So, I missed my own blogiversary yesterday. At least I remembered it was sometime in February. At any rate, three years ago, on February 5, 2010, I started this blog. Back then, it was name Silenced by Age of Autism. It was an apt name at the time, since my primary intention was to give people a voice to post their comments that the editors at Age of Autism blog censored. I had attempted to engage Kim Stagliano and some of the other commenters over at AoA in reasonable discussion. I followed their commenting guidelines. I kept my tone civil, even though I disagreed with what they were saying, and yet they saw fit to ban me. And even though I asked, I still have not received any answer.
Not that I need one. Age of Autism is an echo chamber of anti-vaccine conspiracy-think. The editors want to give parents who mistakenly believe that vaccines cause autism a "safe" and "comfortable" place to gather. By that, they mean no dissenting opinions; no questioning of the status quo. Such things might make people feel uncomfortable (having their beliefs questioned) and, horror of horrors, it make them actually think, and no one enjoys that. So instead, if it looks like someone can pose a serious threat to the calm, tranquil, hate-fueled environs of AoA, they are silenced. That's how it all started, but things have changed.
Over time, I got tired of reading Age of Autism's erroneous assertions regarding vaccines and autism. I kept trying to post comments there, but since not a single one got through, despite, again, being completely in line with their commenting policy, the only way my words saw the flickering electrons of a monitor was by copying them here. But it got old and my interests wandered, broadening. My primary focus is still on infectious diseases, vaccines and the myths spread about them (see, for example, Monday's post about the myth that vaccine companies are shielded from all liability). But I also occasionally write about other topics: public health policy, ethics (e.g., my series on the ethics of a prospective vaccinated vs. unvaccinated study), censorship/free speech issues, other forms of medical quackery and the occasional bit of whimsy (Quacktion FiguresTM, Wanted Posters). In short, my writing style and topic choices have evolved over the past three years and will continue to do so as I keep at this.
I'm by no means one of the "heavy hitters" of the health/skeptic blogosphere, but every now and then I get warm fuzzies when people like Phil Plait, Orac, the folks at Science-Based Medicine and others link to me. It means my words are getting out there, spreading to a larger audience and, hopefully, making at least a little difference. I want the world to be a good place for kids to grow up in, one where fuzzy thinking is confronted with logic, reason and facts. One where the impact of disease is minimized as much as possible, if not eliminated altogether. I want them to be safe and have the freedom and courage to think critically about the world around them so that they, in turn, can make the world even better for the generations to come after.
As I look ahead to the coming year, I hope to continue to reach more people, plant more seeds of critical thinking and do my best to make the world a better place. Maybe my scope will broaden a little more. Vaccines will certainly continue to be a major focus; the battle against misinformation, fear, uncertainty and doubt has always been there and always will be. But most of all, I hope that you all continue reading and find value in what I have to say. If you've been here from the beginning, thanks for reading. If you're new, welcome! Feel free to peruse the archives over on the right.
So here's to three years of blogging under my belt and to many more to come!