Christopher Monckton files a questionable affidavit

Via Ed I see that Christopher Monckton, the fake expert in climate change who has been repeatedly told by Parliament to stop calling himself an Member of the House of Lords,, claims he’s the inventor of a magical disease cure of HIV, MS, flu and the common cold, and recently a birther, has now submitted an affidavit (read here) pushing his bogus birther stats argument. The only problem? I think one could argue he’s now opened his factually-questionable statements to legal scrutiny. From his affidavit:

I am over the age of 18 and am a resident of the United Kingdom. The information herein is based upon my ownpersonal knowledge. If called as a witness, I could testify competently thereto. I have a degree in Classical Architecture from Cambridge University. The course included instruction in mathematics. I am the Director of Monckton Enterprises Ltd., a consultancy corporation which, inter alia, specializes in investigating scientific frauds at government level, on which I advised Margaret Thatcher from 1982-1986 at 10 Downing Street during her time as Prime Minister. I have experience in the use of certain mathematical techniques which allow rigorous
assessment of probabilities including the probability that a document has been forged. I have published papers in the reviewed literature on climate science and economics and am an appointed expert reviewer for the forthcoming
Fifth Assessment Report (2013) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

First of all, just because you had a course or two in mathematics while getting a degree in classical architecture, doesn’t make you a mathematician. I took plenty of courses in math while getting my degree in physics, but it doesn’t make me a math expert. But that’s not the biggest problem with his claims. He has repeatedly asserted he has published papers in the peer reviewed literature and recently he’s inflated his resume with the claim he’s an appointed expert reviewer for the IPCC. His claims of scientific contributions have been challenged before, and he’s defended himself with this response at Watt’s up with that:

The editors of Physics and Society asked me to write a paper on climate sensitivity in 2008. The review editor reviewed it in the usual way and it was published in the July 2008 edition, which, like most previous editions, carried a headnote to the effect that Physics and Society published “reviewed articles”. Peer-review takes various forms. From the fact that the paper was invited, written, reviewed and then published, one supposes the journal had followed its own customary procedures. If it hadn’t, don’t blame me. Subsequent editions changed the wording of the headnote to say the journal published “non-peer-reviewed” articles, and the editors got the push. No mention of any of this by the caveman, of course.

What the editors actually wrote was:

The following article has not undergone any scientific peer review, since that is not normal procedure for American Physical Society newsletters. The American Physical Society reaffirms the following position on climate change, adopted by its governing body, the APS Council, on November 18, 2007: “Emissions of greenhouse gases from human activities are changing the atmosphere in ways that affect the Earth’s climate.”

To claim that this one article, in a newsletter, which the editors have explicitly said was not peer reviewed, constitutes “published papers” (plural) in the “reviewed literature”, is simply not correct. Even if you had thought that this had been peer-reviewed before, surely now that the editors have said “no it was not” is no reason to continue to claim that it was. After searching multiple databases including Google Scholar, Thomson Reuters web of knowledge, and Scirus, I can find little more than a book chapter in a crank textbook suggesting Monckton has ever contributed anything to any “literature”, and has not contributed to a peer-reviewed journal article. This contradicts his assertion that he has contributed multiple times to the peer reviewed literature. The one time he has defended this assertion, he was contradicted by the editors of the newsletter he claimed had peer-reviewed his piece. It makes me wonder if he understands what peer review is, because it’s very clear what it is when you’ve actually done it. Since there is no evidence he has ever has had his writing subjected to true peer review, it’s likely he has no idea what it actually involves, and his statement that it takes “various” forms is clearly based on no personal experience as he has no peer-reviewed articles in the scientific literature.
Peer review is straightforward and doesn’t take “various forms”. You submit an article to a journal, it is distributed by the editor to other scientists who publish in the relevant field who then submit critiques. These critiques are addressed or rebutted by the author, resubmitted to the reviewers, and then rinse-repeat until everyone is satisfied that the critiques have been adequately addressed. If he was indeed peer-reviewed in this piece, I’m sure he kept the reviewers critiques? Or the editions before and after review? No? Then you weren’t peer reviewed. He seems to be confusing “edited” with peer-reviewed, in that some brain-dead editor read his article and still somehow thought it was a wise idea to publish it.
Second, his claim that he’s an appointed reviewer for the IPCC? This is contradicted by the IPCC! Here’s the IPCC response:

Anyone can register as an expert reviewer on the open online registration systems set up by the working groups. All registrants that provide the information requested and confirm their scientific expertise via a self-declaration of expertise are accepted for participation in the review. They are invited to list publications, but that is not a requirement and the section can be left blank when registering. There is no appointment.

An architecture degree does not make you a mathematician or a statistician, a non-peer reviewed commentary in a physics newsletter does not make you a peer-reviewed scientist, filling out an online form does not appoint you to the IPCC, and you’re not an member of the House of Lords if Parliament repeatedly sends you letters telling you to stop calling yourself one.
I’m not a lawyer, but I suspect it might be a legal error to compound these factual mistakes by swearing to them in an affidavit. Filing a false affidavit, after all, is considered perjury.
That any of the denialists in the crankosphere think it’s a good idea to associate themselves with this guy is just another example of the Dunning-Kruger effect – the tendency of the incompetent to be unable to recognize incompetence in themselves or others. This guy is the quintessential fake expert, unless you consider him an expert in resume padding.
He gets the chimp!

Ken Ham Meets Everything is Terrible

Every once in a while Everything is Terrible has a fun denialism-overlap as they show some ad for a terrible piece of quackery, or in this case a great cut of Ken Ham speaking nonsense to a group of very unfortunate children. This is child abuse. Not the creationism bit, but the embarrassingly-shoddy job he does presenting his evidence which seems to consist of poorly-drawn cartoons of men standing next to dinosaurs and an overhead projector.

The Privacy Competition Myth

In his non-book-review of Garret Keizer’s new book, Privacy, “Reason” Magazine correspondent includes this ill-informed quip on privacy:

With regard to modern commerce, Mr. Keizer grumps: “We would do well to ask if the capitalist economy and its obsessions with smart marketing and technological innovation cannot become as intrusive as any authoritarian state.” Actually, no. If consumers become sufficiently annoyed with mercantile snooping and excessive marketing, they can take their business to competitors who are more respectful of privacy. Not so with the citizens of an intrusive state.

There is almost no market for privacy among merchants. Companies learned long ago that raising privacy as an issue backfires–it causes consumers to worry about it rather than feel safe about an alternative product. Whether online or offline, going to a competitor doesn’t increase your privacy, in real or perceived terms. It’s simply too easy to hide invasive practices from consumers.
Our work at Berkeley shows the folly of simply going to a different site in order to have more privacy. Here’s just one example, in our Web Privacy Census, we did a large-scale survey of popular websites in order to assess mercantile snooping and excessive tracking. Of the most popular 1,000 websites, Google trackers are present on 712 of them. Good luck finding a competitor who is more respectful of your privacy.

Disinformation about Disinformation: L. Gordon Crovitz's Information Age

When one spouts disinformation about disinformation, does it make it information? No, it’s L. Gordon Crovitz’s “Information Age,” the weekly poorly informed and poorly reasoned blather about information policy in the Wall Street Journal.
Recall that Crovitz recently wrote about the invention of the Internet and online privacy. I wrote about these last two columns, and this week in the Journal Crovitz tries to backpedal, with the standard trope that his “Who Really Invented the Internet?” article was controversial—”It [became] for a time the most read, emailed and commented upon article on the Journal’s website, with more than 1,000 comments.” It was popular in the same way that reality stars enjoy popularity.
Crovitz tries to explain that he was reacting to President Obama’s recent speech about government and business. Crovitz responds that:

• Government alone didn’t create the Internet.
• Government didn’t help build the Internet in order to create commercial opportunities.
• Companies that succeed on the Internet do not succeed because of government.

Of course, this is not what Crovitz said last week. He said:

If the government didn’t invent the Internet, who did? Vinton Cerf developed the TCP/IP protocol, the Internet’s backbone, and Tim Berners-Lee gets credit for hyperlinks.
But full credit goes to the company where Mr. Taylor worked after leaving ARPA: Xerox.

Full credit. Not shared credit.
To Crovitz’s second point, government builds a lot of things that have secondary uses in the commercial market. The many inventions of NASA, for instance, were first developed to execute space travel, and these technologies find their way into the commercial sector.
To Crovitz’s third point, companies do succeed on the Internet because of government. There is plenty of interaction and cooperation between high tech companies and government, and that is why high tech companies are not libertarian. If high tech companies were severed from the government gravy train, innovation would suffer. We’d have fewer drones and other wonderful technologies.
More fundamentally, so many internet entrepreneurs came from America’s college and university system, where big government funding helps develop leaders like Sergey Brin, Larry Page, Steve Wozniak and others.
This tech libertarian “I am an island” meme is fully debunked by Paulina Borsook’s Cyberselfish. In that book, Borsook lampoons arguments of Crovitz’s sort: “The most virulent form of philosophical technolibertarianism is a kind of scary, psychologically brittle, prepolitical autism. It bespeaks a lack of human connection and a discomfort with the core of what many of us consider it means to be human. It’s an inability to reconcile the demands of being individual with the demands of participating in society, which coincides beautifully with a preference for, and glorification of, being the solo commander of one’s computer in lieu of any other economically viable behavior…”
But back to Crovitz:

Supporters of big government don’t want to hear about the private-sector contributions to the Internet…

What is Crovitz’s basis for this crazy talk? This is an unhinged straw man argument. Any sensible person recognizes that private-sector contributions are critical to all sorts of ventures.

…but today the Internet is defined by individuals using it for their own purposes—communicating, accessing social media—and critiquing opinion columns. Many innovations are via free, open-source software. Perhaps we can all at least agree that the Internet boom began in the mid-1990s when the government shut down its remaining role, leaving the Internet to the power of the people.

The government never shut down its role in the internet. Has this guy ever heard of the Department of Commerce and ICANN? Or the NSF?
How did this guy get this column and is there no one at the Journal that recognizes it for what it is, or is this a case of crank magnetism?

Louis Gordon Crovitz’s Disinformation Age

Imagine a newspaper oped with half a dozen fallacies. Such a thing could appear in any newspaper in the US. But now imagine that the author is a Rhodes Scholar and you’re left with the Wall Street Journal’s L. Gordon Crovitz.
For years I’ve followed the bizarre arguments of L. Gordon Crovitz, who has a weekly column on information policy in the Wall Street Journal. It’s part of my daily routine of reading the Journal, which is great for business news but something else for everything else.
Last week, Crovitz wrote a real howler, arguing that the Internet was really created by Xerox, not the government, because among Xerox’s many great inventions was Ethernet. Of course, the Internet is the world’s biggest copying machine, but Xerox itself doesn’t claim to have invented the Internet. A chorus of more well informed people attempted to correct Crovitz, including the author of the book Crovitz relied upon to support his argument, but the damage is already done. The libertarian claque is parroting Crovitz as part of its mission to undermine any of the good deeds done by the government.
Perhaps Crovitz was attempting to cure the largest source of cognitive dissonance for the libertarians: that the libertarians’ favorite invention, the Internet, was funded by the source of all evil, our federal government. This single unfortunate fact may be enough to cure the Manichean mind of the libertarian, and thus it must be attacked.
One column does not completely undermine one’s claim to be an expert in information issues. But Crovitz has a track record of reactionary, inaccurate, and incoherent essays on issues of importance. For example, just the week before, Crovitz made a series of disconnected arguments and inaccurate observations about privacy. Dear reader, let me guide you through the sad times of the Disinformation Age.

The Way the Digital Cookie Crumbles
If regulators and lawyers limit the use of data, advertising online will become less efficient.

Typically, editors write headlines, so we have to give Gordon a pass on this assertion.

For a measure of how technology is changing human expectations, consider the “cookies” on your computers. These invisible text files are how websites track activity, delivering to marketers detailed information about individual behavior and preferences. In exchange for data, we get highly personalized online services.

I’m not sure what an “invisible” text file is. One that is empty? One that your operating system does not allow you to see? In any case, cookies are not invisible to marketers, who are attempting to track our every move online. This fact has been detailed by Crovitz’s own paper in the What They Know series.
Crovitz also engages in a false analogy here, which is more fully developed later. Yes, cookies enable tracking, but what websites choose to do with that data is different based the business model of the site. Some tracking, such as when one shops on Amazon and receives product recommendations, are an example of a personalized service that individuals can choose to enjoy. Most tracking does not deliver personalized services—it attempts to deliver advertising of all sorts. My work shows that when asked, Internet users overwhelmingly reject the value proposition that Crovitz lionizes.
Crovitz goes on to describe an example of differential pricing on the web, where for instance, certain consumers were presented with more expensive products or services because they were Apple users.

When Orbitz used these data to feature higher-priced hotels more prominently in Apple users’ search results, privacy lobbyists claimed outrage. But even in the analog era, readers of this newspaper saw advertisements for different products and services than readers of less high-end papers.

Of course the analog and digital eras are completely different. Contextual advertising (the idea that one places ads consistent with the publication, such as ads for golf balls in a golf magazine) is not privacy invasive at all. In fact, in the analog era, the Journal could not tell whether you even read the newspaper at all—only that you were a subscriber or not. In the digital era, newspapers are designed specifically to encourage the user to click more, so that precise interests can be mapped and advertising dollars maximized. A change to a more information-rich medium may justify a change in privacy rules.

These uses of personal data can seem a bit creepy, but the evidence also shows how quickly consumers have gotten used to being tracked. When given the choice, few consumers opt out of cookies. People accept the benefits of more relevant ads and more personalized websites in exchange for letting marketers track their interests.

This single paragraph demonstrates a complete lack of familiarity with the research that has been done in privacy and is descriptively inaccurate. Marketers complain bitterly about consumers deleting cookies, and research has shown that even popular websites have resorted to hidden and nearly-impossible to avoid tracking to address this consumer rejection.
Crovitz’s larger point, that people do not opt out, is backwards as well. Consumers can get used to a lot of things if those things are hidden from them, and they are offered no real choice about the matter. In reality, consumers think that they are protected by strong privacy laws. My research has shown that consumers mistakenly believe that privacy policies impose strong, legally-enforceable limits on the use of data.

…Consumers are loyal to Amazon in part because of its recommendation tools—if you liked that book, you may like this one—which mine user data to determine relevancy…

Here again, Crovitz does not present an important wrinkle in the privacy debate: first party tracking may be a “feature” that consumers desire. Consumers may use specifically for its recommendations. Research shows that most cookies on popular websites are delivered by third parties, typically companies that track individuals for advertising purposes.

Left alone, people would continue to make their own evolving judgments about how much data to share. Instead, regulators issue edicts. The Federal Trade Commission has extracted 20-year consent decrees from Google, Facebook, Twitter and Myspace, giving regulators broad review over their privacy and data practices. This would be fine if the purpose were to ensure that companies comply with disclosures about how they use data, but the FTC wants to define privacy standards.

And here, the libertarian paranoia emerges in full–regulators have nothing better to do but issue edicts, which are fully untethered from consumers’ desires. Here again the Manichean nature of the libertarian is exposed—regulation is so evil that it has to be spawned by evil people with evil motives.
In reality, American consumers strongly support some definition of privacy standards. No Congressperson has ever lost office for passing a privacy law. The FTC, under Republican leadership, was in fact the progenitor of the most successful privacy edict of all—the Telemarketing Do-Not-Call Registry. The FTC predicted that only about 60 million numbers would be enrolled. Last I checked, over 200 million numbers were enrolled.
The FTC’s consent decrees all flowed from situations where companies made promises that were false or reneged upon. And in each case, the company agreed to the decree—making it a “consent decree.” If these were real edicts, these companies could have litigated them. They don’t litigate them because in the course of a typical investigation triggered by a misrepresentation, the FTC finds lots of other privacy problems.

One result of FTC meddling is that plaintiff lawyers have open invitations to file nuisance suits on behalf of supposed privacy victims. A federal judge is considering a $20 million settlement offer by Facebook, which has agreed to make its disclosures clearer that when users click “Like” to promote a product on Facebook, their names and photos can be used.

The paranoia continues. Plaintiff lawyers file suits regardless of what the government does or doesn’t do. And these cases often result in cy pres remedies, given to organizations (such as Berkeley Law) that work on privacy and information policy.

If regulators and lawyers push too hard to limit the use of cookie data, advertising online will become less efficient. This in turn will reduce the amount of free, advertising-supported services enjoyed by consumers, such as social media, entertainment and email.

I think this argument hints at a core problem in the cookie debate—a false dilemma between a completely unregulated and fully tracked world, and regulation, any of which would kill the golden goose. Of course, there are middle-way approaches.
Crovitz’s argument assumes that online advertising in its current form is the most efficient, but in fact, more privacy-friendly systems may be more efficient. For instance, the DMA claims that telemarketing is now more efficient, perhaps this is because those who didn’t want to buy can opt out.
Crovitz’s false dilemma also shows that he is committed to a certain business model. There are alternative methods for highly-tailored advertising that could be completely private. But these alternatives require more work, and the industry has settled on a lazy approach that prioritizes tracking everyone (even those who opt out) all the time.

…Each consumer should be able to decide how to make this trade-off between sharing data and getting advertising-supported services.

I wonder if Crovitz really means this, because the FTC is considering “Do-Not-Track,” a method that would allow each individual consumer to decide whether or not to be tracked online. So perhaps the FTC is good after all. The industry currently offers no way to take this decision (even if you opt out, they track you).

The privacy debate shows how naive Silicon Valley firms were to sign 20-year agreements granting Washington regulators broad authority over how they operate. Digital entrepreneurs should be allowed to innovate freely, with consumers also free to choose their individual trade-off between how their data are used and the benefits they get in return. Overregulation is the way the digital cookie crumbles.

In other words, Silicon Valley firms were naïve to agree to consent decrees on the advice of the most sophisticated, well-trained lawyers in the world. If they only had Louis Gordon Crovitz, they would have decided differently, and the market would be free at last.

The Heartland Documents, Doubt is their Product

Everyone is writing about desmogblog’s leak of internal documents from the Heartland Institute. But to me I think leaked documents are nothing compared to their fully public, out-in-the-open history of being openly contemptuous of science, funding cranks with advanced degrees (though not in climate) to disparage the field, and their hosting of denialpalooza.
James rightly points out that much hay is being made of a single sentence that, could “easily be the result of sloppy editing, or at perhaps a Freudian slip.” This is of course is a sentence describing a curriculum developed by the HI that “shows the topic of climate chance is controversial and uncertain – two key points that are effective in dissuading teachers from teaching science.”
But other aspects of the document instead suggest to me that these people are true believers. Even in context this quote sounds horrible, but I don’t think it reflects a conscious desire to deceive. After all, they think their beliefs are true. They are so blinded by ideology they are literally incapable of acknowledging facts that run counter to these core beliefs. I think, if anything, this sentence is interesting because it shows that they are picking up tactics from previous denialist campaigns by those that were intentionally deceptive, such as the DI anti-evolution campaign and tobacco company denial of health effects of smokng. They are not interested in actual science but rather are interested in methods of sowing doubt. Similar to the cigarette company strategy of denying the harm of tobacco smoke, “doubt is their product”. We already knew these guys were merchants of doubt, some of them are the very same people that deny tobacco smoke is harmful.
I don’t think these documents are going to be a game changer. They’ve largely told us what we already know. HI is funded by oil interests. They pay cranks with degrees good money (11k a month to Idso – sweet!) to lend legitimacy to denialist pseudoscience. Their overriding goal is to undermine any science that conflicts with free market fundamentalism. They are trying to undermine climate science through sowing doubt and confusion in the public rather than pursuing actual scientific inquiry. To those that think HI is great, they think methods like this are just fine. To those of us who have seen how denialists operate, from the tobacco companies to the Discovery Institute, this is just another confirmation of their overarching strategy – to create doubt where there should be none.

The Global Warming Cranks – George Will officially in their ranks

One would think given recent findings that antarctic warming is robust for instance, that the canard of antarctic cooling would go away. Or, that based on the round dismissal of the myth of 1970s global cooling warnings we’d stop hearing about that in the media too. But instead I’m watching TV last night and there’s all these unbelievable crank ads sponsored by the anti-regulation ideologues the Americans for Prosperity featuring fake expert John Coleman. His senseless rant against the stimulus and the evils of regulation is accompanied by text on the bottom of the screen declaring “global warming it is the hoax” and “it is the greatest scam in history”. It is amazing in this day and age that this shameless conspiracy theory is being broadcast on national television. There is no way that one can on the one hand describe anti-AGW denialism as skepticism, and at the same time be a proponent of such an absurd conspiracy that thousands of scientists around the world, and journals, and editors, and politicians are all in cahoots to falsify data about climate.

But if there is a truism about crankery that I can come up with to explain the persistence of debunked arguments, it is that good ideas may come and go, but we’re stuck with the bad ones forever. For instance, we saw this weekend that George will still thinks there were predictions of global cooling in the 1970s. Scibling James decries George Will’s inability to read what he cites, but this is nothing new. George’s Willful Ignorance on this topic has persisted for years this isn’t the first time he’s misquoted that exact same article, or the second time either despite being corrected by others. His incompetence at judging sources, and his inability to stop citing false information shows he’s simply unwilling or unable to differentiate between legitimate and false information, or even read for comprehension for that matter.

What can be our response to this consistent dishonesty from Will? A repeat of a cherry-pick not once, or twice, but three times despite this being clearly false? I think the only thing you can say about someone like this, a man who can’t be turned, is that they’re a crank.

Mathew Nisbet, Beneath Contempt

Well, Nisbet has replied to Mike, Orac and me (not to mention PAL). However his reply leaves something wanting, like, intellectual honesty.

Nowhere in any of these reasoned replies is there “name-calling”. What we are arguing is for the preservation of accurate labeling of arguments that fail to meet standards of honesty. There are arguments that are crap, and arguments that are useful and indicate the author is interested in exchange of ideas, fostering discussion, the truth etc. We believe it is useful not to just label these arguments but to teach people how to distinguish between legitimate debate and illegitimate debate.

I am beginning to understand that Matt Nisbet is unable to engage us on such a level because I fear he is simply incompetent to do so or incompetent to recognize our attempts to engage him in meaningful debate. There is no attempt at honestly addressing our points, at persuasion, or any semblance of a discussion I could respect and participate in. Just a straw man, and a pathetic one at that. And when one attempts to address his arguments on his own site, he doesn’t publish critical comments (or no more than one in three).

I’m done. Whether there is anything to “framing science” or if it’s just a con that lets Matt Nisbet publish opinion pieces as “research” I don’t care anymore. He’s not an opponent worth debating.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Open letter to Jenny McCarthy

Dear Jenny,

Jenny, Jenny, Jenny. Oh, Jenny. Look, I realize I might have been somewhat less than kind in the past, but I’m hoping you haven’t written me off. I’ve been told you catch a lot more flies with honey than with vinegar, so please take this letter in the spirit it was intended—corrective, constructive, and condescending.

I have it on good authority that you are planning on leading a “March on Washington” tomorrow. That’s a really interesting idea. Many groups have marched on Washington—the Bonus Army, Dr. Martin Luther King, anti-abortion groups, pro-choice groups, a Million Black Men—all to help bring attention to their causes. It is only natural (or should I say “green”) that you would wish to do the same. Other groups that have made the march have had pretty clear goals, whether they be veterans’ benefits, racial equality, or other political causes. I was wondering precisely what your goal is?

According to the website, the goal is “to give everyone who loves a child with Autism (sic) a day for their voices to be heard.” That being sufficiently vague, the website also states that you wish to:

…[d]emand [that] Congress take action to Green Our Vaccine Supply (sic) while reassessing our current vaccine schedule. Ask Congress to reenact legislation that would eliminate mercury and other toxins from our children’s vaccines, study the instance of Autism (sic) and other neurological disorders in vaccinated versus unvaccinated children, and to extend the statute of limitations to allow all children affected by vaccine induced Autism (sic) to file in the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (NVICP).

I can understand racial equality and other socio-political causes, but I’m a little confused about your goals. The whole “giving a voice” thing seems rather devoid of actual content, so lets move on to your other statement.

[d]emand [that] Congress take action to Green Our Vaccine Supply (sic) while reassessing our current vaccine schedule.

First, I’m not sure what Congress has to do with this. Leaving that aside, what does it mean to “green our vaccine supply”? Do you wish them to be more verdant, like the Chicago River on St. Patrick’s Day? I suspect not. Perhaps you could clarify?

Ask Congress to reenact legislation that would eliminate mercury and other toxins from our children’s vaccines…

I’m sorry, Jenny, but that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. You already made us stop using mercury compounds, despite the overwhelming evidence of safety, and yet autism rates haven’t dropped. What “toxins” do you mean? I’m sure you couldn’t mean that list of “chemicals” in some of your literature—since everything is “chemicals”, I’m not sure which ones are “greener” (except copper—that can get pretty green, but it’s not in vaccines—yet). You mention “anti-freeze”, and yet there isn’t any in vaccines. Some have a compound with a similar name (polyethylene glycol vs. ethylene glycol—that “poly” makes a big difference, but it’s kind of “science-y” so I’ll leave it out for now). You mention “formaldehyde”, which is used to inactivate the viruses in some vaccines, but it’s present is such small amounts, that common environmental exposures are much more significant. In some flight of fancy, you also mentioned “aborted human fetus cells”. That’s truly bizarre. A cell culture line has existed for over 40 years whose ancestor cells came from human fetal tissue. To call these culture “human fetal tissue” is, well, wrong.

Oh, wait, here’s one of my favorites: “chick embryos”. Jenny, that’s a synonym (that means “means the same as”) “egg”. Eggs (yes, the same kind we eat) are used to make flu vaccines. It’s too bad, because people who are allergic to eggs will have to wait until we find a new way to make the vaccine in order to benefit from the shot.

I hope you have good weather, and at least check out some of the museums. Even better, you might want to drive a short way out of town and visit the NIH. They do science there. That means the test hypotheses, keeping the good ones and discarding the bad.

Jenny, you’ve been fed a disproved hypothesis (that means “you’re wrong”). It’s time for you to give up your degree from Google University and go back to being a mom and actress. You’re probably good at at least one of those.

Jenny McCarthy is an idiot—and I don’t mean that in a nice way

I have a certain amount of sympathy for any parent dealing with a sick kid. I also don’t think people should “suffer in silence”. If, for instance, your child is injured in an auto accident caused by a drunk driver, speaking out publicly is a public service.

If, however, you are a fuckwit with no relevant education, and are famous only for being famous, leave the bully pulpit to others. Case in point, Jenny McCarthy. Many of us have been following McCarthy’s descent into woo-filled madness as she has dealt with her son’s growth and development. As a brief primer: Son diagnosed as autistic, McCarthy buys into anti-vaccination movement, re-invents word “indigo”, subjects child to bizarre dietary regimen, proclaims him cured, doesn’t shut up about it.

OK, now that you’re caught up, the “not shutting up” continues, and this time CNN is giving her all the bandwidth she needs to show off her stupidity.

I’m not a journalist, and as such, I don’t really have an obligation to, you know, the truth. Still, I’m a physician, and I have a reputation (of sorts) to maintain, so I do my best. I would think that CNN would have journalistic standards somewhat higher than your humble blogger.

Not so much.

McCarthy seems upset that the rest of the world isn’t knocking down her door to spread the word of her son’s “cure”.

We believe what helped Evan recover was starting a gluten-free, casein-free diet, vitamin supplementation, detox of metals, and anti-fungals for yeast overgrowth that plagued his intestines…

Lot’s of kids believe in Santa with the same level of evidence, but that doesn’t make him real. Where is the evidence?

Continue reading “Jenny McCarthy is an idiot—and I don’t mean that in a nice way”