Respectful Insolence

I don’t read ScienceBlogs.de for the simple reason that I don’t understand German beyond a few words and phrases. Consequently, I don’t know what our German counterparts are up to. However, a reader sent me a link that gives me reason to be very concerned about at least one of the blogs in the German ScienceBorg Collective. It’s a blog called Lob der Krankheit, which apparently means something like “Praise of Illness.” Specifically, my reader referred me to a post entitled “Aluminium muss raus aus Impfstoffen!” because it concerned him. In essence, it means “aluminum must be removed or eliminated from vaccines.”

A Babelfish translation of the page, although full of the usual verbal quirks that such translators bring, reveals an interview with a doctor who is described thusly (via Babelfish):

Wiesbadener physician Klaus Hartmann, 48, was ten years long responsible with German Paul Ehrlich Institut for the scientific evaluation of unwanted effects of vaccines. Today it is one that usually employed judicial consultant for the statement of possible inoculation damage.

Uh-oh. This does not sound good.


In any case, I slogged through the Babelfish translation, and from what I could tell this guy is spewing a lot of canards about the HPV vaccine, ones similar to some of the ones that I shot down before here and here. One good thing is that I see in the comments, most of the commenters are ripping the blogger Bert Ehgartner a new one for his promotion of pseudoscientific antivaccination canards.

Perusing the blog using Babelfish is, unfortunately, a tedious and difficult experience, because of the strange and stilted grammar and phrasing that results. So I ask those of you out there who speak German. Would you please peruse Lob der Krankheit and let me know if it is indeed a crank blog? Is the blogger, Bert Ehgartner, an antivaccinationist or an apologist for the antivaccine movement? It’s very hard for me to tell with the imperfect tools I have available. For example, this article on vitamins seems semi-reasonable, while this one on the flu vaccine sounds as though it has a bit of the ol’ anti-pharma “they pay for the studies” rants, although its Babelfish translation gives some particularly bizarre results. Even worse is this post, which appears to argue that ADHD is a result of brain damage caused by environmental toxins, especially vaccines and the aluminum adjuvants in them.

German-speaking readers of Respectful Insolence, help me out here! If our German division has gone astray and allowed woo into one of its ScienceBlogs, it’s up to me to try to set it straight! Or, failing that, to deliver a heapin’ helpin’ of not-so-Respectful Insolence to Lob der Krankheit! But I clearly can’t do it without your help!

ADDENDUM: My followup post is up. Please continue the conversation in the comments there. I have closed the comment thread here in order to have that conversation migrate to the new post (hopefully).

Comments

  1. #1 Bob O'H
    November 30, 2008

    Oh dear, he’ll be getting some Respektvolle Unverschämtheit.

    I’ve asked one of my Nature Network colleagues to help. I hope he has the time!

  2. #2 Rebecca
    November 30, 2008

    *is German*

    That blog, and that entry especially, is a complete trainwreck. But the people commenting on it are mostly sane.

    The author also seems to have written a book http://www.ehgartners.info/ausgabe_page_books.php?book=lobderkrankheit , which is another anti-vac trainwreck.

  3. #3 DCP
    November 30, 2008

    I’ve just read his posts “Aluminium muss raus aus Impfstoffen” and “Grippe-Experten beraten die Bevölkerung wie Staubsaugervertreter”.

    Well, Rebecca is right. The usual conspiracy-mongering – vaccine-experts are no experts, their only motivation is the money they get from big pharma and so on.
    I wonder how he managed to end up on scienceblogs.

  4. #4 Robster, FCD
    November 30, 2008

    More evidence free “science.” Perhaps we should outlaw aluminum from the planet’s crust.

  5. #5 Catherina
    November 30, 2008

    To answer your question: yes, there is. Bert Ehgartner, an Austrian ‘Medicine Journalist” has been flirting with the German Anti-vaccine crowd for years, speaking at their symposia. The title of his latest book roughly translates into “the Praise of Disease” – hygiene hypothesis taken too far. His text on Ad(H)D is even worse (brain damage underlying attention deficit could be caused by vaccines).

    I have no idea how his blog got onto scienceblogs.de, but then the medlog blog on the same site states religion prolongs life: http://www.scienceblogs.de/medlog/2008/11/religion-verlangert-das-leben.php
    unable to expain what he finds convincing in the paper (which I had to find for him in the first place) and this blog is uncritically posting a “Manifest against Gardasil Vaccination”: http://www.scienceblogs.de/plazeboalarm/2008/11/hpvimpfung-manifest-fur-neubewertung-der-wirksamkeit.php (Ehgartner comments positively).

    I have no idea what these people are doing on a scienceblog and there is no enough time in the day to respond to each one.

    So yes, the German division, IMO, has gone astray, big time. I have no idea who decides who get onto the German scienceblogs, but I would like to see their reasoning behind allowing certain people in.

  6. #6 DCP
    November 30, 2008

    More evidence free “science.” Perhaps we should outlaw aluminum from the planet’s crust.

    Yeah, let’s also ban H2O. Did you know that it’s quite deadly if inhaled? For all I know it might cause autism, too.

  7. #7 perceval
    November 30, 2008

    What Becca said. This person appears to be a professional critic. He savages Big Pharma and Big Nutrition (good), but seems to be lacking the knowledge to write about science properly. He also has an article about a Norwegian Breast Cancer study that you talked about on Science- Based Medicine (here’s the link ) What he focuses on is the fact (?) that 22% of breast cancers heal spontaneously. Very different from your detailed epidemiological discussion. Title:
    Every fifth breast cancer heals spontaneously

    If you feel the urgent need to comment on the article, ping me (comment on my LJ works best; the email I’m providing is not very functional) and I will translate it for you.

    He has already been demolished by another German science blog – that was way back in August.

  8. #8 Brendan S
    November 30, 2008

    EVERYONE WHO HAS AUTISM HAS DRANK Dihydrous monoxide!

    I think this is a sign!

  9. #9 Shaden Freud
    November 30, 2008

    EVERYONE WHO HAS AUTISM HAS DRANK Dihydrous monoxide!

    I think this is a sign!

    Yes! Everyone sign this petition to ban dihydrous monoxide! Someone alert Jenny McCarthy, stat!

  10. #10 Robster, FCD
    November 30, 2008

    Maybe they will add a New Germanic Medicine page next.

  11. #11 The Gonzo Girl
    November 30, 2008

    I agree.
    His blog is written in the sensationalist writing style of the “Bild Zeitung”.
    His choice of words in the Autism story speaks for itself:
    “There are considerations, whether ADS should be part of the illness spectrum of Autism…”
    “isolated areas à la ‘Rain Man’…”
    “ADS could therefore be a special form of Autism. Which disease will manifest itself, depends on the type and degree of the brain’s damage.”
    He then speculates, that there must be an environmental factor, and continues to call Autism a “hereditary disease”, and only refers to children in his statisics.
    Nice.

  12. #12 CCW
    November 30, 2008

    Yes, his entries definitely read like the ramblings of a crackpot. “Oh look, increased numbers of ADHD diagnoses. That must mean that the actual number of cases if increasing. Let’s blame vaccines!”. He also attempts to lump ADHD with autism spectrum and, according to one of the commenters, he thinks measles are harmless and wanted to drag his kid to a “measles party”. HIV denialist too (have a look in the comments following his ADHD post).

  13. #13 Catherina
    November 30, 2008

    The exact quote is “bei guter Pflege harmlos” (reminding me of Buchwald’s reminiscing of measles in the care of his grandmother). As I understand it, Bert’s younger children have been vaccinated against measles.

    But what he does with his own children is really not relevant for the question at hand. The question is: how did so many bloggers who are either evidence-free, or are uncritically reproducing press releases, get a place in scienceblogs.de?

  14. #14 CCW
    November 30, 2008

    It says something about the firmness of his convictions, if he’s even willing to consider intentionally exposing his children (and only vaccinating for lack of an opportunity to do so). This isn’t merely a “Hmm, this is a question worth looking into” on his part. That’s all I was implying.

  15. #15 Martin Fenner
    November 30, 2008

    Yes, there is an antivaccinationist on ScienceBlogs.de. Your Babelfish translations were on target.

  16. #16 storkdok
    November 30, 2008

    Yep, he is promoting quackery. Are you going to flog him?

  17. #17 Dr Shock
    November 30, 2008

    Yep, it is a quack, not even knowledgeable as far as medicine is concerned. He is from Austria and studied politics.
    Keep clear, not worth the hassle, kind regards Dr Shock

  18. #18 storkdok
    November 30, 2008

    He is the Viennese Kirby.

    BTW, did you know you were quoted? By “sil”

    Bei Oprah Winfrey wurde das ja auch heiß diskutiert, mit Erfolg:
    “Thanks, Jenny McCarthy! Thanks for the measles!”
    http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/?p=194

    It’s been over 20 years since I lived in Vienna. I love “hearing” the Viennese dialect again! Oh, they demolished him!

  19. #19 Felix Kasza
    November 30, 2008

    Dihydrous monoxide

    Is that actually accepted English usage? I believe the formula for “dihydrous monoxide” (um, monoxide of what, exactly?) would be

        WhatO · 2 H²O

    ?

  20. #20 Ludmila
    November 30, 2008

    Dear Orac, dear readers,

    I am one of the Bloggers from Scienceblogs.de and I have to say that I am outraged that I share a blog neighbourhood with such a fearmongering, bullshit-talking, antivaccine-propanda sprouting, self proclaimed medical journalist. Unfortunately anyone can assume this title. Even someone who has apparently only a passing familiarity with chemistry. Not that knowledge like this would be required in order to correctly identify the chemical substances contained or better *not* contained in vaccines.

    You wouldn’t believe the things that he wrote in defense of his fearmongering when I asked him what the hell he thought he was writing there. Oh wait! Yes you would.

    In short:

    “It should be allowed to ask with millions of children injected every day” blablabla

    “We owe it to the children in the Third world, who still get toxic vaccines” blablabla

    BTW, I really, really hate it when someone hides behind the backs of innocent children.

    “This is typical of the dogmatic state of medical science” blablabla

    “All the insiders and so called experts on vaccines agree that vaccines should” blablabla

    The last claims were made, of course, without telling who the insiders are. Yeah sure, only the renowned Bert Ehgartner has access to such mysterious circles. Well he is’nt. Renowned, I mean. I haven’t heard of him before I noticed his blog on Scienceblogs.de. Oh how I long for the days of blissful ignorance when I naively thought that the german journalism was virtually free of such people. Agreed, we have our share of journalists falling for the “nature is good” and “chemistry naughty, naughty” plot. Also a mantra frequently used by Bert Ehgartner.

    Anyway,

    please feel free, to tell the editors of scienceblogs.de what you think of Bert Ehgartner’s Blog “Lob der Krankheit” i.e. in english I would translate it to “Praise to disease”. I kid you not!

    But please, I beg you, be polite! The german editors are doing their best. They are maybe underestimating the dangers coming from such people but are definitely on the side of science.

    The email adress is: redaktion@scienceblogs.de

  21. #21 wolfgang
    November 30, 2008

    I follow Bert Ehgartner sinece years. He ist aboslutely an anti-vaccine agent.
    Recently he posted that the HPV-4 Vaccine (Gardasil) has to be considered as not -efficaous. He ignores postings to show the evidence of his statement until now.
    As a vaccinologist I know him since years- obviously he is not able to accept scietific facts. He was looking for years for a measles party, where he wants his daughter to attend. Unfortunately there was no measles party, so the girl got vaccinated with the MMR shot.
    However this year he would have enough opportunity to have his daughter to get measle due to an outbreak of measles in an anthroposophic Steiner school in Salzburg (173 got measles, 172 unvaccinated 1 only one MMR shot).
    In the moment Bert Ehgartner is on the trip to complain about the toxic effects of aluminium in vaccines- however without scientific evidence.

    I am concerned about the ethics of those journalists who ignore scientfic facts and who ignore the human right of chilrden to get immunised according to the childrens right convention.

  22. #22 sangfroid
    November 30, 2008

    Felix, they were referring to the dihydrogen monoxide hoax… Dihydro[gen] Monoxide is just water.

  23. #23 Orac
    November 30, 2008

    Ludmila,

    Thank you for the insight. It would help me enormously if you and other German-speaking readers would provide me with some translated examples, with links back to the original posts, of Ehgartner’s promotion of antivaccine propaganda and other quackery. I am extremely limited in what I can do here because I do not speak German. Certainly, I can’t even do my characteristic not-so-Respectfully Insolent slapdowns that are reserved for antivaccine kooks.

  24. #24 Ludmila
    November 30, 2008

    Dear Orac,

    I’m hosting a conference tomorrow, so I have no time to do this right now. I could provide you with a translation of the last infamous “Get the aluminium out of the vaccines”-Post by wednesday. Unless somebody else is willing to step forward?

    Hell, I actually don’t have time to write this or the last comment. But I’m so outraged that I just could not resist it.

  25. #25 Orac
    November 30, 2008

    Actually, the recent ADHD post from a couple of days earlier looks even more outrageous than the HPV/aluminum post.

    I understand, though. Why on earth would you want to waste time translating such nonsense? Perhaps others will step forward. I know a few other German speakers I might be able to ask, but they are more interested in refuting Holocaust denial; so I’m not sure how enthusiastic they would be about taking this on.

    In any case, I do not distinguish between Scienceblogs.de and the American flagship version. We’re all ScienceBloggers, and to have one so full of crankery is intolerable.

  26. #26 Catherina
    November 30, 2008

    Well, I have a lecture to write by Tuesday, but Ehgartner certainly ticks more than the anti-vaccine box – see his signature here:

    http://www.rethinkingaids.com/quotes/rethinkers.htm

    Bert Ehgartner. Medical Journalist, Documentary Filmmaker, Asperhofen, Austria. Co-author, Das Medizinkartell. Die sieben Todsünden der Gesundheitsindustrie (The Medicine Cartel. The Seven Deadly Sins of the Health Industry); Author, Die Lebensformel (The Life Formula).

  27. #27 Orac
    November 30, 2008

    Holy crap!

    So we have a guy who’s not only an antivaccinationist but an HIV/AIDS denialist as well.

    Lovely.

  28. #28 ali
    November 30, 2008

    I agree with Ludmila and think that polite e-mails to our editors could be helpful.

    Please don’t consider “Lob der Krankheit” as representative of scienceblogs.de (I guess that becomes obvious when reading the comments).

    I think most sciencebloglings from the German sister site do an outstanding job in writing about science and promoting scientific thinking (and I try my best to do so too with my modest contribution). The Aluminium post is probably just an (admittedly ugly) side-effect of the freedom of interference we all enjoy on scienceblogs.de.

    I might find some time tomorrow or the day after to do a translation (but just a rough and dirty one). In case I find the time, I will let you and Ludmila know (if anyone else has the time it might be good to post it, so we can avoid that the work is done twice).

  29. #29 Orac
    November 30, 2008

    I don’t consider “Lob der Krankheit” as representative of ScienceBlogs.de. In fact, it’s because I don’t distinguish between ScienceBlogs.de and the original American ScienceBlogs for which I blog that I insist on the same degree of scientific rigor in our German division as in the English language division to which I belong. It’s the very reason I was so dismayed to find out that our German division might have at least one antivaccinationist crank in its ranks. I find that just as embarrassing to me personally as if Bert Ehgartner were an American, Australian, or Brit blogging in English right here.

  30. #30 ama
    November 30, 2008

    Hi, folks, at the TG-1 forum Bert Ehgartner already has a file.
    I know him since at least 2001, IIRC.
    Please, DO protest at scienceblogs.
    I am one of the most fierce to throw Bert Ehgartner out there. And he does know that.
    http://www.transgallaxys.com/~kanzlerzwo/showtopic.php?threadid=4667
    I still have a war open with him since he threw Renate Ratlos and me out of his surfmed.at forum.

    Please, register in the TG-1
    http://www.transgallaxys.com/~kanzlerzwo/
    to get in contact with the rest of us. We are multilingual, including even some strange voices like Merkin and French. :-)

    ama

  31. #31 ama
    November 30, 2008

    Sorry for the doubles. This server is a wreck: it takes umpteen times to really HANDLE a posting.

    The good link for today:
    http://www.hall-of-fame.me
    :-)
    ama

  32. #32 CCW
    November 30, 2008

    I’d be happy to have a stab at the ADHD post.

  33. #33 ama
    November 30, 2008

    CCW you may join ous here in our ADD corner:
    http://www.transgallaxys.com/~kanzlerzwo/index.php?categoryid=46

  34. #34 David Marjanović
    November 30, 2008

    Ehgartner explains, in the post you cite, that his book is about “why it’s healthy to be ill once in a while”.

    BTW, Medlog had a post that said mercury and lead in insanely high doses are not toxic if they’re part of an Ayurveda wonder-powder (one school of Ayurveda believes that heavy metals help against all manner of illnesses). That, too, got trounced in the comments.

  35. #35 ali
    November 30, 2008

    @Orac

    I did a quick translation of the post which I will send you in a moment by e-mail.

    I am looking forward to your reaction here.

  36. #36 CCW
    November 30, 2008

    Emailed the ADHD post.

  37. #37 mo
    November 30, 2008

    Ahaha, I’m German, but I don’t read Scienceblogs.de, only Scieceblogs.com, because the news are faster here and I’m glad for every opportunity to practise English. Sometimes links to German Scienceblogs appear in the “top five” sidebar, though, and I thought “Lob der Krankheit” was some kind of sarcastic statement. I didn’t know we had a crank roaming around there and I thought we had only a tiny minority of cranks here, like him:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ryke_Geerd_Hamer

    How could he get on Scienceblogs.de? Don’t they have some quality management? :/

  38. #38 Paul Murray
    November 30, 2008

    … due to an outbreak of measles in an anthroposophic Steiner school in Salzburg (173 got measles, 172 unvaccinated 1 only one MMR shot).

    And I’ll bet they blamed the outbreak on the vaccinated child.

  39. #39 catta
    November 30, 2008

    Orac, I’m German — and a translator and writer. I’d be happy to translate any posts you’d like to have a look at (though the ADHD one is apparently done already).

    I am seriously angry about this. I hadn’t paid any attention to “Lob der Krankheit” so far, mostly because I’ve been focusing on other excellent blogs (glad to see you’re here, ali and Ludmilla – you two rock!). Count on it, I’ll be writing a polite letter to scienceblogs.de. This quackery just damages the credibility of the real scientists on the site. I’ve recommended scienceblogs.de very often, and I’d like to continue doing so with a clear conscience.

  40. #40 The Gonzo Girl
    November 30, 2008

    ama, you’re a hypocrite, for calling people with ADD “patients”, who “suffer” from it.
    The point of science is also to give an accurate description of neurological differences.
    I know Germany is horribly backwards, when it comes to these wordings, but you also listed all the international skeptics websites, so you have no excuse to be so out of touch with reality.

  41. #41 catta
    November 30, 2008

    Tramslation of three articles coming up (for the benefit of those also willing to help out): his interview with Tom Jefferson (“Grippeexperten beraten die Bevölkerung…”), the article in profil which he references in the introduction to the interview, and an interview he himself gave on prevention, “Vorsorge mit Nebenwirkung” (which he thinks is overrated).

    Two things I’ve noticed… one, his blog seems to be entirely centered on self-promotion or rather book promotion, to a degree that is utterly ridiculous, particularly in comparison to other sciencebloggers. The whole thing seems to be one big fat ad for his book (not surprising considering it has the same title). I really don’t think that that’s quality content. If he wants ad space, he can buy it somewhere else.

    Two… dear God, he’s a bad writer. In order to write for a lay audience about the topics he writes about, you need to be a good, ideally an excellent communicator. This is what makes scienceblogs so appealing to me; it gathers members of that (in my experience) rare breed, the well-spoken scientist. Hell, what with my own job, I’d even be satisfied with a good writer who has taken the trouble to become well-informed on a subject not originally his own. I don’t know enough myself to form an opinion on his knowledge of chemistry, but I trust Ludmilla is right (as usual ;)). That makes him a doubly bad choice for scienceblogs. Not good with science, not good at writing.

    Oh, and it explains why a babelfish translation would be even more ridiculous than usual.

    Still taking requests for translation of other articles, of course.

  42. #42 ama
    December 1, 2008
  43. #43 Jadehawk
    December 1, 2008

    “Aluminum Must be Removed from Vaccines!”

    A Manifesto, in which 13 scientist publicly demand a revision of the recommendation for the HPV-vaccine, is causing a stir. But it’s not only the efficacy of the vaccine that’s in question; it’s its safety, too. I spoke about this at the beginning of the year with the vaccine expert from Wiesbaden, Klaus Hartmann:

    E.: During the pre-approval studies for the HPV-vaccine, only relatively few side effects were found. There were barely any differences to the placebo-group.

    H.: That was because of the choice of placebo. The typical, neutral water-solution was not used. Instead, the mix was one of all ingredients of the HPV-vaccine, except for the HPV-antigens. Therefore, the placebo contained among other things the Aluminum-salts which are proven to be problematic.

    E.:What were the consequences?

    H.: The HPV-vaccine was tested against a substance that can cause the same side effects. This is a very questionable method, and I’m puzzled as to why the Ethics Commission permitted it. The Aluminum containing adjuvants have recently become a subject for discussion. Until now, their safety has been deduced retrospectively, since Millions of doses have been used for vaccination, and apparently nothing happened. That is not correct though. It is known that these additives cause autoimmune reactions in people who are susceptible. This has been confirmed in animal tests. Additionally, they can damage the nervous system, because Aluminum hydroxide has the potential to be a neurotoxin.

    E.: In what timerange after the vaccination does this happen?

    H.: This can happen up to five weeks after the vaccination. We have two mechanisms here: For one, the aluminum-salts can trigger autoimmune reactions, and secondly there are the direct damaging effects on the nerve cells. You do not register those, if you only take cases of up to two weeks into account. This toxic effect was recently confirmed to take place in human cells as well, even in doses like those used in vaccines.

    E.: Why haven’t those substances been replaced already?

    H.: The manufacturers know that the aluminum needs to be removed, and they’re all working on it eagerly. This will not take long, the same way ithat it happened to the mercury containing preservatives used in childhood vaccinations, which first became a issue for debate, and was then replaced.

    E.: Is the choice of placebo meant to hide the side effects of the HPV-vaccine?

    H.: Certainly. When the test group shows the same autoimmune reactions, they are leveled out and no one notices them.

    E.: The government agency responsible for collecting reports of side effects says that there are no known side effects to the HPV-vaccine.

    H.: These are pure cover-up tactics. Once a vaccine is approved, these feedbacks are the only control. But here, only the immediate reactions -if any- are reported. The weaknesses of the report-gathering system are known, but aren’t even meant to be improved upon. This is a true cover-up tactic. The government and the manufacturers are in agreement, and no money is spent. True, long-term data about safety don’t even exist. As long as this isn’t questioned and checked, the problem will continue to exist. It will continue to be said, with full certainty, that there are no problems, even though we can’t know that with what’s currently possible.

    E.: But now, the two deaths in Germany and Austria have caused furore.

    H.:Something like that can’t just be ignored. So now there is a great effort to absolve the vaccine of this. On the other side, no one is being tasked with seriously test a possible connection to the vaccination. There is an unbelievable distortion. Sensible research about this subject finds absolutely no support.

    E.:You have informed yourself about the Austrian cases, as well. Is there a connection to the HPV-vaccine?

    H.: The deceased young woman already had problems before her sudden death. She had developed a noticeable photophobia, had headaches and persistent intestinal symptoms. Those are typical symptoms of (Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis). If this isn’t looked for specifically during an autopsy, you can no longer find it. After all, an ADEM-focus is not a tumor or a change in tissue, which can be detected even days later. This is a fleeting inflammatory event. If this happens in the Nodus Vitalis, you could stop breathing (suffer an attack of apnea?) because of an ADEM-focus. And you don’t find the cause anymore, when this is investigated only after days or weeks.

    E.: There was the argument that with ADEM, the student would have had massive problems earlier, and would in this case not have been able to go away.

    H.:No, that’s nonsense. It always depends on where the nerve damage happens. There are many different symptoms. The patients could suddenly develop a psychosis, act noticeable. There is no uniform picture. Any kind of neurological, cerebral distinctive feature could be theoretically caused by an ADEM. In most cases it won’t be recognized as ADEM, and luckily it’s also the case that in most cases it happens reversibly. It is only rarely life threatening, and then it can unfortunately end like with the young Austrian woman.

    E.: Did you find ADEM in the cases you’ve examined?

    H.: In my assesment-clinic, that is the most common diagnosis with cases of vaccination-damage. It’s the biggest problem with inactivated vaccines.

    E.: How many assessments do you do per year?

    H.: I do about 60-70 per year, which are commissioned by the civil courts.

    E.: How high is the estimated number of unknown cases of undesired effects of vaccines in passive reporting systems like that of Germany or Austria?

    H.: A German study tested this for side-effects of drugs and came to a rate of reported cases of 5%-10%. With vaccines it would likely be looking worse, because doctors are hardly informed about the side effects of vaccinations, and also because the inhibition treshold to report it is higher. With antilipidemics or antibiotics this is taken for granted more, because there is already a certain sketpicism. With vaccinations, the doctors turn to their pharma-consultant, where they are pre-emptively covered-up.

    E.: Shouldn’t the reports go directly to the agencies?

    H.: Since 2001, there is a legal obligation to report. This has been barely noted by the doctors. There is also no education about it.

    E.: In Austria, the word from the vaccine experts was that after three weeks, a side effect from a vaccination was pretty much impossible.

    H.: Such statements came even from the longstanding SITKO (Permanent Vaccine Commission at the Robert Koch Institute) chairman Heinz-Joseph Schmitt. That is scientifically complete nonsense. Just like the Austrian positions that side effects only happen immediately or not at all. Complete rubbish.

    E.: Where then do those vaccine experts take their knowledge of the subject from?

    H.: The term “vaccine-expert” is not protected. Everybody can call themselves that. In addition, these vaccine-experts are with 100% likelhood on some industry-payroll. Either directly or over research-funds at university institutions. Those are all people who are paid to say that. Our SITKO-chairman Schmitt has after all recently switched officially into the industry to the vaccine-manufacturer Novaris-Behring. And over there, he probably still tells the same stories.

    The physician from Wiesbaden, Klaus Hartman, 48, was for 10 years with the German Paul Ehrlich Institute, responsible for the scientific assessment of undesirable effects of vaccinations. Today, he is one of the most employed court assessors for possible vaccination-damages.

  44. #44 wolfgang
    December 1, 2008

    on 12.Oct 2007 a 19 yr old girl died suddenly 24 days after her Garasil immunisation. A delayed autopsy was performed and no reason was found. Bert Ehgartner and Dr Klaus Hartmann speculated in an normally respected newspaper (der Standard) that the girl died of ADEM (acute disseminated encephalomyelitis) – but the autopsy revealed not any sign of ADEM , histology was also negative. The girl visited a dancing club until midnight, then went to Mc Donalds then went to bed and died. However having ADEM it is not possible to visit a dancing club without any neurological symtoms.
    The dead of this young lady was attributed by Ehgartner to an autoimmunity reaction to Gardasil .
    However molecular mimicry or bystander activation in this case is not possible since VLP particles in the vaccine do not have common sequences with brain molecules. An papilloma encephalitis is not described in medline. The only way to have HP Virus in the brain is via a brain metastasis of a cervical carcinome – which can be prevented by the vaccine.

    However due to this vaccine scare the HPV immunisation rate in girls in Austria is < 1% until now.

    and Klaus Hartmann is correct when he claims that the term vaccine expert ist not protected- so he can claim himself to be an vaccine expert. But Hartmann lies when he speaks of a 100% likelyhood of vaccine experts to be on a payroll of the industry.

    Ehgartner will present his poor book "Lob der krankheit" at an anti-vaccine symposium in 2009. This congress is organized by Hans Tolzin a German anti-vaccionist who made a petition to the Deutsche Bundestag to stopp measles vaccination. Tolzin also claimed that homosexuality is a curable disease, that the existence of viruses was never shown etc etc.....
    At this Symposium Dr Hartmann also gives a talk.

    Details here:

    http://www.impf-report.de/veranstaltungen/symposium2009.htm

    This activities of Ehgartner and Hartmann have really nothing in common with science-

  45. #45 florian
    December 1, 2008

    Hi – I also write on scienceblogs.de and are quite unhappy with the neighborhood to a blog like “Lob der Krankheit”. In my opinion it also resembles more a PR-site for the book than a real blog. If you visit Ehgartners Homepage and click on “Blog” you even get the whole ScienceBlogs portal framed by his website…

    Scienceblogs (and Ehgartner) would be better of without this kind of unscientific blog! I really hope, the editors will share this opinion.

  46. #46 Thomas Xavier
    December 1, 2008

    I’m sorry to say that Bert Ehgartner is not the only crank on the german scienceblogs. Look here: http://www.scienceblogs.de/medlog/2008/09/ayurveda-enthalt-blei-ach-nee.php

    This article is by a guy called Peter Artmann who claims heavy metals in ayurvedic medicines do *NOT* pose a health threat. And this is not the only blunder he writes!

  47. #47 Raiko
    December 1, 2008

    I’m a German scientist and horribly ashamed for my colleagues. :(

  48. #48 Jane
    December 1, 2008

    Hi there. I totally agree with all the other enraged posters about Ehgartners badly informed ramblings. And like Thomas I would name Pater Artmanns “Medlog” as the second bad egg in the otherwise superb Scienceblogs. This guy, who is going for a doctorate in biology (!), believes that it is absurd to criticise heavy metals in ayurvedic medicine, because they are an integral part of this “medicine”.

    Lets quote him on that one:

    The headline of the article translates:
    Ayurveda contains lead…oh really?

    “One of the most stupid news items of the last weeks was the announcement about the contamination of ayurvedic medicines with heavy metals. (…)
    Lets get serious now. If there werent any heavy metals, it wouldnt be ayurvedic medicine! Metals are active agents accourding to the Rasashastra-School of ayurvedic medicine.
    Can one blame the journalists? Well, the main culprit is a well respected scientific journal. Curiously enough, the American medical journal JAMA published a study by Robert Saper who has detected, that ayurvedic medicine contains metals…what a sensational finding!”

    http://www.scienceblogs.de/medlog/2008/09/ayurveda-enthalt-blei-ach-nee.php

  49. #49 Jane
    December 1, 2008

    Uuups its PETER Artmann he is not a Catholic priest ;)

  50. #50 catta
    December 1, 2008

    Re:Thomas Xavier: Aw jeez. Not another one. That Ayurveda post is just brainmeltingly bad. The post is dumb enough, but his attempts to justify the nonsense he wrote in the comments are just too revealing. How can anyone working on his PhD be this ignorant? Also, same question as with Ehgartner: WTF is he doing on scienceblogs? Anyone who honestly demands that medical practices ranging from idiotic to dangerous deserve respect by virtue of being old or from foreign parts shouldn’t be at a University. Nor should he be a science journalist, as he claims to be. Ugh. Should have written a more general protest letter; apparently someone needs a very basic refresher on what is scientific and what isn’t.

  51. #51 catta
    December 1, 2008

    Re:Thomas Xavier: Aw jeez. Not another one. That Ayurveda post is just brainmeltingly bad. The post is dumb enough, but his attempts to justify the nonsense he wrote in the comments are just too revealing. How can anyone working on his PhD be this ignorant? Also, same question as with Ehgartner: WTF is he doing on scienceblogs? Anyone who honestly demands that medical practices ranging from idiotic to dangerous deserve respect by virtue of being old or from foreign parts shouldn’t be at a University. Nor should he be a science journalist, as he claims to be. Ugh. Should have written a more general protest letter; apparently someone needs a very basic refresher on what is scientific and what isn’t.

  52. #52 Orac
    December 1, 2008

    Oh, geez.

    It sounds as though we have a real problem with ScienceBlogs.de. I never expected to open this big a can of worms with my post.

    I’ll do more on this later this week, although it might not be tomorrow. Thanks to all for your help in translating (I know it’s a pain in the rear), and if someone wants to translate that Ayurvedic medicine, that might be useful, too.

  53. #53 florian
    December 1, 2008

    There is a new post by Ehgartner, concerning the aluminium/vaccine-topic:

    http://www.scienceblogs.de/lob-der-krankheit/2008/12/aluminium-die-evidenz.php

  54. #54 Thomas Xavier
    December 1, 2008

    @Catta: These people mesh in nicely with the Steiner freaks from Witten-Herdecke, a medical faculty scoring so badly they threatened to shut it down. You should also keep in mind that german law makes special exemptions to anthroposophic and homeopathic remedies, *not* requiring them to be subject to rigorous testing as is the case for all other remedies.

  55. #55 cohen
    December 1, 2008

    For the german readers:
    This is Ehgartners newest article about aluminium in vaccines:
    http://www.scienceblogs.de/lob-der-krankheit/2008/12/aluminium-die-evidenz.php
    (Aluminium the evidence).

    This is Esowatch about Bert Ehgartner:
    http://blog.esowatch.com/index.php?itemid=86
    http://esowatch.com/index.php?title=Bert_Ehgartner

    And here about Peter Artman and ayurvedic medicine:
    http://blog.esowatch.com/index.php?itemid=110 “Happy poisoning”

    And here we wrote about a well known indigo-mom and the measles:
    http://blog.esowatch.com/index.php?itemid=102 “When playmates believe…”
    (Thanks to SBM)

    Great job, ormac.

  56. #56 Thomas Xavier
    December 1, 2008

    This is the article by Peter Artmann. He wrote similar gems, and if there is time I’ll translate some of his comments, too.
    —————————Cut
    One of the most stupid news of last week was the one about heavy
    metals in ayurvedic remedies. It was spread by Zeit, Focus and even
    the Ärzteblatt.

    We could read about “contaminated” or “loaded” remedies, and that this
    happened “despite the manufacturer guaranteed a clean production”.

    But seriously. If there were no metals contained, it would not be
    ayurvedic medicine. Metals are the active components of the
    Rasashastra-school of ayurvedic medicine!

    Can the editors be blamed? Well, the blame for this dumbing down goes
    to a renowned Journal. Of all things, the american journal for
    physicians JAMA published a study by Robert Saper, who – what breaking
    news- found out that ayurvedic remedies contain metals.

    What a wiseguy. Maybe, next time Saper warns from pain during
    acupuncture and the usual suspects pass that news then on. Attention:
    Acupuncture can cause pain, because you will be pricked (sounds a
    little bit like Feldbusch (a not-so-smart german TV personality,
    transl.) and belongs to the same league.

    “But isn’t it good, when you are notified of metals in ayurvedic
    remedies? I heards they even contain lead?”

    But of course they do! The whole Rasashastra-school of ayurvedic
    medicine is based on the use of metals. Lead is but one of the metals
    used. Traditionally, this medicin employs copper, silver, lead, iron,
    tin, zinc and even mercury.

    “What, even mercury? Do they want to poison their patients?”

    Well, its a different kind of medicin. The mercury (and all the other
    metals) are not administered as plain metals, but they are heated,
    crushed, heated again until only a white ash-like powder remains (this
    can take years). The resulting product is called bashma and swims on
    water (try this with pure mercury). Mercury is but one ingredient,
    other popular ones are lead and of course arsenic.

    “Yes, but isn’t it good anyways, when you inform people these
    alternative remedies contain dangerous ingredients? I mean, who
    has read the Rasashastra?”

    No, it is very silly. If you use ayurvedic medicine without
    practitioner, you have not understood the basic principle of
    alternative treatment. AN HOLISTIC TREATMENT WITHOUT TRUST IN THE
    PRACTITIONER CANNOT HEAL ANYBODY.
    This western attempt to combine several elements of traditionell
    chinese medicin and ayurveda and what-do-I-know from Tibet, change
    nothing in your life and then hope for the cure of a chronic disease
    lacks the most important part of all these doctrines: The faith in the
    healer.

    In traditionell societies nobody would get the idea to obtain remedies
    without the advice of a healer from an anonymous source (here Internet
    and online-pharmacies). Who gets the idea to obtain remedies without
    physician?

    Such questions reveal the whole trouble with the current medicin:
    Despite a bunch of useful remedies and practices by the current
    “schoolmedicin”, the people practising it are often so free of
    compassion that nobody can be surprised if so many patients loose
    their trust.

    But what kind of system is it, where academic studies of medicin can
    only be completed by those who can memorize quickly? Is this what you
    want from a phsician if a disease plagues you?
    —————————Cut

  57. #57 Jessica Riccò
    December 1, 2008

    Dear bloggers, dear readers,
    thank you for your concerns about ScienceBlogs.de. My colleague Marc and I are the editors of ScienceBlogs Germany and we were quite surprised when ripples of complaining emails reached us on Friday. We do know that Bert Ehgartner tends to focus on controversial topics in his blog, but so far he could always prove his list of references and that does make him an interesting author.

    The interview he posted last Thursday was an exception to that, but then, an interview does simply not have the claim to be completely impartial. I talked to Bert Ehgartner on Saturday and he agreed that the headline he chose was a mistake because he mixed up aluminium with sodium aluminate. He promised to be more careful in the future. And he does know, that we will not tolerate wrong informations if that happens more often. Anyway, a wrong headline would not be enough of a reason to ban him from ScienceBlogs.

    So what happened? As also posted in the comments above, there is an entire bulletin board designed to harm Bert Ehgartner. The author even announced “NOCH ist er drin bei Scienceblogs, der Bert Ehgartner. Aber das werde ich ändern… Mit Ehgartner habe ich nämlich noch ein Hühnchen zu rupfen. Und das weiß er auch…” which means „Still he is part of Scienceblogs, Bert Ehgartner. But I am going to change that… I still have a bone to pick with Ehgartner. And he knows that…” He doesn’t explain why exactly he feels like that, but I think you agree that it sounds a lot more like a personal dispute than criticism on his work.

    Before writing for ScienceBlogs.de, Bert Ehgartner has been working as a medical journalist for more than 20 years. He did not write for any lurid, frivolous newspaper but instead for Austria’s leading reputable newspaper. Also his books have not been published by himself as a private publishing venture but in big German publishing houses as Hoffmann&Campe, Piper and Lübbe. They surely have well enough editors who would not let a “quack” publish dangerous theories.

    He came to ScienceBlogs through our predecessor Beatrice Lugger who – having worked as a science journalist herself – also found and invited most of our other bloggers. In none of Ehgartner’s blog posts on ScienceBlogs.de he ever appealed to parents to not-vaccine their kids and he never denied HIV on our site. He does though quote quite a lot of medical scientists and these do sometimes make checkered statements.

    Concerning the HPV vaccine he (and also the criticized Marcus Anhäuser) simply quoted the manifest signed by 13 medical scientists, most of them professors. In succession to that, the medical scientist who discovered the papilloma virus and will be awarded this year’s Nobel prize for medicine, Harald zur Hausen replied to the manifest in today’s issue of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung and even admits “In der Tat [kann] die Verhütung von Gebärmutterhalskrebs selbst durch die Impfung noch nicht belegt werden” – “Indeed the prevention of cervical cancer can not be proven by the vaccination.” Discussing the manifest and the efficacy of the vaccine should be warrantable.

    In my opinion it is a shame to compare Bert Ehgartner to Ryke Geerd Harmer simply because they’re both German and a connection to the New Germanic Medicine is tried to be constructed. Harmer (the name says it all. Sorry, couldn’t forbear this one.) is definitely a quack. He was sued several times for practicing as a medical doctor without a licensure. By the way it might interest you that Bert Ehgartner very critically wrote about homeopathy and New Germanic Medicine for the Standard and I can assure you he’s not a friend of them.

    About the link to rethinkingaids.com: We are irritated by it but would rather wait for an explanation by Bert Ehgartner himself. In any case as far as I can tell, this is not the same group known as “AIDS denialists”.

    Please don’t let yourself be exploited by some fool who simply wants to endamage Bert Ehgartner. So far I experienced blogs as an open-minded way of journalism in which a democratic style of communication is possible. But what is happening now appears to be more of a fatuous witch-hunt.

  58. #58 Thomas
    December 1, 2008

    Wow, it looks like the problem over on scienceblogs.de is even worse than it seemed, based on that comment from one of the editors. Just a glance at the Medizin section and you can see something is seriously wrong over there. Relativizing it and acting as though the quacks are vicitims of a witch-hunt only makes things worse.

  59. #59 wolfgang
    December 1, 2008

    I know Bert Ehgartner since years and learned, that he ist an anti-vaccine activist. Among others he tried to find a measles party for his unvaccinated daughter.

    Only recently he declares that the HPV-4 vaccine Gardasil is “very likely inefficacious”. On different occasions I ask him for the evidence – until now there was no response, but as a sidestep he opens the discussion on Aluminium salts as adjuvants.

    Regarding to the “Manifest” for the HPV Vaccine, the authors claim, that the clinical endpoint was not cervical carcinoma but cervical inthraepiteal lesions. This is true, but should we look and see until a lady has cervical carcinoma +/- secundaria? State of the art is to intervene before and eliminate the lesion by conisation. A look and see strategy in a clinical trial would never get a permission by any ethical commitee.

  60. #60 Thomas Xavier
    December 1, 2008

    Dear Jessica,

    thank you for your statements on Mr. Ehgartner. Let me please add that this is not the personal vendetta of a single blogger against him, but there are quite a number of Ehgartner critics, some very renowned experts.

    Could you please comment on the “Quality” of the Blog by Peter Artmann, http://www.scienceblogs.de/medlog

    Thank you so much.

  61. #61 Ludmila
    December 1, 2008

    Jessica, I beg your pardon!

    As much as I respect your work, but on this one I strongly disagree. And todays piece of Bert – “Aluminnium – the evidence” – really doesn’t make things any better.

    Maybe someone has the time to translate this marvelous piece of data nitpicking and speculation into English.

    Jessica, I stongly protest against Bert Ehgartner. I don’t care where he comes from and what he does. He is not promoting science but misinformation under the disguise of concern for children.

    Or are you suggesting that I am the one with a personal agenda? Also take note that Florian and Ali have also expressed their disdain.

    This is far more than the personal agenda of one person or one group. If you are not able to see through the anti-scienific agenda of this guy, then I’m sorry to say that I have to seriously consider my relationship with Scienceblogs.de.

  62. #62 Dangerous Bacon
    December 1, 2008

    “AN HOLISTIC TREATMENT WITHOUT TRUST IN THE
    PRACTITIONER CANNOT HEAL ANYBODY.”

    That’s a clear admission that they’re based on placebo effect.

    Jessica Ricco’s loyalty to Bert Ehgartner is commendable, but it’s hardly reassuring to hear that while he is promoting quackery, he’s not as bad as Ryke Harmer. And I don’t see anyone here going after Ehgartner on a personal basis. Claiming that people shocked by his apparent antivaccine and HIV denialist views are engaged in a “fatuous witch-hunt” _is_ getting unnecessarily personal.

    ScienceBlogs.de, heal thyself.

  63. #63 Ludmila
    December 1, 2008

    Jessica, I beg your pardon!

    As much as I respect your work, but on this one I strongly disagree. And todays piece of Bert – “Aluminnium – the evidence” – really doesn’t make things any better.

    Maybe someone has the time to translate this marvelous piece of data nitpicking and speculation into English.

    Jessica, I stongly protest against Bert Ehgartner. I don’t care where he comes from and what he does. He is not promoting science but misinformation under the disguise of concern for children.

    Or are you suggesting that I am the one with a personal agenda? Also take note that Florian and Ali have also expressed their disdain.

    This is far more than the personal agenda of one person or one group. If you are not able to see through the anti-scientific agenda of this guy, then I’m sorry to say that I have to seriously consider my relationship with Scienceblogs.de.

  64. #64 wolfgang
    December 1, 2008

    I know Bert Ehgartner since years and learned, that he ist an anti-vaccine activist. Among others he tried (unsuccesfull) to find a measles party for his unvaccinated daughter.

    Only recently he declares that the HPV-4 vaccine Gardasil is “very likely inefficacious”. On different occasions I ask him for the evidence – until now there was no response from Bert Ehgartner, but as a sidestep he opens the discussion on Aluminium salts as adjuvants.

    Regarding to the “Manifest” for the HPV Vaccine, the authors claim, that the clinical endpoint was not cervical carcinoma but cervical inthraepiteal lesions. This is true, but should we look and see until a lady has cervical carcinoma +/- secundaria? State of the art is to intervene before and eliminate the lesion by conisation. A look and see strategy in a clinical trial would never get a permission by any ethical commitee.

  65. #65 wolfgang
    December 1, 2008

    in addition I want to say that Bert Ehgartner has nothing to do with the “Neue Germanische Medizin” of Gerd R Hamer. But this is one further group who are against immunisations.

  66. #66 clinteas
    December 1, 2008

    Guys,he’s harmless.Get a life already.

    He seems to be just as critical towards big pharma as he is critical of vaccine additives,for which he cites studies and reasonable journal articles.
    Nothing about vaccines=autism here,he’s not Jenny McCarthy,move on.

    Objectivity,you should try it sometime.

  67. #67 Thomas Xavier
    December 1, 2008

    WRT “Rethinking Aids”

    Have a look at:

    http://rethinkingaids.com/Content/TheBoard/tabid/60/Default.aspx

    Peter Duesberg is on the board. What else do you want?

  68. #68 Jessica Riccò
    December 1, 2008

    Dear Thomas,
    pardon me but how are we relativizing? I simply explained what Marc and I noticed and that the source of these afflictions appears to be a personal conflict which, indeed, does not belong on ScienceBlogs. Did anybody notice the last post by Ehgartner where he explains about aluminium mistake? We would really appreciate it if the detractors could make up their mind by not simply “glancing over”. Ehgartner and our other medical bloggers are not Steiner freaks, Jenny McCarthies, anthroposophists, homeopaths or AIDS deniers, seriously!

  69. #69 Orac
    December 1, 2008

    pardon me but how are we relativizing? I simply explained what Marc and I noticed and that the source of these afflictions appears to be a personal conflict which, indeed, does not belong on ScienceBlogs.

    If by “personal conflict” you are referring to me, you are quite mistaken. I had not even heard of Ehgartner until a German reader of mine pointed me to his blog and expressed his concern about the antivaccine crap he’s writing there. I had no idea who he was. There’s absolutely nothing personal. There is, however, a feeling of acute embarrassment that comes from learning that I share a blog network with an antivaccine crank who is also very likely an HIV/AIDS denialist.

    As for your previous, longer comment, there are, unfortunately, so many things wrong in your it that I do not have time to address them all because I’m at work. I will address three quick ones, however:

    First, whether Ehgartner said aluminum or sodium aluminate is completely irrelevant. He’s wrong either way. There is no good scientific evidence linking aluminum in vaccines with sudden death, autism, ADHD, or anything else. The only condition for which a tenuous link may exist is Alzheimer’s, and the evidence for that is pretty weak.

    Second,, Rethinking AIDS (RA) is most definitely an HIV/AIDS denialist group. It specifically questions whether HIV causes AIDS:

    http://www.rethinkingaids.com/Content/AboutRA/tabid/59/Default.aspx

    Noted HIV/AIDS denialists are on the board of RA, including Christine Maggiore and Peter Duesberg:

    http://www.rethinkingaids.com/Content/TheBoard/tabid/60/Default.aspx

    Read some of Gordon Stewart’s articles on RA. They’re classic HIV/AIDS denialism. Bert Ehgartner has signed the Rethinking AIDS petition/manifesto, as was pointed out in one of the earlier comments. Consequently, he has expressed agreement with the principles of RA, meaning that he is indeed an HIV/AIDS denialist.

    Finally, some German readers have translated Ehgartner’s post on ADHD/autism for me. It’s so full of misinformation and pseudoscience that I can (and may) devote an entire post to it. It’s as bad as anything I’ve seen from David Kirby, Jenny McCarthy, Barbara Loe Fisher, J.B. Handley, or on the antivaccine blog Age of Autism

    I will compose a more complete response after I get out of work this evening. Perhaps I will post it on my blog. Suffice it to say that Ehgartner has clearly promoted antivaccine pseudoscience and appears to be an HIV/AIDS denialist as well. As such he is an embarrassment to me and to ScienceBlogs. Again, there is absolutely nothing personal about this, other than a personal disgust at having the ScienceBlogs name sullied by an antivaccine, HIV/AIDS denying promoter of pseudoscience.

  70. #70 chrisB
    December 1, 2008

    Hello. I’m new to all this blog-thing, but I’m not new to the scientific approach taken in the german-speaking parts of the academic world. As a medical student in Vienna I have to deal with this half-esoteric mindset among my colleagues every day. Yes, Mr. Ehgartner can be described as harmful to the society, and yes he is a shame to journalism.

    But he is in good company. I can only speculate what paper Jessica Riccò meant by “Austria’s leading reputable newspaper”, but since I’m living here, I’ve never seen anything like such a thing.

    Mr. Ehgartner, as much as he’s ripped apart in here, is nothing special. Some fellows of his approach are even granted lectures at the University. The question rather is how much longer is the rest of the world willing to listing to anything that comes out of Austria? Can anyone in here remember the last study that proved that cell-phones cause brain tumors? Yes, it was from Vienna, and a total hoax.

    I don’t mean that one can’t find reasonable science here (on the contrary!), just that the prominent examples are spoiling the reputation forever.

  71. #71 clinteas
    December 1, 2008

    Sigh.
    Im really too tired for this shit.

    Ok,lets try again.Im looking at the first 10 blog entries on the guys’ blog,lets see…

    - the Aluminium one that was mentioned here as evidence that he an anti-vaccer,mentions a few publications with links to data,rare severe side effects,everyone knows that,whats the issue? No bad vaccine additive causes autism,as far as I can see,please show me the relevant links in case im too tired to see it

    -the breast cancer one,seems to just mention outcome of a study,sounds interesting,no ideological issues here

    -MRi demonstrates ADHS changes in the brain…cool,maybe might help with treatment? no issue here

    – post about docs being paid by “big pharma”to use their pills…yup,been there,done that,happens all the time…no issue

    -lets get rid of vitamin supplements sold on medicare(no medicare in germany,insert your country’s subsidy scheme here)…about time,very true

    -Statins are good for you even if you dont have high cholesterol…yessir,very true,good evidence to support that claim

    So,ehem,some posts in,no lunacy,no anti-vax,is he a bit of a critic on “big pharma” and all that,no doubt…
    But if the angry crowd that is calling for the guys head could show me some proof of his Jenny McCarthyism,Id be more than happy to look at it.

  72. #72 Orac
    December 1, 2008

    MRi demonstrates ADHS changes in the brain…cool,maybe might help with treatment? no issue here

    Ehgartner’s post on ADHD and autism is so full of misinformation that it deserves a deconstruction on its own. Now that I’ve received a couple of translations, I may well do it. For one thing, he postulates that ADHD is due to “environmental” toxins, including vaccines. There is no good evidence to support a link between vaccines and ADHD or autism. His comments on HPV and aluminum are wrong in multiple ways.

    As for the vitamin supplements, I pointed out that that was one post that seemed on the surface to be somewhat reasonable.

  73. #73 Jessica Riccò
    December 1, 2008

    thanks clinteas.

    No Orac, I didn’t mean you. I meant the author of the bulletin board I quoted above. I don’t know who that guy is but someone has just been waiting for an oppurtunity to chase Bert Ehgartner from ScienceBlogs. And that is definetely not based on the content of his blog posts but on some old personal conflict. He’s forthright announcing that he’s going to take revenge for something and after having encouraged readers on our German site his campaign seems to have drawn circles up to here. Great.

  74. #74 Orac
    December 1, 2008

    I assume you mean “ama.” You should know that the author of the bulletin board you mention is NOT the person who contacted me initially to express concern about Ehgartner’s posts. It was someone else.

  75. #75 tincture
    December 1, 2008

    At least they’re spelling Aluminium correctly. It’s not much but it’s a start.

  76. #76 clinteas
    December 1, 2008

    Orac,
    I take it youre a physician of some sort.So am I.

    I am not an Immunologist,and I would not be ashamed to say that as an Emergency Physician I dont feel competent to comment on Immunologists findings regarding the HPV vaccine or aluminium additives.

    It is one thing to have a look at immunization studies and numbers and to realize that anti-vaccers are wrong in their claims,that the anti-vacc crowd has agendas and lots of personal issues,and that Jenny McC needs to see a Psychiatrist,but its another thing to blow oneself up as someone who can look at other people’s studies and findings and declare them invalid or misleading just by force of mind,which is IMO what you are doing way too often.

    I have no way of testing or knowing whether aluminium salts can cause autoimmune reactions in susceptible individuals,but neither do you.
    So while this is not causing autism(and I still cant find any citation where he says that it might),I have no way of telling whether in say 2 in a million,this shouldnt cause a severe adverse event of some sort.

  77. #77 Orac
    December 1, 2008

    …but its another thing to blow oneself up as someone who can look at other people’s studies and findings and declare them invalid or misleading just by force of mind,which is IMO what you are doing way too often.

    Really? I had no idea my “force of mind” could do that! Maybe I should try to do some Jedi mind tricks. Or perhaps you could give an example and be specific with evidence rebutting me. I’ll wait.

    I’ll even give you some examples to peruse:

    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2008/08/woo_and_antivaccinationism_in_mainstream.php

    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2008/08/why_medscape_why.php

    Not to mention my deconstructions of antivaccination lunacy in general:

    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/medicine/antivaccination_lunacy/

  78. #78 David Marjanovi?
    December 1, 2008

    Quoth Jessica Riccò:

    So what happened? As also posted in the comments above, there is an entire bulletin board designed to harm Bert Ehgartner. The author even announced “NOCH ist er drin bei Scienceblogs, der Bert Ehgartner. Aber das werde ich ändern… Mit Ehgartner habe ich nämlich noch ein Hühnchen zu rupfen. Und das weiß er auch…” which means „Still he is part of Scienceblogs, Bert Ehgartner. But I am going to change that… I still have a bone to pick with Ehgartner. And he knows that…” He doesn’t explain why exactly he feels like that, but I think you agree that it sounds a lot more like a personal dispute than criticism on his work.

    Argumentum ad misericordiam. Being told he’s wrong may make him feel bad, but that doesn’t mean he’s right.

    Before writing for ScienceBlogs.de, Bert Ehgartner has been working as a medical journalist for more than 20 years. He did not write for any lurid, frivolous newspaper but instead for Austria’s leading reputable newspaper. Also his books have not been published by himself as a private publishing venture but in big German publishing houses as Hoffmann&Campe, Piper and Lübbe. They surely have well enough editors who would not let a “quack” publish dangerous theories.

    Several arguments from authority in a row.

    No, I’d bet money that they don’t have a single editor who would recognize woo when they see it. Very few people actually know what science is. In Vienna, I had an additional-biology (Wahlpflichtfach Biologie) teacher in the last 3 years of school who preached homeopathy, insisted it works, and told us “school medicine cannot heal”. (She simply shut up when I asked what to call it when “school medicine” successfully kills off a pathogen and thus removes the cause of an illness.)

    Concerning the HPV vaccine he (and also the criticized Marcus Anhäuser) simply quoted the manifest signed by 13 medical scientists, most of them professors.

    Yet another argument from authority.

    I conclude that ScienceBlogs is edited by people who don’t even recognize the most basic and most common logical fallacies. This is deeply embarrassing.

    Harald zur Hausen replied to the manifest in today’s issue of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung and even admits “In der Tat [kann] die Verhütung von Gebärmutterhalskrebs selbst durch die Impfung noch nicht belegt werden” – “Indeed the prevention of cervical cancer can not be proven by the vaccination.”

    Apart from this being yet another argument from authority — why do you quote-mine like a creationist instead of citing a study that actually shows what zur Hausen said? –, read that quote again. Here’s my translation: “Indeed the prevention of cervical cancer itself by the vaccination can not yet be demonstrated.” Zur Hausen here distinguishes the infection with HPV from the cancer. You don’t. Admittedly that’s difficult to see in writing: if it were spoken, it would be obvious that selbst applies to Gebärmutterhalskrebs rather than to durch die Impfung, but in writing that’s somewhat ambiguous.

    Harmer (the name says it all. Sorry, couldn’t forbear this one.)

    It would fit, but it’s actually Hamer.

    In any case as far as I can tell, this is not the same group known as “AIDS denialists”.

    An HIV/AIDS denialist is anyone who uses the denial of a connection between HIV and AIDS as an ideology. It’s not the name of a group.

    So far I experienced blogs as an open-minded way of journalism

    I thought the very idea of ScienceBlogs was to bypass the journalists — who usually don’t know anything about any science — and to have science explained to the public by the scientists themselves? Why are there just such journalists in scienceblogs.de?

    —————————

    Jessica Ricco’s loyalty to Bert Ehgartner is commendable

    To the contrary. The right thing to do would be to teach him, not to defend his ignorance, and to admit — to oneself at least! — that it was a mistake to hire him.

    —————————

    Ehgartner and our other medical bloggers are not Steiner freaks, Jenny McCarthies, anthroposophists, homeopaths or AIDS deniers, seriously!

    Then what is Peter “you can eat mercury oxide like sugar when an Ayurveda guru is supervising you” Artmann?

    —————————

    I can only speculate what paper Jessica Riccò meant by “Austria’s leading reputable newspaper”, but since I’m living here, I’ve never seen anything like such a thing.

    Heh heh. Well said! :-D

  79. #79 David Marjanovi?
    December 1, 2008

    …Of course I should have spelled “cannot yet” as two words rather than three in the translation.

    I’m still wondering about “Austria’s leading reputable newspaper”. Die Presse has a very mixed coverage of science: sometimes great, sometimes blithely ignorant. The institutionally misspelled Kronen Zeitung is leading (half of the country reads it daily) but not reputable (think Bild plus xenophobic ideology). Wiener Zeitung is reputable but not leading, and I don’t know if it has any science coverage at all. How is science journalism in Der Standard?

  80. #80 florian
    December 1, 2008

    “I’m still wondering about “Austria’s leading reputable newspaper”

    Ehgartner writes for the Standard (e.g. http://derstandard.at/?url=/?id=3206589) (but also other papers, like Profil)

  81. #81 Catherina
    December 1, 2008

    It is “Der Standard” indeed and Bert’s articles in that paper are much more moderate than what he puts in blogs.

  82. #82 wolfgang
    December 1, 2008

    Bert Ehgartner in March 2005 in a parents forum about asthma:

    “Würde man heute aufhören zu impfen, wäre Asthma mit einem Schlag eine ganz seltene Krankheit”

    “Would we stopp vaccinations today, asthma would immediately be a very rare disease”

    This is only one typical posting.

    However in Der Standard (a quality newspaper) he together with Dr K Hartmann claimed that a 19 yr old lady who died 24 days after Gardasil immunisation, that this was caused by the vaccine due to a vaccine induced ADEM (acute disseminated encephalomyelitis). However the young woman was in a dancing club (obviously healthy) before she died, which ist incompatible with ADEM- with ADEM one has severe neurological deficits and is unable to dance.

  83. #83 Jane
    December 1, 2008

    No, Ehgartner and Artmann for that matter are not comparable to Hamer. They relate to “Germanic Medicine” like moderate revisionists to flat out holocaust deniers.
    Still, you would not invite someone who sees the “Third Reich” as an understandable reaction to socialism to a high quality historical science blog project, would you?
    There are so many places in the world wide web where people like Ehgartner and Artmann can spread their ill informed pseudoscience but there are very few enclaves of rational thinking and evidence based reasoning like the Scienceblogs.
    Ehgartner and Artmann do not belong there.
    Just because they are far from beeing the worst thats out there when it comes to medical pseudoscience they are still not good enough for Scienceblogs.

  84. #84 chrisB
    December 1, 2008

    “Ehgartner writes for the Standard (e.g. http://derstandard.at/?url=/?id=3206589) (but also other papers, like Profil)”

    Well, there he is… Now I know who is responsible for the
    hysteria and hype a year ago that ripped this country concerning the “deadly” HPV-vaccine. Astonishing.
    I think that’s the answer to
    “How is science journalism in Der Standard?”

    In this article, he linked a post-disco death of an adolescent girl to a HPV vaccine 24 days prior. Well, every other journalist copied/pasted the article and within a day, nobody dared to touch the vaccine any more. Even the minister of health agreed with the unfounded assumptions and couldn’t vouch for the safety….

    While we’re at it: three weeks before my grandfather died, he ate baked beans. This stuff is deadly, ban it!

  85. #85 Kristjan Wager
    December 1, 2008

    This is very depressing. Not only is there an anti-scientist (or rather several) at Scienceblogs.de, but Jessica Riccò actually comes out and defend them.

    Something is seriously wrong.

  86. #86 ama
    December 1, 2008

    @catta

    “That Ayurveda post is just brainmeltingly bad.”

    Very fine expression. Do you have some more? I NEED input. :-)

    ama
    (not #5 :-))

  87. #87 Catherina
    December 1, 2008

    This is very depressing. Not only is there an anti-scientist (or rather several) at Scienceblogs.de, but Jessica Riccò actually comes out and defend them.

    Something is seriously wrong.

    Yes, my thoughts precisely. So maybe it is not a coincidence?

  88. #88 ama
    December 1, 2008

    This is DIRECTLY at Jessica who seems to be some kind of supervisor at scienceblogs.

    To make it absolutely clear, (and be sure I am damned tough about that!):

    Bert Ehgartner ran a forum called surfmed.at

    His and your claims about serious journalism are wrong.

    Bert Ehgartner back in 2001 (and from then on without any change) propagated insane ideas. It is the ideas we attacked. But Bert Ehgartner chose to defame us or to support others who did so.

    Now you, Jessica, seem to show some kind of paranoia.

    No, this is NOT personal affairs, we are deeply in a matter of responsibility for the lives of people. Responsibility can only be based on proven science. But Ehgartner does not care about science. He is attacking other persons AD
    HOMINEM. And – as I wrote – he does that since 2001.

    And, to make clear one point more: It is not only Ehgartner, who is wrongly supported by scienceblogs.

    I wonder if you will stand against a whole troup of scientists (who even do not know each other) – and each of them tells you and the owners of scienceblogs, that scienceblogs messes up.

    The arrogance of the scienceblogs team stinks.

    Scienceblogs is a commercial company. It uses and abuses the gratis work of many people – and sells advertisements in it. Scienceblogs does not dosomething of its own. Scienceblogs uses other people’s work.

    The very same situation is with scientific print publishers. But we put an end to their arrogance: PLoS shows the way.

    Each of us can start his own weblog on his own webspace, totally undisturbed by any “editor”, admin oder other nuisance. And many have…

    This is one of the projects all the German publishers could not tackle for two or more decades:
    http://www.pharmamafia.de
    But the netizens can. And they do it. They do it on their own.

    We are free netizens and we go and read and write, where we want.

    ama
    (Gutenberg Galaxis)

  89. #89 Blake Stacey
    December 1, 2008

    Kristjan Wager:

    This is very depressing. Not only is there an anti-scientist (or rather several) at Scienceblogs.de, but Jessica Riccò actually comes out and defend them.

    Something is seriously wrong.

    Something is rotten in the state of .de-nmark. . . .

    Sorry, I couldn’t resist: this is the sort of affair so bad I have to find a way to laugh or else I’ll start punching things.

  90. #90 Kristjan Wager
    December 1, 2008

    Something is rotten in the state of .de-nmark. . . .

    Well, the newspapers reported the other day that cancer patients in Denmark will get the chance to participate in testing healing….. depressing

  91. #91 Rico2
    December 1, 2008

    Since 7 years there is an internet-page for helpfull (chlldrens-)medicine and against health fraud:

    http://www.kidmed.de

  92. #92 Orac
    December 1, 2008

    Scienceblogs is a commercial company. It uses and abuses the gratis work of many people – and sells advertisements in it. Scienceblogs does not dosomething of its own. Scienceblogs uses other people’s work.

    Actually, ScienceBlogs pays all of its bloggers based on their traffic. Whether it pays us enough, of course, is another matter. ;-)

    Be that as it may, it is not correct to state that the Seed Media Group “uses and abuses the gratis work of many people” to produce ScienceBlogs. It does not.

  93. #93 ama
    December 1, 2008

    Orac:
    >Actually, ScienceBlogs pays all of its bloggers based
    >on their traffic.

    Thank you for the information. This is the first blog/forum that I hear of which pays its writers.

    In Germany we had big fights in a forum where even the owners showed up and urged the surfers not to disturb the advertizers.

    One of the advertizers was a publisher known for his infamous books against vaccination.

    The forum was “Das Deutsche Medizin-Forum”.

    Some of our group have been there some years. But we got out because of the practises committed by the forum owners.
    I still have a well-filled archive of that time. :-)

    That is one of the many reasons to start an own website, blog or forum.

    ama
    http://www.plagiat-ade.de

  94. #94 TSK
    December 1, 2008

    Just a thought:
    How exactly do the posters here want (if they want it at all) to prevent a chilling effect on scienceblogs ?
    Let’s assume Ehgartner is fired. Do we have other suspects ?
    Oh yes:

    - Global warming denial
    - Evolution critics
    - Proponents of abiotic oil
    - HIV deniers
    etc. etc.

    Now let’s clean it up a bit:
    - Racists
    - Sexists
    - Anti-Semits
    - Homophobes
    etc. etc.

    What will happen in the future ? Well, it sounds to me that everyone in Scienceblogs keep his/her toes in line in the fear to be chastized if he/she dares to utter something “unscientific” or “out of bounds”. And as the horrific posts
    will dwindle, finally the former less provoking posts will
    stand out and persecuted, too.

    You will be convinced by evidence ? Pardon me, lets count:
    It took 44 posts until the translation of Jadehawk arrives,
    until then noone argued that the cited studies about the effects of aluminium are plain wrong, but said that they found it unbearable that an antivaccionist is on SC.de.

    And I am not confident that printed peer-reviewed articles will be spared since one women scientist here started to bash a paper with the photo of a teddy on the toilet on her blog. Isn’t it imagineable that a enraged bunch of bloggers will try to prevent publication of a controversial article, pressing their readers to join the protest (One is already using his readers to crash polls) ?

    > As such he is an embarrassment to me and to ScienceBlogs

    Cut this scrap. You are neither responsible for Ehgartners writings nor responsible for the Scienceblog Administration.

  95. #95 MartinM
    December 1, 2008

    Well, it sounds to me that everyone in Scienceblogs keep his/her toes in line in the fear to be chastized if he/she dares to utter something “unscientific” or “out of bounds”.

    What? Basic standards of scientific competence on a science blog? Outrageous!

  96. #96 Coriolis
    December 1, 2008

    Yes TSK we need to accept everyone so let’s get some white supremacists in here. The scientific case for eugenics sounds to me like a great idea for a blog eh? Or maybe we should have somebody to counter-post about the virtues of subjugating women everytime PZ posts about the latest honor killing?

    Or not. The notion that being open minded requires accepting everything is ridiculous. Every community has standards for what is acceptable and what isn’t. And when it comes to anti-science, a scientific community has rather stronger standards, which is as it should be. Anti-vaccinationism is anti-science, so it makes perfect sense to me that scientists wouldn’t want to be part of an ostensibly scientific community which has members who are infact writing completely unscientific crap.

  97. #97 Blake Stacey
    December 1, 2008

    If the “chilling effect” reduces the amount of hot air bloviated by people trying to pass off mysticism as science, well, I’m all fucking for it. Bring on the freeze ray. Chill away, my fellow microfascists!

  98. #98 perceval
    December 1, 2008

    MartinM, I agree. I read scienceblogs because i want factual, well-researched information. Jessica, I do not want people who blindly quote “authorities”, I am looking for writers who can offer an independent assessment of the papers they are reporting and who have a sound knowledge of their field. I don’t care who he cites, I care whether he understands what he cites. Even though Carl Zimmer is a journalist, too, it seems to me that he knows far more about biology than “Lob der Krankheit” knows about medicine. (I’m married to a biologist.)

    As for your argument “he’s ok, he’s written for a big newspaper and sold books to renowned publishers” – that is absolutely ridiculous. I don’t know “Der Standard”, but I certainly don’t always trust the science reporting of the German quality media. I don’t rely too much on the publishers’ quality control efforts, either. For example, L&umml;bbe publishes books on esoteric topics and occultism. I’ve seen books on nutritionism published by Piper that relied overly on results of the authors’ private research institute.

    I don’t mind Bert E.’s blogging at all, he’s free to write what he likes, but I do think it tarnishes the scienceblogs brand.

  99. #99 Rincewind
    December 1, 2008

    @TSK: I have a great song for you:

    If You Open Your Mind Too Much…

    http://de.youtube.com/watch?v=RFO6ZhUW38w

    … Your Brain Will Fall Out

  100. #100 Jadehawk
    December 1, 2008

    It took 44 posts until the translation of Jadehawk arrives

    please keep in mind that a good number of posters who commented are fully capable of reading the German original for themselves; my translation was for the sole benefit of the non-German speaking posters

  101. #101 Jane
    December 1, 2008

    @TSK: Are you advertising for antisemites, homophobes, racists and the like on scienceblogs.de? Why?
    You find these hatemongers everywhere on the web. Just like antiscientists. If you wanna have fun with those guys, just go for it. My advice: Stop hanging around at scienceblogs.de and go to those racist, antisemitic, aids-denying and all the rest of those bullshit sites that are all over the place.

    But please accept the fact that the vast majority of the bloggers and readers of scienceblogs.de does NOT want these morons around.

  102. #102 Robster, FCD
    December 1, 2008

    Jessica

    If someone is expressing support for the AIDS “Rethinkers,” then they are expressing support for HIV/AIDS denialists using a name that probably came out of a focus group.

    If someone thinks that heavy metals can be made into healing products by having been prayed over and specially prepared, then they need to look at the statistics for heavy metal poisoning through ayurvedic medicine.

    You need to clean house.

    ——-

    Wow. I wish that I had chosen to learn German instead of French in high school and college…

  103. #103 CCW
    December 1, 2008

    Jessica, you cannot be serious. Quite frankly, I find the insinuation that my response to Orac’s post and others’ responses are a mere reaction to someone else’s feud with the blogger in question insulting. Maybe I wouldn’t have ended up on Ehgartner’s blog if I hadn’t noticed Orac’s request, but believe me: If I had come across this while browsing, I would have been just as outraged by the claims that are being made. I don’t generally read scienceblogs.de, and if it wasn’t for some of the commenters who have spoken out against this crackpot, my first impression would have been bad enough to stay very, very far away. If that’s the sort of reputation you’re after, so be it.

    If citing references is sufficient to write a post appropriate for scienceblogs.de, you might as well invite some intelligent design proponents on board. Heck, some of them have even published in peer reviewed scientific journals before, which can’t be said of Ehgartner. What both have in common is that they draw completely unfounded conclusions from their references.

    This guy doesn’t seem to be stellar at employing logic or interested in considering plausible (!) alternative explanations, rather than fringe opinions. There are several blunders in the ADHD post: Where is the evidence that ADHD is on the autism spectrum? He claims that research into vaccines as a possible cause is needed, but how is this warranted? Why is invoking a mystery causal factor necessary for your average case, given an >80% monozygotic concordance rate (yes, I’m aware of the limitations here) and association with several polymorphisms relating to the dopamine system? Discordant siblings show deficits in motor inhibition compared to subjects with no family history and the affected sibling tends to have lower birth weight. The alleged increase in incidence is accounted for by improved diagnosis. Since “hyperactivity” is not the same as ADHD, the food additive gambit is irrelevant. Hopefully, Orac will give this subject a more thorough treatment than my rant…

    By the way: Artmann chimes in and claims that something that a diagnosis per exclusionem doesn’t warrant investigation in the first place…

    Very few people actually know what science is

    Point in case: I was recently at a “debate” about whether science and religion conflict. I don’t recall anyone on the panel actually defining “science” correctly, and these were people with science PhDs. It was thoroughly frustrating. I had my share of uninformed school teachers who sometimes didn’t really understand the material they were teaching, but I definitely wasn’t expecting university faculty to be confused about the nature of their work. This is in the UK, btw.

  104. #104 DuWayne
    December 1, 2008

    TSK -

    Cut this scrap. You are neither responsible for Ehgartners writings nor responsible for the Scienceblog Administration.

    No, Orac is not responsible for Ehgartners writing ir sciblog administration. However he is responsible for associating himself with the other bloggers who write under Seed’s science blogs collective. Now I am aware that he doesn’t agree with everyone who blogs here and has even posted some responses to other scibloggers he disagrees with.

    But those disagreements have been reasonable disagreements between reasonable people who are either scientists, or who have a strong interest in science. People who (mostly) can back their positions on hard science with reasonable evidence, even if the validity of said evidence may be called into dispute. Underlying nearly every Seed science blogger, is an understanding of and a respect for the methods of hard science.

    Quacks who quote quacks and promote ideas and positions that not only have no basis in science, no reasonable evidence – but run absolutely counter to the very nature of scientific inquiry, are an embarrassment to everyone who blogs under the Seed collective.

    I am not a scientist or particularly a blogger, but if I were, I would be appalled to discover that bloggers in a collective I had taken part in were dangerous quacks, promoting dangerous ideas. It would at the least make me reconsider my decision to blog under that collective. This is because I am judged in part, by the company I keep and the associations I make. No less is a well respected blogger like Orac and the great many other well respected bloggers, scientists and science educators who blog under this Seed collective.

    To whit, do you see any cranks like Ehgartner on the English language portion of Seed’s science blogs? What? You don’t? There is a very good reason for that. I am only an occasional commenter around a few sciblogs and this embarrasses me.

  105. #105 DuWayne
    December 1, 2008

    I would also really love to see a translation of the ADHD post. Unfortunately, my German heritage didn’t lend itself to learning German. My email is duwayne.brayton at gmail dot com – I have severe ADHD and am raising a child with ADHD. These kind of cranks piss me off.

  106. #106 David Marjanović
    December 2, 2008

    TSK, you misunderstand. Science has a definition. It’s not the results that are objectionable, it’s the process that Ehgartner, Artmann etc. use to arrive at their conclusions. They fail to use the principles of falsification and parsimony, and they fail to guard themselves against egnorance (correct spelling, look it up). They fail at science. They fail at being qualified for ScienceBlogs.

    Coriolis asks rhetorically if ScienceBlogs should accept white supremacists. Well, if a white supremacist can show that their conclusions are based on science as derived above, it should. :-| That just hasn’t happened yet (and almost certainly never will, considering the fact that opposing conclusions have been demonstrated to be scientific again and again), so at present there is no white supremacist who happens to be qualified for ScienceBlogs.

    This — that science has a definition, and what that definition is; that “pseudoscience” is not an insult but again a term with a definition — is something that, it seems, Jessica Riccò has not understood.

    TSK, you also misunderstand the point of PZ’s poll-crashing: the point, as PZ mentions regularly, is to demonstrate how useless Internet polls are (due to their self-selected sample). Considering the fact that there are still organizations who run polls on the Internet and then act as if the results meant anything, this is a very valuable point. It also happens to be a harmless way of having fun. The term is derived from “gate-crashing”, as in “coming to a party uninvited and bringing uninvited friends”, not from “crushing”.

    And bloggers “pressing” their readers into doing anything? What have you smoked, and can I get it legally in the Netherlands?

    If someone thinks that heavy metals can be made into healing products by having been prayed over and specially prepared

    If I read Artmann right, that only holds if you take that stuff under the constant guidance of an Ayurveda guru. If not, you probably will get poisoned. The magic resides in the healer, not in the thing. As mentioned above, Artmann thus actually argues that Ayurveda is based purely on the placebo effect, though probably he doesn’t realize that.

  107. #107 Orac
    December 2, 2008

    The magic resides in the healer, not in the thing. As mentioned above, Artmann thus actually argues that Ayurveda is based purely on the placebo effect, though probably he doesn’t realize that.

    Actually, if that’s all Artmann were arguing, he wouldn’t irritate me so much. However, the placebo effect won’t save you from heavy metal poisoning if you take a bunch of lead- or mercury-contaminated herbal remedies. What Artmann really seems to be arguing is that Ayurvedic gurus have some knowledge or power that renders the toxic levels of heavy metals found in some of the remedies as either harmless or even downright therapeutic.

    Now that‘s pseudoscientific magical thinking!

  108. #108 Orac
    December 2, 2008

    My followup post:

    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2008/12/germany_we_have_a_problem.php

    Please continue the discussion there.