How fake experts are used to mislead

How fake experts are used to mislead

On the BioLogos Forum frequent commentator “beaglelady” introduces a video from Dr. John Cook, Research Assistant Professor at Center for Climate Change Communication, George Mason University, author of the book Cranky Uncle vs. Climate Change, and founder of http://SkepticalScience.com . The video is entitled, “How fake experts are used to mislead”, and takes to task, in particular, “America’s Frontline Doctors” and Dr. Stella Immanuel.  Snopes.com said:

A group that called itself “America’s Frontline Doctors” (AFD) took to the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court on July 27, 2020, in a self-described “White Coat Summit” to address a “massive disinformation campaign” regarding COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by SARS-CoV-2.

Additional investigation by Snopes seems to show the AFD was an ad hoc group put together for the demonstration on the Supreme Court steps, although since then, according to Snopes: “AFD registered for a second domain, americasfrontlinedoctorsummit.com, on July 29, according to Whois. As of Aug. 6, the group appeared to still be active on Facebook and Instagram with thousands of followers.”

Stella Immanuel

Stella Immanuel, a licensed physician, currently practices at a private clinic in Texas.  The Wiki page goes on to say:

As the founder of a charismatic religious organization, Fire Power Ministries, she has made various fringe claims about other medical conditions, especially as it relates to human sexuality, including that endometriosis, infertility, miscarriages, and sexually transmitted infections are caused by spirit spouses. She has also endorsed a number of conspiracy theories, including the involvement of space aliens and the Illuminati in manipulating society and government.

Although the fake expert has been around for a long time, the problem in American science was greatly exacerbated during the smoking debates of the 1980s.  The tobacco companies used the strategy of the “Whitecoat project” to project pro-tobacco propaganda as alternative science. It didn’t matter if their scientists had any real experience in public health, they just had to look like they did.

Another cogent example is the “Global Warming Petition Project” that achieved 31,487 signatures of scientists.  But when you looked closer at the signatories, 99.9% had no climatology expertise.  It was fake experts in bulk—which is far better than one fake expert.

How do you identify a fake expert?  Dr. Cook gave some examples:

  1. You don’t become an expert in one field by having a degree in another field
  2. Some people think their expertise in some other field gives them the authority to contradict expertise in the specific medical field related to the pandemic.
  3. You don’t acquire expertise by standing in the vicinity of other experts.
  4. You don’t become an expert because of a smart family member.
  5. You’re not a scientific expert because you think you have a great brain.
  6. Another red flag of false experts is when someone claims their own authority is superior to the consensus of experts in that field.
  7. The only way to achieve expertise in a complex subject is through years of study, further years of scientific research, and having your research scrutinized by other experts.

One often hears from purveyors of fake experts the admonition to “do your own research”.  But until you’ve had actual training in research in a scientific discipline, most people have no idea how to research a subject. They think it means type a subject into an online search engine.   All too often, when we “do our own research” what we are really doing is looking for confirmation our particular position is right, which is all too easy to do online.

Dr. John Cook has a series of videos examining the logical fallacies, rhetorical techniques, and conspiratorial thinking in COVID misinformation.  They are a very good series, well done, low key without adding his own overblown rhetoric.  The critique of his effort is that he is preaching to his own choir.  Would somebody caught up in COVID misinformation even sit through one of his videos?  Probably not.  Dr. Cook takes direct aim at Donald Trump’s mishandling of the COVID crisis.  Any Trump supporter will likely run off shouting “fake news”.  Is there anybody still on the fence that might be convinced by a well-reasoned argument? Maybe… I don’t know.  A recent ABC news poll found nearly two-thirds of Americans disapprove of Trump’s handling of the COVID crisis.  So maybe there is hope.  I say keeping plugging away with the truth…

133 thoughts on “How fake experts are used to mislead

  1. Christiane,

    But then since you don’t have a STEM background, I guess truth in those fields don’t matter. Never mind when engineers and others screw up, lots of people die. But Wade can do no wrong because he fights the abusers. Talk about tunnel vision. But then Wade is too chickenshit to come to this forum where he can’t block comments he doesn’t like.

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  2. You need to roll your D20 first and taking into account my AC. I would be getting it on like Uther Pendragon was in the beginning of the movie “Excalibur” – in armor no less)

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  3. Laura W.

    In regards to Fake Experts, the first thing is to point out that many of them do not the specific educational background or professional experience (and this can be documented and shown to your family members). When Trump (or whomever on a Cable News show) pulls up Dr. X, MD, the first thing to ask and confirm is what is their MD in and what is their specialty. I am sorry but all MDs will have a cursory knowledge of epidemiology and virology due to their schooling but nothing in-depth. Just as one does not ask your cardiologist for medical advise on your mammogram, the same it is with this stuff. This approach will eliminate a good chunk of the fake experts (OAN routinely pulls medical people who comment outside their lane, probably because most of those true experts will not advance OAN’s narrative).

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  4. Most definitely. A mattress not filled with straw is also pretty good along with a bed frame with the mattress slats made from wood rather than a crisscrossed rope.

    Minor bit of Trivia: The crisscrossed rope used in the bed frame to support the mattress had to be tightened periodically as the rope would slacken and sag. This is where the phrase “Good night, sleep tight.” comes from.

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  5. I went though several Freedom In Christ seminars/sessions. For the most part I found them helpful. It was a turning point in my immersing myself in deep-seeded anger. A few things in his first book were puzzling.

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  6. Christine,

    Did you even read the article he posted about Tesla and his disbelief in the Laws of Relativity contained Therein? And if you read it, did you even try to understand what the critics were saying?

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  7. Christiane,

    Sigh……

    This has NOTHING to do with politics or religion. Let me ask you this, what if Wade started to post on his blog that the Earth was flat or that we never went to the Moon and the Apollo Landings were faked? Would you not think that impacts his credibility? What would you say if people who are much more knowledgeable in the sciences showed all kinds of physical evidence that proves that the Earth is round and we did go to the Moon and he continues to deny it, calls them bullies, or worse say it is a conspiracy? And then he attracts all kinds of followers who then buy into it? That is exactly what is happening.

    I leave you with this FACT. Physical laws, principles, and equations, in chemistry, physics, mathematics etc. are tested and confirmed far, far more rigorously than ANY abuse claim could possibly hope to be. I would pit the probability of the Earth being round be higher and more certain than any abuse victim could possibly be.

    You probably do not have a STEM background for whatever reason, so I guess it is OK in your mind that a theologian is portraying himself as an expert in something outside his lane.

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  8. You need to go back and read his blog on Tesla and Africa. Then His Facebook posts since March.

    I was in agreement with you until then.

    Oh, and who are we? Not sure what you mean. I’ve been on this blog for 2 decades. Other than that what do you expect to know?

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  9. I stand by my words in support of the character of Wade Burleson. Of course, I do not agree with his politics and some of his religious doctrines,
    but I do not see Wade Burleson as someone malevolent in the way you are both (who are you guys?) trying to bring him down.

    Wade has already suffered from criticism when he stood up for victims, and he survived it. He doesn’t need me to speak for him. But I need to stand up for him in witness that I believe him to be a good and decent man with whom many may disagree,
    but no way is he someone who would willingly cause harm to people, no.

    I need to say this, as a character witness if nothing more, out of respect for the good Wade did for those original victims. That mattered then to me. And it matters now.

    I’m sad that he is caught up in the far right news and media bubble, but I think his soul is intact. And in the end, is not the person more important than ANY differences?

    and sure, who are you two guys anyway . . . . a lot of criticism that is personal towards people is what I see from you . . . . what is this all about?

    I stand by my own words in support of Wade’s character, yes. And I have no problem doing it.

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  10. I was looking for an even handed guide on Fake Experts that I could refer people to, perhaps on my Face Book page. But, alas, I can’t use this video because of all the clips of Trump at his worst moments. Any interlocutor, especially among my family members, would accuse me of bias, because they already know I lean that way. That’s too bad, because Dr. Cook’s points are otherwise completely valid. Oh well.

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  11. Sorry for the jargon:

    FEA = Finite Element Analysis (used to determine stresses, strains, and deformation in solid objects under load).

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  12. BTW, at home I have the “Home Edition” of Mathematica. I read before purchasing that the learning curve of Mathematica is steep. They were not kidding. I will not attempt to learn it anymore because time is short and valuable and the syntax (where and when to use parenthesis, brackets, etc) is overly complicated.

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  13. About Wade B and others. And to Christiane’s comments and those of others.

    Wade has done a lot of very good work in addressing multiple issues with “church” in the US. And maybe around the world but I don’t know about that. He has served as representatives to state and national church organizations and worked hard to bring them out of their wrong past policies. Some of these efforts have been successful and some not.

    And to be honest I have some disagreements with his theology. But that is normal in a world of 8 billion people. None of us have a perfect understanding of anything.

    These efforts have brought him some measure of fame and recognition. And some to disparage him.

    My comments ARE NOT about any of the above. Most of which in the past I admired. And still do in some ways.

    But he runs a blog and Facebook page where basically does the Andy Griffith thing of “aw shucks, I’m just a good old boy with opinions and my blog and facebook page have nothing to do with my pastoral life.”

    This is my opinion is just a plain case of total self deception, denial of the truth, or worse.

    Of course his fame from his pastoral life is what makes his Facebook page and blog have weight. And on these he promotes nonsense science, misleading medicine, and incredibly bad public policy based on the aforementioned science and medial statements. And people listen because of the fame.

    I will NOT give him a pass. He’s wrong and his comment are leading to deaths and wreaked lives of innocent people.

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  14. “Everyone else is doing it so why can’t we?”

    Last night on French radio, they were interviewing a French footballer born in Togo, asking him about the NBA boycott over Blake.

    He was an ‘expert’ because he had also experienced racist insults during his sporting career.

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  15. The problem with Wade (and many others in the US) is this:

    “There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.”

    – Isaac Asimov

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  16. Considering the conversation was Pre-Fall, we don’t have a point of reference in the present day to compare snakes (or anything else really) to before the Fall.

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  17. Maybe Wade should actually stick to what he actually is trained in and is an expert on. Maybe he should stay in his lane. If you notice, I never challenged Wade on his articles about Patterson or church abuse or even whether women should preach. This is true of many of us who have have a beef with Wade. What is our beef? He drifts out of his lane and INTO our lanes. And when we honk the horn, he digs in his heels, complains about bullies and aggressive drivers, and gives us the finger for having the temerity for honking him.

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  18. Christiane,

    And here is my rebuttal. The problem is that because Wade has done all this, he has unwittingly let it go to his head in other matters. In his mind that experts in the physical sciences that challenge his dogmatic and factually incorrect assertions are somehow bullies. That in the name of so-called liberty, he somehow thinks he can get a pass on stating things that are incorrect and have been demonstrated by the evidence to be so. This undermines his credibility in all matters and there is no way you cannot see that. Engineers and astronomers do not challenge Wade when he asserts a point of fundamental Christian doctrine like, “In order to be Christian one must believe that Jesus was crucified and raised again on the 3rd Day.” It would be asinine for them to do so. Yet somehow Wade does that with fundamental laws of physics and get away with it and people defend him.

    By the way, if the Laws of Relativity were not true or proven, then our whole GPS satellite system would not work and you would drive your car into a ditch or get lost.

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  19. I dabbled in it some, but have not done so in years. Forget long ago what I did know.

    It is a powerful tool and quite flexible, albeit perhaps the not the most efficient compared to specialized software designed for the problem at hand (i.e. specialized FEA software will be more efficient than using MATLAB for it.)

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  20. Grrr…confusing. The PDE course instructor would most likely have been the instructor I had for the ODE class (Dr. Carr).

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  21. Hi CM! Kinda wish I would I would have been able to take a PDE course, but that was only offered at my college on an irregular basis. The instructor would have been my instructor for ODE, and I really loved his teaching style and learned well from him.

    Not sure if I asked you this, but in your education and/or career, have you had to learn and utilize MATLAB? I had to learn and use it for my undergrad research project. Thinking of picking it up again to beef up my resume (along with Python) in case my job goes kaput.

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  22. I’m more than a little creeped out when I come across people (in print/online and in person) who have a bit too much knowledge of demons, or the Dark Side, if you will. Long ago a friend of mine was hanging out with a believer that had a bit too much knowledge of these things. He was a fairly creepy fellow.

    On the old Christian rock band Petra’s “More Power To Ya” album (yes, album) they had a back-masked passage in one of their songs. Played in reverse it said “what are you looking for the devil for when you should be looking for the Lord”.

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  23. Hehe…my post was a total fabrication also! Funny thing though…in our forecasting lab at college, our professor had a paper posted on “forecaster’s excuses for a blown forecast” – 3 columns with technical-sounding words and and you combine all three so you can sound erudite.

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  24. I frequently comment on Wade Burleson’s blog. I do not find him to be someone who is malevolent, no. Far from it. If people do not know this, I can tell them that Wade stood up for missionaries that were being persecuted by the Patterson crowd (SBC) after the ‘takeover’ of the SBC by fundamentalists. Also Wade stood up for Dr. Sheri Klouda, a Hebrew professor at an SBC seminary, who was fired because she was female.

    It cost him to do this. And I found this to be an affirmation of his witness to Christ, that he stood up for those victims of fundamentalist abuse at personal costs.

    So I will speak FOR him now.

    I do not agree with Wade’s politics, no. And I have recommended to him and to some of the people on his blog that they ‘widen’ their sources of information to include a broader spectrum of political ideas. But I will not speak against Wade, the person, no.

    I wish things were different for good people in the ‘red states’, but many are locked into isolated communication and media ‘bubbles’ and that has taken its toll.

    Personally, I will always see Wade Burleson as a decent Christian man who stood up for innocent people during a time when very few others who were ‘known’ in the SBC did. He paid for his stand, and that meant something then to me AND it means something to me NOW.

    Me? I support Biden and Harris and will vote for them in November. I am a Catholic to the backbone and also the grand-daughter of a Southern Baptist grandmother on the maternal side of my family. I am VERY much tuned in the social justice as a moral obligation of Christian living.
    So, you wouldn’t think you would hear me speak for Wade, if all of these ‘differences’ mattered more to you than the persons involved. But I see in Wade someone who is more to me than the ‘differences’ that have arisen, and I will not speak against him personally. I see Wade as a good and decent human being with whom I may disagree on politics and some doctrinal matters of the faith, but the ‘differences’ don’t out-weigh the good he did for those missionaries and for Dr. Klouda and others. That called forth from him a decency and a humanity that was not selfish, but cost him in the effort, and that stands to speak FOR HIM now, as strongly as it did after the ‘hostile takeover’ of the SBC by fundamentalists under Patterson’s direction. Wade is a good man at heart. I can witness to that truth. And I choose to do so here.

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  25. A daily (and sometimes more frequent!) change of clean clothes is awfully nice, as are clean, laundered bed sheets on a regular basis.

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  26. Throw is some goth, emo, and vampire LARPers and cosplayers and this could be a panel discussion at a Con.

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  27. I mean precisely that. World war. If that is the case we know war generally gets more efficient, uglier and brutal. I use medieval in its common parlance, suggesting primitive savagery. Progress would look like a mass movement away from partisanship and recognizing of common good. That usually stems from exhaustion and complete frustration with the current circumstance. Futility gets recognized. Nothing utopian, just something that brought genuine kindness, constructive input and trust into the dialogue. I think if we progress we will clearly know it in retrospect and vice-a-versa.

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  28. Yes. Because all our senses (touch, smell, taste, etc.) and the organs, nerves, etc. will also no longer be tainted by the Fall. So not only will that peach itself (and all its properties and characteristics) will be free of the Curse, but our senses which taste and smell and see the peach will also be free of the Curse

    Perhaps the crudest analogy would be if someone was blind, deaf, and had no sense of taste or smell all their life. Then suddenly technology and/or surgery allows them to have those senses for the first time. This verse gives an inkling as to how different and much clearly it will be:

    “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.” 1 Corinthians 13:12

    Off the top of my head, I can’t think of any theologian that has really gone deep into the reeds and to the true depth and implications of EVERYTHING being free from the Curse. Perhaps some posters and moderators here can provide some comments on that.

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  29. “I do dream of a simpler world – as long as we can keep our trains and our dentistry.” – Kemal Pamuk, *Downton Abbey*

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  30. You would find it wouldn’t have any soft spots for you if you actually lived in it, but I guess you know that.

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  31. The numbers of confirmed cases of COVID-19 are increasing because we are testing too much! Stop testing, and watch the numbers miraculously decrease! And if we stop counting the dead altogether, there will be fewer of them too!! I tell you it is one of greatest advances in the history of medicine ever! PERIOD!!

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  32. Representatives of those two loathing sides have over the last few days been fighting it out on the streets of Kenosha, WI, using poor Black neighborhoods they don’t live in as their battleground, and destroying it even further than the hell of American urban poverty already has.

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  33. Maybe then we will actually understand and perceive bodies as they actually are, for the first time.

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  34. I don’t think that 80% are involved in the loathing. I think the loathing is driven by a passionate, fanatical minority on both sides of the hate.

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  35. Like a multi-century version of the game of telephone. It is fascinating to see it all simmer and cook from centuries and their imagination considering only 2 angels are specifically mentioned by name in the Bible (Michael and Gabriel) and a fallen angel (Lucifer) is mentioned by name. Other passages (Isaiah 6 being one) mention types of angels, but no names are given.

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  36. Throw in Vampires, Amish, and the End-Times (3 classical tropes in Christian Fiction) and you have a winner.

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  37. I guess that part of New Heavens and New Earth (in effect remaking the the universe BEFORE THE FALL) with the Glorified Bodies (not ethereal forms) that is clearly spelled out in the book of Revelations escapes them. IOW, the sky, the plants, animals, stars, everything really will have all their characteristics and properties as God intended and all effects on said properties due to the fall will no longer be there.

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  38. What do you mean by ‘positive growth’, and what do you mean by ‘mass regression’? Would ‘the abyss’ be worse than the four years of trench warfare or World War I? The ending of ‘Threads’?

    I have a soft spot for medieval. There are parts of it I’d like to bring back.
    It appears I’m not alone.

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  39. Oh, crap. I forgot the solenoid terms. As usual. No wonder the total derivative wasn’t making sense.

    I made that up, don’t worry.

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  40. I would conjecture that what is happening right now is a massive upheaval of the collective unconscious on a par with the sixties, maybe bigger. Certainly it is on a world wide scale which places us in a very precarious situation. This could become a moment of transformation that leads to positive growth or a moment of mass regression into an abyss that will take some generations to climb out of. Much like an individual who is “in love” or conversely one who is suffering from a deep emotional trauma or personal upheaval, rationality, logic and clarity are supplanted. We are all subject, more or less, to looking through filters but some are oblivious to that fact. In my estimation this is truly a dangerous moment in history where regression becomes brutally medieval in nature but progress will become life giving on an equally substantive scale. Perhaps there is an in between, I don’t know.

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  41. Not only is he smarter than everyone else, he believes that he can just declare things and make them so.

    Every Christian should be worried about such a leader; I’m still ever-baffled by the number of Christians who aren’t.

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  42. “ Another red flag of false experts is when someone claims their own authority is superior to the consensus of experts in that field.” Perhaps this has been noted already but that applies to our Expert in Chief on an almost daily basis. Always smarter than, well no need to specify, everyone.

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  43. He would tell you that one, at least, did, maybe more, seeing Eve wasn’t all that surprised to hear him talking. However, that told you nothing about the linguistic capabilities of present-day snakes.

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  44. And you wind up with blues songs.

    Been dazed and confused for so long it’s not true.

    Wanted a woman, never bargained for you.

    Lots of people talkin’, few of them know

    Soul of a woman was created below…

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  45. I agree. It’s more like 40% of the country loathes another 40% and keep hoping they can persuade the other 20%, who mostly want to be left alone.

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  46. Very ironic. And it’s funny how people outside can see the irony, while those inside think everyone outside is just against them.

    And I pretty much attribute Trump’s approach as typical narcissistic bully “I can just SAY IT and that means IT IS SO.”

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  47. –> “maybe it’s time to ask WHY?”

    No. And please don’t let yourself go down the conspiracy theory rabbit hole. It’s not a healthy place to go, and you end up being just like one of “them.”

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  48. Medieval Demonology and Angelology (complete with a complete census and name for each and every one) is the type example of speculation built upon a minimal foundation. Each generation of theologians who were into that would use the speculations of the previous generation as solid FACT for their own speculations. Which the next generation after them would use as Solid FACT for their own…

    Let simmer for several centuries (at four-five generations per century) and you get that super-detailed Angelology and Demonology.

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  49. Is there any major component of conspiracies that he hasn’t thrown into the mix? I can only assume she’s got the Illuminati in there somewhere…

    Yes, she does.
    By way of David Icke.

    Incidentally, the DEMON Spirit Spouses and DEMON Sex are straight out of the Malleus Malefacrium; its author once got thrown out of a Witchcraft trial (open court) because all he could harp on in his interrogation was the JUICY details of Witch-Demon Sex. I think he wrote the Malleus for both revenge and fetish wank material.

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  50. I think so.
    There is a l
    ong and sketchy tradition of Christians being so fixated on Fluffy Cloud Heaven that they’ll ignore or blow off anything “Worldly” and “Fleshly”.i.e. “More SPIRITUAL Than Thou” One-Upmanship.

    Guess they never heard that the original Christian afterlife was Resurrection into a new Body in a new Cosmos instead of floating around Fluffy Cloud Heaven like a shade in Hades.

    Every time I hear some Over-Saved Uber-Christian cluck his tongue at us Worldly and Fleshy Lukewarms, I always tell him to check back with us when he gets the cancer diagnosis or takes the ambulance ride to the COVID ICU.

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  51. But…but…when the hurricane comes ashore and starts to shear apart, then you have to consider the solenoid terms of the semi-geostrophic equations and integrate over time from zero to T-£, where T is the tensor field of the hurricane, and £ is the real part of the total derivative of c the url of the 3-dimensional velocity field, which in turn you have to convert to the eta-coordinate system using a Jacobian transformation.

    My brain hurts.

    That all makes me an expert in my BS field.

    hehe.

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  52. I have been told of a self-described “Devout CHRISTIAN” who during the first COVID surge was giddy with glee that the virus was going to kill off all the Libruls in the blue states.

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  53. Our only consistent national-level COVID strategy is “EVERY MAN FOR HIMSELF! HAIL TRUMP!”

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  54. I never encountered the crap about sex with demons until I attended a Freedom Ministry event based on the books by Neil T. Anderson, and even then (books and events) it was only hinted at. He did give the names/titles of these sexual demons in one of his books. Details about something not only extrabiblical and something you would find on the CharismaNews website, but also something I wish I could have my time back for having actually read it and taken it seriously.

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  55. Was that the one who got slapped around so much on social media that he took down his Twitter accounts and issued some kind of half-a*s mea culpa for his dick-swinging?

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  56. Mine is Materials Science and Engineering (both grad and undergrad). Took the money and ran after the More Sh*t level.

    Ever work with computational fluid dynamics by the way?

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  57. I have great respect for engineers, having several in my family and more who are friends. They, like most, are good about staying on their respective reservations. Sadly, this is not a universal trait.

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  58. And will defer to you on the constitutive equations for adiabatic sheer in the atmosphere and how they relate to the pressure gradient and velocity of a hurricane’s wake. 😀

    I am sure it goes back to continuum mechanics and Navier-Stokes equations and all that higher tensor order mathematics anyways

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  59. Is there any major component of conspiracies that he hasn’t thrown into the mix? I can only assume she’s got the Illuminati in there somewhere…

    “The event was organized by the right-wing group Tea Party Patriots, which is backed by wealthy Republican donors.”

    Who’s the real puppet in this situation?

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  60. Oops, crap. I see David L above posted pretty much what I posted…nice to see anyways I wasn’t the only one to see Wade’s mistake.

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  61. CM,

    I did read a while back (weeks or a month or so) Wade on his blog claimed he “knew the science” behind face masks because he referred to and/or read an article by The New England Journal of Medicine claiming face masks were ineffective. Worse yet he came down on those who tried to claim he wasn’t an expert.

    This illustrates that some people need to stay in their lane.

    Heck, I am a meteorologist and I dare not claim I know the science behind climate dynamics, even through I read a few chapters on said topic in a meteorology textbook, equations and all.

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  62. Like selling Indulgences to the Afterlife.
    Dead people can’t come back demanding their money back.

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  63. We could also do with some theologians, psychologists and philosophers to remind us that there is more to life than avoiding death…

    You must have missed the guy at First Things with his More Spiritual Than Thou dick-swinging.

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  64. Survival of the Fittest: hawked by right-wing conservative evangelical ‘bible-believing’ Christians who are mostly Young Earth

    go figure

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  65. Stella Immanuel, a licensed physician, currently practices at a private clinic in Texas.

    Doctor DEMON-Sex!
    Smeller-out of Incubi, Succubi, and Repilioid Illuminati!
    Did you know she’s also a Christian Minister?

    From The Daily Beast:
    “Immanuel, a pediatrician and a religious minister, has a history of making bizarre claims about medical topics and other issues. She has often claimed that gynecological problems like cysts and endometriosis are in fact caused by people having sex in their dreams with demons and witches.

    “She alleges alien DNA is currently used in medical treatments, and that scientists are cooking up a vaccine to prevent people from being religious. And, despite appearing in Washington, D.C. to lobby Congress on Monday, she has said that the government is run in part not by humans but by “reptilians” and other aliens.

    “Immanuel gave her viral speech on the steps of the Supreme Court at the “White Coat Summit,” a gathering of a handful of doctors who call themselves America’s Frontline Doctors and dispute the medical consensus on the novel coronavirus. The event was organized by the right-wing group Tea Party Patriots, which is backed by wealthy Republican donors.”

    https://www.thedailybeast.com/stella-immanuel-trumps-new-covid-doctor-believes-in-alien-dna-demon-sperm-and-hydroxychloroquine

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  66. I guess OEC theologians and scientists in the 19th century like Charles Spurgeon and James Clerk Maxwell are not “True Christians” then.

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  67. +100.

    Wade Burleson and his regard fanboys do that all the time. And they push crackpot conspiracy theories that have been discredited on the evidence. Even worse, when people pointed out his errors in physics, he shut down the debate and banned the comments. But since Wade goes after the abusers and the bullies, the idiots at The Wartburg Watch overlook the fact that he is completely wrong on the Laws of Relativity and other things. I guess Dee and Deb don’t give a shit about the truth unless it pertains to church abuse. Eff them all.

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  68. Another thing is the iterative method engineers use to solve complex design problems and other statistical tools in the toolbox. That is why models are refined based upon new data.

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  69. Upside of being a Theologian. If an Engineer is wrong the bridge collapses, the train derails, the plane shakes while in flight, etc…

    When a Theologian is wrong…… nothing happens (which bears an eerie similarity to when a Theologian is correct 😉 ) It’s a pretty sweet gig.

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  70. “Engineers are trained to figure stuff out, but only within severely limited constraints, using data plugged in from a handbook”

    Hmmm…

    “(Theologians) are trained to figure stuff out, but only within severely limited (denominational/confessional) constraints, using data plugged in from (the Bible).”

    It fits.

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  71. Incompetent or not, fascists shouldn’t be allowed anywhere within several parsecs of the levers of power.

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  72. “Am I the only one who Googles such things?”

    I have to prioritize what craziness I Google. If I were to Google every crazy thing evangelicals and Pentecostals said, I wouldn’t even have time to breathe, let alone sleep or eat.

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  73. Which is preferable, I suppose, to a marriage of malice and efficiency.

    There are some people who think that either the current President isn’t fascist enough, or that he isn’t very good at it. Four years in there shouldn’t be this kind of criticism of a real dictator.

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  74. The entire YEC movement with AIG and Ken Ham and others makes it OK to say you can’t trust scientists unless they are “true Christians” and ….

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  75. “Spirit spouses”, huh?

    Seems like this particular rabbit-hole goes pretty deep. Am I the only one who Googles such things? The only African voice I saw raised against this was a Reformed Baptist pastor in Zambia associated with the much-maligned Gospel Coalition.

    Christianity seems to be a very effective spiritual antihistamine. Most people here would be opposed to the idea due to materialist, Enlightenment principles, although Dr. Immanuel obviously isn’t. That Rev. Mbewe opposes the concept due to Reformed Biblicism speaks volumes to me.

    The Greeks don’t have ‘spirit-spouses’. It’s like hagiography is their folklore.

    Just thinkin’ out loud.

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  76. While tobacco companies do indeed have a lot to answer for, I think at least as big a factor is “scientific creationism.” This is Christian “literal” reading of the Bible in its crudest form, espoused by a guy wearing a lab coat he purchased for the purpose. Inherent in the practice is the belief that science isn’t real.

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  77. Treating physicians are the engineers of medicine. When someone who initially seems to have actual credentials espouses crank science, he often turns out to be an engineer. Engineers are trained to figure stuff out, but only within severely limited constraints, using data plugged in from a handbook. They solve practical problems within these constraints. Digging into the underlying principles isn’t their job. But they often suffer severe cases of self-perceived omni-competence. Wackiness ensues.

    Treating physicians are the medical equivalent. The tricky part is that they have the same academic title as medical researchers, making it easy for the unwary to confuse the two.

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  78. Recall that China did the same thing, early on. Trump has criticized China for initially doing what he is still doing. Irony. But the explanation in both cases is straightforward. The institutional incentives are to do nothing and hope for the best. The threat may not, after all, pan out. And doing something will necessarily entail cost, both political and financial. Furthermore, if measures are successful, this will be taken as proof that the threat was a hoax. Recall swine flu in the Carter years, and in a different vein, the Y2K bug. Even an administration of smart people who take science seriously will need convincing. An administration of stupid people who believe in magic? There is no hope.

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  79. We’re incapable of it because one half of our populace loathes the other half and wouldn’t be all that upset if the virus was more discriminatory.

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  80. Ah, yeah, then I’m out.

    We could also do with some theologians, psychologists and philosophers to remind us that there is more to life than open roads, large lot homes, renovated bathrooms, and distance from strangers. Prosperity doesn’t need to be so expensive that we have to toss people into the grinder.

    Or I take that back, partially, plenty of psychologists do tell us that, to be fair.

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  81. This is the same old cliché but you only become a critical thinker by training, by education. The earlier the better. Instead of being an elective for college philosophy students logic and thinking skills should be nested in a basic education. Alas, who will teach the teachers?

    I don’t believe in the conspiracy theory of history but there are always people around trying to take advantage of whatever situation arises. But even politicians will do the right thing if they think that’s the only way they can get elected.

    If we could just make people realize how fundamentally irrational we are that would be half the battle.

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  82. It means we should reopen as fast as possible and let the virus rip through the country without impediments, except for those the individual has the resources to arrange for herself. Rugged individualism, lonesome cowboy theology/psychology/philosophy.

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  83. We’re incapable of it because a large chunk of our national psychology is controlled by a lonesome cowboy, rugged individualist mentality. Yippee ki yay….

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  84. I tend to think it is due to denial and absolute cranial vacuousness but it’s a great point. In an effort to diminish it’s importance they are clearly increasing it’s lethality.

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  85. Yes I think at this point we can discount the notion that Trump and his minions are merely acting like they’re stupid.

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  86. I could rant about a lot of things but just some quick bullet points.

    Dunning-Kruger Effect
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunning%E2%80%93Kruger_effect

    Many very very smart people I know feel their opinions on ANY subject need to be taken as indisputable facts in any subject whatsoever.

    Wade Burleson is doing this in spades
    Especially on his Facebook pages. Where he just said he is just posting as a person not a famouse pastor. [eye roll]
    https://www.wadeburleson.org
    Scroll back through is blog for a few months and read about his mis-statements on medicine and the whopper on N. Tesla.

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  87. > We could also do with some theologians, psychologists and philosophers to remind
    > us that there is more to life than avoiding death…

    I honestly have no idea what this means. ?

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  88. > “Never attribute to malice what can just as easily be explained by incompetence.”

    +999

    That’s +1,000 – 1; because there is a caveat of “unless you have a copy of the malicious memo”.

    There’s no shortage of memos from the current regime.

    Sometimes there is a marriage of incompetence AND malice. 😦

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  89. We often assume that medical doctors that we see as patients are also experts. No, they are not. I greatly respect my MD, but she is not an expert in a way to comment on COVID as a research specialist. Medical doctors who are practioners are trained to document symptoms, document a diagnosis, prescribe treatment. They are like a big computerized lookup table. They are not research experts. I have met MDs that are just as much into conspiracy theories as people who have never been to college.

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  90. Thirdly, there of course have been risk management strategies developed and implemented – in other countries. They mostly worked. But those strategies also required a cohesive societal response, which we Americans are apparently utterly incapable of it.

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  91. “We’ve heard… nearly no risk-assessment and management expertise, which is a shame.”

    Firstly, Americans (being the inveterate optimists they are) have never done risk management/”worst case scenario” planning well. Most people don’t have either the skill or the inclination. And those who do tend to get ignored until it’s too late. Secondly, it’s been a century since we last faced anything remotely like this situation (1919 flu pandemic). Whatever lessons learned then we’re quickly forgotten (along with the pandemic itself), and besides which our current economy and society are vastly different now than then.

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  92. “Never attribute to malice what can just as easily be explained by incompetence.”

    For whatever reason, it was decided to downplay COVID when it first emerged. Having staked out that position, it’s really hard for sycophants and egotists to walk it back. In addition, it is NOT in their best interest to tank the economy – they want things back to normal so the economy will be somewhat normal by election day – or else they are in big trouble. And they can’t have the economy functioning the way they need it to and take the steps needed to contain COVID. So… They downplay and deny it.

    QED.

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  93. We could also do with some theologians, psychologists and philosophers to remind us that there is more to life than avoiding death…

    I’ve heard plenty of that. There’s been no dearth of just such reminders, mostly from people in the groups you refer to —- or their popular equivalents — who are at very low risk themselves, either because they are not in the high risk, comorbidity categories, or because they can work online. As for not hearing from risk-assessment and management experts, who would they be? Could you refer me to a couple? You’re not talking about people like insurance actuaries, I hope.

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  94. Yesterday the CDC changed its guideline for testing asymptomatic people who had close exposure to people with full-blown COVID-19. It now says not all asymptomatic people with close exposure need to be tested. The change was said to be in response to new data, but no new data was given. The Administration has been pushing to reduce testing, and thereby reduce the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. — it has an agenda of getting “back to normal” as soon as possible for reelection and other political reasons. By bowing to the political exigencies of the Administration, and not offering any supporting evidence for its change of guidelines, the leaders of the CDC have severely diminished its credibility. NY Governor Cuomo has said that New York State will not follow the new guideline, and recommends that other states not follow it either; CA announced it also will not be following the new guideline. I’ve come to the conclusion that politics rather than science is now in control of the CDC, and will not trust any of its pronouncements regarding the pandemic, and probably other things as well, without confirmation from independent reliable expert sources; nor will I trust or take any vaccine endorsed by it or any other federal agency without the support of reliable independent expert sources. Only when this Administration has been replaced will it be possible for my trust in this federal agency to be gradually restored.

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  95. 1. You don’t become an expert in one field by having a degree in another field
    2. Some people think their expertise in some other field gives them the authority to contradict expertise in the specific medical field related to the pandemic.

    Unfortunately this applies to many real experts. How many doctors are holding forth about government management of COVID, like a garage mechanic telling the CEO of Ford what his 10-year product line strategy should be?

    But it’s easy to do. You have to be a very strong person to be live on radio, explaining your latest research on virology, to resist the temptation to answer questions from the journalist about what the government should be doing about the economic situation.

    We’ve heard a lot of virology expertise, much less economic expertise, and nearly no risk-assessment and management expertise, which is a shame.

    We could also do with some theologians, psychologists and philosophers to remind us that there is more to life than avoiding death…

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  96. I’m inclined to think some are indulging in wishful thinking that it will just go away and wanting short term good publicity which means they fail to take long term actions necessary to really deal with it.

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  97. has it occurred to anyone that ‘the administration’ wants to keep the whole covid thing going? For some reason?

    They fight all the ‘preventative measures’ that WOULD help the US to get a grip on the virus . . . promoting personal ‘freedom’ over the responsibility of the mandated wearing of masks, discouraging social distancing measures, mocking those who wear masks in public, pressuring to ‘go back to normal’ too early which just causes the virus to surge again . . . . .

    why the encouragement to do all the things that keep the virus going?????

    maybe it’s time to ask WHY?

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