Thursday, June 14, 2012

The “Anti-Vax” Ten Commandments

It’s been a while since I’ve posted, so imagine my surprise when, out of the blue, some mouth breather posts an anonymous insult on a post that’s months old. Really, where did this come from, I asked myself?

“Self,” I answered, “Why don’t you back-trace where they came from.”

And lo and behold…David H. Gorski’s hive of droolers and lickspittles.

David didn’t like a comment left on someone’s Facebook page, apparently. Someone posted their own version of the 10 commandments that ridicules the pseudo-skeptics that infest the internet. The post was quite funny, in my opinion, and it was obviously meant to be satirical, something that Mr Gorski was unable to comprehend. Let’s see what he has to say.

"Although I’m interested in skepticism in general, I have a tendency to gravitate towards one particular form of pseudoscience (alternative medicine) and, in particular, a certain kind of that particular form of pseudoscience, namely antivaccine quackery. However, as much as I keep returning to the antivaccine movement, I keep noticing just how much it shares with other forms of science denialism and pseudoscientific thinking. I was reminded of this when one of my readers e-mailed me a link to a Facebook group, Pro-Vax Quacks. I have no idea who’s behind the group, but what I do know is that there’s a doozy of a post there that demonstrates one aspect of denialism that I’ve seen again and again and again, and that’s the desire to label science as a religion. I’ve seen it when creationists try to paint evolutionary biology as a religion. I’ve seen it when Holocaust deniers refer to “Holocaustianity.” And, of course, I’ve seen antivaccinationists do it by referring to “Vaccinianity,” even though I caution them about such terms.”

This is an interesting introduction, yes? And in case you were wondering, that was indeed sarcasm. Really, it’s his typical ego masturbation along with his usual dose of smug. But what’s interesting is his curiosity about why so many people call the belief in vaccination a religion.

”Why are denialists so eager to label the science they hate as a religion? The reason is simple: They can’t win on evidence, and, at some level, I think they know it. More importantly, because they didn’t use science and reason to come to their views on vaccines, as much as they claim they did and delude themselves into believing that they did, they presume that scientists didn’t come to their views on science, be it vaccines, science-based medicine, anthropogenic global warming, evolution, or whatever science is being denied. Besides, it’s much easier to dismiss something if you can convince yourself that it’s just another belief, rather than being rooted in science, reason, and evidence, as the safety and efficacy of vaccines are. So that’s what vaccine denialists do.”

It’s because it’s like faith. No amount of evidence, ever, will change their belief. They constantly and consistently try to force their beliefs on those who want nothing to do with them, and when that person refuses to be bullied, they label them “anti-vaxxer” and then shun them. This is exactly similar to the more fanatical factions of Christianity trying to force their beliefs on others, then calling them heretics when the others refuse to be bullied. Sort of like the Westboro Baptist Church that Mr Gorski carries such an interest in. Like calling to like, maybe? This is demonstrated in the above comment when he claims that parents delude themselves into believing that vaccines are injuring children. Many of these parents don’t just come to this conclusion out of the blue, like Mr Gorski implies.

Anyway, Mr Gorski thought it would be a good idea to come up with his own version.

“I realize it’s a really, really obvious thing to do, but I can’t resist meeting a set of Ten Commandments with a set of Ten Commandments. So, here for you are the Antivaccinationist Ten Commandments:”

Yes, it is obvious. And derivative and unoriginal, too. So, without further adieu, allow me to present to you David H. Gorski’s Ten Commandments.

And my responses to them, of course.

”1. Correlation is the LORD Thy God, who brought you out of the depths of despair and provided you with something to blame for your child’s autism even though it is no one’s fault. Thou shalt have no other gods before it and accept correlation as always being vaccine injury.”

This is a massive strawman here. And I mean big! No one claims that all vaccine injury causes autism. But it’s interesting that when someone says that their child had a vaccine injury, it’s always a coincidence. There is no way possible that a vaccine could actually cause an injury. Oh sure, they say they believe that vaccine injuries occur, but the reality is entirely different. We must go by their actions, not their words.

”2. Thou shalt make unto thee a graven image that is Satan, and that graven image shall be in the shape of a syringe. For vaccines are evil, and any health problem your child has will always be the fault of the vaccine. Always.”

Again, another strawman, as well as a generalization fallacy. Not everyone whom he labels heretic is completely against vaccinations. And, again, I fail to find evidence that all heretics believe that all health problems are caused by vaccines.

“3. Thou shalt always take the name of vaccines in vain, because vaccines are evil and detested of God.”

This is just a rehash of the strawman and generalization fallacy mentioned in #2. Apparently, he was incapable of coming up with something more original.

”4. Remember the day of “too many, too soon” and keep it holy, so holy that you give no vaccines ever unless forced to by evil pharmaceutical companies.”

This one had me scratching my head. He’s really reaching here to try to come up with something to post. It’s quite pathetic, actually. But the very fact that people are being forced to receive vaccines made by companies that are well known and documented for lying about the safety of their products seems to not bother him in the least adds further veracity to the religion claim, doesn’t it?

”5. Honor Jenny McCarthy and Joe Mercola, so that pathogenic bacteria may live long in the babies’ bodies the LORD thy God giveth thee, at least until some of them start dropping dead.”

Sure enough, another strawman! It’s been torn apart many times, even on this site, about Ms McCarthy’s claims. Additionally, many parents of children who are vaccine injured were involved with the vaccine/autism debate long before Ms McCarthy lent her voice to them. Not to mention the ad hominem attacks against both she and Dr Mercola.

“6. You shall murder by increasing the number of unvaccinated.”

Nice, David…accusing parents of murder with absolutely no evidence other than you say so. Here’s the best part, though…most of these parents he’s accusing of being anti-vaccine? They’ve vaccinated their children! Until the neurological health outcomes of unvaccinated children are truly investigated, parents are going to continue to fight for their parental rights to refuse medical procedures.

”7. Thou art married to “biomed” quackery forever. Thou shalt not commit adultery.”

Again, another strawman and another generalization fallacy. If one believes that a vaccine injured their child, then they must also believe in biomed, according to David. Hard to believe this nut-job is a doctor, isn’t it?

”8. Thou shalt steal denialist tactics and use them to denigrate the evil vaccines.”

I had to do a little research on this one. But once I found it? Well, let’s just say that David owes me a new monitor. Conspiracy theories…this is simply an ad hominem fallacy. Not only that, but he’s mentioned before that there’s likely a conspiracy of parents who are trying to suppress vaccinations. Cherry picking? Oh, my goodness, he’s never done that, has he? False experts? You mean like Max Witznitzer and Eric Fombonne, who were paid to testify against parents in NVICP cases? Logical fallacies…like the ones mentioned in this very article? Attack the opposition? You mean like what happened to the former owner of this site by a truly disgusting little stalker?

”9. Thou shalt bear false witness against vaccines as often and outrageously as possible.”

This shows both the depths of his own idiocy as well as the depths of his own self denial. The implication here is that parents are making up these vaccine injuries. If that doesn’t speak to how loathsome this cretin is, then I don’t know what does.

”10. Thou shalt not covet the real science, because you can never have it as long as you blame vaccines for conditions for which there is no evidence of causation by vaccines.”

And in this very comment right here, he proves the point of the person who wrote the article he’s mocking. Nothing, no matter how compelling, no matter how sound, will ever convince him that vaccines aren’t as safe as the companies that make them claim they are. None of the studies that have shown damage caused by vaccines are good enough for him, and he will never turn a critical eye to the studies that verify his own personal bias. Oh, and let’s not forget about his idea of the real science. The real science, I might add, that has only been done by parties with vested interest in the outcome of the studies.

Then, David further makes a fool of himself by making the following comment about my good friend:

”Also, if his blog is any indication (before today I hadn’t checked it in a while), he’s still rather obsessed with me. Most of his posts appear to be rants directed at me, even the recent ones I hadn’t seen before, although I do note that in his most recent post (from April) he says he realizes he was getting repetitive with his attacks on me and decided to go after Seth Mnookin instead for a change. I must say, I’ve never had anyone start a blog dedicated almost completely to attacks on me before. I don’t know whether to be flattered or appalled.”

First off, Craig hasn’t run this site for almost a year. Secondly, my “rants” against him are actually humourous musings about Gorski’s infinite arrogance and stupidity. And lastly, the blog is not just dedicated to Gorski. However, Gorski’s mumblings are certainly the easiest to pick apart and ridicule because he just gives us so much of it. Sometimes, I don’t even know where to begin. Plus, he just makes it too easy.

So, there you have it, folks. Ten commandments and Eleven logical fallacies.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Seth Mnookin: Bald-faced Liar, Utter Hypocrite, or Both?

I thought I’d give Gorski a small break. I mean, how often can you comment on his narcissistic ego masturbation and mind-numbing hypocrisy without it growing stale?

Instead, I thought I’d focus on an article I read by Seth-not-a-doctor-not-a-scientist-Mnookin.

Seth doesn’t like Dr Bob Sears. Not at all. Seth accuses Dr Sears of being a “first-rate huckster” who is only motivated by greed, not by the genuine concern for his patients. All while Seth makes money from his book.

I won’t go into too much detail about the article itself. Seth mainly pulls a Gorski and pats himself on the back about how “sciency” he is. He goes on to mention an exchange between him and Dr Sears concerning child zero in the killer California measles epidemic of 2008, where a whopping 17 children were infected and recovered with absolutely no adverse effects from a relatively benign (here in the US) childhood illness.

Dr Sears responded to this accusation, saying that he was not patient zero’s paediatrician, and that he never spoke with Seth-not-a-doctor-not-a-scientist-Mnookin. Seth responds that he did, indeed, have a discussion with Dr Sears, and links to a recorded exchange between he and the doctor from 2008…almost 4 years ago. Then he goes on to mention an email exchange back in 2009…almost 3 years ago.

Could it be absolutely reasonable that Dr Sears may not recall a brief exchange that he had with some hack journalist that he never actually met in real life? Nah…couldn’t be possible.

Instead of accepting this very real possibility, Seth-not-a-doctor-not-a-scientist-Mnookin accuses Dr Sears of lying. He links to newspaper articles showing that Dr Sears’s office was the origination point for the deadly Measles epidemic of 2008.

According to one of their own Vaccine defenders, Science Mom, the index case was from a Children’s Clinic in La Jolla. Dr Sears’s office is in San Diego. So, it would appear as if Dr Sears was telling the truth about the index case. Curiouser and curiouser.

Going to Seth-not-a-doctor-not-a-scientist-Mnookin’s site and perusing his comments on this article, I see the commenters, and Seth, continuing to repeat this lie. So, being the trouble maker I am, I left a comment, shown below:


Click to embiggen

If the comment is too difficult to read, here it is again;

“And the proof that the child wasn’t one of Dr. Sears’s patients is here:

Now, will Seth be honest and retract his defamatory statement about Dr. Sears, I wonder? I have my betting pool ready…”

Now, you’ll notice that the comment was left on Seth-not-a-doctor-not-a-scientist-Mnookin’s site two days ago. My comment has still not shown up, so I can only assume that it is either still in moderation, or it has been removed. Remarkable.

Which is outright hilarious when you take into account a comment that Seth-not-a-doctor-not-a-scientist-Mnookin (hey, don’t laugh…Gorski uses this trope all the time...just returning the favor) left on his site:

“Example #10882 of why it’s so much easier to prove your point when you don’t censor comments and let people show themselves to the world.”

I will give him a few more days to see if my comment shows up. But for now, it is pretty clear that Seth-not-a-doctor-not-a-scientist-Mnookin is both a liar and a hypocrite.

I’ll let you, my dear readers, decide.

Addendum: So finally, 3 days later, my comment shows up. Interesting that it didn’t show up until after I made this blog post. Also, I still don’t see him retracting his statement about Dr Sears. So, my assessment of Seth-not-a-doctor-not-a-scientist-Mnookin remains unchanged.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Can Anyone Say “Hypocrite”?

I’d been meaning to discuss this previously, but got entirely too busy and had to put my thoughts concerning this on hold for a while. So, here it is for everyone’s amusement.

One thing that never fails to amuse me about the false skeptic community and the “Science-based” bloggers and their squealing groupies is the laughably outrageous hypocrisy they spew. In fact, this is the very reason that my predecessor created this site, and the very reason that I continue it. What better to show just how unreasonable, unscientific and un-skeptical a group is? Point out their hypocritical and non-scientific behaviours to show the world just exactly what they are dealing with.

This remains true in David Gorski’s rant, A school board president abuses his position to promote an antivaccine movie. Honestly, it’s nothing new that anyone who is familiar with Gorski’s odious verbal butt drippings would be in the least bit surprised about. In it, he injures his arm trying to pat himself on the back. In fact, the majority of his rant is a recant of a post he made several months ago. The man is so caught up in his narcissism that he has to link to his own drivel to stroke his already enormous ego. Really, I’m not kidding. The man is just that caught up in his own self absorption.

However, surprisingly, this isn’t what I really wanted to talk about. I wanted to discuss a comment made on this article from one of his more ardent and vicious sycophants named lilady. I’ve discussed my encounters with this particularly dim-witted lickspittle previously, so I won’t pull a Gorski and regurgitate it here again for my own self-gratification. Instead, I will replicate her idiocy and then comment on how hypocritical it is, giving examples from her very idol to prove my point.

Here’s the comment:

“Orac, I spent the better part of yesterday looking into this letter writer and confirmed the Mr. Marvel, is indeed, the president of board of the San Ramon Unified School District.

I also sent an email to the District's school superintendent, Steven Enoch, objecting to Mr. Marvel's personal agenda, written on school board stationary.

Mr. Enoch, via return email, requested my phone number, which I provided along with your blog that reviewed "The Greater Good" film, and he called me to discuss the matter.

Mr. Enoch stated he was unaware of the letter and that it certainly did not represent school district policy. I, in turn, provided some information about AoA, its political arm (the Canary Party) and their anti-vaccine activities.

Due to my involvement with many school boards in my State, I offered up my opinion that Mr. Marvel abused his office and should be sanctioned by the California School Boards Association:

Mr. Enoch will be speaking directly to Mr. Marvel about this letter and I will be following up, either at the district level or with an email to the California State School Boards Association.

I located this website for immunization rates for Contra Costa County, where San Ramon is located:

Rates for complete immunizations for school entry are (relatively) high for Contra Costa County, compared to some adjacent counties. I'd like to see that those rates remain high.”

I’ll leave that here for a few moments to discuss something that happened to Mr Gorski a while back. Gorski was (rightfully) appalled at a comment left on Age of Autism where someone encouraged other commenters to contact Mr Gorski’s place of business and discuss with them Mr Gorski’s moonlighting activities. His sycophants moaned and cried about how horrible the people at AoA are for doing something like that. In fact, one of Gorski’s more dull-witted morons that goes by the name of Ren (epi-ren) still cries(almost a year later) about how one of those mean, evil anti-vaxxers tried to get him fired.

Yes, this is horrid behaviour. Yes, I agree with Gorski and Ren that it is disgusting.

Which is why I’m currently laughing myself silly by lilady’s comment. Notice the hypocrisy? Notice that she called the school board in an attempt to get Mr Enoch reprimanded or fired? It goes even further; in a later comment, she encourages other commenters to contact the said school board to file legal action against Mr Enoch:

@ Liz Ditz and the RI Regulars: You are amazing Liz and have been very busy this past weekend.

I just sent the SkewedDistribution link to Mr. Enoch, School Superintendent and requested a time frame for the retraction of that letter, by Mr. Marvel.

IANAL...but I checked legal opinions about school board members' sanctions at the California School Board Association. There definitely are legal precedences concerning cases that deal with a school board member that has either stated publicly...or written a letter, that misrepresents the position of the school board. In fact, the Association has sent amici curiae briefs to various California courts, supporting the ability of a board of education to sanction the person who misrepresented school board policy.”

Do as I say, not as I do, right? Again, I will reiterate how loathesome and disgusting I find this sort of behaviour. In fact, that is the main reason I choose to remain anonymous with my activities, specifically because of what happened to my good friend and because of repulsive little twits like this lilady person.

Here’s a comment that lilady made on Dave’s hate-site that had me laughing so hard, I ruptured something:

“@ Sauceress: You made my day! I love their defense of Wonder Boy Jake's latest foibles by attacking Orac, Marc, Chris, Reuben and me and delight that I am in such company.

The lead in to the blog was a classic about the the little cartoons that they consider "humor" and our indignity about the sheer filth and disgust that any website would even consider publishing them.

No, we don't libel researchers, we don't start letter writing campaigns to destroy anyone's career and we don't encourage people to threaten any of their quack doctors.

Any repercussions to their pathetic careers is an "inside job"...they sow the seeds of their own lack of credibility and their own destruction by their words and their deeds...pathetic.”

Don’t libel researchers? Don’t start letter writing campaigns to destroy anyone’s career? Don’t encourage people to threaten doctors? Oh, my word…I haven’t laughed like that in a long, long time.

If anything, it’s an amusing diversion to laugh at these revolting, small-minded hypocrites.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Stay Tuned for Another Dull and Smug Post from Gorski and his Mumbling Meatheads

This is a short post today. Using my oracular powers, I predict a smug and self satisfied post from Dorkski within the next few days concerning a study released today that supposedly “exonerates” the mercury/autism hypothesis (it doesn’t).

I’ll reserve my comments for his misrepresentations, except to say that he will blindly and most assuredly praise the poor science represented within this study as “legitimate" and “sound.”

Stay tuned…

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Tactics and Tropes of the Anti-Science False Skeptics

It never fails to amuse me when a false skeptic reveals himself for what they truly are. It’s even more amusing when they admire and praise someone for pointing out flaws in the logic of those they claim are “anti-vaccine” when the false skeptic is guilty of the same flaws in logic.

One of the defining tropes of the Pseudo-Science false skeptics is their extraordinary hypocrisy. Seriously, it knows no bounds.

Take, for example, David Gorski’s latest shart-fest “Tactics and Tropes of the Anti-Vaccine Movement." In it, David praises the author of a recent article, “Anti-vaccine activists, Web 2.0, and the postmodern paradigm – An overview of tactics and tropes used online by the anti-vaccination movement,” for calling out the common “tropes” of the anti-vaccination movement. The abstract of the article essentially says that the false-skeptics and pseudoscientists should work harder to ban together to prevent those with stories of vaccine injury from having a say. Oh, I know, it doesn’t actually say that, but it is easy to see that this is the direction they are going, as shown by recent attempts to prevent the NVIC from having an advertisement in Times Square. Or, the recent Slate article that references this report that calls for internet search engines to flag sites that discuss vaccine injury. Or even the recent removals of Jake Crosby at public events.

Which is also a false skeptic tactic. They claim they are against censorship, but actively encourage censorship of parents who have stories of vaccine injury, all while claiming they “refudiate” anti-vaccine messages (there’s a subtle jab at them in there somewhere…see if you can find it). More on this in a moment.

David begins his rant discussing how long he’s been dealing with that mean old anti-vaccine movement.

I've been an observer and student of the antivaccine movement for nearly a decade now, although my intensive education began almost seven years ago, in early 2005, not long after I started blogging. It was then that I first encountered several "luminaries" of the antivaccine movement, such as J.B. Handley, who is the founder of Generation Rescue and was its leader and main spokesperson; that is, until he managed to recruit spokesmodel Jenny McCarthy to be its public face, and Dr. Jay Gordon, who, although he swears to high heaven he is not antivaccine, sure could have fooled me. At the very minimum, he is a credulous apologist for the antivaccine movement. Then there were many more through the years: Barbara Loe Fisher, Sallie Bernard, various bloggers from the antivaccine crank blog Age of Autism, and even the new generation of antivaccine activists, such as Jake Crosby, who is, if anything, even more annoying than the old generation.

Why am I mentioning this? The reason is simple. Over the years, I think I've come to learn just about every antivaccine trope, canard, strategy, and argument there is. At least, I know all the major ones, many of the minor ones, and even quite a few of the obscure ones. I'm rarely surprised anymore, even when of late antivaccinationists have taken to referring to supporters of science-based medicine as "vaccine injury denialists," a term antivaccine activist Ginger Taylor notably used in "The Role of Government and Media," a chapter in the anti-vaccine book Vaccine Epidemic: How Corporate Greed, Biased Science, and Coercive Government Threaten Our Human Rights, Our Health, and Our Children, which was edited by Louise Kuo Habakus and Mary Holland, and now uses frequently on her blog. (That actually might be a topic for another post entirely.) So when I see people writing about the tropes and tactics favored by the antivaccine movement, I know I'm quite qualified to judge whether they know what they're talking about or not, as I've spent nearly a decade in the trenches on Usenet and in the blogosphere.”

Wow…this man is so completely and utterly clueless to his egotism and hypocrisy that a psychoanalyst would go into apoplectic fits trying to diagnose him.

I want to take a moment to comment on something Dave wrote here. He mentions that “antivaccinationists” have taken to referring to supporters of science-based medicine as vaccine injury denialists. This is an interesting comment, isn’t it? First of all, they don’t actually do this to those who actually follow science-based medicine; they do this to false skeptics and pseudoscientists like David. People like David adamantly declare that they believe that vaccine injury is real, but when a parent says their child suffered from a vaccine injury, the first thing out of Dave’s mouth is a flat out denial, saying that their child didn’t have a vaccine injury…without even seeing the child or their records. Yes, he is that confident in his faith. In other words, he “believes” in vaccine-injury, but it just didn’t happen to your child. If that isn’t a vaccine-injury denialist, I don’t know what is.

Which leads me to my next false-skeptic tactic. Whenever a parent mentions that their child was injured by a vaccine, they are met with a small selection of responses:

  1. “Correlation does not equal causation” – This is the standard response they will fall back on. However, they are never able to come up with a logical explanation for why so many parents observed things like encephalopathy and loss of milestones so soon after a vaccination. They also fail to mention that such correlations should be further studied. When a parent of a vaccine injured child says this, the response is usually “It has been ask and answered.” What they fail to mention is that there have never been any studies that actually LOOKED at these children so that a possible determination of what actually caused the injury could be done.
  2. “Vaccines are safe and effective; there’s no way your child was injured by a vaccine” – A logical fallacy that precludes any argument. This falls back to the faith argument; it has been asked and answered, and God…I mean Science…says it is so. They will try to inundate the conversation with link after link to numerous studies that show how vaccines are safe and effective. But they fail to mention that there are studies and actual records of children being seriously injured by vaccines. In many cases, these injuries just happen to be remarkably similar to autism.
  3. “You are a disease promoter; you want diseases like smallpox to return” – This is a common response when anyone questions vaccinations. Not only is it a non-sequitur, but it is also an ad hominem. But, of course, we all know that those who are truly science-based do their best to refrain from using such logical fallacies. Given that Dave and his sycophants use this argument on a regular basis further adds to the evidence that David is not actually a proponent of science-based medicine.

He then discusses the paper, lamenting on the fact that so much information is now readily available to the public when, before, it should only be in the hands of people like him. He gives the impression that everyone else who is not a doctor or scientist is too stupid to understand what science is, so therefore should not have access to it.

He then starts discussing the author’s description of tactics of “anti-vaccinationists.” I will respond to each in turn.

1.Skewing the science. This involves cherry picking studies, denigrating science that doesn't support an antivaccine viewpoint, and endorsing bad science that supports antivaccine agendas.”

This is a good one. Of course, David could never be accused of cherry picking studies, denigrating science that doesn’t support a pro-vaccine viewpoint, and endorsing bad science that supports pro-vaccine agendas, could he? How often does he refer to the Madsen study? How often does he claim that the Fombonne Canadian study is actually good science? If it supports his bias, then it must be good science. Hypocrisy, my friends. So, according to Anna Kata, David also uses this tactic.

2.Shifting hypotheses. Otherwise known as moving the goalposts, this involves continually changing the standards of evidence deemed necessary to convince antivaccinationists of vaccine safety so that they can't be met and constantly coming up with new causation hypotheses that share only one thing in common: it's always about the vaccines.”

This one actually happens to be my favorite. Whenever they are presented with evidence that vaccines have caused injuries that are very similar to autism, they shift the goalposts, saying that “it’s only one case,” or they say, “That’s not actually Autism, so vaccines are safe and effective.” Or, they claim that autism is caused by old parents, or cold moms, or genes that they can’t find, or too much TV, or being too close to a highway, or low birth weight, etc. All of these share only one thing in common: it’s never the vaccines. More hypocrisy, and once again, David uses the same tactic.

3.Censorship. This is an extreme characteristic of the antivaccine movement. For instance, Age of Autism does not allow dissenting comments. The Autism One yearly quackfest routinely kicks out those its organizers perceive as enemies, even though they follow the rules and don't disrupt anything. In the meantime, they go absolutely--if you'll excuse the term--apeshit when one of their own is asked to leave a scientific function. We're seeing this in action right now, as AoA and its hanger-on Ginger Taylor are both going nuts over Paul Offit's and Seth Mnookin's having asked AoA's one trick pony irritant to leave and Offit's accurately characterizing him as a "stalker." I'd take their complaints slightly more seriously if the antivaccine movement didn't so ruthlessly censor its perceived enemies and refuse to let them anywhere near their crank venues.”

This one made me laugh out loud. I happen to know for a fact that both Mr Gorski and Mr Reibel both selectively change and remove comments from their blogs if they don’t like the message. David only allows comments that he thinks his sycophants will enjoy. Then, he turns them loose like a pack of rabid dogs. But those that actually are meaningful responses, well documented and referenced articles included, and that refute his bias are mysteriously not allowed through the “filter.” Now, the comment about the Autism One conference is missing a few pieces of evidence, like how Mr Reibel was breaking rules (this was discussed in the comments here), stalking and harassing Dr Poling and his wife and recording their conversations without their permission. I’m certain if he wasn’t such a little twit, he would have been allowed to stay and participate. Also note that Aut-One was a sponsored event done by independent parties that had the right to throw whoever the hell they wanted to out, including that little douche-bag. And, if I recall, I remember a certain false-skeptic going absolutely—if you’ll excuse the term—apeshit when one of their own was asked to leave a conference for breaking rules. Contrast this to Jake Crosby’s being kicked out of not one, not two, but three PUBLICALLY SPONSORED EVENTS! For just asking questions. For this, he is labeled a stalker (which I fail to see how; all three events were relatively close to his home, and he was interested in getting answers to his questions), but one of their own, who endlessly hounded, harassed, and forced a father of a vaccine-injured child to go into hiding, is somehow not considered a stalker.

Yes, the hypocrisy is strong with this one. And, another tactic that Dave and his bum-lickers all use.

4.Attacking the opposition. The antivaccine movement is particularly incessant in this tactic, in my experience. I've lost track of how many times I've been attacked or had antivaccine cranks try to cause me annoyance at my job by e-mailing my bosses. A year and a half ago, a bunch of antivacicne cranks, "inspired" by a false accusation of an undisclosed conflict of interest from Jake Crosby, tried to get me fired from my job through a campaign of e-mails, phone calls, and letters to the board of governors at my university. And what I've experienced is minor indeed compared to what someone like Paul Offit has experienced.”

I already partially covered this earlier, but David and his lickspittles all do this, too. They’ve attacked Dr Poling and his wife, called cps on parents for not vaccinating, said they wish parents of vaccine injured children would all die of preventable diseases, called a parent’s medical insurance to try to get the insurance company to drop coverage, and have wanted all of us to be thrown in jail or put on a remote island. They attack anyone and everyone who does not conform to their view, and my friend Craig can certainly attest to that (apparently, threatening phone calls and messages sent to his site don’t count). And that thing about Dr Offit and those death threats? Yeah, still waiting to see proof of that.

And here’s further proof of my previous statement:

One tactic I think Kata left out is one that I've noted before. It's not a tactic unique to the antivaccine movement, but antivaccinationists certainly use it. I'm referring to crank conferences gussied up to look like legitimate scientific conferences. For example, we have the yearly quackfest known as Autism One every year in Chicago around Memorial Day. Recently, Autism One has joined forces with the health freedom movement, combining an Autism One conference with the Health Freedom Expo from March 2-4, 2012 in Long Beach, CA. In this, we might be seeing an even more obvious sign of the scientific bankruptcy of antivaccinationists in that Patrick "Tim" Bolen will be featured on a "Vaccine Panel." I thought that having Dan Olmsted chair a panel called Malfeasance in the Media that includes Tim Bolen, David Lewis, and Andy Wakefield was bad enough. After all, that's a group that could give the masters' how-to-do-it course on media malfeasance.”

Attacking the opposition. Need I say more?

Whew…a whole world of hypocrisy right there. So, since Dave and his arse-kissers are guilty of every single one of the tactics mentioned above, that must mean they are anti-vaccine!

Note: When dealing with false skeptics, hold them to the same standards that they hold everyone else.

Now, let’s take a brief moment to discuss the “tropes” that Dave mentioned.

1."I'm not antivaccine; I'm pro-safe vaccines." Yes, indeed. This one is the biggest, baddest, most irritating trope of all, repeated by everyone from Jenny McCarthy to J.B. Handley to Barbara Loe Fisher. A variant of this is to liken vaccines to cars and say that "I'm not 'anti-car,' I just want safer cars." Not a good analogy. A better equivalent would be if they demanded absolute safety of cars and refused to use them unless GM, Ford, Chrysler, Toyota, Honda, et al swear that they'll never be injured in a car crash.”

David and his fart-sniffers are horribly guilty of misusing the “anti-vaccine” label. Anyone, to them, who questions or has reservations about the safety of vaccines is a heretic (sorry, “anti-vaccine”). One of the things I teach in school is etymology, or the study of words. The prefix “anti” means opposed or against. So, someone who is truly anti-vaccine is completely opposed to vaccination. Many people they label as such are not opposed to vaccination; in fact, many of them actively encourage vaccination, but have concerns about the safety of so many vaccines given in such a short time. So, label this as a false skeptic trope.

2.Vaccines are toxic. A.k.a. "the toxin gambit."

This falls back to the thiomersal argument. And, we all know how many of the safety studies on thiomersal are circumspect. If you don’t know the minimum safe dose of a highly toxic substance, then how can you definitively say that it is not toxic in doses that are well above the EPA safety limit? I call this trope “Dosage makes the poison.” Since there are no safety data on how a six pound child will react to a toxic substance, then they have no way to determine what the proper dose is.

3.A demand for absolute safety.

4.A demand for absolute "proof" that vaccines are safe.

This is a misrepresentation of what is actually being called for, in my opinion. All many of these parents want is for vaccines to be SAFER! That is a huge difference between safer and absolute safety. And, if you believe the cup-cake lady, then safer vaccines are bad, Mkay?

5."Vaccines didn't save us," one of the more intellectually dishonest of many intellectually dishonest tropes used by these cranks.”

I slightly agree with him here. Vaccines are useful, but claiming that vaccines are as effective as they say they are is also dishonest. I think that the core of this argument is that vaccinating for so many diseases is having unforeseen consequences; like the recent evidence that the increase in varicella vaccinations during childhood is causing cases of shingles in young adults and adults after their immunity wanes.

6.Vaccines are "unnantural(sic)."

This is a disingenuous argument from Dave. The issue is that they are trying to enforce a one-size-fits-all approach to a complex and highly diverse bodily function, the immune system. Everyone’s immune system acts in different ways, and trying to claim that all vaccines will illicit the same type of immune response in everyone IS unnatural.

“7.Choosing between "vaccine injury" and disease. Jenny did this famously when she said vaccination are a choice between autism and infectious disease and that she'd take the measles.”

This is an example of blowing things out of proportion and misrepresentation (hey, another trope!). The problem here is that measles in the United States is rarely, if ever, a serious condition. And, again, we see a clear implication that Dave is denying that vaccine injuries are real. The choice becomes clearer to those who have had children injured by vaccinations; they were injured because the parent did the right thing.

He then makes the following statement:

“Such a statement is a reminder that finding common ground with those who question, fear, or crusade against vaccines is no easy task. Their arguments are constantly shifting and evolving - this has been furthered by the fluidity of the Internet and social media. While acknowledging and correcting flawed arguments is important, an approach that moves beyond providing "the facts" is likely needed. With the anti-vaccination movement embracing the postmodern paradigm, which inherently questions an authoritative, science-based approach, "facts" may be reinterpreted as just another "opinion". This issue is as much about the cultural context surrounding healthcare, perceptions of risk, and trust in expertise, as it is about vaccines themselves. For these reasons it is possible the minds of deeply invested anti-vaccine activists may never be changed; therefore it is for both the laypersons with genuine questions or worries about vaccines and the healthcare professionals who work to ease their fears that keeping abreast of the methods of persuasion discussed here is essential. Recognizing anti-vaccine tactics and tropes is imperative, for an awareness of the disingenuous arguments used to cajole and convert audiences gives individuals the tools to think critically about the information they encounter online. It is through such recognition that truly informed choices can then be made.”

Dave will never be able to find common ground because he doesn’t try to talk to a person, discovering what their questions and fears are. Instead, he bullies, attacks, and ridicules their legitimate concerns. And the reason why David’s “facts” are construed as opinions is because David is not an expert; his bias makes his interpretation of the “facts” an opinion. Furthermore, it’s difficult to determine what the actual facts are when the organisations creating those facts are the same organisations that are creating the products, the same organisations that have been caught lying and faking the results of their studies.

In conclusion, I will reiterate that the biggest tactic/trope of the vaccine injury deniers is that they are hypocrites; they criticise others for the very behaviours they pride themselves in.

ADDENDUM: I just read an extraordinarily humourous comment from someone named Kruuth on David’s Den of Misinformation, Lies, and Sycophants:

“I've never gone to Ginger's blog before. After reading the front page I thought that I was reading something written by a ten-year-old. Once I saw that she's an adult, and one with a child as well, I just sighed. If she needs a reason why anyone in the real medical field doesn't take her seriously she needs to look no further than her own blog. “

Oh my word; I actually spit out my coffee laughing at that one. One wonders if he has ever read Dave’s blog; irony meters, brain chomping Hitler zombies, talking about himself in the third person, pretending to be a computer from a defunct and downright awful Sci-Fi television show.

Yes, hypocrisy.