“Smokey Joe” Barton’s long history of antiscience propaganda

Remember how Joe Barton apologized to British Petroleum for the government’s mild reproach and slap on the wrist after their oil spill destroyed the Gulf of Mexico and created a dead zone that will last for decades? Turns out he was one of the bigger names involved in the disinformation campaign waged by the tobacco industry.

Those of us who weren’t old enough or politically aware enough might not have known this fact about Barton, or might have let that information slip into the memory hole; we might otherwise think that this antiscience campaign waged by the oil industry against climate scientists is a unique phenomenon. Spreading this information about Barton’s and others’ tactics is therefore vital.

Normally, ad hominem is a fallacy. However, establishing a pattern of behaviour and modifying one’s treatment of or trust in another person based on such patterns of behaviour is entirely reasonable and rational. Seeing this man (and others, like Boehner) repeat the same tactics that worked so well in forestalling public acceptance of the truth behind tobacco’s deleterious health effects, used in a fight with vast and far-reaching consequences about the deleterious effects we as a species are having on our environment, is rather galling, but definitely useful information. It means we are forearmed against these tactics and can counter them. It means we are aware in advance of the fact that the people with their hands on the levers of political power in this country are not principled actors, and that they are more than willing to lie about reality for a quick buck to everyone else’s detriment.

Fifteen years of cell phones, still no uptick in cancer

Sure, this Guardian article doesn’t frame it quite so vehemently, but I think after fifteen years, and the myriad studies done on the matter, the lack of appreciable increase in brain cancer rates should pretty much speak for itself.

In the review, “Health Effects from Radiofrequency Electromagnetic Fields” the advisory group considered hundreds of peer reviewed scientific studies that looked at the effects of mobile phone radiation on cells, animals and people.

“There are still limitations to the published research that preclude a definitive judgement, but the evidence overall has not demonstrated any adverse effects on human health from exposure to radiofrequency fields below internationally accepted guideline levels,” said Professor Anthony Swerdlow, chairman of the AGNIR and an epidemiologist at the Institute of Cancer Research.

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SHOCKING REVELATION: Christopher Monckton is Sacha Baren Cohen?!

Got a bunch on my plate today. So, a post with a silly video for right now. Talk amongst yourselves!

Via D-Dave in the comments of my last post about Monckton’s debate-dodging, comes definitive proof that Monckton is actually a character by Sacha Baren Cohen. That certainly explains why he can’t join the debate — he’s too busy being The Dictator right now.

Real genuine proof the moon landing (simulation) was a hoax!

What do you get when you stitch together footage from NASA’s moon landing simulations prior to the Apollo project, with footage from the actual moon landing, with an audio track meant to make you pee with laughter?

Well, you get a Youtube comments thread so full of facepalmingly poor logic and conspiracy theory that you just have to weep for humanity. While laughing. It’s a very painful emotion.

We’ve been to the moon. There’s a mirror up there, planted by us at the Apollo landing site, that we can bounce lasers off of, to accurately measure Earth’s distance to the moon. This is evidence. That, and Buzz Aldrin will sock you one if you’re still a ridiculous conspiracy theorist.

New Hampshire Republican voters sick of climate denialism too

I have this irrational penchant for assuming we humans will, eventually, let our better angels of empathy and rationality win out in the long run. This plays to that aspect of my psychology.

Of course, there are so many other reasons not to vote for Republicans that you don’t need to point out the fact that it’s been completely and thoroughly awash in scientific denialism for decades and fix that alone to get me to consider them rational actors on the political stage. You’d also have to untie them from religious zelaotry and magical thinking about economic factors and war hawkishness… et cetera, et cetera.

Mike Adams has never met a skeptic in real life, part 3

Part three of a point-by-point fisking of Mike Adams’ January 2010 anti-skeptic article, which amounts to a single monolithic colony organism made up of individual strawman arguments that come together to become one massive strawman Voltron. Part 1 is here and part 2 is here. I’m almost through all the things Mike Adams thinks that skeptics “believe”, and will finish them up in this post. We begin immediately below the fold.
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Mike Adams’ Active Imagination regarding Skeptics, part 2

This is a continuation of this post, being a thorough point-by-point fisking of Mike Adams’ anti-skeptic rant of January 2010. There’s a ton, and this is a Gish gallop, which takes a goodly amount of time to unpack, which is why I have to spread this out over multiple posts. So, without further ado, we begin immediately after the jump.
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Which is a better political bludgeon: HPV vaccines, or cancer?

Via Greg Laden elsewhere on FtB:

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Michelle Bachmann has fired the footgun in a big way while attempting to take aim at Rick Perry in the race for the Republican presidential nomination, by claiming that the HPV vaccine causes mental retardation. Knowing full well that the Human Papiloma Virus vaccine is a controversial issue amongst evangelical conservatives and others who feel that protecting people from STDs will encourage promiscuity, Bachmann was evidently hoping to score rhetorical points against Perry for having made this order by recounting an anecdote wherein a mother approached her after a rally telling her this story. The attempt has backfired spectacularly.

A bioethicist has offered Bachmann $10000 if she can show a single person having developed mental retardation after receiving the vaccine. Personally, I’d just like some proof that the mother Bachmann mentioned actually exists and actually told her this story, or if Bachmann’s misremembering some Jenny McCarthy nonsense about autism and framing it as though it happened first-hand.

Meanwhile cervical cancer, caused in almost every case by HPV, is the twelfth most common type of cancer, and fifth most deadly in women. It affects 16 per 100,000 women per year, and kills 9 per 100,000 per year. The HPV vaccine is effective against two of the most prevalent strains of the virus, making up 70% of all cases. This would reduce mortality and morbidity to this disease significantly, and it costs almost nothing compared to treating women who have suffered from the disease.

That is not to mention the stunning talent this world loses every day to the disease. Talent like Stephanie Zvan, a co-blogger here at Freethought Blogs and close friend, without whose presence my life would be significantly poorer. She takes Bachmann to task for her emotional manipulation, providing herself as an example of a real person whose life might not have been in such jeopardy, who might not have had to endure such “helpful violence” as she was forced to endure, with the HPV vaccine.

To be quite frank, I hope this scuttles Mayor Crazy of Crazytown’s presidential bid.