Freedom of speech is definitely having a hard time. The relentless attacks of Islamists and their Western appeasers against it gave me material for 4 posts in last month alone (dated Jan. 11, 27, 29 and 30, respectively), and this without digging deeply into news and blogs. (Some Muslims seem to fear that their Allah, similarly to the gods of Terry Pratchett's Discworld, will cease to exist if enough people say He doesn't.) Crusaders of political correctness are banning every single word that could eventually offend anybody and so are transforming our languange into an euphemized and censored Newspeak. And now quack thugs try to silence people exposing their quackery.
Yes, I am not joking. On Jan. 23, Orac reported: "Three months ago, I wrote about vacuous legal threats issued by the Society of Homeopaths against one of the better skeptical bloggers, Le Canard Noir, who runs the excellent Quackometer Blog and created the infamous Quackometer, in order to intimidate him into silence. The attempt backfired spectacularly, as scores of bloggers reposted the article by Le Canard Noir that prompted the legal threats, in the face of which his ISP had caved. Now it looks like it might be time to do it all again, this time with a different twit who has issued abusive threats against Le Canard Noir. This time around, I learn from No Nonsense!, it is a man named Dr. Joseph Chikelue Obi (who bills himself as the "world's top expert in nutritional immunomudulation") who has threatened Le Canard Noir's webhost with a lawsuit, demanding a £1 million a day penalty unless pages about him and his highly dubious activities are removed from their server. Once again, given the U.K.'s exceedingly plaintiff-friendly libel laws, Le Canard Noir had little choice but to capitulate, as his ISP demanded that he take down the offending pages. Guess what? It's time for every blogger who supports freedom of speech and skepticism to repost the article, and I call on you to do just that. Here are my copies of the offending articles: Right Royal College of Pompous Quackery..."
However, knights of quackery are all for free speech when it comes to their "right" to give harmful advice to gullible public. Yesterday, Eli Stone soap opera went on air. Let me quote Wikipedia about it: "Eli Stone is an American television drama... Produced by ABC Studios..., the series... is airing as a mid-season replacement in 2008. It will also air on Channel Seven in Australia, CTV in Canada, and Antena 3 in Spain... The debut episode, dated 2008-01-31, attracted controversy due to its plot line, which depicts the theory that autism is caused by a mercury-based preservative formerly used in common childhood vaccines, and treats the theory as being credible and legally compelling. This theory is not supported by scientific evidence, but has contributed to decreased vaccination rates that endanger children. The American Academy of Pediatrics asked ABC to either cancel the episode or include a disclaimer emphasizing that mercury is not used in routine childhood vaccines, and that no scientific link exists between vaccines and autism. ABC instead decided to present a written notice and voice-over saying "The following story is fictional and does not portray any actual persons, companies, products or events", with a second card directing viewers to the autism web site of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention."
When pediatricians raised their voices against the "drama", quacks cried censorship. A distinquished their representative, David Kirby, wrote a jewel titled Pediatricians, ABC and censorship: Facts are scarier than fiction. (No, don't expect a link from me here, find it yourself if you want to read it. I have written before about the vaccines-cause-autism myth on Jan. 14)
Kristina Chew cites Chicago Tribune columnist Julie Deardorff that "the show is not about whether vaccines cause autism. It’s about the redemptive powers of faith. What the episode’s conclusion really asks is: Which is the greater force in life: science or faith?... What people, and specifically parents of autistic children, believe, the scientific evidence that there is no link between vaccines and autism, or their own faith that one day their child was “normal” and the next, post-vaccination, autistic. “It won’t matter how many studies show there is no link between vaccines and autism,” writes Deardorff. “We all believe our own truths.” "
Cancel all science, all quest for The Truth. There is no objective Truth cognizable by reason, just individual truths revealed to us by faith. The Age of Unreason has come.
I want to end this post with a quote from Joey's Mom. I am pasting her entire Jan. 28 post, which is short and on target:
"ABC is airing a new show with a first episode that implies a link between autism and vaccines. The co-creators say they'd be upset if people stopped vaccinating because of the show... talk about waffle-waffle. If they were so concerned, they would never have written it. If they believe vaccines cause autism, why are they saying they are concerned? And if they don't pull it, guess who isn't going to buy any more Disney products?"