These cancers aren’t curing themselves! Nurse, more radioactive lead atoms on whirling rays of light!

This guy, Ramachandran Lyer, has been spamming my email pretty much nonstop today. He’s very excited, I guess — he thinks he has discovered a cure for cancer. Let’s take a look, shall we?

Radioactive lead can cure Cancer- Mechanism: My view

The human body is made of atoms. Every cell, in Skin, bone, nerves, veins is the compound of various atoms. The deficiency of a particular mineral will result in diseases. For example iron deficiency results in thrombasthenia, hemophilia and anemic.

Not so fast! This is an amazing preface. So the justification for your treatment begins with the fact that we’re made of atoms? Oh my god, that’s true! I can’t argue with that at all!

And yes, mineral deficiencies can cause health problems! Ramachandran is like an oracle speaking nothing but truth — sweet incontestable truth. This has been established in his very first paragraph.

For curing this we are injecting blood and platelet. The blood transfusion, if often carried out will weaken the walls of veins and lungs. If the same iron/ Hb is eaten by cancer cell, the iron cannot be replaced by more blood as the mound will suck the Hb and cancer cell grow and block the way.

Wait, curing “this”? What is the referent here? Cancer, I presume, from the title?

But we don’t cure cancer with blood transfusions. We don’t even try. Well, I suppose we try to address leukemias that way, but isn’t it more to keep the patient alive than to actually treat the cancer? I’m getting confused, Ramachandran. Your aura of infallibility is fading.

So, cancer is a mound that sucks iron away from healthy hemoglobin. OK, that’s novel. Do you know anything about cancer biology, Ramachandran? Because it’s a little bit more complicated than that.

To prevent this cancer cell from sucking the iron, we are to coat/ laminate the iron with lead, and lead cannot be sucked by the cancer mound. This lamination on Hb will stay for 2 to 3 days and comes out through motion.

Whuzza…laminate the iron with lead? Just like that? But the iron ions in hemoglobin are all bound up in this lovely heterocyclic ring — how do these lead molecules fit? How do you “laminate” the iron without disrupting its respiratory function? And what does this have to do with cancer?

The physical atom of lead or any metal cannot be broken as astral atoms.

I do not know of these astral atoms.

But if the same atom is sent in to the body as whirls of light rays, in the form of vibrations (here is a theory the air / aether carry the light rays) created by lighting herbal oil which produce/ let out lead, on heat, penetrate in to the body through skin, as ascorbic acid, forms amino acid in bile, mix with blood and laminates the haemoglobin and prevents cancer cells from sucking the iron as it’s nourishment.

I knew vibrations would have to come into play somewhere in here, but Ramachandran also tosses in aether and herbal oils! Bravo!

I guess I see how Ramachandran’s planning to laminate the iron with lead, with a kind of photonic airbrush, with whirling light rays swooshing out of burning herbal oils. That could be dramatic, but I’m not convinced that Ramachandran actually has any evidence that he can do that.

The blood that produced heat due to friction of cells will create vacuum in the blood compound/ components. This vacuum should be filled with aether immediately which has the attraction power to pull the light rays created by the oil lamp lit with herbal oils that is filled with other minerals along with lead and resins in the same herbal. This heat created by vacuum, if not filled will shrink and to adjust itself, will suck hydrogen from the blood for neutralizing and oxygen is eaten by Cancer mound, and patient needs more oxygen and water. The heat shows the blood is acidic, and we feel the increase in pH with salt water may give some relief to the patient.

OK, now that’s just crazy talk.

My dear friend Ramachandran is a graduate of the Utkal University of Culture, which does not have a medical or scientific program of any kind. I haven’t quite been able to figure out what they teach or do there, but they do have a kind of mission statement.

Culture in its essence is viewed here as ways of loving together.

Odisha has a unique distinction of acting as a confluence of diverse faiths by striking harmony amongst religious faiths from animism, fetishism, shamanism, ancestore worship to highly evolved froms of religions like Brahminism, Jainism, Buddhism, Islam, Chiristianity and Mahima Dharma.

Vaishnavism, Saivism, Saivism, Sakta , Ganapatya, Sour-all forms of Brahminic worship are conceived in the wonderful matrix of the great and grand cult of jagannath that embraces in its grandeur quintessences of different religions signifying world-view. The Oriya literature contained this world-view in its essence;

“Let my lie rot in hell”
But be the world saved’’ –(Bhima Bhoi)

These lines of the saint poet Bhima Bhoi express sentiments of self-sacrifice and selflessness for the well-being of the world at large. Through centuries, the state retained its cultural identity within the mainstream of pan-India culture. Odisha is a land of rich and diverse artistic achievements. Its ageless art and flourishing cultural are the products of a long historical process.Spiritual, philosophical, professional and human dimensions are merged into the process to yield finest efforts of cultural life. Against this background, Odisha Justifiable pioneered the establishment of the first ever University of culture of the country.

Well, alrighty then! They teach word salad and oogley-boogley piety. Ramachandran certainly is a fine product of his education.

Is it a Godwin if it’s accurate?

Yet another Republican has once again argued that the trauma of rape makes women infertile: Trent Franks of Arizona claimed “the incidence of rape resulting in pregnancy are [sic] very low.” He’s just one more in a long line of thugs spouting pseudoscientific lies.

“In the aftermath of Akin’s statement, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported on a 1972 essay by an obstetrician named Fred Mecklenburg, who cited a Nazi experiment in which women were told they were on their way to die in the gas chambers—and then were allowed to live, so that doctors could check whether they would still ovulate. Since few did, Mecklenburg claimed that women exposed to the emotional trauma of rape wouldn’t be able to become pregnant, either. (He also argued that rapists are infertile because they masturbate a lot.) The essay was published in a book financed by A.U.L.”

A.U.L. is Americans United for Life, a pro-life advocacy group with increasing clout because of its success in drafting model state laws to restrict abortion. The line from the Nazis to Mecklenberg to Akin and Frank runs through Jack Wilke, a doctor who is the former head of the National Right to Life Committee. He said, "What is certainly one of the most important reasons why a rape victim rarely gets pregnant, and that’s physical trauma." And he stuck with this when the Los Angeles Times called to ask him about Akin last year. When I asked A.U.L. head Charmaine Yoest about the claim that rape rarely results in pregnancy, she was smarter and called it “a distraction.” Abortion opponents sure do keep bringing it up, though.

Right, the “argument from hideously unethical evil Nazi experiment” is just what I’d expect Republicans to do.

They always surprise you

Creationists most powerful weapon is their ability to catch you off guard with their unbelievably stupid answers to questions, and here’s a beautiful example. Someone tries to get creationists to explain how they reconcile deep space with a young earth.

I would like to discuss what appears to be a major body of evidence against young earth creationism – astrophysics.

The distances to a large number of astronomical objects have been measured by a variety of methods. Astrophysicists consider the distances to galaxies to be of the order of millions of light years, and the majority of stars within the Milky Way to be up to 100,000 light years away. If this were true, and given the invariance of the speed of light, clearly YEC is false (irrespective of the status of evolution).

Just as one example, a cepheid variable star in the galaxy M81 was observed by the Hubble telescope and measured at about 11 million light years away. See here: http://outreach.atnf…e_cepheids.html

So what is the YEC position in regard to this. Is it:

a ) The speed of light is not invariant, or

b ) All of the objects observed by astronomers, from stars to galaxies to quasars, do in fact exist within 6000 light years of Earth?

I read that, and thought, I know! I know! It’s c) they’re distant, but the light was created en route! I’m so smart.

And so wrong. Surprise! Here’s the answer one creationist gave.

If it takes 11 million years to travel to earth, how can i see it now? I’m only 20.

If it takes 11 million years to travel to earth then the viewer would need to be 11 million years old.

Aaaaaand…we’re done here. I’m gonna go close my eyes and rest a bit.

DJ Grothe responds

He didn’t care much for my criticism of their advertising copy yesterday, so he sent me an email.

I’m not sure if you [it was cc’ed to several people] want to be kept up on things like this (we try not to get distracted by bloggers who have a habit of taking aim at JREF, RDFRS, CFI or Skeptics Society, etc.) [it’s a “habit” now? And oh, yes, let’s belittle those bloggers. Did he even notice who he was sending it to?], but just in case: PZ did a blog post against TAM today [No, I didn’t. You might have noticed I called it “premium event that brings in professional entertainers and big name celebrities”; that is not a criticism of TAM at all. I criticized their misleading ad.], contra our recent promo email.

I’m not going to respond [What do you call this?], but it is worth noting that our numbers do hold — TAM is actually significantly cheaper than CSICon, NECSS, etc. [Cherry-picking cons now, I see] when factoring in our low hotel costs, included meal’s, etc. — and it is a much higher quality event by many measures [Do CSICon, NECSS, etc. know of DJ’s opinion of their quality?]. Not to mention that it is a full four days, not just two and a half days. And 3-4 times as many presenters on the program. [That’s the first legitimate point he’s made. It is a bigger event…but that does not make it a cheaper event. That’s reason to say TAM is worth the money, not that it is cheaper.] (The cost factor, the value of TAM, was a bullet point in the recent promotional email.)

PZ compares TAM to a free student-run conference in Springfield Missouri. False comparison, obviously. [Oh. TAM is a cheaper conference as long as you don’t include all those conferences which are cheaper. Got it. And is there something wrong with a conference being “student-run”? I’ve found student-run conferences to be among the best experiences.]

A regular TAM attendee and good egg, Jim Lippard, posted this comment on PZ’s blog, which PZ apparently deleted [Say what? I checked everywhere, and nope, Lippard left no comment here. He did leave this same comment on another blog at exactly the same time. How did Grothe copy and paste the comment without noting it wasn’t on Pharyngula at all? A mystery. Put a skeptical investigator to work on it right away.]:

Jim Lippard says:
June 12, 2013 at 2:20 AM
FYI, TAM does include three breakfasts and two lunches with the registration. Your Skepticon comparison is rather location-dependent–for me, I’d have to fly to Skepticon, while I could drive or fly to Vegas for less than the cost to get to Springfield. A round-trip ticket for TAM today would cost me $197, vs. $504 for Springfield with the same dates (according to Google’s ITA Software). The overall costs would be comparable if I wanted to stay at the conference hotel in both cases (the South Point Casino JREF rate was $45/night for Thu, $85/night for Fri, Sat)–TAM $475+$197+$215 = $887, Skepticon free+$504+$417 = $921, without comparing meals (are they included at Skepticon?). [I responded to this elsewhere (like, where he left the comment), but factoring in the momentary vagaries of airline pricing really is a colossal cheat. I’ve had domestic prices to the same destination wander up and down by $400 over the course of a month. But especially when he’s close enough to drive to TAM, while Skepticon is farther away for him…don’t you think that might contribute to the price difference?]


As I said in the previous post:

Again, TAM has a niche, and there’s nothing wrong with filling that niche — but to claim to be the budget conference is thoroughly dishonest.

There was no criticism of TAM at all there — it has a role, it does it well, if you enjoy it and can afford it you should go — but I do think the advertising copy was dishonest and, for a consumer protection organization, they should take a little more responsibility to avoid stretching the truth. I have my doubts that Grothe even read my post, and is instead regurgitating something one of the haters sent to him without verifying its contents…which may be where this claim that Lippard posted it here came from. Also note that the article where Lippard actually commented did a breakdown of costs for him to attend a CSI conference, and it came down cheaper than TAM. Not very skeptical of him, is it?

What is it with these big-name skeptics that they are so thin-skinned about any criticism at all?

Oh, dear. DJ sent me email informing me that the above note was sent to me by mistake…so apparently it’s all my fault now.

Hi PZ — did you miss these emails? I am really surprised you posted the email that I explicitly said I sent to you by mistake, instead seeming to suggest I sent it to you intentionally, and that you actually neglected to mention the correction I immediately sent to you below regarding Lippard. It is a pretty impressive mischaracterization. Does it feel underhanded to you in the least? Do you think you are one of the good guys? It is pretty disappointing, and I wonder if you are able to see why.


No, I didn’t see any other emails until I went searching through the mess in my inbox. And now I see that he didn’t intend for me to receive his sneering dismissal of bloggers and people who criticize skeptics, which explains the rather unhelpful attitude in the first message. It doesn’t explain the continuation of that attitude in the message above, though. Still, it’s good to know how he talks about us behind our backs, I guess.

What mischaracterization? I must be one of the bad guys for pointing out the obvious fact that TAM actually IS a rather expensive conference. Everyone knows it; at TAM London I heard a lot of complaints about the ticket price, compared to other events there; every year I see people experiencing a bit of a shock when they learn how much registration costs. And that’s OK — the JREF organizers could be telling everyone how good it is and pointing out all the talent on display (although, really, this same talent often appears at other cons as well). But claiming that it is the least expensive conference is rather ridiculous, don’t you think?

Apparently, the only greater misrepresentation is to dare to point out that it is so.

Knowing a little history clarifies issues

We’ve had this long-simmering football controversy here in the upper midwest — a North Dakota football team named itself after an Indian tribe. They try to argue that it’s not racist and claim that it’s a respectful homage to the natives, but look at the history of such naming elsewhere: the Washington DC football team name is unabashedly racist.

This Washington football team was named by one of the most vehement racists in the history of American professional sports. When George Marshall bought the team in 1932, they were called the Boston Braves. He changed the name — to a slur, because he was a racist — and moved them to Washington. He made “Dixie” one of the team’s fight songs and refused to hire black players well into the 1960s. The NFL integrated in 1946 but Marshall’s team held out until the federal government actually forced them to field black players in 1963. The all-white Washington teams of the 1950s and 1960s were among the worst in the league, but segregation was more important to Marshall than winning football games. The NFL had actually already been raciallyintegrated until black players were suddenly banned in 1933. Interviews with owners suggest that Marshall was responsible for the ban.

This is the man who named the team and white supremacy and racism obviously informed his every decision. In his will he insisted that his foundation not spend any money on “any purpose which supports or employs the principle of racial integration in any form.” It is extremely hard to believe that this man selected the name — specially changed the name from a less offensive term for American Indians to this term — to “honor” anyone, the usual argument used by the team’s modern defenders.

The current owner has vowed to never change the name, and is desperately working to build up some PR spin to cover his butt. So what does he do?

The Washington DC-area NFL franchise has commissioned veteran Republican pollster Frank Luntz to conduct some focus groups to see how American football fans feel about the franchise’s name, which is a vile racial slur.

Oh, yeah. When you want to whitewash racism, you call the professionals: a Republican apparatchik. Everyone knows that.

If you read some of the linked articles, you’ll discover that one of the reasons the team refuses to change their name is that they did a poll…and found that Americans preferred that they keep their racist name, 9:1. Are we at all surprised? And is it any wonder that they’ve now hired a Republican pollster to skew the bias even more?

I notice Mal Brough is rather flat-chested himself

OK, Australians, help me out here — I’m always getting confused by your political parties. Here in the US, the word “liberal” is strongly associated with the political left and progressive politics. Elsewhere in the world, it’s not: the Australian Liberal party refers to classical liberalism, which is actually center-right, rather conservative politics, right? And they’re in a coalition with the National Party, which is predominantly rural and conservative? I get so tangled up trying to sort these things out.

Aww, screw it. Let’s just identify them as the misogynist jerkwad party. It seems they have a unique way of sniping at the Labor Party (center left, ja? Like our Democrats?) which involves printing up sexist dinner menus.

The menu was presented at a dinner for former minister and Liberal National Party election candidate Mal Brough.

It offered up "Julia Gillard Kentucky Fried Quail – Small Breasts, Huge Thighs and a Big Red Box".

Charming. Well, they just lost my vote, if ever I emigrated to Australia.

Skepticon is such a tease

Skepticon likes to tantalize you, dribbling out speaker names a few at a time. Last week they told us that Aron Ra, Amanda Knief (who has a new book out, with Barry Lynn: The Citizen Lobbyist), and Amanda Marcotte will be there — we’re off to a great start! This week, it’s Debbie Goddard! Rebecca Hensler! Richard Carrier! And…me. It’s OK, you gotta sprinkle in some boring old drones to make the highlights sparkle more.

As I mentioned yesterday, Skepticon is the high energy fun con of the year. You should go. You should especially go if you want to learn how to put together a well-managed, exciting con on a budget — I’d like to see more of these things spring up all over the country.

Anti-vaxxers are as bad as creationists

In Australia New Zealand:

It started when seven-year-old Alijah got a small cut on the bottom of his foot in December 2012.

"Of course we didn’t think it was too serious, it was just a little cut but a couple of days later he started getting symptoms like a stroke on the side of his face," Mr Williams says.

"A couple of days later during the night he started to get cramps across his face. His face would contort and he was in a lot of pain."

After 24 hours in Auckland’s Starship Children’s hospital, the doctors diagnosed Alijah with tetanus, and he was taken to intensive care.

His parents didn’t get him a tetanus shot because they were afraid of vaccines.

In California:

Whooping cough, also known as pertussis, has claimed the 10th victim in California, in what health officials are calling the worst outbreak in 60 years.

Since the beginning of the year, 5,978 confirmed, probable and suspected cases of the disease have been reported in California.

All of the deaths occurred in infants under the age of 3 months, says Michael Sicilia, a spokesman for the California Department of Public Health. Nine were younger than 8 weeks old, which means they were too young to have been vaccinated against this highly contagious bacterial disease.

"This is a preventable disease," says Sicilia, because there is a vaccine for whooping cough to protect those coming in contact with infants, and thereby protect the infants.

However, some parents are choosing to not vaccinate their children. In other cases, previously vaccinated children and adults may have lost their immunity because the vaccine has worn off.

Ignorance kills, and we’ve got people promoting ignorance.

People like Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. likes to talk. When he calls you to discuss vaccines, he talks a lot, uninterruptably. He called Keith Kloor after Kloor wrote a story for Discover about RFK Jr.’s keynote address to a convention of people who think vaccines cause autism. You can read about their conversation at Kloor’s blog. Phil Plait wrote a story about RFK Jr. for Slate last week, pointing out that the idea that vaccines cause autism is a crackpot theory that has been thoroughly debunked, that it is dangerous, and that RFK Jr. is one of its most effective proponents.

Kennedy claims that thimerosal, a preservative used in some vaccines, causes autism. No, it doesn’t. This has been tested out the wazoo, and there’s no connection between autism and thimerosal, or autism and vaccines, for that matter. In order to back up his claim, Kennedy is reduced to completely misrepresenting the scientific evidence.

For a guy whose family has such a distinguished record of public service, Kennedy says some pretty awful things about government employees: “The lies that you are hearing and printing from the CDC are things that should be investigated.” He spoke to one scientist (he named her but I won’t spread the defamation) who, he said, “was actually very honest. She said it’s not safe. She said we know it destroys their brains.”

I asked the scientist about their conversation. She said there is in fact no evidence that thimerosal destroys children’s brains, and that she never said that it did.

There’s a pattern here.

When RFK Jr. challenged the university scientist about a study of the biological activity of thimerosal in vitro, which “everybody accepts because journalists hadn’t read it,” the scientist said, “ ‘Oh, yeah, you’re right about that.’ He backpedaled.” That’s because “now he was dealing with somebody who wasn’t afraid to read science.”

I talked to the scientist, who would prefer I not use his name because he gets death threats from unhinged anti-vaxxers. He said, “Kennedy completely misrepresented everything I said.”

I don’t know why Kennedy is bothering to misquote scientists and trying to get scientific authority to back him up, though, because he doesn’t believe in scientists anyway. He’s got a gigantic conspiracy theory in which all these scientific organizations are lying.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s elaborate conspiracy theory is just as delusional and dangerous. Rather than accepting the findings of the Institute of Medicine, the National Institute of Mental Health, or the American Academy of Pediatrics, Kennedy says the scientists are lying. He says vaccine-makers are intentionally poisoning kids and giving them autism. Only he and his fellow activists know the truth because journalists, although they may report aggressively on the National Security Agency, Defense Department, and Central Intelligence Agency, are cowed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Apparently hereditary political lineages are a really bad idea. The UK has Prince Charles, and the US has Robert F. Kennedy Jr.