Comments - blog by Gurdur

 




A blog of random jottings on events, science, renfairs, travel, reading, music, humanism, religion, atheism, and even the odd spot of gardening.

  1. Old Comment
    Posted 25-Jul-2016 at 04:00 PM (16:00) by Gurdur Gurdur is offline
  2. Old Comment

    Unexpected narratives: sadnesses

    What Happened to Dixie

    Yes I am in the same boat. I was just wondering about the origins of this song, and learned about the tragic fate of Badfinger. What a sad story. Good God.

    Would still like to learn about Miss Dixie. I saw her pic and she is one good looking girl, looks like quite a nice figure.
    Perhaps, she is happily living as a pharmacist in Ohio.
    Posted 03-Jul-2016 at 10:58 PM (22:58) by Scott Lewis
  3. Old Comment
    Posted 21-May-2016 at 01:17 AM (01:17) by Gurdur Gurdur is offline
  4. Old Comment

    A homage to William Tenn, alias Philip Klass, noted science-fiction author, recently deceased

    Bernie the Faust's last lines

    Has anyone noticed that the last lines of this story run something like, "I'm the man who sold the world - and bought it back again." Did David Bowie read this story?
    Posted 30-Apr-2016 at 11:09 PM (23:09) by Unregistered
  5. Old Comment

    Unexpected narratives: sadnesses

    Dixie

    I dug into this and believe Dixie became a successful pharmacist in Ohio. Dixie Armstrong Butz.
    I want to believe she lives a happy life. That alone would be an awesome WIN for the legacy of the song.
    TNJ
    Posted 28-Mar-2016 at 04:46 PM (16:46) by Unregistered
  6. Old Comment

    Unexpected narratives: sadnesses

    yes same happened to me googled the song then found out the rest its haunting me
    Posted 26-Feb-2016 at 06:22 PM (18:22) by Unregistered
  7. Old Comment

    The Richard Dawkins Foundation net forum (RDF) self-destructs -- yet another big atheist board immolates itself

    the whole truth?? I think not

    It may well be true that the insulting language quoted by Prof Dawkins was all "after the event" and therefore not a reason for the closure.
    It's not true that the forum was previously abuse-free.

    I used to post regularly at one time, trying to get people to debate rationally and civilly with me on whatever threads came up - sometimes science, sometimes broader issues.
    I don't remember a single discussion during which I didn't receive gratuitous abuse, some pretty disgusting, and all absolutely unprovoked. I'm a Christian, so kneejerk disagreement of course I expected, but it was a lot more than that - the norm on the forum was to insult and hector Christians regardless of what they said or didn't say. The mods never objected, in fact they were much more likely to join in.

    So all the self-righteousness now looks a bit silly to me.
    Posted 13-Feb-2016 at 09:05 PM (21:05) by Unregistered
  8. Old Comment
    Gurdur's Avatar

    Totally bizarre and utterly untrue: claims by Pastor Steven L. Anderson about Germany

    Proof that he was not making it up

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Unregistered View Comment
    Please read this news source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-30937492

    The story reports that German court ruled that men could stand up while urinating, the key element here is that is presumes that before this court ruling, German men were indeed prohibited from peeing standing up. His sermon was well before this story was reported.

    Do research before you file someone as "Crazy" or "incorrect".
    No, you learn some logic. As you yourself - whomever you may be - note (but then fail dismally to think about), that case came well after the sermon. Furthermore, one landlord tried to enforce such a rule over one tenant. You are completely wrong about "German men were indeed prohibited from peeing standing up", which strongly implies a general rule. By the way, since you have other failures of thought, I live here in Germany, so try hard not to tell me rubbish.
    Posted 11-Jan-2016 at 10:21 PM (22:21) by Gurdur Gurdur is offline
  9. Old Comment

    Totally bizarre and utterly untrue: claims by Pastor Steven L. Anderson about Germany

    Proof that he was not making it up

    Please read this news source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-30937492

    The story reports that German court ruled that men could stand up while urinating, the key element here is that is presumes that before this court ruling, German men were indeed prohibited from peeing standing up. His sermon was well before this story was reported.

    Do research before you file someone as "Crazy" or "incorrect".
    Posted 05-Jan-2016 at 08:21 AM (08:21) by Unregistered
  10. Old Comment

    How Prof Brian Cox got sin-binned for having the 'wrong' wife; and what that means for us all.

    You've earned yourself a new follower

    Not on twitter, mind, I never got into that particular social media site.

    But I shall follow your blog with interest.
    Posted 24-Nov-2015 at 07:23 PM (19:23) by Unregistered
  11. Old Comment
    Posted 24-Oct-2015 at 05:02 AM (05:02) by Gurdur Gurdur is offline
  12. Old Comment
    Posted 02-Oct-2015 at 10:56 PM (22:56) by Gurdur Gurdur is offline
  13. Old Comment

    #Scio14 in (Ki)Swahili

    Ahsante pia

    Mimi ni mkenya na nimefurahia,kwa vile umeamua kutumia kiswahili kututanbahisha kuhusu huo mkutano. HONGERA
    Posted 19-Aug-2015 at 02:21 PM (14:21) by Unregistered
  14. Old Comment

    The women nobody wants to see: public virtues and private viciousness

    I have to take issue with the characterisation of Ellesun's joke as "ill advised" in any way other than with regard to the maliciousness of the subject of the joke. It was absolutely harmless and no sane person could read anything into it.

    The Bora affair disgusts me, frankly. The people who did this to him are absolutely beneath contempt, yet I doubt that any of them feel anything other than self-righteous about it. As I write this there will be tweeted comments mocking and taunting Catherine Zivkovic.
    Posted 06-Jul-2015 at 10:55 PM (22:55) by Driveby
  15. Old Comment
    Posted 06-Jul-2015 at 12:26 PM (12:26) by Unregistered
  16. Old Comment

    The women nobody wants to see: public virtues and private viciousness

    Thank you

    We appreciate your ongoing support since the beginning of this tragedy. However, I do want to clarify that Anton and Bora were the ONLY co-founders of Science Online. Together they had the idea, together they worked for thousans of hours (without ANY compensation for their work) to organize and execute the Science Online un-Conference which enjoyed an international reputation, and participation. And the conference was attended by an almost exactly equal number of women and men, something no other similar conference has ever achieved, to my knowledge. The gender equity that Science Online enjoyed was an unplanned but hoped for coincidence, that happened because so many women registered for the conference. Every year, the conference reached it's capacity in a manner of minutes after open registration began. The reason that Science Online had so many female participants is because the conference was totally inclusive, safe, valued women's voices, and was a hella fun. Karyn Traphagen only became involved in later years, first as a volunteer, and later as a paid employee and valued member of the board. She did amazing things to improve the conference experience, and traveled widely to consult and co-organize the spin-off conferences under the umbrella of the Science Online name. She worked incredibly hard and became a valued member of the team. But she was not a founder of Science Online, as people have come to believe.
    Bora voluntarily resigned from the board, and did not attend the last conference because he wanted the success of the conference to go on, and didn't want to make anybody uncomfortable with his presence. This was a(nother) totally unselfish act on his part, and I disagree with his decision to step down. By analogy, if two people co-author a book, and the book is a wild success loved by many people, and those "many people" later decide they don't fancy one of the authors, it does not make sense to go back and erase that author's name from the book that he took the time, energy, and did the actual work to write.

    There will be no more Science Online. The same people who were a part of the witch hunt that ruined Bora's career also ruined the awesome, unparalleled Science Online conference. Well done, shit brains!
    Posted 05-Jul-2015 at 01:30 PM (13:30) by ccziv
  17. Old Comment

    Possible origins of the artwork in the film Avatar for landscapes and creatures

    My partner and I stumbled over here from a different website and thought I
    might as well check things out. I like what I see so i am just following you.
    Look forward to exploring your web page yet again.
    Posted 09-Jun-2015 at 08:30 AM (08:30) by Moshe
  18. Old Comment

    Frustrations and the #GE2015 UK election

    Hmmm

    I haven't been following this deeply on twitter, only what I've seen here and the Storify. But my feeling is that Laurie Penny lost tactically rather than morally. The State is always rather hot on these 'to the fallen' type memorials, because they allow it to own the sacrifice of those who fought in wars, and use it to menace the living into the sort of patriotism which suits the state. But (appropriately during these centenary years) you only have to read a bit of the letters, poetry and private opinion of the people who fought in World War One to get a far more mixed picture of attitudes, which included cynicism, especially about patriotic jingoism. When that young man got done for swinging on the Cenotaph a little while ago, and excessively punished, I couldn't help thinking that the dead twenty and thirty somethings that the memorial overwhelmingly represents might have been more than inclined to let him off (or just laugh it off).

    There is a benign and socially and historically useful side to memorials too, and I don't particularly want to see them all thick with graffiti. But I can't say that I'm massively worked up about that particular defacement, and trying to make people say that they feel terribly affronted about it, feels more like an attempt at entrapment than a genuine attempt to establish shared values. Like Laurie Penny, I worry that our country's crossing plenty of red lines at the moment around the treatment of people. A bit of ill-considered spray paint is the least of our problems.
    Posted 16-May-2015 at 09:37 PM (21:37) by Unregistered
  19. Old Comment
    Gurdur's Avatar

    The Garissa terrorism attack by Al-Shabaab in Kenya, and its context

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by BluePoppy View Comment
    On a different matter I find it interesting that in English the plural of lingua franca is lingua francas while in Latin it would clearly be linguae francae. Should we call this Langlish?
    This scares me. Latin endings are something which I did in Medical Latin (which I did in German!), and I have no desire to go through the torture again.
    Posted 09-Apr-2015 at 05:03 PM (17:03) by Gurdur Gurdur is offline
  20. Old Comment
    BluePoppy's Avatar

    The Garissa terrorism attack by Al-Shabaab in Kenya, and its context

    On a different matter I find it interesting that in English the plural of lingua franca is lingua francas while in Latin it would clearly be linguae francae. Should we call this Langlish?
    Posted 08-Apr-2015 at 11:27 PM (23:27) by BluePoppy BluePoppy is offline
  21. Old Comment
    BluePoppy's Avatar

    The Garissa terrorism attack by Al-Shabaab in Kenya, and its context

    My heart goes out to the Kenyan people and friends I have there. Since public universities in Kenya admit the most promising students from every district based on a quota system, the tragedy left a trail of grief touching virtually every community and ethnic group. The attack struck a particular nerve because in Kenya parents make huge sacrifices to educate their children hopes that they in turn will support their families one day.The killings robbed many families of their best and brightest. So sad.
    Posted 08-Apr-2015 at 11:24 PM (23:24) by BluePoppy BluePoppy is offline
  22. Old Comment
    Gurdur's Avatar

    How to make a complaint and/or claim under the British Data Protection Act re the BlockBot team

    Broken links

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Unregistered View Comment
    A couple of your links above, to the Block Bot website, are broken by having an html break appended to them.
    Thanks, fixed.
    Posted 29-Mar-2015 at 01:37 AM (01:37) by Gurdur Gurdur is offline
  23. Old Comment

    How to make a complaint and/or claim under the British Data Protection Act re the BlockBot team

    Broken links

    A couple of your links above, to the Block Bot website, are broken by having an html break appended to them.
    Posted 28-Mar-2015 at 09:05 PM (21:05) by Unregistered
  24. Old Comment
    BluePoppy's Avatar

    Remembering Grumpy (Amos Capps). R.I.P.

    Thanks for taking such great care in writing about Grumpy. I think I would have liked him a lot, because I love people like him, even if they can be a pain, due to their honest nature. They don't try to be somebody else, somebody society would "rather have".

    The caring person you are... feeling guilty seems a bit too Christian, don't you think? You didn't violate a moral standard and he probably knew exactly why you did what you did. I understand that we all want to be at peace with our friends when they die (or we for that matter), but if they are true friends, they know that friendships last *no matter what. You proved that more than once. That is what counts in the end.
    Posted 22-Mar-2015 at 04:26 AM (04:26) by BluePoppy BluePoppy is offline
  25. Old Comment

    Here's looking at you. Wildlife in Tanzania

    Face-to-face wildlife.

    A wonderful collection of close-up shots Gurdur. Even the less 'pretty' faces are really expressive.
    I love the female baboon in particular. You can almost see her thinking and her fur is amazing. Looks like feathers.
    You should put them into book form and get them published/
    Posted 19-Mar-2015 at 01:02 AM (01:02) by Ray BarnesUnregistered
  26. Old Comment
    Gurdur's Avatar

    Here's looking at you. Wildlife in Tanzania

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by An Ardent Skeptic View Comment
    I've taken a lot of rear end shots of birds. It gets pretty hilarious when the face recognition software routine in iPhoto which tries to identify faces puts up a bubble which thinks it sees a face and wants me to name a rear end. I enjoy looking at your pictures, Gurdur!!!
    Many thanks!
    Posted 18-Mar-2015 at 06:11 PM (18:11) by Gurdur Gurdur is offline
  27. Old Comment

    Here's looking at you. Wildlife in Tanzania

    I've taken a lot of rear end shots of birds. It gets pretty hilarious when the face recognition software routine in iPhoto which tries to identify faces puts up a bubble which thinks it sees a face and wants me to name a rear end.

    I enjoy looking at your pictures, Gurdur!!!
    Posted 18-Mar-2015 at 02:40 PM (14:40) by An Ardent Skeptic An Ardent Skeptic is offline
  28. Old Comment

    Legal action against the BlockBot team?

    Well summed up, Tim.

    One can only hope this is the beginning of the end for BB and associated SJW shenanigans.

    Ardent: A dyslexic walks into a bra...
    Posted 18-Mar-2015 at 10:28 AM (10:28) by Phil Giordana, FCD
  29. Old Comment
    Gurdur's Avatar

    Legal action against the BlockBot team?

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by An Ardent Skeptic View Comment
    I can't read internetese. With my dyslexia it's difficult enough to read standard english. Internet abbreviations don't compute with me. I did a google search for DNFTT and didn't find answer. What's DNFTT? Sorry to ask but I do try my best to understand what others are saying, most especially people like you for whom I have great respect.
    No worries. Sorry to have been opaque.
    DNFTT = Do Not Feed The Troll.
    Posted 17-Mar-2015 at 08:11 PM (20:11) by Gurdur Gurdur is offline
  30. Old Comment

    Legal action against the BlockBot team?

    Hi Gurdur,

    I can't read internetese. With my dyslexia it's difficult enough to read standard english. Internet abbreviations don't compute with me. I did a google search for DNFTT and didn't find answer. What's DNFTT? Sorry to ask but I do try my best to understand what others are saying, most especially people like you for whom I have great respect.

    Never mind I found it. It helps to get it right when doing a search. Typing abbrevs is another thing dyslexics like me don't do well. Random letters jumble up badly in my head.
    Posted 17-Mar-2015 at 07:37 PM (19:37) by An Ardent Skeptic An Ardent Skeptic is offline
    Updated 17-Mar-2015 at 07:55 PM (19:55) by An Ardent Skeptic (Edited because I'm an idiot who can't keep letters in their proper order when doing a google search!)
  31. Old Comment
    Gurdur's Avatar

    Legal action against the BlockBot team?

    D4M10N, you get one warning only, owing to your conduct on Twitter, your refusal to answer questions there while trying to play the interrogator, and your overall lack of discussion in good faith.

    Cut out immediately the emotive trolling, such as your wrong imputation of "fragile feelings" to others. Your statements are all too clearly in refusal of acknowledgment of others' situations, and they are unpersuasive. Any more such comments and I will split them all off to a separate blog post and you can argue it there.

    For others: DNFTT.
    Posted 17-Mar-2015 at 04:00 PM (16:00) by Gurdur Gurdur is offline
  32. Old Comment

    Legal action against the BlockBot team?

    Quote:
    Silencing? How?
    By haling people into court for merely calling you an abusive person or a bigot, which is an expression of personal distaste at worst.

    Quote:
    Surely it is the blockbotters who have provided a tool for silencing the voices of Twatterers they disapprove of, at least within their own community.
    Only to the extent that mass blocking tends to increase the odds of being suspended from Twitter. Other than that, it's not silencing at all, but rather freedom of association. If people don't want to hear from the people on those lists (many of whom I quite enjoy) that's up to them.

    Quote:
    The Blockbot enables any user to banish voices for every other user for whatever petty reason they may have.
    As is surely their right, if by banish you mean voluntarily avoid reading.

    Quote:
    It also acts as a giant smear campaign, again initiated against people based on the foibles of individual blockbot users.
    It is indeed a smear to be labelled an "anti-feminist obsessive" who viciously harasses people, but somehow I will press on. Others with far more delicate feelings may well feel the need to hit back using the force of law, but should I ever get put back on the blocklists, I will boast about it to the world, such is my opinion of the extant selection criteria. :biggrin
    Posted 17-Mar-2015 at 03:20 PM (15:20) by D4M10N D4M10N is offline
  33. Old Comment

    Legal action against the BlockBot team?

    Silencing?

    Damion. Silencing? How? Surely it is the blockbotters who have provided a tool for silencing the voices of Twatterers they disapprove of, at least within their own community. The Blockbot enables any user to banish voices for every other user for whatever petty reason they may have. It also acts as a giant smear campaign, again initiated against people based on the foibles of individual blockbot users.
    Posted 17-Mar-2015 at 10:16 AM (10:16) by Simon
  34. Old Comment
    Gurdur's Avatar

    Legal action against the BlockBot team?

    Also see https://twitter.com/whenindoubtdo/st...49527315447808


    Posted 17-Mar-2015 at 05:02 AM (05:02) by Gurdur Gurdur is offline
  35. Old Comment
    Gurdur's Avatar

    Legal action against the BlockBot team?

    Also see https://twitter.com/Grummz/status/577651682961674240


    Posted 17-Mar-2015 at 04:15 AM (04:15) by Gurdur Gurdur is offline
  36. Old Comment
    Posted 17-Mar-2015 at 03:52 AM (03:52) by Gurdur Gurdur is offline
  37. Old Comment

    Legal action against the BlockBot team?

    I surely "have been one of those blacklisted on the BlockBot for whatever specious reason" on occasion, but it would never have occured to me to try to use the force of law to silence their speech. Granted, they do things differently over there in Britain, but I find this entire project deeply disturbing.
    Posted 17-Mar-2015 at 03:31 AM (03:31) by D4M10N D4M10N is offline
  38. Old Comment

    Legal action against the BlockBot team?

    How do I find these people to service this request?

    I am a "neutral" but have followed several prominent figures, on both sides, in the past.

    Because I am an idiot my original twitter handle contained my full name.

    This name is on the list.

    I don't mind stumping up the 10 for this information.

    https://ico.org.uk/for-the-public/personal-information/

    takes me so far.

    I am also unsure, given the vituperative nature of some of the individuals involved if I want to give them my full personal details, as I would need to, to follow this request through.

    I have no wish to throw extra money at a legal practicioner for this however.

    How do I move this forwards?
    Posted 16-Mar-2015 at 12:41 PM (12:41) by Unregistered
  39. Old Comment
    BluePoppy's Avatar

    Legal action against the BlockBot team?

    As a journalist I have, just recently, been called just about anything under the sun. If somebody feels the need to block me using the bot, so be it. Being wrongfully accused of a crime is a different matter. Thanks for posting possible routes of legal action. However, I have my doubts you can tame bad manners on either side w/legal actions. Just my 2c.
    Posted 15-Mar-2015 at 11:47 PM (23:47) by BluePoppy BluePoppy is offline
  40. Old Comment
    Gurdur's Avatar

    Information on how to donate for children etc. in Tanzania

    Ngarasero orphanage

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Unregistered View Comment
    Hi Gurdur,

    I couldn't help noticing that the links to the Ngarasero orphanage only lead me to a page saying "page not found".

    I visited this orphanage at christmas and was really hoping you could help me find their website or a way of donating to them?

    If anyone can help me, please reply to this comment
    I am not sure what happened there to that. I will inquire. They have a different page up, for a different orphanage:
    http://www.tanzaniavolunteer.info/wo...ams/lukundane/

    On this page, they say they closed the Tamiha orphanage and moved the children and work to "the new orphanage".
    http://www.tanzaniavolunteer.info/wo...ams/orphanage/

    Their donations page is here:
    http://www.tanzaniavolunteer.info/wordpress/donate/
    Posted 13-Mar-2015 at 11:22 PM (23:22) by Gurdur Gurdur is offline
  41. Old Comment

    Information on how to donate for children etc. in Tanzania

    Ngarasero orphanage

    Hi Gurdur,

    I couldn't help noticing that the links to the Ngarasero orphanage only lead me to a page saying "page not found".

    I visited this orphanage at christmas and was really hoping you could help me find their website or a way of donating to them?

    If anyone can help me, please reply to this comment
    Posted 13-Mar-2015 at 08:03 PM (20:03) by Unregistered
  42. Old Comment

    And now that book will never be written. My personal tribute to Sir Terry Pratchett

    Thank you for these words

    I, too, was hooked on Sir Terry's work from the first book I had read. Your online name is Gurdur - mine is Terry ;-) since 2002, when I signed up to a forum for the very first time.
    I've read most books the week they were released in english, and then again the same book months later in my native language german (I had to buy them anyway, because husband doesn't understand english well enough, unfortunately the german publishing company changed the translator, from 2010 up til now the german copies weren't as good as the fans were used to).
    I thank you, Tim, for my copy of "Small Gods" with a signature of Sir Terry (I'm proud to own it), which you brought for me from a convention - because I was never able to attend a convention.

    It's sad that Sir Terry is dead - but you know, he is immortal through the influence he had - not only I, but also my whole family now loves his books. He had an impact on my, my husband's and my daughter's world view.

    What else can an author wish for?
    Posted 13-Mar-2015 at 06:51 PM (18:51) by Unregistered
  43. Old Comment

    And now that book will never be written. My personal tribute to Sir Terry Pratchett

    That's a lovely tribute to a great author, Tim. Like you, I was introduced to his work by a colleague when I was working an IT contract with a telecoms company almost 20 years ago. Although I don't claim diehard fandom (I still have many of his books to read), I did love his quirky take on the world. I was sad to hear of the Alzheimer's when it was announced as several of my and my spouse's family have gone that way. Sadder still to hear yesterday's news.
    Posted 13-Mar-2015 at 10:43 AM (10:43) by RevSimmy RevSimmy is offline
  44. Old Comment
    Posted 13-Mar-2015 at 01:11 AM (01:11) by Unregistered
  45. Old Comment
    Never's Avatar

    And now that book will never be written. My personal tribute to Sir Terry Pratchett

    Thanks for the nice tribute. I opened my Facebook page on my lunch break at work and gasped as the announcement was the first thing I saw. I'll miss this fascinating person that I only knew from a fan perspective. I have to admit feeling guilty that I too keep thinking of all the books that I know (from what he said) were left in his mind and will never be written. Not to take away from all the ones we have - those are appreciated, just that we know there was so much more he wanted to do.
    Posted 13-Mar-2015 at 12:32 AM (00:32) by Never Never is offline
  46. Old Comment

    Graham Linehan doesn't like this. So pass it around.

    So @Glinner isn't really a parody account mocking social justice activism?

    I saw someone re-tweet his claim that people disagreeing with him were really white men pretending to be women, but I didn't realise he was a celeb rather than a random Twitter troll. Him accusing some pretty well known YouTubing women of being misogynistic male sock puppets, and then having a bit of a ranty meltdown when shown that he was wrong, seemed like a clear case of Poe's Law to me.

    I definitely thought he'd given the game away by chatting with Godfrey Elfwick:

    https://twitter.com/GodfreyElfwick/s...28796228890624

    Twitter's most obvious parody of a male feminist:

    https://twitter.com/GodfreyElfwick/s...91582848094208
    Posted 08-Mar-2015 at 08:27 PM (20:27) by Kendall
  47. Old Comment

    How Prof Brian Cox got sin-binned for having the 'wrong' wife; and what that means for us all.

    Just thought I would post a comment to say I have read all of your recent posts, and I'm sure you know me well enough to know I am in full agreement with your dislike of the Blockbot, public shaming, and twitter mobs exacting what they feel is justice for a worthy cause.
    Posted 28-Feb-2015 at 10:30 PM (22:30) by An Ardent Skeptic An Ardent Skeptic is offline
  48. Old Comment

    HIV-denialism is resurrected - by VICE magazine

    pseudo-scientific claptrap indeed

    Amazing, where were these people in the last 20 years?

    Some facts:

    - 4th generation HIV Elisa not only detect antibodies but also p24 HIV antigen. Not yet as frequently used in the USA as in Europe.
    - PCR technique detects HIV RNA (and not antibodies)
    - yes, there are false reactives in every test and some can be caused by an immune reaction, for example caused by a recent vaccination. This is known and taken into consideration by the medical docs.
    - the result of a single test is never communicated to the patient but followed up by a strictly regulated procedure of follow-up tests, including different techniques like PCR.

    A test result does not equal a diagnosis.

    And that's just on the issue of diagnostics...
    Posted 18-Feb-2015 at 12:06 PM (12:06) by Lady Bug
  49. Old Comment

    Totally bizarre and utterly untrue: claims by Pastor Steven L. Anderson about Germany

    Read!!!

    http://www.infowars.com/german-court...hile-standing/

    Germans are debating whether men should sit or stand when urinating. Some public toilets in the country have red traffic-style signs advising men to sit while peeing.
    Posted 12-Feb-2015 at 10:53 AM (10:53) by Unregistered
  50. Old Comment

    Hemant Mehta (The Friendly Atheist) goes off the rails on the #Manoora case

    homicidal mother

    Here is a story about a murder involving a family in Utah:

    http://www.cnn.com/2015/01/28/us/utah-family-deaths/

    Some people have attributed the parents' suicide (and decision to kill at least two of their children) to their belief in a coming apocalypse. Unlike in the case of the Australian woman, I cannot totally discount the possibility that religion played a role in the deaths here, but I wouldn't jump to the conclusion, as Terry Firma appears to have done here http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendl...ng-apocalypse/, that their religious beliefs were the ONLY factor in their deaths.

    This is because:

    a.) no suicide notes were found
    b.) they apparently had drug and financial problems
    c.) unlike some religion-inspired suicides (ex. Jim Jones in Guyana, Solar Temple in Switzerland), the couple here did not appear to belong to any particular cult.

    But while I don't see a religion playing a role in the Australian mother's actions, here I can't rule it out - but I think it's far from the only factor to be considered.
    Posted 04-Feb-2015 at 02:02 AM (02:02) by Unregistered
  51. Old Comment

    Hemant Mehta (The Friendly Atheist) goes off the rails on the #Manoora case

    Homicidal mother

    Just one thing: I am not sure this study would necessarily be 'transferrable' to the United States. Switzerland (and Western Europe in general - I do not know much about Eastern Europe) does not have a huge presence of Christian fundamentalist sects (ex. Pentecostals). Also, people who identify with a religion in Europe may not necessarily be 'religious:' they might, say, get married in a church, have their children baptized, and arrange their funeral to take place at a church but not attend services on a regular basis if at all.

    For economic factors (you mentioned those), although domestic violence, child abuse, etc. does cut across economic boundaries, they tend to be more common, on a statistical basis, among families with lower education and/or economic status. So if, for example, a study found that there was more domestic violence in Christian fundamentalist families, the families' lower economic status rather than religion per se could be the factor most closely linked to the violence.
    Posted 03-Feb-2015 at 11:13 PM (23:13) by Unregistered
  52. Old Comment

    Hemant Mehta (The Friendly Atheist) goes off the rails on the #Manoora case

    Thank you for the link, the study is very interesting.
    Quote:
    Conclusions: This national longitudinal study shows that living conditions associated with psychological stress and lower levels of social support are associated with homicide-suicide events in Switzerland.
    So, for murder-suicides specifically, social and psychological causes strongly dominate.

    The authors themselves acknowledge that murder-suicides are a very small portions of all homicides, so this study is perhaps not the best for the purpose of investigating influence of religion on murder incidence in general.

    It does however support the conclusion that the probable causes of the manoora case had nothing to do with religion.
    Quote:
    The risk of perpetrating homicide-suicide was higher in divorced than in married men (HR 3.64; 95%CI 1.568.49), in foreigners without permanent residency compared to Swiss citizens (HR 3.95; 1.5210.2), higher in men without religious affiliations than in Catholics (HR 2.23; 1.144.36) and higher in crowded households (HR 4.85; 1.7213.6 comparing >=2 with <1 persons/room).
    From a quick look, it seems most murder-suicides are committed by jealous (ex)husbands. This seems further corroborated by other studies the authors mention.

    The most surprising correlation for me was the last one - crowded households. I never would have guessed this has such a large effect, though it does make sense in retrospect (higher stress).

    I looked more closely at the catholic correlation, and it seems this could be confounded by the fact that catholics form the largest fraction of citizens (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_Switzerland), combined with the citizen vs immigrant correlation.

    The authors themselves however propose even stronger confounding variable:
    Quote:
    Interestingly, both in male perpetrators and female victims the risk was higher in individuals without religious affiliation, compared to Catholics. Women with no religious affiliation may on average be less amenable to authority structures (including patriarchy) and less bound by traditional relationship roles, than Catholic and Protestant women: the woman leaving the relationship is often the trigger for the escalation of violence [8].
    If the correlation of higher divorce among women with no religion holds in Switzerland, this alone could probably completely explain the effect of religion on murder-suicides.
    Quote:
    There was no association with education, occupation or nationality, the number of children, the language region or degree of urbanicity. Associations were similar for female victims.
    The only surprising thing here is that number of children was not associated (i would have expected that to cause increased stress), especially in light of the association with household being crowded.

    One thing this study is missing however is an association with economic factors - the correlation is pretty well known, and i would imagine that to be another strong confounding variable.
    Posted 28-Jan-2015 at 07:39 PM (19:39) by Lucifer Lucifer is offline
  53. Old Comment

    Hemant Mehta (The Friendly Atheist) goes off the rails on the #Manoora case

    homicidal mother

    An example of what I was talking about on people using tragedies to further their worldview:

    http://www.charismanews.com/opinion/...in-schools-now
    Posted 22-Jan-2015 at 12:51 AM (00:51) by Unregistered
  54. Old Comment

    Hemant Mehta (The Friendly Atheist) goes off the rails on the #Manoora case

    homicidal mother

    Here is the study in question:

    http://www.plosone.org/article/fetch...esentation=PDF

    It said regarding religion: "The risk was higher in men without religious affiliation compared to Catholics (p= 0.02), but the association overall with religion failed to reach conventional
    levels of statistical significance (p= 0.12)." So there may have been some role of religion, but judging from the results, it seems to be rather minor.
    Posted 17-Jan-2015 at 11:06 AM (11:06) by Unregistered
  55. Old Comment

    Hemant Mehta (The Friendly Atheist) goes off the rails on the #Manoora case

    Homicidal mother and Friendly Atheist

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Unregistered View Comment
    ...The connection between her actions and religious beliefs seems even more tenuous in light of the fact that scientific studies (as opposed to anecdotes like Terry Firma's account) don't show much of a link between religion and family homicidal outbursts.
    I am not very surprised at that, since family homicidal outbursts are a very specific subset of homicides which involve different mechanisms than murders caused by religious (or possibly other) beliefs.
    These would involve a bit of thinking on the part of the murderer (by necessity - to get from belief to action) and thereby would tend to be premeditated, or involve victims outside family - someone new who they kill because their religious creed commands them to (the thinking was done before meeting the victim, in that case the decision to kill all violators is premeditated, even if the deed isn't).
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Unregistered View Comment
    For example, one study from Switzerland found that in-family murder-suicides were significantly less common among Catholics than among people with no religious affiliation, with Protestants in between the two.
    Again, this is very restricted subset of murders, although this one is a bit more surprising. Murder-suicides of familiy members don't seem like something the murderer thinks about before committing it, therefore i would not expect this to be a common result of belief, unless we are talking about the mentally ill or specific cults.

    And religiously motivated murder-suicides, especially the muslim ones, don't involve family members. If anything, should a family member be killed for religious reasons (and there are plenty of cases of that happening), it most frequently happens in countries where this is not against the law, or at least local custom.
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Unregistered View Comment
    The researchers concluded in the end there was no significant relation between men's religion and their chance of committing murder-suicide.
    In-family or in general? Including muslim countries?
    Assuming you are talking about the switzerland study, doesn't that conclusion contradict the examples you just provided? I mean if catholics have lower incidence, then apparently religion does have (negative) influence?
    Could you please provide a link?
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Unregistered View Comment
    On another note, Terry Firma's blame of religion for every violent action reminds me a bit of the fundamentalists who blame school shootings on the removal of mandatory school prayer...
    I completely agree on that one ...
    Posted 16-Jan-2015 at 11:32 PM (23:32) by Lucifer Lucifer is offline
  56. Old Comment

    Authors, please don't do this on social-media. For your own sakes.

    I did this by mistake once :-)

    Many people have several accounts. Some use them to churn out the same promo message multiple times, others to retweet so the original sender appears popular. Either is stupid.

    I have several accounts, too, although for different reasons: I use them for experimental research. Since I write books and articles about Twitter, I need to try out all sorts of things, including not-so-good ones. I don't want to jeopardise my @RayneHall account or damage my reputation with those experiments, so I've created separate accounts. They're not secret, and I don't pretend that @SuzieScrybe, @FrancoFolly etc. are real people.

    To manage them, I use TweetDeck, but even so, it's easy to get muddled while juggling multiple accounts. You need to be careful which identity you click to send a reply or retweet from.

    Once I accidentally selected all nine accounts, and the same message was tweeted from all nine at once. Embarrassing! I hastened to delete them, but anyone who saw them probably thought I was one of those pathetic sods who create fake accounts to pretend popularity. Eek!
    Posted 15-Jan-2015 at 11:54 PM (23:54) by Unregistered
  57. Old Comment

    Hemant Mehta (The Friendly Atheist) goes off the rails on the #Manoora case

    Homicidal mother and Friendly Atheist

    To Lucifer:

    Yes, here there was no indication that religion per se caused this woman to kill her children. The connection between her actions and religious beliefs seems even more tenuous in light of the fact that scientific studies (as opposed to anecdotes like Terry Firma's account) don't show much of a link between religion and family homicidal outbursts. For example, one study from Switzerland found that in-family murder-suicides were significantly less common among Catholics than among people with no religious affiliation, with Protestants in between the two. The researchers concluded in the end there was no significant relation between men's religion and their chance of committing murder-suicide.

    On another note, Terry Firma's blame of religion for every violent action reminds me a bit of the fundamentalists who blame school shootings on the removal of mandatory school prayer...
    Posted 15-Jan-2015 at 10:14 PM (22:14) by Unregistered
  58. Old Comment

    Hemant Mehta (The Friendly Atheist) goes off the rails on the #Manoora case

    Post hoc ergo propter hoc ...
    As skeptics we should be wary of jumping to conclusions especially if we see a sequence of events confirming our existing beliefs.

    Hovewer, it is also possible to be biased in the opposite direction - many people, especially on the liberal left try to vehemently deny that religion can ever cause any person to act this way, which is absurd given the mountains of evidence that we have (such as the recent terrorist attacks, or parents sending their gay children to 'conversion therapy' sometimes with tragic results). Beliefs matter, because they lead to actions (i agree with Sam Harris on this one). There is a clear difference between actions of muslims, and let's say jains.

    However, this doesn't seem to be the case here, and the evidence is the apparent lack of motive. Normally actions caused by religion are clearly justified in terms of the religious teaching the criminal has (for example the murder of journalists because they were insulting the prophet, or parents rejecting their own child because he is a 'pervert' and 'sinner').

    There is another possibility still - that religion exacerbated existing mental condition. Religious teachings often contain parts that are cruel and primitive, but normal people usually have enough capacity for critical thinking to reject them. But to a mentally ill person these parts can suggest new ideas which they would not otherwise thought of on their own, or amplify existing delusions. Various messianistic sects whose followers committed mass suicides (and sometimes homicides) are a prime example of this.
    What's worse is that cults (and in my opinion religions in general) tend to prey on people who are most vulnerable. It is when they are at their weakest that persons can be more easily convinced that they are 'chosen' and that everyone around them is a sinner destined for hell, or the opposite that they are in some way corrupt and need to be 'saved'.
    But again in this case the people usually want the world to know why they did it, that they are the 'good' ones. I didn't see any evidence that this was the case here either.
    Posted 14-Jan-2015 at 07:48 PM (19:48) by Lucifer Lucifer is offline
  59. Old Comment

    Hemant Mehta (The Friendly Atheist) goes off the rails on the #Manoora case

    Homicidal mother and Friendly Atheist

    This isn't the first time that Terry Firma has used tragedies to push his anti-religious agenda. For example, in 2013 there was a notice in a British tabloid that a 12-year-old Polish girl had committed suicide to join her dead father. The story turned out to be a hoax, and to his credit, Terry Firma admitted it, but even some of his readers points out that he basically exploited this girl's misfortune for his own ends. Also, his retraction didn't stop him from reprinting a story about a Russian couple who supposedly declined medical care for their son after a car accident so they could get his baptized. That story too turned out to be a tall tale. Some people have remarked that so-called sceptics aren't very sceptical about unlikely stories that suit their own agenda.

    On the other hand, it's important to note that religious groups too can use stories to suit their own beliefs. For example, in the 1980s there was a young man in the US, Ryan White, who contracted AIDS from the blood products he used to treat his hemophilia. One Jehovah Witness man I knew said that White would never have gotten AIDS if he had been a Jehovah Witness (because that religion forbids the use of blood) - which might have been true, but without blood products, hemophiliacs suffer a number of health problems (read the book Nicholas and Alexandra to find this out). So I think everyone, regardless of their belief system, shouldn't use anecdotes to push their agenda.
    Posted 03-Jan-2015 at 06:05 PM (18:05) by Emily
  60. Old Comment
    Gurdur's Avatar

    Dr. Tim Stanley is clueless about theology, psychiatry, the law, ethics or the mind ....

    OLD GUY

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Unregistered View Comment
    I think Dr. Stanley is a right-wing conservative.....just like YOU! LOL!
    I'm not. I'm actually traditional left-of-center.

    Quote:
    He's a Republican, for goodness sake.
    I believe he's a Brit; which makes his adoption of USA politics somewhat strange.
    Posted 10-Nov-2014 at 04:48 AM (04:48) by Gurdur Gurdur is offline

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