Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Perils of Engaging Pseudo-Scientific False Skeptics

By Gambolputty


Hello, my friends. It’s been some time since I have had the pleasure to be blessed by your presence and enjoyed your comments and thoughts. As I said in my previous post, I would update this site infrequently. But, there are times when a tidbit comes down the wire that I find too irresistible, too juicy, to not pass up. All I have to do is look no further than our resident brothel of misinformation and pseudo-skeptical hypocrisy; Respectful Insolence.

It never fails to amuse me when those who subscribe to the “Skeptic” canard fall into the same accusatory rhetoric that they accuse their opponents of. For example, they foam at the mouth when someone draws devil’s horns on Dr Offit. They caterwauled and beat their breasts (and still do..and what has it been? 2 years now?) when Age of Autism posted an off-color picture of several “Skeptic” heroes having a Thanksgiving dinner that made allusions to cannibalism. They wailed and gnashed their teeth when someone makes a suggestive comment about a doctor being under the table servicing Dr Offit.

And then you have Orac’s latest crapfest, entitled “The Perils of Engaging the Public.”

Mr Gorski laments the fact that Doctors sometimes speak in public venues. He doesn’t like the fact that, when speaking publicly and allowing a period of questions and answers, that there may be someone who disagrees with their stance. Here’s what he has to say.

People wonder why scientists involved in controversial areas are reluctant to address the public. Courtesy of our favorite band of anti-vaccine bloggers at the anti-vaccine propaganda blog Age of Autism, we see yet another reason why. Yes, AoA's resident attack poodle Jake Crosby decided to disrupt the Q&A session of a public talk (videocast here) by the editor-in-chief of The Lancet, Fiona Godlee.”

Resident attack poodle. Man, that’s classy, yes? Attributing a young man with diagnosed Asperger’s Syndrome to a yapping animal? Since I am someone who is diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, I am utterly and completely offended by this. But, let’s continue with the discussion:

“This is how cranks behave. They ramble on, monopolizing precious Q&A time without regard to the rest of the audience, and then, when the exasperated moderator asks them to get to the point, they "continue, undeterred." In this, Jake reminds me a lot of the Royal Rife guy who "continued undeterred" at the Trottier Symposium last year in Montreal after multiple requests that he get to the point and then, later, more pointed requests that he yield the microphone in order to give someone else a chance to ask a question. I will, however, thank Jake for mentioning Respectful Insolence. I like to know I'm making a difference in a young man's life.”

Oh, I love this. Since Mr Crosby found some of Fionna Godlee’s presentation inaccurate and mentioned those inaccuracies, then he’s “monopolizing precious Q&A time without regard for the rest of the audience.” And I doubt he is having any influence on Mr Crosby, other than derogatory amusement and a clear example of how doctors and scientists are not supposed to act.

The comments in Mr Gorski’s rabid diatribe are even better. For example, someone named lilady (whom I have reprimanded several times on various websites under another guise) opines:

“I viewed the was even "better" than I thought...Boy Wonder Cub Reporter Crosby starts his harangue at 54:06 into the video and continues his nasty rambling attack on Fiona Godlee for a full three minutes.

I stated it before and I am stating it again Jake does not have Asperger Syndrome. He blogged about his past experiences of being on prescribed zonking medication and receiving special education services when he was "misdiagnosed". IMO, Jake was probably diagnosed correctly with ADD or ADHD...and when he heard of the disease dejour- autism-he and his warrior mommy had him re-diagnosed with the Asperger Syndrome label and he became the poster boy for AoA.

He is just a nasty kid with an inflated ego fed by the sycophants at AoA.”

This is gold, isn’t it? I also viewed the video, and I’m having a difficult time seeing anywhere in the video where Mr Crosby was anything but unfailingly polite. It was clear that he was nervous, and I applaud him for coming forward and defending someone and something he believes in. The above commenter, though, believes that since Mr Crosby disagreed with Ms Godlee, then he was making a “nasty, rambling attack.” This is a simple, elementary concept that she is apparently unable to grasp. As I mentioned before, I’ve called her on it before. Just because someone disagrees with you, it doesn’t mean they are attacking you. This is obviously too difficult for her to comprehend, sadly. Not only that, she makes a completely evidence free statement, saying that Mr Crosby doesn’t have Asperger’s Syndrome, that borders on libel (since it is clearly meant to damage Mr Crosby’s reputation). And her final statement? Pure hypocrisy since Mr Gorski is just a nasty big kid with an inflated ego fed by the sycophants at Respectful Insolence. Keep in mind, also, that she claims to be a registered nurse.

Here’s another gem from a lickspittle named Marc:

“Wow--I think it's been a long time since I've seen such a diatribe as Jake's "heroic" recap of himself taking on Big Pharma directly. Incredible! Aside from referring to himself in the third person in the title (always a great sign that entertainment will follow), he misrepresents himself at the talk (he wasn't representing GW--he was representing AoA and hiding that makes him a fraud in my book)!”

How is he misrepresenting himself? He is a student there, yes? Doesn’t that mean that he is with GW? I highly doubt that Age of Autism sent him there. In fact, I can say with relative certainty that he went on his own. Mr Crosby has fixated on the Vaccine/Autism connection, Dr Wakefield’s part in it particularly, and he is pursuing that to the best of his ability. Those with Asperger’s do tend to fixate on certain interests, do they not? This, too, borders on libel in that it is clearly meant to harm Mr Crosby’s reputation.

Here’s another one from someone named Chris:

“I object to "attack poodle" because standard poodles are wonderful dogs. They are intelligent water retrievers (the cutting of their curly fur is to keep the joints warm while making it manageable). Unfortunatel dog breeders decided to "play" with the breed and created the "toy poodle." Those little yappy things are an abomination, especially the one that belonged to my paternal grandparents.

Young Master Crosby would be better described as an "attack toy poodle."”

Such classy people over at RI. True paragons of society, these.

Then someone named Reuben issues this following comment which sounds quite threatening to me:

“Oh, he goes to George Washington alright. And his professors are well aware of his representing himself as being from there without clarification of being just a student. They are not happy.

I personally can't wait to show up at his masters project presentation and ask some questions.”

Not only does that sound threatening, but Reuben clearly has intent to harm Mr Crosby’s reputation.

And lastly, Orac the Quack makes this statement:

“I have a lot of readers who are "on the spectrum" and rely on them to tell me when I've gone too far, which, fortunately, is rare. However, unlike Young Master Crosby, when I screw up and it is compellingly pointed out to me (i.e., pointed out in a way that persuades me), I do change course and try to make up for my mistakes.”

No, David, it is not rare. Nor would you listen if you were told you went too far. You don’t perceive this as a mistake because Mr Crosby disagrees with you. And you will continue to make denigrative comments as long as you are cheered on by your mindless sycophants.

So, in conclusion, Mr Gorski, who exalts himself for being someone who is a proponent of free speech, does not like it when people disagree with him. In fact, he thinks that people who disagree with the established paradigm should not have a say, nor should they be allowed to defend themselves or others. When speaking publically and allowing Questions and Answers, then those whom he disagrees with should not be allowed a say.

Why, that sounds remarkably like censorship, doesn’t it? This goes back to what my friend used to say. Do not question; do not disagree.

I am more and more convinced that Orac’s definition of Skepticism is nothing more than a fanatical religion trying to hide under the skirts of “legitimate” science.



Apparently, my post yesterday ruffled a few feathers. The responses were extremely amusing.

Someone named Sauceress had a sniveling tirade concerning my posting (and refused to link…hey, I linked to Dave’s drivel. At least Dave has the decency to link to the sites he quotes). She spends a good portion of her regurgitation taking my comments out of context and misrepresenting what I was actually saying. Not surprising in the least considering that this is their typical Modus Operandi. Then, she brings forth the completely mature and totally sane reference to the Irony Meter. Oh dear…

She concludes her rant with this:

“So in Gambolputty's eyes, showing up to ask questions infers intent to harm Mr. Crosby's reputation.”

No, but the tone implied in Reuben’s comment certainly did. Doesn’t help that she took the comment out of context and misrepresented what I actually said. Particularly the part where I mentioned that it “sounds threatening to me.” Oh well, I expect no less from Orac’s drooling brown-nosers. And here I was hoping that my post would meet their approval. After all, that is my greatest goal in life; to be adored and cow-towed to in the same way as their great and powerful master, Orac. Oh, whatever will I do, knowing that they don’t approve of my point of view? Oh, woe is me.

Reuben then chimes in, commenting that he in no way meant his comment as an attempt to attack Mr Crosby’s reputation, which is reassuring. However, he takes one step forward and two steps back with this:

“If that blogger has qualms about what is written here or elsewhere, why not come over for a chat? We can give them the dictionary definition of libel and let hilarity ensue.

The difference between this comment thread and their echo chamber is that bullshit is not tolerated. Had any of us been threatening to him, the rest of us would have called them on it.”

Why not come over here for a chat? No one is stopping you, and I don’t moderate. The difference between my comments and Orac’s is that a) I DO tolerate bullshit and promptly make fun of it and the person doing it and b) I don’t have a cadre of fawning arse-lickers trying to ingratiate themselves to me. And the definition of Libel is pretty easy to understand:

  • A published false statement that is damaging to a person's reputation; a written defamation
  • The action or crime of publishing such a statement
  • A false and malicious statement about a person (claiming that Mr Crosby does not have Asperger's implies that he is lying about his condition. This is inherently defamatory)
  • A thing or circumstance that brings undeserved discredit on a person by misrepresentation (claiming that Mr Crosby was misrepresenting his status as a student of GW, claiming that he was using it to claim he was a representative, meets this criteria).

One of the reasons I don’t post over there is because I want Mr Gorski to have as little information about me as possible. The previous blog owner had considerable trouble with someone stalking, threatening him, and forcing him to go into hiding. I’d rather not have similar things happen to me, and I prefer to keep both my location and my employment a secret, especially knowing that these self-proclaimed “skeptics” are as petty and underhanded as those they ridicule.

Oh well…at least Orac’s mindless flunkies are completely predictable and entertaining in their own sadly pathetic way.


Further Addendum:

Someone named Antaeus Feldspar goes into a lengthy diatribe regarding my understanding of libel. While his comment is lengthy and somewhat informative, it suffers from a serious and quite obvious flaw; I stated, quite clearly, that it borders on libel. I never once said that it was libel.

Reading comprehension fail…alas.