Archive for November 2011

Squaring the circle

Nov 30th, 2011 3:57 pm | By

Part 2 of Julian’s cunning plan. His suggested stripped-down religion isn’t finding many takers.

But since the main purpose of posting my articles of 21st-century faithwas to find out just how many could support them, the project is not worthless if we find out the answer is hardly anyone at all.

To recap, there’s a lot of complaint that “new atheist” criticisms of the supernatural aspects of religion miss the point. If that’s true, then it should be possible both to set the atheists straight and establish the credibility of religion by clearly stating what faith without silly, primitive beliefs looks like.

Sure! You bet. I’ve always said so (provided we use the word “religion” and don’t use … Read the rest

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David Colquhoun on the cruelty of the Burzynski Clinic *

Nov 30th, 2011 | Filed by

The offering of quack cancer treatments at an exorbitant price is simple cruelty.… Read the rest

Few takers for sophisticated version of religion

Nov 30th, 2011 12:44 pm | By

I’m beginning to think Julian set a cunning trap with his Heathen’s Progress series. He started with everybody gets it wrong, it’s more complicated than that. He went on to let’s offer a minimal version of religion and see if all those non-literal (sophisticated, “it’s more complicated than that”) believers will sign up to it. He pointed out that he had the most to lose if they wouldn’t, because he’s been saying that new atheists get it all wrong by ignoring the non-literal sophisticated “it’s more complicated” segment of believers.

If it really is the case that lots of mainstream religious leaders and believers can happily sign up to this, then religion really is the much more benign,

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Julian Baggini offers a minimalist religion *

Nov 30th, 2011 | Filed by

Will many believers sign up to it? If not, it might appear that the “crude and simplistic” new atheists aren’t all that crude and simplistic.… Read the rest

Rhys Morgan at Comment is Free *

Nov 30th, 2011 | Filed by

It seems that instead of dealing with criticisms about his treatments, Stanislaw Burzynski is only interested in silencing those with opinions contrary to his by using libel laws.… Read the rest

More damning revelations about Burzynski’s “research” *

Nov 30th, 2011 | Filed by

Review papers do not include new, peer-reviewed data. The only published paper he has itself states that it is inconclusive without a larger study to confirm the results.… Read the rest

Jen McCreight looks at the Burzynski clinic’s publications *

Nov 30th, 2011 | Filed by

Abstracts presented at conferences; no peer review. The one peer-reviewed article is in an alt med journal.… Read the rest

Burzynski clinic issues press release

Nov 29th, 2011 5:40 pm | By

Yes that’s right, a press release. They’ll be doing the Colbert Report next.

Marc Stephens no longer has “a professional relationship” with the clinic. The clinic thinks it was inappropriate – yes that’s right, inappropriate – to send “a blogger,” meaning Rhys Morgan, a picture of his own house. The clinic apologizes.

But apology or no apology, the wheels of justice grind exceeding fine: attorneys will be contacting UK bloggers about what the press release says is “inaccurate information.” UK bloggers…why UK bloggers? Could this be another case of libel tourism?

This, as the saying goes, ain’t over.

Update 11/30 morning: Jen dug into the clinic’s list of publications and found it wanting. A must-read.



 … Read the rest

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That’s the way to silence bloggers

Nov 29th, 2011 4:45 pm | By

Josephine Jones now has 103 blog posts on Burzynski v Andy Lewis and Rhys Morgan in her list. She’s stopped counting. Another epic win for threatening bullies.… Read the rest

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

UK: Muslim students boycott lectures on evolution *

Nov 29th, 2011 | Filed by

Steve Jones says increasing numbers of his undergraduates refuse to attend his lectures on evolution and say the subject should not be taught on their course.… Read the rest

The schoolboy blogger who took on a US clinic *

Nov 29th, 2011 | Filed by

The Burszynski clinic has since suggested Marc Stephens is a web marketing contractor and that no one approved sending Rhys Morgan the picture of his house.… Read the rest

Residual respect for an enduring institution

Nov 29th, 2011 1:05 pm | By

I did an interview with Geoff Whelan of QED which is now posted.

One of the questions was

Are you dismayed when those who you would think naturally would support a strong atheist position turn their criticism against those who directly challenge religion? Is there something about free thinkers that encourages dissent? Or are we talking about Dennett’s belief in belief, in the sense that someone may realise on an intellectual level that religious belief is false but that they still have residual respect for an enduring institution?

Funny, PZ has a post about yet another example of that kind of thing, just today. The yet another example is yet another by Joseph Hoffmann, yet again in the … Read the rest

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Why Burzynski matters

Nov 29th, 2011 12:16 pm | By

Craig Malisow doesn’t mince words in his blog post for Houston Press about his neighbors at the Burzynski Clinic. Maybe he’s hoping Marc Stephens will offer to threaten him too.

Here’s a warning for anyone out there considering blogging or tweeting anything questioning the greatness of cancer-curing Houston doc Stanislaw Burzynski: You will probably be threatened by the head of marketing for the Burzynski Patient Support Group.

We first heard about loose cannon Marc Stephens’s weird diatribes Monday, when a guy in England informed us that Stephens had earlier this month threatened 17-year-old Welsh blogger Rhys Morgan with a libel suit if Morgan didn’t remove any of his comments questioning the validity of Burzynski’s claims. Morgan is one

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Sense About Science on libel threats *

Nov 29th, 2011 | Filed by

“It is appalling that threats of libel action are being used to try to intimidate people into silence. We have to be free to ask questions and raise concerns.”… Read the rest

QED’s Geoff Whelan interviews OB *

Nov 29th, 2011 | Filed by

On: B&W, being strident, are atheists mean scrooges, are we a movement, where are we going, what is new about new/gnu atheists, and more.… Read the rest

Houston Press blogger on Burzynski and Stephens *

Nov 29th, 2011 | Filed by

“Giving the false impression he was an attorney representing the Burzynski Clinic, Stephens demanded Morgan ‘immediately cease and desist in your actions’.”… Read the rest

Don’t Streisand that blog, my friend

Nov 28th, 2011 5:52 pm | By

And more #Burzynski.

Richard Wilson at Don’t Get Fooled Again.

While the UK media has been characteristically slow in picking this up – presumably the Murdoch press are too preoccupied with their own problems and the Guardian Media Group still frozen in the headlights after the Observer got sucked into the  controversybloggers all over the world have been ensuring that this story continues to grow.

Josephine Jones has a list of posts on the subject. There are a lot. More not-going-well for the intimidation thing.

The likelihood of Stephens contacting me now seems to be getting ever smaller. Critical Burzynski posts are popping up all over the internet almost faster than I can read

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(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

Carl Zimmer profiles Steven Pinker *

Nov 28th, 2011 | Filed by

Pinker argues that evolutionary psychology offers the best explanation for why things have gotten better, and how to make them even better.… Read the rest


Nov 28th, 2011 4:25 pm | By

More on the Burzynski Clinic – yes Google I said THE BURZYNSKI CLINIC – and Marc Stephens and Rhys Morgan.

From Phil Plait.

In Houston, Texas, is a man named Stanislaw Burzynski. He claims he has a method for treating cancer. He calls it antineoplaston therapy. However, according to the National Cancer Institute, “No randomized, controlled trials showing the effectiveness of antineoplastons have been published in peer-reviewed scientific journals.” That’s a bad sign. Furthermore, the FDA has not approved of antineoplaston therapy for use. Also telling is that “… other investigators have not been able to obtain the same results reported by Dr. Burzynski and his team”. Yet, despite this, Burzynski charges hundreds of thousands of dollars

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(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

Streisand that clinic

Nov 28th, 2011 11:55 am | By

A 17-year-old schoolboy has been in receipt of blustering threats from Marc Stephens, who “represents” (as he says) the Burzynski Clinic. That’s a funny word, “represents.” In this context it suggests “as a lawyer” – but in fact Marc Stephens doesn’t actually say he’s a lawyer, even when urgently invited to do so (instead he says “you should stop asking me if I’m a lawyer,” which is no help). It’s hard not to think he would say he’s a lawyer if in fact he were a lawyer, so his consistent failure to do so seems to point to the likelihood that he isn’t one.

But lawyer or PR hack, whichever, Marc Stephens has been sending blustering threats to Rhys Read the rest

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)