Respectful Insolence

Orac feels the love

It’s been a while since I’ve posted any fan mail, but I did get one a few days ago that amused me. It came from someone with a ‘nym of “Baxtour”. I post it because it represents a common flavor of antivaccinationist response to my blog:

You are a fucking moron, which I’m sure you already know, but if there is one thing you know absolutely nothing about it’s thimerosal! You shouldn’t even talk about it because you are so fucking clueless!!!

Sincerely,

Someone that actually has a brain

Truly, against such intellectual firepower, even Orac has a hard time standing. My first thought was that it might be John Best, but then I remembered that John generally doesn’t use a ‘nym anymore. Nothing like a profane rant about how clueless I am to cheer a blogger up after a hard week of slapping down the mercury militia.

Comments

  1. #1 Eamon Knight
    February 2, 2008

    The best argument against ID is that stupidity isn’t painful.

  2. #2 bonni
    February 2, 2008

    What a withering attack. How ever did you withstand the onslaught of such a dizzying intellect? Your fortitude is inspiring, having stood your ground against such a display of both wisdom and eloquence. I am truly amazed. And somewhat dizzy.

  3. #3 Trond Helge
    February 2, 2008

    ‘Multiple exclamation marks,’ he went on, shaking his head, ‘are a sure sign of a diseased mind.’

  4. #4 Roy Harrold
    February 2, 2008

    A “skeptic’s circle” – at first glance it looked like something interesting and fun to explore. I was expecting something Gardner or Randiesque, perhaps something like the old atheism forum on About.com…tasteful, clever exposes of blatant twaddle like creationism. There is some of that, in your group, but…

    Here’s a bit about my background, since we haven’t met before. During the Satanic Panic, circa 1986-1993, I was a member of a network of independent researchers involved in assessing and debunking false statements made by fraudulent victim claimants, evangelical propagandists, therapists, psychiatrists, members of the media and self-proclaimed Satanic Ritual Abuse “experts”. This network was headed by Vancouver police officer Charles Ennis and, as a representative of his network I worked as an unpaid civilian advisor on the subject for the Integrated Intelligence Unit (joint EPD & RCMP) based in Edmonton, AB. If you don’t know about or remember the Satanic Panic, there is a wealth of accessible information regarding the Martensville, Saskatchewan outbreak and the tragic consequences of the false accusations against innocent police officers in that province, available online at:

    http://www.cbc.ca/fifth/martin/scandal.html

    and
    http://www.rickross.com/reference/satanism/satanism77.html

    Beyond that, I’m a lifelong bicycle commuter who has never owned or driven a gas-powered vehicle. I’ve been living an anti-corporatist, voluntary simplicity lifestyle for over 30 years – so I haven’t been supporting the primary production responsible for most of the pollution generated during my lifetime.

    I come from a long line of academics. My father was a physics professor at Kenyon College in tiny Gambier, Ohio. My grandfather was Dr William Rowan, founder of the Zoology department at the University of Alberta as well as the entire field of photoperiodism. Most of my aunts & uncles on either side of my family are academics or professionals in various sciences.

    I’m more than familiar with academic capacity for hubris, but you people are in a class of your own. I thought that I was done with confronting Witch-hunters, but I can see that I still have work to do. The disdain for everyday folk, the people whose taxes support many of you in your work is astounding, but it’s not nearly as disturbing as the naked hate exuding from some of your elitist cult’s discussions. It’s no wonder you post anonymously, although it is also pretty cowardly.

    I’d always thought that Chairman Mao was a fanatic whackjob, but some of you make me hunger for a little cultural revolutionizing of our own. You might learn a little humility, stripped of your wealth and power, cleaning porta-potties by hand for minimum wage for the rest of your lives.

  5. #5 Ben
    February 2, 2008

    He makes a good point. You might just want to pack it up and quit this blogging thing, Orac, you know-nothing moron.

  6. #6 Marilyn
    February 2, 2008

    I recently went to a physical therapist who is very into the “Alexander Technique.” I could not get an intelligible explanation from her of what it is. She said it was hard to put into words (that isn’t a good sign, IMO). Do you know anything about it?

    Thanks,

    Marilyn

  7. #7 CanadaGoose
    February 2, 2008

    Persecuted cops, bicycle commuter, long line of academics…what is all that in pursuit of? I read Roy’s harangue but even the second time around I am confused. (Perhaps it’s my haughtiness. Or my wealth and power!)
    All those not-quite-to-the-point credentials …who is he accusing and of what terrible crimes? Naked hate? Elitist cult? Please, can someone from The Group [whatever that is] clarify?
    I am obviously out of my intellectual league here, despite being a high school graduate.

  8. #8 Tony P
    February 2, 2008

    A little knowledge is a dangerous thing. Yes there’s a form of mercury in thimerosal. But it’s a form that isn’t readily absorbed in the body. That’s the thing the tv news conveniently leave out.

  9. #9 #1 Dinosaur
    February 2, 2008

    Marilyn:

    Here’s a link to the American Society for the Alexander Technique, along with one to the Quackwatch search results for it.

  10. #10 _Arthur
    February 2, 2008

    Most of the pro-chelation proponents tout the toxicity of methyl-mercury, and then handwave over the fact that thimerosal is *ethyl-mercury*. One toxicology expert that testified at the Autism Omnibus hearings, explained that there are considerable differences between the relative toxicity of methyl-mercury and ethyl-mercury, of the same order than the differences between methyl-alcohol and ethyl-alcohol…

  11. #11 Orac
    February 2, 2008

    You might learn a little humility, stripped of your wealth and power, cleaning porta-potties by hand for minimum wage for the rest of your lives.

    How do you know I don’t have experience cleaning toilets by hand for minimum wage? You don’t, and I do, although it was only part of my minimum wage job and it was 25 or so years ago. As for my “wealth and power,” what are you smoking (or drinking)? I may make a comfortable, but not lavish, income, but power? Geez, I sure don’t have much of that. As for the rest of your rant, don’t tell me you honestly expect me to be impressed with your “lineage.” A great lineage doesn’t say much about the current generation if you’re any example, if you know what I mean.

    You wouldn’t happen to be “Baxtour,” would you?

    Oh, and what was the point you were trying to make? Your rant was so incoherent that I had a hard time figuring it out. It must be my “wealth,” “power,” and arrogance.

  12. #12 PlanetaryGear
    February 2, 2008

    heh, even if it WAS methyl mercury it still wouldn’t cause autism.

    It’s amazing how much more lovely the sunrises and how much more melodic the birdsong in the world when you’re not hiding under a rock with your fingers in your ears refusing to see or hear the real world ;)

  13. #13 Chad
    February 2, 2008

    Why can’t I get hate mail? It looks like so much fun.

    And I’m also very confused by our friend Roy’s post. Dude, WTF?

  14. #14 Kev
    February 2, 2008

    Baxtour is a mere entree – Roy the Cycling Potty Cleaner is the main course. I wish I had a long line of other people who’s name I happen to share I could lean on to support a meandering, rambling line of bullshit.

  15. #15 Tyler DiPietro
    February 2, 2008

    “I’ve been living an anti-corporatist, voluntary simplicity lifestyle for over 30 years – so I haven’t been supporting the primary production responsible for most of the pollution generated during my lifetime.”

    I find myself wondering why this “anti-corporatist, voluntary simplicity” includes a computer with an internet connection. I guess having a virtual forum for your ignorant ravings is now one among the bare necessities of life.

  16. #16 Roy Harrold
    February 2, 2008

    Orac, you go up a step in my estimation for not simply censoring me out. I should add, that I’m of course in the wrong to paint everyone involved in Skeptic’s Circle with the same brush. My bad. I’m really interested in confronting the McCarthyist twins and their worshipful band of witch-hunters.

    Interesting responses. It’s intriguing to me, that when I talked about my background this was interpreted as some kind of “brag” intended to establish “credentials” rather than simple introductory data about myself.

    That’s ironic, since it is “expertise” “credentials” worship, and the arrogance of persons who believe they possess such things and therefore have some kind of right to pour bile and hate upon others whom they perceive to lack these qualities, that is one of the most offensive trends in some of your group’s writings.

    I’m totally unimpressed by junior-high locker room “credentials” comparisons. Mine is a little one, in most cases, but I’m not embarrased by that. Colin Ross has (had?) a huge one in comparison to mine, but in the end I was right and he was wrong and all his accreditation flaunting couldn’t help him.

    A very intelligent person named Kevin said this on one of your group discussions some time ago:
    “Why even coin the term “denialism” if not to smear someone through guilt by association? There are plenty of relevant terms to deal with liars, frauds, etc. Nothing about denial per se is even dishonest, so what else could the import of the term be?
    If someone is denying a fact you think critical, why even lump them into a group to be dismissed rather than refuting their argumentation? The whole enterprise of categorizing people into ‘denialists’ and ‘cranks’ just smacks of mental laziness, i.e. ‘here’s a quick way to lump all manner of people with a point of view different than my own into a conceptual category I can ignore completely.”

    Brilliant. I applaud him, but he didn’t go far enough. He didn’t get to the heart of the matter which is really the issue of control over public policies. That’s what this whole denialist twaddle is really about – it’s about devising a method for ensuring that those who oppose your policy agendas (NOT “the science”) will be ignored by policy-makers, the media, and ultimately the public. It’s about ensuring that “those of us who know best because we have the biggest credentials weenies” get to impose our wills upon the common ignoramuses whether they like it or not. I’m disgusted, more than anything else, by the pretense that this is somehow not what the whole thing is about.

    Rationalization is a game that anyone can play, not just the academically impaired.

  17. #17 John C. Welch
    February 2, 2008

    Beyond that, I’m a lifelong bicycle commuter who has never owned or driven a gas-powered vehicle. I’ve been living an anti-corporatist, voluntary simplicity lifestyle for over 30 years – so I haven’t been supporting the primary production responsible for most of the pollution generated during my lifetime.

    Ignorance is so cute. That computer your posting on, unless you’re hand-cranking that fucker, and it’s made from some magical material that doesn’t require an amazingly power-hungry manufacturing process? Yeah. Ever see how much power CPU design takes? Yeah. Burn the coal.

    Blogspot is owned by Google, and lemme tell you, Google’s power consumption bills are of a magnitude that would *boggle* your bizarre little brain.

    Industrial power and manufacturing create just as much, if not worse world-wide pollution than autos do, so not supporting the polluters? Dude, you’re FELLATING them.

  18. #18 John C. Welch
    February 2, 2008

    Rationalization is a game that anyone can play, not just the academically impaired.

    We all bow to your obvious mastery in that arena.

  19. #19 Roy Harrold
    February 2, 2008

    John, this computer and all it’s accessories were purchased second-hand. I did not support the primary production involved in it’s creation.

  20. #20 Tyler DiPietro
    February 2, 2008

    “John, this computer and all it’s accessories were purchased second-hand. I did not support the primary production involved in it’s creation.”

    And what you purchased were manufactured goods. Assembling a white-box is only one teeny-tiny part of what goes into producing a personal computer.

    Not to mention the electricity you use to power it, and telecos you buy your internet connection from, and on and on.

  21. #21 daedalus2u
    February 2, 2008

    It is ironic, in an attempt to be elitist about your non-elitist credentials you demonstrate the well known behavior of projection.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychological_projection

    How is labeling someone a “denialist” any different than labeling them an “elitist” any different than labeling them an anti-elitist?

    The term skeptic has a precise meaning as it is applied in the Skeptic’s Circle. Members of the circle apply the same standards to themselves as they apply to others. They actually want the same standards applied to themselves as they apply to others. That is something that denialists never do. That is something the “victims” of the Skeptics never do.

  22. #22 LC
    February 2, 2008

    Don’t be too mean with him Tyler – you may scare off the magic pixies which hand deliver the ‘1’s and ‘0’s from his computer to ‘the internets’. As for electricity – he just hooks up a turbine to a generator and continues his string of brain farts.

    Though I’m a bit worried about the strong possibility of extreme power surges…

  23. #23 Bronze Dog
    February 2, 2008

    I’m really interested in confronting the McCarthyist twins and their worshipful band of witch-hunters.

    Obviously, you can’t tell the difference between using evidence to point out lies and using guilt by association, innuendo, and insinuation.

    Of course, I don’t see you doing much of anything except guilt by association, innuendo, and insinuation.

    It’s intriguing to me, that when I talked about my background this was interpreted as some kind of “brag” intended to establish “credentials” rather than simple introductory data about myself.

    We’re used to people implicitly claiming that all of academia is false, and thus not having an extensive educational background is supposed to be seen as good.

    That’s ironic, since it is “expertise” “credentials” worship, and the arrogance of persons who believe they possess such things and therefore have some kind of right to pour bile and hate upon others whom they perceive to lack these qualities, that is one of the most offensive trends in some of your group’s writings.

    And yet credentials aren’t the backbone of our arguments. Ever heard of “evidence”. Woo doesn’t work when you test it under rigorous conditions. That’s the backbone of our arguments.

    Brilliant. I applaud him, but he didn’t go far enough. He didn’t get to the heart of the matter which is really the issue of control over public policies. That’s what this whole denialist twaddle is really about – it’s about devising a method for ensuring that those who oppose your policy agendas (NOT “the science”) will be ignored by policy-makers, the media, and ultimately the public. It’s about ensuring that “those of us who know best because we have the biggest credentials weenies” get to impose our wills upon the common ignoramuses whether they like it or not. I’m disgusted, more than anything else, by the pretense that this is somehow not what the whole thing is about.

    Credentials aren’t all that important. What matters is the evidence. Produce evidence to show us that we’re wrong. Don’t lie by inflating a usually unimportant aspect of our arguments to the alleged core.

    Produce evidence for whatever you’re claiming. Don’t shy away from the issues by derailing everything into ad hominem, straw men, and creative redefinitions.

    I’m fine with the “denialist” and “woo” labels as I use them: The former is about dishonest tactics employed to avoid talking about or addressing evidence. The latter is about fields that survive using denialist tactics and the people who subscribe to those things. Once they start using science, rather than evasion and rhetoric, those labels will cease to apply.

  24. #24 cooler
    February 2, 2008

    Oh, I’m still waiting for that study comparing 3000 people with no thimersol intake vs people who took 1991 levels of thimersol, to see if there any differences in nuerological problems.

    Also I would like the original animal/toxicology studies that must have been conducted in the 30’s proving thimerosol safety in humans, I can find them for Splenda, but not for mercury. Please post these studies,and I dont care if anyone dismisses me as 9/11 nut or an hiv denier, stick to the science and give me these properly designed studies.

  25. #25 Cuttlefish
    February 2, 2008

    It’s obvious that ignorance combined with desperation
    And deliberate distortion mixed with misinterpretation
    Not to mention giant leaps of overstressed imagination
    May result in opposition to a helpful vaccination.

    The Mercury Militia calls for more investigation
    Till the government reveals what must be missing information;
    A disinterested observer soon would see the explanation:
    Anti-vaxxers, as a rule, misunderstand the situation.

    The evidence is crystal-clear; I have no hesitation–
    Quite the opposite, in point of fact, I have an obligation
    To preserve the herd immunity throughout the population
    For the sake of both my children and their children’s generation.

    But the anti-vaxxers have a beef with modern medication;
    I suspect that they’re the people who protested fluoridation
    And who’d never take a pill when they could use an incantation
    Or a regimen of regular colonic irrigation.

    It is possible these whackos have an honest motivation,
    Ah, but ignorance is toxic when in such a concentration,
    And the Mercury Militia have attained a reputation:
    They’ve developed an immunity to science education.

    Though the latest of the studies you can find in publication
    Once again, despite the protest, shows a lack of correlation–
    And by rights should be the harbinger of end of disputation–
    I suspect the odds are better we’ll see porcine levitation.

    That conclusion, I imagine, may elicit some frustration,
    And a straining reminiscent of a mental constipation,
    But allow me now to offer you this meager compensation–
    That at least this little verse of mine has reached its termination.

    http://digitalcuttlefish.blogspot.com/2008/02/vaccination-fixation.html

  26. #26 Prometheus
    February 2, 2008

    Clearly, Roy has been locked up in his cabin in the woods for far too long. Was there a point anywhere in his rant(s)?

    Here’s a hint: if you can’t say what you want to say clearly, you’re not communicating. And talking – or posting – without an intent to communicate is merely a form of self-stimulation.

    Mind you, Roy will probably attribute my lack of comprehension to some mental or intellectual flaw of mine. However, I’m not the one trying to make a point with his rambling rants – presumably, Roy is.

    Or maybe it’s just his week to do free-association on the Internet.

    Prometheus

  27. #27 Harriet Hall
    February 2, 2008

    I was surprised your critic didn’t use capitals. I’m personally rather fond of an e-mail I received that called me an IGNORANT HO!!!

    When they run out of rational arguments and have nothing left but invective, that means you won!

  28. #28 Dangerous Bacon
    February 2, 2008

    Orac: “for the rest of your rant, don’t tell me you honestly expect me to be impressed with your “lineage.””

    I would’ve been more impressed if he’d confided that he was the son of a mill worker.

    Not to hijack this discussion any more than it already has been (it is currently circling somewhere above Havana), but did you know that you can cleanse your colon _while you sleep_, using the amazing power of oxygen? Check it out, and don’t miss the Presidential candidate endorsement at the bottom of the page:

    http://www.oxypowder.com

  29. #29 Roy Harrold
    February 2, 2008

    Harriet – I own the copyright to a style of expository writing called Internet Drama-queen. IT’S MINE!!! I OWN IT!!!

    All – The grasping for some kind of straw by which you could “expose” me for a denialist crank is hilarious! Perhaps some of you might have run over to Sourcewatch and plugged me in, only to find…nada. That would really have me in a fit of giggles.

    I provided some bio info about myself, as an introduction and to demonstrate that I’m unlikely to fit your preconceptions about the type of person who might show up here all angry and confrontational. Still, out of that you manage to construe – falsely – that I’m a luddite. Let me disappoint you. I consider people who have made the minimalist lifestyle choices I’ve made to be a kind of pressure release. I’d be delighted if more people chose to join us, but I’d never want to see that kind of lifestyle legally mandated. I think it would be disasterous for everyone to live this way – someone needs to generate excess capital to pay for things like a military, medical care, your salaries…

    I’m here to say that I find some of what is going on here to be offensive. I’ve seen you excommunicate and shun people from your ranks because someone didn’t think that person was sufficiently orthodox in their attitude toward a certain policy agenda. This was done in the most remarkably childish manner, akin to: “I’m not going to play here if ‘stinky’ is allowed to stay”.

    Then I come across this ridiculous “deck of the denialists” ploy. What a transparent cheap trick – even Uri Geller would be embarrased to be associated with such nonsense. You make a list of all the possible ways in which accomplishing your policy agendas could be interfered with, declare them to be inherently irrational or fraudulent, and then claim that this is a scientific analysis that everyone ought to use – not to evaluate arguments, but to decide whether or not the target should even be allowed to speak (or be listened to by anyone).

    I’m not here to dispute scientific fact with you. To your disappointment, no doubt, I happen to agree with almost everything I’ve read here that pertains to matters of science. I’m here to say that I ought to be one of your fans, but I can’t be – because some of you are engaged in witch-hunting and others are condoning that behaviour. I’m very disappointed. I expected better.

  30. #30 DanioPhD
    February 2, 2008

    Roy, I’m afraid that after your fourth bolated post I am hardly any closer to understanding your point than I was at the first. Are you trying to express that you’re really ‘our’ kind of people (whoever ‘we’ are) and would happily join in the science-based discussions here if ‘we’ weren’t all such arrogant, judgemental dicks? Well, um, thanks for the feedback, I guess. Your drive-by constructive criticism was really thoughful.

  31. #31 Bronze Dog
    February 2, 2008

    I’m not here to dispute scientific fact with you. To your disappointment, no doubt, I happen to agree with almost everything I’ve read here that pertains to matters of science. I’m here to say that I ought to be one of your fans, but I can’t be – because some of you are engaged in witch-hunting and others are condoning that behaviour. I’m very disappointed. I expected better.

    What?! Are you calling investigating whether or not people are making false claims “witch hunts”? Should we just cease caring about whether or not people are honest? Is that the point of all these big, empty posts? Define “witch hunts”, since you don’t seem to be using any definition I’m aware of. After all, I don’t see much point in claiming to have the same epistemology if you’re vehemently arguing against using it.

    Just come out and say your point if that’s not it. Don’t ramble meaninglessly like a concern troll.

  32. #32 Schwartz
    February 2, 2008

    While I do not understand the true objective of Roy posting his opinion, it is very enlightening to see those above who continue to complain about not understanding the point.

    It seems crystal clear to me.

    Perhaps Harold is a troll, but an eloquent one at that. I welcome the entertainment, since his posts certainly resonate with the quality of the overall article in this case.

    It baffles me when those of you continue to ask what is the point. Did you not read Orac’s article? (i.e. in case you can’t make the connection, what was the point?)

    I have never read anything in the skeptics circle after I wasted a good 45 minutes listening to a garbage podcast from Novella, after someone here used it to counter one of my arguments.

    But there is still enough here to like about Orac so I’ll keep reading.

  33. #33 _Arthur
    February 2, 2008

    I see 2 new articles about the lack of correlation between thimerosal and autism, in Archives of General Psychiatry

    Thimerosal Disappears but Autism Remains, E. Fombonne
    Arch Gen Psychiatry, January 1, 2008; 65(1): 15 – 16.
    http://archpsyc.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/extract/65/1/15

    and

    Continuing Increases in Autism Reported to California’s Developmental Services System: Mercury in Retrograde, R. Schechter and J. K. Grether
    Arch Gen Psychiatry, January 1, 2008; 65(1): 19 – 24.
    http://archpsyc.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/full/65/1/19

    I don’t have access to the full text of the first one.

  34. #34 _Arthur
    February 2, 2008

    I see 2 new articles about the lack of correlation between thimerosal and autism, in Archives of General Psychiatry

    Thimerosal Disappears but Autism Remains, E. Fombonne
    Arch Gen Psychiatry, January 1, 2008; 65(1): 15 – 16.
    http://archpsyc.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/extract/65/1/15

    and

    Continuing Increases in Autism Reported to California’s Developmental Services System: Mercury in Retrograde, R. Schechter and J. K. Grether
    Arch Gen Psychiatry, January 1, 2008; 65(1): 19 – 24.
    http://archpsyc.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/full/65/1/19

    I don’t have access to the full text of the first one.

  35. #35 Shiritai
    February 2, 2008

    Schwartz,

    Harrold is being deliberately obtuse. I see nothing positive about that. It seems that he either feels so superior to others that meaningful conversation no longer matters, or he’s hiding his arguement so he can claim “victory” no matter what happens. If he disagrees with how something was handled, it should only take a sentence or two to say that.

    Also, I notice you haven’t deigned to share what is “crystal clear” to you.

  36. #36 Ompus
    February 2, 2008

    Hi:

    I’m not credentialed to operate on live animals, but I’ll be handling your brain surgery right after you sign this short waiver.

  37. #37 Ompus
    February 2, 2008

    Hi Roy:

    I’m not credentialed to operate on live animals, but I’ll be handling your brain surgery right after you sign this short waiver.

  38. #38 Schwartz
    February 2, 2008

    Shiritai,

    And what did you find positive about the article that spawed this particular commentary. Maybe I’m missing your point? The actual article posted by Orac was effectively trolling, so how can you be disappointed by the response?

    His disagreement was articulated — he discussed what he thought was one of the purposes of this blog, and also how he disagreed with the approach to making arguments. How did you miss that?

    Perhaps you should listen to some of the Skeptics’ podcasts. Making quick statements of disagreement (let alone presenting credible evidence) is hardly satisfactory. It must be accompanied by name calling, stereotyping, and elitist scientific back slapping.

  39. #39 Shiritai
    February 2, 2008

    Schwartz,

    If you only want to read serious articles, I would suggest skipping articles under the “humor” category.

    As for Harrold’s post, it was not articulate. He talked about the Skeptic’s Circle as if it were some singular entity, instead of the loose coalition of blogs that it is. So, we can’t know which blog out of many offended him. It might be all, or it might be a single one. He didn’t bother to say. He spoke out against witch hunts, but didn’t bother to give an example.

    He also seems to think that the members of the Skeptic’s Circle see eye to eye on policy, and work to force their will on the public. Why else would he say : “it’s about devising a method for ensuring that those who oppose your policy agendas (NOT “the science”) will be ignored by policy-makers, the media, and ultimately the public”.

    Also, I haven’t heard those podcasts you mentioned, but if that’s where his disagreement lies, then why wouldn’t he mention it? All he seems to do is beat around the bush.

  40. #40 john C. Welch
    February 2, 2008

    John, this computer and all it’s accessories were purchased second-hand. I did not support the primary production involved in it’s creation.

    YOu’re so cute. So completely full of shit, but cute. In buying a computer, you still support the industry around it. If it’s a laptop, you support the proliferation of dangerous metals used in its construction. If it’s a desktop, well, I highly doubt you got it to your house on a bike. You use Blogspot, that means you directly support Google and their rather massive energy consumption needs, which then requires more power generation facilities. Regardless of how you get on the internet, you get on. That is a set of power requirements on a national scale that you are supporting, and their attendant pollution.

    Get off your hobby horse, you’re no better than those you castigate.

  41. #41 Roy Harrold
    February 2, 2008

    No, Shiritai, no one is impersonating me – but thanks for caring. I really don’t feel superior to you or anyone here, but I’m getting tired of being told that I ought to feel inferior and know my place as a worthless, credential-less peon. Particularly when I attempt to articulate objections to policy agendas and get responses like this:

    Me: “This policy would violate the principles of social justice.”
    Dr Shut-up: “You don’t understand the science”
    Me: “I’m not disputing the science. This policy violates the principles of social justice”
    Dr Shut-up: “You’re a denialist! Who’s paying you to say this”
    Me: “No one is paying me. This is a violation of social justice”
    Dr Shut-up: “Who are you to say that? Are you AN EXPERT on social justice?”

    If you insist, I will give you examples of the arrogance, elitism and witch-hunting: (this is called cherry-picking, but you apparently want me to do this)

    “We don’t argue with cranks. Part of understanding denialism is knowing that it’s futile to argue with them, and giving them yet another forum is unnecessary.”

    “Recognizing denialism also means recognizing that you don’t need to, and probably shouldn’t argue with it.”

    “Our ultimate goal is to arm the people who are getting flustered by this stuff (and denialists can effectively confound even very informed scientists because their approach is often so shocking) with some simple tools that let you cry “bullshit” when these things pop up. In an ideal world, for instance, a journalist researching some topic wouldn’t end up interviewing one scientist and then some flat-earther for balance. They’d recognize that the flat-earther types have nothing to contribute, and the real discussion should be between those with a credible understanding of science.”

    I love that one especially. Only those people that we deem “credible” should even be allowed to participate in the discussion and journalists shouldn’t even allow anyone else to be heard in their media. And then in another part of that discussion the author has the gall to say:

    “Another common conspiratorial attack on consensus science (without data) is that science is just some old-boys club…”

    Well, I know too many people involved in science to adhere to that belief – but isn’t that what he just said it OUGHT to be?

    I think Sourcewatch is a good example of witch-hunting, and Desmogblog is another. I’d never seen the term “denier” user in a context outside of Holocaust studies before I went there, and was appalled to find a deniers gallery posted there like some kind of FBI most-wanted list. Understand, that I’ve been concerned about the impact of human activity on the global eco-system for 30 years (before some of you were born, perhaps). This isn’t just about my own experiences, it’s about attempts to exclude significant portions of the population from participating in discussions about POLICIES, by disqualifying their input on the basis of not being an accredited “expert” on the science alleged to underly the policy.

    I think it was Kevin, again, who said it very well:
    “Many other words in English better serve the purpose for which you are hunting, like ‘charlatan’, ‘fraud’, etc. I don’t see another purpose to inventing a new word when so many already exist that are more precise and accurate. Rather I do see a reason, the rhetorical goal to equate denial of certain orthodox positions with immorality.”

  42. #42 Lucas McCarty
    February 2, 2008

    Mr Harold, Daedalus’ pointing out your use of projection was spot on. You’ve continued using it in a manner that makes me think you can’t be anything other than a troll. I don’t know if you are a crank of any kind of flavour, some might consider your long-winded introduction to be setting yourself up so easily for a fall when people point out the numerous ways in which you can’t possible be adhering to your presumed lifestyle. We still can’t even work out why you would describe your lifestyle here.

    I eat curry twice a week, don’t recycle, use public transport inefficiently and have seven cats. Does this interest anyone else in the slighted? Would it alter their perceptions of anything I write here?

    Personally I won’t belive such ridiculous accusations of ‘witch-hunting’ until I actually see someone using logic along the lines of ‘if they don’t drown, they must be a witch’.

  43. #43 Roy Harrold
    February 2, 2008

    Shiritai – I have already apologized for lumping everyone together. I have tried to articulate that I’m particularly concerned about the brothers responsible for the “Denialist’s deck of cards”, but I can’t and won’t single them out exclusively. I’ve spent about 10 hours going through archives of “circles”, including comments, and I can’t be much more specific because it all became a blur when the anger overwhelmed me.

    How about – I’ll just apologize to everyone and retract everything I’ve said, state that I’m sure you’re all extremely nice people, and wish you all the very best in the future. You can pretend I was never here if you wish, or you can spend the night mocking me if you’d rather.

    I really don’t care, at this point.

  44. #44 Tyler DiPietro
    February 2, 2008

    I suspect that Roy’s “point” was more or less that we’re all a bunch of meanie-heads. Not exactly a damning charge, in my opinion. The only thing I really care about is factual accuracy versus inaccuracy. And I notice that he hasn’t assented to a critique of a factual claim in any of his long-winded, inane rants thus far.

  45. #45 DuWayne
    February 3, 2008

    It’s rather funny Roy, your attacks on the use of the term denialism. I like it and use it on a regular basis, indeed, my first print aticle (that is still in the void of uncertainty about publication) is all about HIV/AIDS denialism and neurological disorder denialism, with a smattering of germ theory, spherical earth and yes, even gravity denialism thrown in. The only place I touch on public policy, rather than straight denial of science, is where HIV/AIDS denial has influenced public policy in several African nations. I only put that in, because such public policies are literally killing people.

    Denialism is an apt term. The people who partake are indeed engaging in denialism. The evidence is there, in spades, they just choose to ignore it. Evidence against the ideas they wish to deny is non-existent. What pray tell, do you suggest we call people who willfully and loudly deny the existence of things for which there is no evidence against? Ignorant morons? Blind? Stoopid? Denialist is a much nicer term than anything I can come up with.

    I’ve seen you excommunicate and shun people from your ranks because someone didn’t think that person was sufficiently orthodox in their attitude toward a certain policy agenda.

    Name one example.

    I for one, actually come at an issue that is near and dear to Orac’s heart, from a somewhat different perspective, though it does put us in common cause. I am really keen on plant medicine and some other “alternative” medicines. I would love to see actual research and studies done to prove or disprove their efficacy. Where Orac and I are dead in line, is in the notion that there is no such thing as alternative medicine and shouldn’t be. If it works and it’s efficacy has been proven, it’s medicine, if not, it’s not.

    I am also not (shh, don’t tell anyone) an atheist. I daresay, I never will be. I never make any bones about it, yet on forum after forum (including this one), people are perfectly reasonable and polite with me. Seemingly pleased that I am taking part in the conversation.

    I’m here to say that I ought to be one of your fans, but I can’t be – because some of you are engaged in witch-hunting and others are condoning that behaviour. I’m very disappointed. I expected better.

    It’s a witch hunt to attack the statements of people who, in direct contradiction of all available evidence, advocate ideas that can and often times do, hurt others? Lest you try to claim that certain sorts of woo, such as homeopathy and “energy” healing can’t hurt anyone, let me mention that some folks pursue these as the only treatment they need to defeat illnesses like HIV or cancer. To be clear, many people choose not to use treatments that could prolong their lives, or the lives of their children, believing that woo will save them.

    Or is it a witch hunt to attack people who are more concerned with finding someone or something to blame, for their child’s autism, than they do trying to accept their child for who that child is. Rather than doing everything they can to give that child the best chance of making it in society, they want to demonize vaccines. They encourage people to refuse to vaccinate their children, putting those children and children who cannot develop the anti-bodies at risk for horrible diseases that we have all but defeated entirely as a society.

    Or maybe it’s a witch hunt to fight for good science education. Because we should “teach the controversy” about evolution. But why stop there? Shouldn’t we then teach the controversy about a spherical earth? Or the controversy about gravity? How about the controversy about the holocaust? Or the Ralian controversy about how life on earth is the result of the intervention of extraterrestrials?

    Please, explain more about these witch hunts you speak of. I would love to understand what exactly you’re talking about. Because all that I see, is people who are dedicated to hammering through the bullshit. This may be a problem for you, but some of us really appreciate the resource. As one who is rather inclined towards credulity, I like to find out more about ideas that I might be erroneously sympathetic to. Not having access to much of the information that many of the people you are disparaging do, I am really glad that they choose to spend some of their time disseminating it. I hate the notion of wallowing in the foul depths of ignorance. So unless you actually have something to contribute, besides tirades about what seems to amount to the impoliteness of Orac and his “ilk,” please feel free to suffer in silence or promote these same ideas you claim to agree with, in a fashion that you find more palatable.

    For the record, since you seem to think this sort of thing is important. I use public trans and my bike as much as possible, though as a handyperson, I occasionally have to drive tools and materials around. I work very hard to make the slightest carbon print I can. I also try not to be a pretentious asshat about it.

    Lets see, on the family end, my father is a construction safety expert, after retiring from MIOSHA. He has a bachelors of business. His father was a sometime farmer, who also became a moderately sized concrete contractor. I am a high-school dropout, currently CLEPing my way through the basics, so I can get heart of a decent college education. I support my family by fixing the homes of others and making them look nicer too, again in the most environmentally friendly way I can.

  46. #46 Schwartz
    February 3, 2008

    Shiritai,

    I don’t recall complaining about the seriousness of the article? If I’m mistaken, please point it out.

    All I stated was that the article was asking for trolls, and Harold’s response was quite entertaining. I think you are the one taking the responses far too seriously.

  47. #47 Schwartz
    February 3, 2008

    ROTFL

  48. #48 Felix Kasza
    February 3, 2008

    Roy Harrold:

    Just like you, I never owned a car (or donorcycle, etc.). I never had a driver’s licence in my life.

    If, however, that might lead to people seeing me as ideologically related to ignorant pretentious posers such as you, I’ll have to go out and buy the biggest truck I can afford.

    Bleurgh.

    Felix.

  49. #49 Graculus
    February 3, 2008

    I’m pretty certain that Roy weighs the same as a duck.

  50. #50 Abel Pharmboy
    February 3, 2008

    Wait, is this the same Roy Harrold who defends smokers’ rights in Canada and denies the health effects of secondhand smoke?

    I thought so.

  51. #51 Susang
    February 3, 2008

    Abel:

    I was hoping someone besides myself would take the time to read Harrold’s “blog”. If you can manage to slog through the morass of the first post, all will be revealed. Strange that he never once mentions the real reason dislikes all of you elitist credentialed witch-hunters. Perhaps he feared that no one would respect his comments if they knew the truth…..

  52. #52 Tyler DiPietro
    February 3, 2008

    “Also I would like the original animal/toxicology studies that must have been conducted in the 30’s proving thimerosol safety in humans, I can find them for Splenda, but not for mercury.”

    This little shell game of your’s is getting rather tiresome cooler. Why don’t you give us a little bit of extra-info on where you have looked and why studies from all the way back in the 30’s are of any kind of special importance as far as thimerosal causing autism. Your questions betray someone with a pre-determined conclusion trying to score cheap rhetorical points.

  53. #53 Roy Harrold
    February 3, 2008

    Abel – you’re absolutely right. I do defend the human rights of poor, elderly, disabled and otherwise socially disadvantaged people who smoke, in accordance with principles of social justice. Specifically, their innate human right not to be deprived of adequate food, clothing and shelter, their right to necessary medical care, and their right to work. If you profess to believe that there is any justification for denying them these rights you will simply prove yourself worthy of the nastier things I’ve said about some participants of Skeptic’s Circle.

    Btw, how about quoting me in relation to denying the health effects of second-hand smoke. Be sure to cherry-pick, please.

    Susang – yes, I included my blogsite url in my postings here because I was desperate to hide “the truth” about myself from everyone here. Oh no! I am unmasked! Suicide is the only option, now, I suppose…

  54. #54 Roy Harrold
    February 3, 2008

    On the topic of the outrageously heretical nonsense I post on my blog, you didn’t mention the recent debunking of a paranoid conspiracy theory adhered to be many anti-smoker hate propagandists in various sciences (who really ought to know better) – that anyone who public opposes tobacco/smoking policy agendas must be a paid secret agent of the tobacco companies. Doesn’t adhering to paranoid conspiracy theories make someone a denialist crank? Or merely a crank?

  55. #55 DuWayne
    February 3, 2008

    Roy –

    you didn’t mention the recent debunking of a paranoid conspiracy theory adhered to be many anti-smoker hate propagandists in various sciences (who really ought to know better) – that anyone who public opposes tobacco/smoking policy agendas must be a paid secret agent of the tobacco companies.

    Kind of like how Orac is a paid shill for big pharma, you mean? Why would anyone who already believes what you have debunked is bullshit, even consider mentioning it?

    You are amusing, I’ll give you that. (not really a good sort of amusing mind, amusing in the way flat earthers are amusing)

  56. #56 DLC
    February 4, 2008

    wow. see what happens when you arrive here late?
    I missed the storm of weirdness.

    oh well. at least the Giants won the superbowl.

  57. #57 HCN
    February 4, 2008

    DLC said “oh well. at least the Giants won the superbowl.”

    Oh, they did. I’m sorry, I didn’t notice.

    (actually, I spent the evening watching Doctor Who DVDs)

  58. #58 Roy Harrold
    February 4, 2008

    DuWayne – Orac is a shill for big pharma? I didn’t know that. (I didn’t say that, either). Why is he a shill for big pharma?

    I don’t find you amusing. I think you are a pretty serious person. I’ve read bits of your blog, of course. I’m glad you are “out there” doing what you do. I’ll wait to see what you have to say about “denialism” though. I’ll be very disappointed if it turns out that you are one of those who use accusations of “denialism” to attempt to silence anyone who opposes policy agendas you hold.

    I’ve moved on from here, by the way. I’ve gone over to the Hoofnagles’ blog. People who wish to continue mocking me are welcome to tag along.

  59. #59 Interrobang
    February 4, 2008

    People like him make me embarrassed to be a lefty Canadian. My first thought was, “So we lose Tooker Gomberg, but we still have to deal with this guy?”

  60. #60 Bronze Dog
    February 4, 2008

    I’ll be very disappointed if it turns out that you are one of those who use accusations of “denialism” to attempt to silence anyone who opposes policy agendas you hold.

    How the hell is criticism “silencing” people? They have the right to express their (stupid) opinions, and we have the right to call them stupid, and the hows and whys of stupid (pointing out denialist tactics).

    Of course, given that over at Denialism, Roy’s expressed horror at the idea that we’re trying to make criticism of ideas socially acceptable, I don’t think Roy is really arguing in favor any First Amendment case or whatever. Only against freedom of expression.

  61. #61 Brian X
    February 4, 2008

    I can’t help but note that Roy doesn’t even really seem to have a point germane to the post. He’s bloviating like a mixture of Michael Crichton and Ted Kaczynski (and I really do see a lot of Kaczynski here, even if Roy would never even think of injuring or killing someone over his beliefs).

    Roy, you’re a perfect example of what we mean when we say “Keep your mind open, but not so much that your brain falls out”, and, as has been pointed out, since you obviously don’t live off the grid, you’re a raging hypocrite anyway. You, like so many on the fringe of both right and left, want science to serve a political agenda rather than drive it. Also like many on the fringe, you have absolutely no sense of humor when it comes to skepticality.

    I would address more of your commentary, but a) I’d be feeding the troll and b) a lot of it borders on incomprehensible so I’m not entirely sure what you’re saying.

  62. #62 Mike P
    February 4, 2008

    I think what Roy is waiting for is a medal. A huge medal to show the world how special he is and how much better he is than everyone else. Mind you, he’d never wear it. He’s far too modest for something like that. But you damn well better believe he wants you to recognize it. So let’s start to work drafting the Roy Harrold Medal of Honor Awarded to the Best Human Being, because clearly he’s got the credentials for the damn thing.

  63. #63 DuWayne
    February 4, 2008

    Roy –

    Orac is, obviously, a paid shill for big pharma, because he advocates for evidence based medicine and has this strange notion that alty “medicine” should be held to the same standards as evidence based pharmaceuticals. Much the way you are obviously a paid shill for big tobacco.

    My point regarding the notion that you might be a paid shill for big tobacco, you are preaching to the choir.

    I’ll be very disappointed if it turns out that you are one of those who use accusations of “denialism” to attempt to silence anyone who opposes policy agendas you hold.

    I am not trying to silence anyone. Indeed, I am far more comfortable with denialists who speak out loud and proud, so I can eviscerate their ignorance based arguments. (though to be sure, I have actually banned some denialist commenters, who tend to go on exhaustive tangents that have little to nothing to do with the topic at hand)

    I do however, hammer at two denialist subsects that do indeed, wish to influence public policy. HIV/AIDS denialists and neurological disorder denialists. Though I am not trying to silence them, I most certainly am very vocal in my desire to keep them from having the tiniest bit of influence on public policy.

    I have extremely severe ADHD and have also been diagnosed bipolar. I am raising a child who, if anything, has more severe ADHD than I do. I have a seven week old son, who quite probably will also turn out to have ADHD. I am absolute in my desire and drive to keep morons who don’t believe that ADHD exists, from influencing public policy. There is little enough help available (through schools) for people like me and mine. There are a lot of folks out there who would love nothing more than to see what little there is, begone.

    There are also HIV/AIDS denialists who would love to see public policy swing to the idiot notion that HIV/AIDS do not exist or some similar notion. They would love to see life extending medications for those who suffer this horrible disease, disappear completely. At the very least, they would like to see the government defund the Ryan White fund, that provides these very expensive medications to people who will die without them, but cannot afford them.

    So while I am not interested in silencing these people (indeed, I am a fairly extreme free speech advocate), I am sure as hell going to do everything within my power to thwart their attempts to influence public policy.

  64. #64 Roy Harrold
    February 4, 2008

    DuWayne –

    I’m a gay man. My stepchildren (long story) had serious emotional and behavioural problems connected to life events before we became family. As I said – I’m glad that you are doing the things you are doing.

    you said:
    “I am not trying to silence anyone. Indeed, I am far more comfortable with denialists who speak out loud and proud, so I can eviscerate their ignorance based arguments”

    Excellent. Good for you!

    You also said:

    “So while I am not interested in silencing these people (indeed, I am a fairly extreme free speech advocate), I am sure as hell going to do everything within my power to thwart their attempts to influence public policy.”

    Which is as it should be. I respect you for that.

  65. #65 HCN
    February 5, 2008

    While you respect DuWayne just like I do, I still see no reason why I should give you any more credence than anyone else. Actually, I am at a point where I just want to ignore Mr. Roy Harrold. You’ve really not contributed much to the discussion, but just noted that you have extreme opinions. Big deal, so what?

    Especially when most of us want to go on is evidence. Things like what happens when vaccines stop or what happens when the Victoria, BC still dumps untreated sewage offshore. That is what matters. Not opinion, but facts with evidence to back them up.

    Do you have any of those?

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