Respectful Insolence

There’s so much horrible reporting on vaccines and the whole manufactroversy that promulgates the myth that vaccines somehow cause autism through a combination of confusing correlation with causation, bad science, quackery, and misrepresenting autism that it’s gotten harder for me to be sufficiently irritated to write about it. When I see yet another another example of credulous reporting, it has to be either truly egregious to the point of catching my attention above the baseline noise of stories presenting anti-vaccine pseudoscience as though there were any truth to it or somehow illustrate something about the anti-vaccine movement that needs to be pointed out–or both. Not uncommonly, such articles are touted on that repository of anti-vacccine quackery and propaganda, Age of Autism, as examples of the media “finally getting it.” So it is with a truly execrable piece of crap journalism that the merry band of anti-vaccine propagandists over at AoA–specifically, one of that merry band, Anne Dachel, Media Editor of AoA–found and promoted yesterday. It’s an article that was first published in The Hudson Reporter entitled To ‘V’ or not to ‘V’? Free vaccinations offered; controversy continues.

It turns out that, since my departure, New Jersey has become a hotbed of “vaccine choice,” a.k.a. anti-vaccine propaganda masquerading as “personal exemptions,” “health freedom,” and “vaccine choice.” The staff reporter who wrote this article, Lana Rose Diaz, has dropped a steaming, drippy turd of a “tell both sides” article that really doesn’t tell both sides. Rather, it tells the side of Louise Kuo Habakus, Founder of Life Health Choices. We have, of course, met Ms. Habakus before. For example, she was awarded the AoA Person of the Year Award for 2009. Most recently, she was one of the main instigators of the anti-vaccine rally in Chicago attached to Autism One that turned into an embarrassing fizzle. Basically, she’s a woman who’s made a name for herself opposing vaccine mandates in New Jersey and New York based on the same sort of rank pseudoscience that AoA promotes on nearly a daily basis. No wonder AoA likes Ms. Habakus so much!

So what sort of nonsense is Ms. Habakus spewing in this article this time? Plenty, actually, and AoA loves it because in writing the article Ms. Diaz uses the time dishonored tactic of letting the advocate of pseudoscience blather on and on and then only at the end provide the science-based viewpoint, almost as perfunctory afterthought that had to be included because it’s expected. However, it’s obvious where Ms. Diaz’s heart is, and it’s not with the science-based viewpoint, at least not on this issue. After all, why else would she represent a clueless advocate of pseudoscience like Ms. Habakus as a “mother turned medical practitioner”? Get a load of this:

Louise Kuo Habakus, a member of the New Jersey Coalition for Vaccination Choice, which held a session last year at a restaurant in Hoboken, is also the director and founder of The Center for Personal Rights, a non-profit organization based in Middletown.

Habakus said she got involved in the fight for vaccination choice after two of her children were injured by vaccines. She said they developed inflammatory bowel disease, which got progressively worse after each vaccine.

However, she stressed that the injuries her children faced may be less or more severe than what others could face.

“Vaccine injury manifests very differently in different people,” said Habakus.

A former corporate executive, Habakus took on the mission of poring over studies in her quest to advocate for research, education, and informed consent when it comes to vaccination and ultimately became a holistic health practitioner.

I wonder what kind of “holistic practitioner” Ms. Habakus decided to become. So I did a little Googling. Apparently she represents herself as “specializing in integrative nutrition and homotoxicology.” Of course, “integrative nutrition” appears to be pure quackery, if the Institute for Integrative Nutition website is any indication. On the website, the glories of Andrew Weil, MD, Arthur Agatston, MD, Barry Sears, PhD, Mark Hyman, MD and Deepak Chopra, among many others, are touted as the source of much of the knowledge of woo that the institute wants to impart to its students and the curriculum features “major dietary theories from Ayurveda to The Zone.” Meanwhile, as it is claimed for “instegrative medicine,” integrative nutrition “integrates” woo and quackery with “conventional” nutrition. Of course, looking at the website, I rather suspect it’s a homeopathic integration in that the woo is probably used to serially dilute and succuss the conventional nutrition until nothing is left. Not surprisingly, the Institute for Integrative Nutrition has its very own page on Quackwatch.

As for “homotoxicology,” as you might imagine, that is pure quackery as well. In fact, according to Habakus’ own website, homotoxicology is described thusly:

Homotoxicology is the science of toxins and their removal within the human body. It offers a theory of disease which describes the severity and duration of an illness or disorder based on toxin-loading relative to our body’s ability to detoxify. We should normally be excreting toxins through the primary pathways of feces, urine and sweat. When the immune system is challenged, however, our body’s ability to eliminate toxins is also compromised. There are progressive stages of illness which correspond to the bio-accumulation of toxins. After excretion, we move to deposition, then impregnation, degeneration and finally neoplasm (cancer). Symptoms of disease are the result of appropriate biological resistance to toxic substances. In other words, conditions such as asthma or skin rashes are predictable ways that we might respond to toxicity. If we attempt to suppress the symptoms at an earlier phase, for example, through the use of steroids or other prescription drugs, we drive the toxins deeper into our cells, which can result in advancement of illness and disease.

That’s right. Homotoxicology is pure “detoxification” woo. Never mind that our bodies are quite capable of removing most “toxins” without the help of the dubious nostrums that dubious practitioners like Habakus recommend, including “serially agitated homeopathic dilutions” (surprise, surprise). According to “homotoxicology,” diseases result from the body’s attempt to expel those magical mystical “toxins” that supposedly build up in everyone’s body, denying the central tenets of the germ theory of disease. These toxins are referred to as “homotoxins,” and consist of pretty much everything in the environment to which we are exposed. In contrast to homeopathy, homotoxicology is less concerned with “like cures like” than with using substances that, according to the principles of this woo “activate the greater defense system” and force the body to expel the “toxins.”

Habakus also recommends “homeoprophylaxis” to prevent infectious diseases in children. It’s depressing to think that Habukus would substitute magic water instead of effective vaccination to protect our children from infectious disease, but clearly she has fallen for pure magic. After all, she is, it would appear, a homeopath of a sort, and anyone who thinks that the principles of homeopathy are the least bit based on any science–or even that they don’t conflict with the known laws of science to the point that, for homeopathy to be valid much of what we know about physics and chemistry would have to be spectacularly wrong–is not a rational thinker. She is a magical thinker.

No wonder she’s so firmly of the belief that vaccines cause autism, and depressingly our intrepid reporter Diaz didn’t notice any of the quackery espoused by Habakus.

The rest of the article is basically Habakus making the argument that more vaccine exemptions should be allowed and that the state of New Jersey should not mandate vaccines. I’m not going to get into the political argument over whether the state should have the power to require vaccines. Many people who fully accept the efficacy of vaccination and do not buy into the pseudoscientific myth that vaccines cause autism will argue that on libertarian principles the government shouldn’t have the power to require vaccination as a precondition before a child can attend public school. Personally, although I accept that adults should have the right to determine what is done with their bodies, I’ve never bought that argument for children any more than I’ve bought the argument that parents should be allowed to choose quackery over science-based medicine to treat cancer in their child. My opinion of the argument or not, arguing against school-mandated vaccination on libertarian reasons is not a scientific argument, but rather an argument about philosophy and public policy that is far more about the principles one values than the science. I would point out that, even in New Jersey, it’s still not that difficult to get an exemption. It’s not as though state officials are going to ask parents who claim vaccination is against their religion to prove it. In fact, there are times when I wish they would. But they don’t, and it’s highly unlikely that they will.

Unfortunately, the rest of the article is a heapin’ helpin’ of confusing correlation with causation liberally sprinkled with–of course!–conspiracy theories:

In New Jersey, the autism rate is 1 in 94. Some have said the high rate is due to the many resources that exist in the state, a situation that draws people with autistic children to move here. In addition, more children may be diagnosed here.

Habakus pointed to the fact that the Garden State gives more shots, offers no vaccine choice, and is the U.S. and worldwide headquarters for over half of the world’s pharmaceutical firms.

“Is that a coincidence?” she said. “The pharmaceutical industry is such an important tax base in our state, you could argue that it would be impossible to be elected in New Jersey without pharm support.”

Habakus said that sufficient research has never been put into vaccines to see who is susceptible to possible complications prior to administering vaccines, because the people conducting the studies are the same ones selling the product.

“We’re not saying don’t vaccinate,” said Habakus. “We’re just saying do your research.”

Read more: Hudson Reporter – To ‘V’ or not to ‘V’ Free vaccinations offered controversy continues.

OK, I’ll give Diaz a bit of a pass on the first paragraph in that it is quite possible that the prevalence of autism in New Jersey may be higher because of those very reasons. Having lived in New Jersey, I know that the state charges outrageously high property taxes but does pour a lot of that money into schools and special services that are superior to those of any other state I’ve lived in. There are a lot of early intervention programs and a lot of resources thrown into screening for learning disabilities and then trying to help these children. Of course, to Habakus, it’s all a big pharma plot to make the children of New Jersey autistic and make billions of dollars doing it, not to mention Diaz, who turns a story that should be an optimistic story about a good thing, offering free vaccines, into a paranoid, conspiracy mongering mound of nonsense, thanks to her choice of Habakus as her main interview subject.

One thing that this story demonstrates about the anti-vaccine movement very clearly is that, to anti-vaccine activists, left is right, up is down, and anti-science is science. Look, for instance, at what Anne Dachel at AoA says about the story:

I like to think that reporters are someday going to start telling the truth about autism and catch on to the fact that if you only talk to health officials, you’re only getting one side of the story when it comes to the controversy over vaccines and autism.

Personally, I, too, like to think that reporters are someday going to start writing accurate stories about vaccines and autism. Several months ago, when Andrew Wakefield had his medical license removed and then as a result the editors of The Lancet retracted his misbegotten amalgamation of bad science published in their journal in 1998, I was pleasantly surprised that most journalists actually got the story pretty close to right and seemed to be stopping the false balance of “tell both sides.” Unfortunately, that progress towards reason, skepticism, and science appears as though it might be in danger of eroding now that the memory of Wakefield’s disgrace is starting to fade.

With Wakefield’s disgrace no longer front and center, reporters are in danger of falling back to their old ways of “balance,” and, to the Bizarro World of AoA, false balance is balance, as Anne Dachel makes explicit:

We can also hope that more reporters will do their job—and give us the arguments from both sides. That’s all we ask. It’s what they mean by “fair and balanced.”

Actually, I find it rather telling that Dachel chooses to appropriate the FOX NEWS catchphrase “fair and balanced” to describe the kind of reporting it wants. It’s hard not to note that, even at its worst, FOX NEWS isn’t as biased and full of misinformation as AoA–or Habakus. The sorts of spin, misinformation, and pseudoscience regularly delivered by AoA and Habakus would make Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity blush in embarrassment.

Comments

  1. #1 Aaron M Hatch
    August 18, 2010

    “We’re not saying don’t vaccinate,” said Habakus. “We’re just saying do your research.”

    This line almost makes me as mad as Mercola’s yesterday to someone claiming him of nutritional reductionism:

    “You are clearly out of line nandi. I have made the distinctions crystal clear and there is no nutritional reductionism here. My guess is that you are unwilling to carefully evaluate the evidence because of your preconceived notions. I have always said whole fruit is fine unless you exceed 25 grams a day of fructose and have insulin resistance.
    Suggest you more carefully review the research. While fructose from whole fruits is clearly superior to refined fructose as the micronutrients help to offset the damage, one still can not eat them without any regard to their own insulin resistance.”

    Carefully review the research? AHHHH

  2. #2 Orac
    August 18, 2010

    Oh, I could do a whole riff on the anti-vaccine idiocy of “do your own research.” I see the brain-meltingly pseudoscientific results of antivaxers “doing their own research” every day.

  3. #3 David N. Andrews M. Ed., C. P. S. E.
    August 18, 2010

    @Orac: “Oh, I could do a whole riff on the anti-vaccine idiocy of ‘do your own research’. I see the brain-meltingly pseudoscientific results of antivaxers ‘doing their own research’ every day.”

    This I’d love to see, actually. Just to see what kind of crap they come up with. Dunno about you, Orac, but the bullshit they trot out regularly on here suggests that their research ‘skills’ are – if I’m to be nice as possible – somewhat lacking.

  4. #4 Daniel J. Andrews
    August 18, 2010

    The sorts of spin, misinformation, and pseudoscience regularly delivered by AoA and Habakus would make Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity blush in embarrassment.

    I find that difficult to believe. They spin fast enough to put a neutron star to shame (as would their density).

    Homotoxicology is a strange name…they’re saying all toxins are the same? Or did they just appropriate the prefix from homeopathy in an attempt to give homotoxicology some ‘credibility’, not realizing what they were parsing?

  5. #5 Dianne
    August 18, 2010

    I know that the state charges outrageously high property taxes

    The New Yorker in me wants to giggle hysterically at this, but really I don’t know anything about either state’s property taxes. NJ income taxes are ridiculously low, though and it shows in the availability of services.

    but does pour a lot of that money into schools and special services that are superior to those of any other state I’ve lived in.

    Again, I know nothing about the schools but the social services available for people who become sick without resources are inadequate. Then again, I’m talking post-Christie.

  6. #6 Dangerous Bacon
    August 18, 2010

    It’s bizarre to think of a “homotoxicologist” driving down the New Jersey Turnpike engulfed in the fumes of petrochemical and other refineries, obsessing about the horrors of vaccine “toxins”.

    Wake up, Ms. Habakus (Hobokus?) and smell the…whatever it is.

  7. #7 Mr. B
    August 18, 2010

    I hate to do a shameless plug, but I wrote about what I called the “more research” gambit here a few months ago, which I consider to be in the same vein as “do your own research.” I don’t generally write about anti-vaxers, but that was the first – and probably best – example of this tactic that I saw. (Guess where the person who told me that I was wrong to believe the science on vaccines got her information? That lovely compendium of idiocy known as Mothering.com. Yeah, I trust that kind of “research.”)

  8. #8 Dianne
    August 18, 2010

    It’s bizarre to think of a “homotoxicologist” driving down the New Jersey Turnpike engulfed in the fumes of petrochemical and other refineries, obsessing about the horrors of vaccine “toxins”.

    The dose of “toxins” (ie particulates and carbon monoxide) one gets from driving down the NJ turnpike is by no means “homeopathic”. So presumably a homeopath thinks it’s perfectly safe-at least unless someone makes the mistake of cleaning up and increasing the efficacy of the toxins…

  9. #9 David
    August 18, 2010

    When the immune system is challenged, however, our body’s ability to eliminate toxins is also compromised

    Most toxins are cleared by hepatic metabolism and/or renal excretion. The quoted statement is as bogus as Donald Trump’s hair.

  10. #10 Jojo
    August 18, 2010

    She needs to work on her conspiracy theory generation a little better. Habakus makes a big deal about how many pharma companies there are in New Jersey – which is true. Then, she claims that New Jersey doesn’t have vaccination choice. So, that means that all of the people that work for the pharma companies who have children will be mandated to vaccinate their children. That doesn’t make sense if the pharma companies know that vaccinations harm people because they would be intentionally harming their own children. Plus, those children will be covered by the health plans offered by the pharma companies, which would drive up their health care costs.

    No matter how you dice it, it just doesn’t make sense. I guess by know I should have learned not to expect it to make sense.

  11. #11 Matthew Cline
    August 18, 2010

    We should normally be excreting toxins through the primary pathways of feces, urine and sweat.

    So far, so good.

    When the immune system is challenged, however, our body’s ability to eliminate toxins is also compromised.

    *sigh* I guess it couldn’t last for very long.

    … Hmmm, though they might have a tiny point. Antitoxins are antibodies which neutralize toxins, so for certain toxins the immune system might be of some help.

    Symptoms of disease are the result of appropriate biological resistance to toxic substances.

    Good gravy, don’t these people know anything about cellular biology and biochemistry?

    (I remember arguing on Usenet with a germ-theory denying, Bechamp supporting homeopath who used a similar argument.)

    we drive the toxins deeper into our cells,

    What does “deeper” mean? Further away from the surface of blood vessels? In the nuclei of cells?

    After all, she is, it would appear, a homeopath of a sort, and anyone who thinks that the principles of homeopathy are the least bit based on any science–or even that they don’t conflict with the known laws of science to the point that, for homeopathy to be valid much of what we know about physics and chemistry would have to be spectacularly wrong–is not a rational thinker. She is a magical thinker.

    I wonder if homotoxicology might not be considered a worse offense against science than homeopathy. Homeopathy posits that some unknown mechanism of physics/chemistry gives water “memory”, and that some unknown mechanism of biology lets this memory have an effect on living things. Homotoxicology, on the other hand, posits things about toxicology, toxin elimination and symptom causation that are completely wrong.

  12. #12 Denice Walter
    August 18, 2010

    Oh frig. Or perhaps I should say,”Frigg”, dealing as we are with the cult of home, family, and rampart “momism”. Be that as it may, I first heard of Kuo Habakus on Null’s radio woo-topia as they prepared for their first assault on Trenton. On her website, she identifies herself as an “MA” while the IIN site advertises “a career in a year”: I get the impression that those two “degrees” are unrelated although she might want us to think otherwise.( I wouldn’t be surprized if she had an MA in marketting). She lives and works in Red Bank / Middletown (Monmouth County), an area which has recently seen rapid growth in middle class affluence and neo-yuppism with tinges of nature worship ( I live in Bergen County where most worship the “other green”). Indulging in a conspiracy theory of this scope would require employing ( what one skeptic calls) “cascade logic”: in order for the imagined conspiracy to be maintained, larger and larger pools of willing participants would be necesaary as well as a more convoluted imbroglio of secret trists, meetings, documents, and cover-ups. I characterize many of these conspiracists as amateur *noir* novella writers- creating pulp fiction instead of the usual “science” fiction.

  13. #13 Pablo
    August 18, 2010

    Mr B – I checked out your blog about the “do some research” gambit. I left unsatisfied. There’s a hint of useful points in there, but mostly left insufficiently stated.

    You do get to the most critical part about it, though: “Research” is only as good as the sources you rely upon. This is where the biggest problem comes in. Someone who “does their own research” by doing a google search is going to be inundated by anti-vax information. If you go through and read all the sites, you are going to be overwhelmed with anti-vax crap. If you are lucky, you might stumble upon the AAP, CDC, or WebMD pages, but hey, those are only three sites compared to the dozens of anti-vax screeds you will find. It’s not surprising that you would conclude that there is a lot the GOVERNMENT isn’t telling you.

    The problem with this is that it is like comparing a big pile of cow manure with a small amount of caviar. From a distance, that big pile of cow manure looks a lot more impressive, but when you get up close, you discover that it is simply a big pile of shit. Meanwhile, that caviar (or make it whatever delicacy you prefer) is highly coveted and very high quality.

    So as you noted, the first thing you have to do when deciding to “do your research” is to determine what constitutes quality sources and what is the steaming pile of poo. This has to be determined not by the content of what it says in there, but by other factors of what makes this source worth listening to?

    For example, if someone says to spend some time reading sMothering.com to learn about the link between vaccines and autism, you have to ask, why? Who are the people there and what makes their opinions about vaccines worth listening to? What expertise do they have in this matter?

    And, to be fair, it’s not a bad idea to do the same with other sources, including the “government.” When talking about the CDC’s vaccination policy, people talk about it as if it is some big government conglomerate. Is it? It doesn’t take a lot of work to actually figure out where those recommendations come from. People act like “the government” is a monolithic, nameless entity, but it’s not. You can actually find the names and qualifications of the people who determine the vaccination schedule. Shoot, I bet you could even email them and ask them a question or two and they would answer.

    So yes, do your research, but do it properly. Investigate the qualifications of the sources upon which you are relying. If, after that, you conclude that random mom in Tacoma, WA who claims that her unvaccinated child is autistic because of mercury in her mothers milk originating from when she was vaccinated as a child knows more about the effects of vaccination than the Head of the Pediatrics Dept at LSU, whose specialty is infectious childhood disease, then there really is no hope for you. However, at least you’ve gone about it the right way.

  14. #14 Denice Walter
    August 18, 2010

    There’s something contradictory here! If you want to *decrease* toxins and believe in homeopathy (where “less is more”) wouldn’t cutting down the toxins lead to *poisoning*?

  15. #15 Sivi
    August 18, 2010

    @13 Pablo

    Well, there is one method by which the authority or reliability of your sources doesn’t impact your research. Experimentation is new knowledge creation. Clearly, more anti-vaxxers need to become biomedical researchers, and get involved in clinical vaccine trials.

    It might at least make them too busy to be annoying, while they get their degrees.

  16. #16 Pablo
    August 18, 2010

    Well, there is one method by which the authority or reliability of your sources doesn’t impact your research. Experimentation is new knowledge creation. Clearly, more anti-vaxxers need to become biomedical researchers, and get involved in clinical vaccine trials.

    LOL! Point taken.

    Unfortunately, in lieu of such activities myself, I will instead rely on the opinions of those people who do them.

    Like the members of the CDC committee on vaccination…

  17. #17 Mike 5
    August 18, 2010

    I realize that it jeopardizes our collective herd immunity, but could we not simply allow ALL medical conspiracy theorists to evolutionarily self-select against themselves and their progeny, for the eventual benefit of the entire species? We can then award them posthumous “Darwin Awards” for cleaning up the gene pool(http://www.darwinawards.com), and everybody gains something!?

  18. #18 Just Sayin'
    August 18, 2010

    Apparently she represents herself as “specializing in integrative nutrition and homotoxicology.”

    But does she know anything about heterotoxicology?

  19. #19 Harold L Doherty
    August 18, 2010

    WHAT?

    They aren’t following ORAC’s supreme commands and orders and reporting the vaccine script as dictated? Shame, shame, shame. Woo I say, quackery I say, conspiracy theorist nuts, progpaganda, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc.

    Have these people not heard that all vaccines and all vaccine ingredients have been proven safe for all time beyond any further need for human examination or questioning?

  20. #20 René Najera
    August 18, 2010

    Yeah, I did my own research. But I used things like credible references, the scientific method, and good ol’ common sense.

  21. #21 Harold L Doherty
    August 18, 2010

    WHAT?

    They aren’t following ORAC’s supreme commands and orders and reporting the vaccine script as dictated? Shame, shame, shame. Woo I say, quackery I say, conspiracy theorist nuts, propaganda, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc.

    Have these people not heard that all vaccines and all vaccine ingredients have been proven safe for all time beyond any further need for human examination or questioning?

  22. #22 Dedj
    August 18, 2010

    “Have these people not heard that all vaccines and all vaccine ingredients have been proven safe for all time beyond any further need for human examination or questioning?”

    Because that hasn’t happened, and no one is saying that.

    If you believe they are, you will provide a direct quote and explain how it meets your interpretation, if such activities are still within your capabilities.

    Now, silly question this given your – aha – ‘reputation’, but are you actually capable of addressing anything in this thread or are you just going to be a sarcastic pillock with no effort towards any real contribution?

  23. #23 MM
    August 18, 2010

    You deniers are the equivalent of holocaust deniers. Ignore every carefully controlled test, every piece of evidence causal and not, which undermines your poorly thought out and even more poorly tested hypotheses. I’m sorry your kids have autism. Start looking for legitimate ways to cure it and let the rest of the world be safe from disease. There’s no point making a bad thing worse by subjecting children to death and illness because you engage in magical reasoning.

  24. #24 Dedj
    August 18, 2010

    “Ignore every carefully controlled test, every piece of evidence causal and not, which undermines your poorly thought out and even more poorly tested hypotheses.”

    Which carefully controlled tests? Which pieces of causal and non-causal evidence? How is the hypothesis poorly thought out? Why are the tests – which magically retain 100% validity when used in attempts to prove the autism epidemic is real and not an artifact – somehow poor quality?

    We can’t ignore what you don’t present.

  25. #25 JohnV
    August 18, 2010

    People like Mr. Doherty are the main bit of evidence in the utter failure of the “do your own research” approach.

  26. #26 Dedj
    August 18, 2010

    “People like Mr. Doherty are the main bit of evidence in the utter failure of the “do your own research” approach.”

    Oh, I think he does do his own research.

    It is suspiciously rank and file vaccine skeptic research, and he never ever ever presents any of the alternative sources at any point, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t do it himself.

    Sometimes doing the research yourself is the cause of the problem, not the solution.

  27. #27 Tanner Mahogany
    August 18, 2010

    The main issue I’ve found with the “do your own research” bit is the fact that most legitimate studies are unavailable to the common web user. Aside from the abstracts – which don’t always prvide clear information on results – many studies need to be purchased to see them.

    Compare that to the anti-vax woo which is free for all to view and be misinformed by.

    So, of course they say do your own research – most of what you find will be pseudoscience junk (redundant, I know).

  28. #28 Orac
    August 18, 2010

    People like Mr. Doherty are the main bit of evidence in the utter failure of the “do your own research” approach.

    Indeed. It’s no wonder Mr. Doherty is so annoyed by my criticism of her ignorance and embrace of quackery.

  29. #29 Harold L Doherty
    August 18, 2010

    Sorry about being a sarcastic “pillock” Dedj. I was just trying to pass for one of the locals in this internet village full of sarcastic pillocks. (You Brits have a way with derogatory slang I give you that.)

    The position that vaccines shall not be questioned because they are beyond reproach, because they have been proven safe for all time, is implicit in every post on this forum except those of visitors who do not share the cult like vaccine faith.

    If you seriously think that the posters on this site contribute to anyone’s understanding of vaccines and their possible impacts, positive or negative, well you are in your own words just another backslapping “pillock”.

    Paul Offit to the contrary, journalists putting alternative points of view in a report on any subject is not providing false balance, it is practicing real journalism.

  30. #30 Calli Arcale
    August 18, 2010

    Dedj — reread MM’s post. I think you’ve understood it backwards. (I initially did as well, before I realized who MM was addressing as “you deniers”. He’s addressing the anti-vaxxers, not us.)

  31. #31 Harold L Doherty
    August 18, 2010

    Orac anyone who doesn’t subscribe to your views is, in your insolent opinion, ignorant and embracing quackery. You persuade no one with such juvenile tactics.

  32. #32 Mu
    August 18, 2010

    Mr. Doherty, I just spent some time reading your blog, and was wondering, how can someone write so well and still come over as a raving anti-vax lunatic on RI? Until I got far enough back and found that when it comes to vaccines you’re indeed all you seem to be here.
    It’s odd that someone who’s doing so much reading and good writing can be so enormously mistaken in regards to evidence on vaccines and autism. Doing your own research took you some strange places.

  33. #33 Matthew Cline
    August 18, 2010

    @dedj:

    If you believe they are, you will provide a direct quote and explain how it meets your interpretation,

    I wonder if some people take an unqualified “safe” to mean “100%” safe; it would explain those people who think that vaccine advocates claim that vaccines are 100% safe. If so, I wonder if they’re the same people who think that driving is 100% safe if they’re the one behind the wheel.

  34. #34 Science Mom
    August 18, 2010

    The position that vaccines shall not be questioned because they are beyond reproach, because they have been proven safe for all time, is implicit in every post on this forum except those of visitors who do not share the cult like vaccine faith.

    A mammoth strawman. No one here, to my knowledge, has ever made any such statements. I’m afraid that your accusation of cult-like faith is positioned towards the wrong side. Anti-vaxxers are continually rejecting properly-conducted studies in favour of pseudo-scientific offerings. See the latest Hewitson et al. monkey study, for example.

    If you seriously think that the posters on this site contribute to anyone’s understanding of vaccines and their possible impacts, positive or negative, well you are in your own words just another backslapping “pillock”.

    Wishful thinking on your part. And I daresay that sites such as AoA, AVN and JABS are actually driving former and potential supporters away by spewing the completely incredulous nonsense that they do.

  35. #35 Jarred C
    August 18, 2010

    When I was an undergrad working on a degree in toxicology, I found a general rule to be true: always be a little extra skeptical of any tox paper which doesn’t mention P450 enzymes (exceptions including a pathway which does not involve P450, or a paper which does not talk about detoxification pathways).

    I’ve yet to find a woo article that even alludes to knowledge of those enzymes.

  36. #36 Orac
    August 18, 2010

    The position that vaccines shall not be questioned because they are beyond reproach, because they have been proven safe for all time, is implicit in every post on this forum except those of visitors who do not share the cult like vaccine faith.

    No, it’s a convenient straw man argument used by anti-vaccine activists like yourself. No, no, don’t bother to deny that you’re anti-vaccine. Your writings here on this blog show clearly that you are, particularly your use of terms like “cult-like vaccine faith.” In fact, we question specific vaccines all the time based on valid scientific evidence. I myself have expressed skepticism over whether we should be rushing forward to mandate, for example, the HPV vaccine. This is in marked contrast to anti-vaccine zealots, who “question” vaccines, their safety, and their efficacy based on pseudoscience and anti-science and claim that they cause autism and all sorts of other health issues based not just on bad science but going against existing science.

  37. #37 MI Dawn
    August 18, 2010

    @Denice Walter: nice to know there is another NJ person since Orac left. I live in Morris Cty, but my husband works in Bergen Cty.

    There is a lot of woo around. I work for an employer who promotes evidence-based medicine, but a lot of my co-workers are woo-minded. Had an argument with one coworker who is “pretty sure” vaccines cause autism, because his nephew was diagnosed with autism a few weeks after getting his vaccines. When I pointed out that maybe it was the fact that the MD saw something at the visit that raised his concerns, coworker insisted that X was in perfect health until after the vaccines. What can you do?

  38. #38 Just Sayin'
    August 18, 2010

    They aren’t following ORAC’s supreme commands and orders and reporting the vaccine script as dictated? Shame, shame, shame. Woo I say, quackery I say, conspiracy theorist nuts, propaganda, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc.

    Project much?

  39. #39 Just Sayin'
    August 18, 2010

    journalists putting alternative points of view discredited nonsense in a report on any subject is not providing false balance, it is practicing real journalism impersonating Fox News.

    FTFY

  40. #40 Denice Walter
    August 18, 2010

    @ MI Dawn : 1.What to do? Other than educating them about what *neurodevelopmental* _actually_means? ((shrugs)) It’s very hard to get that much SBM info out in a conversation contra sound-bite new age woo and *idees fixees*. Of course you can always refer them to the excellent educational websites we frequent.2. Morris? Probably like Monmouth? For myself, with Kuo Habakus’ activities and Deirdre Imus’ “center” @ H.U.M.C., I thinking about saying that my *family* is from NY and/or the Hudson Valley (it’s true).

  41. #41 Michael
    August 18, 2010

    #17, yes we could do that and it might have a deterrent effect. We could also execute the children of rapists and it might have a deterrent effect but it wouldn’t be ethical.

  42. #42 Gerald
    August 18, 2010

    Great blog. I’ve learned a good deal about the anti-vaccine movement from reading the posts here. The tactics used by them are strikingly similar to the ones used by other pseudoscientific groups, especially the appeal to “personal freedom” and keeping things “balanced” in the media. Lately I’ve been encountering the argument that getting vaccinated is a violation of one’s personal freedom of choice. Of course then it makes it seem like the one supporting good science is against freedom. (The creationists use a similar tactic with their “academic freedom” bills.) It’s difficult to argue with that, because then they can shift the discussion from giving any positive support for their claims into the old “you don’t like freedom” argument.

    Anyway, keep up the good work and I look forward to learning more here.

  43. #43 MI Dawn
    August 18, 2010

    @Denice Walter: There is a fair amount of woo available (from what I have viewed;haven’t really investigated) in Morris County. Lots of chiropractors who will cure whatever ails you by adjusting your subluxations. :-/

    I’ve debated saying I’m from Michigan (very true) or Virginia (also true). But, as Orac has written, both have blotted their copybook regarding antivax quackery anyway, so I guess I’ll just stick with NJ for now. I will just keep stressing that my family is up to date with all available vaccines. (We may all be very strange, but can’t blame the vaccines for that. LOL)

    Re: #1 comment: The ironic thing is that one of his jobs is to make sure the doctors he works with keep up to date with patient immunizations! He will admit that they are a good thing, but then spouts off the “toxins, mercury, formaldehyde” crap. I spent an hour reasoning with him, showed him websites (RI is propaganda, I’ll have you know!!!) and got nowhere, so I gave up, and just keep hoping he does not have children in the future whom he leaves unimmunized (he is currently single and childless).

  44. #44 jen
    August 18, 2010

    so you’re basically upset that Ms. Habakus thinks that her children developed inflammatory bowel disease and other problems after vaccination and that other children’s problems could be more or less severe due to vaccinations? Sounds to me like you have a personal investment at stake here (i.e. with Sanofi-Pasteur).

  45. #45 Lawrence
    August 18, 2010

    So, the jen robot finally broke…..

  46. #46 Just Sayin'
    August 18, 2010

    Posted by: jen, Nattering Nabob of Nonsensical Non-sequiturs | August 18, 2010 1:31 PM

    so you’re basically upset that Ms. Habakus thinks that her children developed inflammatory bowel disease and other problems after vaccination and that other children’s problems could be more or less severe due to vaccinations? Sounds to me like you have a personal investment at stake here (i.e. with Sanofi-Pasteur).

    Non-sequitur. It’s that there’s absolutely no evidence for her so-called “hypothesis”. That’s how science works. It’s called a nulll hypothesis. But then, you wouldn’t know that, what with being totally oblivious to science and all.

    And yes, everyone who disagrees with you is part of a conspiracy, the same one which successfully pulled off the moon landing in a Hollywood studio.

    By the way, posting something five times doesn’t increase its impact.

  47. #47 MikeMa
    August 18, 2010

    jen must be getting paid by the post.

  48. #48 Pablo
    August 18, 2010

    Lately I’ve been encountering the argument that getting vaccinated is a violation of one’s personal freedom of choice. Of course then it makes it seem like the one supporting good science is against freedom. (The creationists use a similar tactic with their “academic freedom” bills.) It’s difficult to argue with that, because then they can shift the discussion from giving any positive support for their claims into the old “you don’t like freedom” argument.

    Gerald – on the surface, this seems logical, but the problem is, their decision to not vaccinate does not just affect them (if it did, I’d say screw them). Their decision to not vaccinate puts others at risk, in two ways: 1) those who are too young or unable (for medical reasons) to vaccinate are left exposed, and
    2) vaccination isn’t (nor claimed to be) 100% effective, and its effectiveness, even for the vaccinated, relies a lot on herd immunity.

    Therefore, not vaccinating one’s child puts others at risk, in addition to their child. And as they say, your freedom to swing your fist ends at the tip of my nose.

    In fact, I didn’t because all that bothered with anti-vaxxers until I had a child of my own. At that point, it got personal. They are putting my child at risk with their actions, and no, I don’t consider that acceptable.

    Of course, it goes well beyond that. The social contract of herd immunity that vaccination relies upon cuts both ways. While I don’t consider it acceptable to put my child at risk, by vaccinating, I do my part to help protect your child, too. In fact, those who pronounce that they are willing to take their chances with infectious disease are able to do so because of people like me, who do vaccinate and therefore contribute to herd immunity. Basically, they think that vaccination is harmful, and won’t do it themselves, but count on folks like me to take all that supposed risk so they can get the benefit.

    I’m not too keen at people who take advantage of my good nature.

  49. #49 Scott
    August 18, 2010

    I’d also draw an important distinction between adults choosing to not be vaccinated and parents choosing not to have their children vaccinated. In many other contexts, we allow adults to do risky things themselves which we do not allow parents to do to their children. And properly so – making a decision for oneself is very different from making a decision for another, even if that other is one’s child.

    I am, in general, a pretty firm libertarian. But given the strong impact vaccination decisions have on others’ health and even survival, I make an exception there. I’ll grudgingly accept an adult’s decision to forgo boosters. But IMO parents should be strictly required to vaccinate their children, adhering to the CDC schedule. Even Christian Scientists and the like. Medical exemptions ONLY. As I see it, a parent has no more right to put their child at risk by forgoing vaccination than they do to put their child at risk by relying on exorcism to treat seizures.

  50. #50 Pablo
    August 18, 2010

    I am, in general, a pretty firm libertarian. But given the strong impact vaccination decisions have on others’ health and even survival, I make an exception there.

    I don’t think it is an exemption. I also am an advocate of freedom, but freedom has limits. If you want to practice behavior that puts yourself at risk, I won’t stop you. I won’t pay for it, either, but you go ahead. However, the limit is, you put yourself at risk. Not me, and certainly not my child. Especially considering that my child is put at risk (real risks of vaccination – not the imaginary risks of the anti-vaxxers) to protect you and your offspring.

    So libertarian or not, we have a social commitment. You are free to chose not to vaccinate, but that does not mean you must be given a free ride. Don’t vaccinate, fine, but then you give up access to public interactions, including the use of public sidewalks or schools.

    The libertarian in me affirms everyone’s right to choose to not be part of society. However, if you want to share in the benefits of society, then you share the responsibility.

  51. #51 CW
    August 18, 2010

    a parent has no more right to put their child at risk

    I think the fundamental problem is in the use of the expression “their child”. We don’t own our children. A parent has no more right to put “their child” at risk than they have to put any random neighbourhood child (or other person) at risk.

    That’s no moral right of course, legal rights, sadly, are another question.

  52. #52 tony bateson
    August 18, 2010

    The arrogance and vitriol of many of your contributors is breathtaking. Can someone explain how not being vaccinated generates a risk to others that is not first experienced by the unvaccinated individual? Would it be because the unvaccinated person is not threatened by the feared disease?
    If that is the case then may I invite the vaxxers to stand first in line ahead of those to be vaccinated to demonstrate their faith in this process. I understand many health professionals have refused this challenge. In the UK 22% of people opting for single vaccine shots are medically qualified. They wouldn’t seem to have the fullest confidence in this product. Like them everyone should have a choice. Tony Bateson, Oxford, UK.

  53. #53 Enkidu
    August 18, 2010

    Quoting Pablo: “In fact, I didn’t because all that bothered with anti-vaxxers until I had a child of my own. At that point, it got personal. They are putting my child at risk with their actions, and no, I don’t consider that acceptable.”

    Exactly what happened with me. I always thought that it was looney religious cults that didn’t vaccinate. When I got pregnant and starting poking around the internet for info as a first-time parent, I was shocked at all of the anti-vax crap out there. My daughter was born premature and at high-risk of complications from something as simple as a cold, let alone flu or pertussis. It was at that point I got angry.

  54. #54 jen
    August 18, 2010

    Just Sayin': obviously I kept hitting post because it didn’t go through. Shit happens. I am just saying that ORac seems all upset about Ms. Habakus primarily because she claims her children developed inflammatory bowel probs after vaccination. I mean, there are, God forbid, problems that develop due to vaccination. Vaccine court was developed around that concept and the package inserts even aknowledge as much. Funny how when anyone actually mentions it, though, they are written off as “non-scientists,” conspiracy weirdos and basically whack jobs. I’m sorry if the truth hurts but sometimes vaccines cause problems for the people who get them. You can’t wish that away. It would be nice, but you can’t.

  55. #55 CW
    August 18, 2010

    she claims her children developed inflammatory bowel probs after vaccination.

    Not quite. She claims her children developed inflammatory bowel probs after vaccination and that therefore the “probs” were caused by the vaccinations.

  56. #56 Science Mom
    August 18, 2010

    Vaccine court was developed around that concept and the package inserts even aknowledge as much. Funny how when anyone actually mentions it, though, they are written off as “non-scientists,” conspiracy weirdos and basically whack jobs. I’m sorry if the truth hurts but sometimes vaccines cause problems for the people who get them. You can’t wish that away. It would be nice, but you can’t.

    Why do your ilk insist that we are ignorant of adverse vaccine reactions? When, clearly, we discuss them on a regular basis. Just because someone makes a claim of vaccine injury, doesn’t mean that it should be accepted at face value; that is how ‘your side’ does things and you end up very disappointed that no takes you seriously and craft machinations of conspiracies. You have an odd definition of ‘truth’ if someone can just say ‘vaccine reaction here’ and you fall over yourselves to validate them, even without sufficient evidence of even biological plausibility.

    Oh, and you are not new to posting here and know that posts can get caught up in the spam filter. What made you think that it would be posted after 5 furious hits of your ‘enter’ key and not just one?

  57. #57 Chris
    August 18, 2010

    As mentioned multiple times, the science is not in the package insert! Those are written by a legal team that puts every conceivable reaction on them without context.

    Sure seizures can happen with a vaccine, but at a rate much much smaller than the actual disease.

    Also, if it looks like the post hangs up… open another browser window to see if your comment came through. This is a busy blog and it takes longer for comments to come through. Especially when someone is furiously hitting the enter key.

  58. #58 Lawrence
    August 18, 2010

    Jen – no one here has said or is saying that there haven’t been legitimate injuries that have resulted from vaccinations. The fact that the Vaccine Court has awarded over $2 Billion dollars worth of claims supports that as well – although the standard of proof is certainly not “scientific,” but it has allowed for the continuing research and development of new vaccines from a time when the industry as a whole was prepared to drop out due to excessive litigation.

    Overall, the vaccination program has resulted in an increase in overall health & lifespan, the eradication of smallpox (and almost polio), and certainly prevented many more less serious side-effects that normally result from childhood diseases such as Mumps, Ruebella & the Measles.

    So I don’t know why you continue to come in here & claim that “we” say vaccines are 100% perfect. We have a problem with people that claim that vaccinations aren’t effective, in the face of decades of positive results and scientific research / studies to the contrary.

    When one person or a small group getting the measles is a national headline, from the days when it was reasonably assured that 99% of the people would contract the disease, is a huge deal – it shows how truly effective vaccines have been.

    And in cases where there is an issue, we have a system set up to compensate – so what’s the problem again?

  59. #59 Kristen
    August 18, 2010

    Their decision to not vaccinate puts others at risk, in two ways: 1) those who are too young or unable (for medical reasons) to vaccinate are left exposed

    This is something the anti-vaxers seem to ignore completely most of the time. I have heard some say that children who can’t be vaccinated for medical reasons (and most likely wouldn’t survive a bout of a serious disease) should simply be locked away from other children. Most repulsive of all, some have the opinion that if one of these immunodeficient children get sick it is no big deal. They seem to be saying; ‘Can’t survive the disease? Oh well, sucks to be you’.

    In my sons class there is a boy with a mitochondrial disease and he can’t (as in-has a real reason) be vaccinated. He is a wonderful child and it sickens me that there are some selfish assholes who don’t care if their unvaccinated little disease vectors kill him. I am betting they would care if he was their child.

  60. #60 Sastra
    August 18, 2010

    Pablo #52 wrote:

    Therefore, not vaccinating one’s child puts others at risk, in addition to their child. And as they say, your freedom to swing your fist ends at the tip of my nose.

    In addition, the concept of having a “freedom to choose” between alternatives assumes that this choice is going to be based on having correct information about the alternatives. There’s got to be a genuine controversy, a real reason to weigh pros and cons. If a person is needlessly misled on the facts, they themselves would agree that their choice is not a real choice. They were not “free” to make the decision they think best.

    Misinformation leads to less freedom, not more.

  61. #61 Andreas Johansson
    August 18, 2010

    David wrote:

    Most toxins are cleared by hepatic metabolism and/or renal excretion. The quoted statement is as bogus as Donald Trump’s hair.

    For whatever reason, a lot of people worried about “toxins” seem unable to process the idea that dangerous chemicals can be broken down or otherwise detoxified by one’s body. They always seem to assume that excretion and accumulation are the only options.

  62. #62 Phoenix Woman
    August 18, 2010

    Someone who “does their own research” by doing a google search is going to be inundated by anti-vax information. If you go through and read all the sites, you are going to be overwhelmed with anti-vax crap. If you are lucky, you might stumble upon the AAP, CDC, or WebMD pages, but hey, those are only three sites compared to the dozens of anti-vax screeds you will find. It’s not surprising that you would conclude that there is a lot the GOVERNMENT isn’t telling you.

    Hell, I thought I was a reasonably science-literate layperson, but I had no idea PubMed existed until I started hanging out here.

  63. #63 Pablo
    August 18, 2010

    PubMed I didn’t know, but I did know a few other literature databases in other fields. I knew there was something like PubMed, but didn’t know what it was.

    But I wonder, why should it matter that something like PubMed isn’t easy to find via web search engine? I mean, when they say, “Do your own research” do they really mean, “Do some research” or do they mean “Do google search”?

    (that’s rhetorical, btw)

    Because “look up information that is quick and easy to find” is not what comes to mind when I hear the word “research.”

    Jeez, even when we were in elementary school, we knew that “researching information for a paper” meant more than “looking in the encyclopedia.” (and shoot, at least the World Book encyclopedia was semi-reliable)

    The complaint that “scientific studies are not conveniently accessible by a google search” seems like a red-herring to me, one that completely misses whole point of what it means to research a topic.

  64. #64 Vicki
    August 18, 2010

    Kristen–

    There’s also an interesting imbalance there. We’re supposed to be prepared to lock up the kids who can’t be vaccinated, like the one you mention, or just buy black clothes for their funerals. But if you suggest that their children risk side effects from a vaccine, they scream.

    I suppose it’s consistent with the idea that autism is worse than death.

  65. #65 Chris
    August 18, 2010

    I first encountered the medical literature index at my local public library when I was trying to find information about my son’s disability before we had internet service.

    At first I had to ask a librarian to do the search, and she gave me a printout. Then later I could access something I think was called “Medline” or “Medical Literature Database” through the newly installed computer terminals at the library (which were text based), and then print out a list from thermal printer.

    When we got a dial-up modem I could directly dial up the library and access some of the databases (oh, and put holds on books). We then got internet service, and I found a bare bones version of the NIH library index. I think I had to remember the full “http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov” address (I still have it bookmarked!). If I needed to I could get a whole paper sometimes from the public library, and from the local medical school library (which anyone can still do!).

    I also found UseNet, and got hit with a huge list of PubMed cites from some guy who claimed me drinking milk caused my son’s seizures (he first tried telling me that is was son drinking milk, but backtracked when I told he was only breastfed, and was I supposed to switch him to soy formula!). I actually went through and picked apart each abstract (they were mostly one person case reports, so I just wrote “statistically insignificant”), and then sent them back in two very long emails (stupid me, I was new to Newsgroups) over a phone modem. I think he stopped telling parents in that newsgroups (misc.kids.disability?) that all their kids were disabled due to drinking milk.

    Ah… I really don’t miss the 1990s.

    By the way, in recent Google searches I have seen PubMed abstracts come up. So it is getting easier. Unfortunately the uneducated dreck still dominates.

  66. #66 RJ
    August 18, 2010

    Don’t use Google. Use Google Scholar under the “more” tab on the Google main page.

    http://scholar.google.com/schhp?hl=en&tab=ws

  67. #67 Pablo
    August 18, 2010

    I first encountered the medical literature index at my local public library when I was trying to find information about my son’s disability before we had internet service.

    At first I had to ask a librarian to do the search, and she gave me a printout.

    Bwahahahaha! (that’s the hearty version, without the mustache twirling and cape)

    “Gave you a printout”? Try sitting with the bound version of the annual index and a notepad, making a list of abstract numbers and then tracking them down in the actual abstracts? Fortunately, they also had a 5 year index, so you could save some time there, at least in getting the abstract numbers.

    Then you had to head to the stacks to find the stupid journal and make the photocopy.

    That’s how WE did literature searches.

    (oh sure, by the early 90s we did have access to the librarian electronic search, but those things were so hopelessly fragmented and expensive that it was far more efficient to still dig through it all by hand)

  68. #68 RJ
    August 18, 2010

    BTW, the Google search engine is nothing more than an American Idol-style popularity contest. The more “hits” on the link, the higher its prioritization. the faster it shows up and at the top of the list.

    Isn’t it great that they use the same model system that gets some kids elected in a high school elections? Popularity does not produce the best results in many cases. Those who have been trained how to perform research no this. Those that are self-educated and “do their own research” probably don’t.

  69. #69 René Najera
    August 18, 2010

    So, by that crazy logic, whenever they do a news item about the Orion mission to the moon, they MUST invite the people who say it was staged. Heck, let’s include the “9/11-truthers” in the current discussion on the Mosque near (two blocks away) the WTC site. (After all, if it wasn’t the Muslims, then what’s the big deal?) Let us also interview the president of Iran in an article about the commemoration of the Holocaust, or neo-Nazis when talking about D-Day. Let’s just go all the way, shall we?

  70. #70 Matthew Cline
    August 18, 2010

    That’s how WE did literature searches.

    Through three feet of snow! Uphill! Both ways!

  71. #71 RJ
    August 18, 2010

    ….ugg!

    “know this”, not “no this”. Geeez, you’d think by now…….

  72. #72 Sid Offit
    August 18, 2010

    @Pablo

    The only time I’d put your child at risk is if I were infected and came into contact with him or her. Since I’m not infected I’m not putting your child at risk. It’s a rather simple concept. Besides mandatory vaccination directly assaults my child so you can obtain your little dose of imaginary protection. If your child is too young to get vaccinated and you’re scared of the mumps keep him or her home. And make sure the whole family is up to date on all their boosters so you can create a cocoon of perfect safety.

  73. #73 Kristen
    August 18, 2010

    Hey, Sid. What about immunodeficient children who can’t survive a serious illness and can’t be vaccinated?

  74. #74 augustine
    August 18, 2010

    Kristen,

    Do you see how you’ve needled the entire argument down to a very small specific population? You want mass vaccination coverage forced or coerced unto all available recipients based on this small subset of the population. The only thing left to do now is….move the goalposts/vaccine judo.

    And on top of that you haven’t provided any sound literature that shows it would make a difference in mortality for that population. Ie., they get polio herd immunity but then die from non-vaccine strain influenza.

  75. #75 dean
    August 18, 2010

    ” If your child is too young to get vaccinated and you’re scared of the mumps keep him or her home.”

    Translated Sid: “Not only am I an idiot about medicine, vaccinations, and science in general, I’m a pompous asshole who thinks my right to endanger others means others just have to adjust.”

  76. #76 Sid Offit
    August 18, 2010

    It’s unfortunate that these children have such conditions, but it’s not for my child to undergo a series of potentially dangerous unwanted medical procedures to insure this child will never become infected. Fortunately some of these children can receive vaccines:

    Killed or inactivated vaccines do not represent a danger to immunocompromised persons and generally should be administered as recommended for healthy persons.

    Additionally, those undergoing immunocompromising therapies may have immunity from prior vaccination. Finally many are in a medical setting away from potentially unvaccinated children. Therefore the immunocompromised rational is less compelling than it might initially seem

  77. #77 Sid Offit
    August 18, 2010

    Dean, that’s brilliant. How do I endanger you when I don’t have an illness?

  78. #78 Antaeus Feldspar
    August 18, 2010

    Can someone explain how not being vaccinated generates a risk to others that is not first experienced by the unvaccinated individual? Would it be because the unvaccinated person is not threatened by the feared disease?

    Tony’s syllogism:

    1) Anti-vaxxers do not believe they are subjecting anyone else to any risk that they are not taking themselves.
    2) Anti-vaxxers do not believe they are subjecting themselves to any risk at all.
    3) Therefore, anti-vaxxers are not subjecting anyone to any risk at all.

    Now, 1) is a flawed premise. But 1) is actually not where the fatal flaw of the syllogism is located. Premises 1) and 2) have everything to do with what anti-vaxxers believe and have no power to prove anything about reality. Let’s look at the following syllogism:

    1) The fifth-grader who calls all his buddies over to take a look at the “unloaded” gun he got from his dad’s dresser drawer doesn’t believe he’s endangering anyone else any more than he’s endangering himself.
    2) The fifth-grader doesn’t believe that he’s endangering himself when he plays around pointing the gun at himself and fingering the trigger.
    3) Therefore the gun is not endangering anyone.

  79. #79 Sid Offit
    August 18, 2010

    See, you need the gun BEFORE you can endanger. Anyway, are you saying getting the chicken pox is like getting shot???

  80. #80 Chris
    August 18, 2010

    Pablo:

    (oh sure, by the early 90s we did have access to the librarian electronic search, but those things were so hopelessly fragmented and expensive that it was far more efficient to still dig through it all by hand)

    Yeah, this was about 1993 or so. But what I’d get is a long printout, which you dig through to find anything relevant.

    I do remember the bounded indexes for engineering papers, but fortunately I did not have use those very often. What we mostly had to go through were the microfiches of design, test, documentation and other standards from various agencies (the one I used was Mil Standard 810D… or something like that).

    Though, at least I have known about and used PubMed for about a decade.

  81. #81 Orange Lantern
    August 18, 2010

    Sid, how do you know you don’t have an infection? Some vaccine preventable diseases incubate for weeks without symptoms, but are still contagious during that time.

  82. #82 Sid Offit
    August 18, 2010

    @Orange Lantern

    I don’t. But that’s a situation that can’t be prevented in a free country.

  83. #83 Enkidu
    August 18, 2010

    Sid says, “Since I’m not infected I’m not putting your child at risk.”

    So, you know the minute you’re infected with something? That’s quite the super-power.

    My sister caught the measles in middle school, back in 1989. We have no clue where she came into contact with them. I’m sure that whoever infected her thought that s/he “wasn’t infected” either.

  84. #84 Freedom
    August 18, 2010

    Interesting how this turns into a human rights debate, as it should. Any governance about what is injected or fed into one’s body certainly does imply ownership.

    The fear of walking down the sidewalk or driving down the street with someone unvaccinated is a pretty embarrassing argument. This is where you begin to lose pretty quickly on the mandatory vaccination issue.

    The vaccinated and unvaccinated both pay taxes which fund public properties. If the argument that the unvaccinated present risks to the vaccinated is indeed correct, then we should also be required to look at the impacts of thoughts spreading and how that can also impact someone’s life.

    Suicides rates are sky high. Recently, a neighbor’s 12 yr old girl took her life after reading the book ‘Trigger’ which is about a boy who shoots himself in the head but lives through it but can’t remember anything about the incident and tries to understand what brought him to that point.

    Now the author had no intention, but had an obvious impact on my neighbor’s family. They are in a very fragile and emotional state, but are quite serious in their anger towards the author of the book.

    If we begin down the path of unintentional, non-contact injuries – this goes well outside of virus transmissions and may well play into what people are allowed to think and say as well. People can cause physical injuries to others by thoughts, printed, videoed, spoken, etc.

    Where you are headed is a very scary place I wouldn’t want to be a part of and would be a definite violation of the constitution.

    If you want government mandated control of your body, move to China. We are the home of the free here, and I’ll take my chances against the small populations that forego vaccines. I do not live in fear when I travel to India, Philippines, China, etc where there are many unvaccinated individuals. I take care of my body, and have a competent doctor, and luckily had parents that gave me appropriate vaccinations that caused no harm that I am aware of.

  85. #85 Chris
    August 18, 2010

    So you will freely spread infection to others without regard to their health. Just like the kid in San Diego who spread measles to babies to young to get the MMR vaccine when his mother took him to a doctor’s office because he was sick.

    Definitely stupid and immoral. Now we know exactly what type of person you are Sid Troll. No more discussion needed.

  86. #86 Sid Offit
    August 18, 2010

    I have many powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men.
    —————-
    Regardless as to whether you know it or not, you still have to be infected to endanger.

  87. #87 Stu
    August 18, 2010

    but it’s not for my child to undergo a series of potentially dangerous unwanted medical procedures

    Fortunately some of these children can receive vaccines:

    Killed or inactivated vaccines do not represent a danger to immunocompromised persons and generally should be administered as recommended for healthy persons.

    So immunocomprised children should get these recommended vaccines, which are not dangerous, except that they are potentially dangerous unwanted medical procedures, correct?

    And again, as has been pointed out over and over to you: infected and infectuous does not mean necessarily mean sick. Yet. Could you please ask the great Gazoogle about incubation periods before you further descend into your putrid, delusional hypocrisy?

    Thanks.

  88. #88 Sid Offit
    August 18, 2010

    So immunocomprised children should get these recommended vaccines, which are not dangerous, except that they are potentially dangerous unwanted medical procedures, correct?

    ———————
    Errr, not exactly. CAN not should. I’ll leave it up to the parents

    Not dangerous in the sense that it is, according to the CDC, no more dangerous for an IC child to receive the vaccine that it wouldbe for an immunocompetent one to receive it

    Yes I know it’s possible to transmit an illness without symptoms. That possibility just doesn’t justify forced vaccination.

  89. #89 Chris
    August 18, 2010

    Sid Troll:

    but it’s not for my child to undergo a series of potentially dangerous unwanted medical procedures

    Now explain again how much more dangerous the DTaP is compared to diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis or how the MMR is more dangerous than measles, mumps and rubella (oh, I saw a kid had measles in California). I must of missed what evidence you put forth showing that those vaccines were such dangerous medical procedures.

    Of course, as I recall from a previous conversation you don’t have any children. You claimed that no child of yours ever put food on the floor, or made any kind of mess. That child is obviously a figment of your imagination, living in that same fantasy world where there are no tetanus spores in your bucolic garden and you know instantly when a child is infected with pretend microbes that don’t do any real harm (but the big horrible vaccines will are crippling!).

  90. #90 Chris
    August 18, 2010

    freedom (for you and no one else!):

    I do not live in fear when I travel to India, Philippines, China, etc where there are many unvaccinated individuals.

    You are not a very bright person are you. My brother lived in a nice middle class neighborhood in New Dehli. Water is only available for certain hours of the say, so the houses had pumps to draw as much water as possible to the roof top cisterns. Because this caused negative pressure on the system it literally drew in crap from the sewer system. His kitchen had a distiller to treat the water before its use.

    You mentioned your parents gave you vaccines? What about getting some as an adult? If you are going to travel in those countries you better have typhoid, HepB, HepA and even Yellow Fever vaccines. Perhaps have handy the re-hydration supplies for cholera (the book Inside the Outbreaks has a great description and photo of how cholera is handled, patients are put into a cot with a hole cut out to catch the almost constant stream of diarrhea in measurement marked buckets so that the equivalent amount of fluid can be given).

  91. #91 Dedj
    August 18, 2010

    “Dedj — reread MM’s post. I think you’ve understood it backwards. (I initially did as well, before I realized who MM was addressing as “you deniers”. He’s addressing the anti-vaxxers, not us.)”

    Ah, yes. I can see your point.

    It was very hard to tell because the tone and language is very similar to typical anti-vax person that comes here.

    I apologise to MM for thinking they were amongst such people.

  92. #92 Sid Offit
    August 18, 2010

    I must of missed what evidence you put forth showing that those vaccines were such dangerous medical procedures.
    ————————–
    I didn’t say such, I said potentially. Here’s what the CDC has to say:

    A vaccine, like any medicine, could possibly cause serious problems, such as severe allergic reactions.

    —————————–

    I have an unvaccinated 15 year old daughter.

    —————————–

    If tetanus were such a threat, it seems there should be more than a handful of cases each year since tens of millions of Americans have no tetanus immunity,

  93. #93 Dedj
    August 18, 2010

    “I was just trying to pass for one of the locals in this internet village full of sarcastic pillocks.”

    No, you were clearly being deliberately sarcastic in order to either incite or insult anyone who doesn’t believe as you do. This is a regular feature with you, as you insult and cast aspersions on a diverse range of people, including professionals, parents, people with autism, academics, autism advocates and specific individuals. Your latest hit piece against Kev Leitch is a classic example of how you treat people that disagree with you.

    “The position that vaccines shall not be questioned because they are beyond reproach, because they have been proven safe for all time, is implicit in every post on this forum except those of visitors who do not share the cult like vaccine faith.”

    You were not asked to rephrase your assertion. You were asked to substantiate it.

    Given that vaccine studies have been discussed on this website repeatedly, I doubt you will be able to make much of a case. I suggest that you are aware of this too, which is why you made no competant attempt to do so.

    “If you seriously think that the posters on this site contribute to anyone’s understanding of vaccines and their possible impacts, positive or negative, well you are in your own words just another backslapping “pillock”.”

    As said, vaccines, thier contents, their safety and their use has been discussed extensively on this website. One contributor alone – Chris – has repeatedly compiled lists of studies that any reader can acquire and read. Others have debated extensively deaths and injury. That you and your clearly humble-free ego disagree with what they write does not constitute evidence that they have not written about the subject.

    Now, stop bumping your gums and answer the concerns put to you.

  94. #94 squirrelelite
    August 18, 2010

    Obviously, Sid prefers to worry about “potential” problems rather than real ones.

    However, for those who wonder if tetanus is a threat, I offer the following information from the CDC.

    •In 2006, an estimated 290,000 people worldwide died of tetanus, most of them in Asia, Africa, and South America.

    •The disease occurs almost exclusively in persons who are inadequately immunized.

    •Worldwide, the disease is more common in agricultural regions and in areas where contact with animal excreta is more likely and immunization is inadequate.

    •In developing countries, tetanus in neonates born to unvaccinated mothers (neonatal tetanus) is the most common form of the disease.

    •In 10% of reported cases in the United States, no antecedent wound was identified.

    Also, tetanus is a bit of a red herring in the discussion of the pros and cons of vaccination against communicable diseases because, as the CDC notes:

    •Tetanus is a global health problem because C. tetani spores are ubiquitous in the environment.

    •Tetanus has no direct person-to-person transmission.

  95. #95 Stu
    August 18, 2010

    For an encore, Sid Offit will now argue that you should only be forced to wear seatbelts when you get in a car crash, because several people injure themselves putting them on every year.

  96. #96 BKsea
    August 18, 2010

    An analogy springs to mind. When I go to the local public pool, a sign says that for public health, all patrons must have a shower with soap prior to entering the pool. Such a shower does not do anything for my personal health. Also, I know I am already clean. The shower does not come without risk as peopple have slipped, hit their heads and died.

    Should the government have the right to insist I take a shower? After all, my taxes have paid for the pool and it is supposed to be a public pool. I should have the right to use it without constraints on my personal freedom.

  97. #97 Sid Offit
    August 18, 2010

    @Squirrelelite

    Ah, the 3rd world gambit.
    —————–

    @Stu
    You should never be forced to wear seat belts

    ———————-
    @BKsea
    First of all, the state shouldn’t be in the pool business. Second if you’re trying to make the analogy between public pool and public school, I don’t think the government makes swimming at public pools mandatory. And finally, with the the shower, the risk is possible, while with the shot the pain is both real and inevitable. Besides I already shower. I don’t already vaccinate.

  98. #98 Dana Ullman
    August 18, 2010

    I love it…you don’t know what “homotoxicology” is and so you do a “little” research and find a definition (aren’t you smart). And then, you dub it “quackery” without knowledge of or reference to a single study. You’ve done this “double-blind” (you closed both of your eyes tightly).

    Chutzpah to the max…you show your complete ignorance while expressing complete arrogance…what a truly lovely “scientific attitude.” Wow.

    Luckily, you have blind minnions following and echoing your wisdom…and in following your ignorance/arrogance.

    By the way, the German company, HEEL, is the primary manufacturer of Homotoxicological medicines. The German family who owns this company also owns a German car company, called Bavarian Motor Works (BMW). Are BMWs “quack” cars?

    Orac…you are an Edsel trying to be a BMW. Go back to Detroit and re-tool yourself.

  99. #99 dedicated lurker
    August 18, 2010

    And finally, with the the shower, the risk is possible, while with the shot the pain is both real and inevitable.

    Yeah, those needles sure are scary.

    (I was once deathly afraid of needles myself. But I didn’t try to hide it in anti-vaccination rhetoric.)

  100. #100 Kristen
    August 18, 2010

    Do you see how you’ve needled the entire argument down to a very small specific population? You want mass vaccination coverage forced or coerced unto all available recipients based on this small subset of the population.

    Soooo, you made my point for me. Small population dying=unimportant; a child who has a seizure from a vaccine=horrible, unacceptable, unthinkable.

    I have never said I wanted mass forced vaccination because I don’t. I do want all parents to have truthful information. I believe that if parents weren’t getting the lies and scaremongering from AoA AVN etc… they would choose to vaccinate because it is reasonably safe and confers benefits to their children and society.

    Don’t vaccinate your kids if you want, but it is wrong to try to scare other parents into making the same decision.

  101. #101 squirrelelite
    August 18, 2010

    That’s right, Sid.

    In your not so humble opinion, those deaths don’t count because they’re not in the U.S.

    However, you seem to have overlooked the word “most”.

    To borrow from Wikipedia,

    “In the United States, approximately 100 people become infected with tetanus each year, and there are about five deaths from tetanus each year.[12] Nearly all of the cases in the United States occur in unimmunized individuals or individuals who have allowed their inoculations to lapse”

  102. #102 Orange Lantern
    August 18, 2010

    @Sid:

    Regardless as to whether you know it or not, you still have to be infected to endanger.

    Oh, my apologies. I didn’t realize you were versed in Augustinian logic.

    Yes I know it’s possible to transmit an illness without symptoms. That possibility just doesn’t justify forced vaccination.

    Great! We’re agreed. But since no one here is advocating forced vaccination, I’m not sure why you brought it up.

  103. #103 Orange Lantern
    August 18, 2010

    An analogy springs to mind. When I go to the local public pool, a sign says that for public health, all patrons must have a shower with soap prior to entering the pool.

    Also it says not to pee in the pool. It would be nice if Sid would stop pissing in this one.

  104. #104 Kitto
    August 18, 2010

    A PubMed search for “homotoxicology” brings up 8 results.

    “A series of case reports: clinical evaluation of a complex homeopathic injection therapy in the management of pain in patients after breast cancer treatment.” claims a reduction in pain levels, but had a data set of 9 patients.

    Perhaps the most interesting is from “Homotoxicology–a review of randomised clinical trials.”, which concluded:

    “Despite mostly positive findings and high ratings on the Jadad score, the placebo-controlled, randomised clinical trials of homotoxicology fail to demonstrate the efficacy of this therapeutic approach.”

  105. #105 Sauceress
    August 18, 2010

    The German family who owns this company also owns a German car company, called Bavarian Motor Works (BMW). Are BMWs “quack” cars?

    Well then, that changes everything! Anyone who owns a car manufacturing company just has to be an expert on physiology, immunology and pharmacology. Hey my area is biochemistry and molecular biology…guess that makes me a genuine auto mechanic expert.

    Hey Dana, I’ll fix ya car for ya.

  106. #106 Sauceress
    August 18, 2010

    “guess that makes me a genuine auto mechanic expert.”

    No wait…I don’t want to be just an auto mechanic.
    No..I am now an auto electrician. More money there!

  107. #107 MadScientist
    August 18, 2010

    @Orac: How about a few prominent and permanent links to other websites which address the various lies and responses? Most of these lies are simply versions of the same rubbish from 90 years ago resurrected like Lazarus. Rather than wasting a lot of your time going over the same stuff, it might be more informative to just post a brief description of what the claims are and let people know where they can find the information to show them it’s all the same old nonsense.

    @Sauceress#110: Can you give my car some electroshock therapy? It’s refusing to work due to traumatic memories from a previous incarnation.

  108. #108 Truth
    August 18, 2010

    Orac perhaps this will be helpful for not only you but everyone else:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2536523/

  109. #109 The Very Reverend Battleaxe of Knowledge
    August 18, 2010

    The lack of a Classical education around here is appalling:

    [wingnut] homo1-toxic2-ology3 is the study3 of how them damn queers1 is poisonin’2 society. [/wingnut]

    Dontcha know nothin’?

  110. #110 MadScientist
    August 18, 2010

    @Kitto#108: And in Martin Gardner’s “Fads and Fallacies in the name of Science”, first published 60 years ago, in the section on Dr. Wendell G. Koch , Gardner informs us that Koch had a cure-all which he called “glyoxylide” which was injected into the patients (victims really). Gardner also writes:

    “There is not the slightest doubt about the complete worthlessness of the “Koch Treatment.” Government chemists testified in 1943 that Koch’s glyoxylide was indistinguishable from distilled water.”

    Sound familiar? There are also homeopaths who took to injecting their snakeoils rather than prescribing an oral dose; some may even predate Koch. Different century, same old shit. There is no need for time and effort wasted on new tests to demonstrate what has been empirically established almost a century ago. It is simply not reasonable to believe that our current understanding of physiology and medicine may somehow be as wrong as the prevailing notions 2000 years ago (or even 400 years ago for that matter). I expect new discoveries and I expect some ideas to be modified, but I do not expect much to be rejected and certainly nothing rejected in favor of what the quacks claim.

  111. #111 Mandrellian
    August 19, 2010

    Sid said but it’s not for my child to undergo a series of potentially dangerous unwanted medical procedures

    OK. Like the intensely painful, extremely invasive & utterly unnecessary lumbar punctures that struck-off Doctor Wakefield and his cronies subjected children to during his bogus and now-retracted 1998 Lancet paper? The paper that started this whole “vaccines R evil” fantasy to begin with? The paper that’s been disowned by everyone whose name was on it – except Wakefield? The Wakefield who was at the time trying to shill his OWN vaccine to compete with MMR, a massive conflict of interest which wasn’t disclosed? The same Wakefield who took money from trial lawyers representing people who were suing the people who made the MMR? The same Wakefield who would be a pro-vaccine “pharma shill” if his own vaccine had ever been produced for sale? The same fucking Wakefield who bribed children with money at a party so he could draw their blood? I’ll take my doctor immunising my child over some ghoul giving my kid a spinal tap or buying their blood for five quid.

    Remember all that shit? That’s what your ‘movement’ is based on: lies, conflicts of interest, hypocrisy, money, ridiculous conspiracies and a small man’s unshakeable ego, not science & not evidence. If you still think he was right after all that; if you still think a jab with a needle containing a functionally inert virus/bacterium and an extremely low risk of side-effects is too big a price to pay to protect your kid or prevent them from becoming a carrier and contributing to an epidemic, then you’re beyond help. You’ve chosen to go down the rabbit hole.

    The evidence does not support your claims yet you continue to make them, thanks to your PhD from Google U. That makes you insane, ignorant or stupid. Only one of those can be excused.

  112. #112 Matthew Cline
    August 19, 2010

    @Ullman:

    I love it…you don’t know what “homotoxicology” is and so you do a “little” research and find a definition (aren’t you smart). And then, you dub it “quackery” without knowledge of or reference to a single study.

    We don’t need to research any further, because its premise is flat out wrong. It’s not like homeopathy, with the premise that water somehow has a memory which somehow has a biological effect, and “allopaths” say that these somehows are nonexistent. Homotoxicology’s premise on the relation between toxins and symptoms is completely, utterly wrong. Even in instances where an individual’s body does need help getting rid of toxins, with relation to homotoxicology that’s merely a case of a stopped clock being right twice a day.

  113. #113 maydijo
    August 19, 2010

    Hold on – If we can apply homoepathic remedies to our cars, that will save us all a lot of money! Just think no more having to buy oil or gas – all we need is the slightest ‘memory’ of oil or gas in water and our cars will run off it! Who wants to join me in the world’s first Homeopathic Automobile Mechanics Association?

  114. #114 Chris
    August 19, 2010

    Truth… look at the upper left hand corner of this page. You will see a box there labeled “Search.” Perhaps you should have used it before posting a four year old paper that has been addressed several times on this blog. Here is the first hit.

    That might save you from embarrassing yourself in the future.

    As far as Sid Troll, I am presently ignoring him. Just like I would ignore anyone who says we should keep any disease compromised child at home, and not bring them out to public. He did not have an answer ages ago when I asked him how babies who are not fully vaccinated should get to their well child check ups. Just like those babies who became infected with measles because of the stupid and immoral actions of the mother bringing a her unvaxed kid with measles to a clinic in San Diego.

  115. #115 Truth
    August 19, 2010

    @Chris
    So what if it is 4 years old?

    Are these new enough for you tiger?

    http://www.ageofautism.com/2010/07/new-study-shows-vaccines-cause-brain-changes-found-in-autism.html

    http://www.ane.pl/pdf/7020.pdf

    Let me know if you need any help understanding the data.

  116. #116 Sauceress
    August 19, 2010

    Sauceress Can you give my car some electroshock therapy? It’s refusing to work due to traumatic memories from a previous incarnation.

    No problem! First I’ll hit its main computer with a laser to clear out the memory banks. Then we’ll disassemble the engine and whack it in the big centrifuge to purify it. Follow that up with a 37C overnight shaking incubation of the pellet in a serotonin culture, then transform and grow it up in some E.coli cells. Should see the motor almost as good as new.
    Now I’m currently pretty booked up so I’ll throw in a hefty discount if you do your own reassembly.

    After you’ve done that we’ll pippette 0.5 microlitres each of fuel and oil from the engine of a new Lamborghini into 50 litres of fuel and add that to the fuel tank. Won’t use a stronger dilution first up…don’t want to overdo it.

    All you’ll need to do then is get a copy of the Beach Boys, Good Vibrations for the stereo and you’re off.
    Wow…this is going to be easy!

    p.s. You also may need to do some alteration to the doors to get them opening correctly.

  117. #117 OurSally
    August 19, 2010

    >A mammoth strawman

    A straw mammoth. A straw brontosaurus. A straw Godzilla. Suddenly the straw universe got more interesting.

    A straw troll. Ha! Sid is a straw troll.

  118. #118 Travis
    August 19, 2010

    Truth, 119, the issue Chris raised with that paper was not that 4 years old is bad, but that it is 4 years old and hence has been discussed here many times.

    As for the new link you posted, perhaps you should have taken Chris’ advice and used the search feature before posting it. It has already been discussed here and found rather wanting and full of problems.

  119. #119 triskelethecat
    August 19, 2010

    Is there a law we can create that if someone uses AOA as a reference, we can point and laugh, and the user automatically loses the argument?

    For pete’s sake, Truth, (Truth? More like Lies), at least give the paper as a reference, not AOA’s twisted take on it.

    @Travis (122): maybe that’s why he didn’t post the link to the paper. Since Orac has already torn the paper apart, and more people have helped in the comments, maybe he was afraid to actually say WHICH paper it was.

  120. #120 Agashem
    August 19, 2010

    The university I attended had a round building which housed the medical library. As you started from the indexes (indices???) you were at the photocopiers and the librarian’s desk. As you trudged around looking for the journal, when you ended up back at the photocopiers you knew you had missed it and had to start again. I always thought it was some sort of cruel architect’s joke on med students (although I am an ‘allied health’ person and our journals were much thinner on the ground and thus much easier to miss).

  121. #121 Kristen
    August 19, 2010

    Is there a law we can create that if someone uses AOA as a reference, we can point and laugh, and the user automatically loses the argument?

    I’m confused…isn’t that already a rule? Because that is my natural reaction to an AoA reference.

  122. #122 Orac
    August 19, 2010

    @Chris
    So what if it is 4 years old?

    Are these new enough for you tiger?

    http://www.ageofautism.com/2010/07/new-study-shows-vaccines-cause-brain-changes-found-in-autism.html

    http://www.ane.pl/pdf/7020.pdf

    Let me know if you need any help understanding the data.

    No need. I provided the primer last month:

    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2010/07/too_much_vaccineautism_monkey_business_f.php

  123. #123 triskelethecat
    August 19, 2010

    It’s my first reaction too, Kristen. But, I think Scopie’s law (took me a while to remember the name!) only applies to things like Naturalnews and whale.to

    If we can apply Scopie’s law to AOA, that works for me. Otherwise, we need another name.

  124. #124 Kristen
    August 19, 2010

    I don’t know, AoA does seem to be getting nuttier, but not to the whale.to level of crazy. I do know citing AoA will get one laughed at on RI and I think that is the point. Anyone clueless enough to think they will get anywhere with such a reference has either never read one of Orac’s articles, is crazy, or is trolling to derail the discussion.

  125. #125 Scott
    August 19, 2010

    I don’t know, AoA does seem to be getting nuttier, but not to the whale.to level of crazy.

    Frighteningly, they seem to be more threatening to go the Scott Roeder type of crazy as opposed to the whale.to type of crazy.

  126. #126 Mu
    August 19, 2010

    So Dana, you’re correct that the Quandt family owns both substantial stock in BMW and Deltron, the parent company of HEEL. But they also own Altana, a major chemical and pharmaceutical company. So are you trying to say that HEEL is really part of Big Pharma, and homeotoxicity is mainly a marketing gimmick?

  127. #127 Science Mom
    August 19, 2010

    I love it…you don’t know what “homotoxicology” is and so you do a “little” research and find a definition (aren’t you smart). And then, you dub it “quackery” without knowledge of or reference to a single study. You’ve done this “double-blind” (you closed both of your eyes tightly).

    Yet you missed a golden opportunity to utterly embarrass ORAC and his ‘minions’ by not providing the myriad of studies that demonstrate the efficacy of homotoxicological nostrums? Why is that?

    Because they don’t work.

    HEEL describes homotoxicology as “sophisticated modern form of homoeopathy”. That is all one needs to know that it’s bullocks.

    Luckily, you have blind minnions following and echoing your wisdom…and in following your ignorance/arrogance.

    Yes, but not blindly, nor ignorantly. Cranks are predictable, as are the products they hawk. So predictable in fact that it only takes a recognisable name to reject any claims put forth by them. You are no exception.

    By the way, the German company, HEEL, is the primary manufacturer of Homotoxicological medicines. The German family who owns this company also owns a German car company, called Bavarian Motor Works (BMW). Are BMWs “quack” cars?

    It appears as though you are trying to take some shortcuts to legitimise homotoxicology. The Delton Group, who has a majority interest in BMW purchased half of Reckeweg’s homotoxicology company. I don’t see how you have made the leap to BMW owning HEEL, other than to be desperately trying to lend validity to the nonsense of your bread and butter. Companies are in business to make money and if quack nostrums make money, oh well. That doesn’t mean they work.

  128. #128 Raging Bee
    August 19, 2010

    The position that vaccines shall not be questioned because they are beyond reproach, because they have been proven safe for all time, is implicit in every post on this forum except those of visitors who do not share the cult like vaccine faith.

    Um, no, the position here is that vaccines have ALREADY been questioned, and all the legitimate questions have already been answered, so we don’t have to keep on asking the same questions over and over again.

    If you seriously think that the posters on this site contribute to anyone’s understanding of vaccines and their possible impacts, positive or negative, well you are in your own words just another backslapping “pillock”.

    And what have YOU contributed here?

    If that is the case then may I invite the vaxxers to stand first in line ahead of those to be vaccinated to demonstrate their faith in this process.

    Already done, many years ago. Satisfied?

  129. #129 Mike 5
    August 19, 2010

    #17, yes we could do that and it might have a deterrent effect. We could also execute the children of rapists and it might have a deterrent effect but it wouldn’t be ethical.

    Posted by: Michael | August 18, 2010 12:49 PM

    #41, your analogy is flawed. My proposal was for natural selection. Your argument suggests eugenics. My proposal deals with infectious disease transmission and progression. Your comparison deals with criminal behavior. Please argue logically, vs. emotionally.

  130. #130 stuv.myopenid.com
    August 19, 2010

    As a random aside, I forgot how bad a DTAP booster makes my arm hurt. Got one last night and it feels like I got punched in the arm, damnit.

    Oh, by the way, didn’t have to stand in line.

  131. #131 Chris
    August 19, 2010

    Truth:

    Let me know if you need any help understanding the data.

    What is worse than being embarrassed? Not knowing why you should have been embarrassed!

    I told you about the little search box. But did you even bother to use it? Oh, no! You had to made a stupid remark, and then reference a website that has been trashed many times on this blog, and a study that was ripped about here a month ago.

    Dude, do we have to go to you in person, grab a hold of your mouse and show you how to search this blog?

    I think that AoA qualifies for Scopie’s Law. It has one editor who was an incompetent “investigative” journalist who completely missed finding the Clinic for Special Children, and another whose third unvaxed kid still has autism (she puts an industrial chelator on her kids’ cereal!). Plus there are articles pushing dubious and dangerous treatments on children (stem cell, etc), and obsessing about another journalist’s website having personal photos!

    Age of Autism “jumped the shark” even before they posted the infamous baby eating Thanksgiving misogynist photoshop.

  132. #132 Chris
    August 19, 2010

    “freedom” (for him or her, and on one else!):

    Interesting how this turns into a human rights debate, as it should. Any governance about what is injected or fed into one’s body certainly does imply ownership.

    Since the neither USA nor any of its states have laws absolutely mandating vaccines (even Mississippi and West Virginia have private schools) your statement is blatantly false.

    Truthfully it is both stupid and immoral to harm another person due to your actions (spreading lies about vaccines), or inaction (not protecting yourself or children by refusing vaccines, or by ignoring stop lights).

  133. #133 Rogue Medic
    August 19, 2010

    @ 102 Dana Ullman,

    I love it…you don’t know what “homotoxicology” is and so you do a “little” research and find a definition (aren’t you smart).

    Or doing a little research provided the information that homotoxicology is just a bunch of nonsense.

    And then, you dub it “quackery” without knowledge of or reference to a single study.

    Where are the studies that show safety and efficacy?

    You’ve done this “double-blind” (you closed both of your eyes tightly).

    A truly anti-science comment.

    No reason to expect any links to PubMed studies showing safety and efficacy, because homotoxicology is just quackery and Dana Ullman would not know how to recognize any valid research.

    Dana Ullman seems to believe that research is evil.
    .

  134. #134 augustine
    August 19, 2010

    [Pablo #52: “Therefore, not vaccinating one’s child puts others at risk, in addition to their child. And as they say, your freedom to swing your fist ends at the tip of my nose.”]

    You’ve really twisted the definition of assault to suit your purposes, haven’t you. I thought only the wooers did that? But now I see why:

    [In fact, I didn’t because all that bothered with anti-vaxxers until I had a child of my own. At that point, it got personal.]

    You’re basing your actions on emotions of a hypothetical fantasy that has never happened. You’re getting yourself all worked up for a fantasy. Your emotions cloud your ability to think objectively. That’s not becoming of someone who values objective intellect.

    [The social contract of herd immunity that vaccination relies upon cuts both ways.]

    There is NO social contract! NONE. It’s another one of your own personal value fantasies. And since this is evidence blogs could you post that “social contract” that we’ve all read and signed.

    [Basically, they think that vaccination is harmful, and won’t do it themselves, but count on folks like me to take all that supposed risk so they can get the benefit.]

    But you don’t think it’s a sacrifice. So what’s the problem?

    [I’m not too keen at people who take advantage of my good nature.]

    Who said you had a good nature. I wouldn’t call someone who takes the offensive against their fellow neighbors with malicious intent as having a good nature.

  135. #135 augustine
    August 19, 2010

    Enkidu: [When I got pregnant and starting poking around the internet for info as a first-time parent, I was shocked at all of the anti-vax crap out there. My daughter was born premature and at high-risk of complications from something as simple as a cold, let alone flu or pertussis. It was at that point I got angry.]

    My daughter was premature and weighed 3 lbs. I wasn’t angry.

    Maybe your just an emotional person. I guess you gleen and cut your eyes at everyone and cradle your baby to your bosom wondering whose vaccinated and whose not. You’ve taken it personal that someone’s “out to get your baby”. You’ve have drawn battle lines based on emotion not reality.

  136. #136 augustine
    August 19, 2010

    Larry: [Overall, the vaccination program has resulted in an increase in overall health & lifespan, the eradication of smallpox (and almost polio), and certainly prevented many more less serious side-effects that normally result from childhood diseases such as Mumps, Ruebella & the Measles.]

    Nice of you to unscientifically single out vaccination as increasing lifespan over a host other truly important confounding factors. Mortality was already declining before vaccination. And you’d have a hard time trying to accurately quantify any meaningful(more than a couple of years) increase in lifespan. You couldn’t tease out the other factors.

  137. #137 Dave
    August 19, 2010

    “I know that the state charges outrageously high property taxes”

    The New Yorker in me wants to giggle hysterically at this, but really I don’t know anything about either state’s property taxes. NJ income taxes are ridiculously low, though and it shows in the availability of services.

    The ex-NYer and now NJer in me is giggling uncontrollably at this. I moved from NY to NJ 5 years ago. I dont know where you got the idea that NJ’s state income taxes are ridiculously low, but my income taxes went up when I moved. NJ’s top rate is exceeded by only 5 other states, and NY is not one of them.

  138. #138 augustine
    August 19, 2010

    Chris: [Sure seizures can happen with a vaccine, but at a rate much much smaller than the actual disease.]

    How do you know this. Do you have citations? How many vaccine induced seizures are reported every year from measles vaccine? How many actually occur that are dismissed or not reported? How many seizures ACTUALLY happen per year from measles itself?

    And if you say the number is low BECAUSE of vaccines then I have another conundrum for you. Don’t worry it won’t involve science it will be a moral and value question. You’re really upstanding on those types of things.

  139. #139 augustine
    August 19, 2010

    Orange Lantern: [Sid, how do you know you don’t have an infection? Some vaccine preventable diseases incubate for weeks without symptoms, but are still contagious during that time.]

    So should we only get those to satisfy your fears? Will you stop there and say that is reasonable? Or will you still demand more vaccinations based on moving goalpost arguments.

    It doesn’t help your case when you dump all vaccines and diseases into the same category. It’s less scientific and more propaganda.

  140. #140 augustine
    August 19, 2010

    Chris: [Truthfully it is both stupid and immoral to harm another person due to your actions (spreading lies about vaccines), or inaction (not protecting yourself or children by refusing vaccines, or by ignoring stop lights).]

    Based on whose morals? Yours Chris?

    I’d like to see you prove that?

    And.. “not protecting yourself or children by refusing vaccines” Well you’ve committed an error in logic. You’re assuming negligence based on a false conclusion because you’re so hell bent on carrying out microbe eradication through human manipulation.

    There are other ways to “protect” yourself and your children, Chris. To assume that not vaccinating is akin to negligence is a logical fallacy. Of course you’ll rationalize the use of it but it will only show your blindly biased side not your objective scientific side.

    And… you never answered…If I believe I’m a kitty cat and I want to get felinoplasty is that logical? Am I really a kitty cat. Should I be accepted logically as a kitty cat because society has come to view kitty catness as logically acceptable.

    You’re the last on who should be talking about morals, ethics, and truth, Chris.

  141. #141 Sid Offit
    August 19, 2010

    @Orange Lantern

    Great! We’re agreed. But since no one here is advocating forced vaccination, I’m not sure why you brought it up.
    But IMO parents should be strictly required to vaccinate their children, adhering to the CDC schedule

    Scott @53
    IMO parents should be strictly required to vaccinate their children, adhering to the CDC schedule.
    ================================
    @Chris

    He did not have an answer ages ago when I asked him how babies who are not fully vaccinated should get to their well child check ups.

    Doesn’t seem to be much data on the worth of the old well baby visit. And how were they doing diagnosing all that autism during the old well baby visit? I think you can skip them if you’re worried about an unvaccinated child there. Or the doctor could ban unvaccinated children, have a seperate office for them or do house call well baby visits.

    1984 editorial CMAJ
    The ideal number of these visits [well baby] is not
    known; very few studies have attempted to determine
    whether one schedule was better than another.

  142. #142 Sid Offit
    August 19, 2010

    @Chris
    Since the neither USA nor any of its states have laws absolutely mandating vaccines (even Mississippi and West Virginia have private schools) your statement is blatantly false.
    ======================
    In order to enroll in any public or PRIVATE kindergarten, elementary, or secondary school in Mississippi, a
    student must provide the school with a:
    Certificate of Immunization Compliance
    Or a
    Certificate of Medical Exemption (Form 122)

  143. #143 triskelethecat
    August 19, 2010

    @Sid: So you found an opinion piece from 1984 which states that no one has studied the most effective schedule. I found about 300 more current articles that discuss what doctors do at those visits. They may not establish the “perfect” schedule, but they look at the current schedule and how to best utilize those visits.

    I guess you didn’t go with your infant(s ) to many well child visits. MY doctors evaluated infant growth and development at every visit, answered my questions, and gave any needed vaccines. I found it to be very worthwhile to have my child’s development reviewed, any questions I had answered, and information about what development I would probably see before the next visit.

    I would not have skipped a well child visit just because some irresponsible parent (not including those whose children can’t be vaccinated due to medical reasons) had their sick/prodromal/exposed/maybe healthy kid in the waiting room. Fortunately, my doctors has separate entries and waiting rooms for the sick/suspected-sick and well children. Newborns and partially immunized infants were generally put right into examining rooms if possible to avoid the sick ones. However, my pediatric group had very few anti-vax parents. Most parents were my age and recalled childhood diseases too well to want their babies left unprotected.

    You are funny. House calls? Do you want to PAY for a house call? Most insurances do not, unless deemed medically necessary. If you think most parents have the $200 or so to spend on a house call, especially new parents, I want some of what you are smoking!

    And I really want to meet the doctor who has the time to make house calls these days. House calls are time consuming and no MD can carry all the equipment he/she would have available in the office (speaking as the grandchild of a doctor who made housecalls until the 1970’s). As medicine advanced, granddad made fewer housecalls because he could care for patients more effectively in the office. His few exceptions: very elderly, ill patients who had no one to drive them (he figured it was usually better that they NOT drive a car, for the safety of themselves and others). But he rarely got paid for those calls by insurance. Most of those patients paid with cash over time, or with food gifts. (Keeping the books was fun. The financial equivilent of a bushel of tomatoes from the garden is $XX off your bill).

  144. #144 Chris
    August 19, 2010

    I’m ignoring Sid Troll (this means I am not even reading his responses), but I get the gist from triskelethecat’s response. It is quite clear that Sid has never had any children of his own, and has absolutely no clue what it takes to care for children, and that includes well child visits.

  145. #145 Sid Offit
    August 19, 2010

    @Chris

    I’m ignoring you too. And I’m going to hold my breath until you acknowledge that I have a child.

    @triskelethecat
    I’m glad well baby visits were helpful to you. In those 300 articles did you notice any efficacy/outcome data. I could find little – my reason for posing a 25 year old editorial.

  146. #146 freedom
    August 19, 2010

    @Chris

    Yes, Chris you are right. I am not a very bright man, thinking that I would arrive at a place called
    scienceblogs to read interesting scientific articles.

    This really is a political blog, and its readers are arrogant and fascist, with a heavy dose of superiority complex. There really is less science and more politics from what I’ve read on the site.

    You may also want to take a class in comprehensive reading, I make no statement about a current mandate which you challenge as blatantly false. I stated ANY governance mandating what is injected into your body or fed to you, that implies ownership. I said nothing of current US laws, this was a discussion about human rights.

    No hard feelings, I enjoyed your remark about the fact I am also not very bright. It’s true enough, I ended up on a website I thought would be scientific, yet turns out to be a conglomeration of hell-bent elitists ready to take over the lives of the poor souls like myself – who just aren’t bright enough to handle it on our own.

    Thank you for telling me what is best for me, Chris the Enlightened One.

    I only hope we are so lucky to have your arrogance running the world one day, forcing us to be injected with what you feel is appropriate. That will be a peaceful day indeed.

  147. #147 Orange Lantern
    August 19, 2010

    Great! We’re agreed. But since no one here is advocating forced vaccination, I’m not sure why you brought it up.
    But IMO parents should be strictly required to vaccinate their children, adhering to the CDC schedule

    That’s supposed to by my opinion, right? Do you have the t-shirt that says “When I want your opinion, I’ll give it to you”?

    Again, Sid, I’m sorry that I have not followed your brand of logic and vocabulary. I did not realize “forced” = “required for school entry in Mississippi”.

  148. #148 Sid Offit
    August 19, 2010

    Sorry. I meant to indicate Scott said the vaccination requirement thing. It posted twice, once along with your words.

    You did say no one here was advocating such things
    But someone [Scott] here [sciblogs] was.

    Anyway I’m glad we agree on this small point. As to the correct use of force:

    Definitions of force on the Web:
    coerce: to cause to do through pressure or necessity

    WIKI:
    Coercion (pronounced /koʊˈɜrʃən/) is the practice of forcing another party to behave in an involuntary manner (whether through action or inaction) by use of threats, intimidation, trickery, or some other form of pressure or force.

  149. #149 Composer99
    August 19, 2010

    Sid… you are starting to act like ugh troll. Quoting definitions from the dictionary without the apparent understanding of context.

    Parents who wish to send their children to public schools, where their children will mix with all sorts of other children and where diseases will be swapped with somewhat more regularity than lunch snacks, need to get their children vaccinated or have the appropriate exemption. If they are particularly hell-bent on not vaccinating while at the same time being too lazy/busy/whatever to get the exemption, they also have the option of not sending them to public school and instead homeschooling them. But as long as the parents can get the exemption, they are not forced/coerced/whatever to vaccinate their children.

    What, exactly, do you find so problematic with this policy? In what cloud-cuckoo land does it become coercive or a ‘rights violation’?

    ‘freedom’ – that goes for you too.

  150. #150 dedicated lurker
    August 19, 2010

    freedom is probably like that guy I spoke to once who thought that adding iodine to table salt was an unforgivable encroachment on our freedoms.

  151. #151 Chris
    August 19, 2010

    Yeah, “freedom” is still not so bright. Especially when I came up with that opinion not for his rather sketchy idea of what constitutes politics, but that he would go to places with known sanitation issues and not worry about his health.

    And for someone like him “freedom” is all about himself. Screw anyone else. If he is responsible for getting someone sick, or tearing off someone’s bumper as he runs a red light… So what? It is all about his rights, no one else matters. He is just a selfish solipsistic brat.

    The same goes for Sid Troll.

  152. #152 Dana Ullman
    August 19, 2010

    @Rogue Medic
    No, I never said that “all research is evil.” Actually, it seems that only you have said that.

    I believe that bad research is the problem, and denial of good research is the problem. The denialists of homeopathy, however, are totally confused about what is and isn’t “good” research. They assume that just because a study was well-designed by scientific standards means that it is a good study of homeopathy. If any of you took basic courses in statistics, you know that it is important for a study to have both internal validity AND external validity. Whoooops…you forgot about external validity.

    That omission is akin to saying that antibiotics don’t work for people with bacterial infection because they don’t work on viral or fungal infections.

    A great number of the “negative” trials testing homeopathic medicines is because these trials lacked “external validity.” The trials tested medicines that are not commonly used for people who are sick with the condition being tested.

    One of the studies that Shang and his ilk evaluated was the use of homeopathic doses of thyroid hormone for people who are over-weight. Even though the study was randomized and double-blind…and had 500+ subjects, I have NEVER met a homeopath who prescribed this medicine for this condition.

    What a clever way to dis-prove homeopathy: just use a medicine that no one uses for people with a specific condition. Cool.

    On a different subject, the most well-known homotoxicological medicine is TRAUMEEL. Here’s one study that was published in that quack journal, CANCER.

    Oberbaum M, Yaniv I, Ben-Gal Y, et al. A randomized, controlled clinical trial of the homeopathic medication Traumeel S® in the treatment of chemotherapy-induced stomatitis in children undergoing stem cell transplantation. Cancer. 2001;92(3):684-690.

  153. #153 The Very Reverend Battleaxe of Knowledge
    August 19, 2010

    Never mind that none of the homeopathic medicaments would be of any use at all even if they were full-strength, homeopaths think that after such extreme dilution that there’s not a single molecule of them left, they get even stronger. They think that pure water can cure anything. End of discussion. They’re insane.

    Deal with this fact about homeopathy, or you’re insane, too. Tell us how pure water can cure disease. State in so many words that that’s what you believe, because that’s what homeopathy is. Then we’ll point and laugh.

  154. #154 Dana Ullman
    August 19, 2010

    You folks crack me up! The Very Reverend is so cute. I bet he and others would think that the real problem with acupuncture is that those needles are just too small…they should use nails instead (afterall, big is better, isn’t it?).

    For the record (again), deniers/skeptics of homeopathy are profoundly ignorant of that which they are skeptical (that’s so classic!). Many homeopathic medicines are not beyond Avogadro’s number, including most homotoxicological medicines such as Traumeel. But you folks are so sloppy intellectually that you just put all of homeopathy into the same big pot.

    Sloppy and ignorance AND arrogant…what a mix…and the real irony is that you folks seem sincere in your arrogance. What an awful scientific attitude while trying to seem to be “defenders of science”. Can you say “chutzpah” or just “mishuganah”?

  155. #155 Sauceress
    August 20, 2010

    They assume that just because a study was well-designed by scientific standards means that it is a good study of homeopathy.

    That quote is definitely a keeper
    So what your saying is that one needs to use non-scientific standards for the right interpretation. Well that’s news!

    Efficacy of homeopathic arnica: a systematic review of placebo-controlled clinical trials.

    RESULTS: Eight trials fulfilled all inclusion criteria. Most related to conditions associated with tissue trauma. Most of these studies were burdened with severe methodological flaws. On balance, they do not suggest that homeopathic arnica is more efficacious than placebo.

  156. #156 Orange Lantern
    August 20, 2010

    Fair enough, Sid, though I am not sure if Scott means “universally required” or “required for school entry” by his post.

    For the record, I prefer the definition of force as an energy field created by all living things that surrounds us, penetrates us, and binds the galaxy together.

  157. #157 Orange Lantern
    August 20, 2010

    Augustine:

    So should we only get those to satisfy your fears? Will you stop there and say that is reasonable? Or will you still demand more vaccinations based on moving goalpost arguments.
    It doesn’t help your case when you dump all vaccines and diseases into the same category. It’s less scientific and more propaganda.

    Everything after the wordsg “based on” is nonsensical to me. Maybe Sid can explain it. He seems to speak your language.

    But personally, I don’t care what vaccines you and Sid get. I do care about the public having accurate information about the risks and benefits of vaccines. So when Sid indicates that he is not able to infect others without being infected himself, it is reasonable to ask how he knows he is not infected. Apparently the answer has something to do with superhuman powers, and possibly the Force.

    Just so we know you are educated on the subject, Augustine, please list which of the vaccine preventable diseases required for school entry are never contagious before they become symptomatic. I will give you tetanus as a freebie.

  158. #158 Sauceress
    August 20, 2010

    @158
    “what your saying”
    Oh dear…it’s those dreaded grammar demons!

    A great number of the “negative” trials testing homeopathic medicines is because these trials lacked “external validity.” The trials tested medicines that are not commonly used for people who are sick with the condition being tested.

    Ok…I think I get it now.
    The reason that overall testing of Traumeel, advertised and sold as an effective medication for acute injuries and inflammation of the musculoskeletal system, didn’t show any positive results was because all those those studies lacked the “external validity” of testing Traumeel as treatment for “chemotherapy-induced stomatitis in children undergoing stem cell transplantation.”

    Yep…that’s it. Got it now.
    Thanks Dana!

  159. #159 Tdoc
    August 20, 2010

    I can’t believe that in these days of shrinking revenues we minions of big pharma and big medicine haven’t seen the light. There was big money in treating vaccination preventable diseases. Remember the Crippled Children’s hospitals and clinics? Rows of kids in lovely iron lungs. Each one of them needed and paid for a cadre of neurologists, internists, physiotherapists, orthotists, pulmonologists all getting specialists pay. Rubella and rubeola were also great. the kids born after their mother had rubella were a gold mine for optometrists, cardiologists, pediatricians, EENT’s, audiologists, speech pathologists and others. Screw vaccination, I say that we stop vaccination entirely. we will make beaucouples of millions more treating the carnage. And we can prevent the unlikely possibility totally unproven, that a tiny percentage of the vaccinated kids will get autism. Really.

  160. #160 Scott
    August 20, 2010

    Fair enough, Sid, though I am not sure if Scott means “universally required” or “required for school entry” by his post.

    I mean “universally required”. As I see it, not vaccinating (in the absence of a medically recognized contraindication) amounts to child neglect even before considering the effect on others. We don’t require that parents feed their children only if they go to public schools; IMO vaccination should be treated the same way.

    I recognize that this puts me out of the mainstream, and sufficiently so that what I’d like is unlikely ever to come to pass. Nevertheless, that’s what I believe would be ethically proper.

  161. #161 triskelethecat
    August 20, 2010

    The article Dana posted is interesting. However, given that there were 2 more 3-4 year olds in the placebo group than the test group, I wonder if that skewed the data somewhat. Most parents are aware that it is rather difficult to make a child that young even brush their teeth, much less “rinse their mouths vigorously with the solution for a minimum of 30 seconds before swallowing” and “keep the liquid as long as possible on troublesome lesions” 5 dimes a day!

    Other things I noticed (which may or may not skew the results:

    I’m not sure, not being really knowledgeable about cancers) is that the placebo group had a much higher amount of AML (7:3) and the test group had a 3:0 Lymphoma amount. Since they all had stem cell treatment, I don’t know if the type of cancer might have an effect on the development of stomatitis or not.

    In the footnote, the diagnoses for “Other” are listed. The test group has 5 other diagnoses listed, and the placebo group had 7 other diagnoses listed. However, the numbers above show that the Test group had 7 other diagnoses, and the Placebo group had 5. Is this an editing error for the footnote or were the test numbers skewed and the authors are playing with the numbers?

    Still, an interesting initial study. Small test groups and not really balanced, but perhaps worth another look.

    (Added note: the company states that the test solutions were not diluted beyond Avogadro’s Number, so there was some active ingredient in the solution. I suppose, given that there was measureable mercury in the test solution and we know that mercury, in the form of thimerosal is an antibacterial, that the test solution MAY have had some effect).

  162. #162 Mu
    August 20, 2010

    you’d got to love that key ingredient in Traumeel:
    Mercurius solubilis Hahnemanni
    (mixture containing essentially mercuroamidonitrate)
    I’m hoping that one is C30 or stronger.

  163. #163 Dana Ullman
    August 20, 2010

    @Sauceress …first, I love your name, but please step away from science. It is not in your bones…or between your ears.

    Your logic is that as long as one conducts a well-designed trials (randomized, double-blind and placebo controlled), it does NOT matter what drug you use for patients and their conditions. You can then say that homeopathic medicines do not work, even though what you really mean to say is: that specific homeopathic medicine does not work for that specific condition.

    It is so interesting that no one here has yet to acknowledge the importance of internal AND external validity (it seems that you folks do not even know what they are and why they are important). Eeeeks.

    And yet, you all defend “science.” That is “bad science.” But heck, you folks seem to be the Fox News of Science and Medicine…excelling at mis-information and the “spin zone.”

  164. #164 Chris
    August 20, 2010

    Dana Ullman:

    @Sauceress …first, I love your name, but please step away from science. It is not in your bones…or between your ears.


    And yet, you all defend “science.” That is “bad science.” But heck, you folks seem to be the Fox News of Science and Medicine…excelling at mis-information and the “spin zone.”

    Remember, Dana, we are laughing at you, not with you. You are reminding us why there is the Dull-Man Law:

    In any discussion involving science or medicine, being Dana Ullman loses you the argument immediately…and gets you laughed out of the room.

    You are a textbook example of the Dunning-Kruger Effect.

  165. #165 squirrelelite
    August 20, 2010

    Sorry, Dana, but until you can consistently and reliably distinguish between a homeopathically diluted remedy (i.e. greater than 12C) and pure water (or whatever the equivalent solvent is), the internal validity of any test of homeopathic “medicines” is ZERO!

    Have you perfected your method yet?

    When are you planning to apply for the JREF prize?

    By the way, how is Dr Josephson’s work going? Any news from the homeopathic memory front?

  166. #166 dean
    August 20, 2010

    “Dean, that’s brilliant. How do I endanger you when I don’t have an illness?”

    Because, as has been pointed out, the time you are dangerous to others occurs when you don’t realize it. You are saying that the right of you and yours to save a few dollars and avoid vaccinations should allow you to put others at risk (or, if others don’t want to risk it, they can stay home). That’s like saying if you want to drive drunk other people should stay out of your way.
    Sid, I hadn’t really believed all the comments about how dishonest and or stupid you are, but these posts convinced me – and indicate that the level of your dishonesty has been understated.

  167. #167 augustine
    August 20, 2010

    Dean,

    Your, shaking in your bones, fear is misplaced. So is your seatbelt/unsafe driver gambit that is erroneously repeated ad nauseum by the forced vaccine propaganda.

    Who don’t you pick an illness and we’ll go through the “science” to see how far fetched your illusion is. Trust me, when it get’s down to actually talking the evidence, you’ll be forced to “move the goalpost” to continue your “belief system.”

  168. #168 Antaeus Feldspar
    August 20, 2010

    So is your seatbelt/unsafe driver gambit that is erroneously repeated ad nauseum by the forced vaccine propaganda.

    You’ll note that despite all the times augie, Sid, etc. have claimed that the seatbelt and unsafe driver analogies are wrong, they’ve never attempted to back that up by saying how the analogy is wrong (probably for the very good reason that it isn’t and they can’t.)

  169. #169 dean
    August 20, 2010

    forget it augustine-you own words show you’re nothing more than a lying scumbag. I don’t see that I mentioned “shaking in bones” – I just pointed out sid’s dishonesty.
    I’m amazed at how completely you (and sid, and others of your ilk) are so completely lacking in honesty, integrity, and understanding of basic science and statistics.

  170. #170 Orange Lantern
    August 20, 2010

    @Antaeus

    You’ll note that despite all the times augie, Sid, etc. have claimed that the seatbelt and unsafe driver analogies are wrong, they’ve never attempted to back that up by saying how the analogy is wrong (probably for the very good reason that it isn’t and they can’t.)

    Oh, Augustine has tried, with predictably amusing results. Read the comments following:

    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2010/05/fun_with_anti-vaccine_petitions_the_chic.php#comment-2552964

  171. #171 Orange Lantern
    August 20, 2010

    @Antaeus

    You’ll note that despite all the times augie, Sid, etc. have claimed that the seatbelt and unsafe driver analogies are wrong, they’ve never attempted to back that up by saying how the analogy is wrong (probably for the very good reason that it isn’t and they can’t.)

    Oh, Augustine has tried, with predictably amusing results. Read the comments following:

    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2010/05/fun_with_anti-vaccine_petitions_the_chic.php#comment-2552964

  172. #172 Orange Lantern
    August 20, 2010

    Bizarre, I don’t remember hitting “Post” more than once…

  173. #173 Science Mom
    August 20, 2010

    For the record (again), deniers/skeptics of homeopathy are profoundly ignorant of that which they are skeptical (that’s so classic!). Many homeopathic medicines are not beyond Avogadro’s number, including most homotoxicological medicines such as Traumeel. But you folks are so sloppy intellectually that you just put all of homeopathy into the same big pot.

    Dana likes to pretend that only he is the purveyor of wisdom and intelligence. Then again, a homeopath must be a good showman. Traumeel S contains active ingredients and as such, violates the tenets of an anti-homotoxic remedy. As for its use in stomatitis, its mode of action appears to be antiseptic and/or anti-inflammatory rather than ‘detoxification’ to “stimulate the body’s own healing process to cure illness.”

    As per a 2009 Cochrane Review, Traumeel S contains:

    Each 2.2 ml ampoule contains: Arnica montana D2 (2.2 mg), calendula officianalis D2 (2.2 mg), Achillea millefolium D3 (2.2 mg), Matricharia chamomilla D2 (2.2 mg), Symphytum officinale D6 (2.2 mg), Atropa belladonna D2 (2.2 mg), Aconitum napelus D2 (1.32 mg) , Bellis perenis D2 (1.1 mg), Hypericum perfoliatum D2 (0.66 mg), Echinacea angustifolia D2 (2.2 mg), Echinacea purpurea D2 (2.2 mg), Hammamelis virginica D1 (0.22 mg), Mercurius solubilis D1 (1.1 mg) and Hepar sulphuris D6 (2.2 mg)

    It’s an herbal remedy with a dash of mercury for good measure.

    It is so interesting that no one here has yet to acknowledge the importance of internal AND external validity (it seems that you folks do not even know what they are and why they are important). Eeeeks.

    Read that on the interwebz somewhere and feeling a bit cocksure about yourself? The same Cochrane Review looked at other homeopathic remedies and found them to be no better than placebo (surprise surprise) and you won’t be able to complain about the internal validity, try as you might. As for external validity, who gives a toss if they don’t work.

  174. #174 dt
    August 21, 2010

    If Dana is still following this, then perhaps he could explain
    a) Why he thinks TRAUMEEL is a “homeopathic” remedy, and
    b) Why he uses it’s apparent efficacy in healing post chemotherapy stomatitis as justification for its use in the field of healing musculoskeletal trauma (when the available trials indicate it has no efficay in that context)

  175. #175 Dana Ullman
    August 25, 2010

    @dt Why is it that you and others hear are so uneducated about homeopathy that you do not seem to know what homeopathy is and what a homeopathic medicine is? Why is it that no one here seems to understand that a homeopathic medicine could be potentized to a point beyond Avogadro’s number OR NOT? I know why…because you seem to see the world in black and white…and THAT is not how the world is.

    Why is it that a homeopathic medicine can have more than one effect? Why do you folks define science as “reductionism” and you love to reduce the world to its parts, while misunderstanding how the whole works?

    Why is it that you folks assert that high quality trials must be done to confirm the efficacy of homeopathy, and yet, when such trials are done and published in high impact journals, you squirm and creatively make up stupid excuses to diss the results?

    I suggest that you folks learn a thing or two about that which you are trying to criticize. I know that this is a tall order…and I am doubtful that anyone will take this advice.

    Is it interesting that MANY homeopathic medicines sold in pharmacies and health food stores have small amounts of “active ingredients” and yet, you folks still say that it is impossible for such medicines to work (and at the same time, no one here seems interested in the field of hormesis–the interdisciplinary field that explores low dose effects).

    Is there any irony here that you folks try to be defenders of science and yet tend to continually show both ignorance and arrogance, which together create an anti-scientific attitude…but heck, your own arrogance immunizes you to educate yourselves and to learn. Yeah…I am beating a dead horse…

  176. #176 Antaeus Feldspar
    August 25, 2010

    Why is it that no one here seems to understand that a homeopathic medicine could be potentized to a point beyond Avogadro’s number OR NOT?

    If it isn’t potentized to a point beyond Avogadro’s number then there is no reason to think that any effects it may have have anything to do with homeopathy.

    It’s like you’re trying to convince us that humans can live indefinitely on less than a gram a day of food and water and you offer yourself as proof, and we say “You’re not living on a gram a day of food and water! We saw you at lunchtime sitting down to a meal of sandwich, soup and salad; each one of those by itself several grams!!” and you turn red in the face and start shrieking “You dummies! Don’t you realize, I’m only having two meals like that a day, instead of three? Since I can cut down from three to two and still feel well-fed, obviously I can cut down from two to one, from one to one-half, from one-half to one-eighth, and so on, never suffering hunger pangs or malnutrition, until I’m only eating a gram! Don’t you so-called “defenders of science,” in your ignorance and arrogance, realize that the proof of concept is right before your eyes??”

  177. #177 Dana Ullman
    August 25, 2010

    Homeopathy is based on the “principle of similars,” that is, what a substance causes in toxic doses, it will elicit a healing response when given in small doses. NOWHERE in homeopathy are doses beyond Avogadro’s number “required.”

    When Hahnemann first tested the hypothesis of the principle of similars, he used small (but NOT beyond Avogadro’s number doses for the first 20 years or so). When some colleagues told him that they used doses that were the 1,000th and 10,000 potencies, he raled against them initially, until his own experiences confirmed what they have observed.

    The fact that deniers assume that homeopathy “must” only included doses at 12C or 24X is simply their own ignorance. I’ve never had much respect for fundamentalists of any sort…and deniers are fundamentalists (only worse, because they are arrogant too!)…and sadly, it seems that each one of you confirms this observation. Prove me wrong…heck, I have no problem with that…really.

  178. #178 Science Mom
    August 25, 2010

    @ 181 and 179, you’ve said a whole lot of nothing. TRAUMEEL-S (your example) is neither a homeopathic, nor an anti-homotoxic remedy. You’re just trying to piggy-back on a substance, with pharmacological properties that may be effective for treating a particular condition.

  179. #179 Chris
    August 25, 2010

    Just to emphasize how limited, and repetitive Mr. Ullman can be, check out the link I posted at comment #168 on the Dull-Man Law. You will see he was flogging TRAUMEEL well over a year ago. He didn’t get to far.

    He tends to bring up old arguments, completely forgetting that their flaws were presented to him by the very same people he is communicating at the time. It is almost like he has some kind of selective memory loss.

  180. #180 Militant Agnostic
    August 25, 2010

    Chris @183
    Maybe Dullman;s selective memory loss works by the same mechanism by which water loses the memory of all the crap that’s been in it while retaining the memory of the drop of arnica or duck’s lever or whatever.

  181. #181 Calli Arcale
    August 25, 2010

    Mr Ullman, I’ll grant you that not all things listed in the homeopathic pharmacopoeia are beyond Avogadro’s Number. Just a very large percentage of them. That said, what is your opinion on Zicam, which, if memory serves, is listed at 2X? That’s hardly diluted at all. Are you horrified at the clearly political maneuvering within your field to get this truly non-homeopathic remedy listed as if it were homeopathic, essentially using your field as a shield from proper regulation? Or are you okay with it, and if so, why?

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