Judy Wilyman: What price a life?

A radical conspiracy theorist who once reasoned infant and childhood mortality was a necessary price to prevent fictional “genetic deterioration” she blames on vaccines, has added up to 200 Australian women per year to her body count.

University of Wollongong student Judy Wilyman responded to the release of a Victorian Cancer Council advertisement (below) by republishing misleading information about HPV, and the HPV vaccine Gardasil as part of her ongoing anti-vaccination campaign. The advertisement targets cervical cancer and the importance of pap smears. Judy is unhappy that the Council correctly observe that women “only need to have sex once to risk cervical cancer”. Wilyman writes [emphasis hers]:

This statement is not reflective of the risk of cervical cancer. The majority of women in Australia are not at risk of cervical cancer even if they are infected with HPV 16 and 18.

Yes, cervical cancer makes up only 1.6% of cancers that Aussie women face, leading to about 750 diagnoses annually. The main cause of cervical cancer is HPV – human papillomavirus. Genotypes 16 and 18 are responsible for most cases of cervical cancer. As late as 2007 mortality from cervical cancer was 1.9 per 100,000. Looking at ABS population figures for 2007 this translates to something like 200 women and teens – minus young females.

Wilyman plays semantics with the reality that HPV 16 or 18 “rarely” progresses to cancer. I accept this is important and comforting knowledge. Just as I know road users will “rarely” drive into telegraph poles or be “rarely” hit with severe force from behind. Wilyman then lists what is in the Gardasil vaccine in a typical attempt to scare.

Whilst there’s a lot to pick fault with in both the article and the so-called fact sheet, what I found compelling is the insouciance with which Judy Wilyman regards the death of others. Deaths that can be prevented by vaccine and are thus accepted collateral damage in her war against this aspect of public health.

Using the figures above we can see that 53% of cervical cancer cases are terminal. Put another way a woman may need only have sex once to have about a 50/50 chance of dying from cervical cancer. This would be notably rare. Yet it would also be vastly more probable than the one in a million chance of anaphylactic shock or severe reaction following MMR that Wilyman presents as a near certainty. It would be incalculably more likely than the never substantiated deaths from vaccination.

It seems Judy Wilyman can understand risk-benefit when it suits her. She writes:

  • HPV 16/18 is a common infection in women in all countries but 90% of infections do not progress to warts or cervical cancer
  • In 2004, before the vaccine was introduced, the death rate from cervical cancer in Australia was 1.9/100,000 women. This represents a very low risk to Australian women

It’s just too bad if you’re in the 10% or one of the 200 Aussie women to develop cervical cancer each year. But this isn’t Wilymans only stint at suggesting death should take precedence over vaccination.

At an Australian Vaccination Network seminar at the W.A. State Library in mid 2010, Wilyman told the audience that “it is known” that vaccines switch on otherwise dormant genes. “This is called predisposition to disease”, Wilyman continued without providing evidence. “Things like autism, diabetes and asthma”.

This has been refuted in reproduced studies across the globe. The Australian Immunisation Handbook lists these three conditions along with SIDS, inflammatory bowel disease and MS as conditions in which “research has constantly replicated no link”. Wilyman, who wrote to Australia’s federal health minister in November 2011 contending incentives to immunise are a “crime against humanity”, defends this falsehood with two criteria.

Firstly she conveniently dismisses scientific consensus and reputable government backed advice as part of a “conflict of interest” conspiracy driven by profit. This includes the media for publishing reports of fatalities from vaccine preventable disease and even the parents of deceased infants. The practice of accusing grieving parents of being paid to promote vaccination or even to not blame vaccination as the cause of their child’s death is common within the AVN. Despite public claims to the contrary it is a practice sanctioned by AVN president, Meryl Dorey.

The second criteria Wilyman exploits is the misrepresentation that environmental factors that may influence DNA include vaccines. Wilyman asserts vaccine components have “synergistic, cumulative and latent effects” on both health and DNA. Well aware that components are not present at toxic levels, Wilyman set out to scare her W.A. audience:

Your doctor will say “oh yes but they’re only in trace amounts”. I say to you, what is a trace amount? How much is a trace amount? It sounds minute, it sounds small but it’s all relative. And I’ll say to you, what is a safe level of a safe amount of a trace amount in an infant? How does a trace amount of mercury combined with a trace amount of aluminium adjuvant react in an infants body? They don’t know. It is counterintuitive to suggest adding toxins to infant’s bodies makes them healthier. It doesn’t make them healthier. Black is not white.

Source W.A. Audio  (at 26min, 06sec)

Wilyman then goes on to misrepresent a 60 year old quote from Sir Frank Macfarlane Burnet. Burnet notes that infant and childhood mortality is (to be blunt) a way in which seriously defective genes are removed from the gene pool. He observes that preventative and curative medicine may have an impact on this. Wilyman quotes Sir Frank:

In future years we may have some hard thinking to do. It may be that we will have to realise that mortality in infancy and childhood in the past has been the necessary price that had to be paid to prevent genetic deterioration and that some of our modern successes in preventative and curative medicine, may on the longest view be against the best interests of the state.

A rather challenging ethical and moral dilemma to ponder indeed. Fortunately in the sixty years since Burnet apparently made that statement the science of genetics, modern medicine and our grasp of what it means to be human have marched forward. So much so that we now seek to enrich developing nations with the same advances that have dramatically improved our lives.

We cannot ignore either that modern successes of that time are now long passed. We’ve pursued and realised preventative and curative medicine Burnet could only have dreamed of. Today the hard thinking we have to do surrounds our potential to select genetic perfection.

Yet Wilyman is either so deluded as to see what isn’t there or so deceptive as to bend its meaning to suit her own fantasy. I strongly suspect the first. Whilst Burnet’s comment can be seen in proper context, there’s no doubt Wilyman selected that passage to convey that vaccines inflict such “synergistic, cumulative and latent effects… epidemics of genetic diseases“, that it’s time to realise infant and childhood mortality is arguably a necessary price.

“Today”, she offered publically, the “overall health of children in the 21st century would appear to be supporting Burnet’s prophecy”. Genes, the environment (vaccines) and timing “interact together in the occurrence of disease.”

The intellectual paucity of her so-called reasoning is truly stunning. There is absolutely no evidence that “the chemicals” in vaccines are deleteriously effecting children’s health so as to be placing our genome at risk of deterioration. That the research Wilyman wants to see is deemed unnecessary by experts, does not by default validate her wild speculation.

This is a fiction of her own making. The scale of paranoia and delusion driving her belief in conspiracy has already made way for the callous abuse of others and a career of deception. That the lives of innocent women and seemingly infants and children rate lower than adherence to an ideology is perhaps not surprising.

Judy Wilyman is supposedly “researching” to complete a PhD under the auspices of anti-vaccine academic, Brian Martin. To date no actual research has been produced.

One hopes the University of Wollongong will ultimately address this matter ethically.

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Dealing with the Brian Martin dilemma

Recently Brian Martin a Professor of Social Sciences at the University of Wollongong, published an article in Health Promotion International.

Dealing with dilemmas in health campaigning appears to be a bipartisan analysis of social dynamics and some areas of public health. However whilst Martin relies upon science and methods employed by the scientific community to sustain his argument he demonstrates his signature ignorance of the scientific method and the import of evidence.

In short Martin has continued his campaign to elevate supporters and perpetrators of scientific fraud, pseudoscience, censorship, personal vitriol, calculated deception and dangerous scams to the status of legitimacy. Rather than admit his role in supporting and coaching Australia’s premier anti-vaccination lobby, Martin hides this affiliation behind:

I give a few examples, especially from the vaccination controversy in Australia.

I selected the dilemmas discussed here based on my studies of a large number of public controversies, including informal conversations with prominent as well as lower-profile campaigners. […]

A key aim of this paper is to make these dilemmas explicit so they can be given the scrutiny they deserve.

Health campaigners today face intractable ideological devotion manifesting as evidence denial. The resistance of certain scientifically durable realities that play important roles in the maintenance of public health, is commonly presented as “the other side”. In fact cursory examination reveals malignant intent, bogus information, illegal pursuits, frequent monetary scams and outright fraud.

Certain areas have become key targets of a persistent opposition that uses pseudoscience, conspiracy theory, evocation of public fear and the exploitation of scientific ignorance in an attempt to mask ideological persuasion as legitimate science. Whilst the intellectual paucity of these proposals are immediately apparent to scientists, and consequently dismissed out of hand, the mechanisms behind why this is so are not apparent to the lay reader.

As such, scientists face a dilemma in managing, preventing or containing what may be a disproportionately negative effect on public confidence in crucial areas of health policy. The problem with engaging vested interests that promote pseudoscience and scientific denial is that the risk of lending legitimacy to demonstrably false contention, is significantly heightened when recognised scientists (or health authorities) respond.

On the one hand the public have a right to expect reputable authorities address falsehoods in a transparent manner. On the other hand, notions such as the scientific method, scientific consensus, the impact of evidence and abuse of statistics is poorly understood by the general public. Understanding risk-benefit is a skill the largely scientific illiterate public in developed nations lack. Poor, and at times, irresponsible reporting by media outlets compounds this problem.

Recently a bogus claim by Natasha Bita of The Australian drew immediate condemnation from Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration. Influenza vaccination has been conclusively linked to no deaths in Australia. However Bita misused information from the Database of Adverse Event Notifications, to insinuate ten deaths were “linked to anti-flu vaccine”. Meryl Dorey, president of the anti-vaccination group Martin is a member of has been continually pushing the falsehood launched by Bita.

Interestingly in another of his articles, Suppressing Research Data: Methods, Context, Accountability, and Responses Brian Martin offers an excellent account of Dorey’s conduct:

Censorship, fraud, and publication biases are ways in which the availability of research data can be distorted. A different process is distortion of the perception of research data rather than distortion of the data itself. In other words, data is openly available, but efforts are made to shape people’s perception of it.

Although he’s referring to publishers, the above paragraph adequately describes how Dorey conducts herself. In Dealing with dilemmas in health campaigning, Martin raises the prospect that not engaging anti-science proponents such as anti-vaccination lobbyists may have a negative effect on public perception. Yet the complex reality of how adverse reactions are reported, accepted, documented and how they must be interpreted would be lost on the bulk of the public. The catchy, but false, ten deaths linked to anti-flu vaccine would have an impact.

More so, placing a callous, dishonest, unqualified opportunist such as Dorey alongside a genuine health authority creates the illusion that there actually is a debate to be had. Worse is that the individual lies and tricks of the anti-science identity by extension gain credibility. As I note below new research reinforces that opponents to public health and even the myths they create are best ignored when seeking to address they mess they’ve created.

Consequently, engaging such extreme minority views can be detrimental to public confidence and rather than removing respect for ideological falsehoods may well create an impression of legitimacy. Given his affiliations it is almost certain Brian Martin seeks to do exactly this in his article.

In fact the above quote splendidly describes Martin’s own generalised distortion of data. A suitable example follows. Rather than tackle the disparity between anti-vaccination propaganda and say, the risk of flying, driving, overseas travel or any day to day task he writes:

Supporters of vaccination emphasize the large benefits from being vaccinated, notably a reduction in disease, including associated deaths and disabilities. They also emphasize the social benefits, due to herd immunity, from high levels of vaccination (Andre et al., 2008). That is straightforward. But is it wise to mention that a small number of individuals will have adverse reactions, including death and permanent disability?

The advantage of sticking to positives and not admitting shortcomings is that the message is much more powerful. ‘Vaccines are safe’ is far more reassuring than ‘Vaccines are nearly always safe’. ‘Vaccines are safe’ is also clear and uncomplicated and hence far easier to sell. Furthermore, any admission of weakness is likely to be seized upon by opponents and trumpeted far and wide.

Unsurprisingly the second paragraph is without citation. What Martin is doing is constructing a faux dilemma that resonates with poor appreciation of risk-benefit. The fact is vaccines are safe. They are monumentally safe and to use such a vague term as “nearly always safe” conveys a risk-benefit somewhat more dangerous than riding high speed motorcycles on city streets.

To then suggest without breaking stride the proper description of vaccine safety makes them “far easier to sell”, is simply outrageous. This is exactly the sort of bogus information I mentioned above. It is the perpetuation of the malignant untruth that vaccines need a market and supporters of vaccines will pursue this. At one point we read an equally outrageous slur on scientists:

The most common way to deal with vested interests on one’s own side is not to mention them, relying on the belief held by scientists that they are objective, so it does not matter if corporations offer research funding and perks.

Recent research into debunking myths has underscored the perils of not only engaging proponents of evidence denial, but of simply repeating the myth itself. This material may help explain why, on the topic of scientific dissent, Brian Martin continues to give unjustified credence not only to soundly scientifically refuted notions (fluoride in drinking water, vaccination, conspiracy theory put forward as “vested interests” and even HIV/AIDS denialism), but also to the view that a “debate” may be legitimate.

Indeed not only are terms such as “debate” entirely inaccurate in a scientific sense, they at once distract from the true dynamics at play and arguably with tragic consequences, lend even more false legitimacy to what is essentially pseudoscience, abuse of science and denial of evidence.

Martin continues to place anti-science lobby groups on equal footing with public health authorities or refer to unqualified saboteurs of public confidence as “citizen campaigners” seemingly simply raising legitimate concerns. This fails to acknowledge scientific consensus, its import and value to community health, and its dependence upon the rigours of the scientific method.

In short Martin demonstrates an alarming ignorance of the scientific method and its ability to expunge in totality such ill conceived ideas that “debate” rightly applies to numerous areas of outright denial of evidence. Martin is a financial member and published supporter of Meryl Dorey’s anti-vaccination group and the PhD supervisor of radical anti-vaccine conspiracy theorist, Judy Wilyman. Yet again he has labelled volunteers who deconstruct the harmful messages of Meryl Dorey to suit himself.

Thus it is right and just to call into question Brian Martin’s acceptance or not of moral responsibility. Prior to this article he was furnished with ample facts that he’s chosen to ignore despite claiming to have been in discussion with participants. Clear demonstration of the bogus claims of the AVN that impact heavily on his subject material have been omitted. Impartiality is clearly irrelevant if not inconvenient to Brian Martin.

Amusingly he again raises the silliness of Dorey’s obsession with global conspiracies as an apparent fiction invented by her critics. After a frustrating exchange of emails over a year ago I demonstrated that yes, in their own words the AVN do believe in vaccine delivered microchips and global culling. I’m quite surprised he saw fit to republish such a ridiculously irrelevant aspect to this ongoing saga.

More seriously, the scientific community would quite rightly be justified to review reference to the bulk of scientific methodology and accepted consensus as “the dominant paradigm” or “the dominant epistemological position” in dismissive terms. Whilst it is true that scientific findings remain always open to further inquiry and challenge, this process cannot be jump-started by suggesting evidence denial constitutes scientific “debate” or that the very methods and practices that led to The Enlightenment constitute a “paradigm”.

It can be far more adequately argued that proponents of pseudoscientific beliefs and evidence denial have not, over the entire course of their existence, altered scientific consensus as it pertains to their chosen ideology. This is especially true of anti-vaccination, anti-fluoridation, alternatives to medicine and the denial of HIV/AIDS.

In this light we can see such groups as disempowered and effectively divorced from scientific and genuine skeptical inquiry. With no evidence to further their belief structure or force their ideology into reality we witness a constant recycling of well documented falsehood. This is backed by predictable contrariness that is more and more prone to argue their evidence is not flawed, but suppressed or censored by a covert conspiracy. Needless to say this has never been demonstrated.

Alienated, irrelevant and left to defend overwhelmingly debunked and thoroughly refuted notions, those incapable of accepting this reality predictably lash out and attack conventional science in an increasingly extremist fashion. Clearly these groups crave acceptance by the scientific community as they continue to use scientific terminology and mimic scientific research, discussion and reasoning.

However since their inception they have never once produced material that is accepted as genuine research or conclusive evidence. Their modus operandi is to shirk genuine research and produce bogus reviews they falsely label as “critiques”. These are carefully produced selections of cherry picked data presented with a false argument.

In addition they rely overwhelmingly on the alarmist and pseudoscientific work of a small number of faux professionals, whose greatest skill is the abuse of science – not its application.

This impasse has been manifestly apparent for many years. Thus far from accepting these groups have any legitimate contribution to make it should be stressed that the areas they continue to challenge are indeed settled scientifically. Yet Martin writes:

Supporters of the dominant position often say that the existing research base is more than sufficient to conclusively support their stand. Sticking with this claim has the advantage of not admitting weakness. It also can have an economic justification: unnecessary research is avoided.

The disadvantage of rejecting calls for more research is that the critics have a continual source of complaint. When critics have little capacity to undertake their own research—at least research requiring substantial funding—they can portray the defenders of orthodoxy as stonewalling in the face of legitimate doubt.

Again this is manufacturing a dilemma. With respect to vaccination health authorities have gone to extreme lengths researching, and continue to research, every possible adverse reaction or problem with vaccines. The research called for is today unethical and methodologically impossible. Other research demanded has already been conducted. Yet the goal posts are continually moved.

Consequently it is regrettable that certain authors appear to go to extreme lengths to cast denial as genuine dissent whilst insinuating that science has, and will, progress from those who consistently attack the process that does not produce the results they seek.

It should be noted Martin’s article has clearly been firmly edited away from his usual obvious slant in praise of scientific dissent. Its overall tone is seemingly reasonable. Nonetheless that’s not the real point.

Brian Martin has again shown he will be deceptive in the pursuit of his own interests.

Judy Wilyman named and shamed as cruel attacker

An anti-vaccine lobbyist who contends that children should die from illness to prevent the “genetic deterioration” she believes is being caused by vaccination, made front page headlines today.

Judy Wilyman argues that vaccines contain proteins and poisons that have a “synergistic, latent and cumulative effect” ultimately causing autism, arthritis, anaphylaxis, ADHD, multiple sclerosis, diabetes, asthma, etc, etc. This generation of children is “the unhealthiest yet” whilst no evidence that vaccines prevent disease actually exists – anywhere – she has asserted.

41% of today’s children are “chronically ill” primarily with auto immune and neurological diseases that arise from vaccines, Wilyman claims, suggesting that “good science would be investigating all possible causes of these diseases“. Yet whilst Wilyman is well known for drawing conclusions from remote correlation and blaming conspiracies for the absence of proof, today it was the latter obsession that drew journalistic interest.

So corrupt is the pharmaceutical industry, she has long reasoned, that to support vaccination must involve financial incentives. Any claim that vaccines actually do prevent disease is a simple lie. It would be “a crime against humanity” to provide incentives for immunisation and the media (who have pharmaceutical interests) seek to coerce and educate the public through fear campaigns involving stories about children ill or dying from vaccine preventable disease.

UOW researcher targets grieving parents ran the subheading of the Illawarra Mercury. Wilyman is the student of AVN defender and anti-vaccination supporter Dr. Brian Martin, professor of social sciences at UOW. Beginning with a comprehensive rundown of recently made accusations against parents who had lost their daughter to pertussis, it continued to a double page spread.

The main story by Cydonee Mardon, Grieving parents slam researcher covered what many already know.

Judy Wilyman, a PhD student and former Illawarra high school teacher, questioned whether Toni and David McCaffery had been paid to promote the whooping cough vaccine.

Ms Wilyman said the State Government was using four-week-old Dana’s death and “the mantra of seeing sick babies gasping for air” to push the vaccine.

Dana died of whooping cough, or pertussis, in March 2009. Her parents have since worked with health authorities to raise awareness about the infection and gave permission for their story to be used on a NSW Health Department campaign. […]

[Toni McCaffery said] “Dana is not an anecdote. We do not receive money for warning people about whooping cough. That is the most disgusting allegation.

“The money we received [from] the Australian Skeptics we donated to research to save babies from pertussis. Government has not ‘used us’ to promote vaccines in recent media stories. We agree to such interviews in our own time without any agenda other than to give people the warning we did not receive.”

Mrs McCaffery said Dana’s story appeared in a government brochure because “parents have a right to be warned about whooping cough and given accurate information”.

“We did not get that warning. It is up to parents if they want to vaccinate. It is also up to any parent to go public and speak to media. Do not use us against other families.”

The Mercury contacted Ms Wilyman who has so far declined to comment.

It was also another blow to the public face of the AVN who were correctly reported as hosting Wilyman’s letter to the Australian Human Rights Commissioner in which she also referred to the “mantra” of seeing sick babies gasping for air.

In W.A. in 2010 Wilyman used a 60 year old quote to suggest that infant and childhood mortality is a necessary price to pay in preventing the diseases she believes arise through interaction of genes, the environment and timing. By stopping vaccination which is switching on otherwise dormant disease-causing genes, and allowing vaccine preventable deaths we could improve “the overall health” of children, Judy Wilyman believes.

She informed her audience:

In 2010 it is known that environmental factors can switch genes on, that would otherwise remain dormant. This is called predisposition to disease. Resulting in epidemics of genetic diseases. Things like autism, diabetes and asthma.

I’ve got a quote from Macfarlane Burnet… 60 years ago. Macfarlane Burnet said:

In future years we may have some hard thinking to do. It may be that we will have to realise that mortality in infancy and childhood in the past has been the necessary price that had to be paid to prevent genetic deterioration and that some of our modern successes in preventative and curative medicine, may on the longest view be against the best interests of the state.

In the 21st century it is known that genes and environment and timing interact together in the occurrence of disease. The overall health of children in the 21st century would appear to be supporting Burnet’s prophecy.

Source: W.A. Audio (at 28min, 30sec)

Sir Frank Macfarlane Burnet was a Nobel prize winner and Australian of the year born in 1899. A brilliant virologist and immunologist the Burnet Institute in Melbourne is named after him. It is almost beyond belief that in the same talk Wilyman uses influenza as her example of a disease for which the vaccine is more dangerous. Could she possibly know of Burnet’s work in advancing influenza immunisation and how it still influences progress today?

His search for vaccines, particularly for influenza and massive inoculation studies (20,000 subjects) during the second world war, earned him global recognition. Under his guidance progress on polio, pox viruses, herpes, Murray Valley encephalitis and myxomatosis were added to this contribution. Simply put the man was a giant in the progress and necessity of immunisation with vaccines.

This post has no chance of doing Burnet justice other than to highlight Wilyman’s calculated deception in her abuse of research. It is enough that the “mandatory and coercive” monitoring of vaccination status – the “crime against humanity” Wilyman and Dorey ignorantly rail against – owes no small amount to Burnet’s input into keeping records on individual vaccination history.

Also in today’s Mercury is a moving open letter from Toni and David McCaffery. It happens to include reference to the reality of encouraging parents not to vaccinate:

We moved to the Northern Rivers to bring our family up in this pristine environment. However, we did not realise this was a hotbed for contagious and potentially deadly viruses.

Our sweet Dana is the innocent victim of dangerously low levels of awareness and even lower vaccination rates. Instead of her photo winning baby competitions, she is the tragic face of a Whooping Cough (Pertussis) epidemic and sparked a national vaccination debate. […]

Please learn from our past. Vaccination was introduced because there is no medicine to stop these bacteria that killed and maimed thousands of children. Now, these third-world diseases are on the rise again. In NSW it is Whooping Cough. In Queensland it is Measles.

Do you want to live in a country where we are too scared to have friends or family visit our babies or we won’t leave our homes?

As has become a brief tradition of late we might consult the work of Judy’s supervisor Dr. Brian Martin. Dr. Martin accuses opponents of the AVN of launching “attacks”, even inventing his own list of “attack modes”. He writes in the conclusion of When Public Health Debates Become Abusive:

Debates  over  health-related matters  are  often  extremely  bitter. Usually,  though, more attention  is  given  to  the  content  — the  facts,  which  position  is  correct,  and  policy implications  — than  to  the  way  a  debate  is  carried  out.  Yet  the  methods  used  are important.  Heavy-handed  and  abusive  techniques  can  discourage  participation  and distort outcomes, affecting health policies and practices. […]

Science,  as  a  model  form  of  truth-seeking,  is  based  on  rational  assessment  of evidence. Health policy disputes can only partly follow the science model because they also involve differences in values. […]

The  question  then arises: what can be done to shift debates towards more participatory, respectful modes of engagement? […] The next question is, what should be done about those who engage in personal  abuse  and  who  attempt  to silence  opponents? A  first step  is  to  expose  and criticise  these  sorts  of  methods,  especially  when  used  by  those  on  one’s  own  side

Certainly then, more and more of Dr. Martin’s work can be seen as applying not to those who raise dissent about the privileged status of the AVN, but to members of the antivaccination movement itself.

The University of Wollongong did respond, striving to distance itself from Ms. Wilyman. I have no issue with their general position although I would hope immediate steps have been taken about Wilyman signing the letter to the AHRC as PhD Candidate. This of course is not the only example of egregious conduct on Wilyman’s part bolstered by her affiliation with UOW. From The Mercury:

The UOW issued a statement distancing itself from Ms Wilyman’s comments.

“Articles and associated comments published by Judy Wilyman on the internet, on vaccination issues, are her own personal views and not those of the university,” the statement said.

The larger problem includes the academic succor given to the evidence denial on her part, the extensive involvement of Dr. Martin that raises a clear conflict of interest and the ethical and moral obligation that UOW has to public health. To support and legitimise antivaccination propaganda is not a reflection of academic integrity. To continue to label Wilyman a “researcher” is absurd. She is a reviewer, admitting to “scouring peer reviewed research for ten years”, simply twisting selected material to her own aims.

As with parents who claim to have “researched” the science of vaccination and decide to deny vaccination, questions must be asked about evaluation. Exactly how does one conclude vaccination is entirely dangerous or that it is responsible to deny ones children protection if they have actually engaged in “research” as we understand the term?

What if Wilyman been informed by the university that claims of vaccine induced diseases have been utterly debunked? That if she wants to persist arguing that aluminium adjuvants and ethyl-mercury are causing autism and asthma she must produce compelling evidence? Where would she be today? Clearly still blaming conspiracies for the lack of that evidence but not under the banner of “PhD researcher at the University of Wollongong”. This lends false credence to misinformation and the university must take it’s responsibility to academic truth as absolutely paramount.

Finally we get more Meryl Dorey channeling Brian Martin these days. The main article notes:

AVN president Meryl Dorey said the McCafferys had chosen to go public and had to expect comments from both sides of the debate. “If one side has the right to say something and the other doesn’t, then we are not a democratic society,” she said.

Let’s check that. “Something to say” can include just about anything. For someone who labels her critics as fascists, pond scum and communists with a vendetta Ms. Dorey seems to hold a strange view of both “commentary” and democracy.

Yet again this looking glass model of dissent and attack can be clearly identified.

Manufacturing dissent: double standards in defending vaccine denial

If you happen to pop past the AVN Facebook page you might notice this entry:

Pretty straightforward. A post with three comments. The three comments are…

Oh. So there seems to be a comment missing. In fact it was the original comment, and here it is:

A paying member was censored. In fact their comment was deleted so that a fairly basic request to have emails answered could be hidden. The issue at play is that the AVN owe over $180,000 in magazines for which they have already taken fees. 11 magazines have not been delivered. Already 2 this year on the back of 5 last year. Yet this member appears to have sent at least two emails requesting clarification and they have clearly been ignored. Still the AVN website censors the fact it is in trouble. It is brazenly seeking new members claiming:

Membership includes 6 editions of Living Wisdom magazine (either hard copy or digital or both if you choose) and there are discounts available for 12 and 18 issue memberships.

If you pay extra as a “professional member” you get a “free listing” in the AVN magazine that does not exist.

In the conclusion of Making Censorship Backfire, co-authored by AVN supporter and full member, Dr. Brian Martin, we read:

An examination of cases where censorship backfires provides some valuable lessons in how to make this happen. The first important point is that the censorship should be exposed to audiences who will be outraged by the act of censorship itself or by the disproportion between the act (speaking out) and the censoring response (a heavy-handed attack). It is essential to have solid documentation, which means that only some cases of censorship can be exposed in this way.

It is important not to be intimidated. Censorship is often backed up by threats of what will happen if those who are censored do not acquiesce. It can be rewarding to see these threats as potential opportunities. By exposing the threats, the backlash can be made all the stronger. Targets of censorship need to be prepared for further attack – including personal invective – should they challenge the censorship.

It is unlikely wide exposure of this would help the member Dorey has ripped off. The information quoted above is interesting in that the best response would be to politely reply arguing that Meryl has had ample time to respond. Furthermore you have serious concerns about the AVN selling magazine subscriptions when overdue issues are now clearly unlikely to eventuate. This raises questions of Fair Trading and advertising under false pretences. It would be in the interests of all concerned if members could discuss this in an open forum fashion.

Of course, as has happened many times before, this member would be banned (if that hasn’t happened already) and the entry deleted. What follows is touched upon in the quote from Dr. Martin above. Dorey writes scathing and vicious reviews of individuals and her loyal members swoop in to attack them on other social media. Claims of being threatened and bullied and having to hire security to defend herself from bullies who don’t believe in free speech, health choices and your right to choose gradually take on a life of their own. The “backfire” works to Meryl’s advantage.

Dr. Martin’s writings on censorship are part of his much larger body of work on dissent, including struggles for autonomy and democratic rights for citizens oppressed by malignant governments. His work often has an artistic choreographed appeal that whilst interesting reveals an untested work in progress.

What is of interest to this article is his defence of antivaccination lobbyists censoring information in order to convey a fallacious and sometimes dangerous message of authority and accuracy to unsuspecting readers. As I suggested recently extremely serious questions can be asked about Dr. Martin’s moral and ethical conviction. This is only reinforced in finding that altruism is not a feature of his work yet saying and doing what one wants, when one wants regardless of the consequences, are features of those he willingly assists.

Muddying the waters further are his attacks upon community volunteers who have themselves raised dissent. The failure of government regulators to challenge what is a litany of legislative transgression, charity scams and antisocial behaviour by Australia’s so-called Australian Vaccination Network is undeniable. Devoted to attacking conventional medicine and vaccination, the group continued unimpeded for 17 years until individual activists raised dissent with government agencies.

Dr. Martin holds his PhD in physics but does not work in any related area. Apart from being president of Whistleblowers Australia, he is presently Professor of Social Sciences at the University of Wollongong. Thus use of the term “Doctor” is quite misleading in qualifying his skill as a social scientist. It is unclear if he has any requisite understanding of ethics or moral responsibility as it pertains to social sciences and indeed, society as a whole.

One may venture to suggest it is of course unsurprising then, that Martin also writes about “dissident scientists” who work in dissent of what he terms “paradigms”, disagreeing as to what theories are correct. We are left only to ponder how a physicist has found himself well versed in the mechanics of “scientific dissent” whilst at the same time defending the denial of evidence as if it were dissent.

In startling misunderstanding of the scientific method and the value of evidence he notes incorrectly in Grassroots Science:

Dissent is central to science: the formulation of new ideas and the discovery of new evidence is the driving force behind scientific advance. At the same time, certain theories, methods, and ways of approaching the world – often called paradigms – are treated as sacrosanct within the professional scientific community. Those who persist in challenging paradigms may be treated not as legitimate scientists but as renegades or outcasts. […]

For example, there are many individuals who have developed challenges and alternatives to relativity, quantum mechanics, and the theory of evolution, three theories central to modern science. […]

Western medical authorities at first rejected acupuncture as unscientific but, following demonstrations of its effectiveness, eventually accepted or tolerated it as a practice under the canons of western biomedicine, rejecting its associations with non-Western concepts of the body. […]

At the same time, some mainstream medical practitioners and researchers are hostile to alternative health. This is apparent in pronouncements that taking vitamin supplements is a waste of money or in police raids on alternative cancer therapists, the raids being encouraged by mainstream opponents.

Many proponents of alternative health say that mainstream medical science is distorted by corporate, government, and professional pressures. In this context, grassroots medical science presents itself as being truer to the ethos of science as a search for truth unsullied by vested interests.

Whilst one is grateful to Dr. Martin for seeking to identify certain dynamics it is apparent that his reinterpretation of the facts serves evidence denial and pseudoscience very well. Arguably “dissent” as he terms it here may well prove valuable to science. But one might venture to add it’s primary value has been in provoking the need to examine dissenting theories such that they ultimately bring about their own demise.

He has misrepresented vitamin therapy and acupuncture, falsely accused scientists of holding “paradigms” sacrosanct and completely ignored the value of randomised controlled trials in revealing the validity or not of “outcasts” theories. I think it’s fair to accept the final paragraph as an observation, whilst also noting it’s inexcusable to omit that the evidence favours this as a distorted conspiracy. Alternatives to medicine have flourished in Australia, crept into educational institutes and been subsidised by health insurance for many years.

It would be pointless to continue with examples, which go as far as criticising the dismissal of anecdotal evidence by mainstream science. For the purpose of this article this would include vaccines causing autism, SIDS, multiple sclerosis, inflammatory bowel disease, asthma and diabetes. I have chosen those examples deliberately. Whilst The Australian Immunisation Handbook specifically states research has constantly replicated no link Martin is supervising a PhD student conducting a literature review, but no research, who continually states vaccines have been shown to cause these conditions.

What is clear from the errors above and the Grassroots Science article in general is that Dr. Martin either has no grasp on the concept of evidence and it’s importance to science, or seeks to misrepresent application of the scientific method to the extent of devaluing it to the status of merely discerning an opinion. One cannot ignore the parallels between the tone of his writing and that of his PhD student Judy Wilyman.

Many have sought to have Brian Martin answer how he can ignore the devastating impact of his support of the AVN. As I noted recently this goes as far as making excuses for Ms. Dorey’s refusal to engage in scientific discourse with those who seek to challenge many of her claims. A substantial amount of his work claims to expose censorship and the tactics of those who refuse to accept “dissident” or “grassroots scientists”.

Thus it is deeply troubling that he defends Ms. Dorey’s censoring of material. More troubling is his making excuses for Dorey’s refusal to accept to enter into discourse as a “grassroots scientist”. Yet most bizarre is his championing of Dorey actually censoring material to sabotage engagement as a “grassroots scientist” – and actually blame this on those who were censored despite them offering Dorey an avenue to provide evidence.

Consider this recent censorship by Dorey. It served to censor the truth and defend several demonstrable errors. In Martin’s view Dorey has no need to engage because people have “attacked” her. Despite this being a self serving interpretation, what it demonstrates is the perpetuation of misinformation. This is exactly why individuals have raised concern about overlap as an academic, an advocate for truth in evidence, the supervisor of Judy Wilyman and defender of Meryl Dorey.

This post below appeared on AVN’s Facebook page with the following comments. The first from Dorey makes the head spin. There is only one type b strain of Haemophilus influenzae (called Hib). Yet she informs readers that the Hib vaccine caused an increase in diagnosis of other types of Hib caused by yet even more Hib strains. Later she mentions “Hib (all strains)”:

Later this reply was added:

And yes, it was part of the thread:

Now if you pop back you’ll find it has been deleted and the other poster to take issue with Ms. Dorey’s creativity has now taken issue with Tristan’s rather divisive “us” reference.

The individual censored is also a member of the AVN and yes, is also wondering whatever happened to the magazines promised so long ago. Is this honestly how paying members are treated by Meryl Dorey? If so then one must begin to wonder exactly how Dorey and Dr. Martin are so certain that anonymous threats apparently come from people who have not been schemed, dismissed and discarded.

In Suppressing Research Data: Methods, Context, Accountability, and Responses, Martin writes:

Censorship, fraud, and publication biases are ways in which the availability of research data can be distorted. A different process is distortion of the perception of research data rather than distortion of the data itself. In other words, data is openly available, but efforts are made to shape people’s perception of it.

There appears to be little doubt of a significant conflict of interest. Martin is well aware of and extremely deft with tactics used to deflect the problems noted above. He is defending censorship and fraud at the AVN and his student has an exclusive history of publication bias. More recently Martin himself has distorted data by selectively using a misrepresentation of usual chatter on the Stop The AVN Facebook page. The aim – as he himself offers above – is to shape the public perception of those who challenge Ms. Dorey in such a way as to vilify and defame them.

As time passes I’ll endeavour to look closer at Martin’s work attacking those who essentially accept the overwhelming evidence on vaccination. Already we can dismiss his defence of impartiality. Yet so blatant and unethical is his present state of evidence denial a close look at parallels between defending antivaccination groups and his earlier work is warranted.

Given that Judy Wilyman and Meryl Dorey rely almost entirely on imagined conflicts of interest, this very conflict of interest within a conflict of interest to bolster manufactured dissent from outright denial and censorship is beginning to look very tacky indeed.

I do hope the University of Wollongong have a clear conscience.

Wollongong Uni, Brian Martin & Judy Wilyman: How Far Is Too Far?

As many of you know a recent comment from one Judy Wilyman has drawn enormous attention.

Judy is a strident antivaccination lobbyist. On the matter of addressing or providing evidence, Judy’s record is arguably less than ideal. Perhaps more times than a reasonable person would accept Judy has inferred conspiratorial motives block her from exposing vaccines’ flaws.

Judy told an audience in W.A. that only “scientific research” would be presented to them. Then that the media only report on vaccine preventable fatalities in order to, “coerce us into vaccination” and as such “run fear campaigns”. It follows then that “We’re being educated by the media who have pharmaceutical interests”.

She continued with her Orwellian “science”:

There is no measure of delayed responses of vaccines or long term health studies of children monitoring the combined effects of vaccines. That’s the hard evidence that we would need to say this programme (childhood vaccination) is safe.

Writing to the Hon. Ms. Nicola Roxon [then] Federal Minister for Health, in November 2011 Judy asserted, “The Australian government will be committing a crime against humanity by introducing [immunisation incentives]”.

And that:

There is no historical evidence that vaccines controlled any of the infectious diseases listed in government immunization policies – in any developed country.

There’s a video considering this point here. Still, Judy worries over the “Conflicts of interest that exist in the science that is used in policy-development”. Or as she claimed with unusual confidence, when putting Federal Health Minister Tanya Plibersek “on notice” last January :

Until these issues are addressed the public is rejecting coercive or mandatory immunization policies that result in the discrimination of healthy individuals

What are these issues Judy has taken up on our behalf? You can read them in full conspiracy tilt here. Suffice it to say the lead up included:

The community has lost confidence in the ability of the Health Department to make decisions in the best interests of the public due to the lack of integrity in the science being used and the conflicts of interest in individuals on government advisory boards. There is overwhelming evidence for this and I will list this below. As a result of this corruption of the scientific process the community has lost confidence in the Government’s Childhood Immunisation Schedule as it is clearly driven by profit and not safety.

The community, for whom this policy is designed, is saying no to coercive mandatory immunization policies. Choice in vaccination in Australia exists more in theory than practice and this is not acceptable to the public. It is unethical for a Government to link considerable financial benefits to a Public Health policy involving a medical procedure which has not been proven safe or effective.

The community?! Yet this is not the view of the community. Judy signed the letter, “PhD Candidate”. She is studying at the University of Wollongong under Dr. Brian Martin – himself a defender of antivaccination “dissent”. How far is too far? Is Dr. Martin in agreement? Does the University of Wollongong condone ultimatums to our Health Minister, made in reflection of their student body?

Former Australian Of The Year and Founding Director of the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research, Professor Fiona Stanley, is someone who has received awards for 17 years due to her work on children’s health. Long described by Judy Wilyman and Meryl Dorey as a corrupt human being who forces what Dorey calls “instruments of death” onto children, she merely described their combined message as “bizarre” and “so misinformed it’s crazy” [MP3].

Mind you, I have no problem with addressing conflicts of interest related to therapeutic goods’ manufacture, use and/or regulation. Far from it. Yet the need to ensure best practice in legislation and industry does not equate to verification of blanket corruption or hard evidence of “a crime against humanity”. The fact is that the evidence to support attacks on vaccines is simply not there.

Which raises a question of profound morality. Judy Wilyman makes much of her “PhD researcher” status. She makes excessive use of her association with the University of Wollongong. Her supervisor Dr. Brian Martin is president of Whistleblowers Australia and a professor of social sciences at the same university. Dr. Martin has been investigating “suppression of dissent” for around 33 years. He has authored a great number of articles and papers on the topic, 15 books and 5 booklets.

Perhaps Judy is selective in the conflicts of interest she rails against?

Some of you may remember the name David Lewis. He wrote a letter in response to Brian Deer’s BMJ articles on Andrew Wakefield. He chose to defend Wakefield after attending “a vaccine safety conference in Jamaica, where Andrew Wakefield discussed his research”. It was a five star extravaganza paid for by the “vaccine-safety” promoters. Wakefield was the headline act. Why was he there? Lewis is from The US National Whistleblowers Center, and was luxuriated with others similarly inclined.

In attending what was a grand conspiracy-riddled event designed to polish the evidence vacuum of “vaccine safety” into a slick profit making machine, Lewis informs us greatly as to how whistleblowers and dissent observers network, think and of course, defend those who claim innocence regardless of evidence. The US National Whistleblowers Center contact details are on Brian Martin’s website under “Suppression of dissent” Contacts. I stress strongly I am making no assumptions from a listed contact. However, one is able to identify trends emerging here.

Whistleblowers must surely hold evidence and facts above the status quo. They aim to expose wrongdoing at risk and/or great cost to themselves. As such they have contributed greatly to justice and in cases where the greater good has not been realised, have educated the public and made us aware. Yet a whistleblower is an individual. Usually focused upon one case of wrongdoing. What of those who form these organisations? Is their reliance upon dissent and whistleblowing a conflict of interest?

What of those, like Lewis, who would insert themselves into a controversial case of profound impact that has run it’s course? The whistleblowers in the Wakefield/MMR scandal were those who exposed his fraud. His colleagues who dissented, other staff at The Royal Free who were misled and of course journalist Brian Deer. Deer, asked to do a ho-hum story on the matter discovered a trail of money and wrongdoing and ultimately blew the whistle.

A glance at Dr. Martin’s publication list is informative. Understanding, defending and profitting from dissent is Dr. Martin’s life’s work. His Suppression Of Dissent website opens with:

This site deals with attacks on dissenting views and individuals. The general field of “suppression of dissent” includes whistleblowing, free speech, systems of social control and related topics. The purpose of the site is to foster examination of these issues and action against suppression. It is founded on the assumption that openness and dialogue should be fostered to challenge unaccountable power.

I do rush to add I have no problem with this. Dr. Martin claims a very neutral tone. I perhaps have more than a neutral interest. I spent many years investing huge amounts of time in defending the magnificent strides Australia made in illicit drug policy. Human Rights gave us Harm Reduction. Then suddenly, from world innovators in the mid 1980’s to the Evangelical puppetry that took hold during the great stupor of the Howard years, I saw incalculable inhumanity in my own nation.

Thus I strongly agree that “openness and dialogue should be fostered to challenge unaccountable power”. The evidence for even greater change is overwhelming. I dealt in it for many years. Similarly I was exposed to ample abuse of minority groups and am familiar with appalling abuse of power and corruption.

Also then, I would hope I have the experience that justifies my bemusement of Brian Martin’s self righteous defence of this “Air Guitar” of suppression of dissent and claimed oppression put on by Meryl Dorey and his student, Judy Wilyman. Their endless mantra is an insult to so many tangled in corruption from the gutter to the halls of power. It is bereft of morality and I sincerely question Dr. Martin’s defence of neutral academic interest.

When it comes to critical thought and morality we have a grave responsibility. To evidence. Not the evidence that we want, but that which is.

So now we must ask more about our devotee to suppression of dissent, Dr. Brian Martin, who inserted himself in the defence of the AVN. How far is too far? Why did he attack the real whistleblower, Ken McLeod, and in doing so wrench the hearts of the McCaffery family? The whistle was blown on a cruel charity fraudster, a scam artist, a fear monger and one who had made a long living from donations gathered from members with the promise of urgent action to solve manufactured dissent.

The AVN took in $1.8 million between 2004 and 2010. It’s estimated they owe over $180,000 in unprinted magazines for which they have already been paid the subscription fees. This blog is dotted with the fraud making the AVN many tens of thousands more and numerous scams to keep fear running. Does Brian Martin seriously defend and enable such conduct with the defence of academic neutrality?

Brian Martin publishes using his title at University of Wollongong and his UOW email address. So again, how far is too far for this university to turn a blind eye to sickness, degradation and incredibly the corruption that yields a profit for the AVN? Research and academia at the University of Wollongong appear synonymous with antivaccination schemes.

At what point does dissent become denial? Or rather, why should denial ever be labelled dissent? How can a PhD supervisor support denial and antisocial tactics in the name of education? Wilyman markets herself as currently completing my PhD in environmental health policy at the University of Wollongong, very quickly moving on to claim against all consensus:

The diseases that have been increasing since the late 80’s include allergies, anaphylaxis, ADHD, autism, coeliac disease, cancer and autoimmune diseases (e.g. arthritis and diabetes). The medical journals and animal studies link the ingredients of vaccines as a cause of these diseases. Although the increase in these diseases correlates to the increasing use of vaccines, the government has not funded research that would prove or disprove this plausible link.

However, The Australian Immunisation Handbook notes; Research has constantly replicated no link in the following:

  • sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and any vaccine.
  • autism and MMR vaccine.
  • multiple sclerosis and hepatitis B vaccine.
  • inflammatory bowel disease and MMR vaccine.
  • diabetes and Hib vaccine.
  • asthma and any vaccine.

If Judy Wilyman has her way, Dr. Brian Martin will turn a blind eye from evidence, from research and from moral obligation. His position at UOW brings more responsibility. Has he already jettisoned it in lieu of allowing dissent to thrive, no matter the consequence? How far is too far to move the line of ones personal interests and career over ones responsibility in academia?

If Wilyman has her way she will become perhaps the first person to receive a PhD solely from attacking successful public health policy. From lying. From selectively abusing research. From ignoring evidence. From appealing to conspiracy. Judy is doing no research as we understand it, despite the puffy chested bragging. She is reviewing literature from which she draws scurrilous error to envelope in semantics and put forth as argument.

In the last 2 1/2 years Wilyman appears to have completed 3 papers. All on the same topic. Arguing that not enough Aussie women die from cervical cancer to justify the HPV vaccine. Her 4th project was a poster – a synopsis of this argument using the same graphic. In 6 1/2 years she has published 12 times including another poster and a brochure.

Vaccines only exist thanks to corruption, Wilyman ultimately concludes in light of them having no benefit. Some dark, wicked machine that runs only to profit from making fellow humans sick. Sadly, Wilyman now adds, this includes the grieving parents of a tiny baby. Somehow in this delusion Judy includes others who value evidence, human and consumer rights and the quest for truth more than anything. “They” are all against Judy Wilyman.

This video out-take from Lateline is a quick synopsis of how Meryl Dorey sought the medical records of the same infant. Dorey demanded access to the infant’s medical records and contended that Paul Corben, Director of Public Health at the North Coast Area Health Service misled the public by confirming a pertussis fatality. Corben wrote to the family:

Ms. Dorey called me on the 12th of March seeking details of your daughter’s illness and death… Ms. Dorey contended that I had misled the public in attributing your daughter’s death to pertussis.

This was a key reason for forming Stop The AVN and lodging a complaint. Since then slurs against and abuse of the family has been arguably frequent. Reasonablehank covers the latest in a long string of pleas from the family for compassion.

The University of Wollongong look set to bestow a highly prized academic title upon a fraud. A woman who, no matter how passionate, no matter how driven, no matter how dedicated, is quite simply wrong. How possibly can the University of Wollongong award a doctorate to an antivaccination lobbyist? In absolute dissonance to the position of the worlds medical community no less?

There is no scientific doubt. Vaccination is an overwhelming success. All that Dr. Martin and the University of Wollongong can achieve by affirming and rewarding a fraud, is to drive down vaccination rates, mislead and confuse the public, spread disease, counter public health programmes, cost Australia ongoing millions and ultimately take lives. Innocent lives.

Dr. Martin insists he has no opinion either way. Just an interest. His topic list includes ample conspiracy theory interest however. Origin of AIDS, fluoride in water, vaccination. Areas wherein “dissenters” cause harm. Indeed his article defending Meryl Dorey attacking her critics and science itself, was published with reference to The University of Wollongong.

Thus this raises their position on the support or not of Australia’s vaccination regime. The article is entitled Debating Vaccination: understanding the attack on the AVN.

Debating vaccination quote

Dr. Brian Martin: Debating Vaccination

Should Dr. Martin justify how he can defend Meryl Dorey’s conduct as “dissent” when it is not backed by evidence. At what point does Ms. Dorey’s misinformation cause harm and how does seeking to impede public harm by legislative and regulatory means constitute an abuse of free speech? As an observer or an interested academic at what point should Dr. Martin accept he has already legitamised the antivaccination stance?

What ethics apply to someone who calmly claims to have a neutral interest in what is apparently dissent? When is the outcome of Dr. Martin’s work deemed to have contributed to a demise in public health? There is no doubt persisting with the demonstrably flawed antivaccination mantra at academic levels has catastrophic effects on vaccination rates. Can Dr. Martin really claim impartiality as he contributes to the reduction in immunisation? Indeed, is defending the AVN even moral or humane?

Ms. Dorey quotes Dr. Martin on her website to justify her actions. This pseudo-neoconservative plan has worked well. Dorey’s aim has been firstly to avoid serious discussion or examination of evidence. In creating an enemy and fabricating malignant actions such as threats, bullying, abuse of venue owners, needing security and so on the illusion that Dorey is abused begins to take hold.

Secondly, by continually naming and embellishing an entity as the enemy, whilst attributing malignancy, gives a constant psychological peg for readers to identify with. So it’s constantly “skeptics, The Australian Skeptics or Stop the AVN”. Dorey argues all are linked and an abundance of funds is bent on destroying her. To the conspiracy mind this makes absolute sense.

I’ve already deconstructed Dorey’s claim that her opponents don’t believe in free speech. It is fallacious and again fills the void that should be filled by evidence confirming she is an authority on the topic.

Recently in preparing more work Dr. Martin sent, as is his practice, a copy for comment to critics of Ms. Dorey. I asked why Meryl censors her websites and why she had not replied to emails I had sent defeating her pertussis and autism arguments. He replied in part:

Can you give me any example of a person who has been systematically vilified, subject to numerous formal complaints and who has received threats and pornography and yet who is quite happy to open the target group’s discussion forum to people from the attacking crowd? As soon as SAVN launched its campaigns, it closed down most prospects for genuine dialogue. I think it is completely unrealistic to expect openness from targets of this sort of attack. To complain about censorship by those being attacked this way is, to my mind, to misunderstand who are responsible.

Complaints are justified and serve a larger public interest. They are a legal avenue to raise dissent – something Dr. Martin would be well aware of. The HCCC findings were not quashed by Justice Christine Adamson in The Supreme Court of NSW and accordingly remain valid. Thus, I would argue Ms. Dorey is taking an easy way out. Dr. Martin is an intelligent man. Clearly he must realise that orchestrated attacks upon a public health policy such as vaccination will be resisted.

Ms. Dorey and the AVN were found to be dishonest and pose a risk to public health. That an appeal was won against displaying a web page to this effect does not change this.

The reality is that Meryl has no evidence and even more so, less regard for authority. Asked recently to remove an advertisement promoting an illicit and dangerous therapeutic good – the subject of a TGA warning – Meryl opened an appeal for $50,000 to fight the TGA. A “legal fighting fund”.

Threats and pornography cannot be levelled at opposition to Ms. Dorey. It is a cheap shot in no way linked to those keen to engage with Ms. Dorey and Dr. Martin lowers his own image in repeating these manufactured tactics.

Dr. Martin co-authored the article Exposing and opposing censorship: backfire dynamics in freedom of speech struggles in which we note:

The normal aim of censorship is to suppress speech, publications and other forms of expression in whole or part. But sometimes the act of censorship creates more attention to and support for the censored work and its creator than would have occurred without the intervention of censors. This process, which we call backfire, is most likely to occur in societies that place a high value on freedom of expression. […]

Devaluing the target makes attacks seem less objectionable, at least to most people. Censorship of liars and thieves does not generate the same outrage as censorship of courageous dissidents. Therefore it is predictable that those who want to curtail free speech will denigrate targets and critics. […]

Devaluation of targets can be countered by arguing for the value of all people, by exposing double standards and by exposing the technique of devaluation.

In his own words then, by devaluing “the target” (SAVN) through baseless accusations of intimidation, pornography, threats, oppression and labelling legal and vital defence of public health as an “attack”, Dr. Martin can defend Meryl Dorey’s censorship. She has no obligation to provide any evidence or engage in discourse. Yet, this is defensive relativism. By coaching Dorey to continue with the plan of persecution over evidence, filling her blogs with endless self pity and insinuation of abuse, threats… etc, attention is (in theory) drawn away from the lack of evidence.

But how far is too far? It is still cowardly censorship and such defence does not fool observers. By attacking critics as “vile, hate groups, pond scum, communists, losers, paedophiles” and more, Meryl has significantly weakened the justification of the argument. If the McCaffery’s can reciprocate in a polite and pleasant manner – albeit they’re begging for mercy – may I highlight the double standard at play and simply reject this defence.

More so, as has already happened by ignoring any discourse and censoring her sites Dorey has lowered any respect that critics and other interested parties would gladly afford her. Her only avenue to integrity is by engaging with the scientific and medical communities and all families of Australia.

Clearly serious questions arise as to Dr. Martin’s very well experienced manipulation of both sides of this issue. Given the absence of evidence to support antivaccination arguments and the abundance of evidence supporting all vaccine regimes Australians have a right to ask questions. Is Dr. Martin really an impartial observer or now an active player lending academic credence to the antithesis of the Immunise Australia programme, cleverly playing off two groups for his own benefit? In the present climate documenting and publishing on the antivaccination issue would prove very interesting.

In the past Dr. Martin has avoided answering what he thinks of the abuse of the McCafferys because, “I haven’t studied the area of offensive speech sufficiently for me to express an opinion.” Thus he abstained from “a viewpoint”. Will his answer about all of Dorey’s and Wilyman’s transgressions similarly come from hiding behind the emotion of a computer terminal? Is his entire zeitgeist of human morality, compassion, right and wrong down to what he has studied?

Review the above conduct of Meryl Dorey if you wish and ask if lacking sufficient knowledge of a very specific notion would let you off the hook for moral awareness or moral obligation. How many of you studied the area of offensive speech before forming an opinion well enough to express it on the treatment of the McCafferys?

I for one suggest this is a crafty defence. In defending and enabling antivaccination fraud there is a cost to Australian health that is solely the responsibility of Dr. Brian Martin. Already he is in quite some debt.

Is Dr. Martin incapable of discerning when denial has replaced dissent and in doing so destroyed the truth? It appears he would argue so. How far will the University of Wollongong go in defending this conduct? Do both Dr. Martin and the University condone an organised risk to public health, demonstrated to mislead the public through selective use of research. One that now seeks to use it’s Fundraising Authority to fight a Therapeutic Goods Administration order to remove advertisements for a dangerous, corrosive and illicit cancer “cure”?

What is the stance of both regarding Judy Wilyman’s misguided PhD venture? Her academic freedom is of great significance but if that freedom is allowed to be abused under the auspices of Dr. Martin and/or The University of Wollongong then not only have they failed Ms. Wilyman, but made a mockery of Australian Higher Education.

We don’t need a PhD to work this out, University of Wollongong. You have an ill informed renegade student threatening Federal Health ministers, our national immunisation programme and also the health of the Australian public. Her supervisor has burned the moral bridge between personal gain and community responsibility.

How far is too far? The time for action has long since passed.