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This would actually be the second testimony of mine. Seeing as the first one was way, way long ago, I figured a little update.

 

Long ago, I came to this site as an "Ex-Christian". After a while, talking with some of you, I realized that I had no right to use that label. For one, I've never had many of the experiences that some of the people on this site have had. I grew up in a very progressive household. There was only one Bible in the house, and I believe it was kept safely in the attic. I would describe my upbringing as being Universalist, but it may have been even lighter than that. There was seldom talk of God, aside from casual references (i.e., there were no moral theological lessons at my house). In a sense, it was about as secular as you could get without actually being atheist.

 

You could imagine, though, how easy it was for me to shed theism. Once I found out that there were other gods and that theism was a regional phenomenon, the game was pretty much up. Sure, the same could be said about science, but science is demonstrable. Gods are invisible. As George Carlin used to say, visibility kind of adds a bit to the credibility. So, from that point on, I just stopped believing.

 

Obnoxiously, I've had a number of Christians tell me that atheism is some kind of religion or collective, but becoming an atheist doesn't involve this step at all. I didn't know I was "joining" anything. What it was was that my parents were pretty bad at rationalizing good reasons to believe in God. Being progressive, my parents never gave me the hellfire and brimstone threat that most people associate with a reason to believe, so there was nothing they could offer me to make it stick.

 

I don't have any bad experiences as an atheist. I get the occasional annoying Christian who tries to save me, but most people leave me alone. I've always been fairly content with leaving Christians alone. If only creationism wasn't such a deal breaker!

 

It's pretty much around the time I realized how bad the creationist problem was that I originally came to this website. I came here to find people with whom I could relate and to find a forum from which to defend science from these people who I firmly regard as jerks. I'm sorry, but when we have STAPH and C.diff becoming epidemics in our hospitals, telling people that evolution doesn't happen makes you a jerk, and you deserve to be told that you're a jerk.

 

But after a while, I stopped posting here. I guess I got bored. The major creationists of the time kind of dropped off. Hovind is in jail, Ray Comfort is a laughing stock, even among believers, and Jason Gastrich is hiding under a rock somewhere. I think there was some kind of whimper of desperation that came to theaters called "Expelled", but that ended up tanking at the box office and inspiring epic laughter, for those of us who read the Pharyngula blog.

 

Speaking of which, I was one of the winners of NCSE's "Set Stein Straight" contest over on ExpelledExposed.com.

 

I tried to make sense of some of the more philosophical theistic arguments (i.e., TAG) and found them to be even stupider than the creationist arguments. That is to say, if an argument is predicated on trying to fool me into accepting false premises, as TAG does, then there is no argument to refute. In fact, TAG isn't even designed for intellectual discourse. It's designed to win, and the Christian will win by simply slinging as much shit as possible at the atheist until the atheist unwittingly acknowledges a false premise, at which point the Christian will corner the atheist and club him at the feet. And anyone who watched The Atheist Experience last week will know exactly what I'm talking about.

 

Above all, I think I realized that there are worse people than the creationists. We have the "natural foods" idiots and Jenny McCarthy telling people that vaccines cause autism. I'd say that the HIV-positive idiot Christine Maggiore is a threat to public health, with her AIDS denialism, but something important happened to her, recently. I'm trying to remember... Oh yeah! SHE DIED! I'd be dancing in the street, except that people of reason are still cleaning up after her mess.

 

And then there's the number one biggest douche bag ever to live, Kevin Trudeau. Even though he's been mercifully pulled off of television as of November, I still feel the aftershocks of his pseudo-science everywhere I go. Just a couple weeks ago, I was talking to a fellow "skeptic" who told me that any time he feels heartburn, he drinks a tablespoon of vinegar. *headdesk!!!* At least that's harmless. I shudder to think how many people Trudeau has killed by telling them to stop taking pharmaceuticals for heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. The man should be in jail. Now that he's banned from TV, I guess we can expect him to pop up on YouTube any day now.

 

Speaking of which, YouTube is rather ripe with stupidity, isn't it? Nothing worthy of a challenge, though. Just the same sort of pop-apologist nonsense as before. Of course, we have asshats on YouTube like VenomFangX, who is little more than a Hovind bot. Nobody takes him seriously, though, and I've never found myself in dire need to refute him. I am annoyed to see the same lame arguments that've been refuted time and time again. But the number of times that VFX has gotten owned far exceeds any damage he's been able to do.

 

These days, there really isn't anyone on my hit list, although I pine for the day that Jason Gastrich returns to the interweb. He wasn't a challenge, but he was hilariously stupid.

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Oh wow I thought you were dead. :god:
I rose from the dead. I've come back to turn water into wine, as well as a lot of other lame magic tricks, the greatest of which involves sawing a girl in half!

 

In fact, watch closely as I remove my thumb from my hand! OOOOOOoooooOOOOOOooooooo!!!!!

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Obnoxiously, I've had a number of Christians tell me that atheism is some kind of religion or collective, but becoming an atheist doesn't involve this step at all. I didn't know I was "joining" anything.

What? You didn't know? You never got the memo? You're supposed to say "I'm an atheist" three times, standing on one leg with a dead herring in your right had, and a crystal ball in your left, before you are an atheist. I guess you not a True one then... :grin:

 

So nice to see you back! I wondered what the hell's kitchen you had gone!

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And then there's the number one biggest douche bag ever to live, Kevin Trudeau. Even though he's been mercifully pulled off of television as of November, I still feel the aftershocks of his pseudo-science everywhere I go. Just a couple weeks ago, I was talking to a fellow "skeptic" who told me that any time he feels heartburn, he drinks a tablespoon of vinegar. *headdesk!!!*

 

 

About a year ago, I had heartburn while visiting my inlaws (the MIL is a damn good cook- I always over-eat). They tried to convince me to drink some vinegar... I had a hard time figuring out a polite way of saying that that's the stupidest thing I'd heard in a while. Now I know who they've been reading.

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Hey Neil, great to see you. I always loved reading your debates. It seems that you indeed won the war though as creationist types have either just disappeared or they are afraid to come to this site due to the pain you served their egos.

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Good to have you back, Neil!

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NEIL! :yellow:

 

So glad to see you back here pal! ;)

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NEIL!

 

Good to see you!

 

(I may be dead now, but I am still out there seeking revenge.....)

 

Actually, I am a grad student at OSU (Oregon, not Oklahoma or Ohio).

 

They know how to keep me busy.

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Hey Neil, great to see you. I always loved reading your debates. It seems that you indeed won the war though as creationist types have either just disappeared or they are afraid to come to this site due to the pain you served their egos.

Well, I wouldn't say that I chased them off. I think creationism as a whole is on the down curve. It doesn't seem that way with polls, but I think it's slowly setting in that creationism (including intelligent design) is not going to cut it. After the spanking of the Dover trial and having their own literature exposed for what it was, creationists have pulled back this "scientific alternative" nonsense.

 

Of course, what's in its place now is an increasing anti-science, which you'll see happening in real time over on YouTube. Just watch some of VenomFangX's latest videos. The guy has gone from trying to use science to bashing science. While Shawn (VFX) may be a fool, his behavior is not that far removed from the culture. The difference is that Shawn is way too stupid to hide the fact that this is what he's doing. It's plainly obvious that Shawn started rejecting science because science wouldn't confirm what he wants it to confirm. And if science won't confirm the authenticity of the Bible, then science must be wrong!

 

Nevermind that he's using YouTube to spread this message, itself located on the internet, which is a massive achievement of science. There is hardly anything more ironic than an anti-science message being rocketed around the globe by orbiting satellites. I can almost picture Shawn being so oblivious to his own ineptitude. I imagine he gets up in the morning, shuts off his alarm clock, has a shower, and then digs around in the fridge for some pre-prepared meal to eat. Then, while his breakfast is heating in the microwave, he casually fantasizes about how he's going to attack science on his computer.

 

...

 

SHAWN, YOU MORON!

 

 

About a year ago, I had heartburn while visiting my inlaws (the MIL is a damn good cook- I always over-eat). They tried to convince me to drink some vinegar... I had a hard time figuring out a polite way of saying that that's the stupidest thing I'd heard in a while. Now I know who they've been reading.

The "logic" of this remedy is that you don't have enough acid in your stomach. I know... I know... That's stupid, and you're right! If this were actually true, you'd probably be in the hospital, but let's follow Trudeau's logic anyway. So Trudeau thinks that the best way to combat this is to drink something with some acidity, to bring the acid level of the stomach back up.

 

This is utterly retarded. If you're going to ingest something that has an acid content, first of all, why not drink milk? Duh! There's lactic acid in milk, and it tastes a whole lot better than vinegar. Plus, given milk's properties, it makes a whole lot more sense!

 

Quackwatch points out that this "remedy" may work, but not for the reason Trudeau thinks it does. If you're having acid leakage into the esophagus, then ANY ingestion of liquid is going to have the same effect. Including water.

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Hey Mr Neil, good to see you back around these parts again! Did I ever tell you I love your avatar? Kei's butt is hypnotic and Yuri's ain't bad either.(Gotta love Adam Warren for his Dirty Pair work, one of the few american artists who can do manga style worth a damn.)

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Good to see you around here again, Mr. Neil! Welcome back! Glory!

 

I have just a couple of comments on a couple of points you raised in your post. I may be one of those "natural foods idiots" you referred to. I strongly believe in natural healing techniques because I have experienced their power myself firsthand. I have had tremendous success managing my bipolar illness with a healthy diet and moderate exercise. I tried the drug route for several years, and all the goddamn drugs ever did for me was to make me sicker and fatter. I take no pharmaceuticals at all now and I have never felt better. I don't need their damn drugs, nor do I have any desire to take them. I will NOT willingly support an industry known for its corruption and its willingness to harm and even kill in the name of profits. My respect level for the pharmaceutical industry pretty much equals ZERO - and for very good reasons.

 

As for Quackwatch, well... I don't and won't give them the time of day. I encountered them a few years ago and found them to be nothing but a bunch of narrow-minded, closed-minded, arrogant assholes. They simply could not accept the fact that an Alternative Medicine doctor quite literally saved my life after conventional medicine had utterly failed me - for YEARS. I am alive and healthy today because of the efforts of Alternative Medicine practitioners and because of my own efforts to live a healthier lifestyle. So, I don't bother listening to negative people and the closed-minded naysayers who claim that Alt Med is "nonsense" and that it doesn't work. I am living proof that it DOES work, and quite well at that.

 

I went to see a Naturopathic Doctor just this morning. I haven't been happy with the medical clinic I have been going to for a few years now because they have become a patient mill. They rush everybody through, and I'm lucky if I get five quality minutes with my doctor. That's just bullshit! I can't change to another "regular" doctor because of the Medicare situation here in Alaska. I've tried, and nobody would take me because I have Medicare. Anyway, my experience with the Naturopathic doctor this morning was one of the most positive encounters I have ever had with a medical practitioner. Instead of five rushed minutes, I got 2-1/2 relaxed, quality HOURS during which several relatively minor but annoying ongoing health issues were discussed at length. It was very refreshing to find a doctor who obviously cared, was knowledgeable, and who clearly knew what he was doing. The visit wasn't cheap, but I didn't expect it to be. I don't mind paying for quality health care. And I came away extremely satisfied.

 

Well, that turned into more of a rant than I intended, but that's my 2 cents on the subject anyway.

 

Again, welcome back! Glory!

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I think you're confusing "natural foods" with "natural cures".

 

When I referred to "natural foods idiots", I was referring more to people who are oppose genetically altered foods, calling it "Frankenfood". I don't care what people feel they need to do to be healthy, but in the case of genetically altered food, we have crops that are being developed to grow in harsh environments, to feed people in starving countries. And yet we have these heartless bastards who campaign against this, completely oblivious to the fact that they're effectively trying to take food out of people's mouths.

 

But one thing always gets me about anti-pharmaceutical claims. Nobody on the side of medical science says that eating a good diet to getting exercise can be supplanted by simply taking drugs. That seems to be a prevailing strawman. Even Bill Maher uses that, much to my surprise. Of course eating healthier and getting exercise is going to make you feel better. I know of no doctor (personally) who would say otherwise. If you had a doctor who tried to drug you up without suggesting some simple changes in your lifestyle, then I would think that's more a problem with that particular physician.

 

Also, I'm not going to say that pharmaceuticals don't also try to cater to hypochondriacs. Clearly, just by watching drug commercials, there are quite a number of products out there made to treat people whose only illness is that they value their time more than their money. (i.e., they don't want to spend the time it takes to jog a mile every day, so they'll buy a drug.) The difference with these, though, is that the risks are stated up front, and they usually TELL YOU that there are alternatives to taking the drugs. And why wouldn't there be?

 

Besides, this isn't even entering the area in which natural remedies piss me off. I don't mind when somebody comes along in the name of consumer advocacy and points out that you may be paying an arm and a leg for a drug that could be treated by simpler means. Consumer advocacy is good, but the problem lies where consumer advocacy is just a mask for someone trying to push a drug of their own. And thus we enter the world of megadose vitamins, homeopathy, and goofy plant extracts. All of which are overpriced and don't do dick.

 

The ones that really, REALLY piss me off are the cases like diabetes, cancer, and heart disease, where you have these sociopath monsters like Kevin Trudeau telling people that you can cure these terrible diseases by simply changing your diet, getting an enema, and sleeping on a magnetic mattress. These things don't work. You can't cure cancer with calcium extracts from coral reefs. It doesn't happen.

 

One of my friends is on the Kevin Trudeau bandwagon, and we butt heads on this all the time. We had a discussion about cancer, and she says to me, "We treat cancer with poison [chemo therapy]. That's crazy!" The point at which hyperbole and oversimplification become gel together to become an argument is where I get mad. It ignores the nature of what cancer is. Of course you have to take "a poison" to stop cancer, because cancer, to put it bluntly, is part of the person. Yes, it's kind of counter-intuitive, but what alternative is there? Flavonoids? Eating the center of a peach (as Hovind says)? These things don't work, and nobody should have to explain why they don't.

 

You hear a lot about people who are "living proof" of alternative medicine, but there's also a lot of DEAD proof of the medical quackery that comes out of the alternative medicine movement.

 

Pill-pushing quacks like Kevin Trudeau, Don Lapre, and Doug Grant belong in jail. In fact, whatever penitentiary they get put in, I would like to personally epoxy a bar of soap to the floor of the shower. Go ahead. Pick it up, Kev.

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You hear a lot about people who are "living proof" of alternative medicine, but there's also a lot of DEAD proof of the medical quackery that comes out of the alternative medicine movement.

Ah . . . there are an awful lot of very dead people because of conventional medicine, as well. Arguably many more than from natural treatments. Although, those cases where conventional allopathic methods fail are always chocked up to the idea that, "Whoops, I guess there was nothing that could be done for them," rather than serving as proof of the ineffectiveness of pharmaceuticals.

 

I don't take anything at face value - whether it's from someone like Kevin Trudeau (who is not the be-all and end-all of the natural health mindset, BTW), or from a traditional MD. I do my own research and come to my own conclusions based on the evidence I find. Your assumption that people who oppose GMO foods are heartless just displays a lack of skepticism & research on your own part, I'm afraid.

 

Since this isn't exactly on-topic for, "testimonies," I'll be glad to take this discussion elsewhere if you want to continue it. :)

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Ah . . . there are an awful lot of very dead people because of conventional medicine, as well. Arguably many more than from natural treatments. Although, those cases where conventional allopathic methods fail are always chocked up to the idea that, "Whoops, I guess there was nothing that could be done for them," rather than serving as proof of the ineffectiveness of pharmaceuticals.

That's a sweeping generalization of how the medical and drug industries work, and I can't believe that someone who claims research actually believes that.

 

Granted, we have drugs that are harmful, and there are some watchdogs out there that deserve praise, such as Sydney Wolfe. But the thing is, I'm not an apologist for pharmaceuticals, anyway, and he's not even the sort of person I'm talking about.

 

 

I don't take anything at face value...I do my own research and come to my own conclusions based on the evidence I find.

As do I.

 

 

whether it's from someone like Kevin Trudeau (who is not the be-all and end-all of the natural health mindset, BTW)

And what is the natural health mindset? See, this is the problem. The natural health movement is predicated on this notion that medical cures for common diseases are not only out there, and that not only are they effective, but that the medical establishment is trying to keep them down. This is a conspiracy theory, and it's one that fails simply by virtue of the fact that no government body on Earth could possibly suppress such a notion. In fact, there's a Nobel Prize waiting for someone who can show that natural health is the of the future.

 

But I'm willing to accept that you're not an all-natural kind of person. I'm just going with the type of movement that I find most despicable. Maybe this doesn't represent you, which is fine. But then, why are you calling anything "the natural health mindset"? Why not just the health mindset? Or better yet, the skeptical health mindset, because at least that would imply that you're not showing favoritism.

 

 

Your assumption that people who oppose GMO foods are heartless just displays a lack of skepticism & research on your own part, I'm afraid.

I don't think so. I'll grant that maybe "heartless" is probably the wrong word, since these people think they're standing in opposition to bad science and thus doing a "good" thing. However, there's more hysteria than substance, and the result is that you get organizations like Green Peace who convince starving countries to reject genetically altered food, that is crops that could be grown in harsh conditions and feed millions, based on no evidence whatsoever. That's atrocious, even if they thought they were doing good. No, I take it back. It is heartless, because they have to know that people starve because they fought to keep better crops from being grown in poverty-stricken nations. The ethical nature of genetically-altering foods is certainly up for debate, but it's pretty easy to oppose something when you're not the one who's hungry.

 

I don't care if people who have a choice want to eat only organic foods to avoid genetic alteration or synthetic pesticides. If they want E. coli in their lettuce, that's there business. You did know that, right? Organic farming is woefully inadequate at preventing E. coli contamination, and this is particularly because they won't use more sophisticated (i.e., artificial) means of decontamination for crops that were essentially fertilized with dung. You need more than water take care of E. coli. I'll take my irradiated, genetically-altered produce, thank you.

 

And let's not forget about those ineffective natural pesticides, that not only have to be applied much more heavily than synthetic pesticides, but also include a lot of *natural* ingredients that really aren't as friendly to the environment as you might think. A lot of them use sabadilla, which is toxic to bees. Last I checked, we kinda need bees.

 

All-natural food is not even an environmentally sound use of farm land. You need twice as much acreage to grow wholly organic crops, as opposed to those that have been altered to be much more efficient. That's ridiculous. Let's have at least some confidence in science.

 

My contention is that just because something is natural doesn't mean that it's going to be good for you. The natural foods movement acts like we should be frightened by all of the chemicals and hormones that we put into our foods, or that irradiated food is going to give them cancer or something, and it's nothing but hysterical caca.

 

 

Since this isn't exactly on-topic for, "testimonies," I'll be glad to take this discussion elsewhere if you want to continue it. :)

Nope! I'm perfectly content to let it stand here. This is part of my testimony, as far as I'm concerned. I want it to be an illustration of my concern over what actually is the most dangerous form of pseudo-science, which I no longer believe to be creationism. Most people worldwide know that creationism is a slimy scourge that has little hope of lasting in the information age, but junk science about food and crops and medicine has quite a bit more stay power, and it's managed to creep into the psyche of people who, by all accounts, should really know better.

 

:grin:

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Mr Neil!!! :wub:

 

There is some good yumminess on youtube though.... feel free to poke about my favorites (careful...don't tickle) to see some good content with freethinkers. whiteraven23 on youtube.

 

I do as much REAL food as possible lately. Real as in....the ingredients list is composed of identifiable things. Trying to get away from stuff that is so processed and preserved one has to wonder about actual food content.

 

As for whether or not my asparagus has been selectively bred ar adjusted to be hardier....don't care...it's still asparagus. I will still eat it. Hate abuse of the word "organic" in marketing (and the prices too...total ripoff).

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YouTube has a lot of great content. It's basically a beating ground for atheists. I strongly recommend Thunderf00t, which, I assume you guys are familiar with if you know who VenomFangX is. He needs to stop doing political videos and go back to the creationist series of videos. The early ones in particular were awesomely funny. There are hours of Hovind material to mine from. I beg him to do more.

 

Also, ExtantDodo, DonExodus2, and CDK007 are all quite good as well. Best series on there... Search for "Why Young Earth Creationists Must Deny Gravity". Great stuff.

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This thread is being moved to Rants and Replies. It's being done under protest by Mr. Neil.

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This thread is being moved to Rants and Replies. It's being done under protest by Mr. Neil.

Only because I don't want my testimony to be subject to debate. On the other hand, I'm not going to stand by and let someone say that I'm close-minded and not a skeptic, either. I kind of take exception to someone who first questions my sincerity and then decide that it's getting off-topic. Thank you taking a huge dump on my testimony.

 

I'll say what I told Pichu. If you want to start a separate rant about new age medicine and organic foods, please do so.

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This thread is being moved to Rants and Replies. It's being done under protest by Mr. Neil.

Only because I don't want my testimony to be subject to debate. On the other hand, I'm not going to stand by and let someone say that I'm close-minded and not a skeptic, either. I kind of take exception to someone who first questions my sincerity and then decide that it's getting off-topic. Thank you taking a huge dump on my testimony.

 

I'll say what I told Pichu. If you want to start a separate rant about new age medicine and organic foods, please do so.

 

Actually, Neil, it was your opening post which made me question whether "Testimonies" was the right forum for your thread. That sort of hybrid of a post is an invitation for the thread to become more rant than...

 

to share their life stories and spiritual journeys that led them away from the faith.

 

... as it says in the guidelines for "Testimonies."

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Hey, glad to see you back, Mr. Neil! I'd wondered where you went off to.

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Actually, Neil, it was your opening post which made me question whether "Testimonies" was the right forum for your thread. That sort of hybrid of a post is an invitation for the thread to become more rant...

It was not really intended to be as much a rant as it was an update of where my mind has been since the last time I was here. Although, I can certainly see where this would not constitute a journey away from spirituality.

 

 

Hey, glad to see you back, Mr. Neil! I'd wondered where you went off to.

I'm around here and there. I've been spending a lot of time in artist communities and video game message boards. I've been dusting off the ol Sega Genesis and giving it a good workout.

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