This Is the Way One Father Told His Pediatrician “No” to Vaccines

Looking at various #CDCWhilsteblower tweets the other day, I followed a link to an article on VacTruth.com (an anti-vax website) called ‘This Is the Way One Father Told His Pediatrician ‘No’ to Vaccines‘.

“What does an informed parent look like? We’ll show you”, says VacTruth, before reprinting a letter that lays out the reasons a father, Bob O’Kane, gave to his paediatrician for refusing to sign a vaccine waiver for his daughter.

Is VacTruth telling the Truth? Does the letter represent the views of an informed parent? Let’s look at the two main points the letter makes, firstly based around measles statistics, and then about aluminium in vaccines.

Says Bob “… the head of the CDC in an April/May radio show admitted the so called measles outbreak in New York consisted of 23 cases of which 20 people who got the measles had previously been vaccinated and thus nobody could be assured the vaccines actually work. (this [sic] is public information on the CDC website, and put [sic] a dent in the so called “herd immunity” theory). The other three cases involved foreigners.”

There’s no reference to the radio show in question, but I presume he’s referring to the Feb-Apr 2014 outbreak in New York which eventually affected 25 individuals (there was also one other measles case in this time-frame, unrelated to the outbreak).

I don’t know why he’s calling it a so-called outbreak. An outbreak is defined as three or more confirmed measles cases within a localised population in a month. It was an outbreak.

The “20 people who got the measles had previously been vaccinated” statement is way off, and seems to come from a shoddy video hammered together by conspiracy peddler Experimental Vaccines (‘New York Measles Outbreak 90% Vaccinated‘) and unthinkingly copied across the Internet, where they focus on a single sentence in a news report:

According to the New York State Department of Health, two of 20 people infected in a recent measles outbreak in New York City were children who had not been vaccinated by their parent’s choice.”

This is true, but it is not the whole picture and does not mean the remaining 18 people were vaccinated. At the time the outbreak reached 20 cases, 9 were children and 11 were adults; 7 of the children were too young to be vaccinated, two of the children were indeed the children of vaccine-refusers; 3 of the adults were vaccinated; and 8 had no records that could confirm vaccination. Four of the cases required hospitalisation.

While I don’t know the source of the New York outbreak (except it was picked up at a US airport) I can say that the US was declared measles-free in 2000, thanks to the vaccine program, and the disease flares up almost exclusively when unvaccinated travellers come into the US from locations where measles remains endemic. It is mostly spread by and spreads among unvaccinated people. True, a few vaccinated people will get the disease if it’s allowed to get hold within a community – vaccines are ‘only’ 95% effective, which is why herd immunity is so important, and these very statistics prove it works, contrary to Bob’s claim.

As for the fact that the remaining three cases were foreigners, I’m not sure where this comes from, but I don’t think it lessens the potential severity measles can have on your health or how highly contagious it is.

Bob continues … Our last Doctor even told us people are dying … do you know how many people have died in the past 10 years? The number is in fact less than all the fingers I have on my hands. Again, this is public record available through the CDC and not some Google search result.”

I’m guessing Bob’s attitude to foreigners is prevailing here and that he’s not counting the annual global deaths from measles which was 122,000 in 2012. Either that or he has a disproportionate number of fingers “on his hands”.

The last death from measles in the US was in 2003. The next 10 years saw sporadic outbreaks and not quite 1000 individual cases in total. The crazy thing is, Bob, this is thanks to vaccines. The very fact you proclaim is true is thanks to the vaccines you wish to avoid.

While deaths from measles were declining before the vaccine was introduced in 1963, thanks to advances in medical science and hygiene, it’s vaccines that are responsible for wiping out the disease and its deaths from the US altogether. In the years before the vaccine arrived there were still 400-500 reported deaths and 48,000 hospitalisations per year from measles in the US – way down from the over 7,500 deaths back in 1920, but still far too many.

Bob’s next problem with vaccines is aluminium, used as an adjuvant in some vaccines. To prove its dangers he quotes some text that the FDA required a maker of dextrose solution for IVs to include as part of their package insert, reflecting an update to their guidance on labelling parenterals that are contaminated with no more than 25 micrograms (mcg) of aluminium per litre, and referring specifically to research related to babies with poor kidney function.

What’s IV dextrose solution got to do with vaccines, you may ask? This comes from Dr Robert SearsThe Vaccine Book where an entire section is dedicated to showing that vaccines contain aluminium in far higher concentrations than the FDA recommend for IV solutions. Sears does attempt to cover the core of his idea (that aluminium will damage your child) with a gloss of science and an impression of balance, but the reader can be left in no doubt that, yet again, something evil is lurking in the vaccines.

Of course, any flaccid attempt at caution by Sears is left behind as soon as the idea leaves his domain and starts replicating within the hive of anti-vax websites, where ‘Mercury In Vaccines Was Replaced With Something Even More Toxic‘ becomes the new battle-cry. And our letter-writing parent lends his voice too …

The HEP-B shot alone is almost 14 TIMES THE AMOUNT OF ALUMINUM THAT IS FDA-APPROVED. The MMR? The dTap? All have similar amounts.

Note the move to capital letters – the inevitable Act III of nearly all conspiracy argument, starting out reasoned and calm before the underlying fear and paranoia break through, and shouting and screaming fill up the holes where facts no longer fit.

The trouble is, the aluminium argument just doesn’t hold together where vaccines are concerned. IV solution tends to be used on sick people, and if that sick person is a baby, especially a premature baby with weak renal function, then you want to severely limit any aluminium going directly into their bloodstream because they will not be able to eliminate it as efficiently as they should. The FDA recommendation of 25 mcg per litre takes into account that other aluminium contamination will be likely (it is the third most abundant element in the Earth’s crust) and that the patient will almost certainly be taking in many litres over many days in a single period.

Patients who take in intravenously infused aluminium could potentially retain from 40% (adults) to 75% (newborns) of the element, whereas normally the body will eliminate 95% through kidney function, with only 0.3% becoming absorbed. This is why IV fluids, especially for premature babies, have such a strict and low limit.

With vaccines, the shots that contain aluminium salts (which are poorly absorbed anyway) are spread out over many months and are not injected directly into the bloodstream. You cannot compare the FDA limit set for IV fluids, which are administered over long periods in greater amounts, with the minuscule amount in even an entire schedule of vaccines. And, Bob, the MMR vaccine does not contain aluminium.

What does contain aluminium? Well, breast milk contains about 40 mcg per litre and infants’ formula contains about 225 mcg per litre. We’re eating the stuff all the time – unprocessed foods can contain between 100 mcg and 20,000 mcg per kg.

Children will get about 4,400 mcg (4.4 mg) of aluminium salts spread across their first six months through vaccination, just over half of what they’d get from their own mother’s breast milk and almost ten-times less than the amount ingested through formula in the same time. That’s about 1/1250th of a teaspoon.

Seeing as Bob does recognise the FDA’s advice for aluminium control, perhaps he’d  like to move away from the world of parenteral dextrose solutions and look at what they actually recommend for vaccines, which is no more than 850-1250 mcg per individual dose. The largest amount in any vaccine is 625 mcg in DTaP (though it can be as low as 170 mcg), and most vaccines, if they contain it, are no more than 225 mcg.

2014 is a bad year for measles in the US, with more cases from January to August than the country saw in the last five years put together. The vast majority of these are among the unvaccinated – as of May 2014 69% of this year’s cases were unvaccinated and 20% had unknown vaccination status (probably largely unvaccinated); of those who were unvaccinated 85% had declined vaccination (or had it declined on their behalf by their parents), 6% were missed opportunities, and 5% were too young to receive vaccinations.

Ohio has seen a particularly bad outbreak among its Amish populace, where unvaccinated missionaries brought the disease back from the Philippines and it then spread easily among their largely unvaccinated community.

So, have we seen what an informed parent looks like? Does VacTruth spread the truth? No. Bob O’Kane – if he exists – seems to be pretty highly misinformed, probably thanks to websites such as VacTruth, who seem to be in the business of spreading fear and misinformation where vaccines are concerned, and contributing greatly to many parents’ decision not to get their children vaccinated, in turn leading to sick children, sick adults, hospitalisations, and, if the US outbreaks continue at their current pace, eventually, the first measles-related death since 2003*

* Update: a few months after this article was written, a woman died due to measles in Washington State.

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Genocidal Fraud by the CDC. Not.

For a while now I’ve had an anti-vaccination friend trying to get me not to vaccinate my children. Why? Because autism, because toxins, because New World Order population control. At the time of their first intervention I was pro-vax, but largely uninformed on the issue. I knew a little about the fraudulent Andrew Wakefield study, but not much more.

The friend sent me a couple of articles, pieces that had appeared in the ‘independent media’ and I decided to look into them in detail. It didn’t take too long for my previously ambivalent pro-vax stance to evolve into a pretty much full-on, raging pro-vax stance. The articles were brimming with blatant lies. The more I examined the anti-vax scene, the more I found it to be anti-scientific, bare-faced nonsense, and the more I learned about just how important and amazing vaccination actually is.

The friend hasn’t given up (despite my polite evidence-based counter-arguments, and my children being well into their vaccination schedule), and the latest salvo was a newsletter from bunkum-buffet website, Forbidden Knowledge TV, a newsletter titled Genocidal Fraud by the CDC.

The background is this: in 2004 the Center for Disease Control released a study that showed there was no link between MMR and autism with respect to the age of first MMR vaccination. One of the researchers on that paper was William Thompson. Now, champion of the ‘vaccine-damaged’, Andrew Wakefield, and one his disciples, Brian Hooker, have revealed that Thompson has turned whistleblower, pointing Hooker in the direction of allegedly covered-up data from that 2004 study and allowing him to re-analyse the raw data and discover a link between MMR and autism in African-American boys. Press releases were released and Wakefield made a video comparing the CDC to various genocidal dictators, and now the anti-vax crowd are dancing in the streets.

Barely two weeks old, this story has already been scrutinised by many bloggers more knowledgeable than me (bearing in mind it’s still playing out and not all the facts are in), but I wanted to pay particular attention to some of the points raised in the Forbidden Knowledge TV piece.

“The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) whistleblower … has been identified”

Well, let’s get this straight. Thompson spoke to Brian Hooker in confidence and he had no idea that he was being recorded. In doing this, Hooker broke Californian and Georgian law (where the relevant parties reside). Hooker further undermined Thompson’s trust (and again flouted the law) when he shared those recorded conversations with Andrew Wakefield, who then went on to publish Thompson’s name and voice on the Internet. If this is how Hooker and Wakefield treat their friends then I don’t think trust and ethics figure very highly on their list of character traits. I also think they’ve trashed the possibility of any future whistleblower contacting them – so I guess they’d better make the most of this one.

Indeed, William Thompson has released a statement stating that he was not aware he was being recorded and did not agree to either his name being made public or his voice being put on the Internet.

As we’re on the subject of Thompson’s statement, he also says this:

I want to be absolutely clear that I believe vaccines have saved and continue  to save countless lives. I would never suggest that any parent avoid vaccinating children of any race. Vaccines prevent serious diseases, and the risks associated with their administration are vastly outweighed by their individual and societal benefits.

Epidemiologist, William W. Thompson, PhD broke a decade of silence over the government’s deliberate concealment of the link between the MMR vaccine … and a dramatically increased risk of autism, particularly in African American boys.”

And here the tale unfastens from the world of facts and starts to drift away. Brian Hooker’s reanalysis did not find an increased risk of autism in caucasian boys and girls, or African-American girls, only in African-American boys. You can call “dramatically increased risk” a misrepresentation, or you can call it a lie, but either way it shows the disregard the anti-vaccination lobby has for the truth.

But while we’re on the subject of B. S. Hooker’s  study (yes, those are his initials), let’s add a couple of other things about it. He took the raw data from the CDC’s 2004 study, which was designed and implemented as a case-control study, and re-cast it as a cohort study, thus increasing the risk of false positives. Related to this, his data-set was tiny and had no comparative, so a methodical and definitive conclusion is almost impossible. This bad science makes more sense when you know that Hooker is a biochemical engineer, not a statistician or an epidemiologist, and he didn’t employ one either.

But let’s entertain the idea that Hooker’s forced conclusion is actually correct – this, then, flies in the face of Andrew Wakefield’s and his legion of Warrior Moms’ assertion – that MMR causes autism across the board. It’s a blow to their crusade in particular because the vast majority of these campaigners are white upper/middle class parents. Strangely, they don’t appear to have noticed this.

Lastly on this point, only very short snippets of Thompson’s ‘confessions’ have been released – edited, repeated sound-bites with no context. All the context is added by Wakefield where he references the shameful Tuskegee experiment and goes on to claim that the CDC are worse than Hitler, Stalin and Pol Pot. If Thompson’s revelations are so damning, why doesn’t Wakefield let us hear them, instead of giving us barely thirty-seconds of illegally recorded conversation in a 9-minute video dripping with propaganda?

“The same month of its publication, Thompson wrote to Dr. Julie Gerberding (then director of the CDC, now director of Merck’s vaccine division – check out that revolving door, eh?), discussing his intention to present, at an Institute of Medicine meeting on vaccines and autism the following week, “several problematic results” that the study had produced.”

So, Thompson intended to present the “problematic results” of the 2004 study at an IoM meeting? Wrong. Read the letter. Thompson is asking Gerdberding to respond to a letter by Rep. David Weldon which asks for clarification of a completely different vaccine study – not the 2004 paper that Thompson worked on. He wanted leadership support for the science that showed there was no MMR-autism connection. Another lie.

“Dr. Julie Gerberding (then director of the CDC, now director of Merck’s vaccine division – check out that revolving door, eh?) …”

First of all, this has no bearing on the facts of whether MMR causes autism, but if you’re going to play that game then we should be fair, and check out the biases of both sides.

Andrew Wakefield was struck off the Medical Register in 2010 and is barred from practising medicine in the UK after his 1998 paper that led to the MMR-autism kerfuffle was found to be not only bad science, but fraudulent – he used a tiny sample size of children with no control group, subjected them to unnecessary and invasive medical procedures, was reportedly in the pay of lawyers acting on behalf of several autistic children whose parents wanted to sue MMR manufactures (and these children made up a portion of Wakefield’s study subjects) and had just filed a patent for his own single-jab measles vaccine. He now relies on his position in the anti-vaccine movement for both his income and his status.

Brian Hooker, the author of the re-analysed CDC data, has been involved in litigation against the CDC and claims that vaccines caused his own son’s autism. He’s also a board member of Focus Autism, a group who want to “put an end to the needless harm of children by vaccination”.

By two years of age, US children receive as many as 24 vaccine injections, and might receive up to five shots during one visit to the doctor – all of these containing the toxic mercury-based preservative, Thimerosal and administered to toddlers whose immune systems are not developed enough to cope with so much toxicity.

So many wobbly facts in this paragraph. Only two vaccinations in the US childhood schedule might contain thimerosal, DTaP and DTaP-Hib combined, and these would only contain trace amounts as the thimerosal is removed after the manufacturing process, so it isn’t an ingredient in the actual vaccine. Similarly, no childhood vaccines in the UK contain thimerosal as an ingredient. Some flu shots do contain thimerosal, but MMR never contained it.

The amount of mercury in thimerosal is not toxic – “the dose makes the poison” and there is too little. Furthermore the mercury in thimerosal is ethylmercury which is expelled from the body pretty quickly, it doesn’t build up like its cousin, methylmercury – which is probably what most people are thinking of when they hear about ‘toxic mercury’.

If mercury in vaccinations is the cause of autism, then how come autism has continued to rise even though thimerosal has not been an ingredient in the majority of vaccinations for over 14 years?

As for the ‘too many too soon’ argument, this just doesn’t bear out. A child is exposed to vastly greater amounts of “toxicity” in real life, from food, the environment and naturally acquired disease from the moment they are born. Their immune systems cope just fine.

I have a distinct suspicion that the release NOW of the genocidal fraud and criminality of the CDC, of a vaccine which specifically harms black boys …”

Is it actually possible to have a substance injected into any member of the human populace, but which will only take effect if that human happens to be of a specific ethnic origin and gender?

This last bit is the cue for the remainder of the newsletter to go into full-on conspiracy mode, claiming the US government are inciting a race war, a civil war and even a world war.

Conspiracy theorists just can’t help it. Everything is connected, it’s all just one big convoluted plan … ‘They’ are lying to us about everything from the moon landing to spraying us from the air with chemicals, from murdering Princess Diana to bringing down the World Trade Centre. They start out trying to be calm and scientific, and end up ranting about lizard-aliens coming to drink the life-essence from our children.

My friend continues to believe that MMR causes autism and that the government want to inject brain-controlling microchips into the population. He accuses me of being ‘indoctrinated’, yet he gets his news solely from the fear-merchants in the ‘alternative media’, not allowing a single counter-argument to unbalance his Matrix-tinged view of the world, even though that alternative media tell blatant lies and assert things without a shred of evidence. Even if you don’t trust the ‘mainstream media’ (whatever that is), a lot of the claims are backed up with various forms of evidence that you can often check yourself.

Meanwhile, back on planet Earth, Hooker’s re-evaluation has been removed from the public domain “because of serious concerns about the validity of its conclusions”, and Wakefield and his cronies’ claims about autism continue to lead to real-world deaths, in numbers, from diseases that are preventable and, in many cases, were on the brink of being eradicated.

Thanks to the continued vigilance and expertise of various bloggers at Science-Based Medicine, and many other writers and blogs linked to in the piece above.

Ebola Virus. It is not an untreatable disease!

Fear not, Ebola victims of Africa, for the homeopaths are coming to save you! Well, I presume they are … after all, they claim to have remedies that will cure the effects of this deadly virus.

Let’s see … Homeopaths Without Borders aren’t going, but they are reaching out “to our counterparts working in Africa to offer our support”. Perhaps they mean Homeopathy for Health in Africa, or Homoopathen Ohne Grenzen, or Homeopathes Sans Frontieres, or Homeopaten Zonder Grenzen Nederland, or Homeopathes Autour Du Monde Suisse, or the All-Nigeria Homeopathic Medical Association, or the Gambia Wellness Foundation, or the Ghana Homeopathy Project, or the Homeopathic Association of South Africa, or the Senya/Tamale Homeopathy Project, or the Abha Light Foundation, or the Swaziland Homeopathy Project?

Hm, looking at their websites, none of these counterparts in Africa seem to have anything to say about Ebola (at time of writing, six months into the epidemic). Well, actually the Swaziland Homeopathy Project do mention it on their Facebook page – they link to an article by English homeopath Steve Scrutton called ‘Ebola Virus – it’s not an untreatable disease!

The general point of Scrutton’s article is to say that the “conventional medical establishment” is not able to treat Ebola, but homeopathy can, and he offers several examples.

One of these is a homeopathic preparation based on the venom of the Six-Eyed Crab Spider. “Click here to see the research undertaken on this remedy in the treatment of Ebola” he says. So I did.

What I found was a paper called ‘Sicarius (Six-Eyed Crab Spider): A homeopathic treatment for Ebola haemorrhagic fever and disseminated intravascular coagulation?‘ that was published in the British Homeopathic Journal in 1999. Note the question-mark at the end there.

Reading the paper revealed that it offered no research whatsoever related to a remedy. It described a study by someone else that looked at the effect of Sicarius venom on rabbits (Newlands, 1982), saw that one of the reported effects of the venom was disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC), noted that one of the effects of Ebola is disseminated intravascular coagulation, and concluded that therefore Sicarius venom could be used to treat Ebola.

This follows the rule, in homeopathy, that ‘like cures like‘ – so a little of what causes a symptom, diluted until there is barely a molecule of it left (the water remembers it) will become the treatment. How do homeopaths research this? Usually just by thinking about it for a short while. For instance, hay fever causes the eyes to water; what else causes the eyes to water? Onions! Therefore: homeopathic remedy for hay fever = onions (though you must use its binomial to make it sound scientific, of course, Allium cepa).

This is about as scientific as the Law of Rhymes (which I’ve just invented). What does Ebola rhyme with? Granola! There’s your cure for Ebola right there – a muesli-based cereal. But you don’t need to eat it, just breathe in the air around it – it’s more potent that way, and the further away you are, the more potent it is.

Bearing this Law of Similars in mind, the author of this highly questionable paper, Dr Cornelia Richardson-Boedler, goes on to suggest – amazingly – that the infected blood of an Ebola victim (a “nosode“), and even the Ebola virus itself, should also be considered as possible cures.

But will the homeopathic community, many of whom have echoed Mr Scrutton’s claim, be asked to step in and save the day? “I regret to say that this is unlikely!” laments Scrutton. You see, he explains, Big Pharma will spend millions on developing drugs that won’t be ready for years and are even already using an untested drug which is sure to cause immense harm.

It is, of course, right that these drugs are fully tested, and that does take time. Even so, a vaccine is currently being trialled, and may even see its first use in Africa sometime in 2015.

As for the untested drug, ZMapp, that is being provided for free. And yes, it may do harm, but this is being weighed up against the alternative – almost certain death. As of this writing I’m aware of five people who have received ZMapp – two have survived Ebola (though both gave more credit to “God” than medical science), two have died from the virus, and one, currently in the UK, is still being treated. The available supply is now exhausted.

Homeopaths and their pseudoscientific supporters would be horrified if the drugs suppled by Big Pharma were made publicly available without proper, robust testing, or weren’t subject to the strict safety conditions of organisations such as the MHRA, the EMA or the FDA (not that homeopaths trust them). Yet, apply the same standards to homeopathy and they scream injustice, cry conspiracy, organise petitions, and claim patients’ rights are being infringed.

Still, fear not, homeopaths, even though you have the answer to Africa’s Ebola worries, you will not have to dirty your shoes with the dust of humankind’s birthplace. One of your number, Dr Bill Gray, has come up with a solution – eRemedies. These are short audio files of homeopathic energy that you can play in order to stimulate the body to heal itself. Two are available specifically for Ebola – one to be used as a preventative, and another to listen to if you have been sick for over 48 hours. These are, very generously, free (unlike Dr Gray’s usual fees – $600 for an initial consultation), so, people of Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea and Nigeria, get downloading*.

(* Don’t. Please seek proper medical advice.)

Tweeting while conscious

While idly browsing tweets this morning, this one appeared from New Age vessel of consciousness and Ig Nobel Prize winner, Deepak Chopra …

As long as there is no scientific explanation for the biological basis of consciousness militant atheism seems an irrational position”

So if science can’t explain consciousness from a biological point of view, then the only rational explanation is that a god exists (if he’s bringing in atheism, then it can only be tied to the existence, or not, of a deity).

But this is surely a false dichotomy – if there is not yet a scientific explanation of biological consciousness then atheism remains a perfectly rational option, perhaps even the only rational option. If you’re positing something else, which science does not back up, then you’re presenting a god of the gaps argument. You’re perfectly allowed to believe that thing, whatever it is (deities, quantum foam, the dream-dust from other dimensions), but until there’s evidence, it remains an unscientific idea born of imagination.

As all his Twitter replies, so far, had been agreeing with his great wisdom, I decided to grace him with my thoughts …

@DeepakChopra science hasn’t explained everything – doesn’t mean it won’t one day. You’re filling gaps with woo. How are atheists militant?”

He didn’t like that …

@FelisUncia Any explanation in science will come from consciousness. Science is an activity in consciousness.”

“Crying ‘Woo’ is the last refuge of the intellectually challenged @FelisUncia

“Militant atheist is term used by @RichardDawkins to describe himself & those of his tribe @FelisUncia

Like a naughty schoolboy, I decided to answer back. To the first one …

@DeepakChopra Well, science is an activity of conscious people.”

… and to his second one …

@DeepakChopra A great line, but merely saying it doesn’t make it true. Let’s give it a longer name: pseudoscience.”

Another Twitter user, tyDi, joined in …

@DeepakChopra @FelisUncia We can call it ‘making scientific claims without evidence’ if you like Deepak? ‘Woo’ just sounds cooler.”

Prompting this gem from Deepak …

‘Evidence’ is a species specific mode of observation in human consciousness which eludes scientific explanation. @tyDi @FelisUncia

By now Deepak had blocked me, but I was subject to notifications of dozens of his followers (a cluster of yogis, herbalists, spiritualists, beauticians, therapists, healers and ‘moms’) favouriting and retweeting his answers, especially the pithy ‘crying woo’ line.

As I said in my tweet, calling someone names (‘intellectually challenged’ – one of his favourite insults – and his intentionally provocative ‘militant atheist’) does nothing to provide an answer. It’s the kind of thing that happens all the time with conspiracy theorists – after two or three rebuttals to questions, they resort to calling you ‘indoctrinated’ and the conversation ends.

As for the idea that evidence is species-specific, this has to be the funniest thing he wrote, and the whole tweet is typical of the convoluted language he uses to sound scientific. Every term he types needs to be defined before you can move on, and he almost certainly has a different meaning from the one you (or the majority of scientists) might have. Jerry Coyne has dubbed the great guru Deepity Chopra.

The scientific method is geared towards ejecting such notions as personal observation – introducing randomisation, blind control groups and repeatability in order to get as objective a result as possible. Deepak seems to reject this, and everything becomes true as long as it is observed by the individual (or ‘consciousness’). If it’s real for you then it’s real, and if it’s real then perhaps you even created it. Anecdote becomes just as valuable as any robust clinical trial.

Deepak is a master of utilising scientific terms and bits and pieces of quantum theory to tie into his grand idea of higher consciousness. But all he has, in the end, is impressive-sounding speculation. He’s just another person who can’t believe that evolution is almost certainly the process that created the astounding human brain; another puddle amazed that he’s lying in a hole that fits him just perfectly.

Extra: This is my favourite debate that features Deepak Chopra – see him dismantled atom by atom by Sam Harris, Michael Shermer, and a real quantum physicist (at the end).

Is it Ebola or is it psychological warfare?

Jon Rappoport is an ex-journalist who discovered and promoted HIV denialism in the late 1980s, and then fell into the whole New World Order / We’re All Living in the Matrix fruit bowl. He’s the founder of No More Fake News and co-conspirator, if you will, of big NWO-busting names such as Alex Jones and David Icke.

I was recently sent a blog post written by Rappoport called Is it Ebola or is it psychological warfare? The gist of the piece is that Ebola is merely a propaganda operation created to induce fear, thus making us compliant for all sorts of unspecified population control mechanisms.

I guess, apparently, it didn’t quite work with AIDS or SARS, so they’re trying again with Ebola. The New World Order chaps really aren’t very good at this are they? If they really wanted to reduce and control the population, why not just use something that is actually vastly globally deadly? I’m just one of the sheeple, but might I suggest something that affects human fertility by the millions? But no, they have to spend billions on wearing us down, one at a time, with Ebola, autism, chemtrails, fluoride, vaccines and, um, reality television. The big kill-off  is always approaching, but never arrives.

Rappoport claims to have studied logic extensively in college, but this skill seems to have been zapped (by HAARP, I expect), possibly sometime around 1987 when, as he claims, “… a thought popped into my head. AIDS. I bet there’s something about that whole thing that’s pretty weird”. Seems logical.

“It’s time to try facts instead of scare tactics”, he says, before revealing that Ebola has only given us 456 confirmed deaths (as of 25 July) whereas seasonal flu kills between 250,000-500,000 people every year. And that’s the proof that Ebola is being blown out of all proportion by the World Health Organisation and the ‘mainstream media’, apparently leading to only one conclusion: a population compliance operation.

Well, let’s regain some of that logic that Mr Rappoport appears to have mislaid, and apply it on his behalf.

Yes, Ebola deaths are very low compared to flu. But, unchecked, Ebola has a fatality rate of 90%, and even with treatment and early diagnosis it can be about 50% at best. Influenza, on the other hand, does not usually kill. For the majority of healthy people it takes the form of a very heavy and unpleasant cold for about a week.

But the genie is out of the bottle with flu – it’s out there, spreading and affecting us, every year, on a global level. Ebola is, at the moment, relatively contained and localised, and with emergency measures (hence, perhaps, the perceived ‘scare tactics’) it can be beaten down to nothing, as it has been before. Ebola is unlikely to take a hold in the frankly more sanitised and technologically richer ‘First World’, but if Ebola did reach the level of annual flu infection, we might be seeing somewhere in the region of 500 million deaths per annum.

At the moment you cannot inoculate against Ebola (and no, homeopaths, rattlesnake venom diluted to nothing will not work), whereas there are a number of influenza vaccines available that are effective in the majority of cases.

It’s funny, mainstream medicine deniers usually say that flu is not dangerous – you just need a robust immune system and to avoid vaccines (manufactured by the evil Cabal, intended to ruin your health). Rappoport is one of these people. He has written more than one blog post in which he casts doubt on the CDC’s influenza mortality numbers, claiming the estimated 36,000 deaths from influenza in the US (in 2001) is a lie, and the actual number is most likely about 18 (making Ebola over 900 times more deadly than the flu once you’ve adjusted for population size over one year). It seems he likes to change his ‘facts’ to suit his agenda.

(Note: Rappoport gets his 18 flu deaths from vaccine critic Peter Doshi. See a good take down of Doshi’s flawed theory here.)

Rappoport believes that if the immune system is strong then “a germ doesn’t stand a chance of causing serious illness”. This reveals his lack of knowledge where Ebola is concerned. If you’ve got a healthy immune system then one of the first things it does when a virus attacks is to release tetherin, a protein that inhibits retrovirus infection. Unfortunately, Ebola disables tetherin, allowing it to continue its spread from cell to cell. It actually uses the body’s immune cells to travel to other parts of the body and infect them.

He doesn’t really believe the Ebola virus is to blame anyway – in another piece he seems to suggest it’s actually antibiotics, or pesticides, or vaccines, or chemical pollution, all acting on an already depleted (by the Cabal, of course) immune system.

So who’s really using scare tactics here? Nearly all of the official, mainstream, scientific sources I’ve read on Ebola, while stating that this is an unprecedented outbreak and that urgent measures are required, also give out the calm facts: Ebola is not an airborne virus, survival rates are vastly improved with medical attention, it can be beaten with good hygiene practice, and it is highly unlikely to take hold in ‘the West’.

The conspiracists, on the other hand, and as usual, are pouring out the fear and paranoia – Ebola is psychological operation designed, created and implemented by the authorities; they’re destroying your immune system so almost anything can kill you; they’re coming to get you; don’t trust anyone!

Here’s a few conspiracy-flavoured headlines: Cure for Ebola They Don’t Want You To Know About; Ebola May Have Already Crossed Border; US Govt Admits To Ebola Attack; Why Did the US Government Patent the Ebola Virus in 2009?; What Are US Biowar Researchers Doing in the Ebola Zone?; 25 Critical Facts About This Ebola Outbreak That Every American Needs To Know; The US Is Quietly Establishing Ebola Quarantine Centers; Timeline Says Atlanta Ebola Patient A PsyOp Hoax; Ebola Bodily Fluids readily Airborne Weaponizable; etc., etc. Feeling afraid yet?

(Edit: I just had to add a link to this video of conspiracy commentator Christopher Greene getting more and more panicky throughout one of his pieces on Ebola. If the virus is psychological warfare, he’s fallen for it hook, line and sinker. Also, he doesn’t seem to know what inoculation means.)

Misinformation and pseudoscience on Ebola, such as that promoted on Rappoport’s blog, are a real contributing factor to the spread of this deadly virus. Many African citizens believe that Ebola is a Western plot to kill them off and this has led to violent mobs gathering and vital treatment centres being evacuated. Some don’t trust the official health centres and turn to witch doctors for help.

On his website, Jon Rappoport offers a coaching program called Imagination Work – “using imagination to fully grasp what is desired in life”. I think this might offer a clue as to where his theories on Ebola come from – there doesn’t appear to be any actual evidence behind his claims, but his imagination certainly seems to be working overtime.

The child-like faith in reason

At the end of last week, BBC News Magazine posted an article titled A Point of View: The child-like faith in reason by political philosopher John Gray. Gray’s basic assertion is that “believing in the power of human reason requires a greater leap of faith than believing in God” and “to believe that human beings can be much improved by rational argument is to assume that they are already reasonable, which is obviously false”.

He starts with the claim that ‘evangelical atheists’ are constantly ‘promoting’ the idea that religion is childish, but the real truth of the matter is that it’s the other way round, “belief in human reason is childish”. And within just a few paragraphs he brings in the Nazis as proof (oh, Godwin) and has a little anti-EU rant.

The basic argument is easy to refute. Belief in a god or gods relies entirely on faith – there is no supportable evidence for any kind of supreme being that created the world or life on it, who watches us, interferes in our lives, answers prayers, causes events to happen, or who guides and judges our morality. On the other hand, the application of reason has  given us the answers for how the world came to be and how we came to live on it, and why certain events happen, as well as being the most successful method of developing a better moral society. Reason requires far less faith than religion.

What Gray seems to be getting at, however, is that relying on reason is foolish (a more accurate word, I think, than Gray’s provocative childish) – humans are incapable of applying it and improving. This may be partially true (but I’d like to refute that too, in a moment), but to say it is more foolish than religion is plainly daft.

The crux of his argument is that if we applied reason to our past experiences then we should improve, but we don’t, we just keep making the same mistakes. But is religion a better method? Religion is dogma, law set in stone, it doesn’t change. The same rules that were laid down for a set of Bronze Age goat-herders in the Middle East are true, today, for an inner-city banker in central London.

It is the discarding of these ancient, often morally abhorrent (even for their time) ideologies, and the increasing utilisation of reason, I would argue, that has improved our society. Even religion itself cannot ignore the power of reason – all major religions have been tempered by the secular and humanist ideals of equality and justice over the past two or three centuries, and they continue to be influenced today, in direct opposition to many of the laws within their supposedly immutable holy books.

It is, of course, true that human beings are not rational – we know that. In fact it is through the use of reason that we know it, and are often able to distinguish between a rational act and an irrational one. And true, this knowledge doesn’t necessarily stop us from acting irrationally.

Gray says, “science may yet confirm what history so strongly suggests – irrationality is hard-wired in the human animal”. I think science has already confirmed that. We all know of the idea that a person who runs away from a noise in the tall grass, nine times of out of ten of which is merely the wind, will survive and pass on their genes, whereas the person who ‘reasons’ (usually correctly) it is most likely the wind, so doesn’t run, will get eaten by the tiger who was hiding there the one time it wasn’t. Of such evolutionary behaviour are religions made.

Pure human reason would be as robust as the scientific method. Emotion would not get in the way, neither would confirmation bias, herd mentality, programmed habit, or ideological allegiance. All these can play a part in our decisions, personal or social, and none of them are entirely reasonable.

But I know of no atheist or humanist (‘evangelical’ or otherwise) who actually believes we can have some utopian society based entirely on reason. What a reasonable person knows and is aware of is the very fact that humans have these often irrational traits. The improvement has come in recognising them, and applying a better standard to our decisions despite them. It’s gradual, but society has benefited immeasurably.

Expand your human view and we’re better off, largely thanks to reason, in nearly all areas – health, education, equality and justice. Yes, there is still slavery, torture, war, revenge, prejudice and even genocide, but these things are no longer acceptable to society at large, and united international justice is far more effective and fair now than in the past.

The societies who still foster hate along ‘racial’ or sexual lines are generally ones where some form of irrationality (often faith-based) still holds sway at government level. The Nazis, to use Gray’s rather tired example, did not apply reason to their (bad) scientific policies, but prejudice and hate that was born of myth. It is mainly religion that condemns women, homosexuals, and those who are not the ‘chosen people’ of whatever faith – whether it’s Islam, Christianity or Aryan Supremacy.

Gray is very negative. An attitude like his will result in exactly what he propositions – no improvement in human benevolence, social conditions or morals. As individuals we are all subject to our various human follies, but striving for our governments to apply more reason to their policies, small steps – sometimes three forward and two back – will eventually lead to real overall improvements.

Sense About Science have a campaign to Ask For Evidence. The more people who take up this challenge, the fewer places companies and policy-makers who promote pseudo-science have to hide. This is the kind of thing that starts small but eventually reaches the halls where laws are forged. On a bigger scale, Steven Pinker’s The Better Angels of Our Nature uses statistics – and reason – to show that violence has declined and that this is almost certainly due to an age of enlightenment that has gradually and successfully spread.

Our personal experiences are comparable to anecdote and Gray carries out the equivalent of using individual studies to make his point. We should be looking at the meta-analysis, the Cochrane report, to see how we’re doing, and we’re doing relatively well. Reason can be applied as a scientific method to correct our choices. Reason does not require faith. Reason works.

I responded to another BBC Point of View article back in May 2014 – Is it Better to be a Humanist than Religious?

If you go chasing rabbits …

Conspiracy theorists are in seventh* heaven at the moment and new recruits are donning their tin-foil hats almost daily. How many times have I read recently, on blogs and on Facebook, “I’m not normally into conspiracy theories, but this is getting weird …”

Disaster has befallen a second Malaysian Airlines flight within months, the Middle East seems to be brewing up towards WWIII, and number one enemy of the reptoids, David Icke, has been ‘proved right’ as the British establishment – particularly its two central pillars, parliament and the BBC – turns out to be one massive paedophile ring.

But which truth is true? In the case of flight MH17, shot down in Ukraine on 17 July, no one can quite decide, with a whole host of conspiracy celebs, wannabe celebs, and Truther Google-researchers offering up every little possibility that leaps into their pattern-seeking, dot-connecting, unplugged from the Matrix minds.

The most obvious is that it’s a false flag operation (of course), perhaps by the Ukraine government to gain Western sympathy for their ongoing conflict with Russia. Or maybe by Mossad, to draw attention away from their murder of Palestinian children in Gaza, or even the US government to draw attention away from their border and illegal immigration problems. But let’s get serious, it’s most likely the work of the Illuminati/New World Order, to spark off World War Three in this, the 100th anniversary year of World War One.

It could be any of these, or even multiple of these. Or perhaps something else … a failed assassination of Putin, whose own plane was supposedly following closely behind and was similarly marked in the same colours. But who’d want to kill Putin? Why, Ukranians, the CIA, the New World Order, or all three, of course!

The New World Order could also be behind the shooting down of the plane to prevent the cure for AIDS (or its hidden man-made CIA-backed origins) from being revealed at the 20th Annual AIDS conference in Melbourne, and if it wasn’t the NWO then it was Big Pharma itself that fired the missile (or launched an F15 from a secret US base in Azerbaijan) – after all, they don’t want us to get cured, they want to keep us sick so they can continue selling us high-priced but ineffective unnatural treatments for our ‘dis-ease’.

But maybe we’re missing the obvious here? Don’t forget flight MH370 that went missing back in March, what happened to that? MH17 is MH370! Filled with dead bodies and exploded over Ukraine in a sneaky yet brilliant yet, um, irrationally complex plan to get rid of the evidence.

But that might not be it … we mustn’t forget the Rothschilds, those evil NWO, Nazionist string-pullers. The Jewish bankers are running an insurance scam on Malaysian Airlines to recoup financial losses made recently. Either that, or they’re making a dirty bomb to be used in a future false flag operation … yes, they’ve kidnapped engineers from MH370 and biologists from MH17 and now they’re all working for the One World Government on an ingenious bio-weapon on the remote island (and US Naval base) of Diego Garcia. Haven’t you read the Protocols of the Elders of Zion? What? It’s a forgery? Hah … that’s what they want you to think!

Of course, everything is connected. As Mossad detonated the plane they kidnapped from the Malaysians back in March over Ukraine, their government masters in Israel continue their indiscriminate destruction on the people of Gaza.

It all started with the kidnap and brutal murder of three Israeli teens. By Palestinians? No, by Israelis! It was another false flag, so they can attack Palestine and steal all that gas they’re sitting on. Or it could be that darned New World Order again, the one run by the Rothschilds and the Rockerfellers (and probably the Ramones too, before they were all murdered) – using Gaza as a flashpoint to launch the world into WWIII and accelerate their depopulation agenda. You, know, the one that Bill Gates is helping to fund. Come on White Dragon Society, we need you now!

But wait, it could be ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) who set up the false flag murder of the teenagers – there’s nothing they’d want more than war in Gaza. Well, maybe there is one thing – they plan to infiltrate the US through the Mexican border! If only Obama didn’t want to take away our guns (precipitated by a number of false flag school/cinema/shopping mall shootings played out by a cast of Masonic crisis actors), then we could actually defend ourselves, just as the Second Amendment stipulates (or not).

That is, if ISIS really are Muslims. But they’re not, you know … ISIS were created by Israel to draw the US further onto the Middle East. But wait, even that’s not true … ISIS are actually a secret wing of the CIA, based in Turkey and launched to destabilise the Arab nations and/or to give the US an excuse to go into Syria. Problem, reaction, solution – it’s all so obvious.

The Illuminati certainly have a lot to answer for. And they’re all paedophiles too. Peaches Geldof knew that, and that’s why they had to murder her after she started revealing their names on Twitter. Jill Dando had to go as well. Just as she was about to hand in her dossier on the BBC paedophile ring … bang!

Proof that the BBC are a paedophile organisation is blatantly hidden in plain sight in the form of the occultish Prospero and Ariel statue on Broadcasting House, sculpted by known-paedophile, Eric Gill. In fact anyone using his most famous font, Gill Sans, is probably a paedophile too. The BBC’s logo uses Gill Sans – case closed.

But at last they’re being exposed. The establishment can no longer hide because they’ve ordered an enquiry into themselves to uncover their own cover-up! It all goes back to Satanist-paedophile Jimmy Savile. He had connections with Cyril Smith (paedophile); he had connections with Thatcher and her government (a cabinet of paedophiles); he had connections with the royal family (lizard paedophiles); and he even had connections with Israel (probably paedophiles – they gave him a medal). Basically, if you can find a photo of someone, anyone, with Jimmy Savile and post it on Facebook, they’re a paedophile.

But why children? Well, our reptilian overlords love to feed on the flesh of innocent children – for one thing, children’s bodies do not have the accumulation of pollutants that adults have, and, secondly, the energy field of a child in extreme fear is very tasty, and gives the Draconian Lizard Lords a huge rush. The Queen is well known to eat children, something she probably discussed with convicted paedophile Rolf Harris while he painted her in human form.

The far right have another theory – the establishment have introduced an epidemic of paedophilia in order to destroy the fabric of Merry Old England, to allow it to be taken over by thieves, mobsters, and, worst of all, foreigners.

So wake up, sheeple, stop taking the blue pill, stop swallowing everything the mainstream media are feeding you, and find out what’s really going on. They might try to indoctrinate us with their chemtrails, fluoride, aspartame, vaccines and reality television, but we know a false flag when we see one fluttering in the Matrix. Just follow the money, then you’ll see who’s really behind the curtain … the Illuminati-Zionist-Nazi-Masonsic-CIA-lizard-cabal, that’s who. And if you happen to think this is all rubbish, well, that’s just what they want you to think and you’re part of the problem.

Every conspiracy theory referred to in this article is one that I have actually found on the Internet in the last day or two. Except that bit about the Ramones. But then, that’s what they want you to think.

*It’s no coincidence conspiracy theorists are in 7th Heaven … flight MH370 and flight MH17 were both Boeing 777s; MH17 crashed 17 years to the day of its maiden flight, on 177-97; Remember 9/11? 1+1=2, 9-2=7, also flight 77 (Pentagon) and flight 175 (south tower); not to mention London’s 7/7! Illuminati frontman (and rapper) Kendrick Lamar wore a shirt with 777 on at the 2013 MTV Awards, a ceremony that also saw a whole cast of Cabal-funded entertainers show off Masonic Illuminati one-eyed symbolism; 777 was also the name of Isis-tattoo’d Rihanna’s 2013 tour documentary; Illuminati lizard-person Christine Lagarde gave a large chunk of her 2014 IMF forecast speech over to the number seven … 2014, 2 x 7 = 14, 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, 2+5=7, the G7, G= 7th letter of the alphabet; and it all ties in with the work of the Great Beast, Aleister Crowley, and his 777 and Other Qabalistic Writings. What more proof do you need that the number seven … um, exists?