F Rosa Rubicondior: November 2020

Monday 30 November 2020

Coronavirus Question for Intelligent [sic] Design Creationists

SARS-CoV-2 virus particles
SARS-CoV-2 mutations do not appear to increase transmissibility | UCL News - UCL – University College London

Findings published, open access, a few days ago in Nature Communications, raises a worrying question for intelligent [sic] design Creationists.

Creationist dogma states that there are no such thing as random, purposeless mutations because all changes to a genome are made by their putative sentient designer for a purpose. The question then is why do the mutations in the SARS-CoV-2 virus not appear to do anything in terms of the virus' ability to infect people or to replicate more quickly or successfully? All of them appear to be neutral and apparently random and purposeless - exactly what Creationist dogma states never happens.

This was the conclusion of a team of researchers, led by Professor Francois Balloux, of University College of London (UCL) Genetics Institute, from their analysis of the genome of viruses recovered from more than 46,000 patients who had been infected with the virus during 2020. The team includes scientists from the Université de la Réunion and the University of Oxford.

Covidiot News - SCOTUS Backs Unrestricted Church Super-Spreader Events

Justice Amy Coney Barrett. Fundamentalist Catholic and Trump stooge on SCOTUS.
Splitting 5 to 4, Supreme Court Backs Religious Challenge to Cuomo’s Virus Shutdown Order - The New York Times

In an astonishing but predictable ruling, and one which reverses similar rulings concerning coronavirus restrictions on church services in Nevada and California, the US Supreme Court ruled it unconstitutional for New York's Mayor Cuomo to impose restrictions on places of worship in New York in an attempt to bring the raging coronavirus pandemic under control.

Sunday 29 November 2020

President-Reject Trump's Dangerous Legacy

U.S. voters are fearful, angry but hopeful about country post-election | Pew Research Center

President-reject Trump's legacy is to leave almost two-thirds of Americans feeling fearful about the future of the country, as the coronavirus pandemic grips the country like no other, and the narcissistic fool is too proud to admit defeat and allow the handover to President-elect Biden to proceed as smoothly as it should if continuity is to be maintained and Biden is to get to grips with the major problems as quickly as he needs to.

This is the finding of a Pew Research survey published a few days ago.

But the survey also showed how a majority of people now feel more hopeful following Biden's election than felt hopeful during Trump's disastrous stint in office but not in charge, rising to 56% from 42% under Trump.

So we now have the paradox of a majority of Americans still feeling fearful, but more hopeful about the future of the nation.

Saturday 28 November 2020

Covidiot News - Why President-Reject Trump is Encouraging National Suicide

Coronavirus New Cases - USA
Daily new coronavirus cases, USA (27 Nov 2020)
(A new spike is predicted by experts following widespread travel and flouting of the guidelines during the Thanksgiving holiday)

An Extraordinarily Dangerous Moment for Rural America | Psychology Today

An extraordinarily powerful article in Psychology Today explains why people in rural America are being led like lambs to the slaughter by a failing President Trump as his powers decline in the last few weeks of his disastrous presidency.

Professor Floyd "Ski" Chilton, of the University of Arizona, hails from the rural American south and identifies with this 'tribe'. He explains the phenomenon as an expression of the dual thinking process - the slow, deliberate, analytical thought process versus a fast, effortless, unconscious, associative processes:
The early works of Sloman, Stanovich, Evans, and Kahneman proposed a dual process theory of thought. A psychological distinction is made between slow, deliberate “thinking” versus fast, effortless, unconscious, associative processes and emphasizes the dominance of the latter evolutionarily driven, unconscious system in most people and especially in people who feel threatened.

Friday 27 November 2020

Why Trumpanzees Go along with President-Reject Trump's Delusions

August Landmesser 1936. The lone dissenter from the Nazi cult.
Source: Wikipedia
Compelled to Conform: When Tribal Ties Trump Truth | Psychology Today

An article in Psychology Today, by Noam Shpancer Ph.D., explains very well the current strange phenomenon of dedicated Trumpanzees insisting, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary and the singular lack of evidence for it, that President-reject Trump actually won the 2020 presidential election.

The answer is that cult-think, i.e. the need to belong and conform to the pressure from a group, rather than have the courage to stand up and tell the truth, is the stronger motive for these weak and intellectually dishonest individuals. Conformity has greater value to them than the truth does. They will be admired more for conforming and not spreading doubt and dissent than they will be for defending the truth.

Tuesday 24 November 2020

Catholic Abuse News - Letting The Predatory Priests Off

Roger Sinclair, who was removed by the Diocese of Greensburg in Pennsylvania in 2002 for allegedly abusing a teenage boy decades earlier. Now serving a prison sentence in Oregan for abusing a developmentally disabled man in 2017.

Credit: Deschutes County District Attorney's Office / via AP
Almost 1,700 priests and clergy accused of sex abuse are unsupervised

An investigation by reporters from Associated Press has discovered that almost 1700 American Catholic priests and clergy who had been named as credibly accused of sexual abuses are working unsupervised in the community, often with children.

According to this report by Claudia Lauer and Meghan Hoyer of Associated Press:
Nearly 1,700 priests and other clergy members that the Roman Catholic Church considers credibly accused of child sexual abuse are living under the radar with little to no oversight from religious authorities or law enforcement, decades after the first wave of the church abuse scandal roiled U.S. dioceses, an Associated Press investigation has found. These priests, deacons, monks and lay people now teach middle-school math. They counsel survivors of sexual assault. They work as nurses and volunteer at nonprofits aimed at helping at-risk kids. They live next to playgrounds and daycare centers. They foster and care for children. And in their time since leaving the church, dozens have committed crimes, including sexual assault and possessing child pornography, the AP’s analysis found.

Monday 23 November 2020

Evolution News - How a Medicinal Plant Evolved to Hide from Humans

Fritillaria delavayi in populations with high harvest pressure.
Photo credit: Yang Niu
Research news - Plant evolves to become less visible to humans - University of Exeter

Researchers from Exeter University and the Chinese Academy of Science Kunming Institute of Botany, have discovered that a plant, Fritillaria delavayi, used in Chinese medicine, has evolved to become harder to find and harvest.

They have shown how this example of cryptic camouflage is more prevalent in areas more heavily harvested than in areas where it is less likely to be picked.

The plant has leaves that naturally vary from grey through brown to green and only flowers when at least five years old, after which it produces a single flower each year. The bulbs are used in Chinese medicine and are harvested in the wild. Their price has escalated in recent years, increasing the selection pressure on them from human collectors.

Covidiot News - The Orthodox Patriarch, Prayer and Covid-19

Mourners kissed the glass cover on Patriarch Irinej's coffin, despite the risk of Covid-19.
Serbia: Thousands mourn Patriarch Irinej amid Covid concerns - BBC News

Mourners at the funeral of Patriarch Irinej, the head of the Serbian Orthodox church, today, mostly wore face-masks and observed sensible social distancing - apart that is from the priests who conducted the service. They declined to wear face-masks, despite the fact that Patriarch Irinej died of Covid-19, probably contracted when he conducted the service at the funeral of the Orthodox Church's most senior cleric in Montenegro, 82-year-old Metropolitan Bishop Amfilohije Radovic, who also died of Covid-19 earlier this month.

In line with tradition, many mourners kissed the glass covering over the dead patriarch's face, placed there to prevent them kissing his face and hands. Some even drank from the same communion spoon, believing their prayers and piety would keep them safe!

Patriarch Irinej, aged 90, was a conservative and was politically highly influential. He tested positive for Covid-19 three weeks ago, a few days after kissing the face and hands of the dead Metropolitan Amfilohije Radovic, at his funeral at the end of October. Those attending the funeral of Radovic had agreed to ignore the dangers from the coronavirus and abide by the tradition of walking up to the open coffin and kissing the hands and forehead of the dead priest.

Initially, Irinej's office issued a statement which said "His Holiness is hospitalised in a Covid-19 hospital in Belgrade. [He remains] without symptoms and is in excellent health." On 14th November his condition was described as "stable and under control during hospitalization". On 19th November the Serbian Orthodox Church officially refuted press reports of his death, despite press claims of 'reliable sources', but announced he was dead on 20th.

Coronavirus daily new cases, Serbia

Metropolitan Amfilohije was a notable coronavirus sceptic who foreswore wearing face-masks and recommended pilgrimages instead, describing them as "God's Vaccine". In addition to Patriarch Irinej, several other attendees at Amfilohije funeral were also reported to have contracted the virus and Amfilohije's successor was said to be suffering from "mild pneumonia".

Although ostensibly favouring inter-religious dialogue, Patriarch Irinej was a Serbian nationalist and advocate of 'Greater Serbia' who described the independence of Kosovo as a 'sin' and referred to Republika Srpska as a Serbian state - repeating the Serbian territorial claim to it that had precipitated the Serbia/Bosnia war following the breakup of former Yugoslavia. Republika Srpska is an ethnically Serbian-dominated autonomous part of the Federation of Bosnia and Hertzegovinia, which emerged as a compromise from the war.

During that conflict, a Serbian Nationalist and Greek Orthodox Volunteer militia occupied the town of Srebrenica and murdered 8,000 Bosniak men and boys in what a war-crimes trial later established was an act of genocide. The Serbian and Greek Orthodox churches had strongly supported the Serbians in the war against the mainly Moslem Bosniaks.
Having initially downplayed the seriousness of the coronavirus pandemic, Serbia's Orthodox leaders are now appealing for people to take it seriously. Patriarch Irinej and Metropolitan Amfilohije are just two of a large and growing number of religious clerics who have told their followers that prayer and pious deeds will save them, or even that the virus only infects the ungodly, only to have themselves then died of Covid-19.

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Saturday 21 November 2020

Covidiot News - More Lying Christian Pastors Against Covid-19 Vaccines

Pastor Rodney Howard-Brown of The River church, Tampa, Florida and Revival Ministries International. Lying for money and to keep his death-cult paying for his quackery while endangering their health and welfare.
Lying Pastor: A COVID Vaccine Will Alter Your DNA and “Remove the God Factor” | Hemant Mehta | Friendly Atheist | Patheos

As I remarked in my previous post, there is something weird about fundamentalist Christians who seem to want to help their malevolent designer's special creation, the SARS-CoV-2 virus, kill people or at least make them sick.

This one, Pastor Rodney Howard-Browne, of The River church in Tampa, Florida, and Florida-based Revival Ministries International, who, along with his good friend, Pastor Jonathan Shuttlesworth, has been doing his best to ensure as many people as possible get Covid-19, is now lying in a desperate attempt to fool people into not having the vaccine medical science has developed to combat it.

Covidiot News - The Catholic Bishop And The Great Vaccine Lie

Bishop Joseph Brennan, Bishop of Fresno. Fooling the faithfooled.
Bishop tells Catholics not to jump on 'vaccine bandwagon’ - Los Angeles Times

There is something really weird about fundamentalist Christians. They seem to want people to catch the coronavirus!

And it's not just the American mega-church pastors more worried about their falling income than the welfare of their 'flock', who have campaigned against social distancing and wearing facemasks, often with blatant lies and criminal irresponsibility, encouraging and organising the super-spreader events that church services have become.

These same frauds are also now campaigning now against the vaccines that medical science is on the verge of bringing into mass production to protect us from the virus and bring life back to normal - even making it safe to go into a crowded church to stuff more money into the mega-rich pastor's bank account, safe in the knowledge that you're not going to take something away that could kill your friends and relatives.

This mysterious campaigning on the side of a lethal virus is almost like they know they should be siding with the malevolence they believe designed and perfected the SARS-C0V-2 virus. So, Bishop Joseph Brennan's deliberate attempt to trick his followers into thinking they should refuse any vaccine and instead take their chances with a lethal virus is understandable, even if morally reprehensible. He worships the malevolent god whom he believes sent the plague to make people sick and kill millions, and probably thinks its a blasphemy to try to counter its attempted genocide.

His lie is of course, that the vaccine is made from the bodies of aborted foetuses, playing on the superstition that the Catholic Church inculcates its members with that an aborted foetus and even the zygote resulting from in vitro fertilisation are full human beings and thus the sacred special creations of God. Brennan singled out the Pfizer vaccine now going into full production, claiming the cells of aborted foetuses were used in its production.

They are not. Not a single stage in the vaccine's production uses them, according to Pfizer spokeswoman, Jerica Pitt. Bishop Brenan has yet to correct this misinformation and to apologise to Catholics for dangerously and wilfully misleading them.

As with the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, the vaccines currently leading the race, such as the Oxford vaccine, are made from small sections of SARS-CoV-2 messenger RNA (mRNA); the section that carries the instructions for making the 'spike' proteins coating the surface of the virus which it uses to gain entry into the cells of the respiratory system and other organs. This is inserted into the genome of a harmless virus so that, when injected into a muscle, the harmless virus delivers its package of SARS-CoV-2 mRNA into the muscle cells whose internal mechanisms then begin to make the viral 'spike' protein.

The protein on its own is harmless but the body recognises it as foreign and makes antibodies against it. In effect, the vaccine tricks your immune system into thinking you have Covid-19. Now, when the actual SARS-CoV-2 virus enters your body, these antibodies attach to its 'spike' proteins and prevent them working, so the virus can't enter your cells and destroy them, nor can it reproduce to create a viral load for you to spread to other people.

This use of an 'mRNA vaccine' is a major technological breakthrough for medical science and opens up the possibility of quickly making new vaccines to combat other similar viruses as well as the resistant mutations that will inevitably evolve in the future, making us able to respond quickly and effectively against the parasite's latest move in the evolutionary arms race. Maybe it's this stunning victory of human medical science against the malevolent entity that fundamentalists believe creates these nasty little parasites and wages this arms race against us that so worries these people.

If we have eradicated its smallpox virus and are on the verge of eradicating its poliomyelitis virus, what of its special creations will we be attacking next, and how will that affect their market in the magical 'cures' for sickness they now hawk? Minimising the threat from SARS-CoV-2 is the final straw for frauds who require a frightened, superstitious people to prey on.

Their hated 'enemy', science, is winning and needs to be stopped!

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Friday 20 November 2020

Malevolent Designer News - A Little More Malevolence

TB researcher Faramarz Valafar and his team have discovered what causes the TB bacterium to become resistant to antibiotics, which will help advance therapeutics and vaccine targets.
Solving a Mystery: How the TB Bacterium Develops Rapid Resistance to Antibiotics | NewsCenter | SDSU

The TB bacterium, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, is one of the malevolent designer's little triumphs (if you've been taken in by the intelligent [sic] design hoax).

Once a major killer in cities where crowded conditions made transmission easy for it, medical science had seemed on the point of eliminating it with antibiotics and vaccinations. However, it has now made a strong come-back due to developing antibiotic resistance and is now endemic in many third world and developing countries with some 10 million new cases and 1.8 million deaths a year in 2018.

Exactly how it did this so quickly for an organism that is slow-growing and which reproduces relatively slowly was something of a mystery to medical science because a slow generation time is not conducive to rapid evolution and yet antibiotic resistance can arise within weeks or months in an individual patient undergoing treatment.

Intelligent [sic] design advocates, of course, have what they think is a better explanation - it was redesigned by their putative designer as another escalation in its arms race against human medical science in its determination to make us sick and die in an especially nasty way.

However, scientists at San Diego State University think they have discovered that this was due to evolution after all, not to the intervention of a magician, malevolent or otherwise.

Wednesday 18 November 2020

Covidiot News - Wearing a Face Mask Does NOT Impair Breathing

Wearing a mask while exercising may feel uncomfortable, but research shows doing so does not impair lung function.
Photo credit: Getty Images
Exercised Over Nothing: Masks Don’t Impair Lung Function During Physical Activity

More evidence, if any were needed, that, contrary to the lies of President-reject-supporting evangelical Christians, wearing a face-mask does not impair airflow or exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide, even during physical activity.

This is the conclusion from a meta-analysis of all known scientific literature that "examined the effects of various face masks and respiratory loading devices on physiological and perceptual responses to physical activity" by an American and Canadian team led by Susan Hopkins of the University College of San Diego, USA. The single exception was someone with severe cardiopulmonary disease for whom a minor change in resistance to breathing or a slight change in blood gasses could precipitate dyspnoea. However, these people are also at high risk from Covid-19 - an important factor when deciding whether to wear a face-mask or not.

The results of this analysis were published two days ago in the Annals of the American Thoracic Society.

President-Reject Donald Trump - Portrait of a Disordered Narcissist

President-reject Donald Trump, the best narcissist.
"No-one does narcissism better than me!"
Is This How Narcissists Think? | Psychology Today

An article by Mariette Jansen Ph.D., in Psychology Today neatly explains President-reject Donald Trump's bizarre behaviour. It is characteristic of someone with a narcissistic personality disorder (NPD).

Although, like his all too obvious learning difficulties, this has never formally been diagnosed. Nevertheless, he has all five classic symptoms of NPD which can be easily observed.

These are:

Monday 16 November 2020

Evolution News - Closing Creationism's Abiogenesis God-Shaped Gap

Early Earth (Artist's impression)

Credit: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center Conceptual Image Lab
Cysteine synthesis was a key step in the origin of life | UCL News - UCL – University College London

Abiogenesis is the creation industry's favourite fall-back gap for when they find the evidence for evolution irrefutable and overwhelming. Science is then challenged to reproduce a fully functional complex cell in a laboratory, starting out with a few raw chemicals.

What they've been conditioned to believe is that any current gap in our scientific knowledge will, unlike all the previous gaps, never be closed, so it must be done by a god, notwithstanding the absurd false dichotomy in that argument.

So, these instances of their abiogenesis god-shaped gap shrinking considerably under scientific scrutiny is bound to produce hand-waving denialism in even the hardiest of creationists. It is, of course just another small step by science toward a comprehensive understanding of how self-replicating, entropy-managing, free-living collections of chemicals in a bag, started evolving into today's amazing biodiversity.

Saturday 14 November 2020

Has The Malevolent Designer Blundered?

This illustration, created at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, reveals ultrastructural morphology exhibited by coronaviruses.

Illustration by CDC/Alissa Eckert, MS; Dan Higgins, MAM
Common SARS-CoV-2 mutation may make coronavirus more susceptible to a vaccine | UNC-Chapel Hill

According to Intelligent [sic] Design Creationists, nothing in biology happens without the deliberate involvement of their putative intelligent [sic} designer. Nothing mutates by chance and no mutation increase in the gene pool unless this putative designer wills it.

So, let's play around with that notion in the context of the SARS-CovV-2 virus currently responsible for the coronavirus pandemic causing devastation, death and chaos throughout the world, and in the context of the sort of arms races that often ensue with a parasite-host relationship.

Covidiots - Why Conservatives Don't Care About the Welfare of Others

Here’s Why Conservatives, Liberals Differ on COVID-19 | Lehigh University

In a thought-provoking paper by Luke Nowlan and Daniel M. Zane of Lehigh University Business School, the different reaction to the coronavirus pandemic seen in conservatives and liberals (particularly in the USA), and especially the measures governments are taking to mitigate the effects of it, they showed how these can be explained by differences in the level of superstitious belief in agency.

As has been noted before in this blog, conservatives and fundamentalist religious creationists in particular tend to suffer from the teleological thinking mode they inherit from their infancy, so tend to see agency in everything. Nothing can happen in their world that doesn't have a sentient mind making it happen. No object can do anything unless it wants to or something else makes it. The same mode of thinking also makes them susceptible to conspiracy theories, of which the Theory of Evolution is believe to be one.

Liberal thinkers however are much more likely to accept that some things happen randomly and without purpose or intent simply because the world is not deterministic, so random things can and do happen.

Friday 13 November 2020

False Prophets For President-Reject Trump

For an omnipotent, omniscient deity, the American fundamentalist Christian god seems to be sending an awful lot of false messages to his Talibangelist prophets these days.

The money these false prophets make from their dupes followers, anyone would think they never read their Bible:
Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?

Matthew 7:15-16


So who exactly are these ravening wolves? You've guessed it, they are the President-reject Trump-supporting super-rich telvangelist who live off the credulity of their dupes followers, and no-doubt, like Trump pay no tax on their ill-gotten gains, despite being barely-concealed propagandists for Trump and the Republican Party.

Thursday 12 November 2020

Catholic Abuse News - "A Sorry History of Child Sexual Abuse in the Roman Catholic Church"

Cardinal Vincent Nichol
"[Church's] moral purpose betrayed over decades" but not resigning.
Inquiry finds Catholic Church prioritised reputation over the welfare of children | IICSA Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse

The report published a couple of days ago by the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse into the conduct of the Catholic Church in Britain, makes grim reading for anyone interested in child welfare.

It should have made grim reading for the head of the Catholic Church in Britain, Cardinal Vincent Nichols, since it called into question his leadership of the Church and his moral authority, but he has so far refused to even consider his position, claiming that he formally offered his resignation to Pope Francis when he reached the traditional retirement age for senior clergy, but Pope Francis formally declined it.

Wednesday 11 November 2020

Covidiots - The Superspreader Christians of Charlotte, North Carolina

The United House of Prayer for All People church in Mecklenburg County, Charlotte, North Carolina.
Cases rise after attending events at United House of Prayer | Raleigh News & Observer

A large outbreak of Covid-19, in which at least nine people have died, 11 people have needed hospital treatment and 208 people and close contacts have tested positive for the SARC-CoV-2 virus, has been linked to a superspreader event held in the United House of Prayer for All People church in Mecklenburg, Charlotte, North Carolina. According to the latest update from Mecklenburg County:

Catholic Abuse News - Vatican Report Blames Pope John-Paul II For the Cardinal McCarrick Debacle.

Former Cardinal McCarrick.
Sexual predator and paedophile who pulled the wool over the eyes of three popes.
Vatican says Pope John Paul II ignored sex abuse allegations to promote ex-Cardinal McCarrick - CBS News

Pope John-Paul II knew about Cardinal (then Archbishop) McCarrick's sexual predation on children and young seminarians, but turned a blind eye to it when he promoted him to Cardinal.

That is the conclusion of a Vatican investigation into the omnishables that lead to Theodore McCarrick firstly being promoted to Archbishop, then to Cardinal and ending up as the most senior Catholic cleric in America, to then be summarily sacked and defrocked when Pope Francis finally learned the truth about him, to become the most senior Catholic cleric to be so treated. The report into the scandal (English Language version)(PDF) is published today.

Tuesday 10 November 2020

American History - Jefferson's DOI Edited to Remove Condemnation of Slavery!

Thomas Jefferson (Official Presidential Portrait) Rembrant Peale, 1800
Jefferson’s “original Rough draught” of the Declaration of Independence - Declaring Independence: Drafting the Documents | Exhibitions - Library of Congress

With the Black Lives Matter campaign still ongoing in the USA, it's worth taking a quick look at the history of a constitution which allowed slavery for so long and which has left America with a divided society where racism is institutionalised and a white President-reject who relied on racist white supremacists for support, describing them as 'very fine people'. And a very large proportion of the population incensed at the realisation that America now has a black (female!) Vice President, as though having had a black President for 8 years wasn't bad enough!

This also relates to the increasing clamour from the evangelical Christian white supremacists insisting that America is a Christian country, founded as such by the almost saint-like figures of the (White Christian) Founding Fathers.

The truth, as always with these assertions from the extreme right in politics is very different.

The founding document of the American Republic, the Declaration of Independence (DOI), was originally drafted by that deist friend of Thomas Paine and follower of John Locke, the liberal left Humanist, Thomas Jefferson. It included the following passage:

More Trumpanzees Losing it - Kenneth Copeland in Full Hysterical Meltdown

Kenneth Copeland
Here’s Kenneth Copeland Laughing Maniacally About Biden Winning the Election | Hemant Mehta | Friendly Atheist | Patheos

Talibangelist Trumpanzee and multi-millionaire, Kenneth Copeland, true to form, found reality too much to cope with, and promptly went into a full meltdown of hysterical laughter when he heard that Joe Biden had won the election and his personal saviour, Donald J. Trump had been booted from office.

Copeland gained fame in Evangelical Christian circles when he famously declared that he had killed the coronavirus by blowing on it and telling it to go. He repeated this feat on at least two further occasions as the case numbers and death toll rose in the first wave in the USA The virus, apparently unaffected by his magic spells, failed to comply with Copeland's instructions, while Copeland's gods (the one supposedly in Heaven, and the one in the White House) both stood by helplessly watching as things got worse.

Monday 9 November 2020

Hypocrisy News - The Texan Talibangelical Attorney General and Sleaze

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, Talibangelical sleaze-bag (allegedly)
Conservative Christian TX Attorney General’s Affair Now Part of Criminal Case | Hemant Mehta | Friendly Atheist | Patheos

The Texas Repugnican Attorney General, Ken Paxton, a committed Talibangelical Christian fighting for a fundamentalist Christian theocracy in the USA, is in deep do-dos.

According to the AP report, he had an extra-marital affair with a women whom he later recommended for a job with a wealthy donor who is now at the centre of a criminal investigation against him.

Evangelical Trumpanzee News - Wingnuts in Deep Denial

Pastor Curt Landry "God won't allow me to be mocked!"
A brief roundup of how delusional Trumpanzee Talibangelical Christians reacted to the news that their saviour, Donald J Trump, had been booted out of office by the American electorate. It's not a pretty sight!

Curt Landry Declares Trump Will Win Because God Will Not Allow His Prophets to Be Mocked | Right Wing Watch
First off we have Pastor Curt Landry who believes he speaks for God and declared Trump the winner last Wednesday, so God will not allow him to be humiliated. He prophesied that the swing-states, most of which went to Biden, would be won by Trump.
Son of man, do you think that I am going to allow my prophets who prophesied Trump’s second term and prophesied all this goodness coming to this nation to be mocked by a mass media manipulation? No, I shall not. For my namesake, I shall protect my word, I shall protect my people, I shall protect my prophets from this evil destruction. For I shall pull back the veil and I shall reveal that which is done in darkness. For they who shift the votes and move the boxes around, those who raised the dead and the dead vote, I will expose them says the Lord. For they may be tricky men, but they shall not trick me.

Sunday 8 November 2020

Malevolent Designer News - More Mendacity in 'Design' of SARS-CoV-2

Virus that causes COVID-19 puts a plug in cellular defenses | YaleNews

Three stories in the scientific news today show the amazingly creative intelligence of the evil genius whom creationists believe created the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

The first is about how the virus overcomes the immune system this creator allegedly created to protect us from its creations - like viruses and bacteria. According to the findings of a research team from Yale, the virus reprograms the cell to make a protein, known as non-structural protein 1 (Nsp1) which acts as as plug to block the channel in the ribosomes through which the strand of messenger RNA (mRNA) needs to pass for transcription into a protein to occur. This prevents the cell from producing the immune proteins it needs to fight infections.

Friday 6 November 2020

Covidiots - Wearing a Face Mask Does NOT Inhibit Breathing During Exercise

A new University of Saskatchewan study has found that face masks do not hinder breathing for healthy individuals during exercise.
Photo: John Ko
USask researchers find face masks don't hinder breathing during exercise - News - University of Saskatchewan

How many times have you seen a fundamentalist Christian covidiot claiming they can't breathe when wearing a face mask, in a grotesque parody of the George Floyd's and Eric Garner's last words as the police killed them?

Research at the University of Saskatchewan, Canada, has shown that wearing a face mask does not inhibit respiration nor make exercise more difficult.

Evolution News - Two More Examples of Evolution in Progress

Monarch butterflies, Danaus plexippus, are known for their lengthy migrations, but in some cases the insects have spread outside their normal range and settled in non-migrating populations. These non-migrating butterflies consistently have smaller wings (bottom, collected in S. America) than migrators (top, collected in San Francisco).
Two Centuries of Monarch Butterflies Show Evolution of Wing Length - Egghead

A couple more examples of evolution in progress being reported on by biologists who had no intention of refuting Creationism, but did so anyway simply by reporting the facts.

The first example is of the monarch butterfly, Danaus plexippus. These North American butterflies are famous for their prodigious migration flights to a small valley in Mexico where they spend the Winter, then out across North America to their breeding grounds in Spring. Those west of the Rocky Mountains also over-winter in sites in Southern California although some do go to Mexico.

Over the years, small populations have been established on Caribbean and Pacific islands, Hawai'i, Australia and in South America, where, because the Winter climate is milder, they have given up migrating and become sedentary species. These colonies have been founded by windblown vagrants. I have even seen them in Puerto Banús, on the southern coast of Andalusia, Spain, where there is a healthy local population.

Monday 2 November 2020

Malevolent Designer News - Covid-19 Designed to Cause Brain Damage

SARS-CoV-2 subunit S1 alters barrier status in a 3D tissue engineered microfluidic model of the human BBB. Confocal microscopy and volumetric rendering were used to visualize the tissue engineered vessel. (A) Shows a longitudinal view of an endothelialized void after perfusion that formed a predictive vessel geometry analogous to those found within the brain. (B) provides a cross sectional perspective indicating a single layer of endothelial cells. In (C) a representative merged image of the engineered vessel constructs fixed and immunestained for the tight junction protein, ZO-1, along with phalloidin to label actin and the nuclear stain, DAPI. (D) shows the typical ZO-1 membranous pattern expected in mature barrier forming brain endothelial cells. (E) after perfusion for 2 h of SARS-CoV-2 subunit S1 (10 nM), constructs were also fixed and immunolabeled for ZO-1. The arrows point to areas in which the ZO-1 cellular pattern is discontinuous, punctate or absent signifying areas of barrier breach. Scalebar = 20 μm. (F) Fluorescence intensity after ten minutes of perfusion with 4 kDa FITC-dextran, indicating the impaired barrier function in vessels perfused after 2 h of the S1 spike protein versus untreated controls. (G) Quantitative measurements for permeability coefficients of vessels exposed to the SARS-CoV-2 subunit S1 compared to untreated controls. Data was analyzed using Kruskal-Willis test, n = 3, *p < 0.05.
SARS-CoV-2 Spike Proteins Disrupt the Blood-Brain Barrier, Potentially Raising Risk of Neurological Damage in COVID-19 Patients | Temple Health

The findings of a researchers from The Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University, Philadelphia, PA, USA should have devotees of the malevolent designer thrilling at its sheer brilliance.

This is the intelligent [sic] designer whom they believe created the SARS-CoV-2 virus to cause the coronavirus pandemic, and this research shows how it was designed to cause neurological damage to its human victims.

While there is no direct evidence yet that the virus invades brain cells, the team at the Lewis Katz School of Medicine have shown that the spike proteins on its coat that SARS-CoV-2 uses to gain entry into a cell promote an inflamatory response in the endothelial cells that form the blood-brain barrier, potentially causing it to become leaky.

SARS-CoV-2 gains entry to a cell by binding to the angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) on the cell surface and the researchers has show that ACE2 is present on the surface of endothelial cells lining the inner surface of blood vessels. The Temple Health press release explains further:

Sunday 1 November 2020

Malevolent Designer News - Making a Better Coronavirus

Emergence and spread of a SARS-CoV-2 variant through Europe in the summer of 2020 | medRxiv

Phylogenetic overview of SARS-CoV-2 in Europe. The tree shows a representative sample of isolates from Europe colored by the amino acid at positions 222, 477, and 614 of the spike protein. A novel rapidly spreading variant (blue; 20A.EU1) with mutation S:A222V on a S:D614G background emerged in early summer and is common in most countries with recent sequences. A separate variant (20A.EU2) with mutation S:S477N is prevalent in France. On the right, the proportion of sequences belonging to each variant (through the duration of the pandemic) is shown per country. Tree and visualization were generated using the Nextstrain platform (Hadfield et al., 2018) as described in methods.
Click image to enlarge
It's one of those days when intelligent [sic] design proponents need to pretend their putative designer is not responsible for designing something and look around for something else to blame.

The one thing they can't blame, of course, is a perfectly natural, amoral, undirected natural process like evolution by natural selection, because that would concede that science is right after all and that apparent design does not require a sentient designer.

What we have today is news that the coronavirus that caused the Covid-19 pandemic currently ravaging population and economies world-wide looks as though it was modified last summer to make it spread more widely and more quickly than before. In other words, to make it better at making as many people sick as possible.

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