I just added another Open Thread post so commenters who want to share something preachy, off-topic, or untrue have a place to do so. It's this blog's free speech zone, where anything goes.
Also, I've been loose about off-topic and untrue comments on regular Church of the Churchless posts, but there are limits -- and I hope commenters will do better about staying on topic and being truthful.
As I've noted before, I enjoy reading comments on blog posts and newspaper stories. However, if I'm reading a Washington Post story about Jamal Khashoggi's murder by the Saudi Arabia hit squad, I don't want to see comments that, say, proclaim "It's a George Soros plot!"
In fact, I don't see such comments, because newspapers typically moderate comments in accord with pretty strict comment guidelines.
Likewise, if I'm having a conversation with a group of people, and we're talking about climate change, it is both impolite and jarring if someone interjects with, "I'm a Christian. Praise Jesus!" Yet this is akin to what some commenters do on this blog, albeit not about Christianity or Jesus.
(I'm thinking mainly of you, "777.")
I delete those sorts of comments unless they are in an Open Thread. I also delete comments about me deleting those sorts of comments.
Here's another problem regarding truthfulness. Today a couple of commenters said stuff that is so obviously untrue, it took me just a couple of minutes to debunk the falsehoods.
Look, if I can do this in a couple of minutes, so can every commenter. Before you publish a comment that makes a wild claim, do some research to confirm that it is true.
Where I live, the United States, we have a president who lies constantly. I and a great many others are fed up with this. I don't want this blog to be a platform for lies. Or, if you like, untruths. (A lie is an untruth that someone knows to be untrue; often it is difficult to tell the difference between a lie or an untruth.)
Here's the first untruth, a comment posted by Spence Tepper on a recent blog post.
No, the brain doesn't send radio waves. The link Tepper shared in the comment doesn't say that. It says that the brain can emit weak electrical fields which may propagate between nearby layers of neurons. These aren't radio waves, which are only one form of many types of electromagnetic waves.
The MIT School of Engineering answered a question, "Can brain waves interfere with radio waves?" Here's part of the answer.
Radio waves and brain waves are both forms of electromagnetic radiation — waves of energy that travel at the speed of light. The difference between brain waves, radio waves, and other electromagnetic waves (such as visible light, X-rays, and Gamma rays) lies in their frequency — that is, how often the waves peak and trough in a second.
Radio waves, which include radio and other wireless transmission signals, as well as other natural signals in the same frequency, peak and trough at between 50 and 1000 megahertz — that’s between 50 million and one billion oscillations per second.
The human brain also emits waves, like when a person focuses her attention or remembers something. This activity fires thousands of neurons simultaneously at the same frequency generating a wave — but at a rate closer to 10 to 100 cycles per second.
Interference happens when two waves of the same or very similar frequencies bump into each other. This might happen when the signals from two radio stations, both broadcasting at 89.7 megahertz from different cities, bump into one another. “The shape of the waves changes linearly, they add to and subtract from one another,” says Dimitrios Pantazis, director of the Magnetoencephalography (MEG) Laboratory at MIT’s McGovern Institute. As a result, songs become static.
But, says Pantazis, since their frequencies are so wildly different, brain waves don’t interfere with radio waves. Even if that was the case, brain waves are so weak, they are hardly measurable at all. For comparison, says Pantazis, “the magnetic field of the earth is just strong enough to move the needle of a compass. Signals from the brain are a billionth of that strength.”
Here's an even more obvious untruth from commenter Vinny:
Yeah, Vinny, this atheist is going to provide what you consider a "lame argument" to refute what you said. In other words, TRUTH.
Again, it took me about one minute to find a Snopes piece that debunks the ridiculous idea that people can survive only on sunlight. Actually, people have died because they held this belief, so it is no joke to further promulgate this dangerous falsehood. And just as obviously it is impossible to live only on water. Excerpt:
Although claims of “breatharians” surviving and thriving pop up every few years, we were unable to find any evidence contradicting the body of science demonstrating humans require water and food to stay alive. It’s possible the couple profiled by The Sun in June 2017 both genuinely made and believed their own claims, but we found no proof the impossible assertion was actually true. When tested, purported breatharians such as Jasmuheen failed to last more than a few days without food and water.
Sungazers are closely akin to Breatharians. Again, there is no evidence that people can live on either only sunlight or water, or sunlight and air.
Vinny, next time you feel like posting a crazy comment, head to Google and check out what the reality-based community has to say about your notion -- especially if you're advocating something that can kill people.