Tuesday, January 22, 2013

When Lousy Comedians Attack

During New Year's Eve, while tagging along with my friend from work up to the Bronx, we first stopped off at his family's house to watch the ball drop. While waiting, they turned the TV to Showtime, where they were showing Katt Williams' final comedy special "Kattpacaypse". He was doing pretty good... until he said this:
I'm here to tell my people to stop believing bullshit. Just because a motherfucker tells you bullshit, with a straight look on their face... We're too old, we're too smart, we're too motherfuckin' good to believe shit that make no fucking sense. You're too old to be believing in evolution, with your stupid, motherfucking ass! Evolution says people came from monkeys, and the question is "Why is there still monkeys, you dumb motherfucker, you"? Are they some retarded monkeys, they ain't turned into people just yet?... You better believe something! If there's any atheists in the house, let me say "You stupid motherfuckers". I don't care what god you believe in, you got to be a special kind of retarded to be too stupid to make up a god if there wasn't one! Poor thing, who do you even pray to? Nobody. You can't even come. What do you say when you come, atheist? "Oh. Oh. Oh..." nothing. That's right. 'Cause that's what you believe in.

At that point, I stopped laughing and fought the urge to yell at the screen "Oh, that is such bullshit!". After about 10 more minutes of flaccid attempts at jokes, one of my friend's relatives said "When the fuck is this guy going to start telling jokes? Change it". I was glad he said it, because that's what I wanted to say but I didn't want to risk possibly coming off as rude, since I was a guest.

After I got home and thought about it, I realized that there actually was a good joke in that rant, just not the one Katt Williams was trying to deliver: Here's Katt Williams, looking like Huckleberry Hound with the ugliest hairdo I've ever seen, telling us not believe stuff that doesn't make any sense, and in the next breath pushing the exact kind of stuff he implored the audience not to believe in. Katt Williams himself is the joke. And what makes it more hilarious is that it would take him no more than 5 minutes to look up the scientific theory of evolution and the mountains of evidence supporting it.

But that still leaves his atheist-bashing comments. He's basically calling atheists "retarded" because atheists don't believe in the existence of gods. But wait a second here, "too stupid to make up a god if there wasn't one"? Did Katt just unthinkingly admit that gods are made-up? Why yes, I think he did.

Monday, January 21, 2013

When New Age Woo Attacks

Last night, one of my cousins on Facebook shared a YouTube video called "Gregg Braden on Curing Cancer using our own Technology of Emotion". He shared this video because he thought the video was a demonstration of the power of positivity, and he actually believed the claims of Gregg Braden. I watched the video, and almost immediately my woo alarms went off.

After just a single Google search, it turned out my skepticism was well-founded: Braden, seen by many as a "prophet" in the New Age movement, has been exposed as a very deceptive woo peddler by many skeptics(videos below). He abuses and manipulates scientific facts, makes stuff up and calls it science, and many of the "evidences" he cites turn out to be fraudulent or misleading.

What makes Braden so dangerous is how charming he is when peddling New Age woo. Even those who were previously fans of Braden and don't label themselves skeptics at all had to admit surprise at how much deception Braden pumps out with a straight face. A perfect example(as shown here) is how he makes the claim that our DNA spells out "God Eternal within the body" and backs it up with nothing more than contrived and unscientific numerology and then claim it's "scientifically proven".

Now, I'm all for spreading messages of positivity. Being positive never hurts and spreading positivity is a noble goal. Even in some rare instances "mind over matter" certainly does work, such as my cousin's example of how he got rid of his migraines. That's a real phenomenon known as "the placebo effect". But hitching positive messages with dangerous, unproven and unscientific woo, such as "Positive thoughts cure cancer" is a recipe for a lot of pain, and I can't let that slide.