It’s rare that my readers send me something that makes me laugh out loud, but this post did. I’ll give you a bit of background first, though. Lacking the science to back up their dangerous pseudoscience, antivaccine warriors tend to resort very early to ad hominem attacks. Apparently they figure that if they can discredit the messenger who promotes the message that vaccines are safe and effective (and don’t cause autism). One of their favorite techniques to accomplish this is something for which I originally coined a phrase way back in 2005: The Pharma Shill Gambit. You see it whenever someone like Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. calls, for example, Paul Offit a “biostitute.” You see it whenever antivaccinationists claim that defenders of science are hopelessly biased because they are completely in the thrall of big pharma, carrying it to ridiculous extremes, as Jake Crosby often does. Indeed, one time three years ago, egged on by The Young Master Crosby, a bunch of antivaccinationists tried to get me fired from my job because—get this—my university had accepted a grant from Sanofi-Aventis to do research completely unrelated to what I do. However, since one of the drugs I study in my lab is manufactured by Sanofi-Aventis, naturally Jake saw a quid pro quo and an undisclosed conflict of interest. It would have been hilarious if it hadn’t briefly caused me such agita. Fortunately, my university administration immediately recognized the charges for the nonsense they were, and my dean was so supportive that she asked me if I felt physically threatened by Jake’s minions. I didn’t, but maybe I should have.
Be that as it may, this is the background that will allow you to understand why I found the comments sent to me by some of my readers so hilarious. There’s one more thing that might help explain things. Yesterday, I wrote about the Canary Party, an antivaccine political party that was recently endorsed by that Internet Crank To Rule All Internet Cranks (well most Internet Cranks, anyway), Mike Adams of NaturalNews.com. Most recently, the Canary Party released a video narrated by the latest celebrity antivaccine crank du jour, Rob Schneider, that was chock full of lies and misinformation about the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP). Consistent with the embrace of Tea Party politics by the Canary Party, Ginger Taylor somehow managed to get a post about Schneider’s video published over at The Daily Paul entitled Comic Rob Schneider Explains That Americans Have No Right to Sue for Vaccine Injury pimping that very same misinformation-laden video. That’s not the hilarious part. Ms. Taylor’s post is simply a regurgitation of the same old lies claiming that the Vaccine Court is somehow an affront to justice. No, the hilarity comes in the comments, where one reader referenced my deconstruction of the dishonest Canary Party video (but I repeat myself). Ginger was not pleased at this. Not pleased at all:
Orac is a drug developer for vaccine maker Sanofi. And he hid that for more than five years while writing about vaccines and autism. While developing a drug for them with applications for autism. Until an expose uncovered his failure to disclose his very serious conflict of interest.
So yep… absolutely… he is a compromised source. Also a cancer surgeon, not an immunologist, neurologist, or autism specialist.
No, Ms. Taylor. I am not a drug developer for Sanofi-Aventis. I don’t receive any funding from Sanofi-Aventis. I don’t exactly do drug development, either. Rather, I use an existing drug that happens to be manufactured by Sanofi-Aventis to probe the molecular mechanism of glutamate signaling in breast cancer cells and find better ways to target certain glutamate receptors. Nor do I have a “very serious conflict of interest.” While it’s true that I am not an immunologist, neurologist, or autism specialist, I do know scientific methodology. Besides, Ms. Taylor is also neither an immunologist, neurologist, nor autism specialist. She has a masters degree in clinical counseling, which is not even a degree that would make one qualified to judge basic research; yet she thinks nothing of spouting off about vaccines and autism as though she were an expert on par with Paul Offit. Compared to Ms. Taylor, quite frankly, I am an expert.
But Ms. Taylor’s little broadside wasn’t the best thing about this post. Oh, no. The best thing about this post was that another commenter by the ‘nym of Delysid quite calmly and efficiently handed her head to her with a rebuttal so scathing that Ms. Taylor apparently couldn’t allow it to stand, as the comment is no longer there. However, my readers, ever watching my back, sent me a screenshot that I transcribed:
Based on the work I have read by you, you are extremely dishonest and manipulative with your arguments. I don’t give a damn if you are a fellow Ron Paul supporting freedom fighter or an “autism mother,” you are spreading false information relentlessly and irresponsibly, and I will not be silent about it.
The only way that Orac (who I have never met) is even remotely a conflict of interest is if the fantasy that vaccines cause autism is true. This isn’t true, and it makes your accusation ridiculous.
I’ve been doing some research on digital scanners and implatns. If you made the false accusation that “digital scanners and implants cause tooth decay,” and I blogged that this is nonsense, am I suddenly at conflict of interest? HELL NO.
Science is apolitical. You are trying to politicize science and you are manipulating others using dipshit celebrities to spread your propaganda.
That one’s going to leave a mark.
Ms. Taylor did, however, apparently reply:
Do you believe that the government should be able to pass a law removing the rights of Americans for redress of grievances?
Under any circumstances?
Even in the death or massive disabling of their child?
If so, how do you exactly belong on the Daily Paul?
Poor Ginger. So arrogantly self-righteous. So clueless. It’s a highly toxic combination, even more toxic than all the fantastical “toxins” Ms. Taylor believes to be in vaccines, and as Ms. Taylor believes those toxins to be, her arrogantly sarcastic self-righteousness is deadly threat to any neuron that is exposed to it. However, she can be quite amusing, albeit unintentionally. All she did was to give Delysid another opportunity to demolish her again:
It says here that not only have people been compensated for injury by vaccines, but the average payout is $824,462.
Orac claims that you are furious that the government and every other governming body declared that vaccines do not cause autism.
I think this is a fair assesment of the situation. You are determined to prove that vaccines caused autism in your child. Is this it?
You are making one dishonest claim after another. Fortunately for you people love a liar as long as they are cheering on the things they like.
Yes, it looks to me as though Delysid has Ms. Taylor’s number. The only thing he missed is her nauseating condescension and unearned sense of self-righteousness. Truly, Ms. Taylor is the living embodiment of the Dunning-Kruger effect and the arrogance of ignorance. Really, she should quit while she’s not too far behind, but you and I both know that she won’t. At least it will be entertaining. Poor Ms. Taylor, MS.