Respectful Insolence

Mike Adams is confused.

I know, I know. Such a statement is akin to saying that water is wet (and that it doesn’t have memory, at least not the mystical magical memories ascribed to it by homeopaths), that the sun rises in the East, or that writing an NIH R01 grant is hard, but there you go. Speaking of writing an NIH R01, that’s exactly what I’m doing now, hence the decreased blogorrhea over the last few days, but sometimes trying to cram a five year project into the 13 pages (one page for specific aims and twelve to describe the project) makes my head hurt so much that reading and responding to Mike Adams’ idiocy actually looks somewhat pleasurable for a diversion.

I know, I know. I’m a glutton for punishment, but Adams wrote something that was so spectacularly idiotic even for him, that I fear it may rend the fabric of the space-time continuum. You’ll see why in a minute. At best, in this post, Adams can be best described as a pyromaniac in a field of straw man. Alternatively, one could envision his post as a black hole made up of such a huge mass of straw men that it collapsed down upon itself. Or maybe it was simply the black hole of woo that is Mike Adams drawing all the straw in the universe into itself, adding to its size and increasing its event horizon, the better for it to suck the intelligence out of the universe.

Yes, Adams’ latest is just that bad, so bad that I had to mix metaphors.

As you may recall, over the weekend, there was a hilarious blowup regarding the Shorty Awards, basically awards for Twittering. Mike Adams was in the lead for the Health Category, but then it was pointed out that a large percentage of his votes were coming from brand new Twitter accounts with only one Tweet. Clearly, they were accounts created for one purpose: To vote for Mike Adams. Such voting tactics are clearly against the rules for the Shorty Awards; and the powers that be behind those awards decided to boot Adams from the competition. Personally, I’m not sure that that wasn’t overreacting, as it’s not clear that these accounts were created at Adams’ behest. It probably would have been better simply to invalidate all the illegal votes. Be that as it may, Adams went full mental jacket upon learning of this, claiming huge and dark conspiracies on the part of big pharma, vaccine manufacturers, and the government to “silence” him, all the while pouting that the awards “weren’t important” but belying his dismissal of the Shorty Awards’ importance by simultaneously threatening to sue its organizers. Truly, it was comedy gold!

But Adams wasn’t satisfied with causing supporters of science-based medicine a huge chuckle. Oh, no. Adams is about nothing if not massive woo overkill. So, in response to his humiliation in the Shorty Awards, he decided to channel Deepak Chopra’s misunderstanding of the nature of skepticism and skeptics and turning it up to 11 and beyond. Indeed, “pyromaniac in a field of straw men” doesn’t even begin to describe the idiocy of Mike Adams’ response to skeptics, entitled What ‘skeptics’ really believe about vaccines, medicine, consciousness and the universe. It’s also the purest distillation of the principle of crank magnetism that I’ve seen in a very long time–maybe ever. Truly, calling it even a black hole of stupidity is inadequate; maybe it’s an alternate parallel universe made up of nothing but stupid. I don’t know. Feel free to weigh in…after my deconstruction.

Mike begins with a woo-ful whine:

In the world of medicine, “skeptics” claim to be the sole protectors of intellectual truth. Everyone who disagrees with them is just a quack, they insist. Briefly stated, “skeptics” are in favor of vaccines, mammograms, pharmaceuticals and chemotherapy. They are opponents of nutritional supplements, herbal medicine, chiropractic care, massage therapy, energy medicine, homeopathy, prayer and therapeutic touch.

Strawman #1 (of more than I care to count): That skeptics claim to be the “sole protectors” of intellectual truth. I’d love to see Adams show a statement anywhere from a skeptic claiming that skeptics are the only protectors of intellectual truth. All we claim is that science is the best way to determine what does and does not work, and we do not accept claims without evidence to support them. In other words, we are the polar opposites of Mike Adams, which is why he doesn’t understand us. Adams is correct, though, in that most skeptics are indeed in favor of vaccines, mammograms, pharmaceuticals and chemotherapy. We are in favor of such things because we support science-based medicine, and science tells us that these things do work and delineates the situations when they work and do not work. It is also true that most of us do not support supplements, herbal medicine, chiropractic (other than for aspects of it that resemble physical therapy), energy medicine, homeopathy, intercessory prayer, and therapeutic touch. (Note that Adams would be hard-pressed to find a skeptic who has a problem with massage therapy, except when it is infused with woo, which, unfortunately, a lot of massage therapy is.) The reason is, of course, because science does not support these modalities.

Adams also seems very unhappy with the observation that many skeptics are agnostics or atheists, ranting:

But there’s much more that you need to know about “skeptics.” As you’ll see below, they themselves admit they have no consciousness and that there is no such thing as a soul, a spirit or a higher power. There is no life after death. In fact, there’s not much life in life when you’re a skeptic.

I thought it would be interesting to find out exactly what “skeptics” actually believe, so I did a little research and pulled this information from various “skeptic” websites. What I found will make you crack up laughing so hard that your abs will be sore for a week. Take a look…

Well, I suppose we skeptics are just returning the favor. Many are the articles on NaturalNews.com that left me laughing so hard at Adams’ ignorance, paranoia, and conspiracy theories that I should sue Adams for funds to pay for some NSAIDs to treat my aching chest wall and abdominal muscles. Maybe they’d throw in some chiropractic adjustments as well, as I fear that Adams’ hilarious woo induced subluxations of each and every one of my thoracic vertebrae. It would be very interesting to know which skeptical websites and blogs Adams actually visited. If you have a skeptical website or blog, you should look for some accesses from Ecuador, which, if I recall correctly, is where Mike Adams currently resides. Maybe you were graced with a visit from the Woo-meister-in-Chief himself! Sadly, I couldn’t find any such visits in my logs, but I only use the free version of Sitemeter; so only the last 100 visits are logged.

The sheer number of straw men to which Adams takes a flamethower (I know, I know, I can’t make up my mind which metaphor I want to use) is so huge that it would be a colossal undertaking to respond to them all. Therefore, I’m going to pick and choose–dare I say, cherrypick–the ones that amused or enraged me the most. Others may be disappointed that I left their favorite ones out. Fear not! That’s what the comments are for. Feel free to respond in the comments to any or all of this collection of misrepresentations and woo.

Let’s get started. Adams divides his “commentary” into sections, starting out with “What Skeptics Really Believe.” The very first one made me laugh out loud:

Skeptics believe that ALL vaccines are safe and effective (even if they’ve never been tested), that ALL people should be vaccinated, even against their will, and that there is NO LIMIT to the number of vaccines a person can be safely given. So injecting all children with, for example, 900 vaccines all at the same time is believed to be perfectly safe and “good for your health.”

Is there a more outrageous misrepresentation of the views of practitioners of science-based medicine that you can imagine? If it were true that skeptics believe that “all vaccines” are safe and effective, then why is there so much debate over which vaccines should be in the childhood immunization schedule? Why do we have a VAERS database and VSD to look out for adverse reactions to vaccines? In actuality, Adams completely misunderstands that what is being argued is not that “all” vaccines are safe and effective; rather we argue that the current pediatric vaccination schedule is safe in that the benefits of being vaccinated far outweigh the tiny risks that come from vaccination. The same is true for flu vaccination. As for Gardasil, there is quite a bit of controversy, but it’s not so much over whether the vaccine is safe. It is. Rather, it’s more about whether it should be part of the routine pediatric vaccination schedule. As for the utter idiocy of Adams’ “no limit” nonsense, he’s mischaracterizing an example that Paul Offit made that the human body is capable of responding to the antigens from thousands of vaccines at a time; he was not advocating giving hundreds of vaccines at a time.

Which brings us to this gem:

Skeptics believe that the human body has no ability to defend itself against invading microorganism and that the only things that can save people from viral infections are vaccines.

I’d really love to see Adams provide evidence that “skeptics” believe that the body has “no ability to defend itself.” The truly hilarious thing about this bit is that Adams is too clueless to realize that the very principle upon which vaccines work depends upon the body’s ability to defend itself from invading microorganisms. They don’t work (or don’t work as well) in patients who are immunosuppressed, whose immune systems don’t work, for whatever reason. Truly, the cluelessness of Mike Adams knows no bounds.

Skeptics believe that all healing happens from the outside, from doctors and technical interventions. They do not believe that patients have any ability to heal themselves. Thus, they do not ascribe any responsibility for health to patients. Rather, they believe that doctors and technicians are responsible for your health. Anyone who dismisses doctors and takes charge of their own health is therefore acting “irresponsibly,” they claim.

No, they do not. Note how Adams conflates “taking charge of one’s own health” with using the forms of quackery that he likes. Nor do they believe that “all healing happens from the outside.” Geez, Adams doesn’t know many surgeons, does he? Our very profession depends upon the body’s ability to heal. We routinely make big incisions in the body and count on the body’s ability to heal the temporary injury resulting from our ministrations. As for “not ascribing any responsibility to patients,” that’s utter nonsense. The sad thing is that Adams probably really does believe this.

I like this one too:

Skeptics believe that Mother Nature is incapable of synthesizing medicines. Only drug companies can synthesize medicines, they claim. (So why do they copy molecules from nature, then?)

Nonsense again. Many science-based medicines are derived from natural products, either extracted from plants or other organisms or extracted and chemically modified. It’s amazing to consider: Taxol (derived from the bark of the Pacific Yew), digoxin (foxglove plant); Vinca alkaloids (derived from Catharanthus roseus, a.k.a. periwinkle plant); and camptothecin, irinotecan, topotecan (derived from Camptotheca acuminata, a.k.a. Happy tree). There are many other examples, as well. Indeed, whole divisions of pharmaceutical companies are devoted to screening natural compounds for pharmacologica activity, and the NIH has a huge investment in biodiversity initiatives and similarly identifying natural products that might have value in human disease. In other words, Mike Adams is so wrong that he’s not even wrong.

As usual, as he is with this:

Skeptics believe that you can take unlimited pharmaceuticals, be injected with an unlimited number of vaccines, expose yourself to unlimited medical imaging radiation, consume an unlimited quantity of chemicals in processed foods and expose yourself to an unlimited quantity of environmental chemical toxins with absolutely no health effects whatsoever!

Huh? I challenge Mike Adams right here, right now, to provide a link or links to a skeptical website or blog that says anything of the sort! Certainly, this isn’t such a blog. Indeed, just recently, I wrote about the dangers of too much radiation from medical imaging. I’ve expressed skepticism about various science-based medical modalities for which I consider the evidence to be lacking, such as vertebroplasty. Skepticism means skepticism, not just towards “alternative” medicine but to all medical claims. Those that can stand up to scientific scrutiny become medicine; those that can’t end up on Mike Adams’ website to reside with other gems of woo like this:

Skeptics believe that DEAD foods have exactly the same nutritional properties as LIVING foods (hilarious!).

I love the primitive vitalism that permeates Mike Adams’ beliefs. After all, unless we eat our vegetables right off of the vine or rip the beating hearts out of our enemies and eat them before they stop beating, our food is “dead.”

Dead, dead, dead, dead, dead!

Meat is dead. Vegetables and fruit, unless they were just harvested, are dead, and certainly both meat and vegetables are dead by the time we’ve chewed them and send them into the acid baths that reside in our stomachs. Truly, Adams’ statement is hilarious, just not in the way he thinks it is, just as his belief that skeptics are not “skeptical” about everything:

  • Skeptics aren’t skeptical about the corruption and dishonesty in the pharmaceutical industry. They believe whatever the drug companies say, without asking a single intelligent question.
  • Skeptics aren’t skeptical about medical journals. They believe whatever they read in those journals, even when much of it turns out to be complete science fraud.
  • Skeptics aren’t skeptical about the profit motive of the pharmaceutical industry. They believe that drug companies are motivated by goodwill, not by profits.
  • Skeptics aren’t skeptical about the motivations and loyalties of the FDA. They will swallow, inject or use any product that’s FDA approved, without a single reasonable thought about the actual safety of those products.
  • Skeptics aren’t skeptical about the safety of synthetic chemicals used in the food supply. They just swallow whatever poisons the food companies dump into the foods.
  • Skeptics aren’t skeptical about the enormous dangers of ionizing radiation from mammograms and CT scans. They have somehow convinced themselves that “early detection saves live” when, in reality, “early radiation causes cancer.”

Hmmm. I’m puzzled. Right here, at least, I’ve expressed skepticism about nearly of these things, including pharmaceutical company seeding trials, pharmaceutical company chicanery with respect to medical journals, and misconduct from medical journals themselves. Also, I’ve written extensively about mammography and the problems with mammographic screening, including overdiagnosis, the risk of breast cancer due to radiation, how screening mammography doesn’t reduce deaths from breast cancer as much as many think, and how mammographic screening guidelines have changed. Does Mike Adams not pay attention to such things? Again, skepticism does not differentiate between “conventional” and “alternative” medicine. As the old joke goes: What do you call alternative medicine that has been scientifically shown to work?

Medicine.

Personally, I see this as a massive case of projection on Mike Adams’ part and would rephrase a couple of them:

  • Mike Adams is not skeptical about the corruption and dishonesty in the supplement industry. He believes whatever supplement manufacturers claim, without asking a single intelligent question.
  • Mike Adams isn’t skeptical about the profit motive of the the supplement industry, much of which is being bought up by pharmaceutical companies. He believes that supplement companies are motivated by goodwill, not by profits.

Translating others is left as an exercise for the reader, although if you really want to see just how uncritical Adams is, check this out:

Skeptics aren’t skeptical about the demolition-style collapse of the World Trade Center 7 building on September 11, 2001 — a building that was never hit by airplanes. This beautifully-orchestrated collapse of a hardened structure could only have been accomplished with precision explosives. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MwSc7NPn8Ok) Astonishingly, “skeptics” have little understanding of the laws of physics. Concrete-and-steel buildings don’t magically collapse in a perfect vertical demolition just because of a fire on one floor…

Truly, this is crank magnetism at its finest! Who’d have thought it? Mike Adams is a 9/11 Truther! If you really don’t need much more than this to know that Adams has zero credibility when it comes to critical thinking! After all, he still buys into one of the myths of the 9/11 “Truth” movement, namely that WTC 7 couldn’t possibly have collapsed from the damage due to the collapse of the other buildings, a point that’s been debunked time and time again, in particular in detail by Popular Mechanics. Specifically, not only was WTC 7 was more heavily damaged than initially thought but its design was unusual in that its floors held more load than most buildings. It turns out that removing the structural support of even one column could lead to collapse. Combine the fires that rages out of control with the structural damage from falling debris, and it’s not surprising that WTC 7 collapsed several hours later. It’s hard to believe that anyone believes the WTC 7 myth anymore, but Mike Adams does.

But, hey, that’s just me. What do I know? According to Adams, I’m this:

Skeptics don’t believe in a higher power of any kind: No God, no spirit, no angels, no guides, no creative force in the universe… nada. They think the universe is a cold, empty, lonely, stupid place full of soulless, mindless, zombie biological bodies who have no free will and no consciousness.

Gee, no wonder these skeptics are so misguided. They have the most pessimistic view possible. No wonder they seek to destroy themselves with chemicals — they don’t even think they’re alive to begin with! Skeptics are bent on self destruction. And they believe that when you die, the lights just go out and you cease to exist. Nothing happens after that. You’re just a mindless biological robot whose life has no meaning, no purpose, no higher self.

The only thing not alive in Mike Adams’ little rant are his brain cells. I gave up counting the straw men after the “cold, empty, lonely, stupid place” bit.

Skeptics don’t think they’re alive? Of course they do! Moreover, Adams is conflating skepticism with a nihilistic form of atheism that even the most vocal and–dare I say?–militant atheists I know don’t advocate. In fact, I can’t recall any of them claiming any such thing or stating the universe is a “stupid place” full of zombie biological bodies with no free will and no consciousness! Do you know a person who thinks that way? Maybe such people exist (although I sincerely doubt it), but they aren’t the people who are prominent in the skeptical movement. As for “no consciousness,” I think that describes Adams as well. The argument is not over whether consciousness exists; the argument is dualism (the concept that consciousness derives from something other than the brain) versus the idea that consciousness derives from a biological source; i.e., the brain itself. Recent research in neuroscience definitely points towards the latter explanation of consciousness rather than the former, no matter how little Adams likes it.

But the pièce de résistance is yet to come in the conclusion, where Adams tries to dehumanize skeptics:

Realizing this, it makes it so much easier to debate with skeptics on any topic. Whatever they say, you just answer, “WHO is saying that? Are YOU, a conscious, free-thinking person with a mind and soul saying that, or are those words simply being automatically and robotically uttered from the mouth of a bag of bones and skin that has no mind and no soul?”

If they answer you honestly, they will have to admit that they believe they are nothing more than a robotic bag of bones and skin that is mindlessly uttering whatever nonsense happens to escape their mechanical lips. At that point, you’ve already won the debate because YOU have a soul, and THEY don’t. You’re arguing with a mindless robot.

Seriously. Think about this deeply. If you believe what the skeptics want you to believe (because they are always right, of course), then you must accept the fact that THEY have no consciousness. They are not really “alive.” They are just robotic biological machines. They are drones, in other words. And drones are not equal to a being of energy with a consciousness and a soul, inhabiting a human body with purpose and awareness.

Never argue with drones. You only waste your time and annoy the drone.

Skeptics… zombies… drones… different words for the same thing. Soulless, mindless, lacking consciousness and free will, having no awareness of the value of life… these are the skeptics arguing for vaccines, mammograms and chemotherapy today. They are agents of death who can only find solace in an industry of death — the industry of modern medicine.

And there, my friends, you have the black hole of burning stupid incinerating universes of straw men! (I know, I know, I’m mixing metaphors again. Just go with me on this; I’m on a roll.)

Seriously. Does dehumanization get any more blatant than this? Note how Adams turns the skeptic into the “other,” an inhuman soulless automaton. Not believing in God or the existence of a soul does not demand that a belief that human beings are automatons, nor does believing in a biological basis of behavior, rather than a dualistic mechanism, to the point of doubting the existence of truly free will necessarily imply that humans are mindless and have no awareness of the meaning of life. None of this means that skeptics are “seeking death” because their lives have no meaning. The sheer number and volume of straw men here threaten to fill the known universe.

It’s hard to know if Mike Adams truly believes the sheer volume of nonsense that he is laying down. Whatever the true case, there is no doubt that he is a master of making stuff up as he sees fit. At one point, he says that he is “not going to list those websites here because they don’t deserve the search engine rankings, but you can find them yourself through Google, if you wish.” So obviously intellectually lazy is this approach that even his acolytes criticized him for it, saying, “This article would have been 100% more effective and informative if after each notation, there would have been examples, names, etc. to give the statement more crediblity, convincing, more impressive.”

No it wouldn’t, because I’m quite sure that any examples that Adams might pick would actually not support his characterization of them. That’s because, like Deepak Chopra’s parody of skepticism as unrelenting negative cynicism, Mike Adams’ parody is not based on reality. It is based on his projection of his credulity and paranoid distrust of science onto skeptics in order to portray them as mindless, credulous automatons who believe anything that fits within their world view and reject in a knee-jerk fashion anything that does not.

Funny, but Mike Adams’ concept of a skeptic sounds a lot like Mike Adams himself. Or maybe it’s not so funny. Scratch that. There’s no “maybe” about it. Mike Adams’ promotion of pure quackery is not funny at all, no matter how hilarious his rants against skeptics may be. He promotes quackery that can result in people foregoing effective care.

People can die when that happens.

ADDENDUM: Mike Adams continues the stupidity. It’s late; I’m too tired to take it all on:

http://www.naturalnews.com/028019_skeptics_thinking.html

If there is one inexhaustible resource, it is Mike Adams’ ignorance.

Comments

  1. #1 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    January 25, 2010

    I can see the glow on the horizon.

    Has Mike Adams ever been to Burning Man?

  2. #2 Ken
    January 25, 2010

    Mike Adams has jumped the shark.

  3. #3 reasonablehank
    January 25, 2010

    I preferred to look at the article as one big strawman as they blended so noxiously into each other it was difficult to see where one finished and another began.

    As I write this, this just in on the Roid Ranger’s facebook page:

    NaturalNews.com: “The article I posted yesterday that exposed the true beliefs of “skeptics” made some major waves across the ‘net. Entitled, What “skeptics” really believe about vaccines, medicine, consciousness and the universe (http://www.naturalnews.com/028012_s…), the article turned the tables on the skeptics and detailed their bizarre beliefs for the whole world to see.”

    As you noted above, Orac, guffaw at the comedy gold. He has jumped the shark forever.

  4. #4 Ken
    January 25, 2010

    I particularly liked PZ’s description of live vs dead foods … how thanks to chewing, it’s ALL dead by the time it swims in the acid bath in the stomach.

    Why WHY are there no enforceable laws against the likes of Mike Adams (and Mercola, and a hundred others)?

    Why didn’t Adams link to ANY of the skeptic sources he claims to have searched?

    Because he knows that in no time a line up of skeptics would have him in an English libel court, taking advantage of the mechanisms that are being used against Simon Singh right now.

  5. #5 Ahistoricality
    January 25, 2010

    “cold, empty, lonely, stupid place”

    I think that could become the default description for the skull cavities of Adams, inter alia…..

  6. #6 mary podlesak
    January 25, 2010

    How do you know the risks of vaccination in young children are tiny? Adverse events to drugs are voluntarily self-reported by physicians. Only a small percentage of the true totals are reported to the CDC. For example, An acquaintance of mine’s sister-in-law’s very young child died within 48 hours of vaccination. The child’s pediatriacian threatened the mother with a report of child abuse to the police if she dared report the death to VAERS. Since you’re so busy with your grant application, maybe in your down time you can debate me. I’m waiting.

  7. #7 Jason
    January 25, 2010

    I’m so happy. Adams couldn’t have footbulleted harder.

    When I started pushing for votes for @DrRachie, I never in my wildest dreams expected that such glorious hissy fits would be on the horizon.

    The woo-monger’s tears of defeat and rage are like liquid gold to me.

  8. #8 Jason
    January 25, 2010

    “The child’s pediatriacian threatened the mother with a report of child abuse to the police if she dared report the death to VAERS.”

    Serious accusations. I suppose you have some proof of this?

  9. #9 rmt
    January 25, 2010

    @ mary podlesak
    Reactions are well documented. Please provide documentation for what you claim. I do not want anecdotal evidence. Please provide evidence that this child died because of a vaccination.

  10. #10 Chris
    January 25, 2010

    Mary Podlesak:

    How do you know the risks of vaccination in young children are tiny?

    With the several decades of real scientific research in the real medical literature.

    The plural of anecdote is anecdotes, not data. Due to the large number of people who get vaccinated per day, a small number will die shortly after the vaccine. A great majority will be for reasons completely unrelated to the vaccine (like being in a car accident, or having an unknown large cancerous tumor growing in their chest).

  11. #11 Coran
    January 25, 2010

    And now he’s responded to the response to his straw legion, with a LOL-worthy display of his ignorance of basic chemistry. Apparently water is too magical because:

    Water is made up of two gases, each of which is a combustible fuel on its own. Do I think water is magical? You bet I do!

    What an idiot.

  12. #12 History Punk
    January 25, 2010

    Mary, do you have any evidence other than the dubious story of “an acquaintance of mine’s sister-in-law’s very young child died within 48 hours of vaccination?”

    Mary, if you want to report your story to the proper authorities you can go here https://vaers.hhs.gov/esub/step1 and fill out the for,.

  13. #13 mary podlesak
    January 25, 2010

    The mother and her sister-in-law would have the proof. I don’t have that myself. The sister-in-law relating her nephew’s death was not a person given to exaggeration. The mother would have to do what I did when the police overstepped the bounds of the law, sign an affidavit attesting to the events as they occured.

  14. #14 Chris
    January 25, 2010

    The plural of anecdote is anecdotes, not data.

    Police are not exactly those who can give a diagnosis. You heard a story, and made an unsubstantiated conclusion.

    Does any of this have anything to do with Mike Adams and his website, NaturalNews? The answer is a simple “no.”

    In short, Ms. Podlesak, you really have nothing to add to the conversation.

  15. #15 Kathy Orlinsky
    January 25, 2010

    You’re just a mindless biological robot whose life has no meaning, no purpose, no higher self.

    Yes, thinking critically about things is often conflated with acting mindlessly. Project much?

  16. #16 mary podlesak
    January 25, 2010

    Chris, as I have said before, there is no such category as “anecdotal data” to anyone other than physicians who seek to denigrate the value of observational data for personal gain. To biostatisticians there is only data. Prove irrefutably that physiological reactions without manifestly circumstantial causes should not at least preliminarily be attributed to vaccination. Automatically dismissing such a relationship is not science but prejudication.

  17. #17 shawmutt
    January 25, 2010

    I could wile away the hours
    Conferrin’ with the flowers
    Consultin’ with the rain
    And my head I’d be scratchin’
    While my thoughts were busy hatchin’
    If I only had a brain

    People listen to this guy for medical advice? “…the water your toilet is identical to water from a natural spring (assuming the chemical composition is the same, anyway).”

    Um…how do you even begin to respond to that?

  18. #18 Pareidolius
    January 25, 2010

    Man, is Adams afraid that science is right, or what? He’s like a little kid throwing a tantrum with his ears plugged, his eyes shut tight, screaming “La La La La La I’m never gonna die, I’m never gonna die, I’m never gonna die!” The fear of mortality is strong in this one . . .

  19. #19 Pareidolius
    January 25, 2010

    @16

    Chris, as I have said before, there is no such category as “anecdotal data” to anyone other than physicians who seek to denigrate the value of observational data for personal gain.

    In other words . . . “Data? We don’t need no steenkin’ Data!”

    Come on Chris, let’s face it, we’ll never be able to understand her Earth Wisdom™ because we’re just cold, sciency robots and she has a Soul™ . . . that, and anecdotes about her sister’s best freind’s neice-in-law’s reiki practitioner’s kid.

  20. #20 mary podlesak
    January 25, 2010

    Ridicule is not argument. Biostatisticians do not recognize anecdotal data, just data. Don’t believe me? Look it up genius. As I said before, you guys are nothing but the Borg, the Borg in a Potemkin Village, A fakery set up to promote drugs. Real men debate in public but you don’t have real balls, just virtual balls. Why are you so afraid of one old, ugly broad like me?

  21. #21 Prof. Bleen
    January 25, 2010

    To be fair, he only claimed that WTC 7 was not hit by an airplane—not WTC 1 or 2. The Truther BS doesn’t enter in until his claim that WTC 7 had to have been destroyed with the help of precision explosives.

  22. #22 BC Grad Student
    January 25, 2010

    Quick point: WTC 7 was not hit by a plane. This was the 30+ story building that had a few tiny fires inside and had received minor damage from the collapse of the twin towers. The most widely held interpretation is that the external damage, coupled from the heat of the fire, caused the collapse. I think there’s good reason to be skeptical personally (not to the level of black helicopter conspiracy but just to the level of it being really weird). At the very least we’re talking serious design flaws and a hefty lawsuit.

    This doesn’t, of course, mean that this crack pot is any less of a loon.

  23. #23 Michael Ralston
    January 25, 2010

    It looks to me like mary podlesak actually made a true statement! Biostatisticians do not, in fact, seem to recognize anecdotal data as valid. Because, you know, it’s a legitimate field of science. I mean, come on, Mary, statisticians by definition work only with large numbers – you know, the opposite of anecdotes.

  24. #24 Coran
    January 25, 2010

    Sure, Mary, even if biostatisticians accept ALL possible data, they have a way of weighting their data for reliability. I mean, you can’t just add “Some story I heard on the Internet” to “What that bloke in the pub said” and get something to base public health policy on.

  25. #25 dirt
    January 25, 2010

    Mary, while there is no reason to assume off-handedly that your story is not true, it does not, in and of itself, prove that all doctors are to be distrusted, or that the overall benefit of vaccines does not outweigh the risk. It is possible that the child you refer to had an allergic, or otherwise adverse, reaction to the vaccine recieved. Your doctor or public health authority will tell you that a small number of people may have an adverse reaction to any given vaccine. But the true indication of risk lies in the numbers, ie statistics. The number of people who do not have any adverse reaction to a given vaccine and benefit from the protection it helps the body to create is far, FAR greater than the number of people who have an adverse reaction. And the number of actual deaths (usually due to allergic reactions) is even smaller than the small number of adverse reactions. Even for people who have non-life threatening reactions (such as temporary swelling, fever, or discomfort of the injection site) the benefits still usually outweigh the risk of not being vaccinated, especially against life-threatening pandemics or epidemics. Doctors don’t claim that no one EVER dies as a reaction to vaccines, or that there is no risk of adverse reaction. It’s just that such occurances are VERY rare. When they do occur they are talked about, much more so than the many, many instances where vaccines do their job without any problems. So your story only proves that one child had an adverse reaction, and one doctor was an ass about it. That’s if the story happened exactly as you tell it, because what you’ve given is third-party information. It happened to a relative of an aquaintance, not to YOU personally, so while I don’t disbelieve you, it is not exactly verifiable information.

  26. #26 bloodtoes
    January 25, 2010

    Would I be incorrect in assuming that, given the right crowd, Adams’ tactics would possibly “win” a debate?

    This whole thing has been quite entertaining, I’m eager to watch it play out throughout the week.

    By the way, the Shorty’s are just in the nomination phase. Nominations end on January 29th, after which the top 6 nominees get voted on again. After that, Dr Rachie will need our support to ensure quackaloon Mercola doesn’t get the posh free trip to New York.

  27. #27 bloodtoes
    January 25, 2010

    Correction.. top 5. 6 if there’s a tie for 5th. And the invite probably doesn’t come with hotel & air.. anyway. :)

  28. #28 Noadi
    January 25, 2010

    Biostatisticians don’t work with anecdotal evidence. It’s NOT DATA and they work with DATA. Here’s an equivalent to your story:
    When my dad was 9 years old his 5 year old sister was killed in front of him, she was hit by a school bus when the driver was distracted. Right before they had gone outside they’d been listening to the song Last Kiss. Many years later he was listening to the cover version of Last Kiss done by Pearl Jam when he received a phone call that my brother had been injured being hit by a car.

    I could conclude the song caused both accidents but that’s nonsense, it was a coincidence and without more data there’s no reason to think there was a connection. Same goes with your anecdote, except mine isn’t potential grounds for a libel lawsuit.

  29. #29 Noadi
    January 25, 2010

    Ooops, forgot to add. If you don’t knwo the song it involves a car accident that kills the narrator’s girlfriend.

  30. #30 dirt
    January 25, 2010

    Mare, Also, this one story does not prove that most vaccine-related deaths are not reported to the CDC. And I have a question for you: If this doctor threatened the mother with a child-abuse charge if she reported the incident, on what was he going to base that charge? A report of an adverse reaction to a vaccine should not have been a threat to the doctor’s reputation or practice. It was an ADVERSE REACTION, having to do with the child’s reaction to a vaccine, not the doctors methods or practice (for all the detail you have given us). So if his practice was not in danger he must have had some other reason to threaten a charge of child-abuse. Maybe he had reason to believe that the death was actually the result of abuse or negligence rather than an adverse reaction to vaccine? Alternately, if his practice WAS in danger then the death must have been related to something questionable that the doctor did or did not do rather than a reaction to the vaccine. So the fact that the threat was made in the first place indicates that either the doctor was an ass (as many people are, and doctors are people too) or the mother was an ass. If neither are true then there would have been no reason for the threat.

  31. #31 Duae Quartunciae
    January 25, 2010

    Speaking of strawmen… (sorry, but it fits, in this one case)

    Orac says:

    Note how he actually seems to believe in the “no plane” idea of how the World Trade Center towers were destroyed.

    No, he doesn’t seem to believe that at all. He was speaking about WTC 7, which did collapse and which wasn’t hit by any aircraft. You quoted this.

    Mike Adams said:

    Skeptics aren’t skeptical about the demolition-style collapse of the World Trade Center 7 building on September 11, 2001 — a building that was never hit by airplanes. This beautifully-orchestrated collapse of a hardened structure could only have been accomplished with precision explosives.

    There’s a heap of burning stupid there, of course. The collapse of WTC 7 came about as result of massive damage from falling debris weakening the structure, and by the fires in the building that were started from that debris as well. There was indeed no aircraft impact on WTC 7.

    Hence it is a strawman to say that Adams is proposing a no plane idea with respect to other impact, or that he is denying the impact of planes on the two main towers, WTC 1 and WTC 2, which collapsed first.

    You need to fix this with an addendum and acknowledgement in your article. Please.

  32. #32 Mojo
    January 25, 2010

    Mike Adams continues the stupidity.

    It seems that he doesn’t understand the difference between “condemnation” and “derision”.

  33. #33 dirt
    January 25, 2010

    Has Adams ever seen a building being demolished with explosives? A building demolition is more or less an implosion, with the building falling in on itself and leaving other buildings only meters away untouched and unscathed. It does not cause the outward cloud of dust and debris that we witnessed in the video Adams linked to. And the explosives are set off from the bottom up, not randomly throughout the building. Even if the WTC7 building WAS brought down with explosives (which appears highly unlikely), it could hardly be called a true demolition job, or precise, or beautifully-orchestrated.

  34. #34 Jim Purdy
    January 25, 2010

    You criticize Mike Adams for attacking straw men, but you seem to use Mike Adams as your own straw man.

    I would be interested in your opinions of the many qualified doctors and scientists who sometimes question the conventional wisdom.

    People like Stephan Guyenet of wholehealthsource.blogspot.com, Doctor Art Ayers of coolinginflammation.blogspot.com, and Doctor T of nephropal.blogspot.com

    Just asking … not trying to argue, because I’m not sure Mike is credible enough to deserve all the attention from you.

    The 50 Best Health Blogs

  35. #35 Sauceress
    January 25, 2010

    So now it seems that Mike Adams, seeing some of Mercola’s followers appear to have been alienated by his low grade personal insults on Dr Rachie, has yet another horse in the race.

    We want to help natural health advocates win this category. You can help by casting TWO votes right now (yes, you can legitimately vote for more than one candidate in the same category, according to Shorty Awards rules).
    Vote for Dr. Joseph Mercola…
    And vote for Kevin Gianni here…
    You know Kevin Gianni. He’s got a huge Twitter following, and he’s all about health freedom. He’s standing up for health freedom by joining the race. With your support, we could potentially help Dr. Mercola take first place, and Kevin Gianni could take second or third.

  36. #36 Deen
    January 25, 2010

    Automatically dismissing such a relationship is not science but prejudication.

    Then why would automatically asserting such a relationship not be prejudice as well?

  37. #37 Sauceress
    January 25, 2010

    I just realised the above quote I posted follows the

    Free registration is required to read the rest of this article…

    And of course, behind the curtain there’s this..

    You can probably tell by now that these jackals are front-men for Big Pharma. I’ve seen this behavior enough to know exactly who is behind this: The drug companies and their P.R. hit men. They see natural health advocates as a threat to their business, and they will do anything to try to get you censored, banned, disqualified or otherwise shut down on the ‘net. The one thing they absolutely cannot stand is for health freedom advocates to have a voice and tell people the truth about why they don’t need pharmaceuticals, mammograms, vaccines and chemotherapy.

    No doubt the best selling items merchandised by Mike Adams and Co. are those top of the range, 100% naturally formulated tin foil hats!

  38. #38 Orac
    January 25, 2010

    RE: WTC 7/No plane error

    I changed the text to fix that faux pas; that’s what I get for writing this when I had a lot of distractions going on, but that was the only time I had available over the weekend to do this piece. I fear that the concentrated burning stupid of Adams’ article may have damaged my neurons. I can’t think of another explanation for making a mistake like that. Oh, well…

    Adams is still a 9/11 Truther.

  39. #39 Duae Quartunciae
    January 25, 2010

    Much better. And yes, he’s a “truther”. Weird.

  40. #40 Jud
    January 25, 2010

    The child’s pediatriacian threatened the mother with a report of child abuse to the police if she dared report the death to VAERS.

    VAERS is not exactly the first thing anyone, particularly the physician, would be concerned about in case of a child’s death directly related to very recent medical treatment. Thus the story of a doctor who may have been involved in the death of a young child being concerned to the point of blackmail about VAERS reporting, as opposed to far more likely objects of anxiety such as a criminal investigation by the authorities, or a civil lawsuit from the child’s family, makes it quite evident that this story is either completely fabricated or bowdlerized to the point of unrecognizability. I.e., it’s made up, mostly or completely.

  41. #41 attack_laurel zombie
    January 25, 2010

    Brains… I went to Mike Adams’ site, and I’m starving… no brainsssss…

    Skeptics… zombies… drones… different words for the same thing. Soulless, mindless, lacking consciousness and free will, having no awareness of the value of life…

    Zombies have feelings too! Oh, Mike Adams, is there no end to your oppression of the soul-deficient?!

  42. #42 Maria
    January 25, 2010

    What I don’t understand is this: If Mike Adams is such a moron — and it certainly appears that he is — why repeat his nonsense, even if just to tear it apart? I mean, seriously — how can you take him seriously? The guy is clearly an idiot.

  43. #43 qwertyuiop
    January 25, 2010

    One thing I have to admit tho, he is a good rapper. See his music videos on youtube (if you can get past the inanity of the lyrics that is).

    “I won’t bother linking them here because they don’t deserve the views” to borrow from Adams himself.

  44. #44 Dianne
    January 25, 2010

    Maybe he had reason to believe that the death was actually the result of abuse or negligence rather than an adverse reaction to vaccine?

    If he suspected child abuse then he had a legal obligation to report it, regardless of what the mother threatened or did not threaten to do to him. However, given that this is a friend-of-a-friend story, I strongly suspect fact drift.

  45. #45 Snoof
    January 25, 2010

    Water is made up of two gases, each of which is a combustible fuel on its own. Do I think water is magical? You bet I do!

    Oh, man. There’s so much wrong with those sentences, I’m going to have to unpick them manually.

    Ok, first off: oxygen is not a fuel. By definition, a fuel is something which reacts exothermically with an oxidant SUCH AS OXYGEN.

    Secondly: water is made from hydrogen and oxygen? Amazing! A compound is made from two different elements, which have somewhat different properties to the compound itself!

    Thirdly: Table salt is made from an explosive metal and a hideously corrosive gas, yet is tasty and basically harmless[1]. Does that make it magical too? Maybe heshould try mixing it with water and selling it as a magical health supplement!

    [1] Compared to, say, strontium fluoride, or hydrogen cyanide, or billions of other generally nasty compounds.

  46. #46 Dangerous Bacon
    January 25, 2010

    Jim Purdy: “You criticize Mike Adams for attacking straw men, but you seem to use Mike Adams as your own straw man.”

    Not at all.

    Adams brings the crazy more consistently and entertainingly than some of his altie confederates, but a lot of his ideas are echoed and reinforced by seemingly more respectable allies (like Mary Podlesak, AgeofAutism warriorette, whose misconceptions about vaccines have been reproduced on Adams’ NaturalNews website).

    Mikey, in his petulant foot-stamping rage over being denied an Internet award, is an entertaining spectacle – but he’s far from alone in spreading virulent nonsense about health issues.

    Beyond the Health RangerLoon and his allies, if you check out the many articles here, lots deal with questions about “conventional” medical wisdom from actual thoughtful sources, and how the status quo stands up to changing evidence.

  47. #47 Orac
    January 25, 2010

    What I don’t understand is this: If Mike Adams is such a moron — and it certainly appears that he is — why repeat his nonsense, even if just to tear it apart? I mean, seriously — how can you take him seriously?

    Does this post look like I’m taking him seriously? I’m not, at least not as far as what he writes and advocates. After all, this long post is nothing more than ridiculing his exceedingly ridicule-worthy rant. However, Adams does have a lot of readers, more than most reputable “conventional” medical sites. Consequently, for that reason alone we have little choice but to take him “seriously” enough to slap him down from time to time. The guy’s website promotes more pseudsocience and quackery than nearly any other that I’m aware of.

  48. #48 Jeff Alexander
    January 25, 2010

    I suspect some “food” might not be “dead”. Food borne parasites can be very unpleasant.

  49. #49 Armand K.
    January 25, 2010

    @shawmutt, #17

    People listen to this guy for medical advice? “…the water your toilet is identical to water from a natural spring (assuming the chemical composition is the same, anyway).”

    Um…how do you even begin to respond to that?

    To that particular point, the response is that it’s correct. Water is hydrogen oxide no matter its source, and for any practical purpose two samples of water having the same chemical composition are identical.

    Incidentally, the water in your toilet, assuming a “normal” house plumbing, has precisely the same source and composition as the one you boil your vegetables in. Some even drink tap water. Tap water–the same stuff that go in the toiled! (Not to mention the astronauts on the ISS, who drink the water even after it goes out the toilet!)

  50. #50 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    January 25, 2010

    Ridicule is not argument. Biostatisticians do not recognize anecdotal data, just data. Don’t believe me? Look it up genius. As I said before, you guys are nothing but the Borg, the Borg in a Potemkin Village, A fakery set up to promote drugs. Real men debate in public but you don’t have real balls, just virtual balls. Why are you so afraid of one old, ugly broad like me?

    Science is not settled in public debates and your anecdotal story proves nothing other than you can type on a computer.

    Just ask my girlfriend from Niagra Falls.

  51. #51 Kristen
    January 25, 2010

    Mike Adams writes:

    Skeptics believe that you can take unlimited pharmaceuticals… with absolutely no health effects whatsoever!

    Anyone who has a chronic disease knows, a doctor will take months to find the right medication for said disease. Why? Because they are always looking for adverse reactions and/or interactions. Even if the patient gets impatient and wants the doctor to just ‘fix it’ already.

    Not so with ‘natural medicine’, they will use multiple ‘remedies’ with hardly a thought of adverse effects. How many supplements have a patient information insert (I am, of course, not speaking of homeopathy, since that has no more adverse effects than water)?

    They want more studies to prove the efficacy and safety of pharmaceuticals and vaccines when they have absolutely no documentation for their own crap.

    When I searched naturalnews.com for “adverse reactions” this is what I found. Mostly mention of the danger of ‘evil’ medical interventions.

    Of course, you do get this on every supplement: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. [This supplement] is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

    These ‘alt med’ people are hypocritical swindlers of the highest ‘quality’.

  52. #52 Kristen
    January 25, 2010

    Sorry, messed up my blockquote. First sentence is a quote, the rest is mine.

  53. #53 Armand K.
    January 25, 2010

    Ups. The paragraph “Um…how do you even begin to respond to that?” should have been inside the blockquote.

    I felt I should make that little observation, from a chemist’s point of view, given that some people still think there’s some essential difference among things coming from different immediate sources… Like tap vs. spring water, natural vs. synthetic vitamin C etc. What differs in water coming from different sources is the overall composition, not water itself. In a sense, all and every molecule of water we drink has been recycled (via the water cycle in nature).

  54. #54 wfjag
    January 25, 2010

    Orac:

    If the methods Adams advocates are good enough to use on Haitians, how can you object to them? http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=CNG.4e601264cbdad356a9d677659aa5919c.51&show_article=1

  55. #55 Jud
    January 25, 2010

    BC Grad Student at #22 writes:

    The most widely held interpretation [re the collapse of WTC 7] is that the external damage, coupled from the heat of the fire, caused the collapse. I think there’s good reason to be skeptical personally….

    Err, no. I’ve been involved in fire litigation, and the way fire can weaken both metal and concrete structural members would surprise you. As soon as I saw the TV pictures of WTC #1 and #2 in the very early stages of the fires in those buildings, I voiced concern to my co-workers about the potential that both buildings might collapse.

    I am not at all skeptical that fire coupled with external damage could have brought down WTC 7. If you are skeptical, of course skepticism is not a bad initial attitude, but you owe it to yourself to do some scientific and engineering research on the subject rather than applying “common sense” to an uncommon situation. (There has been analysis done on fireproofing of structural members in WTC 1 and WTC 2, and a quite good NOVA episode presenting some of it. I don’t know whether the same fireproofing regime was used in WTC 7.)

  56. #56 Anthro
    January 25, 2010

    It’s all good fun ripping on Adams and I enjoyed every word of it, but in the interest of doing the most good for the average consumer, wouldn’t it be better to spend some time taking down all these MD’s (Weill, Hyman, Oz, Chopra, Northrup, those mentioned in comment #34, et al)? I know you spend time on this, I only mean to encourage it as there is so much of it out there that needs to be combatted.

    By the way, Is Gary Null Mike Adams’ twin?

  57. #57 Interrobang
    January 25, 2010

    I’m a meat robot, and I’m proud of it. So there.

    Orac, you don’t just mix metaphors, you have entire figurative episodes of “Will It Blend?”. If you had some fancy paper umbrellas and a few maraschino cherries, your writing could be its own cocktail party.

  58. #58 Tracy W
    January 25, 2010

    It is also true that most of us do not support supplements, herbal medicine, chiropractic (other than for aspects of it that resemble physical therapy), energy medicine, homeopathy, intercessory prayer, and therapeutic touch.

    It depends on what you mean by energy medicine. I am about in favour of treating hypothermia by supplying heat energy, and hyperthermia by removing heat energy, as of anything else.

    What I am continually amazed by is that woo-merchants can advertise something as a newly discovered form of energy, and get people lining up to buy it, despite the common knowledge that Marie Curie was killed by a new form of energy.

  59. #59 Mojo
    January 25, 2010

    Jim Purdy wrote:

    You criticize Mike Adams for attacking straw men, but you seem to use Mike Adams as your own straw man.

    Are you suggesting that Mike Adams didn’t write the quotations attributed to him (unlikely as they appear on his website), or merely that he isn’t real?

  60. #60 Raging Bee
    January 25, 2010

    How do you know the risks of vaccination in young children are tiny?

    Well, for starters, we’ve been vaccinating kids by the millions for several decades now; and, relative to the numbr of kids vaccinated, the number of kids who have adverse reactions to said vaccines is…tiny.

    And if you’re going to base your whole case on anecdotes, here’s two of my own:

    1) I got quite a few shots when I was a child, and never had an adverse reaction to a single one of them.

    2) I got a swine-flu jab last year, along with thousands of other people. No signs (or news) of a bad reaction anywhere.

    So, mary…do my anecdotes beat yours? At least mine are PLURAL.

  61. #61 James Sweet
    January 25, 2010

    In fact, I can’t recall any of them claiming any such thing or stating the universe is a “stupid place” full of zombie biological bodies with no free will and no consciousness! Do you know a person who thinks that way?

    Of course not, but it has been my experience that some people whose perception of meaning and value are so inextricably tied to supernatural explanations do think this way about a hypothetical (in their minds) universe with nothing supernatural in it.

    I don’t think the word “free will” is particularly well-defined, so I suppose once could say I think there is no free will. And as you pointed out, the “no consciousness” thing is a misunderstanding of an anti-dualist position, and I do suspect that the way we perceive consciousness is very much illusory. But I’m totally okay with that, and I find meaning and value in my life regardless.

    For someone married to this idea of a “soul” or “free will”, however, they may feel that a universe without these ill-defined concepts would be a “stupid place” full of zombies. So in a sense, Mike Adams is sort of correct — his perception of the universe I believe in is more or less accurately characterized by his foolish rant. (Except of course that “bent on self-destruction” nonsense. Yeesh)

  62. #62 Jacksonskepticalsociety
    January 25, 2010

    Aww, the part 2 of the story requires free registration to continue.

    And all I’d learned is that Mike Adams and Feynman apparently believe in magic. My level 12 wizard has something to say about this!

    So what do you guys think? Should I sign up and subject the skeptics society email address to a plethora of natural news articles incoming?

    Is it worth the pain for the gain in hilarity?

  63. #63 James Sweet
    January 25, 2010

    From Mike Adams’ follow-up article:

    I do think water is magical!

    Think about it: Water expands when it freezes (almost everything else shrinks).

    Wow. So… he thinks it’s magic that’s doing that?

    Clearly, Mike Adams is not even qualified to receive a degree from the University of Google. None of those links mentions “magic”…

  64. #64 Ron
    January 25, 2010

    I have an ad hominem attack on Mike Adams I’d like to throw in the mix:

    “If he were given a few more brains, he would still just be a half wit.”

    I know, I know…not the proper way to argue the skeptic’s position, but I just wanted to use that joke today…

  65. #65 njk
    January 25, 2010

    I can’t recall any of them claiming any such thing or stating the universe is a “stupid place” full of zombie biological bodies with no free will and no consciousness! Do you know a person who thinks that way?

    Not personally, but isn’t that a trait of some psychopaths? That is, their lack of empathy is so severe, they don’t recognize that other people are people?

  66. #66 Vicki
    January 25, 2010

    Any serious discussion of WTC 7 has to include a fact that the conspiracy theorists like to gloss over: that was the mayor’s “bunker,” a.k.a. emergency command center, and for reasons best known to himself, he decided to store huge quantities of diesel fuel there. Above-ground “bunker”, with a large supply of flammable materials (there’s Giuliani for you). No, there was no jet fuel there: that’s like arguing that a pile of wood can’t burn because nobody added gasoline.

    From another technical angle: if he wants to point at things without boosting their googlejuice, there’s rel=”nofollow”. (Another blog I read encourages posters to use it when pointing to crap, spammers, etc.) So much for that excuse,

    Given Adams’s “they never talk about medical fraud” line, I wonder whether he has said anything about the fact that the studies saying “narcotics are no better than NSAIDs” turned out to be faked. On the one hand, it’s a story of medical fraud and could be pitched as “pharma protecting its patented stuff,” but on the other, he’d have to admit that nothing else is as good for some kinds of serious pain as narcotics. I can’t quite see these folks advocating fentanyl patches for chronic pain patients, or heroin for people with cancer, and they’re probably skeptical of the tylenol-and-codeine given out by dentists. (This goes with a whole culture of telling chronic pain patients to grin and bear it, which doctors are also vulnerable to, because they live in the same culture as the rest of us, and because they are often (reasonably) worried about being scammed by people looking for recreational drugs and/or investigated by the government. So there’s a real desire to believe that nobody actually needs narcotics.)

    Yes, that’s a digression. Sorry.

  67. #67 Orac
    January 25, 2010

    So what do you guys think? Should I sign up and subject the skeptics society email address to a plethora of natural news articles incoming?

    Is it worth the pain for the gain in hilarity?

    .

    I’m on the NaturalNews.com mailing list for the sheer amusement of it. It also from time to time provides me blogging material.

  68. #68 Johnny
    January 25, 2010

    So, mary…do my anecdotes beat yours? At least mine are PLURAL.

    I wanna play too, RagingBee.

    Back in the day, my dad was in the Air Force, and was assigned to the Philippines. We went with him, so in addition to all the shots that were common to someone born in the mid-50s, we received the full course needed to go there, too.

    Later, when I joined the AF, I was in a tactical mobile unit – we had to be ready to go anywhere at any time, so we were kept current on all shots. I’ve never counted, but I wouldn’t be surprised if I’ve had 75 or more.

    One shot that we only received when we needed it was GG… ever see a plane load of guys trying to sit on one cheek, because the other one was full of GG. The new formula is nothing compared to the old formula (yes, I’ve had them both, a few times).

    When I got out of the Air Force, back in the mid-80s, I didn’t keep my flu shots up to date every year – until I got the flu. I’d never realized how bad the flu can be… it hurts. I still travel a bit (not as much) and am current on everything but cholera at the moment.

    One place we went was Senegal – a place so dirty that it was forbidden for us official visitors to go to the beach. Raw sewage was dumped right into the ocean.

    In all my travels to Africa and Asia, I never was sick from anything we were vaccinated for – and we were in places that had these diseases circulating.

    Yah, it’s just an anecdote… but there aren’t many people who have had more vaccines than I have, and if they caused problems, I should know, right Mary?

  69. #69 Grabula
    January 25, 2010

    Mary Podlesak – 2 points for a successful troll. You’re story is typical bullshit however “freind of a freinds uncles sisters neice blah blah blah…’

    No matter how ugly or old you are I’d be more than happy to debate you on it in public.

  70. #70 Denice Walter
    January 25, 2010

    @ Anthro: I don’t think Mikey is Null’s twin because of the age(and hair color**) difference,*however*, I *do* think that the former may have studied the latter’s sales techniques and ranting style, and mimesis is the epitome of flattery….*par example*, if you look at their web sites(Gary Null.com;HealthRanger,NaturalNews), you see that both have their fingers in a lot of (presumably organic, vegan)pies- Null sells supplements,water filters,books,videos,”documentaries”,courses,lectures,has a health food store,his Fla. “retreat”; Adams-(see “current projects” especially) sells supplements,ads,books, videos,vacations and land in Ecuador,software(Arial),media engine,etc. Both have “charities”( and often proclaim all the “good work they do); they quote each other frequently ( I listen to the Null-meister’s noon radio show a few days a week as I do my “investment” chores for the past 10 years).Both are trying desperately to get mainstream media and social network attention; both do quasi- political and economic “education”(abysmally)- Null fancies himself to be a psychologist(!!!!); both are “spiritual”,”sustainable/
    green”, “non-commercial”(sic),and whatever is fashionable that week in “mass media”(which they despise)…Both are obsessed with their bodies( quote height, weight, blood values, etc.)…..I found sales figures on Null but not Adams….yet. **(on that hair color, I saw Null live once and WOW.. it’s scary!)

  71. #71 ambulocetacean
    January 25, 2010

    Yay Dr Rachie! She rules!

  72. #72 Calli Arcale
    January 25, 2010

    mary podlesak @ 16:

    Chris, as I have said before, there is no such category as “anecdotal data” to anyone other than physicians who seek to denigrate the value of observational data for personal gain. To biostatisticians there is only data. Prove irrefutably that physiological reactions without manifestly circumstantial causes should not at least preliminarily be attributed to vaccination. Automatically dismissing such a relationship is not science but prejudication.

    You are quite right that automatic dismissal is not science. The same is true of automatic acceptance. You have assumed, without evidence, that the vaccine was to blame for the death. Absent any information about how the poor child died, I don’t see any reason to attribute it to the vaccine. All you’ve said is that the child died. Children do sometimes die, so we don’t know whether this had anything to do with the vaccine. (It might have. As Orac pointed out right in the original post, no one here is claiming vaccines are perfect. We are claiming that for certain widely-recommended ones, the benefits outweigh the risks. It’s a gamble, like everything in life. Like forgoing vaccination. There is no time when you are not taking a risk. It’s more a question of which risks and when.)

    There is no way to prove that any reaction should be preliminarily attributed to anything; if we’re talking preliminary attributions, we’re talking about a situation where proof is not available. And no reaction lacks causes — if the cause is unknown, it just means nobody’s found it yet. That doesn’t justify giving up and picking an arbitrary suspect to find guilty. How do you pick the suspect in that case? If you don’t know what caused a death, how do you decide which cause to pin it on? Vaccines? Flouridated water? The food from a new restaurant that the victim had never tried before? An undetected infection? Undetected cancer? Homicide? Accidental poisoning? Blood clot or stroke? If you really have no evidence at all, then it is utterly unreasonable to blame vaccines, when there are so many other possibilities, many of which are more likely.

    So why assume vaccines caused this child’s death? Really, if you are so concerned about science, why do you assume vaccines were the cause? You must have a reason, either something to do with the nature of the child’s death, or a personal prejudice against vaccines. If it is the former, would you care to share it with us? Otherwise, we may be forced to conclude the latter is more likely, and you aren’t really so concerned about science over “prejudication”.

    Jim Purdy @ 34:

    You criticize Mike Adams for attacking straw men, but you seem to use Mike Adams as your own straw man.

    Just asking … not trying to argue, because I’m not sure Mike is credible enough to deserve all the attention from you.

    Wander through old posts; Orac does address more reputable (and coherent) peddlers of woo as well. You may find the results very entertaining. I think he goes after Adams partly for the comedic value and also because it’s easy and right now he’s been very busy with grant applications. (In addition to being a doctor, Orac is an actual scientist.) You can usually tell when he’s got a lot of paperwork in front of him, because he starts re-running classic Orac posts. (Which I greatly enjoy, BTW, and hope he will continue to do!)

  73. #73 josh
    January 25, 2010

    Yo universe is so stupid, it ordered the sushi well done!

  74. #74 muteKi
    January 25, 2010

    “I hope it’s fairly obvious to you by now that skeptics are the most misinformed people on the planet. (emphasis in original)

    They are the easiest people to fool. They’re the easiest to hypnotize, too, because they lack independent thinking skills…”

    Man, it’s like he thinks we came to the opposite conclusion he did specifically by way of using the same thought processes he did.

  75. #75 Natalie
    January 25, 2010

    Johnny @ 68 – GG? Translation please? (As you can imagine, the google search for that pulls up a lot of clearly irrelevant but amusing results. I’m at work so I don’t want to dig much further!)

  76. #76 Jud
    January 25, 2010

    Natalie @75 -

    I’ll take a guess that Johnny @68 is referring to gamma globulin.

  77. #77 Joseph
    January 25, 2010

    According to Mike Adams’ reasoning, ‘Data’ from Star Trek would lose every argument automatically. That doesn’t sound right.

  78. #78 mayhempix
    January 25, 2010

    The Trufer conspiracy about Building 7 was completely debunked. It was caused by massive chunks falling debris and ignition of heating oil spraying in the basement.

    Poor Mike Adams. His pathetic rant shows his fury at a world that dismisses woo and ultimately dismisses him.

  79. #79 RJ
    January 25, 2010

    @77

    The same for Mr. Spock. Yeah, I’m not buying it either.

  80. #80 RJ
    January 25, 2010

    Are there any root differences between Mike Adams’ way of thinking, reasoning, explaining how things work and any other leader of a religious cult? He’s not about ‘health’….he’s about being the leader of a following. There is no process to his “health ranger-ing”, he cherry picks from work performed by scientists and repacks it into something he can sell (figuratively and literally).

    Science is a process. Medicine is an application of science. He’s selling a philosophy.

    As for him claiming to help people…I’d say I’m skeptical, but then that delegates to me to those on that awful list he provided, and that is clearly bad, bad, bad!

  81. #81 Sastra
    January 25, 2010

    When Adams talks about water being “magic,” he’s trying to slide between the more technical meaning of ‘magic’ — the sympathetic impression of an intention into an object (as in homeopathy) — and the more familiar meaning of ‘magic’ — evoking a sense of wonder and awe (as in having a “magical evening.”) This sloppy conflation of two superficially similar but completely different ideas is just another method they use to justify their belief that people who don’t believe in magical woo must not have any positive emotional reactions.

  82. #82 imr90
    January 25, 2010

    Why do we continue to argue with people who should be wearing tin-foil hats? They are more than a burning pile of stupid, many of them are in fact insane! How else would you describe people for whom reality has no meaning?

  83. #83 Paholaisen asianajaja
    January 25, 2010

    You should join their facebook-group. Adams is getting a bit of a backlash from fans.

  84. #84 DLC
    January 25, 2010

    Nice one, Orac.
    sometimes the proper reaction is to point and laugh.
    Adams bears a famous name, too bad he doesn’t bear the famous brain to go with.
    couple of notes:
    No. 7 World trade was not, as described by Adams, a “hardened structure.” Far from it. it was a beam and girder glass box, not hardened at all, and built so that roughly 2/3 of the building’s weight was distributed across two pillars or columns. Failure in one of those columns meant that the building had to fall in. Had to .. was going to whether we wanted it to or not.

  85. #85 David N. Brown
    January 25, 2010

    Skeptics believe that DEAD foods have exactly the same nutritional properties as LIVING foods (hilarious!).

    I expect this is a variation on “organic” food. Or perhaps he advocates swallowing small animals whole. You’d think vegetarians and animal-rights activists would have a problem with that.

    I have considered the possibilities of inorganic food: made from all chemicals and minerals?

  86. #86 David N. Brown
    January 25, 2010

    Skeptics believe that DEAD foods have exactly the same nutritional properties as LIVING foods (hilarious!).

    I expect this is a variation on “organic” food. Or perhaps he advocates swallowing small animals whole. You’d think vegetarians and animal-rights activists would have a problem with that.

    I have considered the possibilities of inorganic food: made from all chemicals and minerals?

  87. #87 Scott
    January 25, 2010

    Personally, I’ve never eaten any food that wasn’t more than 99% composed of chemicals, nor drunk any water that wasn’t chock-full of them.

  88. #88 Ticktock
    January 25, 2010

    It looks like Health Ranger is referring to my blog post, unless there’s another that references magical water. That really makes me smile that he read the whole thing.

  89. I love Dr Rachie! Listen, if the best you can do is talk about someone’s weight, then you clearly have nothing of use to say. This is amazing, watching these wackjobbies completely implode on this. I love it!

    To speak of Rachie in the manner of Hot Chicks with Douchebags (a paradigm which would certainly hold in our case), I would gladly translate Finnegan’s Wake into Swahili just for the chance to be beaten up by someone who sat behind Rachie when they were in primary school.

    HJ

  90. #90 Inquisitive Raven
    January 25, 2010

    In the discussion of medicines derived from natural substances, you neglected to point out a couple of major reasons for preferring synthetic versions or at least carefully isolated compounds: A guaranteed of purity and precise control of dosage. You don’t get either of these from shoving powdered herbs into capsules. How many herbal supplements has the FDA found that didn’t in fact contain what was on the label?

  91. #91 Johnny
    January 25, 2010

    @Natalie and Jud –

    Yah, gamma globulin is correct. Sorry for the shorthand, we always referred to it as GG, and it’s easy to think that everybody knows what I know, especially on this board. I don’t have a background in medicine or the biological sciences, and I come here to try to learn.

    To get back a little more on topic, I’m going to disagree with Orac when he says “unless we eat our vegetables right off of the vine…our food is “dead”” and “vegetables are dead by the time we’ve chewed them and send them into the acid baths that reside in our stomachs”.

    I have heard (but never seen first hand) of tomatoes sprouting at the sewage treatment plants after the seeds survived all the way thru people *and* the sewers. Many seeds are spread in animal poo after being eaten. I’ve had potatoes and onions from the mega-mart sprout (and planted them, too). No doubt they were weeks off the vine, and still alive.

    I’ve probably put away a cow or two in my life, and if there is a species on the menu that I haven’t had, that’s what I’m ordering. All the animals were well dead by the time I ate them (however not always cooked). But live vegetables are yummy.

    If you listen close, you can hear them scream when you bite down.

  92. #92 Bronze Dog
    January 25, 2010

    …I was in a tactical mobile unit…

    Off-topic humor: When I first read this, I saw “tactical mobile suit” and thought humorously, “Wait, we have Gundams and no one told me?!” Probably didn’t help that I was reworking my Armored Core in the game’s garage at the time.

    Of course, my second thought was some sort of terminology for equipment and uniforms specialized for keeping on the move. And finally, I reread the sentence correctly.

    I wonder if I can cash in my Big Pharma Shill Brownie Points for a humongous mecha.

  93. #93 Enkidu
    January 25, 2010

    @92 Bronze Dog

    Big Pharma would probably be more likely to have Evas, to fight off the “angels” of alternative medicine.

  94. #94 squirrelelite
    January 26, 2010

    @johnny,

    I had the same thoughts on seeds and potatoes, but didn’t get back in here to post them. I’ve grown a few potato plants and had that problem with onions as well.

    I think there are also quite a few intestinal parasites, whose life cycle depends on making it all the way through and out and back again.

    That’s why I’m a bit squirmy about eating raw fish and would probably order the sushi well done anyway. Especially if I saw it being prepared by the guy I saw the other day who was serving up the sushi with his bare hands right to the customer. If I see him again, I think I’ll shoot some video and call the health inspector, but I don’t get in there very often.

  95. #95 e.d
    January 26, 2010

    @johnny: that’s the point of seeds. A seed is the dormant genetic material of the plant, waiting until it finds a place suitable to grow. If that means the fleshy fruit needs to be consumed to make that happen, so be it. The animal eats the fruit, travels a bit, poops out the seed. That’s how the fruiting plant survives.

    The fleshy fruit part, however? Once it’s removed from the vine, away from water and nutrition, it’s good and dead.

    Oh, and garlic sprouts if left too long.

  96. #96 Militant Agnostic
    January 26, 2010

    To further belabor the water thing – water is burned (oxidized) hydrogen – is Adams so ignorant of chemistry that he doesn’t understand that and is astounded that the product of combining to “highly reactive” substances could be stable. This is as bad as when his buddy Mercola referred to aluminium as a “heavy metal+.

  97. #97 Militant Agnostic
    January 26, 2010

    To further belabor the water thing – water is burned (oxidized) hydrogen – is Adams so ignorant of chemistry that he doesn’t understand that and is astounded that the product of combining to “highly reactive” substances could be stable. This is as bad as when his buddy Mercola referred to aluminium as a “heavy metal+.

  98. #98 Militant Agnostic
    January 26, 2010

    Tip – do not hit refresh when you get the “Bad response from server” message – Don’t ask me how I know this.

  99. #99 zed
    January 26, 2010

    @mary podlesak

    to qoute Dr. Harriet Hall on SBM:

    In the first place, stories like these are notoriously unreliable. They are layman’s testimonials that amount to nothing but hearsay. How can we know they were not invented, exaggerated, misunderstood, or otherwise misrepresented? They fall far short of the kind of case reports that are published in medical journals with x-ray, lab and other documentation and the opportunity for peer review.

    In other words your example of a friend of a friend is Bullshit and should be treated as such.

  100. #100 Calli Arcale
    January 26, 2010

    Regarding live/dead food….

    There was an episode of the Red Green Show where the boys of Possum Lake had come into the possession of a live cow. There were some major hurt feelings involved in the situation, so the cow’s new owner (Junior, one of the unseen characters) decided to promptly butcher and eat it. Harold was horrified to learn this, and, while chewing on an apple, said so.

    “What, you’re going to go out and do the whole Texas Chainsaw Massacre on that poor defenseless milk-maker?”
    “Well, at least we’re doing the humane thing and killing it first. You’re eating that apple *alive*.”
    :-D

  101. #101 Coryat
    January 26, 2010

    “Real men debate in public but you don’t have real balls, just virtual balls. Why are you so afraid of one old, ugly broad like me?”

    So you’ve assumed everyone here is a man, posited a lazy essentialist notion of masculinity and made me chuckle with your talk of ‘virtual balls’. : )

  102. #102 Militant Agnostic
    January 26, 2010

    Real men debate in public but you don’t have real balls, just virtual balls. Why are you so afraid of one old, ugly broad like me?

    Of course Orac only has virtual balls. He is a Plexiglas box full of blinking lights after all. Sheesh – what a maroon.

  103. #103 Vicki
    January 26, 2010

    Squirrelelite–Hygiene is important, but bare hands versus gloves can be misleading. I would rather have someone wash their hands thoroughly and make me sushi with clean hands, than put on a pair of latex gloves and leave them on for hours, even through answering the telephone, handling money, or touching someone else’s unwashed hands. It’s too easy to assume that the gloved hands are clean, and that the ungloved ones aren’t. (I’m not saying medical staff shouldn’t wear gloves. Part of the reason for those gloves is to protect the medical staff: the phlebotomist with a small, exposed cut on their hand is at risk of contamination if a patient’s blood spills. Conversely, a nurse or other medical person who insists “my hands are clean, see, I’m wearing gloves” but walked into the room already gloved may be risking your health, if not their own.)

  104. #104 Zaxter
    January 26, 2010

    I got kicked off! I left a perfectly respectful comment on naturalnews.com and had the comment deleted. Not only that, but I was banned from ever commenting again. What is this guy afraid of? My comment contained no swearing, ad hominem arguments, or excessive sarcasm whatsoever. I merely pointed out the disingenuousness of bragging about all the new email subscribers when the site forces one to become an email subscriber to read the entire post. Orac doesn’t do that. I also pointed out that his descriptions of “real skeptics” would have a lot more credibility if he sourced them. Orac does do that. This site is embarrassing to even most woomeisters. Pathetic.

  105. #105 Denice Walter
    January 26, 2010

    @ Zaxter:People who battle HIV/AIDS denialism find that that’s exactly what happens to their comments on sites maintained by the denialists.Similar with anti-vaxxer sites. There might be a few ways around this: see if the offender posts videos on YouTube,comments on social media,including Huffington Post(as well as their articles),sometimes “smaller” sites(found through Google) write about them and don’t censor(as they want more comments).

  106. #106 JohnV
    January 26, 2010

    @Denice Walter

    Huffington Post censors and/or moderates comments. Particularly the pro-disease bloggers.

  107. #107 chaos
    January 26, 2010

    Are you smarter than a 5th grader? Not Mike Adams. His comments are so ridiculous, childish and uninformed…I find it difficult to see why anyone would actually spend so much time tearing him apart. Sure, I understand that this is a great exercise in evaluating statements and understanding what’s wrong with them…but dealing with Mike Adams seems to be like picking on the kid that rode the short bus to school. Actually, with his level of intelligence…I struggle to believe he can tie his own shoes (Velcro, perhaps?)

  108. #108 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    January 26, 2010

    Particularly the pro-disease bloggers.

    Pro-disease?

  109. #109 Dr. P
    January 26, 2010

    Pro-disease??,blockquote> The new designation for the antivax.

  110. #110 JohnV
    January 26, 2010

    pro-disease gets kicked around here at times. I like considering comments made by Jenny McCarthy and her boyfriend about measles coming back and killing people and our own Sid Offit who was pretty blase about vaccine-preventable disease when it occurred in africa.

  111. #111 Dr. P
    January 26, 2010

    crap! blockquote fail

  112. #112 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    January 26, 2010

    Got it. thanks

  113. #113 Scott
    January 26, 2010

    His comments are so ridiculous, childish and uninformed…I find it difficult to see why anyone would actually spend so much time tearing him apart.

    I can’t speak for Orac’s reasoning, but IMO it’s worthwhile because, despite his foolishness, he’s highly influential in a certain segment of society. Attempting to limit that influence is a desirable goal.

    If Adams didn’t have so many people listening to him, you might have a point.

  114. #114 Bronze Dog
    January 26, 2010

    Real men debate in public but you don’t have real balls, just virtual balls. Why are you so afraid of one old, ugly broad like me?

    Wait, you mean real men prefer media with numerous opportunities to be disruptive, no easy method of citing sources for all to see, and the biggest hiding place of all: The clock?

    These “real men” sound like craven cowards. I’m the sort of person who prefers those who have something to say be held accountable for it. The internet, with the Streisand Effect, leave no room to hide.

  115. #115 Denice Walter
    January 26, 2010

    @ John V: Don’t write off Huff Po 100%(maybe 90%), although there is moderation, they *occasionally* will let a sane comment through, unlike Adams’ sites, the anti-vaxxers,HIV/AIDS denialists.

  116. #116 Zach Miller
    January 26, 2010

    Awww, Mary stopped posting. I was enjoying reading her assertions strung up by their entrails.

  117. #117 Chris
    January 27, 2010

    She might come back. She seems to come around very late in the evening to early morning. Perhaps after she has put all the kids to bed and has been sipping the cooking sherry.

  118. #118 mary podlesak
    January 27, 2010

    I don’t drink, wait, I take that back, I do drimk but in extreme moderation, I had breast cancer and believe it prudent to do so. Besides, I never was very fond of alcohol.

    I don’t have much time. In partial response, Professional scientific conferences mimic a mini debate, but they do not have hundreds in the audience. All the elements are there of a debate. The scientific presenter lays out his/her research, citations, explanations, conclusions, proposals. Then other scientists critcize, analyze, provoke, respond. I believe a debate on the autism-vaccine connection should model a good paper presentation at a scientific conference with the caveat that hundreds would be allowed to watch. I would like to see them in school auditoriums or town hall opera houses, etc., that is, large public venues. Maybe you young whipersnappers haven’t expierenced the rather strident give and take of an authentic scientific paper presentation.

  119. #119 Coryat
    January 27, 2010

    “I believe a debate on the autism-vaccine connection should model a good paper presentation at a scientific conference with the caveat that hundreds would be allowed to watch. I would like to see them in school auditoriums or town hall opera houses, etc., that is, large public venues.”

    So a pseudo-scientific plebiscite, with evidence vs ignorance and a baying mob. Yeah, good one.

    “Maybe you young whipersnappers haven’t expierenced the rather strident give and take of an authentic scientific paper presentation”

    Maybe you old fossils haven’t experienced the rather strident scientific process. I’m just sayin…

  120. #120 mary podlesak
    January 27, 2010

    When your handlers at Scienceblogs and Seed magazine get serious about an autism-vaccine debate instead of hurling insults and ad hominum attacks it will be entirely possible to present verifiable evidence in a respectful dignified setting. They need to come up with the money for this. It is entirely possible to put such a debate together and a very good public relations move on their part. This can generate good will for the CDC, NIH, FDA, the medical profession and the pharmacuetical firms. If you can’t debate an old ugly mother like me, you can’t debate anyone.

  121. #121 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    January 27, 2010

    What better place than here where your claims can be verified mary?

    Go ahead and lay out your evidence now?

  122. #122 JohnV
    January 27, 2010

    “If you can’t debate an old ugly mother like me, you can’t debate anyone.”

    You might be confusing “can’t” with “have better things to do than” or “won’t stoop to the level of”.

  123. #123 mary podlesak
    January 27, 2010

    Scientific conferences are put together for the purpose of presenting organized data evidence and written and verbal arguments in a personal setting where peers can review and criticize. It is not possible to do that solely on the internet. If that were the case there would be no need for scientific conferences as they would all be held online. I see a debate on the autism-vaccine connection as a type of this scientific presentation.

  124. #124 JohnV
    January 27, 2010

    Fine. Make a powerpoint presentation. Put it on microsoft office live (or your preferred file repository) and post a link here for us.

  125. #125 lykex
    January 27, 2010

    #123
    “It is not possible to do that solely on the internet”

    Sure it is. You just post references to all the peer-reviewed articles that support your claims. I mean, you do have them, right?
    After all, if you don’t, what exactly did you want to present at this conference you’re proposing? No, you must have bucket-loads of serious research lying around.

    Let’s make it even easier. How about if you post just one? One single article? That would be a big step for you and then we might have something real to discuss.

  126. #126 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    January 27, 2010

    Scientific conferences are put together for the purpose of presenting organized data evidence and written and verbal arguments in a personal setting where peers can review and criticize. It is not possible to do that solely on the internet. If that were the case there would be no need for scientific conferences as they would all be held online. I see a debate on the autism-vaccine connection as a type of this scientific presentation.

    Peer Review ≠ scientific conference

    Sounds like you would like to set up a debate because debates are perfect for grandiose displays of the tugging of heartstrings combined with your version of the Gish Gallop. Public debates do not settle science.

  127. #127 Scott
    January 27, 2010

    When your handlers at Scienceblogs and Seed magazine get serious about an autism-vaccine debate instead of hurling insults and ad hominum attacks it will be entirely possible to present verifiable evidence in a respectful dignified setting.

    Been done. The trouble is, only one side HAS any verifiable evidence, and the other side therefore resorts to screaming, lies, and Gish Gallops.

  128. #128 Pablo
    January 27, 2010

    Scientific conferences are put together for the purpose of presenting organized data evidence and written and verbal arguments in a personal setting where peers can review and criticize.

    The only thing I would say different is that it allows “other conference attendees” to review and criticize, which may or may not be peers. However, with that minor modification, I have no problem with this.

    Although I should say, I don’t know exactly what you mean “in a personal setting.” Do you mean, “in person”?

    It is not possible to do that solely on the internet.

    Why not? Aside from doing it “in person,” all those things are possible.

    The only advantage of the “in person” part of the conference presentation is that it allows for rapid feedback and exchange. However, that is absolutely possible on the internet.

    If that were the case there would be no need for scientific conferences as they would all be held online.

    Yes, they can be, IF you can get a sufficiently large group of people with the appropriate level of expertise that can provide insightful comments on each other’s work, so that the information can be used to improve the quality of what ultimately gets published.

    The nature of the internet makes that difficult. However, there are absolutely places where these types of interactions go on on the internet. You can find “special interests groups” for an awful lot of topics, where people will present their research findings for discussion. OTOH, people still like conferences, but science could progress without them.

    Lastly, I think you are under a very bad misconception. Any presentation that can be made at a conference can also be presented in written format (especially electronically, because even then, the fanciest of graphics, like animations and movies can be included). I have given many, many dozens of talks at conferences and all over, and could always, if I wanted to, provide a written contribution if I wanted. The science would still be there. The only thing missing would be my charisma and charm that makes it more entertaining.

    Mary, your complaints don’t hold up.

  129. #129 Pablo
    January 27, 2010

    When your handlers at Scienceblogs and Seed magazine get serious about an autism-vaccine debate instead of hurling insults and ad hominum attacks it will be entirely possible to present verifiable evidence in a respectful dignified setting.

    Mary – the International Meeting for Autism Research (IMFAR) is going to be held in Philadelphia in May. Why don’t you go and participate? Then you can debate all you want in an apparently sufficiently dignified setting.

    Unfortunately, the deadline for submission of papers has passed, but you could submit something for next year.

    What I’m saying is that the “debate” venue you keep clamoring for already exists. So if you are REALLY serious about it, you have the opportunity to do something.

  130. #130 lykex
    January 27, 2010

    I’m sure those men, old scientists won’t let her participate. They’d probably make her jump through all sorts of hoops, like showing credentials and presenting evidence. You know, completely unreasonable demands.

    Of course, they’re just scared of the TRUTH™

  131. #131 mary podlesak
    January 27, 2010

    My last comment didn’t make it to the blog. The reason for a PUBLIC debate is to inform the PUBLIC. I’m not interested in convincing bureaucrats from NIH, CDC and FDA, nor medical bureaucrats, nor pharmacuetical bureaucrats of the merits of my arguments. Even if G-d Himself presented irrefutable data evidence of the autism-vaccine link, these clowns wouldn’t acknowledge the truth of my arguments, because acknowledging the truth could interfere with the cash flow from the vaccine business.

    SEED, Scienceblogs and their corporate partners surely can afford to fund such debates and if they cannot, then our government should, because as I have said, it’s good PR. They gain good will among the public which is directly effected by vaccination. If they can’t debate this old ugly broad, they can’t debate Albert Einstein.

  132. #133 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    January 27, 2010

    The reason for a PUBLIC debate is to inform the PUBLIC. I’m not interested in convincing bureaucrats from NIH, CDC and FDA, nor medical bureaucrats, nor pharmacuetical bureaucrats of the merits of my arguments.

    And the reason public debates aren’t good for that very reason is because they are not about facts and “truth” but about who can either win over the audience of filibuster sufficiently to obscure their opponent.

    If you have the science that supports your position, please bring it forth in the scientific channels and win the real debate based on facts and empiricism.

  133. #134 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    January 27, 2010

    “of” should be “or”

  134. #135 Pablo
    January 27, 2010

    My last comment didn’t make it to the blog. The reason for a PUBLIC debate is to inform the PUBLIC. I’m not interested in convincing bureaucrats from NIH, CDC and FDA, nor medical bureaucrats, nor pharmacuetical bureaucrats of the merits of my arguments.

    WHAT???????

    Holy smokes, Mary, you can’t be serious.

    I’ve said this before, if you really want to inform the PUBLIC, start with convincing the people who have influence. You want to convince the doctors, because they are the ones who will advise their patients. In order to convince them, you need to influence their sources of information, which include primary scientific literature, but also the recommendations they get from the NIH, CDC, and FDA.

    Seriously, what is the better way of informing the PUBLIC: a) spend two hours in a dog and pony show in a public “debate” with Orac in front of 100 people, most of whom are already sympathetic to your case, or
    b) convince Orac by whatever means and have him argue your case for you to the SBM community?

    Good gravy, if you were able to convince the CDC to pronounce vaccines dangerous, that would change the world as we know it. Why in the world would you not want to do that? I thought that is what you wanted?

    If you actually had the goods, you should relish the opportunity to go after them.

  135. #136 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    January 27, 2010

    If you actually had the goods, you should relish the opportunity to go after them.

    But then that would take away the chance for some public pearl clutching.

  136. #137 a-non
    January 27, 2010

    Mary,

    Congratulations on *your* shorty award.

    http://shortyawards.com/marypodlesak

    Do not feed the sock puppet.

  137. #138 Dangerous Bacon
    January 27, 2010

    Mary, if you can’t bring yourself to present what “facts” you have to us ancient, ugly, hideously deformed and satanic skeptics, what more can we say to you?

  138. #139 mary podlesak
    January 27, 2010

    Dear Borg,
    With good case-control studies, good epidemiological studies using vaccinated vs. never vaccinated individuals, neither the CDC, nor NIH, nor FDA nor medical professionals, nor pharamacuetical companies could be convinced of the autism-vaccine connection. It doesn’t matter how good the science is, and it could be done very well, to convince all sane human beings that vaccines cause more harm than good. MONEY is the god of our age and Rothschild is it’s prophet. Vaccination is the sacrament of the church of our government and the medical profession acts as it’s priests dispensing “immunity to disease” to the faithful. The money that flows from this gusher can’t be stopped even by good scientific studies. Only a series of honest public debates can do that.

    I am by training a statistician, economist and an engineer, not a journalist and a two-bit surgeon like you with pretensions to scientific expertise but in reality a mere polemecist. Your excuses for not debatting are ridiculous. You’re afraid you can’t match their arguments?? The opposing argument might make you or your arguments look bad?? What the hell is that but professional cowardice? I’ve heard extremely heated arguments at scientific conferences. The public should be aware of these arguments and allowed to participate in this debate, not be high handedly told what to do with their bodies and those of their children by those with a vested financial interest in vaccination.

  139. #140 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    January 27, 2010

    If all the above is the case then you should be able to produce the actual science that shows that vaccinations do more harm than good.

    It should be easy and you can do that here.

    No one is holding you back from doing that.

    What the CDC or NIH or scary Big Pharma has to say doesn’t have a thing to you with YOU producing the science that supposedly has this undeniable link between vaccines and the damage you claim they do.

    You are the one who refuses to put it up.

    Go ahead and put it up.

    If you won’t it’s obvious you can’t.

    Your excuses for not debatting are ridiculous. You’re afraid you can’t match their arguments?? The opposing argument might make you or your arguments look bad??

    Nice strawman, no one is saying that. What we have told you over and over is that people like you intentionally practice a form of public debate that is not about examining data and research honestly, it’s about hyperbolic stage antics designed to win over the crowd not to show the validity of real empirical based medicine or science.

    Winning a debate proves nothing other than the debaters ability to wow the audience and in many cased to fill the discussion with as much factual nonsense that it can’t be addressed in the debate format.

    The evidence should stand on it’s own without the need to a popularity vote.

    Science isn’t about popularity its about producing reliable and repeatable results.

    The public should be aware of these arguments and allowed to participate in this debate, not be high handedly told what to do with their bodies and those of their children by those with a vested financial interest in vaccination.

    So you think Joe Sixpack is just as reliable a source of scientific knowledge and opinion as someone who is educated and trained in the specific science at hand?

    Are you really this dense?

    Do think we should let Billy Bob the Subway Sandwich technician give his input on matters of Air safety and engineering?

  140. #141 Todd W.
    January 27, 2010

    @mary podlesak

    Present, here, what you feel are the best studies (pick, say, the top 3-5) supporting your position. You say it’s out there, so let’s see it.

    I find it interesting, though, that you suggest Orac (and others here) is lacking in scientific expertise, while at the same time asking the public (a group largely lacking in scientific expertise) to weigh in on the question. Here’s something, I am a member of the public. I have no ties to any pharmaceutical company, no vested financial interests in any vaccine, no potential, at all, for monetary benefit from maintaining the current vaccination policies. So, hit me with your science. Convince me.

  141. #142 Scott
    January 27, 2010

    Mary,

    Don’t lie. You have no interest in an HONEST debate. An HONEST debate is limited to facts on both sides. And when limited to facts instead of lies, fraud, and wild speculation, you would have absolutely nothing to say.

  142. #143 mary podlesak
    January 27, 2010

    It’s absurd to compare me to David Kirby or Cassey Cohen or any of these other people who wanted to debate you. I’m not a professional journalist. I don’t have that kind of savoir-faire. My arguments would revolve around science. I’m not going to put on some great show. As I’ve said in another post, I will have to resort to nuclear warfare to get the scientific-government-medical-corporate establishment to pay attention and indeed I will do that.

  143. #144 Pablo
    January 27, 2010

    Here’s something, I am a member of the public.

    I meant to mention this. How in the world is the PUBLIC being shut of the debate? We are trying to have it right here, in this public forum! Mary just refuses to debate in _this_ public forum, and keeps insisting that we do it by her rules. That’s not “shutting out the public,” that is trying to manipulate the conditions in her favor.

  144. #145 Scott
    January 27, 2010

    My arguments would revolve around science.

    You mean the science that provides no support whatsoever for your arguments? The science that firmly, as near conclusively as science gets, says you’re completely wrong?

    No, I suspect your idea of “science” is fraudulent data manufactured at the behest of trial lawyers, and unsupported lies that the Amish don’t vaccinate and don’t have autistic children, and the like.

  145. #146 mary podlesak
    January 27, 2010

    what happened to my last post? If you Borg weren’t afraid of the PUBLIC you wouldn’t be afraid of debate. If your arguments are irrefutable and so superior then whatever I have, whether it’s personal “anecdotal evidence” or studies should be of no consequence, your irrefutable studies should trump them. As I said before, I’m not a professional journalist, but I have a serious argument and I expect it to be addressed by our scientific-governmental-medical-pharmacuetical collective. If SEED and Scienceblogs won’t do so, then I’ll have to resort to nuclear warfare. Have a nice day!

  146. #147 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    January 27, 2010

    Good grief you are dense. How many times do you need to be told this?

    Science is not settled in public debate. What the crowd thinks or not doesn’t have anything to do with what you can actually support scientifically.

    Your science should be able to stand on it’s own without your appeals to the crowd.

    The fact you think you need a debate to show your side hints at how weak it must be.

    I expect it to be addressed by our scientific-governmental-medical-pharmacuetical collective. If SEED and Scienceblogs won’t do so

    THEN SHOW YOUR FUCKING WORK RIGHT HERE. It’s really very simple. This is SEED. This is Science Blogs. Show it here so that your actual science can be addressed outside of any appeals to emotion or popularity that work in the public debate form.

    See this is exactly why debates on these issues are typically bullshit. You want to show the science you claim you have but only if you can do so in a format where the use of phrases like

    I’ll have to resort to nuclear warfare

    have any sway. Namely public debates in front of crowds not as concerned with the science as with the appeals to emotion.

    Your little stunt here exposed you Mary.

    You are the reason public debates are bullshit on matters that are settled with science.

  147. #148 MI Dawn
    January 27, 2010

    @Mary (146): if your last post actually contains links to research, then it might be caught in the spam filter and Orac will release it when he has time (he IS a surgeon and researcher and DOES have a life outside this blog, you know). Otherwise, I can’t see that any posts are missing.

    You don’t have a serious argument. You keep repeating you have proof but never show any. You keep asking for unethical studies to be performed.

    We are not afraid of debate. We are carrying one on, now, but you keep running away from the debate. We ARE the public.

    You claim to be a statistician, but you never give any statistics, research, or data. You keep claiming you want a debate, but you never give any proof. Why should we debate you when you have no evidence for us to debate against? All you want is to do a Gish Gallop, whip up an audience for the Warrier Mothers, and get attention without showing any real proof. YOU HAVE NO PROOF OR YOU WOULD SHOW IT TO US. Now put up or shut up.

  148. #149 Pablo
    January 27, 2010

    I have a serious argument and I expect it to be addressed by our scientific-governmental-medical-pharmacuetical collective

    So that’s why you want to debate Orac?

    I’m missing a step here.

    I’ve already provided information about the IMFAR. Serious autism researchers, those that have the ear of the scientific-governmental-medical-pharmaceutical collective, are going to be there. If you want to make that difference, talk to them. If you have a serious argument, talk to people who can do something about it. Why grandstand against a oncological-surgeon-who-blogs-in-his-freetime?

  149. #150 mary podlesak
    January 27, 2010

    It is true science is not settled by public debate. I never made the claim that it was! My bitch is that the science produced by good scientific studies will not be accepted by “scientists” if it conflicts with their economic and financial objectives. Money talks in science. Money is the god of our age and Rothschild is it’s prophet. The purpose of public debates is to air both sides of the debate to the PUBLIC, both sides of the scientific debate. Both sides air the science, not polemics, insults, ad hominum attacks, obfuscation, etc.

  150. #151 Chris
    January 27, 2010

    Mary Podlesak:

    I am by training a statistician, economist and an engineer, not a journalist and a two-bit surgeon like you with pretensions to scientific expertise but in reality a mere polemecist.

    If that is true, you have shown absolutely no evidence that you even remember the basics. There could be many reasons why you demonstrate a complete lack of understanding of the basics of statistics. One could be that you are sock puppet of the real Mary Podlesak, another could be that you have suffered from some kind of neural injury from a stroke, head injury or something else.

    Until you have shown you understand basics like sampling size, randomization and the reasons why anecdotes are not data: you are a troll to be ignored.

  151. #152 a-non
    January 27, 2010

    @MikeAdamsSockPuppet(mary):

    If your links are being caught up in spam filters, then at least give us the names of three authors and describe their studies. You know, the ones that allegedly prove your case.

    Repeating nonsense about vaccination being the sacred church of Rothschild-Lindbergh’s baby or the evil tool of the canon of the Freemasons will not cut it.

  152. #153 Pablo
    January 27, 2010

    My bitch is that the science produced by good scientific studies will not be accepted by “scientists” if it conflicts with their economic and financial objectives.

    But the doctor who diagnosed your daughter with dystonia and then “cured” her is in it for the goodness of his heart, right?

    Then again, I thought you had a “serious argument”? In the end, it is nothing but a PharmaShill gambit?

    I’m so disappointed.

  153. #154 mary podlesak
    January 27, 2010

    Epidemiological studies involving vaccinated vs. never vaccinated are NOT unethical. The only reason they haven’t been done is because you’re afraid of the results. You put up or shut up.

  154. #155 T. Bruce McNeely
    January 27, 2010

    …and Rothschild is it’s (sic) prophet

    And here we go…

  155. #156 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    January 27, 2010

    My bitch is that the science produced by good scientific studies will not be accepted by “scientists” if it conflicts with their economic and financial objectives.

    Sigh. While sure there are going to be examples of unscrupulous people that are only concerned about money you’re going to have to do a lot better claiming the entire medical profession is involved in a giant conspiracy to suppress this amazing evidence you claim to have (but refuse to show).

    Money is the god of our age and Rothschild is it’s prophet.

    Yes you’ve repeated that a few times and it doesn’t have any more connection to this now than it did then. Here’s a hint, when you are trying to not sound like a crazy conspiracy theorist, repeating phrases like the above is a not going to help.

    The purpose of public debates is to air both sides of the debate to the PUBLIC, both sides of the scientific debate. Both sides air the science, not polemics, insults, ad hominum attacks, obfuscation, etc.

    Again this is a stupid argument. Publish a damn book. Start a magazine. Write your paper. There, you’ve aired it publicly. But that still doesn’t absolve you of providing the actual science that shows the direct unquestionable link between vaccines and the damage you claim they do.

    Now where is it? Where is your science? A public debate does not have the format that allows for a good airing of the science. A book or a scientifically paper showing repeatable verifiable results does.

    NOW WHERE IS IT?

  156. #157 Raging Bee
    January 27, 2010

    Mary begins a post with “Dear Borg” and expects to be taken seriously as an adult? Even Trekkie fanboys are more mature than that.

    Oh, and Mary? I gave you TWO anecdotes that counter yours (#60); both of them indicate that vaccines are safe and effective. Are you going to respond to either of them? Of course not — you can’t even win an argument on your own terms, let alone ours.

    You have PLENTY of opportunity to present your side of the debate to “the PUBLIC” right here on this not-exactly-unknown blog (and quite a few others like it); and you refuse to even try to present anything of substance. You’re a joke and a fraud, you have nothing to offer, and you’re not even smart enough to stop bluffing after we’ve called your bluff.

  157. #158 v.rosenzweig
    January 27, 2010

    Mary–

    So, you believe it’s ethical to deliberately deny people the best known care, in the interests of research?

    The only way a study like that could be ethical is if the researchers had reason to believe that each treatment was as good as the other. People who have seen the lives saved by vaccines aren’t going to do that study because it violates basic human decency and the Nuremberg Principles.

    Conversely, if you genuinely believe vaccines are harmful, how do you justify a study that involves vaccinating large numbers of children?

    Bear in mind that, to be useful, a study has to match the participants on other axes: age, gender, general state of health, socioeconomic status, etc. So you can’t just say “okay, these poor kids didn’t get vaccinated until they started school and were forced to, because they didn’t have regular doctor visits, and these other kids had better health care, including well baby visits, a doctor if they got fevers, and so on, and by the way they’re better fed and didn’t have to sleep in unheated rooms on some winter nights.” That’s not a matched study. (It’s also unethical in other ways.)

    It’s not as simple as announcing “That’s not unethical,” when just about everyone, atheist, Christian, Jew, Buddhist, or Discordian, disagrees with you. At the least you need to provide an argument in favor of your assertion.

    I think it was on this blog where I pointed out one possible way to do such a study: look at Christian Scientists. What are the autism rates in that community? What are the rates of serious infectious diseases?

  158. #159 Todd W.
    January 27, 2010

    @mary podlesak

    Epidemiological studies involving vaccinated vs. never vaccinated are NOT unethical.

    Go read the Nuremburg Code, the Declaration of Helsinki, the Belmont Report, the ICH and FDA guidelines on human research protection and take a course on human research ethics, then come back and tell us that, again. Now, a retrospective study would be fine, but a prospective, RCT would, most certainly, be unethical.

  159. #160 Dedj
    January 27, 2010

    Mary, you can do what you want, but it is rude of you to expect your views to be given equal value or equal time, just because you have them.

    By all means, carry on throwing a strop and carry on this facade pretending that you want both sides (i.e. yours and why you think the other side is wrong) to be equally heard, but dont for one minute kid yourself that there has been anywhere near equal effort put into ‘your side’.

    You have no right to demand to be taken seriously if you are not willing to put in serious work.

    Coem to think of it, that’s probably why you want a public debate.

  160. #161 JohnV
    January 27, 2010

    “I am by training a statistician, economist and an engineer, not a journalist and a two-bit surgeon like you with pretensions to scientific expertise but in reality a mere polemecist.”

    Hey look guys, an engineer making proclamations about a scientific field in which they have no knowledge. This is an exciting new development in the world of biology. And as for “pretensions to scientific expertise” at least several participants on this blog come from the scientific side of things. For example, I’m a microbiologist. I would be a very poor surgeon.

    “Epidemiological studies involving vaccinated vs. never vaccinated are NOT unethical. ”

    Purposefully leaving individuals susceptible to potentially deadly (amongst other bad outcomes) infections is unethical. They haven’t been done because no one with a conscious will engage in them. If you do the trial as a double blind study, you’re putting people at risk of death or worse without their knowledge. If you don’t do the trial as a double blind then you’re making it quite open to significant manipulation (by both the pro-vaccine and pro-disease side). If you are purposefully leaving 1 group of people susceptible to vaccine-preventable diseases, you risk the health of all other individuals they come in contact with, vaccinated or not.

    Why again do you think its ethical? Like an actual reason not “OMG YUR SCARED HURR HURR”. That’s not a reason.

  161. #162 gaiainc
    January 27, 2010

    Yes, Mary, it is. Period. Full stop. End of story. For reasons why, I point you to these two arguments why:

    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2009/08/its_so_cute_when_anti-vaxers_try_to.php

    http://photoninthedarkness.com/?p=154

    What I fear are a lot of kids having bad outcomes from not being vaccinated including death, deafness, sterility, and paralysis. That is what scares me. I’m saddened that it does scare you.

  162. #163 mary podlesak
    January 27, 2010

    Even a retro vac vs. non-vac has not been done. I asked Cochrane Collaboration and they can’t find one. All the other shit you’ve put up is beside the point. Any one of these studies can be gamed if they are done by the vaccine companies or if they have a hand in it. It is terribly easy to bias a study.

  163. #164 Raging Bee
    January 27, 2010

    Money is the god of our age and Rothschild is it’s prophet.

    So now Mary reveals herself to be a bigot and a Jewish-conspiracy buff. Seriously, the above sentence could have come straight from Nazi propaganda of the early twentieth century. There’s really no point in arguing with her — she’s clueless and unhinged, and won’t be presenting any evidence to support her belief any time soon. And since she’s already hiding behind a conspiracy theory, it’s a pretty safe bet that any evidence refuting her beliefs will simply be written off as proof of the conspiracy.

    Oh, and Mary? Bragging about your “expertise” in economics and statistics won’t impress me. My mother is an economist (now comfortably retired), and has a good grasp of statistics; and you have proven you have NONE of the understanding she shows in casual dinner-table shop-talk.

  164. #165 JohnV
    January 27, 2010

    “All the other shit you’ve put up is beside the point.”

    So what you’re saying is you have no explanation for how a vaccinated-unvaccinated study can be ethical? Noted.

    Also, your responses here are a good representation of why no one wants to waste their time with a “public debate” with you people.

  165. #166 Todd W.
    January 27, 2010

    Others have already noted it, and I’ve asked for it myself, but let it be said again: when asked to produce the science that supports her view, Mary Podlesak has continually refused to present anything and instead complained about how unfair scientists, the CDC, FDA, etc. are and how they will never be convinced. She has refused to engage the public (e.g., me) in debate or let the public participate in a meaningful fashion.

    I, for one, am done with Mary. I encourage others to just ignore her, as well, unless and until she actually produces some science to discuss.

  166. #167 mary podlesak
    January 27, 2010

    Money is the god of our age and Rothschild is it’s prophet, spoken by Heinrich Heine, early 1800′s German Jew and poet, as it is very likely I am likewise.

  167. #168 Raging Bee
    January 27, 2010

    All the other shit you’ve put up is beside the point.

    As I predicted, Mary will simply find one excuse after another to ignore every bit of information she doesn’t want to hear.

    It is terribly easy to bias a study.

    So pick out one or more studies, show us how they’re biased, explain who could have “biased” it/them without getting caught (by anyone other than you), and explain how you and you alone managed to catch the bias.

  168. #169 T. Bruce McNeely
    January 27, 2010

    Money is the god of our age and Rothschild is it’s prophet, spoken by Heinrich Heine, early 1800′s German Jew and poet, as it is very likely I am likewise.

    You are likewise an early 1800′s German Jew and poet?
    Wow, when you said you were an old woman, you weren’t kidding!

  169. #170 mary podlesak
    January 27, 2010

    thank you you caught me, i should be on to my next task. Nuclear Warfare!

  170. #171 lykex
    January 27, 2010

    #139

    With good case-control studies, good epidemiological studies using vaccinated vs. never vaccinated individuals, neither the CDC, nor NIH, nor FDA nor medical professionals, nor pharamacuetical companies could be convinced of the autism-vaccine connection

    and yet

    #154

    Epidemiological studies involving vaccinated vs. never vaccinated are NOT unethical. The only reason they haven’t been done is because you’re afraid of the results

    So, they don’t actually exist. Interesting, considering this

    #150

    My bitch is that the science produced by good scientific studies will not be accepted by “scientists” if it conflicts with their economic and financial objectives.

    How do you know, when it’s never been done?
    Don’t you think it’s dishonest to talk about the results of studies that have never been done? How do you know whether people would accept the results when the studies have never been performed? And, since you’re the one making the claim, isn’t it your responsibility to conduct those studies?

    #139

    You’re afraid you can’t match their arguments??

    Not really. I think the general sentiment (see #126 & 127) is that you won’t bring real arguments, but rely on the same methods that creationists do, i.e. lies, exaggerations, distortions and general bullshittery.
    It won’t convince anyone who knows what they’re talking about, but it might convince the public, who will then vote for equally stupid politicians.

    This is what we’re afraid of; fraud, not truth.

    #143

    My arguments would revolve around science

    Prove it. Here’s your chance. Present us with one of your magnificent arguments. You have the floor; use it.

    #146

    If your arguments are irrefutable and so superior then whatever I have, whether it’s personal “anecdotal evidence” or studies should be of no consequence, your irrefutable studies should trump them

    Nice attempt to reverse the burden of proof. Looking more and more like a creationist.

    As I said before, I’m not a professional journalist, but I have a serious argument and I expect it to be addressed by our scientific-governmental-medical-pharmacuetical collective

    Fine, present it, please. Your continual whining about lost posts are starting to sound a bit like a conspiracy theory.

    How about this; click on my name, it’ll take you to my blog. There, you can post your evidence and I swear on my name that I will
    a) not delete it, and
    b) attempt, to the best of my ability, to repost it here.

    Bring it on.

    The purpose of public debates is to air both sides of the debate to the PUBLIC, both sides of the scientific debate. Both sides air the science, not polemics, insults, ad hominum attacks, obfuscation, etc.

    And yet, public debate are incredibly well suited for polemics, insults, ad hominem attacks, obfuscation, etc.
    What a conundrum.

  171. #172 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    January 27, 2010

    Money is the god of our age and Rothschild is it’s prophet, spoken by Heinrich Heine, early 1800′s German Jew and poet, as it is very likely I am likewise.

    And you repeating that quote, regardless of who said it and what their cultural background or profession was still makes you sound like a conspiracy theorist.

    And there is a reason for that, because you are one.

  172. #173 Joe
    January 27, 2010

    Holy f…ing sh..! http://shortyawards.com/category/health Mercola has pulled way ahead!!!

  173. #174 Todd W.
    January 27, 2010

    @Joe

    I took a look at a couple of the twitter accounts that recently voted for mercola and saw that they have a very small number of followers and have 1 tweet. I hope that the organizers take a good look at the votes and remove those that violate the rules.

  174. #175 lykex
    January 27, 2010

    I’m not a twit myself, but maybe there’s some way to alert them to this?

  175. #176 Chris
    January 27, 2010

    Mary Podlesak:

    Epidemiological studies involving vaccinated vs. never vaccinated are NOT unethical. The only reason they haven’t been done is because you’re afraid of the results

    You are either lying, have put blinders on to studies that do not have the conclusion that you want them to have, or (the most possible) you move the goalposts further and further away. The football stadium in my community is actually on a peninsula separating two lakes, the way the anti-vax folks have moved goalposts they are figuratively completely under water!

    There is a list of studies in the free online paper Vaccines and Autism: A Tale of Shifting Hypotheses. There are explanations of the studies, with tables that summarize the results. It is missing these two, which are papers showing that autism still increased when Japan stopped using their own version of hte MMR (and several dozen people subsequently died from measles):
    MMR-Vaccine and Regression in Autism Spectrum Disorders: Negative Results Presented from Japan
    Authors: Uchiyama T, Kurosawa M, Inaba Y
    Source: J Autism Dev Disord, February 2007; 37(2):210-217
    and
    No effect of MMR withdrawal on the incidence of autism: a total population study.
    Honda H, Shimizu Y, Rutter M.
    J Child Psychol Psychiatry. 2005 Jun;46(6):572-9.

    Cut and pastes of the tables, I did not bother to fix the formatting since they are included in the link above.

    Table 1.
    Studies that fail to support an association between measles‐mumps‐rubella vaccine and autism.
    Source Study design Study location
    Taylor et al., 1999 [5] Ecological United Kingdom
    Farrington et al., 2001 [6] Ecological United Kingdom
    Kaye et al., 2001 [7] Ecological United Kingdom
    Dales et al., 2001 [8] Ecological United States
    Fombonne et al., 2006 [9] Ecological Canada
    Fombonne and Chakrabarti, 2001 [10] Ecological United Kingdom
    Taylor et al., 2002 [11] Ecological United Kingdom
    DeWilde et al., 2001 [12] Case‐control United Kingdom
    Makela et al., 2002 [13] Retrospective cohort Finland
    Madsen et al., 2002 [14] Retrospective cohort Denmark
    DeStefano et al., 2004 [15] Case‐control United States
    Peltola et al., 1998 [16] Prospective cohort Finland
    Patja et al., 2000 [17] Prospective cohort Finland

    and:
    Table 2.
    Studies that fail to support an association between thimerosal in vaccines and autism.
    Source Study design Location
    Stehr‐Green et al., 2003 [22] Ecological Sweden and Denmark
    Madsen et al., 2003 [23] Ecological Denmark
    Fombonne et al., 2006 [9] Ecological Canada
    Hviid et al., 2003 [24] Retrospective cohort Denmark
    Verstraeten et al., 2003 [25] Retrospective cohort United States
    Heron and Golding, 2004 [26] Prospective cohort United Kingdom
    Andrews et al., 2004 [27] Retrospective cohort United Kingdom

    Now, Ms. Podlesak, your evidence is what again? Oh, wait, absolutely nothing but a couple of anecdotes. Do try to work on that please.

  176. #177 Chris
    January 27, 2010

    Here is the conclusion of the paper I linked to above:

    Twenty epidemiologic studies have shown that neither thimerosal nor MMR vaccine causes autism. These studies have been performed in several countries by many different investigators who have employed a multitude of epidemiologic and statistical methods. The large size of the studied populations has afforded a level of statistical power sufficient to detect even rare associations. These studies, in concert with the biological implausibility that vaccines overwhelm a child’s immune system, have effectively dismissed the notion that vaccines cause autism. Further studies on the cause or causes of autism should focus on more‐promising leads.

  177. #178 mary podlesak
    January 27, 2010

    The more frequently I comment, the more trouble i seem to have in getting posted. Ok,
    1) Were any of these studies of vaccinated vs. never vaccinated individuals?
    2) How many of the recorded measles cases were among those previously vaccinated against measles?
    3) What determined whether individuals were dropped from these studies, and became “missing values”
    4) Was there oversight of the conduct of these studies, other than pharacuetical, medical or governmental bodies responsible for their production?

  178. #179 mary podlesak
    January 27, 2010

    What determines biological implausibility? How can that be determined before a study is done? Wouldn’t it be more ethical to record ALL adverse events following drug intake, whether of a vaccine or any other and then sort out and attribute causes after multiple studies, and multiple replications?

  179. #180 MI Dawn
    January 27, 2010

    @Mary: and WHO would you like to PAY for these studies, if you won’t accept “…pharaceutical (sic), medical or governmental bodies…”? No researcher works for free, any more than you work for free at your place of employment. All studies involving humans must pass an IRB, which is the oversight (at least in the USA, I am not familiar with other countries). An IRB usually consists of people not involved with the research…scientists, medical people and laypeople. In fact, for an IRB to be made of people involved in the research, their family and friends, is considered invalid (For example, the “IRB” which approved the Geiers “study”)

    Again, Orac has, in previous posts, addressed the configurations of IRBs, whom they consist of, and what they will and will not approve. Do a little research! (In fact, IIRC, one of his linked posts in the comments above address an IRB makeup).

    I have tried to be patient with you. Since I don’t know you in real life, I can’t tell you in person that you are REALLY being stupid (like I did with a coworker this week, who is uncertain about the vaccines/autism link…but at least he is amenable to doing a little reading into the issue and not accepting only anecdotes).

  180. #181 mary podlesak
    January 27, 2010

    My understanding is that many of these studies are of partially vaccinated individuals vs. other partially vaccinated individuals. If there are common long term vaccine reactions, they would show up in both groups and could lead to a conclusion of no advderse effect of the vaccine. I understand that in some studies the vaccine without the attenuated virus is given as the control. If the contents of the vaccine without the virus are not neutral biologically and have not been determined to be so, how can the conclusion be made of no effect? Sorry, just some random musings…

  181. #182 Chris
    January 27, 2010

    Mary Podlesak (showing she has not bothered to even click the link):

    ) Were any of these studies of vaccinated vs. never vaccinated individuals?

    From the paper, emphasis added:

    No studies have compared the incidence of autism in vaccinated, unvaccinated, or alternatively vaccinated children (i.e., schedules that spread out vaccines, avoid combination vaccines, or include only select vaccines). These studies would be difficult to perform because of the likely differences among these 3 groups in health care seeking behavior and the ethics of experimentally studying children who have not received vaccines.

    Mary Podlesak (who keeps running with those goalposts, I believe she has now left the lake and is now in the foothills of the a mountain range!):

    Was there oversight of the conduct of these studies, other than pharacuetical, medical or governmental bodies responsible for their production?

    Dare I ask who is left with the relevant expertise? How is Fombonne disqualified? Why is the study from those in the Unit of Paediatric and Perinatal Epidemiology, Department of Community-Based Medical Sciences, University of Bristol” disqualified? What about the ones written by folk at “Trent Center for Bioethics, Humanities, and History of Medicine, Duke University School of Medicine, Box 3040, Duke University Medical Center” or “Hospital for Children and Adolescents, Helsinki University Central Hospital, Finland”? Explain very carefully.

    Oh, and also present your evidence. Did you lose it? It is hiding somewhere because it is too shy to come out and play?

  182. #183 mary podlesak
    January 27, 2010

    I’m sure I am unfamiliar with the makeup and configurations of IRB’s. You can denigrate and condescend to me all you want. I don’t give a rat’s ass. If you want a fair fight, I’ll debate you.

    You can configure IRB’s as ethically as you and some medical/governmental/corporate bureaucracy chooses. That however, does not automatically eliminate bias in studies. The appearance of ethics and it’s actual practice and reality are two different things. The jack boot tactics reenforcing dogmatic conformity in the medical profession are the reason why I did not continue in health care industrial engineering. That group think agenda alone can bias the conduct of medical studies, which should be the incentive for a greater use of statisticians in such groups. Are you wondering why the medical profession is losing credibility? Put more independent statisticians on your IRB’s. You need independent responsible adults running these studies.

    My sympathies are extended to your coworker.

  183. #184 Chris
    January 27, 2010

    Mary Podlesak (still running with those goalposts, I believe she is past the foothills and now starting to climb a major slope):

    My understanding is that many of these studies are of partially vaccinated individuals vs. other partially vaccinated individuals.

    This is what happens when children are not immunized:
    Parental Refusal of Pertussis Vaccination Is Associated With an Increased Risk of Pertussis Infection in Children.

    Mary continued (and without any of that gosh darn good science she claims she has!):

    You can configure IRB’s as ethically as you and some medical/governmental/corporate bureaucracy chooses. That however, does not automatically eliminate bias in studies.

    Have you heard of the Geiers? Their IRB consisted of (quoting the linked article):

    Notice how conveniently every single member of this IRB is either one of the Geiers, an anti-thimerosal activist, a Geier associate, or a lawyer suing on behalf of “vaccine-injured” clients. Anyone want to make a bet about how closely they adhere to the guidelines for human research listed above? It almost doesn’t matter anyway because, as Kathleen points out, besides the fact that none of the members of this IRB has any expertise in endocrinology, Mark and David Geier would not be eligible to debate or vote on their own protocols anyway; Anne Geier wouldn’t be eligible to vote because of her relationship to Mark and David; and Lisa Sykes wouldn’t be eligible to vote if her child is to be a subject in the research protocol being reviewed. And does anyone really think that any of the other members of this particular IRB has research subject protection as his or her overriding concern?

    Is that evidence of yours still being shy? Have you tried coaxing it out of its hidey spot with a stevia sweetened gluten-free dairy-free treat?

  184. #185 mary podlesak
    January 27, 2010

    It is YOU who must come up with the evidence, not me. Look in the mirror genius. Anyone who makes positive claims for a drug has an moral obligation to demonstrate it’s safety and effectiveness, NOT THE POPULATION OF RECEIPIENTS! These are healthy individuals receiving these vaccines, even one adverse event is one too many. It’s not my obligation to demonstrate this, it is yours!

    I’ve heard the crap about it being unethical to study unvaccinated individuals in a prospective case-control study. That is prejudification again, based on gamed statistics given out by government. Where are your independent statisticians?? without financial ties to big Pharma, government and medicine??? I know my fellow travelers in this field are afraid to lose their day jobs. Financial insecurity makes cowards of us all.

  185. #186 mary podlesak
    January 27, 2010

    To reiterate, the bureaucratic oversight of IRB’s is irrelevant to the subject of bias in research studies. The system was setup by the medical profession and the government in order to control the conduct of research, not to produce honest studies. Whether the study of the Geiers’ is unbiased is a separate issue and could be determined by looking at it’s conduct from initial assumptions, hpothoses, to data, methodology, analysis and conclusions. The presence of family members alone should not determine it’s validity. The problem with so many of these vaccine studies, is that the people who financially benefit, are themselves conducting the studies, or have oversight and control of outcomes or writeup. That is why there was a major article on the subject of research fraud in the New York Times business section recently. Conclusions were arrived at before the commencement of the studies and corporate sponsors were having the papers ghostwritten.

  186. #187 Chris
    January 27, 2010

    Mary Podlesak:

    It is YOU who must come up with the evidence, not me.

    Actually, I did. You just choose to ignore it, or put on a bunch of silly conditions. I believe you have reached the summit of the mountain range and are heading towards the Pacific Ocean with those goalposts.

    Here is my version of a Gish Gallop again. Now take each and every one and tell us what exactly is wrong with. You will not be complete until you have read each study and told us what all the specific flaws are, something you were asked to do the last time I dumped it here. So until you come up with a real argument, Put up or Shut up!:

    Lack of Association between Measles Virus Vaccine and Autism with Enteropathy: A Case-Control Study.
    Hornig M et al.
    PLoS ONE 2008; 3(9): e3140 doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0003140
    *Subjects: 25 children with autism and GI disturbances and 13 children with GI disturbances alone (controls)

    Measles Vaccination and Antibody Response in Autism Spectrum Disorders.
    Baird G et al.
    Arch Dis Child 2008; 93(10):832-7.
    Subjects: 98 vaccinated children aged 10-12 years in the UK with autism spectrum disorder (ASD); two control groups of similar age: 52 children with special educational needs but no ASD and 90 children in the typically developing group

    MMR-Vaccine and Regression in Autism Spectrum Disorders: Negative Results Presented from Japan.
    Uchiyama T et al.
    J Autism Dev Disord 2007; 37(2):210-7
    *Subjects: 904 children with autism spectrum disorder
    (Note: MMR was used in Japan only between 1989 and 1993.)

    No Evidence of Persisting Measles Virus in Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cells from Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
    D’Souza Y et al.
    Pediatrics 2006; 118(4):1664-75
    *Subjects: 54 children with autism spectrum disorder and 34 developmentally normal children

    Immunizations and Autism: A Review of the Literature.
    Doja A, Roberts W.
    Can J Neurol Sci. 2006; 33(4):341-6
    *Literature review

    Pervasive Developmental Disorders in Montreal, Quebec, Canada: Prevalence and Links with Immunizations.
    Fombonne E et al.
    Pediatrics. 2006;118(1):e139-50
    *Subjects: 27,749 children born from 1987 to 1998 attending 55 schools

    Relationship between MMR Vaccine and Autism.
    Klein KC, Diehl EB.
    Ann Pharmacother. 2004; 38(7-8):1297-300
    *Literature review of 10 studies

    Immunization Safety Review: Vaccines and Autism. Institute of Medicine.
    The National Academies Press: 2004
    (w w w . nap.edu/books/030909237X/html) *Literature review

    MMR Vaccination and Pervasive Developmental Disorders: A Case-Control Study.
    Smeeth L et al.
    Lancet 2004; 364(9438):963-9
    *Subjects: 1294 cases and 4469 controls

    Age at First Measles-Mumps-Rubella Vaccination in Children with Autism and School-Matched Control Subjects: A Population-Based Study in Metropolitan Atlanta.
    DeStefano F et al. Pediatrics 2004; 113(2): 259-66
    *Subjects: 624 children with autism and 1,824 controls

    Prevalence of Autism and Parentally Reported Triggers in a North East London Population.
    Lingam R et al.
    Arch Dis Child 2003; 88(8):666-70
    *Subjects: 567 children with autistic spectrum disorder

    Neurologic Disorders after Measles-Mumps-Rubella Vaccination.
    Makela A et al.
    Pediatrics 2002; 110:957-63
    *Subjects: 535,544 children vaccinated between November 1982 and June 1986 in Finland

    A Population-Based Study of Measles, Mumps, and Rubella Vaccination and Autism.
    Madsen KM et al.
    N Engl J Med 2002; 347(19):1477-82
    *Subjects: All 537,303 children born 1/91–12/98 in Denmark

    Relation of Childhood Gastrointestinal Disorders to Autism: Nested Case Control Study Using Data from the UK General Practice Research Database.
    Black C et al.
    BMJ 2002; 325:419-21
    *Subjects: 96 children diagnosed with autism and 449 controls

    Measles, Mumps, and Rubella Vaccination and Bowel Problems or Developmental Regression in Children with Autism: Population Study.
    Taylor B et al.
    BMJ 2002; 324(7334):393-6
    *Subjects: 278 children with core autism and 195 with atypical autism

    No Evidence for a New Variant of Measles-Mumps-Rubella-Induced Autism.
    Fombonne E et al.
    Pediatrics 2001;108(4):E58
    *Subjects: 262 autistic children (pre- and post-MMR samples)

    Measles-Mumps-Rubella and Other Measles-Containing Vaccines Do Not Increase the Risk for Inflammatory Bowel Disease: A Case-Control Study from the Vaccine Safety Datalink Project.
    Davis RL et al.
    Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med 2001;155(3):354-9
    *Subjects: 155 persons with IBD with up to 5 controls each

    Time Trends in Autism and in MMR Immunization Coverage in California.
    Dales L et al.
    JAMA 2001; 285(9):1183-5
    *Subjects: Children born in 1980-94 who were enrolled in California kindergartens (survey samples of 600–1,900 children each year)

    Mumps, Measles, and Rubella Vaccine and the Incidence of Autism Recorded by General Practitioners: A Time Trend Analysis.
    Kaye JA et al.
    BMJ 2001; 322:460-63
    *Subjects: 305 children with autism

    Further Evidence of the Absence of Measles Virus Genome Sequence in Full Thickness Intestinal Specimens from Patients with Crohn’s Disease.
    Afzal MA, et al.
    J Med Virol 2000; 62(3):377-82
    *Subjects: Specimens from patients with Crohn’s disease

    Autism and Measles, Mumps, and Rubella Vaccine: No Epidemiological Evidence for a Causal Association.
    Taylor B et al.
    Lancet 1999;353 (9169):2026-9
    *Subjects: 498 children with autism

    Absence of Detectable Measles Virus Genome Sequence in Inflammatory Bowel Disease Tissues and Peripheral Blood Lymphocytes.
    Afzal MA et al.
    J Med Virol 1998; 55(3):243-9
    *Subjects: 93 colonoscopic biopsies and 31 peripheral blood lymphocyte preparations

    No Evidence for Measles, Mumps, and Rubella Vaccine-Associated Inflammatory Bowel Disease or Autism in a 14-year Prospective Study.
    Peltola H et al.
    Lancet 1998; 351:1327-8
    *Subjects: 3,000,000 doses of MMR vaccine

    Exposure to Measles in Utero and Crohn’s Disease: Danish Register Study.
    Nielsen LL et al.
    BMJ 1998; 316(7126):196-7
    *Subjects: 472 women with measles

    Immunocytochemical Evidence of Listeria, Escherichia coli, and Streptococcus Antigens in Crohn’s Disease.
    Liu Y et al.
    Gastroenterology 1995; 108(5):1396-1404
    *Subjects: Intestines and mesenteric lymph node specimens from 21 persons from families with a high frequency of Crohn’s disease

    Neuropsychological Performance 10 years after Immunization in Infancy with Thimerosal-Containing Vaccines
    Tozzi AE, Bisiacchi P, Tarantino V, De Mei B, D’Elia L, Chiarotti F, Salmaso S.
    Pediatrics, February 2009, Vol. 123(2):475-82

    Mercury Levels in Newborns and Infants after Receipt of Thimerosal-Containing Vaccines
    Pichichero ME, Gentile A, Giglio N, et al
    Pediatrics, February 2008; 121(2) e208-214

    Mercury, Vaccines, And Autism: One Controversy, Three Histories
    Baker JP
    American Journal of Public Health, February 2008;98(2): 244-253

    Continuing Increases in Autism Reported to California’s Developmental Services System: Mercury in Retrograde
    Schechter R, Grether JK
    Arch Gen Psychiatry, January 2008; 65(1):19-24

    Early Thimerosal Exposure and Neuropsychological Outcomes at 7 to 10 Years
    Thompson WW, Price C, Goodson B, et al; Vaccine Safety Datalink Team
    N Engl J Med, Sep 27, 2007; 357(13):1281-1292

    Pervasive Developmental Disorders in Montreal, Quebec, Canada: Prevalence and Links with Immunizations
    Fombonne E, Zakarian R, Bennett A, Meng L, McLean-Heywood D
    Pediatrics, July 2006, Vol. 118(1):e139-e150

    Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System Reporting Source: A Possible Source of Bias in Longitudinal Studies
    Goodman MJ, Nordin J
    Pediatrics, February 2006, Vol. 117(2):387-390

    MMR-Vaccine and Regression in Autism Spectrum Disorders: Negative Results Presented from Japan
    Authors: Uchiyama T, Kurosawa M, Inaba Y
    Source: J Autism Dev Disord, February 2007; 37(2):210-217

    No effect of MMR withdrawal on the incidence of autism: a total population study.
    Honda H, Shimizu Y, Rutter M.
    J Child Psychol Psychiatry. 2005 Jun;46(6):572-9.

    Thimerosal in Vaccines: Balancing the Risk of Adverse Effects with the Risk of Vaccine-Preventable Disease
    Bigham M, Copes R
    Drug Safety, 2005, Vol. 28(2):89-101

    Comparison of Blood and Brain Mercury Levels in Infant Monkeys Exposed to Methylmercury or Vaccines Containing Thimerosal
    Burbacher TM, Shen DD, Liberato N, Grant KS, Cernichiari E, Clarkson T
    National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, April 21, 2005

    Thimerosal Exposure in Infants and Developmental Disorders: A Prospective Cohort Study in the United Kingdom Does Not Support a Causal Association
    Heron J, Golding J, ALSPAC Study Team
    Pediatrics, September 2004, Vol. 114(3):577-583

    Thimerosal Exposure in Infants and Developmental Disorders: A Retrospective Cohort Study in the United Kingdom Does Not Support a Causal Association
    Andrews N, Miller E, Grant A, Stowe J, Osborne V, Taylor B
    Pediatrics, September 2004, Vol. 114(3):584-591

    Thimerosal-Containing Vaccines and Autistic Spectrum Disorder: A Critical Review of Published Original Data
    Parker SK, Schwartz B, Todd J, Pickering LK
    Pediatrics, September 2004, Vol. 114(3):793-804

    The Evidence for the Safety of Thimerosal in Newborn and Infant Vaccines
    Clements CJ
    Vaccine, May 7, 2004, Vol. 22(15-16):1854-1861

    Safety of Thimerosal-Containing Vaccines: A Two-Phased Study of Computerized Health Maintenance Organization Databases
    Verstraeten T, Davis RL, DeStefano F, et al
    Pediatrics, November 2003, Vol. 112(5):1039-1048

    The Toxicology of Mercury–Current Exposures and Clinical Manifestations
    Clarkson TW, Magos L, Myers GJ
    New England Journal of Medicine, October 30, 2003, Vol. 349(18):1731-7

    Association Between Thimerosal-Containing Vaccine and Autism
    Hviid A, Stellfeld M, Wohlfahrt J, Melbye M
    Journal of the American Medical Association, October 1, 2003, Vol. 290(13):1763-6

    Thimerosal and the Occurrence of Autism: Negative Ecological Evidence from Danish Population-Based Data
    Madsen KM, Lauritsen MB, Pedersen CB, et al
    Pediatrics, Sept. 2003, Vol. 112(3 Pt 1):604-606

    Autism and Thimerosal-Containing Vaccines. Lack of Consistent Evidence for an Association
    Stehr-Green P, Tull P, Stellfeld M, Mortenson PB, Simpson D
    American Journal of Preventive Medicine, August 2003, Vol. 25(2):101-6

    Impact of the Thimerosal Controversy on Hepatitis B Vaccine Coverage of Infants Born to Women of Unknown Hepatitis B Surface Antigen Status in Michigan
    Biroscak BJ, Fiore AE, Fasano N, Fineis P, Collins MP, Stoltman G
    Pediatrics, June 2003, Vol. 111(6):e645-9

    Vaccine Safety Policy Analysis in Three European Countries: The Case of Thimerosal
    Freed GL, Andreae MC, Cowan AE, et al
    Health Policy, December 2002, Vol. 62(3):291-307

    Mercury Concentrations and Metabolism in Infants Receiving Vaccines Containing Thimerosal: A Descriptive Study
    Pichichero ME, Cernichiari E, Lopreiato J, Treanor J
    The Lancet, November 30, 2002, Vol. 360:1737-1741

    An Assessment of Thimerosal Use in Childhood Vaccines
    Ball LK, Ball R, Pratt RD
    Pediatrics, May 2001, Vol. 107(5):1147-1154

    Economic Evaluation of the 7-Vaccine Routine Childhood Immunization Schedule in the United States, 2001
    Zhou F, Santoli J, Messonnier ML, Yusuf HR, Shefer A, Chu SY, Rodewald L, Harpaz R.
    Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2005;159:1136-1144.

    An economic analysis of the current universal 2-dose measles-mumps-rubella vaccination program in the United States.
    Zhou F, Reef S, Massoudi M, Papania MJ, Yusuf HR, Bardenheier B, Zimmerman L, McCauley MM.
    J Infect Dis. 2004 May 1;189 Suppl 1:S131-45.

    Impact of universal Haemophilus influenzae type b vaccination starting at 2 months of age in the United States: an economic analysis.
    Zhou F, Bisgard KM, Yusuf HR, Deuson RR, Bath SK, Murphy TV.
    Pediatrics. 2002 Oct;110(4):653-61.

    Impact of specific medical interventions on reducing the prevalence of mental retardation.
    Brosco JP, Mattingly M, Sanders LM.
    Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2006;160:302-309.

    Encephalopathy after whole-cell pertussis or measles vaccination: lack of evidence for a causal association in a retrospective case-control study.
    Ray P, Hayward J, Michelson D, Lewis E, Schwalbe J, Black S, Shinefield H, Marcy M, Huff K, Ward J, Mullooly J, Chen R, Davis R; Vaccine Safety Datalink Group.
    Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2006 Sep;25(9):768-73.

    Childhood vaccinations, vaccination timing, and risk of type 1 diabetes mellitus.
    DeStefano F, Mullooly JP, Okoro CA, Chen RT, Marcy SM, Ward JI, Vadheim CM, Black SB, Shinefield HR, Davis RL, Bohlke K; Vaccine Safety Datalink Team.
    Pediatrics. 2001 Dec;108(6):E112.

  187. #188 Chris
    January 27, 2010

    Mary Podlesak:

    Whether the study of the Geiers’ is unbiased is a separate issue and could be determined by looking at it’s conduct from initial assumptions, hpothoses, to data, methodology, analysis and conclusions.

    Well, we now have full evidence that you do not read the references given, and that you just parrot what AoA says. Do you actually think that chemical castration of children is a good thing?

    Who is part of the hive mind?

    Being sucked into the Borg controlled by Handley does explain why you have totally forgotten all of your statistics education. It is either that, or you should really see a neurologist about that stroke you forgot about.

  188. #189 Jen
    January 28, 2010

    O hai guise. What’s going on in this thread?

  189. #190 MI Dawn
    January 28, 2010

    Actually, I think, from Mary’s last few comments, she has proven that she doesn’t give a damn about children. The fact that she can think the Geiers’ activities are OK (!!!) makes me ill. She wants a perfect world, when nothing ever goes wrong (one child injured from vaccines is too many).

    Well, Mary, are you also going to put for a ban on cars, planes, sidewalks, bathtubs, stoves, dressers, cribs, etc etc etc? They kill/injure many more children every year than vaccines do. Let me know when you find Utopia. I’m staying here in reality.

  190. #191 Coryat
    January 28, 2010

    Mary, opinions are like arseholes. Everyone’s got one. Yours just happens to be shitty.

  191. #192 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    January 28, 2010

    It is YOU who must come up with the evidence, not me.

    And here we have Mary fully removing the goalposts and throwing them in the lake while shifting the teetering truckload of shit so that is deposits on this blog’s front porch.

    All this time Mary you have been claiming to have evidence of the link between vaccines and whatever damage you people are claiming this week.

    Where

    Is

    Your

    Evidence?

  192. #193 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    January 28, 2010

    Mary when you hear hoofbeats do you think of Unicorns first?

  193. #194 Todd W.
    January 28, 2010

    Just a quick note on IRBs. They are volunteer jobs. 21 CFR 56.107 outlines who needs to be on the IRB:

    (a) Each IRB shall have at least five members, with varying backgrounds to promote complete and adequate review of research activities commonly conducted by the institution. The IRB shall be sufficiently qualified through the experience and expertise of its members, and the diversity of the members, including consideration of race, gender, cultural backgrounds, and sensitivity to such issues as community attitudes, to promote respect for its advice and counsel in safeguarding the rights and welfare of human subjects. In addition to possessing the professional competence necessary to review the specific research activities, the IRB shall be able to ascertain the acceptability of proposed research in terms of institutional commitments and regulations, applicable law, and standards or professional conduct and practice. The IRB shall therefore include persons knowledgeable in these areas. If an IRB regularly reviews research that involves a vulnerable category of subjects, such as children, prisoners, pregnant women, or handicapped or mentally disabled persons, consideration shall be given to the inclusion of one or more individuals who are knowledgeable about and experienced in working with those subjects.

    (b) Every nondiscriminatory effort will be made to ensure that no IRB consists entirely of men or entirely of women, including the instituton’s consideration of qualified persons of both sexes, so long as no selection is made to the IRB on the basis of gender. No IRB may consist entirely of members of one profession.

    (c) Each IRB shall include at least one member whose primary concerns are in the scientific area and at least one member whose primary concerns are in nonscientific areas.

    (d) Each IRB shall include at least one member who is not otherwise affiliated with the institution and who is not part of the immediate family of a person who is affiliated with the institution.

    (e) No IRB may have a member participate in the IRB’s initial or continuing review of any project in which the member has a conflicting interest, except to provide information requested by the IRB.

    (f) An IRB may, in its discretion, invite individuals with competence in special areas to assist in the review of complex issues which require expertise beyond or in addition to that available on the IRB. These individuals may not vote with the IRB.

    In addition, there are conflict of interest laws banning IRB members from even commenting on any protocol where they have a financial or personal interest. When considering a protocol, they also consider not only the safety of the individuals involved, but the appropriateness of the methods used and a review of the COIs of the investigator(s).

    Study protocols must be reviewed before the study commences, as well as annual reviews to continue. The annual reviews include all results up to that point. If there are any safety concerns, the IRB can shut the study down.

    Then there are Data Safety Monitoring Boards, but that’s another topic altogether.

    So, again, before making excuses about IRBs, read the documents I listed previously.

  194. #195 JohnV
    January 28, 2010

    @mary

    Do you see yet why no one wants to debate you?

    1) You are stupid.
    2) You are too stupid to understand what you are saying.
    3) You are asking people to prove that they’re not part of a conspiracy, essentially.

    “Anyone who makes positive claims for a drug has an moral obligation to demonstrate it’s safety and effectiveness,”

    Ok that’s easy. Look at infection numbers for a disease before and after the introduction of its vaccine. Hey look much fewer cases. Ok, effectiveness demonstrated.

    Now lets think hard for a minute. You’re making the positive claim that vaccines do awful things. And yet you still refuse to show any proof. Instead you blurt out repeated bits of idiocy about conspiracy. You have no proof and I suspect you might be too stupid to even understand what is going on.

    This is why no one wants to debate you people.

    “These are healthy individuals receiving these vaccines, even one adverse event is one too many.”

    And this is why you people are called pro-disease. Do you hold anything else up to this standard? Did you know that every day people injure themselves using computers? QUICK turn off you computer and never turn it on again.

  195. #196 Todd W.
    January 28, 2010

    @JohnV

    I’m wondering if mary is going to put this much effort against automobiles, particularly with the recently damning evidence of gas pedal issues in Toyotas. Toyotas have a potentially dangerous problem, therefore all cars should be eliminated until they have zero risk. Right?

  196. #197 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    January 28, 2010

    I wonder if today is the day that Mary makes us all eat our hats and shows this amazing evidence she has?

  197. #198 Scott
    January 28, 2010

    Nah. Rabid evidence-free conspiracy theory ranting is so much easier to produce than actual support for one’s claims, after all.

  198. #199 T.Bruce McNeely
    January 28, 2010

    I wonder if today is the day that Mary makes us all eat our hats and shows this amazing evidence she has?

    Well, better to eat my hat than hers. That tin foil makes my fillings hurt.

  199. #200 Johnny
    January 28, 2010

    Well, better to eat my hat than hers. That tin foil makes my fillings hurt.

    No. Mary doesn’t have a tin foil hat. If she did, she wouldn’t hear the voices that tell her ‘vaccines are evil’.

    She’s probably having trouble recording the voices – that’s why no evidence to back up her claims. She probably figures if we all get in a room with her for a live debate, we’d hear the voices, too, and become believers in her silly fantasy.

  200. #201 Antaeus Feldspar
    January 28, 2010

    So this is Mary “explaining” why she is entitled to ignore the fact that all the studies which have been done looking for a vaccine-autism connection have found none:

    “My bitch is that the science produced by good scientific studies will not be accepted by “scientists” if it conflicts with their economic and financial objectives.”

    And here’s Mary just eight hours later, defending the Geiers, whose experimentation on human beings was supposed to be overseen by an impartial IRB but instead was rubber-stamped by an “IRB” of which each and every member stood to benefit financially from giving the Geiers’ work a facade of respectability:

    “… the bureaucratic oversight of IRB’s is irrelevant to the subject of bias in research studies. The system was setup by the medical profession and the government in order to control the conduct of research, not to produce honest studies. Whether the study of the Geiers’ is unbiased is a separate issue and could be determined by looking at it’s conduct from initial assumptions, hpothoses, to data, methodology, analysis and conclusions. The presence of family members alone should not determine it’s validity.”

    My, my, my… is that a little old double standard peekin’ its nose out of the bushes? Why, I do believe it is! It’s the exact same issue, scientific truth being subordinated ‘economic and financial objectives’ — but where Mary is convicting of this offense any scientist past, present, or future who does not find a vaccine-autism connection, all without a shred of evidence against those scientists, she’s going to lengths to ignore the evidence of the Geiers committing that very offense!

    Just another reason, as if we needed any more, to disregard Mary.

  201. #202 Chris
    January 28, 2010

    Antaeus Felspar:

    Just another reason, as if we needed any more, to disregard Mary.

    She will most likely defend the recently sanctioned Wakefield’s invasive lawyer paid tests on a dozen children (including one whose colon was punctured several times!), because in her world he was doing “good science” (even if it was only to feed his ego and bank account).

    In the future, please respond to Mary with just these five words: Put up or shut up!

    Thank you.

  202. #203 MI Dawn
    January 29, 2010

    @ Chris (202): Hear, Hear! At this point, that’s all I am looking for Mary to do, too. (And wanna bet, it ain’t happening?)

  203. #204 Todd W.
    January 29, 2010

    @Antaeus Feldspar

    Let’s not forget that in addition to the unethical makeup of the Geiers’ IRB, it was also formed after the study was already under way. Another ethical no-no.

  204. #205 qbsmd
    January 30, 2010

    “unless we … rip the beating hearts out of our enemies and eat them before they stop beating, our food is “dead.”

    Was that wrong? Should I not have done that? I tell you, I gotta plead ignorence on this thing, because if anyone had said anything to me at all when I first started here that that sort of thing is frowned upon… you know, cause I tell you, people do that all the time.

  205. #206 Kristen
    January 30, 2010

    Dear lord! I am gone for three days and I miss all this fun.

    Just had something additional for Mary:

    1) Were any of these studies of vaccinated vs. never vaccinated individuals?

    Are you suggesting studying the children who are not being vaccinated because their parents are listening to the anti-vax idiots? Should these children be studied and compared to the children who are properly vaccinated?

    Although I am definitly not an expert on the matter my understanding is:

    This wouldn’t work. Because the two groups studied are not chosen randomly. The parents who tend to not vaccinate are middle class to wealthy caucasion people, these children would be compared to children who are not equally matched in socioeconomic status and access to health care. Or do you not care if the poor and minority groups are not represented (in the non-vaccinated group) in your hypothetical study? Or would you suggest that some of these minority children be denied vaccination because of your inane theories?

  206. #207 T. Bruce McNeely
    January 30, 2010

    “unless we … rip the beating hearts out of our enemies and eat them before they stop beating, our food is “dead.”

    Sounds like my divorce…

  207. #208 Prup (aka Jim Benton)
    January 30, 2010

    This wonderful and wondrously long discussion has brilliantly displayed the power and the weakness of the Internet. Mary has come here, defending her (factually indefensible) position. She has been demolished repeatedly, she has ducked every challenge to actually back up her statements, her (two — people missed the first one) “Rothschild” comments certainly showed the possibility of her bigotry. The whole discussion became much more powerful as Mary vainly — in both senses — put forth her case and it was shown just how weak it was.

    But there was thing that was lacking, sadly, the same thing that was lacking in the well over 10,000 comments on the Prop H8 Trial tracker site — where I ran into several familiar faces. Okay, I only read about half of them, but neither there nor here did I read a comment that went something like this:

    “Hey, guys, I used to be sorta on the fence about vaccination (or same-sex marriage). I mean I’m not an expert or anything, but I’d heard the arguments that people like Mary put forth, and they sounded kinda reasonable, so I was being cautious, keeping an open mind. But you guys have really convinced me, and I’ve come over fully to your side.”

    I never read comments like this. Maybe there are lurkers out there who do get their minds changed — ideally from anti- to pro- but I’d settle for neutral to pro. If so, will at least one of you tell us so.

    Because I am getting scared — and getting a reputation as a ‘dotty old man whose getting paranoid anout paranoids’ — that we are spending so much time ‘convincing people who were already convinced’ that all our skeptical writing is in reality doing no good at all. We are making each other feel good, we are making very valuable points, but we seem to be staying in a niche of our own, and making no difference in an outside world where the forces of anti-vaxxers, global warming denialists, ‘Christian nation’ arguers, birthers, End Time preachers, ‘comuunist-fascist dictator Obama’ declarers and others are busy swapping paranoias like I used to swap baseball cards.

    (Yes, there are quite a few HuffPost anti-vaxxers — and I condemn them for their stupidity, but they might be reachable by this sort of discussion — but take a look at someone like Jane Burgermeister — or Janet Folger Porter of Faith2Action who has had Burgermeister on her show. Or the WND. These are the real crazies out there, the ones evidence can’t touch, the ones who combine all the evidence-free rantings.

    (And of course there is the ‘rodeo clown’ filling his tv slot with much of the same.)

    Sadly, they are reaching the uncommitted (I’m tempted to call them the ones who are and need to be committed). It’s easy to dismiss them as ‘just a handful of nuts’ and a couple of years ago they were. But now they are getting stronger, taking over one party, and I’m damned if I know what to do about it.

    So will someone out there please calm me down and just tell me, honestly, that all our rationality and solid ecidence-based reasoning, our demonstrations of the absurdity of people like Mary and Mike Adams actually worked? Please!

  208. #209 Chris
    January 30, 2010

    Prup, once in a long while I will see someone posting who had first been sucked into not vaccinating (often a new parent who has wandered into the sMothering Commune forum), but then they come here and elsewhere and actually change their mind.

    Also, I know at least one blogger (Kev at LeftBrainRightBrain) who at first blamed a vaccine for his daughter’s autism. But with additional information he changed his mind.

  209. #210 Johnny
    January 30, 2010

    Prup -

    I didn’t go from anti to pro vax, or even neutral to pro. I know they work. But, with all the ink the antivaxers get, I wanted to *know*.

    My background isn’t in medicine, I don’t work in health care in any way. Y’all break these ideas down and make things clear enough that I’m able to understand. From the links and words posted here, I can now spot a quack, and even say *why* they’re a quack.

    With what I’ve learned here, I’ve even been able to help guide a few fence-sitters I know away from the dark side. It ripples out.

  210. #211 DT35
    January 30, 2010

    The person who posts as NotMercury recounted that s/he was convinced vaccines caused her older children’s autism until his/her youngest (unvaccinated) child was diagnosed, though I guess that’s more a victory for simple rationality than for sceptical blogging. James Sweet has said that he was amenable to spacing out immunization to prevent autism or some nebulous other harm, until he researched the issue, whereupon he became strongly pro-vax.

    for sceptical blogging

  211. #212 Kristen
    January 30, 2010

    Prup,

    I used to be all into the anti-mainstream medicine. I never was anti-vaccine because my mother lost (most) of her hearing when she contracted mumps. But I did have my third-born at home after two c-sections. I was all into ‘natural’ supplements and alternative medicine (being from Colorado, this was the norm).

    When I moved to [redacted] I asked my pediatrician about ‘mercury’ in vaccines and all the other woo I believed in. He just happened to be a skeptic and gave me all sorts of information that just made sense. So much so that I decided to deliver my fourth child in a hospital (by c-section, no less).

    I wouldn’t go so far as to call myself a skeptic, because I am just learning, but I admire the author of this blog and so many others that are fighting for rationality.

  212. #213 Jennifer B. Phillips
    January 30, 2010

    Prup, Phil Plait over at Bad Astronomy posted a link to just such a story only days ago. Hope it will lift your spirits ;)

    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2010/01/28/why-one-parent-decided-to-vaccinate/

  213. #214 Prup (aka Jim Benton)
    January 30, 2010

    Thanks to all of you for giving these examples. And I know that Orac knows I meant no disrespect to him — his was literally the first blog I read, and I have never stopped admiring his work. It’s just the tide of irrationality I see growing daily. mostly in the political world, and the misunderstanding of the type of thinking that ties a Palin to a Mike Adams, teabaggers to global warming denialists, creationists to the type of health care reform fighters that talk about FEMA concentration camps. All so led by the Glenn Becks, the Farahs and the Folgers. but also by the ministers of a new and very scary type of Christianity that calls itself the New Apostolic Reformation, and that has very little to do with what most of us think of as Christianity — whether we like it or hate it or simply consider it a mild delusion.

    When I see a candidate for Governor — of Alabama, true, but not some ‘backwoods hick,’ but a man whose family has been prominent in the state since before statehood. who’s been a lawyer for 25 years, who was in charge of the state’s two-year college system — merely state that ‘not all the words of the Bible are to be taken literally’ (nd he was referring to the great ages of the Patriarchs, not the myths of the opening of Genesis) — and be forced to recant his words, I get scared. When I see not just one, but all of the candidates for President of a major party approve the teaching of creationism in schools (as happened in 2008, though only a few declared themselves to be creationists), I get visions of Nehemiah Scudder.

    And when I see political commenters on ‘my’ side of the spectrum — and I spend more time in the political blogosphere — regretably — than in the Skeptisphere dismissing these folks as ‘too absurd to pay attention to’ or see their real — if delusional — beliefs as either ‘fronts for racism’ or the result (from the dinestore Marxists) of corporate manipulation, or refer to the ‘obscenely rich puppeteers, I want to drag every one of them over to the Skeptical blogosphere to give them lessons in the type of thinking they are fighting against.

    And then I think of the Scopes trial, and how, despite every showing of Inherit the Wind the result was, in fact victory for the creationists, if a mild one. (Other laws against evolution teaching remained in place and, to quote a very solid Wikipedia article — that is supported by other cites I know “The immediate effects of the trial are evident in the high school biology texts used in the second half of the 1920’s and the early 1930’s. Of the most widely used textbooks, there is only one which lists evolution in the index and in the wake of the trial, under the pressures of fundamentalist groups, the entry is countered with biblical quotations.”

    And I see, after growing up in a time and place where creationism was laughable, today that polls still show a near majority of America supporting it. My GP (80 years old and no altie) tells me of a friend who is “Professor of Alternate Medicine” at Harvard.

    And that’s when I wonder if even we know how to fight the tide of irrationality, when I become ‘paranoid about paranoids’ when I write the type of comment I wrote above. And when I need and am grateful for the responses it received.

  214. #215 Spacewyrm
    January 31, 2010

    Prup,

    I can at least tell you this: I used to be on the fence about creationism (though I leaned heavily towards it due to my Christian upbringing). I also used to beleive in UFOs being alien spacecraft, alien abductions, and I was very sympathetic to various paranormal claims. I was convinced of most conspiracy theories involving the JFK assassination and also convinced of all sorts of “ancient astronaut” stories. I also had a tendency to believe certain things about health that sound now eerily similar to the alternative medicine quackery that Orac debunks here regularly (though I was sort of indifferent to that, being an ‘invincible’ teenager who cared little for my well-being).

    I liked to think that I was one of the few rational voices in the world and that so many of the scientists and other people were not quite as imaginative as they should be, blinded by the institutional learning they went through (or something along those lines).

    Now, in college I had begun to move away from such beliefs. However, I still liked to believe in paranormal claims, in creationism, etc. But, one day, after watching a show on moon-landing conspiracy theories, I went to google to find out more. I found Phil Plait’s “Bad Astronomy” site. And from a link there, I found Orac’s old blogspot blog. For a couple years, I read this blog daily. And I also began reading other skeptical blogs regularly.

    Well, this is just anecdotal evidence, so make of it what you will, but for me, the skeptics on the internet have really changed my life for the better. I have become a much more consistent critical thinker since that time, and have been turned away from all sorts of crackpottery, woo, crankdom, and more that I may have been attracted to were it not for the wonderful bloggers/commenters who introduced me to a skepticism as something more than the pejorative hurled by UFO nuts and psychics. So here’s at least one person who’s changed her mind, and would probably otherwise be a 9/11 truther today.

  215. #216 Borg
    May 3, 2011

    WE ARE BORG. RESISTANCE IS FUTILE.

    (Sorry, but I just couldn’t believe that someone didn’t do that one straight away.)

    I can’t believe (figure of speech) that I’ve never seen this site before. Keep up the great work!

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