Why have I not heard of ZDoggMD before? Internet, you’re supposed to tell me about these kinds of things.
Posts Tagged ‘antivaxers’
[Re-posted at The BEAST]
I’m going to have to limit this list to people who are currently practicing some form of quackery, because if I tried to make a historical list I’d feel compelled to handicap for that person’s period in history. So Isaac Newton, who was literally one of the smartest people ever, believed in alchemy. The great 17th century astronomer Johannes Kepler believed in astrology. Lots of the ancient Greek philosophers believed in demons. Demons that controlled their thoughts. Seriously. But you’ve really got to cut them some slack because of how primitive human understanding was in their times. If you’re living in a technologically advanced society today, as the five below are, you really have no excuse for that kind of ignorance. So to make it a level playing field, here are what I think are the worst purveyors of antiscientific pseudomedicine around today.
There’s a significance to this picture. The website advertised across her boobs is one McCarthy used to run, and it no longer exists. You wouldn’t know it from reading her antivaccine rants on the HuffPo nowadays, but Jenny McCarthy used to believe that her son was a something called an “indigo child.” Indigo children are supposed to represent the next stage of human evolution, according to some New Age whackaloon named Nancy Ann Tappe. It’s apparently pretty important that they have blond hair and blue eyes. They are supposed to have paranormal powers, and exploring those powers early in life seems to have the effect of making them appear to be somewhere on the autism spectrum. But they’re NOT AUTISTIC. They’re just… you know, special. Like little, supernatural, card-counting, Aryan snowflakes.
But the problem with Indigo Children is that eventually they grow up to be Indigo Adults and are expected to take on Indigo Responsibilities and an Indigo Spouse and an Indigo Mortgage, maybe even get an Indigo Job which allows them to make an Indigo profit off of their Indigo paranormal powers. And the problem with this (SPOILER ALERT) is that the whole idea of the Indigo kids is a ridiculous lie. So they never manage to demonstrate their paranormal abilities in any meaningful test comparable to any test a normal employer would use on a job applicant.
So if her child’s still going to be a precious and unique snowflake, Jenny McCarthy would need to find a new narrative which doesn’t involve him reading minds or astral projection or that kind of crap. This is where the disgraced Dr. Andrew Wakefield enters the story with his stories about how the MMR vaccine causes autism, even though it doesn’t. And this meeting of Wakefield’s data manipulation and lying with McCarthy’s (and her then-boyfriend Jim Carrey’s) abuse of celebrity status is the origin of the modern antivaccination movement.
The gist of it is that antivaccers think that “toxins” in vaccines cause injuries to children. One of those injuries we refer to as autism. And what’s funny is that the “toxins” still allegedly cause those injuries years after they’ve been removed from the shots. You might consider that and think that it proves them wrong, but you’re stupid for thinking that. It really proves just how super-powerful these “toxins” get when they cause autism without even actually being there.
I’m sure lots of former and current models are intelligent and thoughtful people, but McCarthy really does fit the stereotype of the ditzy blonde, combined with a jaw-dropping arrogance and cold-heartedness. For example:
Response to a question about her interacting with actual medical doctors: I did a lot of digging on my own, the “University of Google” (source)
My greatest lesson is always to trust the mommy instinct. Always trust yourself. Always trust the gut instinct. It will never let you down. (source)
Response to how scientists disagree with her: My science is Evan. He’s at home. That’s my science. (source)
Autism, as I see it, steals the soul from a child; then, if allowed, relentlessly sucks life’s marrow out of the family members, one by one…(source)
I do believe sadly it’s going to take some diseases coming back to realize that we need to change and develop vaccines that are safe. If the vaccine companies are not listening to us, it’s their fucking fault that the diseases are coming back. They’re making a product that’s shit. If you give us a safe vaccine, we’ll use it. It shouldn’t be polio versus autism.(source)
You might be thinking that spreading this kind of weird, eugenics-y conspiracy theories would only affect those who buy into it. If a parent wants to have their kid die from an easily preventable disease, that’s their right, right? But even if you accept that those children are just the property of their parents, refusing to vaccinate still affects others by threatening herd immunity. More on that later.
But there is a lighter, unintentionally funny side of McCarthy. Here she is on CNN:
Mercury is the second worst neurotoxin on the planet, and that’s a fact. Get it out of our shots!
OK, got that? Jenny McCarthy does not want anyone injecting the second worst neurotoxin on the planet. But what about the first worst neurotoxin on the planet?
I love Botox, I absolutely love it. I get it minimally, so I can still move my face. But I really do think it’s a savior.
So when you’re injecting something with trace amounts of neurotoxins to immunize against preventable diseases, that’s an outrage that must be stopped. But when you’re injecting something with trace amounts of neurotoxins to get rid of a few wrinkles, that’s the act of a “savior.”
Horowitz runs a publishing company in Idaho called Tetrahedron which sells his books and DVDs about how you can use the Bible to cure diseases and walk on water and how the government 9/11′d the WTC themselves and how the Apocalypse is imminent and much, much more. He also sells lots of “alternative medicine” (i.e. not medicine) through the “Healthy World Store.” Let’s take a look at some of the products.
Breath of the Earth Hawaiian Holy Water
HYPERCHARGE NATURAL HEALING using Hawaiian Holy Water researched by Dr. Len Horowitz and Dr. Masaru Emoto. This water holds the spiritual blessing of the Big Island of Hawaii, revered by Kahuna’s as the sacred rebirthing place spiraling down from the center the universe. This supercharged blessed water is recommended for its “purgative and restorative” properties. It ousts negativity and general pathology, and lays the foundation for the creation of paradise.
Yeah, that’s right: $24 for a bottle of water. And the justification for that in its description is basically a bottled water commercial on acid. That’s the least expensive product, tied with a colon cleansing product. Here’s another product Horowitz is trying to sell to the gullible:
Holy Harmony Perfect Circle of Sound Tuning Forks (Complete Set)
Used for healing, chakra balancing, or instrument tuning, the 9 Holy Harmony Tuning Forks contain the 6 frequencies (“the original Solfeggio”) found in “Healing Code” by Dr. Leonard Horowitz and Dr. Joseph Puleo; plus 3 newly discovered frequencies completing this numeric series and creating “God’s Perfect Circle of Sound.”
Yeah, that or you could just buy a set of tuning forks from Amazon for under $20. That’s somewhere close to a 1,000% mark-up, just for the pleasure of having Horowitz’s name and delusional ravings about magical frequencies attached to it.
One of his old products was deleted from the internets, but Horowitz claimed that it could treat Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome back in 2003 when that was a thing. The “treatment” was a naturopathic / homeopathic nasal spray. The FDA did their job and explained to Horowitz that they weren’t having any of it, which explains why you need to use the Wayback Machine to find the original and hilarious press release.
OK, now here’s the most despicable one of all:
Few products can honestly claim to cure cancer, but C-CURE challenges the risky old slash, burn and poison approach of chemo and radiation therapies and even expensive and risky removal of many skin cancers. C-CURE stands for Concentrated – Cancer Undermining and Restorative Emulsion. THIS PRODUCT IS FREE FOR EXPERIMENTAL USE ONLY AS PER FDA’s EXTORTIONISTIC COERCIVE REGULATIONS SOLELY SERVING THE CANCER INDUSTRY.
How much cognitive dissonance can the human mind stand? Well, it’s apparently enough to be able to rant about the “CANCER INDUSTRY” within a short description of a sham product you’re selling for almost four hundred bucks. Notice how it mentions curing cancer, but doesn’t actually say that it is a cure for cancer. It “challenges” normal cancer treatments. That’s a trick these hucksters use to get around the OPPRESSIVE AND TYRANNICAL REGULATIONS OF THE FOOD & DRUG ADMINISTRATION. As a quick side note, if you listen to the first link in this section, which is a debate between Horowitz and a grad student on HIV/AIDS, you’ll notice that he really does speak in caps-lock mode very often.
Speaking of that debate, I’m going to finish this section with how his opponent broke down what is wrong with this kind of approach to an attempt at medicine and how it reveals what she perceives as Horowitz’s deceit regarding the supposed efficacy of these products:
Lets pretend [Horowitz] really, REALLY thinks that [his crap] can ‘help people’. Why doesnt he do what is necessary to get this information mainstream (and I dont mean publishing straight to consumer books)? Why doesnt he get in a lab and do research? If I screwed up in the lab and accidentally *cured* HIV with a mixture of Flonase, coffee, and calcium, I would beg my boss for a few supplies to run some preliminary experiments! If they turned out well, I’d call the people who make Flonase and beg them to give it a try. If they ignored me, ‘Id take it to their competition. If they ignored me, I’d write a grant and try to do it myself. I would not stock up on Flonase, coffee, and calcium and make little bottles of it in my bathtub and sell it to AIDS patients for $189.99. Nothing about his behavior makes me think he thinks the crap he’s selling actually works, especially considering the gravity of the diseases he proclaims he can cure.
Admittedly this guy doesn’t have the track record of his colleagues on this list. He’s really only known for one thing, and it doesn’t involve Satanic vaccines or Nazi doctors who hate mothers or anything like that.
The James Randi Educational Foundation is credited with bringing attention to the ADE 651 so-called “bomb detector” and the British company (ATSC) who manufactures and profits off of it. The JREF issued a simple challenge for anyone to test it under controlled conditions with positive results. If anyone could do that, they would win a million dollars from the JREF. So far the challenge has remained unmet.
The ADE 651 initially didn’t even contain any electronic components. It’s basically just a stick in a box. Here is what it looks like:
Oh yeah, I didn’t mention that this thing was being used by our troops in Iraq up until recently. And some Iraqi police are still using it. Here is what one of the device’s defenders had to say about it:
Whether it’s magic or scientific, what I care about is detecting bombs. I don’t care what they say. I know more about bombs than the Americans do. In fact, I know more about bombs than anyone in the world.
-Major-General Jehad al-Jabiri of the Interior Ministry’s General Directorate for Combating Explosives
Even though the aforementioned JREF challenge had been in place since October of 2008, the media outrage over McCormick’s fraud really took off during a series of IED bombings while the ADE 651 was being widely used in Iraq. The British government was similarly outraged, arrested the executive of ATCS, Ltd. – after the government had already paid that company at least $85 million for these devices – and banned the export of ADE 651s.
But it all started with one “entrepreneur” named Jim McCormick who decided to put some plastic together and sell the Ideomotor Effect for profit at the expense of innocent lives. What a class act.
If you’ve ever found yourself in a drug-induced haze in front of a television at 3:45 AM during the middle of the last decade (and let’s face it – if you’re reading this then that applies to you), then you know Kevin Trudeau. He’s the infomercial guy who wants to tell you about all the natural cures “they” don’t want you to know about. He also wants to tell you about the free money “they” don’t want you to know about. But have you heard about Kevin Trudeau’s larceny, credit card fraud, SEC lawsuit for running an illegal pyramid scheme, Federal Trade Commission fines, contempt of court charges, and subsequent prison sentence – all of which “they” don’t want you to know about?
Kevin Trudeau started off his career as a fraud by running credit card scams. He went off to Prison University for that, where he teamed up with a fellow inmate “they” don’t want you to know about. On the outside they started up a multilevel marketing scam “they” don’t want you to know about. So he was originally selling Horowitz-esque products, like a necklace with a magical piece of metal to stop cell phones and radio waves from microwaving your brain. It’s not quite a tin-foil hat, but it’s pretty close. He’s also very into colloidal silver, which gives your skin a nice, permanent silvery hue which “they” most certainly don’t want you to know about.
By 2004, the Federal Trade Commission was so fed up with Trudeau (and rightfully so), that they banned him from selling anything on infomercials other than “informational publicans,” which are protected by the First Amendment.
Now you’ve really got to kind of begrudgingly admire Trudeau for how he took hold of the crisis of being banned and Jujitsu-flipped it into an opportunity to rake in even more cash. From there, he kept on making those infomercials most people know him from, but this time he just sold his books. Since the products he was selling on television were just his books, he was only obligated to tell the truth about the contents of his books – which of course themselves were simply advertisements for his products in book form. His book could say that purple rabbits will invade the Czech Republic tomorrow; but as long as he remembered to insert a phrase like “in my book” in the middle of his late night squawkings, he could talk about the purple rabbits and still legally be considered “informative.”
So instead of buying airtime to hock his useless products directly to his marks, Trudeau was buying airtime to sell his advertisements to an audience which would then pay him again for those same products. So the FTC decision to ban Trudeau from infomercials with a loophole unfortunately had the opposite of the deterrent effect it was intended to have. So much for that shadowy government conspiracy always keeping the non-working naturopath man down.
His books encouraged a lot of thoughtless behavior, like avoiding chemotherapy when you have cancer, sunscreen, deodorant, vaccinations and really any form of medicine. Eventually Trudeau couldn’t help but violate the terms of his infomercial loophole by lying about the contents of his own book about weight loss secrets, which he had allegedly written. In the press release “they” don’t want you to know about, the FTC fined Trudeau $5 million and banned him from infomercials altogether.
And the real bitch of it is that even after all that, the guy still has a net worth of $10 million.
Oh, and by the way, here is a shot of a page in one of his books where he endorses Dianetics:
Meryl Dorey is antivaccine activist in Australia, but she was born in America. She heads the Australian Vaccination Network. They lobby against vaccination, speak out against it – along with all other medicine – and in favor of homeopathy. Even though their mission statement claims that they are “dedicated to the idea that health can be achieved and maintained without the use of pharmaceutical drugs and vaccines,” until recently they claimed that they weren’t anti-vaccine. They claimed they were just spreading information so that people could make their own choices. As if frightening parents and lying to them and then mumbling, “But do what you want,” afterwards doesn’t count as advocacy.
Dorey also wrote in her book Voodoo Children that nobody dies from diseases like measles, mumps, rubella, pertussis, and other vaccine-preventable illnesses. This is just not true, and that fact was brought home to her when a four week old child named Dana McCaffrey died from pertussis. The McCaffreys lived in an area of New South Wales, Australia, which had a very low rate of vaccine compliance. This stopped herd immunity in the region, which is supposed to protect infants and people who for legitimate medical reasons can not take vaccinations.
The AVN immediately began harassing the bereaved parents, claiming that they and the government were lying about their baby’s illness. When those conspiracy theories were debunked, Dorety started claiming that the pertussis vaccine wasn’t effective even though it is.
If you wanted to invent a fictional character that started off with a dangerous and misanthropic belief who denied all the contrary evidence and twisted around facts so that they were more complicit with her conclusion, then that character would be indistinguishable from the real-life Dorey.
Now the bright side to all this is that Dorey’s organization is in financial and legal trouble. The New South Wales Office of Liquor, Gaming, & Racing has been investigating their legal authority to raise funds, and just two weeks ago they ruled that they had “detected a number of breaches of charity fundraising laws.” Dorey hasn’t commented yet, but hopefully they’ll find some nice little island for her somewhere near Antarctica. No vaccines there, you see.
There’s an embedded link to the full comic, but this story adds another participant in the extended game of Telephone that is our public discourse on scientific issues. And that person is a notoriously unhinged nutcase called Alex Jones.
It all started with a profile of Robert Sapolsky in Wired Magazine by the excellent science writer Jonah Lehrer. In part it covered some work Sapolsky and others are doing on a possible vaccine which may be able to reduce neural damage caused by chronic stress. This would be analogous to the first panel in the above SMBC comic.
The second panel matches up with how the Daily Fail tried to relay that information to their generally clueless readers. Here’s how they interpreted Sapolsky’s work:
Forget the age-old remedies of yoga, meditation or popping pills. Relieving chronic stress could soon be as simple as having an injection, according to scientists.
Academics say they are close to developing the first vaccine for stress – a single jab that would help us relax without slowing down.
So that’s bad enough, right? The Daily Fail failed to distinguish between our own subjective perception of stress and the purely material neurological damage it causes. But the failure of science coverage in the media has not ended yet. Enter Alex Jones:
If you don’t know, Jones is this conspiracy theorist who does a radio show which is very popular amongst people who think that the UN is going to invade Kansas in black helicopters piloted by illegal immigrants who use microchips to take away our guns and 9/11 was an “inside job,” etc…
As you might guess, he’s also against vaccinations. So when he saw that the Daily Fail had reported on something that had something to do with vaccines, he just knew that the “New World Order” must be behind it, somehow. And so he screamed in a video and on his blog about how he had discovered the hidden truth behind this article, which is that evil scientists are plotting against his normal, gasoline-huffing audience. The guv-mint, they just want to control you, see? So they make them up this here vaccine and they a-tell ya that it’ll calm ya down. But it’s really just to make you a passive and obedient SERF WHARGARBL.
So you start with a group of people who are trying to understand the damage caused by chronic stress and what can be done to reduce it. Then you add a filter of media failure and general incompetence, and all it takes to turn the story completely ass-backwards is to add a pathologically anti-science lunatic with a bullhorn into the mix. When Lehrer later followed up on this weird phenomenon, he was met by an army of angry, Jones-motivated commenters. Here is an excerpt of one I picked at random just now:
Nice try CoIntellPro Agent. Gee, I wonder how and why you got this out so darn fast, lol. If only you knew how damned obvious you are.
The word for being aware of such things as that the New World Order, or The Shadow Government is going to attempt to dumb down or pacify the people prior to culling them is not being “Paranoid” as you suggest. It is merely being “Circumspect”. If a smart Jew in the mid to late 1930’s tried to warn other Jews (and I’m sure that they did) that the Nazi’s ENDGAME was to eventually imprison and exterminate all Jews, they would not have been being “Paranoid”. They would have merely been being “Circumspect” after reading or hearing factual evidence that supported their worst fears. Learn to differentiate between the two, vastly different terms. Thee is no grey area between the two.
Oh, and, by the way, the Nazi’s also spiked the imprisoned Jew’s water supply with Fluoride to make them passive. Yep, the same stuff they have been spiking everyone’s city water with here in Amerika during the last 40+ years.
But there is a happy ending to this story, friends, because then Lehrer followed up on the follow-up (YO DAWG I HERD U LIKE FOLLOW-UPS) with a blog post about the psychology of conspiracy theories and cognitive dissonance. Very interesting stuff, and very well written. So now I’m sure the conspiracy nuts will see the error of their ways and stop supporting stupid bullshit. Or maybe not.
A while ago I wrote this generic thing about how vaccines don’t cause autism, and part of it dealt with the case of one Andrew Wakefield – specifically reports of him being a fraud who hid conflicts of interest and faked his data.
Now some kind of legal action against Wakefield is imminent. From The Guardian:
Dr Andrew Wakefield, the expert at the centre of the MMR controversy, “failed in his duties as a responsible consultant” and showed a “callous disregard” for the suffering of children involved in his research, the General Medical Council (GMC) ruled today.
Wakefield also acted dishonestly and was misleading and irresponsible in the way he described research which was later published in the Lancet medical journal, the GMC said.
The thing is that this is all happened in England. Meanwhile, Wakefield already moved over here to the colonies and is running a center for autistic children in Texas. And if the FDA or the NIH goes after him here, he’ll probably just pick up and move to South America and try to sell his quackery there.
This doesn’t even have much of an effect on believers either. They’re still backing him up:
The panel chairman, Dr Surendra Kumar, was heckled by parents who support Wakefield as he delivered the verdicts.
One woman shouted: “These doctors have not failed our children. You are outrageous.” She called the panel of experts “bastards” and accused the GMC of being a “kangaroo court”. Another shouted: “This is a set-up.”
This is the problem with injecting a conspiracy without evidence into these kinds of issues. No matter what evidence is presented and no matter what judgement is made against someone, they can always say that the lines of evidence presented are just another part of the conspiracy. Does taking thimerosol out of the MMR vaccine cause autism rates to decrease? Well, no, but that’s just because the conspiracy set it up that way. Does it look like Oswald shot Kennedy? Well, that’s just because the conspiracy wanted you to think that.
You get to have it both ways when you take that kind of position. So when Wakefield’s “research” was originally published, it was kind of taken seriously as possibly having some merit. To his followers, this vindicated Wakefield. Apparently there was no such thing as a huge medical conspiracy against Wakefield back then. And now when the real story comes out about how he acted unethically, that also vindicates Wakefield because it proves how desperate the conspiracy is to, you know, get him. That’s about as close as one can get to being absolutely close-minded because nothing can convince someone in that position to change their mind.
UPDATE: A media representative from the autistic children’s center run by Wakefield which I mentioned e-mailed me asking that I link to a press release they made in response to the GMC ruling, which is of course not hypocritical or anything at all because the alt med industry always cites their critics. Here is my response:
Seriously though, I think it’s enough to give your side of the story by citing Wakefield supporters cited in the Guardian article. Thanks
Still no word back…
So if anyone’s reading this on the actual website and not through a reader, you might have noticed that I have a few of these ‘widget’ things on the right side here. The first one is for a campaign by Sense About Science in support of science writer Simon Singh in his ongoing legal battles with the British Chiropractic Association. Here is what it looks like:
You can click on it to read more about Singh’s case, but the gist of it is that he said that the BCA happily promotes bogus treatments, because they do, and the BCA sued him. This all happened in the UK, where libel law is completely ass-backwards and the burden of proof is on the defendant(s) to prove that they’re innocent, instead of on the prosecution to prove guilt.
Anyway, now Rachael Dunlop of the Australian Skeptics is reporting that something similar is happening to Amy Wallace and her publisher at Wired for an article published a few months ago about the anti-vaccine movement. The pdf of the case is here.
Barbara Loe Fisher has a problem with Wallace citing someone who called her a liar, even though she is one. But that doesn’t seem to be in dispute here. Fisher seems to be much more upset that she wasn’t given an opportunity to say to Wallace pre-publication, “Nuh uh, I’m not a liar!” Seriously, just look at the pdf linked to above.
The antivaxers are actually starting to get pretty funny at this point. They skip over the whole point of suing for libel (i.e. proving intentional disinformation, material damages, etc.) and go right into their whiny political rants:
“The article does not present science concerning the risks or the informed consent rights issues that arise from mandatory vaccination but adheres to a bias in favor of the general safety of vaccines and a presumed medical necessity blah blah blah.”
So they don’t appear to have much interest in pursuing their case for the goal of actually winning it; and it’s being done in the US, where libel law is more reasonable than most other places. These two facts together add up to this being nothing but another SLAPP-suit by the alt med industry, just another attempt to frighten and silence critics. And the pattern recently with those kinds of things is that they reveal much more ugliness about the plaintiffs than they do about the defendants. Hopefully this case will fit in that pattern.
UPDATE: Case dismissed.
Vaccines don’t cause autism.
If the mercury in Thimerosol or anything else caused autism, then we would expect to see higher mercury levels in autistic children than in children developing typically. But we don’t.
If autism were caused by preservatives in the vaccine, we’d expect older people who were vaccinated before these preservatives were added to not have it. But there are older people with autism.
Thimerosol is a mercury-based preservative. That doesn’t mean that somebody is just dumping mercury into vaccines for the hell of it. Think of it this way: Pretty much every living thing that we know of is carbon-based. Every day we eat carbon-based life forms. YOU are a carbon-based life form. Carbon, in its purest form, is coal. But something like an apple being carbon-based does not make it coal. And similarly, a preservative being mercury-based doesn’t mean it’s just a bunch of mercury.
This comic is making fun of a logical fallacy often used by antivaxers called Post hoc ergo propter hoc (“After this, therefore because of this”). That one event occurred after the other is not evidence that the first caused the second. Correlation isn’t the same thing as causation. It just happens to be the case that symptoms of autism are first apparent around the same time period of childhood vaccinations, i.e. within the first three years.
To top it all off, this whole vaccines-cause-autism thing was started by a guy who’s since been shown to have been a fraud and a liar who fixed his data and hid conflicts of interest. And that’s not in some other unrelated field, these are all allegations which resulted from Wakefield’s “research” on the alleged autism-vaccine link.
Alt med is business, in other words. It’s big business. And all the while its proponents see real doctors like this:
and only focus on the money “big pharma” makes, they can’t seem to bring themselves to notice all the actual lying-for-profit on their own end.
“The Earth can’t take 6.5 billion people. We just can’t feed that many. So what are you going to do? Kill as many as you can. We have to develop a science that kills them and makes it look as though they died from some disease,” Farrakhan said, adding that many wise people won’t take the vaccine.
Farrakhan doesn’t seem aware that “science” is a method, not a vaccine or a poison. But I do agree that there are many wise people who won’t take it. Lots of wise people are dead, so that would prevent them from getting it. I don’t think that’s what Farrakhan meant, though.
Anyway, here is a good summary of how we really know that these people are wrong. And here are some more search engine terms which have led people here, for your amusement.
- david attenborough naked
- demons in h1n1 vaccine
- does god want me to get h1n1 immunizatio
- mind-controlling nanobots flu shot
- banana man ray
I am really not sure which is less sane – wanting to see a naked David Attenborough or worrying about demons and mind-controlling nanobots in a flu shot.
OK, I’m going to try to summarize all this crap at once.
It all started last year when Bill Maher did his Religulous movie. Besides the boring autobiographical stuff and the stupid ending, it was pretty funny.
Then, a few months ago, the Atheist Alliance International decided to give Maher the Richard Dawkins Award, which they give out at their annual convention. People who pay attention to people like Maher here in the States got all up in arms about it because one of the criterion for the award is to promote science. Bill Maher’s an alternative medicine kook who’s against vaccines and doesn’t believe in the germ theory of disease. Here is a good summary of the problems with giving this award to Bill Maher. And just as a side note, what’s kind of weird about this is that nobody seemed to have a problem with giving Penn this same award while he was denying anthropogenic global warming, but whatever.
So some people got in touch with Dawkins and asked if he was aware of this aspect of Bill Maher. Unsurprisingly, since he’s in England and doesn’t have the same exposure to American celebrities as we do, he didn’t. He said something like “Religulous gave me the lulz and I don’t know anything about what he thinks about medicine.”
At some point before presenting Maher with his award, Dawkins looked into it and found that Maher was promoting some of the same crap Dawkins had actually attacked in print and on television. At the AAI convention last weekend he said that he doesn’t share all of Maher’s views, especially those regarding medicine – but hey, we work together with liberal religionists to keep church and state separate and fight against creationism, so this isn’t something to get too upset over.
OK, here’s where it gets weird. In a recent interview PZ Myers, who was also at the convention, said that Dawkins asked Maher if he could go back on his show to discuss “alternative medicine,” and Bill Maher said no. But later that week, Maher had Bill Frist on his show to do exactly that.
This is weird. It’s like Maher doesn’t want to be seen disagreeing with Richard Dawkins. He wants to be seen disagreeing with the conservative Republican who diagnosed Terri Schiavo as “alive” based on a few minutes of video. In the above link, Maher even tries to use some idiotic line like, “Well conservatives don’t believe in evolution (???), so you must be wrong about vaccines too! Ha ha!” And then, like usual, he derides “western medicine.” Uh, right – the same scientific basis used to show evolution as true is great, except when you apply it to medicine. What an asshole.
I’m going to have to go take a shower now. I feel dirty for being on Bill Frist’s side on this one.
- Nanobots will destroy us all
- Is Ray Comfort retarded?
- I detest Glenn Beck
- The holy nanobots
- Are nanobots in vaccine?
- Nanobots enemy of man kind
- Nanobots in seasonal flu shot
- Radiohead not enslave us
- Sad monkey
There were actually several dealing with the idea that the government would actually be injecting nanobots into the H1N1 vaccine in order to (why else?) enslave us all.
So I kind of had to do the search myself to see where this idea was coming from. Here’s a comment from a freeper thread:
“I heard that the whole swine flu thing was man-made in order to get people to take the vaccine, which is really made up from nanobots that will be used for universal mind-control, and Obama is behind it.”
To be fair, the other freepers mocked him, although pretty gently. One even said that he was wrong because it was “childish” to think that the nanobots in the H1N1 thing was in order to induce mind control. A much more adult approach, according to him or her, was that it’s all about population control. One thing I don’t get about people espousing this population control conspiracy idea is that since the population is steadily increasing, whoever is running this alleged conspiracy must be comically incompetent.
There were also returns from things called Godlike Productions and Survivalist Boards. Completely rational and upstanding ladies and gentlemen, I’m sure.
The other half are just dumb, apparently. To be fair, this was an internet study so the results might be a bit biased.
But then I have to wonder about that, because it’s not like half of Americans read “Natural News” and other New Age crackpots. So where does this irrational fear come from?
Debbie Goddard at the Center For Inquiry might have an answer to that question. She received an email from some pastor about the role of the H1N1 vaccine in the “End Times.” He hilariously describes his “vision” showing him that, although he thought he was amongst sheep, they were really WOLVES IN DISGUISE!!!!!! Get it? They looked like sheep, but they were really wolves in disguise. It’s almost as if they were wolves in sheep’s clothing.
After this revelation, God did that authorial intrusion thing it sometimes does:
Here, God spoke to me saying ‘my son, every person will be asked to compulsorily take immunization against the swine flu in the next few days. This is a disguise. They will in the process be infected with demons from the abyss; all who do not have my spirit and my seal upon them. Yes, it will be such that that they will receive a deadly spirit inoculated into them.
Two things occur to me:
- Did Mesac Damas get an advance version of the “deadly spirit” injection? Is that how the devil got him?
- God’s promise about every person being forced to vaccinate against H1N1 sounds like a testable claim. If this actually happens “in the next few days,” I will sell everything I own and become a mindless servant to this pastor. Actually, I’ll be generous and interpret “the next few days” as being until the end of flu season.
On that second point, I wonder if this pastor will admit he was mistaken in his “vision” if everyone is not forced to vaccinate. I guess we will have to wait and see. [UPDATE: Good debunking of H1N1 antivaccine fears here]