Respectful Insolence

One last reminder…

…that I and a bunch of other ScienceBloggers will be at the following location from 2-4 PM today:

Details:

2pm-4pm on Saturday, August 9

Social
795 8th Ave (close to 49th St.)
New York, NY 10019

A couple of warnings:

Point one:

I’m a lot more boring and unassuming in person than I am on the blog. Really. Just ask my family and friends. As PZ would say, I don’t breath fire or eviscerate alt-med mavens. If you’re expecting the same level of scintillating (or not-so-scintillating) wit seen here, you’re likely to be disappointed. Fortunately, my fellow ScienceBloggers will more than take up the slack in that department. They have personality.


Point two:

I have been informed by my operatives (yes, I chose that word intentionally; I figure if antivaccinationists are deluded enough to believe that I’m part of some Vast Pharma Conspiracy to Suppress The Truth About Vaccines, I might as well have some fun with it) that the Meetup information has been posted on a couple of anti-vaccinationist mailing lists. I tend to doubt anyone will actually show up, given that it’s hard for me to envision a much more hostile environment for antivaccinationists (outside of a meeting of Merck scientists, perhaps), but I would like to clear up a couple of misconceptions they appear to have. First, this is not, as has been claimed, a “pro-vaccine” meeting designed to plot bigger and better ways to Poison The Children And Turn Them Autistic. It is nothing more than a chance for readers of a variety of blogs, the vast majority of whom never (or at best rarely) even mention vaccines, to meet the bloggers. That’s it. There’s nothing nefarious going on, just a bunch of science geeks and skeptics hanging out and discussing science over libations on a Saturday afternoon. In fact, in the unlikely event that any antivaccinationists do show up, I’ll personally buy them a round of drinks and give them a few minutes to present to the assembled throng their best arguments and reasons why they think vaccines cause autism, but only under two eminently reasonable conditions:

  1. No yelling or ad hominem attacks. (That means no pharma shill gambit, I’m afraid.) I’m nice, but I’m not going to buy drinks for people who throw insults at me. Also, as I point out time and time again, my usual “conflict of interest” statement before talks that I give goes along the lines of, “I have no conflicts of interest because no company has yet found my research interesting enough to want to fund.”
  2. You have to be willing to answer questions from anyone present, myself included. Remember, these will be smart, science-minded, and skeptical people. They will be polite, but they will ask pointed questions.

What could be fairer?

In the end, though, I suspect that showing up would be a waste of time, especially if you think this is some conspiratorial meeting. If you’re deluded enough to believe that, no amount of rational, scientific argument is likely to change your mind, and the most you’ll accomplish is to annoy us.

Comments

  1. #1 rlbates
    August 9, 2008

    Enjoy yourself. Let us know who all you meet there! Wish I could attend.

  2. #2 Dawn
    August 9, 2008

    It was a lot of fun meeting you today, Orac. And you were NOT boring. Unassuming, yes. Boring, no. Hope you had a good time in Apple Heaven and a safe trip home.

  3. #3 Natalie
    August 11, 2008

    So, did any anti-vaccination folks show up?