Skepfeeds-The Best Skeptical blogs of the day

Stupid quote of the day

Posted in Skepdude by Skepdude on July 31, 2010

I have been accused of harassing this grieving family by making this call. It is my assertion however that the official from the NCAHS has not only committed a serious breach of confidentiality by informing a third party that I had contacted him; he in fact, has harassed the McCafferys by calling a grieving family to tell them that I had asked for confirmation of Dana’s diagnosis. What possible reason could he have had for taking this action?

Meryl Dorey, AVN

Why this is stupid

Firstly, because it is stupid to claim that a phone call to Dana’s doctor, by an unrelated 3rd party is in any way “confidential”; and it is even more stupid to imply that by informing Dana’s parents that some person is asking for confidential information regarding their baby’s death in any way constitutes breach of confidentiality. Meryl is forgetting that the doctor she called was not her doctor and she was not discussing issues of her health. That would fall within the area of professional doctor-patient confidentiality.

Secondly, it is stupid to claim that the doctor informing the parents of such attempts to get confidential information about their baby’s death by a 3rd party, constitutes harassment. In fact, it is an ethical requirement for the doctor to disclose who he is discussing the details of Dana’s death to her parents; matter of fact he should ask for permission before disclosing this actual confidential information to outsiders. But then we’re talking about ethics and I don’t expect anti-vaxxers to be very well versed in that area.

That Meryl!

Update 8/09/10 – It has been brough to my attention that the official contacted by Meryl Dorey was not Dana’s doctor, but a high ranking official in the institution where Dana was diagnozed with pertussis. Furthermore, he apparently did not contact the McCaffery’s to inform them about the inquiries. It was the McCafferys who contacted the institution to ask if anyone had been poking around, after being harrased by the AVN thugs after their daughter’s death.

Tip of the Iceberg

Posted in Vaccinate Your Children by Skepdude on July 30, 2010

READ THE FULL ENTRY AT VACCINATE YOUR CHILDREN

The NSW Health Care Complains Commission (HCCC) describes the information provided by the Australian Vaccination Network (AVN) as “inaccurate and misleading”. However Meryl Dorey from the AVN claims that “all their information is accurate and fully referenced from medical literature”. Obviously someone is telling porkies, and it isn’t the HCCC.

There simply isn’t enough space on my server’s hard drive to detail all the inaccuracies and lies promulgated by the AVN, so I’ll just concentrate on the most obvious ones. Because if the AVN can’t get basic information correct, what hope do they have when the subject becomes more complicated?

The Immunisation Schedule

Surely for Australia’s self-appointed “vaccine safety watchdog”, this would be the most rudimentary knowledge. So can the AVN manage to give correct information on this basic topic? Let’s take a look. Here is what they claim is on the schedule:

AVN’s claim of the vaccination schedule

Let’s check the real Australian Vaccination Schedule. Ignoring the fact that many of these vaccines are combined and that the AVN have included vaccines given after not by 12 months, their description of the schedule is far from accurate. The Chicken Pox (Varicella) vaccine is given at 18 months, not 12. There is one dose of Meningococcal (at 12 months), not three doses. Finally, there is no influenza vaccine on the schedule at all.

These may seem like minor errors, but let’s not forget that the AVN have claimed on their website that they provide “all the information you need” on vaccination. If they can’t get the schedule right, what hope is there for more complex information?

Vaccine Ingredients

Another of the most basic vaccination subjects would be ingredients. After all, if they don’t know what’s in vaccines, how could the AVN be expected to offer advice on the purpose and effect of those ingredients? Let’s look at the statement on their Diphtheria page:

The AVN’s claim about vaccine ingredients

The “mercury” they are referring to is Thiomersal, a preservative used in some vaccines since the 1930s which contains about 1 molecule of mercury per dose. So does “every diphtheria vaccine used in Australia” contain it? No. In fact, it’s not in any currently used diphtheria vaccines, let alone all of them. The first thiomersal-free diphtheria vaccine was licensed for use in Australia in 1997, more than a decade before the AVN wrote this article, and every childhood vaccine used in Australia is thiomersal-free.

Again, one must ask: If the AVN cannot get such basic advice correct, what is the chance that the rest of their information is accurate?

READ THE FULL ENTRY AT VACCINATE YOUR CHILDREN

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Did you know that?

Posted in Skepdude by Skepdude on July 28, 2010

Also posted at Vaccine Central

  1. Measles is one of the leading causes of death for children around the world.
  2. In the year 2000 only 72% of children worldwide had received the first dose (of two) by their first birthday
  3. In the year 2000 an estimated 733,000 people died of measles worldwide
  4. In the year 2008 about 83% of children worldwide had received the first dose of measles vaccine by their first birthday
  5. In the year 2008 an estimated 164,000 people died of measles worldwide, a net gain of over 550,000 lives from 2000
  6. As high as 10% of measles cases result in death among populations with high levels of malnutrition and a lack of adequate health care.
  7. More than 10,000,000 people are affected by measles every year
  8. 1-2 out of every 1,000 children that get measles will die
  9. Measles can make a pregnant woman have a miscarriage or give birth prematurely
  10. There are people who claim measles is not a big deal and “natural immunity” via actually getting the disease is to be preferred to vaccinations. Really? When was the last time the measles vaccine caused 733,000 deaths?

Skeptify this poll

Posted in Skepdude by Skepdude on July 27, 2010

This poll needs skeptifying; it’s been pharyngulated but I think we can skeptify it a bit more. Have a blast.

Do you think The Ten Commandments should be displayed in government buildings?

Yes

No

Undecided

Christian doesn’t like the idea of free choice

Posted in Skepdude by Skepdude on July 22, 2010

…when it comes to euthanasia that is. Below is a video about a “controversial” billboard which advocates patient’s right to choose euthanasia when medical circumstances are hopeless. Of course, some douchebag christian must take the “moral” stance against such ghastly idea. Coming from a religion whose deity voluntarily chose to kill himself, this desire to deny suffering patients the right to end their pain sounds a little bit hypocritical of course. Take a look at the video and let us deconstruct this bag-o’-douche’s “arguments”.

Let’s get to it.

“from the catholic perspective, and from people of faith is that life is a gift from god, and that we as human beings are required and have a responsibility to help safeguard and guarantee the dignity of life, no matter how someone may be ailing”

Isn’t that nice? Don’t you just feel the christian love oozing out of the good ol’ christian? I do, especially when he ends his “argument” by basically saying he doesn’t give a rat’s ass about the pain the person may be going through! Moving on, the “catholic perspective” only comes into play when the person considering euthanasia actually gives a shit about said perspective, in which case he wouldn’t go though with the plan. Furthermore, the “catholic perspective” only applies to catholics, euthanasia doesn’t, or is he implying that The Perspective must be forced unto all, regardless of religious orientation?

“Life is a gift from god”

I see, god gifted some with a long life full of misery and pain, and apparently has instructed his people to ensure, at all costs, that these poor souls live as long as possible, so that their pain and suffering may be prolonged to the maximum, all for some mysterious, divine purpose I assume. He is a loving god after all, no? If life is a gift from god, then for some people it is a horrible gift that this beacon of christian morality wants to forbid from returning.

And what can ensure the dignity of one’s life more than horrible, unimaginable, never-ending pain and misery? Why more of the same of course, so keep the sucker alive, don’t allow him a rest, don’t give him respite, he must go on living “no matter how someone may be ailing“. What a loving sentiment for fellow human beings. Is this the new golden rule?

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The Dick Delusion

Posted in Pharyngula by Skepdude on July 20, 2010

READ THE FULL ARTICLE AT PHARYNGULA

I’ve been getting slapped upside the head with this “dick” meme that’s roaring through the skeptic community lately, largely because it seems that any time someone makes a generic criticism of rude, abrasive, confrontational critics of foolishness, the audience all thinks of the life-size poster of PZ Myers they’ve got hanging on their bedroom door back home. It’s a little annoying. Everybody seems to imagine that if Granny says “Bless you!” after I sneeze, I punch her in the nose, and they’re all busy dichotomizing the skeptical community into the nice, helpful, sweet people who don’t rock the boat and the awful, horrible, bastards in hobnailed boots who stomp on small children in Sunday school. It’s just not right.

Of course, there’s a range of criticism, too. I think Rebecca Watson is hitting the problem about right: it’s about picking your battles, and making a scene over trivial customs practiced with charitable intent is not a good idea. So, really, I don’t have to punch Granny in the nose—I can just say “thank you!”, and that’s fine. But when Granny tells you to get down on your knees and praise Jesus right now or you’re going to burn for eternity in a lake of hellfire, then some dickishness is not only justified, it’s necessary.

The thing is, the dickishness practiced is not nose-punching, it’s not even howling four-letter words at Granny…it’s a flat statement of “That’s crazy, I’m not going to do that, and here’s why.” That, apparently, is the New Dickishness.

READ THE FULL ARTICLE AT PHARYNGULA

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Welcome to this world

Posted in Skepdude by Skepdude on July 18, 2010

If Christianity was explained to a child honestly, as it is taught in the Bible, this is what it would sound like.

The Periodic Table of Irrational Nonsense

Posted in Skepdude by Skepdude on July 18, 2010

Via Crispian Jago. Enjoy.

Creationist revolutionizes physics ….NOT (probably)

Posted in Skepdude by Skepdude on July 16, 2010

At the considerable risk of becoming a “genius-crucifier” I am calling bullshit. A creationist over at the ever-more-scientific Answers in Genesis (hey, they have a “peer-reviewed” journal right?) is claiming that soon enough he’s going to publish earth-shattering research on, get this: light traveling instantaneously, INSTANTANEOUSLY, to Earth from any point in the universe. Take a moment to digest that; a moment and an indigestion pill.

I have been working for some time on solving the “distant starlight problem.” This is the issue of how starlight from the most distant galaxies is able to reach earth within the biblical timescale. Although light is incredibly fast, the most distant galaxies are incredibly far away. So, under normal circumstances we would be inclined to think that it should take billions of years for their starlight to reach us. Yet, the Bible teaches that the universe is only thousands of years old. Solutions have been proposed by creationists, but we haven’t had a definitive answer . . . until now.

I have to hang on to something! This is gonna blow me away! Blow me it will….it will blow!

It has taken a lot of time and effort, but I have found a solution to distant starlight which allows light to reach earth virtually instantaneously. Moreover, I have found both Scriptural and scientific support for this solution. This has led to the development of a new cosmological model which makes testable predictions. I have nearly finished writing a technical paper on this topic, which will shortly be sent to various experts for qualified peer-review. If it passes peer-review, we will publish the paper in the Answers Research Journal. This is our free, online journal. So be watching for it. If the paper gains the support of experts in the field, I may later write a non-technical article that summarizes the model.

No shit, it’s taken a lot of time; if true this will turn all of physics, and astronomy, on its head; and that is why I am inclined to call bullshit on it. I predict his theory will turn out to be wrong. We’ll see. One thing I wonder: How many of these so-called experts over at Answers Research Journal ar astrophysicists? Or physicists? Or astronomers? May I suggest you send your Earth-shattering paper to an, oooh say astronomical journal? Or a physics one? You know something to “balance” the inherent bias of the ARJ?

Scientific research takes time—a lot of time. A full-time research scientist might spend half a year or more working on a particular project, in order to write one technical paper about it. But that’s the way it has to be. Research must be thorough and rigorous; otherwise we may overlook an important fact that disproves the hypothesis in question. Peer review is just as important for the same reason. When other qualified scientists with a correct biblical worldview offer constructive criticism, it can be very helpful in refining an article or technical paper. So, keep an eye on the ARJ website for the latest research on distant starlight and cosmology from within the biblical worldview.

Wow, a half a year or more…to overturn all of known astronomical and physics knowledge. Wow! I call bullshit and would be delighted to be proved wrong. Can you imagine what that would mean. Faster than light travel. I fail to see how that would support the “few thousand-year old” hypothesis anyway, if anything it would just as well support the infinite universe hypothesis, but we’ll discuss that after Dr. Jason has proved faster than light travel. Ball is on your court doctor. Me, I propose an easier solution to your problem: the stars only appear to be far away, when indeed they’re very close. God is testing our faith by making them appear far, the same way he make the fossils appear to be very old.

The Vaccine Song

Posted in Skepdude by Skepdude on July 15, 2010

Nice, very very nice.

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