December 2011 Blog Posts

#stopavn's Operation Nutcracker: Wings Over Woodford

Right now, as I hit "publish" on this post, anti-vaccination campaigner Meryl Dorey will be preparing to speak to the crowd at Woodford Folk Festival's Blue Lotus. Speaking against her will be Professor Andreas Suhrbier, an immunology expert who actually does know some facts about vaccines. It's an absurd, even comedic mismatch of knowledge, bringing together as it does one of Australia's leading experts in vaccination and an innumerate conspiracy theorist from Northern NSW. While this is going on, 500ft above the Woodford site, a banner will be unfurled, sending a simple message to everyone on the site, not just the...

I hope you end up a cripple at 40

So saith Chiropractic Assistant Lily Phenomene, of Carine Glades Chiropractic*, in this comment from the Stop The Australian Vaccination Network Facebook page.  Why? Well, I had the temerity to equate homeopathy and chiropractic with "witch doctors". HOW DARE I? Well, here's the thing. Well, technically, here are the things. Chiropractic, in its original form, is little more than faith healing. Faith healing dressed as physiotherapy, but faith healing nonetheless. How so? Allow me to explain. D.D. Palmer, the originator of chiropractic, posited that health was maintained by a poorly-defined "energy" he referred to as "Innate Intelligence". Blockages - called subluxations by chiropractors - in the...

Meryl Dorey and the Magic Water

Meryl's latest absurd scrawlings concern homeopathy, and take as their theme the skeptical dismissal of this modality as "magic water". Meryl, it seems, is somewhat resentful of our stance on homeopathy, and she explains this. She then goes on to spin us a yarn based, apparently, on the experiences of a "friend" whose husband apparently had a miraculous recovery thanks to some sugar pills bathed in almost pure water. A friend-of-a-friend tale in the classic vein. I have a tale too, Meryl. When I was a young lad of perhaps ten years old, my parents took me to see the great Paul...

Christopher Hitchens: 1949 - 2011

Image: Vanity Fair

#WoodfordFF is NOT about Free Speech

As the Woodford Folk Festival story hits the Brisbane Times and goes international, I think it's time for a reminder. Many commentators speaking on the topic of Meryl Dorey's upcoming appearance at Woodford Folk Festival have raised the spectre of free speech. It is time to put that spectre to rest. Let us lay aside the fact that Australia has no statutory right to free speech. Let us lay aside the commonly understood principle of falsely yelling "fire!" in a crowded theatre. The Woodford scandal - and it has become a scandal - is not about free speech. It is about privileged speech, and specifically...

A letter to the organisers of Woodford Folk Festival

Dear organisers I'm writing to you to express serious concerns about one of the speakers on the programme at the Blue Lotus for this year's festival. Meryl Dorey is the head of the AVN, an organisation known to promulgate misinformation in support of an untrue and dangerous anti-vaccination position. This activity genuinely puts lives at risk. The AVN is subject to a Public Health Warning by the NSW Healthcare Complaints Commission, and was stripped of its charity status by the NSW OLGR due to serious irregularities in its fundraising activities. I have several concerns for Woodford itself. First of all,...


I feel I have to post on some goodies that have arrived First, Hal Leonard Publishing, or (more accurately) AMPD and Sasha Music Publishing sent me this fantastic little collection of ukulele songbooks. A few ukulele people from around Australia were canvassed earlier in the year about what was important in a uke book, and what songs we liked and so on. We obliged with the market research, we got a stack of uke books for nowt. Noice. There's EZ Method Ukulele Songbook EZ Method Ukulele & Ukulele Banjo The Amazing Ukulele...

Meryl Dorey on Stanislaw Burzynski

Here's Meryl Dorey in 2009 herping talking about testing of medical interventions. And here's Meryl Dorey fellating lauding Doctor Stanislaw Burzynski, head of a clinic whose product has never passed a Phase III trial (certainly not a double-blind crossover) and which has only been successfully tested by Burzynski. (source: Skeptic Magazine) Meryl also hates chemotherapy. Burzynski's neoplaston product is not only actually a form of chemotherapy, but is also administered in conjunction with other chemotherapy drugs, often in unorthodox and unapproved combinations. Meryl's one of those thingies. You know. It's on the tip of my tongue. Hippo-something. Hippocampus? Hippodrome? Nope, I've got it. Hippogriff. Meryl Dorey is a...


There's been a creationist or two lurking around on the blog recently*, blathering about complexity. So I'll take the opportunity to drop in a favourite video from QualiaSoup on the topic of irreducible complexity. Of course, ID is dead, but that doesn't mean this isn't still a fascinating video.   * the two creationist respondents "John" and "Marc" posted from strikingly similar - though not exactly matching - IP addresses, both owned by the same ISP. I suspect they're either the same person or else closely allied. Or it's a coincidence that they're coming from the same IP block.  

Vaccination Saves Lives: Stop The Australian Vaccination Network
Say NO to the National School Chaplaincy Program