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Celebrity Supporters of Tracy Anne Oberman Bully Another Ordinary Woman Off Twitter

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 20/02/2021 - 7:24am in

It seems Riley and her lawyers aren’t the only people this week determined to show themselves in a bad light. Her friend and mucker, Tracy Anne Oberman, also caused another storm on Twitter this week in which she accused an ordinary member of the public of anti-Semitism, which resulted in a dogpile by her fans and supporters and her victim forced off the social network.

The woman, ‘Caroline’, had offended Oberman’s delicate sensibilities by posting that she’d been enjoying Russel T. Davies’ drama about the 1980s AIDS crisis right up until the moment Oberman appeared. This soured her experience, and she was trying to forget Oberman.

Oberman decided that the reason Caroline didn’t like her was simple: anti-Semitism. She therefore went on the offensive – and I have to say, I find her very offensive – and rhetorically asked the poor woman if she wasn’t the type of bigot Davies was talking about in his drama. She also hashtagged a number of organisations, including the Community Security Trust, a Zionist paramilitary vigilante police organisation, Labour Against Anti-Semitism, one of the organisations in the Labour party behind the anti-Semitism smears and witch-hunt, and the Labour party. Because Caroline’s picture also showed, apparently, a Labour party membership card. Stephen Pollard, the appallingly right-wing editor of the Jewish Chronicle, a newspaper with a proud history behind it, also jumped in to defend Oberman. And more people joined the dogpile.

Others, however, realised what was going on, thought better of their involvement, backed out and made their apologies. Daniel Mays, who had previously posted in support of the actor, deleted his tweet. Janey Godley also backed down, tweeting ‘Am horrified she’s being piled on, it seems unnecessary – I apologise‘. Another poster, Dileep Rao, who had posted that people like Caroline should be dragged through the street, also recanted, tweeting “I was wrong to write this. I apologize. Without reservation. It was absurdly out of proportion … It was just dumb”.

It needs to be noted, because from this it appears that some people are incapable of doing so themselves, that Caroline had made no mention of Jews whatsoever. There is zero anti-Semitism in her tweet. She just says she can’t stand Tracy-Anne Oberman. The idea that Caroline was somehow doing so out of anti-Semitism is simply Oberman’s own construction. In fact there are many reasons somebody might dislike a particular celebrity that have nothing whatsoever to do with their race or religion. In the case of Oberman and Riley, one reason might be the way they freely make false accusations of anti-Semitism towards anyone on the left. As when one of the two called the Durham miners’ band at their annual gala the other year ‘Nazis’ because they were trade unionists, who ended their gala, as they’d always done, by playing Hava Nagila.

Oberman has form when it comes to playing the victim. A few years ago she claimed in another twitter spat that she was particularly vulnerable because she was ‘a jobbing actress’. Hah! I know jobbing thesps, and that is one thing that Oberman is not. Genuine jobbing actors work damned hard just to get a part in an advert or as an extra on a TV comedy or drama. Oberman is extremely fortunate in that it seems that she is never short of work. Not only has she turned up on It’s A Sin, but it wasn’t that long ago that her fizzog appeared as Pike’s mother in the remake of the three lost Dad’s Army episodes. She’s a member of the metropolitan smart set. My guess is that, despite the job being extremely precarious, it’s been a long time since Oberman had to be seriously worried about getting work.

She isn’t a victim. She’s the victimiser. And she is able to get away with the dogpile and bullying because Mrs Justice Collins Rice has ruled in Mike’s case that Rachel Riley was not responsible for her fans’ and supporters’ behaviour when they went into a similar dogpile against a schoolgirl Riley and Oberman had accused of anti-Semitism, because she supported Jeremy Corbyn. Mike has appealed against that ruling, and points out in his piece about this squalid incident that the ruling undermines the right to freedom of expression, and contradicts the intention of the Online Harms Act, which is due to come in making such dogpiles a criminal offence.

Oberman’s own willingness to throw around gratuitous accusations of anti-Semitism could also seem a mite hypocritical, considering there’s a hint of racism around two of her own tweets. One of these was a reply to a tweet by Liz Hurley expressing her delight at Ping Pong talking. Oberman responded by asking if Ping Pong was the Thai help. No, it was her parrot. And joking about east Asians having names like it has had serious consequences for others in the political sphere. Remember the local UKIP activist who managed to torpedo her political career in a Beeb documentary by referring to another Kipper of east Asian heritage as a ‘Ting Tong’.

The second is a tasteless reply she made to David Quantick. He’d tweeted that ‘we are all pretend Muslims now. Except the real Muslims’. To this Oberman gave the classy response ‘I’ll take your clitoris off for that comment.’ Female Genital Mutilation is a very serious issue, and while Oberman obviously felt it was a suitable subject for a joke, I know other women who very much don’t. It seems to me that, if a man had made this comment to a woman, even as a jest, she’d still be entirely justified in considering it misogynistic. As it is, in my opinion, it’s islamophobic. The practise isn’t confined to Islam, but is found in a number of cultures across the world and I was told by my lecturer when I took Islam as part of my minor in Religious Studies over thirty years ago that female circumcision was something that had entered Islam from pre-Islamic cultures as the religion had expanded.

Mike is appealing against the profoundly mistaken ruling of Mrs Justice Collins, and welcomes all donations to crowdfunding campaign to defend himself. Believe me, he really appreciates all the support people have given him.

As for Oberman, it seems to me that she is just a rich, privileged bully. And the fact that people, who initially joined in the dogpile against Caroline then withdrew, deleted their tweets and apologised, shows that some people at least are starting to share that opinion. She should be careful. If she carries on like this, she’ll start losing even more supporters.

Who knows – they might also join the ranks of people, who can’t stand this ‘jobbing actress’ on the box.

For further information, see

Why did ‘celebrity’ Twitter users force suspension of ordinary woman? Because they could | Vox Political (voxpoliticalonline.com)

Zelo Street: Tracy Ann Oberman’s Faux Victimhood (zelo-street.blogspot.com)

Saint Anthony Fauci: The Hidden History

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 14/01/2021 - 2:45am in

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top scientist on the Coronavirus taskforce, is being reproached after it was revealed last month that he was “moving the goalposts” on coronavirus herd immunity. But his long history of misleading the American public, or getting things completely wrong, remains unscrutinized — until now.

Before I get started on Dr. Fauci’s handling of the coronavirus and his handling of the HIV/AIDS crisis and other major outbreaks of infectious diseases, I want to be clear that the point of this article is not to push covid-denialism. I can already envision some mainstream media hack, foaming at the mouth, gesturing wildly towards this article, and earning his paycheck with some snippy line about how conspiracy theories spread at a rate rivaling the deadly pandemic. 

As of the writing of this article, 375,000-plus Americans have died because of the coronavirus. While the fault for this has been overwhelmingly blamed on Donald Trump, by his side throughout the entirety of the crisis has been Dr. Anthony Fauci, who, it seems, was given some kind of criticism vaccine generations ago, immunizing him for the kind of scrutiny one might expect for a career politician who has led the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases for 37 years. 

Instead, Fauci has attained a cult leader-like status in the minds of many Americans. A Change.org petition to have People Magazine name Fauci the “Sexiest Man Alive” is nearing 30,000 signatures. On the web, you can buy Dr. Fauci blankets and prayer candles. One erotic fiction author has come forward to claim that Fauci was the inspiration for the male love interest in her 1991 book called “Happy Endings.”

The point of this article is to show that, far from his portrayal in the media as Saint Anthony Fauci, his analysis on major issues in his field: AIDS, Cholera, and Coronavirus, has been disastrously off the mark on numerous occasions, with potentially deadly consequences. If Dr. Fauci’s record had been scrutinized by the media, it is entirely possible that we wouldn’t be in the situation we are in today, with as many as 4,000 of our fellow citizens succumbing to this disease every day. 

 

The Times Dr. Fauci Went ‘Mask Off’ With Haitians

On February 1, 2010, less than a month after the devastating earthquake that destroyed much of Haiti, Anthony Fauci went on the National Institute of Health’s radio program to talk about health concerns in Haiti following the quake.

The audio of the interview sits unlisted on YouTube with only six views at the time of the writing of this article. In it, Fauci says “We often hear people say, mistakenly, but understandably, they’re concerned about an outbreak of cholera. There is no cholera in Haiti, so it would be extremely unlikely that there would be an outbreak of cholera in Haiti.”

Fauci was dead wrong. According to the United Nations, the cholera outbreak that followed in the next months eventually infected 800,000 Haitians, killing more than 9,000. But since the source of the outbreak was the United Nations itself, they tried to cover up its origins. 

As rumours were mounting that it was the UN that caused the outbreak, Fauci placed the blame elsewhere. “If there is no problem with sanitation it just lurks there and lives in the water, not as a disease,” Fauci told CNN. “But the microbe was there somewhere in the water in Haiti. In situations where you have natural disasters like floods, hurricanes and earthquakes, if you don’t have the microbe lurking there, then you don’t get an outbreak.”

Poor sanitation, Fauci said, helped trigger the outbreak.

The same day as CNN’s report, the United Nations Stabilisation Mission in Haiti put out a press release supposedly meant to “shed light” on the “rumours,” but ultimately denyied any culpability by citing its compliance with international waste management standards. This was, of course, a lie.

As Haitian activist and Twitter user  Madame Boukman has tweeted, “I remember after the UN’s cholera attack against Haiti, Anthony Fauci blamed ‘unsanitary’ Haitians, just like he blamed us for HIV.”

During the height of Fauci’s research on HIV/AIDS, much of which he served as a main public face of government AIDS policy, he was a major proponent of the “Four H’s.” The four H’s referred to governmental designations of “risk groups” and included homosexuals, heroin addicts, hemophiliacs, and Haitians.

As Fauci explained in a 1984 video lecture, “Now, the Haitian situation has created some controversy in this country, and the reason is that we have, public health officials have designated the Haitians as a separate risk group. Now, the objection to that, and it’s a reasonable objection, is that it discriminates against Haitians. Why should you call the Haitians a separate risk group? We call them a separate risk group because only a very small percentage of the Haitian population, their AIDS can be explained by homosexual activity or IV drug use, so there’s something else going on there.”

Despite Fauci’s acknowledgement of discrimination against Haitians, he continued to present them as a separate risk group in public comments and medical journals.

As one Haitian-American writer, Èzili Dantò, commented, “I remember when Dr. Anthony Fauci gave disease a Black face.” She goes on to claim that Africans and Haitians were painted as “diseased.”

“I remember how back then, Haiti workers working at nursing homes, hospitals, hotels, cafeterias, driving taxi cabs, and in private homes as housekeepers and cooks were stigmatized and forced to ‘social distance’ – (i.e. got laid off, fired!) from the general population,” Dantò wrote.

One theory as to why AIDS spread more rapidly in Haiti than other places is that predatory blood plasma centers such as Hemo-Caribbean set up shop in Haiti to target poor people who would be willing to sell their blood, and didn’t use proper sanitary precautions, such as changing needles. Nonetheless, the idea that Haitians constituted a separate risk group for AIDS is now widely rejected.

 

Turning the Dial Back on AIDS Awareness

Fauci was an early researcher on the AIDS epidemic. Archival photos show him examining AIDS patients in the early 1980’s. In 1986, the Washington Post was reprinting comments from Fauci’s colleagues in glowing profiles saying the distinguished doctor was “about as close as you could find” to “Superman.” In interviews and news reports, Fauci’s heroics in the early days included his innovative efforts to find a cure. For example, Fauci experimented with an “innovative procedure involving bone-marrow transplants from a healthy identical twin to a twin brother with AIDS.” The Washington Post and Fauci himself avoided mentioning when recounting this dramatic event that the procedure ended the patient going blind and dying. At the time, newspapers across the country touted the unorthodox method as a possible lead to an AIDS cure, waiting until the end of their articles to mention this important outcome of the procedure.

When we talk about the HIV/AIDS crisis, it’s easy to shrug off the mistakes of leaders at the time: there was a good deal of confusion in the early days about how the virus was spread. It also appears to be true that Fauci fought for more funding of HIV/AIDS research.

Since Fauci was well-known to AIDS activists prior to his role in handling the coronavirus, a number stories popped up in the media discussing how he was a hero of the calamity and how he was the target of protests from the most prominent AIDS activist group ACT UP. Peter Staley, a leader of the organization, and Larry Kramer, another leader of the group, began speaking up in defense of Fauci at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. Back in the day, they called Fauci a murderer. But before his death in May of 2020, Kramer told the New Yorker in a profile of Fauci that he was “‘the only true and great hero’ among government officials in the AIDS crisis.”

Today, when he is not fawning over Hillary Clinton or hyping up the threat to the United States posed by Vladimir Putin, Staley himself interviews Dr. Fauci. He also recruited Barbra Streisand “for [a] surprise Fauci birthday party on Zoom,” mainstream media has reported.

However, certain facts of how Fauci handled the AIDS crisis have been omitted from profiles on Fauci that have come out since the coronavirus pandemic.

The book “And the Band Played on: Politics, People, and the AIDS Epidemic” by Randy Shilts devotes a good amount of attention to one incident in which Fauci single-handedly turned back the page on progress in the social milieu around AIDS that the scientific community had worked so hard to improve.

Liberal influencers have recommended the book as Fauci “has a starring, and heroic, role.” Yet the book only contains 15 references to Fauci, and they are not particularly flattering.

In 1982, it was already well-established how AIDS was transmitted: semen, blood, and “blood products.” Nonetheless, media and medical journals at the time had the same inherent flaw they do today — the profit motive. As always, sensationalism carried more weight than fact.

In 1983, the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) was publishing research on children with HIV/AIDS. There were two competing lines of thought from the data they were working with. The first was that children with AIDS had gotten it from their mothers’ blood while still in the uterus, which was promoted by Dr. Arye Rubinstein (no relation.) JAMA had initially drawn a line through the section of Rubinstein’s research paper that showed that, though they eventually published the entire thing at his insistence. 

Then, Dr. James Oleske published a paper in JAMA claiming AIDS “was originally described in homosexual men and subsequently in intravenous drug abusers, Haitians, and hemophiliacs… Recently, we and others have encountered a group of children with an otherwise unexplained immune deficiency syndrome and infections of the type found in adults with AIDS… Our experience suggests that children living in high-risk households are susceptible to AIDS and that sexual contact, drug abuse, or exposure to blood products is not necessary for disease transmission.”

Oleske’s paper totally ignored Rubinstein’s research. And Dr. Fauci did too. He reportedly never read Rubinstein’s paper and instead wrote an editorial on Oleske’s. 

“In the current issue of The Journal, Oleske et al present data that are of potentially great  importance in the continually evolving saga of AIDS,” Fauci wrote. “This is much different from the situation with the male homosexual, IV drug user, adult Haitian, or hemophiliac who was otherwise well for decades and in whom an unexplained, devastating immune deficiency then developed.”

“The implications of AIDS in this patient population are several. It took some time for people to believe that AIDS was indeed transmissible,” he continued. “The finding of AIDS in infants and children who are household contacts of patients with AIDS or persons with risks for AIDS has enormous implications with regard to ultimate transmissibility of this syndrome. First, it is possible that AIDS can be vertically transmitted. Perhaps even more important is the possibility that routine close contact, as within a family household, can spread the disease. If, indeed, the latter is true, then AIDS takes on an entirely new dimension.”

“If we add to this the possibility that nonsexual, non-blood-borne transmission is possible, the scope of the syndrome may be enormous,” Fauci wrote.

Fauci’s editorial unleashed a wave of hysteria around AIDS. First, the American Medical Association put out a press release on Oleske’s study and Fauci’s interpretation. Then, the Associated Press ran a story under the headline “AIDS Disease Could Endanger General Population.” The AP story was then followed by The New York Times and USA Today.

Fauci blamed the media for sensationalizing his comments “out of context.” He pointed out that nothing he said was conclusive; he was only saying that household contact spreading AIDS was a possibility. 

According to Shilts’ book, “The report created a lasting impression on the public that would raise the hysteria level around AIDS for years to come. Scientists just aren’t sure how AIDS is spread, the thinking went.” He continues, “the report of routine household contact lent scientific credibility to ungrounded fears; the social damage would linger for years. The fear inspired by this one story defined the context within which AIDS was discussed for the next crucial months.”

Later that year, anti-gay columnist Patrick Buchanan used Fauci’s editorial to call on the mayors of San Francisco and New York to cancel their gay pride parades, and two doctors held a press conference calling for not just the parades to be cancelled. The doctors also held that all gay bars should be closed, food handlers should be screened for AIDS, and deceased aids patients should be buried in airtight coffins, according to Shilts.

Despite Fauci remarks, which essentially cried fire in a crowded theater, he was promoted to director of the National Institute of Infectious Diseases the following year. 

 

Pandemic Pandemonium and Propaganda

You should be forgiven for having missed the most recent example of Fauci lying, as the New York Times dropped the bombshell of a piece on Christmas Eve. The paper of record reported that Dr. Fauci was “quietly shifting” his estimate on the percent of the population that needs to be resistant to the coronavirus in order for it to die out:

“In the pandemic’s early days, Dr. Fauci tended to cite the same 60 to 70 percent estimate that most experts did. About a month ago, he began saying ‘70, 75 percent’ in television interviews. And last week, in an interview with CNBC News, he said ‘75, 80, s

In a telephone interview the next day, Dr. Fauci acknowledged that he had slowly but deliberately been moving the goal posts.”

Fauci explained himself: “When polls said only about half of all Americans would take a vaccine, I was saying herd immunity would take 70 to 75 percent.”

“Then, when newer surveys said 60 percent or more would take it, I thought, ‘I can nudge this up a bit,’ so I went to 80, 85,” he said, adding “I think the real range is somewhere between 70 to 90 percent. But, I’m not going to say 90 percent.”

In other words, the man who has become the most trusted voice on the coronavirus in the United States, has tailored his public statements — presented to us as scientific assessments — to fit nicely with public opinion.

But it’s far from the first time, or even the most egregious example, of Fauci either misleading or being dead wrong on the coronavirus or other viruses and infectious diseases, which, it probably need not be pointed out, is supposed to be his area of expertise.

Marc Thiessen, who likely knows a thing or two about lying to the American public given that he was a speechwriter for George W. Bush, published in September a pretty succinct chronology of Fauci’s false statements on the coronavirus. While he was careful to equivocate often times, I’ll briefly rehash what he has said which has been, basically, the complete opposite of what happened:

January 21, 2020: Fauci said the virus “is not a major threat for the people of the United States, and this is not something that the citizens of the United States right now should be worried about.”

January 26, 2020: “The American people should not be worried or frightened by this. It’s a very, very low risk to the United States, but it’s something that we, as public health officials, need to take very seriously.” 

January 31, 2020: “We still have a low risk to the American public, but we want to keep it at a low risk.”

February 03, 2020: “I think you are going to see a dampening down.”

February 17, 2020: “I don’t think people should be frightened. The risk right now, today, currently, is really relatively low… right now, don’t worry about it. Be more concerned about influenza.” He added that the “danger” of the virus was “just minuscule” and you should “skip the masks unless you are contagious.”

February 28, 2020: “I don’t think it’s gonna be [bad], because I think we’d be able to do the kind of mitigation. It could be mild.”

February 29, 2020: “Right now, at this moment, there is no need to change anything that you’re doing on a day-by-day basis.”

March 10, 2020: “As a nation, the risk is relatively low.”

As YouTuber and comedian Jimmy Dore has repeatedly hammered, Dr. Fauci, on March 8, told 60 Minutes that there was no reason for most Americans to wear masks.

“When you see people, and look at the films in China, South Korea, whatever, everybody’s wearing a mask. Right now, in the United States, people should not be walking around with masks,” he said.

“You’re sure of it, because people are listening really closely to this,” Dr. Jon LaPook, the 60 Minutes host, pressed.

Fauci doubled down.

I should pause here to note that China has only seen 4,634 deaths due to the coronavirus. In South Korea, there have been only 1,140.

On June 12, journalist Katherine Ross questioned Fauci: “Why were we told later in the Spring to wear them [masks], when we were initially told not to?”

Fauci responded: “The reason for that is that we were concerned — the public health community, and many people were saying this — were concerned that it was at a time when personal protective equipment… were in very short supply.” 

Fauci said that his reason for misleading the American public was that they wanted to make sure the healthcare workers had priority access to personal protective equipment. While a lie is a lie, this rationale is reasonable. Yet in that very same interview with 60 Minutes, Fauci had already warned that everyone wearing masks could lead to shortages.

In short, Fauci, in June, justified his lie about the importance of wearing masks with the same justification he had already coupled with his lie a few months prior. The story went from everyone wearing masks not being an effective prevention and potentially causing shortages to masks being effective but there’s no longer the threat of a shortage.

These are the maneuvers of a politician, not a scientist. And as a politician, Fauci has also done his patriotic duty to malign Russia, warning NBC’s Today Show that he was “skeptical” of the “safety” of Russia’s coronavirus vaccine. 

The Sputnik V vaccine is 91.4 percent effective according to the official website. Early reports claimed it was 95 percent effect, a figure experts agreed with. In comparison, the Pfizer vaccine is said to be 95 percent effect and the Moderna vaccine 94.1 percent effective, however those two have been available for far less time than Russia’s, so those figures may change.

So why was Fauci so adamant against the Russian vaccine? And why was he initially critical of the United Kingdom’s approval of the Pfizer vaccine, claiming they “ran around the corner of the marathon and joined it in the last mile?” For somebody who has railed against vaccine skepticism, he has spread his fair share of it.

Was he just echoing the anti-Russian rhetoric of everybody else that appears on national televised news? It could be worse. The National Institute of Health, which Fauci has longstanding ties to, has joint ownership of the Moderna vaccine. 

The web of connections between Fauci, the National Institute of Health, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and major industry players like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which has used poor Africans as “guinea pigs for drug experiments” are myriad. A simple Google search combining the aforementioned keywords turns up a dizzying number of results which have not surfaced in coverage of US coronavirus policy.

While the media has blamed the Trump Administration for the failures of the coronavirus response in the United States, its own failure to critically examine the record of the country’s coronavirus czar is likely not to change on January 20 alongside the White House transition. Joe Biden will keep Dr. Fauci on his coronavirus taskforce, and the media will keep its uncritical promotion of Saint Anthony Fauci.

Read more of Alexander Rubinstein’s work at Substack where this article first appreared.

Feature photo | Dr. Anthony Fauci listens during a Senate Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee Hearing on the federal government response to COVID-19 Capitol Hill, Sept. 23, 2020. Graeme Jennings | Pool via AP

Alexander Rubinstein is a former staff writer for MintPress News based in Washington, DC. He writes about police, prisons, and protests in the United States. He previously reported for RT and Sputnik News.

The post Saint Anthony Fauci: The Hidden History appeared first on MintPress News.

Russell T Davies Filmed New Doctor Who Dalek Scenes For "It's A Sin"

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 12/01/2021 - 11:40pm in

Russell T Davies may be best known as the man who brought back Doctor Who to the BBC, cast Christopher Eccleston and David Tennant as the Doctor, and brought Billie Piper, Freema Agyeman, Jack Barrowman and Catherine Tate into the TARDIS. But he is also known as the writer and creator of several major television shows […]

The post Russell T Davies Filmed New Doctor Who Dalek Scenes For "It's A Sin" appeared first on Bleeding Cool News And Rumors.

Thunderfoot Attacks Black South African Student Who Claims Western Science Is ‘Racist’

Thunderfoot is another YouTube personality like Carl Benjamin aka Sargon of Akkad, the Sage of Swindon, whose views I categorically don’t share. He’s a militant atheist of the same stripe as Richard Dawkins. He’s a scientist, who shares Peter Atkins’ view that science can explain everything and leaves no room for religion or mysticism. He’s also very right wing, sneering at SJWs (Social Justice Warriors) and attacking feminism. So he’s also like Sargon on that score. But in this video, he does make valid points and does an important job of defending science against the glib accusation that it’s racist.

Thunderfoot put up this video in 2016 and it seems to be his response to a video circulating of part of a student debate at the University of Cape Town. The speaker in this video, clips of which Thunderfoot uses in his, is a Black female student who argues that western science is racist and colonialist. It arose in the context of western modernity and excludes indigenous African beliefs, and if she had her way, it would be ‘scratched out’. One of the African beliefs it excludes is the fact, as she sees it, that sangomas – African shamans – can call lightning down to strike people. She challenges her debating opponent to decolonise their mind and explain scientifically how the sangoma is able to do that. Her interlocutor is not impressed, and laughs out loud at this assertion, which gets a sharp response from the moderator who claims that the debate is supposed to be a circle of respect and they should apologise or leave. The anti-science student states that western science is totalizing, urges her opponent to decolonize their mind, and calls for an African science. She also rejects gravity because Isaac Newton sat on a tree and saw an apple fall.

Thunderfoot answers these assertions by pointing out, quite rightly, that science is about forming models of reality with ‘predictive utility’. It is the ability of scientific model to make useful predictions which shows that the model is an accurate description of reality. Science’s discoveries are true for everyone, regardless of whether they are male or female, Black or White. He shows a clip of militant atheist Richard Dawkins talking to another group of students, and explaining that the proof that science works is that planes and rockets fly. The equations and scientific models describing them have to, otherwise they don’t. Dawkins is another personality, whose views I don’t share, and this blog was started partly to refute his atheist polemics. But the quote from Dawkins is absolutely right. Thunderfoot goes on to say that if African shamans really could call lightning down on people, then surely someone would have used it for military purposes. And to demonstrate, he shows a clip of Thor getting hit with a lightning bolt from an Avengers movie.

As for African science, he then hands over to another YouTuber, who talks about an attempted scam in Mugabe’s Zimbabwe. A women claimed that she had a rock which produced refined diesel oil, and called on the government to see for themselves. Which they did. If the woman’s claim was genuine, then Zimbabwe would be entirely self-sufficient in diesel. However, such hopes were dashed when it was revealed that the rock had a hole bored into it from which diesel was being pumped.

The video goes on to make the point that such ‘science denialism’ is dangerous by pointing to the claim of the former South African president, Thabo Mbeki, that HIV didn’t cause AIDS. He tried to stop people using the retroviral drugs used to treat HIV in favour of herbal cures that didn’t work. As a result, 300,000 people may have lost their lives to the disease.

Thunderfoot concludes that this is the situation this student would like to create: an African science which rejects gravity, asserts shamans can strike people with lightning, and in which hundreds of thousands of people die unnecessarily from AIDS. Here’s the video.

Racism and the Rejection of Conventional Science

Thunderfoot is right in that one current view in the philosophy of science is that science is about forming models of reality, which can make predictions. This is the view I hold. He is also correct in that science’s findings are valid regardless of where they are made and who makes them. And I’d also argue that, rather than science, it is this young Black woman, who is racist. She rejects science on the racist grounds that it was created by White Europeans. This is also the genetic fallacy, the logical mistake that a statement must be wrong because of the nature of the person who makes it. The Nazis, for example, made the same mistake when they rejected Einstein’s Theory of Relativity because Einstein was Jewish. They also believed that science should reflect racial identity, and so sacked Jewish mathematicians and scientists in an attempt to create a racially pure ‘Aryan’ science.

Science and the Paranormal

I don’t believe, however, that science automatically excludes the supernatural. There are very many scientists, who are people of faith. Although it’s very much a fringe science – some would say pseudoscience – there is the discipline of parapsychology, which is the scientific investigation of the paranormal. Organisations like the Society for Psychical Research and ASSAP have existed since the 19th century to carry out such investigations. Their members do include scientists and medical professionals. I don’t think it would be at all unreasonable for parapsychologists to investigate such alleged powers by indigenous shamans, just as they investigate appearances of ghosts, psychic powers and mediumship in the west. And if it could be demonstrably proved that such shamans had the powers they claim, then science would have to accommodate that, whether it could explain it or not.

On the other hand is the argument that science shouldn’t investigate the paranormal or supernatural, not because the paranormal doesn’t exist, but because it is outside the scope of scientific methodology to investigate it as different field altogether. Thus science can ignore the general question of whether tribal shamans are able to conjure up lightning bolts as outside its purview and more properly the subject of metaphysics or theology. In which case, it’s left up to the individual to decide for themselves whether these shamans are able to perform such miracles.

Muti Witchcraft and Murder

Thunderfoot and his fellow YouTuber are also right to point out the harm that bad and fraudulent science can do. And there are very serious issues surrounding the promotion of indigenous African magic. Years ago a South African anthropologist defended African muti at an academic conference here in Britain. Muti is a form of magic in which someone tries to gain success and good luck through acquiring amulets made of human body parts. These include the fingers and the genitals. It’s believed they are particularly powerful if they are cut off the victim while they’re still alive. There’s a whole black market in such body parts and amulets in South Africa, with prices varying according to the desired body party. Way back in 2004-5 the police found the remains of a human torso in the Thames. It had been wrapped in cloth of particular colours, and it was believed that it had belonged to a boy, who’d been killed as part of such a ritual.

Indigenous Beliefs and the Politics of Apartheid

Years ago the small press, sceptical UFO magazine, Magonia, reviewed a book by the South African shaman Credo Mutwa. This was supposed to be full of ancient African spiritual wisdom. In fact it seems to have been a mixture of South African indigenous beliefs and western New Age ideas. The Magonians weren’t impressed. And one of the reasons they weren’t impressed was Mutwa himself and the political use of him and other African shamans by the apartheid government.

Before it fell, apartheid South Africa had a policy of ‘re-tribalisation’. This was the promotion of the separate identities and cultures of the various indigenous peoples over whom the White minority ruled. This included the promotion of traditional religious and spiritual beliefs. These peoples had intermarried and mixed to such an extent, that by the 1950s they had formed a Black working class. And it was to prevent that working class becoming united that the apartheid government promoted their cultural differences in a policy of divide and rule. Mutwa was allegedly part of that policy as a government stooge.

Attacks on Science and Maths for Racism Dangerous

I’ve put up several videos now from Sargon attacking the assertion that western education and in particular mathematics is racist and somehow oppressed Blacks. I’m putting up this video because it does the same for the assertion that western science is also racist.

Not only are science and maths not racist, it is also very definitely not racist to reject some forms of African magic. Killing and mutilating people for good luck is absolutely abhorrent and should be condemned and banned, and those who practise it punished, regardless of its status as an African tradition. At the same time it does need to be realised that the South African government did try to keep Black Africans down and powerless partly through the promotion of indigenous spiritual beliefs. It’s ironic that the young woman shown arguing against science does so in an apparent belief that its rejection will somehow be liberating and empowering for Black Africans. And Thunderfoot has a chuckle to himself about the irony in her arguing against science, while reaching for her ipad, one of its products.

Belief in the supernatural and in the alleged powers of indigenous shamans should be a matter of personal belief. Disbelieving in them doesn’t automatically make someone a racist bigot. But this young woman’s rejection of science is racist and potentially extremely dangerous, because it threatens to deprive Black South Africans like her of science’s undoubted benefits. Just like Mbeki’s rejection of the link between HIV and AIDS led to the unnecessary deaths of hundreds of thousands of desperately ill men, women and children.

Conclusion

What is particularly irritating is that this young woman and her fellow students are affluent and, as students, highly educated. If the woman was poor and uneducated, then her views would be understandable. But she isn’t. Instead, she uses the language and rhetoric of postmodernism and contemporary anti-colonialism. It does make you wonder about what is being taught in the world’s universities, arguments about academic freedom notwithstanding.

In the past, there has been racism in science. Eugenics and the hierarchy of races devised by 19th century anthropologists as well as the Nazis’ attempts to create an Aryan science are examples. But attacks on conventional science and mathematics as racist, based on no more than the fact that modern science and maths have their origins in contemporary western culture is also racist and destructive.

Glib attacks on science by people like the young student in the above video not only threaten its integrity, but will also harm the very people, who most stand to benefit. They should be thoroughly rejected.

Australian ‘Charity’ Fined Record $1.5 Million

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 20/02/2015 - 10:54am in

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Africa, aids