YouTube bans vaccine misinformation – sometimes science prevails

YouTube vaccine

On 29 September 2021, YouTube announced that it was banning all videos with vaccine misinformation, and it was banning the accounts of several dangerous anti-vaccine activists such as Joseph Mercola, Erin Elizabeth, Sherri Tenpenny, and Robert F. Kennedy Jr. The tide is turning against the vaccine denialists who have used social media, including YouTube, to push anti-vaccine nonsense. It couldn’t happen soon enough.

YouTube said it would remove videos claiming that vaccines are not effective in reducing the rates of transmission or contraction of the disease. It will remove content that includes disinformation about the ingredients in a vaccine. And they will remove any video that claims that approved vaccines cause autism, cancer, or infertility. Finally, they will remove any information that claims that vaccines contain electronic trackers.

Continue reading “YouTube bans vaccine misinformation – sometimes science prevails”

Do physicians study vaccines? Yes, and anti-vaxxers are wrong again

physicians study vaccines

The old Skeptical Raptor is taking a bit of a break over the next few days to recharge his batteries for all of the pseudoscience that will be coming out in 2020. In lieu of new content, I will be republishing the top 10 most read articles on this blog during 2019. Here’s number 4 – yes, physicians study vaccines. 

And here we go again debunking another uninformed trope – do physicians study vaccines? The anti-vaccine religion likes to claim that they don’t, but it’s one of their most ignorant, illogical claims about vaccines. Well, maybe I’m being harsh, since there are like 1,000 claims they make about vaccines, all completely and utterly wrong. 

The ignorant trope that the anti-vaxxers make is that physicians don’t take classes in “vaccines,” so they don’t know anything about them. Of course, the Dunning-Kruger infected anti-vaccine zealots think their 30 minutes “researching” on Google makes them experts on vaccines. That would be like watching a 30 minute YouTube video on repairing a Ferrari engine, and thinking that you are an authorized Ferrari mechanic.

On the other hand, a fake Ferrari mechanic isn’t going to do much harm except to the privileged internet billionaire, while a fake vaccine expert harms children. And when I write “fake vaccine expert,” I mean about 99.99% of the anti-vaxxers that spout their benightedness to their internet sycophants.

Let’s talk about whether physicians study vaccines. Most of you will know where this is going. Continue reading “Do physicians study vaccines? Yes, and anti-vaxxers are wrong again”

YouTube terminated Natural News – anti-vaccine Mike Adams whines

YouTube terminated Natural News

On 3 March 2018, Google’s YouTube provided us with some good news, because we all need some these days. YouTube terminated Natural News including their whole library of videos. If you search for Natural News on YouTube, you cannot find it. If someone republished one of Natural News videos, it has disappeared. If you have some blog post with an embedded YouTube video with one of Mike Adams’ rants, it will not be there.

In 2017, Google quit indexing Natural News in its searches because of some violation of Google policy by Adams, aka the Health Ranger. We, the science supporters, cheered, as we consider Natural News (and ilk like it) to be at the very bottom of scientific evidence. We all had good fun with it, including the ecstatic Orac, who wrote,

I am, however, very much enjoying my schadenfreude, and will continue to do so as long as Adams’ site is delisted and he continues his tirades against Google and his victimhood conspiracies.

Of course, Adams whined and whined about it with some creative conspiracy theories, although everything we were able to gather about the situation, Natural News violated one of Google’s policies that aim to prevent gaming of search engine optimization. Eventually, Adams corrected the issue, and you could search Natural News again. If that’s your thing.

At least I enjoyed myself for a couple of days. Maybe I can enjoy a year after YouTube terminated Natural News. Maybe a couple of years? Maybe forever? Continue reading “YouTube terminated Natural News – anti-vaccine Mike Adams whines”

The Natural News conspiracy – Google is out to get them and hilarity ensues

Natural News conspiracy

As many of us pro-science bloggers have written, the malodorous, fetid cesspool of pseudoscience, Mike Adams’ Natural News website has been blacklisted, strippedblacklisted, and delisted from Google searches (as of 26 February 2017). Of course, this has resulted in a series of comical headlines regarding the Natural News conspiracy theories – it’s all about how Google is out to destroy Natural News, because of whatever fantasy that comes from the brain of Adams.

Why is Mike Adams going after Google so directly? Despite some the wishes and hopes of the scientific community, Natural News was not delisted because of its awful pseudoscience. As I had written on the initial article about this story:

I have no clue why Google blacklisted Natural News. It may have been some SEO (search engine optimization) change by Google – the dark arts surrounding SEO is only understood by secretive wizards who try to explain to mortals like me. The blacklisting may be permanent, or it may be temporary. There are literally dozens of reasons that cause Google to remove a website from it’s search results – bad spelling and grammar, fake links, and many others.

In other words, I was pretty certain that the story of the blacklisting had little to do with fake news or pushing pseudoscience, but more to do with something strange to do with their website. And several Search Engine Optimization folks, who have nothing to do with scientific skepticism, they just write about the alchemy of SEO mysteries. Because I swear the existence of sasquatch is more real than some of the rules surrounding SEO. Continue reading “The Natural News conspiracy – Google is out to get them and hilarity ensues”

Website housekeeping note–Google Feedburner

Some of you use Google’s Feedburner system to get notified of posts here and other blogs. Unfortunately, Google has deprecated Feedburner and no long supports it (and hasn’t since 2012). I’ve begun to notice a lot of errors crop up (not just here but from other blogs) from Feedburner emails.

As a result, I’ve removed all subscription links to Feedburner from this website. You can subscribe through RSS feeds (if you prefer), email, or any social networking. It all works easily. There are subscriptions links in the column to the left (or right, I may make a change).

Try to do it soon, so you’re always up-to-date on snarky skepticism.

Google includes trust for medical website rankings

university-google-MD-degree

There are many times I have joked that pseudoscience pushers got their education from the University of Google–that is, these individuals think that they are PhDs or MDs  based on an hour of googling a question about science or medicine, then reading some of the results from the search. Most people keep the default 10 hits per page, so frequently only those first 10 hits are read.

Too many people use Google as their definitive scholarly source of information on controversial and scientific topics. Sometimes these researchers only read the 156 character meta-description, the short blurb of an article that you see in Google search results, before deciding to read it or not.

This is not the way to critically analyze information.

Continue reading “Google includes trust for medical website rankings”

The false ideology of science deniers–research is easy

tyson-science-trueA few days ago, a fellow pro-science person was concerned about a tweet she received. Her antagonist was claiming that if my friend had all that time to tweet, then she obviously wasn’t working in academics as she claimed.

I have a Twitter feed that flies across the top right corner of my screen. I have over 1200 followers, and I follow the tweets well over that number. I have varied interests, but to be honest, there are too many tweets. I only respond or retweet things I happen to see when I look up to that upper right corner of my computer’s screen. I know I miss some good stuff. But I think I find a few dozen every day that lead me to read news articles or peer-reviewed journals. Occasionally, I run across a Tweet that makes me laugh or think.

Yes it takes time, but from the moment I wake up until I go to bed, I’m reading, writing, texting/messaging other scientists for ideas. We discuss books we’ve read. All of us in science writing work very hard to get where we are, which cause an epiphany bout the science deniers. I have a theory about their behavior and dismissal of science. I cannot be sure it applies to everyone; for example, there are some seriously deranged people who blame everything in science on Reptilians, Illuminati, Jews, and the US Government (run by Jews I suppose). There’s no logic with those types. Continue reading “The false ideology of science deniers–research is easy”

One hour of research on Google–obviously all science is wrong

I’ve been told that I need to quit relying on the peer-reviewed journals for my scientific knowledge, because they are paid for by Big Government, Big Pharma, Big Agra, Big Hebrew and Big Whatever. They’re all just big with every single person involved dedicated to providing information to fool the people of earth. 

Science is obviously wrong about everything. Including unicorns. Obviously wrong about unicorns.
Science is obviously wrong about everything. Including unicorns. Obviously wrong about unicorns.

Apparently, the only acceptable type of research is doing it yourself using Google. Or in a pinch, Bing. 

Because I wanted to be more open-minded and to learn the Truth™ about everything. And here’s what I found. Continue reading “One hour of research on Google–obviously all science is wrong”

Homeopathy companies pay journalist to attack anti-homeopathy academic

As I’ve discussed previously about homeopathy, there is absolutely no evidence that it does anything but quench thirst, since the basic principles of homeopathy is that. And even then, there are much cheaper methods to quench thirst, like getting water from your tap.

Not that it should surprise anyone, but it’s been reported that a consortium of homeopathy companies in Germany have been paying a “journalist” over $50,000 to set up and run a set of websites to criticize a UK academic, Professor Edzard Ernst, one of the world’s leading scientific skeptics of the lack of scientific viability of alternative medicine, specifically homeopathy. The original article, Schmutzige Methoden der sanften Medizin (or the Dirty Tricks of Alternative Medicine) was published in a German newspaper, described how the these companies, who manufacture homeopathic sugar pills, funded a journalist named Claus Fritzsche to denigrate any critics of homeopathy. He focused on Professor Ernst, by attacking him for being partisan, biased and incompetent, on several of these websites. He then linked them together in order to raise their Google ranking, so that any search for Professor Ernst and homeopathy would put these websites high on any list of Google hits. Continue reading “Homeopathy companies pay journalist to attack anti-homeopathy academic”