Pharyngula

TFN makes a serious tactical error

I’m a fan of the Texas Freedom Network — they are fighting the good fight in the heart of one of the craziest states in the country — but they just made a big mistake. They are celebrating their 15th anniversary by bringing in a big-name speaker…Arianna Huffington. Jebus. One of the worst purveyors of pseudo-science, quackery, and New Age clown-noise on the internet. It reminds me a bit of Bill Maher winning an award from AAI…except that in this case, Huffington hasn’t made any contribution to the promotion of science.

Don’t buy a ticket. Don’t endorse that loon.

TFN does good work, though: if you were planning to go, wait until the event is over, and then mail them a $25 donation.

I’m still astounded, though. What were they thinking?

Comments

  1. #1 eeanm
    April 5, 2010

    Well Maher hasn’t promote science either, just atheism.

    I think Huffington annoys you more since her site is constantly a source of bad information (unlike Maher who is safely secluded on a funny HBO show).

  2. #2 Etruscan
    April 5, 2010

    Yeah, I’ve seen a lot of bad articles on HP. On the other hand, it’s very difficult for a post by Deepak Chopra or Dana Ullman to show up anywhere on the front page without being hammered by negative/skeptical comments. So meh.

  3. #3 Andyo
    April 5, 2010

    Well she does make a pretty hilarious bear voice.

  4. #4 Newfie
    April 5, 2010

    TFN trying to cast a wider net for liberals?

  5. #5 aratina cage
    April 5, 2010

    Mixed in with the gaseous, bilious woo at the HuffPost, you do sometimes find atheistic and pro-human-rights articles and blog commentary with considerably fewer pro-science pieces, and the HuffPost is not afraid of the “L” word (in this case I mean “liberal”). But I don’t know if that makes up for all the authoritative lying by doctors and celebrities of pseudoscience or the religious creotards that infest the place or if it counters the rampant censorship of atheist and LGBT voices that goes on daily at Arianna’s rag.

  6. #6 monado
    April 5, 2010

    They were probably thinking BABE SPEAKER = Publicity + Donations.

  7. #7 Givesgoodemail
    April 5, 2010

    @5: Yes, you see a real mixed bag of stuff from Arianna’s site. I suspect that it’s mostly for the site hits, because the vast majority of blog readers, like the vast majority of people in general, are half-wackaloon themselves.

    Subscribing to Deepak’s posts on HuffPo is my favorite get-a-laugh activity when I’m blue.

  8. #8 smittypap
    April 5, 2010

    I used to visit huffpo daily for a news fix, but lately it’s becoming an online National Enquirer – less news & more crap. Now I just go there when I’m bored.

  9. #9 Zeno
    April 5, 2010

    I really need to write that blog post that has been festering in my brain. I remember Arianna from the 1994 campaign in which she pulled her husband’s strings in a effort to get him Dianne Feinstein’s seat in the U.S. Senate. Many campaign consultants got rich from the flood of money that Arianna poured out of her then-husband’s pockets.

    Sure, Arianna has turned her coat and gone liberal, but I still distrust her. Furthermore, she was steeped in southern California woo-woo-woo in those days and I see in that the seeds of Huff-Po’s friendliness toward pseudo- and anti-science. Anyone remember poor old Peter A. McWilliams? He spilled the beans and got sued (not directly by Arianna) to within an inch of his life. (Actually, since he’s dead, perhaps less than an inch.)

  10. #10 Beth B.
    April 5, 2010

    At least the award Maher won was specifically for the promotion of atheism, and for that he fit the bill. The choice of Huffington just seems like a non-sequitur.

  11. #11 Hurin
    April 5, 2010

    I can’t speak for TFN but Huffington is a big name who might help pull people in. On a tactical level I think it is understandable.

    I also think that Huffington probably doesn’t want theocracy seeded in the school system by the Texas school board.

    On the other hand, having associations to someone willing to promote the kind of garbage (especially the anti-vax garbage) that Huffpo is willing to post might be credibility undermining. This was definitely a questionable decision.

  12. #12 Orac
    April 5, 2010

    Perhaps the best summary, if I do say so myself, of the Huffington Post’s war on medical science can be found here:

    http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/?p=473

  13. #13 Glen Davidson
    April 5, 2010

    So ridiculous. As if the fight for good science ends at the issue of evolution vs. IDiocy.

    Yes, much as I dislike HuffPo, they are quite solidly pro-science where evolution is concerned (they might add some woo even there, though). But we’re fighting for principle, and throwing over science in the rest of biology is not standing for scientific principles.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/mxaa3p

  14. #14 Orac
    April 5, 2010

    Medical science has always been the bastard stepchild of the skeptical movement. I’ve run into skeptics who would rip into an IDiot full throttle who tell me I’m being too harsh on acupuncturists, homeopaths, and anti-vaccine loons. For some reason, even skeptics lose their shit when it comes to medicine.

  15. #15 Leah
    April 5, 2010

    Don’t give Bill Maher a free pass–the article Orac (#12) linked above links to this one about Maher:

    http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/?p=1251

  16. #16 Orac
    April 5, 2010

    Oh, just search for “Bill Maher” on my blog, and you will find at least a dozen posts documenting his crap over the last five years or so.

  17. #17 Givesgoodemail
    April 5, 2010

    @13: “Yes, much as I dislike HuffPo, they are quite solidly pro-science where evolution is concerned”

    The problem with the “little bit pregnant” problem with HuffPo’s New-Agey postings is that you can’t really have pro-evolution posts next to pro-naturopathy posts and maintain any sort of credibility.

    As I said, those pro-naturopathy posts bring in the site hits big-time. People are idiots.

  18. #18 Zeno
    April 5, 2010

    Huffington is a big name who might help pull people in.

    The same “big name” theory is being used at California State University, Stanislaus, where half-term governor Sarah Palin is being flown in for the school’s 50-year anniversary and “celebration of excellence” (in education? one has doubts). A friend who teaches at Stan State says it will probably appeal to most of the local population, who will be shorn of their money at the gate (tickets are $500). Will they make enough to clear Madame Sarah’s astronomically high speaking fees? Will there be a surplus to fund student scholarships (which is the announced plan) so that they can study liberal arts and other communist subjects? One wonders.

  19. #19 Aquaria
    April 5, 2010

    TFN trying to cast a wider net for liberals?

    I’m trying not to be cynical enough to ask, “Why bother?” Sometimes it feels like there are only 50 of us liberals in this state, and there are 5 times more counties than that here.

  20. #20 Screechy_Monkey
    April 5, 2010

    Demand that Ariana explain how she can justify supporting a man who just caused an earthquake!

  21. #21 tortorific#921e1
    April 5, 2010

    It’s in Texas, the most important thing is that you have a ridiculous accent.

  22. #22 Alex P.
    April 5, 2010

    I’m guessing it’s because of her liberal leanings.

  23. #23 Aquaria
    April 5, 2010

    Huffington is a big name who might help pull people in.

    Then I hope some of the professors from UT will show up to challenge her if they’re not too busy preparing for finals that take place the following week. Anyone have an in with some of the better UT professors, Weinburg, maybe?

  24. #24 Aquaria
    April 5, 2010

    It’s in Texas, the most important thing is that you have a ridiculous accent.

    Congratulations. You’re our bigoted moron of the day. Please pick up your prize out the door: a one way ticket to Fuck Right Off.

  25. #25 justagreenie
    April 5, 2010

    If you want to read anti-creationism, anti-religion, pro-science posts on HuffPo you could do worse than, ahem, checking me out. My most recent post was on atheism:
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-horton/believe-it-or-not_b_524321.html
    The one before on creationism:
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-horton/none-so-blind_b_516381.html
    My next one (I usually post on a Sunday) is again on creationism. I have been writing for Arianna for 5 years, and I get to write exactly what I like.

    I have a small but loyal following. If some pharyngulites were to check out what I’ve been doing there it might encourage more of the kind of stuff I have been doing to appear.

    David Horton

  26. #26 Hurin
    April 5, 2010

    @18

    Sarah Palin is being flown in for the school’s 50-year anniversary and “celebration of excellence” (in education? one has doubts).

    I don’t follow; are they are highlight excellence by establishing what extreme mediocrity looks like?
    Sounds like a bad strategy if you ask me.

  27. #27 https://me.yahoo.com/a/ODl_F81v0.81Yf_xxHiMi89R9cwgteMxv4k-#7887e
    April 5, 2010

    Deepak Chopra is so new left–
    You can even get enlightened for 5 grand.
    As someone working in the Social Justice community, the lack of scientific literacy among my peers is disheartening.
    Just a rudimentary understanding of Thermodynamics and Evolutionary Biology would dispel most of the magical thinking.

  28. #28 recovering catholic
    April 5, 2010

    Where is Cuttlefish OM? This seems like good material.

  29. #29 airbagmoments
    April 5, 2010

    For fun just google “huffington john roger”. She’s a cult member.

    http://gawker.com/5064930/ariannas-mandatory-cult-meetings

  30. #30 TWood
    April 5, 2010

    If some pharyngulites were to check out what I’ve been doing there it might encourage more of the kind of stuff I have been doing to appear.

    David Horton

    Are there other writers waiting in the wings who can’t get on? Other than comments, is there someone who takes requests, and actually listens?

    I suspect HP likes Chopra and Ullman in some part because they generate so many comments and page hits. Even the negative comments generate page hits so it’s a win/win for them.

  31. #31 tfoss1983
    April 5, 2010

    @Orac #14:

    Medical science has always been the bastard stepchild of the skeptical movement. I’ve run into skeptics who would rip into an IDiot full throttle who tell me I’m being too harsh on acupuncturists, homeopaths, and anti-vaccine loons.

    I really don’t understand this. I’m sure there are some skeptics who are soft on woo-medicine (just as there are some who are soft on religion or conspiracy theories or cryptozoology), but enough to make medicine the “bastard stepchild” of skepticism? Anymore, I don’t think there’s any movement–ID included–that skeptics tear into with as much ferocity as the anti-vax lunacy; the 10:23 campaign, the support of Simon Singh, the Rom Houben case, all medical-based skepticism, and all just within recent memory. Glancing through the Skeptoid archives (as a random, easily accessible example), a full 20% of the episodes (ignoring the “listener feedback” and “student questions” episodes, the latter of which almost always involve medical questions) are specifically medical-based (by comparison, I count 7% specifically conspiracy theory-based and 4% specifically creationism-based). Perhaps, as a medical doctor, you’re exposed to more of the medicine-soft skeptics than others, but I just don’t see it.

    Regarding the TFN, I would think the last thing they’d want to do is to align themselves more closely with liberals. The recently-lost battle over the content in Social Studies was justified by the Texas School Board loons saying that history was already slanted to the left and they were just balancing it out. Inviting Ariana Huffington only lends credence to that asinine defense.

  32. #32 tokenadult
    April 5, 2010

    Movable Type has the most asinine sign-in system I’ve ever seen. That said, Google reveals this interesting Rolling Stone article about Huffington that I had not read before:

    http://www.rollingstone.com/news/story/12728717/the_greek_goddess_how_arianna_huffington_seduced_the_left_with_brains_and_a_blog/2

  33. #33 https://me.yahoo.com/a/DhjBEuJ8pt63x6eBKuPx0Jv9_QE-#7c327
    April 5, 2010

    PZ, you’re letting perfection be the enemy of the good.
    Those folks are a bit goofy, but they aren’t religious. They’re on our side.
    As for HuffPost, 90% of it is worth reading. Just ignore the Chopra crap.
    Seriously, young man, you’re driving away potential allies.
    I don’t like to lecture younger folks, but sometimes it just has to be done. I remember resenting it, but I was wrong.
    They aren’t perfect, but they are much more for us than against us. Don’t be an asshole.
    Have a drink or something. Relax.
    You think I got this old be being angry and sober?

  34. #34 https://me.yahoo.com/a/DhjBEuJ8pt63x6eBKuPx0Jv9_QE-#7c327
    April 5, 2010

    Well, I probably didn’t have as much trouble confusing “be” and “by” when I was young and sober, but you get my point. Lighten up.

  35. #35 justagreenie
    April 5, 2010

    #30 TWood – I wasn’t attempting to speak in general terms about HuffPo, I don’t know if there are people “waiting in the wings” as it were. All I meant was that it is very discouraging putting a lot of effort into a piece and then getting little response. Conversely Mr Chopra gets a lot of response and writes much more frequently than I do. If I had pharyngulites arriving in the sort of numbers that can sway polls then I would make it on to the list of “featured blog posts” which I haven’t done for a long time. I would then be happy to write a lot more posts castigating creationists and the religious. And I’m guessing that if others saw there was a demand for such material they would start writing more too.

    And I agree with #33 “PZ, you’re letting perfection be the enemy of the good.” Instead of complaining that Deepak Chopra is there, how about praising the fact that David Horton is there too?

    David Horton

  36. #36 Orac
    April 5, 2010

    And I agree with #33 “PZ, you’re letting perfection be the enemy of the good.”

    Except that HuffPo has been anti-vaccine and pro-woo since its very formation. It was rotten to the core when it comes to science right from its inception:

    http://oracknows.blogspot.com/2005/05/antivaccination-rhetoric-running.html

    It’s only gotten worse since then when it comes to medicine. For example:

    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2009/04/fresh_from_huffpo_antibiotics_cause_canc.php

    Having a handful of bloggers who try to swim against the tide, as admirable as they may be for doing so, doesn’t change that. Currently its “Wellness Editor” is Patricia Fitzgerald, a homeopath and traditional Chinese medicine practitioner, and its roster of “health bloggers” consists mainly quacks, anti-vaccinationists, and woo-meisters like Deepak Chopra. Moreover, it comes right from the top, as Arianna Huffington herself is heavily into woo.

  37. #37 PZ Myers
    April 5, 2010

    Arianna Huffington is a nutcase! Chopra is there because she loves Chopra…this isn’t a case of an inclusive liberal allowing a plethora of views be expressed on her site, she actively courts the loons and gives them positions of responsibility within her organization.

    Yes, there are a few sensible people posting at HuffPo. But HuffPo and Huffington are the problems.

  38. #38 Dr. I. Needtob Athe
    April 6, 2010

    I used to like her when she played Lisa Douglas on Green Acres.

  39. #39 MadScientist
    April 6, 2010

    “Charming bubbly airhead” comes to mind. Kind of like Jacqui K-O, but much nicer – as for which one is (was) more clueless, that remains a matter not worth debating. :)

  40. #40 MadScientist
    April 6, 2010

    @Zeno: Steeped in So-Cal woo-woo? Oh gee, hang out with *any* socialite (West or East coast); I assure you woo-woo is the norm. I used to hang around any engineers who might be invited to a “soiree”; it’s always good for a laugh because there’s always someone who asks what they do, and upon being told “I’m an engineer” there is an awkward pause and an “oh, that’s nice dear. I wonder if you can have a look at my husband’s car?” I lost all hope of ever discovering intelligent life at those events and completely lost interest while still in my teens. I never met anyone from the hippie culture though (probably because they’re “not our kind”), but I can’t imagine the hippies being any less reality-based.

  41. #41 jcmartz.myopenid.com
    April 6, 2010

    Perhaps TFN look for some media publicity.

  42. #42 tortorific#921e1
    April 6, 2010

    Congratulations. You’re our bigoted moron of the day. Please pick up your prize out the door: a one way ticket to Fuck Right Off.

    Texans (I’m guessing?) seem a little touchy when you joke about their accents, pity they aren’t as touchy about having a supporter of homeopathy (and other crazy garbage) as the key speaker for an organization who’s focus is on education for children.

  43. #43 Aquaria
    April 6, 2010

    Then you haven’t been paying attention, dipshit.

  44. #44 scooterKPFT
    April 6, 2010

    TFN trying to cast a wider net for liberals?

    They’re net is already pretty wide, cvheck out the first paragraph of their Mission Statement:

    Founded in 1995, the Texas Freedom Network is a nonpartisan, grassroots organization of more than 30,000 religious and community leaders. Based in Austin, the Texas Freedom Network acts as the state?s watchdog, monitoring far-right issues, organizations, money and leaders. The organization has been instrumental in defeating initiatives backed by the religious right in Texas,

    Their net includes everybody who is not the religious right, so Huffington falls into that group.

    However, the choice is astounding because it runs contrary to what they are about as far as keeping peudo-science out of the classrooms. But homeopathy and newage are not threats to the educational system, so I suppose they are able to compartmentalize Huff’s superstitious woo.

    Since they are: more than 30,000 religious and community leaders

    That compartment is prtty full already.

    I talked to TFN last week for 30 minutes:

    Dan Quinn from TFN on WTF is wrong with the Texas Board of Education

    Notice how Dan treads lightly around religious craziness whenever I bring it up. TFN is not a Secular Humanist organization, they are a Church/State seperation movement, big difference.

    I agree that Huff is a terrible choice, but I hope they raise lots of money anyway.

  45. #45 Aquaria
    April 6, 2010

    BTW–Criticize the state for other things, there’s plenty it deserves. But making fun of them for their accents is just childish, and implying that they’re stupid because they have the accents they do is the sign of a moron.

    Thank you for playing.

  46. #46 scooterKPFT
    April 6, 2010

    I’ve lived all over the US, and there are only a few places where people do not have silly accents.

    Also, Texas is huge and very disconnected, there are at least 10 dialects . The urban Texas accent you hear from natives in Dallas and Houston is quite interesting, and just barely recognizable as southern. If you’ve ever heard Ivan Stang speak, that’s a great example of the Texas urban accent.

  47. #47 Matt Penfold
    April 6, 2010

    Didn’t Phil Plait write for HuffPo until he became too embarrassed to be associated with them ? What with him being a proper scientist and all.

  48. #48 mumonjmk
    April 6, 2010

    As I’ve noted on my blog, it’s not just something from the past with Huffington, nor is it confined to the odious Chopra.

    Recently, she’s been having Andrew Cohen and his cult folks blog there.

    Andrew Cohen’s cult is so distasteful even his mother doesn’t like it, I’ve read.

    Then there’s all this hype about 12 Step groups on this site.

    And I think she still has her former friends from MSIA cult-blogging at Huff Po, too.

  49. #49 negentropyeater
    April 6, 2010

    Orac,

    For some reason, even skeptics lose their shit when it comes to medicine.

    That’s very true, and I think it is an important discussion: why do so many non believers, say religious skeptics, believe in what they call alternative medicine?

    Here in France, where a majority of the population are non believers, you find a very high percentage of them believe in homeopathy and various other non evidenced based woo-therapy. It’s also clear that in the country of laicitÚ with a long history of political anti-clericalism, homeopathy and other “alternative therapies” have long benefited from a politically correct laissez faire attitude from government, healthcare providers and a very complacent mainstream media.

    Moreover many non believers have not rejected religious superstitions the “hard way”, ie via a long and careful analysis of all the arguments and the absence of evidence, but more from a clear antipathy for all things religious. These people do not understand the scientific notion of evidence, and it seems that the more dilute the evidence for homeopathy becomes, the more popularity it gains.

    That’s because these people do not see the trappings of wishful thinking, religion may not fulfill their needs but they think a more holistic approach to medicine will address their needs for personalised care better than the scientific approach.

    To conclude, it’s the wishfull thinking attitudes of patients as well as the laissez faire attitudes of many health care providers and other opinion leaders that engender alternative therapy seeking behaviours. And as long as you have this, I’m afraid these people will continue to ignore the Nth study demonstrating the absence of evidence for woo-therapies.

  50. #50 negentropyeater
    April 6, 2010

    sorry, I want to rephrase this sentence:

    That’s because these people do not see the trappings of wishful thinking, religion may not fulfill their needs but they think a more holistic alternative will address their needs for personalised care better than the scientific approach.

  51. #51 tortorific#921e1
    April 6, 2010

    @Aquaria:
    The only thing I see TFN having in common with Arianna Huffington is that they both have strong accents, hence my joke. Nice to see your first response, really your only response, was swearing, name calling and a lovely straw man logical fallacy. Very mature, that approach always works as a valid scientific argument. I’m not going to respond to you any more.

    Sensible Adults:
    The HuffPo tends to side with the religious wackaloons when they are against the evils of big pharma or soulless corporations but at least they have always been staunch in their support of the LGBT community. I think that is where this is coming from, sex education and removing discrimination against gay people is a big chunk of what TFN does. It doesn’t make it right, the stuff she is printing could kill people. When it comes to educating children learning the process of coming to a correct answer can be more important than the answer.

  52. #52 Matt Penfold
    April 6, 2010

    The only thing I see TFN having in common with Arianna Huffington is that they both have strong accents, hence my joke. Nice to see your first response, really your only response, was swearing, name calling and a lovely straw man logical fallacy. Very mature, that approach always works as a valid scientific argument. I’m not going to respond to you any more

    Quit being a fucking tone troll.

  53. #53 Carlie
    April 6, 2010

    Very mature, that approach always works as a valid scientific argument. I’m not going to respond to you any more

    Because making a juvenile joke about accents and then whinging about being called on it is much more mature and scientific.

  54. #54 Orac
    April 6, 2010

    However, the choice is astounding because it runs contrary to what they are about as far as keeping peudo-science out of the classrooms. But homeopathy and newage are not threats to the educational system, so I suppose they are able to compartmentalize Huff’s superstitious woo.

    Homeopathy and New Age not threats to the educational system? Possibly not in grade school and high school (yet), but alternative medicine is definitely threatening medical education in this country.

    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2007/11/the_woo_aggregator.php

    But let’s take the comparison to another level. In actuality, although I consider ID and evolution denialism to be serious threats, but they are long term threats to science education whose effects won’t manifest themselves for years, as a generation of kids indoctrinated in them grow to adulthood. In contrast, although it may not directly threaten the educational system the anti-vaccine quackery promoted by HuffPo is a threat to public health now. Already, there are outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases in schools and enclaves where vaccine uptake is low because of the sorts of views actively promoted by HuffPo, and the situation is getting worse.

  55. #55 Orac
    April 6, 2010

    Arianna Huffington is a nutcase! Chopra is there because she loves Chopra…this isn’t a case of an inclusive liberal allowing a plethora of views be expressed on her site, she actively courts the loons and gives them positions of responsibility within her organization.

    Not only that, but she has done this from the very beginning, when she first founded HuffPo in 2005. Now, HuffPo’s peddling everything from anti-vaccine lunacy to cancer quackery to peddling all sorts of misinformation about H1N1. HuffPo was particularly bad over the last six months or so during the H1N1 pandemic, posting articles peddling all manner of H1N1 quackery, including arguments that homeopathy can cure H1N1.

  56. #56 Orac
    April 6, 2010

    Oh, and I forgot. Bill Maher recently laid down a swath of burning anti-vaccine stupid on HuffPo:

    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2009/11/bill_maher_flames_out_over_vaccines.php

  57. #57 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    April 6, 2010

    It reminds me a bit of Bill Maher winning an award from AAI?except that in this case, Huffington hasn’t made any contribution to the promotion of science.

    Well Maher and Huffington are best buddies you know.

  58. #58 Orac
    April 6, 2010

    Well Maher and Huffington are best buddies you know.

    Indeed. I believe they even used to date back in the 1990s.

  59. #59 tortorific#921e1
    April 6, 2010

    Juvenile, yes, definitely, I’d also accept not funny, stupid and fuck you the Texas accent is awesome. I object to “bigoted moron” (though I will accept the moron part) and “implying that they’re stupid because they have the accents they do”.

    I never said and never intended to imply that people with accents were stupid. I apologise for derailing the discussion and I’ll stop commenting now because I hope I’ve made my point. I don’t expect anyone to respect it or be polite, fuck that, I just want my opinion to be conveyed clearly.

  60. #60 Roestigraben
    April 6, 2010

    I don’t think this is as serious as the Maher case. First, Maher was given an award from an atheist organization, and if he endorses a philosophy born from skepticism, it’s justified to expect him to apply the same standard to non-religious claims. From what I’ve seen of the TFN, this seems to be an organization championing liberalism, which isn’t really at odds with superstition. Second, giving somebody an award means that you consider him to be an outstanding promoter of all or most of the organization’s aims, while simply inviting somebody as a guest speaker wouldn’t even require any agreement at all.

  61. #61 Jordan
    April 6, 2010

    ” The founder of the popular and influential online news site Huffington Post will share her analysis of the current political climate as well as the far-reaching effects of the resurgence of political extremism, including the damage done by the far-right faction of the Texas State Board of Education.”

    I say get the sand out of your vagina and go to the damn thing. Just because she might have some ill-founded views about science doesn’t mean that’s the only thing she knows how to talk about.

  62. #62 LeeLeeOne
    April 6, 2010

    Why is anyone taking the puff from the P(H)uffington Post seriously? While they may point to articles of interest and some commentators of worthiness, the P(H)uffington Post has a lot of puff.

    We are all Internet savvy. We can usually find articles of interest somewhere through some means on the Internet. The P(H)uffington Post is bottom-line controlled by Ariana. Therefore as she owns this, she has full right to put forth what she wants and not what a truly independent new media outlet would. Hmmm, are there any truly independent news media outlets left? Internet Neutrality just got a huge hit by the US “high court.” The Internet service providers now can legally limit what goes through their servers, and us, the lowly paying client cannot be less the wiser.

    Oh, isn’t this fun?!

  63. #63 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    April 6, 2010

    I say get the sand out of your vagina

    Classy

  64. #64 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    April 6, 2010

    I say get the sand out of your vagina and go to the damn thing. Just because she might have some ill-founded views about science doesn’t mean that’s the only thing she knows how to talk about.

    Except that she owns a place where stupidity, irrational thinking and denialism are celebrated.

    There are better choices.

  65. #65 MudPuddles
    April 6, 2010

    If you look at the TFN website and read the announcement of the event with Arianna Huffington, I reckon there is no problem. She is not going to be talking about Chopra-esque bullplop, she will be speaking about the negative influence of the far-right in US polictics and society, which, to be fair, her website has been doing a pretty good job of highlighting.

    Regarding Bill Maher, I’ve just read the post on the sciencebasedmedicine.org blog about him. While I knew he was an “anti-vaccine” and “anti-medical science” gobshite, I had not been previously aware of Richard Dawkins’ response to Maher receiving the RD award from the AAI. If that website’s expression of his opinion is correct, then that is pretty disappointing, and my esteem for Prof Dawkins will have dropped.

    The ironic thing about Maher’s stance is that while spouting nonsense that microbes do not cause disease, he claims to be pro-evolution and to support the scientific basis for evolutionary theory. The fact that the ecology of microbes and processes of infection and disease are increasingly recognised as a key influence on natural selection seems to escape him. So too does the minor detail of the vast swathe of scientific knoweldge that has been gathered about the evolution of influenza as a human and animal disease. As does the fact that a not insignificant amount of knowledge about evolutionay processes – and other scientific knowledge which has helped debunk a host of religious myths – has been gained from studying the ecology and genetics of pathogens. At least Arianna Huffington doesn’t seem to talk out of both sides of her mouth like her friend Mr Maher, who claims to speak science while promoting anti-science conspiracy theories worthy of David Icke.

  66. #66 TWood
    April 6, 2010

    In a comment I tried to leave at HuffPo in response to the Ullman homeopathy idiocy, I suggested that HuffPo would never be considered a professional news site as long as they ran Ullman and Chopra. The comment never saw the light of day.

  67. #67 ldcornett
    April 7, 2010

    Being from Texas, I keep up with the TFN somewhat regularly. When I saw they were bringing in Arainna Huffington, I was a bit shocked. Um, not interested, thanks.

  68. #68 aratina cage
    April 7, 2010

    …I suggested that HuffPo would never be considered a professional news site as long as they ran Ullman and Chopra. The comment never saw the light of day.
    -TWood

    Questioning or dismissing Chopra on HuffPo is a big no-no that will instantly get your comment vaporized. It is like trying to criticize Catholicism or the pope on a Catholic windbag’s blog. I don’t know why I even bother going to HuffPo any more; I have to wade through so much woo, quackery, theism, misogyny, and accommodationism just to find anything worthwhile these days, not to mention all the right-wing, Blue Dog Democrat, often times racist comments they let through but Arianna forbid they allow an atheist to speak up for truth or a gay person stand up against the H8ers (usually well-meaning Christian fools).

  69. #69 Andrew Beaumont
    April 7, 2010

    @Beth B.

    “At least the award Maher won was specifically for the promotion of atheism, and for that he fit the bill.”

    Except he doesn’t claim to be an atheist. He was quoted saying, “I’m not an atheist. There’s a really big difference between an atheist and someone who just doesn’t believe in religion. Religion to me is a bureaucracy between man and God that I don’t need. But I’m not an atheist, no. I believe there’s some force. If you want to call it God… I don’t believe God is a single parent who writes books”.

    He’s a non-religious theist or deist, but definitely not an atheist.

  70. #70 Orac
    April 9, 2010

    The ironic thing about Maher’s stance is that while spouting nonsense that microbes do not cause disease, he claims to be pro-evolution and to support the scientific basis for evolutionary theory.

    That’s because he’s about being liberal and/or anti-religion and not about science. The religious right hates evolution. Ergo, Maher likes it. Liberals tend to accept the science of anthropogenic global climate change. Ergo, Maher accepts the science of AGW. The crunchy left, New Agey types, to which Maher belongs, hate vaccines. Ergo, Maher hates vaccines, too.

    However, it’s hilarious to see what happens when these two strains of his “thought” come into conflict. Bill hates vaccines, but he loves Gardasil because the religious right hates Gardasil, labeling it as a tool to let their daughters have all the sex they want.

    Maher’s scientific views aren’t about the science. They’re about his politics and his anti-religion stances far more than they are about considering evidence and science.

  71. #71 John Morales
    April 9, 2010

    Orac @70, your claim seems plausible indeed.

  72. #72 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    April 9, 2010

    Maher’s scientific views aren’t about the science. They’re about his politics and his anti-religion stances far more than they are about considering evidence and science.

    Totally agree.

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