Carnival of the Godless 3

JISHOU, HUNAN — Hello, Carnival readers! Welcome to my little neck of the virtual woods, coming from you live from “Godless” China. I blog here about teaching English as a Second Language, but also about living in the Middle Kingdom, church-state relations, religious hypocrisy, free speech matters relating to students and teachers, science, and pretty much anything else that pops into my head. Please take a look around my space here, in between reading these great submissions to the current edition of Carnival of the Godless. The Postman at “Gone Fishin’: Postcards From God” delivers a heartfelt letter from Gawd to His/Her/Their/Its peeps in “Dear People of the Book.” Gawd has not improved His/Her/Their/Its writing style much in the last 2000 years, since this letter is every bit as confusing and self-contradictory as the Book itself. Perhaps there’s a lesson there for us. (By the way, judging from His/Her/Their/Its blogroll, I think Gawd lives in Kentucky now. This explains a lot about the Bluegrass State’s politics – confusing and self-contradictory. But I digress.) One of Gawd’s best buds was Tomas de Torquemada, the first Inquisitor General of Spain and the last guy you’d invite to your kid’s bar/bat mitzvah. As ...

Anti-vaccination crowd: frauds, charlatans and dimbulbs 2

JISHOU, HUNAN — I’ve been meaning to blog about the anti-vaccination movement, but haven’t had the time to develop a thorough entry. Now I don’t have to; someone with much better creds has done it for me. Here’s the link: eSkeptic magazine. The author is Harriet Hall, MD, who dispassionately debunks the Holy Trinity of the anti-vax movement: Andrew Wakefield, thimerosal and the Jenny McCarthy/Jim Carrey road show. About 10 years ago, Wakefield, a British doctor, published journal articles and argued publicly that the MMR (measle, mumps, rubella) vaccination caused autism. The data in the articles was fraudulent, and his conclusions lies, but that hasn’t stopped the anti-vax crowd’s referring to his work as “proof” vaccinations cause autism. Nor has the revelation that Wakefield was in the pocket of lawyers trying to sue vaccine manufacturers for causing their clients’ children’s autism. In fact, Brits not getting the MMR vaccination for their kids — undoubtedly due to Wakefield’s self-serving anti-MMR publicity — has created a resurgence in measles cases in the UK. Thimerosal is a benign mercury compound that used to be in vaccines in tiny amounts as a preservative. After the mercury-causes-autism scares of the 1990s, mercury compounds were removed ...
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