Losing friends to quackery and conspiracies

Recently I had a vaguely friendish person on facebook post a “question”, the kind of leading BS question where you already know the answer and you’re trying to inculcate your ideas in others, in regards to water fluoridation. It was something along the lines of “Does anyone know if this is true?” and then a link to a conspiracy site claiming that “government” is poisoning people by “dumping toxic waste” into our water supply. It had all the conspiracy bullshit flags…fringe sources, misunderstanding of the topic, misrepresentation of science, implications of shilling for “big something something”, in this case, “big chemical”. I responded briefly, and politely, that water fluoridation is no big deal, and often involves removing fluoride that occurs naturally. I provided source links to scientific sites.

The friendish person replied with, in hindsight, predictable vitriol, claiming I was mocking him, and that I was ignoring the evidence. He then went on a nearly page-long rant about how scientists are all in the pocket of industry and using “toxic waste” to keep the sheeple placid and accepting, and that I was indeed a sheep myself for believing their lies. Of course I at that point had realized my mistake, and responded very briefly that I was simply pointing out facts, never attacked him personally (like he was doing right then), and referenced the science again. Then I unfollowed the post. Shortly after that he began messaging me angrily, accusing me of everything under the sun, after two of which I blocked him. I won’t accept personal attacks on FB or anywhere else.

I’ve got friends who believe all sorts of screwy stuff, and in general I just let it go. I’m not the thought police, and I’ll generally only respond to things I perceive as harmful to the humanity, and even then sparingly. As Mr. Anti-fluoride proved, most people hold these crackpot beliefs dear to their hearts, and will defend them with vigor, despite their inherent stupidity. Anti-fluoridators, anti-vaxers, pro-“alternate medicine” people, and a list of others are pretty much all I’ll respond to, and for very good reasons. A lot of those stances actually kill people (anti-fluoridation people aren’t responsible for death generally, just making life a little worse for poor people). I’m not, however, a genius who somehow knows everything about everything, and don’t intend to browbeat people over anything that doesn’t violate my personal space. I’ll try to engage people gently on some subjects, and sometimes it pays off.

One such time a friend posted something about homeopathy. Homeopathy is straight-up garbage and quackery, and many people don’t actually know what it is…which is charging outrageous prices for completely pure water that has no clinical effect other than slightly greater hydration. I posted something along the lines of “Hey [friend], homeopathy doesn’t really do anything, don’t waste your money”, and got a slightly irritated response. I figured that he didn’t know what it was, and posted links explaining homeopathy. Indeed, he was thinking more of herbal remedies and naturopathy, which is completely separate, and responded with thanks. So a gentle engagement gave an opportunity to spread a little knowledge, and was well-received.

Most people I know will respond to logic and evidence. The thing I’ve learned which, looking back to my own more vitriolic past seems now obvious, is that not many people like to be insulted or bullied. While I’ve had to cut ties with some folks over various personal beliefs in the past, such as the Prop 8 fight here in California, and anti-vaccination stances, I’m generally more easy-going these days.

Our time is so brief.

family, right

Karl Rove to retire. Claims he wants to spend more time with his family…his son in college. while your child is away at college is surely the most likely time you’d want to spend time with him. nothing like having your dad wandering around campus…hey wait…wasn’t that in American Pie? i think that Rove would wanna be the one porking a baked good, but only if it was in the shape of a firm boy bottom. it’s almost a requirement of bigoted douchebag republicans to be closeted gays now isn’t it? no wonder they promote nasty undead creatures like ann coulter so rapidly


the Twin Cities I-35 collapse is horrifying…but it’s just one of either 36 or 37 collapses since 1989 (i can’t remember exactly), according to a dude on NPR. that’s two bridges a year… a member of the American Association of Civil Engineers stated that the only way to fix this is to…fix them. he also said it’s sad that it had to be a disaster this big to get people’s attention. but that’s not true…the levees in New Orleans were a civil engineering failure, and there was a steam explosion in Manhattan that was the same. These are the inevitable result of long years of anti-government policies, shrinking of spending on infrastructure, and a general loss of the “we’re all in this together” attitude that characterized the New Deal (which is when a lot of this failing infrastructure was built, by the way).
so either we’re in it together, and we pull together and fix and properly maintain our shared assests, ie the infrastructure…bridges, tunnels, pipes, dams, canals, powerlines and other stuff, or we fall apart even worse, and slide back into a primitive tribal state.
what do you think is best?


never been here, but nice post.

Assuming that all uninsured sick children have the same kind of trust fund that Georgie had, Bush explains his rationale for denying health care and cutting off funding to the CHIP program.

“I support the initial intent of the program,” Bush said in an interview with The Washington Post after a factory tour and a discussion on health care with small-business owners in Landover. “My concern is that when you expand eligibility . . . you’re really beginning to open up an avenue for people to switch from private insurance to the government.”
Bravely misunderstanding the arguments of communist sympathizers like Sen. Grassley (R-Iowa) and Sen. Hatch (R-Utah), Bush continues to protect the delicate market system from the freeloading terror of poor kids with diseases.

In a seemingly unrelated story, the cost of the war in Iraq is now $444,519,508,302.

quick recap

this is the way it is. Via PZ, natch.

Fundamentalists: believe 2+2 =5 because It Is Written. Somewhere. They have a lot of trouble on their tax returns.

“Moderate” believers: live their lives on the basis that 2+2=4. but go regularly to church to be told that 2+2 once made 5, or will one day make 5, or in a very real and spiritual sense should make 5.

“Moderate” atheists: know that 2+2 =4 but think it impolite to say so too loudly as people who think 2+2=5 might be offended.

“Militant” atheists: “Oh for pity’s sake. HERE. Two pebbles. Two more pebbles. FOUR pebbles. What is WRONG with you people?”

(props to Stephen Wells.)


nicely summed up “controversy” over “evolution” (i don’t think anti-evolutionists even understand it):

There aren’t two sides in this debate, unless you count presenting the facts as one side, and presenting a batshit insane lie as the other.

That’s basically the rightwing’s whole approach, to economics, to geopolitics, to science, to everything they do. “Well, now, you may have the facts and figures and pretty logic on your side, but I didn’t come from no monkey!

Wha? Of course not, asshole. Why would monkeys still be around? Anyways, read the link, it’s good stuff.


This shit is depressing. How do you “not believe” in evolution? It’s happening no matter what. To think that people reject the vast panorama of development for some fairy tale makes me want to vomit in my shoe. Both my shoes!

“No believing” in evolution is like not believing in…Gary Bussey. You can disbelieve all you want, but it won’t change the fact that he’s there, and that his mouth does not completely close. It’s just a fact.

GOP sucks

I know I say it all the time. Roy Edroso put it into comedy summary form:

BROWNBACK: If you’re raped, you should have a baby.

ROMNEY: I am recently and totally pro-life.

TANCREDO: I hate Mexicans. These guys love Mexicans.

McCAIN: Well, at least Mexicans aren’t Muslims.

ROMNEY: Mexicans shouldn’t get a special pathway. Or doorway. Citizenship! (applause)

McCAIN: Why’s everyone looking at me? Abortion!

GIULIANI: I’m not soft. I’m hard! I’m America’s Mayor! We need tamper proof IDs! And a fence!

HUNTER: I built a motherfucking fence.

PAUL: We really fucked up in Iraq. (applause)

GIULIANI: 9/11! 9/11! (cheers, gunfire)

From James Wolcott

falwell ‘n’ lyrics

Liberty U student made some napalm and brought it to Falwell’s funeral. The reason? Fred Phelps, of the Westboro Baptist Church, which was picketing Falwell for being… a friend of gays. Rrrright. Anyone need any more evidence that Phelps is nuttier than a fuckin huge tractor trailer full of fruitcakes? The special “Extra nuts for nut-lovers!” variety of fruitcake? With boxes made out of nuts?

Fuck you Fred Phelps

, and you too, Falwell. If there was a god, and it was anything like your biblical views, you’d both rot forever screaming in hell.

Hm. What kind of lyric today?

Jerry Falwell’s God
Roy Zimmerman
“Homeland”, 2004

Jerry Falwell’s god was standing by the elevator while we were talking about the party, so we had to invite him.

Secretly, we were all wishing that he wouldn’t come, because he’s vengeful and jealous and he tends to smite people.

And, of course, he knew we were thinking that, so it made him all the more determined to show up and punish us.

And I wanted to invite my god, but I couldn’t find him.

But, Jerry Falwell’s god is hard to miss… the gossamer robe and the beard down to here, and the button that says, “What would Jesus do?”

And sure enough, day of the party, there he was at the door.

And he spoke, spaketh he, saying, “I AM COME.”

And I knew there was a joke there… but Jerry Falwell’s god will not be mocked.

So I said, “Come in.”

Jerry Falwell’s god
Jerry Falwell’s god

Now, I’m no heavenly host, but I throw a decent party, and there were people of all kinds there — black, white, Swedish, Norwegian, the whole human spectrum.

And right away, Jerry Falwell’s god found the two people who would listen to him and began spaking in a voice so loud, it made the Beastie Boys sound like the Vienna Boys Choir.

And he made the lame to walk.

And these were my friends, so they were still lame, but they could walk.

And he turned the loaves to fishes, and the Oreos to Hydrox.

And he divided up the room, divided he, saying “Gays here, lesbians here, pagans here, abortionists, feminists, civil libertarians, People for the American Way,” and frankly, some of us did not know where to stand.

I went with the lesbians.

Jerry Falwell’s god
Jerry Falwell’s god

And he pointed his huge finger at each group in turn, saying, “I blame you, and you, and you, who have secularized society and cast me out of the town square,” and I thought, “Man you are the town square.”

He said, “Lo, I have lifted the Veil of Protection, for the end days are here, and the judgment is nigh, where I will draw the faithful to heaven and will leave the unrepentant to walk a desolate earth.” And I thought, “More polyester for the rest of us.”

And he spat fire, and he rained toads, and he brought forth seven bowls of seven plagues, and finally I just said, “Look, I’ll tell you one thing Jesus would not do.

Jesus would not wreck a guy’s party.

And Jesus would not preach hate.

And Jesus would not stand in the rubble and say, ‘I told you so.’

And Jesus would not use an international catastrophe to score points for some misogynistic, narrow, homophobic, anti-Semitic interpretation of his life and teaching.

And if people are jealous and judgmental and vengeful and violent, maybe it’s because you made them in your image.

And if people have cast you out of the town square, maybe it’s because you are a finger-pointing, moralizing, rageaholic, stone drag who gives deities a bad name!

And if people have turned away from your word, maybe it’s because you have spinach in your teeth!”

And he smote me.

Jerry Falwell’s god
Jerry Falwell’s god


listening to the anger in pat tillman’s brother’s voice yesterday, and his mom, and jessica lynch’s sadness, as they testified to congress about the complete lies the US Army and other government arms had made up about them and their family memebers, was hard. i felt sadness about the garbage being done in our name, and fear at the depth of corruption that seems to be pervading every aspect of our shared experience called government, and anger at the people who would do this kind of contemptible thing. the anger is getting stronger, but dragging the sadness along behind it. the fear has wandered off.
see for yourself…
i’ve said it before and i’ll say it again: GOP corruption, cronyism, and incompetence led us here. and i’m not saying that as hyperbole, it’s simple fact. if anyone wants leave me a comment and i’ll get you posts explaining all of it. or just look for yourselves. i don’t have time this morning to do a long blag post, but it’s not like it’s been hidden. as greenwald said, they tillmans have been complaining vocally, and to the (complicit) media for years. so has jessica lynch. all the other GOP scum have been flaunting their garbage in the broad daylight (with some Dem scum). so it’s not hidden. if you’re still thinking “the GOP can be saved”, you’re a self-delusional idiot.