Tag Archives: truth

Huffington Post supports too much woo

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I like Huffington Post for their political coverage. That’s what drew me to them in the beginning. Even as they changed their view point to be harder on the Obama Administration, I still read it every day. However editorial changes over the last few months have pushed me to stop recommending the site and to avoid linking to them in the future.

What changed my mind was when they added a religion section. At first I thought, since it was a liberal blog, it might give a fair shake to religion, instead the first articles I saw were from people bashing so-called “new atheists” and articles supporting creationism. Like the article by David Klinghoffer, from the creation shills the Discovery Institute, blaming Darwin for eugenics and the Nazis.

Then there is the Living section that is full of pseudoscientific crap one sees regularly on Oprah and “The View”. As Joshua Holland wrote:

I’ve long been a critic of HuffPo’s “Living” section, where fake doctors peddle snake oil cures and vaccine conspiracy theorists spread their poisonous misinformation. Those who read the Huffington Post solely for its (usually good) political content often don’t even realize that a couple verticals away is a den of quackery and pseudo science…

But publishing the new agey holistic naturopath crystal-healing Beverly Hills quack-to-the-stars bullshit of Adriana’s good friend’s nutritionist is one (stupid, potentially dangerous) thing. Giving a platform to the anti-science creationist dingbats at The Discovery Institute is a step in a darker direction.

Huffington Post Publishes Creationist Nonsense; Touchy About Criticism

Then today what should I see but in a prominent “above the fold” place a link to a live chat with the “positive thinking” huckster to the stars Tony Robbins. Here is a screen cap:

When it comes to science and medicine I have to insist on the truth and articles based on actual evidence that has been peer reviewed. Sometimes science doesn’t feel good – that isn’t its job. Science is suppose to inform us on the world in which we live.

And as blogger vjack noted:

I admit that I have been slow to act. I was torn because I continue to find excellent political content on HuffPo that I do not always see elsewhere. I have tried to avoid the woo and focus my attention on the good stuff. But now I have reached the point where the quackery simply couldn’t be avoided any longer. It is too pervasive, and it makes me question the credibility of everything else the blog does. PZ is right; it is time to walk away from HuffPo.

Huffington Post is no friend to reality

I agree the quackery taints what is good about HuffPo and so I can’t quote or link to it any longer.

No, Virginia, there is no Santa or anything else mythical

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I caught a story on my local TV station website Saturday afternoon that caused me to chuckle.

It seems a recent episode of “Everybody Hates Chris,” which is shown on the UPN network, had one of the characters named Drew tell his sister Tanya that there was no Santa Claus.

Drew told Tanya: ” Everybody knows there’s no Santa Claus … Come here, let me show you something. I’m taking you to the toys … Santa doesn’t come down the chimney. We don’t even have a chimney. We have radiators.”

Little Tanya stomps out of the room. Then, more bubbles are burst when Tanya’s dad, Julius, tells her the Easter bunny and tooth fairy don’t exist, either.

“Somebody better give me my teeth back,” the girl fumes.

Chris Rock’s ‘No Santa’ Show Is Christmas Spoiler

The funny part, at least to me, was later in the story when it reported the reaction of the child of the executive producer:

UPN said it got “a handful” of complaints about the show last week. Even the show’s executive producer and co-creator said his own 6-year-old son was upset when he saw the show.

Ali LeRoi said his wife ended up telling the boy to ignore it since “it was just a TV show” and that worked.

I guess “funny” is not the word I should use, more like “sad.” I mean we, as a community, demand that children not tell lies yet here are parents not only lying to their child but also encouraging a belief they themselves know is not true.

Of course some do lie and see nothing wrong with that. President Bush used false intelligence to sell the Iraq war to the US public, but children lying is frowned upon. At least that is what most people believe.

I think that if we want people to follow certain principles then we ought not look the other way because we might upset any contrary beliefs like a belief in Santa or some other mythical character. Adults KNOW there is no real Santa but every year some fall over themselves to make sure children believe there is one and act indignant if their child is told otherwise.

The title to this post alludes to the famous 1897 New York Sun editorial by Francis Pharcellus Church, who answered an 8 year old girl’s question “Is There a Santa Claus?”

Church writes:

Virginia, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except what they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men’s or children’s, are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus

We are told we are “affected” by skepticism that we only believe what we see. Our minds are small, we are told, unable to grasp the whole “truth” of the vast universe. We are told that there would be no art or romance and we would live in a dreary world indeed. We are told children need to believe or all light in the world would be extinguished — What the hell!?!

What is interesting about the editorial is if you substitute “Jesus” or “God” for “Santa Claus” you can read some of the very same arguments used to rebut those who don’t believe in any of it.

Here is how I would rewrite the editorial had it come to me in 1897:

Virginia, your little friends are right. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except what they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their minds. We may not know everything about this great universe of ours, but we know there is the possibility we may learn.

No, Virginia, there is no person named Santa Claus but the ideals that Santa stands for like love and generosity exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no love and generosity. It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias.

There is no Santa Claus nor fairies! You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but they would be wasting their time. Nobody sees Santa Claus because he doesn’t exist. The only real things in the world are those that children and men can see, taste, hear, and smell. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, because they don’t exist.

You can tear apart the baby’s rattle and see what makes the noise inside. Curiosity and science can help us learn the answers we don’t yet know.

A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, Santa will be just a mere footnote in the long story of human existence. He stands for the old way of attributing what was not understood, to mythical beings. It is passe to believe in Santa. Virginia, get a life.