The Autism/Vaccines Fraud

I have to admit I’m somewhat surprised (even if Orac isn’t). We all knew that Andrew Wakefield’s research was bogus and the link between vaccines and autism was engineered by ideologues who fear vaccines irrationally. But fabrication of data? Sloppy research is one thing, but the need for cranks to be correct, no matter what reality reflects, has resulted in yet another example of egregious dishonesty.

This is in line, however, with what we know about cranks. Mark Crislip recently wrote an interesting piece on mathematics crankery which bears upon just this phenomenon. Mathematics is a wonderful area to study crankery because as Crislip points out, mathematics is a field in which it is possible to distinguish between the possible and the impossible.

In mathematics there are things that are impossible. Absolutely impossible. No ifs, ands, or buts. Impossible. Can’t be done no how no way. In the world of mathematics, things are not only impossible, they are proven truly impossible within the boundaries of the mathematical discipline.

An example of mathematical impossibility is the quadrature of the circle, also called squaring the circle.

It is impossible, using only a straight edge ruler and a compass, to construct a square with the same area as a given circle. It was proved to be impossible in 1882 by Lindeman. Not improbable or unlikely or very, very, very difficult. With in mathematical reality, it is impossible.

But in his review of Mathematical Cranks he hits upon many of the commonalities between cranks we discussed in the Crank HOWTO.

Here is Crislip’s description of the mathematical crank:

1) They are convinced that their opinion is superior to the accumulated opinion of 2000 years of mathematics and mathematicians. That hundreds of mathematicians have worked for hundreds of years on these problems and found no errors in the proof that it is impossible to square a circle is of no consequence. Despite the accumulated mathematical knowledge of uncounted mathematicians, they are convinced that their solution is the right solution. Everyone else for all of history has been wrong. There is a tinge of megalomania in all the correspondence, and some appear to me to be clinically insane.

2) To accommodate their solutions, they are willing to alter reality to fit their proofs. There are solutions to squaring the circle, but they require a value of pi that is different that 3.14159265… Pi, for those that have forgotten, is the ratio of the circumference to the diameter of a circle and is a constant of the universe. For some circle squarers, Pi has a different value and all the mathematics that has confirmed the current value of pi is wrong. Others deny that pi exists or that the definition is meaningless, since they can construct a squared circle with pencil and paper, and send in the (flawed) construction.

3) When errors of math or logic are pointed out, they respond not with understanding, but a redoubling of efforts to prove that their erroneous solution to the problem is actually correct. They are incapable of recognizing flaws in logic, or mathematics, or flaws that are in opposition to mathematical consistency. A crank cannot recognize their error because they cannot recognize that their reality differs from mathematical reality.

4) Cranks are impervious to arguments based on mathematical reality. They do not recognize or understand that their solutions are in error because the solution contradicts known mathematical reality. They do not base their solutions on known mathematics, but on their own flawed understanding of mathematics.

5) Cranks evidently send their ‘solutions’ to multiple mathematical departments and rarely receive a reply. This silence from academia is interpreted not that their solution is worthless, but that there is a conspiracy of Professors of Mathematics to keep their solution secret, to the detriment of human kind. Big Math, out to suppress the truth THEY don’t not want you to know.

It is obvious to me that no matter what the field, the problem is crankery – the defective thought processes that allow people to believe in nonsense, no matter what obstacles reality throws in their path. Every description of every crank in every field ultimately boils down to these same factors. Cranks believe in something contrary to observable reality. They will do anything to prove it. When reality gets in their way, they ignore, subvert, lie, cheat, or obfuscate to create confusion. And when it’s proven beyond all doubt they’re wrong? That’s when the conspiracies come out. The comments on the Huffington Post coverage of the most recent Wakefield dishonesty are an excellent example of this. Wakefield is a victim of Big Pharma, being persecuted by Brian Deer, it’s all a conspiracy against children by doctors and pharmaceutical companies etc.

The more time passes the more I’m convinced that our original thesis on cranks and denialism in general has been confirmed again and again. No matter what the foolish belief the problem the reality-based community is fighting is a defective pattern of thought, an incompetence in evaluating the quality of evidence that afflicts millions of individuals and ultimately is why so many people believe in such stupid things. Wakefield, ultimately, is just another in a long line of cranks. And while biology is never as concrete as mathematics, it is clear that accepting reality was never a part of the the anti-vaccine movement’s ideology. And what do cranks do when reality opposes your world view? They do what Wakefield did. Reject reality, and substitute their own.

Even after all this time I was surprised they would find outright fabrication in Wakefield’s work, but I shouldn’t have been.
i-83ab5b4a35951df7262eefe13cb933f2-crank.gif

Comments

  1. #1 Bob O'H
    February 10, 2009

    But … but … you can square the circle. You just need the right space.

  2. #2 Wes
    February 10, 2009

    And while biology is never as concrete as mathematics, it is clear that accepting reality was never a part of the the anti-vaccine movement’s ideology.

    Well, isn’t the issue actually that the subject matter of biology is more concrete than mathematics (which deals with abstractions), and because of this biology is much less precise?

    Anyways, that’s nitpicking. Excellent post over all. I agree totally with your thesis that crankery is the same regardless of subject matter or field. It’s probably a manifestation of some common human psychological foibles which can pop up in any field. I’ve long suspected that crankery succeeds because it exploits certain evolved human social tendencies. Pascal Boyer and Scott Atran have argued that religions form as an evolutionary byproduct–religious ideas appeal to several intuitive cognitive processes, and because of this religious belief feels perfectly natural and rational (as long as it isn’t examined too closely). I wonder if crankery and pseudoscience might be a similar kind of byproduct. People readily accept cranky ideas because these ideas fit neatly into innate cognitive short-cuts we all use, and as long as one doesn’t look any deeper into the ideas they seem perfectly rational.

    That’s just speculation on my part, though.

  3. #4 LanceR, JSG
    February 10, 2009

    Comments? How about “It’s a crock” and “Self reporting is anecdotal and thus not data” or “Some people hate sex, thus hate anything to do with sex”. Those grab ya nicely?

    **facepalm**

  4. #5 chat
    February 10, 2009

    very good sites

  5. #6 MarkH
    February 10, 2009

    Actually rita’s post is again an excellent example of cranky thinking. Here we have an article about the scientific fraud regarding the MMR vaccine by one of the leaders of the anti-vaccine movement and her response is, “Hey Gardisil sucks”. Further it emphasizes the incompetence at evaluating information sources. VAERS is a collection of anecdotes thats monitored by public health authorities to make sure there are no patterns of vaccine injury that need to be addressed. The cranks, knowing this, submit lots of crap to VAERS to increase the noise in the database, at the same time they troll it for informations even though it’s a collection of anecdotes rather than a verified and stringently acquired data set. It’s got all the natural behaviors of crankery in a single link. It’s a great mixture of a red herring to attack Gardasil, it exposes the fact that their general complaint is with vaccines period, no matter what the evidence. And finally it’s evidence of scientific incompetence since they think the VAERS anecdotes actually mean something on their own.

  6. #7 Steve Bloom
    February 10, 2009

    OT:

    Skeptico has an excellent post using your template to go after an Aussie global warming denialist. It’s not mentioned there, but the non-peer-reviewed paper she holds up as overturning the entire AGW edifice is by… her boyfriend.

    Also, Nude Scientist has a nice piece on the evolutionary roots of religious belief, the application to denialism being obvious.

  7. #8 HCN
    February 10, 2009

    MarkH said “Here we have an article about the scientific fraud regarding the MMR vaccine by one of the leaders of the anti-vaccine movement and her response is, “Hey Gardisil sucks”.”

    I have often seen people pull that trick. Another is claiming that since the influenza vaccine is not perfect the MMR vaccine is bad. huh?

    I have sometimes responded with “Gardisil does not work for measles, mumps or rubella. Please show evidence that the MMR is worse than measles, mumps and rubella.”

    Usually the only response is more crap about Gardisil and/or influenza vaccines.

  8. #9 G Felis
    February 10, 2009

    Given Wakefield’s long-since-revealed vested interests in his research results – he had filed a patent on a supposedly “safer” MMR vaccine weeks before The Lancet paper was published and had been paid a tidy sum by trial lawyers looking to cash in on “vaccine damage” lawsuits – I would say that this latest bit of news is not only wholly unsurprising, it reveals that Wakefield is probably NOT a crank in the usual sense.

    If Wakefield had engaged in shoddy research practices primarily out of the self-deluding conviction that he was so clearly right that doing the science correctly didn’t matter, that would make him an ordinary crank of the circle-squaring, perpetual motion machine variety. Honestly, though, I’ve never seen all that much evidence of that sort of crank psychology in Wakefield’s behavior – although it is certainly very prominent amongst the anti-vaccine faithful he has inspired, and he’s very willing to speak their language when he addresses them. Instead, I see nothing but rather pedestrian and self-serving fraud in Wakefield’s psychology and motivations: He’s a con artist, not a crank. Wakefield was out to make a lot of money, and saw that his profits could be vastly multiplied by deliberately falsifying research to support his booming “expert witness” and “safer vaccine” businesses – all with callous disregard for the harm he caused, both in subjecting his research subject to wholly unnecessary and potentially dangerous biopsies and by undermining vaccination in general.

    The bitter pill here – and the one that anti-vaccination nutters are never going to swallow – is that Andrew Wakefield is in fact demonstrably guilty of exactly the sort of lying, callous, money-grubbing, self-serving, harm-ignoring, conspiratorial behavior that the anti-vaccers are always accusing pharmaceutical companies and public health agencies of without the slightest shred of evidence or reason.

  9. #10 Steve Bloom
    February 10, 2009

    Here’s the missing link (no Bigfoot jokes, please) from the Skeptico piece I mentioned above.

  10. #11 Lurkbot
    February 10, 2009

    I think mathematical crankery has a charm that is sadly missing from Antivaxers, HIV/AIDS denialists, AGW denialists, etc. Maybe that’s because nobody ever died because someone thought they knew how to trisect an angle.

    Besides, a large proportion of the proposed solutions that people send in to the Classical problems (squaring the circle, trisecting the angle, duplicating the cube) simply stem from the fact that they sincerely don’t know that you’re not supposed to pick both points of the compass up and have it hold its opening, thus using it to transfer a distance to some other place. (Of course, some equivalently make marks on the straightedge, turning it into a ruler; you would think that that would be more obvious as cheating.)

    If only the crank theories we’re bombarded with today had errors that could be pointed out in such an easy and succinct way. Unfortunately they don’t. You basically have to educate these noobs from Kindergarten up through High School to even be able to point out anything to them, and all in about 15 seconds, because that’s the extent of their attention span. And then it’s another insane misconception, and you’ve got to start from scratch. Lather, rinse, repeat

  11. #12 mandrake
    February 11, 2009

    Merck only studied the vaccine in fewer than 1200 girls under age 16″ (from the Gardisil study)

    “only” 1200 girls.
    This coming from the same people that champion Wakefield’s study… on 12 children.
    Perhaps they are actually mathematics cranks… their ability to count appears to be malfunctioning.

  12. #13 Dunc
    February 11, 2009

    Even after all this time I was surprised they would find outright fabrication in Wakefield’s work

    Yeah – you’d think that, given all his other errors, there would be no need to actually fabricate anything. It’s like when Dick Dastardly stops to cheat.

  13. #14 Ren
    February 11, 2009

    A different value of pi IS possible in another universe, which is possible as well within the context of a multiverse. But I can see for the purposes of our universe (the known part, anyway) how there are mathematical impossibilities.

  14. #15 Dan
    February 11, 2009

    Thoughts Regarding Autism Spectrum Neurodevelopmental Disorders

    Of these rare neurological dysfunctions, Autism is the most common of these passive developmental disorders. Autism is a disability caused by a brain development disorder of unknown cause, yet some suspect the cause is some sort of neurological dysfunction- possibly with a genetic predisposition.
    Usually, symptoms of the disease present themselves before the toddler reaches the age of three. Before Autism was more understood, others inaccurately labeled autistics as childhood schizophrenia or as having a psychosis or mental retardation.
    Out of over two dozen diagnostic criteria utilized for these disorders, eight must be present to be considered autistic, according to the DSM. As with all passive developmental disorders, the person expresses language, social, and behavioral difficulties.
    Treatment includes what are called psychotropic medications that delay the progression of the disorder, as well as relieve some of the symptoms of one who is autistic. Behavioral therapy is common as a treatment regimen as well. Boys get Autism much more than girls.
    Then there is the controversy between many who claim that thimerosal- a preservative containing mercury, which is a neurotoxin that was used in vaccines until 2001, was the catalyst for autism in children.
    Over 5000 lawsuits have been filed because of this belief, and some have been successful for the plaintiff. Yet most agree the correlation between thimersal and autism is void of scientific merit. Furthermore, the cases of autism have not decreased since the preservative was discontinued in 2001.
    Aside from Autism, the other four passive developmental disorders are known as autism spectrum disorders.
    Asperger’s Syndrome is more common than autism, and the symptoms are milder, as there is minimal delay in language abilities, if at all. What is expressed with Asperger’s syndrome is mild autistic symptoms. In time, the patient may express atypical personality disorders, though.
    While intelligence is within normal limits with the Asperger’s patient, social interactions and abilities preset difficulty for such a patient. As with Autism, medications and behavioral therapy are treatment regimens with one with this syndrome
    Rett’s Syndrome or disorder presents with not only atypical behavior, but also suffers from restricted physical growth and movement. There is cognitive and social impairment as well. The disorder affects mostly girls, and the cause is due to a gene mutation.
    Childhood Disintegrative disorder is rare, and is 10 times less common than autism. The disorder has a late onset with mild autistic symptoms. The disorder affects mostly boys, and regression is sudden and possible with this disorder. Skills lost with this disorder may be language, social, self-care, as well as play or motor skills. Decreased function or impairment with this disorder may include social skills and behavioral flaws. Central Nervous System pathology is a suspected cause of this disorder.
    Finally, there are passive development disorders that are not otherwise specified. This may include atypical autism, for example. Yet as with the rest of types of these disorders, the symptoms vary in their frequency and intensity, as well as the range of abilities of these developmental disorders vary widely as well.
    Medicinal treatment along with cognitive and behavioral therapy prove to be most beneficial for all the different types of Passive Development Disorders that unfortunately exist for unknown reasons, yet further research should be done to discover both the etiologies as well as more effective treatment for the Autism Spectrum.
    http://www.autism-society.org
    Dan Abshear

  15. #16 Barry
    February 11, 2009

    Dan, you point is????

  16. #17 PalMD
    February 11, 2009

    Oy, dan, seriously, it’s really easy to start a blog at wordpress…

  17. #18 LanceR, JSG
    February 11, 2009

    tl;dr

    Blah, blah, blah…

  18. #19 HCN
    February 11, 2009

    Barry said “Dan, you point is????”

    That he is clueless. Each time he does a drive-by post of his book report he has been told that PDD does NOT stand for “Passive Development Disorders”… he is immune to education.

  19. #20 Francois
    February 12, 2009

    Awesome news for Medical Science:
    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090212/ap_on_he_me/austism_ruling

    “WASHINGTON – A special court has ruled against parents with autistic children, saying that vaccines are not to blame for their children’s neurological disorder.

    The judges in the cases said the evidence was overwhelmingly contrary to the parent’s claims — and backed years of science that found no risk.

    More than 5,000 claims were filed with the U.S. Court of Claims alleging that vaccines caused autism and other neurological problems in their children. To win, they had to show that it was more likely than not that the autism symptoms were directly related to the measles-mumps-rubella shots they received.

  20. #21 Denice Walter
    February 12, 2009

    At noon today, Wakefield appeared on Null’s radio show(WNYE) pleading innocence and reiterating the usual anti-vax credo. He was joined by a chorus of the usual suspects:Barbara Loe Fisher, David Kirby,attorney Krackoff,and Null and his minions.

  21. #22 ianam
    February 12, 2009

    What are your comments on this, genius?

    Down with genius! Up with stupidity! Go Rita!

    A different value of pi IS possible in another universe, which is possible as well within the context of a multiverse.

    Incorrect; analytical truth, aka logical necessity, holds across universes.

  22. #23 RWR
    February 14, 2009

    It’s because the decent research implicates father’s decisions to have babies in their 40s and 50s with their new young wives. Who wants to swallow that pill?

  23. #24 abcdefg
    February 16, 2009

    Vaccines are perfect and saved the world from the evil empire of disease! Sounds a bit like science fiction…. maybe it is.

    Here’s a question for ya: How can vaccines be studied properly without knowing all of the ingredients? Vaccines fall under trade secret protection and all of the ingredients do not have to appear on the package insert. Vegetable and animal oils are mixed and used in the adjuvant. Traces of the food protein remains so each shot may have trace amounts of various food proteins but not every shot will have the same traces.

    Let’s see… 170 years ago a French scientist injected egg protein into animals. The first time – no problem. The second time – they died!

    1 in 70 people in the UK have a serious peanut allergy. 6-8% of young children have food allergies. When I was a child, we got only 2 vaccinations. Now children get 48 doses of 14 vaccines by age six. Food allergies are almost nonexistant in unvaccinated populations. Sounds like every time a child gets vaccinated, we are playing food allergy roulette? Oh, but we should ignore this!

    Vaccines are pure and perfectly safe even though the package insert for tetanus says “BayTet® is made from human plasma. Products made from human plasma may contain infectious agents, such as viruses, that can cause disease….. There is also the possibility that unknown infectious agents may be present in such products. Individuals who receive infusions of blood or plasma products may develop signs and/or symptoms of some viral infections, particularly hepatitis C.” But hey, hepatitis C isn’t listed as a side effect of vaccines. So even if someone did get a virus from the good old safe tetanus shot, it couldn’t be caused by the vaccine! How stupid can you be!!!

  24. #25 RWR
    February 16, 2009

    Latest research I’ve seen implicates our very avoidance of these foods in early childhood as the primary cause in the increasing allergies. We panicked and screwed a generation. Time to suck it up and behave with some sanity.

  25. #26 LanceR, JSG
    February 16, 2009

    Oh, the new “We don’t *know* what’s in them!” line from the antivax nutters. Sure we don’t. It’s whale sperm and zebra sh*t. Right.

    When I was a child, we got only 2 vaccinations

    Right. That’s why so many people *DIED* of easily preventable diseases.

    Stupid is as stupid does… and the pot called… something about you being a kettle?

  26. #27 Rogue Epidemiologist
    February 16, 2009

    @abcdefg
    Then by all means, please go enjoy a heaping bowl of tetanus.

  27. #28 Calli Arcale
    February 18, 2009

    There’s a quote on Wayne Hale’s blog right now that I really like, and which applies. He was talking about the kinds of nutty ideas that can come up pertaining to spaceflight.

    Akin’s Laws of Spacecraft Design #19: The odds are greatly against you being immensely smarter than everyone else in the field. If your analysis says your terminal velocity is twice the speed of light, you may have invented warp drive, but the chances are a lot better that you’ve screwed up.
    from Just put chicken wire in it!

    To abcdefg, all of the ingredients don’t have to be on the vaccine package, but they DO have to be on the new drug application. Since that application gets submitted to the FDA, it’s public record. It’s total BS that there are “secret ingredients” in vaccines.

    As far as “perfectly safe”, goes, none of us is claiming that vaccines are “perfectly safe”. *Nothing* is perfectly safe. *Everything*, including going for a walk on a beautiful day, carries some risk. The question isn’t whether or not it is possible to be harmed; the question is whether or not the benefit outweighs the risk sufficiently to justify accepting the risk. Vaccines are vastly safer than just hoping you a) don’t contract the disease and b) failing that, don’t get a really bad case of it.

  28. #29 Calli Arcale
    February 18, 2009

    Addendum: the fact that all ingredients must be disclosed is part of the reason why pharmaceutical companies are so intent on getting patent protection, by the way. They know they can’t depend on secrecy to protect their intellectual property.

  29. #30 Clifford G Miller
    February 20, 2009

    It turns out journalist Brian Deer made it up:-
    “Sunday Times Journalist Made Up Wakefield MMR Data Fixing Allegation”:
    http://tinyurl.com/djbtzq

    And he was helping the US Justice Dept sink 4500 US kids claims for vaccine damage compensation – what kind of normal journalist does that? Ans: none.
    “US Federal Court, US Justice Dept & The Sunday Times – More Questions Than Answers”
    http://tinyurl.com/ac5xkt

  30. #31 LanceR, JSG
    February 20, 2009

    Ooh! The “I Know You Are, But What Am I?” gambit! Sure. That’ll work. Liars usually fall back to that sort of excuse.

  31. #32 Clifford G Miller
    February 20, 2009

    Hi LanceR JSG

    Re your comment February 20, 2009 9:06 AM – you can visit here and see Brian Deer digging himself in deeper and deeper:-

    Brian Deer first – links to his denials:-

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-kirby/keith-olbermann-todays-be_b_166103.html?show_comment_id=20800885#comment_20800885
    http://leftbrainrightbrain.co.uk/?p=1849#comment-56401
    http://leftbrainrightbrain.co.uk/?p=1849#comment-56431
    http://leftbrainrightbrain.co.uk/?p=1849#comment-56437
    http://leftbrainrightbrain.co.uk/?p=1849#comment-56878

    Then demands to explain his relationship with the GMC and publish his correspondence:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-kirby/keith-olbermann-todays-be_b_166103.html?show_comment_id=20891151#comment_20891151
    http://leftbrainrightbrain.co.uk/?p=1849#comment-56438
    http://leftbrainrightbrain.co.uk/?p=1849#comment-56514
    http://leftbrainrightbrain.co.uk/?p=1849#comment-56536
    http://leftbrainrightbrain.co.uk/?p=1849#comment-56549
    http://leftbrainrightbrain.co.uk/?p=1849#comment-56569
    http://leftbrainrightbrain.co.uk/?p=1849#comment-56570
    http://leftbrainrightbrain.co.uk/?p=1849#comment-56885
    http://leftbrainrightbrain.co.uk/?p=1849#comment-56895
    http://leftbrainrightbrain.co.uk/?p=1849#comment-56901
    http://leftbrainrightbrain.co.uk/?p=1849#comment-56904
    http://leftbrainrightbrain.co.uk/?p=1849#comment-56914

    But we also need to see his correspondence with the US Department of Health and Human Services because of this:-

    http://leftbrainrightbrain.co.uk/?p=1849#comment-56443

    “…… the US government sought my help in mounting its case in Cedillo, …… I was surprised by this. ……. I would come home, find an email from the department of justice asking me for a document, and see that the next day it was being run in court.”

  32. #33 LanceR, JSG
    February 20, 2009

    Oh noes! An investigative reporter was asked for documents by relevant law enforcement personnel, and HE GAVE IT TO THEM!!!

    Seriously? That’s what you’re going with? Please. Claiming that the reporter who uncovered your heroes malfeasance is just making it up is the oldest lie in the book. We can has evidence? I didn’t think so.

  33. #34 Clifford G Miller
    February 21, 2009

    I see you have not posted the response showing that Deer was not asked for documents but instead wrote a formal complaint. This was also confirmed in a court judgement citing the dates of Deer’s first three letters of complaint. So Deer’s account is not accurate, as indeed appears his professional journalism.

  34. #35 LanceR, JSG
    February 21, 2009

    Bald assertions do not an argument make, Cliffy. Either pony up with actual citations or evidence, or toddle back to bed.

    Wakefield lied and faked his evidence. He got caught. Now you and your ilk are desperately lying to try to save face. It’s really sad and pathetic.

  35. #36 Chris
    February 21, 2009

    Aw… poor Cliffy is upset.

    Except it does not matter what Mr. Deer wrote, Wakefield is a fraud.

    In an American Federal court there was testimony from Chadwick that showed Wakers knowingly used bad data, and from Bustin that the O’Leary lab results were contaminated.

    Then there is more recent studies that totally refute Waker’s paper, along with all the other huge epidemiological studies that show no connection between the MMR and autism (the MMR has been used in the USA since 1971).

    The finding that the medical records do not correspond what Wakers wrote in the paper is more icing on the cake. That paper was discredited, and the fraud was known years ago.

    Cliffy, is your real problem with all of is that a potential revenue stream of being a lawyer suing evil Pharma companies for vaccine damage has dried up? That the evidence does not give support for making money off of stupid law suits?

  36. #37 Jimbo
    February 22, 2009

    Cliffy seems to be aspiring to be like his namesake Mr Schoemaker, the US lawyer who makes millions out of the misery of children and parents (via the vaccine courts). Cliffy, why don’t you move over to the states like St Andy? Much more profit to be made there, as he will no doubt tell you.

  37. #38 dt
    February 22, 2009

    Of the “Wakefield 12″, one of the cases of autism was in a child who had had measles, rather than the MMR vaccine.

    Seeing as how measles was at that time vanishingly rare in the UK (around 50-100 cases per year) as opposed to MMR vaccination (which was given to more than half a million kids annually), surely Wakefield should have held a press conference stating how “dangerous” measles was compared to MMR vaccine, and how much more likely it is to result in autism?

  38. #39 Fred Smilek
    February 23, 2009

    Surely we understand the value of getting a diverse sample to help mathmatically predict the affects over a mass population of users, But seriously we have to realize that there is no way that a sample of 1200 girls is enough to be accurate.

    Fred Smilek is the acting president of the Society to Save Endangered Species. It was founded two years ago by Fred Smilek along with his two best friends Charles and Jonathan. http://www.fredjsmilek.com

  39. #40 LanceR, JSG
    February 23, 2009

    Umm, Fred? Not to be a bother, but it isn’t necessary, nor is it generally acceptable, to post the whole “Fred Smilek is…” with every comment. Good posts, but netiquette would suggest dropping the excess.

    Thanks!

  40. #41 Clifford G Miller
    February 25, 2009

    LanceR may or may not be right that “Bald assertions do not an argument make”. Let’s humour him and pretend he is right.

    Brian Deer’s argument is he is not the complainant against Wakefield in the GMC [so did not concoct the whole house of cards]. But the uncontested facts in a court judgement says he is. No contest in this argument the.

    Brian Deer is still prepared to argue with that. But as you say LanceR “Bald assertions do not an argument make” so Brian should produce the letters or live with the fact he is shown up to be not telling it as it is but as it never ever was – a bit like his news reporting [or is that a lot like it? We will find out in a few months more I should think].

    Deer cannot produce the letters of complaint he made to the GMC because he made the complaints – at least three letters of complaint as we know from the Judge and he was never asked to complain – he did it and he planned it as we know from MLI.

    If Brian says anything different he better come up with the letters.

    He was the complainant and now he is cashing in by creating the news and making documentaries about it whilst Wakefield is gagged by his lawyers.

    If Brian says he is telling it as it is not as it never was – produce the letters. Real simple.

    Thanks guys for trying hard to be rude and personal. You did not pull it off but I am grateful. It helps make the other guy look reasonable, dontcha think. Keep up the good work.

  41. #42 LanceR, JSG
    February 25, 2009

    Actually, Cliffy, *you* are the one making the claim that Brian Deer filed the complaints. Therefore, it is incumbent upon *you* to produce the evidence.

    That is also not relevant to the situation, which is that Wakefield is a dishonest, lying scumbag who got paid to fake a study. Any evidence to the contrary?

    This whole Brian Deer distraction is the very essence of the ad hominem fallacy. You don’t like what Mr. Deer wrote about Wakefield. You have no argument about the actual facts, so you attempt to turn the whole thing back on the reporter. Blame the messenger. Attack the man instead of the argument.

    Give it up, Cliff. Your side lost. Be man enough to admit when you’re wrong.

  42. #43 Clifford G Miller
    February 27, 2009

    LanceR,

    There is a binding legal Court judgement on Brian Deer stating he is the complainant and citing the exact dates of his letters. End of.

    It is Brian Deer who needs to produce the letters if he wants to dispute it and he has not – because they show he is the complainant – and the judge has found that as a fact on the evidence of the letters.

    So you cannot rely on Brian Deer. No letters – nothing Brian Deer says can be believed.

    For the fake allegation of data fixing against Wakefield in Deer’s story to be true

    “meant that for 10 years, a single-handed action by Wakefield had to have gone completely unnoticed by the other 12 authors on the well-known paper.”

    “The Times also did not mention as part of the story that an investigation into Wakefield was in triggered by a complaint from Brian Deer himself, meaning that his article was a report on the hearing into his own complaint.”

    See:
    “The Malicious Smearing of a Crusading Doctor”
    http://tinyurl.com/as54wd

    and
    “Sunday Times Journalist Made Up Wakefield MMR Data Fixing Allegation”
    http://tinyurl.com/djbtzq

    And you and Deer still expect everyone to believe no one noticed. And this is after 10 of the authors retracted the sentence of the Lancet paper – the sentence suggesting an interpretation of a possible environmental cause of autism [ie. the MMR vaccine], to get the heat off them from the Government – and three did not retract.

    None of the rest was retracted – and you still say they did not notice? Ha.

    The rest of the Lancet paper still stands in The Lancet as a peer reviewed paper and has been replicated in other scientific studies.

    And look at Deer’s articles – unlike professional journalists the world over where are all the experts making the claims he is supposed to be reporting in his stories – they are not there – on Deer’s own admission the world is asked to take Brian Deer’s word for it – from Brian Deer the expert gastroenterologist, Brian Deer the expert neurologist, Brian Deer the autism expert, Brian Deer the expert psychologist, Brian Deer the expert psychiatrist, Brian Deer the expert histopathologist, Brian Deer the patent expert etc etc etc.

    All this from someone with a Batchelor of Arts in Philosophy from Warwick University and no scientific or medical qualifications.

    See:
    “Sunday Times Journalist Admits Wakefield MMR “Data Fixing” Allegation Is Unqualified Speculation”
    http://tinyurl.com/cvak4f

    I hear bells – must be the other legs of everyone in the world all being pulled all at the same time.

    Thanks again for the personal abusive and patronising post – makes the other guy look the more reasonable dontcha think. Yep.

  43. #44 LanceR, JSG
    February 27, 2009

    Okay, Cliff. Let’s assume for a moment that everything you claim about Brian Deer is true. He fabricated his story to smear Wakefield. He filed this complaint to get him into trouble.

    So what? It doesn’t change the fact that Wakefield got paid to fake a study. MMR vaccines have *no* links to autism. No study has ever shown any evidence *except* Wakefield’s.

    What you and people like you are doing is called the ad hominem fallacy. You don’t like the message, so you try to discredit the messenger. In the world of the Intarwebs, this is known as an “Epic Fail”.

    personal abusive and patronising post

    You keep using those words. I do not think they mean what you think they mean. If you *want* abusive and patronising to feed your persecution complex, I’m sure we can arrange something.

  44. #45 Clifford G Miller
    February 27, 2009

    Thanks LanceR,

    If Brian Deer is not telling it as it is about being complainant and he certainly cannot be telling it as it is about faking the data, then the whole thing falls away.

    It is nearly 11 years now. The other 12 authors could not have just not noticed. The paper went through peer review and all of it still stands – save for the one sentence retracted by 10 to get the heat off in 2004 when it all blew up.

    And we only have Deer’s word for all the latest allegations which at the moment does not stand for much. On top of that he is no expert. He freely admits he did it all himself. And now it seems he has been caught out on two whoppers. To put it conservatively that throws the rest into doubt. How the Sunday Glaxo could have published in these circumstances will now have people wondering a great deal about what goes on inside that newspaper.

    And to cap it all, Wakefield did not do the histopathology but just wrote up the results – he did not fake the data – the allegation is just that – an allegation which directly contradicts the evidence:-

    Wakefield Responds to Sunday Times’ False Allegations

  45. #46 LanceR, JSG
    February 27, 2009

    As much as you would like to paint this all as Mr. Deer’s attack on Dr. Wakefield, sadly that is not the case.

    Wakefield got *paid* by trial lawyers suing over vaccines. Wakefield filed for a patent for a “safer” measles vaccine. Wakefield did a “study” that was poorly constructed, poorly conducted and poorly written. His results have never been replicated, and now appear to have been faked.

    Whether Deer filed the complaint or not, whether he has a personal grudge against Wakefield or not is all irrelevant. Wakefield is guilty of at least scientific incompetence, and probably malfeasance.

    Try to distract from the actual evidence as much as you like, it won’t change reality.

    You may want to find a different source, as well. Just reading one source is not conducive to a well-rounded opinion. Just sayin’.

  46. #47 Chris
    February 27, 2009

    LanceR, JSG said “You may want to find a different source, as well. Just reading one source is not conducive to a well-rounded opinion. Just sayin’.”

    Cliffy is just referencing his own website. I looked at it and with its fun colors and bad formatting, it has the look and feel of a crank website. He is also showing crank behavior by spamming blogs like this:
    http://holfordwatch.info/2009/02/08/brian-deer-discusses-andrew-wakefield-in-the-sunday-times/comment-page-2/#comment-15022 (note the admin remark).

    I sincerely doubt he has bothered to look at primary sources like the testimony of Chadwick on the US Federal Court website, even though he speculates that Deer is part of getting that testimony:
    ftp://autism.uscfc.uscourts.gov/autism/cedillo/transcripts/day10.pdf

  47. #48 hiphop
    July 15, 2009

    There are a number of fish species which have “sneaky males” in addition to regular males. The sneaky males look and act like females or juveniles.

  48. #49 William Wallace
    December 3, 2009

    Is the incidence of autism the same, going down, or going up since thimerosal has been removed from most childhood vaccines?

    Seems that if it is the same, you’d have an open and shut case.

  49. #50 faoualoa
    February 14, 2010

    Google autism epidemic of misdiagnosis. Also: go to You Tube and search under “autism spectrum seems out of control” for hard evidence on just how far from autism the spectrum has spun. The mum who posts videos of her autistic son under kgaccount on you tube, shows a REAL side of autism (it’s severe) There are other videos that show real high functioning autistic too on you tube, but it’s important people understand the difference between autism and other conditions that are increasingly being called autism.