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Fighting over nothing (1/6/2002)
This is being written on the sixtieth anniversary of the day that the Second World War came to my home town. On 1st June, 1942, three Japanese midget submarines came into Sydney harbour when the defence nets were opened briefly to allow access for a passenger ferry (my Aunty Eva was on that ferry). They loosed off some torpedoes, but only managed to sink one small ship, the ferry Kuttabul, with a loss of 21 lives. As an example of how Murphy's Law works, the torpedo passed under the USS Chicago (which was the target) and under the Kuttabul, then hit the harbour bottom near the latter ship. The explosion was still close enough to do enough damage to sink the boat, but more would have been killed if the torpedo had actually hit one of the ships.
The reasons for fighting the Second World war were reasonably clear, and there is little dispute that the war in Europe and Africa was about territorial ambition, fascism and barbarity, while the war in the Pacific was about territorial ambition, access to resources and barbarity. There are two places in the world today, however, which provide the potential for serious wars to break out between countries without any of these reasons, although territory is sometimes mentioned to divert discussion. These places are the Middle East and the border between India and Pakistan.
There are similarities in the ways both Israel and Pakistan came into being. Neither existed as a separate country on the day that the Kuttabul was sunk; both were created to provide a homeland for people who felt that they were not part of existing countries; both were carved out of other countries and involved displacing some existing residents. The most significant similarity, however, is that there is a religious element to their existence. In the case of Pakistan, the religious aspect was the driving force. The country was created as a refuge for Muslims who were otherwise indistinguishable from their Indian neighbours. Israel was created to provide a homeland for the Jews of the Diaspora and is nominally a secular society, but the religion of Judaism is inextricably linked with the ethnicity of being Jewish.
Despite pretences that the disputes are about territory, if either of these places breaks out into full-scale war it will be about religion. I can understand people going to war to get access to fuel and minerals and farming land. I can understand people going to war to fight despots and racists. What I cannot understand is people going to war over whose superstition is the true one or whose god (or gods) are better or more powerful. It didn't make sense a thousand years ago when the crusaders set out to free the "holy land", and it doesn't make sense now. It is religious bigotry carried to its unfortunate logical extreme. It is truly fighting over nothing.
Do they let these people roam the streets alone?
I was told this week that cancer quack Lorraine Day tells people that AIDS was invented as a means of reducing the world's population from 6 billion down to about 500 million. (I am trying to track down the reference.) I was recently told by an anti-vaccination campaigner that archloon David Icke says that the same reduction is supposed to occur through the medium of the flu vaccine, distributed in the condensation trails behind aircraft. It is amazing and outstanding that anyone can dream this stuff up, let alone believe it. Still, if you can believe that vaccinations serve no purpose or that walnuts cure cancer then you could believe anything.
Harassment hardly happened again (1/6/2002)
While I was updating this site last week, Mr William P O'Neill of the Canadian Cancer Research Group was busy emailing people who work for the Australian Computer Society (including some junior office workers and eight incorrect email addresses) to tell them how bad I am. How do I know this? Because I was sent a copy of his email. Am I still a member of the ACS? When I spoke to the national President, the CEO and some other staff and members last Tuesday night, everyone seemed to think I was. Will this harassment make me close this site down? Look around you for the answer.
We're off to see the Benny
The wonderful Benny of God (8/6/2002)
The Sydney Entertainment Centre can hold 12,500 people when the seating is configured for the maximum capacity. On 7 June, 2002, more than that number turned up to see faith healer Benny Hinn do his act of curing people of many illnesses through the power of Jesus. A team of observers from the RatbagsDotCom Empire and the Australian Skeptics went along to see the magical Benny but, alas, we got there too late ... (See the full story here.)
Harassment takes a holiday (8/6/2002)
It seems that the attendants have really tightened up the straps at the GAL Home for the Terminally Clueless, so some regular correspondents haven't been able to get to a modem lately. To make up for this, here are some feeble, amateur attempts to threaten me.
|From someone who, I think, does not like
my opinions about pyramid sales and who seems to think that I am
IT MIGHT BE A GOOD IDEA FOR YOU TO STAY UNKNOWN PAL..........YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY WOULD BE BANKRUPT WITHIN A WEEK.........
|From the same person, 2 minutes and 16
YUP ...... AS I FIGURED.......STAY HIDDEN........IT WON'T HURT YOUR BUTT AS MUCH.....MR PROCOLOGIST
|From someone who wrote to me once before
about glue (see the full text on the
SIT AND SHIT YOUR PANTS. WE ARE GAINING GROUND EVERY DAY. SOON WE WILL SUPPLANT YOU AND WE WILL HAVE THE PLEASURE OF SEEIN G RAT MAN BOWDITCH AND TODDY GASTALDO GROVEL AT OUR TABLE.
|From a supporter of
not-a-medical-Dr Hulda Clark:
You have just been mailed by one that has tried the methods of DR. Clark and I and others will continue to do all that is humanly possible on an intellectual level to destroy scared people like you who do not want anyone to be able to take care of health issues and cut YOU out of the picture. Sorry doc, you loose. Power to the people brave enough to with stand your influence.
Nuremberg 2001 - The Denouement (15/6/2002)
After 260 days of inactivity, the ludicrous lawsuit brought against me and several other people (and some non-people) by not-a-medical-Dr Hulda Clark was withdrawn. You can see the cave-in by the quack's lawyer by clicking on the image at the right. The whole lawsuit was typical of the tactics of frauds like Clark who can't meet criticism with science, or with results, or with anything except bluster and lies. If Clark could cure cancer she would be able to produce the cured people and the evidence. If she could cure AIDS she would be fêted across the world. She can do neither of these. She cannot cure anybody of anything, except perhaps wealth. "The Cure for All Diseases" indeed! It would be funny if it weren't so revolting.
The ghost of Franz Mesmer reappears (15/6/2002)
In January 2001, I wrote an item for the Quintessence of the Loon site which had some gentle fun at the expense of a Dr William Nelson and a machine he had invented called the "Quantum Xrroid Consciousness Interface", which appeared to be some sort of mind-reading device. Dr Nelson's site later became unreachable, and I thought no more of it. Someone was thinking of it, though, and I received an email from a person who sells the machines, talking about my "ridiculous site", calling me a liar (for saying that Dr Nelson's web site was missing, which it was as he had changed domain names), and diagnosing my mental and emotional states.
(See the rest of this story here.)
Harassers hide (15/6/2002)
It may be because of the new moon, or perhaps the attendants at the GAL Secure Home for the Typographically Challenged have been keeping a lid on the inmates, but things have been very quiet lately. There have been a few emails which have ended up on the Mailbox or Anti-Vaccinationist Mail pages, but nothing unhinged enough to get me too excited. I hope the situation gets better when the full moon arrives, because we all need something to laugh at, and people who volunteer themselves as objects of ridicule should always be obliged.
Subtle racism (22/6/2002)
A few years ago, I visited a small art gallery in Adelaide, South Australia. I turned a corner into an area off the main corridor and was stunned into immobility by a painting by an artist called Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri. It was literally breathtaking, and the gallery owner said that my experience was common.
Read the rest of this article here.
I love conspiracy theories. It's just so easy to dredge up or even invent them as a way of diverting attention away from the real issues. In the last week or so, supporters of pseudomedicine have regaled me with the following pathetic attempts to discredit "evil organised medicine" (that's the sort of medicine that can really prevent and cure diseases):
Hilarious Hammond Harassment (22/6/2002)
The lid has been firmly screwed down on the regular performers, allowing George Hammond, who has scientifically proved the existence of God and is smarter than almost anyone else in the universe, to post the following rousing commendation of me to various Usenet newsgroups:
You're not only a snot nosed asinine and boring writer, you've got an ugly smelling contempt and ignorance for the higher levels of scientific ability. It's scum like you who need to be cleaned out of Science and put back in uniform where you belong. It's time that the academic community stopped mollycoddling loudmouthed yuppie scumbags like you. You're a disgrace to your family name.
When religion goes mad (29/6/2002)
There was an example this week of how people can take religion too seriously. Some atheist in California objected to his daughter having to say the words "one nation under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance at school and took the matter to court. The court ruled, correctly, that the law which inserted the mention of God into the Pledge was in contravention of the Establishment Clause in the 1st Amendment to the US Constitution. At this point, this silliness should have stopped, but chaos and madness broke out. I think the original plaintiff was making a big issue out of something that didn't really matter (what's wrong with saying "one nation mumble mumble" if you don't like the words?), but he was legally correct and the court agreed. The reaction, however, has been out of all proportion. Politicians across the country have been foaming at the mouth with outrage, the President has bought into the controversy, the judge has been ridiculed and vilified, talk-back radio has gone into melt-down mode, and the girl and her father have received death threats. All of this coming from people claiming to be Christians, showing Christian spirit and tolerance. Hypocrites.
What makes this response doubly ridiculous is that this is not some ancient ritual and tradition that is being fought over, something that goes back to the foundation of the country. The words "under God" were added to the Pledge in 1954 to fight the communist menace, so many of the people who are screeching now would have lived in a time when the words "under God" were not in the speech. Some of them may even have recited an "atheist" version when they were in school. Did I mention hypocrisy?
Coincidence department (29/6/2002)
While I was writing the piece above I was listening to a smooth jazz internet radio station. As I finished typing the words "US Constitution", a saxophone rendition of "The Star Spangled Banner" started to play. Coincidence, omen, or are the thought police tunnelling through my firewall? The next song started with the words "Heavenly Father", so maybe the conspiracy theorists are right. Perhaps I should listen to another station.
Answer me this, anti-vaccinators (29/6/2002)
Someone asked me for a set of questions to put to some anti-vaccination liars to see why I call them liars. Here is the list. I think I could guess the answers, but any anti-vaccinator is welcome to tell me what the correct answers are.
Email of the week (29/6/2002)
I have no idea what this is about, but someone took the time to write to me so I suppose I had better acknowledge it.
From: "your long lost friend"
Date: Tue, 25 Jun 2002 13:12:02
Subject: A wonderful fantastic email for you!really!
hi we are luke's secret following
we love luke fictitious
we are also your long lost friend
this email has nothing to do with lukes official site
we just wanted to say hi
and have a beautifull day!
Strange invitations (29/6/2002)
Among the viruses and spams that rolled in this week were a few strange offers. Someone sent me an email with the subject "Fine Ganja Virtues" which encouraged me to smoke something with the wonderful name "Temple 3 Ragga Dagga (tm) Pipe-Smoking Substance Supplemental Product", the result of "recent, dramatic, technological advances in the laboratorial processes". Someone else wanted to know if my Sydney, Australia, computer consulting company would like to buy advertising in American Cowboy magazine, where I could appear among the cowboy culture and cuisine, the trail riding and the troubadours. (Yee, Ha! Rope and brand them MS Office CDs.) Another spam had the subject "Please, DO NOT Read This Email!", but I don't know what it was about because I did what it said. Why do these people bother? The real problem with spam is not that you get so much of it, but that it is so badly targeted.
Harassment Update (29/6/2002)
They must have emailed me their brains.