Day of Prey-er

May 1st is the U.S. National Day of Prayer:

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Tangled Bank #104 on Dammit, Jim!

The fortnightly Tangled Bank compendium of biology-related online articles is four years old. Here’s a link to Tangled Bank 104 at Scott Sherill-Mix’s science blog Dammit, Jim!

Respectful Insolence: Kathleen Seidel and her opponents

Orac over at Respectful Insolence has summarized a little bit about Kathleen Seidel, a pro-science blogger who explores the issues of anti-vaccination autism activists. Kathleen takes the logical attitude that chasing pseudoscientific causes for autism takes money and attention away from research into the real causes and treatments. Orac gives a progress report on her legal battle with Clifford Shoemaker over an intrusive subpoena that he sent her. Shoemaker is a sleazy lawyer who profits hugely by encouraging anti-vaccination lawsuits.

More interesting, however, are the responses to Kathleen’s massive amount of work that resulted in an ever-growing series of posts that has revealed just how unethical Dr. Mark Geier and his son David Geier have been in pushing unproven and potentially dangerous treatments without a shred of scientific evidence on autistic children and, most disturbingly of all to me, in carrying out their “research” from their home in Silver Spring, MD. Welcome to the Institute for Chronic Illnesses….

A commenter adds,

Kathleen SeidelWhere I think Kathleen is extraordinary is in her moral courage. She is taking a risk by her frankness and by being public with her identity. I am very glad that at least this attempt by Shoemaker to harass her has back-fired.

Read Orac’s article, read the links to Kathleen’s articles, read the comments… it’s all good. And follow the money. Anti-vaccination crusaders can make big bucks.

Why did Blogger delete ERV’s blog?

ERV science bloggerMany science bloggers are asking why deleted a science blog, ERV (endogenous retrovirus). The blogger, Abbie Smith, is a graduate student in HIV research. She has shown herself quite capable of debating pesudoscience floggers such as Michael Behe, pointing out their mistakes and lies, demanding proof of their claims, and tapping her foot while they come up empty. For this Behe calls her “some woman” (not virus researcher, not grad student, not young scientist) who’s a Mean Girl.

And then last week her blog suddenly disappeared from Blogger. It isn’t full of links. It’s not spam. It had no ads. So what happened? Did some small-minded creationist complain about her? Did Blogger yank the plug without investigating? Inquiring minds want to know, but there doesn’t seem to be any place to ask that question. It sounds like persecution to me. Is there a creationist “mole” at Blogger? Maybe it’s another “brilliant” idea of a vengeful pipsqueak like Mark Mathis.

ERV is back on blogger for now with no explanation offered to her as to the breach of service. ERV is pulling up stakes and transferring her articles to, where there’s a committment to actually supporting science bloggers. Scienceblogs hosts the most popular science blog in the world, Pharyngula, and I expect the site to attract much more traffic for ERV.

Blogger’s treatment of ERV has made me think that I’d better accelerate the transfer of my Random Thoughts blog to WordPress, especially since Blogger’s published procedure for blog backup is a kludge that backs up only the last 500 posts.

Let sleeping LOLcats lie

Bedddd timmme!

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