You might remember a couple of weeks ago my taking note of a new antivaxer in town, a retired quack named Dr. Gary Kohls. He writes a weekly column in a local free newspaper in Minnesota The Duluth Reader, in which he lays down a regular heaping helping of antivaccine pseudoscience, conspiracy mongering, and quackery, so much so that when I did a search for “vaccines” on the Reader’s website, the vast majority of the hits were articles by Dr. Kohls laden with his misinformation about vaccines. That’s the reason why I referred to The Duluth Reader as a wretched hive of scum and antivaccine quackery. After my not-so-subtle application of not-so-Respectful Insolence, apparently Dr. Kohls was not too pleased. So this week, the antivaccine empire strikes back, or, more accurately, a sad, pathetic antivaccine quack strikes back. I was so amused that I couldn’t resist mocking Dr. Kohls.
The first article was from a week ago and entitled Internet Trolls Attack Anyone Exposing the Pseudoscience of Big Vaccine’s Over-Vaccination Agenda. This so resembles the title of the previous post, the one that attacked me and misattributed quotes to me advocating dishonest tactics to undermine antivaccine activists, misattributions that the editor of The Duluth Reader refuses to correct or retract Dr. Gary Kohl’s lies about me. Yes, I didn’t call them lies before because I gave him the benefit of the doubt and assumed that he didn’t realize that these quotes that he attributed to me were in reality from a single commenter on this blog. No longer. He obviously read my posts about him, and I’ll let you in on a little secret. I emailed my rebuttals to him. He didn’t listen. He didn’t change the obvious misattribution. So I now conclude that he’s lying because the definition of a lie to knowingly ay something that isn’t true. Yes, Dr. Kohls is a liar, in my not-so-humble opinion.
So let’s get to his attempt to strike back. First, he begins with a bunch of quotes. One of these tropes he attributes to Socrates, “When the debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the loser.” Hilariously, this is a fake quote. There is no evidence that Socrates ever said that. Indeed, Snopes.com has documented that there is no evidence of this quote has “no traceable history prior to” 2008. So, basically, Dr. Gary Kohls is ignorant and careless enough to recycle fake quotes. Here’s a hint to him: Google any quote that sounds too good (to you) to be true. You’ll save yourself a lot of embarrassment.
Of course, one quote that Dr. Gary Kohls cites is this one by Dr. Walter Hadween: “Majorities are never a proof of the truth.” It turns out that it’s Dr. Hadwen, not Hadween, and Dr. Hadwen was an antivaxer. Seriously, Dr. Gary Kohls is not only an antivaxer, but he’s incredibly sloppy. Based on his not having corrected his original post about me, he also appears not to care about accuracy or truth. I suppose his further quoting of a blogger on Mercola.com tells that tale about as well as anything can.
Hilariously scientifically unaware, Dr. Gary Kohls ignores the criticism of his previous parroting of the “vaccines didn’t save us gambit” and doubles down on it:
Graph from (double-board-certified internist and nephrologist) Dr Suzanne Humphries’ book, “Dissolving Illusions” showing that the US mortality rate for measles had already declined to near zero long before the introduction of a measles vaccine (1963). The improved mortality rates were due to improved nutrition, sanitation, safer drinking water, better quarantine procedures, less over-crowding, less poverty and the availability of refrigeration – and NOT vaccines! Similar mortality and incidence charts also show that there were great decreases in the rates of diphtheria, whooping cough, scarlet fever, etc, before there were vaccines for any of them (Note: there never was a vaccine for scarlet fever)
I mean, seriously. This is a particularly brain dead and intellectually dishonest antivaccine trope, as I’ve described more times than I can remember, and I described it as such in my first post about Dr. Kohls. This is a common antivaccine deception that completely ignores morbidity and suffering. Yes, mortality from measles was declining before the measles vaccine, thanks to better supportive care. You know what, though? The best way to prevent mortality due to measles is to prevent measles! So what does Dr. Kohls do? He doubles down on this particularly brain dead antivaccine trope! And citing Dr. Suzanne Humphries? She’s about as antivaccine as antivaccine can be. She is not an “expert” about vaccinations on any way.
That’s not really what Dr. Gary Kohls is about, though. Here is what seems to really chap his posterior:
Predictably, every time you give the name of a contrarian doctor or scientist in response to the 99.9% figure, what you tend to get referred to internet troll sites such as ‘Science-Based Medicine’ or ‘Respectful Insolence’, or the “Skeptical Raptor”.
It’s funny, but Dr. Kohls says that as though it were a bad thing. As the primary purveyor of Insolence, either Respectful or not-so-Respectful, I’m glad that I’m annoying the hell out of antivaxers. I’m quite happy that he is incensed at the material having to do with vaccines that is published on my other blog and on the blog of my good online buddy, Skeptical Raptor.
Poor, poor, Dr. Kohls. He is so unhappy at having to endure science-based criticism of his antivaccine nonsense:
Should you wish to debunk someone, anyone, who dares to disagree with mainstream thinking on vaccines, all you need do is inform Orac or the Raptor, and either will gladly oblige by writing up a boorish piece, long on insult and short on science.
Funny, but Dr. Gary Kohls says this as though it were a bad thing. Well, not quite. Dr. Kohls is full of bovine feces when he claims our posts are “short on science.” In fact, he’s also exaggerating when he claims we’re “long on insult.” As many quacks do, Dr. Kohls misrepresents our posts as being “short on science” (they’re not) and “long on insult” (they’re also not, as criticism of what you write and what you do is not necessarily “insult” and it’s definitely not ad hominem.)
Dr. Gary Kohls, who used a false attribution of quotes to attack me as a troll looking to do nothing other than attack antivaxers, regardless of the actual truth of the matter. Yes, basically, I’m calling Dr. Kohls out as an antivaxer and a liar, because that’s what he is. A couple of quotes of mine in particular seem to irritate Dr. Kohls. First:
Orac took aim at a well-respected nephrologist, who left a successful private practice to speak out about the damage being done by doctors taking a narrow-minded, aggressive approach to vaccination of patients:
As someone who comes from a strong basic science background, having been a chemistry major (who graduated with honors–so, there!), I think I can see [her] problem. First, she seems unduly proud of her science background, wielding it like a talisman against charges that she doesn’t know what she’s talking about (which she doesn’t). Unfortunately, as those of us in medicine know, what you did 25 or more years ago in college has little bearing on what you can or can’t understand now.
Yes, I wrote that about Dr. Suzanne Humphries. Read the link, though. I wrote it in response to Dr. Humphries’ bragging about her college degree. No, I’m serious. Here’s what provoked my statement above:
I am a Medical Doctor with credentials in internal medicine and nephrology (kidneys). I received a bachelor’s degree in theoretical physics in 1987 from Rutgers University. I mention the college degree in case any doubtful readers question my mental prowess. One can doubt my intellectual ability less if they first realize that I know how to figure out difficult things. I know how to look at something in depth for many hours or days until I understand the inner workings of it. This is what I learned to do in college. In fact the strenuous mind-bending exercise that was part of the physics curriculum made medical school easy. I found the study of the human body, chemistry and biology to be in comparison quite shallow, simple and easy to comprehend.
Dr. Gary Kohls also omitted context. (I know, right?) Here’s the rest of my response to Dr. Humphries’ hubris:
I can also see a bit of arrogance there, too. Let’s put it this way. I took advanced physical chemistry, graduate level biochemistry, and upper level physics, but I didn’t find medical school easy at all. One reason was that medical school required a whole lot of memorization in addition to basic science. Unfortunately, having been used to learning general principles and then applying them to problems, I found the memorization required to be rather difficult. Another problem I encountered was that, unlike chemistry and biochemical assays, I had trouble dealing with the ambiguity of medicine, of synthesizing incomplete and sometimes ambiguous clinical information in the form of patient histories, physical examinations, lab values, and tests and then applying what I had learned about the science of medicine to them. “Shades of gray” would be a good term to describe it, and I was used to more black and white. It took a major change in mindset before I began to understand. That change in mindset wasn’t easy, and it didn’t take overnight. Dr. Humphries’ problem is that she sounds as though she never changed her mindset from physics to medicine–and is proud of it.
The point is not that I didn’t just attack Dr. Humphries. I spend a considerable amount of verbiage, as I am wont to do, deconstructing what she herself wrote and explaining why it was wrong, why what Dr. Humphries was spewing was antivaccine nonsense, and why what she wrote was evidence of the arrogance of ignorance. Not only that, but I did it by admitting difficulties I had transitioning from being a basic science major as an undergraduate to studying medicine in medical school.
Dr. Kohls was also righteously incensed by this passage in a post of mine:
And here is Orac having a go at a top notch molecular and cellular physiologist:
A real molecular biologist who did real research for various biotech and pharmaceutical companies, apparently competently, for 20 years, she suddenly embraced antivaccine pseudoscience, apparently based on her embrace of fundamentalist Catholicism.” “Catholicism appears to be what first led [her] to embrace her pseudoscientific hypothesis about fetal DNA in vaccines and autism, the tragic death of her child less than a month and a half ago is unlikely to do anything but cement in her mind the evils of vaccines made using fetal cell lines.
Notice the pattern. This is only a smattering of the handiwork of these two bloggers, but you begin to get the idea.
I was writing about Theresa Deisher. Notice how Dr. Kohls leaves out my lengthy deconstruction of her bad science demonizing vaccines and claiming that “fetal DNA” in vaccines causes autism and other health problems. As I explained in incredible detail, Deisher’s idea that fetal DNA gets into the brain and into neurons in appreciable quantities, recombines with host DNA, and expresses foreign antigens to provoke autoimmunity is incredibly implausible, and her evidence does not support it. Again, Dr. Kohls cherry-picks one statement, and it’s not even that “insolent.” It’s merely a statement of fact regarding why Theresa Deisher embraced antivaccine pseudoscience. In that post, I even included Deisher’s own evidence and described why it didn’t support her idea that fetal DNA in vaccines causes autoimmunity and autism.
In any case, Dr. Gary Kohls destroyed yet another of my irony meters. Note that he’s criticizing me for being a “troll” and launching ad hominem attacks. How did I first take notice of Dr. Kohls? He misattributed quotes to me in order to paint a picture of me as an Internet troll who advocated using dishonest tactics to make antivaxers look bad,. Even worse, when called out for that misattribution, what did Dr. Kohls do? Did he admit his error and correct his original post? Of course not! He ignored my requests to correct his article (as did his editor—The Duluth Reader is a wretched hive of scum and antivaccine quackery indeed). Then he attacked me and repeated Jake Crosby’s lie about my supposedly having a financial interest in Riluzole, the same lie he included in his original post, concluding:
But then, reason would dictate that Orac’s criticisms of individuals disagreeing with his views not be so personal and mean-spirited, because it’s always more effective in the long-run to present one’s case standing atop the moral high ground, instead of down in the gutter.
The collection of disparaging pieces by Orac and Raptor about anyone offering a different perspective about vaccination is so impressive in both volume and diversity it’s a wonder they have any time left for their day jobs. But rather than take umbrage, those at whom such vitriol is aimed should feel comforted by Socrates’ memorable adage,
“When the debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the loser.”
Once again, according to Snopes.com, there is no evidence that Socrates ever said. It’s a fake quote whose provenance can’t be traced to earlier than 2008. So Dr. Gary Kohls is gullible enough to fall for fake quotes, too. That’s not a “slander” or an “ad hominem,” but rather a conclusion based on his using a fake quote. Again, Dr. Kohls, Google is your friend for these quotes. In any event, I cqn only answer Dr. Kohl’s attack on me as being about nothing but ad hominems with one word: Hypocrite. Yes, that’s what Dr. Kohls is, in my not-so-humble opinion. He views vitriol and ad hominem as perfectly acceptable when wielded by him, but draws himself up in fake outrage when criticism of antivaxers gets too heated.
Dr. Gary Kohls’ hypocrisy on this matter comes into particular focus if you examine his post from this week, Adam Schiff, the Persecution of Anti-Over-Vaccination Activists and the Nazi Book Burnings of 1933. Yes, the week after criticizing the Skeptical Raptor and myself for being too…vociferous…in our criticisms of antivaxers, Dr. Kohls plays the Nazi card and likens critics of antivaxers to Nazis, even going so far as to add, “Schiff has Apparently Forgotten the History of the Anti-Jewish Book-burnings in Nazi Germany that some of his Ancestors Surely Must Have Experienced.” His rhetoric is particularly over-the top. His basic thesis? Rep. Adam Schiff is in the pocket of big pharma, and his call to Facebook and other social media companies to make their platforms less friendly to antivaccine misinformation and pseudoscience is the equivalent of the book burnings, in which targeted books by Jewish authors and other authors that the Nazis deemed subversive, after Hitler took power.
Pot. Kettle. Black.
Of course, the pharma shill gambit is one of the favorite ad hominem attacks used by antivaxers, as are over-the-top vitriolic attacks on their perceived enemies. Dr. Kohls did nothing more than engage in projection, and The Duluth Reader remains a wretched hive of scum and quackery.
126 replies on “Antivaxer Dr. Gary Kohls strikes back against Orac in The Duluth Reader”
I assume the editor of the Reader is still salivating over the prospect of a hot and heavy (and lengthy) ‘debate’ to unfold over there, so I resisted the urge to register and post any comments responding to Kohl’s diatribe.
Me too, I was very tempted, then thought better of it.
Along with conflating disease incidence and deaths, Kohls blithely ignores the 500 or so deaths occurring annually from measles in the U.S. in the years leading up to vaccine introduction – by proclaiming that the measles death rate had “declined to near zero”.
The parents and siblings of those dead children might have had a different take on that alleged “near zero” mortality.
At least Kohls is merely sleazy and not (so far as I can tell) completely out of it, unlike an antivax (ex-) doctor whose work I was referred to recently, Rebecca Carley (she apparently has a “wholistic” practice and radio show despite losing her M.D. license, and has referred to herself as a “Ghandi with breasts”).
All the antivaxers – where do they all come from?
That would be SO easy to set to a Beatles song.
Ah, yes, wholistic medicine. That’s the branch of cardiology that treats patients who have two hearts.
Like Doctor Who?….. Holistic medicine is medicine with a big hole where all the stuff that’s been proven to work falls out, so you treat the “whole patient” by intuition, by guess and by golly.
“[H]as referred to herself as a “Ghandi (sic) with breasts””
Indira Gandhi was a Gandhi with breasts.I do hope the good doctor has no militant Sikh bodyguards.
Perhaps she meant Mohandas.
Yes, Colin, you’re right, but it lacks irony that way.
Dr. Humphries is committing the appeal to authority fallacy. Her claims about her educational background are intended to wow her audience into thinking she should be taken seriously simply because she mastered several very difficult subjects, not all of which have anything to do with vaccination.
Contrast that with our host, who readily admits he is not an expert in virology or immuneology, defers to people who are, and is guided by what the actual evidence says. His goal is simply to call out (as he puts it) people who try to use their credentials to manipulate people into doing unsafe things based on unsupported opinion or worse delusion (in the case of the aforementioned Dr. Carley).
Theresa Deisher really needs to look at what the Church says about vaccines cultured in fetal cells before she claims any kind of religious base to her pseudoscience.
On an off topic note, I was actually glad to read that Orac found the memorization required in med school to be challenging. It made me feel better; I’m having the same difficulty in nurse practitioner school and the reflection made me feel a little less overwhelmed. 🙂 So thank you for that. 🙂
As for ‘what the Church says about vaccines cultured in fetal cells’ (which, I seem to recall, is pretty much ‘we’d prefer it not be done this way, but this is what we have, no new fetuses are going into this, and not doing vaccines because of this would be throwing out the baby with the bathwater’)… well, Orac does say ‘fundamentalist Catholic’ above.
Check out the Sedevacantists sometime. Turns out that yes, there actually are people who literally believe that they are more Catholic than the (current) pope, because they believe that no pope post-Vatican II has been valid.
Right. Contrary to popular belief, Catholics fall across a wide spectrum of beliefs and Church hierarchy is not as rigid as sometimes believed; in other words the Pope doesn’t control everything and the bishops have a lot of say.
I lived across the street from a Catholic church for about a year that is Sedevacantist. When I moved there, I thought, “how convenient! I can walk to Mass every Sunday.” Then I checked out their web page, and saw how truly souless their approach to Christianity really is. No joy, all ritual and regulation. No thanks.
I once visited some of these Catholics who operate pre-Vatican II. They had taken up residence in an old monastery where they led rather medieval lives that made the Amish look quite modern. I found it interesting and rather bizarre at the same time. The weird thing is that as I was leaving, the air outside seemed suddenly and oddly dark and ominous. I wondered aloud what was going on and the monkinsh person who had been showing me around replied that apparently Mt St Helens had indeed erupted, hadn’t i heard? (How would I have heard in this cloistered monastery and how the hell had HE heard?). I drove home as quickly as I could and arrived with a sputtering engine due to a quickly clogged air filter. As you may have guessed, I lived in Spokane, Washington at the time–which received the heaviest dump of ash from the eruption. It was a very odd day.
I don’t know if this group was the Seddevancantists you mention, but something like it at any rate. They did talk about the invalid teaching of post-Vatican II.
I can believe the spectrum of Catholicism. The church across the street from my house is very serious about social justice, as LGBTQ positive as you can get without the Pope yelling at you, and often sings gospel on Sundays.
Very true. While the Catholic Church is much more monolithic than the various sects of Protestantism for obvious reasons, there’s still quite a lot of variation, even without counting the Traditionalists. I think Orac might have meant ‘Traditionalist Catholic’ for ‘Fundamentalist Catholic’, though indeed many of these Traditionalists seem like they’re the Catholic analogue of Protestant fundamentalism. They’ve largely appeared because they felt the Church had lost its way with the reforms of Vatican II, and call for a return to the glory days of yore. Some are still in communion with the main Church despite their disagreements. Others go so far as to say that the current Pope is a heretic so the See of Peter is vacant (sedevacantists). Others have gone still further and appointed their own Popes in opposition to the mainstream Pope (conclavists).
As one might expect these Traditionalist Catholic groups are magnets for all sorts of cranks. Some of them are rabidly anti-Semitic and promote Holocaust denial, espouse antivaccination views as Orac has noted, and have anti-abortion stances so extreme that they make the main Catholic Church and other pro-life groups look liberal by comparison. There are even geocentrists, flat-earthers, and Young Earth Creationists among them.
Remember See Noevo?
Yes to this. And other denominations as well.
In Protestantism there are the “mainstream” denominations we all know, and progressive ones such as the United Church of Christ, and there are organizations such as New Apostolic Reformation that are wacko-reactionary.
We tend to think of Catholicism as one entity, but there are wide variations between congregations, and also some to the left (Liberation Theology) and some to the right. The latter tend to go very far-right such as Sedevacantists and (dammit I can’t remember the name of this one) an organization that includes a couple of Supreme Court Justices as members.
In Islam it’s Sufism on the progressive side, Wahhabism on the reactionary side. (The Taliban, Al Qaeda, and ISIL don’t count: they should be defined by their terrorist deeds, rather than by whatever ideology they use to rationalize themselves.)
There’s a similar spectrum in Judaism, Hinduism, and even Buddhism, and since I don’t recall the names there, I’m not going to stick my foot in it by guessing.
All of this reflects on the wide diversity of personality (stable emotional traits) in any community (such as a large overall religious tradition) that’s large enough to be a “normal population” rather than an isolated sample.
Some humans are motivated by love and compassion, others by fear and hate, etc., and on and on for every major emotional category you can name. The content of belief varies locally; the emotional distribution reflects humanity at-large.
JustaTech: sounds a lot like my old church in North Carolina. I sure miss it 🙁
Humphries says she found medicine easier than physics but doesn’t understand that mortality is not the only measure of a vaccine’s effectiveness, any more than electric charge is the only measure of the state of an atom.
I emailed my rebuttals to him. He didn’t listen.
Dr. Gary Kohls refuses to respond to Orac in this “safe place” called Respectful Insolence, therefore, ignore him.
“It takes a great deal of discourage to speak respectful-insolence.” – MJD (Vaccine Safety Advocate)
Dr. Kohls should thank his lucky stars Orac is disinclined to sue for libel. He has an rock solid case against both Dr. Kohls and the newspaper.
As anybody with a grain of sense in their head would be.
I’ll agree with Panacea here and differ with Narad.
Yes Orac has damn good ground to sue for libel, and a rational basis to claim not being “a public person” for publishing a blog (otherwise “chilling effect” on speech in the new civic commons).
Yes, lawsuits are a pain in the arse, if only because they take time and money, and the outcome is not guaranteed.
But with such fertile grounds to sue, I would at least urge Orac to have a lawyer write a “stern letter” to the Duluth Reader. That might be enough to get them to back down, publish a prominent correction, and put Kohls on a shorter leash.
Really: this is just sooooo clear-cut: Kohls mis-attributed a quote. Attempting to double down on that, turns it from a simple “mistake” to a deliberate defamation. That’s sufficient to establish the malicious intent needed for even “a public person” to prevail in a libel suit.
If an ordinary lawyer letter doesn’t do the job, another one via Registered Mail with signature required, threatening a lawsuit and laying out the grounds, should be more than sufficient.
If they still persist, that establishes clear intent in the face of having been warned twice.
Orac could end up owning a newspaper.
Go out & get ’em, tiger!
Again, the dochniak distimms the doshes, and again he proves the futility of his doing so.
“Vaccine Safety Advocate”? As the kids say nowadays, LOL.
Orac, objectively speaking, I often muse about this too. With all this ‘hobby’ of blogging around the clock, when do you have time to do your day job? Yes, Dr Khols is also correct that your blogs are overly fluffed up with insults and ad-homs and often not having much substance, but I would never deny that there is real work involved with them. For me, even commenting on these blogs soaks up a fair bit of my time, never mind you. Seriously Orac, what gives, when do you find time to do anything else?
Really? That’s your question? Where does he find the time?
That’s the last refuge of someone with nothing of consequence to say. Considering the diarrhea of the mouth you engaged in the other day, one might ask the same question of you. Don’t throw stones when you live in a glass house, Greg.
“If you want something done, ask a busy person”
“If you want something done, ask a busy person”
Back in my working career, when I was that “busy person”, I was amazingly effective and efficient. Now that i’m retired, it takes me forever to do anything.
If a person is a good writer, able to put their thoughts into words easily- and has access to the data/ quotes being referenced, writing pages and pages can go quite quickly.
If you’re impressed that Orac can do multiple things successfully that you’re aware of (active clinician, skilled surgeon, science journalist) think about the part of his life that you and other anti-vaxxers never consider: he successfully obtains grants to support his original research proposals. It’s a huge time commitment with no guarantee of success, though the government consistently provides actual money to him because his science proves to be correct. Sure, his original research involves oncology and not vaccines, though there are similarities: for both sciences it’s facts you can measure that change practice standards or policy and not just “beliefs” or emotion-laden rants.
Give it a try. Be better than those other anti-vaxxers that just make stuff up or deconstruct other’s work: actually prove your point with original results. Write an original grant proposal to confirm what you already “know” (that vaccines cause autism). True that the NIH will likely not fund you as they do folks such as Orac, but maybe the Dwoskin Family Foundation will. And, just like Orac, you can do it in your spare time!
Doh! How could I, of all people, forget dogs?
Right then: active clinician, skilled surgeon, science journalist, AND puppies love him!
I suspect an opportunity has opened up for some of that $weet $weet Dwo$kin ca$h.
Christopher Shaw says that he no longer wants to “dabble” in antivax junk science.
Lucija Tomljenovic has got religion and is now a creationist.
The money’s got to go somewhere. If you want it, here it is, come and get it!
“Lucija Tomljenovic has got religion and is now a creationist.”
A creationist who hears the voice of god conversing with her. I eagerly await the paper with a footnote crediting “God [personal communication]” as the source of some insight.
If you’re impressed that Orac can do multiple things successfully
Someone whose whole raison d’etre is to waste the time of other people does not get to ask questions like “How do you manage not to waste time?”
And let’s face it, Gerg does not care about the answer. The “question” was just an exercise in impertinence: the wee dickwad is acting as if he is entitled to ask productive people how they manage to be productive.
Yeah, back in the day (I mean the really early days of this blog) I used to get asked that question all the time by antivaxers and other supporters of pseudoscience. I no longer dignify it by answering.
No repenting for all of her fabricated anti-vaxx science and lying to the public about vaccines I see, just justifying the voices in her head.
And, apparently, something like a Messianic Jew turned upside-down. Seriously, tzitzit?
Well, since his 2017 claim of not wanting to dabble in bad vaccine research (tiring of retracting his research papers?) it seems Chris Shaw is still as anti-vaccine as ever. Judging by his 2018 screed concluding that the vaccine religion (project much, Chris?) is like ISIS, resulting in “medical facism” it’s apparent he had not learned any lessons at UBC:
Tomljenovic is seemingly extending her prodigious capacity for denial and motivated reasoning to creationism while retaining her skill at retracting pseudo-scientific/falsified vaccine publications…
The Dwoskin’s are at least winning in one category of anti-vaccine research “success”. By my count, in the category of foundation-related retracted vaccine studies it is Dwoskins 4, Gates/Buffet 0.
It seems appropriate to note this hear. I was reading another thread where commenters were touting Brian Hooker’s credentials as a faculty member in biochemistry at Simpson University. So, I thought I would look up information about their biology program. I discovered one of the major learning outcomes for the program is:
It is possible to have a good biology program at a Christian university, i.e. TCU, but I doubt if Simpson University ranks that high.
“Seriously Orac, what gives, when do you find time to do anything else?”
It helps that, as when dealing with Creationists, the same arguments come up again and again. Once you recognize a common trope or fallacy, the response is the same: A Creationist can spew numerous doubts or specious arguments in their favor, but it really all comes down to their fundamental belief that Evolution is Wrong, and no amount of facts, science or logic can change their minds.
I understand completely.
Some people like to always be busy. And that doesn’t mean being in a continual rush. It just means keeping occupied. And it’s easy if you can do what you enjoy doing. It does help if you need only 6 hours of sleep per night. That already gives you about 2 hours heads up on most people. My work takes up about 10 hours of my day. But I love my work. That helps. I actually look forward to Mondays. I’m not a blogger but I am a long distance mountain trail runner, which takes up another 1-2 hours per day and 3-4 hours on Sunday mornings. I’m not religious so already I’m saving lots of time. The surrounding hills are my church. I also cook three times a week and do half the housework because I’m not the only one in the household who goes to work. It does require support from those around you but that just means surrounding yourself with supportive happy people who also like to be busy doing the things they love to do.
Rearrange your life if your life doesn’t suit you is my advice.
It was said in jest that Isaac Asimov was actually triplets.
He doesn’t type with only his index fingers, as you apparently do if it takes you so much time to comment.
I tried to read Kohls’ latest screed and failed. It was simultaneously boring and absurd. Godwin’s Law taken to the max.
This one always cracks me up. There’s no such thing. At most, an ambitious undergrad might get some GR or fluid dynamics in, but QFT? Group theory and the Standard Model? Not a chance. It’s mechanics, E&M, optics; more mechanics and E&M; some lab courses; and some (really) basic quantum.
It doesn’t take “mental prowess,” it takes showing up to class and asking for help when you need it (a skill I didn’t have at the time, although I got the degree all the same with a respectable GPA).
It always bothers me that too many physicists disrespect other sciences because “I am a physicist and I’m smarter than you.” I’ve met some pretty smart people who are amazingly self-righteous cranks.
I put the “foolish” on my name to remind myself of humility.
This is a common observation among biological and medical scientists about physicists. They tend to view their science as the most rigorous, leaving out the aspect of biology and medicine, namely how the data tend to be less pure and more full of noise, making it more difficult to interpret and to draw conclusions from it.
“Making it more difficult to interpret and to draw conclusions from it.”
That’s indeed one of the reasons I’ve always had trouble considering medicine to be science. It took me a few years to come grudgingly to the realization that it indeed follows the scientific method as best as it could.
I’m still very much doubtful of medical claims concerning individual cases, and I’m inclined to give only “statistical credit” to most medical theories I encounter. I thus never discount the claims that a patient was harmed based on his self-report, though I often see how such a claim can be clouded in very imprecise thinking, to say the least.
Nobody should be satisfied with perturbative techniques, dammit!
I spent a few years on not just perturbation methods, but degenerate perturbation analysis, and I am here now to tell you that it is not as sexy as it sound.
Well, that’s appropriate. Walk me through it: multiple eigenstates with the same eigenvalue?
Thanks for pointing that out, Narad. My undergrad physics degree just says “Physics” as well. I’m sure that’s all Numpty’s says too.
My undergraduate degree was a B.S. in Chemistry with Honors. I’ve never claimed that made me a chemist.
Yes. Depending on the university, the degree might be in “applied physics” or “engineering physics” or “physics and astronomy”, but never “theoretical physics”. Even with a Ph.D., the topic might be theoretical, but the degree will not explicitly be in “theoretical physics”.
In mentioning the degree she also manages to run afoul of one of the items on John Baez’s Crackpot Index, which as it happens was specifically designed to deal with people claiming a physics background:
Kohl himself also gets some points for comparing Rep. Schiff (the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, not normally the committee you would expect to be dealing with vaccine-related matters) to Nazis:
I am 1000% not standing up for Humpheries, but at my undergrad the physics students took Baby quantum (we all took that), Big quantum, Granddaddy quantum and Jedi quantum. (Not the actual course titles, just what everyone called the classes.) And that’s not counting the Chemistry quantum. (Oh lord, orbitals, not the orbitals!)
But even if you took all that, your degree still just says “Physics”.
A few things….
— I experienced something like what Orac described although in different areas: I didn’t know what to major in so I studied in both arts and science ( life and social); grad school was psych which including physio and experimental, translating into tons of rote memory tasks- hundreds of studies, updated weekly-, more than I ever had to tackle- fortunately, one of my areas WAS memory which helped a little. Of course, this isn’t as much as medical school but you catch my drift. One of my profs used to remark, ” If you can’t tolerate ambiguity, what are you doing studying psych?
— Isn’t Mr Schiff Jewish? But he basically calls him a……
— Dr Humphries is often a guest on Gary Null vaccine extravaganzas – both radio and film- if she is so freaking brilliant, why can’t she see how much of a quack he is? Anyone with a medical background should discern that the material he assembles- like a Rube Goldberg construction- to explain vaccine “damage” or a “healthy” diet is truly abysmal as well as fantastical. I would go as far to say that any reasonably intelligent adult** listening to him for 5 minutes should be able to tell that he’s a charlatan, even deficient in basic knowledge and language skills. Either she’s clueless or as much of a grifter as he is, seeking to enhance her action through his greater visibility.
— he quotes Jake? SRSLY.
** some of us were discussing this on the other thread yesterday. What makes people vulnerable to quack marketting?
In other news contrary to the “vaccines didn’t save us” and “these diseases aren’t serious/are easily treated””
An unvaccinated boy in Oregon developed a serious case of tetanus from a wound. He survived, leaving a medical bill of about $800 000.
He’s lucky to be alive. He would have died if not for supportive care.
Plus his parents have not kept up his vaccinations: https://www.oregonlive.com/health/2019/03/unvaccinated-oregon-boy-6-nearly-dies-of-tetanus-racks-up-1-million-in-bills.html
That further proof that Kohls, Greg, and all other anti-vaccine fools are sadistic child haters who love to see kids suffer. And do not learn even after going into debt and having their child almost die.
I am willing to bet that the expenses of this child’s care will be borne by taxpayers. It’s not that I’m opposed to that, but realistically, the parents will turn to Medicaid, if they haven’t already. Ironically, Medicaid pays for vaccinations.
Geez Louise. I was sold on vaccines as a kid watching Little House on the Prairie when after scraping her leg on a (you guessed it) rusty piece of metal, Ma Ingalls made a tourniquet, heated a knife in the fire, and CUT THE INFECTION OUT OF HER OWN LEG. No amount of vaccine scaremongering will ever replace that horror in my brain.
In days of olde, a treatment for puncture wounds where rabies was considered to be a risk was cautery – with either a heated iron or nitric acid.
In one of the episodes of the All Creatures Great and Small TV series, a horse belonging to a friend of the daughter of vet’inary Herriot contracts tetanus from a wound. It does not end happily.
My grandfather used to tell me horror stories about how tetanus was treated when he was a boy in the 1920’s. The story went that doctors would purposefully break / dislocate the patient’s jaw so they could get a tube into them to keep them hydrated and fed. Don’t know if it’s an apocryphal tale or not, but tetanus isn’t called “lockjaw” for nothing; and don’t get me started on how his sister’s dyptheria was treated. But, you know 800 thousand dollars and 50 days in ICU is a small price to pay for the freedom not to vaccinate your child (except, of course, the child payed the last bit).
re Jake Crosby:
( Autism Investigated)
Jake haras… erm, questioned a SB vaccine advocate, Dr Peter Hotez**, when he appeared as a speaker near Jake’s home, and was accompanied by longtime anti-vax commenter, Maurine Meleck. Oh joy! Quel combo!
Jake has also aggravated Orac, Dr Offit and Dr Godlee live when they spoke publicly. The list grows, the BS increases.
At least Kohls does it from a safe distance.
** who “poisoned” his own daughter into autism
It’s so disappointing that the Gnat’s parents continue to enable his delusional behavior. He’ll never actually get a real job or have any sort of aspirations of having a normal life.
Jake is heading further and further down the rabbit hole. He will appear in China shortly.
“With all this ‘hobby’ of blogging around the clock, when do you have time to do your day job?”
The companion whine occurs when an antivaxer/woo-promoter gets fed up with their arguments being shredded, and does a dramatic flounce into the sunset, proclaiming that they have “better things to do” – this, after repeatedly frothing their way through lengthy posts attempting to defend the indefensible. 🙂
*Greg’s problem is mainly frothing at the brain, or what a radiologist reviewing his PET scan might describe as “hypermetabolic opacities”.
Apparently anti-vax physicians can’t research quotes at all. “The Paleo Cardiologist” (by wish-of-death anti-vax cardiologist Wolfson) opens with a supposed quote from Plato: “Strange times are these in which we live when old and young are taught falsehoods in school. And the person who dare to tell the truth is called a lunatic and a fool”, which actually was said in 1871 by George Francis Train.
There are whole sectors of the Intertubes where the use of fake quotations – not necessarily embedded in a meme – functions as a purity test. If you’re not even willing to fabricate a quotation and lie about its source, it calls into question your commitment to the cause.
It’s kind of ironic that Wolfsohn quotes George Francis Train, who was orphaned at the age of four when his parents and three sisters died of yellow fever during an epidemic in New Orleans. Yellow fever, of course, is now preventable by vaccination. Maybe that’s why Wolfsohn attributed the quote to Plato.
I expect them to start quoting Charles Manson soon. In a few interviews, Messiah Charlie babbled about this, too, that old people shouldn’t try to educate the young, etc. etc. Wild stuff.
Kohls, like so many anti-vaxxers are becoming increasingly unhinged as they are getting more negative exposure and squeezed out of their preferred mediums like YouTube and Facebook and are relagated to a few remaining rags that keep promoting “the controversy”. Perhaps it has something to do with their delusion of “we’re winning” that we see from Greg and his ilk crumbling before their eyes as public sentiment turns so harshly against them. I guess they are victims of their own “success”.
Yup, though in reality all that WINNING! only got the pro-disease gang to #8 on the WHO’s Top Ten List of global threats to public health thus far (https://www.who.int/emergencies/ten-threats-to-global-health-in-2019).
Rumour has it that Barbara Loe is lowering her anti-vaxx goals because she had planned to be the WHO’s #1 global threat to public health by 2020…
Oh — not winning?! We’ve the multi-billions profittable pharma industry pitted against us, as well as the entire MSM and you guys are still struggling to contain us. Desperate, you’re now calling to the social media empire for help.
Let’s face it, vaccination rates increase and we have soaring ‘coincidences’ of headbanging, nonverbal kids that grow up dependent and unproductive. We’re talking soaring ‘coincidences’ of stressed out, broken families struggling to care for these kids and pleading for answers.
As well. we have communities bursting at the seams from the increased ‘coincidental’ costs.
Let’s face it guys, the antivaxxers always win and even when we lose. The game is truly rigged against you.
This P.R.A.T.T. again Greg? The increase has been on the mild end, not the severe end.
Wrong again. In fact, fractally wrong. Having an autistic child does not make a family more likely to break up. This hypothesis was looked at and refuted literally years ago.
You must be using the Trump definition of “winning”. People are once again suffering and dying from vaccine preventable diseases. And the fence sitters are realising that antivaxxers are wrong and dangerous to public health.
Almost forgot – this is how much you’re “winning”.
A Former Anti-Vaxxer Shares The Harrowing Last Straw That Made Him Get Vaccinated
I hope the link renders properly.
To quote Buzz Lightyear:
You are a sad strange little man and I pity you.
Right, sure Greg; there is a huge coordinated global conspiracy, aligned evil forces out to getcha. Drat you found us out you little scamp.
As much as you envision yourself some kind of autistic saviour, nothing could be further from it. Your continued vile description of autistics is an affront to them and their families. No wonder you’re relegated to keyboard warrior antics.
As only a delusional anti-vaxxer could believe.
“We’ve the multi-billions profittable pharma industry pitted against us, as well as the entire MSM and you guys are still struggling to contain us.”
You really do sound like a very troubled man being escorted and locked into solitary confinement at a penitentiary psychiatric hospital.
I’ve never seen any of these ‘head banging, hand flapping’ autistic people. Ever. Maybe my town population of 100,000 or so isn’t large enough to have a great number. On the other hand I regularly see carers on outings with people with Downs Syndrome. And Gurkhas. Seems like there are more Nepalese in my town than people with severe autism.
Don’t do that, man. Gerg is just an asshole.
“Don’t do that, man. Gerg is just an asshole.”
But I’m merely stating that is rhetoric is almost identical to what would happen in such a situation. I’m not even making the case that he is wrong. I’m merely making the case that his rhetoric is an obstacle to rational discussion of the issue at hand. I just hope he’ll be able to see it one day, for his own personal ongoing self-education.
I always envisioned him on a busy street corner, wearing a sandwich board that states he’s made of cheese.
Does the turnip truck make pickups? He’s been doing the same thing for the better part of a decade.
“He’s been doing the same thing for the better part of a decade.”
Then it really is a psychiatric condition.
Regardless, it seems important to keep pointing out his incoherent thinking. If only for the lurkers.
I see no evidence of this.
Uh-huh. That’s why measles outbreaks convince people very promptly, right?
He seems to think being board certified is a scientific credential. Which is weird. (Not to discount the efforts it takes to get it; but it’s still not required or connected to being a scientist).
And self awareness certainly isn’t him.
Yep. Board certification is strictly a CLINICAL credential. The vast majority of board-certified physicians are not scientists.
Snopes. You have got to be kidding.
About what precisely?
Snopes debunks anti-vaxx claims ergo it’s unreliable and part of the machine man.
I’m still waiting for a reference to Socrate’s quote from Plato or Xenophon.
Precisely. Snopes isn’t perfect, but it is damned reliable when it comes to identifying fake quotes.
I wonder if they have the same view of Snopes when it debunks claims about Donald Trump?
Hello, Mr. Ball. You still have not given me any PubMed indexed studies by reputable qualified researchers showing that actually getting chicken pox is better than getting the varicella vaccines. Well, I now have another request for data. First read this:
Now, please tell us why getting tetanus is so much safer than the DTaP series, or even the Tdap boosters for grownups.
Be sure to provide the appropriate verifiable evidence. Given your performance so far, you are not the one who should be commenting on Snopes as a source for an old quotation.
This came up in another blog and the anti-vaxxer more or less implied that they should have sent him home with a prescription for lobelia and saved a million bucks. This was on the basis of a trial out of China where ten people with presumed tetanus were treated with lobelia and managed to survive. Besides which, no one can find the case study.
Christ, you make Gerg look like a genius, Ball Peen. Seven-word, content free hit-and-run. Clap, clap, clappity clap.
I prefer the Pelosi clap in these situations
Orac should be very proud:
I listened to today’s glorious episode of The Gary Null Show ( PRN.fm) and prior to an interview with anti-vax proselytiser, Jeremy Hammond, and his own weekend webinar ( only 20 USD!) on vaccines, he introduced the subject by naming sceptics, Wikipedia AND Dr DG as the chief opponents of science. Orac leads the religion of vaccine scientism ( 30 minutes in) even before he names Dr Offit and Rep Schiff.
Orac’s fame grows: even barely literate woo-meisters recognise his power and might.
I didn’t look very hard, but from what I found in a brief web search it would seem his chances of survival were probably no better than about fifty-fifty, even with the supportive care.
I hope he was treated in a teaching hospital. The people that cared for him will probably (hopefully!) never see another case in their lives unless they do work abroad where tetanus is still a fairly major killer. It must have been gruesome for them, knowing that it could have been so easily prevented.
The description of his symptoms include opisthotonus as shown in Sir Charles Bell’s painting used in the Wikipedia article on tetanus
I find it utterly mind boggling that his parents still refused adequate vaccination against tetanus for him.
^^ Oops, botched that! That was supposed to be in response to responses to my earlier comment on the boy with tetanus in Oregon.
I saw one possible case of tetanus when an ICU patient was put in my charge. No one actually knew what he was dying of, but several foreign born clinicians who had seen cases of it agreed that it was possible. ‘t’his man had a congenital immunodeficiency, and his IgG contained anti-tetanus antibodies, but no one could say whether that was enough.Still, it was an unforgettable case,no matter the cause.
“he introduced the subject by naming sceptics, Wikipedia AND Dr DG as the chief opponents of science”
Wow, I’m #1.
OBVIOUSLY, you’re the Dangerous ONE.
I’ve been searching for the more recent study ( 2018 or 2019) to no avail BUT, Bradley et al ( 2016) found that regression in autism is more common than is usually supposed: about 1 in 5 cases.
I’m putting this here because anti-vaxxers may say that SBM denies what parents report: kids were progressing in skill acquisition and then BOOM! they lose what they already had.
Of course, parents are not great at reporting progress vs regression ( also Bradley et al). As we’ve seen with Cedillo, the very videos that the parents used to demonstrate early abilities showed characteristics of ASD.
People are notoriously bad at eyewitness testimony: in fact a whole area of psychology addresses this ( starting with Loftus).
THUS, perhaps some parents are seeing regression but mis-attribute it to vaccines. It might be interesting to find out how parents’ attributions ( realistic vs not) line up in regard to if there was regression or not ( judged by others): are those who blame vaccines more likely or not to have witnessed an actual regression?
Anti-vaxxers claim that millions of parents witnessed their child suddenly regress: now the count is up to 7 million parents ( 3.5 million children!; Null) which illustrates exactly what I think we’re dealing with : confabulation and exaggeration proceeding from something that may be vaguely true. My new term for woo: vaguely true.
This is the only thing I could find with Bradley on the author list.
Thanks. It may not have been Bradley. IIRC, someone at RI posted it. Ozonof had similar interest ( 2008).
I think that it would be interesting to look more in detail at anti-vaxxers’ experiences and reports of regression.
In addition, do the most vocal/ well-known anti-vaxxers have kids who are more likely to have ID, seizures or other difficult issues. It might be an interaction of sorts:
parents with less coping skills X kids with regression/ other problems= anti-vax?
Just speculation based on reading parents’ anti-vax lit. Maybe someone could look into VAXXED: The Bus Tour! stories. Do anti-vaxxers frequently report symptoms of AS or mild language or social?
If there is a relationship, we may understand why some people assume that people with autism are predominantly towards the lower skill/ IQ end. Which is not true.
Maybe. I read a summary that IIRC was a little different. But in the same ball park I guess.
Regression in ASD is more the norm than the exception. Anti-vaxxers’ claims of dramatic regression following vaccination seem to represent an internet model rather than reality. Since ASD apparently begins with aberrant gene expression in the first months following conception, it’s not surprising that both early- and late-diagnosed children with ASD show early signs of abnormal development, whether or not parents or providers detect those signs: “Similar social communication impairments were present at very early ages in both early-detected ASD and so-called late-onset ASD. Data indicate ASD is present whether detected or not by current methods.”
Hey Narad, file these articles under — Provaxxers ‘winning’ but it’s really the Antivaxxers
I believe it’s indeed quite a good thing that the school system has been stepping up to provide special education for autistic kids. In my country, the movement is very recent, and teachers indeed complain that they are not trained for that burden.
Very good thing. Happy.
FTFY. You can’t think.
Striking back at Gary Kohls in the Duluth Reader.
Not very well written however.
Dangerous Bacon, You have written many nutty comments like this one about provaccines and antivaxers over the years. I find them mostly comical pseudoscience. The first one I read was your 2013 Valentine’s day response to Professor Frances A. Jurnak comments about Vaccines. Sounded like your were 12. You should be over 18 by now. Her credibility can be easily assessed because anyone who wants to know who she is can do so.
If you have a point that is of any intelligence, why do you feel the need to say it with anonymity? Before I am willing to consider your light weight immature arguments, please tell me who you are. I think Conor McGregor could of asked this question better, but I will stick with, who are you and what are you scared of?
All you provacciners are a joke. Any one who complains about antivaxers must be a moron. You do realize that they pose no threat to those who get the magical vaccine potions. Either Dangerous Bacon did not get his magic vaccines and worried he may get sick because others did not their vaccine or he is just worried sick that antivaxers might get sick. Which is it? I think this would be the answer from Dangerous Bacon; “duh, didn’t think about that” …Now all you provacciners can sleep better.
“Any one who complains about antivaxers must be a moron.”
I mostly complain that they will not answer my questions. They are not very difficult, perhaps you can give them a try:
1: Please post the PubMed indexed studies by reputable qualified researcher not on the Dwoskin payroll that any vaccine on the present American pediatric schedule causes more harm than the disease. Measles causes pneumonia in one out of twenty cases and encephalitis in one in a thousand cases. Please show the MMR vaccine causes more harm.
2: The MMR vaccine was first introduced in the USA in 1971, with a change of one component in 1978. Please post the verifiable documentation dated before 1990 that autism was rising in the USA during the 1970s and 1980s coincident to the use of MMR. It is obvious that if an MMR vaccine causes autism it would be noticed in a country that is much much bigger than the UK, and had been using it for almost twenty years before the UK introduced their versions.
3: In 1988 the UK introduced three different MMR vaccines, and then removed two in 1992. Please explain which MMR vaccine was Wakefield studying for his 1998 paper. He should have been more specific on which vaccine, and not muddle everything by including an American child who got a fourth different MMR vaccine.
4: I have US Census data on the incidence of measles during the 20th century (http://www.census.gov/prod/99pubs/99statab/sec31.pdf). It shows there was a 90% drop in measles cases between 1960 and 1970. Why did that happen? Do not mention deaths, another country, another disease or another decade… because that is changing the subject.
5: If you or a loved one came into contact with a bat, which is the most common way that rabies is transmitted in the USA, would you get the rabies vaccine. Or because you do not like how the vaccine is made would you just let nature take its course.
6: Often people mention that Big Pharma is in it only for the money. Please provide an economic study that shows letting kids get measles instead of preventing it with two MMR doses would save money. Make sure to provide an economic analysis that counters this one:
J Infect Dis. 2004 May 1;189 Suppl 1:S131-45.
An economic analysis of the current universal 2-dose measles-mumps-rubella vaccination program in the United States.
7: Now provide an economic analysis that forgoing all vaccines would be cost effective, disprove this:
Pediatrics. 2014 Apr;133(4):577-85.
Economic Evaluation of the Routine Childhood Immunization Program in the United States, 2009.
Here is a data point that you can use, the cost was $800,000:
This moron anxiously awaits your answer. By the way, my real name is actually “Chris.”
Before I am willing to consider your light weight immature arguments, please tell me who you are
Hands up all those who care whether or not “Mike Roberts” can be persuaded to consider Dangerous Bacon’s arguments.
What about those too young to be vaccinated, like Dana McCaffrey, Kaliah Jordan and Kailis Smith? What about children who have cancer and are immunosuppressed from their treatments?
Oh wait, I forgot. Antivaxxers don’t give a rat’s backside about others.
Anti-vaxxers are not only a treat for their own children, but also for those of others, who are either to young to be vaccinated, can’t be vaccinated for real medical reasons (so not the reasons some ‘vaccine-friendly’ paediatricians pull out of their behinds), or for those were the vaccination didn’t work, because vaccines are not 100% perfect, just like nothing in life is 100% perfect.
And my English isn’t perfect as well. I ment threat instead of treat
“You do realize that they pose no threat to those who get the magical vaccine potions.”
Of course, another question the anti-vaccine folks are never able to answer is how to protect a baby under age one year from measles, mumps and chicken pox.
I am particularly interested since I had to take care of a six month old baby with chicken pox. It was heart rending to hear to inconsolable cries due to the non-stop itching.
How to protect a baby under age one from measles, mumps and chicken pox:
never let the baby leaves the house until age one
make sure that all people who have contact with the baby never leave the house until the baby is one
make sure FIRST that everyone the baby has contact with ( and the baby herself) is not carrying any of these viruses silently and doesn’t leave the house afterwards
That should work out well.
Which is hilarious, since we cannot keep the working parent away from their job and the other siblings out of school for a full year. My youngest and oldest were infected with chicken pox by the middle kid before he had symptoms. That kid got it in preschool.
Then there are the infections that are ubiquitous. Tetanus is in the environment, and just about everyone has some Hib bacteria, which occasionally goes rogue in toddlers.