This is most interesting. My opinion of Dr. Laura continues to decline.

From: Skeptic Mag Hotline <skeptic-admin@lyris.net
Date: Fri, 06 Nov 1998 07:52:45 -0800

Fellow Skeptics, Scientists, Humanists, and Free Thinkers of all stripes:

Welcome to another edition of SkepticMag Hotline, the internet edition of Skeptic magazine and the cyberspace voice of the Skeptics Society. For further information about the magazine and society, contact P.O. Box 338, Altadena, CA 91001; 626/794-3119 (phone); 626/794-1301 (fax); skepticmag@aol.com and www.skeptic.com or send your message telepathically and we will respond in kind. Subscription information is on our web page: www.skeptic.com or if you would like to subscribe now, just send us an e-mail to skepticmag@aol.com with your name, address, phone, Visa or Mastercard number, and expiration date, and we will send you your first issue immediately, Vol. 6, #3, with the cover story and theme: WHY PROFESSORS BELIEVE WEIRD THINGS.

Michael Shermer

By now most of you are familiar with the Dr. Laura Schlessinger saga with Skeptic magazine, and her resignation from our board of advisors after we published "THE GOD QUESTION" issue of Skeptic (Vol. 4, #2) because "Science can only describe what; guess at why; but cannot offer ultimate meaning. When man's limited intellect has the arrogance to pretend an ability to analyze God, it's time for me to get off that train."

Get off she did, and not just the skeptic train. As most of you know by now if you've been watching the news, Dr. Laura's moralizing has made her a prominent target and now photographs of a naked Dr. Laura can be found at www.loveclub.com, an internet site specializing in pornography. The photographs were provided by Bill Ballance, one of the pioneers of talk radio in the 1960s in Los Angeles, when he was on top (read alpha male) and Dr. Laura was just breaking into the biz (read lower ranking female), and, as often happens in such situations for us social, hierarchical primates (witness Bill and Monica), they had a fling. So what? No big deal, especially in the 1960s. Except Ballance took photographs of a naked Laura Schlessinger prancing around an apartment and on the bed, AND HE KEPT THEM! On the site now are 12 photos (you can see three for free and have to pay for the rest), but he said this morning that he has another 200!

Interestingly, Laura initially denied that the photographs were of her. With photoshop and a computer, it really would be simple to put someone's head on someone else's body and you would never know the difference. But then she filed an injunction against Ballance and the internet provider (for what? regaining photographs that were not of her?) for copyright (didn't HE take the photos) and violation of privacy. Okay, fine. I'm a little sympathetic here on the privacy issue. And in several interviews I've seen with Ballance he cackles like a dirty old man, and with a glee in his eye cackles on about how they rolled around in the sheets like a couple of weazels. But then Laura completely lost any sympathy I might have had when she retracted her initial denial and explained that she did have an affair with Ballance, while they were both married (a big no-no in her current moral paradigm), and then she lied about it (another big no-no she berates people for daily), but then, in a flash of genius, she came up with a solution. THAT WAS WHEN SHE WAS AN ATHEIST!

Ah, yes, we atheists, agnostics, and nonbelievers routinely have affairs, get naked, and take nude photos. Right. If I was in such a situation, and I came out with a statement that this lurid affair happened when I was Jewish, do you think the JDL and the Simon Wiesenthal Center would remain silent? Is this not something of a "racist" (in a broad sense) remark on her part?

By the way, the next Skeptics lecture at Caltech is this Sunday at 2:00pm in Baxter Lecture Hall, with Dr. Pamela Freyd and Eleanor Goldstein lecturing on THE MEMORY WARS, all about the recovered memory movement and false memories. Off the 210 freeway take Lake Blvd. south, left on Del Mar, right on Michigan, park in the faculty parking lot that Michigan dead ends into, and Baxter is the rectangular building to the southeast of Beckman Auditorium, the huge white round building right in front of you.

In case you are interested, after the lecture all atheists will be adjourning to a nearby hotel to have a naked photo party. Be sure and bring your birthday suit.