Archive for November, 2013


Peter LaBarbera. That’s a name I recognized immediately, but it’s one that I have not yet used in this blog’s previous 170+ posts, surprisingly. As such, allow me to introduce him to you. Right Wing Watch currently has 274 stories about him. Their current top post ’bout him? Peter LaBarbera Wants to Stop the Gays from Ruining Thanksgiving! Beyond that, we have LaBarbera claiming that gay-rights Christians are inspired by Satan, homosexuality is used by Satan’s “Earthly Minions” to undermine the Catholic church, and perhaps one of my more favorite recent ones, homosexuality is a “masculinity defect” (I’ve met gay guys who are MUCH more masculine than any straight man I’ve met).

You might notice that these are all gay-related. That’s because Peter LaBarbera is part of the “Americans for Truth about Homosexuality.” President of it, in fact. AFTAH describes itself as “dedicated to exposing the homosexual activist agenda.” It was also a 501(c)3 tax-exempt organization until it was stripped of that status for failing to file the appropriate paperwork. It is listed as an anti-gay hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Alrighty, with that background into the man behind this latest WND column, it is entitled, “‘Gay’ Power vs. Religious Liberty;” it appeared in WND’s “Whistleblower Magazine.” It starts out as one might expect based on that introduction:

There is a war between homosexual “rights” and Americans’ religious and First Amendment freedoms – and the “gay” activists are winning.

The “zero-sum game” is how homosexual activist law professor and Obama EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) appointee Chai Feldblum describes the legal battles between modern “rights” based on homosexual “orientation” (read: behavior) and the traditional American principle of religious liberty.

“Gays win, Christians lose,” Feldblum said, predicting homosexuals would win most of the legal contests. She is proving to be correct, as the news for Americans with traditional values gets worse by the year, due to rapidly escalating homosexual and transgender activist power in the legal, cultural, political and corporate arenas.

He proceeds with many cases of gays being mean and oppressing the religious. Things like “Hawaiian B&B forced to “accommodate” lesbians despite owner’s religious objections,” “Wildflower Inn in Vermont pays settlement to lesbians and shuts down wedding reception business,” or “SPLC lawyers target JONAH, a Jewish group that helps men and women overcome homosexuality.” Stuff similar to what I’ve covered in this blog in the past, where really the only freedom they are losing is the ability to deny service, as a public accommodation, based on their religious bigotry. I don’t think it’s even worth going through the ridiculousness of his “article,” like how he equates sexual orientation with behavior.

I suppose one of the only good points about this is that, surprisingly, as with numerous other crazy columnists, this one, which was posted a day and a half ago, does not appear to have been widely read considering the 4 ratings (3.5/5 average) and only 13 comments. All of the comments are fairly religious and anti-gay in nature, so not worth mentioning.


Well, that’s what the title of David Rives’ latest video probably should have been. In actuality, he entitled it, “Biblical Science Stands Where Others Fall.” His video starts out describing how science works but then goes on to say “the Big Bang is science fiction,” proceeds to give no reason why scientists think the Big Bang happened, but he instead cherry picks passages from the Bible that he’s then able to fit into the – *gasp* – modern picture of the universe. He ends with an argument from authority and claims that Galileo, Newton, and Kepler all based their ideas a Biblical framework. Funny … I kinda remember Galileo being put under house arrest when the leading Bible interpreters at the time said his ideas conflicted with it.

The reason that I’m bothering to even talk about his latest is that I find it somewhat humorous as well as mildly fascinating but incredibly reassuring that Rives gets almost no positive feedback on World Net Daily. Yes, there are 11 ratings for an average of 3.73/5 stars, but there are also 14 comments. An inordinate amount of them are are negative to Rives’ creationist view and positive towards science. A few others are pro-Bible but anti-“literal” interpretations that result in Young-Earth Creationism.

Perhaps the best comment has 3 up- and zero down-votes, by “Steven Thompson”:

1. The Big Bang theory does make specific predictions, most notably about the relative cosmic abundances of hydrogen and helium, the distribution of galactic redshifts, and about the cosmic microwave background. Meanwhile, it seems to me that Rives’ young-earth creationism makes implicit predictions of its own: we should not be able to see, through telescopes, galaxies billions of light-years away since [a] there would not be time for their light to reach us since it was emitted and [b] they are in any case invisible except to powerful telescopes, and therefore useless as “signs for seasons, days, and years.”

2. It is probably worth noting that prior to Hubble’s work on redshifts during the 1920s, no biblical exegete interpreted “spreading out the heavens” as referring to the expansion of space or growing distances between galactic clusters. Indeed, tents (the thing to which the heavens are being compared in the quoted verse) aren’t supposed to stretch out indefinitely. They do have to be “stretched out” in order to be set up (rather like a dome) over a flat spot of ground, which is the interpretation of this verse by its earliest exegetes (see, e.g. the flat-earth cosmology of the authors of the book of Enoch and of the first-century Jewish historian Flavius Josephus).

3. I think that old-earth creationist Hugh Ross would be astonished to learn that he is an atheist (for that matter, long-time — if late — Big Bang critic Fred Hoyle might be surprised to learn that his own views were not those of an atheist). Indeed, there seems no reason for Rives to insist that the Big Bang theory is not an explanation for the origin of the universe except to leave open the possibility that God caused it (a rather common position among old-earth creationists and ID proponents).

4. It is not in any case a deficiency of a scientific theory that it explains only what it explains, and not something else: atomic theory doesn’t explain where atoms came from, for example, and neither Newtonian mechanics nor their Einsteinian refinements explain the formation of the planets whose orbits they do explain.

5. Newton, Galileo, and Kepler all challenged the prevailing (and entirely plausible) interpretation of scripture: that when the Bible, e.g. described Joshua as commanding the sun, not the Earth, to stop moving, or the Psalms describe the Earth as being fixed and immobile, that meant that the Earth did not rotate on its axis and orbit the sun, but that rather the sun orbited the Earth. This was the view not only of Pope Urban but of both Luther and Calvin. If Rives cites them as good scientists, he implicitly criticizes his own assumption that his interpretation of scriptures is the final word on scientific questions.


I frequently post small updates to current events stories on older blog posts, such as just earlier today I did an update on my “Forced Out of Business Because of The Gays” post about a British bed and breakfast owner losing a case. But, since this one concerns World Net Daily, the subject of this entire blog, I figured that I wouldn’t just post a small update on my previous story from October 4, 2013, World Net Daily Continues to Press Defamation Lawsuit for Spoof Story.” In that post, I concluded with this:

Anyway, the purpose of this post is WND’s latest, by Garth Kant, “Oral Arguments in $250M Defamation Case.” Larry Klayman (founder of Judicial Watch, currently with Freedom Watch) is the attorney representing WND, Farah, and Corsi.

Klayman is asking the appeals judge to basically throw out everything Esquire said that the trial judge found to be accurate, and if the appeals court doesn’t do that, he wants them to send it back to the district court and assign a new judge.

Maybe it’s just me, but this seems to be grasping at straws. I expect the appeals judge to dismiss the case with prejudice (meaning they can’t bring it back, but they can of course appeal again to a higher court).

As a side-note, Larry Klayman, WND’s attorney in this case, is the same guy who recently led a rally of “millions” (closer to 200) in Washington DC to oust President Obama. (Hint: Obama was not ousted.)

Anywho, the latest post, “Court Rules in WND’s ‘Birth Certificate’ Lawsuit,” was posted two days ago (November 26, 2013). Authorship is unattributed. The news can be best summarized by the first paragraph:

By a two-to-one vote, a federal appeals court panel Tuesday denied WND’s request for a jury trial to determine whether or not an Esquire magazine article that ridiculed the Internet publisher and suppressed sales of a book should be protected by the First Amendment.

Going further, as the article says, this was a two-to-one vote:

The majority of Judges Judith W. Rogers and Janice Rogers Brown wrote: “Because the reasonable reader could not, in context, understand Esquire’s blog post to be conveying “real news” – that is, actual facts about Farah and Corsi – the blog post was not actionable defamation.”

Senior circuit Judge Stephen F. Judge Williams decided in WND’s favor, but he did not issue a written opinion.

The majority further argued “it is the nature of satire that not everyone ‘gets it’ immediately,” citing the example of Daniel Defoe’s “The Shortest Way with the Dissenters,” an anonymous satirical pamphlet against religious persecution that initially was “welcomed by the church establishment Defoe sought to ridicule.”

Rogers and Rogers Brown contended that the article’s context, along with specific elements of substance and style, would “convince the reasonable reader that the blog post was satirical.”

(Yes, that second paragraph is a direct quote. I’m not sure where the typo is, but it’s somewhere because that sentence – or those two sentences – do(es) not make sense unless the guy has a second middle name and it’s “Judge.”) Klayman’s argument is that it should be up to a jury, not just the judges. But, tough for him — he’s the lawyer, they’re the judges, they get to decide. And, I don’t think that they have any hope for a successful appeal after this, especially since (based on my reading from USCourts.gov) the only appeal after this is the US Supreme Court.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, there are numerous ratings (485 ratings for a 4.69/5-star average) and 454 comments, two days later. It’s seriously not worth repeating them, especially since most are non sequiturs.


A FOX “news” article, written by Suzanne Venker, was copied over to World Net Daily two days ago. And, with a headline like that (“”), you know that it’s going to yield some, shall we say … “interesting” comments. (Warning, G-rating ends here.)

The theme and thesis of her article can perhaps be summarized by these paragraphs:

Over the past several decades, America has witnessed a profound change in the way women view men and marriage. It began with the baby boomer adage “never depend on a man.”

This message resulted in a generation of women who turned their attention away from the home and onto the workforce. They did what their mothers told them to do: they became financially independent so they’d never have to rely on a husband.

In time, “never depend on a man” turned into the full-blown belief that men are superfluous. In 2010 Jennifer Aniston claimed women needn’t “fiddle with a man” to have a child. …

Fortunately, most women come to the realization that they do, in fact, need a man—at least if they want a family.

With that in mind, this is one of those articles that you read WND for the comments, not for the actual article. In the past two days, 54 have been posted (along with a 4.10/5-star rating from 10 votes).

Most of the comments follow the general misogynistic theme and aren’t really worth repeating because they’re expected and uninteresting. Some, however, follow the idea that “both parents need balance in their lives.” Perhaps one of the more misogynistic comments comes from “Dave_Mowers” in response to “AnsonMac”: “That has been answered in numerous studies the only two things that count according to women; 1. Is he hot? (ie. I don’t care whether I am in a relationship or not I am having sex with that man) 2. How much is he worth, does he earn?”

Some commenters blame it on men being disenfranchised, such as “ERSmith” (6 up, 0 down votes): “Tell young men they are useless enough times and they begin to behave that way.” “Lemonjello King” responded (2 up, 0 down) with: “It’s all about commie-lib disinformation, a group of ideas that are old as the hills, as faulty as the worst of any Godless man-made philosophies, and more ready than ever to be retired out to pasture.”

Perhaps my favorite is by “kingdad” with 6 up and 0 down-votes, and why this post is not rated G: “Hmmm why women still need Husbands: A dildo can’t hug you back nor does it earn any income nor can it father a child or parent one. A Husband takes responsibility for his family, a dildo doesn’t. A husband can actually protect his family while a Dildo can’t. The same can be said for Lesbians as they are swapped in place of the dildos.. sarc off”

Of course, we can also blame liberals, as “Notre Dame” did (6 up, 1 down): “The War On Families started decades ago by Lyndon Johnson and femi-Nazi’s who convinced women that they didn’t need a man to raise a family, that they could have it all, children and a career. Then came No-Fault Divorce. Back in the 50’s 74% of black families had both a mother AND a father in the home. What is it now, 15%? It is a crying shame what the anti-family liberals have done to this country. Ever notice that those anti-family Nazi-women are uglier than a mud hut?”


Dennis Prager started out his article, “Mary Cheney, Liz Cheney and Left-Wing Hate,” with a reductio ad absurdum and just general straw man self-righteousness:

There are individual haters on the right and individual haters on the left. But there is no large-scale hatred in the United States of America today that compares with the hatred of the left for the right. Whereas the right regards the left as wrong – even destructively wrong – the left regards all those on the right as evil. Sexist, intolerant, xenophobic, homophobic, Islamophobic, racist, bigoted – these are typical descriptions of the right made by the most respected names on the left.

That’s right, folks: Us people on the left HATE people on the right, who are just trying to show the left’s foibles. It’s so much easier to reach your audience and gain sympathy when you are being hated on.

A few months (almost a year? wow…) ago, I wrote a post about this on my other blog, “Do Skeptics Hate the People They Debunk?” In it, I argued that rational people don’t make emotion part of the argument, that it’s about the argument’s content, not anything else. In this blog (WND Watch), I’ve given in a bit more into the emotional responses as my own outlet, but I don’t think I’ve gone anywhere near the vitriol attributed by Prager. And, I’ve certainly quoted examples that would indicate many people that WND supports certainly come close – if not surpass – the threshold for “hatred” of certain political and social points on the left (e.g., anything about the Islamic religion or homosexual equality).

Anyway, Prager goes on:

But among all of the left’s hatreds, none compares with its hatred of anyone who believes that marriage should remain defined as the union of a man and a woman. The left believes anyone, or any business, that supports the only gender-based definition of marriage that had ever existed should be politically, personally and economically destroyed. Recall, for example, the left’s attempt to drive out of business a restaurant in Los Angeles because one of its employees donated 100 dollars to California’s Proposition 8, the left’s boycott of Chick-fil-A and the left’s vicious attacks on the Mormon Church.

This greatest of contemporary American hatreds expressed itself again in the last two weeks after Liz Cheney, running for the Republican nomination for U.S. senator from Wyoming, said that she believes in the traditional definition of marriage.

The comment would have probably gone almost universally unreported were it not for a Facebook post written by Heather Poe, the woman who is married to Liz’s lesbian sister, Mary Cheney:

“Liz has been a guest in our home, has spent time and shared holidays with our children, and when Mary and I got married in 2012 – she didn’t hesitate to tell us how happy she was for us. To have her now say she doesn’t support our right to marry is offensive to say the least.”

Mary Cheney shared the message on her own Facebook page, adding, “Liz – this isn’t just an issue on which we disagree – you’re just wrong – and on the wrong side of history.”

This triggered a tsunami of left-wing hate against Liz.

Without pointing out the absurdities and logical fallacies (see my first paragraph) in his first paragraph in that block quote, let’s just go on to some of his examples.

New York Times columnist Frank Bruni:

“Isn’t there a tradition of close-knit family members’ taking care not to wound one another? … Liz and Mary aren’t speaking to each other now, and there’s a long shadow over the Cheneys’ holiday get-togethers. Is any political office worth that? … I’m imagining her awkwardness the next time that she goes to hug or kiss them (and I’m assuming that she’s a hugger or kisser, which may be a leap).”

New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd:

” … the spectacle of Liz, Dick and Lynne throwing Mary Cheney and her wife, Heather Poe, and their two children under the campaign bus. … Dick’s Secret Service code name was once ‘Backseat.’ Liz’s should be ‘Backstab.’”

Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson:

“Liz Cheney is also the sort of person who would not only throw her sister under the bus but also effectively do the same to her sister’s young son and daughter. … The Cheney sisters, once extremely close, reportedly haven’t spoken since the summer. What price political ambition?”

Blogger Andrew Sullivan:

“I would like to respond on behalf of Mary and Heather and the rest of us: f–k [Sullivan, of course, spelled out the word] your compassion. … You cannot publicly attack your own sister’s family and say you love her as well. It does not compute.”

Maybe Dennis Prager and I are using different definitions of the word “hate,” but I certainly don’t see “hate” in any of those comments. I see disappointment, indignance, and almost a sense of feeling sorry for the family since this issue has clearly emphasized a strain in the relationship between sisters. According to my built-in Apple® dictionary, “hate” means to “feel intense or passionate dislike for” or to “have a strong aversion to.” Neither of those seem to apply here. At least, I don’t read them that way. If Prager does, he needs to grow a skin thicker than the width of a human hair — though I s’pose that may be interpreted as me “hating” him.

Prager concludes with this:

I have received numerous emails from parents and siblings of gays who have completely cut off communications with their parents and siblings solely because those parents and siblings oppose same-sex marriage. In my view, this decision to shatter one’s family over this issue is the real immorality here.

The support of Bruni, Robinson, Dowd, Sullivan, Beinart and Toobin for this shattering of families by gay family members is not only morally wrong. It is frightening. Clearly, for them it is not enough for parents and siblings to show their gay family member love – and even celebrate their gay relative’s family – they must also permanently shut their mouths.

This is not only left-wing hatred. It is left-wing totalitarianism: Your good and kind behavior is completely insufficient. You must also speak and think as we do.

Or we will destroy you.

More logical fallacies … specifically, we go from him having been contacted by people who have cut off communication with a gay relative, which has shattered the family (argument from popularity, though it is unfortunately true), but then this somehow means that those who Prager quoted are pro-shattering of families by gay family members. Um … huh?!?! And he then proceeds to call that (in part) hatred and totalitarianism.

His “commentary” has gotten 12 ratings in the past few days (not many) for an average score of 3.67/5 (fairly low), but it has garnered 74 comments. They are what you would expect and, sadly, not worth going into (sad because of the content).


I think that World Net Daily tends to be a circle-j–k under the best of circumstances. A story with the headline, “Mom Faults Flue Shot in Teen Son’s Death,” is certainly no exception. Remember that WND (in general) is very conservative, anti-government, pro-corporations (but anti-“Big Pharma”), and very distrustful of science because it tends to conflict with their Bïble. So, when a story such as that is posted, you already know what the comments are going to be like: Predominantly anecdotes (argument from personal experience / argumentum ad populum) of either “I never took a vaccine and never got sick!” or “I became deathly ill but managed to survive from one jab and never took a vaccine again and have been 100% healthy!”

In this story, I don’t want to go through quoting the various anecdotes. Rather, I think it’s important to counter it with a little bit of skepticism. First, Sharon Hill over at Doubtful News has a good introductory post about it. She links to a post by Orac over at ScienceBlogs, and Orac points out that this is a tragic death, but it’s unexplained. As in, the mother insists it was the influenza inoculation, but that is not consistent with the medical care her son was receiving, is EXCEEDINGLY rare, and the mother refused to let an autopsy be done to determine the real cause of death because she “knows” what the cause is.

There’s also another science blog that points out that the mother is very much playing the part of a martyr rather than seeming to really want to know what caused her son’s death. This is evidenced not by her letting the doctors do an autopsy, but rather going on the television show, “Fox and Friends”:

On Fox and Friends (a show with a previous record of advancing the anti-vaccine agenda),

Webb said there’s “no doubt” in her mind that if they had focused on the flu vaccine from the start that her son would still be alive….

“He was so healthy. He was pure. He should have been able to fight the flu. I wish he would have gotten the flu rather than this vaccination,” said Webb.

It’s very difficult not to let emotional responses govern how we feel about something, especially when a personal tragedy is involved. It might be hard to fault the mother due to what she’s going through. Then again, what she is doing because of her personal tragedy is being exploited by anti-vaccine people who have zero evidence that this caused her son’s death (remember that correlation ≠ causation) but want to hype up the fear and the personal tragedy. It would be nice if the mother realized that she was being used. Or, if she is fully knowledgable of what she is doing, does one really think that her son would want his legacy exploited in this way?


If any of you follow any sort of atheist-leaning blogs, over the last week you probably saw that Texas was at it again, the School Board this time refusing to approve certain text books until some of their “experts” could tell them that, no, creationism was not presented alongside evolution. Okay … I exaggerate a bit, and for the real story, you can go to Jerry Coyne’s blog, the last post in the series on the issue.

For its part, World Net Daily decided to post just three paragraphs from CBS News on the issue and they titled it, “Evolution Debate Engulfs Texas Textbooks.” It has only 6 ratings (4.67/5 stars) for being up up for three days, but it does have a respectable 175 comments.

The majority of the highly ranked comments are anti-evolution, but they are using some of the stupidest arguments that are among the most easily debunked. And, more surprising, the immediate replies that are highly ranked are debunking them.

For example, “ngorgh” has 9 up and 1 down votes (highest to-date), and wrote, “Even Darwin in his latter days said it was hooey!” To be clear, Darwin never said that – the whole “death bed confession” idea that’s trotted out. Even Answers in Genesis lists this as an argument NOT to use, as pointed out in the 5 up and 1 down vote reply by “jillybean”: “Actually Darwin never backed away from his theory. They confirm that over at Answers in Genesis.”

Next up is “dj” who wrote, in part, with 12 up and 4 down votes: “Is it more logical to believe nothing exploded into everything and your grandpa was a monkey or in the beginning God created?The laws of causality and 2nd law of thermodynamics are empirical, demonstrated, and repeatable. The “theories” of Neo- Darwinian macro evolution and the big bang are just that “theories” .Unprovable conjectures of academics, mostly atheists,preferring not to acknowledge the existence of God because they don’t like His moral laws.”

Can we count the logical fallacies there? Most obvious is the straw man – making up an argument and then fighting against it. That’s perhaps one of the most obvious ones, and I’ll leave it as an exercise to the reader to find the others. 🙂 More to the point, several stupid claims are in here, like the whole “evolution says your grandpa was a monkey” (No), the second law of thermodynamics says evolution can’t happen (No), the false dichotomy of “macro vs micro” evolution, and of course the classic “evolution is just a theory.” The top-rated reply (wow!) with 6 up and 0 down votes is by “Dancewithme”: “This comment is a scathing indightment of our education system…did people on here just not go to their science classes or are the teachers that bad”

Next up is “Noble Gunnz” with 7 up and 1 down vote whose entire argument is based on the Appeal to Final Consequences logical fallacy (arguing that because of a final outcome – the consequence – then the things that led up to it must be a certain way) and perhaps another. S/he wrote, “Different beliefs result in different outcomes…a society that believes in survival of the fittest will probably evolve differently than one which subscribes to a “thou shalt not kill” mode of existence. We are free to choose. Texas Knockout Game, anyone? This is not just an intellectual excercise. Tinkering with the belief system in the schools has real-world consequences.” In other words, “Because I think that believing in evolution leads to consequences I don’t like, evolution is wrong.”

The craziness goes on. For example, the next post is by someone just quoting Bible verses. After that we have “Hagion” with 10 up and 3 down-votes: “No thinking person believes the blather about evolution any longer. Give me a break. First there was nothing…then it exploded! So everything was created by nothing. My God how could someone say they believe that with a straight face. We’ve had zero results from the fosil record for far too long, microbiology destroys the basic concepts of evolution, quantum physics fails to work in the context of Darwin. Stop selling us this snake oil.”

Amazingly again, “Econ major” has 11 up and 1 down vote with this scathing reply: “You clearly failed your science classes. What was your graduating GPA, a 0.6? Big bang theory is a completely separate theory than the theory of evolution. One concerns cosmology, and the other biology. The rest of what you said is nonsensical. Please go get a basic science education. That is why America is failing: our kids are so stupid they cannot be productive.”

To each of these, there are more responses. I recommend reading them if you have time to kill and seeing just the lunacy of some of these people and the further evidence of how Bible-based thinking is destroying science education and literacy.