Respectful Insolence

I debated whether or not to blog about this. The reason is that I suspect that gathering a lot of attention and controversy is exactly what Generation Rescue wanted when it posted what I’m about to blog about. On the other hand, no matter how low my opinion is of the principals who run Generation Rescue‘s anti-vaccine propaganda blog Age of Autism, there were limits below which they wouldn’t go. Oh, sure, AoA has launched at least three broadsides at me over the last year and a half, all penned by the ever-offensive blowhard J.B. Handley, the founder of Generation Rescue who’s allowed himself to be displaced by a brainless D-list actress and her equally dim but, alas, very popular A-list comedian boyfriend. Indeed, I’ve gotten to the point where I can almost predict when such a broadside is coming, and when it does I know I’ve scored big points.

This time, though, the broadside wasn’t directed at me.

Look, I get it. I get why J.B. Handley likes to launch a full frontal assault on me periodically. I’m not all warm and cuddly and accommodationist. When I see pseudoscience, stupidity, and nastiness on the part of the anti-vaccine movement I don’t mince words about it. I call stupidity stupidity and despicable behavior despicable behavior. Sometimes it it causes me some mild trouble. But, attacks by cranks aside, I’ve never seen anything like what AoA posted the other day. It was so over-the-top that even bloggers who don’t normally pay that much attention to the anti-vaccine movement, bloggers like Rebecca “Skepchick” Watson took notice before even I did. Basically, whatever nastiness the anti-vaccine movement has thrown my way, it’s never done to me what it’s just done to a friend (Steve Novella), a scientist I admire (Paul Offit), and two journalists (Amy Wallace and Trine Tsouderos) who’ve earned my respect for having written hard-hitting, science-based exposes of the anti-vaccine movement and the anti-vaccine autism “biomed” movement, as well as others who clearly don’t deserve this degree of hate and abuse.

It’s never portrayed me as eating babies as part of a Thanksgiving feast. That’s right. AoA thinks its a load of yucks to paint its enemies as cannibals eating babies.

Even as someone who has become as jaded as I have when it comes to the behavior of the anti-vaccine movement, I was amazed by just how vile this latest post from Generation Rescue is. I realized that the anti-vaccine movement hates us defenders of science-based medicine, but I hadn’t realized the depth of the hatred, but it flowed out in torrents in the comments after this post. Misogyny, hatred, anger, and pseudoscience, all mixed together in a toxic brew, and I plan on pointing out some examples. No doubt AoA expected me and others to be outraged, but what I am, more than anything else, is depressed. That human beings can think such things based on so little evidence is truly depressing–and saddening.

First, there’s Kim Stagliano, a.k.a. “Stagmom,” leaping in very early with a comment that Rebecca also took her to task for, a comment that was so misogynistic and tasteless that apparently she took it down. Good thing I saved it, as did Rebecca Watson, the better to rub her face in it:

Dr. Nancy is under the table servicing Dr. Offit’s RotaDick. Wait, can you hear her? “Fere If doh bontrobersy!!” Someone should tell her it’s not polite to talk with your mouth full.

She’s referring to Dr. Nancy Snyderman, NBC’s chief medical editor and a defender of vaccines against the myths promulgated by the likes of Kimmy.

Then there’s Autismdaddy crowing:

Love it. Pharma-whore house looks like to me!

But the commenters at AoA were just getting warmed up. No attack on an an ideological enemy would be complete without one element, one technique of demonization, a favorite these days of right-wing enemies of President Obama and formerly a favorite of left-wing anti-war protestors against President Bush. It’s the all-purpose demonization that keeps giving, so much so that I created my own literary “device” to mock it, a device I kept going back to until recently the sorts of analogies I used to have so much fun mocking became so commonplace that I could if I so desire run a blog that is nothing but such attempts at parody. That’s right, I’m talking about letting your brains be chomped by the Hitler Zombie, just as a commenter going by the ‘nym of benmyson did:

It’s a horrible image. So are the images of boxcar loads of men, women and children going to Dachau, or the image of the napalm scorched Vietnamese girl running down the road. Obviously reality is horrifying. Sins of omission do just as much damage.

A five year old girl as sold, traded, bartered into sexual slavery in North Carolina recently. This child ended up strangled to death and tossed off the side of the road into a pile of rotting deer carcusses. The mother of this child, a prostitute herself, may have rationalized that the child she gave away would have no worse of a life than most children. She may have even rationalized that sacrificing her daughter would enable her to save her unborn child and her son. Much the same way the Chinese did by killing the newborn baby girls.

People can rationalize all kinds of things, blowing up 100,000 people by dropping two atomic bombs in Japan may have saved the world from who knows what, but tell that to the family and the survivors.

Yes it is a cruel and horrifying image but so is turning a blind eye to the truth. And the truth is they know better.

Because the image of children being vaccinated against deadly childhood diseases is just like the Holocaust.

Benmyson is apparently unaware that Dachau was a concentration camp, not a death camp. Boxcar loads of men, women, and children were generally not taken there to be gassed, but either punished or worked to death. Political prisoners, Jews, Communists, Christian religious resisters to Nazi rule, and, later, Soviet prisoners of war, were imprisoned there under bad conditions that steadily deteriorated as the war continued and the Nazis became more brutal. But, hey, why ruin a good rant with a little history?

Be that as it may, where have we heard this sort of apocalyptic imagery before? Many are the crank movements that devolve into comparing their enemies to Hitler and Stalin and claiming that they’ve slaughtered on par with them or Pol Pot. I will admit, however, that I’ve never heard anyone likening defending science-based medicine against pseudoscience–any pseudoscience–to the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Not even PETA, a group that is not shy about invoking the Holocaust for its own purposes, hasn’t done that. Speaking of the Holocaust and Nazis, it didn’t escape my notice that the image of the perceived0 enemies of GR and AoA preparing to eat a baby for a holiday feast is more than a little reminiscent of the blood libel against the Jews, in which anti-Semites claim that Jews kidnap Gentile babies in order to perform ritual murder and use their blood to make their Passover matzah. I wonder how many Jewish parents of autistic children noticed that.

The sad thing, the thing that really depresses me, is that this his how a lot of the anti-vaccine movement really does think. Seriously. In fact, if you have any doubt that the movement behind AoA is anti-vaccine to the core, check out this comment by Kristina:

The horrifying truth about these people is that if they replaced their current, real life actions that injure and kill thousands of children per year, with a tradition of killing just one baby per year for Thanksgiving, the world would be a better place. That is why the cartoon, while sickening, is not inappropriate.

Kristina apparently really does believe that vaccines kill thousands of people a year and that it would be better to kill one baby a year to be eaten than to keep vaccinating babies and have thousands die. Words fail me in trying to convey to you the enormity of the hatred and ignorance embodied in these beliefs. The rhetoric is starting to resemble that of the radical anti-abortion movement, both in its invocations of the Holocaust, its apocalyptic comparisons, and the accusations of murdering children. From there it’s only a short hop to accusing your foes of being capable of eating babies (all neatly cloaked under a flimsy blanket of lame than lame “parody”). From there it’s not a very long leap to thinking that something has to be done about these people who have been painted as enemies of humanity and killers (and eaters) of babies. The history of the anti-vaccine movement is starting to look disturbingly like the history of the anti-abortion movement. Accusing your enemies of killing and eating babies, even in jest, is a step in the direction to dehumanizing defenders of science-based medicine in such a manner that could make it easier to justify violence.

In all fairness, however, so over-the-top was AoA’s latest antic that several of its readers, even some who are usually totally down with the pseudoscience behind autism “biomed” quackery and the scientifically discredited notion that vaccines cause autism, reacted with appropriate revulsion. A sampling:

This is disgraceful. Who do you think you are to do something like that? If somebody would picture myself like this i would be more then offended. This is below all standard. Shame on you. (George)

Sorry all, I loved AOA till tonite. This baby on the table is just going too far. I dont know where American civilization is headed. Our distinguished jurist, Justice Clarence Thomas , said it years ago. Americans are losing CIVILITY ! Half a century ago, would anyone have portrayed Hitler and his top brass sitting at a fine dining table with you know what on it? Of course not- Thats because people were taught civility and respect in those days. (Cherry Sperlin Misra)

It is unfortunate to hear that the editors at AoA do not see the harm in posting garbage like this.

I visit this blog daily and it has become one my best sources for autism news. The quality of information and research on real autism matters is unsurpassed.

Having said that, how can anyone expect to be painted as anything but extremists with imagery like this. I understand the anger, I understand the frustration. What I don’t understand is how this advances our cause to advocate for our children.

How can I pass information from this site on to anyone in an effort to convince them of the need for vaccine/environmental research for autism. AoA cannot be taken seriously when stuff like this is posted. (Tom K)

This really helps a lot in the discussion of vaccines and safety doesn’t it? It fails on two levels:
– it is a personal attack on individuals, not on their policies or beliefs
– it shows the offensive nature of your site and the people who support it. This merely labels you as extremists and will ultimately lose you credibility and respect.

Quite shameful…(Antro)

Quite shameful indeed. He’s also nailed a key difference between how I criticize and how AoA attacks. I tend to try to attack beliefs and statements. When I say, “The stupid, it burns!” I’m usually referring to the stupidity of the statement I’m mocking, not to the person who made it. AoA goes for the ad hominem attack first. What else can it do? It can’t argue the science. It can’t argue from logic. All that’s left is to slime those whom it perceives as its enemies. As a consequence, henceforth, whenever I want to show someone just how loony, how utterly without scruples, how out of touch with reality the anti-vaccine movement is, I’ll just show him this post on AoA. Let’s put it this way. When even Craig Willoughby, who went from seemingly at least semi-rational to full-out hate-filled ranting (particularly about me), doesn’t think this is appropriate, AoA has a real problem, and trying to claim that this disgusting picture was “inspired” by Jonathan Swift’s “A Modest Proposal” looks desperate at best and pathetic at worst.

So how did the “leaders” of AoA react? Well, we already know how Kim Stagliano reacted; she cheerfully made a blowjob joke about it. Later she joked about loving puppies. True, she removed the “BJ” comment, which is a little bit to her credit. A very little bit. Clearly she does have a sense of shame. J.B. Handley, on the other hand and not surprisingly, thought the picture “hilarious.” Meanwhile, AoA’s resident self-proclaimed “scientist” who isn’t a scientist in any sense of the word (Mark Blaxill) appeared disturbed by the picture but decided to defend the picture by opining that “we’re a BLOG” and that “it’s our job to be edgy.” (Clearly, Blaxill has a different definition of the word “edgy” than most people do.)

Conspicuous by their absence are David Kirby, Dan Olmsted, and Kent Heckenlively. Certainly, Kirby, for all his skill at verbal prestidigitation and twisting science into a pretzel of pseudoscience and misdirection, is no dummy when it comes to PR. My guess is that he’s appalled by this. Ditto Dan “I see nothing” Olmsted. Kent Heckenlively, as scientifically clueless as he is and as appalled as I’ve been by his subjecting his daughter to quackery, strikes me as a genuinely nice man. I wonder what he thinks of being associated with the likes of Adriana Gamondes, who Photoshopped this picture.

I want to finish this post by echoing a sentiment expressed by Sullivan over at Autism Blog. Although Generation Rescue wants them to think so, Paul Offit, Steve Novella, Amy Wallace, Trine Tsouderos, Paul Insel, and Alison Singer are not the enemies of parents with autistic children, not even parents who are utterly convinced that vaccines caused their child’s autism. Neither am I, as hard as Generation Rescue (and particularly J.B. Handley) would like parents to believe otherwise. It is not we who are standing in the way of Generation Rescue, Andrew Wakefield, Barbara Loe Fisher, and the rest. It really isn’t.

Science is, or, more specifically, the lack of good science supporting their beliefs.

That’s right. Unfortunately for Generation Rescue, its former dogmatic insistence that autism is a “misdiagnosis for mercury poisoning,” and its later insistence that it’s “too many too soon” or the “toxins” in the vaccines causing an “epidemic of autism,” the science just hasn’t fallen into line with its beliefs. It shows no sign of doing so. Worse, the more science goes against it, the more the anti-vaccine movement moves into sheer crankery and hatred. Rather than re-examining their beliefs in light of new evidence and readjusting them, exactly as I would do if there were a series of well-designed large studies showing strong evidence that vaccines are linked with autism, the anti-vaccine movement as epitomized by Generation Rescue and its propaganda blog Age of Autism retreats further and further into pseudoscience, lashing out at anyone who dares to stand up and tell it that there’s no convincing scientific evidence that vaccines cause autism or that “biomedical” woo reverses it. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. It would actually not necessarily be a bad thing if these things were found to be true, because we would then not only have identified a major cause of autism but would have highly effective treatments for it.

Unfortunately, real life isn’t that simple, and, instead of realigning its beliefs to conform to reality, the anti-vaccine movement lashes out at those who point out that there’s no science supporting them. Worse, if there were any doubt that Age of Autism is profoundly anti-vaccine to its very core, that doubt was removed when AoA decided to liken those who stand up against anti-vaccine misinformation to baby killers and hordes of commenters descended to say that such a comparison was appropriate because they really believe that vaccines are a Holocaust, a Hiroshima, a Nagasaki, a Stalin, Chinese women sold into slavery, and the killers of thousands of children every year. Autistic children pay the price of its irrational fear of vaccines and belief in “biomed” treatments that are, in my opinion, the rankest quackery. If sanity doesn’t prevail, ultimately all children will pay the price in the form of the resurgence of vaccine-preventable diseases that will kill and maim thousands of them.

ADDENDUM:

And the comments just keep rolling in! First, there’s Twyla:

I do hear those who are saying that it is important to elevate the level of discourse and avoid personal attacks. But to me, this picture is very expressive in an intelligent way.

Expressive and intelligent? Well, “expressive” I’ll give you, but intelligent? You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

Then there’s this not-so-dynamic duo of comments. First, we have Mike opining:

What is “sick” to me is how anyone would not want to put an end to this EPIDEMIC that is causing so much pain for our children. The only change I would have made to the picture was to put Satan himself at the head seat.

Well, isn’t that special? With Hitler being mentioned so prominently, the only way to up the ante would be to go to Satan, although I think the crank ceiling has been reached as far as hyperpbolic analogies. Still, I bet you know what’s coming next. Certainly I did, and here it comes, courtesy of Jessica:

I think if someone could obtain a picture of ORAC…there would be your perfect Satan.

Love right back atcha, Jessica.

Comments

  1. #1 Paul Browne
    December 1, 2009

    “Unfortunately, real life isn’t that simple, and, instead of realigning its beliefs to conform to reality, the anti-vaccine movement lashes out at those who point out that there’s no science supporting them. Worse, if there were any doubt that Age of Autism is profoundly anti-vaccine to its very core, that doubt was removed when AoA decided to liken those who stand up against anti-vaccine misinformation to baby killers and hordes of commenters descended to say that such a comparison was appropriate because they really believe that vaccines are a Holocaust, a Hiroshima, a Nagasaki, a Stalin, Chinese women sold into slavery, and the killers of thousands of children every year. Autistic children pay the price, and, if sanity doesn’t prevail, all children will pay the price in the form of the resurgence of vaccine-preventable diseases that will kill and maim thousands of them.”

    AOA clearly intended this post as a morale rouser for their followers, and even on that score it seems to have failed. I think it falls fairly neatly into the category of “things you wish you opponent would do but never dare to hope that they would be that stupid”.

  2. #2 Catherina
    December 1, 2009

    I think it falls fairly neatly into the category of “things you wish you opponent would do but never dare to hope that they would be that stupid”.

    My thoughts exactly.

  3. #3 LK PhD
    December 1, 2009

    The picture in question is still up there, and as of yesterday, there were still supportive comments coming in. Given the number of negative comments that they are allowing to be posted, though, I suspect you’re right that at least someone there has some shame.

    I too fear for the future of science in this country. When dangerous internet-fueled ‘advocacy’ groups push people in this direction, it can have very bad consequences. In addition to your examples, I would point out that the increasingly outrageous anti-vaccine rhetoric calls to mind the recent battle over Lyme disease.

  4. #4 theshortearedowl
    December 1, 2009

    The problem is this: if you believe that thousands of people (presumably children) are being killed or neurologically maimed each year by vaccines, which is being somehow being covered up by big pharma to protect their profit margins, then the comparison to the Holocaust/Hiroshima/Stalin/Iraq (no one goes down that road do they?) is logical. Same thing with abortion.

  5. #5 KWombles
    December 1, 2009

    I led with Stagliano’s fellatio comment on my blog on it yesterday morning, http://counteringageofautism.blogspot.com/2009/11/standing-up-from-table-and-saying.html.

    I ended up covering and deconstructing Blaxill’s post in another blog, and running a third calling for an letter-writing campaign to Google News to get AoA removed from the news feed.

    Stagliano may have taken the worst of her comments down, but she expressed this: ” This is a cartoon/spoof of the team of people who have either made it their life’s work to make sure our kids go untreated or who have advanced that agenda unabashedly in the mainstream media. I feel no remorse in running it. I think Mark Blaxill’s comment explained our position very well.”

    Whether she feels any remorse about stooping to the low level of Handley’ misogyny and that’s why she removed it, we probably will never know. It ‘s not like AoA or GenRes are particularly good at admitting when they are wrong.

    I’d argue that they are letting their loyalists’ comments that are calling them out for this through in order to be able to deny that they heavily censor their comments.

  6. #6 Vindaloo
    December 1, 2009

    Surprised? Not me.

    Kim Stagliano made a BJ joke? Seriously? The same woman who on HuffPo vowed to have public sex with any male (females need not apply) who rid her daughters of the autism label? Seriously.

    Handley claimed to have his wife chelated before having their second kid. Seriously.

    These people support dangerous stem cell (un)therapies in Mexico, drinking hydrolyzed RNA, chronically dosing massive quantities of anti-virals, ingesting high concentration of fat-soluble vitamins, eating algae paste, sitting in IR saunas, exposing a kid to chelation, slathering on Buttar’s stinky goo, and forcing a kid to sit in an HBOT balloon all in the name of feeling better about themselves as experimentalists.

    And anyone expects these people to exhibit restraint and judgment?

    Stagliano and Handley represent Generation Rescue and Age of Autism well; they are typical of the tiny, violently ignorant band involved with those anti-science organizations.

  7. #7 andrew
    December 1, 2009

    “The history of the anti-vaccine movement is starting to look disturbingly like the history of the anti-abortion movement. Accusing your enemies of killing and eating babies,”, actually its reminiscent of anti-semitism: the whole thing is similar to the blood libel. Any bets on “jews being behind big pharma” next?
    I suggest someone libeled by these people should warn them of the attitude of the British courts to such defametary posts.

  8. #8 superdave
    December 1, 2009

    It’s sad that these people are so full of hate. From time to time I catch myself thinking that I hate Jenny McCarthy, or I hate JB Handley. The next time one of those thoughts run through my head, I will think of this post and try my hardest to attain the compassion and understanding for their side of the argument that they refuse to have for ours. They have allowed their passion to turn to hate. We should avoid that at all costs.

  9. #9 Richard Eis
    December 1, 2009

    Not even a raised eyebrow. It doesn’t surprise me in the least.

    All it shows is that they are becoming more and more unstable as an organisation. As people begin to realise this they will leave, pushing them even further to the margins. ITs inevitable with so little basis in reality.

    In the long run, this is a good sign of the eventual marginalisation of a group long since past insane and yet still whipping a dead horse for more speed.

  10. #10 Kowalski
    December 1, 2009

    Okay, so there’s been a lot of outrage over the misogyny and how AoA ridicules science.
    Don’t get me wrong, this is vile.

    But I’m autistic.
    I’m the “turkey dinner”.
    Bensmyson compared my life to that of a Dachau prisoner.

    It is sad to learn that hardly anyone finds it offensive that autistic peoples’ lives are misrepresented and marginalized in such an obnoxious way.

    Then you say autistic children pay the price.

    Can you not imagine what effect this has on autistic people in general?

    The idea that is perpetuated here is that autism is such a tragedy we’re better off dead.

    This is how abuse of autistic people is justified.

    How loud do we have to shout for people to notice that we exist, that we are humans and that our lives are worth living?

  11. #11 Joseph C.
    December 1, 2009

    Damn, and I thought GR was a slick, professional-like outfit. They couldn’t get someone with even a moderate amount of Photoshop skills to do this?

  12. #12 Jojo
    December 1, 2009

    Has anyone who has the stomach to read through all the comments on that post noticed if Dr. Jay has commented yet, asking them to be civil?

    Just wondering if he holds both sides to the same standards.

  13. #13 Richard Eis
    December 1, 2009

    Then you say autistic children pay the price.

    The idea that is perpetuated here is that autism is such a tragedy we’re better off dead.

    Is it?…thats news to me. Perhaps a quote or two to back up that claim?

    Children do pay the price though because these guys are demanding research (and have got it) into pointlessly unlikely areas of research instead of spending that money on more useful avenues. Not to mention their love of ridiculous “alternative” medical techniques where their own children are the guinea pigs.

  14. #14 lurker
    December 1, 2009

    Good point, Kowalski. It is very damaging to portray autism as a “fate worse than death”.

    OTOH, it is reasonable to want people with autism to have communication and self help skills–just as parents wish this for their “neurotypical” kids.

    I gather from your post that your own communication skills are very, very good. This isn’t true for all kids diagnosed with autism, as you know.

    But you’re right: the tenor of the posts at AoA do nothing to help people with autism in general.

  15. #15 Katharine
    December 1, 2009

    Kowalski, I don’t know; morons such as Handley, McCarthy, Stagliano, and others are apparently deranged enough to think autism somehow makes a person worse off than they may actually be. I’m not autistic, but I know a few autistic people and I think I’ve got enough familiarity with what it entails to know that the anti-vaxxers are completely deranged.

    Most anti-vaxxers aren’t doctors trying to bilk people out of their money; they’re dumb parents who aren’t educated worth a shit on this. Their degrees are likely in something in which they never had to take a biology class or a psychology class. They’re also flooded with wacky parent hormones so it’s somewhat impossible for them to think with a certain amount of detachment about their kid (not to disparage the sane parents who are logical). In sum, they are eejits.

    I’m not saying autism, in the majority of cases, doesn’t provide difficulties for the person who’s got it; but they somehow think autism is some sort of condemnation to some imaginary fate. I see they’ve never met Temple Grandin.

  16. #16 Vicki
    December 1, 2009

    Kowalski–

    Thank you for stopping by to make that point. It’s too easy for the rest of us to think of autism as a childhood condition, even if we know people on the spectrum. And I have no reason to assume that, after a childhood and adolescence of being pushed into questionable or harmful “treatments,” that most autistic people manage to take control of their medical care at the age of 18, or ever. That’s hard enough for people who aren’t labeled as having mental problems. There are real differences between useful support of various kinds (I won’t presume to speculate what you specifically find useful) and cures, even for something that the person wants changed.

  17. #17 Another Victim
    December 1, 2009

    Another day, another dead victim of Orac’s style of medicine.

    “Miss Magnano, a 38-year-old mother of twins who won the beauty pageant in 1994, died of a pulmonary embolism on Sunday. She had spent three days in a critical condition following a gluteoplasty procedure in Buenos Aires.

    A close friend, Roberto Piazza, said the procedure involved injections and the liquid “went to her lungs and brain”.

    “A woman who had everything lost her life to have a slightly firmer behind,” he said.”

    Alternative medicine practitioners do not cut people up or inject foriegn substances into their bodies for large sums of money, so it is impossible for an alternative medicine practitioner to kill a patient the way allopathic medicine practitioners constantly do.

  18. #18 Joseph C.
    December 1, 2009

    People can rationalize all kinds of things, blowing up 100,000 people by dropping two atomic bombs in Japan may have saved the world from who knows what, but tell that to the family and the survivors.

    The US firebombing of Tokyo caused far more death and destruction than either Hiroshima or Nagasaki. But “firebombing” just isn’t as scary as “atom bomb” for those constructing an emotional rant.

  19. #19 ENT-TT
    December 1, 2009

    I… Meh.
    A wise person I once knew said, “you cannot reason with Crazy. You can’t even fight Crazy with Crazy, cuz it just breeds more Crazy.”
    It isn’t even about a loss of civility, anymore. Civility has to be learned, earned, and cultivated. The only reason we have some to lose is because people worked so hard to earn it in the first place. I don’t see that stopping, across the board, even when subjected to this kind of mindless, ignorant hate. Let’s not lament the loss of something that some people clearly never had; let’s pay our respects to the good people who were so unashamedly attacked, instead. Let’s think of Paul Offit, Steve Novella, Amy Wallace, Trine Tsouderos, Paul Insel, and Alison Singer for who they really are, not as the targets for the distraction of truth that some would like them to be. Let us remember that they aren’t as sick and twisted as their opposition, whatever their real faults may be, and that they are trying to help, in the face of something that has quickly become terrifying in its myopic violence. I don’t know them personally, but I feel for them, and I’m proud of them, even if I don’t have a right to be. Here’s to you, folks.
    Good luck, and good hunting.

  20. #20 Joseph C.
    December 1, 2009

    @Another Victim,

    H*ppeh, you really should try harder at concealing yourself. You come on here and post in exactly the same style every time.

  21. #21 JeffC
    December 1, 2009

    One slight error, it was Jonathan Swift (not Thomas Swift) that wrote A Modest Proposal.

  22. #22 Richard Eis
    December 1, 2009

    Blah blah….so it is impossible for an alternative medicine practitioner to kill a patient the way allopathic medicine practitioners constantly do.

    Therefore they have to be more inventive in how they kill their victims.

  23. #23 Drosera
    December 1, 2009

    Their sense of humor is as poorly developed as their understanding of science.

  24. #24 Pablo
    December 1, 2009

    This is how abuse of autistic people is justified.

    I don’t know if it was you or someone else, but this is something that has begun to strike a chord with me, the extent to which autistic people (more likely kids, though) are absolutely subjected to child abuse. The things these people are doing to their children are absolutely criminal, and we would never allow it with other developmental disorders.

  25. #25 Todd W.
    December 1, 2009

    Orac raises a very important point: that this sort of “humor” (and I use the term loosely) is a tactic to dehumanize the purported enemy, making it that much easier to justify violent acts. If this kind of thing keeps up, how long before vaccination clinics are bombed?

    Someone close to me has commented, half-jokingly, that my site may bring the crazies a-callin’ if they found out who I was and where I lived. Though antiantivax.flurf.net is a somewhat humble endeavor and nowhere near as influential as the individuals featured in the cartoon, AoA’s actions actually make me a bit more concerned, for myself, those close to me, and for other bloggers supporting science-based medicine.

  26. #26 D. C. Sessions
    December 1, 2009

    This calls to mind George Santayana’s observation about “one who redoubles his effort when he has forgotten his aim.” Or perhaps Winston Churchill’s about “can’t change his mind and won’t change the subject.”

  27. #27 attack_laurel
    December 1, 2009

    I think the point that AOA is dehumanizing people with autism along with their “enemies” is worth repeating. The approach they take to treatment is so completely unethical, it shouldn’t really be any surprise that they think this kind of “humour” is appropriate. Any group that considers autistic children as guinea pigs for unproven treatments is not really concerned with the autonomy of the people they’re claiming they’re “curing”.

  28. #28 OleanderTea
    December 1, 2009

    “I suggest someone libeled by these people should warn them of the attitude of the British courts to such defametary posts.”

    Nah, I think they shouldn’t be warned. *veg*

  29. #29 Michael
    December 1, 2009

    Remember the movie by Autism Speaks that featured a mother talking about how she felt like killing her autistic kid. That’s the kind of attitude that many people find disturbing. (And no, the mother isn’t a bad mother for having those thoughts- she’s a bad mother for putting them on video.)

  30. #30 Bob Gardner
    December 1, 2009

    I hate to bring this up in what was otherwise a good read.

    I hate the phrase “Science Based Medicine”. TBH, I’ve started to wonder if thats part of the problem, the….theft…if the word medicine by hacks and woo pushers. There is no such thing as Science Based Medicine. There is Medicine and Not-Medicine. Woo is not medicine.

    I think the word should be taken back. I don’t think it should be “defenders of science-based medicine”. It should be just be “defenders of medicine”.

  31. #31 Socrates
    December 1, 2009

    We’ve had our own recent dose of Mercury Woo in of all places the (formally) respected Pulse Magazine. Their Letter of the Week was from a Dr Jerry Thompson GP (Family Doctor) promoting the dangers of Thiomersal in Pig Plague vaccines… Pulse is widely read and perhaps it’s readers have enough sense to know what poison a Geier and Geier reference is…

    A little research showed that he Dr Thompson was umm… well, he’s got a sideline in Homeopathy, Vega testing and Kinesiology…

    I tried to make a fuss about it… But with Thanksgiving, and the approach of Chanukah, Xmas, Yule and Inti Raymi people have other things on their mercury poisoned minds…

    You can read all about it on the New Republic’s “Mercury Quackery in Pulse Magazine”

  32. #32 N.C.
    December 1, 2009

    Another day, another dead victim of Orac’s style of medicine.

    Do you know what “gluteoplasty” is?

  33. #33 T. Bruce McNeely
    December 1, 2009

    A close friend, Roberto Piazza, said the procedure involved injections and the liquid “went to her lungs and brain”.

    This is not a legitimate medical procedure. Any MD who tried it in my part of the world would lose his licence.

    Alternative medicine practitioners do not cut people up or inject foriegn substances into their bodies for large sums of money

    …except when they do – chelation, anyone?

    What’s worse than a troll? A stupid troll.

  34. #34 laura
    December 1, 2009

    The AoA post is not worthy of a response. And by expressing upset, you’re just giving them what they want.

  35. #35 Michael
    December 1, 2009

    Bob, the problem is that SOME CAM treatments DO work. (Nasal irrigation, for example.) So what do we do? Do we call it medicine if it works and not-medicine if it doesn’t? So if some traditional Chinese medicine treatments work but others don’t, should we call it traditional Chinese medicine-and-non-medicine? What about those treatments we’re not sure about? Do we call them not-sure-if-it’s-medicine? Science based medicine is just so much simpler as a term.

  36. #36 James Sweet
    December 1, 2009

    actually its reminiscent of anti-semitism: the whole thing is similar to the blood libel. Any bets on “jews being behind big pharma” next?

    Yeah, I also noticed that. When I read “eating babies as part of a Thanksgiving feast”, I immediately thought of the fucked-up rumors that used to be (hell, still are) spread about Jews drinking blood at their ceremonies and such. Truly ugly.

    And as far as a crude photoshop job to maximize offensiveness… I outgrew that after my freshman year of college. Please.

  37. #37 D. C. Sessions
    December 1, 2009

    Any bets on “jews being behind big pharma” next?

    You’re WAAAY behind the times. Over on MHA, the psychoceramics have been citing the Protocols of the Elders of Zion for ages. Along with the Illuminati.

    I think you can find quotes over on whale.to

  38. #38 D. C. Sessions
    December 1, 2009

    Alternative medicine practitioners do not cut people up or inject foriegn substances into their bodies for large sums of money

    Two words: Tariq Nadama

  39. #39 Chris
    December 1, 2009

    Bob Gardner:

    I hate the phrase “Science Based Medicine”. TBH, I’ve started to wonder if thats part of the problem, the….theft…if the word medicine by hacks and woo pushers.

    Actually the term was coined as a counter to “evidence based medicine”, and has nothing to do with an attempt to distinguish from so-called alternative medicine. See the first posting of the ScienceBasedMedicine blog for an explanation:
    http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/?p=1

    Within the practice of medicine there is already a recognition of the need to raise the standards of evidence and the availability of the best evidence to the practitioner and the consumer – formalized in the movement known as evidence-based medicine (EBM). EBM is a vital and positive influence on the practice of medicine, but it has its limitations. Most relevant to this blog is the focus on evidence to the exclusion of scientific plausibility. The focus on evidence has its utility, but fails to properly deal with medical modalities that lie outside the scientific paradigm, or for which the scientific plausibility ranges from very little to nonexistent.

  40. #40 Bob Gardner
    December 1, 2009

    As simplistic as it sounds, if it works its medicine, if it works no better than a Placebo, it is, in my opinion, not medicine. As for stuff we’re not sure about, I think calling anything medicine when your not sure whether it works or not is a little….silly.

    So while Science Based Medicine might be simpler, simply using medicine denies the word to those that would misuse it.

    *insert usual opinion warnings here*

  41. #41 Bob Gardner
    December 1, 2009

    @Chris – 39

    I stand corrected. I still get a strong nasty taste in my mouth whenever I hear the phrase however.

  42. #42 Chris
    December 1, 2009

    Mr. Gardner, you should take it up with Dr. Novella. It was his idea to promote Science Based Medicine as opposed to Evidence Based Medicine.

    The other stuff, I just call “not medicine.” Or I call it magical thinking and medical myths, terms I used quite frequently this morning. In my university email box I got asked for my input on what to look for in a new dean for the School of Public Health. Since that was the department that allowed Jennifer Jacobs to go into Central America and treat diarrhea in children with homeopathic sugar pills, I told them to make sure the new dean puts a stop to that kind of nonsense!

  43. #43 Chris
    December 1, 2009

    Oops, sorry we cross posted.

  44. #44 Calli Arcale
    December 1, 2009

    Bob, the problem is that SOME CAM treatments DO work. (Nasal irrigation, for example.) So what do we do? Do we call it medicine if it works and not-medicine if it doesn’t?

    Absolutely. As covered in Dr Hall’s post at SBM today, nasal irrigation was vindicated in a clinical trial (though problems were noted with long-term use). It works. Ergo, it can and should be used as medicine.

  45. #45 D. C. Sessions
    December 1, 2009

    By the way, Orac:

    If you think this is “just how low” the antivaxxers can go, I envy your sunny view of the world.

  46. #46 David D.G.
    December 1, 2009

    From the comment by “Mike,” quoted in the addendum:

    What is “sick” to me is how anyone would not want to put an end to this EPIDEMIC that is causing so much pain for our children.

    This use of the word “epidemic” (in all caps, yet) is a stunningly superlative example of unintended irony.

    Vaccines are an “epidemic”? Epidemics are precisely what vaccines help to prevent. It takes an incredibly twisted view of reality to think as Mike does; it’s exactly like referring to prosperity as poverty, or to a feast as a famine — turning reality completely on its head.

    ~David D.G.

  47. #47 Adam_Y
    December 1, 2009

    I stand corrected. I still get a strong nasty taste in my mouth whenever I hear the phrase however.

    Thats because saying something either works or it doesn’t is the fallacy of the excluded middle.

  48. #48 Todd W.
    December 1, 2009

    @David D.G.

    “War is Peace
    Freedom is Slavery
    Ignorance is Strength”

  49. #49 william e emba
    December 1, 2009

    Your comments, Orac, on the exact nature of Dachau were beyond tasteless. Benmyson simply referred to the image of people in boxcars being sent to Dachau. He did not give a timeline. He probably meant it as code for the worst of the worst of the Holocaust, and most readers understood it as such. Even those readers who know that the gas chambers were at the much bigger Auschwitz.

    You do not refute Benmyson by pointing out that Dachau began as a mere prison. Suggesting that those poor Nazis just couldn’t keep up their high standards of taking several months to overwork underfed prisoners to death, thanks to those interfering Allies, is atrocious on your part.

  50. #50 JB Handley
    December 1, 2009

    I’m exceptionally proud of the blog AoA has become. To characterize it, however, as an initiative of Generation Rescue is simply untrue. In point of fact, AoA is far bigger than Generation Rescue, and has dozens of contributors who have nothing at all to do with GR. For what it’s worth, neither I nor anyone at GR plays an editorial role in AoA.

    One of the many reasons AoA poses such a threat to people like you is that it represents the views of a large and growing community, a view that challenges the status quo, and a view that many more Americans each day are growing to share – partly due to the tireless efforts of AoA. It’s also a view that, given your past inaccurate proclamations, you certainly pray is untrue: that the prevalence of autism is growing, that the environment is playing a heavy role, and that vaccines appear to be the #1 culprit.

    The photo in question that you feign exasperation for is a comedic style known as “satire” that also deals in metaphors. It may have gone over your head, I found it hilarious, if only I had been clever enough to think of it myself.

    JB Handley

  51. #51 Orac
    December 1, 2009

    Mr. Emba’s referring to my comments about the Nazi concentration camp Dachau as “beyond tasteless” in the context of a post about Age of Autism going for big yucks portraying those whom it perceives as its enemies as baby-eating cannibals just fried my irony meter, particularly given the echoes of the blood libel against the Jews that Age of Autism’s imagery evokes.

  52. #52 Jean-François Bélisle
    December 1, 2009

    william e emba: Do you understand that Orac wasn’t trying to make any justifications for the horrible massacre and that he was just clarifying why using Dachau is not accurate?

    So you lack the ability to understand context and to critically examine small parts of posts? Wait… maybe you do.

  53. #53 Todd W.
    December 1, 2009

    @JB Handley

    I found the picture rather tasteless, as did a coworker to whom I showed it. The bad thing, though, is not the picture itself, but the idea behind it: that the individuals portrayed are baby-killers. I urge caution in your portrayals, lest you create a beast that you cannot control.

  54. #54 Joseph C.
    December 1, 2009

    that the prevalence of autism is growing, that the environment is playing a heavy role, and that vaccines appear to be the #1 culprit.

    And when you don’t have any data to back your assertions, why not use images that look like they were slapped together by a drunk 5-year-old?

  55. #55 Richard Smith
    December 1, 2009

    benmyson (quoted in original message):

    It’s a horrible image. So are the images of boxcar loads of men, women and children going to Dachau…

    Or the images of the rows upon rows of iron lungs, or the packed quarantine wards… I think someone needs to raid various photo archives and put together a nice collection of images that truly show how much better the world was before vaccinations. Add some newspaper and magazine articles from the time, to let the people from the past voice their agreement with those of today that, indeed, nobody ever died from whooping cough.

    (As a complete aside, it struck me this morning that Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern series is a good parallel to the vaccine issue; dragonriders=vaccine, thread=vaccinatable illnesses, rest of Pern population after “missed” threadfall=anti-vaxers.)

  56. #56 Matt
    December 1, 2009

    “if only I had been clever enough to think of it myself.”

    JB, you’ve thought of many things as “clever”. The date-rape analogy, for example.

    JB, I have no doubt you are proud of AoA. That’s a sign of how little I think of you personally, not a statement of how much I think of AoA.

    AoA is excellent in that it puts in the public eye what you and your team are really like. Sure, you can recruit with it. But have you really made a difference? Maybe in taking more parents down your path, but really, have you made a difference in the autism community?

    Not really.

  57. #57 MikeMa
    December 1, 2009

    Not that this is anything like on topic, but I believe Dachau’s gas chambers were never operated. There were firing squads and a killing field near the oven building but no gas chambers.

  58. #58 Todd W.
    December 1, 2009

    @Richard Smith

    I think someone needs to raid various photo archives and put together a nice collection of images that truly show how much better the world was before vaccinations.

    Someone has. I have a link to just such a site under the Additional Resources section of my site, antiantivax.flurf.net

  59. #59 Orac
    December 1, 2009

    @56 Matt

    Actually, I’d disagree somewhat.

    J.B. Handley has made a difference, just not a good difference, in my opinion. Through his organization, Generation Rescue and his blog Age of Autism and their unstinting anti-vaccine activism, arguably he, more than anyone else, has contributed to the unfortunate perception of the autism community as being full of anti-vaccine cranks. Arguably he, more than anyone else, has frightened scientists away from speaking out or even wanting to go into autism research, because they don’t want to have to deal with the hassles that his group causes them. (Who can blame them?) Arguably he, more than anyone else, has made scientists paranoid that their autism research will be misused by cranks, as was so ably documented in Trine Tsouderos’ second article.

    Arguably he, above all else, has tainted the image of the autism community with the toxic stench of anti-vaccine crankery, at least in the United States.

  60. #60 william e emba
    December 1, 2009

    Mr. Emba’s referring to my comments about the Nazi concentration camp Dachau as “beyond tasteless”

    It was. With Benmyson not actually stating anything, you gave a brief whitewashed history of Dachau, the further to criticize him. It was just a “concentration” camp? They didn’t really mean to kill tenthousandsome prisoners in the last months, but gosh darn those Allies were making things tough all over, and Benmyson is a dork plus for not filling in these excuses for the Nazis? Excuses which you volunteered?

    In the context of a post about Age of Autism going for big yucks … just fried my irony meter, …

    How so? You said some ludicrous crap, I called you on it. Period. Irony would happen if I had some relevant blind spot. Could you identify it?

  61. #61 Jeffrey Dahmer's mom
    December 1, 2009

    I’m exceptionally proud of what Jeffrey became. To characterize him, however, as a criminal is untrue. In point of fact, Jeffrey was far more than a criminal, and he has dozens of admirers who have nothing at all to do with crime. For what it’s worth, neither I nor anyone else tells Jeffrey what to do.

    One of the many reasons Jeffrey poses such a threat to people like you is that he represents the views of a large and growing community, a view that challenges the status quo, and a view that many more Americans each day are growing to share – partly due to the tireless efforts of Jeffrey. It’s also a view that, given your past inaccurate proclamations, you certainly pray is untrue: that the prevalence of cannibalism is growing, that the environment is playing a heavy role, and that hydrogenated oils appear to be the #1 culprit.

  62. #62 Michael
    December 1, 2009

    William, you do realize that Orac is an OPPONENT of Holocaust denial, don’t you? He never blamed the Allies- you read that into his post.

  63. #63 Orac
    December 1, 2009

    It was. With Benmyson not actually stating anything, you gave a brief whitewashed history of Dachau, the further to criticize him. It was just a “concentration” camp?

    I neither said, did, nor meant anything of the sort. Nice try trying to liken me to a Holocaust denier, though. I suggest you peruse the numerous posts I have written about Holocaust denial before you pull something so ridiculous:

    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2006/08/how_i_discovered_holocaust_denial.php
    http://oracknows.blogspot.com/2005/04/60-years-ago-today-liberation-of_29.html
    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/history/holocaust_denial/
    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/history/holocaust/
    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2006/08/how_i_discovered_holocaust_denial.php
    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2006/08/eugenics_and_involuntary_euthanasia_1.php
    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2009/02/bishop_richard_williamson_holocaust_deni.php
    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2009/09/creationism_holocaust_denial_stupidity2.php
    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2009/11/holocaust_on_trial_podcast.php

    To suggest that I was trying to argue that Dachau was “just” a concentration camp is a massive straw man and hugely offensive. There is a distinction that Holocaust scholars make; the classic imagery that Benmyson was trying to evoke was of extermination, particularly taken in the context of what was written later.

  64. #64 william e emba
    December 1, 2009

    william e emba: Do you understand that Orac wasn’t trying to make any justifications for the horrible massacre and that he was just clarifying why using Dachau is not accurate?

    Do you understand, Jean-Francois, that I certainly believe this was Orac’s intention, but I was quite horrified that he failed?

    Benmyson referred to Dachau, because it was despicably bad, and he is playing with that image for his own purposes. Orac rightly ripped into Benmyson for Benmyson’s purposes. He then proceeded to rip into Benmyson by “correcting” him, saying that if Benmyson had known his history better, he’d no doubt have shared with us something more brutal than a “mere” concentration camp. About 30,000 people died at Dachau. Not as much as Auschwitz, no.

    SO WHAT????

    On top of that, Orac than says it was only at the end that Dachau got really bad, because of the poor Nazis getting squeezed by the Allies. In other words, he was saying it wasn’t really the Allies fault.

    Dachau was despicable, and in his effort to make Benmyson look a fool, Orac went in and tried to quote a little history, how Dachau wasn’t the worst of the worst to begin with.

    So you lack the ability to understand context and to critically examine small parts of posts? Wait… maybe you do.

    You are simply stupid. Orac point-blank whitewashed Dachau, and I called him on it. Period.

  65. #65 Orac
    December 1, 2009

    Horse hockey, Mr. Emba.

  66. #66 Not-so-innocent bystander
    December 1, 2009

    How so? You said some ludicrous crap, I called you on it. Period. Irony would happen if I had some relevant blind spot. Could you identify it?

    Hah! Sure, I can identify it. Where did Orac say anything remotely close to: “They didn’t really mean to kill tenthousandsome prisoners in the last months, but gosh darn those Allies were making things tough all over…”? Right now your posts seem to be constructed purely of yellow, fibrous plant material.

  67. #67 LK PhD
    December 1, 2009

    So glad you could drop by, JB. Yes, you’ve done so much. You weren’t satisfied to defame and insult legitimate medical practitioners and scientists who have worked to decrease the morbidity and mortality from infectious diseases. You also have pushed pseudo-science and quackery on unsuspecting individuals with autistic kids. Way to go

  68. #68 Liz Ditz
    December 1, 2009

    Michael at #35 wrote

    Bob, the problem is that SOME CAM treatments DO work.

    I believe it was Phil Plait who said something like

    You know what we call “alternative medicine” that works?
    Medicine.

  69. #69 Scott
    December 1, 2009

    One of the many reasons AoA poses such a threat to people like you is that it represents the views of a large and growing community, a view that challenges the status quo, and a view that many more Americans each day are growing to share – partly due to the tireless efforts of AoA. It’s also a view that, given your past inaccurate proclamations, you certainly pray is untrue: that the prevalence of autism is growing, that the environment is playing a heavy role, and that vaccines appear to be the #1 culprit.

    More accurately, it’s a view that the evidence firmly demonstrates to be invalid. I note that you made no attempt to actually address this central problem.

    The photo in question that you feign exasperation for is a comedic style known as “satire” that also deals in metaphors. It may have gone over your head, I found it hilarious, if only I had been clever enough to think of it myself.

    So what would you think if I were to photoshop a picture together of you, Wankerfield, McCarthy, et al machine-gunning hundreds of children, dancing on their corpses, and then carrying on to torture hundreds more to death? That would have the advantage over this one that the premise (the fact that your activities threaten to kill thousands, nay millions, of children) isn’t actually grossly wrong.

  70. #70 Andreas Johansson
    December 1, 2009

    You are simply stupid. Orac point-blank whitewashed Dachau, and I called him on it. Period.

    If by “called him on it” you mean exposed your own stupidity and immorality, sure …

  71. #71 Matt
    December 1, 2009

    Orac,

    You are correct.

    I probably should have stated that JB hasn’t made a difference for the better in the autism community.

    I honestly can’t think of a single thing that GR or AoA has done of value.

  72. #72 JustaTech
    December 1, 2009

    So, what can we take away from this post by AoA?
    1) Autistic children should be put to death (and there are no autistic adults).
    2) No one has ever died of a disease.
    3) “The Protocols of the Elder of Zion” is an acceptable source of anti-vax quotes(and does not inherently Godwin everything).
    4) Misogyny is an acceptable and necessary part of fighting vaccines.

    These people are stone-cold-fuck-nuts. Eat babies? You have got to be fucking kidding me. If you think that life is that hard for you and your autistic child, please, please take the advice of The Stranger: if you’re planning a murder-suicide, do the suicide part first! It’s only a death sentence if you “treat” them to death.

    At this point the whole anti-vaxx movement is permanently Godwined. All they do is spew hate: hate towards women, hate towards science, hate towards reality.

    I think that it has become quite clear in the recent past that people are assholes towards each other, given the opportunity. This is simply more evidence of that.

  73. #73 Dedj
    December 1, 2009

    “Orac point-blank whitewashed Dachau”

    False. Orac was reasonably accurate in his depiction of it.

    Which part of “….either punished or worked to death.” or “…..prisoners of war, were imprisoned there under bad conditions that steadily deteriorated as the war continued and the Nazis became more brutal.” constitutes ‘white-washing’?

    Also you attribute the following nonsensical claims to Orac:

    “Orac than says it was only at the end that Dachau got really bad”. False, direct quote or get lost. Also irrelevant, “It went from bad to really bad” is in no way apologetics.

    “because of the poor Nazis getting squeezed by the Allies”. False, direct quote or get lost.

    “In other words, he was saying it wasn’t really the Allies fault”. WTF? This doesn’t make any sense in the context of your complaint. Not blaming the Allies puts the blame on the Nazis, yet you’re trying to blame Orac for ‘whitewashing’ Dachau, or somehow making it seem less worse for what it said about the Nazis than it actually was.

    This claim makes no sense in the context of your complaint unless you meant ‘Nazis’, not ‘Allies’.

    Direct quotes and explicit explanation or apologise and get lost.

  74. #74 Orac
    December 1, 2009

    See what happens when I try to be brief because it’s not a main point?

    Perhaps I should have spent three or four paragraphs explaining all the bad things that went on at Dachau or left the reference out. However, being a stubborn cuss, I’ve decided to leave the text alone and simply add a link to my post about the liberation of Dachau to the appropriate part of the passage.

    I’ll admit that I’ve been accused of reading too much into things at times, and perhaps I sometimes do. Perhaps my knowledge of the Holocaust even led me to get too history-wonky in addressing Benmyson’s comment. Whatever my sins on that score, real or imagined, however, Mr. Emba has far surpassed them by somehow reading into my little paragraph that I was “whitewashing” Dachau and making excuses for it at the end of the war on the order of Holocaust denier excuses that the only reason the camps got bad at the end of the war was Allied bombing and deprivations caused by the deteriorating military situation in Germany. In what fantasy he read such meanings into what I wrote, I have no idea.

  75. #75 Rene Najera
    December 1, 2009

    I actually once had a civil discussion via e-mail with Kim Stagliano. She seemed reasonable… Sad. The very worst thing is that all of those people being portrayed as eating the baby would freely give up their lives for the lives of any on the editorial board of AoA… That’s the kind of people we’re dealing with on both sides.

  76. #76 Richard Eis
    December 1, 2009

    -You know what we call “alternative medicine” that works?
    Medicine. –

    Wasn’t that Tim Minchin? Mind you i’m sure a few people have said something same or similar.

    Don’t worry Orac, we are well aware that Emba is just concern trolling, completely off topic and irrelevent.

    Orac has noted your concerns Mr. Emba, please move along now to your fainting couch.

  77. #77 Calli Arcale
    December 1, 2009

    I think my biggest problem with Orac’s post is likening the disgusting photoshop hack job to the anti-abortion movement. The only reason I object to that is because at least with abortion, unborn babies are actually dying. That is, after all, kind of the point of an abortion. Likening this image to anti-abortion rhetoric seems, to me, to acknowledge the anti-vaxxers claims that lots of children are, in fact, dying (or at least being maimed to the point where they are “lost” to their families).

    I’d rather liken it, as others have in this thread, to the anti-semitic rhetoric used by the Nazis and many others. Which, of course, makes their reference to concentration camps all the more ironic.

    Side note, apropos of nothing, my grandfather (US Army) was there at the liberation of Dachau. He is not at all sorry for how some of his fellow soldiers treated the guards after their surrender.

  78. #78 Science Mom
    December 1, 2009

    I’m exceptionally proud of the blog AoA has become.

    In light of you being the scientifically-ignorant, classless slob that you are, not a bit surprising.

    One of the many reasons AoA poses such a threat to people like you is that it represents the views of a large and growing community, a view that challenges the status quo, and a view that many more Americans each day are growing to share – partly due to the tireless efforts of AoA. It’s also a view that, given your past inaccurate proclamations, you certainly pray is untrue: that the prevalence of autism is growing, that the environment is playing a heavy role, and that vaccines appear to be the #1 culprit.

    AoA only poses a threat to itself by engaging in such vile campaigning masquerading as ‘satire’. You pride yourself on ‘challenging the status quo’ yet you do nothing to support your anti-science vitriol. Every post and every attempt at humour you and AoA makes just hoists that freak flag up higher.

    The photo in question that you feign exasperation for is a comedic style known as “satire” that also deals in metaphors. It may have gone over your head, I found it hilarious, if only I had been clever enough to think of it myself.

    Again, not surprising. There is no feigned exasperation Mr. Handley, that is sheer disgust for this latest campaign and even your own readers are voicing it. You only serve your own ego and to divide the autism community. You are keeping your loyalists on the fringe. Congratulations on a job well-done.

  79. #79 william e emba
    December 1, 2009

    Orac wrote:

    Benmyson is apparently unaware that Dachau was a concentration camp, not a death camp. Boxcar loads of men, women, and children were generally not taken there to be gassed, but either punished or worked to death. Political prisoners, Jews, Communists, Christian religious resisters to Nazi rule, and, later, Soviet prisoners of war, were imprisoned there under bad conditions that steadily deteriorated as the war continued and the Nazis became more brutal. But, hey, why ruin a good rant with a little history?

    This is Orac’s whitewash. He has to rush in to emphasize that it was a concentration camp, not a death camp.

    NOT A DEATH CAMP! Right, 30000 dead people doesn’t qualify? Sheesh.

    Orac’s meaning is that the Nazis really didn’t want to cause all that death, but it happened anyway. Which means, something else has to get the blame. And look, part of the blame is the bad (ie, concentration camp) became worse (ie, death camp), and it wasn’t totally the Nazis fault, no, because it was the war dragging on that helped make it so, so what’s a poor Nazi to do anyway?

    Why on earth is Orac mentioning the extra history? Simply to take a dig at Benmyson. Period. We all knew what rhetorical garbage he was playing: “the Holocaust was bad, and so is the Medical-Industrial-Complex, nyeah nyeah nyeah.”

    Benmyson committed no historical errors in his little remark. In fact, if anything, he singled out one of the “lesser” horrors of the Holocaust for his analogy, and Orac is taking Benmyson to task for not going with one of the “greater” horrors, which no doubt was what he thought he was doing.

    Does the extra detail that Dachau went from beyond-awful to beyond-description-beyond-awful, it was “really” a “concentration camp” past its expiration date, so to speak, serve any purpose? I can’t think of any whatsoever, short of partial exculpation of the Nazis.

    I neither said, did, nor meant anything of the sort. Nice try trying to liken me to a Holocaust denier, though. …

    I did not liken you to a Holocaust denier. You’re simply clutching at straws, the better to claim the moral high ground that you fell off of.

    I am being precise with my criticism: you whitewashed Dachau, and I spelled out what I meant by that. When no one asked you to or needed the exact choice of propaganda the Nazis chose to hide their atrocities–Benmyson’s nonsense doesn’t really change by his picking a “lesser” atrocity when no doubt he thought he was picking the “worst”–you chipped in. That’s what I’m calling you on as beyond tasteless, and the more you invent fantasy responses, the more it’s clear I’ve nailed it.

    Yes, Dedj, I messed up with “Allies” at one point where I meant “Nazis”. My apologies. I did not mean to confuse you. I believe all your other points are addressed above.

    No, Richard, Orac has not noted my concerns at all. He has not noted the part where he said Dachau was “not a death camp”. Neither have you. Maybe you think getting the story of the Holocaust right is “concern trolling”, but I do not.

    Just in case anyone missed it above, Orac said Dachau was “not a death camp”. Pure whitewash.

    As I said in one of my earlier replies, I am quite aware that this was not Orac’s intent. But Orac’s replies have been to dance around his tasteless botch, the hint of an apology if maybe he wasn’t clear and yes sometimes he admits to writing one sentence too much. Classic notpology. Frankly, it’s only making it uglier.

  80. #80 Cath the Canberra Cook
    December 1, 2009

    -You know what we call “alternative medicine” that works?
    Medicine. –

    Richard asks Wasn’t that Tim Minchin? Mind you i’m sure a few people have said something same or similar.

    Yes, it’s a line from his “Storm” monologue/beat poem. And of course many people have been saying it in Tim’s words ever since. Tim rocks.

  81. #81 Rogue Epidemiologist
    December 1, 2009

    *sigh*

    It’s refreshing when an autistic individual speaks out against organizations like AoA, but yes, they’re usually adults with the ability to articulate their thoughts and feelings on an Internet forum. Not that autistic adults’ concerns are invalid. They are very valid, and often marginalized.

    But I wonder about the children who undergo chelation, Lupron and all the other woo. I wonder whether they fight their parents when it’s time to go to their DAN! doctors. It’s only a matter of years before this cohort of autistic children enter the Internet community and begin to publicly opine about their treatments as children.

  82. #82 Heidi Anderson
    December 1, 2009

    I am a skeptic and very pro-vaccination. However, I hate to see skeptics call anti-vaxxers evil and call Jenny McCarthy a slut based on her previous career.

    When you are right, you do not have to attack like this.

    Skeptics, grow up and fight like adults. DO NOT sink to their level.

    My take on the way some skeptics have used poor taste in their attacks on Jenny McCarthy.

    http://thefatoneinthemiddle.typepad.com/the_fat_one_in_the_middle/2009/12/sluts-are-stupid.html

  83. #83 Orac
    December 1, 2009

    This is Orac’s whitewash. He has to rush in to emphasize that it was a concentration camp, not a death camp.

    NOT A DEATH CAMP! Right, 30000 dead people doesn’t qualify? Sheesh.

    Correct. Dachau wasn’t a death camp. It’s not my fault that you are clearly quite ignorant of some very basic accepted terminology with regard to the Holocaust. Dachau was in fact the first concentration camp built by the Nazis a couple of months after taking power. I’ll try to educate you. Not that I think it’ll stop you from hijacking the thread and concern trolling more, but I’ll try.

    The term “death camp” has a specific meaning in Holocaust scholarship, specifically more or less synonymous with “extermination camp.” There were two main types of camps during the Holocaust, concentration camps and death (or “extermination”) camps. In general extermination camps were built for the express purpose of genocide. There are commonly accepted to have been six extermination camps, including Belzec, Chelmno, Majdanek, Sobibor, Treblinka, and Auschwitz-Birkenau. although Auschwitz was different in that it was made up of both a concentration camp and a death camp. The primary purpose of death camps was mass murder, and they were also sometimes referred to as “killing centers.” Here’s what the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum says about these camps:

    In German-occupied Europe during World War II, the killing center was a facility established exclusively or primarily for the assembly-line style mass murder of human beings. Those few prisoners who were selected to survive, temporarily, were deployed in some fashion in support of this primary function. The killing centers are sometimes referred to as “extermination camps” or “death camps.”

    Concentration camps served primarily as detention and labor centers, as well as sites for the murder of smaller, targeted groups of individuals. Killing centers, on the other hand, were essentially “death factories.” German SS and police murdered nearly 2,700,000 Jews in the killing centers either by asphyxiation with poison gas or by shooting.

    Here’s more on the distinction between the killing centers/death camps/extermination camps and concentration camps:

    The Nazis established killing centers for efficient mass murder. Unlike concentration camps, which served primarily as detention and labor centers, killing centers (also referred to as “extermination camps” or “death camps”) were almost exclusively “death factories.” German SS and police murdered nearly 2,700,000 Jews in the killing centers either by asphyxiation with poison gas or by shooting.

    In essence, the killing centers were a specialized form of concentration camp designed for mass murder and relatively few inmates staying longer than it took to process them for death.

    None of this is to say that lots of people didn’t die in Nazi concentration camps. The Nazis were brutal. In these camps, overwork, starvation, and disease, as well as summary executions for even minor infractions, led to the death of tens of thousands of prisoners in these camps. Indeed, at Dachau there were medical experiments, too, on par with what Mengele did. However, the main purpose of Nazi concentration camps was not genocide, and these camps are not the ones with the common imagery of trainloads of Jews arriving for the selection process, followed by the gas chambers. The main purpose of these camps was punishment and forced labor.

    Again, it’s not my fault that you are unaware of this distinction, which has been accepted in Holocaust scholarship for a long time now, or that you don’t know what you’re talking about. Really, that ignorance is leading you to dig yourself in deeper. I had tried to engage you by admitting that perhaps I got too history wonkish in my post, but now that I see your ignorance on display, I realize that I was wasting my time with you. Ironically, exploiting the general ignorance of the average person over the distinction between death camps and concentration camps is a favorite tactic of Holocaust deniers.

    As they say, concern troll is concerned.

  84. #84 D. C. Sessions
    December 1, 2009

    Yes, it’s a line from his “Storm” monologue/beat poem. And of course many people have been saying it in Tim’s words ever since. Tim rocks.

    Indeed he do, Cath. Please tell him I said so next time you see him :-)

  85. #85 Dedj
    December 1, 2009

    “I believe all your other points are addressed above.”

    Not a single one was addressed.

    Orac is correct that it is a ‘concentration camp’ and not ‘a death camp’.

    Althoguh not distinguished in name, death camps have the primary purpose of extermination. Dachau was primarily a concentration camp. Pointing this technical difference out is not a denial of what went on there.

    You, and only you, have taken this as a denial of what went on there. Orac has neither stated nor implied anything close to what you have attributed to him. Orac has not denied the existence of the Holocaust, nor of death camps. Orac expressly mentioned the very things you are accusing him of trying not to mention, even in the very quotes you use to attack him.

    You are lying about Orac to Orac on the very page you accuse him of lying on. Not very clever.

    Orac’s was perfectly clear in what he said. Only one person (you) has read more into it. You have not giving any reason why you did so, except to repeatedly bleat that Orac ‘obviously’ meant something else that isn’t contained within the words of what he wrote.

    You have been dealt with. Do your image a favour and clear off before your already negative reputation gets damaged by your out-right crankery further.

    You have already derailed enough of this thread for your own purposes. Please do not continue.

  86. #86 Matt
    December 1, 2009

    AoA only poses a threat to itself by engaging in such vile campaigning masquerading as ‘satire’. You pride yourself on ‘challenging the status quo’ yet you do nothing to support your anti-science vitriol. Every post and every attempt at humour you and AoA makes just hoists that freak flag up higher.

    The “threat” comment by JB is a simple schoolyard taunt. In the classic form, JB tries to downplay what Orac does by characterizing it as a response to the “threat” that JB and AoA pose to him.

    Exactly what threat is there? If JB were correct, what happens to Orac? Nothing.

    JB can’t take on the fact that a surgeon/scientist/skeptic, completely outside of the autism community, would take on his psuedoscience and bluster.

    JB probably thought when he started GR that someday he would be known outside of the autism community for his efforts. He is correct. Unfortunately, he is known for being wrong and crass.

  87. #87 Matt
    December 1, 2009

    “The anti-vaccine movement shows just how low it can go”

    It is a sad statement that we have accepted the fact that groups like Generation Rescue promote uncontrolled medical experiments on children to the point that their crass behavior is an example of “how low they can go”.

    The truth is too difficult to look at.

  88. #88 flim flam
    December 1, 2009

    I see the anti vax propaganda as being exactly like that of the anti-choice extremists.
    Same abandonment of anything resembling reason , same violent imagery, same demonisation of any different points of view.
    They have been know to make violent threats to those who challenge them and , just like the anti choice extremists. I would not be at all surprised if, as their attempts to be taken seriously become ever more futile, and their supporters more unhinged, they act out their violent fantasies on ” the evil baby killing mercury pushers”
    AoA are in fact much like the Nazi’s, with their intolerance of dissent, their hatred and disdain for those who do not fit their image of perfection.
    They describe their own children as damaged goods and subject them to painful and dangerous “medical” experimentation. I’m sure mengele would be proud!( too much? worse than the baby feast thing?)

  89. #89 Chris
    December 1, 2009

    Heidi Concern Troll Anderson, where is Orac mention Jenny McCarthy in this blog posting? Help me, because I cannot find it.

  90. #90 Chris
    December 1, 2009

    Oh, wait, Heidi, I found it: he called a “brainless D-list actress.” Not quite sure how you interpreted that as “slut.” But there you go.

  91. #91 Pareidolius
    December 1, 2009

    I may not be an expert in medicine, but I do know comedy and I’ve noticed one thing: parody is impossible unless it’s based on facts. You cannot successfully parody something that is not factual, it simply just fails to work. So most attempts at parody that come from the decidedly humor-impaired woo community usually fall terribly flat, seeming hateful and churlish instead of snarky.

    This is why the snarkfest that is the comments section of pretty much any of the ScienceBlogs are so chock full of fun. You have an endless procession of verifiable logical fallacies to make light of: creationists, anti-vaxxers, denialists of all stripes.

    Painting Hitler moustaches on Obama is moronic and unfunny because there isn’t the slightest bit of truth to the accusation. Showing a group of scientists and doctors who have probably personally saved dozens of lives, as baby eaters would be ironic if they actually advocated harming children. But they don’t, so it just seems dumb and evil (that they couldn’t find a photograph of the author of this blog shows a decided lack of investigative skill to boot).

    And speaking of lacking skills, the fact that Mr. Handley referred to the “artist” who did the dreadful, hack Photoshop job as a “Photoshop Queen” (more like a CorelDraw Princess), betrays an artistic expertise on the same dismal level as his critical-thinking skills.

  92. #92 Michael
    December 1, 2009

    Flim flam, science cannot say whether or not pro-lifers or pro-choicers are right or wrong, whether a fetus constitutes a “person” in the sense that killing it is acceptable or unacceptable. Are some statements made by the pro- life movement false? Yes, but some statements made by feminists are also false. Is VIOLENCE against abortion providers wrong? Yes. Is calling abortion providers murderers wrong? That’s a difficult question, because it’s impossible to say objectively whether or not abortion is murder. This also comes into play with the animal rights movement.
    OTOH, we can say that the claims of the anti-vax movement are HIGHLY UNLIKELY to be true. We can’t say 100% that they’re false, but then again, we can’t say 100% that there wasn’t a rhinoceros in the room with Bertrand Russell. Therefore, we can say that the claims of the anti-vax movement are irrational.

  93. #93 superdave
    December 1, 2009

    JB (not that i think you will ever read this), its not satire when the metaphor depicted is only slightly more exaggerated than what the people on your site truly feel.

  94. #94 Jake Crosby
    December 1, 2009

    “because they really believe that vaccines are a Holocaust, a Hiroshima, a Nagasaki, a Stalin, Chinese women sold into slavery, and the killers of thousands of children every year.”

    Or the AIDS virus?

    “I didn’t realize I was importing AIDS virus at the time.” – Maurice Hilleman, Merck Vaccine Chief
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=edikv0zbAlU

  95. #95 Chris
    December 1, 2009

    And here comes Jake, taking a spoofed video that misinterprets a statement! Bringing on more intelligent banter. Well isn’t that special?

  96. #96 T. Bruce McNeely
    December 1, 2009

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

    Emba, here is an explanation of the difference between concentration camps (such as Dachau) and death camps (aka extermination camps such as Auschwitz).
    If you are still offended, take it up with the scholars of the Holocaust. They all agree with this.

  97. #97 william e emba
    December 1, 2009

    Dachau wasn’t a death camp. It’s not my fault that you are clearly quite ignorant of some very basic accepted terminology with regard to the Holocaust.

    Ah, enlightenment.

    Actually, the accepted terminology has changed. What you should have said, if you wanted to be accurate, is that it’s not your fault that I was educated by a previous generation of Holocaust scholarship. After 3 or 4 volumes, I won’t do more than “light” reading in passing. Being au courant with the new academic terminology can’t interest me.

    In particular, the last volume I read on the Holocaust was Konnilyn G Feig, 1981, Hitler’s Death Camps. Note the title. The book was on the entire camp system, and Feig called them what they were. Inside the book, Feig distinguished between killing centers/extermination camps and concentration camps.

    So, I apologize for the whitewash accusation. I thought it was an accident on your part, and now I see it’s a vocabulary change, after my time. (I’d be curious if Feig broke some taboo with the phrase “death camp”, and partly caused the vocabulary change.)

    Meanwhile, I hold by the original beyond tasteless accusation. Benmyson mentioned Dachau, gave no details, said nothing actually wrong regarding Dachau itself, and rather than sticking to the refutation of his ridiculous Hitler gambit, you rushed in to bludgeon Benmyson above and beyond with Holocaust scholarship, waving around your superior education on that topic just because you could. Beyond tasteless.

    Dedj-I did not accuse Orac of Holocaust denial in any way shape or form, not even between the lines. That you say so is just point blank lying on your part.

  98. #98 FreeSpeaker
    December 1, 2009

    JB Handley said: “I’m exceptionally proud of the blog AoA has become.” I read interviews of Jeffrey Dahmer and Charles Manson. They, too, were proud of their handiwork.

  99. #99 T. Bruce McNeely
    December 1, 2009

    I hate to see skeptics call anti-vaxxers evil

    Yes, because they merely want to spread falsehoods about a medical intervention that has saved billions of lives. All that they advocate is the unnecessary spread of infectious disease through the population. They only want to characterize autism as a fate worse than death.
    That’s all! Nothing evil about that.

  100. #100 Dedj
    December 1, 2009

    “Dedj-I did not accuse Orac of Holocaust denial in any way shape or form, not even between the lines. That you say so is just point blank lying on your part.”

    I never said you did. You have a strange way of reading things that people haven’t written.

    Orac rightly pointed out that you had read more into his statement than was written. You accused him of saying things he had not and did not say. You have been called to task on this successfully by Orac and others.

    You could have reasonably pointed out that he was overreacting to bensmyson, but you didn’t, instead going on a moral crusade against an enemy that doesn’t hold the views you attributed to them.

    You have apologised for your error, whilst laughably trying to justify it. The concentration and death camp delineation has been in use for a long time. You are basically blaming Orac for your failure to check first.

    A total not-pology as one would call it. Checking took me less than a minute or two. What’s your excuse?

    I think we’d all agree that you have failed to make a non-negative impression here, despite your ‘best’ efforts.

    You have nothing more to add to this conversation. You have already been asked politely to leave.

  101. #101 Dedj
    December 1, 2009

    “And here comes Jake, taking a spoofed video that misinterprets a statement! Bringing on more intelligent banter. Well isn’t that special?”

    Leaving aside Jakes total failure at forming a logically and grammatically correct post, didn’t we go over this with him before? Wasn’t he shown to have utterly misread the original literature? Why does he keep coming back to have his ass handed to him in a way that must inevitably be damaging to his ego?

    Tip to Jake: when posting, the purpose is to write in such a way as to c-o-n-v-e-y (look that word up in the d-i-c-t-i-o-n-a-r-y) what your argument is to the reader. A quote, a irrelevant and discontiguous question and a youtube reference with insufficient context, may mean something to YOU but it’s supposed to mean something to the READER too.

  102. #102 D. C. Sessions
    December 1, 2009

    Why does he keep coming back to have his ass handed to him in a way that must inevitably be damaging to his ego?

    Inevitably? I don’t think so.

    It would only harm Jake to the extent that he internalizes the negative responses here. Since I strongly suspect that, like many cranks, he places a negative valence on anything we (the hated “they” — the pharma shills, the dupes, etc.) have to say, it follows that he requires negative responses here to maintain his self-image.

    If you watch crank hangouts (e.g. MHA) for a while you see this in action — a lot.

  103. #103 Dedj
    December 1, 2009

    You do make some sense. I was once (i.e. several times) labelled an “ND Troll” (complete with insinuation that my anonymity was somehow sign of moral corruption on my part) by Jake for pointing out that dysphasia is group of conditions and that you cannot simply claim shared aetiology is indicated due to shared names for the area of impairment.

    Somehow asking him to be more specific about what he was actually claiming drove him absolutely bonkers.

  104. #104 Sid Offit
    December 1, 2009

    How’s that one baby gonna feed all those vaccine fanatics?

  105. #105 Chris
    December 1, 2009

    And doesn’t Sid just add more class? Isn’t he special?

  106. #106 LW
    December 1, 2009

    Orac, as always I am awed by your ability to look at vileness like that and still come back to give us a coherent report. That is unspeakably horrible and, as you say, frightening in its implications. Thank you for looking at it so I don’t have to.

  107. #107 5acos(phi/2)
    December 1, 2009

    Depressing indeed, but totally unsurprising.

    I don’t think this represents how “low” they can go as much as how “far” they have gone. The comedic attempt that we consider tasteless is just one part of the logical conclusion of their position.

    I mean, the premise is that their beliefs go against “mainstream” science and evidence-based medicine, so they can only conclude that:

    1. They are wrong and incompetent.

    or

    2. Their opponents are wrong and incompetent.

    or

    3. Their opponents are greedy, deceptive and cruel.

    or, for the less extreme among them, a combination of #1 and #2.

    Personally I almost never attribute #3 to anyone, for it goes against human nature to be consciously immoral while it is perfectly human to be fallable, but apparently it’s easiest for a lot of people to label someone they don’t like as the incarnation of pure evil.

    Or perhaps I just have naturally high trust-inducing oxytocin.

    Anyway, when some of them are convinced that their opponents are the antithesis of all that is good, what exactly is not fair game in their crusade against us? Accusations like Big-Pharma-shilling, baby-mutilating or prostitution all stem from this mode of thinking. If there were less doubt and inconsistencies among themselves in their pseudoscientific positions, I wouldn’t be too surprised if vaccine proponents started getting gunned down like abortion doctors, as depressing and grim as it sounds.

    Now, at the risk of looking like a concern troll, I think the science- and evidence-based people should always try to keep the #3 conclusion out of the picture, if not for the those who have already disconnected from reality then for the undecided and uninformed, in order to keep the dialogue open and civil. Only then can we effectively explain how science weeds out incompetence and make people see which side is more likely to be right.

    This is a bad PR move by them in their attack on vaccination and it wouldn’t hurt us to call them on it far and wide, but at the end of the day, I doubt the deeply committed cranks would feel a tinge of guilt about this. After all, we vaccine proponents are the demons – what’s wrong with depicting demons feasting on babies?

  108. #108 salk
    December 1, 2009

    I know I’m way behind the commenters here…but kudos to Kowalski (near the beginning of the comment trail) for making a very important point that tends to get ignored by the anti-vaccers: autism is NOT a death sentence! It is not the end of a child’s life and it is NOT our position as neurotypical adults to turn it into some sort of tragedy. No, autism is not something that parents would wish for their children….but like I said in my email to Amy Wallace after her article was published, it is not a disease that killed and crippled thousands of north american children every year and continues to kill children in developing countries due to lack of immunization. Individuals promoting questionable “biomedical” autism therapies are the worst type of child abusers- they are taking advantage of children who often can’t communicate the distress these treatments cause.

    Let’s stop thinking of people with autism as burdens and start thinking of them as equal members of society.

  109. #109 Heidi Anderson
    December 1, 2009

    Chris,

    Yes, I am a concern troll who has deeply infiltrated the skeptic movement just to point out that we should base our arguments on facts and not hyperbole and vicious personal attacks. In fact, I am such a good concern troll that Ben Radford AND Joe Nickell of CSICOP, Derek and Swoopy of Skepticality, Richard Saunders and Kylie Sturgess of the Skeptic Zone, Daniel Loxton of Junior Skeptic, Ginger Campbell of the Brain Science Podcast, and several of the Skepchicks have all been FOOLED by my ruse. Bwahahahaha!

    I know Orac never called Jenny McCarthy a slut, I merely pointed out that skeptics themselves have used misogyny and sexism against the anti-vaxxers, and that we are better than that. We don’t have to use those tactics, as we have the TRUTH!

    I am not claiming any standing or position of influence in the skeptic community, but I am no concern troll. I have tried very hard to contribute to this community in many ways, and feel like my points do not deserve to be dismissed because you disagree with them.

    http://www.csicop.org/news/show/on_newstands_now_skeptical_inquirer_vol._33_no._6

    http://assholeskeptic.blogspot.com/2009/10/heidi-anderson-asshole-skeptic-honour.html

    http://www.skepticality.com/sn_Ep97.html

    http://www.meetup.com/The-Spartanburg-Skeptics-Meetup-Group/

    http://www.meetup.com/AtlantaSkeptics/calendar/9854632/

    http://skepticzone.libsyn.com/index.php?post_id=532854&comments=on

    http://www.skepticfriends.org/forum/showquestion.asp?faq=6&fldAuto=475

    http://www.skeptrack.org/schedule/

    http://www.skepreview.com/2009/10/skepticality-skeptics-guide-to-universe.html

  110. #110 D. C. Sessions
    December 1, 2009

    RE: #107

    You’re describing what I call Holy Warrior thinking:

    1) If you don’t agree with me, you must not have heard The Truth (therefore I must preach it to you)
    2) If you clearly have heard and retained The Message but still don’t agree with me, you must not have understood it (stupid, insane, etc.)
    3) If you clearly understand The Truth and still don’t agree with me, it must be because you are actively opposing All That Is Right (you are evil.)

    The stems from the basic rejection of the concept that informed people of good will may differ — which is the fundamental principle of a civil society.

  111. #111 Orac
    December 1, 2009

    I know Orac never called Jenny McCarthy a slut

    Funny, you could have fooled me, because I was puzzled when I read your first comment. It sure sounded to me as though that’s what you were accusing me of.

  112. #112 Squillo
    December 1, 2009

    The threat posed by AoA is not, as Mr. Handley would have it, against “people like [Orac];” it is, by and large, against children like his own.

    His apparent belief that the concerns of his critics consist of the nebulous threat his group poses against us is yet another example of his narcissism.

  113. #113 Chris
    December 1, 2009

    Heidi, I know exactly who you are. I heard you on at least one of those podcasts. I was commenting on your comment today, not on what you have done in the past.

    What you did was post the same comment on more than one blog. What you failed to do was to look at the content of this blog before commenting.

    Also, with your blanket posting (spamming) of your comment you were painting each and every one of us with the same brush. You should know better than that.

    I do agree that comments about the actions of certain people should be limited to their actions, not to certain perceived characteristics (slut, pot-head, bible-thumper). This is one reason I tend to stay away from certain blogs.

    I do not think that skeptics are a homogeneous group with all the same behaviors. Yes, if some of them are stooping to “stupid blond” jokes, of course that should be pointed out. But not to every one on every skeptic blog.

    An old rule from long ago that used to be posted on various Usenet newsgroups and also Compuserve forums was to lurk before posting. The thing to do was to learn what the standards of a group was (do they allow profanity, is grammar and spelling important), and to learn what was going on before posting (don’t ask a question that is in the FAQ, etc). So in the future, when you want to educate someone, please read the content where you are commenting.

  114. #114 Phoenix Woman
    December 2, 2009

    I see that the AoAers decided to try to take advantage of Orac’s generous commenting policy and swarm the thread with bilge, thus letting the world see what charming cherry-pickers they are. Carry on!

  115. #115 Chris
    December 2, 2009

    Oh, and another thing Heidi: Being part of the “Skeptic Movement” does not give you a free pass from criticism.

    Part of being a skeptic is admitting you are wrong or changing your position when sufficient evidence is produced.

    This happened recently on this blog. Someone made a comment that during the summer I had gotten so riled up that I was swearing. Since I make it a point to not use profanity, I asked for evidence and pointed to the dialog in question. The person demurred and admitted they were wrong. I have also done the same in the past when I have made an error (okay, I tried to find a link, but ther are so many of us who admit to screwing up… Wait! I found one!).

  116. #116 a-non
    December 2, 2009

    Congratulations, AoA, you are the new whale.to.

    When is John Scudamore going to start guest blogging for you?

  117. #117 David N. Brown
    December 2, 2009

    I wasn’t sure how many people would notice the “blood libel” parallel. My own response was, “The anti-Semites called. They want their blood libel back.”

    But, I say there are more important matters to attend to: In particular, there is the GR/AoA push for a “Green Vaccine” law in Oregon, which I suspect stretches if not entirely exceeds what is appropriate and legal for “non-profit” orgs. There is also the matter of them proposing to ban H1N1 vaccination for pregnant women, who have a 1/25 risk of death from swine flu.

  118. #118 David N. Brown
    December 2, 2009

    To JB,
    “neither I nor anyone at GR plays an editorial role in AoA”.

    Really? Considering how often you contribute, and how poor your work is, I would never have suspected.

    And to other friendly readers: Kim Wombles has proposed complaining to Google News (which apparently allows AoA posts in their feed) about this article. I am taking this further and complaining about every false and defamatory post by AoA. I have made 30 such complaints so far. Anyone care to join in a friendly competition?

  119. #119 DLC
    December 2, 2009

    It figures. Hey, JB, mind if I post your picture with a toothbrush mustache and a brown tunic with a red armband?
    I’ll bet it’d be hilariously funny.

  120. #120 DLC
    December 2, 2009

    While we’re at it: for those not familiar with history or the blood libel against the Jews :
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blood_libel#Against_Jews

    and I’d like you to especially look at this one, in comparison to the picture at AoA :
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Antisemitic-church-fresco.jpg

  121. #121 Prudence
    December 2, 2009

    Flippant, but I think Lenin and Stalin would be pissed to know Hitler’s getting all the “numero uno genocidal bastard” glory. What about Kolyma? The terror famines? Hell, the entire gulag archipelago?

    And Mr Emba, I am *staggered* to think that you could have read “Hitler’s Death Camps” or any scholarly work on the Nazi Holocaust without realising there were gradations of camps. Srsly.

  122. #122 Vindaloo
    December 2, 2009

    Mr. Emba is no scholar of the field – he was lashing out blindly to smear Orac for his spot-on criticism of the AoA psychotics. It was a tactic. It failed. And once again Handley and his merry band of like 20 freaks have earned their label.

  123. #123 KWombles
    December 2, 2009

    @116, I’ve been making the point that AoA is deeply, intimately connected to whale.to for months now. Not that they are as bas as it, but they are an arm of it.

  124. #124 Richard Eis
    December 2, 2009

    Mr. Emba’s notpology was a work of art in its field. I bow down to his feat in writing such a thing of wonder.

    You do seem to get a slightly more interesting class of troll on here than PZ.

  125. #125 sikiş izle
    December 2, 2009

    Likewise, it should not matter how God created life, whether it was through a miraculous spoken word or through the natural forces of the universe that He created. The grandeur of God’s works commands awe regardless of what processes He used.

  126. #126 isles
    December 2, 2009

    I think it’s funny that J.B. Handley is so proud of Age of Autism. Much the way a toddler is often extremely proud of his own poop.

  127. #127 Heidi Anderson
    December 2, 2009

    Orac, you are right. It did look like I said you specifically called her a slut. I apologize. My wording did indeed paint ALL skeptics with the same brush stroke. It was not what I meant to say, but what my wording said.

    Chris, I did read the blog entry, and all the comments. And you and I agree that we need to focus on attacking the issues and not the people. We also agree that skeptics are not immune from criticism.

    The reason I posted on this site, as well as Skepchick (you said there were more, I have honestly forgotten if there were) was that the issue of sexism and disgusting personal attacks was raised. That is the issue I commented on. They are not ok from either side.

    When people who are neither skeptics nor anti-vaxx search for information on whether or not to vaccinate their children, they want facts and advice written in a way that neither offends them nor makes them feel stupid. I am a pro-vaccination mother of two who in the trenches EVERY DAY with mothers making decisions about whether or not to vaccinate. I post about it on my FB page, talk about it with female co-workers, and educate about it with breastfeeding and mother’s advocacy groups.

    I am confused as to why I would be labeled a spammer or concern troll, when my concern is and always has been, on how to increase the number of children vaccinated. That’s it, bottom line.

    And when ANYONE, anti-vaxxer or skeptic, uses sexist and misogynistic attacks on a woman for her opinions, other women will get turned off. And in THIS country, who is still responsible for the majority of decisions made about children and their health care? Women.

    My mistake is clearly that I have chosen the wrong forum to discuss this on, and not followed the rules you have set up on your forum. That is tacky and rude on my part.

    But please, do not discount my sincerity at wanting to increase the number of women who hear the pro-vaccination message and choose to protect their children and mine.

  128. #128 william e emba
    December 2, 2009

    Dedj wrote:

    “Dedj-I did not accuse Orac of Holocaust denial in any way shape or form, not even between the lines. That you say so is just point blank lying on your part.”

    I never said you did. You have a strange way of reading things that people haven’t written.

    Again, you’re just point blank lying. You previously wrote in response to me:

    You, and only you, have taken this [Orac’s statement] as a denial of what went on there [Dachau]. Orac has neither stated nor implied anything close to what you have attributed to him. Orac has not denied the existence of the Holocaust, nor of death camps.

    The basic fact, which I provided an explicit reference for, is that “death camp” is used by some scholars for all the Nazi Holocaust camps. That was how I learned it. So when Orac used “death camp” in a sense different than Feig and other scholars, I just mistakenly assumed Orac was pointblank ignorant, not differently educated. He made the same mistaken assumption about me.

    There’s obviously nothing “strange” about my misreading of Orac. Just unfortunate.

    You could have reasonably pointed out that he was overreacting to bensmyson, but you didn’t,

    Liar. What do you think “beyond tasteless” means? What do you think my repeated question of the form “why on earth is Orac filling in details on an issue Benmyson wasn’t even wrong on?” meant?

    I’ll translate: better to not have bothered in the first place.

    instead going on a moral crusade against an enemy that doesn’t hold the views you attributed to them.

    I have not attributed views to Orac. I’ve explicitly stated, and you’ve explicitly pretended to not notice, that I believe Orac blundered, and accidently implied things that he doesn’t believe.

    I’ll state it in slow motion for you. Benmyson referred to the Holocaust by synecdoche, the standard rhetorical technique of stating a part for the whole. He meant to convey the complete mental freakout Benmyson voluntarily suffers when he contemplates vaccination and autism. Every single reader of the comment understood precisely what Benmyson was intending. The kooks wallowed in it, the sane objected to the debatedly new bottom.

    Orac replied pointing out the many failures. Along the way he decided to also engage in groys shmuck waving, by dissecting the synecdoche. As in, Orac’s groys shmuck (in the field of Holocaust scholarship) is groyser then Benmyson’s, nyeah nyeah nyeah.

    There was no other point in Orac’s response. There was no misinformation that needed correcting. There was no confusion about technical details. There was simply groys shmuck waving, done by Orac, because he could. He’s using the Holocaust for that??? Beyond tasteless.

    instead going on a moral crusade against an enemy that doesn’t hold the views you attributed to them.

    Again with the lies. There was no moral crusade. There was criticism of Orac’s taste.

    Prudence wrote:

    And Mr Emba, I am *staggered* to think that you could have read “Hitler’s Death Camps” or any scholarly work on the Nazi Holocaust without realising there were gradations of camps. Srsly.

    Well, I did realize. I knew it long before I read the book. Next completely stupid illiterate criticism?

    Vindaloo wrote:

    Mr. Emba … was lashing out blindly to smear Orac for his spot-on criticism of the AoA psychotics.

    Let me guess, if Orac one day tries to compute 5% of 10000 and gets 50 as part of a long spot-on criticism of the AoA psychotics, and I correct him, you’re going to assume I’m doing so to smear Orac for daring to expose AoA’s senselessness? Sheesh, you’re dumber than dumb.

    Richard Eis wrote:

    Mr. Emba’s notpology was a work of art in its field. I bow down to his feat in writing such a thing of wonder.

    You seem to be stupidly unaware of what a “notpology” is. It’s when you say you’re sorry for the ruckus you caused, or for letting people down, or some such bald-faced dodging the bullet, so people hear words of contrition but there is no relevant content regarding the actual bullet in question.

    Well, I gave content. I identified the bullet. And yes, I included more. I was quite specific, with a scholarly reference even, to what caused the ruckus. Not as a distraction, not as a hedge, not even as an excuse, but since in my experience awareness of what caused criticism at crosspurposes tends to clear the air and make for things being better down the road. Do you have a problem with that?

    But to make you even happier, I’ll partially retract my apology regarding “whitewash”. You see, Dachau in fact was, like Auschwitz, part-concentration, part-extermination camp. It changed over time, and it had started out as a simple political prisoner camp in the 30s that evolved into a concentration camp, but in the end, it had its own death factory. Indeed, Dachau was where the Nazis commonly experimented with methods of rapid genocide before implementing them elsewhere. Dachau’s prisoners were ordered to be all murdered at the end–poison was shipped–but the US Army got there first. Dachau was where American soldiers famously brought the local populace in to see the death factories and crematoria that the locals claimed they had no idea was the real cause of their local “pollution” problem over the past years.

  129. #129 Orac
    December 2, 2009

    You see, Dachau in fact was, like Auschwitz, part-concentration, part-extermination camp. It changed over time, and it had started out as a simple political prisoner camp in the 30s that evolved into a concentration camp, but in the end, it had its own death factory

    That is simply not accurate. Dachau was never an extermination camp. Many died there and many prisoners of war were executed there, but Dachau’s purpose was never primarily extermination. Indeed, although a gas chamber was constructed there, it is not clear whether it was ever actually used. Historians argue about whether it actually was ever used, even experimentally.

    You seem hung up on the term “death camp,” thinking it to mean something other than how historians define it for purposes of the Holocaust. The term has an explicit meaning, and that meaning is not what you apparently seem to think it is, namely “a camp where lots of people died due to overwork and brutal conditions or were summarily executed for the most minor infractions,” nor does it even mean “a camp where the Germans tried to remove all the prisoners near the end of the war through brutal forced marches in order to hide the evidence of the murders and brutal conditions there as the Allies advanced on it.”

    Rather, the term refers to a Nazi camp whose primary purpose was extermination. Historians do not consider Dachau to have been an extermination/death camp or “killing center” because mass murder and genocide were not its primary purpose, as they were for the Aktion Reinhard camps Belzec, Sobibor and Treblinka, for instance. That does not lessen the atrocities that were perpetrated at Dachau, nor does it lessen the horror of the thousands who died of overwork, starvation, and rampant disease.

  130. #130 Chris
    December 2, 2009

    Heidi, you are still coming off as a bit of a concern troll, you really do need to watch your wording.

  131. #131 william e emba
    December 2, 2009
    You see, Dachau in fact was, like Auschwitz, part-concentration, part-extermination camp. …

    That is simply untrue. Dachau was never an extermination camp. …

    I refer you to Feig. That’s how she described it. The extermination camp part was small scale, both in relative and absolute terms, and comparatively late in the history of Dachau.

    You seem hung up on the term “death camp,” thinking it to mean something other than how historians define it. …

    Not in the least. At this point you are being deliberately disingenuous, for no reason except to “win” an Internet argument. As I posted previously, the term indeed had a slightly different meaning to previous historians, a fact as unknown to you as the fact that historians now use it to mean “extermination camp” was to me.

  132. #132 Heidi Anderson
    December 2, 2009

    Chris, I am at a loss. Seriously. Can you tell me how that should have been written?

    skeptiheidi at gmail dot com

  133. #133 mad the swine
    December 2, 2009

    “How’s that one baby gonna feed all those vaccine fanatics?”

    A ten-pound turkey, with side dishes, would be plenty to feed a group of that size. Newborn humans generally run a little below that, but we can allow for a few weeks to fatten it up before serving.

  134. #134 mad the swine
    December 2, 2009

    Although, now that I think about it, turkey bones are hollow (where human bones are not), and the head/brain (inedible due to health concerns) would be a much larger percentage of total body weight in a human infant, so the total proportion of edible meat would be lower in an infant than a turkey. You would need a larger and older child (perhaps a toddler?), unless the human flesh was a correspondingly lower percentage of the entire meal…

    … or am I overthinking this?

  135. #135 Dedj
    December 2, 2009

    “Again, you’re just point blank lying. You previously wrote in response to me:”

    Sorry, your quote of me did not contain the accusation you claimed it did. Did I day you were accusing Orac of denial? You will not, as you have not, found any evidence that I have attributed that claim to you. I was however pointing out that he has not denied the holocaust or the existence of death camps. Both of my claims are true.

    Give it up.

    Anyway, you have failed to justify why you lamblasted Orac for an alledged mistake. You have weakly attempted to jusitfy your mistake with a weak reference to a older publication, when you could have spent less than two minutes to research whether or not your critique was up-to-date and relevant.

    At no point have you justified your use of terms, nor have you justified your false attibution of beliefs onto Orac, even if your use of terms was true.

    You messed up, got caught out, yet you’re still trying to blame anyone but yourself for your easily verifiable mistake.

    Again, you could simply have stated that you consider Dachau to be a death camp, and that Oracs criticism was unfounded.

    You did not, instead going off on one at Orac for holding a viewpoint that only you could see. For you to claim that you did not respond to his alledged viewpoint with anything less than moral indignation is utterly false, or indication of lack of insight.

    It is clear that you will, or can not, cope with responsibility for error. Every attempt to ‘apologise’ has been accompanied by whining about how it wasn’t actually your fault really.

    You have added nothing of value since yesterday. I am advising you to leave this discussion for your benefit, not ours.

  136. #136 Richard Eis
    December 2, 2009

    -You seem to be stupidly unaware of what a “notpology” is. It’s when you say you’re sorry for the ruckus you caused, or for letting people down, or some such bald-faced dodging the bullet, so people hear words of contrition but there is no relevant content regarding the actual bullet in question.-

    Well, technically a notpology is when you say you are going to apologise and don’t. Instead, you either shift the blame, start ranting about something else or some other form of wordsmithery.
    You started well, however you then went back to your original “beyond tasteless” argument, even though your knowledge of what Orac had said had changed. You just decided that Orac was “beyond tasteless” for a slightly different reason. You still missed the whole point of Oracs post, added nothing and generally just insulted everyone with your lack of knowledge, subtlety or understanding.

    You are dull, and you are stupid.

  137. #137 David
    December 2, 2009

    Heidi in post 127 seems to have posted one of the most complete apologies I’ve seen on the web.

  138. #138 william e emba
    December 2, 2009

    Dedj wrote:

    Sorry, your quote of me did not contain the accusation you claimed it did. Did I say you were accusing Orac of denial?

    Yes. Here it is again:

    You, and only you, have taken this [Orac’s statement] as a denial of what went on there [Dachau]. Orac has neither stated nor implied anything close to what you have attributed to him. Orac has not denied the existence of the Holocaust, nor of death camps.

    The first sentence is point blank explicitly taking what I wrote of reading Orac’s statement as some larger denial, regarding Dachau only. You then, in your next two sentences, say I’ve attributed something to Orac that just wasn’t there, and you clarify with a particular example: “Orac has not denied the existence of the Holocaust, nor of the death camps”.

    I was however pointing out that he has not denied the holocaust or the existence of death camps. Both of my claims are true.

    Yes. they are true. But you weren’t in the midst of generating random true assertions. You were in the midst of criticizing me for misquoting Orac. Let me guess, you’re a lawyer, right?

    Anyway, you have failed to justify why you lamblasted Orac for an alledged mistake. You have weakly attempted to jusitfy your mistake with a weak reference to a older publication,

    This is a lie. I pointed out a legitimate cause of mutual confusion. There’s nothing “weak” about clearing such things up.

    when you could have spent less than two minutes to research whether or not your critique was up-to-date and relevant.

    You’re being absolutely, deliberately, ridiculous. Nobody posts thinking that language has mutated a little bit when he wasn’t looking, and let’s doublecheck just to make sure.

    Again, you can’t help but lie. I cite a reference using scholarly language as I learned it way back when, and you just pretend that I didn’t, the better to criticize me.

    nor have you justified your false attibution of beliefs onto Orac, even if your use of terms was true.

    What are you talking about? Are you again accusing me of accusing Orac of Holocaust denial, after making a big lying show-and-tell that you didn’t?

    You messed up, got caught out, yet you’re still trying to blame anyone but yourself for your easily verifiable mistake.

    If it was so easy, why didn’t anyone else notice there are two distinct scholarly uses of “death camp”?

    Again, you could simply have stated that you consider Dachau to be a death camp, and that Oracs criticism was unfounded.

    I did and I did, and then…. [it’s not clear if by “You did not” below, you are referring to “simply” or not.]

    You did not, instead going off on one at Orac for holding a viewpoint that only you could see. For you to claim that you did not respond to his alledged viewpoint with anything less than moral indignation is utterly false, or indication of lack of insight.

    No, it’s utterly true. I found it beyond tasteless, as I stated.

    Is this the best you can do? Just point blank lie?

    It is clear that you will, or can not, cope with responsibility for error. Every attempt to ‘apologise’ has been accompanied by whining about how it wasn’t actually your fault really.

    Balderdash. My apology was accompanied by explanations of what made things unnecessarily uglier than they could have been.

    You have added nothing of value since yesterday. I am advising you to leave this discussion for your benefit, not ours.

    Since your advice is based on point-blank lying, I’m ignoring it.

  139. #139 OleanderTea
    December 2, 2009

    I call Godwin’s law on this one. Can we ditch the discussion of which-Nazi-camp-was-worse and get back to the issue at hand, which is the utterly insane hyperbole used in AoA’s photo?

  140. #140 Orac
    December 2, 2009

    I agree.

    Concern troll has noted his concerns ad nauseam and they have been rejected as baseless after far more consideration and discussion than they were due; yet he continues to be concerned–and outraged.

    Time to move on. Nothing more to see here.

  141. #141 Calli Arcale
    December 2, 2009

    “Well, technically a notpology is when you say you are going to apologise and don’t. Instead, you either shift the blame, start ranting about something else or some other form of wordsmithery.”

    The best notpology I’ve ever seen, bar none, occurs in “The Fall of Night”, the action-packed finale of Season 2 of “Babylon 5″. Captain Sheridan was ordered to apologize for destroying a Centauri cruiser that had fired upon Babylon 5.

    I apologize. I’m…sorry. [sighs] I’m sorry we had to defend ourselves against an unwarranted attack. I’m sorry that your crew was stupid enough to fire on a station filled with a quarter million civilians, including your own people. And I’m sorry I waited as long as I did before I blew them all straight to hell! [pauses] As with everything else, it’s the thought that counts.

  142. #142 william e emba
    December 2, 2009

    Richard Eis wrote:

    You started well, however you then went back to your original “beyond tasteless” argument,

    No. I apologized for one of my assertions, but not the other. I was being precise, not waffling.

    even though your knowledge of what Orac had said had changed.

    Exactly. Hence, the apology part. By then mentioning the part I wasn’t apologizing for, I wasn’t shifting the blame, I wasn’t changing the subject, I was being clear. But you have chosen to be obtuse.

    You just decided that Orac was “beyond tasteless” for a slightly different reason.

    You’re just making that up. I was mostly repeating what I wrote originally with the extra erroneous part removed.

    You still missed the whole point of Oracs post, …

    That could mean anything. Are you insinuating that I’m on AoA’s side, or what?

  143. #143 Vindaloo
    December 2, 2009

    Yay for OleanderTea!

    Concern Troll threadjack:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BHu8LAWSKxU

  144. #144 Dedj
    December 2, 2009

    William e emba, one thing you must understand is that your behavior and subsequent arguement matches to an aboslute T what we would expect of someone who is trying to switch the blame from themselves onto someone else.

    That you claim that you are just ‘being clear’ is both irrelevant as you could have and arguably should have checked the validity of your complaint first, and is what one would expect from someone trying to deflect heat from themselves.

    I’m sorry, but none of us here will take you as being serious.

    Accusing me of point blank lying is laughable. You did go off on one at Orac for things he didn’t say, and that wasn’t implied by what he said. I did not state that you believed he was a Holocaust denier. You have failed to provide any direct quote of me saying this. Even if you could, it’s irrelevant to your not-pology. You are clearly trying to divert the arguement.

    Your behaviour was clearly in the wrong. That’s all there is to it. Your defence has been to try to stir up even more shit by slinging accusations about.

    And you wonder why people aren’t taking your not-pology serious? Do I really need to point out how combative and whiny you come across as?

    I will not accept anything other than a total and direct apology for your accusations against me.

    You have one post to do so and one post only.

  145. #145 Dedj
    December 2, 2009

    And:

    Even if I had said “Emba thinks Orac is a denier” it is utterly irrelevant to Emba’s defence.

    And:

    Even if Emba really well and truly does think Dachau is a ‘death camp’, it does not follow that Orac believes any of the beliefs Emba subsequently attributed to him.

    Hiding behind a flimsy excuse of “It was the word I was taught to use” does not in anyway justify Emba’s false and irrational attribution of beliefs to Orac. And thats before we allow for the mistake of not checking the accuracy regarding use of terms.

    We have wasted enough time on this. I’m no longer willing to offer Emba one post to apologise for, and correct his behaviour.

    I’m out. Well done for spoiling the thread Emba. Well done.

  146. #146 Camikaze
    December 2, 2009

    The flaming hunks currently hitting me in the face have come from a completely new level of idiocy. I am amazed, truly.

  147. #147 Liz Ditz
    December 2, 2009

    OK, now that the Emba detour has been back to discussing the behavior of that site that claims to be the “online newspaper of the autism epidemic”.

    On Nov. 30, Pediatrics published a paper, Randomized, Controlled Trial of an Intervention for Toddlers With Autism: The Early Start Denver Model (ESDM)

    At Science-Based medicine, Steven Novella published a review of the paper: http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/?p=2924. It is a pretty exciting paper showing ESDM reduces autism symptoms.

    Since that date, the “online newspaper of the autism epidemic”. has published:

    *An article on Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee & vaccine safety
    * An article on that organization’s annual awards
    * An article inviting readers to email or call Jon Stewart (the comedian) about his upcoming interview with “Denialist” author Michael Specter
    * An article publicizing an interview on a quack “treatment” for autism, Hyperbaric Oxygen (HBOT)
    * an article on the physical ailments that are presumed to be “co-morbid” with autism, such as GI issues, that are also assumed to be causing autism symptomology
    * an article publicizing a fundraiser for an allied organization
    * an article publicizing an article at the Huffington Post, which attacks Paul Offit MD while comparing him to Catholic church officials who covered up pedophile priests
    * an article with an open letter to Paul Offit MD on the future of current teens and young adults with autism
    * an article attacking Amanda Peet for her pro-vaccine stance.

    Not a word on the ESDM paper or implications for the autism “epidemic”.

    That site rarely covers “recovery stories”, and if they do, the child is depicting recovering because of the “treatments” they promote.

  148. #148 william e emba
    December 2, 2009

    Dedj:

    That you claim that you are just ‘being clear’ is both irrelevant as you could have and arguably should have checked the validity of your complaint first,

    I am supposed to always suspect language has subtly changed meaning on me when I wasn’t looking, or else get charged with trolling the rare times I get burnt? Sorry, you’re inventing a ridiculously high standard, just for me, just because you need to say something negative.

    Accusing me of point blank lying is laughable.

    It’s quite accurate.

    You did go off on one at Orac for things he didn’t say, and that wasn’t implied by what he said.

    On the parts that were caused by the language confusion, I retracted as soon as I saw it.

    I did not state that you believed he was a Holocaust denier.

    You are simply point blank lying.

    You have failed to provide any direct quote of me saying this.

    Correct. So what? “Say” refers to direct quotes and direct inescapable references. You’re just being lawyerly for no other reason than to “win” an Internet argument.

    Even if you could, it’s irrelevant to your not-pology.

    Of course it’s not relevant to my apology to Orac. Sheesh.

    You are clearly trying to divert the arguement.

    You are deliberately lying and smearing, and I’m pointing it out.

    Hiding behind a flimsy excuse of “It was the word I was taught to use”

    It’s not flimsy, it’s not an excuse, and I am not hiding. The change in scholarly language usage led to highly pointless confusion. Pointing this out is supposed to clarify things. Instead, you just deliberately spin it as more rottenness on my part. For the simple reason you don’t actually have valid criticism. Just bile.

    And thats before we allow for the mistake of not checking the accuracy regarding use of terms.

    Again, there you go with this invented-on-the-spot requirement of yours that posters named Emba better double check whether scholarly words have changed their meaning or not when they weren’t looking, or else you get to declare another Internet “win”.

  149. #149 Todd W.
    December 2, 2009

    Okay, this whole thing involving Orac, william e emba and Dedj is ridiculous. Drop it, as Orac has and others have recommended. It’s way off topic and has only served to hijack the thread.

  150. #150 Chris
    December 2, 2009

    Heidi, it would have been fine without this:

    My mistake is clearly that I have chosen the wrong forum to discuss this on, and not followed the rules you have set up on your forum. That is tacky and rude on my part.

    I did not set up the rule that you do not accuse people (in this case Orac, and some of us who commented) of something they did not do.

  151. #151 mk
    December 2, 2009

    Just wanted to add my strong agreement with Dedj and others that william e emba is clearly in the wrong and a thorough unambiguous apology is in order. (sorry Todd W. *sheepishly*)

  152. #152 a-non
    December 2, 2009

    I’ve seen Mr. Emba’s act before on other blogs. He’s a cross between a pedant and a concern troll, and for every good point he might raise he pisses off a hundred people in the process. The ratio is not worth it, in my opinion.

  153. #153 Loki
    December 2, 2009

    Jiminy, jeepers, good lord etc. Guys, give it up! Orac’s most likely sane and correct so move it on now.

  154. #154 Dedj
    December 2, 2009

    Aaaaand Mr Emba’s only response has been to attempt to blame others and justify his initial and subsequent errors with weak strawmen and unsubstantiated accusations.

    Last chance and he blew it.

  155. #155 Prudence
    December 2, 2009

    Mr Emba,

    You really should beep when you back up like that.

    Toodle pip,

    Prudence.

  156. #156 william e emba
    December 3, 2009

    This is a refinement/correction/expansion of my reference regarding Orac’s unawareness of what scholars do or do not say about Dachau.

    The reference Konnilyn G Feig Hitler’s Death Camps (1981) contained some of the history of Dachau I cited, including mention that “research” into rapid mass murder was undertaken there and also the medical “experiments”, which were usually outright murder by bizarre torture. Feig calls all the main camps “death camps”, she does not, apparently, supply narrower taxonomy beyond the Nazi’s own.

    However, the reference Leni Yahil The Holocaust (1987/1991), at the beginning of the chapter on the “death factories”, explicitly lists Dachau and three other “ordinary” concentration camps as changing to a split concentration/extermination camp structure, comparing it to Auschwitz, but on a smaller scale.

    A statement of fact cannot be insolent. Apparently it can be concern trollish. Whatever wets your whistle, Orac.

  157. #157 T. Bruce McNeely
    December 3, 2009

    Emba:
    You know what they say about arguing on the internet and the Special Olympics, don’t you?

  158. #158 Richard Eis
    December 3, 2009

    -A statement of fact cannot be insolent. Apparently it can be concern trollish. Whatever wets your whistle, Orac.-

    and? You seem to be under the impression that we care about your terrible and all consuming concern for the exact pronouncement of nazi attrocities and how random bloggers should behave when talking about them in passing.

  159. #159 Todd W.
    December 3, 2009

    Just came across this comment in an AoA post about Gardasil:

    I do not think an electric chair would be unfair for anyone that created and marketed this vaccine.

    I know this may not be politically correct, but I feel great rage over this.

    Yet more evidence that they don’t really care about autism and are simply against vaccines. The post was by a non-editor at AoA, Mr. JB Handley, and included a large list of cherry-picked newspaper (rather than peer-reviewed journal) articles.

  160. #160 phantomreader42
    December 3, 2009

    Matt @ #87:

    It is a sad statement that we have accepted the fact that groups like Generation Rescue promote uncontrolled medical experiments on children to the point that their crass behavior is an example of “how low they can go”.

    So, the antivax cult, the people promoting uncontrolled medical experiments on children (some of whom die painfully as a result) and spreading blood libel are calling OTHER PEOPLE Nazis? What color is the sky on their planet?

  161. #161 Bill
    December 3, 2009

    30 years ago these same people would be telling us all about this great new miracle cure for cancer called “Laetrile”

    Even back then some parents had no qualms about rejecting conventional therapy in favor of a supposed miracle cure (chelation, anyone?)

    There’s at least one court case from that time where the judge allowed a parent to use Laetril – and the child later died of symptoms suspiciously similar to cyanide poisoning.

    Those are the ones all too willing to sacrifice children on the altar of credulity.

  162. #162 David N. Brown
    December 3, 2009

    Mr. Emba,
    What the Nazis committed or allowed at specific camps is something which historical scholars can and do debate in good faith. I can accept your posts in that spirit, but I suggest a little more civility.

  163. #163 Bronwyn Carter
    December 3, 2009

    I think it’s funny that the article on AoA was called “Pass the Maalox”. Maalox does contain aluminium.

  164. #164 Broken Link
    December 3, 2009

    The highly offensive post is gone from AoA. I guess JB Handley wasn’t so proud of it after all.

  165. #165 Joe Schwarcz
    December 3, 2009

    I have recently become aware of your blog and enjoy the wit with which you attack the twits as well as your championing the scientific method. I direct McGill University’s Office for Science and Society where our mandate is to demistify science and separate sense from nonsense for the public. I thought your readers may enjoy a column I wrote for the National Post, a widely read Canadian paper. Here it is:

    The H1N1 Influenza
    An Injection of Reason
    Joe Schwarcz PhD
    I think the time has come to panic. But not about catching the H1N1 “swine flu.” And not about the alleged risks of the vaccine that can protect against it. For the vast majority of people, the flu will mean no more than a week or so of misery, not different from previous versions. As far as the risk of the vaccine goes, it’s minimal. However, there is something to panic about: the stunning and spectacular amount of misinformation being bandied about, ranging from cherry-picked data and the promotion of quack remedies to outlandish conspiracy theories about culling the world’s population.
    I freely admit to not having expertise in this complex area, but I think I do have expertise in judging who does. And that would be the scientists at Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, the World Health Organization, Health Canada and major universities. These immunologists, virologists, toxicologists and epidemiologists spend their lives researching and evaluating vaccines. I trust their opinion, which is based on experimental evidence, over that of naturopaths, homeopaths, chiropractors and various graduates of the University of Google, for whom evidence-based medicine is a foreign concept.
    No rational person with a plumbing or electrical problem would seek help from a former Playboy centerfold, a comedian who specializes in facial contortions, or a retired neurosurgeon. We would seek out a licensed plumber or an electrician. Yet when it comes to immunology, a field more complex than plumbing or wiring, many see no conundrum in being swayed by the rhetoric of Jenny McCarthy, Jim Carrey or Dr. Russell Blaylock, none of whom have training in this field. Of course, not all anti vaccine advocates are wackos, some do raise legitimate questions about vaccine components and possible subtle effects. Indeed, there are two sides to the vaccination debate, it’s just that they are not equal sides.
    Unfortunately, the lay press, in its attempt to be “fair,” often presents the pro and con arguments as if these had equal weight. They do not. The vast majority of knowledgeable scientists are in the vaccine corner, recognizing vaccination as one of the greatest advances in the history of public health, at the same time being fully aware that as with any medical intervention, there are some risks. The point, though, is that they judge these risks to be significantly outweighed by the benefits. On the other hand, the very loud and often verbally abusive anti-vaccine minority greatly exaggerates the risks and minimizes the benefits. Science, though, is not on their side. But unfortunately emotion often trumps science. And conspiracy theories can be seductive.
    One of the most convoluted tales is spun by Australian “investigative journalist” Jane Burgermeister. She contends that the H1N1 virus was genetically engineered and released by pharmaceutical companies so that they could then reap the profits from marketing vaccines. That claim almost sounds sane when compared with her other allegation that there is “evidence that an international corporate syndicate, which has annexed high government office inside the United States, is intent on carrying out a mass genocide using an artificial (genetic) flu pandemic virus and a forced vaccination program.” What possible reason can there be for decimating the public in this fashion? This mental maven has the answer: “To transfer control of the United States to the World Health Organization, the U.N., and affiliated security forces.” What can one say? Sometimes you run across comments that are so outrageous, so mindless and so contemptible that they do not merit rebuttal.
    No, the H1N1 virus was not engineered by Big Pharma for financial gain. Neither is there any attempt to “cull” the population by the American government, and there is no callous disregard for public health by releasing an untested vaccine. Furthermore, it is not true that swine flu is simply another version of flu and is not unusually dangerous, as some allege. This flu affects young people, sometimes severely. Last summer, not considered to be flu season, 1 in every 20,000 children under four years old who contracted the flu ended up in hospital. The number of diagnosed cases is increasing and so are hospitalizations. The possibility of a serious pandemic is real and vaccination is a viable way to reduce the risk of this happening.
    Of course when it comes to a new vaccine, there can be no guarantee of 100% safety. In science you have to learn to expect the unexpected. But there has been extensive testing of this vaccine, which is produced the exact same way that seasonal flu vaccines have been produced for decades. Over ten million doses of the 2009 H1N1 vaccine have already been administered with no more than the usual minor side effects, nothing more than a sore arm or headache. Of course as more people get vaccinated there will be claims of all sorts of adverse reactions as people will link health problems that would have arisen anyway with the vaccine. “After it, therefore because of it,” is a mental trap into which many fall.
    One of the noisiest anti-vaccinationists is former neurosurgeon, Dr. Russell Blaylock. I can tell that his scary message about the horrors of vaccination is making the rounds very effectively because I’ve been deluged by emails asking me about his reliability. Well, to be charitable, I think his mental machinery is in severe need of a little lubrication. I’ve long been aware of the good doctor’s outlandish views on food additives, particularly aspartame and MSG. So I’m not at all surprised by his anti-vaccine rant. Some of his allegations about vaccines can be instantly shown to be wrong. For example, there never has been any squalene adjuvant in any U.S. vaccine. Adjuvants are added to increase the efficiency of the body’s reaction to the active ingredients in a vaccine, so that a smaller amount of vaccine goes a longer way. Squalene has been used in Europe and Canada for years without any problems being reported. That isn’t surprising given that this compound is actually produced in the human body, it is on the metabolic path to cholesterol. The amounts present in the body at any time are greater than that added to vaccines. Curiously, squalene is sold in health food stores as a dietary supplement to increase immunity, and is often guzzled by the same people who are worried about its presence in vaccines. More on the iconic and eclectic Blaylock later.
    Anytime vaccination is mentioned, the issue of thimerosal, a mercury-containing preservative used in some vaccines, rears its head. Numerous studies have investigated the allegation that mercury in vaccines is linked to developmental problems such as autism. No such connection has been found. One of the best studies was carried out by McGill researchers who surveyed almost 28,000 children born between 1987 and 1998, a period when thimerosal was widely used. There was no link with autism or any other developmental disorder. Another study at the University of California looked at 452 children aged 2 to 5 who were either developing normally, or had developmental problems such as autism spectrum disorder. There were no differences in blood mercury levels between autistic children and children with normal development.
    Vitamin D, promoted as a weapon against the flu by those self-appointed saviours of humanity, Russell Blaylock, Joseph Mercola (an osteopath who maintains a popular website) and Gary Null (who is wooed by every type of woo out there) does play a role in immune function. But catching the flu is not a sign of immune deficiency. And the most recent double blind study, carried out with 162 adults taking 2000 IU of vitamin D3 daily during the flu season, showed no benefit in decreasing the incidence or severity of upper respiratory tract infections. Of course good nutrition is important for bolstering immune function, and taking a vitamin D supplement (1000 IU is the current consensus) is a good idea for various reasons, even if it doesn’t play a critical role in protection against viral diseases. However, suggesting, as Blaylock does, that fish oil or antioxidants help with H1N1 has no evidential basis, and recommending homeopathic remedies against the flu is just plain silly. The basic tenets of homeopathy, namely that a substance that causes symptoms in a healthy person will cure a sick person experiencing those symptoms, and that the remedy becomes more powerful with greater dilution, are absurd. Non-existent molecules do not have a physiological effect. They do, however, increase the coffers of the purveyors of these products, who incidentally, are often the same people who criticize Big Pharma for bilking the public. Nonsensical folkloric remedies such as placing bowls of onion around the house to “absorb” the virus are also making the rounds of the web.
    The anti-vaccine crowd commonly brings up the possible link to Guillain-Barre syndrome, a rare but potentially dangerous neurological disease. A possible connection to vaccines arose in 1976 when 48 million Americans were inoculated against the swine flu and 532 developed Guillain-Barre. That means roughly 10 cases per million vaccinated. No such relationship has been found with any vaccine since that time, suggesting that there was a problem with that specific vaccine, perhaps bacterial contamination. But here is the important statistic. The flu itself can cause Guillain-Barre, the risk being somewhere between 40 and 70 cases for every million people who get come down with it. Of course Guillain-Barre can be acquired by other means as well, with infection with the bacterium Campylobacter jejuni being a prime cause. Incidence, though, has been steadily falling, probably due to improved meat hygiene. Given that flu vaccines are produced in chicken eggs, the 1976 link between vaccination and Guillain-Barre may have been due to contamination of the vaccine by Campylobacter proteins. The 2009 H1N1 vaccine is produced the same way as the seasonal flu vaccine, which has been given for years with an impressive risk-benefit profile and no significant link to Guillain-Barre. Bottom line is that the risk of getting Guillain-Barre from the flu is 40 times greater than getting it from the vaccine.
    People like Blaylock, Mercola and Null, with their scientifically unsupportable inane comments are a public menace. Having a background in neurosurgery or dentistry does not make you an expert in immunology or toxicology. For this we should look to the real experts at Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, the World Health Organization and Health Canada. Or listen to the likes of Dr. Paul Offit of the University of Pennsylvania who has spent decades carrying out research in immunology, including the development of a vaccine against rotavirus that has saved thousands of children from death. Of course Blaylock and his simple-minded confreres will claim that these organizations, as well as Dr. Offit are in cahoots with Big Pharma to sell more vaccine. Not only that, these evil organizations have even managed to convince the Deans of all major medical schools, who of course support vaccination, to collude with them in a nefarious scheme to defraud the public. What poppycock!
    And then there is Dr. Rauni Kilde, a former provincial medical officer in Finland, whose video interview is all over the web. She sings the common song that the H1N1 vaccine was designed to diminish world population and put billions into the coffers of pharmaceutical companies. Children and pregnant women are to be vaccinated first, because this is the quickest way to eliminate the next generation. This mental giant is reported to believe that the Nazis visited the moon in the1940s, that the U.S. government has inserted microchips into babies for future mind control, and that extraterrestrials saved her life three times, once by using a force field to deflect an elk that jumped in front of her car. Gee, if only there were a vaccination against lunacy.
    Life offers us no guarantees…except death. Everything comes down to a risk-benefit analysis. I’ve scrutinized this issue very carefully, listening to all opinions, but obviously relying more on real experts than on contrarians who have forged opinions based on flim-flam or on questionable political or social agendas. I don’t pay much attention to Dr. Blaylock. He’s weird. He denies global warming. He states that the Soviets had a plan to drown the country in illegal drugs to destroy the moral foundation of western society and weaken its ability to resist a Soviet military invasion. These drugs were to be pushed especially to high school students to create a future dysfunctional leadership. And you know what else? According to Blaylock the Soviets developed crack cocaine and managed to spread it in the U.S. to create a drug culture and diminish the religious underpinnings of the nation. He believes that President Obama, who is merely a puppet of his “Elite” backers (whoever these may be) is trying to establish a “New World Order” that is based on eliminating the old and the disabled. Blaylock is an ultraconservative defender of “American values” who appears regularly on extreme right wing radio shows plugging his outrageous agenda. He has the gall (and mental decrepitude) to liken the Obama administration to the Nazis. I don’t think this is the kind of character from whom we should be taking scientific advice. Rather, I will take the path that has been forged by evidence-based science. I will roll up my sleeves for the H1N1 vaccine, as will my wife, children and grand children.

  166. #166 Kowalski
    December 4, 2009

    T. Bruce Mc Neely:
    “You know what they say about arguing on the internet and the Special Olympics, don’t you?”

    Please don’t be such an ableist bigot.

    Since the Holocaust is discussed at length in this thread, I’d like to remind people that disabled people were also victims,(Aktion T4).
    How about rethinking some of the ableist bigotry that made this possible?

    I wrote a response to some of the ableism in this thread (and the skeptics community in general):
    Is The Irony Lost On You?

    PS: Thank you Salk.

  167. #167 Kowalski
    December 4, 2009

    Rogue Epidemiologist said:
    “But I wonder about the children who undergo chelation, Lupron and all the other woo. I wonder whether they fight their parents when it’s time to go to their DAN! doctors. It’s only a matter of years before this cohort of autistic children enter the Internet community and begin to publicly opine about their treatments as children.”

    Yes, btw, many of the autistic adults who do speak up do so because they were abused in institutions (ECT treatments, psych-drugging) and by behavioral interventions.
    It’s not only woo that harms autistics.

  168. #168 Katharine
    December 4, 2009

    Hilarious that JB Handley’s all ‘HURF DURF I’M A DUMBASS BIZNIZ MORON WHO HASN’T HAD A BIOLOGY CLASS IN MY LIFE BUT ASSUME I KNOW MORE THAN PEOPLE WHO GO TO SCHOOL FOR THIS STUFF AND I HAVE NUMBERZ!’ yet his argument still doesn’t say anything about the fact that his viewpoint is bullshit. What an anti-intellectual little turd.

    Grow up, Handley.

  169. #169 Prometheus
    December 4, 2009

    This pathetic attempt at “smearing” the people in the picture shows an interesting aspect of the echo-chamber society to which AoA and other such groups belong.

    I’m sure that everybody in the AoA “inner circle” thought that this picture was hilarious and a real slap-in-the-face to everyone on it. I’m also sure that this same “inner circle” thought that there was nothing about it that might come back and bite them on the bum.

    However, when this feeble attempt at humor hit the light of day, the reaction to it – even among the rank-and-file of AoA readers – was extremely negative. I’m sure this came as a huge shock to the AoA “inner circle”, and that is the take-home message here.

    As long as AoA and its members, affiliates, mimics and wanna-be’s refuse to listen to anything but their own opinions (and those of their pet “scientists”, like Jay Gordon, Boyd Haley, etc.), they will continue to be blind-sided by reality.

    Let’s face it, “mercury-causes-autism” is a dead hypothesis, “vaccines-cause-autism” isn’t looking too healthy, and “something-in-the-environment-we-don’t-know-yet-causes-autism” is seriously lacking in crowd-motivating power. These groups have been trying for over fifteen years to pin the blame for autism on something or someone other than their own genetic contributions and they haven’t hit a winner yet.

    If these people were financial advisers or corporate CEO’s, they would have been unemployed by now (unless they were working for GM), given their terrible track record. They have been right exactly zero times in their guesses about what “causes” autism.

    I don’t see that changing any time soon.

    Sitting in their echo-chamber at AoA (and similar groups), there are no dissenting voices. Why? Because dissent is not tolerated. Dissentors are hounded out of the movement, shouted down and intimidated. This provides a “purity of thought” inside the group, but also means that there is nobody to warn them of the rocks and shoals ahead.

    Is it too much to hope that AoA might founder on these shoals? Sadly, it is. The “hard core” of AoA and other such groups will never admit – even to themselves – that they are wrong. In fact, they may never even realise that there is a possibility that they are wrong, since there is nobody left in their groups who would dare to suggest that there is a problem with the dogma (“Ice ahead, Captain!”).

    No, we’ll probably have to wait until the current generation of “leaders” in AoA (and other groups) dies and is replaced by people who are more open-minded.

    Prometheus

  170. #170 J. Mason
    December 4, 2009

    Can I just say something as a mother of an autistic child? Yes, the image is inappropriate, and I don’t think medical professionals are acting without good intentions. However, love my doctor now, but my doctor before looked at me funny when I asked for the insert to vaccines before I agreed to them. He looked seasick when I pointed out that the indications on the insert said my child shouldn’t have them due to risk of seizure. This is the experience many parents have. We’re told to investigate, but there’s a requirement, in many cases, to “see the light”. This causes mistrust.

    Further, talk to a parent of a child who was brain injured by a vaccine, one who has the medical establishment telling them that it was indeed the vaccine, and you’ll find a hard shell of bitterness over a chewy pain-filled center. They followed advice and trusted a doctor. Whether the doctor could have foreseen it or not, it was a choice that injured their child. A choice they made. Perhaps, we should drop the tone and contempt when talking to patients and see them as people. Contempt breeds contempt.

  171. #171 Chris
    December 4, 2009

    J. Mason, are you also willing to talk to a parent whose child was injured by an actual disease?

    What about those whose child suffered from a disease because they followed the advice of Generation Rescue and did not get their child vaccinated. Like the three unvaxed children who were hospitalized in Grant County, WA when the entire family of eight kids got measles last year?

    Or how about the nine month old child who got measles while in the doctor’s waiting room because some mother who followed the advice to vax her kid, and brought him after he caught measles in Switzerland. That nine month old child was hospitalized with a high fever and came close to death.

  172. #172 DT
    December 4, 2009

    J Mason, the scenario you describe is not dissimilar to that of a child injured inadvertently by any other medical intervention.

    I am sure there are as many children harmed by antibiotics as there are from vaccines, probably more. The parents and the doctors must feel the same sense of despair when this happens, despite the best intentions of the doctors who have been trying to help the child.

    Now imagine that there are campaign groups set up across the land, dedicated to spreading misinformation about antibiotics they gain from their google uni studies, publicly calling for an end to the prescription of killer antibiotics, and demanding and getting equal airtime on the media to debate the “antibiotic controversy”.

    Can you see why doctors dedicated to saving the lives of children with infections might get a little annoyed?

  173. #173 Jeffry
    December 5, 2009

    @ Chris(#171) & DT(#172):

    What you both are participating in (knowing or unknowing) is a propaganda technique called “Transfer”.

    Both of you are taking the topic of vaccine injury and crafting a response to appear in the same light as a child contracting a disease. One is not the other.

    Please answer J. Mason’s (#170) question. She brings up a germane point. What is a concerned parent to do in pursuit of the truth of vaccine information?

  174. #174 CanonicalKoi
    December 5, 2009

    It might be gone, but it’s not forgotten. Thanks to Google Cache, I have a screenshot of it. It’ll come in handy in six months or so when the denials of it ever having existed start to fly.

  175. #175 Chris
    December 5, 2009

    Jeffry, a concerned person goes and finds the real risks between the diseases and their vaccine from real sources. Sources like the CDC Pink Book or the NHS Green Book, not from “parent advocate sites” like Generation Rescue, SafeMinds and the like.

  176. #176 gaiainc
    December 5, 2009

    Jeffry @173, a concerned parent should talk to his/her physician. Vaccines are not 100% safe, but they are one of the safest, if not the safest intervention I have for my patients. That people are harmed by them is true. That is why there is a vaccine court and a fee on all vaccines to fund that compensation. However, the risk of that is so small and the benefits from vaccines are huge. The flip side to no vaccines is a marked increase in the morbidity and mortality of kids, for example like what we saw before we had the H flu vaccine or the polio vaccine. The benefits for the vaccines completely outweigh the risks. Yes, some kids should not get vaccines. Failure of an individual physician to recognize that is not an indictment of all vaccines.

    How about comparing vaccine injury to injury from a car crash? A parent made the choice to put that child into that car. There is a risk to having a child in a car. The difference is that the child has a greater risk of dying or having an injury from a car crash than that child has for being injured from a vaccine. Period. Full stop. Or if you’d like an anecdote, I have met probably 100 people or more who have been injured from or who subsequently died in a car accident. I haven’t met a single person who has died from or been injured from a vaccine.

    J Mason, your experience with your physicians is not necessarily representative of everyone’s experience. Physicians are people too. Some are much better at the patient interaction than others. Please be careful with your generalizations.

  177. #177 Chris
    December 5, 2009

    I would also suggest reading the contributions of Dr. Crislip, Dr. Snyder and Dr. Albietz on Science Based Medicine. Starting with this one:
    http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/?p=186

  178. #178 Todd W.
    December 6, 2009

    I’ll also throw in a plug for my site, which addresses some of the myths and misconceptions about vaccines.

  179. #179 Chris
    December 7, 2009

    By the way, Jeffry and J. Mason, my son suffered seizures while ill with a now vaccine preventable disease. Why are the trials, tribulations and questions from those of us who had our children injured by the actual diseases more trivial than those who claimed it came from the vaccine?

    What makes having the disease and suffering very real consequences not as dire as yours?

  180. #180 Bryce
    January 4, 2010

    Chris (#179)

    My guess to the distinction would have to do with the stark difference to two moral questions and the characteristics of threats people respond best to (skip to the red text).

  181. #181 MetzO'Magic
    January 24, 2010

    AoA has taken the page down, but I did find the photoshopped picture by doing a Google image search for ‘pass the maalox':

    http://www.rescuepost.com/.a/6a00d8357f3f2969e2012875ee0678970c-350wi

    (that’s a funny looking URL, but it’s the only way to get to the picture)

    Just in case, like me, you are reading Orac’s article several months after the fact and needed some context.

  182. #182 Brian
    January 25, 2010

    MetzO’Magic: Thanks for the link; that’s exactly what I came here hoping to find.

  183. #183 Sikiş hikayesi
    March 7, 2010

    I live in Michigan, and it would be cool to be an extra if it came to that. I wonder what specifically they’re looking for.

  184. #184 Sikiş Hikayeleri
    March 7, 2010

    What I’m drawing from this is that the only truly successful diets are those based on metacognition

  185. #185 J.Mason
    April 10, 2010

    I actually hadn’t checked on this site in some time. There isn’t enough time in the day to “lurk” on a forum. My mind reels.

    ” Why are the trials, tribulations and questions from those of us who had our children injured by the actual diseases more trivial than those who claimed it came from the vaccine?

    What makes having the disease and suffering very real consequences not as dire as yours?”

    Holy crap! When did I even suggest such a thing? That is an assumption drawn from your emotional state. This is what I mean. Having reviewed this entire thread, there is no value in any of this, and those of you having petty discussion on Dachau and Hitler and whether Jenny McCarthy is a slut or D-list actress, whichever side of the argument you rally to Vac or Non-vac, are wasting time and energy. This is a personal decision made within a family.

    In free societies, it should stay that way. Removing mercury from vaccines was easy. It’s done for the most part. What did it hurt? Removing Pthalates and other such chemicals? What could it hurt? Are they necessary in the product? Usually not. Does any of this matter? Not a bit. It may help and it may not. Like recycling, should we do it? Again, probably.

    My family, like many others, still gets up in the morning struggling with our personal choices and circumstances. Nothing said here changes any of that. Remove morality and emotion from the equation for a second, all of you. Is there a problem and is it growing?

    My suspicion is that we have a genetic propensity meeting modern day diet, chemicals, etc. Does that change my son’s life? Not one bit. What changes his life? Hard work, education and repetition of tasks, research (lots of it), and keeping things as simple as possible. Our bottom line is that parents have the right to parent their children and decide their medical care. Period.

    We can spread balanced information. That helps. We can educate parents on the issues facing their child now. That helps. We can work to fund research into every aspect of autism and developmental disorder. That helps. But the stuff above, that doesn’t help. It only hurts the hurting and frustrates the already frustrated. I’m speaking to all of you. Age of Autism included. Put your energies into the things that help, and put comments and ugliness like all this in the garbage where it truly belongs.

  186. #186 Chris
    April 10, 2010

    When you said “Further, talk to a parent of a child who was brain injured by a vaccine,” it implies that the only children who matter are the ones injured (in your mind) by vaccines.

    You comment reeked of “Oh, pity me! All the doctors are bad!”, especially with the ending comment: “Contempt breeds contempt.”

    Next time, try science, not emotional diatribes.

  187. #187 Guy Chapman
    June 5, 2011

    “talk to a parent of a child who was brain injured by a vaccine”

    Aside form the obvious problem of begging the question, some such parents have come out in favour of vaccination, mainly because the objectively provable benefit substantially outweighs the objectively provable risk.

    I wonder if these “if only one life could be saved” types drive cars, at all? That’s an activity which would not survive the “one life saved” test. Or ten lives. Or a hundred. Or a thousand. Every year.

  188. #188 Sheogorath
    May 2, 2012

    KWombles said of Kim Stagliano: “The same woman who on HuffPo vowed to have public sex with any male (females need not apply) who rid her daughters of the autism label? Seriously.”
    Is that true? If so, the simple reason for the APA’s current may be simply that they’re hoping for a gang bang!

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