Respectful Insolence

Meryl Dorey, meet Orac

Although American skeptics might not be familiar with her, Australian skeptics are, sadly, all too well-acquainted with Meryl Dorey. Dorey, in case you’re not familiar with her, is the head of the Australian anti-vaccine group with the wonderfully Orwellian name Australian Vaccination Network, which is basically the Australian equivalent of American anti-vaccine groups like National Vaccine Information Center or Generation Rescue or the British anti-vaccine group JABS when it comes to spreading anti-vaccine propaganda far and wide down under. The only difference is that Dorey may be even loonier than these groups, if that were possible.

Last night, a Facebook friend posted a link to a post on the AVN blog entitled Vaccinations saved us from…what, exactly? In the post, Dorey posts a graph put together by a guy named Dr. Raymond Obomsawin that purports to show that disease death rates from measles were declining before the introduction of the vaccine. The graph immediately looked very…familiar to me. Then I remembered. I dealt with this lie before–more than six months ago, actually–in a post entitled The intellectual dishonesty of the “vaccines didn’t save us” gambit. Yes, Dorey is repeating that tired old lie favored of only the least imaginative and knowledgeable members of the anti-vaccine movement.

Unimaginative, unoriginal, liar. Yep, that describes Meryl Dorey quite well. That and she’s a vile human being.

Comments

  1. #1 SkydiverIm
    October 12, 2010

    To quite the always excellent Dr Crislip:

    Smallpox? Smallpox? Smallpox? Anyone? Bueller?

  2. #2 Calli Arcale
    October 12, 2010

    There’s also the one part that always really gets me, and which I’m sure the leaders of the antivax movement know perfectly well, but which they know their followers will not realize…..

    Measles deaths declined largely due to the arrival of the ICU and things like respirators. Being on a respirator can save your life, but the endotracheal tube is frankly horrible. Saying that we don’t need vaccines is like saying it’s okay to be tortured for two weeks, drain your family’s life savings, and then have brain damage, because at least you’re not, y’know, dead*, and that’s the only endpoint that matters.

    * Or autistic. Which is somehow worse than being brain damaged. Except supposedly it’s brain damage. Consistency, when you actually get down to the details, can be hard to find in the antivax movement.

  3. #3 Mandrellian
    October 12, 2010

    My fellow Australians,

    The time has come to do to Mezza what we did to Mel Gibson and Ken Ham: export the silly tart to America!

    Oh, wait, they’ve already got McCarthy & Huffington & Wakefield & Blaxill & Olmsted and OPRAH … holy fuck, those poor Yanks.

    OK, cancel that – let’s send her to New Zealand! They must be missing a fair whack of sto0pid since they exported Ray Comfort. It’s only fair!

  4. #4 Sid Offit
    October 12, 2010

    Measles death rates not down prior to vaccination. Orac, your ignorance never ceases to amaze me. Read this and get back to me.

    Measles deaths declined largely due to the arrival of the ICU and things like respirators.

    Calli, any citations? I think your ventilators appeared about 50 years to late to have had an impact.

  5. #5 clairedammit
    October 12, 2010

    I was born in 1963, well after the polio vaccine was available, and I’ve met a not-insignificant number of polio survivors. Maybe it was because I sold shoes for a while in college, and one trait of a survivor is to have two very different-sized feet, but still. The willful ignorance astounds.

  6. #6 Badger3k
    October 12, 2010

    8 listen to the skeptic zone regularly and hear all about her. I wonder how she’ll do whenever she goes to court (if she does) over the financial shenanigans that went on with her organization. I’d feel a bit sorry for her if she wasn’t such a sick, twisted person with children’s blood on her hands. Given her problems with copyright laws, this bit doesn’t surprise me at all.

  7. #7 Science Mom
    October 12, 2010

    Measles death rates not down prior to vaccination. Orac, your ignorance never ceases to amaze me. Read this and get back to me.

    Well, if you read his previous post on the subject, he does say this, “Here’s the problem. It’s not surprising that death rates were declining before introduction of the vaccines. Medicine was improving. More importantly, supportive care was improving.” And makes numerous references to disease incidence, along with graphs.

  8. #8 Todd W.
    October 12, 2010

    Australia gave us Ken Ham. We gave them Dorey. I think we got the better deal on that one. Then again, Dorey has a tendency to shoot herself in the foot…multiple times.

    Dr. Rachie has covered her a lot on The Skeptic’s Book of Pooh Pooh. Yep, she’s even more vile than folks like J.B. Handley, if that’s possible. Plus, she strikes a lot of people as utterly loony, even going so far as to spread David Icke’s reptilian alien overlord conspiracies.

  9. #9 Michael5MacKay
    October 12, 2010

    Sid @ #3: your willful blindness and disingenuousness never ceases to amaze me. Orac did not make any claim in this post about measles death rates. As Calli noted, and you ignored, death is not the only relevant endpoint. Incidence of the disease is another; and in fact incidence is precisely the factor that would be impacted by the introduction of a vaccine.

    In fact, Orac specifically referred and linked to his earlier blog entry which demonstrates quite clearly the significant impact introduction of the vaccine had on measles incidence.

  10. #10 Chris
    October 12, 2010

    Michael5MacKay, I suspect Sid is one of the many people who are either color blind, or do not realize that the change of font color on a website means that it is a link to another website. On this particular page blue means a link, something one can figure out that when using the mouse the little arrow turns into a little hand (on most browsers), clicking on the left button will bring up a new website. It is like magic!

  11. #11 Deb
    October 12, 2010

    Dorey is a yank herself, but we don’t hold it against you.

    We are not an organisation, but there is a group of individuals called Stop the AVN. We have a very active facebook group where we tear into the latest delusions on offer. It’s also a beautiful example of grassroots skepticism, individuals putting in complaints to various government agencies have managed to peg the AVN right back in the last year. We’d love you to visit us, http://www.facebook.com/science.at.home?v=wall&ref=ts#!/group.php?gid=76305414878

  12. #12 Jason
    October 12, 2010

    You can join the Stop The AVN campaign via http://stopantivaxnetwork.com which links to the FB group. the hashtag is #stopavn. Many of us blog about Meryl’s nonsense. Try this:

    http://skepticator.com/search/Meryl%20Dorey

  13. #13 NZ Sceptic
    October 13, 2010

    Please do NOT send Meryl to NZ. We have our own anti-vax loons already! Hilary Butler at a website called Beyond Conformity could give Meryl a good run for her money. Her recent projects include hijacking cases where a teenage girl has died unexpectedly of any cause whatsoever, and filing them under a ‘Gardasil Kills’ banner. She then proceeds to exploit those grieving families mercilessly, while purporting to be somehow ‘helping’ them. You and I know that’s callous and cruel, not to mention hugely disingenous, but hey, people like this will stop at nothing when it comes to mis-representing vaccines and it doesn’t seem to matter where they live!

  14. #14 Matthew Cline
    October 13, 2010

    Her recent projects include hijacking cases where a teenage girl has died unexpectedly of any cause whatsoever, and filing them under a ‘Gardasil Kills’ banner.

    Wasn’t there some anti-vax organization that was trying to, for anyone who had ever had any vaccinations, get any of their health problems (or deaths) listed as an adverse reaction to vaccines? Maybe in Australia?

  15. #15 Chris
    October 13, 2010

    I love this group we should set up a link so we can get together for a group wank.

  16. #16 Julian Frost
    October 13, 2010

    I’m also a member of the Stop the AVN group on Facebook. One thing Orac. You mention “Dr” Obomsawin. It seems he’s mentioned on a website that rhymes with “Fail! Boo!”

  17. #17 NZ Sceptic
    October 13, 2010

    Matthew #13 – Sadly, that happens all the time here in NZ. When a vaccine was developed for a very specific strain of Meningococcal B that had been killing and maiming children in NZ for a number of years, those who wished children to continue being killed amd maimed – by attempting to deny them the protection of this vaccine – proceeded to attribute dozens of deaths (due to drowning, motor vehicle accidents etc) to its use. This is despite the fact that the vaccine had a very good safety profile and was ultimately effective at breaking the circuit in this epidemic, causing disease rates to fall dramatically.

  18. #18 embertine
    October 13, 2010

    NZ Sceptic, we had the same thing here in the UK. A young girl died two days after receiving the vaccine, and the autopsy showed she died from an undiagnosed heart condition. It didn’t stop anti-vaccine loons, and the popular press, reporting that the vaccine killed her AT THE SAME TIME AS PUBLISHING THE AUTOPSY RESULTS. But hey, it sells papers, right?

  19. #19 Coryat
    October 13, 2010

    Embertine: I missed that particular bit of stupid reporting. When was this ‘news’ published?

  20. #20 Matthew Cline
    October 13, 2010

    Well, here is a report about a 14 year old girl in London who died after getting an HPV vaccine, and the autopsy said that she died from a malignant tumor in her heart and lungs. Of course, some anti-vaxxers claimed that the coroner was lying about there being a tumor to cover up that the death was caused by the vaccine.

  21. #21 llewelly
    October 13, 2010

    It is prior to 5am here, and I am still reading “the antivax movement” as “the anthrax movement”.
    But I think I nonetheless understand this thread.

  22. #22 red pepper
    October 13, 2010

    This is despite the fact that the vaccine had a very good safety profile and was ultimately effective at breaking the circuit in this epidemic, causing disease rates to fall dramatically.

  23. #23 Katharine
    October 13, 2010

    Sid Offit, you are a dumbass. Are you referring to these paragraphs?

    This had nothing to do with the measles vaccine, because this survival increase happened entirely before the vaccine was available in 1963. There was essentially no change in the number of measles cases over this period (adjusted for population, of course), it’s just that once you caught measles you weren’t as likely to die. And case-fatality rates didn’t change significantly after the vaccine was introduced. The death rate per case in 1955 (pre-vaccine) is pretty much what we see today in first-world measles outbreaks.

    The vaccine did spectacularly reduce the number of cases, of course, and therefore did reduce the total number of deaths. Also, equally obviously, vaccines aren’t only given to prevent deaths. Even if measles doesn’t actually kill your child, she’ll still, quite possibly, be pretty sick; there’s a pretty good chance she’ll be hospitalized; and a significant number of survivors have some form of medium- or long-term complications.

    I added all the emphasis.

    Seriously, your reading comprehension sucks.

  24. #24 Rorschach
    October 13, 2010

    Last 2 weeks at work : Measles, 1 case(the Paediatrician thought I was joking, she hadn’t seen one for a long time), Pertussis, 5 cases(infants and adults), Diphteria, 1 case.
    As far as I’m concerned, fuck Meryl Dorey.

  25. #25 Katharine
    October 13, 2010

    Diphtheria? I thought that went out with the dinosaurs.

    How long until the little buggers start getting tetanus?

  26. #26 Chris
    October 13, 2010

    Diphtheria? I thought that went out with the dinosaurs.

    Diphtheria is still around.

    People still get tetanus.

  27. #27 Sid Offit
    October 13, 2010

    @Michael5MacKay

    Orac did not make any claim in this post about measles death rates

    You’re delusional. Orac says:

    Dorey posts a graph …that purports to show that disease death rates from measles were declining before the introduction of the vaccine. ..Then I remembered. I dealt with this lie before

    @Katharine
    From the link:
    So what happened between 1915 or so, when measles death rates began their decades-long drop, and 1955

    How long until the little buggers start getting tetanus?

    When we start cutting umbilical cords with rusty knives, move back to the farm and have another war fought in trenches

  28. #28 Katharine
    October 13, 2010

    Sid, it’s already been said that medicine started improving then.

    Can you read?

    Chris, I was half-joking about the diphtheria.

  29. #29 Todd W.
    October 13, 2010

    @Sid

    How long until the little buggers start getting tetanus?

    When we start cutting umbilical cords with rusty knives, move back to the farm and have another war fought in trenches

    While those are certainly higher risk, one can get tetanus without rusty knives, living on a farm or fighting in the trenches. Gardening, even around the house, carries a risk of tetanus. Any significant cut or puncture wound carries an increased risk of tetanus.

    Between 1998 and 2000 there were 130 cases reported, including on neonate delivered in a hospital.

  30. #30 Katharine
    October 13, 2010

    Oh, looks like it’s already happened!

    “Tetanus among children is uncommon in the United States. However, 13 nonneonatal cases occurred among patients aged <15 years during 1992–2000. Of these, 85% (11/13) were among children whose parents objected to vaccination (30)”

    Laughing it up here. If only because this is pathetic.

  31. #31 Katharine
    October 13, 2010

    Oh, that was “Tetanus among children is uncommon in the United States. However, 13 nonneonatal cases occurred among patients aged [less than] 15 years during 1992–2000. Of these, 85% (11/13) were among children whose parents objected to vaccination (30)”

  32. #32 Katharine
    October 13, 2010

    Sid, further explanation from the link, which you apparently didn’t read:

    So what happened between 1915 or so, when measles death rates began their decades-long drop, and 1955, when the drop stopped? That’s the subject of this entire week’s worth of posts, but to give you a peek at the answer I came up with: It beats the hell out of me. There really isn’t a single, simple explanation for this, as far as I can find.

    (I’m not a historian, a medical doctor, or a measles researcher, and I’m more than happy to be corrected. Anyone who has actual information on this, please let me know. If you have an opinion, no offense, but I’m not interested unless you have data to back it up.)

    The problem is that the usual answers are either too vague to be useful (what exactly does “quality of living” mean, medically?) or inadequate (improved nutrition is certainly important, but as far as I can see probably only improves survival maybe 5-fold, not 100-fold). Specific advances (antibiotics, etc) undoubtedly helped, but you don’t see abrupt short-term drops in mortality, as you’d expect if any single advance was a major factor; rather, you see a constant, gradual, improvement.

    I’m left with the unsatisfying conclusion that either a conglomeration of many factors may have acted together (the most likely situation, and that’s what the real world is often like — no simple answers), or that there’s some specific factor that I haven’t found out about. I’ll talk about specific causes later this week.

    Here’s my plan for Measles Week:

    1. Monday: Explanation of the question, and evidence for it being a real question. Done!
    2. Tuesday: History of measles virus
    * Origins and impact
    3. Wednesday: Answers that are (probably) wrong
    * Changes in surveillance or notification
    * Sanitation
    * Change in the virus
    * Antiserum treatment
    4. Thursday: Answers that (might be) right
    * Nutrition
    * Vitamin A
    * Less overcrowding
    * Antibiotics and other treatments
    * Demographic changes

    5. Friday: What would measles be like today, without the vaccine?
    * Mortality and complication rates in modern 1st-world epidemics

  33. #33 Katharine
    October 13, 2010

    In fact, you’ve been citing words from a guy who is wholeheartedly in support of vaccines, so much so that he used to lead the Pandemic Preparedness and Vaccines team in the Influenza branch of the CDC.

  34. #34 Chris
    October 13, 2010

    Katherine, why are you laughing? Because 85% of children who got tetanus were not vaccinated? Do you think it is funny that children had to put on ventilators because of the ignorance of their parents?

  35. #35 Katharine
    October 13, 2010

    Katherine, why are you laughing? Because 85% of children who got tetanus were not vaccinated? Do you think it is funny that children had to put on ventilators because of the ignorance of their parents?

    No, I’m laughing because that’s some major stupid right there if they’re refusing vaccination.

  36. #36 Todd W.
    October 13, 2010

    @Chris

    Katharine’s being sarcastic with Sid.

  37. #37 Katharine
    October 13, 2010

    I mean, what’s my alternative to laughing, Chris? Sobbing?

    Surely you understand the utility of humor as a coping mechanism.

    I’m laughing because these people are pathetic and because they’ve gotten what’s coming to them.

    I feel considerable pity for their children, but I don’t feel sorry for the parents.

  38. #38 Chris
    October 13, 2010

    Katherine, sarcasm does not work well in these comments. Especially when you sound like Sid, jen and the morphing troll. Next time use sarcasm tags.

  39. #39 Sid Offit
    October 13, 2010

    @Todd W

    Between 1998 and 2000 there were 130 cases reported, including on neonate delivered in a hospital

    Wow 43 cases a year in a country of 350,000,000. I’m terrified

    @Katharine
    You can repost as much irrelevant information as you like but it won’t change the fact that Orac contintues to demonstrate his ignorance in regards to vaccines and infectious agents and that there is no proof that medical advances did anything to ameliorate measles mortality

  40. #40 Katharine
    October 13, 2010

    Offit, I’ve just posted the information which is entirely relevant seeing as it discusses measles mortality and the things affecting it before and after vaccination began, and I can’t remove your fingers from your ears if you’re going to go ‘LA LA LA I CAN’T HEAR YOU’, which is what you are effectively doing.

    We can’t fix stupid on here.

  41. #41 Chris
    October 13, 2010

    My humor quotient is a bit down on this because I have a kid who had seizures from a real disease (before there was a vaccine) so I don’t find children getting sick funny, and I have been dealing with the ever clueless John Fryer Chemist here.

  42. #42 Dan Weber
    October 13, 2010

    and the morphing troll

    Hey, wasn’t that guy supposed to have had some Super-Duper Proof Against Vaccines coming out in November of this year? One month left!

  43. #43 Todd W.
    October 13, 2010

    @Sid

    Despite your best efforts to paint infectious diseases as only a third-world “darkie” problem, they can and do occur even in advanced nations, like the U.S. Also, keep in mind that tetanus has about a 10% death rate. The other 90% survive, but only with pretty intense hospital care, including intubation, administration of muscle relaxants and pain killers, enteral or parenteral nutrition and so on. Since tetanus bacteria are pretty much everywhere, unless you walk around in full body armor to protect yourself from cuts, scrapes or punctures, there is always a risk of infection.

    Luckily, tetanus isn’t transmissible from human to human, so if a person decides that, for themselves, they don’t want the vaccine, I’m perfectly happy to let them do what they want and suffer whatever consequences they get. I’ll try to talk sense into them, but it’s one vaccine decision that doesn’t directly impact others.

  44. #44 Rorschach
    October 13, 2010

    and that there is no proof that medical advances did anything to ameliorate measles mortality

    I don’t post on this blog very often, and the reason is that Orac’s crazies are somewhat crazier than even PZ’s crazies.I would be keen to learn how one would ameliorate mortality though.Does that mean, improve mortality?
    I would have thought that not getting measles in the first place through vaccination would have been a great tool to ameliorate measles mortality.

  45. #45 Chris
    October 13, 2010

    Also, please do not use the last name the Sid Troll has in his username. He is not the well respected author.

    Dan Weber, no I don’t think so. That guy seems to have settled on a ‘nym that we just shorten to STY. I suspect the ever morphing troll is someone else, but it is hard to tell.

  46. #46 Chrissssss
    October 13, 2010

    Sometimes I like to change hands because it feels different…kind of like I’m dating 2 women. Yes, I’m a stud (at least that’s what the girls tell me)…one’s name is Palmela Handerson. Still looking to name the other…any suggestions? She was Orac for a while, but I like to change it up. Sorry…gotta run…I hear Palmela! Hubba-hubba.

  47. #47 Sid Offit
    October 13, 2010

    Todd, Glad to see you’re on the racism bandwagon

    @Rorschach
    Does that mean, improve mortality?

    The words are synonymous. Improve mortality rates? Should I have said rates? Sorry. I failed to realize everything needed to be spelled out for you

  48. #48 Flotsam
    October 13, 2010

    Sid, as you’re beginning to see, Todd enjoys criticizing minute things. Not much substance to his replies.

  49. #49 Jatsam
    October 13, 2010

    Yeah. Todd only focuses on minutiae and doesn’t provide anything of substance, like how someone could be infected, mortality rates, treatment received.

  50. #50 Todd W.
    October 13, 2010

    @Sid

    Good to see you focused on the least important part of my post.

  51. #51 Flotsam
    October 13, 2010

    todd and “jetsam” (todd, surprised you missed that one),

    it’s all useless. you’re biased assholes who created your own “SBM” to suit your god-like knowledge (= cherry-picking results, just as pharma companies like to ignore their negative results and only forward positive ones though they may be grossly in the minority) when you don’t have the first clue about being scientific.

    your basic premise is:

    only pharma/western medicine works based on SBM criteria.

    hard to believe that we as a race survived until pharma companies came into existence consider the lack of hygiene and proliferation of infectious diseases throughout history isn’t it??

    sid, you’re wasting your time with these dancing woo-woo masters.

  52. #52 Todd W.
    October 13, 2010

    @Flotsam

    Stay classy! As to cherry picking or ignoring negative results, point out where I have done so. If a strong study is presented showing that I am clearly wrong, I will change my ways…or at least try to do so.

    only pharma/western medicine works based on SBM criteria.

    Straw man. A good bit of pharmaceuticals and/or “western” medicine has been shown to work through science. Some of it does not work. Some non-pharma stuff (e.g., some herbs) also appear to work, though purity and potency are always big issues with raw products like that. As to alt-med, some of it may work, but no good evidence has been presented to support their use, efficacy or, in some cases, even safety.

    But, like I said. Show me some evidence that I am wrong, and, if it is of strong quality (multiple separate sources helps, here), I will probably change my ways.

    Now, did you have something substantive to add to the conversation, or are you only going to stick to character attacks and insults?

  53. #53 MikeMa
    October 13, 2010

    Flotsam,
    What an ignorant fool you are. You wouldn’t have lasted five minutes in the dark ages. If your stupidity didn’t kill you, disease would have. Humans as a race survived by sheer numbers and sufficient geographic spacing. Our current conditions, boosted by that SBM you hate has allowed more people to live more closely. Not necessarily a good thing but a fact. Go peddle your crap elsewhere.

  54. #54 Flotsam
    October 13, 2010

    todd, you have no character to attack or insult. sorry.

  55. #55 Chris
    October 13, 2010

    Todd, that is the ever morphing troll that never adds to the discussion and should be ignored. Unlike STY, who should be actively mocked as we wait for him to show us his great proof next month. We are all a-twitter!

  56. #56 Todd W.
    October 13, 2010

    @Chris

    Yeah, I know. Think it’s the same one that’s using other people’s usernames?

  57. #57 Flotsam
    October 13, 2010

    wow, mikema…that’s all i can say.

    “Humans as a race survived by sheer numbers and sufficient geographic spacing.”

    …ever heard of clean drinking water? a nutrionally adequate diet? the fact that some people stopped sleeping with their livestock in their straw beds, as some did in the medieval ages, dumping their feces out the windows of their homes, etc.

    many of the ignorant, not stupid but those who just don’t know, like yourself, don’t realize that though the antibiotic era changed much, a greater change was happening through simple hygienic measures like clean drinking water, better food and sanitation. it’s all in the world health org’s website if you would like to come out of the dark ages (that is, your ass)…now go wipe your face, pick your knuckles up off the ground and straighten your spine.

  58. #58 dedicated lurker
    October 13, 2010

    floatsam, if you think people actually slept with their livestock in the middle ages, you need to read some history books.

  59. #59 Chris
    October 13, 2010

    Todd:

    Yeah, I know. Think it’s the same one that’s using other people’s usernames?

    Might be. I think it stopped and just started to play with the names (Orac in the past has threatened to ban someone who did that a while ago). Though at first I thought it was Little Augie who has been baiting me on another thread, oddly on a thread I where I did not comment. It could be STY, who might be morphing names because he is openly mocked.

    I consider it a badge of honor that I am targeted, as should you. Like the whale.to tribute pages. It means that you are getting to them.

  60. #60 Flotsam
    October 13, 2010

    hey dedicated lurker…learn to educate yourself before you open your hole. go read:

    Piers Biernes, ‘The law is an Ass: Reading EP Evans’ The Medieval Prosecution and Capital Punishment of Animals’, Society and Animals, Vol. 2, #1, 1994, pp 27–46

    Peter Dinzelbacher, ‘Animal Trials: a multidisciplinary approach’, Journal of Interdisciplinary History, Vol. 32, #3, Winter 2002, pp 405–421

    E.P.Evans, The Criminal Prosecution and Capital Punishment of Animals, (London UK, Heinemann, 1906) @ Heinonline accessed 26/10/09

    Jen Girgin, ‘The Historical & Contemporary Prosecution & Punishment of Animals’, @ Heinonline (animal law 2003) accessed 26/10/09

    Nicholas Humphrey, ‘Bugs and Beasts Before the Law’, chapter 18 in The Mind Made Flesh, (Oxford UK, Oxford University Press, 2002)

    Sadakat Kadri, The Trial: Four Thousand Years of Courtroom Drama, (London UK, Harper Perennial, 2006)

  61. #61 Chris
    October 13, 2010

    or it means that I’m just a twat consistently setting myself up for ridicule. i’m not sure. but we should tell orac. he knows what to do.

  62. #62 Chris
    October 13, 2010

    Aw, poor morphing troll. It has run out of tricks.

  63. #63 triskelethecat
    October 13, 2010

    @Todd W and Chris: all I can say is, if that’s the only way the troll can communicate, I feel sorry for him/her/it. Must be a hard life when you don’t know who you are, have to use someone else’s name and insult people because you don’t like what they have to say.

    Giving proof of their statements shouldn’t be hard for them to do (the two of you do it all the time!), but no, they have to morph and just be off topic(not that I am anti-masturbation but it really has nothing to do with the post).

    Sad. Really sad. (and I wonder if it’s Meryl herself, morphing madly; from other things I have seen her post she is classy enough to do this as are many other members of the AVN).

    MI Dawn

  64. #64 Flotsam
    October 13, 2010

    I’m an SBMer, a Smooth Bowel Mover, and i talk shit all day.

    please ban me from my self…i cannot stop the flood gates that have opened my cess…Orac, help me!

  65. #65 Flotsam
    October 13, 2010

    toddy, chris, mi dawn…i am you and you are me. we are the same…even mi dawn masturbates, see?!

  66. #66 Katharine
    October 13, 2010

    Flotsam needs his meds.

    Unless he’s 12.

  67. #67 Dangerous Bacon
    October 13, 2010

    Has it been Four Thousand Years Of Antivax Drama already?

  68. #68 Sean
    October 13, 2010

    Flotsam appears to have a lot in common with Dorey with regard to resorting to bluster when confronted with something which stymies them …. I think that they are both a classic example of the incompetent end of the the Dunning-Kruger effect.

    Sadly I have a number of members of my family who are in thrall to Dorey. Unfortunately, when the AVN inevitably folds (in no small part thanks to Dorey’s incompetence at complying with basic legal and governance requirements) she will be another martyr for the cause.

    If only we included the explicit teaching of critical thinking in our school education more people would be able to see woo for what it is. In the meantime I just want to thank Orac and all the other bloggers who give me ammunition for when I discuss all forms of woo with people. And to the people at “Stop AVN”: go you good thing!!

  69. #69 DLC
    October 14, 2010

    It’s really simple:
    you can receive medical treatment that you know has been proven scientifically to work, or you can go for the “We want this to work, and really isn’t it your fault that you’re sick?” or “Gee, this worked on my sister’s cousin’s friend’s aunt, so it has to work on you, doesn’t it ?”
    So take your pick.

  70. #70 NZ Sceptic
    October 14, 2010

    Our local anti-vaxers are currently crowing about this story: http://www.indianexpress.com/news/twins-die-minutes-after-measles-vaccination/682747

    Seems nothing pleases them more than a dead child or two – especially if it appears to support their misguided obsessions.

  71. #71 W. Kevin Vicklund
    October 14, 2010

    Interesting… that doctor (who is a CAM practitioner, FWIW) apparently ran off with the immunization records. Perhaps he didn’t give the twins the right injection? I wonder what we’ll find as more details are brought to light.

  72. #72 adelady
    October 14, 2010

    News just in. The AVN, Meryl Dorey and friends, has just had its charitable status revoked. Saw it on a TV news update – not yet on any of the websites.

    Means they can no longer solicit funds from the public, only from members.

  73. #74 MI Dawn
    October 14, 2010

    @NZ Sceptic: something seems really wrong with that story. BOTH twins died within 15 minutes of the vaccine, and both died in the doctor’s office? Just seems really weird.

    @W.Kevin Vicklund: You do have to wonder what the twins were really given. I can’t think of any reason a vaccine would have killed them both within 15 minutes of injection. Something is really wrong here. Hope we will get more details.

  74. #75 squirrelelite
    October 14, 2010

    Evidently the Indian government is running a serious investigation into the cause(s) of these incidents, but I haven’t seen any results reported yet. They have requested help from a WHO lab.

    http://www.indianexpress.com/news/foreign-lab-may-help-probe-vaccine-deaths/685603/0

    Unfortunately, most of the recent news I found on a quick google search didn’t have anything new to add. The September story continues to be posted on such highly “credible” sources as Joe Mercola, Alex Jones, David Icke, and the Mail.

  75. #76 Calli Arcale
    October 14, 2010

    That’s very very suspicious. Even anaphylaxis shouldn’t kill that fast, and if it were anaphylaxis, there wouldn’t be any doubt as to the cause of death. My first suspicion would be that there was something very horribly wrong with the shot. It would not be the first time that a private clinic in India had quality control problems; there are some pretty horrifying stories out of there. If you’re rich, you’ll get good care — they have some very good doctors in India. But there isn’t enough oversight, and if you’re poor, it’s pretty much a crapshoot what you’ll get as far as medical care. If you get anything at all. It’s a system that is ripe for exploitation by the unethical, and surprise surprise, it’s being exploited all over the place. I suspect it will take more than this case to change the situation, because there are institutional problems that go way back making proper regulation difficult.

  76. #77 Flotsam
    October 14, 2010

    “you can receive medical treatment that you know has been proven scientifically to work”

    and we all know how easy it is to figure what has and hasn’t been “proven”, right DoucheLC?

    World Health Organization: “Corruption in the pharmaceutical sector occurs throughout all stages of the medicines chain, from research and development to dispensing and promotion. Unethical practices along the chain can take many forms such as falsification of evidence, mismanagement of conflict of interest, or bribery.” http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs335/en/index.html

    wake up and smell the real world and not your ass.

  77. #78 Dangerous Bacon
    October 14, 2010

    Flotsam, you are sooooo right about not trusting any medical treatments because Big Pharma is corrupt.

    There’s scandal wherever you look. Don’t put your faith in any of them. And if your house is burning down, whatever you do, don’t call the fire department.

  78. #79 Sid Offit
    October 14, 2010

    Calli, how are you coming with those citations regarding the medical miracles that saved thousands from the clutches of the measles?

  79. #80 flotsam
    October 14, 2010

    poor analogy, dangerous bacon…but it’s what i expect from this bunch.

    the difference between pharma and the fire department is something very basic: one works for profit and the other doesn’t.

    here’s another product that supposedly works, as deemed to be safe by pharma and the FDA, yet has been found to be doing exactly the opposite of its indicated use: Osteoporosis drugs linked to bone fractures.

    “Warnings that a class of drugs widely prescribed to millions of post-menopausal women to fight osteoporosis can cause bone fractures have sparked concerns the drugs are being too readily prescribed. [No shit?!] Health Canada announced Thursday there is evidence that women taking bisphosphonates could have increased risk of thigh bone fractures…Health Canada’s announcement came after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a warning Wednesday that use of bisphosphonates could result in femur fractures.”

    To use the words of your members, when a product sold doesn’t work as indicated…it’s classified as ‘fraud’..the fact that the drug actually hastens the very condition that it’s trying to prevent is laughable…woo of the highest order.

    “dangerous” is an apt name for you.

  80. #81 Gray Falcon
    October 14, 2010

    the difference between pharma and the fire department is something very basic: one works for profit and the other doesn’t.

    And? How does that spoil the analogy?

  81. #82 MI Dawn
    October 14, 2010

    Fire departments aren’t for profit? Well, I see Flotsam missed the story from Tennessee (South Fulton) where a fire dept refused to put out a house fire because the man didn’t pay the $75 annual fee. The man lived outside city limits so didn’t pay city taxes; the people had the option to pay $75/year for fire department services; he didn’t pay so they stood around and watched his house burn down. They did save the neighbor’s house (why had paid the fee) when it caught from the flames. Maybe it’s not a profit making company but it sure isn’t totally free.

  82. #83 flotsam
    October 14, 2010

    my mistake…i assumed the link was going to be about the firecrew that let a house burn down because the owner didn’t pay the town the $70 firefighting fee, even though he was offering to pay it and more when the house was burning down.

    so, having glimpsed the other link…which has nothing to do with medicine…it’s also a bad analogy. precisely cuz it has nothing to do with medicine.

    but it perfectly highlights the brutal bias of this group. a “fraudulent act” by alt med is woo. a fraudulent act by pharma, which affects far more people, is excused by the fact that “it’s not fraud cuz it happens everywhere…even in a firestation.”

    great analogy…morons.

  83. #84 Gray Falcon
    October 14, 2010

    I’ll explain the analogy to you, in simple words. We know fraud happens. We are not trying to dismiss that it happens, and that it is important. What we are saying is that you cannot dismiss the physical evidence we present because someone unrelated to the case in question has committed fraud. The reason why alternative medicine is not accepted isn’t due to closed-mindedness, or a desire to maintain a profit, it’s because it doesn’t work. Try to be open-minded enough to accept this.

  84. #85 flotsam
    October 14, 2010

    god you’re stupid.

    “you cannot dismiss the physical evidence we present because someone unrelated to the case in question has committed fraud”

    someone unrelated to the case? pharma companies are known to be corrupt…here again is what is written on the website of the World Health Organization:

    “Corruption in the pharmaceutical sector occurs throughout all stages of the medicines chain, from research and development to dispensing and promotion. Unethical practices along the chain can take many forms such as falsification of evidence, mismanagement of conflict of interest, or bribery.” http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs335/en/index.html

    keep blowing the smug smoke out your ass and enjoy your haze.

  85. #86 flotsam
    October 14, 2010

    here’s a chart from WHO outlining every step of drug manufacturing and to dispensing and where/how the corruption happens at each step.

  86. #88 Gray Falcon
    October 14, 2010

    Let me try again, in even simpler terms. Dismissing all of mainstream medicine based on the actions of a few corrupt manufacturers, who only represent one of several factions within the medical community, is the same as dismissing all fire departments based on one corrupt department.

  87. #89 k
    October 14, 2010

    Kudos to the author of the Millenium Project who brought this vile, lying, foolish thief and the expiration of her organization’s charitable status to the attention of the New South Wales Australia government.

  88. #90 Joseph
    October 14, 2010

    the difference between pharma and the fire department is something very basic: one works for profit and the other doesn’t.

    @Flotsam: You could say the same thing about the CDC and the FDA. They are not for profit.

    Now, I know what comes after that. Maybe CDC and FDA employees (all 25,000 of them) are bribed by the Big Pharma Conspiracy.

    What about the FAA? Should we not fly because of corruption in the airline industry? What about the FCC? Should we not watch any TV? What about the police, the CIA and the FBI? No corruption there? How do you survive at all?

  89. #91 Sauceress
    October 14, 2010

    Joseph

    How do you survive at all?

    Protection?

  90. #92 flotsam
    October 15, 2010

    dear joseph,

    the difference between pharmaceutical companies and fire departments, the FDA, the FCC, the police force, etc…is that the latter are not directly dispensing harmful substances to we, the public, for consumption on a mass scale. their corruption does not lead to mass death as does iatrogenicity, which were conservatively estimated by 2 separate studies in the Journal of Amer. Assoc. of Med…one in 1998 at 106 000 deaths/year due to adverse reactions (http://jama.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/full/279/15/1200); and another in 2000 to be estimated at 225 000 deaths/year (http://silver.neep.wisc.edu/~lakes/iatrogenic.pdf).

    remember, these are conservative numbers. why? if for example a patient is given 2 contraindicated drugs that causes a heart attack, the latter will be stated as the cause of death.

    so, going by the numbers, it’s safer for you to fly around the world and watch seven televisions at the same time than it is to see an MD…imagine, 7 000 deaths a year because of an error in prescription…and 106 000 deaths caused by adverse reactions to the properly indicated drug.

    @ gray falcon…with almost $10 billion spent on antidepressants alone in 2008, do you really think pharma companies would be willing to give up profits to their competitors by going on the level? the fact that many antidepressants are ineffective for the majority of depressed people is evidence of the big sham that antidepressants are, as was published in the Jan. 2010 issue of JAMA showing the study that only 13% of the depressed are helped by any antidepressant at all.

    so let’s take a look…$10 billion/year market…drugs don’t work very well like, say, SSRI’s where no direct evidence exists for serotonin’s role in depression. the prevailing thought and sales job is that low serotonin = depression….well, how about this new drug, tianeptine, which is sold in France and some other countries (but not the U.S.), to discredit the low-serotonin imbalance hypothesis. tianeptine turns out to be as effective as Prozac-like antidepressants that keep the synapses well supplied with serotonin. The mechanism of the new drug? It lowers brain levels of serotonin.

    so out of ethics and good conscience for the people that pharma companies are trying to help, and by your assertion that not all pharma is bad…why the prevalence of SSRI’s? here’s a list of them by various pharma companies:

    citalopram (Celexa, Cipramil, Cipram, Dalsan, Recital, Emocal, Sepram, Seropram, Citox, Cital)
    dapoxetine (Priligy)
    escitalopram (Lexapro, Cipralex, Esertia)
    fluoxetine (Prozac, Fontex, Seromex, Seronil, Sarafem, Ladose, Motivest, Fluctin (EUR), Fluox (NZ), Depress (UZB), Lovan (AUS))
    fluvoxamine (Luvox, Fevarin, Faverin, Dumyrox, Favoxil, Movox)
    indalpine (Upstene) (discontinued)
    paroxetine (Paxil, Seroxat, Sereupin, Aropax, Deroxat, Divarius, Rexetin, Xetanor, Paroxat, Loxamine)
    sertraline (Zoloft, Lustral, Serlain, Asentra)
    zimelidine (Zelmid, Normud)

    pretty long list, ain’t it? and this is just one class of antidepressants that have been shown to not work…that Jan. 2010 JAMA study used the Freedom of Info Act to acquire most all drug trials done on antidepressants, i.e., the negative studies that weren’t reported by pharma companies that far outnumbered the positive studies.

    so, $10 billion/year market…drugs that aren’t very effective…and a plethora of antidepressants to being created and marketed to choose from…

    doesn’t really sound like it’s just a minority of companies at play here…and at play with people’s lives.

    i hope your tinfoil humor will protect you from the reality of what’s going on.

  91. #93 flotsam
    October 15, 2010

    oh, gray, here’s some recent news on corruption and the pharma players…

    “The new generation of antipsychotics has also become the single biggest target of the False Claims Act, a federal law once largely aimed at fraud among military contractors. Every major company selling the drugs — Bristol-Myers Squibb, Eli Lilly, Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson — has either settled recent government cases for hundreds of millions of dollars or is currently under investigation for possible health care fraud”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/03/business/03psych.html?adxnnl=1&pagewanted=2&adxnnlx=1287122401-KugyMRr7RcB5rtGEsBvJjQ

  92. #94 Joseph
    October 15, 2010

    the difference between pharmaceutical companies and fire departments, the FDA, the FCC, the police force, etc…is that the latter are not directly dispensing harmful substances to we, the public, for consumption on a mass scale. their corruption does not lead to mass death as does iatrogenicity, which were conservatively estimated by 2 separate studies in the Journal of Amer. Assoc. of Med…one in 1998 at 106 000 deaths/year due to adverse reactions (http://jama.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/full/279/15/1200); and another in 2000 to be estimated at 225 000 deaths/year (http://silver.neep.wisc.edu/~lakes/iatrogenic.pdf).

    remember, these are conservative numbers. why? if for example a patient is given 2 contraindicated drugs that causes a heart attack, the latter will be stated as the cause of death.

    so, going by the numbers, it’s safer for you to fly around the world and watch seven televisions at the same time than it is to see an MD…imagine, 7 000 deaths a year because of an error in prescription…and 106 000 deaths caused by adverse reactions to the properly indicated drug.

    That argument is complete bullshit, and you absolutely must know what, flotsam.

    Anyone who’s been hospitalized is at higher risk of dying. What would matter in this regard is whether witholding drugs altogether is safer, and I doubt there’s any data that shows this. Do you have any proven suggestions that would improve the survival of hospitalized patients? I’m not holding my breath. I’m sure much more intelligent and knowledgeable people are seriously looking at addressing that complex problem, as opposed to simply using it as a political talking point.

    For that matter, 40000 people die in motor vehicle accidents every year in the US. How do you address this reality?

  93. #95 Chris
    October 15, 2010

    Okay, I have mostly been ignoring the floating ocean debris, but I think I may understand what it is saying:

    Pharmaceutical companies are bad. Therefore all of their products are bad, which makes vaccines automatically bad.

    Perhaps now, with the wisdom of this floating entity, all those who have type 1 diabetes should stop using insulin, all kids with cistic fibrosis should get off all of their meds, and all of those people who are allergic to bees, peanuts, etc should throw out their EpiPens!

  94. #96 MI Dawn
    October 15, 2010

    Hey, Chris. Let’s go better than that! Since Pharma is evil, we’ll throw out antibiotics too! We can also throw out all the “natural” meds that have been made into medications because Big Pharma is corrupt and corrupts all they make. SO…good bye to quinine, digitalis, taxol, aspirin, vitamins, calcium…

    Hey, dying of infection like Calvin Coolidge’s son did in his teens is OK, right? At least you aren’t dealing with CORRUPT BIG PHARMA!!!!! And hey, all those kids with cystic fibrosis, insulin-dependent diabetics, allergies – well, it’s OK if they die, at least they are not giving money to BIG PHARMA!!

    Time to go home. Think I’ll killfile the ocean junk when I get home. I want to enjoy my weekend with my daughter, not get a headache dealing with cherry-pickers.

  95. #97 Seb30
    October 15, 2010

    @ flotsam

    The antidepressant drugs you are talking about have been shown to be ineffective for minor depressions only. There are effective on hard depressions.
    You are saying it yourself:

    that only 13% of the depressed are helped by any antidepressant at all.

    I agree with you that over-medicalisation is a problem. But please define the issue with antidepressants correctly. The drugs produced by pharmaceuticals company are effective, but they are marketed and prescribed to the wrong people.
    The scam is not in the design of the drugs, but in the sales. Which means the issue is bigger than the pharmaceutical companies. Physicians should learn to not prescribe these drugs for mild cases (may not be that easy), and customers should learn not to expect a pink pill to solve their problems (I know, easier said than done).

  96. #98 Dangerous Bacon
    October 15, 2010

    Poor, poor Sid. The antivax crazy has been monopolized by flotsam leaving Sid out in the cold.

    Here’s some of the attention that you crave.

    Sid wants us to think that medicine has nothing to do with the decline in measles mortality – well, come offit, Sid.

    Despite the obfuscation, foot-stamping and deceptive graphs used by the antivax crowd, it’s quite clear how vaccination brought about a huge decline both in measles cases and measles deaths.

    “…between 1945 and 1963 the number of measles deaths were steady, around 600 people (on average), while occasionally going as low as just under 400. The measles vaccine was licensed in 1963 and after 4 years of nation wide distribution the number of deaths took a nose dive, dropping down to 81 people. Subsequent years with the vaccine led to such a decline in measles related deaths that by 1984 there was a total of 4 ( and no that’s not a typo, that is 2 + 2) cases.”

    Sid has nostalgia for the days when only 400-600 deaths a year from measles were recorded (not to mention all the misery and permanent sequelae from measles when the disease was rampant). Sid really should travel abroad to countries where measles deaths are commonplace so he could enjoy those wonderful vibes of yesteryear.

    We now return to our regularly scheduled fount of foul-mouthed ignorance, flotsam.*

    *congratulations are due this poster, however – not using caps at all is far preferable to the non-vaccine preventable disease of ALL CAPS.

  97. #99 gaiainc
    October 15, 2010

    Or could we get mental health parity in the US and get coverage for counseling and other mental health services beyond maybe 12 visits (assuming you like the one person or group your insurance has a contract with and assuming you even have mental health coverage)? Please? That would make life a little less challenging. What? You didn’t know that counseling wasn’t covered in general, particularly long-term counseling ie anything lasting more than 3 months? That if you have no insurance that covers mental health you have to pay out of pocket and spend what is probably weeks finding something that you can afford and like and that has an opening some time in the next 6 months? That medications are covered nearly 100% of the time and some only cost $4 a month versus $15 for one session (the cheapest option I’ve been able to find)? Gee and you wonder why the meds are prescribed more than the ideal world would indicate that they should be. Shocking.

    What I’d like to see is a study that showed what the death rate would be if no interventions were provided at all.

    Yeah for the Aussies for taking down the AVN or at least making their lives that much harder. Twits.

  98. #100 Seb30
    October 16, 2010

    @ gaiainc

    How one learn about his upbringing biases.
    Following your post, I re-read mine just above and I realized some of my cultural prejudices showed up.
    Namely that in my country, France, we have a very negative view of people who suffer from pain or some other ‘mental’ state. We are supposed to grind our teeth and go through it without being a sissy about it. Stop navel-gazing. Hence my rant about patients having to get rid of pink pills.
    Until two decades ago, painkillers and pain management were not a big topic in French hospital care. Pain was downplayed, at least compared to US care.
    And as for any form of mental care, including depression? Hide it. Don’t say you are having any form of counseling, people will just assume you are nuts. Unstable. A whiner. Never mind that you are trying to fix yourself.
    Mentalities are changing, but slowly.
    This article about over-prescribed antidepressants was not a surprise to me. My countrymen are famous for their high consumption of pink pills.
    So yes, as you said. On one hand, difficult search, expensive specialists, and big social stigma. On the other hand, go beg some pills to your usual physician. Fast and cheap. And taking pills to toughen up yourself is socially OK (well, more OK than going to see a shrimp). It’s like taking steroids.

    No wonder meds are overprescribed. In an ideal world, this should not be. But it is not an ideal world, so this is.
    My apologies for my previously over-simplified post.

  99. #101 Gray Falcon
    October 16, 2010

    I thought I’d add the following, if flotsam hasn’t run off. If there really is the giant conspiracy of evil pharma companies, why did the studies on anti-depressant overuse appear in mainstream medical journals? If they really were in the pockets of big pharma, surely they wouldn’t even have been published.

  100. #102 Antaeus Feldspar
    October 16, 2010

    I can’t claim credit for this observation, but it really is true: if Big Pharma really were the way that alt-medders claim, capable of and willing to twist all scientific data to manufacture a demand for worthless products — why did they stop selling secretin when they found out it works no better than placebo? And why is it alt-medders who are still selling it?

  101. #103 Matthew Cline
    October 16, 2010

    On the topic of vaccination: a little over a week ago Huffington Post actually had a pro-vaccine article. Which, naturally, brought the anti-vaxxers out in force, including whoppers like this:

    Smallpox was largely eradicated by the time vaccinations began in the 1850s and 1860s. The numbers of people dieing from smallpox, even in that era had dropped to virtually zero in most communities.

    Yikes!

  102. #104 Matthew Cline
    October 16, 2010

    @Antaeus Feldspar:

    I can’t claim credit for this observation, but it really is true: if Big Pharma really were the way that alt-medders claim, capable of and willing to twist all scientific data to manufacture a demand for worthless products — why did they stop selling secretin when they found out it works no better than placebo? And why is it alt-medders who are still selling it?

    Hmmmm, how about this: they started selling precisely because they thought it didn’t work, and stopped selling it when they discovered it did work, because Big Pharma never sells cures, only treatments. And when they stopped selling it, that made alt-med realize that it did work, so they started selling it.

    That sound crazy enough?

  103. #105 Militant Agnostic
    October 17, 2010

    Smallpox was largely eradicated by the time vaccinations began in the 1850s and 1860s. The numbers of people dieing from smallpox, even in that era had dropped to virtually zero in most communities.

    In 1870 the Cree led by Big Bear and Piapot took advantage of a smallpox epidemic among the Blackfoot and took a war party south. They were defeated by an alliance of Peigan, Blood and Blackfoot in the Battle of the Belly River in what is now Lethbridge, Alberta. This was the last major battle between First Nations on Canadian soil.

    http://en.academic.ru/dic.nsf/enwiki/4107023

    The Cree would have been trading with the Hudson’s Bay Company which was involved in providing smallpox vaccinations to the natives while the Blackfoot would have been dealing with whiskey traders from Montana at Fort Whoop Up.

  104. #106 Leigh Jackson
    October 23, 2010

    No doubt about it, there was a steep decline in mortality in many infectious diseases, in the developed world, throughout the first half of the 20th century – and little decline in incidence. Suggestive that some cause (or causes) other than improved sanitation was saving lives. How would improved sanitation save lives without reducing incidence?

    In the case of measles the decline in mortality had ended several years before vaccines were introduced, leaving a stubborn annual number of deaths from the disease which adamantly refused to reduce. Enter vaccines; incidence plummets and mortality reduces to zero. All well documented.

    Anti-vaccs only tell half the story. Bad people.
    http://www.who.int/whr/1999/en/whr99_ch1_en.pdf

  105. #107 Leigh Jackson
    October 23, 2010