The Tactics of Social Control by the Skeptics


Friends of Science in Medicine get together  (L-R) Dr Ken Harvey, Loretta Marron OAM, Prof Alistair MacLennan AO, Dr Sue Ieraci, Prof Marcello Costa, Jo Benhamu RN, Prof Rob Morrison OAM, Prof John Dwyer AO


It is helpful to look at the extent to which the “Friends of Science in Medicine” and their allies will go to dominate the conversation, scare off opponents, and give the impression that there is a groundswell of opinion in their direction. Friends of Science In Medicine pretend to be a group supporting skepticism and science but they are always highly partisan in the approach they take. They fail to take in to account the huge problem in science created by the lack of replicability of most science and the massive distortions created by industry influence.  Additionally the targets of FOSM and allied  groups such as Australian Skeptics and facebook hate group SAVN ( Stop the Australian Vaccination Network)  are  ALWAYS consistently attacking treatments which are low cost, have demonstrated low risk, and may take market share away from the major pharmaceutical groups and medical interest groups. In this setting we should all remind ourselves that the third largest cause of death in the USA is medical misadventure.


There is substantial evidence that pharmaceutical groups actually directly pay people (often from overseas call centres) to make repeated comments on message boards and skew the public conversation and make their opponents look stupid. The question of paid astroturfing is complex enough to require a post of its own, so this post will focus on tactics used.


Skeptic and pro vaccine troll Dr David Gorski

These two posts were taken by a US pro choice group, from a discussion thread that started in April 2012 on Dr David Gorski’s blog “Respectful insolence” Dr. David Gorski is a Skeptic and  pro-vaccine oncologist with ties to the Barbara Anne Karmanos Cancer Institute, notorious for experimental cancer treatments and drugs that have been fast-tracked by the FDA. I have personally sighted the original but it took a good deal of work to trawl through the thread to find the original comments, and it was like wading through a sewer.  The comments clearly illustrate unethical tactics that we have all seen employed by the pro-vaccine lobby in the months since Pauline Hanson’s statement about parents doing their own research.
Note the contempt for the intelligence of their perceived opponents:
This is from an article entitled ” Pro vax trolls are impersonating disease injured families on comment boards” 
Poe2go @ 12 is right on target: post that kind of schizophrenic word-salad on the anti-vax sites in large quantities, under various pseudonyms, and clog up the sites with it until it appears that a large fraction of the members are downright wacko. This will seriously turn off undecideds who check out those sites.  
Poe2go’s comment is an excellent template for this tactic, but you can easily make up your own by inserting random words into sentences and then going on digressive riffs about the random words. Be sure to Capitalize occasional Nouns and Verbs as well.Really: listen up folks, the way to fight this crap is NOT by “patiently explaining” to people who are already way past being persuaded that the Earth isn’t flat. You may as well be talking to rocks (healing crystals?:-). The way to fight it is by sabotaging the anti-vaxers with crazy stuff that drives away undecideds. The way to fight it is with emotional narratives that undermine the ones that the anti-vaxers are pushing.And some editorial comment from the owners of the site  “The Refusers”
MB Comment: Message boards on the virulently pro-vax web site ORAC Respectful Insolence (Gorski) advocate fraudulently impersonating disease-injured families and insane people on the comment sections of vaccine injury and vaccine freedom websites such as Age of Autism, Mothering Magazine and Amazon.

These pro-vax maniacs’ purpose in life is to discredit anything that casts doubt on vaccines, which is their pseudo-scientific religion.

The next time you see comments saying: ‘My unvaccinated child has autism’ or ‘My immune-compromised child can’t take vaccines – it is your duty to immunize your child so my child doesn’t get sick’ or ‘My sister got measles and died’  etc. – please be aware that these may be totally fabricated lies concocted by vaccine fanatics to intimidate and discredit vaccine freedom and awareness websites and facebook pages. They also advocate setting up phony email accounts and IDs so that their dishonest comments cannot be traced back to the source.

This despicable behavior makes it impossible to believe the veracity of any pro-vax comments you may read on news articles, Amazon forums, Mothering Magazine, etc., where these slimebag commentators lurk.

If you needed any further proof that vaccine zealots will stoop to any level to deceive and intimidate parents who are looking for truthful vaccine information, read on.

 So the question becomes one of what to do about this. Firstly recognise the nature of the problem we are dealing with, the comments on Dr Gorski’s blog are clearly unethical, and as blog owner he has a responsibility for them. He has probably said them himself somewhere, but I believe there is good reason for the conduct of his blog to be reported to the local medical board, and to let them decide.

Secondly manage and contain the problem. All blog holders need to be aware of this and to moderate comments wherever possible. In the case of Facebook Communities, unacceptable posts need to be swiftly deleted and repeat offenders excluded.

Thirdly, the provaccine/ anti complementary medicine groups will be posting widely elsewhere, aiming to influence public opinion. The best answer to that is to link to this article every time you see a post that appears to be made by a confused, semiliterate “antivaccine” person.


Dr John Dwyer and Dr Ken Harvey have guilt by association for being aligned with the Skeptics

 Given the dangers of guilt by association, the members of FOSM such as Dr John Dwyer and Skeptic  Dr Ken Harvey need to be aware of the murky depths and unacceptable tactics of the “skeptic” movement. We all also need to be aware that as C.S. Lewis said, in this secular age many people show the same sort of unthinking obedience to “science” as they would have to their tribal shaman, or to the priest who sold them indulgences. In this day and age, calling anything “scientific” is a great way to pull the wool over people’s eyes. The members of the FOSM must also remain mindful of the poor replicability of the “science” underpinning much of medicine ( as detailed in my recent article “Trust Me, I’m a doctor”, and has been supported by the recent collapse of the saturated fat/ heart disease hypothesis) 

2 thoughts on “The Tactics of Social Control by the Skeptics

  1. Compulsory Retirement Should be at 60 Years of Age —
    At 60 people no longer have all the cognitive faculties & they become SET IN THEIR WAYS = not open to new things / stuck in the past.

    Dr. John Dwyer – Born 9 September 1939 – is 77 years old.

    Dr. Ken Harvey – when was he born & how OLD is this man.

    Loretta Marron Order of Australia Medal – Aged 65 ( like me ) – She graduated with a Bachelor of Science from the university of Adelaide in 1972 & Majored in PHYSICS & MATHEMATICS – She spent her career working as an information technology specialist.

    In 2003 she was diagnosed with breast cancer – she chose to have the surgical treatment.
    “It’s understandable that people reach out for the alternatives when they are ill .. BUT THE DON”T WORK .. people are hanging on to a panacea that, regrettable does not exist.” SAYS LORETTA MARRON OAM.

    Sir Alexander Flemming – His best known discoveries are the enzyme lysozyme in 1923 & the worlds first antibiotic substance benzylpenicillin (Penicillin G) from the mold ……..

    ALEXANDER FLEMMING was thought to be MAD by many quarters of the scientific world FOR EVEN IMAGINING the nonsense that MOLD & ANTIBIOTICS WAS ANYTHING BUT UTTER RUBBISH.
    Top MEDICAL discoveries.
    * Anesthetic
    * Birth Control
    * XRay .. was discovered by accident.
    * Insulin .. Type 1 diabetes used to be a terminal disease.
    All of these discoveries were thought to be IMPOSSIBLE & their discovery was brought about by sheer persistence on the part of the dreamer .. in the face of adversity from the SKEPTIC .. the one with no imagination.

    Loretta Marron does not have any MEDICAL training.
    Loretta Marron has never worked – HANDS ON IN THE MEDICAL SPHERE.
    Loretta Marron’s extensive “INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY SKILLS” .. are computing skills & not medical experience of any kind.
    Prof. Alistair MacLennon Obstetrics & Gynecology
    One thing this group have in common is that their brains have shut down to accommodate .. only THE GOOD OLD DAYS .. tomorrow is only the next day in their lives & not the potential for discoveries of miracles as was penicillin & insulin.
    The world need people who can see tomorrow & not those who lay in the stagnant puddle of yesterday.

  2. Elizabeth Kenny – 20 September 1880 – 30 November 1952.

    Elizabeth Kenny discovered a treatment for POLIO sufferers

    FOR 30 YEARS Elizabeth Kenny fought for her treatment to be accepted by the STAUNCH RESISTANCE of SKEPTICS like the mob in the picture above.

    Today the treatment that Elizabeth Kenny discovered is called PHYSIO THERAPY.


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