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Desperately seeking skepticism

This has been an annoying week on the old blog. In fact, I can’t remember the last time we had an infestation of antivaccinationists this persistent and prolonged in a while. Heck, even one of the “big kahunas” of that blogospheric repository of all things antivaccine, Age of Autism (Dan Olmsted) showed up in the comments to spew non sequiturs about the Hewitson “vaccinated versus unvaccinated” monkey study (I’m devastated he apparently read my discussion of that very study) and misleading claims about measles. I guess that’s what mentioning Dr. Offit with anything other than a sneer does; it drives antivaccine activists into a frenzy of hatred.

In any case, this is just my usual long-winded and roundabout way of informing you that I could really, really use a strong dose of skepticism and critical thinking given the hundreds of comments full of pseudoscience, misinformation, and paranoid conspiracy-mongering that I’ve had to put up with lately. I bet you could, too, at least the vast majority of my readers who also prize science, skepticism, and critical thinking, given that you have valiantly and tirelessly done battle with the forces of antiscience right here on this very blog in the comments. (Those who don’t value science and skepticism, keep reading. Maybe one day what I’m laying down on a more-or-less daily basis, reinforced by the efforts of some prolific commenters, will finally start to sink in.)

That’s why it’s a wonderful thing that the 94th Meeting of the Skeptics’ Circle is scheduled to appear less than four days from now on August 28 at Reduce to Common Sense. The general guidelines for what we’re looking for are here, while submission instructions specific to this week are here. Finally, if you really want to contribute to science and skepticism and have a blog, why not consider hosting a Skeptics’ Circle of your very own. The schedule is here, and the guidelines for hosts are here. It’s a lot of fun, not to mention a good way to boost your traffic and potentially expose your blogging talents to a wider audience.

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

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