Failed Turtles Takedown

Epic fail: Dorit Reiss and friends try to discredit Turtles

Dorit Reiss wrote an article trying to takedown “Turtles all the way down.” When the comments on her post got way too embarrassing, they simply deleted the comments. This is how science works.

Steve Kirsch

Dorit Reiss was unable to discredit the book. They had to delete the comments on her article to cover their tracks.

Executive summary

In order to defend the narrative, censorship is required so that people never see the “bad” material in the first place. When that fails and “bad” material is published, they write a hit piece full of errors. When those errors are pointed out in the comments section of the article, they just delete the comments.

Here’s an example of this: the unsuccessful attempt to discredit “Turtles All The Way Down: Vaccine Science and Myth” done by Dorit Reiss.

This article shows just how flawed the article was and shows that they needed to censor comments to avoid being exposed.

Real scientists don’t censor people who point out flaws in their work.


A week ago I challenged David Gorski on Twitter to publish a rebuttal of the superb book Turtles All the Way Down: Vaccine Science and Myth. Mr. Gorski is, perhaps, the most prolific of the shady vaccine propagandist blogging network that I have come to know (and disrespect) the past couple of years.

In my tweet I wrote that nobody was able to find a single error in the book, and their only option is to “debunk” stuff they made up about the book, which, as you are about to read below, was spot on.


If you haven’t read Turtles yet, then I strongly suggest you do so. I’ve read numerous books on vaccines in the past three years and, to me, this one is clearly the best of them. Actually, I consider it one of the best books I’ve ever read. One nice thing about it is that it cites only “established” sources, so the vax propagandists cannot dismiss it out-of-hand with their usual lazy ad hominem attack on dissenting doctors and scientists whose work is referenced. And since the authors are anonymous, they cannot “debunk” the book by smearing them, either.

This clever move worked like a charm, as the “anti-antivax” crowd could not find any productive attack against the book in the 10 months since its publication. Their head honcho, Mr. Gorski, specifically, was apparently stricken with a bad case of literary impotency – not unexpectedly, as his rants are typically 90% ad hominem anyway. If that angle is taken away, nothing much of substance is left for him to write about.

Their backs were pushed against the wall by my tweet, and with their lead propagandist sidelined due to his ad hominemitis, his friend, Dorit Reiss, took it upon herself to face the dreaded Turtles

In a post hosted by notorious blogger Michael Simpson (a.k.a. Skeptical Raptor), a pharma employee by his own admission and a Gorski clone, Ms. Reiss took her best shot at the book.

Comments on the article were blocked and deleted

I followed and contributed to the discussion in the post’s comments section, which after a day or two, had become rather interesting, with comments being deleted and a commenter blocked by Mr. Simpson, the blog’s moderator. In the middle of the skirmish was a user named “Zander” who apparently challenged Ms. Reiss on her claims too effectively, dissecting her arguments methodically and rebutting them mercilessly. Unsurprisingly, it wasn’t long before the moderator, Mr. Simpson, blocked Zander from commenting and deleted some of his/her already published comments without any explanation whatsoever.

Why wasn’t Zander allowed to continue debating Ms. Reiss? Was it because he was pulling the rug out from under her feet too successfully? I’ll let him tell his story in his own words.

[Below is the message Zander wrote to me, slightly edited]


Dear Steve,

Thank you for the opportunity to share my experience of this bizarre encounter with Dorit Reiss and Skeptical Raptor.

Here’s a brief description of the turn of events following Dorit’s post about Turtles:

On reading the post I immediately saw the numerous errors in it. It was obvious this was a somewhat desperate attempt to smear the book that utterly destroys the vaccination narrative that Reiss so passionately protects.

Here’s a screenshot of my summary of my first three engagements with Dorit:

F:\מורה נבוכים\_English edition\Dorit Post\Interim Summary.png

All three threads of discussion reached a dead end for Dorit, as she couldn’t provide the scientific references to prove her point.

Knowing that she was losing the debate badly – and that I promised to continue refuting her claims – she made her final, cowardly move: She muted me! Now, I couldn’t see her comments, and she couldn’t see mine. 

F:\מורה נבוכים\_English edition\Dorit Post\Dorit-Muting.png

This cowardly move on Reiss’s part was her way to announce defeat and cut her losses. Of course, this also clearly exposes her as a vaccine propagandist, whose aim is to protect the reputation of vaccines, truth be damned. 

I, however, had plenty more to say. None of Dorit’s claims in her post were correct, and I intended to expose them one by one. After publishing the “Interim Summary” above, I added yet another comment detailing two “strawman” arguments made by Dorit. These were, like you suggested, made-up arguments attributed to the book, which Dorit “debunked”:

F:\מורה נבוכים\_English edition\Dorit Post\Two Strawmen.PNG

It seems that at this point, Reiss got Simpson, the moderator, involved, as he deleted the above comment twice. Then, he blocked me from commenting further. I received no explanation for why I was blocked. Obviously, it was to stop me from shredding Dorit’s false claims, and by doing so, both of them all but admitted defeat.

Just so I would have their “admission” on full display for everyone to see, I logged in to the blog again under a different username (“Zander2”) and re-published my “Two Strawmen” comment with an additional message specific to Michael Simpson. As expected, this comment, too, was deleted and my second username blocked.

F:\מורה נבוכים\_English edition\Dorit Post\Posted though blocked - Copy.PNG

To summarize, I think my experience clearly demonstrates that Dorit Reiss and Skeptical Raptor (Michael Simpson) have no interest in the truth about vaccines. Rather, they will do everything in their power to censor and suppress it. 

Moreover, since I consider both Dorit and Michael to be intelligent, sophisticated people, I am convinced they know full well the Turtles’ arguments are valid. Hence, Reiss’s falsehoods are actually patent lies, and Simpson’s censorship is malevolent and cynical.

All of Dorit’s claims against Turtles are bogus – just like the ones I already showed to be false – and I’ll be happy to expose them further, given the appropriate stage. 

I hereby challenge Michael Simpson to reverse his cowardly block, allowing me to take him, Dorit Reiss and David Gorski – as well as a dozen of their other colleagues – on, all by myself.

I know they won’t debate me, as they cannot afford to be beaten so badly on their home court.

Well, guys, I’ve got bad news for you: By blocking me the way you did – you already lost!

(This is the archived post and the uncensored comments section. All of my discussions with Dorit are there).

Thanks again,



My post

After reading Zander’s message, I published my own comment, asking Mr. Simpson for an explanation of his actions.

F:\מורה נבוכים\_English edition\Dorit Post\Steves Q.PNG

I’m still waiting for Michael’s response. 

I just checked before publishing this article and he has not responded and it’s been 5 days. So there you go.

My challenge to the readers of Dorit’s article

I posted this:

Also, will ANYONE who reads this comment consent to a live video debate? You’d have to have a real name and an h-index to qualify so I believe that will disqualify pretty much all of Dorit’s readers.

But that comment was deleted. Clearly, they don’t want to be challenged on what they write.


I wouldn’t be surprised if Gorski, Simpson, Reiss and the rest of the pro-vax propagandists reference Dorit’s post trying to claim they were able to find faults in Turtles.

However, the despicable, dishonest and cowardly manner in which they suppressed legitimate criticism of the post, tells you everything you need to know.

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