#StopAVN sends Meryl Dorey a message at Woodford: Vaccination Saves Lives

Vaccination Saves Lives: Stop The Australian Vaccination Network
Meryl Dorey

Meryl Dorey

Despite our campaigning, the spineless dolts at the Woodford Folk Festival are this afternoon hosting Meryl Dorey of the Australian Vaccination Network.

Were it not for the success of Stop The AVN, our Facebook collective of citizens, skeptics, scientists and medics, Meryl would now be giving a talk entitled ‘Autism Emergency, 1 child in 38′, in which she rambles on about her half-baked misunderstandings of a particular South Korean study. Dorey, of course, has no medical qualifications whatsoever and has demonstrated many times that she is incapable of grasping even basic high-school science and statistics. So we stopped that.

We even had a statement from the Queensland Minister for Health, Geoff Wilson, decrying Dorey’s ‘nonsense’.

Now Dorey is taking part in a ‘forum’, along with actual experts who are more or less familiar with reality.

Not good enough, Woodford. The more people think Dorey’s viewpoints are a legitimate alternative to well established science, the more caring parents will misjudge the benefits of vaccinations versus the risk. That informed choice mad Meryl so worships will become a badly informed choice.

It’s not about censorship, and it’s not about free speech. Bill Hauritz, Woodford’s cowardly lion, should be ashamed.

Vaccinations Save Lives: the plane-towed banner at Woodford

But Stop The AVN is having the last laugh. As Meryl Dorey takes the stage for her watered-down, expert-infested forum on vaccination (what does that have to do with autism, Meryl?), Stop AVN is launching a new campaign.

And as the decent folk at the Woodford Folk Festival look to the sunny Queensland skies, a banner towed by a light aircraft will broadcast our simple message: Vaccination Saves Lives. A bold, positive message, costing less than 1% of the annual revenue of Dorey’s anti-vaccination media business and paid for by grassroots Stop AVN members personally.

With extensive blogosphere coverage, a social media push, a fresh, positive brand and possible mainstream media coverage, with Vaccination Saves Lives hope to counter Woodford’s life-threatening cowardice.

If you have a blog, you can help us too! Write about the campaign, and use our blog-post banners and sidebar badges. It’s easy!

As Australia faces the resurgence of vaccine-preventable diseases, it is vital that we increase our vaccination rates. In particular, the rate of adult booster jabs needs to pick up. While all rational parents understand that children must be vaccinated, many of us overlook the adult vaccinations we need to prevent the spread of vaccine-preventable diseases in the community.

See your doctor. Get your boosters up to date. Stop The AVN.

Vaccinations Save Lives.

Queensland Minister for Health Geoff Wilson

Queensland Minister for Health Geoff Wilson

UPDATE:

Meryl’s noticed.

Meryl notices

Meryl notices

And here’s the plane:

Stop The AVN's plane at Woodford

Stop The AVN's plane at Woodford

To Christopher Hitchens, from a young contrarian

Last week, my favourite recipient of cuddles asked for something to read that would sharpen her appreciation for masterful English writing. A single writer sprang immediately and irrepressibly to mind: Christopher Hitchens.

Offhand, I let two books recommend themselves: the obligatory God is Not Great, the most politically and historically insightful of the Gnu Atheists’ works. And my favourite, the handbook for thoughtful troublemakers, Letters to a Young Contrarian. If you haven’t read it, please do!

Letters to a Young Contrarian

Letters to a Young Contrarian

Hitch, of course, died within 24 hours of my suggestion. It was not unexpected, but it came as a shock nonetheless. And as I picked up my worn copy of Contrarian, I was jolted by the aptness of the spent cigarette on it’s cover: risky, brief in existence, full of pleasure, widely criticised and iconic.

As his Vanity Fair editor notes:

Christopher was the beau ideal of the public intellectual. You felt as though he was writing to you and to you alone. And as a result many readers felt they knew him.

And so it was. A friend of mine once got an e-mail from him, and I saw him squiffily sing Monty Python’s Philosopher’s Song in the Sydney Opera House. That’s the closest I ever came to shaking his hand, but I knew (as did thousands) that he was as warm and kindly as he was forthright, and as likely to disagree with you as agree. He was unpigeonholable, and I wish we were all a little more like that.

As any lettered reader will assume, I am deplorably poorly read. I think I will try to honour Hitch (in addition to the obligatory dram of ‘Mr Walker’s Amber Nectar’), by reading a little more than I have been lately.

And I will start by re-reading Letters to a Young Contrarian, and doing it better.

Ade, Hitch.

Western Sydney Freethinkers drink to Christopher Hitchens

Western Sydney Freethinkers drink a Johnny Walker to Christopher Hitchens

I have been doing a little amateur radio astronomy…

…and I’ve captured an image of the early universe in unprecedented detail!

Behold!

The cosmic microwave background

Update: It’s a pun, you see.

Labor no longer pandering to the ACL and Nile

Gay marriage isn’t legal in Australia yet, nor will it be in the immediate future. Today is an historic day, though: the Australian Labor Party has changed its platform to support same-sex marriage. Well done.

It occurs to me that this is good news on another front though: a major party is no longer pandering to the christian vote.

Australian Christian Lobby Media Release on Gay Marriage

Of course, the faithful warriors for Jesus are up in arms. The Australian Christian Lobby has put out a barely coherent media release:

Advocates of same sex marriage in the ALP made much of the fact that the party shouldn’t be on the wrong side of history, but today in defiance of their leader Julia Gillard, they have chosen to be on the wrong side of truth.

It is the wrong side of truth where gay activism has made a lie of children’s birth certificates by directing that fathers’ names be removed in favour of two lesbians’ names.

The wrong side of truth where gay activism has made a lie of biology so even a single man can “get” a child, as if there are no natural rights of the child to a mother.

Man, someone’s stretching their wings at the moment! Yesterday the Brainy Brigadier Jim Wallace taught us all about logic, and now he’s telling us all about biology. I don’t quite know how Jimbo thinks the children of gay men are conceived.

He babbles on in similar vein for ages. It has a distinct curtain-call vibe to it. When the Downfall parody video is made it will be one of the most apt.

Fred Nile’s emission

Meanwhile, Fred Nile‘s jostling for his share of outraged column inches. Here’s the thrust of his comments:

“I thought it would happen, going by the lobbying and the penetration of the Labor Party by homosexual activists and homosexual individuals,”

I’m not kidding.

Fred Nile

Fred Nile, who has 'never seen pornography'

ACL’s Jim Wallace on gay marriage and logic

Brigadier Jim Wallace (ret.1) of the Australian Christian Lobby, presumably feeling the need to get adventurous, has tried his hand at logic:

The ACT Education Minister was pictured last week opening an “anti-homophobia” art display at a Canberra school.

So far so good, everyone is against homophobia, but there is a fine line between that and the promotion of the lifestyle, especially for parents of school-aged children.

Minister Barr was pictured with a “work of art” in poster form that included the statements “love is not dependent on gender, what’s your agenda?”

I am sure that with all our empathy for people who may consider themselves inevitably gay, few parents would want to see this statement presented as truth to their children.

For the overwhelming majority of us romantic love is dependent on gender. Few parents will want their children to be told, as this poster implies, that friendship or mateship inevitably lead as they mature to love. That the logical conclusion of this illogical proposition is that a sexual relationship may follow naturally from friendship with school mates of the same sex.

Oh, Jim.

Yes, a sexual relationship may indeed follow naturally from some friendships among school mates, of either sex. In fact, I’m given to believe that most people who enjoy sexual relationships do so with people they have previously been friends with. It would be decidedly creepy to prefer the alternative.

As far as I know, however, gay sex follows no more assuredly from friendship than does straight sex. Jim, for I know you read my blog avidly, if your experience is different, do leave a comment.

Few parents will want their children to be told, as this poster implies, that friendship or mateship inevitably lead as they mature to love

Camp Jim

Jim Wallace

Well, no. No-one should want kids to be told that friendship inevitably leads to love. Because it’s bollocks. I’m sure, over the centuries, many a gay chap has ended up in an asexual marriage with his closest female friend because of the stigma gleefully promoted by Jimbo’s cult. But nowadays, love is not dependent on gender, you see. Gender can be as wonderfully irrelevant to love as it is to friendship. Compulsion has been removed, not imposed.

But Jim disagrees with me. Accepting that relationships come in different varieties would apparently mean that gay love ‘inevitably’ follows from friendship. According to Jim, gender-restriction is the only thing stopping a man’s mateship with another man developing into love and (since that’s the topic at hand), marriage. And lovely, hot man-on-man sex.

Umm… did Jim just come out?

1No, it stands for… etc, etc.

Jack of Kent’s Law: The Australian Vaccination Network witch-hunt

Jack of Kent

Jack of Kent

The marvellous skepti-legal blogger David Allen Green, writing at Jack of Kent, has coined a new adage in the vein of Godwin’s LawPoe’s Law and Skopie’s Law. Here’s how David sets out Jack of Kent’s Law:

Such are the responses of the challenged bully, just as “lessons learned” and “draw a line” are the invariable excuses of the exposed incompetent.

Being unwillingly held to public account within a lawful process is not a witch-hunt.

One hesitates to posit a general law as to this kind of reaction.

However, as the original “Jack of Kent” was a medieval wizard, and so presumably had a view on witch-hunts, I would like to to offer the following adaptation of Godwin’s Law:

The longer any person or entity is placed under any deliberate and sustained scrutiny, the probability of someone complaining of it being a “witch-hunt” approaches 1.

I wonder how well this “law” works in practice…

Jack of Kent had, among others, poor stressed-out News International brass in mind. The law certainly seems to hold true for them. But for me, the appeal of the law was in the number of other examples that sprang into my own head.

Witch-hunt of British chiropractors

Take for example, the useless spine wizards at the British Chiropractic Association, who didn’t take it well when Simon Singh called them out for happily promoting bogus treatments. They were even more aghast when Muggles actually had the nerve to look at their websites:

If you are reading this, we assume you have also read the urgent email we sent you last Friday. If you did not read it, READ IT VERY CAREFULLY NOW and – this is most important – ACT ON IT. This is not scaremongering. We judge this to be a real threat to you and your practice.

Because of what we consider to be a witch hunt against chiropractors, we are now issuing the following advice:

The target of the campaigners is now any claims for treatment that cannot be substantiated with chiropractic research.

You may write your own jokes about the term ‘chiropractic research’. If you have time to comment, I’d like to know what you think such a discipline might involve.

Meryl Dorey witch-hunt

I would.

Tenuously relevant Bellatrix Lestrange pic

But of course, the British chiropractors have nothing on Australia’s leading brain-owner Meryl Dorey, of the Australian Vaccination Network. The Wicked Witch of the Northern Rivers has a persecution complex that borders on the theological. Indeed, she once even compared her suffering at the hands of the tyrannous Stop The AVN to that of Jesus of Nazareth. So has she been witch-hunted? You can bet the farm on it:

Letter to the Editor – Witch-hunt of vaccine safety watchdog
The Australian Vaccination Network has been vilified in the media in recent weeks. While it is the media’s job to expose wrongdoing when it has been found, it is not their job to act as judge, jury and executioner.

Newspapers and radio stations have been reporting ridiculous lies stating that the AVN believes in reptilian aliens and mind-control chips. They got this misinformation from Mr Ken McLeod, an active member of a group that has set out to either shut our small, volunteer-run organisation down or shut us up in any way they can. That is their agenda. What is the media’s excuse?

[...]

The AVN are vaccine whistleblowers and, like all organisations that are perceived to threaten an entrenched status quo, we are now being victimised by a group that openly states their object is to stop us in any way they can. Their tactics include death threats, threats of violence, calling our supporters to threaten them, filing complaints with every government body they can think of and generally inciting fear, hatred and violence towards us in the community – all with the support and cooperation of the government and the media.
(Source)

Or take this media release from 2002, which sees Meryl taking crayon to butcher’s paper in indignation at the suggestion that doctors should practice medicine:

Prof. John Dwyer, in an attempt to create a smoke-screen covering up Australia’s shocking record of medical safety, has called for the deregistration of doctors who use complimentary medical procedures.

[...]

“In a press release which was accidentally leaked from the office of the NSW Minister for Health, dated October 31, 2002, it is stated that the aim of this committee is to tighten up legislation, enabling practitioners who are involved in dodgy medical practices (dodgy according to whom?) to be struck off. This is a witch-hunt, plain and simple. A way for the powers that control medicine to ensure that all doctors think, act and prescribe alike with no dissent in the ranks allowed. The NSW Government has instituted a bureau of medical ‘Thought Police’ and John Dwyer is the Head Inquisitor.” Ms Dorey continued.
(Source)

Do read the rest. It’s a cracker.

Salem Witch Trial

Australian Vaccination Network Inc v Health Care Complaints Commission

There are surely countless more. Andrew Wakefield and 2011 champion recipient of fraud allegations psychic Sally Morgan spring to mind.

Can you think of any other examples of witch-hunts?

William Lane Craig: The Bathrobe

I’ve noted before that I find the term ‘christian humility‘ oxymoronic: there is nothing humble about claiming a personal relationship with the creator of the universe.

And almost as tediously predictable as the christian claiming to be humble is the christian calling the new atheists ‘arrogant’.

But any Gnu you could name would have a fair way to sink before they became as mind-bogglingly saturated with hubris as William LOL Craig. May I present: the Reasonable Faith dressing gown. Yes, it’s a thing.

William Lane Craig dressing gown

William Lane Craig dressing gown

When it’s time to relax, there’s nothing sweeter than plush terry velour generously cut for comfort.

- The William Lane Craig online merch emporium.

I know what you’re thinking, dear Dave The Happy Singer RSS Subscriber. Because I thought it too:

Awww… isn’t it a shame that Dr Craig didn’t model it himself?

Well, if this isn’t the reason the GIMP was invented, I’m buggered if I know what was.

The William Lane Craig bathrobe

The William Lane Craig bathrobe

Meryl Dorey at the Conscious Living Expo

From the Australian Vaccination Network‘s blog comes an interview with Patricia Hamilton of the ‘Concious Living Expo’. The Conscious Living Expo was a conference last weekend, offering keynotes from:

  • Dolores Canon, hypnotherapist and psychic researcher, who offered a workshop on the Mayan calendar and 2012, as well as a ‘training course’ in something called ‘Quantum Healing Hypnosis’.

(Warning: if you’re going to play the drinking game, you may as well call the ambulance now).

  • Anthony Grezlka, a ’leading’ Australian medium and ghost whisperer with a seminar entitled ‘Life, Death and Back Again: What happens after we die and a new look at reincarnation’.
  • Billie Dean, an animal shaman,  with a workshop on ‘Interspecies Communication’, who also promises ‘Animal Readings on Stage (BYO Photo)’.
  • Dr Sandra McRae Cabot, author of ‘many groundbreaking books about the holistic prevention of disease’. She ran a seminar inviting attendees to ‘Love Your Liver’.
  • Dr Antonia Ruhl, an ‘Amazonian Medicine Woman’ offering exciting events like ‘Natural Fertility Friday’, ‘Bio-Identical Foods’ and ‘Soul Retrieval’

Seriously, this is hurting now. Never mind my liver, Dr Cabot, my sides are in mortal danger. Though I must confess to a passing interest in ‘Natural Fertility Friday’ with an Amazonian medicine woman. Apart from the obvious, I would like to know what supernatural fertility would entail. I also want to know what ‘non-bio-identical’ foods could be. Don’t eat bricks, guys.

Anyway, back to the  fucking insanity ‘issues outside of the mainstream worldview’.

  • Dr Peter Dingle. Yes, that Peter Dingle. ‘The Great Cholesterol Deception Sunday’ is the title of his offering. I wouldn’t dream of suggesting his contribution would be anything else.

But wait, it gets better! Conscious Living Expo also offers a whole raft of psychics! Here’s a small, somewhat terrifying, sample:

Conscious Living Expo Psychics

Conscious Living Expo Psychics

Myrtle Harvey

I have 30 plus years experience as a natural and directchannel. Using Tarot, Tea Leaf Readings, Mediumship andPsychic Art I will give messages to you direct from the Universe. I don’t beat around the bush.

Ros Booth

*** Free gift with all readings *** I am an internationally accomplished Psychic-Medium, Angel Intuitive™, Author and Weight Wellness Coachwith qualifications in Reiki, Crystal Healing and SocialWelfare. Using my psychic skills and Angel Oracle cards, I will communicate guidance, clarity and positive messagesfor your present day situations. I will gift 3 Angel cardsto you, to bring abundant energy and encouragement toyour positive life choices.

Conscious Living Expo censorship

Meryl Dorey, of course, knew that this would be the perfect way to repair her shattered reputation. She was once Australia’s leading vaccine expert, dontcha know?

But, oh! There’s a scandal afoot! As Meryl relates:

When Patricia sent Channel 10 a media release with the list of speakers, and they saw my name on that list, they withdrew their sponsorship of the Conscious Living Expo. Aside from the fact that this is a not-so-subtle form of censorship, I want you to be aware that Patricia has foregone some much-needed sponsorship in order to allow those who attended the Expo to hear information about a subject that is taboo to mainstream media but is very, very important.

For her ethics as well as her refusal to back down in the face of severe pressure from a very powerful media outlet, I applaud Patricia and hope you will as well. As for Channel 10 – a great big thumbs down for not supporting your viewers with balanced information.

I’m somewhat surprised, I confess, that it took an appearance by Meryl to stop Channel 10 touching Golgafrincham Ark B with a ten-foot tractor beam. Nevertheless, if Meryl really was the reason sanity prevailed at Ten, I have only one response:

Good.

Not giving Meryl and her friends money isn’t ‘not-so-subtle censorship’. No firm in their right mind would sponsor this rubbish.

Stop The Australian Vaccination Network

Immunity: a short film about vaccination

This will move you.

Immunity, by Startail Tumbler productions

Last week, Jasmine took part in a film-making marathon called Kino Kabaret, a short film festival in which film-makers are challenged to shepherd a film from idea to screen in 32 hours. ‘Immunity’, embedded above, is Jasmine’s contribution.
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CPX: Chinese toddler, John Dickson’s Humilitas and Josephus

I’m starting to find the output of the Centre for Public Christianity more god-awful than that of the Australian Christian Lobby.

CPX recently tried to exploit the sad story of the Chinese toddler Wang Yue, who died after being hit by a truck. 18 passers-by left it to someone else to deal with, which happened in seven minutes. It was a shocking and heartbreaking story, but apparently a one-off.

Meanwhile, right now, in the time it took you to read my post to this point, two or three children have died, probably of a poverty-related cause. I hope you weren’t standing by doing nothing.

Rather than put the awful, singular story of Wang Yue in perspective, of course, CPX was off trying to link it to atheism.

In many countries, what are called “Good Samaritan” laws protect from liability those who offer emergency assistance but aren’t professionally qualified to help. In some jurisdictions laws impose on bystanders the duty to care for others, and so penalise those who shirk this responsibility.

Such laws get their name, of course, from Jesus’s parable in which a Samaritan is the only person to stop to help a man left beaten beside the road. Though some would have us move beyond the West’s Judeo-Christian heritage, it’s difficult to entirely shrug it off – as witnessed in these laws that oblige us to care for each other.

The point of the parable of the ‘good Samaritan’, of course, is to demonstrate that religious piety and cultural heritage have got fuck-all to do with behaving like a decent human being. The one thing the good Samaritan wasn’t was christian. He was a fiction-within-a-fiction, a character who did the right thing without the curse of a ‘Judeo-Christian heritage’, because it was the right thing to do.

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