Respectful Insolence

John Le Sainte apparently has a rather inflated view of himself. You see, he seems to think that he’s the heir to Nostradamus. Ever worth a giggle on a Sunday afternoon (or any other time, for that matter), he seems to think that, channeling Nostradamus in some fashion, he’s predicted what will be discovered to be the cause of autism:

I have had over 30 e-mails requesting if I had seen into the future and discovered why Autism is becoming epidemic now. Yes, I have. This is what I know from the visions as guided by my guardian and teacher Nostradamus.

An interesting fact will become known in the future. A great many people born in the world today are “Chimera Persons”. To be a chimera means that when you were conceived, Two eggs were fertilized that stuck together before being implanted in the uterus wall of the mother. These cells did not create a set of fraternal twins, but rather a single person with two distinct DNA sets depending upon the location of the cells within the body.

From this, Le Sainte concludes:

Many children with Autism will be determined to possess more than one DNA profile, sometimes as many as 4 different DNA sets, causing the birth of an autistic child. Autism is becoming more common as Meat production has shifted to Hormone laden processes, encouraging the release of Multiple “Sticky” Eggs, contributing to the birth of autistic Children. Some woman being much more susceptible to the hormones causing Sticky eggs thus leading to increased birth of autistic children within the same families. Not all autism will be determined to be caused by this factor, but it will be a substantial percentage.

Not all chimera People will be autistic, but many Autistic people will be determined to be Chimeras. Often the secondary DNA that causes the autism will be located mostly within the brain and nervous tissue.

I’m tellin’ ya, ya just can’t make stuff like this up (although apparently John Le Sainte can). The sad thing is, this actually sounds more plausible to me than a lot of explanations for autism promulgated by the biomedical crowd. The other sad thing is that I’ve spent so much time delving into woo that I’m not entirely sure if this is meant as satire or not. I’d like to think it is, but fear that it isn’t.

Comments

  1. #1 mdh
    June 15, 2008

    As someone (who rarely mentions that I am) on the high-functional end of the spectrum, his description feels entirely plausible, but so did thunder gods before I learned better.

  2. #2 Andrew
    June 15, 2008

    Sounds as probable as anything else.

    That is to say, as probable as any of the infinite number of other potential explanations I could pluck out of thin air.

  3. #3 Regan
    June 15, 2008

    So, are Chimeras Crystals or Indigos?
    (Nice touch bringing in Nostradamus.)

    I am as sure as you are Orac, that it is not satire, or at least not intentionally.

  4. #4 elissa
    June 15, 2008

    If it’s intentionl satire, I’d say the author has the Crazy Capitalization Rules down pat. Meat, Hormones, Multiple Sticky Eggs…
    Usually I have more to do with crazy anti-evolution authors, and this author would probably get along well with them (except for the whole Nostradamus thing).

  5. #5 elissa
    June 15, 2008

    Sorry. Missed the typo in “intentional” until it was too late. It’s still better than Those strangely placed capital Letters. :)

  6. #6 Morgan
    June 15, 2008

    Hang on, isn’t that a real phenomenon? (Checks: yes, though very rare in humans.) Huh. Give him credit for apparently consulting a Journal of Weird Medicine and googling for the common woo explanations so he could tout a new one, I guess.

  7. #7 barbie123
    June 15, 2008

    At least this theory is (marginally) better than the “blame vaccines” blather.

  8. #8 Will TS
    June 15, 2008

    I am particularly impressed with Le Sainte’s encyclopedic understanding of folk-genetics and folk-embryology. He explains that chimeras not only comprise cells with more than one genotype, but also some of those cells are polyploid. The normal cells will be diploid (I assume that’s what he means by one ‘set’ of DNA) and the autistic cells of the CNS will be octaploid (four ‘sets’ of DNA). These are going to be some seriously screwed-up cells. What exactly is the phenotype of the XXXXXXYY individual?

  9. #9 Joe
    June 15, 2008

    What happened to the quatrains?

    I can imagine the 2,000 Year Old Man saying “I knew Nostradamus, he was my friend; you are no Nostradamus.”

  10. #10 wk
    June 15, 2008

    Morgan: It was also a plot point on the tv show “CSI” a while back, so I wouldn’t give him too much credit….

  11. #11 Candida
    June 15, 2008

    Did I see this on tv? I think so….My son is autistic by the way, I wish it was that easy.

  12. #12 DonZilla
    June 15, 2008

    “I have had over 30 e-mails requesting if I had seen into the future . . .”

    WOW! Over 30? That would make anyone an expert, even Orac :)

    “To be a chimera means that when you were conceived, Two eggs were fertilized that stuck together before being implanted in the uterus wall of the mother.”

    And I cracked open a double-yolked egg this morning. I’m so sorry now this egg didn’t grow up to become a Chimera Chicken.

  13. #13 Joseph Hertzlinger
    June 15, 2008

    So the autism spectrum syndromes (autism, Asperger’s, science-fiction fandom, excessive blogging, etc.) are caused by brain neurons from different eggs being in conflict…

    The neurons in my brain derived from one egg think this is nonsense, whereas the neurons from a second egg think this is poppycock, and the neurons from a third egg think this is horse manure.

  14. #14 DLC
    June 15, 2008

    Wait – - a little fact-check here.
    As far as I know a pair of fertilized eggs would have the same DNA mix, barring the improbably small chance of two men fertilizing two separate egg cells within close enough time to cause them to “stick together”. Or am I missing something here ?

  15. #15 Tsu Dho Nimh
    June 15, 2008

    DLC – They would be non-identical eggs, like siblings and fraternal twins.

  16. #16 Graham Douglas
    June 16, 2008

    [...]Not all autism will be determined to be caused by this factor, but it will be a substantial percentage.

    Not all chimera People will be autistic, but many Autistic people will be determined to be Chimeras.[...]

    Isn’t this simply admitting that there’s actually no link between the two at all?

  17. #17 Iain George
    June 16, 2008

    Differential diagnosis for this guy – too much House.

  18. #18 Morgan
    June 16, 2008

    Morgan: It was also a plot point on the tv show “CSI” a while back, so I wouldn’t give him too much credit….

    Heh – I recognized it from an episode of House.

  19. #19 Woobegone
    June 16, 2008

    Graham Douglas: Not unless you think that the fact that not all smokers get cancer and not all cancer patients smoke means that smoking doesn’t cause cancer. Not that I wish to be seen as defending this guy, who seems to be a chimeric half man, half nut…

  20. #20 Lilly de Lure
    June 16, 2008

    Is it me or has this guy heard the sound of hooves and started looking not so much for zebras as unicorns?

  21. #21 StuV
    June 16, 2008

    My fave part:

    Often the secondary DNA that causes the autism will be located mostly within the brain and nervous tissue.

    Yes. You can’t tell anything from DNA from other parts of the body, because it is different, because…

    *crickets*

  22. #22 George in Indiana
    June 16, 2008

    If sticky eggs are the problem, we need to develop some genetic Pam or insert Teflon-coated parts in the woman.

    There is a story in the Whittier Daily News about a student with autism who recently graduated from his local high school. It’s an uplifting story about someone who has overcome difficulties associated with this condition.

    http://40-year-oldblog.blogspot.com/

  23. #23 Graham Douglas
    June 16, 2008

    Woobegone: Good point. He’s still talking drivel, though.

  24. #24 StuV
    June 16, 2008

    Teflon-coated parts in the woman.

    IUDs…?

  25. #25 Calli Arcale
    June 16, 2008

    “Sticky eggs”? What other kind are there?

    (The eggs are sticky so they can adhere to the wall of the uterus instead of just slipping right on out the cervix.)

    There is a definite Poe’s Law element to this one. But I have to give it credit for creativity. ;-)

  26. #26 Brian X
    June 16, 2008

    The curious thing is that the kook in the dock at the moment seems to have polyploidy and chimerism confused. Most chimeras live normal lives and I don’t think there’s any evidence of a greater amount of any psychological problems in such people (except confusion when a paternity test goes wrong or something). And polyploidy in a mammal usually leads to far worse problems than autism.

  27. #27 DLC
    June 17, 2008

    Pseudonym replied with:

    DLC – They would be non-identical eggs, like siblings and fraternal twins.

    The article quoted by Orac mentions:
    “Many children with Autism will be determined to possess more than one DNA profile, sometimes as many as 4 different DNA sets, causing the birth of an autistic child.

    that’s what I was thinking about when I wrote my initial comment. with only one mother and one father (barring some really weird possibilities) it seemed to me that there could only possibly be two sets of DNA involved, not the four posited by the woomeister.

  28. #28 Ralph J. "Buddy" Betancourt
    June 17, 2008

    Dear Dr. Orac,

    I’m confused. The DNA activation guy says that extra DNA is good for me. The autism guy says that extra DNA is bad for me. How am I supposed to choose how much DNA to have?

    Ralph J. “Buddy” Betancourt
    American