You thought American anti-vaccine loons were bad, and then you met Frankie Vazquez from Australia

This is Frankie Vazquez from Australia:

As far as anti-vaccine weirdos go, he seems pretty tame, right? Unfortunately, he’s not tame at all. He’s quite delusional. Read what Reasonable Hank has to share about Frankie Vazquez’s — “The Voice For All Unborn Souls” — threats of violence, and then come back for the next video. You won’t be disappointed.

Or, hell, click on the next video now because it is pure anti-vaccine gold:

Centrelink, by the way, is kind of the equivalent to health and human services here in the States. Frankie Vazquez, “The Voice For All Unborn Souls”, went to warn people about vaccines, about “Ozmerica” invading Australia, and about other nonsense. He took his daughter with him and seemingly upset her very much.

He was very lucky that none of the security guards were probably armed. (It’s Australia, after all.) But someone just randomly yelling for everyone to pay attention like that could be cause for a forceful reaction. Frankie Vazquez would have probably been shot here in the U.S., and that’s no joke. People are kind of spooked about terrorism right now, and Frankie Vazquez and his delusional yelling would have scared someone into shooting first and then asking questions.

I’ve encountered Frankie Vazquez from Australia online several times, and I haven’t really been able to make heads or tails of his arguments against vaccines. They’re not so much arguments as they are rambling, seemingly delusional screeds. I thought this was an otherwise normal anti-vaccine loon, but then I saw the threats and the videos and thought to myself how utterly nuts this guy is.

I hope he gets the help he needs.

2015 Douchebag of the Year is… Heather Dexter!

As we did for the 2014 DB of the Year award, first, I’d like to tell you about a very good thing that happened in 2015.

We had Senate Bill 277 pass in California, doing away with religious and philosophical exemptions to vaccination requirements for children to go to public school. If a parent doesn’t want to vaccinate their children, that’s all fine and well. However, their children are not allowed to endanger all other children by going to public school. Fair is far, right? Though there have been challenges to the law, it will likely make it through any challenge since the US Supreme Court has ruled time and again that States have the authority to compel vaccination in order to protect the health of the population.

Now, on to our winner…

With 31.9% of the vote, Heather Dexter is 2015’s Douchebag of the Year.

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We had a large slate of candidates this year, so she didn’t take the majority, but she took a big chunk. How could she not? She allowed her children to go through months (MONTHS) of whooping cough in the name of anti-vaccine, anti-medicine, anti-science activism. Oh, she tried to cover her ass with the Quack Miranda Warning, but she still deleted the post and acted as if it never happened.

The internet is forever, though. And, so, Heather Dexter is, now and forever, 2015’s Douchebag of the Year. Bad job, Heather. Bad job.

2015 Pseudoscience Douchebag of The Year Nominations

It’s that time of the year again when we give the “Pseudoscience (formerly Quack) Douchebag of the Year” award to our favorite anti-science loon. Last year, the lucky winner was Dr. Robert “Bob” Sears, an anti-vaccine pediatrician. Who will it be this year?

Because he holds the title, Dr. Bob is automatically nominated this year. But I’d like to hear from you on who else should be nominated. Leave your nomination in the comments section along with a short description on why this person should be given this prestigious (not) award.

Merry Christmas

There have not been many opportunities for me to post on the blog. I’m back in the nation’s capital for a special assignment, and it’s taking more of my time than I had originally planned. Still, I wanted to thank you (yes, you) for reading this year. Here’s hoping that 2016 brings with it new opportunities for us to continue to spread the Good News about science, evidence, reason, and all those good things that moves us forward as a species. And here’s also hoping that the anti-vaccine activists, militants, and their minions come around to join us in the light.

If they don’t, it’s not because we didn’t try.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

A Quack Miranda Warning Will Not Save Heather Dexter From The Consequences of Allowing Her Children To Suffer Through Pertussis

Ren wrote a blog post the other day that had my blood boiling. He told us the tale of a naturopath named Heather Dexter. Heather Dexter is a naturopath in Michigan, and she allowed her children to live through Whooping Cough (Pertussis) for more than six months. Any child with pertussis needs to immediately see a physician and be put on antibiotics. Why? Because pertussis coughing is so bad that it leaves the child blue in the face from anoxia.

In fact, Heather Dexter, the naturopath, described how her child was blue in the face, vomiting, and just plainly suffering from the whooping cough. Then she described how her second child caught it and suffered just as bad. In between telling us how she allowed her children to suffer, she also tells us how her husband and her had fights over what was going on. But, like a coward, the dad acquiesced to the mother’s stupidity and allowed her to continue to torture the children.

Instead of taking them to a licensed physician, Heather Dexter consulted her echo chamber naturopath friends. At the end of the post, Heather Dexter tells us how vaccines are bad, antibiotics are not to be trusted, and what she used to treat her children’s pertussis. As a result of Ren’s post and others online, the site went down for a few days. They even deleted their Facebook page.

Today, the site is back up, and an interesting “disclaimer” has been added:

“This blog is a personal blog written and edited by the three of us mamas. We, along with our guest contributors, write for our own purposes and the views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely the writer’s. However, we may be influenced by our background, occupation, religion, political affiliation or experience.

The information provided by representatives of Like-Minded Mamas should be considered as only suggestions, not prescriptions. We are not medical doctors and the information is not intended in any way to diagnose, prescribe, or treat any disease, illness or injured condition of the body. Our suggestions are purely to help you nurture your health so you can enjoy wellness.

Paid endorsement disclosure: In order for us to support our blogging activities, we may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for our endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. We promise to support only products and services that we have personally tried or truly believe in.”

In the SCAM business, this is known as the Quack Miranda Warning. They think that just by posting this disclaimer, the things that Heather Dexter has done to her children will somehow be justified. Or, that a reasonable person will say to themselves, “Heather Dexter didn’t treat her children’s pertussis. Should I? Oh, yes, of course I should take them to the doctor, because their disclaimer says that they’re not giving medical advice.”

Thing is, they are giving medical advice. Just read Heather Dexter’s blog post. She’s clearly telling us that it is possible to get through pertussis without seeing a medical doctor. So what if it is highly contagious? She took her children out into the public. (This, when antivaxxers like Heather Dexter think that vaccinated people are “shedding” the bacteria from an acellular vaccine.) Heather Dexter also writes that she is a doula, so did she help deliver babies while being covered in her children’s pertussis bacteria?

Heather Dexter uses her certification as a naturopath to establish authority in doing what she did. If a medical doctor were to have written about their experience with an infectious disease, a reasonable person would follow their lead. After all, they know what they’re talking about. That’s how Heather Dexter comes off, as someone who should know better. But, to us, the initiated, we know she’s too far gone down the rabbit hole of quackery.

Heather Dexter’s actions border on the criminal, and no Quack Miranda Warning will protect Heather Dexter from the consequences. Because there will be consequences, as several people I’ve spoken to about this have mentioned that they got in contact with Michigan Child Protective Services and an investigation is underway. (The toll-free number is 855-444-3911 and staffed 24/7.)

The Delusional Mr. Lord

If you’ve been fighting anti-vaccine nonsense as long as I have, there are really few things that will impress you. (And I don’t mean “impress” in a good way.) There’s not a lie or conspiracy theory that anti-vaccine activists won’t adhere to. Their own delusions of grandeur come through when they call themselves “vaccine experts” and then display a woeful ignorance about basic biology. This is the case with one Mr. Joel Lord from Vancouver, Canada. He is the founder of the “Vaccine Resistance Movement,” a “grass roots” movement to try and bring down vaccine programs everywhere.

Mr. Joel Lord has seemingly zero background in the biological sciences. I looked everywhere to see if and when he studied biology (or any science, really), and I came up with nothing. In his own page on his own site, he doesn’t mention any formal training in any kind of science. At least Andrew Jeremy Wakefield took the time to go through medical school. What has Mr. Joel Lord done? Seemingly, nothing.

If Mr. Joel Lord is reading this, he might tell us that, indeed, he is a PhD in immunology or something. But I doubt that he is. I doubt mostly because of his style of writing, which is sloppy and confuses different scientific terms. He thinks that ethyl and methyl mean the same thing. They don’t, and I learned that in high school. (So I’m left wondering if he even went to high school.)

What Mr. Joel Lord does have is a complete lack of self-awareness. Or, rather, maybe he is aware of who he is and what he is, and he just goes with it. When he was interviewed by Canadian media, he said this:

“It’s such a deep rabbit hole,” he told CTV News. “There are so many layers to this.”

Lord is a prolific writer, having published scores of articles on the VRM’s website. His organization held an anti-vaccine summit in Vancouver last year. He promotes what he calls a vaccine-free natural approach, because he believes the chemicals in vaccines are behind severe damage to children’s developing brains.

“Look into the eyes of a child who has been seriously damaged by these early childhood shots and you have to go no further,” he said.

That really tells us nothing, Mr. Joel Lord. There is zero evidence of anything in your words. You even confuse causation with association all over the place. Most people in an outbreak of pertussis are vaccinated? Well, yes, because most people are vaccinated, period. More people are vaccinated against chickenpox, but we’re seeing more shingles than ever. Well, yes, because the demographics in North America are shifting toward an older generation who had chickenpox as children and have not been exposed in a while because of the vaccine. Luckily, we have a good shingles vaccine for that. In other words, Mr. Joel Lord just doesn’t understand the big, scary world around him.

But I bet that Mr. Joel Lord knows a sucker when he sees one. Check this out from his Facebook page:

Joel_Lord_Speaking

“Pay for my vacay, and I’ll tell you some lies,” I think he said.

He wants to speak in our community! How cute. We have to make it happen, though. How? By paying for him to fly in, stay a couple of nights, pay him a “reasonable honorarium” and then get him back to Canada. Not only that, but the “reasonable” honorarium is “well below average for doctors in the field”. Fantastic! Could it because Mr. Joel Lord is not a doctor? Could it be cheaper for him to talk about vaccines because he is ignorant about basic science?

Sorry, Mr. Joel Lord, but I would probably get better information on science in general and vaccines in particular if I asked a high school student taking biology to come talk to my community. Seriously, Mr. Joel Lord, you’re embarrassing yourself. And that “study” you hope to conduct? I would be shocked in the most extreme if you could mention and discuss just ONE potential source of bias and how you plan to address it in your analysis. Just one.

Mr. Joel Lord, do you think your followers are idiots? No, don’t answer that. It was a rhetorical question.