Respectful Insolence

…because the author of the book that fueled the rise of the mercury militia in 2005, that indefatigable purveyor of bad science, logical fallacies and bizarre speculations, that useful idiot that antivaccinationists all know and love, is coming to the U.K next month.

Yes, I’m talking about David Kirby. Credulous blogger Ginger of Adventures in Autism has informed me that, thanks to “support” from antivaccinationist groups Generation Rescue and the National Autism Association, Autism Research Institute, Coalition for SAFE MINDS, and Talk About Curing Autism, David Kirby will be traveling to the U.K. to give lectures and do book signings from June 4 to 6:

David Kirby, the New York based investigative journalist and author of the NY Times Bestseller, “Evidence of Harm, Mercury in Vaccines and the Autism Epidemic – A Medical Controversy,” will visit the United Kingdom on the 4th – 6th of June to discuss recent developments in the vaccine-autism debate in the United States.

Mr. Kirby, a former contributor to The New York Times and a regular writer for the extremely popular online blog, The Huffington Post, will give a free public lecture on Wednesday 4th June, 6:30-10 PM at Regent Hall, 275 Oxford Street, London. He will also attend a book signing and speak with members of the UK media, among other activities, while in the country.

And:

David Kirby is available for media interviews before and during his visit…A list of other appearances will be issued next week

I can hardly wait to see the followup press release describing Kirby’s schedule.

I do wonder, though, why Mr. Kirby will not be in the U.S. on June 4, which is when Jenny McCarthy and her merry band of antivaccinationists will be leading a protest rally in Washington, D.C.. Why isn’t Kirby planning on being there for the festivities? Could it be that for some reason he doesn’t want to associate himself with it? After all, the date for Jenny’s little shindig has been set for at least a couple of months now.

Leaving that question aside, my friends in Great Britain, I submit to you that it is imperative that Mr. Kirby should not be allowed to skate through this tour and bring his fallacious message that vaccines cause autism to your fine nation without being asked some hard questions about his support of pseudoscience and antivaccinationists. No doubt he is expecting to address supportive audiences and face softball questions. I’d like to see him be as completely incorrect in that expectation as he routinely is about vaccines, science, medicine, and autism. I’d like to see him face (or at least hear about him facing) knowledgeable, polite, questioners who will not be deterred by his usual obfuscations (and, make no mistake about it, when it comes to laying down a layer of B.S. I have seldom seen his equal). In other words, I’d like to see him be forced to defend his pseudoscientific belief that vaccines cause autism in a way that he can’t weasel out of.

Are you ready for the challenge? Brian Deer and Ben Goldacre, this looks like a job for you, too!

Comments

  1. #1 HCN
    May 14, 2008

    The press release says “Mr. Kirby, a former contributor to The New York Times…”

    They fail to clarify he was a travel writer:
    http://travel2.nytimes.com/gst/travel/travsearch.html?term=byline%3ABy%20DAVID%20KIRBY

  2. #2 Ace of Sevens
    May 14, 2008

    As long as he’s there, someone should sue for libel. In the U.K., the system is very favorable to the plaintiff.

  3. #3 Sue 'im
    May 14, 2008

    I would think maybe the Tariq’s parents, the Nadamas, might want to say something about Mr. Kirby’s taking his toxic ideas to their doorstep.

    I hope someone reads Kirby’s book and asks him about some of the glaring errors in there and asks him about how much the antivaccine groups are paying him to take this trip and about his hisory as a PR man. They can ask him where he gets of making glaringly wrong pronouncements about the number of autistic people in Scotland, too. Actually, they ought to tar and feather the man and put him on a plane to a desert island. Maybe he can sit there for a while and contemplate the word “tsunami” and how his friends use it.

  4. #4 Catherina
    May 15, 2008

    oooooh – is he coming to Edinburgh?! I may need to block out that date in my diary and get some questions ready…

  5. #5 colmcq
    May 15, 2008

    I would be nice to turn up to one of his ‘lectures’ but the some of the UK antivaxer’s are seriously ANGRY and MAD, so it would take a brave person to pull it off…

  6. #6 Kat
    May 15, 2008

    I thought we had enough home-grown anti-xax nutters without needing to import them. Have you ever read the JABS forums?

  7. #7 Orac
    May 15, 2008

    I would be nice to turn up to one of his ‘lectures’ but the some of the UK antivaxer’s are seriously ANGRY and MAD, so it would take a brave person to pull it off…

    And you don’t think we in the States don’t have some seriously ANGRY and MAD antivaxers?

    Point taken, though. That’s why going in groups would be better.

  8. #8 wfjag
    May 15, 2008

    Wonder if someone will ask him about this:

    “Rise in autism cases may be over-estimated
    Date updated: May 14, 2008
    Content provided by Reuters

    NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – Changes in the criteria for diagnosing autism may account — at least in part — for the marked rise in the number of new cases in the last few decades, the results of a small study suggest.”

    rest of article at http://www.revolutionhealth.com/news/?id=reut-20080514elin030&ipc=HP0567

    reporting on an article in Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology, April 2008, by Dr. Dorothy V. M. Bishop, the University of Oxford (UK), et al.

    If he’s going to “lecture” in the UK, he ought to be familiar with the recent research there. Wakefield isn’t the last word.

  9. #9 sally marshall
    May 15, 2008

    “I would be nice to turn up to one of his ‘lectures’ but the some of the UK antivaxer’s are seriously ANGRY and MAD, so it would take a brave person to pull it off…”
    Oh come ON, you are worried about a few nut-jobs shouting at you? I’m up for it if he comes anywhere near Bristol.

  10. #10 colmcq
    May 15, 2008

    sally – you’re a female, and females are hard as nails. I, on the other hand, am a wimpy geekmale. Having said that I think a few of the Badscience gang might be heading to the London lecture….bring your handbag and come along!

    @Kat – JABS is a bad joke, seriously. Have you tried posting there? They seem to be pretty liberal with the ‘remove dissenting voice button’:

    http://colmcq.wordpress.com/2008/01/16/big-pharma-as-bad-as-nazis/

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