Thursday, April 28, 2016

#1655: Jeff Godwin

Many fundies have warned us about the dangers of pop music. It’s really a calling card for the lunatic fringe of maniacal fundamentalist. And, as Johnny Marr puts it, Jeff Godwin belongs to “the lunatic fringe of the anti-rock movement” – indeed, Godwin doesn’t hesitate to call out his fellow anti-rock activists as closet rock fans and devil worshippers and has for decades been Jack Chick’s go-to-guy for information about rock music and popular culture – Chick published Godwin’s first three books Devil’s Disciples: The Truth About Rock Music, Dancing With Demons: The Music’s Real Master, What’s Wrong With Christian Rock? One thing that distinguishes these and his other books from those of other anti-rock writers like Jacob Aranza, is style. Godwin’s books are poorly written, unstructered and argumentatively incoherent hate screeds characterized by fuming rage and lunatic ravings, whereas Aranza could fool you for four or five seconds before you appreciate the howling insanity expressed by his otherwise grammatically well-formed sentences.

According to Godwin, rock and roll music (yeah, we know) traces its origins back thousands of years. Its rhythms were written by Satan and his demons and have, accordingly, a subliminal power to control a listener’s mind. Those rhythms eventually found their way, via Africa, into blues, jazz and other forms of African American music and the rest of us received this Satanic curse through African American voodoo culture. Indeed, one of Godwin’s main ideas is the “voodoo beat theory”: The rock beat has the same time signature as the human heart (no, he hasn’t listened to much rock music), and hence clearly hypnotizes and brainwashes listeners into accepting a message so evil that it could only be Satan’s.

It’s not only the rhythms, though; rock music is loaded with references to sexual behavior of all kinds, and therefore encourages fornication amongst youths and inspires lust and rage, as well as preaching “rebellion, hatred, drug abuse,” it encourages “mind decaying, death-dealing drugs”, in slang terms only understood by teens, “suicide, fornication and the dark things of Satan”. Of course, it is not only promiscuous sex that is being promoted, but abnormal sex, as epitomized by that nexus of darkness David Bowie, the “limp wristed king of the abnormal world of Homo Rock”. All screamed rock vocals are in fact inspired by the sound of the “homosexual penetration of the male”, and whip crack drum beats are just a gateway to filthy and unhibited homosexual S&M. The hypothesis tells you not so much about rock, but might tell you things you might not want to know about William Godwin.

Of course, the actual messages have been backmasked (oh, yes), even though Satan’s presence has never required hiding. I believe that even now Satan and his demons are blaspheming and insulting God and the Lamb with their horrible rock record covers and backmasked broadcasts from Hell,” says Godwin. As opposed to some backmask lunatics, Godwin doesn’t think Satan has snuck into the messages without their knowledge, however; rock musicians, producers and promoters are outright Satanists who maintain secret but deliberate alliances with Satan and his demons (“the Lord has also revealed to some Christians that incarnate demons from the netherworld actually are members of some of the most popular bands ...”). How do they do the backmasking? Simple: Rock stars summon (literally) demons when they’re in studio to ensure hit records; the backmasked messages are merely the signatures of the supernatural presences. And once the demons have been brought into this world by the artists, playing a rock record is enough to call them up to possess the listener or anyone nearby. To say that “addiction to rock ‘n’ roll is a form of demonic possession,” is to make an understatement. And we’re not only talking about rock here: all of popular music is Satanic, since “NO ONE makes it big in secular music without selling out to Satan.” “We Are the World,” for instance, with its message of “Love is all we need” is wrong and demonic because “Jesus Christ is what this world needs!

Finally, Christian rock is a diversion created by Satan. The Christian content preached in Christian rock is feel-good, inoffensive religious messages and does accordingly not genuinely preach Christ, who according to Godwin is not this effeminate, mild and benevolent guy he’s sometimes portrayed as being; that mild and merciful guy is apparently a creation of Satan and good grief this guy is insane. A particularly sinister example is Stryper, as evidenced e.g. by their “To Hell With The Devil” album, which Godwin predictably (no, seriously: you must have seen this one coming) takes to mean “To Hell WITH the Devil”, which happens to be the fate of all Stryper fans, so there.

Accordingly Godwin recommends that parents should burn anything relating to rock in their homes immediately and double their daily prayer time. That’s the only way you can secure your home and your family from the gangs of roving rock-and-roll-summoned demons now during the final days of the Earth.


Diagnosis: Ah, yes. Another one of those who add a bit of color to life – probably harmless, but we should probably feel a bit of pity for him, at least until we realize that he really how unsavory of a character he really is.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

#1654: Floyd Godfrey

Floyd Godfrey is an “ex-gay” therapist who apparently has gained some traction among people like Linda Harvey. Godfrey thinks that homosexuality is just like cannibalism. “[T]hose who struggle with homosexual feelings, they’re so hungry they just want to eat it up, they want to assimilate, they want to eat what they don’t feel like they have. If you look at cannibals they would eat the leaders of the tribe, they would eat those that have the qualities they so admired. A young man with homosexual attractions is so envious, he’s jealous of other boys, he puts them on a pedestal, he might idolize them, he’s jealous of them, so he’s trying to assimilate what he feels like he doesn’t have.” Apparently the idea was first put worth by British howling fanatic Elizabeth Moberly. We haven’t bothered to try to figure out in more detail what these incoherent ghouls are blathering about, but apparently Godfrey himself is an ex-gay, so he may be trying to express some kind of self-biographical gibberish.


Diagnosis: Just stay the f*** away, will you?

Monday, April 25, 2016

#1653: Brian Godawa

Brian Godawa is a screenwriter (“To End All Wars” and “The Visitation”) and author of books like the Chronicles of Nephilim series and Hollywood Worldviews: Watching Films with Wisdom and Discernment. Godawa also produced the documentary “Wall of separation”, which attempts like so much fundie pseudohistory to claim that the Founding Fathers sought a government based on the Bible and therefore that the “wall” between church and state should be removed. (It’s remarkable that the Founding Fathers should have wanted this but actually failed to put it in there.) The documentary is, of course, riddled with factual errors (some discussed here), but more striking are, of course, the errors of omission of all those details that don’t quite fit. The whole thing fits the standard reconstructionist narrative (i.e. paranoid conspiracy theory) nicely, and it is worth mentioning that Godawa himself is affiliated with the Chalcedon Foundation, the home of Christian Reconstructionism.

Indeed, Godawa used to write movie reviews for the Chalcedon Foundation’s website. As you’d expect, he called “Brokeback Mountain” “a brilliant piece of subversive homosexual propaganda,” since it depicted gay men as “manly” instead of “fey queens,” which is an example of “the normalization of the freakish minority,” and concluded that “homosexualism” is “an ideology and religion whose goal is to overthrow the Christian paradigm of morality.”

Godawa was also one of many people upset by “historical inaccuracies” in the Aronofsky movie, “Noah”, calling it a “postmodernist fancy” and writing that the script “is deeply anti-Biblical in its moral vision.” Ooh, and what moral vision might that be? Killing everyone on Earth for their perceived moral failures? Why, yes, precisely that: “Killing all humans but eight in order to start over (as the Bible portrays) may seem harsh to our thoroughly Modern Millie minds … it reaffirms that Image of God in Man that gives man value despite the evil.” Hubris does not come hubrier than that last sentence, but at least we get to know the types of actions Godawa considers to be objectively morally acceptable but which postmodernist sensitivies have told us are not. (He was also concerned that this “uninteresting and unBiblical waste of a $150 million” would make it difficult for Christian screenwriters like him to find employment).


Diagnosis: Let’s hope that last prediction comes true – but we fear not. (Ok, so that’s more of a conclusion than a diagnosis, but we’re pretty sick of these people by now.)

Saturday, April 23, 2016

#1652: Joann Ginal & Linda Newell

Joann Ginal
Lunacy in state legislations is a phenomenon we have covered before, and no: It’s not limited to wingnuts. In fact, the nutters on the left have in many cases been very successful in their attempts to combat reason, science and rationality, and the Colorado legislature is a horrifying example. Joann Ginal, for instance, has been a member of the Colorado House of Representatives since 2012, and was the sponsor of a 2013 bill that would license naturopaths and thereby provide them with the imprimatur of the state to practice quackery as well as, in practice, legalize a range of naturopathic quackery. Colorado naturopaths had (and other naturopaths have)
been fighting for that for a long time. And yes: They finally got (most of) their wish with Ginal, who apparently has some background in medical research. I am proud that Colorado has taken the lead in ensuring that well trained naturopathic doctors, appropriately regulated, become a viable health care option for the citizens of our state,” said Ginal, brushing over the matter of what kind of “training” naturopaths actually receive. Meanwhile, Sen. Linda Newell (D-Littleton), the bill’s sponsor in the Senate, asserted that “naturopathic doctors are going to be a key component in health care, saving the state millions of dollars through their focus on disease prevention and natural treatment, such as nutrition, lifestyle counseling and botanical medicine,” which suggests that she does not know what naturopathy actually involves – which would not be surprising since there is often a, shall we say, discrepancy between how naturopathic organizations present themselves to lawmakers and the public, and the stuff they actually do (hint: “Why Vitalism is the New Medicine.” Oh, yes. It’s not only prescientific vitalism; it is vitalism and they’re proud of it), but that doesn’t make Newell any less of a loon for sponsoring the bill.

Linda Newell
You can read the details of the bill here. Yes, you will find the “complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is popular” gambit and, interestingly, it uses a 2007 survey by Barnes et al. to estimate that 1.5 million Coloradans “currently receive a substantial volume of health care services” from CAM practitioners, a conclusion contradicted by that survey. Also, “what’s the harm?”.

“But isn’t it at least good that the practice is finally regulated?” some might ask. Yeah, right.


Diagnosis: Yes, it’s as bad and possibly worse than the creationist bills, Ginal and Newell have proved themselves to be promoters of dangerous pseudoscience. Exasperating.

Friday, April 22, 2016

#1651: John Gilmore

Anti-vaccine loons exhibit the love/hate relationship with science so typical of pseudoscientists – on the one hand, they have to vigorously deny or pretend not to see that science consistently produces results that don’t support their cherished fantasies; on the other, they will desperately try to use whatever flimsy and imaginary support they can in the scientific literature, wherever they can find it. And applying enough motivated reasoning, Texas sharpshooting, cherry-picking and misunderstanding, you will always seem to find some if you torture it enough.

John Gilmore is as fine an example of these dynamics as any. Gilmore is the Executive Director of the Autism Action Network, and a convinced vaccine denialist. He has testified against requiring health care workers to be vaccinated with the flu vaccine, and has made a number of appearances in anti-vaccine rallies and various new stories that need “balance”, always arguing the dingbat side. Moreover, Gilmore is the author of “2003 Danish Study on Mercury Fabricated? New Study Completely Different Results” (note the question mark. The background is described here, but the short story is this: Antivaccinationists really, really don’t like the so-called “Danish studies,” of which one unsurprisingly found no link between thimerosal-containing vaccines and autism, and another found no link between the MMR and autism. Of course, these two studies are mere drops in an ocean of studies finding no such link, but they have nonetheless become particular targets for these loons. You see, some years ago one of the co-investigators of the Danish studies, Poul Thorsen, was charged with fraud and misuse of federal grant money that he purportedly used for private expenses. That Thorsen was not the main author, that the fact that he misused grant money for personal expenses in no way invalidates or affects the results, or that the studies themselves are mere drops in the ocean of evidence, doesn’t matter much to the crazies, who made quite a bit of meaningless noise to divert attention from the real issues. Gilmore, however, appears to think that he hit gold with the publication of a new study, Grønborg et al. (2013). Like the previous studies, Grønborg et al. found no evidence of a link between autism and vaccines – in fact, it found very, very strong evidence for a significant genetic component in autism and no evidence for environmental factors. Gilmore disregarded that part of the study, the part that produced further evidence against the conclusion he wants to be true; Gilmore focused instead on the fact that Grønborg et al. operated with different figures than the “Danish studies”, which is unsurprising since they were studying completely different questions using completely different designs (details here), longer follwups, and took into account the expansion definition of “autism” that has occurred in the meantime, as they should. But to Gilmore, who apparently fails to grasp the basic facts about scientific methodology, the fact that they used a different study design is evidence that the “Danish Studies” were fraud. And if they were fraud, everything must apparently be a conspiracy, and Gilmore’s pseudoscientific denialism is vindicated. The usual story.

In 2005, Gilmore praised the work of David Kirby: “Thanks to David’s incredibly hard work the book has done phenomenally well. Two years ago this was the province of the loonie fringe. EOH has put us in the mainstream. Our main job is to destroy the credibility of the vaccine industry and that’s just what EOH has done.” Wonder whether he, ten years later, still believes that he’s not on the loonie fringe?


Diagnosis: Standard conspiracy theorist and B-level antivaxx mainstay. Oh, but he is not “antivaccine”; he is “pro safe vaccine”. Right.