Yesterday I told you about the flaws in Katie Tietje's article disparaging the work of Marco Arturo, a young science communicator. Karen Ernst's article on the same subject, Anti-Vaxxers Defeated by Twelve-Year-Old Whiz Kid, also covered the disdainful remarks of a person using the nom de blogue of Levi Quackenboss. It turns out that the Quackenboss blog is probably written by a Colorado woman named Robyn Ross, who has used a number of alternative identities as listed on the award.
So Ross, or Quackenboss, has written three articles on the Marco Arturo matter:
- June 2 2016 I’ve got an empty folder for you, Marco. Karen covered this post thoroughly in her post.
- June 4 2016 To every sucker who thinks a 12-year old is lecturing on immunology. In this post the claim is made that Marco Arturo is a mouthpiece for his parents, because he doesn't sound like a 12 year old and because Mexican kids are not capable of being as sharp as Marco Arturo appears to be.
- June 5 2016 Is Marco Arturo the prodigy a hoax? In this post, Ross, or Quackenboss doxxes Marco Arturo's stepfather and implies that he is a plant from Walgreen's. Or something.
Before today's Ross/Quackenboss post was posted, the epidemiologist René Najera wrote a post about the anti-vaccine movement's "irrational, xenophobic, and bigoted reaction" to Marco Arturo, The Fear a 12-Year-Old Mexican Can Raise.
Finally, the undertones of racism. “Quackenboss” claims that kids in Mexico can’t possibly be as bright as Marco. And, if they are, they are being coached as part of some multi-national conspiracy. They claim that Mexico is pretty much a slum where children can’t be bothered with science and technology. As I sit around at my ancestral home in Chihuahua,* I see that this is not true. Yes, Mexico has a lot of challenges, and children here deserve better, but there are many of us who are lucky enough to have parents who instill in us a sense of wonder about nature and then foment that wonder with books and tools and great people/mentors to lead us on our way to discover more and more.
So Marco Arturo's 2 minute video has had at this writing 7.2 million views. And a shout-out from Ashton Kutcher. And Andy Wakefield's $400,000 hoaxumentary Vaxxed has had .... Well, Box Office Mojo stopped reporting a month ago, with about 19,000 tickets sold. Let's be generous and say the sales continued at the same rate, so maybe 38,000 tickets have been sold. That's got to sting.
Oh, and I'd forgotten I'd written about Robyn before.
(image description: Four adults on the right looking at camera (Del Bigtree, Polly Tommey, Andrew Wakefield); movie has had maybe 50,000 views to date; young white boy holding piece of paper reading MIC on the right; his video has had >7 million views)
Updated to add: Karen Ernst just published Anti-vaxxers Dox a Child
Doxing has real consequences, and an adult shouldn’t have to deal with those consequences, but a child really, really should not have to. The doxing of Marco Arturo is despicable and has to stop now.
All this because a child made a satirical video. Grow up, anti-vaxxers. If you disagree with him, discuss your disagreement. Don’t disparage and harass a child.