. #39 TBruce
    March 23, 2015

    @Dorit Reiss,
    Here is a dumb article by Solomon in the Financial Post from 2012:
    http://news.nationalpost.com/2012/01/06/fps-lawrence-solomon-get-dirty-and-avoid-vaccines/

  38. #40 Dorit Reiss
    March 23, 2015

    @TBruce: thank you!

  39. #41 palindrom
    March 23, 2015

    until they bump up against something that requires them to chose.

    What might force such a choice?

    When a religious doctrine is flexible enough, it becomes essentially unfalsifiable. Biblical literalism is almost pathetically falsifiable, for example, but the old-line denominations appear to have long ago retreated from such indefensible positions, and wisely so.

  40. #42 Matthew Rollosson
    March 23, 2015

    “Did you not read the headline?”

    Do you mean this one?

    No, Lawrence Solomon, UNICEF and WHO are not trying to sterilize women with tetanus vaccines!

    There’s no mention of bishops, the Catholic Church, or the Vatican in that headline.

  41. #43 JP
    March 23, 2015

    Given the Catholic Church’s general pro-vaccine stance, it would be nice to see them step in and tell the Kenyan bishops to knock it off with the fear-mongering. I’m not really sure about the internal workings of the Catholic hierarchy or why that’s not happening, though. My main beef with the Church is the proscription of condoms, actually, especially in countries where AIDS is running rampant. That sh*t seriously needs to stop.

    The Catholic Church is generally fine with science, though, and the Catholics I’ve known have all been pretty chill. Most of them don’t follow all the rules, either – I mean, most Catholic women use birth control, and I have a very sweet friend in Poland who’s about as gay as they come and who still goes to Mass on a fairly regular basis. More power to him, I say.

  42. #44 herr doktor bimler
    March 23, 2015

    I’m not really sure about the internal workings of the Catholic hierarchy or why that’s not happening, though.

    Africa is an important growth area for the church. But strong competition from the Baptist / Pentecostal dunkers. As long as the branch offices keep recruiting, I can’t see the head office over-ruling their authoritarian, socially-conservative, anti-science tendencies, unless they officially adopt human sacrifice.

  43. #45 Politicalguineapig
    March 23, 2015

    Matthew Rolloson: Ok, I mixed up the article and headline. But the Catholic Church still needs to tell the bishops and the doctors to knock it off, especially since the doctors are trying to id themselves as Catholic.

    Palindrom: There have been cases where Catholic doctors and nurses have let pregnant patients die. The other situations might be if a Catholic researcher ends up working with stem cells- the research simply can’t be done by a religious person, or a Catholic who has to step back from climate research or environmental activism (Christianity and environmentalism cannot coexist.)

  44. #46 JP
    March 23, 2015

    step back from climate research or environmental activism (Christianity and environmentalism cannot coexist.)

    That is an absurd statement. You seem to have lumped all of Christianity in with a certain segment of Evangelicals who see the earth as nothing but a trampoline to paradise, so we might as well use everything up before the rapture.

    There are plenty of Christians out there who take the Bible’s call to stewardship of the earth very seriously. I know some of them personally.

  45. #47 UCC Member
    United States
    March 23, 2015

    United Church of Christ Statement on Climate Change
    http://www.ucc.org/environmental-ministries_climate-change-and-global
    Why Is Global Warming An Issue Of Faith?

    {Statement Extract}…People of faith are beginning to realize that global warming and climate change are issues of environmental justice. For humans, those who are poor or unable to adjust will be the first to feel the effects of a warming planet; many will lose their homes to rising seas and be unable to grow food for their families. …

  46. #48 Politicalguineapig
    March 23, 2015

    JP: “You seem to have lumped all of Christianity in with a certain segment of Evangelicals who see the earth as nothing but a trampoline to paradise, so we might as well use everything up before the rapture. There are plenty of Christians out there who take the Bible’s call to stewardship of the earth very seriously. I know some of them personally.”

    Isn’t the whole point of Christianity to denounce all earthly things, and avoid anything that might possibly be pleasurable, aside from finger-wagging? Individual Christians might be involved in the environmental movement, but one or the other of their beliefs will eventually self-destruct. There’s a reason you’d never hear a word about the environment spoken at the Vatican, in an Orthodox Church or a Lutheran or Anglican church. It’s not just evangelicals who can’t stand the Earth.

  47. #49 Joey
    March 23, 2015

    Sadly familiar with Mr. Solomon. His ‘Wind Turbine Syndrome’ writings are spammed by the anti-wind crowd in my neck of Ontario. A whole different bucket of FUD for him.

    http://business.financialpost.com/2014/11/25/lawrence-solomon-ill-winds-blow-from-wind-turbines/

  48. #50 JP
    March 23, 2015

    Isn’t the whole point of Christianity to denounce all earthly things, and avoid anything that might possibly be pleasurable, aside from finger-wagging?

    No. There’s a strain of that in most varieties of Christianity, certainly. It largely arises from the pernicious influence of certain Manichean and Gnostic ideas on what was, in its early days, essentially a mystical Jewish sect. (Judaism holds the earth itself to be inherently holy, and indulgence in earthly pleasures is hardly looked down upon. Song of Solomon, etc.)

    Part of the problem, too, is that people can get confused about the difference between “the world,” i.e., Mammon, and “the earth,” which you are replicating in your response above. Even the Desert Fathers at their most world-hating and ascetic never cursed the earth.

    You actually will hear, depending on various things like who’s preaching or what Sunday it is or whatever, quite a few words about environmentalism in churches of the Orthodox or Lutheran or Anglican varieties. Most churches have taken a pro-environmentalism, anti-global-warming stance even officially. Heck, just have a gander at this Whackyweedia page.

  49. #51 palindrom
    March 24, 2015

    There have been cases where Catholic doctors and nurses have let pregnant patients die.

    Not too many, I bet.

    The other situations might be if a Catholic researcher ends up working with stem cells- the research simply can’t be done by a religious person, or a Catholic who has to step back from climate research or environmental activism (Christianity and environmentalism cannot coexist.)

    Uh, no. As JP has so ably said, Christianity is much more doctrinally diverse than this.

    And as for the stem cells, as well as birth control, I think that most Catholic scientists would pretty much agree with Earl Butz, Nixon’s good-ol-boy secretary of ag. He was eventually kicked out for repeating a really bad racist joke — which I’m sure most scientists would find egregious — but before that, one of his controversial witticisms was on target, I thought: When asked about the Pope’s attitude toward contraception, he said:

    He no play-a the game, he no make-a the rules.
    </blockquote

  50. #52 Kelly
    AL-US
    March 24, 2015

    Over 20 posts and not totally off topic, but connected.

    These type of lies have gotten people killed. The same type of rumor was going around in one of the West African countries during the height of the Ebola outbreak. People were saying those that were working there, treating people and testing people were actually giving people Ebola.

    There were a few groups of aid workers killed by villagers and it was thought they were killed because some had been spreading the rumors they were giving people Ebola when testing them.

    These types of rumors can be very dangerous.

  51. #53 Krebiozen
    March 24, 2015

    PGP,

    There’s a reason you’d never hear a word about the environment spoken at the Vatican, in an Orthodox Church or a Lutheran or Anglican church.

    I’m not a great fan of religion, but that isn’t true. The Vatican, for example, has made several staments about the environment.

    The importance of ecology is no longer disputed. We must listen to the language of nature and we must answer accordingly. – Pope Benedict XVI to Reichstag Building, Berlin, 9/22/2011

    The Evangelical Church of America states:

    Caring for God’s creation is an ever evolving topic in this world, especially with each new natural or human-made disaster. As stewards of this world, we are called to examine our behaviors toward creation. While we need to take from the land for food and sustainability, we also need to be careful that we maintain good stewardship and do not exploit the wonderful things the earth provides.

    The Anglican Church is similarly concerned about the environment, as its Shrinking the Footprint campaign reveals.

    “The present challenges of environment and economy, of human development and global poverty, can only be faced with extraordinary Christ-liberated courage.” – The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby

  52. #54 Denice Walter
    March 24, 2015

    Well, I’m glad that a few of the regulars and UCC Member point out relevant positions held by various Christian denominations that show that PGP is wrong about- at least some- Christians’ stances on the environment. We could probably also find out how individuals in those denominations line up ( or not) with those positions.

    BUT we might ask, “How did she come by this impression of such strong Christian opposition?”
    I think that there are particularly strident groups ( like anti-vaxxers) who work very hard at representing themselves as the Majority Voice or suchlike. I don’t know for sure if they predominate in any particular denomination or if they have political aspirations and manage to get themselves on television ( or if indeed political candidates/ representatives make a show of their own anti-environmentalism and label it as Christian in order to be more acceptable)

    PGP: perhaps you could give us examples of which individuals/ groups you mean? ( I have a few guesses)

    There are people with an agenda who would benefit from loosened environmental standards and I’m sure that they would use any reason to justify their beliefs to others. Perhaps the position itself might better be called ‘political’ rather than ‘religious’.

  53. #55 Martin
    March 24, 2015

    @politicalguineapig

    I’m a devout atheist, but you are very wrong about mainstream protestantism–including Lutherans:

    http://elca.org/News-and-Events/7697

  54. #56 Martin
    Wittenberg
    March 24, 2015

    Note: The ELCA is the main branch (synod) of the Lutheran Church and I have to say that there are a few small sects within the Church that are fundamentalist (and ignored by the majority). Michelle Bachmann belonged to one of them and then tried to pass herself off as “just a Lutheran”. Happily, she jumped ship and became a mainstream fundie.

    Lutherans are not at all anti-science and it is possible to be an atheist (openly) and still enjoy the fellowship of a Lutheran congregation.

  55. #57 Denice Walter
    March 24, 2015

    @ Martin:

    Really? Oh J-sus! What next!
    Well, I KNOW about Anglicans/ Episcopelians tolerating atheists- that’s old- but now Pope Frank and Lutherans yet?

    I predict we’ll soon be in high demand as friends to illustrate tolerance.

  56. #58 shay
    March 24, 2015

    About fifteen years ago I was in attendance at a United Methodist bible study group (it’s a long story), where they discussed Genesis 1:28 and how it meant stewardship. Per the Methodists, wasting God’s resources is a sin, and I imagine other mainstream Protestant denominations feel the same way.

  57. #59 Calli Arcale
    http://fractalwonder.wordpress.com
    March 24, 2015

    *raises hand* ELCA member here. 😉

    Bachmann started out Wisconsin Synod, not ELCA. This is not a sect of the ELCA, and never has been (and would likely be offended at the suggestion). The non-denominational church she now attends is the same one a friend of mine attends. It started out Baptist, but is now the sort of generically Protestant megachurch that has become so overwhelmingly popular in recent years. Since WELS does not consider the Eucharist of other denomations valid, they probably would officially say she’s going to hell.

    The WELS (Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod) did not follow several other synods which merged to form the ELCA*. WELS is more what folks tend ot think of when they hear the term “evangelical Protestant”. It’s for folks who though the Missouri Synod was too liberal. They won’t even take communion with non-WELS folk. (I’m a heathen according ot their doctrine.)

    *And because I’m a little slap-happy from a very trying week at work — and it’s only Tuesday! yippee! — I’m now thinking “Merge, and combine to form MEGA-LUTHERAN!”

  58. #60 shay
    March 24, 2015

    Oh, and I’ve pointed this out before, but in many parts of the country, including mine, the only hospitals in the jurisdiction are faith-based (in this county, Mennonite and Roman Catholic).

    The Catholic hospital chain here is still run by nuns and when I say “run” I mean all of senior management. I was at a healthcare coalition meeting during the height of the Ebola panic in late October, and a number of organizations were contemplating the example of the serious financial damage done to Texas Presbyterian for accepting an Ebola victim. One chain stated flat out that if someone with EVD symptoms showed up in the ED, the ambulance would be given directions to the university medical center “up north” in the big city, and told to keep going.

    The bean-counter representing the Order of St Francis stated glumly that “the sisters won’t allow that.” If someone showed up sick, they would be admitted, Ebola or no Ebola.

  59. #61 Renate
    The Netherlands
    March 24, 2015

    Everytime I see PGP’s rants about Christianity, I have to think of a vicar who I knew something like 35 years ago, who offered a place for drug abusers, transsexuals and tranvestites. He cared for them when lots of people didn’t. Progressives and feminists often didn’t accept transsexuals and there was a book ‘The transexual empire’ doing the rounds, which considered transsexuals as an evil plot to put women back under patriarchate.
    And yes, I’m still an atheist and still don’t see much use for religion, but I don’t see religion as the root of all evil and I acknowledge that people can be insprired by religion to help humanity.

    PGP may be a nice person in real live, which I am not, but online she can be embarrassing.

  60. #62 JP
    March 24, 2015

    Progressives and feminists often didn’t accept transsexuals and there was a book ‘The transexual empire’ doing the rounds, which considered transsexuals as an evil plot to put women back under patriarchate.

    I don’t know about often, but yeah, there are some radfems out there who are pretty anti-trans. See also the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival, unfortunately.

  61. #63 Johnny
    127.0.0.1
    March 24, 2015

    BUT we might ask, “How did she come by this impression of such strong Christian opposition?”

    Because she’s a bigot, who believes that if some member of a group that doesn’t include her has a trait that she doesn’t like, then all members of that group have that trait.

    For example, there was a video of a racist chant by members of a fraternity at a school in Oklahoma. I expected that at some point, PGP would have posted one of the following statements –

    All members of SAE are racist
    All frat boys are racist
    All OU students are racist
    All persons in Oklahoma are racist
    All white men are racist
    All men are racist
    All who chant are racist

    I have no opinion on how she came to be a bigot.

  62. #64 Renate
    March 24, 2015

    @ JP
    I don’t know how many feminists nowadays are anti-trans, but some 35 years ago, I had a transsexual friend, who had problems in the women-group she was part of. And I know a reviewer of the newspaper I still read, wrote a favorable review of the book. So I have the impression the ideas weren’t that uncommon at that time. I think Germaine Greer also had some issues with transsexuals.

    But I’m not bashing feminists, nor Christians, because some of them have done or said some nasty things in the past.
    It might be a lesson for PGP.

  63. #65 Lynn
    March 24, 2015

    Just to further clarify the position of one church

    http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/mar/24/climate-change-denial-immoral-says-head-episcopal-church

    Climate denial is immoral, says head of US Episcopal church
    Climate change is a moral challenge threatening the rights of the world’s poorest people and those who deny it are not using God’s gift of knowledge, says presiding bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori

  64. #66 Lawrence
    March 24, 2015

    @lynn – it makes sense, given the overall negative effects that will be first experienced by the poorest countries…..many of whom are much more “religious” than we are here.

  65. #67 a-non
    March 24, 2015

    There have been cases where Catholic doctors and nurses have let pregnant patients die.

    I know there was a somewhat famous case in Ireland a few years ago when a woman who went to a Catholic hospital suffering from a miscarriage and later died. That was a very complicated, multi-factoral case and not as simple as “the doctors let a pregnant woman die”.

    If you are referring to other cases, please provide sources for that claim that suggest there is a pattern on Catholic hospitals not doing what they can to save pregnant patients.

  66. #68 Kiiri
    March 24, 2015

    I have to say that I am not a fan of the Catholic church’s stand on birth control, abortion, or women’s rights, but I’m not a Christian either. 🙂
    And I can tell you injecting even a fairly large amount of hCG into your body will not render you infertile. It is the ‘trigger shot’ for ovulation as Orac points out. And I have had many of them. And through infertility treatment am incubating my second and last pregnancy. Besides, the threshold for detecting pregnancy (if I remember right) is something like >5 (whatever units I am fuzzy now on the details) because women can have trace amounts and not be pregnant. Even more important with fertility treatment, which is why you don’t test for a week so you don’t get a false positive.
    a-non – quibble with your post, from reading media coverage of the Irish case you cite, they seem to have really let this woman die. According to reports she presented miscarrying, but because fetal heartbeat could still be detected they would not do a D&C. By the time the fetus actually died (no heartbeat detected) she had a massive infection and died. If she had had a prompt D&C on presenting with an incomplete miscarriage it is probable she might have lived. So yes, in that case the Catholic ethos against abortion directly led to her death. So I would argue with you on that one. I vehemently disagree with a total ban on abortion in any case, but the prevailing opinion seems to be that the pregnancy was not salvageable no matter what was done so that by denying the D&C while heartbeat still detectable was wrong and contributed to her death. There have been numerous cases that are beginning to come out of non-Catholic women treated at Catholic hospitals wanting to have tubal ligation done after delivering and being denied because the Church prohibits it. Again, I think when you are in the business of providing healthcare you should respect a woman’s right to bodily autonomy meaning respecting her right to permanent sterilization if she wishes it. This is an issue in communities where the sole hospital provider is a Catholic run one because it denies you the choice to seek a different provider. I don’t think religion should be forced on people and that seems to be the case that is happening here in the US.

  67. #69 Politicalguineapig
    March 24, 2015

    All: Point taken. Problem is, there’s megaphones on the right and crickets on the left. Rubio and Rick Scott are planning to sell the Everglades, and odds are most of the activists against that won’t be affiliated with churches. It’s like the anti-vax thing all over again. Most people are going to assume parents aren’t likely to vaccinate, because the people who vaccinate have mostly been quiet. The same thing applies to environmentalists- you find ten environmentalists, and odds are all of them are either athiests, Jewish or lapsed Christians.

    Shay:Ebola’s one thing, pregnancy’s quite another. In most doctrines, a woman who is pregnant ceases to be a person for the duration of the pregnancy. If a Catholic doctor or nurse has to chose between the mother and the fetus, they’ll usually dither until both are gone, because fetuses rank higher in God’s esteem than women do. Treating a man with ebola is different, because a man is always a person.

  68. #70 Politicalguineapig
    March 24, 2015

    Johnny: I’m not a bigot, I just find that society makes much more sense when people are sorted into categories, based on beliefs, class, and clubs they belong to. As for the frat boys, well, what can you expect from a bunch of drunk, stupid kids who have never set foot outside their hometown until they went to college?

  69. #71 Lawrence
    March 24, 2015

    @PGP – you’ve just provided a great definition of a bigot….

  70. #72 Denice Walter
    March 24, 2015

    On a lighter note…
    occasionally, stereotyping can be fun!

    I just discovered something called ‘judgmental maps’
    just g–gle “judgmental map” and the name of a locale with which you are familiar…
    -btw- New York and London are hilarious- e.g. particular areas labelled as ‘small republican hamlet’ or just ‘wankers’

    Perhaps your town is available

    AND yes, I know that whoever drew these up is totally beyond forgiveness. And none of it is REALLY true.

    There’s a reason why people think like this though.

  71. #73 Politicalguineapig
    March 24, 2015

    Lawrence: No, bigots sort by race and religion, which are usually things people don’t get a choice about- at least, if they happen to be born into a religion like say, Judaism or Islam.

  72. #74 JP
    March 24, 2015

    The same thing applies to environmentalists- you find ten environmentalists, and odds are all of them are either athiests, Jewish or lapsed Christians.

    In your head, maybe. IRL, we live in a Christian-majority nation, and secular folks are only slightly more likely to be environmentalists than religious folks, according to this actual data I found, so actually, most of your 10 hypothetical environmentalists are going to be some flavor of Christian. (More likely moderate or liberal than traditionalist.)

    Treating a man with ebola is different, because a man is always a person.

    I think the hypothetical situation involved a person with Ebola, not a man.

    I’m not a bigot, I just find that society makes much more sense when people are sorted into categories, based on beliefs, class, and clubs they belong to.

    I prefer to relate to people as individuals, but that’s just me. (See what I did there?) I mean, sure, if the “club” somebody’s in is the freaking KKK or something, I’m pretty comfortable pre-judging them, but that is a fairly extreme example.

    No, bigots sort by race and religion, which are usually things people don’t get a choice about-

    What about sex/gender? Sexual orientation? Country of origin? Socioeconomic status? Rural/urban? Etc?

    which are usually things people don’t get a choice about- at least, if they happen to be born into a religion like say, Judaism or Islam.

    Wait a second – you are aware that Jews and Muslims can change their religion, right? (At least outside of places like Saudi Arabia, anyway.) Or that people can, say, convert to Judaism or Islam? Or quite being religious at all? Or… etc. If you decide to judge people based on their religion, whether or not they chose it, you might miss out on some pretty great people. But then, my general philosophy about other people more or less line’s up with Ed Wood’s: “Why, I never judge anybody! If I did, I wouldn’t have any friends!”

    I mean, heck, I even have friends who are evangelical atheists, and I even put up with them saying things like, “But you’re so smart, how can you not be an atheist*?” without even making retorts like, “But you’re such a nice person, how can you be an atheist?” (I don’t make that retort because I can see how it’s really stupid.)

    *It depends on one’s definition of the word, I suppose.

  73. #75 JP
    March 24, 2015

    ^ Bah, typos.

  74. #76 Narad
    March 24, 2015

    And I can tell you injecting even a fairly large amount of hCG into your body will not render you infertile.

    No, wait. The “idea” is supposed to be is that the vaccine induces antibodies to hCG. I can’t help but take note of this item from Mr. Lab Coat himself:

    “HCG is a chemical developed by the World Health Organization for sterilization purposes.”

    This is an impressively stupid misreading of the quote that it prefigures:

    “‘The only time tetanus vaccine has been given in five doses is when it is used as a carrier in fertility regulating vaccines laced with the pregnancy hormone, Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (HCG) developed by WHO in 1992.’ explained Dr. Ngare.”

    No, see, the sterilization instrument is what you mean, Mikey. Always consider the possibility that you’re quoting something that hinges on commas for semantics.

    I’m too tired to actually dig, but if memory serves, the actual hCG vaccines (which were conjugated to a TT carrier) wore off in about a year, with a recommended six-month dosing schedule to maintain the contraceptive effect.

  75. #77 JP
    March 25, 2015

    Not finding anything on dosing schedules, but it looks like the main problem with the actual hCG vaccine so far is that it’s not quite foolproof enough:

    While the proof of concept is largely given by these studies, the shortcoming of the vaccine was that it generated above protective threshold titres in only 60–80% of women. This degree of efficacy is highly satisfactory for vaccines against infectious diseases but a birth control vaccine has to be effective in >90–95% of recipients in order to be acceptable. Further work on product development is required. It would require more potent adjuvants, which are available today from the pharmaceutical industry, instead of the alum employed in the test vaccine. At this time, there is also a need constantly to monitor the vaccinated individuals for the presence/absence of sufficient antibody titres that can block conception.

    Incidentally, the fundies will not like it, as it’s action is basically the same as that of the famed “Plan B” pill: it prevents an already fertilized egg from implanting, so, for “the men who stare at zygotes,” it’s technically an abortifacient.

  76. #78 Vicki
    March 25, 2015

    I have known several people who converted to Judaism (one is the son of Presbyterian missionaries, and another used to be an AME Zion minister). Someone else I knew in college was Jewish by parentage and upbringing, and converted to Catholicism.

    Plenty of anti-Semites wouldn’t bother to ask questions, just count all of those people as Jewish.

    Bigots also discriminate by, among other things, class (both class background and current income level), sexual orientation, marital/relationship status, body shape, disability status, level of education, and where people grew up. Some of those are attributes we have some amount of choice about; not all.

  77. #79 Politicalguineapig
    March 25, 2015

    JP: “Wait a second – you are aware that Jews and Muslims can change their religion, right? (At least outside of places like Saudi Arabia, anyway.) Or that people can, say, convert to Judaism or Islam? Or quite being religious at all? Or… etc. If you decide to judge people based on their religion, whether or not they chose it, you might miss out on some pretty great people.”

    Islam and Judaism generally don’t attract a lot of converts, though I am aware they exist. I *voted* for a man who converted to Islam, after all. But currently Islam and Judaism are more mixed up with specific cultures than Christianity is. IE, Christianity is basically the Wonder Bread of religion. There are some nice evangelicals that I’ve run into. I prefer to avoid that sort of person because I end up doing more lying than I’m comfortable with and we have absolutely nothing in common. I end up lying about my job(s) and even my hobbies.

  78. #80 shay
    March 25, 2015

    ” I end up lying about my job(s) and even my hobbies.”

    What on earth for?

  79. #81 JP
    March 25, 2015

    Well, we could get into the whole question of, “is Judaism a religion, a “race,” or a culture? But Islam is definitely a “universal” religion every bit as much as Christianity is. It doesn’t attract a lot of converts in the US, sure, but it still has its growth areas. All this is beside the point, though.

    There are some nice evangelicals that I’ve run into. I prefer to avoid that sort of person because I end up doing more lying than I’m comfortable with and we have absolutely nothing in common. I end up lying about my job(s) and even my hobbies.

    I can’t say I have any Evangelical friends that I know of – I am a pretty far-out kind of person, I guess. But Evangelicals are not the same as all Christians, and I do have some friends who are Christians.

    Anyway, why bother lying? If you don’t end up hitting it off with someone and you have nothing in common, no biggie. But if you do get along well with somebody, I mean, why not just try being honest about yourself? If they run the other way, then f*ck ’em anyway.

  80. #82 Krebiozen
    March 25, 2015

    But Islam is definitely a “universal” religion every bit as much as Christianity is. It doesn’t attract a lot of converts in the US, sure, but it still has its growth areas.

    As you say, it’s beside the point, but Islam is the fastest-growing religion in the world, which somewhat worries me*, though it isn’t clear how many are moderates and how many are potential IS.

    * Disclaimer – I have worked with many Muslims, have Muslim friends, have spent time in Muslim countries, own a copy of the Koran and have visited more mosques than I can remember (I was even blessed by an Imam in a run-down backstreet mosque in Cairo, which consisted of a vigorous head massage and a lot of chanting, presumably verses from the Koran).

  81. #83 JP
    March 25, 2015

    Yeah, I have to say, it worries me a little bit too. I mean, the thing about Islam is that it isn’t just a religion, but a blueprint for a society, one that’s supposed to be an Islamic theocracy. And, uh, no thanks on that.

  82. #84 JP
    March 25, 2015

    ^ Which is not at all to say that I’m one of those right-wing a**holes who’s all hot and bothered about “Sharia law” in the US or whatever.

  83. #85 LW
    March 25, 2015

    @politicalguineapig, I am an atheist with friends who are evangelical Christians. They are very nice, very generous people. They are interesting people and I am happy to let them talk — about themselves, about their religion, about their work, about their hobbies. They seem to appreciate a good listener.

    I don’t talk about religion to them. I don’t lie; I just don’t bring it up. Why should I?

    You might try listening to people instead of prejudging them and despising what you think they would say if you ever allowed them to speak to you. You’d find that people do not actually fall into neat little categories for you to hate.

  84. #86 Lawrence
    March 25, 2015

    PGP sounds like one of the worst people I’ve ever had the opportunity to interact with.

    And that’s saying something….

  85. #87 JGC
    March 25, 2015

    I mean, the thing about Islam is that it isn’t just a religion, but a blueprint for a society, one that’s supposed to be an Islamic theocracy.

    To any greater extent than Catholicism, Hinduism, judaism, etc. are not also considered by their adherents to be a blueprint for society?

  86. #88 JGC
    March 25, 2015

    No, bigots sort by race and religion, which are usually things people don’t get a choice about- at least, if they happen to be born into a religion like say, Judaism or Islam.

    Of course you get a choice about the religion you adhere to. I was raised as a roman Catholic–first communion, altar boy, confirmation, the whole nine yards–but completed a formal conversion to Judaism about 10 years ago.

  87. #89 Politicalguineapig
    March 25, 2015

    JP: But if you do get along well with somebody, I mean, why not just try being honest about yourself?

    Because being back-stabbed isn’t fun. I am honest, sometimes, but most of the time, it’s not worth the effort.

    LW: You might try listening to people instead of prejudging them and despising what you think they would say if you ever allowed them to speak to you. You’d find that people do not actually fall into neat little categories for you to hate.

    It isn’t about hating them, I prejudge people so I can tell them what they want to hear and put on a performance. I do listen, a lot more than I speak, as it’s easier.

    JGC: “Of course you get a choice about the religion you adhere to. I was raised as a roman Catholic–first communion, altar boy, confirmation, the whole nine yards–but completed a formal conversion to Judaism about 10 years ago.”

    Point taken, but I was trying to express that Judaism and Islam aren’t just religions, they’re bound up with a lot of cultural traditions too.

  88. #90 JP
    March 25, 2015

    To any greater extent than Catholicism, Hinduism, judaism, etc. are not also considered by their adherents to be a blueprint for society?

    With Catholicism you have a point – which is why I’m very glad the Reformation happened, and the subsequent Enlightenment era, etc. If you actually read the Gospels, though, there are no injunctions to go out and build a Christian state or government – quite the opposite, really. Christianity becoming the state religion of Rome was more a perversion of the original idea than anything else, although it’s a historical fact, and who knows, things might’ve worked out worse had some other religion been adopted.

    Judaism has mostly not really been a “universal,” proselytizing type religion in the way that Islam and Christianity are. (There are some historical exceptions.) It’s more bound up with a particular people and place, and I wouldn’t have particularly wanted to live in ancient Israel either. I’m not really worried about Judaism establishing a Levant-wide theocracy or anything, though.

    “Hinduism” is so broad a category as to be practically meaningless. I mean, “Hinduism” as an umbrella includes everything from monist materialism to Advaita Vedanta to the Hare Krishnas to mainstream Vaishnavism, etc., etc.

  89. #91 Denice Walter
    March 25, 2015

    @ PGP:

    Do you really think that people will reject you if you don’t agree with them about everything?

    Did you ever imagine that perhaps you have attractive qualities that make you interesting to them?

    Look, various commenters are critical of how you express yourself but they don’t just toss you away as a worthless waste of time. So they must be seeing something of value.
    Maybe you’re intriguing as a foil.

    Personally I think that you’re smart, a strong supporter of SBM, sometimes cleverly sharp tongued with trolls and able to respond to criticism without anger, resentment or aggression. I feel that what comes across as stereotyping and rejection of others may possibly be a mode of self-protection as well as insouciant language choice.

    AND I don’t think that you’re so fragile.
    Meaningful relationships have disagreements and give-and-take. Why should someone reject you if there is any disagreement? Why perform? ( Altho’ everyone does to a degree/ did you ever read Goffman?)
    Perhaps your real persona- which you express to a degree here- would be alright with some people. On-line communication can sometimes be a testing ground or rehearsal for everyday life.

  90. #92 JP
    March 25, 2015

    If you actually read the Gospels, though, there are no injunctions to go out and build a Christian state or government – quite the opposite, really.

    I will grant you that a lot of Christians seem to think there’s such an injunction in the Gospels, though, which only goes to show that they have not actually read them or thought about them very much.

  91. #93 Tsu Dho Nimh
    March 25, 2015

    “The vaccines were sent to hospital laboratories and tested using pregnancy test kits which are developed for use on serum and urine specimens, and are not appropriate for a vaccine such as TT, which contains a special preservative (merthiolate) and an adjuvant (aluminum salt)”

    Putting my Medical Technologist hat on … there’s no way in hell you could get an accurate reading from a test meant for urine or blood if you ran it on something with as few soluble molecules as a vaccine dose. As I recall, you can’t even run it on urine if it’s too dilute.

    ” In fact, in a laboratory in Hungary, it was shown that the sterile water supply from the local hospital gave a higher false positive level of hCG than did the TT vaccine. “

  92. #94 herr doktor bimler
    March 25, 2015

    “‘The only time tetanus vaccine has been given in five doses is when it is used as a carrier in fertility regulating vaccines laced with the pregnancy hormone, Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (HCG) developed by WHO in 1992.’ explained Dr. Ngare.”

    What’s that, NHS guidelines?
    The full course of the tetanus vaccination consists of five doses.
    And how Talwar’s work at the National Institute of Immunology in India became conflated with WHO is anyone’s guess (though WHO = scarier).

    Muhame Ngare is a lying low-life ratbag who will spout the mendacious script he’s given, but as was covered in the earlier RI episodes on the Kenyan debacle, he is really acting here as a stovepipe, allowing the Kenyan Catholic bishops to tell themselves the lies they wanted to hear. It’s not entirely clear why they want to re-medievalise medicine, apart from the prospect of increased influence.

  93. #95 doug
    March 25, 2015

    I am still uncertain as to what was tested. Contrary to Dr. Gunter’s post, the WHO statement only implies that blood samples were submitted. Tsu, above, quotes something saying that actual vaccine samples were submitted. I recall from the first round of this topic at RI that something supported what Tsu is quoting. But I still don’t know for sure. The language used in all of this (i.e. from “original” sources, not Dr. G or Orac) has been sloppy and unclear.
    What is clear is that the accusations made against the vaccine are complete nonsense.

    I suspect that Solomon may be catching on to the notion that a great many people think he is an irrelevant dolt, and is striving for a new lookatme endeavor.

  94. #97 JP
    March 25, 2015

    @PGP:

    Because being back-stabbed isn’t fun. I am honest, sometimes, but most of the time, it’s not worth the effort.

    Well, nobody likes being back-stabbed. I don’t know if that’s precisely the right word, but I have had a couple friends let me down or do me wrong in very big ways. I have to admit that we’re not friends anymore. And yeah, it hurts like hell – but cutting yourself off from people because you’re afraid of getting hurt is worse than, I think, any amount of pain. It might not hurt in the same way, but it’s numbing, and an important part of you atrophies. Relationships – of whatever sort – aren’t just nice, they’re essential. I won’t tell you they’re safe, though.

    And even pain isn’t entirely bad. It lets you know you’re alive, at least. I like this song which touches on the subject.

  95. #98 JP
    March 25, 2015

    By the way, PGP, you should check out Tori Amos in general, if you aren’t already familiar with her, which you might me. She does a cover of Joe Jackson’s Real Men which I like better than the original.

    I also have very strong associations with the album that song is on, Strange Little Girls.

  96. #99 Julian Frost
    Gauteng East Rand
    March 26, 2015

    JP, you also own “Strange Little Girls”?
    I went to see Amos a few years ago when she came out to South Africa.

  97. #100 JP
    March 26, 2015

    I envy you – I’ve never seen her live. I’ve owned Strange Little Girl since I was 13, I think. A cousin of mine, whom I love dearly, and who has been very troubled in various ways over the years, mostly involving men, gave it to me way back in the day.

  98. #101 JP
    March 26, 2015

    She’s doing pretty okay these days, actually. She got rid of the last guy who was a real loser and is concentrating on raising her two sons.

  99. #102 JP
    March 26, 2015

    That album is also tied up for me with more recent memories, both good and bad, of a certain ill-advised tryst.f

  100. #103 Johnny
    April 1, 2015

    http://holisticsquid.com/when-to-get-a-tetanus-shot/

    Why bother get a tetanus shot guys, there is more research out there showing that even with high levels of antibodies there is still no protection whatsoever. Also levels of tetanus mortality have fallen despite there being a mythical vaccine. Case of not necessary – again

  101. #104 Lawrence
    April 1, 2015

    Let’s propose an experiment for Johnny – he should get a shot of tetanus toxoid & then treat it holistically….then we’ll see what happens.

  102. #105 shay
    April 1, 2015

    What’s the homeopathic treatment for tetanus?

  103. #106 Lawrence
    April 1, 2015

    @Johnny – wait, but if you are pushing “homeopathic vaccines” which mean that you believe that “like cures like” then what is the problem with current vaccines? They actually use that principle…and aren’t made 100% water.

  104. #107 gaist
    April 1, 2015

    Johnny, care to cite those studies showing tetanus vaccine offers “no protection whatsoever”?

    Didn’t think so.

  105. […] Yes, Mike Adams is a such a lovely man, isn’t he? The great thing about his various conspiracy ramblings is that they don’t have to make any sense or even be internally self-consistent. For example, one thing that never made sense to me is why vaccine manufacturers would want, in essence, to kill their customers. I’ve discussed why the various conspiracy theories claiming that vaccines are laced with chemicals that cause infertility before more times that I can remember. Such conspiracy theories were ridiculous when they first emerged in the Phillipines in the 1990s; they were just as ridiculous when Muslim clerics insinuated that the polio vaccine was a plot to sterilize their women, and remain ridiculous in their most recent incarnation in Africa, where Kenyan Catholic bishops and doctors have promoted the idea that the tetanus vaccine is really a contraceptive designed to sterilize their young women. […]

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