2012 – We’re Still Here.

I told you so.

No one knows when the world is going to end and anyone who says they do is a liar. Ignore them. Now go and make the most of your time left on this planet and stop worrying about things that aren’t going to happen. Live each day as if it’s your last so that when your time is up, you will leave knowing that you lived your life to the fullest and without regrets.

Dream as if you’ll live forever.  Live as if you’ll die today.  ~ James Dean

 

Giving False Hope To Cancer Patients

Over the past week, sceptical bloggers have been abuzz with news that some sceptical U.K. bloggers have been bullied, threatened and intimidated by the Burzynski Clinic in Houston, for criticising the clinic’s questionable and unproven form of cancer treatment. Dr. Stanislaw Burzynski claims that he can treat cancer using a treatment called antineoplaston therapy, which has no good clinical evidence to suggest that it has any worthwhile affect on cancer.

How it started

I follow Le Canard Noir (blogger Andy Lewis ) on Twitter and saw a blog post by him mentioning that he and his family had been threatened by a representative of the Burzynski Clinic for a post he written on his Quackometer website about a fund raiser for a little girl with cancer. Andy voiced is concerns about the controversial, and very expensive treatment offered by the clinic. He also questioned their lack of supporting evidence for the treatment. According to Andy, within 24 hours of his post, he received an email from a Marc Stephens who threatened legal action if the post was not removed immediately.

You can read the entire email exchange here.

Bullying a school boy

It was as a result of Andy’s post that sceptical bloggers learned that Rhys Morgan, a 17yr old who gained notoriety for exposing Miracle Mineral Solution as a dangerous scam, had also been threatened by Marc Stephens. This moron also took his threat a step further by including a Google image of Rhys’ home. Rhys did take down his post in good faith to try and “correct” the allegedly defamatory statements that Mr. Stephens objected to, but reposted it – along with all the threatening emails – after receiving advice from fellow bloggers like Simon Singh.

Read Rhys’ post here.

The Streisand effect

Since these two posts, sceptical bloggers around the world have been writing and tweeting about the Burzynski Clinic and their bullying tactics when it comes to criticism about their very, very expensive and unproven cancer treatments. Their heavy handed tactics backfired spectacularly and eventually resulted in a press release.

For a list of blogs dealing with the Burzynski Clinic, please do yourself a favour and look at Josephine Jones’ Master list.

Press release

The Burzynski Clinic issued a press statement which apologised for Mr. Stephens’ rants, however they still intend pursuing some kind of action against many of the bloggers who dared to criticise them. They also added a list of citations for all that scientific research as evidence to back up the Burzynski Clinics claims. However, it has all been picked apart by Blag Hag – Jen McCreight.

For a more scientific and evidence based criticism of Dr. Stanislaw Burzynski and his clinic , go to Dr. Davis Gorski’s post here on the Science Based Medicine website.

Before anyone accuses me of being cold hearted, I lost someone very, very dear to me six months ago to cancer. I understand what it’s like to want to grasp at anything that offers some kind of hope for just a little more time with a loved one. I also know that anyone who promises a miracle cure for profit to someone who is at their most vulnerable is a lying, cheating scumbag who should be rotting in a prison cell.

It’s Time For A Change.

I’ve neglected my blog for a few months now and was seriously considering giving it up, but I have decided that some changes are in order instead. I will be doing a complete overhaul of my blog and comments will be temporarily closed for now.

The new look Skeptic Blacksheep will be up soon.

Religion Is Evil

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking over the last few weeks; some recent events have made me look quite hard at the things I believe and the opinions I hold. After all my introspection, I have come to the conclusion that not only am I an Atheist, but that I am an anti-theist as well. I think that religion is the most evil invention ever thought up by humanity. The following quote from Mark Twain sums it up best, he said…

There is no better Denial, than deferring to a Deity, it absolves the adherent of complicity and provides a scapegoat and justification for any behaviour, and also gives the adherent a taboo that should not be questioned.

Then I received a comment on my “Why I am an Atheist” page that asked me this question……

“So why exactly do you believe in the evolution theories and what questions do you have that has no answers?”

He was referring to a point I had made about religion not offering any satisfactory answers to the questions I had. I replied to his question with the usual questions about his god and one or two questions about the bible. But I have another question that I want answered, and I’d like to see what people offer up as an explanation to my question.

First of all there is no doubt that I support the Theory of Evolution. So that part of his question has been answered.

Here is a brief story leading up to my question….

Anne is a deeply religious woman, she has obeyed and served her god in accordance with his demands. She prays every day, she attends church regularly,and even goes as far as studying at a bible academy for years in the hope of spreading her god’s message to everyone else. She serves her community and helps those in need despite having problems of her own. She does all this with courage, determination, love, grace, humour and piety; one of those few people who could truly be called an angel.

How does the god she worships and serves reward her devotion?

 Her god gives her a husband who can no longer work because he’s been injured in a car accident. She finally manages to fall pregnant and miscarries at 8 weeks. Not satisfied with that little test of her faith, her god allows her to fall pregnant again but this time the baby girl dies just a few weeks before she is born. Then, as if that is not enough suffering, He makes Anne ill and she dies 3 weeks after the birth of her dead baby at the age of 36. Through all this, her god is deaf the prayers said on Annes behalf. He ignores her familys pleas for his mercy. Oh yes, her god is all powerful.

So here’s my question – Why?

You are not allowed to use the following answers:-

It was god’s will.

Only the good die young.

God moves in mysterious ways.

Anne had served her purpose.

Her job here on Earth was done.

That story demands answers to other questions; what kind of god punishes those who do exactly as he commands? Why didn’t he  punish an evil Atheist like me?

I’ll tell you why,…..it’s because Anne’s god doesn’t exist.

Boobquake

In response to the idiotic comments made by Hojatoleslam Kazem Sedighi, that promiscuous women cause earthquakes, Blag Hag Jen McCreight has decided to offer up her boobs in the name of science.

Her reasoning is simple; if women who dress provocatively and tempt people into promiscuity are to blame for earthquakes – as stated by Sedighi, then by organising a mass exposure of womanly flesh, we should be able to produce an earthquake. Thus, the idea for Boobquake was born.

The idea might seem silly to some, but there are serious issues behind this light-hearted stab at stupidity.

 One is obviously the moronic linking of natural disasters to the way women dress and behave. The other more serious issues  are the insidious laws that Islam uses to subjugate women (here is a link to an old article in Time which explains the role of women in Islam). While Jen was being sarcastic, what Sedighi said is based on what he genuinely believes to be true, and these beliefs affect millions of women everyday.

This is why Jen’s boob joke has prompted so many people to react to the ludicrous statements Sedighi made. This is also why, I for one, will be taking part in Boobquake on the 26th April 2010.

By the way Jen, I don’t find it offensive at all and those criticising it as such should read the Times article I linked to. If that doesn’t make you angry enough to want to take a stand against the injustices suffered by women, then nothing will.

I’m Part Of A Zoo

I’ve just become part of a Zoo. Fellow skeptic and science educator Alice in Galaxyland aka PenguinGalaxy , a veteran of the  Galaxy Zoo project, decided to launch a Skeptic Zoo.

The Zoo has just launched a new project: Animal Skeptic Zoo. There is a worryingly insane panda on the rampage, chomping bamboo and hugging slandered politicians, as well as a chimp, cat, black duck, and penguin. That’s quite a lot of skeptic animals on the loose, so we thought it best to round them up and get them classified.

Alice, I am honoured and priveledged to be included in your Skeptic Zoo
and humbled by the company you’ve inluded me in.

Thank you.

World Homeopathy Awareness Week

This week is World Homeopathy Awareness Week and it would be remiss of me not to make my readers aware of how absolutely useless homeopathy was, so here it goes…..

Are you aware of the fact  that…

1. Homeopathy is based on the ideas of a German physician, Samuel Hahnemann, who lived two hundred years ago. These ideas have remained unchanged since their invention despite the incredible advances of medical knowledge and medicines in the last two centuries.

2. Homeopathic remedies contain nothing but water. Homeopaths believe that the more a remedy is diluted the stronger it becomes.

3. Homeopaths believe that like – cures -like, so if you cannot sleep the best cure for your insomnia would be caffeine. Homeopaths still prescribe caffeine – or coffea – as a cure for insomnia.

4. As of 2009 the homeopathic industry in Europe was estimated to be worth €1.05 billion, that’s an awful lot of money spent on plain water.

5. Despite the best efforts of the , 1023 Campaign no – one has overdosed on homeopathic remedies.

6. The Science and Technology Select Committee in the U.K. released a report into it’s investigation on homeopathy and has recommended that MPs urge government  for the complete withdrawal of NHS funding and official licensing of homeopathy.

7. Clinical trials into homeopathic treatments concluded that any apparent benefits were simply placebo effects.

In short, I hope this post makes you aware of the fact that homeopathy is useless and that you should rather spend your money on something that works.