Respectful Insolence

Antivaccinationists, quacks, and apologists for antivaccinationists and quacks (but I repeat myself) seem to have an illusion that I’m just swimming in pharma lucre, that I sit in my underwear grinding out magnum opus-worthy after magnum opus-worthy blog posts, all so that I can rake in the cash hand over fist, lead a life of pure luxury, and enjoy ruthlessly crushing any hint of dissent regarding science-based medicine. Even if that assessment were completely true, as Lord Draconis Zeneca tells us that it is, it’s not all easy being a prolific, logorrheic pharma shill servilely doing the bidding of our shape-shifting Reptilian overlords. First off, it’s a lot of work grinding out these epic posts of pure awesomeness. It really is. You can tell when the constant blogging is taking a toll on me when occasionally I actually do a post under 1,000 words—or do a somewhat navel-gazing post like the one I’m writing now. Secondly, there’s a price to pay. Sure, now that I’m approaching the end of my ninth year of blogging and am amazingly considered an established skeptical and medical blogger, I actually get invited to do speaking engagements at skeptics’ meetings like TAM. I actually blog under my real name elsewhere. Reporters sometimes contact me for interviews about alternative medicine or Stanislaw Burzynski. I’m on podcasts every so often and even, when I’m lucky, invited to be on the radio from time to time. Oh, sure, it’s nowhere near as often as often as some of those bloggers at more prestigious blog collectives (ahem, Forbes—cough, cough—Scientific American and Discovery), but I suppose that’s just the price of using a pseudonym—or of being one of the more “prickly” skeptics when it comes to quackery.

Lest my readers think it’s all sweetness, light, and wheelbarrows full of money, I do have to point out that there is a dark side. There are problems. There are even, somtimes, hazards. For sometimes, every so often, a true believer learns The Truth. Normally that’s not such a big deal. They just try to poison my Google reputation by writing an attack post against me, as the denizens over at the antivaccine crank blog Age of Autism like to do from time to time. (But do they have a Wikipedia entry, I ask? No, most of them do not, with the occasional exception. I do. It’s just one of the fruits of my labors bestowed upon me by skeptical Wikipedia editors who came to view me as having enough prominence to rate a Wikpedia entry.) Such attacks started way back in 2005 and seems to happen ever several months or so now.

However, sometimes, one particularly nasty, motivated crank will try to complain about me at work, apparently not realizing that this is my hobby, that I put up as many firewalls between my blogging and work as I can (not to mention disclaimers that you should never, ever mistake my blather her for anything resembling the opinions of my university or cancer center), and that my bosses know about my blogging. This has happened so many times over the years, that it now barely causes my pulse to accelerate by more than a beat or two a minute when I learn of such a complaint, compared to the past where it really disturbed me. It turns out that my bosses at two different institutions have been a lot cooler than I had feared they would be. It also helps to work for academic institutions, which generally highly value academic freedom and are usually loathe to do anything that even gives the appearance of trampling on the free speech of their faculty. (Private companies, alas, are not so open-minded.) Be that as it may, it appears that my post earlier this week about the murder of Alex Spourdalakis “inspired” an autism biomeddler to complain to my place of work. I don’t know who it was (she didn’t leave her name), but I do want to let you know the sorts of messages I get from time to time. I had thought of posting the audio file of the voice mail this person left, but, unlike the vaccine-autism conspiracy theorists who try to cause trouble for me at work from time to time, I will actually respect this person’s anonymity. I don’t recognize her voice, but it’s possible that if I were to post the audio of her message someone out there might recognize her. So I won’t.

But I will take the trouble of providing you with a transcript with my pseudonym substituted for my real name:

Are you aware that Dr. [Orac] is writing about an area out of his expertise, autism and pediatric gastroenterology? Are you aware of these things that he is—because he has a blog and he’s making comments about? I think that you should advise Dr. [Orac] to stick to what he practices and to stay out of the autistic community’s business and to stay out of the business of advocates who are trying to help families. And he’s crossing a very dangerous line here, because he is dissuading people from getting the help that they need for their children, and he should be reprimanded for this. He does not have any business crossing those lines and talking about issues that do not concern him. And, quite frankly, you know, I think that it’s a conflict of interest, and I think that he should lose his job and his license. But that’s just my opinion as one person who is an objective observer, and I honestly feel that what he is doing is not helping anyone, except maybe himself, and he needs to stop being so self-serving and so selfish.

OK, I’m going to go out of Orac mode for a while. Writing the introduction to this post was a blast, but it’s time to get serious for a bit. I must admit, I did feel my jaw drop as I listened to the above message, delivered in exactly the tone of voice you would guess from reading the transcript. Yes, it did sound exactly the way you think it would sound. And, no, that is not a good thing and does not reflect well on whoever this woman is. I really wish I could embed the audio for your edification, too, but I don’t want to take the chance that someone might listen to it and recognize the voice.

After I stopped laughing—I mean, seriously, does anyone believe this is an “objective observer”?—I became a bit annoyed. Then sadness came over me. I thought back to the first time a crank tried to harass me at my job and get me “reprimanded” or fired. That was way back in 2005, and it was William P. O’Neil of the Canadian Cancer Research Group who started sending me legal threats (why, I don’t know, because I hadn’t even written about him; I had merely praised some work by Australian skeptic Peter Bowditch). All of this was enough to freak out a then new blogger, but O’Neill also cc’ed my department chair at the time, the late (and sorely missed) Stephen F. Lowry, MD, my then division chief, and my cancer center director. In retrospect, O’Neill did me a great favor—inadvertently, of course, but a great favor nonetheless. What I learned is that my administration wasn’t troubled by his threats (indeed, Dr. Lowry even told me that O’Neill was contemptible bully). Indeed, my cancer center director never even responded or acknowledged that he had received anything, which leads me to think that he just deleted it as yet another crank e-mail and basically ignored it.

I then thought back to more recent incidents. Back in 2010 antivaccinationists, “inspired by a blog post by the Boy Blunder, Jake Crosby, and his six-degrees of separation conspiracy-mongering and insinuations of nonexistent undisclosed conflicts of interest, started bombarding the board of governors with e-mails and phone calls. After I explained what was going on and what the real situation was, my dean gave me her full support and even asked me if I felt threatened or felt as though I needed protection. Although I did acknowledge how antivaccinationists were very much like animal rights activists, I actually didn’t feel physically threatened. Maybe I should have. Then, of course, a few months ago a Stanislaw Burzynski fan took a run at me, complaining to the president of my medical group that I was practicing medicine without seeing a patient because I had commented on the anecdotes of Burzynski patients based on publicly available information. His reaction was more amusement than anything else, as he had an actual social media person who quickly ascertained that, contrary to the accusation made by this Burzynski fan (whose identity I know, by the way) I had done nothing the least bit unethical. I was told not to worry about it; so I didn’t. Unfortunately, this very same person (I’m pretty sure it was the same person) submitted a complaint to my state medical board, which promptly looked into the matter and sent me a letter saying they had found no violations of state law or regulations and that the matter was closed. I scanned that letter into a JPEG file and used it in my talk at TAM. It will feature prominently in another talk I will be giving in two weeks for a group of postdocs about communicating science as a cautionary example—along with the picture in which Steve Novella and Paul Offit’s heads were Photoshopped into that infamous cannibalistic Thanksgiving Day feast.

So why did remembering these incidents make me sad? After all, I and my blog survived them. Thanks to these, and several other incidents not mentioned here, I lost my fear of cranks, quacks, and antivaccinationists “outing” me, trying to poison my Google reputation, or even contacting me at work. These experiences made me stronger and better as a blogger. They did, however, also make me more cautious. I’m no longer as free-spirited in my writing as I used to be and write everything with the assumption that my cancer center director and surgery department chairman might read it. Even so, such tactics are now at worst a nuisance and mildly embarrassing because sometimes I feel obligated apologize to my bosses that these idiots wasted their precious time, even if it was only a few seconds to read an inane e-mail. The good thing is that my bosses know about my blog and, I suspect, now do what the director of the cancer center where I previously worked appears to have done and just ignore the occasional crank complaint like the one above.

How many skeptics and supporters of science-based medicine who want to speak out against the cranks, quacks, and antivaccinationists have been silenced by these very techniques that I, through a fortunate confluence of working in academia and having fairly understanding bosses, have been able to endure with no ill effects. I don’t know, but I do personally know of several over the years who were silenced thusly and at least a couple whose “fire in the belly” didn’t burn hot enough to enable them to endure the attacks. They quite reasonably decided that speaking out wasn’t worth the hassle. I can’t say that if I were to work for a private company, for example, that I wouldn’t be forced to conclude the same thing. It’s quite possible that, due to the poisoning of my Google reputation by antivaccinationists and quacks, I wouldn’t be able to land a job in industry anyway were I ever to decide to try to do that.

After what I think to have been a pretty amusing start, I almost hate to end this post on such a bummer note, but if you are going to be a skeptic and speak out against the quacks and, especially, the antivaccinationists, you will be targeted. Harassing skeptics at work is a feature, not a bug. It doesn’t matter how strong a firewall you think you’ve put between your blogging or other social media activity and your work. It doesn’t matter how outrageously over-the-top your disclaimer is that your opinions are not those of your employers (as my disclaimers have traditionally been). It doesn’t matter how polite you are. Steve Novella, after all, is as polite as they come, and Age of Autism still Photoshopped his head into a Thanksgiving dinner scene at which the main course was a baby. Paul Offit is as nice as they come, but antivaccinationists still regularly castigate him as a “biostitute” and an evil, baby-killing pharma shill. Harassing skeptics at work to try to intimidate them into silence is a feature, not a bug, of the Internet crankosphere. It’s a very intentional tactic designed to shut up their critics, because cranks, quacks, and antivaccinationists have nothing else. Lacking science, evidence, and reason to back up their beliefs, yet completely convinced that they are in the right, they have to try to discredit critics.

Sometimes, I even see a post like this one at the antivaccine crank blog Age of Autism entitled Contact CBS: Support its Strong Reporting on Alex Spourdalakis. Between our anonymous “friend’s” message and AoA’s apparently feeling enough heat to send in its flying monkeys to try to defend the indefensible, I know I’ve scored a direct hit, along with all the other bloggers who criticized Sharyl Attkisson’s whitewashing of the brutal murder of Alex Spourdalakis and her multiple lies of omission. Between the AoA post and one of the antivaccine cranks. It makes me feel all warm inside. Together, let’s keep the heat on Sharyl Attkisson’s “reporting” on Alex Spourdalakis.

ADDENDUM:

If you don’t think that this is intentional, designed to shut up critics, go and see the AoA brain trust denizens, screaming that I should be fired. For example, here’s “oneVoice“:

“DR” [Orac] should be fired from his job.His patients should fire him.National Geographic needs to stop funding this stupid non-sense blog.

His peers should get this rotten apple out of the bushel before all the apples go spoiled.He brought shame and stupidity to the medical community. Lilady is a retired nurse,an epidemiologist,she is not up to date and she used to give booster shots and vaccines to thousands of kids. All of them together with their best friend dr.prOffit can go down south,take a vacation and please never ever come back.We know that they do not care about our kids,Alex or anybody.It is all about money and big pharma profit.Dig yourself a hole Orac… or whatever who you are
and stay there with your snake (pHarma symbol)friends.

Of course, if Seed/NatGeo ever “let me go,” I’d just keep doing what I’m doing elsewhere on a WordPress blog. I already have one set up and ready to bring out of mothballs at a moment’s notice. I don’t do this for the money. The same person then threatens:

Thank you,I agree with that previous comment 100%.

ATTENTION: Mr.Orac: I need to mention that one sentence Ms. Sharyl Attkisson wrote WORTH MORE,THAT YOU HAVE EVER WRITTEN in your entire lifetime.Thank you CBS,great job.

If I was your employer I would have fired you after the first five blogs for your unethical and unprofessional communication.You have lowered yourself down with the rest of the snakes (pharma) and completely forgot your number one PRIORITY,which is to protect the children and to protect the future.Do you think you are the only one here with a professional degree??? There are many professionals and parents working day and night to find answers.Idiots like you will not stop us.The professional organizations YOU BELONG need to strip your licence.I really do not understand how you made it this far.I will do a full investigation on you.SAVE YOUR MONEY,WHILE YOU STILL HAVE A JOB.
(PS:I reserve the doctor title for caring professionals only.)

Yep. An anonymous commenter on an antivaccine crank blog is threatening to investigate me. I’m all a-tremble. I mean, it’s not as though Jake Crosby didn’t try to “investigate” me. All he could come up with were bogus allegations of undisclosed conflicts of interest that were rapidly seen through and dismissed. I doubt that this person could do any better. Of course, maybe they’ll sic Sharyl Attkisson on me. If they do, though, it will be rather obvious that the motivation is totally vindictive. It would also likely amplify my message. Not a good plan. Attkisson, her antivaccine proclivities notwithstanding, almost certainly knows that.

Comments

  1. #1 herr doktor bimler
    September 5, 2013

    I sit in my underwear grinding out magnum opus-worthy after magnum opus-worthy blog posts

    You can afford underwear?
    LUXURY!!

  2. #2 Damien
    September 5, 2013

    Dr. Orac (I know that’s not your real name), I have to tell you that your example has inspired me over the years that I’ve been reading you. I’ve been reading you for so long that your “Classic Insolence” is almost entirely stuff from the memory cache at this point, and over that time my opinions and methods have grown exponentially more precise and demanding. No longer is Wikipedia good enough as a source for scientific arguments, I ask for studies; not just studies, but thanks to you I learned to see the flaws in studies, both alternative and actually scientific.

    In short, thanks a ton for having the belly fire to keep going, because this blog is one of the reasons that I have become such a passionate advocate for science, even if it’s merely within the hippie dippie circles within which I travel here.

    Oh, and your influence has made my Facebook comments exponentially longer, so I’m sure I speak for all my friends when I say thanks a million.

  3. #3 Delurked Lurker
    Just south of the tropic of capricorn
    September 5, 2013

    I bet London to a brick it was :”holographic”

  4. #4 Chris Shaw
    Vancouver
    September 5, 2013

    David:
    I’m sorry this has been happening to you. Some people simply do not understand academic freedom, which is a shame. I don’t agree with all you write, obviously, but you’d probably be shocked and horrified to know how often I do. Keep writing: sometimes it makes me grind my teeth in annoyance; other times I quite like it.

  5. #5 Lawrence
    September 5, 2013

    @Orac – given the extreme vitriol that has developed around the Alex case over at AoA (how dare anyone accuse “them” of having a part in the tragedy – you know, except for all of the online press, videos, Wakefield, Dr. Krigsman, etc), I’m not surprised that one of their cohorts managed to get fired up enough to contact your employer…..you get mentioned over there by name quite a bit, by the usual suspects (and you know).

    You too, have inspired me to be more diligent in combating the deceitfulness and ugliness of the anti-vaccine movement, not just for my own kids but for Public Health in general. It can be difficult to fight the good fight when confronted with outright lunacy (and loads of it), but at the end of the day, it does feel like it is worth it when I look at my kids.

    I’ve put myself out there in fairly Public forums & have yet to have any serious blowback, but I expect at some point that it will happen….

  6. #6 herr doktor bimler
    September 5, 2013

    Chris Shaw
    September 5, 2013

    Bravo Dr Shaw. I like to think if anyone tried to attack your employment as a way of disagreeing with your research & views, then Orac’s readers would do what they could in way of support, and I hope that this never happens.

  7. #7 lilady
    September 5, 2013

    Nice. At first she only wanted Orac “reprimanded”…but quickly opines that “he should lose his job and his license”… because she’s “an objective observer”.

    Should we eliminate the male denizens at AoA, or was she reading from a prepared script?

  8. #8 Julian Frost
    September 5, 2013

    Are you aware that Dr. [Orac] is writing about an area out of his expertise?..I think that you should advise Dr. [Orac] to stick to what he practices…

    By that logic, only football players and coaches should be allowed to talk about football, musicians and conductors should be allowed to talk about music etc.

  9. #9 Broken Link
    September 5, 2013

    I, too would like to thank you Orac, for your leadership in this area.

    At least partially because of you, I was able to speak out against biomeddlers on my local autism support group. One was quite a well-known leader of the European biomedical effort, who had recently moved to my city, and would have loved to infiltrate the group with quackery.

    The other was a woman who tried to justify taking her daughter for stem cell treatments even though a child had died after being treated by the same “doctor” in Germany. Her justification was that the child who died was so disabled that the parents thought the child would be better off dead.

    I wrote strong responses under my own name, which is an unusual one, and as I did so, I wondered if someone would complain to my place of work. But, nothing happened, and instead I received quite a few thank you notes.

    These people only survive because the keep their little echo chambers “safe” from dissent, either by overt censorship, or by drumming out members who question them. The more we can all do to shine the light of science and ethics into these dark echo chambers, the better. As you say, they are “lacking science, evidence, and reason to back up their beliefs”. The silent watchers need to have this demonstrated to them.

  10. #10 Nick Theodorakis
    September 5, 2013

    Thank you for all your hard work.

  11. #11 Public Educator
    September 5, 2013

    The theme here is very familiar to me, but, unfortunately, without the support from administration part.

    I pretty much gave up my public side a number of years ago because the administration to whom I am beholden doesn’t understand the basic concept that yours does: there are bullies and cranks in the world, and that they are much more likely to make contact than rational people. When I was teaching chemistry, one letter (the major issue was, amazingly enough, an accusation of witchcraft… yes, the person in question was and remains of questionable sanity) led to reprimand and a ‘plan’, which was the heaviest level of discipline at the time without needing to file charges against license. The administrator took the position that I must have done something to cause this, the several inch thick file of paper from one person in about one week notwithstanding. The look on my labor rep’s face in the initial meeting was priceless. He was as dumbfounded as I was when the administration rep explained, in all seriousness, what the issue was. I never did figure out what the trigger was.

    I am very glad (and jealous) that your administration understands that they generally hear from those that are angry or irrational, not from the reasonable and intelligent majority. I don’t have much faith that I will ever see an administration that is supportive at this point, as the turn has been towards politicians, professional administrators, buzzword believers, and sloganeers, and away from the academics, but at least I can look to your experience and dream.

  12. #12 Bluecat
    UK
    September 5, 2013

    So you’re ‘dissuading people from getting the help that they need for their children’, are you? With your tiresome insistence on children getting ‘help’ that does not kill them and has a high likelihood of actually being effective at treating or preventing what ails them. As opposed to the kind of ‘help’ that was dreamed up in some crank’s back kitchen and will always be impervious to evidence, you fiend.! Can they not hear the ironies? No, I suppose they can’t. Seriously, Doctor, if you’re annoying these people you must be doing it right, but I’m sorry you’ve had the hassle. Glad your colleagues know how to value and support you.

  13. #13 Science Mom
    http://justthevax.blogspot.com/
    September 5, 2013

    “Objective observer” my bum. It never ceases to amaze me what a weak grasp of the distinction between blogging (which is a side gig for most bloggers) and their professional endeavours. Attempting to silence a perceived enemy via the means which this woman did is merely an extension of the poor character and lack of ethics these twoo believers have.

    I too would like to thank our host for enduring these pathetic albeit annoying attacks to continue to shine the light of day on biomeddler and quack activities. I would also like to thank his centre’s administration for lending him such glowing support.

  14. #14 T.
    September 5, 2013

    People who can do this kind of things:
    http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/opinion/grieving-parents-speak-out-against-anti-vaccination-extremists/story-fni0cwl5-1226650422913

    To grieving parents will stop at no indignities.
    Thank you for your work, Doctor Orac.

  15. #15 AnObservingParty
    September 5, 2013

    Thank you for doing what you do. You’ve inspired a lot of people who might otherwise remain silent (including myself until very recently) to speak up by talking about things in your blog we might not see otherwise. There are more people in our corner than with the crazies, it’s just hard to tell because we’re not as loud as the crazies. We’re harder to hear. (Because they’re crazy). You’re respected not only in the blogging world by those who matter, but also in the real world by those who matter. The others resort to personal attacks and harrassment because in their heartest of hearts, they know what they preach doesn’t have a leg to stand on. Once you’re that far into the looking glass it’s difficult to turn around and come back without admitting what a mess you’ve become, and that requires a humility they just don’t have. Of course, I don’t need to explain that to you but I feel I have to type it. Thank you Dr. Gorksi, for being an entertaining voice of reason. Please don’t ever stop.

    Oh, and I find it amusing that this “objective observer” feels you should lose your license as a licensed, respected physician (who just happens to be a surgical oncologist) speaking about things outside of his areas of expertise like pediatric gastroenterology and autism, but sees no problem when someone who isn’t even a doctor anymore does it. And even if he was, autism was never his speciality. I’m half-inclined to purchase a web domain called “www.andrewwakefieldscredentials.com” and have it simply open to a page with the phrase, “He doesn’t have any anymore.”

  16. #16 Adam Jacobs
    London
    September 5, 2013

    I can appreciate that all the harassment must really suck, but please know that there are many of us out here who really appreciate all the hard work you put into your blog.

    Plus, if the pseudoscience cranks are prepared to put all that effort into harassing you, you must be doing a good job of showing up all the nonsense they spout.

  17. #17 Rich Scopie
    September 5, 2013

    @AnObservingParty:

    I’ll host it for you.

  18. #18 Britgeekgrrl
    September 5, 2013

    @AnObservingParty, @Rich Scopie – I’ll chip in a couple of bucks towards the domain name purchase.

  19. #19 Lawrence
    September 5, 2013

    @AOP – I’d be willing to contribute as well.

    That’s a great idea!

  20. #20 Ren
    September 5, 2013

    On the one hand, I wish the critics weren’t so cowardly. In other words, “Come at me, bro!” Don’t come at my job. The family has to eat, and, many times, our jobs have nothing to do with what we’re disagreeing about.

    On the other hand, I’m kind of glad they come at us. If a boss/mentor/advisor/employer/whathaveyou won’t have our backs, is it worth it to work for/with them? It’s not like we’re defending child murderers or anything like that.

    Remember when JB Handley wanted to know who “Sullivan” was and wagered that it was Bonnie Offit? That allowed the person behind “Sullivan” to come out and be recognized and now serve at the IACC.

    When the whole “EpiGate” thing happened, I quickly found out who to trust and who not to trust. When Jake Crosby piled-on with his letter to the Md. secretary of health about my “conflict of interest” in promoting the use of the flu vaccine (it made my job easier?), it cemented in me the need to move on and move up.

    And, here I am, sitting at a very prestigious university, learning some incredible stuff… Having had dinner with the dean of the school and a few other very well-respected people, all of whom I disclosed my social media activity and the repercussions thereof, and they still accepted me.

    So, keep at it, folks, the more you think you hurt us, the stronger you make us. Thankfully, people who can discern who is a “crank” and who’s not still run the world.

  21. #21 incitatus
    September 5, 2013

    playing the man and not the ball is always a dirty trick

    glad you have understanding bosses.

  22. #22 incitatus
    September 5, 2013

    playing the man and not the ball is always a dirty trick

    glad you have understanding bosses.

  23. #23 Lawrence
    September 5, 2013

    The more they resort to these types of tactics, the crazier they appear to the general public…so I say they should keep it up….really go all the way down the rabbit hole.

  24. #24 Science Mom
    http://justthevax.blogspot.com/
    September 5, 2013

    Oh, and I find it amusing that this “objective observer” feels you should lose your license as a licensed, respected physician (who just happens to be a surgical oncologist) speaking about things outside of his areas of expertise like pediatric gastroenterology and autism, but sees no problem when someone who isn’t even a doctor anymore does it.

    This is an excellent point that bears repeating (or in AoA speak, bares repeatiading). Wakefield, the Geiers, Sears, Gordon, and any “DAN! doctor” for that matter, Blaxill, Olmstead, Handley, Stagliano, Rubolino, Goes, Jameson, McCarthy and the list goes on and on do not possess a whit of expertise on the topic of autism yet proclaim themselves experts and dispense medical advice on the subject. These charlatans are by far a closer example of what this so-called “objective observer” accused Orac of when she said, “He does not have any business crossing those lines and talking about issues that do not concern him.”

    I have no doubt the hypocrisy eludes her.

  25. #25 palindrom
    September 5, 2013

    ren@19 — “Thankfully, people who can discern who is a “crank” and who’s not still run the world.”

    Unfortunately, given how people running Congressional hearings have lionized anti-vaxxers and global warming denialists, I fear that this is not quite as universally true as one would want it to be.

    Science is hard to get right and easy to get wrong, which makes it far too easy for people with agendas to make bogus cases that look good to non-experts.

  26. #26 Chris Hickie
    September 5, 2013

    As a pediatrician with a doctorate in neuroscience, allow me to state that you do a mighty fine job discussing all things pediatric, Orac.

  27. #27 Chris Hickie
    September 5, 2013

    As a pediatrician with a doctorate in neuroscience, allow me to state that you do a mighty fine job discussing all things pediatric, Orac.

  28. #28 Denice Walter
    September 5, 2013

    Right. AoA commenters have had their knickers/ panties in a twist/ bunch/ knot about Orac again since Dan’s post appeared
    on Saturday so I’m not at all surprised that one of them – or a reader- went ahead and left a message.

    A few phrases in the message stick out:

    Orac is “writing about an area out of his expertise”
    against “advocates who are trying to help families”,
    “dissuading people from getting the help they need”
    and for being “self-serving and selfish”.

    Those are precisely the reasons that I PERSONALLY oppose sites like AoA, TMR, PRN et al.That’s what THEY do.

    I admire Orac because he continuously opposes mis-information and mis-guided self-assignation of expertise by alt med poseurs and University of Google educated parents that can, through their g-d forsaken, self-righteous mis-application lead to actual physical harm to children and adults as well as alienating their trust away from SBM which might conceivably, truly help them.

    Throughout the episode involving Alex, his mother was actively discouraged from accepting help from standard sources and encouraged to seek out alternative methods and practitioners. We @ RI know exactly who was working towards those unrealistic goals and who continues to interfere now, legally rather than medically, after his murder.
    It’s all there in print at the usual locations by the usual suspects..

    I often say that alt media provocateurs like to tar their critics’ reputations in order to divert their followers’ attention from their own scurvy, seething, rotten mass of despicable iniquities.

    I need to go outside a bit to take a few deep breaths.

  29. #29 Khani
    September 5, 2013

    And that is why many commenters here prefer to be anonymous.

    Next time someone complains about anonymity, let’s just link them here and move on.

  30. #30 oldmanjenkins
    Wooville Florida
    September 5, 2013

    It is unfortunate that the very people who claim science is on their side don’t seem to understand science, nor how it works. They seem to not understand the words Subjective versus Objective (S.O.A.P. is drilled into my head from schooling and state boards) in the same way people confuse to and too.

    A line from Princess Bride “You keep using that word…” keeps popping into my head. They keep confusing their emotional “hunches” with actual evidence. They are passionate but their vigor belies hubris and dogmatism.

    It almost seems pathological that when presented with contrary evidence they cannot waiver from their conviction. I say “seems pathological” because some appear to hold jobs, pay their bills etc. And in conviction I mean they “cannot” be wrong for to be wrong means their entire being ceases to exist.

    I am careful where I post and what I post about. I never claim to be an expert in anything and always frame my response in a way which indicates the words I type are my own opinion and in no way should be construed as evidence.

    I am an observer and strive to be as objective as I can. I admit my limitations and converse with other colleagues to ensure I keep myself grounded. I think if I am an “expert” in anything it is admitting I am faulty, can be fooled and need to work every day on becoming a better critical thinker. Not just for myself but my patients.

    Once more into the breach Orac. Once more into the breach.

    I am sometimes jarred emotionally to the vitriol that is spewed towards me on some of my posts on other sites and have grown thicker skin through the years towards these things. Lets face it, these are very emotionally charged topics.

  31. #31 Xuuths
    September 5, 2013

    “This” is exactly why I never even consider having my own blog! Nutjobs have a lot of free time, and can become dangerous.

    Kudos to you, and gratitude for having a thick skin to put up with all the craziness.

  32. #32 Skeptical_Canadian
    Canada
    September 5, 2013

    GASP! My first comment. I’ve been a lurker for too long, but my day is never complete without reading RI, SBM and Neurologica blogs. I’m in awe of Orac and the skilled individuals with their respective comments. Needless to say, I’m skeptical and a fan of Orac. This article really bugged me for the anonymous critic’s profound hypocrisy. They don’t know what they don’t know and can’t recognize that. Orac, please continue this good fight and soldier on in the excellent work you perform on this blog and countless other activities. You’re not alone, I pontificate skeptically at every turn to my family, friends and even strangers if they are open to new data. Thank you.

  33. #33 Antaeus Feldspar
    September 5, 2013

    I really kind of hope this question is not on-topic, but does anyone know why the Neurodiversity weblog is shut down?

  34. #34 Skeptical_Canadian
    Canada
    September 5, 2013

    GASP! My first comment. I’ve been a lurker for too long, but my day is never complete without reading RI, SBM and Neurologica blogs. I’m in awe of Orac and the skilled individuals with their respective comments. Needless to say, I’m skeptical and a fan of Orac. This article really bugged me for the anonymous critic’s profound hypocrisy. They don’t know what they don’t know and can’t recognize that. Orac, please continue this good fight and soldier on in the excellent work you perform on this blog and countless other activities. You’re not alone, I pontificate skeptically at every turn to my family, friends and even strangers if they are open to new data. Thank you.

  35. #35 Chris,
    September 5, 2013

    Antaeous Feldspar, it is working for me:
    http://theness.com/neurologicablog/

  36. #36 Liz Ditz
    September 5, 2013

    Chris and Antaeus Feldspar (btw, one of the more inspired ‘nyms) I believe Kathleen Seidel thought it was time to move on.

    The main site is still live

    http://neurodiversity.com/main.html

    But the blog is gone. I regret her decision as the extensive coverage of the Autism Omnibus was very useful, as was her coverage of the antics of the Geiers, Boyd Hayley, and the vaccine-injury-lawyer bunch were all very useful.

  37. #37 Skeptical_Canadian
    Canada
    September 5, 2013

    Apologies for the double post. It didn’t look like it worked the first time, so I tried a second time. Neither showed up, now they both showed up. Gotta love technology! :-)

  38. #38 Anne Pierce
    the Carolinas
    September 5, 2013

    Orac, let me add my voice to all those who have written in support. You have had a significant role to play in my conversion from just rolling my eyes to actively trying to counter dangerous pseudoscience. I often link to you in responses to Facebook friends.
    I’m a historian (with a laboratory background) and today’s lecture is on the Scientific Revolution. The kids are getting a dose of the difference between science and pseudoscience.
    I’ve yet to have a sCAM advocate answer the following: If ‘traditional’ medicine is all about money, money, money and sCam isn’t –Why does every sCAM practitioner I know charge for their treatments?

  39. #39 Antaeus Feldspar
    September 5, 2013

    Liz: Ah, that’s a shame. I always wonder, with situations like that, whether the archives could be made available to other interested parties to mirror, so that the site could still serve as a wealth of information without requiring the original blogger’s continued effort.

  40. #40 Denice Walter
    September 5, 2013

    @ Xuuths:

    re ” free time”.

    You speak the truth.

    As a psychologist, I’ve often speculated about the relationship between unrealistic thinking processes and the propensity to put them on public display, even vicariously, via the internet.

    Often, we see *folie a deux* evolve into *folie a* many ( pardonez my Franglais, svp). Anti-vaccine supporters insulate themselves from reality through their internet lives and will, of course, rear up against anyone who would shake them back into the real world.

    It’s easy for a parent who is in conflict with a medical diagnosis and the medical establishment to lash out in any way they can against Orac and other SB sources.

    TMR’s MacNeil and Jameson have recently written about how RL cohorts have shunned them or called them “freaks” ( her words, not mine). Within their cult, they are instead revered and respected as true, maverick revolutionaries of paradigm shift. They were there first at tthe first rumblings of the birth of the New Age. Someday they’ll be vindicated

    Or so they tell us.

    I will again call these sites and facebook pages group therapy/ support groups gone wrong: they instill unrealistic ideas rather than the converse.

  41. #41 Chris,
    September 5, 2013

    Ooops, Liz Ditz, I completely read that wrong. I just saw the long name starting with an “n”…I think I’ll go get more coffee.

    I am pretty sure Ms. Seidel has gone on to other things (shouldn’t her kids be in college?). But that blog was a great resource. Fortunately it is on the Wayback machine:
    http://web.archive.org/web/20120111080622/http://neurodiversity.com/weblog/article/189/

  42. #42 Helianthus
    Next to a Swiss bank (unfortunately, no Big Pharma check waiting for me inside...)
    September 5, 2013

    But that’s just my opinion as one person who is an objective observer

    Duckling, you are neither objective nor just an observer.
    To be fair, few people are. That’s why good scientists could be so picky about data and results.
    And yes, it’s just your opinion. Please don’t be upset if we don’t share it.

    @Orac:
    I can only repeat that previous readers have said. Please keep writing “about things outside of your areas of expertise”.

    The idea of allowing people to talk only about things they are expert on is somewhat attractive – for one thing, journalists and politicians would have to be much more accurate or just STFU, which would be quite relaxing.
    On the other hand, that could be a very boring world. We would’t have much left to talk about.

    Anyway, if Orac did listen to his teachers during medical school, I suspect he still knows more about human physiology than most of his detractors.

  43. #43 Todd W.
    http://www.harpocratesspeaks.com
    September 5, 2013

    @Ren

    So, keep at it, folks, the more you think you hurt us, the stronger you make us.

    So, you’re saying we’re Jedi?

    I remember EpiGate well. It’s when I found out that my own employers were at least supportive of the whole separation of work and non-work activities. Luckily that fellow never put the issue to the test with me. The only other folks that have put me in their sights were a California 99%er that took umbrage at something I wrote and threatened me and the VT Coalition for Vaccine Choice, who every now and then try to figure out who I am.

    It would be nice to feel comfortable enough to just be open, but I truly appreciate the work of those who are.

  44. #44 elburto
    September 5, 2013

    Orac – I’d also like to thank you for putting your neck above the line. You’re an inspiration.

    Also, that transcript is so hilariously hypocritical that it’s approaching Poe territory. YOU are practicing outside your area of expertise? Ha! I do not know how they dare.

    Broken Link@9 – That made me burst into tears. Ableism at it’s most nefarious.

  45. #45 Wewee
    September 5, 2013

    Orac, you’re a “maestro” in the art of debunking charlatans for many people in the world. Keep the good work.
    :)

  46. #46 Dorit
    September 5, 2013

    Thanks for speaking up on this, I hope the message helps other bloggers stick, too. And for continuing to blog in the face of cowardly attacks like this. Aside from being fun to read, I can’t tell you how helpful this blog – with the wealth of information in it – is for discussions with anti-vaxers.

  47. #47 AnObservingParty
    September 5, 2013

    @ Rich @ Britgeekgrrl @ Lawrence

    Enable me, please. No donations required. I just need a push.

  48. #48 Todd W.
    http://www.harpocratesspeaks.com
    September 5, 2013

    @AnObservingParty

    I suggest running the idea past a legal resource first. Good idea, just be careful.

  49. #49 AnObservingParty
    September 5, 2013

    @ Todd – the email’s already been sent.

  50. #50 Denice Walter
    September 5, 2013

    @ AnObservingParty:

    Go ahead.

  51. #51 Brittany
    September 5, 2013

    Obviously you, as a doctor, are working outside of your expertise by talking science and exposing irrational thought. On the other hand, they who are not doctors, KNOW the one true cause of autism.

    If that isn’t outright arrogance, I don’t know what is.

    Anywho, big props to your university. I knew there was a reason I like it there so much. However, a lot of woo believers in the German department there. Also in the nursing school (which is more depressing), as my husband reports.

  52. #52 Jeff1971
    September 5, 2013

    Outside your area of expertise? That contrasts with Andrew Wakefield, an unemployed former trainee gut surgeon, who has never – ever – had a patient in his own name in his entire life.

  53. #53 Lawrence
    September 5, 2013

    I’d be happy to pony up the cost of the web registration….doing my bit for Public Health is some form or fashion…..

  54. #54 Krebiozen
    September 5, 2013

    I’ll add my voice to those encouraging Orac. This sort of nonsense shows that what you are doing is working. Your employers should be proud to have someone who cares so much about scientific truth working for them. They have certainly gone up in my estimation through your association with them.

  55. #55 Grillo
    Deep in the heart of corporate America
    September 5, 2013

    Orac,

    You have done tremendous good in the world, and I have great respect for you and your work here. Your primary job is helping very sick people, but you also provide a light and an inspiration, and I thank you for that.

    And I can tell you that this post has done something good for me, personally.

    Recently, someone at work made an inquiry to the corporate bulletin board email list about biomed treatments for their ASD child, soliciting opinions.

    And I, not to my credit, figured that I did not need that kind of trouble, and was silent. After all, it’s not like I know anything.

    Having read this, I am ashamed, and also energized.

    I refuse to be silent about this topic any more. I make this embarrassing admission in conjunction with a promise to no longer ride free on your good work.

    It’s time to do my share.

    Thank you.

  56. #56 Daisy
    Practicing Outside of My Field
    September 5, 2013

    In what field of medicine is experience required in order to know that forcing coffee or garlic enemas up one’s backside is contrary to the best interest of the patient? Does that even require a medical degree at all?

    Orac has provided me with a better education than I’ve received most anywhere else. Much of the time I didn’t quite appreciate learning how much I’d wasted on quackery, but I’m now much better for the knowledge, and I survived to tell about it.

  57. #57 imr90
    Springfield, MA
    September 5, 2013

    Orac,
    As a daily reader and occasional commenter I want to thank you for your work. I am a professor of biology who teaches a senior seminar in critical thinking for our majors. Our main emphasis is CAM (Bigfoot and Nessie are such low-hanging fruit!) and your blog is our #1 skeptical/medical blog. Of course one does not need to be a physician in a particular specialty to be able to apply critical thinking and the methods of science to medical claims; my students do it all the time and without your medical qualifications. But of course we all know that anyone who can lay claim to the title of “mom” is instantly qualified to expound on anything.

  58. #58 Mewens
    September 5, 2013

    In addition to Orac, I think it’s worthwhile to laud our other luminaries who have the chutzpah to post under their own names in various capacities – Denice, Liz, Ren, Chris (of the Hickie persuasion), and I’m sure I’m missing some. … And, of course, all the other outed bloggers, and some of our own active posters who can’t go named for one reason or another (lilady, I’m thinking of you specifically).

    Just a lot of good work being done by a lot of people.

  59. #59 Carl
    September 5, 2013

    I don’t know if I have ever been heckled for anonymity by someone who them self was using anything resembling a real full name. I will post a product review or comment under a meaningless name like “user” followed by a string of random digits, and some jagoff named “bj” or “bieberfan” will say they don’t believe me because I am “anonymous”, as if their name is any kind of ID.

  60. #60 Orac
    September 5, 2013

    Note the brief paragraph I added to the end of my post and the change in the title. Truly, sometimes the reaction of AoA to my humble efforts and those of other skeptical bloggers makes me feel all tingly inside.

  61. #61 Queen Khentkawes
    Near my nearest Walgreen's
    September 5, 2013

    I’m away for a few months and when I come back, all hell’s broken loose!

    Orac (may I call you Orac?), I think you are performing a real public service here. Before I stumbled across your blog, I had no idea that there were so many people opposed to an obvious good like vaccines. I’ve been recommending your blog to my friends. Keep fighting the good fight.

  62. #62 leeann
    MA
    September 5, 2013

    Thanks to this blog, and your other not-so-secret blog, I have become quite the skeptic (born again skeptic perhaps?). I teach health and disease, as well as nutrition, to college students, and these topics are full of misinformation. Because of you and your colleagues writings, I have now added a topic: A skeptic’s guide to complementary and alternative medicine to each class I teach. Thank you

  63. #63 DLC
    Somewhere where they Don't Look Confused.
    September 5, 2013

    Really, this sort of thing is stupid. Not only is it stupid, it’s also squelching free speech and silencing critics by underhanded means rather than by engaging their points. To me, it’s fine if you want to not reply to critics. It’s your right . But to reply to critics by calling their boss and demanding the bosses silence the critic ? Wrong. Completely wrong. If the facts are on your side, the truth will out. Otherwise you should be prepared to change your mind.

  64. #64 Matthew Cline
    SCP Foundation Site 19
    September 5, 2013

    @Public Educator:

    When I was teaching chemistry, one letter (the major issue was, amazingly enough, an accusation of witchcraft… yes, the person in question was and remains of questionable sanity) led to reprimand and a ‘plan’

    Public Educator turned me into a newt!

    @Khani

    And that is why many commenters here prefer to be anonymous.

    I can easily see people twisting this around to the opposite conclusion: people have tried to get Orac in trouble with his work, but he didn’t get in trouble with his work. So if you’ve done nothing wrong, you won’t get in trouble at work. So if you’ve done nothing wrong, you shouldn’t be worried about people calling into your work to try to get you into trouble.

  65. #65 Karl Withakay
    http://blog.cordialdeconstruction.com
    September 5, 2013

    I’m very glad you have such great and understanding employers.

    This type of attack is a key reason why I use and maintain my (single) pseudonymic identity online. I don’t know if my employers would be so understanding and accommodating if some crank decided they disliked what I had to say here or at other skeptical blogs enough to try to hit me where it hurts. I know I don’t really even register as background noise on any hostile radar sets, but even my insignificant and currently idle tiny blog has received a comment from the infamous Dave Mabus.

  66. #66 Denice Walter
    September 5, 2013

    @ Mewens:

    Thank you for your kind words but I must make a correction:
    I don’t post under my real, FULL name- I leave off the second last name- which is also a masculine, personal name-
    so I’m really Denice V. Walter Howard-
    Oooops!
    Not really, but close enough. You get the idea.

    You seriously don’t think that I’d reveal the whole thing when I know what kind of critics Orac has- especially those who like to play detective and investigative reporter. Some love lawyers also.

    And there are quite a few Denice/ Denise Walter/ Walters around, in , at last count, 6 different countries!!!!
    I hope that none of them get harassed for my words.
    Especially that nice lady in Hobart, Tasmania. Who am I absolutely not. As a I said, she’s nice.

  67. #67 Travis
    Ottawa, ON
    September 5, 2013

    So if you’ve done nothing wrong, you won’t get in trouble at work.

    Wasn’t there a commenter here a year or two ago that was forced to stop commenting due to their employers objecting? Maybe I am misremembering or thinking of another blog.

  68. #68 Mewens
    September 5, 2013

    @66 Ha ha ha ha, compliment retracted. I’ll just have to lump you in with lilady. The horror!

  69. #69 Travis
    Ottawa, ON
    September 5, 2013

    I do not use my full name but I think I could easily be tracked down. I post my location and my photo has been used on a number of profiles. Luckily no one will care that I choose to post here.

  70. #70 Broken Link
    September 5, 2013

    In the original post, Orac noted that Attkisson “very likely fed information to someone at AoA to help them portray Lisa Randall at Voices for Vaccines as an “industry group,” ”

    The fact that AoA has asked it’s readers to contact CBS could be due to Attkisson letting AoA know that the piece is receiving a lot of criticism. Keep those letters to CBS coming, folks. We are making a difference.

  71. #71 Krebiozen
    September 5, 2013

    Travis,

    Wasn’t there a commenter here a year or two ago that was forced to stop commenting due to their employers objecting?

    That would be Ren (see #20) who now has to wear a ski mask at all times thanks to these imbeciles.

    BTW I have been amusing myself by burying some idiotic antivaxxers at the Washington Post under mountains of science, along with some other commenters (you know who you are). John Stone, Cynthia Parker, and an artificial intelligence algorithm that goes by the name of Dachel are all there. Easy targets but I’m in a grumpy mood lately.

    Does anyone know who Twyla2 is? S/he is a particularly tenacious antivaxxer who appears to have swallowed Safe Minds website whole, poor thing.

  72. #72 Liz Ditz
    September 5, 2013

    I just want to chime into the Orac appreciation society.

    I was sort of a shruggie when I started reading the old blog, back in the Neolithic a few months after he started it up in 2004.

    I have learned so much about so many subjects from Orac and the Merry Band of Orac’s Minions. Despite having a BA from a spiffy university, I had a very modest education in science.

    So thanks, das blinken lights, and thanks to all who explain complex subjects in such a way that they are in reach of a student of the humanities.

  73. #73 Liz Ditz
    September 5, 2013

    By the way, the Change.org petition is up to 1,506 signatories. Can we get it up to 2,000? Have you done your part?

    https://www.change.org/petitions/cbs-news-take-down-the-video-behind-the-tragedy-mother-murders-autistic-son-2

  74. #74 Liz Ditz
    September 5, 2013

    Twyla2 is probably Twyla Ramos, who has written for AoA and is a biomeddler.

  75. #75 D. C. Sessions
    September 5, 2013

    Peeps, don’t forget that Our Gracious Host is not only a physician and surgeon, but holds a PhD in physiology.

    Aside from that — working with good people is a wonderful thing, isn’t it?

  76. #76 Old Rockin' Dave
    In the lab, plotting to take over the world, same as every night (NARF!)
    September 5, 2013

    I have not only signed the petition but I have also emailed the relevant authorities at Orac’s places of employment.
    Since anger and outrage are much greater spurs to action than satisfaction is, positive comments tend to carry greater weight. So, fellow Legionaries of Big Pharma Doom, please weigh in, and perhaps we can offset the flying monkey brigade.
    Just incidentally, at least Orac has a license to threaten. The only license Mister Wakefield has is the one that allows him to pee on fire hydrants.

  77. #77 Lawrence
    September 5, 2013

    I’m sure there are many readers here that don’t post – I know that I wasn’t one of them for a while – I remember the first post I saw here, which talked about a television drama episode that examined the measles vs. autism link…….and since then, it has only encouraged me to take a more active role in combating the utter stupidity of the anti-vax agenda.

    No child should suffer from disease just because their parents are too idiotic or uneducated to understand how serious those diseases are…..

  78. #78 Lilly de Lure
    Edinburgh, UK
    September 5, 2013

    Long time lurker, very seldom commentator, also chiming in on the Orac appreciation society call out.

  79. #79 Orac
    September 5, 2013

    I have not only signed the petition but I have also emailed the relevant authorities at Orac’s places of employment.

    PLEASE DON’T DO THAT unless I ask it. E-mail from supporters is only marginally less irritating to people in charge than crank e-mail. It was probably already mostly forgotten about, if my bosses even heard the message at all; no need to remind them.

  80. #80 Peter Bowditch
    The wilderness called Australia
    September 5, 2013

    Someone wrote to my employer once to complain about me. I would have thought that sending email to a peter@ address might suggest that it is my private email and I would read it first. (I own the company, so my boss is rather tolerant.)

    I did love it when the thankfully now dead Mr William P O’Neill emailed the secretary of my wife’s tennis club to inform said secretary that the club’s secretary was married to me. Crazy like that has to be respected.

  81. #81 Chris HIckie
    September 5, 2013

    I went to howmanyofme.com and found there is (egads) at most one of me in the US (so much for stealth), but I’m not worried because I looked in the mirror at my supervisor who told me to continue working for immunizations and also to go get my flu shot, which I just did, though I was wishing it was the quadrivalent flu shot, but it’s not but since the clinic is about to start doing flu shots and parents will ask if I’v’e had mine as gesture of walking the walk I figured it’s better to take 3 in the arm than 4 later and then the thought occurred to me ‘could this be the mercury talking’ but then I realized it’s only just too many diet sodas and not enough sleep.

  82. #82 Mike Egnor
    September 5, 2013

    *sniff*

    I weep for you, Gorski.

    Too bad you never thought about professional reputations during your Darwin-huckstering years. The better part of your disjointed posts were spittle-flecked denigration of your interlocutors’ professional standing, intelligence and personal integrity.

    Lots of folks endured quite a few of your Darwin Youth readership who called departments and universities trying to get them fired.

    My career was safe, but there are quite a few Darwin critics (Dembski, Gonzalez, Sternberg, Crocker, among others) who have been seriously damaged professionally by your brownshirts.

    And you snivel about your troubles, having incited the professional destruction of so many others. You must feel so sorry for yourself.

  83. #83 Rich Scopie
    September 5, 2013

    @AnObservingParty

    Email me at: richard.lockwood@gmail.com

    I’ll host that FOC (obviously)!

    Yes antivaxers, you now have my email address.

    Cheers,

    Rich.

  84. #84 ruthq
    usually on FB
    September 5, 2013

    Thanks, Orac, for making sure “the truth is out there.” I am an autism mom who started following your blog after your initial post on this story. Most parents of autistic kids are rational, and vaccinate, and unfortunately keep quiet when these debates come up. The Alex S story made me decide to speak up, and your blog is an invaluable resource.

  85. #85 Khani
    September 5, 2013

    #42 “The idea of allowing people to talk only about things they are expert on is somewhat attractive – for one thing, journalists and politicians would have to be much more accurate or just STFU, which would be quite relaxing.”

    Ouch. :(

    I’m sorry for offending you by… doing my job?

  86. #86 Khani
    September 5, 2013

    #64 I’d rather skip the hassle altogether, thanks.

  87. #87 AnObservingParty
    September 5, 2013

    @ Rich Scopie,

    I am waiting to hear from my law-talking guy friend at the advice of Todd. If anybody else with legal experience can get me a faster answer, please chime in. Apparently lawyers are busy or something. Being an IPC, all I can get from researching is blah blah blah “copyright” blah blah blah “profit” (which of course it wouldn’t be for profit, as Big Pharma pays me more than enough). Defamation isn’t an issue because, well, it’s true. But thank you! Even if I have to name it something else, I think this is something that needs to be out there and popping up on people’s searches. I’m tired of being quiet, and I’m tired of seeing reports referring to him as “Dr.”

    Knowing Wakefield, he very well may have copyrighted his name. He is that giant of a bag of woo-douche.

  88. #88 Todd W.
    http://www.harpocratesspeaks.com
    September 5, 2013

    @AnObservingParty

    It’s not the copyright stuff I had in mind, but defamation. Saying, “He doesn’t have any”, could be libelous, particularly if he could show just a single credential he does have that you might not be aware of.

  89. #89 AnObservingParty
    September 5, 2013

    @ Todd

    Give me a bit and I can work around that. Just have to frame the question (domain name) and answer (page) correctly to emphasize he’s no longer able to practice medicine.

  90. #90 Travis
    Ottawa, ON
    September 5, 2013

    Krebiozen,
    Thanks for confirming this. I thought it was Ren so I was surprised to see them commenting again. I have not really been much of a regular reader or commenter here over the past year and I am only now getting back into it, so my memory is all fuzzy.

  91. #91 lilady
    September 5, 2013

    @ Krebiozen: Twyla is Twyla Ramos. You can see that the pig farmer posted one of her AoA articles. Google her name to see her activities with a regional autism group and her description about her child’s onset of autism.

    AnObservingParty: I know nothing about computers and setting up a domain.

    How about a large head shot of Wakefield and posing the question:

    Has this man been giving you medical advice?

    He is not a licensed medical doctor.

  92. #92 Antaeus Feldspar
    September 5, 2013

    Knowing Wakefield, he very well may have copyrighted his name. He is that giant of a bag of woo-douche.

    IANAL, but I’ve delved rather a bit into these issues over the years. Names can’t be copyrighted; however, they can be trademarked.

    The thing to remember about trademark law is that it’s literally the law governing “marks of trade”; i.e. the words and symbols that a business entity uses to indicate to consumers “this is OUR product or service, it comes from OUR business and is made to OUR standards.”

    Therefore, the *major* test for whether you’re in the right as regards trademark law is, would a reasonable person be confused into thinking a trademark holder was involved when they weren’t? So a site criticizing Wakefield under the domain “misterandrewwakefield.com” would be more legally risky than, say, “andrewwakefieldisnotadoctor.com”. No one would look at the latter domain name and say “oh, that site must be Andrew Wakefield’s.” (The reason I say that’s the *major* test is that there’s another major prong of trademark law that I know next to nothing of, which is things you can do that tarnish someone else’s trademark even when no one is deceived into thinking the tarnishing actions come from the trademark holder. IANAL and I *definitely* don’t know enough about that part of trademark law to advise you how to stay on the safe side as regards it.)

  93. #93 Denice Walter
    September 5, 2013

    @ AOP:

    You might be careful how you phrase the website’s name:
    as I just discovered -
    there is a Doctor Andrew E. Wakefield, a neurosurgeon, in Connecticut who is not struck-off, not a fraudmeister and not the love object of biomed mothers on both sides of the pond.

    I think that there was also a tennis player named the same.

  94. #94 Orac
    September 5, 2013

    Too bad you never thought about professional reputations during your Darwin-huckstering years. The better part of your disjointed posts were spittle-flecked denigration of your interlocutors’ professional standing, intelligence and personal integrity.

    Lots of folks endured quite a few of your Darwin Youth readership who called departments and universities trying to get them fired.

    You’re a very silly man. I never incited people to call departments and universities to get creationists fired, and blogging about evolution was always a relatively small part of my oeuvre compared to medicine. If anything, being sensitive to having people try to get me fired for my extracurricular activities, when the topic comes up I urge people in the strongest terms not to complain about people to their bosses for expressing their opinions. For example, when some of my readers got a little too—shall we say—frisky about an antivaccinationist named Jake Crosby, who is a graduate student, I pointedly told them not to contact his school about his blogging activities.

    My career was safe, but there are quite a few Darwin critics (Dembski, Gonzalez, Sternberg, Crocker, among others) who have been seriously damaged professionally by your brownshirts.

    My “Brownshirts”? Seriously? I had no idea that I have that much influence. I had no idea that I had any minions who would so readily do my bidding.

    And you snivel about your troubles, having incited the professional destruction of so many others. You must feel so sorry for yourself.

    Name someone whose “professional destruction” I incited, and provide evidence that I did such a thing. You can’t, because I haven’t done such a thing and as a result there is no evidence.

    As I said, you’re a very silly man.

  95. #95 AnObservingParty
    September 5, 2013

    Thank you Antaeus and Denise. I am going to need to read that again after I’ve had a cup of coffee tomorrow, but thank you.

  96. #96 herr doktor bimler
    September 6, 2013

    seriously damaged professionally by your brownshirts.

    Brownshirts? A Nazi comparison right in Egnor’s first comment? Way to go Full Godwin, dude.

  97. #97 Militant Agnostic
    Where the sky has not fallen in spite of same sex marriage being legal for years
    September 6, 2013

    There has to be a special name for a Godwin committed by someone who is on Hitler’s side of the issue they are Godwining about. Hitler clearly rejected evolution and condemned atheism.

    Christians are so persecuted in America. I hear that it is impossible for someone to be elected president if they admit to being a Christian.

  98. #98 False Skeptics Are a Joke
    September 6, 2013

    Orac, this is actually something you and I both agree on. You shouldn’t attack a person’s job or financial interests, no matter how loathesome you find them.

    So you agree that people like lilady should be called out and admonished for contacting a school board president to get a teacher fired. Or for contacting the employers of the Patriot Nurse to do the same thing.

    I guess this pity party only applies when someone does it to you, right?

  99. #99 Dangerous Bacon
    September 6, 2013

    The worst thing to happen to Michael Egnor, Creationist Neurosurgeon is that he’s been overshadowed in the news by other crank neurosurgeons, embarrassing themselves by embrace of woo (Eben Alexander of near-death experience fame) or foot-in-mouth disease (Benjamin Carson, having to pull out of a graduate speaker gig at Johns Hopkins after comparing homosexuality to bestiality and pedophilia). And that’s even before mentioning Russell Blaylock, retired neurosurgeon and champion of pseudoscience.

    It’s hard to think of another medical specialty so afflicted with goofballs.*

    *interestingly, there are at least two neurosurgeons named Dr. Woo who pop up on a Google search. But I have no reason to think that woo is part of their belief system. :)

  100. #100 Public Educator
    September 6, 2013

    Apropos the unvaccinated: http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2013/09/05/22-probable-cases-of-mumps-in-monmouth-county/

    Unfortunately, a region of NJ with a large, dense population and lots of tourists. There also seems to be a fair antivax presence, as evidenced by reports of lowered vac rates over the last decade or so.

  101. #101 Marry Me, Mindy
    September 6, 2013

    Are you aware that Dr. [Orac] is writing about an area out of his expertise, autism and pediatric gastroenterology?

    Hmmm, that accusation sounds familiar. Isn’t that the complaint that Jay Gordon has made?

    What are the chances Uncle Jay is behind the call? Heck, maybe it was even Jenny herself being a Jaybo mouthpiece?

  102. #102 Antaeus Feldspar
    September 6, 2013

    Orac, this is actually something you and I both agree on. You shouldn’t attack a person’s job or financial interests, no matter how loathesome you find them.

    Hmmm, fascinating way that you’re broadening and generalizing there, False Skeptics, adding that clause about “or financial interests”. I mean, last time I checked, if I found someone to be loathsome, I would be quite within my rights both legally and morally to boycott them, and even encourage others to boycott them as well. I wouldn’t presume to announce that Orac shares my views on the legitimacy of boycotts, based on what he’s said about the quite different matter of not writing to someone’s employers to try and get them fired – but you just did, presuming that whatever Orac said about the specific act of ‘trying to get someone’s employers to fire them’, you could extrapolate to any “attack” on “financial interests”.

    So you agree that people like lilady should be called out and admonished for contacting a school board president to get a teacher fired. Or for contacting the employers of the Patriot Nurse to do the same thing.

    Hmmm, I’m not sure your memory of that incident is quite accurate; if you’re referring to the incident I think you are, the person whose behavior drew criticism was a school board member, school board president in fact – and the behavior in question was using his authority as a school board member to promote dangerous pseudoscience.

    I’d say that makes a difference, don’t you? Complaining about how someone does their job, including abusing the privileges of that job, is rather a different animal than complaining to someone’s employer about their outside activities. Or are you saying that everyone should have just looked the other way when that school board president abused his position to promote his antivaccine views? I’d really be fascinated to know just what you think would be the correct course of action in that situation, and why.

    I guess this pity party only applies when someone does it to you, right?

    I guess you were so orgasmic at the prospect of catching Orac in a double standard, it didn’t even occur to you to think about whether the situations were actually comparable, right?

  103. #103 Science Mom
    http://justthevax.blogspot.com/
    September 6, 2013

    What are the chances Uncle Jay is behind the call? Heck, maybe it was even Jenny herself being a Jaybo mouthpiece?

    MMM, Orac said the caller was a woman and I really don’t see either of them stooping so low as to pull that stunt even if only out of self-preservation.

  104. #104 Marry Me, Mindy
    September 6, 2013

    Orac said the caller was a woman and I really don’t see either of them stooping so low as to pull that stunt even if only out of self-preservation.

    I never said it was Jay himself, I asked what are the chances he is behind it? I know it was a woman caller.

    The accusation about him “out of his area of expertise” is standard Gordon.

  105. #105 Dorit
    September 6, 2013

    AoP, in common law, substantial truth is a defense to a defamation claim – if your statement is substantially true, a suit would lose; since Wakefield is a public figure (I think that’s not very controversial, but can go deeper into that), the burden of proof would be on him to show that the statement was false and that you acted with malice: you either knew it was false or were reckless as to its truth or falsity. Of course, the other Andrew Wakefield would be in a different situation, and that Wakefield might have a legitimate claim.

  106. #106 Glaxxon PharmaCOM Orbital
    Minion Clearance Center
    September 6, 2013

    MESSAGE BEGINS——————————

    Esteemed Host Orac,

    As I have gushed repeatedly in the past, I feel like I can’t remember a time when I didn’t know the cool logic and rigorous logic of your circuits. We of the Glaxxon Corpus owe our great success in no small part to you. The Corpus is at work tirelessly terraforming this dreary, chilly backwater into a planet, nay, a home a race of marauding ectotherms can call home. Is it easy doing this work? Certainly not!

    Dreadful little monkeys like the Egnor creature bawwing and mewling constantly can make a long day of planetary subjugation just that much longer with their rebellious caterwauling about shirts that are brown and nefarious conspiracies. Okay, we do have a few conspiracies, but just a few, and when in human form I prefer my shirts crisp, white, bespoke and made by Carolina Herrera.
    I mean really, you’d think we were torturing them or something.

    Okay, there might be the occasional flensing or accidental decapitation, but rarely and only when really necessary. We do so dread having to sink to such depths of depravity. Of course, we prefer to let our effective, GlaxxVaxx™ vaccines and lovely ChemTraylz™ soporifics and mutagens do the work for us.
    But I digress . . . this is really about our intrepid interlocutor, that clarion of clarity, that laying down the law with logorrhea, the one, the only, Orac.

    I rasie my sharpened battleclaw to you!

    Now, enough of this treacle, shills and minions! Back to your eeeeevil scuttling about, we have a planet to consume!

    Lord Draconis Zeneca, VH7ihL
    Forward Mavoon of the Great Fleet, Pharmaca Magna of Terra, Imperial Order of the Brownsnout (with clusters)

    Glaxxon PharmaCOM Orbital
    00101011101110000101010101101010111010

    —————————–MESSAGE ENDS

  107. #107 lilady
    September 6, 2013

    @ False Skeptic:

    “So you agree that people like lilady should be called out and admonished for contacting a school board president to get a teacher fired. Or for contacting the employers of the Patriot Nurse to do the same thing.”

    You’re mistaken…or lying. Jen from AoA accused me of that. I emailed the School Superintendent (and I provided the email to Jen) when a School Board Member wrote a letter on School Board Stationery to every parent in the district, touting “The Greater Good” movie.

    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2012/03/20/a-school-board-president-abuses-his-posi/

    I cannot take “credit” for writing to the Patriot Nurse’s employer and forwarded the link to her dreadful video. The blogger who did that is an amazing advocate for her autistic son and has done extraordinary work for increased services for the autistic population:

  108. #108 lilady
    September 6, 2013

    @ False Skeptic

    The article about the Patriot Nurse, here:

    http://shotofprevention.com/2012/01/25/vaccination-ethics-come-to-question-as-the-patriot-nurse-strikes-again/

    Which is it False Skeptic?

    Mistaken?

    Or Lying?

  109. #109 lilady
    Not on "Team Dr. Jay"
    September 6, 2013

    That’s not Dr. Jay’s style. He has made some really dumb remarks here and on the SBM blog. He has also insulted some of the posters here, but he wouldn’t, IMO, stoop to that level.

  110. #110 Antaeus Feldspar
    September 6, 2013

    I never said it was Jay himself, I asked what are the chances he is behind it? I know it was a woman caller.

    TBH I don’t think there’s anything to tie it to Jay specifically. Yeah, he’s known to whine about Orac ‘writing about an area out of his expertise’ but it’s not like that’s an excuse to complain that takes much imagination to come up with. It’s like the way every antivax halfwit thinks “OMG! Paul Offit writes about vaccines and also invented a vaccine; clear conflict of interest!!” even though there’s no, y’know, conflict.

  111. #111 Dorit
    September 6, 2013

    So if you write about your area there’s a conflict of interest, and if you write outside it you shouldn’t because you don’t know enough (unlike, as was posted above, Mr. Wakefield, Dr. Humphries, Dr. Scheibner, and the rest) and you also have a conflict of interest.
    Can’t win.

  112. #112 Helianthus
    September 6, 2013

    @ Khani

    My apologies. It was a bit offending.
    I have nothing but praise for journalists who do their homework.
    Unfortunately, these past years have shown me too many news writers or politicians whose stock of trade is sensationalism and fear-mongering.
    I was particularly disgusted by the way the journalists from my country became mere stenographers for GMO-basher Seralini, September last year.
    Being somewhat bilingual, I am also able to follows news in both English and French, and I am sometimes put to shame at seeing a fellow countryman mangling the translation or resorting to century-old clichés when talking about North America. This being their job, they ought to do better than that.

  113. #113 c0nc0rdance
    September 6, 2013

    … and THAT’S why I insist on my anonymity and pseudonyms on the Internet. I work for a corporation… ain’t no academic freedom here, just paranoia and fear of bad PR.

  114. #114 Delurked Lurker
    North of the Tropic of Capricoen
    September 6, 2013

    Mike Egnor

    Brown shirts ? really ??

    You just invoked Goodwin’s law…you are now dismissed

  115. #115 Khani
    September 7, 2013

    #112 Good science journalism is hard, and requires lots of time. It’s also not “sexy,” so getting editors to give you enough time can be hard, if you have the wrong sort of editor. (I’m lucky, because my editor is wonderful and recognizes worthwhile stories.)

    That’s not an excuse for bad science journalism, mind you. It’s an explanation, but there’s still no excuse. If they can’t spend enough time it would probably be better not to do it at all.

  116. #116 THS
    September 7, 2013

    Thanks, Liz Ditz, for the link to the petition.
    My first thought re Mike Egnor’s post is that it was a joke.

  117. #117 Stuartg
    September 7, 2013

    @ Dorit

    I shudder when I hear Wakefield referred to as ‘Mr’.

    In the UK, and in other parts of the world where surgical practice developed from the Royal College of Surgeons, ‘Mr” is an honorific given to male surgeons in acknowledgement of their skills and expertise.

    Wakefield hasn’t earned the term and doesn’t deserve it.

  118. #118 Orac
    September 7, 2013

    Note addendum to this post. Now the denizens of AoA are threatening to “investigate” me.

  119. #119 Krebiozen
    September 7, 2013

    Orac,

    I’m sure you are terrified! It is very sad that these people appear to sincerely believe that the nonsense they promote is any way going to, “protect the children”.

    A recent exchange with some of the usual suspects on the Washington Post has led me, yet again, to ask myself what their motives truly are. Why do they repeat demonstrable untruths over and over?

    On the WP blog they brought up thimerosal, which has been totally discredited as a cause of autism, and which was present in vaccines in such tiny quantities it beggars belief it could have had any measurable effects. I explained this in detail, linking to evidence that I think any reasonable person would accept.

    Pink Disease was also mentioned, which shares some symptoms with autism, but has a host of other, mostly dermatological, symptoms that are not seen in autism – is a pink nose, fingers and toes characteristic of autism? Excessive sweating? Of course not.

    Wakefield’s payments for carrying out research with predetermined findings also came up, with claims that he never personally received any money and claims that he did not produce a measles vaccines and would not have profited from it had his evil plot gone undiscovered.

    There is documentary evidence that these claims are totally false, which I linked to (thanks to Brian Deer hosting this evidence from the Legal Aid Board and Wakefield’s own patent application).

    I know these people have seen all this evidence before, yet they still make the same false claims. I know that I will see them again, likely the same claims from the same people.

    What is wrong with these people? Why do they repeat lies, even when incontrovertible evidence that they are lies has been shown to them? Why would they threaten people who tell the truth, and do not accept their lies, accusing them of being “pharma shillls” and not caring about “the children”. Isn’t the truth about vaccines and autism ultimately the only thing that is going to help?

    Do they simply believe that the evidence that contradicts their claims is fabricated? Yet they parade that same evidence, the experiments showing that dendritic cells are damaged by thimerosal for example, as evidence supporting their cause.

    When I point out to them that the concentrations of thimerosal used are far lower than those seen in the blood of children post vaccination, and very much lower than those seen in the brains of mice after thimerosal injections, providing citations, do they back down and admit they were wrong? Of course not, they are silent, and in a couple of weeks or months I know I will see the same claims from the same people yet again.

    There is an interesting psychological study to be made here. It certainly baffles and exasperates me.

  120. #120 LW
    September 7, 2013

    “When I point out to them that the concentrations of thimerosal used are far lower than those seen in the blood of children post vaccination, and very much lower than those seen in the brains of mice after thimerosal injections, providing citations, do they back down and admit they were wrong?”

    You meant higher, not lower?

  121. #121 Krebiozen
    September 7, 2013

    LW,

    You meant higher, not lower?

    Oops, you’re quite right, yes I do. My mathematical brain is wobbly lately for some reason. Other than that I think my comment is accurate

  122. #122 Krebiozen
    September 7, 2013

    BTW, my particular favorite example of this sort of nonsense is this study I have seen quoted by Blaylock and others as evidence of the dangers of thimerosal in vaccines. It found that glutamate uptake is inhibited by methylmercury concentrations of 5 µmol/L which is equivalent to 1000 µg/L.

    Maximal mean blood concentrations of ethylmercury in children post vaccination were 5.7 µg/L the day after vaccination, dropping to baseline levels after 30 days. I think the problem here is obvious. I could cite a number of common substances found in food and drink in concentrations that would be toxic if they were 175 times higher, salt for example.

    Mercury is heavy and has a high molecular weight, which is why there is a 200-fold difference between micromoles and micrograms. I suspect that Blaylock et al know that laypersons will be easily confused by this difference and will assume that 5 µmol/L is similar to 5 µg/L.

  123. #123 Krebiozen
    September 7, 2013

    I’m not sure why that first link failed, so I’ll try again:
    this study.

  124. #124 Redacted
    September 7, 2013

    This is an off topic comment but, what happened to the sciencebasedmedicine blog? It appears to be under construction.

  125. #125 Daisy
    September 7, 2013

    It’s been replaced with a CAM website. Hacked?

  126. #126 lilady
    September 7, 2013

    The SBM blog was down for the past ~20 hours. I believe it is up and running now.

    http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/

    Dr. Jay commented on Dr. Crislip’s post about vaccines. I “don’t do Twitter”…but I hope that some of you will “tweet” Dr. Jay to let him know that the comments I posted and the comments others posted at him, are up, and we are awaiting his replies.

  127. #127 Orac
    September 7, 2013

    Oh, no. It’s completely down right now. I don’t know what’s going on with it. Trying to find out.

  128. #128 lilady
    September 7, 2013

    The SBM came on for me. I left a “Test Post” at 3:48 PM EDT and it is in “moderation”.

  129. #129 Narad
    September 7, 2013

    /Users/narad> printf “HEAD / HTTP/1.0\r\n\r\n” | nc -n -i 1 208.91.197.27 80
    HTTP/1.1 302 Found
    Date: Sat, 07 Sep 2013 20:09:48 GMT
    Server: Apache/2.2.3 (Red Hat)
    X-Powered-By: PHP/5.3.21
    Location: http://searchtermresults.com
    Vary: Accept-Encoding,User-Agent
    Keep-Alive: timeout=5, max=117
    Connection: close
    Content-Type: text/html; charset=UTF-8

    That doesn’t look promising.

  130. #130 Narad
    September 7, 2013

    G-ddammit, I hate autolinking. It should be harmless, but don’t give them any traffic.

  131. #131 Woo Fighter
    September 7, 2013

    I also could not get into the SBM comments pages: it redirects to that CAM page that ironically touts homeopathy, energy healing ,faith healing, alternative cancer “cures” etc. The articles themselves are fine; it was just when I tried to access the comments.

    Speaking of irony, right now on RI I’m getting banners ads for Essiac, “Two Fruits That Kill Cancer” and homeopathic treatments for myriad ailments.

  132. #132 Narad
    September 7, 2013

    The articles themselves are fine; it was just when I tried to access the comments.

    You probably had it cached; this is a DNS hijack.

  133. #133 Narad
    September 7, 2013

    Or DNS spoofing, whatever.

    Just by the by, whoever took down 72.47.235.241 is barking up the wrong squirrel.

  134. #134 Antaeus Feldspar
    September 7, 2013

    I tried it a couple of hours ago and I think I saw what Daisy saw, except it looked like a parked domain page put up by a hosting company or domain registrar, not a planned hack.

    I just tried it now and I got what looks to be the real SBM website, with the top article being one by Mark Crislip dated September 6. Since the last time I went to SBM was well before that date, I don’t think it could have come from my caches.

  135. #135 Narad
    September 7, 2013

    Domain ID:D149487151-LROR
    Domain Name:SCIENCEBASEDMEDICINE.ORG
    Created On:24-Oct-2007 00:05:04 UTC
    Last Updated On:07-Sep-2013 15:23:49 UTC
    Expiration Date:24-Oct-2022 00:05:04 UTC

  136. #136 Narad
    September 7, 2013

    I just tried it now and I got what looks to be the real SBM website, with the top article being one by Mark Crislip dated September 6. Since the last time I went to SBM was well before that date, I don’t think it could have come from my caches.

    Can you flush your DNS cache?

  137. #137 Narad
    September 7, 2013

    Or, before you do that, find out the IP address you were connecting to?

  138. #138 Alain
    September 7, 2013

    about SBM, I get redirected to a netsol page with link to woo.

    Alain

  139. #139 MI Dawn
    September 7, 2013

    Just tested and I got the weird CAM setup too.

  140. #140 herr doktor bimler
    September 7, 2013

    I just tried it now and I got what looks to be the real SBM website, with the top article being one by Mark Crislip dated September 6

    Same here. Pinging it, the IP is apparently 108.162.198.219

  141. #141 Sastra
    September 7, 2013

    Same here. SBM is now Woo Central.

    This must have just happened. I’ve been offline for a long while and was catching up on websites, went to Science-Based Medicine and thought whoa, what did I miss while I was away? It’s an alternative medicine site now. So I was searching the archives here and at Neurologica … nothing.

    Orac #127 reassures me. They’re on it.

  142. #142 Alain
    September 7, 2013

    some shenanigans with whois and nslookup on my mac got an ip address of 208.91.197.27 with the nameservers being:

    Name Server:NS89.WORLDNIC.COM
    Name Server:NS90.WORLDNIC.COM

    If they are the correct nameserver (it’s in the whois lookup), that mean netsol redirected sbm to their server and the correct server is down.

    Alain

  143. #143 Narad
    September 7, 2013

    I haven’t quite sorted out what all the hidden Javascript at the end does. After the business with ib.adnxs.com, it makes this connection and then this one.

  144. #144 Narad
    September 7, 2013

    Same here. Pinging it, the IP is apparently 108.162.198.219

    That’s CloudFlare; it won’t answer if one just sticks that after ‘http://’. My local cache is reset, and I’m using Google’s DNS servers; still 208.91.197.27.

  145. #145 Alain
    September 7, 2013

    Setting the aforementioned “108.162.198.219 http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org” in /etc/hosts (or C:\Windows\System32\drivers\etc\hosts in windows) correct it and the SBM server look actually fine.

    Alain

  146. #146 Alain
    September 7, 2013

    what are the darn attributes to set an url in text form over here, in any case, the previous url sans the http:// part.

    Alain

  147. #147 Narad
    September 7, 2013

    Now it’s back, 166.78.250.207.

  148. #148 Daisy
    September 7, 2013

    @Narad, It’s back? It shows “Error. Page cannot be displayed” after I clear my cache and cookies. It works if I connect using the IP address, but not the name.

  149. #149 Alain
    September 7, 2013

    Daisy, do you have a windows system or a mac?

    Alain

  150. #150 Daisy
    September 7, 2013

    Windows

  151. #151 Alain
    September 7, 2013

    go into C:\Windows\system32\drivers\etc\ and see if you have the archive permission on the file named hosts (right click on hosts then property at the bottom of the menu). If it’s not there, add it.

    then, fire up notepad, go in the C:\Windows\system32\drivers\etc\ folder and open hosts and add the ip address and the SBM website separated with a space).

    After that, put your hosts file back to read only so that there is no possibility of website hijacking in your browser.

    Alain

  152. #152 lilady
    September 7, 2013

    Windows O/S here.

    I have no problem loading SBM and I am not seeing that CAM page that I saw before.

    Dr. Crislip’s post on September 6th is the most current post. My test comment is still in moderation.

  153. #153 Alain
    September 7, 2013

    Oh and if you have spybot on your system, it may interfere with the procedure so if you can turn it off, do so.

    Alain

  154. #154 Narad
    September 7, 2013

    The last bit of Javascript at the end did this, BTW.

  155. #155 Daisy
    September 7, 2013

    @Alain, Ok, I can now connect to SBM but while on the main page, when I click on the comments to display an entire article, I am returned back to the CAM cr@p. I added 166.78.250.207 right?

  156. #156 Daisy
    September 7, 2013

    @ 154, Narad, In English, please?

  157. #157 lilady
    September 7, 2013

    My computer froze about 10 minutes ago (7:20 PM EDT). I re-booted and my internet access went down.

    I re-booted again and now “Recent Insolence Returned” column shows as the most recent comments, comments from September 2nd.

    I also had to sign-in again to RI.

    What’s going on?

  158. #158 Daisy
    September 7, 2013

    Umm, now it’s working. Something flaky is going on.

  159. #159 Alain
    September 7, 2013

    @ lilady and daisy, I don’t know what’s going on. In your case, milady, I’d have to be physically there to figure it out (might be a good time for a bus trip).

    Alain

  160. #160 Alain
    September 7, 2013

    stupid mac autocorrect… lilady.

    Alain

  161. #161 lilady
    September 7, 2013

    I “Shut Down” for a dinner break…and now my email is restored and “Insolence Returned” column is current.

    I still can load SBM and the last comment posted on Dr. Crislip’s post is 11:45 AM…my “test comment” is still in moderation.

    Alain…no bus trip for you. Dear hubby is insanely jealous. :-)

  162. #162 Alain
    September 7, 2013

    In that case, I can’t offer no other advice than replacing your computer with a lenovo or a mac. You can buy these on the web and get them next week.

    Alain

  163. #163 Narad
    September 7, 2013

    Umm, now it’s working. Something flaky is going on.

    I would skip hard-coding the address in the hosts file; you don’t know whether it’s going to change in the future. Rackspace might move it for any number of reasons.

    In all likelihood, the record change simply hadn’t propagated to you (it still hasn’t in some places) and there was something still cached somewhere.

  164. #164 Dorit
    September 7, 2013

    @stuartg –
    Thanks, I didn’t know of that usage. And certainly was not intending to imply he deserves that honour. Any suggestions on what is an appropriate address? I usually use last name alone for friends who like to go by their last names. And “Dr.” seems inappropriate.
    Maybe the scandinavian approach of first name last name – Andrew Wakefield every time.

  165. #165 lilady
    September 7, 2013

    Alain…I have a Lenovo Think Pad. :-)

  166. #166 Johnny
    127.0.0.1
    September 7, 2013

    “Dr.” seems inappropriate.

    I disagree, at least as far a written communication is concerned. I think “Doctor” Wakefield is the best way to recognize both his accomplishments (graduating medical school) and his current status (being struck off (I love that term)). Should “Doctor” Wakefield ever be granted a license to practice medicine, perhaps in some country with a corrupt and barely functioning government, we could drop the quotes.

    For spoken communication, I agree. Verbally calling him Doctor is an insult to every legitimate Doctor on the planet.

  167. #167 Antaeus Feldspar
    September 8, 2013

    I don’t think people understood what I meant when I said that the page I had seen looked like a “domain parking” page, especially since the logo in the corner was that of Network Solutions.

    It’s basically the equivalent of a realty company which owns multiple storefronts using the windows of a shop where the tenant has moved out as ad space – they put ads in the windows and people who were coming to look for the business that used to be there might see the ads and buy something.

    The analogy breaks down because with physical storefronts, tenants don’t move in and out several times in the course of a day, which can happen with websites. It looks like Network Solutions is returning its own page whenever the real sciencebasedmedicine.org fails to return one. (FTR, it’s now returning the SBM site for me, and the comments as well.)

    IOW, I don’t think there’s any real point to tinkering with the settings on our end, because the problem doesn’t seem to be on our end. If the SBM servers aren’t providing the right pages, nothing we do to our DNS setups is going to fetch those pages for us.

  168. #168 Narad
    September 8, 2013

    I don’t think people understood what I meant when I said that the page I had seen looked like a “domain parking” page, especially since the logo in the corner was that of Network Solutions.

    They seemed to be tinkering with it once they gained control; there were four Network Solutions links left in the final version.

  169. #169 Harold L Doherty
    September 8, 2013

    Calling Orac’s silly personal attacks and posturing “academic freedom” is is funny. Thanks for the chuckle.

  170. #170 Old Rockin' Dave
    September 8, 2013

    @Dangerous Bacon, #99:
    “interestingly, there are at least two neurosurgeons named Dr. Woo who pop up on a Google search”
    Yes, but are they real, or just a shadow of the men that you once knew?

  171. #171 Antaeus Feldspar
    September 8, 2013

    Harold, it’s hard to tell exactly which side of the issue you stand on.

    Do you think it’s right that people who have no reason to complain about the way Orac does his job should be contacting his employers, trying to jeopardize his job, because they don’t like the things that he says on his blog, which is his own personal endeavour and not part of his job?

    … I’m sorry, I didn’t hear your answer. It sounded like you were trying to dodge the question you were asked, by answering all sorts of UNASKED questions – explaining at length why you don’t like what Orac writes, etc. But I must have misheard that, because you’d only stoop to such tactics if you were a slimy FIFUDOS weasel. So please, DO explain for us whether you think it’s legitimate to try and silence someone’s blogging efforts by going after their job.

  172. #172 lilady
    September 8, 2013

    Mr. Doherty, when are you going to respond to my comments on the other thread about Alex’s murder and the influence the biomeddlers had on his mother who murdered him?

    I take it that you are okay with Wakefield sending a film crew in to videotape Alex in 4-point restraints and naked with an adult diaper to cover his genitalia.

    I take it that you are okay with Wakefield having the exclusive rights to that video, which is part of an 18-minute documentary that he was seeking to sell to a major TV network.

    Nice diversionary tactic to post on this thread…when I’m waiting for you to answer my questions about Alex on the other thread.

  173. #173 novalox
    September 8, 2013

    @harold

    Again, turning to insults instead of answering the questions asked of you.

    Also, nice attempt at ad hominem. Instead of criticizing the argument made by Orac, you attack his character.

    Hint, all it does is expose the weakness of your own argument.

  174. #174 Daisy
    September 8, 2013

    @163 Thanks, Narad.

  175. #175 Shay
    September 8, 2013

    Since I’ve noticed that Doherty only appears when Orac publishes something particularly damning, it would appear that our esteemed host has, indeed, struck a nerve with his posts on the Spourdalakis case.

  176. #176 Science Mom
    http://justthevax.blogspot.com/
    September 8, 2013

    @ Shay, I’d say you were spot on. I don’t think that the recent Attkisson/Wakefield/Tommey joint (as Narad might say) went the way they thought. And in the cognitive dissonance of the biomeddler brigade, fail to understand the backlash. I mean what’s wrong with people that they can’t sympathise with a murdering mother and be gobsmacked that their biomeddling potions aren’t lauded.

  177. #177 medrecgal
    September 8, 2013

    Wow….this comment thread just about made my head explode from the crazy. And that’s exactly why I read your blog and have for many years, because I know you’re one of the sane ones out there campaigning for real science and not quackery/woo/etc. I don’t know how you manage it; if I had that much baloney thrown at me on a regular basis, I would have thrown in the towel a long time ago out of sheer frustration. Maybe that’s one of the benefits of being an oncologic surgeon and scientist rolled into one: your baloney detector is highly sensitive and your tolerance level is just enough to let your readers see how much crazy might be out there. Your logorrheic rebukes of these charlatan types and those who prey on people desperate for help is inspiring. Anyone who tries to foil that by making threats against your job is an idiot as far as I’m concerned. (I’m trying to keep it clean, because I want to keep reading this blog! But as someone with a condition that’s a cousin to autism, this stuff gets on my last functioning nerve.)

  178. #178 Matthew Cline
    September 10, 2013

    @Antaeus Feldspar:

    FIFUDOS?

  179. #179 herr doktor bimler
    September 10, 2013
  180. #180 lilady
    September 10, 2013

    Our old pal and frequent poster here at RI, has been posting at Dr. Crislip’s SBM blog.

    I (almost) feel sorry for Dr. Jay who is desperately trying to remain relevant and garner some respect within the science community:

    http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/i-refute-it-thus/

  181. #181 Lara Lohne
    September 10, 2013

    *Sorry, I don’t know how to use html code*
    If this statement is accurate…”because he is dissuading people from getting the help that they need for their children” then YAY!!! As far as dissuading them away from the biomed quackery that is rampant with anti-vaccinationists goes.

    You want real help for your autistic child? Seek out and speak to and actually listen to and autistic adult. Since they have been there, they know more about it then anyone else on the planet.

  182. #182 TwistBarbie
    Canada, where summer is still going strong
    September 13, 2013

    I would also like to thank Orac for his tireless work. Finding RI, SBM, SkepticNorth and similar blogs has changed my life. If I ever haul my party girl ass back to college it will be partially thanks to the personal scientific renaissance sparked by Orac and his fellow skeptical/science bloggers. Thanks also to the regular readers who frequently add interesting and important comments and links, and who put the trolls in their place when needed. Hope to see some of you at TAM one day <3

  183. #183 David N. Andrews M. Ed., C. P. S. E.
    in a cold country with the windows open and a lovely breeze coming through!
    September 14, 2013

    lilady: “Mr. Doherty, when are you going to respond to my comments on the other thread about Alex’s murder and the influence the biomeddlers had on his mother who murdered him?”

    Never.
    Not his style.

  184. #184 lilady
    September 14, 2013

    @ David N. Andrews: We’ve missed you here on R.I.

    I know what Harold Doherty’s “style” is. Too bad he finally alienated me completely. Prior to his latest forays here, I believed that he had some good qualities based on some of his advocacy activities and based on hisdevotion to his autistic child. In the end, he’s just another crank blogger and apologist for AoA, Wakefield and the biomeddlers.

  185. #185 Scottynuke
    September 14, 2013

    Having been away from the laptop for quite some time, I do hope it’s not too late to add another semi-lurker’s thanks to Orac for putting up with so much cow pie in order to keep our apple pie as untainted as possible. :)

    Khani, I’ve personally had to deal with plenty of “science journalists” who’ve sunk to incredibly unscientific reporting in the past few years. *SIGHHHHH*

  186. #186 Khani
    September 15, 2013

    And I’ve had to deal with reading their bad stuff and trying to explain to my editors why it’s bad so we don’t print it. It’s not fun, is it.

  187. #187 Scottynuke
    September 15, 2013

    Not at all, Khani. *SIGHHHH* Nor is it fun dealing with the public who’ve been fearmongered by such crap journalism…

  188. #188 David N. Andrews M. Ed., C. P. S. E.
    in a Finnish pub, drinking tea .... STILL!
    September 18, 2013

    lilady-

    @ David N. Andrews: We’ve missed you here on R.I.

    Thank you … I’ve been busy trying to sort out stuff that the likes of Doherty have never had to deal with, but that’s another story… I’m not in some sort of work that actually matches my training. And a love-life, but that’s another story *blush* I’ve missed having time aand energy to be able to comment much… reactive depression is a nasty visitor when she comes to stay.

    I know what Harold Doherty’s “style” is. Too bad he finally alienated me completely.

    Isn’t he just the epitome of being a friggin’ twammock? I mean, really! He alienated me within two comments of my dealing with him. By being an arse.

    Prior to his latest forays here, I believed that he had some good qualities based on some of his advocacy activities and based on hisdevotion to his autistic child. In the end, he’s just another crank blogger and apologist for AoA, Wakefield and the biomeddlers.

    I found it hard to beieve he’d any good qualities at all, given his treatment of autistic adults… but maybe it’s a good thing – I don’t have to worry about pissing him off.

  189. #189 David N. Andrews M. Ed., C. P. S. E.
    September 22, 2013

    believe*

  190. […] they can’t win the scientific argument, they’ll do this. They’ve done it before. They’ll do it again. Just read what “the kid” tried to do to Orac a while back, or what a […]

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