Insanity! UK govt wants nurseries to report potential terrorist toddlers

Outrageous! Sowing the seeds of mistrust, division, alienation is just what the Prevent strategy is designed to do. These nurseries are being used to instill fear in toddlers and potentially program them into becoming informants under the guise of protecting them. Don’t buy it folks.

“It is unworkable. I have to say I cannot understand what they [nursery staff] are expected to do,” David Davis, the Conservative MP and former shadow home secretary, told the Telegraph.

“Are they supposed to report some toddler who comes in praising a preacher deemed to be extreme? I don’t think so. It is heavy-handed,” he added.

“Turning our teachers and childminders into an army of involuntary spies will not stop the terrorist threat,” Isabella Sankey, the policy director at human rights body Liberty, told the Telegraph.It will sow seeds of mistrust, division and alienation from an early age.”

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Review: Bart D. Ehrman’s “Did Jesus Exist?”

Did Jesus Exist?: The Historical Argument for Jesus of Nazareth, by Bart D. Ehrman’ve been a fan of Ehrman’s for some time now; I have all his books, and some I have bought extra copies to give as gifts. I even recommended him highly to an online forum I participate in which gets about 3 million page views per month. Shortly after this glowing recommendation of Ehrman, his book Did Jesus Exist arrived and I began to read. Imagine my shock – turning into horror – as I read a respected New Testament scholar writing polemic like a middle school brat.

My image of Ehrman was forever shattered. I thought he really was that guy who was just after the truth, the guy who was so hurt by the unfairness of life on earth that he just couldn’t stick with a god who didn’t handle things better; the guy who questioned his own good luck being able to eat barbecued steak and drink fancy wines, and collect his nice paycheck which paid for his lovely lifestyle, his trips to conferences and seminars underwritten by generous academic funding (I know the life, I’m married to an academic, now professor emeritus), while so many people on the planet go to bed hungry or go to sleep on the floor because they have no bed; anyway, yeah, that guy who demonstrated such refined and elevated sensibilities with a lot of this sort of discourse sprinkled in amongst his previous books. The first thing that popped into my mind as I was reading, aghast, was that this guy was definitely showing so serious a lack of class I finally understood why he repeatedly and lovingly describes his engagement with steaks and wine and living the elegant life of an academic: that’s the only thing that matters to him.

The Truth obviously doesn’t matter to Ehrman either. After I moved past that embarrassing concentrated polemic against some very fine researchers (I love Robert Price, Richard Carrier and Earl Doherty), things only got worse. I suppose that if Ehrman had anything intelligent or erudite to say, it might have salvaged the book even though I would never again view him as a nice – or even ethical – individual. But that didn’t happen. The errors, fallacies, failure of logic, and outright WRONG statements just piled higher and higher. I admit, I ALMOST threw the book in the trash when I read that astonishing claim that the Romans didn’t keep records, but I stayed my hand so that I could keep marking up the copy with references to clear refutations of the nonsense he was spouting.

I’m serious: there were HUNDREDS of errors! What was so shocking to me was to realize that this man had no classical training, or what is known as erudition, AT ALL! There I was, recovering from a broken hip, lying on the chaise longue with the tea tray on one side and five stacks of books on the other, most of which I had read during my convalescence. Some of these books I was re-reading, like Thucydides, Tacitus, Sallust, the Plinys, Cato the Elder, Cicero, Dio Cassius, Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Josephus, Philo, etc. It just seemed like a broken hip was a good reason to do that. But additionally, I had also just completed Syme’s magisterial two volume commentary on Tacitus, following on his seminal The Roman Revolution and Burkert’s excellent survey of Orphism. The point is, I know a bit about classical Greece and Rome and when I read the astonishingly twisted or downright false claims Ehrman made in respect of historical facts OUTSIDE of Christianity, my heart fell into my stomach and I realized that I would have to re-think everything I had ever thought about Ehrman and his vaunted “expert status.”

This book, Did Jesus Exist, is so bad, so misleading, so “not even wrong”, as Pauli would have said, that I have to sadly say that its only usefulness is as an example of, as Richard Carrier says, “How Not to Defend the Historicity of Jesus”; barring that, if an ice age comes, I’ll use it to start fires.

Speaking of Carrier et al, I highly recommend the book Bart Ehrman and the Quest of the Historical Jesus of Nazareth which addresses in detail (with proper scholarly references and citations), many of the horrifying failures of logic and erudition exhibited by Ehrman. A few other excellent books that anyone interested in these topics should have in the stack beside their chaise longue would be Price’s The Incredible Shrinking Son of Man, The Amazing Colossal Apostle, F. C. Baur’s two volume Paul, the Apostle of Jesus Christ, books by Richard Carrier and Earl Doherty, and another great find my husband made for me while searching for books to feed my voracious convalescent appetite for reading: James Tabor’s Paul and Jesus: How the Apostle Transformed Christianity. The list could go on, but you can check bibliographies and footnotes for further reading.

Finally, coming back to my amazement at the incredible shrinking brain of Bart D. Ehrman, I would like to think that the nice guy I saw through his works actually exists and that what we are seeing here is some other problem, perhaps neurological. My neighbor started talking this same way some years back and within two years, she was dead. The doctor who did the autopsy said that her brain had literally melted in her skull. The reason I mention this is because maybe what is revealed here is something like early onset Alzheimer’s? Maybe Bart didn’t lie deliberately. Maybe he isn’t acting like a complete nincompoop on purpose? Maybe he is ill and doesn’t yet know it? After all, scientific studies have been done that show that the incompetent lack the insight to perceive their own incompetence; it’s called the “Dunning-Kruger Effect”. Maybe we are looking at something like that? Bart’s mental competence has deteriorated and part of that deterioration includes an inability to even realize how bad his thinking actually is? If anyone who knows him reads this, I urge you to encourage Bart to make an appointment with a good neurologist.

Well, it’s either that or the career path he has followed, that of a glorified copy-editor of a narrow selection of ancient texts, has so limited his intellectual horizons that he is suffering from a hardening of the categories. It’s sad, but people like this should not be in a position of influence, and most definitely should not be teaching young people anything; he’s a bad example as an academic and a human being as far as I can see from his Did Jesus Exist. Cataclysmic awfulness all the way around.

Large asteroids to flyby Earth in January through March. Should we worry?

Definitely a heads-up situation: According to NASA’s Near Earth Object Program, there will be 43 asteroids flying close to Earth in January and 25 in February. In March, the number further drops to 15.


Meet Alexei Navalny: The U.S. State Department’s inside man for ‘regime change’ in Russia

The western media is now carrying the story of a protest on the streets of Manezh Square in Moscow which occurred on Tuesday, December 30th. At the center of the rally was Alexei Navalny, self-proclaimed “anti-corruption” blogger and head of the largest opposition movement of the leadership of Vladimir Putin and his administration in Russia. Navalny was just convicted of defrauding a cosmetics company of about $440,000 and given a suspended sentence of 3 1/2 years. Relating to the same case, his brother, Oleg, will be sent to prison for the same period of time. In 2013, Alexei Navalny was also tried and convicted of embezzling over $500,000 from the state-owned timber company Kirovles, where Navalny worked as a volunteer in 2009.

Read more: Meet Alexei Navalny: The U.S. State Department’s inside man for ‘regime change’ in Russia

Preliminary report on the crash of flight MH17 full of holes, just like the plane

The idea that the US government (or some section thereof) would stage a well-planned and equally well covered-up provocation as part of an information war against an enemy should surprise no one.

Preliminary report on the crash of flight MH17 full of holes, just like the plane

Western mainstream media whores are already jumping all over a single sentence in the Preliminary report [on the] Crash involving Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200 flight MH17, that reads:

Damage observed on the forward fuselage and cockpit section of the aircraft appears to indicate that there were impacts from a large number of high-energy objects from outside the aircraft.

According to paragons of bullshit like the BBC, this “pretty much rules out anything else other than a [BUK] missile”.

What the BBC and just about every other mouthpiece of Western anti-Russian propaganda are studiously ignoring is the evidence provided by Russia, which was corroborated by eyewitnesses, that fighter jets were in close approach to MH17 when it went down. And in case everyone forgot, high caliber bullets are also “high-energy objects”.

With any crime, the context in which it occurs is all important. The crash of MH17 and the death of all 298 people on board occurred in the context of a major ongoing propaganda war against Russia by Western governments that was launched in the aftermath of a US-sponsored coup in Ukraine bringing an anti-Russian government to power. This provoked Russia to facilitate the incorporation of Crimea into the Russian Federation and support the armed separatist movement in Eastern Ukraine. In short, the downing of MH17 occurred in the context of a major ‘world war’ between Russia and Western powers.

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Scientists stumble across the obvious treatment for Ebola: tobacco

What have we been saying on SOTT for years now? Time to start smoking again! (See additional articles in comments).

Scientists stumble across the obvious treatment for Ebola: tobacco

A cocktail of antibodies cooked up in tobacco plants may provide an emergency treatment for Ebola virus, one of the deadliest viruses known, researchers reported Wednesday.

The treatment provides 100 percent protection to monkeys when given right after exposure. But it also helps even after symptoms develop, the researchers report in the journal Science Translational Medicine.

SOTT Talk Radio: Mysterious planet: Interview with ufologist and cryptozoologist Nick Redfern

I sat in on this one. Nick is a walking encyclopedia!

Mysterious planet: Interview with ufologist and cryptozoologist Nick Redfern

This week on SOTT Talk Radio we’re interviewing best-selling British author, ufologist and cryptozoologist, Nick Redfern.

From 1984 until 2001 Redfern worked as a freelance feature writer for numerous UK newspapers. In recent years, Redfern has made many TV appearances in the UK and overseas, sharing his research and insights into all things Fortean, and today runs the U.S. branch of the Centre for Fortean Zoology. Redfern posts regularly on his blog.

Our guest is also the author of numerous books about some of the truly weird (but totally real) topics we’ll be discussing this week, including Close Encounters of the Fatal Kind, A Covert Agenda, The FBI Files, Three Men Seeking Monsters, Body Snatchers in the Desert, On the Trail of the Saucer Spies, Memoirs of a Monster Hunter, Final Events, The NASA Conspiracies, The Real Men in Black, The Pyramids and the Pentagon, The World’s Weirdest Places, and many more!

58 Cognitive biases that screw up everything we do

You think that you can think with the way you think? Or that you are in charge in there? Think again!

58 Cognitive biases that screw up everything we do

We like to think we’re rational human beings.

In fact, we are prone to hundreds of proven biases that cause us to think and act irrationally, and even thinking we’re rational despite evidence of irrationality in others is known as blind spot bias.

The study of how often human beings do irrational things was enough for psychologists Daniel Kahneman to win the Nobel Prize in Economics, and it opened the rapidly expanding field of behavioral economics. Similar insights are also reshaping everything from marketing to criminology

Hoping to clue you – and ourselves – into the biases that frame our decisions, we’ve collected a long list of the most notable ones.

Read the list here.