Tila Tequila & Ad Hominem Attacks

screenshot-www.facebook.com 2015-10-07 20-10-01

[Image: A Facebook post from Tila Tequila’s official Facebook account. Text reads, “Dear friends,

I know we have argued over this topic before, and I am not here to argue with you again about it this time. I am MERELY putting this message out there JUST IN CASE should any of you change your mind about this very serious subject matter. You don’t have to agree with me…. and if you don’t.. then please continue to move on and live your life the way you choose to. But I feel compelled to write this because I have a lot of friends, and family on here so I CARE about you!

If any of you are STILL injecting your babies with POISON aka vaccines; PLEASE STOP IT ASAP! I know, this argument can go back and fourth FOREVER and that is what THEY WANT! Divide and conquer! But it is and SHOULD BE a serious CRIME held in the highest regard for ANYONE to FORCE YOU to INJECT POISON INTO YOUR CHILDREN! Even if you are being “tricked” into doing it. God made us perfect. He made our babies perfect. He gave us super abilities to heal ourselves through him and our faith. How do you think I healed my Mom from her Cancer???? I’m not saying stop going to the doctor or anything like that… but the second you put more faith in MAN instead of GOD… you already lost the battle. Izzy is going to be 1 years old in 2 months, and to this very day she has NEVER gotten sick! Do you know why? BECAUSE I NEVER INJECTED HER WITH VACCINE POISONS! You will regret this one day. They do this to break down your immune system, causing you and your children to constantly get sick and not able to heal yourself through the natural ability GOD gave you to do so! So instead you are running back to MAN to cure all of your diseases and illnesses…. They are Using MASS GENOCIDE on all of you and you are ALLOWING IT! They are using REVERSE PSYCHOLOGY ON YOU AND IT IS WORKING! DO NOT LET THEM!

My sister’s kids, for example, are CONSTANTLY SICK! That’s because she continues to vaccinate them…. but she doesn’t know. And it hurts my heart to know that you are letting these evil corporations slowly kill your innocent babies and children. You MUST stop to think that ANY MAN BESIDES GOD, who is FORCING YOU TO INJECT ANYTHING INTO YOUR OWN FLESH AND BLOOD IS A CRIME AGAINST HUMANITY!!!! THINK ABOUT THIS! WAKE UP! That is all I wanted to say. And should you choose to change your mind after reading this and TRUST YOUR HEART….. I pray that you will end up doing the right thing which is ceasing ALL FURTHER VACCINES. One day in the future this truth will come out because what goes up must come down…. and you are going to feel sick to your stomach knowing that you allowed an EVIL ENTITY trick you into hurting your own children. They are sick because it was your fault for allowing the continuation of it… and then once they get sick you go out and fill them up with more medicine don’t ya? Poor babies………. but it’s never too late to stop! Thank you that is all I wanted to say. Look how healthy, bright, smart, and happy Isabella is. Not saying that she is better than anyone, but she IS healthier. That is a fact. God bless you. heart emoticon PS- IF YOU AGREE THEN PLEASE SHARE THIS POST!!!!”]

Ad hominem: (of an argument or reaction) directed against a person rather than the position they are maintaining.

I recently came across this gem on Tila Tequila’s Facebook page. After I reviewed her book, Hooking Up With Tila Tequila, I, for some reason, liked her Facebook page. I didn’t see much from her on my feed, but then this popped up. While I was saddened to see someone in any position of influence asserting that vaccines were poison, I was hardly surprised to see it coming from her. In the past Tila has made anti-Semitic comments in support of Hitler, claimed that Zionists rule the media, and has delved into other wild conspiracy theories in between posting naked selfies.

There’s so much wrong with this post! There’s so much to pick apart, to discuss, to point out! But what do people end up doing? Attacking Tila Tequila as a person and not her argument. And there’s no end to what’s wrong with her argument!

One thing I find incredibly annoying is that people are quick to haul off and announce that she’s crazy. Which, Tila has admitted to having bipolar disorder, so yes, she is crazy. But guess what? I have the same disorder. I’m not a conspiracy theorist and I don’t think I ever cured someone’s cancer. So anyone dismissing Tila because of her mental health problems is dismissing me as well and there are a few small differences between my beliefs and Tila’s.

Just kidding. The differences are huge.

When we’re confronted with ridiculous and sometimes downright bizarre arguments and statements, we don’t prove any points or convince anyone of anything if all we can do is call them names and pick apart their personal lives. Tila is wrong in her assertions because there’s solid scientific evidence that vaccines have helped prevent billions of people from contracting terrible diseases and dying. She’s not wrong because she posed topless for Playboy.

Society has trained everyone to look at a person and pick apart their personal lives, particularly when it comes to women and slut shaming. But if you want to be a decent human being as well as have a strong argument, leave someone’s personal life alone unless it’s completely relevant to what they’re saying (i.e. if Tila claimed vaccines were bad, but she chose to vaccinate her daughter, etc.). Because really, when handed something like this, you don’t need any other ammunition.

Empath and other things that I’m not

Van-Renselar-3-300x283I’ve written one blog about Intuition & Psychic Ability: Your Spiritual GPS. I recently finished the book and found that it was chock full of extras. These bonus articles included an essay on how to help children with their psychic abilities and even another book. This one, on energy vampires, started off by talking about empaths.

Empaths had been mentioned in the original book and I had thought it sounded like bullshit then. But heading it all again didn’t help this woman’s case any. The thing that I find hilarious/frightening about her explanation of the alleged psychic abilities is that I, by her definition, should be an empath. But I’m not. I’m actually introverted and mentally ill.

Let’s go down her list and talk about what makes one an empath, why I fit the description and why the entire thing is more likely an indication of mental health issues than psychic abilities. Note: I’m not going to reference any other books or sources on empaths. Like Orcs, empaths are a fictional creation and different sources will have different criteria for them. I’m going to keep it simple and stick with this single author and her writings.

Ways to tell if you’re an empath:

1. Do you feel “overwhelmed” when going to a place filled with a lot of people?

The idea here is that an empath is so in tune to everyone else’s emotional energy and signals that being in a large group of people overloads you with other people’s emotions. O’Neill explains, “Your spiritual body is receiving information, and your physical body is trying to process it all, but it’s making no sense in your mind.” If you feel physically or emotionally overwhelmed by large crowds, you could be an empath!

Or you could be an introvert. Or have a problem with social anxiety. I’m an introvert and being around scores of people is not my idea of fun. Going to clubs, even for drag shows, is incredibly draining for me and I regularly plan on going to places and doing things in order to avoid crowds. When I’m in a crowd I try to completely block out the other people and focus on myself and the people that I’m with.

But this isn’t because I’m psychic, it’s because of the way my brain works. It takes energy from me to be around people. The more people, the more stressful and difficult it is to be around people. There’s no science behind the idea that you’re receiving spiritual information or having trouble processing it.

2. Can you always tell when someone is lying to you?

An empath has a way of just “knowing” that someone is lying to them. Even if the person is an expert, flawless liar, you can just know that they’re not telling the truth. And wow, I can totally do this. But I’m very good at reading people, I know what makes sense and what doesn’t and there are “tells” for when people are lying.

Body language is a proven, psychological event and things such as avoiding eye contact, fidgeting and other nervous habits are all signs that someone is lying. Without even realizing it, someone can pick up on these hints and other things, which gets more accurate the longer that you know the person, and none of it involves psychic ability. Psychology is not as sexy as psychic ability, but there’s some actual evidence that it exists.

3. Do you have random emotions or mood swings, especially when in someone else’s presence, or when you think about them, which makes no sense to you?

If you have this sign you’re supposed to be picking up on someone else’s emotions and spiritual energy. The book states that feeling strong emotions around other people, “–indicates that you are picking up on someone else’s feelings like a radio, a sign of being an empath.” Or maybe you’re just moody and emotional.

I dated a guy that was extremely moody and his moods would brush off on me because I was forever trying to make him happy and his sudden shift in temperament upset me. When he felt bad, I would get upset too. It wasn’t because I was an empath, it’s because I pick up on other people’s emotions though obvious and visible clues and react to them.

Also, mood swings? Welcome to bipolar disorder. During an episode I can experience a stunning variety of mood swings at any given time for any given reason. Other people being around has little to do with it. But if I was looking for other people’s presence to explain my mood swings, you’re damn right that I could find it. If I believed in this bullshit, I might have gone to a psychic instead of a doctor and gotten diagnosed as an empath instead of a mental illness.

Being an empath sounds like a hell of a lot more fun. You get to be special and unique and filled with awesome psychic powers. When you’re mentally ill, you’re sick and you have to take medicine. Who wants to do that? But the truth of the matter is that you ARE sick and you DO need medicine.

4. Can you feel someone else’s physical ailments?

This is really just sympathy pain, which is a documented human occurrence. O’Neill gives an example in her book that her daughter’s tooth started to hurt, despite not having any medical problems with her teeth in the past. Then the two women found out that O’Neill’s husband, the girl’s father, had a cavity. Once the cavity was filled, the pain went away! Very amaze. Much empath.

I once felt pain in my middle finger and wasn’t sure what it was from. Then one of my friends posted that they had jammed their middle finger in a car door earlier that day! I’m so empathic, right?!


It was a coincidence. How many people do you know? How many things happen to people on a regular basis? How many things happen to you on a regular basis? Combine all of these factors and given any strange illness or feeling, you’re bound to find someone that coincides with it.

I’m pretty sure that whenever I had a pain or a minor inconvenience, I could post on Facebook and ask people if anyone has a problem related to the area that I’m feeling pain in and get confirmation from someone, somewhere. Look for something hard enough and you’re going to find it. Period.

5. Do you instinctively know when someone needs to feel better emotionally or physically?

An empath is supposed to be so in tuned with people’s emotions and thoughts that they just know when someone needs to be cheered up or helped out or have their spirits lifted. It’s supposed to be an instinct that someone is feeling down or needing assistance and you just go and do it. But there’s no magic here at all.

I can assure just about everyone that if they go up to a random person and say that you think they need a mood boost or some help with something, they will agree. Everyone wants companionship, to feel good, to have human contact and a connection with people. Also, there’s usually no mystery when people are upset or in need of help.

We have many ways of finding out that people are in need of help or assistance. Other friends can tell us, we can witness something ourselves, we can see a post on Facebook, we can overhear a conversation. We might not realize how we know something, but we can know it from a lot of different sources.

These vague feelings don’t impress me. If someone was able to know that a friend had just received a cancer diagnosis and showed up at their house with dinner made and a bouquet of flowers, I would be impressed. But this is just having a feeling, then getting confirmation for that feeling and your mind assuring you that you knew it before hand, when you didn’t.

6. Do you feel emotionally of [sic] physically drained after being around an individual, or a group of people, to the point of needing to take a nap, or physically not feeling well?

This goes back to introversion. Being around large groups of people drain introverts. It’s how their brain functions. It has nothing to do with psychic abilities or magic. It’s just how they work as people.

But taking the mundane and trying to turn it into the extraordinary is something that psychics and their ilk specialize in. Is it fun to think that your brain gets overwhelmed by people and it can sometimes make you feel badly? Hell no! You want to think that you’re so special and talented that you are being inundated with psychic messages that your delicate body just can’t cope with. That’s a lot more fun to think.

Occam’s Razor is a theory which states that the simplest explanation is the best one. While it’s a lot more exciting to believe in psychic powers and being an empath, without any proof that any of this nonsense actually exists or can be measured, the simplest explanation; that your brain is playing tricks on you, which has been proven to happen, is really the best.

Some people like to claim that psychic ability can’t be measured by science because science can’t measure it, psychic abilities are supposed to have a real effect on the actual world and that can be measured. The fact that every psychic ever has failed under proper laboratory testings shows that what we’re witnessing here is most likely the human mind doing some amazing twists and turns and not a person receiving information from a spiritual or otherworldly place.

Sure, it’s more fun to think that you’re an empath rather than an introvert or someone who is mentally ill. But the fact of the matter is that someone who is mentally ill needs real treatment with doctors and medicine, not meetings with psychics and detailed dream diaries. Reality can be a cruel mistress. But better the bitch that has your back than the sweet girl who smiles in your face while watching your illness become worse and worse, while keeping you from getting real help.

Tarot cards are awesome!

tarotcardsSo I had my tarot cards read for the first time. I have to say, it made me a believer! A believer in the fact that tarot cards use your own brain’s working to create enough of an illusion that random cards are speaking to you about your specific life. Seriously. I got sucked in.

The event itself was held through my Meetup group Southeastern Virginia Skeptics. The Amazing Rand Dee Bunque read our cards and gave us all an insider’s look into how the cards work and why, even after they’ve been thoroughly debunked, people still believe in them. I got two readings, a shorter one and a longer one, and both were absolutely spot on. How did this happen? How could a tarot card reading have been accurate when even I know that it’s bunk?

The answer is really simple: the mind is wonderful thing. For my first reading, Rand Dee told me to think of a yes or no question. I wasn’t supposed to tell her what it was, just to think about it. So I did. I thought about whether or not I would find a job soon. Then I shuffled the cards, cut the deck with my left hand, and all of that hoopla, and Rand Dee laid out three cards.

She then interpreted them for me and the reading was very accurate. She said that I was lacking confidence in this area and my hesitancy was holding me back. If I could trust my inner strength and rely on myself, I could succeed. This was so right on! After being unemployed and working terrible jobs for so many years, my already low self-esteem is circling the drain in this area of my life. I needed to have more confidence, more passion for my work, more gumption.

So how did Rand Dee know so much about my life and a question that she had never even heard? She didn’t. The answers she gave were so vague and could be applied to so many people that, of course, I found meaning in it. Lots of people have confidence problems and relying on your inner strength is a pretty basic thing to say. But the fact that I already had a question in my mind meant that I interpreted everything she said in relation to my question. My brain was doing all of the leg work.

My second reading was even more awesome. I got the longer reading that examined your current situation, your near future, far future, near past, far past, etc. Lots of different cards, lots of opportunities to get hits. And guess what? My longer reading was dead on too! tarot2

The card that represented me was a Queen of Cups. Mostly because she had a kitty. The card that covered my representation was the death card, which doesn’t mean death, it means change. This meant that I was going through a lot of change in my life right and now. And I am!

My far past card showed pain and sorrow and I, like a many other people, have had bad experiences in my past that have changed and molded who I am today. The card representing my friends was the Magician. Why? Because my friends, even though they’re skeptics and freethinkers, are magical to me!

Meanwhile, my near future card showed some missed opportunities, but plenty more to be had. I need to seize the chances that are left and stop thinking about the chances that I didn’t take. Again, fits me perfectly. I do tend to look back with regret a lot. My far future card was the best card in the deck. It was the happiness and abundance card.

Who the hell wouldn’t want to get that card in their reading?! No one, that’s who! I left the reading thinking that my future was bright, I just had to overcome some of my fears and regrets and I could achieve anything! Best tarot card reading ever!

I truly do understand how people get sucked into these readings. They’re fun, first of all. They sound like they’re tailored to you and your individual experiences, even though they can apply to a great deal of people. The person doing the reading was confident in their skills which made them seem even more legitimate to me. Also, there was a fair dose of telling me what I wanted to hear. I wanted hope and I got it. I want to hear about change and new things and happiness in my future and I got it.

So while it’s easy to dismiss tarot cards as nonsense, and they are, the fact is that they’re fun, they’re interesting and the spiel sounds damn good. As much as we want to blame the victims of this kind of bunk, it’s really the perpetrators that we need to be upset with. People who tell others that they have magical powers, that they can really see the future, that for only $100 they can fix their problems through the spirits, etc. The human brain was designed for this kind of ridiculousness. We need to hold the correct people accountable.

Logic to the Rescue: A Review

2940032858645_p0_v1_s260x420I recently was looking for some new free books on Kindle and came across Logic to the Rescue. I downloaded it and started reading. The book, and its sequel, Castles and Chemistry, is an excellent series for young skeptics and critical thinkers. It introduces logical fallacies, scientific method and does it all while weaving an interesting and engaging story.

In Logic to the Rescue, the lead character is Nikki, a young woman from a modern time period who finds herself wrapped up in the politics and problems of a fantasy realm several hundred years behind her own. Nikki is a well-crafted character who interesting, dynamic, and resourceful. It’s refreshing to see a female character carrying a story, being boldly science-minded and intelligent.

In the story, Nikki introduces her new traveling companions to logical fallacies such as Appeal to Authority, False Dilemma, and many others. Best of all, the concepts are not just introduced, but illustrated. Upon completion of the book, any reader would be able to recognize the concepts in action.

Being that critical thinking and skepticism are rarely, if ever, taught in school, this book is a great way for teens and pre-teens to get a taste of some of the basic concepts of evidence-based thinking. The story itself is also fun and interesting. I’m hoping that there are more books in the series, as a lot of questions have been left unanswered.

Over all, I highly recommend this series to anyone who wants to get a basic look at rational thought. It’s easy enough to read for younger skeptics, but interesting enough for people of all ages. Also, when the first book is free and the second is only 99 cents, it’s hard to turn it down.

The problem with skeptics

its-april-fools-day-spongebob-graphicI’ve always had the good luck to be friends with super smart people. When I started managing the Southeastern Virginia Skeptics Meetup group, I became friends with even more rational, critical thinkers. It’s wonderful to know that my friends aren’t going to be posting easily Snopes-ed articles about HIV infected needles in McDonald’s ball pits or bullshit about soda cans tainted with rat pee being sold. But there are some downsides to having intelligent, skeptical friends.

The main one that I can think of is not being able to pull an April Fool’s Day joke on anyone. Every time I think of a really great joke, I know that someone will question it and possibly pick apart why it isn’t true. I had a plan that Tim and I could argue back and forth over Facebook and “break up” on April’s Fools Day. But seriously.

Tim never uses Facebook, we never argue in public even when we do argue and the last time we had a fake argument, it involved me telling him that his dream of captaining a shrimp boat was silly and he accused me of smothering our child. Then the cops were called. Our fake personas got a little out of hand. So that wouldn’t really work.

We thought that maybe we could pretend to get married on April Fool’s Day, but everyone would know that without photos, Facebook check-ins at our wedding location and professional shots of us, that it wasn’t real. I hardly go anywhere without taking pictures and uploading them. Why would I suddenly be picture-less and silent on our wedding day? Even with an elopement, I wouldn’t be able to put my iPhone down.

The idea of claiming that I’m pregnant would be ridiculous, as most of my friends know that I’m sterile and/or that I hate children. But also pointless because everyone freaking does that. One year, soon after I got Facebook, I saw three friends in one afternoon claiming to be pregnant. It’s just too common.

I thought that maybe we could post on each other’s walls back and forth about something bad that had happened and make it sound like we had accidentally murdered a drifter and disposed of the body or something. But seriously, how dim-witted would we have to be in order to post stuff like that on Facebook? People would immediately see through it.

So yes, having skeptical friends is great, but not when you’re trying to plan an April Fool’s Day joke. Critical thinkers think too critically to fall for feeble pranks. I still have a few months. Maybe I can come up with something so intricate, so well-planned that I could manage to get all of them with the sheer realism that I managed. But, of course, it would have to be funny too.