Respectful Insolence

I’ve blogged a lot about anti-vaccine hero Andrew Wakefield over the years. The story has become long and convoluted, and to tell it takes a lot of verbiage, even by Orac standards. However, I’ve found a good resource that tells the tale of Andrew Wakefield and his misdeeds in a highly accessible form:

i-2c02f4e1fc6fc4aba62404e73af9fae9-Wakefieldcartoon.jpg

The question at the very end of the story is about as appropriate as it gets. Unfortunately, the answer to the question is: Yes.

Speaking of Wakefield, it looks as though he’s starting to resurface. Apparently The Statesman will publish an interview with him tomorrow. Keep an eye out. I’m sure the anti-vaccine loons will descend on the comments.

Comments

  1. #1 augustine
    May 20, 2010

    Orac: “Keep an eye out. I’m sure the anti-vaccine loons will descend on the comments.”

    poisoning the well? Not above logical fallacies yourself?

    Are you angry because he’s caused thousands of deaths or because of his “unscientific thought”?

  2. #2 Julian Frost
    May 20, 2010

    Augustine,
    Andy Wakefield has caused thousands of deaths. He used fraudulent research that caused a needless panic. Many people stopped vaccinating. As a result, vaccine preventable diseases returned and have killed people. Google “Jenny McCarthy Body Count”. Over 500 deaths, and that is in the US alone.
    Or are you just another effing troll?

  3. #3 Chris
    May 20, 2010

    Julian Frost:

    Or are you just another effing troll?

    Yes, it is. One with a welded shut mind that refuses to accept any new information. Do not even bother. Ignore the Augie Troll.

  4. #4 Bob
    May 20, 2010

    Augustine,

    Please do me a favor – tomorrow morning when Radio Shack opens, go get yourself one of those police/emergency channel scanners, listen for the next fire in your neighborhood, drive to the fire, and go die in it.

  5. #5 DLC
    May 20, 2010

    nice summary of the Wakefield Follies.
    and yes… unfortunately it is too much to ask to actually have people with scientific knowledge on the staff of newspapers. CNN dismissed their entire science reporting staff 2 or 3 years ago. It’s depressing.

  6. #6 D. C. Sessions
    May 20, 2010

    The word of the day is “sophistry.”

  7. #7 Rogue Medic
    May 20, 2010

    Excellent presentation of the fraud that is Wakefield. Clear and concise. When the links to the sources are finished, it will be even better.

    Even the doctors hired as medical specialists by the news media seem to be the ones with bizarre pet theories. One example is Dr. Sanjay Gupta and his claim that brain death is curable. As a neurosurgeon, he should know better, but he must have his own bit of magic to believe in.

  8. #8 MikeMa
    May 20, 2010

    Cartoons are a potentially much better way to reach people not interested in doing the work of understanding actual science or critical thinking. Comic level presentation may reach low enough to allow them to grasp the truth. Or not.

  9. #9 FreeSpeaker
    May 20, 2010

    Andy new book “Callous Disregard” is about to hit the fan. I have clarified the title:

    http://wakefieldwatch.blogspot.com/

  10. #10 Rene Najera
    May 20, 2010

    We should all know better than to acknowledge Augustine’s existence in this blog. Anyway, I’d like to extend an invitation to Augustine to contact his local or state health department and join them in an investigation of a measles or mumps outbreak and all that goes into it. Perhaps, if the beer-bellied guy that sits on the porch telling the roofers how badly of a job they’re doing gets off his ass and on the roof, he will change his mind about the roofer’s jobs. Just saying.

    DISCLAIMER: (In English where available:) La opinion presentada en el comentario es solo la opinion del escritor y no representa la opinion de ninguna otra persona o grupo. El pensar que esta opinion representa mas que la del escritor es ridiculo ya que el escritor no se identifica como agente de ningun grupo o persona fisica o moral.

  11. #11 T. Bruce McNeely
    May 20, 2010

    Perhaps, if the beer-bellied guy that sits on the porch telling the roofers how badly of a job they’re doing gets off his ass and on the roof, he will change his mind about the roofer’s jobs. Just saying.

    Hah! Love it!

  12. #12 WLU
    May 20, 2010

    Actually D. C. Sessions, tallguywrites is presenting the whole series of issues in essentially the simplest way possible, based on the perfect knowledge of hindsight. He lays bare the evidence Wakefield presented, the reasons why that evidence is actually pretty shoddy, and the implications of Wakefield’s research and publications on a global scale. The word of the day is actually “simplicity”. And it’s a good thing.

    Augustine, Orac is not poisoning the well. He’s pointing out that the well is not only poisoned, but dry. He may also, like me, be angry that Wakefield has the gall to co-opt science (particularly medicine) from the wonderful tool to make life better into something that benefits only Wakefield himself. And further, that Wakefield is still held up as a paragon of virtue by many people in publically-editable comments sections, despite evidence to the contrary. And evidence always tends to be the enemy of anti-vaccinationists, simply because they don’t have any that is convincing.

  13. #13 mad the swine
    May 20, 2010

    Well, I suppose a comic strip is about at the proper level for you brain-damaged, pro-poison vaccine fanatics.

    A bad comic strip at that. Hasn’t the artist ever heard the maxim ‘show, don’t tell’? If your comic strip only has one character continuously narrating over drawings that contribute little or nothing in terms of additional data, it’s a complete waste of the medium. You may as well have just written an article.

    Perhaps the author is suffering from vaccine toxins himself. Well, a little dose of Vaccin-Tox will fix him right up.

  14. #14 jim
    May 20, 2010

    MikeMa: I suggested–somewhat tongue in cheek–something similar on the comic discussion as a reason why tallguywrites hasn’t been inundated with angry anti-vaxxers. Such a simple, lucid, cartoony explanation might be capable of sinking into even an anti-vax brain. So they instinctively avoid it for fear that if they read it they might end up accidentally confronting a fact.

  15. #15 Denice Walter
    May 20, 2010

    The anti-vaccine movement,precipitated by Wakefield’s “project”,invigorated and popularized two dangerous,interrelated examples of naive thinking:1.that experts and consensus opinion in medicine/science are not to be trusted,and 2.that “parents know best”.The following story(non-vax)illustrates an unfortunate combination of these ideas:(from “The Record”;by Kibret Markos;5/1/10)a Bergen County father and accupuncturist,who mistakingly diagnosed his 2 year old’s appendicitis for constipation, did not take her to a hospital despite her continued vomiting,pain,and advice from another accupuncturist he had consulted.She died in 7 days of a ruptured appendix.The parents were sentenced on child endangerment charges: an 18 month probationary period for the mother and 5 years in prison for the father(no mandatory time;with no record,he could be released on a parole special program in a few months).The Assistant Prosecutor said,”His failure to take the girl to the hospital had to do with his lack of belief in traditional medicine”…she “died needlessly,senselessly.”

  16. #16 augustine
    May 20, 2010

    @WLU: “Augustine, Orac is not poisoning the well.”

    Examples of Poisoning the Well

    1. “Don’t listen to him, he’s a scoundrel.”

    2. “Before turning the floor over to my opponent, I ask you to remember that those who oppose my plans do not have the best wishes of the university at heart.”

    3. You are told, prior to meeting him, that your friend’s boyfriend is a decadent wastrel. When you meet him, everything you hear him say is tainted.

  17. #17 Natalie
    May 20, 2010

    Decadent wastrel?

  18. #18 Lawrence
    May 20, 2010

    Well, Wakefield is a liar, bad scientist, and harmful to the overall health of the population at-large.

    Stating facts isn’t poisoning the well.

  19. #19 madder
    May 20, 2010

    @Natalie:

    Decadent wastrel?

    As opposed to the austere kind.

  20. #20 Orange Lantern
    May 20, 2010

    Suddenly, the word of the day is “wastrel”.

  21. #21 DW
    May 20, 2010

    @ Natalie:Most assuredly,yes! We’re all rather Victorian now!(clutches pearls)

  22. #22 Composer99
    May 20, 2010

    @ 16

    augustine, even if Orac is poisoning the well in this instance, does it somehow magically alter the overwhelming weight of evidence in favour of vaccination such that anti-vaccinationists can claim victory?

    Does it somehow magically alter the fact that anti-vaccination activism, when successful in reducing vaccination rates, leads to outbreaks of easily-preventable disease and needless illness and even death?

    It may be true that Orac committed a logical fallacy, but it is also irrelevant.

  23. #23 D. C. Sessions
    May 20, 2010

    WLU@12:

    I wasn’t referring to tallguy.

  24. #24 mikerattlesnake
    May 20, 2010

    @augustine

    it might be poisoning the well if this was the first article orac had written on the subject, and he was presenting it to people unfamiliar with anti-vaxxers. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. What he said boils down to “expect the usual response.” We know what you guys are going to say and it’s inane. Just look at your friend who showed up a few posts later. If you have anything new or insightful or add to the discussion to change our minds, feel free to go for it at any time.

  25. #25 Militant Agnostic
    May 20, 2010

    Mike @24 – if you are referring to “mad the swine” @13 as Augustine’s friend, “mad” is a notorious Poe. Post 13 was not one of it’s better efforts but at his or/her best “mad” is very subtle and hard to detect.

  26. #26 WLU
    May 20, 2010

    @D. C. Sessions – my apologies for misunderstanding.

    @Augustine – let’s examine your examples:

    “Don’t listen to him, he’s a scoundrel.”

    The definition of scoundrel, according to Princeton’s wordnetweb, is “villain: a wicked or evil person; someone who does evil deliberately”. Wakefield appears to have performed unnecessary and dangerous testing, and spread panic about the current MMR vaccine, deliberately. He didn’t do it by accident, and never retracted his “findings” or admitted error despite numerous challenges. Scoundrel could certainly appear accurate, I would suggest the argument is whether he is a well-intentioned scoundrel, and whether that is possible or an oxymoron.

    “Before turning the floor over to my opponent, I ask you to remember that those who oppose my plans do not have the best wishes of the university at heart.”

    Let’s substitute “children” for “university”. Wakefield didn’t have the best wishes of the children at heart, he was attempting to find data that could be shoehorned into a law suit against a vaccine manufacturer. In whose interests was this? Not the children’s. Orac’s plans are educating the world about good science, vaccination, and the poorly-supported propaganda of anti-vaccination crusaders via his blog through the citation and discussion of the best and worst evidence available. God knows what the antivax parents want, other than to be vindicated in the face of obviously convergent evidence. So again, this is less poisoning the well, and more an accurate description of why antivaxers in general, and Andy WF in specific, should not necessarily be taken at face value.

    “You are told, prior to meeting him, that your friend’s boyfriend is a decadent wastrel. When you meet him, everything you hear him say is tainted.”

    Let’s substitute “shoddy scientist with suspect motives” for “decadent wastrel” (and decadent wastrel could go either way – some people might like wastrels and decadence). Again, pretty accurate. Further, Orac has many times in the past addressed the substance of Andy’s points and work, not his character. And in addition to this, has cited extensive research to refute the points made. Past a certain point, a question can be considered substantially answered and should be laid to rest. Certain questions have been answered – the world is an oblate sphere, that rotates about the sun, which is in the spiral arm of a single galaxy, which was not created in 7 days, and vaccination helps prevent diseases while not increasing the risk of autism.

    At this point, it is obvious that some people will not change their mind about vaccination, despite ample high-quality evidence. Instead of addressing, and reconciling their views with the available evidence, there are attacks upon the person, not the substance. Orac has repeatedly pointed out the flaws in the claims of antivaxers. Those claims have not changed, or substantially engaged with the actual evidence. So, perhaps antivax loons becomes less a well-poisoning exercise, and more an accurate evaluation of their position and beliefs. Poisoning the well is a rhetorical tactic and logical fallacy. In this case, I would say that describing people who oppose vaccination as “antivax loons” is logically and empirically appropriate given their illogical adherence to a disproven set of claims.

  27. #27 augustine
    May 20, 2010

    “Stating facts isn’t poisoning the well.”

    Those are all subjective opinions. not facts. You should know the difference.

    “Keep an eye out. I’m sure the anti-vaccine loons will descend on the comments.”

    To those new to the topic this IS poisoning the well. To those already initiated to this STYLE of science it is just more poison to drink.

  28. #28 T. Bruce McNeely
    May 20, 2010

    Pfft! More “logic lessons” from the person who claimed that this is an “atheist blog”, since a number of atheists commented here.

    By that reasoning, this is also a moronic troll blog.

  29. #29 The Domestic Goddess
    May 20, 2010

    The thing that boggles my mind the most is the rationale against vaccines. They don’t want to poison their kids or cause autism, they say. Honestly? If they were responsible for my kid’s autism? (I should say,”kids”) then my rationale is I’d rather have autistic children who are alive than unvaccinated dead ones.

  30. #30 augustine
    May 20, 2010

    Rosanne: “If they were responsible for my kid’s autism? (I should say,”kids”) then my rationale is I’d rather have autistic children who are alive than unvaccinated dead ones.”

    Unbelievable! Your rationale is not based in truthful logic. If this were a blog about critical thinking then I would expect a correction from the posters. But it’s not. It’s ideology first. Critical thinking when useful.

  31. #31 bluemaxx
    May 20, 2010

    Mr Augustine @30

    guess I just totally missed your point, if you made one..

    what are you saying to DOMESTIC GODDESS’s post…
    you don’t see the logic in (admittedly two bad choices) of autistic children versus having lost children to fatal disease?

    the fallacy in that choice argument is that VACCINES DO NOT CAUSE DISEASE. Ignorance, however, causes incomplete vaccination, and can indeed result in maimed or death from preventable illness.

    not that I have seen you championing ‘critical thinking’ or ‘truthful logic’ in your postings here…

    I point at you, and yell QUACK!

  32. #32 augustine
    May 20, 2010

    bruce: “Pfft! More “logic lessons” from the person who claimed that this is an “atheist blog”, since a number of atheists commented here.
    By that reasoning, this is also a moronic troll blog.”

    Someone drank the poison.
    BTW that is not the logic that was used. Ian already used that scarecrow.

  33. #33 Todd W.
    May 20, 2010

    @Everyone

    It would be best to just ignore augustine. They like to throw about logical fallacies without really understanding them. Indeed, they seem to be oblivious to their own failures of logic.

    It’s kind of like dealing with Sid Offit and his penchant for cherry picking quotes. Just ignore.

  34. #34 augustine
    May 20, 2010

    bluemann: “I point at you, and yell QUACK!”

    Why? Under what basis?

    “what are you saying to DOMESTIC GODDESS’s post…
    you don’t see the logic in (admittedly two bad choices) of autistic children versus having lost children to fatal disease?”

    Oh there’s logic. I see it. It’s called fallacious logic.

  35. #35 augustine
    May 20, 2010

    “It would be best to just ignore augustine. They like to throw about logical fallacies without really understanding them. Indeed, they seem to be oblivious to their own failures of logic.”

    the old you just don’t understand gambit!

    When someone uses fallacious logic on here and they hold the party line then it’s funny and looked over. But if someone comes on here who opposes the blog’s ideology and commits an error in logic then it’s like rabid dogs, a no-holds barred feast. What gives? Is this a blog that champions critical thinking? Evidence based medicine? The use of critical thinking is selective around here.

    I’ll come on later and prove my point by using another pseudonym. I’ll toe the ideological line but commit errors in logic while doing so. We’ll see how much attention I grab. I bet it won’t be much. I’ll bet you’ll actually like my logic and “science” then.

    Gotta go for now. My homeschool teacher is calling.

  36. #36 Zaher Bey
    May 20, 2010

    What a cunning plan augustine, I am sure it will prove beyond any shadow of a doubt, once and for all, that you think you are right.

    That’ll teach us.

  37. #37 BlueMaxx
    May 20, 2010

    @TODD W

    thanks for the sage advice. you are correct, sir. it is somewhere between reasoning with a drunk yankee fan at a red sox game, and a member of Congress about health care.

  38. #38 Composer99
    May 20, 2010

    @ 35:

    You continue to assert that other people are making errors of logic.

    You continue to fail to provide evidence (either of any reasonably quality or at all) that your assertions are correct.

    In short, we have little reason to agree with, or take at all seriously, your claims to have found logical fallacies.

    You appear to be using the vocabulary of logic with as much understanding as many quacks use the vocabulary of quantum physics.

    You apparently fail to understand that logical fallacies are only fatal to an argument if they are a substitute for proper support. The case for vaccination as a medical procedure has an enormous depth of evidence supporting it. The substance of the claims of anti-vaccination activists has been thoroughly debunked, over and over, for many years. No amount of insults or bad logic hurled at anti-vaccination activists will weaken the strength of the evidence for vaccination or resuscitate discredited anti-vaccination claims.

    Finally, I must confess I am astonished that someone would surf over to a weblog titled Respectful Insolence and whinge about being treated insolently.

    —–
    @ Everyone else:

    I apologize for throwing the fresh troll kibble (made from 100% pure billy goat!) under the bridge.

  39. #39 Poogles
    May 20, 2010

    “Gotta go for now. My homeschool teacher is calling.”

    LMAO! I just posted on another thread that I’m pretty sure augustine is a teen, and here he is confirming!

  40. #40 Travis
    May 20, 2010

    Poogles, I saw the homeschooling comment before your comment and laughed a little. Good call.

  41. #41 Sauceress
    May 20, 2010

    William Dembski awards credits to his students for trolling the net. I wonder if augustine’s home school teacher does as well.

  42. #42 Chance Gearheart, NREMT-P/EMD
    May 20, 2010

    @35, Augustine –

    “”It would be best to just ignore augustine. They like to throw about logical fallacies without really understanding them. Indeed, they seem to be oblivious to their own failures of logic.”

    the old you just don’t understand gambit!”

    You can argue failures of logic all you want, but you’re falling into the trap of tu quoquo: “Do as I say, even though I do the same thing I’m accusing you of.” You’ve done nothing but attempt to academically dissect every arguement that people have made on here to find a flaw in logic, while yelling “A HA” and never giving any evidence to back your position – basically creating a circular arguement which has no ending. Well, except for the “See, I knew I was right, he stopped replying to my posts.”

    That sort of stuff may impress someone in a high school debate class, but it certainly does nothing to fuel your point that this is a blog ment to further the status quo against evidence against it. At the very least, you’ve done the exact opposite – prove their point that the only reason you’re here is to troll for arguements.

    “When someone uses fallacious logic on here and they hold the party line then it’s funny and looked over. But if someone comes on here who opposes the blog’s ideology and commits an error in logic then it’s like rabid dogs, a no-holds barred feast. What gives? Is this a blog that champions critical thinking? Evidence based medicine? The use of critical thinking is selective around here. ”

    That’s funny – rather than attempting to give accurate, objective evidence that our position is wrong, instead over the past few days you’ve decided to post you’ve taken the position of religious zealotry, amidst cries from yourself that “We’re a bunch of atheists trying to push our beliefs upon you”, and ignoring any evidence to the contrary. Personally, your critical thinking skills are coming into question far more than anyone else, due to the fact that you seem more fixated on any purported atheist agenda and any type of minor fallacies and errors over the evidence provided. It’s not a no-holds bars feast, it’s a matter of don’t attempt to nit-pick logical debate unless you’re prepared to be brought down a peg for your own errors.

    Again, other than trying to state this is a blog about atheist beliefs (which, if I’m not mistaken, is what Phayngula is for, not RI), you’ve not added anything constructive or evidenciary to this “debate”, except to troll arguements.

    “I’ll come on later and prove my point by using another pseudonym. I’ll toe the ideological line but commit errors in logic while doing so. We’ll see how much attention I grab. I bet it won’t be much. I’ll bet you’ll actually like my logic and “science” then.”

    So basically you’ve just admitted that all you did was come here in an attempt to troll. Bravo, Sir, obvious troll is obvious.

    “Gotta go for now. My homeschool teacher is calling.”

    Thanks for the proof, I’m sure 4chan is missing a troll right now.

  43. #43 augustine
    May 20, 2010

    chance: “So basically you’ve just admitted that all you did was come here in an attempt to troll. Bravo, Sir, obvious troll is obvious.”

    Didn’t say I was trolling now. I said I will troll later to prove a point.

    “That’s funny – rather than attempting to give accurate, objective evidence that our position is wrong, instead over the past few days you’ve decided to post you’ve taken the position of religious zealotry, amidst cries from yourself that “We’re a bunch of atheists trying to push our beliefs upon you”, and ignoring any evidence to the contrary.”

    Who said I had a problem with atheists? I didn’t. Don’t be so defensive. I actually applaud the non-contradictory nature of some of your posters. They have a certain metaphysical viewpoint, it’s consistent and I know what I’m getting. I just like to know which uniform you’re wearing. Congruency and non-contradiction just makes it easier to see.

  44. #44 Broken Link
    May 20, 2010

    Have a look at the amazon listing for Waker’s upcoming “book” “Callous Disregard”. Most amusing tags, including fearmongering, discredited, quackery, and lies.

    Add your vote if you wish. (link on my ‘nmy)

  45. #45 Jen in TX
    May 20, 2010

    @44:
    My favorite: “liar liar pants on fire”

  46. #46 Chance Gearheart, NREMT-P/EMD
    May 20, 2010

    “chance: “So basically you’ve just admitted that all you did was come here in an attempt to troll. Bravo, Sir, obvious troll is obvious.”
    Didn’t say I was trolling now. I said I will troll later to prove a point.”

    Your entire presence on this site over the last three days has been one attempt after another to derail conversation from the topic at hand to a completely different tangent. In case you want to argue otherwise, as on the next point I’m going to address, your comments prove this.

    “Who said I had a problem with atheists? I didn’t. Don’t be so defensive. I actually applaud the non-contradictory nature of some of your posters. They have a certain metaphysical viewpoint, it’s consistent and I know what I’m getting. I just like to know which uniform you’re wearing. Congruency and non-contradiction just makes it easier to see.”

    Your entire tone has been of this – in fact, it’s the exact reason why you started posting on this site. Your first post, even:

    75
    @rene

    You do know this is an atheist website, cloaked with the banner of science right? Does anyone want to give her a lesson in logical consistency? Perhaps you should change your bible to reflect your beliefs.

    “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy vaccines and thy medicine they comfort me.”

    Yeah, that doesn’t sound at all derrogatory, does it? And then:

    “84
    @ender

    post #13. It clearly says “rene”.

    “And it would not be a criticism of the site if it were an atheist site, either.”

    It is what it is. There is no nonsense about it.”

    “101
    “Yes, you are right augustine, this is a scienceblog therefore we are all grey emotionless drones at all times. It is the only way to be. There is no place for emotion in the halls of a blog about science.”

    No you should spout your ideology and personal musings on philosophy and then call it a “blog about science” to confuse everyone.”

    And on, and on, for the entire length of the thread of http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2010/05/destroying_the_vaccine_program.php#c2531567 .

    You’re not here interested in debate, rather, you’re interested in the amount of attention you can recieve by acting like a spoiled child being ignored as he throws a temper tantrum, and derailing the conversation at hand to something as totally irrelevent as someone’s religious beliefs – rather than a thread about how the actions of someone with a very obvious conflict of interest threatened to spark a global epidemic of not only fear (which he has accomplished), but the resurgance of childhood diseases that were once on the brink of erradication based on unscientific beliefs.

  47. #47 Sauceress
    May 20, 2010

    augustine dear, won’t no one pay you no attention anywhere else?

  48. #48 Sauceress
    May 20, 2010

    Chance

    you’re interested in the amount of attention you can recieve by acting like a spoiled child

    Oh snap! Pretty much took the words right out of my mouth :)

  49. #49 augustine
    May 20, 2010

    chance: “rather than a thread about how the actions of someone with a very obvious conflict of interest threatened to spark a global epidemic of not only fear (which he has accomplished), but the resurgance of childhood diseases that were once on the brink of erradication based on unscientific beliefs.”

    You’re blaming wakefield for vaccine failure? Another unscientific meandering. How are you going to prove that wakefield caused people to not vaccinate. And then how are you going to prove that by that specific choice that someone died as a direct result from that? you must be an epidemiological genius. you can’t prove any of that with evidence. It’s only what you want to believe isn’t it?It’s your part of the good fight. Can you see that you have no causal evidence for this emotional claim?

  50. #50 Science Mom
    May 20, 2010

    You’re blaming wakefield for vaccine failure?

    Not vaccine failure, failure to take up the vaccine. Big difference. It is hardly an emotional claim when the UK, that halted indigenous circulation of wild-type measles, now does due to low vaccine uptake. The primary reason being fear that MMR causes autism, the perpetrator of that fear being Wakefield.

  51. #51 augustine
    May 20, 2010

    “The primary reason being fear that MMR causes autism, the perpetrator of that fear being Wakefield.”

    Do you have proof of that? a survey or something? anything?
    How many died from measles in the 10 year period before Wakefield’s paper? How many died in the 10 year period after?

    You guys are certain that you’re right that you justify your fallacies. Even though you have no proof. It just seems right. Its the good fight.

  52. #52 Chance Gearheart, NREMT-P/EMD
    May 20, 2010

    @49, Augustine

    “You’re blaming wakefield for vaccine failure?”

    That’s a rather loaded question, isn’t it? The vaccine didn’t fail. In fact, the vaccine is very effective. Common sense failed, and panic and fear mongering took over pushed by a “Doctor” who fell into greed and avarice, forsaking his oath at “First Do No Harm” and instead
    chose to fabricate everything to further himself and his ego. Among others pushing an anti-science belief mixed in with a little bit of good o’ conspiracy mongering, these people scared parents with false information into not making the decision to vaccinate, and thus resulted in rates which lowered vaccinated populations below the levels required for herd immunity. Measles outbreaks in these areas were almost unheard of for years before the Lancet paper in 1998 – after – it reached levels nearly approximate to that of pre-vaccination. I can definately lay some of the blame for that upon him, and apparantly, so can the UK’s General Medical Council.

    “How are you going to prove that wakefield caused people to not vaccinate.”

    I don’t have to. This has been publically admitted by the parents themselves over the past 12 years – that the results from the Wakefield paper, as well as the media presentation of it, were the reasons they chose not to vaccinate. I don’t have to have a scientific study to take what they say and represent it.

    oh, btw, http://www.bmj.com/cgi/content/full/333/7574/890

    “And then how are you going to prove that by that specific choice that someone died as a direct result from that? you must be an epidemiological genius. you can’t prove any of that with evidence”

    I’ve never pretended to be an epidemiological genius, nor have I claimed any type of epidemiological training; however, if you have a better idea of why after the 1998 paper was published, I’d love to hear it – expecially since measles rates rose exponentially in the UK with the decrease in vaccination of patients. Common sense comes into play here: Before the Wakefield paper, vaccination rates were well above the levels required to maintain herd immunity. After – they suddenly dropped.

    “Can you see that you have no causal evidence for this emotional claim?”

    Parent testimonies, GMC Rulings, Epidemiological Studies published by various government agencies, and so on. It’s not very emotional, actually, it’s a pretty good conclusion based on the evidence at hand.

  53. #53 augustine
    May 20, 2010

    chance: “That’s a rather loaded question, isn’t it? The vaccine didn’t fail. In fact, the vaccine is very effective.”

    Really? Tell you must not choose to read about vaccine failure do you? try it.

    chance: “I don’t have to. This has been publically admitted by the parents themselves over the past 12 years – that the results from the Wakefield paper, as well as the media presentation of it, were the reasons they chose not to vaccinate. I don’t have to have a scientific study to take what they say and represent it.”

    So tell me. How many anecdotally reported that they didn’t vaccinate specifically because of wakefield, contracted measles, AND had a serious sequelae such as death.

    chance: “Parent testimonies, GMC Rulings, Epidemiological Studies published by various government agencies, and so on. It’s not very emotional, actually, it’s a pretty good conclusion based on the evidence at hand.”

    So you should be able to piece together your ironclad evidence with that. I’d love to see the causal logic and evidence.

  54. #54 bluemaxx
    May 20, 2010

    Sauceress…

    I am afraid you are correct, Augie seeks the attention of the crowd like a preschooler.

    sort of a classic case study in unfettered web access for unsupervised child, striving for attention from the adults in the room.

    AUGIE: Why doesn’t your mom better regulate your use of the web?

  55. #55 Chance Gearheart, NREMT-P/EMD
    May 21, 2010

    @53, Augustine

    “Really? Tell you must not choose to read about vaccine failure do you? try it.”

    Oh, I do indeed know about vaccine failure (Which, I don’t think works the way you think it does), but that wasn’t the question you were asking – hince why I pointed out your use of a loaded question, expecially given your past history of using them. The only reason, in this case, that vaccines failed was that people stopped taking them, and the amount of unvaccinated children allowed a resevouir that was large enough to overwhelm herd immunity. No vaccine is 100% effective, thus, herd immunity is important.

    The vaccine didn’t fail – it worked very well, actually, see: http://www.bmj.com/cgi/content/full/333/7574/890/FIG1

    “So tell me. How many anecdotally reported that they didn’t vaccinate specifically because of wakefield, contracted measles, AND had a serious sequelae such as death. ”

    I can think of two that died as reported by the BMJ, however, Death is not the only serious sequela of measles, mumps, or rubella. Your basically running around a tree in circles with that question holding your hands over your ears shouting “LA LA LA LA LA, ITS NOT TRUE” because you either don’t want to connect the dots here, or because you just want to climb some ladder of intellectual superiority – I haven’t been able to decide which.

    The simple fact of the matter is that Wakefield et all (As there were originally 12 authors) sparked off a global epidemic of fear and panic, who’s fire was fueled by media sensationalism all over the world, that caused vaccination rates to drop over night because people were afraid of making their child autistic. It was this work of fiction, coupled with such groups as NVIC, AoA, and others that have lowered vaccination risks and sparked outbreaks nationwide.

    Well, that and a general dumbing down of basic knowledge of A&P and Science.

    “chance: “Parent testimonies, GMC Rulings, Epidemiological Studies published by various government agencies, and so on. It’s not very emotional, actually, it’s a pretty good conclusion based on the evidence at hand.”

    So you should be able to piece together your ironclad evidence with that. I’d love to see the causal logic and evidence.”

    I don’t have to. Of all the people I’d be willing to write an academic paper to disprove, you rate low on that list. However, Brian Deer of Channel 4 UK has done an excelent expose on Wakefield and the chaos he’s caused over the last twelve years that should get you up to speed on the situation, that is, if you’re willing to read it and not do the aformentioned running around a tree.

    Part 1:http://briandeer.com/mmr-lancet.htm
    Part 2:http://briandeer.com/wakefield-deer.htm
    Part 3:http://briandeer.com/solved/solved.htm

  56. #56 Chris
    May 21, 2010

    bluemaxx:

    AUGIE: Why doesn’t your mom better regulate your use of the web?

    Since he has a homeschool teacher that may not be his mother there are some possibilities. His/her mother may be working, has passed away (something that happened to me), or he/she is very sneaky. Or, like me, figures at a certain point they are old enough to monitor how they use the internet. We took child controls away about the time they were in middle school.

    Other than my oldest who is learning disabled, my kids do well in school. The middle child voluntarily stopped playing World of Warcraft, and the youngest has the highest security setting on her Facebook page (you cannot find her if you search for her fairly unusual last name). My middle child fills me in on what she posts on her Facebook page occasionally, because even if I joined Facebook she would never “friend” or “like” me. Plus the youngest thinks Japanese is “easy”, so she actually switches the computer to Japanese and several things she does online are in a language I cannot understand.

    Despite his/her youthful silliness, Augie does seem to possess the characteristics of a trustworthy teenager. He/she is not out causing real havoc (like the drunk classmates of my younger sister who came to our house trying to get to come out and “play”… let me just say, MPs got involved, note: MP = military police, because it was a town that started with the word “Fort”). Plus he/she has not yet gone into VenomFangX mode (his parents actually had to intervene, even though he had been a college student with his own apartment).

    Plus, for those who think the “glass is half full”, there may be a chance he or she may actually learn something. I’m not one of those. I only responded minimally to him/her, and I believe even that was too much.

  57. #57 dt
    May 21, 2010

    Prior to the introduction of MMR in the UK in 1988, there were still around 10 deaths every year from measles. Deaths soon fell to virtually zero, as measles outbreaks disappeared, and MMR vaccination rates were over 90% in the population.

    Wakefield’s paper emerged in 1998, with publicity about it peaking over the next few years as the media took up the story provoking anti-MMR panic among some parents.

    MMR vaccination rates were at 91% in 1998. They dropped to below 80% by 2004, triggering new outbreaks of measles. (Even now UK MMR vaccination rates are not back to pre Wakefield levels – the rate is 85% currently).
    See Table 2:
    http://www.ic.nhs.uk/webfiles/publications/immunisaton05/NHSImmunisationStatisticsTables220905_XLS.xls

    2 deaths from acute measles occured in England in the late 2000s, one in 2006, one in 2008. Children with measles do not just run the real risk of pneumonia and encephalitis while they have measles, but the risk of a fatal chronic form of encephalitis many years later (SSPE).
    http://www.hpa.org.uk/web/HPAweb&HPAwebStandard/HPAweb_C/1195733811885

  58. #58 Science Mom
    May 21, 2010

    “The primary reason being fear that MMR causes autism, the perpetrator of that fear being Wakefield.”

    Do you have proof of that? a survey or something? anything?
    How many died from measles in the 10 year period before Wakefield’s paper? How many died in the 10 year period after?

    Even your shifting of the goalposts fails to make your point. I was referring to vaccine refusal, not deaths and dt provided that proof in the form of NHS statistics.

    You guys are certain that you’re right that you justify your fallacies. Even though you have no proof. It just seems right. Its the good fight.

    Justified on the basis of evidence so no fallacies there. Try again.

  59. #59 Lawrence
    May 21, 2010

    Okay – can’t wait to see Augie’s response to #56 & the linked statistics/evidence!

  60. #60 augustine
    May 21, 2010

    So from 1989-1998 there were 18 deaths.

    Andrew Wakefield’s paper comes out and from 1999-2008 there were 10 deaths. HMMM. less deaths after his paper than before. Not very convincing for your case against wakefield being a murderer.

    Also how many of those deaths were in the vaccinated? It doesn’t confirm. That is also important.

    And who cares about vaccine rates? That is not the goal. The goal is to save lives without harming or killing lives. You’re caught up in ideology and therefore missing the big picture.

    The good news is everyone who caught wild measles doesn’t have to get boosters. Because of vaccine failure the others will have to stay up to date with waning vaccine immunity. Isn’t measles worse in adulthood? Ouch!

    And your graph doesn’t say the reason why vaccine compliance was down. Any evidence on that?

  61. #61 Science Mom
    May 21, 2010

    @Augie: http://www.hpa.org.uk/cdr/archives/2006/cdr1206.pdf
    And just like every other measles outbreaks, the vast majority are in unvaccinated.

    And who cares about vaccine rates? That is not the goal. The goal is to save lives without harming or killing lives. You’re caught up in ideology and therefore missing the big picture.

    What an incredibly ignorant thing to state, not to say that anything else you have said was vaguely enlightening. Disease risks and complications from measles are more than the risk of vaccination.

  62. #62 Calli Arcale
    May 21, 2010

    augustine:

    You’re blaming wakefield for vaccine failure?

    I blame Wakefield for fraud, for lying, for ordering painful and unnecessary tests on many autistic children (not just the ones in the actual study; they’re just the tip of the iceberg), and doing this all for his own personal enrichment. That’s reason enough for me to despise the man.

  63. #63 Zaher Bey
    May 21, 2010

    I see what you mean Augie. No one has conducted a study on whether Wakefield actually had the effect on vaccine uptake that he is credited for. Correlation is not causation people! Wakefield is the thimerosal of this discussion.

    Since this is a science blog, you aren’t allowed to make any assertion, or draw any conclusion that has not been peer reviewed and published.

    I am going to go see if I can get some funding to conduct a study on people who have vague understandings of logical fallacies, and then use that to horribly misapply accusations of their use in discussions so that I may comment here further.

  64. #64 augustine
    May 21, 2010

    Zah: “I am going to go see if I can get some funding to conduct a study on people who have vague understandings of logical fallacies, and then use that to horribly misapply accusations of their use in discussions so that I may comment here further.”

    Then you could put your label in the DSM-IV and call it scientific.

  65. #65 Kristen
    May 21, 2010

    Here’s an emotional rant, for our resident dumb as a brick, genius in his own eyes trolling knigget:

    Yesterday I was at the funeral of a 17-year-old girl who was a mentor for children involved in the Juvenile Justice System in our area. She has helped many other teenagers (including my adopted daughter) to do better by teaching them about what really matters.

    Today I am on RI, reading the comments of an arrogant prick who seems to think that his arguments have validity. He really doesn’t know how stupid he sounds.

    Here we have a person who is not educated on the subject at hand, has reached a priori conclusion and is only interested in making himself feel smart. In contrast to the lovely young lady that we said goodbye to yesterday.

    I guess the mention of his “home school teacher” is what really made me realize we have all been wasting our time talking to a adolescent who has absolutely no idea how life or science works.

    To quote one of the best movie scenes ever: “I don’t want to talk to you, no more, you empty-headed animal, food trough wiper. I fart in your general direction. You mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries…Now go away or I shall taunt you a second time.”

    Postscript: Please feel free to get your Wikipedia based list of logical fallacies and use it to pick apart my comment.

  66. #66 augustine
    May 21, 2010

    “I guess the mention of his “home school teacher” is what really made me realize we have all been wasting our time talking to a adolescent who has absolutely no idea how life or science works.”

    I’ll let you grieve.

    But for the others, did you really think I was serious about the homeschool comment? It was in jest. I really did not think it would go that far but some of you took it and ran.

  67. #67 jen
    May 21, 2010

    the vaccine program is doing a fine job of convincing people not to vaccinate all by itself: pig viruses, seizuring kids/death in Australia and subsequent recall of flu vaccine, stupid, gratuitous vaccines that have taken a mild illness away from childhood and deferring it to a later time when it could be worse (mumps, chicken pox),just plain stupid vaccines for our kids (rota-anything), troubes with Gardasil, etc. etc. I think Wakefield will actually emerge triumphant in his work. A study comparing vacc VS unvacc monkeys sure threatens the shit out of all you people.

  68. #68 Todd W.
    May 21, 2010

    @jen

    just plain stupid vaccines for our kids (rota-anything)

    You really want to get verbally pummeled, don’t you? I predict several comments showing that rotavirus is not something to be treated lightly or callously, as in your comment.

    troubes with Gardasil

    Such as…? Thus far, the main problems with the vaccine have been falsely attributed adverse reactions and negative spin stories by the likes of a certain censorship-loving blog with the initials AoA.

    A study comparing vacc VS unvacc monkeys sure threatens the shit out of all you people.

    Not really. If a competent scientist were to conduct such a study and do it properly, the results might be interesting. But, since no such thing is taking place, I guess we’ll just have to wait.

  69. #69 Gray Falcon
    May 21, 2010

    Two pieces of advice for augustine:
    1) If nobody finds your joke funny, there’s a good chance it isn’t funny.
    2) Age and maturity are two separate things. I’ve seen several arrogant adults who have attitudes similar to that of small children. You seem to be one of them.

  70. #70 Chris
    May 21, 2010

    What Wakefield has accomplished: WHO says measles making ‘rapid comeback’

    Measles is making a rapid comeback in African, Asian and even some European countries despite being easily avoided through vaccination, the World Health Organizations said Friday as countries pledged to sharply cut infections and deaths worldwide by 2015.


    The disease’s resurgence in Britain follows a sharp drop in immunization rates in the late 1990s sparked by the publication of a flawed paper linking autism to the combined measles, mumps and rubella vaccine. Britain has reported 1,000 cases in each of the last two years — more than 10 times the figure a decade ago.

  71. #71 Kristen
    May 21, 2010

    But for the others, did you really think I was serious about the homeschool comment? It was in jest. I really did not think it would go that far but some of you took it and ran.

    Fair enough. I was reading through the comments here, I hadn’t gotten to the train wreck yet. I suppose I had mistaken a (bad) joke for truth.

    Gray

    Age and maturity are two separate things. I’ve seen several arrogant adults who have attitudes similar to that of small children. You seem to be one of them.

    Thank you, I was actually of the opinion he was just an arrogant ass. I only thought he might be adolescent arrogant ass when I read his home school “joke”.

    And regarding my ‘grieving’. If I were interested in getting treated with kid gloves, I wouldn’t be posting comments on the internet. I was simply contrasting a person who spent her life building, and one who spends his time reveling in controversy.

  72. #72 Science Mom
    May 21, 2010

    the vaccine program is doing a fine job of convincing people not to vaccinate all by itself: pig viruses, seizuring kids/death in Australia and subsequent recall of flu vaccine, stupid, gratuitous vaccines that have taken a mild illness away from childhood and deferring it to a later time when it could be worse (mumps, chicken pox),just plain stupid vaccines for our kids (rota-anything), troubes with Gardasil, etc. etc.

    Todd, I don’t think jen minds getting pummelled since she keeps showing up spewing inflated ‘facts’ and flat-out falsehoods. What pig viruses are in vaccines jen? Do you know the difference between a whole virion and a genomic fragment? Children dying of CSL’s vaccine? Proof jen? As far as I know this is still under investigation. What is wrong with a recall? This is the system working. Did you work up this amount of froth over Toyota’s protracted and massive recall of vehicles that were actually injuring and killing people?

    Mumps, see Japan and mumps deafness. Did you get your rubella titre checked jen? It is a mild illness after all. Gardasil troubles? As Todd pointed out, a manufactroversy created by your insipid sources. Speaking of which, sound rather shrill these days, as you do. Getting a bit frustrated that you are being shoved off to the lunatic fringe where you belong?

    I think Wakefield will actually emerge triumphant in his work. A study comparing vacc VS unvacc monkeys sure threatens the shit out of all you people.

    Not at all jen. You see when someone enters the testing of a hypothesis with the foregone conclusion decided, it tends to severely bias and compromise the study methods and results. Now I know that it is standard operating procedure for Wakers, but it isn’t for the rest of the scientific community. Besides, who will fund any work with Wakers name on it, let alone get IRB approval for primate work? His only possible funding sources are so biased and make no bones about influencing study design that he will be hard pressed to incorporate the rigorous methods that will withstand scrutiny. Not that he is of the calibre that would even try.

  73. #73 augustine
    May 21, 2010

    SM: “You see when someone enters the testing of a hypothesis with the foregone conclusion decided, it tends to severely bias and compromise the study methods and results.”

    You mean like pharmaceutical company scientists?

    SM: “Now I know that it is standard operating procedure for Wakers, but it isn’t for the rest of the scientific community.

    So pharma scientists aren’t part of the scientific community?

  74. #74 Dan
    May 21, 2010

    This all reminds me of my first few years on the Internet. Someone is backed into a corner, and all they can do is try for more and more tenuous “you can’t PROVE it!” claims.

    (I probably did it myself a few times. Hey, we were all kids at one time.)

    Joe says “I’m going to go shoot Bob,” carries a machine gun into a room with only one door where Bob is tied to a chair and no one else is in the room, closes the door, we hear gunfire, he walks out with his smoking gun, and says “I shot Bob.” Yet some people will say “oh yeah, PROVE IT!”

    In American law (which descends from British law), if you take an action intended to cause result X, and result X happens, you are considered to have caused X.

  75. #75 Science Mom
    May 21, 2010

    SM: “You see when someone enters the testing of a hypothesis with the foregone conclusion decided, it tends to severely bias and compromise the study methods and results.”

    You mean like pharmaceutical company scientists?

    SM: “Now I know that it is standard operating procedure for Wakers, but it isn’t for the rest of the scientific community.

    So pharma scientists aren’t part of the scientific community?

    @ Augie, to queue argument? You are also operating under the assumption that any pharmaceutical-funded or conducted research is tainted and you would be wrong. I also see that you haven’t been a reader here for very long given that Orac and several other sceptical bloggers will eviscerate pharmaceutical studies when warranted.

  76. #76 Composer99
    May 21, 2010

    Uggie:

    @73 – And your evidence to back up your assertions about how research scientists working for pharmaceutical companies is… ?

  77. #77 Bluemaxx
    May 21, 2010

    Composer99@76:

    well…that is a multiple Guess Question for Augie’s source data citation.

    a) “Augie knows, he just knows”
    b) saw it on the DR OZ show
    c) read it somewhere on a internet site called AoA
    d) his naturopathic therapist told him while performing an ear candling treatment.
    e) all of the above.

  78. #78 Augustine
    May 21, 2010

    Back to the whole wakefield is a murderer thing. U boys haven’t addressed that chart that was given as exhibit a. Based on that data u can’t say Wakefield is responsible for more deaths simply by the fact there were less. Factsxxxxx.

  79. #79 Gray Falcon
    May 21, 2010

    I noticed how augustine views the regular commentators: having a strict hierarchy where relationships between people is determined by one having authority over the other, a homogeneous group with no room for variation and dissent, with a single defining philosophy. I’m starting to wonder if he’s trying to understand the scientific community in terms of things he’s familiar with.

  80. #80 augustine
    May 21, 2010

    Crickets on the deaths wakefield has caused.
    18 deaths before wakefield 10 deaths after wakefield.
    crickets.

    Where are the bodies you guys keep spouting about? We can’t go forward in this investigation until you produce the bodies first. How about this? someone come up with a theory about how their SHOULD be some bodies. And then everyone on here can try to substitute that theory for evidence.

  81. #81 Orange Lantern
    May 21, 2010

    Think… harder, Augustine. Comparing two separate decades may not be appropriate. MMR came into use in 1988 and it takes time before a vaccine becomes widespread, especially in the older age groups, leading to a higher death rate in that time period.

    The point is not whether there would be as many measles deaths in the decade after as there were before. The point is that some of those ten deaths in the last ten years may not have happened if not for Wakefield’s apparently fraudulent shenanigans.

  82. #82 squirrelelite
    May 21, 2010

    re: dt-57 and augustine-60

    Measles statistics for the UK are tricky to find. Partly this is because most of the articles only cite numbers for the most current year or the last few years. Also, there was a change in reporting methods in 1995, which is right in the middle of the 1988-1998 period which is our “baseline”.

    This link has a graph that shows measles “notifications”, which I think are unconfirmed, and deaths from 1940-2008.

    http://www.hpa.org.uk/web/HPAweb&HPAwebStandard/HPAweb_C/1195733756107

    This link has a table of laboratory confirmed cases in England and Wales from 1996-2009, which I used to do some simple analysis.

    http://www.hpa.org.uk/web/HPAweb&HPAwebStandard/HPAweb_C/1195733833790

    This only gives three years for the baseline, but at least the numbers were collected under the same reporting system. Also, there was a huge incidence of rubella in 1996, 3922 cases compared to a maximum of 162 since then and only 8 last year! Does anyone know why there was such a large rubella outbreak that year? I excluded it from my spreadsheet averages because I didn’t know if it was typical or comparable to previous years and I wasn’t primarily interested in rubella incidence anyway.

    This table shows a measles incidence of 155 +/- 61 from 1996-1998 when Wakefield’s paper was released. After that measles incidence went up to 502 +/- 479.

    Mumps also increased from 132 +/- 45 to 6488 +/- 12547 driven by a huge outbreak of 43378 cases in 2005.

    If you do the followup comparison starting in 2002 when measles cases increased by a factor of 3 or 4, the average goes up to 658 +/- 475.

    All these numbers just use “normal” statistics which my spreadsheet can easily calculate, not Bayesian statistics.

    Deaths are not as good an indicator of vaccine effectiveness as incidence (which has been discussed elsewhere on this blog) because measles deaths were already dropping from about 1000 during WW II to about 100 when the first measles vaccine was introduced. I understand this was due to several improvements in medicine in the 40′s and 50′s especially the widespread introduction of antibiotics.

    So annual measles deaths for the baseline are 2.0 +/- 1.7 while after Wakefield measles deaths have been 1.1 +/- 0.9. Because of the large overlap, this difference is not statistically significant.

    Now to the point.

    dt states that “Prior to the introduction of MMR in the UK in 1988, there were still around 10 deaths every year from measles.”

    Augustine interprets this as “So from 1989-1998 there were 18 deaths. Andrew Wakefield’s paper comes out and from 1999-2008 there were 10 deaths. ”

    Actually, other than using the correct death numbers from dt’s linked table, Augustine doesn’t make it clear what he is responding to when he says “So …”.

    But, anyway, “Prior to” does not mean “during”. It means before.

    As I said, incidence is a more important measure of vaccination success because it indirectly accounts for side effects from getting the disease like encephalitis.

    After Wakefield’s paper was released, incidence went up from 155 to 502.

    That alone is sufficient reason to make Wakefield’s actions in publicizing his hypothetical link between the MMR shot and autism and thereby discouraging immunization abhorrent.

    @Science Mom 61 and Calli Arcale 62, I second your comments.

  83. #83 squirrelelite
    May 21, 2010

    @Bluemaxx 77,

    I like your list but you probably should have included such “reliable” ( :) ) sources at whale.to, naturalnews, and the HuffPo among others in answer c.

    But, your answer was sufficient to the make the point, so who’s counting?

  84. #84 augustine
    May 21, 2010

    lantern: “Think… harder, Augustine. Comparing two separate decades may not be appropriate. MMR came into use in 1988 and it takes time before a vaccine becomes widespread, especially in the older age groups, leading to a higher death rate in that time period.”

    Lantern, Lantern,Lantern,

    Did you not think about this before you wrote it?

    If it took longer than a year then you must attribute the drop from 16 to 3 deaths to some cause other than vaccine. I’m sure you don’t want to go down that road.

    I started at that date because of the large dropoff that you’d love for the vaccine to take credit for, yes?. Starting after that will not change your outcome.

    Lantern: “The point is not whether there would be as many measles deaths in the decade after as there were before. The point is that some of those ten deaths in the last ten years may not have happened if not for Wakefield’s apparently fraudulent shenanigans.”

    AHHH I see. Now you starting to er, um, change your tone. Now it’s “may not” and woulda coulda shoulda. Admit it their are no bodies that you speak of in this “murder”. Admit you got caught up in the hype and poured it on just like the rest of them while leaving your thinking brain at home.

    Next.

  85. #85 augustine
    May 21, 2010

    squirrel: “As I said, incidence is a more important measure of vaccination success because it indirectly accounts for side effects from getting the disease like encephalitis.

    After Wakefield’s paper was released, incidence went up from 155 to 502.

    That alone is sufficient reason to make Wakefield’s actions in publicizing his hypothetical link between the MMR shot and autism and thereby discouraging immunization abhorrent.

    @squirrel,
    you’ve gotten lost in the trees. Incidence went up. Great. That doesn’t tell us anything except these people have lifelong immunity to measles now. Permanent sequalae is what we’re looking for. ACTUAL permanent sequalae not what you would expect if the rate is this or the rate is that. ACTUAL EVIDENCE. Not theoretical evidence. Do you see how some of you are having a difficult time telling the difference? Your brains are filling in the gaps and you are convinced that it’s real evidence.

    We have the death numbers. If you can get the permanent sequelae numbers then we can move forward to somehow and try to put wakefield at the scene of the crime.

  86. #86 Orange Lantern
    May 21, 2010

    You’re right, Augustine, I don’t want to go down this road.

    It’s annoying.

    But I can’t resist.

    You’re not looking at the age groups. Note the dramatic fall in deaths in the younger age groups immediately after the vaccine, as the vaccine entered the routine schedule for infants. As I said, its the older age groups that take the most time to have vaccine uptake (because of less frequent physicals, etc). You would expect the deaths in these age groups to go down more slowly over time. I’m glad they’ve continued to decline. The question is whether they would have declined faster if Wakefield had not intervened.

    AHHH I see. Now you starting to er, um, change your tone. Now it’s “may not” and woulda coulda shoulda.

    I haven’t had a tone with you before to change. Nor do I claim that Wakefield is directly responsible for every measles death in the world. But what makes logical sense is:

    1. Wakefield’s antics led to the decline of MMR vaccine uptake in the UK.
    2. Decreased immunization for measles leads to an increase in incidence of measles
    3. Measles causes permanent sequelae including death at a certain rate

    So, it’s reasonable to conclude that Wakefield contributed to children’s deaths. I don’t care to argue to what degree. Any degree at all is too much.

  87. #87 jen
    May 21, 2010

    sciencemom(Alison?): dear you really do need to get some rest. I know you are probably being paid very handsomely but, really, you sound more than a little frustrated. I still say that monkey studies (by whomever) seem to scare the shit out of you. Even Todd agrees that they could be interesting. Yeah, Augustine, LMAO, as if the pharma-sponsored studies don’t have a forgone conclusion!

  88. #88 Todd W.
    May 21, 2010

    What I always find somewhat amusing is the penchant for antivaxers to focus on death to the exclusion of other complications of disease, as well as their love of the pharma shill gambit.

    First off, thanks to advances in medical technology, mortality from vaccine-preventable diseases is relatively low in developed nations, but still a big problem in developing countries. Yet death is not the only outcome of these diseases. Deafness, encephalitis, sterility, etc., are all possible consequences from infection. The rates of such complications are, by leaps and bounds, more frequent than serious adverse reactions from the vaccines which prevent the diseases. And it isn’t just the injury from the disease that is prevented. The additional costs of treating the complications is also prevented. The lost days of school for the child, lost days of work for the parent, medical bills for medications, possible hospital stay, physicians’ time, and so on.

    Then there’s the ridiculous accusations that anyone speaking in favor of vaccines must be getting nice pay checks from pharmaceutical companies. Is it so inconceivable that people might actually have read and understood the science (including studies not funded by pharma companies) behind vaccines and come to the rational conclusion that they work, without requiring any financial incentive? By the logic of antivaxers, if someone must be in the pay of pharma companies because they speak out in favor of vaccines, then antivaxers must be in the pay of pharma companies when they speak in favor of Lupron or chelation. They must be in the pay of Lee Silsby Pharmacy for promoting their products. They must be in the pay of Johnson & Johnson for supporting Thoughtful House. That is just as ridiculous as accusing random blog commenters of being pharma shills.

    So, to the antivaxers reading this, a few words of advice. Read up on immunology and vaccines from sources focused on the science, rather than an anti-vaccine ideology. Learn to understand that in the modern medical era, while death is not as common as it once was, there are other very serious, tragic outcomes from infection with a vaccine-preventable disease. And just drop the whole pharma shill bit. It just makes you look silly and, quite frankly, devoid of any ability for serious, rational thought.

    Oh, and jen, I still stand by my statement that a monkey study by incompetent, unethical researchers like Wakefield doesn’t scare anyone, except perhaps the poor monkeys he needlessly harms. And don’t twist my words. I said if a competent researcher conducted the study properly, the results could be interesting.

  89. #89 Science Mom
    May 21, 2010

    sciencemom(Alison?): dear you really do need to get some rest. I know you are probably being paid very handsomely but, really, you sound more than a little frustrated. I still say that monkey studies (by whomever) seem to scare the shit out of you. Even Todd agrees that they could be interesting. Yeah, Augustine, LMAO, as if the pharma-sponsored studies don’t have a forgone conclusion!

    I do believe that Dr. Singer would post under her own name and has, if I recall correctly. But I’m flattered that you would think I’m her. And yet, you opt for ad hominem rather than address any actual issues (hint: just because J.B. does it, doesn’t make it right and makes you look like a drooling sycophant).

    Non-human primate or even human vaccine studies don’t scare me in the least; I’m sure you would like that to be the case though because it is more about trying to shout down what you perceive as an opponent, rather than objectively review the available evidence. I go where the evidence is and why I don’t have to keep shifting goal-posts. But if any subsequent studies even peripherally involve Wakefield, I don’t doubt that they would be of the same ‘quality’ that the Hewitson et al. study was.

  90. #90 squirrelelite
    May 22, 2010

    @augustine,

    I wouldn’t be too quick to dismiss the trees. The people on Easter Island cut down all the coconut palm trees on their island to set up those huge stone carvings you see in all the pictures of the island. Then they discovered that, oops, there were no more trees to build ocean-going boats to travel from their island in and they were stuck there.

    Thanks to Todd W for providing a useful link again. His source provides these rates.

    Measles
    Pneumonia: 6 in 100
    Encephalitis: 1 in 1,000
    Death: 2 in 1,000

    So, for the extra 350-500 annual cases of measles post-Wakefield, people in the UK (actually just England and Wales) suffer an extra 21-30 extra cases of pneumonia every year and 1 more case of encephalitis every 2-3 years. I had an anaerobic bacterial lung infection a few years ago and spent 2 weeks in a hospital recovering after the surgery. Not exactly pneumonia perhaps, but pretty close and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. Encephalitis is even worse.

    If you have a reference that significantly disagrees with these calculations, I would appreciate a link to it.

  91. #91 augustine
    May 22, 2010

    Lantern: “So, it’s reasonable to conclude that Wakefield contributed to children’s deaths. I don’t care to argue to what degree. Any degree at all is too much.”

    It is reasonable to conclude that it is possible but there is no evidence to conclude it’s true.

  92. #92 augustine
    May 22, 2010

    squirrel: “If you have a reference that significantly disagrees with these calculations, I would appreciate a link to it.”

    Rates do not matter in this case. We need the ACTUAL data/evidence. Using previous temporal rates to make an inference is not ACTUAL evidence. Do you not see that? This should be VERY EASY for a critical thinking and science based crowd to see yet you’re having a hard time.

    Often when you spout off your opinions and call it “science” it is in fact not science.

  93. #93 Jarred C
    May 22, 2010

    Ok, I’m confused. I’ve read the entire comments section so far (granted, it was over a few days), and I’m not sure where Augustine is coming from.

    We have a direct chain of events:

    1) Wakefield produces a shoddy study showing problems with the MMR vaccine.
    2) Wakefield goes on campaign telling people the the MMR vaccine is linked with autism and bowel problems.
    3) The UK media sensationalized the story.
    4) The sensationalization created a MMR scare in the UK.
    5) MMR vaccines rates dropped.
    6) The decrease in the MMR vaccine rates led to an increase in diseases which MMR prevents.

    Augustine, which of these steps do you not believe is true?

  94. #94 augustine
    May 22, 2010

    Todd: “What I always find somewhat amusing is the penchant for antivaxers to focus on death to the exclusion of other complications of disease..”

    Because THAT is how the vaccine is sold, Todd. Fear is the driving emotion for action in this case. Everyone might not be afraid of a wart, a pustule, fever, etc,. The vaccine ideologues are focused on creating FEAR of death or permanent sequelae. Take chickenpox for example. Many people reasonably forgo the varicella vaccine because they are not afraid of the potential infection and it’s potential temporary effects. They may also welcome the conferred immunity. When this is stated often the next card that is pulled is “DEATH” or “PERMANENT” scars.

    This ideology also uses the “moving the goalposts” strategy.

  95. #95 augustine
    May 22, 2010

    Jarred “6) The decrease in the MMR vaccine rates led to an increase in diseases which MMR prevents.”

    Lifelong immunity. What’s so bad about that? Unless you can produce permanent sequelae data then you don’t have a case to even start with. We already know that there were MORE deaths in the vaccinating period before Wakefield’s paper. Showing that there were LESS deaths after Wakefield’s paper does not help the case.

  96. #96 augustine
    May 22, 2010

    Reread post # 2 by the flawed logic of Julian Frost. it is unbecoming of critical thinking and science. But many on here take it as fact without consideration.

  97. #97 Broken Link
    May 22, 2010

    Anyone else find it interesting that there are no commments from Jake Crosby on this piece, and that Augustine sounds an awful lot like that tool of AoA?

  98. #98 Dangerous Bacon
    May 22, 2010

    “The vaccine ideologues supporters of vaccination and other forms of evidence-based medicine are focused on creating FEAR of preventing death, permanent sequelae and unnecessary suffering and expense caused by preventable infectious diseases.”

    Fixed that for you.

  99. #99 augustine
    May 22, 2010

    @98

    Piggy, Piggy, Piggy,
    Can’t you see,
    Sometimes your words
    just hypnotize me.

  100. #100 augustine
    May 22, 2010

    “The supporters of non-vaccination and other forms of evidence-based health are focused on preventing death, permanent sequelae and unnecessary suffering and expense caused by preventable infectious diseases.”

    So what’s the problem?

  101. #101 colmcq
    May 23, 2010

    “Rates do not matter in this case. We need the ACTUAL data/evidence.”

    how do you think these rates were derived in the first place?

    c

  102. #102 squirrelelite
    May 23, 2010

    @Broken Link 97,

    It’s possible. The general style is somewhat similar. But, at least he hasn’t descended to the level of broadside dismissive attacks, which Jake seemed to prefer.

    I think this one may have been his “champion”:

    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2010/05/the_reverse_pharma_shill_gambit_applied.php#comment-2495286

  103. #103 augustine
    May 23, 2010

    colmQ: “Rates do not matter in this case. We need the ACTUAL data/evidence.”

    how do you think these rates were derived in the first place?”

    Well, then you should have no problem giving the data and the corresponding yearly dates

    These PARTICULAR rates do not matter because they do not help answer the question. The data is insufficient.

    Give it up. It’s pretty clear that those who say Wakefield or Jenny McCarthy have caused hundreds or thousands of deaths have concocted a logical argument but lack the evidence to support their beliefs. They simply do not know the answer. Yet it does not stop them from passionately ranting from that ignorance. “It must be true”, they say.”The logic(not evidence) dictates it”

    Logical consistency does not equal truth.

  104. #104 Jarred C
    May 23, 2010

    Augustine #95 said,

    “We already know that there were MORE deaths in the vaccinating period before Wakefield’s paper. Showing that there were LESS deaths after Wakefield’s paper does not help the case.”

    So I looked up the whole 18 deaths from measles during the 1989-1998 vs the 10 deaths from 1999-2008 statistic you’ve been talking about. Turns out, it may not be as accurate as you think it is (deaths are accurate, but the context is not).

    From here: http://www.hpa.org.uk/web/HPAweb&HPAwebStandard/HPAweb_C/1195733811885

    “Prior to 2006, the last death from acute measles was in 1992.

    All other measles deaths, since 1992, shown above are in older individuals and were caused by the late effects of measles. These infections were acquired during the 1980s or earlier, when epidemics of measles occurred.”

    In light of this, comparing death rates before and after the Wakefield paper may not be the best approach. Then again, death rates weren’t a part of the list I provided (see post #93); and you said you disagreed with the idea that a decreased MMR vaccination rate would lead to an increase in diseases which MMR prevents.

    I’m not entirely sure what you mean by “lifelong immunity.” If you mean that those who received the MMR vaccine obtain a lifelong immunity, you may be more or less correct. Here’s what the CDC says on the issue:

    “Rubella antibody levels may decline with time, and may even fall below the level of detection of standard screening tests. However, data from surveillance of rubella and congenital rubella syndrome suggest that waning immunity with increased susceptibility to rubella disease does not occur (MMWR 1998;47[RR-8]:14). Studies of persons who have “lost” detectable rubella antibody indicate that almost all had antibody detectable by more sensitive tests, or demonstrated a booster-type response (absence of IgM antibody and a rapid rise in IgG antibody) after revaccination.”

    However, if you meant that those who acquire the disease as a young person obtains lifelong immunity to the disease, then yes, you are correct; but that doesn’t mean that those individuals won’t encounter complications later on in life due to the infection. Going back to the original chart which showed deaths related to measles, from 1992-2008, all but 2 of the measles related deaths were in individuals who had contracted measles prior to 1988. So at the very least, getting the vaccine prevents these complications (and deaths).

  105. #105 Chris
    May 23, 2010

    Jarred C:

    In light of this, comparing death rates before and after the Wakefield paper may not be the best approach. Then again, death rates weren’t a part of the list I provided (see post #93); and you said you disagreed with the idea that a decreased MMR vaccination rate would lead to an increase in diseases which MMR prevents.

    Trying to use only rates of death from measles is a classic anti-vax way to muddy the data trying to show that vaccines do not work. As you noted there are multiple problems with that strategy, not just that some are killed by measles years after the disease (usually by SSPE), but also because medical progress prevented more deaths from pneumonia, etc. And that death is not the only outcome (deafness, blindness, and other permanent neurological injuries including paralysis are not included in the statistics).

    Folks like Augie and friends dislike it when you present the incidence rates of measles. They also dislike that most of the data used for that is only from 1950. So I dug a bit and found a list of data going back to 1912. I then ask what happened between 1960 and 1970, and I usually just get the sound of crickets in the background (or someone trying to tell me why death is the only real criteria that matters, despite having painfully explained why it does not).

    Here is the data from http://www.census.gov/prod/99pubs/99statab/sec31.pdf … Note it is from the USA. Though the UK introduced the MMR vaccine in 1992 that ha been used in the USA for more then two decades before (another wee bit of data the supporters of Wakefield gloss over, which also means that the Lancet children were vaccinated with two different forms of the MMR, furthering muddying any relevance of that now withdrawn paper).

    Year…. Rate per 100000 of measles
    1912 . . . 310.0
    1920 . . . 480.5
    1925 . . . 194.3
    1930 . . . 340.8
    1935 . . . 584.6
    1940 . . . 220.7
    1945 . . . 110.2
    1950 . . . 210.1
    1955 . . . 337.9
    1960 . . . 245.4
    1965 . . . 135.1
    1970 . . . . 23.2
    1975 . . . . 11.3
    1980 . . . . . 5.9
    1985 . . . . . 1.2
    1990 . . . . .11.2
    1991 . . . . . .3.8
    1992 . . . . . .0.9
    1993 . . . . . .0.1
    1994 . . . . . .0.4
    1995 . . . . . .0.1
    1996 . . . . . .0.2
    1997 . . . . . . 0.1

  106. #106 augustine
    May 23, 2010

    @jared,
    Per 95, I wasn’t answering the question. I was using a talking point. The increased incidence of measles is inconsequential if there isn’t a correlating increase in permanent sequelae.

    @chris:
    I’ll do you one better.
    http://ajph.aphapublications.org/cgi/reprint/52/Suppl_2/1.pdf

    As an aside, what happened between 1920 and 1925?

  107. #107 Jarred C
    May 23, 2010

    Augustine:

    Per 95, I wasn’t answering the question. I was using a talking point. The increased incidence of measles is inconsequential if there isn’t a correlating increase in permanent sequelae.

    Ahh.. My mistake. In that event, I think your response confuses me. Are you claiming that even though the rates of measles (etc) have increased, it doesn’t matter because it’s not high enough to show an increased rate of permanent sequelae?

    As an aside, what happened between 1920 and 1925?

    My first thought was that there would be a serious decrease in the number of children at that time (and hence a decreased number of cases of diseases), due to how many men (aka potential fathers) were killed in World War 1 from 1914-1918. Notice that there’s a similar drop just after World War 2 (1939-1945).

  108. #108 The Gregarious Misanthrope
    May 24, 2010

    @106

    What happened between 1920 and 1925 was… nothing. If you look at data for measles rates or cases there can be 2x, 3x, or more than 4x the number of cases year to year (or the inverse). It just goes up and down, at least it used to, before vaccination. What matters most are the trend lines. They show the effectiveness of your vaccination campaign.

    “The increased incidence of measles is inconsequential if there isn’t a correlating increase in permanent sequelae.”

    What an astonishingly naive statement. So being hospitalized with pneumonia is “inconsequential?” The loss of income associated with a parent taking care of a sick child is “inconsequential?”

    So car crashes are OK unless someone is permanently disabled or killed? House fires? Shooting someone is OK as long as he recovers?

    That’s a quirky form of moral calculus you’re employing.

  109. #109 Chris
    May 24, 2010

    As per the anti-vaccine typical mode of operation, Augie did not answer my question.

    Yeah, dude, diseases are cyclic in nature. It is clearly explained with graphs here:

    That means that when measles has enough susceptible hosts, it can explode and spread across a country almost overnight. But it leaves behind it a firebreak of people who are immune, who are no longer potential hosts. After the epidemic, just about everyone is immune; the virus smolders at some very low level, in the handful of people who are not yet immune. After a couple of years, there are enough new births that there’s a new population of susceptible hosts who can sustain a new epidemic, and so on.

    Now again, silly boy, what happened between 1960 and 1970? While the 1925 level was a bit less than half of 1920, the 1970 level was one tenth of 1960. Just in case you are as good at arithmetic as you are in biology or knowing: one tenth is less than one half… and even 0.1 is less than 0.4.

    Also, about Wakefield… which MMR vaccine was his now withdrawn paper based on, the one used in the UK before or after 1992?

  110. #110 augustine
    May 24, 2010

    chris: “Now again, silly boy, what happened between 1960 and 1970? While the 1925 level was a bit less than half of 1920, the 1970 level was one tenth of 1960.”

    Now again, silly old man who’s been around the world in the military and now thinks he know’s it all, the question is why? Why are diseases cyclical in nature? And why was the death rate going down independent of the infection rate and prior to the vaccine introduction? What are those factors and where did they go to? Did they simply step aside and let the vaccine take over and get ALL of the credit?

    Typical so called “science based medicine guy” already knows it all.

    @Jared: “Are you claiming that even though the rates of measles (etc) have increased, it doesn’t matter because it’s not high enough to show an increased rate of permanent sequelae?”

    If you’re going to say someone killed someone or caused permanent damage then you better first show that it ACTUALLY happened. Not some scientific theory of how it possible. That’s what evidence based medicine is all about. It’s not about my theory is better than your theory. It’s actual EVIDENCE. You so called experts of this should KNOW the difference. You no better than the people you rail against if you can’t actually produce the evidence.

    After THAT, if you can even muster any up, then we’ll go into causation. Until then you need to admit there isn’t any evidence just like you tell the autism people.

  111. #111 augustine
    May 24, 2010

    Gregorian philanthrope,

    That was a terrible analogy!

  112. #112 Chris
    May 25, 2010

    Augie proves once again he cannot read.

  113. #113 Dr. Vanderloop. D.C.
    February 6, 2011

    The water is definitely muddy on this one. To be fair to both sides it sure would have been nice if he would have funded his own studies. Secondly, it would have been nice if he wouldn’t have manipulated the data to make it look like autism was caused by the vaccines. It always bothers me when a person or group behaves like the pharmaceutical industry. If you can’t get the data to sell your product, pay enough money to misconstrue or even bury the evidence.

    Source: Houston Chiropractor