Science Fiction: May 2010 Archives

May 26, 2010

Fundie Tory digs herself deeper

United Kingdom: a little over three weeks ago, The Observer posted a story about a prominent Tory, Philippa Stroud, alleging that she was involved in attempts to "cure" LGBT people. She has disputed this allegation, and the paper has appended her complaint to the article. Part of the summary of this complaint jumped out, as it makes her look as if she's a believer in the Satanic abuse myth:

In addition, the reference to demonic activity in her book "God's help for the poor' does not relate to sexual orientation but to those who have been involved in occult practices, including violence and sexual abuse.

That last comma is in a particularly interesting place...

Rising Tory star Philippa Stroud ran prayer sessions to 'cure' gay peopleThe Observer, 2nd May 2010.

Small, but influential, pockets of insanity remain in Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland: A government minister is calling for a Belfast museum to treat fairy stories as science, and claims their failure to do so is a human rights issue. Culture minister Nelson McCausland, wrote to the trustees of the Ulster Museum demanding their exhibitions reflect his belief that his imaginary friend made the universe in less than a week. And he claimed a substantial proportion of the Northern Irish population shared his insanity.

McCausland defended a letter he wrote to the trustees calling for anti-evolution exhibitions at the museum. He claimed that around one third of Northern Ireland's population believed either in intelligent design or the creationist view that the universe was created about 6,000 years ago.

I have had more letters from the public on this issue than any other issue, he said.

So clearly, the museum, as an educational establishment, needs to correct their misconceptions, not encourage them. McCausland has some other insane ideas: he believes that Ulster Protestants are one of the Lost Tribes of Israel! One suspects that deporting them there would only cause more trouble.

The Guardian does not indicate whether he was writing in his official capacity, but indicates there is an orchestrated campaign against Northern Irish museums who wish their exhibitions to reflect reality. He's also not the only lunatic in the Northern Irish Assembly. Fellow party- and Assembly- member Mervyn Storey insists that publicity for one of Northern Ireland's few tourist attractions, the Giant's Causeway, reflect his belief that it is only 6000 years old, rather than the millions indicated by the evidence. He did not indicate whether equal space should be given to the just as convincing belief that the Causeway was created by legendary warrior Fionn mac Cumhaill so he could get to Scotland for a fight.

Northern Ireland minister calls on Ulster Museum to promote creationismThe Guardian, 26th May 2010.

Fundies: let's misrepresent research then kill people over it

United States: Scientists have complained that anti-gay religious groups are pretending to be legitimate scientific organisations, and presenting deliberately distorted versions of their research as fact. This is nothing new—the Prattle dissected one example back in 1998. The most recent case involves Dr. Gary Remafedi of the University of Minnesota, whose work on adolescent sexuality has been appropriated and misrepresented by a bogus paediatrics organisation, the American College of Pediatricians, trying to deny any support whatsoever to LGBT kids in school.

The letter, and the Facts About Youth website it pointed school officials to, was dense with footnotes citing scientific studies. Remafedi's research was at the top of the list.

The ACP argues that schools shouldn't support gay teens because they're probably just confused. Most adolescents who experience same-sex longer experience such attractions at age 25, the letter says, citing a 1992 study by Remafedi.

Except that's not what Remafedi's research suggested at all. His work showed that kids who are confused about their sexuality eventually sort it out—meaning many of them accept being gay.

That's not the only example of this organisation lying about Remafedi's research. They took his finding that people who come out earlier are more likely to experience stigma and isolation, leading to an increased suicide risk, and twisted it to claim that identifying as gay itself was the problem. As Remafedi noted, It's obvious that they didn't even read my research. I mean, they spelled my name wrong every time they cited it.

Alvin McEwan has summarised the problem in a posting at the Huffington Post, and also links to Respect My Research—a Truth Won Out site dedicated to highlighting such abuses.

Evangelists treat the distorted research as the truth when they need to justify hate speech against LGBT people. Bradlee Dean looks like a 1980s hair rocker, a particularly naff one. His You Can Run But You Cannot Hide ministry uses allegedly punk music (with hair that long?!) to corrupt young minds with his imaginary friend. He has recently praised Islam for its murderous intolerance of homosexuality, and urged Christians to kill LGBT people. And he uses falsified scientific research to justify his violence.

On average, they molest 117 people before they’re found out. How many kids have been destroyed, how many adults have been destroyed because of crimes against nature?

As The Freethinker points out, this claim is bollocks, based on misrepresentation of research. Perhaps he was confused and thinking about the child abuse scandals involving Christian clergy (of several denominations) which have recently come to light?

University of Minnesota professor's research hijackedCity Pages, 26th May 2010; 'Let's threaten gays with death as the Muslims do', says Christian wingnutThe Freethinker, 26th May 2010.

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This page is an archive of entries in the Science Fiction category from May 2010.

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