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The “I need a day off from blogging” blog post

The title says it all. I was too beat last night after a hard day in the OR to get the Tarial cells fired up to produce a daily dose of the Insolence you all know and love (or, if you’re an antivaccinationist or quack, hate). It happens occasionally, but, fortunately for the universe. not too often. So I guess it means it’s open thread time. Oh, and there have been somethings happening that I’ve meant to comment on but somehow haven’t gotten around to, which means I’m probably good for posts for the next few days, but if you think you can catch my attention with something else and knock some of those other ideas and happenings back down lower on my blogging priority list, have at it!

Yeah, Orac felt a bit like that last night. Even the Olympics couldn’t keep him awake.

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]

30 replies on “The “I need a day off from blogging” blog post”

Maybe Science Mom would like to share her thoughts on the Brandlistuen study today. 😉

There was an item in my news feed the other day about “study shows mother being vaccinated may reduce the chance of autism . ” It was out of Huffington Post, so I didn’t think to mention it sooner, but I imagine it had antivaxers heads exploding all over the internet.

Six months ago, a post on Slate like the above would have drawn the anti-vaxxers in droves — including cia parker*. Plait’s last two posts on vaccines don’t seem to have stirred up the same levels of ire.

(*what’s with this refusing to properly capitalize her name, anyway? Does she think she’s e.e. cummings?)

Slate switched their comments technology and it’s a bit tricky, which is the only explanation I have for the recent plethora of normal responses.

Mike, I’ve been reading and laughing at Adams for SEVEN years now! And my brains haven’t melted yet.

Slate mentions something intriguing about woo-meisters that I’ve been following: not only do they supply conspiracy mongering about health issues but like an unstoppable, creeping woody vine, they’ve branched out into other forms of intrusion, i.e fearmongering about the economy and politics.

I think they ramped their histrionic symptomatology up in the wake of the economic crisis of 2008-9: if you think about it, it was only natural because they are expert at ferreting out people’s fears in order to profit off of them-be it of illness, cancer, aging, death, poverty or social unrest- and then, offering extreme but banal solutions to difficulties inherent in living. Usually, a product or a book is involved.

Nearly 5 years ago, at the nadir of the recession with the DJIA and other indices at lows, PRN’s GrandMaster Woo told his entranced audience to sell all of their stocks and bonds, take their money out of banks and invest in silver and gold- he was enabled by Gerald Celente ( who is nearly as the same as Porter Stansberry) : economic Ragnarok was just around the corner- the government would collapse and be replaced by a police state, inflation would rival the levels reached in Germany in the 1930s (“You’ll need a wheelbarrow full of paper money to buy a loaf of bread-if there IS any bread”), there would riots and gang takeovers of the suburbs. And when would this occur: “Within 2 years”.

Obviously, I’ve missed Ragnarok somehow.

If you took their advice, you would have lost a great deal of money. I did the exact opposite and have done well.

Adams and Null style themselves as experts in diverse fields ( health, finance, politics) despite being clueless: I’d venture that their appeal is more along the lines of being the ‘common man’ reacting to so-called elitism and professionalism in a rapidly-changing and increasing technological global society: they represent a return to simpler, older times and folksy values- down on the farm or in a small town- a return to nature and self-sufficiency, which probably is fabled. Both advocate a retrogarde towards organic farming, self-education and communal living for the like-minded, far away from the madding crowd.

Most of the products and attitudes prevalent in general society- foods, medicine, entertainment, education, media, social and political hierarchies- are presented as grossly deficient or downright dangerous -as ‘perils of the soul’ as well as of the body. To be avoided at all costs and replaced by purified surrogates approved ( and usually sold) by the Master. It’s a way to avoid funding Corporatism and Fascism.

One of these idiots has a house for sale for 6 million USD ( see and earns 12.2 million USD – But I’m sure it’s simple and folksy not like the abodes of the banksters, corporate elitists and greedy doctors who bleed their customers dry.

…there would [be] riots and gang takeovers of the suburbs. And when would this occur: “Within 2 years”.

Although they got the time frame wrong, I have to give them partial credit for the gang takeovers of the suburbs. But only partial credit, because I don’t think they were envisioning the sort of gangs that did take over suburbs in some areas. I refer to the gun nuts, aided and abetted in many states by “Stand Your Ground” laws. Which have made large areas of Florida and Texas no-go zones for me, and especially for anyone whose skin tone is darker than mine.

@ Eric:

*Everything* willl occur within 2 years- which they’ve been saying for 5 years.

Fortunately for me, ‘gun nuts’ don’t hang around here. Those places seem rather scary to yours truly.

Re ‘skin tone…darker than mine’

Right. Isn’t that just about everyone?
Not that I should talk.

Shay @6:

Slate switched their comments technology and it’s a bit tricky, which is the only explanation I have for the recent plethora of normal responses.

I can’t see any comments on Phil Plait’s blog, or any way to post a comment. In fact, I had assumed Slate had turned off comments altogether
Is there commenting only for logged-in readers?

Oh wait. I’ve just gone back to Bad Astronomy and tried clicking on the post title to get the single-post view. And *there’s* the comments!

The Schaibles have been sentenced to three to seven years in prison for the death of a second child after they prayed instead of calling a doctor. The story notes that after the first time, they had specifically been ordered to seek medical care for any sick children; I am unsurprised that they ignored that court order. The sort of person who wouldn’t call a doctor for a dying child on their own is unlikely to do so because a judge said to.

Their other six children are now in foster care. “Up to seven years” isn’t enough for negligently killing two children, but at least the court isn’t saying “losing the child is enough punishment, don’t do it again.”

One of these idiots has a house for sale for 6 million USD

It’s a pretty safe bet that someone who hectors his audience to ‘Buy gold’ is not following his own advice, and is more likely to be in the business of selling gold.

Looking for a professional opinion -on Breast Cancer and the Women’s Health Initiative. I’ll just cut and paste my previous comment and not let my ego take it personally. I have a friend at the National Women s health network telling me they believe cancer rates have gone down bc women have stopped taking HRT. I’m thinking it is way to soon to have seen such definitive results
Here goes:
While a bit off topic-do you have an opinion about the results of the Women’s Health initiative arm on estrogen and breast cancer? I have a colleague who believes the reason for the reduction in breast cancer incidence since that arm if the trial was halted proves that estrogen is a a promoter of breast cancer, not an initiator. I find it hard to believe the drop in cancer could be related to estrogen therapy-could occur so quickly. Any thoughts?

A couple in Alberta have been charged with first degree murder in the May 2013 death of their 15 year old son, Alex. In this case the police don’t think religious beliefs were behind the neglect.

Alex had been taken away by Children’s Services at the age of 5 because his parents were not treating his diabetes, but was returned six months later. Too bad.

His condition was so severe that the first responders had to have counselling.

The debate with my partner’s ex over vaccinating their almost 2.5 year-old son is still in full bloom. She is citing all the typical antivax blogs/sites/whatever as her “research”, and we can’t seem to make her understand the difference between “credible” and “crap”. The only one we have her coming around in is polio, but I’m a little more concerned about pertussis and measles, as those are currently relevant in California.
Tonight took the cake when she wrote me, explaining why she chose not to vaccinate so far. The first sentence?

“When an infant is born they are born without an immune system.”

I. Just. Can’t.


Oh, and:

“…many [illnesses that children are vaccinated against] are treatable as long as you know what to look for as far as a child contracting them.”

@AC – there are no known treatments for Measles…once a person has it, the only thing left to do is make them as comfortable as possible and look for signs of disease-related complications, such as pneumonia or encephalitis, which will require hospitalization.

I really go hope she comes around (but unfortunately, it sounds like she has primary custody of the kids). Is this something that you could talk to the divorce attorney about? It is drastic, but she does sound a bit looney.

@AC –

This abstract makes it pretty clear that infants do have an immune system, both when they are born and before.

TBH, though, if she is even invoking the question of what immune system neonates have at birth, as having some relevance to a child several years past birth, it’s clear that her decisions aren’t really based in logic anyhow. You might have more success if you can figure out what they are based in, and find a way to alleviate those concerns for her. (To give an example, I had a co-worker a while back who made some pretty bad decisions, and then stuck to them fervently despite all attempts to point out their fatuity. When I realized that he was afraid to ever admit he’d been wrong, I made a point of bringing up in every conversation examples of times I had been wrong, had learned from it, had fixed things as best I could, and had moved on. Over time, he came to accept that he could say “you know, that decision didn’t work out as well as we’d hoped; let’s try something else” and it wouldn’t torpedo his credibility.)

Thank you for the link, much appreciated. Even greater thanks for your suggestion. It makes complete sense, but being in the middle of the situation, sometimes one’s own clarity can be skewed.
I showed what you wrote to my partner and he thinks you are definitely onto something. It will be difficult to accomplish for us because of the emotions involved, but I think we’re capable. Again, thank you!

Thank you, too, for your input!

Now, what solid, non-offensive, credible source can I use to show her Dr. Tenpenny is a quack? Sigh.

AC. I wish there was a website that met all of your criteria about Dr. Tenpenny, but I can’t think of any.

I saw this:

and this:

But the best thing I can actually think of is to warn the mother to avoid any website where the “doctor” (no matter what kind), has a link to buy stuff from their website. This includes Blaylock, Mercola, Whittaker and even Tenpenny.

Any medical website that has a link to a “Store” (like Tenpenny’s does) is not to be trusted.

Hey Chris, thanks! I already found the first link you sent, which was well written, but unfortunately the giant title of:

“The Vaccine Conspiracy Theorist

A blog describing the actions, lies, and continual hypocrisy of anti-vaccination conspiracy theorists.”

Is likely going to throw her off immediately. My partner found the second link, and I think the whole “damned lies and idiots” thing won’t work in our favour, either.

I agree 100% about not trusting doctors who want you to buy their products. The ex wants us to take their son to a “vaccine-friendly” pediatrician who sells $90 wellness kits on her website. And t-shirts, and supplements. Sigh.

Thanks for the heads up about 🙂 I immediately downloaded it for my browser!

Anyway, my partner and I decided to look up every single reference cited in one of Dr. Tenpenny’s articles ( ). Neither of us work in medicine or science, but I’m going to show our findings, because they are outrageous and make me want to scream.

I’m also curious if it’s legal to cite things blatantly incorrectly? I’m guessing (and hoping) not.. what are the repercussions for a doctor in doing so?

Here’s what we found:

Citation number 1 just links to the Physican’s Desk Reference.

Citation number 2 does NOT bring up the reference claimed.

Citation number 3 same as number 2.

Citation number 4 does not work, it goes to “page not found”.

Citation number 5 cites a PubMed ID, but for some reason, does not link directly to it. This is it (i.e. nothing):

Citation number 6 does not work, it goes to “page does not exist”.

Citation number 7 cites a PubMed ID as well, and also does not link directly to it. I found the paper here:

Here is the statement she is claiming:

“There is no doubt that the new recombinant hepatitis B virus vaccine has the ability to trigger autoimmunity.”[7]

Here is the ACTUAL statement in the paper, which she manipulated to her favor without quoting it properly:

“There is no doubt that the new recombinant hepatitis B virus vaccine is different from mumps, measles and rubella vaccines in its ability to trigger autoimmunity, probably by completely different mechanisms.”

Citation number 8 does not work, it goes to “page not found”.

Citation number 9 is the same PubMed ID as above. Here is the statement she makes in the article:

“A vaccine may cause more than one autoimmune phenomenon, and a particular immune process may be caused by more than one vaccine…furthermore, vaccines differ in their pathogenic influence on the immune system.”

Here is the actual statement:

“The subject is complicated by the fact that one vaccine may cause more than one autoimmune phenomenon, and a particular immune process may be caused by more than one vaccine.”

“Original article location” citation link goes to “page not found”.

I am livid that quacks like this are affecting the fact my partner’s son is not yet vaccinated.

Last night, while trying to “research” her perspective, “” tried to put a virus on my computer.

Oh, the irony.

If anyone is in the mood to prune some neurons, AoA has linked to this.

Hi Rose, this is true! When I was in a public health graduate student we were actually told this was wiped out and were shown a film of the “last” smallpox case walking out of quarantine. But, we have re-introduced it by vaccinating military personnel. There have been cases of transmission to non-vaccinated persons from this.

@ Narad: Judy Converse is the latest “reliable source” for CIA Parker. Parker, BTW, is on a tear, posting hundreds of comments on several mainstream media sites, over the past few days.

Parker is quite delusional. I feel immense sorrow for her autistic child who has to contend with her loony mother.

One of those internet “sensations” is now reportedly becoming a breatharian. It might be time for either Orac or someone on the SBM blog to update(renew or whatever you want to call it) an existing post on the subject. Just something to help combat the idiocy when her fans start looking for info.

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