I know, I know, I've criticized P.Z. Myer's poll-crashing proclivities as being childish and pointless. However, so few people seem to agree with my take on it that I'm wondering whether, if I can't beat 'em I should join 'em. So let's try it out.
On the Obama Transition Team website, Generation Rescue has put up this question (just type in the search term "Generation Rescue" to find the question:
Jenny McCarthy and Jim Carrey were named 2008 Couple of the Year (www.ageofautism.com) due to their advocacy work for Generation Rescue. Why hasn't the Transistion Team made autism a top priority and sat down with the leaders of this organization?
Currently, the tally is 67 for, 17 against the question as a "good question." That's a small enough poll that my influence might actually make a difference. I realize my impact will be blunted by the fact that the Obama website requires registration to vote, but let's see what happens. The worst that happens is that I fall flat on my face and I'll never do this again, which, depending upon your point of view, might be a good thing.
In the meantime, crash that poll!
Readers, you may also want to search for autism and vote accordingly.
Also search for vaccine.
Good call, Liz. There are several wootastic questions that are getting positive ratings. I just ran across this one:
"Autism has increased dramatically at the same time as the number of vaccines given to babies has risen. Will you allow an investigation of the role of vaccines in causing autism, by scientists not affiliated with vaccine manufacturers?"
Concerned, Paso Robles, CA
Yes, wow ... I appreciate Obama's willingness to try something new, but this idea has brought out those who are looking to let their freak flags fly. I hope no one on his team uses these "questions" for anything real ... like determining policy.
Lipstadt on Rosenblat
Sorry about off topic, but it is area of interest!
The "yes" vote for my question is currently 100% ahead of the "no" votes. Search for "megaphone". ;)
93 in favor, 73 against. Flex that lucite muscle, Orac!
@Matt Platte (Nebraska?): great question :)
Some woman named Twyla is seeding anti-vax questions all over.
Try searching for MMR
Searching for "alternative medicine" nets these:
"When is there goping to be an investigation on the corruption in the FDA...And when will natural / alternative medicine be on equal footing with synthetic made drugs that have side-effects and actually kill people. natural versus man-made for profit"
Clearly clueless as to the efficacy of CAM.
"I am a proponent of natural & alternative health care, including vitamin & herbal supplements & complimentary treatments, such as Acupuncture. Will you stop the FDA from further restricting supplements and will insurance cover more of these costs?"
Clearly clueless as to how the FDA regulates supplements and unproven* CAM modalities, which is to say not at all.
* - Redundant rhetoric.
"As a cancer survivor, my questions are: will your administration make it a priority to have new treatments available for use more quickly ? Will you invest $ to test alternative/natural medicines in treating disease since the drug companies don't ?"
Clearly clueless as to how cancer research is undertaken, as am I, but I don't think this is the case. Speaking of which, Orac, a helpful post might be how your go about your research, what funding sources are available that aren't "Big Pharma", etc. If you've made such a post, ignore the request. I think it'd make a useful citation for casual conversations with CAM proponents.
"I think that traditional medicine and holistic and alternative healthcare must be made a part of our national healthcare system. Not only do many alternative treatments have far superior cost effectiveness, but they also have no side effects."
They also have no positive effects, outside of placebo. Also, clueless to the fact that we already invest far too much into CAM with NCCAM.
"We get WELL with prevention and alternative treatments. There are 200k deaths/year from "properly prescribed" medication alone-the 4th largest cause of death in America. Please support prevention, education & natural remedies -- Incl. acupuncture"
You covered this recently, as did Dr. Hall, Dr. Novella, and Dr. Atwood.
"Drugs cause much of the diseases and illnesses today. What will you do to solve the drug monopoly situation and their control over the medical schools; and to help alternative medicine and natural cures which work and do no harm and is far cheaper?"
The stupid -- it burns.
Ok, that's enough. This goes on for pages.
I see John Best has a question up there. Shocker.
"President Bush refused to tell the truth about how thimerosal causes autism. Will you ban the use of thimerosal and tell the public the truth so we can begin curing all of these children who had their brains damaged by thimerosal in vaccines?"
Everyone should hit that one for sure.
"When is there goping to be an investigation on the corruption in the FDA...And when will natural / alternative medicine be on equal footing with synthetic made drugs that have side-effects and actually kill people. natural versus man-made for profit"
I eagerly await the day "natural/alternative medicine" will be on equal footing with conventional medicine. That way, all those spurious remedies on the health food store shelves would first have to conduct proper clinical trials and meet bioequivalency standards prior to FDA approval.
Matt, is this one yours? Excellent question!
"Will the Obama team consist of actual scientists who will not be distracted by noise coming from well-intentioned, but ignorant people with megaphones (McCarthy, Carrey, et al) regarding vaccines, autism and so-called alternative therapies?"
kewball, Lincoln Nebraska
- Health Care
There are loads of others: just search for what MKandefer has suggested and every combination of quack words, including misspellings (eg accupuncture)!
Be careful though: there are a few questions (including mine!) that is pro science, so just automatically click on the X - read the question properly (I nearly voted against a pro-science one!.
Heh, just saw John Best's. What a nut.
Found one that wants DAN! to be covered by insurance.
Here's a gem I found when I searched for "natural medicine"
"Americans already access alternative health care more frequently than 'mainstream' care: what will you do to provide quality training in Ayur Veda, Chinese Medicine etc. and to ensure such treatments can be claimed in all health insurance programs?"
- Health Care
I love Liesl's question:
"How will the Obama administration address the growing fraud in medicine through so called "alternative" remedies? Will the administration work to ensure an evidence based approach is followed in all government funded institutions?"
Liesl McQuillan, Dallas, TX
- Health Care
There are loads of others: just search for what MKandefer has suggested and every combination of quack words, including misspellings (eg accupuncture)! (See below for some suggestions.)
Be careful though: there are a few questions (including mine!) that is pro science, so don't just automatically click on the X - read the question properly (I nearly voted against a pro-science one!.
My question is (there is a character limit, so I couldn't say all I wanted to):
"What will you do to ensure there is better science education so that people can differentiate between real science and pseudoscientific quack nonsense (alternative medicines, homeopathy, herbal, chiropractic, meridians, Qi, energy 'therapies', etc)?"
I've just voted 200 times, so there are lots of anti-science questions.
Possible search words:
modalities (almost exclusively a word used by AltMeds)
If you want to get the "PZ bump", which is like the "Colbert bump" only significantly smaller, you could ask him to search for "intelligent design". There aren't as many for teaching ID as for including more CAM in our medical industry, but there are some.
Sorry for the duplicate post - I had trouble posting.
Here's my question, under "science":
Are you commited to understanding and facing that which is true, no matter how unpleasant? Will you measure your confidence in the truth of various claims rationally --that is, using tests of corroboration, falsification, logic, and parsimony?
your directive has been heeded. i have voted.
i shall also comb through the science questions posted by the followers if this blog and add my pro vote to them. then i shall comb through the pseudoscience ones and vote appropriately.
may the voice of reason be heard over the din!
My second question, under "healthcare":
Will you stop the anti-science lie of "alternative medicine?" Any treatment proven effective with appropriate controls is simply "medicine." When the public can't appreciate basic rules of evidence, democracy dies. So help America to wise up!
120 for to 167 against - way to go Orac! I think this happened just in time. Seems like they will close the polling soon...
Frakkin 100 questions came up under "Autism"
I don't even want to see the query result for "Alternative Medicine" or variants of sCAM.
You people that are gleeful about trashing this poll are just flat evil. May you or your family never be impacted by autism, but the chances are very good that you will. May God help you.
"Flat evil"? Does that mean my evil isn't shiny?
Really, you need to get a grip with the hyperbole. Seriously, how does demonstrating the uselessness of online polls by encouraging my readers to vote in them make me "evil"? How does doing my little bit to try to shut down infiltrations of pseudoscience on the Obama Transition Team's website make me "evil"?
Oh, right. It's because I'm standing against The One True Religion when it comes to autism.
You people that are gleeful about trashing this poll are just flat evil.
Outfits like Generation Rescue impede the progress of autism research with their bullying of legitimate science and scientists. Do you expect to attract researchers to autism when they've got to worry about Jenny McCarthy's "angry mob" every time they publish a result that might not jive with the bizarre weltanschauung of the mercury militia?
I know this is a news flash to you, but there are other problems in medicine that scientists can pursue without having to constantly look over their shoulder for some crazy autism parent.
OK, go to town:
""Given that Reiki is low-cost, non-invasive, already used in prestigious hospitals, supported by data and studied by the NIH, when will Reiki be more widely available in conventional care, both as a treatment and taught as a self-care practice?""
"Currently I don't have health care I am drug sensative use acupuncher chinese herbs homeopathic and Chiropractic care which I can afford. Are these going to be included if we go to universal health care. Will the deductable be $250 or less a year?"
""7.8 Million people have died as a result of medical mistakes in the last 10 years. According to 'death by medicine' this represents only 20% of the actual number. Alternative care has no death rate, even with mistakes. Chiropractic has no death rate"
"Will the administration include complimentary medicine (acupuncture, herbs, chiropractic, massage, nutrition, yoga, qi gong, etc;) as modalities the American people can choose from for their health care, in the national health care plan?"
"When will alternative health care, i.e., chiropractic, acupuncture, and nutritional supplements be given the respect they deserve? When will the FDA properly investigate exorbitantly expensive prescription medicines which may actually be dangerous?"
My family is "impacted by autism".
I am so grateful for the evidence based scientists and physicians here. I believe it is our duty to counteract the pseudoscience of the biomedical DAN! movement. It is in the best interests of our children who have autism to be treated with evidence based medicine, not pseudoscience. It is in their best interests to not waste government money on useless studies directed towards finding the supposed "link" between autism and vaccines.
Our voices, the voices of real evidence based scientists and physicians, deserve to be heard, too.
Feel the power, Orac!
My vote for most hilarious "question" submitted to the Obama transition team is the one that includes this gem:
""Compared to medical services,a dollar spent on a chiropractor's service causes no further costs."
Anyone familiar with the real meaning of "chiropractic for life" is rolling on the floor after seeing that one.
"You people that are gleeful about trashing this poll are just flat evil. May you or your family never be impacted by autism, but the chances are very good that you will. May God help you."
This attitude is both completely useless and actively destructive to kids and adults with autism. Until you learn to appreciate people for who they are-- autism and all-- you will be poorer for not having loved them as much as they deserve.
My boy has Asperger's, and I also find much to be joyful and delighted over in all his classmates, whatever their developmental level. Indeed, I got some of the most memorable joys of this holiday season by interacting with the nonverbal kids, who nonetheless communicate in their ways, and all of whom have their own individual awesomeness and lovable quirks of personality that make them cool human beings. I promise you the kids really do appreciate the additional level of understanding!
Professional behavior analysis plus science-based educational interventions are worth infinitely more to families and teachers than all the false hope imparted by biomedical quackery.
"I know, I know, I've criticized P.Z. Myer's poll-crashing proclivities as being *CHILDISH* and *POINTLESS*."
Agreed on both counts.
Just one simple question: Do you *seriously* think that 200 "no" votes on a site with over 3,364,922 votes cast is going to be a *deal breaker* on whether the Transition Team meets with Generation Rescue??
Bottom Line: Whether you like it or not (and approximately 200 of your best buddies don't) we're moving forward regardless of how many of your cronies are voting.
Let's phrase it this way in the form of two questions:
1. If my poll-crashing power is so weak, how come mentioning the poll on AoA made no difference whatsoever? If my "power" is so insignificant, what does that say about AoA in comparison? The point of poll crashing, as PZ points out, is to show how ridiculously useless Internet polls are, nothing more. It is a lesson the Obama Transition Team needs to learn.
2. If my "200 no votes" cast on a site with over 3,364,922 votes cast isn't going to be a *deal breaker* what makes you think your 143 "yes" votes are going to be a deal maker as to whether the Obama Transition Team meets with Generation Rescue? After all, if my number is insignificant, how much less significant is yours?
Bottom line: Whether you like it or not, your movement is not supported by science, and whenever I get the chance I will drive that point home.
What's so bad about on-line poll crashing or Pharyngulating?
These polls are normally totally worthless. AOL polls are right wing red neck opinions. American Family Association polls just reflect their members (sort of).
All PZ is doing is pointing out that the results just reflect the poll readers - they have nothing to do with anything factual. You cannot vote solutions or ideas or science - doesn't work.
Usually only truly stupid polls get trashed. It's not worth the effort otherwise.
Kelli Ann: "Bottom Line: Whether you like it or not (and approximately 200 of your best buddies don't) we're moving forward regardless of how many of your cronies are voting."
Translation: "Our poll-crashing has been matched by your poll-crashing, so we're going to stomp off with our noses in the air, pretending that all the people on the site who didn't vote for the nonsensical questions we planted are really supporting us anyway."
Well, that was fun. If Obama didn't already know that a large percentage of America is made up of kooks and nutballs, he does now. But it was satisfying to click all those x's.
"Just one simple question: Do you *seriously* think that 200 "no" votes on a site with over 3,364,922 votes cast is going to be a *deal breaker* on whether the Transition Team meets with Generation Rescue??"
No. I expect the Obama team to look at Generation Rescue with the same critical eye towards responsibility and science that has been the hallmark of their efforts.
If they stick with their own standards, a meeting will not occur.
A meeting with Jim Carrey and Jenny McCarthy would not only be useless (their disabilities team likely already knows your stance) it would be counterproductive in that it would give credibility to Mr. Carrey and Ms. McCarthy that they do not deserve and, more importantly, that they would use to further goals that are counterproductive to the autism communities.
The great news is that you guys actually care enough to follow along. You know that you are losing ground in the discussion of the "science". You know that your attempt to try to point towards bogus studies is failing. You know that people are waking up. It's wonderful to see you with your desperate attempts to stop progress. I see it as a wonderful sign. The fact that you all lurk on AoA. The fact that you get your panties all bunched up over a poll like this. The fact that Paul (Pr)Offit has to write a whiny article about little old Dr. Sears talking about a alternate vaccine schedule. The fact that in the comments other whiny doctors complain about how much time they have to spend discussing the issue with their patients' parents. This is all wonderful news. Happy New Year!!! I'm thrilled.
I happen to agree with The Great News somewhat. What sickens me is that you creeps voted against insurance coverage for autistic children. You scum voted against further research into vaccines. You fuckwits voted against removing thimerosal from all vaccines.
You fucktards are among the lowest form of life on the planet. You are barely better than child-molesters, and that is debatable. Child molesters have a mental illness, so at least they have some pitiful excuse. You assholes just don't want to be proven wrong. You are absolutely pathetic.
@The Great News:
Yes, it is wonderful that you guys are now getting the attention you deserve. Before your opinion was tolerated simply as being fringe, but the more publicity you bring upon yourself the more obvious how little evidence you have to support your case. The more light that gets shined on your crowd, the more your case will wither under scrutiny.
There are simply some crazy ideas that are coming out of the anti-vaxers as the real evidence against their case mounts and they cannot blame mercury anymore. I saw a conversation recently about a case of polio that scared some friends of mine. One of the local anti-vaxers was trying to damage control by claiming polio is caused by eating "refined sugar". The same person was claiming that polio is no big deal and only causes "cold like symptoms" in most people - same excuse for the measles. I'm pretty tolerant of her conspiracy theory nonsense normally, but there is a limit. They recently held a "Pox Party" at a public library/museum. I emailed Health and Human services, but I guess it was too late.
I have to admit that even I wasn't a big fan of the rebuttal towards Dr. Sears. Dr. Sears still supports vaccination, maybe Dr. Offitt should focus a bit more on the people that want to eliminate vaccines, rather than one that still endorses their use (albeit at a different schedule). I can see the confusion in the message he is delivering though.
I took the time to read the other questions where Autism was in the search criteria. Any doubters should, too.
AoA and their lemmings are so out of touch with the reality that people are dealing with day-to-day. This country is crying for help for families who are dealing with Autism, help through the government or help through insurance coverage. AoA is worried about what? Disproven ideas and bullying dissenters.
AoA is a blight on the Autism Spectrum.
Re: A Concerned Parent
That spleen is directed at the chelators & quacks who prey on desperate parents, yes? No?? I suggest you really look at who's profiting on the misery of others. Those chelation visits and other bogus therapies do get awfully expensive, don't they? In more ways than money, even -- Orac's blogged more than once about at least one child who died from chelation.
Quite an industry they've built up, all on the backs of the desperate folks whom they've conned into the idea that there's a quick fix that only *they* know.
Child molestors, indeed.
"2. If my "200 no votes" cast on a site with over 3,364,922 votes cast isn't going to be a *deal breaker* what makes you think your 143 "yes" votes are going to be a deal maker as to whether the Obama Transition Team meets with Generation Rescue?"
You're making a huge assumption -- I NEVER expected *this* process to be a deal maker -- ever. That's why I've said we will continue to move forward regardless of how many "crash votes" are cast. That's the point. Go back and reread my post. The Transition Team has *already* made contact with us.
The "polling process" is primarily for citizens to voice their concerns and ask the questions that are important to them. Pretty simple.
Bottom Line: Whether you like it or not, Generation Rescue IS not going away and we will continue to drive home our message of hope, recovery and prevention every chance we get and your futile attempt to *crash* a poll IS both childish and pointless and will NOT effect our forward progress one iota.
You're making a huge assumption -- I NEVER expected *this* process to be a deal maker -- ever.
Then you shouldn't have asked the question, because it sure sounded as though you meant it that way.
You're just annoyed that you've been shown up. I never expected my little exercise to do anything except show you the pointlessness of Internet polls. It has done exactly that, and it's also irritated the number one purveyor of antivaccine pseudoscience and autism quackery that I'm aware of, Generation Rescue and its propaganda blog, Age of Autism. For one post, that's more than enough for me.
"Orac's blogged more than once about at least one child who died from chelation"
And how many have died from vaccines? Oh, that's right, it was ok for them to die because it was utilitarian, i.e. for the greater good. And yes, we all know that vaccines aren't 100% safe and that no medical procedure is ever completely safe. Yawn, yawn, ad nauseum, ad tedium.
Which is the EXACT reason that I am sickened by your attempt to silence the voices of parents who are trying to ask for better vaccine safety. You idiots whine and bitch and complain about how you're always censored. Well, that's what you are doing to us. Fucking hypocrites.
"attempt to silence the voices of parents who are trying to ask for better vaccine safety."
They do not want better vaccine safety. They want no vaccines. Period. Green Our Vaccines is a ruse. They want no vaccines because of of their delusional and dangerous belief that vaccines cause ASDs. Sorry, but their pathology does not trump reality. My kid is getting weary of being referred to as poisoned...when HE IS NOT. His human rights, and many others on the spectrum, are being violated by the likes of Generation Rescue on a continual basis. They 'drive home' no message of 'hope' but certainly one of 'hate'.
A Concerned Parent,
Spare me the histrionics. I'm not trying to "silence" anyone.
Why are you so upset about people who disagree with you making their voices heard? Perhaps it's you who have a problem with free speech. It's all very well and good when it's speech you agree with, but for people who disagree with you to make their voices heard as well infuriates you.
"A Concerned Parent": "Which is the EXACT reason that I am sickened by your attempt to silence the voices of parents who are trying to ask for better vaccine safety. You idiots whine and bitch and complain about how you're always censored."
I've never seen anyone here complain about "censorship". Your claim that we are trying to "silence the voices of parents" indicates you do not know what censorship is. Making the effort to be heard, and to present solid evidence that will protect children from the machinations of antivaxers is not intended to "silence" you.
If anything should upset you in the vaccine postings on change.gov, it's a certain wackaloon from New Hampshire who's calling for the _death penalty_ to be administered to his opponents for allowing thimerosal in vaccines. Too bad antivaxers can't bring themselves to disavow their crazies.
Dear Friends who still believe, as I once did that vaccines are perfect and wonderful and FULLY TESTED before put on the schedule- I have to tell you that I , sitting here in India, running a nursery school for kids 2 to 5, in the year 2000 , when Indian pediatricians decided to add on 6-7 new doses of mercury laden vaccines, subsequently saw, 2-3 years later the results in my own school. Today my school has only 55 kids, and among those are now 2 fully autistic kids, two kids who could barely speak until age 3, half (should have spoken at 2yrs-8 months ) and another ,one more who may get diagnosed with autism later and one more who I refused to accept because he will surely be diagnosed autistic later and 3-4 more who show varying symptoms which can all be found on the lists of symptoms of mercury poisoning. My friend has a nursery school of 65- again two fully autistic kids. Oh, yes there is one fabulous little boy of nearly 3 - Just a coincidence , I suppose, that he is the one child in my school who has never been vaccinated.Oh, yes, then there was the boy of last year who lostnearly all hearing after 2 DPT vaccines Actually, you would be amazed at all the scientific evidence that points to mercury as the cause of autism- Research done at Columbia, U Washington, U.C. Davis.Take a look at it some time so that you can stop being a pawn in the hands of Big Pharma . Nothing to be embarassed about, friends- we all were in that boat at one time
2005 called. It wants its meme back.
Concerned Parent intoned "And how many have died from vaccines?"
You tell us. Tell us how many have died from the DTaP vaccine and compare it to the over a dozen babies who die from pertussis each year (and that number has been increasing as the vaccine scaremongering continues to erode the herd immunity required to protect babies too young to get the vaccine). Remember to use real verifiable statistics.
Concerned Parent whined "You idiots whine and bitch and complain about how you're always censored."
Well, whenever AoA stops moderating with an iron clown glove we will stop complaining about the censorship. Take a look at the comments here:
http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2008/12/the_price_of_antivaccination_… ... several people unsuccessfully tried to post on AoA to explain the problems with Heckenlively's "science", including how he uses unproven risky procedures on his daughter when he expects vaccines to be impossibly 100% safe and effective.
Dissent is not allowed on AoA or Generation Rescue.
"Well, whenever AoA stops moderating with an iron clown glove we will stop complaining about the censorship."
HCN is correct. A long-time back, a comment of mine was deleted from Generation Rescue's AoA blog and I was never 'permitted' to post again. All for posting an unemotional, fact-filled comment. Zap!
AoA is one of the most censored blogs in the Blogosphere. Dissenting opinion and criticism of the hierarchy isjust not tolerated.
For those of you who want to post criticisms, etc. of AoA, visit www.age-of-ignorance.blogspot.com. Guest articles welcome.
"Concerned Parent" moaned: "And how many have died from vaccines?"
CP, listen, you have the wrong view of things. You should be asking how many children's lives were saved by vaccines compared to how many children were pseudo-cured by chelation? You see, chelation, and I will type slowly, D O E S N O T W O R K. Vaccines do.
The risk/benefit analysis for chelation is infinite (risk divided by ZERO, is infinity.
Cherry, your comment is especially sick and moronic considering you live in a country where polio is still endemic.
Orac, why don't you borrow PZ's tentacled hordes? The gleeful minions haven't crashed a poll in a day and half.