Dumb and Dumber: Making antivaxxers look good

Sometimes what may seem like a good idea can backfire horribly because well, it really wasn’t much of an idea at all.

So it was with a post headed Australian Vaccination Network Seminars on the irreverent and uniquely themed blog, JABS, Loonies – Justice, Awareness, Basic Support and Mind Blowing Stupidity. Keep that last bit in mind – mind blowing stupidity.

Now, I get this blog. No problem. It’s giving voice to no-nonsense criticism using colourful language. The author, Rebecca Fisher or just Becky, set out to post a daily comment from JABS to reflect the tenuous grip on reality we see accompanying top shelf antivaccination beliefs. Then, to Becky’s horror JABS seemed to moderate the “loonies”. Enter Age of Autism and The Australian Vaccination Network. An excellent choice, I concur.

Becky sprinkled the above post with plenty of swearing and foul ridicule. If you know how Becky writes and appreciate her style, it may well be quite funny. I personally enjoyed the description of Greg Beattie’s book. Not that I’d describe it that way, but because Beattie is a smug, attention seeking liar happy to profit from the harm he inflicts on other Aussies. His book is banally deceptive dreck, the title of which is not worth repeating.

So, “used bog roll” does suffice although I would query the ultimate value of additional swearing. After all, describing the real Greg Beattie is far more shocking, sickening, disgusting and of course hilariously funny, than any colourful delivery could hope to accomplish.

Like the other person Becky ridicules, Meryl Dorey, he denies the origin of HIV/AIDS in favour of the notion it’s a vaccine wot dunnit. When Dorey’s “invitation” to genuine medical practitioners to present at these “seminars” was knocked back, Beattie “volunteered” to take the place of high caliber professionals. Managing in the same offer to personally sneer at another doctor. In accepting this mockery, Dorey cut her potential attendance figures significantly.

Jane Hansen admirably describes the Greg we all know and love in action at Lismore:

In the absence of a balanced debate, anti-vaccination author Greg Beattie says he is going to try to convince everyone that vaccinations are great. He confesses he did a 15-minute Google search on the benefits. “We see these recurring themes ‘vaccines saves lives, medical miracles, diseases used to kill children’,” he says, but his tone is dripping in irony. […]

He’s done a lousy job of explaining the benefits of immunisation. We did not hear, for example, that diphtheria – the biggest killer of Australians in the early 1900s – has virtually vanished. Or that the 150 deaths in Australia in 1963-64 became zero by 1998, or that the only recorded death recently was that of young woman from Queensland who was not immunised as a child. Her immunised boyfriend carried the disease back from an overseas trip. She died, at 20.

It’s plain from the petulant lead up and the reality described by Hansen that all Dorey’s propaganda on pro choice and respect for medical advice – she called one aspect “a crock” – was forgotten for what is essentially deceit. No doubt Becky is well aware of this, and in her unique way summed up Dorey’s sociopathic and narcissistic personality disorders by labelling her f***ing evil.

What Becky might not realise is that Dorey and her minions live for this very type of insult. In fact, whilst writing “in character” if I may employ a phrase, it’s easy to “hear” the tone in which it’s intended to come across. It may resonate like Penn and Teller. Or well known stand up comedians who leave us doubled over in tears, merely capable of nodding in agreement.

But the gamble is, will your audience always appreciate it? Well no, and I’m sure Becky is not that gullible nor rightly gives a toss for prudish criticism.

The problem we arrive at however is that Dorey will use this “attack”, as her personal academic-in-waiting documents such criticism, to garner sympathy with the very people Becky was hoping to persuade against tolerating such seminars. The bigger problem is that it’s a kick in the guts to those who have been tackling the AVN for years. Whilst it’s true antivaxxers use a similar template, AVN in-group management is a strictly coordinated affair.

Recently the AVN has been caught with little more than false tales of persecution. Turn up the brightness on this mess and it can be seen that their manufactured dissent is truly ridiculous, whilst a quick tally of vile outbursts, scams, intimidation and bullying puts the AVN in a league of it’s own. For the first time in two years, Dorey has not invented stories of being hassled and threatened by “the skeptics” prior to her seminars.

Well, now she doesn’t have to. The reaction to Becky’s post was swift. Cunning from the outset, notice Dorey doesn’t (or can’t) refer to herself. She claims the post is “attacking someone who believes in informed vaccination choice…”. No. It attacks only Dorey and Beattie. But almost exclusively Dorey. There’s some weird depersonalisation issues at play in that troubled, dangerous psyche.

Someone has just sent me a link to this blog Dorey announced on Facebook. And:

 – which is the foulest, most vile piece of rubbish I’ve yet to read from the pseudo-sceptics. This blog is written by a person who can’t seem to write a sentence without both attacking someone who believes in informed vaccination choice and calling them a 4-letter word.

Great. “Pseudo-sceptics” is Dorey-code for actual skeptics, science advocates and devotees of scientific skepticism. In using the term Dorey makes a mockery of herself because the definition encompasses AIDS denial, vaccine denial, indeed evidence denial in general:

Pseudoskepticism, by contrast, involves “negative hypotheses” – theoretical assertions that some belief, theory, or claim is factually wrong – without satisfying the burden of proof that such negative theoretical assertions would require.

RationalWiki take it further such that one almost expects to read Meryl Dorey’s name as a famous pseudoskeptic. In effect, Dorey has confused notions from Hume’s philosophy of True Skepticism with a Facebook post an antivaxxer made one day using the term. Dorey delightfully called it “a keeper”, and along with her inability to research the rest is history.

Yet, as incredibly wrong as she is, her response to Becky’s post indicates a shift toward blaming her regular critics for being vile and foul mouthed attackers. Horribly she gets a free kick for that appallingly misleading “informed vaccination choice”, to describe the lockstep of vaccine conspiracy.

For impact Dorey copied in Becky’s list of top search results, then continues:

Notice the addition of “small hate group”. Suddenly Becky is a hate group? No. Dorey may follow this up with a letter blaming Stop The AVN and The Australian Skeptics. Directly pointing the finger for suppression of free speech, threats and footnoted with Dr. Brian Martin’s “research”. It’s vintage Dorey, twisting anything to her advantage and tutoring her minions to the nth degree.

Suddenly she’s gone all patriotic. One day Australia is a Health Fascist Scientocracy. Next we have our American loiterer, hell bent on destroying Australian public health, actually telling Aussies what the RSL stand for. Incapable of independent thought the flying monkeys screech into action:

Until then, Dorey hadn’t been urging her minions to write to the RSL or other Services clubs. Perhaps however, other diligent health advocates were in touch with various venues. Perhaps directing them to various accounts of Dorey’s first effort and her vicious ranting screeds in response to criticism.

Now these same clubs or individuals will read the far more offensive and pointless attack against Dorey, and associate every cautionary warning with that outburst. Those making the decision are unlikely to know the first thing about antivaccination deceit. They are far more likely to be the type of prudish critic Becky would not attract to her blog initially.

Dorey will win the sympathy vote and the persecution meme is off and running again.

The flapping, swooping and screeching actually gets worse. In this thread is a “Chris Savage” who earlier lied heroically:

I am an ex-Sgt of Police after 20 years in Queensland. Every SIDS mother told me their babies were healthy prior to vaccines and then deteriorated and died after.

So Dorey’s Darlings – and particularly stalker, poor Liz Hempel – are grabbing screenshots. Hempel has stalked one woman who jokingly said she’d throw fruit, found out she is a police communications officer from her blogger profile and urged for a complaint. Sergeant SIDS likes the idea and has chimed in with the details on where to lodge a complaint.

Now, I think that’s as pathetic as everyone else does. On a positive note it helps my steadily increasing dossier on how AVN members are demonstrably attacking people well outside of any “debate” that Dr. Brian Martin purports to be documenting.

I’ll spare you any more of the thread. It’s full of fawning and worship. At one point Meryl is likened to a giraffe and Becky’s post to a skinny, malnourished, barking chihuahua.

Whilst Meryl’s head is certainly in the clouds the problem with Becky’s post is not the suggestion to forewarn venues and certainly not the points listed. Meryl is indeed a liar, thief, scam artist, criminal and so disturbed on so many levels she appears to not care if children live or die or are brain damaged for life.

All these points can be made on merit. Not with abuse. Abuse only feeds into Meryl’s diversionary tactics and tend to lend credence to her schemes by lowering the tone of her opposition. Dorey has no evidence and that is plain. All evidence on vaccination shows her to be dangerous and all evidence on herself bears out what I just described above.

Now however, a very good opportunity to at the very least have her scrutinised at these venues has either been lost or markedly tainted. The tiresome and scratched record of persecution and abuse gets a new lease of life. Every audience will now hear of this “most vile piece of rubbish”. Every attendee will be told this is how all of her critics behave.

Personally I have no problem with Becky’s post. I think it’s entirely proper to place irrational enemies of reason in their proper place. That does include ridicule and free speech makes that everyone’s prerogative. What I am concerned about is the outcome, which was entirely predictable.

So what’s been achieved? Nothing. Backward steps. Unless one has personal contacts within the RSL it would be damaging to now write to them. Letters critical of Dorey will be associated with a senseless foul mouthed rant. The “loonies” Becky wants to launch into have a new lease on life and have bonded splendidly, reinforcing their beliefs. That is exactly what we don’t want.

There’s no doubt that abusing someone over their beliefs reinforces those beliefs. This holds true for onlookers and is actually helping Dorey. That’s bad for upcoming generations. It’s also true Dorey exploits abuse and criticism by injecting it with a dose of fiction. I doubt she’s finished with this one yet.

Doing the right thing for people that the Dorey’s of this world have abused – many of them now “loonies” themselves – doesn’t require mockery and ridicule. Garnering support and protecting children and future generations from the damage these creatures do is something that can, if not must be done on merit. Meryl Dorey might be cowardly, cruel and callous, but she still knows how to score points.

That’s no joke.