Respectful Insolence

I sense a new disturbance in the antivaccine force.

I hadn’t planned on blogging about the antivaccine movement again, but I felt that I needed to do a follow up to yesterday’s (hopefully) amusing little takedown of the antivaccine stylings of new member of that group personification of the Dunning-Kruger effect and arrogance of ignorance, namely The Thinking Moms’ Revolution (TMR). There was a point in there that I had noticed (and even briefly commented on) that requires more of an expansion, particularly since it would allow me to comment on a post that I saw last week and never got around to, a post every bit as full of self-righteous ignorance as anything on TMR but not on TMR. You’ll see what I mean in a minute.

But, first, let’s go back and look at what I noticed yesterday by quoting a sentence from “Karma,” the “Thinking Mom” who doesn’t, about pro-science articles and those who discuss the science with respect to vaccines, coming to the natural conclusion from the evidence that the antivaccine movement is promoting dangerous pseudoscience and misinformation that are threats to public health. Her characterization of such articles and blog posts? That they’re “hate speech“:

Time and Newsweek, are the grandparents who want an in with the cool kids and their money by upping the ante in regards to outright inflammatory hate speech as evidenced in posts during April 2014.


Yes, to Karma, the pushback against antivaccine pseudoscience couldn’t possibly be because antivaccine pseudoscience has contributed to declining vaccine uptake in pockets of the country where vaccination rates have fallen low enough to degrade herd immunity sufficiently to lead to outbreaks of vaccine-preventable infectious diseases like the measles. It has to be a “fad” among media outlets, something the “cool kids” are doing, so to speak. More telling, however, is Karma’s characterization of criticism of antivaccine pseudoscience as “hate speech.” It’s a new trend that I’ve noticed among antivaccinationists, to label criticism as “hate speech.” It also seems to be a natural progression from another recently proliferating trend among antivaccinationists that I noted last year of antivaccinationists referring to the same sorts of articles as “bullying.” It was such an obvious attempt to glom onto a societal trend, namely the increasing appreciation of how much of a problem bullying is, and to co-opt it in such a way as to paint antivaccinationists as victims of a campaign of intimidation. The same word, “bullying,” has been appearing frequently in antivaccine rhetoric. Naturally, I found the whole tactic disingenuous and hilarious—or should I say disingenuously hilarious?—at the same time.

The same is true of this latest amping up of the rhetoric and victimhood gambit, which comes from a woman of whom I had never heard before. Aha! I thought. A new antivaccinationist throws down the gauntlet. And what a gauntlet filled with hot showers of burning stupid. The woman, who only goes by the name of Megan, appears to run a website called LivingWhole.org. You can tell by the title what the subject matter likely is just by the name of the website, and you wouldn’t be wrong. Megan, it turns out, is a naturopath, Certified Natural Health Educator, Registered Power Yoga Instructor, writer, and stay-at-home mama and brags that:

  • We eat a gluten, dairy, meat, sugar, and genetically modified free diet; yet, our food still tastes good!
  • We potty-train our babies as infants.
  • We breastfeed exclusively for at least ten months.
  • We practice attachment parenting.
  • We do not vaccinate.
  • We do not medicate.
  • We do not use any chemical products in our home or on our bodies.
  • We believe in natural childbirth and had our last baby un-assisted at home.
  • We home school.
  • We greatly limit the use of technology in our home.
  • We don’t own a microwave.
  • We advocate natural medicine in most situations.
  • We recycle.
  • We support sustainable agriculture and sustainable living.
  • We are barefoot…most of the time.
  • We are old-fashioned.
  • We believe in Jesus.
  • And we’re definitely crunchy (in case you hadn’t figured that out).

I first learned about Megan because a post of hers was making the rounds on the usual antivaccine social media and blogs. I forgot about it, but then was reminded of it by another antivaccinationist, Sherri Tenpenny, who was very upset on her Facebook page, citing the producer of a new antivaccine movie entitled Bought (who, by the way, has been appealing for money to complete the antivaccine project):

She wrote a post answering all of the “myths” answered by another bloggers post that had gone viral about 21 myths spread by the “anti-vaccination” people. It was smart, referenced, in short – terrific.

She took a lot of heat for it and wrote a second post about the “hate” debate, talking about how much hate had been generated by her post. The post was amazing. She cut to the heart of the debate and argued for kindness in dealing with one another.

Then suddenly yesterday night, the post was gone.

Her site was gone. All of it.

Had she been hacked? Had the pro vaccination groups taken her site down? Had she just forgotten to renew her domain. Nope, none of these.

We were able to reach her today. She took her site down on her own.

She’d been threatened, harassed, and terrified. They had her address, threatened to come to her home, contact her family, her friends. They threatened lawsuits and all kind of harassment. They had all of her data. Then someone did show up to her house.

Let me just say that, unequivocally, I condemn such tactics. I’ve been on the receiving end of them before, both from antivaccinationists, who tried to get me fired from my job, and from supporters of Stanislaw Burzynski, who tried to get me fired from my job and complained to my state medical board. We on the pro-science side should never engage in such tactics. Moreover, I note that, in all the years I’ve been at this, I have yet to see an antivaccine loon state that she opposes such tactics when aimed at people on the pro-science side. I have yet to see a single antivaccinationist unequivocally condemn such tactics when they are turned against, for example, Dorit Reiss, Emily Willingham, or Paul Offit. Being the cantankerous blinky box of multicolored lights that I am I don’t necessarily expect anyone who might have been on the receiving end of one of my bits of Insolence to be quite as willing to speak out for me, but there’s no excuse not to do so for these people, other than schadenfreude, approval of the intimidation, tribalism, or cowardice—or perhaps a combination of two or more of these.

Even so, I must confess that I find something fishy about the whole story.

Be that as it may, what she wrote in The Hate Debate is a perfect example of what I’m talking about, the appropriation of the term “hate speech” to paint antivaccinationists as victims, something she proceeds to do with gusto right at the very beginning:

I am sick of it – this vaccination debate. My convictions not to vaccinate have been firm for six years now and I was comfortable living a low-profile life and letting other more notable activists carry the torch; and then I started seeing misleading t.v. interviews, news stories, and backlash against parents and unvaccinated children. I saw reputable medical professionals get crucified and reputations destroyed for questioning the mainstream norm. I saw laws passed in other states removing freedoms that rightfully belong to parents and individuals as a whole. I saw fear, blame, finger-pointing, lies, and flat out hate being propagated and encouraged by people, physicians, and popular media avenues towards parents who don’t vaccinate, and their children.

This isn’t a vaccination debate, it’s a hate debate, so let’s call it what it is. And when it got personal, I got involved. Most importantly, I felt the need to clear a few things up.

Poor babies. Antivaccinationists spew nonsense, pseudoscience, misinformation, and quackery about vaccines, and they clutch their pearls at the criticism being directed their way through the mainstream media. As I’ve argued before, this criticism is a long overdue correction to the previous tendency to provide a forum for such pseudoscience either through the publication of unfiltered antivaccine viewpoints or credulous “tell both sides” journalism that gives the antivaccine viewpoint similar weight to real science. It’s a classic case of what Dara O’Briain said about giving equal weight to homeopaths in the media.

Then, after setting the stage and complaining about being attacked as quacks, Megan proceeds to spew pseudoscience and quackery hither, thither, and yon across her blog. It’s the same nonsense that she spewed in the post that “made her famous” by going viral on social media, Dear Parents, are you being lied to? Both posts are logorrheic wonders that appear almost like something Bizarro Orac would post, except that in Bizarro World I’m assuming that Orac’s posts would be incredibly brief. In any case, both posts are mixtures of antivaccine pseudoscience, easily debunked antivaccine talking points that sound clever if you don’t know a bit about vaccine science, epidemiology, and, of course, logical fallacies.

Megan proclaims that she is “not an ‘anti-vaxxer’ or a ‘disinformation activist'” but then immediately proceeds to spew antivaccine disinformation with enthusiasm, if not aplomb. Then she proceeds to attack a straw man that somehow critics of antivaccine pseudoscience are arguing that “parents can’t make an educated decision on this issue, that you should check all of your questions and reservations about vaccinating at the door.” No, pediatricians understand that parents will always have questions about vaccines, and no one—no, not even Orac!—is arguing that parents should “check all their questions and reservations” at the door. What those of us who have taken an interest in antivaccine pseudoscience are doing is to try to counter the pseudoscience and misinformation that women like Megan are spreading about vaccines.

There’s a term I coined (at least, I think I coined it; I can’t be 100% sure that someone else didn’t think of it first) called “misinformed consent.” It’s what antivaccinationists promote by exaggerating the risks of vaccines and downplaying the benefits (something Megan does in both of her posts). In misinformed consent, if you accept the misinformation, then not vaccinating seems reasonable. If vaccines don’t work, cause autism, and have a high propensity for making children ill with chronic diseases, as the antivaccine movement claims, then it’s seemingly reasonable not to vaccinate. The problem is not with the consent itself, it’s with the misinformation and manipulation of facts to persuade parents to “consent” not to vaccinate that underlie the parents’ decision, misinformation of the sort that Megan perpetuates. Countering that misinformation is not “hate speech” or bullying. Nor are laws designed to try to make sure that parents who claim philosophical exemptions at least hear reliable medical information with respect to vaccines at least once before being allowed an exemption creeping fascism or the intolerable affront to freedom—or should I say “FREEDOM!!!“—as Megan seems to think it is.

Misinformation from Megan then continues to flow, misinformation such as:

  • Claiming the whooping cough vaccine doesn’t work, misinterpreting this study. It does. It’s imperfect, but it works.
  • Deceptively comparing the low level of mumps cases thus far this year to a year in which large mumps outbreaks occurred, in essence, asking, what’s the big deal about mumps outbreaks this year and claiming that it’s not a serious disease. Just don’t mind that pancreatitis, orchitis, meningitis, or encephalitis that can complicate mumps.
  • Downplaying the seriousness of chickenpox, which can result in death.
  • Downplaying the seriousness of the measles by quote mining the CDC website, ignoring that the CDC also points out that measles can kill 1-3 per 1,000 of its victims, that 1 in 20 children who get measles will develop pneumonia, and that 1 in 1,000 children with measles will develop encephalitis.

Megan’s understanding of immunology is also—shall we say?—lacking. For instance, she denies the concept of herd immunity, utilizing multiple specious arguments riddled with straw men and massive misunderstandings of basic and clinical science. Sorry, Megan. Herd immunity works, and when vaccine uptake falls we have a number of “natural experiments” that indicate that vaccine-preventable diseases return, and, even in the herd, being unvaccinated puts children at much higher risk of contracting infectious diseases protected against by vaccines. She also tries to do a bit of woo prestidigitation with respect to the vaccination of the immunocompromised by cherry picking CDC recommendations from 21 years ago. The CDC has more updated guidelines (summarized here in a nice table form). Also, if you read, for example, the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) recommendations from 2013, for instance, provide some fairly clear-cut guidelines for patients undergoing chemotherapy or other immunosuppression:

  • Vaccines should be administered prior to planned immunosuppression if feasible (strong, moderate).
  • Live vaccines should be administered ≥4 weeks prior to immunosuppression (strong, low) and should be avoided within 2 weeks of initiation of immunosuppression (strong, low).*
  • Inactivated vaccines should be administered ≥2 weeks prior to immunosuppression (strong, moderate).

Plus a whole lot of recommendations that depend on the type of immunosuppression, whether it’s from chemotherapy or other immunosuppressive treatment or is a primary immunodeficiency condition.

Megan’s post is a veritable cornucopia of hilarity, if you’re a connoisseur of antivaccine nonsense, although some of it insults the intelligence so much that it’s hard to be amused. I’ll finish by doing a bit of “cherry picking” myself, because if I tried to fisk Megan’s Hate Debate and her other, equally hilarious Dear parents, are you being lied to? posts line by line, I’d have to write a book (or at least a very large pamphlet). Even for Orac, that’s too much, particularly for a weeknight, when I have to go to bed at a reasonable hour. Feel free to use the comment section to address Megan’s other misinformation and failures of science, medicine, and logic that I didn’t have time to deal with.

In the mean time, let’s take a look:

Those of us who believe there are safer and more effective ways to prevent disease are not conspiracy theorists, we just incorporated that little addendum to the germ theory that said “germs only live in environments conducive to growth.”
A conspiracy theory is the belief in little green men who walk on Mars and are secretly controlling our every move via invisible puppet strings. What we’re all tired of, is people pretending the American Medical Association has been around since the beginning of time and that everything else is “new age, pseudoscience, and conspiracy theory.” I hate to point out the obvious but the AMA has only been around since 1847. Before that, there were homeopathic physicians/doctors (1789) homeopathic hospitals (1825), and the establishment of the American Institute of Homeopathy in (1841).

Do you know what was around before all of that? Natural medicine – circa day 1 if you believe in God and circa day “the first time the ape-like human got a cut and put a leaf with spit on it instead of a band-aid and antibiotic” if you don’t. Hippocrates, the credited father of allopathic medicine practiced and advocated natural medicine – his motto was “do no harm.” So if you take beliefs from his ideology it’s “medicine” and if we take beliefs from his ideology it’s “quack-worthy?” If anything sounds like a “conspiracy theory” it’s the belief that the immune system requires the administration of a germ to protect itself from a germ.

Now that’s a bunch of impressive straw men, going up in flames as Megan launches flamethrowers of logical fallacies, pseudoscience, incorrect science, and just plain burning stupid at it. Maybe Megan’s not a conspiracy theorist (although that is quite debatable, given her seeming belief that the mainstream media is marching in lockstep under the influence of big pharma to crush “natural health” crusaders like her who don’t like vaccines belies that denial ), but she sure is a germ theory denialist. She’s a naturopath, for one thing, and naturopathy explicitly “tweaks” or denies germ theory in many ways. She also makes incoherent arguments expressing incredulity that effective immunity can be developed by injecting a small amounts of a dead organism that causes disease when alive can prevent disease. I also can’t hep but point out that the AMA is not the be-all and end-all of medicine; indeed, if I recall correctly, less than 20% of American physicians belong to the AMA.

I also can’t help but point out that, back in the 1800s, 1700s, and before, that “natural medicine” that Megan touts didn’t do such a good job. Life expectancy sucked, and cemeteries from that time are filled with young children who died, the reason being that infectious disease took a heavy toll. Vaccination and sanitation took care of that. Moreover, if an adult of that time period developed an illness, if it wasn’t something that was self-limited that person was highly likely to suffer severe morbidity or even to die.

She ends up concluding, oh-so-self-righteously:

If you want to encourage people to vaccinate than by all means, utilize your freedoms to do so, but bullying, lying, misrepresenting facts, name-calling, downplaying, overlooking, and scoffing at vaccine injured children, finger-pointing, discriminating, crucifying physicians who speak out, and threatening individuals who wish not to vaccinate will not further your cause; it will only encourage people like me to speak out on behalf of those of us who have educated ourselves and are calling for more accountability and higher standards for our children.

I’m sorry, but countering posts like Megan’s, which is so chock full of antivaccine talking points that I’m hard pressed to think of one that didn’t make an appearance is not “hate speech.” It might not always be temperate speech, particularly when it’s Orac doing the speaking, but it’s not hate speech, and it’s not bullying. Antivaccine cranks like Megan—oh, dear, is that name calling, or is it simply telling it like it is?—frequently confuse freedom of speech for freedom from criticism. All it means is that, with only a very few narrow exceptions, the government can’t censor your speech. It doesn’t mean that you can’t be criticized for what you say, that private entities such as newspapers or news websites are obligated to give you a platform or equal time, or that your speech doesn’t have consequences. None of the speech directed at antivaccinationists that I’ve seen thus far constitutes real “hate speech.” Their calling it that is nothing more than a strategy for antivaccinationists to claim the high ground of victim status. Think of it this way:

Antivaccinationists can’t tell the difference between being “shown the door” and being victims of “hate speech,” which is an insult to the real victims of hate everywhere.

ADDENDUM: Commenter Colin reveals an amazing twist to this story:

There’s a lot more background about this particular anti-vaxer here. The story gets particularly bizarre recently.

An ultra-fringe conspiracy group (they complain that viruses are nanomachines designed by Jews–you can tell because the baseplate looks like a star of David–to eat out the emotion centers of the brain) picked up on the original Dear Parents piece at Violent Metaphors, and Megan’s rebuttal. But they got the chronological order reversed, and thought that the NSA had taken down Megan’s piece and replaced it with the Violent Metaphors piece as some kind of disinformation “ghost” campaign.

But once they figured out they were wrong–which involved the guy making the correction trying to prove his identity with secret codes in case he was a disinformation hacker–they decided Big Pharma or someone must have shut down Megan’s site and probably killed her. She had her stuff down for a couple of days, and what other explanation could there be?

So to make sure the feds hadn’t whacked her, they doxed her. They posted personal information about her, her family–even her kids. They threw up phone numbers for her husband’s work, and various posters indicated they’d be calling to make sure she’s still alive. If you go to the Living Whole facebook page, you can see some fallout from this circus–one of the conspiracy theorists dropped a note informing everyone, “THIS IS NOW A GHOST PAGE THE OWNER DOES NOT CONTROL.” I think the idea is that the NSA is still running her blog for her? It’s very bizarre.

And:

While a longer comment is in moderation, let me add to it that if anyone did visit Megan, it was apparently someone from an ultra-extreme conspiracy theory board checking to make sure the NSA hadn’t offed her.

Not being hip to that ultra-lunatic antivaccine conspiracy site (hey, even Orac can’t monitor them all, at least not continuously), I was unaware that in reality Megan was apparently doxed and contacted by people on “her side” (albeit the lunatic fringe of the lunatic fringe that is “her side”) because they were concerned that she had been whacked by an NSA-pharma conspiracy to silence her criticism of vaccines. Then she interpreted that as coming from pro-vaccine bloggers and big pharma trying to intimidate her into silence. The only thing I can’t figure out is why she took her blog down in the first place, because if she hadn’t the anti-Semitic ultra-fringe antivaccine loons wouldn’t have had a “reason” (if you can call it that) to become concerned that she had been whacked. Never mind that she blogged this stuff under her real name over at that one-stop-shop for quackery and New World Order conspiracy theories, NaturalNews.com, where we learn that she is an attorney as well. Liz Ditz also wrote about her, and it turns out that she was blogging under her real name up until recently.

Holy hell, you can’t make stuff like this up. (At least, even I can’t.)

ADDENDUM #2: Skeptical Raptor joins in the fun by picking apart some of the same sort of idiocy that’s been appearing on Facebook.

ADDENDUM #3: There’s an even more thorough takedown of Megan’s misinformation and antivaccine talking points over at A Million Gods.

Comments

  1. #1 Taryn Kotze 04542054
    April 23, 2014

    Sometimes it’s more the way people say things then the way it is meant by a person. But do you think it’s the way a person carries him or herself that also gives an impact on the way a person criticizes someone?

  2. #2 TBruce
    April 23, 2014

    —oh, dear, is that name calling, or is it simply telling it like it is?

    As I have stated before: It’s not an insult, it’s a description.

  3. #3 Narad
    April 23, 2014

    The woman, who only goes by the name of Megan….

    This is a recent development.

  4. #4 Julian Frost
    April 23, 2014

    [W]e just incorporated that little addendum to the germ theory that said “germs only live in environments conducive to growth.”

    Like the body of an immunologically naive individual.
    The stupid, it is so strong, it has shut my brain down.

  5. #5 Helianthus
    April 23, 2014

    A recent xkcd cartoon which is very à-propos.
    Very concise, too :-)

    Hippocrates, the credited father of allopathic medicine practiced and advocated natural medicine

    Err, ancient “natural medicine” relied heavily on religious rituals, sympathetic magic (“let’s use this tubercle because it’ s kidney-shaped”) and suchlike.
    Example: Egyptian medical papyri
    Are you sure, Megan, that you want to endorse this?
    Not to mention that “butterflies in the belly” is a bit vague a symptom to be sure of what the proposed treatment is supposed to cure. I fear that a good part of the Wisdom of the Ancients ™ got lost in translation.

    On the other hand, the parts which were close to working, notably surgery and herbal medicine, are the basis of modern “allopathic” medicine. So I’m not convinced that today’s “natural medicine” is really representative of that was working in ancient medicine. Looks more like the rejected parts, or brand new bulls!t.

    If anything sounds like a “conspiracy theory” it’s the belief that the immune system requires the administration of a germ to protect itself from a germ.

    If only we had some way to check the validity of our belief… I don’t know,like exploring how the immune system really works.
    Also, irony meter melted because she mentioned homeopathy just before. What, like cures like is not good enough for Megan suddenly? I guess she would prefer to use a tubercle which is bacteria-shaped.

  6. #6 Kathy
    south of the tropic of Capricorn
    April 23, 2014

    The Internet offers a soapbox for every Hydeparkian, but it also offers critics a chance to criticise. This woman gives me the impression she’s lived most of her life in a tight little group of the like-minded, where disagreement is the Unforgiveable Sin. Now that she’s gone public she’s maybe suffering from culture shock, when she finds out that her critics also have access to her beloved beliefs and no inhibitions about saying what they think of them.

  7. #7 reasonablehank
    Australia
    April 23, 2014

    Here’s some real hate speech against Dr Offit, by that nice NVIC organisation:
    http://reasonablehank.com/2014/03/31/death-threats-against-dr-paul-offit-and-family-published-on-nvic-facebook-page/

    And here’s some more vilification by the nice anti-vaccinationists from the AVN, directed at a family who’ve lost a baby to Pertussis:
    http://reasonablehank.com/2014/04/13/why-our-deep-seated-commitment-to-investigating-meryl-dorey/

    No one does hate like anti-vaccinationists.

  8. #8 Rebecca Fisher
    April 23, 2014

    She’d been threatened, harassed, and terrified. They had her address, threatened to come to her home, contact her family, her friends. They threatened lawsuits and all kind of harassment. They had all of her data. Then someone did show up to her house.

    Sorry Ms Tenpenny, but I don’t believe you. Evidence?

  9. #9 Julian Frost
    Gauteng East Rand
    April 23, 2014

    There is only one part i find plausible: that she was threatened with lawsuits. Knowing what anti-vaxxers are like, it wouldn’t surprise me if someone threatened to sue her.
    Actually, maybe that is in fact what happened. She posted something libelous and was told to take it down or face a suit.

  10. #10 Rebecca Fisher
    April 23, 2014

    Someone showed up to my house over the weekend and shoved hate speech and death threats* through the letterbox.

    Despite that I won’t be intimidated into going to church on Sunday.

    *That’s how I interpreted “meet Jesus” anyway, although the offer of a cup of tea was quite a nice idea.

  11. #11 Chris Hickie
    April 23, 2014

    Given how anti-vaccine loons (this is redundant, btw) love to cite even the smallest shred of “evidence” for support of their lunacy, it is all but certain that this Megan person is lying and making up what happened. Tenpenny probably hasn’t uttered a shred of truth in years, either.

    There’s no point in trying to be nice to the buffoons at AoA, TMR, Livingwhole, etc. You’re a big bad meanie-bully-head simply for disagreeing with them. Makes me feel bad for anyone who has to share living space with them.

  12. #12 Adam
    April 23, 2014

    It’s well worth reading Samuel Pepys’ diary to see what life was like back before sanitation or vaccinations. People dropped like flies from the plague, smallpox, typhoid, childbirth and even simple surgical procedures.

  13. #13 Bags
    UK
    April 23, 2014

    just reading through the comments on that and they are bringing poor Hannah Polling into it again. They have no shame :(

  14. #14 Rebecca Fisher
    April 23, 2014

    Just noticed a commenter on the ArseWhole blogpost quoting the late Dr Mark “Cybertiger” Struthers as an authority. That’s pretty much the definition of barrel scraping.

  15. #15 Dangerous Bacon
    April 23, 2014

    “She’d been threatened, harassed, and terrified. They had her address, threatened to come to her home, contact her family, her friends. They threatened lawsuits and all kind of harassment. They had all of her data. Then someone did show up to her house.”

    If this actually happened it’s a police matter and there (at the very least) should be a police report to document it. I won’t be holding my breath waiting for the documentation.
    I also won’t be holding my breath waiting for prominent antivaxers to condemn attacks on pro-vaccine activists as pharma shills, renouncing attempts to get them fired from their jobs etc.

    Playing the civility card is much more impressive when you practice civility yourself.

  16. #16 herr doktor bimler
    April 23, 2014

    If this actually happened it’s a police matter and there (at the very least) should be a police report to document it.

    The Men in Black said “Don’t report this”.

  17. #17 herr doktor bimler
    April 23, 2014

    The Men in Black also broke my italics tags.

  18. #18 Colin
    April 23, 2014

    I’m a sometimes author at Violent Metaphors, where the original Dear Parents piece prompted Megan to write her rebuttal.

    When she wrote her piece, I focused on some particular problems with it and wrote a critique. I can’t be sure, obviously, but I think that’s what prompted her doleful complaint about hate speech–she didn’t like being called a liar. But rather than correct the lies, which are still up, she just gnashed her teeth about being called on it.

    There’s a lot more background about this particular anti-vaxer here. The story gets particularly bizarre recently.

    An ultra-fringe conspiracy group (they complain that viruses are nanomachines designed by Jews–you can tell because the baseplate looks like a star of David–to eat out the emotion centers of the brain) picked up on the original Dear Parents piece at Violent Metaphors, and Megan’s rebuttal. But they got the chronological order reversed, and thought that the NSA had taken down Megan’s piece and replaced it with the Violent Metaphors piece as some kind of disinformation “ghost” campaign.

    But once they figured out they were wrong–which involved the guy making the correction trying to prove his identity with secret codes in case he was a disinformation hacker–they decided Big Pharma or someone must have shut down Megan’s site and probably killed her. She had her stuff down for a couple of days, and what other explanation could there be?

    So to make sure the feds hadn’t whacked her, they doxed her. They posted personal information about her, her family–even her kids. They threw up phone numbers for her husband’s work, and various posters indicated they’d be calling to make sure she’s still alive. If you go to the Living Whole facebook page, you can see some fallout from this circus–one of the conspiracy theorists dropped a note informing everyone, “THIS IS NOW A GHOST PAGE THE OWNER DOES NOT CONTROL.” I think the idea is that the NSA is still running her blog for her? It’s very bizarre.

  19. #19 Denice Walter
    April 23, 2014

    It’s quite interesting how in recent days anti-vaxxers have been calling for courtesy and peace…

    – Jake decries Orac’s use of the word “detest”.
    – Karma says to ‘disengage’
    – Null, in this weekend’s lecture, calls for an end to strife between ‘good vs evil’ ( it’s really ‘good vs less good’)**-
    – Kent Heckenlively ( AoA) believes that it’s time for scientists to surrender and end the war.

    Yes. He does. It’s not a war between parents and scientists because a third group – Big Money- has lied to scientists and forced them to follow its programme if they wish to be funded. Scientists are afraid to speak up but a few work ‘beneath the radar’ to do fine research about vaccines’ danger to humanity.

    HOWEVER 20% of people now believe that vaccines cause autism and this is the age of revolution and Edward Snowden. He tells scientists, “You cannot keep hurting children”, Stop being part of the machine. Make a choice. Surrender.

    ** soon to be posted on the net ( as “Regaining Your Lost Spirituality” or another crappy title)- perhaps next to his dance party videos.

  20. #20 Colin
    April 23, 2014

    While a longer comment is in moderation, let me add to it that if anyone did visit Megan, it was apparently someone from an ultra-extreme conspiracy theory board checking to make sure the NSA hadn’t offed her.

    As for “hate speech,” while Megan is mostly objecting to being called a liar (and the fact that other people called her on inappropriately representing herself as a doctor and lawyer), I recently had a Natural News radio host threaten me by name on his show with a beating. He also attended the Give Autism a Chance Summit (the one Orac blogged about) and was very unhappy that I wrote a critical summary of the Wakefield/Krigsman/Stewart sales pitch.

  21. #21 Lawrence
    April 23, 2014

    @Denise – and I believe over 30% of people believe in UFOs….so they are in good company, if a little behind the curve.

  22. #22 palindrom
    April 23, 2014

    Kathy @6 —

    This woman gives me the impression she’s lived most of her life in a tight little group of the like-minded, where disagreement is the Unforgiveable Sin.

    You’re onto something here.

    Her last two bullet points are “We are old-fashioned” and “We believe in Jesus”.

    Many Evangelical Christians — especially the most stringent Biblical literalists — live their lives in a constant struggle against modernity in all forms. If they think too hard, they risk losing their faith, which is unthinkable to them. They cluster into “Christian” enclaves and attempt to wall off the modern world — note the home schooling, also.

    She appears to be a perfect example of this kind of thinking. I would bet something valuable that she’s a young-earth creationist, too.

  23. #23 Julian Frost
    Gauteng East Rand
    April 23, 2014

    Colin, so it was a bunch of lunatic anti-vaxxers who doxed her?
    o.O O.o o.O O.o

  24. #24 palindrom
    April 23, 2014

    Can someone enlighten me as to the meaning of the verb “dox”? I’m not one of them intertube hepcats, it seems.

  25. #25 Denice Walter
    April 23, 2014

    It’s ironic that some of those calling for civility have a history of expressing extremely hateful remarks about people who support vaccination.

    Characterising this globally, as someone who surveys altie pre-literacy on a daily basis, I hear vitriolic statements about doctors, psychologists, researchers, governmental officials and reporters as a matter of course. Everyone who disagrees with them is accused of lying, being on the take, being compromised, immoral and endangering the lives and health of innocents. AND all of this without any evidence of malfeasance and conspiracy between the maligned groups or concerning specific individuals.

    Personally, I’ve been attacked by proselytisers who know absolutely nothing about me except my educational background which obviously illustrates how they compile their information: ‘DW is a member of a particular group THEREFORE she is responsible for all of the harm done by professionals since time immemorial”.

    But this is how woo spreads its demon seed amongst its followers: list hideous instances of medical ( or other) atrocities even if you have to go back a century or two- then without missing a beat, associate by contiguity present day people or activities as though the two sets of information were intrinsically linked .
    Sounds like magic by contagion to me.

    Oddly, we’re also being called ‘bots’ not people. It’s quite interesting because both being a pawn of the powerful ( see above) or a machine imply little or no freedom of choice. Why blame someone/ something who/ which has no power whatsoever?

  26. #26 Orac
    April 23, 2014

    @Colin:

    Not being hip to that particular ultra-lunatic antivaccine conspiracy site (hey, even Orac can’t monitor them all, at least not all the time), I was unaware that in reality Megan was apparently doxed and contacted by people on “her side” (albeit the lunatic fringe of the lunatic fringe that is “her side”) because they were concerned that she had been whacked by a pharma conspiracy to silence her criticism of vaccines. Then she interpreted that as coming from pro-vaccine bloggers and big pharma trying to intimidate her into silence?

    Holy hell, you can’t make stuff like this up. (At least, even I can’t.) That’s totally hilarious.

  27. #27 DataSnake
    April 23, 2014

    Regarding the “we don’t eat chemicals” bit, I’ll just leave this here: http://www.smbc-comics.com/?id=3324#comic

  28. #28 Orac
    April 23, 2014

    @palindrom

    Doxing means to out an anonymous or pseudonymous blogger or commenter on social media; i.e., reveal the blogger’s true identity, either by just revealing his true identity or by posting information that could easily lead others to figuring out the blogger’s true identity.

  29. #29 Julian Frost
    Gauteng East Rand
    April 23, 2014

    @Palindrom, to “dox” means to release personal and/or identifying information about someone. It’s regarded as bad form, because the action contains an implicit threat. “I know where you live, so watch it”.

  30. #30 Eric Lund
    April 23, 2014

    Further to palindrom @22, Megan also lists among her bullet points, “We home school.” (It’s about halfway down the list.) There are some parents who home school their children for good reasons. But there are others who do so at least partly to control their children’s exposure to Unapproved Viewpoints, and many of the parents who home school for this reason self-identify, as Megan does, as old-fashioned believers in Jesus. Some states exercise little or no oversight when it comes to making sure that home schooled children are actually educated.

    Picking out stupidity in the rest of Megan’s writings is like shooting fish in a barrel. I’m tempted to ask, regarding her claim to be a “Certified Natural Health Educator”, just who certified her (IYKWIMAITYD). And I do not think “conspiracy theory” means what she thinks it means.

  31. #31 Shay
    April 23, 2014

    Pallindrom, what Julian said. I think the term is derived from “.docx” used in a word-processing software that I won’t name here in case someone like Jake uses it to connect Orac with Bill Gates.

    While watching from the sidelines recently on a couple of local controversies, namely concealed carry and marriage equality, I’ve noticed that the words “hate speech” and “censorship” are used against anyone who disagrees with the poster. That and the 10th amendment, which a lot of the tinfoil hat brigade draw like a .45 at the slightest hint of criticism.

    (For the non-USians among us, the 10th amendment simply says that states are allowed to make up their own laws in situations where there’s no Federal regulation. It gets invoked a lot by the anti-same sex marriage crowd who want all those icky gay people to move to Massachusetts or California and leave decent Murkins in Georgia and Oklahoma alone). Evidently pointing out that someone is anti-gay is hate speech.

  32. #32 NumberWang
    April 23, 2014

    What is it about Georgia and Oklahoma that attracts pubic wigs?

    Or is that mirkin? Oh…hang on….murkin as in American? Sorry, slow today. Blame it on nightshift.

  33. #33 Rebecca Fisher
    April 23, 2014

    That’s “merkin” IIRC.

  34. #34 Eric Lund
    April 23, 2014

    Oddly, we’re also being called ‘bots’ not people.

    Nothing odd about it. Many people fear technology, for reasons both rational and otherwise. There is a particular tendency to associate robots with evil, sometimes known as the Frankenstein complex. Much of Isaac Asimov’s fiction explores this idea, and the measures taken by designers of robots to allay such fears–thus the Three Laws of Robotics. Despite these measures, many Earthlings in the Lije Bailey novels still fear robots–some for the rational reason that robots are competitors for jobs that humans do, others for irrational reasons. There are some parallels to vaccines: e.g., some parents deviate from the vaccination schedule because they can’t afford the time/copayments to bring their children to the doctor’s office as frequently as the nominal schedule calls for. And of course many on the anti-vax side have irrational fears of vaccines, and play into similar fears of other parents. But the analogy is not perfect: I don’t see the rational economic argument for avoiding vaccines entirely instead of adjusting the schedule to the parents’ economic reality.

  35. #35 Sian Williams
    April 23, 2014

    @Colin

    I’m terrified to venture onto any conspiracy theorist website, but if this is true, it’s one of the best arguments against doxing period. I tried visiting her other blog, but I’m getting a 401 error.

  36. #36 Shay
    April 23, 2014

    @NumberWang and Rebecca. You are clearly furriners and probably commies as well. So there.

  37. #37 dedicated lurker
    April 23, 2014

    Did any of the biomeders talk about mitochondrial disease before Hannah Poling?

    And this is off topic, but does anyone know a good place to share a fundraiser link? I have one month to raise some money for badly needed dental work and I’m sure most of my facebook friends are tired of seeing it.

  38. #38 Politicalguineapig
    April 23, 2014

    Eric Lund: But there are others who do so at least partly to control their children’s exposure to Unapproved Viewpoints, and many of the parents who home school for this reason self-identify, as Megan does, as old-fashioned believers in Jesus.

    That’s most of the homeschool groups now. The demographics shifted in the 80s- now the hippies send the kids to private or charter schools, and the Christian kids stay at home.

  39. #39 lilady
    April 23, 2014

    Colin’s excellent post on the “Give Autism A Chance” meeting, managed to attract Curt Linderman. Linderman’s radio broadcast (“Rabid Talk Radio”) on Colin, was put up yesterday afternoon.

    (The things I do for the sake of science)

    So, I listened to the radio program and Linderman is frothing at the mouth about Colin and the pro-vaccine, pro-science movement.

    He open his show by telling us he is “sitting in his basement, in his underwear, in the wee hours of Easter morning”. He plans to go to church with his family and then states he wants to start his own church for his group which has to deal with pro-vaccinationists; he’ll call it “The Church of The Immaculate Bitch-Slap”….it goes downward from there.

    Toward the end of the broadcast, he launches into a warning about the coming battle (Armageddon?), between the pro-science group who are coming to “get” him and his groupies.

    “Be prepared, by arming yourselves. I’ll be armed and I am 6′ 2″, 205 pound guy with five black belts!” (Have any of you ever seen Linderman’s rants on YouTube?)

    BTW, Linderman’s wife is the Advertising Director of the Autism File magazine…part of the Wakefield-Tommey media empire.

  40. #40 Eric Lund
    April 23, 2014

    I’ll be armed and I am 6′ 2″, 205 pound guy with five black belts!

    I have no reason to doubt the claim that this Chuck Norris wannabe owns five (or more) black belts, but wouldn’t he look ridiculous if he tried to wear them all at the same time?

    We do have to take this kind of thing seriously, because a few of these bozos actually are capable of acting on their threats. But couple the quoted sentence with the bit about “sitting in his basement, in his underwear”, and I get the impression that his fighting experience was in the 82nd Chairborne Division.

  41. #41 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    April 23, 2014

    Shay,
    Actually, the tenth amendment says

    The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

    It’s somewhat different from “states are allowed to make up their own laws in situations where there’s no Federal regulation.”

  42. #42 Militant Agnostic
    April 23, 2014

    Orac, I know you hate nitpicks, but I believe you misspelled FREEDUMB!

  43. #43 Narad
    April 23, 2014

    There’s a lot more background about this particular anti-vaxer here.

    The funny thing is that she basically brought that attention on herself. (That’s probably going to expire from the G—gl cache in short order.)

    She had her stuff down for a couple of days, and what other explanation could there be?

    I’m going with not knowing how to use grep, much less sed. I pulled all three of her sites last week, and there was only one reference to herself as “Dr.” left.

  44. #44 Kelly M Bray
    The Restaurant at the End of the Universe
    April 23, 2014

    Some of the comments are amazing. Danchi “Distribution and administration of the Polio vaccine in the US caused Polio cases to rise 700%.”
    Not really math inclined I see.

  45. #45 Narad
    April 23, 2014

    I’m tempted to ask, regarding her claim to be a “Certified Natural Health Educator”, just who certified her

    The Naturopathic Institute of Therapies and Education. She says she was there for three years, although the “NHE” is the first year of the Not a Doctor program. It’s possible that the switch to the Trinity correspondence course went along with the move from Michigan to Illinois.

  46. #46 Narad
    April 23, 2014

    Trinity is not “accredited” by the usual people who do that sort of thing, BTW.

  47. #47 Narad
    April 23, 2014

    It appears, however, that she could only have transferred three credits.

  48. #48 Shay
    April 23, 2014

    M. O’B — I knew I should have Googled it.

  49. #49 Narad
    April 23, 2014

    Had she been hacked? Had the pro vaccination groups taken her site down? Had she just forgotten to renew her domain.

    This is some serious cluepenia on Hayes’s part.

  50. #50 palindrom
    April 23, 2014

    Such an educational blog! Now I know the meaning of “dox”, the meaning of the suffix “-penia” (very useful), and the correct spelling of “FREEDUMB”!

  51. #51 Narad
    April 23, 2014

    While a longer comment is in moderation, let me add to it that if anyone did visit Megan, it was apparently someone from an ultra-extreme conspiracy theory board checking to make sure the NSA hadn’t offed her.

    My reading is that “then someone did show up to her house” refers to Tenpenny, not Megan.

  52. #52 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    April 23, 2014

    Shay – The Googles and Wikipedia are my friends.

  53. #53 Mark Thorson
    April 23, 2014
  54. […] and committed herself to real research, repeats one trope, one lie and one myth after another one. Orac picks apart her babbling one point after another, and as a bonus gives us a story about her ridiculous paranoid conspiracy theories. With all due […]

  55. #55 Lucario
    Sunny SoFla
    April 23, 2014

    Colin @#18:

    “An ultra-fringe conspiracy group (they complain that viruses are nanomachines designed by Jews–you can tell because the baseplate looks like a star of David–to eat out the emotion centers of the brain)….”

    Pleaseohpleaseohplease, for the love of Arceus, tell me that that group is making that up. Nobody could possibly be that Crobat-guano insane.

  56. #56 Alain
    April 23, 2014

    well well well….I don’t know how I compare to you guys and gals with my pair of degrees in common sense and in manure handling from the university of hard knock but can I apply to med school with these?

    Alain

  57. #57 Mark
    April 23, 2014

    @Eric Lund #40

    If he is 205lbs and wore 5 belts at once, I am guessing he would look like a string of sausages.

  58. #58 dedicated lurker
    April 23, 2014

    Lucario -my sister and I invented a fake conspiracy theory once, that the Cold War was a hoax perpetuated by historians. We were trying to come up with one so absurd no one would believe it. It is presented on whale.to, with the exception that it is conspiring politicians, not historians, as absolute fact. So I believe people do sincerely believe that.

  59. #59 Denice Walter
    April 23, 2014

    Hate speech, you say?

    Truly, I have often read calls for ‘justice’ for vaccine advocates, developers and Andy’s bane- that they wind up before a court, behind bars, punished for their lies and crimes.
    AoA commenters often wish for retribution. Sure sounds like hate to me, as does their fixation on pharma payoffs based on damaging children.

    @ Heckenlively’s piece today:
    ‘he who was banished from Orac’s realm’, comments that the 20% is joined by 36% who aren’t sure, overruling the vaccine supporters ( 44%).

    ( Alright let’s suppose that these figures do reflect some species of reality: why oh why then do most of them vaccinate if they oppose or question vaccination? Vaccination rates, even in the deepest, darkest depths of Marin County**, are not at 44%.
    OK, OK maybe they are at 44% but only in very posh schools in towns where rock stars live).

    Over the past year or so, rhetoric by a few of the TMs ( MacNeil, Goes, Jameson esp) seethes with anger and hatred for doctors, government officials and others who support vaccination. Similarly, @ AoA I’ve heard more than enough of hate speech, much of it aimed at accomplished,well-meaning people like Dorit. Certainly it is quite frequent that the hate is expressed for our own charming host Orac and his many talented and diverse minions.

    ** take it easy, it’s a metaphor, I know that it is by turns sunny and foggy there.

  60. #60 Sid Offit
    April 23, 2014

    “what’s the big deal about mumps outbreaks this year and claiming that it’s not a serious disease”

    Mumps is serious? LOL.

  61. #61 Narad
    April 23, 2014

    Mumps is serious? LOL.

    Well, we all know you don’t have to worry about orchitis, Bob.

  62. #62 Lawrence
    April 23, 2014

    @Bob – you know, perhaps we should challenge you to a series of infections….have you exposed to all of the various VPDs & see if they are serious or not.

    Willing to take the chance?

  63. #63 Narad
    April 23, 2014

    Pleaseohpleaseohplease, for the love of Arceus, tell me that that group is making that up. Nobody could possibly be that Crobat-guano insane.

    This is a dandy comment from the GBCN folks:

    “I find it amazing that all that crazy shıt lives on a camera review site.”

  64. #64 Lucario
    Night in SoFla
    April 23, 2014

    lurker @#58:

    Better be careful making up hoaxes – who knows what the conspiracy loons will swallow.

    This leads me to wonder if, say, the “Moon Landing Hoax” was somebody’s attempt at a joke conspiracy that took on a life of its own. Stranger things have happened.

  65. #65 Michael
    April 23, 2014

    @Shay- there really is a problem with defining “hate speech” in respect to homosexuality- namely, that there are religions that are millennia old that condemn homosexuality. So homosexuals argue that condemning them is hate speech and the adherents of those religions argue that attacking their religions are hate speech. There’s no way to square the circle.

  66. #66 Johnny
    127.0.0.1
    April 23, 2014

    Mumps is serious? LOL.

    Well, the mumps seriously fried my nuts. It was a bit of a blessing back in the day, when all you had to worry about was an unplanned pregnancy or a disease that could be cured with a shot.

    Last I remember hearing, Dr.Mark Crislip (because the world needs more Mark Crislip) said he had seen 2 cases of mumps, and he’s an Infectious Disease doctor. My mom had treated 3 cases, and she was ‘just a housewife’. She did have to call in help for me (remember house calls?).

    Of course, most of the time mumps isn’t too bad. Fever, look like a chipmunk, and miss a week or two of school. Poor kids these days have to go to school a whole lot more than we did.

  67. #67 Politicalguineapig
    April 23, 2014

    Dedicated Lurker: Details, please? I’ve always wanted to make up an urban legend and have it go viral.

  68. #68 Sid Offit
    United States
    April 23, 2014

    @Lawrence

    @Bob – you know, perhaps we should challenge you to a series of infections….have you exposed to all of the various VPDs & see if they are serious or not.

    Willing to take the chance?

    —-

    Depends on what I’d get to expose myself. And I’m an adult so not getting certain illnesses when most do would alter the dynamic.

    Since this is all theoretical, I’d go back in time and expose myself to the usual childhood illness and, if my outcomes were inconsequential, and if you had the power, would you grant my wish and get rid of compulsory vaccination. Are you in? I’m guessing not.

    So since there’s no other end of the bargain, it’s pointless to discuss it – which makes me wonder why an intelligent person like you would even raise the issue. Perhaps you could enlighten me.

    In a scenario closer to the real world, if I was still playing baseball and a key player had the flu, but could play through it, I’d certainly be OK with interacting with him.

  69. #69 brian
    April 23, 2014

    if I was still playing baseball and a key player had the flu, but could play through it, I’d certainly be OK with interacting with him

    Apparently you should have realized long ago that, since you are clearly not a “key player,” you don’t matter.

  70. #70 dedicated lurker
    April 23, 2014

    I haven’t actually found it on whale.to, but several others have assured me it is there. My sister and I invented it pre-internet (access for us, our mother had access for work), though.

  71. #71 DLC
    April 23, 2014

    The crazy knows few bounds. By the way, Megan or whatever your name is, you don’t get to snipe at people from behind the cover of being an advocate and then claim victimhood when people push back.

  72. #72 Chris,
    April 23, 2014

    Mr. Schecter: “Depends on what I’d get to expose myself. And I’m an adult so not getting certain illnesses when most do would alter the dynamic”

    I vote you be exposed the diseases I remember getting. These include:

    Mumps

    Chicken pox

    An influenza that had me unconscious for two weeks when I was eight years old

    A bacterial pneumonia that kept me out of school for over a month

    And dengue fever, just because you think it only happens to brown people

  73. #73 Calli Arcale
    April 23, 2014

    dedicated lurker:

    Lucario -my sister and I invented a fake conspiracy theory once, that the Cold War was a hoax perpetuated by historians.

    Nice try, but I have come to the realization that nobody can beat the creativity of genuine conspiracy whackos. I learned this when I encountered the Moon Hoax Claim To Beat All Moon Hoax Claims — the Apollo missions were faked to avoid revealing the truth that supersonic flight is impossible for anything larger than a rifle bullet. Satellites are an elaborate scheme conducted using airliners and possibly balloons. Supersonic fighters and the Concorde — all faked, everybody paid off. ICBMs? Not possible. And he knows this because one day he got to thinking and realized that as things got heavier, it took more energy to speed them up. A few back-of-the-envelope calculations based on god-knows-what later, and he’d concluded that a rifle bullet is the largest object that can be accelerated to supersonic speeds. His explanation for planetary motion? None, really. He seemed to live in a little bubble where he’d had this one revelation, and his entire world view was then built upon it.

  74. #74 Narad
    April 23, 2014

    My reading is that “then someone did show up to her house” refers to Tenpenny, not Megan.

    Ah, now I see that I got this mixed up with the disappearance of Tenpenny’s FB page.

  75. #75 dedicated lurker
    April 24, 2014

    My sister has complained there’s no really good conspiracy theories anymore – they’re all dominiated by “false flag” allegations. She says that at least the “the government is making clones in vats under Texas” is creative.

  76. #76 Narad
    April 24, 2014

    My sister has complained there’s no really good conspiracy theories anymore

    The “race warfare ethno-bomb” guy referenced above is at least colorfully clueless (emphasis in original):

    My comment Cool name for it – ‘Anti-NMDA Receptor Encephalitis’ and let me quickly explain what that means. NMDA receptor encephalytis means swelling of NMDA receiving axons in the brain. Anti is spurious. It gives absolutely no indication of AUTOIMMUNE, that is B.S. The bottom line, from that terminology, is that something caused swelling of the nmda receptor sites.

    And now I got my weapon, to clear the BS with

    Those doctors know exactly what caused this. Wanna know why? Because they said the NMDA receptors swelled up, and there is NO WAY YOU CAN KNOW THAT, UNLESS YOU DO BRAIN SURGERY AND REMOVE SOME OF THOSE RECEPTORS TO PUT THEM ON A MICROSCOPE SLIDE AND CONFIRM THEY ARE INDEED SWOLLEN. Those doctors KNEW this was a test, and that it would CAUSE those receptors to swell up. They KNEW THERE WAS A BIOLOGICAL EXPERIMENT GOING ON, AND THEY WERE THE OBSERVERS, ABSENT A BRAIN BIOPSY THERE IS NO OTHER WAY FOR THEM TO SAY WHAT THEY DID, OTHER THAN FOREKNOWLEDGE OF WHAT WAS REALLY GOING ON. No biopsies were ever spoken of. Conveniently, the probable death part of those receptors was left out.

  77. #77 Alain
    April 24, 2014

    if you had the power, would you grant my wish and get rid of compulsory vaccination. Are you in? I’m guessing not.

    Bob, why are you guessing not?

    Alain

  78. #78 Alain
    April 24, 2014

    @Narad,

    If I have taken 4 beers (still 2 remaining in the fridge) which killed 20 000 neurons tonight, do I need a biopsy to attest that these neurons were killed out? according to that guy, yes but according to ethical principle, is it right to open the brain to look for killed cell in the absence of any harm?

    Alain (user of an NMDA based ADD medication to improve focusing ability).

  79. #79 Narad
    April 24, 2014

    according to that guy, yes but according to ethical principle, is it right to open the brain to look for killed cell in the absence of any harm?

    I think the broader issue is that he doesn’t understand what encephalitis is, much less the difference between presynaptic and postsynaptic. Or the size of an NMDA receptor. Or the diffraction limit of optical microscopy.

  80. #80 Alain
    April 24, 2014

    @Narad

    Yeah I tend to be literal about his quote but I entirely agree with you, I know that the brain growing a quarter inch to half of one is bound to create massive trouble with lot more than 20K neurons are doing.

    Alain

  81. #81 Rebecca Fisher
    April 24, 2014

    @Dedicated Lurker – is this (or one of the links at the top of this page) what you’re looking for?

    http://www.whale.to/b/cold_war_hoax_h.html

  82. #82 Krebiozen
    April 24, 2014

    Lucario,

    This leads me to wonder if, say, the “Moon Landing Hoax” was somebody’s attempt at a joke conspiracy that took on a life of its own. Stranger things have happened.

    That idea has been around for a very long time. I remember my older brother (aged 20) joking that the whole thing was a fake, “filmed in the Nevada Desert”, when Apollo 11 had just landed on the moon and the world was waiting for the astronauts to finally emerge from the Lunar Module. My mother scolded him for spoiling the experience for me (much younger and awestruck).

    Ingo Swann, yet another alleged NASA consultant later turned remote-viewing moon hoax conspiracy theorist, claimed that someone circulated leaflets alleging the same at the Kennedy Space Center at the same time (in his book ‘Penetration’ as I recall, should any conspiracy theory historians be in the slightest bit interested).

  83. #83 ann
    April 24, 2014

    if you had the power, would you grant my wish and get rid of compulsory vaccination. Are you in? I’m guessing not.

    Prepare yourself for a pleasant surprise. Your wish is fully pre-granted! Why, you ask?

    Because vaccination is not presently compulsory! That’s just your paranoid fantasy!

    (Hint: The decline in uptake rates might have been your first clue.)

  84. #84 Denice Walter
    April 24, 2014

    One of the worst conspiracy theories that I’ve run across is that governments around the world conspired to keep alien visits secret and then used the technology they pilfered to refine weapon systems and aviation- esp stealth.

    Like they’d all work together in order to battle each other.

    In other news :
    @ AoA today: KS notes that there is ” a nationally coordinated campaign to BULLY Jenny MacCarthy” and autism parents find themselves “as if we and our children are Christians in The Coliseum [sic] “- it’s “a bloodsport”.

  85. #85 ann
    April 24, 2014

    This leads me to wonder if, say, the “Moon Landing Hoax” was somebody’s attempt at a joke conspiracy that took on a life of its own.

    Said to have been filmed by Stanley Kubrick. I’ve always thought that was a nice touch.

  86. #86 Denice Walter
    April 24, 2014

    And to add to Chris’ list:

    Measles
    altho’ I don’t really remember too much except being confined to a dark room and NOT being able to do normal activities- reading, writing, drawing, exercising, watching television.
    My older cousins assure me that I missed “3 or 4 weeks of school” and relatives in various locales were “worried”.
    I also started wearing sunglasses outdoors after the episode and not just as a fashion statement. I still do -unless it’s raining or entirely clouded over.

    I was supposed to get the new vaccine but I couldn’t get to the apppointment because I got the measles first.

  87. #87 lilady
    April 24, 2014

    AoA the gift that keeps on giving, on hate speech and bullying…Anne Dachel blogging and Kim Stagliano commenting:

    Anne Dachel
    Fox News Promotes Women Bullying Women

    Mean girlsManaging Editor’s Note: You’d think that during autism awareness month media mean girls would at least try to acknowledge that Jenny is an autism Mom – and give her credit for helping her son into recovery. Not so for these two shrews – who delight in joining in the nationally cooridinated campaign to BULLY Jenny McCarthy at every turn. It’s unseemly – and I can think of NO other diagnosis except for autism – in that it is connected to vaccination – that would garner such vitrolic venom as if we and our children were Christians in The Coliseum of ancient Rome. Attacking us is now a bloodsport – more popular than boxing. KS

  88. #88 Dangerous Bacon
    April 24, 2014

    Schecter: “Depends on what I’d get to expose myself”

    A combination of laughter and nausea, most likely. A few jurisdictions might insist on jail time..

  89. #89 herr doktor bimler
    April 24, 2014

    This leads me to wonder if, say, the “Moon Landing Hoax” was somebody’s attempt at a joke conspiracy that took on a life of its own.

    I assume that “Capricorn One” was filmed as an attempt by movie insiders to get the story out to the public. Either that, or it was filmed as part of the conspiracy to discredit the idea of a conspiracy and make it seem like, well, a movie plot.

  90. #90 dedicated lurker
    April 24, 2014

    Rebecca – yes, there it is!

  91. #91 Eric Lund
    April 24, 2014

    Nice try, but I have come to the realization that nobody can beat the creativity of genuine conspiracy whackos.

    It’s a variant of Poe’s Law. Some people really are that gullible.

  92. #92 Jennifer
    April 24, 2014

    You should probably include a link to the original source of the comic: http://xkcd.com/1357/

  93. #93 janet
    April 24, 2014

    Narad @ #61–I wasn’t here to see it, but you won the Interwebz yesterday. I needed the laugh, thanks!! :)

  94. #94 Shay
    April 24, 2014

    Janet:

    Followed closely by DB @ #88.

  95. #95 janet
    April 24, 2014

    Shay….agreed! (But that was today)

  96. #96 Jessica S
    April 24, 2014

    “Toward the end of the broadcast, he launches into a warning about the coming battle (Armageddon?), between the pro-science group who are coming to “get” him and his groupies.
    “Be prepared, by arming yourselves. I’ll be armed and I am 6′ 2″, 205 pound guy with five black belts!” (Have any of you ever seen Linderman’s rants on YouTube?)”

    Cheese ‘n rice! I mean, I know they think vaccines (and the government’s semi-mandate of) are the Worst Thing Ever, but FFS – they’re just vaccines! Products that are actually beneficial to you. I think his ravings rate as “first world problems”, for sure.

  97. #97 Chemmomo
    Under a hazy blue sky
    April 24, 2014

    Jennifer @92

    You should probably include a link to the original source of the comic

    You should probably click on the words “Think of it this way” in little blue letters above the comic.

  98. #98 Narad
    April 24, 2014

    AoA the gift that keeps on giving, on hate speech and bullying…Anne Dachel blogging and Kim Stagliano commenting

    “I really can’t watch anything myself because my free time is spent looking at autism stories on Google News.”

    Um, she only disgorges a handful of articles each day, someless less frequently. This is all of her free time? It’s not as though cutting and pasting takes much effort.

  99. #99 Alain
    April 24, 2014

    Dachel, is she retired?

    For goodness sakes, I have Mike the mad biologist in my blogroll and he post twice as many links and pictures while doing full-time research….

    Alain

  100. #100 Lurker
    April 24, 2014

    Re. Shay @ 31, etymology of ‘dox.”

    Comes from the word ‘documents’ plural, which is commonly shortened to ‘docs.’ The spelling ‘dox’ is merely a further abbreviation using ‘hacker spelling standards.’

    So now one True Believer in conspiracy theories gets doxed and otherwise pestered by an even Truer Believer in even wilder conspiracy theories. You couldn’t make this up.

    I suppose the wackier CTers are being chased by an even-wackier bunch of CTers who think the NSA is controlled by space aliens, who in turn are controlled by reptilian overlords, who in turn are controlled by invisible evil spirits.

    ‘Bigger fleas have little fleas upon their backs to bite ‘em
    Little fleas have smaller fleas, and on ad-infinitum.’

    ‘We do not use any chemical products in our home or on our bodies.’ (What are your homes and bodies made of, dear?)

    ‘We greatly limit the use of technology in our home.’ (What’s that thing you’re typing on, and do you keep it in a tree?)

    ‘We recycle.’ (That’s nice, so does everyone else nowadays.)

  101. #101 Denice Walter
    April 24, 2014

    @ Narad:

    No, she is inordinately pre-occupied working on her karate ( or tae kwon do – I forget which), writing columns for various on-line magazine ( like “Aunts are Super”) and (perhaps) writing a follow-up to her chick-lit, mystery-romance/ autism-related novel ( Sky Horse Press).

  102. #102 Denice Walter
    April 24, 2014

    Oh. I DO sound like a mean girl. So does lilady: Ann also and Rebecca, of course ( altho’ she’s supposed to REALLY be a man).

  103. #103 Chris Hickie
    April 24, 2014

    The best conspiracy theory is that there are no more conspiracy theories–it’s like an all-encompassing manifold that keeps folding back on itself.

    FYI, Sid was once exposed to prions, but they didn’t take–no substrate upon which to bind.

  104. #104 lilady
    April 24, 2014

    I’m betting that Jenny McCarthy is so pleased, now that the harpies are writing letters to media outlets in support of her//sarcasm.

  105. #105 Shay
    April 24, 2014

    Denice, now I”m confused. Which one of you is really Bonnie Offit?

  106. #106 Kelly M Bray
    The Restaurant at the End of the Universe
    April 24, 2014

    “Denice, now I”m confused. Which one of you is really Bonnie Offit?”

    We all are Bonnie Offit. It’s just you and me here. I do this to confuse people

  107. #107 lilady
    April 25, 2014

    I need you all to get serious and spend some time on The Poxes blog…to see (and hear) what a really “mean girl” is capable of.

    http://thepoxesblog.wordpress.com/2014/04/23/what-kinds-of-threats-are-these/

    I lay the blame for these vile threatening telephone calls at the feet of the blogging *journalists* and their guest bloggers at Age of Autism, who first published information about Dorit Reiss, her employer, her husband and her young child.

  108. #108 ann
    April 25, 2014

    Yikes, those calls.

    And again with the package inserts.

    What kind of person says to him- or herself: “Pharma is lying to me about vaccine safety, and this I know because the truth is printed in the package inserts“?

    It doesn’t even survive non-scrutiny. It’s just senseless.

  109. #109 lilady
    April 25, 2014

    @ ann: It doesn’t have to “make sense”…if the anti-vaccine comments that I have read, are any indication.

    About thirty years ago, I testified on behalf of the establishment of a group home for young adult autistic people. After my testimony and before I arrived home, a vile individual had telephoned my home and frightened my young daughter with similar threats. There truly are people who derive pleasure by stalking other people, on their jobs, and at their home. The problem, IMO, is that we know a certain proportion of these people will “up the ante”. How do we know which individual that will be?

  110. #110 Rebecca Fisher
    April 25, 2014

    God only knows who I’m supposed to be this week. It’s usually Brian Deer.

  111. #111 Denice Walter
    April 25, 2014

    Correction:
    @ 101 the person I described is Kim Stagliano not Ann Dachel who made the comment.
    Altho’ I could add that while the latter isn’t a student of karate, she has been engaged in “researching” and writing her own tome also published by Sky Horse.

  112. #112 Antaeus Feldspar
    April 25, 2014
    Oddly, we’re also being called ‘bots’ not people.

    Nothing odd about it. Many people fear technology, for reasons both rational and otherwise. There is a particular tendency to associate robots with evil, sometimes known as the Frankenstein complex.

    Actually, it has to do with another conspiracy theory. (Dull surprise!)

    There has been (in reality) some discussion of using automated methods to monitor social media for expression of antivax propaganda, to better indicate where there is need to get the pro-vax word out.

    The AV camp (with their usual disdain for sticking to facts when unrealistic speculation fits what they want to believe so much better) mutated this into “Big Pharma has somehow achieved the Holy Grail of computer science, computer intelligences which can pass the Turing test by understanding natural language conversations and replying to them so intelligently that they are not distinguishable from humans, and is already employing these computer intelligences to disseminate provax propaganda.”

    In short, when the antivaxers are calling us ‘bots, they’re not saying that we’re *like* robots, they are claiming that we actually *are* computer programs that can carry on conversations with them but are unable to deviate from our programming of “defend vaccines”.

  113. #113 Denice Walter
    April 25, 2014

    re Reuben’s post:

    Alright, so who would do something like this?

    I would guess that it’s someone who spends a great deal of time on the internet and has become so involved that she perceives anyone who gives information they disagree with as a personal threat- thus, she is justified in making a pre-emptive strike. I agree with Reuben- this is not a sign of normal adjustment.

    AoA and TMR ( as well as PRN and NN) *deliberately* present material that incites anger and hatred on a daily basis ( as I’ve often stated, group therapy gone wrong). They label the opposiition ( SBM) as evil people who harm children. Some followers have difficult lives because they have a disabled child and some of them, who have psychological problems, in their distress may take it upon themselves to rebel against the powers-that-be whom they blame for their current situation.

    A while back, AoA printed someone’s home address as it was presented on legal papers without redaction.

    As a matter of course, AoA editors allow inflammatory language- both in posts and comments- about vaccine defenders and applaud those who pester them. Prof Reiss is often a topic of conversation and speculation.

    Of course, they feel free to say anything they like because if someone with psychological problems DID strike out and harm a vaccine supporter, there is little to connect them to the action. They merely write their own opinion and the actor is an adult who has free choice. Yes, they were ‘bullied’ into action.

    Because I subject myself daily to vitriol readily available at the aforementioned outlets, I often feel as though I’ve been washed over by a tsunamic wave of angry self-righteousness- it’s hate spewn without regard to consequences for other people: messages like these are also not a sign of psychologcal health.

  114. #114 Narad
    April 25, 2014

    In short, when the antivaxers are calling us ‘bots, they’re not saying that we’re *like* robots, they are claiming that we actually *are* computer programs….

    The locus for the current popularity of this is Jeff Hays, who coincidentally is pimping a movie. It has already mutated into random halfwits such as one Neil Vadekar babbling about everybody being “Perl scripts.”

  115. #115 Denice Walter
    April 25, 2014

    Right, your ‘enemy’ isn’t even human- it’s a machine or it’s a person ‘programmed’ by evil faction, nearly a machine:
    so what’s wrong with harming THAT?

  116. #116 Narad
    April 25, 2014

    Alright, so who would do something like this?

    I’m aware of exactly one person who has taken to publicly obsessing over Dorit’s husband, although the kids in the background don’t fit her profile and the voice isn’t quite right. The time stamps on the first two calls are early in the morning, suggesting (aside from not being willing to risk actually having the phone answered) a time zone to the east.

    I’d still lay better-than-even odds on this being the proximate source, though.

  117. #117 Denice Walter
    April 25, 2014

    Right. Someone with kids, a distressed parent who sees the Reisses as adversaries because they have a better life than she has.
    Who do we know like that?

  118. #118 Eric Lund
    April 25, 2014

    Denice @115: Right, and it’s a dangerous development. Portraying one’s enemies as not quite human has historically led to some really nasty stuff, and there are plenty of examples other than you-know-who.

  119. #119 Narad
    April 25, 2014

    Portraying one’s enemies as not quite human

    You mean like referring to people as “humanoid”?

  120. #120 Sarah A
    April 25, 2014

    Just had to quote this gem from the comment Narad links to above:

    …they [pharma shills] have up until now not been able to crash conversations where they have been, with good reason, excluded by moderation and by the protection of free speech.

    Anti-vaxers exclude people who disagree with them in the name of free speech. Wow. Just … wow.

  121. #121 Denice Walter
    April 25, 2014

    A long time ago, there was a symposium on agression and conflict and one of the most salient points I recall from a detailed reading** was that seeing others as UNlike yourself – as the Other, non-human, evil or being unable to see them at all ( because of long-range modern weaponry, for example)- makes the idea of slamming them so much easier. There’s nothing ( or nothing worthwhile) with which to relate emotionally- they become a nuisance and a hindrance to your own well-being. A problem.

    Interestingly, there was a UK focus group on communicating about vaccines ( reported by Jon Brock) that found that parents preferred information from fellow/ sister parents rather than from experts.

    Oddly enough, anti-vaxxers will listen to anti-vax parents but not pro-vaccine parents- who are referred to as not being real in some manner or merely a tool of the Other. Perhaps they view people like Dorit as a turncoat – her child isn’t her first priority in their wretched distorted view.
    -btw- shame on them,

    ** oh and also research on cultures which like football ( both kinds) and aggression.

  122. #122 Denice Walter
    April 25, 2014

    AS TURNCOATS

  123. #123 lilady
    April 25, 2014

    When Reuben at The Poxes blog first put up those audiotapes, I spent a good deal of time viewing videotapes that have been placed on YouTube, by woman who post on Age of Autism. I cannot connect the voice to any one person.

    I do know the identities of the *journalists* and posters on Age of Autism, who first posted the location of Dorit’s employer, Dorit’s husband’s name and his employer and the identity of Dorit’s child…because they bring these nuggets back to AoA, by posting that information.

    They’ve got the colossal chutzpah to label some of us as “mean girls” and bullies?

  124. #124 Renate
    April 25, 2014

    @lilady
    I suppose those people need a good look in the mirror.

  125. #125 Jeff1971
    April 25, 2014

    The following is now running on many of Mr Wakefield’s pages. Priceless.

    ‘Mainstream Media claim the anti-vaccine (pro-holistic health) movement is unscientific. They have vastly under-estimated the intelligence & inherent wisdom of this fast-growing community.

    ‘The holistic health movement is SO way ahead of the curve. We recognize that there is clear distinction between the verifiable science of the body, and the detritus of propaganda supporting vaccine theory.

    ‘There is no disputing the science of a newborn baby’s brain & central nervous system, the SCIENCE of the electro-chemical synergistic nature of vaccine-derived neurotoxins (Aluminum & Thimerosal) injected into the bloodstream; that, in point of scientific fact, all heavy metals are magnetically drawn to areas of fatty tissue, primarily the brain & central nervous system…where they systematically erode the primary core circuits necessary in supporting early childhood development.

    ‘This is where ALL vaccine related neurological damage begins.

    ‘Through the annals of history, outbreaks of disease, plague & life-threatening epidemics were primarily the result of over-crowding, marked by insufficient hygiene, sanitation & nutrition. In this day & age, given proper access to clean drinking water, modern sanitation methods & a steady organic diet, there is simply no excuse, here in the West, for the exponential surge in cases of early childhood diseases & disorders now gripping our communities.

    ‘The Vaccine Industry is literally at war with natural immunity, having unleashed a plethora of rogue (hybrid/rarified) early childhood cancers, virulent “chimera” (weaponized/mutagenic) viruses, antibiotic resistant bacterium (ie. Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus/MRSA) & insidious fungal pathogens (ie. Gut Flora, Candida) upon our youngest & most vulnerable; including a cat’s cradle of neurodevelopmental disorders such as of Autism, ADD, ADHD – marked by chronic illness & compromised immunity, a rash of auto-immune breakdown related issues (ie. prolonged food/environmental allergies) & debilitating behavioral difficulties.

    ‘The overwhelming body of scientific evidence points to one critical determining factor in the rise of mutagenic viruses & systemic erosion of natural immunity: multi-generational community-wide exposure to the Standard Immunization regime, in particular, those viral vaccines fixed on the schedule which combine multiple live attenuated viruses – ie. the MMR Vaccine.

    ‘The science of vaccines is imminently flawed. Vaccines no NOT confer immunity. All vaccines straightjacket the immune system, by stripping the body of its ability to harness vital trace minerals & antioxidants; the essential arsenal that any child requires to successfully overcome the symptoms of any incoming infection such as Measles.

    ‘And they claim we don’t know anything about science. VRM’

  126. #126 Sarah A
    April 25, 2014

    Holy. Jumping. Sh!tb@lls. Andrew Wakefield (oops, I mean, millionaire autism biomed industrialist, Andrew Wakefield) wrote that? I had no idea he was that far gone.

  127. #127 Dorit Reiss
    April 25, 2014

    I think that pearl is from Mr. Joel Lord, from the “Vaccine Resistance Movement.”

  128. #129 dedicated lurker
    April 25, 2014

    That’s some pretty concentrated woo there.

  129. #130 lilady
    April 25, 2014

    We have, on videotape, some of the remarks made by the “expert panelists” who appeared on stage with Aidan Quinn and Andrew Wakefield, at the Give Autism a Chance Summit. Take a look at the second videotape starting at 4 minutes in…to see amateur attorney/immunologist Aidan Quinn’s rant about reading the studies which are not funded by *big pharma*. (Quinn first met Andrew Wakefield twenty years ago…after his daughter was diagnosed with autism):

    http://www.ageofautism.com/2014/04/vaccine-panel-with-rob-schneider-aidan-quinn-andy-wakefield-more-at-give-autism-a-chance.html

  130. #131 Sarah A
    United States
    April 25, 2014

    @ Dorit Reiss

    Ahh… I thought it was strange that Wakefield would be talking about neurological damage when his personal hobby horse is supposed to be gut issues. Also, even an incompetent ex-doctor should know that vaccines aren’t injected “directly into the bloodstream,” to say nothing of the rest of that cray-cray. Thanks, and sorry to hear about all the trouble you’ve been having recently.

  131. #132 Jessica S
    April 25, 2014

    Denice @121 – quite right. Dehumanizing people as “the others” is an effective tool of any agenda and those running it, be it special interests, governments (dehumanizing the citizens of another country, or of a different culture makes it much easier to sell military excursions, sanctions, etc.), religious organizations and so on. It’s depressing. There’s a children’s book written by Mem Fox, Whoever You Are, that I love reading to my three year old (he likes it too), and it’s all about how different people from all over the world may have different traditions, but our emotions, feelings, etc are all the same. I hope it’s a message that I can instill in him, somehow. I figure it’s at least one thing I can do to help humanity. :)

  132. #133 Dorit
    April 25, 2014

    @ Sarah A: Thanks. Seems to be part of this deal, as our host has pointed out in more than one post, from his extensive experience dealing with this, and several others told from their own experience.

    I’m very lucky to have met some amazing people while doing this, to be learning a lot, and to be part of an effort to protect children. I guess there has to be a less positive underbelly.

  133. #134 herr doktor bimler
    April 25, 2014

    I think that pearl is from Mr. Joel Lord, from the “Vaccine Resistance Movement.”
    Needs more QUANTUM.

  134. #135 Denice Walter
    April 25, 2014

    @ herr doktor bimler:

    It could have been worse: if he had talked about *epigenetics*.

    @ Jessica S:

    Right.
    Some define intelligence as ‘recognising conceptual identity despite superficial diversity’- it doesn’t hurt to encourage that early when it comes to social understanding.

  135. #136 Chris Hickie
    April 25, 2014

    …electro-chemical synergistic nature of vaccine-derived neurotoxins (Aluminum & Thimerosal) injected into the bloodstream; that, in point of scientific fact, all heavy metals are magnetically drawn to areas of fatty tissue, primarily the brain & central nervous system…where they systematically erode the primary core circuits necessary in supporting early childhood development.

    Can I just say as a physicist turned neuroscientist turned pediatrician that the above is the biggest pile of horseshit I have read, even for Wakefield.

    1. Vaccines are NOT injected into the bloodstream (with the only exception being the very new malaria vaccine which is given IV and not for children)
    2. “electrochemical synergistic nature of vaccine-derived neurotoxins. Geez. First, we don’t derive mercury or alumimum from vaccines–they are mined. Second, synergy has nothing to do with the electrochemical nature of how things interact.
    3. Heavy metals “magnetically drawn” to fatty tissues. There is no net magnetic force exerted fatty (or any other ) tissues in the body–which is why (unless you have implanted metal in you), you can go into a multi-tesla MRI scanner.
    4. “systematically erode”? Huh? They’ve seen this “erosion” in the brains of children with autism? It almost sounds like skin-eating acid the way it’s put here.

    I don’t know which is worse–that Wakefield spews this crap or that others are dumb enough to believe him.

  136. #137 Mal Adapted
    April 25, 2014

    I don’t know if many of you pay much attention to the anthropogenic global warming deniers, but there’s great deal of overlap between them and anti-vaxxers, with the common denominator being conspiracist ideation. Indignant at not being taken seriously, AGW conspiracists recently managed to intimidate the publishers of a journal into “retracting” a paper by they’d agreed to publish, one that documented the tendency of AGW deniers to subscribe to multiple conspiracy theories. Gratifyingly, the scientific community has reacted with disgust to the journal’s capitulation to the deniers. For more, see

    https://www.skepticalscience.com/contrarian-backlash-difficult-lesson-for-journals.html

  137. #138 Helianthus
    April 26, 2014

    @ Jeff1971

    Holy molly, what a burning exemple of technobabble.
    The pain, the pain…

    @ Mal Adapted

    On the confluence of antiwaxers and other, weirder ideas, there was this recent article from the Genetic Literacy Project website.

    The comment section has some interesting posts. I like the one showing which planet of our solar system is the more deadly.

  138. #139 Dangerous Bacon
    April 26, 2014

    I hope this doesn’t come across as Hate Speech – but the Amish in Ohio are getting religion when it comes to measles vaccine.

    Seems that unvaccinated people on a religious mission to the Philippines brought back a little something extra, and there’s now a measles outbreak in Knox County, Ohio:

    http://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/amish-seek-measles-shots-after-ohio-outbreak-sickens-15-n89221

    As a sidebar, it looks like the Columbus Dispatch’s coverage of vaccine-preventable disease outbreaks has improved a bit – their reporter assigned to such stories is no longer seeking out “balance” by quoting Barbara Loe Fisher (something I complained about earlier). Maybe my “bullying” had a positive effect. :)

  139. #140 Eric Lund
    April 26, 2014

    the Amish in Ohio are getting religion when it comes to measles vaccine

    Pun intended?

  140. #141 Narad
    April 26, 2014

    Gratifyingly, the scientific community has reacted with disgust to the journal’s capitulation to the deniers.

    There are strong reasons to question the human-subjects research ethics in “Recursive Fury”: It did not undergo full review, the work was started before the approval was simply tacked onto a preexisting one, and most damningly, it appears that the interacted with the subjects. Note also that it’s not the Common Rule in play, but Australia’s interpretation of the Declaration of Helsinki.

  141. #142 Narad
    April 26, 2014

    ^ “that they”

  142. #143 Narad
    April 26, 2014

    There is no net magnetic force exerted fatty (or any other ) tissues in the body–which is why (unless you have implanted metal in you), you can go into a multi-tesla MRI scanner.

    He also seems to have failed to note that Al and Hg have magnetic susceptibilities of opposite signs.

  143. #144 palindrom
    April 26, 2014

    Narad @1 41 — On the other hand, these were not your usual research subjects who rightfully expect confidentiality — they were blog commenters, and I don’t think they had been anonymous, though I could be mistaken. Human subjects guidelines in Australia could be less stringent than in the US, but his university didn’t seem to think he did anything wrong.

    Lewandowsky’s point, if I understand it right, is that crank magnetism is a real and measurable phenomenon.

  144. #145 Dangerous Bacon
    April 26, 2014

    A question for the Internet law experts on the forum – is there a law (on the order of Poe’s Law, Scopie’s Law etc.) to describe posters who enter a debate solely to chide the regulars for spending so much time posting ?

    Aside from “troll”, of course.

  145. #146 Helianthus
    April 26, 2014

    @ Chris Hickie

    Vaccines are NOT injected into the bloodstream

    Oh, come on, there are blood vessels not far from the injection site, and eventually, vaccine components will slowly find their way inside the bloodstream. It’s the same thing, isn’t it?

    Sorry, having a flashback of Bizarro-world assertions from an ancient visitor on RI. It has left mental scars.

    On the other hand, I’m learning stuff on magnetism thanks to you guys.

  146. #147 Mal Adapted
    April 26, 2014

    Narad,

    There are strong reasons to question the human-subjects research ethics in “Recursive Fury”: It did not undergo full review, the work was started before the approval was simply tacked onto a preexisting one, and most damningly, it appears that the interacted with the subjects.

    May I ask where you got that information? Recursive Fury is available at the UWA’s website, so you can judge for yourself. I’m by no means an expert on the ethical issues around this sort of research, but one of the journal’s reviewers strongly objected to the retraction, and three topic editors, Ugo Bardi, Bjorn Brembs and Colin Davis, have resigned from the journal in protest. According to lead author Stephan Lewandowsky,

    When Frontiers retracted our paper “Recursive Fury” (available at uwa.edu.au/recursivefury) they were very clear that the journal “…did not identify any issues with the academic and ethical aspects of the study.”

    The journal has since issued several conflicting positions, and their latest statement raised a concern about identification of ‘human subjects’ that can only be considered an ethical issue.

    Not only does this latest statement depart from journal’s previous public stance and signed agreements, but it also deviates from the opinions of Frontiers’ own expert panel that they appointed last year to examine the issues surrounding Recursive Fury.

    The consensus among experts is further reflected in the fact that the research was conducted with ethics approval by the University of Western Australia.

    I apologize if this is off-topic for RI, but the Recursive Fury flap illustrates that anti-vaxxers and CAM supporters are only a part of a larger anti-science movement, and it’s not always so obvious who has the facts on their side. I presume you’re all aware that AGW deniers are supported by the vast financial resources of the people who will lose the most if fossil fuel use is curtailed, and who have invested in propaganda far more sophisticated than what anti-vaxxers can afford. That’s authoritatively documented, after all: see for example Jane Mayer’s reporting in the New Yorker, or sociologist Robert Brulle’s study of “dark money” donations by conservative foundations, recently discussed in Scientific American. Brulle, BTW, was so offended by the Recursive Fury retraction that he has declined to write an article that Frontiers requested, and will no longer write or review for any Frontiers publications.

    I’m not trying to turn RI into a global warming blog, so I’ll say no more about it here, but will remain ever vigilant against pseudo-skeptical infiltration 8^(!

  147. #148 Dangerous Bacon
    April 26, 2014

    “I presume you’re all aware that AGW deniers are supported by the vast financial resources of the people who will lose the most if fossil fuel use is curtailed”

    I have little patience with climate change deniers and their enablers as a whole, but suggesting that they’re all funded by big industry money is repellent – and about as accurate as claiming that antivax proponents are shills for autism biomed practitioners and supplement dealers.

    Sometimes people are just cranks or stoopid.

  148. #149 dedicated lurker
    April 26, 2014

    Oh, come on, there are blood vessels not far from the injection site, and eventually, vaccine components will slowly find their way inside the bloodstream. It’s the same thing, isn’t it?

    I’d forgotten that particular gem from that person.

  149. #150 Mal Adapted
    April 26, 2014

    Dangerous Bacon:

    I have little patience with climate change deniers and their enablers as a whole, but suggesting that they’re all funded by big industry money is repellent – and about as accurate as claiming that antivax proponents are shills for autism biomed practitioners and supplement dealers.

    I know I promised to say no more about AGW here, but if our host doesn’t moderate me out…

    Of course not all AGW deniers are paid shills for big industry; sadly, many are eager volunteers. But the repeatedly-debunked memes circulating in the AGW-denialosphere can in many cases be traced to professionals, who are very good at covering their tracks. Their tactics were developed to aid the tobacco industry in its fight against anti-smoking regulations, and are now employed against action on AGW. Really, this is a matter of public record. It’s exhaustively documented in books like Merchants of Doubt, by Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway; see this review in Science magazine.

    I’m not making the argument from authority here, but when the AAAS (publisher of Science) offers a symposium at their 2010 annual meeting examining “the roles of the fossil fuel industry, conservative think tanks, and contrarian scientists (and their interconnections) in challenging the reality and significance of [AGW], as well as the complex set of forces that appear to motivate their respective efforts”, do you not find that credible?

  150. #151 Narad
    April 26, 2014

    May I ask where you got that information?

    By coming to my own conclusions (and reversing my previous position), based on the series of comment threads at Retraction Watch, e.g., here – where I also take pains to crap all over the notion that anything in the paper would constitute actionable defamation in the U.S. – and here.

    I’m by no means an expert on the ethical issues around this sort of research, but one of the journal’s reviewers strongly objected to the retraction,

    One might ask oneself what McKewon was doing reviewing the paper in the first place, as her only credentials are being a graduate student in journalism.

    and three topic editors, Ugo Bardi, Bjorn Brembs and Colin Davis, have resigned from

    the journal

    in protest.

    Um, no, other Frontiers titles. I’m not going to bother going into the criteria for becoming a Frontiers editor of one sort or another, as these resignations are irrelevant to my own conclusion.

    Recursive Fury is available at the UWA’s website, so you can judge for yourself.

    Without the Supplementary Information, mind you.

    I’m under no obligation to turn a blind eye to the ethical issue just because I consider AGW denialists to be intellectually bankrupt and Frontiers to have handled the retraction(s) atrociously.

  151. #152 Narad
    April 26, 2014

    ^ The weird line breaks in the third blockquote are because I meant to boldface “the journal.”

  152. #153 palindrom
    April 26, 2014

    About magnetism — ordinary flesh is slightly diamagnetic, a fact which inspired Andre Geim to suspend a frog in a huge magnetic field — there’s a video! For this you need both a gigantic field and a gigantic field gradient.

    Geim won the Ig Nobel prize for his efforts. He later went on to win the Nobel for finding a way to make graphene, and is the only person ever to win both awards, at least in physics.

  153. #154 ann
    April 27, 2014

    “I presume you’re all aware that AGW deniers are supported by the vast financial resources of the people who will lose the most if fossil fuel use is curtailed”

    I have little patience with climate change deniers and their enablers as a whole, but suggesting that they’re all funded by big industry money is repellent – and about as accurate as claiming that antivax proponents are shills for autism biomed practitioners and supplement dealers.

    Maybe.

    But it would be accurate to say that the AGW-denial movement — ie, the bloggers, columnists, and/or contrarian scientists in a field other than climatology who are out there manufacturing dispute on the question — was funded by big industry money. It’s been very thoroughly documented. And there’s nothing grass-roots about it.

    I’m sure it’s true that it’s not astroturf all the way down. But what is? Besides non-figurative astroturf?

    I guess I took that to be Mal A’s intended point.

  154. #155 Joseph Hertzlinger
    Planet Earth (for now)
    April 27, 2014

    The XKCD cartoon could be used as an excuse by quacks trying to get critics fired.

  155. #156 palindrom
    April 27, 2014

    I’ve spent far more time on the climate front than the quackery beat, and I believe Ann @154 has it exactly right.

  156. #157 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    April 27, 2014

    funded by big industry money. It’s been very thoroughly documented.

    Got a source? Besides a book, I mean. Thanks.

  157. #158 Mal Adapted
    April 27, 2014

    Narad:

    By coming to my own conclusions (and reversing my previous position), based on the series of comment threads at Retraction Watch

    Oh, OK. I consider myself qualified to judge the epistemic value of attacks on climate science and it’s practitioners. Outside of those fields it’s not always clear who has the facts on their side. I stopped following the discussion on RetractionWatch when I saw that the most persistent critics of RF have previously identified themselves as AGW-deniers. You’re the first person I’ve reason to regard as honest who has supported any of their criticisms.

    The most persistent complaint is that the paper “diagnoses” conspiracists with “psychopathological characteristics”, i.e. a mental health condition. That’s definitely false, as I can find no such language in the paper or the supplemental information; merely labelling people who publicly assert that the scientific consensus on AGW involves a conspiracy as “conspiracist”, and their expressed ideas as “conspiracist ideation” with similarities to those of other conspiracists, does not constitute a diagnosis.

    BTW: the “supplemental information” appears to be here. I confess I’ve only gone over it perfunctorily so far, but that link refutes accusations that Lewandowsky et al. are refusing to make it available.

    More problematic criticisms are based on the status of the blog commenters who are quoted in RF as “subjects”. Australian rules may be different, but from my reading of U.S. Federal guidelines they initially didn’t appear to meet the criteria. However, if the “interaction” criterion is met, they may or may not be subjects; that would depend, for example, on whether “subject” includes someone who makes a comment on a publicly-accessible blog. I get the idea you’ve had some legal training, Narad? Is it your opinion that the people quoted in RF definitely meet the criteria for subjects?

    I’m under no obligation to turn a blind eye to the ethical issue just because I consider AGW denialists to be intellectually bankrupt and Frontiers to have handled the retraction(s) atrociously.

    I absolutely agree. Nevertheless, the mendacious ethical charges of RF that some professional deniers are still making, after those charges have been definitively shown to be false, demonstrates the ethical bankruptcy that also underpins the AGW-denial movement.

  158. #159 Mal Adapted
    April 27, 2014

    Mephistopheles O’Brien:

    funded by big industry money. It’s been very thoroughly documented.

    Got a source? Besides a book, I mean. Thanks.

    Merchants of Doubt includes 65 pages of Notes, mostly cites to primary documents; the Legacy Tobacco Documents Library created by the tobacco litigation of the 1990s is a particularly rich trove. What other sources would you consider more reliable?

    How about the peer-reviewed article by Robert Brulle that I mentioned earlier, Institutionalizing delay: foundation funding and the creation of U.S. climate change counter-movement organizations?

    The Investigative Reporting Workshop of the American University School of Communication links to a searchable database of 430 sources for their report The Koch Club:

    From 2007 through 2011, five Koch family foundations gave $41.2 million to 89 nonprofit organizations with public policy-related missions broadly synchronous to the financial interests of the behemoth corporation — deregulation, limited government and free markets.

    Jane Kramer’s 2010 New Yorker piece on the Koch Brothers’ political influence doesn’t include formal references, but the magazine’s fact-checking is highly regarded among journalists; I’ll let you verify that for yourself.

    Given those starting points, I’m confident y’all can satisfy yourselves as to their veracity.

  159. #160 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    April 27, 2014

    Mal – thanks for the links. You stated “the Legacy Tobacco Documents Library created by the tobacco litigation of the 1990s is a particularly rich trove.” Was that just an example to show the overall reliability of the links, or does the tobacco industry fund anti-AGW astroturfing?

    My issue here is that there are very vague allegations about people being funded to deny AGW science, and that therefore these people are not reliable (and may be evil). That’s a fine accusation when true on both counts – that they were funded by some industry with a vested interest in, say, fossil fuels and that they can’t be trusted on this topic because of that. On the other hand, one could reasonably argue that some research, articles, and blogs that present evidence for AGW have a financial or philosophical interest in actions that reduce the use fossil fuels.

    Argue the facts, not the funding.

  160. #161 palindrom
    April 27, 2014

    On the other hand, one could reasonably argue that some research, articles, and blogs that present evidence for AGW have a financial or philosophical interest in actions that reduce the use fossil fuels.

    I’m sure one could reasonably argue this, but it doesn’t change the fact that the professional earth-science literature offers essentially no support to the denialist position, any more than the medical literature supports the wacko theories of the anti-vaxers.

  161. #162 Mal Adapted
    April 27, 2014

    Mephistopheles O’Brien:

    one could reasonably argue that some research, articles, and blogs that present evidence for AGW have a financial or philosophical interest in actions that reduce the use fossil fuels.

    That has in fact been argued. When argued about peer-reviewed science that supports the consensus for AGW, it’s not reasonable, and is convincing only to those who have no understanding of the culture and practice of professional climate science. When argued about other pro-consensus sources, it’s only reasonable if there is credible evidence to support it. In the absence of credible evidence, it’s nothing more than tu quoque calumny.

    Argue the facts, not the funding.

    The scientific facts supporting AGW have been decisively argued by working scientists, who have reached an overwhelming consensus on the basis of multiple converging lines of evidence. I’m not going to laboriously recapitulate the argument here; if you are really interested, you might start with Climate Change: Evidence and Causes, a freely-downloadable 36-page booklet published jointly by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the Royal Society of the U.K.

    It is only those with non-scientific motives who still reject the consensus. A financial motive has been documented for some of the most determined, high-profile deniers, who may have certain scientific credentials but no scientific arguments that haven’t already been rejected by climate science community. In some cases it’s documented that fossil-fuel industry interests are paying them. You can satisfy yourself of that if you take the trouble.

    Meanwhile, in spite of the overwhelming scientific consensus, all but one of the contenders for the 2012 Republican Presidential primary elections, and 163 members of the 113th U.S. Congress, have made public statements questioning or rejecting either that climate change is happening or that it is caused by human consumption of fossil fuels, and the Keeling curve ascends. Why?

  162. #163 Orac
    April 27, 2014

    Correct. AGW denialism uses arguments that, at their core, are very similar to the arguments antivaccine activists and Burzynski supporters use.

  163. #164 Mal Adapted
    April 27, 2014

    Thank you, Orac. I’ve been a lurker and infrequent commenter at RI for years, and I regard many of its regulars as genuine skeptics, with well-developed critical thinking skills. Of course some of you are wary of claims that AGW denial is financially supported by fossil-fuel interests, because they superficially resemble less well-founded conspiracist ideation. All I can say is, these happen to be true. I can link to the evidence, but I can’t make anyone care enough to pursue it. That’s up to each individual skeptic, as it should be. Thank you all for at least entertaining my arguments.

  164. #165 AnnB
    April 27, 2014

    Argue the facts, not the funding.

    When they stop selling carbon credits and the people with the most money stop leaving the biggest carbon footprint whilst beating me over the head with it, perhaps I’ll pay more attention. I have no opinion on AGW at this point, but when travesties that will only crush the poor are promoted and things like in article I link to below come out, I think I would rather have the earth win at this point.

    Top climate expert’s sensational claim of government meddling in crucial UN report .

  165. #166 Mal Adapted
    April 27, 2014

    AnnB:

    would it embarrass you to know that your link doesn’t work? Would it embarrass you if I asked you why you think whoever your link is supposed to be about is a “Top climate expert”?

    Would it embarrass you If I point out that just because Al Gore has a larger carbon footprint than you doesn’t mean that climate scientists are lying?

    Would it embarrass you if I point out that accepting the scientific evidence for AGW doesn’t require anyone to promote travesties that will only crush the poor? Would it embarrass you if I said you’ve fallen for the argument from consequences?

    It should.

  166. #167 AnnB
    April 27, 2014

    Well, I ended up with extra italic tags that I didn’t intend to be there either, so I guess I could be embarrassed about that too.

    You could have Googled the headline, so, no, I am not embarrassed about that. I will try again:

    Top climate expert’s sensational claim of government meddling in crucial UN report.

    My discussion has nothing to do with the science at this point; it has to do with how it is used. Useful idiots can be found everywhere.

  167. #168 ann
    April 27, 2014

    My discussion has nothing to do with the science at this point; it has to do with how it is used. Useful idiots can be found everywhere.

    Calling people “useful idiots” suggests that the cause for which they’re advocating.is a cover for something else.

    AFAIK, that’s only true for one side of the AGW debate.

  168. #169 Narad
    April 28, 2014

    The most persistent complaint is that the paper “diagnoses” conspiracists with “psychopathological characteristics”, i.e. a mental health condition. That’s definitely false, as I can find no such language in the paper or the supplemental information

    It’s not just false, it’s meaningless.

    BTW: the “supplemental information” appears to be here. I confess I’ve only gone over it perfunctorily so far, but that link refutes accusations that Lewandowsky et al. are refusing to make it available.

    Not exactly; it’s just weird that Frontiers pulled the article but left a live link to this stuff.

    More problematic criticisms are based on the status of the blog commenters who are quoted in RF as “subjects”. Australian rules may be different,

    They’re further linked in one of the comments I provided above. It required review.

    but from my reading of U.S. Federal guidelines

    That’s the institutional policy of American University. Subpart A here is the Common Rule.

    they initially didn’t appear to meet the criteria. However, if the “interaction” criterion is met, they may or may not be subjects; that would depend, for example, on whether “subject” includes someone who makes a comment on a publicly-accessible blog.

    No. If there’s interaction, it’s all over, as the AU determination tool would have demonstrated for you. Review is required.

    I get the idea you’ve had some legal training, Narad?

    Nope.

    Is it your opinion that the people quoted in RF definitely meet the criteria for subjects?

    See § 46.102.

  169. #170 Narad
    April 28, 2014

    As I suspected, there’s also an Excel version of the supplementary info.

  170. #171 Narad
    April 28, 2014

    Anyway, I’ve been meaning to make fun of another Frontiers-related item for a while now, and this seems like as good a place as any:

    Our first stunning breakthrough research paper of 2014 was made available to the public on 2nd January 2014.
    Published in the prestigious scientific journal Frontiers in Neuroscience, we have found the point in the brain which defines whether a child has autism or not. In non autistic children that point is 1ml thick. In autistic children it measures 3.4ml.

    A quick comparison with the actual paper just makes this summary all the more bizarre.

  171. #172 herr doktor bimler
    April 28, 2014

    You could have Googled the headline, so, no, I am not embarrassed about that.

    I suspect that anyone who *did* google the headline, and found that the link was to the DailyFail — four times winner of the hotly-contested title of “England’s most dishonest tabloid” — would have thought “No, that can’t be right, AnnB must have meant some more creditable source.

  172. #173 herr doktor bimler
    April 28, 2014

    Anyway, I’ve been meaning to make fun of another Frontiers-related item for a while now, and this seems like as good a place as any:

    Those authors also have one of their collaborators / business partners contributing a TOTALLY INDEPENDENT COMMENTARY to Frontiers, marvelling at the novelty and usefulness of their research.

  173. #174 Chris Hickie
    April 28, 2014

    @Helanthius #146: There is a difference between intravenous/intra-arterial injections and intramuscular/subcutaneous. Things designed to be given IV/IA will be very quickly distributed throughout the body (example: a medicine called adenosine must be given as a rapid IV push to stop a certain rapid heart rate arrythmia. If you give it IM/SQ, it is broken down in the tissues long before it can reach the heart. Vaccines, on the other hand, are designed to stay local in tissues where immune cells will be drawn to the injection site (which is enhanced through the use of vaccine adjuvants). In order for things given IM/SQ to find their way back into the bloodstream, they would have to do so via the lymphatic system, which is a good thing, because the lymphatics contain lymph nodes which are part of the immune system. It is a big difference and the misrepresentation of how/where vaccines are given contributes to vaccine fear. FYI, it’s also a favorite misrepresentation of dr bob sears, who love to cite data for aluminum toxicity in neonate from back when aluminum wasn’t carefully checked in their TPN solutions (basically all the nutrients they needs given intravenously to very premature babies who can’t yet eat food orally) , Sears completely ignores that the aluminum in vaccines is not given IV and thus will not reach the same high all-at-once levels in the bloodstream as aluminum given IV.

  174. #175 Helianthus
    April 28, 2014

    @ Chris Hickie

    Oh, I was aware of this. I was parroting a particularly annoying visitor from a few years ago on RI.
    Oddly enough, now that I know to associate this person with Dr Bob Sears in term of opinions, the last vestiges of respect I could have had for the good doctor just vanished.

    Adenosine, as the nucleoside? This, I didn’t know.

  175. #176 dedicated lurker
    April 28, 2014

    Yeah, this person said that there was no difference between IV and IM because both of them reach the bloodstream at some point. This led many of us to say we apparently eat intraveneously, since food nutrients get into the blood stream too.

  176. #177 Mal Adapted
    April 28, 2014

    AnnB:

    Top climate expert’s sensational claim of government meddling in crucial UN report.

    I took a look at the linked article. It’s by David Rose, who’s been misleading his readers about AGW for years. The article says:

    IPCC reports are supposed to be scrupulously independent as they give scientific advice to governments around the world to help them shape energy policies – which in turn affect subsidies and domestic power bills.

    Prof Stavins said the government officials in Berlin fought to make big changes to the full report’s ‘summary for policymakers’.

    Rose’s assertion that IPCC reports are supposed to be scrupulously independent is false. Quoting from the IPCC website [my bold]:

    The IPCC is an intergovernmental body. It is open to all member countries of the United Nations (UN) and WMO. Currently 195 countries are members of the IPCC. Governments participate in the review process and the plenary Sessions, where main decisions about the IPCC work programme are taken and reports are accepted, adopted and approved. The IPCC Bureau Members, including the Chair, are also elected during the plenary Sessions.

    In other words, the involvement of member nations’ governments in the IPCC’s reports is required by its charter. There’s nothing sensational about it.

    Savin is a coordinating lead author of Part 3 of AR5 (the IPCC’s 5th Assessment Report since its formation in 1988). His complaint that “the intervention amounted to a serious ‘conflict of interest’ between scientists and governments” would be more sensational if he was talking about AR5 Part 1, which deals with the physical science basis of AGW. Some climate scientists feel that the requirement for the Assessment Reports to be approved by all member governments ensures that Part 1 downplays the severity of the threat; for the most part however, scientists agree that AR5 Part 1 is sufficiently strong.

    Part 3 of AR5, OTOH, is a discussion of strategies to mitigate climate change: that is, it’s the part that’s concerned with policy. It’s widely acknowledged that there’s much less agreement about mitigation policy than about whether AGW is happening and why; as was pointed out to AnnB earlier, “accepting the scientific evidence for AGW doesn’t require anyone to promote travesties that will only crush the poor”. It’s hardly surprising that governments pursue the interests of their own nations when wrangling about policy with other nations. I sympathize with Professor Savin, but he’s not the first AR author to complain about the process, and he won’t be the last.

  177. #178 Stu
    May 1, 2014

    Anyone still unclear about the funding of climate denialism, here’s a good place to start:

    http://www.desmogblog.com/heartland-institute

  178. #179 Flo
    May 6, 2014

    Megan Heimer took down her website so that she could scrub it of references to herself as a doctor and lawyer. She is neither a doctor nor lawyer, and many people began pointing that out when her post went viral. She of course deleted posts that pointed this out.

    However, she is still referenced as a doctor and lawyer on other sites. This is NOT the case.

  179. […] previously written regarding her whiny privileged white girl persecution complex. Oh, and Orac deconstructed her victimization too. One more thing, Liz Ditz mentions that Megan is really Megan Heimer, who’s been blogging […]

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