October 1990 +quot;BASIS+quot;, newsletter of the Bay Area Skeptics Bay Area Skeptics Info
October 1990 "BASIS", newsletter of the Bay Area Skeptics
Bay Area Skeptics Information Sheet
Vol. 9, No. 10
Editor: Yves Barbero
by Shillaber Montabue
[Editor's Note: This piece was picked up from a chronicle published
in Oxfordshire, England, on October 23, 1594. You will see a review
on page 7 of "Beyond Beyond Beyond", written by Dr. Shillaber
Montabue. If the grown-up skeptics can't figure it out, have the
kids give it a try.]
'Tis Octobre, the moneth of Hallowe'en. The holidaie name 'tis
short for All Hallow E'en. There is naught HOLLOW about this
wondrous holidaie. Prithee saie not "Hollowe'en".
'Twill be a greate time for magic, witches, puzzles, parties, and
all sorts of mysterious delights. Venture foorth with us in to the
land of puzzles. Imagine that thou hast dressed thy selfe in to the
clothes of royaltie. An thou art a woman, thou shall be Queene
Elizabeth. As Queen Bess, thou shalt be in thy glorie at the
partie. An thou art a man, thou art King Henry VIII.
Nay, nay, thou art not allowed to chop off anie heades during the
partie. 'Tis plaie time onelie.
PUZZLE NUMBRE ONE
Thou art at a Hallowe'en Partie. A man saieth, "I have two
children, at leaste one of whome is a girl. What is the
probabilitie that bothe are girls?"
PUZZLE NUMBRE TWO
Againe, thou art at the Hallowe'en Partie. All have dressed them
selves up in to glorious clothes. As thou enterest, all muste take
a test. There are two doores at the front. An thou goest in to one,
a pie 'twill be pushed in to thy face. An thou enterest the other
doore, thou shalt enter the partie.
Thou dost most hartily wish to enter the partie, and dost not want
a pie in thy face. As part of the game, out of the doores are two
witches. One doth all waie tell the truth. The other will all waies
lie. Each of the witches knoweth which doore is which. Thou knowest
not which witch is which.
Thou mayest ask juste one question of just one of the witches. Upon
hearing the answer, thou must ope one of the doores.
What is the one question thou wouldst ask in order to save thy face
and to enter the partie?
Enjoie thy Hallowe'en Partie. The answers to these puzzles will be
published in verie next issue of this chronicle.
News from Argentina
We are proud to inform you that a new organization has been set up
in Argentina to investigate and debunk claims on pseudoscience.
[CAIRP means Centro Argentino Para la Investigacion y Refutacion de
la Pseudociencia -Ed.]
Our aims are similar to those of CSICOP.
This is the first attempt to generate such an organization in this
country, with a broad field of work, ranging from Astrology,
Parapsychology, UFOlogy, Paranormal Health Claims, Sects and so on,
although smaller groups and individuals are already working on
specific subjects. We hope to be able to centralize and coordinate
all work done here to debunk fringe science. We felt the necessity
of such an organization due to the lack of alternative explanations
offered by mass media on such subjects.
We are well aware of fraud used systematically in these areas. For
this reason we have a strong group of professional magicians
working with us.
We would like to be in contact with other similar groups around the
world, and we will be pleased if you could send us newsletters or
any kind of publications you are editing.
/s/ Ladislao Enrique Marquez
[CAIRP has just been added to our complimentary media list. Those
interested in communicating directly, write:
Jose Marti 35 dto. C
1406 Buenos Aires
Letter to the Editor
COSMIC CONNECTION DEPT.
Dear Sir or Madam:
In regard to Astrology, would it be of any interest to the skeptics
to know that the zodiac forms the basic structure of the Bible?
It takes some reading skill to see it, but for example the twelve
sons of Jacob in Genesis 49 correspond to the twelve signs of the
zodiac, as do the twelve Judges and the twelve minor prophets. The
zodiac structure persists in various ways from Genesis through
Revelation. I don't know what is the significance of it. But at the
very least it is remarkable for having remained so unknown for so
/s/ Paul Albertsen
May 10, 1990
FRAKNOI ON BLACK HOLES
Astronomer and BAY AREA SKEPTICS advisor, Andrew Fraknoi will offer
a NON-TECHNICAL introduction to "Black Holes: Spacewarps, Time
Machines, and the death of stars" at U.C. Berkeley on Saturday,
Sponsored by U.C. Extension and the ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY OF THE
PACIFIC, the program will be offered in the Physical Sciences
Lecture Hall from 9 am to 5 pm and will be illustrated with slides
from the largest telescopes on Earth and in space.
For more information about the program, call 415-643-6903.
FEYNMAN ON ESP
by Lawrence S. Lerner
The literature of Richard Feynman anecdotes began to accumulate
during his lifetime, and has continued to grow since his death.
However, the oral tradition is far more extensive, and the
historical gleaners have not come close to exhausting it. This note
gleans a brief but deeply insightful discourse by Feynman, which I
was privileged to hear.
In late 1964 or early 1965, during a lull in one of the long series
of more or less weekly late-afternoon lectures that Feynman gave at
Hughes Research Laboratories, someone asked him, "What do you think
of ESP?" The following is a close paraphrase of Feynman's reply.
I don't know anything about ESP, so I'm going to answer a different
question. Suppose I do an experiment, and the output is in the form
of an x-y recording something like this. [Here Feynman drew a rough
sketch on the blackboard, something like figure 1.]
Now there's a lot of noise, but I look at that little bump in the
middle and say, "Gee, that's interesting: I wonder if it's
significant or if it's just noise." Well, I can't tell. So I go
back to the drawing board, and redesign the apparatus so that the
signal to noise ratio is improved by a factor of 10. Then I repeat
[Here, Feynman drew a sketch like Fig. 2] I look at the little bump
in the middle and say, "Gee, that's interesting; I wonder if it's
significant or if it's just noise." Well, I can't tell. But one
thing I know for sure: It isn't the same thing I thought I saw the
[Note for the electronic version of "BASIS": Fig. 1 had a small
rise in the middle of an otherwise greatly fluctuating line. Fig.
2 shows a rise of roughly the _same_ magnitude relative to the
noise background, even though there had been a 10-to-1 improvement
in noise discrimination.]
Feynman's genius for looking at a familiar question from a novel,
generalized point of view is evident here. Of course, his remarks
summarize the experience of two generations of ESP researchers, and
render unnecessary any detailed study of the results.
I have often quoted Feynman's remark to my students over the past
two decades. Nearly all the freshmen and sophomores fail to get the
point (sometimes even after explanation); nearly all junior,
senior, and graduate physics students get it immediately. I take
this as evidence that physics majors actually learn something about
the methods of science.
[Lawrence S. Lerner teaches at California State University in Long
Beach. Richard Feynman's best known books are "Surely You're
Joking, Mr. Feynman!" and "What Do You Care What Other People
think". You don't need any math or physics to enjoy them but an
open mind helps.]
[Reprinted with permission from "Am. J. Phys., Vol. 58, May 1990".]
BERKELEY SKEPTIC NAMED TO STEERING COMMITTEE
Joe Anuff, a member of the BERKELEY SKEPTICS and undergraduate
student at UC Berkeley, has been named to the "Steering Committee"
to facilitate the upcoming 1991 CSICOP conference in Berkeley.
Robert Sheaffer was incorrectly left off our list of members of the
1991 CSICOP Steering Committee last month. He deserves better
treatment from us.
| Psychics, call the number below (written |
| in special psychic fonts) in this box for |
| the answer to your dreams! |
CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE
by Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson
I am alarmed at the cries of "false accusations" of childhood
sexual abuse and dismayed by the readiness of people who have not
looked at the scientific literature (I would especially recommend
Diana Russell, "The Secret Trauma" and David Finkelhor, "Child
Sexual Abuse") to credit these cries.
For hundreds of years child sexual abuse has been common,
prevalent, and totally denied, throughout the world. Psychiatrists
have been in the forefront of the refusal to acknowledge a painful
and somewhat mysterious (what sexual attraction can there be to a
3 year old child?) reality. Permit me to be skeptical of their
newly discovered activism in a field whose reality they so
persistently denied from the beginnings of their "science". Could
it be that they found religion when they discovered there was money
to be made in calling themselves experts in the very realm whose
existence a few years earlier was dismissed with contempt?
At last, thanks to the persistent voice of feminists, the reality
of child sexual abuse is being recognized. But the historical
record teaches us that we should be very wary of people who want to
stuff it back into the closet, especially when they have any
financial, legal, or forensic interest in so doing.
Because the majority of psychiatrists have always been reluctant to
recognize their own dismal record with respect to the sexual abuse
of children, we should examine their claims of widespread "false
accusations" with a healthy dose of skepticism.
[The author is widely known for his book, "The Assault on Truth:
Freud's Suppression of the Seduction Theory". His latest effort,
"Final Analysis: The Making and Unmaking of a Psychoanalyst" will
appear in October.]
CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE
by Yves Barbero
As Jeff Masson points out (article on previous page), there is
child abuse and has been for hundreds of years; there are those
who'd like to put it back into the closet for whatever purpose and
many psychiatrists see the public perception of the "crises" as a
quick way to make a buck despite their dismal historical record on
I agree with everything he said.
Still, there are plenty of "false accusations" (and I'm not
suggesting Masson doesn't realize this) and we should be wary. Any
time there is a public focus on an issue fueled by forces that see
a profit or a way to control people or manipulate a political
situation, there will be innocents bundled off to jail. Horror
stories illustrate this. In one case, a significant portion of a
town had their children removed by the efforts of an over-zealous
prosecutor. Witch hunting did not end in 17th century Salem or with
The capacity of Americans to vote to jail people who do not see eye
to eye with a stereotypical majority cannot be underestimated.
Public policy is just as often a function of hysteria as of
intelligent public debate. And when an opportunity to control
people's sexual behavior comes along, few Americans can resist the
There's plenty of room to recognize the fact of child abuse and
still be suspicious of measures rushed through legislative bodies
or pushed by politically motivated prosecutors. Measures offered by
under-employed professionals seeking a cause with which to offer
their "expertise" should be viewed with exceptional suspicion. If
the term "emotional" is offered, it may be okay on the couch or in
a social worker's office, but keep it out of the law! Child abuse
should be clearly defined in law. Perhaps some cases will slip
through the cracks, but generally speaking, bruises can be counted
and sexual assaults can usually be detected by competent medical
professionals. "Emotion" is invisible. Besides, in a pluralistic
society, people can universally be against abusing children but,
beyond the obvious, few will share a clear definition of what that
To have a division of government solely dedicated to child abuse
will insure that the case load will always reflect the number of
people hired. Better to have a department of child welfare that
handles all problems related to children so personnel can move
about as needed and fewer will be tempted to "discover" a problem
that may not be there. In this under-budgeted era, there's plenty
for the understaffed child welfare agencies to do.
It may not be popular to suggest a balance between digging out
child abusers and protecting individuals from a passing public
hysteria but it must be done. Plenty of divorces, for instance,
suddenly come up with accusations of child abuse. Especially when
one spouse wants to prevent the visitation of children by another.
As a practical matter, however, tight definitions in law will not
only protect the innocent but are unlikely to offer much comfort to
real abusers since, as Masson points out, the crime is no longer
closeted. Child abusers are repeaters. They do it over and over. It
is a condition of their sexual preference and habit. Even with a
minimum of vigilance, law enforcement is bound to trip over them.
The only real danger would be if law enforcement, as in the past,
Our legal system is mostly oriented around punishment and the
redistribution of property (civil law). Even family courts handle
guardianship as a "possession." The welfare of children is mostly
mandated by popular morality which is, at best, a hodge-podge of
notions, good and bad. A lot of good people work for child welfare
agencies and, except for a few politically motivated individuals,
they say very little in public about child abuse. Laws to handle it
are well established. When refinements are needed, these
individuals approach the legislature through normal governmental
routes and get it done efficiently.
We've come a long way from the day when a patriarch could mandate
the life or death of a child (or a wife for that matter) and
children are no longer "economic" units in our enlightened society
but are offered a chance to develop and become educated. Best of
all, modern society has designed the concept of sheltering them
from harsh adult realities for a time so they can also develop
personalities through play and other childhood activities.
This is all to the good. But it shouldn't impose an atmosphere on
adults of avoiding contact with children for fear that some
"expert" will deem it outside of the "normal" and condemn a person
to jail on some abstract concept of sexuality. To paraphrase a
popular local columnist, "Remember the good old days when you could
pat someone's little girl on the head and they didn't think you
were a child molester."
Whether child abuse, sexual or physical, should be handled by
treatment of the offenders and/or punishment (and I certainly see
a case for a mix of these methods), the law should be clear.
From the Creation Front
ICR AMENDS LAWSUIT AGAINST HONIG
The State of California has moved to withdraw approval for the
Institute for Creation Research Graduate School (ICRGS) to grant
masters degrees in science.
As a result, ICRGS filed suit against the California Department of
Education and Superintendent of Public Instruction Bill Honig in
the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California to
block disapproval. On May 15th, the ICRGS amended it's filing.
In the original suit, the Institute was the only plaintiff. Three
more were added:
=> Kenneth B. Cumming, dean of ICRGS, who might lose his job.
=> S. Harris Rugg, a student at ICRGS, who will be unable to find
another school like ICRGS.
=> Woodside Christian Elementary School, Inc., which will be unable
to hire teachers graduating from ICRGS.
Though the amended complaint still denies it, the scientific
validity of creationism is a central question in the suit. For
example, wording added under the heading "Abridgement of the Free
Exercise of Religion" argues that denying ICRGS approval to grant
science degrees for creationism amounts to "overt discrimination
against the plaintiffs, seriously penalizing their beliefs through
state hostility..." Implicit in this argument is the claim that the
state is obliged to recognize as science whatever religious
believers declare to be science.
Since filing the amended complaint, ICR attorney Wendell Bird has
been busy distributing subpoenas for depositions. Among those
reportedly served so far are National Center for Science Education
board member Kevin Padian, Committee of Correspondence members
Lawrence S. Lerner and William J. Bennetta (also a BAS advisor) and
Richard E. Dickerson, a NCSE supporter.
Padian served on the Science Framework Committee, which ICR views
as part of the "conspiracy". Lerner and Dickerson were on the 1989
site visit committee. Bennetta, as regular readers of "BASIS" know,
wrote a series of hard-hitting articles in these pages on the case.
He was ordered to bring copies with him.
[Liberally paraphrased and digested from a longer piece in "NCSE
MINI BOOK REVIEW
"The Rise of Life", by John Reader and illustrated by John Gurche.
(Knoff 1986), 192 pages. $15.95.
At the suggestion of Eugenie C. Scott, director of the National
Center for Science Education, I took a look at this oversized
paperback and instantly liked it.
The illustrations alone make this book worthwhile. They are
oversized and, for the most part, in color and add greatly to what
is already a well-written generalized account. The book is ideal
for teenagers and, I must admit, it filled in a few holes in my own
I gave it to an adult friend of mine who casually follows the
creation/evolution debate and has an expert eye for graphics. He
said it looked great and, in reading some sections of it, he
determined the work "propaganda" for evolution. He is a Christian.
With such a glowing endorsement, I recommend the book.
SUDANESE BIOLOGIST JAILED FOR TEACHING EVOLUTION
FAROUK MOHAMMED IBRAHIM, professor of biology at the University of
Khartoum, has been jailed and tortured for teaching students about
evolution. According to Andy Coghlan ("Sudan Jails Biologist for
Teaching Darwinism,", in "New Scientist", 17 March 1990, p. 21)
"the fundamentalist Muslim government of Lieutenant-General Omar
Hassan has jailed hundreds of political opponents without trial"
since seizing power in June 1989. Among those arrested are numerous
academics detained for political activity, but Professor Ibrahim is
apparently the first to be jailed for his scientific views.
A letter from Ibrahim, smuggled out of prison, describes how he
endured days and nights of torture -- including whipping, kicking
and beating -- accompanied by death threats and verbal abuse. He
was also prevented from washing and praying. One interrogator, a
member of the ruling council, made it clear that Ibrahim's crime
was teaching evolution.
The Muslim community in Britain was shocked and outraged by
Ibrahim's treatment. Goghlan reported that international efforts
were under way to secure his release.
Most Islamic scholars find no contradiction between evolution and
the Koran, although the latter's story of creation closely
parallels Genesis. The growth of fundamentalism among Muslims could
National Center for Science Education's President John R. Cole made
several futile calls to the Sudanese Embassy but learned nothing of
Ibrahim's situation. Cole wants to be contacted by anyone who can
shed light on the scholar's fate. Call 415-843-3393 in Berkeley.
[Courtesy NRC Reports]
Letter from the Northern Wilderness
GREETINGS FROM THE SISKIYOU HUMANISTS
The SISKIYOU HUMANISTS, California's northernmost skeptic/humanist
group, became active a couple of years ago in response to local New
Age quackery and a concerted fundamentalist intrusion in the area
schools. Started by Siskiyou County residents Michael Roesch and
Ken Goehring, the group has produced a videotape of Harmonic
Convergence activity on Mt. Shasta, debated creationists on the
radio, and presently edits a newsletter that is mailed out to 150
The quarterly newsletter, began in November 1988, offers both a
humanist philosophical perspective and a skeptical examination of
claims made by Siskiyou area charlatans and religious dogmatists.
As a regional voice of reason the editors have critiqued dental
faith healers, crystal stores, reports of Satanic sacrifice,
Bigfoot sightings, graduation invocations, and pro-life propaganda.
Currently, the group is embroiled in a controversy that may well
have statewide significance. For the last fifteen or so years Weed
Elementary School has invited a member of the Weed Ministerial
Alliance into the science classroom to provide equal time for
creation "science." Challenging this practice, Siskiyou Humanists
have asked the WES Board to stop this religious activity and adhere
to the California State Board of Education Science Framework. On
the other hand, vocal fundamentalists are pressuring the Board to
maintain the practice. As of the end of August, the WES Board has
not made a policy decision on this portentous issue.
[Last month, we sent a complimentary copy of BASIS to each of our
Siskiyou brethren to keep them warm during those cold Northern
Information on the SISKIYOU HUMANISTS and their monthly newsletter
can be obtained by writing to P.O. Box 223; Weed, CA 96094.
If you would like to have a free copy of "BASIS" sent to your group
and have a statement like the one above printed unedited, please
contact the editor at 415-285-4358. Since additional printing is
required and other arrangements have to be made, some planning is
necessary. BAY AREA SKEPTICS would enjoy helping and being helped
by like-minded groups (and we don't expect strictly parallel
policies) but such arrangements must be mutually satisfactory and
either organization may turn down an arrangement for strictly
arbitrary reasons. -- Ed.]
Letter to the Editor
from Thomas H. Jukes, Ph.D.
"BASIS" (July 1990) has published a long, rambling criticism by
Walter Hearn, "Bennetta vs. ASA: Misguided Zeal?" Hearn's extensive
personal attack on Bennetta is filled with trivialities and ad
hominem remarks, and not worth comment. Hearn gives pertinent
information on his American Scientific Affiliation (ASA). ASA
members must sign ASA's Statement of Faith. The Institute for
Creation Research (ICR) has a similar requirement. Despite Hearn's
assertion to the contrary, I do not agree that real scientists will
sign such statements. There is a hymn about Thomas who doubted the
word of the other apostles. He lacked faith. The final verse is:
How blest are they who have not seen
But yet whose faith hath constant been
For they eternal life shall win.
Science does not thrive on a belief in the unseen, or on reward
systems for constant faith in the unseen. Hearn emphasizes that
there is a difference "between taking the Bible SERIOUSLY in
matters of faith (ASA's position) and taking it LITERALLY in
scientific matters" (ICR's position), but he does not reveal this
difference. What is it?
On page six, Hearn quotes Robert Root-Bernstein with strong
approval, which I do not share. Root-Bernstein says that
"evolutionists clearly have as much to learn as do creationists."
Root-Bernstein is an advocate of what may be termed, "equal time
for nonsense," a favorite creationist position.
Hearn shows glimmerings of comprehension: he says that he has
"learned enough about biological evolution to take it seriously."
Darwin would have been grateful for this ringing endorsement. But
then Hearn says (page six) that "ASA takes pains to support
evolutionary science while opposing evolutionism (evolutionary
naturalism)." This is double-talk. He launches an unprovoked and
irrelevant attack on William Provine, whom he calls a "scientific
ideologue." Hearn counters a quotation from Provine by saying that
he, Hearn, worships God "on whose purposeful activities we consider
the world to be always contingent." Provine, unsurprisingly does
not go along with this frankly religious construct, and therefore
incurs Hearn's disapproval, but why Hearn brought Provine into his
treatise is not clear.
Hearn recites (page seven) four major conclusions listed in the ASA
booklet "Teaching Science in a Climate of Controversy". This
booklet has been mailed by ASA to forty thousand high school
biology teachers. ASA's fourth major conclusion in the booklet was
that it is too soon "to say with certainty that we share a common
ancestry with apes." Too soon? This common ancestry question was
settled in the days of Darwin, T.H. Huxley and Bishop Wilberforce.
The ancestral relationship of humans and apes is overwhelmingly
supported by studies in molecular evolution as well as by all other
scientific criteria. Yet Hearn sees "no reason (for ASA) to change
our major conclusion." This is why we see no reason to change OUR
major conclusion that ASA is a creationist organization. One of the
main creationist hang-ups is the human-ape ancestry -- "if you
teach children they are related to monkeys, they will act like
monkeys." And how can we forget Seagraves's 1981 denunciation of
the San Diego school teacher who made his kid dress up in a monkey
suit? (Subsequent information revealed that the child asked to be
a monkey in the skit).
To summarize: Hearn's views show, in the words of Judge Overton,
"inescapable religiosity" to the extent that they are incompatible
[THOMAS H. JUKES is professor of Biophysics at UC Berkeley and has
done extensive research in molecular evolution. He is a long time
advisor to BAY AREA SKEPTICS]
BOOK REVIEW AND SHAMELESS PLUG
by Indigo Blinkin'
"BEYOND BEYOND BEYOND" by Shillaber Montabue, Wide-Awake Books, Box
659, El Cerrito, CA 94530. $9.95 (add $2 P&H and, if unfortunate
enough to be a resident of California, tax). Edited with
explanatory notes on Renaissance English by Robert A. Steiner.
[Steiner's at it again. This time he's unearthed a Sixteenth
Century masterpiece of Foresight. Forget Nostradamus. Montabue had
all the answers. I contacted Professor Jo-Anne Boche of the
Department of Sort-of-Renaissance Philosophy, University of the
Very Low Countries in Europe, to verify the authenticity of the
manuscript. The good doctor supplied me with a translation from the
Dutch of the time of a contemporary book review (c. 1603) by an
English scholar, who being out of favor at home for over-bleeding
a rich client, was lying low in the Low Countries. -- Ed.]
Bah! Another philosopher abandons the traditional ways and the
wisdom of the Ancients to look at the rational world and pretend
the spiritual world is unconcerned with mankind.
It's a mark of sloth to oversimplify the cosmos by ignoring the
rich world of evil and helpful spirits as explanations for the
illnesses and desperations of mankind. To give honor to a woman
[Montabue's mentor was the first woman philosopher at Oxford --
Editor] as teacher is to deny her as the mother of evil. The
intellect belongs to man alone. For a woman to behave as
philosopher is to honour Satan. For Oxford to deny me in her favor
is to honour Satan and all his hordes.
For anyone to read this modern horror is to waste his penny and
threaten his physique with plagues and witchery, for the advice is
not sound. Denying meat for vegetables is to weaken the man.
Exercising will open the humours to invasion by the spirits of
fatigue and pain. Ignoring the invisible world of magicks will
certainly put the soul in jeopardy.
Worst of all, this shameless Shillaber Montabue suggests an
equality exists in the intercourse of the sexes. Surely he will be
burned for this alone. Better to read my book, "A Thousand Ways to
Make Friends and Influence Spirits".
[A copy of Indigo's 1601 manuscript was forwarded to Bob Steiner.
He has not yet indicated if and when he'll publish it. First he has
to learn Renaissance Dutch. -- Ed.]
The "S.F. Chronicle" (9-1-90) reported that Texas evangelist Larry
Lea, "God's Green Beret," is due in the Bay Area on Halloween to do
battle with Satanic forces.
According to one of Lea's local warriors, San Jose pastor Dick
Bernel, San Francisco is ruled by the "Spirit of Perversion,"
Oakland, by the "Spirit of Murder," San Jose by the "Spirit of
Greed," Watsonville by the "Spirit of Poverty" and Marin by the
"Spirit of the New Age" (This powerful spirit apparently rules over
one of the richest counties in the world rather than a mere city).
The article quotes C. Peter Fuller, a professor of church growth at
Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, as saying that the idea of
"territorial spirits" ruling over specific cities is being taken
seriously by many Pentacostals and other conservative evangelicals.
Bernel added, "This area has been a launching pad for a lot of
things we consider unbiblical -- free sex, the homosexual movement,
According to religion reporter Don Lattin, who wrote the piece,
"During the next two months, Lea will be promoting his San
Francisco prayer blitz on his daily `Change Your Life' television
show, which is aired on 40 independent stations across the
Lea is reported to have signed 280,000 prayer warriors through this
T.V. ministry. He promises a goal of 300,000 "intercessors" by the
opening of the three-day Halloween crusade.
Lea, who distributes "prayer army dog tags," has apparently limited
the campaign to fighting the spirits of witchcraft, drugs and
sexual perversion and said nothing about going after the "Spirit of
Skepticism" so we're probably safe for another year.
THE SKEPTIC'S ELECTRONIC BULLETIN BOARD
=> 2400 Baud, 415-648-8944
=> 24 hours, 7 days a week
=> Rick Moen, Sysop
BAUMGARTNERS COME THROUGH AGAIN
Carol and Ben Baumgartner, pictured here with founder, Bob Steiner
(right), hosted the annual Bay Area Skeptics picnic August 18th.
Without question, the company was excellent and the features,
including a demonstration of psychic surgery by founder/magician
Bob Steiner, were superb.
But the food was the real attraction, and the quality was to be
savored. The quantity was more than a skeptic could ever imagine.
For those of us who gave in to the temptation of overeating, we can
justly blame the Baumgartners, who made the best-disciplined among
us fall from grace.
[Prentiss Willson contributed to this report.]
WELCOME TO SWINDLEVILLE!
by Robert A. Steiner
All of you who think no con-artist can swindle you in one of his
confidence games, raise your hand!
Good! Those who raised your hands are the ones that the con-artists
are primarily looking for. Those confidence game practitioners are
knowledgeable on psychology, and use it in their operations. Those
who think they cannot be "taken" are easy prey. Confidence game
practitioners' expertise is preying on your morals, civic duty, and
your desire to make a little extra money.
This is an excellent opportunity to learn how the unscrupulous,
fast-talking con-artists work. They not only work on the self-
confident, but also on the poor and elderly. Steiner's skill as a
magician is such that as you learn, you will be entertained at the
Welcome to Swindleville
by Robert A. Steiner
Tuesday, October 23, 1990 7:30 pm
El Cerrito Public Library
6510 Stockton Avenue
Watch for coming events in the BAS CALENDAR, or call 415-LA-TRUTH
for up to the minute details on events. If you have ideas about
topics or speakers, leave a message on the hotline.
WARNING: We STRONGLY URGE that you call the hotline shortly before
attending any Calendar activity to see if there have been any
| WANTED |
| => Original and appropriate graphics. |
| => Someone who can accurately transcribe |
| interviews from cassette tapes. |
| => A good photographer. |
| THE HOURS are lousy, there is no pay |
| (except that we quickly if grudgingly |
| pay expenses) and you have to put up |
| with our company. |
| A sense of humor is helpful but not |
| required. |
BAS BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Chair: Larry Loebig
Vice Chair: Yves Barbero
Secretary: Rick Moen
Treasurer: Kent Harker
Yves Barbero, editor; Sharon Crawford, assoc. editor;
Wilma Russell, distribution; Rick Moen, circulation;
Kate Talbot, meeting coordinator; John Taube, media watch.
William J. Bennetta, Scientific Consultant
Dean Edell, M.D., ABC Medical Reporter
Donald Goldsmith, Ph.D., Astronomer and Attorney
Earl Hautala, Research Chemist
Alexander Jason, Investigative Consultant
Thomas H. Jukes, Ph.D., U. C. Berkeley
John E. McCosker, Ph.D., Director, Steinhart Aquarium
Diane Moser, Science writer
Richard J. Ofshe, Ph.D.,U. C. Berkeley
Bernard Oliver, Ph.D., NASA Ames Research Center
Kevin Padian, Ph.D., U. C. Berkeley
James Randi, Magician, Author, Lecturer
Francis Rigney, M.D., Pacific Presbyterian Med. Center
Wallace I. Sampson, M.D., Stanford University
Eugenie C. Scott, Ph.D., Anthropologist
Robert Sheaffer, Technical Writer, UFO expert
Robert A. Steiner, CPA, Magician, Lecturer, Writer
Ray Spangenburg, Science writer
Jill C. Tarter, Ph.D., U. C. Berkeley
Opinions expressed in "BASIS" are those of the authors and do not
necessarily reflect those of BAS, its board or its advisors.
The above are selected articles from the October 1990 issue of
"BASIS", the monthly publication of Bay Area Skeptics. You can
obtain a free sample copy by sending your name and address to BAY
AREA SKEPTICS, 4030 Moraga, San Francisco, CA 94122-3928 or by
leaving a message on "The Skeptic's Board" BBS (415-648-8944) or
on the 415-LA-TRUTH (voice) hotline.
Copyright (C) 1990 BAY AREA SKEPTICS. Reprints must credit "BASIS,
newsletter of the Bay Area Skeptics, 4030 Moraga, San Francisco,
E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank