Antivaccine nonsense Medicine Pseudoscience

Thacker the hack keeps Thacking and hacking

I know I’ve written about Paul Thacker’s attacks on young physician Dr. Allison Neitzel three times now, but he just keeps going lower and demanding more not-so-Respectful Insolence. Orac is happy to oblige.

When I came across his latest additional hit piece on young physician Dr. Allison Neitzel, entitled Fake Physician Group Platformed Disgraced, Fake Physician Allison Neitzel on Their Fake Medical Journal Website, I debated about whether to write about Paul Thacker one more time. After all, I’ve now written three posts in the last two weeks about his brain-meltingly stupid and deceptive hit piece on young physician Dr. Allison Neitzel as somehow “not a physician” based on a pedantic, dishonest, cherry-picked legalistic definition of the word, as well as its aftermath, in which the usual suspects, including the grifting quacks at the Frontline COVID-19 Critical Care (FLCCC) Alliance, as well as much of the rest of the COVID-19 antivax quack crankosphere, amplified Thacker’s hack attack, as well as using Dr. Neitzel’s apology to the FLCCC in what appears to have been an orchestrated attack her as not credible. Of course, they didn’t mention that this apology had almost certainly come about as the result of legal bullying, the FLCCC having sent a process server to Dr. Neitzel’s apartment, a little context left out of all the posts by Thacker, the FLCCC, and its allies attacking Dr. Netizel. Then, Dr. Neitzel published a heartfelt response to Thacker, including a recounting of some of her personal history that had led her to combat misinformation, leading me to heap more deserved scorn on the FLCCC and Thacker, even as antivaxxers amplified Thacker’s attacks.

Let’s just say that it wasn’t Thacker who came off looking better.

Of course, Thacker the hack brought the original heaping helping of not-so-Respectful Insolence on himself when he emailed me, cc’ing my medical school dean and department chair, which left me little choice but to publish the whole sorry email exchange because of how bad it made him look. I should have known that I wasn’t the only one, as Russ Baker, founder, Editor-in-Chief and CEO of WhoWhatWhy, the nonprofit, noncommercial online news organization devoted to covering and uncovering stories and angles ignored by the media that Dr. Neitzel had contributed to, revealed by publishing emails sent to him by Thacker that were damned near identical to the ones that I had received. So you can see why I was wondering if maybe I’ve been writing too much about this.

Nope. Hacks gonna hack, and Thacker, being a hack, is gonna Thack, and Thack and hack he does, asking:

How bad does this get? Tracking the rise and fall of Allison Neitzel led me to a weird world of bogus “disinformation” journalists and researchers who clamor to censor us.

With these people, every accusation is a confession.

But what, pray tell, does Thacker mean? Well, first, before anyone criticizes me for calling him a hack (which he is) or engaging in rather flamboyant rhetorical flourishes, get a load of how he starts out his doubled-down attack on Dr. Neitzel:

There’s a remarkable, haunting scene in Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction, one of my top ten movies you must watch if you want to make any pretense at understanding American culture.

Cut to the streets of the San Fernando Valley’s Canoga Park, where prizefighter Butch Coolidge and gangster Marsellus Wallace burst through the door of a Los Angeles pawnshop in a bloody brawl. Grappling on the floor, they struggle to kill each other when prizefighter Butch gains the advantage, grabs a pistol from Marsellus’s hand and braces to shoot the gangster in the face.

You then hear the distinctive sound of a cartridge racking into the chamber of a large shotgun.

“Hold it right there, goddamit!” the pawnshop owner says, pointing a 12 gauge at Butch’s bald head.

“This ain’t none of your business, mister!” Butch yells, spitting out blood.

“I’m making it my business.”

Both Butch and Marsellus are then knocked out, later waking up confused and frightened, tied up and ball-gagged in the pawnshop’s basement—a sex dungeon where the two rednecks who bound them will soon rip down Mr. Wallace’s pants, strap him to a bench, and begin sodomizing him to grunts, cheers, and moans.

“Bring out the gimp,” says one of their captors.

The scene is totally off-balance crazy— disconnected from any norms of reality or polite conversation—but captures exactly what I love and fear about my Los Angeles hometown: you never know what lurks on the other side of a door.

Even when I let my worst impulses as a blogger and writer too free a rein, I can’t come up with an introduction like that, nor would I want to. Seriously? That scene from Pulp Fiction, a scene that in essence portrays rape as deserved retribution, “captures exactly” what Thacker “loves and fears” about his “Los Angeles hometown: you never know what lurks on the other side of a door”? WTF?

Nor would you want me to indulge in such a comparison and justification when you see how this framing is used. Talk about a huge stretch to the point of the Pulp Fiction citation being a non sequitur:

As I tracked the rise and apologetic fall of disgraced, fake physician Allison Neitzel, I passed through an equally disorienting door of unimagined horror where I discovered a circus-like reality where “journalists” in the disinformation genre platform as “experts” whatever colorful clown they run across on social media screaming “ANTI-VAXX!” the loudest.

As I explained two weeks ago, my journey with the Neitzel clown show ran me into a medical group called National Association of Medical Doctors (NAMD), which I promised to report on later. Readers also sent me tips linking Neitzel to other circus acts in academia.

Before attacking NAMD, Thacker characteristically recounts the low points of his previous deceptive hit pieces on Dr. Neitzel, starting with his false claim that she is not a physician. As you might recall, this defamatory claim that Dr. Neitzel is a “fake physician” was originally based on a very legalistic definition of the word in which only someone who is licensed to practice medicine can be called a physician. As I pointed out, the American Medical Association considers anyone who graduated from an accredited medical school (as Dr. Neitzel did) to be a physician, as do most physicians. Moreover, Thacker seems not to care that Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, someone whom he cites approvingly, is also called a physician, even though he never completed postgraduate training or obtained a license to practice medicine. (For the record, I consider both Dr. Bhattacharya, as much as I dislike him and consider him a disinformation agent, and Dr. Neitzel to be physicians.) Again, Thacker gonna Thack, hacking away with his double standard when it comes to who is and isn’t a physician. He’s outraged that Dr. Neitzel is called a physician, supposedly because she never got a medical license, while he praises Dr. Bhattacharya, who is also called a physician by sources that he favors.

Yet who gets comments like this one below? Not Dr. Bhattacharya:

Thacker liked this transphobic comment? Quelle surprise.

Also, I can’t help but sense a bit of…envy…in this characterization of Dr. Neitzel’s plaintiff plea to Aaron Rodgers in the fall of 2021 to stop spreading antivax misinformation:

Never mind that Rodgers had explained he was allergic to one of the vaccine ingredients and was already protected because he had been sick with COVID. This was months before the CDC admitted that prior infection was no different than being vaccinated, so the NAMD made “Neitzel the physician” out to be a medical savior guarding America from the anti-vaxx hordes coming to sicken and kill us all, while robbing Pfizer of a few billion dollars in COVID vaccine profit.

But back to the NAMD. Here’s where Thacker thacks the hardest, doing what Thacker does best, finding what he perceives as a weakness and using it to spin a conspiracy theory:

When I contacted NAMD media relations officers Joan Diaz and Liz Cordoni to explain why NAMD platformed a physician who wasn’t really a physician, both messages bounced back stating the contact emails could not be found. I then called the NAMD media relations number for Diaz and Cordoni, and got this message.

“This is Michael, please leave me a message.”

The NAMD was founded in 1974 and claims to have 80,000 physician members, but when I looked up their nonprofit tax filings, I couldn’t find them. However, I did find the address for their office “suite” is actually a mailbox at a Ship N Mail in Sausalito, California.

Now, far be it from me to defend or attack NAMD. I simply don’t know enough about the organization, and I will admit that perusing its website left me with a distinct feeling that the organization is dodgy. I did, however, notice yet another thing that Thacker left out. Dr. Neitzel’s original open letter to Aaron Rodgers lamenting his refusal to be vaccinated was published on KevinMD, not NAMD, which appears to have republished it without attribution. The original article on KevinMD described Dr. Neitzel correctly as a physician, and the NAMD repost just copied it. Yet, Thacker, being the hack he is, never mentions this and focuses in on the website that did the dodgy repost. Why isn’t he attacking KevinMD? Seriously, if you want an example of how dishonestly Thacker crafts his “investigative journalism,” this is an excellent one.

Another example of Thacking from a master hack. Let’s just put it this way. Either Thacker didn’t bother to do due diligence to determine that NAMD had just republished Dr. Neitzel’s open letter to Aaron Rodgers or he did know that the NAMD article was just a republication. If it was the former, then Thacker is an incompetent journalist. If it was the latter, he’s lying. Take your pick.

Again, every accusation is a confession with these people, and how they are masters of projection. Why do I say that? Well, it immediately occurred to me that the Brownstone Institute, the antivax, COVID-19 minimizing, anti-public health promoter of the eugenicist Great Barrington Declaration, also uses a mailbox service for its physical mailing address. Indeed, I couldn’t resist pointing this out on X, the hellsite formerly known as Twitter:

Yes, it’s true, as you’ll see. Thacker quotes Dr. Makary.

That’s right. the Brownstone Institute also uses a mailbox—a Scan Mailboxes location in Austin, TX, to be specific—as its mailing address. Also, Paul Thacker is a writer for the Brownstone Institute:

Oh, dear. An org with a mailbox for an official address is promoting Paul Thacker as though he were a real “investigative journalist.” Rather amusing, isn’t it, that he’s attacking an org that uses a mailbox as its official physical address

Let’s put it this way. Dr. Neitzel wrote an article for KevinMD that really, really annoyed antivaxxers because in it she, as a Green Bay Packers fan, gently remonstrated with its quarterback Aaron Rodgers for refusing to be vaccinated. The overall tone was one of overwhelming disappointment rather than anger. The blurb for that article described her as a physician, which was entirely accurate. She had just graduated from medical school a few months before.

Of course, it wasn’t just KevinMD that correctly referred to Dr. Neitzel as a “physician.” MedPage Today also did so, and so, of course, Thacker’s gotta Thack MedPage Today, and Thack it he does:

Nonetheless Neitzel’s online persona as a physician-expert in misinformation got her into several articles at MedPage Today.

But when I contacted editor-in chief Dr. Jeremy Faust to ask if platforming a fake physician—forced to apologize for defaming real physicians—meets his editorial standards, he refused to explain.

“It’s very disturbing but I’m sad to say I’m not surprised,” said former MedPage Today editor-in chief Dr. Marty Makary, a surgeon and public policy researcher at John Hopkins University.

Dr. Makary says that, after serving two terms at MedPage Today, he now focuses on other editorial duties and is writing the book Blind Spots to examine the current lack of civil discourse and scientific objectivity in medicine, and the need to rebuild trust in public health.

One more time, Dr. Neitzel is not a fake physician, although to me, regardless of whatever career in journalism he had in the beforetime, Thacker is now a fake journalist. He’s nothing more than a propagandist pretending to be an investigative journalist. In any case, of course he had to find Dr. Marty Makary. You remember Dr. Makary, right? Unfortunately, even by Dr. Thacker’s definition he is a real doctor, and worse, he’s a surgical oncologist, the same discipline as mine, although he specializes in different cancers than I do. He’s also one of the prime inventors of the myth that medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the US, accounting for 250,000 deaths per year, based on unjustified extrapolations of small numbers to the whole country. That was 2016. Since then, he’s become a pandemic minimizer, one who kept making bold (and erroneous) predictions of natural herd immunity in ridiculously short time periods and kept being wrong. No wonder Thacker likes him enough to quote him to support his hit piece.

Similarly, Thacker is a misogynist; so he can’t resist attacking another woman, just because she approvingly cited Dr. Neitzel:

What makes my Neitzel experience in the world of fake experts more disorienting is someone emailing me a tweet supporting Neitzel by researcher Angela Rasmussen. As I previously reported, much like Neitzel, Rasmussen had an equally awkward rise in scientific fame, tweeting her way past post-doc mediocrity in 2020 to COVID-19 fame and glory by labeling everyone she didn’t like a “conspiracy theorist.”

In late 2021, Ramussen finally landed a full-time position as a Research Scientist at a vaccine developer associated with the University of Saskatchewan.

“Nobody moves to Canada to be a pipettor in a lab, when they are a successful scientist,” a professor who works on pandemic policies told me when I was looking into Rasmussen’s background. “I’m sure she hates it there.” Because Rasmussen’s policy is to attack scientists who disagree with her, he said he did not want to be named and then sucked into her social media drama.

More likely he was just a coward. In any event, what Thacker fails to mention is that Dr. Rasmussen works at the Viral Vaccine Development Group at the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization (VIDO) at the University of Saskatchewan. It’s a research institute, and research institutes often function differently than universities. A research scientist in such institutes is often the equivalent to associate professor or professor in a university. Moreover, Dr. Rassmussen is a Principal Scientist there, not a “glorified postdoc,” as Thacker claims, or a “pipettor in a lab,” as Thacker’s cowardly anonymous “professor who works on pandemic policies” characterizes her. She leads a lab. She is a principal investigator. Likely Thacker knows this but also knows that his audience doesn’t know this. (Also, as an aside, given the political conditions here in the US, if a job opportunity in Canada ever opened up for me, I’d be very tempted.)

Basically, I’m seeing a pattern here. Thacker’s thacking consists of attacking professional women who say things that he doesn’t like. It is, however, a very specific, very misogynistic line of attack in that he falsely tries to portray them as somehow not being legitimate, as not being “real” professionals, as he did when he falsely portrayed Dr. Neitzel as a “fake physician” and Dr. Rasmussen as a glorified postdoc, a “pipettor in a lab” (an obvious attempt to portray her as just a lab technician rather than a scientist and principal investigator). He proceeds to do the same thing in a different way with one of our regular commenters here, Dorit Reiss, just because she is a vaccine proponent.

So let’s see. Three women attacked, and just one man:

Finally, another reader sent me this tweet off BlueSky (I get lots of DMs!) by Dr. Nick Sawyer, an assistant professor of emergency medicine at UC Davis and—surprise!—a super duper ardent cheerleader for vaccines. (I’ve sometimes wondered why Pfizer spends even a nickel on ads when they get so much free marketing from doctors.)

Sawyer tweeted a story attacking me from “WhoWhatWhy” whose title states that I’m an “anti-vaxxer” and part of some “movement strategy” after I reported that Allison Neitzel doesn’t meet the legal requirements to call herself a physician.

I sent WhoWhatWhy’s Russ Baker several questions that he didn’t answer, so I’m not interested in this article he posted on his website. But Dr. Sawyer promoting Neitzel is another matter.

Orac notes: “A super duper ardent cheerleader for vaccines”? Gee, Thacker says that as though it were a bad thing!

Thacker asked me “several questions” that I did answer, and I published the receipts in the form of his emails and my responses, which show just how disingenuous and deceptive Thacker is, as well as his attempt at bullying. (He honestly thought that he could intimidate me by cc’ing my department chair and my medical school dean? Hilarious!) As for Russ Baker, his article shows that Thacker is anything but imaginative in that he pulled exactly the same nonsense with him, except that there was no boss for him to cc: on his email. In any event, Thacker thacks his hackery thusly about the group Dr. Sawyer formed, No License for Disinformation:

I’m not really certain how people like Allison Neitzel, Angela Rasmussen, Dorit Reiss, and Dr. Nick Sawyer keep finding each other. But I’m guessing it has something to do with a group of funders who keep throwing money at groups claiming to tackle disinformation, while actually promoting censorship. If you have any ideas, please put them in the comments below.

Or maybe, just maybe, we keep finding each other because we share interests in combatting disinformation of the sort spread by Thacker and the FLCCC and social media makes it almost impossible for us to miss each other. Just sayin’.

Then, Thacker thacks hardest of all:

DORIT REISS VACCINE PHOTO CONTEST: I found five photos Dorit Reiss posted online where she was getting a vaccine. We are running a contest for readers who can find “COVID experts” posting six or more photos of themselves getting a vaccine. 

There are two entry categories:

RANDO ONLINE EXPERT: Find six or more photos anyone—even your nutty aunt—has posted online of themselves getting a vaccine, and get a free six-month subscription to The DisInformation Chronicle.

ACADEMIC EXPERT: Find six or more photos an academic has posted online of themselves getting a vaccine, and get a free year’s subscription to The DisInformation Chronicle.

Orac notes: Oh, goody. Thacker’s latest Thacking is going to be to make fun of some poor lady who got herself photographed receiving a vaccine at least six times. Stay classy, Thacker. Stay classy.

Funny, Thacker set up this “contest” as though posting photos on social media of yourself getting vaccinated in order to promote vaccine uptake were a bad thing. Sadly, I only ever posted one photo of myself getting vaccinated, and that was back in December 2020.

Finally, do you notice someone who wasn’t mentioned by Thacker in this article? I did: Li’l old me. I wonder why. After all, I’ve been more critical of him than pretty much anyone he’s mentioned, and in much harsher terms. Actually, I don’t wonder why. I’m not a woman, nor am I even young, like Dr. Sawyer. Remember, Thacker thacking involves punching down. And misogyny.

Mr. Thacker, have you no sense of decency? Read the post though. In don’t think that student was involved with the webpage. Thacker just targeted the student.

As for the FLCCC, I’ll likely get to them again soon enough.

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]

58 replies on “Thacker the hack keeps Thacking and hacking”

I already had a low opinion of Thacker. This effort on his part has made that opinion subterranean.

I am pleased that you mentioned his association with the Brownstone Institute. It neatly illustrates Thacker’s hypocrisy.

I just checked out the career site of VIDO ( They currently have two principal scientist positions open. According to the description, principal scientists “…will develop and LEAD a globally competitive research program focusing on…” and “…will be expected to recruit and supervise postgraduate trainees and technicians, as well as contribute to knowledge transfer, community, and stakeholder engagement” and get “…and a starting salary highly competitive with comparable academic positions in Canada.” Requirements are an MD/PhD + 4 years experience in the respective field.
Let’ see: “Nobody moves to Canada to be a pipettor in a lab”* yeah buddy, she didn’t. She moved to Canada to become head of a research group in a university affiliated institute…
*Off topic: But if I were a Canadian, I would take offense at the general sentiment of this statement…

I guess he’s one of those people that think Canada is some kind of socialist hellhole. The Canadians I know would disagree, but might be too polite to take offense.

Maybe she moved to Canada because it is such a socialist hellhole where she gets health insurance and 6 weeks vacation per year?

Canada is such a socialist hellhole that the only part of Canada that I can see from my office window (which has a lovely view of downtown Detroit, with the Detroit River and Canadian border being only a couple of miles away) is the Caesar Windsor Casino.😂

I guess he’s one of those people that think Canada is some kind of socialist hellhole


Seriously, if he thinks Canada is a socialist hellhole he should visit downtown Toronto and get a sense of the boatloads of money oozing out pores of the top enders in the business district.

Does Thacker have a job with any news organization? If not, he can’t be a real journalist.

Fantasizing connections between disinformation debunkers and shadowy funders is a nauseatingly familiar sleaze tactic. It’s reminiscent of that national forest troll who used to get off on calling Dr. Stephen Barrett “delicensed”, and claimed that skeptics were bankrolled by an “East Coast ad agency”.

Grifters commonly project their dishonesty onto others .

If you want to claim you’re not antivaccine, you probably shouldn’t attack people for being provaccine.

Or, as you point out, use the shill gambit. How does he think his friends Drs. Makati, Bhattacharya and the others found each other?

Thacker, as you point out, has gone after men too, but he does seem to take it very personal with women. Wonder if it’s because he think his women critics are weak (big mistake with someone like Dr. Rasmussen) or something else.

I quite enjoy when Thacker says the WhoWhatWhy article was “attacking” him as an anti-vaxxer, but says he isn’t interested in it. After he depicted me as a demented clown. Somehow he is a victim in all of this?

If he thinks the WhoWhatWhy article was “attacking him,” he should read my posts about him.😂

In particular, I was amused by this bit from The Thack:

I sent WhoWhatWhy’s Russ Baker several questions that he didn’t answer, so I’m not interested in this article he posted on his website.

Of course he isn’t interested. By explaining what happened and providing context, as well as by publishing Thacker’s emails to him, Baker made Thacker look like the deceptive hack that we know him to be, just as I did publishing his email exchange with me.

Dr Neitzel:

He is a ridiculous, self-serving attention seeker: his opinion is worthless.

I hope you continue writing and other projects: your work enriches us.

Maybe we can agree that she is not a practicing physician? That would take the bite out of his argument; which, near as it makes any sense, is that she doesn’t see and clinically manage COVID patients. Which is true. Not sure how relevant, but true. I suspect it’s also true of Koury but that’s another matter…

On the other hand, Dr. Neitzel was a medical student doing her clinical inpatient hospital rotations when the pandemic hit in 2020, graduating in the spring of 2021, which means that she did participate in the care of hospitalized COVID-19 patients and experienced the full chaos of the initial stages of the pandemic—unlike, say, Dr. Bhattacharya.

Agreed. Most of the FLCC or whatever they’re called are probably not practicing in any real critical care capacity or used to and are no longer. I can’t prove that, of course, but they betray themselves by the dumb things they say and propose that don’t match clinical practicality/reality.

“If you have any ideas, please put them in the comments below”

Well, well. Now we know how he does his research.

It’s interesting that anti-vaxxers are frequently misogynists: could there possibly be an attitude that underlies or connects them? I WONDER what it is?

Alt med promoters are probably in the same camp but carefully disguise** their attitude because women make up a significant part of their audience – and buy stuff. Women wrongly pursued “careerism” and higher education instead of their true calling: attending to Kinder, Kuchen und Kirche. Some alt med/ anti-vaxxers glorify the “natural life” and the traditional family, fitting in with their “natural” approaches to health ( no meds) and childcare ( no vaccines). Some even go so far as to promote “no schools” – ( home schooling/ anti-university).

So, I imagine when a Dr Neitzel or a Prof Dorit speaks up showing them their apparent shortcomings as science writers or as op ed, they are not at all pleased . We get to witness their befuddlement and experience Schadenfreude at their distress.

Early on, knowing of prevalent sexism on the internet, I debated whether using a more androgenous/ neutral nym would be a better – or easier- choice but how could I express feminism and simultaneously hide ? It might actually have been a better choice but too late now.

** also I hear racists and anti-LGBTQ attacking so-called “city dwellers/ gang members” and “groomers”

Lest you think I’m being unfair to male ant-vax/ alties, let me assure you that the women are pretty awful as well:
–today, AoA, Katie Wright discusses the arrogance of the Supreme Court and lies from the White House
— today, Naomi Wolf ( Substack) believes that Covid vaccines have made most people somewhat autistic.

Serena Joy from The Handmaid’s Tale is a good fictional representation of the archetype.

I find these accusations of “antivax misogyny” lacking substance, as about half of antivax influencers are women. Is criticizing women misogyny? Are all women above criticism?

Spoken just like a misogynist!

Seriously, one of the best indicators that I’ve found that one is a misogynist is that they respond to accusations of misogyny by disingenuously asking if criticizing women is somehow out of bounds or if “all women” are above criticism.

I find these accusations of “antivax misogyny” lacking substance

Really? With your history of comments that show women are objects, not people on the same level as you? With your purely fictional allegations about and insults of Dr. Neitzel (provoked because she, ,like others, shows your covid 19 and vaccines comments to be pure bullshit)?

Just as you’re identified as a conspiracy-minded member of the science-challenged ignorati, your identification as a misogynist was cemented in response to your comments, nothing more.

I agree. Igor is an unreliable narrator as Aarno Syvanen shows in the Prasad thread: he portrays a researcher as a mad-scientist manipulating subjects’ brains in order to turn them into atheists when the study cited is rather different. In fact, a brief search for Holbrook’s publications over the past 15 years shows interesting cognitive/ anthropological studies about belief, politics and aggression. Easy to find: Colin Holbrook publications

I evaluate Igor and Naomi Wolf ( see Wolf’s new Substack about Brooklyn) as existing somewhere between reality and fiction- which is fine if you are trying to sell dodgy books- but not if you aim to be an educator, reporter or informer. Anyone can do this: look at a situation/ problem and free associate/ confabulate in the most histrionic way possible. I’ve been hearing helicopters frequently in the afternoon: are they investigating a possible terrorist attack? Are they terrorists? Undocumented shock troops invading? Are they paparazzi scoping out the nearby private airport where celebrities land? Is there a toxic chemical spill being hidden from the public?
Or are they related to traffic reports for radio/ television?

The genre that I am in is “popular science” – my job is to highlight interesting scientific findings and facts, and also to point out bad science.

I never promulgate unfounded conspiracy theories either. I only report on real news or actual scientific studies.

Some news or scientific research could indeed be very crazy – but it is not my fault.

Only, Igor, your idea of bad science is always aligned with your political and social identity. You should recognise that as a danger sign.

Your idea of critical evaluation goes like this:

Actual thing –> your personal filter –> big assumption

Then you broadcast it as obvious truth. Come to think of it. This is exactly the modus operandi of conspiracy suckers.

NumberWang, I am definitely not a perfect man.

The only thing perfect about me is my Equifax credit score.

Oh, bloody hell. Talk about a massive ego. Even in putting on a show of “humility,” it’s a humble brag in which you make sure to announce that you have a perfect Equifax score.

@Igor Chudov No unfounded conspiracies ? Five with different plotters and aims,with no data to support ?
You shoul learn some science first. 50 Hz electromagnetic radiation ?

“I never promulgate unfounded conspiracy theories”

Hilarity ensues.

Igor’s Substack glurge continually pushes unfounded Covid vaccine conspiracy theories as well as other nonsense, such as his fear of the “Deep State”. If it follows the classic progression, his blog will features articles on how They are suppressing revelations of chemtrails and confirmation of flat earth theory.

Igor’s “genre” is pseudoscience, with a side order of smearing those who are much better informed.


==> 50 Hz electromagnetic radiation?

Holbrook’s 2018 work “Continuous Theta Burst Stimulation of the Posterior Medial Frontal Cortex to Experimentally Reduce Ideological Threat Responses” says:

Apply cTBC as follows: three pulses at 50 Hz repeated at 200 ms intervals for 40 s

Electromagnetic waves and elecromagnetic radiation are synonymous.

NASA explains here:

The terms light, electromagnetic waves, and radiation all refer to the same physical phenomenon: electromagnetic energy. This energy can be described by frequency, wavelength, or energy. All three are related mathematically such that if you know one, you can calculate the other two.

50 Hz is household electrical frequency in Europe, by the way.

Thank you for the opportunity to educate you!

@Igor Chudov You really need some education. I was magntic pulse. not electromagnetic wave of radiation

==> Aarno: @Igor Chudov You really need some education. I was magntic pulse. not electromagnetic wave of radiation

It was a pulse of 50 Hz electromagnetic radiation (or electromagnetic waves). Magnetism and electric potential go together making an “electromagnetic wave”.

@Igor Chudov Read ths:
Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is a noninvasive form of brain stimulation in which a changing magnetic field is used to induce an electric current at a specific area of the brain through electromagnetic induction
And this
Go to chapter Submarine Communication
Since ELF radio waves can penetrate seawater deeply, to the operating depths of submarines, a few nations have built naval ELF transmitters to communicate with their submarines while submerged. It was reported in 2018 that China had constructed the world’s largest ELF facility roughly the size of New York City in order to communicate with its submarine forces without requiring them to surface.[
Antenna is ideally of same size than the wavelength. Speaking about 50 Hz electromagnetic waves in this context is utterly ridiculous.

I think Igor imagines that scene from Flash Gordon where Ming tries to brainwash Dr Hans Zarkov.

I was 100% on target regarding Allison! Her confession confirmed just about everything I said. I have seen that kind of stuff before

The close relationship between conspiracy theories and anti-Semitism has been noted ( The Irish Times Feb 2021; The Atlantic Oct, Nov 2022; Orac, RI) but has been cleverly disguised by alt med/ anti-vaxxers who want to avoid criticism and losing potential customers so we hear about “Zionists”, “globalists”, ” the New World Order”, “socialists”, “Big Business”, liberals/ democrats ( US) and non-Christians.

Usually, they extoll the virtues of farming, rural life, purity, nature, traditional families and the “working class” in contrast to cities, universities, bankers, “elites” and “professionals” much as they produce code words and dog whistles to cover up their racism and misogyny.

Interestingly, an extremely successful alt med entrepreneur started in liberal NYC radio where many of his supporters were Jewish however since he was forced onto the internet with a wider audience, he now stridently reflects his native WV small town/ rural roots. Adams, who has been exclusively on the net, is more overt although he claims he loves Jewish people. Except the ‘bad ones’. Often Christian religious themes are presented along with salesmanship.

The antivax movement is also strongly ableist. That’s really the whole basis for the movement. I have yet to find someone who decides that one whole group of people are inferior who actually stops at one group.

Yes, the this is his oeuvre. Fabricate links based on conversations he claimed he had, or that he didn’t have. It’s fine in fiction writing. He no longer understand the distinction between facts and his own fictions. He has wound himself so tightly with his red string that I think no blood is going to his brain anymore.

He has an extensive conspiracy theory about me, has fabricated all sorts of supposed paymasters and consulting work that I never had. He used a fake name to enter theories into Sourcewatch and then uses that as evidence. It’s all perfectly circular and Steven Glass sort of stuff.

He attacked Tamar Haspel this way before too. She wrote about it.

“Nobody moves to Canada to be a pipettor in a lab, when they are a successful scientist,”

??? Now that’s some elitism.
Speaking from personal and close colleagues’ experience, a lot of people which were reasonably successful scientists (getting one PhD counts as success, right?) did make a trip to be “pipettor in a lab” in a Canada lab and try to continue on being successful. I mean, a lot of scientists don’t see being at the bench, pipetting, as a bad thing. At the minimum, it’s more fun than filling administrative forms and reports.
I smell sour grapes.

yea that statement is like a round-house kick insult. You insult Ramussen, Canada and lab workers, all at once!

Honestly, given the choice between spending time at the bench doing science or instead trying to shepherd people into doing and recording science for me while I struggle with the next grant deadline, I think I would rather be a pipet slinger.

My former boss said that if he won the lottery and never had to work for money again, he would take some of that money and give it to a PI in exchange for a corner of the lab to just to bench science and never write a single grant. Just do the fun stuff.

There’s nothing wrong with slinging a pipet!

I never promulgate unfounded conspiracy theories either.

That statement alone shows just how monumentally out of touch you are with reality.

I was 100% on target regarding Allison! Her confession confirmed just about everything I said. I have seen that kind of stuff before

Jesus effing Christ, you keep pounding on with the bullshit groundless insults. You just don’t care about being a decent person do you?

A decent person?

When someone publicly masquerades as being knowledgeable, as expert enough to critique general information, based on spurious grounds,
they mislead followers into rejecting standard SB treatments and opinion.
This is common amongst anti-vaxxers, alt med promoters and general contrarians like those I survey. They ramp up suspicion about medical interventions and present alternatives: diets and supplements replace meds, “building immunity” instead of vaccines- choosing lifestyle over treatment.

Of course, there is a grain of truth in their message: diet and lifestyle can affect health BUT are not panacea. Worried followers may prefer NOT seeing a doctor or taking meds even if they need to– alt med advocates take advantage of that tendency. If doctors are shown as being untrustworthy and meds/ vaccines are dangerous, why bother with them when you can do it yourself?

If followers delay evaluation and treatment, manageable conditions can worsen. Take for example, high bp or atrial fibrillation which are often easy to control with simple medication but if alt med followers now view doctors as greedy monsters and meds as poisons, they might reject SBM entirely.

Advocates of pseudoscience- with broadcasts, websites or Substack accounts- utilise misinformation to elevate their position as educators/ informers/ news sources when they are merely creating click bait. If people follow their advice and become ill, there is no way to link the mis-informers to the results: readers are adults who are free to choose their own care. A well known alt med prevaricator who has misled listeners for decades only was sued when a product he created and distributed harmed customers not by those thousands who followed his bad advice.

Sadly, of course, they are profiting off of misery just like so many other industries.

Example: I usually counsel at least 3-5 patients on a single clinic day about metabolic syndrome. The truth is that they would be FAR better off losing 10-20 pounds than starting metformin, statins, hypertension meds, etc. We know even modest weight loss is vastly more effective than any of those things I mentioned.

I also know maybe, if I’m lucky, one in ten patients will try to lose weight. I doesn’t matter what I say or how I say it. I can count on one hand the number of patients who have come off all of that stuff by lifestyle interventions. A helluva lot of people are sad, desperate, lonely, and their lives are devoid of meaning. Food makes them feel better.

There is also a growing, similar group of patients for whom even 50 or 75 pounds of weight loss won’t bring them back into a healthy enough state that they can stop medicines. These people, unfortunately, will NEVER lose that weight. Never. We try. If they stop meds they will have an MI, CVA, liver failure, kidney failure. They just will. All of the bs supplements in the world won’t change that.

What some ignoramuses who post here don’t get is that drugs like semaglutide are the only chance some of these folks have to lose weight. That or bariatric surgery. They lose weight, they can exercise more consistently, they feel better, they might come off some meds. They might keep it off. They might. Until we can write an Rx that says: “Slap fork out of patient’s mouth” it’s all we got.

Concerning contrarian “experts:” There seems, to me, to be two versions of these dirtbags. Those, like Igor, who have no conception of what those of us who are fighting this battle in the trenches are up against, assume we’re stupid/corrupt, and blather on to profit off desperate people with that message. Never mind they lack any basic knowledge on the subject.

The second group is worse. They know everything I said above to be true and they don’t care. Some are current/former physicians, some are fitness gurus, some are just loudmouth assholes with practical experience. They’re making money or getting attention lying about statins, or whatever, on social media or elsewhere. They know these people will be harmed by their crap and couldn’t care less. Same goes for vaccines.

End of diatribe. For now.


You need to understand that the fantasy world you make up in your head is not real.

Ah, but this IS his hobby.

In the sense of someone who likes to sketch but has never been to an art class and thinks they could teach Da Vinci a thing or two.

At least he’s a good credit risk.

@Igor Chudov, re “100% on target . . . ” As usual, your keen intellect, incisive analysis, and overwhelming modesty continue to impress many readers of your comments to a hugely immeasurable degree.

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