Last updated on October 13th, 2019 at 03:45 pm
Here we go again – the pseudoscientific, conspiracy theory pushing, birther, truther, vaccine denying, woo-pushing website, Natural News, is now claiming that Dr Paul Offit is yours truly, the feathery dinosaur known as the Skeptical Raptor.
Yes, you read that right. The Donald Trump-supporting ignoramuses at Natural News think that the Skeptical Raptor is some nom de guerre for Dr Paul Offit. To quote those crackpots, “Insidious Pharma Shill #1: D. Paul Offit, a.k.a. “Skeptical Raptor” – chemical violence promoter and quack pediatrician.” Wow. The feathery dinosaur is laughing hysterically.
I was cackling so hard (it’s hard to describe this old dinosaurs laughing) when I read this that I almost choked on my dinner. Chicken wings, if you must know. Yeah, it’s hard to scroll through an article with chicken wing grease on your hands.
Let’s take a look at this Natural News “claim” – heads up, it’s lame. It’s really lame. But when has that anti-science website gotten anything right. Seriously, have they ever published anything accurate? I doubt it.
Why is Dr Paul Offit = Skeptical Raptor
Well, let’s take a look at the convoluted pathway from Dr Paul Offit to the Raptor. Hang on, it’s like a roller coaster.
The article, by S.D. Wells, a notorious woo-pushing contributor to the unenlightened website, starts with some ominous ramblings:
It is said that after years of being a criminal or a liar, that crime seems “normal” for the perpetrator and they stop covering their tracks so well. They lose track of all the lies they have told and often leave”bread crumbs” making it easy for investigators. Eventually, they are caught, exposed and their “reign of terror” comes to an end.
Sure, that would make sense if there were really bread crumbs. Or maybe Dr Offit was eating a piece of toast. Maybe the Skeptical Raptor was eating a sandwich and dropped some crumbs. Because sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.
Let’s move on. Though I’m not sure why it matters, Wells mentions that the Skeptical Raptor “co-authored a couple of articles on Wikipedia… articles on skepticism and debunking pseudoscience … .” Yes I will admit to these charges. There is a Skeptical Raptor on Wikipedia, and that is me. However, the articles I wrote used another user name. The feathery dinosaur wasn’t willing to show his true colors back then.
Then Wells tries to tie me to the “Porn King” Jimbo Wales, the founder of Wikipedia. I hate to break the news but Jimbo Wales loathes me – well, the prior version of myself. It’s actually quite funny, but Wales occasionally edits articles, and he defended a woo-pushing editor to push woo on a very woo article. We presented published articles that it was junk medicine, but Wales, whom I do not respect in any way, fought back. The Skeptical Raptor is not a buddy of Jimbo Wales, and rarely edits on Wikipedia anymore.
I have no clue if Dr Paul Offit edits Wikipedia. I have suspected he does, but privacy matters on that Website. So, no one, not even Jimbo Wales, knows if Dr Offit has a user name on the website.
OK, enough with Wikipedia.
The link between the decrepit feathery dinosaur and the distinguished Dr Paul Offit is based on a FOIA request to Dorit Rubinstein Reiss for correspondence between her and Dr Offit. Wells then makes this illogical leap based on one email out of dozens written between the two of them (pdf). Here’s the email:
This refers to an article written by the feathery dinosaur that mentions Dr Paul Offit, and cites an article he wrote. According to the Skeptical Raptor,
Recently, Medscape, mostly a reliable source, wrote an irresponsible click-bait article with this title, “Chronic Symptoms After HPV Vaccine: Part of Wider Syndrome?” The claim was based on some awful research that has been debunked so many times, why do we even bother?
Paul Offit, MD, one of the leading researchers and experts in vaccines, had to write a letter to Medscape to dispute their unfounded claims. Dr. Offit stated that there are no established links, including causal ones, between chronic fatigue and Gardasil. None.
I link to a lot of different writers. So am I Orac? Or Kevin Folta? Maybe Richard Dawkins?
Attacking Dr Paul Offit
Wells then continues his diatribe against Dr. Offit:
Imagine if an evil scientist put a few parts per million of poisonous snake venom in a childhood vaccine, patented it, was paid millions of dollars by the corrupt vaccine industry, and the vaccine was promoted by the CDC on their “recommended schedule” of vaccines. Well, the insidious Dr Paul Offit invented a vaccine (RotaTeq) … helping children fight off Rotavirus, which is a rather mild flu-like infection that causes diarrhea.
Imagine an evil writer at Natural News who relies upon the Big Lie to invent alternative facts that are simply not facts.
The truth is that Dr Offit was co-inventor of the rotavirus vaccine, which protects children from the rotavirus infection, Prior to the release of the rotavirus vaccines in the USA, the disease was responsible for more than 400,000 doctor visits; more than 200,000 emergency room visits; 55,000 to 70,000 hospitalizations; and 20 to 60 deaths in children younger than 5 years of age. That is not a “rather mild flu-lie infection.” It is serious, and children die.
Each year, prior to the advent of the vaccine, an estimated 450,000 children died of this disease worldwide. I am not a hero worshipper by any means, but the lives saved by this vaccine are a credit to Dr. Paul Offit’s devotion to the health of children. Natural News, on the other hand, dismisses these deaths, because they are so invested in these lies, that they couldn’t care less about children’s death.
And one more thing – Natural New says:
“Offit the Raptor” promotes injecting children with deadly pig virus-laden vaccine he invented, patented, and profited from by the millions
Sorry, neither Dr Offit nor the Skeptical Raptor recommend injecting rotavirus vaccine into anyone. We’re opposed to injecting the vaccine.
Oh, you didn’t know that rotavirus vaccines are all given orally? Wait, I must be Dr Offit to know this. Or is it that I have a bit of education in vaccines. Dammit, that makes it sound like I’m Dr. Offit.
And there’s more
Natural News then proceeds to conflate the cranky Skeptical Raptor with the life saving Dr Offit by stating:
The Skeptical Raptor Paul Offit is a dominating moderator on Wikipedia and describes himself as a pharma shill (which means you’re paid to lie). He says it’s safe to eat MSG and high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), and that health nuts are going way overboard worrying about them. He also promotes Monsanto’s deadly DDT pesticide, making a fool of himself and leaving a trail of nonsense strewn across the internet.
Apparently, because the feathery dinosaur happens to agree with Dr. Paul Offit about DDT, a position that was highly unpopular with fellow skeptics, we must be one in the same. I wrote about DDT a long time ago, And yes, the Skeptical Raptor thinks that MSG is just an amino acid and is perfectly safe. And high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is just sugar.
And “dominant moderator?” The two iterations of Wikipedia editors run by yours truly were never moderators. Just plain old low level poorly paid editors.
I have no idea what Dr Offit thinks of MSG and HFCS. Since my articles here are based on lengthy analysis of scientific facts, and Dr Paul Offit relies upon the same, I suspect he and I are aligned on these two issues too.
Intelligent people often converge on many scientific topics. I’m sure Dr. Offit thinks that the earth is round, that the Loch Ness Monster is a fable, and sasquatch doesn’t exist – like just about every other scientist in the world, myself included.
There are many more similarities, but only on the surface.
Dr. Offit and the Skeptical Raptor are both baseball fans. However, the good doctor is a Phillies fan. This ancient dinosaur is a Dodgers fan.
Dr. Offit is an academic physician at one of the top children’s hospitals in the world. The feathery dinosaur is a retired vicious carnivore who has nothing better to do than blog every day (give or take).
Dr. Offit got his undergraduate degree from Tufts University in Boston, and his MD from the University of Maryland Baltimore. The Skeptical Raptor got his undergraduate degree in skiing and graduate degree in watching college basketball from the University of Jurassic Park.
The Skeptical Raptor is a fan of the Walking Dead. Dr. Offit has never tweeted or mentioned online that show even once. I mean, if he were me, then he’d have mentioned it.
Dr. Paul Offit has written several books. The Skeptical Raptor has read several books. Some by Dr. Offit.
Dr. Offit is calm and professional. The grouchy raptor is never calm and rarely professional – you should watch how he eats. It’s disgusting.
Anyone with two functioning neurons can tell Dr. Offit’s writing skills are far superior to the Skeptical Raptor’s. Sorry, but they really are different, unless you’re looking for a random conspiracy theory.
Up next, Dr David Gorski
This is not the first conspiracy theory that involved this non-scaly dinosaur. Last year, Natural News accused Dr David Gorski of being the Skeptical Raptor. Or vice versa, I’m never sure about this. It was an amusing time for both of us. The thing is, Dr Gorski is a fan of the Walking Dead. Connect the dots.
Back on topic. In this recent Natural News article not only did they go after myself and Dr Offit, they went after Dr Gorski. They quoted him and his alter ego:
“I’m a pretty piss-poor pharma whore.”
“I’m a Pharma Funded Shill, supported by National Geographic.”
“I love the persona of Orac and being known by the name of a supercomputer featured on an obscure (in this country) British science fiction show popular over 30 years ago.”
“You know, at this point, I’m tempted to stand up, puff out my chest, put on my bravest, most serious face, and declare,“I am Spartacus!”
Wait. I am Spartacus!!! Or Dr Offit. Something.
Those four quotes are simply sarcasm and humor. He is a piss-poor pharma whore, since he has written numerous articles calling out bad science with drugs. So do I. Oooh, connect the dots.
Why is it with the pseudoscience crowd that they don’t get humor, sarcasm, and irony? Maybe it takes a sharp wit and intelligence to do so. I’m just saying.
Everything else is wash, rinse, repeat. I’m sure Dr Gorski and/or his alter ego, Orac, will respond. Which leads to a tiny point – Wells writes, “Scienceblogs.com”… (which is now shutting down after being wholly discredited).” The honorable Orac used to publish on ScienceBlogs, and yes it’s being shut down – not for being discredited, but because of a bad business model.
Really, Wells and Natural News will invent anything to discredit real science. Personally, I can’t wait for Orac’s new blog, and his response to this nonsense. If he cares. Wells’ article is really a boring rehash of thoroughly debunked garbage, so he may not give a damn.
And Ginger Taylor weighs in
Wow. Ms. Taylor thinks that a sarcastic comment is a fact. Once again, another junk science pushing fan of the Skeptical Raptor doesn’t get humor. Of the 63 comments on that post (at that time, it’s more like 100 now), all of them were funny retorts, including the new hashtag #IAmPaulOffit.
Geez, Ginger. Were you born without the humor neurons? Maybe one has to be vaccinated to fully develop it.
We’re done here
Only a deranged conspiracist would fail to see the humor in all of this. The feathery dinosaur had best belly laugh he’s had in years. Almost pulled him out of his year long depression since Trump got elected.
Just in case the vaccine deniers’ sense of humor is lacking, let’s be perfectly clear – the Skeptical Raptor is not Dr Paul Offit. The Skeptical Raptor is not Dr David Gorski. The Skeptical Raptor is not Orac. And the Skeptical Raptor is not a Canadian blogger in Winnipeg. Geez, the dinosaur is not nice enough to be a Canadian.
Did I mention vaccines save lives?