I wrote an article about how to critically analyze pseudoscience and misinformation so that you might skeptically analyze evidence supporting a claim, even if it appeared to be accurate. On Facebook, Twitter and many internet sites (including Wikipedia), there is an amazing tendency of individuals to accept what is written as “the truth” without spending the effort to determine if what is written is based on accurate science.
Twitter, of course, limits itself to 140 characters, which means you either have to click on a link to get more information, or just accept that what is stated within the 140 characters is factual. And if you can make a complex scientific argument in 140 characters, that would be impressive.
I and others have written several articles on this website about the anti-vaccine hate debate – discussing the atrocious and hateful behavior of a large portion of the anti vaccination cult.
This kind of “free speech” goes beyond simple mockery, ad hominem attacks, or, though it rarely happens, arguments about the science. Ad hominem attacks are, by definition, personal attacks that are used in lieu of real evidence. So, if you lack evidence to support your side of a debate (even a fake debate like what is happening with vaccines), you attack the person, rather than the evidence.
The vaccine hate debate on exists because they have nothing – no evidence of harm, no evidence of a lack of benefit. None. Ground zero of the Facebook anti-vaccine hate crazies is The Vaccine Resistance Movement (VRM) – read their hatred and lies. Donald Trump would be proud of them.
It’s been clear to me for a long time that those on the anti-vaccine side realize they lack evidence – their only choice is to go for the ad hominem personal attacks. These attacks come in all forms from accusing people of being shills for whatever company to creating some massive conspiracy that includes those of us who are Jewish and pro-vaccine. Just a note, this dinosaur is Jewish – but I’m flexible on consuming pigs.
The anti-vaccine cult can’t help themselves. Let’s see what they’ve done in the past few hours.
People try to claim that there’s some sort of debate about vaccines. In fact, one side, supported by the facts that the safety and effectiveness of vaccines is overwhelming and unbiased. The other side has nothing, so they employ a racist Facebook troll to game the system to make it appear that “we” are bad people.
It’s kind of a funny strategy on their part. The troll attacks Allison Hagood, an accomplished author and one of the leaders of the movement to protect children with vaccines. The racist troll has attacked Dorit Rubinstein Reiss and ghostly Orac, both of whom are intellectual heavyweights, who know more about the science and ethics of vaccines than the racist Facebook troll would know in a million years.
I think I’ve said this close to a million times (give or take a few hundred thousand) – the only thing in science that matters is evidence. That’s it.
It’s been clear to me for a long time once those one the anti-science side realize they lack evidence, they go for the ad hominem attacks, in all kinds of forms from accusing people of being shills for whatever company to going full-Godwin, that is, if you wait long enough while in an internet discussion, someone will claim something or someone is a Nazi.
Well, the anti vaccine cult has reached a new high (or is it low) for breaching Godwin’s Law, bypassing a lame relationship between vaccines and Nazis, and going straight for anti Semitic hate speech and bigotry.
On 8 June 2014, I switched the comment system from Facebook based to Disqus, a different kind of commenting system. There were a few reasons for this decision:
Facebook allowed too much spam in here. Because of Facebook’s tracking system, spammers could target fake comments that might be attractive to readers of various articles. It was almost creepy in how this spam fit with what was written
You have to be on Facebook to comment in a Facebook environment, and there are a lot of people who did not want to set up a Facebook account. I empathize with that, so Disqus allows for several types of login, including setting up an account that is not on any social network.
Disqus allows for threading of comments, which cannot be done with the Facebook system.
Facebook constantly changed it’s programming which would break the comments section for a day or two every few weeks. It was frustrating, and because Facebook refused to publish its changes, they would happen without warning.
Facebook had a binary moderation mode, either on or off. Disqus has a more vibrant one.
You can up vote and down vote Disqus comments. This let’s the casual reader know who has contributed something useful to the conversation.
I pulled the switch on the change this afternoon. There are a few issues here and there, including a boatload of missing comments. I’m trying to recover them, and some have shown up, but others are being recalcitrant. They’re not lost for me, as I can see them in my database, but making the database talk to Disqus has been a challenge. Eventually it will be all worked out. I want to be able to see all of the antisemitic remarks for the Oberführer of whale.to.
A lot of websites now use Disqus, and it’s pretty easy to remain logged on, so that you can comment to your heart’s content across the internet. Because you know, one day, we will correct all of the mistakes on the internet. OK, maybe correcting the mistakes on Wikipedia will have to suffice.
If you have any comments, suggestions, or complaints, leave them here. Maybe I can fix them. Maybe I can’t. Maybe in a year, I’ll switch back to Facebook Comments. Probably not.
I promised myself that I wouldn’t write anything more about Chili’s and their outstanding decision to back away from providing a donation to the antivaccination front group called the National Autism Association (NAA). Since I made that promise to me, and not to my readers, I get to write about Chili’s again with few consequences. Well, other than spending some time this evening in writing this last post, I promise, about Chili’s. I might choose to write something about the NAA again in the future, because they are kind of reprehensible, as you will soon see.
As I pointed out yesterday, the NAA is much more than just an autism advocacy group that lies about vaccines. It also promotes horrifying treatments for autism such as chelation, which has shown to not be effective. And many of the practitioners of chelation therapy are miscreants and other kinds of low lives. As I’ve mentioned previously, simple math, at the level a third grader would understand, indicates that it make take millions of doses of vaccines to be toxic, and only then if the patients kidneys had failed so nothing would be cleared from the blood. So, NAA is encouraging the use of chelation therapy, which does have risks, to fix a problem that we KNOW doesn’t cause autism, and, in fact, doesn’t even exist in the first place.
They could have just made the same claim that magical water cures autism. Oh I forgot, they are sponsored by Boiron, a homeopathy manufacturer.
Chili’s is committed to giving back to the communities in which our guests live and work through local and national Give Back Events. While we remain committed to supporting the children and families affected by autism, we are canceling Monday’s Give Back Event based on the feedback we heard from our guests.
We believe autism awareness continues to be an important cause to our guests and team members, and we will find another way to support this worthy effort in the future with again our sole intention being to help families affected by autism. At Chili’s, we want to make every guest feel special and we thank all of our loyal guests for your thoughtful questions and comments.
I presume that antivaccination lunatics, who lead to more children’s deaths, aren’t a worthy charitable cause for Chili’s. As it should be.
For once, science and rational thinking win. I’d be lying if I didn’t say there’s a big smile on my face.