Respectful Insolence

Alright, I think I got the whole Maher/Dawkins thing out of my system for now. True, given the highly annoying reaction of one reader, I was half-tempted to write yet another post on the whole fiasco just out of spite, but I decided that spite in and of itself was not a good reason to write a blog post. Well, in this case it isn’t, anyway, but if it were someone like Vox Day, or J.B. Handley, or a hapless quack or creationist, well, a wee bit of spite can make for some mighty fine blogging that’s really fun to write. True, spite should never be the be-all and end-all of a blog, but certainly it’s part of the mix, along with ridicule, which some targets of Orac’s Insolence, both the Respectful and not-so-Respectful varieties, deserve in abundance.

Speaking of spite, though, does anyone remember a regular commenter here by the name of Dawn? No, not “Dawn from MI,” who had to start signing her posts that way in order to distinguish herself from what we started calling “evil Dawn,” a situation that sometimes caused confusion and made me feel sorry for “good Dawn’s” having to put up with the occasional confusion. Ultimately, evil Dawn went too far, pissing me off to the point where I banned her, making her only the second person (out of three) ever banned in the five years of this blog, the first being John Best. (The third one banned was Happeh.) Given the august company that evil Dawn finds herself in, there is no doubt that the crazy was strong in this one. So was the spite, which was what finally got her kicked off as a commenter on this blog. Fortunately, unlike Happeh, Dawn has stayed gone, and the blog is much better off for it.

Unfortunately, it looks as though Dawn found herself a “better” blogging gig than annoying my readers any time I blogged about vaccines. In fact, she’s managed to get a bit of work of hers published on a fairly high profile anti-vaccine website, as some of my readers and one of my blog buds PalMD, pointed out to me. The article is FDA Approved H1N1 Vaccines Contain Ingredients Known to Cause Cancer and Death. Here’s a hint. It’s so bad that it’s posted on Kevin Trudeau’s website as well. Here’s another hint: Even the anti-vaccine crank blog Age of Autism did not link to Dawn’s post. (Maybe the “editors” there learned something from the Heckenlively debacle. Naaaaaaahhh!)

In any case, in Dawn’s article, the stupid is everlastingly burning. In fact, if a such a thing as hell exists, the fire burning there eternally would be Dawn’s burning stupid, and the punishment for anyone with a modicum of knowledge of science would be to have Dawn read her article to you over and over again for all eternity.

Geez, I just scared even myself. Maybe I should start going to Mass again. And Confession. Maybe I could become an usher at the local church and join the Knights of Columbus. If there’s even a homeopathic chance that this version of hell is waiting for me at the end of my life, it’s enough to shake even my doubt. You’ll soon see what I mean.

Basically, what Dawn did was to look at the ingredients of the H1N1 vaccines that will soon be on the market, attended Google University, read a few Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS), and, voilà! The stupid is served. Hot, steaming, and stinky. Dawn doesn’t even have a clue just how silly what she has done is, as evidenced by this exchange in the comments of her blog:

SHAWN: Dawn, do you have any indication as to whether the (thus far) approved vaccine is adjuvanted? Also, if it is not adjuvanted, it does not preclude adjuvanting the next batch and on into the future. They’ve been waiting on “expert” analyses of clinical trial results.

DAWN: Honestly Shawn, it is not known at this time. I have simply supplied the package inserts that have been made public with the product. Any new information that I come across I will surely post.

CRYSTAL: Scary stuff. People just do not understand…

Scary stuff indeed, just not in the way that Crystal thinks. In fact, my irony meter once again exploded when it encountered the exchange above. I really need to reinforce that sucker better. I’ll also point out that, no, the U.S. H1N1 vaccines do not contain adjuvants, although the European vaccines do. (revere discussed the issue of adjuvants here and here.

But back to Dawn’s post.

In essence, what Dawn did when she wrote this post is to make exactly the same hilariously idiotic mistake that Age of Autism regular Kent Heckenlively made nearly two years ago when he tried to implicated sucrose in vaccines as a cause of…well who knows? The results are just as hilariously but disturbingly brain dead.

Dawn starts with one fear-mongering bit:

Most health experts will agree that vaccine reactions can occur. It is estimated that roughly 1 in every million people will react to their vaccine. Even then, health officials maintain that it is usually a simple case of inflammation at the injection site and/or a slight fever. On a rare occasion, anaphylactic shock may occur due to the patient reacting to a substance that they are allergic to. However, the FDA recently approved four H1N1 vaccines that not only contain very questionable ingredients, but some of those ingredients have even been proven to cause cancer and death.

She then launches into a little tirade about how people who are hypersensitive to the ovalbumin or other proteins in eggs could be harmed by the vaccine. Well, duh! Why does Dawn think that people who are going to be given the vaccine are asked if they’ve ever had an allergic reaction to eggs, gelatin, or anything else in the vaccine that a fraction of the population may be allergic to?

Still, that was the least of the stupidity in this post. If Dawn hadn’t gone so over-the-top, she might have had a half-rational point. Here’s where Dawn creates her own hell. Well, actually, she creates hell for anyone with half a brain who happens to read her article, proving beyond a shadow of a doubt Jean-Paul Sartre’s postulate that “hell is other people,” at least if that other person happens to be Dawn and you happen to have half a brain. Here’s what I mean:

Neomycin and polymyxin are listed as contraindications for CSL’s (2) and Novartis’ (3) vaccines. “Neomycin may cause damage to the kidneys and/or nerves. Kidney function and drug levels in the blood may be monitored with blood tests during treatment. Tell your doctor if you experience decreased urination, hearing loss, ringing in the ears, feeling of fullness in the ears, dizziness, numbness, skin tingling, muscle twitching, or seizures which may be signs of kidney or nerve damage.” (7) According to Teva Pharmaceuticals, the effects of neomycin may not be evident until long after the medication has been discontinued. Just exactly how long is unclear at this time. (8) Polymyxin has its own set of possible adverse reactions. “Neurotoxic reactions may be manifested by irritability, weakness, drowsiness, ataxia, perioral paresthesia, numbness of the extremities, and blurring of vision. These are usually associated with high serum levels found in patients with impaired renal function and/or nephrotoxicity.” (9)

This is just plain ignorant. If you want to see the difference between an education over a weekend or two at Google University and actually understanding medicine, look no further than the above. Neomycin and polymixin are indeed antibiotics. They’re used in the manufacture of vaccines. Specifically, antibiotics like this are usually used to prevent bacterial contamination and overgrowth during cell culture and the growth of the viruses. After the manufacturing process there often remain trace amounts of these antibiotics. In humans, neomycin is primarily used for bowel preps, in order to decrease the level of bacterial flora in the colon before any sort of surgery that might involve a colon resection and anastomosis. Polymixin B is rarely used to treat humans anymore because there are better drugs. Here’s problem and here’s where Dawn reveals the limitations of her Google education to hilarious effect, just as Kent Heckenlively did. The dosages needed to cause hearing, kidney, or nerve damage are at least three or four orders of magnitude higher than the amount of the traces of these antibiotics that are found in any vaccine. Indeed, the usual doses of these antibiotics for an adult are in the gram, not milligram or microgram range. Not that that stops Dawn from making the same mistake again with one other antibiotic:

Gentamicin (10) is listed as a contraindication for MedImmune’s vaccine (1). It too, has its own list of possible side effects, which may include nephrotoxicity and/or neurotoxicity.

This is the same idiocy that Kent Heckenlively fell into with hilarious effect. In any case, gentamycin is used to treat serious gram negative bacterial infections, and the dose is usually in the mg/kg range. Again, its orders of magnitude higher than any conceivable dose that a baby could be exposed to in vaccines. In fact, I’d be willing to bet good money that, after an injection of the H1N1 vaccine there wouldn’t even be detectable levels of gentamycin in the blood. There are assays for this drug, because keeping its levels within the therapeutic range and below the toxic range is essential.

Dawn then proceeds to delve deeper into antivaccine pseudoscience:

An overview of the remaining chemicals may prove to be further unsettling. Sanofi Pasteur’s vaccine (4) also contains formaldehyde (25), which is a suspected carcinogen (cancer-causing), Triton X-100 (26), which is possibly a reproductive toxin, and thimerosal (27), which is mutagenic for mammalian somatic cells (alters DNA).

Formaldehyde? As I’ve said before, that’s the dumbest anti-vaccine gambit of all. Even Dr. Jay Gordon doesn’t use it, so shamed and slapped down was he for using it the last time. Thimerosal, as we’ve said before, is not toxic at the doses used in vaccines, and there is no evidence that thimerosal in vaccines causes autism. Finally, Triton X-100 is a a common detergent agent used to make cell membranes permeable and release virus into . In the past, a compound called Tween-Ether was sometimes used instead of Triton X-100. Either way, there’s nowhere near enough Triton X-100 in a vaccine to be toxic. The dose makes the poison.

There’s an old saying that, when you’re in a hole, stop digging. Dawn has never heard of that saying, apparently, given that she then proceeds to blather on and on about potential drug interactions between these antibiotics and how they increase the risk of side effects, such as ototoxicity (harm to hearing) or nephrotoxicity (kidney damage). Again, there’s just one problem. Those interactions occur at therapeutic doses. In ranges orders of magnitude below the therapeutic range they are simply not a major (or even minor) consideration. doubt some will say that I’m being too hard on an ignoramus like Dawn, but if you want to play with the big boys in the blogosphere, you’d better be prepared to take the consequences that come your way from laying down a swath of flaming stupid, like a bomber laying down napalm.

Besides, I haven’t really revealed to you the dumbest part of Dawn’s article yet. Yes, it does get worse. Oh, so much worse. I realize that it’s hard to believe, but it’s true. Not only did Dawn not stop digging when she was in a hole, but she got out a freakin’ backhoe. Heck, she did more than that. She got out the dynamite and started blasting. No, even that’s not enough. She actually decided to start digging by detonating thermonuclear weapons of stupid. Think I’m exaggerating? I only wish I were. In fact, if anything, I think I’m going a bit easy on Dawn for this. But be prepared. If you have even a rudimentary knowledge of very basic chemistry, your brain will hurt after you read this. That’s just the apoptosis of neurons crying out in pain from the toxic waves of stupid washing over them.

OK, ready?

Here it comes.

Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Here it is:

Potassium chloride (30), calcium chloride (31), and sodium chloride (32) are also listed as ingredients for CSL. All three are considered mutagenic for mammalian somatic cells.

I started giggling uncontrollably when I read this passage. I don’t know if it was a reaction to the pain of millions of neurons crying out against the other millions of neurons that had forced my eyes to look at this burning stupid. Somehow I got a picture of a control center in my brain, much like the one in the final segment Woody Allen’s classic movie Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex (But Were Afraid to Ask). I envisioned a bloody and wounded Tony Randall staring blankly around him as parts of the brain’s control center explode like the bridge in a Star Trek episode during a particularly fierce starship battle, with crew members (such as Burt Reynolds in the case of Sex) collapsing or being thrown backward with hilariously bad acting as the console in front of them erupts into a shower of sparks. The humor behind this image gave me comfort and allowed me to survive the onslaught of intelligence-sucking nonsense. I couldn’t help myself, and, I daresay, you probably had a hard time not cracking up too when you read Dawn’s horror that–gasp!–salt is in vaccines.

But back to what Dawn actually wrote.

That’s right. Sodium chloride is in the vaccines! Table salt! Run away! The vaccines are going to kill us all! Or maybe give us hypertension. But what about potassium chloride? Lots of foods have potassium chloride, lots of potassium chloride. Bananas, for instance, are famous for having a lot of potassium. So do Romaine lettuce, spinach, celery, broccoli, cucumbers, and a number of other vegetables. Oh, no! Not that too! The vegetables are going to kill us all too! (Now I’m getting an image of a certain episode of Lost in Space.) But what about calcium chloride? Well, it’s used in lots of foods, too. It can be found in sports drinks as part of the electrolytes used, in various snack foods, and in other foods.

The horror. The horror.

Right now, I’m going to describe a perfect storm of these electrolytes that will strike horror deep into Dawn’s pseudoscientific little heart. There is a product actually used in hospitals that contains not just sodium chloride, but postassium chloride and calcium chloride. Not only that, but it contains them at concentrations as high or higher than what is found in any vaccine. Even worse, it comes in 100 ml, 250 ml, 500 ml and 1 L bags! Hundreds, thousands of times more of the toxins are there! Clearly, this must be some horrible disinfectant. Surely it must be used to scrub down the floors and sinks in order to kill all that resistant staph and those nasty hospital bugs, right? Doctors, nurses, and medical students are probably laughing their posteriors off right now, because they know what I’m referring to:

Lactated Ringer’s, abbreviated LR.

That’s right, it’s an IV fluid infused–the horror! the horror!–directly into the veins. Not only that, but in adults, it’s not infrequently infused at 100 ml/hr or even more. Sometimes a liter at a time is infused rapidly! I wonder why every hospitalized patient who’s received LR hasn’t turned into a mutant or developed cancer? If Dawn is right about sodium chloride and the rest of these salts, every trauma patient who’s ever survived should have horribly mutated cells or cancer, because LR is usually the intravenous fluid of choice for most trauma resuscitations. Come to think of it, here’s another toxic bomb of mutagenesis: Gatorade. That’s right. There’s plenty of NaCl (that’s sodium chloride, Dawn), KCl (that’s potassium chloride, Dawn), and CaCl2 (that’s calcium chloride, Dawn) in sports drinks like Gatorade. That means all those athletes must have cells whose DNA is mutating horribly right this very minute after exposure to those horrible mutagens, NaCl, KCl, and CaCl2!

In the end, Dawn’s article is the perfect encapsulation of the arrogance of ignorance. Dawn thought she could teach herself this stuff and that reading a few MSDS sheets and some lists of ingredients, coupled with a bit of Googling, allows her to understand vaccine ingredients well enough to be able to argue how dangerous they supposedly are. She’s wrong, of course. That’s because medical science is much more than a collection of facts. In fact, even the collection of facts is more than a collection of facts. If you don’t have the background knowledge to put the facts you encounter into perspective, to understand their significance, you can easily make mistakes as hilariously overwrought as Dawn did. It’s the difference between understanding and merely thinking that you understand.

It’s the difference between the arrogance of ignorance and actual knowledge.

Comments

  1. #1 Scott
    October 6, 2009

    How did she possibly miss the DHMO? I mean, there’s just so MUCH of it in vaccines! #1 ingredient and all that!

  2. #2 Orac
    October 6, 2009

    I intentionally left the DHMO jokes as an exercise in fun for my readers. :-)

  3. #3 notmercury
    October 6, 2009

    Hilarious!!! Thanks for putting a smile on my face for the rest of the day. I have a tube of Neosporin that I have to now register as a lethal weapon. Thanks Dawn.

    Potassium chloride (30), calcium chloride (31), and sodium chloride (32) are also listed as ingredients for CSL. All three are considered mutagenic for mammalian somatic cells.

    Possibly one of the funniest things I’ve read all year.

  4. #4 Hubbub
    October 6, 2009

    The antifreeze gambit was my personal favorite… until Sodium Chloride.

    *mentally edits stock anti-vaccine rant*

  5. #5 the bug guy
    October 6, 2009

    Whoa…

    I can’t think of anything to say because my synapses are misfiring so badly.

    I think you finally found the WMD of stupid.

  6. #6 Paul Browne
    October 6, 2009

    “Potassium chloride (30), calcium chloride (31), and sodium chloride (32) are also listed as ingredients for CSL. All three are considered mutagenic for mammalian somatic cells.”

    Triple facepalm??

  7. #7 Militant Agnostic
    October 6, 2009

    Somebody should send crazy Dawn some videos of the fun that can be had by chucking sodium and potassium metal into water. How have the CDC, NWO and the Aluminati managed to cover up all the incidents of people exploding and/or spontaneously combusting after receiving vaccinations?

  8. #8 MikeMa
    October 6, 2009

    It all makes sense in a homeopathic, neurologically dysfunctional sort of way. As Orac points out, for the purposes of science, the dose makes the poison. For Dawn and the other mental midgets, the smaller the dose, the more powerful the reaction! Homeopathic (anti-)vaccines! Death in vanishing small quantities! Horror indeed. It would be nice if just laughing at Dawn would be enough to boost herd immunity.

  9. #9 UK Visitor
    October 6, 2009

    But don’t you find her illustration significant? A large scary red insect-shape (almost with a face) looming out of the screen, tentacles ready to lunge at the reader.

    This is surely the psychological level of the anti-vax brigade: comic book science, with a comic book villain to boot.

    One serious point: in the UK, during the swine flu episode, TV presenters would often stand in front of very similar deep-red-coloured scary graphics (I wasn’t aware the swine flu virus was deep red in colour). And that was supposed to be proper journalism.

    Beware of comic book visuals… sometimes that’s where the intended meaning really lies.

  10. #10 Pablo
    October 6, 2009

    There are two issues here. First, with Dawn, you almost have to feel sympathy. Here is someone so deluded and simple, she really has no clue what she is doing. I actually feel sorry for her.

    But second is the bigger issue: idiot people writing stuff on a personal blog is one thing, but Orac says here that this article has actually been picked up in other whackaloon locations! Imagine this, that someone from the anti-vax world read that article and said, “Wow, Dawn! That’s some powerful stuff you got there. Do you mind if we put it on our website?”

    No one involved in the process said, “Sodium chloride, Dawn? Seriously?”

    So for me, the problem is not that some dingbat wrote a silly piece about vaccines. The bigger concern is that no one in these anti-vax places that promote her had the nerve, or, more scaringly, the actual knowledge to question it.

  11. #11 Richard Eis
    October 6, 2009

    Ah, yes I remember Dawn. She used to try so very hard with so little knowledge. Now against all probability she has actually become dumberer to my mind.

    Happeh however was just mentally unstable. Although really, how do you tell the difference sometimes?

  12. #12 ANB
    October 6, 2009

    The dosages needed to cause hearing, kidney, or nerve damage are at least three or four orders of magnitude higher than the amount of the traces of these antibiotics that are found in any vaccine.

    Dose response. That’s so old school. ; -)

  13. #13 Ge
    October 6, 2009

    That was a lovely rant :)But you underestimate google. Five minutes searching should count for a a lot more then a couple of years of medical training. Now that we have internet, everybody can educate themselves; who needs experts anymore???

    by the way, is Dawn unbanned for this particular post?

  14. #14 Todd W.
    October 6, 2009

    That was some really frighteninsiiad;fkgng

    Sorry…I’m better now. Needed some resuscitation after the salt part.

    Is Dawn in any way related to Th1Th2 (I think that’s who it was) who, over at SBM, was citing MSDSes? Is this the new tactic of the anti-vax movement? If so, they really are grasping at straws.

  15. #15 Pablo
    October 6, 2009

    Dose response. That’s so old school.

    A little. I mean, Peracelsus was alive, what, 16th century?

    Paracelsus (the one who is quoted with “The dose is the poison” or something like that) is an interesting one. The Wikipedia write-up says he died of “natural causes” at the age of 49. However, I have an old source (1887) that describes how Peracelsus, among other old alchemists, came to thinking that alcohol was the elixer, so I am not convinced on the “natural causes.” Personally, I kind of like the irony of the guy credited with the “The dose makes the poison” wisdom having drank himself to death.

    Oh that crazy Bombastus…

  16. #16 Jay Gordon, MD, FAAP
    October 6, 2009

    Orac, you are using a sledge hammer where none is needed.

    You are also confusing anti-vaccinationists with those of us who are judicious in our use of vaccines and object to the current schedule.

    Thirdly, you are enabling those whose comments amplify and further simplify your facile dismissal of all criticisms of the current vaccine schedule.

    Do you have time to talk about the lack of discussion about who might and might not benefit from the Swine Flu vaccine?

    Best,

    Jay

  17. #17 leigh
    October 6, 2009

    equipped with not even the most basic understanding of pharmacology, one can now be an expert in toxicology without all that pesky “effort”

    …wow! and to think i just wasted how many years.

    the arrogance of ignorance is right on. shall we even go into the concept of therapeutic index?! gasp!

  18. #18 Todd W.
    October 6, 2009

    @Jay Gordon

    object to the current schedule

    What schedule do you use, and what scientific evidence supports its safety and efficacy as compared to the current schedule?

  19. #19 Sivi
    October 6, 2009

    “In any case, gentamycin is used to treat serious gram negative bacterial infections, and the dose is usually in the mg/kg range.”

    I might be/suspect I am misunderstanding something, but it seems strange to me that an antibiotic would be used in doses measured in kilograms.

  20. #20 Militant Agnostic
    October 6, 2009

    And the difference between crazy Dawn’s “Oh noes te kemicalz” and Jenny McCarthy’s “Oh noes te toxins (including formaldehyde” is?

  21. #21 DLC
    October 6, 2009

    . . .Little ducky i’m awfully fond of you* . . .
    Right.. systems coming back online. Cerebral functions returning to normal. The Stupid is strong in that one.
    I’m glad that Brain Control managed to close the blast doors in time.

    *(song Rubber Ducky, Children’s Television Workshop)

  22. #22 notmercury
    October 6, 2009

    I might be/suspect I am misunderstanding something, but it seems strange to me that an antibiotic would be used in doses measured in kilograms.

    Slash isn’t/wasn’t just/only the guitarist/songwriter for Guns and Roses/Velvet Revolver.

  23. #23 Militant Agnostic
    October 6, 2009

    Sivi at 19 – mg/kg is mg of drug per kilogram of body weight.

    Mind you, feedlots probably by antibiotics by the kilogram, a practice that is going to bite us all in the ass someday.

  24. #24 Credentialed
    October 6, 2009

    Dr. Jay @16: You are also confusing anti-vaccinationists with those of us who are judicious in our use of vaccines and object to the current schedule.

    ju·di·cious (adj.) – having, exercising, or characterized by sound judgment

    Dr. Jay has never outlined any “sound judgment” in his objections to the current schedule. Indeed, Dr. Jay has repeatedly acknowledged that the established science does not support his general stance but asserts that his clinical experience justifies eschewing epidemiology and the like.

    I have never seen Dr. Jay publicly correct or re-educate any anti-vaccinationists, either, though he claims to have learned a lot on this site. [If Dr. Jay has done so and I've missed it, please provide a link, as I would be highly curious.]

    Thus, Dr. “Judicious” relies upon anecdotal evidence (with several possible, if not probable, biases) over higher quality evidence and does not counter those who are demonstrably wrong and/or misleading. Explain how you’re not anti-vax…

  25. #25 Pablo
    October 6, 2009

    How is this a “sledgehammer”? It’s not like Orac is pulling out the big guns and going after it with all his expertise. No, this is just pretty basic stuff, the equivalent of a fly swatter.

    It just looks bad because the target isn’t even the equivalent of a fly.

  26. #26 Sid Offit
    October 6, 2009

    @Jay
    who might and might not benefit from the Swine Flu vaccine?
    ———————————-

    The drug company sponsored “faces of influenza” points to these highly targeted groups

    Anyone who wants to prevent influenza
    Children 6 months-18 years of age
    Adults 50 years of age and older
    Women who are pregnant during the influenza season
    Adults and children with chronic medical conditions, such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), heart disease, weakened immune system, diabetes, and others
    Residents of long-term care facilities and nursing homes
    Household contacts and caregivers of anyone in a high-risk group, including children younger than 6 months of age who are too young to be vaccinated. These contacts include:
    Parents
    Grandparents
    Siblings
    Babysitters
    Day care providers
    Health-care personnel who come in contact with patients

    Pets
    Dead people
    People who know people at risk
    People who don’t know people at risk
    Fetuses
    Embryos
    Body parts at medical schools

  27. #27 Mary
    October 6, 2009

    Put evil Dawn in the sack. Twice.

  28. #28 ebohlman
    October 6, 2009

    Dawn has managed to make Michele Bachmann, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Orly Taitz and Fred Phelps all simultaneously look like paragons of sanity.

  29. #29 jre
    October 6, 2009

    As I mentioned in a different context, sodium is simply the vehicle to carry chlorine – a deadly gas – into the brain. How anyone can countenance the use of sodium chloride for any purpose is beyond me.

  30. #30 Berner
    October 6, 2009

    As a chemist, the bit about NaCl, KCl and CaCl2 gave me a headache. It’s probably because I repeatedly slapped my head to get out the stupid.

  31. #31 LC
    October 6, 2009

    It’s somewhat understandable that she is scared of Sodium and Potassium.

    After all neurons use K+ and Na+ pumps to function, and the very thought of having a functional brain must be an absolute horror to her.

  32. #32 Kemist
    October 6, 2009

    You did warn us but…

    Owww, my brains…

    And what has poor chemistry even done to her for evil dawn to torture it so ?

  33. #33 Michael
    October 6, 2009

    @#6 No, Paul, that’s a Picard face palm, because sometimes a regular face palm just isn’t eloquent enough.

    Seriously… sodium chloride? Erm… that’s definitely some supernova stupid right there: it makes thermonuclear stupid look minor in comparison.

  34. #34 Militant Agnostic
    October 6, 2009

    I have never seen Dr. Jay publicly correct or re-educate any anti-vaccinationists, either, though he claims to have learned a lot on this site. [If Dr. Jay has done so and I've missed it, please provide a link, as I would be highly curious.]

    Worth repeating – that’s what I was hinting at with my snark @20.

    You would think that if Dr. Jay was really concerned that these chemically ignorant arguments discredit those who “object to the current schedule” he might be using be doing something to show that he does not agree with these chemically ignorant arguments.

  35. #35 Sir Eccles
    October 6, 2009

    Did you know that the CIA is secretly using DHMO to torture people???

  36. #36 Berner
    October 6, 2009

    Oh man I just got what you meant by DHMO. Now the rest of my lab thinks I’m crazy due to the cackling coming from my desk.

  37. #37 trrll
    October 6, 2009

    None of this “dose makes the poison” stuff for antivaccinationists. That’s just chemistry, but we all know that life is magic. It is impossible for the same chemical to be good fro you at one dose, and poison at another. That’s crazy talk, because a chemical has either a good essence, or an evil essence. Anything that can kill you, at whatever dose, is clearly evil, hence any amount of it, no matter how tiny, is necessarily harmful.

    Hmmmm…perhaps we should encourage this. If we could convince Dawn, and others who share her point of view, to eliminate from their diets all traces of those evil molecules sodium chloride, potassium chloride, and calcium chloride, for just a few weeks, a lot of idiocy on the internet would simply disappear. Just like magic.

  38. #38 squirrelelite
    October 6, 2009

    It took a few seconds, but I broke up over the mutagenic salts, too.

    After I recovered, I went in the kitchen and got a few cereal boxes out to check how much I was poisoning myself.

    One cereal has 150 mg of sodium, 85 mg of potassium, and 100 mg of calcium. A second has 280 mg of sodium, 160 mg of potassium and 1000 mg of calcium. The third has 190 mg of sodium, 170 mg of potassium and 100 mg of calcium. The half cup of milk that I ate with my bowl of cereal had 150 mg of calcium. Am I going to die of cancer tomorrow?!>!>!

    The FDA’s recommended DV’s are 2400 mg for sodium, 3500 mg for potassium and 1000 mg for calcium. You need them to be healthy!

    Whatever dose of these salts I get with my seasonal flu shot next week has got to be tiny compared to one bite of the cereal I ate for breakfast.

    To Militant Agnostic,

    Thanks for clarifying the mg/kg question. With the frequent typos, misspellings, and just missing words that are common in blog comments, it’s not always clear exactly what was meant and that one had me confused, too.

  39. #39 Tenebras
    October 6, 2009

    omfg. Sodium chloride?? Was this woman not forced (as I was) to take a high school chemistry class? Who DIDN’T learn that sodium chloride was table salt in high school or earlier?

    Or maybe that’s the problem: she flunked out. :P

  40. #40 Chris
    October 6, 2009

    Berner:

    Oh man I just got what you meant by DHMO.

    You must read the Dihydrogem Monoxide Research Division website. Many years ago a sent a link to a disability listserv I was on (which was being infected by the mercury militia). The reaction was mostly good, but a couple of people were very upset because they were duped.

  41. #41 Ramel
    October 6, 2009

    Did you know that the CIA is secretly using DHMO to torture people???

    Erm, secretly?

  42. #42 Phoenix Woman
    October 6, 2009

    Potassium chloride (30), calcium chloride (31), and sodium chloride (32) are also listed as ingredients for CSL. All three are considered mutagenic for mammalian somatic cells.

    Wow. So stupid, even people who forgot high-school chemistry stand a fair chance of being able to grok the stupid.

    Unfortunately, most people fall into this category, which is why woo is so pervasive: Woo’s easy, whereas science is hard.

  43. #43 Marilyn Mann
    October 6, 2009

    In case anyone’s interested, there’s a good article on H1N1 and fears about vaccines in The New Yorker. Michael Spector, The Fear Factor.
    http://www.newyorker.com/talk/comment/2009/10/12/091012taco_talk_specter

  44. #44 Pablo
    October 6, 2009

    @Todd W

    What schedule do you use, and what scientific evidence supports its safety and efficacy as compared to the current schedule?

    Come on, Todd, Jay Gordon don’t need no steenkin’ science! He’s got 15 years of clinical experience that trumps all the science in the world.

    Or he could just join with Bob Sears, and use the “It sounds more reasonable” approach.

  45. #45 Todd W.
    October 6, 2009

    @Pablo

    Oh, I’m aware of his past responses to questions like this. My main intent was not necessarily to get a straight answer from him (I can’t hold my breath that long), but rather to point out his lack of evidence to anyone who may be reading the comments.

  46. #46 Sir Eccles
    October 6, 2009

    Did you know that the CIA is secretly using DHMO to torture people???

    Erm, secretly?

    Ramel, that’s how these conspiracies work! It’s all done in secret. If I was able to blab all over the internets about how secret their secret torture secrets were it wouldn’t be a secret would it. The men in black would be knocking on my door right now to…

    *no carrier*

  47. #47 Pablo
    October 6, 2009

    @Todd

    And my intent was not to think you missed something, but to just highlight for others the actual answers that we hear when we ask for such information.

    It’s piling on, I’ll admit.

  48. #48 Todd W.
    October 6, 2009

    @Pablo

    Gotcha.

  49. #49 Jeff Read
    October 6, 2009

    It’s got what mutations crave. It’s got electrolytes!

  50. #50 MI Dawn
    October 6, 2009

    You really need to have a NSFW warning at the top of this! I started giggling uncontrollably too, and that brought all my coworkers over to find out what was so funny. The most coherent comment from one of them was “this woman is crazy”.

    Now I have to read the rest of the comments. Thanks much for the laughter!

    Hugs from the Michigander on the east coast.

  51. #51 ababa
    October 6, 2009

    Yeah, this article was already linked in the comments section of the local newspaper article. However, the toxin thing isn’t what the local anti-vaxers are latching onto (after they got laughed at about ZOMG squalene!).

    The big thing they whine about is shedding of the flu mist version. One was complaining about co-workers making fun of her and another was going to wear a mask for three weeks because her school was giving them out. They happily expose themselves to chicken pox and measles, but this type of thing scares them.

  52. #52 Pablo
    October 6, 2009

    I don’t know where else to put this comment, so I’ll just do it here. I was just looking at the wiki page for squalene:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Squalene

    You know, that new boogeyman of the anti-vax movement?

    I have to admit, this seriously blows me away. You know, if squalene wasn’t a component of vaccines, this sounds exactly like something that some whackadoodle “functional medicine” loon would be telling everyone they should be taking as a supplement, as part of 150 pills (are we sure it actually isn’t part of the Gonzalez protocol?)

    I mean, come on, it’s from shark liver oil and is part of rice bran, wheat germ, and olives! It must be something wonderful.

    WAIT A MINUTE: Reading more information on that webpage shows that I am actually right:

    “Recently it has become a trend for sharks to be hunted to process their livers for the purpose of making squalene health capsules.”

    I knew it. I knew it. I knew it!

  53. #53 Finn
    October 6, 2009

    I think the funniest line in Dawn’s post is this: “The only logical conclusion is that there must be a reason why they have not been able to conduct these [carcnogenesis, mutagenesis, fertility] studies.” Um, yeah, OK, but why is that supposed to be scary? Oh, wait, I’m supposed to mentally hear the Organ Chords of Doom while reading that sentence, aren’t I? I suppose the ototoxicity of all the vaccines I’ve received would explain why I didn’t. Or perhaps the truly vast amounts of sodium chloride I’ve ingested (Ah loves me some salt!) actually killed me a good many years ago & dead people just don’t scare easily.

  54. #54 Anthro
    October 6, 2009

    Well, yes, poor Dawn IS stupid, but shouldn’t we be taking about why this is the sorry state of education instead of ripping her a new one? What is to be achieved by this gigantic tongue-lashing?

    I’m a lot more concerned about these doctors (Gordon, Sears, et.al.) taking up the fears of the type of people who may actually read Dawn’s post. How can we hope to educate children about basic science if we have doctors doing this as well as “integrating” their practices (and I don’t mean hiring minorities)?

  55. #55 MikeMa
    October 6, 2009

    Sir Eccles
    Lost Carrier? I haven’t heard that since I left my high school radio station!

    MI Dawn
    Don’t you miss those long posts rants when you were mistaken for the evil Dawn? Just a little? :)

  56. #56 Todd W.
    October 6, 2009

    @Pablo

    I’ve got a little bit of info about squalene on my site. The alt-med supplement aspect of it was something I found out about pretty quickly in my search for more info on it.

  57. #57 Militant Agnostic
    October 6, 2009

    Finn @53

    dead people just don’t scare easily.

    As anyone who has had to deal with a zombie outbreak can attest.

    Unfortunately, the brain dead scare easily especially when confronted with chemicals.

  58. #58 MI Dawn
    October 6, 2009

    @MikeMa: Ah, those were the days! No, I don’t really miss them. I still use MI Dawn on the vaccine posts in self-defense. Even though Dawn was banned and seems to not be a morpher, I don’t want to get confused with her again.

    The whole mess was a lot funnier when I met Orac for the first time. Somehow he missed the note I would be at the bar (and I missed the notice that evil Dawn and crew were threatening to harass outside the bar). So, when I walked up to him and introduced myself, he looked panicked and I thought I had the wrong person! It got straightened out quickly but it was funny.

  59. #59 Pablo
    October 6, 2009

    Well, yes, poor Dawn IS stupid, but shouldn’t we be taking about why this is the sorry state of education instead of ripping her a new one?

    I did mention early on (#10) about how there is a bigger issue of how, while Dawn is a dingbat (I mentioned I actually feel sorry for her), no one else involved with sending her post around seemed to notice it, either. The implication being that the anti-vax movement is rife with … ignorance, I guess is the best word.

    @Todd – in fact, it was through your site that I got to the wikipedia page!

  60. #60 genotypical
    October 6, 2009

    Slightly OT, but this discussion reminds me that an MSDS always requires some common-sense interpretation. Back in the old days we frequently used dry heat blocks for warming up samples to high temperatures. To improve the heat transfer between the holes in the metal block and the Eppendorf tubes, we used to put fine sand into the holes. I had to order a bottle of superclean, superfine sand from a chemical supply company that shall remain nameless. It came with an MSDS that solemnly warned us not to 1) eat it or 2) snort it. We all laughed our a***s off, but I shudder to think what Dawn would have made of it!

  61. #61 Pablo
    October 6, 2009
  62. #62 marcia
    October 6, 2009

    Why am I really worrying about the H1N1 vaccine today ? Only on Beck, this Thursday, will ALL my questions be answered honestly.

    Nowhere else.

    http://www.dailykostv.com/w/002212/

  63. #63 Art
    October 6, 2009

    MikeMa @8 has it right.

    A major part of the logic underpinning the antivax movement comes from homeopathy. The mistaken, prescientific, understanding that materials have an underlying, irreducible, permanent essence. That this is transmitted and impresses itself on everything that comes in contact with it. That dilution doesn’t weaken this essence but rather allows the purest essence to emerge.

    That once a material is identified as ‘toxic’ the only answer is to eliminate it completely. Which became a scientific impossibility once we developed technology to detect things at a parts-per-billion level. Fact being we live in a veritable soup of elements, chemicals and compounds. Many of which have scary sounding names and which, if exposure becomes great enough, can potentially do harm. At the parts-per-trillion level nothing is pure.

    Of course some of this I suspect has to do with professional jealousy between homeopaths and vaccine makers. Taking tiny bits of something that causes symptoms, diluting them and exposing people to them to prevent a disease sounds kind of like homeopathy. It is natural that homeopaths might think they should be doing it.

    Of course vaccinations are manufactured with precision and science. The makers get all the credit, make decent money along the way, save millions from disease and suffering, get acclaim, and play with really neat tools. Whereas homeopaths are still using wonders of high tech and precision; like Korsakov’s method of dilution. Wherein a solution is swished around a container, dumped out and the container refilled with diluent. This is arbitrarily assumed to be 1:100 dilution. It wouldn’t pass a high school chemistry class but it is standard in homeopathy.

    Around the late 1800s homeopathy was fairly well respected and was, given the primitive methods and understanding of medicine at the time, roughly as effective as medicine. Given that mid 18th century medicine was just coming off ‘removing toxins and excess humors’ by bleeding, enemas and emetics, that mercury was still a major ingredient in many medicines, and antibiotics hadn’t been invented so infection was a common outcome of surgery; homeopathy looked pretty good. It might not have cured, or even treated, a disease but it lent a little hope and, in the end, a splash of water at least did little harm.

    The problem for homeopathy is that medical science advanced to become effective and rooted its advances in an ever better understanding of how the human body functions. Right down to the molecular level. Presently most diseases can be treated, if not cured, by medical science. Even when that isn’t possible medicine can usually limit pain and suffering. And it keeps getting better.

    Whereas homeopathy is still stuck with concepts and articles of faith that were codified in the late 1800s and have their roots in alchemy and prescientific understandings of disease and how the human body works. Homeopathy has a Napoleon complex. When they see medical science pushing vials of ‘mostly water’ they get jealous. For they have been pushing their ‘mostly water’ for a very long time. This is their turf. And everyone knows that if you dilute a substance it gets stronger. LOL.

  64. #64 Ktesibios
    October 6, 2009

    Orac, just for fun I tried three of my co-workers on the question “If I say that two numbers differ by two orders of magnitude, what do I mean?”.

    Not a single one had any idea of what I was talking about.

    Okay, you know what “order of magnitude” means on account of you being a scientist and all, and I know what it means because I’m an electronics geek and have done stuff like multiplying 4.7 kohms by 220 microfarads in my head thousands of times; anyone who survived an old-style high school chemistry class where they made you learn how to multiply with a slide rule and use exponential notation to keep track of the damn decimal point should be familiar with the concept, but to the Great American Couch Potato “order of magnitude” sounds like the title of some made-for-TV movie.

    You might not see the effect because your blog tends to draw a pretty well-informed audience, but the minds you’re competing for belong to people who don’t know the (quantitative) difference between a kilogram and a microgram.

    I fear that the fact that the Dawns of this world are confusing dosages that differ by a factor of ten thousand or more will be lost on the average reader unless it is explained with grab-em-by-the-scruff-of-the-neck-and-rub-their-faces-in-it explicitness.

  65. #65 Kausik Datta
    October 6, 2009

    Question for Orac:
    Is Dawn = Th1Th2?
    (Intentionally cryptic message for the cognoscenti…) :D
    Both have the same concerns about adjuvants!

  66. #66 Daniel J. Andrews
    October 6, 2009

    I think Ktesibios made a good point. Some people won’t understand what you mean by “order of magnitude” so perhaps an explanation for them might make the ‘magnitude’ ;) of Dawn’s errors more apparent.

    Dawn’s post was quite funny, but I find myself rather depressed at the lack of what should be basic knowledge.

  67. #67 IBY
    October 6, 2009

    OMG, you just gave me a fit of giggle. It made up for the apoptosis in my brain and the absolute boredom I am in.

  68. #68 Pablo
    October 6, 2009

    I think Ktesibios made a good point. Some people won’t understand what you mean by “order of magnitude”

    And those computer science folks who work in binary won’t grasp the significance of the difference. What’s a factor of 4 between friends? (or 100, as the case may be)

  69. #69 Ana Observer
    October 6, 2009

    Salt.

    Salt.

    SALT.

    *is speechless*

  70. #70 Wayward son
    October 6, 2009

    Wouldn’t Dawn do more good by going to the grocery store, standing in the produce aisle so she can hysterically warn customers that there is formaldehyde in the apples. All of them. Always has been as it occurs naturally. Some people eat apples every day, so surely they are at greater risk then people getting vaccines every once in a while. Think of the children, Dawn, being poisoned for the profits of those greedy evil apple farmers.

  71. #71 Dr Aust
    October 6, 2009

    I like the Sartre quote (in French – “l’enfer, c’est les autres”).

    It is especially apt as it comes from the play Huis Clos (No Exit in the States, sometimes titled In Camera in the UK) in which hell is portrayed as being to be trapped with a couple of other people in a room for eternity, going around and around basically mentally torturing each other by re-hashing the same arguments/faults/acts/inactions. For those who don’t know the play. more here:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No_Exit

    Anyway, it got me wondering… who would be in our bloghost’s personal Huis Clos? I did think D.Ullman would have to be included, but after a bit more thought I reckon Orac’s personal Huis Clos scenario would really have to include Dr Jay Gordon. Any other suggestions? Do I hear Dean Ornish? Andrew Wakefield? Jenny McCarthy?

  72. #72 MC
    October 6, 2009

    What?!? Vaccines have ingredients? They are chemicals?

    How can we as a free people allow this?

  73. #73 rob
    October 6, 2009

    don’t forget the cyanide compounds contained in apple seeds!!!

    ahhhhhh!!!!

  74. #74 LovleAnjel
    October 6, 2009

    Oh, but the apple seeds are important– that’s how GI Joe will destroy Cobra’s jelly blobs!

    Seriously, I can’t work after reading that. I’m dissolving into fits of giggles.

  75. #75 Raging bee
    October 6, 2009

    As I mentioned in a different context, sodium is simply the vehicle to carry chlorine – a deadly gas – into the brain. How anyone can countenance the use of sodium chloride for any purpose is beyond me.

    Yeah, I’d have to take such recommendations with a grain of salt. With DHMO as the solvent/delivery vehicle, of course…

  76. #76 Pareidolius
    October 6, 2009

    Actually, posting some kind of reference for orders of magnitude would be a huge help to your non-scientist readers. I know I got a big wake-up to how bad the economic situation was with a very graphic demonstration of the difference between a million, billion and trillion using seconds as the reference unit. Maybe its time for a new poster from the Institute for the Eradication of Tooth Fairy Science.

  77. #77 Militant Agnostic
    October 6, 2009

    Raging bee @75 – Is that a direct quote of a woo whackaloon or did you make that up?

  78. #78 Chris
    October 6, 2009

    Militant Agnostic, that is a sarcastic comment upthread.

  79. #79 Intransigentia
    October 6, 2009

    I can’t believe she’s so ill-informed as to be unaware that potassium is what stops the heart in execution by lethal injection. How could she have left that out? Here she is, letting people go around thinking oh, it’s just a mutagen, I’ll deal with those consequences later, when they’re actually lining up FOR THE GALLOWS!!1!ONE!

  80. #80 Militant Agnostic
    October 6, 2009

    Chris, I have found that one can never underestimate the intelligence and knowledge of an antivaxxer.

  81. #81 Karl withakay
    October 6, 2009

    Sodium Chloride…When I hear a warning claim like that, I can only come to two possible conclusions:

    The person is uncorrectably stupid and ignorant.

    The person knows their argument is bull$hit, made up of intentional deceptions, lies, and exaggerations, but hopes her audience is too uncorectably stupid and ignorant to know any better.

    Flip a coin, it doesn’t really matter which it is.

  82. #82 bob
    October 6, 2009

    This is so ridiculous, I don’t see how anyone could even try to defend it from mockery.

    Oh, wait, Jay “Honest I’m Not AntiVax” Gordon gave it a whirl. Jay, didn’t you say you were going to write up an article criticizing some piece of unscientific antivax propaganda? (It was so long ago now, I’ve forgotten the details.) Do you have a link for us? After all, if you aren’t anti-vaccination, surely you are interested in counteracting dangerous vaccine misinformation?

  83. #83 Prometheus
    October 6, 2009

    “Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer do…..”

    [reboot]

    Man! That was a close one – reading even the excerpts of “Dawn’s” post shut down all my circuits (ala HAL 9000) and generated a auto-restart. Clearly, Orac is a superior computer to be able to withstand such an EMP of ignorance.

    But seriously, it’s a measure of the arrogance of ignorance running rampant through our society that someone as obviously ignorant about chemistry, biology and probably physics as “Dawn” could have the unimitigated chutzpah to try to “educate” people about vaccine components.

    And while I agree that it tells a sad tale about the state of science education in our primary schools, I think it is also appropriate – because of the arrogance of ignorance – to expose “Dawn” to the ridicule her statements clearly crave. We’ve tried – in the past – to educate her, we’ve tried to direct her to better sources, yet she persists (perseverates?) in relying on her own “gut feeling” to tell her that she is right and thousands (tens of thousands) of scientists are wrong.

    It’s not her fault (alone) that she’s ignorant, but it is her fault that she thinks she knows more about a subject than people who have spent decades of their life studying it. That’s the reason to ridicule her – not because she’s wrong, but because she has persisted in being wrong even after several people have tried to set her straight.

    In that respect, she’s a lot like our very own “Dr. Jay”, who rejects anything he doesn’t agree with because…… well, because he’s always right (because of his thirty years of clinical experience as a pediatrician, of course). Unfortunately for “Dr. Jay”, he can’t fall back on the “I was never educated in science.” excuse. Not that he ever offers excuses – “Dr. Jay” (to my knowledge) has never publicly acknowledged that he was wrong, so he doesn’t need excuses.

    Being “alternative” means never having to say “I was wrong.” They just change the subject (“How about that 2009 H1N1 influenza vaccine?”)

    Prometheus

  84. #84 Tsu Dho Nimh
    October 6, 2009

    Triton X-100 (26), which is possibly a reproductive toxin I actually traced this one … AFAIR there was a study (one study) in rats wherein large doses of Triton X-100 given over a period of weeks to some juvenile male rats decreased the testicle size at maturity.

    They did not give them weight-adjusted doses like happens with vaccines – they poured it down their rodently throats and then measured their balls with calipers.

  85. #85 MI Dawn
    October 6, 2009

    I went to her blog and tried to read it. Most of it was “pity poor me, I had a perfect child who was ruined, ruined I say! by the evil vaccines.” I don’t deny she may have gotten some runarounds by military docs – I’ve met many in my life. Most are fabulous docs who really care, but there are, like doctors anywhere, bad apples in the bunch. I was damn glad I was not military personnel the time I told one doc to go to hell for stupidity (sex left undocumented for a reason).

    However, since I have a really low tolerance for “teh stoopid”, I don’t think I’ll go back and read much more. Otherwise I’d be tempted to grab her by the hair and drag her over to meet my cousin. 3 girls, all with a rare disease which has led to regression and will lead to death in a few years more. She is heartbroken and lives for her kids. She does not blame the world. She would, however, forbid Dawn to come anywhere near her fragile girls, since they are very vulnerable to disease (can’t be vaccinated – I forget the rationale the Cleveland Clinic gave them) and a cold could put them in ICU. Any of the vaccine preventable diseases could kill them. Fortunately, she lives in a city with a high vaccine rate, so the girls are still able to attend school as far as they can.

  86. #86 Jimboooo!
    October 6, 2009

    Solid smackdown. Top work.

    9.5/10

  87. #87 Tyler
    October 6, 2009

    Everyone knows dihydrogen monoxide is totally safe! Any highschool chemistry student can tell you the real risk is hydrogen hydroxide.

  88. #88 titmouse
    October 6, 2009

    Thirdly, you are enabling those whose comments amplify and further simplify your facile dismissal of all criticisms of the current vaccine schedule.

    Dr. Jay, I have before me the Journal of Crap Pulled Out My Ass, Vol. 13, July 2007, wherein criticism of the current vaccine schedule is reviewed. I draw your attention to Figure 2, outlining the benefit of the new schedule to the CDC version. Note that somehow the graph was rotated 90 degrees before the article went to the publisher. Once you put the graph in its proper orientation, it becomes clear that the CDC schedule is actually better than the new schedule. Oops!

  89. #89 Rahne
    October 6, 2009

    Wait, I’m sorry Orac, I think the salt gambit made my brain explode — did you say you have Burt Reynolds in your head?

  90. #90 DavidCT
    October 6, 2009

    I am surprised that Dawn did not report that vaccines are full of dihydrogen monoxide, a potent industrial solvent.

  91. #91 D. C. Sessions
    October 6, 2009

    You are also confusing anti-vaccinationists with those of us who are judicious in our use of vaccines and object to the current schedule.

    Funny you should mention that, Jay. For all the mishegoss and narishkeit flooding out of your colleagues at HuffPo, AoA, etc. we never see you taking issue with any of it. So from here it’s a little hard to tell the difference between you and any other anti-vaccinationist.

    Sort of how most Westerners can’t tell a radical Shiite from a radical Wahabist. The subtle doctrinal distinctions don’t mean all that much to us, we just know the results of your efforts [1].

    The only objections you seem to raise are here, where we mock idiots who flip out over formaldehyde in vaccines. That says more about your actual agenda than any words you post.

    [1] The Law of Intended Consequences applies.

  92. #92 D. C. Sessions
    October 6, 2009

    Jay, didn’t you say you were going to write up an article criticizing some piece of unscientific antivax propaganda? (It was so long ago now, I’ve forgotten the details.)

    Take it easy on Jay. He got stuck on an escalator, and hasn’t gotten off of it yet.

  93. #93 D. C. Sessions
    October 6, 2009

    Unfortunately for “Dr. Jay”, he can’t fall back on the “I was never educated in science.” excuse.

    Jay had as much education in science as any pediatrician, but with effort he was able to overcome it.

  94. #94 smyersdvm
    October 6, 2009

    I couldn’t help it. I posted a comment on her blog. A polite one, even…relatively speaking. Any bets as to whether or not she’ll approve it?

    “Sodium chloride is salt. Table salt. Potassium chloride & calcium chloride are electrolytes found in IV fluids, sports drinks and common fruits and vegetables in quantities far, FAR exceeding any minute amounts that might be found in any vaccine.

    “Neomycin, polymyxin & gentamicin warnings are included because those who are hypersensitive to these antibiotics can react to the trace amounts that remain after they are used in the manufacturing process to prevent bacterial growth. A child would get a much higher dose in a topical application of Neosporin on a scraped knee than in a vaccine.

    “Everything that you listed in your article depends upon QUANTITY for the adverse effects that you ascribe to them, quantity that simply is not present in vaccines.

    “The only exceptions to this are those things that can trigger allergic reactions, and it is precisely because hypersensitivity can occur in response to minute quantities that the warnings are given. The reason that the vaccines have not been evaluated for carcinogenic/mutagenic effects or impairment of fertility is that none of these ingredients is present in high enough levels to pose any risk of these effects.”

  95. #95 cam
    October 6, 2009

    “Sort of how most Westerners can’t tell a radical Shiite from a radical Wahabist. The subtle doctrinal distinctions don’t mean all that much to us, we just know the results of your efforts [1].”

    wow. just. wow.

  96. #96 Kristina F
    October 6, 2009

    Whatever happened to being natural? Babies are the closest thing to purity and now we are injecting them with who knows what. Isn’t it a little strange that children have so many disorders now days compared to 30+ years ago?

  97. #97 Todd W.
    October 6, 2009

    @Kristina F

    Isn’t it a little strange that children have so many disorders now days compared to 30+ years ago?

    We also have a lot more knowledge now so that we can diagnose things that were missed 30+ years ago. At any rate, you have any data to back up the suggestion that kids have more disorders now than before? And, if so, any specific leads other than vague worryings about “injecting them with who knows what”? (we actually have a very good idea of “what”, thank you very much.)

  98. #98 Phoenix Woman
    October 6, 2009

    Whatever happened to being natural? Babies are the closest thing to purity and now we are injecting them with who knows what. Isn’t it a little strange that children have so many disorders now days compared to 30+ years ago?

    OBJECTION! Assumes facts not in evidence.

  99. #99 MI Dawn
    October 6, 2009

    @Phoenix Woman: Sustained.

    Many kids just weren’t given a diagnosis 30+ years ago unless they were truly Kanner classic autistic. I could name more than 1 child in my elementary school or who lived in my neighborhood who would now be classified as at least PDD if not autistic. And we had very minimal vaccines – I had DTP, OPV and Smallpox (yeah, showing my age). But even as kids we saw a change in the “weird” kids as they got older. They may have just become better at fitting in,although they were still weird or nerds or whatever.

    Any kid that really needed special needs education were segregated into at least separate classes, if not separate schools. Sad but true.

  100. #100 Matthew Cline
    October 6, 2009

    @Anthro:

    Well, yes, poor Dawn IS stupid, but shouldn’t we be taking about why this is the sorry state of education instead of ripping her a new one? What is to be achieved by this gigantic tongue-lashing?

    Dawn believes that the NWO is using vaccines to inject people with all sorts of evil drugs to further their nefarious purposes, so I’m unsure of how to tell how much of it is ignorance/stupidity on her part, and how much of it is her lying to people for their own good in order to get them to avoid the NWO’s trap.

  101. #101 ESPness
    October 6, 2009

    Can anyone tell me what constitutes a safe dose of NaCl when having Tequila?

  102. #102 Dan the man
    October 6, 2009

    That stupid idiot Dawn who wrote that article. I live in Australia and just got my swine flu vax and so did my wife who is pregnant and she couldnt care less about the god dam mercury in it. It is prooven to be safe for babies anyway so that stupid conspiricy freak needs to just shut the hell up.

    THANKYOU Orac

    Dan

  103. #103 MikeMa
    October 6, 2009

    Kristina F
    Your post contains so many flaws it is difficult to pick a place to start.

    50 or 60 years ago, when vaccines were first introduced on a large scale, those ‘pure’ babies had polio, measles. mumps, small pox, whooping cough and more. 30 years ago many of those horrible illnesses were reduced dramatically BY VACCINATION. Idiot.

    Dawn and her friends are working hard to force us back to having children suffer and die from vaccine preventable disease because they understand nothing about science.

  104. #104 trrll
    October 6, 2009

    Whatever happened to being natural?

    People got tired of natural things like diphtheria, polio, cholera, and whooping cough. Isn’t it strange that there is so much less of these disorders than 30+ years ago?

  105. #105 Sid Offit
    October 6, 2009

    Calling the mumps a horrible disease is like….calling salt a neurotoxin.

  106. #106 holomorph
    October 6, 2009

    It’s easily overlooked once Dawn’s stupidity hits your brain, but I think the funniest part of this whole post is Orac’s use of the phrase “even a homeopathic chance”… I’ve got to remember that one.

  107. #107 bob
    October 6, 2009

    It was pretty awesome here when people ignored the trolls while we discussed the Maher fiasco. Anyone up for making that unspoken rule permanent?

  108. #108 the_muteKi
    October 6, 2009

    This is really really silly.

    Did you know water contains materials known to lead to death?

    Oh yeah, some guy tried chugging like several gallons in the matter of like 10 minutes as a fraternity haze somewhere, and died afterward.

  109. #109 Chris
    October 6, 2009

    the_muteki, the ironic thing is while you said minerals in water are known to lead to death, deaths due to water intoxication are caused by diluting the minerals required for your body to function.

    Don’t you remember the tragic story of a young mother who died during a stupid radio contest called Hold Your Wee For a Wii?

  110. #110 Rjaye
    October 6, 2009

    Calling the mumps a horrible disease is like….calling salt a neurotoxin.

    Posted by: Sid Offit | October 6, 2009 10:49 PM

    Oh, dear, of course, a virus causing an illness that last fall infected at least 200 people in British Columbia, had nearly 5% of those hospitalized with meningitis, and nine with deafness (not to mention the 25% of males with orchitis…who knows how many cases of sterility there)(or the unknown number with inflamed ovaries and GI tracts)…

    Not horrible at all.

    Okay, off of soapbox and back to the topic…

  111. #111 Dr P
    October 7, 2009

    Calling the mumps a horrible disease is like….calling salt a neurotoxin.

    Posted by: Sid Offit

    Spoken like someone whose never seen it.You continue to repeat the same memes while ignoring others who have referred you to the recent study from Japan that suggests a higher incidence of complications than previously thought.

  112. #112 Jay Gordon, MD, FAAP
    October 7, 2009

    I’ll read through the rest of the comments soon but I had to answer Rjaye’s. Your interpretation of the facts is based on specious reasoning and hyperbole.

    It’s as if I were to say, “Well, excess salt kills more people than mumps!” Dumb.

    I wish the rest of you would police your own as diligently as you monitor me.

    _______________________________

    Todd, I give fewer vaccines than most pediatricians and I schedule them far later than recommended. I have no evidence supporting either the safety or efficacy of that pace. In that regard, my schedule is identical to the standard: There are insufficient safety and efficacy studies.

    Credentialed, I will repeat, I do support an anti-vaccine stand. I think that opposing all vaccines at all times displays ignorance of medical history, epidemiology and science in general. Yes, I have learned a lot on this site and I continue to read and participate because of that and not because I think I’m going to capture a lot of hearts and minds here. I’m not sure who invented the hierarchy which places anecdotal evidence at the bottom but I have invented a second hierarchy which places it higher. I have as much support for my hierarchy as you have for yours.

    Glaxo is selling 3.5 billion dollars worth of H1N1 vaccine. Other companies are also increasing their earnings with this new set of shots.

    Yes, Militant, some of the arguments that I’ve used and that I still see being put forth are “chemically ignorant.” I’ve listened, learned and corrected my approach. Others will, too.

    Pablo, I have over thirty years of experience and observation. For all the complaints about my not answering questions directly, no one here as ever told me what their definition of “science” is. And to reiterate, thanks, Pablo for your cogent comments.

    Dr Aust, grouping me with Dean Ornish in your private hell is flattering as . . . all hell! Please read his early work about reversing coronary artery disease. The man is a genius and pioneer. You may disagree with some of his recent opinions but he did some excellent research on diet, exercise and heart disease. It’s the foundation of the common sense and scientific approach to cardiovascular disease.

    Bob, obviously my enthusiasm waned and my practice has been too busy. You’re right, I should put together a written approach to vaccine opponents asking them to tone down their rhetoric. I admire many people in the on-line autism community including many vilified here. None of them display the “chemically ignorant” attitude you have mentioned.

    Prometheus. I do not reject anything I don’t agree with. Unlike you, I listen and have changed my thinking about more than a few issues because of our discussions in this forum. I hereby publicly acknowledge that I have been wrong many times.

    D.C. Sessions, you’re right: I should more publically take issue with some of that mishegas. Again, my feeble excuse is that I really am busy. I have no friggin’ idea how Dave keeps this place together and how he manages to write long, literate, hyperlinked posts with some amazing frequency. My second excuse is that, for all my disagreements with antivaccinationists, I understand their overreaction far better than I understand yours. I choose to leave the harsh criticism in your hands.

    That, and the damn escalator malfunction.

    Best,

    Jay

  113. #113 Jay Gordon, MD, FAAP
    October 7, 2009

    TYPO!!! (Freudian typo??)

    “I do NOT support an anti-vaccination stand.”

    Damn!

    Jay

  114. #114 bob
    October 7, 2009

    I didn’t notice a problem, actually. Right after that statement you admitted to promoting a vaccine schedule you pulled out of your ass, then you equivocated your anecdotes with real scientific evidence, and then you busted out a non sequitur about money in a pathetic attempt to poison the well.

    Seriously, I’m not being sarcastic. Your original wording works just fine.

  115. #115 Coran
    October 7, 2009

    Australia’s home-grown anti-vax nutters, the “Australian Vaccination Network” put that “causes Cancer and Death!” headline out there and I thought “So does sunshine”. Maybe that’s why they’re so benighted.

  116. #116 titmouse
    October 7, 2009

    Ornish does not understand the definition of “synergy.” He is a maroon.

  117. #117 Militant Agnostic
    October 7, 2009

    I guess I was too subtle the first time

    Who wrote the forward to chemical ignoramus Jenny McArthy’s book? Who spoke at a rally featuring Jenny McCarthy, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., Boyd Haley, and other “luminaries” of the antivaccine movement?

  118. #118 dessessopsid
    October 7, 2009

    @115 Coran… So does sunshine, on top of this post, has made my day! Thank you…

    And on that Australian note the H1N1 vaccine has been released here, and I’m off to get it soon.

  119. #119 Kathryn
    October 7, 2009

    This is somewhat off-topic but at least it’s on-theme.

    I was *furious* to find anti-vaccinationism in an “Editor’s Corner” of the Laboratory Equipment daily science e-mailThe Editor said she didn’t want to take the H1N1 vaccine because thimerosal caused autism.

    Here’s the link, if anyone wants to stop by with any insolence about that sort of nonsense in a science-news blog.

    http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/Article.aspx?id=17036&LangType=1033&xmlmenuid=8

  120. #120 Richard Eis
    October 7, 2009

    Unsurprisingly, non-fawning comments are not allowed by Dawn the deluded. Which probably explains why there are only 2 comments by other people.

  121. #121 mike stanton
    October 7, 2009

    “D.C. Sessions, you’re right: I should more publically take issue with some of that mishegas. Again, my feeble excuse is that I really am busy.”

    Tip for you Jay

    you might find time to oppose anti-vaccine nonsense elsewhere if you spent less time spouting nonsense here. BTW are you using understand as a synonym for agree? If not, understanding where these people are coming from should help you to make a better job of arguing with them than you do with us.

  122. #122 Todd W.
    October 7, 2009

    @Jay Gordon

    Todd, I give fewer vaccines than most pediatricians and I schedule them far later than recommended. I have no evidence supporting either the safety or efficacy of that pace. In that regard, my schedule is identical to the standard: There are insufficient safety and efficacy studies.

    Bzzt. So, I checked on google to see “how is the vaccine schedule determined?” In the very first result, I found a link to this PDF: http://www.cispimmunize.org/pro/pdf/Vaccineschedule.pdf

    The vaccine schedule undergoes review every year, based on the latest science. Adjustments are made as needed, and the revised schedule is published in January.

    So, your alternate schedule is actually less safe than the recommended schedule, since you admit you have zero evidence supporting yours.

    I’m surprised that a pediatrician like yourself would be unaware of publications by the American Academy of Pediatricians about how and why the schedule is the way it is.

  123. #123 Joseph
    October 7, 2009

    @Dr. Jay:

    Credentialed, I will repeat, I do support an anti-vaccine stand.

    LOL. That says it all.

  124. #124 madder
    October 7, 2009

    I’m not sure who invented the hierarchy which places anecdotal evidence at the bottom but I have invented a second hierarchy which places it higher. I have as much support for my hierarchy as you have for yours.

    And here we get to see Dr. Jay Gordon, Pediatrician to the Stars! wade into the minefield of the philosophy of science. Sit back and watch as he stumbles about, trying not to say something utterly stupid like “My anecdotes are worth exactly as much as your decades of data!” Oh, wait… oh dear, there he went.

    Data are superior to anecdotes. If you cannot understand this, Dr. Gordon; if you think that this claim rests on an appeal to authority (“I’m not sure who invented the hierarchy…”), then you have ignored not just epidemiology, immunology, and pharmacology, but hundreds of years of scientific thought. Are you really this obtuse, or are you trying to pull some sort of elaborate Poe prank?

  125. #125 Dunc
    October 7, 2009

    Whatever happened to being natural? Babies are the closest thing to purity and now we are injecting them with who knows what. Isn’t it a little strange that children have so many disorders now days compared to 30+ years ago?

    Yeah, let’s go back to the good old days of natural rates of infant mortality (i.e. over 30%). That sounds just great!

  126. #126 madder
    October 7, 2009

    On second thought, my apologies to Dr. Gordon for a misrepresentation. He did not say that his anecdotes were worth exactly as much as decades of data.

    I have invented a second hierarchy which places it [his collection of anecdotes] higher.

    My mistake. He actually said that his mind contains more valuable medical information than everyone else’s put together.

  127. #127 Scott
    October 7, 2009

    Todd, I give fewer vaccines than most pediatricians and I schedule them far later than recommended. I have no evidence supporting either the safety or efficacy of that pace. In that regard, my schedule is identical to the standard: There are insufficient safety and efficacy studies.

    You just seriously claimed that “no evidence” is IDENTICAL to “imperfect evidence?” Good grief. If there’s anything that would more conclusively prove that you’re an utter moron who shouldn’t be allowed NEAR a child, I can’t think what it would be.

    Seriously, how can such lethal errant nonsense be permitted to persist without consequences (in particular, loss of medical license)? I’d really love to know, and there are enough competent MDs around here (a category into which Jay Dumbfuck does not fall) that I’d hope somebody could explain it.

  128. #128 Joseph
    October 7, 2009

    What about the anecdotal evidence of a very experienced astrologist? Is that also higher than data?

  129. #129 the bug guy
    October 7, 2009

    I’m not sure who invented the hierarchy which places anecdotal evidence at the bottom but I have invented a second hierarchy which places it higher. I have as much support for my hierarchy as you have for yours.

    LOL
    You did not just write that.

    You’re pulling our leg.

    Right?

    Please?

    Or are you really that ill-informed and arrogant?

    If you are, there’s an old saying that might be useful. “When you’re in a hole…stop digging.”

  130. #130 Jojo
    October 7, 2009

    Best. Post. Ever!

    The salt hysteria was a slam dunk.

    This from Dr. Jay…

    Credentialed, I will repeat, I do support an anti-vaccine stand.

    …was the icing on the cake.

  131. #131 Pablo
    October 7, 2009

    Tip for you Jay

    you might find time to oppose anti-vaccine nonsense elsewhere if you spent less time spouting nonsense here.

    Moreover, “fighting the nonsense of anti-vaxxers” goes well beyond writing articles. In fact, most pediatricians fight anti-vax nonsense every day, through the normal interactions with patients’ parents in their offices. Let’s throw out this hypothetical:

    A mother (let’s call her “Jenny”) brings a patient to Jay’s office, and the son has autism. Jenny wants to know what she can do to help her son, and has heard that something called “chelation therapy” can cure autism. What is Jay’s response?

    1) Unfortunately, Jenny, there’s really no basis for any of the claims about chelation therapy for autism, and it is, in fact, a risky procedure. I recommend against doing anything like that.

    or

    2) Chelation is an option, and sure, it sounds like something you might want to try. So what’s Jim working on now?

    Or a new mother comes to Jay and asks, “I have heard that there is a risk of vaccines causing autism, what should I do?”

    1) There’s no scientific evidence that there is a connection between vaccines and autism. I’m not convinced that the story is complete, and my experience suggests otherwise, but it is the case that scientific studies have not shown a link. We could use an alternate schedule for vaccines, delaying some from the recommended schedule, but I will let you know, delaying vaccination will put your child at more risk for illness, and I will admit there is no evidence that an alternate schedule is any safer than that recommended by the CDC and AAP.

    or

    2) I understand your concerns, and we can use an alternate vaccination schedule if you want.

    If you answered (1) for both questions, then you are doing things to fight anti-vax nonsense. If you are doing (2), you are appeasing it. Neither takes any more or less time than the other.

  132. #132 Pablo
    October 7, 2009

    You just seriously claimed that “no evidence” is IDENTICAL to “imperfect evidence?” Good grief. If there’s anything that would more conclusively prove that you’re an utter moron who shouldn’t be allowed NEAR a child, I can’t think what it would be.

    Seriously, how can such lethal errant nonsense be permitted to persist without consequences (in particular, loss of medical license)? I’d really love to know, and there are enough competent MDs around here (a category into which Jay Dumbfuck does not fall) that I’d hope somebody could explain it.

    Be careful, Scott. Jay might call you “nasty” and threaten to ban you from his website, if he had one.

    I think everyone is seeing why I quit taking Jay Gordon seriously a while ago.

  133. #133 Militant Agnostic
    October 7, 2009

    Piling on

    I’m not sure who invented the hierarchy which places anecdotal evidence at the bottom but I have invented a second hierarchy which places it higher. I have as much support for my hierarchy as you have for yours.

    Jay, I am sure you are old enough to have heard this “data trumping” anecdote ad nauseum – “My Aunt/Uncle/Grandmother etc. smoked like a chimney and lived to be 90 so tobacco doesn’t cause cancer/isn’t bad for your health.”

    I have as much support for my hierarchy as you have for yours.

    Argumentum ad popularum fallacy. Also you might want to consider the demographics of who supports which hierarchy. Notice how many of the regulars here are MDs, RNs, Paramedics, Med Lab techs etc and how many of the rest are scientists and engineers. And all of them regardless of whether or not they have a science/technology background know the difference between an element and compound whereas those who support your hierarchy includes a large number of the OMG!!! Sodium Chloride – toxins brigade.

  134. #134 Scott
    October 7, 2009

    Be careful, Scott. Jay might call you “nasty” and threaten to ban you from his website, if he had one.

    He got even snippier the last time I said he should lose his license; I don’t expect anything more reasonable this time around.

  135. #135 Credentialed
    October 7, 2009

    Jay @ 112: Credentialed, I will repeat, I do [not] [sic] support an anti-vaccine stand. I think that opposing all vaccines at all times displays ignorance of medical history, epidemiology and science in general. Yes, I have learned a lot on this site and I continue to read and participate because of that and not because I think I’m going to capture a lot of hearts and minds here. I’m not sure who invented the hierarchy which places anecdotal evidence at the bottom but I have invented a second hierarchy which places it higher. I have as much support for my hierarchy as you have for yours. (emphasis mine)

    Please, Dr. Gordon, explain your hierarchy to us. Explain how uncontrolled data of variable provenance is comparable or superior to controlled data of scientific studies. Really. Please explain this…I don’t honestly believe you’ve thought this through, but simply want it to be true. Prove me wrong and explain your reasoning!

    As for whether “my” hierarchy has any support (and it’s hardly something I made up…), there’s quite substantial literature on the subject of the hierarchy of scientific evidence. There is reasonable debate on this topic, too, such as the comparative valuation of observational studies in the absence of randomized controlled designs (“considered the so-called gold standard in medical trials” — doi:10.2106/JBJS.H.01571). That said, I know of no serious academic literature that seeks to elevate uncontrolled data in the manner you seem to propose, to be evaluated as equal or superior to controlled evidence.

    It’s quite a farcical claim that Dr. Gordon has “as much support for [his] hierarchy” as there is support for the widely recognized and standard hierarchies…

  136. #136 Dangerous Bacon
    October 7, 2009

    Dr. Jay: “Yes, I have learned a lot on this site…”

    What have you learned (specificaly, about vaccination)?

    “…some of the arguments that I’ve used and that I still see being put forth are “chemically ignorant.” I’ve listened, learned and corrected my approach.”

    Any concrete examples?

    “I listen and have changed my thinking about more than a few issues because of our discussions in this forum.”

    You say this a lot. :) But what part of your thinking about immunization has changed, and what changes have you made to your practice or your website as a result? Have your learned anything from this discussion about the idiocy of the “toxin” argument promulgated by Jenny McCarthy and others, and will you attempt to educate her and other parents of your patients on this subject?

    “I do not reject anything I don’t agree with.”

    This explains a lot, though it sounds a bit extreme. How about Birthers, 9/11 conspiracy theorists, racists and pedophiles…apparently Jay would have trouble rejecting their ideas, just as he must continue coddling all antivaxers, no matter how dead wrong, harmful and vicious their activities are.

    Oops, I was wrong. Jay does reject basic scientific principles, at least as they contradict his collection of anecdotes and hunches.

  137. #137 Carlie
    October 7, 2009

    Whatever happened to being natural? Babies are the closest thing to purity and now we are injecting them with who knows what. Isn’t it a little strange that children have so many disorders now days compared to 30+ years ago?

    Yeah, let’s go back to the good old days of natural rates of infant mortality (i.e. over 30%). That sounds just great!

    That was my first thought too – that besides the fact that we’re noticing and diagnosing more, a lot of those kids around now with disorders wouldn’t have been around back then because they’d be dead of currently-preventable diseases.

  138. #138 Pablo
    October 7, 2009

    Please, Dr. Gordon, explain your hierarchy to us. Explain how uncontrolled data of variable provenance is comparable or superior to controlled data of scientific studies.

    The beauty of a faith-based worldview is that it can be justified by faith. So all Jay has to say is, “My experience tells me that my experience is correct” and that can be the end of it. How can anyone dispute it?

    Then again, there is a problem of shared reality. The advantage of controlled data from scientific studies is that, in principle, everyone can have the same experience (hence an emphasis on reproducibility). Whereas Jay may have faith that his experience is correct, I have a different faith, that his experience is wrong. On what basis can he discount my faith? So the problem with a faith based world is that there is no standard at all. Everyone is equally correct and equally wrong.

  139. #139 MikeMa
    October 7, 2009

    Carlie,
    Interesting point. I wonder if the children who might have been more susceptible to vaccine preventable disease 50 years ago are now more susceptible to autism. A study opportunity!

  140. #140 Todd W.
    October 7, 2009

    Just paid a visit to Meryl Dorey’s blog. She, predictably, linked to Dawn’s rant. I left a comment wondering if she would campaign against Gatorade, bananas, table salt, etc., but I won’t hold my breath on her approving it.

  141. #141 D. C. Sessions
    October 7, 2009

    That said, I know of no serious academic literature that seeks to elevate uncontrolled data in the manner you seem to propose, to be evaluated as equal or superior to controlled evidence.

    Well, “serious” is a bit open to discussion, but that aside you might add “Andrew Weil” (of the University of Arizona School of Medicine) to your search terms.

  142. #142 Slightly-Mad (Jamie)
    October 7, 2009

    Orac, love the blog, read it daily – and really liked your work on Blake’s 7.

    Obligatory genuflecting aside..

    [soapbox]

    The biggest thing that irritates me most about the whole “autism epidemic” is the point (brought up multiple times here and elsewhere) is that it’s a “spectrum.” A large number of deviations from normal development – issues minor to severe – can fall into this bucket. When I was a lad – no one my age was diagnosed with ADD or ADHD that I knew of. However, when I looked at two grade levels down and below, I saw kids on ritalin increase exponentially.

    I developed speech rather slowly. Didn’t start talking until I was two. Today I would have had people screaming “AUTISTIC! GET THAT BOY A COLON CLEANSE!” Mind you, I started reading when I was three, and once I started talking – not only did I catch up to my peers – but it was hard to shut me up. Oh wait, that’s not necessarily a good thing.
    I have a two year old daughter. Like myself, she has been vaccinated. Like myself, her speech skills in the last year have progressed at a rate deviating from the norm. However, she’s far above the norm in gross and fine motor skills, and now showing large strides in language comprension as well (we’ve been using the Hanen method, and found it a good addition to what we were already doing). Yet, I’m sure there would be people out there that would be quick to toss her into an “Autistic” bucket so they can feel justified in their paranoid delusions.

    ADD/ADHD is a valid diagnosis and has its place. So does Autism Spectrum Disorder. It just chaps my ass that there are so many people showing entirely too much desire to slap a label on a kid – not because they have a problem that requires attention/treatment – but just because they don’t fit their ill-concieved notion of “normal.”

    [/soapbox]

    Rant done, I’ll go get my popcorn and continue my passive blog-lurking now.

  143. #143 sqlrob
    October 7, 2009

    That’s right. There’s plenty of NaCl (that’s sodium chloride, Dawn), KCl (that’s potassium chloride, Dawn), and CaCl2 (that’s calcium chloride, Dawn) in sports drinks like Gatorade. That means all those athletes must have cells whose DNA is mutating horribly right this very minute after exposure to those horrible mutagens, NaCl, KCl, and CaCl2!

    That would explain a lot about a lot of athletes though, wouldn’t it?

  144. #144 Todd W.
    October 7, 2009

    @sqlrob

    That would explain a lot about a lot of athletes though, wouldn’t it?

    Using Dawn’s logic…that they have cancer?

  145. #145 Joseph
    October 7, 2009

    Didn’t start talking until I was two.

    That’s completely normal, @Jamie, and not at all indicative of autism.

    I started reading when I was three,

    That, on the other hand, is hyperlexia, and some people say that hyperlexia is a type of autism.

    Personally, I think you were lucky (as was I) that the response to hyperlexia a generation back was not “quick, intervention!”

  146. #146 Paul
    October 7, 2009

    Kathryn “This is somewhat off-topic but at least it’s on-theme.

    I was *furious* to find anti-vaccinationism in an “Editor’s Corner” of the Laboratory Equipment daily science e-mailThe Editor said she didn’t want to take the H1N1 vaccine because thimerosal caused autism.

    Here’s the link, if anyone wants to stop by with any insolence about that sort of nonsense in a science-news blog.

    http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/Article.aspx?id=17036&LangType=1033&xmlmenuid=8

    I left a comment, but it hasn’t gone up yet. Looking at the previous 2 posts that Ashley has written this isn’t a one off, on one she toes the PCRM line against animal research and in another she does some nice scaremongering about a biodefence lab. She’s new there, according to LinkedIn she startedin July, and there are only 3 posts under her name, so perhaps laboratory equpment haven’t noticed the problems with what she is writing yet.

  147. #147 Slightly-Mad (Jamie)
    October 7, 2009

    @Joseph,

    My parents reaction was quite beneficial. “Our kid’s a nerd, let’s get him one of those new-fangled computer thingies.” Back then this was a Tandy TRS-80 Color Computer – so this was not the norm.

    As for “That’s completely normal, @Jamie, and not at all indicative of autism.” Yes, most professionals and rational adults realize that “deviation from norm” doesn’t necessarily mean “abnormal.”

    However, it’s really not hard to see how some might exaggerate things gained from the University of Google:
    (Article: “Early Signs of Autism”)
    Abnormalities in initiating communication with others.
    Impaired ability to initiate and respond to opportunities to share experiences with others:
    Irregularities when playing with toys:
    Significantly reduced variety of sounds, words, and gestures used to communicate:

    My daughter has at various points shown all of these to varying degrees. So did I. If I’m autistic with an IQ of around 165…I hope she’s as autistic as I am. Hooray Autism! [/snark]

    It’s like with many “norms,” it’s a range, not on/off. But a lot of people like to pidgeon-hole everything into neat little catagories.

    I see a child who learns differently from the “norm” but is otherwise fine. However, I know another parent whose child sound very similar to ours. She is DEAD CERTIAN that he has autism – courtesy of the MMR Vax. Hopefully one of the professionals that she takes him to to “fix” him manages to convince her that her child isn’t “broken.”

    Re: Sodium/Potassium/etc. I wonder of some of these people that think Potassium Chloride is poisonous also think that they’d be better off if they just got “pure” potassium as a suppliment. *evil grin* Now THAT would be something to watch.

  148. #148 sophia8
    October 7, 2009

    That’s right. There’s plenty of NaCl (that’s sodium chloride, Dawn), KCl (that’s potassium chloride, Dawn), and CaCl2 (that’s calcium chloride, Dawn) in sports drinks like Gatorade. That means all those athletes must have cells whose DNA is mutating horribly right this very minute after exposure to those horrible mutagens, NaCl, KCl, and CaCl2!

    [anti-vaxer]Yes, but these are adult, taking it by mouth. These are not teeny-tiny innocent pure smilingsweetypie liddle BABIES who are having these HORRIBLE poisonous CHEMICALS put into them with huge pointysharp NEEDLES that make them cwy!!!111!!![/anti-vaxxer]

    Seriously, I believe that is the underlying motive for most anti-vaxers: won’t anybody think of the children???

  149. #149 B.C.
    October 7, 2009

    @94 hypersensitivity can occur in response to minute quantities that the warnings are given. The reason that the vaccines have not been evaluated for carcinogenic/mutagenic effects or impairment of fertility is that none of these ingredients is present in high enough levels to pose any risk of these effects.”

    You cant say that some people wouldn’t have carcinogenic/mutagenic effects to these low levels either. Let’s not forget the synergistic effect of all the ingredients at the same time.

  150. #150 Phoenix Woman
    October 7, 2009

    “You cant say that some people wouldn’t have carcinogenic/mutagenic effects to these low levels either. Let’s not forget the synergistic effect of all the ingredients at the same time.”

    B.C., we’re talking about levels way way WAY below the therapeutic. As in multiple orders of magnitude below the therapeutic. And this is even assuming that a synergistic effect is obtainable with those ingredients (which is not a safe assumption).

  151. #151 Jen
    October 7, 2009

    “I started reading when I was three,

    That, on the other hand, is hyperlexia, and some people say that hyperlexia is a type of autism.”

    Hmmm? Interesting. That might explain why I score so high on the AQ test. I also learned to read at the age of three. My parents thought I was a genius. (chuckles) How disappointed they must be. I do admit I probably have a few other autistic traits, but I doubt anyone would have picked up on them, even today, with the broadened criteria. Not that I’m rushing out to be evaluated or anything, because at this point in my life, who cares?

  152. #152 JustaTech
    October 7, 2009

    I stopped in the middle of reading this post to get my (seasonal) flu shot and I will report that Dawn’s statement has not gotten any more or less stupid in the interim, so clearly vaccines don’t cause autism. Or something.

  153. #153 Anne
    October 8, 2009

    Slightly-Mad (Jamie), there’s no question in my mind that exposure to the Trash-80, especially when combined with access to the Texas Instruments Speak & Spell, was a significant environmental cause of autism in the 1980′s. The epigenetic effects of this exposure have increased the prevalence of autism exponentially, leading to epidemic proportions in the 21st century.

  154. #154 Mojo
    October 8, 2009

    @sophia8:

    Seriously, I believe that is the underlying motive for most anti-vaxers: won’t anybody think of the children???

    Actually, I suspect that for many of them the underlying motive is “won’t anyone think of me???”

    “Won’t anyone think of the children???” is just the pretext.

  155. #155 Tracy W
    October 8, 2009

    When I was at pre-school an experienced pre-school teacher got me referred to a speech therapy group, who assessed me as having some speech difficulty. Their diagnosis at the time was that I was lazy in my speech patterns, but with a lot of effort from the speech therapist and my parents, I did learn how to pronounce sounds like “ch”, “th” and “sh”. When I was about 14, my mum ran into the speech therapist in the supermarket, who remembered me, and said that a new diagnosis had come out of dyspraxia and I should be tested for that, which I was (by a different speech therapist) and diagnosed as with dyspraxia.

    So I had the same problem all the time, but it went from them not knowing what it was, to having a label (although still no idea of cause nor any better treatment than what I got as a kid).

  156. #156 Ramel
    October 8, 2009

    As another anecdote, I’m also dyspraxic and went through almost the exact same thing as Tracy as a kid. Perhaps we have just proved that speech therapists are causing an apocolyptic epidemic of dyspraxia! You heard it hear first…

  157. #157 Calli Arcale
    October 8, 2009

    Jen @151:

    “I started reading when I was three,

    That, on the other hand, is hyperlexia, and some people say that hyperlexia is a type of autism.”

    Hmmm? Interesting. That might explain why I score so high on the AQ test. I also learned to read at the age of three. My parents thought I was a genius. (chuckles) How disappointed they must be.

    Well, a lot of people think that autistic = stupid, but this is not at all true. One can be autistic and brilliant at the same time. Many severely autistic people have low IQs — but not all. It’s just that the low IQ ones are more obvious to the lay public, who look at autistic geniuses and just think they have some little quirks which are simply the price they pay for brilliance. But that stereotype isn’t true either.

    Hyperlexia can be associated with autism, but it isn’t always, and shouldn’t be thought of as exclusively a symptom of autism, or an indicator of autism or even a cause for concern. An autism diagnosis has to look at the totality of the patient, and so will consider whether the child has hyperlexia, but will have to consider lots of other things as well.

    More concerning (though again, not always associated with autism) would be hyperlexia combined with dysphasia (problems with speech). There are many autistics who communicate more effectively in writing than verbally. (Of course, there are others with unrelated neurological disorders who also do better in writing than in speech. Many things can cause this, so again, it’s nowhere near enough for an autism diagnosis.)

  158. #158 Antaeus Feldspar
    October 8, 2009

    You cant say that some people wouldn’t have carcinogenic/mutagenic effects to these low levels either.

    That’s putting the cart before the horse. It’s pointless to say “you can’t prove this highly improbable idea false” because we’ve never had any good reason to think it was true.

  159. #159 Rjaye
    October 8, 2009

    Dr. Jay said:
    I’ll read through the rest of the comments soon but I had to answer Rjaye’s. Your interpretation of the facts is based on specious reasoning and hyperbole.

    Specious? I don’t think so. I quoted the statistics from the outbreak in BC from their department of health, who had a hell of a time isolating an outbreak among a Christian sect who didn’t believe in vaccines. As for hyperbole-there is not one bit of it, unless you count snark as hyperbole.

    I have posted on Orac’s blog regarding my experiences with measles outbreaks, chicken pox, and whooping cough. I have qualified them all as my own experience, and just to shed a light on what can happen when someone is ill with a vaccine preventable disease.

    Stats are not specious. The results of several hundred people with the mumps…pretty life altering.

    Some of what you state, well…

    I’m sure someone will fill in the blank.

  160. #160 carykoh
    October 8, 2009

    Pretty funny, Dr. Jay is telling everyone to go ahead and get the flu this year. Apparently trying to prevent the spread of the flu or using immunizations is a bad idea. Sure 100′s of thousands will die, but the resulting immunity is worth it, apparently. I just don’t get it, even one death or injury from immunization upsets Dr. Jay, but hundreds of thousands of deaths worldwide is acceptable as a way to prevent a pandemic.

  161. #161 Prometheus
    October 8, 2009

    “Dr. Jay” opines:

    ” I’m not sure who invented the hierarchy which places anecdotal evidence at the bottom but I have invented a second hierarchy which places it higher. I have as much support for my hierarchy as you have for yours.”

    That “pop” noise you just heard was my stupidity meter exploding from a catastrophic overload.

    I can’t wait to hear what “Dr. Jay” would put at the bottom of his hierarchy. That, of course, presumes that he is aware that something has to go at the bottom of the list – that he can’t just move “anecdotal evidence” up a notch or two without moving something else into the bottom slot.

    As for “support” for his hierarchy-with-no-bottom, I’d just love to hear his rationale – I wouldn’t even ask for supporting data.

    Seriously, whenever I think “Dr. Jay” has plumbed the depths of his ignorance, he goes and finds another abyss.

    Maybe it’s time for “Dr. Jay” to think about retiring.

    Prometheus

  162. #162 Jeffry
    October 8, 2009

    Orac forgot to mention, in his attempt to character assassinate Dawn, to compensate for body weight compensation for, lets say a 6 lb baby.

    A baby gets the same vaccine as a 180 lb man which means to compensate for the amount of sodium chloride injected into the baby, that man would need 30 equivalent vaccines.

    This is just one vaccine! You make light of “table salt”, however it is no laughing matter Orac. How many vaccines does a child get in one day? Play with the numbers all you want.

    Utter failure, Orac.

    http://www.sciencelab.com/xMSDS-Sodium_chloride-9927593

  163. #163 Ramel
    October 8, 2009

    Oh look here’s Jeffry. And he thinks he has data, aw how sweet. It’s like watching a little kid play dress up in grownup clothes.

  164. #164 Chris
    October 8, 2009

    I noticed Jeffry provided lots of amusement in attempts to answer this question.

    Loved how he tried to say the MMR was dangerous because due to the data before 1960!

    Oh, Jeffry, you do realize the saline solution the vaccines are made with are of the same concentration as human blood. Are you saying that children have different concentrations of electrolytes than adults?

  165. #165 Chris
    October 8, 2009

    By the way, Jeffry, during the multiple times my now adult disabled son was in the hospital before age three he was often given IV fluids with those [sarcasm]horrible[/sarcasm] chemicals. Yeah, right.

    Try to come up with a real argument that relies on real evidence and not MSDS sheets.

  166. #166 anon
    October 8, 2009

    Sigh.

    Sadly, you lost me at “big boys of the blogosphere”. I skimmed straight to the bottom, skipping over what is likely colorful and intelligent discussion, just to tell you that. Not that what a professional lurker might think may phase you in any way of course.

    I’d venture to guess there are more lurkers just like me, that feel the same way, they just didn’t take the time to offer you some constructive criticism: if you can no longer fit through the doors in which you commonly pass, your head is too fucking big.

    I’m sure you’ll have loyal readers chomping at the bit to defend you from my criticisms…. they always do.

  167. #167 bob
    October 8, 2009

    anon, what?

  168. #168 Orac
    October 8, 2009

    Anon Concern Troll.

    Suffice it to say, anon has been around before. I recognize the e-mail address. ‘Nuff said.

  169. #169 Chris
    October 8, 2009

    What exactly is a “professional lurker”?

  170. #170 trrll
    October 8, 2009

    I’m sure you’ll have loyal readers chomping at the bit to defend you from my criticisms…. they always do.

    Sorry, Orac, I’d love to defend you, but if there was some kind of a criticism, I couldn’t figure out what it was. That was just totally incoherent.

  171. #171 palochka
    October 9, 2009

    @ Chris

    Someone who gets paid to do it.
    We should contact anon’s employer, de-lurking is probably grounds for dismissal.

  172. #172 Jeffry
    October 9, 2009

    The point being Chris, is that even a child can see the decline of infectious disease prior to vaccines being introduced, even ones that did not have a vaccine. Yet, you wouldn’t dare venture in those dangerous waters.

    Lastly, most know that children and adults have differ in metabolic rates. Hence, the dosages one gives to a child are lower than one given to an adult. Vaccines are the exception. Shaquille O’Neal gets the same shot as someone on SEAL Team 1 as a newborn baby.

    Keep avoiding the dosing question. In all likelihood you, as well as your sweethearts here, do not have the cojones to get the amount of vaccines children receive today, weight appropriated of course.

  173. #173 Rebecca P.
    October 9, 2009

    170+ comments so far so I didn’t read each one but I wonder if anyone else besides me quit reading the Vactruth article right about here:

    …not advisable to administer any one of these products to a person suffering from a severe egg allergy or egg protein allergy. This contraindication may affect as many as 15 million people (based on a population of 300 million).

    15 million people. Really? Based on THE ENTIRE FREAKING population getting a vax? Really now?

  174. #174 Rebecca P.
    October 9, 2009

    170+ comments so far so I didn’t read each one but I wonder if anyone else besides me quit reading the Vactruth article right about here:

    …not advisable to administer any one of these products to a person suffering from a severe egg allergy or egg protein allergy. This contraindication may affect as many as 15 million people (based on a population of 300 million).

    15 million people. Really? Based on THE ENTIRE FREAKING U.S. population getting a vax? Really now? She does, of course, realize that… yeah, nevermind.

  175. #175 trrll
    October 9, 2009

    the point being Chris, is that even a child can see the decline of infectious disease prior to vaccines being introduced, even ones that did not have a vaccine. Yet, you wouldn’t dare venture in those dangerous waters.

    Just as even a child can see that while the incidence of any infectious disease fluctuates up and down over time, the only cases in which an infectious disease has vanished from a region have been after widespread vaccination against that disease.

  176. #176 Alternative Energy
    October 14, 2009

    Responding to this comment(#97): “We also have a lot more knowledge now so that we can diagnose things that were missed 30+ years ago……. And, if so, any specific leads other than vague worryings about “injecting them with who knows what”? (we actually have a very good idea of “what”, thank you very much.)”
    While it seems apparent that vaccines changed the course of history when it came to epidemics like cholera, diphtheria, polio, etc. It hasn’t been that long ago that the “experts”- Scientist and Doctors bragged of their vast accumulated knowledge and breakthroughs and proclaimed that the spraying and dusting of DDT on crowds was a safe and effective means of controlling mosquito problems… or that going to the shoe store, trying on new shoes and then standing in an x-ray box and wiggling toes while receiving massive doses of radiation… were all deemed safe, fun and effective with no harmful side effects. While research and development of new vaccines seems to be a necessity… perhaps we should tread carefully, for sometimes I wonder if we really are as advanced, as we think we are…

  177. #177 Erwin Alber
    April 6, 2011

    There is no scientific evidence to show that vaccines have ever prevented anything, apart from health, sanity and common sense. As far as I am concerned, vaccination is an organised criminal enterprise dressed up as disease prevention and people who believe in vaccinations are suffering from brain-washing-induced delusional insanity.

  178. #178 Gray Falcon
    April 6, 2011

    First of all, you’re two years late to this thread. There’s a more recent one on vaccination, comment there.

    Secondly, how about that polio epidemic last year… wait, we didn’t have one in decades. Why is that, I wonder?

  179. #179 LW
    April 6, 2011

    Don’t forget last year’s smallpox epidemic, too.

    It’s an interesting thing, but during the last smallpox epidemic in Europe, the authorities came in and vaccinated everyone in a desperate effort to stop it from spreading further. They did nothing at all to improve the sewer system, improve the municipal water, or improve education. And yet somehow, after their totally pointless activity of vaccinating everyone, the smallpox epidemic ended. Isn’t that strange?

  180. #180 Composer99
    April 6, 2011

    Corrected necromancer:

    As far as I am concerned, vaccination is an organised criminal enterprise dressed up as disease prevention and people who believe in vaccinations are suffering from brain-washing-induced delusional insanity.

    FTFY

  181. #181 Antaeus Feldspar
    April 6, 2011

    How strange; I wonder why Alber did not pimp his Facebook page. That’s what he usually does when he leaves that braindead little merde mot about “there is no scientific evidence, blah blah blah” all around the Internet.

    He certainly didn’t post because he had something convincing to say, that’s for sure.

  182. #182 LW
    April 6, 2011

    Yeah, I actually recognized his little blurb. I knew I’d seen it before, so I googled and found he used it in a comment on this blog in November. It was stupid then, too.

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