Ya burnt! 12-year-old Marco Arturo responds to attacks by antivaccine bloggers

Last week, I noted with great approval how a 12-year-old boy named Marco Arturo made a pro-vaccine video that was short, simple, and effective. Even better, it was as Insolent as anything Orac could expect to manage, making it that much more delicious. Indeed, I can’t resist including it again for those of you who haven’t seen it yet:

This video went viral, and, not surprisingly, antivaccine activists, particularly one antivaccine blogger, were not pleased. Oh, no. Not pleased at all. In response to Arturo’s video, he received a fair amount of abuse online. One blogger in particular, the pseudonymous Levi Quackenboss, wrote five posts about Arturo, the last couple of which consisted conspiracy mongering worthy of any 9/11 Truther or moon hoaxer. Throughout her posts, she insinuated or outright said that Arturo insulted autistic children, that he was a puppet of his parents and the Mexican government, that the media outlet whose posting of his video had been in cahoots with him to make the video go viral, and other nonsensical claims. Through it all, Marco Arturo never directly responded to Quackenboss.

Until last night, that is, when he responded on Facebook:

It is an epic burn that Quackenboss richly deserves, a burn so lengthy that it could have been written by me, someone who is known for his tendency towards logorrhea, so detailed and sarcastic is it. For example, Arturo takes particular glee in refuting one claim by Quackenboss, namely that he didn’t make the video and isn’t responsible for his Facebook page and other writings:

Then there was the second blog, where things started to get a little funny. The second blog actually made me feel awesome, it really made my day and I’m not being sarcastic. I mean it, even though it’s actually about a conspiracy theory she made about me.

The blog was called “To every sucker who thinks a 12-year old is lecturing on immunology”

First off, it’s “12-year-old”.

Now, here comes the awesome blog.

She starts off this time by saying that my parents are actually behind the keyboard (even though they don’t speak English) while they pretend to be their son, “cat fishing every idiot who wants to believe he’s a boy genius”.
See, reason why I love this, is because I myself know that nobody else is behind the keyboard but me, and she’s basically saying that I’m “too smart to be real”, which feels great, especially coming from a hater.

As well Arturo should. Basically, Quackenboss’ argument was a combination of the logical fallacies of an appeal to incredulity (hey, just because you can’t believe it doesn’t mean it’s not true) and an ad hominem (Arturo’s just a boy, and he’s being coached or manipulated by his parents; so you shouldn’t believe him). Not that I’m in the least bit suspicious that Quackenboss has a point, particularly given this ultra-slick burn Arturo lays down on Quackenboss:

What I have to say about this, Levi, is that the fact that when you were twelve you were riding a bike and catching crawdads, while I was already publishing books on astronomy and evolutionary biology and winning debates against adults regarding immunology while speaking in a second language, does not make me a fake. It just doesn’t. It just makes me passionate for science and rational thinking.

Oh, yeah. As Seth Meyers would say, “Ya burnt!” possibly with a double bonus burn.

But Marco’s just getting started. Remember how I mentioned that Quackenboss made some very racist assumptions in her attacks on him and his family:

Okay, this is where it starts getting a little weird. She said that I live in a rich family because I have a TV, a computer and a smartphone? This is actually a very, very ignorant comment. You’re probably one of those people who live in the delusion that Mexico is a hot desert where everyone is poor. Turns out, that’s a terribly ignorant statement, just like every other statement you make. Holy Darwin, I don’t know where to start. When people thought I was European, nobody commented anything about the fact that I have a TV, but now that people know that I’m Mexican, everyone seems to start to think I’m rich as you believe that all Mexicans are poor. That’s kind of racist, to be honest. Think about it, claiming that it is so hard to believe that a Mexican could possibly have access to a TV, because he’s Mexican. I’m sorry, but that IS a racist and incredibly ignorant statement. You’re saying that because I have the same life quality as an average person from the United States, I’m immediately rich because I’m from Mexico, where you think everyone is starving to death in the desert.


Everyone around me in my city has TVs, smartphones, and computers. You know who else have smartphones? People from India, Egypt, South Africa, the Middle East, Thailand, etcetera. You’re either narcissistic, racist, or ignorant by believing that you’re supposed to be the only country in the world who could possibly have TVs and phones. Also, about the private international school, do you realize that English is taught in public schools in Mexico as well? I don’t study in an international school, by the way.

Yep. Hell, in some areas, the US is actually rather backward. Our access to high speed Internet is pathetic compared to some developed countries. Ditto mass transit, where our infrastructure is woefully backward to nonexistent compared many developed countries.

Referencing all the insults and threats that I documented the other day, next up Arturo notes:

You would think that the whole anti-science community is made up of normal people, who are just misinformed. But no, no, no. They are jerks. All of them are.

To put this in perspective, they’re harassing, insulting, attacking and bullying a child because he disagrees with them about vaccines.

Do I care about what they think? No, because they don’t do it very often anyway.
What kind of a civilized person would possibly want to be a part of a community that supports violence, harass, insults and personal attacks against a 12-year-old?

Answer: the same people who think they are smarter than everyone by googling their symptoms instead of going to the doctor, who then claim that they’re the ones who can’t be fooled and that everyone else is a sheeple.

You would think that at least one of them would say “okay, I disagree with this kid about vaccines but I don’t think it’s socially nor morally acceptable to attack, harass, insult nor to send him death threats”, but noooooo! All of them are cheering to the people who insult me, or they just insult me themselves. Absolutely no one of them has even thought of being a little less rude to me or to just leave me alone.

They’re all the same.

Here’s where I can’t entirely agree with Arturo. I don’t think that the entire antiscience community consists only of harassing, insulting, attacking, and bullying jerks. For instance, Dr. Jay Gordon, as misguided as he is, seems to be a pretty nice guy. He even likes dogs as much as I do. Unfortunately, though, these are the people who tolerate the jerks, who fail to call them out when they try to attack, bully, and threaten a 12-year-old boy because he posted a pro-vaccine video. Arturo’s perspective is just a bit skewed because that’s all he’s seen. I can’t say that I blame him. Still, I hope that as time goes on Arturo comes to realize that there are flavors of antivaccine, ranging from the full on despicable crazy that he’s been dealing with to those who haven’t gone completely down the antivaccine rabbit hole and remain persuadable. I’m sure he will.

Still, these are the people who have attacked him, people like Quackenboss willing to go this far:

She exposed personal information about me and my family on her blog because she knew she couldn’t give any argument against my position, as she didn’t have any.

My whole response to the first blog was backed-up with evidence, and I gave a ton of arguments to support my position, while she never even tried to refute a single of them. What did she do? She made a blog with personal information about me and my parents and made it all public.

I didn’t care when she called me a “little prick”, or when she claimed that my parents are actually the ones behind the keyboard because I knew that that’s just not true, and they aren’t. But she is using exposure of personal information as a last resort now that she has nowhere to run. She took hours of intense web browsing to find everything about me that was online, including my parents’ full names, and of course mine. She also exposed where we live, where my father used to work at, and pictures of my family, including my baby sister. She is not just another troll, she is doing something that’s illegal to try to keep me silent. She doxxed a child and his innocent family because she was angry at me. Sad thing is, the whole anti-vaccine movement is clapping at her.

Since when is it morally acceptable to dox a kid and his family?

It’s not, except to antivaccine activists when they feel threatened.

You should really read the rest of Marco’s post. There’s so much there, and a lot of it addresses what I discussed in my two previous posts but from Marco’s viewpoint. Basically, the burn is so nasty that nothing is left of Quackenboss but a pile of ashes.

Metaphorically speaking, I hasten to add. I wouldn’t want Quackenboss to think that I meant she had literally been burned to ashes.