Monday
Sep292014

Perth Skeptics reloaded.

Perth Skeptics is a meetup group that was founded in 2009 by Kylie Sturgess aka the "Token Skeptic" and although I have been a member of this group since 2009 and still attend some events it has been my policy since 2011 never to help or assist the Perth Skeptics in any official capacity due to a conflict with Kylie in 2011.

However things have now changed for the Perth Skeptics and the Token Skeptic is out. On the 23rd of September I was handed this leaked email by an anonymous source:

Your Organizer, Kylie Sturgess, sent the following message to some members of Perth Skeptics: Paul Wright was kind enough to let me know what was going on - I don't hold any grudges, I just want to finish this and move on with my life. Sadly, today is the day that I discovered that people have an issue with my spending hundreds of dollars since 2006 to run a group, and not having the time to take part in certain (not all) events run. Often I just never hit "will be attending" on the Meetup page. My not taking part was due to podcasting, blogging and studying radio and design in order to promote skepticism, atheism and the like - but over the past year and a half, I was less keen to join in on Meetups after being stalked by a former member, who even impersonated me on Facebook and contacted members of my class using my name, at the start of last year. Without my knowledge, I was removed from the public Facebook page this week for the group, and accused of not being communicative, despite asking to discuss matters privately. The Meetup group for Perth Skeptics will close tomorrow, due to the actions of that one member who announced their dissatisfaction with the group. I wish everyone the best with their future endeavours. If anyone wants to take over the group, do so with my blessing. I'll leave it for the end of tomorrow to remove myself from the group. The next payment for the Meetup is in November, if it is continued.

Nobody seems to know who her stalker is, but if she knows their identity (as she apparently does) then getting the police involved should be a trivial matter. Although I personally have doubts about this claim due to my past dealing with her. Whatever the truth to these claims it is Kylie's choice if she wishes to withdraw from the group, she even offered to hand it over so the other organisers who have devoted considerable time over the past few years could continue running it. If only things were that simple.

On the 26th of September all members of Perth Skeptics received the following email:

Dear Perth Skeptics,

Well, it's been an interesting five years running the Perth Skeptics Meetup group and now that time has come to a conclusive end!

This hasn't been an easy decision to come to and I have relied on the advice of a few friends over the past few days who have suggested that this is the best course of action for everyone.

I'm shutting down and removing the Perth Skeptics Meetup from the Meetup site entirely, leaving it up to other groups to create their own new name for new groups, if they wish to.

A new group not called the Perth Skeptics will have several benefits: people can start afresh with new projects, new ideas and a brand new name, with their own impetus. -Kylie Sturgess, via email

Really, what ever happened to allowing the group to continue? This is the old "If I can't have it, nobody can!" mentality which is to be expected from children not grown adults. Particularly laughable is Kylie's insistence that the name Perth Skeptics no longer be used if she is not in change.

As one long term organiser pointed out.

I can only speculate from what I know of Kylie Sturgess and my own dealings with her that the deleting of the Perth Skeptics meetup group was done purely out of spite. 

5 years of history, 152 successful events and over 200 members simply deleted.

However contrary to what she may believe Kylie does not own Perth Skeptics, yes she may have started the meetup group and payed it's registration fees but that a lone does not make it exclusively hers especially when so many people have all contributed over the years. So Perth Skeptics is simply going to continue without her. This unfortunately means recreating the meetup.com page from scratch but that's the best we can do at this stage. You can now find us at http://www.meetup.com/Perth_Skeptics/ 

My policy not to promote or assist Perth Skeptics expires with Kylie's departure. So I will be offering my assistance and advice on raising the groups profile in the near future. Which includes firmly cementing the groups identity as Perth Skeptics.

Saturday
Sep132014

Meryl Dorey on attempted murder.

What lengths does someone have to goto in their attempts to inflict harm on others before the authorities get involved?

When it comes to the founder of the Australian Vaccination Network it would seem that nothing is off limits and any opportunity to cause harm is an opportunity worth taking. This is what happened on Facebook on 31st of August. 

A person by the name Jen DuVall posts:

What about grand mal seizures ?????? My husband has to take anti convulsants to save his life. I am sure there are natural alternatives but what for epilepsy ?
So we can infer from this statement that Ms DuVall's husband needs convulsants in order to live. I don't know exactly what they are, but life preserving medicine is pretty important; if you want the person to live. So Meryl Dorey, who has no medical qualifications or expertise decided give Ms DuVall some lethal medical advise.
Jen DuVall - there are natural alternatives for seizures. The ketogenic diet for one - cannabis oil for another. Consult with your health practitioner and if they don't know anything about these options, find one who does. For EVERY drug-based therapy, there are natural, safe and effective alternatives.

MD
Meryl Dorey's unqualified medical advise to Jen DuVall is to replace her husbands life saving medicine with "Natural Alternatives". The most obvious "Alternative" to life saving medicine is death; and that is exactly what Dorey wants.

Meryl Dorey wants this woman to kill her husband by replacing his medication with bullshit that doesn't work. A few AVN critics have already reported on this, but the question needs to be asked: If this woman's husband dies from shonky medical advise, will Meryl Dorey face crimminal prosecution for her involvement?
Tuesday
Sep022014

NSW Fair Trading gives green light to Anti-vaccination foe.

The New South Wales Department of Fair Trading has conceded defeat in its fight to have the Australian Vaccination Network change its name. Fair Trading initially ordered the AVN to adopt a new name back in 2012 and fought a year long court battle with the Anti-vaccination group to enforce the order. The court upheld the name change order in November 2013, therefore the AVN must legally change its name in order to comply with the Dept. of Fair Trading’s request. (Written Decision)

But nothing is ever that simple when it comes to a diehard anti-vaccination cult, while most people would simply comply with the court order the AVN decided to do what they do best and invent so lies to avoid having to comply with the law.

The AVN officially changed its incorporated name to Australian Vaccination-skeptics Network and then registered their old name “Australian Vaccination Network” as a business name in order to continue trading under their previous name (ASIC Search). On Facebook they still trade under their old name:

AVN still using the name they were ordered to change.

Concerned members of the public who notified Fair Trading months ago received correspondence that the name on Facebook would be changed.

So after a quick follow up about about the change that is now 4 months over due Fair Trading had this to say:

As you can see from the above screenshots not only did the AVN lie and now claim that they don't own, control or manage their official Facebook page. But Fair Trading has accepted the lie and is now surrendering its attempts to fully enforce the name change order.

The Australian Vaccination Network uses its Facebook page as the primary outlet for deceiving the public. The original purpose of the name change order was for the AVN to adopt a less deceptive name so it can't as easily pretend to be an official source for information. The decision by Fair Trading to back down and allow the AVN to keep using its old name on Facebook renders the name change moot.

Saturday
Aug092014

See the student film than anti-vaxxers tried to suppress.

Anti-vaccination scumbags Activists are well known for using thuggery to silence people who speak about medical issues. Known tactics of the anti-vaccination movement include Harassment, Vilification, Death Threats, False DMCA takedown, Vexatious Lawsuits, Harassing their critics employers and/or clients and Denial of Service Attacks against their critics websites. Having been on the receiving end of these tactics myself nothing the Anti-vaxxers do comes as a surprise, but it's still worth highlighting these abuses when they happen.

So when a group of highschool students in California decided to make a documentary on immunisation they inevitably found themselves on the receiving of a hate fuelled campaign by Anti-vaxxers.

They read studies. They talked to medical experts who praised vaccines. And they interviewed parents who distrusted vaccines, as well as a local osteopath who treats autistic children.

Some of the students initially believed vaccines and autism were linked, they said, but changed their minds as they researched.

...

A blogger who saw the article contended that the movie, still a work in progress, was sure to be "propaganda." That led to a flurry of frightening phone calls and Internet comments directed at CHSTV, Posard said.

Posard said she hadn't realized that vaccines were such a controversial subject. She and CHSTV teacher Douglas Green wanted to shut down production, she added. But the students, angered by what they saw as bullying, insisted on completing the film. -LA Times

The film Invisible Threat is now available for public viewing here. Perhaps the attempt to bully these students into silence will result in an increased number of viewers.

Sunday
Jul272014

Burzynski , charged by the Texas medical board.

Dr Stanislaw Burzynski is a scammer operating out of Texas, United States who sell bogus cancer cures to the desperate and vulnerable. I first found out about Burzynski when he used hired thugs to try and intimidate a 17 year old Skeptical blogger back in 2011. Rhys Morgan was contacted by a person called Marc Stephens;

A few weeks ago, Rhys received an email from a Marc Stephens who stated that his post and tweets were “in violation of several state and federal laws.” and that he “immediately cease and desist in your actions defaming and libeling my clients.”

The letter gave Rhys a bit of a lecture of US law on libel seemingly unaware that they were talking to a 16 year old school boy who was not resident in the United States. The letter ended with the threat, “ I suggest you remove ALL references about my client on the internet in its entirety, and any other defamatory statement about my client immediately, or I will file suit against you.”

“GOVERN YOURSELF ACCORDINGLY.” -Andy Lewis, Quackometer

Ever since this incident I have kept an eye out for this particular scammer so it is a great releif to finally see him charged by the medical authorities.

Fans of Houston doctor Stanislaw Burzynski love him for defying the medical establishment and offering alternative therapies to terminally ill patients.

The latest charges against Burzynski by the Texas Medical Board, which has tried and failed to take away his license for more than two decades, paint a very different picture.

Burzynski has long lured patients from around the world to his Texas clinic by promoting his unapproved drugs as safe, effective and available from nobody else. Yet Burzynski knew that most patients were ineligible for the experimental therapy, according to a 200-page complaint that describes problems with the care of 29 patients. -USA Today

Burzynski has escaped justice for far too long. May we finally get rid of this repugnant fraud.

The official complaint can be downloaded here.