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PreviousNextUpdates made to The Millenium Project in September 2009

September 5, 2009

Anti-vaxxers not happy. How unfortunate for them. (5/9/2009)
Australia's best daily television current affairs show decided to take a look at the vaccination "debate". Of course, as all sensible people know, there is no debate, just a pretend controversy beaten up by people with no knowledge of medicine or immunology, conspiracy believers and non-institutionalised lunatics.

The 7:30 Report's online forum was almost immediately taken over by a host of people working from the "my child was normal until the vaccines poisoned him" script. This was not unexpected as various anti-vaccination liar mailing lists were smoking with indignation at how biased the program had been. Imagine that - you ask doctors about what is good for children and they promote something that has saved more children's lives than any other thing that medicine has done since it was invented. (Clean water probably saved more lives than vaccines, but it isn't a medical procedure.)

I have been observing these people for more than ten years now and I really do wish that they could come up with some new stories. As an example of this, when I watched a replay of the show with my daughter I pointed out that the first words heard from an anti-vaccination campaigner in the program mentioned the mercury that hasn't been in vaccines since 2000. Put another way, the first sentence my daughter heard from a major opponent of vaccination contained a lie.

One thing I noticed in the flurry of reaction to the program was a certain inconsistency in a particular statistic. I have seen various figures quoted for the number of vaccines given to children, but the most memorable were "30 vaccines before the age of one" and "20 vaccines given to newborns". Here is a list of all vaccines in the Australian National Immunisation Program. (The list comes from a web page listing adverse reactions to vaccines. You know, those adverse reactions which are so secret they can only be found by a massive two clicks from the web site for the Australian Immunisation Handbook.

That looks like only 14 vaccines to me. Take out dTpa, HPV and Influenza, which aren't given to babies, and take out 23vPPV and HepA which are only given to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children who live in particular areas. Now we seem to have only nine vaccines, and they aren't all given to newborns (or even babies in the first year of life). Did I mention that someone supposedly studying for a PhD in vaccination told me that infants get 12 vaccines all at once?

And people still keep asking me why I call these liars "liars".


An oldie but a goodie (5/9/2009)
Last week I mentioned CreationWiki and during the week a friend reminded me of a similar project of almost equal whackiness. It was Conservapedia, and here is what I had to say when I first came across it:

A new reference source (24/3/2007)
Andy Schlafly is the son of Phyllis Schlafly, head of the Eagle Forum whose web site holds the current record for the number of categories in which it is listed in The Millenium Project, but it is not fair to judge a person by the actions of his parents. Andy Schlafly is a lawyer, a trade which usually indicates a more-than-passing familiarity with the use and nuances of language, but he is one of the people who have accused me of not knowing how to spell "millennium". When it was pointed out to him by several people (none of them me) that a clear explanation of the etymology of the word "millenium" as used on this site was and is displayed on the front page of the site he carefully considered the situation and then said that he understood but that I still didn't know how to spell "millennium". While an intellect like that serves a useful purpose by ensuring that the left-hand half of the graph of intelligence distribution doesn't distort the overall bell shape of the curve, it is unfair to judge a person harshly just because they don't seem smart enough to know how (or why) to tie shoelaces.

ConservapediaMr Schlafly has now made a grab for great fame by starting a web site named Conservapedia. This has been established to counter the extreme left-liberal, evolutionist and atheist bias in Wikipedia which apparently prevents the truth from appearing there. I have my own critical opinion of the value of Wikipedia, but I have to say that I haven't seen any real evidence of Jimmy Wales being a reincarnation of Charles Darwin, Karl Marx or Vladimir Lenin or of the anonymous writers, editors and arbitrators being members of The Great Left Wing Conspiracy. (A comment from an anonymous person: McDonalds is where you go when you are hungry but don't care about the quality of the food you get. Wikipedia is where you go when you are curious but don't care about the quality of the information you get. But I digress ...)

I like to see a diversity of opinions, and Conservapedia goes beyond that to present a diversity of facts. I wish the site well and I hope that it will evolve (if I can use that word) into a useful repository of crackpottery and misinformation. An example of the high quality of information in this encyclopaedia can be found in the definition of "Beef". Here it is in its entirety at the time of writing:

Beef is the meat of cows. Hindus do not eat beef. Vegetarians also do not eat beef.


Great tweets of science
See more PHD Comics here


One more time around the moon hoax (5/9/2009)
Magazine lead times being what they are, my article about the moon landing hoax appeared in the September edition of Australasian Science magazine rather than July when the anniversary of the first manned landing happened. The issue is now on the newsstands and you can read the article here. I recommend that you subscribe to the magazine because every issue contains a collection of well-written articles covering a wide range of scientific matters. It's not an academic journal so you can be confidant that you will be able to understand what you read. It's how popular science journalism should be done.

You can see the footprints from space


The last note about Advanced Allergy Elimination (I hope) (5/9/2009)
I mentioned last week that Advanced Allergy Elimination, now calling themselves Allergy Pathway, were ordered by a court to stop saying some things that were not true and to stop some misleading or deceptive practices. I wondered how they were going to keep busy for the next few years, so I sent a Kind and Gentle email asking for details:

I notice from an ACCC media release and a notice on your web site that you can no longer claim to be able to detect or treat allergies or to claim that your treatments are safe, and I also see that you have changed your name to remove reference to eliminating allergies.

If you can't do what you have been doing for some years, what are you going to do for the next three years until the court order expires? Will people with allergies just have to wait?

September 12, 2009

Hulda's had it (12/9/2009)
They say that you should only say good things about the dead, so here is my response to the big news coming out of the quackery world this week: "Hulda Clark is dead. Good." As Shakespeare wrote: "Nothing in [her] life became [her] like the leaving it", or, put another way, the best thing she ever did was to die.

The plaudits and eulogies have been pouring in for this despicable woman who cared not a damn for the people she stole money from, either through her disgusting clinic in Tijuana ($15,000 per week to be "cured" of AIDS or cancer), her promises of miracle cures through "zapping" or by the sales of books with titles like The Cure For All Diseases, The Cure For All Cancers, or The Cure for HIV/AIDS. Her supporters are saying that as she was 80 years old she had to die of something, but remember this was someone who knew how to cure ALL diseases so what was she doing dying of a disease? She should just have gone on until her heart muscles wore out, although as a naturopath she probably had a cure for that as well. One thing we can be certain of is that she died with a perfect conscience. As she had never used it in her life it was still in pristine condition in its original packaging.

Practitioners of quackery have great loyalty to each other, even when their suggested cures for things are mutually contradictory. Remembering this gave me a great feeling of Schadenfreude as I imagined teams of urine therapists attending the viewing and lining up to urinate on Clark's corpse. It would have saved the families of her victims from the trouble of doing it themselves.

Click on the pictures below to see what $15,000 a week got for Clark's victims in Tijuana. And remember than Clark didn't live there. She lived in a much nicer place a few kilometres away.

The streetscapeThe tacky signNot quite the Mayo ClinicThe funeral director's car?
Hulda Clark's clinic in Tijuana


What anti-vaccination liars believe (12/9/2009)
The anti-vaccination movement has many similarities with fundamentalist religion. There are the sacred texts, the saints and prophets, the absolute certainty, the faith in the face of evidence and so on. Perhaps they need a version of the 39 Articles of Faith of the Anglican Church.

VII. Of the Old Testament.
The Old Testament is not contrary to the New: for both in the Old and New Testament everlasting death is offered to Childkind. Wherefore they are not to be heard, which feign that the old Fathers did look only for transitory promises. Although the Law given from God, as touching Ceremonies and Rites, do not bind Antivax men, nor the Civil precepts thereof ought of necessity to be received in any commonwealth; yet notwithstanding, no Antivax man whatsoever is free from the obedience of the Commandments which are called Moral.

These Commandments are:

  1. Thou shalt have no opinion about vaccination except that it is evil.
  2. Thou shalt not take unto thee any properly conducted scientific research showing the safety or efficacy of vaccines, whether conducted in heaven above, or in the earth beneath, or in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not agree with it, nor accept it.
  3. Thou shalt not accept any notion favourable to vaccination.
  4. Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work, for in six days thousands of children will die of measles alone and on the seventh many more will die while you are resting.
  5. Honour those who speak out against vaccination that thy days may be long and children's days may be short.
  6. Thou shalt not kill, except by vaccine-preventable disease.
  7. Thou shalt not vaccinate against sexually transmitted diseases, for verily it has been said of those who suffer thus: "It is their fault".
  8. Thou shalt not steal, unless it be the lives and health of children that is stolen.
  9. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour, unless thy neighbour works in vaccination research in which case thou mayest say anything about him regardless of truth.
  10. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's knowledge of science, medicine or morals, for such knowledge may cause thee to accept the value of vaccination.

VIII. Of the Creeds.

The Barbaran Creed, and that which is commonly called the Antivaxers' Creed, ought thoroughly to be received and believed: for they may be proved by most certain warrants of Holy Scripture. The Creed says:

I believe in the evil of vaccines.
Vaccines are always harmful.
Vaccines are never safe.
Vaccines serve no purpose except to enrich sinners.
No disease has ever been prevented by vaccination.
Vaccines cause autism.
Vaccines cause children to take on the appearance of children who have been beaten.
Anything said against vaccines is the truth.
Anything said in favour of vaccines is a lie.
Diseases which kill and damage millions of children are benign.
Murderers are heroes.
Heroes are murderers
The end justifies the means.


Carleyness (12/9/2009)
Supporters of the anti-vaccination liar and officially certified lunatic ex-Dr Rebecca Carley keep writing to me to set me straight. I don't think I need to respond to this.

From: "GROET"
Subject: NO FACT NO ARGUMENT
Date: Wed, 09 Sep 2009 12:34:14 +0200

Mr. Bowditch,

You have no fact and no argument mentioned in relation to mrs. Rebecca Carley position on vaccination.

YOU HAVE NO FACT, YOU HAVE NO ARGUMENT.

Your domainname is Rat in a Bag?

Who do you think is in that Bag?

You mention in an email many adjectives according to you applicable to mrs. Carley?

You ask her to choose some?

You point with your finger to her???!!

At the same time, many more fingers point to yourself!

I tell you: I will not ask you to choose some of these adjectives applicable to YOU, since I do not need your socalled judgment or choice.

I KNOW what is applicable to YOU.

Go and ask for as many vaccinations as you want and think are necessary.

I wish you good luck and you will not have much time to live, since you appear to believe in vaccinations.

Your true cause is a totally different one.

Go on crawling on the ground like a snake.

This is where your like belongs.

Go to the ground.

Go underground where you come from.

Go to the same darkness as is proliferating from your mouth.

Go on producing shit: in the end you will suffocate in your own shit.

You are to be pitied.

Jan Ligthart
Netherlands


Noel is not happy (12/9/2009)
A couple of weeks back I sent a Kind and Gentle letter to Noel Batten asking for his comment on successful legal action against a company doing just what he does. Here is round two.

Dear Mr Bowditch,

My eBooks do not offer a cure, and in fact they are very clear in explaining that. I have outlined both on my websites and in my eBooks, that the treatment I offer, requires the patient to make changes to lifestyle and must do exercises and several other things to experience "IMPROVEMENT".

If you would take the time to read my websites "WITHOUT YOUR BIAS ATTITUDE" you would see that I do not offer a cure.

No, you offer "remission". Is that remission permanent or temporary. If it is temporary then it is part of the normal fluctuation of both Parkinson's and MS and you are therefore offering nothing that can't be achieved by any patient following their doctor's advice. If you say the remission is permanent then I can't see how you can claim that you are not offering a cure.

As for my URL's, I replaced the URL's that have the word "cure" in them, some months ago, but for some reason they are still floating around because the registration is still current. Due to your email to me, I will ask my webmaster to search them out and finalise them. I have been using the URL's "parkinsons-success.com" and ms-success.com for some time now. Try them and you will see for yourself.

I did try the new URLs and yes, they work. The content is still the same, however, including the word "cure" in the page titles.

One thing I do use my websites for however, is to speak out about the wrongs of the medical profession and it is idiots like you who contribute to stopping people like me from speaking out, which is why medical leaders can do almost anything they want to us, even if we don't agree.

Nobody is trying to silence you, just get you to stop claiming that you can cure, sorry, offer permanent remission from chronic, incurable diseases.

They are presently trying to make it law that any individual is not allowed to refuse medical advice. This means that if they decide the best treatment for you, to minimise a health problem, is to take a drug that has drastic side-effects, or have an organ removed that can render part of you, useless, you won't be able to say "NO!"

Please provide evidence from some verifiable government or parliamentary source that there is any intention in Australia or elsewhere to remove from people the right to ignore medical advice. I have been told this before but nobody has been able to provide any details. Please note that web sites such as those run by Joseph Mercola or Jeff Rense will not be accepted as reliable references in this matter.

Is this what you would want, if you develop an autoimmune disease, or on another note, is this what you would want if a loved one developed an autoimmune disease and you did not agree to them doing to your loved one, what they wanted to do???

There has been a way to overcome cancer for many years and it was established by Dr Max Gerson, a medical doctor, but they ruined him because they didn't want the public following his ideals because his ideals bypassed pharmaceutical drugs.

That would be the Max Gerson who died fifty years ago. The Max Gerson whose descendants have to hide in Tijuana with the rest of the quacks pretending to cure cancer. The Max Gerson who would have won the Nobel Prize if a tenth of what he said was true. The Max Gerson who was so suppressed that he was invited to testify before a US Senate committee to present his findings about the cure for all cancer. The Max Gerson who was the model for the cancer "curers" stealing the hopes and money of desperate people in places where they can hide from the law. That Max Gerson.

A journalist by the name of Ed McCabe, figured out how to overcome HIV by using ozone therapy and when he began teaching medical doctors how to use his method to help HIV patients, they jailed him and his method is becoming burried. He quotes a medical journal that explains how Ozone was documented by medical scientists as being able to overcome HIV, but the medical profession will not train doctors to use this approach, because it by-passes pharmaceutical drugs. If you were diagnosed with HIV, wouldn't you want the treatment that actually works, rather than the drugs that don't work, but add side-effects to the problems you would already be having???

If I were to be diagnosed with HIV I would want to use the drugs that have been shown to work, not treatments that have not been shown to work. As there are about twenty papers listed in PubMed that address the action of ozone on HIV you might like to explain how doctors are prevented from performing or reading about this groundbreaking research (which has been going on for almost twenty years). Real scientists have tested the action of ozone on the HIV virus. Real scientists then went on to look for something which was of some use instead of wasting their time and the lives of people with HIV.

Stop and think this out a little before you give them so much power that you no longer have any say whatsoever. Stop and think things out a little, before you destroy the honest Natural Health Practitioners in your uneducated attack.

I am an honest truthful qualified practitioner who is an ex-patient who they nearly ruined with pharmaceutical drugs and I have video proof that what I offer, actually works. It is not a cure, and only a percentage experience really good improvement, but it does help patients reduce their suffering. On several occasions, it has helped some patients achieve remission.

Is that remission permanent?

Isn't this worth investigating, instead of destroying?

I treat some patients free of charge because they have no funds. Do you want me to stop treating them when it helps them to reduce or overcome their suffering???

As long as you aren't offering a cure or permanent remission then I don't care what you do or how much you charge for it, unless you are wanting them to pay for something that they can get for free, of course, such as lifestyle advice which is freely available from support organisations.

Think, man, think, just a little. Not all Natural Health Practitioners are crooks or ratbags.

No, some are deluded. Some are so arrogant that they believe that they know more than the thousands of scientists working to find answers to chronic disease conditions. Some are paranoid and live in fear of some great medical conspiracy to keep everyone sick and doctors and pharmaceutical companies rich.

Kind regards and God bless,

Noel N Batten
Qualified Natural Therapist
Autoimmune Specialist and
Christian Motivational Consultant

Mr Batten also sent me a nice message:

It's raining

A personal message from Noel, to all the people he communicates with:-

Be even kinder than you would normally be, and blossom fully towards "everybody", for every person you meet, is fighting some kind of battle, and very often, they won't let on.

Love generously, Care deeply, Speak kindly, "even during your most stressful times"....... For life isn't about seeing the storm and waiting for it to pass...

It is about being refreshed, and learning to dance in the rain.


The blog (12/9/2009)
I Yahoo! 7write a blog for the Yahoo! 7 News web site. A new entry will appear approximately every two weeks, and the first two are up there now. I encourage everyone to go there and join in the commenting. It will take some time to establish itself but I would imagine that the site won't keep publishing it unless it gets a reasonable amount of interest and traffic. I'll publish some of the entries here a couple of weeks after they go on the Yahoo! 7 site, and you can see the first one here.


Hear him speak (12/9/2009)
I'll be speaking to a meeting of Western Sydney Freethinkers on Sunday, September 20. The location is the Castlereagh Room, Penrith RSL Club, 8 Tindale Street Street, Penrith at 2pm. The topic will be the nature of skepticism and will be loosely based on what you can read here.

This is a new group and is quite active, with three or four events each month. It was established to meet the needs of skeptics and freethinkers who might find it more convenient to travel to events somewhere near the demographic centre of the city rather than fight the traffic and public transport to get to the central business district. It is of particular relevance to me because I live in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney and not only is it a two hour trip by train to the CBD but the area is infested with woowoo and weirdness. The village where I live mercifully lacks a crystal shop, vegan restaurant and veterinary acupuncture clinic but it is the exception.

As an example of local thinking, when it was announced that a large amount of money was to be spent on the maternity section of the local hospital there were protests that the emphasis was on the medicalisation of childbirth and no provision was being made for the services of witches and doulas. I know, they didn't actually say "witches", but what is the word for women with secret occult knowledge derived from nothing beyond female body parts? (When I was at university and forced to study sociology I was told that gender is a completely socially constructed matter and has nothing to do with genetics. I couldn't help myself and asked the lecturer if this meant that if little boys were given dolls to play with instead of guns would they be able to have babies when they grew up? She replied that she hadn't thought of that but would do some research. True story! I did not do well in that course.) It is no coincidence that the area has the second-lowest rate of vaccination in the state, beaten only by the district surrounding the headquarters of the Australian Vaccination Network.


What's he reading? (12/9/2009)
This Coffee, Sex & Healthweek's book is something I found in a second-hand book shop, so you might have a lot of difficulty tracking it down. It's Coffee, Sex & Health by Ian Bersten, published in 1999. The author ran a coffee roasting business in Sydney when he wrote the book and was inspired by the resistance to coffee when it was first introduced.

You might wonder why a book about coffee would have an relevance to the interests of The Millenium Project, but the story in the book parallels current day concerns about vaccination, genetically modified foods, Ritalin, fluoridation and other "deadly chemical" hysterias.

When coffee first appeared in Europe it was opposed on medical and moral grounds. (No, that Women's Petitionwas not meant to be a pun, but it was a good one anyway.) As coffee is a stimulant it was obviously unhealthy as it could cause an imbalance in the humours, possibly leading to impulsive and irrational behaviour. One form of this impulsivity was apparently a rampant and dangerous increase in male libido, putting women at risk of unwanted attention from coffee-crazed men. This led to the Women's Petition of 1674, asking that the use of this "drying, enfeebling liquor" be restricted. I would have thought that excessive randiness and enfeeblement were contradictory, but I am not a 17th century feminist. Some were opposed to coffee because dangerous radicals like Samuel Johnson sat around in coffee shops plotting the overthrow of civilisation as we know it. Of course, if coffee hadn't been available then these so-called intellectuals would have had nowhere to meet unless someone had invented things like absinthe or opium. Oh, wait, they did.

Sound familiar? Ritalin is a stimulant that shouldn't be given to kids with ADHD because it will stimulate them too much. HepB and HPV vaccines shouldn't be give to young girls because they will rush out and catch promiscuity. (Don't even think about giving gay men a vaccine against AIDS.) Vaccines and fluoride are used for mind control. GM foods will cause us to grow flounder fins.

Yes, it's Doonesbury

The first book written by Samuel Coffee? In a homeopathic "medicine"?Hahnemann, inventor of homeopathy, was not his treatise on magic water but a book called Coffee and its effects according to my own observations, published in 1803. In a spirit which would be admired by today's snake oil salesmen who invent a cure for something and then get right on to the marketing department, Hahnemann endorsed homeopathic "health" coffees and possibly even produced his own product. It is interesting to note that despite Hahnemann's dislike of coffee, his successors (I almost wrote "succussers") seem to think that caffeine is a safe and suitable ingredient in "insomnia relief" tablets like the ones I use to commit suicide with in my stage presentations about quackery. Perhaps this is the result of the extensive pharmacological research carried out by homeopaths over the last couple of centuries. OK, I was only joking again. By the way, I asked the manufacturer of these pills how the two different dilutions of caffeine retained their individuality when mixed together. I was told that I didn't understand homeopathy and they had to be listed separately because they had different actions. And, no, I am not joking now.

I am of course consuming a constant flow of coffee while writing this. My wife has been warned and has retreated to the back yard where for some reason she is carrying a garden fork with her wherever she goes. In my travels researching this article I came across this coffee mug with the words of the Women's Petition on it. It is available from the wonderfully-named Unemployed Philosophers' Guild, and, yes, I have ordered one.

A coffee mug


Speaking of 1674 ... (12/9/2009)

Newton and Leibniz
See more of XKCD here


And OK, here's the rest of Doonesbury ... (12/9/2009)

Doonesbury


Surreality (12/9/2009)
To celebrate Her Majesty's birthday we took ourselves off to see the Monster Trucks. OK, the trip was supposedly for the benefit of the World's Finest Grandson and his cousin, but any excuse will do for a fun night out. HM now says she wants to see the Crusty Demons the next time they are in town. She must be getting younger with each birthday.

The surreality in the headline hasn't got anything to do with a couple of older folk enjoying themselves watching some irresponsible behaviour. The finale of the night was a demolition derby, where cars deliberately crash into each other until there is only one car both able and willing to keep going. While we were looking at the array of badly smashed vehicles, watching firemen spray the engine of one car to put out a fire and smelling burning rubber from where tyres had been forced onto bodywork we were treated to a thumping rock tune by the 1970s glam-rock band T-Rex. As we surveyed the carnage in the stadium I probably wasn't the only person there who was old enough to remember that we were hearing the voice of Marc Bolan, who was killed in a car crash two weeks before his 20th birthday.

September 19, 2009

Oh, all right ... (19/9/2009)
OK, I know. Late again. It's all because I had some real-life work to do, some family matters to attend to (the World's Finest Grandson got a trophy for playing soccer), I spent Sunday giving a talk about skepticism, I needed to collect in one place everything I had ever said about the Australian Vaccination Network and that meant reading all the history here since 1999, and I had to prepare for the simultaneity and confluence of the equinox and my birthday. Then Armageddon arrived in Sydney. You didn't expect me to work through that, did you?


A conversation going nowhere (19/9/2009)
I was brought to the attention of the readers of the Australian Vaccination Network's mailing list when someone discovered that I had said something about vaccinations. I can't respond on the list of course as I have been banned since 1999 because the power of my presence frightens the residents too much. As my only option is to email the commenters directly I did just that, causing them some angst and hypocrisy.

From: Sue
Sent: Monday, 14 September, 2009 12:12:53 AM
Subject: [AVN] More from a critic

Don't normally give him the time of day, but this just turned up on a search engine...
http://www.ratbags.com/rsoles/index.html#12vax1


From: "wharrison@xxxxxx.net"
To: AVN@yahoogroups.com
Sent: Monday, 14 September, 2009 2:09:09 PM
Subject: Re: [AVN] More from a critic

The man has too much time on his hands...a truly twisted individual.

Winnie


From: oufreshtideas
To: AVN@yahoogroups.com
Sent: Tuesday, 15 September, 2009 2:08:28 PM
Subject: [AVN] Re: More from a critic

Hi

This man seems to upset a lot of people. I would say he is hardly credible when he has alienated his family and spouse, incensed the Police Force to take action against him etc. Google Peter Bowditch + Australian Skeptic Society and you will find lots of info but hardly anything pretty.

I live with my spouse, I communicate with my daughters on almost a daily basis and the police have never taken any action against me (unless you count the fine for doing 43km/h in a school zone a few years back).

One day I am going to start taking legal action against people who defame me and lie about me. Do you have a nice house? Would I like living in it?

There is no such thing as "Australian Skeptic Society".

I realize that he isn't the person who made the claim against AVN to the HCCC but obviously Mr Ken McLeod (yes, that info is on Wikipedia too) is influenced by these Skeptics. At least one of the comments of Mr Bowditch was that Scams, Phishing etc happened before the Internet, but the Internet can also be used to expose these Scammers etc. Well, yes the Internet can be used to expose these hateful tyrants too.

Anyone with any sense will not take these people seriously. I am really surprised that Dick Smith has sided with these hate-mongers. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Australian_Skeptics

As you will see with this link Mr Smith is a prominent leader. Sorry Andrew but Dickie seems to be fully behind Skeptics - not as you suggested that it was someone in his organization.


From: oufreshtideas
To: AVN@yahoogroups.com
Sent: Tuesday, 15 September, 2009 3:43:21 PM
Subject: [AVN] Skeptics meeting in November - Qld Uni. St Lucia

Hi All,

Hello again,

I have been told that you have issued a challenge to me. Perhaps you should do it somewhere where I am not banned from reading it and replying. Maybe you could ask Meryl Dorey to honour her organisation's commitment to free speech and allow me to subscribe to the AVN list.

Since Mr Peter Bowditch is so secure in his belief about Vaccinations and what they do, I think he should be given the opportunity to roll up his sleeve and accept the adult vaccinations for

I have offered to do this on several occasions, usually just after some anti-vaccination liar has said that nobody would do it.

* DTPa -diphtheria- tetanus-pertussi s acellular (infant/child formulation)
* HepB - hepatitis B vaccine
* Hib - Haemophilus influenzae type b vaccine (PRP-OMP or PRP-T)
* HPV - human papillomavirus vaccine
* Influenza - influenza or flu vaccine
* IPV - inactivated poliomyelitis vaccine
* MenCCV - meningococcal C conjugate vaccine
* MMR - measles-mumps- rubella vaccine
* 7vPCV - 7-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine
* Rotavirus - rotavirus vaccine
* VV - varicella vaccine

Why did you pick that lot? Why not the actual childhood vaccination schedule?

These are all the ones that Mr Bowditch seems to think that newborns get

No, I do not think that. Why would I think that newborns get vaccinations that are only given to adults, adolescents and children over one year old? I can read the schedule. Perhaps you should do that too

 - but maybe not all at once.

Well - are they given to newborns or are they spread out over five years? A two-year-old is not a newborn.

I'm not sure how old PB is but I am sure that he must be due for boosters if he ever had some of these.

I have had several of these. My parents were scrupulous in protecting me from disease, just as I have been for my children.

This is the date for the meeting. http://www.qldskeptics.com/ Is there someone that can help with these vaccinations as I'm sure Mr Bowditch is enthusiastic to prove that he will come to no harm by getting these, and will be doing the public a great service?

One condition - you and at least four other members or supporters of AVN will have to be there as witnesses. You can register for the convention (not "meeting") at the site you provided.

I'm not sure why AVN followers have this thing about me and Australian Skeptics. I speak and act for myself. I was running my web site and pointing out the mendacity and danger of anti-vaccination liars long before I had any involvement with Australian Skeptics.

Oh, and just a warning for the unvaccinated, I would avoid Mr Bowditch for a while because of shedding.

I doubt that there will be anybody at the convention who is so careless of their health that they will be completely unvaccinated.

You might like to point out which of the vaccines in the list can make someone infectious. I'm sure that someone in AVN can tell you.

See you at the convention in November


From: Meryl Dorey
To: AVN@yahoogroups.com
Sent: Wednesday, 16 September, 2009 2:00:31 PM
Subject: Re: [AVN] Response from Bowditch

To be honest Christine - you seem to feel that you will change peter bowditch in some way. It is my understanding from the few emails I have received from him, that for whatever reason, he is inflexible and won't be moved. So why waste energy trying?

I don't reply to him when he writes to me - nor do I reply to any of the other skeptics. Their disrespect does not merit a reply.
All the best,
Meryl


From: Christine
To: AVN@yahoogroups.com
Sent: Wednesday, 16 September, 2009 1:41:57 PM
Subject: [AVN] Response from Bowditch

 Hi All

I have been considering what to do about the responses that I received to my postings yesterday.. Firstly these are copies of what he wrote and sent to my personal email. This one was titled I'll be there. Will you? ... And this one titled Be careful what you say

Christine is the new identity of "oufreshtideas". I have snipped complete quotations of the messages and my replies of 15 September, 2009 2:08:28 and 15 September, 2009 3:43:21

Everything that I wrote in my postings was available from the Net. This is one source that I came across. http://www.ratbags.com/rsoles/onews/onews.htm Read some of the comments, especially from William P. O'Neill on 25 August 2002 and you will see that there is more than just a speeding ticket that he has against his name. Anyway I have decided that I need to at least inform you what is possible in this forum.

I see that you are talking about me on the AVN list again.

Why don't you reply to me directly? I am not allowed to post messages to the AVN list so I have no option but to email you.

I have no idea why Meryl Dorey is so frightened of what I have to say that she even blocks me from following her on Twitter.

You should also check your research about me. I am hardly going to worry that someone has posted what Mr O'Neill had to say about me on the web. In fact, I suggest you go to the page where you found Mr O'Neill's comments, click on "About this site" on the menu and see who owns the site. Then ponder why that person would publish things about me.

That's right folks - she goes to Google to research me and then quotes something from the hate mail collection on my own site as evidence against me. She doesn't notice that the web site and my email address both end in ratbags.com. I love the smell of incompetence in the morning.

"Obviously Peter Bowditch doesn't have to have AVN approval to be on this forum, as his 'little moles' spy for him and send him copies of posts from the forum. I received these emails at my private email address from the man himself. Obviously he couldn't write back via the "grubby little mole" because that would give the game away, so he decided to write to me personally. I believe that if Peter Bowditch wishes to install spies on the forum so he knows what is going on, then he should reply "via the spies", not contact AVN Forum members privately. I thought I would share his views with the group. Also, many times he calls AVN and its' members liars. Hiding behind moles is a form of deceit, so three fingers are pointing directly back at him.


From: oufreshtideas
To: AVN@yahoogroups.com
Sent: Wednesday, 16 September, 2009 3:08:46 PM
Subject: [AVN] Re: Response from Bowditch

Hi Meryl,

No, the point I am making is that there are some people here that read and report back. I do not appreciate being emailed at my personal email. The other point is to highlight that this happens, so beware.

I know you have spoken of them before, but I guess I had to experience the foulness for myself. Experience is a great teacher.

from Christine

Hello Christine,

It's no good whining to Meryl about me. If you don't want me emailing you at your private address either get a throw-away address you can use for subscribing to Yahoo! groups or get Meryl to allow me to post to the AVN list. If I can't post there how else can I respond to what is said about me there?

By the way, have you decided whether you are going to be at the convention in November to witness me getting all those shots? I now have someone else who has volunteered to roll up their sleeve and line up with me. Should be great fun.

Another thing you should consider, but I expect you found this in your extensive Google research about me. http://www.ratbags.com/rsoles/files/about.htm#email


From: Sheri Nakken
To: AVN@yahoogroups.com
Sent: Thursday, 17 September, 2009 2:37:45 AM
Subject: Re: [AVN] Response from Bowditch

I wouldn't bother and waste your precious time with him It is for the purpose of distracting you from your very important work
Sheri


Alternative religion (19/9/2009)
Let's get away from the topic of alternative medicine for a while and talk about alternative religion. We all know that the King James Version of the English Bible was written years ago and has little relevance to the way English is spoke today. To help people overcome this problem the staff at Ratbag Research have been seeking out newer, more relevant translations. Here are two of these translations telling the story from Luke1:26-38 of Mary finding out that she was going to have God's baby.

From the Aussie Bible, a translation into Australian:

When Libby was six months gone, God sent the same angel (this Gabriel bloke) to a backblocks town called Nazareth, in the Galilee shire, to a nice young girl who was engaged to the local carpenter, Joe Davidson. Her name was Mary.

The angel said to her, 'G'day Mary. You are a pretty special sheila. God has his eye on you.'

Mary went weak at the knees, and wondered what was going on.

But the angel said to her, 'Don't panic, don't chuck a wobbly. God thinks you're okay. You're about to become pregnant, and you'll have a son, and you're to call him Jesus. He will be a very big wheel, and will be called the Son of God Most High. God will give him the throne of his father, your ancestor, King David, and he will be in charge of the whole show forever.'

'But how'? said Mary. 'Joe and I have done the right thing, we've never' well, you know. I mean to say, I'm still a virgin.'

The angel answered, 'Leave the mechanics up to God. This is heavenly stuff. God's Spirit will come upon you, and the Big Brain behind the Big Bang will manipulate the necessary molecules to make it happen. So this little kid of yours will be as special as it's possible to be, and he'll be called God's own Son. Look, even Libby, your old cousin, is preggers at her age! God can do these things. In fact, Libby is in her sixth month because nothing is impossible with God.'

'God's in charge,' Mary answered. 'If that's what God wants, then it's what I want to.'

Then the angel nicked off and left her alone.

Hai Mary, you has graceFrom the LOLcat Bible, a translation into lolspeak. Please note - this is not SMS textspeak. That project is underway elsewhere and is a precursor to the translation into Twitterese, where no thought or concept can occupy more than 140 characters.

Ceiling Cat sended Gabriowl, a hovr d00d, to Nazareth (dat is a citi in Galilee) to a virgn naemd Mary. She wuz engajded to a d00d naemd Joseph. Gabriowl wuz liek "O hai Mary, u iz realli nice. Ceiling Cat iz wif u." Mary wuz kiend of worrid about dat. But teh hovr d00d wuz all "Doant be afraid. Ceiling Cat iz happi wif u. U iz gonna hav a kittn. Naem him Jebus. He wil be graet. He wil be teh kittn of Ceiling Cat an his daddi will give him David's chaer. He wil r00l Jacob's house forevr."

Mary wuz liek "O rly, i iz a virgn remembr." Gabriowl wuz all "Ceiling Cat wil take caer of it. Elizabeth iz goin to hav a kittn n evribodi seded it wuz imposubl. Nothin iz imposubl for Ceiling Cat."

Mary sed "I is happi to do Ceiling Cat's work. Liek u sai." N Gabriowl lefted


I've upset the Truthers (19/9/2009)
The most recent article I wrote for the Yahoo! 7 News blog was about the idiocy of the 9/11 Truthers, those demented souls who believe everything about the destruction of the World Trade Center except the truth. I included a list of contradictory nonsenses that I have heard or seen the Truthers say (you can see the list here), and it sent them into paroxysms of denial. Apparently nobody has ever blamed the Jews but Mossad did it and Larry Silverstein and Frank Lowy did it as an insurance scam and they are Jewish and the government really did it and nobody is allowed to fly near the Pentagon so there couldn't have been a plane there so it must have been a missile and I am a Zionist. And that's just a start. I encourage everyone to go to the blog and join in the fun.


Religiosity (19/9/2009)
Have you ever wondered how closely your views and principles match up with different faiths and religions? Wonder no more, because you can take the Spiritual Belief System Selector Quiz. I did, and you can see the results below. I am trying to imagine how the Catholic and Anglican members of the family generation before mine would feel about me being as much aligned with Islam as I am with those traditions.

1. Secular Humanism (100 %)
2. Non-theist (81 %)
3. Unitarian Universalism (80 %)
4. Liberal Quakers - Religious Society of Friends (70 %)
5. Theravada Buddhism (59 %)
6. Mainline - Liberal Christian Protestants (55 %)
7. Neo-Pagan (47 %)
8. Reform Judaism (41 %)
9. New Age (37 %)
10. Taoism (34 %)
11. Orthodox Quaker - Religious Society of Friends (27 %)
12. Mahayana Buddhism (26 %)
13. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) (22 %)
14. New Thought (22 %)
15. Sikhism (22 %)
16. Jainism (17 %)
17. Scientology (17 %)
18. Bahai (16 %)
19. Christian Science Church of Christ, Scientist (16 %)
20. Mainline - Conservative Christian Protestant (11 %)
21. Eastern Orthodox (11 %)
22. Islam (11 %)
23. Orthodox Judaism (11 %)
24. Roman Catholic (11 %)
25. Hinduism (9 %)
26. Seventh Day Adventist (9 %)
27. Jehovah's Witness (2 %)


Hmmm. New Age? (19/9/2009)
I mentioned last week that the area in which I live is a hothouse of woowoo and weirdness. I walked into my local coffee shop at the weekend and picked up some business cards from the rack that this sort of place provides for local businesses to advertise their services. The first four were for a kinesiologist, a practitioner of Bowen Therapy, a gestalt therapist who also does art therapy and someone who appears from the letters after his name to do Neurolinguistic Programming plus some other acronymic woowoo. I stopped collecting cards after four. The local paper had a story about a nearby wellness clinic using something called "RBTI" to control blood glucose. Apparently all sorts of things from depression to tinea are caused by wildly fluctuating blood sugar and it can all be brought to wellness with this RBTI. This interested me because I just happen to have a condition identified by unstable blood sugar levels, but real doctors call it "diabetes" and treat it with diet, exercise and some very well tested chemicals.

There is a bright side to all this, though. You will notice from the list above that I am reasonably close to a Get your free dreamcatcherNeo-Pagan and it would only take a little massaging of my chakras to bring up my New Age score. I also mentioned last week that my town doesn't have a crystal shop, so I am sorely tempted to go native and fill this obvious gap in the Wentworth Falls streetscape. Look for opening specials at the Ratbags Relaxing Rock and Reiki Room, where the first twenty shoppers will receive a free dreamcatcher and everybody attending the opening sale will go in a draw to win a complete wellness package including ear candling, colonic irrigation, chakra attunement and a comprehensive rolphing. We ask that parents practising Elimination Communication clean up after their children. Cody The Religion Hating Dog is undergoing training so that he will promptly respond to the command "Heal".

And what is "RBTI"? It's Reams Biological Theory of Ionization and it appears to be the most powerful diagnostic tool since the invention of iridology or kinesiology. It goes one better than either of those because apparently it can be used to measure soil quality (and I don't mean the scat of Elimination Communication children, although it might work there as well). If it can improve soil productivity then it will immediately be seized and monopolised by Big Farmer of course.



See more Red Meat here

September 26, 2009

How crazy can anti-vaxxers get? (26/9/2009)
I am occasionally accused of inaccuracy when I say that some anti-vaccination liars are insane. Sometimes the critics suggest that I am unsympathetic towards people with mental illness and that using the adjective "insane" is similar to using such no longer politically correct terms as "spastic". I have had occasion to deal with inmates of high-security mental hospitals and many of the people I met inside would look at some of the things said by anti-vaccination liars and say "That person is nuts". Similarly, I have met children in kindergarten who, if presented with anti-vaccination "logic" would say "That's stupid". I came across marvellous examples of both insanity and stupidity this week.

The example of insanity was referred to me by Meryl Dorey, President of the Australian Vaccination Network. (Remember how she told us the swine flu vaccine was designed to kill most of the world's population?) In her latest newsletter she included the following:

Hidden contraceptives in the flu vaccine
According to this information, the flu vaccine can not only cause pregnant women to lose their unborn child, they can also cause sterility. A must see - please forward to others as well. This video has been taken down twice by youtube.

And here is the video that "has been taken down twice by youtube (sic)". This is the copy in my YouTube account, and nobody has tried to take it down.

Am I fair in describing the content of the video as insanity? I will let you be the judge of that. Remember, this is the sort of material which Meryl Dorey and AVN believe will convince people that vaccination is bad.


The stupid. How brightly it burns. (26/9/2009)
And now for the example of stupidity. Stupidity so dense that it could be used to replace the depleted uranium in armour-piercing anti-tank ammunition. Stupidity that burns with such an intensity that it could be used to light a medium-sized city.

We all know that vaccines contain antifreeze. Well, they must, because we are constantly being told so by people who don't like vaccines. To totally convince me, I was sent an article headed "Is there antifreeze in vaccines or not?" which contained the following priceless paragraph:

There IS ethylene glycol in vaccines. It's called 2-Phenoxyethanol, and is found in childhood vaccines Infanrix, Deptacel, Pediarix, and Ipol, amongst others. You see, the other name for 2-Phenosyethanol is ETHYLENE GLYCOL monophenyl ether

Just in case you didn't get it the first time, here it is again:

There IS ethylene glycol in vaccines. It's called 2-Phenoxyethanol, and is found in childhood vaccines Infanrix, Deptacel, Pediarix, and Ipol, amongst others. You see, the other name for 2-Phenosyethanol is ETHYLENE GLYCOL monophenyl ether

Leaving aside the thinking imprecision indicated by the name change from 2-Phenoxyethanol to 2-Phenosyethanol, let's look at some molecules.

ethylene glycol
ethylene glycol

2-phenoxyethanol
2-phenoxyethanol

The only thing I can think of is that whoever wrote this studied chemistry under the renowned Professor Boyd Haley, the man who says that the ethyl- and methyl- variants of a compound can be considered to have equivalent chemical properties (perhaps because the names rhyme); the professor of chemistry who doesn't seem to know that elements lose their elemental chemical properties when bonded in the molecule of a compound.

Alert! Alert! Do not breathe air because it contains CARBON dioxIDE, something which is obviously the same as the cancer-causing CARBON tetrachlorIDE that used to be used for drycleaning. On the plus side, it must be safe to drink methanol (methyl alcohol) because the name sounds so much like ethanol. Just don't mix it with CARBONaTEd dihydRogen monoxIDE.

The stupid. It burns.
See plognark.com for more like this.


Some light relief (26/9/2009)
How could you not love The Onion, one of the finest collections of satire on the 'net. It is so good at what it does that I regularly get referred to it as an authority by people who should know better but have not detected the joke. I am also regularly offered it by people whose inability to think or lack of general knowledge means that they accept all sorts of nonsense as fact.

I was talking to a professional comedian and comedy script writer recently and we agreed that jokes almost always rely on a contradiction or dissonance between the content of the joke and reality or they work by allusion to something that the joke receiver is expected to know. For this reason, people without general knowledge can appear humourless, although the apparent lack of a humour gene is more probably an inability to provide a context for why a joke should be funny. As an example, if I were to do a stand-up routine at the annual conference of the American Chemical Society and started off with "Did you hear the one about the professor of chemistry who thought that ethylmercury and methylmercury are almost exactly the same?" I would get a completely different reaction than if I told the same joke to a group of people who believed that ethylene glycol and 2-phenoxyethanol are the same chemical compound.

But back to The Onion. Here is a sample of the humour there, and it even refers to a medical problem. Warning: Catholics and cancer curers might be slightly offended.

Get the Flash Player to see this player.


What's he reading? (26/9/2009)
A good The Greatest Show On Earththing about birthdays is that sometimes you get presents. It can be even better when you get presents you don't expect. A group of my friends surprised me by giving me a copy of Richard Dawkins' new book, In this book Dawkins sets out to demonstrate that evolution is so much a fact that denying it has gone beyond debate about alternative explanations and reached detachment from and denial of reality. Anybody familiar with Dawkins' previous works will have no doubt that this has always been his position, but this book is different. While previous books have attempted to show that alternatives to evolution, specifically "scientific" creationism, fail as alternatives, principally because they are religion not science, this book uncompromisingly pushes the idea that the theory of evolution is so strong that it is pointless to spend any time debating it at all. Dawkins makes the specific point that this book is not about religion (The God Delusion did that) but is exclusively about science. I'm glad to see this because I have increasingly come to believe that the only The Code Bookway to counter absurdities like creationism is to treat them with contempt and not to give them a veneer of credibility by pretending that there is something there worthy of debate. They are wrong. Get over it.

The book that I finished just before I started reading Dawkins was by Simon Singh. When he is not annoying chiropractors, Singh is an excellent writer about the history of scientific activities, and this book is a fascinating history of the battle between people who want to keep secrets and those who want to find out what those secrets are. An interesting coincidence occurred while I was reading this book. The book was published in 1999 and has a section describing quantum computing and the problems that might face the secrets keepers if quantum computing ever becomes a reality. Just after I read that chapter I heard a news item about a breakthrough in building a quantum computer, and the item specifically mentioned how this would trivialise cryptanalysis if such a machine could be built. Of course the machine would be very expensive, but the organisations which want to invade everybody's privacy are just the ones with large amounts of money to spend. Tinfoil helmets on! I'm not really worried though that the technology will be here real soon to crack the encryption on the messages about the cocaine dealing and arms trading that subsidise the costs of running this site. (I don't really do those things. I just threw that in to give the spooks at Echelon something to do.)


Fixin' the flu
A thought from my friend Phillip Quin


Australasian ScienceNaked self-promotion (26/9/2009
Just to make sure that my popularity with anti-vaccination liars maintains its momentum, the October edition of the excellent magazine Australasian Science is now on the newsstands with my latest Naked Skeptic column. I recommend that you go out and buy a paper copy because there is a lot more than my contribution in the magazine, but if you can't get a copy (and if you are outside Australia that is probably the case) then you can read what I wrote here. And yes, I just had to list some of the statements which show that anti-vaccination liars aren't just liars - they don't care if what they say is true or not.


Coming next week (26/9/2009)
I've been advised from a couple of directions about an article in Reason suggesting that science is now bringing doubt on the diagnosis of Shaken Baby Syndrome. I have to do some more investigating (which is why this week's update is shorter than usual) but when I looked behind the curtain I found some familiar names from the "science" of vaccination opposition and some suggestions that places to look for good information about SBS might be Vaccine Liberation, Joe Mercola and a site singing the praises of child killer Alan Yurko. As SBS is a serious matter I want to spend some time investigating the latest "science" which refutes it before I have anything substantial to say about it.

There is another thing which will take up some of my time next weekend. The picture below is a hint.

A ticket




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