Anti-vaccine activists constantly look for any science that seems to support their beliefs about the safety and effectiveness of vaccines. Lately, they have gravitated to the writings of Peter Doshi, who has made a career talking about vaccines. Although Doshi lacks the credentials in any area of science related to vaccines – immunology, microbiology, virology, public health, epidemiology – the anti-vaccine forces embrace him like he’s a Nobel Prize winning scientist. Which he is not.
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 spend a lot of time criticizing the vaccine denialists who have taken a fraudulent study, Andrew Wakefield’s Lancet publication claiming a link between MMR vaccinations and autism, to causing families to stop vaccinating children. This has lead to increased measles, whooping cough and other disease rates. All of which are preventable.
But of course, Duesberg, an HIV/AIDS denialist hits a whole new level of harm to others. He claims HIV does not cause AIDS. Actually, there is a ton of evidence that it does. He claims that AZT is ineffective. The evidence says otherwise, and in fact, HAART has decreased AIDS mortality significantly.
And what has this AIDS denialism done? Uganda and South Africa have rising AIDS rates because of this denialism (and a government’s complicity to that denialism).
I wish that Peter Duesberg would go away. But unfortunately, science allows for the gadflies and cranks, which, in this case, cause harm.
Peter Duesberg is an AIDS denialist. I don’t mind scientists that try to press for a new theory. It happens more often than one would think, but right now, the evidence that HIV causes AIDS is overwhelming. He’s like the creationist of the virology world..
He refutes the effectiveness of anti-retroviral drugs, without providing much evidence, but using this refutation as his “evidence”.
His rebuttal of the clear cut data of the disaster in South Africa when the government accept the AIDS denialism and anti-retrovirals usage dropped has been refuted a number of times.
Note that other journals turned him down. The Italian Journal of Anatomy and Embryology is what is a called a “low impact journal.” It means that the quality of the journal and its readership numbers are quite a bit lower than higher level journals.