Respectful Insolence

Like P.Z., I’ve been busy, busy, busy. TAM is a whirlwind of activity. Yesterday morning, I did my talk for the Science-Based Medicine workshop. Turnout was damned near standing room only, which makes me ask: Why would so many people be interested in hearing five somewhat geeky doctors pontificate about recurring themes in alternative medicine? Or me pontificating about “toxins”? Ah, well, there’s no accounting for taste.

One hugely gratifying thing that’s happened already is that one of you, my readers, provided me with a needed bit of accessorizing for my badge. I had no idea such things existed or could be found in the U.S., but it’s perfect:

i-f6c73f62b0628dc48ad312db53e44e04-Blakes7-thumb-450x336-67262.jpg

This completes the look for the meeting:

i-671dc48f9ecff3a475bf80d325a84555-Oracbadge-thumb-450x336-67265.jpg

Tomorrow I’ll be on a panel; so today is just a day to hang out and soak in the science and skepticism and then to go and see Paul Provenza’s ¡SATIRISTAS!. Then, there’s Penn Jillette’s Penn Jillette’s Private Rock & Roll, Doughnut and Bacon Party with his NoGodBand. The problem is, it doesn’t start until 11:30 PM, and I’m still on East Coast time, which means it’ll feel like 2:30 AM. Can a middle-aged geek last that long? I don’t know, but I might not; I can’t afford to do my panel Saturday morning sleep-deprived. On the other hand, maybe that would be better, for entertainment value at least.

Finally, to complete this post, which has managed to ramble even though it’s way shorter than 95% of my posts, it’s been suggested to me that we should have some sort of Respectful Insolence meetup. Potential times I see are either lunch today or tomorrow or sometime Saturday night at the hotel bar. Those of you who are here in Las Vegas, e-mail me, accost me in the hall, or otherwise let me know if you’re interested.

Comments

  1. #1 Mattand
    July 15, 2011

    Middle-aged geek? Orac, I thought you were a clear plastic box of blinking lights. Surely, things like fatigue and sleep are irrelevant constraints to a 70′s era supercomputer.

    Unless Orac is actually an assumed name and there’s a human writing this column and..

    and…

    NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. #2 kd
    July 15, 2011

    Have no fear, Matt Andrews. Back in the late 90′s, everyone’s favorite plexiglass supercomputer was given a humanoid cybernetic body in order to better pursue his true purpose: complete domination of the underground gravy wrestling circuit.

    He eventually took on a cover job as a surgeon and cancer researcher which later took over as his main focus.

    He will forever be missed by fans of underground gravy wrestling.

  3. #3 Composer99
    July 15, 2011

    Personally speaking, when I become a middle-aged geek I hope to spend more time here.

    Although Mrs Composer will probably insist we go to the European version since she can tour the Fairy Tale Road or do other things that appeal to her & her Renaissance Europe history geekery.

  4. #4 jre
    July 15, 2011

    Why would so many people be interested in hearing five somewhat geeky doctors pontificate about recurring themes in alternative medicine? Or me pontificating about “toxins”?

    I was there, and talked with some of the other geeks in attendance afterward, and so may speak from experience: it was way more than worth it. All five of you had great talks ready, you were well prepared, stayed on time and held our interest for every millisecond. And it was a pleasure saying howdy to you and Drs. Novella, Atwood and Hall afterward (Mark Crislip must have ducked me). Your blinking lights are not harsh at all in person.

  5. #5 Aunt Benjy
    July 15, 2011
  6. #6 SidBB
    July 16, 2011

    During the reception, I was the guy you were talking to who asked about the Blake’s 7 pin but didn’t understand its significance. I know, I know. I felt silly, like I didn’t deserve my geek credentials. But I have an excuse: I grew up in India and I’ve never seen that show, so I had no idea about its connection to your name.

    It was very nice meeting you, thanks for the pleasant conversation!

  7. #7 Venna
    July 16, 2011

    SidBB, don’t feel bad. I grew up in the US and I still don’t know what it’s about. We don’t watch TV, just movies so I have no clue about anything that’s going on without looking it up online.

  8. #8 Giliell
    July 16, 2011

    Sorry, but I really have to say it: could people please stop making those “GeStaPo” jokes. I can’t find them funny. It’s hard to find them funny or even wear it as a kind of “medal” when you’ve grown up with pictures of relatives who were dragged off by the GeStaPo.
    Would Americans find it funny if European evolutionary scientists wore badges saying “Darwin’s KuKluxKlan?”

  9. #9 Jack Knight
    July 16, 2011

    Wish I was there, sounds like fun.
    jk

  10. #10 NJ
    July 16, 2011

    Giliell @ 8:

    You raise a good point, but recall that this usage is ironic. The anti-vax nutcases are the ones who coined the term and are using it in an offensive sense.

    Here Kitty @ 9 & Momonym @ 10:

    wtf?

  11. #11 The Very Reverend Battleaxe of Knowledge
    July 16, 2011

    Well, forcing vaccines on innocent children would have been beneath the GeStaPo’s notice, anyway—or the SiPos or KriPos, either. Sounds like the kind of crap detail the lowly OrPos would have been stuck with.

  12. #12 Heliantus
    July 16, 2011

    @ NJ

    I don’t like the Gestapo jokes much, but I would agree that if opponents are going for the Godwin points, one is entitled to make fun of them.

    Re: Kitty and Momo, it’s just Jacob talking to himself.

    Jacob, two friendly hints:
    - if you believe you have something to say, create your own damn blog. Put your time on the internet to good use, if you really believe that cannabis or yoga could be life savers.
    - sock-puppeting and flooding a thread with off-topic posts is like breaking in other people’s conversations while wearing a ski mask and shouting at them. It’s bully behavior, and not many people like bullies. Don’t complain if no-one is listening to you.
    Now, if you just come here to make a pest of yourself, you belong in the dungeon.

  13. #13 novalox
    July 16, 2011

    @NJ

    I think here kitty is another of Jacob’s sockpuppets.

    I assume the banhammer will fall soon.

  14. #14 NJ
    July 16, 2011

    Don’t you have some weed to go buy, son? Be sure to order the extra paraquat…

  15. #15 Giliell
    July 17, 2011

    @NJ
    Yes, I do get that. Only the fun is lost at me.
    I am, indeed, deeply offended whenever anybody uses a “Nazi” comparisson on me. I know the anti-vaxxers make those claims and we should battle them on grounds of reason and facts and not, even ironically, identify with one of the most evil bunch of criminals that ever roamed the planed.

  16. #16 Chris
    July 18, 2011

    Orac:

    Why would so many people be interested in hearing five somewhat geeky doctors pontificate about recurring themes in alternative medicine?

    It was worth it to see a certain Infectious Disease Doc stifle a laugh so much his face turned red when you presented the cure for constipation that included surgically removing the colon before the existence of antibiotics. (if Crislip wants us to buy him beer, he should at least show up when we are consuming beer)

    It was fun to see you and the other commenters. I left Penn Jillette’s party after only about three songs. The nerdy guys standing around looking confused with several women wanting to dance reminded me too much of high school over thirty years ago. I suspect the folks of my Skeptics Meetup who were there will tease me about my dancing tomorrow evening.

    The Origin of “Vaccine Gestapo”. If you have an issue with that term, Giliell, please complain to Michael Belkin. I believe the best way would be to comment on Age of Autism, or find out where his band will be playing.

    I received one of the over three hundred Tdap vaccines that were given at TAM 9.

  17. #17 augustine
    July 18, 2011

    Ahh, the Christer at the Amazing meeting. I mean it’s so amazing. It’s the most amazing meeting ever. All of these Trekkies in one place. It’s just simply.. Amazing.

    The promoters must have been at a loss of creativity when they came up with a name for this one. “Let’s come up with a really, really, amazingly, cool name.” “The Amazing Meeting” aahhh.

    When one refers to oneself as a geek it’s not in the humble sense as if someone else refers to you as a geek. It’s an arrogant calling. It’s one saying I’m smart. I’m really, really, Amazingly smart(so much so that I think I’ll have an arrogantly Amazing Meeting about how smart I am). So smart that I’m smarter than everybody else in the room, smart.

  18. #18 lilady
    July 18, 2011

    More than a little green with envy, Augie? When was the last time your “talents” were requested to do a seminar? I’m going to make a wild guess here. Never.

  19. #19 augustine
    July 18, 2011

    Lilady

    More than a little green with envy, Augie? When was the last time your “talents” were requested to do a seminar? I’m going to make a wild guess here. Never.

    Another one of those “I’m smarter than any other nurse who has ever lived” commenters. But I wish they had really, really let me come to it. Maybe next year, lilady. Maybe, next year.

  20. #20 Chris
    July 19, 2011

    Finally, to complete this post, which has managed to ramble even though it’s way shorter than 95% of my posts, it’s been suggested to me that we should have some sort of Respectful Insolence meetup.

    Some of us did not pay for the overpriced access to internet. We can actually disconnect from the internet. Would love to have gotten to see more RI groupies, though I met plenty!

    I got to tell The Amazing Randi how that knowing about his work in the mid-1980s helped me deal with the alt-med idiocy I encountered after having a child with medical issues. He was so sweet, I was actually tearing up. The immunity from woo really helped.

    There is this annoying text buzzing here. Just ignore it. It must be some insignificant troll bug.

  21. #21 lilady
    July 19, 2011

    But I wish they had really, really let me come to it. Maybe next year, lilady. Maybe, next year.

    Who’s preventing you from attending next year? Maybe if you behave yourself somewhat, your keepers will let you attend…or perhaps your neighbors will throw a benefit…anything to get you out of town. I’d love to to see you and Orac go at “it” mano-a-mano.

  22. #22 augustine
    July 19, 2011

    Liladay

    I’d love to to see you and Orac go at “it” mano-a-mano.

    I’d love to see Gorski go at it with Barbara Loe Fisher or Sherri Tenpenny “mano-a-mano”, I think you’d be disappointed with his non typing skills.

    But, you’ll never see it. And it’s not because either of the females will back down. Quite the contrary. They’re not scared of or in awe like the rest of you are.

  23. #23 Giliell
    July 19, 2011

    @Chris
    I thought I’d talk to the sensible people about the issue. You know, those who actually understand that vaccines are good and important, those who might actually understand who incredibly insensitive and offensive this is. And how much it belittles the victims of the real GeStaPo.
    You know, being dragged off to a Concentration Camp or a fasccist prison jut isn’t the same as being vaccinated.
    So sensible people shoulde perpetuate it as a “joke”. Some “jokes” just aren’t funny.
    I know it’s very American to throw Hitler and Nazi into every other sentence, but that doesn’t make it any better.

  24. #24 Jud
    July 19, 2011

    I know it’s very American to throw Hitler and Nazi into every other sentence, but that doesn’t make it any better.

    Giliell, many of my family were Holocaust victims, so it isn’t from any lack of seriousness about the subject that I say the following:

    Dude, you’re the one who seems to me to be throwing it into every other sentence. We get it already.

  25. #25 Giliell
    July 19, 2011

    Judd, well, that may be because I’m talking about the subject. So, are you OK with people comparing the fate of your family with having kids vaccinated?
    Do you think that accusation is something you should wear around your neck proudly as a display of being really good at what you’re doing?
    If yes, just disagree with me.
    I wasn’t under the impression that people were “getting it”, I was more under the impression that people said “pfff, it wasn’t us who coined the phrase, go to the person who originally made it, leave us alone”.
    So, either I did get it wrong or I feel justified in arguing against it.

  26. #26 lilady
    July 19, 2011

    “So, either I did get it wrong or I feel justified in arguing against it.”

    At Giliell…You got it wrong! (See Chris’ post at #17 above for the origin of “Vaccine Gestapo”) and, I for one don’t feel you are justified in “arguing against it”.

    Perhaps you’ve noticed that posters here really have day jobs and do not benefit in any way by promoting immunizations…so unlike the real Pharma Shills who promote alternative and complementary “medicine” and have made careers out scaring the hell out of young parents, advancing bogus voodoo medicine and selling supplements in lieu of vaccines or as cures for kids who were “injured” by vaccines.

    If you really want to rale against the originators of the
    “vaccine gestapo” or genuine pharma shills, I suggest you post at Age of Autism or other notorious anti-vax sites.

  27. #27 Chris
    July 19, 2011

    The laughing about the use of “Vaccine Gestapo” is actually directed at Michael Belkin for using that term. We are laughing at him, we are not making a joke out of the actual Gestapo. He is being ridiculous for actually equating those who work for public health with Nazis.

    He is insulting a group of people who are trying to prevent disease, and stomping on the history of people who suffered real pain, death and mental anguish.

    Again, Giliell, if you have an issue with the term bring it up with those who created it (again, Age of Autism and Michael Belkin — who recently was at a CDC workshop trying to tell people vaccines are bad).

    We, on the other hand, will continue to mock, laugh and disparage the idiot comparison of public health measures to war crimes. We would do the same if someone decided that water treatment systems were messing with our precious bodily fluids.

  28. #28 lilady
    July 19, 2011

    Wow, what a powerful article…thanks Chris. I especially appreciate the mom and her adolescent son whose limbs were amputated because of meningococcemia; such a brave act to alert parents to this maiming, often deadly, disease.

    Giliell, you are so totally ignorant about clinicians in public health who have had the “vaccine gestapo” label flung at them by Age of Autism and other notorious anti-vax sites. Here’s a little information for you to chew on; I am a retired public health nurse and we never used an gestapo-like tactics. We spent hours on the phone and hours conducting educational meetings for the general public and for new parents to counteract the scare tactics of the anti-vax crowd. And, we never commenced any court actions to compel parents to immunize their children. Any actions taken were commenced by day care and school district authorities and handled/heard by the State education department with appeals handled by the State courts.

    BTW Giliell, The only time the Commissioner of the Department of Health got involved in the court system, was in the rare instances of totally non-compliant tuberculosis patients, when the judge almost always ordered the non compliant patient who was the “index” case who infected others, to be held in a regular hospital isolation room, guard posted at the door, until the patient was no longer a danger to public health.

    If I, who has been maligned with this label by the anti-vax loonies, do not take offense, then what is your complaint?

  29. #29 augustine
    July 19, 2011

    Lilady

    Maybe if you behave yourself somewhat, your keepers will let you attend…

    Why would I want to attend an evangelical atheist meeting? If you can’t see that meeting for what it is then you’re a num nuts. It’s a who’s who of atheists and atheists magicians getting everybody to laugh at their inner atheist jokes.

    It’s no secret lilady. When a bunch of atheists congregate to spread their atheist message and atheist lifestyle and atheist “activism”(evangelizing), then guess what the meeting is about? Just guess?

    Atheism!

  30. #30 Kochanski
    July 19, 2011

    I am sad I missed the workshop, but the panel was great. I nearly brought my Blake’s 7 dvds to TAM, but my portable dvd player is not region free unlike the one hooked up to my tv. I would have loved to have run them in the Del Mar.

  31. #31 lilady
    July 19, 2011

    Augustine: Your (unintentional) funny remarks are the very best of all your postings.

    Sorry, I forgot that all your knowledge about science comes from your catechism and bible. Tell me, what verse in your bible contains the phrase “num nuts” (sic). The expression, is usually used as an insult toward the male gender and it is properly spelled as “numb nuts”….better use “spell check” on your computerized bible.

  32. #32 Mu
    July 19, 2011

    You can’t spell check the bible! Every letter is pure god inspired scripture, unchangeable and inerrant, and any error would be in the spell checker itself.

  33. #33 dedicated lurker
    July 19, 2011

    Saint Augustine, I doubt you care, but it’s “The Amazing Meeting” because when James Randi was a stage magician he was “The Amazing Randi.”

  34. #34 Denice Walter
    July 19, 2011

    Somebody doesn’t get that “some” is not equal to “all”. Sceptics and atheists are not identical. Although there may be a significant correlation- it’s not = 1.0 ( and correlation doesn’t imply causation in either direction). Some factor may underlie both- again r not= 1.0.

    I help students navigate their way through the American educational matrix even if they’re ESL/ EFL or 45 years old. If I were a really *nice* person I might try to get through to Augustine and tell him what I tell *paying* clients about how he might endeavor to improve his lot.

    But I’m not nice. Others here are extremely tolerant of his folderol either because they’re nice or Christian or wish to instruct the unheard lurkers and fence-sitters ( Hi guys!). More power to them in their faith or good intentions. I’m an atheist. Everyone doesn’t have to be like me. The world isn’t simple.

    btw people who study development and testing can evaluate (estimate) some abilities via writing. I don’t think it’s fair to put numbers on people or levels over the internet.

  35. #35 Giliell
    July 20, 2011

    @Chris and lilady
    Well, either we’re missing each other completely, or we just have very different views on this.
    I am not ignorant on:
    -the accusations of acting like nazis come from the other side
    -the amount of pressure you receive from the other side.
    What I take issue with is this:

    We are laughing at him, we are not making a joke out of the actual Gestapo. He is being ridiculous for actually equating those who work for public health with Nazis.

    And I think you do. By using such terms over and over again, the horror rubs off until people start to think “yeah, just like the GeStaPo, they can’t have been that bad then.”
    Especially since a public display of such an item does not come with a lengthy explenation of how this “joke” originated.

    We, on the other hand, will continue to mock, laugh and disparage the idiot comparison of public health measures to war crimes.

    See above, I don’t think you can do that without also mocking the victims of such crimes just like the idiots on the other side are doing.
    As said before, would you think it appropriate to wear badges that say “Darwin’s KuKluKlan”?
    As said before, take it or leave it, we can agree to disagree. But please,lilady, don’t accuse me of being ignorant of your problems when there’s nothing in my posts that indicates this.

  36. #36 lilady
    July 20, 2011

    I see that Giliell is still fixated on the anti-vax words and slogans Nazis and Vaccine Gestapo and continues to take posters here to task about flinging those words back at the loonies; as if dwelling on the subject gives her some sort of credentials while disparaging the “regulars” here who chose to use the loony’s words to jeer at them.

    Giliell had ample opportunities to reply to a real white supremacist Jew-hater (Isabel) on Orac’s blog “You can’t spray Jesus with Roundup” (June 30, 2011) and on Orac’s blog “Maybe there is hope after all, or: A most unexpected change of heart” (July 18, 2011) and again was noticeably absent…unless she posted under a different ‘nym’.

    I just don’t get it; why does Giliell have selective indignity? Why doesn’t Giliell take the originators of those analogies to task? Why hasn’t Giliell joined me in posting when I go after Holocaust deniers, anti-semites and white supremacist when they post their vicious remarks?

  37. #37 Giliell
    July 21, 2011

    Well, I don’t know, are you still interested in my response, lilady? Or aren’t you because you’re talking about me in the third person as if somebody else could answer those questions for you.
    If you are indeed interested in my responses to your questions, let me know. I won’t bother typing them if you’re only interested in other people’s views on why I do or don’t do anything.