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A bogus statistic about medical errors rears its ugly head in STAT

The claim that medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the US is one of those slasher statistics that just won’t die. This time around STAT News gave space to Michael Saks and Stephan Landsman to parrot that claim credulously in the service of selling their book.

There are certain claims, certain statistics, that I like to refer to as “slasher statistics” or “slasher stats” (although sometimes I also call them “zombie statistics”). The reason is simple. Like the slashers in horror films, iconic characters like Michael Myers, Jason Voorhees, and Freddy Krueger (for example), these slasher stats never truly die. No matter how many times they appear to have been killed with science, reason, and data at the end of one installment, they always show up in the next installment to wreak havoc, death, and destruction again. One such slasher stat is the oft-repeated claim that “medical errors” are the third leading cause of death in the United States. I first wrote about this particular abuse of statistics in 2016, when a surgical oncologist named Dr. Marty Makary co-authored an “Analysis” published in The BMJ entitled—you guessed it!—Medical error—the third leading cause of death in the US, in which he and Michael Daniel estimated that medical errors accounted for a quarter of a million deaths per year, making it, yes, the “third leading cause of death” in the US. It’s a bogus factoid that never ceases to cause my blood pressure to rise and me to be seriously tempted to start refuting it whenever I see it pop up.

Unsurprisingly, quacks, antivaxxers, and other medical conspiracy theorists quickly and gleefully embraced this “study” (which, by the way, was not a study at all but an “analysis” of some very flawed studies that didn’t even qualify as a meta-analysis or systematic review), and the talking point that medical errors are the “third leading cause of death” quickly found its way into the national zeitgeist, propelled by a “Johns Hopkins University study.” Worse, a lot of physicians, journalists, and scientists who really, really should know better, seem to accept this figure as Gospel. No matter how many times I and others have tried to demonstrate why this particular statistic is bogus, having been derived from bad studies coupled with extreme innumeracy and how the true figure is likely at least an order of magnitude smaller (albeit even that is admittedly still too high), this slasher stat lives on, just as slashers do after having apparently been killed at the end of the movie before the one in which they are resurrected. horror movie.

The claim that medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the US is rather like this.

The slasher stat about medical errors returns

To be honest, in the middle of a global pandemic, I hadn’t expected STAT News, of all media outlets, to provide the digital ink to repeat this slasher stat, but so it did in the form of a “First Opinion” op-ed by two law professors Michael Saks and Stephan Landsman entitled Use systems redesign and the law to prevent medical errors and accidents. Naturally, they have a book to sell, Closing Death’s Door: Legal Innovations to End the Epidemic of Healthcare Harm, and the “third leading cause” trope fits in very nicely with the message of the book.

Let’s just say that the article does not start well:

This summer, surgeons at University Hospitals in Cleveland transplanted a donor kidney into the wrong patient, while the patient the kidney had been destined for had to go back on the waiting list for another one to become available.

The most surprising thing about the story is not that a serious medical error occurred, but that it found its way into the news.

Injury or illness caused by the healer is called iatrogenic harm. It’s so widespread, so frequent, so massive, and so continuous that it rarely makes headlines. And unlike a plane crash or a building collapse, the vast majority of iatrogenic deaths can be kept under wraps — and they are.

The fact that this incident happened at the hospital where the general surgery residency that trained me is based piqued my interest. Granted, I’ve been gone from University Hospitals of Cleveland for around a quarter of a century now; so it’s unlikely that anyone I used to know there from the transplant service, particularly the surgeons (who have probably retired by now), is still working there, but you never know. Don’t get me wrong, this is a bad error. I did a little searching and found this local news report with more:

We have learned there were two kidney transplants happening at UH on July 2. The health system confirms a kidney meant for one patient was mistakenly transplanted into the wrong person. Fortunately, the person who received the wrong kidney seems to be accepting it and recovering, according to UH. Sources inside the hospital said the blood types were compatible.

Now we’re told the mistake wasn’t noticed until the second operation. UH won’t confirm how far along the surgery was when the transplant team realized they had the kidney intended for the first patient. UH said the second patient is back on the transplant list awaiting another organ.

Two “caregivers” — UH would not disclose if they are doctors, nurses, or other staff — are off the job pending an investigation.

This is, of course, the sort of error that should not happen, could have caused immediate harm to the second patient, and did cause the harm that the second patient had to wait longer on dialysis for a transplant. Moreover, as horrible as this particular error is, it is quite a rare kind of error, given the number of transplants that occur every year:

A quick Google search shows there have been problems around the country with transplants in the past, including with a kidney at the University of Southern California 10 years ago that put transplants on hold there.

The United Network for Organ Sharing that manages the national organ transplant system wrote a statement in response to News 5’s questions about the UH kidney issues. 

It wrote in part, “…policies include verification processes meant to prevent errors such as the one reported (at UH) and they are exceedingly rare.”

So right away in Saks and Landsman’s article, I sense a bait-and-switch. They start with a striking but rare type of medical error that did not lead to any deaths and then pivot to this:

Death by medical error or accident is the nation’s leading cause of accidental death, exceeding all other causes of accidental death combined. Medical error and accidents kill approximately as many people each month in the U.S. as Covid-19 did before vaccines became available.

Yet there’s no Operation Warp Speed for preventing medical errors, no national investment of billions of dollars to develop solutions, and no national urgency about solving the problem.

The pedant in me can’t help but note that COVID-19 was the third leading cause of death in the US last year, pushing the slasher statistic of medical errors down to the fourth leading cause, but no one ever points that out—well, not “no one,” but very few people. In any event, I will give the authors credit for using another tried-and-not-so-true trope lamenting how there is no “Operation Warp Speed” for a chronic problem while ignoring the rather substantive difference between a chronic problem that’s been going on for years and a global pandemic that had just closed down the country a month or so before the program was named. (And, no, I’m not defending Operation Warp Speed, whose name I lambasted when it was first announced and blame as a significant contributor to vaccine hesitancy about the COVID-19 vaccines that were so quickly developed and tested.) The point is that Saks and Landsman are comparing apples and oranges the way that a lot of “integrative medicine” boosters like to do when they ask why there has never been an “Operation Warp Speed” for obesity. Again, I am not downplaying the significance of medical errors; rather I am pointing out that to address the problem of medical errors requires accurate, not hugely inflated, estimates of how common medical errors actually are.

Freddy Krueger, Jason Voorhees, and Michael Myers: Slasher stats remind me of these iconic horror movie killers.

Saks and Landsman are nowhere near finished, though:

Studies to determine the incidence of errors leading to injuries and deaths in hospitals began in the early 1970s. A meta-analysis of such studies concluded that the average annual death rate from such errors in the first decade of the 2000s was in the neighborhood of 250,000. That’s more than enough to make medical care gone awry the number three cause of deathin the U.S., after heart disease and cancer.

No, no, no, no, no! The article by Marty Makary and Michael Daniel to which they refer was not a meta-analysis! Not even its authors claimed that it was! (Seriously, Saks and Landsman, just by this claim alone, tell me that they are in way over their heads.) This article wasn’t even close to a meta-analysis! It was billed as an “analysis” but in reality was just a medical op-ed. I deconstructed this awful “analysis” in detail back when it was first published. Let me paraphrase my first impression of the article from then, starting with how it wasn’t a fresh study at all or even a meta-analysis. I described it instead as a regurgitation of already existing data, no matter how many news outlets referred to it a as a “study.” Basically, all Makary did was to pool existing data to produce a point estimate of the death rate among hospitalized patients reported in the literature extrapolated to the reported number of patients hospitalized in 2013 based on four major existing studies since the Institute of Medicine (IOM) report “To Err Is Human” in 1999. In reality, it’s more an op-ed calling for better reporting of deaths from medical errors (something I whole-heartedly support), with extrapolations based on studies with small numbers.

As Kaveh Shojania and Mary Dixon-Woods put it in a commentary published in BMJ Quality & Safety:

Though the paper by Makary and Daniel was widely cited as ‘a study’, it presented no new data nor did it use formal methods to synthesise the data it used from previous studies. The authors simply took the arithmetic average of four estimates since the publication of the IOM report, including one from HealthGrades,5 a for-profit company that markets quality and safety ratings, a report from the US Office of the Inspector General (OIG)6 and two peer-reviewed articles (table 1).7 ,8 The paper did not apply any established methodology for quantitative synthesis nor did it include a discussion either of the intrinsic limitations of the studies used or of the errors associated with the extrapolation process. To bolster their claims, Makary and Daniel did highlight the agreement between their estimates and that of a similar analysis published a few years ago by James.9 The apparent consensus is not, however, surprising, since they use mostly the same studies (listed in table 1, together with a more recent analysis commissioned by the Leapfrog group10).

The same article details the many serious errors in Makary and Daniel’s estimates and is well worth reading.

There were a number of problems that I myself discussed, including Makary’s definition of medical errors, which was so broad as to include a large number of deaths that were not due to any specific error or errors, but rather to the frequency of expected complications from medical procedures. I also noted that the claim of over 251,000 deaths in hospitals as a result of medical errors per year was innumerate. Given that, according to the CDC at the time, only 715,000 of the 2.6 million deaths that occur every year in the US occur in hospitals, if Makary and Daniel’s numbers were to be believed, then some 35% of inpatient deaths are due to medical errors. Or, as Ben Mazer and Chadi Nathan noted, citing the upper end of Makary and Daniel’s estimates for the number of deaths due to medical errors per year in the US:

Assuming 440,000 were an accurate portrayal of annual preventable deaths that occur in hospitals, the context inwhich these studies were conducted and where about 715,000 people die annually,18 this implies 62% of all hospital deaths are caused by preventable medical errors. Taking the 251,454 estimate, almost 34% of hospital deaths would be due to medical errors. We do not believe most physicians could reconcile such a high percentage of hospital deaths being caused by preventable medical error. The estimates’ authors propose even these are fewer than the actual figures. Makary and Daniel believe their estimate “understates the true incidence of death due to medical error.” James doubled his estimate to account for hypothetical underreporting but claimed even this “is probably an underestimate,” suggesting a factor of three might be better, although doing so would likely have placed preventable errors as the leading cause of death in the USA. It has been said these calculations lead to a “bottomless well of medical error.”15

I have in the past grimly joked about how there seems to be an “arms race” to come up with the highest number (a “bottomless well,” if you will) for medical error. On quack websites, for instance, the number is even higher. For instance, über-quack Gary Null teamed with Carolyn Dean, Martin Feldman, Debora Rasio, and Dorothy Smith to write a paper “Death by Medicine,” which estimated that the total number of iatrogenic deaths is nearly 800,000 a year, which would be the number one cause of death, if true (cancer and heart disease don’t kill that many per year) and nearly one-third of all deaths in the US. Basically, when it comes to these estimates, it seems as though everyone is in a race to see who can blame the most deaths on medical errors. It wouldn’t surprise me if one day I see a quack estimate of over a million deaths a year in the US due to medical error.

Oh, wait. Saks and Landsman are heading there:

But hospitals are not the only place where health care is delivered. Vastly more patient contacts occur outside of hospitals, where the error profile is different, dominated by diagnostic and medication errors. The limited data that exist suggest that the number of deaths caused by iatrogenic harm outside of hospitals is roughly equal to the number that occur inside hospitals.

Interestingly, no citations are given for this figure, but if you take at face value Makary’s vastly inflated figure of 250,000-440,000 deaths per year in US hospitals for medical errors and bought Saks and Landsman’s estimates, you’d end up with 500,000-880,000 deaths per year in the US due to medical error, which is getting into Gary Null territory and close to the one million deaths per year territory I grimly joked about. Remember, again, that, according to the latest CDC statistics, there are now roughly 2.85 million deaths per year in the US population of 330 million, or 869.7 deaths per 100,000 population. 880,000 deaths per year would be 31% of all deaths in the US every year. Again, however urgent and serious the problem of medical errors in the US is, it is rank innumeracy to think that medical error causes 18-31% of all deaths every year in the US, possibly more given the propensity for people citing these numbers to say that they are underestimates.

Saks and Lands then pivot back to anecdotes:

The ease with which medical errors can occur is striking. To perform a bronchoscopy to remove a sunflower seed that went down a 2-year-old’s airway instead of his esophagus, a doctor in New Mexico inadvertently sedated the boy with an adult dose of morphine, which caused him to stop breathing and led to severe permanent brain damage. A lab in New York state mislabeled a tissue sample, causing a woman who did not have breast cancer to get a double mastectomy while cancer kept growing inside the woman who had the disease. Surgeons still sometimes get left and right confused, and it’s not uncommon for patients to get the wrong medication or the wrong dose, as happened to Boston Globe health reporter Betsy Lehman, who died from an overdose of chemotherapy drugs that were miscalculated.

No one denies that these are horrible medical errors that should not occur. The question is: How frequently do errors like these occur? Estimating how often these errors occur turns out to be a lot more difficult than it might seem on the surface. Unsurprisingly, Saks and Landsman are a fan of a common method to estimate such errors, trigger tools, which are known for hugely overestimating the prevalence of medical error. Here we go:

Because hospital medical records often do not list incidents of iatrogenic harm, novel methods have been developed to detect it. The Institute for Health care Improvement created a technique known as the Global Trigger, which scours medical records for subtle indications that a patient suffered unexpected harm. A 2013 meta-analysis of Global Trigger studies found 10 times as many adverse events as found by conventional records reviews, with deaths numbering as many as 440,000 per year. Other studies, using on-scene observers, have found comparable numbers of incidents.

Here’s the problem. Trigger tools are very blunt instruments that do not distinguish between potentially preventable harms due to error and complications from procedures that occur at known rates. I discussed this 2013 study myself when I discussed Makary’s “study.” Once again, Saks and Landsman do not know what is and is not a meta-analysis, and the study by John T. James that they cite is not a meta-analysis. Don’t believe me? Just look at the methods from the source at estimating the frequency of preventable adverse events (PAEs):

The approach to the problem of identifying and enumerating PAEs was 4-fold: (1) distinguish types of PAEs that may occur in hospitals, (2) characterize preventability in the context of the Global Trigger Tool (GTT), (3) search contemporary medical literature for the prevalence and severity of PAEs that have been enumerated by credible investigators based on medical records assessed by the GTT, and (4) compare the studies found by the literature search.

That’s it. Nothing about systematic review or meta-analysis methods. Seriously, given that Saks and Landsman seem not to know what the hell a meta-analysis is, much less what constitutes a good or a bad one, I have a hard time taking them seriously, and STAT really dropped the ball in terms of editorial quality by not even noticing this glaring and repeated error.

The problem with trigger tools

Trigger tools, including the Global Trigger Tool, are way too sensitive. As I am wont to do, I will cite Mark Hoofnagle on this topic:

Exactly. All these huge estimates come from estimates of the incidence of occurrences that are used as proxies for medical error, whether they are or aren’t actually good proxies. Moreover, even these errors detected are unlikely to have been a direct cause of patient death. At most, they “contributed” and arguably many might not have even done that. Shojania and Woods explain more:

Some of the widely quoted estimates of deaths due to medical error, including the IOM estimates,1 Makary and Daniel4 and James,9 are based on studies that in fact did not set out to estimate the rate of mortality linked to medical error. Instead, these primary studies sought to measure the prevalence of harm from medical care (ie, adverse events).

Consistent with their primary purpose, these studies included no methodology for making judgements about the degree to which adverse events played a role in any deaths that subsequently ensued. For instance, a patient admitted to the intensive care unit with multisystem organ failure from sepsis might develop a drug rash from an antibiotic to which he has exhibited a past allergic reaction. This patient has certainly experienced a preventable adverse event. But, if the patient eventually dies of progressive organ dysfunction a week after the antibiotic was changed, the medical error probably did not cause the death. An error that has occurred close to a death is not a sufficient basis for concluding that the error is the cause of death. Yet these studies do not have an explicit methodology for handing this situation—for distinguishing deaths where error is the primary cause from deaths where errors occurred but did not cause a fatal outcome.

A further problem with the basing estimates on studies that use adverse event and trigger tools of the type used by Makary and Daniel (and in the similar review by James9) is that they typically involve very small numbers of deaths. For instance, one study used a trigger tool approach to review 100 charts per quarter from each of 10 hospitals in North Carolina from January 2002 to December 2007.7 This study sought to detect any decline in adverse events that might have occurred as a result of patient safety efforts. In passing, the authors report that 14 adverse events were judged to have ‘caused or contributed to a patient’s death’. These 14 deaths represented 0.6% of the total patients in the study. Similarly, one US government report included three preventable deaths;11 another reported 12.6 One of the widely quoted peer-reviewed studies identified nine deaths.8 Any extrapolation that generalises from so few deaths (14 or fewer) to so many (200 000–400 0004 ,9) surely warrants substantial scepticism.

The innumeracy is epic here too, in that these estimates of 250,000-440,000 deaths due to medical error per year are based on rather tiny numbers extrapolated unjustifiably to millions of people. So what is the likely number of such deaths? Unsurprisingly, it’s much lower (albeit, again, still too high!):

The need for scrutiny is particularly important because when studies are designed specifically to identify preventable deaths, they typically report low rates. Studies that have reviewed inpatient deaths and asked physician reviewers to judge preventability have reported proportions under 5%, typically in the range of 1%–3%.12–15 The largest and most recent of these studies13 reported that trained medical reviewers judged 3.6% of deaths to have at least a 50% probability of being avoidable.

As I discussed before, a recent systematic review and meta-analysis published just before the COVID-19 pandemic hit suggests that the true number is closer to just over 22,000 per year. Again, that’s still too high, but it is at least an order of magnitude lower than the commonly cited numbers.

Slasher stat or meme: The “arms race” to inflate the death toll

How can these overestimates happen? Shojania and Woods explain some more, contrasting how Makary and Daniels estimate deaths due to medical errors and how it should be done. First, they do it in response to arguments like this:

Note the disingenuous conflation of medical errors and drug and device complications and surgical deaths. Another form of this argument is mentioned by Shojania and Woods:

In listservs and blogs discussing the controversy over deaths due to medical error, we have encountered responses to any criticisms of the estimated death toll that take the form: “But those numbers don’t even include…deaths due to unnecessary care, diagnostic errors, excessive radiation from overuse of radiologic investigations …”. In other words, the argument amounts to, “Even if the analysis did have some problems, it didn’t include other important types of deaths due to medical error. So, the number is probably still about right”.

It’s the “arms race” again. If medical errors alone don’t get you to a huge number of deaths, then conflate and add complications or unnecessary care or other types of death and complications. Unfortunately, as Shojania and Woods note:

That said, this is a very different approach in estimating deaths due to medical error from that of extrapolating from adverse event studies. This approach starts with identifying all the important types of medical errors that we can think of—diagnostic errors, underuse of beneficial therapies (eg, failure to follow guidelines for the management of coronary artery disease), overuse of non-beneficial ones and so on. Then, to generate a total, it combines the frequency of these errors with estimates of how often each causes death. Even putting aside the speculative nature of many of the inputs to such an estimate, this approach almost certainly hugely overestimate mortality attributable to error. A patient can have a diagnostic error in connection with one aspect of their care, a medication safety problem with another, and not receive guideline-concordant care for yet another condition. Each of these categories of medical error may have an associated attributable mortality. Yet, the patient can only die once. Adding up the attributable mortalities for every type of error will substantially overestimate deaths due to errors.

Another problem with “But we didn’t even include A, B, and C when we counted up all the deaths due to medical error” is that this approach is unevenly applied. The same reasoning is not so assiduously pursued for other leading causes of death—arguing, for example, that many deaths from heart disease, stroke and kidney failure include cases of diabetes, which would therefore make it the leading cause of death.

The result is an “arms race” to come up with the largest estimates for the number of deaths attributable to medical error, which is how we get articles like Makary and Daniel’s. Why? Because the more dire you can portray the problem as, the more attention the problem is likely to get, no matter how much inflated statistics. It comes as no surprise to me that, since the pandemic, Marty Makary has become a COVID-19 contrarian, downplaying the severity of the pandemic. These days, he’s been reduced to saying things like this:

The answer is: Yes. As a surgeon, I am embarrassed by Dr. Makary, who really should know better but does not, just as I was embarrassed when he published his 2016 paper that basically created the “third leading cause of death” myth. It is the same phenomenon that led me so long ago to repeatedly invoke a recurring joke about wanting to put a paper bag over my head every time I came across a surgeon denying evolution and spewing creationist pseudoscience. In the age of COVID-19, I’m seriously thinking of resurrecting that long-abandoned recurring joke.

In fairness, their touting of hugely inflated numbers for deaths aside, Saks and Landsman do make some good points about strategies to decrease the number of medical errors through systems approaches, although their approval of denial-of-payment programs by Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services that refuse to pay for avoidable care, such as treatment for serious hospital-acquired conditions, is somewhat divorced from reality given that none of the hospital-acquired conditions so penalized (such as catheter-related infections) is 100% avoidable and penalizing hospitals this way can lead to perverse incentives not to provide care to patients at most risk for these complications. Unfortunately, their good points are seriously undermined by their reliance on dubious statistics regarding “death by medical errors” to sell their message.

Worse, these dubious statistics do real harm. Again, as Shojania and Woods note, these sorts of estimates are so innumerate and divorced from the reality that clinicians find themselves in that “most healthcare professionals will strain to believe that their efforts to help patients in fact account for one-third of all hospital deaths” (or even nearly two-thirds, if the highest estimates are to be believed) and parading “dubious statistics instead has the effect of disengaging clinicians from what may appear to be a field lacking in credibility, damaging their confidence in interventions intended to improve safety and threatening professional-patient relationships.” Unfortunately, these dubious statistics are slasher stats.

Or maybe I should call them “memes,” as Mazer and Nahban do:

Why have these recent estimates been accepted so quickly and widely, despite presenting re-analyses of older data? One way to understand the success of these estimates is to view them as potent cultural “memes.” Biologist Richard Dawkins coined the term to describe ideas that like replicating genes, propagate “by leaping from brain to brain.”16 Memes, according to Dawkins, may be subject to many of the same evolutionary pressures as their genetic counterparts, and thus certain characteristics make ideas more fit to spread throughout the “meme pool” of society.

Whatever you call these estimates, memes or slasher stats, they are apparently unkillable, no matter how desperately they need to die. They serve no one, least of all patients and the clinicians who are actually dedicated to working to increase the quality of care and decrease the number of medical errors.

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]

137 replies on “A bogus statistic about medical errors rears its ugly head in STAT”

The webcomic Doc Rat has had a related storyline this week, about how a private practice may not have kept up with evolving standards of care leading to a patient suffering complications that could have been prevented. In this case the father of the main character suffered strokes as a result of atrial fibrillation and the doctor wasn’t aware of new recommendations for blood thinners. The father’s lawyer son wants to sue while the doctor son (the main character) agonizes that “It was the kind of mistake I could have made.” It raises the question of what should count as a medical error.

@Orac I saw you mentioned the show Dr. Death in one of your recent posts. Did anyone else notice at the end of this show that they stated “medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the United States”? I saw this and started ranting to my wife that medical errors are not the the third leading cause of death in the US, and that it was very irresponsible for Peacock to be posting this at the end of the Dr. Death series. I wonder how many people will start quoting that statistic as fact after watching this show.

I haven’t watched the show yet. I’ve been meaning to, but there’s so much in my watch list on all the streaming services that who knows when I’ll get to this one. So, no, I didn’t see that this slasher stat (or zombie stat) was shown at the end.

re a million a year:
I don’t know if he has it written anywhere but Null has said on his show that perhaps it’s a million a year for 10 or 20 years.

As I’ve remarked before, I don’t understand how supposedly normal adults can accept material from someone who
— can’t pronounce names/ places representing various European languages ( including English)
— misuses moderately simple words
— can’t get simple grammar straight
— can’t use common idiomatic speech correctly
— flaunts facsimile degrees

In all the time that I have come here to read about science and medicine.
This post by Denice has got to be the most racist and bigoted thing I have seen written.

“— can’t pronounce names/ places representing various European languages ( including English)
— misuses moderately simple words
— can’t get simple grammar straight
— can’t use common idiomatic speech correctly”

I’ve seen posts from people from all over the world post on this site, their grammar is bad/wrong, they misspell words and use bad/wrong sentence structure, I haven’t seen anyone who makes statements like Denice just posted before. Not everyone has English as their first language or maybe even their second.

Lean to read:
both Orac and I are referring to a specific NAMED individual ( “he”; “a million a year medical errors”) who is a white, native English speaker who pretends to be a scholar and medical expert “educating” listeners.

And -btw- I’ve worked extensively with diverse/ EFL/ international university students and other clients.

In all the time that I have come here to read about science and medicine.

Pull the other one.

Quit using Orac as a human shield.
I am sure George Wallace only directed his remarks at certain blacks and probably had worked with blacks as well.
No matter how you want to couch your remarks they are racist and bigoted and rooted in white supremacy (cause, you all know that those ‘foreign’ people are normal and don’t use proper english).

@ Kay West

You continue to make a fool of yourself. Racist? At the gym I went to before the lockdown there were people from essentially all over the world. On the whole, all nice people. There was an exchange student from France who got idioms wrong, verb tenses wrong, etc. Same with someone from Germany. Am I being a “racist” pointing that out. You don’t even understand what a racist is, quite simply someone who defines another person by some combination of physical features and/or genetics, doesn’t matter if person being defined is Professor of Medicine, Pulitzer Prize winning author, inventor of new mechanical device, or simply a clerk in a store. Denice was pointing out things that someone from any background could be guilty of.

You really are STUPID!

By the way, I just finished a short while ago the best book I’ve ever read on racism in the United States. Not an easy read as a textbook.

Audrey Smedley (2012). Race in North America: Origins and Evolution of a Worldview (4th Edition). I highly recommend it to anyone who really wants to understand the subject. However, it is 400 pages, probably far beyond Kay West’s attention span.

Over the years I have probably read more than a dozen books and hundreds of articles on the subject. One nice thing about living alone with a dog is that when not working lots of time for reading attending seminars, etc. As I pointed out in previous exchange, didn’t know what a “spline” was so downloaded bunch of articles and read them as opposed to you who just asked why they were used without even trying to learn about them.

@ Kay West

From the photo of Gary Null in Wikipedia and several others I found he appears white. Article also lists where he went to school. And that “Null is also an HIV/AIDS denialist.”

So, I guess it makes me a racist to point out that the evidence is literally overwhelming that HIV leads to AIDS, so Null is a moron, someone you can easily identify with.

@Kay West Comment was about Gary Null. What is his nationality and race ? If he was a substantial degree, he should have learned some basic English.

I gather from your post that you are not fully educated in the English language or educated with any type of degree when you used the term ‘If he was a substantial degree”
As it violated two of Denice’s requirements

misuses moderately simple words
— can’t get simple grammar straight
— can’t use common idiomatic speech correctly”

As I have posted before I am Jamaican, Had any conservative posted those same remarks, everyone here would have gone ballistic.
Denice’s defense that she has worked with ‘diverse/ EFL/ international university students” proves that she has some racist tendencies.
Here’s an article from psychology today.On ‘why every racist mentions their black friends’

But again none of that sheds any light on the subject of medical deaths or how to get an accurate number, does it?

As I have posted before I am Jamaican, Had any conservative posted those same remarks

That’s an odd attempt at parallelism. By the way, your punctuation skills are abysmal.

What you fail to grasp is that Aarno — unlike you — has an established record of making substantive comments. But if you want to play that game, you’re going to find yourself outmatched.

Go work on your Finnish.

The point was that Gary Null is American white male. Criticising him is hardly racist.

Orac quotes Saks & Landsman:


blockquote>The most surprising thing about the story is not that a serious medical error occurred, but that it found its way into the news.

Two cases of relatively minor medical errors (at least in consequence) of the COVID-19 vaccination program in Australia made national news:

Serious cases make ongoing national news:

As a recently retired emergency physician, I appreciate your refutation of this bogus statistic. It’s incredibly aggravating when it’s repeated by any politician or talking head. It’s usually done to advocate for some wrongheaded “reform.” Medical errors occur and changes in practice might reduce them. But any rational experienced physician knows that consequential deadly errors are rare – at least in the US.

The first issue is to describe what is considered medical care/errors or who qualifies as to provide medical care. Does an EMT responding to a 911 call qualify, nursing homes, in home care, drug companies the list could go on.

The CDC and other federal heath agencies as you inferred are not good at some aspects of record keeping in this area. I think that you would probably get better numbers if you looked at lawsuits filed against the various categories of health care worker and facilities.
medscape (malpractice report 2019) did some research into doctors (and just doctors not hospitals, nurses, emt etc). They found that about 66% of all doctors had been sued, and of that 66% one fourth (25%) were for medical errors and 16% resulted in deaths. About 15,000-20,000 suits (medical malpractice) are filed in a year, that go to court. About 4 times that many are settled before trial. Then those two numbers are just the tip as a lot of insurance companies hire companies that have experts too settle potential liability claims before a law suit is filed.

So while this is not a final number it would be a start point. And again this is just a survey of doctors. And people don’t always sue when someone dies who is under medical care, as relatives etc, are not aware that maybe a medical error was the cause of death. So the number 600,000 is a little out of the ball park, I could see 50,000 to 100,000 might be a better figure.

And this survey did NOT cover nurses mistakes, hospital, pharmacy, nursing homes or emt/emergency workers, or transferring critical care patients in ambulances and deaths/lawsuits against those groups.

Just a note ever wonder why a ride in an EMT ambulance in 1998 cost around 100 dollars and now it cost between 1,500 and 3,000 dollars (beside greed) it is the cost of insurance.

Those figures may be a tad off.

The A.M.A.’s 2016 Benchmark Survey found that 34% of U.S. physicians had been sued (other data suggests the figure is closer to half). Of the cases that closed the previous year, 68% were dismissed or dropped. 7% of cases went as far as a jury verdict; of those, 88% were in favor of the defendant.

Again, it would be helpful if we at least had a VAERS-type system to begin to understand how many deaths are due to people trusting in horrendously bad advice from the same quacks who trumpet false claims about deaths due to medical errors.

I was reading though the Medscape survey that Scott Allen linked, and none of the numbers matched up to what Scott wrote.

Slide 6 (wrongful death 16%)
slide 23 (reduce medical errors made by doctors 25%)
the 66 out of 100 doctors being sued over lifetime is contained in the narrative’

The introduction makes it very plain.
“More than half of physicians will be named in a lawsuit at some point in their career-whether or not they’ve made a medical error

One that scott missed was 63% of lawsuits were filed (were from patients injured from medical errors seeks restitution and to assign responsibility 63%).

I really read the report and went thru the slide presentation.

I believe that the whole point of this Orac’s story and scott’s post was to give a starting point as to determine how many actual medical related deaths there are and the best way to determine the number and not assign blame or argument for the sake of argument is not productive.

If you have a better starting point ……..

Just a note ever wonder why a ride in an EMT ambulance in 1998 cost around 100 dollars and now it cost between 1,500 and 3,000 dollars (beside greed) it is the cost of insurance.

I didn’t see EMT services listed in the Medscape piece, but the visual presentation was so bad that I could only skim it. Insurance companies could be part of the solution, but they’re hardly the whole story. The “greed” bit is, predictably, stupid.

John Oliver had an excellent piece on the cost of EMS services on Last Week tonight a couple of weeks ago (the part that’s free on Youtube).

It was, as usual, pretty infuriating. (As usual because most of the things that the LWT team focuses on are serious.)

^ I forgot in my previous comment to note that in Chicago, 911 ambulances don’t cost anything — the public funds the Fire Department through taxes. What an idea!

Down here in Florida, where I have quite a load of ambulance bills, the populace instead is content to refer to them as “real-estate wagons.”

Yep Chicago doesn’t charge for 911/ambulance only since 1985, just because you don’t see a bill doesn’t mean they are charging someone for it.
they charge medicare, medicaid and insurance companies. The cities actually make money off of 911/ambulance calls.

But that added nothing to this discussion about medical death, does it. As it was explained to the reading impaired, the survey only covers DOCTORS.

But that added nothing to this discussion about medical death, does it. As it was explained to the reading impaired, the survey only covers DOCTORS.

Was I quoting you princess?

The cities actually make money off of 911/ambulance calls.

“The cities”? I’m sure you will be as timely with your citation as always, Kay.

@ Narad

A scandal in Chicago led to free ambulance service. Ambulance drivers were discovered to charge people for bringing them down stairs. If they didn’t pay, they literally were forced to walk, sometimes with help of family. More to the story but I think this explains enough.

A scandal in Chicago led to free ambulance service. Ambulance drivers were discovered to charge people for bringing them down stairs.

Hmph. Thanks, Joel.

@ Narad:

I’m sure that you’ve already read about the fastest growing metropolitan area according to the 2020 census? The Villages!!!

I know a great deal about Sunbelt developments because
— my friend’s late FIL was a well-known developer in Broward ( his new condos famously were destroyed by a moderate hurricane; he only got a minor fine/ her husband left the firm previously)
— my SO has family members who loudly celebrate ‘lifestyle’ in FL and AZ

I hope that you’ll soon be out of there.

I’m sure that you’ve already read about the fastest growing metropolitan area according to the 2020 census? The Villages!!!

I hadn’t, actually.** But this state is screwed up in so many ways that it’s hard to keep track. DeSantis has resorted to keeping his “roundtable discussions” with the usual suspects secret and posting the video on “Rumble” because Y—be censored yanked earlier ones for COVID misinformation.

In other news, I just discovered where Augie was hiding all the pens. Next up is finding the back plate for my box mod.

**They have their own CATV channel on local Comcast.

@ Scott Allen

Several books I read on early America pointed out that we are an extremely litigious society. Also, studies find that juries often rule, not by evidence, but figuring doctor and/or hospital have deep pockets while plaintiff a sympathetic figure. A book by former New England Journal of Medicine’s Editor Marica Angell (1997). Science on Trial: The Clash of Medical Evidence and the Law in the Breast Implant Case gives a clear example. The woman plaintiff did NOT even testify to any of the alleged problems caused by breast implants, etc.; but the jury awarded her literally millions of dollars.

Are a portion of medical malpractice lawsuits legitimate? Of course. And are the outcomes of such jury trials always fair, either to plaintiff or defendant? No.

I had surgery for benign prostatic hyperplasia. Afterwards I began hemorrhaging and needed second surgery. Was the hemorrhaging result of malpractice? Highly unlikely as it is an expected problem. And I was awake during the surgery, requested spinal, watched with mirror and asked questions. And checked the doctor out before choosing him.

However, I do disagree somewhat with Orac. While he is correct that the numbers for medical errors are grossly overstated, it is also a fact that a significant proportion of the legitimate errors are caused by just a few doctors who don’t lose their licenses. Public Citizen, a consumer group, reports on this, e.g., “Lack of doctor accountability is at root of medical malpractice woes” Available at:

See also: Report: Ranking of the Rate of State Medical Boards’ Serious Disciplinary Actions, 2017-2019 Available at:

Studies have found that doctors who operated when drunk, , etc. usually allowed to continue; but with additional training and/or testing for alcohol, etc. I know of a heart surgeon who lost his privileges at two hospitals, then several surgeries at third hospital led to his losing privilege there. So, what did he do? Simply stopped as heart surgeon and opened office as cardiologist.

And Redding Medical Center, a small rural California for-profit hospital owned by Tenet Health Care was found to have performed over 1,000 bypass surgeries that were uncalled for. One was a patient who had reflux disease. Some died, some never recuperated.

Jonathan Curie (2007 Feb 18). A heart surgery scandal revisits Redding: People trusted their doctors — a bit too much. SFGate. I have and read Stephen Klaidman’s book (2007). Coronary: A True Story of Medicine Gone Awry.

However, I’m nor sure if this counts as medical error or just medical dishonesty on steroids.

You just don’t understand that the best doctors can do everything right and still shit happens. A clot can break lose, etc. If you believe that every possible adverse outcome is result of medical error, I suggest you avoid doctors altogether. Your loss will be this blogs gain.?

In any case, law and science are not even close. Judging anything by lawsuits is just plain wrong/foolish. Not surprising coming from you.

Again I hesitate to respond to a cartoon (big hands, little head: “Dangerous Bacon is not particularly bright, but can be a rather hostile Freak. He usually does not attack on sight, but is otherwise easily provoked.”)

So cartoon clown car strikes again. didn’t even read the whole report and of course didn’t provide a link, hoping readers wouldn’t do the research.

The first line on table 1, All Physicians: number of claims per 100 Physicians 68, that is well within the margin cited by the medscape report of 66%.

the fact that 68% of the cases were dropped or dismissed is also in the medscape report as those cases were settled out of court (insurance companies do not like to go to court as juries tend to over pay if the defendant looses).

We have a VAERS system now that people don’t believe in, you expressed doubt in the VAERS system for vaccines in other posts, why create another one?

Are you just trying to be argumentative?

A dismissed claim does not mean medical error, obviously. And DB spoke about errors doctors do during their entire life, not yearly.
Question is how to interpret VAERS number. They do not indicate causal relationship, This is very similar than claiming that dismissed claim indicates error.

68 claims being filed per 100 physicians does not mean that 68% of physicians were sued. Please tell me you’re not that stupid.

Obviously, physicians in some fields (orthopedics and neurosurgery, for example) attract more malpractice claims than those in other disciplines and may have to defend against multiple lawsuits, regardless of whether medical errors were involved. And it’s been documented that a relatively small percentage of docs generate a disproportionately large amount of malpractice claims – an area in which medical board oversight arguably could be considerably improved.

Precisely. All docs know that “one.” None of my colleagues have ever been sued, nor have I.

One of the local surgery groups got taken down by one of the partners who was sued several times in short succession. Seems like this is usually how it goes-someone starts down a bad road…

Again I hesitate to respond to a cartoon

You seem to be quite enthused about trotting out this line (I had to look it up). Somebody else picked it up (from you, I’d guess; Sophie?).

ἦθος ἀνθρώπῳ δαίμων

@ Kay West

As my comment to Scott Allen, when it gets posted. Lawsuits say little to nothing about medical errors. Juries award often NOT based on the evidence. We are a very litigious society and because we have an extremely weak safety net, people who suffer often have no choice but to attempt a lawsuit, regardless of how valid. VAERS is not a problem if people understand that it is really “suspected” injuries, not documented ones, so CDC has teams to investigate any serious adverse reaction reports. However, CDC has much better programs that are valid, e.g., Vaccine Safety Datalink, etc. See CDC webpage Vaccine Safety. Also, most other advanced nations have their own vaccine adverse events reporting system.

Speaking of bogus statistics: would ya believe that 3-10 percent of children in the U.S. will be autistic by the year 2060, costing society $5.5 trillion a year? You wouldn’t?

What if I told you that the “lead investigator” of the study that reached this conclusion was…Mark Blaxill?

Not everyone is impressed.

“3-10 percent of children in the U.S. will be autistic by the year 2060”

This is a vast improvement over a previous estimate of 120%.

Unless, of course, the 110% reduction is due to most autistic children dying from medical errors.

@ rs

Autism is not based on any physical signs, but on various behavioral instruments. In addition, it isn’t Autism any longer; but Autism Spectrum Disorders, lumping together various disorders that have some behavioral aspects in common; but also quite different. In fact, several years ago, a Finnish study looked at those with classic autism and those on Spectrum. Those with classic only slight increases; but, of course, ASD larger increase. In 1994 Asperger’s was added, another jump. Also in 1994 Federal Government, Congress, allocated funds to help schools with kids with ASD. All of sudden, fewer kids labeled retarded, increase in ASD, etc.

Lorna Wing, late expert on Autism, stated: It doesn’t exist if its not named.

So, basically you’re right, numbers don’t really represent an epidemic.

Joel, I was referencing a study by an anti-vaxx luminary years ago and covered by Orac. Their statistics had the percentage of children with autism increasing to the point that a couple of decades hence well over 100% of children would have autism. I expect that longtime regulars would get the reference (and the joke).

I’d point to the article(s) but there are so many on RI on this and related topics I could not find any of them. I’m sure someone else has a better recollection and will, perhaps, post a link.

To the small head cartoon person, 68% comes from your reference, Scott’s reference clearly stated 66 out of 100 doctors have been sued no implication that was in 1 year.

to medical yeti.
I have not been struck by lightening nor has anyone that I know so……

Again to Scott’s point, you have to define WHO is providing medical care, that would be included in the numbers (do the EMT count, do the NURSES count, do the PHARMACIST count, do the NURSES and HEALTHCARE workers at a nursing home count, do PSYCHIATRIST count, until you do that people are free to speculate (and inflate) the numbers and you will never get an accurate count. Which makes this whole post meaningless or maybe that is the point, something to argue about.
The BS surrounding lawsuits( it was just a starting point) is of little value until you define who gives the medical advise and provides the medical decisions.

@ Kay West

You write: “To the small head cartoon person,”. Well, compared to you, the empty headed cartoon person, at least a step up!

And you still miss the key point, namely, that shit happens, namely that despite the best doctor, nurse, etc. treatments, things go wrong. And lawsuits not the forum for deciding if outcome of well-carried out intervention or not, though some lawsuits do. In a highly litigious society with more lawyers per capita than any other nation and with people in desperation, e.g., for basic needs, food, etc, and wanting to blame someone, our legal system encourages this. In fact, as an undergraduate with Political Science major, we looked at several different nations and no nation had higher percentage of lawmakers, that is legislators, than U.S. So, our laws written to be used by lawyers.

I’ve asked you numerous times; but once again. What education do you have, e.g., immunology, microbiology, courses in science, courses in logic, critical thinking, etc.? Or, as Trump do you just consider yourself an “intuitive genius?”

You forget that some claims were dismissed. So, all of them do not imply malpractice,

@ Kay West

So, you are from Jamaica. So are you Black, not all from Jamaica are? So what? If I or someone else uses a valid criticism against someone, is it OK if they are White and racism if they are Black? Absurd if the criticism is valid. Numerous studies over the years find that Blacks represent the entire range of intelligence, creativity, compassion, honesty, and callousness, dishonesty, etc. I have met many during my lifetime who I would be happy to have as next door neighbors and many who I would not. Many, not just a few. Best single book in my opinion:
William H. Tucker (1994). The Science and Politics of Racial Research. Another excellent book: Steven Jay Gould (1994). The Mismeasure of Man. I actually have an entire shelf of just books on genetics, racism, etc. and have read them ALL. One of our best Supreme Court Justices was Thurgood Marshall and one of our worst is Clarence Thomas, both black. And my dislike of Thomas is based on his decisions, not his skin color; but I guess you just can’t understand this. But, of course, when I have clearly shown the errors of your comments, nothing sinks in, so regardless of your skin color, you just are STUPID!

Joel- if you have read all your books on racism, genetics, intelligence etc. then I suggest, as I myself find, having read and thought about this difficult subject for many years, that it is almost impossible to arrive at any correct clear cut conclusions. The evidence on various sides of the arguments are compelling. I could not suggest one book from many but I think Steven Pinker’s ‘ The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature’ is a must read for a wide view of the topic. He has much to say about Stephen Jay Gould. Not that I cared one bit about the ethnic or racial differences within my varied pupils: I taught them and they learned to the best of our abilities. It was clear there were obvious differences and some kids were much brighter than others even when coming from similar happy and healthy backgrounds.

@ Leonard Sugarman

I have and have read Pinker’s “The Blank Slate.” Tucker’s book does a better job of refuting than Gould’s, though he doesn’t mention it; but I have dozens. The overwhelming majority of studies have found that genetic traits and abilities have much much greater ranges within various groups than between. I suggest you also read Audrey Smedley’s (2012). “Racism in North America: Origins and Evolution of a World View (4th Edition). I learned from the book that before the English developed Black racism, they saw the Irish as subhuman and even shipped 300,000 Irish to Carribean as slaves to work on plantations, essentially a death sentence. The books gets even better.

And, for sake of argument, let’s assume slight differences between races, though actually races don’t exist, made up concept. The overlap would still be enormous, so maybe a couple of percent of one group would be slightly more intelligent (need to define intelligence) than another, so still for the overwhelming majority would be wrong to deny education, job opportunities, etc.

I have had a thought experiment. I’m sure you know Star Trek, beaming people instantaneously from one place to another. Imagine 5,000 newly pregnant Black women and 5,000 newly pregnant White women, randomly chosen, some highly educated, upper class, poor, living in slums, etc. Now imagine beaming embryos from White to Black and vice versa. Not touching brain; but changing gene for melanin, skin pigmentation, and, perhaps, some facial bone structures. Then follow for 25 years. I would bet that the Black embryos placed in White wombs for fair much better on many measures.

There was a great PBS program entitled Prince Among Slaves. An African prince out hunting was captured, endured passage, and sold to illiterate American farmer. The prince had attending university in Morocco, knew several languages, Algebra, the farmer barely could add and subtract. The farmer gradually recognized his talents and used them, keeping him, of course, as a slave. When old he was finally freed and allowed to return to Africa; but his family were dead and gone. Yep, an illiterate White with a Slave who knew several languages, Algebra, science, etc. A TRUE STORY.

@ Leonard Sugarman

You write: “It was clear there were obvious differences and some kids were much brighter than others even when coming from similar happy and healthy backgrounds.”

Yep, some kids brighter than others; but other factors play a role. Starting as an infant my parents left me with my maternal grandparents Friday nites and picked me up Sunday evenings. My grandparents read to me and subscribed to Life Magazine. Only years later did I learn that they subscribed for me, even though I couldn’t read, to get me interested in pictures and they read the text. I don’t know exactly why; but I got into 1st grade a year earlier, 5 years old. Teacher divided us into three reading groups after a while and I was in the top. In those days, main streets were lined with billboards and when riding in car with parents or grandparents I read out loud what was on each. No one got upset. However, starting 1st grade a year younger meant less mature and less coordinated, so though tried to play ball, didn’t do well. Tried out for Little League, didn’t make it. Even in high school tried out for several sports, didn’t make it. Went to all sports events; but for the most part was semi-loner. I discovered library at early age and read Wlnnie the Pooh, etc; but eventually Sherlock Holmes and discovered All About Books, books for under 12 year olds on science and Random House series for those under 12 years old on U.S. and World History.

In grad school some of fellow student were obviously more intelligent than me; but where they dated and partied, I spent evenings studying. Did go to barbecues and some parties; but usually left early, went home, and read another hour or two. And even when under pressure, tried to read something on totally different subjects.

I did have friends; but we often got together to go to zoo, museums, and, of course, movies. Now, unfortunately, they are all gone. Doesn’t pay to be a non-smoker, non-drinker, vegetarian, outlive almost everyone.

Only problem nowadays is memory not like it used to be. I suffer from insomnia and according to literature it is mainly while we sleep that short-term memory goes into long term memory. Also memory not as good as we get older, so if I read only 20 pages or so, usually remember; but if I don’t read 50 pages or more will never get through stack of books want to read, so manage to remember main points; but when younger could often quote and even give page number. Very frustrating.

As for kids, some being more intelligent, find two families, same income, same approximate lifestyle; but different cultures, different friendship circles, etc. As fellow students who were brighter than me; but didn’t focus on studies like i did, could explain some of the differences. Maybe good at sports, so they take up time. Maybe active in church, etc.

in any case, since you brought up Pinker’s book “The Blank Slate” and I read it almost 20 years ago and, despite I have a pile of others books to read, I pulled it from the shelf and will re-read it. Below is partial list of books I own and have read on subject. One of three books by Pinker I own.

My Books on Race, Intelligence, Eugenics

Black, Edwin (2003). War Against the Weak: Eugenics and America’s Campaign to Create a Master Race.

Fischer, Claude et al (1996). Inequality By Design: Cracking the Bell Curve Myth.

Francis, Richard C. (2011). Epi-Genetics: The Ultimate Mystery of Inheritance.

Gould, Stephen Jay (1981). The Mismeasure of Man (Revised and Expanded).

Hawley, R. Scott & Mori, Catherine A. (1999). The Human Genome: A User’s Guide.

Herrnstein, Richard J & Murray, Charles (1994). The Bell Curve: Intelligence and Class Structure in American Life.

Hofstadter, Richard (1955). Social Darwinism in American Thought (Revised Edition).

Hubbard, Ruth & Wald, Elijah (1993). Exploding the Gene Myth: How Genetic Information is Produced and Manipulated by Scientists, Physicians, Employers, Insurance Companies, Educators, and Law Enforcers.

Kevles, Daniel J. (1985). In the name of eugenics genetics: and the uses of human heredity.

Moore, T. Owens (1995). The Science of Melanin: Dispelling the Myths.

Mukherjee, Siddhartha (2016). The Gene: An Intimate History.

Quammen, David (2018). The Tangled Tree: A Radical New History of Life.

Ridley, Matt (1999). Genom: The Autobiography of a Species in 23 Chapters.

Smedley, Audrey (2012). Race in North America: Origins and Evolution of a Worldview (4th Edition).

Williams, Gareth (2019). Unravelling the Double Helix: The Lost Heroes of DNA.

Tucker, William H. (1994). The Science and Politics of Racial Research.

Zimmer, Carl (2018). She Has Her Mother’s Laugh: The Powers, Perversions, and Potential of Heredity.

@ Joel:

Most of Orac’s regulars have a vague idea of the type of clients I’ve worked with other than international students, so I’ll leave it there.

Where is it “racist” to call out a white, US born, wealthy, ill-educated poseur who pretends to have a doctorate, be a professor/ researcher and have expertise in many fields but habitually betrays his true abilities through language at every turn?

It should be noted that virtually all of the charlatans and anti-vaxxers Orac** ( and I) discuss are extremely white. Offhand, I can’t think of a single target of my own that ISN’T: they are white, middle class or above, US or UK born and variously educated, mostly male, middle-aged and older. Not exactly disadvantaged people. Wakefield and Kennedy come from extremely privileged backgrounds. Some are/ were doctors. lawyers or have advanced degrees- some real, some not. Many of them earn huge incomes and live in estates.
Although they are personally not minorities, several of them aim their misinformational content*** and product lines at racial and/ or religious minorities. Anti-vaccine advocates and Covid denialists try to enlist Black people into their camp which is certainly worrisome as minority communities have suffered disproportionately more from Covid. They try to appropriate discrimination even through they are white. ( AoA, Del, Andy)

But then, you know that!

** Orac has skewered Deepak Chopra and Sayer JI who are non-European
*** many RI articles about RFK jr in Harlem, Del speaking to Orthodox Jews, white anti-vaxxers seeking out Black followers

Don’t forget the “non-European” lead author of the trailbreaking paper “Can Traditional Chinese Medicine provide insights into controlling the COVID-19 pandemic: Serpentinization-induced lithospheric long-wavelength magnetic anomalies in Proterozoic bedrocks in a weakened geomagnetic field mediate the aberrant transformation of biogenic molecules in COVID-19 via magnetic catalysis”, a.k.a. the jade amulet guy.

Sadly, he doesn’t appear to have had any publications since October 2020, when the TCM paper came out (it was subsequently withdrawn).

@ Denise

Not sure why your comment directed at me. Mine was refuting Kay West’s calling you a racist. She really is an idiot. Maybe I shouldn’t call people names; but it’s hard not to when they keep making absurd, illogical, unscientific claims and when refuted just stick to their guns.

@ Joel:

It was to illustrate agreement with what you said and a way of addressing others as well.

re calling people names:
why not if it expresses the truth? You’re GOOD at it! Why quit?

re heritability: I nearly brought up Cyril Burt but then this might go on for weeks!

Orac post was suppose to be on medical caused deaths

So far 53 post were made to this site.

Of those 53 post only one addressed the issue and a first step in how to get a more accurate picture of medical caused deaths.

The rest of the posters were racist/bigoted/whiteEuropeancentric (can’t pronounce names/ places representing various European languages including English, misuses moderately simple words, can’t get simple grammar straight, can’t use common idiomatic speech correctly or “he appears white” or sexist demeaning or completely off topic about lawsuits (which were only tangentially related to the topic or questioned the numbers that were supplied from the linked website (and were even incapable of reading materials they alluded to in their post).

One poster even told the story about how he had up the b*tt surgery and how that lead to bleeding, from that orifice. (I really didn’t need to visualize that, that was a case of over sharing) and how he didn’t sue someone.

Another who claimed to be a doctor failed a Turing test by failing to understand a sarcastic 3 line story.

No one even tried to come up with different ways to determine who was considered a medical professional or ways to determine if in fact people die from those types of medical errors or suggested a better way to count the how many medical related deaths.

This would all be funny, except you people think you are the best and brightest.

The person who posted this on this website said it best. ‘This isn’t a science website”

June 20, 2021 at 1:19 pm
For the thousandth time, if you don’t like what Orac posts, you don’t have to read it. He isn’t running a science news site, and never claimed to be.

There is a strange, haunting, evocative possibility…one of the most exquisite conjectures in science and religion… It is entirely undemonstrated, it may never be proved, but it is stirring that if only more people would kill themselves then the other bars might look relatively shorter.

I mentioned that some claims were dismissed. Joel’s surgery story was to the point: surgery is risky business, even though done properly
So you can go on, number of doctors sued is not enough. More analysis is needed.

@ Scott Allen

You write: “One poster even told the story about how he had up the b*tt surgery and how that lead to bleeding, from that orifice. (I really didn’t need to visualize that, that was a case of over sharing) and how he didn’t sue someone.”

Maybe your prostate is in your butt, along with your brains, but the overwhelming majority of men, assuming you are one, know it is located at junction of bladder and urethra. And you ignore why I mentioned it, i.e., as an example of an adverse reaction that regularly occurs AND not result of medical error! You really are super STUPID.

And, no, you continue to ignore that comments on this current exchange were NOT racist. Maybe you should go back on your meds, possibly stop your deluded thoughts???

Joel- thanks for the input. I will read Tucker and Smedley’s books. I have read much of Gould’s writings including ‘Mismeasure’. We cannot explore the subject here on a blog about medical errors. Try not to get so angry: it’s not good for you!

@ Leonard Sugarman

Wasn’t angry. In any case, have a few other things to do and will, today, start re-reading Pinker’s “The Blank Slate.”

Read DuBois’ “The Soul of Black Folks” probably 40 or more years ago. From library, one book not in my collection. Maybe I’ll see if can find used copy of Amazon and re-read it; but, as with you, pile of books on diverse subjects is getting higher and higher and my remaining time shorter and shorter.?

Joel- I always have an interest in interesting peoples’ autobiographies. You are no exception. Thanks for the booklist . I have so many books already waiting to be read, for which I will need another life or two. I will add a few of these to the collection. At the moment I am reading W E B DuBois, by D L Lewis

@ Leonard Sugarman

Yep, several commenters have NO interest in a civil exchange, just commenting as jerks.

Guess what I found online? Free pdf download of W.E.B. Du Bois “The Soul of Black Folks”, so, downloaded, added to my “to read” list.

Started Pinker’s “The Blank State.”

And the book on racism that had the absolute strongest effect on me I read when I was around 15 when it first came out: “Black Like Me”, a reporter who with chemicals, etc. became “black” and traveled by bus through the South. I had nightmares I would wake up, exact same person; but with skin color changed. Still have paperback which cost me a whopping 35 cents.

One other book that I would highly recommend: Blumrosen, Alfred W. & Blumrosen, Ruth G. (2005). “Slave Nation: How Slavery United the Colonies & Sparked the American Revolution”.

They make a compelling case that American Revolution mainly because fear that England was going to abolish slavery. One case of Virginian in London whose slave escaped 1760s and English courts said no slavery on English soil, so he lost his slave, made headlines in many Southern Colonial newspapers. The Boston Tea Party, supposedly about tax on tea, which was minimal; but John Hancock was importer of tea and English tea, even with tax, was less expensive and same quality. ???

The “sperm is the new Bitcoin” meme has been around since vaccines started rolling out, but a few factors helped it take off recently. It’s often commingled with the theory that unvaccinated blood is in higher demand, or that the Red Cross is turning away vaccinated donors (neither of which is true)…

The crossover between crypto-dudes, anti-vax dudes, and a sprinkle of semen-retention nonsense is resulting in fascinating discourse.

Joel-ain’t ‘istory jus fasinatin’. But not this history here and now on this particular blog about medical matters. Thanks for the references , some of which I already possess. I have many others- but another time.

So it has been almost 48 hours since my last post, asking people who come to this site to try to add to the discussion on how to count deaths from medical errors. That was the object of this post by ORAC.

“A bogus statistic about medical errors rears its ugly head in STAT”

I posted a starting point to help determine a quality number to counter the 600,000 number in STAT.

After posting that, and having people ‘thread jack’ and post other thing completely unrelated going off on a tangent to the post of ORAC, after 53 post I again, pointed out many of the unrelated posts and again tried to get the SBM people to at least try to come up with solutions the problem.

Only one, Aaron gave two sentence reference to the original topic.

“So you can go on, number of doctors sued is not enough. More analysis is needed.”

Two poster went into a, mutual admiration society meeting and about the history of blacks/racism in America.

So after 69 posts and only 3 post about the number of dead due to medical errors. It is quite apparent that no one that comes to this site has the desire to find a truer number or even have a reasonable rational discussion about how to find it (or maybe they don’t want to know) So much for SBM.

So I will just add to Joel’s and Leonard’s post on white liberal racism. by these two cites.

“The white liberal is the worst enemy to America, and the worst enemy to the black man.”

“The white liberal aren’t white people who are for independence, who are moral and ethical in their thinking. They are just a faction of white people that are jockeying for power. The same as the white conservative is a faction of white people that are jockeying for power. They are fighting each other for power and prestige, and the one that is the football in the game is the Negro, 20 million black people. A political football, a political pawn, an economic football, and economic pawn. A social football, a social pawn. The liberal elements of whites are those who have perfected the art of selling themselves to the Negro as a friend of the Negro. Getting sympathy of the Negro, getting the allegiance of the Negro, and getting the mind of the Negro. Then the Negro sides with the white liberal, and the white liberal use the Negro against the white conservative. So that anything that the Negro does is never for his own good, never for his own advancement, never for his own progress, he’s only a pawn in the hands of the white liberal.”

Malcolm X

So, that was a long comment without a specific suggestion, Scott.

Why don’t you try asking a hospital epidemiologist? Or check the standards for Continuous Quality Improvement? Or wonder why anyone is writing a book about now using statistics from the 1970’s, as though nothing has changed in the past 50 years?

It’s interesting how you’ve just accepted that this research isn’t happening right now. Have you even checked PubMed?

@ Scott Allen

Obviously, as stupid as you are, you use a quote from Malcolm X; but towards the end of his life he changed his attitude towards Whites, etc. realizing that there are good people in every group. I won’t elaborate because I realize you don’t really care.

And only a guess; but you are probably projecting your own ASSHOLE attitudes on to others.

There is Thurgood Marshall on Malcolm X:
N word and all
Warren Court ended segragation in public school. Would you call it conservative ?
Critising doctor believing in demon sperm is hardly racist. Another examples were jade amulets and meaningless verbiage.

Justa Tech

So make up your mind are we going to ‘threadjack’ this post on medical deaths and go off on tangents unrelated to medical death and talk about race or our black friends or all the books and studies we’ve read or the outcome of lawsuits ? I believed that is what the other 66 posts were doing, so in my last post I just followed the rest of the the group and avoided ORAC’s topic (really didn’t want to share my surgery stories or discuss politics).

So back to the topic of ORAC’s post.

I just happened to have a PubMed research on the number of medical error deaths, published in PubMed (none of the authors were mentioned in the original post by ORAC).


‘Your Health Care May Kill You: Medical Errors’

‘Recent studies of medical errors have estimated errors may account for as many as 251,000 deaths annually in the United States (U.S)., making medical errors the third leading cause of death. Error rates are significantly higher in the U.S. than in other developed countries such as Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Germany and the United Kingdom (U.K). At the same time less than 10 percent of medical errors are reported.’

@ Scott Allen

PubMed includes almost all peer-reviewed articles, doesn’t mean each and every one uses the best methodology nor their conclusions are correct. As usual, just as you found one paper written by lawyer for NRA, based mainly on Nazi propaganda newspapers, to make your point a while back.

And, by the way, I have NEVER even heard of the journal Studies in health technology and informatics. In fact, its impact factor is 0.68. In most fields, the impact factor of 10 or greater is considered an excellent score while 3 is flagged as good.

Approximately 30,000 records are included in the PubMed journal list. So, one can get almost any study published somewhere if one is persistent enough.

Yep, you find one article, criticize others for going off tangent to Orac’s article, which you also ignore the point he is making.

I just happened to have a PubMed research

The details of your colon function are really neither here nor there. Maybe.

‘Your Health Care May Kill You: Medical Errors’

Well, if you can’t trust two Purdue sociologists to take this one to the mat, who can you?

You will notice that did not give citation for the number. How bad a paper can be ?

@ Scott: What do you mean, make up my mind about a ‘threadjack’? If you use the page-search function you’ll note that my only other comment on this post is about the cost and funding of EMS (which may or may not be relevant to the conversation of medical error).

The commenters here are not a hive mind. I am not Joel, or Narad, or anyone else. I am just me.

As for your paper: that’s it? One paper? That’s all there is in PubMed about the methods used to evaluate medical errors? Pull the other leg, it’s got bells on.

Comment threads here often diverge slightly or strongly from the title of the post to the things that people want to talk about. You complained that people weren’t talking about the thing you wanted to talk about, but you offered no new starting points. If you want to direct the conversation you need to offer a conversational hook. Examples include: specific papers (plural) or methods. Just complaining that no one is doing your work for you is boring and not engaging.

@ Scott Allen

I probably should have explained what an impact factor is. Simply a rating of how often people use a journal and cite articles from it. The journal your article is in had about as low an impact factor as possible.

I guess you think Schwerner and Goodman, two young whites, killed along with Chaney during 60s in South risking their lives didn’t really care about civil rights. That all the Whites who got the shit kicked out of them as Freedom Riders didn’t really care. All, just pretending to gain some sort of upper hand. That volunteers for Peace Corps and Job Corps. In your mind, probably because you are such a huge ASSHOLE, then you assume in order to justify your approach to other people that everyone is like you. You really are one sick SOB. For you, the world literally is black and white, rigid, etc. People, for you, are selfish, self-centered, etc. You are wrong. Unfortunately, there are a lot of people like you; but still a significant number who aren’t!

When did Malcolm X start his transformation? His pilgrimage to Mecca where he started to understand that racism wasn’t White against Black; but American culture and not even all White Americans. A great book that explains this is Audrey Smedley (2012). Race in North American: Origin and Evolution of a Worldview (4th Ed).

Kay West, Greg, and other idiots who post comments on this blog differ from you qualitatively. As far as I’m concerned you are far worse than them.

Scott Allen-although I confess to having deviated from the theme of medical errors, of which I have nothing to say to add to the comments which you claim do not answer your questions. But I personally posted nothing about ‘white liberal racism’- just a few generalities about intelligence and some book titles. Many others digress from the main themes of Orac’s blogs,. and most often very interestingly. Clearly the subject of medical errors is fraught with difficulties both of establishing ‘errors’ , making them accountable and counting them. I have experienced a few but too boring for recounting. If you really want an answer to your questions that you don’t feel have been satisfactorily addressed here then search elsewhere: why bang on where you are unhappy?!

Many others digress from the main themes of Orac’s blogs,. and most often very interestingly.

Back when the sorely missed lilady was here, evenings would not infrequently turn to food talk on threads that otherwise had pretty much run their course.

First thank you for a reasoned response.
I first came to this site looking for information on Covid (march 2020). I knew of the Dr. ‘ORAC’s reputation as a very well qualified breast cancer doctor. I believe that anything associated with him/hisname would be a quality blog.
I found that very little that was posted by others that had any quality (citing sources, logical respectful arguments or SBM).
I have a hard time dealing with hypocritical people as I am what some poster here would call a person color. (i personally think i am a US citizen).
I came to this issue on medical mistakes because of being personally involved in one case. As I put in my first post I didn’t believe the number put out of 600,000 could be true and posted data from just DOCTORS who had been sued, with the possibility of others given suggestion on other site or additional information to get a ‘better’ number. Well you can see the results for yourself. (nothing)
later in the post I again appealed to ‘stick to the subject’ and again, race, lawsuits, personal stories.
So people wanted to talk about race, so I posted what Malxom X said about race as it appeared no one wanted to talk about medical deaths!

Then someone actuality suggest look it up on PubMed (I believe the person who made the suggestion had already discovered the research) I found some research and posted that. Again only to be criticized for it.

You ‘friend’ Joel is old, lonely person, who has been confined to his house because of fear of covid, he has no family of his own, other than a dog. His post are long and the items he alludes to, are for the most part not copied and pasted but hand typed out, with a normal amount of typing errors, which makes it hard if not impossible to follow up on. Included are boasting of his education, travels,books he has read, magazines he has read, and now surgeries he has had. (one post was over 7,000 words plus the hand written citations).

And if you disagree with him, he calls you names, ‘ ASSHOLE, you are such a huge ASSHOLE. You really are one sick SOB,Obviously, as stupid as you are, just showing what an absolute despicable moron you are, YOU ARE FULL OF SHIT,Though I find you incredibly stupid and despicable, at the same time, it confirms that in my mid-70s I still am capable of searching and building valid arguments, of opposing ASSHOLES like you.”.

And he does that with people who would actually agree with him on most subjects.
He is in short a ‘cyber bully”.

His post are long and the items he alludes to, are for the most part not copied and pasted but hand typed out, with a normal amount of typing errors, which makes it hard if not impossible to follow up on.

Beg pardon?

@ Scott Allen

You write: “You ‘friend’ Joel is old, lonely person, who has been confined to his house because of fear of covid, he has no family of his own, other than a dog.”

I walk my dog a mile twice daily around the neighborhood without a mask, from beginning of pandemic. However, avoided close contact with people, precautionary, not fear. And since getting the vaccine, after lifetime of donating whole blood, now donate plasma every four weeks. What does any of the above have to do with validity of what I write? Henry David Thoreau wrote his classic book “Walden” while living an isolated life and I could name others whose writings were done likewise. Typical of you to bring in irrelevant factors. Over the past 10 years I have gotten one article in a peer-reviewed medical journal and over 30 OpEds on various topics in an online local magazine with an estimated readership of around 300,000.

You write: “His post are long and the items he alludes to, are for the most part not copied and pasted but hand typed out, with a normal amount of typing errors, which makes it hard if not impossible to follow up on. Included are boasting of his education, travels,books he has read, magazines he has read, and now surgeries he has had. (one post was over 7,000 words plus the hand written citations).

I used my surgery as an example of an adverse outcome that was NOT a medical error. But only as an example and gave others as well. Just another example of your dishonesty. And Leonard and I discussed books we have read. What’s wrong with that? And, yep, not just travels; but having lived for extended periods of time in other nations, so I have experienced, seen things that contradict the American narrative myths, including that we have best healthcare system in world. I didn’t just see/experience; but read, took actual courses in those nations, etc. What do you base your claims on? Oh, that’s right, your prostate and brain are both in your butt! ! !

Also, while you refer to ONE paper, I have often given links to several. And my links included author(s), date, full titles, full journal name, volume, issue, pages, etc. You just are completely dishonest, so what else is new?

And you probably didn’t notice or ignored that several other commenters have stated after Orac my comments are among the best and they have quoted some of them.

And given what you wrote about the Holocaust and several other things, you are an ASSHOLE.

Joel- I suppose and hope that you will continue to contribute your hugely informative and perfectly comprehensible responses and not be deterred by those ( no names since it might be considered impolite!). who think otherwise

It’s so sad when a Seeker After Truth comes here for enlightenment, only to have his hopes dashed by Orac and then stomped on by his Flying Monkey Hit Squad.

Actually, Scott’s lonely health journey on RI has been marked by JAQing off tactics typical of a certain breed of altie, not including the times he’s let the veil slip entirely, like when he commented that antivaxers were just “following the science”.

@ Scott Allen

Out of curiosity I found the complete article you linked to and downloaded the pdf [Anderson JG & Abrahamson K (2017). Your Health Care May Kill You: Medical Errors. Studies in health technology and informatics;234: 13-17.]

In your comment you write: “Recent studies of medical errors have estimated errors may account for as many as 251,000 deaths annually in the United States (U.S)., making medical errors the third leading cause of death.” This is NOT the finding of the study but referring to the Makary paper that Orac completely debunked. Just another example of your dishonesty or stupidity.

Though the paper you refer to was in a predatory for-profit journal with an extremely low impact score, I have found over the years that articles published by such journals are usually worthless, every once-in-a-while they publish a reasonable article. This one was reasonable; but still flawed. First, it refers to studies where patients reported medical errors, some because doctors admitted; but many patient’s own take. And as I wrote, many adverse events may be just events that even if everything done perfectly, are unavoidable, so patients could be WRONG.

However, this paper focused on medication errors; but not certain who reported them, though appears health care personnel. Medication errors are easier to define as errors than other type of adverse outcomes; e.g., wrong medication, wrong dosage, etc. They give the average number of errors reported; but not the range. The average could have been influenced by high errors from a small number of sources. No way to tell from the paper. They do say average error reporting increased similarly in all of hospitals; but not what the starting rates were. Did they differ? They also write: “A simulation model was constructed to model the error reporting system. The model generates medication doses and errors based on a normal distribution.” They give NO justification for assuming a normal distribution. As mentioned, could have been more from a few hospitals. We know that studies have found that for-profit hospitals have much higher problems, mortality and morbidity due to fewer staff, LVNs rather than RNs, etc. If the errors were more from for-profit hospitals then one would have to look at percent of patients treated in U.S. by for-profits vs non-profits. If higher number of one or the other this would affect overall stats. And they mention that 52% of errors “could have harmed patients.” “Could have?” Wrong medication, probably; but not always as could refer to a medication not as good as one ordered; but still useful for condition or could have referred to wrong dose, too little maybe not enough or too much maybe toxic. “Could have”, should have, etc. modal auxilaries, not exactly accurate.

I won’t go into further discussion on the paper; but find it intriguing; but not conclusive and calls for follow-up studies. So, I don’t reject it; but also, as opposed to you, don’t rely on one study and certainly wouldn’t actually quote the study that Orac already trashed. I do believe, though not conclusive, that U.S. health care system in general has, on average, more errors than health care systems of several other advanced democracies, simply because often fewer staff, for-profit hospitals, etc.

So, despite your sick motives linking to one paper, it was a reasonable one to link to; but, again, as opposed to your attitude, not conclusive, just one more piece of the puzzle.

Given your comments going back a bit, I can only conclude one or two possibilities, not mutually exclusive:

You just are plain stupid, relying on one publication. And you choose the one publication based on your ideological bias;
You just post to provoke others which says a lot about you as a person, namely, someone who is extremely unhappy, frustrated, and incapable of entering into a civil dialogue; but needs to take out their unhappy selfs at the expense of others.

Probably a combination of the above.

Scott Allen- I will repeat- if you are not happy here, for varied reasons, then exit and find discourse and research elsewhere. There is no compulsion to remain. If you do remain it says something perversely significant about your own psychology which I have no competence to analyze. Expletives don’t do it justice. There was only two of us digressing about genetics , race and books. If I wish to know about Joel- and he has over time written much about himself- then I have no wish to learn about him from yourself. On the rare occasions I have disagreed with him I have not been abused. It would appear that he is not the only one who ( my words) thinks you may be half a bubble off plumb or as we say here in the UK a couple of slices short of a loaf. You no doubt disagree and feel your ‘opponents’ have these attributes.
I disagree with your analysis of Joel’s contributions and I would add the often valuable well referenced contributions from other commenters. I am not enamored by everything written- but so what?

@ Scott Allen

Again you write: “You ‘friend’ Joel is old, lonely person, who has been confined to his house because of fear of covid, he has no family of his own, other than a dog.”

First, being alone and being “lonely” are NOT the same thing. I have had many friends during my lifetime; lived once for two years with a woman, who my parents and grandparents loved; but I ended it; yet, we are still friends over 30 years later. Even as I child I would go to movies, zoo, museums, just play catch with friends; but also spent a lot of time in my room with my dog reading. In fact, when my parents said “bedtime” I would continue to read under the covers with a flashlight. Parents probably aware. Now, yep, I’ve outlived most of my friends; but still keep in touch by phone with them in U.S. and e-mail those in Sweden. My friends in Canada from 1968 have all passed on. As for “confined to house because of fear of covid,” as I have explained since January 2020 I have downloaded and read well over 1,000 papers on Covid; but on rare occasions friends have brought their dog over to play with mine, I do regularly go shopping, mainly Costco and Trader Joe’s, and as I mentioned before, walk my dog one mile twice daily. When shopping and when friends have visited, always wear an N95 mask, had several in garage for doing woodwork, etc. From my knowledge of infectious diseases, reading on Covid, and being in my mid-70s I do take precautions. I guess you don’t consider Covid all that dangerous, despite deaths, hospitalizations, suffering, and long Covid?

You wrote: “one post was over 7,000 words plus the hand written citations)”. Yep, I wrote out citations because often used abbreviated journal titles, etc. so I wrote out complete. As for 7,000 words, don’t remember that one, feel free to give link to it; but I did find one you wrote that was 3,444. And found a few more by you that were around 2,000 words. What a friggin dishonest hypocrite you are.

Scott Allen (3,444 words)
March 30, 2021 at 12:32 pm

And, if you noticed, I listed in previous exchange lists of some of the articles I read on origins of covid and masks, which I’m sure you will criticize because you don’t like it when someone confronts you with proof they have really delved into a topic.

As for calling you an ASSHOLE, not because you disagreed with me; but your dishonesty, not even acknowledging even the most minute flaw in one of your arguments that I pointed out and you continuing to rely on one paper to make various points; but worst, your approach to the Holocaust, absolutely DESPICABLE. Same with Kay, etc. She called CDC liars; but clearly didn’t read Technical section of page she linked to which explained limitations and methodology and questioned why they used splines without trying to learn what a spline is. I didn’t know, so downloaded a bunch of articles and READ THEM. I realize that your intellect doesn’t allow you to read more than one or two articles. Oh well.

@ Scott Allen

Just to repeat, you write: “His post are long and the items he alludes to, are for the most part not copied and pasted but hand typed out, with a normal amount of typing errors, which makes it hard if not impossible to follow up on.”

Since I not only give detailed reference, author, date, title, full journal title, volume, issue, pages; but also cut and paste the actual link, are you completely NUTS. Anyone with normal intelligence could cut and paste title into Google or simply click on the link. Wow! I really think you need to go back on your meds or if you aren’t on meds, seek out help and get some. You are delusional!

Well Joel were do we start.
Interesting that you would link to RI site for your word count.
I posted an ENTIRE research paper that had your 3,400 word count (the original was in German, I thought it best to translate and post it as is/was) It that same RI site you post several times, one of which had 3,394 words (all of which were your own typing).

You must have also forgot the never ending research paper you asked everyone to edit or give you comments on.

You are a puffer. “over 30 OpEds on various topics in an online local magazine with an estimated readership of around 300,000.”
You make up stuff to inflate your ego. In the same ORAC post that you have referred to you kept directing me to go to the editorial you wrote on abortion, I repeatedly told you I did not care about abortion, I believed it was a woman right (her body her choice) and your kept insisting on the number of readers to that website and quoted the number 300,000. After a search I found that would exceed the number of readers of the Washington Post and I believe it rivaled the New York Times, I did a google analytical and found you had puffed the number about 8 times.
and from that post ” If as you say their are 300,000 readers of the backwoods website please post the google analytic report (someone who is as well connected to that site as you claim, should easily obtain the information), otherwise you are just making up facts. You self cite article you have written (something the Orac has ridiculed in this very topic of Ioannidis’s credibility).”

You continually inflate yourself, in every thing you post.

As for ONE paper, dismiss the other work I cited and I only cited the last one was because another poster directed me to it. I clearly stated that it was a starting point. As to the “recent studies of medical errors” I just copied what the authors of the paper wrote and I certainly didn’t or don’t rely on one paper.

Your constant reference to my views on the Holocaust are the DESPICABLE views.

You consistently call me and others who disagree with you names (something I have never done on this or any other website). Stating stupidity, idiocy, moronic, assholeness, the list is long. But when someone responds in kind (without name calling) you feigned injury and then demand help from other poster. “”If you do, please comment. I’d love to hear from someone independent.” or “One last request. Does anyone have access to Google Analytics. I know it is free; but I avoid signing up for anything on line, so if anyone is already signed up, could you please look up circulation numbers, not subscription numbers, for:
Los Angeles Times
Washington Post
East County Magazine,
If you do, please just cut and paste entire results in a comment”.
The very description of a ‘bully”

This is sad. I am sorry for you.

@ Scott Allen

You write: “I posted an ENTIRE research paper that had your 3,400 word count (the original was in German, I thought it best to translate and post it as is/was).”

And many of my comments involve extensive quotes. So what? You haven’t given link to my 7,000 word post??? And the article in German is the article written by NRA lawyer that mainly cites Nazi propaganda sheets.

You write: “Your constant reference to my views on the Holocaust are the DESPICABLE views.”

Yep, INCREDIBLY DESPICABLE! ! ! Citing/translating one paper, see above.

Anyone interested can find my exchange with Scott Allen on the Holocaust in the comments after Orac’s March 26, 2021 article: “The ‘Disinformation Dozen’ vs. public health”.

You write: “You must have also forgot the never ending research paper you asked everyone to edit or give you comments on.”

I have NEVER asked online for people to edit or comment on any research paper that I was working on. You really are mentally disturbed.

You write: “You self cite article you have written (something the Orac has ridiculed in this very topic of Ioannidis’s credibility).”

First, do a search of PubMed, many authors cite previous papers by themselves, so do many authors on a variety of subjects. What? If one follows up on previous works, according to you, they can only cite other peoples’ work? Orac attacked Ioannidis because of his recent stand on Covid, claiming his authority because of previous articles that were well-received. Typical of you to overgeneralize and ignore the basis of what people write. In fact, Orac often cites previous articles he has written on this and other blogs. How stupid are you???

You write: “As for ONE paper, dismiss the other work I cited and I only cited the last one was because another poster directed me to it. I clearly stated that it was a starting point. As to the “recent studies of medical errors” I just copied what the authors of the paper wrote and I certainly didn’t or don’t rely on one paper.”

From above:

“Scott Allen
August 18, 2021 at 9:58 pm
I just happened to have a PubMed research on the number of medical error deaths, published in PubMed (none of the authors were mentioned in the original post by ORAC).”

Where do you state it was a “starting point?” And as I wrote, you quoted what the authors said about a paper that Orac had shredded. You didn’t quote what the authors found. AND ASSHOLE, if you noticed, I did review their paper, including methodology, something you are incapable of. And I can’t find someone previous to your citing paper mentioning it. Please give who cited it before you. I can’t find it. And all you wrote was that you “happen to have.“

And you attacked me for using multiple references, now you claim you don’t base what you write on ONE paper; but I was not just referring to current discussion; but your extremely dishonest and stupid use of one paper written by NRA lawyer, a paper that mainly cited Nazi propaganda sheets (see above).

And finally, you write regarding my requesting: Does anyone have access to Google Analytics. I know it is free; but I avoid signing up for anything on line, so if anyone is already signed up, could you please look up circulation numbers, not subscription numbers, for: Los Angeles Times
Washington Post East County Magazine, If you do, please just cut and paste entire results in a comment”. The very description of a ‘bully”

Final PROOF that you really are delusional. How is asking someone, if they have access to Google Analytics, to look up the numbers and cut and paste them into a comment on this website make me a “bully?”

AND given the number of advertisers, etc., they certainly reach a substantial number of people and some of my OpEds have been reposted elsewhere. Even if they only reach less than 100,000, which I doubt, doesn’t detract from the quality of what I write. Many authors of quality work have it published in various magazines with small circulation. Anyone interested can find my comments and OpEds (Reader’s Editorial) on East County Magazine at:

Calling you an ASSHOLE probably is wrong. I shouldn’t be so hard on someone as mentally disturbed/ill as you. If you aren’t on meds, I sincerely hope you will seek help and get some.

Orac, isn’t about time you block Scott Allen. He is DELUSIONAL. If his delusions involved a 6 foot invisible rabbit friend named Harvey, OK; harmless; but his delusions are downright SICK, to say the least.

@ Scott Allen

East County Magazine website gives stats from two online companies, AW stats and Alexa. I found both; but require registration (and “bully” that I am ? still encourage anyone who has access to Google analytics to cut and past what they say about East County Magazine).. I also found this from Washington Post:

“The Washington Post recorded more than 75 million total digital unique users in May 2021″

From East County Magazine About page (note that 500,000 is a bit lower than 75 million, also 500,000 (doesn’t necessarily mean unique individuals but separate accessing, in a County with over 3 million. Also note that they work with one of the major TV network stations news department, Channel 10:

Our site now averages 12 million hits a month and an average of  over 500,000 visitors a month (per AW stats), making us the most widely read  East County news site and second most widely read news site in San Diego County.  During the pandemic, our readership has doubled as more people come to value reliable local news. According to Alexa, we have more online readers than Voice of San Diego, CityBeat, KOGO, and all East County newspapers. Our traffic is  on par with 10 News, one of our official news partners.

East County Magazine has won 126 major journalism awards. San Diego Press Club named our site the best general interest website and second best news site in San Diego County for 2009. We’ve racked up awards each year since then, including many special awards from the Society of Professional Journalists. Our team of writers has won major prizes for investigative reporting, news, features, multi-cultural coverage, environmental reporting and more.
We received the 2012 Media Award from the League of Women Voters in San Diego for our coverage of developers’ efforts to abolish community planning Our Editor, Miriam Raftery, received the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) San Diego 2012 James Julian Memorial Award for best community reporting series. The award honored our  investigative reports which resulted in the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) retracting its demand for local wildfire victims to return disaster funds. 
In 2013, we won two special awards from SPJ San Diego, including the Sol Price Award for Responsible Journalism and the James Julian Award for the second year in a row, both for reporting on issues involving the Ocotillo wind energy project’s impacts on residents and the environment.  A judge in the James Julian category remarked, “Hard-hitting and thorough, it’s heartwarming to see this kind of old-fashioned investigative reporting still lives…”  The Sol Price Award  is presented to journalists whose work not only meets ethical standards but also shows uncommon sensitivity to issues. He or she pursued truth in the face of such obstacles as unpopularity, economic retribution or physical harm.A judge in the Sol Price awards stated that our reporting team, led by Miriam Raftery, should be “commended,” adding, “It goes to show that even the greenest of projects can be an environmental hazard if not undertaken in good faith.”
In 2014, we picked up an international award for our environmental reporting from the World Council for Nature in Spain. Also in 2014, we won 11 awards from San Diego Press Club and 10 awards from SPJ..  Our radio special report, “Out of the Ashes” on the 10-year anniversary of the Cedar Fire, won a first place radio award from SPJ and second place from the Press Club. Our editor picked up yet another James Julian award for her coverage on the lack of veterans’ services in rural East County – coverage which resulted in the County bringing veteran’s services to rural libraries.
In 2015, SPJ honored our radio show coverage of local Chaldean Christians’ efforts to halt genocide in Iraq and our interview with a local Kurdish woman on how the ISIS invasion impacted her famliy. We also received an award for our online news site’s investigation into an industrial solar project proposed in Boulevard and a conflict of interest issue.  Also in 2015, San Diego Press Club presented our editor with two first place awards, one for multicultural reporting in covering local Iraqis’ efforts to save Iraqi Christians being killed by ISIS, and the other for public service/consumer advoacy for coverage of Lakeside residents’ efforts to stop a sand mine in a scenic valley.  She also won second place in environmental reporting for a story that led to county cleanup of illegal dirt dumping by county road crews in Cleveland National Forest and second place in health reporting for an investigative report on changes in ambulance services that put public safety at risk.  ECM also won a photography award from the Press Club. In addition, our editor was honored with a Woman in Leadership award from the  San Diego East County Chamber of Commerce.
In 2016, Miriam Raftery and  Janis Mork shared the First Amendment prize from SPJ for their articles that resulted in our county dropping efforts to suppress free speech.  San Diego Press Club presented ECM with its “Wildcard” category award for reporting on border issues, in recognition of our coverage of the Border Fire and issues over authorities’ responses. Other awards included first place in multicultural for our coverage of local Iraqis’ efforts to free relatives held in an immigration detention private prison at Otay, second place in political reporting for exposing a conflict of interest by a supervisor, third place in environmnetal reporting for issues involving a paramilitary shooting range inside Cleveland National Forest, and honorable mentions for our coverage of rising anti-Semitism and issues with local ambulance services.  We were also honored with a “Heroes” award from the Alpine-Moutain Empire Chamber of  Commerce. 
In 2017,  Society of Professional Journalists awarded four members of ECM’s team.  Miriam Raftery received her fourth James Julian award for community service reporting for her article on the County whitewashing concerns of residents during the Border Fire. Rachel Williams took a first place news photography award for her haunting image of Syrian refugee children in El Cajon.   A second place award for breaking news coverage was shared by reporters Rebecca Jefferis-Williamson and Jonathan Goetz, photographer Robert Gehr, and reporter/editor Miriam Raftery for coverage of the shooting of Alfred Olango, an African-American man, by a white El Cajon Police Officer and the ensuing civil unrest . Our broadcast of the Helix Water District candidate forum on the East County Magazine Show on KNSJ radio also won a second place audio award for community service programming. The forum was moderated by ECM editor Miriam Raftery.
In 2018, Miriam Raftery and Paul Kruze received the prestigious Gloria Penner Award from SPJ-San Diego for their reporting in the face of harassment and threats by Councilman Ben Kalasho. SPJ also presented ECM with an award for our Media Watch column, an arts and entertainment award for coverage of efforts to reopen the East County Performing Arts Center, and a award for Raftery’s essay on the 10-year anniversary of the Harris Fire, titled, “A reporter’s reflections on the firestorms of 2007.”  San Diego Press Club in 2018 awarded Jonathan Goetz a first-place travel writing award for coverage of Borrego Springs in our “Weekend Getaways-Backcountry Treasures” series. Press Club also presented Kruze with a first place business reporting award for his coverage of controversy over a crematorium proposed in El Cajon. Kruze and Raftery shared a political reporting award for coverage of a SLAPP suit involving Councilman Kalasho.
In 2019, San Diego Press Club presented first place awards in breaking news and political/government reporting to Raftery for coverage of the West Fire in Alpine and legal action against Councilman Kalasho for alleged sexual misconduct, fraud, and more. Kruze and Raftery also shared a third place award for coverage of the Kalasho scandals.  Raftery also won SPJ- San Diego’s 2019 third place award for her series on the West Fire in Alpine.
In 2020, ECM’s Miriam Raftery and Paul Kruze won first place for political/governmental reporting from SPJ-San Diego for “Disgraced Councilman Kalasho Resigns, Settles Suit with Beauty Queens, but Another Defamation Case Remains Pending.” The article culminated nearly two years of investigative reporting on the Kalasho scandals, during which our reporters endured harassment and threats.  “Insane work. Way to stay on it despite the threats,” one SPJ judge commented. In the Education category, ECM took second place for “Cajon Valley School District Spends Over a Half Million Dollars on Promotional Videos.” ECM also won seven awards in 2020 from San Diego Press Club. including first place in the breaking news category for our coverage of the La Mesa riot, “Night of Terror in La Mesa.” Other awards include two photograher’s accounts of their coverage of the La Mesa protest and riot.  ECM won a first place education reporting award for coverage of Cajon Vallley’s video spending controversy, as well as third place for an article on Cajon Valley’s challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic. ECM also received honorable mentions in the history category for coverage of the railway’s centennial in Campo and in the columns category for “Advancing Healthy Communities.”


First I think that there are thing that we could agree on and I have from time to time (early on) attempted to do just that, and added some modifications of my own. How ever as with anyone who doesn’t tow your exact line of reasoning you gave me the Scott Farcas treatment, so why bother anymore.

The ‘bridge that is too far” for me to cross with you is that fact that you have such an enormous ego, inflate your own self worth, and have no problems telling everyone your life stories. While everyone has some of those traits, to use your phrase “it’s on steroids”.

You actually lie or boost when the a quite truth would speak more.

I pulled this tidbit out of the past (and there are others) when Covid cards were being used. Someone brought up the card and to laminate it or copy it and someone said what about the water marks and your reply was “My photocopy is good enough to just make out the watermark.” an unnecessary comment that was used to slight, bully someone (which you use degrading/obscene/sexist words and claim they are stupid/idiots/ondrugs/not taking their meds or other forms of degradation). The problem is the vaccine card ‘has no watermarks” as the vaccine cards are just heavy white paper, there are no water marks which is why they are easy to fake.

This kind of posting is consistent with your posts, with you appeal to authority (which is you). You claim expertise on every subject, from medicine, the law, mathematics, psychology, history, farming, ranching, global warming, physics, world travel etc. and of course you had to share (or over share) your expertise with everyone. You may be well read, which is good. but as ‘Penny’ said ‘my cell phone is as smart as you’

As to your post in one of Oracs topics you replied with 26,635 words, with footnotes and citations. Do you really expect people to read or even respond to that much?

so yes I really do feel sorry for you.

@ Scott Allen

Again, you give a word count of my post; but not a link to it. And the point is, which you are TOO STUPID to understand, is that some of your posts, whether translation of an article or something else, were extremely large.

In any case, not worth continuing to exchange posts with you. You are SICK SICK SICK, DELUSIONAL, DELUSIONAL, DELUSIONAL.

However, some simple questions? Can you link to any publications by you? For instance, in a law review or OpEd in a newspaper or magazine. Or can you link to any case you represented in Supreme Court, State Supreme Court. Or, can you link to any “important” case(s) you won and the legal brief used?

Besides my degrees, I can prove I won a competitive research fellowship in Sweden and an NIH post-doctoral research fellowship in U.S. You don’t like that I refer to my extensive learning because you can’t back up what you write, especially when you lie about what you wrote.

No comment on what I pasted from East County Magazine, in a strong collaborative relationship with a major TV network news department. And all the awards, etc. Getting my OpEds published by them certainly not something to denigrate.

However, even if you can’t link to any of the above, if your comments were honest, based on more than one reference, etc. not SICK and DELUSIONAL, I would accept them. Note, I’m not the only commenter who has pointed out how problematic your comments are. And other commenters have disagreed with me; but I continued a civil dialogue with them.

This is a waste of time.

Go to HELL!

From a sick, delusional, asshole, idiot, asshole on steroids,stupid, purposely stupid, pathetic, moron, full of shit,despicable moron……..

I didn’t know jews believed in HELL. (you should really watch the movie ‘Defiance’ (2008) it may help you understand the gun control argument).
You claim all the accolades for a non-profit web-blog that you wrote an editorial for as if that grants you some kind of honor (your reference to ‘we’ doesn’t mean you had anything to do with those awards).
You claim that I have not had any publications, editorials etc. One of my legacies will be the 5 children (a veterinarian, a urologist, a nurse, a teacher of autistic children and a stay at home mom and 8 grandchildren (so far). 25-75 years from now, at least 13 people will know who I was. 25 years from now, no one will remember your publications, grant work or any editorial you wrote.
You write/post so much you can’t even remember what and when you wrote 26,000 words. In this thread alone you wrote 7,600 words.

As I said, I do feel sorry for you.

@ Scott Allen


PROOF: You wrote: “And finally, you write regarding my requesting: Does anyone have access to Google Analytics. I know it is free; but I avoid signing up for anything on line, so if anyone is already signed up, could you please look up circulation numbers, not subscription numbers, for: Los Angeles Times
Washington Post East County Magazine, If you do, please just cut and paste entire results in a comment”. The very description of a ‘bully”

Please explain how making a simple request makes me a “bully”.

You write: “You claim that I have not had any publications, editorials etc.”

NOPE, I didn’t claim you have no publications, I asked you if you did. Do you have problems with the English language?

Sounds like you do have GREAT CHILDREN. Congratulations! And maybe years ago you were a rational decent human being; but you certainly aren’t one now.

You write: “25-75 years from now, at least 13 people will know who I was. 25 years from now, no one will remember your publications, grant work or any editorial you wrote.”

ABSOLUTELY TRUE, so . . .? In the span of time, 75 years is but a blink of an eye, so, yep, you, as an individual, will be remembered for one eye blink more than me, unless, as your display of mental problems increases, you do things that damage their memory of you. But I live in the present. Maybe something I do or write will have a minor effect, though no one will remember it came from me. I was involved in Civil Rights protests in the 1960s; but so were millions of others, so, nope, no one will remember me for it; but still I did the right thing. I have donated blood for almost 50 years, hopefully, contributing to saving many lives; but no one who received the blood will know its from me, so what? I did the right thing. And actually, when younger I babysat for friends, especially single mothers, so they could go out. I know when one of my oldest dearest friends died that his children ALL e-mailed me, so not even close to the 75 years you will be remembered; but some will probably remember me for a while, especially if they look through photo albums. But, as i said, I live for today, do what I can to help others; but actually feel guilty haven’t done even close to enough. Considered joining the Peace Corps several times, had friends who did. Much better people than me. Also friends who went into Job Corps. A lawyer friend who worked for Cesar Chavez and the farm workers union. Lots of people who are better than me; but doesn’t change the fact that your comments on this blog are irrational, delusional, intellectually dishonest, and in some cases just plain STUPID!

You write: “You write/post so much you can’t even remember what and when you wrote 26,000 words. In this thread alone you wrote 7,600 words.”

You are the one making the accusation. I thought you went to law school? It is not up to me to defend, it is up to you to provide the evidence. Give the URL, or ? ? ?

You write: “you claim all the accolades for a non-profit web-blog that you wrote an editorial for as if that grants you some kind of honor (your reference to ‘we’ doesn’t mean you had anything to do with those awards)”

You have several times tried to make a case that my OpEds were published on a not all too read online magazine. I NEVER claimed that the “we” meant me when I posted their awards; but, along with two more estimates of number of readers, simply that they are a both well-read local magazine and a quality one. That you were wrong about where my OpEds were published. Yep, I’m happy they published my OpEds; but no where did I claim my OpEds or myself was involved in their awards. You just continue to amaze me how you don’t seem to understand what I write, how delusional you are.

As I keep writing, you are STUPID STUPID STUPID. And delusional. You see things that aren’t there.

You write: “I didn’t know jews believed in HELL. (you should really watch the movie ‘Defiance’ (2008) it may help you understand the gun control argument).”

I’ve seen the movie twice. You generalize from this to how Jews throughout Europe could have defended themselves when the French army, the most powerful in the world, was defeated in five weeks. As I wrote in our previous exchange, despite gun control laws, there was a large black market in guns and Jews could have purchased them. However, yep, a few more Germans would have been killed; but the outcome would have been the same. You forget, or just to stupid to understand, that it wasn’t just the Germans, the Poles, Lithuanians, Latvians, Ukrainians, Romanians, all converged against the Jews. In fact, I’ve been wondering why you chose an article in German based largely on Nazi propaganda newsletters? Perhaps, you are a closet Neo-Nazis.

And the movie Defiance takes place mainly in large forests that could hide reasonable numbers of people, not in cities and towns where they were literally surrounded by antisemites. I actually met the second in command of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising. When I was on a Kibbutz in Israel, we were taken by bus to another Kibbutz for You ha Zicaron, remembrance day. Zimmerman, second in command of uprising spoke and I went up and shook his hand; but a few Jews managed to kill a few police and German soldiers, the Germans sent in tanks and it was over.

Being able to take a few Germans with you, nice; but doesn’t change things.

By the way, when I was on the Kibbutz in 1975 a group of German university students came as volunteers. There were also other American Jews. They refused to sit a table with the German students during meals or to work along side them. I did both. Why blame kids who were born over 10 years after the war? In fact, Hitler never got the majority of votes. I hate Nazis and Neo-Nazis; but not Germans. I actually knew someone who was on the Bismarck.

So, HERR SICKO. Keep proving just how irrational you are by claiming I said things I didn’t or calling me a “bully” for making a simple request.

Unfortunately, you are a prime example for how too many people think or, oops don’t think

I feel sorry for anyone whose life has been reduced to counting the number of words posted by another blog commenter.

So sad. 🙁

Joel wrote “I have NEVER asked online for people to edit or comment on any research paper that I was working on. You really are mentally disturbed.”

Joel A. Harrison, PhD, MPH says:
February 21, 2021 at 4:15 pm


that’s just the first line, I didn’t feel the need to copy and paste the whole post or the followup posts

As I said you write so much, you have forgotten what you wrote. but I am the one you claim is irrational.

And you will probably respond: its a possible paper or its just and outline or I didn’t ASK anyone to comment.
or maybe just call me an asshole, stupid or the latest “rational decent human being”

As to your comment “Being able to take a few Germans with you, nice; but doesn’t change things”
I think that what we have witnesses in the last two weeks shows what a bunch of goat herder armed with simple AK-47 and determination can do by defeating the US military just as they defeated the Soviet military so it does/did change things.

Sad for you.

Scott-there is no useful or valid analogy between the US and Soviet Afghan conflicts and the possibilities of what the majority Jews could have done in the Holocaust years. The tens of thousands of Jews rounded up, in many different towns and cities throughout Europe, urban areas, for ‘transfer’ to the East were on a lying ‘promise’ of resettlement. They may have suspected the worst but lived with some sort of hope for a future. Using weapons, even if available, would have been futile against the Nazis in those situations. You know not of what you speak.

@ Leonard Sugarman

Thanks for your reply to Scott Allen. I really shouldn’t waste my time with him. I’m slowly making progress reading “The Blank Slate” and it keeps me from that. If you noticed I’ve pointed out numerous examples, besides his take on the Holocaust, where he is intellectually dishonest, stupid, or just plain delusional. Oh well.

Now back to the “Blank Slate”

By the way, don’t know if area you are interested in but PBS Firing Line had interview with Senator Amy Klobuchar on her new book “Antitrust” I ordered copy and Netflix has a great documentary “Capitalism” based on Thomas Piketty’s book “Capitalism in the 21st Century” which I have and read. Unfortunately it is leaving end of this month, so if you want to watch it, only a few days left.

@ Scott Allen

How convenient you paste that I posted an outline; but didn’t post my requesting edits. How typically dishonest of you. Oh, by the way, Science-Based Medicine posted two articles by me, one on polio. I guess you consider Science-Based Medicine not to be a quality website??? And, as opposed to you, to be honest, maybe I did request comments. Please give link. All the OpEds I have written or papers, e.g., Science-Based Medicine, I have sent to as many as dozen friends and colleagues for feedback, often revising several times. What is wrong with that?

As for the goat herders with simple AK-47 defeating the US military, typical stupidity on your part. First, Afghan tribes have been armed and fought invaders going back centuries. Second, Afghan is mountainous, etc. The Taliban weren’t located mainly in urban environments; but scattered through the mountainous terrain with lots of caves. Third, the Afghan governments we supported were corrupt, so not supported by majority of Afghans. And, nope, not just AK-47; but also surface-to-air missiles which brought down Soviet helicopters. And we may not have defeated them; but caused literally millions of deaths and disabilities, refugees, and did damage to a nation already one of the most impoverished in the world.

And we lie about our 20 year involvement in Afghanistan. Jimmy Carter’s National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski suggested early on that we could cause Soviet Union’s own Vietnam if we armed Afghans against their current communist government. A government not developed by help from Soviet and a government that built schools for girls and rural health clinics and wanted to bring the nation into the 20th Century, and, yep, sometimes they were brutal. We literally armed the Northern Alliance of tribes who kept their woman in worst condition than their horses. For eight years we supplied weapons, including surface-to-air missiles. Soviets had been giving technical help to one of the poorest most backward nations in the world. When we armed Northern Alliance, fundamentalist brutal Islamic tribes, they were forced to intervene because of fear of what could happen if a fundamentalist nation existed alongside five of their republics that were Islamic. Once the Soviets withdrew, after all the death and destruction we brought about, we simply abandoned them instead of helping them rebuild. Then after 9/11 we went after Osama ben Laden; but had him surrounded in mountains and, somehow held back allowing him to escape. So, we armed the fundamentalists with AK-47, stinger missiles, etc. and contributed to the destruction of an entire nation to get at the Soviet Union. What a great nation we are???

So, ASSHOLE, not isolated pockets of a few fundamentalists in cities and towns; but more or less a large population well-armed by US with long history of fighting foreign invaders. I really shouldn’t call you stupid as you are much worse.

And if I requested feedback on an outline of a paper, again, what is wrong with that???

As I’ve written over and over, you are irrational, stupid, dishonest, delusional, etc. And you just keep confirming this.

And your children: “a veterinarian, a urologist, a nurse, a teacher of autistic children” etc. Sound like really great people; but we know historically and currently that even ASSHOLES can have children who are the exact opposite. I especially applaud the veterinarian because I love animals, the nurse (backbones of our health care system, not doctors), and the teacher of autistic children.

So, please post some more comments digging yourself an ever deeper hole.

You and Leonard Sugerman are so right.
I think the situation in Afghanistan absolutely can’t be compared with that of pre-war Germany. The Taliban were armed with more than just AK47’s and the Afghan army hardly seems to have done anything. Why should they sacrifice their lives for a corrupt government? In a way it would be people willing to fight till death, for something they believe in against soldiers who should defend a corrupt government, whose members already started to abbandon ship. So instead of having a bloodbath with many citizens killed, they decided to fly, or surrender.

So how would that compare to armed Jews in Nazi-Germany? You would have a well-armed army, which believed in their goals, against groups of people with guns.
How would one hide in a city? If those armed soldiers would just have to knock down doors? Throw in some handgranades, and people armed with guns don’t have a chance.

As for the goat herders with simple AK-47 defeating the US military, typical stupidity on your part. First, Afghan tribes have been armed and fought invaders going back centuries. Second, Afghan is mountainous, etc.

Spotts seems to be blissfully unaware that Afghans do, y’know, engage in agriculture and commerce.

Joel-I was on a kibbutz in Israel, 1961, and found time to attend one day in Jerusalem at the Adolph Eichmann trial- harrowing. I am reading Dubois by Tucker and my next book is ‘Unravelling the Double Helix; The Lost Heroes of DNA’ by Gareth Williams. For anybody who believes vaccines and vaccination have no validity they should read G William’s books on Polio and Smallpox- both brilliant histories impregnated with solid science. I still maintain it’s not healthy for you to be so angry!

@ Leonard Sugarman

I have ALL of Gareth William’s books. Thumb through the credits, you’ll find my name. I have exchanged e-mails with him and he sent me several chapter of Unravelling the Double Helix and I sent him comments. He claims that something I said actually got him to change his “approach” but never told me what. Probably just being nice.

Joel A. Harrison, PhD, MPHsays:
August 20, 2021 at 10:25 am

‘I have NEVER asked online for people to edit or comment on any research paper that I was working on. You really are mentally disturbed.’

Joel A. Harrison, PhD, MPHsays:
August 21, 2021 at 12:40 pm

‘And if I requested feedback on an outline of a paper, again, what is wrong with that???’

You post so much you don’t remember what you posted and you call me ‘mentally disturbed’.

Just an FYI the Northern Alliance didn’t exist until the late 1990’s, the Russians invaded in 1980 and left in 1988, so no the Russian’s didn’t invade to prevent a fundamentalist Islamic state .

So I will just borrow your last line.

“So, please post some more comments digging yourself an ever deeper hole.”

@ Scott Allen

You write: “And if I requested feedback on an outline of a paper, again, what is wrong with that???’
You post so much you don’t remember what you posted and you call me ‘mentally disturbed’.

And again, you make claims, e.g, extremely long post by me, and this one without linking to it. Did you really go to law school? Evidence, not just claims.

As for Northern Alliance, you are right, it was the Mujahideen that we armed to the teeth in order to force the Soviet Union into their own Vietnam. See for instance: Wikipedia. Operation Cyclone (note I have other papers that clearly show a memo from Brzezinski where would could create a Soviet Vietnam. And yep, the Communist government was brutal at times; but built schools for women and rural health clinics. I suggest you read up onSo I gave the wrong name for who we supplied; but both are extremely fundamentalist brutal Islamic groups who treated and treat women like shit and ignore the Quranic verse, 2:256 that “There shall be NO compulsion in religion.” So, I got the name wrong; but the fact that we armed brutal people, basically causing mass killings, etc. in Afghanistan is correct. And when the Soviet Union invaded, Moslem nations called for a Jihad resulting in Al Qaeda, which not certain; but some info suggests we directly armed them. Just like our criminal invasion of Cambodia led to Khmer Rouge and Killing Fields and our criminal invasion of Iraq resulted in Isis. Criminal because Saddam Hussein wasn’t in league with Al Qaeda, in fact they had a fatwa out on him and didn’t have weapons of mass destruction. Bush wanted to go to war and did. So, U.S. mainly responsible for 40 years of hell in Afghanistan, for Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, and for ISIS. Aren’t you proud?

Also read Wikipedia. Gulbuddin Hekmatyar He was mujahideen who receive most funding and weapons from us; but also the most radical anti-American who killed anyone who didn’t tow the line and was brutal towards women, etc.

So, you claim I wrote a 7,000 word comment; but don’t give any proof, plus ignore your own quite long translation of a German article. You made it sound like IF i posted an outline of a paper and asked for feedback that somehow that was a wrong thing to do. I still don’t remember if I did or didn’t and you still don’t give a link; but my reaction was to your ABSURD position that asking for feedback is wrong. As I wrote, for my OpEds and other papers I have often had as many as a dozen people read, critique, and make suggestions. And several have involved more than one revision.

Not remembering something has nothing to do with “mental illness” just another stupid statement by you. Do you understand what mental illness is. Oh, I was a licensed clinical psychologist in Sweden; but, of course, you know better than me. However, it does have to do with such crazy statement as calling me a “bully” for simply making a request. And dishonesty is your making claims without giving links.

When I did my internship at Psychiatric Clinic at Sahlgrenska Hospital in Gothenburg, Sweden, supervised by both a Board Certified Psychiatrist and Psychologist, I also did brief stint at Psychiatric Hospital. Watched behind one-way mirror sessions with seriously mentally ill patients. They too were certain they had the truth, like you.

Of course, you can throw this back at me; but so far at least several other commenters have sided with me and I am quite confident that if we debated in front of, say a random audience of 1,000, that you would be laughed off the stage.

Once more, how is asking for something being a “bully”. and why do you make claims and refuse to give links?


And if you look at the two papers that Science-Based Medicine posted of mine, the majority of comments were quite positive. And they both had extensive reference lists.

@ Scott Allen

Below is a partial list of papers I have and have read on Afghanistan. While I don’t claim “expertise” I certainly devoted some time and effort into the topic. I also list one article that claims ALL of the others are wrong. I’m sure you will choose it over everything else; but then I list two papers that directly debunk it, especially the second one by Fitzgerald. I’m sorry, realize that devoting much time and effort into a subject doesn’t match your “intuitive genius,” so while I don’t claim “expertise”, whatever that is, as opposed to you, I try to learn as much as time allows on various subjects. No, not an expert on history, way too large a subject; but have read a lot on certain aspects of history, e.g., American Revolution, Constitution, etc.

U.S. Support for Mujahideen & Major Reason for Victory of Brutal Islamic Fundamentalists in Afghanistan
Reference List

Blum W (2004). Afghanistan, 1979-1992: America’s Jihad. Available at:

Blum W & Gibbs DN (Translators). The Brzezinski Interview with Le Nouvel Observateur (1998). Available at:

Gibbs DN (2000 Jun). Afghanistan: The Soviet Invasion in Retrospect. International Politics: 37: 233-246. Available at:

Grossman Z (2021 Aug 20). Five Ways the U.S. Created and Prolonged the Afghan Crisis. Counterpunch. Available at:

Mulhern M (2019). “Excellent Propaganda” Zbigniew Brzezinski’s Narrative for the Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan. Dissertation. City College of New York. Available at:

St. Clair J (1998 Jan 15). How Jimmy Carter and I Started the Mujahideen. Counterpunch. Available at:

Vitchek A (2017 Aug 3). Afghanistan’s Lies, Myths and Legends. Counterpunch. Available at:

Whitlock C et al. (2019 Dec 9). The Afghanistan Paper – A Secret History of the War. Washington Post. Available at:

One Paper That Disagrees with Above:

Tobin C (2020 Jan). Myth of the “Afghan Trap”: Zbigniew Brzezinski and Afghanistan, 1978–1979. Diplomatic History. Available at:

Debunks above:

(2020 Aug 11). Magical Thinking and the US War in Afghanistan. Massachusetts Peace Action. Available at:

Fitzgerald P & Gould E (2020 Jul 10). President Carter, Do You Swear to Tell the Truth, the Whole Truth, and Nothing But the Truth? pressenza International Press Agency. Available at:

@ Scott Allen

And the fact that Afghanistan was a major supplier of opium to the world played NO significant role in our initial involvement, though we did try to reduce opium during our time in Afghanistan, it actually increased exponentially.

Odintsov, Vladimir (2020 Sept). Who is to Blame for Afghanistan’s Opium Frenzy? New Eastern Outlook.

“Before the U.S. invaded Afghanistan in 2001, around 82,000 hectares of
Afghanistan cultivated poppy, the plant that produces opium which can be
turned into heroin and other opiates. United Nations and U.S. estimates put the
current poppy crop at around 224,000 hectares.”

Gault, Matthew (2021 Aug 20). Afghanistan’s Opium Business Boomed Under US Occupation. Motherboard.

And the U.S. government has allied itself in the past with drug dealers, e.g., military generals in South America, and even the CIA many years ago helped import drugs into Los Angeles to earn money for the Contras in Nicaragua.

Ruiz-Marrero, Carmelo (2014 Oct 29). The CIA, the Contras and Drugs: Note this has been contested, so not certain; but seems credible???

NOTE. I don’t give links because if you simply cut and paste complete titles you will find.

@ Leonard Sugarman

Thanks for bringing up that Jews were told by Nazis simply they were being relocated, including allowing them to bring a suitcase with personal items, which, of course, most were immediately directed to the gas chambers. I knew this when I debated Scott Allen earlier on Holocaust; but, somehow just didn’t think of it. Thanks again.

Slowly but surely making progress through “The Blank Slate.” Shouldn’t waste time on Scott Allen; but he represents a lot of what I think is wrong in this world, so more just venting against the idiot masses. He just represents them, more or less.

p.s. just e-mailed Gareth Williams asking what my comments on draft chapters of his book changed his emphasis. We’ll see what he answers. ?
Oh, and in addition to his book on polio, I have a dozen more and over 1,000 downloaded papers. I’m sure, as I, you actually knew and/or saw while growing up people with iron braces, in wheel chairs, etc. Antivaxxers who downplay it, out-of-sight out-of-mind, just disgust me.

you posted this.

‘Please give link’

‘And my links included author(s), date, full titles, full journal name, volume, issue, pages, etc. You just are completely dishonest, so what else is new?’

‘Anyone with normal intelligence could cut and paste title into Google or simply click on the link’

I followed you instructions as per the first paragraph and you should follow your own instructions from the second and third paragraph

‘Joel A. Harrison, PhD, MPHsays:
August 21, 2021 at 12:40 pm’

As you can see I cut and copied from this very website.

So maybe now you understand how not posting real links (not typed, made up links) may lead to a little frustration? As I said you post so much you don’t even remember what you posted or you lack total awareness. This second in a series shows how much you fabricate (vax cards and your copier is so good can see the ‘water marks’ or I have never posted research on this site and asked for comments).


‘Spotts seems to be blissfully unaware that Afghans do, y’know, engage in agriculture and commerce.’

yep, they supply 80% of the worlds illegal opium and is 7% of their economy, second only to the war income. So yes they are very good at agriculture and commerce.

@ Scott Allen

Super stupid as usual. You posted my latest response; but not the one you claimed I originally made. FRIGGIN STUPID ASSHOLE. My latest response was based on what you claimed my original one was. FRIGGIN STUPID ASSHOLE

Well, you got one thing right. Yep, Afghanistan is responsible for most of world’s opium. Congratulations, one thing right. As they say, even a broken clock gets the time right twice daily.

They did not call him “George Herbert Walker Opium Pappy Bush” for nothing.

yep, they supply 80% of the worlds illegal opium

Citation, Spotts. The Goatherder Triangle, especially Burmagoatistan, are close on their heels, but once that’s refined, it’s destined for Europe. Mexico feeds the U.S. (I thought I pointed this out just a few days ago.)

Anyway, Spotts, you should give this a read. I don’t have the latest edition (and, weirdly, the original Powell’s wouldn’t buy mine when I was liquidating for a move); it may be even more apropos of today.

Joel-immediately directed to the gas chambers on arrival at their destination after a long suffering, tortuous train journey.
Your railing against the ‘idiot masses’ is where we part company. Not everybody, in fact a minority, would have had the education and experiences you have described for yourself. As I have previously alluded to, we are all ignorant to varying degrees in the vast sea of accumulated knowledge and where we know ‘better’ on a particular subject we should try, when appropriate, to educate, in various ways, the lesser informed individual. This ‘tone policeman’ doesn’t believe that abuse or name calling cuts it regards educating the more ignorant although it may be very satisfying to vent frustration during what is often a difficult endeavor.

@ Leonard Sugarman

Yep, basically you are right. I shouldn’t call people names; but, for instance, Scott Allen claims to have a law degree, hard to believe given how illogical he is and how he fails to understand what I write; but it is difficult to keep my temper when I’ve with Scott, Kay, and others first responded with clear refutations backed with references which they completely ignore. But basically you are right. For better or worse they represent to me one of the major problems in our society, people incapable of entering into a civil dialogue and admitting when wrong. People who take stands but can’t give any foundation for how they developed their position; but are certain they are right. I recently got a book on QAnon and was going to start it when I switched to “The Blank Slate.”

You write: “Not everybody, in fact a minority, would have had the education and experiences you have described for yourself.”

But my comments are written in plain English. I just back them up with what I’ve read. And from time to time have explained why I can write on a number of topics. Not necessarily claiming “expertise” whatever that is; but certainly after knowing over 50 Holocaust survivors, some quite well, watched most documentaries, attended numerous seminars, read over dozen books and literally 100s of articles, I may not be an expert; but certainly know more than Scott who based his position mainly on one paper written by long-time lawyer for NRA, written in German, and as I pointed out, mainly based on Nazi propaganda media. Scott didn’t even waver. Scott and others ignore or twist what I write.

One of my favorite all-time authors is Eric Hoffer. His book “The True Believer.” I still have paperback from my youth. He only had a high school education; but what he wrote was brilliant. All my education does is giving me a jump start on various topics and long practice developing ideas backed by references; but even someone with a high school diploma could be self-taught and there are some; but people like Scott, Kay West, and others aren’t. They find one or two papers that confirm what they chose to believe and thus prove them right. I try to read all sides. In Economics have read Adam Smith, Karl Marx, John Kenneth Galbraith, Milton Friedman, Paul Krugman, F.A. Hayek (founder of Libertarian Economics). etc. And each actually makes valid points. The world is complex, not black and white. However, though each makes some credible points, the overall theories some develop don’t pass muster. But interesting all the same.

Did you notice that Scott criticized me for referring to my previous writings; yet when I pointed out that Orac and almost everyone else does same, not a word from him? And he keeps on with his twisted take on the Holocaust. That Kay West called CDC liars. When I pointed out that they clearly explained limitations in Technical section which she obviously didn’t read and then she asked why they used splines, without even trying to find out what they were. It is difficult to keep ones cool when people like Scott and Kay ignore what one writes and just keep posting. When one points out that they didn’t even understand some of the articles they cite.

After Reconstruction ended many Blacks in South owned guns, didn’t stop lynchings by KKK. Wonder how Scott would explain this? And the population of Blacks in the South was much larger as total population than Jews in Germany, etc. And a number had recently served in the Union army.

In any case, feel free to point out my shortcomings. The only time I succeeded walking on water was a lake in winter. ?

Ironic that you, disagree/distrust the US government policy in Afghanistan/Vietnam etc. (but then so did I), you disagree/distrust with US government legal system (juries etc.), you disagree/distrust with the US government on our health care (hospitals/insurance etc). In fact just about everything the US government does you have a disagreement/distrust/suspicion with (which is your right, again it is your right, maybe even a duty) and want to assign nefarious/secret/hidden agendas to those things (I prefer to believe in Hanlon’s Razor).
The exception in all of those disagreements/distrust of government policy/rules/hidden agendas etc. is on Covid, with masks, vaccines, lock downs etc.
You seem to believe and trust the US government is telling you the truth, on that one item, while lying to you on virtually everything else.

Joel- I am not here to criticize yours or anybody’s shortcomings, (although occasionally I do slip into that vein, as we all do). – I have too many of my own to tread that path. I don’t disagree with what you just wrote but at some point you have to let your ‘adversary’ find things for themselves: they may fail to find the ‘truth’. So be it: move on.

@ Leonard Sugarman

I didn’t take it as a “criticism” your pointing out that I should control my anger., etc. I saw it as you being supportive, wanting me to improve my commenting, etc or pointing out that, yep, I am wasting time and effort that could be better applied elsewhere. Both VALID observations.

Don’t worry about it.

@ Clint

I base my distrust on the U.S. government on numerous sources, even eventually released government documents, e.g., the Pentagon Papers, including a long history of eventually uncovered lies. We invaded Iraq based on the lies that Saddam Hussein was in league with Al Qaeda (they had a fatwa on him) and had weapons of mass destruction. We overthrew the democratic government of Iran in 1953 lying they were communist, and ended up with 40% rights to their oil, and on and on it goes. And I don’t trust the U.S. government on Covid; but based on my training and education and having downloaded and read over 1,000 papers on Covid since January 2020. In the previous exchange, I listed a large number of articles on masks, some peer-reviewed research, other WHO and CDC reports, etc and I read them all. Have several more but got tired of adding to reference list. So, I guess you are wrong about when I choose to believe our government, basically NEVER, unless I can find corroborative evidence. I seldom if ever even believe single scientists, that is, peer-reviewed articles, unless I already have strong basic knowledge of area or there exist several independent studies, reports. It takes time and effort; but I prefer it to reacting based on a few sources. And I’m not on any social media; but have been reading on QAnon, etc. Hitler wrote that the bigger the lie the more easily many people will believe it. Simply some people think no one could make up such a big lie, so it must be true. Add to long history of paranoia and conspiracies in American history and we have the large number of QAnon believers. There is one great article by Pulitzer Prize winning historian Richard Hofstadter (1963). “The Paranoid Style in American Politics” that could have been written today. Easily found on internet.

By the way, I submitted as a comment a list of articles on U.S. and Afghanistan; but according to Orac, if comment contains links, goes through screening process and takes sometimes a day to post. Hopefully, will be posted soon.

As for Hanlon’s Razor, I doubt it was stupidity that was responsible for reasons given for invasion of Iraq, even press told us how Bush kept getting reports that Iraq not involved in 9/11 and kept pushing for the opposite. And we know that LBJ was aware of how we got into Vietnam; but with election coming up against Hawk Goldwater, he increased the troops, resulting in more American deaths and injuries and more Vietnamese death and injuries, not to save “democracy” in Iraq but to win an election.. And on and on it goes. So, yep, sometimes Hanlon’s Razor might apply; but not in many cases.

Back to Covid. As I’ve written before, I was volunteer in Moderna mRNA vaccine phase 3 clinical trial; but before I volunteered, reviewed history and current knowledge of mRNA, articles on S-spike protein, on research on mRNA vaccines, etc. Spent almost three weeks, probably 25-30 hours reading and given my knowledge of vaccines, immunology, microbiology, especially Coronaviruses, I volunteered. I’ve been a lifetime whole blood donor; but since getting the vaccine I donate plasma every four weeks since it contains antibodies and t-cells to COVID and is used in hospitalized patients; but, to repeat, I didn’t just trust government on Covid vaccine; but read up on its ingredients, etc. and have continued to download and read about it.

And, yep, many of the antivaxxers and anti maskers do fit in with Hanlon’s Razor, stupid, relying on biased sources, no basics of immunology, mRNA, etc; but like many who post on this site, certain they are right. And, of course, add Hofstadter’s paranoid style and conspiracy theory and voila. But, for instance, they talk about pharmaceutical companies profiting on vaccines. We buy fruit and vegetables at same stores that sell coca cola and potato chips, both manufactured and sold for profit. Nothing is manufactured by a company to lose money. Making a profit doesn’t say if something is beneficial, harmful, or somewhere in between; yet antivaxxers harp on profits on vaccines; but I wonder if any of them or loved ones are diabetic and use insulin? Companies make a profit on insulin, so means not good? However, one can challenge the obscene profits some companies make; but that is a different issue.

@ Leonard Sugarman

Nope, haven’t written them; but have outlines and all the reference papers. Just been too tired and focused on editing next edition of undergraduate text on microbiology for a colleague. Insomnia saps me of time, tired most of day. Now trying combination of supplements that may help, Melatonin, L-Tryptophan, and GABA (Gamma Amino Byteric Acid), neurotransmitter responsible for sleep that some, like me, produce lower amounts. Only problem is only a little of supplement actually crosses the blood-brain barrier, so I may start taking two capsules. When finish editing book and if get more sleep will probably start writing articles again. Actually have outlines and assembled papers for probably a dozen or so.

Read what Kay West wrote about number of papers read and, when it finally posts, my reply. I won’t call her nasty names; but yikes!

So you’ve read 1,000 research papers on Covid and stuff from the CDC/WHO/Fauci and now feel you are informed?

You do realize that as of today there are over 581,428 (or over half of a MILLION) research publication by 28,320 organizations in 198 countries on Covid, so you can make an informed decision on your reading of 1/580 th ( 1 in 500) of the publications produced so far.

you know sometimes the best response to not post anything.

here’s the link you can add the https

@ Kay West

For someone who calls the CDC liars without even reading the Technical section of the CDC report you linked to, who didn’t even bother to try to find out what “splines” are and many other comments by you, what a hypocrite. And what have you based your numerous comments over the past months???

Oh, actually I now have over 2,500 papers on various aspects of Covid; but haven’t read each and every, though most, others skimmed. Yep, I can’t possibly read each and every paper; but neither can anyone, so I guess NO one should have a right to take any position on anything. And a number of the papers I read were reviews of other papers. In addition, as opposed to you, I have a strong basic knowledge of immunology and microbiology, actual graduate level training and experience in epidemiology and biostatistics, and have a strong knowledge of the history of and current status of vaccine-preventable diseases.

What a foolish thing to say, that if someone can’t have read every article on a subject then no matter how knowledgeable they are, they shouldn’t take a position. Yet, you keep posting comments based on what???

Why do you keep digging an ever larger hole for yourself???

@ Kay West

And the number of papers probably include a number published in predatory for-profit journals that publish anything for a fee. Such journals didn’t exist awhile back. In fact, I get e-mails from a number of journals encouraging me to submit a manuscript. Some only charge $600 to $1,000. They claim peer-reviewed; but who the reviewers are questionable?

@ Kay West

One other thing. The number you refer to doesn’t necessarily mean new. Many probably cross-reference other papers and are sequential follow-ups of earlier ones. I could give the number of WHO reports since outbreak of pandemic; but I assure you case numbers would NOT be independent, same with CDC, same with some Harvard studies. If one does phase 1 study of some treatment, then phase 2, etc. all independent papers; but not really.

However, based on your position, then anyone publishing, for instance, a new study, should include a reference of every single related study. I’d love to see such a paper on, say, measles, would have a reference list thicker than entire issue of journal.

Yep, you can comment without any basic knowledge; but I shouldn’t after reading and skimming over 2,000 papers and having the education/background to actually understand them.

You are really amusing, living in some world of fantasy.

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