Respectful Insolence

David Kirby and sour grapes

It’s always a shame to see a once confident man reduced to whining. Well, maybe not always. Sometimes it’s immensely satisfying, particularly when that man happens to be David Kirby, who, through his book Evidence of Harm, Mercury in Vaccines and the Autism Epidemic: A Medical Controversy, was one of the two men most responsible for publicizing the pseudoscientific scare-mongering that claims that mercury in thimerosal, the preservative that was until late 2002 used in childhood vaccines, causes autism. (The other was Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.) Unfortunately for poor ol’ David, time and science have not been kind to his “hypothesis,” with two large studies since publication of his book having been published that present compelling evidence that (1) there is no “autism epidemic” and (2) neither thimerosal-containing vaccines nor the MMR vaccine are associated with increased rates of autism and autism spectrum disorders.

But is Kirby chastened? Maybe he is. How else do we explain the fact that now Kirby’s back with a condescending and sarcastic article on the Huffington Post, full of straw men arguments, sarcasm, and petulant whining. I was going to do a takedown, but, whether fortunately or unfortunately, Kevin Leitch took on the task before I could get to it and did such a good job that I probably don’t need to add much, particularly since Autism Diva, Joseph, and Kristina Chew have piled on as well.

That parents of autistic children might mistakenly believe that vaccines caused their children’s autism is somewhat understandable, given their personal and emotional involvement and (in most cases) lack of scientific sophistication. There’s no getting around it; dealing with a child with autism is tough, and it’s human nature to want to blame someone for their children’s condition. Kirby, however, is a different bird, an opportunist milking the mercury-autism canard for all it’s worth and who just can’t give up on it and admit that he was wrong. Doing so, besides displeasing his constituency, would also rob him of that feeling of being important. He persists even though the evidence is falling more and more against him. Now that thimerosal has been removed from vaccines and been gone for four years with no detectable decrease in the rates of autism/ASD among 3-5 year olds, the final nail has been pounded into the coffin of that pseudoscience, although the mercury militia will never admit it. I suspect that Kirby is smart enough to know this, and I’m guessing that’s why he’s become so petulant.

The thing that needs to be hammered home again and again whenever David Kirby is mentioned is based on his own words with respect to the statistics about the caseload of autistic/ASD children receiving help from the state of California:

If the total number of 3-5 year olds in the California DDS system has not declined by 2007, that would deal a severe blow to the autism-thimerosal hypothesis.

The reason for this statement is that thimerosal was removed from nearly all childhood vaccines in the U.S. at the end of 2002, and autism is most frequently diagnosed before age 5. Of course, one could point out that originally Kirby said that the rate should decline by the end of 2005 and that his changing his criterion to 2007 was a rather obvious shifting of the goalposts, but that might be uncharitable. So might pointing out that there have been large epidemiological studies that have utterly failed to find a change in the increase in autism diagnoses, much less a decrease in them, in the years after thimerosal was removed from vaccines in various countries, the most recent of which was published out of Canada just last summer. But let’s take Kirby at his current word. As of the end of 2006, there was no sign that the total number of 3-5 year olds with autism/ASD in the California DDS system is even leveling off, much less falling, based on Q3 2006 data. That’s why Kirby was reduced to dancing around the California numbers unconvincingly back when the Q2 2006 numbers were released. No doubt, when the Q4 2006 numbers are released in a week or two, Kirby will find a way to shift the goalposts again. Maybe he’ll say that what he really meant was that numbers had to start dropping by the end of 2007.

Yeah, that’s the ticket.

Kirby’s also scheduled to debate Arthur Allen, author of a soon-to-be-released book, Vaccine: The Controversial Story of Medicine’s Greatest Lifesaver on January 13 in San Diego. Remember all the problems with “debating” advocates of pseudoscience that I mentioned yesterday? Expect Kirby to use all the techniques of creationists, HIV denialists, and other pseudoscientists. Worse, besides the main sponsor Talk About Curing Autism (scroll down about halfway), a group that accepts the discredited mercury-thimerosal hypothesis and advocates chelation therapy, other sponsors of the event include Generation Rescue, Safe Minds, and the Autism Research Institute, among others, all of which also buy into the mercury militia line to one degree or other. Given these groups, even the sponsorship of the Cognitive Science Department of UCSD is unlikely to do anything to put a damper on the woo. I hope Arthur’s ready and able to handle it, because the pseudoscience, bad logic, appeals to ignorance, appeals to sympathy for autistic children, and a number of other logical fallacies that do not support the thimerosal/mercury idea, will be flying fast and furious at him, and the audience will be almost certainly stacked with mercury militia faithful, the better to stack the deck in Kirby’s favor.

If you’re a fan of good science and evidence- (rather than hysteria-) based medicine and live in San Diego, you might want to make an effort to show up to provide some balance to the whole proceedings. And, now, even though I’m not a psychic (real or fake), I will make a prediction: No matter what the outcome of this “debate,” look for the mercury militia to be trumpeting it as a “victory.”

OK, that was too easy. Maybe I should challenge Sylvia Browne over who’s the more convincing fake psychic.

Comments

  1. #1 notmercury
    January 5, 2007

    Let’s also try to remind Kirby that he declared each year since 2004 to be the first year where autism rates have turned around. I guess after three years of being proven wrong there’s nothing left but to stir up a shitstorm and hope no one notices YOU WERE WRONG!

  2. #2 anonimouse
    January 5, 2007

    SafeMinds is really bad about the 2004 thing, too.

    Here’s a press release from Lyn “Show Me The Thimerosal Money” Redwood’s organization 2 1/2 years ago, which is now conveniently missing from their website:

    http://www.childdevelopmentinstitute.org/autismnwsltrs/2004/04262004.htm

    There was a follow up that is also conveniently missing from said website:

    http://www.autismconnect.org/news.asp?section=00010001&itemtype=news&id=5366

    Within months, when they realized they were full of it:

    http://www.safeminds.org/pressroom/press_releases/Response%20to%20CA%20DDA%20Autism%20Case%20Report%2001-18-05.pdf

    Yet today, you can still hear the SafeMinds morons still talking about “lower rates of autism” in California like it’s true.

  3. #3 Coin
    January 5, 2007

    I have a really random question if it’s not too complicated to answer. How is thiomersal synthesized and/or manufactured?

  4. #4 Remus Lupin
    January 5, 2007

    So if I write a book stating that werewolves cause autism and that the rates will prove me right in 5 years, then I’ve got 5 good years of book sale income before I have to either give up the ghost or get creative and really pull some new plays out of my GRhole?

    Giving up the ghost means finding new work. Pulling out some new plays means milking the saps. Hmmmm. It’s a wonder he didn’t give himself more time.

    David Kirby will become the US version of Wakefield. The book has his name on it and saps use it as a bible. The real question is whether Kirby will run to Texas too? Let’s hope.

  5. #5 Anna
    January 5, 2007

    Eh, a large number of the anti-vaxxers, if sMothering is any indication, have already moved on to other ingredients in vaccines as they cause of all evil in the world, or just vaccines in general as the cause of autism. They’re utterly obsessed with the idea that there’s something about the strain of measles used in the MMR that does…something…to the intestinal tract. I’m not clear on the details, every time I go there my eyes start to bleed due to excessive eye-rolling and I have to give up.

  6. #6 Pseudonym
    January 5, 2007

    The thing that I find scariest about “chelation therapy” is that it has pretty much all the hallmarks of exorcism, from the “demon” that’s hard to shift right up to the possible death of the person being “cured”.

  7. #7 brockton
    January 5, 2007

    The Arthur Allen book is out now, actually. I received my copy from Amazon today. Can’t wait to get into it.

    Kirby is the dictionary definition of a schmuck.

  8. #8 John Best
    January 6, 2007

    Kirby didn’t have much chance of his prediction coming true while the malpractice of mainstream medicine continued to shoot mercury into fetuses through the mother’s flu shots. A couple more doses in the baby’s own flu shots didn’t hurt either.
    If you people wanted to approach the problem honestly, you’d have figured out exactly how much mercury had to be shot into an infant to wreck his brain. You’d also tell us how much it mattered if you shot mercury into the kid before he had a blood brain barrier.
    http://hatingautism.blogspot.com/2006/12/curing-autism.html
    Do you call the improvement discussed in this link pseudoscience? Maybe you’d think it useful to shoot some more mercury into my kid and see if he loses all the progress he has made? I’m sure you’d take that risk with your kids since you are so certain mercury is safe. But, maybe we could do that with some monkeys after we chelated them. Do you think that would be a useful experiment?

  9. #9 Orac
    January 6, 2007

    Kirby didn’t have much chance of his prediction coming true while the malpractice of mainstream medicine continued to shoot mercury into fetuses through the mother’s flu shots. A couple more doses in the baby’s own flu shots didn’t hurt either.

    Now that‘s an excuse for Kirby that I hadn’t heard before. Congratulations. It’s very amusing in its desperation.

    Two points: First, perhaps you could tell us what equivalent dose reaches the fetus through the placenta when a mother has a flu shot containing thimerosal. Second, even counting flu shots that still contain thimerosal, after thimerosal was removed from all childhood vaccines other than flu vaccines back in late 2002, the amount of mercury infants are exposed to has fallen to low levels not seen since the 1970′s or 1980′s. If there were indeed a connection between the mercury in thimerosal in vaccines and autism, then we should expect the rates of autism to fall back to the levels observed back in the 1970′s and 1980′s, shouldn’t we? That hasn’t happened, and in fact there is no sign that the number of new cases of autism/ASD has started to decrease.

  10. #10 John Best
    January 6, 2007

    I don’t know what part of the dose reaches the fetus. That’s why I asked you. I thought someone in a profession that administers these drugs should have a better idea than I do.
    Thimerosal began causing autism inn 1931. How much did kids get then?
    I’ve heard some is still on the shelves with expiration dates of 2008 and it was definitely still being used with expiration dates of 2003. Then we have the fact that they were using thimerosal to process the vaccines before they removed most of it. So, how do we know exactly how much was left in? Did the little that was still there require the nurses to shake the vials? How many lazy nurses didn’t bother with that?
    You didn’t say what you thought of my suggestion to poison some monkeys, chelate them, and repoison them to see if they regressed. That would prove chelation worked and the improvement was not simply natural progression as some of the neurodiverse like to argue.

  11. #11 Kev
    January 6, 2007

    “Do you call the improvement discussed in this link pseudoscience?”

    What did you call the improvements my daughter made again? Ah yes, comparable to a trained monkey. Why? Well a) because you think nothing of insulting and bullying children and b) because she’s never been chelated.

    Pseudoscience? Feh – what you do doesn’t even pretend to be science.

    “If you people wanted to approach the problem honestly, you’d have figured out exactly how much mercury had to be shot into an infant to wreck his brain. You’d also tell us how much it mattered if you shot mercury into the kid before he had a blood brain barrier.”

    If you people wanted to support your hypothesis, you’d have managed to produce just one paper in the last nine years that supports your hypothesis. Go back to your discussions about psychics and the Illuminati John.

  12. #12 wrg
    January 6, 2007

    John Best, I’m afraid that your suggestion could support at most half of the hypotheses you propose. If the chelated group were found to fare better than control, without any need for “repoisoning”, it would suggest that chelation was effective. However, the question is what your “poisoning” would be. For the claims you’re currently making, it ought to be thimerosal, consistent with a vaccine, given to a pregnant monkey, presumably with whatever a monkey dose should be. Certainly that isn’t the same thing as administering mercury, not thimerosal, directly to the young monkeys. I’m not sure what else we’d need to do to have any hope that the results could reflect vaccination of humans, but I am confident that you would either rationalize away any experiment or retreat to yet another fallback position as you just have.

    However, the experiment you propose could not establish that autistics do not naturally progress. That autistics never grow up and cannot learn without chelation seems simply to be a matter of faith to the mercury militia, not to be questioned by, say, observing unchelated adult autistics. Supposing that chelation is helping someone who was vaccinated (an unlikely hypothetical), that does not at all rule out natural progress. In the hypothetical world where thimerosal causes effects associated with autism, even if we were to prove that those harmed by it could be helped by chelation, this would not prove that autism not induced by thimerosal is nonexistent and it would not prove that such autistics could be helped by chelation.

    Back in the real world, I won’t hold my breath waiting for any of this evidence in the first place. I’m also not going to believe that “thimerosal began causing autism inn 1931″ just because you say so.

  13. #13 John Best
    January 6, 2007

    Dear Kev; Trained monkeys are not using their brains to identify problems, THINK about possible solutions, and select the best option. I don’t think your skin is so thin that you believe what you are saying here but, rather, grasping any opportunity to employ character assassination on those of us who disagree with your opinion.
    I didn’t invent the science, or even understand why it works. All I know is that people who understand it a lot better than I do think it is the best option. My son is no longer a walking zombie and I’m extremely thankful that Andy Cutler told me how to make that happen. Just so it’s written here for future reference Kev, my use of the term “walking zombie” is my description of a condition, not a person. The fact that mercury caused my son to function like a “walking zombie” would be nice information to have in the DSM as it describes a condition that nobody could miss. It is not a putdown of autistics. It is a description of a condition.
    The only paper I need to reference is Richard Deth’s that talks about mercury preventing methylation. That is an exact description of what mercury did to my kid.

  14. #14 clone3g
    January 6, 2007

    JB: Kirby didn’t have much chance of his prediction coming true while the malpractice of mainstream medicine continued to shoot mercury into fetuses through the mother’s flu shots.

    Oh, so now it’s prenatal exposure is it? Why is it that all of the mercury parents claim they saw their kids slip away before their eyes immediately after one vaccine or another. Isn’t that held up as proof positive of the thimerosal connection?

    So now you’re saying that removing thimerosal won’t change the rates of autism diagnoses because it’s really caused by prenatal exposure via the flu vaccine?

    Let me ask you this bookie; If you had to set up a wager on when we would know for sure if it was the thimerosal or not, what year would you pick to conclude the wager and what sort of odds would you give?

  15. #15 clone3g
    January 6, 2007

    JB: The only paper I need to reference is Richard Deth’s that talks about mercury preventing methylation.

    Why don’t you start by defining methylation and what it has to do with autism.

    That is an exact description of what mercury did to my kid.

    What is? Your kid has a functional methionine synthetase deficiency? As I recall you never even had him tested for mercury levels, just went ahead and chelated him. Now you are saying he has a problem with methylation? Uh-huh.

  16. #16 John Best
    January 6, 2007

    Clone; I’m not a bookie but it would be impossible to give odds on this until ALL thimerosal stops being shot into babies. I’m waiting for somebody who shoots mercury into kids as part of their profession to tell me if it’s more dangerous before a kid has a BBB. Shouldn’t one of them be able to answer that? If not, it means they don’t know what they’re doing. During which trimester of pregnancy would the mercury be more dangerous to the developing brain of the fetus? You science guys should know that answer, I don’t.

  17. #17 Shygetz
    January 6, 2007

    The only paper I need to reference is Richard Deth’s that talks about mercury preventing methylation. That is an exact description of what mercury did to my kid.

    Wow, you did a DNA methylation assay on your kid and compared it to his non-vaccinated identical twin? Well, I’m sure you at least did a DNA methylation assay on your kid and compared it to age-matched, unvaccinated controls. No? Well, you at least DID do a DNA methylation assay on your kid before declaring that this is exactly what is happening to him, right? Right?

  18. #18 John Best
    January 6, 2007

    Shygetz, yup, he didn’t have a twin so I had him cloned and then I did the test. The clone is fine.

  19. #19 Lucas McCarty
    January 6, 2007

    Any expert on Autism itself would described the term ‘walking zombie’ as not only offensive but utterly inaccurate, as would many Autistic people themselves including me. There isn’t even anything in the criteria for diagnosing Autism that suggests anything line zombie behaviour.

  20. #20 John Best
    January 6, 2007

    Lucas; Autistic people are not experts on autism. They are victims. The criteria for diagnosing autism is obsolete and so is any alleged expert who has not learned that chelation can cure it.

  21. #21 anonimouse
    January 7, 2007

    John, you’re a freaking moron.

    I’ve heard some is still on the shelves with expiration dates of 2008 and it was definitely still being used with expiration dates of 2003.

    I am in a position to know, and know of no thimerosal-containing childhood vaccines (other than a small amount of flu vaccine) that still exist in state stockpiles. I don’t think there’s been any for about five years now. And in my state, ALL childhood vaccines come through the state-run VFC program.

    I guess you’ll keep claiming that thimerosal-containing vaccines still exist for perpetuity, huh?

  22. #22 anonimouse
    January 7, 2007

    John,

    C’mon, fess up. You already spent the drug company settlement money at the track and on the golf course. That’s why you’re even more bitter than usual, knowing that your expected payout isn’t going to happen.

  23. #23 Samantha Vimes
    January 7, 2007

    Pregnant women will rarely be in one of the high-risk for flu groups the vaccine is recommended for– the elderly, and those with respiratory and immune illnesses. I seriously doubt a lot of fetii are being exposed to the flu vaccine. Next the anti-vax people will be saying no woman of childbearing age should get any vaccine, just in case.

  24. #24 Kev
    January 7, 2007

    “Trained monkeys are not using their brains to identify problems, THINK about possible solutions, and select the best option. I don’t think your skin is so thin that you believe what you are saying here but, rather, grasping any opportunity to employ character assassination on those of us who disagree with your opinion.”

    Would you like me to use smaller words?

    My daughter, who is profoundly autistic, has made improvements similar to those you describe in that link you provided. She was never chelated.

    Chelation provides no help, treatment or cure for autism, despite your claim to the contrary. So far, neither you, nor anybody you idolise, support or who’s advice you pass on as gospel truth has written or published anything at all over the last nine years to suggest any sort of proof of causation for thiomersal, nor any sort of proof of efficacy (or safety – resulting in numerous hospitalisations of kids and one death) for chelation or other DAN! treatments.

    That’s why you dismiss my daughters progress as that of a trained monkey. Because it shows you for the fool you are. You have to insult and degrade a six year old disabled girl to make your own madness look acceptable. Shame on you John.

  25. #25 John Best
    January 7, 2007

    Dear Kev, Your kid is 4 years younger than mine who, at that age, was a walking zombie with zero progression since late infancy. Perhaps the estrogen is helping her to eliminate the mercury and allowing her to make some progress.
    My comment to Lucas was not published so I’m done with this blog for now.

  26. #26 John Best
    January 7, 2007

    OK, my comment finally was published after a 10 hour lag.
    Samantha; Flu shots are already advised for pregnant women. We already say they should not get any TCV’s while pregnant.
    Anonimouse;
    Thanks for insulting me multiple times to help you start from a losing position. We’ll keep advising people that they are being poisoned until the mercury is ALL gone.
    And, Dear Kev;
    The only insult one could derive from my monkey analogy was to the father who won’t treat the mercury poisoning. Yes, Mr Leitch, it was a comment on your intelligence, or lack of same.

  27. #27 Lucas McCarty
    January 7, 2007

    I don’t think any Autism expert would be an expert at anything if they accepted the standard of evidence used to ‘prove’ Chelation is a cure for Autism.

    And Autistic people do not need to be experts on Autism(which a growing number are) to know that perjorative terms like ‘walking zombie’ are offensive. Extend logically your inference that they would need to be experts to know what is offensive to them to any other group of people and then explain why Autistics can’t know something unless they know nearly everything.

    I, like most Autistics here in Britain have never had a Thimerosal vaccine yet the incidence of diagnosis here is considerably higher at 1 in 110. The number of total Autistics when compared to the number of Autistic children show that we have not had any Autism epidemic.

    I’ll keep waiting for the randomised double-blind controlled trial where Chelation is proven to work or not.

  28. #28 Kev
    January 7, 2007

    “Your kid is 4 years younger than mine who, at that age, was a walking zombie with zero progression since late infancy.”

    Zero progression since birth? I seriously doubt that. Is what you mean that he wasn’t old enough for you to start fighting with?

    “Perhaps the estrogen is helping her to eliminate the mercury and allowing her to make some progress.”

    Yeah, right. Or maybe you’re just a snivelling little coward who hates his own mantra of anecdote used against him.

    “My comment to Lucas was not published so I’m done with this blog for now.”

    I’ll bet you are. That yellow streak between your head and your arse is on show again John.

  29. #29 Kev
    January 7, 2007

    Mi>”since late infancy.”

    Oooh, missed that. The point still stands. I doubt you have the capacity or intelligence to gauge such things.

  30. #30 Joseph
    January 7, 2007

    BTW, my son who is 5 has also made a lot of progress this year, similar to what John says. He started to ride his bike. He’s mostly potty trained. He’s following some instructions. He’s made cognitive gains in non-verbal areas, judging by his improved ability to solve puzzles. (I also believe he can decode text now, which is common in autistic kids, but he doesn’t say the words, just recognizes when I have him choose between words).

    I’m home-schooling him. I guess I could take the credit :)

    Truth is that autistic kids have developmental progress. The science shows this. About half of classic autistics have either fair, good and very good outcomes. Placebo effects in autism are well documented. John obviously doesn’t know what he’s talking about; this has been pointed out to him repeatedly, but he’s unwilling to learn, concede or shut up.

  31. #31 John Best
    January 7, 2007

    Joseph, That wasn’t very nice. I don’t call you a liar when you tell me your son is progressing. I’m happy for your child. Why do you call me a liar when I tell you my son did not progress for 7 long years and only began to improve after chelation was started? Aren’t we all on the same page here, trying to do what’s best for our kids?

  32. #32 notmercury
    January 7, 2007

    John,
    How old was he when he stopped progressing? Are you saying that your son has been stuck at that level for seven years with absolutely no progress whatsoever? I would call that pretty unusual, wouldn’t you?

    Since you like to hold up his progress following chelation therapy as evidence of mercury poisoning, how long have you been chelating, how long will it take to remove all of the mercury, and how long before he is completely typical given his current rate of improvement?

  33. #33 Joseph
    January 7, 2007

    Why do you call me a liar when I tell you my son did not progress for 7 long years

    Because it’s unheard of. Maybe you didn’t consider any of that progress progress, but progress that occurred after chelation (little things you’ve mentioned, such as his facial expressions) you do consider progress. Did he not progress physically at all, for example?

  34. #34 John Best
    January 7, 2007

    NM, Yes i call 7 years with no development very unusual. However, that’s the type of autism we have. He used a pacifier until he was 7. If he ever learns to talk I might be able to give you an estimate of long I expect the process to take. I’ve done 57 rounds of chelation since March of 2004. 15 to 20 of those rounds were aborted for different reasons. We took a four month break last year when his self biting was so severe that we had to call 911 to stop him a couple of times.
    Your point of view would probably advise me to quit. I keep going because this kid is finally making progress. Quitting would deny him any chance at happiness.
    Joe;
    As I’ve said before, he dragged one leg, took each step on the stairs with two feet, had low muscle tone and NEVER made eye contact. He just wasn’t there. He was thin as a rail because he hardly ate anything and he never slept, a complete basket case who screamed all day long. Our lives were a complete nughtmare. I didn’t even touch a golf club for 5 years.

  35. #35 Calendar Girl
    January 8, 2007

    If you would have said March, 2006, well, that would be interesting given your boasting of advances last fall. But you have no idea what would have happened over the course of 3 years had you spared your child all those chelation drugs. Surely you must see this. If he hadn’t made gains last fall, how long would you have been prepared to go with it?

    Do you have the courage to back up this chelation with heavy metal blood and urine tests from the laboratory at the UNH medical school? If not, why not?

  36. #36 John Best
    January 8, 2007

    Calendar girl, He started making gains within two months back in 2004. I wasn’t presenting a case study by discussing it here.
    As you know, no mercury would show up in a blood test. Chelation challenge tests can be hazardous so I wouldn’t do that either. I might go for a hair test. It’s not a matter of courage to test for something where the answer is obvious. It’s a matter of throwing away money.
    If a test was available that could identify all mercury that might be sitting in the brain, I’d be anxious to have that done.

  37. #37 Lucas McCarty
    January 8, 2007

    Seven years of absolutely no mental development is unusual in Autism. There is no ‘type’ of Autism that is like that.

  38. #38 anonimouse
    January 8, 2007

    As I’ve said before, he dragged one leg, took each step on the stairs with two feet, had low muscle tone and NEVER made eye contact. He just wasn’t there. He was thin as a rail because he hardly ate anything and he never slept, a complete basket case who screamed all day long. Our lives were a complete nughtmare. I didn’t even touch a golf club for 5 years.

    Did you think that all of the screaming and self-mutiliation might have been taking place because he’s tired of you poking and prodding him with all of your useless “treatments”? I bet you money you saw gains after you stopped chelating him, but can’t admit it because it would ruin your chances at the big payoff so you can blow it at the track.

    Oh, and sorry about the whole not getting to play golf thing. That one statement is far more telling about your real attitude about your kid than the other thousands of blathering idiocies you’ve made over the years.

  39. #39 Joseph
    January 8, 2007

    We took a four month break last year when his self biting was so severe that we had to call 911 to stop him a couple of times.

    Why do you attribute the progress to chelation, but not the self-biting?

    (I know you think self injury is to some extent a vitamin C defficiency).

  40. #40 Joseph
    January 8, 2007

    That one statement is far more telling about your real attitude about your kid than the other thousands of blathering idiocies you’ve made over the years.

    He’s actually said the following:

    “The damn autism got in the way of my golf game and cost me a fortune by not having the time to play horses.”

  41. #41 John Best
    January 8, 2007

    Lucas, Calling me a liar won’t change the facts. You can learn from me and other parents who experience this due to much more mercury than you received or you can wallow in your obsolete notions that still claim there is no known cause of autism.
    Others,
    Not being able to play golf is just a factor of this all encompassing condition that reguired my attention 24 hours a day. You people who find joy in autism have not experienced it from my perspective.
    I didn’t know if chelation had anything to do with the self biting or not and nobody I asked could answer that question. I thought the safest thing to do was stop chelating for awhile. The dumbest thing I could have done would have been to listen to anything you have to say that would have kept Sam from continuing his improvement.
    This ain’t about proving mercury caused the problem, it’s about helping kids.

  42. #42 George Smiley
    January 8, 2007

    This ain’t about proving mercury caused the problem, it’s about helping kids.

    Ah. The hoariest canard on the Internets: “It’s about helping kids.” Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel, and “Helping kids” is the last refuge of a charlatan. After all, only a traitor would be unpatriotic, and – of course – only a monster would oppose “helping kids.”

  43. #43 John Best
    January 8, 2007

    You got it, George. In this case though, many of the monsters who oppose the help are victims themselves. Their lives are difficult because of their autism yet, here they are taking sides with the negligent companies who caused their autism. If these people had any idea what it’s like to be normal, they’d be first in line to sue Eli Lilly. They accept that their brains have been damaged except they just don’t have that taste of normalcy to understand what they’re missing. It’s pure insanity.

  44. #44 notmercury
    January 8, 2007

    “This ain’t about proving mercury caused the problem, it’s about helping kids.”

    Each of your statements makes more sense than the next.

  45. #45 John Best
    January 8, 2007

    NM, We already know mercury caused the problem. For some strange reason, you keep arguing with that fact.

  46. #46 George Smiley
    January 8, 2007

    NM, We already know mercury caused the problem.

    No, we don’t. You may believe it, but your belief does not make it so.

    For some strange reason, you keep arguing with that fact.

    People here are not arguing with “that fact.” They are arguing with your belief, which appears to be a belief without any empirical support.

  47. #47 Lucas McCarty
    January 8, 2007

    Mr Best, I did not call you a liar or say anything to the effect of doing so. I challenged your comment implying there was a ‘type’ of Autism where the individual doesn’t develop. This is wholly inconsistent with how Autism is defined which is a varied pattern of abilities: for a person to have Autism they must have deficits inconsistent with their strengths but for that to happen they have to have measurable strengths to begin with, therefore Autism cannot put a plug on development. I’m not calling you a liar, but you can’t point to an original source study that says Autistics don’t develop. I’m not denying what you say in regards to your son who may well have not developed for that period of time, but it is still an ancedote that cannot further understanding by being used in science.

    You don’t know anything about me except what I tell you or what I write down which you can choose to read or not. My level of functioning varies due to many different factors which can be active and inactive in a momentary sense. It isn’t possible that I can have lots of Mercury one minute(you implied that I must have had less mercury than your son) and to suddenly be rid of it the next and then for that process to reverse again. What alters my function is often very obvious to me and I do not attribute my difficulties with Autism as if it were a seperate anthropomorphic entity.

    My life is made difficult by those who relentlessly and without heed to consequence persue medical solutions to what are social problems. I make efforts to accomidate non-Autistic people that are not mutually reciprocated and I’m always suprised when encountering an Autism specialist(who actually knows things about Autism) that is able to do so effortlessly. My highest level of functioning is invariably most apparent when I’m with such people. They are not mobile chelators. I also find things more easily when surrounded by foreign non-English speaking nationals because they put many obvious differences down to me being foreign and they appreciate that communication is a mutual two-way process.

  48. #48 John Best
    January 8, 2007

    Lucas, “…it is still an ancedote that cannot further understanding by being used in science.”
    On the contrary son, science has failed to recognize the new symptoms brought about by the increase in mercury. Science also has failed to recognize those symptoms abating with the same treatment they use for known mercury poisoning.
    In this case, the science is corrupt because the scientists caused the problem.

  49. #49 George Smiley
    January 9, 2007

    What “increase in mercury” are you speaking of, Mr. Best? Let’s see some evidence. And why in the hell are you trying to emulate the verbal stylings of Foghorn Leghorn? Are you trying to suggest something about your connection to reality?

  50. #50 John Best
    January 9, 2007

    George, You have to pay closer attention. I’m talking about the increase in mercury in vaccines that began in the late 1980′s. Never heard of Leghorn.

  51. #51 Bronze Dog
    January 9, 2007

    On the contrary son, science has failed to recognize the new symptoms brought about by the increase in mercury. Science also has failed to recognize those symptoms abating with the same treatment they use for known mercury poisoning.
    In this case, the science is corrupt because the scientists caused the problem.

    Well, I met science at the bar last night, and she vigorously denies saying any of that. Do you have any sort of verifiable record that we can look at, or do we just have your word for it?

  52. #52 clone3g
    January 9, 2007

    Ya mean ya never heard of Foghorn Leghorn son? Well what kindsa chicken hawk does you ever hope to be?

  53. #53 John Best
    January 9, 2007

    BD, Of course science denies it. They won’t admit they screwed up. You should take what you hear in bars with a grain of salt.

    You can educate yourself by reading the Yahoo Autism Mercury list. We’re all too concerned with helping our kids to bother putting it in a book for you. You’ll have to wait awhile before the historians document it all.

  54. #54 Lucas McCarty
    January 9, 2007

    Ok, now Science has it’s own Anthropomorphic Personification. It’s wrong, corrupt and won’t admit his/her(?) mistakes.

    And how do you explain the non-decrease in Autism as there has been a decrease in Thimerosal vaccines for five years and that here in Britain and elsewhere Thimerosal isn’t used as a preservative at all? The arguement put forth by those promoting the mercury hypothesis says that the increase in Autism was caused by the amount of Thimerosal building up culminatively, therefore as this rolls back there should be an obvious observable difference in the new cases of Autism being diagnosed. Saying that all Thimerosal must be removed before a noticeable difference can happen contradicts the theory of mercury as a cause.

    Science is a model, not a singular entity with intentions or ambitions. Where is the allegedly obvious evidence of mercury as a cause of Autism?

  55. #55 Bronze Dog
    January 9, 2007

    BD, Of course science denies it. They won’t admit they screwed up. You should take what you hear in bars with a grain of salt.

    You can educate yourself by reading the Yahoo Autism Mercury list. We’re all too concerned with helping our kids to bother putting it in a book for you. You’ll have to wait awhile before the historians document it all.

    So, in other words, you’ve got about the same quality of evidence that the homeopaths, chiropractors, crystal healers, faith healers, chakra therapists, nearly every quack on the planet, UFOlogists, 9/11 Conspiracy nuts, astrologers, psychics, and so on and so forth use to claim that scientists are suppressing their Earth-shattering discoveries: Anecdotes.

    So, why don’t you believe in ALL that stuff?

  56. #56 John Best
    January 9, 2007

    BD, Scientists only have anecdotes to claim thimerosal is safe since they never tested it for safety. I’d say we’re on even terms.

  57. #57 George Smiley
    January 9, 2007

    We’re all too concerned with helping our kids to bother putting it in a book for you.

    Best can spend hour after hour posting to the comment threads of various ‘blogs, but he can’t be bothered to write anything for publication ’cause he’s so busy, you know, working for the kids. Remember: if you disagree with John Best, you are against kids.

  58. #58 Lucas McCarty
    January 9, 2007

    Mr Best, you would have to logically extend that statement to understand it doesn’t make rational sense. If no one can claim Thimerosal is safe because they have not tested for safety, then there is a limitless list of composites which can also not be regarded as safe until they are tested as such. We’d have an awful lot of trouble simply eating and breathing if we took that to heart. It isn’t an ancedote. A negative can’t be proven by any known method we have, so the concept of the burden of proof says it is an affirmative claim that must be proven.

    It can be claimed that Thimerosal is safe purely by default because the affirmative claim that it is dangerous has not been proven. Every composite should be regarded as harmless until there is significant evidence that it is not, simply because it is not physically possibly for every single one to be tested even if every adult on the planet was science-literate and working on such a never-ending list.

  59. #59 Bronze Dog
    January 9, 2007

    Lucas’s post summarized: JB’s shifting the burden of proof in favor of rampant chemical paranoia. Anyone can claim that any chemical is unsafe, despite lack of evidence.

  60. #60 James
    January 9, 2007

    Perhaps you should consider the precautionary principle for a place among your Doggrel postings?

  61. #61 John Best
    January 10, 2007

    Lucas, Tell me about that practice in Chicago that does not vaccinate and has no autism. How about the Amish? How about prior to 1931? Please don’t begin by claiming Einstein was autistic.

  62. #62 Orac
    January 10, 2007

    Prometheus has deconstructed the so-called “Amish anomaly.” Even if the Amish do have a lower level of autism, it’s rather fascinating that antivaxers like you automatically jump to the conclusion that it must be vaccines, when there are many genetic and environmental reasons why the Amish might have different rates of autism, even leaving aside the low likelihood that the Amish report the number of ASDs according to the same standards that the medical professions and government agencies serving autistic children do.

    I’ve discussed why the claim by the Homefirst practice in Chicago that kids who aren’t vaccinated don’t get autism is unsupported by any data other than the “memories” of one of the doctors in the practice and almost certainly represents confirmation bias and wishful thinking on the part of Dan Olmsted. This bias causes Olmsted to grasp at even the most obvious canards as “evidence” that vaccines cause autism. They’re both a load of crap supported by no science.

  63. #63 anonimouse
    January 10, 2007

    They’re both a load of crap supported by no science.

    Sounds like John Best and his band of merry bootlickers in a nutshell.

  64. #64 Lucas McCarty
    January 10, 2007

    We don’t need to claim Albert Einstein was Autistic to know there were just as many Autistic people at that time as there is now. In Britain we know there are 550,000 Autistic people and we know about a quarter of them are children, with adults making up the other two thirds. This means the number of Autistic children in relation to Autistic adults is about the same as the number of non-Autistic children in relation to non-Autistic adults. It’s easier to dismiss Thimerosal links here because the public won’t accept the same arguements in the US because of the tiny amount of Thimerosal anyone is ever exposed to doesn’t look like much even to the lay-person that can be otherwise led.

    Here it’s MMR that is getting the blame because most children have it, but what the public have learned here is an unusual reversal on the ‘boy who cries wolf’ moral: the government has been exposed in the media for so much lying about so many things that people now take it for granted and know that just because a politician is lying doesn’t mean the opposite of their claim is true. They lie so much and we’ve had so many false alarms over them lying even though the truth supports their position that the public accepts the bizzarre situation when it happens: they are lying, but they might not be wrong.

    It still has Britain at it’s lowest confidence in it’s leaders in decades though. I think the problem is that there are very few science-literate members of New Labour, so they don’t know when their claims are likely to be correct or not, so they just go by their usual instinct and exaggerate.

  65. #65 John Best
    January 10, 2007

    Faulting the Chicago doctors for not being concerned about autism is like faulting New Hampshire doctors for not worrying about rattlesnake poisoning. No mercury : no autism::no rattlesnakes : no rattlesnake poisoning.

  66. #66 Lucas McCarty
    January 10, 2007

    I don’t remember anyone saying or anything to the effect of them not being concerned about Autism and faulting them for it. It’s just that there isn’t any credible evidence to back up what is an unverifiable ancedote, without evidence.

    There is also far less Thimerosal used here in the UK than there was in the US, yet we still have many Autistics. We never did use as much Thimerosal as the US and when the number of diagnoses grew faster it didn’t happen alongside an increase in Thimerosal that never happened here. It did corrolate with corrections to the diagnosis criteria as for decades the criteria was far narrower than it should have been, even towards removing a lot of Kanner and Asperger’s patients from it. The corrlations are accepted as the reason for increased diagnoses because it was always a predicted outcome. The only suprised people were not Autism experts that had always believed most Autistics were severely limited in functioning and couldn’t accept that the majority that were now included and developed well were the representative majority.

    Leaps in diagnosis match Lorna Wing’s translation of Hans Asperger’s Austrian paper into English, which made it pretty obvious that most that fit the criteria for an AS diagnosis nearly always were suited to the standard Autism diagnosis too. So she and those who were most familiar with her work started giving out AS diagnoses whilst at the same time the criteria for Autism was widened after being inaccurate for so long. This was the leap which by co-incidence was linked with the introduction of the MMR vaccine into Britain.

    The second big jump began in the mid 90s when AS was officially included in the DSM. Now most adults that get a diagnosis often recieve an AS diagnosis even if they did in fact have the clinical speech delay which is the one criteria that seperates it from Autism. Adults that would have recieved an Autism diagnosis before the 90s now often get an AS one, which suggests there is still some bias. Professionals are taking it for granted that highly-able adult Autistics did not seem so as children, so the specific diagnosis of Autism unfortunately gives the impression that a child with an Autism diagnosis will never be an able adult without some kind of intervention or other.

  67. #67 Coin
    January 10, 2007

    How about prior to 1931?

    It is an interesting fact that there was not one single diagnosed case of Autism anywhere in the world before 1943, when the classification was invented.

    The conclusion is clear: Autism diagnoses are caused by psychiatrists.

    And the problem just gets deeper from there. Just think how rates of diagnosed mental disorders would go down across the board if we could only somehow abolish the DSM!

  68. #68 John Best
    January 10, 2007

    Lucas, I’m sure there’s also no evidence that rattlesnake poisoning does not exist in New Hampsire. Perhaps every person who ever died in NH was bit by a rattlesnake but if the doctors didn’t look for it, they didn’t find it.
    Try reality, will you? The “train wrecks” would have been noted if they had existed. They were never there but they sure aren’t being missed now.

  69. #70 notmercury
    January 10, 2007

    New Hampshire has Rattlesnakes John. Just because you’ve never met one doesn’t mean they don’t exist.

  70. #71 Lucas McCarty
    January 10, 2007

    This is getting quite convoluted Mr Best. I’m not sure now what you say I’m saying, but I’m pretty sure I’m not saying it.

    I would ask you not to refer to Autistics with the perjorative and derogatory term ‘train wrecks’.

    You yourself will have walked past Autistic adults and children in the street and had no idea that they were Autistic. You may have had contact with severely handicapped people and not been able to tell if they were Autistic. Autism is not obvious to lay-people and was not defined on it’s own until some people decided it was time to start being a bit more pedantic about certain traits that were often dismissed as pathological symptoms of something else.

    The past was a different world to the present. You simply can’t impress any of the values of today on back then where practices, attitudes and agreed factual science was different. The number of adults recieving diagnoses should very much teach us that prior to the 80s and 90s Autism was missed more often than it was identified.

  71. #72 John Best
    January 10, 2007

    Sorry Lucas but my son is a train wreck. It describes the severity of his condition and I like the term. You claiming to be autistic and fitting in undetected is a slap in the face to my son and the treatment that he needs. You are obscuring how hellacious this condition is and you should use HFA or Asperger’s to more accurately describe yourself.

  72. #73 shot_info
    January 10, 2007

    Just remember folks, it’s all about John and screw any and everybody else…

  73. #74 John Best
    January 10, 2007

    It has nothing to do with me. It’s about the kids, don’t be ridiculous.

  74. #75 Lucas McCarty
    January 11, 2007

    And those children typically grow up to be adults like myself Mr Best. The example I gave was not framed in any way implying that it was exclusive to myself, I was stating the known and widespread view of experts that most Autistic people are not noticed by the general populace and many adults are recieving diagnoses.

    I do take issue with your implication that I ‘fitted in’. That has certainly never been the case, but there are plenty of non-Autistic people that don’t fit in either and due to widespread inaccurate information or in some place no information at all, it doesn’t occur to most lay-people to consider those that don’t fit in as Autistic. I also don’t doubt that you are the parent of an Autistic child and have not worded anything in a way to suggest you’re being dishonest, but you have now said that I am merely ‘claiming to be Autistic’. I’d prefer it if you extended me the same courtesy as I have for you, if there is any epidemic it’s that non-Autistic Autism advocates whatever their belief on cause and treatment will always challenge the diagnosis of an Autistic that disagrees with them but makes no such demand of Autistics that do nor of each other in relation to their interest in Autism.

    But to reiterate, I was not talking about myself. I was talking about the Autistic populace in general. They are mostly unnoticed now but were even more so in the past as is shown by the amount of adults recieving a diagnosis. Most Autistics are not like your son as you describe him, so why assume that what you are seeing is purely to blame on Autism? Autistics do experience difficulties that often have explainable causes, but are not an attribute of Autism itself.

    I’m not obscuring anything. If you are making claims about Autism being a ‘hellacious’ condition, you need to justify them.

  75. #76 John Best
    January 11, 2007

    Lucas, You can discount any person who was diagnosed with autism as an adult. They have zero connection to children who are completely “out of it”. These kids need help desperately. Your vile, implied suggestion that these kids will grow into functioning adults is a disgrace. Have you met the teenagers in institutions who are just like babies? They did not grow up to be anything like you. They can’t read or write. They can’t do anything for themselves. You are obscuring the seriousness of this epidemic with your idiotic assertions.

  76. #77 George Smiley
    January 11, 2007

    It has nothing to do with me. It’s about the kids, don’t be ridiculous.

    Don’t forget, folks! If you disagree with John Best, you’re against kids.

  77. #78 Lucas McCarty
    January 11, 2007

    Mr Best, you cannot make sweeping assumptions about Autistic adults having ‘no connection’ to Autistic children like that. For the most part I’m a functioning Autistic adult, the same can not be said about me when I was a child. The same could also not be said of me were if I were ever institutionalised which is thankfully a lower occurance in Britain. We actually have ethical disability advocacy that does not say unless disabled people are cured, they must be institutionalised because they are terrible burdens on everyone.

    You can’t say Autistics in institutions constitute evidence that Autistic children do not naturally develop into functioning adults, as has been pointed out to you on some previous occassion: all the evidence says the level of functioning of Autistic people in institutions can be put down to their very presence in the institution itself.

    Institutions destroy Autistics says the evidence. It was always obvious that if you took a ‘high-functioning’ Autistic and institutionalised them, they would not be high-functioning for very long. Your suggestion ignores this abundant evidence of the effect of institutions. I have thankfully never been in an institution, so do not use Autistics that have or are institutionalised as a point of reference for arguing how different I supposedly am from them.

    So how do you claim that Autistic children do not develop naturally into Autistic adults, able and still Autistic, citing institutionalised Autistics as examples, even though most Autistics will never be institutionalised when the effect of institutions is widely known in science? Did it never occur to you that institutions would severely hamper and regress development in Autistics?

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