Respectful Insolence

Over the last week or so, I’ve been confronted full bore with cranks, staring down the barrel, if you will, of a crank shotgun, one barrel being the anti-vaccine movement in general (with J.B. Handley and his misogyny being the buckshot, so to speak) and the other being Suzanne Somers and her despicable cancer quackery. Indeed, over the last five years, I’ve subjected myself to some of the most outrageous bits of unreason, conspiracy mongering, and pseudoscience. Be it the anti-vaccine movement, quacks, 9/11 Truthers, Holocaust deniers, creationists, or any of a variety of other bits of pseudoscience, I’ve come to appreciate that what distinguishes believers in such nonsense seems to be, as Prometheus so aptly put it, the arrogance of ignorance. Even so, there seems to be more than that going on, and leave it to, of all things, an article in the L.A. Times by James Rainey entitled Childhood vaccines, autism and the dangers of group think. It’s an article looking at Amy Wallace’s excellent article for WIRED entitled An Epidemic of Fear: How Panicked Parents Skipping Shots Endangers Us All, which documented how the arrogance of ignorance has led the anti-vaccine movement to endanger public health, and the exceedingly (and typically) nasty reaction the anti-vaccine movement with which the anti-vaccine movement responded, particularly J.B. Handley’s misogyny.

There are two key passages in Rainey’s article that tell the tale, a tale that is no surprise to skeptics, in particular skeptical bloggers like my self:

“They will say, ‘Who do you think you are to tell me?’ or ‘Who does the government think it is to tell us what is best for public health?’ ” Wallace told me this week. “They say, ‘You can’t know my child like I know my child.’ ”

Wallace has run smack into an abiding, perhaps growing, phenomenon of the Internet Age: Citizens armed with information are sure they know better. Readers who brush up against expertise believe they have become experts. The common man rebels against the notion that anyone — not professionals, not the government and certainly not the media — speaks with special authority.

Where it stops, nobody knows. But already we see a wave of amateurs convinced they can write a pithier movie review, arrange a catchier song, even assess our planet’s shifting weather conditions, better than the professionals trained to do the job.

And:

The rise of computer literacy, high-speed Internet connections, blogging and social networks has emboldened the common man to tell his own story and, sometimes, to disdain trappings like a university degree, professional training or corporate affiliation. The citizen activists often frame themselves as truth tellers fighting against an establishment that is hopelessly venal. No matter that the corruption, routinely claimed, is seldom supported by more than innuendo.

This is indeed the cult of the amateur, as the title of a book mentioned in the article goes. There has always been a strain in American culture that is deeply anti-intellectual and suspicious of experts. That is not always a bad thing. Experts are not always right, and “the best and the brightest” have at times led us horribly astray. However, in the process, our nation appears to have somehow devalued not only expertise, but science itself. Science is the “other.” It’s not something that “everyday people” do, or at least it’s not perceived that way, which is all the more sad because anyone with a reasonable level of intelligence should be able to understand the very basics of the scientific method. The same is true of critical thinking. Indeed, in many areas of of life, the “average Joe” is admirably skeptical. For example, many people are more than capable of evaluating the sales pitch of a car salesman or, as my wife and I had to do several months ago, the high pressure sales pitch of a roofing salesman. Yet, in other areas these same people are credulous marks for any conspiracy theory that comes around.

In the case of the anti-vaccine movement, what drives this arrogance of ignorance is an old-fashioned American distrust of authority (often good, but not always) combined with a democratic tradition in which every person is assumed to be equal. The problem is that equal under the law and possessing equal rights (which is he American ideal) does not mean equal abilities or knowledge. We as a people seem to conflate the two and assume all too often that, if Paul Offit can pontificate about vaccines, so can we, even though we don’t have any special expertise in the relevant sciences. Too many of us assume that several hours (or even much, much less) spent in front of a computer studying at the University of Google renders our understanding equal to that of scientists and experts who have spent their entire lives studying a problem. Celebrities are no different, either. Indeed, fueled by ego and surrounded by yes-men and other enablers, celebrities seem even more prone to the arrogance of ignorance, be they Bill Maher, Oprah Winfrey, Jenny McCarthy, Jim Carrey, Billy Corgan, or Suzanne Somers. Worse, they have a much larger soapbox from which to spread their nonsense. But they’re not alone. Whenever I want to demonstrate what drives this attitude, I like to quote anti-vaccine loon J.B. Handley:

I’m not intellectually intimidated by any of these jokers. Their degrees mean zippo to me, because I knew plenty of knuckleheads in college who went on to be doctors, and they’re still knuckleheads (I also knew plenty of great, smart guys who went on to be doctors and they’re still great, smart guys).

I chose a different path and went into the business world. In the business world, having a degree from a great college or business school gets you your first job, and not much else. There are plenty of Harvard Business School grads who have bankrupted companies and gone to jail, and plenty of high school drop-outs who are multi-millionaires. Brains and street-smarts win, not degrees, arrogance, or entitlement.

Except that brains and street smarts count for nothing in science if they exist without an understanding of science.

From my perspective, the progress made on developing Internet may well be the single greatest development of the last 30 years. When the Internet was first developed, it was used primarily by educational, government, and defense institutions. It wasn’t until the mid 1990s when huge numbers of people started to have access to the Internet, and today in developed countries most people take Internet access for granted. Personally, I don’t know how I’d survive without it. It’s made, for example, looking up articles for my research and writing journal articles and grants a snap. However, there’s a down side, and that’s too much information, so much information that it makes it very easy for someone without the background knowledge to separate the wheat from the chaff to develop a sense of pseudo-expertise. In other words, they may pick up a lot of facts and be able to cite a lot of studies, but they do not know the scientific context behind them. Worse, they don’t know how to recognize good studies compared to bad studies or understand that critically examining the evidence against your beliefs is even more important than examining the evidence for them. The result all too often turns into an orgy of cherry picking and confirmation bias.

The result, when combined with someone like J.B. Handley, who thinks that expertise can be so easily dismissed, is the anti-vaccine movement, creationists, Holocaust deniers, 9/11 Truthers, and quacks.

The other driving force behind the proliferation of pseudo-expertise is a very human trait that we all share, namely the tendency to confuse correlation with causation. Once again, this is one of the first lessons in science, not to confuse correlation with causation, but those of us in science forget just how against human nature this is. We are creatures that value personal experience over statistics and science. One good anecdote trumps reams of evidence. This produces, for example, anthropogenic global warming denialists who justify their rejection of climate science by their observation that this summer was unusually mild in their area or the alternative medicine maven who swears by homeopathy because the symptoms of their self-limited condition got better after they tried it.

Moreover, let us not forget that, at the level of a single person, correlation sure can appear to be causation. As I pointed out a month ago, one example is heart attacks and the flu vaccine. More than 3,000 people have heart attacks each and every day, which means that by random chance alone there will be probably several people a day who have a heart attack within 24 hours of being vaccinated for the flu. To those people, it may appear all the world as though the vaccine caused the heart attack, when in reality it really was just coincidence. It’s not enough simply to observe an adverse event happening after something, say, vaccination. You have to show that there is an incidence of that adverse event significantly greater than what could be predicted by chance alone. The same applies to the claim that vaccines cause autism. If you have a child who regresses within a day or so of vaccination, it will appear all the world to you that the vaccine caused the regression. In that case, it is then very difficult even for highly educated parents to accept the results of science, namely that epidemiological studies do not find an elevated incidence of autism after vaccination.

Combine the all-too-human tendency to confuse correlation with causation with the anti-intellectual attitude of a J. B. Handley and the arrogance of ignorance that pseudoexpertise derived from studying at Google U. produces, and you have fanatical adherence to a crank movement. It all boils down to a basic human need for a perception of order in the universe. We need causes when bad things happen; we need explanations. “You were unlucky” or “it was just an unfortunate coincidence” are not answers to the question “Why?” that satisfy. Blaming something is, be it blaming vaccines for autism or constructing elaborate conspiracy theories to explain how 19 men with box cutters could hijack commercial airliners and cause the deaths of 3,000 Americans.

Becoming an expert in anything is very hard. It’s been estimated that in general it takes 10,000 hours of practice and study to become an expert in surgery, for example. There are no shortcuts. The Internet may seem like a shortcut that levels the playing field between experts and the great unwashed masses, but in reality it only gives the illusion of expertise or, as I’ve called it, pseudoexpertise. Similarly, in the past, the lay person just plain did not have direct access to medical studies. Obtaining such studies would require a trip to a medical school library, which may or may not be far away, prolonged searching through Index Medicus, piling journal upon journal on a cart, and then spending tons of change to copy the articles desired. Now, virtually any abstract can be accessed through PubMed, and articles reporting federally funded research are deposited in PubMed Central within a year of publication, where anyone can access it. While this open access to knowledge is appropriate, given that our tax dollars funded the research, it inadvertently fueled the rise of the pseudoexpert.

Finally, it’s not all bad. The very same forces that produced the anti-vaccine movement and fuel the panoply of cranks provide the weapons to combat them. For example, I started out blogging using a free service called Blogspot, and I would almost certainly still be on Blogspot or on one of the other free blogging platforms that have proliferated had ScienceBlogs not spotted me for the awesome blogging talent that I am and asked me to be assimilated into the collective. Should ScienceBlogs and I ever decide to part ways, I can always go back to that. It is that easy access to blogs and the web that cranks take advantage of to spread their message that provides scientists and skeptics the weapons to combat cranks. Unfortunately, it’s a lopsided battle, and not in our favor.

Comments

  1. #1 the bug guy
    November 5, 2009

    Phil Plait over at Bad Astronomy had a quote that I think fits in well with your comments:

    I’m tired of ignorance held up as inspiration, where vicious anti-intellectualism is considered a positive trait, and where uninformed opinion is displayed as fact.

  2. #2 Joseph
    November 5, 2009

    Unfortunately, it’s a lopsided battle, and not in our favor.

    I don’t think so. Despite the internet and so forth, some things will never change, like the fact that claims can be challenged, and the fact that not all claims are equally valid or strong. So on the one hand cranks are better able to publish their wacky ideas, but on the other hand skeptics are also better able to publish theirs.

  3. #3 Elly
    November 5, 2009

    Do you have any journal references for people who have studied the ‘University of Google’ phenomenon from a psychological perspective? I think I remember reading of an anthropological study of lay vs expert knowledge. (It is a concept relevant to the research I’m doing for my PhD but I don’t recall coming across anything about it in my reading so far, apart from some work on lay health beliefs).

    Thanks to anyone who can help

  4. #4 JohnV
    November 5, 2009

    Orac you mean my countless hours of playing operation as a youth don’t make me an expert surgeon?

  5. #5 David (same as #8)
    November 5, 2009

    Orac, that’s a great post.

    There’s one other aspect to the behavior of “pseudo-experts” and that’s the adoption of what I call “pseudo-morals.” To whit: the pseudo-expert is generally not paid to attack vaccines, or evolution, or whatever. But the real expert, by necessity, is a professional and the salary money has to come from somewhere. So the pseudo-expert dons a cloak of purity, and attacks the real vaccine experts as pharma shills. The “pseudo” quality of this morality is on display in the screed by JB Handley.

  6. #6 doctrinalfairness
    November 5, 2009

    No one has to take my word for it, DB, but nor have you conclusively proved that they should take yours.
    As long as the willful suppression of contradictory evidence is ongoing, then you aren’t practicing science and you are merely serving the same elite few that just openly and without apology manipulated the entire world to the brink of economic disaster, while fattening themselves.
    To pretend that science has only ever involved itself in humanitarian endeavors is to just blatantly lie.
    Any lurker here might assume that peer review is a flawless enterprise- it isn’t. There are excellent references at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peer_review-
    including the paper with the list of Nobel winners rejected by their peers (which I already mentioned here once).

    You want people to believe you, maybe you need to be a tad more quick to clean your own house. But that would mean tearing yourself away from the twisted shenanigans going on in that incestuous bed you share with your pals in industry and government.
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/science-news/3326091/Peer-review-the-myth-of-the-noble-scientist.html

    Susan Chu has the back of parents, not you.

  7. #7 Mandrake
    November 5, 2009

    Excellent post. It amazes me how so many people without any expertise know the answers to very complex issues–climate change, the economy, and medicine, for example. These same people don’t even have a basis on which to evaluate claims made by people who live and breathe these issues.

    As a layperson on topics such as these, though, the question arises as to how can I form opinions based on sound evidence and reasoning on important societal issues? As a science drop-out, I think objective, scientific methods are the best way to go. (But then, how can I distinguish a well-grounded, valid and reliable study from one that’s not? And can I even understand such studies?)

    ScienceBlogs has been a big help. I read the blog posts as well as the comments. If I don’t understand the actual science (which I often don’t), I try the best I can to evaluate positions and rebuttals based on how they’re framed. Lots of science-y terminology doesn’t determine a winner, but I see how well the arguments *seem* to be presented and whether a rebuttal *seems* to address and/or undermine the argument. (Another problem is that I can’t objectively evaluate the credibility of the bloggers or commenters. I don’t know the players well enough, nor do I have the background to decide who’s the best qualified.)

    I also enjoy reading the Skeptical Inquirer for a generally less technical look at topics oft-discussed here and in the public.

    I know enough to know that I don’t know enough. I’d love some tips on how to evaluate technical positions without having the knowledge and expertise of those who promote those positions. So, what’s a layperson to do?

  8. #8 Berner
    November 5, 2009

    Great article Orac. I often come across this anti-intellectualism/pseudo-expertise during my time online. I find I’m constantly having to defend reason and logic and am seen as a snob for doing so.

    However it does sometimes pay off. I actually convinced a friend of mine that his niece’s autism wasn’t caused by vaccines and to go take his daughter to be vaccinated against H1N1.

  9. #9 JohnV
    November 5, 2009

    Which journals have willfully suppressed Dr. Chu’s findings? I mean, that’s why she hasn’t published them right?

  10. #10 Berner
    November 5, 2009

    @#6 doctrinalfairness

    That article is a load of sh*t. Saying unknown scientists won’t be published because they are unknown? Give me air. I published two papers as an undergrad/unknown, one of which was in an ACS publication. If that article were correct in saying what it did, then my papers would have been rejected outright.

  11. #11 angela.vk@comcast.net
    November 5, 2009

    So sorry, Orac. If I didn’t have serious doubts about Freud, I would call my error in posting my last comment in the wrong thread here a slip on the order of Fruedian.

    Freud’s theories were never even scientifically testable, yet for decades they held sway and one can only wonder how much pain and serious physiological illness was denied due to the consensus at the time of the hysterical conversion of penis envy. The consensus of the experts demands rigorous review and those who stand to neatly profit by their authoritative statements can handle the onslaught of we ignorant Google people. Or cry all the way to the bank.

  12. #12 titmouse
    November 5, 2009

    But already we see a wave of amateurs convinced they can write a pithier movie review, arrange a catchier song, even assess our planet’s shifting weather conditions, better than the professionals trained to do the job.

    Movie review? Catchier song? A journalist unhappy with the blogosphere, perhaps.

    To borrow a phrase from the alties: let’s not mistake symptoms for root causes:
    - Jenny McCarthy is a symptom. Jay Gordon, MD FAAP is a root cause.
    - JB Handley is a symptom. Mark Geier MD is a root cause.
    - doctrinalfairness is a symptom. Susan Chu MD is a root cause.

    Without a genuine MD as back-up, these loudmouths would STFU.

    In the 1980s medicine –a highly technical field which must self-police– became “heatlhcare,” a business that can be managed by MBAs and others. Doctors subsequently seem to have surrendered the duty of policing their own to non-MDs. Today customer service measures, “performance in practice,” count for more than intellectual integrity.

    When I was in med school the chiropractors hadn’t yet brought their lawsuit against the AMA for trade infringement. I remember a quip from a lecturing neurologist: “…’chiropractic,’ containing the root ‘chiro’ which in the original Greek meant ‘quack.’”

    Do med schools today still hand students the same right and duty to name the boundary that defines us?

    Consider Dr. Gordon. He tells us that pediatricians recommend the CDC vaccine schedule to their patients while secretly doing things quite differently for their own children. If he’s correct, we can conclude that US pediatricians have somehow become a group of spineless bastards profoundly lacking in personal honor or human decency. If he’s wrong, he’s propagating a lie that will erode the public’s confidence in his own profession.

    You might think the AAP would have something to say about this.

  13. #13 DoctrinalFairness
    November 5, 2009

    Berner,
    Take it up with the Vice -Chancellor of the University of Buckingham, he wrote the article, not me.
    Or isn’t he enough of an expert, either?

  14. #14 momkat
    November 5, 2009

    I like this quote from Richard Dawkins-

    “The human mind is a wanton storyteller, and, even more, a profligate seeker after pattern.”

    It so explains our willingness to believe nonsense.

  15. #15 Diane
    November 5, 2009

    I’ve been fascinated to watch a couple of trolls in action over at SBM. Their ignorance is astounding. Even I, who have only just finished intro level A & P, can spot some of their errors. Two people who know nothing about medicine are arguing with a bunch of doctors. Arrogance of ignorance, indeed.

  16. #16 Gus Snarp
    November 5, 2009

    For more on this notion of Americans being anti-intellectual and distrustful of experts, see Daniel J. Boorstin’s The Americans. He covers the development of this mentality in colonial America quite well. But while that might explain it in America, what about all the British anti-vaxxers?

    I like to think that the availability of this information is more of a net positive than negative. In fact, I think a bigger problem is the amount of research that is held back from the general public by the for profit academic publishing industry. If we can just teach students how science is really done, get them reading real published research and doing some of their own, hopefully going to at least a view academic conference presentations to see what kinds of questions are asked, and teach them statistics, then they will be a lot harder to fool. I hope that the reason we see so many cranks is simply that the internet makes them more visible, not that more people actually believe them.

    @docrinalfairness: No, science is not perfect. But you might note that all those Nobel winners are recognized for their accomplishments now. When a new theory fits the evidence, when a study is well designed, repeatable, and repeated, then eventually a paradigm shift will occur. The anti-vax movement has yet to provide enough credible evidence from well designed, repeated studies to merit changing the scientific consensus.

  17. #17 Denice Walter
    November 5, 2009

    Confusing correlation and causation (in *more* ways than one):NJ incumbent governor, Jon Corzine,who was defeated Tuesday,has been a strong advocate for children’s vaccination,requiring additional vaccines and invoking the ire of anti-vaxxers far and wide:groups had pressured him for a “conscientious exemption” law(which has gone *nowhere* in legislature).Radio airhead, Gary Null, aiding and abetting NJ activists,used the airwaves(of Public Radio, WNYE)for the past year to call for actions against the governor and recently asked listeners to vote for the republican,who supposedly supports the exemption. Null now is taking credit for the governor’s defeat through his and other anti-vaxxers’ “activism”, claiming that they were responsible for the 95K plurality in the vote(of course, not mentioning the low turnout,the economy,”tea-party-ism”, generalized anger disorder,and other factors common in our state).

  18. #18 red rabbit
    November 5, 2009

    Just commiserating: yesterday I got terribly annoyed with a patient of mine, a 76 year-old gentleman with a history of MI and active but stable angina, who let his woo-soaked wife convince him to come off his beta-blockers and lipitor in favour of cayenne pepper and garlic (literally, I looked up his supplement).

    I spent the rest of the day grinding my teeth in frustration. When he has another heart attack, I won’t be able to sit her down and tell her it’s her doing, because that would be cruel. But I want to.

  19. #19 The Perky Skeptic
    November 5, 2009

    doctrinalfairness wrote:
    “Any lurker here might assume that peer review is a flawless enterprise- it isn’t.”

    Actually, any lurker here might note that Orac has criticized peer-reviewed journals and called out the pharmaceutical industry quite a lot. Heck, a truly committed lurker might even use the Search feature at the top of the blog before commenting, lest they be told to LURK MOAR.

  20. #20 Berner
    November 5, 2009

    DoctrinalFairness,

    Touting around one experts opinion as though him saying made it fact is fallacious and you know it. It’d be like me rejecting the Dark Mattery theory because a physicist told me MOND was correct even though the evidence favours Dark Matter.

  21. #21 Chris
    November 5, 2009

    Elly, are you thinking of the Dunning-Kruger syndrome? Here is their paper Unskilled and Unaware of It.

    Also, folks… do not feed the Chu sycophant troll.

  22. #22 titmouse
    November 5, 2009

    DF:

    Any lurker here might assume that peer review is a flawless enterprise.

    Your argument is a strawman, a distorted representation of your opponent’s position that is easily defeated. No one believes that peer review is flawless or that science always leads to the right answer. If science had all the right answers, it would stop.

    Claims that pass peer review are generally more likely to be true in comparison to claims that cannot be independently corroborated or critiqued. That is your opponent’s position. Do you agree or disagree with it?

    Susan Chu has the back of parents, not you.

    Has she taught you about the argument from ignorance? The strawman fallacy? These are the lessons that allow one entrance to genuine scientific discourse. Sadly, you’re not there yet.

  23. #23 Militant Agnostic
    November 5, 2009

    Titmouse @ 12 hit the nail on the head. A self regulating profession has neglected it’s responsibilities. How the hell is a quack like Andrew Moulden who is a conman or batshit insane allowed to practice medicine? My doctor decided rather than faxing a referral to the surgeon one floor up, I should just walk it up. I couldn’t go down the hall up the stairs and around the corner without passing the office of an MD specializing in Orthomolecular medicine and Chelation therapy.

    Speaking of Andrew Moulden, last summer he resigned as head of the loony left Canadian Action Party and joined the loony right Christian Heritage Party. This shows that the somewhere around the back the loony left meets the loony right and the result is not pretty.

  24. #24 BC
    November 5, 2009

    “As I pointed out a month ago, one example is heart attacks and the flu vaccine. More than 3,000 people have heart attacks each and every day, which means that by random chance alone there will be probably several people a day who have a heart attack within 24 hours of being vaccinated for the flu.”

    yes, but how many of those 3000 heart attacks were 20yr healthy young women? So, if several young healthy people have a heart attack within hours after the flu shot, it SHOULD be considered more than just a coincidence. If we write off everything as a coincidence, then everything would be considered safe. Maybe it was coincidence so and so died of the flu- they were going to get pneumonia anyway? My young, healthy, husband never had the flu, but ended up hopitalized for 2 weeks with a chest tube.

  25. #25 Chris
    November 5, 2009

    Diane:

    Two people who know nothing about medicine are arguing with a bunch of doctors. Arrogance of ignorance, indeed.

    It is a wonder to behold. For sheer entertainment you should see how a couple of clowns are arguing with a Columbia Univ. virologist who teaches at the medical school: Adjuvant effect on H1N1 vaccine.

    By the way, Dr. Racaniello has a podcast, This Week in Virology, that is both educational and entertaining (especially if you like bad puns).

  26. #26 titmouse
    November 5, 2009

    Militant Agnostic,

    When I was in med school, hospitals didn’t have bar codes on every gauze pad, syringe, or catheter. If I had to re-do a procedure, I went to a supply cart and grabbed another collection of stuff. I assume the hospital had an “overhead expenses” category in their budget calculated as a percentage of total revenue.

    Then managed care began to squeeze every penny tight. No more subsidies for overhead expenses. Turns out that the cost of teaching doctors came out of that part of the budget. Well, at least the hospitals could count on the slave labor to keep the books balanced.

    Then laws were passed to limit how many hours student doctors could work. Ok, now the teaching hospitals are in serious trouble.

    Then DSHEA in 1994 created an industry of vitaministas flush with cash, all using the bashing of BigPharma to market their wares to the public. Thus the removal of donations from BigPharma for medical education.

    Now BigPlacebo is a major source of funding for medical education. Schools depend on tens of millions of dollars from the supplement industry and NCCAM each year. Strip them of this money, and they’re sunk.

    So the self-policing problem has become too large for doctors to fix from within. We need the wider scientific community to help us stand up for sound scientific standards.

  27. #27 Diane
    November 5, 2009

    I luvs Dr.Racaniello! I actually looked for him on FB (blushes).

  28. #28 LibraryGuy
    November 5, 2009

    I love trolls like doctrinalfairness. They make my Irony Meter redline when I remember that they’re posting all this anti-science on the INTERNET. On a COMPUTER.

    C’mon Df-where do you think computers and electricity and the Internet came from? Sprang full-blown 6,000 years ago when God created the Universe?

    Science works. You prove that every time you post.

  29. #29 attack_laurel
    November 5, 2009

    I think on of the other things the pseudo-experts have is an overwhelming need to become known for their views – to be the hero/ine of their own novel, battling against forces larger than themselves, crying truth in the wilderness, and it’s all very romantic in their heads, I’m sure.

    This drives their need to push their views hard, and, being frequently unemployed (or dedicated to their one true cause), they have the time to take advantage of the ‘webs and spray their nonsense far and wide. It’s exhausting for the real experts to keep up with them, because the pseuds don’t need to actually do any real research, and will happily retreat to calling the other side poopyheads when they can’t provide any facts to back up their claims.

    On the science side, however, research is a requirement, and the practice of backing up all arguments and statements of fact with proof makes it harder to keep up with the quick fingers of people who all repeat each others’ distortions when challenged.

    …Which is why, despite my being an annoying pedant, I really look forward to reading your blog each day. You speak truth to the idiots. :)

  30. #30 Mandrake
    November 5, 2009

    Peer review: Sunlight is the best disinfectant.

  31. #31 Joseph
    November 5, 2009

    Freud’s theories were never even scientifically testable, yet for decades they held sway and one can only wonder how much pain and serious physiological illness was denied due to the consensus at the time of the hysterical conversion of penis envy.

    That just comes to show you need to watch out for mainstream views that are not science-based. I’m sure there are still some like these.

    Listening to experts is an OK heuristic, but there needs to be a scientific foundation to what the experts are saying. There are very experienced, learned experts in all sorts of claptrap no doubt, but their views are worth nothing if the discipline itself is not science-based.

  32. #32 Denice Walter
    November 5, 2009

    @ attack_laurel: Exactly. I think of the coterie of pseudo-experts as a troupe of really bad, frustrated writers re-iterating the script of every terrible screenplay and the plot of every awful novel relating to the themes you outline above.And never forget, it’s *advertisement* for a person and/or product *always*.

  33. #33 DoctrinalFairness
    November 5, 2009

    Please direct a little beam of the brilliance of all of that Apollonian sunshine and explain for we ignorant cave people how the following safety research that has spawned YOUR BEST GUESS at the risk/benefit profiles for a novel adjuvant in pregnant women and children is legitimate?
    Large volumes of words here have been devoted to the threat of Suzanne Somers inferior medical care and ignorance. In a similar vein, once again I request your expert analysis and defense of questions raised by the use of statistics and strange scientific method pointed out in the following observations…

    >>Anybody who thinks clinical trials, as they are currently done and accepted by the FDA and EMEA, can give us clear ideas about safety, should read the recent FDA meeting transcripts on Cervarix.
    Here’s the thing. There were signals that suggest increased autoimmune disease especially for neurological complications, and increased spontaneous abortion for pregnant women, but after a variety of ways of analyzing them, you can argue that none of the data is statistically significant. The sheer number of ways of analyzing the data is a real eye-opener!!

    Also, they used a large number of studies from all over the world. On the surface, it may look like that larger numbers of study subjects will give you more information, but in reality it only serves to cloud the picture and/or cancel out signals. For example, different studies used different controls (NONE of which was a true inert placebo), including alum, and 2 different concentrations of an alum-adjuvanted hepatitis B vaccine that is not normally given in the same schedule as the study. And yet they ‘pooled’ all the controls for analysis.

    Comparing with heterogeneous groups of controls will have the tendency to either dilute the signals, or, if there is a signal, the range of variation is so high that the data becomes statistically meaningless. Like this, from the transcripts:

    In the meta-analysis, I believe for all events, for HPV ASO4 products, the relative risk was 2.33, but the lower bound was 0.5 and 13.97 upper bound.

    How are you supposed to interpret this, a risk that varies from 0.5 to 13.97 – ie ranging between 50% reduced risk to 14 times increased risk?? Does this prove safety? The committee voted yes. To me it only proves how many different ways clinical trials data can be creatively interpreted…
    http://www.newfluwiki2.com/showComment.do?commentId=142504

  34. #34 DoctrinalFairness
    November 5, 2009

    Please direct a little beam of that brilliant Apollonian sunlight on a few FACTS. Explain to all of us ignorant cave dwellers how the following safety research that has spawned YOUR BEST GUESS at the risk/benefit profiles for a novel adjuvant in pregnant women and children is indeed legitimate science?
    Large volumes of words here have been devoted to the immense threat of Suzanne Somers inferior medical care and ignorance. In a similar vein, once again, I request your expert analysis and defense of questions raised by the use of statistics and the odd scientific method pointed out in the following observations…

    >>Anybody who thinks clinical trials, as they are currently done and accepted by the FDA and EMEA, can give us clear ideas about safety, should read the recent FDA meeting transcripts on Cervarix.
    Here’s the thing. There were signals that suggest increased autoimmune disease especially for neurological complications, and increased spontaneous abortion for pregnant women, but after a variety of ways of analyzing them, you can argue that none of the data is statistically significant. The sheer number of ways of analyzing the data is a real eye-opener!!

    Also, they used a large number of studies from all over the world. On the surface, it may look like that larger numbers of study subjects will give you more information, but in reality it only serves to cloud the picture and/or cancel out signals. For example, different studies used different controls (NONE of which was a true inert placebo), including alum, and 2 different concentrations of an alum-adjuvanted hepatitis B vaccine that is not normally given in the same schedule as the study. And yet they ‘pooled’ all the controls for analysis.

    Comparing with heterogeneous groups of controls will have the tendency to either dilute the signals, or, if there is a signal, the range of variation is so high that the data becomes statistically meaningless. Like this, from the transcripts:

    In the meta-analysis, I believe for all events, for HPV ASO4 products, the relative risk was 2.33, but the lower bound was 0.5 and 13.97 upper bound.

    How are you supposed to interpret this, a risk that varies from 0.5 to 13.97 – ie ranging between 50% reduced risk to 14 times increased risk?? Does this prove safety? The committee voted yes. To me it only proves how many different ways clinical trials data can be creatively interpreted…
    http://www.newfluwiki2.com/showComment.do?commentId=142504

    Answer the question adequately in a plain language explanation, befitting of your expertise, to an ignorant soul and then this “hopeless little troll” is outta here.

    Otherwise remain smug in your comfort with unexamined evidence which very well may condemn huge numbers of people to decades of the equivalent of “the hysterical conversion of penis envy” when they had diseases like lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. Nobody wants another Vioxx, after all.

  35. #35 sophia8
    November 5, 2009

    Doctrinalfairness: The Vice Chancellor of the University of Buckingham? You mean the one who was publicising a book whe wrote at the time (18 months ago)? And who ended his article with:

    Less formal arrangements will remind us that new science is always provisional – and that validation comes only after publication, when others try to reproduce the work.

    So, has anybody tried to reproduce Dr Chu’s work?

  36. #36 chezjuan
    November 5, 2009

    @BC: You left out the rest of the statement in your comment: “It’s not enough simply to observe an adverse event happening after something, say, vaccination. You have to show that there is an incidence of that adverse event significantly greater than what could be predicted by chance alone.” This means that your example would not be written off as a coincndence because it would be out of the statistical norm.

  37. #37 Elly
    November 5, 2009

    Chris, thanks. I don’t think that’s what I was thinking of but still a useful reference and hopefully will provide a way into similar literature.

    And Freud’s theories were eventually debunked by…science. The fact that Freud’s ideas are still pretty much synonymous with psychology to most of the public is pretty telling, I think.

  38. #38 Michael Simpson
    November 5, 2009

    I’m frustrated by the anti-vaccination quacks. There are so many myths out there, but let me state a fact. Twenty two children died of H1N1 during the week ending 24 October.

  39. #39 Erika
    November 5, 2009

    DoctrinalFairness–re: Orac’s views on peer review, I quote Orac himself, from http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2009/10/the_anti-vaccine_movement_strikes_back_u.php
    “Peer-reviewed doesn’t mean it’s necessarily good research. It’s a minimum standard, and the “research” that J.B. cites has, without an exception that I’ve ever seen, been uniformly awful.”
    Oh, but he was using the flaws of peer review to criticize JB, so I guess that doesn’t count.

  40. #40 How
    November 5, 2009

    While I agree with the thrust of his essay, Rainey seriously undermines his argument with the ridiculous sentence containing “But already we see a wave of amateurs convinced they can write a pithier movie review, arrange a catchier song…”

    You don’t need to be a trained expert to write a catchy song [is there some Catchy Song U. out there that I'm not aware of? Is THAT how the Beatles got so good?], and my guess is that most professional film critics have not attended film school, given the lowbrow banality of most film criticism.

    Methinks he shoulda stuck to science-related examples.

  41. #41 Michael Simpson
    November 5, 2009

    The other driving force behind the proliferation of pseudo-expertise is a very human trait that we all share, namely the tendency to confuse correlation with causation. Once again, this is one of the first lessons in science, not to confuse correlation with causation, but those of us in science forget just how against human nature this is. We are creatures that value personal experience over statistics and science. One good anecdote trumps reams of evidence. This produces, for example, anthropogenic global warming denialists who justify their rejection of climate science by their observation that this summer was unusually mild in their area or the alternative medicine maven who swears by homeopathy because the symptoms of their self-limited condition got better after they tried it.

    Wow. Can I use this quote? Please?

  42. #42 Dangerous Bacon
    November 5, 2009

    We’ve gotten this far into discussing the cult of the amateur and the arrogance of ignorance, and the poster child/queen bee of this phenomenon hasn’t been mentioned yet?

    Where’s the love for Sarah Palin?

  43. #43 KeithB
    November 5, 2009

    I was at an engineering conference a few years ago and we had some motivational speaker tell us that by reading 3-4 books on a subject you can be an expert.

    I almost stood up and threw a penalty flag. (His claim to fame was running or owning the Orlando Magic.) He was in a room with *true* experts in their highly technical fields who could write graduate level textbooks. It took a lot more than reading a few books to get these folks to the level of “expert”

  44. #44 titmouse
    November 5, 2009

    DF,

    Do we agree that the H1N1 vaccine with or without adjuvant has a favorable benefit/risk ratio for pregnant women?

    Remember, each question placed on the table for discussion needs an answer before a new question is added.

  45. #45 Jud
    November 5, 2009

    sophia8 writes:

    So, has anybody tried to reproduce Dr Chu’s work?

    Yes, thousands of doctors have been able to do so. You’re talking about her former work as a primary care physician (now retired), right?

    Oh, her “work” regarding vaccines? Well, actually, she’s done no work that I’m aware of, she simply comments on studies done by others, bringing up various potential reasons one might doubt their conclusions. (I’ve never seen any validation of these reasons, it’s all apparently innuendo, from global statements that vaccine studies are “happy talk” by the manufacturers, to suspicion of an HPV ingredient because it originates with a microorganism-derived toxin. Of course, all vaccines are derived from disease-causing organisms, so Dr. Chu’s reasoning in that instance might be described as a bit overbroad, eh?)

    Dr. Chu appears to be on her best behavior when posting comments that can be read by government officials on the H1N1 Public Engagement Dialogue message board. For example, in her last comment in August regarding H1N1 vaccine, she says “…efficacy is likely to be similar to seasonal flu in the near future.” In fact, in another August comment she advises CDC as to how best to persuade parents with thimerosal concerns to have their children vaccinated: “May I suggest that the CDC/HHS look into ways of proactively reaching out to this subgroup as a matter of priority?”

    So it appears Dr. Chu herself is not rigidly anti-vaccine, but has perhaps gone a bit to the extreme regarding (1) adjuvants and (2) degree of skepticism regarding any studies whose conclusions appear to support adjuvant safety.

    How entirely appropriate that doctrinalfairness’ reply to Orac’s post demonstrates so well some of the points he discusses, such as confirmation bias (Dr. Chu’s writings suggesting that the H1N1 vaccine is effective and people ought to be persuaded to have their children get it are nowhere reflected in df’s comments, while the Dr.’s skepticism re adjuvant studies is transmitted by df in amplified form) and pseudoexpertise (rigorous studies of millions of vaccinations are as nothing next to the knowledge I’ve absorbed from a wiki frequented by a retired primary care physician!! All ur vaccinez are belong to us!!).

  46. #46 Militant Agnostic
    November 5, 2009

    KiethB @43

    I was at an engineering conference a few years ago and we had some motivational speaker tell us that by reading 3-4 books on a subject you can be an expert.

    After reading 3-4 books on a subject you can pass yourself off as an expert to someone with little knowledge of that subject. Maybe that’s what he meant – someone with that superficial knowledge looked like an exert to him.:)

    The worldview of motivational speakers is usually pretty superficial – they are usually consummate bullshit artists who have leveraged having been lucky once into a career.

  47. #47 Jennifer B. Phillips
    November 5, 2009

    Nooooo! Not another thread hijacked by DoctrinalFeyness and her BFF Susan Chu! Beyond being ‘exhibit A’ for the topic of this particular post, she is, frankly, boring the shit out of me.

    How:

    While I agree with the thrust of his essay, Rainey seriously undermines his argument with the ridiculous sentence containing “But already we see a wave of amateurs convinced they can write a pithier movie review, arrange a catchier song…”

    I agree. This is a dangerous false equivalence, not only because of the vastly different requirements of being an ‘expert’ in movie reviews vs. medicine, but because it suggests that policy by popular opinion is a valid way to go, regardless of the topic. Part of the reason we’re in this so deep is the stupid po-mo trend of giving equal weight to all views.

  48. #48 Chester Burton Brown
    November 5, 2009

    Orac, I’m one of those people who wasn’t fortunate enough to get a post-secondary education in science but who has lost many, many hours reading fascinating stuff via “Google University.”

    I remember when my brother-in-law, remarking on my reading in science, said, “You must be quite an expert in all this stuff by now!”

    “Quite the opposite,” I told him. “In fact, the more I learn the more I am aware how much there still remains to be learned. I don’t think I’ve ever properly appreciated the scope of my own ignorance before now.”

    He shook his head. “Really? I pretty much know more than the average Western doctor does these days, and I’m more open-minded than they are, which means there’s no limit to what else I can master.”

    I suppose my point is that the arrogance of ignorance isn’t a feature of Google University — it’s a bug in (some|many|most?) the humans making use of it.

    Yours,
    CBB

  49. #49 Sid Offit
    November 5, 2009

    @Denise

    of course, not mentioning the low turnout,the economy,”tea-party-ism”, generalized anger disorder,and other factors common in our state).
    ———————–
    Along with the widespread dissatisfaction with Barak Obama – who inadvertently sabotaged Corzine by campaigning for him

  50. #50 DoctrinalFairness
    November 5, 2009

    Jud,
    Truly amazing! Really!!
    All along I have pointed to the fact that Susan Chu is NOT AT ALL AN ANTI-VAX lunatic. Which makes her an exception to your frozen categories- PRO vs ANTI VAX.
    Perhaps you missed the numerous posts where I have questioned the motive of the polarization of the vaccination “camps” into two categories. Many people are coming around to know that these tactics are often rooted in political and economic disinformation campaigns that lead to things like fundamentalist religious thinking and racial hatred, you know- the REAL dumbing down of the masses.
    While Susan Chu is quietly plugging away working for parents, nearly every one of you here is engaged in ridiculing people with questions and doubts about the safety of vaccines. We must shut up and take the jab. Period.
    What struck me about Susan Chu from the first was that she is SOLIDLY pro-vaccination and has devoted a substantial number of years working as a volunteer to EDUCATE parents in every aspect of pandemic influenza. She might have retired to the Carribean and she did not.
    Ironically, these numerous years amount to no expertise whatsoever in your pedantic hierarchy of value here. Someone like her has no place in the timeworn safe little schemata of (COMPROMISED) peer reviewed science.

    Most parents that I know have amazing respect and regard for their beloved pediatricians, so it’s enlightening to also learn right here what little esteem they are actually held in with thier years of observing children directly.
    I have NEVER presented MYSELF as an expert on anything.
    Your dishonesty and smears of what I actually said all along blows my psuedo-mind.

  51. #51 Sid Offit
    November 5, 2009

    @Perky

    What’s the difference tween a troll and a lurker?

  52. #52 Sid Offit
    November 5, 2009

    @Chris

    This is what your virologist said:

    MF59 has been used in European influenza vaccines for years with no side effects.

    This of course this is entirely false. Point for the clowns.

  53. #53 Ace of Sevens
    November 5, 2009

    Trolls post to rile people up. They may present of front of being interest in fair debate, but this is a sham. Lurkers read and don’t post.

  54. #54 D. C. Sessions
    November 5, 2009

    As a layperson on topics such as these, though, the question arises as to how can I form opinions based on sound evidence and reasoning on important societal issues?

    I hope you’re not looking for a unicorn’s horn to distinguish the brew that is true?

    A few things to keep in mind:

    * As Mark Twain wisely observed, it takes more intelligence to lie than to tell the truth. Nonsense tends towards self-contradiction. Not to mention slashing its own wrists with Occam’s Razor.

    * Crank Magnetism. Theres something about crackpottery that leads to metastasis, and before you know it troofers are also birfers. For example, John “whale.to” Scudamore is also a birfer who thinks Orly Taitz is brilliant.

    * Unlike fantasy, reality is all connected. You may not be an expert in a field, but chances are pretty good that someone like Boyd Haley who’s selling a line of BS will violate Twain’s advice in ways that you can spot. They’re going to dispense some narishkeit that runs afoul of something where you are at least somewhat expert.

    A wonderful example was the antivaccinationist attack on MMR. The Mercury Militia joined Wakefield’s bandwagon and blamed the MMR/Autism connection (what connection? Don’t ask) on thimerosal in the MMR. Spectacularly, they didn’t withdraw this story even when it was pointed out that MMR never contained thimerosal.

    My favorite, of course, is homeopathy. I’m a semiconductor engineer, and the physics of high dilution is the bedrock of our field. Homeopathy directly contradicts calculations that I use daily to (accurately, thank you) predict the behavior of complex circuits — such as the ones in the computer you’re using to read this comment. Homeopathy or computers — only one of them can work.

  55. #55 Jud
    November 5, 2009

    doctrinalfairness writes:

    What struck me about Susan Chu from the first was that she is SOLIDLY pro-vaccination

    I certainly look forward to more of your solidly pro-vaccination quotes from Dr. Chu.

  56. #56 Sid Offit
    November 5, 2009

    Thnak you Ace

  57. #57 Joseph
    November 5, 2009

    Oh, but he was using the flaws of peer review to criticize JB, so I guess that doesn’t count.

    @Erika: So you have a statement from Orac saying that all peer-reviewed science is true by virtue of its being peer-reviewed? Let’s see it.

    I think we can all agree not all peer-reviewed research is good research, and not all non-peer-reviewed information is bogus. Peer-review is simply a heuristic, like Occam’s Razor, or journal impact factor.

  58. #58 DoctrinalFairness
    November 5, 2009

    Jennifer B Phillips,
    So revealing, this statement of yours…

    >>Part of the reason we’re in this so deep is the stupid po-mo trend of giving equal weight to all views.<<

    Perhaps you’ve forgotten your history, but you aren’t going to doom me to repeat it.
    Many loud, obnoxious and uppity women fought hard and long for your enjoyed right to vote and for the permission that was neccessary for your admission and inclusion into the cozy little exclusive circle of elite experts in which you presently belong.
    Women are still fighting to insure your reproductive rights, in case you hadn’t noticed. A mere seventy years ago, you were considered little more than property. But lets hear some more of your nostalgic longing for the “good old days” before po-mo, when slavery and servitude were legal, OK?

  59. #59 dannykaye
    November 5, 2009

    I hope you’re not looking for a unicorn’s horn to distinguish the brew that is true?

    It’s simple, the pellet with the poison’s in the flagon with the dragon. The vessel with the pestle has the brew that is true!

  60. #60 DoctrinalFairness
    November 5, 2009

    Jennifer B Phillips,
    So revealing, this statement of yours…

    >>Part of the reason we’re in this so deep is the stupid po-mo trend of giving equal weight to all views.<<

    Perhaps you’ve forgotten your history, but you aren’t going to doom me to repeat it.
    Many loud, obnoxious and uppity women fought hard and long for your enjoyed right to vote and for the permission that was neccessary for your admission and inclusion into the cozy little exclusive circle of elite experts in which you presently belong.
    Women are still fighting to insure your reproductive rights, in case you hadn’t noticed. A mere seventy years ago, you were considered little more than property. But lets hear some more of your nostalgic longing for the “good old days” before po-mo, when slavery and servitude were legal, OK?

  61. #61 tl
    November 5, 2009

    DoctrinalFairness Blurted out:

    Perhaps you’ve forgotten your history, but you aren’t going to doom me to repeat it.
    Many loud, obnoxious and uppity women fought hard and long for your enjoyed right to vote and for the permission that was neccessary for your admission and inclusion into the cozy little exclusive circle of elite experts in which you presently belong.
    Women are still fighting to insure your reproductive rights, in case you hadn’t noticed. A mere seventy years ago, you were considered little more than property. But lets hear some more of your nostalgic longing for the “good old days” before po-mo, when slavery and servitude were legal, OK?

    Please explain what PoMo has to do with the Suffrage movement, or equal rights. Seriously, I’d love to see this one! It seems to me that PoMo often backs cultures that don’t value equality.

    Actually, no don’t bother, it’s clear from this post that you’re either a troll or a Wahle.to level nut.

  62. #62 Sastra
    November 5, 2009

    In addition to the distrust of authority, assumption of equality, and confusion of causation with correlation, I’d add in another factor driving the arrogance behind ignorance: the ubiquitous cultural emphasis put on the virtue of ‘having faith.’ How could you forget the Mommy Instinct? Mommies just know, via an intuition that looks suspiciously like ESP, or revelation for God. Believe what your heart tells you, and follow those self-affirming Other Ways of Knowing beyond the evidence. This will mark you as sensitive, humble, and enlightened.

    In religion, seeking only confirming evidence and looking for someone whose word you can trust is a feature, not a bug. The conspiracy theory which divides people into good guys and bad guys is already familiar. “For those who believe, no evidence is necessary: for those who don’t, no evidence is possible.” When you think about it, that smug little aphorism pretty much sums up the attitude of the True Believer — and goes contrary to the approach of science.

    If you follow the pseudoscience debates, whatever the form of woo, most skeptics will eventually be asked the trick question: “Do you believe in God?”

    If you do, then you’ve accepted that miracles happen, the universe is based on magical forces of one kind or another, and it’s important to believe that there’s more than the material, physical world: now, you’re only quibbling over where to draw a line. They’ve got you. If the answer is ‘no,’ then they’ve got you again: few audiences are sympathetic to atheism, and it’s clear that you’re just too damn skeptical for anyone’s taste, or your own good.

  63. #63 T. Bruce McNeely
    November 5, 2009

    Doc Fairness@59:

    I’m really interested to know what contribution post-modernism made towards ending slavery and servitude.

  64. #64 Jennifer B. Phillips
    November 5, 2009

    If the answer is ‘no,’ then they’ve got you again: few audiences are sympathetic to atheism, and it’s clear that you’re just too damn skeptical for anyone’s taste, or your own good.

    This is often true, but doesn’t apply to the Bill Maher type of pseudoskeptic (yes, I know he claims not to be an ATHEIST, but many of his ilk do go the Full Monte on that score) who claim that they are, in fact the ‘real skeptics’–they claim not to accept *anything* on faith, and insinuate that those who do accept science-based medicine are doing exactly that.

  65. #65 titmouse
    November 5, 2009

    But lets hear some more of your nostalgic longing for the “good old days” before po-mo, when slavery and servitude were legal, OK?

    DF, who is more arrogant:
    - The person who asks, “what does po-mo mean?” or the person who decides what it must mean without bothering to ask?
    - The scholar who spends years in study or the self-taught who denounces scholars as “elitist”?

  66. #66 D. C. Sessions
    November 5, 2009

    RE: #60

    Thank you — I was hoping someone would be a student of the classics.

  67. #67 Scientizzle
    November 5, 2009

    Haven’t you guys ever read The Emancipation Proclamation?

    Didn’t you notice the subtitle: Transgressing the Boundaries: Towards a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity”

  68. #68 Greg F.
    November 5, 2009

    @DoctrinalFairness

    Many loud, obnoxious and uppity women fought hard and long for your enjoyed right to vote and for the permission that was neccessary for your admission and inclusion into the cozy little exclusive circle of elite experts in which you presently belong.

    How exactly is not discriminating against people by gender in any way like requiring people to have the required knowledge before voicing an opinion on a topic? The function and location of your reproductive organs doesn’t have anything to say about your level of expertise, but your academic work and the validity of the ideas you put forward sure do.

    If some ufologist wants to interrogate me about how likely aliens are to visit Earth, I can give a pretty good framework because I’ve completed a good deal of the required coursework and have a basic understanding of the physics involved. Someone who insists that magic magnets on the perimeter of a flying saucer generate perpetual zero point energy doesn’t, hence his/her opinion on the subject is pretty much invalid.

    Likewise, I don’t even try to open my mouth in front of a chemist because I’ve done pretty much no work in the field and whatever I say is probably going to be wrong. That’s a huge part of scientific thinking. You have to recognize when it’s time to speak up and when it’s time to shut up for a moment and listen to someone who clearly knows better.

  69. #69 Mandrake
    November 5, 2009

    My favorite, of course, is homeopathy. I’m a semiconductor engineer, and the physics of high dilution is the bedrock of our field. Homeopathy directly contradicts calculations that I use daily to (accurately, thank you) predict the behavior of complex circuits — such as the ones in the computer you’re using to read this comment. Homeopathy or computers — only one of them can work.

    The Health and Science section of Tuesday’s Washington Post included two letters from readers extolling the virtues (no side effects!) and effectiveness (it has protected me through six flu seasons!) of homeopathy.

    I suppose the letters were in response to some article that I missed.

  70. #70 Pablo
    November 5, 2009

    ow could you forget the Mommy Instinct? Mommies just know, via an intuition that looks suspiciously like ESP, or revelation for God. Believe what your heart tells you, and follow those self-affirming Other Ways of Knowing beyond the evidence.

    I was going to mention this, too. Some of the problem, especially with mothers, is in the parenting books that keep saying, “Follow your instincts, they are usually right.”

    I’ve pointed out in the past that there is a grain of truth, at least in how it is presented. When it comes to a lot of things about raising a child, “mother’s instincts” are indeed, usually pretty reasonable. Of course, the reason that is true is because for those things, it’s tough to go wrong. Kids are pretty darn resilient, and will do just fine in most situations.

    However, in addition to the problem that this applies to a lot of general stuff but there are exceptions (listen to your pediatrician!), another problem I’ve pointed out is that too often, there are moms who take this too far, and hear “trust your instincts, you will usually be ok” as “you are always right and everyone else’s is wrong.”

    When they start taking that attitude with real experts, that’s a problem.

  71. #71 DoctrinalFairness
    November 5, 2009

    I’m really interested to know what contribution post-modernism made towards ending slavery and servitude.

    Thats it TBruce, twist my words. Like it or not, we LIVE here and now in a very imperfect PO-MO era. Those who long for the not so long ago days when every bit of truth, beauty, goodness and wisdom was determined and largely possessed by white men is not my idea of a great future, either.

    credentialed, I owe you a very detailed apology, but it will have to wait a week, I am sorry.

  72. #72 Joseph C.
    November 5, 2009

    Actually, no don’t bother, it’s clear from this post that you’re either a troll or a Wahle.to level nut.

    It has been clear for a long time now. “She” made a passing reference to vaccines being part of a depopulation agenda very early on here. And the crazy has just been piling up ever since.

    It has been kind of an interesting freak show though.

  73. #73 Jennifer B. Phillips
    November 5, 2009

    “there is nothing truthful, wise, humane, or strategic about confusing hostility to injustice and oppression, which is leftist, with hostility to science and rationality, which is nonsense.”
    –Michael Albert

  74. #74 Dangerous Bacon
    November 5, 2009

    Part of the lure of the cult of the amateur is the feeling that one can “take control” in challenging facets of our lives like health care, while showing those smarty-pants experts a thing or two.

    Kudos to DoctrinalFairness for also demonstrating something that’s probably new to most of us – embracing half-baked antivax theories is a way of promoting civil rights:

    “I have questioned the motive of the polarization of the vaccination “camps” into two categories…Many people are coming around to know that these tactics are often rooted in political and economic disinformation campaigns that lead to things like fundamentalist religious thinking and racial hatred”

    See, if you insist on rigorous science in evaluating immunization and other elements of evidence-based medicine, you’re the equivalent of the Taliban.

    Quackery – it’s now one of our cherished civil rights.

  75. #75 Prometheus
    November 5, 2009

    One of my all-time favorite bits of self-immolating stupid is this one:

    “In the business world, having a degree from a great college or business school gets you your first job, and not much else.”

    In the science world, having a degree from a great college or university won’t even get you your first job, unless your first job is making culture media or pushing the buttons on an a machine. To get beyond a technician-level job in science – to get to where you are doing real research – requires much, much more.

    A bachelor’s degree – and good grades and recommendations – can get you your first graduate school position, and not much else. There are plenty of people who got a BS in chemistry or biology from Stanford or Yale who are selling pipette tips and thermocyclers for some company in New Jersey today. Even those working in “research” with just a BS are working as technicians, not researchers. It pretty much takes a PhD (and a post-doctoral fellowship) to get to the point where you actually decide what you will be researching.

    So, all of those people who are publishing research have gone through multiple “weeding-out” processes: getting into (and out of) graduate school, getting their PhD, doing a post-doctoral fellowship, getting grants, having their research criticised and reviewed by peers at meetings, seminars and editorial boards. All of those people that the Google U. grads are so dissmissive of have put in years of study, work and research to get to where they are today.

    Apparently, it doesn’t take as much work or intelligence to succeed in the business world – who knew? But our “expert” goes on to tell us:

    “There are plenty of Harvard Business School grads who have bankrupted companies and gone to jail, and plenty of high school drop-outs who are multi-millionaires. Brains and street-smarts win, not degrees, arrogance, or entitlement”

    So, it would appear that the education needed to succeed in business is no more than a few years of high school and the “smarts” needed are no more than would allow someone to run a top-flight lemonade stand. Or so our “expert” seems to claim.

    Yet, because this “expert” can successfully run a business, he feels he has scientific knowledge and “smarts” superior to someone who is successfully running a research program?

    And who was it that was being “arrogant”?

    Prometheus

  76. #76 Mariah
    November 5, 2009

    I had the pleasure of sitting with a bunch of GoogleU parents at a CDC vaccine community meeting. All the same s__t, live and in person.

    At the end of the day I asked the most vocal mom this question: Where exactly would the information on safety have to come from–what source, what journal–such that you would believe it.

    She looked at me, and to her credit honestly replied, “I don’t know.” I think she even surprised herself with that admission. Because then it became clear that there was no way to do it, making her position essentially “faith based” on what she believes. Nothing more was going to be allowed in.

  77. #77 T. Bruce McNeely
    November 5, 2009

    Those who long for the not so long ago days when every bit of truth, beauty, goodness and wisdom was determined and largely possessed by white men is not my idea of a great future, either.

    Who the hell is doing that?

  78. #78 Prometheus
    November 5, 2009

    Doctrinalfairness states:

    “Those who long for the not so long ago days when every bit of truth, beauty, goodness and wisdom was determined and largely possessed by white men is not my idea of a great future, either.”

    Does she think that every scientist – or even everyone who disagrees with her – is a “white male”? That’s an extremely…..eccentric view of the world.

    DF, sorry to burst your bubble, but some of the people who disagree with you – who think that your “concerns” lack supporting data and that your arguments are pure tripe – are women. Some may even be women of color (i.e. not white).

    This last attempt to portray herself as a woman struggling against the hegemony of “white men” is the last straw.

    Prometheus

  79. #79 Jennifer B. Phillips
    November 5, 2009

    DF, sorry to burst your bubble, but some of the people who disagree with you – who think that your “concerns” lack supporting data and that your arguments are pure tripe – are women.

    I think she’s aware of that, Prometheus, as she originally bumbled into this topic via her attempt to upbraid me, a nominally identifiable woman, for what she somehow interpreted as my ‘longing for the good old days’ of oppression. Evidently, my complaint about the postmodernist view of science is tantamount to a desire for Daddy to do all my thinking for me, thus freeing up my little ladybrain to concentrate on my needlepoint sampler…or something.

    I completely agree that it is, or should be the last straw, as it is merely the latest iteration of the insipidity that has dominated the comments on this blog for the past several days. The marginal entertainment value has long since evaporated for me.

  80. #80 titmouse
    November 5, 2009

    Like it or not, we LIVE here and now in a very imperfect PO-MO era. Those who long for the not so long ago days when every bit of truth, beauty, goodness and wisdom was determined and largely possessed by white men is not my idea of a great future, either.

    Hmm, let’s see… the later Wittgenstein writings, then the lulzy Lacan, then the psycholinguistics who are useful and the French (Baudrillard, Lyotard, Derrida, Foucault) who are not, and the relatively readable Rorty…

    WAIT!! WUT WUZ DAT BOUT DE WHITE GUYS????!!!

    Fess up, doctrinalfairness. You have no idea what you’re on about. You’re just passing the time. Makin’ sh*t up as you go. Fakin’ it to make it. Playin’ a part. Runnin’ it up the flagpole, seein’ who salutes.

    In other words: you’re trolling. Well, either that or you’re drunk. And by “drunk” I mean…

    besotted
    beered-up
    blind
    blotto
    bombed
    buzzed
    cabbaged
    faced
    floored
    FUBARed
    hammered
    high as a kite
    inebriated
    intoxicated
    legless
    loaded
    mangled
    medicated
    merry
    munted
    nicely irrigated
    off yer tree
    off yer trolley
    out of it
    pickled
    pissed
    pixilated
    plastered
    polluted
    retarded
    ruined
    schnockered
    shedded
    shite-faced
    skunked
    slammed
    slaughtered
    sloshed
    smashed
    sozzled
    splashed
    tanked
    three sheets to the wind
    tight as a tick
    tilted
    tipsy
    toasted
    trashed
    under the table
    wasted
    worse for wear
    wrecked
    zombied

  81. #81 Joseph C.
    November 5, 2009

    Hmm, let’s see… the later Wittgenstein writings, then the lulzy Lacan, then the psycholinguistics who are useful and the French (Baudrillard, Lyotard, Derrida, Foucault) who are not, and the relatively readable Rorty…

    I tried to read French philosophy once (Sartre). Talk about a headache. I guess toting one of his books makes you look pretty hip on the subway though.

  82. #82 Katharine
    November 5, 2009

    doctrinalfairness, shame. You’re confusing antiracism/feminism/pro-gay-rights with postmodernism. The former are admirable; the latter is complete bullshit.

  83. #83 titmouse
    November 5, 2009

    DF used us as a convenient target for her speen, while I used her as a teaching case in an imagined class of eighth graders learning civil discourse.

    Yes, I am a twisted soul.

    PoMo has a point regarding relationships. Things aren’t things apart from their relationships. Words have no meaning in themselves but only when produced in a situation involving some encoder and decoder.

    But at least a few words must represent actual bits of reality. If you toss reality out the window hoping you might somehow completely focus on the manner in which words point to other words, you will go daft. No one will understand you (see “the French” above).

  84. #84 doctrinalfairness
    November 5, 2009

    Katherine,
    Sorry, but I just don’t buy any more of your inconsistent and reductionistic tripe.
    Not only is everyone here a top notch world class expert on science, but you can also expound with absolute authority on the entire span of postmodernist thought, which is not merely limited to French philosophers, but also includes the DESCRIPTION OF THE TIMES IN WHICH WE LIVE.
    Very large numbers of living and currently breathing scientists, thinkers, artists, musicians and educators would have NO place in the academy if the dominant assumptions of (GASP!!) white men who ruled larged swaths of the world had not been deconstructed and OTHER PERSPECTIVES permitted ground and access.

    Years ago I remember a “postmodern” professor in a graduate education class being described to me by an older student in angry tones as “a dangerous man” and I smelled a rat then.
    Never was there a more humble and brilliant man- who conceded AT THE TIME to the entire class that the dialogue would eventually reach an impasse and would give way to a (GASP!) synthesis!
    Never mind. Carry on with your unexamined need to parade your supposed superiority and use it as a club to beat people over the head with- it’s doing a world of good – just look around. Fortunately there ARE thinkers in nearly every discipline who adopt a post-modern attitude of critique of their elitist suppositions- Gardner, Giroux, Friere, Gatto in education- just to name a few.
    Thankfully there are a few self-critical people out there still.

  85. #85 Joseph C.
    November 5, 2009

    Thankfully there are a few self-critical people out there still.

    There is no irony in this statement.

  86. #86 titmouse
    November 5, 2009

    Yeah that was a long walk. She might have just said, “fuck you.”

  87. #87 Quietmarc
    November 5, 2009

    Enjoyed this post, but (and maybe my scepticism is on overdrive these days) I’m intrigued by the “10 000 hours to become an expert surgeon” figure. Who estimated that? How? I ask, because I’ve seen that number come up in a few places lately (refering to Olypmic athletes, it was mentioned on the sitcom “Modern family” last night), and while I’m sure it takes a LONG time to become an expert at anything, is this number verifiable?

  88. #88 titmouse
    November 5, 2009

    I used a bad word and got filtered.

    DF reminds me of people with L hemi-neglect. It’s so weird, that kind of self blindness. Oliver Sacks weird, but not so fun. Abusive people are never much fun.

    I AM NOT YELLING!!! STOP SAYING THAT!!!! PATIENTS ARE GONNA TURN TO REIKI IF YOU DON’T TAKE YOUR FINGERS OUT OF YOUR EARS!!!!!!!!!

    DF plays the “EXPELLED!” gambit. She ignores the valid reasons for rejecting some argument and pretends the rejection is due to an invalid reason. “Elitism,” I guess.

  89. #89 Shay
    November 5, 2009

    How could you forget the Mommy Instinct? Mommies just know

    I’ve often wondered why it’s always the mothers who know. Is there no “Daddy Instinct?”

  90. #90 D. C. Sessions
    November 5, 2009

    Is there no “Daddy Instinct?”

    Sort of — it comes later in life.

    “Get off of my lawn!”

  91. #91 JohnV
    November 5, 2009

    “Carry on with your unexamined need to parade your supposed superiority and use it as a club to beat people over the head with-”

    But you make it so easy. I’m still waiting for my Nobel prize in biology so I can be in the company of the father of microbiology who won two nobel prizes in biology.

  92. #92 T. Bruce McNeely
    November 5, 2009

    I think that the 10,000 hours to become an expert surgeon is a fairly reasonable estimate. When I was interning, the surgical residents were in the OR every day from 8AM to 6PM. They would also take call every 3rd (or even every 2nd)night, and would be operating during most of that time (6PM to 8AM). Even counting just the weekdays, that’s 250 days a year, operating 10 hours a day, giving a total of 10,000 hours over 4 years, the bare minimum for a General Surgeon. This doen’t count the after-hours shifts, which may be reduced since I was interning, and also not counting additional years for subspecialty training. So, yes, 10,000 hours is pretty standard.
    One of the many reasons I chose Pathology over Surgery.

  93. #93 Bob Linn
    November 5, 2009

    A friend of mine who taught high school students had a useful variant of the “arrogance of ignorance.” He often referred to “aggressive ignorance.”

  94. #94 Quietmarc
    November 5, 2009

    @90: Ah. Nice. It’s certainly plausible, but when I hear a figure on a sitcom and in sports reporting, I start wondering….

    Eventually, I plan to become an expert at playing Civilization III.

  95. #95 DoctrinalFairness
    November 5, 2009

    It’s too late for you to examine your prejudices, but you’d best put a stop to this man too while you are conducting your witchhunts against ignorance- he is training a whole army of people who will need to know absolutely nothing but listen to how you speak and know instantly what you are about.

    http://www.johntaylorgatto.com/chapters/17l.htm

  96. #96 Michael Ralston
    November 5, 2009

    So, wait. John Taylor Gatto rejects evolution because he thinks it has bad consequences?

    Shit, you can do that? Awesome!

    I reject the existance of war. Also of mean people. Also of stupid people.

    My made-up world is a much better place now. Yaaaay!

  97. #97 snerd
    November 5, 2009

    At first, I thought DF was
    http://redwing.hutman.net/~mreed/warriorshtm/issues.htm
    Now, I’m thinking more along the lines of
    http://redwing.hutman.net/~mreed/warriorshtm/loopy.htm

  98. #98 titmouse
    November 5, 2009

    DF,

    Do you invite people to your home for a cuppa tea if they repeatedly accuse you of vague crimes of prejudice?

    I’ve become bored with your unpleasantness. You have nothing new to say. I’d rather chat with someone who can be kind occasionally.

  99. #99 Joseph C.
    November 5, 2009

    Are we playing the post irrelevant links game?

    OK, I’m down.

    http://www2.kelloggs.com/brand/brand.aspx?brand=154

    Tony The Tiger says, “They’re GGGGREAT!”

  100. #100 kayleigh
    November 5, 2009

    Why on earth would Gatto lower himself to train “a whole army of people”?! Doesn’t he know “forced schooling” is a tool of the intelligensia to integrate a work force and ensure conformity?! When will he *ever* learn?!

    **shakes head sadly**

  101. #102 DLC
    November 5, 2009

    The Flagon with the Dragon has the pellet with the poison . . . but remember, it’s the dose makes the poison. So the vessel with the pestle may still have some small amount of the pellet with the poison, but as long as the dose is small enough the brew will be true!

  102. #103 DoctrinalFairness
    November 5, 2009

    Kayleigh
    I merely pointed out that he is dangerous to you as a rapidly growing phenomenon. People choose his kind of training,it’s not compulsory.
    He’s very popular with home schooler people – wonder what percentage of them are choosing against vaccination? Might it just be that the elite scientific experts have revealed just a wee bit too much of their contempt for so-called dumb people?

    >>Now dumb people aren’t just ignorant; they’re the victims of the non-thought of secondhand ideas. Dumb people are now well-informed about the opinions of Time magazine and CBS, The New York Times and the President; their job is to choose which pre-thought thoughts, which received opinions, they like best. The élite in this new empire of ignorance are those who know the most pre-thought thoughts.

    Mass dumbness is vital to modem society. The dumb person is wonderfully flexible clay for psychological shaping by market research, government policymakers; public-opinion leaders, and any other interest group. The more pre-thought thoughts a person has memorized, the easier it is to predict what choices he or she will make. What dumb people cannot do is think for themselves or ever be alone for very long without feeling crazy. That is the whole point of national forced schooling; we aren’t supposed to be able to think for ourselves because independent thinking gets in the way of “professional” think-ing, which is believed to follow rules of scientific precision.

    Modern scientific stupidity masquerades as intellectual knowledge – which it is not. Real knowledge has to be earned by hard and painful thinking; it can’t be generated in group discussions or group therapies but only in lonely sessions with yourself. Real knowledge is earned only by ceaseless questioning of yourself and others, and by the labor of independent verification; you can’t buy it from a government agent, a social worker, a psychologist, a licensed specialist, or a schoolteacher. There isn’t a public school in this country set up to allow the discovery of real knowledge – not even the best ones – although here and there individual teachers, like guerrilla fighters, sabotage the system and work toward this ideal. But since schools are set up to classify people rather than to see them as unique, even the best schoolteachers are strictly limited in the amount of questioning they can tolerate. <<
    JTGatto

  103. #104 JohnV
    November 5, 2009

    “Real knowledge has to be earned by hard and painful thinking;”

    Or by googling.

  104. #105 Dedj
    November 5, 2009

    So , real knowledge is a solo team effort.

    Thanks for that.

    I guess no-one here would have been able to work out that effective knowledge and understanding arises from a recursive system of attainment, refinment and verification.

    Oh wait, they teach you that in your freshman year. Literally tell you to your face. Hay-ho.

    So DF will have no trouble indicating where Dr Chu has submitted her work to a process of refinement and independant verification.

    Oh wait, that’s exactly the question she/he has been asked multiple times, and never answered.

    So, according to DF, Susan Chu does not possess real knowledge.

    I love it when trolls talk themselves into a corner. They never realise what they’ve just done. As far as they’re concerned the feeling of brick against their backs is just more support.

    Toodles.

  105. #106 snerd
    November 5, 2009

    Shame this isn’t Fark, this is an excellent opportunity for the wharrgarbl demotivator.

    WHARRGARBL

  106. #107 Dangerous Bacon
    November 5, 2009

    The AOI manifesto: “We reject inconvenient and unpleasant facts because They want us to believe them. They are better educated, hard-working, dedicated to their professions and the people they serve; therefore They make us feel uncomfortable and inferior. Unwilling to make the effort to achieve understanding, we take comfort in conspiracy-mongering. We despise Their wisdom and invent our own, cobbled together from half truths, make-believe, fear and resentment. We wins!”

    Help, help, I’m being oppressed by the arrogance of ignorance!!!

  107. #108 Diane
    November 5, 2009

    This thread has gotten really weird.

  108. #109 titmouse
    November 5, 2009

    Gah. The pathos-annoyance combo.

    On the one hand DF wants us to realize that we’re sheeple living unexamined lives.

    On the other, her “think for yourself” message arrives in the form of a COPYPASTA sermonette.

    But that’s not what gets me. What really gets me is the sense that she’s trying her best to be one of the “gang,” in a room full of strangers who don’t know each other.

  109. #110 kayleigh
    November 6, 2009

    Wow.

    Impressive.

    Sounds like JTGatto is just the one to lay the smack-down on this Susan Chu, with her status-quo-maintaining, elitism-smacking, scientific-stupidity-spouting, conventional education. If only she had eschewed such an education, she might have attained true knowledge.

    Gatto versus Chu. I propose a sock puppet cage match to settle the matter…

  110. #111 titmouse
    November 6, 2009

    The few parents I’ve met who are home schooling basically just want their kids to have a better learning experience than they think the local school can provide, for various reasons. Some are religious families; some less so.

    I haven’t really thought much about the home schooling movement. I hope it’s not some means to indoctrinate little warriors so they’ll grow up to fight the society of indoctrination. Kinda contradictory, that.

    Why not simply teach children real stuff? Like the names of all the backyard birds and their songs, where they go in winter, how many eggs in their nest, and so on.

    Teach kids how to get along and have fun. Seek to win games but be gracious to others if you do win, else they won’t like playing with you. That sort of thing. Build a foundation for learning about the rule of law.

    Science, language, art, civics. That’s plenty. Bugger the indoctrination bits.

    I don’t think I like this Gatto person. Sounds like a demagogue.

  111. #112 a-non
    November 6, 2009

    DF,

    John Taylor Gatto? Really?

    I thought you were, at one point, simply an over-eager and ill-informed anti-vaxer. Now I am fairly well convinced you’re a loon.

    Add DF to the Mount Rushmore of crazy RI posters, friends.

  112. #113 DoctrinalFairness
    November 6, 2009

    Oy, such hate…fascinating, really…

    Susan Chu is President and co-founder of ReadyMom’s Alliance, an educational organization preparing families for pandemics- the polar opposite of an elitist “expert” lording her esoteric knowledge over the proles… http://www.readymoms.org/

    and

    John Taylor Gatto is a genius educator…it’s obvious why you would hate him so, he illustrates exactly how thought control works, as if there’s not enough of that dynamic evident right here. His popularity is growing and it’s easy to see why…he tells the truth.

    From “Confederacy of Dunces”

    >>>The new dumbness – the non thought of received ideas – is much more dangerous than simple ignorance, because it’s really about thought control. In school, a washing away of the innate power of individual mind takes place, a “cleansing” so comprehensive that original thinking becomes difficult. If you don’t believe this development was part of the intentional design of schooling, you should read William Torrey Harris’s The Philosophy of Education. Harris was the U.S. Commissioner of Education at the turn of the century and the man most influential in standardizing our schools. Listen to the man.

    “Ninety-nine [students] out of a hundred,” writes Harris, “are automata, careful to walk in prescribed paths, careful to follow the prescribed custom.” This is not all accident, Harris explains, but the “result of substantial education, which, scientifically defined, is the subsumption of the individual.” Scientific education subsumes the individual until his or her behavior becomes robotic. Those are the thoughts of the most influential U.S. Commissioner of Education we’ve had so far.

    The great theological scholar Dietrich Bonhoeffer raised this issue of the new dumbness in his brilliant analysis of Nazism, in which he sought to comprehend how the best-schooled nation in the world, Germany, could fall under its sway. He concluded that Nazism could be understood only as the psychological product of good schooling. The sheer weight of received ideas, pre-thought thoughts, was so overwhelming that individuals gave up trying to assess things for themselves. Why struggle- to invent a map of the world or of the human conscience when schools and media offer thousands of ready-made maps, pre-thought thoughts?

    The new dumbness is particularly deadly to middle and upper-middle-class people, who have already been made shallow by the multiple requirements to conform. Too many people, uneasily convinced that they must know something because of a degree, diploma, or license, remain so convinced until a brutal divorce, alienation from their children, loss of employment, or periodic fits of meaninglessness manage to tip the precarious mental balance of their incomplete humanity, their stillborn adult lives. < <<

    http://www.skola.gr8.se/dokument/JohnTaylorGatto/Confederacy%20of%20Dunces.pdf

  113. #114 snerd
    November 6, 2009

    Shorter DF: “WHARRGARBL”.

  114. #115 Jud
    November 6, 2009

    Loved the ReadyMoms site.

    Are you PANDEMIC READY?

    Do you have enough Food? Water? Prescription Meds? Baby Supplies? Pet Food? Chocolates?

    Chocolates? Wowzers. Who knew DF would become such a steady source of paragraphs and paragraphs of industrial grade craziness from across the Web? Doesn’t seem to matter what topic it’s about, either.

  115. #116 titmouse
    November 6, 2009

    Oy, such hate…fascinating, really…

    That’s a strange and offensive comment. Why “hate”?

    My reaction to whatever you’re trying to do here is more “WTF?”

    If you’re trying to sell Susan Chu or Gatto, you’re going about it all wrong. I don’t buy soap from people who throw poo bombs at my house.

  116. #117 Mr. B
    November 6, 2009

    John Taylor Gatto is a genius educator…it’s obvious why you would hate him so, he illustrates exactly how thought control works, as if there’s not enough of that dynamic evident right here.

    No, George Orwell did that, and frankly, that’s not what happens in schools, despite some of the real issues that exist.

    His popularity is growing

    I just finished an education program in May, and this is the first I’m hearing of him. (On the other hand, I do know Freire, and linking him with Gatto doesn’t strike me as fair.) Frankly, I think the education professors I had would have done what most of the commenters have done so far: laugh him off as a lunatic. I’m inclined to agree, especially given that Darwinism rant (which, ironically, sounds pretty political to me, not to mention ignorant).

    Now, are there problems with students eschewing original and independent thinking for pre-packaged tidbits of knowledge? Absolutely, and our current system does reinforce that somewhat (to the frustration of those of us who are promoting independent critical thinking in the classroom), but nothing I’ve seen so far suggests Gatto is the person we should be looking toward for ways to improve the current system. Hence why there is, as far as I can tell, no evidence to support your claim that Gatto is influential in education circles at all.

  117. #118 KWombles
    November 6, 2009

    Nazism, DF managed to throw in Nazis?

    Nazis, squalene, and the dead you: Vaccines

    or wait, is it

    Nazis, Chu-woo, and Smart people are really dumb?

  118. #119 Lindsay Bake
    November 6, 2009

    I guess there’s no bad effect of giving your child a vaccination. It’s a way of protecting your child.(www.bigjobsboard.com)

  119. #120 Katharine
    November 6, 2009

    Is it just me, or is the whole antivaxxer crowd mostly a horde of parents who’ve been inundated so much with mommy or daddy hormones that they can’t pluck their brain out of the mess and are all ‘WHARRGARBL I DON’T CARE IF IT’S MORE LIKELY TO MESS UP MY KID FOR LIFE I DON’T WANT MY PRECIOUS LITTLE SNOWFLAKE TO HAVE GOOGLY GOOGLY AUTISM’ (which, if they’re, say, HFA, is really not terribly bad so long as the kid’s got therapeutic support)? One more reason to not have kids; they drive most people insane.

    Not targeting the sane parents of kids with autism here. You guys are, well, sane.

  120. #121 titmouse
    November 6, 2009

    I’m guessing the “chocolates” garnish is for teh wimmins. Everyone knows the female mind has a special g-spot for chocolate.

    The Pandemic Preparedness crowd wanna party like it’s 1999.

    I remember the sudden industry that sprang up to assuage Y2K worry. Web sites where you could buy medical supplies, butter churns, 5-gallon bins of rice and beans, hand crank water pumps, etc.

    The Y2K mania had a built-in end date. Pandemic mania (‘pandamania’?) is a better business model.

    It’s not a bad idea to prepare for a period when the utilities are down. The apocalyptic cults do have a rational jumping off point. But they go off the rails when they become intoxicated with their fantasy of life post-failed state. They see themselves sittin’ pretty on a 5-year larder with their guns and plenty of ammunition. Oh, won’t that be sweet! Those “elites” better know how to crawl if they expect anything to eat.

    These guys want a failed state. Ergo, Sarah Palin.

  121. #122 Dangerous Bacon
    November 6, 2009

    You gotta give J.B. Handley credit for the following comment about the arrogance of ignorance:

    “I’m not intellectually intimidated by any of these jokers. Their degrees mean zippo to me, because I knew plenty of knuckleheads in college who went on to be doctors, and they’re still knuckleheads”

    I was reminded of this when reading an anti-H1N1 vaccine letter written to a newspaper by a DAN! never-met-a-piece-of-autism-quackery-I-didn’t-like doctor, who just got a well-deserved smackdown in the same forum* by a non-MD who was not intellectually intimidated.

    There is no ignorance more appalling than that spread by people who use their degrees to push nonsense on an unsuspecting public.

    *this dopey M.D. had been railing about the Horrors Of Squalene, unaware or unconcerned not just about the science involved, but that no squalene or other adjuvant is used in the H1N1 vaccine in the U.S.

  122. #123 DoctrinalFairness
    November 6, 2009

    “Arrogance of ignorance” and so-called woo coexists quite neatly with the “arrogance of experts” cult of poo and scientific fraud.
    The so-called dumb populace is wisely awakening for good reason, we need MORE skepticism of “experts”, not less.
    (see http://alison-bass.blogspot.com/2009/07/is-scientific-fraud-more-common-than.html)

    In manuscripts accepted by the American Journal of Respiratory Cell and Critical Care Medicine, the American Thoracic Society found that “approximately 23 percent of images had undergone some alteration “including ‘erasure,’ ‘filling in,’ ‘splicing and ‘cloning.’”
    In addition, the journals of Cell Biology and Blood have both reported that 20-28 percent of accepted manuscripts had signs of image manipulation, according to The Scientist.
    Or we might want to think about: “How Many Scientists Fabricate and Falsify Research? A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Survey Data”

    A pooled weighted average of 1.97% (N = 7, 95%CI: 0.86–4.45) of scientists admitted to have fabricated, falsified or modified data or results at least once –a serious form of misconduct by any standard– and up to 33.7% admitted other questionable research practices. In surveys asking about the behaviour of colleagues, admission rates were 14.12% (N = 12, 95% CI: 9.91–19.72) for falsification, and up to 72% for other questionable research practices.
    it appears likely that this is a conservative estimate of the true prevalence of scientific misconduct.
    http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0005738

    Or we need only read the October 29 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine, which has this interesting editorial.

    >>Adverse Events in Randomized Trials: Neglected, Restricted, Distorted, and Silenced
    Accurate information on harms of medical interventions is essential for evidence-based practice. Most newly introduced treatments usually have small, incremental benefits, if any, against already available interventions, and differences in the profile of harms should play a key role on treatment choice. Randomized trials offer an excellent opportunity to evaluate harms of interventions using the most robust experimental design available in clinical research. However, several empirical evaluations (Table) have shown that many trials do not report harms or report them in a fragmented or suboptimal way. In this issue, an excellent study by Pitrou et al1 adds more evidence on this issue.
    http://www.medsurfnews.com/contents/en/4362/display/adverse-events-in-randomized-trials-neglected-restricted-distorted-and-silenced.aspx

    I make many stupid mistakes. Certainly Susan Chu has made mistakes. To err is human. Ye are not Gods, and fortunately stupid people like me aren’t at your mercy in accepting the arrogant assumption that we must believe you. We CAN Google and read your Journals and maybe we won’t understand all of the 10,000 hours of your “Science”, but if a good part of it is distorted or misrepresented, then you have reaped what you have sown in our “instinct” or “intuition” that something is very wrong with it and you.

  123. #124 Joseph C.
    November 6, 2009

    It is appropriate that education is the latest in DF’s long series of windmills. After all, the system clearly failed her. A proper education system would not have rubber stamped someone with a total inability to form coherent, focused arguments as with well a writing style that reveals someone who is barely literate.

  124. #125 Orac
    November 6, 2009

    OK, after having seen DoctrinalFairness spout off ad nauseam here and in the Handley thread (ballooning the latter to over 500 comments), all the while touting Susan Chu, I have to start to wonder: Is DoctrinalFairness really Susan Chu?

    One wonders, one does…

  125. #126 DoctrinalFairness
    November 6, 2009

    Ask Revere- he is where I first heard of her- lurking on Effect Measure- someone named Snowy Owl asked a question about her work.

    Just ask him if my writing style, admittedly rambling, or my admitted limitations in science even remotely resemble what he knows of her and her work.

    These are the tactics you uses to discredit honest scientists and eventually you will have no trust in you left whatsoever.
    And BTW, you can see my email …is my name Susan?

  126. #127 JohnV
    November 6, 2009

    Are you that stupid?

  127. #128 a-non
    November 6, 2009

    DF, posting the bios of your heroes does not make them appear any more credible or change our minds. It simply reinforces the point I’ve already made. Thanks for that.

  128. #129 DoctrinalFairness
    November 6, 2009

    I may be stupid, John- but I’m not evil.
    The willed denial of the FACTS in #123 is evil.

    Are you evil?

    BTW, SUsan Chu is Asian. My background is Italian. We are notorious for ignoring the Pope and for emotionality.

    A story from Gatto… to take heed..
    Any system which does this much violence to human nature was bound to cause a reaction. Since the system was created for the social engineering of the immigrants who came to this country from Southern and Eastern Europe, it is not surprising that they would be in the forefront of the rebellion. Ethnic Brooklyn is where the rebellion first broke out. As the rest of the nation succumbed docilely to Rockefeller sponsored social engineering, Ethnic Brooklyn, i.e., the Brooklyn populated by Jews and Catholics during the great immigration wave lasting from 1880 to 1920, resisted in ways characteristic of those two American ethnic groups. The Italians were the first to react. When

    Immigrant public schools in Manhattan began performing tonsillectomies and adenoidectomies in school without notifying parents. The New York Times (June 29, 1906) reported that “Frantic Itlaians”—many armed with stilletos—“stormed” three schools, attacking teachers and dragging children from the clutches of the true believers into who hands they had fallen.

    Watch out for the new educators- they are onto you true believers.

    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2009/11/the_anti-vaccine_movement_cranks.php#c2052778

  129. #130 titmouse
    November 6, 2009

    The so-called dumb populace is wisely awakening for good reason, we need MORE skepticism of “experts”, not less.

    DF, You haven’t thought things through.

    What method do we use to detect flaws in a study’s methodology? Homeopathy? Reiki? Populism? Post-Modernism? Feminism? Libertarianism?

    No. We use the scientific method. Expertise in that method is a good thing.

  130. #131 titmouse
    November 6, 2009

    Watch out for the new educators- they are onto you true believers.

    Please be specific. What is it that you think I believe?

  131. #132 Joseph C.
    November 6, 2009

    No. We use the scientific method. Expertise in that method is a good thing.

    I’m bracing for the inevitable “science is just another religion” commentary. Or something about being dogmatic. That’s another favorite: You reductionist scientists are just too dogmatic.

  132. #133 JohnV
    November 6, 2009

    That interesting, doctrinalfairness, by your own definition you are evil. It would be nice to hear you explain away your reaction to credentialed after he confronted you with facts from publications your hero cited.

    Of course, we’ll hear how “you’re words are being twisted” and that you have some perfectly good reason for calling it disingenuous and, despite the presence of citations, suggesting that the data were hard to find. Let alone an actual explanation for why the analysis Dr. Chu performed was valid given the points he raised (unsurprisingly absent, thus far).

  133. #134 DoctrinalFairness
    November 6, 2009

    Titmouse- you conveniently forget that deep within my “damaged left hemi-whatever” that you have so kindly diagnosed is someone who is a defender of science and scientists and awed by discoveries and modern techological wizardry.

    Greed has destroyed the economy of America and it’s now destroying the reputation of science. These criticisms have been ongoing and reform has been called for from within for over 5 years now- but NOTHING has changed.
    It’s being aired by science finally, but it is ongoing. .

    Only REFORM from within is going to restore the dignity of medicine- all of the BS finger pointing is DISTRACTION. You CAN sit down at the table with anti-vax lunatics because it is LUNACY to defend a science that has just gotten around to reporting its own errors and is doing famously little to actually change them.
    Until then we proles are no less arrogant in our ignoraance and stupidity as you are arrogant in your disrespect and contempt for us.

  134. #135 Militant Agnostic
    November 6, 2009

    What’s with the white males – when I was in Uni back in the 70s brown and yellow males were if anything over represented among the science and engineering professors. Women, not so much.

  135. #136 Joseph C.
    November 6, 2009

    Only REFORM from within is going to restore the dignity of medicine- all of the BS finger pointing is DISTRACTION. You CAN sit down at the table with anti-vax lunatics because it is LUNACY to defend a science that has just gotten around to reporting its own errors and is doing famously little to actually change them.

    You should study the history of the modern anti-vax movement before you yourself look even more ignorant. Science did take the anti-vax claims seriously with further study. And when they did they just got the goalpost moved and more paranoid accusations flung in their face. It’s a no-win situation with those people. Just like it is with you.

  136. #137 Chris
    November 6, 2009

    Please do not feed the troll.

  137. #138 titmouse
    November 6, 2009

    DF, if you had left hemi-neglect you wouldn’t be typing on the webs.

  138. #139 doctrinalfairness
    November 6, 2009

    Joseph, I don’t deny that I am shamefully ignorant of the history of the anti-vax movement and selfishly don’t have a dog in the fight because there is no autism in my fairly large mileau.

    But I do have numerous friends and family members, all female, with varying levels of serious autoimmune diseases. And there is very conflicting and inconclusive evidence, that given the state of the research in #123,
    my opinion regarding my child is much like the Italian Brooklyn parents in the face of “skepticism” that can ignore actual conflicts of interest to the point where data is manipulated. Sorry. Call me stupid.

    And I’ve apologized to credentialed for my very careless read of the rat research- I have read many different studies and quickly assumed by a hasty glance that he was referring to a different study in which there was a 50 mm lump at the injection site. I am working on a review of some research to query him about, but will be leaving shortly for a few days holiday, so you can be spared my “ad nauseum” posts that coincidentally helped to boost orac’s ratings. Your welcome for that, orac.

  139. #140 kevin
    November 6, 2009

    as soon as this person put 911 truthers next to holocaust deniers, i knew the moronic scrawlings that followed would be logically fallacious hogwash.

    I WAS RIGHT

  140. #141 Balaji Sundaresan
    November 6, 2009

    Great post!!
    This reminds of what happened in India few years ago with Polio Vaccine, some Muslim clerics spread myth that the vaccines are designed to sterilize Muslim kids. The sad consequence was Polio came back with vengeance after decades of struggle to eradicate and hundreds of kids got infected.

    http://www.time.com/time/printout/0,8816,1540477,00.html

    There seems to be no difference between these fanatical Muslim clerics and pseudo experts in the west expect geography and the reason behind the nonsense.

  141. #142 titmouse
    November 6, 2009

    I now have to agree with you, Chris.

    I kinda hoped DF might catch on to the basic rules of discourse. There are so many references on the webs where people can read about logical fallacies like the argument from ignorance, strawman, hasty generalizations, tu quoque, etc. And I think it’s common sense, that people need to settle one question before going off into other tangents.

    Oh well.

  142. #143 doctrinalfairness
    November 6, 2009

    Kevin- I never once mentioned 9-11 truthers, I know nothing about them. And outing Holocaust deniers is only noble if the Scientific methods that you uphold here have been completely cleansed of Social Darwinist and Nazi eugenicidal aims. I’m not totally convinced that’s the case. If that makes me a big nutter, bring it on honey.

  143. #144 Ticker
    November 6, 2009

    I like the message in the article, but also have a caveat about it. It’s true that a huge mass of people think that ten minutes of googling are enough to have all the world’s wisdom at your fingertips (I had a hard time believing that people believe this, at first).

    But I also believe that it’s possible for someone who isn’t out to “prove” anything (ie with the proper open mindset of any “pro” researcher) to find who’s full of shit and who’s actually a real expert disseminating reliable, authoritative information.

    And in turn, if you take in enough of that reliable information, and start using it in your own life, or perhaps just following the details because you like to, you can be something fairly close to a serious expert.

    It’s simply putting in the equivalent effort of learning a subject, in a different venue. It’s by no means a shortcut, and in most cases it will take more effort than following an uni class (and that was already not easy) because you need to sift wannabe pompous bastard from real expert all the time. A teacher will have done this for you, and present you only reliable and accurate information.

    But I wonder if it’s not less than 1% of the people who feel they have learned a lot, who really have. There are subjects I am very well-versed in, and I hear complete bullshit about them all the time, spewed by some social alpha at an obedient audience. Expertness is mostly about winning conversations, it seems.

    Who needs critical thinking, evaluation of real arguments, and practical suggestions which actually work for real, when you can just go with whatever you feel is nicest?

    Also, DF is noise. I don’t understand why people are arguing with it. It’s one of those people who will always tell you that you’re wrong, no matter what you say. Oh, unless you agree with it. That’s the only way you could ever be correct. Riiiiiiiiight….

  144. #145 JohnV
    November 6, 2009

    “And outing Holocaust deniers is only noble if the Scientific methods that you uphold here have been completely cleansed of Social Darwinist and Nazi eugenicidal aims.”

    wait what? Did you just, fairly explicitly, suggest that the pro-vaccine stance taken by people here is due to “Nazi eugenicidal aims”?

  145. #146 doctrinalFairness
    November 6, 2009

    Ticker
    I’m not trying to win any argument.
    Making this topic into a war or a debate, when we are discussing a life threatening issue that has implications for the whole planet, that only alienates people. Both extremes need their enemie to thrive and need to project the “other” into the evil tyrant. Many know that it’s all as bogus as talk radio.
    Without herd immunity everybody loses in the next pandemic.

    You want the problems with safety and the crappy history of industry to be swept away under the rug- and so do all of the people who fudge the data. You can call me noise or any name in the book, that doesn’t make the fact that you have culpability here too and need to figure out a way to recapture the once-believers who have turned away from the flock or you jeopardize us all. The balls in your court, clearly.

  146. #147 Pablo
    November 6, 2009

    I’m not trying to win any argument.

    Then I’d say you are succeeding.

  147. #148 doctrinalFairness
    November 6, 2009

    Ticker
    I’m not trying to win any argument.
    It’s your specialty here to cast this life threatening issue with implications for the whole planet as a war with two very definitive battalions. Aside from alienating people, how does that further the stated goal of herd immunity? Both extremes in the war require the position that the “other” is the enemy and everyone is rapt with the details of the battles with the “other” evil tyrant. Most people watching know that it’s as bogus as talk radio.
    And as boring.

    Without herd immunity everybody loses in the next pandemic.
    You want the problems with safety and the truly crappy recent history of industry to be swept under the rug- and so do all the people who fudge the data.
    You can call me “noise” or “stupid” or “ignorant” or “troll” and subject me to the full realm of your tactics, but it won’t make you any less culpable for your role.
    Instead of thriving on the adrenalin of war, figure out a creative way to recapture the once-believers who have turned away from the flock. The balls in your court, clearly. Or are both sides going to engage in finger pointing ad infinitum? I’d call that once again distraction.

  148. #149 Bill
    November 6, 2009

    I will repeat myself on something that DF is actually right about…the ‘war’ some of you have waged against her has undoubtedly sent several lurkers running to get their info from the anti vax crowd. You think you are doing a good service by trying to point out the ‘wrongs’, but some of you are causing real damage to that part of the population that has even the slightest doubt about vaccines. You need to learn when the comments are so absurd, dont drastically threaten vaccination, and just shut the hell up. Half of you are ‘fighting’ with her because you like it! You just want to fight. You all appear demented.

  149. #150 Jud
    November 6, 2009

    It strikes me that as she likes to hold forth at length on any number of topics more or less relevant to Orac’s blog posts, doctrinalFairness really could use a blog of her very own.

    dF, have you ever thought along those lines?

  150. #151 Jennifer B. Phillips
    November 6, 2009

    Gosh, isn’t it convenient that the trolls who show up here never get held to the same standards of ‘tone’ as the pro-science regulars do. Bill, your concern is noted, but if you think that tone (for values of ‘tone’ that stop short of total validation and acquiescence) would have made any difference in the trajectory of dF’s rant-a-thon, you’re dreaming.

  151. #152 Erika
    November 6, 2009

    Joseph #57, just came back and saw your response.
    And no, I wasn’t saying that. I believe, in fact, you may have been attributing DoctrinalFairness’ views to me (if that’s the case, please stop!). What I was saying was that, contradictory to DoctrinalFairness’ assertion in comment #6 that Orac and his readers claim that “peer review is a flawless enterprise,” no one does. As he said, it’s a MINIMUM STANDARD. No less, no more. Which, from the looks of your comment, is your stance, too.

  152. #153 Dangerous Bacon
    November 6, 2009

    “I will repeat myself on something that DF is actually right about…the ‘war’ some of you have waged against her has undoubtedly sent several lurkers running to get their info from the anti vax crowd.”

    The great majority of responses to DF have provided counter-evidence refuting her claims and dealt with the fallacies and illogic of her posts. This bears no resemblance to any “war” or personal attack. The few personal comments are easily balanced by the nastiness displayed by DF and have been provoked in large part by both her attitude and her refusal to engage in a forthright discussion.

    Lurkers who’ve waded through the comments have had a good exposure to reliable vaccine information. Those who pay attention only to insults would not conclude that only the evidence-based side is to blame. Any that read comments here and go running to antivax sites as a sole source of information are just seeking to confirm their prejudices and have no interest in getting at the truth anyway.

  153. #154 Bill
    November 6, 2009

    The point Jennifer, is anyone who can read can see she is wrong, but the battle is making them believe her and not even see the scientific evidence. That is the only part she was right about. People with questions about vaccines are being driven away! Time to let her comments sit solitary and alone. Chris has been calling for that for 4 days.

    Just the most recent cases in point…@145 and 147. Absolutely nothing was said to contribute to the conversation, but they just baited her on even more. Now, we have to wait for the rebuttal. Why bait her? It makes everyone look like lunatics to any new people.

  154. #155 Bill
    November 6, 2009

    153, the counter evidence was done and over with before we hit #100 on all threads. Judging from your comments you know science and/or medicine. I am telling you from a lay persons and parents point of view, that regular pro vacc people with a question or 2 are being scared away by some of these antics. That is the sad truth. That is the threat to herd immunity.

  155. #156 JohnV
    November 6, 2009

    I disconcur. By asking for clarification on the nazi eugenicist comment it gives her a chance to 1) apologize for being an idiot or 2) insist she’s right or 3) shift goal posts / cry about having her words twisted.

    All 3 of these lead to amusement on my part and are much more fun than working on this grant propsal. Interestingly enough, it’s not an NIH RFA for creating a master race.

  156. #157 doctrinalfairness
    November 6, 2009

    >>>It makes everyone look like lunatics to any new people.<<

    Here’s my rebuttal:
    The War against psuedoscience is a sham war
    The Warriors enjoy it.
    Very little of the current adjuvanted vaccine science on the ranting “skeptical” side meets even their own standards of EVB, but no matter.
    The German government officials are in agreement with this, but what do they know, they are mere stupid German antivaxxers.
    The activities of celebrities and extreme anti-vax parents are the source of endless hyena-esque rapture here in the hard science camp.
    Reasonable questions are not answered honestly or with patronizing incomplete information.
    Academics cannot be relied upon to be any more ethical, humane, rational or reasonable than emotional parents.

    And while everyone is tuned to the current episode of
    Extreme Sport Vax vs. Anti-Vax
    Reasonable people SHOULD be asking
    Who does the War really serve?
    IS it effective?
    What is the goal?
    Who’s being harmed?
    But that would involve many of the warriors looking in the mirror and seeing the enemy staring right back at them.

  157. #158 Not-so-innocent bystander
    November 6, 2009

    Bill,

    . I am telling you from a lay persons and parents point of view, that regular pro vacc people with a question or 2 are being scared away by some of these antics.

    So, “anyone who can read can see she is wrong,” but pointing out that she is wrong makes people think she’s right? By that logic, the great majority of non-historians should be holocaust deniers, since historians say that people like David Irving are nuts.

  158. #159 Bill
    November 6, 2009

    158 nsib,
    Listen, I am just a dad who has been lurking and randomly posting around here for about 2 yrs. I am pointing out regular people’s feelings, not arguing. I am a just a fireman who doesnt even know who David irving is, so you picked the wrong person for a fun debate.

    However, I do know alot of regular ol people not educated in science. Most responses to df did not ‘simply point out’ she was wrong. It was pure chaos which makes a lot of people want to leave and get their answers somewhere else. Most people dont come to read arguments. My first post was moody (sorry Jennifer) because I had just been reading all the inflammatory posts, and it took a bit for my heartrate to come back down. Just list the facts in bullets and dont bait on unrelated issues with the likes of df. Human nature makes most people feel sorry for the underdog. You guys are educated in this area, most ‘lurkers’ are not, and you know how to do better. I dont think I need to comment back about this again. I made my point about how you as scientists may negatively affect the decisions of others when you engage in the lunacy of late. It shouldnt make you look bad when you have the facts, but it still does when it is 30 to 1 (even with her tone).

  159. #160 Bill
    November 6, 2009

    add to 159, I am not saying that us regular folks are too dumb to see what the science proves, it is just many people’s feelings cloud their judgement. The brilliance is in some other subject for us.

  160. #161 doctrinalfairness
    November 6, 2009

    Happy that you noticed the odds, Bill.
    I wasn’t obedient and was obstinate and my tone was to blame, anything else but that mirror.

    BTW, it’s called “Mobbing” when it happens in the workplace.
    >>even in the cool, rational, professional, bureaucratic, policy-governed setting of a workplace. The tactics differ. Workplace mobbing is normally carried out politely, without any violence, and with ample written documentation. Yet even without the blood, the bloodlust is essentially the same: contagion and mimicking of unfriendly, hostile acts toward the target; relentless undermining of the target’s self-confidence; group solidarity against one whom all agree does not belong; and the euphoria of collective attack.< <
    http://www.leymann.se/English/12100E.HTM

    It’s hard for me to extrapolate why people who enjoy this sort of thing can then be trusted to be telling the truth or to make rational decisions. Mobbing is animal behavior, most often observed in domestic poultry.
    And it then becomes entirely plausible that honest doctors who do attempt to examine contradictory evidence are railroaded 30 to 1 right out of town, their lives destroyed. Lord of the Flies.

  161. #162 JohnV
    November 6, 2009

    Sympathy meter E _\_______ F

    Running on empty.

  162. #163 Joseph C.
    November 6, 2009

    The oppressed troll. Boo hoo.

  163. #164 a-non
    November 6, 2009

    DF,

    Oh, please. I’ve known Piggy’s in my life, and you are no Piggy.

  164. #165 Jennifer B. Phillips
    November 6, 2009

    @Bill:
    I’ve been attempting (and mostly succeeding) to ignore dF as well, but the flipside of the ‘just ignore her’ approach if everyone does it is that a different kind of lurker might come in, see a drift of unsubstantiated, wild-assed fiction going totally unchallenged and think ‘aha! She’s stumped them! they have no rebuttal, ergo their side must be pretty weak’. There’s no pleasing everyone, alas.

    I appreciate the point you are making, honestly, but this is the internet, after all, and more specifically, this is Respectful Insolence. We value evidence and reason, and we don’t suffer fools lightly. Orac has a liberal commenting policy and doesn’t censor either troll insanity nor robust responses to it. Sometimes, frankly, the only response to some of this nonsense is open ridicule. If the sensibilities of lurking visitors are troubled by that, too bad. This ain’t no Junior League cotillion. There are a number of web-based resources for vaccine information, so it seems a bit unnecessary to try and instigate a RI makeover.

    BTW, it’s called “Mobbing” when it happens in the workplace.

    Good news, dF! you don’t actually work here. You are free to leave at any time.

  165. #166 DoctrinalFairness
    November 6, 2009

    I’ve studied Paulo Friere and know how power operates to silence people.
    I’m not oppressed, despite your best efforts.
    You do oppress the millions of people that you have fooled into thinking that brute force remotely resembles the truth.

    Your own behavior shows you to be merciless and irrational.
    You rule the roost by force,fear and intimidation.

    People who are in possession of the truth don’t need to do that.

    BTW, scientific racism is certainly alive and well- are you suggesting it disappeared at the end of World WarII?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pioneer_Fund

  166. #167 Todd W.
    November 6, 2009

    @Jennifer B. Phillips

    Good news, dF! you don’t actually work here. You are free to leave at any time.

    I’d add that she is also free to stay and change her own tone, regardless of what others do. She is more likely to get more respectful responses if she is, herself, respectful. I warrant that she would also be more likely to get calmer replies if she refrained from including sweeping generalizations and irrelevant topics in her posts, opting instead to stick to the topic of the main thread by Orac.

    My two cents.

  167. #168 JohnV
    November 6, 2009

    “Your own behavior shows you to be merciless and irrational.
    You rule the roost by force,fear and intimidation.

    People who are in possession of the truth don’t need to do that.”

    Which is why you repeatedly, among other things, call us nazis?

  168. #169 Dedj
    November 6, 2009

    ‘Mobbing’ is a form of workplace bullying. Bullying is a form of harassment where a victim is targetted for abusive behaviour due to their perceived weakness or inferiority.

    Multiple individuals who don’t know each other and have only a tenous connection to each other, responding to offensive, irrational, accusatory, unsubstantiated and sometimes derogaroty behaviour is not bullying.

    That DF lacks the insight to realise her/his behaviour is definetly not anywhere near as innoucous and humble as she/he claims it to be, is something that DF needs to sort out.

    That he/she claims they’re being bullied, rather than being responded to in kind, is further evidence that she/he really doesn’t get what is going on here.

    There may be aggresion here, but for the main instigator to call it bullying is just laughable, just like his/her probable response.

  169. #170 Dedj
    November 6, 2009

    “Which is why you repeatedly, among other things, call us nazis?”

    I don’t think DF has done that. Heavily implied it, maybe, but not ‘called’ ‘us’ that.

    I for one have been ‘accused’ by DF of being a lying, incompetant, willfully ignorant, wife-beating dog-abuser, yet he/she never actually ‘said’ it.

    This is a marvellous get out for DF. Everytime ‘we’ pull him/her up for something, ‘he/she’ can convince themselves that they’re not as bad a person as ‘we’ are making them out to be because they never actually ‘said’ it (or meant it jokingly – which can actually be worse).

    He/she will be utterly convinced of their moral superiority.

    This is yet another decent thread killed by DF. Time to put it 6-feet under.

    Toodles.

  170. #171 titmouse
    November 6, 2009

    Bill,

    There’s no ‘war’ here. Scientific debate is not like political debate where people either win or lose.

    A scientific discussion may begin with people holding conflicting views. But participants expect that if they’re careful to weigh the evidence appropriately and they don’t slip into fallacious reasoning, everyone involved should be drawn a little closer to the truth.

    When people are puzzling over a bit of nature that’s not well understood, there’s no clear path to take. For every right answer there will be a hundred possible wrong answers. So being wrong in science is normal. Movie scientists may stake their professional reputation on being right about some controversy. Real scientists aren’t that stupid.

    Of course everything that humans do, including science, is bound to get screwed up by the pressures of emotion and politics. Yet scientists really do make a habit of trying to be rational. They know the rules. They might wish to cheat them, but they don’t pretend they don’t matter –like the alties with their “other ways of knowing.”

    In a scientific conversation, the words, “you’re wrong,” are not an insult. In fact a frank statement about some error is a sign of respect. It’s something that one says to a peer, a fellow participant. Walking on eggshells and nice-nice talk are reserved for elderly grandmothers and others who, for whatever reason, can’t think things through coherently. That’s not complementary.

    Non-scientists should learn a little about science culture before trying to chat up the natives. Just basic traveller’s advice.

  171. #172 DoctrinalFairness
    November 6, 2009

    Dedj, perhaps you forgot your four paragraph pedantic scolding that led me to say that I was happy to spare wifey and the dog?
    I’m on record here as a flawed human being who has made numerous glaring mistakes. If I ever wondered how stupid and ridiculous and crazy I was, I’ve been told in no uncertain terms. A huge part of the issue here is that you pounce on the mistakes of everyone else and amazingly, none of you is ever wrong!
    Yet you accuse ME of moral superiority.

  172. #173 Luna_the_cat
    November 6, 2009

    df: If you ever once came onto this board and admitted that you were mistaken about something, rather than ignoring it entirely and moving goalposts or continuing to argue it against all logic and reason — believe it or not, it would earn you a great deal more respect.

    Plus, a number of people have self-corrected here or accepted correction when they got something wrong, me included. I think the fact that this hasn’t impinged on your attention may simply be from the fact that you don’t expect people to do that, or believe that they will, so you don’t even see when they do.

    But, seriously, you have GOT to stop insulting everyone around you wildly if you want to get calm, reasonable responses in return from people who are taking you seriously.

  173. #174 Luna_the_cat
    November 6, 2009

    …to clarify, by “admitted”, I don’t mean I’m on record here as a flawed human being who has made numerous glaring mistakes, I mean something like, “ok, so I was wrong about cancer treatment not being available to over-65s in the UK.” (Yes, we ARE talking about my country here, you know. So I’m miffed at a blatant untruth.)

    Maybe you’ve actually done this and I simply missed seeing it, in which case I apologise. But I don’t remember you ever doing this. Specificity means that you are actually reading what other people are writing and taking in information, that’s why it counts.

  174. #175 doctrinalfairness
    November 6, 2009

    Luna,
    I’m not going to dig though my posts, but just for starters, I have apologized twice to credentialed on this thread alone(maybe once was on the last)for specific careless and glaring errors and have also admitted error on several other posts.
    RE: the cancer care, I repeated what I had been told by two Brits within a few days span- one my seat mate on the way here- whose mother was probably older than 65 and the other my friend- whose brother is terminal and is 62. He was told that his age prevented him from treatment that was available to younger people. It was THEIR truth, sorry you are miffed.
    I possess a resident UK visa and am registered with the NHS for the past few years,so I am not without my own very personal experience of it and feel within my rights as a taxpayer here to comment on it.
    Secondly, I received an overwhelming number of responses that were shrill with the insistence of facts that were blatantly untrue.
    For every falsehood I’m accused of, there are people here who have no idea what they are talking about and parrot untruths with the utmost authority. I did the same when I shot off my mouth to credentialed about the rat study and
    stand corrected.
    But the countless times that people repeated the lie that these adjuvants had been tested on millions of people of all ages still stands. No apology. Stated arrogantly as indisputable fact.
    In the science community, the motto seems to be “Never apologize.”
    Like you, I respond to untruths with disgust and disdain.

  175. #176 the bug guy
    November 6, 2009

    DF, you were given the references supporting the surveillance tracking of squalene-containing vaccines given to up to 40 million people worldwide. I even quoted a couple of them for you, but you You have chosen to ignore it.

  176. #177 Luna_the_cat
    November 6, 2009

    doctrinal:
    “clinical trial” =/= “treatment”

    Your friend’s brother couldn’t get admission to a clinical trial, which is by definition experimental; this is not the same as “can’t get treatment for cancer”, which is what you have (repeatedly) claimed. For that matter, by your own admission he wasn’t even diagnosed until he was late stage; the very real possibility exists that when cancer is diagnosed late in anyone of any age, palliative care is all that can be given. The fact remains: people over 65 all over the UK get treatment for cancer when they need it, on a regular basis, which if you spent significant time over here you should bloody well know.

    This was pointed out to you multiple times by multiple people, and I never saw you acknowledge it. Perhaps you did and I missed it, for which I would once again apologise — but certainly at the moment you seem to be back to “defending a false claim beyond reason.”

    But, oh, hell with it. Look, let’s try this one more time, carefully and in small chunks.

    Can you explain to me, simply please, why you think squalene even -might- cause autoimmune issues years after vaccination? I’ll take the liberty of starting a list of what I understand your concerns to be:
    1. Your thought (at least to begin with) that squalene had been linked to Gulf War Syndrome
    2. That squalene injections had been used to induce RA symptoms in rodents
    3. Your fear that there have not been significant pediatric safety studies done
    4. Your belief that post-vaccination monitoring systems would not pick up side effects.

    If I have any of these wrong or you have more reasons to add, then please correct this (please, if you could stay concise and focused that would help).

  177. #178 Katharine
    November 6, 2009

    On the topic of the Pioneer Fund – I’m a neurobiology undergraduate student with an interest in neurogenetics, particularly those of intelligence. I can tell you that the Pioneer Fund is looked at askance by most people who do work on the subject; some of their studies may be valid but are often interpreted rather oddly (for example, the fact that one ethnic group has a lower average IQ than another ethnic group may be entirely explained by environment, which has about a 50% influence on IQ, and is only an average, which you can’t generalize to an individual from; there were a lot of problems with white supremacist wackos such as Stormfront misusing data for their own nefarious ends).

    It’s the science, ultimately. It is possible for people to say correct things some of the time, whether they’re an incorrect asshole most of the time or not or whether they’ve got dubious associations with icky groups. Evil bastard Mengele is cited in some papers that were published after World War II; the correct response to those atrocities, which was the response written, is to acknowledge, while his crimes produced results, they were crimes nonetheless. This is why we have ethical rules.

  178. #179 titmouse
    November 6, 2009

    Umm…Pioneer Fund? You might be in the wrong thread. Or you are a spam bot.

  179. #180 titmouse
    November 6, 2009

    Oh my bad. I see that DF posted a link to something about the Pioneer_Fund.

    That is all.

  180. #181 DoctrinalFairness
    November 6, 2009

    Luna darling, it’s that tone thing again.
    You are a scientist and good for you.
    You have a fine mind and I appreciate that.
    But whatever hard work you had to do to get to
    wherever you are isn’t my problem, nor should I or anyone else have to buy into your faulty assumption that YOU and YOURS here are the definitive judges as to what constitutes reality, truth, beauty or enlightenment.
    If this blog is the bottom line in sane, reasonable thinking, then we are in grave trouble.
    And you certainly don’t get to decide what I should or shouldn’t know or speak- as in, at 62 yrs old, my friend’s brother gets palliative care for terminal cancer in the UK. The family are lifelong residents of the UK and are distraught and disappointed, I repeat what I was told in two instances and am still being upbraided a week later.

    BTW, no physician at the local surgery has yet to ever actually physically examine me during an office visit, so if you wonder why people are turning to Alt/Med in droves, there’s the first clue.
    That out of the way, I’d also like to add that the prevailing pecking order around here already outed the primal animals within, so any more exclusive pretensions to the higher realms of reason are sort of lost on me.

    Katherine, thanks for your post.
    We have rules guiding the banking industry, the stock market, the housing industry and speed limits for how quickly to drive on the turnpike. Rules aren’t the answer and I’m not sure what is. I used to think that a cooperative ethos was possible, but it’s unlikely that our species will ever change.

  181. #182 titmouse
    November 6, 2009

    …at 62 yrs old, my friend’s brother gets palliative care for terminal cancer in the UK.

    Sounds like someone took the limitations of this particular situation as a general rule for all UK seniors, when in fact that is not the case.

    Sometimes people say, “you’re wrong,” not because they are trying to be top dog in some pecking order but because you are in fact wrong.

  182. #183 Dedj
    November 6, 2009

    Palliative care is still a legitimate from of cancer care.

    It worries me that there are people who still regard it as the system sort of giving up. Chemo and radio have their own dangers and costs, and can be quite draining especially for the older person who may have multiple co-morbids.

    As and aside, I’ve worked with people well over 60 who have recieved chemo and radio for cancer. As pointed out before, this is standard uno in the relevant NSF. My 70+ y.o. dad would have been entitled to cancer care, had his biopsy indicated cancer. Thankfully it didn’t.

    I would not claim that my experiences in my short time (a mere 4 months) working in a older persons rehab/community rehab MDT are universal, but when a person claims it’s screamingly difficult for older persons to get cancer care (and makes serious errors conflating clinical treatment with clinical trials) then I find it hard to take their stories and ability to accurately convey those stories seriously.

    Older persons are still second class citizens for everything in this country, but that doesn’t mean any story of being a second class citizen is true, especially not when the ‘evidence’ of second-class citizenship is an entirely valid form of treatment.

  183. #184 Not-so-innocent bystander
    November 6, 2009

    And that, DF, is why no one takes you seriously anymore: because you flat out refuse to give a coherent arguement.

    Bill,

    Thanks for your response. I’d read all the back-and-forth between DF and everyone else, and I didn’t consider how it might look to someone who just read the last few posts, so yes, I agree it might not look as cut-and-dried to someone who just stumbles onto this thread. Still, I’d hope they notice either the difference in tone or difference in (lack of) logic, so I don’t think we’re driving anyone away (at least no one would would’ve been open to logic.)

    Also, sorry about assuming you would recognize David Irving. He was mentioned pretty frequently in holocaust denial posts, but it’s been a while since Orac’s done one of those.

  184. #185 Luna_the_cat
    November 7, 2009

    Feh. Well, I *tried* to have a coherent discussion, but doctrinal isn’t having any; why bother with logic or discussion when it’s so much more fun to run around wailing you’re liars and frauds and stupid and you’re all picking on meeeeeeee? :-/

    So, Bill, if you’re still around, a question for you here:

    It should be obvious from evidence that some people are inevitably trolls who will not engage in real discussion or accept the majority of information given to them, but will simply keep repeating the same thing over and over and insisting that no-one has given them a good answer — plus these people are generally abusive and insulting. If we respond with exasperation and eventually simple mockery, as is deserved, you are saying we’ll drive off lurkers who aren’t aware of the whole history. But as someone else pointed out, if we just ignore them the threads get littered with “unanswered” questions which the new-and-underinformed may well interpret as “well, I guess the ‘experts’ here can’t or won’t answer these questions!”, which would be just as damning. So what would you recommend we do?

    Because frankly, speaking for myself alone, I’m a human being and I have limited patience (I am certainly no saint), and I see no reason why we should be constrained to patiently protect a troll from the natural consequences of his/her own stupidity on an endless basis, nor keep having to spend time endlessly posting the same arguments. There are only so many hours I can spend on the internet, much less any given forum, it would be nice to be able to engage with real people on new discussions.

  185. #186 Luna_the_cat
    November 7, 2009

    Oh, let me phrase that slightly better. It is entirely possible for someone to not accept information that is given to them, while still having an actual discussion about it in good faith. ~The problem is that this is precisely what trolls don’t do. So how long are we supposed to put up with irrelevance and abuse and keep going around the same questions patiently and politely so’s we don’t scare off the newbies?

    “Forever and ever, amen” doesn’t work for me, sadly.

  186. #187 DoctrinalFairness
    November 7, 2009

    Some recent headlines:

    >>Sentenced to death on the NHS
    Patients with terminal illnesses are being made to die prematurely under an NHS scheme to help end their lives, leading doctors have warned.
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/6127514/Sentenced-to-death-on-the-NHS.html

    ‘Cruel and neglectful’ care of one million NHS patients exposed (mainly elderly)
    One million NHS patients have been the victims of appalling care in hospitals across Britain, according to a major report released today
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/6092658/Cruel-and-neglectful-care-of-one-million-NHS-patients-exposed.html

    Errors in Logic? Pure Logic also brought us the atom bomb.
    Medicine is in flux, just like every other atom in the universe. Today’s dogma is tomorrow’s bad practice.
    If there is evidence that vaccines worsen chronic debilitating disease, I want to know it. Unfortuately, research results are near 100% weighted to favor the pharma industry- a cold reality that is neither ethical nor logical, but everyone here will defend it with their last breath as the gold standard.

    You can expound for the next 40 posts on what a moron I am, go right ahead. Any remaining respect I had for your discipline is rapidly waning and I’m far too old to worry what anyone thinks of me. Stability and order is maintained all around the world with the barrel of a gun, your method here is only slightly more subtle.

    Aside from our useless-to-you anecdotal experience, even we unfocused mental midget deficient trolls occasionally read the paper. Universal health care in financially strapped governments is only going to get worse, not better.
    I didn’t invent the term “Postcode lottery” when it comes to describing the NHS, which was also world class and awe-inspiring in a medical emergency- which I have also mentioned here.

  187. #188 Luna_the_cat
    November 7, 2009

    …and the Torygraph is hardly an unquestionably accurate source of info about the NHS, either. The media pretty much love slamming the NHS whenever they can — great headlines! They sell! –which begs the question of, if over-65s couldn’t get treatment for cancer (the claims here are simply that they get sub-par treatment), don’t you think the papers would be all over that?

    But no; apparently your unsupported anecdote (n=1) where you have patently misunderstood some issues, trumps anyone else’s experience, anyway.

    doctrinal, I was trying to give you a chance to go back and talk calmly, rationally, simply and clearly about the issue you originally came in demanding answers about: the supposed dangers of squalene. You have declined this offer.

  188. #189 DoctrinalFairness
    November 7, 2009

    >>>a troll from the natural consequences of his/her own stupidity on an endless basis, nor keep having to spend time endlessly posting the same arguments<<
    The assumption here is that “stupid people” deserve abuse by smarter people. Nice world view, that.
    Your arguments have not convinced me that there is no relationship between autoimmune disease and oil-based adjuvants, nor that they have been tested adequately on more than a few thousand children and never before on pregnant women. BugGuy keeps referring to surveilance studies on people that were nearly ALL over 65.

    There is also very little logic in putting 8% of a population at unknown risk for chronic, debilitating and often fatal diseases to save less than 1% from a flu that by now many of us have exposure and some imunity to.
    Especially with your attitude that any side effect is a naturally occuring coincidence.

  189. #190 Luna_the_cat
    November 7, 2009

    …Actually, checking back on those stories you linked to, the claim is that about 2% of patients get seriously sub-par treatment.

    um.

    Yeah, that really makes your case, doctrinal.

    Look, seriously though, if you think you can manage to talk about squalene without going into paroxysms of “you’re just a bunch of elitist stuck-up snobs who don’t care and you’re mean to me but I don’t care because us REGULAR PEOPLE are smart too and we know better than to believe you!!!”, then let me know, ‘kay? I’m still willing to hit the reset button on this.

  190. #191 Luna_the_cat
    November 7, 2009

    Once more for the money, I repeat:

    Can you explain to me, simply please doctrinal, why you think squalene even -might- cause autoimmune issues years after vaccination? I’ll take the liberty of starting a list of what I understand your concerns to be:
    1. Your thought (at least to begin with) that squalene had been linked to Gulf War Syndrome
    2. That squalene injections had been used to induce RA symptoms in rodents
    3. Your fear that there have not been significant pediatric safety studies done
    4. Your belief that post-vaccination monitoring systems would not pick up side effects.

    If I have any of these wrong or you have more reasons to add, then please correct this (please, if you could stay concise and focused that would help). Or does that cover it?

  191. #192 DoctrinalFairness
    November 7, 2009

    The media pretty much love slamming the NHS whenever they can — great headlines! They sell!

    -and when it’s Wired magazine supporting your arguments about vaccination, your OPINION pronounces it excellent journalism.

  192. #193 Luna_the_cat
    November 7, 2009

    *sigh*

    ::headdesk::

  193. #194 doctrinalfairness
    November 7, 2009

    Luna,
    I never once linked Gulf War Syndrome to autoimmune disease. When I began this quest,my knowledge of the entire vax or anti-vax debate was limited to one cousin who didn’t vaccinate her children over worries about mercury.

    Since then, I’ve been treated to the full scale onslaught of what she and other parents must go through when they raise questions with their physicians. As her eldest just won a full scholarship to university, I doubt that my cousin is an unfit, irresponsible parent, nor would she “deserve” the presumptious nastiness that you would deliver her should she show up here.
    My anecdotal experience here on this blog is that this “war” is an insoluble problem without any real interest in seeing the “opposing camp” as anything but
    evil conspirators or hopelessly stupid and ignorant people. Wars and conflict all over the world are fueled by this limited dialectic, which IS often manipulated behind the scenes ad infinitum for all sorts of nefarious reasons.

    Witnessing the delight in which you enjoy eviscerating people you deem in here as “trolls”, it’s fairly easy to arrive at the conclusion that scientists are a cold, sadistic bunch who get their jollies from the same energy that drives gang rape and Inquisitions.
    And no offense, but your continuous parroting and citing industry sponsored research (whose results will impossibly yield an outcome favorable to industry nearly 100% of the time) is no longer MY gold standard for evaluating my health care decisions.
    If people need reliance on their “instincts” during these precarious days, it’s because the experts have no problem with evidence that is very often suspect.
    The stupidity and ignorance of the “little people” didn’t create that problem, but by colluding in it, we get what you’ve admittedly revealed to be the treatment we deserve.

    An absuive, cheating spouse gets kicked to the curb by a healthy partner. Those who remain in relationship with such a person maybe could be considered to be “asking for it”.
    That doesn’t make the abusive cheater a nice guy. Nor does it make the spouse who leaves illogical.

  194. #195 snerd
    November 7, 2009

    And no offense, but your continuous parroting and citing industry sponsored research (whose results will impossibly yield an outcome favorable to industry nearly 100% of the time)

  195. #196 Abel Pharmboy
    November 7, 2009

    Late to the game but a couple of thoughts before this thread goes over 200 comments:

    I’m not as vocal as Orac in dipping into this particular issue with vaccines and the lack of causation in autism (too busy trying to protect my field of natural products pharmacology from being hijacked by BigWoo), but the Amy Wallace case has been very educational for me from the standpoint of logical argumentation.

    My observation has been that the anti-vaccination movement argues from a position of authority only when it suits them. For example, Handley demeans scientific expertise in his post but then argues that Offit’s comments on autism don’t count because he doesn’t treat children with autism (although he is a pediatric immunologist). Hence, it appears that no formal expertise is fine if you agree with Handley whereas you must have the right subdiscipline expertise to be qualified to disagree with him.

    I also loved Rainey’s quote about the “wave of amateurs” convinced they can write better movie reviews, arrange songs, etc. There are indeed those who can and they rise to the top and catch our attention. But one doesn’t always see the thousands of others who can’t do it and fail. The difference in pseudoscience, however, is that as the internet has given all the opportunity to express themselves on any issue to a worldwide audience, factually-supported expertise and logically-flawed emotional arguments carry equal footing.

  196. #197 snerd
    November 7, 2009

    Whoops, quote-fail. Not that it matters, dealing with DF is too exhausting to be entertaining. But for what it’s worth, CITATION NEEDED.

  197. #198 DoctrinalFairness
    November 7, 2009

    Would this publication meet your stringent standards for accuracy, Luna, or do I need to go and find the numerous BMJ editorials on the subject?
    http://www.ageconcern.org.uk/AgeConcern/response-BMJ-article-NHS-care-failures-150808.asp

    As countries like the UK and the USA head deeper into debt (the result of deceit, manipulation and greed of dubious “experts”), the burden of expensive care for the growing populations of elderly people is a huge issue. Nitpicking my exact words won’t make it go away.

    Gordon Lishman‚ Director General of Age Concern‚ said:

    “It is absolutely disgraceful that over a third of the health care older people need is never actually received.1 These figures show that age discrimination within the NHS is still rife.

    “The rewards system for GPs to treat particular conditions has worked – but this hasn’t included health problems older people particularly suffer from like depression‚ falls‚ and vision and hearing problems.2 The system is therefore clearly failing thousands of older people.
    Key facts:

    One in six people over 65 say they have been discriminated against in healthcare or health insurance because of their age.
    More than two million older people over the age of 65 in England have symptoms of depression‚ but the vast majority are denied any help
    3.5 million older people who experience mental health problems do not have satisfactory services or support.

    You have a need to punish and control. I make a poor victim and slave.

  198. #199 Luna_the_cat
    November 7, 2009

    Right, so:
    1. Your thought (at least to begin with) that squalene had been linked to Gulf War Syndrome – Not you
    2. That squalene injections had been used to induce RA symptoms in rodents Credentialed discussed this better than I was able to — presumably you have accepted this?
    That leaves:
    3. Your fear that there have not been significant pediatric safety studies done
    4. Your belief that post-vaccination monitoring systems would not pick up side effects.

    So, I believe that pediatric safety studies have already been cited, but you don’t accept them on the basis of thinking that a few hundred children is too small, plus you don’t believe them because the researchers might possibly have been funded by pharmaceutical companies.

    And as has been explained before, if vaccination with such adjuvants caused widespread illness, regardless of whether that got into specific vaccine-adverse-reaction monitoring systems, we should be able to see a rise in such illness since the advent of such vaccinations, through all the other organisations which monitor specific health issues and public health in general. Do you disagree with this? Please explain your reasoning.

    But let’s go one step further: Please explain exactly why you think squalene poses such a risk, given the lack of any immediate evidence of such risk. Also, you have thrown out the number “putting 8% of a population at unknown risk for chronic, debilitating and often fatal diseases”; where does this number come from? How do you justify it?

    We can point to the numbers of people who have died of the flu. We have medical records for these people, and it is possible to know when and how it happened, and how we know it was the flu. Can you provide any evidence of risk from squalene-adjuvanted vaccines which approach this standard?

    In short, why do you think squalene is dangerous?
    Why do you think it is even potentially more dangerous than a flu, where we can point to the fatalities?

    ======

    Please try to rein yourself in a little and stay away from things like
    scientists are a cold, sadistic bunch who get their jollies from the same energy that drives gang rape and Inquisitions.
    This isn’t going to help people respond to you seriously and politely, now, is it.

    …your continuous parroting and citing industry sponsored research (whose results will impossibly yield an outcome favorable to industry nearly 100% of the time) is no longer MY gold standard for evaluating my health care decisions.

    So, you feel no obligation to accept any published peer-reviewed study as evidence because there is a potential of pharmaceutical funding, regardless of what the standard of the work might be. Are you capable of telling us, simply, precisely what standard of evidence you would accept, and in precisely what form?

    ====
    ‡ False. Nobody here denies that pharmaceutical companies try to sit on studies which don’t support them, but (a) there are other sources of studies, and (b) we tend to find those negative studies anyway if there are any other hints of trouble. Plus, “100%” is not a number based on reality.
    —————-

  199. #200 Luna_the_cat
    November 7, 2009

    Jesus wept, doctrinal, that still does not support your actual assertion that pensioners here are denied cancer treatment, and
    You have a need to punish and control. I make a poor victim and slave.—?????

    Right, so we need to be extra-super-polite to you while you call us liars, rapists, and mass-murderers?
    Get.
    Over.
    Yourself.
    !

  200. #201 the bug guy
    November 7, 2009

    DF, Please actually read the studies. They describe surveillance over all age groups above six months.

    I’ll repeat some of the relevant quotes (with emphasis added):

    Fox, CB 2009. Squalene Emulsions for Parenteral Vaccine and Drug Delivery. Molecules 2009, 14(9), 3286-3312: “Perhaps the strongest case for the safety of squalene in a vaccine setting is the well documented safety record of MF59®, which has been reviewed elsewhere [63]. Approximately 27 million doses of MF59® have been injected into humans of all age groups (including infants) with little or no adverse side effects.”

    That one also mentioned that the animal studies linking squalene to autouimmune problems used very high doses of pure oil (200 and 500 microliters), or that nerve damage was done with the extremely high dose of 20 grams per kilogram for four days.

    Schultze, et al., 2008. Safety of MF59™ adjuvant. Vaccine Volume 26, Issue 26, 19 June 2008, Pages 3209-3222: “The safety and adjuvanticity of MF59TM has been widely tested in children, adolescents and adults with different antigens.”

    I also covered the WHO press conferences that you quoted (though interestingly, you haven’t mentioned them since I did that). From the Oct. 30 statement, in reference to adjuvated vs. unadjuvated vaccines: “So there is no reason in SAGE view to distinguish between both types of vaccines.”

    Others have gone into details about the strengths and weaknesss of Dr. Chu’s blog posts.

    You are essentially complaining about people here being closed minded, but the case is regretably the opposite. You are taking everything that Dr. Chu says as gospel and have decided that the scientific data presented is unreliable, thus ignoring it.

    Let’s put this in perspective. Based on a couple of high-dose animal studies using non-emuslified squalene oil in rates far above what is contained in vaccines, Dr. Chu has suggested that there might be autoimmune problems in humans. Since there are much less safety data available for non-elderly populations (though we have good safety information on over 40 million doses already administered), Dr. Chu has called for more safety studies on them before they are approved for use against a pandemic we are facing now.

    Now, looking the other direction, we have a world facing a potentially very serious pandemic and needing a way to vaccinate as many people as possible to ameliorate the situation. Adjuvants allow for less antigen to be used per person, thus allowing more people to be vaccinated per unit of antigen grown from rearing the H1N1 virus. We have to weigh the possible risk of a side effect that has not been determined to actually exist in humans against the need to protect millions. The data currently available on the at-risk populations, while not as large as we would like, still has shown no indication of this potential side effect. Therefore, the decision has been made to continue with the adjuvated vaccines and closely monitor on the slight chance that a rare side effect may occur.

    I mentioned this before and I think it bears repeating. You have become focused on one detail and have blindered yourself to the larger set of data. The decision to use a treatment must be made on examining the totality of safety and efficacy data and not simply on looking at whether or not one possible side effect has been ruled out.

  201. #202 doctrinalfairness
    November 7, 2009

    BugGuy, the first study you cited (industry sponsored maker of squalene vaccines) states a number but does not show the data of the numbers- no evidence backs it up.
    There’s NO research with pregnant women. Just like my “unsupported” statement (see Sismondo and several others) that outcomes nearly unanimously favor industry – you can’t then use a double standard and produce questionable and unsupported data to support your arguments. Nearly all of the arguably 28 million (cited in other places as 10 or 20 million) were over 65 except for very paltry thousands by comparison.
    There are many studies that I have read online, including a brand new one in this months NEJM, that support Chu’s work- just on the merits of cytokines and inflammation triggering autoimmune disease. Yes, its complex- but the risk/benefit ratio is by no means clear enough to warrant the uncritical support of every current and upcoming vaccine.
    Did they keep the rats in your second study (above) around for two years? No. Will autoimmune symptoms showing up two years down the road in pregnant women or their children who are vaccinated today be attributed to the vaccines- NO. There are over 40 autoimmune diseases making the surveilance nearly impossible to track, let alone estimating the incidence correctly in the first place.
    It is the perfect scenario where no matter how you cut it, your asses are completely covered as to causation and even if the incidence soared, it will be years until it’s figured out. I’m just very tired of it. There are countless studies that show that oil-based adjuvants stimulate an autoimmune response- lupus, hep B, arthritis- and it could take YEARS until we “get around” like Luna said to an eventual relationship. You will say citations, please. No- look them up- they are there.
    .
    Thanks though, bugguy, for a great example in your reply of what may yet someday be a fruitful dialogue betwen very disparate camps.
    Um, Luna, I never called you rapists, murderers, killers, whatever. I pointed out that the tactics used here are diminishment, aggression and group scapegoating. They are also common among very irrational, cold-blooded dictatorial types.
    Many of you feel entitled to excuse those tactics as justified in the case of stupid, boring or troll-esque people, I don’t. If you don’t want to suffer “fools”, ignore them, as Chris has been saying all along.
    And I’m not Jesus honey, I don’t turn the other cheek and I will fight back, 30 to 1 or not.

  202. #203 doctrinalfairness
    November 7, 2009

    You are wrong, Luna. According to Titmouse, it’s good science to admit to it occasionally.
    >>Although more than 1/3 of all cancers occur in people over 75, most cancer screening programs in the NHS do not include people over the age of 65.5 Only one in fifty lung cancer patients in Great Britain receives surgery.6<<<

    Which begs the question what will happen to all the people who may or may not have worsened pain and suffering in the absence of jobs and medical care from untested vaccine ingredients.

    What Will Happen to the Elderly under New Health Care System Proposed By President Obama?
    July 26, 2009 by Dawn
    Filed under Featured Writers, Features
    Leave a Comment

    By Richard G. Fessler, MD, PhD “If the experience of other countries is any guide, the elderly have the most to lose under a national health insurance system. In general, when health care is rationed, the young get preferential treatment, while older patients get pushed to the rear of the waiting lines.”1

    Since the president has often praised the health care system in Great Britain, perhaps that system would be informative of what elderly Americans can expect with a single payer system. One in ten patients in Great Britain reported noticing a difference in the way they were treated by the National Health Service (the single payer administration of Great Britain) after they turned 50.2 One in twenty people over the age of 65 said that they had been refused treatment.3 The British newspaper The Observer reported that elderly patients received a lower standard of care and were treated less respectfully than younger patients.4 Although more than 1/3 of all cancers occur in people over 75, most cancer screening programs in the NHS do not include people over the age of 65.5 Only one in fifty lung cancer patients in Great Britain receives surgery.6

    Denial of care to the elderly seems to be sanctioned by the British government. The NHS cut the number of geriatric hospital beds by over 50% between 1985 and 2004.7 Critics of the NHS have accused the policies toward care of the elderly as involuntary euthanasia.8 That may explain why deaths from pneumonia among people over the age of 75 are three to four times higher in the UK than the US.9 A more extreme example of rationing of health care can be seen in New Zealand, another “single payer health system.” Guidelines for treatment of end stage renal failure state that, “under usual circumstances, people over seventy-five should not be accepted” for renal dialysis.10 Since there are no private dialysis facilities in New Zealand, that amounts to a death sentence for an elderly person with renal failure!

    So what can the elderly American look forward to then, under a government controlled single-payer system? Although there is little overall correlation between the amount of money spent on health care and longevity in the developed OECD countries, it is clear that among the elderly, there is a direct correlation between the amount of money spent on health care and life expectancy.11 Unlike other countries, the American elderly currently have relatively little difficulty accessing health care. However, as the population of elderly Americans continues to grow, simultaneous to decreased funding for senior health care, access to care will necessarily decrease. Proof of this was recently demonstrated by the President’s proposal to partially fund his health care proposal with a $300 billion dollar cut in Medicare spending! Thus, as the federal government uses its “monopsony” power to drive Medicare reimbursement even more below market prices, fewer doctors will accept Medicare patients. More patients with fewer doctors and less money translates into limited access to health care, and health care rationing! As the above data demonstrates, it is the elderly that bear the overwhelming brunt of this rationing, deleteriously affecting their health and life expectancy.

    __________________________________________

    1 Goodman, J.C., Musgrave, G.L., Herrick, D.M.: Lives at Risk, Roman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc. 2004. pp. 147.

    2 Beecham, L., “Patients Say the NHS is Ageist,” British Medical Journal, April 24, 1999, pp 1095.

    3 Hall, C., “Campaign to Halt Ageism in NHS”, Daily Telegraph (London) November 8, 1999.

    4 Ahmed, K., “Elderly Suffering Ageism in NHS”, The Observer January 27, 2002.

    5 Turner, N.J. et al., “Cancer in old age: Is it inadequately investigated and treated?” British Medical Journal 319:309-312, 1999.

    6 Partridge, M.R., “Thoracic Surgery in a Crisis”, British Medical Journal February 16, 2001, pp 376-377.

    7 Rao, J.N., “Politicians, Not Doctors, Must Make the Decisions about Rationing.” British Medical Journal, April 3, 1999, pp 340.

    8 “Pensioners a Burden to NHS”. BBC News, December 6, 1999.

    9 Redwood, H. “Why Ration Care?” (London: CIVITAS, Institute for the Study of Civil Society, 2000).

    10 Feek, C.M. et al., “Experience with Rationing Health Care in New Zealand”, British Medical Journal 313:1346-1348, 1999.

    11 Schoen, C., et al., “The Elderly’s Experiences with Health Care in Five Nations”, Commonwealth Fund, May 2000.

  203. #204 kayleigh
    November 7, 2009

    Perhaps DoctrinalFairness/DF is actually Daniele Fanelli!

    In post 123, he/she posted a link to this article about the incidence of scientists fabricating data:
    http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0005738
    The author? Daniele Fanelli from the University of Edinburgh in the UK.

    In post 129, he/she says they are of Italian descent.

    In post 175, he/she says they hold a resident visa in the UK.

    So, am I right? Do I win the internetz?

  204. #205 JohnV
    November 7, 2009

    “My anecdotal experience here on this blog is that this “war” is an insoluble problem without any real interest in seeing the “opposing camp” as anything but
    evil conspirators”

    Gee at least you’re above doing this.

    “it’s fairly easy to arrive at the conclusion that scientists are a cold, sadistic bunch who get their jollies from the same energy that drives gang rape and Inquisitions.”

    “You have a need to punish and control. I make a poor victim and slave”

    “I pointed out that the tactics used here are diminishment, aggression and group scapegoating. They are also common among very irrational, cold-blooded dictatorial types”

  205. #206 Orac
    November 7, 2009

    My observation has been that the anti-vaccination movement argues from a position of authority only when it suits them. For example, Handley demeans scientific expertise in his post but then argues that Offit’s comments on autism don’t count because he doesn’t treat children with autism (although he is a pediatric immunologist). Hence, it appears that no formal expertise is fine if you agree with Handley whereas you must have the right subdiscipline expertise to be qualified to disagree with him.

    Exactly, Brother Abel! Exactly.

    It’s just another manifestation of cherry-picking that the anti-vaccine movement does. They cherry pick their “experts” just like their studies. Unfortunately, the quality of those whom they view as “experts” is just as bad as the quality of the studies they cherry pick.

  206. #207 Luna_the_cat
    November 7, 2009

    Ignoring all the gratuitous martyr complex and feigned wounded innocence –

    you do realise, don’t you, that rats may only live 2 years? They’re smaller, they’re given far higher doses, they tend to show immediate reactions, and they age a lot faster. It’s not an absolute given, but it is not unreasonable to expect that they might show up long-term health effects a lot faster than humans, given the compressed time scale of their lives.

    But really, there is a VERY big question — it’s been asked before, but maybe you didn’t see it. Why would you expect such a delayed reaction? What evidence indicates, to you, that the injection of a substance which is already made -and- cleared in the body would cause something more than immediate local inflammation, YEARS down the line?

    If this were the case, why aren’t we ALL subject to lupus and arthritis from our very own body’s squalene, given how much of it we produce?

    There are countless studies that show that oil-based adjuvants stimulate an autoimmune response- lupus, hep B, arthritis

    Please, cite some of these… Seriously, you demand we look up specific data for you, same standards apply in reverse. What ARE these “countless” studies, or even a few of them?

    There are certainly a bajillion studies about cytokenes and various interleukins. What is your link to squalene adjuvants?

    ===
    Finally,
    >>Although more than 1/3 of all cancers occur in people over 75, most cancer screening programs in the NHS do not include people over the age of 65.5 Only one in fifty lung cancer patients in Great Britain receives surgery.6

    You sent me this link: http://www.ageconcern.org.uk/AgeConcern/response-BMJ-article-NHS-care-failures-150808.asp , and this certainly wasn’t anywhere on there. So it’s from “Dawn’s” article, above? Where is THAT from? I’ll certainly be looking at the references she provides. I would invite you to note, though, that “Only one in fifty lung cancer patients in Great Britain receives surgery” was not said in reference to over-65s, but to everyone; the relevant question there is, how many people would it be indicated for?

    …You know, you could just say, “ok, pensioners in the UK DO get cancer care, just not always to the standard they ought to.” Are you capable of backing down even that much, holding that much of a nuanced view?

  207. #208 Luna_the_cat
    November 7, 2009

    kayleigh:

    No. Daniele Fanelli is still at Edinburgh, and is actually a very smart man.

  208. #209 titmouse
    November 7, 2009

    DF, the link you provided about care for dying patients in the UK is tangential to the disagreement between yourself and Luna. From another thread:

    Luna: “There is no age limit to who gets cancer treatment here!!!”

    DF: “And THAT is complete bullshit! I’m in the UK as we speak and spent the morning with a friend whose 62 yr old brother is too old to be enrolled in ANY clinical trial for his cancer. He doesn’t have private insurance, which anyone who is affluent in the UK seems to require. On my way over here, my seatmate was a nurse from the USA who was going to see her dying mother in Essex and SHE WAS THE ONE who told me that.”

    DF, it appears that the US nurse who told you that the UK had an age limit for cancer treatment was mistaken. Your denouncement of Luna’s statement above as “complete bullshit!” is not justified.

    Merely saying, “that’s what I was told,” is insufficient. It leaves your position ambiguous. Better to state clearly whether you accept or reject the claim that is under discussion.

    Given that you have no evidence to refute the claim, “There is no age limit to who gets cancer treatment in the UK,” you have but three options:
    1. Concede the point.
    2. Recommend that you and Luna agree to disagree on this point and request move on to something else.
    3. Withdraw from the conversation.

    You can concede a point without committing yourself. Here’s how: “Apparently I was misinformed and the UK has no rule about limiting cancer treatment to people under a certain age.”

    Rational discourse is not about winning or losing. It’s about clarifying the nature of disagreements and seeking their resolution whenever possible. Settling one question at a time keeps the conversation productive. I’m just saying.

  209. #210 Joseph C.
    November 7, 2009

    “There is no age limit to who gets cancer treatment in the UK,” you have but three options:

    Don’t forget option 4: Whine about everyone ganging up on you.

  210. #211 Antaeus Feldspar
    November 7, 2009

    “There is no age limit to who gets cancer treatment in the UK,” you have but three options:

    Don’t forget option 4: Whine about everyone ganging up on you.

    Well, that’s not an option where the option-taker gets to keep their dignity. Although come to think of it that doesn’t rule it out for DF…

  211. #212 doctrinalfairness
    November 7, 2009

    Titmouse, lessons on rational discourse from a man who listed 40 variations on the word drunk as a reply to me will be taken with the grain of salt they deserve.

    Unfortunately for Luna, whose sharp bared claws do cast some doubt on her rationality, I happen to also reside in the UK for half of each year. Despite my feeble powers of intelligence, I do manage to notice my surroundings.

    Luna hon, I have to go pack for my little holiday,
    but before i go- lets have a chat about nuance, OK.
    I can’t answer all your other questions and you are about to get a nice break from me, but lets go back to the cancer business.

    Just a few weeks ago, didn’t the damn Secretary of State Andy Burnham address Parliament about the institutionalized ageism in the NHS and as a result, a BAN of ageism is now underway? A BAN on ageism in every area of care, Luna? Why ever would that be necessary??
    http://www.bmj.com/cgi/content/extract/339/oct26_1/b4408

    So keep on nit-picking about the outrageoues excess of my example- based on two personal conversations that I had just had, which were then presumtiously trumped by your superior anecdotal info. Naturally.

    Health secretary promises to outlaw ageism from the NHS by 2012
    Zosia Kmietowicz
    http://www.bmj.com/cgi/content/full/336/7656/1278

    >>More recently, John Young, who heads an academic unit of elderly care and rehabilitation, lamented the endemic ageism of the NHS. Decades of health service underfunding had provided an environment in which ageism flourished: “Whenever a clinical stone is turned over, ageism is revealed,” he wrote, citing studies in cancer services, coronary care units, prevention of vascular disease, mental health services, and the management of transient ischaemic attacks and minor strokes.15

    So.
    There you have it. Dan Ackroyd in my college days had a name for you, Luna, but I won’t say it.

  212. #213 titmouse
    November 7, 2009

    Joseph C.

    Don’t forget option 4: Whine about everyone ganging up on you.

    Hmm. Is #4 a sub-set of #3 or something else?

    Analogy: A group of kids are playing Monopoly. One player recognizes that he’s no hope of winning. He says…

    1. “I’m bored. I’m going to go do something else.”
    2. “Hey, an eagle just flew by the window!” Then he steals $500 from the bank.
    3. “Hey, how come I always lose? That’s not statistically possible! You guys are a bunch of lousy cheaters! My turn again or it’s no fair!”
    4. “Oops!” He then knocks the board and its pieces onto the floor. “HAHAHA!”

    Re-defining the above in terms of mutual rule agreement and mutual play agreement:
    1. “Yes” to rules, “no” to play
    2. Covert “no” to rules, “yes” to play
    3. Overt “no” to rules, “yes” to play
    4. Overt “no” to rules, “no” to play

    The above gambits have this in common: they’re all destructive of a shared effort toward mutual understanding. The first example is unique in that it leaves rule agreement intact.

    Next question: What options are possible to those faced with any of the 4 gambits above?

  213. #214 Joseph C.
    November 7, 2009

    Titmouse, lessons on rational discourse from a man who listed 40 variations on the word drunk as a reply to me will be taken with the grain of salt they deserve.

    Considering the paranoid, rambling nature of your comments, I don’t think titmouse made an error in putting alcohol abuse on your differential. Heck, she’d probably be considered a crap doctor to not at least consider it.

  214. #215 Chris
    November 7, 2009

    Just a reminder, please do not feed the troll.

  215. #216 Dedj
    November 7, 2009

    That the NHS is ageist is a radically different claim to ‘the elderly cannot get cancer care’. If you don’t have a ban on ageism then you can’t prosecute when it arises. Same for leaking confidential information, having relationships with patients, shooting up on the med cabinet stock, failing to store records properly, and so forth. It is positively delusional to insinuate that a behaviour is universal simply because it is banned.

    The ageism in the NHS was one of the reasons for the Older Persons NSF. The Older Persons NSF sets the standard that all services must work toward. There are hundreds of pages of guidance and target documents from the DoH alone for how services can and should meet these standards. These are all available in the most obvious place to look.

    In other words, theres a government sanction to not exclude older persons from clinical treatment on the basis of age.

  216. #217 titmouse
    November 7, 2009

    Chris:

    Just a reminder, please do not feed the troll.

    I think we agree this is good advice. But are we clear on the meaning of “feeding”?

    Is any comment on a troll infested thread a form of feeding? Or only direct responses to the troll post?

    Are there occasions when “setting the record straight” is justified for the sake of naive readers?

    Do we have any evidence favoring one strategy over another in handling disruptive commenters?

    FYI there’s a discussion at Pharyngula about an IRL troll (US communist agitprop). PZ largely takes the troll’s side over the tea-n-cake group reaching for the banhammer. Commenters more or less troll-sympathetic also. Police over-reaction largely responsible for allignments, predictably.

    Clever, clever professional troll.

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2009/11/ethical_humanist_society_of_ch.php

  217. #218 the bug guy
    November 7, 2009

    DF, it is proper to note weaknesses in studies, but it is also improper to ignore the full picture, which is what you are doing. And when you are talking about numbers, please remember that there are time lags between when an article is submitted and when it is published, so for changing values like total vaccines given, the number will be different depending on when the source was written. The WHO press conference I quoted in the earlier thread mentioned that over 40 million does of squalene-adjuvated vaccines have been used without detection of unusual numbers or types of adverse events.

    You are demanding action about something with that has a weak basis. The entire idea is built around a small number of animal studies that used grossly increased doses in a form not used in vaccines. As Credentialed described, the rat studies used injections up to 5000 times above the dose given in vaccines and in pure form, was not an emulsion. For the nerve damage study I mentioned, it was even greater. 20 grams per kilogram is the same as 1.5 kilograms for a 75 kg person, that converts to 3.3 pounds. Per day. For four days. That is a huge amount of material. Many common food items have acute LD50 values far less than 20 grams per kilogram. The Fox paper goes into specifics about different safety concerns and summarizes work has that been done to investigate those concerns.

    If there was a good basis for suspecting that squalene caused serious autoimmune problems at the dose used in vaccines was problem, your position would be justified. However, there is little evidence supporting that position for reasons given by me and many others.

  218. #219 Chris
    November 7, 2009

    titmouse, I am in a hotel lobby with really slow wifi… so I am answering before waiting for the PZ page to load: Personally I think that after repeating the same answers multiple times to the same troll over a period of two days, or at least ten comments is just feeding the troll.

    It has become clear that DF has no interest in participating in intelligent debate, so interacting with her on any level is feeding her ego.

  219. #220 doctrinalfairness
    November 7, 2009

    Do keep in mind that I am attempting to respond to as many of the accusations against me as possible…
    So,Dedj,
    Thanks for clearing up my confusion about the NHS Ban on Ageism. I see the error of my ways and now completely agree that a Ban on Ageism is “vastly different” than seniors not having access to cancer care.
    And I understand perfectly now that the new Ban on Ageism is merely a very astute offensive move that has been very thoughtfully put into place to prevent ageism from ever occuring!
    And all of those differences in the standards of all of the levels of care for pensioners, including cancer screening and access to treatment, were all just hypothetical!
    So, this whole new pack of guidelines are the product of a crack team of foreward thinking visionaries and not the result of much survey data and huge public outcry regarding the rampant ageism in the different standards of care.
    And, finally, I also figured out that “postcode lottery” is just a gambling game that benefits senior citizen health care. It’s all cleared up for me now, thanks again.

    BugGuy, thank you. I have bookmarked 37 studies and have read 14. No idea about the rats and the squalene yet, but other studies HAVE shown a systemic response. Yes, I am “stuck” on this like a broken record. It is no small matter.
    No less than three of my classmates of old now have daughters with degenerative autoimmune disease. My daughter has had numerous classmates with Crohn’s, RA, Lupus or CFS. None of these diseases were around when I was young.
    In addition, I have watched two strong, productive professional women slowly become weaker and weaker.

    Excuse my unapologetic disgust with people who I view as apologists for every single decision, no matter how poor, that has grown from this whole pandemic business. It’s startling to me that NO ONE here is addressing the idea that by now, huge numbers of people have already been exposed and more than likely are at little risk from death. Yet not one scientist here or anywhere seems to be bothered in the slightest by the fact that the millions of people in Europe and Canada who have these diseases are largely UNAWARE of even a theoretical relationship between vaccines and autoimmunity. No one is too worried about warning them about the risks/benefits at this late date of the 2nd wave to not get a vaccine that may be unnecessary, either.
    It’s been an enlightening experience.

    No relationship at this time? There was no such thing as MAP in Crohns, either.
    At least Alt/Med provides symptomatic relief and many kind and caring practicioners for my friends.
    But instead, you’d expect that should all keep coming back for more of that vaccine love of yours. The parent of the child with eczema who died- was she a troll too? When there’s evidence that doesn’t support YOUR hypothesis, it’s a coincidence. You are NEVER wrong. Horrible.

    BTW, titmouse, please be more clear with the careful diagnoses, you know I confuse easily with my left hemi whatever-it-is. Do decide quickly whether I am a “very, very clever troll” or (do you actually think this way about patients you don’t like?)someone who “can’t think things through coherently.”, meaning they think DIFFERENTLY than you. Yay for neurodiversity and all those stupid morons you have to work to pretend to include under your big bird bosom.

    Some reading:

    Billiau A, Matthys P. (2001) Modes of action of Freund’s adjuvants in experimental models of autoimmune diseases. J Leukoc Biol. 70: 849 – 860.

    Kuroda Y, Akaogi J, Nacionales DC, Wasdo SC, Szabo NJ, Reeves WH, Satoh M. (2004) Distinctive patterns of autoimmune response induced by different types of mineral oil. Toxicol Sci. 78: 222 – 228.

    Offit PA, Hackett CJ. (2003) Addressing parents’ concerns: do vaccines cause allergic or autoimmune diseases? Pediatrics. 111: 653 – 659.

    Carlson BC, Jansson AM, Larsson A, Bucht A, Lorentzen JC. (2000) The endogenous adjuvant squalene can induce a chronic T-cell-mediated arthritis in rats. Am J Pathol. 156: 2057 – 2065.

    Vial T, Descotes J. (2004) Autoimmune diseases and vaccinations. Eur J Dermatol. 14: 86 – 90.

    Fujinami RS, von Herrath MG, Christen U, Whitton JL. (2006) Molecular Mimicry, Bystander Activation, or Viral Persistence: Infections and Autoimmune Disease. Clin Microbiol Rev. 19: 80 – 94.

  220. #221 Joseph C.
    November 7, 2009

    Yay for neurodiversity and all those stupid morons you have to work to pretend to include under your big bird bosom.

    If you’re going to pretend to not be anti-vax, you shouldn’t give yourself away by bitching about neurodiversity. Why put in all this work just to blow it like that?

  221. #222 Dedj
    November 7, 2009

    “So,Dedj,
    Thanks for clearing up my confusion about the NHS Ban on Ageism. I see the error of my ways and now completely agree that a Ban on Ageism is “vastly different” than seniors not having access to cancer care.
    And I understand perfectly now that the new Ban on Ageism is merely a very astute offensive move that has been very thoughtfully put into place to prevent ageism from ever occuring!
    And all of those differences in the standards of all of the levels of care for pensioners, including cancer screening and access to treatment, were all just hypothetical!”

    WTF?!?!? What the hell does any of this have to do with the previous discussion that has occured over the past few days? Neither I, nor anyone else here, has said anything remotely like the arguement you appear to be deliberately and maliciously misattributing to people in these statements.

    Are you even trying to remain serious?

    Get back on track or just fuck off if you’re going to be a little kid about it.

    Seriously.

  222. #223 doctrinalfairness
    November 7, 2009

    Joe,
    So let me get this straight. Any individual who HAS a learning disability is anti-vax, too? And the fact that I spent the last two and a half decades working with a very neurodiverse group of people gives me away as an anti-vaxer?
    Gotcha.

    “I have discovered few learning disabled students in my three decades of teaching. I have, however, discovered many, many victims of teaching inabilities”
    Marva Collins

  223. #224 Mr. B
    November 7, 2009

    DF: Are you being intentionally obtuse? (That’s rhetorical; don’t answer it.) What Joseph C. said had nothing to do with those who are neurodiverse and everything to do with those who complain about it (indicating that they have disdain for the notion that there are individuals who are wired differently and that this does not necessarily indicate any sense of inferiority to those who are “neurotypical”).

    And as both a teacher and the parent of an autistic child (perhaps two; time will tell there), I think that there may be a point to be made about trying to find the ways that neurodiverse individuals are able to learn, since many (most?) do not learn in the same ways as neurotypical individuals (insofar as there is a single way of learning for the neurotypical, which is not really true at all).

    I’m still waiting to see if we can find out what method will get through to you here. Call me an idealist.

  224. #225 doctrinalfairness
    November 7, 2009

    Mr B.
    We are all neurodiverse- and there’s very little room in here for ANY difference of opinion, let alone seeing any value in neurological difference.

  225. #226 Mr. B
    November 7, 2009

    We’re all “special” too, but obviously that’s not what we mean with we refer to children having “special” needs. (Oddly, I’m reading The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time right now, and the narrator Christopher, who is autistic, explicitly states that everyone has special needs but that something else is meant by that phrase when it comes to people like him, speaking specifically of a school setting.)

    And your statement is wrong: you have stated a different opinion without censorship. It’s that your opinion is not informed or justified by the evidence, so it is denounced – harshly because there is much to be lost by casting unjustified doubt on the efficacy or safety of vaccines. There’s nothing wrong with that; in fact, that’s how this whole search for truth is supposed to work. I’m surprised, with all of your references to well-known educators (Gatto notwithstanding), that you aren’t on board with this, choosing instead to cry oppression and persecution. No one’s persecuting you, only the crackpot ideas that you’re espousing around here. The sooner you understand that and stop casting aspersions on those who are defending current scientific/medical understanding, the sooner that things will settle down a bit.

  226. #227 doctrinalfairness
    November 7, 2009

    Mr. B
    You’ll have to forgive me, because I am RAGING right now.
    NONE of YOU represent ME, who has had a learning disability ALL MY LIFE. I just Googled Neurodiversity and honestly feel ill.
    ILL.
    NONE OF YOU ARE ADVOCATES FOR THE NEURODIVERSE.

    NONE.
    And I am a f%$#*& expert about that.
    How utterly VILE that like CHADD, an org responsible for priming the nervous system for later drug abuse, the drug companies now own the right to define neurodiversity???
    Holy shit.
    YOU HATE DIFFERENCE. How many times was I called stupid, ignorant, retarded, paranoid, disordered- because I disagreed and WAS DIFFERENT???
    If you want your kids drugged and institutionalized, go for it Mr. B- I’m not going to change your mind if you are in here trying to change mine. Lots of luck to you and the kids you teach, because YOU haven’t got a clue.
    Diagnose me now, Titmouse, you ASSHOLE.
    GRRR- bring on the stillettos.

  227. #228 titmouse
    November 7, 2009

    Do decide quickly whether I am a “very, very clever troll”

    No, that comment referred to Sunsara Taylor.

    “Trolling” means repeatedly saying inflammatory things in order to disrupt an attempt at productive conversation.

    “Neurodiversity” is a shibboleth.

    Roughly translated it means: “The jig is up, Ms. Phoney-balloney.”

  228. #229 doctrinalfairness
    November 7, 2009

    DOCTOR TITMOUSE??
    I wonder if your patients have a CLUE what you are about.

    Trust me, YOU DO NOT REPRESENT NEURODIVERSITY.
    Au contraire. Your most creative solution to difference is to medicate it, punish it, patronize it, pathologize it, silence it and control it, because you don’t understand it and you are repulsed by it. Get help.
    You people are the anti-thesis to an inclusive diverse and cooperative planet. THE POLAR OPPOSITE.
    I honestly think its time to burn the “medical model” in effigy.
    I plan to help organize the event.
    I could have spared my keyboard and a lot of hours.
    Bring on the Alt/Med.
    Dr Jay, I’ll be right over.
    They now have managed to have me spooked about ALL vaccines if neurodiversity means Ritalin, Thorazine and ECT.
    Parents with difficult kids, try Heartmath and RUN from these people.
    They lie.

  229. #230 titmouse
    November 7, 2009

    No you, mean abusive lady person.

  230. #231 titmouse
    November 7, 2009

    *high-fives Joseph C.*

    Our work here is done.

  231. #232 doctrinalfairness
    November 7, 2009

    Don’t gloat yet honey.

  232. #233 titmouse
    November 7, 2009
  233. #234 titmouse
    November 7, 2009

    fairgame someone else, fairness lady.

  234. #235 Joseph C.
    November 7, 2009

    Since arguing by YouTube is the new black:

    http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x33yb9_yo-gabba-gabba-theres-a-party-in-my_fun

    This video PROVES that ALL vaccines are 100% safe and 100% effective.

  235. #236 doctrinalfairness
    November 7, 2009

    I’ve seen the video.
    And you neither own nor speak for science or neurodiversity.
    Your paradigm is about to come tumbling down and I say bring it on.

    The United States has more people imprisoned right now than there are prisoners in Russia. Controlling human behavior is not the goal of science, it’s the goal of fascism.
    Neurodiversity implies the fullness of the circle where people with disabilities and special needs really ARE included and connected, not imprisoned, medicated, punished, patronized and treated like shit. You people thrive on that energy- it’s your juice.
    And you call me abusive. I’m not done. You’ll be hearing from e again.

  236. #237 Joseph C.
    November 7, 2009

    You damn scientists! Filling up the prisons and poisonin’ babies with squalene. I’m on to you! I ain’t finished with you even though I said “bye” 400 comments ago. Also, I is commenting on here from my Blackberry while I eat granola on my backpacking trip.

  237. #238 titmouse
    November 7, 2009

    Ders a parteh in mah tummeh!

    Chorus:
    So yummeh! So yummeh!

  238. #239 titmouse
    November 7, 2009

    Had to rickroll myself to recover from that video, Joe.

    *whispers*

    Iz Tom Cruise gone nao?

  239. #240 Joseph C.
    November 7, 2009

    Fact: I’ve rick roll’d my wife in 12 different countries.

    Fact: If I rick roll her one more time, she’ll probably stab me.

    Fact: Traveling through Scandinavia this past summer my friend kept making us watch Yo Gabba Gabba when we were on the road. It made for some, uhm, interesting drives.

  240. #241 titmouse
    November 8, 2009

    Fact: I’ve rick roll’d my wife in 12 different countries.

    [citation needed]

  241. #242 anne mouse
    November 8, 2009

    Speaking of scifags… an anon was arrested in Las Vegas last week on terrorism charges. He’s accused of making a bomb threat or something. Other anons say this is false.

    Similar MO to what happened last year when a fake anon YouTube was put up making threats against scilons. FBI had to investigate. Thankfully no charges.

    Scilon strategy: provoke or fabricate rage –> claim someone is threatening or using “hate” speech –> legal headache.

    Defense fund for the anon who is still in jail is on the web someplace.

  242. #243 JohnV
    November 8, 2009

    I’m very sad I missed the awesomeness of DF melting down last night :(

  243. #244 Luna_the_cat
    November 8, 2009

    Wow. DF really *did* lose it.

    doctrinal: We don’t hate difference. We don’t hate real neurodiversity — in fact, I’ve seen a number of Asperger’s and autistics on these boards, and they are perfectly reasonable human beings who appear to me at least to be quite comfortable here — certainly I’ve seen no indication they’re unwelcome, nor would I consider them so, many of them contribute a lot of insights.

    Disclosure time, I care for a profoundly autistic boy sometimes, and will eventualy be taking over as guardian for him. I don’t know if you’ll believe me — given that you have made your opinion of people abundantly clear from the get-go — but I love him, I respect him as a human being, and I protect his interests with all my heart. He has never been subjected to any of the horrible, damaging, vile quack remedies that anti-vaxxers advocate for kids like these, like unnecessary dietary controls which can lead to malnutrition and osteoporosis, hyperbaric oxygen chambers, injections of stem cells into his spine, chelation, or that vile atrocity known as the “Lupron protocol”. Consider this: the very same alt-med community which rails against the “dangers” of the “toxins” in vaccines appears to be ok with injecting kids with chemicals which scavenge the very ions which help pass nerve messages and keep the heart beating, or chemically castrating kids with the KNOWN side-effects of osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease and the increased risk of insulin-dependent diabetes — and all for things which have NO clinical trials, NO data. That’s the people you think are so much better than this side of things.

    The only drug my kid is on is an anti-seizure one, because he also has epiliepsy. Do you reckon it would be better to take that off him so that he can lead a “natural, un-drugged” life with seizures?

    But here’s the deal: our fights with you are not on the basis of “difference of opinion”, and you hiding behind “neurodiversity” is low, really low. Our fights with you are based on the fact that you came into this forum primed with hatred and contempt towards everyone here, have been unwilling to listen to evidence presented to you or to change your opinion even when presented with exactly the information you demanded, and have had a very consistent tendency to whine about how you are being picked on and “suppressed” even while you continue to fling insults and express your graphic opinion as to our vileness. Here’s a basic rule of life, hon: you don’t get to walk into a bar swinging and then claim the other guy started it.

    I don’t know what your “neurodiverse” status is, but you have been consistently angry, contemptuous, insulting, closed-minded, and unable to follow either information or logic whenever it contradicts what you have already chosen, on an evidence-free basis, to believe — in short, the very things that you accuse us of, only more so. You have not, and I’m willing to bet never will, ever answered direct questions about the evidential basis for your beliefs. In short, you get called a troll because you act like a troll.

    If you had at any point shown a willingness to act like a civilised human being and engage in a good-faith discussion of evidence without additional insults to everyone’s honesty and intelligence, you would have gotten a lot more respect. As it is, throwing temper tantrums about how horrible we all are is barely any different from your first appearance on the board, and we hardly expect anything else from you now. Don’t be surprised that you get contempt in return, and don’t think you can run around screaming how we HATE DIFFERENCE either — you’re the one who has thrown in her alliance with a group which considers autistic kids “diseased” and “soulless”.

    Personally, I DO think you are an idiot, now — but that is because of how you act. Don’t think that you bear no responsibility for how you’re seen.

  244. #245 Credentialed
    November 8, 2009

    Well stated, Luna.

  245. #246 Antaeus Feldspar
    November 8, 2009

    How utterly VILE that like CHADD, an org responsible for priming the nervous system for later drug abuse

    Yet another reason I don’t believe that DF is in fact who she says she is. If she was, she would be well-aware that the research shows that children and teenagers who receive medical treatment for their ADD – even those treated with that boogeyman of the Scientologists, Ritalin – are statistically far less likely to abuse drugs in later life.

  246. #247 Katharine
    November 8, 2009

    Score another one for science!

  247. #248 a-non
    November 8, 2009

    DF,

    It is difficult to pretend to be rational, isn’t it, when you truly believe in the evilness of vaccines and the horrors of the medical and pharmaceutical communities. You may have been able to fool some folks on this board that your goal was rational discourse.

    But I knew better, because folks like you are a dime a dozen. They come on to blogs or message boards, pretending to be on the fence. They almost always say they’re pro-vaccine. After a few posts, the conspiracy theories kick in. Followed by the uber-spam and the wacky links. After getting stoned for a while, they eventually meltdown and show their true colors.

    So know we know the truth, DF – you’re Common Sue with a thesaurus.

    Actually, that might not be fair to Sue.

  248. #249 Chris
    November 8, 2009

    a-non, maybe it is Common Sue with a thesaurus!

    And, really, who needs a thesaurus when you can use ctrl-C and ctrl-V ?

  249. #250 Chris
    November 8, 2009

    Actually, that might not be fair to Sue.

    a-non, do we have any reason to be fair to Common Sue? She is not exactly the poster girl of reason and fairness!

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