Orac recently had a post up on Terminator Cranks. Which Cranks are the most persistent?
Which Cranks are the biggest assholes?
My vote goes to the alt-med crew, as a whole.
The anti-vaxers are infamous for their ability to be complete and utter assholes. Like, above and beyond simple assholery. You basically just need to look at the ‘Antivaccination lunacy‘ tag at Oracs place. From photoshopping disgusting pictures to calculated harassment of anyone who speaks out against their message, you can always count on an anti-vaxer to be a huge fucking asshole. The Skepchicks are having ‘fun’ with that right now.
My personal experience is from the CFSers. In all the years I have been dealing with HIV Deniers and Creationists and anti-vaxers, the CFSers were the ones to elevate themselves to huge fucking assholes. I have a very negative view of XMRVs very existence, especially the XMRV–>CFS connection. That didnt make the CFSers happy. But what REALLY got them going, was me pointing out the absurd (unacceptable) behavior of Judy Mikovits and the WPI. *Magically* my personal information appeared online, along with encouragement to harass me and my university (as if I would respond to harassment, as if my Uni is repulsive enough to interfere with their students free speech rights). And then came the legal and physical threats from The Princess Who Cannot Be Named herself (note to long-time readers: the emails reminded me of Kwok, in number and coherency, just fyi). Total assholes.
The latest group to get included here are the Chronic Lyme Disease crew. You know that article I linked to, just the other day? They True Believers have already put Trines address and phone number up in a forum, along with encouragement to harass her via phone and in person, at her home. Im not linking to it, but I took a screen shot. One person said “Hey, thats not a good idea” but no one seems inclined to remove it.
Just for comparison: Casey Luskin is definitely the sleeziest Creationist Ive dealt with, but even he hasnt resorted to posting personal info online, with encouragement to harass me at home/work/school.
I would never, ever allow anyone to post that kind of info on ERV. It might get put up until I could delete it, but putting Dembski or Behe or Horowitzs personal info online would result in an instant perma-ban, and Id spread the word to my SciBlings.
The assholery goes beyond personal attacks, as well. You can see in comments from anti-vaxers/CFSers/CLDers a frame of mind even I, ERV-the-unoffendable, finds offensive. They *wish* autism on others children. Having an autistic child is such a *burden* for them. OMFG. Yes, having a child with a developmental disability is harder, and unexpected, but to view your own child in such a negative light? Thats horrifying.
The CFS/CLD people are *offended*, *insulted* that physicians might suggest they have a mental illness. Ignoring the obvious fact that mental illnesses absolutely cause physical symptoms, they are ‘insulted’ by mental illness? Depression is real. Anxiety/Panic disorders are real. Somatoform disorders, like body dysmorphic disorder and hypochondria, are real. They are real, and treatable. There is no reason to be ‘offended’ by being diagnosed and treated for a mental illness anymore than you should be ‘offended’ by needing glasses or ‘offended’ you need to go on cholesterol meds. People encouraging the negative stigma of mental illness is why people with mental illnesses are afraid to get help. It reeks of Not Gay Conservative Syndrome– some conservative asshole encourages harassment of gays and harps on about how awful teh homo gayz are, is OFFENDED anyone might suggest he is gay… while in fact, homeboy is gay. Group of folks with a bizarre hatred of the mental health profession, degrade others with mental illnesses, OFFENDED that a physician thinks they might benefit from mental help… welp… yeah… Someone who makes other peoples lives harder because they cant accept a facet of their own lives.