Home > History > Front page updates May 2011
Policies and stuff (7/5/2011)
When I display cartoons and jokes here, I always acknowledge the creators and provide links back to their sites if possible. I publish all my stuff here under a Creative Commons copyright licence and I don't make any money from the site, so I take the attitude that I am providing free advertising for the cartoonists. I've never had any problem with this, and in fact I received an email during the week from a cartoonist thanking me for displaying one of his pictures and directing people back to his site. Of course, if anyone ever objects I will immediately remove all their comics and delete all links. I don't want to be giving free publicity to people who don't want it.
During the week I found a cartoon about atheism that I would have liked to use. It was unattributed on the site where I found it, but I was able to identify the creator. When I went to the cartoonist's web site I found a pricing policy, and it seems that if I wanted to display it here I would have to pay money and even then I could only display the picture for a certain time before deleting it. The cost to me, having a non-profit personal hobby site, was less than I would have had to pay as a teacher to show it once to my class or a blogger who could display it for a week, but it was more than zero so I moved on. Sorry, cartoonist-with-initials-CM, but none of the several thousand people who might have seen your cartoon here and then gone to your site will ever hear about you from me. And the cartoon wasn't that funny anyway.
This weekend (7/5/2011)
This is the last weekend when I have to work on assignments for the training course I have been doing. All I have to do now is finalise the last assignment, which is a whopper synthesis of all the work done in class and in assignments over the entire six-week course. I had to submit a progress draft during the week and everything is on track, but there's still a lot of work and worrying to do. There is an absolute deadline for submission on Tuesday, and as far as I can gather only hospitalisation with associated coma will be considered as an excuse for late submission and even then it might not be accepted. The rest of the week is taken up with oral dissertations to demonstrate that we have actually learned what we are supposed to have learned, and on Friday I get a new piece of paper to hang on my wall and a new line in my CV. Then I will be free!
Also, it is Mothers' Day this weekend and I am accordingly required to pay special attention to the mother of my daughters and the mother of my grandson. I can make breakfast in bed and buy lunches so I should be able to get through the day, but there won't be much time left over for non-mother-related activities.
To make the weekend just a little more tense, Cody The Religion Hating Dog is recovering from his attempt to bite a car. We assume it had a Jesus fish on it, but he came off second-best. He has some cuts and bruises and can't get around as well as he would like but the vet tells us that nothing is broken and a full recovery is expected. Meanwhile he has to be fussed over, patted, carried about and given constant sympathy. Much as I do when I'm sick.
Goodbye Geier. Maybe. (7/5/2011)
One of the experts beloved of the anti-vaccination liars is Mark Geier. He is cited everywhere as if he knows what he is talking about and treated with the reverence usually only bestowed on contemptible charlatans and crooks like Andrew Wakefield and Boyd Haley. Now he can be expected to take a rise in his position in the pantheon because he has been struck off as a doctor. His sin against Big Pharma was to run an autism cure service where he injected children with a drug usually reserved for the chemical castration of rapists and other sex offenders.
ORDER FOR SUMMARY SUSPENSION OF LICENSE TO PRACTICE MEDICINE
The Maryland State Board of Physicians (the "Board") hereby SUMMARILY SUSPENDS the license of Mark R. Geier, M.D., (the "Respondent") (D.O.B. 05/03/1948), license number 024250, to practice medicine in the State of Maryland. The Board takes such action pursuant to its authority under Md. State Govt Code Ann. § 10-226(c)(2009 Repl. Vol.) concluding that the public health, safety or welfare imperatively requires emergency action.
The drug Lupron costs about $5,000-$6,000 a month when prescribed for the only condition for which it is approved for use on children - precocious puberty. Geier was using it to "treat" autism, so I will let you guess what he was putting on the insurance claim forms.
So let's look at a list of some the things that Mark Geier did which caused the authorities to finally decide that the public had to be protected from him:
But why go on? You can read the Board's report here.
One thing is certain. This will cause no reduction in Mark Geier's status in the anti-vaccination liar community. Like Andrew Wakefield, Geier will be touted as a martyr and a victim of Big Pharma persecution. This will come as no surprise to anyone who realises that truth, honesty and facts do not matter to these people. Any lie or any dishonest action is justified if it leads to a reduction in the rate of vaccination. That some children might have to be sacrificed on the way is a nuisance, but the end justifies the means. And if you think I'm exaggerating when I talk about sacrifice, remember that a few years ago when a child was killed by chelation (and that case involved insurance fraud too) someone described the dead boy as a "true soldier in the struggle". Go ahead, vomit. I did.
That old free speech thing (7/5/2011)
Over the last couple of weeks Meryl Dorey, once president of the Australian Vaccination Network, has been waging a campaign to remove criticism of her anti-vaccination activities from Facebook. Her method took the form of filing copyright infringement notices against anyone who displayed screenshots of her comments. She apparently did this as she saw criticism as an attempt to stifle her freedom of speech. Irony is always lost on fundamentalists, so she didn't see that her success at having people's Facebook accounts closed is an example of hypocrisy if you are claiming to support free speech. And speaking of hypocrisy, one of the items she complained about was a reproduction of her own theft of copyright material from a newspaper. She also seems to have forgotten that she was forced to withdraw some AVN publications because they contained material written by others and permission to reproduce had not been obtained. It seems that free speech only works one way for her.
It is well known that anti-vaccination liars hold the belief that there is no such thing as Shaken Baby Syndrome, as all those broken ribs and brain haemorrhages are caused by vaccines. In a blog article whining about how critics were terrifying her and her acolytes and boasting about her success in silencing them she paid special attention to the son of one of the doctors who first identified SBS. I posted the following comment on the blog.
In the past, when I hit "Submit Comment" I got a message saying that the comment was awaiting moderation. My comments never got through moderation, of course, because that would require Ms Dorey to pay lip service to her pretend commitment to free speech and dialogue. Now my comments are simply rejected automatically. Still, I had to ask:
7,000 years ago today.
This might be the last one (21/5/2011)
I had a weekend off to recover from all the studying I have been doing, and also to prepare for May 21, which is predicted to be the date of The Rapture, when all good souls get taken to Heaven, leaving all the sinners and soulless behind to compete with zombies for food (or to avoid becoming zombie food). This could mean that this might be the very last Millenium Project update of them all. I don't expect to be raptured, being an atheist and all, but things will get very busy when all the dead people from the past come back to crowd the Earth.
I've discussed the research behind the end-of-the-world prediction at Yahoo!7 News, and you can read it here. As usual, some of the early comments suggest that the subtlety of my writing is too much for some readers.
And for those of you who have been asking about the training course that I've been doing over the last few weeks which has distracted me from important matters like this site, you can see the result at the right. I really do hope that I didn't waste my time because the world is going to end.
And if the rapture don't get you ... (21/5/2011)
Don't think you're safe just because you are an unbeliever. Even if some god doesn't call you home, you are facing destruction from the forces of evil right hear on Earth. This must be true, because I read it on the Internet and they wouldn't let it be there if it wasn't true. The Biggest Threat For Humanity has been identified, and I must admit it has me quaking in my shoes.
Quaking with laughter, that is. Seriously, this has to be one of the most unhinged web sites I've seen for a long time, and the truly bizarre and worrying thing is that there are people who actually believe this stuff. I'm not going to try to analyse the site and address all the insanity because there simply isn't time between now and the heat death of the sun. Click on the picture to read it for yourself, but keep some tissues handy to wipe the tears of joy from your eyes and make sure you can easily reach your asthma medication in case you laugh too much and become breathless. I take no responsibility for people who die laughing at this stuff. You have been warned. And it's called "Next Armageddon". When was the last one?
Let's look at the truth (21/5/2011)
Or maybe look at untruth instead. Last December my friend Ken McLeod published Part 1 of a collection of documented untruths uttered by the erstwhile President of the Australian Vaccination Network, Meryl Dorey. (Nobody seems to know who the current President is, but I digress ...) Ken has been busy since then keeping watch over the AVN and its activities and has found the time to produce Part 2 of the opus.
Just to remind you of the sort of things that Ms Dorey says which might lack a certain amount of accuracy, you can go here to see a statement from the New South Wales Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing. Ms Dorey claimed in a legal declaration that publishing this was a breach of her copyright and tried to have it removed from various web sites such as Scribd, but how she manages to own something produced by someone else is something only she seems to know.
He's been busy (21/5/2011)
Just in case you run out of things to do or you want to fill in the time while you wait to be raptured into Heaven, there's always the Skeptic Zone podcast to listen to. It's put together by my friend Richard Saunders and usually features a few people that I know. A recent episode concentrated on Skepticamp and there's even interviews with me and my daughter in it. You can listen to it here.
Schadenfreude! What a lovely feeling it is. (21/5/2011)
I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that autism-doctor-to-the-quacks Mark Geier had had his medical licence taken away because he had been acting in a manner not acceptable for members of the medical profession. Out here, beyond the walls of the anti-vaccination liar virtual asylum, we wondered what took the authorities so long to shut down a quack who was giving castration medicine to children. This week there were two pieces of good news about his son, David Geier, who ably assisted his father in the deception of and theft from parents and insurance companies. Here are two headlines from the Baltimore Sun. Click. Laugh. Enjoy.
Will this finally stop anti-vaccination liars from lionising the Geiers and citing them at every opportunity? Of course not. Remember, in the alternative universe inhabited by believers in alternative medicine nothing that is believed to be true can ever be replaced by other facts or beliefs. Any challenge is just Big Pharma trying to maintain its profits and hegemony.
Speaking of quacks ... (21/5/2011)
I was having a nice conversation in an alternative medicine forum when someone mentioned that a quack named Jesus Caquias had lost his medical licence. Defenders of quackery immediately sprang to his defence and said that anybody making such a claim was lying. They were referred to the Texas Medical Board.
The immediate response was to refuse to go to the TMB web site and look this information up, as it was obvious that the pharma shills were lying and he really did have a licence. It continually puzzles me that people can continue to believe things in the face of contrary evidence, but as that is the whole basis for the acceptance of alternative medicine I shouldn't really be surprised.
The next claim was that you could actually read what the board had to say when they yanked his licence. The response to that was to say pharma shills were lying again and that no action had been taken against him. When shown the link to the board's report they refused again to read it and simply repeated that anyone saying that Dr Caquias was in any trouble was lying.
As the tradition in alternut world is to disparage real doctors at every opportunity, you might wonder why this one has suddenly become a hero. A brief look at the board report will show why. He was "treating" children for autism using untested, unsafe methods. He had previously been disciplined for not keeping adequate records and for false advertising. He perfectly fits the mould of the sort of doctor who forgets everything he learned in medical school and sets out to make as much money as possible and therefore is attracted to quackery and nonsense. Like the Geiers, like Wakefield, like the disgusting doctors who ran to the defence of child killer Alan Yurko, he has no principles, no ethics and no visible concern for anything except money. Like I said, he is a perfect candidate for alternative medicine sainthood.
And now for something completely serious ... (21/5/2011)
Cody The Religion Hating Dog has been feeling a little out of sorts since he had his battle with a neighbour's car, and my bank account has been feeling the pain as well because veterinary services are not cheap. He is progressing well but every little bit helps so I went looking for some alternative treatment modalities for sick animals and found a wonderful book about using reflexology to treat cats. Now I know Cody TRHD isn't a cat and reflexology is probably not what he needs right now, having sore feet and legs, but I do have two cats and they are quite likely to have to finance some BMW lease payments for the vet in the future, so the book looks like an excellent investment.
For those who don't know, reflexology involves pressing on points on the feet which map to bodily organs, and by prodding the right spots the reflexologist can fix whatever ails the patient. You might think this is silly, but it makes perfect sense to some people. Of course cat feet don't look like human feet and there are twice as many of them, so cat reflexology is not something that you undertake lightly. It's great that this book is available, and it also describes face and ear reflexology (methods unknown to reflexologists who limit themselves to human patients). To make things even better, "The book also has chapters on acupressure and moxibustion, Bach flower remedies, craniosacral therapy, holistic pulsing and Reiki". Could it get any better as a complete cat medical manual?
I haven't given up on getting some alternative treatment for Cody, so I guess I will just have to get out my acupuncture dog model, the instructions and some needles and get pricking.
Rapture update (28/5/2011)
It seems we are all still here and didn't get taken to Heaven last Saturday. There are two possible reasons for this: either I don't know any Christians so I would not have noticed or there was no rapture and nobody was taken to Heaven. I suspect the latter, because Harold Camping, the man most responsible for the scare, has now recalculated and said that the rapture will really take place on October 21. I am prepared to bet money that October 21 will pass without incident.
You might think that predicting the end of the world is relatively harmless fun. Tell that to the people who spent their life savings on advertisements to warn others. Tell that to the people who sold their houses because they would not be needing them afterwards. Tell that to the people who considered, and even attempted, suicide because they could see no future. Tell that to the people who were planning to kill their pets because there would be nobody trustworthy enough to look after them after their owners had ascended. Tell that to the people who gave Harold Camping $18 million dollars in the last year that he revealed his accounts.
I've written a couple of articles about the rapture and other end-times predictions.
My article for Yahoo!7 was published on the day before the rapture was going to happen and attracted a lot of attention. (It had so many visitors that Yahoo!7 emailed me to express their appreciation and congratulations.) Many of those people posted comments, and what is somewhat surprising is how few of the commenters seemed to have actually read what I wrote. As an example, I referred in the fourth paragraph to Jesus' words in Matthew 24:36 about how nobody could know when he would return but many posters felt the need to remind me. The arithmetic that has adding 7000 years to 4990BC to get 2011 caused much distress as well, but without a year zero that is how it works. You can see the article here.
For a slightly more serious (and I hope more literate) audience I wrote my Naked Skeptic column for Australasian Science magazine. If your subscription copy has been lost in the post you should be able to get a copy at your local newsagent, and if you live outside Australia or like convenience you can subscribe at the magazine's web site. You can read the article here.
How's your reputation? (28/5/2011)
There's a web site named Web of Truth that allows visitors to review web sites. These reviews can be processed by a browser add-on which can block web sites that are dangerous or not recommended. I offer ratings for two web sites without further comment.
Some issues for Australians (28/5/2011)
There are a few issues relating to religion that Australians might like to know about. One is a campaign to reduce the funding of chaplains in public schools and the other is to mark "No religion" when the census comes around in August. Click on the pictures below for more information.
I can haz email (28/5/2011)
I received this rather confusing email. Some of the confusion stems from the subject line, as the writer seems to be responding to someone else who was writing about something else. The use of Comic Sans, the world's most ridiculed typeface, just adds to the confusion. I have added ONE.org to the lists for Health and Vaccination in The Green Light.
Date: Wed, 25 May 2011 11:14:43 -0400
Subject: Re: Tweet @ President Obama
From: Philena Rush
I just wanted you to know that I'm personally unsubscribed from ONE.org over this vaccine non-sense. Since I'm one of those "misguided" parents who's daughter became autistic 24hrs after the MMR shot, I wish an organization like ONE.org would fight the right battles when it comes to vaccines.
Thank you for informing me about ONE.org. I hadn't been aware of them and the excellent job they do in raising awareness of problems in the world. I am particularly pleased that they are campaigning strongly for better vaccination to fight childhood diseases and HIV/AIDS. They fight the real battles.
You aren't misguided because you have an autistic child. You are misguided if you think that the MMR vaccine had anything to do with the autism.
First of all, the science of vaccines is outdated. Personalized medicine is the key to creating effective vaccines. But when microbiologist try to file patents for creating a vaccine based on an individual's DNA, they get hidden, or mysteriously commit suicide... Right...
Wrong. If you are going to make statements like this then names, places and dates are required. Don't believe everything you read on anti-vaccination liar web sites. Better still, don't believe anything you read there.
Anyway, for the past 50 years, the science of vaccines only focused on the mass distribution of vaccines and all the chemicals added to vaccines.. The FDA disapproves personal vaccines because vaccines require a double-blinded study. Now, how in the world can you test a vaccine on someone else, when it's based upon your DNA?
You can't, but as vaccines based on individual DNA aren't ever going to be made there is no reason to do any tests.
And since Dr. Wakefield continues to be discredited, he is a Gastroenterologist not a Pediatrician.
His speciality has nothing to do with why he was discredited. He was discredited because he lied, took money, abused children and behaved unethically.
This explains why not only did my daughter lose eye-contact and speech, but she stopped eating as well, and I had to revert back to blander baby food, but before the shots she was eating Stage 3 foods and finger foods. But for some reason people think it's all in our heads??
You might like to explain what ex-Dr Wakefield's medical speciality had to do with your child.
Nobody has ever said "it's all in your heads". What has been said is that MMR does not cause autism, but autism is usually detected at about the age that the child receives the vaccine. It's called coincidence.
There are too many chemicals added to vaccines.. The vaccine issue is misguided by many parents who are anti-vaccine.. I'm NOT anti-vaccine, because the vaccine's themselves are not the cause of the rise of autism, but it's everything else they put in the damn vaccines for mass distribution.
And what additives in the MMR vaccine could be causing autism? Please do not mention thimerosal, because it has never been there. Please do not mention squalene, because we make that in our bodies and it is essential for life. Please do not mention aborted foetuses, because that is a lie. Please do not mention antifreeze, because that is another lie.
Would someone plz, look into exposes these issues? It's 2011 and we are still using 1950 science?
Actually, it is 2011 and we are using 2011 science. Remember what I said above about believing anti-vaccination liar web sites?
This needs to be stopped. Personalized medicine would ruin the pharmaceutical industry. Follow the money!!
Did you follow ex-Dr Wakefield's money? You know, the £500,000 he was paid to find what the lawyers wanted him to find, or the money he would have received from his measles vaccine patent if he had managed to get MMR off the market. That sort of money
Canaries. They are yellow and not smart (28/5/2011)
A new political party has been proposed for the USA. It is the Canary Party and wants to campaign on the platform of denying good health to citizens. No, not opposing a universal health care plan like the Teabaggers do, but all good health for all people. They have a particular hatred for children, as they are opposed to vaccines. And who are the people behind it, you might ask. Well, here is what they say:
You have probably never heard of any of us.
We are a group of citizens who are disturbed by the increasingly failing health of those in our society. Among us are those who have been injured by the medical industry, those with children or loved ones who have been harmed and killed by the medical industry, medical professionals who are upset with what is happening in their field and those who endeavor to preserve human health in spite of increasingly corrupt and failing medical establishment.
It's a bit hard to know whether we have ever heard of any of them, because the decline to tell us who they are. This is obviously why they have chosen yellow, the colour of cowardice, as the background colour for their web site. I am not surprised at this cowardice, as you only have to read the words above to see that they have paranoia as one of their mental illnesses.
As well as being yellow, they share another cultural meme with canaries. Just think of what it means to say that someone is "bird-brained", and then you will get it. A bunch of yellow bird-brains. I couldn't have put it better myself.