He said there was mould in it

A “blood analyst” who claims to cure cancer.

It was a devastating diagnosis. In less than 10 minutes, the Harley Street specialist had taken a pinprick of Wendy Roberts’s blood, examined it under a powerful microscope and concluded that she probably had cancer.

Miss Roberts, 40, was distraught: she had been feeling unwell and Errol Denton’s apparently expert opinion confirmed her worst fears.

“He told me my blood was dirty; he said it was toxic and said there was mould in it. He said I have markers for diabetes and he had only ever seen blood like mine in a cancer patient,” Miss Roberts said. [Read more…]

Plantinga and teapots

Gary Gutting talked to Alvin Plantinga for the NY Times blog The Stone awhile ago. They start with talk about evidence and what to conclude from the presence or absence of evidence. They arrive at Russell’s teapot.

A.P.: Russell’s idea, I take it, is we don’t really have any evidence against teapotism, but we don’t need any; the absence of evidence is evidence of absence, and is enough to support a-teapotism. We don’t need any positive evidence against it to be justified in a-teapotism; and perhaps the same is true of theism.

I disagree: Clearly we have a great deal of evidence against teapotism. For example, as far as we know, the only way a teapot could have gotten into orbit around the sun would be if some country with sufficiently developed space-shot capabilities had shot this pot into orbit. [Read more…]

If something has happened that you don’t have words for

The NY Times has a brief interview with Barbara Ehrenreich (who will be at WiS3 in a few weeks ohboy).

She had some mystical-type experiences when she was a teenager, although she didn’t conclude they were from god or anything. She’s written a memoir about it.

You’ve written and spoken extensively about your atheism. Did you ever feel you were being deceitful because you’d had these experiences with a world beyond the rational? 

I realized that whatever I experienced was not anything like a deity that I knew of. It certainly was not a good, caring God of Christianity. On the other hand, I knew it was way out of the reach of science, and I did feel uneasy. My younger sister was distressed that I wrote a book with “God” in the title. We are hard-line atheists, and I had to re-establish my credibility with her or I’d get booted out of the family.

How did you earn back your bona fides?

I told my sister how much I was annoyed by a friend of hers. She’s very New Agey. Damn that stuff. I can’t be around it. If something has happened that you don’t have words for, keep thinking.

Great line. A variation on Wittgenstein’s line, I suppose, but I like hers better – it’s less fatalist. Not we must be silent, but keep thinking.

News from Bartlesville

St. John Health System issued a statement this afternoon. The Bartlesville Examiner-Enterprise reports:

Contrary to reports last week that contraceptives could only be prescribed for medical reasons, the statement released Monday appears to indicate that physicians employed by SJHS and practicing at Jane Phillips Medical Center can prescribe contraceptives to be used as birth control, leaving the decision to individual physicians.

“Appears to” is right – it’s very muddy. Very Cover Your Ass; very waffling; very You Can Have Both. [Read more…]

Fundamental moral principles

One from last September, that I missed – a Catholic college disinvited a scheduled speaker because it suddenly felt sick. Or something.

Providence College, a Roman Catholic school in Rhode Island, has canceled a lecture in support of same-sex marriage on Thursday by a gay philosophy professor, citing a church document that says that “Catholic institutions should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles.”

Hmmmmmmmmmmm. Do their fundamental moral principles have any connection at all with things like civility to invited guests? Like not wantonly and gratuitously insulting and dehumanizing people for no good (in fact contemptible) reason? Do they even think about such things? Are they capable of it? [Read more…]

If Hobby Lobby can do business with China

That News Corpse article provides interesting information.

Hobby Lobby pays millions of dollars to stock their shelves with cheap products made in China, a country where abortion is legal and is even provided by the government for free – when they aren’t forcing it on women who want their babies. It is impossible to accept that the company is unconditionally opposed to a voluntary form of preventive health care that obviates the need for an abortion, while supporting a system that encourages abortion outright. If Hobby Lobby can do business with China when the profit motive compels them to, they cannot simultaneously pretend that an American woman having access to an insurance policy that includes coverage for contraception is some sort of abomination against their Lord.

So now I’m wondering how many Tea Partiers and Focus on the Familyers and bishops and other such meddlers have closets and cabinets and garages bulging with shirts and toys and running shoes made in China. My guess? Most of them.

Under the guise of protecting religious freedom

The Tennessee ACLU reported that the state dodged a different religious bigotry-enabling bullet last month.

NASHVILLE – A bill that would have made Tennessee the first state in the nation to codify into state law the use of religion to discriminate will not be considered during this year’s legislative session.

The bill was put into General Subcommittee, effectively ending the journey of SB 2566 for this legislative session.

Under the guise of protecting religious freedom, SB 2566 would have allowed individuals, businesses and organizations to use religion to discriminate against LGBT and other unmarried couples by refusing to provide them goods or services.

Religion is really covering itself with glory these days.


To prevent students from being silenced

In Tennessee…another one of those “Protect Religious Rights to Talk Shit About People God Hates” laws is on the governor’s desk.

Tennesee’s Religious Viewpoints Antidiscrimination Act, or SB1793/HB 1547, purports to prevent students from being silenced when expressing their religious beliefs in the classroom, when turning in written assignments, and at official school functions, including graduation and mandatory assemblies. In addition to specifying “that a student may express beliefs about religion in homework, artwork, and other written assignments free from discrimination based on the religious content of their submissions,” the bill also requires that students will “not be penalized or rewarded on account of the religious content of the student’s work.” Further, the bill appears to establish special speaking engagements for students to share their religious beliefs at official school functions — and even over the school’s announcement system. [Read more…]

Please can you explain?

The Lawyers’ Secular Society has an open letter to the Law Society.

Dear Sir,

Law Society’s practice note on “Sharia succession rules”

This is an open letter which we have published on our website this morning.

We refer to the above practice note dated 13 March 2014.


Please can you explain why and how the Law Society has adopted guidance to assist in drafting wills which treat women far worse than men, and non-Muslims far worse than Muslims? How is this consistent with the Law Society’s claimed commitments to equality? [Read more…]