Respectful Insolence

Silencing the opposition over autism

Now here’s something you don’t see every day. Nature Neuroscience has weighed in about the pseudoscience that claims that mercury causes autism. Based on British experience with animal rights activists, it points out a parallel that I hadn’t considered before:

The idea that autism is caused by vaccination is influencing public policy, even though rigorous studies do not support this hypothesis. Legislators are right to take into account the concerns of parent groups and others directly affected by autism, but policy decisions should be based on hard evidence rather than anxiety. More worryingly, some proponents have adopted tactics reminiscent of certain animal rights groups, which are aimed at shutting down the views of opponents.

The hypothesis is based on the observation that the number of autism cases increased in the 1980s, coinciding with a push for greater childhood vaccinations, which increased above recommended levels children’s exposure to mercury in the vaccine preservative thimerosal. However, autism diagnosis continued to rise even after thimerosal was removed from US childhood vaccines in 2001. A review by the Institute of Medicine (http://www.nap.edu/catalog/10997.html) of over 200 studies concluded that that there was no causal link between thimerosal-containing vaccines and autism. Autism is no more common among vaccinated than unvaccinated children, and its incidence has not covaried with the presence of thimerosal in vaccines across different times and locations.

Indeed. I first discovered the antivaccination lunacy that is fueled by the scientifically untenable hypothesis that the mercury in thimerosal in childhood vaccines is a major cause of autism back in 2005. You may recall that around then the mercury militia (as I and others like to call antimercury warriors like Mark and David Geier who don’t let lack of evidence or research ethics stop them from pursuing their bête noire, even if they have to force the evidence to show what they want it to. Sadly, dupes like Robert F. Kennedy (for whom I’ve totally lost all respect) fall for this, hook, line, and sinker, as do credulous reporters like Dan Olmsted (who’s busy parroting canards about how the Amish “don’t get autism” and how alternative medical practitioners in Chicago who don’t vaccinate claim on the basis of zero objective evidence that unvaccinated children don’t get autism), and, of course, David Kirby, the less said about whom, given his guzzling of the Kool Aid in his book Evidence of Harm was a major force for popularizing the “thimerosal causes autism” pseudoscience, the better.

The question of whether pseudoscientific doctors like Dr. Mark Geier feed the belief in parents of autistic children that vaccines caused their children’s autism or whether the belief that has spread among these parents, desperate to find a cause for their children’s condition, has attracted such pseudoscientists, some of whom see money to be made serving as “expert witnesses” in litigation alleging “vaccine injury” is very much a “chicken-or-the-egg” sort of a question. However, there is no doubt that they feed upon each other. Similarly there’s no doubt that a not insignificant number of parents have become so convinced that mercury in vaccines cause their child’s autism, despite all the epidemiological and scientific evidence that has failed to find a link between mercury and autism, that it seems that nothing will convince them otherwise. Indeed, the belief that mercury causes autism has led parents to fall for outright quackery like chelation therapy to “remove” the nonexistent mercury, plus a cottage industry of laboratories that exist to provide “evidence” that their autistic children have elevated mercury, even though it is a procedure that can result in death. On the far toxic end of the spectrum is someone like John Best (a.k.a. “Fore Sam”), who has been a frequent commenter on this blog and whose utterly irrational and toxic diatribes represent the looniest of the loons. Best is so far off the deep end that he’s beyond reach. The sort of rhetoric that emanates from the mercury militia movement tends to lead to absolutism:

These findings have not dissuaded supporters of the mercury-autism link, whose strategies have become more extreme as the evidence against the hypothesis mounts. People who oppose the idea have been harassed with repeated calls, whether they have written a letter to their local paper (http://tinyurl.com/3dba3c) or an editorial for The Wall Street Journal (http://tinyurl.com/2obgfg). The harassment includes parents of autistic children who do not align themselves with the anti-vaccine movement. Kevin Leitch reports, “I have personally been told that because I am not chelating my daughter, I am a child abuser. That I am a murderer. I have had threats of violence made against me, and a few people have even sent personal hate mail to my seven-year-old autistic daughter.”

Yes, it’s that Kevin Leitch who was interviewed for the Nature Neuroscience editorial, and he’s commented further, stating that it’s not just him who has been subjected to harassment for speaking out against the mercury concept:

I know of four scientists whom I have exchanged emails with who have been targeted by this same extreme group and who had:

  1. Threats of property damage made against their homes and property.
  2. Threats of physical violence made against them.
  3. Been the victims of concerted email and telephone harassment campaigns to the point where security services have had to get involved.
  4. Had their associations with entities that merely sound like Pharma organisations misrepresented.
  5. Been accused, on no basis at all, of fraud.

These scientists are staggered that merely performing accurate science has led them to having to (in three cases I know of) inform Campus Police of the places they work at of their movements in order to remain safe.

I’ve also spoken with several paediatricians and doctors in general practice who report belligerence and fury when the doctor tells the parent in question that the ‘test’ the parent has had performed by Doctors Data or some quack lab – at no small cost – is worthless and means nothing. One GP told me xe felt intimidated to the point of pressing the panic button under the desk.

The Nature Neuroscience editorial likens such behavior to that of animal rights extremists. I’m not sure how apt a comparison that is, although I can see signs of incipient tactics similar to animal rights loons. Indeed, Autism Diva points out similar incidents and rhetoric. It’s easy for me to forget that radical animal rights extremists are much more of a problem in the U.K. than they are in the U.S. Thus far, in the U.S., they are an occasional and mostly minor nuisance, although they have recently indulged in intimidation and threatened violence. In contrast, in the U.K., animal rights terrorism is far more prevalent, to the point where scientists are much more afraid than they are in the U.S., as documented by Brian O’Connor in his now-defunct blog Animal Crackers. Fortunately, in both nations, the mercury militia has lived up to its name in rhetoric only.

However, there is one difference, I think, between animal rights activists and the mercury militia. In general, most scientists doing biomedical research now recognize the threat represented by animal rights extremists. Kevin and the editorial rightly point out that, for the most part, scientists studying autism are either unaware of the mercury militia or do not consider them a force to bother with. Several years ago, even though the hypothesis that mercury causes autism seemed unlikely, it was just plausible enough that it caused some concern. Over the last few years, multiple studies have been performed to try to find a link between mercury and autism, and none have succeeded. It is quite clear that mercury in vaccines is not a major cause of autism and that it probably has nothing to do with autism. It’s marginally possible that mercury may have an influence in very uncommon susceptible individuals, but even that’s unlikely, given that the size of the multiple epidemiological studies would probably have picked up any such association. In the unlikely event that such an association does exist, it is clearly extremely weak indeed.

I’ve been fortunate in that, although I’ve been “outed” on the Evidence of Harm e-mail list, I’ve had little in the way of harassment from mercury militia devotees. I rather suspect that, because I am not autistic myself or a parent of an autistic child, parents who do have autistic children and have bought into the mercury militia line for the most part dismiss me as irrelevant, although why they do not do the same with David Kirby, who is also neither autistic himself nor the parent of an autistic child , I have yet to figure out. They also accuse me of “not understanding,” which to some extent is true; I have no personal experience of the day-to-day struggles of raising an autistic child, although contacts like Kev have opened my eyes as much as they can be opened not being in his shoes. However, I do know science and epidemiology. I do know that the science has shown that mercury, whatever else it might do, does not cause autism. I do know that subjecting autistic children to chelation therapy at best will do them no good and at worst might kill them. Such dubious treatments are the outgrowth of the whole “mercury causes autism” concept.

In any case, the first harassment I suffered, before I got into the mercury debate, came from the likes of William O’Neill of the Canadian Cancer Research Group. Indeed, Mr. O’Neill holds the “honor” (such as it is) of being the only person ever to e-mail vacuous legal threats to my Division Chief, Department Chair, and Cancer Center director beginning almost exactly two years ago. Indeed, that is how they all found out about the existence of my blog. Fortunately, none considered my online antics a problem as long as it was done on my own time. I also never write directly about where I work, only about academic medicine and surgery in general, which probably helped. Amusingly, my department chair was particularly contemptuous of Mr. O’Neill and his antics. Since then, any time I’ve gotten such idiotic threats, I’ve made it a point to forward them to my Department Chair, who seems bemused by my hobby, and my Division Chief, among others. It’s been several months since the last one. I have little doubt that, sooner or later, Mr. O’Neill will find this post and reactivate his campaign. He does seem to obsessively Google himself and links to Peter Bowditch’s webpage. At least that’s the only way I can imagine that he finds out about mentions of him so rapidly.

Following in Mr. O’Neill’s footsteps in the fall of 2005 was a member of the aforementioned Evidence of Harm mailing list, who obviously must have spent a lot of time Googling through Usenet posts from the late 1990′s, which at the time was the only place online where it was possible to connect my ‘nym with my real name. Equally odd, she made a claim that I was into seriously nasty racism because she found posts by me on alt.revisionism and various white nationalist newsgroups. Apparently this woman was too stupid or too drunk with hate to note that the reason I posted on such newsgroups was because of my interest in combating Holocaust denial, and the content of my posts was entirely critical and devoted to the rebutting of Holocaust denier lies. Following in this woman’s footsteps was one of the Big Kahunas or the mercury militia himself, J.B. Handley, who decided to cybersquat on my previous blog’s name. More recently, an HIV denialist named Casey Cohen (which, I suspect, is also a pseudonym) did the same thing and challenged me to a “debate” with Christine Maggiore, the HIV-positive mother and HIV denialist who refused to take AZT during pregnancy and the death of whose child from AIDS she and other denialists attribute to bizarre and improbable things like reactions to amoxicillin or to unlikely viral infections. Finally, “intelligent design” creationist crank, global warming denialist, and supporter of self-experimentation with non-FDA-approved cancer treatments DaveScot (also a pseudonym; his real name is David Springer) did the same thing, while our old buddy John Best is over at his own blog trying to out people left and right with whom he doesn’t agree.

Based on my experience, I’ve come to the conclusion that at least one true mark of a crank, particularly medical cranks but certainly not limited to them, is that they are obsessed with who the opposition is. Pseudonyms drive them crazy. When they find someone posting material refuting their pseudoscience to Usenet, discussion boards, or a blog under a pseudonym something that criticizes their views, their first reaction is to try to unmask that person, not to refute their criticism. Because their position is so tenuous and because there is no legitimate scientific rationale for it, their only fallback it to attack the person, which is why they obsess on who I am and to find any way they think they can embarrass me or even (at least in their minds) threaten my career. On the other hand, I’m fairly fortunate. I’m not worried about my life (at least not from the mercury militia). At the worst, if I happened to work at an institution less tolerant and for a boss who didn’t want to be bothered even once every several months (the usual rate of Mr. O’Neill’s appearances), I could be in trouble from these people–although my ability to obtain outside funding for my laboratory certainly goes a long way to immunize me from such problems for now. If I were not fortunate (and sufficiently talented enough as a scientist) such things might be more of a concern to me.

Given that background, I tend to agree with Kevin:

For the scientists still trying to do studies that touch on the autism/vaccine hypothesis, the issue hasn’t gone away. For the millions of autism parents around the world who find themselves having to compete for funding with a set of threatening bullies the issue hasn’t gone away. For GP’s and nurses who have to listen to the threats and screaming fits the issue hasn’t gone away.

The only way to defeat a bully is to stand up to him. I plead with the larger scientific community to come back to the fray where we can be united and face down these enemies of science and autism.

Indeed. I’m only starting to realize this, which is one reason that for a few months now I’ve been toying with the idea of losing the ‘nym. On the other hand, I’ve become quite attached to it. I don’t know what I’ll ultimately decide to do. Orac is my alter-ego; getting rid of him would be almost like killing off an old (albeit cantankerous) friend, and it would almost seem like an admission of defeat if I had to do it.

Comments

  1. #1 Stuart Coleman
    April 30, 2007

    “but policy decisions should be based on hard evidence rather than anxiety.”

    I don’t know what world he’s living in, but in this one policy decisions seem to all be made based on anxiety, with almost no concern for evidence. It’s a sad state of affairs.

  2. #2 daedalus2u
    April 30, 2007

    The mercury militia and the EoH cult is really damaging the ASD field. Wasting resources on failed ideas simply delays when the real cause(s) can be found. The only reason I have become knowledgable about the failed “mercury caues autism” idea
    was to refute it, so there would be the intellectual space for ideas which may lead to the actual cause, ASDs and low NO.

    Some have expressed concern that my nitric oxide research is “just another biomedical treatment”. My perception is completely different, and I am in the process of discussing the differences on my blog.

  3. #3 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    April 30, 2007

    Because their position is so tenuous and because there is no legitimate scientific rationale for it, their only fallback it to attack the person, which is why they obsess on who I am and to find any way they think they can embarrass me or even (at least in their minds) threaten my career.

    I had no idea the depths that the anti-vaxers were going to. I figured there was a lot on on internet back and forth and name calling but had no idea these slimeballs had actually contacted your employer / boss. Very telling. What high standards they hold themselves up to.

  4. #4 Ginger Yellow
    April 30, 2007

    It’s odd – in the UK the supposed autism/vaccination link has nothing to do with mercury but instead is tied to the joint measles/mumps/rubella vaccination that all children are given (or were, until parents started freaking out) in infancy. The only “evidence” for the connection is that autistic children start to be diagnosed at around the same time that children in general are vaccinated. You’d think these people would get their stories straight.

  5. #5 makita
    April 30, 2007

    I have no personal experience of the day-to-day struggles of raising an autistic child

    But I do. My son was tentatively diagnosed as autistic in 2003, and I briefly looked into mercury and gluten/casein sensitivity as reported possible contributors to autism. I went ahead and immunized him as scheduled. You see, I actually read some of the studies, and I was convinced that a link between autism and mercury was tenuous at best. As a parent of two “neurotypical” children and one with many autistic features, but without the benefit of improving as time passes, I can say that the risks of not immunizing your children are far greater to to make sure they are protected against some of the most vicious child-killers out there.

  6. #6 Club 166
    April 30, 2007

    …Based on my experience, I’ve come to the conclusion that at least one true mark of a crank, particularly medical cranks but certainly not limited to them, is that they are obsessed with who the opposition is. Pseudonyms drive them crazy. …

    Indeed, one of the first things Best did on my blog was to challenge me to reveal my true name. You hit it right on the head.

  7. #7 Blake Stacey
    April 30, 2007

    I ran into a couple nasty physics-and-math trolls on Wikipedia. (No subject is sufficiently obscure to be immune to trolling.) As it happens, WP is my only Internet haunt where I don’t use my real name — no particular reason, I just started with a real-life nickname which not many people actually used and kept going with it until it became a habit. I wasn’t the prime target of the troll aggression, which is fortunate, since I’m not very suave about such things, but what I witnessed matches Orac’s description to a jot and tittle.

    There was an interesting twist: the trolls were themselves fanatically fetishistic about preserving their own anonymity. I’m sure that this was because they were trolling pages about their real-life selves, and so if their identities became common knowledge, they would have gotten an even harsher treatment than they did. Thanks to IP-address geolocation, their identities became an open secret, but they weren’t mentioned in the eventual Arbitration Committee smackdown.

  8. #8 Son of Slam
    April 30, 2007

    I’d like to join Makita in “Parents of AS kids who don’t think immunization is the problem” camp. Even if I thought there was a connection, I still would have vaccinated my second child like I did. I take it very personally when I see parents who are in a tough situation be hoodwinked into wasting time and energy instead of directing it where it could actually be helpful.

  9. #9 John Best
    April 30, 2007

    Thank you Orac. Being called “off the deep end” by you is a nice compliment.
    Sometimes I’m absolutely certain that a 90 to 1 horse will win a race. I back up my certainty with cash. I’m not always right but the 90 to 1 odds more than make up for the times I’m wrong.
    Jock Doubleday is absolutely certain that mercury causes autism and he has backed up his claim with cash. I think you should challenge that “absolutism” and arrange a public, media covered event to accept his challenge.
    If you accept, perhaps some bookie in England will give odds on whether or not the mercury will damage your brain. You don’t have to guess where my money’s going if that happens since I’ve already proved beyond any doubt that mercury caused my son’s autism by removing some of that mercury from his brain. I’m sure you’ll be happy to hear that my son is doing much better. Your misinformation can’t hurt my kid because I know the truth.

  10. #10 Another Autism Mom
    April 30, 2007

    Orac, if you go to any Yahoo Group on Autism, there will be people posting research studies “linking” autism to mercury or vaccines, almost on a daily basis. Of course most of it is pseudoscience, or real studies that do not find a link, but the average parent cannot tell the difference, and most of them will not read past the title, or will be satisfied enough with the interpretation of other mercury parents about the study in question. So, in the mind of those parents, there IS scientific evidence – one example of this was when mercury mom Katie Wright protested during the Oprah show when a doctor said the link between vaccines and autism was unsupported by science. The audience applauded Katie, who went on to say infants are receiving too many vaccines.

    But I just think we should be cautious before declaring there is absolutely no link between autism and vaccines, because there are still some serious researchers trying to find out if there is at least a subgroup of autistic children that may have been affected due to an atypical immune response. In my son’s case, I think he was born autistic; if there was an environmental insult to us during my pregnancy, I have no idea of what it was, but the thing I’m sure about is that his vaccines were all thimerosal-free, and he was autistic before he got his MMR and his first flu shot. But I still respect the opinion of some mothers I know that actually saw their children have a strong adverse reaction to the MMR and immediately lost language and developed autism symptoms. Autism is primarily genetic but there is an environmental component and we don’t know at this point what chemicals are playing a role.

  11. #11 Joe
    April 30, 2007

    I can believe that “animal rights” people are more active in Britain; but they are a major concern here. I once visited a research lab for a major pharm company. After lunch, I noticed that there were a lot of armed guards at the gate, and they didn’t just glance at our passes- they studied each one before letting us in.

    I asked why they have such security when they were only doing research, and did not have stockpiles of scheduled drugs. Their concern was not theft, it was PETA (and I’m not talking about People Eating Tasty Animals).

  12. #12 Lucas McCarty
    April 30, 2007

    John Best backs up his certainty with cash. Shame he can’t back it up with actual evidence, which is should be even easier were it so certain.

  13. #13 Kev
    April 30, 2007

    Thanks for blogging about this. You’re right that in the UK we can see strong comparisons between the mercury lot and the animal rights brigade. Both have a frightening disregard for decency.

    I live less than 10 miles from a place where animal rights protesters dug up the interred corpse of the mother of the owners of a place that bred animals for science and told them it wouldn’t be returned until the place was closed. Every weekend our town centre has protesters who set up stall in the market square and collect signatures. The police suspect they’re the same group. Nothing is done.

    The mercury lot aren’t there yet but one or two aren’t far away. John for example, a man who compared my daughter to a ‘trained monkey’ and likes to make jokes about giving her bananas and who assumed her identity on an autism forum. Not too far away at all. A man who would be as big a coward as to attack a disabled child wouldn’t stop at very much.

    There needs to be a concerted action taken across the international science and autism communities to take a stand against these people. If not, they will not stop.

  14. #14 Broken Link
    April 30, 2007

    I agree with Kev. The activities of the autism=vaccines and autism=mecury proponents need to be vigorously countered when ever possible. One ideal route would be to convince journal editors to retract some of the more awful examples of bad and unethical science that purport to confirm the link.

    So, for those of you scientists reading this. Please, please do your part to stop this madness. Go to pubmed and search for autism AND mercury. You’ll find some examples of papers by a father and son team that really deserve retraction. Read them for yourself, and consider contacting the journal editor responsible. Preventing pollution of the scientific literature is our collective responsibility.

  15. #15 sailor
    April 30, 2007

    “One GP told me xe felt intimidated to the point of pressing the panic button under the desk.”
    I wonder what happens then….

    When I was a kid in school we used to have beakers of mercury in the chemistry lab. we used to like making nice little droplets on the bench with it and rolling them around with our fingers. We also used to take low denomination coins, dip them in acid then the mercury to make them look like higher denomination “silver” coins. and of course handle them a lot. Having lived through that (and I presume the rest of the class) I never did understand why a little mercury causes people to evacuate houses.

  16. #16 John Best
    April 30, 2007

    I couldn’t help but notice that Orac okayed my comment but chose not to say anything about Doubleday’s challenge. If I was so sure mercury didn’t cause autism, I’d take the challenge.
    Lucas, The scientists who have been demonized by the quackbusters already gave us plenty of proof. That’s why we are curing our kids who are also proof. The scientists who gave us the best proof have endured the most attacks from the proprietor of Neurodiversity.com. Of course, that character assassination has nothing to do with the actual science.
    Kevin, The fact that you train your daughter the way one would train a monkey instead of helping her brain to work right so she can think is a poor reflection on you, not your daughter.

  17. #17 daedalus2u
    April 30, 2007

    Another autism mom, the immune system stimulation of a vaccination is small compared to the immune system stimulation that people get by living in the “wild”, where every surface they touch, every scrap of food that they eat, every drop of water they drink, every piece of clothing that they wear is infested with bacteria, pathogens and parasites.

    Most of the immune system problems of the developed world have to do with there not being enough for the immune system to work on.

    Some conditions anecdotally associated with ASDs, such as Crohn’s and IBD are improved by producing an infestation of gut parasites. Parasite infestation reduces Crohn’s and IBD

    How does the chronic immune system stimulation of malaria compare with an acute vaccination? I presume it is a number of orders of magnitude more severe.

  18. #18 Cain
    April 30, 2007

    I couldn’t help but notice that Orac okayed my comment but chose not to say anything about Doubleday’s challenge.

    Comments post right away, there’s no approval process. It’s more likely that Orac is working and hasn’t checked back in yet. And why should he take part in your rigged “challenge”? Most likely it’s a standard quack forum, where sound bites and emotional pleas win the day, rather than evidence.

    The scientists who have been demonized by the quackbusters already gave us plenty of proof.

    “Proof” that has been consistently discredited by the scientific community. Or that your scientists are ethically marred by being in bed with plaintiff’s lawyers.

    That’s why we are curing our kids who are also proof.

    Really? Have any evidence that your children are cured? Or that chelation/magic crystals/the Force had anything to do with it? Have you ever heard of the concept of “regression to the mean”?

    Of course, that character assassination has nothing to do with the actual science.

    You realize that this whole post is about character assassination from your side, right? Remember, it’s your side who’s preferred method of attack is the logical fallacy ad hominem.

  19. #19 daedalus2u
    April 30, 2007

    John, have you even read Jock Doubleday’s “challenge”? It is a fool’s errand. It is a set-up. It is set-up so that no one can claim the prize. You have to pass a “test” of their woo, and if you don’t , you forfit $5,000. They don’t even tell you what “agreement B” is, but if you don’t sign it you forfit $10,000? Why is there all that extraneous crap in there? It is in there so they can use it to renig on paying the claims.

    Why does he require 5 tests of 20 questions each on Jock Doubleday’s woo? I just realized, so he can use the bogus answers as “endorsements” of his woo by who ever is participating. Jock Doubleday will likely make a lot more than $75k off these bogus “endorsements” collected fraudulently (but which he has extracted a prior agreement to not sue over).

  20. #20 John Best
    April 30, 2007

    Cain, My comments do not post right away. A box pops up to tell me they are being moderated.
    There is no “rigged” challenge. It’s a simple challenge asking doctors who make bogus claims to prove what they say. None have accepted.
    Nothing has been discredited by the scientific community. It has only been questioned by those who stand to profit by their denial, drug company shills.
    It is chelation that cured the children. The fact that you try to obfuscate this fact by tossing in “magic crystals/the force” to your argument proves that you have to clutch at straws by denigrating chelation. You can read about cured children at http://www.generationrescue.org
    The truth is never character assassination. Ergo, it is impossible for me to assassinate anyone’s character who denies that thimerosal caused the epidemic.

  21. #21 Bronze Dog
    April 30, 2007

    Oh, that Doubleday Challenge sounds like fun.

    Which challenge was it where they always back out whenever anyone enthusiastically steps up to take a vaccine-equivalent injection of thimerosal, and then claim that no one’s ever stepped up?

    There is no “rigged” challenge. It’s a simple challenge asking doctors who make bogus claims to prove what they say. None have accepted.

    Then what’s that hidden agreement B? And why the $5,000 dollar entry fee? Why charge at all? Is Doubleday’s profits more important than demonstrating scientific truth that would change an entire industry? Why put in such dishonest stonewalling efforts?

    Nothing has been discredited by the scientific community. It has only been questioned by those who stand to profit by their denial, drug company shills.

    Yes, let’s conveniently forget all those studies, and let’s accuse, without any evidence whatsoever, EVERYONE who disagrees with you of being a corporate shill, just like this one guy who claimed everyone who doesn’t believe 9/11 was caused by an Orbital R9 Spacefighter Wave Cannon is a Bush shill. Or how everyone who believes in the Holocaust is a Zionist. Or how everyone who asks for evidence for Creationism is a baby-eating Communist Nazi eugenicist. Or how everyone who doubts Cubic Time is a brainwashed word violence… person.

    Cynicism, thy name is John Best. Drop the persecution complex and try speaking in terms of evidence, and not painting everyone with a broad New World Order brush.

    It is chelation that cured the children.

    An assertion that you have thus far refused to prove with anything more convincing than “It worked for me!” homeopathic/acupuncture/Q-Ray/Thought-Screen-Helmet anecdotes. Why the double-standards?

    The fact that you try to obfuscate this fact by tossing in “magic crystals/the force” to your argument proves that you have to clutch at straws by denigrating chelation.

    Boy, are you unable to grasp simple points. They’re exactly the same: No evidence except for sloppily collected anecdotes and attempts to obfuscate the fact that you’re applying a double-standard by including inherently biased things like testimonials.

    Newspeak word of the day: “Crimestop

    The truth is never character assassination. Ergo, it is impossible for me to assassinate anyone’s character who denies that thimerosal caused the epidemic.

    This presumes that you’re speaking the truth, a question you never bother to consider. You’ve repeatedly displayed an utter contempt for answering the most basic questions I’ve asked. Woos are the most closed-minded things I’ve ever encountered.

    For other readers, it’s noteworthy this guy has repeatedly lied about my stances on the issue. Either that, or he’s incredibly stupid to the point that he can’t parse a sentence any better than the spambots who think my blog is about pets.

  22. #22 notmercury
    April 30, 2007

    The ticket window is closed, the horse race is over, John. Your long-shot didn’t pay off but, hey, it was worth a try.

    John Best said: “Of course, that character assassination has nothing to do with the actual science.”

    Can you provide an example of this character assassination? (for that matter actual science?)

  23. #23 Cain
    April 30, 2007

    Just checking in now, but damn, Bronze Dog responded better than I ever could. Thanks, BD!

    However, I need to comment on one thing:

    The truth is never character assassination. Ergo, it is impossible for me to assassinate anyone’s character who denies that thimerosal caused the epidemic.

    Somewhere, for reasons he can’t yet explain, a logic professor is weeping. Just because you use the word “ergo” doesn’t mean you’ve made a valid argument.

  24. #24 Cain
    April 30, 2007

    Oh. That’s probably because Orac knows you’re “special”. Posts come up immediately for me.

  25. #25 daedalus2u
    April 30, 2007

    I think the first layer of “defense” is the “evaluation” by “therapists” of Joke Doubleday’s choosing.

    “Evaluations to be made consecutively by three psychiatrists (the “Therapists”) to be named by Coordinator and paid for by Participant, within 60 (sixty) days of Participant’s signing of the Agreement. If, in any of the Evaluations, Participant is found to be clinically depressed, manic depressive, suicidal, or in any way psychologically unstable and/or of unsound mind, Participant becomes ineligible to participate in the Event and forfeits any claim to the Reward. Evaluations will not be sent to, or seen by, Participant but will be sent directly by Therapists to Coordinator, within 30 (thirty) days of the completion of the Evaluations, by certified mail, to a postal address to be named. Evaluations will be reviewed only by Coordinator and/or his legal representative(s). ”

    My guess is that they will be in cahoots with Joke Doubleday, and will find that anyone who would enter into such an agreement to be of “unsound mind”.

    For all we know, there have already been thousands of applications, all of which have been rejected because the applicants were deemed to be of “unsound mind” for even considering the “challenge” in the first place. Of course no one else gets to see or challenge the “evaluations”.

  26. #26 Bronze Dog
    April 30, 2007

    Definitely sounds like a big potential catch-22 there, daedalus.

  27. #27 TheProbe
    April 30, 2007

    I note that John Best censors comments on his blog. He is afraid of the truth.

  28. #28 John Best
    April 30, 2007

    Notmercury, One good example of character assassination is Kathleen Seidel claiming that using Lupron in pre-pubescent children is chemical castration. You can not alter a bodily function that does not yet exist.
    Cain, The truth makes the argument valid. The fact that many parents have removed mercury and seen their children cured of autism is all the proof we need. Arguments claiming that autistic children improve with age is what is called medical fraud. Severely autistic children who do not have the mercury removed never improve. The medical profession has been telling parents that for decades. Now, because it serves their interest in denying the truth, some members of the scientific community are trying to use an argument against what they believed to be the truth because the truth will show that they played a role in causing the epidemic. Oh what a tangled web you are weaving for yourselves.
    Bronze Dog, Your line of argument may work well in a grammar school.

  29. #29 notmercury
    April 30, 2007

    I see. So physical castration, prior to puberty, isn’t really castration by your logic.

    You can do better than that, can’t you? Show me an example of character assassination and remember, according to your own words, “The truth is never character assassination.”

  30. #30 Bronze Dog
    April 30, 2007

    Notmercury, One good example of character assassination is Kathleen Seidel claiming that using Lupron in pre-pubescent children is chemical castration. You can not alter a bodily function that does not yet exist.

    Funny, that statement involves no character to assassinate. Have you been scribbling in the dictionary again?

    Also, you actually believe that those hormones are just dead weight? Sorry, human bodies are analog, not all-or-nothing digital machines.

    Cain, The truth makes the argument valid. The fact that many parents have removed mercury and seen their children cured of autism is all the proof we need.

    And thus you use your God-like omniscience as evidence that your evidence is free of the methodical flaws we point out that you have in common with all those far-woo crystal healers. Sorry. You can’t banish inconvenient problems like that by fiat. Until you stop arguing like every single homeopath/chi balancer/other countless alties, you’re just another one of them.

    Arguments claiming that autistic children improve with age is what is called medical fraud. Severely autistic children who do not have the mercury removed never improve.

    The hypocrisy is so thick I need a serrated knife to cut through it. The magical land of double-standards.

    The medical profession has been telling parents that for decades.

    Then why are people like you the only people I hear saying things like that? Someone fetch me a zanbatou. The knife isn’t cutting it anymore.

    It’s exactly like the idea that real medicine can’t cure cancer. Only woos propagate that particular idea. Medical science always maintains hope for the horizon, and more often than you think, hope for the immediate future.

    Now, because it serves their interest in denying the truth, some members of the scientific community are trying to use an argument against what they believed to be the truth because the truth will show that they played a role in causing the epidemic. Oh what a tangled web you are weaving for yourselves.

    Yes, and all it took was conquering the world and installing mind control chips into every honest person. Must be one dark, depressing world you live in if everyone’s in on 9/11, the Holocaust hoax, and all that stuff. They require just about the same level of world-ruling administrative work. You know, the world’s weight in bribes and hitmen. After all, we have to do something about the doctors who actually joined the profession to help people. Not that there are any.

    So, when are you going to bother talking about the evidence, rather than screaming at a bunch of homeopathic-style anecdotes? Until you tell me why you apply special treat to your anecdotes, but not others, I fail to see what makes you even the slightest bit different from all the other zany woos out there. Be an individual, not just another stereotype.

    Bronze Dog, Your line of argument may work well in a grammar school.

    Well, no logical form of argument has ever worked on you, especially since you can’t even grasp my position despite occasionally spelling it out in bold in a few threads.

    When are you going to get to answering for your double-standards?

  31. #31 John Best
    April 30, 2007

    Notmercury, I’m surprised I have to explain this to you. Physical castration is a permanent thing. Chemical castration is temporary but would only apply to one who had reached puberty.
    Since you asked, here’s one more example of character assassination.” On the far toxic end of the spectrum is someone like John Best (a.k.a. “Fore Sam”), who has been a frequent commenter on this blog and whose utterly irrational and toxic diatribes represent the looniest of the loons. Best is so far off the deep end that he’s beyond reach.” You see NM, I’ve been demonized here because I never back down from the truth. It’s not looney to state facts that might help other parents cure their children but one who can’t disprove what I have to say has to resort to this type of attack. And, I realize that this is just business so I don’t take it personally.

  32. #32 John Best
    April 30, 2007

    Bronze Dog, Will you change the names here and ask Prometheus to point out all of the errors in logic that you used? I just don’t have time.

  33. #33 Broken Link
    April 30, 2007

    John,

    You claim over and over that “That’s why we are curing our kids who are also proof.” John, the archives of the autism-mercury yahoo group are public. That’s the group that follows the protocol that you favor. Please give us some examples from those thousands of parents who are supposed to have cured their kids. Come on, just give us the message number of the hundreds (or is it thousands) of posts where a parent says that their kid’s diagnosis has been removed as a result of chelation. Come on, if it was that easy you’d have done it by now.

    Oh, you can’t? Oh well. No surprise there.

  34. #34 John Best
    April 30, 2007

    Broken Link, Not all cured kids came from that site but one of your trolls has probably already done that. I don’t think they would be honest enough to publicize it.

  35. #35 daedalus2u
    April 30, 2007

    Well John, do you consider a young man of 18 years of age to be pre-pubescent?
    Kathleen Seidel didn’t coin the term “chemical castration” for Lupron.

  36. #36 Bronze Dog
    April 30, 2007

    Of course, one problem with many uncontrolled anecdotes: Can’t always be sure the diagnosis was right in the first place. Rigor isn’t exactly something the typical altie-type thinker values. Still need a control group, but we know how he’ll react to attempts to perform rigorous studies, “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain, just trust a bunch of superficial impressions!”

    Too bad most hucksters aren’t as benign as the Wizard of Oz.

  37. #37 Broken Link
    April 30, 2007

    Orac, here’s yet another example of the more militant of the autism mercury proponents “suggesting” that people confront their opponents. The new Generation Rescue website has a “Hall of Shame” section, where they link directly to Julie Gerberding’s home page. Fortunately, her e-mail and phone number are not listed directly there. But the implication that people are invited to contact her is clear.

  38. #38 HCN
    April 30, 2007

    Bronze Dog wrote “It is set-up so that no one can claim the prize. You have to pass a “test” of their woo, and if you don’t , you forfit $5,000. They don’t even tell you what “agreement B” is, but if you don’t sign it you forfit $10,000? Why is there all that extraneous crap in there? It is in there so they can use it to renig on paying the claims. ”

    Whoa!!!

    You have more patience than I do to wade through that stuff. You need to contact the webmaster of:
    http://www.ratbags.com/rsoles/comment/gentlebirth.htm
    and give him the details. It would be a service to those looking to debunk the “Doubleday Challenge”.

  39. #39 Orac
    April 30, 2007

    Orac, here’s yet another example of the more militant of the autism mercury proponents “suggesting” that people confront their opponents. The new Generation Rescue website has a “Hall of Shame” section, where they link directly to Julie Gerberding’s home page.

    Indeed, but I also took a look at GR’s Hall of Fame page. It’s a Hall of Fame alright–largely a Hall of Fame for autism quackery, that is.

  40. #40 Orac
    May 1, 2007

    You see NM, I’ve been demonized here because I never back down from the truth. It’s not looney to state facts that might help other parents cure their children but one who can’t disprove what I have to say has to resort to this type of attack.

    You’ve been “demonized” here because you have unleashed toxic diatribes here (for which you were banned for a month a while back) and continue to do so on your own blog. As for the “Doubleday challenge,” Bronze Dog was right to point out that it is so utterly ridiculous and filled with conditions obviously designed to make it highly unlikely that any sane person would jump through all of his hoops (or, especially, invest money to take the challenge) that it’s obvious to me that the real purpose is to be a show, nothing more. The reason I never bothered to comment on it is because I consider it too ridiculous to devote much, if any, time on.

  41. #41 Caledonian
    May 1, 2007

    Having lived through that (and I presume the rest of the class) I never did understand why a little mercury causes people to evacuate houses.

    Not to even indirectly support the mercury-autism people, but the primary hazard of mercury isn’t death, but brain damage.

    Might explain why you never did understand.

  42. #42 Cain
    May 1, 2007

    Cain, The truth makes the argument valid. The fact that many parents have removed mercury and seen their children cured of autism is all the proof we need.

    You don’t seem to realize that something is not the truth just because you say it is. We actually have a way of determining truth, namely, we observe and experiment, controlling against biases and error, and we have independent parties repeat and confirm those results. It’s called science. You don’t seem to be familiar with it.

  43. #43 Lucas McCarty
    May 1, 2007

    I was a non-verbal Autistic child that was once described as ‘low-functioning’, I was then a ‘high-functioning’ teen and now my level of functioning is variable depending on a dozen social/sensory-enviromental factors. I’ve never been chelated. So what makes your ancedote more important than mine?

    John, Autistics have measurable and demonstrable strengths which show up consistently on different intelligence test scores. Autistics consistently score higher averages in Raven’s Progressive Matrices than non-Autistics. So would the children you claim are ‘cured’ have lower scores post-chelation than they would pre-chelation?

    I’ve never read Kathleen Sidel actually make an ad hominem attack against anyone; comments about a dubious character don’t automatically qualify, they need to replace any actual arguement against the character’s claims. That is exactly what Kathleen has done. By demonstrating the Geiers’ claims as fraudulent, she can rightfully call them frauds and it isn’t ad hominem.

  44. #44 G. Shelley
    May 1, 2007

    And then I saw this
    http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/medicalnews.php?newsid=69427&nfid=crss

    The Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, Part A: Current Issues, an authoritative journal featuring original toxicological research, has published, “A Case Series of Children with Apparent Mercury Toxic Encephalopathies Manifesting with Clinical Symptoms of Regressive Autistic Disorders,” by Geier and Geier (2007).

    This new study leaves little doubt there is a direct causal link between mercury exposure from Thimerosal-preserved biological products (vaccines and Rho(D) products) and mercury poisoning diagnosed as an autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

    Thimerosal (49.55% mercury by weight) is a highly toxic mercury compound used as a preservative in some OTC and prescription drugs, including most flu shots given to pregnant women, infants, children, adults, and the elderly.

    On April 19, 2007, Dr. Larry L. Needham, Chief, Organic Analytical Toxicology Branch, CDC, announced to the US National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine that Thimerosal was among the “Chemicals Linked to ASD.”

    Thus, Geier and Geier (2007) provide the first clinical case-series of ASD patients that confirmed this causal role for Thimerosal-preserved drugs in patients having a regressive ASD diagnosis.

    The Geiers describe a case-series of eight patients who had:

    – a regressive ASD diagnosis,

    – elevated levels of androgens,

    – excreted significant amounts of mercury after a chelation challenge,

    – biochemical evidence of decreased function in their glutathione pathways,

    – no known significant mercury exposures except from Thimerosal-preserved vaccines and Rho(D)-immune globulin preparations, and

    – alternative causes for their regressive ASDs ruled out.

    This clinical study also found a significant dose-response relationship between the severity of the ASD symptoms and the total mercury dose these children received from Thimerosal-preserved drugs.

    Based on differential diagnosis, these patients were exposed to significant mercury amounts from Thimerosal-preserved biologic drugs during their fetal and neonatal development as well as between 12 and 24 months of age. Thus, these initially normally developing children suffered mercury toxic encephalopathies that manifested with clinical symptoms consistent with their regressive ASD diagnosis.

    Hence, mercury poisoning should be considered as a cause for those children exhibiting the symptoms of an ASD in any differential diagnosis designed to assess underlying causes.

    Today, any parent or other healthcare provider can easily confirm whether, or not, a non-chelated autistic child is mercury poisoned by having urinary porphyrin profile analysis (UPPA) testing run at LabCorp (Test#120980) or Laboratoire Philippe Auguste (Urine Porphyrin Profile).

    I don’t know what any concerned parent would make of this. On the one hadn it claims to present valid evidence, on the other, the absolutism of the language is pretty unscientific and the link at the end to a product to check levels should send any aaram bells ringing

  45. #45 Lucas McCarty
    May 1, 2007

    Why reccomend those two specific labs? Stinks to high heaven. Nor is there any such thing as a ‘regressive ASD’ diagnosis.

  46. #46 John Best
    May 1, 2007

    Lucas, The Geiers are helping to cure autistic children. They confirmed Verstraeten’s first paper that showed thimerosal had caused the epidemic.
    Seidel can only attempt to refute these two things by assassinating their character since she can’t show that they are not helping autistic children or that Verstraeten’s first paper was invalid.

  47. #47 Broken Link
    May 1, 2007

    Yes, Lucas, et al. It stinks to high heaven. Why not write a letter to the Editor of the journal in which this was published to let him know why you think so?

  48. #48 Bronze Dog
    May 1, 2007

    1. What part of this isn’t true?

    2. Why do you worship at the feet of people caught performing the conflicts of interest you accuse us of (without evidence)?

    3. Why do you avoid talking about other people’s anecdotes, Mr. Double-Standards? Do you think you can just ignore the issue of how you arrive to your current conclusion but not others? How do you determine the validity of your “evidence”? A Magic Man done it?

  49. #49 daedalus2u
    May 1, 2007

    The reason the mothers were given Rho(D)-immune globulin was to reduce fetal hemolytic anemia which destroys red blood cells and releases free hemoglobin into the blood stream where it destroys NO 650 times faster
    than hemoglobin confined to red blood cells.

    The association of ASD symptomology with Rho(D)-immune globulin exposure better supports a low NO mechanism of ASDs.

  50. #50 Lucas McCarty
    May 1, 2007

    John, such a large majority of Autistics develop perfectly fine without chelation. This is so widely documented that the only way you can not know is if you don’t read widely on Autism. At no point has Kathleen targeted anyones character in place of critical thinking, the same kind of critical anlysis that got the Geiers dismissed as expert witnesses because they are recognisible frauds to any rational person. It’s the fraud that makes them frauds, no one claimed the opposite where their work is fradulent because someone called them frauds.

    And where is this epidemic? The one invented from the CDC figures the mercury milita is now back-tracking on? The recorded Autism incidence in the UK is higher than the US, we’ve always had less Thimerosal and the child:adult ratio supports a consistent number of Autistics across all age ranges. Where’s our ‘epidemic’?

    And that’s without going into how chelation repairs a brain: it doesn’t even do that in genuine metal poisoning cases.

  51. #51 Do'C
    May 1, 2007

    “– excreted significant amounts of mercury after a chelation challenge,”

    So much for being “poor excretors”.

  52. #52 Bronze Dog
    May 1, 2007

    Thanks for pointing out the inconsistency on the “epidemic” Lucas. I forgot about that. So, should we expect our troll to spew the same bile at the portions of the mercury militia who’ve backpedaled, or apologia for them?

    Covers one thing Denialism said about cranks: They won’t attack each other for making mutually exclusive claims, so long as they’re all whining against “the establishment”.

    Only exception I know to that trend are the 9/11 conspiracy nuts, where the hushaboom proponents went heavy on banninating the Orbital R9 Spacefighter Wave Cannon people and the holographic plane people, claiming that they were government plants to make them look bad.

  53. #53 Prometheus
    May 1, 2007

    It is interesting to compare the Doubleday “challenge” with the James Randi challenge. Randi only asks that the claimant be able to demonstrate their “paranormal” ability in a situation where “faking” is ruled out. He doesn’t ask for money up front (although he bears the cost of setting up the challenge) nor does he ask for secret agreements or onerous (and possibly rigged) testing by his handpicked experts (to be paid for by the claimant).

    As far as I know, the only expense a claimant for the Randi Prize need bear is their transportation costs.

    John Best (AKA Fore Sam) makes a passionate plea for us to all simply accept what he says because he says it – no data, no questions, just take it for Gospel. He seems to forget that everybody has an anecdote. I’ve got three about chelation and autism alone.

    I know three young boys who all were diagnosed with “regressive autism” at about the same time. Two of them underwent NO chelation, NO “biomedical” intervention and NO “DAN! protocol”. One had the full Monty – chelation, DAN! nonsense, you name it.

    The two boys with no “alternative” treatments are now in a regular classroom without an aid, making friends, playing and generally behaving like young boys do.

    And the one boy who got it all? He’s still non-verbal, won’t make eye contact and requires a one-on-one aid to be in school.

    Now, if I were inclined to trust in anecdotes, that would sound as though chelation, “DAN! protocol” and the rest are sure-fire ways to “doom your child to the hell of autism”, to quote a supporter of chelation for autism.

    Those who live by the anecdote die by the anecdote.

    Prometheus

  54. #54 daedalus2u
    May 1, 2007

    The problem with Geiers’ paper is that mercury excretion via feces is usually 10x or more that normally excreted via urine. Unless fecal mercury is measured there is no information on total mercury excretion. It is likely that chelation challenge only shifts mercury from fecal to urinary.

  55. #55 John Best
    May 1, 2007

    Lucas, Your claim that there is no epidemic is absurd. There’s been a lot of “spinning” that has gone on about this and it is utter nonsense. If you put faith in statistics, you can check the new California numbers. I think they show that about 80% are under 21. And, there are zero over the age of 75.
    Prometheus, You didn’t say how severe they all were to begin with. My son still can’t talk but he does communicate now, make eye contact and has lots of other improvements. You also didn’t share how long the kid was chelated, if they used ALA or not and what protocol was used. You could be talking about some insane protocol for a very short time like Jim Laidler used before he decided that chelation didn’t work.
    Can either of you explain why doctors have always and still do tell parents that there kids will never improve and that no cure exists for autism? They must be basing their statements on some factual observation over the last 70 years since autism was invented. Now, all of a sudden, some folks with an agenda try to tell us that autistic kids improve without any help. Someone is wrong here and logic suggests that it is those with an agenda who may not be telling the whole truth.

  56. #56 Bronze Dog
    May 1, 2007

    Lucas, Your claim that there is no epidemic is absurd. There’s been a lot of “spinning” that has gone on about this and it is utter nonsense. If you put faith in statistics, you can check the new California numbers. I think they show that about 80% are under 21. And, there are zero over the age of 75.

    Gee, putting faith in evidence. Funny spin, there.

    Of course, JB’s probably ignoring lots of lectures on why diagnosis is more prevalent in young people, and is thus ignoring biases in the data. After all, older autistics don’t look as blatantly autistic, since they’ve more likely done what JB has claimed to be impossible: They’ve learned to act close enough to neurotypicals. Of course, JB ignores all the anecdotes of autistics improving their social abilities because they disagree with his god-like omniscience.

    Of course, the thimerosal-autism hypothesis predicted that those numbers would be going down. I don’t see them going down. Show me where they’ve gone down, JB.

    Show us the evidence.
    Show us the evidence.
    Show us the evidence.
    [/Jerry McGuire]

    Prometheus, You didn’t say how severe they all were to begin with. My son still can’t talk but he does communicate now, make eye contact and has lots of other improvements. You also didn’t share how long the kid was chelated, if they used ALA or not and what protocol was used. You could be talking about some insane protocol for a very short time like Jim Laidler used before he decided that chelation didn’t work.

    You ask all those questions of us, but you whine and stamp your foot when I ask similar questions.

    Oh, and how do we separate ‘insane’ protocols from yours? It’s like a holographic plane 9/11 conspiracy nut arguing with an Orbital Wave Cannon 9/11 conspiracy nut from my point of view.

    Can either of you explain why doctors have always and still do tell parents that there kids will never improve and that no cure exists for autism?

    I’ve never heard any doctor claim that kids will never improve. If any of them did so, it’d debunk our arguments. That’s exactly why woos like you put words in their mouths like “There’s no cure for cancer”.

    As for no cure: Nope, haven’t found one yet. You claim to have one, so get to work and prove it. Don’t make excuses for your laziness.

    They must be basing their statements on some factual observation over the last 70 years since autism was invented.

    They never said it to my knowledge.

    Now, all of a sudden, some folks with an agenda try to tell us that autistic kids improve without any help. Someone is wrong here and logic suggests that it is those with an agenda who may not be telling the whole truth.

    Funny, we’re saying it to protect you from quacks with monetary agendas.

    Besides, how does an agenda alter the laws of thermodynamics? How does an agenda keep millions of people all over the world silent?

    Come back when you’re not an interchangeable clone of all the other raving conspiracy lunatics, and have some, you know, data to argue about, rather than McCarthyist wink-wink, nudge-nudge implications. It’d be much, much easier for me to accuse you of having financial motivations, but I don’t want to sound like a raving wingnut. That’s why I want you to link to those mystery statistics, rather than just post more irrelevant, contentless ravings about motivations that are automatically canceled out by the big picture (peer review).

    By the way, how are doctors supposed to make money off of this bloated billion-man conspiracy? Administrative costs alone would bankrupt any industrialized country. It’d be much cheaper and easier to invest in quackery promotion: Next to no regulation, and people like you would never demand any. You don’t even demand basic standards of yourself.

  57. #57 John Best
    May 1, 2007

    Bronze Dog, The only quack with a monetary agenda here is Pharma. I think you should read what Tim Bolen has to say about you. You’re a perfect example of his description of the type of nonsense you try to pawn off as valid. I don’t have the time to spell it all out for you.

  58. #58 John Best
    May 1, 2007

    Bronze Dog, The only quack with a monetary agenda here is Pharma. I think you should read what Tim Bolen has to say about you. You’re a perfect example of his description of the type of nonsense you try to pawn off as valid. I don’t have the time to spell it all out for you.

  59. #59 Les
    May 1, 2007

    Autism is the mother of all autoimmine disorders. The major risk factor for autism in addition to advanced paternal age past 33 or 34 is a family history of autoimmune disorders. That is why autistic children and adults have a huge and negative reaction to vaccinations. People with SLE can have terrible reactions to vaccines too and so do some schizophrenics. By the way early childhood schizophrenia is out of the DSM IV and is now called autism. A major risk factor for schizophrenia is a family history of autoimmune disorders.

    http://www.vetmed.ucdavis.edu/cceh/pubs/vandewater.pdf

    http://autism-prevention.blogspot.com/search/label/Autoimmunity%20was%20highest%20among%20the%20parents%20of%20children%20with%20PDD

  60. #60 Lucas McCarty
    May 1, 2007

    Trying to remember how the CDC numbers are collected. I once heard some California numbers were collected by service providers, in which case there is no chance an adult population can be accurately represented.

    Can you provide a link showing the numbers you’re talking about? Preferably one that is not a press release of any kind.

  61. #61 Lucas McCarty
    May 1, 2007

    Also to add that the UK numbers are said to be more accurate and are taken from actual statistical records of diagnoses handed out rather than service users labelled with an ASD.

    There is definately no epidemic here in the UK, where we have more recorded Autistics.

  62. #62 Lucas McCarty
    May 1, 2007

    “Can either of you explain why doctors have always and still do tell parents that there kids will never improve and that no cure exists for autism? They must be basing their statements on some factual observation over the last 70 years since autism was invented. ”

    Actually, it’s based on the widely-disseminated information provided by irresponsible Autism organisations in the US and Canada, including the mercury milita ones that insist Autistics don’t get better without chelation. Every one of them has their own version of “Autistics don’t improve without treatment Y”.

    None of them have ever produced any evidence of this, whilst there is plenty of documentation saying Autistics develop, atypically but they still develop.

    You didn’t answer my question earlier: shouldn’t ‘cured’ children score less on the Matrices test score if chelation works?

  63. #63 Bronze Dog
    May 1, 2007

    Trying to remember how the CDC numbers are collected. I once heard some California numbers were collected by service providers, in which case there is no chance an adult population can be accurately represented.

    It’s vital details like that which JB likes to leave out. It’s the statistical equivalent of quote mining: Removing things from context. Too bad he’ll never let anyone look at his referenced data for themselves: He’s already made the interpretation for us, and if we don’t blindly trust his magically unbiased god-like perception, we’re obviously pharma shills.

    Same old song and dance.

  64. #64 Cal Q. Later
    May 1, 2007

    If you put faith in statistics, you can check the new California numbers. I think they show that about 80% are under 21.

    ::game show “you lose” double-buzzer::

    They show that about 80% who are categorized as “autism-yes” who are receiving services in the State Of California system, are under 21.

    Not surprising given that the diagnosis of autism wasn’t officially part of the DSM until 1980 and the criteria were not expanded to be more inclusive for autism itself until 1994.

    California Data Is Not Epidemiology

  65. #65 John Best
    May 1, 2007

    Bronze Dog, I’m quite sure one of your wizards will be putting a “spin” on the new Cal. stat’s. You should be able to read about it there soon.
    Lucas, One bit of evidence I could use to show autistics don’t get better on their own is Amanda Baggs. Maybe you should advise her to change her next performance to fit in with your claim. Maybe she could claim that she is toilet trained now. I suppose your next ploy will be to tell me there are no adult autistics in institutions who are still in diapers, can’t talk and don’t even know their own names.
    If the Matrice is a test for autistics, there is no reason for any cured child to take it.
    As for autism in the UK, all that in-breeding might have something to do with it.

  66. #66 Prometheus
    May 1, 2007

    John Best brings up an interesting – but imaginary – point. Have doctors been telling parents that autistic children never develop? That they remain in an infantile state and never learn to talk?

    I don’t think so.

    I asked a pediatrician and a few parents of autistic children to recount what information parents receive along with the diagnosis. What I heard was interesting.

    Pediatricians warn parents that their child might not talk and probably will always have difficulty with social interactions. What parents hear is often coloured by what their preconceptions of autism are. But no parent I spoke to (and I admit that it wasn’t an exhaustive survey) recalled being told that their child would remain infantile and mute.

    John, if your pediatrician told you that your child would remain infantile and never speak or interact with people, then you have a bad doctor. It’s not the way things are – and never was. Even Kanner’s patients continued to develop as they got older.

    Even Temple Grandin learned to talk, to interact with people and to go on world-wide lecture tours.

    Autism is a syndrome of developmental delay, not stasis. If you think differently, just check any textbook on pediatric psychiatry or psychology. Even the ones published forty years ago.

    It seems that the only people claiming that autistic kids don’t develop are those who are trying to promote a “cure”.

    Funny.

    Prometheus

  67. #67 John Best
    May 1, 2007

    Prometheus, Yes, funny. Almost as funny as the fact that you choose not to tell us any of the specifics I asked for about your case of failed chelation. Or any more information as to the severity of the autism in the 2 kids who did progress. I know that evasion of truth is one of your strong suits but you could at least try to clarify your assertion. Heck, I’m not even asking for data, just some general info..

  68. #68 Nes
    May 1, 2007

    …the last 70 years since autism was invented.

    Wait, autism was invented? Of course, it all makes sense now! The U.S. government must have created it in the same lab as HIV…

    (Yes, I’m just joking.)

  69. #69 Bronze Dog
    May 1, 2007

    I’m sure he’ll get to it, but it might smooth things over if you answer your year+ backlog of questions and apologize for all the misrepresentations you’ve touted, including the most recent one where you lied by putting your words into the mouth of the medical profession.

    So, why the double-standard with anecdotes?

  70. #70 Prometheus
    May 1, 2007

    John,

    I thought that you might have just gone back and read my post to get the information you needed. Let me re-post it for you here:

    [1] Three boys diagnosed with “regressive autism” at about the same time. This would mean that they lost their language and social interaction, according to the current usage of “regressive autism”. All three boys became non-verbal and uninterested in social interaction. Got it?

    [2] Two boys received no chelation, “biomedical” therapies or “DAN! protocol”. Any questions about that one? It should be pretty clear.

    [3] One boy received chelation and the other “DAN! protocol” nonsense from a “certified” DAN! practitioner. No Lupron yet, as far as I know.

    [4] The boys receiving no “alternative” therapies are now talking, making eye contact, and doing well in a regular classroom without an aid. Any questions about that?

    [5] The boy who got the “full Monty” is still non-verbal, does not make eye contact and has minimal social interaction. Clear?

    Now, I don’t hold to the use of anecdotes to settle scientific issues, but if I were… What do these anecdotes say about chelation?

    The point is that heartwarming stories about “cures” are pointless unless you know how many kids were treated, how many were “cured” and how many would have been “cured” without any treatment.

    And John knows this, having been beaten with these same points on the few occasions he has ventured onto my ‘blog.

    Now, the chelationistas have perpetuated a myth that children with autism don’t develop – a myth that is easily disproven by Temple Grandin and Mark Rimland. They do this in order to claim that any development seen in their patients is due to the chelation, not simply neurodevelopment.

    Without the myth of “no development”, the chelationistas’ claims are exposed as baloney. Without the myth of “no development”, their absurdly long treatment regimens (years!) can be seen for what they truly are – a way of taking credit for what the child has done on their own – despite the “treatments”.

    Prometheus

  71. #71 Bronze Dog
    May 1, 2007

    Well said!

    It covers quite nicely the problem with JB’s earlier lies about our views: If we did believe what he assigned to us, it’d contradict all the arguments we actually made.

    Kind of like when a Creationist accused me of believing in creation ex nihilo (as if that wasn’t what he was espousing) for believing in the Big Bang (which only says the universe was once a singularity).

    Such details seem to be beneath his notice, though.

  72. #72 Lucas McCarty
    May 2, 2007

    John, Raven’s Progressive Matrices is a test of Non-Verbal Reasoning, one of quite a few tests that Autistics of all age ranges tend to excel in. Nearly all Autistics in Britain, the US and Canada will or should have had this test at some point so will have their scores recorded somewhere. It’s not uncommon for both low and high functioning Autistics to be in the 90th percentile or better, it is a non-biased for culture or langauge designed test so wether an Autistic can talk or not has no effect on their ability to do well. If an Autistic ever becomes non-Autistic, then their advantage in this test should disappear.

    I consider Amanda Baggs to be a typical example of a person, any person, who has been in an institution. If you actually bothered learning about her history, she was higher-functioning as a child and lost skills through the attempts to ‘fix’ her, including institution. There is a lot of evidence that institutions destroy Autistics especially. We got onto this topic before but it was you who declined to continue discussing it. You often try to use adults in institutions as examples of how devastating Autism is, twice you’ve done this and I’ve called you on it by pointing out how you’re ignoring the effect of the institution itself and trying to make it seem that Autistic adults are naturally disturbed because of Autism when all the evidence says it is actually the institution enviroment that affects them this way.

    I’m not going to take your comment about Britain seriously. You’ve said more about yourself and your own standards with it than you have about my country which you appear to be very ignorant of.

  73. #73 John Best
    May 2, 2007

    Prometheus, Did the 2 kids who are OK have ABA? Did the chelated kid use ALA? How often and for how long were they dosed per round of chelation? Did they use EDTA, DMSA, DMPS or something else?
    The older people you mention who are still autistic did not get as much thimerosal as kids in the last 20 years. How many autistics are Grandin’s age? How many 10 year old autistics are there? Would you claim Laidler’s kid had the “full Monty” even though he quit shortly after he started?
    Lucas, Amanda was not in an institution before she began using LSD and became diagnosed with schizophrenia. Being an adult in an institution IS devastating. You have nothing to call me on. They would not have been institutionalized unless they were severely disabled. Of course, since institutions do not chelate autistics, they don’t do anything to help them.
    With the in-breeding in England, they probably have more people with the APO-E4 protein who can not eliminate metals.
    As for Raven, a test on blocking schemes would make offensive linemen geniuses. So what’s your point?

  74. #74 Lucas McCarty
    May 2, 2007

    My point has already been made so I’m not sure where you’re having trouble understanding it. If Autistics score high on RPM, then they should score lower if they become non-Autistic. I’m asking if you agree because that would be the first objective test you would adhere too without being slippery and relying on ancedotes all the time.

    And what you have said regarding instuttionalisation is incorrect: you do not have to be severely disabled. I can think of examples here in Britain where people are commited to institutions for conditions they supposedly have even when the institution involved has no unit or professional with any expertise in the alleged condition. Sometimes the diagnosis-by-proxy was found to be wrong, sometimes correct, but in none of those cases was institutionalisation in hindsight deemed acceptable. What I called you on, continue to call you on and you keep avoiding is that you keep using Autistic adults in institutions as examples of how terrible Autism is, even though you now freely admit institutions have terrible effects on people, you manage to selectively ignore the extent of their effects on Autistics so you can carry on using the same perjorative examples. I’m sure Amanda’s account of her own experiences are far more accurate than yours.

    If you have any proof for your now repeated claim about Englan or Britain, you can’t seem to decide which, I’d like to see it.

  75. #75 Robster, FCD
    May 2, 2007

    JB, with autism incidence (new cases per year) by birth year not falling, despite a removal of thiomersal from childhood vaccines, the dose response rationale of thiomersal to autism is an empty arguement.

  76. #76 Justin Moretti
    May 2, 2007

    Mr Best:

    With the in-breeding in England, they probably have more people with the APO-E4 protein who can not eliminate metals.

    This statement (especially the completely unnecessary words in bold) unequivocally shows you up for what you really are – a nasty piece of work who doesn’t hesitate to stoop to insult when evidence fails him. I think after this, you’ll have trouble getting anyone to see you as anything more than a gutter-brained character assassin with nothing of value to say. If I ever thought your opinions had any worth or value, I have ceased to think so now.

    Orac would be doing us all a favour by blocking you forever, so we do not have to be exposed to your insults, insinuations and innuendo. Freedom of expression does not extend to slander or libel: that is why there are laws against such things, and I for one would love to see millions of Englishmen bring suit against you on principle, for what you have said here.

  77. #77 John Best
    May 2, 2007

    Robster, The thimerosal is not all gone. Giving it to pregnant mothers via the flu shot puts it into the babies brain before a blood brain barrier is formed. This not only causes autism but has the added effect of making it look like the kid is born autistic. This way, the drug companies don’t have any parents clamoring about regression and uninformed people may believe that this helps to show autism is genetic. It’s a good trick but it isn’t fooling any of us who know the truth.
    Lucas, How cab we trust anything that’s said by an admitted user of LSD? I worked in an institution. They don’t try to help anyone. It’s just custodial care. The clients there could not survive on their own for an hour.
    Justin, Lighten up.

  78. #78 Cain
    May 2, 2007

    So, can we stop feeding the troll now? He’s obviously not open to rationality and reason, so it’s useless to continue arguing with him.

    Let’s stop talking to him, really. He’ll just comfort himself in the silence by thinking we all just got our Pharma checks and are too busy cashing them to post.

  79. #79 Lucas McCarty
    May 2, 2007

    I would simply stop speaking to you John on the grounds that you keep evading difficult questions and solid arguements put to you, but you pile on the fallacies with bizzarre inferences about a person’s experiences with drugs and assume that I would somehow see your point. Why would I not trust someone based on it? Justin is correct, you have a disturbing capacity for innuendo whilst feigning the inability to recognise it, both when it is there in your writings and when it is not, when you accuse others of ‘character assassination’ where there is none.

    Even the villains in your conspiracy fantasy reflect your own level of logic: there is vastly superior evidence of the genetic influence in Autism than noticeable signs of Autism in early infancy. If these ‘drug companies’ thought like that; that having more obviously Autistic babies would look like strong evidence of Autistic genes, then they could not possibly have the Byzantine level of coherent thinking to keep a conspiracy going for decades.

    And no one ever said Thimerosal was gone. But it’s presence is considerably lower and your fact-free assertion that it’s getting into developing brains in the womb is yet another unverifiable claim.

  80. #80 John Best
    May 2, 2007

    Lucas, Calling my claims unverifiable does not make it so, calling your arguments solid does not make them solid, calling my words fallacies does not make them fallacies. The genetic influence in autism is the APO proteins. They require mercury to cause the condition. Please name another genetic condition besides fragile X or Rett’s that caused autism to go from 1 in 10,000 to 1 in 150 over the last 20 or 30 years.
    Character assassination is ranting about irrelevant details while ignoring the fact the Lupron speeds up the chelation process and helps to cure children quicker.

    Cain, Rationality demands that I credit chelation when my zombie like son regains the ability to make eye contact and begins responding to his name after having those skills absent for almost 8 years. What is your rational explanation?

  81. #81 Orac
    May 2, 2007

    It is chelation that cured the children. The fact that you try to obfuscate this fact by tossing in “magic crystals/the force” to your argument proves that you have to clutch at straws by denigrating chelation. You can read about cured children at http://www.generationrescue.org

    Funny you should say this, given the way that Generation Rescue is backing away from saying that mercury in vaccines is the cause of the autism epidemic.

  82. #82 John Best
    May 2, 2007

    I can’t speak for GR. My reason for focusing only on mercury is that it’s the primary cause. There seems to be no point in bringing minor causes into play when discussing this with those who will deny it no matter how much evidence they see. It doesn’t look to me like GR backed away from anything.
    When over 90% improve with methyl B-12, it shows that over 90% were affected by mercury. I know, I don’t have a double-blind study so you will claim this is not evidence.

  83. #83 Lucas McCarty
    May 2, 2007

    If your claims are verifiable, why have you consistently failed to verify them with a published peer-reviewed study?

    The solid arguements speak for themselves, I merely refered to them in general. You can check each arguement on it’s merits, but experience says you refuse to or aren’t able to.

    You have absolutely no proof that Autism is more prevalent than it was a few decades ago, except for statistics you can’t cite directly and do not even give actual prevalence numbers.

    The irrelevent details you’re speaking of are the facts demonstrating how what the Geiers are selling is dangerous quackery and you still can’t explain how a chelating agent repairs a brain, crosses this blood-brain barrier twice, first to get in and then get out with mercury stuck to it. If chelation agents did what you imagine, they wouldn’t just be used for treating metal poisoning but also in brain surgery and to treat conventional brain damage too.

  84. #84 MarkH
    May 2, 2007

    I wish you could pictures in threads because my crank image would go perfectly here.

    Instead I’ll just settle for a mental ratcheting noise.

  85. #85 Robster, FCD
    May 3, 2007

    Moving the goalposts again, JB?

    The dose response arguement is a failure. Decreased dose, no change in response.

    Your claim is that an increase in thiomersal exposure via childhood vaccines was causing an epidemic of autism. Now you say that it is in utero exposure, and that childhood vaccines have nothing to do with it.

    Want to prove it is an in utero exposure? Do a retrospective cohort study. They are relatively cheap and can be very useful as long as you are careful with your study design. Probably could provide funding for an MPH student to do the research as their capstone, as long as no strings were attached.

  86. #86 John Best
    May 3, 2007

    Robster, The study is already done. Babies were not poisoned in utero prior to 1931 and there was zero autism.

  87. #87 Robster, FCD
    May 3, 2007

    There was not a medical definition for autism. Big difference. Also heavy metal exposure from cure all medicines and basic everyday items, especially mercury, lead, arsenic and antimony based chemical was far higher than it is now.

    That isn’t a study. It is a dodge.

  88. #88 Bronze Dog
    May 3, 2007

    Is it a flawed memory of mine, or aren’t there people claiming Sir Isaac Newton showed strong signs of autism? He was born well before 1931.

    I remember they said something similar for Einstein.

    But, we’ll never know for sure. JB’s just playing a rhetorical word game and relying on the difficulty of posthumous diagnosis to cover it up.

    Kind of reminds me of this one artist who said the London fog didn’t exist until someone painted it.

    Oh, and Robster covers a confounding factor quite well, there. If autism was mercury poisoning, we’d be at an all-time low. My hypothesis is that we’re just categorizing one phenomenon and separating it from several others. I have no doubt the autistics of old were labeled “retarded,” “insane,” or some other generic label.

  89. #89 DT35
    May 3, 2007

    So Mr. Best attributes British autism to “inbreeding.” Are we to conclude that the autism in his own family arises from the same cause?

  90. #90 Robster, FCD
    May 3, 2007

    Thanks, Bronze. I recommend Poisons by Peter Macinnis for a very readable and fun history of toxicology, even if his writing style is a bit scattered. If I end up teaching an undergrad topics class, it will be one of the texts. The heavy metals section is excellent.

  91. #91 John Best
    May 3, 2007

    Robster, If autism had existed prior to 1931, it would have been defined. Neither Einstein nor Newton were autistic. That’s just something that was conjured up by those who think that celebrating the joy of autism is good PR for the drug companies.
    DT35, No, I’m Irish. We don’t stoop to the same behavior as Brit’s.

  92. #92 notmercury
    May 3, 2007

    John Best: “The genetic influence in autism is the APO proteins.”

    Wrong!

    No association between the APOE gene and autism.
    Am J Med Genet B Neuropsychiatr Genet. 2004 Feb 15;125(1):57-60.

    “When over 90% improve with methyl B-12, it shows that over 90% were affected by mercury.

    Wrong!

    Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Cross-Over Trial of Subcutaneous Methylcobalamin in Autism: Preliminary Results
    Robert L. Hendren, D.O.
    University of California – Davis
    Sacramento, CA
    Lesley Deprey, Ph.D.
    Norman Brule, B.S.
    F. Widjaja, B.S.
    Sarvenaz Sepehri, B.S.
    Jeremy A. Blank, B.S.
    James Neubrander, M.D.

    Aside from that, any improvement attributable to methyl-B12 would be an argument against mercury toxicity since methylcobalamin creates methylmercury on contact with inorganic mercury.

  93. #93 John Best
    May 3, 2007

    NM, How long was the study on MB-12? There is disagreement among scientists concerning the APO. Common sense, which always trumps science, tells me which side to agree with.

  94. #94 notmercury
    May 3, 2007

    Neubrander has claimed immediate and dramatic improvements in ~ 90% of his patients. How long should it take to see an effect better than placebo, in your opinion?

    Regarding APOE, which scientists disagree and where have they published their findings? (websites don’t count)

    In a world where common sense trumps science, You Best stick to the ponies.

  95. #95 Aureola Nominee, FCD
    May 3, 2007

    Common sense, which people who know nothing about science think always trumps science, tells me that the Earth is flat and at the center of the Universe.

    Thankfully, I don’t trust common sense.

  96. #96 Robster, FCD
    May 3, 2007

    If autism had existed prior to 1931, it would have been defined.

    Wow. I expected a poor understanding of science, but this is epic. Did Bucellosis exist before the 1850s? Polio wasn’t described until the 1780s, but it is an ancient disease. Anorexia nervosa was first described in the late 19th century. Bulemia nervosa wasn’t described until 1977. Did all of these exist before the clinical world observed and recorded them?

    Absolutely.

    Common sense, which always trumps science, tells me which side to agree with.

    So… regardless of the evidence against your claims, you will think with your gut instead of your head. Common sense doesn’t win against science. Correlation is not causation, despite what common sense might suggest.

  97. #97 Lucas McCarty
    May 4, 2007

    To use a less emotive disease-oreintated example; homosexuality has been round for a million years or two but never had a definition until some moral codes decided it is not the same as heterosexuality.

  98. #98 John Best
    May 4, 2007

    Lucas, God decided queers were not the same as normal people when he started turning them into pillars of salt. Do you really think your smarter than God?

  99. #99 Lucas McCarty
    May 4, 2007

    The internet isn’t the Bible-belt John, I don’t have any views about a personal god. At least that means I will think for myself without resorting to falling back on the comfort of an imaginary friend that knows everything, can do everything and is generally infallable, meaning those that believe in it can ignore any level of reason put to them.

    I like to avoid personal attacks; eventually some people manage their own character assassination on themselves.

  100. #100 John Best
    May 5, 2007

    Lucas, Now you think I’m assassinating my own character because I believe in God and not perverts. That’s rich.

  101. #101 Ruth
    May 5, 2007

    Please don’t hold the rest of us in the Christian community responsible for Best. I accept guilt for the Inquisition, not for him.

    Last year John said betting against the thiomersal hypothesis would be like betting against Barbaro for the Triple Crown. Unfortunately for him, both fell down. Time to go get my hat ready for the race.

  102. #102 daedalus2u
    May 5, 2007

    BD, no doubt Newton, Einstein and Cavendish were on the autism spectrum, as discussed in Singular scientists.

    James quotes Asperger who states “It seems that for
    success in science or art a dash of autism is essential.” That is part of what has led me to my understanding that ASDs are an evolved feature, not really a “disorder”.

    I have posted a new blog on the evolution of autism spectrum disorders. I think that they are “features”, to invoke the tool-using phenotype. When taken to an extreme ASDs cause problems, but that is true for every other evolved feature too, such as sickle cell trait.

    It isn’t that ASDs are “genetic”, they are epigenetic responses to stress in utero. If you monkey around with the genome sufficiently so that ASDs can’t form, what you will end up with won’t be quite human (in my perception).

  103. #103 Robster, FCD
    May 5, 2007

    God decided queers were not the same as normal people when he started turning them into pillars of salt.

    Looks like your biblical knowledge is on the same level as your scientific knowledge.

    Do you really think your smarter than God?

    I exist and God doesn’t. So I am smarter than God.

  104. #104 Lucas McCarty
    May 5, 2007

    I was educated in a Church of England primary school and was for my crucial years, Christian. I don’t recognise anything Best says as akin to what I learnt. Although I no longer have the theistic beliefs, the lessons have stayed with me. Perhaps I would have found it easier to stay with the flock had I never encountered views like Best’s.

    “Lucas, Now you think I’m assassinating my own character because I believe in God and not perverts. That’s rich.”

    Bad fruit still comes from bad trees I see, why did you feel it neccessary to say I said what I didn’t? Give Caesar what is Caesar’s John, give me my own words when you argue, not your distortion, my words are mine. Perverts are enthralled to perversion, so when you twist what I say into something I never did, what right do you have to speak of perverts when you practice it so thoughtlessly? That’s where you commit suicide on your own character. You’re hardly a man when you make yourself into a ranting caricature.

  105. #105 Bronze Dog
    May 5, 2007

    Once again, JB lies about his opponent’s point of view in order to try to make himself look better. Too bad it’s all too transparent.

    Of course, I think JB believes he’s God. After all, his conclusions are all seemingly based on his alleged infallibility. When you’re infallible, you have no reason to go through a process designed to eliminate the flaw of bias. That strikes me as the most likely explanation for his elitist behavior.

  106. #106 Rebecca
    June 25, 2007

    I wasn’t aware that Mrs. Lot was turned into a pillar of salt for being a lesbian – take a look at Genesis 19 and you’ll see that she was turned into a pillar of salt because she looked back at the destroyed cities. If one must use the Bible in arguments like this, at least get it right!

  107. #107 Orac
    September 15, 2007

    A response to no one in particular.

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