Craziness Loves Company

Recently Kent Hovind’s International House of Lunacy offered to send out free DVDs to anyone who asked. So naturally, I had to take them up. Yesterday, it was delivered to my… let’s say “imaginary roommate”, with the oh-so-subtle name “Sevil Natas” (thanks to Fez for suggesting that).

I haven’t watched the DVD yet. But it came with bunch of ads for God and related products, including a CSE Ministries catalog. And that’s what I want to talk about. But I need to preface that with a bit of non-snark:

The insidious thing about HIV is that it doesn’t kill you. At least, not directly, by dissolving your cell walls or anything like that. Rather, it weakens your immune system. This makes your body less able to fight off HIV itself, and also leaves you vulnerable to other diseases. So what kills you is not AIDS per se, but something unrelated, that you normally would have been able to fight off easily.

I suspect that something similar goes on with woo: if you’re prone to hold one kind of irrational belief, then you’re probably prone to believing other kinds of irrational beliefs. If you don’t have the mental toolkit to recognize why astrology is bogus, then you might not recognize that dowsing or feng shui are also bogus.

But the thing about religion — certainly Christianity as it is widely practiced in the US and Europe — is that, like HIV, it actively attacks people’s mental defenses against bullshit, by teaching people that believing things without evidence is a virtue, or that religious ideas should be immune from criticism.

And now, on to the woo! Read More

Ionized Bracelets

This ad doesn’t actually say that the Q-Ray bracelet does a damn thing, but it sure as hellshit[] implies it:

Thanks to the Ask an Atheist guys for the pointer.

Hey, the Q-Ray people aren’t saying the bracelet does anything. That would be an invitation to get sued. No, the athlete is saying it. And she’s not saying it, either; she’s just saying it might.

And her testimonial is filmed in what appears to be a doctor’s office (or, more likely, a doctor’s office set. At least, my doctor doesn’t have any anatomical charts on his wall).

So it’s not actionable. But if you should happen to get the impression that this magic bracelet is part of a medical regimen endorsed by the medical profession, well, they won’t try to disillusion you.

The narrator says that magnets have been “used for centuries to promote a healthy lifestyle”. Of course, the same could be said of leeches.

As far as I can tell, the only verifiable claims made by the Q-Ray people are 1) it has magnets, and 2) “beautifully crafted, with an expandable steel band”.

This Hour Has 22 Minutes says pretty much the same thing, but won’t let me embed the video.

[] Text changed to refer to something for which there’s actual evidence.