Australian Skeptics jeer Meryl Dorey

By Phil Plait | December 2, 2009 1:20 pm

bentspoon2009Meryl Dorey — the truth-impaired mouthpiece of the Australian Vaccination Network, a group of antivaccination conspiracy-mongers who couldn’t find reality with both hands, a compass, and detailed instructions — was "honored" by the Australian Skeptics this week. Richard Saunders and Rachel Dunlop (pictured), on behalf of the AS, gave Dorey their annual Bent Spoon award, awarded to "the perpetrator of the most preposterous piece of paranormal or pseudo-scientific piffle". Dorey certainly fits that bill! She hasn’t met a conspiracy theory she hasn’t loved, or couldn’t use to threaten the public health with:

Meryl appeared on national television telling a reporter that “we didn’t die from (these diseases) thirty years ago and we’re not going to die from them now”, juxtaposted alongside footage of babies gasping for breath as the journalist detailed the story of the death of Dana McCaffery from the vaccine preventable disease, whooping cough.

Dorey is also an HIV denier, and, as you can see from reading those links, doing her damndest to threaten public health. It’s a shame someone like that has any voice at all in the media, as she spreads misinformation that can lead to the deaths of many people, and we know for a fact that the drop in herd immunity in areas where the AVN is loudest has resulted in deaths from preventable diseases.

The Skeptic Lawyer has more to say about her as well. Dorey is going on the offensive, issuing a press release, going on radio, and being interviewed in papers saying how she’s proud to get this award, since skeptics are obviously just dogmatic shills for Big Pharma, etc.

And while she says this, people — including babies — sicken and some die due to vaccine-preventable illnesses. Nice work, Dorey. I’m so glad you’re proud of the damage you’ve done.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Antiscience, Skepticism

Comments (27)

  1. To all Australians, on behalf of myself and my fellow Americans, I offer my sincerest apologies for the presence of Dorey in your country. Not all of us are was wackaloon crazy as she is. Though, I find it rather funny that she is intensely proud of being a nutjob. But, I suppose its her way of ensuring that the lizard overlords will just ignore her.

    Oh, and Dr. Rachie, my offer still stands: we’ll take Meryl back if you can give us your journalists.

  2. Beasjt

    Can´t “Big Pharma” sue those antivaxers for slander etc.?

  3. @Beasjt

    Can´t “Big Pharma” sue those antivaxers for slander etc.?

    I rather fancy the view that antivaxers are the real shills for Big PharmaTM. After all, who stands to benefit if vaccine-preventable diseases make a resurgence? The makers of the medical products to treat those diseases. So clearly, Meryl Dorey, JB Handley, David Kirby, Jenny McCarthy, Mark and David Geier, etc. are all being paid by the pharmaceutical industry.

  4. rob

    @Todd W.:

    uh, oh. you shouldn’t have written that. you had better keep an eye out for black helicopters…

  5. The Bent Spoon Award is a good one. I was going to start the Golden Dipstick Awards, myself. :) Anyone care to join in?

  6. Sir Craig

    Todd W.:

    As conspiracy theories go, that one’s not bad. The problem is, I truly feel none of the people listed (along with Bill Maher) are that smart. Instead I’d argue they are to Big Pharma what supposedly the Western media was to Lenin: useful idiots.

  7. @Sir Craig

    As conspiracy theories go, that one’s not bad. The problem is, I truly feel none of the people listed (along with Bill Maher) are that smart. Instead I’d argue they are to Big Pharma what supposedly the Western media was to Lenin: useful idiots.

    True. I don’t put much stock into any conspiracy theory, but it’s fun to use the Pharma Shill gambit against them. :)

  8. The problem with a conspiracy theory is that it requires a conspiracy. As we have seen, secret-keeping is an art that was lost decades ago.

    Three people can keep a secret as long as two of them are dead.

  9. Peter Si

    At least one can get a better idea about Meryl Dorey from wiki now.

  10. James P

    @Todd W.
    Don’t feel too bad. After all, we gave you Ken Ham.

  11. Thanks for the linky love, Phil… just doing my bit from a classics & law perspective to get some actual information out there.

  12. I wish we were shills for Big Pharma. I’ve heard the paychecks are much better.

    At least I can console myself knowing that I (as a Jew) secretly rule the world… oh wait, that’s a slightly different class of crazy.

  13. Sickening — that woman is truly disgusting.

  14. bigjohn756

    “we didn’t die from (these diseases) thirty years ago…”

    Of course not, everyone was vaccinated back then. Duh!

  15. drow

    vaccinations directly cause the death of billions of organisms every year.

  16. ausduck

    @ Peter Si

    The Wikipedia link you gave has an interesting history – at one point it was edited heavily to give the accurate perspective on what the AVN were about, and indeed revealed the logical fallacies, pseudoscience, conspiracy paranoia and outright lies of the group and their leader in particular. In recent weeks the Wiki entry has been savagely re-edited yet again, with all the truth and scientific argument removed and now is just a cut and past from the AVN website. You can read the story about this here:

    In particular, re the little disclaimer at the end of the Wiki article that attempts to downplay the NSW HCCC complaint – this is a very serious investigation that is going on and the HCCC most definitely can persue legal sanction/actions agains the AVN and their leader under the NSW Health Care Complaints Act. Not only that, they can refer stuff that is not within the scope of the HCCC to act upon off to other statutory authorities for further investigation.

  17. csrster

    It must be true that these lunacies actually muddy the waters for people trying to make legitimate criticism of Big Pharma. (Ben Goldacre still tries hard.)

  18. Beasjt

    Plancton is also killed by the billions. But those softies keep protecting those damn whales.
    It´s unfair.

  19. Wayne Robinson

    Meryl Dorey is 100% correct. People alive today didn’t die of childhood diseases 30 years ago (by definition).

  20. shawmutt

    Sometimes humor is the best medicine for quacks and cranks.

    ~BIG Pharma

  21. Gus Snarp

    I wonder if giving her the award, and announcing it, doesn’t just giver her another opportunity for free publicity. That debate always arises, but in this case it’s not a specific response to a new statement by her, it’s just drawing attention to her out of the blue. Not sure that’s a good idea. In a perfect world everyone would see the information about her, conclude she’s a crank, and move on. Sadly in the real world too many who see her media blitz in response to the award will agree with her. Of course, one is too many.

  22. @James P

    Yeah, but Ken Ham’s brand of nonsense typically doesn’t lead to people dying.

  23. jf

    I find these blog posting really inane, childish and lacking in honest debate. Hope you’re all having fun in the circle jerk of self-righteousness. If you’re gonna throw around disdainful ad hominems such as ‘Conspiracy Theorists’ at least address the points you disagree with in a meaningful way. Its as if “Conspiracies” don’t ever actually exist. Except when Congress has to come along and apologize for creepy gov’t experiments, but those are just relabelled “mistakes”. MK Ultra anyone? Tuskegee syphilis study?

  24. exa


    Yes the history is interesting and I have learned a lot about how wiki works. Basically you can only use references from credible sources which are mainly restricted to the Main Stream Media (MSM). You cannot directly reference hardly anything from the actual AVN website :( If you find any good MSM references talking about how dangerous the AVN is then please put them on the discussion page for AVN wiki or edit the article yourself using citing the references.

    check out

    Also, I’d be interested in what you think of the Generation Rescue wiki

  25. Readers should also have a look at this document.

    “Meryl Dorey’s Trouble with the Truth, Part 1
    How Meryl Dorey Lies, Obfuscates, Prevaricates, Exaggerates, Confabulates and Confuses in promoting her Anti-Vaccination Agenda.

    By Ken McLeod, with technical assistance by Tabitha-Ann Gooley & Tom Sidwell”

    While this list is by no means comprehensive, it’s indicative of how Dorey operates.


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