A while back I wrote a brief, snarky post about a bizarre hypothesis that I considered so risible as not to be worth applying my usual 1,500 to 3,000 words of not-so-Respectful Insolence to. My original post was in response to a press release announcing a book by Michael J. Dochniak and Denise H. Dunn entitled Vaccine Delivery and Autism (The Latex Connection). Basically, the book posits a ridiculous hypothesis that the Latex in some vaccine delivery systems is a cause of autism. Not long after I posted it, Mr. Dochniak himself showed up in my comments, and hilarity ensued. Boy, did it ever!
Thanks to Mr. Dochniak’s persistent repetition and perseveration over his “theory,” the comment thread of that post puttered on and on and on for six months. When it passed 1,000 comments, I decided to shut it down and start a new one. I was almost like P.Z. Myers! I had my very own endless thread! True, it took six months, compared to six days, to reach 1,000 posts, but the thread was like an unkillable, unstoppable, lobotomized Energizer Bunny lumbering through this blog since spring, alternating between scientific inanity and demands that critics “read my book.” It just kept going and going and going and going. As of today, three weeks after I started it, my second thread has reached 362 comments and counting. I must admit, though, even for someone as patient and tolerant of cranks, critics, and trolls as I am in my comments, even this is getting to be too much. It’s been nearly seven months, and Mr. Dochniak hasn’t given up yet, despite having his hilariously inept, scientifically unsupportable “theory” flambéed, puréed, sliced and diced, stomped on, swallowed, and discharged from the nether regions like so much fecal matter, every bit of amusement digested for our amusement, countless times by multiple commenters.
Maybe this will put a stop to it. Longtime commenter and blogger, someone who was one of my original inspirations soon after I started blogging, Prometheus, has given in to temptation and started to post the definitive skeptical deconstruction of Mr. Dochniak’s
crankery work. It isn’t pretty. But it is amusing. Reading it is also a perfect way to head into the weekend smiling; that is, if you’re a skeptic. If you’re Mr. Dochniak, not so much.
I wonder if Mr. Dochniak will leave me alone for a while now.