Respectful Insolence

Dr. Paul Offit’s book Autism’s False Prophets: Bad Science, Risky Medicine, and the Search for a Cure has hit the bookstores, and, as predicted, the mercury militia is going into a frenzy of spin and smear. As is usual, because they have no science to support their viewpoint, they are reduced to extended ad hominem attacks. For example, the clueless wonder of a reporter who couldn’t find the Clinic for Special Children and the autistic children treated there but nonetheless confidently exclaimed that he couldn’t find any autistic Amish children, goes for a full frontal assault in a little ditty called Paul Offit, False Prophet. He’s in a fine, self-righteous lather, too:

This is how the doctor operates — character assassination. Anyone who disagrees with him, and dares to say so or even let someone else say so, is ripe for the Kennedy treatment. The list of those who violate Offit’s Law is therefore endless, running from the usual suspects like Andy Wakefield to the late Tim Russert (who never should have had David Kirby on, only the IOM president), from Neal Halsey (who never should have pushed to phase out thimerosal from childhood vaccines) to Joe Lieberman (who never should have said parents had an argument worth listening to). Bernardine Healy and the Polings? Nowhere to be found — that would amount to picking on someone Offit’s own size — but no doubt they have been dispatched to the dustbin of history as well.

Offit’s approach is not only ad hominem — against the man, not the argument. It’s also extreme and inaccurate. There is no analogy too wild to wield against those whose scientific crime is holding a different opinion.

He just exploded yet another irony circuit, and so soon after Orac replaced it!

What do I mean? Well, here’s Olmsted, all in a tizzy about Dr. Offit supposedly doing nothing but ad hominem attacks (an accusation that is a steaming, stinking pile of rotting feces, by the way; Dr. Offit references all of his criticisms extensively). Yet, earlier the same week, Olmsted wrote a piece for AoA entitled Is Kathleen Seidel Toxic?, which is nothing more than an extended ad hominem attack on Kathleen, chock full of sloppy reporting and dubious “facts,” based on which he makes the astonishing conclusion that, because she worked for an organization that ran a flying ophthalmologic teaching hospital and because thimerosal used to be in a lot of ophthalmologic products, Seidel must have been rendered somehow “toxic” by all that. Be careful as you read the following passage, in case the stupid is contagious. Sadly there is no vaccine against it:

And how was ethyl mercury commercialized? In fungicides and in medical products. I’ve written at length (see Mercury Rising on our home page) about a link in those early cases to ethyl mercury fungicides. Those fungicides were banned long ago for good reason, but thimerosal continues to be used — inexplicably and unforgivably — in vaccines and in many different eye-care solutions…

Offit describes Seidel moving to New York City “where she met her future husband, a guitar player. She worked for Project Orbis, a flying ophthalmalogic surgical teaching hospital. …”

Whoa. A flying ophthalmalogic surgical teaching hospital? I suppose it’s possible she just booked their flights and never set foot on the plane, but assuming she was part of the team, I strongly suspect Kathleen Seidel was exposed to thimerosal occupationally. Just for example, a study from 1970 is titled “Bacterial cultures from donor corneas. A study of eyes treated with thimerosal solutions prior to corneal grafting.” Sounds like an opthalmalogic surgical procedure to me. And in the closed space of an airplane, you have to think anything toxic would circulate and re-circulate almost endlessly. We all know how easy it is to catch a cold on a plane; how much mercury can you catch in an airborne surgical eye hospital that exposes you to thimerosal?

The stupid has gone supernova! (Supernova, contagious, yes I know I’m mixing my metaphors, although Contagious Supernova would be a great name for a band, and certainly Olmsted can lay down a contagious supernova of stupid.) You read it right. Olmsted is seriously claiming that, just because Seidel worked for an organization that did eye surgery on a plane, she must have been exposed to the dreaded thimerosal in aerosolized form, which, I guess, if you follow Olmsted’s “logic,” must have been what affected her in such a way to render her child autistic–or something. Of course, the real implication behind the post is that, because Seidel is “toxic,” she has been somehow affected neurologically, making her judgment suspect, and it’s that “toxic” insult that’s the cause of her dogged persistence in going after autism quacks and cranks and also explains why she resents the mercury militia’s lie that autistic children are “poisoned” or “toxic,” thanks to vaccines. What an incredible smear peace, all wrapped up in supercilious and smarmy weasel words about how Olmsted can “understand” why Seidel might feel the way she does! All I can say is that Mr. Olmsted has a lot of chutzpah to accuse Paul Offit of sloppy reasoning and fact-checking after writing something like his hit piece on Seidel–or this passage in his subsequent hit piece on Dr. Offit:

For instance, by the time he is done talking about the outrage of removing thimerosal from vaccines, he devolves into describing a woman trying to slash her breast with a razor blade. And what does this have to do with whether ethyl mercury is a good thing to inject into pregnant women? Well, because silicone breast implants were once taken off the market, even though there was nothing wrong with them, and one woman was so freaked out by the irresponsible media coverage that she took a razor blade and … you get the idea.

I read that part of the book, and I’ll tell Mr. Olmsted what this has to do with thimerosal. The point Dr. Offit was trying to make was that, just like the hysteria over thimerosal in vaccines, there was no good science behind the hysteria over silicone breast implants in the 1990s. And I agree: When you look at the data dispassionately, it’s easy to see that there really wasn’t any good science, only some weak correlative studies prone to serious confirmation bias. Later, more rigorously designed studies showed that there wasn’t any detectable correlation between silicone breast implants and all the autoimmune diseases attributed to them by activists. Age- and race-matched women with breast implants developed such diseases at the same frequency as women without breast implants, just as scientists have been unable to find a correlation between vaccination with thimerosal-containing vaccines and autism. But the damage had been done. Dow-Corning went out of business under a barrage of lawsuits. Some women became so frightened that their implants had “poisoned” them that one of them actually did try to slash her breast to remove her implant herself. The analogy to how some parents think that vaccines have “poisoned” their children and consequently subject them to all manner of quackery, including chelation therapy (which can kill), in order to “remove the toxins” couldn’t be more clear and obvious, as Dr. Offit pointed out. Also, from my perspective as a breast cancer surgeon, I note that the silicone breast implant scare of the 1990s also harmed breast cancer patients by taking one of the best options for reconstruction after a mastectomy off the market, to the detriment of breast cancer patients everywhere requiring mastectomy and desiring reconstruction. Saline implants simply do not produce as good a cosmetic result in terms of contour and sensation; they often feel like wrinkly plastic bags and they even slosh sometimes. Only recently have silicone implants been allowed back on the market after over ten years, a final recognition that the fearmongering of the activists was not justified.

The thimerosal situation is quite analogous in many ways in that, like the case of silicone breast implants, science doesn’t matter. It really doesn’t, at least not to the activists who are convinced that mercury and vaccines are The Root of All Evil (or at least all autism). That’s the point Dr. Offit made, and it was a valid and obvious point to make, apparently too obvious for the Great Journalist Editor of AoA to comprehend. There are many studies failing to find a link between thimerosal and autism, and more come out every year. Each new one puts another nail in the hypothesis that thimerosal somehow causes autism. Yet it means nothing to activists like Olmsted, who can still write with a presumably straight face (I can’t tell what expression was on his face when he wrote this) something as risibly silly as this:

Laugh me off if you want, but I have spent a lot of time looking for plausible links between parents’ occupations and autism in their children, and I know them when I see them. If Kathleen Seidel chooses to talk about her occupational background with Paul Offit, and I pay $25 to read about it, I get to connect dots just like any other observer. Why should I write about everyone else and leave her out?

I’m more than happy to humor Dan by laughing at him. If he says something that dumb, quite frankly, he deserves it. I invite you, too, to join in.

Is there a term for beyond supernova? If there is, Olmsted’s stupid now rates it–and more. That’s right; he’s serious. Olmsted don’t need no stinkin’ science or epidemiology! He knows a “plausible” link when he “sees” it! He’s just “connecting the dots,” no matter how tenuous the connections might be or how far he has to torture science and logic to do it. What destroyed my irony circuit is that, after writing such outrageously ridiculous crankery in his hunt for Truth, Justice, and The Cause of Autism, Olmsted now has the temerity to accuse Dr. Offit of making tenuous connections and championing dubious science in his book. This is especially rich after the way Olmsted plugged the highly dubious Hewitson/Wakefield monkey study, which, if anything else, showed that Olmsted wouldn’t know good science if it bit him on the…you know what. That’s why I say again: Olmsted owes me another new irony circuit!

As for nastiness and ad hominem attacks, which seem to pain him so, I wonder what Olmsted thinks of his co-blogger J.B. Handley’s recent post entitled Is Autism Speaks’ Geri Dawson a Blithering Idiot?. He doesn’t seem to be bothered being associated with that, even though he holds the title of Editor at AoA and could, assuming his title actually means anything other than a ploy to fool Google’s bots into thinking AoA is actually a news source, have quashed such vitriolic attacks. He doesn’t seem to mind enough to use his position as Editor to quash (or even just complain about) the numerous ad hominem attacks launched against Dr. Offit by other bloggers on AoA (not to mention the two all-out ad hominem attacks on me personally). Or what about the numerous spittle-flecked, bile-soaked rants in the comments section of AoA (where the hatred for Dr. Offit is palpable and downright scary)? Perhaps the honorable Mr. Olmsted is appalled by posts like this, which are nothing more than childish ad hominem attacks against Dr. Offit, not even mentioning the death threats and hate mail Dr. Offit’s had to endure. Yet Mr. Olmsted says nothing about these, his most righteous anger reserved for Dr. Offit and anyone who criticizes the pseudoscience championed by AoA. No doubt Mr Olmsted has some lame rationalization.

Finally, poerhaps the oh-so-noble, oh-so-pristine Mr. Olmsted should take a moment to remonstrate with his readers (particularly Kim Stagliano) over their suggestions that their fellow travelers go to bookstores and reshelf copies of Autism’s False Prophets in the wrong location to render them unfindable by people interested in buying a copy. After all, all such actions do is to harm booksellers and inconvenience some poor underpaid schlubs responsible for shelving books. One could imagine the ever-righteous Danny-boy’s reaction if I or, say, Kevin Leitch were to advocate doing such a thing with David Kirby’s book, for example. I bet he’d be in an equally fine lather over it. Of course, if it’s AoA, it’s anything for the cause, right? Never mind his claim that the First Amendment is “one of Dr. Offit’s least favorites.” He doesn’t mind that his readers are actively encouraging their friends to use underhanded tactics to keep people from being able to find and read Dr. Offit’s book. No one of Dr. Offit’s supporters that I’m aware of advocates taking, for instance, David Kirby’s book and reshelving it to keep people from being able to find it. We don’t work that way, but people with whom Mr. Olmsted is tightly associated do.

Hypocrisy, thy name is Olmsted! Actually, hypocrisy, thy name is that of the entire crew over at AoA!

ADDENDUM: How did I miss this? A commenter is trying to out-stupid Dan Olmsted and may have succeeded:

the question of whether or not Ms Seidel ever set foot on this plane may be moot, as I understand it mercury is so toxic that the ophthalmologists who did come into contact with it could carry tiny amounts or vapors on their clothing or body, so that simply being in casual contact could pass the mercury around. We aren’t talking about a substance that needs to be slathered on and rubbed in to cause injury, we are talking about a substance so toxic that minute amounts that would seem undetectable can cause serious injury.

It would be very interesting to see the relative rates of autism and other mercury poisoning issues in ophthalmologists, dentists, others who have worked with mercury, and people whom they have come into contact with.

This is just about getting to the truth, not about making people feel good. The truth has no obligation to be convenient, kind, or inoffensive. Whether or not I am toxic (or anyone else) is purely a matter of biochemical fact that can be established by testing. It is irrelevant how I (or anyone else) may feel about the biochemical reality in my body.

It’s a wonder all the ophthalmologists who worked with Kathleen aren’t either autistic or dead, given the amount of thimerosal this commenter think they bathed in!

Comments

  1. #1 eddie
    September 16, 2008

    I feel awful now. I occasionally find a book of woo (velikovsky in astronomy or homeopathy in medicine) in the science or health section of a public library and correctly shelve them under religion.

  2. #2 Kathleen Seidel
    September 16, 2008

    Yeah, it was all that White-Out must have done it.

  3. #3 John C. Welch
    September 16, 2008

    Why is it the first thing these monkeys do when presented with science is to make death threats?

    Do they really think that makes them look good?

  4. #4 Ranson
    September 16, 2008

    I’d reshelve in my regular bookstore but for two things: Hippie though he is, the owner doesn’t stock a lot of this kind of woo; and it’s an independent store, and you can’t find anything without asking anyway.

  5. #5 Reginald
    September 16, 2008

    You know you’ve pretty much nailed them whenever they’re reduced to their name-calling, blathering attacks.

  6. #6 Paul
    September 16, 2008

    “Is there a term for beyond supernova?”

    A gamma ray burst of stupidity perhaps?

    And I heard Offit on Science Friday a couple of weeks ago. Flatow did a great job in the interview. And the single caller that was pro infectious disease ( I refuse to call them anti-vaxxers since they really are pro infectious disease) caller was given excellent information but still refused to accept it. Which gets to the heart of the matter really. No matter what evidence is shown, those that are pro infectious disease will never change their minds.

  7. #7 vlad
    September 16, 2008

    “No matter what evidence is shown, those that are pro infectious disease will never change their minds.” No unfortunately not. Even if these frothing lunatics get their way (shudder) and mandatory vaccination is removed the rise in disease will be attributed to Big-pharma and the Illuminati. As the body count begins to rise and Autism rates remain constant they will continue to claim either conspiracy in viral weapons deployment or that it’s all a lie and more children are not dieing and rates are dropping. I’m still not sure what their final goal is? Proof that stupidity can kill?

  8. #8 I am so wise
    September 16, 2008

    If you want things like the anti-vax movement to go away, you have to introduce negative, preferably painful consequences to the behavior. Mocking them on blogs is not enough. People need to lose their children, their jobs, and otherwise be punished for their stupidity.

  9. #9 vlad
    September 16, 2008

    “People need to lose their children, their jobs, and otherwise be punished for their stupidity.” It won’t work. If a person refuses to understand causation or refuses to acknowledge it no amount of consequences or punishment will help.

  10. #10 Gray Falcon
    September 16, 2008

    If you want things like the anti-vax movement to go away, you have to introduce negative, preferably painful consequences to the behavior. Mocking them on blogs is not enough. People need to lose their children, their jobs, and otherwise be punished for their stupidity.

    That will only make them seem more validated. The last thing to do with conspiracy theorists is prove them right. Really, movements like that tend to die off on their own.

  11. #11 D. C. Sessions
    September 16, 2008

    You missed some prime stuff:

    That is pure fantasy. No toxicologist would assert or agree that an organic alkyl mercury compound such as ethyl mercury is less toxic than an inorganic formulation like mercuric chloride. The two compounds are often used in scientific studies as exemplars of the vastly greater toxicity of organic mercury. This is not an arcane or complicated issue (in Offit’slanguage, it’s not really subject to question).

    Isn’t it great how Dan can write so authoritatively on the subject of toxicology? He’s a journalist after all, and this is his topic. He must know the toxicity of mercury compounds by heart. Me, I had to look them up:

    LD50 for mercuric chloride: 1 mg/kg
    LD50 for thimerosal: 75 mg/kg

    Sources:
    http://msds.chem.ox.ac.uk/ME/mercury_II_chloride.html
    http://msds.chem.ox.ac.uk/TH/thimerosal.html

    All that postgraduate math, and I never knew that 1/75 is “vastly greater” than 1. The state of education these days, I swear.

    So, as Dan writes:

    Then there are the plain old errors. As a journalist, I always look to see whether the things I know most about are correctly characterized, even if the author then goes on to analyze them differently than I would. If the facts I do know are right, that gives me confidence that the author is playing straight in areas I know nothing about.

    I think that’s great advice, Dan. In fact, I think it would be great if people applied it to you.

  12. #12 Orac
    September 16, 2008

    Mocking them on blogs is not enough. People need to lose their children, their jobs, and otherwise be punished for their stupidity.

    No, people do not need to lose their children. Indeed, I’m very disturbed by that comment. The children are innocent victims of their lack of critical thinking skills and ideological blindness. Worse, it won’t just be children of antivaxers who are lost; the loss of herd immunity will mean that others will lose their children through no fault of their own. Moreover, antivaccinationism is in essence religious in nature in that no amount of loss is likely to persuade its adherents, any more than fundamentalist Christians who lose a child because they rely on Jesus rather than medicine change their beliefs.

  13. #13 Patrick
    September 16, 2008

    The next step for novae would be the Hypernova. But I really don’t think there’s enough candle power coming out of the AoA braintrust to run a solar calculator. (My ad hominem to go along with their’s /grin.)

  14. #14 Broken Link
    September 16, 2008

    I’ve watched this “autism is caused by vaccines” issue for many years. The autism anti-vaxers are, at the root of it, looking for an explanation of their child’s autism. And preferably a cure for it as well. The acceptable explanation cannot include any fault/responsibility on their part, particularly their genetics.

    When you think about it, there are very few possible causes for autism that would be acceptable to someone with this mind-set. It would have to be something that nearly everyone is exposed to, and is mandatory. One possibility is pollution, another is something in the water, and a third is a widely used food additive. You can see anti-vaxers falling back to that position often, witness Kirby and his Chinese plumes of mercury.

    But I’m still optimistic. I think that the entrenched autism=vaccines believers will never change their minds. However, parents new to the world of autism can still be influenced by science. It’s just unfortunate that the anti-vaxers have the ear of the media at present. I deeply admire you, Orac, for your persistence in trying to get accurate information out there, to those people who can still think rationally about the issue.

  15. #15 Joseph
    September 16, 2008

    Dan Olmsted is not the first to try to link autism to parental professions. Professor Baron-Cohen’s team has done that previously – not sure if Olmsted is aware of that. The difference is that Baron-Cohen et al. have carried out population surveys, and have even controlled for confounds, such as a general professional over-reprensentation. Even though Baron-Cohen et al., unlike Olmsted, have done actual science to study the issue, their findings are still controversial and not widely accepted.

    Still, I would find it interesting if Olmsted were able to link the apparent over-representation of parents who are mathematicians to mercury. (Olmsted perseverates on an apparent over-representation of chemists).

  16. #16 Karl Withakay
    September 16, 2008

    “Is there a term for beyond supernova? ”

    That would be a hypernova or a pair instability supernova. We’re talking in the order of 100 supernovae. A pair instability supernova is so powerful, the star is completely destroyed without leaving behind a neutron star or black hole.

  17. #17 chat
    September 16, 2008

    tankss

  18. #18 RJ
    September 16, 2008

    Let’s see, Olmsted, Stagliano, Blaxill, and the lot

    1) blatantly exclude content from posters with other perspectives (and openly brag about it), as well as block posting from IP address of those offering insight to other interested parties that visit their site

    2) advocate a dis-information strategy through removal of books that should be available to the public

    3) continue to present selected facts that do not truly address the interests of their readers (have you ever seen any info on the de novo CNV mutation studies presented in Science or Nature? Don’t plan on it either)

    4) lie

    5) attack the messengers without addressing the topics and issues, go out of their way to blame something or someone else (because it could never, ever be their ‘fault’, right?), and inevitably fall back EVERYTIME on the whole big pharma, coupled with the CDC, the FDA, the AMA, the IOM, the NIH, the AAP, and WHO and all of the doctors and scientists around the world conspiracy gambit. Every time.

    6) rely on the ‘reporting’ of journalists and bloggers rather than scientific research as the primary vehicle of validation for their beliefs, even though these journalists and bloggers are unqualified in these areas.

    Any of this sound familiar? Like a cult perhaps.

    Rest assured, however, their delusions are coming to an end.

  19. #19 D. C. Sessions
    September 16, 2008

    Rest assured, however, their delusions are coming to an end.

    Whoa, Dude! Irony meters are expensive, but they’re not worth mass murder!

  20. #20 Scott
    September 16, 2008

    6) rely on the ‘reporting’ of journalists and bloggers rather than scientific research as the primary vehicle of validation for their beliefs, even though these journalists and bloggers are unqualified in these areas.

    It’s even better than that – they rely on journalists and bloggers reporting their own beliefs:

    Antivax nut to reporter: Vaccines cause autism!
    Reporter: It is said by some that vaccines cause autism.
    AVN: See, it was on TV! That proves I’m right!

    Circular reasoning at its best.

  21. #21 IBY
    September 16, 2008

    Orac, one of these days, the stupidities posted here will blow up my computer and brain.^_^ Before that, I can tell you that there is the hypernova (I am not kidding), which is beyond supernova.

  22. #22 Dawn
    September 16, 2008

    Well, I have to say AOA and their attacks on Dr Offit’s book have done one thing: encouraged me to go out and buy it. Haven’t read much of it yet, but what I have read looks very interesting. When I’m done with it, I’ll make sure my local library has a copy; if they don’t already have one I’ll give them mine!

  23. #23 Dawn
    September 16, 2008

    Well, I have to say AOA and their attacks on Dr Offit’s book have done one thing: encouraged me to go out and buy it. Haven’t read much of it yet, but what I have read looks very interesting. When I’m done with it, I’ll make sure my local library has a copy; if they don’t already have one I’ll give them mine or I’ll buy another and donate it (not sure about the regulations the library operates under as a public entity.)

  24. #24 commentator
    September 16, 2008

    One thing that will suck some of the energy out of the AoA crowd is their infighting that is going on to some degree on Yahoo groups. Lenny Schafer used to be seen as a big deal, now some of the other antivax/autism “movers” think he’s a joke. I believe some of the mercury moms were bumped out of the way to make room for Jenny Mac, creating some resentment. There has been some ugly infighting among the parents, devolving into catfights on bulletin boards. Another thing is that some of this “battle” is caused by the lawyers whipping up their clients with “once more into the breech.” If the lawyers don’t see a chance at making a buck for themselves and move on to some other product liability gold-mine, some parents will start to shut down their incendiary attacks on Offit, people like Kathleen Seidel and science in general. There’s also some battle fatigue, and new parents will be chasing after new ideas. If they aren’t noticing any change after a vaccine, they might blame something else that preceded their child’s diagnosis. Also, the personality of these people is really obnoxious. The local, lunatic calamity howler personality starts to grate on the nerves, including those of newspaper and tv reporters.

  25. #25 Sullivan
    September 16, 2008

    That was a pretty interesting piece by Mr. Olmsted.

    It demonstrated clearly the methodology:

    Assume a hypothesis.
    Dig until you find data to support the hypothesis
    Stop before you find anything that discounts the hypothesis.

    Mr. Olmsted did leave the possibility that Ms. Seidel didn’t work on the plane..but didn’t actually check. Neither did he remove or edit his blog post once it was clearly wrong.

  26. #26 Joseph
    September 16, 2008

    Dan Olmsted is not the first to suggest a link between autism and parental professions, of course. That would be Professor Baron-Cohen’s team. The difference is that Baron-Cohen et al. have conducted population surveys and even controlled for confounds such as a general professional over-representation among the parents of autistics. Even though Baron-Cohen et al. have conducted actual science in order to explore the matter, unlike Olmsted, their findings are still controversial and not widely accepted.

    Still, it would be interesting to see Olmsted try to link mercury to an apparent over-representation of Mathematicians among the parents of autistics. (An apparent over-representation of Chemists is his ongoing perseveration).

  27. #27 Dawn
    September 16, 2008

    Apologies for the double post. Looks like the first one got cut off anyway…feel free to delete it if you want, Orac. The computer is cranky today. If it continues, I will end up following my children over to the dark side of the (computer) force…

  28. #28 RJ
    September 16, 2008

    “Whoa, Dude! Irony meters are expensive, but they’re not worth mass murder!”

    ? huh? mass murder?

  29. #29 I am so wise
    September 16, 2008

    “No, people do not need to lose their children. Indeed, I’m very disturbed by that comment. The children are innocent victims of their lack of critical thinking skills and ideological blindness. ”

    Just to clarify, I meant lose children as in the state takes them away and gives them to responsible people, not that they die. I am not a monster here.

  30. #30 D. C. Sessions
    September 16, 2008

    ? huh? mass murder?

    You wrote:

    Rest assured, however, their delusions are coming to an end.

    I do believe that they have so much invested in the whole business now that death is the only thing that will stop their delusions.

    Therefore …

  31. #31 RJ
    September 16, 2008

    “I do believe that they have so much invested in the whole business now that death is the only thing that will stop their delusions.”

    Ah. Gotcha. I thought maybe you were suggesting that I was going to bring their delusions to an end. If I can do that by providing scientific evidence, perhaps even persuasive writing, then yes. Mass murder (inflicted by me) not a chance. But I see your point and, alas, I think you are going to be right.

  32. #32 Bardiac
    September 16, 2008

    If thimerisol in eye juice solutions (because who wants to spell ophthalmic if they don’t have to?) were so nasty that it would somehow make people on the plane toxic, then wouldn’t those of us who use contact lens solutions (mine contain thimerisol as a preservative) show overwhelming toxicity?

    There are lots of people who’ve been using contact lens solutions for many years, so the statistical evidence should be overwhelming if there’s any connection, no?

  33. #33 D. C. Sessions
    September 16, 2008

    If thimerisol in eye juice solutions (because who wants to spell ophthalmic if they don’t have to?) were so nasty that it would somehow make people on the plane toxic, then wouldn’t those of us who use contact lens solutions (mine contain thimerisol as a preservative) show overwhelming toxicity?

    Someone should post this to AoA — a chance to prove that thimerosal causes autism. Just compare the incidence of autism among children of mothers who wear contact lenses vs. those who don’t and THERE YOU HAVE IT!

  34. #34 RJ
    September 16, 2008

    DC, I really think you are on to something! There’s the proof right there!

    I just saw the AoA posting with the graph of the number of autism ‘cases’ with the number of vaccines mandated or started written in above them. Apparently, it’s not the mercury now. Now, it’s the aluminum (not aluminum salts, of course, just aluminum). Should we send them the studies using 26Al that it’s cleared from the body within a day?

  35. #35 D. C. Sessions
    September 16, 2008

    Should we send them the studies using 26Al that it’s cleared from the body within a day?

    If you have a peek over on MHA in the last week or so, you’ll see that I started a thread “Aluminum is the New Mercury.” In it, I point out research that shows that aluminum uptake is greatly enhanced by certain nutritive anions.

    I then ask whether people concerned about aluminum should avoid foods containing it, those enhancer anions, or both.

    Deafening silence. Does anyone want to post that list of anions on AoA?

  36. #36 snerd
    September 16, 2008
  37. #37 Badger3k
    September 16, 2008

    Does this mean my Thimerisol spa and mercury bath are not good for me?

    Dang nabbit!

    On a serious note, yeah, the stupid burns!!!!

  38. #38 RJ
    September 16, 2008

    ” Does anyone want to post that list of anions on AoA?”

    I would love to, but they’ve blocked me from posting anything. I guess I could mail it to Kim Stagliano directly.

  39. #39 DLC
    September 17, 2008

    Sorry, but I can’t help that note that either Olmsted is about as sharp as a box of rocks, or he thinks his readers are. “I can connect the dots too” says the 4 year old who runs a line from 1 to 8, ignoring 2 through 7.
    You’re right, Orac. quasi-stellar event size stupid.

  40. #40 Dawn
    September 19, 2008

    I am beginning to think that this Orac dude smokes some serious heffa, pipe, crack, whatever you want to call it – he is DOING something. I have seen him manipulate whatever situation, whatever words (though he sucks at it mind you). What gives? Career? Money? Reputation? What on earth drives the great Orac because it sure isn’t human concern….

  41. #41 Jenny's gotta book
    September 19, 2008

    Hey Dawn, Did Jenny ever get back to you about that book idea of yours?

  42. #42 anonimouse
    September 20, 2008

    When all else fails, go to the “blogger is smoking crack” card. In the blogosphere, that’s like one step above “momma” jokes.

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