The Humpty Dumpty of blackmail

I’m still on vacation in an undisclosed part of the world that is south of Florida and west of Havana. If you can’t figure it out, it’s too bad. All the clues are there, and you shouldn’t really care where I am. Likewise, you shouldn’t really care who I am. Rational people need only be worried about the accuracy of my writing, the science behind my observations, and the veracity of the accounts that I put forth. All others should get a hobby rather than trying to figure out my real identity.

Yes, they’re at it again. I received an email via Facebook from a person who will be anonymous for the time being. She said she knew I’d publish her email, but I think she did it more out of wanting attention and getting some sort of credit for her efforts. I write that she is a “she” because the name she used on Facebook is 99.9% of the time used by women.

I’m not going to post her message to me. That is exactly what she wants. Instead, I’ll tell you the gist of it. She claims to have figured out who I am in reality and is threatening to go to anti-vaccine people at different anti-vaccine blogs with that information. She gave me until midnight tonight to reveal my identity or “face the consequences.” She said I was an “existential threat” to her non-vaccinating self and her children. So I guess I’m worse than whooping cough. She closed her email by claiming that she would not rest until I was “brought to justice” for my “crimes” against vaccine refusers.

Yawn.

If this scenario seems familiar to you, it’s probably because The Joker did the same thing to Batman in “The Dark Knight”. In that movie, The Joker threatens to kill a person each hour until Batman turns himself in. Not knowing what to do, Bruce Wayne goes to turn himself in at a press conference held by DA Harvey Dent. He does this against the advice of Alfred, his butler. Alfred explains to Bruce that Batman can endure the anger of the people if he doesn’t reveal his true identity and focuses on catching The Joker instead of playing the game. At the press conference, Harvey Dent lies and says that he is Batman and is led away in handcuffs. Long story short, they don’t play The Joker’s game.

I’m not playing this woman’s game. I’m not playing it especially because the details she offered were not close at all to reality. In her unhinged version of reality, I’m a pharmaceutical researcher at Merck in New Jersey, pulling in three million dollars a year and leading a team in developing a new vaccine. I wrote back to her and “pleaded” not to reveal the information and that I would “turn myself in” on this blog before her deadline.

Well, guess what? You weren’t even close, lady. Go ahead and give that information to whomever you feel would do the most damage. (She hinted that it would be The Kid who would listen to her the best.) Had you not provided me more details when I asked for them, I might have believed you. But you showed your hand, and now you’re left with nothing. Never show your hand when you’re trying to blackmail someone and when that someone has a superior intellect to yours.

It didn’t work for Charles Augustus Magnussen, and it won’t work for you.

Now, if I may be so allowed, I’m off to get more tanned. Alfred is making daiquiris.

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What does God know about vaccines?

I don’t like to discuss religion. I don’t like to discuss the existence of nature of a god or the God. Those are all philosophical things that have no place in scientific discourse and, in non-scientific discourse, usually end up getting us all up in arms about this or that. However, we need to acknowledge that an enormous proportion of us humans believe in God or gods, or, at the very least, believe that we are not in charge of our destinies, at least not 100% percent.

There are times when anti-vaccine and anti-science types try to use religion as a way to promote their ideas. Take for example this post by “Megan“. Megan’s about page reads like something out of a quack’s dream:

“I have a degree in Political Science, a law degree, and am a Naturopath, Certified Natural Health Educator, Registered Power Yoga Instructor, writer, and stay-at-home mama. My better-half holds a biology degree, chemistry minor, is a Family Practice Physician, and is a Captain in the United States Air Force. Together we have four kids under three; and yes, we plan to have more.”

Four kids under three?! I’m not a mathematician, but that’s more than one kid per year. Get a hobby, you two.

Oh, and get a clue. Her “better-half” has those degrees but is a “Family Practice Physician”? Either Megan forgot to mention the “doctor of medicine” or “doctor of osteopathic medicine” degree, or we have some shenanigans going on here. I’m inclined to call shenanigans because she goes on and write:

“We eat a gluten, dairy, meat, sugar, and genetically modified free diet; yet, our food still tastes good!”

Nothing genetically modified? I didn’t know people could live on sunshine alone. Apparently, people do. (Of course they don’t.)

Megan goes on:

“We do not vaccinate. We do not medicate… We advocate natural medicine in most situations.”

Which is it, Megan? Do you medicate or not? To me, Megan reads like a Poe. I ran her profile by several rational people, and we agree that it doesn’t make sense. Her husband is a physician but they don’t medicate? Does he medicate his patients? If so, he’s a hypocrite. He’s in the Air Force but they don’t vaccinate? I know first-hand that the military does not ask you if you want to be vaccinated. You kind of just get vaccinated, even against smallpox. So, yeah, hypocrisy again. Furthermore, Megan is a naturopath, and all those other things, but:

“I became interested in natural medicine six years ago when I was hospitalized and diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. Determined to avoid drugs, surgeries, and horrible side-effects I sought alternative therapies and a major lifestyle change; and it worked. I no longer have Crohn’s disease and have been symptom and medication free since. I’ve also recovered from candida, hashimotos thyroiditis, liver disease, gastroparesis, kidney infections, adrenal insufficiency, pituitary hypo function, polycystic ovary syndrome, a horrible skin condition, weight problems, hypoglycemia, dysthymic and postpartum depression, infertility, and more…naturally.”

Holy shit. Pardon my French. People that list these many conditions are what we call “train wrecks” and there usually is a strong psychogenic component to being so sick.

Finally:

“[Her website] is meant to build-up, empower, and encourage you to channel your inner crunch.”

Your inner crunch? I can’t… I JUST CAN’T, OKAY?!

Anyway, I just took ten minutes to myself to relax and be able to write about Megan’s post on how God doesn’t like vaccines. She begins:

“Christians, we need to talk. If you are not a Christian, this post is not for you.”

Because, you know, Jesus only preached to Christians.

“No judgment here, but I need to speak to my Jesus peeps. You see, there’s this little thing called a religious exemption, and it’s being threatened.”

No judgment, then proceeds to judge. More hypocrisy. The whole post is full of it. She goes on to write about religious exemptions and how they’re being done away with a little at a time. Like all of that is a bad thing.

“Then there’s the propaganda by religious leaders geared towards people like us. If your pastor says it’s okay…then it must be okay right? No…because your pastor isn’t Jesus and probably hasn’t read the vaccine inserts or additives list.”

But guess who is about to pretend she’s Jesus (or knows as much as Jesus)? You got it…

“We actually think “we” hold the key to improving upon His design… as if He forgot something when He created the immune system.”

Well, it’s not so much that God forgot. It’s more like He dropped us into a world filled with pathogens, many of them deadly. The immune system can only take so much. If the immune system was perfect, then we wouldn’t get sick at all. Heck, if God really wanted to cover all the bases, he would have just done away with pathogens.

I know. I know. I can feel the atheists rolling their eyes. But that post is not for you, remember? So humor me.

“God is pro-life. This is an un-contested issue. There is zero scriptural support to the contrary.”

There is also zero scriptural support to rejecting vaccines.

“If you’re a Christian, you might be surprised to know that more than 23 vaccines contain cells, cellular debris, protein, and DNA from aborted babies, including: Adenovirus, Polio, Dtap/Polio/HiB Combo, Hep A, Hep A/Hep B Combo, MMR, MMRV Pro Quad, Rabies, Varicella, and the Shingles vaccines.”

I know for a fact that scripture warns against lying, Megan. There are no fetal cells from “aborted babies” in vaccines. The viruses that are used to create the vaccines are grown in cell cultures. Those cell cultures are derived from other cells. Those other cells are derived from even other cells, and so on all the way back to, like, the 1960s. As someone with so much education, Megan, you and your husband should realize the amount of bullshit you’re spreading. As a Christian, you should be pretty much afraid of eternal damnation right now.

“First of all, sacrificing the few for the many is biblically unjustifiable.”

Like Jesus’ sacrifice for the world? Like the flood, in which the world was sacrificed for Noah et al to repopulate the Earth? Like Samson sacrificed himself by taking down the pillars? No, nothing in the Bible about sacrifice.

“In fact, aborted babies are being used everyday to create new cell lines for more vaccines.”

Lies.

“It’s true… most Christians don’t question vaccinations and haven’t thought about God’s take on the issue. I used to be one of them. Regardless of your denomination, we all serve the same God, and God does not support vaccines.”

Well, all we have to do is ask God to get rid of vaccines or vaccine-preventable diseases. After all, it states in the Bible that He will answer our prayers, right, Megan?

Perusing through the rest of Megan’s blog, I came to the conclusion that she is, indeed, a big hypocrite. She used a verse from the Bible about how blood is supposed to remain pure and not contaminated, not even with other human blood, but then she writes this on a post appropriately titled “Everyone Needs a Good Quack Doctor“:

“I’m not anti-modern medicine. I think prosthetics and organ transplants and the doctors who help us pick up the pieces from our poor lifestyle choices and sew our legs back on after car accidents are great.”

Ah, so Megan hypocritically tells us that “contaminating” our bodies with organs from another human is okay, but God forbid we get cells into us through vaccines.

Finally, Megan concludes with this enormous lie:

“Modern medicine is an epic fail; and to be honest, the medical community that claims to be ahead of the game is so far behind the curve it’s not even funny. Consider this, we haven’t a single cure for any chronic disease, nor do we know (or acknowledge) the causes either.”

So there’s no cure for diabetes? We don’t know that diabetes is caused by overweight and obesity or pancreatic failure? We don’t know that losing weight or going on a diet cures it? We have ignored that insulin and other drugs control blood glucose to the point that diabetes can be cured?

Nah, we don’t know nothing about none of that.

So I’m calling shenanigans. In my opinion, based on her screeds, Megan is not any of the things she claims to be, not even a Christian. A true Christian, as devout as she claims to be, would be afraid of lying so much. I think she’s a plant to try and bring out the crazy in her readers.

I think she’s a troll. I think she’s Craig Egan.

Yes, you should be concerned that measles is back

When we last met, I told you how the anti-vaccine crowd were not the only ones to blame for the current resurgence in vaccine-preventable diseases. One of you mentioned how pediatricians who cater to anti-science views are to be blamed as well. I almost forgot about the likes of Dr. Jay Gordon and Dr. Bob Sears, and others. Thanks for reminding me. The one thing I did not do was absolve the anti-vaccine activists from any blame. Certainly, when you are outspoken about things that have been proven to be wrong to you, when you write about them here and there and post videos on YouTube and other places to continue to try and convince people of lies, then there is plenty of blame to come your way.

Hat tip to “Lilady” for a pointing me to this ridiculous blog post over at Age of Autism, the daily web newspaper of the non-existent autism epidemic. Remember, for them to continue to exist there must be an autism epidemic, and for them to continue to be supported by anti-vaccine luminaries like Andrew Jeremy Wakefield, this “epidemic” must be caused by the MMR vaccine. They certainly walk a fine line by also blaming thimerosal, which was never in the MMR vaccine. Look at it this way: If any of the thousands of studies done to find a causal link between thimerosal and autism were proven to be true, then the MMR-autism causal theory would get blown out of the water. It’s a fine line indeed.

Anyway, the blog post in question is titled with the ridiculous question of “Should we be concerned”? (No question mark on their title, though.) It is written by the first half of this pair of American Loons. The reasonable person’s answer to that question is “Yes! Yes, we should be concerned. I mean, my God, we almost eradicated the goddamned virus, why the hell is it back?” But the authors at AoA and a majority of their readers don’t seem like reasonable people for me. So, of course, articles like that will find a natural home in that blog.

The post starts and continues will all manner of errors, misunderstandings and misinformation about measles:

“Prior to 1960, most children in the United States and Canada caught measles. Complications from the disease were unlikely. Previously healthy children usually recovered without incident.”

Notice how he makes it out to be that measles is a perfectly normal thing that every child got through. It’s not normal. It’s a viral infection. It causes complications and even death. You forgot to mention that, you lunatic! The post is also filled with convoluted reasoning like this:

“Authorities also claim that unvaccinated people are contracting the disease and spreading it to others. However, a study published this year in Clinical Infectious Diseases showed that people who are fully vaccinated against measles can spread the disease to other people who are fully vaccinated against measles. Thus, vaccinated people are vectors for the disease.”

Did you catch it? He is trying to tell us that the unvaccinated are not to blame because there were a handful of cases where vaccinated people caught it and spread it. Like the two things are mutually exclusive. Of course vaccinated will still catch measles. The vaccine is not 100% effective. There will always be those for whom the vaccine doesn’t trigger immunity. But, because people are willingly not getting vaccinated, the number of non-immune is bigger than it has to be.

Then there is this enormous misunderstanding of how relative risk works:

“It is also important to note that in nearly every outbreak of measles, large percentages of the cases occur in people who were fully vaccinated against the disease. For example, in 1988, 69% of all school-aged children in the U.S. who contracted measles were adequately vaccinated. In 1995, 56% of all measles cases in the U.S. occurred in people who were previously vaccinated.”

In every single outbreak of a disease for which the large majority of people are immunized, there will be a majority of people who are immunized and are cases. However, when you break it down to relative risks, those who are vaccinated are less likely to be part of the outbreak. In 1995, there were 301 confirmed cases of measles in the United States. That’s an important number because, at the time, it was the lowest number of cases in the country since we started keeping more accurate records of measles in 1912.

But facts and figures and statistics don’t seem to bother Mr. Miller, the “health pioneer” and “independent researcher.” Also, vaccines don’t save anyone:

“Today, most developing nations require their infants to receive several inoculations, including a measles vaccine at 9 months of age. They have very high vaccine coverage rates (a percentage of the target population that has been vaccinated), yet their infant mortality rates are dreadfully unacceptable. For example, in 2011 Gambia, a poor country in Africa, required its infants to receive multiple vaccines, vaccinated 90% to 96% of its infants (91% received measles vaccines), yet 58 of every 1000 infants still died before their first birthdays. Ghana also required its infants to receive several vaccines, vaccinated 91% to 98% of its infants (91% received measles vaccines) yet also had a dismal infant mortality rate: 52 of every 1000 infants died before their first birthdays.”

Ah, yes, silly us. We thought that children who have to deal with malnourishment, malaria, HIV/AIDS and all sorts of other existential threats could do without measles, but Mr. Miller smashes all causes of death together to tell us, basically, that we should stop vaccinating because children are still dying. The level of flawed reasoning is astounding. “Yet 58 of every 1000 infants still died before their first birthdays,” he writes. You know what they DID NOT die from? Measles. Mr. Miller doesn’t tell us how much higher the death toll would be if these children also had to face vaccine-preventable diseases.

Another frequent reader of this blog, “Todd W.”, decided to step into the murky waters of the comments section, and I applaud him for that. But you can read for yourself that it is hopeless. Immediately, his credentials were questioned, and they wondered if he was being paid to comment. He was told that he reads “like a CDC commercial”. (Have you seen any commercials brought to you by CDC?) But, again, that’s par for the course for the quacks and hacks that know very well how to manipulate words and numbers to please their crowd.

Don’t be fooled. Age of Autism is all about pleasing the kind of people who want to believe in monsters under the bed. They are now even catering to the “chemtrail” crowd:

chemtrail_age_of_autism

The real threats to public health

I’ve told you before what German measles (Rubella) can do to an unborn baby. Lucky for us, the virus is covered in the MMR vaccine, a very good vaccine with a very good record of safety and effectiveness. We’re also lucky that the virus only has us as its reservoir. Immunize enough of us around the world, and the virus is eradicated. Period.

Unfortunately, there are people out there who more than likely have a mental disorder. Why a mental disorder? Because only psychopaths would knowingly endanger others and knowingly spread rubella (or mumps, or measles). Let me make this clear: Pregnant women have a diminished immune system, and they are very susceptible to these infections. If you spread rubella, or any other thing, you risk killing a child in the most painful way possible. These psychopaths go on social networks and network with each other, agreeing to report to each other if someone in their unvaccinated families contracts measles, mumps, rubella, or chickenpox. They then coordinate parties to get their children, and each other, exposed to these diseases. In some cases, they even agree to mail each other lollipops that sick children have licked.

It is disgusting, and it is extremely dangerous. Reasonable people see this. These psychopaths don’t. And, yes, I’m using that term to keep myself from calling them other names. Here’s the evidence, off of Facebook:

rubella_1 rubella_2

chickenpox_2 chickenpox_1

 

chickenpox_3

I am looking into each and every one of those names there, and I will not hesitate to contact the proper health protection authorities in the places where they live. The threat is just too great.

And, by the way, you psychopaths out there, if you’re reading this, the reason you’re having to resort to these idiotic tactics is because of the safety and effectiveness of vaccines.

Connecting the dots when you can’t connect two brain cells

Let me connect some dots for you. Merck makes one of the anti-HPV vaccines. Merck gave money to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine to endow a chair. In the minds of the anti-vaccine crowd, anyone in that chair (figuratively and literally) might as well be Satan’s spawn. After all, who but Satan’s child would take a position paid for by Big Pharma? No one in their right mind would work for Big Pharma.

Furthermore, no one would ever want to study and become an expert on vaccines through education and hard work because that means you’re a shill. No, you must gain all your knowledge of vaccines and their side-effects from anti-vaccine websites, celebrities, and chiropractors. Sure, there are some honest-to-goodness physicians sprinkled among the nutjobs, but you know what they say about the company you keep. (Anti-vaxxers are not science-based if they have a few scientists and physicians in their ranks. It makes the very few scientists and physicians anti-vaxxers.)

If you, say, study law and become good at defending the legal framework that supports compulsory, mandatory, or required immunization, then you’re a shill. You can’t be anything else. That’s the way things are if you can’t connect two brain cells together then go about trying to connect the dots of the conspiracy theory in your head. Allow me to elaborate. Continue reading

The dog days of summer

I must admit to you that I’m not in much of a blogging mood when it’s this hot out. My walk to the office and then back to my flat are exhausting in this heat. The mid-Atlantic humidity really does a number on me. When I get home and all my clothes are soaked and clinging to me, the last thing I want to do is blog. (Yeah, that was not a pretty picture.)

I’ve been especially grumpy lately because some pro-vaccine advocates have taken it upon themselves to tell me what to write, how, and when. They think that I’m a writing machine. I’m not the blogger with hypergraphia. I’m the blogger that is slowly working his way to the 200th post, and is thinking very hard about what to write once that milestone is met.

I guess I could tell you all about the lies and misinformation being spewed by the anti-vaccine advocates, but what else do you expect from anti-vaccine advocates? Or I could tell you that Andrew Jeremy Wakefield continues to claim that he didn’t say what he said, or that his study said something completely different to what it really said. But what else do you expect from Andrew Jeremy Wakefield?

I could explain to you why a petulant anti-vaccine loon thinks that having/knowing/friending/peeing next to someone who does business with someone who is related/knows/works or pees with someone in the pharmaceutical industry makes you “morally bankrupt.” But what do you expect from that child? That’s all he knows how to do, a real stain in the educational institution that is GWU.

Maybe I could tell you why homeopathy would violate all rules of physics if it worked like homeopaths and others say it does. Or that “alternative and complimentary medicine” is not really “medicine.” Rather, these things are no better than “wishful thinking.” While there is such a thing as the placebo effect, there is no room in reality to say that these things are cures for anything.

What I’m trying to say is that I can only write and write and write some more about the things that anti-science, ignorant people say or do online and in real life. There are only so many topics that can be covered. There are only so many people I can laugh at (while simultaneously shaking my head). I keep thinking about this as the 200th post is coming up.

Remember, this blog was not supposed to be all about refuting stupidity. It was supposed to be a companion blog to “The Poxes.” It just got out of hand because there really is that much stupid to refute. There really are that many ignorant and evil people in this world. So we’ll see where I go once I hit 200.

With experts like these, who needs doctors?

A friend of mine was telling me the other day that he used to date a girl who he “outgrew.” He said that he bumped into her when he went back to his hometown. She happily told him that she was engaged to marry a “doctor.” He asked her what kind of doctor her fiancé was, and she happily replied that her fiancé was a chiropractor. We both laughed at the thought.

If you know me, you know I have issues with chiropractors calling themselves “doctors,” especially those who claim that “adjustments” can cure or prevent infectious diseases. Continue reading