The annual report of Skeptical Raptor’s blog–2014

2014-annual-report

Actually, it’s not so annual, cause this is the first time I’ve done it, more or less.

I started this blog in January 2012. Just three years ago. I really didn’t know what subjects would be my focus, but it was science generally. I kind of wandered around for the first few months, before I think I hit my stride with vaccines, junk medicine, evolution (though I really need to move back into that area), and other things that captured my interest.

In January 2012, I had precisely 262 page views. For the whole month. I really thought “why bother.” For 2012, I had 184,000 page views, which still made me wonder if the effort was worth it.

In November 2014, I had over 278,000 unique page views, meaning I did more in November than I did in all of 2012. For 2014, I had nearly 1.2 million unique page views, which meant this website is ranked 278,000th in the world. OK, that sounds terrible, except that there’s 1,200,000,000 (1.2 billion if you hate counting zeroes) websites on the interwebs as of this moment. So this blog ranks in the top 0.023% of all websites on the internet. It’s no Facebook or Amazon, but then again, I have reach goals for this blog, and those aren’t it!

My goal is to provide scientific evidence for science and medicine, while doing the same against pseudoscientific myths and memes that are popular on the social networks. I do it with my style–take no prisoners, and use the highest standards of evidence. I refuse to accept a cherry-picked study that supports an a priori conclusion, when the scientific consensus, based on a mountainous body of evidence, is a formidable fortress of knowledge.

I seriously get frustrated when people think that their opinion somehow trumps the scientific consensus. Or that they think they can lie or intentionally abuse data to fit their “beliefs.” Climate change deniers. Evolution deniers. Vaccine deniers. GMO deniers. HIV/AIDS deniers. All use the same methodology to make their points. Whining about so-called problems, based on nonsense and ignorance. Depending upon false authorities to “prove” that the denier point of view deserves respect. Finding the one study that is an outlier, and ignoring the mountains of evidence supporting the scientific consensus. Providing false-balanced presentations that make it appear that there is really a debate. Using personal attacks and conspiracy theories to attack the character of thoughtful and intellectually superior science supporters.

If it weren’t so dangerous, we’d laugh at these people. Well, I still mock them, but I know they are dangerous lunatics.

Enough with the stupidity of the pseudoscience-pushing crowd. Here’s the list, in reverse order, of the top 10 most read articles on this blog. Some of them are surprising, at least to me.

  • Polio vaccine does not cause cancer–debunking a myth. In 10th place is this article that refutes a seriously lame internet meme that millions of people are at risk from “cancer” (let me repeat for umpteenth time that there are over 200 cancers, all are different) after receiving a supposedly contaminated polio vaccine. Nonsense.
  • Big Pharma supports the antivaccine movement–the real conspiracy. This article was actually first published in 2013, but it was still consistently read (and linked to numerous other websites). Please note that the title is sarcastic. But if Big Pharma were actually as devious and immoral as claimed by the pseudoscience crowd, this article would represent the Truth™.
  • How science deniers use false equivalency to pretend there’s a debate. Actually, this article was first published in 2012, and updated several times. If you think that Fox News is providing a fair and balanced presentation on human caused climate change, then read this. If you think that Peter Doshi and his sycophants are equivalent to the vast mountain of evidence supporting vaccines, then read this. Next time you see a “debate” about science on TV, it better have the tens of thousands of scientists who support the consensus on one side, with the 5 lunatics on the other.
  • Marijuana and cancer–what are facts and what’s just smoke. Another article I wrote in 2012. Did I write anything in 2014? Anyways, this article looks at the best scientific evidence for using marijuana to treat cancer. And it’s sorely lacking. Most of the evidence is in rodents and cell cultures, models that provide treatments that fail in humans over 90% of the time. If you read the comments, people continue to cherry-pick a study here or there that has no clinical meaning whatsoever. Ridiculously, marijuana users and lobbyists want you to believe that smoking pot might prevent things like breast cancer, when it would take 100’s of joints smoked a day to produce the blood levels of marijuana components to maybe have an effect on a breast cancer cell. You’d die the first day from CO2 poisoning.
  • Whatever happened to the LeRoy mystery neurological illnesses? Another 2012 article. There’s a trend here, just not sure what it means. The LeRoy, NY neurological illnesses expressed in 20 or so high school students was eventually diagnosed, by real psychiatrists with real medical backgrounds, as conversion disorder. However, until we got the final diagnosis, there were a number of conspiracy theories including HPV vaccines. And an appearance by Erin Brockovich. Not Julia Roberts however.





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  • Dumb Asses who don’t get the flu vaccine. Another 2012 article which merely republished a hysterical list of stupid reasons to not get the flu vaccine by Mark Crislip, one of the funniest medical writers around, who just happens to be an infectious disease expert. If someone knows about the disease, he is one. Not Peter Doshi, who wouldn’t know real science if it appeared magically next to him while he’s speaking to pseudoscience conferences everywhere.
  • Gardasil researcher is against the vaccine–another myth debunked. Well, not again–this is an article I wrote in 2013 about the complex, and ultimately kind of silly, belief that Dr. Diane Harper, one of the group of physicians who researched the HPV vaccine, was against the vaccine. Except her comments are nuanced, and frankly a bit strange, because her publication record is solid pro-vaccine. She got used by the vaccine denier wealthy shills, which is sad.
  • Despite the meme on Facebook, bananas do not cure cancer. This is actually the most read article I’ve ever written EVER. I wrote it originally in 2012, but I’ve updated it several times. It’s used by the folks at Snopes, which is like being quoted by Obama when he’s talking about golf. Eat all the bananas you want, but there is absolutely NO evidence that it can cure any of the 200 or so cancers. It all results from a hilarious misinterpretation of what was written in a minor article about how foreign substances (bananas included) can stimulate certain immune responses, when they are placed in the abdominal cavity. Who wants to have surgery to implant bananas? Further, the meme pushers misconstrued the name of a immune system factor called “tumor necrosis factor,” which really has nothing to do with tumor necrosis.
  • How vaccine deniers abuse the appeal to authority. This is one of my favorite articles that I ever wrote, and it was the second most read article from me in 2014. It was technically first published in late 2013, so that’s close enough, according to my new rules of what counts as 2014. It’s about Peter Doshi (and a bit about HIV/AIDS denier, Peter Duesberg, whom Doshi supports) who is trumpeted by the antivaccine cult as the authority who speaks the Truth™ about the flu vaccine. Except for the fact that Doshi is NOT an authority in epidemiology, public health, virology, immunology, microbiology, or anything that has any relevance to vaccine research. He is a charlatan, but because the antivaccine crowd has zero amount of evidence supporting their beliefs, they need to rely on fools like Doshi, the vaccine-denying, HIV/AIDS denying “authority.” Laughable.
  • Hey vaccine deniers–it’s just simple math. The number one most read article on this blog in 2014. Written and published in 2014. And it wins 1st place here by 250,000 unique views. It discusses how vaccine deniers seem to miss basic mathematics and ideas like “dose-response.” The antivaccination cult thinks if a vaccine includes formaldehyde, that means death, even though the amount in a vaccine is a tiny percentage of the formaldehyde produced by the child’s body every single day. And that a µg is 1/1,000,000 of a gram. Basic stuff.

So that’s it. I posted 216 articles in 2014, and only 1 shows up on my top 10 list. But there’s a reason for that. As this blog matures, I do links back to older articles, as I based new articles on things I’ve written before. Probably in 2015, I’ll wonder why only 2014 articles show up on the top 10 list.

world-readership

One last thing. This blog’s readership comes from all over the world. Of course, most of the readers come from English speaking countries like the USA, Canada, Australia and the UK. But I actually had page views from 216 countries. Of course, there really are only 206 sovereign states in the world, so they must count some places as countries (like Puerto Rico) that aren’t. But what was cool was that I had readers from Cuba, Iran, and other countries that must appreciate real scientific skepticism. Or they were trying to hack my website (don’t bother, it’s not like you’re going to get much useful stuff). I had no hits from North Korea–disappointing.

Time to move on to 2015, where I’m sure there will be delicious science denialism to attack. With the Republican Party firmly ensconced into power, let’s see how much scientific denialism they’ll be pushing with their known hatred of the scientific facts of evolution or global warming. That’ll be fun. I’m sure the vaccine deniers will again have no evidence, so they’ll have to bring back zombie memes.

So have a nice 2015. I’ll be watching the new College Football Playoff, because about time NCAA. About freaking time. By the way, could you make it eight teams?

The Original Skeptical Raptor
Chief Executive Officer at SkepticalRaptor
Lifetime lover of science, especially biomedical research. Spent years in academics, business development, research, and traveling the world shilling for Big Pharma. I love sports, mostly college basketball and football, hockey, and baseball. I enjoy great food and intelligent conversation. And a delicious morning coffee!