Without evidence of benefit, an intervention should not be presumed to be beneficial or safe.

- Rogue Medic

Book Bans Keep Exposing Censorship to Ridicule

Welcome to Banned Books Week, which ends today, but can be celebrated all of the time – not celebrating that books are banned to punish thought crime, but to read something we might not otherwise read – to expand our awareness of what other people think – to be independent.

Some politicians claim that censorship is wrong, while using the government to prevent citizens from reading unapproved books. These politicians claim that they are protecting citizens from harm, because those citizens are students and too young to think for themselves in the schools that are supposed to teach these students to think for themselves.

The book banning politicians do not want the students to grow up to be voters who think for themselves, but want to control the information that is allowed to students, so that when they are adults, these citizens will do as they are told without questioning what they are told.

This is not new. Banning books has been around for hundreds of years and has always failed.

What is it about Toni Morrison that must be kept from students?

In 1616 the Catholic Church banned Galileo from even thinking about the Copernican hypothesis, because the Copernican hypothesis is a thought crime. In 1632 Galileo took a creative approach to the ban. Galileo wrote a dialogue discussing the superiority of the geocentric system and the heliocentric system, in spite of the evidence.

The evidence that the Earth does not move was that, if the Earth moved, we would feel it and we would be able to observe stellar parallax (when a star is viewed from one extreme of the Earth’s orbit to another, it will appear to have moved). These are common sense arguments, but common sense also tells us that the Earth is flat.

The evidence that must be ignored centered on a book written by Copernicus in 1543, later work by Johannes Kepler, and on evidence produced by Galileo with his telescopes beginning in 1609. Galileo had not invented the telescope, but had improved on it so much that he had the best telescopes in the world at that time. Using the telescope Galileo was able to show that the Earth was not the center of everything in the universe, since the moons of Jupiter revolve around Jupiter, not Earth. The existence and movement of Sun spots supported the Copernican system. The strongest argument was that Venus has phases, just like our Moon, but not consistent with revolution around Earth. Galileo was wrong about the tides, and should have known that he was wrong, but that was not an essential part of heliocentric theory.

After being threatened with torture and execution 69 year old Galileo recanted what he wrote and was sentenced to house arrest for the rest of his life. Giordano Bruno had been tortured for 7 years before being burned alive in public as an example to those who would think for themselves. Bruno was convicted of the same charge as Galileo – Heresy, which is thought crime.

The Church banned On the Revolutions of the Celestial Spheres by Copernicus (unless edited to mean the opposite of what Copernicus meant), and the books of Galileo, Kepler, and other books that provide evidence that the Earth revolves around the Sun. Some of those prohibitions lasted until 1835.

Only 45 years after the death of Galileo, long before there was evidence of stellar parallax, Isaac Newton ignored the prohibition on thought crime in his explanation of gravity. The theory of gravity requires the Earth to revolve around the Sun. If someone can show that the Sun revolves around the Earth, they can disprove gravity. Those who ban books would be ecstatic.

In 1992 Pope John Paul II gave a partial apology for the actions of the Church to punish thought crimes, but was criticized for going too far. The Catholic Education Resource Center still promotes disingenuous arguments to support the actions of the Church. Ironically, the Catholic Church does not oppose evolution (perhaps because their treatment of Galileo was so pathetically bad), but some Protestants, especially Evangelicals, do. Maybe they view evolution denial as their chance to grab their own science denial award – a Darwin Award, given to people who kill themselves through extreme stupidity.

In history, there are also books that are banned, because the evidence presented in the books may make the reader feel bad. This is not out of concern that the reader will feel bad about being lied to by their parents, teachers, and politicians. This is of a desire to protect the lies told by parents, teachers, and politicians.

The American Civil War was started by parts of America deciding to take all of their people and their land and all of the federal government land in their states and declare themselves a separate country, in order to protect slavery from the not yet elected Abraham Lincoln. This was when the Republicans were the radical progressive party and the Democrats were the unapologetic white supremacist party promoting slavery.

The dishonest historical claim is that the Civil War was fought over states’ rights, but before the war the slave states insisted that the Fugitive Slave Act be enforced everywhere in America, even though it completely violated the rights of the states that prohibited slavery. Why would they lie about something that is so easy to show to be false? Because if you are taught that thinking is a crime, you won’t check the facts. If you do check the facts, you are easier to target as a thought criminal.

Another example of the dishonesty of the claim that the Civil War was not fought to expand Christian slavery. Christian slavery does not mean slavery of Christians, although some did convert enslaved people, but slavery by Christians. Christians were the first people to enslave people based on the color of their skin. Slavery has been around probably as long as people have been around, but it was only when Europeans started exploring other parts of the world, that the business of slavery of people for looking different became established. Greece, Rome, the Ottoman Empire, . . . had slavery, but they did not have the racial slavery that Christianity created in the Age of Exploration, justified by the Bible.

Article I, Sec. 9, “(4) No bill of attainder, ex post facto law, or law denying or impairing the right of property in negro slaves shall be passed.” – Constitution of the Confederate States; March 11, 1861

Article IV, Sec. 3, “(3) The Confederate States may acquire new territory; and Congress shall have power to legislate and provide governments for the inhabitants of all territory belonging to the Confederate States, lying without the limits of the several Sates; and may permit them, at such times, and in such manner as it may by law provide, to form States to be admitted into the Confederacy. In all such territory the institution of negro slavery, as it now exists in the Confederate States, shall be recognized and protected be Congress and by the Territorial government; and the inhabitants of the several Confederate States and Territories shall have the right to take to such Territory any slaves lawfully held by them in any of the States or Territories of the Confederate States.” – Constitution of the Confederate States; March 11, 1861

The states also give their reasons for their insurrection:

A Declaration of the Immediate Causes which Induce and Justify the Secession of the State of Mississippi from the Federal Union.

“In the momentous step which our State has taken of dissolving its connection with the government of which we so long formed a part, it is but just that we should declare the prominent reasons which have induced our course.

Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery– the greatest material interest of the world.”

Confederate States of America – Declaration of the Immediate Causes Which Induce and Justify the Secession of South Carolina from the Federal Union

“We affirm that these ends for which this Government was instituted have been defeated, and the Government itself has been made destructive of them by the action of the non-slaveholding States. Those States have assume the right of deciding upon the propriety of our domestic institutions; and have denied the rights of property established in fifteen of the States and recognized by the Constitution; they have denounced as sinful the institution of slavery; they have permitted open establishment among them of societies, whose avowed object is to disturb the peace and to eloign the property of the citizens of other States. They have encouraged and assisted thousands of our slaves to leave their homes; and those who remain, have been incited by emissaries, books and pictures to servile insurrection.

For twenty-five years this agitation has been steadily increasing, until it has now secured to its aid the power of the common Government. Observing the forms of the Constitution, a sectional party has found within that Article establishing the Executive Department, the means of subverting the Constitution itself. A geographical line has been drawn across the Union, and all the States north of that line have united in the election of a man to the high office of President of the United States, whose opinions and purposes are hostile to slavery. He is to be entrusted with the administration of the common Government, because he has declared that that “Government cannot endure permanently half slave, half free,” and that the public mind must rest in the belief that slavery is in the course of ultimate extinction.

This sectional combination for the submersion of the Constitution, has been aided in some of the States by elevating to citizenship, persons who, by the supreme law of the land, are incapable of becoming citizens; and their votes have been used to inaugurate a new policy, hostile to the South, and destructive of its beliefs and safety.

On the 4th day of March next, this party will take possession of the Government. It has announced that the South shall be excluded from the common territory, that the judicial tribunals shall be made sectional, and that a war must be waged against slavery until it shall cease throughout the United States.”

Most of the Confederate states declared that they were not American before Lincoln was president. South Carolina, in the statement of their reasons does not sound much different from those claiming that Obama was going to close all of the churches and take everyone’s guns. President Obama never tried to do either one, in spite of the promises of his enemies. That is one of the reasons for banning books – to keep people from knowing the truth.

As with the memory holes in 1984, “The Party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command.” George Orwell condemned authoritarians on the left and on the right. An important part of that condemnation is the way they try to prevent citizens from having access to information, as we see in so many states with book bans.

.

Happy Darwin and Lincoln Day 2020

Happy Lincoln-Darwin Day!


 
Today is the birthday of two people considered enemies by the American slavery belt – Charles Darwin and Abraham Lincoln. The slavery belt was so afraid of Lincoln that most of the slave states seceded before Lincoln took office as president.

Charles Darwin wrote a book that exposed the slavery of human beings as immoral. The slaves were just as human as every slave owner. Bible quotations in defense of slavery were regularly provided by slave owners to justify their immorality, but it was not working as well as it used to. To be fair, many of the Founding Fathers opposed slavery, but this was a compromise that will always stain the Constitution. There was even an agreement in the Constitution to allow the importation of slaves at least until 1808.
 

The Migration or Importation of such Persons as any of the States now existing shall think proper to admit, shall not be prohibited by the Congress prior to the Year one thousand eight hundred and eight, but a tax or duty may be imposed on such Importation, not exceeding ten dollars for each Person.[1]

 

There was enough opposition to the importation of slaves that a law prohibiting importation went into effect the first day possible – January 1, 1808.

Opponents of Lincoln continue to make excuses for the treason of the slave states that seceded and made war on the United States of America.

Opponents of Darwin continue to make excuses for rejection of biology, even though genetics and evolution are essential for the understanding of biology. Denial of science has become a tenet of Creationist sects.

Currently the most popular method of denying science is the one made notorious by the exposure of private documents of the cigarette industry. Create the appearance of scientific doubt and scientific controversy, even though the only doubt and controversy is about minor details, rather than the broad conclusions.
 

The most important type of story is that which casts doubt in the cause and effect theory of disease and smoking. Eye-grabbing headlines should strongly call out the point[2]

 

 

Doubt is our product next hit since it is the best means of competing with the “body of fact” that exists in the mind of the general public. It is also the means of establishing a controversy. Within the business we recognize that a controversy exists. However, with the general public the consensus is that cigarettes are in some way harmful to the health. If we are successful in establishing a controversy at the public level, then there is an opportunity to put across the real facts about smoking and health. previous hit Doubt is also the limit of our ” product.” Unfortunately, we cannot take a position directly opposing the anti-cigarette forces and say that cigarettes are a contributor to good health. No information that we have supports such a claim .

Truth is our message because of its power to withstand a conflict and sustain a controversy. If in our pro-cigarette efforts we stick to well documented fact , we can dominate a controversy and operate with the confidence of justifiable self-interest [italic emphasis added]. {2111.01, pp. 4, 5}[3]

 

The point was to create the appearance of honesty, without the substance. This method is used by a lot of other science denialists – anti-vaxers, climate change deniers (both those who deny that climate change is real and those who claim that human activity is not responsible for the dramatic acceleration of global warming), flat earthers, alternative medicine promoters, anti-GMO activists, anti-abortion activists, anti-equality activists, geocentrists, et cetera.

Reality is their enemy.

Reality will always be their enemy.

Footnotes:

[1] Article 1 Section 9
U.S. Constitution
Link to Article 1 Section 9 at constitution.net

[2] Tobacco Explained – The truth about the tobacco industry …in its own words
World Health Organization
Page 11/79 on the pdf counter, but marked as page 7 on the page
Free Full Text in PDF format from WHO
 

Carl Thompson from Hill and Knowlton writes a letter on the best angles for the
industry magazine, Tobacco and Health Research:
“The most important type of story is that which casts
doubt in the cause and effect theory of disease and
smoking. Eye-grabbing headlines were needed and
“should strongly call out the point – Controversy! Contradiction! Other Factors! Unknowns!” 31 (Hill and
Knowlton, 1968)

 

[3] Using Cigarette Ads to Counter Health Information
The Cigarette Papers
Chapter 5 Public Relations in the “Safe” Cigarette Era
Resisting Government Regulation: Advertising Campaigns
Pages 190-191
University of California Press
Link to book with search for “Doubt is our product”

.

Happy Darwin and Lincoln Day 2019

 

Today we celebrate two 210th birthdays. Both stood up to right wing religious fanatics and were attacked for it. One was assassinated.

The first birthday boy is Abraham Lincoln, who might have been the most famous aggressively pro-civil rights, do gooder, Social Justice Warrior president – except that secession began before Lincoln even took office. The slave states were so afraid of what Lincoln might do that they didn’t even wait to find out. They didn’t use any valid legal means to try to win their case, but essentially stated, We’re leaving and we’re taking these parts of America, because we believe they belong to us and secession is 9/10ths of the law. We double dog dare you to enforce the law – and just to comply with the wording of the Constitution of the United States, we are going to open fire on the United States Army. The hurt themselves and the rest of America by promoting secessionists’ devotion to enslaving those not white and the secessionists’ adamant opposition to states’ rights. Yes, the secessionists’ claimed to be fighting for states’ rights, but liars lie.
 

Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort. No person shall be convicted of treason unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on confession in open court.

The Congress shall have power to declare the punishment of treason, but no attainder of treason shall work corruption of blood, or forfeiture except during the life of the person attainted.[1]

 

Ironically, those who seceded were Democrats, but the parties have flipped and the Republicans are now the anti-civil rights party.

The following statement is from Sen. Barry Goldwater, who was the 1964 Republican and Conservative candidate for president, but now would be rejected by the Conservatives and the Republicans.
 

Mark my word, if and when these preachers get control of the [Republican] party, and they’re sure trying to do so, it’s going to be a terrible damn problem. Frankly, these people frighten me. Politics and governing demand compromise. But these Christians believe they are acting in the name of God, so they can’t and won’t compromise. I know, I’ve tried to deal with them.[2]

 

Modern America has moved so far to the right, that Goldwater would probably be accused of being a socialist and a communist by various members of the right wing media. Sen. Goldwater also opposed government intrusion into the personal lives of LGBT people, because he was opposed to the big government that much of the right wing wants to use to force their lifestyle on everyone.

At that time, the right wing media being condemned by Sen. Goldwater was just beginning a resurgence. The ironically named Moral Majority was preaching its Christian sharia law to gather a lot of followers. Jerry Falwell, Sr. was their leader and Barry Goldwater condemned that earlier, less powerful, Falwell. His son, Jerry Falwell, Jr. seems to be able to tell our current president what to do, but a lot of people manipulate the president.
 

I think every good Christian ought to kick Falwell right in the ass.[3]

 

Since the Civil War, the propaganda machine of the secessionists has been more successful. They have been able to place statues of the traitors throughout the states they led in treason to show everyone that the secessionists still maintain power in spite of being defeated on the battlefield. Why don’t we have statues of Benedict Arnold?

We could celebrate Robert E. Lee for his opposition to secessionists after the war and for Lee’s unintentional(?) destruction of his cavalry at Gettysburg. Pickett’s Charge may have been the final straw for the Army Promoting Expansion of Slavery.

The second 210th birthday boy is Charles Darwin, who is remembered for explaining the diversity of life on Earth. Evolution explains the evidence showing the progression from the simplest life form to the current diversity of life – a diversity which appears to be decreasing due to our failure to value our children above our politics. Extinction is a part of that explanation. Extinction was once thought to be an argument against evolution, because it would violate God’s perfect plan, but eventually, extinction became undeniable, too. Oddly, people still deny biology. Evolution is so essential to biology, that Theodosius Dobzhansky wrote a paper titled, Nothing in Biology Makes Sense Except in the Light of Evolution.[4]

It is interesting that the science denial that affects biology, Creationism, is promoted most aggressively in the same slave states Bible Belt that fought against the United States of America in favor of treating diversity as a justification for violence.

It was science that helped the liberal Christians to convince the rest of America that slavery is wrong – something that much of the often less Christian rest of world already understood.
 

Book that Changed America - cover 1
 

As I wrote in 2017:

Darwin provided scientific evidence for a common origin, which gave a scientific argument to those criticizing slavery. How is it moral to enslave other humans? Well, the Bible repeatedly endorses slavery and Jesus never criticized slavery. Jesus actually used slavery as an analogy for belief in God, with believers as slaves and the slave owners as God.

Contrariwise, those who focused on the good parts of the Bible and avoided the bad parts, used Darwin’s book as the basis for advocating for a more moral approach to our fellow humans. Those who read the Bible differently from the advocates of slavery saw that they were not along. Science also opposed the moral abyss of slavery.

Not to spoil the ending, but the abolitionists were not successful at reasoning with those in the Bible Belt to end slavery in America. We ended up with over 600,000 Americans dead over different interpretations of the Bible on how to treat humans.[5]

The anti-science of Young Earth Creationism, the most basic form of Creationism, is the belief that the particular version of the God of that sect of believers literally just poofed itself into existence, then created life in its current diversity and that mutation can never produce a beneficial outcome.

For some bizarre reason, this God has organs of evolution. A true only one of its kind creature would not be male, nor would it be female, but the plot holes are numerous and demonstrate the impossibility of the story, when promoted as accurate. What other creature(s) God need sexual organs for? How did this God evolve them? Most Christians seem to view the two contradictory Creation stories in Genesis (Genesis 1 vs. Genesis 2) as metaphorical. How else do you defend something that dramatically changes when you turn to the next page? Hallucinogens? Hypoxia? Dementia? Metaphor – it is poetic, rather than literal. At least, that is the only reasonable approach.

Some Creationists take a shot at creating a middle approach. These not-so-literalists claim that microevolution is real, but macroevolution is impossible. These are real terms, but not the way the not-so-literalist Creationists use them.

These Creationists see that microevolution is undeniable, so they try to move the goalposts to try to protect their belief in Separate Creation.

Here is a further irony. These not-so-literalist Creationists claim that while they cannot deny that evolution happens on a small scale, they absolutely refuse to accept that it continues. Evolution is required to stop. Although they cannot provide any kind of evidence to support their claim and scientists provide plenty of evidence that evolution is not stopped, they continue to make this claim.

The irony gets even greater, because when you are dealing with apologists, the excuses will differ, thus the increasing disagreements among the dozens/hundreds/thousands of flavors of Creationism. Some of these micro yes, macro no Creationists claim that the restriction on evolution prevents the development of any new species, because they just can’t seem to understand that a lot of change can produce a dramatic difference. Other micro yes, macro no Creationists claim that this restriction prevents the evolution of any new genus. They claim that the story of the Ark saving 8 people from the murderous God of the Bible is the reason. This story is borrowed from the Babylonians, who taught the Israelites to write during the Babylonian captivity.[6]

Anyway, the story of the Ark mentions 19 Every beast, every creeping thing, and every fowl, and whatsoever creepeth upon the earth, after their kinds, went forth out of the ark.[7] This is a justification for being able to put billions of creatures on one supposedly seaworthy vessel. Not everything had evolved at the time, some evolved after their kinds after they disembarked. Two contradictions attacked with one excuse. Brilliant!

Some of the not-so-literalist Creationists accept that evolution is possible, as long as it does not produce a new species, because that would be too much. They insist that there must be an artificial limit on evolution.

Other not-so-literalist Creationists accept that evolution is possible, as long as it does not produce a new genus, because that would be too much. They insist that there must be an artificial limit on evolution.

Still other not-so-literalist Creationists accept that evolution is possible, as long as it does not produce a new family, because that would be too much. They insist that there must be an artificial limit on evolution.
 


Taxonomic Rank, from Wikipedia page
 

No matter what they have to invoke, all flavors of Creationist insist that there is some sort of artificial limit on evolution. Some Creationists insist that all evolution is prevented, while others accept varying amounts of evolution, rather than try to reject the overwhelming evidence.

We flawed humans must be explained, but their ambiguous creator must just be believed in all of its million different interpretations, and with all of its impossible contradictions – and all of the other Gods are just made up by people.

Footnotes:

[1] Constitution
Article III, Section 3
The Legal Information Institute
Article III

[2] Barry Goldwater
Wikiquote
 

Said in November 1994, as quoted in John Dean, Conservatives Without Conscience (2006).

 

[3] Barry Goldwater
Wikiquote
 

Said in July 1981 in response to Moral Majority founder Jerry Falwell’s opposition to the nomination of Sandra Day O’Connor to the Supreme Court, of which Falwell had said, “Every good Christian should be concerned.” as quoted in Ed Magnuson, “The Brethren’s First Sister,” Time Magazine, (July 20, 1981).
According to John Dean, Goldwater actually suggested that good Christians ought to kick Falwell in the “nuts”, but the news media “changed the anatomical reference.”
Dean, John (2008). Broken Government: How Republican Rule Destroyed the Legislative, Executive, and Judicial Branches. Penguin Group. “I know because I was there when he said it.”(2006).

 

A further irony is that there is nothing in the Bible that is even slightly critical of abortion, but the Bible thumpers lie about this. If you claim that Thou shalt not kill applies to abortion, you have to find someplace – any place where the Bible refers to abortion as killing. The Bible does not make that claim. The Christian sharia promoters make far more judgmental claims (judge not, lest ye be judged), because irony knows no bounds among fundamentalists.

The Bible states that life begins with the first breath. Genesis 2:7 and Job 33:4 and that a fetus is not a person Exodus 21:22. The Biblical literalists need to reinterpret the words to massage the meaning to be able to come up with something that allows them to claim their interpretation of their God agrees with them.

There is condemnation of divorce, by Jesus, but the religious right has chosen to vote for divorced leaders in order to get the political power that they want. Almost everything Jesus says in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) is a condemnation of the goals of the religious right in America today, but that is not the only place where Jesus condemns the religious right in America today.

Why do so many right wing Christians hate Jesus so much that they blaspheme Jesus?

If you want more information than provided above, read these:

The ‘biblical view’ that’s younger than the Happy Meal
February 18, 2012
Fred Clark
Article
 

In 1979, McDonald’s introduced the Happy Meal.

Sometime after that, it was decided that the Bible teaches that human life begins at conception.

 

and

The Not-So-Lofty Origins of the Evangelical Pro-Life Movement
February 5, 2013
Jonathan Dudley
Religion Dispatches
Article
 

Although evangelicals were mostly silent on abortion after Roe v. Wade, they were not silent on other political issues. Paul Weyrich, one of the evangelical right’s most influential founders, recalls that the movement initially emerged to defend racially segregated Christian schools from government intrusion:

 

Abortion was chosen as the rallying cry, because the religious right were losing ground defending segregation. Now abortion is the headline, while the religious right still work for segregation by more politically correct means.

[4] Nothing in Biology Makes Sense Except in the Light of Evolution
Theodosius Dobzhansky
The American Biology Teacher, Vol. 35, No. 3 (Mar., 1973)
Article in PDF format
 

I am a creationist and an evolutionist. Evolution is God’s, or Nature’s method of creation. Creation is not an event that happened in 4004 BC; it is a process that began some 10 billion years ago and is still under way.

 

Does the evolutionary doctrine clash with religious faith? It does not. It is a blunder to mistake the Holy Scriptures for elementary textbooks of astronomy, geology, biology, and anthropology. Only if symbols are construed to mean what they are not intended to mean can there arise imaginary, insoluble conflicts. As pointed out above, the blunder leads to blasphemy: the Creator is accused of systematic deceitfulness.

 

[5] The Book That Changed America: How Darwin’s Theory of Evolution Ignited a Nation
Randall Fuller

Read ‘The Book That Changed America’ for Darwin Day 2017
Sun, 12 Feb 2017
Rogue Medic
Article

and

Kirkus Review

and

January 24, 2017
Randy Dotinga
Christian Science Monitor
Review

[6] The Ark Before Noah: Decoding the Story of the Flood
Irving Finkel

Kirkus Review

and

How the ark changed shape
13 February, 2014
Will Gore
Catholic Herald
Article/Interview

Here is part of that interview with Irving Finkel from Catholic Herald:
 

We also discuss the negative reaction that his theories might provoke in some Christian quarters. He admits that those who tend towards a literalist reading of the Bible will never be persuaded of its links to the Babylonian era.

He hopes, though, that he is handling the topic sensitively. He is at pains to point out, for example, that, despite what some headlines have suggested, he is not claiming the Bible story to be wrong and that Noah’s Ark should be round. He has, he says, simply traced the origins of the story found in Genesis.

Finkel has resolved to make sure he maintains a sense of humour when dealing with critics. He’s obviously very content with the conclusions he has drawn. Behind that big beard it’s not hard to detect a smile as he says: “I can’t imagine somebody will find something that proves my ideas wrong, so if people reject them it doesn’t matter. People often reject things they don’t like and not necessarily on logical grounds. If I give a lecture and people throw vegetables, then so be it.”

 

Here is a video of a presentation by Irving Finkel.
 


 

[7] Genesis 8:19
King James Version
Verse at BibleHub in all versions

.

Anti-Vaccine Means Pro-Corruption

 

Can you be opposed to vaccines and not be supporting corruption? What does it mean to oppose vaccines?

Vaccines are probably the safest and most effective medical intervention available. Anti-vaxers oppose that.

Vaccines save millions of lives every year. Anti-vaxers oppose that.

If you disagree, provide valid evidence that anything else is as safe as vaccines and provide valid evidence that anything else is as effective as vaccines. There is the small possibility that I am wrong and that vaccines are only second, or maybe even third, among the safest and most effective medical interventions available.

But aren’t the anti-vaxers trying to protect children from unnecessary risk?

That is one of many anti-vaccine claims, but it is just another anti-vax lie.

Look at these heroes of the anti-vaccine propaganda industry. Mark and David Geier.

David Geier pretends to be a doctor, even though he never has been a doctor, or even been enrolled in a medical school.
 

As explained above, the Board concludes that David Geier practiced medicine in Maryland without being licensed by the Board to practice in violation of section 14-601 of the Health Occupations Article.[1]

 

Mark Geier did become a doctor, but the corruption of the anti-vax propaganda and treatment business led him to violate his responsibility to protect his patients. If you see Mark Geier working as a doctor, call the police.
 

Since 2011, Geier’s medical license has been suspended or revoked in every state in which he was licensed over concerns about his autism treatments and his misrepresentation of his credentials to the Maryland Board of Health, where he falsely claimed to be a board-certified geneticist and epidemiologist.[4] [2]

 

What is so bad about the Geiers and why do anti-vaxers continue to worship the Geiers?

Mark and David Geier castrate children with a chemical that has been approved for some medical uses, but definitely not to treat autism. The chemical has never been shown to be safe or even slightly effective for that purpose. If you think that autism is the worst thing ever – worse than smallpox, measles, polio, pertussis, et cetera, you may think that it is morally acceptable to torture children and to have faith in these quacks.
 


 

The fake doctor (David) is on the left and the revoked license doctor (Mark) is on the right.

But isn’t it an exaggeration to call this chemical castration.
 

Speaking about one teen he put on the drug, Mark Geier said: “I wasn’t worried about whether he would have children when he is 25 years old. If you want to call it a nasty name, call it chemical castration. If you want to call it something nice, say you are lowering testosterone.”[3]

 

For those who claim that this would be a short-term treatment, and the side effects would be minimized, that’s not the way quacks work – especially with paying customers. These are not reasonable people. Quacks will be expected to keep giving the magic treatment, possibly increasing the dose several times, until that treatment works, because they think that they know believe that it works. Reasonable people would be expected to stop never start this unapproved and dangerous treatment to begin with. Since the treatment does not work, and is expected to make the patients’ conditions worse, these people would not be expected to stop. As with other alternative medicine, treatment failures are blamed on the patient, or on the family. Quacks do not take responsibility for the incompetence of using chemicals that are dangerous and ineffective.

But what if it really does work?

Almost every proposed treatment, regardless of what it is, will be found to be more harmful than beneficial. Most are discarded long before they get to the point of being tested on actual humans. Poisoning patients, based on What if it works? is dangerous, unethical, and irresponsible.

If you have an autistic child, do not let the Geiers chemically castrate your child for fun and profit.

How do the same anti-vaxers, who claim that they are protecting their children from what is probably the safest and most effective medical intervention available, support this dangerous, unethical, and irresponsible treatment?

That is the way anti-vaxers think. Anti-vccine claims are arrogant rejections of competence, science, and reality. Protect your children from anti-vaxers.

Footnotes:

[1] In the matter of David A. Geier before the Maryland State Board of Physicians
Case Nos. 2008-0022 & 2009-0318
Maryland Department of Health
Final Decision and Order in PDF format.

[2] Mark Geier
Wikipedia
Article

[3] ‘Miracle drug’ called junk science
Trine Tsouderos
Tribune reporter
May 21, 2009
Article

.

Anti-Vax Doctors Lack Competence and Ethics

 
 

Effective July 27, 2018, the latest anti-vax doctor to have his license revoked will be Dr. Bob Sears. Yes, he promotes his image as Dr. Bob.

Who are the dangerous doctors Bob Sears will be joining?

Andrew Wakefield‘s fraudulent research, unnecessarily painful research on children, lack of ethical approval for research, and other corruption, convinced the British General Medical Council to revoke his license. Wakefield was also trying to sell a vaccine of his own, to compete with the MMR (polyvalent Measles, Mumps and Rubella) vaccine. Wakefield’s attempts to discredit the MMR vaccine would have helped him to sell his own competing vaccine.
 

the lawyers responsible for the MMR lawsuit had paid Wakefield personally more than £400,000, which he had not previously disclosed.[67] [1]

 

Andrew Wakefield claims that he is not a fraud and sues a lot of people.

All of the cases have been thrown out by the courts or have been withdrawn by Wakefield.[2]

Do those who claim to be trying to protect their children, by avoiding vaccines, based on a trust of this fraudulent doctor, know what Wakefield has done?

The kiddie castrators – David Geier and Mark Geier.

David Geier was never a doctor, but has been caught faking it.[3] In the make believe world of anti-vaxers, why let reality get in the way of pretending to have credibility?

Mark Geier was a doctor, but had his license revoked in every state where he had a license (Maryland, Washington, Virginia, California, Missouri, Illinois, and Hawaii). Why do the Geiers castrate children? Chemical castration is an approved treatment for some rare conditions. Mastectomy is an approved treatment for some breast cancers, but that does not mean that it is at all ethical, or competent, to recommend mastectomy as treatment for other medical conditions. The Geiers claim to believe that castration cures autism. There is no valid evidence to support their hunch.

Consider this. You have an autistic child and someone tells you there is a cure. The person says that they know their expensive chemicals work. The person may even say, I’ve seen it work.[4] All you have to do is give permission for this doctor (before his license was revoked), and his son the fake doctor, to use chemicals to castrate your child.

Do you ask for evidence?

Their is no valid evidence. You just have to trust the castrators and their excuses for the absence of evidence.

The “evidence” has been retracted, because the research is junk science. All human research has to be approved by an independent IRB (Institutional Review Board) to make sure that there are not any conflicts of interest or unnecessary risks to the children participating in the research. The members of the independent IRB were the Geiers, the Geier’s employees, and the Geier’s lawyer. That is not independent.

If chemical castration doesn’t work, the Geiers can sell you other expensive and dangerous treatments that do not work, such as chelation. Chelation is the use of chemicals to remove heavy metals from the body, based on the assumption that mercury causes autism. Chelation is harmful, so it is only indicated, when there is a good reason to believe the benefit will be greater than the harm. There is no valid evidence to support this hunch of the Geiers.

The motto of the company run by the Geiers is First do no harm. Are they completely unaware of the harm they cause, or so dishonest that they tell the boldest lies? Does it matter why they harm children?

What did Bob Sears do to get his license revoked? He claimed to assess patients, but did not keep records of what he claimed to do. His incompetence/negligence endangered patients.[5] ,[6]

For example, a mother frequently brought J.G., a 2 year old, to see Dr. Bob. One visit was for a head ache a couple of weeks after the child’s father hit the child on the head with a hammer. The only apparent concern of the mother and Dr. Bob was to prevent the child from receiving vaccines. There is no record of any neurological assessment, or referral to a competent doctor for a neurological assessment.

J.G. had visited Dr. Bob the previous month for constipation. Assessment and treatment plans were documented. Constipation can be very serious, but so can hitting a child on the head with a hammer. The reason for the difference in approaches was determined to be gross negligence. Another visit, following apparent resolution of otitis media following treatment with Omnicef (cefdinir), there was a diagnosis of a sudden onset of flu, with a prescription for Tamiflu (oseltamivir), so there is no apparent hesitation to use ineffective, or minimally effective, treatments. Is J.G.’s last name Munchausen, or is he just unlucky in his choice of parents?

Bob Sears does not appear to be hesitant to prescribe drugs based on hunches, but he does appear to recognize that being anti-vax can be very profitable. Sears has written 4 books, but still fails to document assessments.

Bob Sears will have to be monitored by another physician for 35 months, following this revocation, to be able to get his license reinstated. He must follow all laws, not be negligent, and not deviate from the standard of medical care. He cannot just take the 3 years off and write books, because he has to be monitored while working to get his license back.

It looks like Bob Sears will be vaccinating children, just as real doctors do.

Vaccines save millions of lives every year.

Vaccines are probably the safest and most effective medical intervention we have, and anti-vaxers hate that.

If some of us do not see the need for vaccines, it is because of the success of vaccines. Vaccines are an important part of the reason that the average life expectancy has doubled in a little over 100 years.

For a great review of the effect of vaccines on vaccine-preventable illnesses, there is a study in JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association), which shows how the rate of each illness, and deaths from each illness, declined after the introduction of each vaccine. There are anti-vaxers who claim that it wasn’t the vaccines, but sanitation that stopped these illnesses. Don’t fall for that.[7]

Sanitation is important at preventing the spread of illnesses, but sanitation does not wait for each different vaccine to be introduced for each different vaccine-preventable illness to change the illness and fatality rates.

Look at the evidence.

Historical comparisons of morbidity and mortality for vaccine-preventable diseases in the United States.
Roush SW, Murphy TV; Vaccine-Preventable Disease Table Working Group.
JAMA. 2007 Nov 14;298(18):2155-63.
PMID: 18000199

Free Full Text Article from JAMA.

Footnotes:

[1] Aftermath of initial controversy
Andrew Wakefield
Wikipedia
Article

The referenced article by Brian Deer is:

Huge sums paid to Andrew Wakefield
The Sunday Times
December 31 2006
Brian Deer
Article

Andrew Wakefield has repeatedly sued Brian Deer and lost or run away every time.

[2] Deer counter-response
Andrew Wakefield
Wikipedia
Article

[3] Medical licenses revoked
Mark Geier
Wikipedia
Article
 

In 2011, his son David Geier was charged by the Maryland State Board of Physicians with practicing as if a licensed physician when he only has a Bachelor of Arts degree in biology,[42] and was fined $10,000 in July 2012.[40]

 

Charges by the Maryland Medical Board
In the Matter of David A. Geier before the Maryland State Board of Physicians
Practicing without a license
PDF document of charges
 

The Respondent is not and never has been licensed to practice medicine or any other health profession in the State of Maryland or any other State.

 

[4] I’ve Seen It Work and Other Lies
Tue, 21 Jun 2011
Rogue Medic
Article

[5] Antivaccine pediatrician Dr. Bob Sears finally faces discipline from the Medical Board of California
Respectful Insolence
Orac
June 29, 2018
Article

[6] Stipulated Settlement and Disciplinary Order
Decision of the Medical Board of California
Department of Consumer Affairs
State of California
Case No. 800-2015-012268
OAH No. 2017100889
PDF of Decision

[7] “Vaccines didn’t save us” (a.k.a. “vaccines don’t work”): Intellectual dishonesty at its most naked
Science-Based Medicine
David Gorski
March 29, 2010
Article

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Dr. Edward Tobinick Sues Barbara Streisand – or something equally foolish


Dr. Edward Tobinick might not be a quack, but his behavior suggest otherwise.
 

Having a medical degree does not mean not a quack.

Using FDA (Food and Drug Administration) approved drugs does not mean not a quack.

Having a medical web site that does not have the word “quantum” all over the place does not mean not a quack.

Threatening to sue people for writing about the lack of evidence for his treatments does not mean not a quack.
 

Dr. Edward Tobinick is suing Science-Based Medicine for writing about Dr. Edward Tobinick’s dubious medical practices.

That strongly suggests that Dr. Edward Tobinick is a quack.
 

The claims and practice of Dr. Tobinick have many of the red flags of a dubious medical practice, of the sort that we discuss regularly on SBM. It seems that Dr. Tobinick does not appreciate public criticism of his claims and practice,[1]

 

Essentially, what Dr. Edward Tobinick is saying is, Your valid criticism of the way I apparently take advantage of patients might discourage patients from shelling out money for my untested treatment.

or –

Your valid criticism of the way I apparently take advantage of patients might encourage patients to ask reasonable questions about my untested treatment – questions that I cannot honestly answer.
 

Etanercept might work, but so might steroids, or ribavarin, or eye of newt, or a kick in the groin.

All of these treatments are equally valid. Oddly, the patients receiving a kick in the groin will probably report the fewest symptoms after treatment. 90% of the kick in the groin patients claimed to be cured and not in need of any further treatment.

Without evidence, and with his opposition to evidence, Dr. Edward Tobinick is just a quack with a brainstorm. Nothing original there.
 

Dr. Edward Tobinick injects etanercept (Enbrel) around the spine. This is not something he covered in his dermatology residency, so has he injected etanercept into the spine yet?

Why etanercept? Etanercept is an immune suppression/anti-inflammation drug. Inflammation is a problem with everything, so preventing/reversing inflammation is the simplistic cure. If this worked in real people, and not just in the hypotheses of pathophysiologists, steroids would have cured everything decades ago.

Perhaps Dr. Edward Tobinick is imitating Dr. Michael Bracken, who is able to produce improved outcomes with steroids (anti-inflammation drugs) for spinal injury, but only when he is in charge of the data.[2]

At least Dr. Michael Bracken published some research to support his claims. Dr. Edward Tobinick just wants us to believe that his interpretation of pathophysiology is miraculously prescient.
 

Evidence? We ain’t got no evidence. We don’t need no evidence! I don’t have to show you any stinkin’ evidence!
 

Maybe Dr. Edward Tobinick does have some valid evidence.

Maybe Dr. Edward Tobinick is just hiding the valid evidence because it is proprietary. 😉

Here are a couple of comments by Dr. Novella on science and the importance of evidence. They probably were not directed specifically at Dr. Edward Tobinick, but they do apply to him.
 

What do you think science is? There’s nothing magical about science. It is simply a systematic way for carefully and thoroughly observing nature and using consistent logic to evaluate results. Which part of that exactly do you disagree with? Do you disagree with being thorough? Using careful observation? Being systematic? Or using consistent logic?

 

Science is the way we learn what works.

Dr. Edward Tobinick’s criticism is evidence that he does not understand science.

Is any treatment, that is not based on evidence, likely to provide a benefit to patients?
 

History is strewn with ideas that were intuitive and made sense at the time, but were also hopelessly wrong.

 
Alternative medicine, opposition to EBM (Evidence Based Medicine), and opposition to SBM (Science-Based Medicine) are all the same mistake – evidence denialism.

Evidence denialism is devotion to being hopelessly wrong and remaining ignorant of being wrong.
 

Barbara Streisand?[3]

Footnotes:

[1] Another Lawsuit To Suppress Legitimate Criticism – This Time SBM
Posted by Steven Novella
July 23, 2014
Science-Based Medicine
Article

[2] Cochrane and a Significantly Biased Review of Steroids for acute spinal cord injury
Fri, 25 May 2012
Rogue Medic
Article

[3] Streisand effect
Wikipedia
Article

Maybe there is no such thing as bad publicity for a quack, but the publicity associated with this law suit means that people will associate the name quack with Dr. Edward Tobinick, or vice versa.

Dr. Edward Tobinick is stating I am not a quack.

Reasonable people are hearing –

I, Dr. Edward Tobinick, am a quack.

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Comment on ‘No More Comments on Popular Science’

 

In the comments to No More Comments on Popular Science is this from Duke Powell
 

Rogue Medic says Epinephrine is no good.

 

I have been critical of epinephrine because we are routinely giving epinephrine in cardiac arrest, but we do not have any evidence that epinephrine improves any outcome that matters. ROSC (Return Of Spontaneous Circulation) is not an outcome that matters. Epinephrine does improve ROSC, but there is no increase in people leaving the hospital with good brain function (the outcome that matters and surviving for more time is better). There is evidence of harm.[1] The evidence of harm is not great, but the evidence of benefit does not exist.
 


 

More ROSC, but fewer survivors. That is not a benefit.

I do not claim that epinephrine is good, bad, or neutral. I point out that there is probably a subset of cardiac arrest patients who do benefit from epinephrine, but we have no way of knowing who those patients are.

I describe the lack of evidence of benefit and explain that standards of care should be supported by valid evidence of improved outcomes.
 

He says backboards are no good.

 

There is also no valid evidence of improved outcomes with backboards for unstable spinal fractures.

Where is the evidence that using backboards on patients with unstable spinal fractures results in fewer disabled patients (the outcome that matters)? There is evidence of harm.[2] The evidence of harm is not great, but the evidence of benefit does not exist.
 


 

Rogue Medic disagrees about a lot of things that scientists have said are “best practices” for EMS.

 

Scientists?

What scientists?

I disagree with using treatments that are not based on valid science.

I disagree even more strongly with standards of care that are not based on valid science.

I am also very critical of bad science, even if the results agree with what I think is true.[3],[4]
 

In most instances this medic with over 40 years experience agrees with Mr Rogue Medic. Not because of the science, but because of my experience.

 

That is not a very good reason for disagreeing with standards of care. It is a good reason for asking questions of the people who would know about the evidence, but even a 40 year career is just a series of anecdotal experiences. What kind of control has been used to minimize the effects of bias?

What has been done to make sure that confirmation bias does not limit recollection to those anecdotes that support individual bias?
 

But disagree with him on global warming? He calls you a science denier and says you can’t think for yourself.

 

I described some of the reasons you appear to be a science denialist above. That is science denialism on the topic of EMS.

You would get the same responses to EMS science denialism if you understood climate change. There are people who are willing to agree with science when it agrees with their prejudices, but are science denialists when science does not confirm their prejudices.

The problem is with the people, not with science.

Science does not care about prejudices.

Science just tells us what is real.

Science is not perfect.

Because science is not perfect, it depends on confirmation by different methods and by replication (preferably more than once). And most of all, science depends on rigorous attempts at objectivity, because everyone has biases.

Science does not exist to confirm biases.
 

Fact of the matter is, I am thinking for myself in terms of climate change. I’m not the guy following the crowd. Just as you are not the guy following the crowd with EMS best practice.

 

I am the guy basing decisions on science.

You appear to be the guy claiming that science does not matter. You appear to be the guy basing decisions on politics.

It isn’t the decision that matters, but the way we get there. Political decisions should be made based on valid science, rather than denying science or trying to make science fit political goals.
 

BTW, make sure your furnace is working, things are about to get colder, starting tomorrow.

Ha!!

Now you are discussing weather.

You do not appear to know the difference between weather and climate, but you seem to think that you know enough to tell scientists that they are wrong.

Thank you for reinforcing my point.

Footnotes:

[1] Prehospital epinephrine use and survival among patients with out-of-hospital cardiac arrest.
Hagihara A, Hasegawa M, Abe T, Nagata T, Wakata Y, Miyazaki S.
JAMA. 2012 Mar 21;307(11):1161-8. doi: 10.1001/jama.2012.294.
PMID: 22436956 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

Free Full Text from JAMA.

[2] Out-of-hospital spinal immobilization: its effect on neurologic injury.
Hauswald M, Ong G, Tandberg D, Omar Z.
Acad Emerg Med. 1998 Mar;5(3):214-9.
PMID: 9523928 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

Free Full Text from Academic Emergency Medicine.

[3] Prehospital Intravenous Fluid Administration is Associated With Higher Mortality in Trauma Patients – Part I, Part II, and Part III
Rogue Medic

02/20/2011
Part I

02/22/2011
Part II

03/01/2011
Part III

[4] Prehospital Intravenous Fluid Administration is Associated With Higher Mortality in Trauma Patients: A National Trauma Data Bank Analysis.
Haut ER, Kalish BT, Cotton BA, Efron DT, Haider AH, Stevens KA, Kieninger AN, Cornwell EE 3rd, Chang DC.
Ann Surg. 2010 Dec 20. [Epub ahead of print]
PMID: 21178760 [PubMed – as supplied by publisher]

Full Text in PDF format from www.medicalscg

.

No More Comments on Popular Science


 

Why use Rush Limbaugh and his liberal twin, Michael Moore, as examples?

Because these two are irresponsible in their presentation of information and they have a lot of gullible followers.

Rush Limbaugh is actually known for followers who are too ignorant to have thoughts of their own. They call themselves ditto heads.

Popular Science is eliminating comments from their stories, because there is so much nonsense in the comment section that it detracts from the science reporting.[1]

Limbaugh is whining that the scientifically illiterate will be deprived of their ability to throw anti-science tantrums on this science site.

People with more spare time than sense are being told that their ignorance is not as good as a scientist’s education. The horror. The horror.

Am I exaggerating?
 

Let me tell you: This is Popular Science cutting off comments because of a “politically motivated, decades-long war on expertise.”[2]

 

Don’t have your vehicle fixed by an expert (mechanic), since expertise is bad.

Don’t have your illness treated by an expert (physician), since expertise is bad.

Should Jenny McCarthy and her University of Google followers be treated as if they know what they are doing?
 

[youtube]uDYba0m6ztE[/youtube]
 

When it comes to science, is Jenny McCarthy any different from Rush Limbaugh?

Climate change denialists (people who pretend that reality is not real) have been insisting that the planet is not warming because the yearly temperature does not move in a straight line and they seem to think in the most simple terms.
 


 

The data (green) are the average of the NASA GISS, NOAA NCDC, and HadCRUT4 monthly global surface temperature anomaly datasets from January 1970 through November 2012, with linear trends for the short time periods Jan 1970 to Oct 1977, Apr 1977 to Dec 1986, Sep 1987 to Nov 1996, Jun 1997 to Dec 2002, and Nov 2002 to Nov 2012 (blue), and also showing the far more reliable linear trend for the full time period (red).[3]

 

If we were treating a septic patient, should we rejoice that his peripheral temperature (skin, arms, legs) is coming down?

Should we assume that the patient is getting better by cherry picking data that appears to support what we want to happen?

An expert (physician) should ignore the predictable anomaly and realize that the core temperature is what matters.

Should the septic patient be treated according to science, or should we make treatment about politics?
 

cranks tend not to mind the crankery of others, since they see themselves as opposed to a scientific orthodoxy. Consistency be damned, they just want to see science with egg on its face so they can prove that they are being persecuted.[4]

 

Rush Limbaugh, Michael Moore, Jenny McCarthy, . . . are cranks. They do not understand science and cannot tell the difference between nonsense and science.

Climate change is not politics. Ways of dealing with climate change will involve politics.

Persuading people that climate change is politics is one way of avoiding science and claiming that any ignorant criticism is as valid as understanding science.

Climate change is science.

Science is not politics.

Science denialism is politics.

Footnotes:

[1] Why We’re Shutting Off Our Comments – Starting today, PopularScience.com will no longer accept comments on new articles. Here’s why.
Popular Science
By Suzanne LaBarre
Posted 09.24.2013 at 8:15 am
Article

[2] Popular Science Ends Reader Comments Because Too Many People Disagree with Them
The Rush Limbaugh Show
Quick Hits Page
Link to Quick Hits Page – there does not appear to be any link to the actual article by Limbaugh.

[3] The Escalator
Skeptical Science
Article

[4] Crank Magnetism
Denialism Blog
Posted by Mark Hoofnagle
June 28, 2007
Article

.