Antivaccine nonsense Autism Complementary and alternative medicine Medicine Quackery

I have failed

Now that 2009 is about to kick into gear, I have to look back at 2008 one last time to acknowledge one failure. As a backdrop to that failure, I note that the antivaccine propaganda site Age of Autism has posted a series of their People of the Year “awards” for 2008, including, antivaccine luminaries such as:

Personally, many of these people are deserving of Ashley Awards more than anything else.

So where did I fail?

I didn’t win any “worst of” awards from AoA, like “Worst Blogger Ever” or “Nastiest Blogger to AoA,” or “Most Vicious Attack on Jenny McCarthy.” Dammit, I worked hard in 2008 on this blog. Real hard. I deserve to be recognized by my opponents.

Although being attacked as part of the “whackosphere” by AoA for my small effort to crash their autism poll is gratifying, as is Kelli Ann Davis’ whine about my messing up her poll and Craig Willoughby’s labeling me a craven “child hater,” it is not enough! Far from it!

I do, however, appreciate the stereotypical reference to Mr. Spock. I get it, I get it. I’m a geek. (What the reference to Saved By The Bell has to do with being a geek, though, I don’t know. No self-respecting male geek would watch that show.) So what? AoA desperately needs a new schtick when it comes to attacking its critics. This one’s gotten really old and tiresome, making me wonder if it’s a bunch of frat boys running the show there, kind of like the obnoxious jocks of the Alpha Beta fraternity in Revenge of the Nerds. Truly, AoA is incapable of originality or creativity. Also, the whole complaint about my anonymity is quite tiresome, given that I have launched all out frontal assaults on Generation Rescue and its apologists under my real name on another blog that I know members of AoA are aware of. Yet AoA never, ever mentions (or even acknowledges) anything posted under my own name because such posts represent an “inconvenient truth” that runs counter to its preferred narrative that attempts to smear its critics as “anonymous cowards.”

Oh, well, I guess there’s always 2009 stretching in front of me to do better. This time next year, I expect an award. Until then, I’ll just have to enjoy a bit of schadenfreude that Respectful Insolence has been not only nominated but made the cut as a finalist for Best Medical/Health Issues Blog of 2008 in the Weblog Awards for the fourth year in a row and AoA didn’t make the cut this year.

Better luck in 2009, AoA. You’ll really need it.

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]

20 replies on “I have failed”

Yes, he does. It is listed under the Medicine Blogs to the left. Sometimes he posts the same exact blog post on each one on the same day. That is a hint, because I am not going to tell you its exact name.

Orac, better luck next year. Anything we can do to help? BTW, the “super-duper secret” can be discovered, but what’s wrong with anonymity? I must say, though, that I was even more impressed by this real person who was so breathlessly “outed”; to be contributing scientifically and in the popular realm press/blogosphere is pretty good. Happy New Year!

Well gee, Orac, guess maybe this year you’ll have to heap some super-duper, completely-not-Respectful Insolence. If that doesn’t do it, nothing will. Keep up the good work!

I stumbled across the secret identity when he started cross posting content. I got about two paragraphs in before I realized I had just read the same basic post several days earlier on Respectful Insolence.

Before you criticize me for not noticing until two paragraphs in, please note that he tweaks the posts a bit for the different sites; here he injects a little more “personality” into his posts. Also note that many of the science related blogs that deal with medicine often have overlapping topics.

extravagantly and utterly incompetently wrong

To warp a line from “The Wizard of OZ”:

“he’s not only merely wrong, he’s really most sincerely wrong”

Ahh yes. the Galileo gambit.
Of course, when you’re wrong and can’t find it in yourself to admit it, you either shut up and go away, or pull the galileo gambit.

Oh, and Orac: don’t worry… AoA will continue to wish you didn’t exist, even if they can’t bear to give you recognition.


I get very busy. I run a private pediatric practice and I wish I had the time to address all of Dave’s comments about vaccines. I resolve to spend more time in 2009 reading his posts and yours and whining about them.

In the meantime, as always, thanks to all of you for your counterpoint. I think that there are some truly brilliant scientists posting here and I appreciate the time and energy you put into shining light–and creating heat–around this crucial medical issue. We often disagree but I respect your knowledge and passion.

Best Wishes for the New Year,


Yet not too busy to check Orac’s blog for your own name, even in a posting that is not about you.

Or to even show up on TV show pontificating about your unscientific opinions: (“And I plead with Dr. Gordon: Please, please, please, stop advocating malpractice on national television.”)

Yet you never even bother to check out the Sciencebasedmedicine blog, something that almost every working physician should look at.

Jay Gordon: “I get very busy. I run a private pediatric practice and I wish I had the time to address all of Dave’s comments about vaccines.”

Yes, the old “I’m far too busy doing Important Things to respond to the likes of _you_” gambit.

This would be a slightly more impressive claim, if Gordon wasn’t already spending tons of time away from his patients*, pursuing appearances as a “highly sought public speaker” and spreading medical misinformation on talk shows. He apparently even has an agent of sorts (or at least a rep for the company hawking his antivax DVD) to schedule interviews for media dumb enough to want them.

“For more information about the DVD or to schedule an interview with Dr. Gordon, please contact media relations director, Christelyn Karazin via telephone (951) 203-1313.”

From the website: “Dr.Gordon advocates the individual freedom of each parent to decide if and when vaccinations are appropriate for their child.”

In other words, “I’m happy to aid and abet foolish decisions by parents that put their and other children in jeopardy” – and to brag about it publicly.

It’s a tiny good sign that in some way, he’s embarassed enough about his activities that he feels the need to respond in forums such as this.

*probably a good thing.


While you are profoundly annoying, it may come as a disappointment to you to know that you are considered more of a wanker side-show to many at AoA rather than any kind of real enemy. The enemies reside at CDC, AAP, and Pharma.

You never did anything to hurt my kid, and you’ll never play a role in recovering him.

If anything, your blog is a helpful way for us to see what stupidity the other side will use for whatever the conflict of the week happens to be.

So, keep up the good work, I will keep checking in now and then, and expect no hateful awards in 2009 either, your just not quite bad enough.


Part 4 or a 5 part talk, this one shows Jay’s website on all the stuff he willing to sell:

For once, JB, you are right. Orac is the least of your worries. The eventual downfall of anti-vaccine zealotry will come from science, reason, and our annoying mechanistic universe.

You know, getting a visit from the King Fratboy himself is almost as good as an official award. Besides, it’s always good to have something left to strive for.

JB Handley said, “The enemies reside at CDC, AAP, and Pharma.

How delusional and paranoid! Substitute “scientists” for “enemies” and he’d have it right. Oh, wait. Scientists are the enemy too.

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