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Dr. Suzanne Humphries and the International Medical Council on Vaccination: Antivaccine to the core

A couple of weeks ago, I had a bit of fun with a position statement by the International Medical Council on Vaccination (IMCV), which I called, in my own inimitable fashion, The clueless cite the ignorant to argue against vaccines. That’s exactly what it was, too, some truly clueless anti-vaccinationists arguing against vaccines and bolstering their argument with a hilariously pathetic list of signatories, among which were noted anti-vaccine activists, chiropractors, homeopaths, and other dubious practitioners totaling only between 80-90. Among those signatories was a woman named Suzanne Humphries, MD. We’ve dealt with Dr. Humphries before when she expressed anger at being called a quack and warning us pharma shills and minions that the “revolution has begun.”

Oooh. Scary.

This time around, Dr. Humphries has decided to tell us A Few Things I Know. Unfortunately for her, those “few things” she knows are precious few, and they are all wrong. But before we can deal with what Dr. Humphries thinks she knows, we first have to deal with her naked assertion of her medical credentials. In essence, Dr. Humphries begins with an argument from authority:

I am a Medical Doctor with credentials in internal medicine and nephrology (kidneys). I received a bachelor’s degree in theoretical physics in 1987 from Rutgers University. I mention the college degree in case any doubtful readers question my mental prowess. One can doubt my intellectual ability less if they first realize that I know how to figure out difficult things. I know how to look at something in depth for many hours or days until I understand the inner workings of it. This is what I learned to do in college. In fact the strenuous mind-bending exercise that was part of the physics curriculum made medical school easy. I found the study of the human body, chemistry and biology to be in comparison quite shallow, simple and easy to comprehend.

As someone who comes from a strong basic science background, having been a chemistry major (who graduated with honors–so, there!), I think I can see Dr. Humphries’ problem. First, she seems unduly proud of her science background, wielding it like a talisman against charges that she doesn’t know what she’s talking about (which she doesn’t). Unfortunately, as those of us in medicine know, what you did 25 or more years ago in college has little bearing on what you can or can’t understand now. I can also see a bit of arrogance there, too. Let’s put it this way. I took advanced physical chemistry, graduate level biochemistry, and upper level physics, but I didn’t find medical school easy at all. One reason was that medical school required a whole lot of memorization in addition to basic science. Unfortunately, having been used to learning general principles and then applying them to problems, I found the memorization required to be rather difficult. Another problem I encountered was that, unlike chemistry and biochemical assays, I had trouble dealing with the ambiguity of medicine, of synthesizing incomplete and sometimes ambiguous clinical information in the form of patient histories, physical examinations, lab values, and tests and then applying what I had learned about the science of medicine to them. “Shades of gray” would be a good term to describe it, and I was used to more black and white. It took a major change in mindset before I began to understand. That change in mindset wasn’t easy, and it didn’t take overnight. Dr. Humphries’ problem is that she sounds as though she never changed her mindset from physics to medicine–and is proud of it.

Next up, Dr. Humphries assures us that she spent two years working in a biochemistry laboratory as a head technician. I’ll go her one better, if that’s the direction she wants to go. Not only have I been a technician, but I have also been a graduate student in a translational research laborotory, a postoctoral fellow, and now a medical researcher for the last 12 years in his own laboratory. As such, I would guess that I probably know more about how research is done than Dr. Humphries. Even so, it’s also probably irrelvant, because it’s the quality of one’s arguments that should rule, and, quite frankly, Dr. Humphries has become a homeopath. To embrace homeopathy, as far as I’m concerned, means throwing away all that knowledge of physics that tells us that homeopathy is nothing more than pseudoscience based on a mixture of prescientific beliefs drawing from the principles of sympathetic magic. In any case, I find it instructive to look at Dr. Humphries’ “conversion story,” but first we have to listen to her tell us again how awesome she is and how open-minded, too:

I have spent four years teaching internal medicine and nephrology to medical students, residents and advanced fellows in training at a university hospital as an assistant professor. During that time, reading over and critiquing dozens of journal articles was a part of everyday life. Suffice it to say, my past experiences have put me in good standing to look into the problems with vaccines and make certain determinations. Like most doctors, I held a blind belief for many years, that vaccines were necessary, safe and effective. Like most doctors, I never lifted a page to seek out any other truth for myself. But unlike most doctors, I have no stake in upholding false paradigms and I am no longer indebted to the government for hundreds of thousands of dollars. Unlike most doctors, I have the means to survive with or without my medical license because I have sought out another education to support myself in case of worst case scenario.

Do you get it? Dr. Humphries is a Seeker of The Truth, man! And don’t you forget it! She don’t need no stinkin’ pharmaceutical drugs, and she don’t need no “conventional medicine,” either! She spits on Lord Draconis Zeneca‘s scaly hide. (She will come to regret that, actually. Our benevolent scaly pharma overlord will make sure of it, I’m certain.) I also love how she refers to “the truth,” as in, “The Truth? You can’t handle The Truth?” I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, science is not about the truth (or The Truth). It’s about evidence and data and what can be observed. It’s about models, explanations, and theories that explain current observations and make predictions. All “truths” in science are provisional. If the evidence doesn’t support a model anymore, scientists abandon it in favor of a model that better explains the existing evidence. But it’s all about The Truth to Dr. Humphries:

Up until 2 years ago I was content to work as a medical doctor caring for very sick people with kidney failure. Two years ago, everything changed. With several undeniable cases of kidney-associated vaccine injury in previously healthy people, I started to look deeper into the information that I had previously held as factual and not worthy of debate. I started to study vaccines, their components, and the science behind the statements of safety and effectiveness. From there an avalanche of truth collapsed upon me and I will never be the same. In fact, nothing I look at will ever be the same. Chronic degenerative diseases, kidney failure, autoimmune diseases and powers of authority will never look the same to me again. There are certain things that I can now say with no uncertainty.

An “avalanche of truth”? Wow! Is that like a “tsunami of autism”? Still, I have no doubt that Dr. Humphries will never be the same. She has, after all, become a homeopath. If she used to practice science-based medicine before she turned to woo, then, yes, her life has changed, and she will never be the same. That’s not always a good thing. In Dr. Humphrie’s case, it certainly is not. Still, I’m curious about these cases of “kidney-associated vaccine injury.” She doesn’t elaborate, and, quite frankly, I didn’t have time to watch this video last night, where she apparently makes the same claim. Oh, never mind, it’s close to the beginning of the video. Dr. Humphries states that back in the winter of 2009 she saw several cases of fulminant kidney failure in patients who had had their seasonal flu vaccine and their H1N1 vaccine. In some cases these cases were up to six weeks after vaccination.

Six weeks? Gee. With millions of people being vaccinated against H1N1, what do you think the odds are of seeing a few cases of patients in fulminant kidney failure that began sometime within the six weeks after they had been vaccinated? Pretty high, I’d guess. Probably pretty close to 100%, given the frequency of vaccination against the flu, particularly among the elderly, who are more prone to kidney failure, and the incidence of kidney failure. It’s a perfect example of confusing correlation with causation. She even goes so far as to say that she thinks “idiopathic” cases of kidney failure are really due to vaccines.

That’s because, to the anti-vaccine loon, it’s always about the vaccines. Always. Maybe later this week I’ll have a chance to go through the whole video. Or maybe not.

So, what are the “few things” (the very few things) that Dr. Humphries knows? Let’s take a look:

Vaccines did not save humanity and never will.

No one ever said they did, but they sure have reduced the rates of infectious disease and saved millions upon millions of lives.

Next up:

Vaccines have never been proven truly safe except for perhaps the parameters of immediate death or some specific adverse events within up to 4 weeks.

So let me get this straight. Vaccines have never been tested for long term complications? What about all those studies the looked for and failed to find links between vaccines and autism, asthma, sudden infant death syndrome, and many other conditions? Oh, wait. Dr. Humphries put the word “truly” in there. So she’s conceding that vaccines are safe based on the science thus far. She just thinks they aren’t “truly” safe, whatever that means. (Note also how she’s simply using a variant of the word “truth”; she’s clearly all about The Truth–big T–than she is about science.) Actually, I rather suspect the word “truly” means whatever Humphries wants to mean, the better to shift goalposts as more studies verifying the safety of vaccines roll in.

And then Humphries pulls out a “thing she knows” about smallpox:

Smallpox was not eradicated by vaccines as many doctors readily say it was. They say this out of conditioning rather than out of understanding the history or science.

This is, of course, a straw man. The eradication of smallpox was multifactorial, including improved sanitation. However, that does not mean the smallpox vaccine was not instrumental in finally eradicating the disease once (and hopefully) for all. Thanks to vaccines, we were on the verge of eradicating polio; that is, until rumors that vaccines were a plot to sterilize Muslim men took hold and depressed vaccination rates, setting back the timetable for the eradication of polio.

And a “thing she knows” about polio, too:

Polio virus was not responsible for the paralysis in the first part of the 20th century. Polio vaccine research, development, testing and distribution has committed atrocities upon primates and humanity. Bill Gates is not a humanitarian.

Funny. Tell all the people in iron lungs 60 and 70 years ago that polio wasn’t responsible.

Finally, here’s the one thing Humphries “knows” about vaccines in general:

Vaccines are dangerous and should never be injected into anyone for any reason. They are not the answer to infectious diseases. There are many more sustainable and benevolent solutions than vaccines.

But it’s not as though Dr. Humphries is anti-vacccine or anything. She’s really pro-safe vaccine, right? Oh, wait. She is antivaccine. She just said so. She just told us that vaccines are dangerous and should never be injected into anyone for any reason. If that’s not anti-vaccine, I don’t know what is.

Just like the IMCV, which is clearly anti-vaccine to the core.

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]

255 replies on “Dr. Suzanne Humphries and the International Medical Council on Vaccination: Antivaccine to the core”

Well, you certainly can’t get any clearer than that – at least she doesn’t beat around the bush, and instead truly embraces the total craziness of it.

Wow – I made the mistake of actually reading the comments over there. Those people are fraking scary!

I hope that no one ever puts her near a mirror. Judging from her ‘I am so smart’ introduction she would probably start humping her own reflection while mumbling how great she is.

She’s like a third world general – flashing lots of ‘brass and braids’ to impress the yokels, while actual competence is questionable at best.

“In fact the strenuous mind-bending exercise that was part of the physics curriculum made medical school easy. I found the study of the human body, chemistry and biology to be in comparison quite shallow, simple and easy to comprehend.”

If Dr. Humphries thinks that medicine is such an easy field, she has a frighteningly poor grasp of it and should, in fact, stop practicing medicine (or pseudo-medicine) and fall back on the alternate career possibilities she alludes to.

Polio virus was not responsible for the paralysis in the first part of the 20th century

Now I’ve got to know what she claims was the cause. I wonder what the real reason is for her turning to woo as well.

I wonder, if you went over there, Orac, and laid out your credentials to her, how likely would she be to bow to your clearly more impressive awesomeness?

And when she doesn’t, maybe she can understand why I don’t give a shit about hers.

Most of us have already had our children vaccinated. Few will want to consider the consequences to their children. For those who haven’t had children, or who are just having children, it’s difficult to weed through the propaganda to get at the truth, and they have a difficult “what if” situation to consider. It’s a scary burden for a parent.

Having said that, I personally agree with “Mark of Tolerance” who said on another thread, that he prefers to know when he’s being “pissed on,” rather than be told it’s water. LOL

I also have little patience for those that constantly deny something that they haven’t taken the time to research.

I do hope more people come by, because I think it’s an important topic. I’m especially concerned about all the new vaccines that have come out. Our public schools are considering making them mandatory, as are all the old vaccines. I’m adamantly opposed to that.

It looks like if you wait long enough you’ll get your wish.

Dr Tenpenny and I are about to publish a comprehensive document on renal patients and vaccines.

Pretty sad the woman talking about her vaccinated seven month old with Vesicoureteral reflux and some sort of immunological disorder. Whats the advice she gets? DON’T VACCINATE!

Wow, yeah. The posters there are scary. There are several instances of parents saying they are refusing to vaccinate their children because they have immune deficiencies and then there’s this gem:

What this means is that all the vaccine “success stories” are nothing more than a case of the old disease being relabelled. Polio became viral (aseptic) meningitis; small pox became severe chicken pox/monkey pox etc; diphtheria and pertussis became RSV/severe tonsillitis/croup; hepatitis became other forms of hepatitis; bacterial meningitis became other forms of bacterial meningitis etc etc. Flu wasn’t relabelled incidentally – and there has been no reduction in flu incidence since vaccinations became common.

The stupid…it buuuuuuuurns!

By her standards, homeopathy hasn’t been proven “truly safe” either. She’s set up moving goalposts such that if someone says “we tested it for five years,” the answer is “how do you know it doesn’t cause skin problems after ten?” Vaccines, in this paradigm, are guilty until proven innocent. Why doesn’t she judge homeopathic preparations by the same standard? (This is separate from the known dangers of not treating illness or injury.)

“I found the study of the human body, chemistry and biology to be in comparison quite shallow, simple and easy to comprehend.”

Which means she doesn’t have a clue.

The problem in medicine and biology is to correlate findings from all the different fields that make up “biology” to explain the function of the human or any “body”.
Physics is concerned with physics and the various sub catagories, biology needs physics, chemistry, anatomy, physiology, genetics, etc.

I was just reading the comments over there and am now very scared. I literally see no way to reason with these people.

I do wonder though, there are a lot of people complaining about the lack of vaccinated/vaccinated studies, but would they be willing to enroll their children? Given the undoubted “danger” would they allow their children to do it? And if they wont why should I let my children run the risk of getting preventable diseases?

I would ask over there but I feel I may be spotted for the imposter I am 🙂

Almost every single post over there has some easily debunked information – though the “re-naming” of diseases is of the worst. Seriously, if Smallpox was just re-named as Chicken Pox, why aren’t 25% of the people getting it dying (as did with Small Pox)?

Morons. I’m tempted to go over and post Todd’s site & see what kind of hornet’s nest that stirs up.

Dr. Humphries has demonstrated one truth: Smart people can go utterly insane, too.

With her “credentials” she seems almost uniquely qualified to write the definitive paper proving that homeopathy works. Go for it, Suzanne!

Dr. Humphries has demonstrated one truth: Smart people can go utterly insane, too.

Alternatively, Bruce, one might argue that she demonstrates that even insane people can get degrees.

There is a large element of truth if you turn her argument around.

There are doctors (too many it seems) who go to the latest biochem product to “solve” a problem. Some because that’s what the loudest of them DEMAND to get (none of this “try eating properly”, I WANT DRUGS!!!). Some because it’s the simpler route. Some because they get paid attention (including meals, entertainment and little gifts).

And vaccines are big business. Therefore there’s a tendency to sweep problems under the carpet.

Not nearly as big a business as “treatments” mind which is IMO far worse, especially as far as hiding the problem is concerned.

And this then spills over from the problem with treatments into all medical chemistry.

And lots (too many) take that reaction a long way and then embrace homeopathy. Often in a case where it works, taking the doctor’s advice would work (eat healthily, exercise, it will clear up in time, etc), but when doctors aren’t taking the time to GIVE that advice, they are doing their profession a disservice and leaving a large door open to people afraid of the unknown to run off and become a problem.

Smart people can go utterly insane, too.

Yeah, the whole “I am far more intelligent than mere mortals and I saw the flaming syringe on the road to Damascus” flavor of it struck me as pretty close to some sort of mental disease process.

Dr Humphries, responding to the gravitational pull of even larger gaseous bodies in the universe, has spilt her woo on the Gary Null Show prior to her interview by the Health Ranger ( 2/2/11). I question her capacity to judge exactly *what* an “avalanche of truth” would entail ( other than pipe dreams) if she hangs around with the likes of those two**. I believe she also may suffer from the disabling selective forgetting of most of her medical education. Again, she fits right in, as she foresees a “revolution”.( Draconis won’t like that).

** playing the same circuit as Andy- the Woo Channel: “All grandiosity, all the time”.

Somewhat of a serious question. What do you think happened to Dr. Humphries? Her credentials should tell us that she has the capacity to understand the science against homeopathy and other forms of woo. She was likely a decent enough physician to obtain an academic position in Nephrology. I can understand how someone may be taken in by woo from another field like say a physician fooled by the analogous woo particle physicists may deal with. But HOW can someone with her background and training turn to homeopathy? This is mindboggling.

I can only wonder if she has lost her mind.

Where did she go to medical school? She has to have developed some kind of mental illness–so sad. I know an anesthesiologist who became an Ayurvedic practitioner–she completely gave up the practice of medicine. What a waste.

Seriously, if Smallpox was just re-named as Chicken Pox, why aren’t 25% of the people getting it dying (as did with Small Pox)?

It would also require that anyone who did gene-sequencing or protein analysis of the viruses to be in on the conspiracy, since they’d tell you that smallpox and chickenpox have different proteins and different genes.

In fact the strenuous mind-bending exercise that was part of the physics curriculum made medical school easy. I found the study of the human body, chemistry and biology to be in comparison quite shallow, simple and easy to comprehend.

Reminded me of this. Theoretical physics is surely the worst possible training ground when it comes to dealing with complicated squishy things with opinions. I am intriuged how she made the transition to homeopathy though.

There isn’t really a meaningful distinction between theoretical and experimental in undergrad. And the area of physics matters a lot more than theoretical/experimental anyway.

Bragging on an undergraduate degree just makes REAL physicists laugh uproariously.

I believe one possible explanation of how people trained in science can move to a world view and practice of woo is because of the limitations imposed by science and reality. That is, sometimes scientifically trained doctors have to say either “I don’t know” or “there is nothing we can do to help you”. I believe some people can’t face that fact, and psychologically “need” to be in a position where they can “help” someone no matter what condition that person is in. Because “healers” have never seen a condition they can’t heal, (in one way or another, i.e. a “spiritual healing”… even if the patient dies), they are able to maintain an illusion that no matter what the state of the patient, they, as healers, are in a position to “help”. It’s truly sad and ironic, because in fact they end up doing more harm than helping. I think you could call it a psychologically imposed “blind spot”. No matter what the factual outcome, they can (have to?) rationalize it as a success, or blame it on the some previous event of toxic lifestyle or medicine, never on the fact that what they are doing is useless ineffective quackery.

If vaccination didn’t cure smallpox, but rather improved sanitation did, why then did the the last pockets of smallpox in South Asia and the Horn of Africa dry up after the contacts of the last known patients were vaccinated? Has sanitation improved that much in Somalia and Bangladesh since 1979? And how much does improved sanitation do to prevent the spread of a disease that is principally spread by the respiratory route?
The recent declaration that rinderpest, a cattle disease, has now been eliminated by vaccination was little noticed. Does the good doctor think that African cattle are benefiting from improved sanitation?

Improved sanitation helps, but you have to remove the disease vector itself to finally wipe it off the map. If there are no suceptible hosts, then the disease dies – that’s 101 level stuff.

Nice work Orac. I like that “A few things I know” can be summarised in just twenty ascii characters:

FIGJAM/vaccinesRbad!

Wow. As a biology undergad, it always amazes me when MDs can turn anti-vax. The basics of acquired immunity needed to understand how ingenious vaccines are is just so simple.

And I’m leaning the direction of “even crazy people can get degreees.” There isn’t very much in academic gatekeeping to test for conspiratorial mindsets and preponderance of emotion and bluster over evidence.

“Does the good doctor think that African cattle are benefiting from improved sanitation?”

One hoof washes the other…

I wonder about her definition of sustainable in regards to vaccines. It can’t be cost to society, as it has been shown over and over that vaccinations save cost, both in regards to money as well as in social need for care. Probably vaccines are not sustainable because so many people in the third world now survive past childhood that they conduct unsustainable assaults on their local environment. What is true, but taking away vaccines and replacing them with homeopathic remedies is a solution a Mengele might have come up with.

“studies that looked for and failed to find links between vaccines and autism…”HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
The only thing those studies “looked for” was a study design (or should I say design flaw) that wouldn’t show a fucking thing and you know it. (Madsen, Fombonne, Tozzi). Vaerstraten’s actually did show problems.

Lawrence

Improved sanitation helps, but you have to remove the disease vector itself to finally wipe it off the map. If there are no suceptible hosts, then the disease dies – that’s 101 level stuff.

So how do we eliminate acute flaccid paralysis? I’m interested.

jen:

The only thing those studies “looked for” was a study design (or should I say design flaw) that wouldn’t show a fucking thing and you know it. (

Jen, please provide the links to the critiques of those studies from qualified reviewers. Otherwise we are unable to judge what you are referring to, because to us those studies as a whole do not show a link between vaccines and autism. Thank you.

Vaccines did not save humanity and never will.

Straw man argument mad libs time!

Vaccines did not enable me to fly and never will.
Vaccines did not make me a sandwich and never will.
Vaccines did not clean the cat box and never will.

Jen, please provide the links to the critiques of those studies from qualified reviewers.

I’d settle for something even simpler: Jen explaining, in her own words, what she believes to be the flaws in the studies she mentions. So far she has simply categorically stated that they were “flawed” and left it at that. Probably she read an anti-vax web site that referred to the studies as “flawed” and just accepted that as truth without asking any questions. I doubt she has any real idea what the methods used were, much less what their limitations were and whether they were correctly applied.

@Dianne

It’s been my observation that jen usually pops up over here spewing (sometimes verbatim) whatever recent post was up at AoA. Attempts to get her to use her noggin’ generally fail, as she continues to just regurgitate whatever it was she read that appealed to her emotions. Elucidation is typically lacking.

“studies that looked for and failed to find links between vaccines and autism…”HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
The only thing those studies “looked for” was a study design (or should I say design flaw) that wouldn’t show a fucking thing and you know it. (Madsen, Fombonne, Tozzi). Vaerstraten’s actually did show problems.

I have become convinced that jen’s default position is one of high anxiety with a heaping dose of hysteria. Jen cannot respond to questions and criticisms with anything but repetition. Jen dear, the studies you keep posting about are fine and there are many more that replicate them. You refuse to offer any critique of them and refuse to offer any studies that refute them, so do you honestly think you are contributing anything to the issue?

I wish that jen’s venturing out from under the AoA cloud of ignorance would indicate she might be reachable by reason. Alas, it would seem not. Scurry out, puke a little on the floor, scurry back to the safe and stupid.

Vaccines did not brew me a delicious hefeweizen and never will.
Vaccines did not fake the moon landing and never will.
Vaccines did not play the blues and never will.
Vaccines did not make jen provide sufficient studies and never will.

“studies that looked for and failed to find links between vaccines and autism…”HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA The only thing those studies “looked for” was a study design (or should I say design flaw) that wouldn’t show a fucking thing and you know it. (Madsen, Fombonne, Tozzi). Vaerstraten’s actually did show problems.

I half suspect that jen’s reasoning behind this is for us to say “yes, it’s obvious there are problems” rather that admitting ignorance and asking what those problems were. This might work of AoA, where social pressures are much stronger, but here, it just makes her look arrogant.

Follow-up to my last post: Jen, what are the design flaws you’re talking about?

If you check out one of her other articles “Are Vaccines a Gift From God?”, and you are good at suppressing your gag reflex, you will see that she refers to ‘the fable of the germ theory’. I really wonder how she can continue to practice medicine in any way.

This lady is popping up on parenting sites. Here she is championed as a “researched doctor on vaccines.” *sigh*

Read: “She has an MD after her name and is saying what I want to hear.”

Sigh Enkidu, she is being heralded all over the mummy forums and they are too daft to recognise someone gone mental.

Oh and countdown to when her persecution/deity complex kicks in and she responds to this on her own blog about how “threatened the medical establishment (aka da MAN) is by her”

She also actively censors her comments section – I’ve attempted multiple posts & have had every single one deleted.

On a side note, anyone not able to get to LB/RB? I only get a “you are banned” notice there, and I don’t think I was since I’ve commented there a grand total of once, a year ago.

There isn’t really a meaningful distinction between theoretical and experimental in undergrad.

I wouldn’t go this far. My own degree, from the U. of Chicago, had very little by way of a meaningful lab component. That said, I’ve never heard of an undergraduate degree in “theoretical physics,” and Rutgers certainly doesn’t offer one now. I’m calling puffery.

I see that someone has checked out of reality. Bon voyage, Dr. Humphries. I hear the land of (Dr.) Oz is filled with wild unicorns and rainbows and (f*cking) magnets (how do they work?).

On a side note, anyone not able to get to LB/RB? I only get a “you are banned” notice there, and I don’t think I was since I’ve commented there a grand total of once, a year ago.

To move to the side of your side note, I tried registering to comment on SBM yesterday and never got my email password. I will check my spam filter when it comes today, but don’t know why that should have happened.

Orac: “… quite frankly, Dr. Humphries has become a homeopath.”

Is that how we’re spelling ‘pillock’ these days?

@dedicated lurker: I was able to get to LB/RB with no problem (Firefox on a mac). But it is an hour later since you posted. Maybe a temp problem that has been fixed?

@dedicated lurker & others who can’t get to LB/RB — I think they’ve installed a new perhaps too enthusiastic anti-spam widget.

I’ve alerted the relevant folk.

The eradication of smallpox was multifactorial, including improved sanitation. However, that does not mean the smallpox vaccine was not instrumental in finally eradicating the disease once (and hopefully) for all.

Orac, I wish you had phrased that more strongly. I like improved sanitation as much as the next guy, but it is not the central issue here. Smallpox had been around for over 3000 years, in times and places with good sanitation and bad, when the WHO started the eradication campaign in 1967. Ten years later, smallpox had shuffled off this mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleedin’ choir invisible. It was an ex-disease.

This was not the result of improved sanitation.

Smallpox was eradicated through a program of mass vaccination in the four areas (Brazil, Indonesia, Central to Southern Asia and Eastern to Sub-Saharan Africa) where it was still endemic, followed by surveillance and ring vaccination to isolate and eradicate outbreaks. The timing and location of smallpox cases in the 1960s and 1970s make one thing absolutely indisputable: it was the vaccination. The canard that smallpox was really eliminated as sanitation improved has been promoted by nutcases like Suzanne Humphries and Bill Maher as a response to the very reasonable position that vaccination has saved, and continues to save, millions of lives. The “sanitation” response is a pile of steaming crap that needs to be hosed off the street of discourse and treated in a state-of-the-art waste management facility until it stops being dangerous.

Vaccines never gave me an orgasm, and never will.

Like most doctors, I held a blind belief for many years, that vaccines were necessary, safe and effective.

Most doctors? I want a cite on that one.

(It does look like she has a weak spot for blind beliefs, though.)

Todd W.

Wonder if we’ll also see the call for a live debate. That and censorship are the refuges of the deluded and cranky.

So if someone calls for a live debate then are they, therefore, deluded and cranky? Is that the unsaid poison fallacy you’re alluding to?

In a live debate we get to see what type of characters we’re dealing with.

Written communication and oral communication are definitely two different skill sets.

You couldn’t keep saying idiot, clueless, and ignorant and win a live debate. It would be a tough setting for a scienceblogger to win. Therefore you are justified in poo pooing live debates.

You couldn’t keep saying idiot, clueless, and ignorant and win a live debate. It would be a tough setting for a scienceblogger to win. Therefore you are justified in poo pooing live debates.

Live debates are favorable to the cranks because it allows them the opportunity to throw out a laundry list of studies that, so they claim, support their position, also known as the Gish Gallop. The studies they throw out may be of piss poor quality or not even support their position, but in a live debate, there’s no way for the listener (and sometimes even the other party) to validate that what they say has any value or relevance whatsoever. That’s why cranks love live debates.

To summarize what Todd says:

Cranks love live debates because it lets them spew as many lies as they can get out in X minutes. Their opponent never has near enough time to refute all the lies, and if they spend all their time doing it, they come off as being totally defensive and having nothing to contribute on their own. Pulling a Joe Pesci statement of, “Everything that guy just said is bullshit,” while true, is not an effective debating tool. Unfortunately, for these cases, it is pretty much all the only response that is warranted.

Gish gallops are not the reason a scienceblogger type is unfavored in a live debate. I think most audiences would find a laundry list of studies to be very boring. You could always point and scream “Gish gallop! Gish gallop!” But that wouldn’t help you very much, either. It would only serve to make you look like a fool. Likewise you couldn’t box up every argument with a label and scream “logical fallacy. You’re debunked.”

It’s amusing that you think live debates would harm the pro mass vaccinators disease eradication cause. But I think you’re right.

the fable of the germ theory

Since she also claims that vaccines damage/weaken the immune system, I have to wonder what she means by that.

Gish gallops are not the reason a scienceblogger type is unfavored in a live debate. I think most audiences would find a laundry list of studies to be very boring. You could always point and scream “Gish gallop! Gish gallop!” But that wouldn’t help you very much, either. It would only serve to make you look like a fool. Likewise you couldn’t box up every argument with a label and scream “logical fallacy. You’re debunked.”

So what you’re saying is that you would prefer a venue where dishonest techniques are more valued than physical evidence.

dedicated lurker–

that message comes up from a program that is supposed to block IP addresses of spam bots. I’m going through that right now and making sure that the IP addresses it uses are only those actively used by spammer.

Wait a minute. Dr. Humphries has an undergraduate degree in PHYSICS and she believes in homeopathy? Has she entirely forgotten everything she learned in physics? Little details like thermodynamics and quantum mechanics have completely escaped her by now? Perhaps she never actually learned anything in either her undergraduate classes or her medical school classes: just memorized the formulas and facts well enough to pass the tests without ever actually retaining any information, much less ability to critically evaluate the subject.

She also actively censors her comments section – I’ve attempted multiple posts & have had every single one deleted.

Pathetically, she also edits the comments. At 2:06 CDT, I posted the following in reply to “punter” on the relabeling of disease:

Polio became viral (aseptic) meningitis

“Ah, the Greenberg gambit. Difficult-to-track-down sources are always the best. BTW, where are all the cases of paralytic disease?”

The last sentence is approximate, as its silent deletion has forced me to work from memory.

CST, sorry. I must be suffering from spring fever, which is no doubt relabeled rabies or something.

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