Sunday, September 30, 2007

W's Nightmare: Stem Cells or Fight Terror

I new study has revealed that stem cells can be used to help in fighting against terrorists. The stem cells can be used to detect chemical threats (and hopefully the person who placed the chemical weapon). Now our dear esteemed president (excuse me while I gag) must deal with what must be his personal nightmare. Do I allow stem cell research, which destroys the "soul" of the baby that will never be anyway, and progress in fighting terror, or do I let the terrorists win by sticking to my stubborn, irrational Christian beliefs?

See more here:

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Evolution shown false, peanut butter overthrows Darwin's/evolutionists work.

There are so many things wrong with this video. I just hope it is some kind of a joke, because if it's not, those of us with a clue as to how evolution works are in for a long, prolonged, and painful fight to promote understanding of evolution.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Bible Code II, brought to you by the (Pseudo-)History Channel

The History Channel. The name seems to imply that this network should deal in facts and historical analysis. After watching a program called Bible Code II: The Apocalypse and Beyond, I now understand this to be only partially true. It was the most credulous program I have seen in this topic.

I have read some on the Bible code in previous issues of skeptical magazines, so I was not expecting much from this program. However, the information about the show stated that it would have members form both sides of the issue, so I thought I might partake to hear the debate. I thought there would be some sort of back and forth debate, maybe give a fair shake to both sides. Those who feel that the Bible Code is false, and that similar methods can find messages in almost any piece of writing, were given about 4 minutes out of the hour long program. And even then, their points were immediately rebuffed by believers during separate interviews, and that was it.

Of particular interest to me were the comments made by Barry Ruffman, a true believer in the code who feels that it can be used to predict future events. His comments in regards to the origin of the code were laughable. Obviously, if there was a code, the bible would have to be written so that the code could be deciphered, so it couldn't just be stories, and the creator of the code and its message would have to have knowledge of the future events (such as 9/11, World War II, and the "missing" WMDs from Iraq). Ruffman suggests that this knowledge comes from one of three possible sources:

1. God, who has no bounds of time.

2. Some humans in the future who have found a way to transport messages back to the time the bible was written.

3. Aliens, who have "warped" the knowledge to the past. (Warped is Ruffman's term. I guess he thinks it lends scientific credibility.)

He also states that the code reveals the years of World War II. Losing credibility is the fact that he uses one sequence/matrix to find the beginning year, and has to use a different matrix to get the end. Don't you think that if the Bible code was really meant to reveal this information for future generations, it wouldn't take having to crack the code in two ways to get the two date?!

History Channel, please do something to maintain some credibility and stop airing fictional crap such as the Bible Code. Your name attached to this sort of thing lends authenticity to the BS, and gives the proponents of the bible code more ammunition to continue to pedal their nonsense.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Monkeys vs. Birds

Perry DeAngelis would be rolling over in his grave at this. Of course, on Wednesday's The Tonight Show, Jay showed a clip of what happens later. The clip shows the monkey snacking on the bird. Faked, yes, but Perry would proclaim another victory for monkeys over birds.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Thank You Bill Maher

Thank you, Bill, for your comments regarding 9/11 conspiracy nuts on your September 14th show. It seems Bill is often inundated with e-mails from these people who persist that 9/11 is a giant government set-up. They claim that the government enlisted people to crash the jets, used explosives to bring down the Twin Towers, and that the incident at the Pentagon was just a missile. So on the show just after the 6th anniversary of 9/11, Bill told the conspiracy people that the are full of crap, and should get some medication to deal with their psychosis.

Thanks, Bill. Thanks for making more of America aware of these fringe nutjobs, and for tearing into them at the same time.

Pseudoscience Rampant at the Puyallup Fair

As the three week insanity that is the Puyallup Fair winds down to a close, I am again amazed at the the level of crap that it pedaled at such an event.

Yes, the fair is a great place to shop for "As Seen on TV" gadgets, saunas, specialized rain gutters, as well as useful items (mmmm....garlic!!!), but apparently they let anyone willing to pay the fee sell whatever nonsense they choose. Walking through the main plaza, I was repeatedly assaulted by chiropractors (some legit, some still convinced that AIDS isn't caused by HIV, but a bad back alignment), saw iridologists (for those unaware, these people believe that can find illness and deep mysteries of the body and "soul" by examining the coloration of the iris), quick-fix aromatherapy and homeopathy, and the dreaded Republicans. All right, so republicans aren't as involved in quackery as the rest (well, most anyway), but their straw poll with Sen. Brownback easily in the lead was scary.

There was even a sales pitch for hypnotherapy. My friends, wife, and I took in a well-done hypnosis show, with the guests on the stage acting crazy as shit. It was a very nice stage show, with good laughs and good jokes. The problem came at the end, when the blow-off featured the hypnotist pedaling his "weight-loss" and "better sleep" and "Financial success" through hypnosis DVDs and CDs. What a disappointing end to a nice act. Yes, there are marks in the audience that will fall for this, and I guess I shouldn't blame the guy for trying to make a buck, but it is a bit shameful.

So the fair ends on Sunday. If you live in the area, check it out and support the local farmers and producers. It is generally a good time (there are even some half-way decent acts at night, like Weird Al and Howie Mandel), just beware of the quacks looking to take your money. Give it the good people of Garlic Gourmay. (free plug, it's really good!)

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Billy Meier - Idiot

So I just finished listening to the Skeptic's Guide for this week, and am appalled by the news from the Billy Meier camp towards the rogues of the SGU, particularly Dr. Steven Novella.

Apparently, after thoroughly disproving many of Meier's claims in terms of UFOs (esp. the photos involving the UFO flying around using parabollic engines; AKA on a string and a pole.) the SGU received notice to openly debate a representative of Meier's camp on their radio show (acutally a podcast, but we'll move on), and failure to respond will be viewed as a retraction and apology. Libelous claims are alleged, so could follow if they fail to comply. (Note: not being a legal person, I can't tell you one libel from slander off hand, so feel free to tell me.)

So on that note, an open statement to Billy Meier and his followers.
All your claims are ridiculous, your "proof" has repeatedly been shown false, and you're all nuts.

Bring it on.

An Introduction

Hello Reader,

Welcome to the "Monkey of Moderate Intelligence" blog. This site will be feature news and commentary relating to science, pseudoscience, and skepticism. Common topics will include charlatans in medicine and quackery, evolution v. creationism/intelligent design, and religious dogma. While I have a fairly extensive science background, I do not consider myself an expert, so this blog will try to keep things in simpler terms for the reader, and somtimes just due to my limited background.

I hope you enjoy the reading. Look for posts on a semi-regular basis, but not daily! With that, I bid you farewell with a quote from a great science-fiction show, Futurama.

Farnsworth: "But, what about your super-intelligence?"
Gunther: "When I had that there was too much pressure to use it. All I want out of life is to be a monkey of moderate intelligence who wears a suit. That's why I've decided to transfer to business school!"
Farnsworth: "Noooooooooo!"

Perry Deangelis: 1963-2007 A Skeptical Rogue of some note.