Sunday, June 30, 2013

#618: George Deutsch

George Carlton Deutsch III was a press officer of the United States space agency NASA, appointed by Dubya after having worked on the 2004 Bush/Cheney campaign. He has gone down in history as the very symbol of wingnut efforts to obstruct and suppress science that does not conform to political ideology, and for cutting support to scientists whose results do not line up with convenient denialist talking points. In short, Deutsch was instrumental in implementing an American version of the celebrated scientific policy of Lysenkoism.

Deutsch gained particular notoriety in late 2005/2006 when he instructed a NASA website designer to add the word “theory” after every occurrence of the phrase “Big Bang”, writing in his memo to the designer that Big Bang is “not proven fact; it is opinion ... It is not NASA's place, nor should it be to make a declaration such as this about the existence of the universe that discounts intelligent design by a creator ... This is more than a science issue, it is a religious issue.” More here.

It created a bit of a stir, which partially ended in the discovery that Deutsch had lied about having a B.A. degree in journalism on his resume, which forced him to resign. True to his inborn persecution complex Deutsch later claimed that the only reason his appointment was controversial was because he was a Christian, which, while blatantly untrue, landed Deutsch a career as yet another wingnut on wingnut welfare for what he and his co-conspirators deemed to be ideological reasons.

Dr. James E. Hansen, the director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, and several other career NASA scientists and public affairs officials, complained in interviews about “intensifying efforts by political appointees in NASA, including Mr. Deutsch, to control more closely” the content of their public statements, whereas Deutsch claimed – without anything resembling competence on the issue – that Dr. Hansen exaggerated the threat of global warming, and pretty much that NASA’s mission should be to use research to underpin already existing political agendas regardless of whether science or reality, those liberal conspiracies, agreed.

The always perceptive Deutsch had earlier been noticed for claiming that the ties between Al-Qaeda and Iraq were so clear that any informed person should see them.

Diagnosis: As a professionally appointed derp (apparently his job description), Deutsch exhibited spectacular failure to distinguish reality from ideology (i.e. facts from wishful thinking), and a horrifying display of the dangers when such morons achieve positions of power. Don’t for a moment think that Deutsch is an isolated case, however.

#617: Ken DeMyer

A.k.a. Conservative, Peter Moore, Kdbuffalo, Peter Moore, RuyLopez (?), David Jensen, etc. (more comprehensive list here)

Among other things Kenneth D. DeMyer is probably the most highly profiled sysop at Conservapedia apart from Andy Schlafly himself, and generally in control of Conservapedia’s articles on evolution, atheism, and homosexuality. He used to trawl Wikipedia back in the days but was thrown out for flagrantly violating their sockpuppet rules. His general attitude toward atheism and evolution is that atheism is already dead and evolution is dying, and neither need be taking particularly seriously, although fone cannot help but notice that DeMyer spends a surprising amount of effort trying (flailingly) to flog a horse he desperately and loudly claims is very much dead. Among his more bizarre articles on Conservapedia are “Ponies vs. Atheism” and “Atheism and Obesity” (comments on that one here), this one, and – not the least – his magnum opus (work in progress) Summa homosexualita.

DeMyer’s favored debate and reasoning techniques are sockpuppetry, quote mining and wildly and willfully misunderstanding more or less anything and everything (e.g. here). He considers himself a great debater, but the opinion is not universally shared. At least DeMyer is evidently completely unable to recognize when his “hard” questions are completely satisfactorily answered and his points completely refuted, and will just bring up the same points and questions again and again, such as his lying about and misunderstanding of Haeckel, a form of transcendental, mind-numbing state generally known as the Dunning-Kruger effect (he was eventually banned from Pharyngula for spamming).

You can play the Ken DeMyer game here.

Diagnosis; Abysmally thickskulled, but not completely without notability insofar as his efforts are, ever so slightly, boosting the google rankings of that pile of mental rot that is Conservapedia.

Friday, June 28, 2013

#616: Nancy Leigh DeMoss

Nancy Leigh DeMoss is a hardcore dominionist wingnut and author of Lies Women Believe: And the Truththat Sets them Free, which has apparently sold some copies worldwide. The purpose of the tract is to identify (40) lies that have been told to women. Among the obvious ones are the lie that women have rights, as well as any claim that religion is not the be all – end all for women, or that continuous, daily prayer is optional. The whole rag is really just a more fundamentalist religious rewrite of this one, and other notable lies include:

- “A career outside the home is more valuable and fitting than being a wife and mother.”
- “If I submit to my husband, I'll be miserable.”
- “Sometimes divorce is a better option than staying in a bad marriage.”
- “It's up to us to determine the size of our family.”
- “Children need to get exposed to the ‘real world’ so that they can learn to function in it.”
- “I shouldn't have to suffer.”

In short, Satan – who controls most of the media – has managed to implement his grand schemes (birth control, in particular) in modern culture, leading – according to DeMoss – to acceptance of infanticide. Using contraception is furthering Satan’s grand plan. Indeed, trying to avoid suffering and achieve fulfillment is inherently Satanic lustfulness and should be dealt with accordingly.

DeMoss also appears to be behind Answers In Genesis’s quiz about modesty. You can guess the drift; the designated “correct” answer for “I can't help it if guys struggle morally because of what I wear. It's up to the guys to control their minds. I shouldn't have to change the way I dress just because they can't control themselves” is “false”).

DeMoss also appears to lead the True Woman movement, whose goals are to lead women back to the kitchen where they belong, in accordance with the Bible or DeMoss’s deranged, psycopathic lunacy. It is a little striking that their heroes seem to be the notoriously un-kitchen-bound  Michele Bachmann and Phyllis Schlafly, but then again I suppose few expected coherence from this gang.

Diagnosis: Pure evil, hatred, and Taliban mysogyny packed in cupcakes, fire and brimstone. Despite appearances I wouldn’t quite count them off as a threat to human advancement and well-being. 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

#615: Eugene Delgaudio

Eugene Delgaudio is the most colorful board member of the Public Advocates of the US, a deeply homophobic organization devopted to spinning gay-related news (and other things) into their own flavor of loon (their president is (or at least was) one Ronald Pearson). The result is the usual stuff, incuding conspiracy theories, hate, and paranoia (and some rather loaded quizzes for the public). Indeed, the organization serves as a backdrop for Delgaudio’s spamming activities (called “fundraising activities”), primarily in the form of requests for money sent to everyone who has ever discussed issues remotely related to homosexuality, regardless of what side the recipient may happen to be on, and selling his mailing lists (do don’t sign up for anything). Delgaudio also represents the Sterling District on the Loudoun County, Virginia, Board of Supervisors, by the way.

As for his anti-gay agenda, Delgaudio has said things like “[a]s homosexuals die off due to AIDS, the remaining AIDS carriers prey on children to replenish the Homosexual Community,” “the Homosexual Lobby and its billionaire donors are flush with cash. When Congressmen and Senators see the power and riches of the radical Homosexuals, they get tempted. You’d be surprised how many politicians are already bought and paid for,” and “I absolutely must find $73,575 before the end of next month to pay for printing, telephones, research, and postage.” The rest of his output consists of variations on those three (there is a completely weird one here), but primarily the latter. Here is a typical fundraising letter.

You can see Delgaudio claim that the Gasparilla Pirate Festival in Tampa is infiltrated by “radical homosexuals” seeking to exploit unsuspecting college students here (and here). As for paranoia (well, more paranoia – everything he writes is drenched with paranoia) Delgaudio has claimed that “[i]n the past, the radical homosexuals have attempted to kill me, even threatening and stalking my family;” here is the accompanying fundraising letter.

Indeed, according to Delgaudio the homosexual conspiracy is supporting “anti-discrimination” measures as part of their plan to convert kids to homosexuality. Here is the accompanying fundraising letter.

The problem, according to Delgaudio, is that there are too few left willing to fight against the homosexual propaganda machine. Here is the accompanying fundraising letter.

Among his most famous screeds is his argument against the TSA’s full-body security scans: “It's the federal employee's version of the Gay Bill of Special Rights ... That means the next TSA official that gives you an ‘enhanced pat down’ could be a practicing homosexual secretly getting pleasure from your submission;” and here is the fundraising letter accompanying his “TSA porn scanner” rant.

Despite his apparent pathological shortage of cash the Public Advocates actually pay Delgaudio in excess of $ 150 000 a year (more here). In 2012 Loudon County actually initiated an investigation of Delgaudio concerning the way he was using his office. Delgaudio’s response to the investigations was actually quite epic (recommended link).

There’s an excellent, if old, portrait of Delgaudio here. And here is another, more recent, spam mail fundraising letter. A grassroots Delgaudio recall movement was formed in 2013 – this guy holds public office, for the sake of anything and everything that is decent upon this Earth!

In a pang of absolutely astonishing self-aggrandazing delusion Delgaudio was audacious enough to take the credit when TSA replaced the scanners in 2012.

Diagnosis: Thoroughly delusional and deeply paranoid bigotbot and spam machine. Probably more of a nuisance than a real threat, but his blind hatred should probably not be completely overlooked.

#614: Brennan Dean

Being less crazy than Ken Ham is a poor measure for rationality. Brennan Dean gets that far, but only barely, and is pretty far away from seeing the light at the cave opening. Dean is a fundamentalist crazy and young earth creationist, and the founder of Great Homeschool Conventions Inc, an organization for people who keep their children out of public schools to avoid them being exposed to truth, reason and tolerance, and evolution.

Dean and his organization is perhaps most familiar to readers for disinviting Ken Ham, the grand man of young earth creationism in the US, “from all future conventions” because Ham was, in the eyes of Dean’s group, too intolerant toward opposing viewpoints for them (which they took to be in disagreement with a literal interpretation of the Bible by the way). It should tell you something about the lunacy of Ken Ham, since Dean and his group are truly, gibberingly insane themselves.

Diagnosis: A hardcore, organized fundamentalist. The fact that he is slightly less insane than Ken Ham does not mean that he is not a complete loon. He is.