Hot Topics Archive
About the Arena
I have decided to restore my web site to the way it was previously.
No longer will visitors be required to click before entering The Arena.
If you added the "Hot Topics" page to your "Favorites"
to avoid clicking on the home page every time you visited,
please change your Favorite back to the original homepage:
This change will take effect on Monday 12/22/14
This week's show was:
"Is belief in God required to hold office in America?"
Featuring: Jake MacAulay
The Science Segment was:
Read (8 pages)
To participate in the live debate, go to:
"Talkshoe.com" on any Saturday night at 9pm (Eastern time)
and click "join a call" - then select "The Skeptic Arena" (ID#45435)
You may just listen, type in comments, or you can debate by phone (724-444-7444)
A scientific study proves, what most of us have already figured out ...
Dr. Oz is a quack
And the show "The Doctors" isn't much better
A member of "Open-Carry Texas" has been charged with double homicide.
Did she kill a "bad guy with a gun" and save a bunch of people?
Not quite ... she gunned down her own husband and step-daughter.
Genetically speaking, Neandertals were our brothers and sisters (53:07)
Yes we mated with them, so in a sense,
all non-African modern humans are the product of incest.
Look on the bright side ... it's no worse than the biblical version.
Just when I thought Buddhism was above all those other religions,
they have to go out of their way to prove ... that they aren't
Well okay, Buddhism is certainly far more moral than the Abrahamic religions,
but stories like that one demonstrate the weaknesses inherent in all religions.
Louisiana is disappearing slowly ... but surely
The Ark Encounter theme park in Kentucky loses tax breaks
because they will only hire Christians.
The thing to keep in mind here is, that these are the same people (Conservatives)
who try to claim that they are totally against government handouts ...
yet they are always the first ones in line - with their hands out
Anatomy of the Republican party (6:31)
Or if you prefer, you can just read the script (3 pages)
CSICOP sent a petition to journalists
requesting that journalists restrict their use of the word "skeptic"
only to those in the skeptical community (as defined by csicop)
My email to CSICOP (1 page)
On a similar note, chiropractors are demanding
that journalists stop referring to gynecologists as "doctors."
Recently I pointed out that Republicans now control the House, the Senate, the Supreme Court, most state governor's offices, and most state legislatures.
Now, for the first time ever, they control most state Attorneys General
There is only one prize left that the rich have yet to capture
before they obtain complete control ... the presidency.
After the amazing abandonment of Obama by the Democratic party in the Midterm elections (which cost them everything), it looks like a complete Conservative conquest of America is only 2 years away.
Today the House passed the spending bill to keep the government functioning. It deregulated the banks and allowed individual campaign contributions to increase ...
And if the Senate rejects it, they will be the ones accused of shutting down the government.
The Plutocracy's victory over Democracy is virtually complete. The only way this can happen in a Democracy, is with the help of the ignorant masses. They are doing far, far more damage to America than any foreign enemy. We must increase our efforts to spread rational thinking skills. Deprogramming brainwashed Americans will be an incredibly difficult task. Anyone who has "Fox Friends" already knows this.
But it's not like we have a choice
Is it getting hot in here ... or is it just me?
Posting to Facebook can get you executed
Now you know what Christian life was like for centuries
The scientific mechanism behind global warming (4:44)
Jonathan Gruber's mouth has Democrats embarrassed.
Let's review a few of his 'gems'
"The stupidity of the American voter"
Oddly, the comment above which brought him the most criticism ...
is the only one he got right.
Now you know where they got the term "educated idiot"
Here's an interesting appraisal of the Midterm elections ...
from a Republican journalist
However, the journalist underestimated the power of the rich.
Without rational thinking skills, many people (regardless of education), are just ...
Christians are attacking America from every angle
Texas textbooks ... again
School boards are too important for us to continue to allow morons to run them.
All boards should be filled by professionally trained teachers and educators,
not by elected dentists and preachers.
Oklahoma's school board went even further.
Fortunately, more rational thinkers prevailed ... this time.
Hobby Lobby's Evangelical owner, Steve Green,
loses his bid to force his beliefs into the public school system
Here's more news from the education battlefront
In Kansas, Citizens for Objective Public Education
was sent packing in its attempt to fight evolution and climate change science
I couldn't resist the opportunity to rub it in, but ...
at least I gave them some hope
Here is an excellent analysis of the Michael Brown shooting
written in, what I would call, an unbiased manner.
The audio recording contradicts Wilson's version of events
Based on this article, the audio contradicts Wilson.
Other forensic evidence contradicted the witnesses, and,
they contradicted each other.
What a friggin' mess.
But this next case is straightforward
Skip ahead to 7:00 ... or you'll fall asleep and miss the whole thing
The driver, a 46-year-old veteran officer, is responding to a call of a 'guy' pointing a gun at people. The dispatcher failed to notify the officers that the gun might be a fake, so they had to assume that the suspect was pointing a real gun. So what does this veteran officer do?
Dumbshit drives to within two feet of the suspect where his rookie partner finds himself staring at a suspect who might kill him any second.
What department in the country would train an officer
to approach an armed suspect like that?
Even the lamest officer on the planet would have had better sense, than to do what he did. That little kid is dead because of this veteran officer's incredibly stupid decision.
Between these two shootings ... I would be protesting the second one
Faith healing laws in the U.S.
The most ironic thing about this story is that those people ...
are all "pro-life."
See if you can spot the error in this article ...
New approach to explaining quantum physics
I sent this email to the author
I expected at least a 'Thank You'
The price for wearing a loose-fitting hijab in Iran?
acid in the face
I wonder how long Miley Cyrus would last on the streets on Tehran?
New T-Rex cousin discovered in Utah
Utah, like China, is now a hotbed of fossil discovery.
"Lyz" from the Secular News Daily had some things to say about Ferguson.
And so did I ...
Before Andromeda gets here in 2-3 billion years,
our Milky Way galaxy is due for a collision in about 30 million years.
(However, I think we're gonna win this one)
Iraqis want to pass bill to legalize child marriage
What does that say about your "men"
when the only way they can find women is by marrying children
and the only way they can get them to perform sex ...
is by government order.
Monkeys mentally control virtual arms
When Republicans go nuts over Obama's immigration action
you might want to keep in mind ...
this fact that Republicans are hiding from you
This is another example of the horror of the 2-party system that George Washington tried to warn us about. Neither side wants to see the other succeed, so both end up fighting against America. But between the two parties, only one fights for the good of the average American; the other only has an interest in protecting the profits of the rich.
Last year when Republicans didn't get their way
they shut down the government and threatened to destroy our economy;
all to prevent the poorest, sickest Americans from getting health care.
So how do they top that?
By inciting violence and anarchy
Now Republicans are willing to urge the country into violent chaos;
all to prevent immigration reform.
It's not like Americans didn't see this coming.
Last year Republicans gave us a sneak peak
at how far they were willing to go if not given their way.
Republicans continue to push the lie that Obama governs like a dictator knowing full well that it is their own actions which force him to take executive action; and even then, when you check the facts ...
they don't support that lie
The only presidents since the 19th century who have issued fewer executive orders than Obama were those who served fewer years. Per year, Obama has used his executive powers less than any president in well over a hundred years.
But America reelected these useless, lying sacks of shit ...
and now we have to sleep with them.
It turns out that our Kardashian-obsessed media
hasn't been telling us everything about ebola, like ...
It stays in the semen 3 months after it has been cleared from the blood
Personally, I'm glad our media has its priorities straight.
We wouldn't want to frighten the people with things like ...
In case you've ever wondered why I fight ...
Now you know. Videos like that fuel my anger and boil my blood.
Message to all religious fanatics:
It would be wise to stay the fuck out of my way for as long as you can ...
until I find you
Early detection method for Autism has been discovered
Here is a good argument for why
Catholic clergy should be allowed to have families.
Pope attacks euthanasia
Maybe if the Pope had been allowed to have a family,
and was forced to suffer through the pain
of having to watch one of his own children die slowly in agony,
as so many millions of other parents have had to do;
he might have developed that ounce of humanity
that his horrid religion has removed from his being.
If you've never taken the "Selective Attention Test"
try it now (1:22)
(No, I did not get to take the test, because I had already read about it first)
I sent the following email to co-author, Christopher Chabris:
"I have been unable to locate any mention of,
what I would consider to be,
the most important information of all:
1) What was the average score of those who saw the gorilla?
2) What was the average score of those who missed the gorilla?
I was unable to locate the info on the internet.
I read the
but could not find the info I wanted."
Here is the reply from co-author Christopher Chabris:
"There's an analysis like this on page 1069 of the article, but we did it by correlating noticing (1 for noticing, 0 for missing) with the error magnitude (# of passes away from correct count), averaged across conditions. The correlation was tiny. In our more recent paper in I-Perception we found that people who made more counting mistakes were more likely to notice the unexpected event, but only when the counting task was difficult."
Here is the excerpt from page 1069 of the article:
"Across these fifteen conditions the correlations averaged to r . 0:15, suggesting that noticing was not strongly associated with counting poorly or inattentively."
As stated in the abstract, those who noticed the gorilla did miss more passes on average than those who didn't. So why were the authors raving about the abilities of those who noticed the gorilla?
I reached the opposite conclusion:
Viewers were given a task. Those whose powers of concentration were so strong that they couldn't be distracted, even by someone in a gorilla suit, should have been praised for passing the test with flying colors; while those whose powers of concentration were not as strong, and got distracted from their assigned task, and therefore missed more passes, should have been the ones who were viewed as having performed less efficiently.
I formed these opinions about the authors:
1) When the results revealed that those, who could not be distracted by the gorilla, scored better, the authors tried to bury the accomplishment of those subjects deep in the abstract.
2) Knowing that they could not omit that fact without being accused of hiding data, they briefly mentioned it, but even then, they tried to minimize the importance of the difference in performance.
Why did the authors take a positive quality: the ability to focus and successfully complete a task, and turn it around completely backwards, and accuse the successful subjects of "inattentional blindness?"
I see at least two possibilities:
1) If they highlighted the results which showed that people who were distracted by the gorilla scored lower than those whose powers of concentration were superior, and who therefore, were able to see more passes; everyone would have yawned and said "So what. Why is that news?"
But, then a light bulb appeared over the researcher's heads and they realized that if they criticized those who performed better, and gave it an exotic name, like "inattentional blindness," then they could give the impression that those who performed more poorly, possessed some special gift.
Then, as we all saw, instead of yawn-makers, they became celebrity researchers!
2) It is also possible that the researchers fell prey to one of the most common weaknesses of all humans, one which all scientists must constantly be on guard against ... confirmation bias.
The authors started with a conclusion, and when the results produced a contrary result, they simply "interpreted" the results in a way that supported their original hypothesis.
Creationists do that all the time.
They start with the answers and try to force science to conform to their myths.
But we expect more from our scientists.
What girl wouldn't dream of scoring a guy like this?
Close-set eyes, chiseled features, powerful jaw.
And that hairline ... receding faster than the tide in Chai Wan Bay.
oooooh ... baby!
How does that hunk sound now? I guess looks aren't everything, huh?
Think about it for a moment - the
thing about that guy ... is his looks!
Psychologists have determined that guys like Tony,
who have an uncontrollable hatred of women, are almost always ...
That Wiki article was only missing one thing ... Tony's picture
In 2014 Republicans won the most seats in state legislatures
that they have had since 1928 ...
the year before the Great Depression
The remaining safety nets that were put in place by FDR
are the only thing preventing us from experiencing the horror
that our grandparents went through ...
and Republicans are fighting to remove those as well.
I sent the following email to a science writer who was reporting on a story
about a petition circulated by scientists, against ...
Brain Games (4 pages)
I wasn't defending "Brain Games." I couldn't defend or attack them because the petition was so poorly written that it didn't specify which claims were being challenged.
I was attacking the scientists who made general, vague accusations.
As scientists, they should have known better. Then I found this ...
One type of "brain game" that does improve mental functioning
So I sent a followup email:
"This study, published in PNAS, gives a great example of why
you should have been more specific when you were attacking "Brain Games."
You need to specify which claims were excessive or untrue,
otherwise you are simply mounting an assault on thinking."
(they didn't reply before, so I expect they'll ignore this one too)
Can a non-existent God write a letter?
Let's find out
This video will test your gag reflex (2:35)
This is taken from US Supreme Court Chief Justice Taney's opinion
in the 1857 Dred Scott decision, in which Taney stated that slaves were:
"so far inferior that they had no rights which the white man was bound to respect."
As much as we hate to admit it,
even our highest judges can be pig-ass ignorant.
Want a more modern example?
Bill Maher on Justice Scalia (4:27)
Since I've been rather lucky with my predictions lately,
I think I will try to push my luck.
Predictions after Tuesday's disastrous Midterm elections
(for the rich: just change that adjective to "glorious")
Obama WILL BE impeached.
Republicans hate him personally with a psychopathic passion. Like Clinton (another man whom they could not beat), they know they don't have the votes to successfully remove him from office, but that's okay because, like Clinton, their purpose is only to blackmark his legacy for all of history (childish I know, but then again, that's exactly what most Conservatives are).
This will also aid them in their takeover of the only prize left, that they do not own ... the presidency. They control the Senate, the House, the Supreme Court, most state legislatures, and most state governor's houses. They will send unpassable bills to Obama forcing him to use his veto power, and then grandstand in front of the American people claiming that Obama and Democrats refuse to work with them.
If they succeed in completing their takeover by winning the presidency in 2016:
Dodd-Frank will be reversed and the tax cuts that were extended to all but the wealthy, will be re-extended to the wealthy.
More tax loopholes will be opened for corporations, big banks, and Wall Street
until our tax code looks like Swiss cheese.
Conservatives will fill all the judicial nominations, that they blocked under Obama, with Conservative judges who have no intention of objectively interpreting the law, but will instead, force the Conservative agenda on Americans. We have already seen this happen many times recently under the 'Roberts' Court.
And by the way, the Conservative agenda is ... whatever "The Rich" want.
Yes America - we are screwed.
And in what has to be the greatest example of prophecy I've ever seen,
Abraham Lincoln was right ...
we did it to ourselves.
"America will never be destroyed from outside.
If we falter and lose our freedoms,
it will be because we destroyed ourselves."
In the culture war that has been tearing America apart since the Civil War, I consider Texas to be Ground Zero. Texas has come a long way since the days when its citizens were willing to kill and die for, the right to keep human slaves. Lyndon Johnson (D-TX) was known as the "Civil Rights President" and Texas recently had a Democrat as governor (a woman no less).
But the Confederacy has fought back hard, and now has control over this vast and powerful state. They have nearly eliminated abortions which will send women back into the alleys; they have refused the Medicaid expansion which will cost the lives of thousands of Texans; they have discussed succession (Perry); they attempted to crash the American economy (Cruz); and they constantly attack education through their control of school boards.
Nothing boils my onions more than seeing these Confederate bastards bullying decent, honest people; so I sent the following video to Democrats in Texas who were running for governor, the Senate, and the House. I offered free use of the video, but I'm not aware of anyone actually using it (54 seconds).
The 2014 Midterm Elections
The defenders in Texas who are fighting to modernize the state by removing this Confederate cancer, remind me of the vastly outnumbered and outgunned heroes of the Alamo. But just like at the Alamo ... reinforcements are pouring in.
Here's my message to Confederate pricks ...
"You ain't gettin' Texas"
They may hold on a little longer, but forces are mounting against them. We defeated them, militarily, 150 years ago ...
It's high time we finished the job
One of the greatest heroes in American history - Vashti McCollum (56:03)
McCollum v. Board of Education (Supreme Court - 1948)
We owe our freedom to that woman.
Without her courage, we would all be kneeling in the direction of Bethlehem ...
5 times a day
The 113th Congress has received the lowest ratings of any congress in history from American voters. They seem to be perpetually on vacation, where they accomplish just about as much as when they are in session and "working."
Question: do they deserve the title of "The Worst Legislature in U.S. History"
Well, about half of them do: the Conservative half.
It is disturbing that many blame Congress as a whole, when it couldn't be more obvious that the blame rests almost entirely on Conservative lawmakers. They have spent the last 6 years doing everything in their power to bring America to a grinding halt in a desperate attempt to regain power by fooling ignorant Americans into believing that the blame lies elsewhere.
We elected them and paid them to provide us with government. Instead all we got in return was Bible-thumping, flag-waving, and obstruction of government.
Conservative lawmakers actively work for the rich against the interests of the other 99% of Americans. The non-rich Conservative base doesn't realize that they are voting against their own self-interests when they support Conservative politicians.
Yet the polls show that brainwashed Conservative voters continue to support these seditious American politicians, plan to reelect most of them, and vote in new ones; possibly giving control of both houses of congress to Conservatives.
This means that our long national nightmare is far from over.
The only solution I can see, is that the masses must develop the rational thinking skills necessary to vote intelligently, if they are to free themselves from being so easily manipulated by greedy, evil people.
More evidence for an RNA world
Classic Emails (1 page)
Yesterday I made a prediction.
I will save you the trouble of scrolling down. I wrote:
"I'm predicting they will hide under their rock just like the CDC did"
If I get any better at predicting stuff, I'm going to open up a psychic hotline ...
and start competing with Miss Cleo.
Take a look at this bullshit, "go-away kid - you bother me" email
that they sent back to me
I took enough of that evasive crap last year from the CDC. Now it's time to ...
Let the games begin!
By the way, I found recent data - and it only makes my case ... stronger.
Classic Emails (1 page)
I sent the following email to the editors at Medical News Today:
There is an error in Hannah Nichols' article
What are the top 10 leading causes of death in the US?
The #3 cause of death should be "In-Hospital Medical Errors"
with almost 200,000 per year (and that figure was from 10 years ago).
Here is the link to the article, containing supporting data
on deaths due to in-hospital medical errors
That link is from your own web site.
Last year I sent that link to the CDC, asking them why they did not include "medical errors" on their list, as it gives the impression that the medical profession is trying to hide something.
They responded that they did not understand me!
They said I needed to "elaborate further."
I replied that I could not have made it any clearer, and repeated the question:
Why did they refuse to include the #3 cause of death on their list?
The CDC then stopped communication.
The ball is in your court MNT.
You can either deal with this embarrassment or ignore it like the CDC ...
the choice is yours.
(I'm predicting they will hide under their rock just like the CDC did;
but this is one time ... I wish I were wrong)
Satanist destroys 10 Commandments plaque on government property
The character "Satan" is only found in the Christian Bible.
Therefore, only those who believe in the Bible can be Satanists.
Atheists don't have imaginary friends
(at least, none that originate in religion)
which highlights yet another bizarre, crazy Christian accusation:
that Atheists worship Satan.
If you read the Bible, you might be puzzled as to how anyone who finished reading the whole book could come away with the notion that between God and the Devil ...
that God was the good one.
In fact, I have offered many internet commenters this challenge:
"You post a verse from the Bible which shows the evil of Satan.
I will then reply with a verse which shows the evil of God.
We will trade verses until one of us runs out."
No one has ever accepted that challenge.
The commenter always disappears into the safety of cyberspace.
Where is the coldest place in the Universe?
The Boomerang Nebula (only 5,000 light years away) checks in at ... 1 degree K!
Why are Conservatives so desperate to rewrite American history when it comes to the Civil War? Why are they willing to tell easily disprovable lies in order to convince you that the Civil War was not fought over slavery?
Here is the reason ...
Modern humans find slavery to be one of the most repugnant, disgusting activities ever practiced by mankind. It is now illegal in every country in the world.
In order to escape the stigma that goes with having a history of fighting and dying to keep humans in bondage, Conservatives do everything in their power to try to distract your attention away from that embarrassment, and get you to believe instead, that it was really an honorable war to protect state's rights.
As the article above proved ... the facts say otherwise.
Hot Topics older than 2 months can be found in the
Hot Topics Archive
(categorized by topic)