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Posts Tagged ‘deaths’

Texas execution and the Bible

Posted by c. wagner on November 10, 2009

Texas (“Famous for Executions”) killed another man November 5. I’m not bringing this up because there was evidence the guy was innocent (haven’t heard of any) or because I have a serious problem with the death penalty (I do), but because of how jurors arrived at his sentence. The jury consulted the Bible to choose the sentence for the convicted murderer.

And what passage out of all of the Bible did the jurors close in on? Not the bit about “turning the other cheek”. Not the bit about “forgiving seven times 70 times”. Not the bit about casting the first stone. Nooooo. They picked Numbers chapter 35, verse 16:

And if he smite him with an instrument of iron, so that he die, he is a murderer: the murderer shall surely be put to death.

That’s right. They chose the death penalty, not necessarily because of the nastiness of the crime (a shooting during a burglary), but because a line of the Bible said it was the fitting penalty for killing someone with “an instrument of iron”, like a gun.

One of the jurors was interviewed later by a Danish reporter.

He told the journalist he believed “the Bible is truth from page 1 to the last page”, and that if civil law and biblical law were in conflict, the latter should prevail. He said that if he had been told he could not consult the Bible, “I would have left the courtroom”.

I’m officially terrified. Where is my separation of church and state? Why didn’t this get thrown out on appeal? Is there a loophole here that I don’t know about?

I’m also glad that I don’t live in Texas. Of course, I was already glad about that.

Read the article from Amnesty International.

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I guess it doesn’t work, then?

Posted by c. wagner on November 4, 2009

I’m developing a theory (which has probably already been developed by someone else) that the more desperate and likely to be fatal the disease, the more likely it is to attract quack “solutions”. (A notable exception is the generally non-fatal condition of being considered overweight, which is associated with a truly amazing amount of quackery.) It’s not a great theory, but it makes me feel somewhat smarter. Anyhoooo….

Hulda Clark, author of The Cure for All Cancers and The Cure for Advanced Cancers, has died of—you guessed it—cancer.

If her “cure” couldn’t help her, how many of the sick folks who bought her books have died? And how many of those died because they put off possibly helpful medical care to try the quackery?

Read more at Respectful Insolence.

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Why am I not surprised this happened in Sedona?

Posted by c. wagner on October 21, 2009

Ah, Sedona, Arizona. I’ve now seen so many skeptics and debunkers profiling so-called psychics and healers in that town that I’m no longer surprised by anything I hear coming out of it. I think Penn (of Penn and Teller) summed it up best when he said you could find “every kind of crystal-sucking, vortex-fucking whackjob that’s ever made a buck off rich old hippies” in Sedona.

Even so, this news made me extra angry.

A woman hospitalized after spending time in a sauna-like “sweatbox” has died, bringing the total fatalities to three, authorities said late Saturday.

In addition to the deaths, 18 others were injured at the October 8 event at Angel Valley Retreat Center near Sedona, Arizona.

Sounds like a tragic accident of some sort, doesn’t it? Like their partners dropped them off a mesa during a trust exercise, right? Not quite, but you could totally see this coming, since

There were up to 65 visitors, ages 30 to 60, at the resort attending the “Spiritual Warrior” program by self-help expert James Arthur Ray, according to authorities.

Participants spent up to two hours inside the sweatbox, a dome-like structure covered with tarps and blankets, the sheriff’s office said. Hot rocks and water are used to create steam in the enclosed environment.

Two hours in a homemade sauna? Two hours? Don’t suppose there were any warning labels about not lingering if you were in poor health or started feeling ill, either.

These people trusted an “expert” who said he could make their lives better. And they wound up dead or hurt.

Next time someone tells you that New Age practices can’t do any harm, keep this incident in mind.

Read the article at CNN.

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