Speak of the devil

David Kirby seems to be planning his escape from the autism debate. At Huffington post, he demands that science perform epidemiological studies that compare the healthiness or autism rates of unvaccinated versus vaccinated children.

Most people (save for a handful of fringe parents who believe that autism is some altered state of being, worthy of celebration) are probably just plain tired of autism and the fight over its cause. They really want to settle this debate and move on.

I know I do.

The irony is that the multi-million-dollar court battles, the melodramatic headlines and the alarm over parents retreating from vaccinations are all so terribly unnecessary.

All we need do is conduct a thorough study of vaccinated and unvaccinated children, and see if there is any difference in their rates of autism spectrum disorders.

Critics of the study idea, who insist that vaccines have been 100 percent exonerated, ridicule the Maloney bill as a redundant, monumental waste of time and money.

Even so, their position is a bit hard to understand. No matter what happens in Vaccine Court, (which many say is the wrong venue for such a fight, anyway), this tired old debate will drag on for years, God help us.

If the results showed that vaccinated children were, all around, more healthy and robust than unvaccinated kids — that would pretty much kill all lawsuits right there, send waves of reassurance to billions of parents around the world, and make people like me shut up and go away.

I would, blissfully, not write about autism and vaccines again. (I have a new book deal to occupy me, about corporate vs. environmental health, which my publisher St. Martin’s Press will announce shortly. I am not an autism activist, and this is not my crusade).

Wow, that offer of Kirby going away would almost make it worth it. However, it’s interesting that the denialists will assert that mercury is the culprit despite no credible evidence for this hypothesis, and then demand that more studies be performed.

While I wouldn’t object to the idea of more study on principle, I really don’t think that this would actually make people like Kirby and the anti-vax denialists go away. After all, they don’t believe the existing science exonerates thimerosal, they have moved the goalposts again now that thimerosal has been removed from vaccines. Why should we believe any more studies will satisfy them?

People like Kirby have no credibility here. They’ve never accepted scientific findings, they have rejected them in the past as conspiracies and cover-ups of the truth. You have to pry their discredited findings they’ve cherry-picked from their cold dead hands. Why should we think such a study won’t lead to another move of the goalposts?

Anti-vaccination sentiments have existed for hundreds of years. They’re not going to go away with just one more study. They’re not the type of people that are convinced by science, if they were, Kirby would have shut up and gone away long ago.

By all means, do the study, but don’t expect an end to the anti-vax denialism. Just expect another goalpost-move.
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Comments

  1. #1 Mfano
    June 18, 2007

    Once again Kirby shows how clueless he is about scientific thought and scientific practice. If it was as simple as it seems to Kirby, scientists would have been beating down the doors to do a study. You’re not going to find enough unvaccinated kids anywhere in the world to do a statistically significant study — except may groups of children who, for medical reasons, were told not to get certain vaccinations. But even then, these kids would probably have had some vaccinations. If there is some unusual community that is against vaccines, they may be a genetically distinct group (like the Amish — though the Amish don’t count because they in fact do vaccinate!) The study he envisions is just not do-able.

  2. #2 MarkH
    June 18, 2007

    I would actually think if they could find enough unvaccinated Christian Scientists they may get some numbers – probably not enough. But why would they want to study that population? These are people who don’t believe in germ theory of disease. They might show an unhealthier population or more lethality just from the absence of routine medical care.

    That’s not the control population I would want for a study.

  3. #3 ERV
    June 18, 2007

    …I would, blissfully, not write about autism and vaccines again…

    HAHAHA! Yeah, Tara had an HIV Denier on her blog that promised to not only stop being a Denier, but actively contribute to science-based groups if the Australian Trial turned out in our favor.

    And the judge did rule in our favor.

    Since then we’ve found him all sorts of webpages and blogs, still being a Denier, and still using the same screen name…

  4. #4 TheProbe
    June 19, 2007

    The Omnibus is sinking and…what do RATS do?

    (Apologies to rats, they have a use).

  5. #5 Anonymous
    June 19, 2007

    Why don’t the amish have autism???

  6. #6 Luna_the_cat
    June 19, 2007

    Ooh, look — a flying canard!

    Anonymous, the Amish do vaccinate.

  7. #7 proveit
    June 19, 2007

    Dear MarkH

    Please provide a list with links to the MSDS of the vaccines which contain NO thimerosal whatsoever, not even a “trace” amount, post-production.

    A lot of journalists like to “report” that thimerosal was “removed” in 2001 – that is a factually incorrect statement. And even if it had been removed as was supposedly “recommended” but not “mandated”, there was NEVER a recall of the vaccines that contained the higher amounts of thimerosal made at that time and they remained in circulation and were given to innocent people for several years more until the expiration dates. Even the newer marketed “thimerosal-free” vaccines are NOT thimerosal-free…thimerosal is just no longer listed as an end-product preservative. The MSDS clearly states that the vaccines still contain a trace amount of thimerosal (which is used during the production of the vaccine) and that is still clearly higher than the minimum EPA safe levels…and the DT,DTap, and Flu vaccines still contain the huge 12,5mcg amount which equates a dose for what a 600-lb person.

    It was recommended to “remove” thimerosal but that has NOT been accomplished to date.

    This FACT can easily be confirmed by reviewing any of the MSDS which are prepared and distributed by the manufacturers.

  8. #8 MarkH
    June 19, 2007

    Ah, the moving goalpost of the crank. First it was 200ug was a huge exposure, now it’s trace amounts and 12.5ug is a dose for a 600lb person (which is idiotic – it’s about 1/3 a can of tuna).

    The “thimerosal-free” version of the flu vaccine has something like 0.3ug of thimerosal.

    So, what this means is that the total exposure to mercury from vaccines has been reduced to 1/600th of what it was about 10 years ago – and those vaccines had lower contents than they did in the 1970s. So as thimerosal content has decreased, autism has increased – interesting correlation. If I were an idiot – I would suggest autism is being caused by the removal of thimerosal.

    It’s no longer about dosage – since dosage apparently has nothing to do with toxicity in the mind of a crank. It’s always going to be something. Huge doses of thimerosal, trace amounts of thimerosal, persistent measles, whatever, as soon as one thing is proven idiotic – as all these claims are based on the epidemiology – they’ll just move on to another baseless claim.

    Thimerosal doesn’t cause autism, vaccines don’t cause autism, get over it.

  9. #9 HCN
    June 19, 2007

    Anonymous, the Amish also have several genetic developmental disorders. Check out the research at http://www.clinicforspecialchildren.org/ (a place that seemed to be ignored by Olmsted).

    Perhaps we should ask Kirby exactly how much mercury comes from Chinese crematoriums.

  10. #10 MarkH
    June 20, 2007

    HCN, the Amish don’t have a proscription against vaccination – but they do vaccinate at lower rates. They are by no means vaccination-free though, that is correct.

    The better question is how does the crank know that the Amish don’t have autism? Could it be … more anecdotal evidence?

    They’re demanding such populations be studied but they’re already convinced of the answer – without any data to support their position. Classic.

  11. #11 Ithika
    June 20, 2007

    I think you’ve got a dangerous point there MarkH: each time we reduce the amount of thimerosal in vaccines, we are in fact giving these kids increasingly more potent homeopathic doses of mercury. The mind, it truly boggles…

  12. #12 HCN
    June 20, 2007

    Mark, yes I know the Amish vaccinate. It is because they are often isolated from the “outside” that it gets forgotten, but they do vaccinate when a nurse reminds them or there is an outbreak. Just the existence of the Clinic for Special Children is proof of that. If you look at their website you will see it includes an immunization program:
    http://www.clinicforspecialchildren.org/staff.html

    By the way, I’ve never seen any evidence of Dan Olmsted having visited that clinic.

  13. #13 NoVaxMom
    September 11, 2007

    Im not Amish and I 3 children. Two of which are fully vaccinated and the youngest is completely vax free!

    No one has ever asked me if they could observe my child’s health patterns.. no one! In fact I found this post trying to google anyone who might want to study his health in relation to my two older ones!

    I’m here to tell you, the findings would be astonishing! :P I’m sure thats exactly why there are no on going comparisons! I’d be willing to bet!

  14. #14 MarkH
    September 11, 2007

    A perfect example of crank logic if I’ve ever seen it. Three kids does not a study make.

  15. #15 LanceR
    September 11, 2007

    I’m certainly astonished. I’m astonished that someone old enough to have three children, and smart enough to use a computer and Google, can have such poor writing skills and lack of any idea how science works.

    What exactly was her point? I must have missed it.

  16. #16 NoVaxMom
    September 12, 2007

    Funny that you “educated” people like to call on my grammar as a reason to discredit me! I have 3 kids, two of which where fully vaccinated on schedule and both have had serious complications and reactions.. one so much so that he suffered through years of testing and bunk diagnoses.

    Read this… http://www.vaccinationnews.com/rally…tmntconint.htm

    The committees that decide whats right shouldn’t be allowed ANY participation if they own stock or have invested interests in the drugs and vaccines they are pushing!

  17. #17 NoVaxMom
    September 12, 2007

    http://www.vaccinationnews.com/rally/openstmntconint.htm

    Sorry.. my website wrapped it! ;) More poor education on my behalf! My apologizes! *note sarcasm*

  18. #18 NoVaxMom
    September 12, 2007

    Oooh and MarkH

    There are a lot more then 3 kids that I know! You see, when your a crank, you get to know all the other crankies their families pretty well!

    If you’d like I can invite them all to this blog page and we can have a crank ho down…? Laughable, really! We are parents with valid concern for our children! I don’t discredit the whole system, just much of the motive and safety of many! What about Th1 and Th2 balance? Huh? Just where are the studies showing that vaccines are not over suppressing our immune systems? Common! Im cranky and PMSing! Feed my “denialism” with your poisonous wisdom so I can go run out and vax my child!

    Remember… Denialism tough the world that it was not really flat but round!

  19. #19 LanceR
    September 12, 2007

    Again, What? You obviously are having a conversation that the rest of us aren’t having. Take a deep breath and simply state your position. We’re listening.

    Denialism didn’t teach that the world was round. Actually, it STILL teaches that the world is flat.
    http://www.theflatearthsociety.org/

  20. #20 MarkH
    September 12, 2007

    Go away crank. Your claims have been addressed and are in conflict with the NAS IOM, the pediatricians, and every international scientific body that has studied the problem. Your personally observed correlation and that of your friends is irrelevant.

    Also your website is disgusting, the fact that you try to hide child abuse like shaken-baby syndrome behind vaccination just shows you are sick disgusting people.

  21. #21 NoVaxMom
    September 12, 2007

    Why do you just dismiss with out a true rebuttal? How about some answers? Why was it ok for Paul Offit to be on the committee when he owns stock and even holds/held a patient for a vaccine? How about all the other stock holding committee members? I think that buys a shift in factual scientific recommendations.

    Dont dance around the subject! I dont own that site and I believe that SBS is a terrible thing that is most often the case of neglectful, dangerous and criminal shaking of a child but I also believe that there have have been cases misdiagnoses due to like symptoms of SBS… but that is not really the subject.. the subject is anti-vax denialism. I have provided a valid concern reported on that website (regardless of its other articles) and you dance around them by telling me that site is disgusting! How about the fact that The FDA and CDC’s committee members own stock in drug companies they are approving for? That to me is way more disgusting then anything! Even when they have waivers they are still permitted to work in the group discussions?

    I have a handy article about the work the Th1 and Th2 levels play in our bodies and how suppressing one too much can be bad for us in the end and cause other health problems!

    The current recommendations from the cdc include 71 doses of vaccines before the age of 18 with the the vast majority before the age of 3? That recommendation can be downloaded from the CDC’s website via pdf! Thats way to excessive! No one knows the human immune system well enough to know how its going to be effected by that! While I agree there have been great strides in science and the medical community and there are a great many fabulous scientists and doctors in each field, they still practice under what they are taught and right now… There is a HUGE political and financial agenda in mainstream science and medicine!

    The urge to line ones pocket is a strong one! CRANK! LOL
    depp=true
    notiz=[disemvowelled for crankery, idiocy, etc.]

  22. #22 LanceR
    September 12, 2007

    <Sigh>

    Why can’t people articulate their crankery clearly? I’ve been of the opinion that reasonable people who disagree can have reasonable discussions, and possibly find reasonable solutions. Am I naive? Do I have too much faith in human nature?

  23. #23 NoVaxMom
    September 12, 2007

    SHAME ON ALL OF YOU! Cant even debate fairly! This just confirms that doctors are idiots who dont play fairly… losers!
    depp=true

  24. #24 LanceR
    September 12, 2007

    We’re trying to debate “fairly”, but that obviously means something different to you. You haven’t stated a position, only blathered on with no coherency.

    Reasonable people having reasonable discussions, remember? Take a deep breath and try again.

  25. #25 markH
    September 12, 2007

    Don’t bother Lance. Anyone who links the shaken babies=vaccines nonsense is not welcome here. There are certain lowlifes who I simply can not tolerate, including those who try to use anti-medical propaganda to sweep the murder of children under the rug.

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