The Skeptical Raptor is cyber begging — I need your help

For those of you who don’t me, I have had a difficult relationship with my three daughters. I had spent more time in my career than with them, and now they are adults and we have no relationship. Because of personal medical and spectacular financial disasters, I am stuck in California, far away from my daughters, and all of us know that the only way to be family again is if I am physically close to them. I need them since they are my only family.

Unfortunately, despite my ongoing travesties and missteps, this website was going to be my income stream to get me close to them. For about a year it worked, but Google changed its rankings for this website, and I’ve gotten clobbered. Many of my articles that were in the top 5 of the Google rankings are now <100.

So, I’m asking for your help so that I can be in my daughters’ lives. Even if I get out there, it’s going to be difficult, but it’s the first step. I have limited years left in my life, and if I don’t do this now, I never will be in their lives.

I know that my story is no better or worse than anyone else’s, but I am really stuck. And I could use your help.

So, there are three ways you can help me.

The first way costs you no money, other than buying something on Amazon. Just click on the image/link and buy whatever suits your fancy.

The second way is Patreon:

Become a Patron!

All you have to do is go to my Patreon Page and my latest posts from here will appear there as if they were magic, without any advertising.

And the final way is on my GoFundMe page:

I thank you for your support.

a mother and son playing with paper dinosaurs
Photo by RODNAE Productions on Pexels.com

COVID-19 vaccine facts and debunking myths — the semi-complete list

COVID-19 vaccine facts

There are so many myths about the COVID-19 vaccine, I wanted to post some facts about the new vaccines which we can use for debunking purposes. I used to think that the HPV vaccine brought the most hatred and misinformation from the anti-vaccine world, but it’s clear that the new COVID-19 vaccines are their new targets.

This article will only focus on the five vaccines that I believe will eventually receive FDA or European Medicines Agency (EMA) approval – Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson (JNJ Janssen), and Novavax vaccines. I remain unconvinced that any vaccine made in China or the Russian Sputnik V vaccine will ever get approved by countries with robust drug regulatory agencies. However, if they are, I will certainly add them to a future iteration of this list.

I’m going to make this in a basic chart form for ease of use in finding COVID-19 vaccine facts and myths. I will link to supporting evidence wherever relevant.

Continue reading “COVID-19 vaccine facts and debunking myths — the semi-complete list”

HPV vaccine myth debunking – all the science facts fit to print

I’ve written nearly 200 articles on the HPV vaccine, debunking one myth after another. Despite the new COVID-19 vaccines being a recent target of various anti-vaccine myths and tropes, it has nothing on the FUD disinformation propaganda pushed against the HPV vaccine.

Like I did with the COVID-19 vaccines, I wanted to create easy-to-use charts for those of you who need a quick reference to debunk the nonsense out there.

Continue reading “HPV vaccine myth debunking – all the science facts fit to print”

Science of autism and vaccines – 163 peer-reviewed articles say no link

autism and vaccines

Autism and vaccines are not linked or associated according to real science. This has been published in real scientific journals written by real scientists and physicians. Even though the science is clear to almost everyone, the false claim about vaccines and autism is constantly repeated by anti-vaxxers.

Let’s be clear – the lack of a link between vaccines and autism is settled science. There is overwhelming evidence, as listed in this article, that there is no link. Outside of anecdotes, internet memes, misinformation, and VAERS dumpster-diving, there is no evidence that there is a link. 

Ever since MrAndrew Wakefield published his fraudulent study, which was subsequently retracted, that actually did not show a link between the MMR vaccine and autism spectrum disorder (ASD), the anti-vaccine crowd has embraced it as if it were a scientific fact. 

This Wakefield chicanery has spawned a cottage industry of other anti-vaccine zealots like Del Bigtree and his fraudumentary Vaxxed, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Christopher Exley, Christopher Shaw, James Lyons-Weiler, Tetyana Obukhanych, and many others. 

This article presents 163 scientific articles, published in high-quality, peer-reviewed journals. Almost all of them are either primary studies that include large clinical trials or case-control or cohort studies. They also include numerous systematic reviews, which represent the pinnacle of biomedical research.

All of these articles, from some of the top vaccine scientists in the world, show that there are no links between autism and vaccines. None. 

Continue reading “Science of autism and vaccines – 163 peer-reviewed articles say no link”

Pfizer-Valneva Lyme disease vaccine to start phase 3 clinical trials

Pfizer lyme disease vaccine

We have some good news today, the Valneva Lyme disease vaccine, which will be distributed by Pfizer, is going to commence phase 3 clinical trials in the USA and Europe. For those of you who live in areas where Lyme disease is endemic, I’m sure you can’t wait.

This article will quickly review Lyme disease, the new vaccine, and how you might be able to volunteer for the clinical trials. Yes, you might be able to volunteer for the phase 3 clinical trials.

Continue reading “Pfizer-Valneva Lyme disease vaccine to start phase 3 clinical trials”

High fructose corn syrup — debunking the myths with science

high fructose corn syrup

People demonize food “chemicals,” like high fructose corn syrup, all of the time — see monosodium glutamate, as just one example. And there’s high fructose corn syrup, a sugar that is blamed for everything from cancer to diabetes to climate change. OK, maybe not climate change.

High fructose corn syrup is just sugar, but because it has a complicated name, it must be bad. It’s part of the “chemophobia,” the fear of anything that sounds like a chemical.

The so-called Food Babe has made a lot of money endorsing a belief that all chemicals are evil. Of course, such claims ignore the simple fact that all life, the air, and water are made of chemicals.

They want us to believe that man-made chemicals are more dangerous than “natural” chemicals, but that betrays several things about science:

  1. Many “natural” chemicals are dangerous.
  2. Those “natural” chemicals didn’t evolve for the benefit of humans, so they are not inherently better for humans.
  3. Nature isn’t always better.

And high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is considered one of the evil “chemicals” that are destroying humanity. But is it? Let’s answer that question.

Continue reading “High fructose corn syrup — debunking the myths with science”

Does the full moon increase ER visits? Is this a myth or a fact?

full moon ER

Years ago, my girlfriend was the trauma department director, and she constantly claimed that there were more ER visits during a full moon. Now, I was much nicer to her than I would be to an anti-vaxxer, so I kind of laughed. But I wasn’t so sure.

Then I kept hearing that claim from who I thought were rational and sane physicians. They just firmly believed that ER visits skyrocketed during a full moon. I knew there would be data out there to support or debunk this claim, so today, as we approach a full moon, to find out what’s out there.

Let’s take a look at the evidence, and hopefully, settle the question for a long time. And I’m going to take bets that several ER physicians will post in the comments their anecdotes that “prove” their beliefs.

Continue reading “Does the full moon increase ER visits? Is this a myth or a fact?”

Aspartame (Nutrasweet) claims – most are not supported by science

aspartame dangers

Aspartame, the artificial sweetener known as Nutrasweet or Equal, is another target for those who love to push false narratives about substances in our foods. It’s the same for MSG, high fructose corn syrup, and so much else. As I wrote in a recent article about diet soda, the claims are not backed up by real science.

This article will look at aspartame as a “chemical,” and we know that any chemical scares people despite the fact that everything on the planet is made up of chemicals, and then we will look at the most current safety data from actual scientific research.

Continue reading “Aspartame (Nutrasweet) claims – most are not supported by science”

Monkeypox vaccine effectiveness — we don’t know much

monkeypox vaccine effectiveness

There’s a lot of information on various news sites about the effectiveness of the monkeypox vaccine. They often claim it’s 80% or higher. Unfortunately, I accepted those numbers as a “scientific fact,” so I decided to dig into what supported the claims of the effectiveness of the monkeypox vaccine. I was surprised by what I found.

I think when something like monkeypox, or the novel coronavirus two years ago, we jump on early data without analyzing it properly. And that’s where we stand with the monkeypox vaccine — exactly how safe and effective is it?

I’m not going into the safety of the vaccine at thiscause I don’t have good data to give you. In fact, I don’t have really good data to give you about the vaccine’s effectiveness, and that’s my point.

So, let’s take a look at the evidence that has been published on the effectiveness of the monkeypox vaccine.

Continue reading “Monkeypox vaccine effectiveness — we don’t know much”

Settlement of lawsuit about COVID vaccine religious exemptions

COVID-19 vaccine religious exemption

This article about the settlement of a lawsuit and COVID-19 vaccine religious exemptions was written by Dorit Rubinstein Reiss, Professor of Law at the University of California Hastings College of the Law (San Francisco, CA), who is a frequent contributor to this and many other blogs, providing in-depth, and intellectually stimulating, articles about vaccines, medical issues, social policy, and the law.

Professor Reiss writes extensively in law journals about vaccination’s social and legal policies. Additionally, Reiss is also a member of the Parent Advisory Board of Voices for Vaccines, a parent-led organization that supports and advocates for on-time vaccination and the reduction of vaccine-preventable diseases. She is also a member of the Vaccines Working Group on Ethics and Policy.

Headlines about a settlement between healthcare workers and their employer related to COVID-19 vaccine religious exemptions led people to ask what is the relevance of that settlement. This post explains this settlement and puts the issue in context.

Three points need to be made:

  • First, this is not the first time an employer settled a claim for denial of religious exemption.
  • Second, sometimes the settlement is the result of an employer making mistakes in handling religious exemptions and having a really bad case, and settling is the right thing.
  • Third, in legal terms, the settlement has no relevance to any other case. In practical terms, though, it can be used to put pressure on other employers, even when those employers are on legally solid ground.
Continue reading “Settlement of lawsuit about COVID vaccine religious exemptions”

Diet soda has a bad reputation, but science disagrees

diet soda

I love my diet soda, specifically one brand, but I kept reading that this was a bad habit that was going to kill me. I should be drinking water for my long-term health, getting rid of that sugar-free brown sparkling water forever.

I thought that I was taking a risk on my overall health by drinking diet soda even though it was better than drinking the full sugar versions of that drink. But recently, I thought to myself, “self, is there any science behind the tropes about diet soda?”

I decided to dig into it, and what I figured out was that the science didn’t support the claims of the diet soda deniers. Not even close.

Now, I could stop here and call it a day, but I know my audience, and you want science supporting or debunking the claims of the anti-diet soda world. So, here I go with some science.

Continue reading “Diet soda has a bad reputation, but science disagrees”

What are the links between vitamin D and COVID?

vitamin D COVID-19

Across the internet, I keep reading about some relationships between vitamin D levels and COVID-19. I’ve written about it twice (here and here), but I have never seen reliable, robust, and repeated clinical trial data that supports a link between vitamin D levels or deficiencies and COVID-19.

So, I thought I would take a look at it once again, and see if there’s anything there. I keep wondering if vitamin D is just another “miracle supplement” that, once you scratch the surface of data, you find that there is actually nothing there.

What we know or think we know about COVID-19 seems to change daily, partially because the disease caught us by surprise. But every day we seem to get new data that contradicts something we thought or adds to our knowledge of the disease. And sometimes both.

Let’s take a look at the current data on vitamin D and COVID-19.

Continue reading “What are the links between vitamin D and COVID?”

COVID vaccination lowers cardiovascular and stroke risk

COVID vaccination

Complete vaccination against COVID-19 was linked to a reduced risk of cardiovascular events such as acute myocardial infarction and ischemic stroke as secondary complications of a COVID-19 infection. These results were published in a peer-reviewed journal recently.

This is another huge benefit of COVID-19 vaccination that should be convincing evidence that the vaccine has both short- and long-term benefits.

As I usually do, I will review the study and results so that you can use this paper as further evidence that COVID-19 vaccination saves lives.

Continue reading “COVID vaccination lowers cardiovascular and stroke risk”