Prometheus on “armchair science”

A couple of weeks ago, I lambasted Mark and David Geier for their irresponsible proposal to treat autism by using Lupron to lower testosterone levels, in essence chemically castrating autistic children, because, they claimed, it would make the mercury that supposedly caused the autism in the first place “easier to excrete.”

Naturally, Prometheus couldn’t resist piling on too in an article entitled Armchair Science vs. Real Science, which complements my previous analysis by looking at an infamous video the Geiers made, in which they explain the “revelation” that led them to the concept that lowering testosterone would supposedly “increase the efficacy” of chleation therapy for autism (never mind that chelation therapy doesn’t do anything to reverse the symptoms and behaviors of autism):

An Armchair Scientist gets to sit and speculate about what might be without ever having to do the hard work of actually doing any research to find out what is. The average Armchair Scientist doesn’t even bother to review the published literature – they just make it up from what people have told them, what they’ve read on the Internet and what comes to them in their dreams.

However, the more pernicious of the Armchair Scientists have a pasing familiarity with the literature and cite it to their benefit. Several good examples of Armchair Scientists can be found on the FAIR Autism Media website. My personal favorites from this site are the dynamic (definitely sarcasm – see the video) duo of Geier and Geier (pere et fils).

In their video clip from the FAIR site, Geier and Geier expound at length (in a performance that can only be described as “petrified” – it’s too stiff to be “wooden”) about how they “discovered” that testosterone is the linchpin to explaining:

[1] How thimerosal invaccines causes autism (their bread and butter – literally).
[2] How the myriad of disparate and illogical autism treatments “work”.
[3] Why more boys than girls are autistic.

It’s a masterful piece of work, to be sure, and it would be a magnificent addition to the corpus of medical knowledge except for one small problem…

They don’t have any data.

No, they don’t, didn’t, and probably won’t. But that’s beside the point. Data doesn’t matter to them, except when it supports their preconceived idea that mercury from vaccinations causes autism.

And that’s the mark of a pseudoscientist.

Unfortunately, like the Hitler Zombie, bad science like this and the shoddy study of mercury in mercury in the hair of babies by Holmes, Blaxill, and Haley is undead, as Prometheus points out. It’s almost impossible to kill; it always comes back.


  1. #1 Zeno
    March 19, 2006

    FAIR Autism Mediate site: Since autistic individuals seem to lack the ability to rid themselves of heavy metal toxins (such as mercury), they may not even test positive for those toxins.

    Damn, but that is perfect! Quackery has evolved some splendid defense mechanisms. Premise: Heavy metal toxicity (esp. mercury) causes autism. Counter: Medical tests show no heavy metals in the body. Resolution: Then the victim is so ill that he cannot give up (“rid” his body) of even the small amounts that a medical test could identify.

    Yeah, that makes sense. These poor desperate people are so delusional.

  2. #2 Fore Sam
    March 19, 2006

    When the kids improve with chelation, it is proof that mercury is the cause. Your rants are irrelevant when the kids are cured of mercury poisoning that is misdiagnoesed as autism because the medical profession won’t tell the truth. Do you think any sane person can’t see through your attempts at covering up the truth?

  3. #3 youth wants to know
    March 19, 2006

    I’m new to this whole autism/mercury poisoning thing, so please, a few questions:

    1. Why aren’t autists who don’t receive chelation all dead?
    2. Has anybody ever gotten a measurable amount of mercury out of a chelated autist?
    3. Why don’t chelated autists get better?
    4. How can the same people who believe in the autism/mercury link also believe in facilitated communication. I mean, if there’s nothing there, how can it be talking?

  4. #4 Sore Pam
    March 19, 2006

    Hi, Fore Sam is right. I’ve been chelating my children for 7 years (from 2 until 9) and they’ve developed into nice young children who are only half-autistic. I figure 7 more years of pinning them down in the IR sauna and forcing the RNA, ALA, EDTA, vitamin A, MeB12 and a few other elixirs that Orrin Hatch’s cousin’s second wife’s brother makes in his Salt Lake City bathtub/lab and we’ll have some undamaged normal kids again. Remember, natural development doesn’t happen. I know this because I haven’t developed over the last 7 years. QED.

  5. #5 Fore Sam
    March 19, 2006

    Sore Pam;
    You should try DMSA since EDTA won’t chelate mercury. It should help speed up the process for you. If your development has stagnated over 7 years, maybe you should join a dating service and get out more.

  6. #6 clone3g
    March 19, 2006

    Isn’t it great that John has become an expert on chelation and can now tell us which chelation agents work and which are worthless? Some parents swear by EDTA infusions, I think JB Handly uses it, so how do you explain that? All those parents say the same thing you do, that their kids are improving and that’s all the proof they require.

    How do you know DMSA or ALA chelate Hg and EDTA doesn’t? Where’s your data?

  7. #7 Fore Sam
    March 19, 2006

    I asked an expert. Why don’t you ask an expert to explain why you don’t know what you’re talking about?

  8. #8 clone3g
    March 19, 2006

    OK, please explain why I don’t know what I’m talking about. You’re the expert on that subject.

    Back to chelation, your expert, Andy Culter says ALA + DSMA is the bomb. Buttar says sham transdermal DMPS is the way to go but he is doing iv EDTA calling it completely safe (never mind the few deaths) Cutler doesn’t like MB12 but you use it and love it, it’s curing your son, or is it the chelation? Oh, it’s all so confusing when you don’t know what you are talking about, isn’t it? Which expert do you trust? They can’t all be wrong can they?

  9. #9 Don
    March 19, 2006

    “I asked an expert.” – Fore Sam

    Hahhhh! Ahhhh, I LOVE Fore Sam; thank you for the entertainment. Wait, I have to go, Deepak is calling me back about some of my questions on quantum energies…

    But I’ll be back for the next episode of

  10. #10 Fore Sam
    March 19, 2006

    I don’t think Dr Cutler would have the time or the inclination to be bothered with someone like you whose sole purpose in life seems to be to prevent parents from curing their autistic kids by asking foolish questions.

  11. #11 clone3g
    March 19, 2006

    You are trying to cure your autistic kid by asking foolish questions? Now it all makes sense. Sorry. Don’t let me stand in your way.

    What kind of Dr. is Culter anyway, as long as you want to call him doctor? PhD inorganic chemistry isn’t it?

  12. #12 BronzeDog
    March 19, 2006

    It’s foolish to ask “Does it cure autism?” and “How do you know it cures autism?”

    Let me guess: We’re supposed to take it all on faith in Fore Sam’s infallable perceptions of causality, since he never bothered to eliminate alternate explanations like coincidental natural improvement.

    What’s really foolish is refusing to answer these fundamental questions while berating skeptics for not accepting your word.

  13. #13 Sore Pam
    March 19, 2006

    Looks like someone got caught in the zipper – John Best Jr., Rescue Angel extraordinare, supported in every way, shape, and form by JB Handley, the founder of Generation Rescue, says that JBH and Buttar are full of it? Is that right? EDTA doesn’t work? Maybe we can simply glean more scientific details from the brilliant blog, the one that represents JBH and GR so well.

  14. #14 Ruth
    March 19, 2006

    Fore Sam hasn’t even shown evidence that would pass the Vatican’s standards for declaring a miracle cure. Vatican needs actual medical test results that can’t be explained by some other means.

  15. #15 Fore Sam
    March 19, 2006

    Sore Pam;
    If you look again, you’ll see that I said EDTA doesn’t chelate mercury. It does chelate lead and maybe some other stuff. I did not say EDTA doesn’t work, only that it doesn’t chelate mercury. You have fallen into the Neurodiverse trap of changing someone’s words and thinking you can get away with it.

  16. #16 Fore Sam
    March 19, 2006

    Bronze Dog;
    I’ve discussed my son’slack of natural improvement several times. You must not have been paying attention.

  17. #17 BronzeDog
    March 19, 2006

    Well, you may want to repeat yourself.

    And no, controlling against natural improvement does NOT involve locking someone in a room, or some other acid-trip nonsense. It usually involves a placebo control group. Did you employ one?

  18. #18 Joseph O'Donnell
    March 20, 2006

    Fore Sam, you really do demonstrate that you have a complete lack of any knowledge about this topic with every single post you make. While your incessant trolling was at first amusing, you’re now getting to the point of being plain aggravating and not even as clever as a comment bot.

  19. #19 Fore Sam
    March 20, 2006

    Thanks for your opinion. I just completed round 39 of chelation and my son keeps improving. I’ll note that your opposition to my opinion has not cured any children of autism.

  20. #20 BronzeDog
    March 20, 2006

    Neither has chelation, since you’re just taking it on faith that chelation, not coincidental natural improvement, is responsible. After all, you’ve pretty much admitted that you never controlled for that, therefore, you really don’t know. Saying your admittedly unfounded belief over and over and over doesn’t work, Bernard Marx.

    Besides, saying that chelation doesn’t work when it doesn’t work may actually be helping to find a cure: It’s informing people that they shouldn’t be wasting money on researching voodoo, and that they should be directing it towards more promising avenues of research. That’s how science works, you know.

  21. #21 Fore Sam
    March 20, 2006

    Bronze Dog;
    Chelation has cured some kids. Go to the Autism-Mercury Yahoo group and see for yourself. Is it your job to keep repeating ad infinitum that chelation doesn’t work? Are you paid by someone to keep begging for controls before you’ll accept the fact that parents of cured kids are not liars? Dentists don’t use control groups and placebos before they decide to remove a rotten tooth. They don’t need a control group to know that it won’t hurt the patient anymore after it’s gone. Are you suggesting all dentists should be called scam artists for helping people avoid toothaches?

  22. #22 Jennifer
    March 20, 2006

    Fore Sam,
    You say to visit the Autism-Mercury group. Ok, I’ll bite. I searched it for the words “chelation cure” with Onibasu. I didn’t find anything that substantiates what you’ve said. But I did find this message

    Where the author says: “Please call 20 /20 or Dateline or some other cheesy program and ask them todo a story on you and your child and the progress you have had to date using Andy’s protocol. I suggest the lot of you get together and do a story about all of this and stop wasting your time still reading the archives andposts on this list. You must get the word out, you must tell them there is a cure…finally! Andy Cutler has found THE cure for Autism! Truly amazing! This is breaking news….why is it that those who are on the outside of the “cult” have not managed to get wind of this until now? Has this news only been reserved for those who have made an oath or pledged allegiance to Andy? How do the rest of us sign up? Do tell?”

    Fore Sam, the questions this person asked in 2003 (!) is a great one. If you are right, where are all those parents on 20/20 or Dateline?

    Or maybe you could point me to all the posts where parents are claiming a cure for their children. It’s easy to search using Onibasu. Go ahead, show me those posts.

  23. #23 BronzeDog
    March 20, 2006

    Go to the Autism-Mercury Yahoo group and see for yourself.

    Before I waste my time listening to equally unverifiable, uncontrolled, unblinded anecdotes, why don’t you tell me what they did to control against coincidental natural improvement?

    If they are as unverifiable, uncontrolled, and unblinded as I suspect, why should I lower my standards to that level?

    Is it your job to keep repeating ad infinitum that chelation doesn’t work? Are you paid by someone to keep begging for controls before you’ll accept the fact that parents of cured kids are not liars?

    Are you paid to not-read what I type and put words I never said into my mouth?

    Do you even know why controls are necessary for this sort of thing? Do you even know what controls are? Do you even know how to determine causality?

    Dentists don’t use control groups and placebos before they decide to remove a rotten tooth.

    Some things are obvious. Chelation isn’t, especially since autism does feature natural improvement.

    They don’t need a control group to know that it won’t hurt the patient anymore after it’s gone. Are you suggesting all dentists should be called scam artists for helping people avoid toothaches?

    Very, very transparent straw man.

  24. #24 Fore Sam
    March 20, 2006

    How utterly neurodiverse of you to find that one post from 2003! I’m amazed that you couldn’t find anything else you claim you searched for! Of course, you know the reason the cured kids aren’t showing up on TV is related to the advertising money from Pharma. You are capable of figuring that out, aren’t you? Sorry Jenny, if you want to call me a liar, you can go find your own proof. I’m not inclined to go digging up posts just to satisfy your selective searching that can’t find something so simple. Why don’t you tell us why you’re opposed to helping poisoned children?

  25. #25 Fore Sam
    March 20, 2006

    Bronze Dog;
    I used a simple comparison so you could understand. I see it was too complicated for you. You avoided my questions as usual. Will you explain why you don’t want to see autistic kids cured?

  26. #26 Jennifer
    March 20, 2006

    Fore Sam,
    I bet you cannot find me more than one or two posts that claim: My child was cured of autism by chelation, a doctor has certified that this is true.

    Go ahead, I dare you. Actually, I’d be very surprised if you find even one post saying this.

    click on autism-mercury box, de-click the native-nutrition box, and type in your magic words “chelation cure”. It should only take a minute to find those thousands of posts if you are correct.

  27. #27 BronzeDog
    March 20, 2006

    I used a simple comparison so you could understand. I see it was too complicated for you.

    No, it was just a very bad, very transparent straw man.

    You avoided my questions as usual. Will you explain why you don’t want to see autistic kids cured?

    I’m not dodging it, and I’ll give you the answer once again, regardless of your profound hatred for its correctness: Mu.

  28. #28 Fore Sam
    March 20, 2006

    I don’t need to do any clicking as I’ve read those posts over the last few years. If you have a kid that needs curing, it would behoove you to get started. You appear to be wacked so I really don’t care what you do. My kid’s improving and that’s all I care about.

  29. #29 Fore Sam
    March 20, 2006

    Bronze Dog;
    Go beat your wife if it helps you avoid my question. I’m done with your nonsense. Have a nice life.

  30. #30 BronzeDog
    March 20, 2006

    Riiiight. It’s nonsense to point out that the question can’t be answered because I do want to help autistic kids, contrary to the words Fore Sam ever so generously shoves into my mouth because I disagree with his exorcism rites.

  31. #31 anonimouse
    March 21, 2006

    Fore Sam,

    With regards to your “beat your wife” comment, I would suggest that those who live in glass houses do not throw stones.

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