Saturday, 12 June 2021

How the Raving Right Panders to American Paranoias

Pastor Rick Wiles, anti-Semitic, Talibangelical conspiracy theorist.
"The Chinese are out to get me!"
Anti-Vaxxer Rick Wiles Blames Chinese Agents for His COVID-19 Infection | Right Wing Watch

Probably for historical reasons and a long history of politicians creating and then playing on American xenophobic paranoia, America is more prone than almost any other nation to conspiracy theories based on the notion that 'abroad' is a dangerous place full of evil people plotting to 'come and take our freedoms away'.

Now the right-wing Talibangelical extremist, virulent anti-Semite and conspiracist, Pastor Rick Wiles, has taken this tactic one step further, partly to explain away making such a fool of himself over Covid-19 and the vaccines.

He spent the first part of last year telling his followers that the coronavirus pandemic was God's plague as a prelude to the End Times. When this idiotic position became untenable because so many pious, God-fearing Christian were dying of the virus, he then did a volte face, declaring that the SARS-CoV-19 virus was the result of collusion between Dr Anthony Fauci, the leading epidemiologist who had been advocating the mitigation measures to reduce the spread of the virus and the severity of the pandemic, and the Chinese government.

At one point he demanded that Dr Fauci be arrested and tortured to make him confess his 'crime'. Wiles also campaigned vigorously against the vaccines, urging people not to have them.

To make matters worse, he spent last month in hospital with Covid-19 himself! So, now it's not an End-times plague, but a Chinese Communist Party plot to kill Americans and come and take their land away.

He now claims he was infected by a special Chinese hit squad as a reprisal for exposing the collusion between Fauci and the Chinese Communist Party. Looking ill and sounding hoarse, he told listeners to his paranoia pulpit, 'RealNews' [sic]:
There is a medical mafia in this country. I’m suggesting the CCP agents in America struck at me because I am calling for Fauci to be arrested and interrogated.

I mean this with all my heart. If the China Communist Party is not stopped, most Americans may be dead in the next five years. Think about what I just said: a systematic, genocidal plan to exterminate the American population over the next five years through a variety of biological weapons and vaccines, to the point that there’s hardly anybody remaining alive in the country. China is deliberately exterminating the American population for the purpose of migrating hundreds of millions of Chinese settlers to North America.
The most effective way to substantially depopulate America would be to take Rick Wile's advice and not get a vaccine and not take the very sensible anti-Covid-19 measures advocated by leading scientists such as Dr Anthony Fauci. As figure from the UK now show with very little room for doubt, the vaccine is not only extremely safe, but has been instrumental in reducing the severity of infections in those unfortunate enough to be infected.

The UK is now at wat looks like the beginning of another wave of infections, due in part to the Δ-variant and possibly in part to a relaxation of the lockdown. Cases yesterday went over 8,000 (more than double what they were just a few days ago and 2,000 above the peak of the first wave in April 2020, when the HNS was teetering on the brink of collapse due to the number of hospital cases and the demand for ITU beds and ventillators) yet the number of deaths remains low, as do the new hospitalisations and the number of people in hospital. As I showed 2 days ago, the mass vaccination campaign by the NHS has broken the link between infection rates and death/hospitalisation rates. Figures yesterday confirm that:

Comparison of UK first wave and current coronavirus wave
DeathsDeaths per
New Case
New Admissions
per New Case
April 5, 202061992917188555990.9660.47
June 11, 202181251731058170.0020.02

The rate of serious infections requiring hospitalisation was some 23 times higher in April 2020 compared to today!

The only logical explanation for this is that 76.6% of the adult population (41.1 million people) have now had at least one dose of the vaccine and 54% (29.2 million) have had both doses.

So, if the Chinese Communist Party really was aiming to exterminate Americans, they could do worse than urge people to listen to loony Rick Wiles and heed his dangerously misleading advice. As an evangelical Christian, though, Pastor Rick Wiles believes his own self-aggrandisement and political power and influence has a higher priority than worrying about the welfare and well-being of his compatriots and co-religionists and ensuring the truthfulness of the stuff he manipulates them with.

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Friday, 11 June 2021

How Science Works - Falsifying a Theory and Running Rings Around Creationism

Drone image of the fairy circles and a lonesome tree in the Giribes Plains. Hundreds of thousands of fairy circles occur in the Giribes without any Euphorbia damarana in the vicinity. These typical fairy circles of the Giribes have a regular pattern, mostly with an extraordinary degree of spatial ordering. By contrast, euphorbias in the isolated location where Theron marked the shrubs had an opposite clustered pattern, which cannot explain the origin of the regularly distributed fairy circles.
Photo credit: S Getzin, University of Göttingen
Origin of fairy circles: Euphorbia hypothesis disproved - Georg-August-Universität Göttingen

The great thing about science, and what gives it its power as the tool for discovering the truth, is that it has self-correction built in, and every properly-constructed theory is falsifiable. In this example, we see a theory proposed back in 1979 to explain the phenomenon of the 'fairy rings' of Namibia being systematically falsified by observations which could not be true if the theory is correct.

The 'fairy rings' of Namibia is a vast area on the edge of the Namib dessert in which there is a pattern of regularly-spaced circles of barren soil occurring in an essentially mono-specific grassland.

In 1979 a South African botanist, G.K. Theron, published a theory that the circles were caused by toxins in the decaying leaves of the plant Euphorbia damarana. This theory has now been falsified by researchers led by scientists from Göttingen University, as the Göttingen University news release explains:

Talibangelical False Prophet News - Loopy Jeff Jansen Still Can't Accept Reality

Jeff Jensen, former Co-Senior leader, Global Fire Ministries International, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, USA
'Prophet' Jeff Jansen Declares, 'It's Revolution Time,' Says Trump Will Be Back in Office in June | Right Wing Watch

Even his fellow Talibangelical Christians at Global Fire Ministries International in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, USA, are embarrassed by false prophet and fanatical Trumpanzee, Jeff Jansen, it seems. Not surprisingly, either, given Jansen's increasingly bizarre behaviour as he tries to justify his false prophesies throughout 2020 that Donald Trump would win in November, although, it's probably not his unswerving devotion to the worship of Donald Trump and his blatant false prophesies that seem to concern them most.

Jansen's first attempt to make his false prophesies look like true ones was to simply declare that Trump did win really, then he announced that God had told him he would restore Trump to the White House by March 2021, apparently having been powerless to stop the 'Satanic padophile cnnibals' stealing the election. When March 2021 came and went, he decided that God had meant May, but in May he announced it would now be June.

Wednesday, 9 June 2021

Covidiot Evangelical News - The Fool Returneth to His Folly

Tony Spell, pastor of the Life Tabernacle Church of Central City, La., waits outside the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans, Monday, June 7, 2021. Spell, who flouted coronavirus restrictions last year, prepared Monday to ask the court to revive his lawsuit challenging the restrictions.
Credit: AP Photo/Gerald Herbert
Pastor seeks revival of suit challenging virus restrictions

The notorious Covidiot Christian evangelical preacher of greed and selfishness, Pastor Tony Spell of the Life Tabernacle Church of Central City, Louisiana, USA, is back in the news again. He has still not given up his lucrative campaign for self-martyrdom by being 'persecuted' for encouraging his idiot followers to put themselves and others at risk by attending non-Covid-safe services in his church, despite the ban on such gatherings.

He first came to prominence when he saw a get-rich-quick opportunity in the $1,200 stimulus checks the Trump administration handed out to try to kick-start the economy after the first coronavirus wave and lockdown in spring 2020. He demanded his congregation hand their checks over to him!

After refusing to close his church and continuing to hold superspreader services he was later arrested and placed under house arrest, whereupon his equally selfish mother, Magi, organised a blocking of the Baton Rouge Police Department's phone system with a mass phone-in when she published their phone number on her Facebook page and urged people to ring it in support of her son, Pastor Tony, so putting the entire community at risk, unable to make emergency calls for police assistance.

But even that didn't satiate his desire for martyrdom, so, having been fitted with a tracking devise on his ankle to ensure his compliance with the court order forbidding him from holding church services, he not only held a service in a church some distance from his house, but then boasted about it on social media, positively begging to be arrested for breaching the court order.

Now, according to this report in Religion News Service he faces six state criminal counts as a result of repeatedly flouting the public health restrictions and his layers have asked a federal appeals court in New Orleans to revive Spell's law suit, dismissed by a federal judge in Baton Rouge last November. The suit was dismissed by U.S. District Judge Brian Jackson, who said the suit against Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards and others was largely moot because the restrictions had been repeatedly eased over several months. Since that ruling, almost all state restrictions have been lifted.

Covidiot News - New Study Shows Face Masks Work!

Face Masks Block Expired Particles, Despite Leakage | UC Davis

More evidence, if any were needed, of the efficacy of face masks in reducing the transmission of the coronavirus.

A research team from University of Califronia, Davis and the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, have shown that a face mask is effective at reducing the production of aerosols from talking or coughing, despite leakage around the sides.

The point that often seems to be lost on the selfish evangelical Christians who refuse to wear a face mask having been fooled into thinking they're some sort of anti-Trump political statement with which, as loyal Trumpanzee cultists, they are obliged to disagree, is that masks protect other people from you. But protecting your friends and family and the wider community is not something that seems to trouble evangelicals overmuch, as other surveys have shown.

The point is not lost however, on those socially responsible individuals who recognise that, in a pandemic such as the current one, we all have a moral obligation to help protect others as well as ourselves, to reduce the number of deaths and serious illnesses and to conserve health-care resources for those who really need them. It is reassuring to those people that they have been doing the right thing all along.

As the UC, Davis news release explains:

Look What Science's Anti-Covid Vaccines Have Achieved

At the moment, the UK is experiencing something of a surge in SARS-CoV-2 cases, yesterday reaching over 6000 confirmed new cases – double what it was just a week ago - almost certainly due to the 'Indian' or Δ-variant currently responsible for a surge in the Bolton/Greater Manchester area and elsewhere in the UK.

This variant is calculated to be some 40% more infectious than the ‘Kent’ variant. Admittedly on a higher level of routine testing, this is approaching the levels that prompted the first major lockdown in April 2020, as this chart shows:

Tuesday, 8 June 2021

Malevolent Designer News - More Evidence of Sheer Nastiness with SARS-CoV-2

New findings show that a Covid-19 infections can provoke an auto-immune response to give long-term health problems.
Many patients with COVID-19 produce immune responses against their body's own tissues or organs, finds study

The more we find out about the effects of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, currently responsible for the Covid-19 pandemic, the more it looks like Creationism's intelligent [sic] designer went to great lengths of sheer nastiness when it designed this virus - If you believe that tosh, that is!

In an open access paper published a few days ago in the journal Clinical & Experimental Immunology, a group of researchers led by Professor Alex Richter, of the University of Birmingham, show that some patients infected with the virus go on to produce antibodies against their own body tissues and so develop systemic symptoms not directly related to the virus itself:

Saturday, 5 June 2021

Trumpanzee News - Why So Many Repuglicans Believe the QAnon lies

The Trumpanzee cult rally on Jan 6, 2021, prior to their failed coup d’état.
QAnon's Repeated Mythology: Consequences to Brain Function | Psychology Today

In an article in Psychology Today, Dr. Gary L. Wenk, a Professor of Psychology & Neuroscience & Molecular Virology, Immunology and Medical Genetics at the Ohio State University and Medical Center, explains why so many Repuglicans believe the blatant QAnon lies.

His key points are:
  • QAnon is a recent example of leaders controlling followers by offering a comfortable myth that comforts and confirms fears.
  • Frontal lobes in the brain are apt to accept lies told to ourselves and each other.
  • Humans have been accepting myths as truths for millennia, for some they reduce the feeling that the world is dangerous and frightening.
Controlling followers with comforting myths is a well-established political technique, so it is not surprising that Trump, in alliance with the shadowy group behind QAnon, should be using it to try to set up and control the Trumpanzee cult. The same technique has also been successfully used by religions for several thousand years of course, so it is not surprising either that Trump's technique has resulted in a virtual new religion to replace the failing Evangelical Christianity. For God so loved America that he sent his misbegotten son, Donald, to save her from Satan, Black people, liberals, homosexuals, Jews, Chinese and all those other evil foreigners that God hates too. God bless America!

Friday, 4 June 2021

Malevolent Designer News - The Malevolent Designer Hasn't Given Up on Zika Virus

Map of Uganda, with trap sites indicated by black circles and positive sites indicated by red stars (Python Cave, Maramagambo Forest: Egyptian rousette bat, 2009 (n = 1); Kawuku: Ethiopian epauletted fruit bat, 2013 (n = 1); Bugonga: African straw-colored fruit bat, 2011 (n = 2)).
Map was created using QGIS 3.4.2 (
CSU researchers make first-ever discovery of Zika virus RNA in free-ranging African bats

Creationist mode:

Spurred on by the success of its coronavirus in killing millions of humans and leaving many times more with long-term health problems and disabilities, Creationism's Intelligent [sic] Designer may have improved on its Zika virus (ZIKV) design to make it more capable of causing microencephaly and permanent disability in new-born children.

According to a discovery by Colorado State University (CSU) scientists, ZIKAV can be carried and may be widely dispersed by bats, in an eerie use of the same order of mammals in which Creationism's putative designer of all living things, developed the coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, currently responsible for its best attempt at a global genocide of humans for a century, with Covid-19.

Thursday, 3 June 2021

Unintelligent Designer News - Does God Favour Spiders?

Photographs of worker ants of Myrmica rubra (a), Lasius niger (b) and Camponotus modoc (c) that were used to prepare test stimuli, and of subadult female spiders of Steatoda grossa (d), Latrodectus hesperus (e), Eratigena agrestis (f) and Araneus diadematus (g) that were tested in laboratory experiments. Bar length, 1 mm.
Spiders can sniff out and avoid killer ants, SFU study finds - University Communications - Simon Fraser University

Findings like his throw up all sorts of questions for Creationists - who normally avoid them like the plague, being fully aware of how toxic facts are to their cult.

It is the discovery by a team of researchers based at Simon Fraser University, British Columbia, Canada, that spiders avoid building their nests in the vicinity of European fire ants, their natural predators.

Foraging ants leave a scent trail when foraging, to act as a marker for other ants and so they can find their way back to the nest. The researchers collected samples of this scent by exposing filter papers to several species of ant then placing the impregnated filter papers in a chamber of a multi-chambered habitat occupied by four species of spider. They found that the spiders preferred to stay and build their webs in the chambers without the ant scent-contaminated filter-papers.

The strongest deterrent effect was found for the European fire ant, Myrmica rubra, a recently-introduced species to North America, which the team attribute to evolution under strong selection pressure, however, Creationists are required by dogma to reject that natural explanation so must attributed it to design by their solitary putative designer, of which more later. The teams findings are published open access in the Royal Society Open Science journal:

More of My Books Now in Hard Cover

Following on from the two hard cover versions published a couple of weeks ago, most of the rest of my books are now available in hard cover, including the entire, 5 volume, Light of Reason series of selected articles and essays from this blog:

Sunday, 30 May 2021

Trumpanzee Fruitloop News - Lying for Trump

Dr. Laurie Roth, Ph.D.
Are the Military and Trump in control? – News With Views

Dr. Laurie Roth, Ph.D, is a failed singer-song writer who is now a shock-jock radio talk-show host. She is so unswervingly pro-Trump and pro-QAnon conspiracy theories that one might be forgiven for thinking she is actually behind the QAnon hoax. Like Trump, she was a leading light in the 'Birther' movement that tried to prove Barak Obama was born outside the USA, despite his authenticated birth certificate showing otherwise.

She now writes lurid tales to please Trumpanzee cultists of how the military and Donald Trump are covertly running America under the 'Insurrection Act' and planning to arrest those who 'stole the election'. Her Facebook page, which strangely has not been taken down for containing disinformation (presumably they haven't had enough complaints yet!), is full of wackadoodle nonsense lifted straight out of QAnon sources.

Curiously, the date for this 'coming storm' appears to be forever sometime in the future, but real soon, any day now... you'll see!

Only a few days ago she wrote:

Are the Military and Trump in control? I just got off the phone with a high up and trusted, military source I know. He...

Posted by Dr. Laurie Roth on Thursday, 27 May 2021
I just got off the phone with a high up and trusted, military source I know. He comfirmed a few things for me.

Regarding, the speculation/confusion as to whether President Trump signed the Insurrection Act or not, he did. He signed it on Jan 14th, 2021. The act of signing it immediately gave him 2 more months as President according to the very directives of the Act itself. I was then told that the military gave him 2 more months as President. The second extension was over on May 20th and most likely extended again by the military who is now in control per the signed Insurrection Act.

Now, with Manhattan Attorney Cy Vance convening a Grand Jury against President Trump, regarding his taxes and business practices, the Trump which hunt continues. The only problem they may have is that they cannot arrest a sitting President and I am assured that he still is President. Once again, the liberal, legal crazies are desperately trying all they can to stop Trump.

It was confirmed today that many Generals approached Trump to run for office to take out the deep state, criminal cabal. They have been making arrests since the Biden – fake inauguration. The military support is all around Trump and continues under the Insurrection Act.

I was told that the military goes through the FISA court and already did their own investigation, determining that there was international and domestic voter fraud They have long known the real election and voting numbers and have acted accordingly.

Our military is bound by the constitution, their duty and the signed insurrection act to be in control, do what they have to do, make arrests and make things right. They are supporting a new election in August and the return of President Trump . I am told he will be returning very soon...
And more in that vein.

So, Trump signed the 'Insurrection Act' 8 days after leaving office when he had no powers to do so and is now plotting a military takeover and a coup d’état with senior military officials who have taken an oath of allegiance to their commander in chief, President Biden! Isn't that an act of Treason in itself? [correction: he did not formally leave office until 20th Jan on Biden's innauguration. I had confused it with the House confirmation hearing on 6th Jan. However, if as Roth alleges, he is in secret talks with senior military figures and plotting a de facto coup d’état, that would be treason, since Biden is the legal POTUS.]

And all will be revealed 'very soon' when he returns to power. Then there will be a new election in August!

Anyone prepared to lay a small bet that none of this comes to pass, but Dr Laurie Roth, Ph.D. will continue to write about how it's had to be postponed for one reason or another but it's gonna happen any day now... you'll see?

I'll wager a £50 donation to Oxfam that Trump is still President Reject Trump come September 2021, if anyone is prepared to match me.

Saturday, 29 May 2021

Covidiot News - Anti-Vaxxer Christians for Jesus - and Covid-19

Biopolymer, mucoadhesive disc being developed to deliver vaccines sublingually. Because it is circular and placed in the mouth, anti-vaxxer Christian fundamentalists claim this is in imitation of the Catholic host, so is a new 'Church of Covid' religion.
Researchers develop vaccine technology in ‘wafer’ form, identical to Catholic host used at Mass | News | LifeSite

In the time-honoured tradition of presenting any ideas they disagree with as some form of faith or alternative religion, the infamous Christian fundamentalist site with a long record of anti-vaxxer propagandizing, LifeSite News, is trying to present the anti-coronavirus measures as 'the Church of Covid' and are casting round for any excuses to do so.

Now they are asserting that a polymer disc impregnated with the components of a vaccine and placed under the tongue, as an alternative to injection, is an imitation of the Catholic host - the wafer used to represent the body of Jesus in the Mass - with the clear implication that having the vaccine is the religious equivalent of a sacrament.

Without a hint of embarrassment at such a ludicrous stretch, the article by Michael Haynes even refutes its own claim by explaining that the 'wafer' is merely a disc of polymers such as alginate (not wafer) and is placed under the tongue, not onto the tongue like the Catholic host. In fact, the resemblance stops at the shape and size of the disc.

The article even goes on to explain that the aim of the six-person research team from the universities of Minnesota and Texas together with a scientist from the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota is to produce a method of delivering cheap and easily stored vaccines in parts of the world where resources such as refrigerated storage are scarce. It depends on the fact that small molecules can be absorbed into the body via the mucous membrane under the tongue. The Catholic host is, of course, swallowed whole, not held under the tongue until it disintegrates.

As the article points out, the team's findings were published in the Journal of Controlled Release (last February). Sadly the paper itself is behind an expensive paywall but the abstract is available. In it, the authors explain that the disc is a mixture of carboxymethylcellulose (CMC) and alginate (ALG) and that, by varying the mixture of these two polymers they can control the dynamics of adhesion to the sublingual mucosa, absorption and disintegration time, so making it adaptable for different vaccines such as that for HIV.

The reason fundamentalist religious frauds resort to this false equivalence fallacy is because they know their target dupes will have been conditioned to assume that they alone have the one true faith, so, by default, all other faiths must be wrong. This means they can attack any idea they don't like by simply declaring it to be a religion. This in turn means they don't need to bother with a detailed refutation of different ideas, and so is an especially useful trick f sophistry when they idea you want to discredit really can't be refuted either logically or with evidence.

We see it used time and again when it comes to Atheism, Evolution, science, history, or indeed any discipline or intellectual position which challenges religious dogmas. It is intellectual indolence and dishonesty of the first magnitude and is an example of how unscupulous frauds can use religion to manipulate and control the lives of the faithful.

Covidiot News - How a Christian Nut-Job Pastor Caused the Death of One of His Congregation

Pastor Greg Locke, Global Vision Bible Church, Tennessee. Coronavirus denier.
Blamed for death from Covid-19 of member of his congregation
Family Speaks Out Against Hate-Preacher Whose COVID Lies Led to Uncle’s Death | Hemant Mehta | Friendly Atheist | Patheos

A stark reminder, if any were needed, of the harm that religious fruitloops with their penchant for conspiracy theories and paranoia can cause when they put their mind to it, was witnessed by viewers of CNN's item about Christian hate preacher, Greg Locke the other day.

Locke, of Global Vison Bible Church in Tennessee, has been downplaying the coronavirus pandemic, and telling his credulous dupes not to get the vaccine and to ignore the anti-covid measure, can claim credit for at least one death amongst his unfortunate congregation.

His victim was Coburn Kennedy who actually believed Locke knew better than the experts because he could quote from the Bible! His nephew told CNN's Elle Reeve, that his uncle was a member of Locke's congregation and had believed Locke's confident proclamation that the coronavirus pandemic was nothing to worry about. He even believed him when he got the symptoms of Covid-19.

He died of the disease last month.

Greg, a fully signed-up QAnon conspracy theorist, has a long history of coronavirus denial and opposition to the vaccines. For reasons which can only be guessed at but which are probably not hard to work out, Pastor Greg Locke declined to appear on the CNN broadcast. Having just caused the death of one of your credulous dupes must be hard even for a Christian fundamentalist grifter with an inability to accept that you could ever be wrong and an eye, as always, on the bottom line of the profit and loss account. Consequently, he was unable to refute the CNN clips that showed him to be a liar when he misrepresented an interview with Elle Reeve in which he claims there was no coronavirus pandemic. His refusal to man up and defend his claims simply showed him to be the Chris+tian liar and coward for which he is becoming renowned.
Regular reader may remember how Greg Locke claimed to be able to discern the secret, Satanic hand-signals by Republican Senator Roger Marshall of Kansas that were used to control Mitch McConnell, when he came out against the failed Trumpanzee coupt d’état on Jan 6th 2021. Needless to say, as a Talibangelical Christian, Pator Locke is also an ardent Trumpanzee who refuses to believe his beloved cult leader lost the 2020 election.

He stands as a grim reminder of the dangers of assuming people who set themselves up as the mouthpieces of God are somehow more expert than the experts and privy to secret sources of inerrant information. Locke is no such thing of course; he is just another fundamentalist Christian grifter trying his best to fleece his seemingly limitless supply of gullible American dupes for as much as he can wring out of them, with no regard for their helth and welfare or those of the wider community his ill-informed proclamations are endangering.

Friday, 28 May 2021

Biodiversity News - You'll Never Guess What Beetle Poop Contains!

The “bessbug” beetle not only eats its own poop, known as frass, but also uses the material to line the walls of its log-based galleries and to build protective chambers around its young. UC Berkeley scientists have discovered that the frass contains antibiotic and antifungal chemicals produced by actinomycete bacteria, helping to protect the insect from pathogens.

Credit: UC Berkeley photo by Rita de Cassia Pessotti
How antibiotic-filled poop helps ‘bessbug’ beetles stay healthy | Berkeley News

Exactly what potential resources there are in nature can only be guessed at - which is why conservation is so important, not just for the sake of biodiversity on 'spaceship' Earth, but to conserve stuff that could be essential to our long-term survival. Who would have guessed, for example, that the excrement of a beetle would contain potentially powerful antibiotics and fungicides, but that's exactly what a team of researchers from the University of California at Berkeley have discovered.

Malevolent Designer News - How Salmonella Has Been Designed to Make Us Sick

Scanning electron micrograph of Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium invading a human epithelial cell.
Credit: NIAID
NIH Scientists Find that Salmonella Use Intestinal Epithelial Cells to Colonize the Gut | NIH: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

The malevolent creativity of Creationism's putative intelligent [sic] designer was revealed in another paper published in the journal Cell Host & Microbe yesterday. Scientist have shown how a mechanism Creationists believe was designed by the same designer to protect us against the intestinal bacteria it designed to live in our gut, has actually been turned against us so that Salmonella can bypass our defences.

Scientists at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) in the Rocky Mountain Laboratories, Hamilton, Montana have found that when your body's immune system tries to eliminate Salmonella bacteria from the cells lining your gut, this actually benefits the bacteria and enables them to colonize your gut and increase the faecal shedding of masses of bacteria to infect other people.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates Salmonella bacteria cause about 1.35 million infections, 26,500 hospitalizations and 420 deaths in the United States alone every year. This is small beer compared to this supposed designer's success with the coronavirus of course, but nevertheless, if you believe in this monster, it is something of a success of which its worshipers can be proud.

How it does this is explained in the NIH news release:

Attack on Roe v. Wade Could Backfire on Conservative Repuglicans

The State of Abortion and Contraception Attitudes in All 50 States | PRRI

With a stable majority of Americans supporting a woman's right to abortion in all or most cases, attempts to repeal Roe v. Wade in SCOTUS, exploiting the new Trump-supplied right-wing majority, could backfire badly on the Repuglicans, since conservative evangelicals tend to be the only demographic group with less than 50% support for the continuing legality of abortions, so repealing Roe v. Wade could precipitate a move of moderate and liberal red voters to vote blue in red states. Most of the opposition, by numbers, comes from white evangelical Christians, matched only by a few minority faiths such as Mormons, Jehovah's Winesses and Hispanic Catholics. All the major non-evangelicals are strongly or moderately pro-abortion legality in all or most cases.

What a repeal of Roe v. Wade would produce is a situation where Repuglican politicians in red states would no longer be able to pander to their evangelical base by passing anti-abortion legislation, confident that it will be struck down in the lower courts, so they can pose as champions of conservative 'values', thwarted by a liberal establishment.

They would then be faced with the choice of continuing to pander to their extremist wing by passing increasingly restrictive anti-abortion measures and accepting the consequences of losing large numbers of their less extreme supporters to the Democrts or alientating the fanatics by not using their new-found freedom to restrict a woman's right to choose.

Thursday, 27 May 2021

Talibangelical Trumpanzee False Prophets - Now Reduced to Threats

Robin Bullock (left) - God will make you insane
Hank Kunneman (right) - God will give you leprosy.
Right Wing Bonus Tracks: You Might Get Leprosy | Right Wing Watch

At least two of the Trumpanzee Talibangelical false prophets who prophesied a Trump win in 2020, claiming God told them, are now trying threats to stop people laughing at them and pointing out that either God lied to them or they lied about what God said - or God never said anything and they made the whole pack of lies up to try to ingratiate themselves with Trump-supporting evangelical Christians.

Wednesday, 26 May 2021

Transitional Evolution News - Ancient Baleen Whales with Teeth!

Aetiocetus weltoni
Ancient Baleen Whales Had a Mouthful | NewsCenter | SDSU|

You can quite understand why Creationists never read scientific papers and have had to devise all sorts of mental exercises for dismissing them out of hand as the work of liars and conspirators out to fool people, when there is a veritable tsunami of papers like this one that refute their dogmas with simple facts.

Here again we have another example of one of those transitions that Creationists need to believe never happened, because some Bronze Age hill farmers didn't know how life came to be the way it was then, and still is today, and guessed it must have all been the result of magic. This time it is evidence of the transition between the toothed whales (the common ancestors of all the whales had teeth) and the baleen whales.

The research also resolves another piece of embarrassment for Creationists - the fact that baleen whales like blue whales, humpback whales and grey whales, all start to develop teeth as embryos, then lose them again before birth. This an atavistic remnant of the fact that they all once had teeth. There is no reason at all for an intelligent designer to give embryo baleen whales teeth, especially since they are never going to need them as adults.

This evidence was discovered by biologist, Eric Ekdale, of San Diego State University and palaeontologist, Thomas Deméré, of the San Diego Natural History Museum, when they examined a 25 million year-old fossil whale skull of Aetiocetus weltoni, an evolutionary “cousin” of today’s baleen whales (Mysticeti), loaned to them by the University of California, Berkeley. They examined the skull using high-resolution computed tomography (CT) and discovered that it had teeth as well as baleen.

Since baleen is composed of keratin, like hair and fingernails, it does not normally preserve long enough to become fossilized, so the team used the CT scans to find evidence of grooves and holes on the roof of the mouth that connect internally to a vascular canal, consistent with the same structures in living baleen whales.
We have found evidence that supports a co-occurrence of teeth and baleen, indicating the tooth-to-baleen transition occurred in a stepwise manner from just teeth, to teeth and baleen, to only baleen.

Our study provides tangible fossil evidence of a major shift in feeding behavior from a raptorial carnivorous feeding mode to a bulk filter-feeding mode for obtaining food, among the largest animals that have ever lived in earth’s oceans. Krill are around 1/600th the size of blue whales. That’s like us humans eating nothing larger than sesame seeds floating in a pool.

Eric G. Ekdale, Lead author.
Department of Biology
San Diego State University,
San Diego, CA, USA
This also showed that the blood vessels that supply the baleen in modern whales is a modification of the blood supply to teeth.

The research was published two days ago in the Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society of London:

Extant baleen whales (Mysticeti) have a deciduous foetal dentition, but are edentulous at birth. Fossils reveal that the earliest mysticetes possessed an adult dentition. Aetiocetids, a diverse clade of Oligocene toothed mysticetes, have a series of small palatal foramina and associated sulci medial to the postcanine dentition. The openings have been homologized with lateral palatal foramina that transmit neurovascular structures to baleen in extant mysticetes, thereby implying a co-occurrence of teeth and baleen in aetiocetids. However, homology of the foramina and sulci have been questioned. Using CT-imaging, we report that the lateral palatal foramina of Aetiocetus weltoni are connected internally to the superior alveolar canal, which transmits neurovascular structures to baleen in extant mysticetes and to teeth in extant odontocetes. Furthermore, the lateral palatal foramina of Aetiocetus are separate from the more medially positioned canals for the greater palatine arterial system. These results provide critical evidence to support the hypothesis that the superior alveolar neurovasculature was co-opted in aetiocetids and later diverging mysticetes to serve a new function associated with baleen. We evaluate competing hypotheses for the transition from teeth to baleen, and explore the transition from raptorial feeding in early mysticetes to filter-feeding in extant species.

And so another transitional form is added to Creationism's list of fossils they have to pretend don't exist. It must be so tiresome for Creationists having to remember which fossils to ignore, what scientific evidence should never be looked at and which questions you don't want answers too in case an imaginary magic, mind-reading sky thug notices and adds your name to his list of people to burn alive, but such is the power of parental child abuse and brainwashing.

Tuesday, 25 May 2021

Unintelligent Designer News - Fixing the Designer's Incompetence

Rubisco in every green cell.
Compensating with quantity for what it lacks in quality
Rubisco proton production can enhance CO2 acquisition | RIPE

Scientists working on the Illinois-based Realizing Increased Photosynthetic Efficiency (RIPE) project are trying to improve Earth's food production capability by improving on probably the most abundant protein enzyme on Earth, Rubisco.

The reason you rarely hear an intelligent [sic] design Creationist talking about Rubisco, apart from the fact that few of them know enough biology to know anything about it, is that, for the few who do understand it, it is a major embarrassment.

Quite simply, as an example of sheer incompetence in design, Rubisco, or to give it its full name, ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase, is hard to beat. It is the key enzyme involved in photosynthesis so is at the basis of almost all life on Earth, and is probably the most abundant protein on Earth, being in all the photosynthesising cells of every green plant. And it is probably the least efficient of all enzymes, being only capable of about 4 reactions per second, against the hundreds or thousands of reactions for most enzymes. Indeed, the reason it is so abundant, is probably because it is so inefficient. Green plants need lots of it to compensate with quantity what it lacks in quantity.

It is responsible for fixing CO2 in the initial stages of converting CO2 and water into glucose. The problem is, it finds it hard to distinguish between CO2 and O2, so it wastes about 20% of its time doing something destructive that costs the plant energy that could be used to increase the glucose yield.

In evolutionary terms, this is easily explained because evolution is utilitarian and builds on what is there. Once living organisms evolved a Rubisco, it had an advantage over organisms that couldn't utilise CO2, so this put all their descendants on an evolutionary path in which they were dependent on an inefficient enzyme but could not scrap the design and start again - something that would have been no problem for an intelligent designer. Also, since photosynthesis is the source of O2, Rubisco evolved in an environment in which molecular oxygen was a rarity, so its inability to differentiate between CO2 and O2 was not the problem it later became. Again, an intelligent designer, who should have foreseen that his design was going to produced lots of O2, should have foreseen the problem it would become.

However, many photosynthetic organisms have evolved mechanisms to overcome some of Rubisco’s limitations. Among these organisms are microalgae and cyanobacteria from aquatic environments, which have efficiently functioning Rubisco enzymes sitting inside liquid protein droplets and protein compartments called pyrenoids and carboxysomes.

Inside Rubisco compartments, these protons can speed up Rubisco by increasing the amount of CO2 available. The protons do this by helping the conversion of bicarbonate into CO2. Bicarbonate is the major source of CO2 in aquatic environments and photosynthetic organisms that use bicarbonate can tell us a lot about how to improve crop plants.

The outcomes of this study provide an insight into the correct function of specialized Rubisco compartments and give us a better understanding of how we expect them to perform in plants.

Ben Long, Lead researcher
Realizing Increased Photosynthetic Efficiency
Plant Science Division,
Research School of Biology,
The Australian National University, Acton, ACT, Australia
In fact, this inefficiency has been the driver of ways to improve the efficiency of Rubisco in some photosynthesising organisms, some of which are being studied by scientists on the RIPE project in cooperation with Australian National University Research School of Biology.

“However, many photosynthetic organisms have evolved mechanisms to overcome some of Rubisco’s limitations,” said Ben Long who led this recent study published in PNAS for a research project called Realizing Increased Photosynthetic Efficiency (RIPE). RIPE, which is led by Illinois in partnership with the Australian National University (ANU), is engineering crops to be more productive by improving photosynthesis. RIPE is supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research, and U.K. Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office.

“Among these organisms are microalgae and cyanobacteria from aquatic environments, which have efficiently functioning Rubisco enzymes sitting inside liquid protein droplets and protein compartments called pyrenoids and carboxysomes,” said lead researcher Long from the ANU Research School of Biology.

How these protein compartments assist in the Rubisco function is not entirely known. The team from ANU aimed to find the answer by using a mathematical model that focused on the chemical reaction Rubisco carries out. As it collects CO2 from the atmosphere, Rubisco also releases positively charged protons.

“Inside Rubisco compartments, these protons can speed up Rubisco by increasing the amount of CO2 available. The protons do this by helping the conversion of bicarbonate into CO2,” said Long. “Bicarbonate is the major source of CO2 in aquatic environments and photosynthetic organisms that use bicarbonate can tell us a lot about how to improve crop plants.”

The mathematical model gives the ANU team a better idea as to why these special Rubisco compartments might improve the enzyme’s function and it also gives them more insight into how they may have evolved. One hypothesis from the study suggests that periods of low CO2 in the earth’s ancient atmosphere may have been the trigger for the cyanobacteria and microalgae to evolve these specialized compartments, while they might also be beneficial for organisms that grow in dim light environments.

ANU members of the Realizing Increased Photosynthetic Efficiency (RIPE) project are trying to build these specialized Rubisco compartments in crop plants to assist in increasing yield. “The outcomes of this study,” explained Long, “provide an insight into the correct function of specialized Rubisco compartments and give us a better understanding of how we expect them to perform in plants.”
The researcher have published their findings, open access, in PNAS:

Rubisco is arguably the most abundant protein on Earth, and its catalytic action is responsible for the bulk of organic carbon in the biosphere. Its function has been the focus of study for many decades, but recent discoveries highlight that in a broad array of organisms, it undergoes liquid–liquid phase separation to form membraneless organelles, known as pyrenoids and carboxysomes, that enhance CO2 acquisition. We assess the benefit of these condensate compartments to Rubisco function using a mathematical model. Our model shows that proton production via Rubisco reactions, and those carried by protonated reaction species, can enable the elevation of condensate CO2 to enhance carboxylation. Application of this theory provides insights into pyrenoid and carboxysome evolution.

Abstract Membraneless organelles containing the enzyme ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase (Rubisco) are a common feature of organisms utilizing CO2 concentrating mechanisms to enhance photosynthetic carbon acquisition. In cyanobacteria and proteobacteria, the Rubisco condensate is encapsulated in a proteinaceous shell, collectively termed a carboxysome, while some algae and hornworts have evolved Rubisco condensates known as pyrenoids. In both cases, CO2 fixation is enhanced compared with the free enzyme. Previous mathematical models have attributed the improved function of carboxysomes to the generation of elevated CO2 within the organelle via a colocalized carbonic anhydrase (CA) and inwardly diffusing HCO3−, which have accumulated in the cytoplasm via dedicated transporters. Here, we present a concept in which we consider the net of two protons produced in every Rubisco carboxylase reaction. We evaluate this in a reaction–diffusion compartment model to investigate functional advantages these protons may provide Rubisco condensates and carboxysomes, prior to the evolution of HCO3− accumulation. Our model highlights that diffusional resistance to reaction species within a condensate allows Rubisco-derived protons to drive the conversion of HCO3− to CO2 via colocalized CA, enhancing both condensate [CO2] and Rubisco rate. Protonation of Rubisco substrate (RuBP) and product (phosphoglycerate) plays an important role in modulating internal pH and CO2 generation. Application of the model to putative evolutionary ancestors, prior to contemporary cellular HCO3− accumulation, revealed photosynthetic enhancements along a logical sequence of advancements, via Rubisco condensation, to fully formed carboxysomes. Our model suggests that evolution of Rubisco condensation could be favored under low CO2 and low light environments.

Long, Benedict M.; Förster, Britta; Pulsford, Sacha B.; Price, G. Dean; Badger, Murray R. Rubisco proton production can drive the elevation of CO2 within condensates and carboxysomes
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
May 2021, 118 (18) e2014406118; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2014406118

Copyright: © The authors. Published by the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Open access Reprinted under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).
Just imagine what a different world we would be living in if Rubisco really had been intelligently designed by a creative deity who was everything Creationists like to imagine their putative designer is, including competent, omniscient and omnipotent as well as perfect. As it is, we have inherited a world in which living things were produced by a utilitarian, unthinking natural mechanism with no plan and no ability to design or even to scrap a bad design and start again. Consequently, we are hard-pressed to produce enough food and need to employ scientists to try to improve on things to compensate for the bad designs evolution has come up with.

Incidentally, that applies in so many other areas of life too, including medical science, none of which would be necessary without bad design and parasites like worms, protozoa, bacteria and viruses.

Thank you for sharing!

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