North Texas Skeptics http://ntskeptics.org Helping people make better decisions in Dallas/Ft. Worth and surrounding communities. Sun, 08 Jan 2017 15:49:23 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7.1 The National Center For Science Education http://ntskeptics.org/2017/01/08/the-national-center-for-science-education/ Sun, 08 Jan 2017 15:49:23 +0000 http://ntskeptics.org/?p=745 Continue reading ]]> The NCSE is the premier organization in this country promoting legitimate science in public schools and in the public forum. They are a 501 (c) (3) organization, deserving of your contributions. I give money to the NCSE. You should, too.

Following is a recent notice from the NCSE:

1904 Franklin Street, Suite 600 Oakland, CA 94612-2922

510.601.7203 • www.ncse.com

With the unprecedented 2016 election finally behind us, we can all turn our attention back to issues that haven’t been in the spotlight lately. Like science education. As you’ll read below, there’s plenty to be concerned about. But NCSE has not taken its eye off the ball, and our new programs are really starting to pay off. I hope that you’ll consider joining our effort to help teachers cover evolution and climate change confidently and completely.

When you consider the state of science education today, it’s easy to be disappointed, disturbed, and dismayed. Consider the following recent incidents.

  • In Alabama, the state board of education voted to continue to mandate a disclaimer about evolution in the state’s textbooks. Such disclaimers date back to 1996. But even after Alabama adopted a new set of state science standards in 2005, that described evolution as “substantiated with much direct and indirect evidence,” the board disappointingly voted to retain the scientifically unwarranted and pedagogically irresponsible message.
  • A national survey conducted by NCSE with researchers at Pennsylvania State University, which asked 1500 science teachers in public middle and high schools about their attitudes toward and practice in teaching climate change, found disturbing gaps in their knowledge. For example, less than half of the teachers realized that more than 80% of climate scientists agree that recent global warming is caused primarily by human activities.
  • In Kentucky, a young-earth creationist ministry opened a Noah’s-ark-themed amusement park. The truly  dismaying aspect of Answers in Genesis Ark Encounter was its invitation to local public schools to flout the principle of church/state separation by bringing students there on field trips, at a special discounted rate. Judging from reports received by NCSE over the years, public school excursions to creationist attractions are dismayingly common.

Dealing, and helping people to deal, with such assaults on science education is all in a day’s work for us at NCSE.

But as you know, that’s not all that we’re doing. A suite of innovative new programs is aimed at reinforcing the confidence of teachers, recruiting scientists to help, and rallying communities to support science education locally:

  • NCSEteach (http://ncseteach.com/), NCSE’s network to support climate change and evolution educators, now includes nearly 6,000 teachers, each of whom receive regular advice and resources from NCSE aimed at improving their scientific knowledge and pedagogical confidence. And they now know that NCSE will have their backs when they encounter challenges to the teaching of evolution or climate change!
  • NCSEteach’s “Scientists in the Classroom” program is bringing eager and energetic early career research scientists into middle and high school classrooms across the country to enrich students’ climate change and evolution learning experiences. Over one hundred teacher—scientist partnerships have already been formed, to the great and continuing benefit of all involved. More are in the works.
  • NCSE’s Science Booster Club project, piloting in Iowa, has provided fun, hands-on, and accurate educational activities on evolution and climate change to over 50,000 participants at local events in the last year, and raised funds to purchase science equipment for the benefit of over 3,000 local students. In 2016, the project not only exhibited at county and state fairs but also hosted a free summer science camp to provide rural low-income students with evolution education.

Are these programs working? Judging from the heartfelt expressions of thanks from teachers who have participated in NCSEteach, from teacher/scientist partners who have participated in Scientists in the Classroom, and from thousands of Iowans involved with a Science Booster Club, yes!

But to science fans like you and me, what’s even more convincing than testimonials is data. The Science Booster Club in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, administered a twenty-four-question science literacy survey at its public events throughout the year. And voilà:

That’s significant—literally (p = 0.03) and figuratively. Working with a low budget but a high degree of enthusiasm, the science boosters in Cedar Rapids—and elsewhere in Iowa—are making a measurable difference.

I’m excited about these efforts, and I hope that you are, too. We want to extend these programs to communities across the country. To do so, we need your support. Your gift to NCSE will help us help teachers to present science properly.

You can donate on-line at ncse.com/join. A gift of only $500 will allow us to provide a new booster club with all the materials needed to provide hands-on evolution or climate change activities to 10,000 participants! Or consider a recurring gift of $10 or $20 per month; such donations help make our budget more predictable so we can start new projects with confidence. A gift of any size will go directly to improving science education.

By reinforcing the confidence of teachers, recruiting scientists to help, and rallying communities to support science education locally, NCSE is helping to ensure that science will be taught honestly, accurately, and confidently. Please help us to do so.

Sincerely yours,

Ann Reid

Executive Director, NCSE

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The Age Of Embarrassment http://ntskeptics.org/2017/01/07/the-age-of-embarrassment-4/ Sat, 07 Jan 2017 17:17:34 +0000 http://ntskeptics.org/?p=734 Continue reading ]]> The following is being cross-posted from Skeptical Analysis, with slight modifications:

Seventh of a series

The above political cartoon illustrates what a certain faction considers to  be legitimate rebuttal to the science behind anthropogenic global warming (AGW). I title this series The Age Of Embarrassment to reflect on our divergence from a different era, which historians now call The Age Of Enlightenment. I mainly concentrate on foolish arguments against anthropogenic global warming (AGW), but I am not required to.

Recently I did an  overview of a book (pamphlet) by conservative columnist Ben Shapiro. The short title is How to Debate Leftists, and it deals with what the title indicates. In my review I bore down on some of Shapiro’s comments on AGW. He’s opposed. Which brings him into focus for this discussion.

From Wikipedia, “On September 21, 2015, Shapiro founded The Daily Wire and started serving as its editor-in-chief.” The result was that The Daily Wire appears to be a likely source to mine for Shapiro’s thinking on AGW. A rich vein it turns out to be:

The Most Comprehensive Assault On ‘Global Warming’ Ever

It made sense.  Knowing that CO2 is a greenhouse gas and that our industrialized world is adding a large amount of it to the atmosphere on a yearly basis, I accepted the premise that this would cause global temperatures to rise.  But one day about 7 years ago, I looked at the ubiquitous graph showing the “global” temperature of the last 150 years and noticed something odd.  It was subtle, and as I found out later, disguised so that it would be overlooked.  There appeared to be a period of about 40 years between 1940 and 1980 where the global temperatures actually declined a bit.  As a data analysis expert, I could not ignore that subtle hint and began to look into it a little more.  Forty years is a long time, and while carbon dioxide concentrations were increasing exponentially over the same period, I could not overlook that this showed an unexpected shift in the correlation between global temperatures and CO2concentrations. Thus I began to look into it a little further and here are some of the results 7 years later.

The author is an adjunct professor of physics and more. From the article:

Mike van Biezen is adjunct professor at Compton College, Santa Monica College, El Camino College, and Loyola Marymount University teaching Physics, Mathematics, Astronomy, and Earth Science.

That should be impressive enough. Let’s see what Mr. Biezen has to say about AGW. There are ten points:

  1. Temperature records from around the world do not support the assumption that today’s temperatures are unusual.
  2. Satellite temperature data does not support the assumption that temperatures are rising rapidly:
  3. Current temperatures are always compared to the temperatures of the 1980’s, but for many parts of the world the 1980’s was the coldest decade of the last 100+ years:
  4. The world experienced a significant cooling trend between 1940 and 1980:
  5. Urban heat island effect skews the temperature data of a significant number of weather stations:
  6. There is a natural inverse relationship between global temperatures and atmospheric CO2levels:
  7. The CO2 cannot, from a scientific perspective, be the cause of significant global temperature changes:
  8. There have been many periods during our recent history that a warmer climate was prevalent long before the industrial revolution:
  9. Glaciers have been melting for more than 150 years
  10. “Data adjustment” is used to continue the perception of global warming:

I will go though these in turn, but the reader will need to go to the original article to get the complete wording. Start by noting that Mike van Biezen does not have a Ph.D. in any of the topics mentioned in his connection with his teaching at Loyola Marymount University. In fact, he does not appear to have a Ph.D. in any academic field. His current position is program manager for Raytheon Corporation, a company he has worked for since 1984. He is not a full time professor at Loyola. Not having a Ph.D. is not exclusionary. It is not required that Biezen have a Ph.D. for us to take his arguments seriously. All that is necessary is that he be right. He is not. Start with number 1.

Number 1. Contradictory to what Biezen says, temperature records from around the world support the conclusion that today’s temperatures are unusual, higher than in recent history.

The plot and the following are from NASA’s climate site:

This graph illustrates the change in global surface temperature relative to 1951-1980 average temperatures. The 10 warmest years in the 136-year record all have occurred since 2000, with the exception of 1998. The year 2015 ranks as the warmest on record. (Source: NASA/GISS). This research is broadly consistent with similar constructions prepared by the Climatic Research Unit and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Mr. Biezen provides his readers with misleading information:

The all-time high temperature record for the world was set in 1913, while the all-time cold temperature record was set in 1983.  By continent, all but one set their all-time high temperature record more recently than their all-time cold temperature records.

Start with the all-time high record:

On 13 September 2012 the World Meteorological Organisation disqualified the record for the highest recorded temperature, exactly 90 years after it had been established at El Azizia, Libya, with a measurement of 58°C. The official highest recorded temperature is now 56.7°C (134°F), which was measured on 10 July 1913 at Greenland Ranch, Death Valley, California, USA.

So, Biezen’s record high was recently eclipsed by a new record, which he failed to notice, but which does not matter in this discussion. Biezen’s all-time low record is still valid:

The lowest natural temperature ever directly recorded at ground level on Earth is −89.2 °C (−128.6 °F; 184.0 K), which was at the Soviet Vostok Station in Antarctica, on July 21, 1983. Analysis of satellite data indicated a probable temperature of around −93.2 °C (−135.8 °F; 180.0 K), in East Antarctica, on August 10, 2010; however, this reading was not confirmed by ground measurements.

After all that has been said, this turns out to be irrelevant. What matters to the global climate is the average taken over the entire planet. Individual highs and lows can occur in contrast to record high and low global averages.

Mr. Biezen has deliberately misled his readers, and Ben Shapiro, as editor-in-chief of The Daily Wire, has facilitated this subterfuge by promoting Biezen’s scam.

Number 2. I’m not too sure I want to follow up on Biezen’s number 2. He uses the weasel word “rapidly,” as in “temperatures are rising rapidly” However, assuming “rapidly” means “rising,” here is a plot showing the rise, seemingly in contradiction to Biezen’s assertions:

Number 3. Here’s what Biezen has to say:

If the current temperatures are compared to those of the 1930’s one would find nothing remarkable.  For many places around the world, the 1930’s were the warmest decade of the last 100 years, including those found in Greenland.  Comparing today’s temperatures to the 1980’s is like comparing our summer temperatures to those in April, rather than those of last summer.  It is obvious why the global warming community does this, and very misleading (or deceiving).

Again Biezen is being intentionally misleading. If his deception is not intentional, then it is a result of gross incompetence. Had he been reading this blog he would have been better informed and not fallen victim to such false and misleading information. I wrote:

This is interesting. Government agencies, NASA (National Aviation and Space Administration) and NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), have been tweaking scientific measurements to give the false impression that global temperatures are rising. That would be scientific misconduct at best and criminal misuse of governmental authority at worst. If only it were true.

Besides already knowing the background, I picked up on an obvious clue in the last paragraph above. “[T]he hottest decade in the US was in the 1930s.” Taking first that the statement is true, how does this bear on average global  temperatures over the past hundred years or more? The world wonders.

From that point forward this item from Breitbart needs additional scrutiny. The facts may not be as interesting as Breitbart, but they have the advantage of being facts. The NOAA has posted an explanation of the process so recently assailed by that reputable scientific source, Breitbart. Here is an excerpt:

Monitoring Global and U.S. Temperatures at NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information

There are several factors that are important in monitoring global or U.S. temperature: quality of raw observations, length of record of observations, and the analysis methods used to transform raw data into reliable climate data records by removing existing biases from the data. An additional process takes the multiple climate data records and creates U.S. or global average temperatures.

Yes, this is the same Breitbart news outlet previously involved with Ben Shapiro. Here is a graphic from the previous posting:

Number 4. Biezen writes:

Many places around the world experienced a quite significant and persistent cooling trend to the point where scientists began to wonder if the world was beginning to slide into a new ice age period.

And more. Again, Biezen wants to point to regional trends, ignoring that the G in AGW stands for “global.”

Number 5.

It has been shown that nighttime temperatures recorded by many weather stations have been artificially raised by the expulsion of radiant heat collected and stored during the daytime by concrete and brick structures such as houses, buildings, roads, and also cars. Temperature records from around the world do not support the assumption that today’s temperatures are unusual.

For the fifth time, what Biezen says flies in the face of known fact:

Many global warming skeptics have long claimed that the urban heat island effect is so strong that it has skewed temperature measurements indicating that global warming is happening. The skeptics argue that efforts to curb global warming pollution are therefore unnecessary, citing their pet theory that surface temperature stations were swallowed by, or moved closer to, cities, thus skewing surface temperature records on the whole.

The BEST papers – which still must go through rigorous peer review – confirm what climate scientists have correctly stated previously, demonstrating without doubt that “very rural” temperature stations miles from any new “UHI” towns or cities have also recorded warming at 0.9 degrees Celsius over the last century.

Number 6.

Contrary to what would be assumed when listening to global warming banter or while watching An Inconvenient Truth, higher temperatures increase atmospheric CO2 levels and lower temperatures decrease atmospheric CO2 levels, not the other way around.  Any college freshman chemistry student knows that the solubility of CO2 decreases with increasing temperatures and thus Earth’s oceans will release large amounts of CO2 to the atmosphere when the water is warmer and will absorb more CO2 when the water is colder.

And more. Really? Consider the Keeling Curve:

In 1958 Charles David Keeling started keeping a record of CO2 measurements taken at the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii. This is about 11,000 feet above sea level, out in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. That annual cycle in CO2 levels in the atmosphere is due to the greening of deciduous plants in the Northern Hemisphere on a yearly cycle. The Northern Hemisphere land mass is larger than the Southern Hemisphere mass, and has more plant growth. When trees in the north put out leaves in the spring and begin to take CO2 from the atmosphere, the level goes down. When the leaves fall a few months later the CO2 extraction slows down, and the natural introduction (decaying leaves and dead plants) of CO2 into the atmosphere continues. At no point does the Keeling Curve support Mr. Biezen’s number 6.

Number 7. He says:

The CO2 molecule is a linear molecule and thus only has limited natural vibrational frequencies, which in turn give this molecule only limited capability of absorbing radiation that is radiated from the Earth’s surface.  The three main wavelengths that can be absorbed by CO2 are 4.26 micrometers, 7.2 micrometers, and 15.0 micrometers.  Of those 3, only the 15-micrometer is significant because it falls right in range of the infrared frequencies emitted by Earth.  However, the H2O molecule which is much more prevalent in the Earth’s atmosphere, and which is a bend molecule, thus having many more vibrational modes, absorbs many more frequencies emitted by the Earth, including to some extent the radiation absorbed by CO2.

Which is true, but again misleading. Water in the atmosphere accounts for much more of the greenhouse effect than CO2. This planet’s surface (oceans and atmosphere) would be many degrees cooler without the greenhouse effect of water vapor. As a student in college I was once required to compute the difference,, and I recall it was in the order of 40 C—other sources have 60 C. See the Wikipedia article on the greenhouse effect.

The problem with Biezen’s explanation is that it ignores that water vapor in the atmosphere has been a more or less constant factor for millions of years, and certainly throughout human history on this planet. The natural mechanism of rain removes water vapor from the atmosphere as fast as it is introduced, and the atmosphere is in steady-state with respect to water. This is not so for CO2, which does not have such a mechanism for removing it. Human activity is upsetting the natural level of CO2 by removing carbon from the surface (petroleum, natural gas, and coal) and introducing it into  the atmosphere as carbon dioxide and methane. The greenhouse effect of these gases is added on top of the existing effect of water, and that’s what the concern is all about.

Number 8. Biezen says:

Even in the 1990 IPCC report a chart appeared that showed the medieval warm period as having had warmer temperatures than those currently being experienced.  But it is hard to convince people about global warming with that information, so five years later a new graph was presented, now known as the famous hockey stick graph, which did away with the medieval warm period.

For the record, here are two plots of Earth temperature records:

The first of the above shows temperatures going back millions of years. The second is an enlargement of the right-hand part of the first, and it shows temperatures going back a million years (and beyond). Note the spikes, representing the temperature fluctuations concurrent with the history of the ice ages. Note the more recent period, following the previous ice age. There are fluctuations over a 10,000-year period, terminating in a recent up-tic. The spike at the right margin is a projection due to the effects of AGW. The second plot fairly well covers the Medieval Period.

This one, the so-called hockey stick plot, also covers the Medieval Period.

Regardless of any report from 1990, the best information available shows the up-tic in global temperatures due to human activity. Mr. Biezen continues to be dishonest in his presentation of the argument. He is lying.

Number 9. Biezen says:

The notion of melting glaciers as prove positive that global warming is real has no real scientific basis.  Glaciers have been melting for over 150 years.  It is no secret that glaciers advanced to unprecedented levels in recent human history during the period known as the Little Ice Age.

Let’s assume without verification that the above statement regarding glacier activity is true. Whenever has Biezen lied to us before? Glaciers are melting, but their melting is not necessary to demonstrate AGW. Biezen’s post is advertised as “The Most Comprehensive Assault On ‘Global Warming’ Ever.” His 9th argument hardly fills the bill, and I will stop here without additional comment.

Number 10. Biezen complains:

After years of painstaking gathering of data, and relentless graphing of that data, I discovered that I was not looking at the originally gathered data, but data that had been “adjusted” for what was deemed “scientific reasons.”

And more. Again, this is another issues that has already been addressed in a prior post, and Biezen completely ignores the facts of the matter. Here is what I had to say before:

Oceans make up more than 70% of the Earth’s surface, and NOAA is increasing its attention to sea surface temperatures. In years past temperatures were measured by pulling a bucket of water from the sea and measuring its temperature. Sea surface temperatures are now routinely obtained by measuring water at ships’ engine coolant intake. What was found when the two measurements were compared was that the bucket method produces lower temperatures than the intake method. In years past temperatures had been measured with a bias toward cooler rather than warmer. The plots show what happened when the measurement bias was removed. The heavy-line plot, showing a greater temperature rise, was replaced by the lighter-line plot, showing less warming with time. The plots are linked to a paper published by Smith and Reynolds, for those interested in reading the complete background.

If Breitbart is to believed, the NOAA has been caught fixing the data to make a warming trend apparent. In this case, the opposite has occurred. None of this is mentioned in the Breitbart news item. We can imagine Breitbart felt it unwieldy to burden its unsophisticated readers with a load of fact.

If these were the only data corrections, the evidence for global warming would be undercut. There is more. The NOAA also adjusted for bias caused by a shift from measuring temperatures in the afternoon to measuring temperatures in the morning. Obviously, temperature measurements are going to be higher in the afternoon than in the morning. The plots show a shift in the percentage of stations from afternoon to morning. See the following plots.

An associated plot, repeated from above, was included:

In his book, How to Debate Leftists, Ben Shapiro complains about how liberals (scientists?) put down people like Biezen (and Shapiro), who dispute AGW:

This is a more useful question, and it also avoids the left’s preferred line of argument on global warming, which is a variation on their preferred line on gun control: “Global warming is man-made. Don’t agree? That’s because you’re stupid and hateful.” As a general matter, the left’s favorite three lines of attack are (1) you’re stupid; (2) you’re mean; (3) you’re corrupt.

[Page 24]

Forget about his numbers 1 and 2. Biezen is corrupt. He is lying. By implication, so is Shapiro. With his stewardships of Breitbart and The Daily Wire, Shapiro has abetted the promulgation of lies against legitimate science and the people who support it.

People ask me (maybe they do not) why I am a liberal. My response has to be that one reason, and one only, is that being liberal gets me as far away as possible with what has become a political philosophy underpinned by corrupt thinking. In my younger years I became disgusted with conservative politics, because every time I saw a politician standing in the school house door blocking the entry of a black child, that politician was avowedly conservative. Ever time I learned the identity of racists who killed four black children in an Alabama church or murdered civil rights advocates, those people were avowed conservatives. More recently whenever I have seen a politician promoting the use of tax money and government authority to proselytize for religion, that politician has been an avowed conservative. My personal study of opposition to the modern science of biological evolution has revealed that conservative politicians and those who profess themselves to be politically conservative are the most inclusive of this movement. More recently the conservative contingent in this country has elected a politician who has demonstrated himself to be a habitual liar, and conservatives find no problem with this, even denying he has lied.

What was in the past a political ideal of limited government, individual freedom, and fiscal responsibility, has taken on the baggage of of the lowest levels of American society. Opposition to the science behind anthropological global warming is just the tip of the iceberg.

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Dying to Believe http://ntskeptics.org/2017/01/03/dying-to-believe-3/ Tue, 03 Jan 2017 18:02:12 +0000 http://ntskeptics.org/?p=731 Continue reading ]]> This is being cross-posted from  the Skeptical Analysis blog.

This is old stuff. Nearly 25 years ago medical charlatan Charlotte Gerson came to town, peddling what was then called “the Gerson cancer cure.” The North Texas Skeptics newsletter reported on it at the time:

Max Gerson seems to have been a very self-reliant man. At an early age he found he could cure his own migraine headaches by controlling his diet, and as a medical doctor he found diet to be a cure for a multitude of other complaints. The list is impressive. According to the flier distributed by the Gerson Institute, the Gerson Therapy can cure or prevent: cancer, heart disease, strokes, diabetes, arthritis and “other diseases of civilization that kill and cripple us.” Just wait until the AMA hears about this.

Max’s daughter, Charlotte Gerson, is living proof of the effectiveness of the Therapy. At age seventy, she looks the picture of perfect health. Slim and vigorous and very neat looking with white hair and wearing white sandals and slacks with a blue blouse and a string of pearls. She looks the way you would like your grandmother to look (or the way you would hope your wife looks at that age). You would never believe that 58 years ago her father cured her of “incurable” bone tuberculosis. Indeed, the only sign of malady she exhibited (that could not be attributed to seventy years) was a “Band-Aid” patch on the middle finger of her right hand.

Charlotte’s free lecture was presented at the Unity Church of Dallas on Forest Lane.

And there was more.

Anyhow, run the tape forward 12 years, and the Gerson therapy was still alive and well, this time with the moral support of high royalty:

Now Charles backs coffee cure for cancer

Angry doctors warn of dangers as Prince of Wales lends support to controversial alternative treatment. Health Editor Jo Revill reports

Prince Charles has never made a secret of his love affair with alternative medicine. Now he has infuriated the medical profession by backing a controversial cancer treatment which involves taking daily coffee enemas and drinking litres of fruit juice instead of using drugs. Charles gave an enthusiastic endorsement last week to the Gerson Therapy, which eschews chemotherapy in favour of 13 fruit juices a day, coffee enemas and weekly injections of vitamins.

Cancer specialists have told The Observer that there is no scientific basis for the theory and that it can be dangerous because patients who are seriously ill often come off their normal treatment to try something unproven which may leave them badly dehydrated.

The problem with scams like the Gerson cure is threefold: They don’t work. They entice patients to avoid therapies that do work. They are expensive beyond all reason and worth. For any and all of these reasons, avoidable death can be a consequence.

The Guardian article by Jo Revill notes, “An estimated 1,000 people are following it worldwide, but the cost of the injections – more than £20,000 a year – means many cannot afford the treatment.” Tragedy reaches to the highest levels of society:

Another of Charles’s associates, the hereditary peer and crossbencher Lord Baldwin of Bewdley, went to the Tijuana clinic in 1996 when his wife Sally was seriously ill with breast cancer. She spent eight weeks at the clinic, followed by another two years of using the regime at home. Her disease recurred and she died three years ago.

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Dying to Believe http://ntskeptics.org/2016/12/22/dying-to-believe-2/ Thu, 22 Dec 2016 21:06:50 +0000 http://ntskeptics.org/?p=727 Continue reading ]]> This is being reposted from Skeptical Analysis.

altmed-cinnamonhoneycncercure

Every con job it requires two to complete the deal. A con artist may be devious of mind and sharp of tongue, but if the mark does not perform his part, the thing falls through. Fortunately for this page that does not happen often enough to starve me of weekly material. It’s Tuesday again:

Six years ago, [James Arthur] Ray wouldn’t run out of a kitchen unless it was to speak to thousands of people—or the audience had paid four figures each for the privilege. After being featured in the book and movie of self-help sensation The Secret in 2006, Ray was propelled onto the national stage. At the time, he was touted as the latest in a long line of prominent self-help gurus who claimed to hold the keys to living a happy and successful life. Two appearances on Oprah followed, as well as his 2008 New York Times best seller Harmonic Wealth: The Secret of Attracting the Life You Want. The price of joining Ray’s World Wealth Society—a program of one-to-one mentoring—peaked at $90,000, and he bought a luxurious home in Beverly Hills. A glowing profile in Fortune magazine dubbed him heir to Tony Robbins’s motivational-speaker throne.

Then, in October of 2009, three of Ray’s followers died.

The good news, depending on how you define “good,” is that in 2013 the resilient Mr. Ray was released from prison, having served his two-year sentence for negligent homicide. On that fatal day in 2009 two people died immediately from heat stroke and another died nine days later of “organ failure.” The victims were among approximately 75 people who offered themselves to Ray’s cure, submitting to temperatures of 200 F inside a tent heated by rocks.

Back in business (as of March last year), Ray continues peddling “harmonic wealth.” It’s “the idea of energy fields attracting similar energy fields.” He will be successful so long as his dupes perform as scripted. He should not require much help.

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Dying to Believe http://ntskeptics.org/2016/12/11/dying-to-believe/ Mon, 12 Dec 2016 01:17:56 +0000 http://ntskeptics.org/?p=722 Continue reading ]]> This is being cross-posted from Skeptical Analysis:

Some more of the same

religion-faithhealinghealthrobbers

It’s Tuesday again, the day we commemorate those who have died or suffered through the consequences of belief. This topic typically, but not always, touches on faith healing, the reliance on prayer over science-based medicine. Searching for something of significance, I came across this:

Mary Vonderscher of Burbank, California, thought faith healing worked. She felt cured of cancer of the spine, she said, even though doctors had thought her case was hopeless. Appearing on an Oral Roberts TV spectacular in mid- 1955, Mrs. Vonderscher gave a glowing testimonial. In January, 1956, relatives of hers in Indiana saw a re-run of this program-just three days before traveling to California for her funeral. Wanda Beach, another believer, was a thirty-seven-year-old diabetic from Detroit. In 1959, after telephoning her mother that Roberts had “completely pletely cured” her, she threw away her insulin. And died.

Stephen Barrett. The Health Robbers: A Close Look at Quackery in America (Consumer Health Library) (Kindle Locations 4488-4491). Kindle Edition.

Those are the opening paragraphs of Chapter 24 of a book by Stephen Barrett and William T. Jarvis. It’s titled The Health Robbers: A Close Look at Quackery in America, and I obtained a copy of the Kindle edition.

I had the good fortune to meet Dr. Barrett 21 years ago when he was in Dallas to  participate in the taping of a TV special on supernatural stuff. It’s one of the topics of interest to The North Texas Skeptics. One of the NTS technical  advisors is Tim Gorski, M.D., at the time head of the DFW Council Against Health Fraud. Stephen Barrett is founder of the national organization, and Jarvis is the current president.

I will be reviewing the book later this year, but in the meantime this column will carry some interesting case studies from Chapter 24.

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Your Intelligence Insulted, for a Price http://ntskeptics.org/2016/12/10/your-intelligence-insulted-for-a-price/ Sat, 10 Dec 2016 21:28:38 +0000 http://ntskeptics.org/?p=718 Continue reading ]]> This is being cross posted from the Skeptical Analysis blog.

highspirits-01

I was headed back home from vacation on Thursday, and it was a new month and a new issue of the airline magazine. It featured a short item, see above:

Shut Eye, the drama that debuts on Hulu this month, is not a flattering portrayal of the L.A. psychic trade. The show, in  fact,  depicts a world whose foundation is trickery and greed, which is a very long  way from the view held by real-life Hollywood medium Fleur.

[American Way, December 2016. p39]

Before responding to writer Derrik J. Lang’s glowing depiction of the Los Angeles psychic trade, I pulled up the first episode of Shut Eye and gave it a look. True enough, the show depicts the psychic business as a deep and hardened criminal enterprise, with David Zayas as brutal Gypsy gangster Eduardo Bernal in charge.

shuteye-01

Gypsy gang leader Bernal in Shut Eye

With that in mind, it is interesting to see how Derrik Lang interprets the psychic trade. Apparently Fleur is not one of those phony psychics (redundancy alert). Fleur, we are told is “a six-year veteran,” working out of a West Hollywood office and “not under a neon sign.” Guess what, that appears to describe the psychics in the Shut Eye criminal enterprise. None of them work under a neon sign.

Fleur’s clients include Lana Del Rey and Emma Roberts, two people I would not have known existed were it not for Derrik Lang and American Way magazine.

We learn more about Fleur:

Fleur is also unfazed by the perception of storefront scam artists like those in Shut Eye. “I’ve definitely had people come in who are extremely skeptical—even cynical—and after a session have sad, ‘Well, you must have hired a private detective.’” Even if she wanted to pull such a stunt, she says with a sigh, she couldn’t afford to.

Fleur doesn’t bother debunking the doubters, but she does point to one ability that suggests she is for real: a knack for multilingual communication that she doesn’t posses in daily life. “”The spirit world doesn’t speak in language, it speaks in energy,” she explains. “So I can read anywhere; China, India, Germany. It makes no difference.” Fleur recalls a hospital stay, still fuzzy from anesthesia, when she effortlessly chatted with a nurse’s deceased Filipina mother. “I don’t even remember saying any of this stuff.”

[American Way, December 2016. p39]

My own experience with phony psychics (redundancy) differs from that of Lang’s. In 1992 Mike Sullivan of The North Texas Skeptics checked with local (Dallas) psychic Bette Epstein:

Mike Sullivan
The Skeptic Newsletter Editor
P.O. Box 111794
Carrollton, TX 75011-1794
(214) 746-3288 Day
(214) 492-8998 Evening

January 28, 1992

Betty Epstein
North Central Tejas Chapter
American Society of Dowsers
5409 Farquhar Dr.
Dallas TX 75209

Dear Ms. Epstein:

I found The Dallas Morning News article on January 24, 1992 about you and your Society’s recent convention in Dallas quite informative. The abilities claimed by dowsers in the article are truly incredible, Ms. Epstein, and The North Texas Skeptics are interested in seeing if you or any other dowsers can back up those claims with proof. We are willing to provide you with a public forum in which you can submit those claims to open inquiry.

The North Texas Skeptics is an all-volunteer, non-profit, tax-exempt scientific and educational organization dedicated to scientific inquiry and the examination of extraordinary claims. As part of our educational efforts, we present a series of free public programs on a variety of topics involving science and scientific inquiry. We would be delighted to have you or another of you members speak at one of our meetings. I’m sure our members and guests would welcome the chance to hear first-hand about your claimed dowsing skills or those of others. We have openings in our program calendar throughout 1992 for your presentations.

If you are not able to speak at one of our meetings, perhaps you would care to submit an article about your claimed skills and the evidence you have to support your claims. We would be happy to provide space for your article in our monthly newsletter, The Skeptic. I have enclosed a copy of a recent issue for your review.

You or one of your dowsing colleagues may also be interested in our $2,000 cash award. We have a standing offer to pay $2,000 cash to anyone who can prove a paranormal effect under scientifically controlled conditions, and we promise to publish the results of all such tests regardless of the outcome. If you or another dowser can prove the locating powers claimed in the newspaper article, the money will be yours, or you may wish to donate it to a charity of your choice. Please contact me if you are interested so I can forward complete details of our $2,000 challenge.

I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Sincerely,

Mike Sullivan

Interestingly, we received a response:

January 28

Ladies and Gentlemen … 

Well … that was a real nice invitation … for me to do show and tell for your group.

But … I must decline.

You see … I have been blessed with lots of money and a wonderful practice of hypnotherapy … and I tithe to my favorite charities on a regular basis … so I don’t need your money to give to them. And … I’m not at all competitive about the dowsing thing. It is not the least bit important to me that anyone else believe it. I believe it .. I know it … It is a vital part of my life on a daily basis and is as real to me as breathing. I would never degrade my other senses by proving to your group that I can see, smell, hear, taste or feel … and I wouldn’t need to prove to you that I have a well-developed sense of energies that surround me.

So … thanks for the invite. I will pass this letter on the national headquarters and they can re-print it in the quarterly if so deemed. There will probably be someone who will take you up on your offer … someone with a different value system about dowsing than I have.

However … if your club would one day like to have a lesson in dowsing so that they, too, can develop their gifts of the spirit … I am an excellent teacher and am offering my time to you.

May the most joyous days of your past be the darkest days of your future.

Bette Epstein 
5409 Farquhar Lane
Dallas, Texas 75209

Sadly, nobody ever took us up on our offer. Bette Epstein did offer to have her young daughter submit to evaluation by us, but we demurred. It was Ms. Epstein who interested us, and we were a mite off-put at the vision of a crowd of grown men grilling a young child.

Since about the time of that NTS newsletter item we have had a $10,000 (now $12,000) award payable to anybody who can demonstrate the kind of thing Fleur brags about doing. That’s over a quarter of a century, and in that time we have been approached numerous times by claimants seeking the prize. Nobody has ever brought us anything to test, and we still have our money. You can read about these cases in a section devoted to the NTS Paranormal Challenge.

Thinking back, I am considering the money Barbara Jean and I paid for our American Airline tickets on our recent vacation. I am thinking I shouldn’t have to pay that much to have my intelligence insulted.

 

 

 

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Dr. Secretary http://ntskeptics.org/2016/11/27/dr-secretary/ Sun, 27 Nov 2016 18:56:31 +0000 http://ntskeptics.org/?p=712 Continue reading ]]> The North Texas Skeptics is not about politics. It’s not even about religion. However, a brush with either does not inoculate a topic from discussion. The following is from a post on another site, overtly political, but cleaned up for reposting here:

I need to be careful to not make this a rehash of The Carson Hour:

Up front: I’ve never been a fan of creationist Ben Carson. My mind can’t get past someone who puts aside known facts in favor of popular myth.

What’s prompting this foray into last year’s brain scrub is the following meme, which scrolled by on my Facebook feed this morning:

politics-bencarsonbrainscrubfacebook

My immediate reaction was, “Say it isn’t so!” Some Skeptical Analysis was in order. Immediate relief. No, Retired medical doctor Ben Carson has not been tapped to become Secretary of Education. What a relief! Take consolation where you can get it. He’s only being considered for Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. I guess that means our faith in political wisdom, oxymoron or not, is restored. Think that if you want.

But wait! I’m not finished with the Skeptical Analysis. Did (possibly future) Secretary Ben Carson actually say those stupid things credited to him? Some investigation was in order, and said investigation was promptly rewarded in the negative. I was unable, through the use of the modern miracle of the Internet search, to find any direct quote attaching this foolishness to Dr. Ben Carson. There was only this foolishness:

With the wide release of video from a speech that Carson made to his fellow Seventh-Day Adventists in 2012, however, it’s becoming clear that there are significant gaps. In the speech, he made statements on subjects ranging from evolution to the Big Bang that suggest he never learned or chooses to ignore basic, well-tested scientific concepts. In attempting to refute the Big Bang, for example—which he characterized as a “ridiculous” idea—Carson said:

You have all these highfalutin scientists, and they’re saying that there was this gigantic explosion and everything came into perfect order. Now, these are the same scientists who go around touting the second law of thermodynamics, which is entropy, which says that things move toward a state of disorganization. So, now you’re going to have this big explosion, and everything becomes perfectly organized. When you ask them about it, they say, “Well we can explain this based on probability theory, because if there’s enough big explosions, over a long enough period of time, billions and billions of years, one of them will be the perfect explosion”…. What you’re telling me is, if I blow a hurricane through a junkyard enough times, over billions and billions of years, eventually, after one of those hurricanes, there will be a 747 fully loaded and ready to fly.

He continued, “It’s even more ridiculous than that, because our solar system, not to mention the universe outside of that, is extraordinarily well organized, to the point where we can predict seventy years away when a comet is coming. Now, [for] that type of organization to just come out of an explosion? I mean, you want to talk about fairy tales, that is amazing.” Finally, he argued that the observed motion of the planets in our solar system would be impossible if there had been a Big Bang.

That was Lawrence Krauss writing for The New Yorker last year. Lest you wonder whether Dr. Krauss is qualified to speak on modern cosmology, you need to ask those who employ him in his position as “Foundation Professor of the School of Earth and Space Exploration at Arizona State University, and director of its Origins Project.” Full disclosure: I previously reviewed his book A Universe from Nothing.

Dr. Krauss goes on to quote from the Carson  interview: “It’s even more ridiculous than that, because our solar system, not to mention the universe outside of that, is extraordinarily well organized, to the point where we can predict seventy years away when a comet is coming. Now, [for] that type of organization to just come out of an explosion? I mean, you want to talk about fairy tales, that is amazing.” I don’t have a degree in cosmology, but my college degree plans have included courses in Celestial Mechanics and Interplanetary Navigation. My final term  project for my physics degree was a computer simulation of a multi-body planetary system. None of that is required to refute Dr. Carson’s silly ideas about comets and planetary motion.

What is really remarkable about Carson’s remarkable utterances is that he is pronouncing (pontificating?) on something of which he knows nothing. The last time I checked, courses in Relativity, Celestial Mechanics, and Interplanetary Navigation were not required for the prestigious medical degree Dr. Carson obtained. One would have hoped, however, along the way he would have picked up enough in the way of situational awareness to know when he is making a fool of himself in public.

The problem is Dr. Carson failed to stop with modern cosmology. He has, apparently with some effort, extended his embarrassment (and ours) beyond all reasonable expectations. Dr. Krauss continues:

Carson’s wild delusions aren’t confined to physics, either. In the same event, in a more surprising and perhaps more worrisome statement, Carson claimed that evolution, as explained by Darwin, was actually the work of the devil. (“I personally believe that this theory that Darwin came up with was something that was encouraged by the adversary, and it has become what is scientifically, politically correct.”) As if invoking Satan weren’t bad enough, Carson resorted to bad puns to sidestep his scientific ignorance: he went on to say that he was planning a book called “The Organ of Species,” which he said would “talk about the organs of the body and how they completely refute evolution”—an amazing claim that would require a rewriting of most biology texts. At another point in the speech, he uses a long stream of medical terminology to argue against the biochemical origins of life—something he doesn’t seem to realize has nothing to do with Darwinian evolution itself. Elsewhere, he claims that plants couldn’t have evolved before bees and that sexual reproduction shouldn’t have evolved at all, and suggests that geological formations provide evidence of a great flood, not an old Earth.

Krauss links to an MSNBC story that illuminates further:

Addressing his bizarre views yesterday, the GOP presidential hopeful said, “I’m not gonna denigrate you because of your faith and you shouldn’t denigrate me for mine. And that’s the kind of attitude, you know – that’s the kind of attitude that I think is very important in the society in which we live today.”
It’s an unsatisfying response because it misses the point of what makes revelations like these significant. A leading national candidate, who’s asking Americans to trust his judgment, has ridiculous ideas about a demon shaping our understanding of modern biology. It’s the sort of the thing that, for some in the reality-based community, is a disqualifying characteristic for someone seeking the world’s most important job.
Carson seemed to suggest yesterday that his bizarre beliefs are somehow off-limits. To notice a presidential candidate’s weird ideas, he says, is to “denigrate” the man who talked about those ideas publicly.
It’s treating faith as some kind of trump card – as if prominent public figures who denigrate science (and scientists) should be left alone because of their religious motivations, regardless of the disservice they’re doing to the discourse.

This was before Dr. Carson announced his candidacy, and it’s critical to observe that following the time these views became public he was momentarily the front runner for a major political party. It speaks to an American public, at least to a large block of an American public, totally opaque to some basic facts of the world we live in.

Did I mention that Dr. Carson is not presently in line for Secretary of Education? Did I mention he is only being considered for Secretary of HUD? Do you feel safer now? Me neither.

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Conspiracy of Lies http://ntskeptics.org/2016/11/15/conspiracy-of-lies/ Tue, 15 Nov 2016 21:32:48 +0000 http://ntskeptics.org/?p=708 Continue reading ]]> Review of a conspiracy theory video

This is a must see for skeptics keen  on conspiracy theory juice. It’s A Conspiracy of Lies: Flight 370 to 911, which came out two years ago. IMDb has a write-up on it, and there are other reviews out there. I’m going to just post some screen shots and a few comments. Here’s the opening title, just so you will know you are watching the right one.

video-conspiracyliesflight370-911-01

This is from Reality Films, produced by J. Michael Long, who also narrates.

You can get where  this is going from the title. Yes, they are going to talk about Malaysian Airlines flight MH370, and they are going to  talk about the 9/11 attacks. Yes, they are going to assert the Twin Towers were brought down by planted demolition charges, and then they are going on to  tell us WTC-7 was demolished by explosives after suffering no structural damage from the attacks.

video-conspiracyliesflight370-911-02

Lest viewers get the idea all of the stuff in this video is made up, there are some serious issues inserted. For example, the Tuskegee syphilis experiment was real, and it lasted from 1932 to 1972. It involved identifying a group of indigent black men in the rural South who had contracted syphilis. These men were not told they had syphilis, and they were given free medical treatment, but not for syphilis. The aim was to determine the course of the untreated disease in black men.

video-conspiracyliesflight370-911-03

Yes, there are flying saucers, and aliens from  outer space, and people abducted by aliens, and sexual experiments performed on humans by aliens. Just look at the graphic below.

video-conspiracyliesflight370-911-04

We have, in case you did not already know, alien technology, gleaned from crashed and recovered alien craft made for today’s modern wonders. Without this assist, we would not now have such technological marvels as integrated circuits.

video-conspiracyliesflight370-911-05

Black helicopters! Yes, there must be black helicopters. No conspiracy story is complete without black helicopters. Of course, they don’t actually show a black helicopter, because nobody ever gets to see one and live. But they do show shadows of black helicopters. Here is one.

video-conspiracyliesflight370-911-06

Chemtrails! There needs to be chemtrails. Chemtrails are real. Here are some photos.

video-conspiracyliesflight370-911-07

Yes, chemtrails are real, and they are mentioned in official documents. Congressman  Dennis Kucinich has sought to have them banned.

video-conspiracyliesflight370-911-08

But wait. Everybody knows these conspiracy theories about the 9/11 attacks have been well and thoroughly debunked. We have done some of  that ourselves:

Forget about the hapless “tourist guy” of 9/11, the rigged photo of a parka-clad sightseer atop the World Trade Center, with his back toward the oncoming airliner. Forget about the four thousand Jews who didn’t show up for work that day. French author Thierry Meyssan spins a yarn that shades both these tall tales. According to Meyssan’s book L’Effroyable Imposture (The Frightening Fraud), American Airlines flight 77 did not crash into the Pentagon building. Instead, a crafty plot by the U.S. government employed a truck bomb or a missile strike to further the pretense of the Twin Towers attack.

Producer J. Michael Long’s contention  that no piece of MH370 has ever been found turned out to be refuted since his video came out. At least three pieces of wreckage or debris have been recovered, definitely from the doomed craft.

A problem with conspiracy theories is that as additional evidence comes out, the theories tend to become increasingly refuted. On the other hand, the longer a conspiracy theory can exist, the more witnesses die off, and the further from the truth the theories drift.

You can watch this on Amazon Prime Video, but it appears also on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EOoxMNVgpQ8 by subscribing.

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The Amazing Properties of Structured Water http://ntskeptics.org/2016/09/11/the-amazing-properties-of-structured-water/ Sun, 11 Sep 2016 20:35:49 +0000 http://ntskeptics.org/?p=685 Continue reading ]]> It’s not as though we never came up against structured water before. A lot of what follows I siphoned from back issues of The North Texas Skeptic. I’m also going to pull some stuff from Wikipedia and other skeptical sources. Even some companies commercializing structured water.

I don’t know how far back we go with this curiosity, but more than one reference traces back to Paluxy River creationist Carl Baugh. Since before the time I joined up with the NTS in 1988, Baugh has been running a Creation Evidence Museum outside Glen Rose, Texas. The “museum” is located just outside the entrance to Dinosaur Valley State Park, where real dinosaur footprints are found in the rock bed of the Paluxy River. Baugh and other Young Earth Creationists (YEC) like to tell people the Earth is less than 10,000 years old, and human prints appear alongside dinosaur prints in the same Cretaceous rock formations.

cemusm

A family trip to the park invited a stop at the “museum” to see what Carl Baugh had in store. See the story.

A big part of the YEC story involves the biblical flood of Noah. This was a real event to these people, and the “museum” had on that day a mural-panorama depicting the miraculous stages of the creation event, leading up to the world-wide flood. Here is what my notes from that visit reveal:

Day 1: Electrolysis by the spirit of God moving on the waters separates water into its components, oxygen and hydrogen.

Day 2: Oxygen and hydrogen crystallize into a spherical “canopy” around the Earth. The canopy glows a magenta color under sunlight [producing a light that is very beneficial to things living on the planet].

Day 3: Robert Gentry has previously demonstrated that granite was created in about 0.164 second. The evidence for this is the presence of pleochroic halos [which indicate the prior existence of short-lived radioactive isotopes in the stone at the time it was formed]. [Arthur Strahler discusses this subject in his excellent book Science and Earth History.]

Day 4: God stretched out the heavens. The fabric of the universe was stretched out in a manner which, according to Einstein’s equations and the equations of quantum mechanics, caused a few hours time to give the appearance of millions of years. Russell Humphreys, a Ph.D. physicist working at Sandia National Laboratory has published equations that demonstrate that if the dimensions of the universe were stretched in this manner, then millions of years in outer space would be equivalent to only thousands of years on Earth.

Day 5: There is still a pinkish glow on the Earth. The canopy 10 miles above the Earth’s surface has compressed the air to produce this effect. Also, the Earth’s electromagnetic energy is stronger and there is no UV radiation [because of the canopy] to cause free radical damage, allowing living organisms to express their optimal genetic information.

Day 6: The fabric of the universe continued to stretch out.
Hundreds of years later: From science we know that the thought processes of man in discord can affect nuclear decay. The discord and violence in man during this time would disrupt the nuclear reactions within the Earth, causing enormous heating and causing 70-mile-high fountains of water to burst through the granite crust and to penetrate and disrupt the canopy above the Earth. This would result in the rain that drowned all but Noah’s family and the animals on his ark. Also during this time the creator bowed the heavens, further stretching the fabric of the universe. [There is some mention of the Moon bringing the waters into resonance, but I could not follow the explanation.] Baugh also reminds the audience of the quantum interconnection between all parts of the universe. [See Roger Penrose for more on this.]

About 200 years after the flood was the Peleg episode[4] during which the Earth expanded and divided. There was a 10% expansion in the Earth’s radius due to internal thermonuclear reactions. During the original creation and during the Peleg episode the continental land masses were thrust upon each other producing the ice ages, which lasted 100s of years instead of 1000s of years. This and the previous episode of thermonuclear expansion are confirmed by geophysics. Since the canopy was gone, the Earth’s electromagnetic field could not be contained, and it dissipated into space. Likewise a portion of the Earth’s gravitational attraction was lost, and there was [and has been since] a smaller oxygen ratio resulting in compromised and shorter-lived life forms. Also, the spring 1995 issue of Scientific American contains a report that in 1500 years all of the Earth’s electromagnetic field will be lost unless there is a return of the creator. [Since Scientific American did not publish a spring 1995 issue, I have had a hard time tracking down this reference.]

Finally, there will be in the future a millennial sphere in which people will live in utopia. Music will play in the heads of the inhabitants.

Carl Baugh’s weirdness does not stop with water. The magic of Noah’s Flood involves magical properties attributed to higher atmospheric pressure, present prior to The Flood:

Carl Baugh’s fascination with hyperbaric chambers has previously been mentioned. Located at the rear of the exhibition area is a working chamber, which museum operator Doyle Roberts says is kept at 13 psi above atmospheric pressure. It’s about 30 inches in diameter and 7 feet long with numerous viewing windows, and Baugh’s presentation states it is the world’s first hyperbaric biosphere. We are told that the lives of fruit flies have been extended, and the molecular structure of snakes has been altered; simply by placing them in the chamber. Additionally, near the chamber there is a large aquarium containing two full-grown piranhas, which are affected by the electromagnetic energy of the chamber. This chamber has gained the attention of scientists at NASA.

Baugh’s fascination with water carried on past that time, and somewhat four years later he was on talk radio discussing structured water:

Fred van Liew has sent us an audio tape from his radio program in early December.  The program, which he hosted, was Your Health, Your Choice.  Fred introduced his guest for the show, Dr. Carl Baugh, founder of the Creation Evidence Museum, which is just north of Glen Rose, Texas.

Fred congratulated his guest on his remarkable accomplishments in refuting the phony case for evolution.  Dr. Baugh accepted the recognition and reminded listeners that he, too, once believed in evolution.  He had been schooled in Darwinism, as had an entire generation of students.  However, after years of research it has become apparent that evolution is baseless.

Dr. Baugh also told about his new book Why Do Men Believe Evolution Against All Odds, which contains over 200 technical references.
Baugh mentioned that he has been invited by NASA to lecture their scientists and engineers about Earth’s original ecosphere.  He pointed out that they wanted independent scientific sources without reliance on religious beliefs.

He took some time to praise Fred van Liew’s research on energized water.  Van Liew’s results are in agreement with the creation model (of which Baugh is a strong proponent).

Dr. Baugh went on to explain how all of this ties together.  The famous German mathematician Carl Friedrich Gauss originally studied the Earth’s magnetic field about 200 years ago and found that it was decreasing.  Actually it is not only decreasing, but it is varying up and down.  It is pulsing.  It pulses about eight cycles per second, and this action is what energizes water naturally.

The structure of water accounts for this effect.  As shown in the diagram, a water molecule is two atoms of hydrogen bound to an atom of oxygen.  The three atoms are not in line-the hydrogen atoms are separated by about 104.5 degrees (see Fig. 2).  This angle can stretch and rebound, and this motion is what puts energy into the water.

WaterMolecule

Figure 2

The newsletter narrative continues:

In clouds the molecules are spiraling downward.  When a water molecule passes through a thermal barrier this angle is flexed, and the water picks up energy from its environment.  This is why clouds darken.  Clouds get darker because the water is picking up energy.

One NASA engineer has told Baugh that they are producing mechanisms to energize water following Baugh’s principles.  They have learned that today we are depleting ourselves of energy by constricting the spiraling of the molecules.  Pipes, conduits, and channels constrict the natural flow of water and de-energize it.  Water that has so been mistreated takes energy out of our bodies rather than adding it.

An engineer added energized water to his regular organic fertilizer and was able to produce corn eighteen feet tall with three ears per stalk.  On another occasion at a university they added a few gallons of energized water to a sour well, and by the next morning the anaerobic bacteria in the well had been wiped out.

A rancher in West Texas once told Baugh that he now realizes why his cattle will drink rain water in muddy puddles rather than well water.  The cattle feel more energy from drinking the energized rain water than from drinking the de-energized well water.  Van Liew agreed, citing the fact that dogs drink out of puddles rather than their water dish.  The rain water still contains all the information that God put in it.

Baugh explained that living systems today use only 3% of the information stored in their DNA.  The other 97% is what geneticists call “junk” DNA.  In reality, that 97% tells the active 3% how to respond.  Energized water corrects this problem (presumably making more of the 97% active).  By conducting experiments in gene splicing and recombination geneticists today are playing God, and they need to stop that and get back on track.

Toward the end of the program van Liew and Baugh took calls from listeners.  Nancy posed the question of whether life on Earth would be more viable today had Adam and Eve never sinned.

Baugh was glad to reassure listeners that life today would be much better without the legacy of original sin.  For example, originally there were no poisonous plants (they were all good to eat) and no poisonous snakes.  Snake venom viewed with a scanning electron microscope is gnarled and unstructured.  The sulfide bonds in snake venom produce the toxic agent under such conditions.

When ultraviolet light is eliminated and the atmospheric pressure is doubled (simulating conditions that existed before The Flood) the venom regains its structure.  As always, he emphasized that he is having independent tests performed to confirm these findings.

Manfred Bauer is a scientist from Germany who is famous for his work in energizing water.  Carl Baugh obtained a special mug from Bauer that energizes water.  This mug is one of the products marketed by Essential Water & Air, the sponsor of the radio program.  Baugh explained how the mug works.  The mug’s lining contains energized water, and water poured into the mug is affected by the water in the lining. Water inside the mug is “singing” (spiraling) at a different spin-it is energized.

Baugh lent the mug to his friend Robert Summers, who used the energized water from it to resuscitate a wilting cilantro plant.  The plant, which had been only an inch tall, blossomed and grew to seven inches tall within 24 hours.2

While they were on the topic of health Fred took time to emphasize that no drug makes us healthy.  Modern drugs just eliminate symptoms.  The root illness remains.
Baugh agreed.  Given sufficient volume, energized water could turn around the environment, because it attracts oxygen.  Fred was ecstatic at this revelation.  Suddenly everything became clear to him.  That’s why energized water is so beneficial.
Fred went on to lament modern medicine’s dreadful practice of removing cancerous organisms.  To him this seems like just removing defective parts (as from a machine).

Also Carl Baugh brought listeners up to date on the status of the man tracks in the Paluxy River.  Up to summer this year his workers had identified 303 dinosaur tracks.  An additional 175 have since been added.  They have also identified 70 human prints in the Cretaceous limestone.  On July 3rd of 1997 they discovered a 9-3/4 inch human print along with some matching prints that make up a trail.  This shows that people and dinosaurs lived contemporaneously, completely refuting the theory of evolution.

Fred was astounded that modern scientists still try to bury this significant evidence.

In closing, Baugh noted the new Web site for the Creation Evidence Museum.  I’ve checked it out, and you should, too.  It looks really great. The URL is
http://www.creationevidence.org.

The company Essential Water & Air markets a number of useful devices for energizing water.  I will just note two of them.  The mug that was previously mentioned is available in 16 and 14-ounce sizes.  They are being offered for $63.30 and $55.20 on special sale.  Literature from the company indicates that you should place water in the mug for 60 seconds before transferring it to your preferred glass or dish.

Another product is the “whole house wand.”  One model is about 22 inches long, and you attach it to your existing main water supply pipe to positively energize water to all taps in your house.  The wand does not hook directly into the water system.  You just strap it to a straight run of pipe with non-conducting tape.  Two sizes are on special sale for $220.15 and $293.25.  Supplies will probably not last long at these prices.

Along with the audio from the radio program Fred sent me his marketing video.  His product line includes several models of reverse osmosis water purification systems for home and for travel.  He also touts an electrostatic precipitator that provides a nice side benefit.  Plants nearby have their immune systems improved.  “Get healthy” he reminds us.

Follow the link and go to the original article for the links and list of references.

Some time later we had on board at one of our meetings one Greg Nichols. It all started with an email:

Subject:skeptic test
Date: Thu, 12 Feb 2004 00:19:27 -0600
From: “Greg Nichols” <nichols@www.com>
To: <skeptic@ntskeptics.org>

I have an interesting test for your group. Please call or e-mail for details.

Sincerely,
Greg Nichols
nichols@www.com
Mckinney, Texas [phone number]

Summarizing, Nichols came to our meeting in February 2004. Our usual meeting place was snowed out, so we gathered in a nearby Taco Bell. Nichols had a business associate, Greg Willis, and they had a remarkable product:

What Mr. Nichols had to show us was a substance that, when applied to the outside of a beverage container, would improve the taste of the beverage inside.

Even we skeptics had to agree that this was, indeed, a paranormal claim. We eagerly looked forward to the opportunity to see this miracle performed under controlled conditions.

Oops! That was the sticker. We wanted, as we always do, to completely control the test in a manner that would eliminate testing bias or even, gasp, trickery.

For example, I have the opinion that if somebody sees a magical substance applied to the outside of his drink container, that person might, just might, perceive a difference in taste. I would naturally insist that the test involve tasters who were required to sip identical drinks from identical containers without knowing which container had been so treated.

We are sorry to report that our insistence on these minor details eventually led to a complete breakdown in the negotiations between us and Mr. Nichols (and his partner, Mr. Willis). To make a long story short, Nichols and Willis told us in no uncertain terms what we could do with our challenge. More specifically, we received a final e-mail:

Dear John,I guess I have to talk to you like you’re a moron. Either you and your buddies can’t read, won’t read, are stupid, ignorant, or all of the above.

When you get the information we want to us, we can talk. When you are ready to comply with our demands, requests and concerns about the fairness of your so-called “Challenge”, we can talk.

 

I won’t print the rest of their dispatch here, because they became rather rude a few sentences later. However, you can read all the e-mail exchange on the NTS Web site. Here is the URL:

http://www.ntskeptics.org/challenge/nichols/nichols.htm

This was not so much a structured water encounter as it was a brush with homeopathy. The claim put forth by Nichols and Willis was this was a homeopathic product. The idea being that water, the diluent, acquired a property from the active ingredient and retained this property, multiplying its power, under extreme dilution.

I’m still trying to figure out why I’m getting ads by email from concerns such as Aquaware. My email address, skeptic75287, should make it fairly clear I spend some time looking into hoaxes, such as this appears to be. Anyhow, here’s the most recent mail, received 16 August, and headed by two informative graphics:

aquawareadlogo

aquawareadheaderimage

I’m going to just reprint the entire email, including some additional graphics:

With great pride the MDM team is proud to announce a full FREE Seven Day Trial of our flagship product Aquaware 5.
http://www.moderndaymystic.com/product/aquaware-5-1-week-trial/
Namaste,
Peter
Enhanced Features in Aquaware 5.0
• New Turbo Engine that allows you to program water in 13.1 seconds
• New Search Feature – access the entire library of over 1000 custom-designed intents
• New Quantum Layering Sessions Builder with graphic interface for fast and intuitive blended intents
• Program up to nine intents into a glass of water
• More powerful and now completely customizable Custom Intents Session Builder
• New Brilliant Beings Intents: Brilliant Minds, Dancers, Musicians, Painters, Sculptors, Writers, Actors, Athletes, Attractive, Business, Comedy, Directing and Healing
• Stunning new galleries – updated for easier navigation
• 300 new Intents
• Skins and Color Picker – change the look and feel of Aquaware like never before
• Over 1000+ Quantum-Charged Intents
Aquaware 5.0 Capabilities
• Self-Empowerment
• Self-Healing
• Personal transformation
• Drug-free performance enhancer
• Ultra-targeted, life-changing results
• Ability to affect change locally and remotely
• Restructures drinking water and baths
• Works for humans and companion animals too!
Overview
The first of its kind, Aquaware is a completely new kind of software – capable of blending quantum action, Sacred Geometry and specific algorithms to focus universal energy on assisting you with manifesting life-changing results!
Aquaware 5.0 features even more tools to channel Source Energy to energize, empower and teach you to self-heal. Choose from a list of over 1000+ intentions, or write in your own custom intention and unlock unlimited potential.
The Aquaware 5.0 engine has been completely rewritten from the ground up for turbo-charged transformations. You can now program water in just 13.1 seconds! This 5th generation technology also features the ability to save Quantum Layering Sessions, so you can blend up to nine different intents into one glass of water for personalized results.
Deep inside you the seeds for extraordinary health, wealth and spiritual growth already exist. Aquaware 5.0 seeks to reconnect you to your authentic self, removing the obstacles and self-doubt that you have accumulated through years of interactions with low energy entities and negative thought patterns.
By first clearing your water of its memory, unwanted negative messages are erased, leaving a blank canvas upon which to reprogram water with your own vision of what you want to achieve.
Special frequency functions help to prepare you to receive the benefits of charged water, and then the water itself is quantum-programmed to provide your cells with a new blueprint – for the very best version of yourself.
Also new to Aquaware 5.0 are a host of Brilliant Beings Intents. You can choose from settings to support such intentions as: Brilliant Minds, Dancers, Musicians, Painters, Sculptors, Writers, Actors, Athletes, Attractive, Business, Comedy, Directing and Healing. Is there something you always wished you could do but were too afraid to try? Charge your water with Aquaware 5.0, and watch as fear dissolves and new opportunities emerge! You ARE a Brilliant Being, and it’s time for you to claim it.
How does Aquaware software work?
Aquaware 5.0 software uses an algorithm based on the principles of quantum physics, scientific research into the memory of water and ancient spiritual teachings. The software leverages your own power of intention and amplifies it to facilitate self-healing and personal growth. Users have reported success in release of psychological and physical trauma, as well as a renewed sense of confidence.
Join the community of thousands of Aquaware users who have been sharing feedback and their experience with the software!
Results may include:
• The “Unlocking” of natural senses and abilities that have been dormant for years
• Creation of your ultimate reality
• Self-Empowerment and Self-Healing
• Personal Power and Confidence
• Quality Relationships
• Abundance
• Financial Means and Success
Documentation
• Aquaware 5.0 – User Guide – PDF Version
• Aquaware 5.0 – Intent Index
• Aquaware 5.0 – User Intent Cards – PDF Version
• End User License Agreement (“EULA”)
• Software Disclaimer
Tutorials
• Please see the VIDEOS tab on this page for all video tutorials.
Requirements
• Software has been redesigned for Windows 7, 8, 8.1 and Windows 10
• Intel Pentium or equivalent, Windows OS, 2 GB RAM, 250 MB free disk space

aquawarescreenshot-01 aquawarescreenshot-02

Copyright © 2016 Modern Day Mystic powered by Self Empowerment Technology, All rights reserved.
New Customers
Our mailing address is:

Modern Day Mystic powered by Self Empowerment Technology

175 Atlantic Street, 2nd Floor

Stamford, CT 06891

Add us to your address book

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list

Oops! Before reprinting the entire email I failed to pick up on the copyright notice. Hopefully we won’t get sued.

Some may fault us for this bizarre ad for a product, especially a product wading waist deep in pseudo science. Aren’t we promoting pseudo science by publishing this stuff? My answer is “no.” It is assumed (possibly incorrectly) our readership is sufficiently alert (we are The North Texas Skeptics) to see this for what it is.

It’s interesting to dig deeper into some of the topics touched on in the foregoing. Here are a few worth noting:

  • New Turbo Engine that allows you to program water in 13.1 seconds

Astounding! How long did it take to program water before? I’m guessing the new Turbo Engine has trampled on the previous record of 15.8 seconds. Modern technology is amazing.

  • Program up to nine intents into a glass of water

Was the previous limit eight items?

  • New Brilliant Beings Intents: Brilliant Minds, Dancers, Musicians, Painters, Sculptors, Writers, Actors, Athletes, Attractive, Business, Comedy, Directing and Healing

This is all very great, I suppose. But it leaves open the question: what is an “intent?”

Among the capabilities listed:

  • Ability to affect change locally and remotely

I gather this is critical. You can’t always be near your water when you want to energize it.

  • The first of its kind, Aquaware is a completely new kind of software – capable of blending quantum action, Sacred Geometry and specific algorithms to focus universal energy on assisting you with manifesting life-changing results!

Ah! Here’s the key. “Quantum action.” Yes. I completely forgot the spooky aspects of quantum mechanics. We all know magical results can be obtained through quantum mechanics. And don’t forget “Sacred Geometry.” Absolutely essential if you want “life-changing results.”

The secrets to the process are revealed:

  • By first clearing your water of its memory, unwanted negative messages are erased, leaving a blank canvas upon which to reprogram water with your own vision of what you want to achieve.

Yes, we all know that water has memory, and that aspect has been studiously taken into consideration. These folks are amazing.

  • Special frequency functions help to prepare you to receive the benefits of charged water, and then the water itself is quantum-programmed to provide your cells with a new blueprint – for the very best version of yourself.

Another game changer. “Special frequency functions” are incorporated. Then follows quantum programming. Outstanding!

It’s obvious we have been missing out on something for a good while, as Aquaware came to our attention but a few weeks ago. This is something The North Texas Skeptics is going to look into. Perhaps we should obtain a free trial of the software.

One thing that remains unclear to me: Just how does a computer program affect the properties of water? That’s not made clear in the ad. It’s possibly there is a transducer of some sort that needs to be plugged into a computer port. Wouldn’t it be grand if that were not necessary. How elegant if all that were necessary is to point the computer screen at the water and click on the ENERGIZE button.

Keep reading. We will have more in the future.

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Vindicated Science http://ntskeptics.org/2016/07/01/vindicated-science/ http://ntskeptics.org/2016/07/01/vindicated-science/#comments Fri, 01 Jul 2016 18:51:22 +0000 http://ntskeptics.org/?p=672 Continue reading ]]> A satellite view of Antarctica is seen in this undated NASA handout photo obtained by Reuters February 6, 2012. Russian scientists are close to drilling in to the prehistoric sub-glacier Lake Vostok, which has been trapped under Antarctic ice for 14 million years. REUTERS/NASA/Handout

A satellite view of Antarctica is seen in this undated NASA handout photo obtained by Reuters February 6, 2012. Russian scientists are close to drilling in to the prehistoric sub-glacier Lake Vostok, which has been trapped under Antarctic ice for 14 million years. REUTERS/NASA/Handout

This is something that’s been going around for over 20 years, and it’s been an issue at The North Texas Skeptics. The NTS is neither a liberal-leaning organization nor a politically conservative organization. We have always hosted a political spectrum, and some of that is apparent.

A former member is unabashedly conservative and early on announced his opposition to environmentalism, which term I will not define further. This member is an excellent writer and during his tenure supplied our newsletter with a wealth of professional quality material. Often enough, a tilt to the right was glaringly apparent:

Since my last column was run, we have finally gotten some reputable scientists weighing in on the “pro” side of global warming. A group of meteorologists brought together by the U.N. agreed (not unanimously, but in a majority, anyway) that man-made pollutants have altered the Earth’s temperature (I’m assuming here that the U.N. picks meteorologists more carefully than they pick military strategists). It’s not quite the Apocalypse that many environmental alarmists would like: the consensus was that the Earth’s temperature has risen, on the average, one degree Fahrenheit since 1900 … but what the heck, it’s something!

Of course, this could be connected to changing rainfall patterns, etc., but it seems a stretch to blame Chicago’s killer heat wave on that one degree uptick. Having lived for awhile in the northeast, I think I have an idea of why so many people died from the heat in Chicago, and the concerned citizens in the environmental movement have it in their power right now to prevent it from happening again. They don’t even have to lobby Congress or drive one of those dorky electric cars.
Most of the victims of the Chicago heat wave were elderly people in poor health, living alone, without air conditioners or the money to buy them. They weren’t acclimated to the heat, they weren’t able to overcome it, and they had nobody to look in and help them (many of the victims were buried by the city because nobody claimed the bodies). It wasn’t so much ozone breakdown that killed them as it was societal breakdown.

I do not recall whether at the time I called Pat’s attention to an odious misunderstanding of basic science on display, but here it is now:

  • While Pat is on the mark regarding the measured rise in global temperatures, he passes over the consequences of such a small increase. My guess is he never went much farther in his reading.
  • Pat correctly recognizes that a degree rise is not the basis for the deaths “environmental alarmists” hoped for. However, he incorrectly, through lack of diligence or else deliberately, absolves the notorious heat wave. The fact is, these victims would have been in the same situation regardless of the heat wave, but the heat wave made the difference between life and death.
  • The reference to ozone cannot be explained. Whether Pat is being facetious or whether he was at the time unaware there is no connection between ozone layer depletion and anthropogenic global warming is something I never explored.

Anyhow, during the time Pat contributed to the newsletter I looked forward each month to reading his column. Good writing is always a pleasure. Eventually, Pat lost interest in bashing the issue of ozone layer depletion. This was about the time some real scientist won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for their work in studying the problem:

Press Release

11 October 1995

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has decided to award the 1995 Nobel Prize in Chemistry to

Professor Paul Crutzen, Max-Planck-Institute for Chemistry, Mainz, Germany (Dutch citizen),

Professor Mario Molina, Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences and Department of Chemistry, MIT, Cambridge, MA, USA and

Professor F. Sherwood Rowland, Department of Chemistry, University of California, Irvine, CA, USA

for their work in atmospheric chemistry, particularly concerning the formation and decomposition of ozone.

The ozone layer – The Achilles heel of the biosphere

The atmosphere surrounding the earth contains small quantities of ozone – a gas with molecules consisting of three oxygen atoms (O3). If all the ozone in the atmosphere were compressed to a pressure corresponding to that at the earth’s surface, the layer would be only 3 mm thick. But even though ozone occurs in such small quantities, it plays an exceptionally fundamental part in life on earth. This is because ozone, together with ordinary molecular oxygen (O2), is able to absorb the major part of the sun’s ultraviolet radiation and therefore prevent this dangerous radiation from reaching the surface. Without a protective ozone layer in the atmosphere, animals and plants could not exist, at least upon land. It is therefore of the greatest importance to understand the processes that regulate the atmosphere’s ozone content.

My observation over the past decades has been that political conservatives have not so much been troubled by science as they have been troubled by the consequences of scientific discoveries. When scientist observe a problem that can be addressed by government action, conservatives look toward discrediting the science rather than toward implementing a solution that will require government involvement. In the case of AGW, the government solution would be to impose measures to curb the release of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. In the case of ozone layer depletion government action was to ban the production and sale of certain fluorinated hydrocarbons. This amounted to direct interference into people’s private lives and into the conduct of profitable business practices. In the case of ozone layer depletion, the scientist prevailed, governments worldwide stepped in, and the problem started to be resolved:

Bright spot: Antarctica’s ozone hole is starting to heal

I learned about it early this morning when my electronic issue of Science magazine arrived by the magic of the Internet, another intrusion of government into private industry:

Ozone layer on the mend, thanks to chemical ban

Since it was discovered in 1985, the Antarctic ozone hole has been a potent symbol of humankind’s ability to cause unintended environmental harm. But now comes a glimmer of good news: The void in the ozone layer is shrinking. “It’s a big surprise,” says Susan Solomon, an atmospheric chemist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge. “I didn’t think it would be this early.”

Although the hole will not close completely until midcentury at the earliest, the healing is reassuring to scientists who pushed for the Montreal Protocol. The 1987 international agreement phased out the industrial production of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs): chlorine-containing chemicals that help trigger the destruction of stratospheric ozone, which screens out cancer-causing ultraviolet light. “You want to be sure that the actions we’ve taken have had the intended effect,” says Solomon, who led the study published online by Science this week.

When I mentioned previously that the NTS is a cross section of the political spectrum, I failed to mention that liberals predominate in this science-oriented group. This is not to say that science always comes down on the left-wing side of matters, as evidenced by the truth about genetically-modified organisms and the vaccination controversy. A requirement of the NTS is that we are always going to take the direction pointed by the evidence. It is tragic that a sizable block of elected officials consistently put politics over fact. It may be no coincidence that conservatives largely make up this block.

[This writer is a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, which publishes Science magazine.]

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