Respectful Insolence

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An old Chinese combined proverb and curse is said to be, “May you live in interesting times.” Certainly, with respect to vaccines, the last few years have been “interesting times.” Unfortunately, this week times are about to get a lot more “interesting” as the Autism One quackfest descends upon Chicago beginning today. Featuring prominently in this quackfest will be an anti-vaccine rally in Grant Park on Wednesday featuring some really bad, anti-vaccine fundamentalist Poe-worthy “music” and a keynote speech by Andrew Wakefield himself. If you want evidence that Andrew Wakefield is being disingenuous at best and lying through his teeth at worst when he claims he’s not “anti-vaccine,” look no further than his having agreed to give the keynote speech at this rally. One can only hope that the anti-vaccine movement posts YouTube videos of his speech so that I can apply a needed dose of not-so-Respectful Insolence to it.

Interesting times, indeed.

Add to Autism One and the anti-vaccine loon rally the fact that Andrew Wakefield is releasing his book on the whole GMC affair, a book entitled, appropriately enough Callous Disregard: Autism and Vaccines–The Truth Behind a Tragedy. I say “appropriately enough,” because it’s a play on this passage from the GMC’s ruling on Wakefield’s research misconduct: “You showed a callous disregard for the distress and pain that you knew or ought to have known the children involved might suffer.” Wakefield no doubt thinks that he’s being cheeky and sarcastic by appropriating those words for the title of his book, but the term “callous disregard” fits Wakefield perfectly. In reality, the subtitle of Wakefield’s book should have been Harming Children for Fun and Profit. In any case, look for Wakefield to be promoting the hell out of his book in Chicago among his adoring (and critical thinking-free) fans.

Interesting times, indeed.

Add to all of that the fact that somehow Wakefield scored an interview with Matt Lauer on The Today Show this morning. How he pulled that off, who knows? It does, however, perfectly dovetail with Generation Rescue’s and Age of Autism’s propaganda offensive to promote Autism One, as well as Wakefield’s desire to promote his book. More importantly, the confluence of Autism One, its associated anti-vaccine rally, and Wakefield’s interview with Matt Lauer allows the anti-vaccine lunatic fringe to try to distract attention from what is really important about this week, and that is the fact that almost certainly shortly after this post goes live Andrew Wakefield will lose his license to practice medicine in the U.K.

Now those are the kinds of interesting times I’ve waited for for a while.

And Brian Deer is going to be there to report on it, as he describes in an article that appeared yesterday in The Sunday Times entitled Weeping wounds of the MMR scare:

Tomorrow morning, at about 9.30, I’ll stroll down the Euston Road in London and will almost certainly be greeted with screams of abuse.

“Who’s pulling your strings, Brian?” someone will yell above the drone of traffic. “Boooo … yaaahh … liar!”

My furious detractors — mainly women — will, as always, be crammed behind metal barriers just outside the offices of the General Medical Council (GMC). Some will be clutching placards — indeed, I was once hit smartly over the head with one. As well as personal abuse, they will chant slogans: “We’re backing Wakefield … MMR: a jab too far … 1 in 100 children have autism.”

This has been going on at key junctures for nearly three years now — since the GMC began its longest medical misconduct inquiry yet, in July 2007.

I honestly don’t know how Deer does it. I really don’t. He was, more than anyone else, the person most responsible for exposing Andrew Wakefield’s dishonesty, incompetence, and, yes, callous disregard for the children he claims to help. As a result, Wakefield’s groupies routinely heap abuse upon him. Actually, I don’t know how Paul Offit does it, either. He has been at the receiving end of death threats and receives ridiculous amounts of hate mail, to the point where, as he described in his book Autism’s False Prophets, there have been times when he’s required an armed guard, and the University of Pennsylvania routinely checks his mail for suspicious letters and packages. In comparison to what Deer and Offit do and put up with, the occasional broadside from J.B. Handley or bit of hate e-mail seems very mild in comparison.

One thing that Deer’s introduction reminds me of, though, is that, whatever the problems with the GMC hearings on Andrew Wakefield and his cronies, being a “kangaroo court” or a “witch hunt” is not among them, although that is certainly the spin that the anti-vaccine movement is trying to put on them. The hearings went on for two and a half years before its findings were reported. If anything, the GMC was very slow to react to the Wakefield affair, and, in fact, arguably prodded by Andrew Wakefield himself, who was quoted as saying in 2004:

Serious allegations have been made against me in relation to the provision of clinical care for children with autism and bowel disease, and the reporting of their disease. It has been proposed that my role in this matter should be investigated by the GMC. I not only welcome this, I insist on it and I will be making contact with the GMC personally.

Well, Wakefield got what he wanted. It may have taken nearly three years before the GMC started its hearings and then an additional two and a half years for it to investigate, the longest investigation in the history of the GMC, but Wakefield got his chance to clear his name. He failed miserably, and, contrary to the spin being placed on the hearings by Wakefield’s admirers, the GMC was thorough almost to a fault. As a result, very likely today he will lose his license to practice medicine in the U.K.:

Tomorrow, three floors above the street, the mood will be sombre. The inquiry has finally drawn to its conclusion, and Andrew Wakefield — known as “the MMR doctor” — is likely to be struck off the medical register for what the five-member tribunal has already labelled “dishonest”, “unethical” and “callous” research.

In withdrawing his licence to practise, the council will be laying to rest a huge scare that spread rapidly among parents, causing a massive slump in the number of children who were vaccinated against measles, mumps and rubella in Britain. Two children subsequently died of measles and many others became seriously ill.

Unfortunately, even if the GMC does “strike off” Wakefield, it will be far too little and far too late to make up for the damage he’s done with his incompetent, trial lawyer-funded, and likely fraudulent “research.” Measles, which had in the mid-1990s been declared under control in the U.K., came roaring back to the point where in 2008 it was declared endemic again, all thanks to the anti-MMR hysteria sparked by Wakefield’s 1998 Lancet study and Wakefield’s self-promotion and claims that the “single jab” measles vaccine was safer than the MMR (a claim based on zero evidence, not even Wakefield’s Lancet study), all aided and abetted by the sensationalistic and credulous British press. Where is the penalty for the British press other than Brian Deer? Without the scare stories, Wakefield’s myth would not have taken hold, nor would MMR vaccine uptake have plummeted so dramatically across the U.K. The reporters responsible for such deceptive and dishonest journalism will go unscathed.

For the most part, so will Andrew Wakefield. True, the GMC’s initial ruling and its downstream effects, including the retraction of his Lancet paper by the editors and the withdrawal of his “monkey business” study from NeuroToxicology, have resulted in his losing his lucrative position as medical director at the autism quackery clinic Thoughtful House, but he has now taken on the role of persecuted martyr for the cause and written a book. As chief martyr of the anti-vaccine movement, Wakefield will no doubt find a way to land on his feet once again. First, he’ll go on a book tour, where he’ll whine about how untrue all the accusations against him are and how “unfair” the GMC has been to him, even though the GMC has bent over backwards to be fair. After a couple of months of that, he’ll manage to find a position with some anti-vaccine organization or other (my money’s on him becoming Generation Rescue’s “medical director”), although I must admit that it will be hard for even the most well-heeled antivaccine organizations to match the close to $300,000 a year that Wakefield “earned” at Thoughtful House. Sadly (to him), Wakefield might have to take a pay cut. I’m sure he’ll manage to make up the difference, though, through speaking engagement fees to credulous audiences.

In other words, don’t cry for Wakefield, anti-vaccine loons.

Deer also points out something I’ve been saying for a long time, namely that the people most hurt by Wakefield’s activities are autistic children themselves:

Among the worst victims of the MMR scare were the parents who believed Wakefield’s findings — a few of whom will no doubt once again be shouting slogans tomorrow. I feel only compassion for them. Imagine how terrible it must be to believe that your son or daughter’s autism is your own fault, just because you had your child vaccinated.

“In a way, making the connection was worse for us,” said the mother of the youngster referred to as Child 12 in The Lancet. “We had convinced ourselves it was nothing we had done. Now we knew it was our fault.”

Wakefield had offered them answers when no one else could say why the incidence of autism was on the rise. But in the end he brought these parents only more pain.

There are three main sets of victims of Wakefield’s perfidy. First, there are autistic children. I’ve said it time and time again, Wakefield’s “research” can be viewed as the pseudoscience that launched a thousand quacks. I say that because it can be argued that the entire “autism biomed” movement sprung up more as a consequence of Wakefield’s ideas linking the MMR to autism and gut problems in autistic children than any other person’s. As a result, untold numbers of autistic children have been subjected to IVIG, chelation therapy, scads of untested supplements, hyperbaric oxygen, chelation therapy, and a wide variety of other woo in a fruitless attempt to “recover” them. Second, Wakefield’s work and the propaganda of the anti-vaccine movement have victimized the parents of these children. As Brian Deer so correctly pointed out, parents who buy into the anti-vaccine line often feel profound guilt, because to believe that vaccines cause autism is to believe that it’s the parents’ fault when a child develops autism. After all, it is the parents who had the child vaccinated. Finally, it is children in general who have been victimized by Wakefield. In the U.K., MMR uptake rates plummeted, and, as I mentioned earlier, measles came roaring back, causing massive unnecessary suffering among children. Herd immunity was seriously compromised, endangering both the vaccinated (given that vaccines are not 100% effective) and unvaccinated children, in particular those who for health reasons can’t be vaccinated and have to rely on herd immunity.

Compared to the damage Wakefield’s done, he’s lucky that all the GMC can do to him is to strike him off.

ADDENDUM: It looks as though the anti-vaccine attacks have begun. For instance, take a look at what Ann Dachel, Propaganda–I mean Media–Editor for Age of Autism writes in the comments:

Brian Deer has nothing new to say here. According to him, Dr. Wakefield is a fraud who misled parents. Vaccines are safe and they don’t cause autism.

Correct. Wakefield is a fraud, and vaccines don’t cause autism, as far as science can tell. This may not be a “new” message, but apparently it needs to be repeated again and again.

Attacking and discrediting Andrew Wakefield will hardly make this controversy go away. In the U.S., tens of thousands of parents who never heard of Dr. Wakefield have been saying for years that their child was healthy and normally progressing until they received certain routine vaccinations. Suddenly, they stopped talking and began to show the symptoms of autism.

Unfortunately, it is true that taking away Andrew Wakefield’s medical license, no matter how much he deserves it, won’t make this manufactroversy go away. Of course, what Ann neglects to mention is that Generation Rescue and Age of Autism guarantee that by continuing to stoke the manufactroversy, no matter how much science shows them to be dead wrong.

The press likes to pretend that this debate is just about the science. Health officials and the medical community have a united response to the question of vaccines and autism: OUR STUDIES SHOW NO LINK. Parents are wrong. No one likes to talk about the obviously fact that officials and doctors have everything at stake in this debate. After all, if it’s clearly shown that an unchecked, unsafe vaccine schedule is behind the epidemic increase in autism, someone–lots of people actually–will be held responsible. A lot of people have everything at stake in this fight.

Ah, yes, the same old, same old. Large epidemiological studies that show no link between vaccines and autism must be wrong because the investigators are in the pocket of big pharma. Well, Wakefield was in the pocket of a trial lawyer who wanted to sue vaccine companies for “vaccine injury” leading to autism. But Wakefield’s on the side of angels to true believers like Dachel. She’s also really good at misdirection. Not Jamy Ian Swiss-good or as good as other talented close-up magicians, but pretty darned good:

Brian Deer neatly ignores the fact that a disabled generation of autistic children is also soon to descend on the taxpayers of Britain as dependent adults. Since Deer is so convinced that vaccines haven’t caused all the autism, maybe he’d like to look into any other likely universal trigger. So far, no one has been able to suggest what it might be. And maybe Deer would like to tell the people of Britain how they’ll support and care for thousands of autistic adults for the rest of their long lives.

In other words, we have no evidence that vaccines cause autism, but we fervently believe it. If you tell us vaccines don’t cause autism based on the science that says, well, that they don’t, we will stick our fingers in our ears and refuse to believe you unless you can prove to us that it’s another “universal trigger” in the environment. Then we’ll throw up the issue of how to pay for the support of autistic adults (many of whom, Dachel conveniently neglects to mention are perfectly capable of taking care of themselves and being productive members of society) as a smokescreen to hide the fact that we don’t have any good scientific evidence that vaccines cause autism.

Perhaps the most hilarious comment comes from Maurine Meleck:

I watched a video of Deer one day on his way into the GMC, surrounded by mothers with vaccine injured children who believe in Dr. Wakefield. All Mr. Deer did and still does is talk over everyone else as if he has something to say when if you listen closely, he is saying nothing at all of any meaning. That’s his way of trying to silence everyone, but it won’t work.

All I can say to Ms. Meleck is: Pot. Kettle. Black. Oh, and you owe me a new irony meter, because your remark just incinerated mine. Talking over their opponents with vacuous nonsense is exactly how the anti-vaccine movement tries to address criticism.

Comments

  1. #1 sheldon101
    May 24, 2010

    There is some good news coming from the vaccines are evil and cause everything bad organizations.

    They haven’t been smart enough to separate the unethical from the research Wakefield. I’m not saying that Wakefield’s research had merit.

    What I am saying is that they could have taken the tack that Wakefield was so concerned about helping the children through his research that he cut bureaucratic corners when it came to following the rules of ethical medical research.

    But they did not.

  2. #2 Sullivan
    May 24, 2010

    Dr. Wakefield gave a brief interview to BBC 4 radio this morning.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/today/hi/today/newsid_8700000/8700062.stm

    It is a book tour.

    Dr. Wakefield apparently wants some sort of “debate”, some show drama to take the place of the scientific debate which he has decidedly lost.

    He won’t take any responsibility for the drop in measles vaccine uptake in the UK. He dodges the question of his financial conflicts of interest by claiming that he didn’t make as much money as stated by Mr. Deer (about 400,000 pounds). He further claims that he made his financial situation clear on all papers where it was appropriate.

    I would suggest (strongly) that it was clearly appropriate for him to divulge his financial COI’s at the press conference following the publication of his Lancet paper.

    Apparently Dr. Wakefield disagrees and believes that one can call into question the safety of a vaccine in a press conference while applying for a patent on a potential competitor and while being in the employ of litigators who are seeking to bring suit against the government for the MMR.

    I wonder how many teaching medical ethics would agree with Dr. Wakefield.

  3. #3 DLC
    May 24, 2010

    Wakefield would be funny if his misconduct hadn’t cause such misery.

  4. #4 Rogue Medic
    May 24, 2010

    The anti-vaccinationists defend Wakefield hurting children, when it is really difficult to find a public figure of any kind, convicted criminals included, who has been so abusive to children.

    The irony of the anti-vaccinationists defending the creator of a vaccine, who clearly had a conflict of interest and appeared to be strongly motivated by that conflict of interest, because . . . well, reason doesn’t even begin to enter into this decision.

    Wakefield has been paid very well by lawyers to make up research to be used to lie to juries. His defense is that the amount of money was exaggerated. In other words, he is not a high priced liar, just a cut rate liar.

    Yes. I lied. I lied to sell my vaccine. I lied for the money. I engaged in these well documented conspiracies, but I can still sell my book to you because people are essentially irrational. Possible subtitle for the Wakefield book.

  5. #5 rni.boh
    May 24, 2010

    Wakefield struck off. Surprise, surprise.

  6. #6 Dafmeister
    May 24, 2010

    And he’s gone:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/8695267.stm

    I’ve got this lovely warm fuzzy feeling right now. Does that make me a bad person?

  7. #7 Dafmeister
    May 24, 2010

    Curses, scooped!

    *twirl’s evil mastermind moustache*

  8. #8 NZ Sceptic
    May 24, 2010

    Yes, he’s all done and dusted now. And not before time. Can we have that photo of Dr – sorry, that’s now Mr – Wakefield a little smaller please Orac? It’s scaring my children!

  9. #9 MartinM
    May 24, 2010

    Brian Deer neatly ignores the fact that a disabled generation of autistic children is also soon to descend on the taxpayers of Britain as dependent adults.

    …while Ann Dachel neatly ignores the existence of generations of autistic adults right now.

  10. #10 Vindaloo
    May 24, 2010

    Isn’t Ann Dachel the one whose teenage autistic son got on the internet (autism speaks forum IIRC) and started espousing those dangerous tenets of acceptance and open mindedness before he was shut down? Or was it a different AoA spinmeister?

  11. #11 Steve Tallach
    May 24, 2010

    Melanie Phillips has a post up saying that the GMC ruling is “a monstrous injustice”. She basically says its due to a conspiracy, though conveniently fails to offer any evidence that that is the case:

    “the full story of how this sinister travesty was accomplished and the full range of people who were complicit in it…has yet to be revealed”.

    http://www.spectator.co.uk/melaniephillips/6021260/a-tragedy-and-a-travesty.thtml

    Incredible isn’t it? All this time and she still can’t admit she was wrong.

  12. #12 Lawrence
    May 24, 2010

    Of course, he & his supporters will play the Martyr here – even though this is exactly the way the process works with any doctor that is accused of malpractice (and proven guilty).

    But, good news regardless.

  13. #13 bensmyson
    May 24, 2010

    “Imagine how terrible it must be to believe that your son or daughter’s autism is your own fault, just because you had your child vaccinated.” Brian Deer

    Not only is it incredibly insensitive and perhaps outright sadistic of Deer to make such a comment, but for you to use it as a quote shows contempt to victims all over the world.

    Making such a statement is akin to saying, “Imagine how terrible it must be to believe that your rape and violation of your sense of security and faith is your fault, just because you had you wore a short skirt.”

    How terrible it must be to believe that vaccines are safe, or that killing, maiming, wrecking the brain of one, of ten, of fifteen thousand children is worthwhile as long as “herd immunity” is status quo.

    Billions of dollars are spent every year to promote public demand for vaccines. Billions. If vaccines are so wonderfully safe and powerful why have such machinery built to propagate the glory of injecting foreign toxins into a child’s body?

    Dr. Wakefield is a small voice, the loud voices are those who have children that have been injured by vaccines, those standing in Grant Park Wednesday will deliver the message loud and clear.

  14. #14 mk
    May 24, 2010

    “Billions of dollars are spent every year to promote public demand for vaccines. Billions. If vaccines are so wonderfully safe and powerful why have such machinery built to propagate the glory of injecting foreign toxins into a child’s body?”

    Ooohh… can I take a stab at that?

    Because anti-vaccination loons like “bensmyson” continue to promote the demonstrably false notion that vaccines cause autism. Duh.

  15. #15 Todd W.
    May 24, 2010

    @bensmyson

    Billions of dollars are spent every year to promote public demand for vaccines. Billions. If vaccines are so wonderfully safe and powerful why have such machinery built to propagate the glory of injecting foreign toxins into a child’s body?

    Ignoring the obvious fear-baiting language (teh toxinz!!!), there are several reasons:

    1) Because the alternative (not vaccinating) would lead to the return of infectious diseases. This would lead to an increase in hospitalizations, putting a burden upon our already taxed health care system, not to mention the pain and suffering of the patients and their families. It would also see the increase in permanent injuries. And, of course, child mortality (and some adult) would also increase. While modern medicine can prevent a lot of deaths, there will still be some patients who are untreatable or who cannot afford treatment.

    2) Because anti-vaccination propaganda organizations, such as Generation Rescue/Age of Autism, NVIC, etc., put so much money into spreading their brand of fear, distortions and outright lies. As a result, vaccination uptake in various regions drops, leading to outbreaks of disease initiated by unvaccinated children who acquire the infection, usually abroad.

    No one denies that vaccines carry risks. No one denies that vaccines can cause injury. However, those of us grounded in reality understand that the risks of vaccines are outweighed, by leaps and bounds, by the benefits they proffer.

  16. #16 symball
    May 24, 2010

    bensmyson

    you kind of missed the point- try reading it again. AW is the one who told the worlds parents that if they had an autistic child it was their fault, not Brian Deer.

    Apart from the probablilty that there is a genetic component, the parents are blameless. However it is people like yourself and AW who persuade parents not to vaccinate who are guilty of allowing children to die of preventable diseases.

  17. #17 Clayton
    May 24, 2010

    @Bensmymom.

    It is akin to that, you are being made to feel guilty, when it is not your fault. But wakefield and his followers sure are doing their damnedest to scare you and other mothers from not wearing that skirt. The vaccine didn’t cause the disease known as autism. If it did, then any study that replicated his procedures, would have replicated his results. Where are those studies?

    Does his impropriety and financial conflicts matter to you?
    As far as a rise in Autism rates, could there not be another unknown factor, a factor that needs to be found? And if so why hold up that research?

  18. #18 augustine
    May 24, 2010

    rogue medic:
    “The anti-vaccinationists defend Wakefield hurting children, when it is really difficult to find a public figure of any kind, convicted criminals included, who has been so abusive to children.”

    It doesn’t take long.One only has to examine the career of former AMA president, Walter Freeman.

    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/films/lobotomist/

    “In a transorbital lobotomy, Freeman would first have the patient rendered unconscious through the use of the electroconvulsive shock machine.

    Freeman would peel back each eyelid, insert his ice pick and with a hammer tap through the brain, wiggle it about, sever the frontal lobes, withdraw it. And when the patient came to, he or she would be given dark glasses to hide the black eyes they’d been given.

    Patients accepted treatments completely uncritically. There was no question of signing permission forms, for example, in those days. The whole concept of informed consent didn’t exist. Physicians were kings of their wards, able to do anything they wanted.(like vaccines)

    To hundreds of beleaguered asylum doctors and administrators, though, Freeman’s new procedure seemed a godsend. “I felt somehow that we were in the presence of one of the milestones of modern medicine,” gushed one physician. “I’ve seldom been more stirred.”

    Many who had once supported lobotomy began to disavow it. “It is inconceivable,” reported the American Medical Association, “that any procedure that effectively destroys the brain could possibly restore the patient to a normal state.

    The question of whether lobotomy was a valuable therapy or a medical travesty could not be decided by science alone.
    He chose not to value certain things… But that’s what this raises so much: what do we value about being human?

    In all, Freeman lobotomized 19 children under the age of 18, including a four year-old.

    by 1967, Dr. Freeman had personally performed more than 2900 lobotomies.”

  19. #19 provaxmom
    May 24, 2010

    Ijust watched the video, it’s on the Today show website. ML was tougher on him than he has been in the past. I still can’t believe how pompous and arrogant AW is, I just can’t believe it.

    I’m really surprised that the Harvard study that was presented at the IMFAR conference last week isn’t gaining more traction in the “wake” of all this.

  20. #20 augustine
    May 24, 2010

    You guys need to get your stories straight. You’re calling Bensmyson a vaccine loon and at the same time trying to persuade her. Talk about insane.

    “It is akin to that, you are being made to feel guilty, when it is not your fault. But wakefield and his followers sure are doing their damnedest to scare you and other mothers from not wearing that skirt. The vaccine didn’t cause the disease known as autism.”

    “Because anti-vaccination loons like “bensmyson” ”

  21. #21 Alexis
    May 24, 2010

    AoA is fuming and says that Lauer was “obviously biased” and “spewing lies” (but that Wakefield [which I keep typo'ing as "Wakefiend"] was “brilliant” in countering said “lies”.)

    Perhaps I shouldn’t have turned the TV off this morning!

  22. #22 ChrisKid
    May 24, 2010

    “They were rewarded with money. They weren’t paid.” I paraphrased there, but that’s what Wakefield said about the children from whom he drew blood at the party. The difference, apparently, is that they were given the money afterward, not before. So I guess all you people who get money from your employers after you do the work aren’t getting paychecks, you’re getting rewards. It goes right down to the bone with him – there is nothing too small for him to lie about.

  23. #23 BA
    May 24, 2010

    There is a poll on the Today Show website asking whether you believe vaccines cause autism. I know poll crashing is not this blog’s favorite activity but just saying.

    Lauer really did not give him much time and rehashed the previous story he did on him with a slightly different spin. No brave maverick storyline this time but dishonest shill comes to mind. The AoA people have good reason to be upset, their white knight was sullied.

  24. #24 ChrisKid
    May 24, 2010

    Alexis: He wasn’t brilliant, he was stubborn and completely divorced from reality. As I said, he insisted there was a difference between “paying” the children and “rewarding” them for their blood samples. I didn’t catch all of his answer to Lauer’s question about whether he should still call him “doctor”, but he did say that the title should still be used. If anybody heard his explanation for that, I’d appreciate hearing it. He claimed that the outcome of the GMC hearing had been determined from the beginning. I was appalled at the sheer nerve of the man. I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised.

  25. #25 yyzian
    May 24, 2010

    The BBC is reporting that he was indeed struck off the register:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/8695267.stm

  26. #26 akasha
    May 24, 2010

    “Large epidemiological studies that show no link between vaccines and autism must be wrong because the investigators are in the pocket of big pharma.”

    Orac: Epidemiology is a pretty blunt tool for investigating claims of regression following MMR. Now I know you don’t believe me, but I’m aware most kids who have the MMR don’t become diseased. But those large epidemiological studies fail to cliniically investigate those who claim to have developed pathology.

    I’ve heard the argument that, if such kids are indeed becoming ill, the rate of illness is staistically insignificant. Which seems like a nonsense term to me.

  27. #27 Scott
    May 24, 2010

    Epidemiology is a pretty blunt tool for investigating claims of regression following MMR. Now I know you don’t believe me, but I’m aware most kids who have the MMR don’t become diseased. But those large epidemiological studies fail to cliniically investigate those who claim to have developed pathology.

    The epidemiology can, however, demonstrate that any rate of such is necessarily very small. And the claim has been looked at other ways as well – e.g. investigating whether pediatric visits or hospitalization are more likely after the vaccine than before (they are not significantly different). There are enough lines of evidence that, coupled with the fact that there’s no indication that regressive autism has an etiology any different than other autism, and the fact that there’s never been any actual evidence presented to indicate any cause for concern, the speculation may be reasonably rejected.

    I’ve heard the argument that, if such kids are indeed becoming ill, the rate of illness is staistically insignificant. Which seems like a nonsense term to me.

    A more proper way to say it would be that any such rate must be so small that it would not be detectable in existing studies, i.e. not accounting for more than a small fraction of cases.

  28. #28 Adam_Y
    May 24, 2010

    “I’ve heard the argument that, if such kids are indeed becoming ill, the rate of illness is statistically insignificant. Which seems like a nonsense term to me.”

    Orac’s actually covered lots of times. When you say that something is statistically insignificant it either means that the effect is so rare that you can’t possibly find it in an experiment. Orac and people like Dr. Offit are right in saying that if the effect is on the scale that the antivaxers claim you should be able to see it in epidemiological studies.

  29. #29 MikeMa
    May 24, 2010

    I did not see the Lauer interview of St Andy but judging by the AoA reaction, I’m guessing Dr. Wakefield may have had a teensie problem. This is what happens when you step out of the echo chamber and into reality. The drivel you spout is not accepted without question. Dr. Wakefield clearly needs a recuperative week or two back in the echo chamber.

  30. #30 MI Dawn
    May 24, 2010

    @little augie: I think medicine has progressed a TEENSY BIT since 1967. Lobotomies were used quite commonly then. They generally made the person quite docile and easy to handle, quite a boon for a family dealing with a violent person back in the days before many of the medications we have not. But you and your ilk prefer to go back to those good old days…infectious diseases injuring and killing kids, moms/dads stuck at home for WEEKS with sick kids (just this weekend my mom was reminising about when I brought home chicken pox – a month of dealing with sick kids in the house as one after another of my siblings caught it…good thing she wasn’t working at the time…but she could not WAIT to take a vacation as soon as we were all healthy and she could leave us).

    Thanks but no thanks. I prefer vaccines, modern medicine and living today rather than back in the 1960s.

  31. #31 MI Dawn
    May 24, 2010

    Oh, and BTW…just got an email from my mom. My brother finally got his rash and pain he’s been suffering from for the past week diagnosed…shingles! He’s SO happy I gave him chicken pox 40 years ago…

  32. #32 Nick
    May 24, 2010

    Augustine of Hippo?

    It’s pretty funny to hear about intellectual openness and scientific inquiry from a guy who decided to name himself after a Catholic saint that endorsed the wholesale murder of unbelievers and those proclaimed to be witches/warlocks.

  33. #33 Rene Najera
    May 24, 2010

    Actually, “statistically insignificant” is more of a phrase used to describe something that happens by chance alone. Like when someone asks the odds of one person in a million getting Guillain-Barre syndrome from the flu vaccine… It’s statistically insignificant because you expect to see 1 in a million by chance alone, vaccine or no vaccine.

    It doesn’t mean that the people with GBS or any other disease or condition are insignificant. If anything, every person is very significant. It’s just that the numbers, statistics, are cold, and so are the data. When its not there, it’s just not there. Period. Sorry. Let’s move on.

    DISCLAIMER: Two men and a horse walk into a bar. The bartender asks the first man what he’ll have. “Beer,” the first man says. The bartender then asks the second man what he’ll have. “It is quite obvious,” he answers, “since this guy here walked in with me at the same time, I MUST also want beer, for his opinion MUST represent my own.” Not funny? Yeah, it’s not.

  34. #34 Pablo
    May 24, 2010

    I sort of confused. When the Wakefield study was retracted a few months ago, the leadership of the anti-vaccine movement was quickly falling over themselves to disavow any significance of it or even of Wakefield himself, weren’t they? I mean, didn’t they protest that the Wakefield study didn’t really suggest any association between autism and MMR?

    So why are they so concerned about Wakefield now? Oh that’s right…because they know that their denials back then were totally bullshit, and their wagon is hitched squarely on his back.

  35. #35 Broken Link
    May 24, 2010

    Today show poll linked on my ‘nym. Just in case you want to vote.

  36. #36 provaxmom
    May 24, 2010

    @29-
    LOL at you crossing off Dr. Did you see that part of the interview? Where he still says that we are to call him Dr?

  37. #37 prov
    May 24, 2010

    It’s a shame, the anti-vaxers are winning that poll. But you have to have an account to vote, so not worth my effort.

  38. #38 Pablo
    May 24, 2010

    The discussion about the meaning of “statistically insignificant” calls to mind this statement that Orac quotes:

    The press likes to pretend that this debate is just about the science. Health officials and the medical community have a united response to the question of vaccines and autism: OUR STUDIES SHOW NO LINK. Parents are wrong.

    You know why it’s impossible to communicate? Because to them, it is a personal issue, and as that poster shows, lack of science to support their view = attack on the parents.

    They aren’t thinking about this fancy science stuff. It’s all personal, and phrases like “insignificant” only highlight the manner that scientists don’t care about the parents.

  39. #39 Denice Walter
    May 24, 2010

    I suspect that those who utilize conspiracy as explication will now just add the GMC to the list of governmental agencies(on *both* sides of the pond),Pharma,the AMA,CDC(and British equivalents),mainstream media, etc. I imagine that as the number of conspiratorial participants grows exponentially its believability declines in an inverse fashion.I understand that some don’t believe in their government,most doctors,(probably) most universities,most experts,and the media *but* how can they believe people with mail-order degrees,disgraced doctors,those with an axe to grind or a product to sell or a website to hype? Why believe *anyone*?

  40. #40 augustine
    May 24, 2010

    “Thanks but no thanks. I prefer vaccines, modern medicine and living today rather than back in the 1960s.”

    I have no problem with that.

  41. #41 augustine
    May 24, 2010

    Dawn: “He’s SO happy I gave him chicken pox 40 years ago…”

    are you implying scientifically he wouldn’t have shingles had he gotten the vaccine? Or is that your personal nonscientific opinion? Do you even know the effectiveness of the vaccine?

    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6TD4-45FYY5Y-1&_user=10&_rdoc=1&_fmt=&_orig=search&_sort=d&view=c&_acct=C000050221&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=10&md5=5ecff59fb0795f4db6f8adc3b330e55f

  42. #42 MikeMa
    May 24, 2010

    @provaxmom
    I did not have time to watch the Lauer interview. What reasoning, if any, did Dr. Wakefield give fro continuing to address him as doctor? I suppose they didn’t strip him of his degree, just his license to practice. Still, it might be time to speak to the degree granting institute and see what might be done in that regard.

  43. #43 Nescio
    May 24, 2010

    I’m beginning to think Wakefield has some sort of problem. He seems to be incapable of understanding what he has done wrong. He shows not the slightest hint of remorse or regret that he didn’t go about things differently. The GMC, “considered that his actions and his persistent lack of insight as to the gravity of his conduct amounted to serious professional misconduct.” That sort of rigidity in his attitude seems very unhealthy to me.

    Age of Autism helpfully gives the GMC ruling here http://tinyurl.com/2a392zs . I find it strange that after the long list of Wakefield’s transgressions there are comments supporting him.

    By the way, as I understand it Wakefield is still entitled to use the title “doctor”, but he will not allowed to practice medicine in the UK assuming he does not appeal. He may still be allowed to practice elsewhere, the USA perhaps, but I guess being struck off doesn’t look too good on his CV.

  44. #44 Rod Rose
    May 24, 2010

    The Associated Press is reporting (as of 12:11 p.m. EDT) that Britain’s General Medical Council has barred Wakefield from practicing medicine there because “he conducted his research unethically.”

  45. #45 clayton
    May 24, 2010

    @augustine
    Why are you calling bensmyson a loon? Don’t tell me you didn’t, it’s in your post, where you quoted me and then said she was a loon. Not cool

  46. #46 Pablo
    May 24, 2010

    I’m beginning to think Wakefield has some sort of problem. He seems to be incapable of understanding what he has done wrong. He shows not the slightest hint of remorse or regret that he didn’t go about things differently.

    Of course. I mean, what are his options?

    Admit he is wrong and live a life as a failed doctor and disgraced researcher? Or protest and achieve martyr status?

    Better be wildly popular with some crowd than respected by no one.

  47. #47 Science Mom
    May 24, 2010

    By the way, as I understand it Wakefield is still entitled to use the title “doctor”, but he will not allowed to practice medicine in the UK assuming he does not appeal. He may still be allowed to practice elsewhere, the USA perhaps, but I guess being struck off doesn’t look too good on his CV.

    He will never be allowed to practise in the U.S. Ever.

  48. #48 T. Hunt
    May 24, 2010

    @MikeMa He stated that he’s to be called Dr. since he does have a medical degree. His license to practice has been revoked. He also claimed that there were 5 studies that backed up his original conclusions, although he didn’t name any of them. And ML didn’t ask. Another claim was that the US gov’t has been ‘secretly’ paying off on vaccine injury claims, again without stating any sort of actual names. Maybe that’s the secret part.

    AFAIK, the 3 cases chosen for review by the Vaccine Injury Board were all turned down and the ‘expert’ witnesses testimony for the plaintiffs was rejected as bunkum.

    One thing about this morning’s appearance on Today; Andrew Wakefield didn’t seem the least bit fazed by what’s happened. He pedaled the same old same old. I particularly like how he made the distinction between ‘paying’ the children for their blood samples at the birthday party and ‘rewarding’ them later with 5 pound notes.

    Tom

  49. #49 MikeMa
    May 24, 2010

    Thanks Tom. I was sure he would continue to claim rights that are suspect in most corners. His corner is spewing and scoffing of course. I will continue to use strikethrough or the more pompous St Andy designation.

    As for the vaccine injury claims, the judge said in no uncertain terms that no evidence is no evidence. Find some and we’ll talk.

    Wakefield will exude calm until the funding stops I suppose.

  50. #50 Chris
    May 24, 2010

    Science Mom:

    He will never be allowed to practise in the U.S. Ever.

    Now, if we could only get him deported.

  51. #51 trrll
    May 24, 2010

    When you say that something is statistically insignificant it either means that the effect is so rare that you can’t possibly find it in an experiment.

    Strictly speaking, “statistically insignificant” means that there is a substantial chance (convenionally, greater than 5%) that any difference between the groups being compared arose by chance. It should not be confused with e.g. “clinically significant.” For a small study, the statistical power may be so low that a fairly large real difference in nevertheless statistically insignificant. Of course, this doesn’t apply to the MMR, for which some very large studies with good statistical power have failed to find risk. No statistical or other scientific method has the power to prove absolutely that not one single person has developed autism as a result of the MMR (or eating mashed potatoes, or anything else you choose). What we do know is that if the risk is not zero, as it well may be, then it is so small that it could not account for the alleged increase in autism incidence, and that any individual’s autism can be said to a high degree of statistical certainty not to be due to the MMR.

  52. #52 Clayton
    May 24, 2010

    Deporting him won’t help.

    Having grieving mothers who refused to immunize their children, who then came down with the very disease that the immunization was designed to protect speak in favor of Immunization may help. Or the parents of the 10% of children who caught measles , even though immunized, due to the actions of those who refuse to vaccinate, speak out against the families who refused to immunize may help.

    Hell if my kid got measles and I found out it was due to the actions of a family who refused to immunize, I would sue them.

  53. #53 Militant Agnostic
    May 24, 2010

    Orac said

    Compared to the damage Wakefield’s done, he’s lucky that all the GMC can do to him is to strike him off.

    I think that professional bodies should be allowed to add tar and feathers to striking off in the most serious cases.

  54. #54 Broken Link
    May 24, 2010

    @37 – you don’t need an account to vote. And now it’s a lot closer, 484 votes to 432 votes.

  55. #55 HealthEd
    May 24, 2010

    Not to be all nitpicky but …

    While I’m thrilled that Wakefield got the final smackdown he so richly deserves, the riotgrrl in me couldn’t help but be irked by Deer’s off-the-cuff remark:

    “My furious detractors — mainly women — will, as always, be crammed behind metal barriers just outside the offices of the General Medical Council (GMC). ”

    This has an air of dismissing the crowd of detractors because they’re “mainly women.” I am sure this isn’t what Deer meant, but it still leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

  56. #56 Todd W.
    May 24, 2010

    @HealthEd

    While I find Brian Deer’s work to be well-researched and pretty accurate, and although I agree with his conclusions, his general demeanor has struck me as somewhat arrogant.

  57. #57 MikeMa
    May 24, 2010

    @Todd, @HealthEd,
    Arrogance may be one of the tools required to deal with doctors over a period of years. I know many nurses who feel this way. Not excusing, just explaining.

  58. #58 Calli Arcale
    May 24, 2010

    It is, however, true that a disproportionate number of the loudest anti-vax voices seem to be women. I suspect it may be related to the age-old notion that the mother is supposed to be the family first-aid provider. We’ve come a long ways towards equality, but old stereotypes die hard, and those of us raised in those stereotypes will find ourselves unconsciously repeating them. I tend to regard men and women equally, and yet I am indeed nearly always the one to take time off to bring my kids to the doctor. Hubby has to talk me into letting him take them. It’s not something I ever intended, but it’s how it worked out. There’s part of my brain that thinks “kids need the doctor; momma better be there”.

    I suspect I am not unusual in this, so that alone may account for the gender disparity. If more women manage their kids’ care then men, it logically follows that more women than men will go down the anti-vax rabbithole.

  59. #59 HealthEd
    May 24, 2010

    @Todd W.
    Thanks for having my back, man. Sometimes I worry that I’m being a little hypersensitive. But I’ll still take an arrogant hero over a polite monster anyday!

  60. #60 Todd W.
    May 24, 2010

    @HealthEd

    Ditto. Wakefield generally maintains a very polite demeanor and exudes charm. He’d probably make a good used care salesman or time share agent.

  61. #61 Scott
    May 24, 2010

    It is interesting to compare the responses to HealthEd’s comments (reasonable, respectful, agreeing that Deer may not be perfect) vs. what one would see at AoA if anyone were to suggest that Wankerfield were arrogant (death threats).

  62. #62 Interrobang
    May 24, 2010

    Making such a statement is akin to saying, “Imagine how terrible it must be to believe that your rape and violation of your sense of security and faith is your fault, just because you had you wore a short skirt.”

    Yes, it is exactly like that: Short skirts don’t cause rapes; rapists cause rapes. You could wear a short skirt until the Tuesday after Doomsday and if you never encountered a rapist, you’d never be raped.

    So not only is bensmyson a serial liar and nuts to boot, it’s also a rape apologist. How low can you go? Want me to rent you a backhoe so you can continue digging through the floor?

    Also, get your own identity instead of defining yourself solely in relation to other people; everyone from Betty Friedan on down guarantees you’ll be happier, healthier, and saner that way.

  63. #63 bensmyson
    May 24, 2010

    “Short skirts don’t cause rapes; rapists cause rapes.”

    I believe that in the original quote it was Deer’s projection, insinuating that those parents of children injured by vaccines, are somehow afflicted with such guilt that they are somehow deluded into buying into some alternate world of reason. Obviously to those of us who have such injured children we are anything but guilty, we are fully aware of who the “rapist” is, it is those of you who fail to recognize that not one single child who becomes vaccine injured knew of the risks involved in adhering to some political ideology that has the herd’s best interest over the individual rights of the person or people subjected to such outrageous violations of these basic human rights.

    Again, whether or not vaccines caused autism or didnt cause autism in my son is perhaps unprovable, but vaccines do cause death, brain injury and chronic health issues, that much is a proven fact.

  64. #64 Dedj
    May 24, 2010

    “it is those of you who fail to recognize that not one single child who becomes vaccine injured knew of the risks involved in adhering to some political ideology”

    This is also true of those children that are being needlessly exposed to reasonably preventable risks.

    Children, especially young children, are very much incapable of making these sorts of judgements which is why we have to make them for them.

    As you are too stupid or wrapped up in yourself to recognise the need – much less the technical details – for these discussion, please GTFO of these discussions. As you cannot even grasp why these conversations have to occur (although you gladly misuse them to shout your uninformed opinion about) it is simply a waste of time for everyone concerned for you to even be here.

  65. #65 The Gregarious Misanthrope
    May 24, 2010

    @bensmyson

    Yes, vaccines do cause those problems, no one is denying it despite your repeating it ad nauseum. What matters is the rates. And for vaccines, generally that rate is about 1/1000th the diseases they prevent. Do you think 1000 times more death and disability is a good thing? Without vaccination, there is no guarantee your son would still be here let alone in good health. Mumps, rubella, measles, smallpox, rotavirus, polio: all can kill and permanently injure.

    You seem to be fixated on the illusion of control. People aren’t afraid to ride in cars like they are in planes because they have the illusion of control. You are very much at everyone else’s mercy in a car. Running stop signs, weaving into another lane, it could happen in an instant and you couldn’t do squat about it. Just like vax vs. disease, fly vs. drive is a giant difference in risk.

    Do you know how far your rights extend? Right up to the point where they infringe on mine. Not vaccinating your kids endangers mine, either because they are too young, cannot be vaccinated, or have insufficient immune response.

    This issue is very much like smoking. 20 smokers in a plane of 200 people should not be able to decide to pollute the lungs of the other 180. If 20% of the population doesn’t immunize, probably another 10-15% of the population that did or would immunize are put at risk through lack of herd immunity. Feel free to spin me some fancy anti-vax math to disprove the concept of herd immunity.

    Being part of society has its costs and obligations.

  66. #66 maydijo
    May 24, 2010

    “vaccines do cause death, brain injury and chronic health issues”

    Vaccines save far more lives than they take. Going from some information I recieved in the mail the other day from an international aid charity I support – something like 1/2 of all child deaths in the developing world could be stopped with only 2 vaccines. Throw in a few more and you can cut that death rate by about 2/3rds. You know that link I provided yesterday that compared the causes of childhood deaths in the developing world vs the developed world? You know, the one you not only failed to click on, but told me I must be drunk for posting? Yeah. That one. There’s a reason these diseases don’t kill (so much) in countries where there is a high rate of vaccination. It’s the same reason these diseases kill in countries where there is a low rate of vaccination. See where I’m going with this? *Vaccinations Save Lives.*

  67. #67 bensmyson
    May 24, 2010

    “Do you think 1000 times more death and disability is a good thing?” At the expense of what child? Obviously you do not have children of your own.

    And as you pointed out, your child lives because another dies does not give your child a pass on pain and suffering.

    Smoking, 20 shedding newly vaccinated contaminants board a plane with 200 other people……

  68. #68 Fuzzzone
    May 24, 2010

    You want a magic solution, Ben’s parents. There isn’t one. However, the math is clear. The rare significant adverse side effects of widespread vaccination cause far less total damage (by orders of magnitude) than the diseases they fight would cause in the absence of widespread vaccination. Is that going to make a person feel better if their child happens to have one of those rare significant adverse side effects? No, but that doesn’t make the math wrong.

  69. #69 Science Mom
    May 24, 2010

    And as you pointed out, your child lives because another dies does not give your child a pass on pain and suffering.

    Is this AoA math again? Make that ~1 million children will live while 1 may die or suffer severe illness.

    Smoking, 20 shedding newly vaccinated contaminants board a plane with 200 other people……

    Good grief your rhetoric is weak.
    1.) Newly vaccinated don’t shed.
    2.) You would be very hard-pressed to find 20 people aboard a flight that were simultaneously vaccinated with a live, viral vaccine.
    3.) Few vaccines actually shed.
    4.) For those that do, close, prolonged contact is required or faecal-oral route. And even then, very few contract shed vaccine.

    You can’t even formulate logical fallacies correctly.

  70. #70 Militant Agnostic
    May 24, 2010

    Science Mom @69.

    bensmyson actually said

    shedding newly vaccinated contaminants board a plane

    From this I assume the newly vaccinated would be shedding the dreaded toxins like the “heavy metal” aluminum. Nothing worse than aluminum on an airplane eh!

  71. #71 maydijo
    May 24, 2010

    I, for one, make sure to only fly on Balsawood aircrafts, and I also make sure that any mothers of small babies who have just had the rotavirus know not to smear their babies’ dirty diaper on my face. Just to cover both the shedding contaminants and the shedding vaccine gambit.

    (On the other hand if the babies haven’t just been vaccinated . . . )

  72. #72 The Very Reverend Battleaxe of Knowledge
    May 24, 2010

    I will undoubtedly be castigated as a clueless n00b, but despite reading all about this gomer on this blog and others I had no idea what he looked like before.

    Anybody but me think he’s the spitting image of John De Lancie (who played “Q” on Star Trek TNG among other things?)

  73. #73 Ian
    May 24, 2010

    @bensmyson

    And as you pointed out, your child lives because another dies does not give your child a pass on pain and suffering.

    But that’s exactly what you’re advocating. You’re saying that vaccine rates should drop, more people should be susceptible, and more children should die, just so the children of a much smaller group won’t develop autism. Of course, they will develop autism regardless of their vaccination status, as the evidence clearly suggests. So all you’d be doing is increasing the risk of short- and long-term morbidity and perhaps mortality for thousands of people, just to serve your own selfish, misguided agenda – not caring for your child, but winning the political battle over vaccination.

    The fact that you can’t see this, or even admit that you could be wrong about vaccines (and to forestall a tu quoque, the number of studies published is overwhelming evidence that the scientific community has admitted it might be wrong, but the result is always the same – no link), is deeply depressing. I hope your son, against all odds due to his parentage, grows up to be an introspective and self-critical person who is capable of putting the evidence first and his own personal agenda second.

  74. #74 Rogue Medic
    May 24, 2010

    @ 18 augustine,

    rogue medic:
    “The anti-vaccinationists defend Wakefield hurting children, when it is really difficult to find a public figure of any kind, convicted criminals included, who has been so abusive to children.”

    It doesn’t take long.One only has to examine the career of former AMA president, Walter Freeman.

    Apparently, it takes unearthing misbehavior from someone who died back in 1972. Not current or relevant, since medicine has changed tremendously since that time.

    Yes, Freeman does appear to have been a similar quack. Freeman’s actions also seem to have resulted in the loss of his medical license only after the death of a child. Wakefield’s actions already have eclipsed Freeman’s death toll.

  75. #75 ejwillingham
    May 24, 2010

    Boston Globe editor/writer has scribed a rather gushy interview with Wakefield here: http://writeeditrepeat.blogspot.com/2010/05/wakefield-i-will-continue-to-study.html

    Scientific insights might provide some balance, if you feel so motivated.

  76. #76 Doctor Smart
    May 24, 2010

    It’s so strange to me that the “experts” who know so much and argue that these killer vaccines are good for people are the same people who testify that they have no clue why autism is significantly on the rise. Some experts eh?

  77. #77 Ian
    May 24, 2010

    Yeah! And the “experts” who teach anthropology at my university are the same people who testify that they have no clue how Stonehenge was made. Some experts, eh?

    Oh, and also we do know why autism is on the rise: it’s because it isn’t.

  78. #78 a-non
    May 24, 2010

    Obviously to those of us who have such injured children we are anything but guilty, we are fully aware of who the “rapist” is, it is those of you who fail to recognize that not one single child who becomes vaccine injured knew of the risks involved in adhering to some political ideology that has the herd’s best interest over the individual rights of the person or people subjected to such outrageous violations of these basic human rights.

    Thank you for clearly illustrating that your belief that your son was harmed by vaccines was not based on the actual events, but on your warped, arrogant and self-centered world view.

  79. #79 Memo taker
    May 24, 2010

    What is all this “basic human rights” stuff? Of course I believe that every human as an individual should be a soverign citizen and have individual freedom and rights as endowed by his/her creator. I do NOT, however, belive in collective rights. That is a codeword for socialism. Pres Obama always talks in “the collective” good of the country. Sounds like he missed his location for being leader. The USSR went down a long time ago. The USSR beleived in “the collective good” also. Scary times, these are, when libs do not belive in idividual rights and freedom. Apparently they never learned history – or at least learned it in California where marxism is welcomed and individual freedom is looked upon as twisted. What a screwed up bunch of brainwashed fools.

  80. #80 Ian
    May 24, 2010

    “What a screwed up bunch of brainwashed fools.”

    Says the guy whose cup of rhetoric doth overflow with Tea Party talking points.

    Did you get lost and turn up on the wrong blog?

  81. #81 maydijo
    May 24, 2010

    Memo taker, I suggest you go back to Intro to Political Science and take some better notes. To start with, read your social contract theorists (Locke, Hobbes, Rousseau – you know, all those great minds that are considered the founders of liberalism) (and don’t you dare come back here and say that liberals are what’s wrong with this country and that’s why you’re a conservative, or I will have to reach through this monitor and bitch-slap you for teh burning stupid). You may also want to do a bit of study on comparative politics, you know, to see just how easy it is for liberal democracy and socialism to co-exist, as they do in Canada, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and so on. (And don’t you dare come back here and tell me that the US is a Republic and not a democracy or I’ll have to add a kick up the arse to that bitch-slap.) You clearly flaked out and probably flunked your high school civics class, but really, it’s not too late to find a simple intro-level class at your local community college.

  82. #82 Memo taker
    May 24, 2010

    The USA is a free republic, not a socialist country. Perhaps Europe, in all their drowning debt caused by too many handouts (as is the USA) may be socialist. Our founders left that wrteched land of tyranny and now you wish to re-tyrranize the country with your EPA and FDA, ASS, and whatever else you can stal our freedoms with. If you like living in a socialist country, wouldn’t it be easier to just move to one rather than spen the lastt 100 years trying to tear down culture, Christianity, and conservatism from this country in order to build a socilaist country? Technically you screwed up. Normal people want freedom, not tyranny. Take your EPA and your global warming scam, and your FDA, and your liberalism, and your secualrism, and your religiousophobes, and your marxism, and your criminal labor unions, and your ACORN, and your NEA, and all other evil leftis nutjobs and leave toEurope. I would welcome such a departure. If all liberals and tjheir organizaions packed up and left tonight it wouldn’t be soon enough. Thing is, I refuse to comply with your tyranny. I will remain a free independent soveriegn citizen until my last dying breath and no matter how much you wish to screw me over with your scams, lectures, rules, regulations, and other misfit ideas, you will never succeed. God gave me life, I am saved and I am free. You cannot take away what you do not have the authority to give and understand. I will remain a free man and soveriegn independent citizen for all eternity. Now, what about coming through this screen? Only tyrants threaten citizens.

    I wish you would read the constituion for once. I doubt if your global warming scam, or global government, or collective freedom, or anything else you wish ill of society is even in there.

  83. #83 Kristen
    May 24, 2010

    Memo taker,

    Ummmmmmmmmmm, kay,

    What are you doing here? Why don’t you troll a political site (you know, where what you are saying might be relevant)?

  84. #84 Rogue Medic
    May 24, 2010

    @ 63 bensmyson,

    vaccines do cause death, brain injury and chronic health issues, that much is a proven fact.

    Anti-vaccinationists do cause death, brain injury and chronic health issues at rates dramatically higher than vaccines ever will, that much is a proven fact.

  85. #85 maydijo
    May 24, 2010

    Oh good heavens, first bensmyson calls me a rapist and now memo taker calls me a tyrant.

    Memo taker, ignorance is excusable; arrogant stupidity is not. There is no nicer way to say this: When it comes to political science, this annoying gnat flying around my head has more of a grasp on it than you do.

  86. #86 John C. Welch
    May 24, 2010

    goddamnit, now we have a libertard infestation.

    Crap, gotta go buy more Raid Dip and Moron Killer now…grumble.

  87. #87 Ian
    May 25, 2010

    It’s not really an infestation if it’s only one person. And this guy isn’t a libertarian, he’s a moron. You know what else isn’t in the Constitution? Christianity…

    Of course if all the liberals left your country, you’d be living in Saudi Arabia, albeit a much whiter version of it.

  88. #88 Rogue Medic
    May 25, 2010

    @ 87 Ian,

    It’s not really an infestation if it’s only one person. And this guy isn’t a libertarian, he’s a moron. You know what else isn’t in the Constitution? Christianity…

    Amen.

  89. #89 Ian
    May 25, 2010

    @Rogue Medic

    I see what you did there. Nice.

  90. #90 augustine
    May 25, 2010

    Rogue medic: “Freeman’s actions also seem to have resulted in the loss of his medical license only after the death of a child. Wakefield’s actions already have eclipsed Freeman’s death toll.:

    name the death MR. science based evidence guy.

  91. #91 augustine
    May 25, 2010

    “Do you know how far your rights extend? Right up to the point where they infringe on mine.””

    exactly gregorian antelope, that’s why you have NO RIGHT to tell anyone what medical procedure they must undergo.

    antelope: “You seem to be fixated on the illusion of control.”

    YOU seem to be fixated on control. You wan’t to CONTROL risk. Not just your own but everyone elses.

    antelope: “Do you know how far your rights extend? Right up to the point where they infringe on mine. Not vaccinating your kids endangers mine, either because they are too young, cannot be vaccinated, or have insufficient immune response.”

    then you should vaccinate 100,000 times its safe right? I thought you were smart but this post puts you right at the bottom of thie tree with Ender. ThIs was an emotionally based post with zero fact and logic.

    You science blogs guys should thank me. I’m weeding out the weak links of critical thinking among the ranks. These guys/girls that I’m identifying will only hold you back in the end. It’s social darwinism at work. Only the strong survive. Sorry antelope. Eventually you get eaten buy a pack of lions.

  92. #92 The Gregarious Misanthrope
    May 25, 2010

    @bensmyson

    “Obviously you do not have children of your own.”

    Who the f*** are you to make a statement like that? I have two kids, fully vaccinated, and I don’t lose sleep over it because I understand probability.

    No one can guarantee anything in life, it’s always a roll of the dice. Unfortunately for you and Ben, you got snake eyes. The cold hard truth of the matter, which you are too blinkered to understand, is that the diseases kill and injure over 1000x as many as the vaccines do. No one can guarantee whose kid will be safe from vaccine injury (still 1 in 1,000,000) or who will die of measles, polio, etc. Without vaccines your son and mine are 1000x times more likely to die or be permanently injured. It isn’t a matter of choosing which kid loses, it’s chance. That may be hard to swallow, but that’s a fact.

    I really hold no hope of ever penetrating your magical-thinking armor, but hopefully this will drive a point home to the parents who sit on the fence and worry about every shot their kids get.

  93. #93 The Gregarious Misanthrope
    May 25, 2010

    @Doctor Smart

    What’s interesting about the “rise” in autism diagnoses is that it corresponds virtually one to one with the decline of diagnoses of mental retardation.

    Interesting, no? All those mentally retarded folks of days gone by are now called autistic.

    Kind of how people don’t die of consumption anymore, but do die of tuberculosis. Curious.

    There is no epidemic. And no one knows what causes autism, but we know what doesn’t.

  94. #94 tim gueguen
    May 25, 2010

    Memo taker’s use of the phrase “sovereign citizen” makes me suspect he’s one of those antitax types who attempt to use incoherent wordplay even they don’t understand in an effort not to pay taxes or in any way comply with government regulations, all the while making us of government provided services such as roads and bridges.

  95. #95 maydijo
    May 25, 2010

    Or even better – rant and rail about how the government should be abolished; and follow this with claims that any sort of regulation of any industry is bad and that we should simply trust that private companies will do the right thing; and then as soon as there is a (pick one – oil spill, global financial crisis, etc.) jump up and down and say, “Where is the government and why aren’t they protecting us?!?!?!?!”

  96. #96 Lawrence
    May 25, 2010

    Yeah Memo Taker – the last “sovereign citizen” in the news gunned down two Arkansas police officers solely because they pulled him over for speeding, plus shot two more who were trying to arrest him for the first set of shootings.

    Yeap, sounds like a pretty good group of people, these “sovereign citizens.”

    Back to vaccines – seems to me Toddlers get plenty of regular old illnesses (stomach bugs, colds, sore throats, ear aches, etc)that scare the crap out of parents. I can’t even imagine having to put up with measles, mumps, pertussis, etc – that could actually kill a child.

    Parents’ shouldn’t be wishing illnesses on their children (like most Anti-Vaxxers seem to do) – it is just cruel.

  97. #97 sarah
    May 25, 2010

    Just out of curiosity where is Richard Barr in all this? Shouldn’t he be held accountable too?

  98. #98 Chris
    May 25, 2010

    Walefield’s death count includes a few babies in Ireland, a couple of kids in the UK, some kids in Germany and many in Japan. Then there is the return of deaths from Hib in the USA, with the increase of infant deaths due to pertussis (though I tend to lay those on Barbara Loe Arthur (Fisher), since she created that false scare almost thirty years ago).

    Memo Taker” should be a good example for us and refuse to use any and all things that even have a veneer of the use of tax money.

    That means he should not use publicly funded roads, highways, public utilities like sewer and water, government regulated radio waves and on and on. He should just stay in his little compound off the grid, with his own well and septic tank and out of communication.

  99. #99 Chris
    May 25, 2010

    Let us not forget this body count. It only covers the USA, Wakefield’s mostly caused death and disability in Europe.

  100. #100 Poogles
    May 25, 2010

    “Making such a statement is akin to saying, “Imagine how terrible it must be to believe that your rape and violation of your sense of security and faith is your fault, just because you had you wore a short skirt.”

    Ya know, what this immediately brought to my mind was that a lot of the anti-vacc parents with autistic children really identify themselves as the victims. Which is really odd, if you think about it – I mean if you really believe that a vaccine caused damage to your child, wouldn’t the child be the victim? Yet, over and over I get the impression from these parents that they very much consider themselves to be the victims.

  101. #101 Pablo
    May 25, 2010

    Back to vaccines – seems to me Toddlers get plenty of regular old illnesses (stomach bugs, colds, sore throats, ear aches, etc)that scare the crap out of parents. I can’t even imagine having to put up with measles, mumps, pertussis, etc – that could actually kill a child.

    To be fair, Lawrence, I’ve learned to deal with the ear infections. They don’t scare me. They are as annoying as hell, and make for a rough couple of days and nights, and I always feel bad for the Offspring because I can tell he is miserable, but I also know it is treatable. We can solve that problem.

    However, I do fear the more severe stuff, and even aside from the worst, I so do not want to have to see the Offspring having to deal with being that miserable. I don’t get these people who are so callous about their kids getting sick. Even with the ear infections, I’d do anything to have it be me instead of him.

  102. #102 Ia
    May 25, 2010

    @Poogles

    If for a moment we pretend that there was an identifiable environmental cause for autism, parents would absolutely be victims. While they may not be inflicted with the autism themselves, they do have to give up more time, energy and money than the average parents of a non-autistic child, to say nothing of the psychological toll it undoubtedly takes. The harm is still felt by those who are caregivers.

    This type of rebranding of ‘victimhood’ was actually quite common and useful for cancer a few years back, recognizing that the people who care for cancer patients are ‘cancer survivors’, even if they weren’t the ones with the tumour. Parents of autistic kids do suffer, and I think it’s important to recognize that.

  103. #103 Ian
    May 25, 2010

    @102

    My name has 3 letters in it. What kind of state is my brain in when I spell my own name wrong? I blame teh vaxxinz.

  104. #104 The Panic Man
    May 25, 2010

    People like “Memo taker” are just butthurt that they have to live in this thing we call “society”.

    It means they have to interact with people, especially those who – gasp! – aren’t just like them.
    It means they have to put up with a system where other people are treated as people, rather than the sub-human chattel they’ve been told others who aren’t like them are.
    It means that they can’t do what they want, much as the idea seems to physically hurt them, because the rights of others must be taken into consideration.

    They bleat this ignorant crap about “collectivism” and “socialism” that they willingly ingested as stupid, Rand-worshipping teenage nobodies (when their brains became stunted and unable to fully mature) and now are force-fed through the rhetoric of the “tea party” (remember, you can’t spell “treason” without “t-e-a”) and the corporate news outlets that have a vested interest in stoking that ignorance and hatred.
    Their anti-vax and “health freedom” bull is a symptom of it – they think that, as individuals, everything they do trumps what anyone else wants. It’s all about them – them, them, THEM, and anyone who doesn’t see that they’re the center of the universe is just one of those evil socialist collectivists.

    People like that troll are killing my country, killing my world, and killing the human race.

  105. #105 Ian
    May 25, 2010

    Although strident pro-social rhetoric is apparently no more creative than, and just as unwelcome as tea-party babble. While I agree with your position, I think there’s just the slightest amount of hyperbole present in the statement that Memo Taker is killing the world. Let’s not turn this into a politics thing, shall we?

    Also, I like Ayn Rand. There are more than a couple decent ideas buried behind the bad writing.

  106. #106 augustine
    May 25, 2010

    Chris: “It only covers the USA, Wakefield’s mostly caused death and disability in Europe.”

    Except there are no bodies let alone reason for causation. What happened to evidence? How can you scientifically prove causation? You CANT. You must just feel that it’s true because you oh so desperately want it to be true.you

    Sorry, but your FEELINGS and bad emotions toward Dr. Wakefield are not science.

  107. #107 gaiainc
    May 25, 2010

    If memo taker and other “sovereign citizens”, teabaggers, and less government advocates want to avoid more things that are funded with tax money, they should avoid most hospital, particularly any hospital that has a training program or is associated with a medical school since those hospitals receive a not-insubstantial amount of money from the federal government to train residents and students. In my city that would mean avoiding all the trauma centers, tertiary care centers, and Level III NICU’s since they all train residents and they all receive federal funding.

    Interesting times indeed. I’d prefer less interesting times, thanks.

  108. #108 Poogles
    May 25, 2010

    “parents would absolutely be victims. While they may not be inflicted with the autism themselves, they do have to give up more time, energy and money than the average parents of a non-autistic child, to say nothing of the psychological toll it undoubtedly takes. The harm is still felt by those who are caregivers.”

    I would agree. The impression I sometimes get, from some of the parents, is that they think of themselves as the primary victims or the only victims. I’m sure if they were asked, they would of course say they view their child as a victim – I just don’t always get that from their actions or their words. Of course, this is only my impression, so I could be way off the mark and reading something that’s not even there :-)

  109. #109 Ian
    May 25, 2010

    @Poogles

    Indeed, and that’s how I interpreted your comment (not whether they were a victim but the victim). However, I know that anti-vaxxers do like to patrol the comments and a plain-text reading definitely could be misinterpreted. I share your assessment that the suffering of the child is paramount, but the parents do have a genuine beef and I think it’s easy to forget that when some of them start in with the hate-on for needles.

  110. #110 Chris
    May 25, 2010

    And Augie continues to prove that he cannot read, and also does not know that the blue letters are a link to a URL. But those who live on Bizarro World do not have to give evidence, and their fiction is what we call science… and their science is what we call fairy tales.

  111. #111 Rogue Medic
    May 25, 2010

    @ 90 augustine (anti-science guy),

    Here’s the money shot. Between 1998 and 2008, MMR uptake levels dropped from 92 per cent to 73 per cent. It is usually said that 85 per cent vaccine uptake levels are required for herd immunity – the point when diseases cannot spread in a population. A percentage of children are not susceptible to the inoculation, especially those with weakened immune systems, so in the absence of herd immunity, some children whose parents chose to vaccinate will still get the disease. This is why it is not solely a personal choice issue.

    In 2008, 10 years after the scare and 14 years after its spread was halted in Britain, measles was declared endemic again in this country. There were a total of 1,348 cases that year, up 36 per cent from the previous year and up a staggering 2,400 per cent from 1998, when there were just 56 cases. About one in 10 measles cases leads to hospitalisation, and in rare cases encephalitis, blindness and even death.

    And that, finally, is the cost of Wakefield’s ethical failings and the media’s wilful blindness. In 2006 a 13-year-old boy became the first person to die of measles in Britain since 1992, with a second child dying in 2008. There have also been deaths in Germany and elsewhere in Europe, and probably many, many more in the developing world (where other baseless vaccine and drug scares, around polio and HIV, are also wreaking a brutal havoc). Mr Wakefield, as he is now, and the British media must bear some responsibility for those deaths.

    From – MMR – autism scare: so, farewell then, Dr Andrew Wakefield by Tom Chivers.

    http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/culture/tomchivers/100008226/mmr-autism-scare-so-farewell-then-dr-andrew-wakefield/

    I could have copied information from plenty of other sources, but this was the first thing I found in my search. It isn’t a matter of finding the deaths, but of finding the information presented clearly. This is done rather well.

    An article about the second death states the following –

    The teenager, from West Yorkshire has not been named, had been born with poor immune system which meant he was susceptible to infections and in cases like this it usually means they cannot have be immunised.

    But he would have been protected if there had been high vaccination rates in the community.

    Because of the MMR scare in the late 1990s when the measles, mumps and rubella jab was linked to bowel disorders and autism, vaccinations levels have dropped below the threshold required to control the diseases. In London less than half of children have had the recommended two doses of MMR.

    From – Teenager dies of measles as cases of disease rise by Rebecca Smith.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/2164002/Teenager-dies-of-measles-as-cases-of-disease-rise.html

    We can debate about the amount of responsibility borne by someone who persuades people to avoid vaccination, when that lack of vaccination leads to deaths.

    Ex-Dr. Andrew Wakefield had a dramatic effect on vaccination rates. The anti-vaccinationists do not pretend to deny this. They brag about it. Ex-Dr. Andrew Wakefield’s actions have brought about the deaths of children, who would not otherwise have been expected to die of measles.

  112. #112 Rogue Medic
    May 26, 2010

    @ 90 augustine,

    Rogue medic: “Freeman’s actions also seem to have resulted in the loss of his medical license only after the death of a child. Wakefield’s actions already have eclipsed Freeman’s death toll.:

    name the death MR. science based evidence guy.

    Here’s the money shot. Between 1998 and 2008, MMR uptake levels dropped from 92 per cent to 73 per cent. It is usually said that 85 per cent vaccine uptake levels are required for herd immunity – the point when diseases cannot spread in a population. A percentage of children are not susceptible to the inoculation, especially those with weakened immune systems, so in the absence of herd immunity, some children whose parents chose to vaccinate will still get the disease. This is why it is not solely a personal choice issue.

    In 2008, 10 years after the scare and 14 years after its spread was halted in Britain, measles was declared endemic again in this country. There were a total of 1,348 cases that year, up 36 per cent from the previous year and up a staggering 2,400 per cent from 1998, when there were just 56 cases. About one in 10 measles cases leads to hospitalisation, and in rare cases encephalitis, blindness and even death.

    And that, finally, is the cost of Wakefield’s ethical failings and the media’s wilful blindness. In 2006 a 13-year-old boy became the first person to die of measles in Britain since 1992, with a second child dying in 2008. There have also been deaths in Germany and elsewhere in Europe, and probably many, many more in the developing world (where other baseless vaccine and drug scares, around polio and HIV, are also wreaking a brutal havoc). Mr Wakefield, as he is now, and the British media must bear some responsibility for those deaths.

    MMR – autism scare: so, farewell then, Dr Andrew Wakefield By Tom Chivers.

    http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/culture/tomchivers/100008226/mmr-autism-scare-so-farewell-then-dr-andrew-wakefield/

    The teenager, from West Yorkshire has not been named, had been born with poor immune system which meant he was susceptible to infections and in cases like this it usually means they cannot have be immunised.

    But he would have been protected if there had been high vaccination rates in the community.

    Because of the MMR scare in the late 1990s when the measles, mumps and rubella jab was linked to bowel disorders and autism, vaccinations levels have dropped below the threshold required to control the diseases. In London less than half of children have had the recommended two doses of MMR.

    Teenager dies of measles as cases of disease rise By Rebecca Smith. The previous article links to this article.

    If Ex-Dr. Andrew Wakefield had not been getting paid to spread lies about vaccination, these children are extremely unlikely to have died from measles. Herd immunity should have protected the immune compromised child.

    Herd immunity was sacrificed on the altar of Ex-Dr. Andrew Wakefield’s bank account.

    True, Ex-Dr. Andrew Wakefield did not do this killing with a knife or a gun. That would have been too humane. Ex-Dr. Andrew Wakefield uses the slow torture of death by preventable illness.

    People started to skip vaccinations for their children. Vaccination rates dropped to the point that herd immunity no longer protected people from measles outbreaks. When asked why they did not vaccinate, parents stated that they were afraid of the scare stories Ex-Dr. Andrew Wakefieled made up.

    Or are you claiming that vaccine refusing parents cannot be expected to tell the truth about their reasons for not vaccinating, augustine?

  113. #113 triskelethecat
    May 26, 2010

    @Rogue Medic: nice refutation, not that little Augie will read and understand it.

    Personally, I’m going to start referring to St Andy as DBF (delicensed by fiat)Dr Andrew Wakefield. The woomasters are so very fond of referring to Dr Stephen Barrett as delicensed since he logically let his license lapse when he retired, so I think we can return the favor and continually point out that DBF Dr Andrew Wakefield is not only de-licensed, but delicensed by fiat – “fiat: an authoritative decree, sanction, or order” (dictionary.com def #1). Such a nice reason…much trendier than simply letting one’s license expire since one isn’t in active practice any more.

    I have always wondered, too, how DBF Andy could be a medical consultant or whatever he was to Thoughtful House since he never held a license in the US. Was he always just a figurehead, never seeing a client in TH? Because if he EVER saw one of TH’s patients and made recommendations on his/her treatment, DBF Andy was practicing medicine without a license and could face far more severe sanctions here. Wonder if that’s why TH got rid of him when the kitchen started to get too hot?

  114. #114 augustine
    May 26, 2010

    rogue medic: “When asked why they did not vaccinate, parents stated that they were afraid of the scare stories Ex-Dr. Andrew Wakefieled made up.

    Or are you claiming that vaccine refusing parents cannot be expected to tell the truth about their reasons for not vaccinating, augustine?”

    No, I expect you to provide a source for these anecdotes so we can see how this subjective information was gathered. How many people were surveyed, did they actually read the paper? Who conducted this interview?

    Is that an unreasonable thing to ask of a scientist?

    “Refutation” in this case is just another word for someone who is trying to explain away their reasoning because of a lack of facts that proves such reasoning.

  115. #115 Chris
    May 26, 2010

    Very good Rogue Medic, and thank you.

    While measles has not made the comeback it did twenty years ago when it killed over 120 Americans, it has caused death and disability. All Augie has to do is check out this table and note that the records show four deaths in the USA due to measles between 2000 and 2005. (there are also three deaths because of mumps!)

    Augie, are you ever going to give us straight answers to our questions? Or are you going to continue to act like an illiterate clown?

  116. #116 Todd W.
    May 26, 2010

    @Chris

    Careful, augustine might accuse you of using the “illiterate clown” gambit and relegate you to a lower rung on the hierarchical ladder that exists (in their mind) on RI.

  117. #117 Michael Ralston
    May 26, 2010

    No, you see, augustine makes perfect sense! You just need to understand that any connection that can only be shown in broad terms and/or with statistical analysis isn’t really science, even if it’s true!

    I bet augustine thinks global warming isn’t science either. He might even claim it’s true, just not science.

  118. #118 Composer99
    May 26, 2010

    @ 114:

    I find it astounding that you are going to surf over to a weblog titled Respectful Insolence and expect every single comment be treated like some sort of scientific paper, requiring proper sourcing of all information.

    Why don’t you go do some research of your own instead of expecting everyone else to do it?

    How about you review the history of vaccination rates in the UK from 1996 to the present and come back and demonstrate to us, with proper documentation, what alternatives to Wakefield’s 1998 paper exist that could have caused MMR vaccine uptake rates to plummet there.

  119. #119 augustine
    May 26, 2010

    Careful, augustine might accuse you of using the “illiterate clown” gambit and relegate you to a lower rung on the hierarchical ladder that exists (in their mind) on RI.

    Chris is old and crusty. That alone keeps him off the bottom. Todd, you’re initiative and zeal in spreading your ideology of mass vaccination put you in the middle.

    Ralston: I wish.I wish. I wish. I wish it were true. Therefore It must be true. Ralston is identified at the bottom for lack of logic and empirical evidence.

    Speaking of empirical evidence let’s look at your chart, Chris. If one takes a random 5 year vaccination period (1994-97)before Dr. Wakefield’s paper one will see 7 deaths compared to your period of 4 deaths. Since correlation equals causation with this group one has to conclude that Dr. Wakefield’s study slashed the number of deaths by almost half.It’ funny how ideology causes wannebe scientists to pick and choose their standard of proof.

    Let’s look at another 5 year period. 1990-1994 33 deaths. HMM. Doesn’t look too good for the science based cult group. Pick any 5 year period in the 80′s.

    Thanks for the chart! Great evidence.

  120. #120 Seb30
    May 26, 2010

    @Rogue Medic and other

    Funny how Augustine is gloating over the lesser death toll but forget to address the rise in measle occurences, namely
    “There were a total of 1,348 cases that year, up 36 per cent from the previous year and up a staggering 2,400 per cent from 1998, when there were just 56 cases.”
    The usual tactic, unsurprinsingly. Déjà vu all over again.

    Also, there is a contradiction between your article, Rogue Medic, and Augustine’s numbers.
    Namely:
    “In 2006 a 13-year-old boy became the first person to die of measles in Britain since 1992″
    And
    “If one takes a random 5 year vaccination period (1994-97)before Dr. Wakefield’s paper one will see 7 deaths”
    None since 1992 versus 7 between 1994 and 1997.
    I got your reference, but with all the 600 posts since Augustine is around, I lost sight of the other one, and I don’t have the courage to dig it up. Are we talking about the same country? And how the vaccine coverage correlates with these numbers? If there was another hole in the coverage in 1994, I would expect a pick in measle death toll during this year.

    Oh well, anyway, why bother? We do have evidence, but his ego will not accept it.

  121. #121 augustine
    May 26, 2010

    seb30: 1348 cases?”Funny how Augustine is gloating over the lesser death toll but forget to address the rise in measle occurences,”
    Measles is a mild self-limiting viral disease of childhood. -Merck manual.

    On que someone will give me encephalitis rates without any evidence of specific dates. Still looking for actual empirical evidence not some math formula of what one would expect. Real evidence. you do know what i’m asking don’t you?

  122. #122 Orange Lantern
    May 26, 2010

    Augustine, we’ve been over this. Give it a rest. We’ve discussed how comparing “random” periods before and after Wakefield’s study is worthless.

    This isn’t a court of law. Nobody is saying that there is irrefutable evidence that Wakefield directly killed X number of people. Nobody is going to make that sort of “study”. But there is a logical, scientifically-supported reason to believe that Wakefield has contributed to the death, suffering and disability of children from his unethical actions.

    We’re science-based, not emotionless. Occasionally someone is going to call him a killer, for the above reasons. It’s a colorful metaphor, as Kirk would say.

    You can stop trying to flick matches at this particular strawman.

  123. #123 augustine
    May 26, 2010

    calling someone a murderer is not a colorful metaphor.

  124. #124 augustine
    May 26, 2010

    “We’ve discussed how comparing “random” periods before and after Wakefield’s study is worthless.”

    Really? Had the death rates gone up do you think the scientific illiterate in this group would be saying “hey, guys this data is worthless”? No they would be attacking like pitbulls saying it’s ALL SCIENCE.

    The FACT that the deaths are lower has caused some of these “professionals” to have emotional breakdown and abandon all reason. It just supports my contention of ideology. Scientism.

  125. #125 Zetetic
    May 27, 2010

    So now you’re assuming what other people’s opinion would be?

    That doesn’t sound very scientific.

  126. #126 Chris
    May 27, 2010

    Wow. That Augie child seems to have a complete vacuum between his ears. He may actually get tossed off his native cube shaped planet, Bizarro World. Bizarro World does have some standards… they are odd opposing ones, but they do have standards.

    The child would probably go apoplectic if he learned some aerospace engineers were born without a Y-chromosome.

  127. #127 Rogue Medic
    May 27, 2010

    @ 126 Chris,

    The child would probably go apoplectic if he learned some aerospace engineers were born without a Y-chromosome.

    Now you are just going to confuse it with all of that SCIENTIST language.

    Besides the Y-chromosome cause some problems with aerodynamics – although maybe not in the case of augustine. ;-)

    I wonder if that was puerile enough to earn me an invite to the next Autism One, maybe that would be called Autism Whatever Comes After One.

  128. #128 Chris
    May 27, 2010

    Rogue Medic:

    Besides the Y-chromosome cause some problems with aerodynamics

    Is that due to the extra dangly bits? I don’t think Augie knows much about those because he does not have any.

  129. #129 T. Bruce McNeely
    May 27, 2010

    On que someone will give me encephalitis rates without any evidence of specific dates.

    Que?

    It just supports my contention of ideology. Scientism.

    Now I know you’re a poseur.
    When I see the word Scientism, I reach for my gun.

  130. #130 Chris
    May 27, 2010

    Oh, crud.. Bruce! It is not worth destroying your monitor over Augie. Though if you did meet him in person and shoot him in the head it would be very unsatisfying… because his head his completely empty.

    It would actually implode due to the vacuum between his very deaf ears.

  131. #131 Rogue Medic
    May 27, 2010

    @ 129 T. Bruce McNeely,

    Now I know you’re a poseur.
    When I see the word Scientism, I reach for my gun.

    To quote Willy Wonka without a hint of enthusiasm –

    Stop

    Don’t

    Come back
    ;-)

  132. #132 augustine
    May 27, 2010

    Bruce:

    “..I reach for my gun.”

    The FACT that the deaths are lower has caused some of these “professionals” to have emotional breakdown and abandon all reason.

  133. #133 Orange Lantern
    May 27, 2010

    Had the death rates gone up do you think the scientific illiterate in this group would be saying “hey, guys this data is worthless”?

    That’s a great hypothetical question. It doesn’t make your use of trends any less inappropriate. You’re going to have to demonstrate some scientific literacy yourself before you start tossing that term around.

    calling someone a murderer is not a colorful metaphor.

    Well gee whiz, Augustine, my ctrl-F indicates that you’re the only one who has used the word murder in relationship to Wakefield in this thread. See also: strawman.

    Even if someone uses the dreaded M-word, must you derail every thread demanding scientific proof that a murder was directly committed?

    What colorful metaphor would you prefer for a man who has “contributed to the death, suffering and disability of children from his unethical actions”?

  134. #134 Rogue Medic
    May 27, 2010

    Now augustine is calling Ex-Dr. Andrew Wakefield a murder. :-)

    augustine keeps becoming even more entertaining, but only in the way that reality TV is entertaining.

  135. #135 Ian
    May 27, 2010

    @augustine

    Just for future reference, could you please spell it “on cue”, which is the correct spelling? Perfectly understandable error, if you’ve never seen the phrase written and only heard. Incidentally, the spelling for the homonym is “queue”, not simply “que” which is Spanish for “what”.

  136. #136 augustine
    May 27, 2010

    QUE?

  137. #137 Orange Lantern
    May 27, 2010

    You had to bring it up, Ian. Now Augustine will demand a double-blind study to prove the spelling of “cue”.

  138. #138 Todd W.
    May 27, 2010

    @Orange Lantern

    Anyone have a braille dictionary?

  139. #139 Orange Lantern
    May 27, 2010

    Two braille dictionaries, you mean. :)

  140. #140 Michael Ralston
    May 27, 2010

    I am the bottom of the ladder for not giving any evidence for the facts I didn’t assert!

    I feel special! :D

    (and no, I won’t bother to try to dig up evidence to support anything at this point in a thread. If I was early enough in the comments that I thought someone who lurks less than I do would see it, well, then maybe I’d care. But here? Where nobody except trolls and dedicated readers will see what I say? Why waste the time? When it comes to vaccination, I’m sure not changing anyone’s mind – either they’re science based or they’re scientifically illiterate. I won’t even bother specifying who is which here – if you don’t know, assume it’s you, that’s just fine by me.)

  141. #141 sarkeizen
    May 27, 2010

    “Measles is a mild self-limiting viral disease of childhood. -Merck manual.”

    That actually isn’t in the current online version. It says: “Measles is a highly contagious, viral infection that is most common among children”.

    WHO says: “Measles is one of the leading causes of death among young children even though a safe and cost-effective vaccine is available.”

    I can’t say for certain that Wakefield is indirectly responsible for some deaths. Depending on how much responsibility you give the press/crank sites for amplifying the reach of his bad science. That said it is plausible and given a large enough audience eventually you will find someone who relied on something Wakefield said to make their decision and have their child die as a result. About one in 2000 children die of measles. So it’s not that hard to imagine.

  142. #142 augustine
    May 28, 2010

    “Measles is a mild self-limiting viral disease of childhood. -Merck manual.”

    That actually isn’t in the current online version.

    That’s what mine says 17th edition. It’s not that old. I wonder why it’s changed HMMM. Did measles become more dangerous in the last 10 years?

    sarkezien: WHO says: “Measles is one of the leading causes of death among young children even though a safe and cost-effective vaccine is available.”

    Journal of Nutrition says malnutrition causes the morbidity of measles and pneumonia worldwide.

  143. #143 sarkeizen
    May 28, 2010

    @augustine: Cite please.

  144. #144 sarkeizen
    May 28, 2010

    “Did measles become more dangerous in the last 10 years?”

    Interesting that you jump to that conclusion.

  145. #145 Scott
    May 28, 2010

    That’s what mine says 17th edition. It’s not that old. I wonder why it’s changed HMMM. Did measles become more dangerous in the last 10 years?

    Far more likely is that you’re simply lying.

  146. #146 JohnV
    May 28, 2010

    @scott

    Yeah he is lying or incorrect about some detail. Here’s what the 17th edition says (merck manual of diagnosis and therapy, 17th edition, page 2320):

    “A highly contagious, acute viral infection”

    The phrase he typed in here “Measles is a mild self-limiting viral disease of childhood” was not found in the 17th edition at all. A few permutations of that didn’t turn up anything like what he’s talking about.

    Anti-vax crank caught making crap up. What a shocker.

  147. #147 Composer99
    May 28, 2010

    Augustine, please provide cite for Journal of Nutrition claim you are making. It’s your claim, you back it up with evidence.

    Or are you making it up (lying) like you have been caught at doing with the Merck manual?

    Also, in order for malnutrition to affect measles mortality/morbidity, you need to get measles in the first place.

  148. #148 Chris
    May 28, 2010

    Is that foolish Augie still here? I see he has been caught making up lies. Well, that sounds pretty typical.

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