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Vaccination saves lives

By Chrys Stevenson - posted Thursday, 29 December 2011

While Ms Dorey bills herself as Australia's leading expert on vaccination, The NSW Health Care Complaints Commission thinks differently. Their 12 month investigation into the content provided on Dorey's Australian Vaccination Network (AVN) website found it:

  • provides information that is solely anti-vaccination
  • contains information that is incorrect and misleading
  • quotes selectively from research to suggest that vaccination may be dangerous.

Worse, the HCCC found:


… there is evidence that the AVN misleads readers by using reliable and peer reviewed research but quoting selectively from it, often in contradiction to the conclusions or findings of the studies themselves.

Far from denying this chicanery, Ms Dorey had the audacity to defend this practice in her reply to the HCCC:

It is true that oftentimes, our information will contradict the conclusions or

summaries of the studies. This is because, as opposed to most doctors and

government officials, we actually read the studies and frequently, the summary and

conclusion [in Dorey's inexpert opinion]does not agree with the raw data itself.

Let's just pause to consider the enormity of this admission. This woman will sit in front of a microphone and bombard her listeners with so much statistical 'evidence' it's hard not to think, "Well, if that's what the science says, she must be right!"

But, if you actually had the journal articles she's 'quoting' from and had time to check what she's saying, you'd find it's not what they say at all! You're not hearing what scientists think about the research, you're hearing Ms Dorey's (totally unqualified) 'spin' on it.

Another concern is that Ms Dorey does not confine her 'studies' to mainstream 'peer-reviewed' medical and scientific journals. Instead, she draws, uncritically, from journals like the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons (JPANDS). That sounds impressive, doesn't it? But JPANDS is actually a non-peer-reviewed, politically and religiously motivated propaganda rag for a tea party of far-right wing, fringe-dwelling, conspiracy theorist quacks. How is a lay-person, sitting in a tent at a folk festival, supposed to know the important sounding finding from this impressively titled journal holds no more medical credibility than the bad jokes that flew from their crackers at Christmas-time?


I am willing to concede that, in one particular area, Meryl is a world-class expert. Anyone attending her presentations at Woodford will marvel at her virtuosity in the art of the Gish Gallop, a debating technique perfected by creationist and professional debater, Duane Gish. According to Rational Wiki:

"The Gish Gallop is an informal name for a debating technique that involves drowning the opponent in such a torrent of half-truths, lies, and straw-man arguments that the opponent cannot possibly answer every falsehood that has been raised."

Lies? Isn't that a little harsh. In fact, isn't that defamatory? Perhaps. But then again, maybe not.

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About the Author

Chrys Stevenson is a writer and historian. A founding member of Atheist Nexus and the Sunshine Coast Atheists, Chrys is also a member of the Australian Skeptics. Chrys writes the atheist/sceptical blog Gladly the Cross-Eyed Bear and contributed a chapter on the history of atheism in Australia to the recently released The Australian Book of Atheism edited by Warren Bonett.

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