I don’t think it’s much of a secret that there is animus between Dr. Gorski and myself since I quit the blog Science Based Medicine. It’s pretty obvious that’s why Jamie Bernstein asked Dr. Gorski to adjudicate our “kerfuffle.” (Just as an aside, why do men with substantive disagreements have principled arguments, but women have “kerfuffles”?)
That animus probably led Gorski to publish a screed instead of mediating privately. And it was probably what led him to write a long post about me instead of answering a simple question in a few sentences.
So I’m not telling you anything beyond what is obvious about the gusto with which he approached his task. I’ve never spoken publicly about that animus until now. The moderation policy was the proximate reason for my decision to leave SBM, but not the real reason. The reason why I quit SBM is because I felt Gorski was trying to force me out. Why? Because he felt threatened.
I write in a similar take no prisoners style, and I was attracting a tremendous amount of traffic. I threatened his dominance and popularity within the SBM universe.
Did Gorski ever say that to me? No, but it’s what I felt.
There was nothing wrong with what I wrote for SBM. Indeed, every word was approved by Gorski before it was published. Moreover, as far as I know, every word is still on the site years later.
It wasn’t because I didn’t draw traffic because I drew a lot, although curiously Gorski would never let me see the actual figures.
Nonetheless, despite having approved my posts before he published them, he developed a habit of entering the comment section to criticize me. I looked, but I couldn’t find evidence that he did that to the other members of SBM.
Gorski maintained a double standard for himself and me. He privately admonished me for re-using posts from my personal blog, yet he did it all the time.
I felt strongly that the more popular I became, the more likely I was to be forced out, so I quit. I didn’t need to write for SBM; they had asked me to do so. In fact, it was Gorski himself who asked me, and it was to him that I sent samples from my own blog illustrating my style and emphasizing that I wasn’t planning on changing it.
So now you know why I left SBM, and why Gorski figuratively licked his lips over the opportunity to criticize me.
No one should let that obscure the take away message of Gorski’s post: MANA’s homebirth paper does NOT show that homebirth is safe; it shows that homebirth dramatically increases the risk of perinatal death. For all his wordiness, Gorski disagrees with most of what Bernstein wrote.
It seems to me deeply unfortunate that Dr. Gorski was so keen to settle imagined scores with me that he lost sight of the big picture: irresponsible “practitioners” are lying about the risk of their product, in this case homebirth.
There is one important salutary benefit of the fact that Dr. Gorski approached his opportunity to kick me with so much delight that he actually wrote a screed about it. Going forward it’s going to be impossible for MANA to claim that their paper shows that homebirth is safe.
If I have to take a few public kicks to expose the mendacity of MANA and homebirth midwives, I’m willing (though not happy) to do so.