Quacks, science deniers, and conspiracy theorists love to challenge doctors, scientists, and science communicators to “live public debates” over the science they deny. I just say no, and you should say no too if you are in a position to receive such a challenge.
The Center for Countering Digital Hate has published a report showing antivaxxers have been coordinating their COVID-19 messages. None of the messages being spread about COVID-19 vaccines are a surprise to anyone who’s been following the antivaccine movement.
Scientist turned antivaccine activist Christopher Shaw tried to intimidate an Alzheimer’s disease expert named Catherine Roe for having withdrawn from an antivaccine crankiest called One Conversation using the results of an abusive FOIA request. Sadly, this is now a common tactic.
A study released yesterday has led to numerous breathless headlines in the media about Russian bots on Twitter sowing discord about vaccines by spreading polarized antivaccine and provaccine messages. The stories imply that this is a huge problem. But is it? There’s no doubt that this study showed some Russian bots Tweeting polarized messages about vaccines, but, contrary to the news stories, it doesn’t support the concept of a widespread Russian effort to stoke conflict about vaccines. It’s unclear whether the Russian effort was opportunistic or experimental, but it wasn’t huge.
Naturopaths claim that they are the best at preventing heart disease because of their skill in using “natural” treatments. In reality, what they do is to fuse reasonable lifestyle recommendations with pure quackery.