Ad Hominem Attacks and the Power of Ignorance


Gary G. Kohls, MD | Duty to Warn – TRANSCEND Media Service

And the Dangers of Trusting Disreputable Online Fact Checkers

“Knowledge is power; but who hath duly Considered the power of Ignorance? Knowledge slowly builds up what Ignorance in an hour pulls down. Knowledge, through patient and frugal centuries, enlarges discovery and makes record of it; Ignorance, wanting its day’s dinner, lights a fire with the record, and gives a flavor to its one roast with the burned souls of many generations.” — George Eliot, from the author’s last novel, Daniel Deronda

Cognitive dissonance is the psychological discomfort that most thinking humans experience when a deeply held belief is challenged by new information that disproves the old belief. Since it is impossible for most people to simultaneously hold two mutually exclusive beliefs, anxiety, confusion, anger and denial can result, including the urge to harm the messenger of the new truth.”

Libel is published defamation of character, as opposed to spoken defamation, which is slander. Libel can expose a person to hatred, shame, disgrace, contempt or ridicule; injure a person’s reputation or cause the person to be shunned or avoided; or injure the person in his or her occupation. Libel is by definition false.” —

Ad hominem – short for argumentum ad hominem, is now usually understood as a logical fallacy in which an argument is rebutted by attacking the character, motive, or other attribute of the person…rather than attacking the substance of the argument itself.” — Wikipedia

Ad hominem – an attack upon an opponent in order to discredit their argument or opinion. Ad hominem attacks are used by immature and/or unintelligent people because they are unable to counter their opponent using logic and intelligence.” – Urban Dictionary

“An ad hominem attack often is an important signal indicating that the attacker is wrong, very wrong indeed. It is nothing else than an open admission by ‘the other side’ that they have no more reasonable arguments, that they are resorting to unreasonable notions, and that they have lost not just the plot but also the debate. In other words, being personally attacked in this way is a compliment and an unfailing sign of victory – and, if that is so, we should be proud of every single ad hominem attack we get after a well-reasoned debate.” — Edzard Ernst, MD, PhD

“A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.” – Johnathan Swift

”In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.” — George Orwell

“The further a society drifts from the truth, the more it will hate those that speak it.” –George Orwell

“It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary (or his profession or honor – ed. note) depends upon his not understanding it.” — Upton Sinclair


5 Jun 2017 – I dislike being duped by war-mongers, fascists, racists, politicians, the ultra-wealthy, narcissists, megalomaniacs, sociopathic entities, the over-privileged or anybody in a position of power and wealth that uses deception and lies in order to keep their power, wealth and “honor” intact. And that includes the powerful pharmaceutical and medical industries that had so much influence over my profession of medicine and which put so much effort into influencing me and my physician-colleagues into becoming high-volume prescription-writers. It should be mentioned that Big Pharma and Big Medicine have grown so top-heavy with high-priced administrators, bureaucrats, marketing agents and other non-care-givers that they now consider themselves to be “too big to fail- and even too big to even criticize”.

And so, in order to keep their shareholders happy with increased profits, increased growth and a rising stock price, they have had to resort to duping their employees and customers into believing provably false (but very profitable) myths that have grown up like weeds over the last two generations.

I also dislike being lied about. But I really despise being libeled (see definition above).

Over the last several weeks I have been publicly demeaned and defamed in the Reader’s “In Box” letters to the editor section. One person asserted that what I was writing about was unsupported (thus doubting my unassailable proof about the dangers of America’s infant and childhood over-vaccination schedules that mandate the intramuscular injections into tiny immunologically-immature infants of up to 8 unproven-for-safety cocktails of neurotoxic vaccines at a single sitting at the 2, 4 and 6 month well-baby visits).

One of the writer’s issues appeared to be the series of Gardasil injections for pre-pubertal girls which has resulted in the widely documented neurologically injuries, even deaths of previously healthy young girls – because of the yet-to-be-proven theory that cancer of the cervix might be averted 20 – 30 years after the shots.

One of the readers called my columns false, scientifically unsupported and then used as her source the darling of the multinational corporate vaccine industry, the multimillionaire Dr Paul Offit. Offit is an academic pediatrician with very deep financial and professional conflicts of interest. He is not primarily a clinician, meaning that he has not dealt significantly with the grief of the parents of vaccine-injured kids like a lot of us compassionate caregivers – who really listen to, and believe, their patients. (Dr Offit, incidentally, became a multimillionaire after he invented and patented a vaccine – so he couldn’t be expected to bite the hands of those entities that have fed him so lavishly.) He is too deeply invested in vaccines to even want to learn about their dangers. He is a victim of terminal cognitive dissonance.

Offit is notorious for his ignorance about the basic science that refutes much of what he writes about. In a 2008 lecture on youtube (  he is quoted as saying : “I think conservatively, one could say that, based on their caveats, that one could probably respond to about 100,000 different vaccines at one time.”… “I would say you probably could get 100,000 vaccines every day.”

My second attacker was from Bemidji, MN. He called me a conspiracy theorist, an uncritical thinker, living in cloud-cuckoo land, not to be believed and a disseminator of garbage. He has obviously not honestly read my columns or watched the recommended lectures of other scholars and experts that I have recommended; nor has he tracked down the documentation I have often provided. If he did and still holds his viewpoint then he probably also is in terminal denial due to his unresolved cognitive dissonance.

What seemed to be especially problematic for the second critic is the fact that, after issuing the unfounded, personal insults against me, he revealed that he was irrationally libeling several of the websites that occasionally re-publish my columns. In his attack on those fine websites, he was trusting the veracity of one of the most notorious fake “fact check” websites on the web (read the expose below of, especially the critique of the owner of the site).

Neither of the critics mentioned having any professional credentials that could back up their criticism. They apparently only knew what the most prevalent – and ubiquitous – propaganda told them to believe. Nevertheless, please be assured that everything I have written concerning vaccines and psychiatric drugs – which refutes a lot of what the once honorable (and now deeply conflicted ) CDC, FDA, NIH, NIMH, AMA and AAP have claimed – is provably true. What I have written is also documentable, even though Google has made it hard to search for the information and Wikipedia has censored much of it out of existence. But one can be sure, even if if the two critics were honest, open-minded and educable, that they did not do justice to the information I provided.

In their defense, it should be said that they have not had the advantage of reading the dozens of books on the topics that I have read (and that 99% of practicing physicians have also not read or have not had the time to read).

<<<Following the Hippocratic Oath and the Precautionary Principle>>>

Of course the reality of the situation is that I have spent hundreds of hours reading and researching the issues that I have written about, and I have done a lot of documentation that backs up each column. In addition, contrary to Big Pharma, Big Medicine, the CDC, the FDA, the AMA, the APA, the AAP, Big Media, et al (all of whom are making a lot of money on the over-vaccination of infants program, the over-diagnosing of so-called “mental illnesses” and the over-prescribing of dangerous and addictive chemicals), I have no conflicts of interest or other ulterior motives (financial or professional or otherwise) in my advocacy warning about treatments. As a devotee of the Hippocratic Oath and the Precautionary Principle, I feel compelled to exercise my solemn duty to warn others about the potential for harm from some of the vaccines and some of the drugs that can easily do more harm than good.

As a caring physician who has seen the dark under-belly of Big Pharma and Big Medicine, I have no choice but to speak out.

In addition, I have often had the privilege (or burden?) of listening to the sobering stories of many patients, including stories about their children who have become autistic or physically or neurologically maimed – or even killed – because of vaccines (or psychiatric drugs). I truly believe the old post-911 public relations campaign that said: “if you see something, you should say something” (even though the original context was to convince people to be willing to rat on their neighbors).

In the interest of column space, I end with some excerpts from some good journalism that was done about two of the most suspect fact checkers on the internet, Media bias Fact Check and Snopes.


Phony Baloney: 2 of the 9 Fakiest Fake-News Checkers

Exposing MediaBiasFactCheck and Snopes
World Net Daily – 02/19/2017

“The ‘fact checker’ (Van Zandt) fails to establish his own credibility by disclosing his qualifications and training in evaluating news sources.”

“‘Media Bias Fact Check’ is truly just one guy making misleading claims about news outlets while failing to back them up with anything, while maliciously changing the ratings to punish any news outlets that try to expose the invalidity of what he’s doing.”


2) Media Bias Fact Check describes itself as “the most comprehensive media bias resource in the Internet.” The site is owned by Dave Van Zandt from North Carolina, who offers no biographical information about himself aside from the following: “Dave has been freelancing for 25+ years for a variety of print and web mediums (sic), with a focus on media bias and the role of media in politics. Dave is a registered Non-Affiliated voter who values evidence based reporting.

“Dave Van Zandt obtained a Communications Degree before pursuing a higher degree in the sciences. Dave currently works full time in the health care industry. Dave has spent more than 20 years as an arm chair researcher on media bias and its role in political influence.”

WND was unable to locate a single article with Van Zandt’s byline. Ironically, the “fact checker” fails to establish his own credibility by disclosing his qualifications and training in evaluating news sources.

Asked for information concerning his expertise in the field of journalism and evaluating news sources, Van Zandt told WND: “I am not a journalist and just a person who is interested in how media bias impacts politics. You will find zero claims of expertise on the website.”

Concerning his purported “25+ years” of experience writing for print and web media, he said: “I am not sure why the 25+ years is still on the website. That was removed a year ago when I first started the website. All of the writing I did was small print news zines from the ’90s. I felt that what I wrote in the ’90s is not related to what I am doing today so I removed it.

“Again, I am not a journalist. I simply have a background in communications and more importantly science where I learned to value evidence over all else. Through this I also became interested in research of all kinds, especially media bias, which is difficult to measure and is subjective to a degree.”

WND asked: Were your evaluations reviewed by any experts in the industry?

“I can’t say they have,” Van Zandt replied. “hough the right-of-center Atlantic Council is using our data for a project they are working on.”

Van Zandt says he uses “three volunteers” to “research and assist in fact checking.” However, he adds that he doesn’t pay them for their services.

Van Zandt lists WND on his on his “Right Bias” page, alongside news organizations such as Fox News, the Drudge Report, the Washington Free Beacon, the Daily Wire, the Blaze, Breitbart, Red State, Project Veritas, PJ Media, National Review, Daily Caller and others.

“These media sources are highly biased toward conservative causes,” Van Zandt writes. “They utilize strong loaded words (wording that attempts to influence an audience by using appeal to emotion or stereotypes), publish misleading reports and omit reporting of information that may damage conservative causes. Sources in this category may be untrustworthy.”

His special notes concerning WND link to and, websites that have their own questionable reputations and formulas as so-called “fact checkers.”

Van Zandt says he uses a “strict methodology” in determining which news sources are credible, but his website offers vague and typo-ridden explanations of his criteria…

Asked if his own political leanings influence his evaluations, Van Zandt said: “Sure it is possible. However, our methodology is designed to eliminate most of that. We also have a team of 4 researchers with different political leanings so that we can further reduce researcher bias.”

Bill Palmer of the website Daily News Bin accused Van Zandt of retaliating when the Daily News Bin contacted him about his rating. Palmer wrote:

“[I]t turns out Van Zandt has a vindictive streak. After one hapless social media user tried to use his phony ‘Media Bias Fact Check’ site to dispute a thoroughly sourced article from this site, Daily News Bin, we made the mistake of contacting Van Zandt and asking him to take down his ridiculous ‘rating’ – which consisted of nothing more than hearsay such as ‘has been accused of being satire.’ Really? When? By whom? None of those facts seem to matter to the guy running this ‘Media Bias Fact Check’ scam.

“But instead of acknowledging that he’d been caught in the act, Van Zandt retaliated against Daily News Bin by changing his rating to something more sinister. He also added a link to a similar phony security company called World of Trust, which generates its ratings by allowing random anonymous individuals to post whatever bizarre conspiracy theories they want, and then letting these loons vote on whether that news site is ‘real’ or not. These scam sites are now trying to use each other for cover, in order to back up the false and unsubstantiated ‘ratings’ they semi-randomly assign respected news outlets. …

“‘Media Bias Fact Check’ is truly just one guy making misleading claims about news outlets while failing to back them up with anything, while maliciously changing the ratings to punish any news outlets that try to expose the invalidity of what he’s doing.”

But Van Zandt accused Palmer of threatening him, and he said MediaBiasFactCheck welcomes criticism. If evidence is provided, he said, the site will correct its errors.

“Bottom line is, we are not trying to be something we are not,” he said. “We have disclaimers on every page of the website indicating that our method is not scientifically proven and that there is [sic] subjective judgments being used as it is unavoidable with determining bias.”



7) is a website that’s been around since 1995, is sometimes cited by other “fact-checking” sites to support their claims. Facebook has indicated it plans to use Snopes as one of its arbiters of “fake news.” But WND revealed the site has been criticized by conservatives for a left-leaning bias and admits it has no standard procedure for fact-checking.

One of Snopes’ leading fact-checkers is a former sex-and-fetish blogger who described her routine as smoking pot and posting to, and the company now is embroiled in a legal dispute between its former married founders that includes accusations the CEO used company money for prostitutes.

“This is Facebook’s high journalistic standard,” commented Pamela Geller, an author and blogger who focuses on the politically incorrect subject of Islam and terrorism.

“What a joke,” she wrote on her blog. “Facebook’s fact checkers will be used to censor and ban conservative perspectives, not to distinguish truth from falsehood. Everyone knows that.”

The Daily Mail of London reported that one of’s main fact checkers, Kim LaCapria, is disclosed to be a former sex-blogger who called herself “Vice Vixen.”

Investigative reporter Sharyl Attkisson told WND in December that she thinks the uproar over “fake news” is a “narrative-driven propaganda campaign.”

“I think there’s an agenda to censor the news as opposed to actually trying to eliminate fake news,” she said.

A investigation found that’s founders, former husband and wife David and Barbara Mikkelson, are embroiled in a lengthy and bitter legal dispute in the wake of their divorce.

He has since remarried to a former escort and porn actress who is one of the site’s staff members.

Barbara Mikkelson accuses her ex-husband of embezzlement while David claims she took millions from their joint accounts and bought property in Las Vegas.

One of’s lead fact-checkers is Kim LaCapria, the Daily Mail reported, who has also been a sex-and-fetish blogger who went by the pseudonym “Vice Vixen.” Her blog had “a specific focus on naughtiness, sin, carnal pursuits, and general hedonism and bonne vivanteery.”

Her day-off activities she said on another blog were: “played scrabble, smoked pot, and posted to Snopes.’”

“That’s what I did on my day “on,” too,” she added.

David Mikkelson told the Daily Mail that Snopes does not have a “standardized procedure” for fact-checking “since the nature of this material can vary widely.”

He said the process of fact-checking “‘involves multiple stages of editorial oversight, so no output is the result of a single person’s discretion.”

Snopes has no formal requirements for fact-checkers, he told the London paper, because the variety of the work “would be difficult to encompass in any single blanket set of standards.”

Mikkelson has denied that Snopes takes any political position, but the Daily Mail noted his new wife ran for U.S. congress in Hawaii as a Libertarian in 2004.

During the campaign she handed out “Re-Defeat Bush” cards and condoms stamped with the slogan “Don’t get screwed again.”

“Let’s face it, I am an unlikely candidate. I fully admit that I am a courtesan,” she wrote on her campaign website.



Dr Gary Kohls is a retired physician from Duluth, MN, USA and a member of the TRANSCEND Network. In the decade prior to his retirement, he practiced what could best be described as “holistic (non-drug) and preventive mental health care”. Since his retirement, he has written a weekly column for the Duluth Reader, an alternative newsweekly magazine. His columns mostly deal with the dangers of American imperialism, friendly fascism, corporatism, militarism, racism, and the dangers of Big Pharma, psychiatric drugging, the over-vaccinating of children and other movements that threaten American democracy, civility, health and longevity and the future of the planet. Many of his columns are archived at;; or at;

This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 5 Jun 2017.

Anticopyright: Editorials and articles originated on TMS may be freely reprinted, disseminated, translated and used as background material, provided an acknowledgement and link to the source, TMS: Ad Hominem Attacks and the Power of Ignorance, is included. Thank you.

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7 Responses to “Ad Hominem Attacks and the Power of Ignorance”

  1. Jane Foster says:

    Excuse me Gary.

    You have been posting a string of unscientific horsesXXX about vaccines, and THIS is all you can come up with?

    Go to hell with the rest of the genocidal anti-vax psychpaths.

    To the editors: Diseases such as smallpox, polio and so has killed more than half a billion humans in the last centuries. More than all wars combined. Diseases that are preventable with vaccines. You are lending a hand to a psychopathic movement that want us to go back to those times where (mostly poor) people died due to lack of vaccines.

    Why are you supporting these genocidal nuts?

  2. Gary Corseri. says:

    Dear Dr. Kohl,

    Thank you for another informative and enlightening article.

    You wisely disarmed potential nonsensical critics with your apt series of lead-in quotes–from some of the great thinkers. That is: you “disarmed” those wise enough to contemplate your message; to respect your research and your dedication to the Hippocratic Oath and the Precautionary Principle. That dedication is manifest in this article (and in others that I have read by you).

    You are sensibly calling attention to the destructive Power of Ignorance, and, in particular, lamenting “ad hominem” attacks that merely highlight the assailant’s paucity of wit or knowledge. Such attacks have become quite the norm in the US political system during the past 2 years. Rather than look for some “common ground”–Galtung often asks: “What is your vision? How can we share?–rather than look for space to share, for the common good, the US public is dividing along “totally correct” and “totally false” narratives; and identifying simplistically as “good guys” or “bad guys.” Miss the subtleties of thoughts and emotions and surely we miss the range of qualities that make us human! In short, we not only “miss the point,” we dehumanize “the other” and ourselves!

    Keep on keeping on, Dr. Kohls! Whether you write cogently about our corrupt political system, our misconstrued history, muddled media, or an exploitative medical-pharmaceutical-dental system, you write clearly, incisively and honestly.

  3. Fitzhenrymac says:

    I totally agree that we should not engage in ad hominem attacks and libel. Perhaps Gary, your frustration when your ideas were not accepted by everyone led you to write a 3000 word article (above) that is an ad hominem attack on a number of people and (if this were a more public forum) skates very close to libel.

    I noticed that Jane above criticised your ideas but not you.

    You mention cognitive dissonance and ignorance. Perhaps that was not wise considering what you revealed about yourself above.

    I would like to clarify one point you made. Research… good research is not reading and quoting from the literature that agrees with your point of view. A better and more respected approach would be to do a meta analysis of vaccination research, relevant epidemiological data and manufacturing origins of vaccines for the last 50 years. That would be very useful in forming judgements about the effectiveness of vaccination. I would certainly like to read that.

    Not all vaccines are developed and manufactured by big pharmaceutical companies, many are produced by governments.

    I’m not sure what you would suggest a parent with a sick, perhaps dying child with whooping cough or meningitis should do, but whether you prescribe conventional medicine or alternative medicine and supplements, I can guarantee that big pharma will be providing them. Alternative medicine and supplements is a multi billion dollar business.

  4. Gary Corseri. says:

    As I read this, I do not see where Dr. Kohls is condemning all vaccines or all the products of Big Pharma. He is condemning abuses–over-prescriptions, inappropriate treatment regimens, etc.

    He writes, for example: “One person asserted that what I was writing about was unsupported (thus doubting my unassailable proof about the dangers of America’s infant and childhood over-vaccination schedules that mandate the intramuscular injections into tiny immunologically-immature infants of up to 8 unproven-for-safety cocktails of neurotoxic vaccines at a single sitting at the 2, 4 and 6 month well-baby visits).”

    And, he notes:

    “One of the writer’s issues appeared to be the series of Gardasil injections for pre-pubertal girls which has resulted in the widely documented neurologically injuries, even deaths of previously healthy young girls – because of the yet-to-be-proven theory that cancer of the cervix might be averted 20 – 30 years after the shots.”

    Every good cause can be taken to an extreme and turned into its opposite. Yin becomes Yang and Yang becomes Yin, as Lao Tzu understood. Dr. Kohls’ praise of the Hippocratic Oath, the “Precautionary Principle,” and the dissemination of knowledge and the careful research of that are far more laudatory ideas than the unabashed “Profit Motive.” He takes a difficult “professional” position in this article–as Upton Sinclair would have appreciated!–supports his assertions with research and his own experiences.

    • Pablo Cesinos says:


      Those two quotes from Mr Kohls…. do you agree with his points? Do you consider them proved? Scientific consensus is pretty much aligned in direct opposition to those points, so I would like to see what scientific evidence you would have to back them up.

  5. Joma Al-Khalid says:

    Mr Kohls,

    You spend so much space decrying ad hominem attacks with what? Nothing but ad hominem attacks.

    Ok lets discuss vaccines but lets do it wirhout this kind of mud slinging…