Update 2: Clarification from the Expo that they were just slow in updating the list of sponsors and that Aspect Caloundra weren’t asked this year. Meanwhile, I wonder if the remaining sponsors including WIN TV are aware that the celebrity “psychic” thinks that the ability to wiggle a certain part of her anatomy (video not exactly safe for work) proves that mind over matter is possible. Clue to Shé: when people say “mind over matter” they don’t usually refer to the conventional nerve cell – muscle cell interaction.
An open letter to Mrs Dorey regarding her blog surrounding the “Great Debate” on vaccination.
I would like to clear up a few misconceptions that Mrs Dorey is spreading regarding me and Dr Dunlop.
First, Mrs Dorey seems, like Ms Robinson (a.k.a. Annie Infinite), to insinuate that I subscribed Ms Robinson’s email address to a number of pornographic sites.
I certainly did not do this, and at the time I repudiated it and strongly encouraged Ms Robinson to take the matter to the police. I believe in having a civilised debate.
What was on offer from The Healthy Lifestyle, or “You Can Heal Yourself” Expo was not a scientific debate, as I make clear in the correspondence below, where I declined to participate. The leading questions put as topics by the Expo leave a lot to be desired too. Another factor not discussed previously in my refusal to attend is that, unlike Mrs Dorey who puts a roof over her head through donations to the AVSN and selling misinformation, I have a regular job with commitments here in Wollongong. I am using up my leave to take my children back to China to visit their grandparents later this year.
Wayne,There is no genuine debate when one side ignores scientific evidence. Relatedly, there is no dichotomy between science and natural therapies. Either there is scientific evidence of efficacy and safety or is there is not. The evidence on vaccination is clearly in favour of vaccination except for genuine medical exceptions, and not false concerns about autism [1, 2], etc. of the sort that the Australian Vaccination-Skeptics Network (AVSN) raise.Regardless of any statements on government sites (and Google returns no hits for the quote you provided without citing a source for), there is no constitutional or other legislative blanket protection of speech, and speech on medical topics is regulated across Australia. The HCCC is currently investing the AVSN and has been preparing a warning for which I have attached the draft (not the first one they have released) – and the full draft report can be found here.It’s disingenuous to state that the t-shirts are acceptable whilst ignoring the rest of the HCCC enquiry. Further, I wouldn’t call ignoring scientific evidence that can save lives to be loving children. It’s also disingenuous for you to claim you have no opinion on Black Salve when you have previously and illegally run advertisements and a YCHY Expo organiser has expressed her opinions.I decline to enter into a debate for the following reasons:*) Whilst I am qualified to speak on the statistics of risk around vaccination and vaccine-preventable diseases I am no more qualified than Mrs Dorey to speak on the detailed medical matters, and*) False balance debates can send unhelpful messages by presenting a false view of the balance of risks. If you choose to go ahead with hosting Mrs Dorey, given her lack of scientific qualifications and evidence, in any form, then responsibility rests with you, as it does for any other medical misinformation provided in any form at the Expo.Regards,Dr Matthew Berryman Gerber JS, Offit PA (2009). “Vaccines and autism: a tale of shifting hypotheses”. Clin Infect Dis 48 (4): 456–61. Demicheli V, Rivetti A, Debalini MG, Di Pietrantonj C (2012). “Vaccines for measles, mumps and rubella in children”. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2: CD004407. Dixon, Graham, and Christopher Clarke. “The effect of falsely balanced reporting of the autism–vaccine controversy on vaccine safety perceptions and behavioral intentions.” Health education research 28.2 (2013): 352-359.
This correspondence followed my correspondence (below, sent on the 25th of March) to a number of the Expo’s sponsors, suggesting that they examine their financial support of the Expo as a whole (to which the phrase “the event” most clearly refers to), given Mrs Dorey’s attendance and other misleading health information routinely provided. This is also irrespective of whether the Expo was in turn funding her (as they mentioned to me later, they claim they are not), or whether she is running a stall or “debating”, or running a seminar. Furthermore, I noted past advertising and promotion by Ms Robinson of a stall illegally selling black salve. Mrs Dorey also repeats the defamatory remarks by the conference organisers that I resort to name calling, without providing any evidence.
I understand that [Name of Sponsor] is a sponsor of the ‘Healthy’ Lifestyle Expo 2014, also known as the ‘You Can Heal Yourself Expo’, to be held on the Sunshine Coast in May.
This event routinely promotes dangerous medical advice:
- At last year’s expo there was a stall selling Black Salve, promoted as a do-it-yourself cancer cure; this has a strong risk of causing damage in addition to the risk that it fails to remove all the cancer, which can then spread. I have enclosed a public health warning from the Therapeutic Goods Administration about Black Salve with more information about it.
- This year’s expo features a seminar by Mrs Meryl Dorey from the Australian Vaccination-Skeptics Network, well known for providing anti-vaccination misinformation (with potentially fatal consequences), and currently subject to an investigation by the NSW Health Care Complaints Commission (draft warning enclosed), in addition to investigations by other government agencies for fraud.
I strongly urge you to support public health by withdrawing your sponsorship of this event.
Dr Matthew Berryman
Last but not least, surrounding Mrs Dorey’s mention of Dr Dunlop, I note:
- The Expo did not email Dr Dunlop an invitation prior to her name being mentioned as a possible debater. Perhaps it was a case of poor communication between Expo organisers, although it’s highly suspicious that another proposed debater also did not receive an invitation:
- Dr Dunlop declined to participate on the 9th of April, which is not surpising given her views on false debates.
On 9 Apr 2014, at 14:04, Rachael Dunlop wrote:
No thank you. Please either remove my name from the site or indicate I have declined the invitation to participate.
- I am not sure why Mrs Dorey persisted with this incorrect information well after Dr Dunlop’s email, though we cannot rule out a delay between the Expo receiving Dr Dunlop’s refusal and their subsequently informing Mrs Dorey.
Doctor Berryman, BSc. (Maths & Comp. Sci.), BEng. (Comp. Sys. Eng.) Hons. I, PhD (Complex Systems).