Skepfeeds-The Best Skeptical blogs of the day

Vaccine scares around the world

Posted in News by Skepdude on March 25, 2009

UKRAINE

KIEV, Ukraine – A widespread scare about vaccine side effects in Ukraine has led to a sharp drop in immunizations that could result in disease outbreaks spreading beyond the former Soviet republic, international and local health officials say.

Hundreds of thousands of fearful Ukrainians have refused vaccines for diseases such as diphtheria, mumps, polio, hepatitis B, tuberculosis, whooping cough and others this year, according to official estimates. Authorities have canceled a U.N.-backed measles and rubella vaccination campaign funded by U.S. philanthropist Ted Turner, and will have to collect and incinerate nearly 9 million unused doses in coming months.

“I never thought I’d see the day where perfectly good vaccines are being destroyed,” said Michael Bociurkiw, a spokesman for UNICEF.

Experts blame the Ukrainian scare on government mismanagement and irresponsible media coverage of an anti-vaccination campaign launched after the May death of a 17-year-old boy who had received a combined shot for measles and rubella.

READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE AT “MSNBC”

INDONESIA

Indonesia’s controversial health minister says she wants to end vaccinating children against meningitis, mumps and some other diseases because she fears foreign drug companies are using the country as a testing ground.

Health Minister Siti Fadillah Supari — who first drew widespread attention by boycotting the World Health Organization’s 50-year-old virus sharing system in 2007 — said Tuesday she wanted “scientific proof” that shots for illnesses like pneumonia, chicken pox, the flu, rubella and typhoid were “beneficial”.

“If not, they have to be stopped,” she said, declining to say exactly what that would mean. “We don’t want our country to be a testing place for drugs, as has been the case in Africa.”

Supari said she still would advocate immunizations against measles, polio, tetanus, hepatitis B and tuberculosis.

Her statement comes at a time when Indonesia is struggling to contain outbreaks of preventable childhood illnesses.

Chronic funding problems and chaotic decentralization efforts since the 1998 ouster of longtime dictator Suharto have forced many local clinics in the poorest parts of the nation to scale back operations, reducing the time and money spent on education and routine immunizations.

The number of cases of measles, tuberculosis and other diseases has skyrocketed. Polio briefly re-emerged after a decade-long absence in 2005.

READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE AT “THE SEATTLE TIMES”

Therapists offer gay ‘treatment’

Posted in News by Skepdude on March 25, 2009

Therapists are still offering treatments for homosexuality despite there being no evidence that such methods work, research suggests.

A significant minority of mental health professionals had agreed to help at least one patient “reduce” their gay or lesbian feelings when asked to do so.

The survey, published in the journal BMC Psychiatry and conducted by London researchers, involved 1,400 therapists.

Many were acting with the “best of intentions”, said the lead author.

Only 4% said they would attempt to change a client’s sexual orientation, but when asked if they would help curb homosexual feelings some 17% – or one in six – said they had done so.

The incidence appeared to be as prevalent in recent years as decades earlier.

“Of course it’s incumbent on a professional to assist a client who wants help, but this should be done using evidence-based therapies – exploring their distress and helping them to adjust to their situation,” said Professor Michael King of University College London.

READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE AT “BBC NEWS”

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Homeopathy enthusiasts make more diluted baseless claims

Posted in Skepdude by Skepdude on March 25, 2009

Homeopathy Shows Promise in the Treatment of HIV Infections” boasts the title. I must say, I am intrigued. What new developments have there been in the world of homeopathy to warrant such a title? It turns out nothing. The author offers nothing whatsoever except for baseless, unsupported claims, such as:

Some older and some recent initial studies are showing that homeopathy is an effective treatment alternative for Acquired Immune Deficiency.

Homeopathy also has a history of successful treatment of various serious influenza outbreaks and other viral diseases.

More later on the actual studies and individuals, homeopaths from Israel, England,  India and Holland who are leading the way in this non-toxic, inexpensive treatment choice.

You’d think the minimum the author could have done is link to one of these recent studies, but alas we must wait for “more later on the actual studies”. My bullshit-o-meter is going crazy!

Gingi Edmonds-The face of religious extremist immorality!

Posted in Skepdude by Skepdude on March 25, 2009

I previously linked to a Pharyngula entry about the Montana plane crash that killed 14 people, 7 of them children. As PZ pointed out some self appointed Christian “moralist” decided to use this tragedy as a cheap shot to make a case for his antiabortion views. It is time for Mrs. Edmonds to pay the price for her insolence, Skepfeeds style.

Gingi, opens her piece of crap article with this:

Some of you may have seen the major news story of the private plane that crashed into a Montana cemetery, killing 7 children and 7 adults.

But what the news sources fail to mention is that the Catholic Holy Cross Cemetery owned by Resurrection Cemetery Association in Butte – contains a memorial for local residents to pray the rosary, at the ‘Tomb of the Unborn’. This memorial, located a short distance west of the church, was erected as a dedication to all babies who have died because of abortion.

Completely and utterly irrelevant! Why should the news sources even mention that? Only by some strange twisting of logic would one find something conspiratorial about this. That tell us right away what kind of person we’re dealing with here.

What else is the mainstream news not telling you? The family who died in the crash near the location of the abortion victim’s memorial, is the family of Irving ‘Bud’ Feldkamp, owner of the largest for-profit abortion chain in the nation.

Obviously when reporting the death of 14 people and SEVEN CHILDREN, one of the first things you ought to report is the occupation of the parents, of course. That and the fact that there was some stupid memorial set up by a bunch of morons who just like to feel like they are morally superior the rest of us. Obviously!

Family Planning Associates was purchased four years ago by Irving Moore “Bud” Feldkamp III, owner of Allcare and Hospitality Dental Associates and CEO of Glen Helen Raceway Park in San Bernardino. The 17 California Family Planning clinics perform more abortions in the state than any other abortion provider – Planned Parenthood included – and they perform abortions through the first five months of pregnancy.

Well, isn’t that evil! And what does that have to do with the plane crash you might ask. Patience, patience my child.

Although Feldkamp is not an abortionist, he reaps profits of blood money from the tens of thousands of babies that are killed through abortions performed every year at the clinics he owns. His business in the abortion industry was what enabled him to afford the private plane that was carrying his family to their week-long vacation at The Yellowstone Club, a millionaires-only ski resort.

Ah so the father was bad, bad, bad. And he’s rich too, so that must be a bad thing as well. Just wait a little longer, she must be getting to a point here. I personally think that such ad hominems are irrelevant to the question of the crash, but I am a little biased, I am reasonable!

In my time working for Survivors of the Abortion Holocaust, I helped organize and conduct a weekly campaign where youth activists stood outside of Feldkamp’s mini-mansion in Redlands holding fetal development signs and raising community awareness regarding Feldkamp’s dealings in child murder for profit. Every Thursday afternoon we called upon Bud and his wife Pam to repent, seek God’s blessing and separate themselves from the practice of child killing.

Well isn’t that nice! Stalkers! I am sure they were doing God’s work. I wonder would they be willing to slay their sons if their God asked them to?

I don’t want to turn this tragic event into some creepy spiritual ‘I told you so’ moment, but I think of the time spent outside of Feldkamp’s – Pam Feldkamp laughing at the fetal development signs, Bud Feldkamp trying not to make eye contact as he got into his car with a small child in tow – and I think of the haunting words, ‘Think of your children.’ I wonder if those words were haunting Feldkamp as well as he stood in the snow among the remains of loved ones, just feet from the ‘Tomb of the Unborn’?

But you just did turn this tragic event into an “I told you so“, and it is despicable and creepy and assholerish! Is she trying to say that Mr. Feldkamp had this coming? That this is what the stalkers were trying to warn him about? And here I am thinking the stalkers’ main objective was to harass the guy, not warn him for his sake. They must be nice stalkers! I would think the words “Think of your children” are more threatening than they are prophetic, but that’s just me.

I only hope and pray that in the face of this tragedy, Feldkamp recognizes his need for repentance and reformation. I pray that God will use this unfortunate catastrophe to soften the hearts of Bud and Pam and that they will draw close to the Lord and wash their hands of the blood of thousands of innocent children, each as precious and irreplaceable as their own.

Right, because that’s what you PREY upon isn’t it, moments of great tragedy and emotional turmoil to turn it into a profitable situation for you! What a bully! And this is supposed to draw them closer to God? I would imagine they would rip God’s head of his shoulders if he so much as showed his face around them.  Your Lord is nothing but a bloodthirsty bully, a tyrant who can’t stop killing innocent children to punish their parents right? I mean isn’t that what he did to the Egyptians and according to you to the Feldkamps? You should be ashamed of this God.

“I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. Choose life, then.” (Deut. 30:19)

And also Mrs. Edmonds you should be ashamed of yourself. There you go rubbing your belly,  full of pride and pleasure at someone else’s tragedy.  You think this fantasy you have constructed makes sense. You seem to think this is fair, that the only way to save “unborn babies from being killed” is by killing other babies and kids.  For using this event this way you are a despicable human being.

Mrs. Edmonds you claim to have chosen life…but you are gloating over death!

When Atheists Attack

Posted in Uncategorized by Jeff Randall on March 25, 2009

For those who think I unfairly criticize religion and ignore any problems with those I agree with:

[Originally posted at: Rodibidably]

I am often quite critical of religion on my blog (with good reason I believe). However I do believe there are appropriate times and places for such criticism, and there are inappropriate times and places. For instance, if I ask a question of believers on my blog, and they answer, I try to be respectful of their views, even if I do question them to understand more about their beliefs.

On a personal level I have always believed that other can hold different beliefs than my own, including belief in god, as long as they meet certain basic criteria (some of these do tend to overlap a bit):

  • They do not attempt to justify their actions based on those beliefs (flying planes into buildings or bombing abortion clinics is wrong, even if god tells you to do it)
  • They are respectful of the right of others to disagree with them, and do not attempt to force their beliefs on others (don’t show up on my doorstep on Sat or Sun morning reading from your book at me, and don’t attempt to inject your religious beliefs into schools or politics)
  • They do not harm to others (if you want to refuse medical treatment for yourself, good riddance; if you want to refuse medical treatment for your child, go to jail, go directly to jail, do not pass go, do not collect $200)
  • They do not expect special treatment based on their beliefs or treat others negatively for disagreeing with them (don’t expect me to care that you’re “saved”, and don’t discriminate against somebody who believes your book is a collection of fictional stories)

[Read the rest of this post at: Rodibidably]

A heartless faith

Posted in Pharyngula by Skepdude on March 25, 2009

There was an appalling and tragic plane crash in Montana: 14 people were killed, 7 of them children.

Tom Hagler, a mechanic at the Oroville airport, told The Sacramento Bee that he allowed several children ages 6 to 10 to use the airport bathroom before they boarded the doomed plane.

“There were a lot of kids in the group,” he said, “a lot of really cute kids.”

Nine of them were members of one family. This was a horrifying and genuinely horrible accident; I can’t begin to imagine the grief felt by the survivors, who lost children and grandchildren.

I can feel great anger, though. Here is something that will make you furious and outraged, too. Irving Feldkamp is the father of two and grandfather of five who were killed in that accident; he lost a shocking great swath of his family in that one sad afternoon. Irving Feldkamp is also the owner of Family Planning Associates — a chain of clinics that also does abortions.

You can guess what segment of the Christian community I’m about to highlight.

Choke back your gag reflex and read this hideous, evil article on Christian Newswire. Some moral cretin named Gingi Edmonds wrote a wretched story on this tragedy that makes it sound like divine retribution on Mr Feldkamp.

It begins by telling us that the plane crashed in a cemetery — a Catholic cemetery that has a “memorial to the unborn”, dedicated to aborted fetuses. We are apparently supposed to feel some sense of irony at this.

READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY AT “PHARYNGULA”

Church rejects Pope ‘mockery’

Posted in Skepdude by Skepdude on March 25, 2009

Rome – The Catholic church in Italy lashed out on Monday at what it called a “mockery” of Pope Benedict XVI for rejecting condoms as a weapon against Aids, comments that he made while on a visit to Africa.

“We will not accept the Pope being made the object of mockery and offence, in the media or elsewhere,” said Angelo Bagnasco, the country’s top bishop, citing the “controversy about condoms”.

“He represents for everyone a moral authority, which this journey has made people appreciate even more,” Bagnasco said.

The bishop complained of “heavy criticism of our beloved Pope, which goes on longer than it should”.

READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY AT “NEWS24.COM”

Ha….ha ha….ha ha ha ha ha! Oh what a lashing Angelo gave us! Oh poor Angelo, why don’t you instead tell your pope not to go around saying stupid stuff like that huh?

All homosexuals should be stoned to death, says Muslim preacher of hate

Posted in Uncategorized by Jeff Randall on March 25, 2009

It’s it nice to see a story that shows how islam is the religion of peace?

[Originally posted at: Mail Online]

All homosexuals should face stoning to death, a Muslim preacher of hate declared yesterday.

Anjem Choudary, the firebrand cleric who wants to see Britain ruled by Sharia law, said such a regime was the only way to fix the country’s ills.

Under it, adulterers and homosexuals would be killed by stoning. Asked if that would include anybody – even a Cabinet minister such as Business Secretary Lord Mandelson – Choudary responded with an astonishing diatribe.

He said: ‘If a man likes another man, it can happen, but if you go on to fulfil your desire, if it is proved, then there is a punishment to follow. You don’t stone to death unless there are four eyewitnesses. It is a very stringent procedure.

‘There are some people who are attracted to donkeys but that does not mean it is right.’

Choudary was speaking at a press conference in London arranged by Muslim extremists to justify their protest in Luton last week against soldiers returning home from Iraq.

[Read the rest of this post at: Mail Online]

For another take on this story, check out Pat Condell:

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