The Millenium Project
"And I'll tell it and think it and speak it and breathe it, And reflect it from the mountain so all souls can see it"

We all know that "millennium" comes from the Latin words "mille" and "annus" and means a thousand years. The word "millenium" comes from the Latin words "mille" and "anus" and means something else. This web site is devoted to the millenium of sites which don't deserve a place on the Web. We are not putting them on a pedestal - we are offering them a stool.

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January 10, 2015


The 2014 Millenium Awards (10/1/2015)

The 2014 Millenium Awards have been announced. You can see the details here.

  • Anus Maximus Award - Mountain View Organic Dairy
  • Quote of the Year - "Nutritionist" and author Cyndi O'Meara
  • Highly Commended
    • Conspiracy - And suppressed & hidden information (Carole Hubbard)
    • RMIT University - Complementary Medicine
    • The Food Babe
  • Encouragement Awards
    • Complementary Medicines Australia
    • Homeopathy Plus! (Fran Sheffield)
    • Joint award - Westboro Baptist Church and the Eisenstein Medical Centers


The year in review (10/1/2015)

Here's a retrospective look back at things that happened around Ratbag Castle and this web site during 2014.

January
  • My friend Loretta Marron was honoured in the Australia Day awards by receiving a Medal in the Order of Australia for her work fighting medical nonsense.
  • The WHO announced that India was only a few weeks away from being declared officially free of polio. Anti-vaccination liars repeated their delusion about the disease being renamed.
  • I wrote about the lottery of ingredients in alternative "medicines" for Australasian Science.
February
  • This was a quiet month, with the major excitement being a series of drive-by attacks on the Stop the AVN Facebook page by people who wanted to inform us of things we had known about and refuted many times in the past. Residents just laughed and filled in their Anti-vaccination Bingo cards.
  • I spent some frustrating time with estate agents looking for somewhere else to live. Eventually I sublet part of Ratbag Castle so I the urgency of moving was postponed for a while.
March
April
  • Australia was officially declared free of measles by the WHO. Some people were not happy about this but they haven't said that it has been renamed to sunburn, scratched mosquito bites or contact dermatitis. Yet.
  • The Australian Vaccination-skeptics Network had its charity licence revoked. As nobody had ever received any support from this "charity" there were no beneficiaries to disappoint.
  • A vitamin manufacturer tried to buy respectability by giving a strongly-tied grant to a university. I wrote about "The Best Research Money Can Buy" for Australasian Science.
  • World Homeopathy Week happened. I am in favour of this as I think that people should be made aware of what ridiculous nonsense homeopathy is.
May
  • The NSW Health Care Complaints Commission issued a public warning about the AVN at the end of April. Meryl Dorey responded. I almost ran out of yellow markers highlighting the untruths.
  • My column for Australasian Science was about the implosion of the AVN.
  • Someone asked me to join a pyramid scheme buying and selling Bitcoins and another one selling a cure for diabetes. I declined both offers. Politely.
  • Meryl Dorey from the AVN appeared at a woofest and announced in advance that nobody would debate her. I suggested that I might come along (not for a debate, because there is nothing to debate about vaccination, but to point out her lies) and during the week leading up to the event while I was negotiating with the organisers she maintained a constant stream of lying about and defaming me in various online forums. Finally logistics beat me and I couldn't attend. I suppose I was lucky because Ms Dorey said that vaccine manufacturers buy aborted foetuses to use as ingredients and that vaccines cause Shaken Baby Syndrome. If I'd been there I would have had to burn my clothes afterwards to get rid of the filth.
June
  • June was a quiet month because I was busy writing books and getting ready to speak at a conference.
  • My Australasian Science column was about the danger of using lawyers to respond to scientific papers instead of scientists.
  • Mass hysteria broke out because this web site was off the air for a few days. It was because someone at the hosting company went home early for the weekend and didn't process a payment, not because anyone had lawyered up to object to something. In related news, perindopril reduces blood pressure.
July
August
  • Well, August was pretty useless because I had an accident and spent most of the month recovering and healing.
  • I did manage to finish another book. It's "The Bear's Progress" and is a travelogue about my trip to the US in 2004 to attend The Amazing Meeting.
September
  • September was Ubiquity Month - I was in Australasian Science talking about the dissonance I feel when people incorrectly use the expression "cognitive dissonance", I was in The Skeptic with a transcript of my July SkeptiCamp talk, and I was quoted in an article in Vogue as a science expert. Yes, Vogue. Which requires many !!!!!
  • The Complementary Healthcare Council of Australia changed their name to Complementary Medicines Australia in recognition of the fact that snake oil has little to do with health care. I asked for a media pass to their annual conference on "The Wellness Revolution" but they had run out of that sort of ticket. I must ask earlier next year.
  • The Texas Court of Appeals finally kicked out Andrew Wakefield's ridiculous attempt to sue people in the UK in a Texas court. Unfortunately, this didn't end the farce.
  • The National Vaccine Information Center behaved in a vile and despicable manner. Nobody was surprised.
October
  • A paper published in August 2014 apparently showing a connection between the MMR vaccine and autism was retracted when the journal that had published it finally recognised that the complaints and comments about the incredibly poor statistics and the cherry picking of results were in fact true, and that the paper would have been given a "Fail" grading if it had been submitted in an undergraduate course on statistics or research methodology. Anti-vaccination liars shrieked with pain and dismay. Of course.
  • In a remarkable example of ecumenicalism, people from Australian Skeptics were invited to take part in a paranormal expo. So we did. We had a stand giving away copies of our magazine, The Skeptic, and answering questions from people who were probably there because they wanted to find out more about UFOs and ghosts. It was great fun and we hope to be back there next year.
  • The senior people from Hillsong "Church" had their day in the limelight at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse and I went along to hear what they had to say. I left with enormous respect for the journalists, lawyers and Commissioners who had been hearing dreadful tales of child abuse on a daily basis for several months. And Hillsong was a long way from the worst case being investigated.
  • My October column for Australasian Science was headed "Keeping your skepticism out of court" and dealt with the current trend of crooks to respond with lawyers rather than science when challenged.  I see from my Vacuous Legal Threats page that nobody has threatened me with legal action for a couple of years. I have to lift my game because obviously I'm not offending enough people who need to be offended.
November
December
  • A child died and several others were made sick by drinking raw milk. The milk was labelled "Bath Milk" and was ostensibly a cosmetic product for people to take baths in. It was sold in containers identical to those used for pasteurised milk and stored in the same refrigerators in shops. The containers were labelled "Not for human consumption", but this was simply to protect the people who packaged it, distributed it, and sold it. As expected believers in nonsense produced the normal specious justifications for selling this dangerous product.
  • To nobody's surprise, ex-Dr Andrew Wakefield failed to lodge his appeal to the Texas Supreme Court by the extended date that he had asked for. Anti-vaccination liars are still claiming that there is an ongoing court case in which he is going to dominate people and organisations in the UK.
  • The Federal Court of Australia stomped all over HomeopathyPlus! and its owner Fran Sheffield for her suggestion that homeopathy was any sort of alternative to vaccination and could treat whooping cough. The Court will reconvene in February 2015 to set the penalties which when added to the ACCC's legal costs could mean that Fran will have to sell an awful lot of little bottles of water to pay the bill. Unfortunately, the Court wasn't able to rule on the uselessness of homeopathy as a whole, but at least it's a start.
  • Mayer Eisenstein used to be an egregious anti-vaccination liar and one of the originators of the idea of "treating" autism by administering the castration drug Lupron to children. I say "used to be" because he died, making autistic children of misinformed parents much safer.
  • December saw tours of Australia by Richard Dawkins and James Randi. I had the opportunity of interviewing Randi before he arrived in the country and you can read what he had to say here.
  • Another article appearing in the December issue of Australasian Science was my regular Naked Skeptic column. This time it was about stem cell research and how quacks are treating it like a new goldmine.
January 3, 2015

Massive liefest coming Down Under (3/1/2015)

A mysterious organisation calling itself The GanKinMan Foundation has announced that is organising a tour of Australia by well-known anti-vaccination liar "Dr" Sherri Tenpenny, winner of Quote of the Year in the 2012 Millenium Awards for her suggestion that the murder of schoolchildren in the Sandy Hook Elementary School could possibly be attributed to the vaccines which the murderer had received as a child. Tenpenny is also renowned for suggesting that SIDS and Shaken Baby Syndrome are both caused by vaccines and that the HPV vaccine is deliberately designed to kill women. For reasons that could produce several PhDs in both psychiatry and psychology, a large number of people seem to think that "Dr" Tenpenny actually has something worthwhile to say and should be allowed to roam the streets talking to people instead of being held in a secure room with padded walls.

An examination of business name records in Australia does not turn up any foundation with this particular business name, even disregarding the fact that the word "Foundation" cannot be used in a business name except in special circumstances. A bit deeper examination revealed that is a fictional invention of Stephanie Mesenger, the writer of the book Melanie's Marvellous Measles and co-author with Meryl Dorey of a book called Vaccine Roulette, one of the most comprehensive collections of anti-vaccination lies that it has ever been my displeasure to see.

On Messenger's website it says that payment for the seminars and the other products that she sells can be made by direct deposit into what is effectively a personal bank account, not the bank account of a business. One of her businesses is a registered charity which has been granted tax deductibility for donations by the Australian Taxation Office, so it is possible that she is funnelling money from a commercial venture through a corporate structure that is exempt from income tax, but I am not going to suggest that she is actually doing this because that could possibly be defamatory. I'll leave it up to friends of mine with with expertise and qualifications in both accountancy and taxation law to investigate these matters further.

The name "GanKinMan" is derived from the names of Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr, and Nelson Mandela. I have sent the following email to groups which exist to preserve the reputations and memories of these famous people.

It may have already been brought to your attention but an organisation calling itself the "GanKinMan Foundation" is using the name and reputation of XXXXXXX to promote a tour of Australia by someone (Sherri Tenpenny) who is opposed to vaccination. This opposition extends to telling outright lies about vaccines, declaring that they are not just unnecessary but dangerous. Another speaker on the tour, Isaac Golden, was recently rejected as an expert witness by the Federal Court of Australia when he tried to promote the absurdity of homeopathic "vaccination".

There is no business registration for the GanKinMan Foundation in Australia (the word "Foundation" cannot be registered as part of a business name) and the organisation appears to be the work of a single person, Stephanie Messenger, who has written a book suggesting that children be deliberately exposed to measles and coauthored another book containing some of the most egregious lies ever told about vaccines. Her involvement is well hidden, but a little detective work turned up some telling coincidences.

I urge you to take action to counteract this abuse of the reputation of a great man.

The GanKinMan web site is at http://gankinman.com. I have had a bit to say about Sherri Tenpenny at http://www.ratbags.com/rsoles/comment/tenpenny.htm

As well as the discredited Dr Golden, one of the other speakers mentioned has been Norma Erickson from the incorrectly named SaneVax (they forgot the prefix "In"), although her name seems to have disappeared completely from a revised website about the events (it's still there on the external site managing the bookings). There are two series of events, one named "Birth, Baby and Beyond Seminar" and the other called "Raising Healthy Children Naturally Seminar".

There has been an extraordinary amount of media attention given to these seminars, much of it resulting from actions of my friends in the Stop the AVN loose Facebook coalition. Everyone seems to be appearing everywhere on radio, television and in the press and so far, with one almost insignificant exception, no commentary has been sought from any of the regular anti-vaccination spokespeople. Maybe at last the media is grasping the concept of false balance. There is nothing that can be said in favour of Tenpenny's tour of lying. Moves have been made to attempt to get the Australian government to cancel Tenpenny's visa for Australia, but if she is coming here on a working rather than tourist visa there is probably little that can be done. There is a precedent for cancelling the visa of a visiting speech maker, but that was someone who is already in the country and was giving lectures which essentially suggested that rape and violence are legitimate means of seduction. While Tenpenny's views may be odious they probably aren't quite as offensive as that to the majority of people. Unfortunately.

I have asked for free media passes to the Sydney seminars. This just shows that I'm the sort of optimist who when he sees a glass half full of water says "It's not just half full, it's getting fuller and will soon overflow". I really would like to go to one of these so I'm going to have an appeal to raise the money to pay for my ticket into one of them. The price of a VIP ticket (which includes having my photograph taken with "Dr" Tenpenny!) is $100 so I'm going to ask for donations. If I don't raise the full $100 or I do and they won't sell me a ticket I'll donate the whole lot to the Children's Hospital at Westmead, and if I raise more than $100 the excess will go to the same place.

All donations gratefully accepted
Please help get me to a seminar.
I don't think free tickets will be forthcoming.


Update (6/1/2015)


True colours (3/1/2015)

Here are some anti-vaccination liars showing respect. The picture needs no comment from me, but try to remember it if anyone ever suggests that these despicable creatures have any value to humanity.

As I wouldn't want to defame anyone unnecessarily, I have sent the following Kind and Gentle messages through Facebook.


Kind and Gentle is back! (3/1/2015)

After a hiatus of a couple of years, my Proactive Kind and Gentle policy is back. You can see previous years from the links below.

Kind and Gentle email collection
2004 and 2005 | 2009 | 2010 | 2011 | 2012 | 2015



See more Wrong Hands here


Schadenfreude corner! (3/1/2015)

Dr Harold Buttram fell over and is suffering from intracranial bleeding. Dr Harold Buttram was a major supported of child murderer Alan Yurko and published a paper saying that intracranial bleeding is caused by vaccines. Anti-vaccination liars are very concerned, but not about his hypocrisy. Notice that the coauthor of his vile work now seems to think that a blow to the head can cause bleeding. Except when it's caused by vaccines, of course. Also notice that another major liar, Ingri Cassell of Vaccine Liberation, uses the expression "In the Spirit of Truth" totally unironically, ignoring the fact that she wouldn't recognise the truth if it came with a huge label and bit her on the face.

Buttram is one of the leading lights in the denial of Shaken Baby Syndrome. He thinks that murderers are heroes. Yes, "this may well be the prelude to him passing over". We can only hope that it is, making children safer.


A tasteless joke (3/1/2015)

Well, it might be considered tasteless by some, given the article above, but I remember the sympathy I got from anti-vaccination liars when I had a fall.


See more Perfect World here

December 24, 2014 - Good News Week

Homeopathy Plus! bucketed in court (24/12/2014)

On Monday, December 22nd, Justice Perry of the Federal Court of Australia handed down her decision in the matter of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission vs Homeopathy Plus! and Fran Sheffield. I was there to hear and cheer at the result, and I hope to be there on February 4th when the penalties are announced. As the Court has the power to apply penalties of more than a million dollars to corporations I imagine Fran Sheffield will be very busy selling hundreds and thousands sweets for 15 cents each over the next month to pay the fine and her legal bills. And the ACCC's costs too, of course. Here is the shortened form of the judgment.

THE COURT DECLARES THAT:

1)      The First Respondent and the Second Respondent have in trade and commerce:

  1. engaged in conduct that was misleading and deceptive or was likely to mislead and deceive, in contravention of section 18 of the Australian Consumer Law ("ACL"); and
  2.  in connection with the supply or possible supply of homeopathic treatments or products ("Homeopathic Treatments"), and in connection with the promotion of the supply of Homeopathic Treatments, made false or misleading representations that the vaccine publicly available in Australia for whooping cough ("Vaccine") is of a particular standard or quality in contravention of sections 29(1)(a) and (b) of the ACL, by publishing, or causing to be published, on the website www.homeopathyplus.com.au ("Website"):
  3.  from 1 January 2011 until around 26 April 2012, an article entitled "Whooping Cough Homeopathic Prevention and Treatment" (the "First Whooping Cough Article") in which a representation was made to the effect that the Vaccine is short-lived, unreliable and no longer effective in protecting against whooping cough;
  4.  from 11 January 2013 until around March 2013, an article entitled "Whooping Cough Homeopathic Prevention and Treatment" (the "Second Whooping Cough Article") in which a representation was made to the effect that the Vaccine may not be the best solution for, is of limited effect, and is unreliable at best, in protecting against whooping cough; and
  5.  from 3 February 2012 until around March 2013 an article entitled "Government Data Shows Whooping Cough Vaccine a Failure"  (the "Government Article") in which a representation was made to the effect that the Vaccine is largely ineffective in protecting against whooping cough; when, in fact, the Vaccine is effective in protecting a significant majority of people who are exposed to the whooping cough infection from contracting whooping cough.

2)      The First Respondent and the Second Respondent have in trade or commerce:

  1.  engaged in conduct that was misleading and deceptive or was likely to mislead and deceive, in contravention of section 18 of the ACL;
  2.  in connection with the supply or possible supply of Homeopathic Treatments, and in connection with the promotion of the supply of Homeopathic Treatments, made false or misleading representations that the Homeopathic Treatments are of a particular standard or quality in contravention of section 29(1)(a) and (b) of the ACL; and
  3.  in connection with the supply or possible supply of Homeopathic Treatments, and in connection with the promotion of the supply of Homeopathic Treatments, made false or misleading representations that Homeopathic Treatments have a use or benefit in contravention of section 29(1)(g) of the ACL, by publishing, or causing to be published, on the Website:
  4.  the First Whooping Cough Article;
  5.  the Second Whooping Cough Article; and
  6.  the Government Article in conjunction with the Second Whooping Cough Article, in which representations were made to the effect that there was a reasonable basis, in the sense of an adequate foundation, in medical science to enable it or them (as the case may be) to state that Homeopathic Treatments are a safe and effective alternative to the Vaccine for the prevention of whooping cough when, in fact:
  7.  there is no reasonable basis, in the sense of an adequate foundation, in medical science to enable the First Respondent and the Second Respondent to state that Homeopathic Treatments are safe and effective as an alternative to the Vaccine for the Prevention of Whooping Cough; and
  8.  the Vaccine is the only treatment currently approved for use and accepted by medical practitioners in Australia for the prevention of whooping cough.

THE COURT ORDERS THAT:

3)      The matter is listed for directions at 9.30 am on Wednesday 4 February 2015 in order to set a timetable for any further evidence on the question of penalties and submissions including on the injunctive and other final orders sought by the Applicant.

The full judgment is more than 100 pages long, so I'll just say that you can read it here.

Here is the ACCC's media release:

Court finds Homeopathy Plus! vaccine claims misleading

23 December 2014

The Federal Court has found that Homeopathy Plus! Pty Ltd (Homeopathy Plus!) and its director, Ms Frances Sheffield, engaged in misleading conduct and made false or misleading representations regarding the effectiveness of the whooping cough vaccine and homeopathic remedies as an alternative in breach of the Australian Consumer Law.

The Homeopathy Plus! website contained statements to the effect that the whooping cough vaccine is "unreliable at best" and "largely ineffective" in preventing whooping cough, and that homeopathic remedies are a proven safe and effective alternative for the prevention of whooping cough.

The Court found that Homeopathy Plus! and Ms Sheffield engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct and made false or misleading representations by publishing statements on the Homeopathy Plus! website to the effect that:

  • the whooping cough vaccine is short lived, unreliable and no longer effective;
  • the vaccine may not be the best solution for, of limited effect, and is unreliable at best in protecting against whooping cough; and
  • the vaccine is largely ineffective in protecting against whooping cough,

when in fact the whooping cough vaccine is effective in protecting a significant majority of people from
contracting whooping cough.

The Court also found that Homeopathy Plus! and Ms Sheffield engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct and made false and misleading representations to the effect that there was an adequate foundation in medical science for the statement that homeopathic treatments are a safe and effective alternative to the whooping cough vaccine, when in fact no such foundation exists and the vaccine is the only treatment currently approved for use and accepted by medical practitioners for the prevention of whooping cough.

"Representations that may mislead consumers about the effectiveness of medical products or treatments are of significant concern to the ACCC," ACCC Commissioner Sarah Court said.

"In this case, there was a real risk that consumers might be influenced by the representations not to use the whooping cough vaccine and instead to rely solely on homeopathic products for the prevention of whooping cough. This is against the advice of medical professionals and the Commonwealth Department of Health."

The matter returns to court on 4 February 2015 to set a timetable for further evidence on penalties and other remedies. The ACCC is seeking injunctions and pecuniary penalties, in addition to the declarations already made by the Court.

Background

Whooping cough is a highly infectious respiratory disease which is most serious in young children. The Australian Government Department of Health recommends children receive the whooping cough vaccine as part of routine childhood immunisation.

In April 2012, Homeopathy Plus! removed representations from its website at the request of the ACCC, after the ACCC had expressed concerns they were misleading. Similar claims were then reinstated in January 2013, after which the ACCC instituted proceedings against Homeopathy Plus! and Ms Sheffield.

Release number:
MR 321/14

Now let's get the ACCC going after the rest of the quackery industry.


Child abuser dies. Nobody cries. (24/12/2014)

Speaking of other aspects of the quackery industry, the good news continued the next day. One of the most disgusting charlatans around, Dr Mayer Eisenstein, had died. According to the report on one anti-vaccination liar web site "he was rushed to the ED and died peacefully in his sleep". Even in death, his followers had to lie about him, because being rushed to hospital is not compatible with peaceful dying while sleeping. The conspiracy theorists were immediately on the case, asking why a very healthy man who knew all the right supplements to take should die at any age:


(I assume the "MCG" was an autocorrect of "MUCH". The writer probably lives in Melbourne
and her Facebook client thought she meant "Melbourne Cricket Ground". As you do.)

And why would anti-vaccination liars be such fans of this creature? Because he was apparently the person who first thought of administering Lupron to autistic children. This drug is used for the chemical castration of sex offenders and this man thought that it was appropriate to give it to prepubescent children for no scientific reason, but certainly for the financial reason of stealing parents' life savings at a cost of several thousand dollars per month. I assume that, like the Geiers, he was submitting false insurance claims, because Lupron is not approved for the treatment of anything other than precocious puberty.

People often say that you should only say good things about the dead. Mayer Eisenstein is dead, and that is a good thing to say. Unfortunately his family is already talking about how to continue the business. We are supposed to feel sorry for his family but they knew full well what he was doing and they were happy to spend the money he stole from parents and insurance companies.


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Book of the Week

Cosmos Boxed Set (Collector's Edition) DVD Cosmos Boxed Set (Collector's Edition) DVD by Carl Sagan. This is possibly the best science-related television series ever made, and demonstrated to a generation that the magnificence and beauty of reality exceeded anything that the supernatural and fantasy could offer. Anyone who saw it knows that there are billions and billions of reasons for wanting to see it again.


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