Respectful Insolence

Penn Jillette on Andrew Wakefield

Coming soon: Penn & Teller take on the anti-vaccine movement on an upcoming episode of Penn & Teller: Bullshit! No doubt it will resemble this little preview that Penn himself has taped:

Note: Lots of NSFW language. It is, after all, Penn.

I will mention one thing. Penn’s wrong when he says that Wakefield is no longer a doctor. He still has the degree; he’s still a doctor. It’s just with his having had his license to practice in the U.K. stripped from him he is no longer a licensed physician. He can no longer treat patients. I understand why Penn keeps repeating the “not a doctor” line, but as a doctor I’m irritated by it. More importantly, it will provide anti-vaccine loons a line of attack to distract from the rest of his message.

Still, Penn’s right in the rest of his basic message. This is one of those times where The Man was right.

Comments

  1. #1 IDM
    June 21, 2010

    I’m surprised you weren’t asked for an interview. Then again, how can you record the voice of an acrylic box?

  2. #2 NoAstronomer
    June 21, 2010

    Doctor has become one of those words where the original meaning has changed over time. Today it almost exclusively means a person who has a medical doctorate and who actually practices medicine.

    So, in the vernacular, Andrew Wakefield is no longer a doctor. You can argue against it all you want but it’s you vs the English speaking world.

  3. #3 Rene Najera
    June 21, 2010

    Is it just me, or does Dr. Andy look a bit knackered in those clips Penn is showing? I mean, he looks somewhat concerned… It’s the same look I get when I am digging a hole I know I won’t be able to cover, or when my ego makes checks my body can’t cash.

  4. #4 Drive-by comment
    June 21, 2010

    It’s an interesting one about whether Wakefield can call himself doctor. Strictly, he hasn’t been struck off yet, since he still has a couple of days left to appeal his erasure.

    But, more importantly, British medical doctors are rarely doctors of medicine. The basic qualification is a bachelor’s degree: commonly mb bs.

    So is he a doctor?

    Certainly, if he acted like a doctor: say by giving medical advice to the parents of an autistic child, he would risk arrest and potentially face deportation, with his passport clearly stamped that he had been removed from the United States.

    However, I’m not so sure that he is entitled to even the courtesy title “Dr”.

    He’s finished in medicine and research, in any event, but the niceties are intriguing.

  5. #5 Todd W.
    June 21, 2010

    @Orac

    Actually, it would appear that Drive-by comment may be correct. According to his bio on Amazon.com, here is the list of degrees obtained by Mr. Wakefield:

    Dr Andrew Wakefield, MB, BS, FRCS, FRCPath

    So, while he obtained a medical degree, he does not have a doctorate. Until I looked up his creds, I was of the same opinion as you. Looks like I will have to change my mind. Oh darn.

  6. #6 Dave B.
    June 21, 2010

    it will provide anti-vaccine loons a line of attack to distract from the rest of his message

    Luckily, the episode was taped before Wakefield was struck off, so it won’t be an issue in the actual episode.

  7. #7 D. C. Sessions
    June 21, 2010

    I will mention one thing. Penn’s wrong when he says that Wakefield is no longer a doctor. He still has the degree; he’s still a doctor. It’s just with his having had his license to practice in the U.K. stripped from him he is no longer a licensed physician.

    Press and social convention is that a doctoral degree is not sufficient to justify the honorific, “Doctor.” The justification is that this might confuse someone who is in need of medical care and thus the title is reserved for those who can, in fact, provide such care.

    Andrew Wakefield is not so qualified. It is therefore no more (or less) appropriate to refer to him as “Doctor Wakefield” than it is to refer to PZ Myers as “Doctor Myers.” Whichever usage is common in any given context should apply. However, I note that the convention against the use of “Doctor” for people who hold degrees in nonmedical fields such as physiology, microbiology, and pharmacology is particularly strong when the subject turns to medicine, so it would seem that “Doctor Wakefield” should be avoided socially and in discussion of medical topics.

    His scholarly work, on the other hand, would refer to him by his degree.

    </pedant>

  8. #8 Sid Offit
    June 21, 2010

    I’m glad he’s on your side

  9. #9 StThomas
    June 21, 2010

    The protected term in law is “Medical Practitioner”. In order to have that status, you need to be granted it by the General Medical Council. http://www.gmc-uk.org for details.It’s complicated, but the usual pathway to get registered and licensed begins with a medical degree, Medicinae Baccalaureus et Chirurgiae Baccalaureus (MB ChB) at older universities, Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) at younger ones. Tradition, not right entitles someone with that degree to the style of “Dr” before their name, and be called a “doctor” . Everyone I know with a PhD thinks this is ridiculous.I think Wakefield would retain his traditional entitlement to be called Dr, because he has lost his status as a Medical Practitioner, not been stripped of his basic degree,though I think the Royal College of Pathologists want to strip him of the FRCPath.
    MD is a higher degree, equivalent in status to a PhD in Britain, and usually undertaken mid career by someone who wants to be an academic, or get enough academic clout to get a consultant’s job (the equivalent of attending physician in the US) in a teaching hospital.
    Oh, and surgeons, when they pass exams to become Members of one of the Royal Colleges of Surgeons, drop the style of Dr and use Mr in an act of reverse snobbery that goes back to when they were barbers. Except for ENT Surgeons in Edinburgh, and Ophthalmologists in Scotland. Some of them.
    I hope that makes it all clear.

  10. #10 augustine
    June 21, 2010

    Isn’t Penn and Teller just a couple of atheist comedians?

    What does he have to do with science?

    What does over half of the comments on this blog have to do with science? Nothing except for how to morally dictate it to the masses. That is philosophy. Not science.

    If science were philosophy. Which it’s not. (turn head to other camera).

    If science were philosophy. Which it’s not. (turn head to other camera)

    If science were philosophy. Which it’s not. (turn head to other camera)

    Then it would be Neitchze’s world. Which it’s not. Unless you BELIEVE it is.

  11. #11 RJ
    June 21, 2010

    Anyone visit AoA and Jake “I’m a fuckin’ idiot who needs attention” Crosby’s post? What a joke! Delusion and self-deception at it’s finest.

  12. #12 Pablo
    June 21, 2010

    It is therefore no more (or less) appropriate to refer to him as “Doctor Wakefield” than it is to refer to PZ Myers as “Doctor Myers.”

    Which is absolutely appropriate.

    In fact, I don’t know of any social convention where it is inappropriate to refer to someone with a PhD as “doctor.” And press? Come on, you can’t read an article about Martin Luther King, Jr, without having it refer to _Dr._ Martin Luther King. His degree was a PhD in theology (his thesis is submitted at Dissertation Database, and is absolutely legit).

    When I was on jury duty, the Court referred to me as Dr. Pablo. It was one of a few titles that would have been acceptable (including Professor).

  13. #13 JohnV
    June 21, 2010

    Wow Pablo the only people who refer to me as Dr. JohnV are people who are about to require payment for something :p

    Jury duty would have been better if they called me Dr. JohnV :(

  14. #14 Just Sayin'
    June 21, 2010

    Hey Augustine, take the time to familiarize yourself with the concept of projection, then seek help for your “issues”.

  15. #15 Jojo
    June 21, 2010

    Ugh, that video clip doesn’t really help the cause much. Between the horrendous bouncing of the off center video and Penn’s rambling, I can’t imagine many anti-vax mom’s being captivated by it. I hope the show does a better job.

    As far as the use of “doctor”, isn’t there a difference between the English use of the term and the American use of the term? I know here on the East Coast, we routinely refer to anyone with a PhD in any field as Doctor, as well as anyone with an MD.

  16. #16 Jojo
    June 21, 2010

    Come to think of it, we call dentists and vets “Doctor” too…

  17. #17 Catherina
    June 21, 2010

    I am with Jojo – I find his rambling really difficult to listen to.

  18. #18 KWombles
    June 21, 2010

    For what it’s worth, a rebuttal to Crosby’s stupidity is up at Countering.

  19. #19 Ed Whitney
    June 21, 2010

    Sometimes an MD will stop seeing patients but continue to do things like research or epidemiology or other activities directly related to his or her medical education. So when I have to get up in front of an audience and talk about research methods or the occupational exposures likely to be causally related to certain disorders, I get introduced as Doctor.

    Orac is correct; an MD degree is like a felony conviction; it follows you wherever you go.

  20. #20 Todd W.
    June 21, 2010

    @Ed Whitney

    Orac is correct; an MD degree is like a felony conviction; it follows you wherever you go.

    True. But then, Wakefield does not have an MD. He does not have a doctorate in any discipline (as far as I can find). On top of that, he cannot practice medicine. Based one that, I’d say it is probably okay to drop the “Dr.” honorific when discussing him.

  21. #21 D. C. Sessions
    June 21, 2010

    Orac is correct; an MD degree is like a felony conviction; it follows you wherever you go.

    Sure — and the same goes for a PhD.

    However (as any number of ScienceBlogs PhDs will attest) the social honorific “Doctor” has been reserved [1] for those who practice medicine. The reason given is that the general public looks to someone called “doctor” for medical expertise, and “diluting” the title with other advanced degrees is considered a threat to the public welfare.

    I mean, seriously — if the pilot on an airplane asks “is there a doctor aboard,” does anyone seriously want a PhD mathematician to hit the call button? Now, apply the same reasoning to Andrew Wankfield.

    [1] In some cases officially, as for instance the AP style guide.

  22. #22 JohnV
    June 21, 2010

    Well DC, since there is an emergency of sorts, the airplane pilot can be forgiven for being unclear and not asking for a medical doctor. Fortunately, the PhDs on board are probably smart enough to realize that the pilot was in error and intended to ask for a medical doctor (maybe a nurse could help too, who knows).

    Anyhow, 3 cheers for anti-intellectualism :(

  23. #23 Scott
    June 21, 2010

    However (as any number of ScienceBlogs PhDs will attest) the social honorific “Doctor” has been reserved [1] for those who practice medicine.

    Actually, as I recall the last heated discussion on the topic, the most broadly accepted position was that it depends on context. In a hospital, only MDs are Doctor. If a pilot asks “is there a doctor on board” everybody knows that he means an MD.

    At a cocktail party, anyone with a doctoral degree (MD, PhD, what have you) is properly addressed as Doctor.

  24. #24 cervantes
    June 21, 2010

    I’m not a real doctor, I’m a doctor of philosophy.

    However, I am also an assistant professor of medicine at an academic medical center. Everybody around here calls me “Doctor Cervantes” whether I like it or not.

    However however, in the vernacular the most common meaning of the word doctor is “physician.” Wakefield retains his degree, but he is not allowed to practice as a physician. Therefore saying he is “no longer a doctor” is probably correct use of the vernacular. That’s how most people will understand it.

  25. #25 D. C. Sessions
    June 21, 2010

    Anyhow, 3 cheers for anti-intellectualism :(

    It’s a strange historical tale. Until the 19th century, “doctor” was a title reserved for those who were qualified to teach a subject (PhD). As medicine got organized and actually required more education, practitioners sought the same title as a way of increasing respect and social prestige.

    They succeeded. So well, in fact, that now the MD has greater social prestige than the academic degrees and those with the “lesser” PhD are circumscribed in their use of the earned title that goes with it. Which is, IMHO, just the way the world goes.

    IMHO we’d be better off to simply accept that and start using another title (e.g. “Scholar” or some such) for the PhD.

  26. #26 Aureola Nominee, FCD
    June 21, 2010

    I must say that things were clearer in the original Latin.

    “Doctor” meant “teacher”, with a hint of simply knowing (at least) one subject well enough to be capable of teaching it (without necessarily teaching for a living, that is); “medicus” meant “physician”.

    These meanings have survived in Italian, where anyone holding any university degree is a “Dottore”, while an MD is a “medico”.

    Just my two euro cents.

  27. #27 Calli Arcale
    June 21, 2010

    Augustine @ 10:
    Isn’t Penn and Teller just a couple of atheist comedians?

    No, they’re not primarily comedians. Professionally speaking, they’re illusionists. Their debunking work is following in the tradition of many other illusionists, such as James “the Amazing” Randi and Harry Houdini. I don’t always agree with them, and I find their style a bit too brash at times, but I’ve always enjoyed their magic. Teller in particular is exceptionally good at slight-of-hand tricks, probably one of the best in the world at present. (Penn’s better at the patter, obviously.)

    One of their original signature pieces was a variant on the classic ball-and-cup trick, only they performed it with clear plastic cups so you could see exactly where the ball was. Thing is, it *still* fooled the eye, making it an excellent demonstration of the limits of human attention. In fact a lot of their tricks wind up being educational.

  28. #28 Ed Whitney
    June 21, 2010

    Some physicians leave the clinical medicine rat race but continue to do things that call upon the things they learned when still practicing. A colleague of mine liked to refer to himself as a “recovering internist.” He does mostly administration and journal editing. He may not see patients but he can still explain the difference between a supraventricular tachycardia with aberrant conduction and true ventricular tachycardia. In the work setting, people refer to him as “Doctor,” even though he would rather have a root canal than work one more day in a hospital setting.

    If you still remember a few basics (e.g., air goes in and out; blood goes round and round, oxygen is good), but hope never to be on a plane when the pilot calls for a doctor, the professional title is likely to remain with you in your new work setting. Because many states require that you carry a million dollars of liability insurance in order to maintain a license, it is just not going to be cost effective to try to keep one going.

  29. #29 AnthonyK
    June 21, 2010

    I thought this was awful. Badly filmed, crass, poorly-phrased in omg-speak – not what I’v been used to at all, reading Orac (especially you), and Phil Plait (and of course Brian Deer).
    And I like Penn and Teller…

  30. #30 Coryat
    June 21, 2010

    Augustine said:”If science were philosophy. Which it’s not. (turn head to other camera).

    If science were philosophy. Which it’s not. (turn head to other camera)

    If science were philosophy. Which it’s not. (turn head to other camera)

    Then it would be Neitchze’s [sic] world. Which it’s not. Unless you BELIEVE it is.”

    On what planet do you spend most of your time?

    have you ever read Nietzsche? I have and I can’t fathom what you’re on about.

    The original Augustine led a life of debauchery before he became a Christian; it seems to me that you’ve just gotten drunk and not bothered with the second bit.

  31. #31 the bug guy
    June 21, 2010

    During the twenty years I worked for a university (plus four years prior to that as an undergrad), it was standard to use Doctor as the honorific for PhD faculty. It was much more common than Professor. Even I was called Dr. Bug Guy during my adjunct teaching days.

    I suspect that usage varies considerably not only from nation to nation, but from state to state.

  32. #32 D. C. Sessions
    June 21, 2010

    Isn’t Penn and Teller just a couple of atheist comedians?

    What does he have to do with science?

    Ah, innumeracy. Or in this case even the ability to count past one.

    Anyway, P&T have many advantages over the leading intellectual lights of the antivaxx set such as Jenny McCarthy. Notable among them is that P&T actually understand the joke.

  33. #33 Nick
    June 21, 2010

    I’m waiting for people to call me “doctor” because of my attainment of a JD. I think while in the past that just the attainment of the phd was sufficient for the honorary title of “doctor”- it has shifted to mean “physician with a MD”. There are just too many crappy schools pushing out too many crappy degrees for every phd to be given the honor of the doctor title.

    With little Auggie, his goal is to engage in asinine semantics debates and throw out bizarre non-sequiturs. I find it amazing that he paints himself as a immeasurably logical individual infallible to logical fallacies and yet named himself after perhaps one of the greatest philosophers of intolerance and close-mindedness to ever walk the earth. My guess is like his reference to Nietzsche, he has never read the literature but rather has heard that intelligent individuals use those name frequently.

  34. #34 David N. Brown
    June 21, 2010

    @26:
    “Their debunking work is following in the tradition of many other illusionists, such as James “the Amazing” Randi and Harry Houdini.”

    Houdini engaged in debunking despite his personal belief in the ideas of spiritualism, which makes it frivolous to make an issue of it if other debunkers aren’t religious at all.

  35. #35 jacques hughes
    June 21, 2010

    For the unenlightened; in the UK, the term ‘Doctor’ is used for those who dispense prescriptions on a daily basis. Also, those academics who have obtained a PhD in any field. The confusion begins here, most ‘doctors’ of the dispensing kind are only qualified to the point of being Ba (Hons) Chem. The title of ‘doctor’ is entirely honorific (as explained, kind of, earlier).

    Wakefield (yes, I call him that) appears to have no PhD, and as he is stripped of his ability to practice as a physician (or as you may say M.D.) in the UK, he is no longer a ‘doctor’ in any sense of the word.

    Unless he goes to work on South America, of course.

  36. #36 jacques hughes
    June 21, 2010

    Apologies, that should obviously been BSc (Hons) Chem, and not Ba(Hons) Chem. That would make it alchemy. Oh, wait……

  37. #37 BoxNDox
    June 21, 2010

    Back when I was a math professor, my students often called me “Dr. BoxnDox” even though my highest formal degree is a BS. It was cute the first few times, but after that it got to be annoying because every time they did it I’d start looking around for my father, who unlike me did have an MD.

  38. #38 augustine
    June 21, 2010

    coryat: “The original Augustine led a life of debauchery before he became a Christian; it seems to me that you’ve just gotten drunk and not bothered with the second bit.”

    What does that have to do with anything?

  39. #39 MG
    June 21, 2010

    The comments for this thread remind me of the first Austin Powers movie.

    Mister Evil…

    Doctor Evil. I didn’t spend seven years in evil medical school just to be called mister.

    Wakefield was struck off for serious ethical violations, and the comments here are about whether or not to call him “doctor” based on the degrees he holds? This is what everyone wants to split hairs over? Really?

    To hell with his qualifications! After what Asshole Wakefield has done, does he deserve the “doctor” honorific either way?

  40. #40 augustine
    June 21, 2010

    Nick the doctor: “find it amazing that he paints himself as a immeasurably logical individual infallible to logical fallacies and yet named himself after perhaps one of the greatest philosophers of intolerance and close-mindedness to ever walk the earth.”

    I did that? Yeh, I’m not very fond of Neitchze, either.

    BTW, it’s a fact that 98% of lawyers aren’t very smart.

  41. #41 augustine
    June 21, 2010

    MG: “To hell with his qualifications! After what Asshole Wakefield has done, does he deserve the “doctor” honorific either way?”

    What did he do?

    Ever heard of DR. Jack Kevorkian?

    What about this?

    “In Hospital Deaths from Medical Errors at 195,000 per Year USA”
    http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/11856.php

    Are you upset about that?

    Or this?

    FDA Estimates Vioxx Caused 27,785 Deaths

    http://www.consumeraffairs.com/news04/vioxx_estimates.html

    Probably not too upset about this either.

    “Bayer’s Trasylol Boosts Death, Kidney Risks After Heart Surgery”
    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=abe7e.sP_eYQ&refer=germany

    This is just part of doing business isn’t it?

    “Of the children who received the vaccine, 40,000 developed abortive poliomyelitis (a form of the disease that does not involve the central nervous system), 56 developed paralytic poliomyelitis and of these 5 children died as a result of polio infection.[3] The exposures also lead to started an epidemic of polio in the families and communities of the affected children, resulting in a further 113 people paralyzed and 5 deaths.”

  42. #42 Sullivan
    June 22, 2010

    MG,

    I agree–whether Mr Wakefield still has the right to be called “Dr” is meaningless. Dr. is a sign of respect. Even a person with an M.D. can’t force someone to call him/her “doctor”.

    To me, the point of this video is that even celebrities–even celebrities who like to go after “the man”–are taking on Mr. Wakefield.

    Consider what Dateline would look like if it were taped today rather than last year. Mr. Wakefield and his supporters would be even less happy.

    The time when the “vaccines-cause-autism” groups could cloak themselves as “vaccine-safety” groups and claim that they had a valid viewpoint is passing.

  43. #43 DLC
    June 22, 2010

    once upon a time I worked as a lab assistant in a college laboratory. I had a student from Colombia call me professor.
    He was overestimating my credentials by a long way!

    Yes, Wakefield still gets to call himself Doctor. so does Nick Gonzalez.

  44. #44 a-non
    June 22, 2010

    I’m ok with continuing to refer to Andy Wakefield as “Doctor”, if for no other reason that “Dr. Dumbass” just rolls off the tongue. Just calling Wakers a dumbass isn’t nearly as effective.

  45. #45 skeptifem
    June 22, 2010

    Who gives a fuck what Penn Jillete thinks? Even when I agree with him on Bullshit, it is as though he picks the least convincing reason to support a position and runs with it. I mean, he thinks that there is a free market and it works if you just leave it be. Ignorant as shit, that dude is.

  46. #46 Julian Frost
    June 22, 2010

    @Drive-by comment #4:
    The sentence was announced on May 24, and Wakefield and John Walker-Smith were given 28 days to appeal, or the striking-off would become final. 21 June was the last day and no appeal was filed. They have been struck off.

  47. #47 Julian Frost
    June 22, 2010

    @Drive-by comment #4:
    The sentence was announced on May 24, and Wakefield and John Walker-Smith were given 28 days to appeal, or the striking-off would become final. 21 June was the last day and no appeal was filed. They have been struck off.

  48. #48 Chris
    June 22, 2010

    I like a-non’s “Dr. Dumbass”!

    I feel that sometimes those in academia get too used to calling colleagues “Dr.” I am part of a high school group of parents supporting science education. As it stands the participants are either medical doctors/veterinarians or professors at the local university… and me (I have a Bachelors of Science of Aerospace Engineering, I dropped out of graduate school once almost thirty years, and am now a non-matriculated graduate student — this is part of being a professional woman who gave birth to a kid with health issues trying to rejoin the work force… take note of that Little Augie).

    So recently I walked into one of our group’s sponsored high school “Science and Society” talks and I was greeted by one of the founders of the group with “Hello, Dr. H!”. Um, no… I am the continual graduate student!

    I started a new class today. I could not register as a non-matriculated graduate student for Math 3xx, but could register for Stats 3xx. Go figure. (for graduate classes I need permission of the instructor… which I have done, except the university did not offer any stats classes at the grad level for engineers!).

  49. #49 Zetetic
    June 22, 2010

    augustine @ #10:

    Isn’t Penn and Teller just a couple of atheist comedians?

    Poor wittle augie, still no one falls for your obvious attempts at religion-baiting as attempt to distract from the subject of vaccination.

    Obvious troll is obvious.

    What does he have to do with science?

    Nothing at all, he’s just expressing his point of view about Wakefield and the anti-vax movement that Wakefield helped “jump start”. That any reasonably objective person can see through anti-vax lies should is obvious. Of course you already know that or you wouldn’t be spending your effort on diversions, baseless assumptions, misrepresenting science, and lies rather than simply stating your real position (assuming that it’s not all just an act for you).

    What does over half of the comments on this blog have to do with science? Nothing except for how to morally dictate it to the masses

    Really? Over half? Have any hard data to back that assertion up with? Poor little augie, still building up that straw-man army to “bravely” do battle with.

    If science were philosophy. Which it’s not.

    Actually scientific methodology has it’s basis in methodological naturalism, a branch of epistemology. It seems augie, that you are attempting to completely conflate philosophy with ethics.

    Granted science is not ethics, but on the other hand augie, you have so far demonstrated a clear lack of both science and ethics as has the anti-vax community in general.

  50. #50 Marcus Hill
    June 22, 2010

    There are two sorts of people who get called “doctor”. There are those who have spent years doing original research and who have made an original and significant contribution to the sum of human knowledge (seriously, that’s the official bar you’re meant to clear to get a PhD), and then there are physicians. The latter spend a few years learning stuff, but don’t do anything original, and the title is a bit of an honorific to reassure people who put their lives in the hands of those who have practiced this craft long enough to do it without killing them. Wakefield only ever had the courtesy title, he never earned a real doctorate.

  51. #51 John
    June 22, 2010

    The convention may well be different in the US, but in the UK it’s pretty commonly understood that a medical “doctor” without a doctorate just has a courtesy title, which is useful for at work, but is not a “real” doctor. If a person with a bachelors degree in medicine told me that I should not be called Doctor because all I’d done was gained a doctorate in particle physics, I don’t think that I’d be inclined to agree (not that I make a habit of using the title*).

    Here most people would no longer call Mr Wakefield doctor (assuming he has no doctorate). It was a job title, just like “sherif” is, that came with his license to practice medicine, and it disappeared when he lost that right.

    *I had some little arse of a man at the clinic decide to argue with me about the probability that I could provide a urine sample, refuse to look in my direction throughout the consultation, and basically imply that I was lying when I said that I’d not needed to see anyone in the last decade, so I switched to calling him Mr, and set him straight when he got offended. I should have waited until after the internal examination for that.

  52. #52 bensmyson
    June 22, 2010

    There is argument in these comments about the term “doctor” but none about his statement that even if vaccines caused autism it would be worth it.

    Says a lot about you folks doesnt it?

  53. #53 Raging Bee
    June 22, 2010

    Wakefield retains his degree, but he is not allowed to practice as a physician. Therefore saying he is “no longer a doctor” is probably correct use of the vernacular. That’s how most people will understand it.

    Add to that the fact that Wakers has been proven to be a lying untrustworthy quack, and we’re left with absolutely ZERO reason to call him “doctor.” These semantic quibbles are nothing but a distraction from that central and vitally important fact.

    Also, I’ve seen enough of Penn to know he’s not the most effective advocate for the cause of reason. He’s good, and we need more like him, but he could do a lot better.

  54. #54 Raging Bee
    June 22, 2010

    bensmyson: you’ve repeatedly proven yourself to be a pathologically selfish, hateful, uncaring, uneducable, attention-hogging hypocritical idiot. If you’re going to base your identity solely on your son, the very least you can do is try to act like a decent and civilized parent. Until you can do that, you don’t deserve the dignity of a response in adult company.

  55. #55 Dedj
    June 22, 2010

    “Says a lot about you folks doesnt it?”

    That we’re able to properly assess risk vs. benefit and are able to see the nuances between ‘vaccines may occasionally cause autism in a small subset of people that are likely pre-disposed’ and ‘vaccine caused all forms of autism in every person that has it’.

    Not a very bright attempt at an smear there, you really should give up trying.

  56. #56 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    June 22, 2010

    Mr. Gillette’s comment about “even if vaccines did cause autism (which they don’t) they would still be worth it” is deliberately absolute in nature to avoid being misconstrued and to be controversial. However, if vaccines really could be proved to cause autism in 1 of 100 people (which they don’t and haven’t been proven to do) this would be an unacceptable side effect (in my opinion) for all but the most vicious, nasty, pandemic, contagious diseases. If it could be shown that vaccines caused autism in 1 of 1,000,000,000 people (which they don’t and haven’t been proven to do) that would be an acceptable risk for nearly all vaccines. If it’s somewhere in between, it would depend.

  57. #57 plutosdad
    June 22, 2010

    Reminds me of the old tv trope:
    “Is there a doctor on board?”
    “Yes, I am a doctor”
    “This woman needs help!”
    “Oh, I’m not that kind of doctor”

    I tried to find what show I saw that on, but in my googling it appears to be pretty well worn out by lots of shows.

  58. #58 Poogles
    June 22, 2010

    “There is argument in these comments about the term “doctor” but none about his statement that even if vaccines caused autism it would be worth it.

    Says a lot about you folks doesnt it?”

    That I would prefer a living autistic child than a very-possibly dead child? Hell yes I would.

    Since we know that it is extremely unlikely that vaccines have anything to do with autism (except of course, the ruebella vaccine and it’s protection), we don’t even have to make that choice.

  59. #59 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    June 22, 2010

    I obviously meant Jillette instead of Gillette. My apologies to Mr. Jillette and my hopes he won’t turn me into a newt.

  60. #60 John
    June 22, 2010

    Skeptifem writes

    “I mean, he thinks that there is a free market and it works if you just leave it be.”

    That’s a rater oversimplification of his views though, isn’t it? I suppose that you need to do that because it’s much harder to criticise his genuine view which seems to be that a relatively free market will tend to solve most market-amenable situations better than a command economy, which is a view with which I’d tend to agree.

    To argue otherwise reminds me of the story of the Soviet visitor to London during the cold war, when lack of bread was the norm for most of the population of Russia most of the time. Seeing bakeries filled with fresh bread and cakes, he asked “But who is in charge of the bread supply for the city”, being unable to work out how our commissar of bread did so much better a job than theirs.

    I don’t think that I;ve ever met even the most ardent libertarian or right-wing ideologue who would argue in the way you claim they do, that a market de facto needs no regulation at all. I know plenty of people of all political persuasions, though, who hold the view that a reasonably free market is the best way we have or ensuring that the right amount of work gets done to ensure that everyone has enough goods and services to survive.

  61. #61 Marc
    June 22, 2010

    @DC Sessions:

    You wrote: “I mean, seriously — if the pilot on an airplane asks “is there a doctor aboard,” does anyone seriously want a PhD mathematician to hit the call button? Now, apply the same reasoning to Andrew Wankfield.”

    I suppose that depends–are they NW Airlines pilots tyring to finish a difficult sudoku?

  62. #62 Ian
    June 22, 2010

    bensmyson: you’ve repeatedly proven yourself to be a pathologically selfish, hateful, uncaring, uneducable, attention-hogging hypocritical idiot. If you’re going to base your identity solely on your son, the very least you can do is try to act like a decent and civilized parent. Until you can do that, you don’t deserve the dignity of a response in adult company.

    Sorry, but there was so much awesome in that statement, I felt like it deserved to be posted a second time.

  63. #63 Ian
    June 22, 2010

    @Raging Bee #54

    Comment held for moderation because I used the user name, but I stand in awe of the strength of your smackdown. My proverbial cap is tipped to you, sir.

  64. #64 D. C. Sessions
    June 22, 2010

    I don’t think that I;ve ever met even the most ardent libertarian or right-wing ideologue who would argue in the way you claim they do, that a market de facto needs no regulation at all.

    Think Ayn Rand and her followers — of which there are a very great many.

  65. #65 RJ
    June 22, 2010

    I apologize for using the phrase but ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?!?!?!? Did anyone else read this shit? And be sure to read the comments.

    http://www.ageofautism.com/2010/06/autism-and-redheads-the-canaries-in-the-epidemic-part-1.html#more

    Sometimes, I want to stab out my own eyes with a stick to prevent ever seeing anything else like that again. The stupid really, really burns!

  66. #66 Vicki
    June 22, 2010

    “Doctor” as a title of respect gets tricky. For example, some male physicians will address their female colleagues as (for example) “Susan” rather than “Dr. Wilson,” and balk when the women ask for the more formal address. Most of them will concede the point when shown that if a patient hears a male doctor address a woman by her first name, the patient assumes she’s a nurse, not a doctor. Whereas if he calls a male colleague “Mike,” the assumption is still that the man in the white coat is a doctor.

    Again, my aunt normally uses either Ms. Hername or Prof. Hername. When my grandmother was ill, she found she got much more information from the doctors if, as soon as they met, she introduced herself as Dr. Hername. One of the things that signalled, on some level, was “this person will understand the technical stuff.” That message was absolutely correct: my aunt’s Ph.D. is in biology.

    (I’ve found that it helps to use long and/or technical words in a first visit with a new doctor; that too is a signal of education, and probably read as a signal of intelligence.)

  67. #67 JohnV
    June 22, 2010

    Wow RJ. I actually attempted to read that. The WRITING style —- let me say —- was not good. HYPERLINK HERE BECAUSE THE AUTHOR IS WEIRD.

    I got to the following paragraph and gave up. I have no idea if the grammar errors are the author’s handiwork or what. I don’t care nearly enough to figure that out, as you suggested my eyes are at risk of self inflicted destruction.

    – “They’re given more [vaccines] then we get, and sometimes they’re doubled up,” Harrington said. “Then their children are given immunizations. In Somalia, their generations have not received these immunizations, and then suddenly they’re getting just a wallop of them in the moms and then in the babies. That’s certainly a concern that’s been expressed to me by the Somali population.” ( Likely mercury in the form of thimerosal, aluminum, and many live viruses)”

    Thus ended my first, and hopefully, last visit to age of autism.

  68. #68 D. C. Sessions
    June 22, 2010

    I’ve found that it helps to use long and/or technical words in a first visit with a new doctor; that too is a signal of education, and probably read as a signal of intelligence.

    It’s amazing how rapidly things change when the ER doc asks “where does it hurt” and you respond “distal right tibia, distal CMS is OK” or “lower right abdominal quadrant, about level six, not any worse on rebound.”

  69. #69 Fuzzzone
    June 22, 2010

    @plutosdad: Yeah, it’s a pretty common trope in entertainment. See: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/NotThatKindOfDoctor

  70. #70 Miss Grace
    June 22, 2010

    I am in the UK and asked my friend who is both an MD and a PhD and he says that if you have a medical degree then you are entitled to call yourself doctor regardless of GMC registration. You can’t practice ie see patients as a doctor but you can put it on your AMEX card and driving licence.

    Boo.

  71. #71 augustine
    June 22, 2010

    Chis: “take note of that Little Augie”

    I’ll take note.

    Chris- not a scientist. That’s my note.

  72. #72 bensmyson
    June 22, 2010

    @54 – Im rubber, you’re glue, what bounces off me sticks to you. No need for an “adult” response huh? An adult response would have been that like #56, not that I agree with it but I understand it. I would ask what “most vicious, nasty, pandemic, contagious diseases” are. Surely in this progressive and modern society you arn’t talking about measles, mumps and rubella are you? The flu? HepB? Not to say I would do away with vaccines but I would hope that there would be a bit more information delivered so as to allow parents to make an informed consent. Part of the heartache of parents of children with vaccine injuries is that they did not ask enough questions, or at least feel as if they didnt ask enough questions. Imagine your child severly injured due to a vaccine you held your child down to receive and how you might feel because someone said, there is nothing to worry about rather than your child has about as much chance of being injured by a vaccine as being hit by lightening. Some parents bring their children indoors during a thunderstorm.

  73. #73 Joseph
    June 22, 2010

    Part of the heartache of parents of children with vaccine injuries is that they did not ask enough questions, or at least feel as if they didnt ask enough questions.

    @bensmyson: Let’s be clear. That’s alleged vaccine injuries.

  74. #74 John
    June 22, 2010

    Miss Grace, anyone can put “Doctor” on their credit card, whether they did any sort of degree at all, or even none at all, and you are likewise “entitled” to call yourself it too. The only question is whether people are going to feel inclined to actually acquiesce. Wakefield has about the same right to the title as my kittens do, but about the same right to expect anyone else to use it for them as they do too.

  75. #75 Travis
    June 22, 2010

    I am not very big on titles so I cannot remember the last time I referred to someone as doctor anything. If someone insists, like when talking to a professor who really wants you to call them that, I will but I feel no obligation to use titles. Luckily I have largely been in rather relaxed deptarments where people are okay with students calling them Stephen and not Doctor. and if someone really wants me to call them Doctor I probably am not going to be spending a lot of time around them if possible.

  76. #76 Seb30
    June 22, 2010

    @ Ben’s parents 72

    “I would ask what “most vicious, nasty, pandemic, contagious diseases” are. Surely in this progressive and modern society you arn’t talking about measles, mumps and rubella are you? The flu? HepB?”

    Rubella – look up Rubella and pregnancy
    HepB – look up liver failure

    Yeah, not vicious at all.

    “Some parents bring their children indoors during a thunderstorm.”
    A lot of peoples seek shelter during a storm, which may be why the lightning hit prevalence is so low. And since thunderstorms rarely confer disease immunity or any other power, I would say it’s a pretty good risk/benefit assessment.

  77. #77 Composer99
    June 22, 2010

    According to http://www.lightningsafety.noaa.gov/medical.htm, as of 2008 the chance of being struck and injured by lightning at any given time in the US was 1 in 750,000 going with reported deaths and injuries and 1 in 500,000 going with estimated actual deaths and injuries (the National Weather Service estimating that many injuries would go unreported for various reasons). The lifetime chance of being struck by lightning is approximately 1 in 6,250.

    Reading through the list of adverse reactions given by the CDC (http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vac-gen/side-effects.htm), the ones listed as more serious than allergic reactions (whatever the severity) generally indicate odds of 1 in 1,000,000 or lower.

    So bensmyson, the data indicates that being out in any given lightning storm is (at least) twice as dangerous as any single vaccination, and the lifetime risk of lightning strikes is several orders of magnitude greater.

    More importantly, as Seb30 observers, whereas there is a benefit to getting vaccinated, there is no benefit to getting hit by lightning (comic book superheroes aside).

  78. #78 Chris
    June 22, 2010

    Little Augie, I see your reading comprehension is as bad as ever. Though, yes, I agree engineers are not scientists. Though I am educated, where you are not.

  79. #79 augustine
    June 22, 2010

    Chris: “Though, yes, I agree engineers are not scientists. Though I am educated, where you are not.”

    A vaccine engineer?

  80. #80 Chris
    June 22, 2010

    Parent of Ben, the reason that mumps, measles and rubella are not prevalent in modern society is because of vaccines. Would you troll this dad’s blog because of his opinion of Hepatitis B? So, the over 300 pediatric deaths in a year from influenza does not bother you at all?

    What evidence do you have that children are commonly injured by vaccines? I mean real evidence, not the random websites.

    And why does it have to be vaccines? Why not wifi? How about baby monitors? Or the increase of cable networks?

    Oh, Seb30: sometimes people seek shelter from thunderstorms under trees. Then they get killed when lightning strikes the tree. Something like this happened recently when a family refused to vaccinate their child, and then the child died from meningitis (at my URL limit, but it was Hib in Pennsylvania in March 2009).

  81. #81 augustine
    June 22, 2010

    @56: “If it could be shown that vaccines caused autism in 1 of 1,000,000,000 people (which they don’t and haven’t been proven to do) that would be an acceptable risk for nearly all vaccines. If it’s somewhere in between, it would depend.”

    This post shows that different people have different values when it comes to risks and benefits. Some may not take 1/1,000,000 and some may take 1/1000. Give people all the facts and contexts and let them decide if they want to take a risk or not.

    But that’s not reasonable for this group. You see, there are the “educated” and there are the “educated nots”. This group believes the “little people” should not be able to decide. That is the job of the elite. Make the decision for the stupid. That’s not science. That’s some type of “political science”.

    It’s starting to look like there are not even a lot of scientists on here but a bunch of wannabes and science groupies with personal opinions who are the loudest.

  82. #82 augustine
    June 22, 2010

    Chris: “So, the over 300 pediatric deaths in a year from influenza does not bother you at all?”

    How about use another fallacy. You think someone is not concerned about children because they question the efficacy and safety of a vaccine? That means they ARE concerned about the largest target of vaccines.

  83. #83 Phoenix Woman
    June 22, 2010

    RJ@65: Yup. This is in a way even worse than NASH Journals, because while those are so blatantly non-science-based that most laypeople who stayed awake in high school science classes know it’s bullshit, this site dumps a ton of misappropriated and non-germane actual science on as the candy coating for the mounds of bullshit they’re pushing. Snow causes autism?! What the fuck?!

  84. #84 Calli Arcale
    June 22, 2010

    Ben’s Parents:
    I would ask what “most vicious, nasty, pandemic, contagious diseases” are. Surely in this progressive and modern society you arn’t talking about measles, mumps and rubella are you? The flu? HepB?

    Well, all that you’ve listed are killers. Most who get them don’t die, but most who get them are sick for a significant period of time, sometimes long enough to have to repeat a grade, which can have a significant impact on a person’s life. (As you should know; autistic children such as your son are seldom held back any more, but you can see just looking at special needs kids how important it is to get education as early as possible, because it’s more profoundly visible with them. It’s just as true with normal kids; if they miss a grade, their academics will suffer, and that’s not insignificant.)

    Miscarriage used to be much more commonplace than it is; time was, hardly any women would manage to have babies without a miscarriage or four. In fact, that’s a large part of why, in the days before contraception, women didn’t tend to actually have two dozen kids — many wouldn’t make it to birth. A sizable percentage of those kids died because of rubella.

    So what? How can a rubella vaccine help, for instance, Ben? It’s not like he’s planning on having any babies himself. Yeah, but what if he’s planning on fathering babies with a nice girl someday? Want grandchildren? (I do hope you harbor enough optimism to realize that even for the severely disabled, this is a possibility. Indeed, severely autistic adults can even make good parents, though they may need some help, either from an able spouse or other relative, depending on the degree and nature of their disabilities.)

    Besides, rubella isn’t exactly a cakewalk for the older children who contract it. Mumps, too. There’s another disease where failure to vaccinate your child could cost your child something very profound indeed: fertility. Mumps is rarely fatal, but orchitis is a very common symptom in males, and it can leave the testicles incapable of producing sperm.

    Hepatitis — even if liver failure (a nasty way to go) doesn’t occur, infection will cause lifelong inconveniences that a young man may resent rather sharply — such as the risk to any future sexual partners. Again, are you planning to allow your son the chance to have a happy life if he develops sufficiently to live independently? Or are you operating on a more cynical assumption about his future? Other inconveniences will include never being allowed to donate blood or tissues (may seem insignificant, but I know I’d resent it if I couldn’t donate — I love donating blood), having more complicated medical care because of the need to protect hospital staff, etc. And as many continue to mistakenly see HepB purely as an STD, there will also be the stigma. Because yes, he can get infected, even if he is always a good boy. Life ain’t perfect.

    Flu: my grandmother had influenza a couple of years ago. She was in the hospital for a week and a half, and in a nursing home for almost two months before she was strong enough to go home. She didn’t die. But she hasn’t been the same ever since. Flu can have consequences anywhere from a really nasty cold that keeps you home for a week to death, and it is very difficult to predict which cases will wind up deadly. They’re not all elderly asthmatics and infants and pregnant ladies.

    Not to say I would do away with vaccines but I would hope that there would be a bit more information delivered so as to allow parents to make an informed consent.

    I’m always in favor of informed consent, and more information. I can’t speak to how your clinic does it, but every clinic where I’ve gotten a vaccine (my regular doctor’s clinic, at-work flu clinics, hospital, Walgreens) has provided all the information I need to make a decision. I do know a lot of people ignore the information, but I’m not sure clinics are to blame for people being lazy. You can’t force people to inform themselves, even when you hand them all of the information.

    Part of the heartache of parents of children with vaccine injuries is that they did not ask enough questions, or at least feel as if they didnt ask enough questions.

    And that’s the rub, isn’t it? It’s not about what doctors did or didn’t do. It’s about feelings and perceptions, and these are based on far more than just a single visit to a clinic.

    Imagine your child severly injured due to a vaccine you held your child down to receive and how you might feel because someone said, there is nothing to worry about rather than your child has about as much chance of being injured by a vaccine as being hit by lightening. Some parents bring their children indoors during a thunderstorm.

    I know people whose children *died*, who would not be dead if different choices had been made. One was a suicide. How do you think a parent feels, knowing they failed to see their daughter’s anguish? One was trying to protect his friends by checking the ungroomed snowpack on a closed trail at a ski area, who then discovered, fatally, that it was not safe and highly avalanche prone. One was using drugs. One was just going to visit his mom for lunch, and was hit by a truck. And, apropos to your comparison, one died in a severe thunderstorm. (They were inside, actually, and that didn’t save them. I believe the national weather service classed the twister that hit their house as an F4.) In all of these cases, there was a decision that would’ve kept it from happening, but nobody could possibly have known. Still, it eats at you.

    It’s thunderstorm season here in Minnesota. We had a record number of tornadoes across the state just a couple of days ago, in a massive system that actually stretched all the way from Iowa to Canada and then trucked across the state. (Fortunately, the Twin Cities itself is sheltered by Lake Minnetonka, which sucked a lot of energy out of the bit that was headed for us.) Several people died, despite everyone hearing the sirens and taking proper precautions. (Everybody taking proper precautions is actually why it was just a few rather than hundreds dead.) Sometimes you make the best decisions you can with the best information available and shit still happens.

  85. #85 Ruru
    June 23, 2010

    Hi all, just wondering if someone could help with my query. I have a 4 week prem baby, and she will soon be due for her 6 week check up and 1st lot of vaccinations. Should I wait an extra 4 weeks before taking her to the Dr to account for her early arrival? She is in very good health, no complications at all, she just had a tiny touch of jaundice initially. Would this lessen any possible adverse reaction? Is this why they wait for 6 weeks in the first place?

    I realise this may sound like a daft/paranoid question. This is my first baby and admittedly I’m obsessing a bit over pretty much every decision we make for her care…

    Any advice is welcome!

  86. #86 Helena Constantine
    June 23, 2010

    The term doctor has nothing to do with medicine. It means learned, and as far as education goes, it means someone who took a degree from a mediaeval university in philosophy or theology, and wrote a dissertation in Latin. At that time Medicine (still Hippocratic medicine) wasn’t that different from witchcraft, and one could take a university degree in it in about 6 months–provided one had the pre-requisite, an ordinary doctorate in philosophy or theology. So Hippocratic physicians had the tile doctor because they had a prior degree that entitled them to use it, a degree that carried enormous prestige at the time. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, once they started taking only a degree in medicine, without any preliminary humanistic degree, they kept calling themselves doctor because of the social prestige involved. Eventually the same courtesy was afforded to anyone taking an advanced degree in any subject (notice will call them doctors of philosophy). Physician (for which the Latin word is not doctor but medicus) have no more claim to use the term doctor than any other holder of an advanced degree from a university. In fact, Dr. Gorski, I have a much better claim than you do to sue the title, since the bulk of my course work was in Greek and Latin and I wrote my dissertation on Neoplatonism (albeit in English). It is only the arrogance of the medical profession that makes them them think that that and they alone have a right to the a title which means learned in philosophy and Latin.

    by the way, if you’ve ever taken notice of me at (I have posted here form time to time), all, and, indeed, if you ever read this (unlikely I think) you will know that I generally like you, but that doesn’t change the historical realities of the use of the term doctor. If you want to say, ‘most English speakers think doctor means physicians,’ that doesn’t make it true any more than people believing in CAM makes it true.

  87. #87 Chris
    June 23, 2010

    Ruru, Enkidu has a premie and posted not long ago and that the baby is fully vaccinated, including RSV.

    By the way, beware of internet advice. Consult the child’s primary care provider, hopefully a pediatrician.

  88. #88 Zetetic
    June 23, 2010

    augustine @ #41:

    Ever heard of DR. Jack Kevorkian?

    Oh so now augie’s sense of ethics includes the famous “But MOM! He did it too!” defense used by small children around the world, how very amusing.

    So aside from the fact they both lost their license to practice medicine. Kevorkian went to prison, but Wakefield unfortunately has not. Wakefield was apparently acting out of greed, but Kevorkian was apparently acting upon his personal beliefs about ethics and ending suffering. So they’re not exactly directly comparable situations. How is relevant to vaccines, beyond Wakefield’s involvement with the MMR scare?

    Are you upset about that?

    Of course, but ironically it is at least somewhat related to attitudes of invulnerability and being “healthy” similar to your stated position on other threads. Even ignoring the obvious differences in the cases, this is related to vaccines how? It seems that the obvious answer is better oversight, monitoring, and more a rigorous approach to preventing such malpractice. No where in your citation is there a reason to abandon vaccines, or modern medicine, just that many in the medical community need to a better job of care.

    FDA Estimates Vioxx Caused 27,785 Deaths

    Vioxx is a drug and not a vaccine, still unrelated. Still no reason to abandon medicine.

    This is just part of doing business isn’t it?

    Hmmm…nope, still not a vaccine. Still no reason to abandon medicine. Funny how you don’t count the lives saved by modern medicine in your arguments, isn’t it augie?

    ————————————————————————————————————————————-

    I know…I know, augie. We all know what you’re attempting to do. First, you’re trying to create a straw-man that we don’t care about those cases too. (Have any evidence that anyone here stated such a position?) Secondly, you seem to trying to setup yet another Genetic Fallacy.

    Ever notice how those scandals are being revealed by the same science that you dismiss, and not your “other lenses”? Did you notice how they’re being revealed by the same medical sources that the anti-vax community claims is so “in the pocket” of Big Pharma that they can’t be trusted to point out the truth? Did you notice that the Vioxx scandal was one of those things that Brian Deer covered? We’re still waiting for you to apologize for your lie about Deer.

    ————————————————————————————————————————————–

    As to your quoting the Wikipedia entry on the “Cutter Lab incident”, I noticed that as per your typically dishonest style you left out a few little details. Congratulations on finding a scandal that actually had something to do with vaccines though, even if it was from 55 years ago.

    The incident was in 1955 and even with what was considered a disaster by the medical community, it was still tiny compared to the death and paralysis rate before the polio vaccine.

    But hey what’s an average of 13,000-20,000 cases of paralysis, in the years before, compared to 169 cases from a badly manufactured vaccine and several thousands of paralysis cases prevented each year shortly after with widespread polio vaccination? After all augie, they weren’t “healthy” enough either, right?

    Should the “Cutter Lab Incident” have been allowed to happen? Of course not, and frankly I think that those responsible got off far too easy. But one travesty does nothing to diminish the great amount of good by widespread polio vaccination. Were is your evidence that not vaccinating would have been better?

    ————————————————————————————————————————————-

    So far every one of the items you posted (with the exception of your childish attempt to use Kevorkian) is an example of a need for better testing and oversight of the manufactures and medical care facilities, not of a reason for abandoning scientific medicine. What you have failed to prove, yet again, is that just throwing up our hands and abandoning scientific medicine (or even just vaccines) would be better, especially when history clearly shows the contrary.

    So augie, after weeks now, we’re still waiting for you to show us how your ideal society, where humanity doesn’t “wage war with microbes”, and those that aren’t “healthy” enough are just allowed to die, is any better. It seems rather strange that you show concern for the deaths from malpractice and negligence but you have no trouble just waving off the easily preventable deaths of others that could be saved. That is assuming that it’s not all just a callous act from you, I’m not so certain yet that it’s not just a “routine” for you. If it is an act for you, then you need to get better material.

  89. #89 Coryat
    June 23, 2010

    Augustine:

    You failed to explain or defend your blithering about Nietzsche. Perhaps you can’t?

    You also said:

    “Chris- not a scientist. That’s my note.”

    but why would you care? You don’t listen to what scientists and doctors say about the lack of any causal link between vaccines and autism. You prefer your care-bear style attitude of fluff; surely not being a scientist is a good thing in your eyes?

  90. #90 One person's opinion
    June 23, 2010

    “Hi all, just wondering if someone could help with my query. I have a 4 week prem baby, and she will soon be due for her 6 week check up and 1st lot of vaccinations. Should I wait an extra 4 weeks before taking her to the Dr to account for her early arrival?”

    I would wait until the baby is at least 6 months old before vaccinating her for anything. I would then make sure that I only gave one vaccine at a time – instead of the standard vaccine cocktail that they typically give. You want to be able to look for any vaccine reactions and be able to associate that possible reaction with a particular vaccine. Be careful of over-zealous doctors who tell you that there is absolutely nothing to worry about with vaccines. Here’s a hint: They Lie. Good luck with your new bundle of joy!

  91. #91 PrincessGrace
    June 23, 2010

    Hey John – thanks for the advice – I am changing my title.

    I’m not disagreeing with you at all. I think it’s bogus he can be called doctor but he still can without misleading anyone.

  92. #92 PrincessGrace
    June 23, 2010

    Hey John – thanks for the advice – I am changing my title.

    I’m not disagreeing with you at all. I think it’s bogus he can be called doctor because as I see it it’s a privileged term and it makes my teeth grind that I walk past a chiropractor every day whose sign says DR but has no disclaimer that he is only a doctor of chiropractic as you are supposed to do according to their code of practice (in the UK)

    NB: I have a degree in Film Studies (touch me) and I was taught by a Doctor of Film. Madness…

    Ruru – talk to your paediatrician, practice nurse, midwife or health visitor – they will give you the correct advice specific to your baby.

  93. #93 PrincessGrace
    June 23, 2010

    Bollocks.

  94. #94 bensmyson
    June 23, 2010

    @78 Calli

    Yes they are killers, as is window cleaner, as are bumble bees and as is electricity, we all know that measles and polio and the flu killed a good number of people 50-100 years ago, we know famine and lack of clean water and living environments killed people. I know the lack of proper health care kills millions every year in the world.

    I also know healthy vaccinated and unvaccinated people in healthy environments, who become infected in this day and age, rarely suffer these diseases or viruses the same way.

    For this entertainer to say that my son’s autism is ok as long as his son is protected against the measles is just plain wrong. Why not say instead that our planet is being over populated so let’s create an involuntary lottery to eleminate 30% of the population, it’s wrong.

  95. #95 Chip Chipperson
    June 23, 2010

    Heh, One person’s opinion comes along to make Chris #80 look like some sort of psychic or somethin’.

    beware of internet advice

  96. #96 augustine
    June 23, 2010

    So far every one of the items you posted is an example of a need for better testing and oversight of the manufactures and medical care facilities, not of a reason for abandoning scientific medicine.

    I didn’t say abandon scientific medicine. You just need some humility to see that scientific medicine is fallible. Trying to pigeon hole and make a straw man argument does not win over your imaginary lurkers you seek to convince with your unsound logic.

    The fact that vaccines are not necessarily safe nor necessarily effective is reason for someone to resist them being psychologically or physically forced on them.

    You can erroneously call them scientific all you want. The decision to vaccinate 6 billion mostly healthy people and the strategy for compliance is a philosophical decision at its root. Not science.

  97. #97 mikerattlesnake
    June 23, 2010

    @bensmymom

    You are missing the most important word in Penn’s statement: “if”. As in: “if my cat’s could fly, I would probably have to clean a lot more cat shit off of the top of my refrigerator.” In this case, debating the methods of cleaning, the specific products involved, and training methods for eliminating the problem would be pretty silly. See also: your posts.

  98. #98 mikerattlesnake
    June 23, 2010

    @Ruru

    ASK YOUR DOCTOR, NOT US!

    @Augustine

    You seem to assume anyone who isn’t a working scientist can’t understand science well enough to comment appropriately on it. Projection indeed…

  99. #99 Vicki
    June 23, 2010

    Ruru–

    I am not a doctor, but it seems to be that if anything, your child having been born prematurely is a reason not to postpone the basic well-baby visit. Go, talk to the pediatrician, and yes, by all means ask her/him whether the prematurity means the vaccine schedule should be adjusted.

    If it were me, I’d ask it that way. Not “should we delay vaccinating?” but “should we make any changes to the vaccine schedule?” For all I know, the answer might be “Yes, postpone X but give everything else as if she were a full-term child” or even that things need to be added or moved forward. If your child is more fragile than a full-term baby of the same birthdate, that may mean her immune system needs more help.

    And then listen to your pediatrician. If you have good reason not to believe or trust them, follow through that visit and then immediately look for a new doctor. But “she disagreed with some strangers on the Internet” isn’t a good reason.

  100. #100 Calli Arcale
    June 23, 2010

    Vaccines aside, I remember that my babies each had a well-baby check at one week. The purpose was to make sure they had regained their birth weight, and thus ensure there were no feeding issues. That visit would be an excellent opportunity to ask the pediatrician or family doctor for advice about vaccines, including sharing any concerns you may have given your child’s particular situation. People on the Internet don’t know your kid; it’s better to ask somebody who knows the details.

  101. #101 augustine
    June 23, 2010

    Callie: “That visit would be an excellent opportunity to ask the pediatrician or family doctor for advice about vaccines, including sharing any concerns you may have given your child’s particular situation.”

    Make sure to read “How To Raise a Healthy Child In Spite of Your Doctor” by pediatrician and pediatric professor, Robert S. Mendelsohn M.D. before you go.

  102. #102 Composer99
    June 23, 2010

    I went out and found some stats on getting hit by lightning; alas the comment I posted last night must still be in moderation (maybe it is because I posted it from home instead of from work?) – it had a link to the CDC and to the National Weather Service.

  103. #103 Seb30
    June 23, 2010

    @ Chris 77

    Oh, I knew about trees and storm. I was trying to keep it simple. My initial draft to reply to Ben’s parents was much more wordy and aggressive (rubella, hepatitis, and all the others, not a serious concern? On which planet do they live?). Then I decided to stay polite and to the point, it being the risk/benefit assessment in a given situation should include all risks, yes, but also all benefits.

    I was also to say that lightning hits are not the only risk of being under a thunderstorm. Being soak to the bones has a near 100% prevalence, and that’s not healthy, too. Maybe this counts toward why parents are getting children out of under a storm.
    If vaccines had a high prevalence of (proved) nasty events, the thunderstorm analogy would hold. But this is not the case.

  104. #104 Seb30
    June 23, 2010

    @ Cali 78

    ” (Everybody taking proper precautions is actually why it was just a few rather than hundreds dead.) Sometimes you make the best decisions you can with the best information available and shit still happens.”

    Exactly the points I was trying to make.

  105. #105 JohnV
    June 23, 2010

    @composer99

    If there are 3+ links it will be caught by the spam filter. There are some keywords I think that also cause the same thing to happen such using he who shall not be named’s name, maybe ben’s parents’ name, use of f-bombs.

  106. #106 Antaeus Feldspar
    June 23, 2010

    “Hi all, just wondering if someone could help with my query. I have a 4 week prem baby, and she will soon be due for her 6 week check up and 1st lot of vaccinations. Should I wait an extra 4 weeks before taking her to the Dr to account for her early arrival?”

    You should definitely call the doctor and ask him or her this question, rather than asking strangers on an Internet forum. That being said, the doctor will probably recommend some vaccinations right away, for the very good reason that your baby needs to be protected from some very dangerous diseases and her own immune system is not yet primed to deal with such threats. That’s the purpose of a vaccination: priming the immune system, giving it a head start, making it ready to deal with a threat before it’s exposed to that threat in the wild.

    You’ll probably hear from many people who claim that you should second-guess your doctor and refuse some or all of the vaccinations that he/she recommends, because it’s purportedly “too many” vaccinations for the child’s immune system to handle. If you hear someone make this argument, you can be sure you’re listening to someone who doesn’t know what they’re talking about; there are fewer antigens in any vaccine, even the combination vaccines like MMR, than the infant is exposed to “in the wild.”

  107. #107 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    June 23, 2010

    @bensmyson

    While a number of people have responded, I wanted to comment on your question “what ‘most vicious, nasty, pandemic, contagious diseases’ are.”

    To spell out the terms of this hypothetical discussion, if vaccines really could be proved to cause autism in 1 of 100 people (which they don’t and haven’t been proven to do), or indeed any comparable side effect in the same volume, you would clearly (IMHO) need an extraordinary situation to justify using it in the general public. Smallpox might have been one of those diseases (though obviously it no longer is); if Ebola were more easily transmitted and widespread it might well be another.

    In my opinion, if it were the case that the measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine caused autism in 1 of 100 people (which it doesn’t according to all evidence) then neither mumps, measles, nor rubella would individually be serious enough diseases to use that particular vaccine.

    However, and I cannot stress this enough, the real measured risk of harm (as I understand them) of the MMR vaccine is significantly less than the risks of catching and being sickened, injured, or killed by those diseases in the absence of mass immunizations.

  108. #108 jen
    June 23, 2010

    Ruru, don’t hep b your baby! Run from that one, at least. It’s completely unnecessary unless you or hubby or hep b pos. which already would probably have been uncovered. I would vaccinate on a much more delayed schedule as per Dr. Sears etc.

  109. #109 Chance Gearheart, NREMT-P/EMD
    June 23, 2010

    “The fact that vaccines are not necessarily safe nor necessarily effective is reason for someone to resist them being psychologically or physically forced on them.”

    Ok, I’ll bite. [Citation Needed].

    No medication is 100% safe, nor is ever pretended to be – keep that in mind – safety is relative to the disease it’s intended to prevent or combat. Also, the fact that we’re not seeing any epidemics of smallpox or polio, and that meningitis from HIB and no major epidemics of Hep B, Pertussus, Diptheria, Tetinus, etc; not to mention the myriad of veternary vaccinations, is pretty much proof of effectiveness in these populations. Again, no medication is 100% effective, and no one is claiming this – microbes can alter and gain resistance or new coping mechanisms, requiring the development of new vaccines – influenza is a great example of this.

    “You can erroneously call them scientific all you want. The decision to vaccinate 6 billion mostly healthy people and the strategy for compliance is a philosophical decision at its root. Not science.”

    Really? Removing the resevouir and host of a disease from the equation isn’t based in science. Who taught this philosophy? Maybe it’s in my classical Socrates…

  110. #110 Ian
    June 23, 2010

    How can you tell the good advice from the bad advice?

    People who tell you not to trust random advice on the internet are probably looking out for your best interests.

    People who offer simple answers to complex questions are probably not worth listening to.

  111. #111 Dedj
    June 23, 2010

    Ruru – Your treatment team is vastly more likely to know about the individual health risks of your child than Jen (who somehow manages to overlook familial and idiopatchic transmissions despite being extensively notified of them) or Dr Sears.

    Ask them for advice, and consider what they say. Ignore the utter nutbars that populate ‘mother’ forums.

  112. #112 Zetetic
    June 23, 2010

    augustine @ #96:

    I didn’t say abandon scientific medicine.

    Of course you didn’t augie, you’ve just been talking about abandoning an entire (and highly effective) branch of modern medicine. You’ve been ranting about how humanity shouldn’t be “doing war with microbes” (I can’t imagine why some one would interpret that as disparaging a wide range of medicine) and then attacking the medical industry in general without conceding it’s benefits. Oh, and you’ve been attacking the scientific approach in general. I can’t imagine why someone would get that idea from you.

    You just need some humility to see that scientific medicine is fallible.

    You’re making another straw-man there augie, show where here anyone said anything to the contrary. By all means show us where anyone here claimed, or even implied that scientific medicine is “infallible”. You just can’t help lying can you? Of course you can’t, without lying about others, you have no real argument.

    Trying to pigeon hole and make a straw man argument does not win over your imaginary lurkers you seek to convince with your unsound logic.

    If others have trouble understanding you, then maybe it’s because you lie and play words games, and avoid clearly and unambiguously stating any sort of real point. That’s your fault if your own attempts at being evasive lead you to not communicate your intent clearly. I keep asking you to be clear, get to the point, and stop being so dishonest/evasive, but you haven’t done so yet.

    As for my own logic being unsound, where exactly? A please by all means be clear, and no straw-men from you there augie!

    The fact that vaccines are not necessarily safe nor necessarily effective is reason for someone to resist them being psychologically or physically forced on them.

    Again, that had what to do with your examples above? You were just trying to set up more fallacies.

    As for safety, while not perfectly safe, they are one of the safest things in medicine. But we’ve already covered that, and you have failed miserably to provide contrary evidence. And effectiveness? We’ve gone over that to. Remember? The MMR (your personal hobgoblin augie) is 99% effective after two doses, for life, to protect the individual against measles. Other vaccines are of of course usually less effective, but are still effective nonetheless, again you have failed to show otherwise in spite of being repeatedly asked to provide evidence that supports your position. So right off the bat, where you talk about them being “not necessarily safe nor necessarily effective” you are already starting from wording things in a deliberately deceptive manner. You seem to be deliberately comparing vaccines to some unrealistic Utopian ideal, knowing that you’re being dishonest in the process.

    Sorry augie, but your irrational prejudices and lies are not a logically or ethically valid reason to refuse vaccination, especially when the lives/rights of others are also impacted.

    As to being “forced”, I noticed that you’ve been using that term for a while but seem to be unable to support the accusation, and where specifically did I call for that? More dishonest hyperbole from you there augie. More members of your straw-man army. Sorry but your irrational prejudices still don’t make reality.

    You can erroneously call them scientific all you want. The decision to vaccinate 6 billion mostly healthy people and the strategy for compliance is a philosophical decision at its root. Not science.

    More dishonesty from you augie. That vaccines (when properly manufactured) are highly safe and (to varying degrees) effective is a scientific issue. You know that or you wouldn’t have been spending so much time trying to falsely discredit the science behind them and science in general.

    The decision to actually use the vaccines when the science shows them to be reasonably safe and effective, is an ethical issue. But nobody here has ever claimed otherwise, care to so where anyone here has claimed that the use of vaccines wasn’t involved in ethical considerations? We’ve frequently brought up ethics in relation to vaccination, and medicine in general. In fact it’s one of the big problems with Wakefield, his clear lack of ethics. The same lack of ethics is also the reason for much of the animosity directed against the “alt-med” movement around here. But you already seem to know that, in spite of your claims that we don’t consider the ethics as well. That’s a straw-man that you’ve been lugging around for a while now, we keep pointing it out to you, but you refuse to put it away, or at least honestly debate it. I wonder why?

    While we’re at it, why do you keeping saying “philosophy” when you apparently mean “ethics”? Yes, ethics is a part of philosophy, but so are many other things including scientific methodology, as I already pointed out before. Using “philosophy” instead of “ethics” makes you look rather ignorant, or do you think that it’s some how going to intimidate others into not arguing points of ethics? It won’t. No, I think that it’s either because this is all an act for you, or it’s because you know that once people start arguing about ethics, instead of the more vague “philosophy”, that they’ll realize just how weak and hypocritical your position actually is. The way things are worded does tend to change people’s perceptions, something you seem to be well aware of augie. Then again, maybe you are just that ignorant, you tell us.

  113. #113 Chris
    June 23, 2010

    Why read a pediatrics book by Robert S. Mendelsohn? He has been dead for over twenty years. And for some guy who claimed to know better medicine he died relatively young (62). Perhaps that is because he took his own advice and did not get check-ups, and probably died of something that could have been treated if he had not waited.

  114. #114 brian
    June 23, 2010

    jen wrote: “I would vaccinate on a much more delayed schedule as per Dr. Sears etc.”

    Of course, jen is recommending a delayed schedule that is supported by no evidence. Moreover, a recent study (linked and explained in the post linked below) shows that there is, not surprisingly, no benefit to doing what jen (without evidence) thinks is a good idea, which is based on what Dr. Sears thinks (also without evidence):

    http://leftbrainrightbrain.co.uk/2010/05/new-study-many-vaccines-at-once-ok-for-kids/

    You should ask your doctor for advice. He knows more than jen knows about this.

  115. #115 Ruru
    June 23, 2010

    Thanks all for your comments. I did ask my midwife, but the answer that she gave was not very committal. The essence of my query is: what is the 6 week wait for vaccines based on? Is it more the amount of time the immune system has had to mature once baby is born, rather than 6 weeks after a full term delivery?

    I’m not blindly following any advice, I didn’t mean to give that impression. I posted here as a long time lurker who appreciates both Orac’s posts and the regular commentators.

    Good point, Ian, regarding how to spot good advice.

    Dedj: I haven’t dared go near those mother forums…

    Antaeus Feldspar: thank you for your concise distillation of regarding antigens in the vaccines vs “in the wild”. I have been receiving more anti vaccine stuff from family lately, which while I know is well intended, has been a bit upsetting to this new mum who is still finding her feet!

  116. #116 AnthonyK
    June 23, 2010

    People on the Internet don’t know your kid; it’s better to ask somebody who knows the details

    Absolutely: most of the problems with the jens and augies and bensymysons of this world is that they take hysterical internet advice from kooks (and then go on to dispense it themselves…)

    The fact is that your doctor/health professional is the only one whose advice you should take, for one simple reason – he or she is the only person who is legally responsible if they misadvise you, and they carry the insurance to prove it.

    And, of course, they’re the experts.

  117. #117 JenBPhillips
    June 23, 2010

    Hi Ruru,
    congratulations on your newly fledged motherhood! And best of luck fending off the well-intentioned but ill-informed advice of your family. You mention that you have discussed this with your midwife, but do you have a pediatrician? Did a neonatologist turn up at your preemie’s birth (or shortly afterward)? Did your baby have a two-week checkup? These are the specialists–the ones who have experience with premature births–who would be the best sources of answers for you.
    hope you’re getting a reasonable amount of rest. My kids are 7 and 10 now, but I remember the bleary, surreal early days vividly!

  118. #118 Lawrence
    June 23, 2010

    I’d like to hear augie’s response to the Whooping Cough Epidemic in California right now – five babies have died & over 900 other people have fallen ill with the disease.

  119. #119 AnthonyK
    June 23, 2010

    I’d like to hear augie’s response

    Not a sentiment most people here would share! The guy (?) is a clueless lackwit with nothing of interest to say on anything whatsoever, if his comments here are anything to go by. Intellectual pretension c’est lui. In the few weeks he’s been posting not one thing of any value has passed out through his fingers, not one insight, not one piece of evidence that he’s anything other than a dull troll who once heard the word philosophy and thought (I use the word loosely) that he knew what it meant.

    So, please – and I know how decently you mean it – don’t encourage him to spew any more crap!
    And Ruru – hope all goes well with your little one; he’s clearly got a smart mum – a great vaccination against all kinds of nonsense!

  120. #120 T. Bruce McNeely
    June 23, 2010

    Why read a pediatrics book by Robert S. Mendelsohn? He has been dead for over twenty years. And for some guy who claimed to know better medicine he died relatively young (62). Perhaps that is because he took his own advice and did not get check-ups, and probably died of something that could have been treated if he had not waited.

    Mendelsohn had diabetes, and died of sudden cardiac arrest, probably as a result of atherosclerotic heart disease. I don’t know whether he rejected medical monitoring and treatment, however, given his attitude, I wouldn’t be surprised. Too bad for him, since good medical care would potentially have given him many more years to live (if he did reject medical intervention).
    BTW, he died at age 62. I will be 62 tomorrow – that really is too young to die!

  121. #121 Ruru
    June 23, 2010

    Hi JenB

    Pre & postnatal care is predominantly carried out by midwives here in NZ, who work closely with paediatricians (in short supply). Midwives handover to Plunket at 6 weeks and you are sent off for the 6 week check up + 1st lot of vaccinations with your GP.

    My wee one was checked over at the hospital by neonates, etc and we were given the all clear to leave. She was a healthy 7 pounds on delivery and we did not need to stay longer on account of her being 4 weeks prem. My midwife visits regularly and all is well, she is piling on the weight.

    Yes, she’s letting us rest up as much as can be expected! Despite my new mum anxieties, we’re absolutely delighted with her.

  122. #122 Ruru
    June 23, 2010

    AnthonyK @ 119 – thanks!

  123. #123 Chris
    June 23, 2010

    T. Bruce McNeely:

    I don’t know whether he rejected medical monitoring and treatment, however, given his attitude, I wouldn’t be surprised. Too bad for him, since good medical care would potentially have given him many more years to live (if he did reject medical intervention).

    What I read about him is that his advice was to stay away from doctors if a person feels well. So I guess no health monitoring probably was not a good thing for him.

    I am reading the reviews of the child care book. Lots of rave reviews, but some one star reviews from parents who wonder why he discouraged breastfeeding, and (quoting a review):

    Instead of finding ANY usefull information, I was struck by the sheer stupidity of this man. He says not to worry if your child has a fever of 105. He says to give a baby with an upset stomach whiskey!

  124. #124 trrll
    June 23, 2010

    It is courteous to refer to anybody with a doctorate as “Dr. So-and-so,” although hardly anybody but physicians insists on it. But I’ve never heard anybody but a physician called a doctor

  125. #125 augustine
    June 23, 2010

    Chance Gearheart, NREMT-P/EMD:

    “Really? Removing the resevouir and host of a disease from the equation isn’t based in science.”
    ———————————————————-
    As an ambulance driver I don’t expect you to know the definitions so here they are:

    science /sci·ence/ (si´ens)
    1. the systematic observation of natural phenomena for the purpose of discovering laws governing those phenomena.
    2. the body of knowledge accumulated by such means.scientif´ic

    “Applied science is the practical application of scientific theory and laws.”

    Based in science? maybe. Scientific not so much. Finding the cause of a particular disease under certain circumstances is the scientific part. Applying toxic chemicals in order to try and kill that organism without killing or harming the person is less than scientific. There is no discovering a law from systematic observation here.

    Was arsenic more or less “scientific” in 1910 when it was hailed by Erhlich as the scientific medicine to cure syphillis?

    It twas effective, though.

    Vaccines can potentially “remove the host.”

  126. #126 augustine
    June 23, 2010

    Zertec: “The MMR (your personal hobgoblin augie) is 99% effective after two doses, for life, to protect the individual against measles.”

    And its 99.9999+++% not needed before ANY dose. I’ve already given reference to it’s statistics BEFORE the vaccine was widely used. If one wants to take it, fine. But those are the stats whether you like facts or not. I would think someone who represents “science” and “facts” would own up to that.

    Zertec: “Sorry augie, but your irrational prejudices and lies are not a logically or ethically valid reason to refuse vaccination, especially when the lives/rights of others are also impacted.”

    What Lies? You keep talking about these “Lies”.
    I’ve already given enough evidence for one to “refuse” the measles vaccine based on reasoning and science alone. Now if one wants to throw in some personal ideology and propaganda, which is not science, then that is a different argument.

    Zertec: “Yes, ethics is a part of philosophy, but so are many other things including scientific methodology, as I already pointed out before.”

    http://www.importanceofphilosophy.com/FiveBranchesMain.html

    Yes the 5, er, I mean 6 branches of philosphy: Metaphysics, Epistemology, Ethics, Politics, Esthetics, and Zertec’s “Scientific Methodology”.

    And you wonder why I don’t respond to the majority of your fallacious posts.

    Zertec- Not a scientist.

  127. #127 augustine
    June 23, 2010

    @120, Chris and Bruce

    Let me see if I can wrap up this Ad Hominem attack all in one swoop. I thought Science based people were above ad hominems since you point them out as your despicable enemy tools frequently.

    Chris: “Why read a pediatrics book by Robert S. Mendelsohn? He has been dead for over twenty years.”

    Yes we should only consider live authors to be valid. Enough of this learning from history stuff.

    Chris: ” And for some guy who claimed to know better medicine he died relatively young (62).”

    Ignaz Semmelweis died at 47. Maybe all of the persecution from the orthodoxy who opposed surgical handwashing took it’s toll. Since he died so young, though, we should disregard his advice.

    Chris: “Perhaps that is because he took his own advice and did not get check-ups, and probably died of something that could have been treated if he had not waited.”

    People who get check-ups don’t die anyway? But you don’t know his circumstances in the first place so what do you know? Maybe Bruce knows something.

    Bruce: “Mendelsohn had diabetes, and died of sudden cardiac arrest, probably as a result of atherosclerotic heart disease.

    Apparently Bruce doesn’t know much more than Chris except that “probably” he died from atherosclerotic heart disease. Perhaps he should have taken Crestor had it been available and then he would have lived 30 more years.

    Bruce: “don’t know whether he rejected medical monitoring and treatment, however, given his attitude, I wouldn’t be surprised.

    Maybe he should have eaten better and exercised. Seems those have a better outcome than how much you “manage your numbers” with medications.

    bruce: “Too bad for him, since good medical care would potentially have given him many more years to live (if he did reject medical intervention).”

    Bruce: “BTW, he died at age 62. I will be 62 tomorrow – that really is too young to die!”

    Did you get your measles, chickenpox, and HPV vaccines? It’s amazing you’re still alive. Imagine all the people you’ve killed because you didn’t. You should be locked up.

  128. #128 augustine
    June 23, 2010

    Chris: “I was struck by the sheer stupidity of this man. He says not to worry if your child has a fever of 105.”

    Why is this stupid? Do tell, Chris. What might happen?

  129. #129 augustine
    June 23, 2010

    anthonyK: “The fact is that your doctor/health professional is the only one whose advice you should take, for one simple reason – he or she is the only person who is legally responsible if they misadvise you, and they carry the insurance to prove it.”

    That’s good advice, AnthonyK. Ask your doctor what their malpractice premium is and then ask why is it so high.

  130. #130 augustine
    June 23, 2010

    Since the early 1980s, reported pertussis cases have been increasing, with peaks every 3-4 years; however,

    http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vac-gen/whatifstop.htm#pertussis

    What’s the matter? Has the vaccine been failing since the early ’80’s

  131. #131 a-non
    June 24, 2010

    augustine,

    You’re a disingenous twit. You lie about the effectiveness and importance of the MMR vaccine. You try to suggest that the beating death of Ignaz Semmelweis is somehow analagous to the death of Robert Mendehlson from heart disease. You basically assert that any “toxic chemical” (i.e., a drug) can’t cure a disease. Why anyone bothers to take the time to respond to your nonsensical blather is beyond me.

  132. #132 augustine
    June 24, 2010

    anon: “You lie about the effectiveness and importance of the MMR vaccine.”

    Please explain the “lie”. I’ve done no such.

    A-non: “You basically assert that any “toxic chemical” (i.e., a drug) can’t cure a disease.”

    I didn’t assert that. Toxic chemicals CAN cure diseases. They just happen to sometimes KILL the patient.

  133. #133 augustine
    June 24, 2010

    A-non: “Why anyone bothers to take the time to respond to your nonsensical blather is beyond me.”

    Not too much beyond.

    Just a little more emotion before I find that you’re not a scientist either.

    Scienceblogs: except without the scientists.

  134. #134 Chris
    June 24, 2010

    The idiot is illiterate. He seems to think I said something even though it is in blockquote preceded by the words “quoting a review” (which is in blue text, which means it is a URL link so that Little Augie could read it himself)!

    What a maroon.

  135. #135 Zetetic
    June 24, 2010

    Poor little augusitine “the not-so-incredible shrinking troll”.

    I told you before that I’ve been arguing with you because the more you post the more everyone sees through you. All you have now are more lies, diversions, and misrepresenting the positions (as your entire former post demonstrated). You still can’t honestly state your position, nor can you honestly state the position of your opponents. We’ve been asking you to make your case but you can’t even do that properly.

    I knew that you’re arguments would continue to diminish and you’d get increasingly repetitive and boring, but frankly I’m a little disappointed that you’ve been running a head of schedule. I thought that at least there would be at least another couple of week’s worth of entertainment out of you. Too bad….

    ==========================================================================================================
    augustine @ #127:
    I noticed that you still haven’t made any progress at communicating your position.

    And its 99.9999+++% not needed before ANY dose. I’ve already given reference to it’s statistics BEFORE the vaccine was widely used.

    You see? Even after we’ve already been over this you still can’t get it right.

    First of all, the vaccine protects against getting the disease in the first place, not just surviving it. Secondly, you are deliberately overstating the survival rate without the vaccine, you added an extra “9” in there. Third, you’re ignoring that the rate of harm with the vaccine is even lower than without the vaccine. (You have yet to provide credible evidence to the contrary even after weeks of trying.) Fourth, you’re still ignoring that the death rate with the vaccine is much lower than before. Fifth, you’re still ignoring the risk of harm that the infected pose to others. In summation, your position is still, irrational from a goal of trying to save lives and minimize suffering. But then you’ve indicated that those deaths don’t concern you augie.

    What Lies? You keep talking about these “Lies”.

    Lying about Brian Deer, lying about what we’ve said here so far, cherry picking from papers that go against your position, deliberately using different and incompatible statistics to try and make your case (such as trying to compare a possible rate of harm over decades and representing it as harm per year). Need I go on? It would be some what understandable to make the occasional error, but you have never admitted any of your errors or falsehoods, no matter how obvious. So why should we regard you as anything more than a liar or delusional?

    I’ve already given enough evidence for one to “refuse” the measles vaccine based on reasoning and science alone.

    If by “given enough evidence” you mean demonstrated that it’s still safer to use the vaccines than not, even when using stats weighted heavily in your favor, then there might be some truth to what you just said. The problem remains that using the MMR is still just over 2 orders of magnitude safer than getting measles just before the vaccine and doesn’t pose a risk to bystanders. Your only attempt to rescue your failed position was to try and laughably prop it up with a series of false and baseless assumptions that death rates would “somehow” just manage to continue to drop, in spite of evidence (from your own papers) that the reduction had leveled off. Sorry, augie but a baseless assumption isn’t enough “evidence”. So no, but you’ve done no such thing except in your possible self-delusions of competency.

    Now if one wants to throw in some personal ideology and propaganda, which is not science, then that is a different argument.

    The science shows that the vaccine is still safer, you have yet to refute that, in spite of your dishonest efforts to play down the MMR’s effectiveness. As to the ethics of vaccinating, I find it amusing that it’s one of the few things that you consistently keep trying to steer clear of, and that you still refuse to clearly state your position there. I also find it amusing that you refer to wanting to save lives and minimize suffering as an “ideology”.

    ————————————————————————————————————-
    Now I do have to admit that this last part had me laughing pretty hard!
    augustine still @ #127:

    Yes the 5, er, I mean 6 branches of philosphy [sic]: Metaphysics, Epistemology, Ethics, Politics, Esthetics, and Zertec’s “Scientific Methodology”

    ROFLMAO! See right there augie you just either lied again, or you showed an utter lack of mental competency (specifically comprehesion in this case).

    This is what I said back at my post #49 [emphasis added for the possibly comprehension impaired augie]:

    Actually scientific methodology has it’s basis in methodological naturalism, a branch of epistemology.

    So tell us augie are you really that ignorant about even basic philosophy, or just that dishonest? Is it really that hard for you to realize that methodological naturalism is a subsection of epistemology? Or is it that you just don’t want to admit it?

    I find it rather hysterical how you keep going on about “philosophy” when apparently you mean the sub-category of ethics, but now you’ve clearly demonstrated that you don’t even seem to know about basic philosophy or how it relates to science! LOL!

    BTW I also find you trying to use an Objectivist “Philo-101″ web site as an authority to be rather amusing.

    And you wonder why I don’t respond to the majority of your fallacious posts.

    And yet strangely you seem to never be able to point out exactly how they are fallacious in between your constant straw-man creation, cherry picking quotes, and lying about what others say. I’ve even asked you repeatedly to show exactly were I’ve made fallacious statements, yet some how you never do. Hint: augie, if you’re going to keep making the same bluff over and over, it’s a good idea to at least be able to back it up once in a while.

    Zertec- Not a scientist.

    I never claimed that I was, but I come far closer to the outlook/discipline involved in being a proper scientist than you apparently do.

    Poor little augie- Not a scientist, not a philosopher, not honest, not very ethical, certainly not a “deep” thinker, not even a entertaining troll any more. Just a poor broken record now….
    ====================================================================================================
    augustine @ #128:

    Yes we should only consider live authors to be valid. Enough of this learning from history stuff.

    I know that this may be difficult for you to understand augie, but there’s this thing called “progress”. In fact it’s one of the points of “scientific progress”. I know that it may come as a surprise to you since you like to cherry pick quotes from papers in the 1960’s, but sometime people learn new things that weren’t known before. Also, sometimes people used to believe things that they thought were true, but later were proven to be false. Like I’ve told you before, it’s why the pro-science side is open to credible evidence to change their minds, but you still haven’t provided anything. Nor have you, augie, answered yet what it take to convince you that you’re wrong.

    Lastly, it tends to support your position better if you can cite more recent, yet still credible, research.

    Maybe you, augie, can answer for us why it is that many denialists try to support their positions with works that are decades out-of-date/refuted? I’ve often wondered about that tendency. I suspect that it’s because when you’re a denialist the only way to find anything that was considered credible to support your position is to rely on outdated works.

    Ignaz Semmelweis died at 47. Maybe all of the persecution from the orthodoxy who opposed surgical handwashing took it’s toll.

    Ironic that you would bring him up since many on the the anti-vax side would refute Semmelweis’ conclusions (germ deniers in the alt-med movement) whereas the idea of germ denialism is laughable among modern medicine. BTW wasn’t it you saying that we shouldn’t be “waging war on microbes”?

    Did you get your measles, chickenpox, and HPV vaccines? It’s amazing you’re still alive.

    Some people that would have been his age aren’t since they didn’t have that opportunity, funny how you always over look that augie. Oh! That’s right…not “healthy” enough, right?
    ===================================================================================================
    augustine @ #129:

    Why is this stupid? Do tell, Chris. What might happen?

    Well augie, for starters there’s a risk of brain damage when it hits over 107.6 F (42 C). Considering the quality of your posts you’re probably already had experience with that though. Perhaps that’s why you’re so blasé about it?

    Fever
    See augie? It’s not so hard to look up something so simple.

    ===================================================================================================
    augusitine @ #130:

    That’s good advice, AnthonyK. Ask your doctor what their malpractice premium is and then ask why is it so high.

    Are you implying, augie, that listening to quacks/frauds that can’t even get insured is a wiser solution than listening to someone that has some scientific education on the subject? Of course insurance premiums can’t have anything to do with the litigiousness of modern society, and juries that don’t understand basic logic or science can it?
    ===============================================================================================
    Poor little augie, you just have nothing left but snark and lies anymore, do you? You’re not even very entertaining anymore, just boring little augie…

  136. #136 Chance Gearheart, NREMT-P/EMD
    June 24, 2010

    “Chance Gearheart, NREMT-P/EMD:

    “Really? Removing the resevouir and host of a disease from the equation isn’t based in science.”
    ———————————————————-
    As an ambulance driver I don’t expect you to know the definitions so here they are:

    Yes. Clearly, since you can use a moniker to describe my profession that hasn’t been in common use since the 1960s, you’re superior. I bow to your utter excelence and total defeat of my arguement.

    Oh wait, that was another example of the famous Augustine Hypocritical Fallacy we’ve come to love over the past few weeks. Appeal to irrelevence, anyone?

    Moving on.
    “science /sci·ence/ (si´ens)
    1. the systematic observation of natural phenomena for the purpose of discovering laws governing those phenomena.
    2. the body of knowledge accumulated by such means.scientif´ic”

    So basically, exactly what I said. The application of infection control principals is based on scientific knowledge, in fact, an elementary basis of scientific knowledge. While vaccines work in very complicated ways, the basic premise of them is based in science taught to every second grader.

    “Applied science is the practical application of scientific theory and laws.”

    Based in science? maybe. Scientific not so much. Finding the cause of a particular disease under certain circumstances is the scientific part. Applying toxic chemicals in order to try and kill that organism without killing or harming the person is less than scientific. There is no discovering a law from systematic observation here. ”

    You’re kidding me, right? Acellular Pertussus vaccine, for example, is a “Toxic Chemical”? Any vaccine, for that matter, is a “toxic chemical?” Your arguement is irrelevent in this reguard. Nice, shocking buzzwords to describe it, though. The idea that the treatment of disease isn’t a scientific process is the idea that science has stood still since the 1800s. The whole basis of treating a patient with any type of pharmaceutical is based on extensive studies on toxicity and dosing, in multiple phases – and toxicity typically follows predictable patters based on dose and accumulation.

    Which, by the way, the said effects attributed to vaccine adjuncts and compounds used in vaccines are in no way even close to the prodromes that toxicity with these components cause. A major red flag.

    “Was arsenic more or less “scientific” in 1910 when it was hailed by Erhlich as the scientific medicine to cure syphillis?

    It twas effective, though.”

    Paul Ehrlich, you mean, the father of modern autoimmunology research? Clearly, it was at the time the best option for those patients – actually, it was known to be effective since anchient times against syphilis, despite killing it’s patient when used in pure elemental form. Salvarsan, the compound he develped, was the first scientifically developed chemotherapeutic agent. It was from his research that all modern chemotherapeutic research was built on – and in fact – surpassed in the 1940s when a better and safer medication became available – Penicillin.

    “Vaccines can potentially “remove the host.”

    Wrong. In Polio, Pertussus, Diptheria, Measles, Mumps, Rubella, HIB, HBV, HPV, and N. Meningitidis, to name a few, are all diseases that are exclusively resevouired in humans, or in foamites that have come into contact with humans that are infected.

  137. #137 Coryat
    June 24, 2010

    Augustine:

    I just thought I’d mention that I’m not a scientist either, before you mention it. I have a keen interest in science though, and unlike you, I don’t display the arrogance of ignorance. I know that I know nothing, and need the advice of actual scientists and doctors (such as Orac).

    You quoted me: [i]“coryat: “The original Augustine led a life of debauchery before he became a Christian; it seems to me that you’ve just gotten drunk and not bothered with the second bit.”[/i]

    and asked:

    [b]“What does that have to do with anything?”[/b]

    My point was that your screeds are illogical and seemingly drunken spewings of words. Despite your appropriation of Augustine, you yourself seem to still be mired in debauchery.

    Now I’ve answered your question. I doubt you’ll answer, but I will try one final time.

    You posted:

    If science were philosophy. Which it’s not. (turn head to other camera).

    If science were philosophy. Which it’s not. (turn head to other camera)

    If science were philosophy. Which it’s not. (turn head to other camera)

    [b]“Then it would be Neitchze’s world. Which it’s not. Unless you BELIEVE it is.”[/b]

    You’ve mentioned (and misspelt) Nietzsche twice now. What on earth does that sentence that you wrote MEAN?

  138. #138 Coryat
    June 24, 2010

    Bleurgh, preview is my friend!

  139. #139 trrll
    June 24, 2010

    Ruru,

    The most conservative approach would be to give the vaccine at the same stage of development as for a normal infant, which would mean a bit later after birth, since that is the schedule for which there is the most evidence for safety and efficacy. But that needs to be balanced against the increased vulnerability to infection of premature babies and the importance of getting them protected as soon as practicable. Further complicating this is that the responsiveness of the immature immune system varies from vaccine to vaccine. So it’s a complicated decision that has to be made on a case-by-case basis for each vaccine

    There have been studies of this. Here’s one that is not behind a paywall:
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2853856/?tool=pubmed

  140. #140 T. Bruce McNeely
    June 24, 2010

    Must…not…answer…troll

    Aw, the hell with it. Such stupidity cannot go unchallenged.

    Bruce: “Mendelsohn had diabetes, and died of sudden cardiac arrest, probably as a result of atherosclerotic heart disease.

    Apparently Bruce doesn’t know much more than Chris except that “probably” he died from atherosclerotic heart disease. Perhaps he should have taken Crestor had it been available and then he would have lived 30 more years.

    I said “probably” because that was not stated on his death certificate (go ahead and google it). A man in his 60’s with diabetes who drops dead of cardiac arrest is about 95% likely to have died of atherosclerotic heart disease. I reserve the other 5% for less common causes such as pericarditis and pulmonary embolism.

    Bruce: “don’t know whether he rejected medical monitoring and treatment, however, given his attitude, I wouldn’t be surprised.

    Maybe he should have eaten better and exercised. Seems those have a better outcome than how much you “manage your numbers” with medications.

    Diet and exercise is not part of medical monitoring and treatment for diabetes? Maybe on your planet.

    bruce: “Too bad for him, since good medical care would potentially have given him many more years to live (if he did reject medical intervention).”

    Bruce: “BTW, he died at age 62. I will be 62 tomorrow – that really is too young to die!”

    Did you get your measles, chickenpox, and HPV vaccines? It’s amazing you’re still alive. Imagine all the people you’ve killed because you didn’t. You should be locked up.

    I missed out on those vaccines, which you would know if you had a clue. Yes, I probably did pass on measles and chicken pox when I had them as a child. Thanks to science, that doesn’t have to happen now. However, thanks to science, we get to experience trolls like you vomiting stupid all over the internet. There’s always a trade-off.
    <

  141. #141 augustine
    June 24, 2010

    Lawrence: “I’d like to hear augie’s response to the Whooping Cough Epidemic in California right now – five babies have died & over 900 other people have fallen ill with the disease.”

    I’m not worried. If you’re Latino, Lawrence, then maybe you should go and get vaccinated, but It probably won’t do any good.

  142. #142 Historygeek
    June 24, 2010

    @ augustine

    that was funny so per your diffintion all seince can offer is the finding of the wee beasty’s that cause havoc and thats it anything after is politics. if i take this further we shouldn’t bother with santiation and masquito controll because that is just a war on micobios and that is poltics man i needed a good laugh

  143. #143 Historygeek
    June 24, 2010

    @ augustine

    that was funny so per your diffintion all seince can offer is the finding of the wee beasty’s that cause havoc and thats it anything after is politics. if i take this further we shouldn’t bother with santiation and masquito controll because that is just a war on micobios and that is poltics man i needed a good laugh

  144. #144 Calli Arcale
    June 24, 2010

    I did not get the varicella vaccine, for the same reason — it was unavailable until long after my second case of chickenpox. I had had chickenpox as an infant, and so was presumed immune. I therefore agreed to babysit the neighbor kids while they had chickenpox. Easter morning, I pulled off my nightshirt to get dressed for church, and guess what I saw all over my chest — chickenpox! The achiness and headache I’d had a few days earlier weren’t just the common crud, but rather the prodromal phase of chickenpox. By this time, I had already exposed my family. My brothers came down with it a couple of weeks later, after passing it on to classmates. Some of them got pretty sick, including the gal who later was my maid of honor — she had pox right down her throat. Yep, I’m the one who introduced it to our school system. Yay.

    My kids got vaccinated against it.

  145. #145 Christina
    June 24, 2010

    It looks like this little augie fellow was raised by the Mendelsohn book. He must have lost more than a few brain cells from the untreated high fevers and doses of whiskey!

  146. #146 augustine
    June 24, 2010

    @Christina @142:

    “Prophylactic Acetaminophen Before Vaccination in Infants Reduces Vaccine Response”

    http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/710788

    “Evidence lending support to this approach is scarce; the level of fever is unrelated to the onset of convulsion, and antipyretic drugs are ineffective in prevention of benign febrile convulsion in children who are at risk.”

    http://journals.lww.com/pec-online/Abstract/2000/02000/Pediatric_emergency_department_nurses_.3.aspx

    “…the median temperature considered to be dangerous to a child was 40.6°C (105.0° F) with a range of 38.0°C (100.4° F) to 41.8°C (107.0° F). Eleven percent was not sure what temperature constituted a fever while 31% was not sure what temperature would be dangerous to a child. Fifty-seven percent considered seizures the primary danger to a febrile child while 29% stated permanent brain injury or death could occur from a high fever. Sixty percent chose acetaminophen as first line treatment while 7% stated alcohol or tepid water baths were also acceptable treatment options.

    … while 31% would not use additional medication. “

  147. #147 augustine
    June 24, 2010

    Bruce: “Diet and exercise is not part of medical monitoring and treatment for diabetes? Maybe on your planet.

    You don’t need a medical doctor to apply exercise or learn how to eat nutritiously. In fact the medical doctor is the last person I would ask about either one of those.

    bruce: “Too bad for him, since good medical care would potentially have given him many more years to live (if he did reject medical intervention).”

    Over eating healthy and exercising? Good luck in trying to prove that.

  148. #148 augustine
    June 24, 2010

    Zertec: “By all means show us where anyone here claimed, or even implied that scientific medicine is “infallible”.

    Explain to me again why the vaccine schedule is above reproach.

  149. #149 augustine
    June 24, 2010

    Coryat: “I have a keen interest in science though, and unlike you, I don’t display the arrogance of ignorance. I know that I know nothing, and need the advice of actual scientists and doctors (such as Orac).”

    So you accuse ME of displaying arrogance of ignorance yet you NEED the advice of someone who speaks in third person and suffers from a god complex? Ponder on that.

  150. #150 AnthonyK
    June 24, 2010

    Moron(s) still here?
    Why do you never learn anything? you’ve had vaccine 909 – fron experts (not me) but people who are trained and paid to give advice, and yet, you learn nothing.
    People like Ruru, who come here for advice – my advice: consult a legally responsible expert – receive it. Twits (more deroratory terms are available) who disregard this are no-brain arse-holes. Like augie, bensmyson, jen..
    I’m not an expert, i’m barely a scietist (actually not at all), but please please please only consult those who are.
    (If any of you has a problem with the behavior of your child, or how to teach them maths or English, I might be able to help – otherwise, not so much)
    augie – you’re a nasy, stupid, boring, repitive troll. Please please please FRO and do it right. And stop wanking all over our blog, you twat.

  151. #151 Coryat
    June 25, 2010

    Augustine, youq uoted me and said:

    “Coryat: “I have a keen interest in science though, and unlike you, I don’t display the arrogance of ignorance. I know that I know nothing, and need the advice of actual scientists and doctors (such as Orac).”

    So you accuse ME of displaying arrogance of ignorance yet you NEED the advice of someone who speaks in third person and suffers from a god complex? Ponder on that.”

    Your reply confused me. Now you’re claiming that because I take advice from a vastly knowledgable supercomputer entity that I’m arrogant and not you? Or something? And you still haven’t explained your weird Nietzsche obsession (not that I really expected you to) Can we at least agree you won’t mention him again?

    P.S I don’t think Orac suffers from a god-complex. I imagine he rather enjoys it.

  152. #152 Zetetic
    June 25, 2010

    Awww…now that the augie troll has been revealed as a fraud, how amusing that he/she/it/they that seems to have tought that throwing around a few words like “sequelae” and ranting about philosophy would impress us.

    Now everyone knows that augie is just another puffed up troll trying to look fierce while doing battles with his never ending army of straw-men. How amusing that for all of augie’s trying to impress us with rather vague and ignorant sounding comments on philosophy, now augie stands exposed as a fraud that apparently knows little of philosophy and apparently didn’t even now what science actually is or how it relates to philosophy! This especially amusing since even after I explained it, augie either didn’t get it, or couldn’t admit the truth.

    So with augie still shrinking down to near microscopic levels with each attempt to ignore when he/she/it/they were shown to be wrong, yet again. Well lets see what new attempts at evasion/distraction augie has offered up, may be we might get something entertaining this time?
    =========================================================================================================
    augustine @ #142:

    I’m not worried. If you’re Latino, Lawrence, then maybe you should go and get vaccinated, but It probably won’t do any good.

    Oh dear…now we apparently get racism from augie. I was wondering when that would finally enter one of augie’s posts.

  153. #153 Zetetic
    June 25, 2010

    Well aside from augie’s last racist comment at #142 let’s see what else aguie has for tonight.
    =========================================================================================================
    augustine @ #147: Demonstrates that he/she/it/they doesn’t seem to realize that finding such problems means that efforts can be taken to correct the situation, but that it still doesn’t justify abandoning vaccines since even some protection is better than none and with the appropriate changes, it becomes a non-issue.

    In other words augie seems to be engaging in more Utopian Fallacy nonsense….how very boring.

    ======================================================================================================
    augustine @ #148: Nope still nothing insightful informative or very rational for that matter. The only correct statement was that you don’t need a doctor to lean about nutrition and exercise, of course augie ignores that for some there may be additional health factors to consider when planing such a regimen (like past heart disease). But, augie avoids saying anything useful to just make another snarky and prejudiced statement about doctors (committing yet another Genetic Fallacy in the process).

    Nope…still boring.
    ===================================================================================================
    augustine @ #149:

    Explain to me again why the vaccine schedule is above reproach.

    Nicely done augie!

    A non sequitur and a straw-man both in the same sentence! Way to maximize the number of fallacies you commit in the fewest words possible! I’ve got to give you points for at least being efficient in your fallacies!

    I never said that, not to mention that “above reproach” is a typically vague way for you to word things, since science is open to new evidence. Also it’s off the point of my comment.

    What has been said by others is that the current vaccine schedule has been tested and developed to try and maximize the effectiveness of vaccines over the course of the child’s life. Factors such as what diseases are most likely to be contracted, and at what age are part of the considerations involved. So far there is no credible scientific evidence of harm from the schedule, but it is subject to revision as new factors, evidence, and new vaccines become available. That’s how science works, but then you’d know that if you actually knew anything about science, instead of pretending that you do.

    Care to show us any credible scientific evidence that the current schedule cases harm? So far you’ve failed to show such harm even with just the MMR, but we’d like to see any such data as long as it’s credible.

    =========================================================================================================
    augustine @ #150:

    So you accuse ME of displaying arrogance of ignorance yet you NEED the advice of someone who speaks in third person and suffers from a god complex? Ponder on that.

    Impressive…. augie is still committing multiple fallacies in the same sentence.

    First of all “arrogance of ignorance” doesn’t refer to taking advice from others. Verdict= non sequitur, again.

    Next, two straw-men. Apparently augie’s favorite form of fallacy since he/she/it/they commit so many of them, seriously I stopped even trying to count them a long time ago. Everyone knows that “ORAC” is just a persona adopted for the sake of entertainment on the blog, but augie is apparently so stupid (or is just lying again) that he/she/it/they claims that others here take it seriously, even though that had already been pointed out to augie a long time ago. The second straw-man is the claim that Coryat “NEEDS” the input of “ORAC”, care to show evidence to back up your baseless assertion there augie?

    So augie…have you been pondering how science relates to methodological naturalism and how it therefore relates to epistemology?
    =====================================================================================================

    Nope….augie is still just getting more and more boring, the only thing that changed is the increasing output of fallacies as augie runs out of material.

  154. #154 Todd W.
    June 25, 2010

    @Zetetic

    I think there’s also ad hominem/poisoning the well bit with the “god complex” phrase (not to mention that “speaking in third person” apparently invalidates a person’s statements, according to augie). Granted, it’s against Orac, rather than Coryat, but points, I guess, for multiple targets for his fallacies.

  155. #155 augustine
    June 25, 2010

    Coryat: “Now you’re claiming that because I take advice from a vastly knowledgable supercomputer entity that I’m arrogant and not you?”

    Yes, you must be confused because the supercomputer entity you speak of can not give advice. Only the programmer can give advice via the computer. In this case it’s not really a computer at all but a fictional idea of a computer infected with a human virus of the d. gorski family.

  156. #156 Zetetic
    June 26, 2010

    @ Todd W.
    Good point.

    Also, isn’t it interesting how augie hasn’t commented on the implied racism in his/her post at #142? I find it especially interesting since, in one of the other threads, augie claims that future outbreaks won’t be as bad since most of the anti-vaxers are more affluent than during a past measles outbreak.

    I guess Jenny McCarthy and J.B. Handley forgot to send the memo to all of the people infected that they aren’t supposed to be getting sick, and that their babies aren’t supposed to be dying. How terrible of them to let poor little augie down like that.

    ===============================================================================================
    @ augie:
    [sarc]
    But hey augie it doesn’t matter that herd immunity broke down enough that 5 babies died (so far), right? After all herd immunity is just a “minority objection”, right?
    [/sarc]

  157. #157 augustine
    June 27, 2010

    Zertec: “Also, isn’t it interesting how augie hasn’t commented on the implied racism in his/her post at #142?”

    Because only Zertec implied it. That’s why. Race baiting he is of course. You’re small time, Zertec. And one of the lesser thinkers of the cult.

  158. #158 Setar
    June 27, 2010

    @86
    And, as a result, the language has changed and the title “doctor” is now generally reserved for those with a medical or research doctorate (generally medical). Your argument is really just a long appeal to tradition that reeks of projection when you call physicians arrogant =/

  159. #159 David N. Andrews M. Ed., C. P. S. E.
    June 27, 2010

    Jacques Hughes: “Apologies, that should obviously been BSc (Hons) Chem, and not Ba(Hons) Chem. That would make it alchemy. Oh, wait……”

    Actually, most UK universities award a B. Sc. (Hons) degree in chemistry but – for some strange reason – Oxford and Cambridge do not: they offer the Bachelor of Arts as the first degree, regardless of the line of study you take in any of their respective constituent colleges… and allow a one-final-fee upgrade to Master of Arts when your degree has aged by about seven terms, or something like that. Cambridge awards no B. Sc. degree at all, but Oxford does… it’s a post-graduate award, given upon successful completion of about one year of research training. I don’t think it’s awarded with any honours classification. Friend of mine graduated from Oxford with a B. A. (Hons) in physics, and I thought that a bit weird at first.

    Also – at first – the Open University’s primary degree was a B. A. (Hons) but this was changed as a policy and now the OU awards the B. Sc. (with or without honours – you get to choose!).

    I gather that the US universities allow the award of B. A. degrees in subjects usually seen as sciences, with the view that the distinction is to do with the amount of study time involved in rigorous scientific method (anyone remember the David Geier kerfuffle some years ago?), and that the degree would be a good foundation for science journalism and a rather poor one for going into research. That distinction I can actually understand… and I find the behaviour of the Ox-bridge lot a tad ‘odd’ on this issue… because the impression of ‘alchemy’ does kinda come through with a B. A. (Hons) in chemistry!

  160. #160 David N. Andrews M. Ed., C. P. S. E.
    June 27, 2010

    Regarding Drive-By’s comment (and several others that came after)….

    Andrew J. Wakefield M. B., B. S., F. R. C. S., F. R. C. Path. is indeed not a ‘Doctor’ by virtue of any academic degree. The title ‘doctor’ is afforded by tradition to those who satisfy the requirements of the medical curriculum in most countries where the UK higher education system has been in place for some time. Even graduate entry (with a bachelor degree in, say, biochemistry or some other life science) leads only to the same degrees (Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery; awarded conjointly), albeit after a shorter period of training.

    The reason for the traditional title of ‘doctor’ being afforded to medical practitioners is that, in the middle ages, the qualification professed by many quacks was ‘Doctor of Physic’ … whether or not they had attended a medical school. This may also be tied in with the fact that many people in Britain will refer to a properly-trained medical practitioner as a ‘quack’.

    In Finland, where I live, the tradition of calling someone a ‘doctor’ (‘tohtori‘) if they have medical training has only recently come about. The basic qualification is Licenciate in Medical Science (‘lääketieteen lisenssiaatti‘), a degree named one step higher than its actual level (reflecting the amount of study required to achieve it; it is pitched at the same level as a Finnish master’s degree, or ‘maisteri‘). The title ‘doctor’ is usually reserved for those who have completed a doctoral degree (‘tohtorin tutkinto‘). The Finnish refer to a medical practitioner by the old slang term ‘lääkäri‘… which is now the official title. This title seems to be a loan word from Swedish (a fennicisation of the word ‘läkare‘).

    So, instead of saying that we’re going to see the doctor… we say that we’re going to see the medic.

    My aunt qualified in medicine & surgery (M. B., B. S.), and she knows my attitude towards calling anyone ‘doctor’ if they haven’t got a degree certificate that says ‘Doctor of … ‘ on it. So I don’t refer to her as a doctor, but rather as a medical practitioner. She has no issue with this. Her hubby, OTOH, would be very fucked off if I said he wasn’t a ‘doctor’ because he is in fact a Doctor of Medicine on the basis of a successfully defended thesis.

  161. #161 Zetetic
    June 28, 2010

    augustine @ #158:

    Because only Zertec implied it. That’s why. Race baiting he is of course.

    I’m race baiting? That’s funny since you’re the one that stated that only Latinos need to worry about whooping cough, in spite of hundreds having been infected, and having shut down a school were more than a dozen cases were reported.

    So tell us augie, why do you think that the whooping cough will only infect the Latino population specifically? Really, I’d like to read why the virus apparently only infects Latinos, according to you.

    Also, didn’t you already say that this couldn’t happen since anti-vaxers are so affluent? It seems that you objected to my pointing out that you were making some rather substantial assumptions when you made that claim.

    It must be annoying for you how reality tends to consistently refute your dogma (assuming that you’re not just putting on an act).

  162. #162 Zetetic
    June 28, 2010

    still at augustine @ # 158:
    It occurred to me (after my post at #162) that you’ll probably try and weasel out of your position by claiming that you only meant that out of those infected by whooping cough, that only the Latinos would have to worry about the infection.

    Setting aside for the moment the stupidity of such a position (assuming for the moment that you’ll claim the above is what you meant instead), since every race/culture that can get whooping cough has good reason to worry about it, it brings up another question. If you mean that only the Latinos among the infected have reason to worry, again the question is “why”?

    Poverty? Nope, there are plenty of other poor among other races/ethnic groups in the Southern California area. Why don’t they have to worry? Also, what about Latinos that aren’t poor, should they have to worry? Access to medical care? Same problems with the rationalization. Maybe you think that all Latinos only interact with other Latinos? Nope, not true.

    So please augie, by all meas give us a good reason why only Latinos need to “worry” about the Whooping Cough. I’m curious to hear your rationalization for such a statement.

  163. #163 Calli Arcale
    June 28, 2010

    Zetetic @ 154:

    A non sequitur and a straw-man both in the same sentence! Way to maximize the number of fallacies you commit in the fewest words possible! I’ve got to give you points for at least being efficient in your fallacies!

    I reminded of a lovely quote from Babylon 5:
    “Ah, arrogance and stupidity all in the same package. How efficient of you!”
    — Londo Mollari

    augustine @ 156:

    Yes, you must be confused because the supercomputer entity you speak of can not give advice. Only the programmer can give advice via the computer.

    I see you understand computers as well as you understand medicine. If all computers did was regurgitate what their programmers told them, there would be no need for debuggers, and software configuration managers such as myself would be out of a job.

  164. #164 David N. Andrews M. Ed., C. P. S. E.
    June 28, 2010

    StThomas: “Oh, and surgeons, when they pass exams to become Members of one of the Royal Colleges of Surgeons, drop the style of Dr and use Mr in an act of reverse snobbery that goes back to when they were barbers. Except for ENT Surgeons in Edinburgh, and Ophthalmologists in Scotland. Some of them.” (my italics)

    The fact that surgeons do indeed drop the title ‘Doctor’ and adopt the title ‘Mister’ (at least, the male ones!) is not actually a ‘reverse snobbery’, although it does relate to the history of surgeons and the relationship of surgery to barbering: before the medical profession incorporated surgery into its sphere of influence, surgeons were members of the Company of Barber-Surgeons upon qualifying. And, since this profession did not carry a traditional title of ‘doctor’, and since the profession was an all-male preserve, they took the normal title of ‘Mr’.

    Initially, surgeons had belonged to the Fellowship of Surgeons and then (after amalgamation with the Company of Barbers) the Company of Barber-Surgeons. Eventually, the surgeons withdrew from this arrangement to form the Company of Surgeons, eventually getting the Company chartered in 1800 as the Royal College of Surgeons of England.

    Training for this profession was based outside of the universities (as was much of the training in medicine, whose practitioners usually held a Licence of either the Royal College of Physicians or the Society of Apothecaries – the latter of which examined for the Licenciate in Medicine and Surgery of the Society of Apothecaries or LMSSA).

    The Society of Apothecaries no longer awards its Licence in Medicine and Surgery, and the external examinations for the Royal College of Physicians is also no longer awarded: instead, the latter sets the syllabus for the medical curricula of the medical schools in the UK. I’m not sure if the Society of Apothecaries has any input into this matter but I suspect not.

    At some point, a requirement was made that surgeons should first be medically trained, and this put an end to the way in which surgeons were trained previously: instead of being apprenticed to a trade, they were now students of a professional discipline, and this was being reflected in the role of the Royal College of Surgeons. At the universities, medicine was not really a course of study until relatively recently (that is in the history of medical education): it was initially offered as training in hospital medical schools, and it is these schools that became attached to universities when the universities took on the role of teaching for examinations set by the Royal Colleges (and, initially, the Society of Apothecaries).

    However, upon passing the examinations, Licenciates were given in medicine or in surgery (or, in the case of those gaining the LMSSA, both). None of these actually entitled anyone to the title of ‘Doctor’ (see my previous post on this matter). Eventually, if one – having taken the appropriate qualifications in medicine and (in) surgery – wished to practise surgery, he would then adopt the title ‘Mr’ as opposed to ‘Dr’ (which was still not officially available to medical practitioners, either, but which they eventually took anyway).

    The point here is this: surgeons have never been called ‘Dr’. It has always been ‘Mr’ (until women began to qualify). In essence, the ‘snobbery’ has been on the part of the medical fraternity who – given the separateness of the respective Royal Colleges – do not see themselves as having anything in common with surgeons – except for their training at the basic level.

    Phew – finally got there.

    Breathe a sign of relief, folks – David’s going to restart his computer.

  165. #165 David N. Andrews M. Ed., C. P. S .E.
    June 28, 2010

    Breathe a sigh of relief, folks – David’s going to restart his computer.

    Computer delaying things too much – processor at full capacity and most of RAM clogged up. Result: loss of quick enough monitoring of keyboard input.

  166. #166 Zetetic
    June 29, 2010

    @ Calli Arcale:
    Ah! Good old B5.

    They did have some good one-liners in that series.

    :-)

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