Respectful Insolence

Happy Fourth of July, everyone! Since it is a holiday here in the States, I’m chilling out and recovering. I’ll try to be back tomorrow, but, worst case scenario, I’ll be back for sure on Tuesday. (Monday just so happens to be a holiday, too, this year. Gotta have those three day weekends.) In the meantime, here’s a little something you might want to know about, particularly if you live in New York City..

The skeptics in Chicago did a truly excellent job countering what fortunately turned out to be not much of an anti-vaccine “protest.” Now here’s a chance for NYC skeptics (both belonging to NYC Skeptics and unaffiliated) to do the same. The big macher of the anti-vaccine movement, the guy who arguably started it all (at least the most recent incarnation of the movement; remember, the anti-vaccine movement has existed since vaccines were first developed).

We’re talking Andrew Wakefield, people, and he’s going to be speaking at an event sponsored by the New York Chapter of the National Autism Association on Thursday, July 8:

Dr. Wakefield will talk about vaccines and his recently published book, Callous Disregard, as well as his involvement with the autism community from his perspective as a medical practitioner and as a father.

Dr. Wakefield will be signing copies of his book, which will be for sale at the event.

Andrew Wakefield, MB, BS, FR CS, FRCPath, is an academic gastroenterologist. He received his medical degree from St. Mary’s Hospital Medical School (part of the University of London) in 1981, and pursued a career in gastrointestinal surgery with a particular interest in inflammatory bowel disease. He qualified as Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons in 1985 and in 1996 was awarded a Wellcome Trust Traveling Fellowship to study small-intestinal transplantation in Toronto, Canada. He was made a Fellow of the Royal College of Pathologists in 2001. He has published over 130 original scientific articles, book chapters, and invited scientific commentaries. In the pursuit of possible links between childhood vaccines, intestinal inflammation, and neurologic injury in children, Dr. Wakefield lost his job in the Department of Medicine at London’s Royal Free Hospital, his country of birth, his career, and his medical license. He and his wife, Carmel, a physician and a classical radio presenter, live in Austin, Texas, and have four children: James, Sam, Imogen, and Corin.

Location: Rebecca School, 40 East 30 Street, 5th Floor
6:00 pm: Social Hour/Networking
6:30 pm: Lecture<

I realize that this conflicts with TAM8 and that a lot of skeptics who might be interested in this sort of thing may well be winging their way to Las Vegas as this is going on. I’ll be there myself speaking at one of the the Science-Based Medicine workshops and taking part in one panel at TAM8 itself. Still, here’s hoping there are a few intrepid souls. The key, I think, would not be to protest or to make yourselves known, but rather simply to ask Dr. Wakefield some very polite but very pointed and skeptical questions. Be careful, as well. The guy can Gish Gallop. Still, I think it’s helpful to make sure that events like these are not the lovefests that the organizers (and Wakefield) want them to be.

Comments

  1. #1 SLC
    July 4, 2010

    Considering the attitude of the British authorities, a question which might be raised is why isn’t this piece of filth being deported?

  2. #2 Broken Link
    July 4, 2010

    So glad you noticed this – I was just going to post about it on a recent Wakers thread. The key thing here is that there is no fee and no registration, so no way of screening the sceptics.

  3. #3 brian
    July 4, 2010

    “Considering the attitude of the British authorities, a question which might be raised is why isn’t this piece of filth being deported?”

    That doesn’t seem possible. You might note that in addition to his “his job . . . his career, and his medical license” Wakefield also allegedly lost “his country of birth.” I suppose there’s just no way to send him home unless it can be found.

  4. #4 maydijo
    July 4, 2010

    Oh my, I hope they find his country of birth soon, we’re planning a family vacation there in a few months.

  5. #5 sap74
    July 4, 2010

    We don’t want him back.

  6. #6 Cath the Canberra Cook
    July 4, 2010

    It’s OK, I found it behind the couch and I put it back. I’m not telling him I’ve found it, or where it is now, but anyone who can use google should be OK.

  7. #7 asdf
    July 5, 2010

    Anyone who goes there must bring an xkcd sign that says [citation needed].

  8. #8 Brian Deer
    July 5, 2010

    I have a question:

    “Dr Wakefield, your publishers have insisted that your book was printed with the warning that it must not be sold in the United Kingdom. Is this because you have written a work of fiction, which your publishers reasonably expect would leave them open to ruinous litigation in the jurisdiction where Richard Horton, David Salisbury, Arie Zuckerman, oh, and Brian Deer have their reputations?

    “Can you explain why you initiated, and then abandoned, libel litigation against The Sunday Times of London, when that litigation was frozen until after the final conclusion of your GMC case?

    http://briandeer.com/wakefield/lawsuit-times.htm
    http://briandeer.com/solved/wakefield-st-stay.pdf

    “Do these features of your position not point to the indisputable conclusion that either (a) you are the hapless victim of the most grievous and sustained campaign of malicious libel ever mounted, in which case you could readily retire to Montana on the millions you would reap in compensation, or (b) you are, as the UK General Medical Council found, a lying child abuser and research cheat?”

    Oh, I’m sorry, that was three questions.

    PS: Here’s the cheque:

    http://briandeer.com/wakefield/wakefield-cheque.htm

  9. #9 David N. Andrews M. Ed., C. P. S. E.
    July 5, 2010

    @NAA:

    “In the pursuit of possible links between childhood vaccines, intestinal inflammation, and neurologic injury in children, Dr. Wakefield lost his job in the Department of Medicine at London’s Royal Free Hospital, his country of birth, his career, and his medical license.”

    Fuck off!!! You should have written that as follows:

    “In the pursuit of possible ways to discredit the MMR vaccine in order to patent and flood the market with his own invented vaccine and using children’s misery in order to fucking do this, Dr. Wakefield lost his job in the Department of Medicine at London’s Royal Free Hospital, his country of birth, his career, and his medical license.”

    Dear America,

    I am a British person living in Finland. Even so, should yous ever send this greasy piece of shit back to the UK, I will personally go to fuckin’ all-out war with you.

    Confiscate his assets and then make the slimy twat work for his fuckin’ welfare!

  10. #10 Denice Walter
    July 6, 2010

    Unfortunately, I’ll be otherwise engaged until 6 and several miles away – and I *do* say that with an odd mixture of relief and disappointment- and still recovering from my latest whirlwind jaunt. FWIW, based on location ( and I’m totally guessing) that sounds like a small venue in a private, exclusive school( read:woo territory, low attendance).Still, it might be an opportunity for a skeptic to interact directly with Andy.

  11. #11 Marion Delgado
    July 8, 2010

    I’ve narrowed his country of birth down to either Lemuria or Mu. I think he should be happy with either.

  12. #12 OurSally
    July 8, 2010

    You can’t lose your country of birth if you were born to British parents in Britain. If so you are British till you die, and there is nothing you can do about it. If your parents or grandparents had the right of residence then you have it too. So nothing is stopping Wakefield from returning to the UK, except the fear of being arrested, tried and sent to prison for fraud and a few other things.

  13. #13 Dan Weber
    July 9, 2010

    Any reports from people who attended?

  14. #14 Passing Thru
    July 9, 2010

    I’m not sure that anybody went. There’s a photo online, which shows 7 people present. This guy’s finished.

  15. #15 Dan Weber
    July 9, 2010

    Oh wow, you are right. Here it is:

    http://www.ageofautism.com/2010/07/live-from-new-york-its-dr-andrew-wakefield.html

    (Well, I count ten heads in the audience, but, still, that’s pretty sad.)

  16. #16 Liz Ditz
    July 11, 2010

    Eyewitness report

    http://blogs.nature.com/nm/spoonful/2010/07/andrew_wakefield_the_book_laun.html

    Author says about 80 people in the audience.

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