Antivaccine nonsense Autism Blogging Humor Medicine Quackery

To the blog! It’s the Orac signal!

Buried in yesterday’s post was a link to a post on the Science Business blog, which is one of the blogs of Forbes magazine that was a dangerous gratification to my ego in that it mentioned this humble blog as one of the Autism Debate Go-To Blogs. Although Matthew Harper, Associate Editor at Forbes, left out three go-to blogs about autism that probably surpass this blog (namely, Left Brain/Right Brain, Neurodiversity, and Autism News Beat), Harper did make an interesting observation about yours truly:

Respectful Insulence is written by a surgeon who goes by the nom-de-blog Orac. He blogs on this issue so often that I’m beginning he has some kind of alarm that goes off when someone, somewhere tries to point to vaccines as the primary cause of autism.


That’s right, it’s the Orac Signal! (It’s like the Bat Signal, but not quite as cool.) Not only that, but it’s programmed into my pager, too! Picture this:

The pager blared in a high-pitched whine, “Fools! Fools! Fools!” Orac looked down at its multicolored blinking light with a frown as he hit the “silence” button. “Damn!” he thought. “Somewhere someone’s spouting antivaccination nonsense! To the blog cave I must go!” As Orac raced to his palatial mansion, where his alter ego lived as a millionaire playboy surgeon, he noted the Orac signal projected onto the night time clouds, a large syringe-shaped bit of light piercing the darkness. Arriving at his estate, he ran to his library, pulled a lever hidden behind his copy of The God Delusion, and watched as a hidden panel in the wall rotated to reveal an elevator. Girding himself for the assault on his reason that would soon be coming, he stepped into the elevator and descended to the blog cave, there to do blogospheric battle with the antivaccinationists.

Hey, I kind of like it. In fact, maybe I should expand the use of the signal to warn me of quackery and antievolution nonsense as well–or whenever someone is wrong on the Internet.

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

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