Respectful Insolence

Vaccines and relative risks

Holy crap.

I suspected that my two posts about Dawn Winkler, the antivaccination activist running for Governor of Colorado on the Libertarian ticket, might generate some comments and attract some of Dawn’s fellow antivaxers to the comments. Little did I suspect just how many, or how hysterical they would become. Because yesterday was a travel day for me, I didn’t see many of them until just now, and, even having had a fair amount of experience with the irrationality of many antivaxers, even I was a bit taken aback.

I suppose I shouldn’t have been.

One statement, I think, embodies the main problem with reasoning in hard core antivaxers, so much so that it immunizes them from any rational explanations or data:

HELLO, WAKE UP SLEEPY HEADS, THESE VACCINES ARE NOT 100% FOOLPROOF AND NOBODY REALLY KNOWS FOR SURE (I DON’T CARE WHAT RESEARCH HAS BEEN DONE) WHAT REACTION THEY WILL GET FROM ANYTHING. EVERY SINGLE PERSONS IMMUNE SYSTEM IS DIFFERNT SO IF IT HAPPENS TO BE YOUR CHILDS SYSTEM THAT DOESN’T TAKE WELL TO THE VACCINES, WILL YOU STILL BE SITTING UP HERE PREACHING ABOUT ALL THE BENIFETS AND HOW THERE ARE SUCH A MINIMAL AMOUNT OF PEOPLE HURT BY THEM? I’M SORRY, BUT WHEN IT COMES TO HUMAN LIVES, THERE IS NO MINIMAL ALLOWANCE OF DEATHS AS FAR AS I’M CONCERNED. IF THEY ARE NOT TOTALLY, 100% RISK FREE, THAN I AM NOT TAKING THAT CHANCE WITH MY CHILD’S LIFE.

(Capitalization left exactly as it appeared in the original comment. Antivaxers, in my experience, have a tendency to type in all caps.)

In any case, I would like to thank the inappropriately named “MyKidsWillBeSafe” for helping me to illustrate this point (I say “inappropriately named” because her kids are not be safe and because, not only are they not be safe, but they may well endanger other kids because they are unvaccinated). The problem is an utter lack of understanding that (1) nothing in this world, especially not a medical intervention) is “100% safe”; and (2) compared to many other things to which we subject children for much less benefit than vaccines, vaccines are orders of magnitude less likely to cause injury or death. It’s all a matter of weighing potential risks versus benefits, and for the childhood vaccines presently in use in the U.S. there is no question that the benefits far outweigh the risks.

One example was perfect: “So can we also assume that you never allow your child to ride in a motor vehicle? That is certainly far from 100% risk free.” Indeed, the risk of a child dying in an automobile accident is many orders of magnitude greater than the risk of being injured by vaccination. And, of course, the parent who is driving is completely responsible for subjecting the child to the risk of serious injury and death. I would point out another example, which produces a smaller risk than cars but larger than vaccines: Sports. Consider, about four children per year in the U.S. die as a result of an injury from playing baseball or softball, an average that, as of the mid-1990′s, had not changed appreciably since the 1970′s. That’s right, around 4-5 children a year in the U.S. die of injuries suffered playing baseball or softball. But deaths are only the worst injuries. Among children ages 5-14, around well over 100,000 children per year are taken to the emergency room for injuries suffered playing baseball. These include sprains, contusions, fractures, dental injuries, head injuries and concussions, and internal injuries. In fact, baseball has the highest child fatality rate of any sport. And those are just the injuries severe enough to cause the coach and parents to take the child to the emergency room. In fact, if you look at all sports injuries in children, there are approximately three million sports injuries per year!

I have to wonder if “MyKidsWillBeSafe” will allow her children to play sports, run, or ride a bicycle. Surely she drives them around in her car. If so, why on earth does she do this? Why on earth is she subjecting her children to such horrendous risk??? Does she plan on letting her children swim? Does she know how many children drown each and every year? I’ll tell her: “An estimated 5,000 children ages 14 and under are hospitalized due to unintentional drowning-related incidents each year; 15 percent die in the hospital and as many as 20 percent suffer severe, permanent neurological disability.”

MKWBS demands 100% safety of vaccines. Why doesn’t she demand 100% safety of these activities, which are far more dangerous than any vaccine (particularly being driven around in a car)? And, although they have some benefits, I would argue that vaccination has benefits that are at least as compelling as the exercise and teamwork children derive from sports. Heck, I’ll personalize it for her, even though I prefer data whenever possible. During my residency, I took care of so many children injured in car crashes that I truly do not remember how many I dealt with. One episode that will haunt me for the rest of my life occurred when I had to watch a five year old child who had suffered brain death due to traumatic brain injury suffered in a car crash be unplugged from the ventilator while his parents held him.

I never saw a single death from vaccines. That doesn’t mean that they don’t occasionally happen. However, they are far more rare than deaths from the activities listed above.

Comments

  1. #1 NJ
    September 23, 2006

    MKWBS demands 100% safety of vaccines. Why does she not demand 100% safety of these activities

    Yeah, you’ve certainly nailed this point. I recall reading a Metro Pulse (Knoxville alternative newspaper) a few years ago containing two articles by one of their staffers, who is (I think) a TV producer now. In the first, she painted a dark picture of Big Med and Government Officials imposing vaccines on people while a few courageous parents and doctors struggled to bring out the truth.

    In the second, she lamented that her daughter didn’t have the same opportunity for horseback riding and/or show jumping that she had.

  2. #2 Bronze Dog
    September 23, 2006

    Most human beings simply don’t understand risk. Believe it or not, over the course of a person’s lifetime, a teddybear with button eyes is more dangerous than a real bear: Each individual encounter with the teddybear is safe, but the number of encounters raises the risk: The kid could swallow one of the eyes and choke.

    Although an encounter with a real bear is much more likely to be fatal, it’s unlikely to happen.

    I’d rather vaccinate a kid and take the 1/1,000,000 chance, rather than repeatedly expose him to a large number of 1/500 chances over his life.

    Anti-vaxxers kind of remind me of one Simpsons flashback when it comes to risk:

    Dealer: “17.”
    Homer: “Hit me.”
    Dealer: “19.”
    Homer: “Hit me.”
    Dealer: “20.”
    Homer: “Hit me.”
    Dealer: “21.”
    Homer: “Hit me.”
    Dealer: “22.”
    Homer: “D’oh!”

  3. #3 Ruth
    September 23, 2006

    I remember a lecture on the psychology of risk assessment. People tend to under-estimate that danagers of familiar activities and actions that are under their control. They overplay the danger from activities by others and new, unfamiliar things. So riding in a car (‘I’m a safe driver, my kids are safe’) or smoking (‘I can quit anytime’) are not seen as dangerous. Vaccines are seen as dangers because they are imposed by others, and let’s be honest, MKWBS wouldn’t understand the science behind them even if you explained it. I have seen people buying organic produce, then lighting up a cigarette as soon as they leave the store.

  4. #4 Common Sense
    September 23, 2006

    Indeed, the risk of a child dying in an automobile accident is many orders of magnitude greater than the risk of being injured by vaccination. And, of course, the parent who is driving is completely responsible for subjecting the child to the risk of serious injury and death.

    Here’s the issue. As far as I’m concerned, we don’t *know* the actual risk of vaccination. Do we? We are told certain statistics, etc. but I don’t buy it. Sorry. Those statistics are bogus (in my opinion). Perhaps, as soon as the study is done on vaccinated vs. unvaccinated children then maybe I will look at things differently. Until then, I don’t believe the stats that they throw out there and I don’t believe the idea that injecting such things as mercury into babies was safe and caused no harm.

    As for the automobile analogy… I do as much as I possibly can to make sure that I am as safe as I can be in a car with my children. I make sure that they are buckled and in proper seats for them. I make sure that my tires are in proper condition. I don’t drive if the roads are considered “too risky”. I don’t speed (much). I check my brakes regularly, etc. etc. etc.

    Now, let’s compare that with what the majority of people do with their children in regards to vaccinations. You bring your child in and sadly because the doctor tells you to … you inject them with a bunch of crap and hope for the best. If more people knew of the crap they put in their children, they would be mortified.

  5. #5 Common Sense
    September 23, 2006

    I have seen people buying organic produce, then lighting up a cigarette as soon as they leave the store.

    Right and I have seen people buy organic produce and then inject their babies with mercury, aluminum, formaldehyde, antifreeze, etc.

  6. #6 Bronze Dog
    September 23, 2006

    We are told certain statistics, etc. but I don’t buy it. Sorry. Those statistics are bogus (in my opinion).

    WHY are they bogus? Pi doesn’t equal 3 just because you feel like it.

    …and I don’t believe the idea that injecting such things as mercury into babies was safe and caused no harm.

    More wordgames. Why don’t you worry about all the explosive hydrogen gas I drink every day.

    As for the automobile analogy… I do as much as I possibly can to make sure that I am as safe as I can be in a car with my children. I make sure that they are buckled and in proper seats for them. I make sure that my tires are in proper condition. I don’t drive if the roads are considered “too risky”. I don’t speed (much). I check my brakes regularly, etc. etc. etc.

    And that still carries risk.

    Now, let’s compare that with what the majority of people do with their children in regards to vaccinations. You bring your child in and sadly because the doctor tells you to … you inject them with a bunch of crap and hope for the best. If more people knew of the crap they put in their children, they would be mortified.

    They’d also be horrified if you told them what’s in the food you eat.

    Of course, you once again ignore proportion: By not vaccinating children, you’re leaving them vulnerable to far, far more dangerous “crap” known as “disease.” It’s like worrying about seatbelt laccerations more than auto accidents.

  7. #7 Bronze Dog
    September 23, 2006

    Right and I have seen people buy organic produce and then inject their babies with mercury, aluminum, formaldehyde, antifreeze, etc.

    More absolutism and wordgames. We aren’t talking about mercury, just like I’m not talking about explosive hydrogen gas when I’m describing water.

    The dose makes the poison. Everything is poisonous. We can’t operate by your double-standards, unless you want us to go back to the era of high infant mortality. I’m not afraid to swallow a little (just a little) swimming pool water. Chlorine may be poisonous, but if doing a tiny amount once will protect me from a likely danger for life, I’d do it.

  8. #8 Common Sense
    September 23, 2006

    The dose makes the poison.

    How many times do I have to ask this question. What dose of thimerosal/mercury is “safe”? I need to know that before we can discuss dose makes the poison. Right? So at what dose does thimerosal become poisonous to babies, Bronze Dog?

  9. #9 Bronze Dog
    September 23, 2006

    That’s what I’d like to know. You make up fictional dangers ex nihilo, and expect us to prove that they don’t exist. So far, I have no reason to believe that there’s any danger associated with the vaccine-level dose, since there haven’t been any serious problems that overwhelm the much, much greater dangers associated with getting the diseases that vaccines do a good job of preventing.

    We do know that vaccines are “poisonous” enough to kill 1 out of 10,000,000 children. Measles is poisonous enough to kill 1 out of 500. It’s all about relative risk.

  10. #10 Common Sense
    September 23, 2006

    That’s what I’d like to know.

    Yeah, you and thousands of parents who believe that their children were poisoned by their childhood vaccinations.

    since there haven’t been any serious problems that overwhelm the much, much greater dangers associated with getting the diseases that vaccines do a good job of preventing.

    Sure, Bronze Dog. How old are you?

    We do know that vaccines are “poisonous” enough to kill 1 out of 10,000,000 children. Measles is poisonous enough to kill 1 out of 500. It’s all about relative risk.

    Honestly, Bronze Dog, if this is your reality than we will go back and forth on this forever. I live in the real world not the made up fantasy world of CDC Land. When you are old enough to talk about reality with me than we can, otherwise… your rockstar friends, video games and pirate talking are calling you back.

  11. #11 Melissa
    September 23, 2006

    “We do know that vaccines are “poisonous” enough to kill 1 out of 10,000,000 children. Measles is poisonous enough to kill 1 out of 500. It’s all about relative risk.”

    Exactly, BD! And this is why Common Sense’s idea for a large-scale study of vaccinated vs. non-vaccinated children would be unethical to conduct — you’d be putting the non-vaccinated children at a huge KNOWN risk (from measles etc.) in order to parse out exact figures on what studies have already shown is an extremely small risk (from side effects of vaccinations).

  12. #12 Common Sense
    September 23, 2006

    Exactly, BD! And this is why Common Sense’s idea for a large-scale study of vaccinated vs. non-vaccinated children would be unethical to conduct — you’d be putting the non-vaccinated children at a huge KNOWN risk (from measles etc.)

    I can’t believe that I’m arguing with such ignorance here. Melissa, there are children who remain vaccine-free because their parents want them to be vaccine-free. How do you figure that to study these unvacciated children (by choice) would be unethical.

  13. #13 Narc
    September 23, 2006

    We are told certain statistics, etc. but I don’t buy it.

    Aye, there’s the rub. There is no study, there are no statistics, no matter how well controlled or scientifically valid that will convince you. That’s because you’ve already made up your mind, and will reject any evidence that does not reinforce the conclusion that you’ve already come to.

    Do you really think doctors sit around thinking, “Hey, lets stick poison into kids and fool their parents into thinking it’s safe”? Do you really think that any pediatrician — who I suspect tend to like children — is going to use a treatment he doesn’t genuinely think is beneficial? Do you think that no doctor in the past hundred years or so has validly studied the safety and risk of vaccines?

  14. #14 ParanoidMarvin
    September 23, 2006

    Common sense, I love the irony of your name, especially when you write:
    “I don’t believe the idea that injecting such things as mercury into babies was safe and caused no harm. ”

    Nobody injected mercury. There were trace amount of mercury, and even they’re not there anymore now that different preservatives were in use. There was also a dutch study encompassing 140,000 children,and a canadian one encompassing 28,000 who found no indications for risk from vaccines, and even saw that unvaccinated children were more likely to have neurological symptoms.

    But that probably doesn’t matter to you, since your common sense is of the sort that held it to be common sense that not bathing protected you from the ill humors that causes disease.

  15. #15 Melissa
    September 23, 2006

    Hm, that’s actually a good point, CS. I would rather live and raise my child in a world wherein everyone was vaccinated, but if you’re only advocating studying the children whose parents have already chosen not to vax… well, then my only ethical qualm would be that such a study might encourage parents who are on the fence about vaccination thanks to unfounded scare stories that lack of vaccination is an acceptable way to send their children out into a world where measles deaths and polio are on the rise.

    By the way, my son’s shots are up to date.

  16. #16 Skeptico
    September 23, 2006

    Orac wrote: I never saw a single death from vaccines. That doesn’t mean that they don’t occasionally happen. However, they are far more rare than deaths from the activities listed above

    I would add, they are also rarer than the deaths from diseases the child wouldn’t have got if he had been vaccinated. You need to understand the relative risks of the disease v. risk of immunization:

    Mumps

    Cases: 200,000 per year before vaccine became available, currently 3,000-5,000 per year
    - Encephalitis: 2 in 100,000
    - Testicular swelling: 1 in 5 adults
    - Deafness: 1 in 20,000
    - Death: 1 in 3,000 to 1 in 10,000

    Compare with:

    MMR Vaccine
    Severe allergic reaction: less than 1 in 1,000,000

    More at the link. If you’re interested. Unless your mind is too closed to consider the evidence.

  17. #17 Mark C. Chu-Carroll
    September 23, 2006

    CommonSense:

    You can’t do a valid scientific study based on a self-chosen population. There’s a *reason* why the standard of evidence in medicine is generally double-blind study, where neither the participants *nor* the doctors know which patients are in which group.

    Human beings are incredibly prone to something called *confirmation bias*. We have a strong tendency to see what we *expect* to see: when something confirms our expectations, we notice it; when something goes against our expectations, we often *don’t* notice it. This isn’t a *deliberate* thing; it’s part of our nature to seek patterns, and we unconsciously tend to confirm the pattern we expect to see.

    The point of things like double-blind studies is to try to eliminate the kinds of bias – like confirmation bias – that we can unconsciously introduce into data collection.

    If we did a study of vaccine efficacy based on the difference between children whose parents *chose* not to vaccinate, versus children who parents *chose* to vaccinate, odds are, we’d see all kinds of bias mixed in – from both sides. I’d expect to see both under-reporting of vaccine side effects from the parents of vaccinated children, and under-reporting of mild illnesses from parents of unvaccinated children.

  18. #18 Common Sense
    September 23, 2006

    There were trace amount of mercury, and even they’re not there anymore now that different preservatives were in use.

    So, you consider 62.5 mcg to be trace? If so, please provide backup data for this assumption.

    There was also a dutch study encompassing 140,000 children…

    Oh, really. I’m pretty sure that I know what study (studies) that you are referring to and I guarantee if you have common sense you will realize that these “studies” are bogus. Another newbie here apparently.

  19. #19 Common Sense
    September 23, 2006

    Do you really think doctors sit around thinking, “Hey, lets stick poison into kids and fool their parents into thinking it’s safe”? Do you really think that any pediatrician — who I suspect tend to like children — is going to use a treatment he doesn’t genuinely think is beneficial?

    No, I don’t think that pediatricians are out there purposefully injuring children. They don’t know. They are fed the same type of bogus information that parents are getting. When I first brought up the issue with our old pediatrician (who I loved), she actually tried to convince me that I was wrong by printing out the Danish epidemiological studies which we all know (or should know) are not a true reflection of reality. They are bogus.

  20. #20 HCN
    September 23, 2006

    Paranoid Marvin said: “Common sense, I love the irony of your name”…

    Some of us just call her “Common Sue” because in previous incarnations she was “Sue M.”. Just say it out loud.

    Oh, and the http://www.metrokc.gov/health/immunization/compare.htm site has been pointed out before. There has been absolute refusal by her and the Winkler contingent to produce real data to show how that is in error. (even though it does not have a bibliography, it is really a simple matter to find the stats through http://www.pubmed.gov)

    Also Common Sue will claim to show the “flaws” in any number of studies (like those in this list:
    http://www.sids-network.org/experts.htm#Vaccination , the Danish, Finish and other population studies), when in fact she is misinterpreting them. She does not really detail the errors exactly, she just argues by saying “Did you really read that… you are so stupid to miss ‘some made up thing’”, and on and on.

    So I’m just ignroing her from now on. I don’t even read her screeds anymore, especially since many are off topic… I just skim past them. So if she replies to this comment, I’ll just ignore it.

  21. #21 Common Sense
    September 23, 2006

    If we did a study of vaccine efficacy based on the difference between children whose parents *chose* not to vaccinate, versus children who parents *chose* to vaccinate, odds are, we’d see all kinds of bias mixed in – from both sides.

    You could, however, look at their medical records to compare? Right. As an example, compare the two groups for their rates of autism? Type 1 diabetes? etc. What do these childrens’ medical records tell us… not whether or not parents claim that their children had adverse vaccine events or illnesses, etc.

    There is a bill which may be coming down the line which could address the issue:

    http://maloney.house.gov/documents/health/mercury/20060330DraftAutismBill.pdf

    Whether or not it actually happens, we will see…

  22. #22 Bronze Dog
    September 23, 2006

    Oh, really. I’m pretty sure that I know what study (studies) that you are referring to and I guarantee if you have common sense you will realize that these “studies” are bogus.

    Thank you for doing the interpretation and conclusion for us, Mr. Information Control. WHY are they bogus? Your divine decree isn’t good enough!

    I also find it funny that you would call a mathematician like Mark a “newbie” at statistics.

    No, I don’t think that pediatricians are out there purposefully injuring children. They don’t know. They are fed the same type of bogus information that parents are getting.

    Riiiiight. The people who analyze studies for a living just blindly accept bogus data.

    When I first brought up the issue with our old pediatrician (who I loved), she actually tried to convince me that I was wrong by printing out the Danish epidemiological studies which we all know (or should know) are not a true reflection of reality. They are bogus.

    You are not a god! Saying that they’re bogus doesn’t magically make them such. WHY are they bogus???

    Why are you avoiding that question? Are you afraid of the possiblity that the universe isn’t affected by your beliefs?

  23. #23 Orac
    September 23, 2006

    You could, however, look at their medical records to compare? Right. As an example, compare the two groups for their rates of autism? Type 1 diabetes? etc. What do these childrens’ medical records tell us… not whether or not parents claim that their children had adverse vaccine events or illnesses, etc.

    That’s called a retrospective or case-control study. It’s considered among the weaker forms of medical studies, mainly because such studies are prone to all sorts of biases, including selection bias, incomplete documentation, poor case matching, inability to control for other factors, geographic factors, and a number of others. Such studies are very difficult to do properly, such that they are free from bias, even subconscious bias, based on how the subjects are chosen. That means that choosing the investigators would be of paramount importance.

    Even if such a study were done, unlike scientists, who would at least consider the possibility of a linkage if an association were found, anti-vaxers would never believe it if no association were found. After all, they already don’t believe several very large epidemiological studies that show no link between thimerosal-containing vaccines and autism. This one, if negative, would just be another one for them not to believe.

  24. #24 Davis
    September 23, 2006

    I guarantee if you have common sense you will realize that these “studies” are bogus.

    How convenient that any study which contradicts your position can be disregarded as “bogus.” Have you even considered the possibility that you might be wrong?

    I am reminded of the classic Einstein quote, “Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age eighteen.”

  25. #25 Common Sense
    September 23, 2006

    So if she replies to this comment, I’ll just ignore it.

    Yeah, sure, HCN. I’m sure that you are ignoring me right now. What’s the deal? I completely destroy your “study” that you link to and you give me a list of a bunch of others? Do your own work, for once.

  26. #26 Alison
    September 23, 2006

    I think that polio is a prime example right now of vaccine risk/benefit. I snagged this from BBC news:

    “Fifty years to the day since the discovery of a polio vaccine, the world is still not free of the disease.
    Six nations, some of the world’s poorest, account for the thousand or so cases that occur each year.

    Tremendous progress has been made since 1988 when mass immunisation was introduced at a time when 350,000 people caught the virus.

    But far more work is ahead if it is to be eradicated completely, as smallpox has been.

    There is an outbreak of polio which is spreading across west Africa

    Oliver Rosenbauer of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative

    The Global Polio Eradication Initiative set a target to wipe out polio infections by the end of this year.

    Spokesman Oliver Rosenbauer said: “It’s technically feasible, but there are a number of challenges to be overcome.

    “We are facing a funding gap of over $75m. That has to be met by July for immunisation campaigns to go ahead later in the year.

    “Then there is an outbreak of polio which is spreading across west Africa at the moment.”

    Fifty years on, how polio vaccination has changed the world.

    In pictures

    He said immunisation campaigns in some of the countries involved needed to be stepped up.

    “In some areas, 20% of children are still being missed. That gives the polio virus enough breathing room to survive,” he said.

    India, Pakistan and Afghanistan are other hot spots.

    Mr Rosenbauer said the fact that most countries in the developing, as well as the developed world, had eradicated polio was encouraging.

    In the UK, the last reported case of polio was in 1982.

    “But until it is gone from everywhere, we can’t say it is unlikely to come back,” he said.

    Global Status in 2004

    There were 1,263 cases in 2004 globally
    Polio is still endemic in Nigeria, India, Pakistan, Niger, Afghanistan and Egypt
    Source: Global Polio Eradication Initiative

    Unless it is eradicated from the remaining six nations, the virus could spread and cause outbreaks in any country, he said.

    Eradication would not be the end of the story.

    It would still be important to maintain global surveillance to check for any new cases, said Mr Rosenbauer.

    Oral immunisation would need to be phased out in synchronisation across the world.

    It would also be necessary to ensure that any laboratory samples of the live virus were properly contained to prevent any accidental outbreaks, he said.”

  27. #27 Bronze Dog
    September 23, 2006

    I completely destroy your “study” that you link to and you give me a list of a bunch of others?

    Try extending this beyond the childish “I hit you!” “No you didn’t!”

    The scientific method has RULES, CS! Using the word “bogus” doesn’t make a study ineffective! WHY is it bogus???

    This is not some mamby-pamby subjectivist newage world where words define reality.

    [Tu quoque] Your claims of bogusity are bogus because I said so. [/Tu quoque]

  28. #28 Davis
    September 23, 2006

    I completely destroy your “study” that you link to …

    I must have missed the destroying part. All I saw was an unsupported claim that studies with results you dislike are “bogus.”

  29. #29 Common Sense
    September 23, 2006

    I also find it funny that you would call a mathematician like Mark a “newbie” at statistics.

    Gee and I actually thought that I called Paranoid Marvin a newbie. Get it straight. If you can’t get the most simple facts straight how can I expect you to be able to make sense out of whether or not vaccines trigger autism or autoimmunity in babies?

  30. #30 Common Sense
    September 23, 2006

    How convenient that any study which contradicts your position can be disregarded as “bogus.” Have you even considered the possibility that you might be wrong?

    I’ve considered it, but then I come to my senses… The Danish studies are bogus. There is no way around it and it has been discussed here numerous times. Everyone with common sense knows it. Now, am I going to waste my time discussing it AGAIN? Nope. If you are a newbie and don’t know why the Danish studies are bogus do a quick google search and read all about it. Easy.

  31. #31 Bronze Dog
    September 23, 2006

    Well, I’ve never seen you answer the question. My Google-fu is often weak when it comes to this sort of thing. You know, like finding evidence of psychic powers, dowsing, astrology, etcetera. Maybe you should do something to convince me you’re different from all of the other people who make argumentum ad Google.

    You seem perfectly content to waste your time with logical fallacies, butchery of risk assessment, and yet even you don’t seem to be interested in spending time on what you seem to suggest would be a simple activity.

  32. #32 Orac
    September 23, 2006

    I’ve considered it, but then I come to my senses… The Danish studies are bogus. There is no way around it and it has been discussed here numerous times. Everyone with common sense knows it. Now, am I going to waste my time discussing it AGAIN? Nope. If you are a newbie and don’t know why the Danish studies are bogus do a quick google search and read all about it. Easy.

    Why are the Danish studies bogus? Please be very specific in describing the flaws that make their conclusions “bogus.” It’s a cop-out to tell someone to “Google” it and suggests to me that you have no clue what you are talking about.

    Also, you do realize, don’t you, that the Danish studies are not the only studies that failed to find a link between thimerosal-containing vaccines and autism. There have been some rather large studies since then, the most recent of which was published only a couple of months ago. Another study published in April was strong evidence against their being an “autism epidemic.” The contention that thimerosal-containing vaccines are not associated with autism is based on far more than just the Danish study.

  33. #33 ParanoidMarvin
    September 23, 2006

    As I am also a mathematician… So no nproblem with the confusion there.

    I suspect that the reason the studies are “bogus” because they don’t support Common Sense’s main claim. I think we should all adopt this position in life. My bank statement, for example, is completely bogus in this sense, since it has the wrong number of zeroes after the account balance.

    And Common Sense, if you are getting the wrong impression that I’m making fun of you because you won the argument and I’m a sore loser, I have to correct you. I’m not laughing at you, I’m laughing with you. The same way I would laugh at hearing a parrot scream “bogus, bogus” for no reason.

    As Bronze Dog said: either produce some concrete statement showing why the sampling or the statistical analysis of the Dutch and Canadian studies are wrong, or shut up. We’re not asking for much, just a statement which has some facts (but not made up ones) pertinent to the discussion.

    Polly wants some sanity…

  34. #34 Orac
    September 23, 2006

    Maybe you should do something to convince me you’re different from all of the other people who make argumentum ad Google.

    Argumentum ad Google is usually a sure sign that either someone doesn’t know what she is talking about; is too lazy to support her argument with facts; or realizes that the facts are not on her side.

  35. #35 Davis
    September 23, 2006

    As I am also a mathematician… So no nproblem with the confusion there.

    Hey, I’m another mathematician who is also, apparently, a newbie. At least I’m in good company.

    Seriously, though, CS — can you at least give me a rough idea of why the Danish, Dutch, and Canadian studies are all bogus? If you’re not able to at least give me an idea of the reasoning behind this, I’m inclined to take that as a sign that you don’t understand the arguments being made.

    I see no reason why I should slog through Google to try to determine what argument you have in mind — you’re the one making an outlying claim, not me. The burden of proof is on you.

  36. #36 Common Sense
    September 23, 2006

    For all you brilliant mathmaticians… here is some information for you on the bogus Danish studies. Enjoy:

    http://www.putchildrenfirst.org/chapter5.html

    After carefully reading all this information, I hope that you would agree with me that the Danish studies cannot be counted on as proper science. It does not take a rocket scientist to figure that out. The least that you can do is to really read the information given and report back. Please pay special attention to the changes mid-study(studies) with the diagnostic code changes, adding in out-patients, adding in children from a busy clinic… it’s all there for you to see if you allow your mind to be open to the possibility. Have fun…

  37. #37 Common Sense
    September 23, 2006

    For added fun, read the other “chapters” as well on the above site. It is amazing what you can learn when you actually take time to read the information presented.

  38. #38 kagerato
    September 23, 2006

    You’ve got to be kidding me, CS. You point to a website that cites Simpsonwood as evidence? Clearly you didn’t bother to do even a basic investigation of the facts. The Simpsonwood case was largely quote mining and misinterpretation by skewing the context and the relative significance of the facts.

    http://skeptico.blogs.com/skeptico/2005/06/robert_f_kenned.html

    Orac also made several posts about it before the blog moved. “respectful insolence simpsonwood” brings them up in the first 10 results.

    This information is not new…the case for thimerserol -> autism was never believable to begin with. It’s quite sad that regardless of how many studies fail to show correlation (let alone causation), the anti-vax nuts still can’t bring themselves to accept the truth. In order to honestly believe some of these claims, it seems you would have to think the vast majority of biologists, medical doctors, and educated laypersons were part of a massive government (or corporate) conspiracy. Where does all the money come from to pay these people off? Surely you don’t think most people would sell out for less than what it would take to live comfortably for many years.

    Or do you honestly rate humanity so low? Believe it or not, there are people whose cooperation cannot be bought.

  39. #39 Joseph
    September 23, 2006

    The changes in the Danish registry recording are noted by Hviid, for example. See here. Even with that, the author concludes there’s no discernable association between thimerosal and autism.

    This methodological problem, either way, says nothing about Sweden, the UK, Canada or the California DDS.

    Sue, you claim to believe in “common sense”. Doesn’t common sense tell you that if autism is primarily thimerosal poisoning (and more importantly, that the autism epidemic was caused by a doubling of the thimerosal dose per child) there should be very few young autistic children across Denmark, the UK, Canada and the US?

  40. #40 Andrew Wade
    September 23, 2006

    Common Sense

    So, you consider 62.5 mcg to be trace? If so, please provide backup data for this assumption.

    “Vaccines with trace amounts of thimerosal contain 1 microgram or less of mercury per dose.”

    http://www.fda.gov/Cber/vaccine/thimerosal.htm

    Where did your figure come from?

    As to what does of mercury is safe, well, that depends on what you mean by “safe”. Normal people average about 8 ppb of mercury in their blood¹, in an infant this concentration would amount to about 2 mcg of mercury in their blood alone, and on the dubious assumption that the concentration is the same in all tissues, 30 mcg of mercury in their body. Of course it is entirely possibly that even these concentrations have subtle effects. However “with the exception of some Influenza (flu) vaccines, none of the vaccines used in the U.S. to protect preschool children against 12 infectious diseases contain thimerosal as a preservative.”² Vaccines without mercury naturally do not pose a threat of mercury toxicity.

    ¹ http://www.fda.gov/fdac/reprints/mercury.html

    ² http://www.cdc.gov/nip/vacsafe/concerns/thimerosal/default.htm

  41. #41 Common Sense
    September 23, 2006

    This information is not new…the case for thimerserol -> autism was never believable to begin with. It’s quite sad that regardless of how many studies fail to show correlation (let alone causation), the anti-vax nuts still can’t bring themselves to accept the truth.

    I never said it was new. By the way it is spelled thimerosal. You would know that if you had a clue. Now, the main issue that everyone was clammering for information on was the Danish studies. I gave you the information which shows that those studies are bogus. Are you denying that? I would like to see how you can refute the information from the link that I gave you. That would be of interest to me.

  42. #42 Jude
    September 23, 2006

    In 1962, when I was 7, the entire town lined up at the elementary school for our first polio vaccinations. Even as a 7-year-old, I knew this was an exciting moment. Now when I mention polio to children, they don’t even know what I’m talking about. As a kid, everyone got smallpox vaccinations (except me because my parents were often neglectful). Today’s children don’t get smallpox. My son just missed an opportunity to get vaccinated for chickenpox. A month after he had it, he had to be hospitalized for complications. I remember how horrible it was to have measles, mumps, and Rubella. I lay in agony in a darkened room waiting for the pain to go away from measles. My father contracted mumps as a teenager and could have been sterile. While I think it’s good that people question scientific discoveries because that causes scientists to do additional research to back up their positions, I think it’s better if people realize what the world was like a brief time ago, how much healthier it is for our kids because they’re vaccinated, and how the risk, which I consider minimal, is worth it. I speak as the mother of 3 children, all of whose vaccinations are up-to-date.

  43. #43 clone3g
    September 23, 2006

    Conman Sense,
    You and your friends are the ones claiming that vaccines/thimerosal are responsible for autism and SIDS. You may not accept the many “bogus” studies that have failed to find a correlation but you also haven’t produced a single shred of evidence to support your assertions.

    For all of the “bogus” studies, performed by different investigators using different methods and data sets, that have failed to reveal an association, you have the Geiers.

    Is it possible that vaccines trigger autism or SIDS in some children? Sure it’s possible, anything’s possible, but common sense suggests it to be highly improbable.

  44. #44 Vax Free or Die!
    September 23, 2006

    Bwahahaha! ‘Vax-Free or Die! Sue M in New Hampshire’ is using Handley’s putchildrenfirst site as a reference for science!

    How about citing Handley as knowledgable of what it means to be having a bad hair day.

    Or she could cite him on how to use irrelevant research to back up a fantasy (autism = mercury poisoning).

    Or what it feels like to have solid scientists write a protest letter because their names were used by Brad in a NYT ad without their consent.

    How about citing Brad as a source of knowledge about venture capital?

    Those are the kind of things for which you cite JB Handley.

  45. #45 Tree
    September 23, 2006

    If you want to understand what someone is saying, first assume that she’s speaking the Truth, and then try to imagine in what setting it could be True. You may find in certain situations that the speaker still lives in the first grade, where pleasing Teacher was the top priority, or that another person is playing Baby-in-the-Family and has mistaken you for Bossy Older Brother. Once you figure out where the reptile brain is living, you may have a chance to persuade other people to your point of view. After all, if rational argument was the best way to persuade, marketing would be nothing more than droning a few facts (but clearly, people are still buying more Hummers than Insights).

    We live in a world where skeptical regard for Authority can be a rational point of view (and a really rational point of view if you’re working at the CDC, talk about a war against science, yikes). However, if someone’s statements indicate that she has no experience with the Null Hypothesis or Double Blind Studies, you would likely be safe to assume that appeals to your statistical authority will not be effective.

    BTW…has anyone been monitoring the latest news on autism? Not mecury in vaccines…father’s age correlates most strongly. Don’t take my word for it; I’m not an Authority. Look it up.

    And! Just to chime in. Things that amaze me when people are assessing risk. Bottled water. Usually it’s just filtered tap water, and not regulated as vigorously as tap water. Bottled water, being sold as food may, by regulation, contain every bit as must pesticide (for example) as apple juice. At least the regs were written that way back in the day when I was an underpaid Environmental Scientist, testing water at the drinking water plant. Before I discovered that playing with computers is fun and profitable. You don’t even need colored pencils to play with statistics anymore. Oh, these are the days.

    Tree, with no Special Spelling Knowledge that makes her Teacher’s Pet or Daddy’s Girl, just with the boring facts

  46. #46 Common Sense
    September 23, 2006

    Vaccines with trace amounts of thimerosal contain 1 microgram or less of mercury per dose.”

    http://www.fda.gov/Cber/vaccine/thimerosal.htm

    Where did your figure come from”?

    I assure you that I know how much mercury is considered by today’s standard to be trace. The original comment was this:

    There were trace amount of mercury, and even they’re not there anymore now that different preservatives were in use.

    I took this to mean that you always thought that there was only trace amounts of mercury back in the hey-day of injecting neurotoxins into babies. I was reminding you that in the mid 1990′s it was not unusual for a baby to receive 62.5 mcg of mercury per office visit. I was aksing if you considered that “trace amounts”. Perhaps I misunderstood your original point (it was a tad confusing). For the record, I am assuming that it was you who wrote the original post…

  47. #47 James
    September 23, 2006

    I’ve just realised why the anti-vaxers are always repeating themselves and don’t engage with any counter-arguments: all we are reading are echoes from people who are all long dead.

    Dead, you say? That’s right folks these anti-vaxers are dead. How did they die? Well they ate some salt once and the sodium reacted with the water in their bodes and they blew up.

    Now I’m sure they’ll try to say that sodium in a NaCl molecule doesn’t have the same chemical properties as metallic sodium, or that the tiny amounts of sodium they consume at any one time couldn’t possible cause an explosion, but I’m sure anyone with “common sense” will realise that these so-called arguments are “bogus”.

    Have a nice day :)

  48. #48 Common Sense
    September 23, 2006

    Bwahahaha! ‘Vax-Free or Die! Sue M in New Hampshire’ is using Handley’s putchildrenfirst site as a reference for science!

    Actually, that particular site that I referenced is less about science than it is about the FACT that you all have been duped. It was asked of me to explain why the Danish studies were bogus and I did so. It’s pretty clear. Do you wish to debate that? I could have pointed you to a bunch of different websites to get the same information but the putchildrenfirst site has it all right there for your blind eyes to see.

    How about citing Handley as knowledgable of what it means to be having a bad hair day.

    If I were you I wouldn’t go commenting on other people’s looks. I won’t bring it up here but you have some VERY strange looking people on your side. I’d take a bad hair day over just plain ugly … anyday.

  49. #49 Common Sense
    September 23, 2006

    Clown3g,

    Your kids with autism, from birth or regressed?

  50. #50 Andrew Wade
    September 23, 2006

    Common Sense:

    For the record, I am assuming that it was you who wrote the original post…

    Nope. I have been doing some googling in the meantime, and while I still don’t know where the figure (62.5) comes from, I have found out that some (many?) of the vaccines of the time did have tenss of mcg of Mercury. And you know what, that strikes me as a worrysome amount of Mercury.

    And in my googling I found one other thing. There are at least three “Danish” studies. There is Thimerosal and the Occurrence of Autism: Negative Ecological Evidence From Danish Population-Based Data by KM Madsen et al. But there is also Association Between Thimerosal-Containing Vaccine and Autism by A Hviid et al. This study does not appear to suffer from the weaknesses of the first one. (You need to register with JAMA to view the article, but registering with JAMA is now free. Woo-hoo!) The slideshow Joseph linked to appears to be related to this article. (I can’t get the slideshow to display properly for me though). And there is also Autism and thimerosal-containing vaccines: Lack of consistent evidence for an association by P Stehr-Green et al, which I don’t have access to.

  51. #51 clone3g
    September 23, 2006

    Sue,
    Zebras, black with white stripes or white with black stripes?

  52. #52 Samantha
    September 23, 2006

    Hello Common Sense,

    Back in the day mothers were told that their children were autistic because they were bad mothers. Now you and other “anti-vaxers” would have us believe that our children are autistic because we choose to vaccinate them. Both of these things have no basis in fact and are cruel and hateful. Every communication I have seen on this blog by anti-vaxers with respect to autism has been cruel and mean spirited both towards the children and their parents.

    I am tempted to call you and others like you a bunch of evil bloody minded wretches but that would be assuming too much about your motives. I will settle for just thinkng you an ignorant fool who is too wrapped up in the goings in your own mind to recognise the damage that you do with your spiteful words.

    And as to this spiteful question:

    Clown3g,

    Your kids with autism, from birth or regressed?

    Using someone’s children to win points in an argument, shame on you.

    If a child has a particular deficit in a particular area that deficit will not become apparent until said child reaches the typical age when that particular skill begins to become apparent. This would be self evident if you were not already convinced that vaccines cause autism.

  53. #53 shot_info
    September 23, 2006

    Ahh, antivaxers,

    Never let science get in the way of hysteria.

  54. #54 Vax Free or Die!
    September 24, 2006

    “If I were you I wouldn’t go commenting on other people’s looks. I won’t bring it up here but you have some VERY strange looking people on your side.”

    Sue, reach under your mattress, pull them out and really take a look – are these people really working for the CIA, the black helicopter society, or big pharma? Wait, those choices are redundant for you, right?

    About Brad’s little site, it’s funny that you rely on nonscience-based attacks on a scientific work. Strike that, it’s not funny.

    Samantha, wait until the real bigots (Sue’s friends) start trolling. Besides, Sue is simply trying to figure out if clone3g has autistic children. You see, if s/he’s a scientist with no autistic kids then her/his opinion means nothing. Oh, the exception is Sue’s own opinion. Even though her strictly anti-vax stance is based upon her childrens’ non-autism health issues – funny how parity isn’t conserved. She’s not “safe vax”. Not just no mercury in vaccines. Nope, she’s the real deal, tinfoil hat and all.

  55. #55 ParanoidMarvin
    September 24, 2006

    CSlessness, I looked at the URL you gave.

    Some dead neurons later, here is the big comment:
    “The data was manipulated to remove the strong correlation between mercury and autism” – what evidence does the author have for this? Another anti-vac site.

    For a scientist, cooking the data is one of the worst thing that he can do. It can cost someone his job, degrees, and academic status. The site makes this accusation, without bothering to put in a shred of evidence.

    It sites a correlation, but correlation is not causation. Isn’t it wierd that in the dutch and canadian studies there was no such correlation, and the canadian study even had a correlation between autism and unvaccinated kids.

    It’s clear to everyone here except you that you automatically take any study, however flawed, to be correct if you agree with it, and do the opposite if you don’t like the result. You can pretend otherwise.

    You’ll probably say that we’re doing the same, but here is the big difference: we will accept a sufficiently large study, with proper controls and analysis, that shows such a link. We will look at it, and if the results look convincing in that respect, and especialy if we can repeat it and get the same results, we will be forced to consider the existence of such a link. That’s because we go where the (properly collected) evidence leads us.

    You however, have to answer one question honestly: is there anything, anything at all, that will make you think you’re wrong on this issue?

    If your answer is no, then there is really no point for this discussion.

  56. #56 Common Sense
    September 24, 2006

    Now you and other “anti-vaxers” would have us believe that our children are autistic because we choose to vaccinate them. Both of these things have no basis in fact and are cruel and hateful.

    First of all, I do not think that ALL children with autism became autistic due to vaccinations. I do believe that it is the case for some (along with a genetic component). As for this belief being seen as cruel and hateful. I don’t believe it is. I would never blame a parent or wish to make a parent feel bad because they chose to do what they believed was the right thing to do. That’s crazy.

    And as to this spiteful question:

    Clown3g,

    Your kids with autism, from birth or regressed?

    Using someone’s children to win points in an argument, shame on you.

    I’m sorry that this offended you, Samantha. Please understand that Clone3g (Clown3g) has used the health status of my own children for months (on other blogs). You will see that I very rarely will answer a question from him because of all the completely obnoxious things that he has said in the past to me. Such things as when he told me that I was poisoning my daughter by giving her insulin injections every day (She has type 1 diabetes so without insulin she would die). Perhaps, you consider my remarks to the Clone as spiteful or whatever but I assure you that he knows why I do it. Just ask him about his kids too, Samantha… No really, do it.

  57. #57 Common Sense
    September 24, 2006

    About Brad’s little site, it’s funny that you rely on nonscience-based attacks on a scientific work. Strike that, it’s not funny.

    I agree with you here. It is certainly NOT funny that it is so incredibly easy to debunk the “Danish studies”. It’s quite pathetic actually. A “scientific work” like the Danish studies — you’ve got to be kidding me. That is a contradiction of terms. There is nothing scientific about those studies.

  58. #58 Joseph
    September 24, 2006

    I was reminding you that in the mid 1990′s it was not unusual for a baby to receive 62.5 mcg of mercury per office visit. I was aksing if you considered that “trace amounts”.

    That’s where your ignorance showed, Sue. Trace amounts are, by definition, lower than 1 mcg. That’s what most vaccines have today.

    You didn’t answer, BTW. What caused the autism epidemic in your opinion, and has the cause been reversed by now?

  59. #59 Joseph
    September 24, 2006

    It is certainly NOT funny that it is so incredibly easy to debunk the “Danish studies”. A “scientific work” like the Danish studies — you’ve got to be kidding me.

    Again, there appears to be a confound in one fo the Danish studies. It happens. How does that address Sweden, the UK, Canada and the US? The reponses to the Canadian study have been very weak, BTW. If you look at the data from that study, it’s very difficult to argue there’s an association between autism and thimerosal (and to a lesser extent, between autism and MMR).

    Study confounds are one thing. Omission of data, salami publications, plagiarism, changing axis labels from studies by others, unreproducibility of results, fake IRBs, affiliation misrepresentation, and so forth, are quite another.

  60. #60 CharlieD
    September 24, 2006

    I have not seen any evidence that these studies are invalid. I have been told to Google this and that, and been referred to various web sites that have assertions. No evidence and no cogent argument have been presented. Show me evidence that vaccination is more dangerous than no vaccination.

    I remember from childhood the fear of polio. I have a friend who even now walks with a limp because of polio. While in training I stumbled on a ward full of iron lungs. There was a time when every one of these iron lungs had polio victims in them. Vaccination removed this scourge from the US and from most of the word. Polio remains a problem only where vaccination is not possible. (Small pox has been vaccinated out of this world. Thank God. Pray to God it is not released on us by some madman.)

    I thank the developers of those vaccinations I have had. I thank the developers of Mercry based preservatives which made mass vaccination possible. I thank those who subsequently developed alternatives to Mercury based preservatives. I look forward to the day when the remaining influenza vaccines still containing Mercury no longer do. I look forward to ever safer (or if you insist, to ever less dangerous) vaccines.

    Vaccination was safer than no vaccination. Vaccination remains safer than the alternative of no vaccination. That is common sense.

  61. #61 Common Sense
    September 24, 2006

    That’s where your ignorance showed, Sue. Trace amounts are, by definition, lower than 1 mcg. That’s what most vaccines have today.

    Joe, go back and re-read. You aren’t making any sense here. Not surprised.

  62. #62 Bronze Dog
    September 24, 2006

    Glad there are still people here making cogent arguments. Spent the latter half of Saturday venting my frustration out on air and computer-generated images. The sorts of horrors antivax negligence would inflict on children gets me all foamy at the mouth.

    It reminds me of the all-purpose altie claims about “natural” things being better than modern medicine… despite the increased quality and length of life nowadays.

    If these trolls have ever posted evidence of a correlation, I haven’t seen it. Their “propaganda first, evidence later/never” tactic just convinces me that they’re just posting for the purpose of hearing themselves typing. Just like politics, mudslinging is not going to convince me to vote for someone.

    If there’s evidence out there for a correlation, the odds would be stacked in these guys’ favor. The same is true for all the paranormal woo out there: If it exists, they could shut us skeptics up by just performing one simple action.

  63. #63 JAL
    September 24, 2006

    Sue M said, “Such things as when he told me that I was poisoning my daughter by giving her insulin injections every day (She has type 1 diabetes so without insulin she would die).”

    What a load! I saw that thread.

    Sue M, of “I have 10 kids” fame? The Guiness Book of Lying Records called and asked for you to take a break and give someone else a chance.

  64. #64 Robster
    September 24, 2006

    A friend of mine blames vaccines for her son’s autism related disorder. Never mind that her husband, the child’s father, has the same disorder.

  65. #65 clone3g
    September 24, 2006

    Such things as when he told me that I was poisoning my daughter by giving her insulin injections every day (She has type 1 diabetes so without insulin she would die).

    No Sue, I doubt I said anything about poisoning your daughter. I have pointed out that insulin is also a neurotoxin at some level and you don’t seem to mind that children are injected with that neurotoxin every day.

    You may have missed my point – strike that – I know you missed my point but I was trying to put it in terms you might understand. I thought you might see that dose makes the poison and understand how hurtful and offensive it is when you suggest that autism is nothing more than mercury induced brain damage, more so when you know nothing about autism and don’t have any autistic family members.

    Of course you wouldn’t understand that seeing as how you view your own children as vaccine/thimerosal damaged goods. You are the one posting the details of your children’s health conditions on the internet, Sue, and you are the one on a mission to persuade parents not to vaccinate.

    It’s not about freedom of choice or control over personal medical decisions, you want others to see things your way. You want to get the word out that YOU think vaccines are dangerous and should be avoided, even if you aren’t able to offer any evidence to support your “common sense”

  66. #66 Bronze Dog
    September 24, 2006

    The only difference between thimerosal and insulin in the “neurotoxin” example clone used is that CS has drawn an absolutist line in the sand: For some reason in CS’s twisted logic, thimerosal is a neurotoxin, and yet, another substance that meets the criteria (insulin) is not. The analogy is about exposing the double-think double-standard.

    What determines safety of something (since everything is a toxin in the right amounts) is the amount. So far, the amount of thimerosal given in vaccines hasn’t produced any serious problems. The diseases the vaccines prevent are far, far more dangerous than the vaccines.

    You can’t just label certain things as absolutely toxic or non-toxic. Chemistry is full of grays. The closest we come to black is stuff like ricin, where really tiny amounts can prove fatal. Thimerosal apparently doesn’t meet that criteria, otherwise we’d be seeing far more problems than we actually do.

  67. #67 Andrew Wade
    September 24, 2006

    I have not seen any evidence that these studies are invalid. I have been told to Google this and that, and been referred to various web sites that have assertions. No evidence and no cogent argument have been presented.

    I don’t know about invalid, but “putchildrenfirst” did present some genuine problems with one study (Thimerosal and the Occurrence of Autism:). The ones that caught my eye (and are acknowledged in the paper itself) concern changes in the way “incidence of Autism” is measured over the time period of the study. It’s hard to separate trends due to the changing definitions from trends due to actual changes in incidence, and the authors don’t appear to have made much effort. I don’t think all that much can be concluded from this particular study, although it is enough to rule out the most extreme claims about Thimerosal and Autism. But there are other studies, indeed there are even other “Danish” studies on this subject, and the methodologies of some of them are quite a bit better.

  68. #68 Joseph
    September 24, 2006

    Sue, in case you missed it: What caused the autism epidemic in your opinion, and has the cause been reversed by now?

  69. #69 Azygos
    September 24, 2006

    Reading Sue is like reading a Monty Python skit.

    Yes it is…
    No it isn’t…

    Ad nauseam

    If you want to talk about a really dangerous drug Sue I suggest you target tylenol. The therapeutic index is just a little to close for my comfort.

    Sue- take off your hat http://zapatopi.net/afdb/

  70. #70 Tracy W
    September 24, 2006

    I do as much as I possibly can to make sure that I am as safe as I can be in a car with my children. I make sure that they are buckled and in proper seats for them. I make sure that my tires are in proper condition. I don’t drive if the roads are considered “too risky”. I don’t speed (much). I check my brakes regularly, etc. etc. etc.

    But it’s still not 100% safe, is it?

    Especially with the don’t speed (much) comment.

    I know people who have been killed in car crashes through no fault of their own but entirely because of the fault of the other driver.

    So I don’t see why you’re demanding complete, 100%, safety from vaccines while still driving your kids places.

  71. #71 Tracy W
    September 24, 2006

    Now, let’s compare that with what the majority of people do with their children in regards to vaccinations. You bring your child in and sadly because the doctor tells you to … you inject them with a bunch of crap and hope for the best.

    Oh, and how much do you know about how your car works?

    And what do you know about the other cars and drivers on the road? Have they had their brakes tested? How much sleep did every single one of those drivers have last night? What’s the chance of one of them getting distracted by their own kids fighting in the back?

    And what’s the chance of there being a slide of rocks down onto the road just as you’re passing by? Or other events? My granddad had a cow land on his bonnet once while driving a back country road.

    And are you sure that every single trailer you will encounter on the roads secured their load properly? My Dad was once nearly knocked out by a piece of wood coming off a truck in front of us, a few degrees different and he would have been, and he was driving the car.

    Do you really understand the risks you are exposing your children to?

  72. #72 Bronze Dog
    September 24, 2006

    Thanks for spelling out all the automotive risks there are, Tracy. Hopefully, that demonstrates a simple fact of life:

    Everyday behaviors carry risks.

    Vaccines also carry risks, but they’re much smaller, and you only have to do it once. Measles has a 1 in 500 chance of death, or thereabouts, versus the vaccine’s 1 in 10,000,000. I don’t know what the odds of catching measles is, but if vaccination goes down, the chances will climb. That’s exactly what’s happened in the UK recently, isn’t it?

  73. #73 Common Sense
    September 24, 2006

    What a load! I saw that thread.

    Sue M, of “I have 10 kids” fame? The Guiness Book of Lying Records called and asked for you to take a break and give someone else a chance.

    By “that thread” do you mean here? If so, that’s not what I’m talking about. He’s been a complete ass on another blog. He’s a classless twit. The Guiness Book of Lying Records called? Send them over to the CDC pronto…

  74. #74 This N That
    September 24, 2006

    “By “that thread” do you mean here?”

    If “that” were “this” then yes, but since “that” means “that”, then no.

  75. #75 Bronze Dog
    September 24, 2006

    Send them over to the CDC pronto…

    Name one and your evidence thereof.

  76. #76 Duh@you
    September 24, 2006

    Sorry, my bad. Let me spell it out for you… By here I meant this blog. I guess that was too difficult to figure out for you.

  77. #77 There are thousands.
    September 24, 2006

    Name one lie? Are you kidding? Please.

  78. #78 Bronze Dog
    September 24, 2006

    Name one lie? Are you kidding? Please.

    Either you’re implying there are none, or you’ve got an easy job to do. Get to work, if it’s the latter.

  79. #79 Yeah, right
    September 24, 2006

    Get to work, if it’s the latter.

    I’m all over it…

  80. #80 John Best
    September 24, 2006

    Bronze Dog;
    Verstraeten’s rewrites were lies. That’s why the data he used is stashed away at a cost to taxpayers of $20 million where nobody else can see it. Here’s another lie, Chelation is the proper treatment for mercury poisoning but mercury does not cause autism. Want another? There is no proof that any kids have been cured because there are no double blind studies.

  81. #81 greatsalt
    September 24, 2006

    Sue wrote: “By the way it is spelled thimerosal. You would know that if you had a clue. Now, the main issue that everyone was CLAMMERING for information…” [caps added]

    [Orac note: Sue's last name expunged. Please do not mention the last names of people who do not routinely post using their full names. This is one warning. The next time around, I'll simply delete the comment with maximum prejudice.]

    Oh, Lordy, Lordy. Sue, you just don’t know when you’ve crossed the line into self-parody, do you? (By all means, correct me triumphantly if I’ve misspelled your last name.)

    I like Tree’s suggestion of locating the reptile brain. I see Sue as the Petulant Little Sister, insisting through her tears that Santa Claus really does exist. Maybe we should just keep filling her stocking with half-baked faux research. Wait, the Geiers are already doing that.

    Bronze Dog – My recollection is that measles is considered THE most contagious disease. It requires negative pressure conditions to contain it. No surprise that this is the one that’s bounced back in the UK lately. Sometimes people talk about how they had measles when they were young and it was nothing more than a few days off from school. I guess the ones who ended up with SSPE (subacute sclerosing panencephalitis, a delayed and always fatal complication of measles) aren’t around to say how benign it wasn’t.

    Oh look, John Best’s showed up! It’s not a troll party without Sue and John!

  82. #82 revere
    September 24, 2006

    Did you really mean relative risk or comparative risk?

  83. #83 Ruth
    September 24, 2006

    Thity years ago there was an actual widespread incident of real methylmercury poisoning in Iraq. Many people ate bread contaminated with methyl Hg fungacide. International aid groups provided chelation treatment for the victims. No case of nerve damage was reversed by chelation.

    Even if thiomersal (Sue, I like that variant spelling as it reminds of us the sulfur atom in it) was associated with autism (which you haven’t proved), chelation would not reverse it. Generation Rescue parents are dumping expensive, sometimes dangerous chemicals into their kids that will do nothing for autism. The ‘recovered’ kids in the GR videos are no more cured than my nonchelated kid. Time, love and good teachers have made the difference for her.

  84. #84 John Best
    September 24, 2006

    Ruth;
    Can you tell us what protocol the international aid group used to chelate those victims? How long did they continue it? While a $5 bottle of ALA may break you, it’s not a large expense for most of us and it lasts several months. With a safe protocol, my son has improved immensely and now says some words appropriately and unprovoked. That’s great progress for a kid described by the doctor who poisoned him as a vegetable. What will you say when these cured kids are testifying against the doctors who poisoned them in court? Will you end your flailing about to defend them then?

  85. #85 Bronze Dog
    September 25, 2006

    Verstraeten’s rewrites were lies. That’s why the data he used is stashed away at a cost to taxpayers of $20 million where nobody else can see it. Here’s another lie, Chelation is the proper treatment for mercury poisoning but mercury does not cause autism. Want another? There is no proof that any kids have been cured because there are no double blind studies.

    And your evidence for this is…?

  86. #86 John Best
    September 25, 2006

    Bronze Dog;
    LOL, do you know how silly you sound?

  87. #88 anonimouse
    September 25, 2006

    John,

    Aren’t you up awfully late at your advanced age?

    In any event, chelation won’t cure autism, but I’d consider using it on yourself to see if it cures stupidity.

    Sue,

    The more you talk, the more you embarass yourself. This is basically the way your conversation has gone:

    Us: “The statistics say that your chance of dying in an auto accident is far greater than dying from a vaccine.”

    Sue: “I don’t believe those statistics.”

    Us: “Why don’t you believe those statistics?”

    Sue: “The Danish studies are flawed. (insert link to biased, money/fear-mongering websites with pathetic rebuttals here)”

    Us: “What about these studies then?”

    Sue: “There’s no safe dose of mercury, why would you want to inject mercury into kids?”

    Us: “Who said we thought mercury was a good idea?”

    Sue: “You think I’m poisoning my kids?”

    Us: “Uh, where did that come from?”

    Sue: “If you can’t accept the fact that kids become autistic from vaccines and that the government is lying to us about the risks, then I can’t discuss this matter anymore. Bye.”

    Us: “Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.”

    Sue: “Who said I was leaving?”

  88. #89 anonimouse
    September 25, 2006

    Oh, to all the anti-vaxing frauds on this thread:

    You object to the injection of “toxic substances” into a child’s body, while still lauding the freaks that use powerful pharmaceuticals on kids with autism. (with no tangible results)

    http://neurodiversity.com/weblog/article/114/pharmaceutical-cornucopia

  89. #90 Joseph
    September 25, 2006

    Sue: I guess you missed it again. One more try. What caused the autism epidemic in your opinion, and has the cause been reversed by now?

    (I’m just trying to engage you in a “common sense” discussion about something that sort of looks like science).

  90. #91 Orac
    September 25, 2006

    Everyone, please note and take heed of the warning I added to this comment.

  91. #92 Andrew Wade
    September 25, 2006

    Ruth:

    Even if thiomersal (Sue, I like that variant spelling as it reminds of us the sulfur atom in it) was associated with autism (which you haven’t proved), chelation would not reverse it.

    Yup. And appearantly ethylmercury (the variant in thimerosal) doesn’t hang around in the body¹, making chelation to remove it months after exposure pointless. But that doesn’t mean thimerosal is completely safe either. “Precisely identifying the risk from thimerosal in vaccines is problematic because of gaps in knowledge of its toxicity. … we cannot exclude the possibility of subtle neurodevelopmental abnormalities from the cumulative exposure to thimerosal in vaccines.”² Still, the uncertainties in our scientific knowledge can be (and undoubtedly have been) grossly exaggerated.

    ¹ Mercury concentrations and metabolism in infants receiving vaccines containing thiomersal: a descriptive study. ME Pichichero et al. — I’ve only read the abstract as I do not have access to the article.

    ² An Assessment of Thimerosal Use in Childhood Vaccines. LK Ball et al. — I must admit I only skimmed this article, but from my limited reading this appears to be the conventional wisdom on ethymercury toxicity.

    The ‘recovered’ kids in the GR videos are no more cured than my nonchelated kid. Time, love and good teachers have made the difference for her.

    I’m glad to hear it. Unfortunately medical science cannot guarantee a good outcome. But neither can the quacks despite what they claim. I worry about the pressure the kids are likely under to act normal. I have and have had many of the symptoms of Autism, though I have not to my knowledge been so diagnosed formally. And my symptoms are far milder than archetypal Autism. But if those kid react the way I do, in a stressful enough social situation they will give up and withdraw emotionally, and just “go through the motions” of whatever is expected of them. That may make them appear more normal, but it’s not a good thing. Now specialized intervention of some sort is definitely called for with Autism; I am well aware of how very fortunate I am that my symptoms are so mild — and yet they still cause me occasional difficulty. But I think making “normal-acting” or “cured” the target of therapy is a very bad idea.

  92. #93 Common Sense
    September 25, 2006

    For the record, despite our differences, I do appreciate that Orac made his last comment above in regards to me. I realize that he didn’t HAVE to do that and so I greatly appreciate that he did so.

  93. #94 greatsalt
    September 25, 2006

    Sorry about that, Orac. Sue uses her last name elsewhere and I did not notice she hadn’t used it here. Will take note in the future.

  94. #95 Common Sense
    September 26, 2006

    Sorry about that, Orac. Sue uses her last name elsewhere and I did not notice she hadn’t used it here. Will take note in the future.

    Blatant lie. What a shame that you are such as ass. You didn’t notice that I didn’t use it here? Are you kidding me? Take your head out of your ass please. Again, thank you Orac…

  95. #96 Common Sense
    September 26, 2006

    Yup. And appearantly ethylmercury (the variant in thimerosal) doesn’t hang around in the body¹

    I see that no one has pointed this out to you yet, however, there was another study done later by Burbacher which calls this Pichichero study into question:

    http://www.generationrescue.org/pdf/burbacher.pdf

    It also looks as if this same Pichichero guy is hard at work on another vaccine for ear infections and sinus infections. Bronze Dog, perhaps my vaccine for the sniffles is a realistic idea after all. In case anyone is wondering, I’m just pointing out facts here… I’m not suggesting the Pinchichero is in on a big global conspiracy theory or anything… just sayin’….

  96. #97 HCN
    September 26, 2006

    You might actually understand that paper through this video discussion:
    http://bartholomewcubbins.blogspot.com/2006/01/bartholomew-cubbins-on-autism-episode.html

    To paraphrase Inigo Montoya: You keep using that PAPER. I do not think it means what you think it means.

  97. #98 Common Sense
    September 26, 2006

    To paraphrase Inigo Montoya: You keep using that PAPER. I do not think it means what you think it means.

    I know exactly what the paper means (it should also be considered a reputable souce by you). For one thing, it means that by no stretch is thimerosal off the hook.

    My attempt was simply to educate Andrew Wade. I gave you all some time to present that paper to him as an aside or whatever. You failed to do so. Is there a problem with presenting “scientific studies” to people who may be interested? Sorry. My bad.

  98. #99 Bronze Dog
    September 26, 2006

    What, if anything, is wrong with BC’s discussion on the paper?

  99. #100 HCN
    September 26, 2006

    Common Sue said “know exactly what the paper means (it should also be considered a reputable souce by you). For one thing, it means that by no stretch is thimerosal off the hook.”

    So says the person who completely misinterpreted a paper that showed how worthless using VAERS reports in relationship to SIDS and HepB:
    http://www.sids-network.org/experts/poa9078.pdf

    Yes, please explain how BC is wrong in his discussion of the Burbacher paper. Be specific.

  100. #101 Common Sense
    September 26, 2006

    What, if anything, is wrong with BC’s discussion on the paper?

    Yes, please explain how BC is wrong in his discussion of the Burbacher paper. Be specific.

    Sorry, for some reason my computer is crapping out on me after getting to “Bartholomew’s” site. I can’t get the video. However, judging from the comments it doesn’t seem like it was all that revealing. I will ask you both this, however. Can you explain how it is that I can give you a study from a division of the NIH (I should be able to trust them, right?) and you can respond with a link to a blog where the guys pseudonym is Bartholomew Cubbins? He also seems way too interested in Dr. Seus and silly videos than he does in “real” science. How can you get away with that?

    Did “Bartholomew” follow up with the NIH with a letter and a link to his website? Perhaps they would be interested.

  101. #102 anonimouse
    September 26, 2006

    Sue,

    I’ll use small words so you understand. Unfortunately, these scientists can’t have common names like Smith…damn them.

    In any event.

    Burbacher’s paper and Pichichero’s paper say mostly the same thing – that ethylmercury is excreted from the body quickly. (far quicker than methylmercury)

    Burbacher’s paper purports that ethylmercury exposure may result in inorganic mercury left in the brain. There is no evidence that inorganic mercury left in the brain causes any kind of neurological disorder.

    In other words, genius – Burbacher’s paper proves nothing and is in fact indicative of the notion that ethylmercury has a far shorter half-life in the body than methylmercury. That means it doesn’t hang around as long, damaging the rest of the body and causing the alleged mercury poisoning you like to talk about so much.

  102. #103 anonimouse
    September 26, 2006

    I will ask you both this, however. Can you explain how it is that I can give you a study from a division of the NIH (I should be able to trust them, right?) and you can respond with a link to a blog where the guys pseudonym is Bartholomew Cubbins?

    Just because a study is financed in part by the NIH, that doesn’t mean it’s not subject to criticism. But it’s far more trustworthy than the other crap the anti-vax brigade throws around.

    At least you’re getting closer to making a scientific case, no matter how pathetic it really is.

  103. #104 Common Sense
    September 26, 2006

    I’ll use small words so you understand. Unfortunately, these scientists can’t have common names like Smith…damn them.

    Oh, my God, you can’t be serious? Can you? Someone please help me…

  104. #105 Common Sense
    September 26, 2006

    In other words, genius

    This is truly hilarious…

  105. #106 Who has actually read it?
    September 26, 2006

    “I see that no one has pointed this out to you yet, however, there was another study done later by Burbacher which calls this Pichichero study into question:”

    From the paper you haven’t read, Sue:

    “More interestingly, the washout blood Hg T1/2 in the
    thimerosal-exposed infant macaques (7days) is
    remarkably similar to the blood Hg T1/2
    reported for human infants injected with
    thimerosal-containing vaccines reported by
    Pichichero etal. (2002).”

    This is the only reference to Pichichero et al. in the entire manuscript. Do you really think that you can get away with this Sue? You go around calling people liars and you pull this?

  106. #107 Common Sense
    September 26, 2006

    This is the only reference to Pichichero et al. in the entire manuscript. Do you really think that you can get away with this Sue? You go around calling people liars and you pull this?

    Are you kidding me? I MUST be in the twilight zone. What am I pulling? spell it out for me. Be very, very careful and YOU make sure that you read the study carefully… No, really.

  107. #108 Andrew Wade
    September 26, 2006

    Common Sense:

    Yup. And appearantly ethylmercury (the variant in thimerosal) doesn’t hang around in the body¹

    I see that no one has pointed this out to you yet, however, there was another study done later by Burbacher which calls this Pichichero study into question:

    http://www.generationrescue.org/pdf/burbacher.pdf

    Hmm, that’s very interesting, and gives a much fuller picture of the kinetics of Hg in the body. But it does not appear to be inconsistent with the results of the Pichichero study. (At least, as far as I can tell from the abstract of the Pichichero study).

    Do note that if they have the kinematics of inorganic Hg at all correct, it should still be accumulating after the last dose — particularly so for methymercury. The data is so bad that this may in fact be occuring despite what the graphs show. And like Bartholomew Cubbins, I don’t mean that as a slam against Burbacher et al.; getting good data may have required a much larger study.

    For one thing, it means that by no stretch is thimerosal off the hook.

    Oh, for sure. It’s the cohort studies that have done that. Now of course they can’t prove that thimerosal has no ill effects. But the idea that thimerosal is a leading cause of autism has certainly been demolished.

  108. #109 Common Sense
    September 26, 2006

    That means it doesn’t hang around as long, damaging the rest of the body and causing the alleged mercury poisoning you like to talk about so much.

    Yeah, you are right. It’s just hanging around in the brain as inorgainic mercury instead. Phew…

    p.s. Where do I bring up mercury poisoning?

  109. #110 Sue, your check engine light is on
    September 26, 2006

    “I MUST be in the twilight zone. What am I pulling? spell it out for me.”

    we agree, you are. Turn off the computer, attend to your 10 beanie babies and turn down the accusations of lying. You were wrong. You were caught. You ought to think about reading a paper before blathering about it. Little things like that, Sue. I know JB’s talking points aren’t much help, but I’m willing to bet that if you actually read the paper, you might actually stop citing it.

    Andrew, like the Borg, Sue will assimilate all known elements and molecular compounds on her “it’s someone else’s fault, not mine” list. This is a fun hobby for her. Mercury as an actor is already dead – each quarter the California numbers keep hammering another nail into the coffin just for good measure. So it’s on to Al. I wonder when the poor suckers will start to buy a homeopathic Al chelator.

  110. #111 You are confused...
    September 26, 2006

    You were wrong. You were caught. You ought to think about reading a paper before blathering about it.

    Show me where I was wrong and where I got caught? I think that you might be confused.

  111. #112 Sue's Boring Game
    September 26, 2006

    “I see that no one has pointed this out to you yet, however, there was another study done later by Burbacher which calls this Pichichero study into question:”

    Nice game Sue. Nothing ever changes. It’s ok, the beanie babies believe you.

  112. #113 anonimouse
    September 26, 2006

    p.s. Where do I bring up mercury poisoning?

    You’re kidding, right?

  113. #114 Common Sense
    September 26, 2006

    You’re kidding, right?

    No, I’m not. I don’t use the term “mercury poisoning”.

  114. #115 Tracy W
    September 26, 2006

    Common Sense – how do you justify driving your kids, when that’s not 100% safe?

  115. #116 HCN
    September 26, 2006
  116. #117 Sue, your check engine light is on
    September 26, 2006
  117. #118 Common Sense
    September 26, 2006

    Thanks for those links, HCN. The funniest part about them for me was when Kev Leitch was trying to say that the “officials” from the CDC really knew how to spell thimerosal… they were just using the “alternative” spelling…. bawwwwhhhhh! Sure.

    Tracy, I drive as safely as possible and take all precautions. Easy.

  118. #119 Bronze Dog
    September 26, 2006

    Thanks for those links, HCN. The funniest part about them for me was when Kev Leitch was trying to say that the “officials” from the CDC really knew how to spell thimerosal… they were just using the “alternative” spelling…. bawwwwhhhhh! Sure.

    Because all of politics and science is determined by how a person spells “potatoe.”

    Tracy, I drive as safely as possible and take all precautions. Easy.

    Still not 100% safe. My brother was driving safely, and a nut ran a red light, chopping off everything in front of our first car’s tires.

  119. #120 Common Sense
    September 26, 2006

    Because all of politics and science is determined by how a person spells “potatoe.”

    Terrible example. Remember when Dan Quayle got completely laughed at for insisting that the little boy added an ‘e’ to potato when he was vice-president:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Potatoe

    It made him look stupid. Having said that people make spelling mistakes all the time. Typically I ignore them (I make many myself), however when the Deputy Director of US Centers of CDC (NIP) misspells thimerosal wrong in 2001 after they had banned it in 1999 and were supposedly so concerned about the issue, I tend to doubt them and laugh at them at the same time.

    Still not 100% safe. My brother was driving safely, and a nut ran a red light, chopping off everything in front of our first car’s tires.

    Well, I hope that everyone is ok. That’s a terrible accident, no doubt. That’s very different from injecting neurotoxins into babies, however.

  120. #121 shot_info
    September 26, 2006

    “however when the Deputy Director of US Centers of CDC (NIP) misspells thimerosal wrong”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thiomersal

    Given that either spelling is valid (or one is more common than the other in the US) the importance of spelling thiomersal/thimerosal is (in terms of this long thread) a strawman.

    It is _un_important for the purposes of the relative risk of vaccines. However it _is_ important for you to cloud the relative risk of vaccines by building the strawman of a public servant not being able to spell…

    “That’s very different from injecting neurotoxins into babies, however. ”

    No it isn’t. The discussion is about risk (in particular relative risk and the probabilities thereof). You clearly show in your posts a failure to understand this.

  121. #122 Common Sense
    September 26, 2006

    Given that either spelling is valid (or one is more common than the other in the US) the importance of spelling thiomersal/thimerosal is (in terms of this long thread) a strawman.

    I am well aware that either thimerosal or thiomersal are acceptable spellings. How about thimerasol and thimerosol? That’s how our government officials were spelling in 2001. Try again.

  122. #123 Original Atari
    September 26, 2006

    Sue’s game is a classic. Here’s her plan:

    a) ignore what you don’t understand
    b) focus the attention away from statistics and risk assessment hypocricy
    c) speak ad nauseum about spelling
    d) hope people don’t look at HCN’s links above

    from one of those links,
    ————-
    Sue M. : 7 months, 1 week ago

    Jonathan wrote:

    “Sue, are you trying to tell me that dosage is important”?

    - I will say this one more time… there is NO “safe” dose of thimerosal (or mercury) to be injected into infants. What’s so hard to understand about that? If you were to say that there is a safe dose… you would need to prove it to me. You can’t.
    - Sue M.
    ————

    How come Sue M. hasn’t brought up aborted fetuses in the shots? I want to be entertained. Enough with the spelling games, get back to your plan.

  123. #124 shot_info
    September 26, 2006

    Try again.

    Sure, let me repost the bits that you avoid with your strawman (which of course is the point of the strawman no isn’t it :-).

    —-
    It is _un_important for the purposes of the relative risk of vaccines. However it _is_ important for you to cloud the relative risk of vaccines by building the strawman of a public servant not being able to spell…

    “That’s very different from injecting neurotoxins into babies, however. ”

    No it isn’t. The discussion is about risk (in particular relative risk and the probabilities thereof). You clearly show in your posts a failure to understand this.
    —-

    Mind you it is unimportant trying to make you change your mind. It is clear that you have very blinkered views (while pleading that you don’t…) however it is very enlightening to have you as an example to the blogsphere as an example of anti-vaccinationist :-)

  124. #125 Common Sense
    September 27, 2006

    Original Atari,

    I completely stand by that post. Are you arguing that there is a safe dose of mercury injected into babies? Remember it is a completely unnecessary ingredient in the vaccine.

  125. #126 Bronze Dog
    September 27, 2006

    Well, CS, if there’s no safe dose, then does that mean that one molecule is dangerous?

  126. #127 Common Sense
    September 27, 2006

    Well, CS, if there’s no safe dose, then does that mean that one molecule is dangerous?

    To be injected into a baby for no reason whatsoever? Yes, too dangerous.

  127. #128 Edwin
    September 27, 2006

    Reading these articles, I was struck by the uselessness of it all. We’re all agreed that vaccination is an extremely important topic, right? It really matters whether people choose to vaccinate their children. So why are the antics of anti-vaccination activists being treated here essentially as light entertainment for the scienceblogs crowd?

    I suggest that instead of laughing and pointing at the irrationality of those involved, a more serious attempt to understand the source of their viewpoint would be more useful. There’s a lot of interesting literature on perception of risk, much of it focusing on how perceived risk can differ radically from real risk depending on how information is presented. Couldn’t we attempt to draw on that to help anti-vaccination campaigners to understand why they’re misguided, rather than congratulating ourselves on how much smarter we are?

  128. #129 Common Sense
    September 27, 2006

    It is _un_important for the purposes of the relative risk of vaccines. However it _is_ important for you to cloud the relative risk of vaccines by building the strawman of a public servant not being able to spell…

    At least I am glad that you admit that the versions that I quoted were in fact incorrect spellings. Here’s the important piece for me. It is not about spelling (although at first glance it may appear as if it is). Those officials could have spelled a bunch of words wrong and it wouldn’t be that big of a deal. However, for me it is about competence and knowledge. In 1999, the CDC supposedly makes this big announcement that they are going to stop allowing thimerosal to be in vaccines out of extreme caution, blah, blah, blah. Ok great. So, now, a full two years later we have these “officials” who can’t even spell thimerosal correctly? What have they been doing for 2 years… certainly not making the issue a priority. They are just now getting around to asking other officials in other countries about the issue. Here’s an interesting e-mail exchange:

    http://www.putchildrenfirst.org/media/4.12.pdf

    Notice, how this Diane Simpson starts off spelling thimerosal incorrectly and then after receiving quite an interesting e-mail back, she reverts to the European version of the spelling (as the e-mail came from a European individual). She was in over her head obviously. Do you see how Marta Granstrom is very concerned about the issue? Why isn’t Diane Simpson? Hint: she’s no expert and has no clue to the seriousness of the issue.

  129. #130 Orac
    September 27, 2006

    So why are the antics of anti-vaccination activists being treated here essentially as light entertainment for the scienceblogs crowd?

    I suggest that instead of laughing and pointing at the irrationality of those involved, a more serious attempt to understand the source of their viewpoint would be more useful.

    What do you think health care professionals have been doing for the last few decades? It doesn’t work. Hard core antivaxers tend to conveniently dismiss any research that contradicts their position with, usually with insinuations of conspiracy. It is highly unlikely that any amount of “understanding” will make a difference, in my experience and from my observations of others. For example, over the last five years or so, the epidemiological and scientific evidence has become overwhelming that mercury in vaccines almost certainly does not cause or contribute to autism, but the mercury militia is still out there.

    The fence sitters, however, may be persuaded when the irrationality and ridiculousness of the antivaxers’ arguments (not to mention their lack of foundation on sound evidence) are demonstrated for all to see.

  130. #131 Andrew Dodds
    September 27, 2006

    CS – Regarding:

    I completely stand by that post. Are you arguing that there is a safe dose of mercury injected into babies? Remember it is a completely unnecessary ingredient in the vaccine.

    This is another fallacy, effectively the one of assuming unlimited resources.

    Imagine we test every single component of every vacccine in every possible combination to past the point of unreasonable doubt. This would actually lead to more death and disability than doing less (but still adequete) research, because you would be doing a large amount of effectively redundant work that could have been used for something more useful. There are not an unlimited number of healthcare dollars out there.

    And if you wonder why healthcare providers don’t see it as a problem, it’s because there is absolutely no evidence of harm from it.

  131. #132 Andrew Wade
    September 27, 2006

    Common Sense:

    Original Atari,

    I completely stand by that post. Are you arguing that there is a safe dose of mercury injected into babies?

    I’m not Original Atari, but yes there is a safe dose of mercury: trivially, one atom of Hg isn’t going to do much of much. The question is what the safe dose is. Now unfortunately we don’t really know what small amounts of Hg do; at best we can upper limits on how dangerous it is. That’s true of anything not just Hg. Though I really do think we should avoid expose to Hg.

    But the dosage really does matter. Take another element: Iodine. 2-3 grams can be fatal, and it’s used to kill bacteria. Not in the same league as Hg, but bad stuff nonetheless, no? Yet, Iodine deficiency is a common cause of mental retardation in some places — it turns out that Iodine is a vitamin. In fact most vitamins are toxic in large doses. For instance, Vitamin B-6 causes nerve damage and Vitamin K causes brain damage in infants. Now I’m not saying that Hg is a vitamin or anything like that. My point is merely that dosage matters and we need more information than that Hg is a “neurotoxin”.

    Remember it is a completely unnecessary ingredient in the vaccine.

    Perhaps, but you do need a preservative of some sort. Thimerosal wasn’t added just for kicks.

  132. #133 Andrew Wade
    September 27, 2006

    Common Sense,

    I had not seen Bronze Dog’s post when I posted (I was off looking up Vitamin toxicities). There is a reason we both hit upon the 1 atom/1 molecule example. For anyone with knowledge of chemistry it is going to be obvious that everyone is exposed to far more than one atom of Hg going around their everyday lives; there is just no way that one atom is going to make a difference. 1 mcg of mercury (a small amount) is three quadrillion atoms.

  133. #134 Steve Miller
    September 27, 2006

    Orac and others: Thank you very much for this interesting post. Maybe now I have enough good arguments convincing my sister to vaccinate her three kids (my son is vaccinated). On the other hand I don’t really have much hope – she is into Homeopathy too; I always thought it should be easy convincing people that Homeopathy is nonsense; obviously I am naive too.

    The problem is that such people never give up their position as from their point of view they know the whole truth and “them scientists know nothin’”. This problem won’t go away as long the vast majority of the population is ignorant how science works.

    Double-blind studies were mentioned. Can you please point me to a good primer that also lay persons can understand? I would give it to my sister.

  134. #135 Catherina
    September 27, 2006

    Andrew – Thimerosal has not been needed as a preservative in vaccines for a very long time. European countries had removed it from their childhood vaccines long before this was even discussed in the US. I don’t think that thimerosal has anything to do with autism, but I also think that once it was technically possible, thimerosal should have been left out of all vaccines.

  135. #136 Jude
    September 27, 2006

    Since I live in Colorado, I received some campaign literature from Bill Ritter, the Democratic candidate. Interestingly enough, the entire flyer is about the importance of child immunizations and includes his plan to increase their use. His quote is “I hve a plan to take Colorado from the 10 worst to one of the 10 best states in the nation for immunization children.”

  136. #137 HCN
    September 27, 2006

    Edwin wrote “Couldn’t we attempt to draw on that to help anti-vaccination campaigners to understand why they’re misguided, rather than congratulating ourselves on how much smarter we are?”

    One of the major reasons are lawyers. Behind many anti-vaccine websites and activists you will find litigation.

    I present first the story behind the MMR controversy. The research paper was bought and paid for by a lawyer trying to get “evidence” for a lawsuit. The lawyer even provided the research subjects. Because of this there has been an upsurge of measles and mumps in the UK (some immunocromized children permanently disabled, another one dead) and a more recent upsurge in the USA (Wheaton College, and others). The story is here: http://briandeer.com/mmr/lancet-summary.htm

    If you Google the “journalist” Evelyn Pringle you will see a link to a lawyer near the bottom of many of her stories. Also, behind the folks who wrote a paper for “Medical Hypothesis” trying to describe autism as a ‘novel form of mercury poisoning’ is a lawfirm (Waters and Kraus… who quietly dropped their ritilan lawsuit).

    Also, there are those scam artists that prey on desparate parents. Some of these folks are considered heroes by the Mercury Mob. The names include Bradstreet (and his interesting combination of religion and supplements), Boyd Haley (who sells tests and cures in his AltCorp business), Amy Yasko (and her RNA drops), Richard Lathe (who did once develop a vaccine, but is trying to push a new book on autism and environment) and of course Rashid Buttar (who has a cure for anything, as long as you have the cash).

    Unfortunately what has happened once with these folks is that there has been a death of a five year old boy by a Dr. Roy Kerry from chelation… the child was not sick, just autistic.

    I apologize for not supplying a weblink to these guys. Most of them have Wikipedia entries, and have been mentioned in this blog (or its archive)… and I am limited to two links to avoid going into the possible spam folder. I would like to use my second link for an organization that shows the true risks: http://www.pkids.org/

  137. #138 HCN
    September 27, 2006

    Catharina said “I don’t think that thimerosal has anything to do with autism, but I also think that once it was technically possible, thimerosal should have been left out of all vaccines.”

    Exactly… it is not always technically safe, especially in areas without proper storage conditions:
    http://www.who.int/biologicals/areas/vaccines/thiomersal/en/

    Andrew, for a history and present amounts in the USA read this:
    http://www.fda.gov/cber/vaccine/thimerosal.htm

  138. #139 Common Sense
    September 27, 2006

    Imagine we test every single component of every vacccine in every possible combination to past the point of unreasonable doubt.

    What kind of testing do we do, Andrew? The CDC and FDA didn’t even know that they were injecting large amounts of mercury (relatively speaking) into an infant. When you lose faith in a system, it is very difficult to get that back. That’s where I am at now. They have not done the right thing. There has been denial and disregard throughout this controversy. There is no turning back until someone stops the madness. As the amount of vaccines that are added to the schedule increases, the less I trust them. Enough is enough.

  139. #140 Common Sense
    September 27, 2006

    Thank you very much for this interesting post. Maybe now I have enough good arguments convincing my sister to vaccinate her three kids (my son is vaccinated).

    From here, you think that you have enough good arguments to convince your sister (who is into homepathy) to vaccinate her kids? Where are the arguments? I have a feeling she may laugh at you :)

  140. #141 Common Sense
    September 27, 2006

    Perhaps, but you do need a preservative of some sort. Thimerosal wasn’t added just for kicks.

    It’s all about the money. Single dose vials vs. multi-dose vials.

  141. #142 Tracy W
    September 27, 2006

    Tracy, I drive as safely as possible and take all precautions. Easy.

    Common Sense – my father, while driving with my brothers and I in the back seat, was nearly knocked out by a piece of wood coming off a truck in front of us. How do you take precautions against that sort of risk?

    How do you take precautions against a boulder landing on the top of your car?

    How do you take precautions against another driver falling asleep and crossing the center line towards you?

    How you take precautions against another driver being distracted by their kids and driving straight through a red light?

    Please let me know, as I’d love to know how to reduce these risks to zero.

  142. #143 Bronze Dog
    September 27, 2006

    The CDC and FDA didn’t even know that they were injecting large amounts of mercury (relatively speaking) into an infant.

    You have a very creative definiton of either “large” or “mercury”.

    It’s all about the money. Single dose vials vs. multi-dose vials.

    Phase I: Sell vaccines at little or no profit, steal underpants.
    Phase II: ???
    Phase III: Profit!

  143. #144 Common Sense
    September 27, 2006

    You have a very creative definiton of either “large” or “mercury”.

    Until someone can come up with a “safe” dosage for thimerosal to be injected into babies than I will be holding to the fact that the amounts of mercury (via thimerosal) injected into babies in the 1990′s was a large amount. Prove me wrong.

    Phase I: Sell vaccines at little or no profit, steal underpants.
    Phase II: ???
    Phase III: Profit!

    Not sure that I understand your odd point. Which is more important, profit or safety?

  144. #145 Common Sense
    September 27, 2006

    Please let me know, as I’d love to know how to reduce these risks to zero.

    I’m sorry Tracy, but this is completely irrelevant. I do hope that you, your father and your brothers are all doing fine now.

  145. #146 anonimouse
    September 27, 2006

    Until someone can come up with a “safe” dosage for thimerosal to be injected into babies than I will be holding to the fact that the amounts of mercury (via thimerosal) injected into babies in the 1990′s was a large amount. Prove me wrong.

    Prove it caused any harm first, rather than just assuming it did because it fits your warped worldview.

  146. #147 anonimouse
    September 27, 2006

    Edwin,

    “Couldn’t we attempt to draw on that to help anti-vaccination campaigners to understand why they’re misguided, rather than congratulating ourselves on how much smarter we are?”

    I’d rather congratulate myself on my intelligence, thanks.

    You see, there was a time when I thought that anti-vaxers were just misguided. But the hardcore ones aren’t. They perfectly well know that the weight of scientific evidence falls squarely against them, and they don’t care. They instead try to find new marks who are incapable of understanding such evidence and/or amenable to their paranoid point of view.

    It’s one thing to not know. It’s another to know and not care. Anti-vaxers generally know, but don’t care. If your kid gets sick because they refused a vaccination for their kid, they don’t care. It’s all about their warped worldview, nothing more.

    So I’d much rather spend my free internet time telling it like it is – choosing not to vaccinate your child for reasons other than legitimate medical ones is an abhorrent dereliction of one’s duty as a citizen in any society. And people that wish to promulgate the myth of “vaccine damage” (other than what’s documented in medical literature) in order to convert more people to their side deserve all of the scorn and ridicule I can muster.

  147. #148 Common Sense
    September 27, 2006

    an abhorrent dereliction of one’s duty as a citizen in any society.

    Suddenly Mouse is sounding like George W. Bush.

  148. #149 shot_info
    September 27, 2006

    Man, I haven’t seen so many strawman put up by an anti-vaxxer in a long time. Should be expected though. So far CS hasn’t answered a question yet…

    Spelling, irrelevant points, people sounding like people…

    CS, you are a fantastic example to the world of why people like you shouldn’t be involved in science…or even commenting on science. Ignorance is ignorance, poorly “informed” ignorance is still ignorance.

    Try looking up “risk”. Then give some math a go. Only people who don’t know how to do math claim “statistics lie”.

  149. #150 Bronze Dog
    September 27, 2006

    I doubt it: W isn’t known for his intelligence.

    How about demonstrating evidence of harm, CS?

    That’s what this is all about. That’s the core of the issue: Are there risks to vaccines greater than the risks inherent in not vaccinating?

    So far, the answer remains “not likely.”

    The risks we know of are pretty small. If there were bigger risks involved, we’d be seeing evidence of it.

  150. #151 MattXIV
    September 27, 2006

    Sue,
    1-2 ng/m^3 is a representative ambient concentration and well below regulated levels (300 ng/m^3), which is ~3,000,000,000-6,000,000,000 atoms of mercury/m^3. A typical breath of air is about 500 cc, so every time you take a breath, you’re probably inhaling around 1,500,000 to 3,000,000 atoms of mercury. It would be essentially impossible to make a vaccine without a single mercury-containing molecule, which is why people with even a minimal understanding of toxicology are disinclined to take you seriously when you say that even a single mercury-containing molecule is unsafe.

  151. #152 Common Sense
    September 27, 2006

    I doubt it: W isn’t known for his intelligence.

    Exactly my point.

  152. #153 Bronze Dog
    September 27, 2006

    So, you continue your bad comparison, rather than contribute meaningfully.

    This is getting really repetitive, like another argument. Why don’t you try something new? Like presenting evidence?

  153. #154 Common Sense
    September 27, 2006

    which is why people with even a minimal understanding of toxicology are disinclined to take you seriously when you say that even a single mercury-containing molecule is unsafe.

    No amount of mercury should be intentionally ADDED to vaccinations. Is that better?

  154. #155 shot_info
    September 27, 2006

    “No amount of mercury should be intentionally ADDED to vaccinations. Is that better? ”

    So _some_ mercury is ok?

    If so, how much?

    Obviously it cannot be your 1 molecule. So 2, 10, 100000?

  155. #156 Tracy W
    September 27, 2006

    Please let me know, as I’d love to know how to reduce these risks to zero.

    I’m sorry Tracy, but this is completely irrelevant. I do hope that you, your father and your brothers are all doing fine now.

    it’s completely irrelevant that you are exposing your children to an unknown, but significant risk, whenever you drive them anywhere, but are demanding 100% safety of vaccines? I don’t think so.

    And if you do have some way of avoiding the dangers in car driving that I listed, you are being horribly selfish in keeping that to yourself.

    You are being self-contradictory. You evidently have no problems in risking your children’s lives yourself, but you are trying to hold vaccine manufacturers to a far higher standard than you hold yourself when it comes to your children’s safety. A case of “do as I say, but not as I do”.

    Do you really care about your own kids’ safety?

  156. #157 Steve Miller
    September 27, 2006

    Posted by: Common Sense:
    From here, you think that you have enough good arguments to convince your sister (who is into homepathy) to vaccinate her kids? Where are the arguments? I have a feeling she may laugh at you :)

    Maybe my answer to “Common Sense” will make all others who understood the rest of my original posting smile:

    q.e.d :-)

  157. #158 HCN
    September 28, 2006

    This shows the level of honesty used:
    http://www.pathguy.com/antiimmu.htm

  158. #159 Common Sense
    September 28, 2006

    So _some_ mercury is ok?

    If so, how much?

    Obviously it cannot be your 1 molecule. So 2, 10, 100000?

    Obviously, I would prefer there to be no mercury. Wouldn’t you? Is there a health benefit to mercury that I am unaware of? Having said that, I cannot change amounts in the air, etc. very easily. If you can, please do so. Now for your question, “If so, how much”? To that, I would say: You tell me. You say that it is safe. At what amounts is it safe? Peer-reviewed (not epidemiological studies) claiming safety would be appreciated. Now, if you can’t do that then I will go with the studies that I have seen and I will continue with the thought that NO AMOUNT of ADDED MERCURY is safe to be injected into people. That sounds so simple… yet so complex for some. I don’t know why??

  159. #160 anonimouse
    September 28, 2006

    Sue,

    You’re asking us to prove a negative (“prove the mercury injected into people isn’t harmful”) while we’re asking you to illustrate that the amount of mercury contained in childhood vaccines causes harm.

    You have not provided one study that illustrates that fact. Yet we can probably provide thousands of studies that show the relative safety and effectiveness of vaccines, and several that show vaccines don’t cause neurological conditions like autism. The best you can provide are studies like Burbacher, which AT BEST show that more inorganic mercury is left in the brain of a primate after ethylmercury exposure. (actually, what the study really says is that methylmercury is not a good reference point for ethylmercury, which is the same conclusion as Pichichero)

    Your best studies do not show that vaccines that contain mercury cause significant health problems. Your worst studies are travesties of scientific literature. (and no, Sue, we don’t want to hear some ill-advised rant about Verstraeten or the Danish studies)

    In other words, you’ve spent hundreds of posts and countless hours saying absolutely nothing of importance. But you’re an anti-vaxer, so I’m not shocked by that.

  160. #161 Bronze Dog
    September 28, 2006

    it’s completely irrelevant that you [CS] are exposing your children to an unknown, but significant risk, whenever you drive them anywhere, but are demanding 100% safety of vaccines? I don’t think so.

    And there’s CS’s double-standard laid out for all to see.

    If they can find a better preservative than thimerosal while maintaining a high vaccination rate, I’d go for it. Just because a 3-point seatbelt isn’t as good as a 4-point seatbelt like in the Volvo SCC doesn’t mean I’m going to abandon driving.

  161. #162 Common Sense
    September 28, 2006

    You’re asking us to prove a negative (“prove the mercury injected into people isn’t harmful”) while we’re asking you to illustrate that the amount of mercury contained in childhood vaccines causes harm.

    I’m asking for you to stop defending the practice of injecting people with mercury. While you are at it, it would be nice if our government officials could guarantee that our childhood vaccinations given to all healthy babies are as safe and effective as they claim they are. It doesn’t seem all that unreasonable.

    I’m actually shocked that you made it through a post without a “you’re stupid” comment. Keep up the good work.

  162. #163 Bronze Dog
    September 28, 2006

    I’m asking for you to stop defending the practice of injecting people with mercury. While you are at it, it would be nice if our government officials could guarantee that our childhood vaccinations given to all healthy babies are as safe and effective as they claim they are. It doesn’t seem all that unreasonable.

    1. What’s wrong with injecting people with a tiny, thus far very safe amount of a “toxin” if it’ll protect them from much, much bigger threats? You expose yourself to the tiny risk of seatbelt injury when you get in a car. Much safer than going unbuckled. We put tiny, circumstantially safe amounts of “toxins” in our kids all the time. It’s called “medicine.” This may be a new concept to you, but everything’s toxic under at least some doses and circumstances. Drawing lines in the sand for some things but not others would be applying a double-standard.

    2. Do you want the government to come into your house and make you do a PubMed search?

  163. #164 Common Sense
    September 28, 2006

    We put tiny, circumstantially safe amounts of “toxins” in our kids all the time. It’s called “medicine.” This may be a new concept to you, but everything’s toxic under at least some doses and circumstances. Drawing lines in the sand for some things but not others would be applying a double-standard.

    I will remember these comments the next time one of you guys start crying about Lupron, chelation, supplements, etc. etc. etc.

  164. #165 anonimouse
    September 28, 2006

    Sue,

    I’m asking for you to stop defending the practice of injecting people with mercury. While you are at it, it would be nice if our government officials could guarantee that our childhood vaccinations given to all healthy babies are as safe and effective as they claim they are. It doesn’t seem all that unreasonable.

    What, you mean you don’t believe all of the clinical studies and post-licensure surveillance that prove the safety and effiacy of vaccines? Of course you don’t. Go to pubmed and look at how many articles have been written about MMR or DTP sometime, you’ll be surprised how much research says that vaccines are safe.

    This is the problem – it doesn’t matter how much research is presented to you that shows vaccines work, save lives, and rarely cause serious problems. Because it doesn’t fit YOUR world view, you won’t believe it. That’s why talking to you is pointless, because J.B. Handley himself could come down from the mountain claiming vaccines are safe after all, and you’d probably call him a traitor.

    I will remember these comments the next time one of you guys start crying about Lupron, chelation, supplements, etc. etc. etc.

    Good gravy, the entire premise of deciding to use a medical intervention is to weigh whether the benefits of said procedure outweigh the risks. Chemotherapy drugs are really nasty, but if the outcome of not using them is death, then it’s probably worthwhile. Of course, the big caveat is that the drug has to be effective…

    So let me ask you this, Sue – do YOU think that chelation or Lupron are valid treatments for autism? Understanding that there are significant risks that come with those treatments, shouldn’t there be significant proof that they work BEFORE we start injecting people with Lupron or jamming DMSA down their throats?

    I think it’s telling that you remain entirely silent about the fact that dangerous pharmaceutical drugs are given to autistic kids. At the same time, you rail on theoretical conditions you ascribe to vaccines for which there is little or no evidence. I guess if your heroes are pushing a treatment protocol, the anti-vax handbook says you can’t criticize it even if it’s completely contrary to your position.

    I’m actually shocked that you made it through a post without a “you’re stupid” comment. Keep up the good work.

    I’ve already established your stupidity. There’s no need to highlight it in every response to you anymore.

  165. #166 Andrew Wade
    September 28, 2006

    Common Sense:

    Obviously, I would prefer there to be no mercury. Wouldn’t you? Is there a health benefit to mercury that I am unaware of?

    Yes. See HCN’s post above. Otherwise I would agree with you that no amount of mercury should be added to vaccines no matter how small; there’d be no point.

    Now I can’t tell you how the benefits of Thimerosal compare to the risks, or how Thimerosal compares to other preservatives. I’m not qualified to judge whether Thimerosal in vaccines makes sense. But I don’t have a horse in that particular race. If I did I would need to find out the risks and benefits before I would expect to be taken seriously.

  166. #167 Common Sense
    September 28, 2006

    I’m not qualified to judge whether Thimerosal in vaccines makes sense. But I don’t have a horse in that particular race. If I did I would need to find out the risks and benefits before I would expect to be taken seriously.

    Yes, I know that you are not qualified to judge whether thimerosal in vaccines makes sense. Thank you for acknowledging that point.

  167. #168 Common Sense
    September 28, 2006

    What, you mean you don’t believe all of the clinical studies and post-licensure surveillance that prove the safety and effiacy of vaccines? Of course you don’t. Go to pubmed and look at how many articles have been written about MMR or DTP sometime, you’ll be surprised how much research says that vaccines are safe.

    Interesting, Mouse. I’m “assuming” that you must mean the DTaP afterall, we know that the DTP was NOT all that safe… hence the switch to the safer version. I’m sure that you are correct, I could go and search on the DTP (older version) and find studies which say that it’s safe… but oops, they would be wrong. In fact, there is a lovely SIDS study specifically in regards to the DTP/SIDS connection. Of course, the study finds no connection. Really, so there is no connection between SIDS and the DTP yet a few years later they pull the DTP because it is causing problems in infants… certainly not SIDS though, right? Sure….

    Good gravy, the entire premise of deciding to use a medical intervention is to weigh whether the benefits of said procedure outweigh the risks.

    Exactly, Mouse. The Hep B vaccine for ALL babies, chicken pox vaccine, flu vaccine, etc… come to mind for me. Never mind the fact that these are given to perfectly healthy babies…

    Understanding that there are significant risks that come with those treatments, shouldn’t there be significant proof that they work BEFORE we start injecting people with Lupron or jamming DMSA down their throats?

    You are probably too wrapped up in your own little world to realize that you sound like a huge hypocrite right now. As for my feeling on the treatments given to autistic children. I do feel terrible that parents must face difficult treatment options for their children. Many of these children are, in fact, physically ill. Yes, Mouse, PHYSICALLY ILL.

    As for MY stupidity… two words… Bartholomew Cubbins…

  168. #169 anonimouse
    September 28, 2006

    Sue,

    You’re ridiculous.

    I could go and search on the DTP (older version) and find studies which say that it’s safe… but oops, they would be wrong. In fact, there is a lovely SIDS study specifically in regards to the DTP/SIDS connection. Of course, the study finds no connection. Really, so there is no connection between SIDS and the DTP yet a few years later they pull the DTP because it is causing problems in infants… certainly not SIDS though, right?

    The reason DTP was replaced with DTaP was that it was less reactive. Whether it’s turned out to be as effective in the long run is a subject for debate, but to date nobody’s found a connection between DTP and SIDS. There was a link between DTP and serious neurological problems in children at the rate of something like in 1 in 50,000.

    Assuming that the reason DTP use was discontinued was because of a link to SIDS is your conjecture, nothing more.

    Exactly, Mouse. The Hep B vaccine for ALL babies, chicken pox vaccine, flu vaccine, etc… come to mind for me. Never mind the fact that these are given to perfectly healthy babies…

    To prevent them from getting diseases that have potentially serious complications and in the case of influenza and varicella, endemic. Again, prove that the risks involved with these vaccines are in any way significant, and then you can rightly argue whether it’s worth continuing to vaccinate.

    You are probably too wrapped up in your own little world to realize that you sound like a huge hypocrite right now. As for my feeling on the treatments given to autistic children. I do feel terrible that parents must face difficult treatment options for their children. Many of these children are, in fact, physically ill. Yes, Mouse, PHYSICALLY ILL.

    As for MY stupidity… two words… Bartholomew Cubbins…

    No, you’re the hypocrite.

    You want guarantees that vaccination is 100 percent safe. Of course, no such guarantee exists, so you can claim to not be anti-vax while creating a qualification for your use of a vaccine that is impossible to meet. That’s being a hypocrite.

    You want more research on vaccines, which go through years of testing and safety study before they’re ever licensed, much less mandated. Yet you seem to have no issue with parents subjecting their kids to Lupron – a chemical castration drug – with NO EVIDENCE that it does anything for autism. That’s being a hypocrite.

    You also claim that many autistic children are physically ill, and thus treatment is warranted. Yet you accept the premise that the treatments being pursued by DAN! doctors, et al., have no scientific backing behind them. If a vaccine was put on the market with the lack of scientific research that is involved with the DAN! protocol, you would be screaming at the top of your lungs. That’s being a hypocrite.

    You make all sorts of noise about vaccines that are, in your words, unnecessary. Yet you have no problems with autism treatments that are most likely unnecessary as well.

    Pot, meet kettle.

  169. #171 Tracy W
    September 28, 2006

    Obviously, I would prefer there to be no mercury. Wouldn’t you? Is there a health benefit to mercury that I am unaware of? Having said that, I cannot change amounts in the air, etc. very easily. If you can, please do so. Now for your question, “If so, how much”? To that, I would say: You tell me. You say that it is safe. At what amounts is it safe? Peer-reviewed (not epidemiological studies) claiming safety would be appreciated. Now, if you can’t do that then I will go with the studies that I have seen and I will continue with the thought that NO AMOUNT of ADDED MERCURY is safe to be injected into people. That sounds so simple… yet so complex for some. I don’t know why??

    Why do you demand absolute proof of safety of mercury, when you have no problems exposing your children to those dangers of driving that are outside your control as a driver?

    Can you please tell me how you have proved that there is no risk to your children, when you are driving them somewhere, from a log of wood flying off an poorly-secured load from the truck in front?

    Can you please tell me how you have proved that there is no risk to your children, when you are driving them somewhere, from a boulder landing on top of your car?

    Can you please tell me how you have proved that there is no risk to your children, when you are driving them somewhere, from a driver falling asleep and crossing the centreline into your car?

    You may think that “no amount of added mecury is safe to be injected into people”, but it’s hypocritical to worry about exposing your children to mercury while not caring about exposing your children to death in a car accident. Is the difference that in the former you’re only placing costs on manufacturers of vaccines, while in the latter you’d be placing costs on yourself?

    Either that, or you’re being horribly selfish in not revealing how you’ve eliminated all risk while driving from external events.

  170. #172 Rob
    September 29, 2006

    Here’s a thought, perhaps a new one. Are the anti-vaccers themselves vaccinated when they were young (before this movement got going?) If so, how do they deal with the inconsistancy of their arguement?

  171. #173 HCN
    September 29, 2006

    They don’t. They are in complete denial. Not only with the real science… but with history, including their own personal history.

    Some of us were challenged by a homeopath about vaccines, but she backed off when it became apparent some of us still had our shot records (and then the thread went into all sorts of different directions):
    http://forums.randi.org/showthread.php?p=1069516&#post1069516

  172. #174 shot_info
    September 29, 2006

    “NO AMOUNT of ADDED MERCURY is safe to be injected into people. That sounds so simple… yet so complex for some. I don’t know why??”

    Because it prove you to be the lying hypocrite that you are:

    Some undefinable mercury is ok. Any extra isn’t.

    Comments from you like this just prove that you are an atypical ignorant anti-science anti-vaccer. If you aren’t then you would be saying “lets define what is the safe limit of organomercurics and determine if ethyl mercury in vaccines is safe or not”. Oddly like what what big pHARMa is doing and those evil scientists…

    But you don’t, zero mercury is your policy, except for “normal” levels of mercury, that is ok with you. But what is “normal” you conveniently fail to define. Why, because you are anti-science, you aren’t interested. It is too complex for you…it uses things you don’t understand, like science, and math…

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