Respectful Insolence

Remember Boyd Haley?

He’s the Professor and former Chairman of the Department of Chemistry at the University of Kentucky whose formerly respectable career tanked because he fell into pseudoscience. For whatever reason, a while back he became enamored first of dental amalgam quackery to the point where he became involved in organizations like Consumers for Dental Choice (a.k.a. “Toxic Teeth“), whose expressed raison d’etre is to “work to abolish mercury dental fillings”). From that position, he promoted the idea that mercury-containing dental amalgams are horrifically toxic, helping to spread the idea that amalgams cause all sorts of chronic diseases and that the way to treat these diseases is to remove these mercury-containing amalgams. Never mind that there is a very long history of safety and no good evidence that amalgams cause the various chronic health problems attributed to the. To Boyd Haley, amalgams are pure evil in your mouth.

From there, it wasn’t much of a stretch at all for Haley to move on to the equally dubious contention that mercury in the thimerosal preservative that used to be in many childhood vaccines is the cause of the “autism epidemic.” It wasn’t too surprising that he would ultimately degenerate to the point where he became, as Peter Bowditch put it, the “darling of both the anti-vaccination liars and the anti-amalgam loons.” If you want an idea of just how far down the rabbit hole Haley has gone since his days as a legitimate scientists, consider that last month he spoke at the recent pathetic anti-vaccine rally in Grant Park in Chicago at which a truly awful band known as The Refusers played (and Andrew Wakefield sang along). It’s pretty hard for scientists to fall much farther than that, unless they end up running a stem cell clinic in Costa Rica or, even worse, writing original material for Mike Adams or Whale.to.

Oh, wait. He might as well be.

When last we left Boyd Haley, he had just been written up by Chicago Tribune reporter Trine Tsouderos in a story revealing how he had been selling an industrial chelator as a “supplement” to parents who had been pumping their autistic children full of it as part of “autism biomed” treatments to “recover” their children. At the time, I marveled at the sheer chutzpah of Haley’s action. There he was, openly selling an industrial chelator as a supplement without any sort of adequate testing and a “wink, wink, nudge, nudge” insinuation that it would chelate that nasty mercury (from vaccines, of course!) away. Now, Haley’s finally getting into the trouble he so richly deserves, as Trine Tsouderos reports in her followup to her original article, FDA warns maker of product used as alternative autism treatment: OSR#1 is not a dietary supplement but a toxic, unapproved drug with serious potential side effects, FDA warns:

A product promoted to parents of children with autism is not a harmless dietary supplement, as claimed, but a toxic unapproved drug that lacks adequate warnings about potential side effects, including hair loss and abnormalities of the pancreas, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has warned in a letter to its maker.

The FDA’s June 17 letter to Boyd Haley, a retired Kentucky chemist and hero to the autism recovery movement, details five violations of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act related to his product, OSR#1. Failing to correct such violations can result in fines, seizure of products and even criminal prosecution.

Haley has 15 business days from receipt of the letter to respond. Personally, because it contains an excellent description of everything that is wrong with what Haley’s doing, I think it’s worth quoting the warning letter to Boyd Haley from the FDA in its entirety:

June 17, 2010

VIA UNITED PARCEL SERVICE

WARNING LETTER CIN-10-107927-14

Boyd E. Haley, President
CTI Science, Inc.
2430 Palumbo Drive, Suite 140
Lexington, Kentucky 40509

Dear Mr. Haley:

This letter concerns your firm’s marketing of the product OSR#1 on your website, www.ctiscience.com.This product is marketed in violation of provisions of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (the Act) as described below.

Your firm markets OSR#l as a dietary supplement; however, this product does not meet the definition of a dietary supplement in section 201(ff) of the Act, 21 U.S.C. § 321(ff). To be a dietary supplement, a product must, among other things, “bear[ ] or contain[ ] one or more … dietary ingredients” as defined in section 201(ff)(1) of the Act, 21 U.S.C.§ 321(ff)(1). Section 201 (ff)(1) of the Act defines “dietary ingredient” as a vitamin, mineral, amino acid, herb or other botanical, or dietary substance for use by man to supplement the diet by increasing the total dietary intake, or a concentrate, metabolite, constituent, extract or combination of any dietary ingredient from the preceding categories. The only substance listed as a dietary ingredient on the labeling of OSR#1 is N1,N3-bis(2-mercaptoethyl)isophthalamide. N1,N3-bis(2mercaptoethyl) isophthalamide is not a vitamin, mineral, amino acid, herb or other botanical, or dietary substance for use by man to supplement the diet by increasing the total dietary intake. Further, N1,N3-bis(2-mercaptoethyl)isophthalamide is not a concentrate, metabolite, constituent, extract or combination of any such dietary ingredient. Thus, because OSR#1 does not bear or contain a dietary ingredient as defined in section 201(ff)(1) of the Act, this product does not qualify as a dietary supplement under section 201(ff) of the Act.

Your website includes claims such as the following:

  • “OSR#1® … helps maintain a healthy glutathione level.”
  • “Both OSR#1® and glutathione scavenge free radicals, allowing the body to maintain its own natural detoxifying capacity.”

The claims listed above make clear that OSR#1 is intended to affect the structure or any function of the body of man or other animals. Accordingly, OSR#l is a drug under section 201(g)(1) of the Act, 21 U.S.C. § 321(g)(1). Disclaimers on your website, such as “OSR#l® is not a drug and no claim is made by CTI Science that OSR#1® can diagnose, treat or cure any illness or disease,” do not alter the fact that the above claims cause your product to be a drug.

Moreover, this product is a new drug, as defined by section 201(p) of the Act, 21 U.S.C. § 321(p), because it is not generally recognized as safe and effective for use under the conditions prescribed, recommended, or suggested in its labeling. Under sections 301(d) and 505(a) of the Act, 21 U.S.C. §§ 331(d) and 355(a), a new drug may not be introduced or delivered for introduction into interstate commerce unless an FDA-approved application is in effect for it. Your sale of OSR#1 without an approved application violates these provisions of the Act.

Your website includes the following statements: “Thyroid conditions, hypertension, and diabetes: Because thyroid conditions, hypertension, and diabetes have been associated with low glutathione levels …” and “OSR#1® … helps maintain a healthy glutathione level.” These statements suggest that OSR#1 is intended for use in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease. Because thyroid conditions, hypertension, and diabetes are not amenable to self-diagnosis and treatment by individuals who are not medical practitioners, adequate directions cannot be written so that a layman can use it safely for its intended uses. Thus, OSR#1′s labeling fails to bear adequate directions for its intended uses, causing it to be misbranded under section 502(f)(1) of the Act, 21 U.S.C. § 352(f)(1). OSR#1 is not exempt under 21 C.F.R. §§ 201.100(c)(2) and 201.115 from the requirement that its labeling bear adequate directions for use because OSR#1 lacks an approved application.

Additionally, under section 502(a) of the Act, 21 U.S.C. § 352(a), a drug is misbranded if its labeling is false or misleading in any particular. Section 201(n) of the Act, 21 U.S.C. § 321(n), provides that, “in determining whether a drug’s labeling or advertising is misleading, there shall be taken into account (among other things) not only representations made or suggested … but also the extent to which the labeling or advertising fails to reveal facts material in light of such representations ….” Your website states that” [s]ome reports of temporary diarrhea, constipation, minor headaches have been reported but these are rare and the actual causes are unknown,” as well as “OSR#1 is without detectable toxicity” and “OSR#1® … has not exhibited any detectable toxic effects even at exceptionally high exposure levels.” However, animal studies that you conducted found various side effects to be associated with OSR#1 use, including, but not limited to, soiling of the anogenital area, alopecia on the lower trunk, back and legs, a dark substance on lower trunk and anogenital area, abnormalities of the pancreas, and lymphoid hyperplasia. Based on these animal studies and side effects known to be associated with chelating products that have a similar mechanism of action to OSR#1, we believe the use of your product has the potential to cause side effects, and the before-mentioned website statements falsely assert that the product does not have the potential to cause side effects. Therefore, these statements render your product’s labeling false or misleading. As such, OSR#1 is misbranded under section 502(a) of the Act, 21 U.S.C. § 352(a).

Because the labeling does not warn consumers of the above-mentioned potential for side effects, the product OSR#1 is also misbranded under section 502(f)(2) of the Act, 21 U.S.C. § 352(f)(2), in that the labeling lacks adequate warnings for the protection of users. The introduction or delivery for introduction into interstate commerce of this misbranded drug violates section 301(a) of the Act, 21 U.S.C. §§ 331(a).

The issues and violations cited in this letter are not intended to be an all-inclusive statement of violations that exist in connection with your product. You are responsible for investigating and determining the causes of the violations identified above and for preventing their recurrence or the occurrence of other violations. It is your responsibility to ensure that your firm complies with all requirements of federal law and FDA regulations. In this regard, please note that products are misbranded under section 502(j) of the Act, 21 U.S.C. § 352(j) if they are dangerous to health when used in the dosage or manner; or with the frequency or duration prescribed, recommended, or suggested in the products’ labeling.

You should take prompt action to correct the violations cited in this letter. Failure to promptly correct these violations may result in legal action, without further notice, including, without limitation, seizure and injunction. Other federal agencies may take this Warning Letter into account when considering the award of contracts.

Within fifteen working days of receipt of this letter, please notify this office in writing of the specific steps that you have taken to correct violations. Include an explanation of each step being taken to prevent the recurrence of violations, as well as copies of related documentation. If you cannot complete corrective action within fifteen working days, state the reason for the delay and the time within which you will complete the correction. Furthermore, please advise this office what actions you will take to address product that you have already distributed. Additionally, if another firm manufactures the product identified above, your reply should include the name and address of the manufacturer. If the firm from which you receive the product is not the manufacturer, please include the name of your supplier in addition to the manufacturer. Address your reply to the Food and Drug Administration, 6751 Steger Drive, Cincinnati, Ohio 45237, Attention: Stephen J. Rabe, Compliance Officer.

A description of the new drug approval process can be found on FDA’s internet website at http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/DevelopmentApprovalProcess/HowDrugsareDevelopedandApproved/ApprovalApplications/NewDrugApplicationNDA/default.htm. Any questions you may have regarding this process should be directed to the Food and Drug Administration, Division of Drug Information, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, 10903 New Hampshire Avenue, Silver Spring, Maryland 20993.
Sincerely,
/s/

Teresa C. Thompson
Cincinnati District

I could never understand how people like Boyd Haley can get away with making claims that this chelator is perfectly safe. I always suspected that it coulsd have potentially serious side effects. After all, any chemical that is as powerful a chelator as OSR#1 is is virtually bound to have at least the potential for serious side effects. Even worse, apparently Haley completely downplayed results that he knew about indicating that the drug could cause in experimental animals soiling (nothing like a little anal seepage to brighten up your day), alopecia (hair loss), and lymphoid hyperplasia. No doubt Haley will represent lymphoid hyperplasia as “evidence” that OSR#1 is revving up the immune system, but in reality one always has to worry about whether such hyperplasia is potentially premalignant if it becomes chronic. Of course, every chemical is basically “toxicity-free” if you don’t bother–oh, you know–to actually look for toxicity or if you minimize any evidence of toxicity that you find in your preclinical testing. Perhaps that’s how on its website CTI can actually describe OSR#1 as “a toxicity free, lipid soluble antioxidant dietary supplement that helps maintain a healthy glutathione level.”

Of note, the usual suspects over at Generation Rescue and Age of Autism have been promoting OSR#1 relentlessly for over a year now. For example, a year and a half ago, AoA was hawking something called the CTI Science Foundation with the purpose of allowing families to experience the wonders of OSR#1 regardless of their ability to pay for the chelator. It would be a wonderful thing if they were paying for science-based treatments or for support for the parents of autistic children, but that’s not what the CTI Science Foundation is about. It’s about providing OSR#1. Given that Founding members included AoA regulars such as Katie Wright, Julie Obradovic, and Jenny McCarthy’s “co-author” Dr. Jerry Kartzinel, it’s not at all surprising that AoA has been promoting OSR#1 for quite a while now, with posts by some of their luminaries such as Kim Stagliano, who wrote a post entitled Unlock Your Health with OSR, The Powerful Antioxidant From CTI Science. Most hilariously, last fall AoA published a post entitled CTI Science’s OSR1 Boosts ORAC Score Better than Acai and other Touted Foods.

Let me just be very clear: Orac has nothing to do with unproven, dubious supplements like OSR1 and would never give such an unproven chemical to children, autistic or neurotpyical. Orac has morals and follows research ethics, unsuccessful attempts to slime him as otherwise by the certain reality-challenged youth contingent of the vaccine-autism contingent notwithstanding. Before a chemical like OSR#1 can be given to children, a lot more preclinical evidence for both safety and efficacy is required. It’s not there for OSR#1.

There, now that that’s clear, let’s move on.

Of course, while I’m now apparently Satan Incarnate among the AoA commenter crowd, the irony is not lost on me how this very same crowd can contort language into pretzels of pseudoscience and logical fallacies so compact that they threaten to form black holes of stupid that suck every last bit of intelligence and science out of our solar system. This same crowd would go on to do the same to the universe if given the opportunity. Don’t believe me? Just read the comments after AoA’s response to Tsouderos’ article. Unfortunately, this time around, most of the responses boil down to, in essence, “now 50,000 people will know about OSR1!” and “Trine Tsouderos is a poopy head.” Meanwhile, real scientists, as opposed to scientists who have lost their way and descended into what is, in my opinion, promoting quackery, are appalled, as Tsouderos reports:

“It would be hard to imagine anything worse,” said Ellen Silbergeld, an expert in environmental health who is studying mercury and autism at Johns Hopkins University’s Bloomberg School of Public Health. “An industrial chemical known to be toxic — his own incomplete testing indicates it is toxic. It has no record of any therapeutic aspect of it, and it is being marketed for use in children.”

And:

“Anything might be a cure for anything else, but the odds are it will do nothing and it might very well be toxic,” said Richard Mailman, a neuropharmacologist at Penn State University. “That is why drug discovery and development is so expensive.”

Careful and rigorous scientists and physicians involved in drug development do adequate testing of their candidate compounds that they propose to use as a drug. This testing is rigorous, long, and expensive. Even then, there are sometimes adverse reactions that are not detected until the drug is approved and taken by much larger numbers of people than are possible to test pre-release. Imagine the sorts of harm that could occur if drugs like OSR#1–and make no mistake, OSR#1 is a drug–were released “in the wild,” so to speak, with only minimal pre-clinical testing and so little human testing that it’s the functional equivalent of none at all.

Another aspect of this whole incident is that it highlights the problems with the DSHEA of 1994, which in essence exempts dietary supplements from regulation as long as they don’t make claims that are too specific. The DSHEA is the very reason that Haley tortured logic, science, and reason to try to represent an industrial chemical as a “natural dietary supplement,” aided and abetted by the anti-vaccine movement. I would argue that the DSHEA is the reason that Haley got away with it for so long. The FDA’s hands were tied until it could nail Haley for making claims to treat specific diseases and misrepresenting the drug’s safety profile. While it’s true that a warning letter doesn’t represent proof that Haley did all this, the listing of evidence in the letter his highly compelling. I can’t wait to see Haley try to respond.

Finally, the case of Boyd Haley demonstrates about as well as is possible the utter hypocrisy of the anti-vaccine movement. They lambaste and castigate any of their perceived enemies for “conflicts of interest” and unethical behavior, whether there is a COI or unethical behavior being completely irrelevant to the character assassination that is the purpose of these charges; yet when one of their own engages in appallingly unethical and, according to the FDA, illegal behavior, they circle the wagons and attack the messenger. The same thing happened with Andrew Wakefield and Mark and David Geier. You just have to remember that this isn’t about ethics. It’s about war. The anti-vaccine movement views itself as being at war–at war with the pharmaceutical companies, at war with the government, at war with physicians, at war with scientists. They’re only partially correct. They are at war with science and medicine. Unfortunately, they’re also on the wrong side of that war.

Other commentary:

  1. FDA To Haley: OSR#1 A Misbranded, Mislabeled, Unsafe Drug by the ever-intrepid Kathleen Seidel. Also included is a linkfest to all her previous extensive detailed work on the topic.
  2. FDA Issues warning letter on “OSR”
  3. FDA warns maker of OSR #1, dietary supplement for autistic children is a “toxic” “drug”
  4. Supporters of OSR #1, “drug” given to autistic children, see FDA warning as no big deal
  5. FDA Steps Up to the Plate on OSR#1
  6. AoA: Come On, He’s A Nice Guy! The FDA is Mean and So Are You!
  7. FDA says diet supplements must be edible

Comments

  1. #1 Otto
    June 25, 2010

    You miserable cad, the Tribune comments clearly state that “My vaccine injured son has taken OSR and the improvements have been astounding…. He says ‘OSR makes my body quiet and I feel great.’”

  2. #2 Jeff
    June 25, 2010

    Another aspect of this whole incident is that it highlights the problems with the DSHEA of 1994, which in essence exempts dietary supplements from regulation as long as they don’t make claims that are too specific.

    This is an innacurate statement about DSHEA. According to the FDA’s letter, the marketing of OSR#1 violated the New Dietary Ingredient regulations of DSHEA. Any product containing a new dietary ingredient must be pre-approved by the FDA before being marketed as a dietary supplement. Boyd Haley did file a NDI application with the FDA. The agency rejected Haley’s application because:

    1) ORS#1 does not meet FDA’s definition of a dietary ingredient
    2) Haley did not provide the FDA with sufficient evidence that OSR#1 is safe.

    Haley also violated certain provisions of Federal drug laws, so the FDA could have taken action at any time regardless of DSHEA. The fact remains that under the NDI regs of DSHEA OSR#1 was always an illegal product.

    Given how long this product has been on the market, the real problem continues to be FDA’s lax enforcement of existing laws.

  3. #3 RobsterFCD
    June 25, 2010

    Otto, Do you know what the plural of anecdote is?
    Hint, it isn’t data.

  4. #4 Lawence
    June 25, 2010

    I don’t think Otto was being serious….though it can be hard to sort out the tone of some of these posts (of course, others are fairly simple).

    One particular poster here has gone on and on about logic is his/her arguments. In this particular case, how logical is it to give a child an industrial chemical that has received no actually scientific testing for its “stated” purpose & on the other hand, has been shown to be extremely toxic and has serious, proven side-effects?

    But, I’m sure no one on the anti-vaccination side is working with “profit” in mind, of course they are all atruistic martyrs, right? These people are the horrible.

  5. #5 solius
    June 25, 2010

    Boyd E. Haley, President
    CTI Science, Inc.
    2430 Palumbo Drive, Suite 140
    Lexington, Kentucky 40509

    Perhaps. a straw man, but…

    A noted chemist whose office is in a warehouse district???

    Maybe, the rent is cheap.

  6. #6 sophia8
    June 25, 2010

    Some of the kids having their health destroyed by this chemical must be teenagers, able to think for themselves. I forsee a damm great class action in somebody’s future…..

  7. #7 DLC
    June 25, 2010

    “You Cad” ?
    Otto, you gotta be joking, right ?
    or is it 1880, all of a sudden ?
    What next, going to call Orac a bounder?
    A Rotter ? A gul -durn carpetbagger?

    And… I wouldn’t sell sugar pills to kids, let alone industrial grade chelator.

  8. #8 Sili, The Unknown Virgin
    June 25, 2010

    The plural of anecdote is data, but anyway Otto is making a funny – note the “miserable cad”.

  9. #9 Kathleen Seidel
    June 25, 2010

    I’m curious to know how much money Haley has made from OSR since he began selling the stuff two years ago, and whether that money could be seized as ill-gotten gains from illegal drug sales. You know, just like they do to other gangsters.

  10. #10 daedalus2u
    June 25, 2010

    The plural of anecdote is datum, a singular event, data of extremely limited statistical power (that is if the anecdote it actually done and reported accurately). When one applies the information provided by anecdotes to a problem using Bayesian statistics, they provide a tiny nudge in the direction of the anecdote. The nudge is positive but small and of indeterminate magnitude.

    It is unfortunate that many people take an anecdote as having negative value; that an idea that is plausible with no data, just from first principles becomes less plausible if in addition to the theoretical plausibility there are anecdotes supporting it. This attitude is completely non-scientific and is just as bad as using anecdotes to “prove” something is correct. Anecdotes don’t have the statistical power or rigor to “prove” anything positive or negative. They are ok for hypothesis generation, for generating questions that can be answered with more rigorous work.

  11. #11 Todd W.
    June 25, 2010

    Thanks for sharing this, Orac. After I heard about this in a few different places, I decided to subscribe to FDA’s mailing list, including warning letters. I had a surprisingly extended back-and-forth about OSR#1 with some of the AoA regulars on a thread over there, but never received any decent answers. Not even Kim Stagliano bothered much to answer, other than to warn that the comments were off-topic (which, admittedly, they were and acknowledged in a post that never appeared).

    @Jeff

    As to FDA taking such a long time, I agree that they need to step up enforcement, though I also understand the extreme magnitude of their job; they have an incredibly large number of products to keep tabs on, all while being one of the least-funded agencies in the government. They need to receive more money to expand their workforce, preferably money from Congress, rather than filing fees paid by industry.

  12. #12 The Domestic Goddess
    June 25, 2010

    So let me get this straight. They don’t want to give their children tested, proven vaccines but they’ll give them untested, unproven, potentially dangerous industrial chemicals. Makes perfect sense to me.

    Yes, my children are vaccinated. No, I don’t think it caused either one of them to be autistic (we have a very strong family. As in, ridiculous. As in people would want to study us). And, even if vaccines did indeed cause autism? I’d rather have an autistic child than a child dead from a preventable disease. Why people think that autism is some gosh-awful, feared disease is beyond me. And I’ve got one of the severe ones. See me whining and complaining? No. I’m just a parent trying to do the best with what I have to raise my kids.

  13. #13 MikeMa
    June 25, 2010

    Some form of brain compartmentalization has to be taking place with this. In one mental pocket, you rail and rail against toxins. In another you feed toxic chelators to your kid. In another you blame vaccines without proof for all manner of illnesses. In another you revere a man who lied, falsified research, had massive COIs, and developed a vaccine. If this keeps up, their heads are going to explode.

  14. #14 Todd W.
    June 25, 2010

    @MikeMa

    Or, more briefly, cognitive dissonance.

  15. #15 MikeMa
    June 25, 2010

    @Todd W,
    Yeah, dissonance is right but not as much fun as hammering the points yet again.

  16. #16 Dangerous Bacon
    June 25, 2010

    Orac refers to Boyd Haley’s “formerly respectable career (which) tanked because he fell into pseudoscience”.

    I was curious – does this refer to Haley’s reputation among his peers, or to actual career consequences resulting from his embrace of woo?

    Apparently he still has a (?tenured) faculty position at the University of Kentucky with research interests beyond the chelating of children with autism. Have his autism/dental amalgam-related activities had any tangible detrimental effects on his career?

  17. #17 superdave
    June 25, 2010

    OSR#1 is obviously dangerous and stupid to give to kids. But even if everything about it was kosher, why would you need to give it to a kid more than once or twice. Once he has had the heavy metals chelated, there is no real reason to do it again. Unless you believe that your child is constantly being exposed to mercury and has inadequate mercury excretion ability on his own.

    I have actually seen posts on AoA where parents imply both of these things. There is simply no truth which can get in the way of their reality distortion fields.
    They take a dangerous supplement to help fix an injury that never happened and keep taking it to help remove mercury that isn’t there because the child has a deficiency that doesn’t exist.

  18. #18 wfjag
    June 25, 2010

    @ Kathleen Seidel
    “I’m curious to know how much money Haley has made from OSR since he began selling the stuff two years ago, and whether that money could be seized as ill-gotten gains from illegal drug sales. You know, just like they do to other gangsters.”

    Given your experience with the legal system, I’m surprised at your continuing faith in it.

    A few comparisons:

    The possibility of cadmium exposure at levels lower than that considered unsafe, due to possible ingestion by drinking, the source of such cadmium being in paint on outside of the glasses, results in the Consumer Products Safety Commission issuing a voluntary recall notice a couple of weeks after the promotional item is released, see http://www.cpsc.gov/onsafety/2010/06/shrek-glasses-recalled-due-to-cadmium-risk/ which recall McDonald’s carries out at the cost of several $Millions. see, McDonald’s Recalls ‘Shrek’ Glasses (June 4, 2010) http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704764404575285812243788750.html .

    As to OSR#1, it takes the FDA some 2 years to issue a warning letter. No recall, injunction or other action by any government agency appears imminent.

    Meanwhile, the Center for Science in the Public Interest is going to sue McDonald’s over toys in its Hapless Meals on the theory that parents can’t say “No” to their children. see, McDonald’s Faces Happy Meals’ Lawsuit (June 23, 2010) http://www.latimes.com/news/health/sns-health-mcdonalds-happy-meal-lawsuits,0,1457303.story

    No reports of possible suits related to OSR#1 are reported.

    The cynic in me suspects that the legal theory known as “find a deep pocket defendant” is in play.

    But, there may be more than one means to defur the feline.

    One could note that Prof. Haley’s company touts that OSR#1 has the highest “ORAC” score — higher even than chocolate. I’d think that Orac may be entitled to compensation. After all, the “Naked Cowboy” who hangs out in Times Square says that he’s entitled to a franchise fee from the “Naked Cowgirl”, see NYC Naked Cowboy to Naked Cowgirl: Stop copying me (June 22, 2010) http://www.dailycomet.com/article/20100622/APA/1006220721?Title=NYC-Naked-Cowboy-to-Naked-Cowgirl-Stop-copying-me . To me, if getting naked is now an intellectual property right entitling some guy in Times Square to $500 per month from everyone who indulges in that pasttime (or, who only wants to reserve the right to do sometime), then “Orac” should receive compensation from some one who represents that he’s better than chocolate.

    I mean, how many things are better than chocolate? That’s quite a claim while using his name. And, such a claim is valuable.

  19. #19 Denice Walter
    June 25, 2010

    In early 2009, someone,whose name momentarily escapes me,wrote presciently about the coming “bad year” for anti-vaccinationists:it was, and 2010 has proved to be even worse and the damage has extended beyond that narrow, but highly significant area.If I didn’t know better,it would *almost* appear as though there is a *concerted*,sustained effort by a coterie of like-minded opponents of pseudoscience, working tirelessly to overturn dodgy research and over-enthusiastic self-taught “experts”.Each victory is also grist for the conspiracy mills,churning away in near-unison.Fortunately,as the conspiracy grows exponentially to explain more events,its potential audience shrinks proportionately.

  20. #20 Broken Link
    June 25, 2010

    Dangerous Bacon,
    If you click on Haley’s link to “our group’s publications” you’ll see the list ends in the late 1990′s. I believe Haley is emeritus.

  21. #21 Mike Mike
    June 25, 2010

    This is madness. It’s incredible to me that people who must be smart and capable (to some degree) can buy into this crap.

    What density of anti-vaccine parents will we need before polio becomes endemic among their children?

  22. #22 Kristen
    June 25, 2010

    when one of their own engages in appallingly unethical and, according to the FDA, illegal behavior, they circle the wagons and attack the messenger. The same thing happened with Andrew Wakefield and Mark and David Geier. You just have to remember that this isn’t about ethics. It’s about war.

    I just wanted to add, this isn’t about their children either. They simply can’t be thinking about the welfare of their children and give the children such an unsafe chemical.

    I am even more protective of my autistic son than my daughters because he can’t always tell me when something is wrong. Were he to have a drug reaction, he wouldn’t understand what was happening to him. It is hard for me to fathom the mentality of parents who are willing to do anything (safe or otherwise) to “cure” their children. They will do anything aside from accepting their child’s condition.

    Goddess,

    I’d rather have an autistic child than a child dead from a preventable disease. Why people think that autism is some gosh-awful, feared disease is beyond me.

    I am with you. To me my son is just my son. I feel like when one decides to become a parent one signs up for bad and good. Whether it be my first son dying of a fatal birth defect, or my second son having autism. I do, however prefer the living autistic son. Go figure.

    Dave that is super,

    They take a dangerous supplement to help fix an injury that never happened and keep taking it to help remove mercury that isn’t there because the child has a deficiency that doesn’t exist.

    Just thought that phrase was awesome enough to be necessitate repetition.

    Most heartbreaking of all, infants (who are too young for the vaccine)* are dying of a vaccine preventable disease in California. This is all just a diversion from the real issue. Vaccination is vitally important to public health.

    *Que a dickhead troll pointing out that these deaths don’t count since they were Latino babies.

  23. #23 Nescio
    June 25, 2010

    One of the most convincing pieces of research (among many) I have seen that demonstrates the safety of mercury amalgam fillings is this one. Children with amalgam fillings excrete an average of 1.6 µg Hg per gram of creatinine in their urine, children without amalgam fillings an average of 1.4 µg Hg per gram of creatinine. It seems to me this shows that children ingest a significant amount of mercury independent of amalgam fillings (or vaccines for that matter). Mercury is in our food, in the air from burning fossil fuels, and in the soil. I guess that is why some parents have been chelating their children for years, with seemingly no end to the mercury that “comes out of them”.

    As for OSR, it is surely far more dangerous than thimerosal in vaccines, in terms of the risk of known or unknown short or long term side effects. Quite how parents who are giving this to their children assess risk is beyond me.

  24. #24 Rene Najera
    June 25, 2010

    Oh, yes, they are at war. I wish they only tried to talk this issue to death, but they’re taking action. As more and more of them stop immunizing, the whole damn thing is in peril. By “whole damn thing”, I mean THE WHOLE DAMN THING. Earth. Humanity.Reason.

    Again, I am reminded of the Ninja Turtles:
    Leonardo – “Shredder, you gotta listen to reason, you’re going to destroy us all!”
    Shredder – “Then so be it!”

    Shredder then proceeds to bring down the dock and the buildings above it, killing himself.

  25. #25 Vicki
    June 25, 2010

    Kristen @21:

    I think those parents are focusing on a very narrow idea of what their children “should” be, rather than on who their children actually are. It’s the same distorted thinking that leads parents to beat gay children and then throw them out on the street. Sure, they might wish that their kids were neurotypical and heterosexual–but that should be on the same level of “it would be nice” as wishing that the kid was valedictorian, or star of the football team, or had perfect pitch and could sing professionally. None of those are things parents should demand, or torture their children to try to make them live up to.

    I’m not saying it’s easy. Parenting is important work, and sometimes difficult. From what you’ve posted here, you’re doing that work, and doing it well. Not everyone can let go of expectations, can see that even if they would have liked a star quarterback or someone to take over the family electronics business, the child they have is there, is who s/he is, and someone they can and do love.

  26. #26 Ian
    June 25, 2010

    This is completely off-topic, but a friend just sent me this link to a blog about a girl who is chronicling her cancer treatment here in my home city of Vancouver. Those of us who are interested in cancer patient experiences (and maybe why some people resort to woo) should take a look at this – it’s moving stuff.

    Oh, and autism and vaccines, chelators, amalgam. Yeah! (Thread-jackery narrowly avoided through extreme smokescreen-y cleverness!)

  27. #27 Sastra
    June 25, 2010

    MikeMa wrote:

    Some form of brain compartmentalization has to be taking place with this. In one mental pocket, you rail and rail against toxins. In another you feed toxic chelators to your kid.

    One of the characteristic traits of the scientific method is that it should not matter who comes up with the theory, who does the experiment, or why they do it. It doesn’t matter what the scientist’s attitude is, or whether they are sinful, or in a state of grace — not if they are honest when it comes to following procedures.

    Science specifically evolved to assume, and then eliminate bias. It trusts no one. The focus is on the objective process, not the subjective person. If you do the same thing, you will get the same results. Nature doesn’t “care” about people, so that results differ depending on who is “worthy” or not.

    Unscientific thinking tends to reject this. People matter more than method, and intention provides the clue to where you should put your trust. If a pharmaceutical company feeds toxins to kids, their intent is bad, and so it will cause harm. If a Brave Maverick Doctor feeds toxins to kids, his intent is good, so there will be no harm. It’s like reading a story. The good guys don’t need the careful scrutiny, the checks and balances, you put on the bad guys.

    They’re consistent in trusting the good guys, and not trusting the bad guys. They think science – and nature — do the same.

  28. #28 jen
    June 25, 2010

    yeah, and while you’re at it you should be onto that,like, chemo thing. As someone else mentioned, I heard it can cause hair loss and burns. Oh yeah, and it’s like so fitting that, like, the FDA (which is a totally cool and upstanding regulatory body) would be coming down on OSR. OMG! and wow, what a surprise that Johns Hopkins and the NIMH (Dr’s Silbergeld and Halsey, no strangers to the vaccine world) have pulled the plug on the mercury chelation study. That Tribune sure is on the ball! See:

    http://www.alexa.com./siteinfo/chicagotribune.com#

    Orac, you and your partnership with [university redacted] Sanofi-Aventis/Pasteur (second largest vaccine manufacturer) is, like, totally a surprise too. I doubt you will print this. I double dare you to.

  29. #29 Mu
    June 25, 2010

    Looking at google scholar, the only stuff Haley published after 1999 is mercury related, in such prime journals as Medical Veritas and International Journal of Toxicology. How he staid department head until 2005 without doing any research I don’t know, he officially retired in 2008. But his academic career was over at age 60, very early for a tenured faculty. So DB, I think Orac is correct to classify it as “tanked”.

  30. #30 Seb30
    June 25, 2010

    @ Sastra 26

    “They’re consistent in trusting the good guys, and not trusting the bad guys.”

    Very good analysis.
    I should remember this. I tend too easily to write off anti-vaxers as stupid, where it’s more about who they trust.

    And as in the best stories, some of the perceived good guys are not that good, and even if their goals are noble, they will cause harm.
    If all bad guys in the real world could call themselves something like Wormtongue or Dark Helmet, life would be easier.
    Sadly, there is no good guys and bad guys, only bad guys. Simply, there are not all working on the same side.
    Figuring out which side is the good one is the tricky part.

  31. #31 Jud
    June 25, 2010

    Further to #28, there’s been an excellent 5-part NY Times series on the Dunning-Kruger effect. The effect is that folks who know little don’t realize just how ignorant they are, so they self-assess as smart, while those who know a great deal are painfully aware of how much they have yet to learn, so self-assess much more critically.

    Along with ignorance and the resulting inflated self-assessment come (1) a corresponding lack of respect for “experts,” since the ignorant believe they know all the important stuff and a contrary conclusion is therefore just a contrary opinion; and (2) an inability to critically assess the competence of others, so there is no way to spot a scam artist’s lack of relevant knowledge.

    Thus folks who don’t have the background (and who may therefore be concerned about being taken advantage of) are ironically fertile soil for others pushing conspiracy theories all about what “They don’t want you to know.”

    Sounds distressingly familiar in the context of “I’m selling you the cure-all Big Pharma doesn’t want you to have!”, doesn’t it?

  32. #32 Amenhotepstein
    June 25, 2010

    Whoa! Check out THIS graph on the CTI “Science” home page:

    https://www.ctiscience.com/CTIScience/images/orac-scores.png

    Betcha they didn’t really wanna be the woo that Orac “scores” the most points on…heh heh

  33. #33 David N. Brown
    June 25, 2010

    Lessons:

    “Natural” OSR with known harmful side effects= Good
    Natural squalene with no known side effects= Bad

    Disgraced researcher struck off for ethics violations= Good
    Respected researcher with a vaccine patent= Bad

    Advertising dollars from poorly-regulated compounding pharmacies= Good
    Grants from successful “Big Pharma” co= Bad

    Poor illegal immigrants killed by preventable disease= good
    Rich white people diagnosed with autism= bad

  34. #34 Cattleprod
    June 25, 2010

    We should start a class action against Haley. Can someone list the names of what must be thousands of people who have had a serious reaction to OSR. While we’re at it, let’s get Wakefield to. Can someone post the thousands of names of parents who have issued complaints against him. What! We can’t find a single person for either? Luckily, we have thimerosal (ethylmercuric chloride) as an antidote for OSR! Let’s do some science also. Orac, you take 100 mg of thimerosal and I’ll take 100 mg of OSR (like I have everday for the last 1.5 years).

  35. #35 Todd W.
    June 25, 2010

    @Cattleprod

    How about we just start by showing the clinical trials that support the safety of OSR#1 as used in humans.

  36. #36 Poogles
    June 25, 2010

    “I tend too easily to write off anti-vaxers as stupid, where it’s more about who they trust.”

    I think this is an important point. As someone who used to be anti-vacc, I think that this is a large part of it. I remember when the lightbulb went on for me and I realized that it’s about the data itself not the person presenting it.

  37. #37 JohnV
    June 25, 2010

    Cattleprod were you this stupid before the OSR treatment or is it a new development?

  38. #38 Jud
    June 25, 2010

    Cattleprod writes:

    I’ll take 100 mg of OSR (like I have every day for the last 1.5 years).

    And you take that much OSR because…you gargle thermometers for a living?

  39. #39 D. C. Sessions
    June 25, 2010

    Orac, you and your partnership with Sanofi-Aventis/Pasteur (second largest vaccine manufacturer) is, like, totally a surprise too. I doubt you will print this. I double dare you to.

    Jen’s record remains unbroken.

  40. #40 Todd W.
    June 25, 2010

    @Cattleprod

    One other thing. Whether thimerosal has adequate clinical trials or not says absolutely nothing about OSR#1. If you make a claim that “thimerosal was not properly tested, therefore OSR#1 is fine (or doesn’t need testing)”, you’re engaging in logical fallacy. The evidence for OSR#1 should stand or fall on its own merits.

  41. #41 Todd W.
    June 25, 2010

    @D. C. Sessions

    Apparently, prolonged exposure to AoA’s Flavor Aid turns one into a valley girl. As evidence, I present the “like, totally new and stuff” jen.

  42. #42 Smarter Than You
    June 25, 2010

    “oh I am so smart, OSR is so toxic”…haha this is laughable compared to “pumping children full of one of the biggest neurotoxins on the planet known as mercury”. Get a clue you morons!!!

  43. #43 Travis
    June 25, 2010

    Has jen been drinking? What a weird post.

    Does she seriously not understand that knowing that a drug can be harmful and understanding the risks and side effects is different than having no idea what the side effects are, or having any information about how dangerous it is? Also, chemotherapy is used for something that could kill you, so most people are willing to accept some risk.

    And does anyone know what that Sanofi-Aventis/Pasteur reference is all about?

  44. #44 augustine
    June 25, 2010

    Poogles :”As someone who used to be anti-vacc, I think that this is a large part of it. I remember when the lightbulb went on for me and I realized that it’s about the data itself not the person presenting it.”

    Same here. Except, I used to be “pro-vax”. I too remember looking at the data and realizing something isn’t right here. Somebody’s not being entirely truthful. Turns out a lot of propaganda is used when selling mass vaccination.

    “Science is built up of facts, as a house is with stones. But a collection of facts is no more a science than a heap of stones is a house.” -Henri Poincare

  45. #45 D. C. Sessions
    June 25, 2010

    And does anyone know what that Sanofi-Aventis/Pasteur reference is all about?

    The university where Orac’s Super-Sekrit Identity works has received some funding from S-A/P, although not for his lab or department. Thus, by the Transitive Property of Pharma Shill Contamination, Orac is a complete slave to all of the members of Big Pharma, unable to think a single thought or type a single word without their approval.

  46. #46 Travis
    June 25, 2010

    Smarter Than You, you have been around here long enough to get a clue yourself. You should know by now that the mercury discussed in reference to vaccines is ethylmercury, it is not bioaccumulative, and that the toxicity is different than other forms of mercury. The distinction is important. Also, the doses are very small. And dose does matter.

  47. #47 JohnV
    June 25, 2010

    Somehow I missed jen’s wonderful comments. Sadly, I predict this is only the first of many idiot anti-vax people posting stupid comments about “Sanofi-Aventis/Pasteur” and Orac’s funding. This is because they’ll take at face value the comments of a deceitful Jake Crosby and completely ignore what Orac himself said about it.

    Which is hard to believe, because its not like anti-vaxxers have a track record of ignoring the truth because they’d rather believe some random jerk on the internet.

  48. #48 Ian
    June 25, 2010

    Oh goody, STY is back. How’s the groundbreaking revolutionary publication going? Clearly, working on it hasn’t made you any more coherent or logical. Ah well, I guess them’s the breaks.

    @Travis – Jake Crosby posted an “exposé” of Orac’s “friend’s” ties to S-A over at AoA. Apparently because he works at a university that, like all universities, gets partial research funding from a pharmaceutical company, he is therefore inextricably linked to Big Pharma. Doesn’t matter that his research has nothing to do with autism or vaccines, and that he doesn’t get any money from the pharmaceutical companies, and has no reasonable expectation to receive any in the future… none of that is important. Jen has decided to live up to her usual level of cognitive function and quote an article that has been thoroughly debunked both here and on several other blogs.

  49. #49 raven
    June 25, 2010

    Chelation therapy for autism has killed several people, including some young children.

    google search:

    Kids Chelat™ Chelator
    http://www.evenbetternow.com Use Kids Chelat™ to chelate heavy metals from your child. Proven safe Google Checkout

    Search ResultsBoy with autism dies after chelation therapy – Autism: The Hidden …
    Aug 25, 2005 … Boy with autism dies after chelation therapy. 5-year-old was receiving controversial treatment in doctor’s office …

    FWIW, when I typed a quick search into google, the google ads gave me a number of links to buy chelators for my autistic children. Looks like the FDA is bailing out an ocean with a tea spoon.

  50. #50 Todd W.
    June 25, 2010

    @Travis

    jen is regurgitating a bunch of nonsense over at Age of Autism. I have a post on it (well, mostly on the comments) over at Silenced by Age of Autism. You see, jen reads something over at Age of Autism and, rather than think critically about it, swallows it whole and then spews it out over here, as if what she says had any actual scientific merit.

  51. #51 Travis
    June 25, 2010

    Hmm, interesting. I cannot stomach AoA and Jake any longer so I rarely read what is going on over there. I definitely missed that. Couldn’t a silly, non-link like that just as easily be made to some of the anti-vax heroes? They must be part of the conspiracy as well.

  52. #52 Travis
    June 25, 2010

    Thanks for all the answers about my question. I should have said that before.

    I just reread jen’s comment. I love the little part about her daring Orac to post it. Does she still not notice how little moderation actually goes on here?

  53. #53 Todd W.
    June 25, 2010

    @Travis

    I just reread jen’s comment. I love the little part about her daring Orac to post it. Does she still not notice how little moderation actually goes on here?

    Well, she has been thoroughly steeped in the AoA culture, where censorship moderation is the norm, so it’s not surprising that she would think that the “enemy” would suppress her comment.

  54. #54 Travis
    June 25, 2010

    But she has been here for a long time, I would have thought their might be some basic pattern recognition available that would allow her to notice that almost everything gets posted eventually.

  55. #55 Dangerous Bacon
    June 25, 2010

    “The university where Orac’s Super-Sekrit Identity works has received some funding from S-A/P, although not for his lab or department. Thus, by the Transitive Property of Pharma Shill Contamination, Orac is a complete slave to all of the members of Big Pharma, unable to think a single thought or type a single word without their approval.”

    Plus the contamination spills over into the comments, meaning everyone here who makes pro-science statements is in thrall to Big Pharmavax.

    I love being in thrall. Gives me goose bumps, it does.

  56. #56 Travis
    June 25, 2010

    I am a grad student and just started working with a company, in a collaborative fashion, that makes instruments that pharmaceutical do use. I guess that means I am now doubly tainted after commenting on here.

  57. #57 Travis
    June 25, 2010

    pharmaceutical companies I mean. *sigh*

  58. #58 Joseph
    June 25, 2010

    Can someone list the names of what must be thousands of people who have had a serious reaction to OSR. While we’re at it, let’s get Wakefield to.

    In mailing lists, and in the Omnibus Hearings, you will find parents who report adverse effects from chelation therapy. However, you’ll never see them file lawsuits against the snake-oil peddlers. The reasons for that should be fairly obvious. For one, they’d have to admit making a huge mistake and endangering children themselves.

  59. #59 MI Dawn
    June 25, 2010

    @Ian and Travis: If you read Science Based Medicine, you will also learn that (gasp!) Orac’s Sooper Sekrit Identity (hereby known as SSI) person is doing research using medicines!. In fact, he’s using a drug that some other person found really cool uses for, and he’s investigating its possible use as an adjunct drug for breast cancer treatment.

    BUT, like many other drugs, it has other uses, and is being investigated for use in people who have obsessive-compulsive disorder, including (wait for it…….) children with autism! Even though children with autism are just one small subgroup of the main investigative group, this means that anyone using the drug is in the pockets of Big Pharma.

    So therefore, Orac is in the pockets of Big Pharma even though he knew nothing about the drug being investigated for this other use. He also does not get the drug for free. Really, if I was going to be a Pharma Shill, I would at least insist that I get the damn drug for free. Research money is tight and getting the drug for free would help a lot.

    (Man, as this thread goes on, I become happier that I killfiled STY a long time ago. May just do that to ‘jen’ too; it’s sad to think my Canadian relatives could have embarrassing neighbors like her.)

  60. #60 Ian
    June 25, 2010

    What’s interesting is that jen’s post was held up for moderation, and then allowed to go through. It popped into existence between two comments that were sequential earlier in the day. I don’t know if I’m the only person who checks these things obsessively frequently enough to notice that kind of stuff…

  61. #61 Travis
    June 25, 2010

    MI Dawn, I sadly run into Canadians like her on a fairly regular basis. I wish we had fewer of them but woo is fairly strong here.

  62. #62 Orac
    June 25, 2010

    In all fairness to jen, I did redact the name of my university. Not that it’s hard to find or anything, but I saw no reason why I should make it so easy that even STY could find it.

  63. #63 jre
    June 25, 2010

    It is worthy of note that this warning letter was posted on FDA’s site very quickly. There could be any of several reasons for this, but it is quite likely that FDA wants to shut this operation down right away. The nature of the complaint is such that Boyd Haley will have no choice but to stop shipping OSR#1. Given the risk to public health, the sooner that happens, the better.

  64. #64 D. C. Sessions
    June 25, 2010

    I would have thought their might be some basic pattern recognition available that would allow her to notice that almost everything gets posted eventually.

    If she were vulnerable to cognitive dissonance, she wouldn’t be the Jen we know, eh?

  65. #65 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    June 25, 2010

    Jen,

    Did you read the letter from the FDA? They said:

    - you call it a supplement, but it’s not by any legal definition of the word supplement.
    - you say it’s not a drug, but you claim it does things drugs do. Therefore you’re selling it as a drug.
    - if you’re going to sell it as a drug, you need to follow the rules that prove safety and effectiveness. You also need to follow the rules about informing people of the possible side effects.
    - please stop these clear violations of the rules.

    Chemotherapy drugs (as I understand it) went through a process of proving them to be effective and safe (with a particular meaning of the word safe). They do have side effects; some are pretty nasty. Those side effects are spelled out and disclosed to the doctors and the patients.

    So I’m unclear on why you think it’s so wrong for the FDA to “come down on OSR” for not following the rules, but you think they should come down on chemotherapy drug manufacturers who did.

  66. #66 bensmyson
    June 25, 2010

    First of all the FDA sent this letter via UPS instead of the US Postal Service. Exactly how accountable is this agency?

    OK secondly, does OSR#1 remove heavy metals or not?

    Last, didnt the FDA come down on Cheerios for making a claim that the cereal was good for your heart?

  67. #67 Ian
    June 25, 2010

    @65

    1 – I’m really not sure how that is relevant. My work uses Purolator as a courier service rather than Canada Post, even though we are technically a government agency. Does that impair the quality of our research findings in any way?

    2 – That is a bad question. First of all, it assumes that removing heavy metals from autistic children is useful. The literature is pretty clear that autism is not mercury damage; they don’t even look similar. Secondly, it doesn’t take into account that it may not be safe for use in humans. Rusty nails have lots of iron in them, but I wouldn’t recommend eating them as a treatment for anemia.

    3 – I’m not sure what the regulations are in the U.S., but Health Canada has cracked down similarly on consumer product health claims. General Mills is not, for example, allowed to say that eating Cheerios reduces your risk of heart attack. What they are allowed to say is that a diet with lots of fibre lowers your cholesterol, and that Cheerios is a good source of fibre (or something along those lines). There is a rigorous process that products must go through in order to be allowed to make specific health claims, and if they haven’t undergone that process there are legitimate grounds for restricting what you can say about them.

  68. #68 David N. Brown
    June 25, 2010

    @42:
    “Sty” posted pretty much the same comment at LBRB earlier today. Apparently, he’s spamming through blogs rather than giving us the benefit of his conversation.

  69. #69 Ian
    June 25, 2010

    Another link, this one more on-topic:

    One is Enough

    This is a woman’s plea to have people vaccinate, since losing her child to pertussis. I kind of want to lock Sid Offit in a room with her, give her a spiked bat, and paint a target on Sid’s scrotum. Luckily, I have no way to make that happen (and in all probability wouldn’t stand for it if I did have the means).

  70. #70 jen
    June 25, 2010

    MI Dawn, what’s really sad is how the kids are getting screwed out of any fair look at this issue. I do have to credit Orac for not screening out my post.

  71. #71 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    June 25, 2010

    @65 – @bensmyson

    I think Ian addressed your points 1 and three very well. One additional comment on point 2.

    In the letter from the FDA it says:

    “OSR#1® … helps maintain a healthy glutathione level.”

    “Both OSR#1® and glutathione scavenge free radicals, allowing the body to maintain its own natural detoxifying capacity.

    Is there any proper (in the FDA meaning of the term) study you’re aware of that was done to prove these claims? If so, I would think the manufacturer would provide them to the FDA and clear this up.

    And my question back to you: had some Large Pharmaceutical Company sold the exact same product using the exact same claims and with the exact same level of proof of safety and efficacy, would you defend them as well?

  72. #72 raven
    June 25, 2010

    OK secondly, does OSR#1 remove heavy metals or not?

    Who knows? That is what research is for. Doesn’t look like much of any has been done for this chemical.

    Several children have died from chelator therapy. That “research” was done the hard way.

    And lastly, why does it matter whether these chelators remove heavy metals or not? Scientists have looked hard for any connection between autism and heavy metals. It isn’t there, they have nothing to do with autism.
    As the kooks always forget, thimerosal was removed from vaccines years ago. Didn’t make a damn bit of difference in the occurrence of autism.

  73. #73 MikeMa
    June 25, 2010

    jen,
    Kids are getting protected from the unknown dangers presented by an inadequately tested agent. They are being cheated by their parents searching for ways to fix them when they are not broken.

  74. #74 bensmyson
    June 25, 2010

    Raven – Several children died? From OSR#1? Really?

    It is my understanding that pediatricians chelate children when their heavy metal levels are extremely high, lead, mercury, antimony, uranium, arsenic, etc can be toxic and wreck a child. Does heavy metal cause serious health issues in children? Yes. Is there another way of removing these toxins?

  75. #75 Clayton
    June 25, 2010

    As a shill for big supplement. I make my living selling pills.

    I support science. Science is what discovered treatments for berri berri, pellagra, xerophthalmia, scurvy etc. Science is what determined correct levels of calcium for women to consume at a young age to reduce the risk of osteoporosis. It is an awesome process, AND I LOVE IT!! I also respect all the work pharmaceutical researchers do to treat illness. I detest woo, DETEST IT.

    Oral chelators make no sense. How do you make sure it doesn’t chelate out all the metal ions known as electrolytes, unless the OSR is designed to bind to only mercury. Which I am not willing todo research on tonight.

    And Ethyl mercury is as different from methyl mercury as Proanthocyanidins or cyanocobalamin are from hydrogen cyanide or potassium cyanide.

  76. #76 Omri
    June 25, 2010

    I’ll save you the trouble, Clayton. One of the big problems with mercury (and lead, cadmium, and others) is that they bind to the same proteins and related molecules as calcium, magnesium, et cetera. If nature could provide us with chelators that only bound mercury, evolution would have provided us with similar molecules that only bound the electolytes you put in your pills. No such luck either way, but at least you can take pride from knowing that if you’re pushing calcium pills, you are alleviating lead exposure in your customers. (Saturate the body with calcium, and the lead ions have a harder time butting in.)

  77. #77 clayton
    June 25, 2010

    I was being a little facetious.
    I recently dived head first into the calcium debate (marketing hype vs reality: calcium carbonate is a rock so therefore it doesn’t work and this calcified zooplankton is superior). What I found was amazing. Mostly in that for all the the major essential minerals there is a negative feedback system in the enterocyte. Calbindin DK9 binds to calcium at the enterocyte blah blah blah. However some minerals need a alkaline environment, other need an acidic environment; Iron and calcium have similar and hugely different pathways. Trivalent cations by their nature are body excludes them ( evolutionary processes I imagine). Magnesium also has a separate protein that binds to it from calcium. So OSR has hypothetical oral uses, but it sounds like in reality it is shite.

    My experience with the users and purveyors of such shit (I refuse to call them goods) have hope in the face of a wall of evidence. And their fear/hope carries the day. You can’t talk them out of it. I’ve tried. Just like the people who think that Disodum EDTA will prevent heart disease. Facts matter not. Blah. Long day, need to buy prosecco and eat salmon with my lovely….

    Keep up the good work ORAC!

  78. #78 TemporarilyAnonymous
    June 25, 2010

    I’m so glad this wave of quackery on autistic kids is finally receding. I have several friends with kids who are full blown autistic. I’m Aspie, or mildly autistic, or “on the spectrum” or whatever term du jour, so I know my own progeny will likely be autistic. But so far fate has not inflicted this hardship on me. No, instead I’ve been “lucky” to father a son whose lungs were malformed and who lived only for a few hours in my arms.

    Funny how of all of the friends I have with autistic kids, not one envies me. I guess I’m good at only befriending people who are not drama queens, for whom a normal child is a wonderful blessing and an autistic child is also one, and not a Cross-I-Must-Bear, Oh-Woe-Is-Me.

    And yes, parents who give their kids OSR deserve to be mocked this way. OSR does not occur in nature. For millions of years, no human being ingested it. Yet this Healy calls it a dietary supplement. Any parent who sees that and still feeds his kid this substance has got to be seriously messed up in the head.

    It gets enraging. I seriously want to come up to one of these and ask “so, your kid’s autistic? Mine’s dead. Want to trade? I’ll take care of your child, you take care of my child’s grave? How’s that sound?” These people should realize that their actions aren’t just eliciting debunkings and mockery. There is rage coming their way if they don’t stop endangering the lives of their kids.

  79. #79 augustine
    June 25, 2010

    Temporarily insane, slightly retarded:
    “It gets enraging. I seriously want to come up to one of these and ask “so, your kid’s autistic? Mine’s dead. Want to trade? I’ll take care of your child, you take care of my child’s grave? How’s that sound?” These people should realize that their actions aren’t just eliciting debunkings and mockery. There is rage coming their way if they don’t stop endangering the lives of their kids.”

    Is this a new trend? Recently dx aspies taking up for pro forced mass vaccination in the name of autism? Do you newly dx aspies even know what “spectrum” even means?

  80. #80 Chris
    June 25, 2010

    Temporarily Anonymous, you have something in common with Kristen. There is no way I could ever know what it is like to be in your shoes.

    My son was hospitalized several times before his third birthday, and then there were the ten years of speech/language therapy (along with the special ed, and it is still ongoing even now that he is an adult). My experience pales in comparison to losing a child, which must leave a huge hole in your heart.

    The anti-vaxers have no idea. (one of son’s hospitalizations was from rotavirus, he had seizures due to dehydration)

  81. #81 superdave
    June 26, 2010

    why do these people always act like vaccines are just mercury vials with needles attached. They entirely discount the vaccine part of the vaccine. This aside from the fact that most of the mercury has been removed anyway.

    OSR1 on the the other hand isn’t just an ingredient of an otherwise useful drug, it is the drug, and it’s effects are unknown.

  82. #82 Ian MacGregor
    June 26, 2010

    We don’t use any of the CAM therapies because they are unproven and in some cases dangerous. However autism is a disorder for which effective mitigation treatments need to developed and a cure sought. If one’s child has a fractured leg, you obtain treatment for it. You don’t consider your child to be broken, just his leg.

    If your child has autism there’s a strong chance he suffers from improper synapse formation. In other words his brain is broken. Not he child himself, but his brain. Unlike with his leg we cannot repair this damage. I don’t know if we ever will be, but I certainly hope so.

  83. #83 Andreas Johansson
    June 26, 2010

    I’m probably bad, but everytime I read “Pumping autistic children full of an industrial chelator” my brain appends “for fun and profit”.

  84. #84 bensmyson
    June 26, 2010

    @75
    TA said, “It gets enraging. I seriously want to come up to one of these and ask “so, your kid’s autistic? Mine’s dead. Want to trade? I’ll take care of your child, you take care of my child’s grave? How’s that sound?” These people should realize that their actions aren’t just eliciting debunkings and mockery. There is rage coming their way if they don’t stop endangering the lives of their kids.”

    I believe the rage is already here. Too bad your son died tragically in the hospital. Sad imagery of you holding him as he died. Im assuming he was a preemie because his lungs werent formed correctly. Its awful how this happens all too frequently. You ever tried to look into the cause? Think about trying again?

    TA one more thing, I know you think its a cake walk to raise and care for a child with autism, after all you yourself believe that you have an ASD, but some do have some serious issues. Trading is not an option, but Im sure if you were so inclined, you could do some respite work with the familles of children diagnosed with autism. Spend some time with these kids, hold them, get to know the parents, some will tell you that their child was taken from them and replaced, they too grieve a loss of a child they held and played with for a year, 18 months, a child they cherished tremendously. Is this feeling of loss real or imagined? Im sure it was/is as real as your loss as you got to know your son for 60 minutes. I doubt then that there is anything worth trading, at least people understand your pain and you can take flowers to your son’s grave.

  85. #85 saç ekimi
    June 26, 2010

    Hi all;
    Why does the inside of the human skull have really sharp blades of bone sticking out? Seems like there should be evolutionary pressures against it.

    Are chromosomes in a cell, all linked together in one long chain, or are they free floating seperate pieces?
    Mary lou…

  86. #86 Kristen
    June 26, 2010

    Temp @75

    I am so sorry for your loss. You have articulated (as have others on these threads in the past) exactly how I feel. I also have a dead son (my first), and one who is autistic. I also have two neuro-typical daughters and one adopted daughter. They are all wonderful, but my autistic son will always be my son, my only son and the love of my life.

    I wish you all the best in recovering from this horrible loss.

  87. #87 han
    June 26, 2010

    I should know better by now than to be shocked by the callousness of augustine or bensmyson, but good christ, you guys are assholes.

  88. #88 clayton
    June 26, 2010

    @augustine 79

    Nice 100% ad hominem attack. I wonder if you have the courage to say that to their face? It goes to prove you don’t have data on OSR and you can’t refute what TA said. The fact that you would call them names, and dismiss them since their views don’t fall lock step with yours goes to show how little ground you actually have to stand on. You are like a dog backed into a corner, but you put yourself there, didn’t you?

  89. #89 storkdok
    June 26, 2010

    Kim “Orac in a skirt” Wombles (so designated by one of the AoA tribe) wrote a great post on why bensmyson and the other “true believers” will never change their false belief systems.

    A Good Reminder of Why the Science Moves them Not

    http://networkedblogsdotcom/5cKzH

  90. #90 storkdok
    June 26, 2010

    @TempAnon

    I am so very sorry for your loss. I, like Kristen, cannot possibly imagine the pain of losing a child. My autistic son was never “lost”. He never disappeared. He’s a wonderful, unique, 9 year old that I am so grateful for every single day. Sure, we have our challenges, but my son is learning so much every day, and is blossoming! And I’ve learned way more from him than he has learned from me!

    I really don’t understand why people think they “own” their children and can do anything they think is right to them. It’s like they never have gotten past pre-19th century ethics and morals when all women and children were considered chattel. Giving OSR to a child is just like denying a child insulin for their diabetes because the parents are sure it will be cured by prayer.

  91. #91 T. Bruce McNeely
    June 26, 2010

    @augustine 79:

    What a little shit you are.

  92. #92 augustine
    June 26, 2010

    The Asspies on this board are basically just making up a illness so to shill more effectively for pharama companies.

    Face it, you just socially ill-adjusted atheists that couldn’t make it with women so made up a mental illness for sympathy. That is why they turn to Richard Dawkins instead of the TRUTH. T Bruce is a prefect example. I don’t buy this asspie crap.

  93. #93 TemporarilyAnonymous
    June 26, 2010

    “TA one more thing, I know you think its a cake walk to raise and care for a child with autism, after all you yourself believe that you have an ASD, but some do have some serious issues. Trading is not an option, but Im sure if you were so inclined, you could do some respite work with the familles of children diagnosed with autism.”

    I never said it is a cakewalk. What I am saying is that if you insist on going to quack therapists whose treatments carry a serious risk of death, then maybe you do feel you’d be better off if your kid had died after birth. In the reverse direction, if you do feel you’re better off with a living autistic kid, PROVE IT by not endangering his life.

    Chelation kills[0]. No chelator is specifc enough to any ion. Every chelation out there will bind mercury but also bind other mineral ions and is therefore extremely dangerous. If you put your kid through chelation, you are endangering your child’s life, and so I have good cause to suspect you don’t really want him to live.

    New synthesized molecules are dangerous. If the human race never encountered a molecule in the last few million years, then there is a serious risk for anyone who ingests it. If you feed your kid a newly synthesized substance that has not undergone FDA testing, you are endangering your kid’s life, and I have good cause to suspect your motives for doing it.

    ” Spend some time with these kids, hold them, get to know the parents, some will tell you that their child was taken from them and replaced,”

    I was not taken and replaced. And neither was their child. True, I’m a borderline case, and was not diagnosed as a child, but these days I see children getting diagnosed whose developmental difficulties are far milder than what I was like as a kid.

    ” they too grieve a loss of a child they held and played with for a year, 18 months, a child they cherished tremendously. Is this feeling of loss real or imagined?”

    It is imagined. It is a tawdry bit of emotional exhibitionism, and
    I have nothing but contempt for it.

    ” Im sure it was/is as real as your loss as you got to know your son for 60 minutes. I doubt then that there is anything worth trading, at least people understand your pain and you can take flowers to your son’s grave.”

    No need to bother. They can just prove it by not endangering their kid. My son’s in a cemetary with relatives dating back over a hundred years. The early sections of the cemetary are filled with infant graves. In his area, he’s the only one. I would like it to stay that way. 5 babies died of whooping cough this summer in California. So it looks like I will not get my wish.

    [0] Hydrogen cyanide is a chelator. It kills by chelating Cu and Fe. 4 million prisoners in Auschwitz died from being chelated. Any questions?

  94. #94 Tsu Dho Nimh
    June 26, 2010

    @74 It is my understanding that pediatricians chelate children when their heavy metal levels are extremely high, lead, mercury, antimony, uranium, arsenic, etc can be toxic and wreck a child.

    Yes …

    1 – The heavy metals testing is done on blood samples by local laboratories. The so-called “challenge” testing done by mail-in labs is like running your kid around the block a few times, taking a pulse, then treating them for having a too-fast heart rate. It’s not a valid testing method.

    2 – The chelation is done under close medical supervision, with repeated testing, because chelation can also remove calcium and cause hearts to stop.

    3 – The chelation is continued only long enough to get the heavy metals down to within clinically acceptable limits. It is not administered “just in case” or “because we think the kid needs it” … it is data-driven therapy.

    4 – The source of the heavy metals is identified, and removed from the environment if possible. It is impossible for a child to be excreting hundreds of times more mercury than they got in a vaccine without there being some external source, such as some herbal or traditional remedy that is heavily loaded with it.

  95. #95 Science Mom
    June 26, 2010

    The Asspies on this board are basically just making up a illness so to shill more effectively for pharama companies.

    Face it, you just socially ill-adjusted atheists that couldn’t make it with women so made up a mental illness for sympathy. That is why they turn to Richard Dawkins instead of the TRUTH. T Bruce is a prefect example. I don’t buy this asspie crap.

    You really are a contemptible shit stain.

  96. #96 A. Noyd
    June 26, 2010

    Ian MacGregor (#82)

    In other words his brain is broken. Not he child himself, but his brain.

    What am “I” that isn’t my brain? I’m not autistic, but I’m not “normal” either. If my brain was “normal,” if it was “fixed,” I wouldn’t be me; I’d be someone else. Not that it’s wrong to try to mitigate the effects of severe autism that cause suffering or to give higher functioning autistics tools to cope with the world, but don’t pretend that “fixing” their brains would ever be possible without changing who the person is.

    ~*~*~*~*~*~

    bensmyson (#84)

    some will tell you that their child was taken from them and replaced, they too grieve a loss of a child they held and played with for a year, 18 months, a child they cherished tremendously. Is this feeling of loss real or imagined?

    What parents of autistic children “lose” is the child they imagined they were getting. The feeling of loss may be real, but it’s over an imaginary person who never existed. They still have their actual child, unlike parents whose children die. Screw you for trying to make that in any way equivalent.

  97. #97 Christina
    June 26, 2010

    The despicable comments by augie shows what damage can be done if raised using Mendelsohn’s book. He must have lost lots of brain cells with all that whiskey added to his formula. He is probably still nipping at the stuff.

    Ignore the troll.

  98. #98 Ian
    June 26, 2010

    The Asspies on this board are basically just making up a illness so to shill more effectively for pharama companies. Face it, you just socially ill-adjusted atheists that couldn’t make it with women so made up a mental illness for sympathy. That is why they turn to Richard Dawkins instead of the TRUTH. T Bruce is a prefect example. I don’t buy this asspie crap.

    Jeez, augustine. Is everything okay? I’m used to you being stupid, but hateful is a new thing. Did something happen to you?

  99. #99 Seamus Ruah
    June 26, 2010

    “Jeez, augustine. Is everything okay? I’m used to you being stupid, but hateful is a new thing. Did something happen to you?”

    Raped by a priest?

  100. #100 augustine
    June 26, 2010

    @90

    Augustine @90 is one of your own. Not me.

  101. #101 Rincewind'smuse
    June 26, 2010

    So anyone who disagrees with you is a lying tool of satan/pharma, not just someone who sees it differently, augie? Makes it easy to dismiss the content of the post without actually having to pay attention, doesn’t it? No coincidence your nym is a half-assed excuse of a “philospher” apologist of the RCC.

  102. #102 Rincewind'smuse
    June 26, 2010

    And for what it’s worth, I see many posters here who are theistic,and don’t allow their faith to blind them to fact.Names I actually respect when it comes to this board, though I might not agree with them on the issue of religion.To call out TA as though his personal story doesn’t count because it hasn’t cleared augie’s personal L egitimacy Test when in fact you just don’t like the conclusion just makes you an assbag.

  103. #103 T. Bruce McNeely
    June 26, 2010

    @85:

    Why does the inside of the human skull have really sharp blades of bone sticking out? Seems like there should be evolutionary pressures against it.

    The cranial cavity doesn’t have sharp edges. There are a few gently rounded bumps over the base, while the cranial vault is smooth. There are a couple of blunt “corners” such as the meeting point of the cerebrum and cerebellum, as well as the foramen magnum, where the brainstem exits. These can cause problems if there is swelling or hemorrhage in the brain. Probably the advantage of a large brain in the human overrules the disadvantage of being more susceptible to trauma.

    The answer to your chromosome question is that it depends on the stage of the cell. In interphase (the resting stage between division), the chromosomes are scattered through the nucleus and can’t be seen individually. During the stages of division (mitosis), they line up in a row, duplicate, and divide – yielding two daughter cells, each with an individual complement of chromosomes.

    Oh hai, augie! Thanks for the special notice. Just one thing to say about you – res ipsa loquitor.

  104. #104 red pepper
    June 26, 2010

    I never said it is a cakewalk. What I am saying is that if you insist on going to quack therapists whose treatments carry a serious risk of death, then maybe you do feel you’d be better off if your kid had died after birth. In the reverse direction, if you do feel you’re better off with a living autistic kid, PROVE IT by not endangering his life.

  105. #105 Rebecca Lesses
    June 26, 2010

    @91 – Temporarily Anonymous. Just a correction to your note. The Soviets originally claimed that four million people were murdered at Auschwitz, but subsequent research revealed that this figure was too high. The US Holocaust Memorial Museum reports (http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10005189):

    At least 960,000 Jews were killed in Auschwitz. Other victims included approximately 74,000 Poles, 21,000 Roma (Gypsies), and 15,000 Soviet prisoners of war; and 10,000-15,000 members of other nationalities (Soviet civilians, Czechs, Yugoslavs, French, Germans, and Austrians).

  106. #106 Rjaye
    June 26, 2010

    Orac, I appreciate your blogging on autism studies and the unfortunate scamming of people desperate for treatments for their children.

    I don’t comment often, but some know my story. I was diagnosed with “childhood schizophrenia” in the early sixties, which was a common diagnosis for autism. My family was encouraged to institutionalize me, but because of my family’s class beliefs (psychiatry? We don’t believe in no stinking psychiatry!), I was spared that fate.

    I was one of those whose development continued to the point that I am considered quite functional, but that took until my thirties, and really forties. The best supports I have are the people who accept me for who I am, who understand my questions aren’t snoopery but as an attempt to try to understand the emotional context as I can’t read body language or faces, and a medical team who listens to me. I am now working for a Phd. in English literature, and I will be teaching.

    When I hear of these horrible treatments to chelate children, I am saddened. I have used medications off label, and had horrible effects. When a child has difficulty communicating, who knows whats really happening with that child on a new drug? By her compliant new nature? If the only criteria is that undesirable behaviors are lessened, that would be awful. So many of these treatments have adverse neurological side effects that it seems counterintuitive to give a child a treatment that would further complicate or damage their neurology?

    When I see the FDA finally taking action (one poster has noted it took two years to act) against Boyd Haley’s unethical (I would say criminal) selling of this chemical, I say, “Hallejuhah!” At this point children need more real supports and therapies, especially in giving them a voice and teaching them how to think outside of their narrow focus, and for people to have patience (as Orac has said, autism is a disorder of development, and is not static). We need to protect these kids from their parents’ desperate grasping at straws, and give these parents some real hope and some real tools. Really, the parents need treatment, too.

    I hope that more GOOD studies are done to develop treatments for people with autism.

    Now, hopefully, the FDA sticks to their guns and take care of this business once and for all.

  107. #107 Moloch
    June 26, 2010

    I am having a hard time finding the MSDS Sheet for OSR #1 to take a look at its structure, etc. Does anyone know where one is?

    Keep up the good work Orac. I always like your posts.

    - Moloch

  108. #108 nsib
    June 26, 2010

    Moloch,

    As far as I know, it doesn’t have a MSDS sheet, but here’s the structure: 1,3-benzenediamidoethanethiol.

  109. #109 Broken Link
    June 26, 2010

    OSR#1 doesn’t have a real MSDS sheet. It has a fabricated facsimile produced by Boyd Haley’s company. The reason the MSDS sheet doesn’t exist is because this is a new compound fabricated for the first time by a different professor at U Kentucky, and intended as an industrial chelator to remove mercury from mine tailings.

  110. #110 David N. Brown
    June 26, 2010

    “The Asspies on this board are basically just making up a illness so to shill more effectively for pharama companies.”

    I don’t have the “pharma shill” gambit directed at me personally very often, but I find it especially offensive in my own circumstances: Not only am a not enjoying “Big Pharma” largesse, I have barely any income at all, and am trying very hard to get my FIRST salaried job. Combining the “shill” gambit with that of denying the legitimacy of “Asperger’s” diagnoses is even more tasteless. Contrary to what quite a few anti-vaxxers clearly wish to believe, AS is a valid diagnosis and is related to autism. I was personally diagnosed eight years ago, which isn’t exactly “new”, is it?

  111. #111 Rjaye
    June 26, 2010

    David N. Brown:

    Exactly what you said. I have met aspies who were quite verbal but less functioning than so-called “classic” autism, and to assume that it’s a faux diagnosis for the nerdier set is offensive. Asperger’s is real.

    And what about us adults with asd’s? There’s a lot of us, and yet we somehow don’t exist, or we’re not really autistic, or we’re trying to “shill more effectively for pharama companies.” Uh, as far as I know, there are no medications for autism on the market yet. Yet what about all of these “natural” or alt-med substances (they aren’t medicines)? Who’s pushing the chemicals here?

    And David, good luck on your job hunt. I know it’s hard out there, but I wish you success.

  112. #112 Chance Gearheart, NREMT-P/EMD
    June 26, 2010

    Little Augie espounged:
    “The Asspies on this board are basically just making up a illness so to shill more effectively for pharama companies.

    Face it, you just socially ill-adjusted atheists that couldn’t make it with women so made up a mental illness for sympathy. That is why they turn to Richard Dawkins instead of the TRUTH. T Bruce is a prefect example. I don’t buy this asspie crap.”

    Funny, that’s verbatum what someone who spends his time on 4chan/Encyclopedia Dramatica would say.

    More evidence you’re just response trolling?

  113. #113 Travis
    June 26, 2010

    I had not been paying much attention to auggie lately but I do like this return to his original form, back to attacking people on here for being atheists and that this is an atheist blog etc. Like it has anything to do with this issue.

  114. #114 TemporarilyAnonymous
    June 26, 2010

    Rebecca, yes, I stand corrected. I wonder if I ccan look up an estimate of what portion of the dead in the KZ system specifically were killed using HCN.

  115. #115 Frameshift10
    June 26, 2010

    So, one major argument that I have heard from anti-vaccinators is the dose of vaccines: This vaccine has 3x the amount of aluminum recommended, this has lots of ethyl/methyl mercury, etc, and obviously the heavy metals involved are what cause the autism and a host of other imaginary ills. I am afraid that I haven’t found much research to address this issue. Would someone be kind enough to offer thoughts on this or perhaps point me in the right direction? Thank you in advance.

    And Orac, I am deeply grateful for your blog and for your articulate explanations of such hot-button topics. I am the only person with a science background in a family of hippies, and I find that many people I know are deeply ignorant of such things. I appreciate your assistance in constructing well-reasoned arguments to counter their woo. And I LOVE using the word “woo”. :D

  116. #116 Tybo
    June 27, 2010

    For anyone wondering, this is the local report on the topic:
    http://www.kentucky.com/2010/06/26/1324472/fda-warns-lexington-maker-of-product.html

    Boyd Haley makes me embarrassed to be a UK alumnus, but at the same time, he’s not a current faculty member at least, only emeritus.

  117. #117 Michael Ralston
    June 27, 2010

    This vaccine has 3x the amount of aluminum recommended, this has lots of ethyl/methyl mercury,

    This argument is an equivocation between two distinct concepts.

    Vaccines may exceed the daily limit for chronic exposure, but are invariably well below the limit for acute exposure.

    That is, if you got vaccines every day for a few months, you’d start to see some health problems from buildup of metals, etc. But … when you get them as per the schedule, the metals in a dose go away long before your next round of shots. (And indeed, probably in only two or three days)

  118. #118 Zetetic
    June 27, 2010

    Ian @ #95:

    Jeez, augustine. Is everything okay? I’m used to you being stupid, but hateful is a new thing. Did something happen to you?

    While I’m still not convinced that augie isn’t just acting, trolling for attention, he/she/it does seem to be getting more desperate.

    Poor little augie has failed to start a religious fight within the blog, run out of material, has revealed his/her self to be a fraud (or is acting like one) on the subject of philosophy and how it relates to science, and now augie has been implying some racism in one of the other threads. I think that poor little augie may be getting frustrated by a lack of effectiveness here.

  119. #119 David N. Brown
    June 27, 2010

    @113,
    On consideration, I will throw Augustine a bone for his “ill-adjusted atheists” remark: I’m a lifelong Christian. I also believe in Bigfoot, and I’ve run across “vampire” sightings I take seriously. But, I unequivocally reject any form of the hypothesis that vaccines cause autism.

  120. #120 Kristen
    June 27, 2010

    #79

    I had assumed Augustine was ignoring my posts out of respect for me being a mother of an autistic child, but seeing as he has no problem with berating a father (?) who lost a child I’m not so sure.

    Augustine, I am a Christian, a very devout one at that. I have studied the Bible in depth my whole life. I know it better than most people. You, sir, don’t act like a Christian. Christians are supposed to follow Christ’s example of love and understanding.

    I am not the best at this on this board, but I know Callie is just about the most understanding person I ever “met” and she also has belief in God. So saying this is an atheist site is ridiculous. Not that it even matters, this is about science, not religion. I will never understand why fundamentalists can’t separate the two.

    But to make such an asinine comment to a person who shares their story of holding their own dying child, that is coldness of the worst kind. I hope you never know that pain, but for those of us who have known that pain I say; piss off.

  121. #121 Travis
    June 27, 2010

    Sorry David, turns out you are an atheist just like I am. Augie as spoken and he obviously knows more about you than you do.

  122. #122 bensmyson
    June 27, 2010

    @114- David Brown “I also believe in Bigfoot, and I’ve run across “vampire” sightings I take seriously.”

    You’re kidding right?

    Kristen, You’re a Christian? Is Jesus the resurrected Christ? Is Satan real? Was the Earth created in 7 days? Is homosexuality a sin? Can God heal the sick? Was the blood of Christ shed so that we can be healed? Can God heal my son’s autism and make him whole?

  123. #123 MikeMa
    June 27, 2010

    bensmyson

    Can God heal my son’s autism and make him whole?

    This is the direct address of the issue with many anti-vax, ‘my son is broken’ types like you. Your son is whole and not broken.

    I am an atheist so I am not expecting the sky fairy to be along any time soon to make Ben more social or less autistic. He is not broken, just different and in need of support not fixing. If anything, it is you who is in need of fixing. At least your attitude could use an adjustment.

  124. #124 Kwombles
    June 27, 2010

    Bensmyson,

    At best you’re a twit. And that’s being extremely charitable to the two of you.

    Better and more relevant questions are what does a person’s personal faith in a creator have to do with scientific evidence? What do your questions have to do with Haley’s industrial chelator not having the necessary safety testing or any of the other violations?

    Why do you think you have the right to do whatever you like to your child?

    Why are the two of you consistently asshats?

    See, those are much better questions.

    You had one good question. Come on, David, really? Bigfoot and vampires?

  125. #125 Ian
    June 27, 2010

    These aren’t even ad-hominem attacks any more. They’re ad-asshole. What possible difference could it make what specific religious beliefs Kristen has, or whether or not many people in the comments are atheist? The majority of scientists are atheist; not every scientist, but the majority. When you have a blog with a lot of scientists buzzing around, by the transitive property you will have a lot of atheists buzzing around. None of that has anything whatsoever to do with either vaccines or autism.

    How do you not see that when you grasp for straws with absolutely brainless “arguments” like attacking the (possible) tenets of one person’s religion, you only serve to make yourself less convincing? How does that not get through? I am asking a serious question – I need to understand what the thought process is there.

  126. #126 Julian Frost
    June 27, 2010

    On an earlier thread, I pointed out that in Rounds 1, 2 and 3, augustine and bensmyson (along with two others) first claimed vaccines were dangerous, then that they were ineffective and finally, that the diseases weren’t that bad, only to be proven wrong by the rest of us and asked what they would pull for round 4. Answer: condescension and insults.

  127. #127 Lawrence
    June 27, 2010

    Standard trajectory of a troll – start in with non-evidence & contrary statements, followed by thinly-veiled insults, followed by full bore insults against everyone.

    Typical.

  128. #128 bensmyson
    June 27, 2010

    Religious beliefs have relevance to this discussion and many other discussions regarding science. Can God heal my son? Did Jesus die, shed His blood, become resurrected, suffer humiliation and beatings so that WE might be healed? “By his stripes we are healed” Isaiah 53:4-5

    If you believe that then what does it matter what drug, vaccine, treatment a child be given? All you need is prayer and to worship Jesus as Savior, right? That is if it is not God’s will that your child not suffer. If it is God’s will then what can you do?

    This is a question for Kristen and others professing to be Christians because what good is science if it really doesnt matter?

    Jesus spit into mud to heal a blind man, was it the spit or the faith involved on the acceptance of the mud as treatment? You guys and gals are scientists and you know how placebos work, how powerful the mind is. In my clinical work with a rape victim I witnessed with my own eyes rope marks appear on a victim’s wrist as she talked about her abduction and rape 7 years earlier. Red whelps where the rope once held her captive 7 years earlier. Physiological changes caused by memory.

    So I ask, is Jesus able to heal my son?

    Im sure some of you can answer this.

    Maybe the others can answer this one, is it possible to bring about some recovery, some beneficial improvements in children diagnosed with autism whose parents are aggressively pursuing answers and treatments, devoting a good deal of energy and time working with their child when even if it is spit in mud or vitamin B12 or prayer that the parent chooses as a method to treat their child, is it possible that this sort of faith will yield some results? Coincidence or not the parent has hope, that hope is projected into the child and the love and attention the parent plays towards the child is reinforced, the reinforcement bonds the two together, how bad can that be?

    The alternative of course is autism is untreatable, no hope of recovery, the parent moves on, the child languishes, or worse, has a moment that is missed because of an opportunity ignored.

    I would venture to guess that many of these parents who have moved on have guilt, their Sophie’s choice haunts them and as a result they spew hatred towards those reminding them of their painful choice, them or their child. You cant do both, you cant be devoted to your child and pursue a career or passion that occupies a majority of your time when there is never enough time parenting a child with autism, you cant say there’s nothing I can do and expect something to happen. You cant say you believe in Christ and discount miracles, you can’t say you know what it’s like when you don’t.

  129. #129 David N. Brown
    June 27, 2010

    @122, 123,
    I really don’t want to go into my ideas related to “Forteana” here, but I do treat this as a legitimate area of inquiry. My point in bringing this up at all is, I read and write on many subjects. But, I don’t feel a need to drag them into discussions of autism and/or vaccination, apart from occasional passing mention. So, what’s the point in “Augie” making one of these subjects an issue here?

  130. #130 augustine
    June 27, 2010

    I have brought up atheism vs. theism and congruency being an issue but not in this thread. So you’re questioning an “augustine” who has “hijacked” my handle..

    Probably the same one who hijacked “Sid Offit”.

  131. #131 squirrelelite
    June 27, 2010

    Actually, David, you haven’t answered the really tough question yet.
    Do you believe in Toledo?

    http://www.themadmusicarchive.com/song_details.aspx?SongID=502

  132. #132 Zetetic
    June 28, 2010

    David @ #126:

    So, what’s the point in “Augie” making one of these subjects an issue here?

    Because augie has no evidence that actually support his/her/its position, no logic to the argument, and doesn’t even seem to know that much about philosophy and how it relates to science.

    So what else is there for augie? He/She/It brings up such subjects to try and cause “in-fighting” over generally unrelated subjects, on a blog about medical issues. It’s augie’s first and last tactic, the rest is apparently just “filler”.

  133. #133 David N. Brown
    June 28, 2010

    @124,
    “The majority of scientists are atheist; not every scientist, but the majority.”
    To my recollection, the figures I have seen are more like 40%. One may call it a “relative majority”, but not an absolute one; plus, as usual, taxonomic nuances can affect things.
    @128,
    I’m not inclined to attribute such insincerity to Augustine, or that much intelligence.

    An additional comment: “Anti-vaxxers” are always saying, “Listen to parents.” What I do is “listen” to Balkan peasants (see “Walking Dead”). I happen to take the latter seriously.

  134. #134 Zetetic
    June 28, 2010

    @ David:
    I seem to recall that the percentage tends to change with the discipline in question.

    Here is a link about the subject…
    Leading scientists still reject God
    According to that study it is a majority, although in some scientific fields I suppose that atheists may be in the minority.

    I can’t seem to find the breakdown of the stats at this time though.

  135. #135 Zetetic
    June 28, 2010

    Either way… the percentage of atheists in science, or on this blog is utterly irrelevant to the issue of the safety and efficacy of vaccines. Just as it is irrelevant to the issues of safety and law as it relates to scamming people into buying an untested chelation chemical over an utterly baseless assumption.

    It’s the facts and evidence that matters, not augie’s attempt at further well-poisonings/ad hominems. Perhaps I am over-estimating augie, but it’s still just a diversion.

  136. #136 David N. Brown
    June 28, 2010

    Zetetic,
    The link you give MIGHT be the study I was thinking of. In any event, there seems to be significant “gray area” in wording, egregiously the phrase “doubt OR disbelief”.

    To be sure, the important point is that in a forum like this, we don’t need to agree on religion, politics, etc. to have a respectful discussion or agree on a point of fact- exactly the kind of thing a blog like AoA would not allow, and may not even be able to comprehend.

  137. #137 bensmyson
    June 28, 2010

    @131 – “Just as it is irrelevant to the issues of safety and law as it relates to scamming people into buying an untested chelation chemical over an utterly baseless assumption.”

    What is relevant is a parent’s right to a personal belief as it pertains to their child. Should someone who believes that God will heal their son and as a result, not pursue any accepted treatment or therapies for that child have their rights discounted due to the lack of evidence that God exists?

    How is one’s belief in God any different than one’s belief in Biomed treatment for autism?

  138. #138 Lawrence
    June 28, 2010

    DNB – that’s exactly right. If people are willing to have a civil conversation and discussion, based on examining the available evidence, be willing to listen when approached with credible facts, and respect those that maintain a civil discourse, then this is exactly the place to be.

    Unfortunately, we seem to have several individuals that don’t want to listen or impart actual “facts” into the discussion and only want to speak from raw emotion & conspiracy. These individuals, when presented with opposing viewpoints, respond with nothing but personal insults and derogatory language.

    Even when you go through this particular thread, you’ll notice that none of the standard contrarians address the fact that a quack doctor is giving a toxic industrial chemical to children without a single shred of evidence that it helps. Where is the outrage – especially in light of the claims that they make against vaccine producers (which are nearly identical)?

  139. #139 Jud
    June 28, 2010

    Lawrence @133: There is also the distinct possibility that at least some of the “standard contrarians” are simply in it to stir things up, and whether they make other commenters work to develop responses or just elicit outrage they are delighted either way.

    It doesn’t take long to see who’s (a) sincere and (b) worth having an online “conversation” with. Speaking only for myself, I’d mention passionlessDrone as someone whose position I disagree with, but who is unfailingly civil and makes reasoned arguments from evidence. (pD may make more of this evidence than I feel it merits [though I'm sure the reverse is also true], but there is IMHO a world of difference between that and the pathetic quote mining – or “cite mining,” sans even quotes – engaged in by some of the contrarians.)

  140. #140 Calli Arcale
    June 28, 2010

    bensparents @ 66:
    First of all the FDA sent this letter via UPS instead of the US Postal Service. Exactly how accountable is this agency?

    It was probably cheaper. The USPS does do overnight service, but almost everybody uses UPS or FedEx instead, because at their business rates, it’s cheaper. Accountability actually demands that; carriers have to submit bids, just like any other government contractor. And the USPS isn’t actually a government agency anymore; it’s been privatized (though it operates almost as if it’s a government agency; habits die hard in large bureaucracies, I guess).

    OK secondly, does OSR#1 remove heavy metals or not?

    Yes, it does. Its inventor intends it for use in the mining industry, though it could also be used to clean up contaminated water by paper mills (which use a great deal of mercury). It could also be used for stripping out arsenic, cadmium, copper, lead, and selenium, but likely would bind to other metals as well. Most chelators aren’t all that picky.

    It will do this if introduced to the human bloodstream as well. The human deaths which have occured due to chelation therapy with chelators which are actually approved drugs have been due to hypocalcemia — the chelator stripped so much calcium from their blood that their hearts were unable to beat. (Muscle contraction depends on the flow of calcium ions.) The other problem is that all medical chelating agents have to pass through various organs, and this process is not always kind to the organs involved. Kidneys often suffer, and long-term use would exacerbate it. DMSO, an oral chelator used by some DAN! practitioners, is associated with kidney damage in rats when used chronically.

    Random factoid: one all-natural chelating agent is oxalic acid. It’s what gives rhubarb that lovely tangy flavor. It’s also what makes the rhubarb leaves lethal, and why people prone to kidney problems are advised to avoid rhubarb. It’s a known risk-factor for kidney and bladder stones.

    Last, didnt the FDA come down on Cheerios for making a claim that the cereal was good for your heart?

    Yep, they did. Florida Orange Juice is another one they’ve written nastygrams too, for making claims which went beyond what could be supported by science. In Cheerios specific case, General Mills has been pushing it as part of a heart-healthy diet, in order to jump on the profitable health foods bandwagon with an already well-established product. But the only real support they have is that diets rich in whole grains tend to be associated with lower cholesterol. This is true, and Cheerios most certainly can be part of a heart-healthy diet. But it’s not a magic substance; eating it for breakfast every day is not going to lower your cholesterol if you’re having half-pound hamburgers and cheesy french fries for lunch and dinner while sitting on your butt all day at work. General Mills was implying that eating Cheerios would, by itself, reduce cholesterol, and that’s just not true.

    bensparents @ 74:
    raven – Several children died? From OSR#1? Really?

    No, raven was referring to the children who died using more traditional (and better understood) chelating agents, because they were being chelated by pediatricians in the doctor’s office rather than in a more appropriate setting.

    It is my understanding that pediatricians chelate children when their heavy metal levels are extremely high, lead, mercury, antimony, uranium, arsenic, etc can be toxic and wreck a child. Does heavy metal cause serious health issues in children? Yes. Is there another way of removing these toxins?

    No, pediatricians generally do not chelate children when their heavy metal levels are extremely high. They send them to the hospital to have it done, because it is actually a dangerous process; if it goes wrong, you need a “crash cart” on hand with all the stuff needed to revive the child. They only do this for very high levels; lower levels, the risk of the treatment generally outweighs the risk of allowing the metals to remain. Most of the metals will eventually excrete. Yes, even mercury. Even *methyl mercury* will eventually come out. The reason provoked urine tests continue to read positive indefinitely is because there is mercury (mostly methylmercury) in the environment, and so everyone is ingesting small amounts of it.

    “Heavy” metals can indeed cause harm. Small amounts are usually tolerable, but extremely high levels can be lethal. Monitoring of serum levels are the best method for determining if there is a problem; urine tests are notoriously variable. If levels are elevated above a certain point, doctors will recommend finding the metal source and removing it from the child’s environment, then waiting a while to see if levels come down. If they don’t, the assumption is that there’s another source, and the process of elimination begins. If levels are elevated to a sufficiently high point, chelation may be indicated, as well as locating and removing the heavy metal source. The most extreme cases are when a child has eaten it and crashed, as happened not too long ago with a young boy who swallowed a charm made of cadmium. (They were unable to save him.) In general, chelation is not recommended for low levels. Everyone has low levels.

    BTW, random factoid: if a person’s heart stops due to hypocalcemia, the defibrillator (those zappy paddle things) will not restart it. Without sufficient calcium, the heart tissue is physically incapable of contracting.

  141. #141 Calli Arcale
    June 28, 2010

    Now, on to theology…

    bensparents @ 122:
    @114- David Brown “I also believe in Bigfoot, and I’ve run across “vampire” sightings I take seriously.”

    You’re kidding right?

    Kristen, You’re a Christian? Is Jesus the resurrected Christ? Is Satan real? Was the Earth created in 7 days? Is homosexuality a sin? Can God heal the sick? Was the blood of Christ shed so that we can be healed? Can God heal my son’s autism and make him whole?

    I’m not Kristen, but I’m a Christian. can I answer?

    I believe in God, the father almighty, creator of heaven and earth. I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord. He was conceived by the power of the holy spirit, and born of the virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended to the dead. On the third day, he rose again. He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic* church, the communion of saint, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the dead, and the life everlasting, Amen.

    *Note lower-case “c”. I’m a Lutheran, so I don’t mean specifically the Roman Catholic Church. I meant the church of all believers, the body of Christ, not any human institution.

    Jesus is the Christ (which is essentially Greek for Messiah), and he was resurrected. He will come again.

    Satan I regard as more of a metaphor — Satan isn’t real, but what he personifies is, and that’s our tendency to think of ourselves first and be tempted by the easier path even when it’s not the better path.

    The Earth was not created in 7 days; that I see as a metaphor as well. The Earth actually took millions of years to coalesce and form — longer if you count the period it spent recoalescing after the Orpheus impact. (I’m a proponent of the impact hypothesis for the Moon’s creation.) If you take it up through the rise of lifekind to the point that Genesis Chapter 1 does (the creation of mankind), then it took about 4.5 billion years. The point of the Genesis story, in my opinion, is to indicate that God was behind it all. There’s no way the ancients could have known the actual mechanisms involved, and the temporal scale is even difficult for us modern types to comprehend, so I can excuse their poetry.

    Homosexuality is not a sin, and I actually don’t believe homosexual intercourse is either, in and of itself. The ancient Hebrews considered it taboo for men to have sex with one another, but this was as much about distinguishing themselves from the indigenous peoples of the region as anything else. The usual theological justification is that it, like birth control, contravenes the commandment to “be fruitful and multiple”, but like many religious rules, I think that’s taking it a bit too literally. It’s also very much tied to the various ascetic movements that have shaped Judeo-Christian thought, out of what I consider to be a misguided attempt to gain God’s favor by living “right”. I believe this effort is misguided for two reasons. First of all, we can’t do it, and it is extreme hubris (there’s a Greek sin there) to think we can. It’s prideful arrogance, and putting ourselves on a level with God if we think we really can live without sin. It has been said the root of all evil is pride, therefore I tend to consider fundamentalism to be led at least in part by Satan. (See above for who Satan is.) Secondly, God Himself has said we do not need to try. That’s the whole point of Jesus’ life and sacrifice. He takes our sins into himself (all sins, past present and future) and dies with them. It’s still good to apologize, to repent, to seek forgiveness, etc. But none of it changes our state of grace, because grace, by definition, comes without strings attached.

    Can God heal the sick? Of course. God can do anything. But why would He? He made this universe just as it is. This is not a darkened form of the universe, nor something twisted by Satan as so many believe (thanks to the dualists and good ol’ St Augustine). This is the real world. I don’t believe God brings pain to us on purpose, specifically to hurt us, but I believe pain is inevitable. It is *neutral*. Strife is neccesary for growth. If God had wanted a perfect, painless, world, he would have created one — but it would be terribly dull, and would only ever do what He made it do. What would be the point? That’s arts & crafts. God went further than that, and created a world that actually lives. Yes, God could heal the sick. But when He does, He takes away our freedom. And why would He heal one child and not another? That would be just cruel. There is pain, there is suffering. Without that, we will never be able to realize our full potential, when we look beyond ourselves and take care of one another.

    Was the blood of Christ shed so that we can be healed? Yes, absolutely! But not in the way that most people think. Again, what would be the point of making life be without strife? Christ’s blood was shed to heal the separation between Man and God. It’s actually down to an ancient Hebrew ritual — powerful imagery, if you know what it means. The ancient Hebrews (modern Jews don’t generally do this) would seek forgiveness through a propitiation ritual. They would symbolically lay their sins on a stone altar and then a priest would sacrifice an animal over it, such that the blood would pour out over the stone, covering it and covering their sins. This was particularly done at the Passover — and if you read the Bible, that’s when Christ was executed, at the urging of the Jewish priests. That’s what they mean by “paschal lamb” — He was the ultimate Passover sacrifice, rendering all others moot. The idea, I think, was that we humans had gotten so hung up on our unworthiness (and especially on the unworthiness of others) that God decided to end it all by saying, “Hey, if you can’t get over this, here, have this sacrifice. Your sins are covered. Now get on with life. That’s what you’re here for.”

    Can God heal your son’s autism and make him whole? First off, consider very carefully what you mean by “whole”. You have your entire son. He just is not quite the way you wish he was. But he is complete. I’ve known kids with prosthetic limbs; that’s what I think of when I think of not being whole. And I know kids who are much more severely disabled than your son, yet have their entire bodies. Words are tricky. Secondly, yes, of course God could change your son into a different person. He can do anything. But why would he? Would it really make the world a better place if your son was not who he is? A person is the sum total of their experiences and interactions; reverse your son’s autism, make his brain function normally, and he is not Ben anymore. I’m not sure anyone can, in fairness, say whether he’d be a better person; one of the big lessons Christ taught was that no one is better than anyone else, so trading one person for another has some rather sinister overtones. God doesn’t do that sort of thing. What He will do, if you let Him, is to bring you peace and encouragement and help — not only in a direct spiritual sense but through other people. When someone does you a kindness, they are being “little Christs”, as it has been put. They are doing God’s work, whether they are doing it in His name or not. (Note: I tend to think that unbelievers who do good are doing God’s work more purely than believers are, because they are doing it from purer motives — because it needs to be done, and not in a useless attempt to curry divine favor.) Not everyone who is moved by God to help will actually do it; that’s free will.

    I’ve probably gone on long enough on theology here; this isn’t really on-topic. I just love to talk about it. ;-)

  142. #142 T. Bruce McNeely
    June 28, 2010

    I’m agnostic, in practical terms I don’t believe in God.
    I don’t believe that Jesus was the son of God.
    I’m skeptical about the existence of Sasquatch (Bigfoot for you USanians).
    I’m also skeptical about vampires.

    However, I think that every one of these beliefs is far more plausible than the idea that vaccines cause autism.

  143. #143 bensmyson
    June 28, 2010

    Thanks Calli, much appreciated. I honestly believe these experiences, be they autism or loss of limb create an opportunity. It is up to me, you, whoever to take hold of that opportunity and make it work for them. As this relates to Ben, I believe that one day autism will not matter, that through God’s Grace I will no longer notice it, until then it is the devil. I realize it is my devil but right now my hands are around it’s throat and it makes me feel good to choke it. With God’s help I will be able to release my grasp and will no longer want to do battle. Im just being honest. Id rather Ben not have been injured, Id rather he be “normal” “whole”. I want that because at one time, he once was the perfect little boy.

  144. #144 Calli Arcale
    June 28, 2010

    Is it really autism you want to choke, or the challenges that face Ben, and the challenges in coping with his behavior that you want to choke? Challenges which exist, at least in part, because he is autistic? I find it helps to tease that apart, because those challenges are more discrete and thus easier to tackle than the whole ball of wax. It also makes it easier to separate the challenges from your son, so that you are not hating what he is but how difficult things are for him.

    Remember also that if autism is your devil, it is far more so your son’s devil.

    One other thing to remember: if Ben had not been autistic, your life would also be different. Can anyone say whether you’d be a better or worse person in that situation? I don’t think so. If our circumstances were different, we’d be different; that’s all. It’s not worth regretting the roads not taken (whether by choice or not), and even less worth resenting one’s present location. There is joy, and it worth taking the time to look for it. ;-)

  145. #145 Jud
    June 28, 2010

    Calli Arcale writes:

    …and if you read the Bible, that’s when Christ was executed, at the urging of the Jewish priests.

    Paul and his followers on one hand, and the Jewish priesthood and their followers on the other, disagreed fervently on many points, which may have something to do with the level of involvement the priesthood was depicted to have in Jesus’ death (by crucifixion, a peculiarly Roman punishment, in Roman-run Palestine). On the other hand, the New Testament stories and church doctrines tended to de-emphasize the value of potentially pro-Jewish factors, such as Jesus’ own Judaism, in determining how Christians ought to treat Jews.

    Ehrman’s “Misquoting Jesus” has some interesting things to say along these and related lines.

  146. #146 Calli Arcale
    June 28, 2010

    Jud: the main thing is that the Jewish priesthood was not as monolithic as we all like to think (because it makes for a tidier storyline). There was a lot of tension between the priesthood and the secular authorities during the Roman occupation — broadly similar to sentiments regarding the Vichy government of France during WWII. Within a generation or so of Jesus’ death (depending on when one thinks that actually happened), the Jews were in open revolt against the Romans, and I expect a lot of the Jewish leadership was a casualty, along with a great deal of truth. Understanding the New Testament depends heavily on understanding this dynamic, and on remembering that the New Testament isn’t a bunch of history books like most of the Old Testament. Apart from the Gospels, Acts, and Revelations, it’s a collection of letters written by various apostles to various churches in various societies, usually responding to specific situations which are not entirely spelled out for the benefit of audiences two thousand years later. (I doubt Paul expected his letters to be so widely reprinted, for instance. If he had, he might have given them more context.)

    The tarnishing of King Herod’s public image was probably also part of the same sort of thing; recent archeological evidence suggests most of the heinous stories about him are probably posthumous fabrications.

    I’ll look for that book; it sounds fascinating.

  147. #147 Jud
    June 28, 2010

    Calli Arcale writes:

    I’ll look for that book; it sounds fascinating.

    Full disclosure/fair warning:

    Ehrman is extremely well versed (heh) in Biblical exegesis and history, and from what little I can tell, he well deserves his position as James A. Gray Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. However, through his studies and personal questioning about various issues, particularly the problem of evil, he eventually became an agnostic.

    The book (and Ehrman’s numerous other books) are excellent, but doubt about various fundamental Christian precepts is strongly implied at various points. This may affect your opinion of the book and your reading experience.

  148. #148 Calli Arcale
    June 28, 2010

    I’m not exactly a Christian traditionalist. I think I can handle him studying it from a skeptical viewpoint. In fact, I think there’s a lot to be gained from an agnostic viewpoint on the matter. An ardent believer is, after all, biased on the subject.

    Cool quote from Madeline L’Engel (a Christian who pissed off non-Christians by using overtly Christian imagery in her books, and pissed off Fundamentalists by using it “wrong”):

    “Well, the Fundalets [fundamentalist Christians] want a closed system, and I want an open system.”

  149. #149 David N. Brown
    June 28, 2010

    @142,
    I consider the idea that vaccines cause autism to be a superstition fully equivalent to the common traditional belief that revenants (ie “vampires”) caused plagues.

    One point that I think could use clarification: Belief in “corporeal revenants”, actual corpses that left their graves to attack or disturb the living, are only one element of the lore, and was clearly based on accurately observed but misunderstood phenomena of decomposition. Direct “sightings” are clearly a separate issue. I believe that a significant “residuum” represent what Forteans call “phantom attackers”, of which the “Mad Gasser of Mattoon” is the most notorious example.

  150. #150 Kristen
    June 28, 2010

    Kwombles, Ian, Lawrence, Zetetic and David,

    Don’t know what BMS said (he has been grease monkeied) but thank you for your pointing out that this is beside the point.

    I am very guilty of letting these trolls derail me. I tend to be emotional about these issues. One troll went too far in deriding a parents pain from losing a child, another denied the very existence of high functioning autism, one is belligerent and spouts the same nonsense over and over again. And most (if not all) of the aforementioned don’t care if children die, as long as they are not white American children. Oh, and if white American children die, they had it coming because they aren’t healthy.

    These people add nothing to the discussion and are only here to agitate the regular commentators. Then they can go back to AoA with proof of how angry scientists get when they get closer to the “truth”. And that is fine, “whatever floats your boat”. But attacking our families is out of line.

    Question anything I say that is scientific, you may at times be right I have been known to be wrong. That is the difference, I am willing to be corrected if the evidence shows that I am mistaken. As far as personal attacks, they just show how very desperate the trolls are to get a rise out of us.

    A few months back I would have been fazed. But now I have learned how to block the ass-trolls I am feeling at peace with the universe…very zen. ;)

  151. #151 Calli Arcale
    June 28, 2010

    Kristen:

    Oh, and if white American children die, they had it coming because they aren’t healthy.

    One way to tie this together with the little off-topic foray into theology is that it is a very human tendency to want to find order in the universe — and to be able to control that order. Nearly every religion has at some point in its history embraced the idea that bad things happen because we deserve them, either because we are bad people or because we didn’t observe the correct rituals. It is also widely held in secular contexts, and we are somehow more content with people suffering misfortune if they were naughty. In particular, we as a society tend to be quick to blame “lifestyle choices” if a person gets sick.

  152. #152 augustine
    June 28, 2010

    Callie Arcale: “One way to tie this together with the little off-topic foray into theology is that it is a very human tendency to want to find order in the universe — and to be able to control that order.”

    You are absolutely correct, Callie. It is greek metaphysics to see this world as chaotic and want to control our risks. Even many Christian ideas of god are resurrected to provide security from a dangerous world. It’s all about risk vs. benefit in the greek view. Safety and security in an unpredictable world. “Anything can happen.”

    With this type of apriori it makes sense to want to vaccinate. After all who knows what will happen if you don’t? The way I see it vaccination is just one more way to try and control risks to ease the fear of the unpredictable unknown.

    The Hebrews do not have the same metaphysics. The Hebrews believe in a world and G-d of order and mystery. Jesus was Hebrew.

  153. #153 Moloch
    June 28, 2010

    I am presuming that I am the only one here who follows some sort of “satanic” religion (I am atheistic Luciferian, it is not the same, but “Left Hand Path” was made up by people trying to insult us)…

    Calli: I do not believe Lucifer/Satan actually exists except in the symbol of the word, which essentially is “Freedom”. When Lucifer rebelled against God it definitely was not the easier path, but the path he wanted to go because he felt it was right. Theistic Luciferians believe the Rebellion actually took place but do not really care if he wins in the end because he already stood up for what he believed in. In fact, you need no concept of Christianity to understand what Satan means. Not all Satanists believe he exists; some make him part of a pantheon or another person like Set, Loki or Prometheus. It is rather hard to say since most Satanists and Luciferians practice by themselves and not in a group. I am not even sure if there is another Luciferian in the United States.

    Kristen: Don’t feel guilty. Tests are important in every life to make people stronger.

    - Moloch

  154. #154 Calli Arcale
    June 28, 2010

    In fact, you need no concept of Christianity to understand what Satan means.

    Of course not; Christians co-opted the idea partly from Judaism and partly from other faiths percolating through the eastern Roman Empire in the first couple of centuries AD.

    Of course, “Freedom” would be a difficult concept to sell as a definition for Lucifer/Satan according to the ancient Jewish tradition, which regarded him as *literally* devil’s advocate. Not an evil entity at all, but simply someone for God to bounce ideas off of, basically, as well as someone to do the grunt work when God wanted to get something done. (Primary example: the book of Job.) Some more modern interpretations of the figure would make him analogous to a trickster figure (e.g. Loki), in which case he’s every bit a symbol for freedom as a casino is. Others equate him with death. Others with chaos (and there we get Set, who was a storm god — Set’s really more analogous to Thor than Loki). And modern Christians would consider Satan (whether as a literal entity or as a metaphor) as the *antithesis* of freedom.

    Kristen: Don’t feel guilty. Tests are important in every life to make people stronger.

    And there you return to the ancient Jewish concept of Satan. Not as a trickster at all. And what’s interesting about that is that in the ancient interpretation of the character, he was not seen a rebelling against Heaven at all; that was added to the mythology much later.

  155. #155 Prometheus
    June 28, 2010

    Dangerous Bacon asks (#16):

    “Apparently he still has a (?tenured) faculty position at the University of Kentucky with research interests beyond the chelating of children with autism.”

    As Broken Link correctly noted, Dr. Haley is an emeritus professor (a fancy word for “retired”, used in academia) – that means he gets his pension, keeps his key to the faculty dining room, and gets a small office somewhere on campus.

    The other important word is “tenured” – Dr. Haley was tenured before he descended into mercury fanaticism, otherwise, he could have been fired by the University of Kentucky. Tenured faculty cannot be fired except for “high crimes and misdemeanors” (like voting Republican). Once tenured, I am told, not even death can remove you from the faculty.

    Prometheus

  156. #156 David N. Andrews M. Ed., C. P. S. E.
    June 28, 2010

    Prometheus: “Once tenured, I am told, not even death can remove you from the faculty.”

    It’s like for graduate members of learned bodies, including universities… it has to be a very serious matter for rescindation/rescindment (?) of privileges and of degrees of membership… something akin to (as we were told as first-years at Liverpool) ‘buggering the bursar’!

  157. #157 David N. Brown
    June 28, 2010

    @154,
    What’s wrong with “buggering the bursar”? It’s the bursar’s wife one would worry about…

  158. #158 Zetetic
    June 29, 2010

    David N. Brown @ #136:

    To be sure, the important point is that in a forum like this, we don’t need to agree on religion, politics, etc. to have a respectful discussion or agree on a point of fact

    Quite so.

    :-)

    ==================================================================================================
    ben’s parents @ #137:

    What is relevant is a parent’s right to a personal belief as it pertains to their child. Should someone who believes that God will heal their son and as a result, not pursue any accepted treatment or therapies for that child have their rights discounted due to the lack of evidence that God exists?

    Sorry BMS but your analogy doesn’t hold.

    The first problem, is exactly how much of a risk are they putting the child (or others) at?

    The second is that, unlike prayer, the many bio-med treatments often have a direct physical effect, and therefore a very real risk to the patent in question. In other words, praying won’t directly hurt a child (although neglecting other treatments may), but giving a child untested chemicals for no good reason has a very real risk of harm involved even if you pursue other treatments. In a related sense, homeopathy, Reiki, and some other alt-med, may be directly harmless (in and of itself) but that doesn’t quite compare to risks of chelation or chemical castration that also falls under the banner of “bio-med” or “alt-med”.

    Third, there is also the consideration of wasting resource on the ineffective/dangerous. Prayer is cheap (unless you’re a “Christian Scientist” apparently, j/k) spending money on these untested chemicals (or alt-med/bio-med) is wasting resources that are more likely to do the child some good.

    As to the ethical considerations for treating children according to one’s faith, consider the following scenario. While it’s not directly comparable to using the chelation chemicals, the point is one of the question of ethics that you raised BMS…. If a parent had a sincere and devout belief (due to whatever faith they may hold) that starving their child would cure them of autism, would you still support it BMS?

    The question is, where exactly do you draw the line for what “alternative therapies” are considered appropriate? Are you going to support potentially dangerous “treatments” that have no rational basis or evidence of efficacy, beyond filling the bank accounts of their marketers? That’s the real question.
    ================================================================================================
    Kristen @ #150:
    My pleasure.

    Question anything I say that is scientific, you may at times be right I have been known to be wrong. That is the difference, I am willing to be corrected if the evidence shows that I am mistaken. As far as personal attacks, they just show how very desperate the trolls are to get a rise out of us.

    I couldn’t have put it better myself.
    ;-)
    =================================================================================================
    @ augustine #152:
    It may surprise you but I agree with much of what you said there. Although, not just the Greek beliefs, but many religions and most superstitions can be defined as having the same goal of trying to control an unkind reality. There are of course exceptions as you noted, and others you didn’t.

    The difference is that when it comes to medicine and safety equipment, at least it’s effectiveness at minimizing risk can be empirically tested and verified.

    The problem of course is that just because some fears are imaginary or unavoidable, it doesn’t therefore justify doing nothing about the real threats that can be avoided, or at least minimized. BTW I notice that they are many of the Hebrew faith that also support/use vaccines. Maybe that’s because ultimately vaccine use has little to do with metaphysics, and more to do with pragmatism, rational self-interest, and the good of the community as a whole.

    Like it or not augie, probability is a factor in the real world. If you have some metaphysical “proof” to the contrary of either probability or vaccines, you have yet to enlighten us about it.

  159. #159 Scott
    June 29, 2010

    Are you going to support potentially dangerous “treatments” that have no rational basis or evidence of efficacy, beyond filling the bank accounts of their marketers?

    Clearly yes, as long as it makes *them* feel better. Ben’s welfare, apparently, can go take a flying leap off a bridge.

  160. #160 Science Mom
    June 29, 2010

    What is relevant is a parent’s right to a personal belief as it pertains to their child. Should someone who believes that God will heal their son and as a result, not pursue any accepted treatment or therapies for that child have their rights discounted due to the lack of evidence that God exists?

    This statement is rather contradictory i.e. ‘accepted treatment or therapies’ and ‘lack of evidence’. No, parents shouldn’t pursue quack therapies as their rights are being used to suppress those of the child’s best interests. Children aren’t chattel, regardless of how ‘well-intentioned’ the parents may be. I also know that the bio-med crowd, of which you are part of, are loathe to criticise any of these ‘treatments’, even though you may not indulge in all of them for fear of being criticised yourself. Thick as thieves you are.

  161. #161 wfjag
    June 29, 2010

    Finally some good news (maybe):

    “Bill Passed in Albany to Make Insurers Pay for Autism Care” (June 22, 2010) NYT, http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/23/nyregion/23autism.html?emc=tnt&tntemail1=y

    The good news is that coverage is mandated (meaning that med/hospitalization insurers can no longer refuse to provide coverage to people with an ASD diagnosis), and, possibly that the insurers will only cover proven treatments and methods, rather than bio-med and whatever is “claimed” to be a medical treatment.

    The bad news is that the NY Legislature didn’t include controls that other states have included in similar legislation, which have kept the costs down:

    “Peter H. Bell, an executive vice president of Autism Speaks, an advocacy group, said, ‘Our estimate is that it was closer to a 0.5 percent premium increase, and our experience in other states is that the increase is lower than expected.’

    Mr. Bell added that the bill was more sweeping than those passed in most other states.

    ‘It has the potential to be the most comprehensive of its kind, because other states have a dollar cap and an age cap, which means that the treatments are only available up to a certain amount of money or for specific ages,’ he said. ‘But the bill in New York does not have those limitations.’”

    “[M]ore sweeping” is legalese for “We really don’t know WTF this will really do.” Guess that NY state residents will find out what was enacted if Dr. Haley claims that the OSR#1 therapy he touts are covered by medical insurance — and the NY courts back him up.

  162. #162 David N. Andrews M. Ed., C. P. S. E.
    June 30, 2010

    DNB: “What’s wrong with “buggering the bursar”? It’s the bursar’s wife one would worry about…”

    Ah, but she’s the alternative punishment to losing one’s degree… and she’s traditionally not the most ‘delicious’ of ladies… ;)

  163. #163 Antaeus Feldspar
    July 1, 2010
    What is relevant is a parent’s right to a personal belief as it pertains to their child. Should someone who believes that God will heal their son and as a result, not pursue any accepted treatment or therapies for that child have their rights discounted due to the lack of evidence that God exists?

    This statement is rather contradictory i.e. ‘accepted treatment or therapies’ and ‘lack of evidence’.

    I think you are misreading what BMS is trying to say (which is not surprising, given their convoluted phrasing.) What they are saying is, “If a parent decides they’re not going to give their child real medical care, because they think God will heal the child supernaturally instead, surely the state isn’t allowed to (or isn’t justified to) step in and insist that the child be given real medical treatment? That’s like the state saying God doesn’t exist, and obviously the state isn’t allowed to do that!”

    Of course, sane educated people see a different answer than the one BMS thinks they are leading people to.

  164. #164 Broken Link
    July 1, 2010

    On EoH, Haley’s response has been posted.

    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/EOHarm/message/105835

    Strangely enough, Haley argument isn’t very logical (snark)

    He claims his compound contains “two cystamines”. Well, no. BDETH2 (otherwise known as OSR#1) has only two S atoms, not attached to each other. Cystamine has two S atoms connected together. According to Wikipedia:

    Cystamine is an organic disulfide. It is formed when cystine is heated, the result of decarboxylation. Cystamine is an unstable liquid and is generally handled as the dihydrochloride salt, C4H12N2S2·2HCl, which is stable to 203-214 °C at which point it decomposes. Cystamine is toxic if swallowed or inhaled and potentially harmful by contact.

    I think Haley means cysteamine

    Cysteamine is the chemical compound with the formula HSCH2CH2NH2. It is the simplest stable aminothiol and a degradation product of the amino acid cysteine. It is often used as the hydrochloride salt, HSCH2CH2NH3Cl (CAS#[156-57-0])

    Cysteamine, otherwise known as 2-aminoethanethiol is “Harmful if swallowed. Skin, eye and respiratory irritant.”

    I don’t think he’s doing himself much good with these arguments – and that’s even leaving aside the fact that it’s nonsensical to state that a new chemical compound is a simple combination of the properties and toxicity of the two or more compounds that were the reactants.

    One example might be crotonaldehyde, which is formed by condensation of two acetaldehyde molecules. Acetaldehyde occurs naturally in coffee, bread, and ripe fruit, and is produced by plants as part of their normal metabolism. But the product, crotonaldehyde is listed as an “extremely hazardous substance” as defined by the U.S. Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act.

  165. #165 Science Mom
    July 1, 2010

    I think you are misreading what BMS is trying to say (which is not surprising, given their convoluted phrasing.) What they are saying is, “If a parent decides they’re not going to give their child real medical care, because they think God will heal the child supernaturally instead, surely the state isn’t allowed to (or isn’t justified to) step in and insist that the child be given real medical treatment? That’s like the state saying God doesn’t exist, and obviously the state isn’t allowed to do that!”

    Of course, sane educated people see a different answer than the one BMS thinks they are leading people to.

    You are correct AF, I did misread BMS’ statement; thank you for pointing that out. It doesn’t change the answer however as there is precedent for compelling parents to accept medical treatment in lieu of woo. Consenting adults are free to choose such courses for themselves but all bets are off for submitting their children to them.

  166. #166 tamakazura
    July 3, 2010

    Am I alone in wondering what exactly this dark substance appearing on the torso and anogenital regions is?

  167. #167 saat
    August 22, 2010

    Am I alone in wondering what exactly this dark substance appearing on the torso and anogenital regions is?

  168. #168 Charlotte Butler
    October 26, 2010

    Orac, You must be the Quackwatcher referred to as “Orac the Nipple Ripper” by Tim Bolen in his highly informative and humorous Bolen Reports. You just can’t keep your biased, big pharma sponsored opinions to yourself can you. It’s OK. You and the rest of your ilk will be falling off your littel pedestal soon and then you can all crawl back under the rocks you came from. You won’t be missed!

  169. #169 Todd W.
    October 26, 2010

    Oh! Another thread necromancer!

    big pharma sponsored

    I assume that you have evidence to back this up?

    You and the rest of your ilk will be falling off your littel pedestal soon and then you can all crawl back under the rocks you came from.

    I wonder if this has anything to do with Medicien (sic) Man’s declaration that a revelation will come in November that will shut us all up…

  170. #170 Chris
    October 26, 2010

    Todd, I thought that was “STY” who had the big revelation.

    Anyway, Patrick Tim Bolen is an amusing fellow. Does he remember where he lives yet? Has he paid his bills?

  171. #171 Todd W.
    October 26, 2010

    @Chris

    Was it STY? I haven’t seen the proclamations in so long, the trolls start to blend together.

  172. #172 Composer99
    October 26, 2010

    This thread is joining the zombie hordes.

    We should fight back: http://www.savagechickens.com/2010/10/time-for-action.html

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