the weird things skeptical christmas gift list

December 24, 2009 — Leave a comment

If you were reading this blog since last year, you probably already know that I don’t celebrate Christmas. It’s a simple case of being born with different holiday traditions rather than some sort of high minded protest or an attempt to be different for the sake of being different. But after a busy year of picking on creationists, peddlers of New Age woo, medical quacks and even a pair of science writers, I should consider getting into the spirit of the season and come up with a few suggestions for what some of my favorite cranks and pseudoscientists of the year should find under their Christmas tress. That’s why I sent an e-mail to Santa, (what, did you think I was going to send a letter in the mail like they did last century?) with the following list of potential presents…

First, let’s start with creationists. To the purveyor of blind, anti-scientific fundamentalism preached by Answers in Genesis and the temple of arrogant ignorance that is the Creation Museum, Ken Ham, a time machine so he can go back to 4004 BC and to the Cretaceous so he can meet the Sumerians and see how much of a shy and peace-loving herbivore T. Rex really was before the Fall. For Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron, decorative bananas they can add to their household altars and to which they can give thanks for affirming their faith after finishing a particularly hard day of proselytizing. And the request for our self-appointed genius of information theory, the great William Albert Dembski, asks for a chocolate Nobel Prize in Biology, so he can pretend that he dethroned the theory of evolution before enjoying the sweet, chocolaty consolation.

On the pseudoscience front, Santa should bring Astronomy For Dummies to Spike Psarris to give him more ideas for basic physics and planetary science to malign in his subsequent videos. For Deepak Chopra, a big mirror so he can look into it each morning and wonder about making contact with the spiritual beings living on the other side of the glassy portal, musings that should be good for at least another five books and at least a few dozen Huffington Post columns. For Alfred Webre and Michael Salia, I thought it would be fitting if Santa were to bring them a copy of Pixar’s short film Lifted signed by the grey aliens working at Area 51, or at least a sufficiently alien looking script to give them enough material to keep their posts as the Examiner’s experts in exopolitics, the incarnation of ufology that thinks human politics can be applied across the galaxy in about the same style we saw in Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Finally, let’s not forget about our homeopaths and naturists. For Dr. John Benneth, Santa was recommended to bring a hazmat suit to protect the good doctor from the mystical radiation of his concoctions. For Charlene Werner, how about a primer on algebra and some sort of a basic primer on physics in order to help her be a little bit less famous in the science blogosphere for all the wrong reasons? And let’s not forget about snake oil salesman extraordinaire, Mike Adams, who should get a pet buzzard which would give him a heads up when the next celebrity is about to die so he can abuse their memory to sell his cures even faster. Last, but definitely not least, there’s a request in Santa’s inbox for the general of anti-vax woo, J.B. Handley who’s present should include a supply of sedatives and a blood pressure monitor since flying off the handle as easily and as often as he does just can’t be good for the heart. I would’ve asked for some class and respect for others’ expertise, but it’s not exactly something you can package in a box and I don’t want to give Santa an impossible task.

So whether you take your Christmas with hardcore, fundamentalist theology, a dose of New Age spiritualism, or with a diluted sugar pill sprinkled with mystical water brimming with radiation and energies that violate the laws of physics, or just with presents and good cheer, have a merry holiday and may Santa bring you what you really want this holiday season…