mardi 28 février 2017

Three Questions about the Possibility of Biblical Prophecy

Three basic questions often arise when considering the possibility that the prophecies in the Tanakh/Old Testament could be legitimate divine predictions. One might propose that the prophets were making guesses or using wise reasoning to foretell apocalyptic events, but the Tanakh/Old Testament itself appears to consider prophecy itself to be a divine gift or ability.

The first question is whether this gift or miraculous foresight or precognition is even logically possible. The problem is that it violates a basic principle of Causality, because it proposes an effect (envisioning the future event) to occur before its cause (the future event). This seemingly backwards phenomenon would be considered "Retro-causal".

One suggestion is that the theory of "Quantum Entanglement" suggests that the principle of Causality is not absolute. Do you believe in the theory of Quantum Entanglement, or is it bogus?

1935 New York Times title (Public Domain)


Quantum entanglement is a physical phenomenon that occurs when pairs or groups of particles are generated or interact in ways such that the quantum state of each particle cannot be described independently of the others, even when the particles are separated by a large distance—instead, a quantum state must be described for the system as a whole.

Einstein and others considered such behavior to be impossible, as it violated the local realist view of causality (Einstein referring to it as "spooky action at a distance")[4] and argued that the accepted formulation of quantum mechanics must therefore be incomplete. Later, however, the counterintuitive predictions of quantum mechanics were verified experimentally.
Rationalwiki says:
When two particles are entangled whatever change is made to one has an immediate effect on the other no matter how far apart the two particles are. It has some use in quantum computing and teleportation...
Quantum mechanics is filled with brain-breaking facts about matter that defy common sense or any kind of sense that we're capable of thinking about.
Entanglement happens instantly regardless of distance[1] - so if you took two entangled particles and separated them by millimetres, kilometres or even the size of the known universe, the communication between the two particles would still be instantaneous. Some people wonder if this means that the particles are, somehow, "still connected" and only separated in our reality. Other interpretations put entanglement down to some "hidden" variable; where states only appear entangled because of observation. Thus the final states of an entangled pair after examination were decided and coded by this variable. These hidden variable theories are mostly ruled out by theory (Bell inequalities and quantum contextuality) and experiments, leaving open only a few loopholes.

Measuring the spin will cause one of the particles to select one spin status to an observer, and the other particle - no matter how far away it is - will instantly acquire the other state, a phenomenon known as quantum collapse. This "spooky action at a distance" was something which Einstein always refused to accept.

(^ Click the SPOILER Tag to read the passage)

This Wikipedia entry mentions different theories of whether retrocausality explains quantum entanglement:
Retrocausality... is any of several hypothetical phenomena or processes that reverse causality, allowing an effect to occur before its cause.

Quantum physics
Retrocausality is sometimes associated with the nonlocal correlations that generically arise from quantum entanglement,[23] including the notable special case of the delayed choice quantum eraser.[24] However, verifying nonlocal correlations requires ordinary subluminal communication: the no communication theorem prevents the superluminal transfer of information, and fundamental descriptions of matter and forces require the full framework of quantum field theory in which spacelike-separated operators commute. Accounts of quantum entanglement that do not involve retrocausality emphasize how the experiments demonstrating these correlations can equally well be described from different reference frames, that disagree on which measurement is a "cause" versus an "effect", as necessary to be consistent with special relativity.


Weird! Quantum Entanglement Can Reach into the Past

"Whether these two particles are entangled or separable has been decided after they have been measured," write the researchers, led by Xiao-song Ma of the Institute for Quantum Optics and Quantum Information at the University of Vienna.

Essentially, the scientists showed that future actions may influence past events, at least when it comes to the messy, mind-bending world of quantum physics.
Click the link above for the full article.

See also:
Science hopes to change events that have already occurred, Patrick Barry, San Francisco Gate, January 21, 2007

The second question is whether radical intuition even exists at all in animals or humans. By radical intuition, I mean the kinds of seemingly impossible or unexplained extreme psychological abilities that could include precognition or navigating vast unexplored distances without maps.

Prof. Daryl Bem at Cornell University refers to this as "PSI":

The term psi denotes anomalous processes of information or energy transfer that are currently unexplained in terms of known physical or biological mechanisms. Two variants of psi are precognition (conscious cognitive awareness) and premonition (affective apprehension) of a future event that could not otherwise be anticipated through any known inferential process.

The issue is not that the processes are unknown or unobserved in biology, but that the intuitive processes are not currently explained. In fact, sometimes explanations have been given, but the scientific community does not have a consensus on them.

For example, many people claim to have premonitions and dreams that they interpret as uncannily predicting the future. However, science has not come to a consensus on whether these are mere random coincidences based on mere anecdotal evidence, the human mind sensing unconscious signals or making unconscious calculations of future possibilities, or reflect another psychological process.

Another radical ability is that of some animals and humans to precisely and consistently sense the time of day, without looking at a clock, despite the fact that the hours of sunlight grow longer and shorter throughout the seasons.

The human brain keeps time, from the flicker of milliseconds to the languorous unfurling of hours and days and years. It’s the product of hundreds of millions of years of evolution.
After hummingbirds drink nectar from real flowers, it takes time for the flowers to replenish their supply. The Scottish researchers refilled some of their fake flowers every 10 minutes and others every 20. Hummingbirds quickly learned just how long they had to wait before coming back to each kind. Scientists at the University of Georgia have discovered that rats do an excellent job of telling time too. They can be conditioned to wait two days after a meal to poke their noses into a trough and be rewarded with food.
^ The article above gives competing scientific theories for how this might work.

The article "Humans Have a Lot More Than Five Senses" lists:

This one is debated as no singular mechanism has been found that allows people to perceive time. However, experimental data has conclusively shown humans have a startling accurate sense of time, particularly when younger. The mechanism we use for this seems to be a distributed system involving the cerebral cortex, cerebellum, and basal ganglia. Long term time keeping seems to be monitored by the suprachiasmatic nuclei (responsible for the circadian rhythm). Short term time keeping is handled by other cell systems.
Numerous experiments have demonstrated that people do have the ability to detect accurately the passage of time. One experiment showed that, without consciously counting or anything of the like, a group of 19 to 24 year olds were able, on average, to tell when 3 minutes was up within a 3 second margin of error.
A third ability is Magnetoception:

This is the ability to detect magnetic fields, which is principally useful in providing a sense of direction when detecting the Earth’s magnetic field. Unlike most birds, humans do not have a strong magentoception, however, experiments have demonstrated that we do tend to have some sense of magnetic fields. The mechanism for this is not completely understood; it is theorized that this has something to do with deposits of ferric iron in our noses. This would make sense if that is correct as humans who are given magnetic implants have been shown to have a much stronger magnetoception than humans without.

One such method for testing whether humans have magnetoception is by placing a strong magnetic field near a person and then disorienting them. Results have shown that people in this scenario perform significantly worse at being able to re-orient themselves in terms of the cardinal points than people who are not near a strong magnetic field. More conclusive evidence has been demonstrated by examining subject’s brains when magnetic fields are produced near a person. It has been shown that these magnetic fields will evoke a response in the brain’s activity.
A fourth ability is extreme long distance precision navigation, especially that found in animals.

Animal navigation

Birds such as the Arctic tern, insects such as the monarch butterfly and fish such as the salmon regularly migrate thousands of miles to and from their breeding grounds...

Olfactory cues may be important in salmon, which are known to return to the exact river where they hatched. Lockley reports experimental evidence that fish such as minnows can accurately tell the difference between the waters of different rivers.
Jeffrey Kluger writes in Time Magazine about extreme cases of pets who journey extreme distances to find their owners:

The Amazing Science Behind Pets That Find Their Way Home

...we shouldn't dismiss all the stories out of hand. That cat that traveled 200 miles in 2013? It did have an implanted microchip.

Incredible Journey: 300 mile Animal Navigation movie (Public Domain image from W.Source)


Bobbie the Wonder Dog (1921–1927) was a dog from the U.S. state of Oregon who became famous for traveling 2,551 miles (4,105 km) from the state of Indiana, to return to his master's home in the city of Silverton.
Howie the Persian Cat
The Hicks family wanted their cat to be lovingly cared for while they went on an extended vacation overseas. So, they took him to stay with relatives who lived more than 1,000 miles away. Months later, when they returned to retrieve Howie, they were told that he had run away. ... A year later, their daughter returned home from school one day and saw a mangy, unkempt, and starving cat. Yep, it was Howie. It had taken him 12 months to cross 1,000 miles of Australian outback, but Howie had come home.

The Washington Post lists two more cases, and suggests magnetism, among other tools as an explanation:
How does a lost animal find its way home?

A couple from West Palm Beach, Fla., lost their cat in Daytona Beach in November, only to have the animal show up two months later less than a mile from their house. The cat had apparently walked 200 miles. The amazing accomplishment isn’t unprecedented.... A labrador named Buck traveled 500 miles from Winchester, Va., to Myrtle Beach, S.C., last year.

Dog walks nearly 20 blocks to see owner in hospital - USA Today


Argentinian dog stays by his master’s grave for six years
Miguel had passed away in a hospital in the city and his body was taken to a funeral home far away from their residence. None of the family members recalled the dog following them to the cemetery before. “The next Sunday we went to visit Miguel’s grave and the dog was there. This time he followed us when we returned, because we had walked. He stayed with us at home for a while but later went back to the cemetery,” Verónica said. He has made that cemetery his home for the past six years.
See also:
Dogs That Know When Their Owners Are Coming Home: And Other Unexplained Powers of Animals by Rupert Sheldrake

A fifth curious, and perhaps not fully understood human phenomenon is the body's improved ability to heal itself of illnesses because of placebos that don't actually contain chemical medicines.
A placebo is... a substance or treatment with no active therapeutic effect. ... Brain imaging techniques done by Emeran Mayer, Johanna Jarco and Matt Lieberman showed that placebo can have real, measurable effects on physiological changes in the brain.[16] Placebos can produce some objective physiological changes, such as changes in heart rate, blood pressure, and chemical activity in the brain, in cases involving pain, depression, anxiety, fatigue, and some symptoms of Parkinson’s. In other cases, like asthma, the effect is purely subjective, when the patient reports improvement despite no objective change in the underlying condition.

The placebo effect has sometimes been defined as a physiological effect caused by the placebo, but Moerman and Jonas have pointed out that this seems illogical, as a placebo is an inert substance that does not directly cause anything. Instead they introduced the term "meaning response" for the meaning that the brain associates with the placebo, which causes a physiological placebo effect.

Quote: one study, people were given a placebo and told it was a stimulant. After taking the pill, their pulse rate sped up, their blood pressure increased, and their reaction speeds improved.

Experts also say that there is a relationship between how strongly a person expects to have results and whether or not results occur. The stronger the feeling, the more likely it is that a person will experience positive effects.

This is the placebo effect: somehow, sometimes, a whole lot of nothing can be very powerful. Except it’s not quite nothing. When Fabrizio Benedetti of the University of Turin in Italy carried out the above experiment, he added a final twist by adding naloxone, a drug that blocks the effects of morphine, to the saline. The shocking result? The pain-relieving power of saline solution disappeared.

So what is going on? Doctors have known about the placebo effect for decades, and the naloxone result seems to show that the placebo effect is somehow biochemical. But apart from that, we simply don’t know.
However, I am not sure that this fifth ability counts as radical. It could just be that a person's body reacts simply and physically to imagined or perceived stimuli.

The third basic question is whether the ancient Israelites tested, checked, and scrutinized their prophets' reliability for themselves.

Deuteronomy 18 lays down strict criteria for judging prophets:

20 But the prophet who dares to speak a message in My name that I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods—that prophet must die.’
21 You may say to yourself, ‘How can we recognize a message the Lord has not spoken?’
22 When a prophet speaks in the Lord’s name, and the message does not come true or is not fulfilled, that is a message the Lord has not spoken. The prophet has spoken it presumptuously. Do not be afraid of him.
One example where the Israelites tested the prophets occurred when Elijah and the priests of Baal asked for fire to come down onto their sacrifice and fire only came down onto Elijah's sacrifice to God.

One student of Judaism told me:

The Tanach also has predictions in one book that are later shown to be fulfilled, perhaps in another book. Maimonides also writes that in order to become accepted as a [long-term] prophet, the prospective prophet needs to be tested a number of times by prophesying events that are seen to have been fulfilled. So for instance, before Isaiah was accepted as a prophet by the nation, he had to stand in front of the court and give a prophecy which the judges then waited until it was fulfilled. After that happened a number of times, he becomes established as a prophet and we can trust his prophecies.
In order for the prophecies we are familiar with to be accepted by the Jews of the time, the prophet would have had to first been tested to establish his prophecy. Only afterwards, would these prophecies be accepted. The Sanhedrin had to be familiar with all manners of secular knowledge and impure arts...
The kings had a major incentive to make their prophets reliable because they relied on them for major advice, like whether to go to battle. Dr. Claude Mariottini, professor of the Old Testament, explains:
The court prophets served in the king’s court and were at the king’s service. These court prophets were consulted before the king went into battle. Ths work of the court prophets is seen in 1 Kings 22:6: “So the king of Israel gathered the prophets, about 400 men, and asked them, ‘Should I go against Ramoth-gilead for war or should I refrain?’ They replied, ‘March up, and the Lord will hand it over to the king.’” The cult prophets received their compensation from the temple treasury while the court prophets were paid from the king’s wealth.
The reason the prophets wrote down their words or oracles in a scroll was to vindicate their ministry and to serve as a reminder to future generations that they were speaking the truth and that their oracles were fulfilled. It was in the fulfillment of the prophetic word that the people would recognize that a prophet had spoken the truth on behalf of YHWH. As Jeremiah told Hananiah: “As for the prophet who prophesies peace, when the word of that prophet comes to pass, then it will be known that the LORD has truly sent the prophet” (Jeremiah 28:9).

When Isaiah’s message was rejected by king Ahaz, the prophet said: “Tie up the scroll as legal evidence, seal the official record of God’s instructions and give it to my followers. I will wait patiently for the LORD, who has rejected the family of Jacob; I will wait for him” (Isaiah 8:16-17). Because the people of Judah had refused to listen to his message, God told Jeremiah to write down in a book all the words he had preached. So, at the dictation of Jeremiah, Baruch wrote down in a scroll all the word of the Lord, so that Jeremiah’s message would remind the king and the people of Judah of the coming judgment (Jeremiah 36:1-4).

2 Kings 20 relates how Isaiah predicted gave Hezekiah predictions whose fulfillments would prove that other predictions would also come to pass. In this passage, Hezekiah was ill and Isaiah made predictions that he would recover:

7 And Isaiah said, Take a lump of figs. And they took and laid it on the boil, and he recovered.
8 And Hezekiah said unto Isaiah, What shall be the sign that the Lord will heal me, and that I shall go up into the house of the Lord the third day?
9 And Isaiah said, This sign shalt thou have of the Lord, that the Lord will do the thing that he hath spoken: shall the shadow go forward ten degrees, or go back ten degrees?
10 And Hezekiah answered, It is a light thing for the shadow to go down ten degrees: nay, but let the shadow return backward ten degrees.
11 And Isaiah the prophet cried unto the Lord: and he brought the shadow ten degrees backward, by which it had gone down in the dial of Ahaz.
Rabbi Jonathan Sacks addresses the fact that Jonah prophesied disaster to Nineveh, and yet Nineveh repented, the Lord relented, and the prophecy did not come to pass, creating an apparent contradiction between the prophecy of disaster and the fact that the disaster didn't occur:
Jonah had proclaimed that the city would be destroyed in forty days. It wasn’t; yet the proclamation was true. He really did speak the word of G‑d. How can this be so?

The answer is given in the book of Jeremiah. Jeremiah had been prophesying national disaster. The people had drifted from their religious vocation, and the result would be defeat and exile. It was a difficult and demoralizing message for people to hear. A false prophet arose, Hananiah son of Azzur, preaching the opposite. Babylon, Israel’s enemy, would soon be defeated. Within two years the crisis would be over. Jeremiah knew that it was not so, and that Hananiah was telling the people what they wanted to hear, not what they needed to hear. He addressed the assembled people:

He said, “Amen! May the Lord do so! May the Lord fulfill the words you have prophesied by bringing the articles of the Lord’s house and all the exiles back to this place from Babylon. Nevertheless, listen to what I have to say in your hearing and in the hearing of all the people: From early times the prophets who preceded you and me have prophesied war, disaster and plague against many countries and great kingdoms. But the prophet who prophesies peace will be recognized as one truly sent by the Lord only if his prediction comes true.”

Jeremiah makes a fundamental distinction between good news and bad. It is easy to prophesy disaster. If the prophecy comes true, then you have spoken the truth. If it does not, then you can say: G‑d relented and forgave. A negative prophecy cannot be refuted – but a positive one can. If the good foreseen comes to pass, then the prophecy is true. If it does not, then you cannot say, ‘G‑d changed His mind’ because G‑d does not retract from a promise He has made of good, or peace, or return.

It is therefore only when the prophet offers a positive vision that he can be tested. That is why Jonah was wrong to believe he had failed when his negative prophecy – the destruction of Nineveh – failed to come true.

via International Skeptics Forum

Why anti-Semitism? I don't get it.

I grew up in a place with hardly any Jews that I know of. I confess to ignorance of why this is such a strongly hated group by certain factions, whether in the US or abroad. I mean, one doesn't see roaming gangs of kids with yarmulkas making trouble, as far as I know.

I suppose it's kind of a loaded question but with the recent resurge of incidents and references I got to thinking about it again.

via International Skeptics Forum

Hippo beaten to death in El Salvador

It's a very violent country, somewhat numb to death.

El Salvador is one of the world’s most violent countries, recording 5,278 homicides last year, or an average of 14 people killed per day. Most of the killings have been blamed on powerful street gangs.
I guess after a while killing humans gets boring and one must go after zoo animals.

via International Skeptics Forum

Sexual discrimination in the workplace

Over 20 years ago, we began to get mandated training regarding sexual harrassment and discrimination in the workplace.
This has since become commonplace..We even get this directly in the context of law-enforcement training, since female police officers experience these problems as well.

You'd have perhaps thought that the widespread dissemination of such training (and laws, and huge lawsuits, etc.) would have largely caused reductions in this behavior by now.

I just listened to a segment on NPR's The Takeaway on a large class-action lawsuit filed by female employees of Sterling Jewelers, the corporate entity that has many jeweler-subsidiaries including the much-advertised Kay Jewelry chain.

Evidently the same old same old, still going on unabated. Everything from, at the lowest level... "Wear shorter skirts, you'll sell more jewelry." To week-long corporate retreats (no spouses allowed) where the largely-female sales staff is "exposed" to the almost-exclusively-male corporate staff who look upon these gatherings as feeding grounds.
Plenty of "pay for play" activity. Want that raise? Want to transfer to another city along with your husband? Well, honey.....
And of course the usual sexual jokes, harrassment, and the like that creates a "hostile workplace".

So what I wonder is.... Is this just embedded in society and human nature? My wife reported things like this occuring at her large, corporate (Bell Telephone) workplace when she was in her 20s..... 45 years ago.

Seems like Sterling is in for a rather large corporate payout... And if things run true to form the management staff will all be subjected to mandated training sessions....
And then I wonder how long before the same pattern repeats. Rather depressing.

via International Skeptics Forum

Did fake news affect the election? Criticism of Allcott-Gentzkow study

Recently, a study was conducted by economists in an attempt to measure the impact that fake news had on the election. According to their research, the effect was minimal.


Originally Posted by Matthew Gentzkow
We found that in order for fake news stories to have changed the outcome of the election, seeing one fake news story would need to be as persuasive, have as large a chance of changing people's votes, as seeing 36 TV commercials.

However, I have some criticism of their work. Mainly, I feel like input from a psychologist would have helped. I'm no expert myself, so I will highlight some specific concerns, and hopefully someone more knowledgeable than me will let me know if I'm on track.

1. Ignoring Response BiasWP

Just 14 percent of Americans deemed social media the primary source of their campaign news, according to their research.
People do not always respond accurately to surveys. Respondents likely under-reported how using Facebook as a primary source for news, because this is perceived as socially undesirable.

2. Assuming that social media is all that matters
Even if their numbers are right, Facebook is not the only source for fake news. Here is one prominent example spread by Donald Trump's own campaign manager. When this happens, it shows up on TV, gets discussed by coworkers, etc.

3. Overemphasis on recollection
This is the one that really stood out to me.

Originally Posted by Gentzkow
So we collect this database of as much fake news as we can find. We then use a new survey online to estimate how many people saw those fake news stories, and then putting that together we can benchmark the persuasive impact that fake news would have needed to have against something we do know something about which is the effect of television commercials in campaigns.

It seems that the researchers are operating under the belief that if someone cannot recall a specific headline, then either they did not see it, or it is not affecting their judgment. Our beliefs are affected by all sorts of stimuli and information, even when we can't remember precisely how we came across the info.

If I'm misunderstanding something, or making some bad inferences, please let me know.

Original study (pdf):

via International Skeptics Forum

Trump's Address to Congress

Tonight Trump address both houses of Congress for the first time. Supposed to lay out his plans for the country.

Do you think the Dems should give Trump the same welcome that some Republicans gave to Obama?

via International Skeptics Forum

[Split Thread] Monopolies and Government Regulation

Mod Info This is a split thread from Roided up "Boy" Wins Girls' Wrestling Championship.
Posted By:Agatha


Originally Posted by BobTheCoward (Post 11735214)
Government involvement chokes out competition.

Funny thing: absence of government involvement also does that. Gee, if only we had a solution to those two extremes...

via International Skeptics Forum

Nothing sexual about being raped by Coathanger

Boys will be boys and rape the only blacks in their school with coathangers. Nothing racial or sexual about that.

via International Skeptics Forum

lundi 27 février 2017

National African American Gun Association

First I ever heard of it was here;

They are members of the National African American Gun Association, a group that has added 9,000 members since Election Day, said Philip Smith, the group's national president. The group launched on Feb. 28, 2015, and added 4,285 members over the same time period the year before, between Nov. 2015 and Feb. 2016.

"I'd be lying to you if I said Donald Trump hasn't affected our numbers," Smith said. "They have jumped off the roof."

NAAGA now has more than 18,000 members in 24 chapters across the country.


Junior Joseph, the owner of a gun shop near a black community in Orlando, Florida, said for years most of his customers were white men. But since the election, he said he has been making more sales to black and Latino shoppers. Kevin Jones, a gun dealer in Ohio, said he had also seen more black customers coming in, particularly older women.

Not every gun store has seen this kind of trend. At one shop in Virginia, a clerk said they've seen more women shopping for guns, but hadn't noticed an increase in African-American buyers.
Most of what I've read about Trump's affect on the gun market has been that it is depressed as most people (at least those few that did) are no longer fear-mongering about a gun ban.


A group of older patrons started talking about how buying and owning a gun wasn't always an option for African-Americans.

When Martin Luther King Jr.'s home was firebombed in 1956, he applied for a concealed carry permit in the state of Alabama. Local police at that time had the right to determine who could and couldn't get a license. King's application was denied, despite the fact that his life was frequently threatened.
This is something the Obama administration eased with changes to the regulations on the purchase of NFA firearms. The local sheriff is no longer allowed a say on who owns these guns.


Michael Cargill, the owner of a gun shop in central Texas, said a group of 100 black women had recently called asking him to set up a class on gun safety and the proper way to shoot.
Shooting classes have always been popular with women. The website. Their stance on bkgd checks.

We are a Pro-2nd Amendment Organization.

We believe that having the ability to protect ourselves within our community in a lawful manner is essential. We also understand and want everyone in society to be protected with common sense laws that keep us all safe from individuals that shouldn’t have guns.

That means ……

If you have a “Violent” Felony Conviction
– you shouldn’t be able to buy a Gun

If you have a Domestic Violence record
– you shouldn’t be able to buy a Gun

If you are on the Terror Watch List
– you shouldn’t be able to buy a Gun

I wonder how they would feel about a bkgd check scheme like that in WA where you need a bkgd check just to handle a gun that does not belong to you. :)


via International Skeptics Forum

Other pipelines

via International Skeptics Forum

Are you supposed to bargain when buying used rental car?

I'm trying to expedite a lot of things, in a pretty narrow window, and decided to buy a used rental car. I have no idea if you're supposed to bargain them down or just leave it. The price looked good per Kelly Blue Book but then I realized I had forgotten taxes and other fees. So I'm thinkin, "OK, 11K," but it probably will be more like $13K (after paying my 2-week rental after totaling a car).

I'm pretty OK with just costing every thing out and bringing back a cashier's check, but would I be dumb to not bargain down a decent KBB value?

I know it can't hurt to offer less, but I hate this aspect of car-buying.

via International Skeptics Forum

Holding ISF Hostage.

I started a thread around here called, "The Holocaust. The Fake History." It disappeared off the face of the planet by being stuck into another thread like some reply to that thread.

Here is where I hold International Skeptics Forum Hostage. I absolutely KNOW!!! how to solve the energy crisis with perpetual motion. I will tell everybody all about it when my thread returns to this section under its own title. Also, replace all of my replies that have disappeared and do not ban me. If I fail to so so, I swear on my honor that I will leave this forum myself and never return.

So there it is. Do the things I asked and learn how to save the planet with perpetual motion. Or not do so and die a slow agonizing death yourself, along with everybody you know and along with most of the life on this planet. I wonder which the mods will choose. You filthy fuking skum!

via International Skeptics Forum

Punching Children for Jesus... Or just Because You Like To

Word of Faith Fellowship is a cult compound in Spindale, North Carolina that is run by Jane Whaley. The horrifying details are to be found in the link. I get the impression that Whaley, who didn't start her ministry until she was in her early forties, wasn't this abusive to begin with, but the more her power over her congregation grew, the more she reveled in it by doling out abuse and cruelty. It seems only a matter of time before they actually end up killing someone, perhaps even an infant or a child. I shudder to think that this is just a little over forty miles from my home.

via International Skeptics Forum

Kim Jong Un shows how he handles false news

Executed 5 security officials for false reports that enraged him.

And in order to re-certify his Evil Dictators Club membership, they were executed by anti-aircraft gun. Apparently the sharks weren't hungry.

via International Skeptics Forum

"Obamacare is a failed disaster"

Is a failed disaster a success?

Can we hire a president who can speak at a high-school level?

via International Skeptics Forum

Agenda 21

We don't seem to have an active thread on this, so I thought I'd start one.
The conspiracy theories surrounding the UN's Agenda 21 are quite well-known (for example, here and this random nutter here), but I have been wondering about a couple of things.
Firstly, what is it about Agenda 21, among all the varied activities and policies of the UN, that has got the tinfoil hat brigade so worked up? Is it just because it has the word "Agenda" in the title, or is there something in the wording of the actual policy that has sparked this reaction?

Secondly, what is the UN supposed to gain from this supposed depopulation of the globe? Why would they do this, and why would they publish what they are going to do in advance? Thie idea that governments want to abolish themselves, and/or drastically reduce their power and revenue by killing the majority of their citizens, and that major corporations want to kill off most of their customers, publically to boot, makes absolutely no sense to me. Does anyone have any insights?
In addition, are there any believers on this forum that can furnish evidence that these theories are real?

via International Skeptics Forum

dimanche 26 février 2017

Well, that's depressing...a show in 2017 on Planet X

Complete with Nancy Lieder...

I battled with theses kooks at least 20 years ago when this disaster was imminent. May 2003 was it.

She was pummeled mercilessly to a pulp.

She must be laughing now.

Thoroughly depressing. Another show boosting nonsense with token opposition.

Makes me want to abandon battling all of this crackpottery.

via International Skeptics Forum

Oscar messup conspiracy

Social media comment boards are lighting up with Trump supporters who say the Oscars gaffe happened because of a conspiracy to give the best picture award to Moonlight when La La Land really won. And someone sabotaged the ceremony by giving the wrong envelope to be read.

As such they do not accept that Moonlight really won.

via International Skeptics Forum

How Perez won the DNC Chair?

Grassley, Goodlatte and Issa Release Report: How Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez Manipulated Justice and Ignored the Rule of Law
Published: Apr 15, 2013

Granted it is a (political kangaroo court) investigation and exaggeration of findings, but there is enough substantive, if largely circumstantial, supportive evidence that it would have been more politically embarrassing for a number of high ranking Democratic leaders, than anything that ranked as criminal. The chits were called in before they became worthless except as a tell-all novel, or seven.

...and, the new DNC Chair looks way too much like the last few DNC Chairs.

Move along, nothing to see here.

(link to .pdf of house report )

via International Skeptics Forum

The post-inauguration humor thread

I assume this is humor but sometimes it's hard to tell:

Witches Plan To Cast Mass Spell Against Donald Trump

Will Christine O'Donnell be among them? :boggled:

Witches cast 'mass spell' against Donald Trump


The development has sparked fury among Christian conservatives, who have accused the witches of "declaring spiritual war".

via International Skeptics Forum

What Would You Recommend For The Curious Theist?

I recently struck up a conversation on Facebook with an old high school friend. She spent 15 years on a mission in Thailand and works in personnel for the missionary group now in Colorado. She has four great kids (only 1 under 18), wonderful husband and is an all-around swell person.

Recently, she got to talking to me about Jesus. According to her, I can be saved if I accept Jesus into my heart and whatever. I have tried to politely explain the null hypothesis and the lack of proof that any god exists.

It came down to this, she chaleneged me to read the entire New Testament (Romans first, for some reason). In return, I got to pick a book for her to read.

I didn't want to hit her with anything overly confrontational like "Why People Believe Weird Things" or anything too philosophical and inaccessable like Kierkegard's "Fear and Trembling."

So, my choice for her was "Sirens of Titan" by Kurt Vonnegut.

What would you have suggested?

via International Skeptics Forum

Is Schroedinger's Cat Actually a Dog?

Why Schroedinger's Cat Is Actually Alive and a Dog


Dr. Schrödinger wants us all to believe that when he opened his little red box yesterday his cat, Randy, was killed by the release of a poison triggered by the decay of a single radioactive particle. We all saw him placing Randy into the box along with the poison flask and we all observed, when the box was opened, the collapse of a quantum superposition or a decoherence of states if you believe multiple universe theory. The idea that Randy was killed by the poison and removed from the box is certainly one theory, it's what Dr. Schrödinger wants you to believe, but we need to ask ourselves why?

Why is Dr. Schrödinger so invested in this idea of placing his cat into a box and then showing whether or not the cat has died? Who is paying for these experiments? Why did he choose a black cat with no other distinguishing marks for his experiment? Has Randy the cat been seen at other experiments? What if Randy, instead of being a cat as we have been told, was a dog?

These are questions that deserve answers. The news media was awfully quick to jump on Dr. Schrödinger's bandwagon, declaring Randy the so-called cat deceased. It seems reasonable, right? Wrong.
Why are THEY hiding the truth!? WHO is behind this!? Won't somebody think of the cats???

Attached Images
File Type: jpg fakescience.jpg (72.2 KB)

via International Skeptics Forum

Help with IMDB edits for Hacksaw Ridge [possible minor spoilers]

Even though this has to do with a motion picture, I thought it would be more appropriate in this section; I'll report my post for a decision from the mods on whether it should be moved to Movies and TV.

A few weeks ago I was reading the IMDB section on goofs in the movie Hacksaw Ridge, and I came across a clear error. However, the error was part of a larger discussion that was not very well written and appeared to be questionably categorized. I broke the text into three parts and submitted each as a correction, including changing the categories of two of the parts. I would like to ask for opinions about categorization and rewording. Out of deference to the original author, I tried to alter the text as little as possible; I now believe that was probably a mistake. I would appreciate input from anyone who is willing to give it.

Here is a publicity photo from the film that illustrates the goofs (and the non-goof). This could be considered a minor spoiler.

Following are the three new goofs/non-goofs as they currently stand: I've highlighted the text I added; I believe everything else was from the original author. Here is the Goofs page from the IMDB:

In the category of Anachronisms:
Desmond's father, Tom Doss, appears in his World War I Army uniform wearing the 1939-1945 Croix de Guerre. He should be wearing the 1914-1918 Croix de Guerre for distinguished service in WWI.
The only major issue I see here is whether this should actually be categorized as a factual error, rather than an anachronism, because the WWII Croix de Guerre actually existed at the time the movie was set, even though it would have been inappropriate for the elder Doss to have worn it on his uniform. I tend to think that it does count as an anachronism in this context.

In the category of Factual Errors:
Tom Doss's WWI Victory Medal is shown with 3 clasps: the France service clasp, the Cambrai combat clasp and the Ypres-Lys battle clasp. Service clasps were not worn if the soldier earned a combat clasp, so the France clasp should not be present. US forces at Cambrai consisted of only the 11th, 12th and 14th Engineer Regiments. Tom has an infantry disc on his collar, not an engineer disc. No US unit is known to be present at both Cambrai and Ypres-Lys. Additionally, Tom states that he fought at Belleau Wood, so he would have been entitled to wear a Defensive Sector clasp, because there was no specific clasp authorized for that battle.
Although the information presented by the original author is substantially correct, it is rather poorly worded, IMO, and should probably be rewritten. I'm also considering rewriting the first sentence to be consistent with the point about the Croix de Guerre: "Desmond's father, Tom Doss, appears in his World War I Army uniform wearing the WWI Victory Medal . . ."

In the category of Incorrectly Regarded As Goofs:
The Silver Star Medal was not created until 1932, years after Tom Doss left the Army. Prior to that date, the Silver Star Medal's predecessor, the Silver Citation Star, consisted of a silver star, 3/16 inch in diameter worn on the suspension ribbon of the campaign medal, in this case the WWI Victory Medal. However, after the Silver Star was created, any recipient of the Citation Star could have that decoration upgraded to the Silver Star simply by applying.
This was why I initially submitted my corrections. Additionally, I suspect that most of the details about the Citation Star should be condensed or omitted altogether. Also, I'm considering rewriting the first sentence as I discussed above.

I would appreciate any constructive suggestions or criticism.

via International Skeptics Forum

When will the GOP cut Trump loose?

In other words, impeach, convict, and put in place one of their own (Pence)?

It will take three things:

1. Extensive public dissatisfaction, including Republican voters.
2. Evidence of an impeachable offense.
3. Balls.

Those three things are all lacking right now. But given time, these things could develop. How long will it take, if at all?

via International Skeptics Forum

Major GOPer Issa calls for Special Prosecutor!!!!!

Major Republican Congressman Darrel Issa calls for a Special Prosecutor to investigate ties between Russian Intelligence and the Trump campaign.

Darrel Issa is notorious for vigorously pushing for more and more investigations into Hillary Clinton's Benghazi issues and her private server.

Issa also supported Trump for President.

Issa also says AG Jeff Sessions should recuse himself from any such investigation.

Darrel Issa, John McCain, Mitch McConnel, Roy Blunt, John Cornyn, Peter King, Lindsey Graham, Bob Corker are all calling for a major investigation into connections between the Trump campaign and Russia.

via International Skeptics Forum

Witchcraft, Trump and Flint

Now, about the water...

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I337 using Tapatalk

via International Skeptics Forum

Caller ID Spoofing

Friday I got the day off and I was home in the morning when we began to receive a barrage of calls on our home phone. It was people calling from all over the New York City area to ask me why I keep calling them? Only we hadn't called them, in fact we hadn't called anyone. This was my introduction to caller ID spoofing.

Caller ID is a boon to anyone who wants to avoid telemarketers, hostile ex-es, or other examples of what the group No Doubt called "telephonic invasion." ("It's all your fault/I screen my phone calls," they sang in the 1995 hit Spiderwebs.) It's also a helpful tool for busy people who simply want to know if a call is urgent or can be returned later. But scammers have discovered that this useful feature can be used deceptively, in ways that can cost you if you're not careful. FTC link
Apparently robo callers can buy software that allows them to use random phone numbers that will be displayed on the caller ID function of the people they call. I discovered it's surprisingly easy. This is from Business Insider:

Anyone can use simple solutions like Spoofcard, which allows users to purchase credits towards call time used in a simple smartphone app. With Spoofcard, users input the number they want to call, and what number they want displayed on the other end — initiating an untraceable call that leaves the other person only seeing the spoofed caller ID. News link
Ironically, most of the people who called me were actually pretty cool. They believed me when I told them I didn't know anything about it. I actually spent a few minutes chatting with several of them. Apparently the caller using our phone as his caller ID was offering deals on real estate. We were getting frequent 'callbacks' for about an hour Friday morning and again in the afternoon. Saturday we got a couple of calls and none since then. Apparently the robo callers or telemarketers who use false caller IDs rotate them. I guess if they go too far with it they actually can be traced. This is also from the same Business Insider article I linked to above:

“There are an awful lot of people who believe that if they use Caller ID spoofing, somehow there is no call record, and it can’t be traced," Attorney Mark Del Bianco, who has represented Spoofcard, told the Journal. "That’s not the case.”

via International Skeptics Forum

Skeptics in the Pub: Trivia Night! (Syracuse, NY)

Skeptics in the Pub: Trivia Night!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017 from 8:00 PM - 10:00 PM

The Distillery

3112 Erie Blvd E, Syracuse, New York 13214 USA

Join CNY Skeptics for a Skeptics in the Pub: Trivia Night event for February 15th! This month, we will be at The Distillery on Erie Boulevard in Dewitt, NY, courtesy of the Syracuse Trivia Company! Come and test your trivia knowledge! No cover charge, but you must pay for your own drinks and food.

Please contact 1-315-636-6533 or email for more information.

Central New York Skeptics (CNY Skeptics) is a community organization dedicated to the promotion of science and reason, the investigation of paranormal and fringe-science claims, and the improvement of standards for science education and critical-thinking skills.

Attached Images
File Type: jpg 15616139-standard.jpg (45.1 KB)

via International Skeptics Forum

Roided Up "Boy" Wins Girls' State Wrestling Championship

Mack Beggs, the person at the center of this controversy, would prefer to wrestle males, but Texas state law requires participants to square off against those who share the sex listed on their birth certificate.

This boils down to a fairness issue. One of the respectable things about sports, almost everyone agrees, is that fairness matters (with the exception of stupid-ass overtime rules for the Super Bowl).

The solution here seems rather simple: Male transitioning to female? You wrestle dudes. Female transitioning to male? You wrestle dudes. Alternatively, we could just ignore sex/gender and have the best wrestle against each other (but this would destroy female athletics).

via International Skeptics Forum

samedi 25 février 2017

More fun with Win 10 - taskbar SNAFU

wtfo - suddenly when I right-click on an icon on the taskbar - nothing happens. Now how am I supposed to delete something :mad: Anyone?

This crapass thing could almost make me miss Windows ME. POFS.

via International Skeptics Forum

Why do people think it's acceptable to be hateful and rude?

I have to ask, why is it that some people believe that it is their right to be allowed to go out of their way to be insulting and highly offensive to others about who they are, and how they live?

From Internet Trolling to open bigotry such as racism, homophobia, religious hate. I honestly don't get it and I really don't understand people that go out of their way to spread it. People that demand to be allowed to use the N-word, or to deny services to gay people, or who want to burn religious items they know are held scared by others. What is it that makes them feel so superior that they think being so offensive to people that aren't like them is an acceptable behaviour in 2017? Do they not realise that such behaviours mark them out as little more than spoilt children throwing a tantrum?

While I know a lot of it comes from the Right, the Left isn't immune to this sort of behaviour either, so it clearly isn't a partisan thing, so again the question is, why do people think it's okay when it's just as easy to be polite to people rather than deliberately obnoxious sometimes to the point of trying to get those that are being provoked to commit violence.

What do you think?

via International Skeptics Forum

Our Nazi Brothers. Are You Skeptical?

One of the biggest lies told about the Nazis is that they were 'racist." It is true (at least I hope it is) that the Nazis wouldn't be letting enemy muslims invade Germany like they're doing today. But that doesn't make them all that 'racist." They're just patriotic and care about their own country and people.

It might interest you to know that about 150,000 Jews actually fought FOR the Nazis. How many of them were full blooded Jews, I couldn't say. Many different ethnic groups fought for the Nazis. It is possible that for many of them, it was just a response to British colonialism. But not all of them. No doubt many of them also supported the idea of supporting their own countries and people. Also, there were also Fascist governments in Spain and Italy. And they had nothing to do with British colonialism.

I will include some pictures to show how "racist" the Nazis were. There are many more. But these should do. On these grounds, boy have most of you swallowed a load of crap!

Attached Images
File Type: jpg Non-white Nazis 1.jpg (71.0 KB)
File Type: jpg Non-white Nazis 2.jpg (87.0 KB)
File Type: jpg Non-white Nazis 3.jpg (48.8 KB)
File Type: jpg Non-white Nazis 4.jpg (25.9 KB)
File Type: jpg Non-white Nazis 5.jpg (10.8 KB)

via International Skeptics Forum

The Holocaust. The Fake History: Where To Find it.

My thread was buried in some other thread. Never to be seen again. I wonder if even telling you of its existence and where it can be found is allowed. It is buried on page 53 of the thread, "General holocaust denial discussion Part III." I invite your comment on it. But if all you can offer is insults, don't bother.

via International Skeptics Forum

Could Obama have beaten Trump?

Lets say that on planet X Hillary Clinton won the 2008 dem primaries instead of Obama. She then goes on to easily beat McCain that year and Romney in 2012. Obama most likely serves in her administration(SOS or some other position) and in 2016 is the Democratic nominee against Trump. Would Obama have won this election if things were this way?

via International Skeptics Forum

Social Security (US) Question!

I'm having trouble getting a straight answer out of the internet, including the official SSA pages, on this question:

Woman (we'll call her Lady Monkeymom) was married to a man (we'll call him Sir Monkeydad) and they both worked and paid into Social Security. They both reached old age and both retired and started taking Social Security benefits. Then Sir Monkeydad died. The question is this:

Does Lady Monkeymom get EITHER her own SS payout OR the widow's slice of Sir Monkeydad's SS payout, or does she get her own PLUS the widow's slice of his?

She got two SEPARATE letters from the SSA. One says she'll get her own benefit, which is $XXX.XX monthly. The other says "as widow of Sir Monkeydad you will receive $YYYY.YY monthly". Is she going to get one of those two amounts, or is she going to get XXX.XX + YYYY.YY?

All the internet research I've done doesn't answer the question because everybody insists on diving into the no-doubt fascinating question of whether the couple claimed their benefits early or at full retirement age, which is not the question I'm asking.

Anybody know the answer? I'm guessing at least one person reading this site has to be an American with a mother in this same situation.

via International Skeptics Forum

Supernova so powerful it makes nighttime daylight

Hey. See this article:

If a similar supernova went off close to the earth, what would the sky look like at nighttime and how long would it last? Would appreciate a lot of detail so I can visualise it.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

via International Skeptics Forum

If science proved a supernatural phenomenon to exist, would that make it "natural"?

The article Testing the Supernatural deals with the question of whether "supernatural" is just a label for a phenomenon that we haven't been able to explain using our scientific understanding of the world:

I refer to the term "supernatural" as a label-of-the-gaps...

One way of thinking about it is with an analogy to Dark Matter. In astronomy it was observed that galaxies rotated more rapidly than expected. Using the light emitted from the galaxy, you can estimate the amount of material needed to emit that light, and use that to determine rotation speeds. The amount of mass estimated from the light emitted is far less than the amount of mass estimated from the rotation speeds - somehow there is a large amount of mass unaccounted for. Astronomers named this extra mass "Dark Matter". Notice, that this is not an explanation for the extra mass, but a label for "something I don't know is causing this effect".

In this way, the term "supernatural" may be a label for "something I don't know is causing this effect", where the effect may be a miracle claim, prayers answered, origin of the universe, origin of life, etc... Thus, the phrase "supernatural explanation" is a meaningless phrase - there can be no supernatural explanation, just as Dark Matter is not an explanation. However, as Fishman uses in his title, one could test "supernatural worldviews" - those constructions that use the label to suggest some unknown (and possibly unknowable) agency at work.
One might think that a scientific theory can't have anything like this in it, but that is not correct. For example, consider the wavefunction in quantum mechanics. Here we have an entity in a theory which is not directly observable - even in principle - yet the theory makes very specific predictions. It is possible to have such entities in a scientific theory, and we accept such entities in so far as the predictions which come from them are observed. ... can test specific predictions that incorporate unknown, and possibly unknowable, entities that have direct physical effects.

So if God exists and prayer worked with God using a divine willpower to enact His will, would that be "supernatural"? Maybe, tot he extent that the Lord would be a "supernatural" being. What if the human was given a divine ability like prophecy? Would that be "supernatural", or would the explanation for the phenomenon make it "natural"?

via International Skeptics Forum

Example of fake news

Last night Bill O'Reilly on Fox News interviewed "Swedish Defence and National Security Advisor" Nils Bildt, who confirmed Sweden's troubles with immigrants. The trouble is that neither the Swedish defence department nor the foreign office have ever heard of him.

He is an immigrant himself, who owns (or owned) a couple of private security firms in America and now appears to live in Tokyo. Nils "Carl" Bildt is actually a Swedish ex-politician (and, indeed, ex-Prime Minister), but he's a different man entirely. The man interviewed changed his name from Tolling.

A little more here:

I await Trump's condemnatory tweets with baited breath.

via International Skeptics Forum

Do you mind if we borrow Obama for a few years ?

Some joker in France have put 500 posters to ask Obama as president of France.

Normally I would laugh, but seeing the grim list of candidate we'll have... I can't help to think he would be IMO the best of the crop.

via International Skeptics Forum

Ashley Madison has a TV commercial out

A bit mind boggling. I never heard of the website until the hacking story. You'd think they would have faded into the woodwork.

But I just saw a commercial on TV. Shows a young woman checking into a hotel next to an older man checking in with a different clerk a few feet away. The scene shows her with a big smile looking at the man as he takes his room key and leaves the counter.

OK, am I the only one taken aback that this website has become commercial enough they have a TV ad?

via International Skeptics Forum

vendredi 24 février 2017

Spectacular ISIS drone airstrike video

I've seen many hundreds of airstrike videos, but this one is different. It's in high-definition color and looks like it was made for a Hollywood movie. Also, instead of ISIS getting blown up it's the other way around. When you view it switch to HD and go fullscreen. You will see an Iraqi Humvee being blown up.


via International Skeptics Forum

Diagnosing Trump: Malignant Narcicissm

The number of psychological professionals cited seems to be a combination of supporters of the two petitions mentioned early in the piece. It isn't clear that all of those supporters are indeed psychological professionals, but many are, and the article goes on to cite psychologist John D. Gartner, and includes full documentation of the critieria for that diagnosis and evidentiary citations to demonstrate how Trump meets those criteria.

via International Skeptics Forum

Another Usurper lie: CPAC line "6 blocks long"

Will it never end?

via International Skeptics Forum

Can we decide on a definition of "fake news"

Asking questions like this, according to some at work, makes me a liberal.


I reply with, "I just want to make sure we're all talking about the same thing and using the same definition."

To me, there's two definitions:
1) Fake news!
Onion type of stuff.
"Trump fires Stephen Hawking. No longer with everybody's favorite disabled physicist make "appearances" on our radios to warn us about impending bad weather." Stuff like that.

2) An item you disagree with.
Pres. Trump type of stuff.
"You can trust CNN! I had more people at my inauguration than any president ever! They are fake news!"

via International Skeptics Forum

What are the Effects Of Atheism?

In a recent post on another thread arthwollipot suggested atheists, such as myself, were guilty of using the same tactics as the religious, who were just trying to protect themselves from "the effects of atheism", as we atheists are trying to protect ourselves from the effects of theism.

I have some difficulty with this and wonder what theists might be afraid of. I am sure someone here can help me with this.

via International Skeptics Forum

Kentucky Town Police put Punisher Logo on Their Cars.

This is not a threatening message at all.


The Catlettsburg Police department, which employs eight full-time and two part-time officers for a population of about 2,500, featured the images on the hoods of its 2013 and 2017 Ford Interceptor sedans and sport-utility vehicles, assistant police chief Gerry Hatzel said. The stylized skull was from “The Punisher” comic book series.

The logo was praised by local residents but raised questions among others in the commonwealth.

The designs were spearheaded by Police Chief Cameron Logan, who worked with a vinyl decal shop in Louisiana to get the decals printed. Logan installed the decals on all the police vehicles in December. He would not discuss how much the decals cost.

“That design is basically to give back to the police officers,” Logan, who has been with the department for 13 years, said before reversing course on the emblems. “Our lives matter just as much as anybody’s. ... I’m not racist or anything like that, I’m not trying to stir anything up like that. I consider it to be a ‘warrior logo.’ Just cause it has ‘Blue Lives Matter’ on the hood, all lives matter. That decal represents that we will take any means necessary to keep our community safe.”

via International Skeptics Forum

White House Barring Specific News Outlets from Press Conference

New York Times

I have two questions. One is because I'm ignorant and the other is political.
  • Is there a history of barring select news outlets? (I did a quick google search and didn't find anything one way or the other. More in-depth research is required)
  • Is this a good idea politically?

Obviously, this will appeal to Trump's base and piss of the news outlets. We also don't know if this is a long term policy or a one off. However, is it a good long term strategy to piss off the press constantly? My gut says no but in many respects this continues to play well with his base supporters so I'm a little perplexed. But there is a lot that perplexes and confounds me about Trump (and generates a lot of fear).

via International Skeptics Forum

Need help Googling: Stages of religious maturity

Hello all...

I've been Googling for a while and can't seem to find what I'm looking for.

Hopefully someone here can help.

I remember reading once about the stages that religions go through as they get older.

Basically, the infancy of said religion and the practices contained within.
The "teenage years" of religions and how the practices have changed...
The middle age years of the religion and the practices...etc..

Any of this ringing a bell?
Can anyone point me in the right direction?

via International Skeptics Forum

It's not just republicans that deny free speech

"A Republican legislator and Vietnamese refugee was dragged from the state Senate floor Thursday morning when a Democratic leader ordered her removed after she tried to criticize the late Tom Hayden, a former state senator and vocal opponent of the war in Vietnam.

State Sen. Janet Nguyen, R-Garden Grove (Orange County), who was born in what was then Saigon, spoke briefly in Vietnamese, but her microphone was shut off less than 30 seconds after she began to repeat her remarks in English."

A little background not included.

At one point in the 1980's a Vietnamese challenger faced off against Hayden for his senate seat.

The challenger led a protest at Hayden's residence in Santa Monica over his support for the Vietnamese government.

The "peace" activist decided that was unacceptable, and resorted to the time honored Louisville slugger method of crowd dispersal.

No love lost between the two camps, but with Hayden's death it's up to the living state democrats to keep Vietnamese folks from expressing dissenting opinions.

via International Skeptics Forum

More fun with Windows 10 Updates

Those power saving feature that were by default on in Win 7 are still there in windows 10. The ethernet adapter setting that put the adapter to sleep after x minutes wreak havoc with some of my networked apps and hardware. In Win 7, I turned these off and was done with it.

Now with windows 10, these power-saving options are turned back on by at least some of the updates. My networked apps and Wifi printer stop working, and I have to go in and turn of the power-saving features again.

So annoying.

via International Skeptics Forum

Why I won't let any male babysit my children

Nutso woman

I am determined to do everything I can to make sure my daughter is not a victim of abuse.

OPINION:*When our first daughter was born my husband and I made a family rule: no man would ever babysit our children. No exceptions.

This includes male relatives and friends and even extracurricular and holiday programs, such as basketball camp, where men can have unrestricted and unsupervised access to children.

Eight years, and another daughter later, we have not wavered on this decision.

Group slumber parties are also out. When there is a group of excited children it is far too easy for one of them to be lured away by a father or older brother without being noticed.

When my daughter goes on play dates I make sure that she will be supervised by a woman at all times. So far she has only slept at one friend's house. Beforehand I spoke to my friend about our rule and clarified that if she's going to pop out to shops for example and intends to leave our daughter in the care of her husband or another man then the sleepover cannot happen.

As you can imagine, this was not an easy conversation to have. To my friend's credit, she respected our family policy even though she doesn't have the same rules herself. In subsequent play dates and sleepovers my friend has rearranged logistics so that she can be present at all times.

I am certain that some of my other friends and acquaintances would not react so graciously and would see my request as a direct attack on their husbands and/or their parenting choices. I am dreading the day when I have to have the same conversation with someone who will not be as understanding.

Would I prefer to be a more chilled out parent? Absolutely.

Will I change my family policy? Unfortunately, no. Child sexual abuse is so prevalent that I won't back down on my no-male-babysitters policy.

To be clear, I'm not saying that all men are sexual predators. Nor do I think that men harbour predatory instincts that lie dormant only to spring forth at the first opportunity.

But child abuse by men is so common that taking precautions to keep my daughters safe is a no-brainer.

According to the*Australian Institute of Family Studies*the prevalence of child sexual abuse is 1.4-8 per cent for penetrative abuse and 5.7-16 per cent for non-penetrative abuse for boys and 4-12 per cent for penetrative abuse and 13.9-36 per cent for non-penetrative abuse for girls.

To put those figures into context, the "best case" scenario is that 1 in 20 boys are sexually abused. The worst case is that 1 in three girls are.

Yes, women can also abuse, but as the Australian Institute of Family Studies'*Who Abuses Children*fact sheet makes clear, "Evidence overwhelmingly indicates that the majority of child sexual abuse is perpetrated by males."

An Australian Institute of Criminology 2011*paper*"Misperceptions about child sex offenders"*shows*30.2 per cent of*child sexual abuse was perpetrated by a male relative, and 13.5 per cent by the*father or stepfather.

A tiny*0.8 per cent of cases*were perpetrated by mothers and stepmothers, and*0.9 per cent of child sexual abuse was perpetrated by a female relative.

The other categories of perpetrators were*family friend (16.3 per cent), an acquaintance or neighbour (15.6 per cent), another known person (15.3 per cent) –*without specifying the gender split.

Data from the US National Incident-Based Reporting System*(NIBRS) showed that males made up 90 per cent*of adult child sexual assault perpetrators, while 3.9 per cent*of perpetrators were female, with a further 6 per cent*classified as "unknown gender".

While we're all terrified by the prospect of strangers abusing our kids and most of us would never let our young child walk around the streets by themselves, the Australian Institute of Criminology*paper said that "in the*vast majority of cases, children's abusers are known to them".*

Children are at far greater risk from*relatives, siblings, friends, and other known adults such as priests, teachers and coaches.*

The blanket rule against allowing our daughters to be in the care of lone male adults means that we do not have to make a moral assessment of every man. My husband and I do not want to delve into the characters of every man that we know and assess whether or not they are potential sexual predators, so we apply our rule to all men to avoid casting aspersions on people.

We're also not sure if we can trust our judgement. If anything, the statistics suggest that many parents aren't very good at determining which male adults are safe and which are not.

No doubt some people will call me a man hater and*react as if the protection of children is secondary to men's right not to be offended.

But dismissing this as a hysterical reaction of a misandrist is not only incorrect, it's also missing the point spectacularly. My husband and my decision is based on straightforward risk analysis: a cold, hard, unemotional reading of the statistical data.

When I look at my daughter's class lining up on assembly and think that statistically between one and nine of them are going to be sexually abused before they reach adulthood, I am determined to do everything I can to make sure my daughter is not going to be one of them.

I know it's a hard line, some would say extreme. But I also know that sexual abuse can rob a child of their self-worth and dignity in an instant –*and it can take decades for those wounds to heal, if at all.

In this context, potentially hurting peoples' feelings is the price my husband and I are prepared to pay.

via International Skeptics Forum

jeudi 23 février 2017

Blasphemy in Denmark

"A Danish man who burned the Quran has been charged with blasphemy, the first such charge in the country in almost half a century.

The 42 year-old man burned the Muslim holy book in his backyard in December 2015 and then posted a video of it to a Facebook group"

Careful with that free expression, Europe.

via International Skeptics Forum

Arizona Bill to apply RICO to silence protesters

Another piece of fascist legislation aimed at silencing protesters by allowing RICO to be applied to seize the assets of ANYone planning or participating in a protest that is deemed a "riot", regardless of whether they themselves commit a criminal act.

Purely designed to chill protest, unconstitiutional, and hypocritical, given Republican behavior of recent years (Bundy, goons with AR-15s, etc). Doubly hypocritical given the way our nation was founded. The Boston Tea Partiers would have been prosecutable under this law. TRUMP would be prosecutable under this law given his public urging at his campaign rallies to violence.

via International Skeptics Forum

Why Didn't The Allies Back Hitler.

Even back then, most people knew that the Bolsheviks and Stalin were monsters. So why didn't the allies back Hitler. Well Russia was for the most part an oriental country. In part probably due to them having been ruled by the Mongol Golden Horde for centuries. Did the allies not back Hitler because Germany was more of a civilized, advanced and "Western" country than Russia? That doesn't make any sense.

Also, after WW I, the allies actually sent troops into Russia to help defeat the Bolsheviks. So it seems pretty strange to help them in WW II. Another thing is that Germany invaded Poland on September 1, 1939. (Some say because ethnic Germans in Poland were being slaughtered) It didn't take the allies long to declare war on Germany for doing so. But war wasn't declared on Russia when they did the same two or three weeks later. Neither was war declared on Russia when they invaded Finland on November 30, 1939.

Another thing is that on June 22, 1941, Germany invaded Russia. There was at least one book written that made the point that the reason they did so was that because a few weeks later, Russia was scheduled to invade Germany. And what did the U.S. do when Germany did so? They started sending Russia supplies and munitions! Even though we weren't at war with Germany yet.

Also, after WW I, the allies stole something like 65 billion in gold from Germany as reparations for WW I. But Germany just got sucked into that war like everybody else. Could it be that the Allies didn't back Hitler because he put a stop to those reparations? Another thing is that Hitler made it so Germans didn't literally need a wheelbarrow full of money to buy a loaf of bread with. Could it be that the allies didn't back Hitler because he fixed that problem? Or because he gave most Germans what they desperately needed? Employment?

I will tell you a couple of the real reasons that the allies didn't back Hitler. For one, to most Christians, a good way to prove the power of their imaginary god is to support the jewish people. And Hitler DARED deport 60 to 70% of its jews to Palestine under The Haavara Agreement. Another reason they didn't support Hitler can be shown in a couple pictures I will add. One is an image from the first 'talkie" that the jew Charlie Chaplin ever did. The second picture and quote is of the Russian head of the NKVD. Can you make the connection? Boy have you people been played for saps!

Attached Images
File Type: jpg jew brainwashing.jpg (12.8 KB)
File Type: jpg commiejews.jpg (6.7 KB)

via International Skeptics Forum