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Maybe All This
Maybe All This

I'm a little busy to get back into video making 100%, but this is a promise that more is coming.

"Maybe All This" is one of my favorite short poems. The author is just as remarkable, Wisława Szymborska-Włodek, a Polish Nobel Laureate. I recommend reading her story:

This work was first published in English translation in the New Yorker, original here:

YouTube Stahp
YouTube Stahp

I needed to vent. Only Dolan can express my full loathing and sorrow.

Assault rifle vs. Assault weapon
Assault rifle vs. Assault weapon

I've already made the mistake of misusing these two terms. The "Assault Weapon" is defined in the "Federal Assault Weapons Ban" of 1994, which has since expired. Newer legislation is needed to redefine, using smarter criteria, what an assault weapon is, prior to any future bill restricting their ownership and sale.

It appears Ciancia used an M&P15, a Smith and Wesson clone of the AR-15, chambered in 5.45x39mm.

"The Hand Grenade test"
"The Hand Grenade test"

"The Hand Grenade Test" is a rhetorical device I use with friends and family to convey the simple idea that all weapons are not equal: some have design features that make them inappropriate for self-defense use. Hand grenades and C4 have a high potential for misuse and little to no potential for legitimate defensive use.

I understand that [assault weapons] are a contentious issue among gun owners, in spite of being a low percentage of total gun ownership. The "Feinstein definition" is often mocked and parodied, and I agree some of the definitions seem disconnected to reality, but the idea that some weapons have a greater misuse potential than their use can support.

I am not someone who opposes all gun ownership, but smart regulation can prevent misuse of weapons by people intending to harm the innocent.

The "1 in 4" rape statistics:  Fact-checking the numbers
The "1 in 4" rape statistics: Fact-checking the numbers

In response to a very popular claim that the "1 in 4" statistics has been soundly debunked, I decided to dig a little deeper on the research. While I admire the spirit of skepticism many viewer displayed, skepticism without investigation is just biased ignorance.

I've said elsewhere, and I want to say it here again: Rape and sexual assault are not good subjects for fighting the culture wars with. Let's keep this topic a matter of "human compassion and civil law" as ThePeach has said elsewhere (

Provided here are some useful links for you to pursue your own skeptical research:
1. The "short form" of the SES survey instrument:

2. The 1987 paper by Dr. Koss that might be the first time the 1 in 4 statistic was published.

3. The CDC National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, 2010 Summary:

4. An independent series of papers reviewing the accuracy and validity of the SES:

Preventing Sexual Assault
Preventing Sexual Assault

This is a hard topic to discuss, and while I don't think Thunderf00t handled it delicately, he's created an opportunity to have a frank discussion about the how and why of sexual assault prevention and response.

The three aims of this video:
1. Raise your consciousness about using gender-specific terms for victim and perpetrator.
2. Present some facts about sexual assault based on primary research sources.
3. Identify why sexual assault prevention and response matters.

This is not a good topic for either side to use to fight the culture wars. I'd hate to see something as basic and important as rape crisis response become a contentious political issue.

1. Clin Psychol Rev. 2009 July; 29(5): 431--448.
"Rape Treatment Outcome Research: Empirical Findings and State of the Literature"

2. J Am Coll Health. 2011 Aug-Oct; 59(7): 582--587.
"Reporting Rape in a National Sample of College Women"

3. J Interpers Violence. 2010 December; 25(12): 2217--2236.
"Drug- and Alcohol-Facilitated, Incapacitated, and Forcible Rape in Relation to Mental Health among a National Sample of Women"

4. Drug Alcohol Rev. 2011 September; 30(5): 481--489.
"Alcohol's Role in Sexual Violence Perpetration: Theoretical Explanations, Existing Evidence, and Future Directions"

5. Am J Public Health. 1993 November; 83(11): 1633--1634.
"The effects of resistance strategies on rape."

6. Am J Community Psychol. 2006 December; 38(3-4): 263--274.
"Being Silenced: The Impact of Negative Social Reactions on the Disclosure of Rape"

7. Violence Vict. 2002 Dec;17(6):691-705.
"Avoiding rape: the effects of protective actions and situational factors on rape outcome."

Journal Club:  Alcohol and Sexual Victimization
Journal Club: Alcohol and Sexual Victimization

The article I'm reading excerpts from:
"Alcohol Consumption and Women's Vulnerability to Sexual Victimization: Can Reducing Women's Drinking Prevent Rape?"
Subst Use Misuse. 2009; 44(9-10): 1349--1376.

This paper is outside the paywall, free, full-text for either HTML or PDF:

Like the rest of the panel yesterday, I was quite ready to criticize Thunderf00t for his tone. As you can see from academic papers on this topic, the same controversial ideas are conveyed with the same types of disclaimers. If opponents of these discussions stymie efforts that focus on risk reduction for women, I think they do a disservice to those future sexual victims who could have benefited. The worst I can say about Thunderf00t is that his tone was wrong for the audience he was addressing. He is very accustomed to the language of academic discourse, which is often detached and unemotional about issues that are painfully emotional for the victims of sexual assault or their family. Rather than assuming malice on his part, it helps to think of the audience he addresses professionally, academic researchers.

Your comments are welcome. Please read the paper for a deeper analysis of risk reduction efforts that have been tried in the college setting. The scholarship here is quite good, and the authors are well published on this topic.

My apologies to Drs. Testa and Livingston for dragging them obliquely into this, but it was important to establish the bona fides of the authors.

Gun Control Claims
Gun Control Claims


This is an analysis of four tropes of the anti gun-control / pro-gun lobby. I expect the comments will be a battleground for the "Great Culture Wars", so let me be clear on my own position.
"Gun control is not gun prohibition, it is about preventing misuse of guns by criminals to hurt innocents."

The US President's proposed gun policy, in 9 parts:

Versailles Treaty, Article 169, which outlawed all arms and munitions in Germany prior to Hitler, including private arms:

The "Great Purge" of Stalin:

Boston's Project Ceasefire:

State of Michigan's Handgun Permit process:

How to get a driver's license in Michigan:

The correlation between guns and violence, at the Harvard School of Public Health:


NewEuropeANP (National Libertarian Socialist People's Action Party):

The Courtier's Reply by PZ Myers
The Courtier's Reply by PZ Myers

PZ Myers wrote "The Courtier's Reply" in response to critics of Richard Dawkin's book "The God Delusion" which focused on his lack of knowledge in theological studies. I'd like to hear what message you take away from this essay. Please share in comments.

I found this on my hard drive from last year. Originally, I hesitated to put it up because the "voice acting" was so bad and annoying; later, because I had a strong disagreement with PZ. I'm putting that behind me to share with you what I think is a thought provoking essay.

Sorry for the long absence, folks! The gun control video series isn't dead, merely sleeping while I get my work and personal life under control.

"Should Atheists Pray?" response by Hemant Mehta
"Should Atheists Pray?" response by Hemant Mehta

Several essays were recently published by the New York Times on the topic of "Should Atheists Pray?" This is the only one worth recording... the only one that represents atheism. Follow the link below to read infuriating articles by pastors and woo-meisters like Deepak Chopra. I have long admired Hemant Mehta, and his answer here is so well written I had to share it.

The original article, by Hemant Mehta, "The Friendly Atheist":

Hemant's blog, well worth reading:

I haven't abandoned my videos on gun control, but work and personal life have gotten in the way of speedy completion. Stay tuned.

Sam Harris: The Fireplace Delusion
Sam Harris: The Fireplace Delusion

I hate to have to point this out, but: I DID NOT WRITE THIS ESSAY. I'm just READING IT ALOUD.

This essay came to my attention recently, and it's an excellent exercise for a skeptic or atheist to experience this feeling of loss of innocence and the painful feelings it summons. See it through to the end before posting, please.

The source:

Next gun video is in production. First up is Australian gun control policy.

Burzynski Clinic: The Merola-Friendly Version
Burzynski Clinic: The Merola-Friendly Version

Poor Eric Merola. He objected to my "Fair Use" of a small low-res image of his movie poster. He used the legal thuggery tactic of submitting a false DMCA in order to force me to give him my home address so that I can be the subject of legal harassment and intimidation by his lawyers and media thugs.

Then, when I posted a short video pointing out the false DMCA and posting his public email address... he had it flagged for "Scams and Spam". Poor Eric. A guy can't use perjury to silence his critics without a lot of headache anymore. At last count, there were over 80 copies of this "unscrubbed" video on YouTube. My thanks to those who deemed that necessary.

To ease his troubled mind, I've removed any and all references to anything he ever worked on in this "scrubbed" version of my previous video. I dare him to take this one down. Go on, Eric... I'm game if you are. Let's dance.

Madness Mayhem and Charity 2013
Madness Mayhem and Charity 2013

Don't miss the C0nc0rdance Riddle Challenge! We'll be having some fun and raising some money for HIV/AIDS research. I hereby pledge $5 for every riddle I fail to stump you with, if you'll pledge the same.

Time and Date, adjusted to your local time:

Where to go:

The schedule of all shows:

Facebook page:

The donation sites are:
International AIDS Vaccine Initiative -
International HIV/AIDS Alliance -

Many thanks to Peach and devchelle2 for their work on this charity event.

Host list:
Dogma Debate
Matt ONeil
meridianfrost & IdunnoUUU
SoretaYuki performing with We Are the Afterglow / Cobalt Sons in a live concert

Gun Control: 2nd Amendment
Gun Control: 2nd Amendment

Gun control is a supremely contentious issue in the US. The Framers had a clear vision in mind of an armed citizenry resisting tyranny. Of course they did, they had just overthrown their own lawful government. In this video, I'll take a brief trip through the legal tradition of gun ownership.

Future videos will examine the effectiveness of gun control legislation, best gun practices, and debunking of gun control myths so popular on Facebook.

Wikipedia on the 2nd amendment:

Pennsylvania's Constitution of 1776; the template for the later Bill of Rights.

Federalist #28:

United States v. Cruikshank, 92 U.S. 542 (1876):

District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570 (2008):

Alex Jones on Piers Morgan. (I detest Alex Jones):

PZ Myers and the Definition of Trolling
PZ Myers and the Definition of Trolling

The formatting here was done in a rush, forgive the white screens. I had to throw it together quickly due to work and family. This issue has been rattling around in my head ever since the Google Hangout last weekend. This is my catharsis, drawing an end to any references to PZ Myers or Pharyngula on this channel.

The Pharyngula Dungeon.

1. You can read NoelPlum99's last comment chain here:
NoelPlum99's blog:

2. Michael Hawkins's terminal conversation is documented here:
Here's Michael's blog:

3. Edward Gemmer's last stand:

4. Huntstoddard's demise is documented here:

Gun control is coming up, hopefully by Friday! It will likely be a multi-parter.

Peter Atkins: "Science As Truth"
Peter Atkins: "Science As Truth"

PZ Myers, TheTruePooka, SkepticalHeretic, and me
Saturday, February 2nd, 2013
4 PM Eastern US time, 3 PM Central US time, 1 PM Pacific US time.
The format will be a Google Hangout, to be broadcast on YouTube via TheTruePooka.
The topic/discussion:
The announcment/format:

More about Peter Atkins

There's a good deal more in this essay that I could not include. Some discussion of why real scientists tend to scorn the paranormal or supernatural might be of interest to my atheist or skeptical viewers.

Flu Vaccine Statistics and NaturalNews
Flu Vaccine Statistics and NaturalNews

I'm always amused by the response of people to bad reporting. This is a classic example. The author, Ethan Huff, blogging at NaturalNews, the website of Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, has confused percentile change and percentage POINT change and the result is hilariously misinformed. He accuses the CDC of deceptive statistics in stating that the seasonal flu vaccine is 60% effective. No, he disputes, the accurate descriptor is "less than 2% effective". *facepalm*

XKCD illustrates the difference far better than I ever could:

For a basic primer:

The Burzynski Clinic
The Burzynski Clinic

Feel free to pass this on to anyone considering their options in alternative cancer treatments at the Burzynski Clinic. It's also CCMA, so feel free to mirror or repost.

AUTHOR'S NOTE: I caught an error in post-production: The Burzynski Clinic has only started 61 clinical trials, not 62. The last came up in my query because one of the authors has the same name. Otherwise the figures are correct.

Fact 1: The Burzynski Clinic has attempted 61 clinical trials, but only completed 1.

Check it out here:

Fact 2: The Burzynski Clinic charges its patients to participate in a study of their patented medication that exposes them to risk.

Fact 3: The Burzynski Clinic makes heavy use of marketing techniques not normally associated with clinical practices and not in the best spirit of research medicine.

For example, you can see here that they are abusing libel laws to silence critics.
And threatening and bullying of a 17 year old blogger by a media consultant:

The Magic Sandwich Show Special; 2012 in review
The Magic Sandwich Show Special; 2012 in review

Don't miss the show this Sunday; 2012 in review with a long lineup of special guests. Check here for more details:

Watch the show at:


"Probable" guests:
Professor Phil Moriarty

"Possible" guests:
David Silverman
Sean Faircloth

For more details:

Magic Sandwich Show LIVE in Austin at the Texas Freethought Convention
Magic Sandwich Show LIVE in Austin at the Texas Freethought Convention

WARNING: Audio is painfully bad to listen to. I've decided to simply post this and work on audio improvement later. Aron and I knew that we would have to improvise an audio recording solution once we got "on-site". Unfortunately, the uncompressed audio has been such a pain to move around and share out with some very nice folks who offered to help me with clean-up, that I'm going to wash my hands of it for now. Too many important projects at work to mess with this.

The License (as in all my videos) is set to CCA. That means you are welcome to download, re-process the video or audio, and repost on your own channel.

For the record, this was recorded by Aron's son, MiniRa using my cheap handheld camcorder. Good camera work by MiniRa, and thank you to him for holding the camera steadier than I could.

The audio was recorded in Audacity with my Blue Yeti USB microphone. Unfortunately, the format put us at separate tables and the distance to source required a high gain setting and hence a lot of reverb. YouTube adds its own defects in encoding as well.

The discussion was fun and I found it interesting. Aron is really in his element in front of a crowd, and got a few good rants going on.

Rebutting Brad Harrub:  Mutations produce nothing new
Rebutting Brad Harrub: Mutations produce nothing new

This week, Dr. Brad Harrub demonstrates a shocking lack of understanding of the mechanisms by which evolution explores fitness space. I'll explain how actual biologists mentally think about the processes that lead to changes in fitness.

Evolution doesn't, as most people think, move like an arrow towards higher fitness. It's more like a drunk walk. It gets there in the end, but explores a lot of area looking for landmarks. This "random walk" effect is important to allow for exploration of new fitness peaks, even when getting there involves accepting a decrease in fitness.

This is the last of the pre-produced Harrub videos. It may be a few weeks before I can get around to producing another set.

PZ Myers and the Principle of Free Expression
PZ Myers and the Principle of Free Expression

I want to recommend that at the completion of this video, you simply go watch:

Christopher Hitchens says more eloquently than I ever could why it is important that we choose to allow a culture of free (and offensive) expression. He also explains very clearly why it is important not just to allow a person to SPEAK, but that we have an obligation to make sure that person is HEARD.

This is triply true for atheists, freethinkers, skeptics and rationalists. We shelter under the shield of free expression. Religious groups would prefer we kept our ideas to our own forums, that we remain silent in their presence. Honoring the idea that no-one has a right not to be offended is core to our very existence as a group.

PZ is within his legal rights and within the terms of service of YouTube to close comments and ratings, but in doing so offends the principles of free expression. I can think of no compelling argument to close comments and ratings, and several good reasons to leave them open. Treat Pharyngula like a blog, PZ, and YouTube like the unmoderated forum it was meant to be.

I disagree with PZ, I disliked the tone he took with me, but I don't hold a grudge on this. Two people can disagree without one of them having to be either mentally incompetent or maliciously deceptive. If you are just here to disparage PZ as a person, don't expect me to join in.

My honest intent is to persuade him with a reasoned argument to re-open comments and ratings.

Rebutting Brad Harrub:  Haeckel's Embryo Fraud
Rebutting Brad Harrub: Haeckel's Embryo Fraud

Ernst Haeckel was an amazing scientist at a crucial time in the history of biology. The legend of his fraud is largely manufactured.

His work reflected a certain ignorance of comparative embryology, and he probably skewed his illustrations to demonstrate his own theory, the biogenic (or "biogenetic") law. There is no evidence he was every convicted of fraud, he was not "kicked out" of the University of Jena, and all of Dr. Brad Harrub's assertions are based on poor research and factually false claims made by creationist author Jonathan Wells in his book "Icons of Evolution".

So, let's be clear on something that is often confused.
1. Haeckel's illustrations were an attempt to prove his own biogenic law, not evolution.
2. Comparative embryology, the similarities between tissues during development, show the same branching pattern that is seen in phylogenetics. That is, closely related organisms show very similar stages of development. THIS is the actual evidence for evolution to be taken from pictures of embryos found in textbooks.

Evolution of development ("evo-devo") has been one of the most productive areas of biology of the last two decades. Arguing that Haeckel's failure to prove his biogenetic law somehow affects the value of comparative embryology to demonstrate evolutionary relatedness is just false.

My apologies for the bad camera work. This was mid-way through the talk, and the seats were very uncomfortable. The "jiggling" was me adjusting my position and having to move my phone hand to relieve the strain.

Rebutting Brad Harrub:  Darwin was a racist
Rebutting Brad Harrub: Darwin was a racist

This is the lowest and saddest argument yet. Here Dr. Harrub attempts to poison the well by accusing Darwin of being a racist, and of advocating for racism. While Darwin was far from enlightened by modern standards, he was a passionate abolitionist.

Rational Revolution: Mis-portrayal of Darwin as a Racist:

BBC: Historian William Crawley on Darwin's feelings about race.

Uncommon Descent (creationist blog) quote mines Darwin on race:

Rebutting Brad Harrub: Kettlewell's Peppered Moths
Rebutting Brad Harrub: Kettlewell's Peppered Moths

I'm going to be very busy over the next few weeks as we finalize a major research outcome and prepare it for publication. Very busy, very tired, very excited!

The best analysis of Kettlewell's results and the creationist furor around them is at Dr. Jerry Coyne's non-blog website, "Why Evolution is True". Dr. Coyne is famously cited for his scientific criticisms of the peppered moth studies, but his real criticism has been misused to create the impression of scientific dishonesty.

Some links to Wikipedia to give some context:

A critical examination of the urban legend:
The only actual criticism that has borne scrutiny is that Kettlewell failed to test hypotheses OTHER THAN predation and there were some artificiality in his experiments that did not mimic nature well:
For example, he sometimes collected moths from other countries to supplement wild-caught moths. He released a very large number of moths, which could have artificially increased predation as the birds were presented with a bug buffet. That's why Majerus, using more careful methods, wanted to re-design and repeat the original experiments.

Rebutting Harrub:  Finches never produce rhinos or ferns
Rebutting Harrub: Finches never produce rhinos or ferns

Warning: Exposure to Harrub's logic may cause headaches or pain in the forehead. If you begin bleeding from the ears or nose, please consult a physician. Prolonged exposure may result in loss of IQ points.

More about Dollo's Law:

AronRa's excellent video:
"Caniform Carnivore Cladogram Construction"

In future videos, we will talk about the difference between cladogenesis (new species splitting off an existing one) and anagenesis (the formation of a new species by the transformation of an existing one). Most creationists assume evolution proceeds entirely by anagenesis, when it is almost entirely by cladogenesis.

I'm often forced to use terms that are imprecise in order to convey scientific ideas. The idea of the ancestral lineage of animals becoming more "specialized" is in the sense of "more like their own species". This means that a "generalized" bird is one that represents the common ancestor of the "genus". Each new adaptation that is acquired along an ancestral line goes into the evolutionary history of that species, but this acquisition is one-sided, not an equilibrium of change.

If it helps, think of Dollo's law as the "arrow of time" for evolutionary change.

"Atheism Plus": an open letter
"Atheism Plus": an open letter

I'd like to address this video to the supporters and founders of Atheism Plus. I have concerns about the shape of any movement that seeks to create in-groups along secondary issues.

-- I agree with the stated goals of inclusion and diversity. Any movement that becomes homogenous is doomed to failure. That issue, applied to the predominantly male, white and hetero crowd at atheist meetings, is relevant. However, you are creating a group that has ideological homogeneity of views (must be anti-racist, anti-misogynist, anti-transphobia) as a stated goal. Do you see the problem there? You trade a predominantly white, liberal, male group of people for a group made exclusively of a specific political viewpoint.

-- Shunning and shaming, or any other form of exclusionary pressure used to maintain the ingroup/outgroup division is inherently damaging to the whole community. The functional effect will be to create "separate but equal status" for Atheism Plus and non-Atheism Plus meetings, as speakers refuse to speak at the same event because of political differences. It will also lead to an us vs. them mentality that could harm free exchange of ideas.

-- I realize it's too late to make structural changes, but the commitment to free speech, free thought, self-criticism (of all issues, even feminism and other topics) and the absence of a power structure is vital to keeping Atheism Plus a positive force in the community.

Video replies are set to automatic approval. If you want to add your voice to mine, submit a video or comment below.

Rebutting Harrub:  Argument from Historical Scientists
Rebutting Harrub: Argument from Historical Scientists

This is the second in my series on Dr. Brad Harrub's "Origins" talk in College Station, TX around August 9th, 2012. In the section, I address his argument from historical scientists. The key point: Many scientists throughout history have been religious, but it was not their religious beliefs that informed their science. The fact that Dr. Harrub focuses on scientists who lived prior to Darwin says a lot.

I thought it might be interesting to explore the actual religious beliefs of the people being summoned to testify on Dr. Harrub's behalf. Most of them were unorthodox by today's standards, and some of them can better testify to the negative; that religious or superstitious belief has hindered science and the progress of knowledge.

The context of the clip from Dr. Harrub's talk is that he was addressing Bill Nye's comments that creationism can hold students back from understanding the actual science. This is true. When a person has a commitment to dogmatic doctrine that conflicts with truth or evidence, they face a difficult choice: either reject the truth, or reject the doctrine.

c0nc0rdance's wager:
Whenever a supernatural explanation competes with a natural explanation, so far in the history of science, the natural has always held up to more scrutiny.

Neti Pot:  Safe and Effective?
Neti Pot: Safe and Effective?

An analysis of the safety and efficacy of neti pots.

Cochrane reviews of all the literature on the topic:

Want to learn more about Naegleria fowleri and PAM?

Want to learn more about Caddo Lake in East Texas?
Pay special attention to encroaching Salvinia and the frequent Bigfoot sightings (most of which I am sure are just sightings of particularly inbred, hairy locals).

Made at the request of Emily Dietle,

Evil Science Hour:  MSF 24 hr Charity Vlog-a-thon
Evil Science Hour: MSF 24 hr Charity Vlog-a-thon

Join me on the Evil Science Hour during the MSF Charity drive.

The schedule is here:
I'm on 5 AM British time, midnight Eastern US, 11 PM Central US, 9 PM Pacific US, 2 PM Ozzer time.

You can watch me (and a cast of other characters over the 24 hour period) here:

I have some new science toys to show off, some science projects in mind, and I'll be live on camera, answering questions and generally being evil and science-y. Bring some money to donate for special requests. I'm for sale during this hour... mercenary science for a cause.

Donations can be made here:
1. Justgiving
2. Firstgiving
3. Ebay items, up for bid

Rebutting Harrub:  Evolution is just a Theory
Rebutting Harrub: Evolution is just a Theory

This point has been made many times before, but it never seems to sink in with creationists. Evolution is "just a theory" in the same sense that gravity is "just a theory" or cells are "just a theory" or atoms are "just a theory".

This will be an ongoing series. I've managed to make six videos already, and I'm barely a quarter of the way through the video. I don't take much pleasure in debunking creationist arguments, but it's an opportunity to explore some key ideas in biology. I'm not worried about convincing evolution denialists that they are wrong. Their psychological mechanisms prevent that. As Hitchens famously said: "You cannot reason someone out of a position they did not arrive at by reason"

You can read more about Dr. Harrub at his own website:

Here's his publication (singular... he has only one, in spite of claiming "numerous publications"... hey, one *IS* a number)

Magic Sandwich Show, September 2nd, 2012:  Guest Andrew Copson
Magic Sandwich Show, September 2nd, 2012: Guest Andrew Copson

Go to:

It's a great pleasure to announce that Michael Payton, National Director of the Centre for Inquiry, Canada, will be joining Andrew Copson, Chief Executive of the British Humanist Association, along with c0nc0rdance.

The show will be broadcast on the Magic Sandwich Show channel on blogtv, on 2 September at 20.00hrs UK time.

Magic Sandwich Show Promo: "Sophisticated Theology"
Magic Sandwich Show Promo: "Sophisticated Theology"

This week we'll be discussing the difference between sophisticated theologians and the street preacher pre-suppositionalists. No special guests, and the panel hasn't been finalized, but for sure will include dprjones and c0nc0rdance.

Check out our new webpage:

The topic is free-ranging, but religious apologetic arguments will be the primary focus. If you wish to call in and ask a question of the panel, instructions are at the bottom of this description.

Event announcer from the World Clock, lists the event start time in any time zone:

The BlogTV session can be viewed here:

The UStream session can be viewed here:

We have a website! for recorded sessions, updates, photos and announcements.

If you wish to appear on the show please send a skype contact request through skype to;
Please do this before the show.

Before, or during the show, send a message through skype giving brief details of the gist of your question or point.

If possible we will bring you into the show. PLEASE DO NOT CALL US! We will call you. If you do call us you will be blocked.

Please ensure that you have headphones and that you mute blogtv when you are on the show.

Are Energy Drinks Safe?
Are Energy Drinks Safe?

I'm trying something a little different here. The script is either a paraphrase or direct quote from two reviews on the topic of the safety of energy drinks. You will find that I am basically reading out parts from these two papers with some bridging and clarification. These papers are linked below as free, full text articles. You can read them, follow the links to the sources cited, and even feel free to email the authors.

Source papers:
1. Mayo Clin Proc. 2010 November; 85(11): 1033--1041.

2. Drug Alcohol Depend. 2009 January 1; 99(1-3): 1--10.

I'm sure I will be accused of all sorts of bias or fear mongering, but for the record, the views expressed, while they align with my own, are the views of the experts at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and UT-Houston School of Medicine.

Many people have asked me to cover this topic, but it's pretty far out of my area of expertise. That's why I'm relying on these expert reviews.

Driving to NCTR, Jefferson, AR
Driving to NCTR, Jefferson, AR

Warning: This really is just a video of driving to a research facility, sped up to 4 X speed. Don't waste your time here if you are expecting educational value.

I was recently an invited speaker at the National Center for Toxicology Research (NCTR). I've been there a few times before, but the drive always creeps me out. The only way to reach it is through back roads in rural Arkansas, residential areas, and the only real landmark is a burned-down bait shack. Then you enter the campus and it's a self-sufficient city with its own power, water, security, and on-site disposal. The facility is a state of the art research campus surrounded on all sides by miles of forest and the only residents nearby live in mobile homes.

The NCTR is the premiere government research center for toxicology. It is situated on the same grounds as the Pine Bluff Arsenal, one of the USA's primary sites for chemical weapon storage and disposal. The reason for the remote location is that it was a bioweapons facility during WWII, and the biological weapons program wasn't formally decommissioned until 1971.

Most of the research here involves testing genetic damage caused by industrial or household chemicals. One project that I consulted on was the effect of a new algaecide in runoff from ponds and lakes. Most of the employees live in Little Rock, AR, and take the 45 minute shuttle ride in every day.

Just for your viewing enjoyment. Music is Danse Macabre.

The Science of Human Race, Part 2
The Science of Human Race, Part 2

There are a few errors in the content of the video... I had to rush the post-production editing a bit. I will annotate as I can. Some of the more embarrassing errors are misspelling governor and mispronouncing Tanzanian.

I've attempted to cite work on the slide in question wherever possible.

I think the question of why Jamaican sprinters do so well is a valid scientific question. Through it, I think we can also explore the idea of significant differences arising from population substructure.

I'll explore in more depth the question of IQ differences at some point in the distant future. For now, I'm a bit eager to move on to other topics.

The Humanist Manifesto III
The Humanist Manifesto III

NOTE: "The Science of Race, Part 2", is currently in production. I expect to have it up by next week. Thank you for bearing with me on the long delay. Work and personal commitments have slowed the script writing process.

This reading is in honor of the recent passing of Gore Vidal, an author who influenced me at a young age. Gore was a one-time spokesman for the American Humanist Association, sharing that honor with other authors like Kurt Vonnegut and Isaac Asimov. You can read more about Gore here:

What is Humanism? This Manifesto attempts to address the common goals of humanism. It is not a dogma. In fact, it is revised every twenty years or so. As Kurt Vonnegut elegantly put it "Being a humanist means trying to behave decently without expectation of rewards or punishment after you are dead". It is the ethical and moral code of many non-believers.

I hope you will investigate the Humanist Manifesto III further at the AHA website:

Atheism has no moral dimension. There are no credos or manifestos to non-belief. Humanism, on the other hand, contains some ideas of how we would like to live and by what methods we ought to seek for truth.

Magic Sandwich Show Promo:  July 8th, 2012
Magic Sandwich Show Promo: July 8th, 2012

Please see Event Time below.

We have a special guest this week, TheoreticalBullshit / Scott Clifton. If you don't know TBS's excellent work on philosophy, counter-apologetics (or any of the other countless things he is amazingly good at), check out his channel here:

Also confirmed are Michael Payton, c0nc0rdance, and our host, as always, is dprjones.

The topic is free-ranging, but religious apologetic arguments will be the primary focus. If you wish to call in and ask a question of the panel, instructions are at the bottom of this description.

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PZ Myers vs. Thunderf00t
PZ Myers vs. Thunderf00t

The blog post where Thunder's departure is part of "Major Changes at Freethought Blogs"

Don't miss the Magic Sandwich Show tomorrow! 3 PM Eastern, 2 PM Central, noon Pacific. If you live in one of those "non-American" countries, you'll have to work out the time for yourself. TBS has confirmed he will attend.

I don't feel very strongly one way or the other on feminism or sexism at conferences. I think everyone wants an inclusive, safe environment. There's a disagreement about how best to achieve that, and I'm open to reasonable arguments on the topic. I'm also sympathetic to people who have championed this cause, because I'm sure they get frustrated with attempts to educate and motivate the apathetic masses (like me). I feel the same way on my own issues. That doesn't exempt them from honest participation in the debate.

The Science of Human Races, Part 1
The Science of Human Races, Part 1

Perhaps I was too harsh on the "race realists" in my previous video. Human races exist in about the same way that eras in history exist. They are arbitrary and useful as broad generalizations. What I think I can easily show is that the Victorian idea of race essentialism: that the categories themselves are somehow more meaningful than any other, or that they are homotypic, is unscientific.

Part 2 will cover more on this topic, particularly the abuse of the sociological definition of race to justify a kind of genetic determinism.

A great number of primary sources went into the research for this video. I've annotated when I used figures, but you may also find the following articles useful in learning more:

1. "Evidence for Gradients of Human Genetic Diversity Within and Among Continents"
Genome Res. 2004. 14: 1679-1685.

2. "Against Racial Medicine"
Patterns of Prejudice, Vol. 40, 4:5, 2006
NOTE: Graves is not without controversy, but this article covers many important topic at a level that many can understand.

3. "Fine-scaled human genetic structure revealed by SNP microarrays"
Genome Res. 2009. 19: 815-825.

Magic Sandwich Show Promo:  April 29, 2012
Magic Sandwich Show Promo: April 29, 2012

The topic for the show is "Creationism in the Classroom". Thunderf00t, dprjones, and c0nc0rdance have confirmed. AronRa is at a conference, but may join us remotely.

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Video clip taken from the trailer for "The Revisionaries"
Screenings are nearly complete, but if you are in the Boston area or Toronto, you can still catch one, see website for details.

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I'm calling you out, TheoreticalBullshit! (UPDATED!)
I'm calling you out, TheoreticalBullshit! (UPDATED!)

UPDATE: Like a gentleman and a scholar, Scott has Tweeted the following:
"Yeah, I don't hold that view any more. The criticisms in the video are valid... I had read a book at the time that-- I now know -- was full of propaganda, and I really bought into it... I'd take the video down out of embarrassment, but I want my YT videos to be a record of my growth and education."
Thanks, Scott! The video is 4+ years old. One of the marks of a true skeptic is the commitment to ruthlessly examine their own beliefs and through that skepticism, to allow for growth and change. You didn't disappoint.
If I didn't love TheoreticalBullshit's content so much (I borrowed heavily from it in understanding TAG), I wouldn't bother with this. A champion of reason like Scott, though, needs to be called out when his argument is unreasonable. I might also drag him back into the yawning Stygian chasm that is YouTube. We need you back, Scott.

"I just know it" is not an argument. "The FDA" is not the entire pharmaceutical, diagnostic, scientific, regulatory, clinical, and screening industry, any more than "The Bold and the Beautiful" is the entire entertainment industry.

I offer this challenge in good faith to a person I respect: Advance a reasonable argument on why you think there is a vast conspiracy to hide the existence of "cures" for cancer and HIV and why "the FDA" has both the power and desire to hide them. Compellingly prove that the FDA is what's wrong with the clinical treatment of chronic disease.

I don't think Scott makes any pretense of hiding his IRL identity, Scott Clifton. At least, I hope not.

You can follow him on Twitter, watch his excellent YouTube videos, or check out his IMDB records, maybe catch his Daytime Soap Opera.!/CliftonsNotes
He also has his own website where you can check out his musical talent:

* Content taken from Theoretical Bullshit's
"Answers, Part 1" under Fair Use.

The Counter-Apologetic to Sye's TAG Argument
The Counter-Apologetic to Sye's TAG Argument

The Magic Sandwich Show videos are up, so you can go back and decide if you want to watch it. This is the argument I was trying to advance.

I'm not a philosopher or theologian. Neither is Sye and I fear that a serious academic philosopher would find it too hard to get past the inconsistency in his premises to even approach the core failure of his argument.

There were a few GOOD examples of how to confront the TAG argument given on the show. For example, Sye only believes child molestation is wrong so long as his god says so. He only believes A=A so long as it is consistent with his god's nature. That's the soft underbelly of the argument... it denies the possibility that logic, science and morality are inherent in the nature of the things themselves.

I got the message that a lot of people think we did the wrong thing by even inviting them on the show. I disagree, though I agree it wasn't as smooth as we hoped. The goal was to give everyone a chance to see the flaws in their argument. The next time Sye stops an atheist at a rally, he had better be careful. We're all going to be much better prepared next time.

I hope you'll share in comments your own thoughts on how to deal with this kind of dishonest apologetic.

Acknowledgements of source:
1. IronChariotWiki:
2. Theoretical Bullshit (Highly recommended!):
3. Stephen Law's Philosophy Blog
4. Michael Martin's Transcendental Argument for the Non-Existence of God:

Magic Sandwich Show with Eric Hovind and Sye Ten Bruggencate
Magic Sandwich Show with Eric Hovind and Sye Ten Bruggencate

Join us April 15th, 2012 for a 2 hour show with special guests; from Creation Today, Eric Hovind, and from Sye Ten Bruggencate.

Will they convert the whole panel to Christians? Will we turn them both into atheists? Tune in to find out!

he Magic Sandwich Show is a live call in show broadcast every 2 weeks.

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Dear Eric Hovind
Dear Eric Hovind

Feel free to forward this link to Eric Hovind, who will be a guest this Sunday on the Magic Sandwich Show (along with Sye Ten Bruggencate). Be sure to tune in!

Here's @erichovind on Twitter

Or on Facebook:

Or on his ministry page:

If you want to learn more about Eric's "Transcendental Argument for God (TAG)" and its refutation, you may have to do some reading:

Here's Sye Ten Bruggencate's page that forces these artificial dichotomy "gotchas":
Sye will also be on the MSS this Sunday.

Some starting points on TAG arguments:
IronChariots Wiki

More on the position of Global Skepticism:

A truly scholarly discussion of the transcendental arguments in philosophy:

If you want more on the ACTUAL use of transcendental arguments in scholarship, I recommend the works of Barry Stroud ( and Galen Strawson (

Secondhand Smoke and Lung Cancer
Secondhand Smoke and Lung Cancer

I just wanted to share some recent research on the topic of second hand smoke and lung cancer in people who have never smoked. It was a topic of interest to me at AACR and I had a chance to meet one of the authors of the 2009 paper.

Int J Cancer. 2004 Mar;109(1):125-31.
Secondhand smoke exposure in adulthood and risk of lung cancer among never smokers: a pooled analysis of two large studies.

Clin Cancer Res. 2009 Sep 15;15(18):5626-45.
Lung cancer in never smokers: clinical epidemiology and environmental risk factors.

There's an error in the video. I refer to one of the papers (CCR) as being published in 2011, when it was actually published in 2009. The author's manuscript was published online in 2011, two years after the print version.

The Libertarian Argument
The Libertarian Argument

First: My apologies for slipping off the map. I was assigned to run a workshop at AACR at the last minute, and I'm uploading this from my hotel in Chicago (at AACR2012). It's been the busiest month of my life with the house going on the market, a new project and new position at work, and AACR on top of it all. For those of you who are curious about why I missed the Reason Rally, it's because my daughter's birthday was on the same day, and I'm a father first and foremost. Sorry to have missed it. I should be back at 100% very soon.

Let's see who can be the first to misinterpret this video to be advocating for a totalitarian state with no personal liberty! Winner gets a free "Slippery Slope-n-Slide"*

I'm not interested in criticizing the "Big L" party because they provide a small minority of people with a voice and they provide a useful counterpoint to the two-party system. This video is strictly about the misuse of "the government has no right to tell me to..." argument. "We, the people", have a right to act when one person's choices affect the rest of us. It's easy to miss the subtle externalities that come from living in a complex and interdependent society.

Other topics where there is clearly a conflict between personal liberty and the best interests of the society:
1. Vaccine refusal
2. Extreme sports
3. Unlicensed medical practices
4. Religious tax exemptions
5. Recreational drug use

*offer not valid on planet Earth

My Mission Statement (yes, really)
My Mission Statement (yes, really)

I know, I know... mission statements are for corporate drones, but honestly I wanted to make it clear why I'm continuing in making videos and running a blog, both to you and to myself. Consider this a contract, of sorts: I promise to keep evaluating scientific claims if you promise to watch and respond thoughtfully.

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