Antivaccine nonsense Medicine Popular culture

Cureus retracted his article, and now Steve Kirsch is suing

Cureus retracted a misinformation-packed paper. Now Steve Kirsch and its authors are threatening to sue for $250 million. Hilarity quickly ensued.

Obnoxious tech bro turned “debate me, bro” antivaxxer Steve Kirsch is a fairly frequent topic on this blog for the simple reason that it’s hard to find a more rabid antivaxxer out there who produces more and stupider antivax misinformation on such a regular basis, yet utterly lacks any sense of his own limitations with respect to understanding the relevant scientific disciplines. Whether falsely claiming that COVID-19 vaccines have killed 3.5 times more people than COVID-19, accepting stolen data from a fake “New Zealand whistleblower” and then threatening to release protected health information (PHI), or just randomly challenging anyone refuting his nonsense to “debate me, bro,” Mr. Kirsch has certainly made a name for himself as the living personification of the arrogance of ignorance applied to COVID-19, COVID-19 vaccines, and, increasingly, just vaccines and medicine in general. However, his latest antic might just be his most risibly nonsensical yet. Basically, he is suing Springer Nature, one of whose journals is Cureus, which published a review article/commentary that contained black hole density-level pseudoscience, misinterpretation of studies, and antivax quackery and pseudoscience. Why? Because Cureus actually did the right thing and retracted the paper.

Even more hilariously, Mr. Kirsch is suing for…$250 million. Seriously, there is only one meme for this:

Steve Kirsch is suing
Quoth Steve Kirsch: “I demand…250 MILLION DOLLARS! Muahahahaha.”

Let’s take a look at Kirsch’s unhinged rant:

The scientific journals have been getting away with unethical retractions for decades.

They unethically retracted our paper, “COVID-19 mRNA Vaccines: Lessons Learned from the Registrational Trials and Global Vaccination Campaign.” 

Here are the bogus reasons the journal gave for retraction and Peter McCullough’s EXCELLENT article regarding the impact of the paper and our response to their reasons

It’s time for this unethical practice to stop.

I hired a private investigator and was able to get the goods on the editors of Cureus so I know for a fact the paper was unethically retracted.

It’s time for the journals to be held accountable.

I’ll be filing suit next week against Springer Nature and Cureus seeking $250M in punitive damages so that the journals think twice the next time they get a paper they don’t like.

Actually, journals should think twice the next time they get a paper they “don’t like” and not publish that paper in the first place, but that’s just my perspective. On the one hand, I can’t help but be somewhat amused in that Cureus should never have published the paper in the first place and deserves some of the crap coming its way. On the other hand, the editors of Cureus did ultimately do the right thing and retract Kirsch and colleague’s steaming, stinking turd of a paper, which was clearly always intended as a tool for antivaxxers to cite while fear mongering about COVID-19 vaccines. (Retraction Watch has more.)

Basically, the article, COVID-19 mRNA Vaccines: Lessons Learned from the Registrational Trials and Global Vaccination Campaign, was a one-stop shop for the most prevalent antivaccine narratives and distortions, a COVID-19 antivax greatest hits, if you will. Naturally, its authors, who included not just Steve Kirsch, but other antivaxxers such as Peter McCullough, Stephanie Seneff, and Jessica Rose, concluded by calling for the removal of the vaccines from the childhood vaccination schedule “until proper safety and toxicological studies are conducted” and endorsing “a global moratorium on the modified mRNA products until all relevant questions pertaining to causality, residual DNA, and aberrant protein production are answered.” (Hint: These questions have been answered; it’s just that antivaxxers don’t like the answers.”)

I was particularly interested in Mr. Kirsch’s claim that he had hired a private investigator, who “was able to get the goods on the editors of Cureus so I know for a fact the paper was unethically retracted.” I’m not sure just what a private investigator would or could find that would prove this claim. After all, Mr. Kirsch has all the email correspondence, all the peer review reports, and pretty much everything. Unless his PI hacked Cureus‘ servers to get private emails between the editors cackling (metaphorically) about retracting the paper for no reason, I really find it hard to imagine just what additional value a PI could bring. Maybe the PI did do some unethical hacking of his own, if this part of Kirsch’s rant:

You can do your own internal investigation to prove this. Ask for all the letters received, emails between the editors, find out who wrote the retraction reasons and what instructions they were given. Then look at the paper trail after we submitted our response. You’ll see for yourself the unethical behavior.

Whatever the PI did or didn’t find and what it was, Steve Kirsch can’t resist Steve Kirsching, though, and assures us that he’s certainly, most definitely and absolutely has the goods on the wicked editors of Cureus and refers readers to, well:

We have hard evidence of our claims, but supplying this would breach confidentiality. If you want to validate it, you can reach out to Paul Marik who is one of America’s top scientists; he’s seen the evidence we obtained and finds it both appalling and compelling.

Dr. Paul Marik? Seriously, my assessment is that Dr. Marik is a big time quack, one of the founders of the Frontline COVID-19 Critical Care (FLCCC) Alliance. From my perspective, the only things Dr. Marik is an expert in are antivax grifting and quackery. His other “expert” to whom he appeals, Dr. Boz (Annette Bosworth) asks in a YouTube video: Paper retracted. Was I duped? Why yes, Dr. Boz. I do believe that you were duped, likely because you are antivax and were predisposed to believe all the misinformation in the paper. Then, at the end of the paper, Mr. Kirsch appends letters of complaint about the retraction by Harald Walach (a parapsychologist known for also defending homeopathy who naturally pivoted to spreading COVID-19 misinformation), Dr. Sucharit Bhakdi (a pathologist spreading false claims that COVID-19 vaccines kill), and Adrian Parker (another parapsychologist and current president of the Society for Psychical Research). Let’s just say that these are not credible experts in the scientific issues misrepresented in the retracted paper.

His appeal to fake “experts” who are really cranks, quacks, and/or antivax aside, Steve Kirsch, being Steve Kirsch, couldn’t resist publishing his correspondence with Cureus’ legal department, which, quite reasonably, asked him:

To proceed effectively in a review of your legal concerns regarding the retraction, kindly outline your specific legal objections, including any relevant facts or documents.

Our legal department assesses all suggestions of legal action seriously and carefully.  We look forward to your prompt and detailed response.

I laughed out loud at the very first part of Mr. Kirsch’s response:

Our legal claims include:

  1. Defamation
  2. Breach of implied contract
  3. Fraudulent misrepresentation

I realize that I am not a lawyer, but I’m not totally ignorant of the law either. For example, good luck proving defamation, which is incredibly difficult to prove in the US even with a strong case, thanks to the First Amendment. (I’ve been definitely libeled on more than one occasion but have never tried to sue because I know that the odds would be stacked against me and that it would probably be deplete my life’s savings more than I’m willing to tolerate to pursue a libel lawsuit that I would have a good chance of losing.) Mr. Kirsch and his colleagues would have to prove actual falsehood and malice—differences in opinion and interpretation of data don’t count—or a “reckless disregard for the truth or falsity” of their retraction, which I really don’t think that Cureus demonstrated, as much as I’ve criticized its editors over accepting this paper for publication.

As for the “breach of implied contract,” this tells me that there was no explicit contract. Otherwise, Mr. Kirsch would point to the text of the explicit contract. Finally, where’s the “fraudulent misrepresentation”? Mr. Kirsch just drops that accusation but never addresses it again. What, exactly, was the misrepresentation? How does Mr. Kirsch know it was fraudulent. We don’t know, and he doesn’t tell.

The next paragraph, in particular, brings up some interesting tidbits:

Our paper, “Lessons Learned” was retracted by Cureus not because of scientific merit in accordance with the COPE guidelines, but because the editors received 6 ad hominem attack letters and decided we were “anti-vaxxers” and then the journal editors looked for excuses to retract the paper. The excuses were all without scientific merit and one of them was glaringly obvious to everyone (the ridiculous claim that the COVID vaccines were thoroughly tested). The stated reasons don’t rise to the COPE standard. This was a sham retraction that injures our reputations and breaches the implied contract that the journal follows the COPE guidelines. This was arguably the most read paper the journal has ever published, and THE JOURNAL DID NOT RECEIVE A SINGLE COMPLAINT FROM ANY QUALIFIED SCIENTIST on any SCIENTIFIC errors in the article. The peer reviewers are furious and members of the scientific community have written letters in protest of the sham retraction. And when the editors gave us their sham list of reasons and we responded, within hours, they notified us that the paper would be retracted; clearly ignoring our response to their objections. That is NOT how science works. This is again unethical. It shows they made up their minds and it didn’t matter what we said.  

First off, even if the editors of Cureus actually were “unethical” in how they retracted the paper, that is not a legal claim. Again, I’m not a lawyer, but ethics and law are two separate things, and if you’re going to be successful suing someone you need to base your claims in the law, not in your anger at what you perceive as “unethical” behavior. Second, COPE guidelines are just that, guidelines for journals. I don’t think you can easily sue based on just guidelines, as they are not law.

Perhaps the juiciest tidbit from Kirsch’s rant is that he has made it very clear from this that he and McCullough know who the peer reviewers are and have been in communication with them. I find this very interesting in the light of what Retraction Watch reported when the retraction was first announced:

A few days after the paper appeared, we asked John Adler Jr., the editor in chief of Cureus, if the track record of the authors concerned him. His response seemed to admit to the risk, but he also defended the journal’s vetting of the paper:
Yes I am aware that many of these authors are skeptical zealots when it comes to the dangers of vaccines. Our editorial response was extra vigilance during the peer review process with 8 different reviewers weighing in on publication or not, including a few with strong statistics knowledge. Therefore, a credible peer review process was followed and the chips fell where they may. That is all I can say. If you or other readers were to note fatal flaws in this article now that it is published, i.e. failure to accurately report financial COIs [conflicts of interest], totally erroneous statistical analysis, fake data etc. we will of course re-evaluate at any time.
Adler then took a jab at other journals:
The decision process Cureus made, contrasts sharply with Elsevier’s seeming editorial decision to just censor the article using ad hominem concerns.

I wrote at the time:

It’s even worse than I thought; that is, if what Adler says is true. Eight reviewers evaluated this paper, and some supposedly had “strong statistics knowledge”? And these “reviewers” approved this paper for publication? How on earth can anyone with the requisite background knowledge have fallen for this, regardless of whether the statistics might have appeared valid or not?

I also went on to speculate that perhaps the editors of Cureus might have been too accommodating of requests by authors for suggested peer reviewers, noting that most journals ask for suggested peer reviewers, and, of course, most authors will suggest reviewers who (1) have the relevant expertise to review the manuscript and (2) won’t be too hard on it. Of course, journal editors are free to use one or more of the authors’ suggestions or to ignore their suggestions altogether. After seeing what Mr. Kirsch has written, I now strongly suspect that the editor of Cureus just used the reviewers suggested by the authors, most of whom were almost certainly antivax buddies of the him and/or the other authors. Why else would the reviewers be “furious” at the retraction?

I like to think of it this way, imagining myself in the shoes of a peer reviewer who had approved a manuscript that was later retracted. Personally, if I ever learned that a paper for which I had served as one of the peer reviewers had been retracted, my reaction, after shock, would be to question myself and, more importantly, to wonder what I had gotten wrong about the manuscript when reviewing it. I would have used the retraction as an opportunity for self-reflection and self-improvement, acknowledging a mistake, trying to figure out what the mistake was, and trying to figure out how I might avoid making similar mistakes in the future.

In any case, it’s all making a lot more sense now. Thanks, Mr. Kirsch, for inadvertently almost certainly confirming what I had suspected from the beginning, namely that Cureus had used antivaxxers suggested by McCullough and company as peer reviewers, rather than bothering to find reviewers who actually knew the material and could identify the distortions and misrepresentations of the cited literature. Seriously, Mr. Kirsch is his own worst enemy. He just can’t keep his mouth shut, social media-wise, because he has to show off what he knows behind the scenes, and in blabbing he always gives the game away. No wonder, despite being challenged to publish all the peer review reports, Mr. Kirsch has not as yet done so, even though there is nothing keeping him, Dr. McCullough, or any of the other authors from posting them.

Also amusing is his ALL CAPS rant about how this “was arguably the most read paper the journal has ever published,” to which I respond: So what? That’s just an appeal to popularity, a logical fallacy. The next part about how “THE JOURNAL DID NOT RECEIVE A SINGLE COMPLAINT FROM ANY QUALIFIED SCIENTIST on any SCIENTIFIC errors in the article” is just plain wrong. According to Retraction Watch’s account, at least two of the scientists complaining were more than qualified, as they included r, John P. Moore, a microbiologist at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York City, and Gregg Gonsalves, an epidemiologist at Yale School of Public Health. Both of these scientists are far more qualified to discuss COVID-19 and COVID-19 vaccines than any of the authors of Kirsch’s misbegotten retracted crapfest.

Particularly amusing is this part:

I wrote Retraction Watch and asked for a copy of the letter they referenced in their article. They refused to supply the letter or tell me where they got the letter from. 

I wrote to Professor John Moore directly who also refused to provide the letter that the Retraction Watch published. Instead, he wrote this:

Suing letter
Orac says: Nice response, Dr. Moore. I couldn’t have done it better myself. Also, note how he blurred out the email address of his friends but not Drs. Moore or Gonsalves. True, you can easily find their email addresses on their university websites, but still…

I would point out to Mr. Kirsch that Retraction Watch published some of the text of the letter by Dr. Moore and Gonsalves outlining their concerns. Apparently, Mr. Kirsch’s private eye didn’t find that. Truly, this is the gang that couldn’t shoot straight, and Mr. Kirsch should demand a refund from whatever PI he hired, as he himself ended up writing Retraction Watch asking for a copy of the email. Retraction Watch, to its credit, told him to pound sand.

As for Mr. Kirsch’s complaint that the editors retracted the paper despite his and McCullough’s objections, well boo hoo. The letter, as republished on Kirsch’s Substack, stated quite clearly that the decision had been made to retract the paper: “Editors have therefore decided to retract your article.” They even said at the end of the email that the retraction notice would be amended thusly, depending on whether the authors agree to the retraction:

[will be amended as appropriate:] All authors agree to this retraction/ None of the authors agree to this retraction /[author name] agrees to this retraction/[author name] does not agree to this retraction/ [author name] has not responded to any correspondence from the editor/publisher about this retraction.

Since none of the authors agreed, the retraction notice states, “The authors disagree with this retraction.” Clearly, Mr. Kirsch does not understand how retractions work. The editors do not have to reconsider their decision to retract just because you’re pissed off about it and think it unjustified.

Of course, it’s fairly obvious that this lawsuit is probably not about actually winning. Somehow I doubt that even Mr. Kirsch is sufficiently stupid or deluded to believe that he can actually win (although he might well be!), and, even if he is, any competent lawyer he might hire would be under no such illusion. (That assumes, of course, that Mr. Kirsch hires a competent and ethical lawyer; so perhaps I’m off-base here too.) What this is about is intimidation. Don’t believe me? Look at this part of Mr. Kirsch’s email to the legal department:

In the meantime, we will be filing a suit in Texas against Springer and Journal for punitive damages of $250M so this sort of unethical behavior never happens again. The deposition of the Cureus editors will make it clear to the entire world how unethical the journal is. WE HAVE THE EVIDENCE. Doing the right thing in the meantime will make Springer look less bad. We may reconsider our lawsuit if you promptly do the right thing outlined in red.

Shorter Steve Kirsch:

Steve Kirsch as Monty Python
Shorter Steve Kirsch: Nice journal ya got there. Be a shame if we sued it.

Yeah, yeah. Just reinstate our paper and maybe, just maybe, we’ll make this lawsuit go away. As for their suing in Texas, I’m sure that’s because McCullough thinks that a Texas court will be sympathetic to their sorts of crappy arguments and because he lives in Dallas. On the other hand, it’s a risky move, as Texas does have an anti-SLAPP law, designed to produce potential penalties for filing frivolous strategic lawsuits against public participation; i.e., lawsuits filed against people or entities for exercising speech, press, assembly, petition, or association rights.

Personally, I can’t wait to see the actual legal complaint that Kirsch files, because you can’t just bluster and be this imprecise in a legal complaint. (Well, you can, but that’s a good way to provoke a summary dismissal for wasting the court’s time.) It will be then that Kirsch and his lawyers will have to spell out their arguments and give an idea of what sort of “bombshell evidence” they have that will prove their case. My prediction? Just like his “mother of all revelations” about the New Zealand database, the ultimate reaction in reality-based circles outside of his usual base of antivax conspiracy theorists will be very much like Marvin the Martian.

Truly, the comparison is apt.

Marvin the Martian
This will likely be Steve Kirsch’s reaction to the reception that his lawsuit gets when he finally gets around to filing it and suing.

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]

44 replies on “Cureus retracted his article, and now Steve Kirsch is suing”

Steve Kirsch will do one of three things:
1) Make a huge fuss, then wait a few months and quietly drop everything.
2) Make a huge fuss, ending with an announcement that a lawsuit won’t work as the system is corrupt etc.
3) File suit, and get absolutely nailed in Court.
My money’s on the first two.

Indeed. Yet I (and some lawyers) are very much hoping he does actually file suit, because reading the complaint will provide many lulz.

To me, this is the final evidence that Steve Kirsch has reached full crank.

Only full cranks threaten to sue journals or editors when there barfed up balls of crappola get retracted by journals.

It is an intimidation tactic. Sadly for the full cranks, I cannot think of a single example where this intimidation has worked.

Part of the trouble for Kirsch and the other full cranks is that Journals do not lightly retract papers. Ordinary level crapness and things that are wrong just stay in. It takes an obvious breach of research ethics to get retracted – like fraud, making data up, image manipulation, etc. The lowest level for a retraction is where the conclusions are not supported by the evidence provided. Kirsch et al.’s paper includes obvious fraud i.e. misrepresentation of the available data and references, but also conclusions not supported by the evidence. He won’t have a leg to stand on in a lawsuit.!/

Cranks or nasties. Andrew Wakefield used litigation to silence others. Brian Deer has at least one example in his book of it working against a smaller news paper.

It does work. There are many who cannot defend themselves. I think we won’t hear about many of those cases, since they’re behind the scenes; we hear about those that fail.

The authors might have grounds to file suit in the DE, UK or Canada, which could get them a more favorable standard of liability for defamation. Filing in Texas is stupid, threatening to file is beyond stupid–unless it is purely performative. I sincerely doubt Kirsch has actually retained any legal counsel (or at the very least has, quite predictably, failed to listen to their advice).

Andrew Wakefield thought he could get Brian Deer in a Texas court many years ago and that backfired spectacularly.

“I like to think of it this way, imagining myself in the shoes of a peer reviewer who had approved a manuscript that was later retracted. Personally, if I ever learned that a paper for which I had served as one of the peer reviewers had been retracted, my reaction, after shock, would be to question myself and, more importantly, to wonder what I had gotten wrong about the manuscript when reviewing it.”

Doesn’t this depend on why it is retracted? For example, if it turns out that all the data was made up or stolen the reviewer should have no reason to question his own judgement.

This is good in that now all PubMed journals will reject up front all this junk science from anti-vaxxers.

Thank you S. Kirsch. You are your own worst enemy.

Apologies for the OT comment, Orac, but I gotta say I am thoroughly sick of this crappy blog platform. There’s way too much white space on both sides; it’s impossible to tell which comments are in response to which previous comments, because there’s not enough indentation (you’d have more room for clearer indentation if you had less white space on both sides); your headline text is much bigger than it has to be (a headline or title should not fill a whole screen); comments I’ve posted simply vanish with no explanation or error message; everything seems to have been deliberately misarranged to be the opposite of how every other blog I’ve seen arranges things; and clicking “post” or “comments” causes an unnecessary amount of scrolling up or down. This is easily one of the bottom-five worst blog platforms I’ve ever seen, even worse than OnlySky.

You, your content, and your readers deserve a much better platform than this endless hot mess.

If you’d like to pay an WordPress developer to fix the problems you perceive with this blog, I’d consider it. Otherwise, it’s just me. Period. There is no one else unless I pay them, and I don’t have the time or the expertise to fix all the perceived problems you see with the blog platform. I already pay for hosting, because there are no ads.

I just took a look at Jessica Rose’s Substack : it’s called Unacceptable Jessica.
How prescient.

-btw- none of the Substacks I review are acceptable

I am fairly sure Dr. Rose pretty much assured she will not be able to get a legitimate science job going forward. Her work is likely to make her unacceptable to any legitimate institution.

Repeated retractions won’t help, either.

Well, Wonkette moved to SubStack — they’re a leftie-looking political blog that’s actually basically liberal Democratic. Their (excellent) writers despise the antivax movement, and their commentariat includes a lot of smart people.

I have considered moving to Substack, but, truth be told, I find Substack to be fugly in the extreme, way worse Raging Bee’s characterization of what this blog looks like. That just makes it really hard for me. I’d also lose whatever Google juice this blog has and have to start building it again from scratch.

I find Substack quite unattractive and clumsy to read. I view a few outre writers sparingly to find their latest nonsense. Because I listen to/ watch/ read multiple sink holes of altie/ anti-vax/ contrarianism, I have to restrict the amount of BS I access because even I have limits.

“This was a sham retraction that injures our reputations”

The reputations of Kirsch, Seneff, Rose and McCullough were already compromised. It’s hard to imagine them sinking any lower.

IKR? One element of libel is that the statements claimed to be libelous have to have had a material effect on one’s reputation. If your reputation is as bad as that of Kirsch, Seneff, Rose, and McCullough, it would be very difficult to drive the reputation much lower.

Attorney Ari Cohn comes to my class every year to teach my students about defamation (via Zoom), and he always mentions the one case where the court found the plaintiffs could not sue for defamation because his reputation was already so bad he was defamation proof.

I’m blanking on the case name, but I’m going to email Ari and ask. Or ask on Twitter: this might be of public interest.

Seneff is a disgrace. I believe she only gets to stay at MIT because her spouse is holding an endowed professorship in the engineering department. One has to question how good an engineer he is to tolerate the sheer idiocy of her “science”– good science students in high school can see through her nonsense quite easily. More importantly, one has to ask why MIT tolerates this dangerous disinformer.

Jelani Cobb, Dean of Columbia School of Journalism, said recently on television ( totally paraphrased): if you say the complete opposite of what is commonly known, it might be viewed as brilliant by some people but it’s not.

I thought immediately of Kirsch.

As you point out, this will really depend on whether he files a complaint and what’s in it. It’s the details that would count.

As you point out, he admits there was no explicit contract. He seems to be claiming an implicit contract provision that makes non-compliance with the guidelines when retracting a paper a breach, but that’s going to be a really tricky lift. First, the guidelines include having clear evidence that the findings are unreliable as a result of a major error (I’ll put aside manipulated peer review process, since the journal is not claiming that, but you make a case for that). So showing a violation will be tricky. Second, the claim that this is a contract provision is tricky. In fact, in their policies they say that “errors that invalidate the work… are not eligible for correction and will instead result in article retraction.”!/policies-and-procedures/retraction-policy

This kind of policy seems more likely to be seen as implicitly part of the contract, and it gives the journal quite a bit of discretion.

And generally, courts are not inclined to interfere with academic judgment like this. It’s not a legal issue.

You already addressed how hard it might be to show defamation here, and Mr. Kirsch has not pointed to any defamatory statements as far as I saw. Disagreeing with the journal on vaccine safety is not going to make those statement false for defamation. For that matter, accusing the authors of being wrong on vaccine safety likely isn’t a defamatory statement either.

And as you point out, where is the misrepresentation? Publishing and then retracting? Retraction policies are part of the journal’s policies. You knew this was an option, Mr. Kirsch.

I agree with your assessment that this is an intimidation tactic. I wonder if the journal lawyers will remind him that under the anti-SLAPP law, lawyer fees and costs are awarded against plaintiffs who file SLAPP lawsuits. Maybe he should talk to his buddy Andrew Wakefield about his litigation experience in Texas.

If it ever gets to discovery, I expect the journal on its side to depose not only Mr. Kirsch but the peer reviewers, and that could be interested, but I don’t think it will get there.

Here is what this sounds like to me.

The lawsuit threat could be an application for a position in the upcoming RFK Junior administration.

Ugh. I hadn’t thought of that, but yeah. I can’t discount that possibility. More likely, though, it’s an application to the far more likely than comfortable Trump administration.

The Surgeon-General doesn’t really have that much power. More frightening would be Joseph Ladapo as director of the CDC or as FDA Commissioner; worse still, Secretary of HHS.

“We have hard evidence of our claims, but supplying this would breach confidentiality. If you want to validate it, you can reach out to Paul Marik who is one of America’s top scientists; he’s seen the evidence we obtained and finds it both appalling and compelling”

Color me confused: you can’t reveal the evidence because it would breach confidentiality, but you DID reveal it to Paul Marik? How is that not a breach of confidentiality in and of itself?

On how Cureus peer-review works. Cureus started off as a post publication peer-review journal. They have in recent years changed to a pre-publication peer-review process. However, they have an automated system of inviting peer-reviewers. The authors are require to select 5 peer-reviewers. These are all invited along with 6 peer-reviewers from Cureus’ volunteer panel. As far as I can tell, there is a minimal involvement of a human (I suspect none) in the selection of peer-reviewers. The opportunities for gaming peer-review are endless. The journal does state that 2 reviews from Cureus-invited reviewers are required, but for some authors this requirement is reduced to 1.!/how-it-works/introduction

As a journal editor, I can see the attraction of automating the selection of peer-reviewers. This is one of the tasks around manuscripts that takes the longest, as I need to find sufficient potential reviewers with expertise in the topic area, who have no potential conflicts of interest and, because I care about reviewer burnout, have not reviewed for me in recent months. I also try to reject the obvious dross immediately, so reviewers don’t have to review rubbish. From the author instructions, it appears that Cureus does not have an automatic reject option – all submissions go out for peer review.

For your entertainment **

The Highwire, yesterday, first story in/ first few minutes…
Dr Fauci discusses mis-information/ dis-information and why truth is important

Del then describes it as “the pot calling the kettle black” and Fauci as the “king of misinformation”.

Sometimes it’s difficult to write about altie/ anti-vax issues and to keep the opponents’ sides straight but that is their intention : if they are normalised, science breaks down and chaos reigns.

** but clearly a sign o’ the times/ a glimpse into the ‘mirror world’

You shouldn’t laugh at Steve’s legal perspicacity. He’s one of the featured players at the “Covid Litigation Conference II” concluding today in Las Vegas*. Lots of insights to be had for the low low registration fee of $645. They promise the payout (presumably from vaccine lawsuits, which we were previously told were impossible to file) will be bigger than the asbestos settlement!

It’s reminiscent of the old gold rushes. The great majority of prospectors mostly went bust, while those who sold them questionable goods at inflated prices cleaned up.

*where Plandemic: The Musical premieres tomorrow night.

I’m anxiously awaiting the video clips from Pandemic:The Musical that will inevitably appear on Rumble after its premiere. I’m sure there will be many lulz and and a hell of a lot of cringe.😂

Orac is in luck:
The Highwire WATCH ( last week) has VIDEO which is divided into clips ( insulting Dr Fauci/ Rand Paul speaks/ Mikki Willis Plandemic for 17 minutes! We get to see Del perform and JP Sears!
I’ll to go back and watch because last week when I skimmed the episode, the cringe was too much.

Orac and company: Go, watch, enjoy. Have a drink first though.

Well, it’s only a 2 minute clip ( at the start) and a few shots embedded in a 15 minute interview with Willis ( double cringe) I think I spotted Malone and Mikovits cameos during the song.

Want to respond to Orac? Here's your chance. Leave a reply! Just make sure that you've read the Comment Policy (link located in the main menu in the upper right hand corner of the page) first if you're new here!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading