Twitter recently changed its blocking behaviour, so that when someone has blocked you, you cannot see their tweets. It’s not totally reliable, since they still show up in hashtag searches when there are multiple @ recipients.
The Homeopathy Rabid Reactionary Farce have decided to exploit this by sniping at skeptics who they have blocked, thus enabling them to “win” arguments by virtue of the fact that nobody sees their nonsense, so nobody rebuts it. Needless to say the arguments remain the kind of endlessly refuted nonsense that quackery shills always use.
Who are the Rabid Reactionary Farce?
There are three of them in the present tag-team.
- Christine Jahnig (@fallintosummer), aka christyredd
- Laurie Willberg (@LaurieJWillberg)
- Sandra Courtney (@BrownBagPantry), aka Sandra A Hermann Courtney or SAHC, or “baggie” to skeptics
They can be seen all over the place, spamming comment threads with refuted nonsense. They have taken on the former role of the Malik-bot in copy-pasting screeds of irrelevant fandom whenever homeopathy is mentioned, and, like the Malik-bot, they adapt (slowly) to the refutation of their ideas by inserting other refuted nonsense instead.
Malik is clearly dishonest but at least seems to have some sort of online reputation she wants to maintain. The RRF are not troubled by such niceties: as with trolls the world over, they lose in debate and retaliate by ranting in places where they can control both medium and message. Baggie has a blog called “fighting for homeopathy” where she posts personal attacks on skeptics. Being listed on this site is a sure sign you are being effective in debate, so well done if you’re on it.
The definition of lying
Trolls have a specific definition of the word lying which is not accepted by the dictionaries or courts. The troll definition of lying is: stating an opinion or fact which is ideologically unacceptable.
To accuse someone of lying, is actionable. It is one of the words you have to be very careful to avoid, unless you have categorical proof that they are engaging in deliberate falsehood.
So, for example, if you post a comment on a blog, and then deny that it was you, but it turns out that the comment was posted from the same IP address as the denial, and there’s no evidence that the IP address is shared, then it would be defensible to describe that as lying. But you’d need proof. Proof like this.
According to Baggie’s entry in the Homeopathy World Community, she lives in… Jacksonville, Florida.
From this, a reasonable person might well conclude that Baggie is indeed a liar.
Thick head, thin skin
The RRF have very thin skins. Like all cultists their personal identity is deeply interwoven with their beliefs, so anybody who criticises homeopathy is, in their minds, criticising them. And, like other cults (scientology, for example), they think this makes you “fair game“. You have hurt them in the feels, and this is unforgivable, hence Baggie’s “fighting for homeopathy” webshite.
As with most sCAMmers, they are of course paranoid and delusional, and assess all facts through a filter of ideological consonance. This is at its funniest when discussing skeptics’ attitude to real medicine.
Where’s my money?
You may have noticed that sCAMmers, like Tory politicians, seem unable to comprehend any motive other than profit.
Repeated requests for any evidence for this much-repeated claim have been met with silence, of course. As far as the quackery shills are concerned, the statement is its own proof.
Meanwhile, back in the real world, the only case where anybody is proven to have been paid to engage in online debate about homeopathy was when a cartel of German homeopathy manufacturers paid a “journalist” over €40,000 to trash Edzard Ernst in print.
Still, we are no doubt all quaking in our boots because…
Which regulators? Oh, wait, I was confusing this with a reality-based comment. And for a real reality disconnect:
Because, of course, the skeptics aren’t doctors. Apart from Professor Lord Winston, Professor Dame Sally Davies, Dr. Ben Goldacre, Professor Edzard Ernst…
Denial. It’s not just a river in Egypt.
Quackery shills love to point the finger at real medicine, identifying issues such as the withdrawal of Vioxx. What they never mention is that these problems are exposed by medical scientists, the very same people who are supposedly part of the evil plot to suppress “natural cures” and deny problems with medicine.
Because it isn’t. Not even close. Where could they have got such a stupid idea (as if we didn’t know)?
In reality of course [W:Ben Goldacre] is a trenchant critic of homeopathy, and an equally trenchant critic of abuses in medicine. The success of the [W:All Trials] initiative, prominently supported by Goldacre, [W:Simon Singh] and [W:Edzard Ernst] is a serious problem for quackery shills. How can they address this very prominent refutation of their claim that skeptics don’t criticise medicine? Of course! Denial.
They quote two sources of criticism of Goldacre. One is David Healy, a reputable enough source but one whose criticisms are founded on a deep-seated opposition to the use of pharmaceuticals in psychiatry. he may have a point, but he is viewing Goldacre’s work through a very obvious filter and his criticism is not based on what Goldacre says, but on Goldacre’s failure to say what Healy wants him to say.
The other source is not even remotely credible: childhealthsafety.wordpress.com, an anti-vaccine blog written by Clifford G. Miller, associate of loony antivax cult JABS and apparent associate of Andrew “Mr. Fraudy-Trousers” Wakefield. Miller is reliably wrong when expressing opinions on medical matters. Citing cranks. That’s what happens when you evaluate evidence by ideological consonance instead of by objective merit.
Reality sucks, use lunacy instead!
One problem with cranks is that they will seize on anything that seems to support their agenda against medicine. This can lead to hilarity. For example:
Great idea: mammography produces too many false positives, so instead substitute an unvalidated quack test that is dramatically less accurate, because, er, er… no, I can’t think of a remotely plausible argument for this. And for bonus points:
Yup, the morphogenetic field, vacuous conjecture of [W:Rupert Sheldrake], who thinks that the failure of science to accept morphic resonance is due to massive failings in science, rather than his own inability to publish any coherent proof. And he must surely be right because [W:Deepak Chopra] says so.
The derp is strong in this one.
Oh my, we have evidence that skeptics are a hate group! Ah, wait. The Bolen Report. Patrick “Tim” Bolen, a genuine American loon, former shill for the cancer quack [W:Hulda Regehr Clark] who can’t bring himself to be honest even when questioned under oath.
If by now you have reached the strong impression that every single attack on skeptics by the Homeopathy Rabid Reactionary Farce is based on projection of their own faults, well done.
If you’ve also concluded that their tactics are fundamentally dishonest and their arguments universally fallacious, you get the bonus point.