Respectful Insolence

I just looked over my statistics for the month of October 2009, and I was shocked. Pleasantly shocked, but shocked nonetheless.

Why do I say that?

I say that because traffic from October 2009 is more than twice the traffic from October 2008. Moreover, it’s not an anomaly. Although there have been fluctuations in traffic over the last year, so far the trend has been steadily upward, so that I’ve more than doubled my traffic since this time last year. Not bad, not bad at all. Actually, it’s more than that. It’s friggin’ unbelievable. If, when I started this thing nearly five years ago, someone had told me I’d eventually hit traffic levels as high as they are now, I’d have told him he’s out of his mind.

Why traffic has increased so much over the last year, I have no idea. I haven’t really been doing anything different than I’ve been doing all along, at least radical. Changes in this blog have been slow and evolutionary (as is appropriate), not revolutionary over the years, and I’m under no delusion that somehow I’ve gotten twice as good at blogging as I was a year ago. I’d love to think that, but clearly that’s not true. Still, whatever the cause, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you, my readers. Whatever the reason, somehow there are a lot of you out there who like what I lay down on a daily basis here.

I only hope I’m managing to persuade a few mavens of pseudoscience, such as anti-vaccinationists, to come back over to the light of reason and science. Again, I’m under no delusion that I’m likely to have influence very many on the “other side,” but if I’ve only influenced a handful it will have been worth it.

Comments

  1. #1 xen
    November 1, 2009

    As a fairly new and regular visitor (though I never comment) I’ll toss my 2 cents as to how I got and why I stayed here…

    While I have always been fascinated by many of the topics you regularly cover, I’ve never found blogs that really impressed me on them and covered many of them at a time – (holocaust denial, antivax, where skepticism crosses a line and we skeptics must be skeptic of the those who proclaim themselves skeptic), but I regularly visited pharyngula and he eventually linked to you at some point so here I am.

  2. #2 han
    November 1, 2009

    I used to read my horoscope every day, avoid eating wheat because my chiropractor told me I was allergic, and try to understand quantum physics through the lens of Deepak Chopra. But after suffering a series of devastating losses, I found myself growing increasingly cynical. I can’t remember how I found my way to this site, but I’m so happy that I did. I won’t give you all the credit, but I will say that thanks to sites like yours, I’m thinking more clearly than ever before. And it couldn’t be more timely; I had a baby five months ago. Suffice it to say, he’s fully vaccinated.

  3. #3 History Punk
    November 1, 2009

    Dude, it is because you are awesome and your fan base here promotes you with all the insistance of a jaded Dundalk Avenue street walker.

  4. #4 John Danley
    November 1, 2009

    Keep up the good work. In a world of frauds, you are muy appreciated.

  5. #5 Diane
    November 1, 2009

    Because we love your Orackian Awesomeness. But I also learn a lot, and that’s what keeps me coming back for more.

  6. #6 blf
    November 1, 2009

    See what happens when my machine goes spindles up (the disc drives went SPRONG! (most annoying)) and I’m offline for a month or two…?

  7. #7 rolak
    November 1, 2009

    /Why traffic has increased/ concious{ness} infection of the reader :-)

  8. #8 DLC
    November 1, 2009

    Hm. For me the trail to Orac ran like this:
    Skepticism, James Randi, The Ness, and then the old Orac blog.

    you got a good thing going here, Orac [/backslap]

  9. #9 Kitty'sBitch
    November 1, 2009

    It took me a while.
    We visit, and comment, on some of the same blogs but I couldn’t decide whether I liked you or was irritated by you.
    It finally occured to me that it’s both.
    I’ve always been a sucker for that combination, so here I am.
    FEEL THE LOVE… TAKE IT…TAKE IT ALL…

  10. #10 WaltacHewy
    November 1, 2009

    The reason I keep coming back is that I can’t really believe your the dim fucking bulb I work with. I didn’t realize that you could be any fucking dumber than in person…I was wrong…

  11. #11 Antaeus Feldspar
    November 1, 2009

    The reason I keep coming back is that I can’t really believe your the dim fucking bulb I work with. I didn’t realize that you could be any fucking dumber than in person…I was wrong…

    I don’t think that someone who works in a building where you’re one of the janitors is automatically someone you “work with”, but YMMV.

    (BTW, yes, it’s “you’re”, not “your”.)

  12. #12 Denice Walter
    November 1, 2009

    Orac, you have to consider those “numbers” not just as readers but as *students*, who will potentially “spread the word” and effectively counter the arguments of anti-vaxxers, AIDS denialists, and woo-proselytizers, in their daily lives.I’m more optimistic about how many on the “other side” you’ll eventually influence, directly or indirectly. Plus, you rock.

  13. #13 Denice Walter
    November 1, 2009

    Orac, you have to consider those “numbers” not just as readers but as *students*, who will potentially “spread the word” and effectively counter the arguments of anti-vaxxers, AIDS denialists, and woo-proselytizers, in their daily lives.I’m more optimistic about how many on the “other side” you’ll eventually influence, directly or indirectly. Plus, you rock.

  14. #14 Denice Walter
    November 1, 2009

    Orac, you have to consider those “numbers” not just as readers but as *students*, who will potentially “spread the word” and effectively counter the arguments of anti-vaxxers, AIDS denialists, and woo-proselytizers, in their daily lives.I’m more optimistic about how many on the “other side” you’ll eventually influence, directly or indirectly. Plus, you rock.

  15. #15 Denice Walter
    November 1, 2009

    Orac, you have to consider those “numbers” not just as readers but as *students*, who will potentially “spread the word” and effectively counter the arguments of anti-vaxxers, AIDS denialists, and woo-proselytizers, in their daily lives.I’m more optimistic about how many on the “other side” you’ll eventually influence, directly or indirectly. Plus, you rock.

  16. #16 Denice Walter
    November 1, 2009

    Orac, you have to consider those “numbers” not just as readers but as *students*, who will potentially “spread the word” and effectively counter the arguments of anti-vaxxers, AIDS denialists, and woo-proselytizers, in their daily lives.I’m more optimistic about how many on the “other side” you’ll eventually influence, directly or indirectly. Plus, you rock.

  17. #17 Denice Walter
    November 1, 2009

    Orac, you have to consider those “numbers” not just as readers but as *students*, who will potentially “spread the word” and effectively counter the arguments of anti-vaxxers, AIDS denialists, and woo-proselytizers, in their daily lives.I’m more optimistic about how many on the “other side” you’ll eventually influence, directly or indirectly. Plus, you rock.

  18. #18 Denice Walter
    November 1, 2009

    Orac, you have to consider those “numbers” not just as readers but as *students*, who will potentially “spread the word” and effectively counter the arguments of anti-vaxxers, AIDS denialists, and woo-proselytizers, in their daily lives.I’m more optimistic about how many on the “other side” you’ll eventually influence, directly or indirectly. Plus, you rock.

  19. #19 Denice Walter
    November 1, 2009

    Orac, you have to consider those “numbers” not just as readers but as *students*, who will potentially “spread the word” and effectively counter the arguments of anti-vaxxers, AIDS denialists, and woo-proselytizers, in their daily lives.I’m more optimistic about how many on the “other side” you’ll eventually influence, directly or indirectly. Plus, you rock.

  20. #20 Denice Walter
    November 1, 2009

    Orac, you have to consider those “numbers” not just as readers but as *students*, who will potentially “spread the word” and effectively counter the arguments of anti-vaxxers, AIDS denialists, and woo-proselytizers, in their daily lives.I’m more optimistic about how many on the “other side” you’ll eventually influence, directly or indirectly. Plus, you rock.

  21. #21 Denice Walter
    November 1, 2009

    Orac, you have to consider those “numbers” not just as readers but as *students*, who will potentially “spread the word” and effectively counter the arguments of anti-vaxxers, AIDS denialists, and woo-proselytizers, in their daily lives.I’m more optimistic about how many on the “other side” you’ll eventually influence, directly or indirectly. Plus, you rock.

  22. #22 Denice Walter
    November 1, 2009

    Orac, you have to consider those “numbers” not just as readers but as *students*, who will potentially “spread the word” and effectively counter the arguments of anti-vaxxers, AIDS denialists, and woo-proselytizers, in their daily lives.I’m more optimistic about how many on the “other side” you’ll eventually influence, directly or indirectly. Plus, you rock.

  23. #23 Denice Walter
    November 1, 2009

    Orac, you have to consider those “numbers” not just as readers but as *students*, who will potentially “spread the word” and effectively counter the arguments of anti-vaxxers, AIDS denialists, and woo-proselytizers, in their daily lives.I’m more optimistic about how many on the “other side” you’ll eventually influence, directly or indirectly. Plus, you rock.

  24. #24 Denice Walter
    November 1, 2009

    Orac, you have to consider those “numbers” not just as readers but as *students*, who will potentially “spread the word” and effectively counter the arguments of anti-vaxxers, AIDS denialists, and woo-proselytizers, in their daily lives.I’m more optimistic about how many on the “other side” you’ll eventually influence, directly or indirectly. Plus, you rock.

  25. #25 Denice Walter
    November 1, 2009

    Orac, you have to consider those “numbers” not just as readers but as *students*, who will potentially “spread the word” and effectively counter the arguments of anti-vaxxers, AIDS denialists, and woo-proselytizers, in their daily lives.I’m more optimistic about how many on the “other side” you’ll eventually influence, directly or indirectly. Plus, you rock.

  26. #26 Denice Walter
    November 1, 2009

    Orac, you have to consider those “numbers” not just as readers but as *students*, who will potentially “spread the word” and effectively counter the arguments of anti-vaxxers, AIDS denialists, and woo-proselytizers, in their daily lives.I’m more optimistic about how many on the “other side” you’ll eventually influence, directly or indirectly. Plus, you rock.

  27. #27 kougaro
    November 1, 2009

    Same as #1 : I read Pharyngula, at some point PZ linked to you. Since then I read Pharyngula and your blog. You generally cover different topics, and when you cover the same, it’s nice to get a different pov.
    Thank you for your blog, it is much appreciated.

  28. #28 K.B.
    November 1, 2009

    I just recently found this blog, after posting on my own blog about the incredible “Suzanne Somers has whole body cancer” thing. And I have to say, I wish I could get a mild case of H1N1 just so I could stay home from work and read the archives ;)

  29. #29 marcia
    November 1, 2009

    Joseph Pulitzer said, “Our Republic and its press will rise or fall together. An able, disinterested, public-spirited press, with trained intelligence to know the right and courage to do it, can preserve that public virtue without which popular government is a sham and a mockery. A cynical, mercenary, demagogic press will produce in time a people as base as itself. The power to mould the future of the Republic will be in the hands of the journalists of future generations.”

    With the seeming slow death of investigative journalism (yes, if anything, newspapers need a bailout), it’s up to bloggers to set the world straight. You do what you do (investigation) better than anyone. Don’t shorten your posts.

    James Madison warned that, “A people who mean to be their own governors, must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.”

    Congratulations.

  30. #30 T. Bruce McNeely
    November 1, 2009

    Orac,
    I consider you my mentor in the field of Respectful Insolence. It’s something that the world needs more of.

  31. #31 Craig Willoughby
    November 1, 2009

    Orac, perhaps you would be more successful in convincing others to “come to your side” if you weren’t so much of an ass.

    Just a thought.

  32. #32 Johnny
    November 1, 2009

    I came here by Googling about the case of Starchild Abraham Cherrix. I stay because Orac reminds me of my Unca Cecil at
    http://www.straightdope.com/
    Fighting Ignorance Since 1973
    (It’s taking longer than we thought)

  33. #33 Travis
    November 1, 2009

    Craig, you do realize that telling people why they are wrong rarely makes one an ass. Orac is generally pretty good at actually addressing what people have said. I guess he calls people bad things at a more personal level at times but they are generally reserved for repeat offenders of tripe. And even then he addresses their claims. Of course, a lot of people do get pretty personaly offended when people point out their mistakes. I guess they might think he is an ass because of that.

    Being an ass would be popping in here and writing a sort little concern trolling message.

  34. #34 Orac
    November 1, 2009

    Ah, but Craig, you do realize that, compared to your hero J.B. Handley I’m the very model of cuddly goodness, a veritable font of likability and civility. I’d take your criticism more seriously if you ever turned it onto the many members of “your side” who put me to shame.

  35. #35 Travis
    November 1, 2009

    I also had another thought.

    Even if Orac was an ass, if he says something that is right why should it matter that much? I am really tired of people who base everything on the “tone” of the argument.

  36. #36 Tigana
    November 1, 2009

    I started viewing your blog a year or so ago
    Why do I check your blog daily? You tackle issues that matter and give us the actual scientific evidnece to knock bad evidence down. You are approachable (I emailed about a random new article and got a response within a couple of days – I didn’t expect anything like that) You act on breaking news.
    You opened my eyes to the Skeptical movement, that it isn’t bad to ask people what their evidence is and challenge them on it. I now regularly meet with Skeptics in the Pub in my city because you enabled me to chalenge the various pros and cons of issues, not just what one person in the media says.
    And you link I could link to lots of cool blogs – through you I now visit Panda’s Thumb, Science Based Medicine plus loads of podcasts and other blogs.
    How I got here? Can’t honestly remember, but the open forum that allow other viewpoints to spout off without censorship is so powerful in the fight by showing friends what anti vaxxers (for example) really believe when you compare it to ***evidence*** is great.
    You are my go to site that has converted some good friends to sceptisim because I had confidence to argue that Acupunture and chiropratic was not evidence based. Not something I would have thought possible a year ago.
    Keep it up, us lurkers use your arguments every day, just don’t let you know often enough

  37. #37 ESPness
    November 1, 2009

    I got insolent after Steve Novella quoted ORAC on the Skeptics Guide to the Universe. RI led to P.Z. and now I’m hooked on both,and just hanging out for ORAC to deal with that next ‘hunk o’ burning stupid’.

  38. #38 Elly
    November 1, 2009

    I enjoy a number of the science blogs (as many as I can read and actually have a life). I enjoy being informed and entertained here. Plus I LOVED Blake’s 7 as a kid (I even wrote to the BBC to complain when the series ended. I was heartbroken), so maybe have a lingering affection for the Orac persona…

  39. #39 Craig Willoughby
    November 1, 2009

    J.B. is hardly my hero, though I do respect him. No, my heroes are Roger Waters (of Pink Floyd fame) and John McCarthy (the creator of the LISP programming language for Artificial Intelligence programming).

    I do turn my criticism on people on my side whom I disagree with. But of course, you still won’t take my criticism seriously because, in your mind, you are the only person who is correct and anyone who disagrees with you is an idiot. Which is the reason why so many people don’t take YOU seriously.

    Travis, thanks for the concern troll comment; that proved my point to a “T.” Additionally, if Orac was so concerned about bringing people to “his side,” he would be more concerned about his tone to other people. It doesn’t matter how correct you are, if you treat someone like an ass or an idiot, they are going to dig in and disagree with you no matter what you say. Simple human nature, and it is a concept so simple that even you should be able to understand.

  40. #40 Tigana
    November 1, 2009

    re Elly;
    more an Avon fan myself, make me more cynical – maybe early *(unintentional)* training by my parents

  41. #41 Orac
    November 1, 2009

    I do turn my criticism on people on my side whom I disagree with.

    Straw man. What I said is that I’ve never seen you turn your criticism on people on “your side” for being too mean, nasty, or sarcastic, as you have done me. Show me an example where you’ve criticized J.B. Handley as harshly for his tone as you have me. You haven’t, as far as I can tell. In fact, I’ve seen you praise him for it.

    In brief, to me you’re a hypocrite and a concern troll. “Oh, don’t be so… mean” (sniff, sniff), you say, but what you really mean is stop calling out the nonsense that the anti-vaccine side lays down. I used to think you were one of the somewhat reasonable people on the anti-vaccine side, but your statements over the last year or so, both here and elsewhere (such as on AoA or HuffPo), have disabused me of that impression.

  42. #42 StThomas
    November 1, 2009

    Reading the stuff you write on alternative medicine, and following it up has given me the means to stop a few of my patients turn to the dark side. Keep up the good work. Please!

  43. #43 Craig Willoughby
    November 1, 2009

    You? Calling me a hypocrite?

    Pot kettle black much, David?

    Here you are talking about how mean the pro-safe vaccine crowd is, and then you turn around and call people trolls for pointing out that you engage in the same behavior.

    I do recall a few times when I defended you against others (though not against Mr. Handley). In fact, you and I had a nice email exchange after one of them.

    I never used to think you were one of the somewhat reasonable people on the anti-safe vaccine side, and your behavior over the last year or so has confirmed me of that impression. And really, how many times do you repeat that little skreed? I think it’s time you came up with new material.

  44. #44 Kismet
    November 1, 2009

    Craig, a statement of fact cannot be insolent. *insert smiley*

    I am wondering if there was any traffic spike while PZ had his comments section disabled for anonymous posters?

  45. #45 Leanne
    November 1, 2009

    I started reading here because of your autism related posts. As a mum of an autistic child I really appreciate you’re posts re: autism/quackery/vaccines. As I’ve continuted to read I’ve realized I’m somewhat of a skeptic and have been enjoying all your posts. I also point others in your direction if I’m trying to make a specific point and find myself to be less eloquent than I’d like at that moment.

  46. #46 Dawn
    November 1, 2009

    Wow. Time for a look back. I can’t really recall how I came across RI all those years ago. I think it was from a reference from the Millennium Project (and goodness knows [b]how[/b] I got there). And to my honesty I will have to add I was probably reading you for 2 years or so before I found out who you were and where you worked, from emails we exchanged.

    May you continue to post many more years of insolence, my friend!

  47. #47 Dawn
    November 1, 2009

    Oops. HTML fail – I was trying a plugin I had downloaded for Firefox but didn’t realize I needed to select the type of tags. Let’s try again (and hope this works…)

    HOW I got there!

  48. #48 Orac
    November 1, 2009

    Here you are talking about how mean the pro-safe vaccine crowd is, and then you turn around and call people trolls for pointing out that you engage in the same behavior.

    I call ‘em as I see ‘em, and that “nice e-mail exchange” was a long time ago–back when I thought there might be hope for your redemption.

  49. #49 susan
    November 1, 2009

    “I only hope I’m managing to persuade a few mavens of pseudoscience, such as anti-vaccinationists, to come back over to the light of reason and science.”

    Good luck with that! I have been reading this site as a mind cleanser after opening some of my brother’s e-mails. I love him but when he goes on his anti-vaccination rants (complete with “facts”), I need to read something that is based in science.

  50. #50 Chris
    November 1, 2009

    Craig Willoughby:

    Here you are talking about how mean the pro-safe vaccine crowd is, and then you turn around and call people trolls for pointing out that you engage in the same behavior.

    It must so cruel to be constantly asking for real evidence, plus so incredibly mean to not accept from your favorite websites like AgeofAutism and GenerationRescue! Oh, and we are also so mean to object to children being used as guinea pigs as they are being treated with chelation, nicotine patches, hyperbaric oxygen chambers, and on and on.

    By the way, is AgeofAutism still practicing draconian comment moderation?

  51. #51 Pablo
    November 1, 2009

    I’m suspecting I came here through PZ Myers blog initially, but stayed for the fun :-)

    More seriously, I started hanging out here more soon after my son was born, and the impact of others’ decision not to vaccinate became important to him. If you want to risk your life by not vaccinating, I don’t care. When you risk your child’s, I start to get concerned. When those decisions start to put me at risk, I am very concerned, and when they put my child at risk, I draw the line.

    Put that together with the fact that Myers’s was getting really boring, and I don’t even bother reading it much any more. Now that they require registration just to comment, I am there even less.

  52. #52 Chris
    November 1, 2009

    I’m a recently acquired reader of yours, but the things that turned me on to this blog are…

    1. It’s intelligently written and very informative, but still maintains the bite of an opinion column.

    2. The layout of Science Blogs is pleasant to look at.

    3. You post consistently with consistent quality on a topic I’m interested in.

    So that’s my take if you’re interested…

  53. #53 Chris
    November 1, 2009

    Welcome, other Chris!

    (yeah, there are more than one of us… and I like this one!)

  54. #54 Jen in TX
    November 1, 2009

    “By the way, is AgeofAutism still practicing draconian comment moderation?”

    Yes, they most certainly are. We may all have our disagreements here, but at least we can have our say, even if it gets nasty.

  55. #55 Cat
    November 1, 2009

    Orac, even if you haven’t convinced any die-hard woo fan, you have given us much ammunition to use against them. I no longer have to sit in uncomfortable silence while anyone goes on about “energy flows” or “chronic Lyme”. I can show them things you’ve said and research you have linked.

    You’re educating an army of people to fight against the prevalence of sloppy and/or wishful thinking.

  56. #56 Phoenix Woman
    November 1, 2009

    By the way, is AgeofAutism still practicing draconian comment moderation?

    Yes. This has been another edition of Simple Answers to Simple Questions.

    Back to the thread topic:

    Orac, I came here via PZ. I had no idea that the antivax crowd had so outgunned the reality-based crowd in terms of media coverage; until fairly recently — (that is, until people like you stepped up to the plate) — the coverage of vaccines over the past two decades had been a steady drumbeat of utter sensationalist nonsense. Silly me, I thought that the mass media outlets employed people to do fact-checking, but apparently they don’t want to pay good money for folks who didn’t sleep through high school algebra or chemistry (much less actually get advanced degrees involving same).

    The one thing I think needs to be done would be for smarties like you to put together a list of trustworthy info sources — such as PubMed or the WHO — and direct people to them. Putting them in the sidebar (with a note to the reader: “Got a question? Check here first before posting”) would, I think, be especially helpful for the interested layperson reading your site.

  57. #57 Tim
    November 1, 2009

    Congrats! You know, some carefully placed pics of boobage or hot womenz wouldn’t hurt your traffic, either. Nothing wrong with using window dressing to make science more interesting, IMO. ;-)

  58. #58 bob
    November 1, 2009

    Congrats, Orac! Keep up the great work.

  59. #59 Joseph C.
    November 1, 2009

    Which is the reason why so many people don’t take YOU seriously.

    I’m curious why you would make this comment on a post about how his traffic has doubled within the last year.

  60. #60 gpmtrixie
    November 1, 2009

    You can thank an anti-vax mommy message board poster for sending me over to your blog, probably about a year ago. I was on that debate board because I was shocked by the “controversy” that somehow arose between kids #1 and #2 (born in 1995 and 1996) and kid #3 (2007). Thanks to you, I know we can probably blame that a-hole Wakefield and probably teh internets as well.

    Congrats on your traffic volume and keep up the good work.

  61. #61 Daniel J. Andrews
    November 1, 2009

    I forget how I found this site, but I’m glad I did. At some point I probably followed a link from a climate or biology site. RI made me aware of the antivax crowd, and I was struck by how similar they were to the climate denialists and the creationists. They ignore evidence, resist correction, are filled with misinformation, and will never change their mind no matter what evidence is presented because it is by faith they hold their position, not by evidence.

    These people are not just aggravating, but also dangerous to the health and well-being of others (even creationists as they foster an antiscience attitude and a distrust of experts of all types).

    If someone is genuinely interested in learning I’m patient and will take all the time needed to explain things and answer questions. But the willfully ignorant are a pox on society, and if they refuse to learn (how many times do we have to present solid evidence that there is no mercury in MMR vaccines, there are “transitional” fossils, and the globe didn’t stop warming in 1998) then dang right we’re going to be “mean” because the willfully ignorant who do not live in a reality-based world deserve loads of insolence, respectful or not.

  62. #62 Kausik Datta
    November 1, 2009

    Meh! Your blog may have generated traffic and may be full of awesomeness, but it is STILL NOT AS GOOD as that of the other fellow, this bespectacled guy who goes by the name of David Gorski, and writes for a totally kewl blog called Science Based Medicine. So, big deal! Pffffft!

    [/snigger]

    *runs away*

  63. #63 Isis the Scientist
    November 1, 2009

    Congratulations, Brother Orac. But, you shouldn’t be surprised by the traffic. They come because this is one of the best blogs at ScienceBlogs.

  64. #64 PalMD
    November 1, 2009

    Strong work, man. Perhaps my small bump in traffic lately is due my proximity to The Box.

  65. #65 idlemind
    November 2, 2009

    I first encountered Orac at the same time I encountered PZ, following a link to PZ’s old blog back when he (and you, in comments) were doing a massive takedown of V*x D*y. I’ve followed both of you ever since (though I changed my nick a couple years ago, it’s been longer than that). Embarrassing enough, it wasn’t until recently that I stopped associating you with a Zookeeper from the Star Trek series pilot — your avatar on PZ’s old blog.

    For what it’s worth, I spend more time reading RI than Pharyngula these days. The fact that you’re getting more and more popular is a Very Good Thing in my opinion.

  66. #66 Jay Gordon, MD, FAAP
    November 2, 2009

    Congratulations David!!!!!

    I do love Craig’s wording when he calls you “anti-safe vaccine.”

    I like to use the same wording when I discuss a woman’s right to choose: I am pro-choice and those who disagree with me are anti-choice.

    I am afraid that Craig’s got a point: You and many here seem quite vociferously opposed to even thinking about making our vaccines safer. Instead you insist on carelessly labeling those of us who think there’s a little room for improvement (let alone a lot of room!) “anti-vaccine” Nothing could be further from the truth and you persist in using this inaccurate epithet where it doesn’t apply.

    There are people opposed to all vaccines. I’m not one of them and many of those offering their opinions here are neither in favor of all vaccines nor opposed to them.

    Maybe there are three camps: pro-safer vaccines, anti-safer vaccines and anti-vaccines.

    Again, here’s to the next 5,000,000 views. For better or worse, you deserve them.

    Best,

    Jay

  67. #67 Kristjan Wager
    November 2, 2009

    I can’t remember how I first came along your blog, but it was in the fairly early days – perhaps through a comment by you at Pharyngula? Used to be how I found my skeptic and science blogs.

    Anyway, I keep coming here because you continue to be one of the major voices of skepticism, tackling issues others don’t, and because you write so freaking well. There is a reason why I consider you one of my blog-fathers (together with PZ Myers and David Neiwert, though you’re the one who has given me the most guidance).

  68. #68 DrFrank
    November 2, 2009

    There are people opposed to all vaccines. I’m not one of them

    So which vaccines do you consider safe and feel happy administering to your patients, Dr. NickJay?

  69. #69 Jud
    November 2, 2009

    Found ScienceBlogs, and while roving through them seeing which ones I was interested in, came across a photo and ‘nym that made this old Blake’s 7 fan smile. (I do think the old series went downhill when Blake “turned” – I figured, sadly but correctly, that it was on the way out at that point.)

    I really like Phoenix Woman’s idea of a trustworthy source list. If last night’s “60 Minutes” segment on H1N1 vaccine is available online, it was rather good as these things go, and would IMHO be worthy of inclusion on such a list.

  70. #70 attack_laurel
    November 2, 2009

    Congratulations!

    I chanced upon a link to your site, and enjoyed the writing style so much I stayed, then later added a link to your blog from my blog (not that my paltry number of readers would make a tremendous difference to your numbers).

    I prefer the comfort of cold hard reality to the dubious and unreliable comfort of woo. So I love your blog.

  71. #71 John C. Welch
    November 2, 2009

    Ah, the good Dr. Jay “Have It Both Ways” Gordon. So busy pandering to everyone on all sides of every issue that I imagine he must get dizzy from all the circles he is running in.

    But, if he wishes to serve many masters, who are we to deprive him of all the enjoyment he must surely derive from it.

    It’s really handy for him when you realize, as he must, that there is no such thing as a “safe” anything. Everything you do carries risk, so he can keep this up forever. It’s not moving goalposts, you have to have something to move it. This is the idea that there could be something like a goalpost, but we’ll have to have the pre-“is it a goalpost” meeting first, before we start the actual “is it a goalpost” meetings which will assign the committee to review the situation to see if there’s enough evidence to start a study group that will examine the possibility of the goalpost.

    Jay HaveItBothWays: The PHB of the Anti-vaxxers.

    (oh and as to his protestations that he’s not anti-vax…sure you aren’t. you just hang out with them, agree with their every utterance like a bobblehead in the back seat of a ’73 Eldorado, and come-a-running when missy jenny snap her fingers for her favorite dog. But you’re not one of them. Why just the other day, he almost let one of her phone calls go to voicemail. Such fortitude.)

  72. #72 Joseph C.
    November 2, 2009

    Instead you insist on carelessly labeling those of us who think there’s a little room for improvement (let alone a lot of room!) “anti-vaccine” Nothing could be further from the truth and you persist in using this inaccurate epithet where it doesn’t apply.

    Right, because spreading completely unsupported FUD about vaccine risks makes you the good guy. You do nothing to improve the safety of vaccines, while increasing the real risk of eroding herd immunity.

    You babble on here about cases of vaccine-induced autism that you claim to have seen in your clinic. Yet, you apparently haven’t written up a single case report. Why is this? If you’re concerned about safety and convinced that these cases are real, then you damn sure should submit them.

  73. #73 Richard Eis
    November 2, 2009

    Congratulations. I wander through every so often, usually too late to post anything new… or profound (like that would stop me posting).

    Your anti-vaccine commentors are particularly amusing…but also not really anti-vaccine…no really…they aren’t. Even though they constantly bash vaccines and the companies that make them.

    When did squalene become the new toxin du jour? You turn your back for 2 minutes…..sigh….

  74. #74 Paul Browne
    November 2, 2009

    Well done Orac, though for those of us who read your blog on a regular basis this growth is no surprise. Yours is simply one of the best science blogs out there, and manages to combine topicality with depth of analysis in a way few other blogs can manage.

    I will pick you up on your remarks that

    “I only hope I’m managing to persuade a few mavens of pseudoscience, such as anti-vaccinationists, to come back over to the light of reason and science. Again, I’m under no delusion that I’m likely to have influence very many on the “other side,” but if I’ve only influenced a handful it will have been worth it.”

    Influencing folk on “the other side” is only part of what you do, and as you say it is probably the least rewarding aspect of your work. The mavens have almost always invested far to much in their woo to abandon it, no matter what evidence you present. There are however many, many more people out there who hear from the mavens all the time and who may be tempted to believe them, and these are the people who stand to benefit from your writing. Your forceful but well reasoned blog is a powerful antidote to the propaganda that the anti-science lobbies pour out, and it’s just a shame that there arn’t many more scientists and medics willing (or able) to put in the effort that you do.

  75. #75 DrFrank
    November 2, 2009

    Orac: boxy, but good.

  76. #76 Jen
    November 2, 2009

    As long as Dana Ullman is writing articles like “The Epidemic Of ‘Medical Child Abuse’ And What Can Be Done,” we need you around.

    The Epidemic Of ‘Medical Child Abuse’ And What Can Be Done

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dana-ullman/the-epidemic-of-medical-c_b_338645.html

  77. #77 Kristjan Wager
    November 2, 2009

    DrFrank, somehow I pictured Orac differently than Boxy

  78. #78 LISB
    November 2, 2009

    Orac, this blog is addictive! I was just searching anything ‘science’ one day, and I happened to come across your blog. I love being at home with the kids these past 2 years, but my brain is desperate for scientific stimulation. I have to check out the new topic and read most every link provided(thanks to all for that) every day. I dont care if I dont get to the computer until 2:15am. thanks

  79. #79 David D.G.
    November 2, 2009

    Congratulations, Orac! Your site traffic is indeed a solid testimonial to your excellence as a blogger, and on a nice variety of topics at that. Kudos to you!

    ~David D.G.

  80. #80 gaiainc
    November 2, 2009

    I’m blaming Orac and RI for me getting behind on my administrative work (like charts, results back to patients, etc), as well as giving me better talking points when dealing with people who don’t vaccinate their children. I got here from Scientific American and Michael Shermer to Science-based Medicine, then here.

    The more I hear a cry for safer vaccine,s I’m stumped because really, out of everything I do in a clinic in a day and prescribe and intervene, vaccines probably have the lowest risk profiles of anything I do and are the one of the safest things I provide my patients. Everything else carries a higher degree of risk or side effects or something. Admittedly, this is my opinion, my reading of risk-benefit ratios. YMMV.

  81. #81 NZ Sceptic
    November 2, 2009

    Orac – you are a breath of fresh air in a society where evolution often seems to be working in reverse! We’ve come so far in terms of healthcare, in particular, yet more and more people seem determined to head back to the Dark Ages. In the end we can only hope that survival of the fittest will hold true! PS: It’s obvious Dr Jay – have-it-both-ways – is desperate for your seal of approval. I cringe at the sight of him lying here, wiggling his little paws in the air, imploring you to pat him!

  82. #82 Stacey C.
    November 3, 2009

    I probably got here from PZ at some point in the past but I adore the fact that you don’t pull punches and you actually are willing to say that CAM and Alt-Med aren’t just harmless alternatives but actively working against rational thinking and rational treatment of patients. It also gives me plenty of stories and anecdotes to horrify my friends and acquaintances, which cannot be discounted as a major selling point.

  83. #83 Pieter B
    November 3, 2009

    I don’t remember how I started reading you, Orac, but I usually read you before I’ve finished my first mug of coffee. I find I don’t read PZ as often these days because by the time I get to the bottom of the first unread post there are already over 100 comments. Since I often learn as much from the comments as the original post, I just can’t keep up.

    I was struck by Craig’s use of “the anti-safe vaccine side” but not in the same way Dr Jay was. “I’m for safe vaccines” is the equivalent of “I’m not a [insert any form of bigotry here], some of my best friends are [you get the idea]”

    Craig, I ask you as Orac has asked Dr Jay — is there any vaccine that you are willing to call “safe”? If so, which and why?

  84. #84 Djinna
    November 4, 2009

    I first started reading ScienceBlogs for Brayton’s Disptches, think I found this one either through a mention on the Denialism blog, or maybe one of the “most active” links in the sidebar caught my eye. Definitely my current favorite of the SBs (though I still read Ed daily), but I have to wait a while after a post goes up to give time for the comment count to go up, since the comments here are the absolute best. You certainly have the best contrary commenters, as far as others being able to have something remotely resembling a conversation with them while they’re still amusing in their nuttiness. It’s a nice blend.

    Must say, however, that when the hap-person who shall not be named was dominating all of the threads, it did get almost unreadable for a while, but that’s because he was such a complete and utter thread-jacker.

    Which isn’t to say that I don’t love the posts, and esp. the in-depth analysis where required. And the chance of my ever going to a chiropractor again has dropped to near nothing.

The site is currently under maintenance and will be back shortly. New comments have been disabled during this time, please check back soon.