Tuesday, December 6, 2011

An Anti-science Slimeball Destroys an Immature and Witless Concept

I don’t often get to write on my blog. I’m sure most of you can understand this. The majority of us have jobs and other duties that require our time and effort, things that are far more important that blogging several times a day (I’m sure you can all tell that last dig was pointed at a certain doctor we all know and despise). However, I did promise that I would maintain this page and continue to point out the hypocrisies, lies, and general nastiness of those who are pseudo-skeptics and false scientists. People new to this debate need to see what type of people they are dealing with.

Such is the case for Dr Gorski’s latest childish screed entitled An anti-vaccine activist destroys my irony meter. Oh, where to begin? There’s so much irony and hypocrisy in this article…

Apparently, Jake Crosby was evicted from a recent conference where Seth Mnookin was holding a presentation. When the question and answer period came around, Jake took his turn, grabbing the microphone and asking a challenging question to Mr Mnookin about some of the more recent revelations concerning Dr Wakefield. Instead of answering the questions, Mr Mnookin asked for Mr Crosby’s removal.

Jake wrote an article about it on AoA, of course. He told his side of the story, and gave the reason that he thought he was removed. Several commenters offered their support of Jake, praising him for his tenacity.

Fast forward a little bit, and we have Orac and his bumlickers discussing this removal. Here’s what he has to say:

While I'm having a bit of fun with the anti-vaccine crank blog Age of Autism, I notice that its Boy Wonder Jake Crosby, the one-trick pony whose trick is playing "six degrees of separation" in order to try to link anyone who supports the science of vaccines with big pharma, the CDC, the FDA, or any other company or regulatory agency he doesn't like, has a new post up at AoA. In it he complains about being kicked out of a conference, the Research Ethics Book Group Lunch and Book Signing at the annual Advancing Ethical Research Conference held by Public Responsibility in Medicine and Research (PRIMR). The book being discussed was The Panic Virus by Seth Mnookin. From previous times when Jake has tried to ask what he calls "challenging questions," the impression that I keep getting is that he tends to ramble a lot and monopolize the microphone, rather like the the Royal Rife guy did at the Trottier Symposium where I was a speaker in 2010.”

I mentioned this before, but it bears repeating. Pseudo-skeptics and false scientists don’t like it when you question them. They don’t like to be challenged; they hate to be contradicted. Anything that falls outside of their safe, happy little pseudo religion is heresy and should be shunned. Any person who speaks against them gets the treatment that Jake received in the comment above. Any scientist who disagrees with the false scientists are excommunicated, thrown from the fold and ridiculed endlessly. You do not question the consensus!!!

Whatever happened (and I'd love to hear Seth's version or an account from someone who was at the lunch of what really happened, given Jake's propensity to see things only in a way that makes him seem like a persecuted iconoclast and hero), Jake was apparently asked to leave. None of this is particularly remarkable, given that he was parroting the same nonsense about David Lewis having "exonerated" Andrew Wakefield that AoA has been pushing. In fact, I wasn't even going to mention Jake's post, given that getting himself kicked out of such conferences has apparently become an essential part of his anti-vaccine schtick.”

Much like getting kicked out of Autism One conferences is an essential part of his buddy Ken Reibel’s anti-science schtick. It’s ok when pseudo-skeptics do it, though, because they are doing it in the defense of the Holy Science! He doesn’t even bother to question whether or not there was a legitimate reason for Jake’s removal; he merely assumes that Jake was being disruptive and deserved to get kicked out. Of course, with no evidence. Oh, sure, he says he wants to hear the other side of the story. But the funny thing is, even if others corroborate Mr Crosby’s story, he’ll still say that Jake deserved it. Why? See my mantra above; you do not question or challenge the consensus!!!

Dear Dave then goes off on a rant about a comment made by Ginger Taylor. Essentially, she says that those who speak the truth are unafraid of the truth, and they welcome challengers and those who disagree with them to debate it with them. He begins:

“What caught my eye was a comment after Jake's post by everybody's favorite example of someone who thinks far more of her knowledge of science than any objective measure could justify, Ginger Taylor

David is of the firm belief that if you are not of the elite priesthood that he belongs to, then you have no right to speak your mind against The Doctrine.

Let's see. If what Ginger says is the case, then one of her favorite anti-vaccine conferences Autism One must not love truth. In fact, the it must hate truth. After all, its organizers have kicked out people who disagree with its anti-vaccine message each of the last four years. Let's see. It was Ken Reibel in 2008, Chicago Tribune reporter Trine Tsouderos in 2009, a department of health employee from a western state and an independent filmmaker in 2010, and Ken Reibel (again) and Jamie Berstein in 2011. During the last of these, the organizer of Autism One brought in the Lombard, IL police to expel Ken and Jamie. It was a case of massive overkill in the name of trying to prevent discussion and debate with someone who disagrees with them and knows how to dismantle their arguments.

Truly, my irony meter has been fried, fricasseed, and melted to the point of vaporizing. To hear Jake whine about being asked to leave a conference and then to see Ginger opining in her usual nauseatingly self-congratulatory smug fashion about how "lovers of truth" like her and her buddies in the anti-vaccine movement don't do this sort of thing were just too much for it. I wonder if there's some sort of titanium protective case I can buy for the next one.”

Oh dear…the irony meter comment. The good doctor is, one can assume, an adult. And yet, he repeatedly spews this nonsensical and immature garbage. It’s quite humourous, actually. But it does make me question his sanity.

However, since the good doctor was so kind as to provide us with links to his drivel (personally, I believe that he constantly links to himself due to his narcissistic ego masturbation), let me get to the point of this article. This has to do with what Orac and his arsekissers have to say about kicking people out of conferences.

Orac has this to say:

Remember how I've said time and time again that the anti-vaccine movement is very much like a religion, a cult even? One of the key attributes of religion is an intolerance for heretics, apostates, and unbelievers. The usual approach to unbelievers is either to try to convert them and then, failing that, to shun them (fortunately in most civilized countries Inquisition-like reactions are no longer common) or to skip the attempt to convert them and jump straight to the shunning. More evidence of just how true that is was presented on a silver platter to me at the anti-vaccine quackfest Autism One that will be wrapping up today in Lombard, IL.”

Wait a second…did you just read that? Why, yes, he did! He just admitted that Seth Mnookin is anti-vaccine! Why? Because Seth was intolerant of Jake as an unbeliever. He couldn’t convert Mr Crosby, so he shunned them. And, since Dr Gorski agrees with this policy when it applies to pseudo-skeptics and false scientists, then by his very definition of a crank, that makes him anti-vaccine by default.

Good job, David!

“As I've said time and time again. Despite the claims of the anti-vaccine movement and the sponsors of Autism One (which, as you recall, include Generation Rescue) this is not the behavior of an intellectually honest and open movement that wants to persuade based on science and reason. It is the behavior of a group that has something to hide, that prefers shunning and expelling those who aren't afraid to criticize it to open engagement and attempts to persuade based on the evidence. It is also the behavior of a group that thinks its members can't stand up to challenges and therefore need to be protected from criticism or contrary views”

Oh, thanks for clearing that up, Dave. So, you admit that Seth,and by association you (and your pseudo-skeptic community) are also being intellectually dishonest.

Hey, don’t look at me; I’m merely holding him to the same standards as he holds those he labels as pseudo-science or anti-vaccine.

“[T]he behavior of the conference organizers is indicative of fear, fear of being seen doing what they do, saying what they say, and selling what they sell. Scientific meetings are not like this. Skeptical meetings are not like this either; indeed, at last year's TAM, a moon hoax believer managed to get to the front of the line to challenge Adam Savage about the Mythbusters episode on moon hoaxers. He was not expelled; in fact, Savage respectfully answered him and he was later seen at various other events at TAM. At the Lorne Trottier Symposium last year, a believer in Royal Rife quackery asked about it. The panel only started to ask him to leave after the man wore out his welcome by dominating and monopolizing the question and answer session to the point where people waiting in line behind him were denied an opportunity to ask their questions due to time constraints. In other words, he got his say and was not asked to leave until he had reached the point of showing an extreme lack of consideration for his fellow audience members waiting to ask questions of the panel.”

So, he admits that real scientists do not kick people out of conferences for disagreeing with them. In fact, they welcome debate and disagreement. So, Orac is admitting that Seth Mnookin is not a real scientist (I agree), and that he (Mr Gorski)is also not a real scientists because he is agreeing with Seth kicking Mr Crosby from the presentation. Thanks for clearing that up, Mr Gorski!

Given this behavior, all I can ask is: What is Autism One afraid of[?]”

Yes, given this behaviour, what are Mr Mnookin and Mr Gorski afraid of? Are they afraid that they could be wrong about something? Oh, the horror!

I promised myself I would never do this. I promised myself that I would refrain from using one of Orac’s childish nerdisms that my good friend Craig bastardised. But I must…I absolutely have to.

The Hypocrisy! It Burns with the stupidity of a Thousand Oracs!!


  1. Thanks for doing that! I needed a bit of laughter after a long, long day.

  2. By the way, I did not bastardize that saying. I made a mockery of it fair and square. Just so you know ;-P

  3. Funny thing is, Ken and Jamie were asked to leave (and refunded) because they violated the rules.

    Did Jake get a refund at least?

  4. Have not been blogging much this year, but popped my head up today and will check in here since I apparently started a conversation.

    1. I am the mother of a child who was given brain damage by a Sanofi product, so as you might imagine, comments about my judgments made by a Sanofi product developer are not really those I place at the top of my list when doing any self-reflection. Had I know Gorski was developing a product for the company that gave my son brain damage, I never would have engaged him in the first place six years ago when I began earnestly seeking answers for my child.

    2. I don't run Autism One and I don't make the comments policy on Age of Autism, so I am not sure how I can be held responsible for their decisions for their business.

    3. I run several blogs, none of which have moderated comments. People can post freely on my blogs, and my only policy is that you have to make a point other than just to tell someone that you think they suck. I have removed probably less than a dozen comments since the blog began in 2004, and when I do, I always post a comment inviting the person to come back and make an actual point.

    4. I see a big difference in being thrown out of Autism One and being thrown out of a lecture from a guy about a book. A lecture about a book is... well... a lecture about a book. The whole thing is debating and examining issues. All good faith debate (and even a little bad faith debate) should be welcome. Autism One is as much a support group/group therapy as it is a conference. I have yet to get through an Autism One (or DAN or NAA) with out crying through at least one session.

    If Jake had showed up to conference of people dealing with the after effects of polio to ask "gotcha" questions and write mean things about them afterward, (or attack the doctors that are successfully treating them and improving their lives) that might be an analogous situation, but this one just ain't.

    5. As a parent who is going through the very difficult journey of parenting a child with autism, and trying to do right by him, it is painfully, PAINFULLY, obvious to me who actually wants good things for our kids and who doesn't care. I look at Gorski and Mnookin and, for the life of me, I can't see how these guys have convinced themselves that they are on the side of right, when their tactics constantly involve attacking autism families or individuals with autism, when they could simply TALK TO THEM LIKE HUMAN BEINGS.

    If Seth cared anything about Jake, a young man WITH AUTISM by the way, and thought he was really wrong about Wakefield, and trusting the wrong people, then he would have tried to talk some sense into Jake, not throw him out.

    7. Seth's writing and claims in his lectures directly effect Jake's access to medical treatment. If Seth is wrong, and people in medicine listen to him, it compromises Jake's ability to function in life. He should be heard.

    Bottom line is this... it comes down to good faith and bad faith. Jake showed up in good faith to challenge a bad writer on his positions. Totally fair play. Seth is SUPPOSED to be a journalist, a disinterested party, and if he was, he would not have a problem with Jake and could either defend his position, amend his position or retract. What is the big whoop for a journalist to do that? I certainly have done it as a blogger many times.

    But just in case...

    I wrote Mnookin a letter, asking him for specifics on the incident, and if Jake is lying or misrepresenting the truth in any way. Posted it on my blog. I will let you know if he responds.

    Damn I am long winded. Shouda just made a blog post out of this.

  5. Paul Offit and friends had Jake Crosby thrown out again...

    this is absurd!