Conspiracy theorizing: killing people again
Wisconsin pharmacist who destroyed more than 500 vaccine doses believes Earth is flat, FBI says.
Pharmacist Steven Brandenberg deliberately ruined over 500 doses of COVID-19 vaccine, by leaving it out of the freezer so that it spoiled.
Why? Because he thought it would be harmful, cause infertility, and that it included some kind of microchip.
Why? Because he believes in conspiracy theories. Notably, he believes that the Earth is flat, and that the sky is fake, a physical dome put in place to prevent people from seeing God. Note that this last theory is not compatible with literally any religion I’ve ever heard of. He isn’t religious–he has fallen down the rabbit hole and is unable to properly reality-check. He’s measuring the value of a proposition, not by how well it comports with reality, but by how cool it would be if it was true.
And … if any of the incorrectly vaccinated or unvaccinated people he deprived of their shots die, he has killed them in the name of nonexistent harms and nonexistent microchips.
For more on conspiracy theorizing:
All science denial is a form of conspiracy theory by Steven Novella.
This is what evil looks like
A protest forced the temporary closure of a COVID-19 vaccination site in Los Angeles. They’re literally willing to kill people for the fiction that COVID-19 doesn’t exist.
They’re willing to kill for a lie. I literally can’t think of worse evil. Bigger evil, sure, but not worse.
To quote a post from one of the protestors, “… please refrain from wearing Trump/MAGA attire as we want our statement to resonate with the sheeple. No flags but informational signs only.” Naturally, they had to lie about who they were.
Internet Archive Promotes Woo
I have used and liked the Internet Archive since it was just the Wayback Machine. I have donated money on multiple occasions.
And now they’re promoting The Secret. Yes, the infamous peak-nonsense idea that if you just want something really badly, you get it. The literal apotheosis of blame-the-victim, The Secret implies strongly that if you die of cancer it is your own fault, because if you wanted it to go away badly enough, it would have. Your own bad attitude is responsible for anything bad that happens to you.
And the Archive invited one of its best-known promoters, Michael Beckwith, to speak at their event.
I am discouraged. I believe that I will be donating to something else this year.
Peter Popoff: religious scammer still scamming decades after being caught
Waaay back in 1986, James Randi appeared on the Tonight Show and demonstrated that faith healer Peter Popoff had a source other than God’s word for his surprising insights into the lives of those healed. I strongly urge you to watch the video of Randi pulling back the curtain on Popoff’s blatant and despicable fraud. (Johnny Carson, the then-host of the Tonight Show, was a former magician like Randi and a like him an exposer of spiritual/religious scams, in the tradition of Houdini.)
After his exposure, Popoff lost most of his income and ended up declaring bankruptcy the following year.
He’s back. Unbelievably, he’s making money by the simple expedient of lying to people. Lots of money. He is literally raking in millions, again.
Recently, a video-maker got one of Reverend Popoff’s solicitation letters. He seems to have stolen a lot of his techniques from the late Oral Roberts and other colleagues in the field of promising miracles in a non-legally-actionable manner. Some of the things Randi documented in his classic book The Faith Healers:
- Give the mark a cheap gift. This creates a sense of obligation to give something in return.
- Offer miracles but only if a donation is made.
- Suggest a minimum donation and imply that larger ones show more faith and get bigger miracles.
- Write your letter as if you (the scammer) personally sat down and hand-typed it (with fake handwritten parts) and personally mailed it to the sucker, even though your organization sends out millions of them a week.
Popoff’s letter does all of these. There’s more. Watch the video. If you want to educate yourself about the subject, read Randi’s book.
Mike Jeavons made his video funny, but Popoff is just infuriating. He exists to suck the money out of vulnerable believers. He’s exactly what people hate about religious leaders, maybe part of one step short of Jim Jones.