Friday, January 31, 2014

#897: Bill Lucas & the "Common Sense" Scientists

Bill Lucas is a fundie who runs the website “Common Sense Science”, which is not about science, but about Lucas rejecting science that conflicts with “common sense”, where “common sense” is, of course, equivalent to what Lucas – being a religious fundamentalist – thinks support his positions. Relativity, for instance, has to go. As they say “[a]t the end of the 20th century, (Thomas) Barnes, (David L.) Bergman, [Glen C. Collins, and] Lucas […] began to build on the older classical work [...] Working outside the mainstream physics establishment, their common goal was to correct what they perceived as deficiencies in modern physics by reapplying what they deemed to be sound scientific methods […] By striving to maintain the principles of reality, causality and unity throughout their work, they hoped to bring ‘common sense’ back to the field of physics.” In other words, replace the scientific method with their own intuitions – which is sort of missing a rather important point.

So what are they up to? “Common Sense Science is a body of theory regarding matter and forces that describes the physical world using geometric models, absolute time and Galilean space […] The foundational principles of CSS theory are based upon the law of cause and effect and the assertion that the universe and all natural phenomena are fundamentally electrical in character. These principles have led to the derivation of a universal force law that applies on all scales ranging from the sub-atomic to the cosmic domain and to the development of physical models for elementary particles, nuclei, atoms and molecules. Although the new models are novel and in many ways strikingly different from the standard model of elementary particles, they have an inherent simplicity and physical form that appeals to common sense.” It doesn’t fit with reality, of course, but the premise of their work is precisely that when common sense and reality come into conflict, reality must go.

After all, Lucas et al. claim to have Jesus on their side – rummaging through the website you won’t find any evidence for anything, but instead repeated assertions that their model is compatible with Judeo-Christian beliefs. Nor does it add up mathematically, but of course: the number one problem with new scientific theories is that “[p]hysical models of matter were replaced with mathematical equations”. In other words, math is bad since it is not commonsensical, and it fails to be commonsensical because it doesn’t give Lucas et al. the results they need to maintain their Biblically based theories. Crackpottery rarely comes more thoroughly cracked than that.

In their page on “Atomism and Quantum Mechanics”, they launch a diatribe against Lucretius, claiming that all of modern physics is derived from the idea of atomism as proposed by Lucretius, and that Lucretius proposed atomism not as an explanation for how things work, but as a way of freeing mankind from the bonds of religion. “Lucretius, not Darwin, has been the principal spokesman for evolution during the last two millennia,” and the relevance just strikes you purely intuitively and commonsensically.

Instead, they propose their own model of the atom, on which Lucas has given a number of presentation (including at universities, as sponsored by Campus Bible Fellowships): “The presentation in is the form of a PowerPoint using many pictures to explain the new theory of gravity that supports a Biblical view of creation.” Who needs evidence when you’ve got a PowerPoint with many pictures? Lucas also has a presentation on “Expanding Earth: Evidence For Biblical Creation”.

Their links page is given over exclusively to such important, cutting-edge scientific organizations as Answers in Genesis, the Institute for Creation Research, the Creation Research Society, and so on.

Diagnosis: As shining and brilliant example of delusional crackpottery as you are likely to find, and as so often the insanity is attributed to Jesus. The Common Sense Scientists are, however, at present rather old and feeble, and probably rather harmless.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

#896: Gail Lowe

Since “Ira S. Loucks” is, most likely, a pseudonym, and I have been unable to verify the current whereabouts of mad truther Scott Loughrey (of “New York was nuked on 9/11”-fame), we’ll go for a safe one. Gail Lowe is a Texan creationist who assumed the reins of the Texas Board of Education in 2009, following the legendary reign of Don McLeroy (she later yielded them to fellow creationist Barbara Cargill in 2011). Just as her predecessor and successor, Lowe is a young earth creationist and advocate of abstinence-only sex education in a state with one of the highest rates of teen pregnancy in the country despite 96% of the school districts in the state teaching abstinence-only. But “testing theories against reality” is not what this is all about of course, and dishonesty is OK if it is done in the name of Jesus, as emphasized by the fact that Lowe appointed none other than professional fraud David Barton to the advisory committee on the social studies curriculum in 2010.

The main bulk of her time as schoolboard leader was spent fighting culture wars, with Lowe in particular trying to combat the perceived anti-Christian stance of current textbooks, and on crusades against science, in particular evolution – Lowe is a rather active and belligerent creationist. Even other conservatives were apparently somewhat unnerved by her consistent choices of anti-scientists and creationists for the various review panels for science textbooks (including Richard White, (Christian school) teacher Pierre G. Velasquez and “consultant” Cherry A, Moore, whose only qualifications seem to have been to be caught urging that that science students be taught creationist-fabricated “weaknesses” of evolution when testifying before the state board in 2009; Daniel Romo, a Texas A&M University chemistry professor and signatory to the Discovery Institute petition “A Scientific Dissent from Darwinism”, and who demonstrably have no clue about what the theory of evolution is; celebrity creationist Walter L. Bradley, and Baylor chemistry professor and creationist Charles Garner.

Fortunately for sanity, reason and civilization, Lowe was defeated in her 2011 bid for reelection, and is presumably reasonably neutralized by now – though the Board of Education isn’t; their antics are well covered here.

Diagnosis: Another religious fanatic and hardened science denialist at an American school board. Perhaps someone should start realizing that the only way to counter deliberate religious fundamentalist attempts at undermining public education is to reform the school board system. Yeah, right.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

#895: Gina Loudon

We’ve had a spate of wingnut pundits lately, and Gina Loudon is no less crazy than the others. Loudon runs the website “Dr. Gina Smart Life,” a rather unpalatable combination of abysmally inane political commentary and woo-friendly motivational and health-related drivel (she still seems to endorse the HCG diet scam). She also writes for the World Net Daily and Politichicks, and her work has been endorsed by no less authorities than Ann Coulter, Joseph Farah, Pam Geller and Todd Akin (who called her a “reliable source of truth … a voice of clarity, wisdom and understanding about [the] issues,” and we all know how good Akin is with truth.)

Loudon does, indeed, have a degree in psychology, which apparently makes her perceptive enough to have noted a “radical shift in psychology” from the “tyrannical left”. Evidence? She has noted that “Leftists subscribe in lock-step, while conservatives shake their heads at the lemming mentality.” No, that’s not the conclusion; it’s her evidence. It is allegedly supported by a study by The Association for Psychological Science saying that liberals tend to have a false sense of uniqueness, and conservatives tend to have a false sense of consensus. Apparently the study in question is this one, so I suggest a reader exercise: try to figure out how the study’s conclusions, if correct, make liberals exhibit a “lemming mentality” and make them prone to tyranny. To do so, you may need to know what tyrannical traits Loudon is referring to. Well, it’s the usual stuff, of course – legality of abortions and endorsement of the work of the UN and Obamacare, topics that Loudon concludes are clear examples of tyranny, which is the kind of thing wingnuts say when they want to formulate the claim that they disagree with your positions.

But there is hope. Loudon believes that young people will rise up against President Obama when they realize that he has “taken the hard-earned ‘Land of the Free and Home of the Brave’ and turned it into ‘The Land of the Enslaved Effeminates and the Home of the Cowards.’” The transformation is particularly evident from Obamacare advertisements that promote “homo-erotic twerking,” as part of a larger Hollywood agenda that “tore down men and glorified world peace and transvestites.” (Yes, the claims supporting that conclusion are as stupid as the conclusion itself). And to top it all, Obamacare is already causing suicides, says Loudon – completely without a shred of evidence, of course. Apparently it is supposed to follow deductively from her dislike of communism. You can see one of Loudon’s best efforts to take on Obamacare here.

A particularly illustrative case of Loudon is, perhaps, her exchanges with Vanity Fair reporter Michael Gross, in which Loudon repeatedly displayed her dishonesty, ending by concluding that she could have “speculated” that Gross was gay because he has a “psychological profile” of someone who “attacks children.” She can say that since she’s a professional psychologist. Also interesting is the conflict between Loudon, the St. Louis tea party, and fellow wingnut pundit Dana Loesch.

Diagnosis: It’s a tough fight, but we’d judge Loudon to be even a small notch more idiotic than Loesch (though Loesch may be more vile). In any case, that people actually listen to her is a travesty.

#894: Clyde Lott

Given that we have been unable to get the full name of Lorrie the Pet Psychist we are forced to skip her (which is a pity). Despite her magnificent lunacy Lorrie is also presumably a benevolently inclined person. Clyde Lott is not. Lott is a Mississippi revivalist preacher and cattle rancher, who is actively trying to bring about the end times. His method is to raise a unique herd of red heifers to satisfy an obscure injunction in the Book of Numbers, namely the sacrifice of a blemish-free red heifer for purification rituals needed to pave the way for the messiah. The most recent reports was that only one of his cows has been verified by rabbis as worthy – meaning they failed to turn up even three white or black hairs on the animal’s body (and yes, Lott is exporting his heifers to the Middle East), but that was in 2006, so who knows? You can read the full story here. Apparently some rabbi has even written a book about it. In fact, that book has (roughly) been made into a documentary here – did you think they just made up that plot? Nope; Lott and his ilk actually believes this kind of stuff.

Diagnosis: As opposed to Hal Lindsey or Harold Camping, at least Lott is actually putting a real effort into making his, uh, dream come true. Doesn’t make him any less crazy.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

#893: Eve Lorgen

Eve Lorgen is an author, researcher and consultant on anomalous trauma, who runs the website “The Alien Love Bite” (apparently named for her book The Love Bite: Alien Interference in Human Love Relationships), and the type of Internet presence that generally elicits a feeling of mildly amused resignation.

In any case, the term “anomalous trauma” was apparently introduced by Rima Laibow, whom we have featured before, and denotes “unusual experiences such as alien abductions, extraterrestrial contact, mind control, cult abuse and military abductions (MILABS)” related to the alien abduction syndrome, as well as spiritual warfare and near death experiences. Keep in mind that it does not mean psychological conditions involving delusions centered around this topic, but traumas actually caused by such events. People with traumas who talk about alien abduction are after all completely trustworthy, as evidenced by the fact that their stories are denied by the military, who is known to be untrustworthy since they deny the stories told by the trustworthy alien abductees.

So how do you treat anomalous traumas? “Regression hypnosis is a useful tool in recovering amnesiac memories and the easing of PTSD symptoms,” says Lorgen. “Other healing methods include prayer, meditation, relaxation, dream work and lucid dreaming. Shamanic healing modalities such as soul retrieval have been found to be effective for some individuals.” Indeed.

Apparently, anomalous traumas must be distinguished from AngelAnomalous traumas. “Angelic beings such as Archangel Michael have been reported to be helpful in assisting those involved in spiritual warfare,” says Lorgen, though one must take care not to confuse Angelic beings with deceptive evil aliens such as Greys or reptilians. I do not know what she concludes with in her article “Horus-Ra as the Archontic Alien Parasite,” but it surely isn’t anything good (archons” were popularized by our old friend John Lash). Her page is here.

Diagnosis: Completely insane, and yet another example of someone who has no aptitude for truth, reason or evidence, and who just doesn’t care (probably doesn’t know how). Her influence is probably limited, however.