Appeal to incredulity/Scobie's Law Orac
The nuttiness that is Whale.to: Save Scopie’s Law!
Posted by Orac on June 14, 2008
Some of you may have heard of John Scudamore’s Whale.to site. I’ve referred to it in the past as a repository of some of the wildest and most bizarre “alternative” medicine claims out there. However, I will admit that I’ve only ever scratched the surface of the insanity that is Whale.to.
Kathleen Seidel has dug deeply into the madness.
It goes far beyond what even I had thought. She found parts of the website that I had never known to exist. For example, the complete text of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion is there. There’s also the complete text of Maniacal World Control Thru The Jesuit Order: Well-Hidden Soldiers Of Satan. At one time, the site hosted The Illuminati Formula Used to Create an Undetectable Total Mind Controlled Slave, although it’s no longer there. Maybe even Whale.to can be embarrassed, but I doubt it, given that it still hosts the Protocols. I mean, come on! What’s next? Mein Kampf? After all, Nazis were into “alternative” medicine big-time, especially naturopathy, because they viewed it as more “volkish.” It was even referred to as Neue Deutsche Heilkunde (the New German Science of Healing). Read Robert N. Proctor’s The Nazi War On Cancer and Racial Hygiene: Medicine Under the Nazis for a lot more.
I’ll list a few of the nuttiest things found on Whale.to (although I most humbly admit that I have probably not found the truly nuttiest, as it’s a big site):
These are but a small sampling of the zaniness to be found in abundance on Whale.to. John Scudamore even appears to believe in David Icke’s reptilians! (If you really want to get an idea of just what a loon John Scudamore (the founder of Whale.to) is, check out this conversation thread on my old stomping grounds (which I rarely visit anymore) misc.health.alternative.) There’s even a great quote by Boyd Haley from 2006 that I intend to throw back into the mercury militia’s face any time they try to do a little revisionist history and claim that they never said it was “just” the mercury that causes autism:
I think that the biological case against thimerosal is so overwhelming anymore that only a very foolish or a very dishonest person with the credentials to understand this research would say that thimerosal wasn’t most likely the cause of autism.
Let’s see J.B. Handley deny that one!
What’s disturbing about Kathleen’s post, though, is how she documents the way that Whale.to was actually cited as evidence in the Autism Omnibus. I kid you not. It didn’t fly, but it is indicative of the low level of evidence that the plaintiffs will try.
Finally, whenever anyone tries to cite Whale.to as “evidence” for anything, remember a newly formulated law of Internet debates (similar to Godwin’s law). This law is Scopie’s law:
In any discussion involving science or medicine, citing Whale.to as a credible source loses you the argument immediately..and gets you laughed out of the room.
Kathleen describes what happened next:
The adage was dubbed Scopie’s Law and heralded by the anonymous Dr* T, who linked from his blog to a newly created Wikipedia page about it. That page was eventually enhanced with a citation to an Evidence of Harm newsgroup post by the unabashed antivaccinationist Sheri Nakken, who made the uncorroborated claim that David Kirby relied heavily on Whale.to while researching his vaccine-injury plaintiffs’ potboiler, Evidence of Harm.
In short order, the Wikipedia page was deemed nonsensical vandalism and was therefore nominated a candidate for speedy deletion. The corpse of the page now moulders in Google’s cache.
This cannot stand. Scopie’s law deserves to be enshrined in Wikipedia every bit as much as Godwin’s Law! For that purpose, I urge all fellow bloggers and you, my readers, to use the term “Scopie’s law” at every opportunity. Eventually, it will come into such common usage that even the woo-friendly Wiki-saboteurs who try every chance they get to purge from Wikipedia anything that might be construed as disparaging to alternative medicine (in other words, anything based on scientific evidence) will no longer be able to stand against the adage!