The mercury militia parties like it’s 2005

Way, way back in the deepest darkest depths of history, before I entered the Knowledge Room and sold my soul to big pharma to become a pharma blogger (in other words, way back in 2005), my inauguration as a skeptical blogger taking on anti-vaccine misinformation, pseudoscience, and lies occurred in a big way when I referred to Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.’s infamous article Deadly Immunity as flushing Salon.com’s credibility down the toilet. That was when I discovered the mercury militia, that subset of the anti-vaccine movement that believes that mercury in the thimerosal preservative that used to be in vaccines until the CDC and AAP recommended its removal in 1999, a process that was completed in 2002. Since 2002, there has been no mercury in infant vaccines other than in the flu vaccine (for which there are thimerosal-free alternatives) and trace amounts in some childhood vaccines. Even though one would expect that, if thimerosal in vaccines cause or contribute to the development of autism or autism spectrum disorders, autism incidence should start to drop significantly three to five years after the last thimerosal-containing vaccines were taken off the shelf given that most autism is diagnosed around age 3, there has been no such decrease, as multiple studies have documented. By 2007, even Generation Rescue was backing away from its claim that autism is a “misdiagnosis for mercury poisoning.” Even the cranks seemed to see the writing on the wall. Even the cranks seemed to be read to bow under the weight of the evidence and move on to other, vaguer, more difficult-to-falsify hypotheses, which they did with gusto with “too many, too soon” and blaming vague combinations of “toxins” in vaccines for autism.

Even so, there remained a contingent of the anti-vaccine movement that clung to the thimerosal hypothesis, refusing to let go of it until science pried it from their cold, dead hands. Which science tried to do repeatedly. In any event, even though the biggest anti-vaccine groups moved on to more fertile (and more profitable) pastures of biomedical woo based on exaggerating mitochondrial disorders, more generalized “detoxification,” and “antioxidants.” Even so, the thimerosal hypothesis was the zombie that wouldn’t die. (Are there any other kinds?) Seemingly killed again and again, like Jason or Freddie or Michael Myers or any other fictional slasher, who ends one movie seemingly deader than the proverbial doornail, only to return to slash again a year or two later in another movie, the thimerosal hypothesis returned again and again.

It’s back again in 2010, and the mercury militia looks like it’s ready to party like it’s 2005. They’ve even brought back the same old crew from 2005, up to and including even Deirdre Imus. That’s right. Deirdre Imus, who appeared again in that repository of all things quackery and anti-vaccine, The Huffington Post. This time around, she posted an article entitled The Age of Autism. For once, I’m not referring to the anti-vaccine crank blog Age of Autism, but rather a book by AoA stalwarts Dan Olmsted and Mark Blaxill, the not-so-dynamic duo who have teamed up to pen The Age of Autism: Mercury, Medicine, and a Man-made Epidemic. Before I get to Imus, let’s look at what this book is supposedly about:

Leo Kanner’s original cases, linked only by this overlooked association with mercury, suggest that from the very beginning autism was an environmentally induced illness– a toxic injury rather than something inherited or inculcated. Certainly, some children were more susceptible to mercury exposure– and that may implicate genetic vulnerabilities. This is very different, however, from saying that autism is an inherited genetic disorder.

Tragically, the best and the brightest in science and medicine have missed these clues from the start, blinded first by the belief the parents were responsible and then by their ongoing pursuit of the “autism gene.” The Great Autism Gene Hunt has come up empty– but continues to drain off millions of dollars and thousands of hours that should go to more promising environmental research.

Having thoroughly failed to solve the autism puzzle, the medical industry is putting forth a new wave of epidemic deniers to claim autism isn’t really increasing after all. Simply put, this idea is nonsense; and sadly, it prolongs the epidemic and prevents the urgent response this public health crisis demands.

Ah, yes. it’s the same outline that scientifically dubious books since time immemorial have followed. There’s some sort of horrific health threat that, somehow, either no one in mainstream medicine or science has noticed or mainstream medicine is outright denying. Then, of course, there’s the coverup (big pharma, of course, and the government) that prevents anyone from finding out The Truth. These books are so predictable that I’ve thought of trying to write one myself, as a sort of attempt at a quack Poe, and then seeing if anyone can tell if it’s serious or not. Of course, if I ever were able to find the time to write a book, I don’t think I’d waste my time doing that, but it’s a fun idea. Instead, apparently, we’ll have to do with Age of Autism, which, not surprisingly, Deirdre Imus appears to love, as evidenced by her fawning interview ith the authors of said pseudoscience, Olmsted and Blaxill, which she introduces thusly:

The new book “The Age of Autism: Mercury, Medicine, and a Man-made Epidemic” is shaking up the autism world. Orthodox scientists and medical groups have dismissed and even ridiculed the idea that incredibly toxic ethyl mercury — still in flu shots given to infants and pregnant women — could be linked to the explosion in autism rates beginning in the 1990s, when the vaccine schedule was rapidly expanded. Just the day before the book came out this week, the CDC issued yet another flawed study that found not only was mercury safe — it actually had a protective effect against the risk of autism. This is obviously absurd, as is the fact that almost all the children in the study had received mercury-containing shots, rather than including a control group without any mercury exposure. Authors Dan Olmsted and Mark Blaxill — two names well-known in the autism community and editors of the blog Age of Autism (ageofautism.com), have for the first time traced the roots of autism beginning in the 1930s. What they found is electrifying and suggests the debate is about to heat up again, whether the government and medical industry like it or not.

Well, probably not, this book notwithstanding. As has been pointed out, it’s not exactly setting the book world on fire, sales-wise, and we’ve seen similar claims before for a recent anti-vaccine book by someone who is far more famous among the general public than Dan Olmsted or Mark Blaxill will ever be. That’s right; I’m talking about Andrew Wakefield and his book Callous Disregard: Autism and Vaccines–The Truth Behind a Tragedy, a truly execrable book that made a very brief flash around its release just before Memorial Day and had faded into oblivion long before the 4th of July. Of course, it never made the best seller lists, as far as I can tell; so its flash was minimal indeed. Similarly, I predict that The Age of Autism is likely to suffer a similar fate. By Halloween, it’s likely to be gone. Maybe by Columbus Day.

Imus’ interview with Olmsted and Blaxill is long and covers a lot of well-trod ground as far as mercury militia claims go, many of which will be familiar to long time readers of this blog. However, it starts off with a statement that is quite revealing, but not in the way that B & O think it is:

The other thing that we want people to embrace is contained in the title — this really is The Age of Autism. Autism is the single most devastating childhood disorder any of us have faced in our lifetime — and it has become a national health emergency. The rates of autism have gone from effectively zero before the 1930s to 1 in 100 children today, and that’s happened in the lifetime of a single individual — in just seven decades.

This is, of course, the well-known claim favored not just by the mercury militia but the anti-vaccine movement in general, that there is some sort of “autism epidemic,” that something must be causing autism prevalence to be approximately 1% (which is the commonly accepted estimate these days). It never occurs to them that that “something” is very likely a huge broadening of the diagnostic criteria resulting in diagnostic substitution combined with much more intensive screening efforts. What’s often hard for people to accept is that, as a general principle, the more intensely you look for a condition, the more of it you find. There also tends to be a shift to milder cases that would have been missed or diagnosed as something else before. That’s largely what we have seen with autism and ASDs. It’s an open question whether there has been a true increase in prevalence, but what is pretty clear is that there has not been a massive increase in ASDs. Studies of adults suggest that the currently estimated prevalence of around 1% appears to have been stable for at least decades, as evidenced by the prevalence of ASDs being similar in adults as it is in children. Basically, the “autism tsunami” myth confuses diagnosis for condition.

The revealing part, however, is how Blaxill characterizes autism. It’s not just a problem, but the “most devastating childhood disorder than any of us have faced in our lifetime” and a “national health emergency.” I’m sure that parents of children with cerebral palsy, profound mental retardation, or other permanent conditions in which there is little or no hope of improvement and whose victims require every bit as much around the clock care as a child with severe autism does would beg to differ. In contrast to these children, a significant proportion of autistic children can and do make significant progress–even recover to “leave the spectrum.” But by what definition does Blaxill declare autism to be such a horrific health problem? There’s no doubt that autism is a significant burden on the health system, but the most significant burden?

Basically, the entire interview consists of one long commercial for B & O’s book. That in and of itself is not unexpected. After all, authors do interviews to promote their books. The problem is, the B & O’s self-promotion consists of a continuous string of anti-vaccine nonsense. What’s different is that B & O have taken the hoary old ghost of the thimerosal-autism claim and thrown a fresh coat of makeup and lipstick on it, much like the proverbial pig. Basically, the not-so-dynamic duo claim to have located seven of the eleven original children identified by Leo Kanner in 1943 as having autism:

So we decided to look more closely at this group of children, who were identified only by a first name and last initial. In this Internet age, we were able to identify 7 of those 11 children — and what we found was a startling link in those families: both to mercury exposure in general and specifically to the new ethyl mercury compounds that were first commercialized around 1930. There were three initial commercial uses for ethyl mercury — in agriculture as seed disinfectants and lumber treatment, and in medicine as a preservative in the new diphtheria vaccine.

They dismiss any question over whether this might be a coincidence thusly:

We think the pattern of evidence is much too strong to be dismissed as pure chance. Kanner’s initial case series was a small cluster of 11 children and the mercury link really jumps out. The problem is that Kanner noticed the parents’ professional accomplishments and focus and all the working mothers — many working in the medical industry — and suggested there were “very few really warm-hearted fathers and mothers” in the entire group. Although he later backed off of that accusation, people like Bruno Bettelheim turned parent-blaming into the prevailing theory of autism causation.

No, in eleven children, it’s virtually impossible to say anything about exposures. True, such a sample might raise suspicions of an environmental etiology for a disease or condition, but that’s all it can do. Like acupuncturists who point to small preliminary studies that suggest efficacy for acupuncture, B & O point to their small sample that may or may not be representative and whose original reports are separated from the present by 67 years. There’s been a lot of research since then, and it has failed to show a link between vaccines and autism, mercury in vaccines and autism, or mercury exposure and autism. Look at it this way. For an environmental exposure to cause what is described as an “epidemic” of autism, the causal linkage would have to be very strong, if, as is claimed by the mercury militia, it’s the driving cause of an “epidemic” that pushed the prevalence of autism from close to zero to over 1% of the population. There’s just no evidence of such a strong link; indeed, just last week there was yet another study that failed to find a link. Meanwhile, Olmsted completely misunderstands the concept of genetic predispositions with low or incomplete penetrance:

Then, when it became clear that there was a higher rate of autism in twins, parent-blaming was discredited. But scientists misunderstood the gene studies to conclude that autism was therefore a genetically-determined disorder that could not be prevented or treated. But there are plenty of identical twins who are discordant for autism — one has it, the other is typical — and there are also fraternal twins, who are no more identical than they are with other siblings, who both have autism. That suggests some sort of environmental injury in genetically vulnerable children.

Well, yes and no. It might suggest that. Or it might suggest low penetrance, which can be difficult to distinguish from environmental factors, or, as studies have suggested, it might suggest a complex, multi-gene condition. In any case, notice how Olmsted doesn’t actually say what the concordance is for identical twins and autism compared to fraternal twins. It’s actually quite high. Funny how Olmsted neglects to mention that, assuming he knows it.

When I saw that Deirdre Imus is once again leaping into the fray, playing the role of the sycophant and publicist for the anti-vaccine movement, I debated whether or not even to bother with it. After all, I did predict that by Halloween this book will be as forgotten as Wakefield’s tome. On the other hand, it is educational to point out just how little has changed in five years. Yes, B & O have put a slightly new twist on an old canard, put new wine in an old bottle, so to speak. Besides, looking at these tired old arguments makes me feel as though it were 2005 again.

If only I could shave five years off my actual age. My hair was a bit less gray, my waistline a bit less wide, my blood pressure a bit lower, and my skin a bit less wrinkled then.

Comments

  1. #1 Orac
    September 27, 2010

    He’s probably just licking his wounds and planning another smear piece on AoA.

  2. #2 Dedj
    September 27, 2010

    Thank you W Kevin Vicklund.

    I’ve read that release before. It seems a fairly standard product announcement.

    One thing that has been bugging me is why a product announcement of a change to a product was taken as an announcement which affects existing units. When you announce a new version of a product with a long shelf life, no-one should expect it to apply to the existing units. They even went on to explain that there may be TCV units left.

    People that are accusing Merck of lying either require them to have been producing the new product before it was approved, or to have destoryed existing distibution stock. Neither of these two options is very sensible and is certainly not standard practice in any other industry, much less one where discontinuity of product supply has both financial and public health implications.

    So the question remains – why are people claiming Merck said all of their vaccines were thimerosal free, when no such statement was made, and the statement that was made cannot have rationally and reasonably been applied to anything other than new production?

    People appear to be hung up about a single sentence (ignoring the context of the rest of the announcement) that doesn’t make any sense if you take it to mean what they took it to mean.

  3. #3 Todd W.
    September 27, 2010

    @Dedj

    Age of Cherry Pickers and Generation Quote Mine. It’s what the anti-vaxers do best. Can’t win on evidence or logic, so, spin, spin, spin. They probably do quite a bit to keep Hasbro rollin’ in dough.

  4. #4 Chris
    September 27, 2010

    I wonder if Jake still believes, like Wendy Founier, if the John Merck Fund is related to the pharmaceutical company.

  5. #5 Matthew Cline
    September 27, 2010

    @Todd W:

    It’s what the anti-vaxers do best. Can’t win on evidence or logic, so, spin, spin, spin.

    Reminds me of the old lawyerly adage: “If the law is on your side, pound on the law. If the facts are on your side, pound on the facts. If neither is on your side, pound on the table.”

  6. #6 Orange Lantern
    September 27, 2010

    Thanks Kevin, when I was reading Jake’s assertion over and over again, I kept thinking I needed to look up the context of the original statement.

    Again, very telling of Jake’s, and AoA’s, desire to obsfucate facts. Champions of informed consent… right.

  7. #7 W. Kevin Vicklund
    September 28, 2010

    Took me a while to find. Ironically, I found it on an anti-vaccine site. I had a strong suspicion that the press release consisted of more than a single sentence…

  8. #8 Dedj
    September 28, 2010

    I’m not sure why the context would be needed.

    Surely people should realise that a product announcement of a new variant of the product can not be retroactively applied to existing units of the older variant?

    Surely people realise that ‘our range is now xxx-free’ does not apply to products in the old range?

    Why are we even giving these people the time of day?

  9. #9 dt
    September 29, 2010

    @Chris #204
    I know AoA still think the Wellcome Trust is linked with Glaxo-Wellcome, and that any funding from them implies a financial pharma CoI. Dribbling idiots.
    http://www.wellcome.ac.uk/About-us/History/index.htm

  10. #10 dt
    September 29, 2010

    Whoops, I meant Glaxo Smith Kline.
    The shareholding is under 2% I believe.

  11. #11 brian
    September 29, 2010

    Yep, if you don’t have any data, try to imagine some COIs: “[The] study was also supported by the Wellcome Trust. Wellcome Pharmaceuticals was purchased by Glaxo Smith Kline, the maker of the British MMR vaccine. [Age of Autism, August 24, 2009]”

  12. #12 Jake Crosby
    September 29, 2010

    “Note that the press release specifically acknowledges the possibility that some infants under 6 months would receive thimerosal-containing shots, and that children 6 months and older should receive thimerosal-containing shots.”

    It does, but no where does it say the company would continue to distribute thimerosal-preserved doses.

  13. #13 Todd W.
    September 29, 2010

    @Jake

    It does, but no where does it say the company would continue to distribute thimerosal-preserved doses.

    You claimed that Merck lied about their vaccines being thimerosal-free. It has been shown they did not lie. The press release, in fact, says nothing about whether they will continue to produce or will stop producing thimerosal-containing vaccines, though it can be inferred that some will continue to be produced based on the recommendations:

    The public health guidelines published in the September 9 issue of the MMWR, specifically state:

    — Priority should be given to the use of preservative-free hepatitis B vaccine for all newborns.

    — All infants up to six months of age should be vaccinated with a preservative-free vaccine, as available.
    Infants six weeks of age or older can receive either a preservative free hepatitis B vaccine or a
    preservative-free combination containing hepatitis B vaccine.

    — Infants up to six months of age who are at high risk of perinatal or early childhood hepatitis B virus
    transmission, should be vaccinated with a thimerosal-containing hepatitis B vaccine if preservative-free
    vaccine is not available.
    — Thimerosal-containing hepatitis B vaccine should continue to be used for vaccination of children six
    months of age and older, adolescents and adults.

    In other words, for newborns, thimerosal-free vaccine should be used if at all possible. Same for infants up to 6 months. Only if infants up to 6 months are at high risk and preservative-free vaccines are not available should a TCV be used. Over 6 months, TCV should be used (presumably to ensure an adequate supply of thimerosal-free vaccines for newborns and pre-6-month infants, though this is not stated explicitly).

    So, I believe the words you meant to type were, “I was wrong. They did not lie.”

  14. #14 Jake Crosby
    September 29, 2010

    “The press release, in fact, says nothing about whether they will continue to produce or will stop producing thimerosal-containing vaccines”

    Wrong, the first line of Merck’s press release states:

    “Company’s Infant Vaccine Series is Now Preservative Free.”

    Yet infants continued to get thimerosal-preserved vaccines put out by Merck anyway. The background information does not change the fact that Merck lied…or screwed up. Either way, it does not reflect well on them as a company, or on the pharmaceutical industry in general for that matter. Given that Merck was already aware of the potential dangers of thimerosal at least eight years before, I’m leaning towards the former…

  15. #15 Orange Lantern
    September 30, 2010

    I’m still not buying it, Jake. If you have an ad that says “Free Car Wash” with an asterisk that says “Gas Purchase Required,” do you call it lying because the car wash really isn’t free?

    The press release has its spin (PR spin? No way!) but is still technically accurate. Their preservative-free version became the version for their infant line, and they detailed how it should be given preference over any available thimerosal-containing vaccines for that population. The infant line is clearly the series intended for infants, not necessarily any vaccine that can possibly be given to an infant.

    It did not say their entire stock for all ages would be thimerosal free, nor did it say that available TCVs could not be given to infants, because of course they can. Because it is safe for infants, and there is no reputable evidence to the contrary.

    Not that this all matters, because you still have zero evidence that non-expired thimerosal-containing vaccines were ever given after 2002.

  16. #16 Julian Frost
    September 30, 2010

    Jake,

    Yet infants continued to get thimerosal-preserved vaccines put out by Merck anyway.

    1. Do you understand the difference between “manufactured” and “used”?
    2. What hard evidence do you have that Merck continued to make vaccines with thimerosal in them after saying that they had stopped. Oh, and unverified claims by a known antivaxxer don’t count as hard evidence.

  17. #17 Chemmomo
    September 30, 2010

    Um, Jake, but, um, the first line says “Is now preservative free.”
    That’s not the first line of the press release. It’s the subtitle.

    You need to read more than just the titles. Try the next line (copied from W. Kevin Vicklund’s link in Post #198 above):

    MERCK LAUNCHES PRESERVATIVE-FREE HEPATITIS-B VACCINE
    9/9/99 0:1
    /ADVANCE FOR AYEMS THURSDAY, SEPT. 9/
    Company’s Infant Vaccine Series is Now Preservative Free
    /ADVANCE/ WEST POINT, Pa., Sept. 9 /PRNewswire/ — Merck & Co., Inc.
    (NYSE: MRK), will launch its thimerosal-free, preservative-free hepatitis B
    vaccine (RECOMBIVAX HB(R))

    Do you understand what will launch means?

    It’s future tense.

    You cannot claim that your inability to read the beyond the subtitle of the press release to the actual first sentence of the press release means that “Merck lied.”

    The actual first sentence clearly says “Merck will launch.” Not launched — will launch. As of the date of the press release, the thimerasol-free vaccine is not out there yet. It will be soon. Not yet.

  18. #18 Dedj
    September 30, 2010

    “Yet infants continued to get thimerosal-preserved vaccines put out by Merck anyway.”

    As stated, these were most likely to not be from the infant range, or if they were, they may have been from existing older variant stock.

    You do know that a product launch cannot be retroactively applied to include existing units of the previous version? Nor can it be applied to products that are not in the range mentioned?

    Do you have any evidence that Merck was producing TCV’s of the old range beyond the switch-over date? If you don’t , then all you are demonstrating is that you do not have the requisite skills or knowledge to read a product launch announcement without serious error.

    Merck’s statement does not contain the claim you claim it does, and it is not reasonable to apply the statement they did make to products the statement was clearly not about.

    You even got what the press release was about totally wrong, despite it being clearly stated!

    Your continued 100% error rate – despite repeated correction and guidance – is utterly amazing.

    Before you respond – you knew before coming into this discussion that Merck was clearly talking about thier infant range, yet you appear to be arguing about TCV’s in general.

    You either cannot read a simple press release (it’s being kind to you to assume you have actually read it first hand) or you have knowingly engaged in misdirection.

    Either way you have a hell of a lot of explaining to do.

    You best get to it.

  19. #19 MI Dawn
    September 30, 2010

    Obviously, Jake is expecting that every doctor who cared for infants ran right out, pulled all their TCV and returned them to the manufacturer for exchange. Damn the time, cost and lack of necessity, since thimerosol STILL hasn’t been linked to autism.

  20. #20 Pablo
    September 30, 2010

    I still don’t understand. Even if Jake is right and there were TCVs still lingering around in 2002 or even 2003, that was 7 stinking years ago! Have autism rates dropped dramatically in the last couple of years? I don’t think so. So what’s the point?

    You know it is a friggin waste of time when, even if you grant a (false) premise, the argument STILL fails.

    Does Jake have anything useful to say? I haven’t seen it.

  21. #21 Chemmomo
    September 30, 2010

    Actually, my guess is that Jake’s only source for “Merck lied” was Myron Levin’s 2005 LA Times article which Jake links in Post 92. Levin quoted the subtitle of the press release too – and only the subtitle.

    The only way I can understand Jake’s persistent interpretation of the press release as “Merck lied” is that he never actually read the text of the press release before W. Kevin Vicklund posted it here. If Jake had read it before, his reading comprehension and basic English language skills (i.e., the difference between past, present, and future tense) are in dire need of improvement.

  22. #22 Joseph
    September 30, 2010

    “Company’s Infant Vaccine Series is Now Preservative Free.”

    Yet infants continued to get thimerosal-preserved vaccines put out by Merck anyway.

    I’m not sure that’s even misleading. It says one of their vaccine series is preservative-free. That’s all it says.

  23. #23 Matthew Cline
    September 30, 2010

    @Pablo:

    I still don’t understand. Even if Jake is right and there were TCVs still lingering around in 2002 or even 2003, that was 7 stinking years ago! Have autism rates dropped dramatically in the last couple of years? I don’t think so. So what’s the point?

    As far as I can tell, his point is that if the vaccine manufacturers lied once about removing thimerosal, they might do so again. And again. And again. So they might still be lying, and there might still be non-trace thimerosal in pediatric vaccines.

  24. #24 Orange Lantern
    September 30, 2010

    I’m dying to know – if pharmaceutical companies have such a desire to lie and surreptitiously put thimerosal in vaccines, why would they print it on the inserts?

  25. #25 Matthew Cline
    October 1, 2010

    I’m dying to know – if pharmaceutical companies have such a desire to lie and surreptitiously put thimerosal in vaccines, why would they print it on the inserts?

    The minds of our Phrama Overlords are truly beyond mortal ken.

  26. #26 Jake Crosby
    October 3, 2010

    “It says one of their vaccine series is preservative-free. That’s all it says.”

    It says their infant vaccine series is preservative-free, even though the company continued to distribute the thimerosal brands to infants at least until 2002. That is misleading, if not a flat-out lie. Coming from Merck which knew about the potential dangers of thimerosal since 1991, however, it’s probably a lie.

    “As far as I can tell, his point is that if the vaccine manufacturers lied once about removing thimerosal, they might do so again.”

    Maybe…maybe not. What I do know is that if you lie about one thing, it not only makes that particular claim of yours wrong, but discredits you on that topic completely. So if we want accurate data on thimerosal content, it shouldn’t be through the drug companies, especially when conscientious parents who’ve inquired about the thimerosal-content of their kids’ vaccines by checking the package inserts, lot numbers, calling and asking their pediatricians’ offices etc. tell a different story.

    “if pharmaceutical companies have such a desire to lie and surreptitiously put thimerosal in vaccines, why would they print it on the inserts?”

    You tell me. After all, in 1999 Merck put out a press release saying they’ll immediately distribute all thimerosal-free infant vaccines, then claimed to the FDA four years later that it actually didn’t start happening until 2002.

    “The minds of our Phrama Overlords are truly beyond mortal ken.”

    If they were, they would not have been caught with their hands in the proverbial cookie jar already.

  27. #27 squirrelelite
    October 3, 2010

    Jake,

    Your continual attempts to twist and squirm to try to make Merck’s press release announcing the introduction of a thimerosal-free line of infant vaccines are starting to remind me of Tchaikovsky’s Symphony # 6, The Pathetique. You can choose to believe or disbelieve press releases as you choose. But, if you sincerely believe a vaccine manufacturer is including thimerosal in vaccines without properly labeling them, it’s not that hard to prove. It would cost a few dollars, but the evidence would speak a lot louder than your unsupported assertions.

    Just ask some of your friends at AoA to buy a few samples and take them to a good independent lab for analysis (not Doctors Data). You might even talk a biochemistry professor at your college to having some grad students do it as practice learning how to use a mass spectrometer.

  28. #28 triskelethecat
    October 3, 2010

    Jake, Jake, Jake. You are in college and you can’t read standard English? How sad. I went back and read the press release again. The press release states that Merck’s infant line is NOW (meaning, that from now on, they will only manufacture) thimerosol free. It does NOT state they went around and got rid of all the stock they had made previously that would expire between 1999 and 2002. It does NOT state that they will throw all those vaccines away nor does it state that doctors’ offices should get rid of perfectly good vaccines that hadn’t expired

    Basically, Merck’s announcement is that their infant line of vaccines that they are now manufacturing will be preservative free.

    Now how hard was that to read? I have condensed that whole press release into a short sentence for your comprehension.

  29. #29 Science Mom
    October 3, 2010

    “It says one of their vaccine series is preservative-free. That’s all it says.”

    It says their infant vaccine series is preservative-free, even though the company continued to distribute the thimerosal brands to infants at least until 2002. That is misleading, if not a flat-out lie. Coming from Merck which knew about the potential dangers of thimerosal since 1991, however, it’s probably a lie.

    It’s only misleading for people like you that have become so wedded to a particular belief that they refuse to acknowledge anything to the contrary. TCV’s expired in 2002, they aren’t going to be distributing them then, particularly when they had been manufacturing thimerosal-free since 1999.

    “As far as I can tell, his point is that if the vaccine manufacturers lied once about removing thimerosal, they might do so again.”

    Maybe…maybe not. What I do know is that if you lie about one thing, it not only makes that particular claim of yours wrong, but discredits you on that topic completely.

    Oh that is bloody rich coming from someone who routinely lies for that execrable bullshit mill you write for. Care to turn that litmus test on yourself and your confederates?

    So if we want accurate data on thimerosal content, it shouldn’t be through the drug companies, especially when conscientious parents who’ve inquired about the thimerosal-content of their kids’ vaccines by checking the package inserts, lot numbers, calling and asking their pediatricians’ offices etc. tell a different story.

    The parents say? Your calibre of evidence is pathetically wanting. Why didn’t they bring this so-called evidence to Rep. Weldon’s attention? Or Sen. Burton? Because it doesn’t exist and you get more mileage out of your little story by relying upon the emotional factor.

    “if pharmaceutical companies have such a desire to lie and surreptitiously put thimerosal in vaccines, why would they print it on the inserts?”

    You tell me. After all, in 1999 Merck put out a press release saying they’ll immediately distribute all thimerosal-free infant vaccines, then claimed to the FDA four years later that it actually didn’t start happening until 2002.

    Why are you being so damned thick? They did distribute thimerosal-free and there was still stock of non-expired TCVs that had already been distributed and stocks were dwindling as thimerosal-free production ramped up and replaced them. They were both in circulation at the same time for ~3 years.

  30. #30 LW
    October 3, 2010

    Jake reminds me of a coworker some years ago. He complained about a bug in the code. I fixed it and prepared a patch. Our QA people tested it and it was released. I notified him the bug was fixed. The next day he called and shouted at me that I had *lied* and it wasn’t fixed at all. I was completely puzzled, until it occurred to me to ask if he’d downloaded the patch. He hadn’t, and he was outraged that we had claimed it was fixed if *he* had to do something about it. He apparently thought I couldn’t truthfully claim the bug was fixed unless every single copy of the code was updated by my personal efforts.

    Just like Jake thinking that Merck couldn’t truthfully claim to have removed the thimerosal from their vaccine line unless they personally destroyed every dose that contained it.

  31. #31 Orange Lantern
    October 3, 2010

    It says their infant vaccine series is preservative-free, even though the company continued to distribute the thimerosal brands to infants at least until 2002

    No, they didn’t. First of all, they distributed them to doctors’ offices, not to infants. It was up to the offices to prioritize the T-free vaccinations to infants.

    Second, do you have any evidence that Merck manufactured and distributed TCV’s after the press release? The last TCV’s expired in 2002, but that does not mean they were distributed in 2002. Perhaps that evidence is out there, but I haven’t seen you produce it.

    What I do know is that if you lie about one thing, it not only makes that particular claim of yours wrong, but discredits you on that topic completely.

    No, it doesn’t “discredit you on the topic completely.” Sorry. For example, we don’t dismiss Generation Rescue’s “studies” because of the lies repeated by Generation Rescue. We dismiss them because they are junk in and of themselves.

    Even if it did discredit them completely, you cannot possibly make the argument that misinformation from the PR department means that they have been secretly producing large amount of TCVs for no logical reason at all.

    Of course, then the fact remains that Merck did not lie in the press release.

    especially when conscientious parents who’ve inquired about the thimerosal-content of their kids’ vaccines by checking the package inserts, lot numbers, calling and asking their pediatricians’ offices etc. tell a different story.

    You have not produced any verifiable evidence of any of this. You insinuated you had lot numbers, then retracted that claim. This is entirely hearsay.

  32. #32 Jake Crosby
    October 3, 2010

    “But, if you sincerely believe a vaccine manufacturer is including thimerosal in vaccines without properly labeling them, it’s not that hard to prove.”

    Never said I sincerely believed that, though doing so now would not exclude the possibility that they might have done so in the past. Still, it could only help to conduct such an analysis – if done independently – though the deception seems to be primarily coming out of the press releases.

    “Basically, Merck’s announcement is that their infant line of vaccines that they are now manufacturing will be preservative free.

    Now how hard was that to read?”

    From you? Not at all. From the press release? Impossible, given that it includes no such statement.

    “They did distribute thimerosal-free and there was still stock of non-expired TCVs that had already been distributed and stocks were dwindling as thimerosal-free production ramped up and replaced them.”

    Wrong:

    “But Merck continued to distribute vaccine containing the chemical known as thimerosal, along with the new product, until October 2001, according to an FDA letter sent in response to a congressional inquiry.”
    http://articles.latimes.com/2005/mar/07/business/fi-merck7

    Okay, October 2001, so I was off by three months according to the FDA letter. Still years after Merck said they would switch their infant vaccine line to thimerosal-free, they hadn’t “already been distributed” by the time of Merck’s press release in September 1999. And I’m not particularly inclined to believe Merck’s second claim after the previous one proved to be wrong.

    “Just like Jake thinking that Merck couldn’t truthfully claim to have removed the thimerosal from their vaccine line unless they personally destroyed every dose that contained it.”

    They couldn’t. Had they told the truth, they’d have said that they would start distributing thimerosal-free vaccine along with those containing the preservative back in 1999, as opposed to making sweeping and untrue statements about their infant vaccine line.

    “No, it doesn’t ‘discredit you on the topic completely.”

    Whatever you say, just remember: Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

    “you had lot numbers, then retracted that claim.”

    Never made such a claim, and that was only one example I gave of how parents could check their kids’ vaccine ingredients.

    “This is entirely hearsay.”

    Parents reporting the thimerosal-content of vaccines their kids received are no less hearsay than sweeping claims in press releases by drug companies of their vaccine lines, especially when the latter – at least in Merck’s case – was shown to be false.

    “For example, we don’t dismiss Generation Rescue’s “studies” because of the lies repeated by Generation Rescue.”

    Meanwhile, you haven’t even come up with an example.

    “they distributed them to doctors’ offices, not to infants. It was up to the offices to prioritize the T-free vaccinations to infants.”

    Then they should’ve said that instead of making consumers erroneously believe that all their vaccines distributed after that date and given to infants would be free of the preservative.

  33. #33 Chemmomo
    October 3, 2010

    Jake, re your post #226

    You tell me. After all, in 1999 Merck put out a press release saying they’ll immediately distribute all thimerosal-free infant vaccines, then claimed to the FDA four years later that it actually didn’t start happening until 2002.

    could you point out to us exactly what line of the press release includes the works “immediately distribute”?

  34. #34 Militant Agnostic
    October 3, 2010

    Chemmomo @233 – you have a typo (“works” instead of “words”).

    This discredits all comments you have made in the past and all comments you will make in the future.

  35. #35 Chris
    October 3, 2010

    Being the parent of a college sophomore impels me to ask this question late on a Sunday evening: Jake, have you finished your homework?

  36. #36 Chemmomo
    October 3, 2010

    Ooops that should read “words” not “works.” Evidently I am completely incapable of proofreading a computer screen, even after hitting Preview.

  37. #37 squirrelelite
    October 3, 2010

    So, Jake, evidently no one that you know of believed Merck was including thimerosal in their thimerosal-free vaccines strongly enough to spend some money trying to prove it. If they had done so, I am confident that you in particular would be aware of it and have happily told us about it many times.

    So, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, we will take it as a given that Merck did eliminate thimerosal from their infant vaccines (except for flu) and that their vaccines were manufactured in accordance with their labeled ingredients.

    Thus, your case against Merck comes down to complaining about their wording their press release the way you wish they had and quibbling about the exact dates the last thimerosal containing infant vaccines were distributed and administered.

    Without a 4-D temporal scanner, we’ll probably never know that exact date, but whatever it was it was about 7 or 8 years ago. So, for the last 7 or 8 years, thimerosal in infant and child vaccines has been drastically reduced and diagnoses of ASD have continued to increase. Whatever is causing that increase (if there is any real increase aside from diagnostic substitution and heightened awareness, etc) is highly unlikely to be thimerosal. Which is entirely consistent with the results of Price et al.

    Unfortunately, I have no talent for either memory charms or apportation, or I might be able to remove this idee fixe from your brain and allow you to take a fresh look at the question of what causes autism and other conditions in ASD.

    But, alas, I fear that shall never be.

  38. #38 Dedj
    October 3, 2010

    “Then they should’ve said that instead of making consumers erroneously believe that all their vaccines distributed after that date and given to infants would be free of the preservative.”

    Again, they announced that the range was preservative free.

    That other people erroneously took this to mean that units of the old range was included is not the fault of Merck.

    There was no reason to read Mercks statement to mean any of the things you have alledged it did. The reasons why you should not have read it that way have been presented to you again and again.

    You have provided no reason why you read it the way you did. It is a bog standard new-variant announcement and you failed to understand what it meant. Do not blame Merck for your failure.

    You certainly don’t want to risk you reputation on this just because you can’t accept that Merck did exactly what they said they would.

  39. #39 Matthew Cline
    October 3, 2010

    @Jake Crosby:

    So, according to you, Merck should have explicitly said in it’s press release “we haven’t destroyed our existing stocks of TCV”, and not including that statement was a lie of omission which caused people to believe that they had destroyed their existing stocks of TCV?

  40. #40 Dedj
    October 3, 2010

    “You tell me. After all, in 1999 Merck put out a press release saying they’ll immediately distribute all thimerosal-free infant vaccines,”

    You will, of course, continue to fail. You have no chance of producing the exact wording that led you to believe this, so I’m not going to ask.

    ” then claimed to the FDA four years later that it actually didn’t start happening until 2002.””

    This is certainly NOT what was going on. The use-by dates were for 2001-2002 at the latest. Merck did not claim that the distribution did not start happening until 2001-2002.

    It may be possible that some back-stock may have been distributed as late as 2001, utterly unlikely, but possible, however, you are making it sound like a deliberate plan of deception.

    Get the damn story straight and stop changing it every few posts, then pony up some serious evidence.

  41. #41 Dedj
    October 3, 2010

    @Matthew Cline.

    Could it be possible that Jake has never been in a position to experience what a product switchover is like from the manufacturing side?

    Could that be why he’s badly misunderstanding what product announcements are and what they mean?

  42. #42 Matthew Cline
    October 3, 2010

    @Dedj:

    Could it be possible that Jake has never been in a position to experience what a product switchover is like from the manufacturing side?

    If that’s true, well, lots of people have no such experience, so lots of people might have misunderstood the press release in the exact same way as Jake. So maybe the PR department should have explicitly noted that existing stocks weren’t being destroyed. It would at least have prevented tiring arguments like this.

  43. #43 Chemmomo
    October 4, 2010

    @Matthew Cline – I respectfully disagree. Why would anyone assume existing stocks would be destroyed when the press release quotes the public health guidelines for prioritizing the thimerasol-free version? Those guidelines would be completely unnecessary if the world worked as Jake imagines it does and the fact that a press release for a new product magically converted all the existing product into the one that had not yet been launched.

    In any case, it’s a press release, not a news article. The purpose of a press release is to make the company look as good as possible in a few words as possible. It’s not investigative journalism. It’s not any kind of journalism.

    And even if they had explicitly stated that the existing stock would not be destroyed, the Jakes of the world would just find something else to misinterpret.

  44. #44 Chemmomo
    October 4, 2010

    @Militant Agnostic
    No typos this time (I guess I noticed it about the same time you posted). But I know I’m already discredited – Jake hasn’t answered any of my questions yet.

  45. #45 Chemmomo
    October 4, 2010

    Ooops wrong again – that’s “look as good as possible in as few words as possible.” Can I retract the first sentence of Post#244?

  46. #46 Julian Frost
    October 4, 2010

    Jake,
    Give it up. You misquoted Merck to suggest they lied about thimerosal in vaccines. When your error was pointed out you obfuscated and distorted, and you were again corrected. This then repeated for several rounds.
    You have failed to stump up the evidence to support your claims and I’m guessing that’s because you don’t have any. Either put up the proof that Merck continued to make infant vaccines containing thimerosal after saying they would stop, or admit that you got it wrong.

  47. #47 Chris
    October 4, 2010

    Mr. Frost, I really really want to visit your webpage… but everytime I click on it I get this… and until that is changed, you are officially a stinker!:

    The website declined to show this webpage
    HTTP 403
    Most likely causes:
    This website requires you to log in.

    What you can try:
    Go back to the previous page.

    More information

    This error (HTTP 403 Forbidden) means that Internet Explorer was able to connect to the website, but it does not have permission to view the webpage.

    For more information about HTTP errors, see Help.

  48. #48 Julian Frost
    October 4, 2010

    Sorry Chris, I don’t know what on earth could be causing that. iBlog.co.za is a free blogging website. Literally anyone should be able to see what’s on it. It might be because it’s a South African site, as several people have told me that they can’t access the site. I assure you, I have not set up a login as I don’t know how, and I wouldn’t anyway.

  49. #49 Julian Frost
    October 4, 2010

    Sorry Chris, I don’t know what on earth could be causing that. iBlog.co.za is a free blogging website. Literally anyone should be able to see what’s on it. It might be because it’s a South African site, as several people have told me that they can’t access the site. I assure you, I have not set up a login as I don’t know how, and I wouldn’t anyway.

  50. #50 Dedj
    October 4, 2010

    @Matthew Cline

    “So maybe the PR department should have explicitly noted that existing stocks weren’t being destroyed. It would at least have prevented tiring arguments like this.”

    I would have to respectfully disagree as well.

    With the exception of made-on-demand products (e.g. fast-food), I can’t think of a single industry where it’s reasonable to expect any producer to not supply warehouse stock of the old product alongside (or in priority to) production units of the new product, except in cases of explicit demand or recall of a product – neither of which was the case here.

    In the case of products with short production-to-sale times, one might expect them to deliberately run down warehouse stock prior to launch. Long term products (e.g. cars, TV’s, clothes) are usually discounted before the new variant comes in, not removed from sale.

    Destroying existing stock is usually the choice of the point-of-sale (or point-of-use in this case) retailer, which would be the physicians and not Merck. The LATimes article states that Merck ‘halted its use’, something that does not appear in the original statement, and which may not even be within Mercks powers.

  51. #51 Prometheus
    October 4, 2010

    Whether or not Merck “lied” about thimerosal-free vaccines (it is my position that they did not) and whether or not every last thimerosal-containing children’s vaccine vial was destroyed by 2002 or 2003, Jake still has a very large “inconvenient truth” to work around:

    Autism prevalence has continued to rise.

    Even if Merck “lied” and there were a few thimerosal-containing vaccines that might have been given to infants, the unalterable fact is that children’s thimerosal exposure dropped dramatically in 2002-2003 and has fallen below where it was before the “autism epidemic”.

    Despite that, the rise in autism prevalence continues apace. Children born in 2003 – when the thimerosal exposure was known to be only a fraction of what it was in the preceding few years – are turning (or have turned) seven this year. When this year’s IDEA report is released, will it show a dramatic drop in autism prevalence for children seven and under? Probably not.

    And why not? Because thimerosal doesn’t cause autism. If thimerosal did cause any significant proportion of the cases of autism, we would have already seen a drop in prevalence.

    At any rate, Jake is making (another) vacuous argument. Merck didn’t “lie” about thimerosal in children’s vaccines – Jake simply didn’t read the press release; he relied on the interpretation of others to form his opinion.

    There is a pattern in this that I’ve noticed in Jake’s other rantings on this ‘blog. He allows himself to become agitated by other people’s (fallacious) arguments and then launches into rambling diatribes unencumbered by data. When the errors in his argument – which is, in reality, someone else’s argument – are pointed out, Jake resorts to the electronic equivalent of putting his fingers in his ears and shouting “Lalalalala, I can’t hear you!”.

    Jake, I must say, is not unique in this – as a teacher in a large university, I see this sort of thing every day. Jake has trusted other people to do his critical thinking for him, a form of mental out-sourcing. And, like other types of out-sourcing, sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.

    It’s not working, Jake. Try thinking for yourself – or at least find some more trustworthy people to think for you.

    Prometheus

  52. #52 Pablo
    October 4, 2010

    Well, it seems Jake thinks that the thimerasol hasn’t actually been removed, so no effect should be observed. No basis, for this, of course, other than a conspiracy, but it is possible for conspiracies to be internally consistent (“absence of evidence” proves they conspired to remove any evidence)

    Of course, they could just pay for a test from a reputable analytical lab (mercury concentration is easily measured by using flame absorption and should be routine), but that would require actually putting up.

  53. #53 Joseph
    October 4, 2010

    Of course, they could just pay for a test from a reputable analytical lab (mercury concentration is easily measured by using flame absorption and should be routine), but that would require actually putting up.

    If they truly bought their own conspiracy-talk, they would’ve done this test in 2004. They would carry out random tests periodically. And, BTW, who’s to say they haven’t?

  54. #54 Mu
    October 4, 2010

    Look, the reason that the removal of thimerosal didn’t immediately show in the number of autism cases is that AoA got the mechanism wrong. Thimerosal accumulates in the ovaries and testes of the young kids, and does its destructive work via genetic changes. Now you’ve moved the deadline for the thimerosal-removal drop to about 2025, with cases possible until 2040. Jake can go to law school and make a living of thimerosal for another 30 years!

  55. #55 herr doktor bimler
    October 4, 2010

    That is misleading, if not a flat-out lie. Coming from Merck which knew about the potential dangers of thimerosal since 1991, however, it’s probably a lie.

    This strikes me as bizarre, minor detail though it is. A synecdoche, as it were, for Jake’s overall style of thought.
    To spell it out: If a press release is misleading (but not technically incorrect), then it will remain technically correct, even if its source turns out to be a company you distrust.

    Conversely, if the press statement is not compatible with the facts, then it’s wrong (rather than misleading), whatever the source. But we would like to see the incompatibility, and the facts, rather than rely on mistrust of a company.

  56. #56 Jake Crosby
    October 4, 2010

    @Prometheus:

    “If thimerosal did cause any significant proportion of the cases of autism, we would have already seen a drop in prevalence.”

    So, does that mean then, that if for example a drop in prevalence came within the next five years or so, thimerosal would not be the cause because the drop would have come too late to be correlated according to you?

    Jake Crosby

  57. #57 Jake Crosby
    October 4, 2010

    “if the press statement is not compatible with the facts, then it’s wrong”

    And therefore misleading.

  58. #58 Joseph
    October 4, 2010

    So, does that mean then, that if for example a drop in prevalence came within the next five years or so, thimerosal would not be the cause because the drop would have come too late to be correlated according to you?

    @Jake: It wouldn’t exactly fit, no. The scientific thing to do would be to look for more likely explanations.

    I see it as a fantasy of yours, either way. I doubt autism diagnoses will become less prevalent until the day a preferred (more appealing) diagnosis arrives.

  59. #59 Jake Crosby
    October 4, 2010

    “The scientific thing to do would be to look for more likely explanations.”

    Or, we could continue to monitor the autism rate for changes, and then trace any possible changes we may end up seeing to prior changes in environmental exposures, including thimerosal.

    “I see it as a fantasy of yours,”

    No more a fantasy than saying that autism will remain the same or continue to increase in the next five years. All we can do to find out is wait.

  60. #60 Jake Crosby
    October 4, 2010

    *5 years being a completely hypothetical period of time, of course, as I would support the continued monitoring of autism rates for any possible changes indefinitely.

  61. #61 Science Mom
    October 4, 2010

    Or, we could continue to monitor the autism rate for changes, and then trace any possible changes we may end up seeing to prior changes in environmental exposures, including thimerosal.

    Even though you don’t like the numerous studies regarding thimerosal and ASD rates, that is your failing to accept the replication that has failed to correlate thimerosal with autism. Furthermore, you don’t even have a biological plausibility. That’s pretty important. You simply have the same handful of self-proclaimed experts (rife with COIs which you refuse to apply your own metric to) caterwauling ‘thimerosal causes autism’ in order to sell products and services.

    But I would like to turn your attention to the fact that you have also failed to produce any evidence, whatsoever, that TCVs were still being used into and past 2003. Which is what you came screeding in here about.

  62. #62 Jake Crosby
    October 4, 2010

    “Even though you don’t like the numerous studies regarding thimerosal and ASD rates, that is your failing to accept the replication that has failed to correlate thimerosal with autism.”

    Well, one of the central figures in producing those “numerous studies” you speak of has absconded with $2 million.

    “Furthermore, you don’t even have a biological plausibility.”

    Never mind the fact that the vast majority of published, peer-reviewed research supports a connection between autism and heavy metals like mercury in vaccines.

    “But I would like to turn your attention to the fact that you have also failed to produce any evidence, whatsoever, that TCVs were still being used into and past 2003.”

    Yes, parents who’ve found the preservative in their kids’ shots in and past 2003. I think they would have a better idea than some dubious drug company press release.

  63. #63 Lurkin
    October 4, 2010

    ‘thimerosal causes autism’

    I’m confused.
    What’s happened to Andrew Wakefield’s “MMR causes autism”?

  64. #64 Orac
    October 4, 2010

    Well, one of the central figures in producing those “numerous studies” you speak of has absconded with $2 million.

    Ah, the fine art of distraction:

    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2010/03/thorsen_wakefield_fine_art_of_distraction.php

    Kind of like AoA’s response to the Guatemala syphilis experiment:

    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2010/10/the_guatemala_syphilis_experiment_human.php

  65. #65 Jake Crosby
    October 4, 2010

    @Orac:

    So do you plan on coming back out of hiding again?

  66. #66 Jake Crosby
    October 4, 2010

    “I’m confused.
    What’s happened to Andrew Wakefield’s “MMR causes autism”?”

    Andrew Wakefield never said the MMR causes autism, he just said it warranted further study.

  67. #67 Chris
    October 4, 2010

    So the MMR’s use since 1971 was not enough to study it?

  68. #68 Jake Crosby
    October 4, 2010

    “Ah, the fine art of distraction:”

    Hardly, Thorsen’s behavior is just the kind you can expect from a researcher who attaches his name to tobacco science that concludes thimerosal does not cause autism because the autism rate was fudged when the preservative was removed.

    “Kind of like AoA’s response to the Guatemala syphilis experiment:”

    No, kind of like Arthur Caplan ignoring every single point Anne Dachel made in her email to him.

  69. #69 Orac
    October 4, 2010

    So do you plan on coming back out of hiding again?

    I was never in hiding.

    Do you plan on stopping being so obtuse?

  70. #70 Orac
    October 4, 2010

    No, kind of like Arthur Caplan ignoring every single point Anne Dachel made in her email to him.

    Every single point Anne Dachel made was fallacious and based on her erroneous belief in the pseudoscience that claims that vaccines cause autism. In fact, Art Caplan was incredibly kind and polite in his response. Dachel didn’t warrant such a nice response, but, then, Art Caplan is a gentleman, unlike you.

  71. #71 Science Mom
    October 4, 2010

    “Even though you don’t like the numerous studies regarding thimerosal and ASD rates, that is your failing to accept the replication that has failed to correlate thimerosal with autism.”

    Well, one of the central figures in producing those “numerous studies” you speak of has absconded with $2 million.

    Central figures? Really Jake? Take a look at the studies and tell us what position his name appears. You do know that has relevance right Jake? You also seem rather sure that you know what actually happened with the funds in question. Since I don’t think for a second that you are privy to any real information on the subject that the rest of us aren’t, you’re talking out of your ass.

    “Furthermore, you don’t even have a biological plausibility.”

    Never mind the fact that the vast majority of published, peer-reviewed research supports a connection between autism and heavy metals like mercury in vaccines.

    Emphasis mine. I’ll hold you to the ‘vast majority part when you deign to produce an actual list of citations. You can do that right?

    “But I would like to turn your attention to the fact that you have also failed to produce any evidence, whatsoever, that TCVs were still being used into and past 2003.”

    Yes, parents who’ve found the preservative in their kids’ shots in and past 2003. I think they would have a better idea than some dubious drug company press release.

    Ah, back to ‘the parents say so’. On what planet is that even close to a minutiae of evidence? You are making a bloody fool of yourself by asserting this repeatedly, whilst simultaneously, holding everyone else to impossible standards. Do you see what you are doing? It’s preposterous.

  72. #72 Chris
    October 4, 2010

    Jake Crosby:

    Andrew Wakefield never said the MMR causes autism, he just said it warranted further study.

    Which MMR? The one used before or after 1992 in the UK?

  73. #73 Jake Crosby
    October 4, 2010

    “Central figures? Really Jake?”

    Read the following

    “Jose,
    As we discussed on Friday, we have become aware through Poul Thorsen of an exciting opportunity to study the role of MMR vaccine and autism using several registries/existing studies and the repository of biologic specimens and laboratory capabilities in Denmark. Attached below is a proposal for such a study. Poul will be leaving on Thursday to travel to Denmark where he will be meeting with the PIs for the proposed study on June 6th. We would like to be able to have Poul say whether it is likely that CDC (NIP) can fund the study, if NIP is interested. The proposed budget is included; there may be additional sources of funding (in addition to NIP) but we are not certain at this time. Unfortunately, the DD Branch does not have much (if any) $$ to fund the study, but we do have the expertise that we have developed due to the autism surveillance in Atlanta and the MMR/autism case-control study. I will be out of the office tomorrow, but you may contact Diana or Poul if you have questions. Thank you so much for considering this proposal. Marshalyn.”

    Then the CDC’s Frank DeStefano wrote two days later:

    “I hadn’t seen it but it looks like a good opportunity. The availability of data
    from pregnancy, as well as blood specimens, is particularly attractive. The blood
    spot component would be very valuable just by itself to try to confirm the exciting
    findings from the small NIH study. If these are true biomarkers for autism, it would
    be great to see if they identify high risk groups of kids for a vaccine-autism
    association. In addition to MMR, the study should include all infant and childhood
    vaccines to look at issues of multiple antigens, VACCINE ADDITIVES, etc. Serologies for
    measles and rubella in the maternal and cord blood might also be worth
    considering.”(caps mine)

    Then one month after the MMR-NEJM study was published in 2002, Jose Cordero, addressed in the first email, wrote to the editor of Pediatrics:

    “Dear Dr. Lucey
    I am writing in support of an expedited review and consideration of the enclosed
    manuscript that examines the association between thimerosal, an ethyl mercury
    containing preservative, and autism. As you may know, there has been considerable
    interest by parents, clinicians, educators and policy makers for an explanation of the
    marked increase in the rate of autism in recent years… One factor hypothesized to
    have a causal role is childhood vaccinations. Specific aspects of vaccinations that
    have been subject to inquiry include the MMR vaccine and thimerosal. There are
    now numerous epidemiologic studies to suggest that the MMR vaccine is not
    associated with the risk of autism; an Institute of Medicine review that was
    published in 2000 concluded that the weight of the scientific evidence did not
    support a link between MMR vaccine and autism.
    For thimerosal, however, there are limited data to evaluate this factor.”
    http://www.taap.info/DanishStudy2005.pdf

    So we really have Poul Thorsen to thank for the Danish tobacco science.

    “Emphasis mine. I’ll hold you to the ‘vast majority part when you deign to produce an actual list of citations. You can do that right?”

    I take it you have not read this post that ran on AoA last month:
    http://www.ageofautism.com/2010/09/theres-a-funny-thing-about-evidence-more-support-for-autism-mercury-link.html

    “whilst simultaneously, holding everyone else to impossible standards.”

    Nope, just that parents should be taken no less seriously about what was in their kids’ vaccines than drug companies, that’s all.

    “Which MMR? The one used before or after 1992 in the UK?”

    either/or

  74. #74 Joseph
    October 4, 2010

    No more a fantasy than saying that autism will remain the same or continue to increase in the next five years.

    It’s not quite like that, Jake. There’s a scientific discipline called forecasting. I happen to know a thing or two about it. There’s usually quite a bit of error in forecasting, but it’s possible to produce forecasting methods that outperform a “naive” (i.e. it stays the same) method or something simple like linear regression.

    In the case of the administrative prevalence of autism, it’s quite clearly an sigmoid curve or S-curve, and it apparently approximates a logistic function. This makes sense, i.e. it grows, then levels off. If you use this as the model, it’s possible to come up with an estimate of when and how it will level off.

  75. #75 Jake Crosby
    October 4, 2010

    “I was never in hiding.”

    Sure you weren’t…

    “Do you plan on stopping being so obtuse?”

    If your idea of not being so obtuse is using grammar as bad as “stopping being,” than no.

    “Every single point Anne Dachel made was fallacious”

    And yet neither you nor Arthur Caplan can tell us how.

    “Art Caplan is a gentleman, unlike you.”

    He may help little, old ladies cross the street and keep his elbows off the table at dinnertime, but that does not absolve him from giving a full response to Anne’s email.

  76. #76 Jake Crosby
    October 4, 2010

    “There’s a scientific discipline called forecasting. I happen to know a thing or two about it…This makes sense, i.e. it grows, then levels off. If you use this as the model, it’s possible to come up with an estimate of when and how it will level off.”

    Assuming the causal factors of autism will become constant across birth years, but we can’t assume that, we must wait and see.

  77. #77 Jake Crosby
    October 4, 2010

    “than no.”

    *then no, I suppose I am “stopping being” so obtuse.

  78. #78 Chris
    October 4, 2010

    And yet neither you nor Arthur Caplan can tell us how.

    Actually, trying to tell you anything is like having a conversation with a brick wall. You have a closed mind to anything that goes against any of your beliefs. Which is clearly evident by your behavior on this thread.

    Especially with the concept that the diseases are far worse than the vaccines, and herd immunity is needed to protect those who either cannot get the vaccine (say a child with leukemia), is too young for a vaccine (like any child less than a year old, which is before they can get the MMR, and have not finished the DTaP series), and those where the vaccine just does not work (80% to 95% efficacy means that some are unprotected).

    Comparing the syphilis/penicillin tests to kids getting vaccines was stupid, abhorrent and a false analogy.

    I see you are refusing to even touch my MMR comments. So I have another one for you: Did you think the vax versus unvaxed tests done at Willowbrook School were justified? You will find that if you do a Google search using the words ‘willowbrook’ and ‘ethics’ one of the first page hits is an actual bioethics test question on that subject.

  79. #79 Orac
    October 4, 2010

    “Every single point Anne Dachel made was fallacious”

    And yet neither you nor Arthur Caplan can tell us how.

    You clearly didn’t stop being obtuse, because I just did tell you how. Here’s the link in case you didn’t bother to read it, which, I suspect, you didn’t:

    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2010/10/the_guatemala_syphilis_experiment_human.php

    There you go. I just told you where Dachel is full of crap. Again.

    BTW, grammar flames are about as lame as it gets. Pathetic, even. Seriously.

  80. #80 Orac
    October 4, 2010

    Actually, trying to tell you anything is like having a conversation with a brick wall. You have a closed mind to anything that goes against any of your beliefs. Which is clearly evident by your behavior on this thread.

    Indeed it is, which is why I only occasionally bother with Jake. Obtuse doesn’t even begin to describe his imperviousness to even considering ideas that he doesn’t believe.

  81. #81 Chris
    October 4, 2010

    His obtuseness also makes me wonder how he does in classes. He is like those students you hear professors complain about who actually refuse to learn.

  82. #82 squirrelelite
    October 4, 2010

    It is difficult to take anything Anne Dachel writes seriously when she writes such confused sentences as this one:

    He slammed author David Kirby and activist attorney Robert Kennedy Jr for daring to question the practice of injecting the second deadliest element on Earth into pregnant women and small children.

    “He” refers to Arthur Caplan and obviously Anne Dachel doesn’t like his response to David Kirby and Robert Kennedy Jr. But based on that sentence alone, who chose the term “second deadliest element on Earth” (presumably mercury)?

    Since she doesn’t quote anyone directly, I think the default presumption is that that is Anne Dachel’s assessment. And that leads to the conclusion that Anne Dachel can’t tell or doesn’t care about the difference between the pure element mercury (in its metallic form) and any of its dozens or more various compounds which have different toxicities.

    A quick look at the Wikipedia LD50 page shows that mercury chloride is only number 10 on the list. It is half as toxic as beryllium oxide and 5 orders of magnitude less toxic than polonium 210. And thimerosal is 40-90 times less toxic than mercury chloride.

    But, why bother with mere data? 🙂

  83. #83 Jake Crosby
    October 4, 2010

    “Actually, trying to tell you anything is like having a conversation with a brick wall.”

    I could have said the same about everyone else on here.

    “Especially with the concept that the diseases are far worse than the vaccines”

    Which would obviously depend on the disease and depend on the vaccine/what’s in the vaccine.

    “herd immunity is needed”

    With the current autism rates, lots of state and insurance money will have to be set aside to support this new population of young disabled people. This will inevitably raise medical costs and decrease the quality of care for everyone else. That is a much bigger threat to public health than any breach of herd immunity.

    “Comparing the syphilis/penicillin tests to kids getting vaccines was stupid, abhorrent and a false analogy.”

    Not to poorly and untested vaccines and/or vaccine ingredients.

    “I see you are refusing to even touch my MMR comments.”

    No, I responded to them.

    “Did you think the vax versus unvaxed tests done at Willowbrook School were justified?”

    Of course, it involved injecting disabled people with untested vaccines.

    “And thimerosal is 40-90 times less toxic than mercury chloride.”

    And organic mercury compounds are about 100X more toxic than elemental mercury. What’s your point?

  84. #84 Orac
    October 4, 2010

    His obtuseness also makes me wonder how he does in classes. He is like those students you hear professors complain about who actually refuse to learn.

    Good point. I don’t mind vigorous debate; I thrive on it. But Ferrous Cranus (which is the Flame Warrior Jake most resembles) gets old in a hurry.

  85. #85 Chris
    October 4, 2010

    Which would obviously depend on the disease and depend on the vaccine/what’s in the vaccine.

    Oh, pray tell! So you are now okay with the DTaP because pertussis is killing real babies, and MMR since measles and mumps are disabling real people. Woot! Maybe there is actual hope for you.

    No, I responded to them.

    This is not an answer: “either/or”

    And you are okay dokay with “injecting disabled people with untested vaccines.” Wow, you are a piece of work.

    So tell us, which one of these stories is about you?

  86. #86 Jake Crosby
    October 4, 2010

    @Orac:

    “You clearly didn’t stop being obtuse, because I just did.”

    No, you just didn’t. You just called Anne’s email about Hannah Poling “fallacious” on the spot without any further consideration and it is not even mentioned anywhere in your linked-to post. It seems your trying to distract and dodge by linking to posts that do not address any of the issues posed to you.

    “BTW, grammar flames are about as lame as it gets. Pathetic, even. Seriously.”

    Not half as lame as calling someone “full of crap” as an excuse to not respond to any of their points.

    “Obtuse doesn’t even begin to describe his imperviousness to even considering ideas that he doesn’t believe.”

    See my previous point.

  87. #87 Jake Crosby
    October 4, 2010

    “Of course, it involved injecting disabled people with untested vaccines.”

    *Of course NOT. Typo.

  88. #88 Chris
    October 4, 2010

    See my previous point.

    Actually, you have no point. You are all just bluster and blather, but absolutely no substance.

  89. #89 Orac
    October 4, 2010

    “You clearly didn’t stop being obtuse, because I just did.”

    No, you just didn’t. You just called Anne’s email about Hannah Poling “fallacious” on the spot without any further consideration and it is not even mentioned anywhere in your linked-to post

    The second post linked to in #264:

    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2010/10/the_guatemala_syphilis_experiment_human.php

    Clearly you didn’t bother to notice just a couple of comments up where I compared Dachel’s attack on Caplan in relation to the Guatemala syphilis experiment to the fine art of distraction demonstrated when you brought up Thorsen again. There is a section of the post (“The CAMsters attack”) that deconstructs Dachel’s idiotic response to Caplan’s criticism of this unethical study, as well as Mike Adams’ criticism. Clearly you didn’t bother to read it; otherwise you would have certainly noticed that you are mentioned unfavorably in it.

  90. #90 Jake Crosby
    October 4, 2010

    “So you are now okay with…MMR since measles and mumps are disabling real people.”

    MMR is disabling real people, you know.
    http://www.ageofautism.com/2010/04/i-am-josh-a-boy-after-his-mmr.html

    “This is not an answer:”

    Uh…yeah, it is. Although, if you want me to elaborate, I will.

    “So tell us, which one of these stories is about you?”

    The one about the guy who had to put up with online bigotry for being a student.

  91. #91 Jake Crosby
    October 5, 2010

    “Clearly you didn’t bother to read it; otherwise you would have certainly noticed that you are mentioned unfavorably in it.”

    Oh I read it, and I responded:
    http://www.ageofautism.com/2010/10/valid-concern-for-60-year-old-medical-travesty-what-about-todays.html?cid=6a00d8357f3f2969e2013487f8c4e2970c#comment-6a00d8357f3f2969e2013487f8c4e2970c

  92. #92 Orac
    October 5, 2010

    Obviously, Jake never noticed that I did indeed respond to SafeMinds “criticism” of the latest thimersosal article:

    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2010/09/safeminds_swings_at_price_et_al_and_miss.php

    Are your research skills for your classes so sloppy? I hope not for your sake. Ditto for your citations. It’s very uncool not to link to the post you’re criticizing. It also raises the question of deception, because if you’re too cowardly to link to the post you’re criticizing, one has to wonder if you represented what it says accurately.

    Whenever I criticize anyone’s post, I always link to it, with almost no exceptions. That includes AoA, where I don’t recall ever having failed to link to an AoA post that I criticized. I don’t consider it asking too much that you return the favor. If you’re worried about somehow increasing my Google ranking, don’t. Links in comments don’t count in most blogging software, and if you want to be sure you can always use the rel=”nofollow” tag.

    As for your accusation that I have “undisclosed pharma ties,” that’s just a bald-faced lie. In fact, it’s arguably libelous.

  93. #93 Chris
    October 5, 2010

    MMR is disabling real people, you know.

    It is known that measles will disable or kill at least one in a thousand. How does that compare with the MMR, and what data do you have? Remember anecdotes are not data, so links to AoA will not be accepted.

    The MMR has no casual relationship to autism, especially since its introduction in 1971. There have been over twenty studies, several done in other countries spanning the globe and one attempt to replicate Wakefield by a researcher who tried to show thimerosal turned mice autistic… but in the end, Wakefield’s findings were worthless. Especially since the data were fraudulent.

    Okay, show us the link to the story. You are not experiencing bigotry for being a student. You are getting criticized because you are being obtuse, illogical and close minded.

    Being the parent of a college sophomore, I am obligated to worry that you are not doing well in college because of spending too much time online, not doing your homework and refusing to have a mind open to new information. This pales when compared to my younger son’s issue with having a roommate who has not paid his rent in three months… and my son’s job cannot handle another month of carrying the rent load (yes, he has to pay his own housing).

  94. #94 Chris
    October 5, 2010

    I am also a parent of a disabled son (one with actual brain damage from seizures) who has psychological issues. He has taken advantage of school psychologists to deal with some of his problems.

    Jake, it seems that growing up you lived in a household where you were considered damaged goods. That is not a healthy environment. You should really check into your university’s health services to discuss you issues with us, your mother, and everything else. (full disclosure: having lost a parent through death as a child, I received mental health therapy… which really made a difference and there should be no stigma from getting the help you need)

  95. #95 Jake Crosby
    October 5, 2010

    “Jake never noticed that I did indeed respond to SafeMinds “criticism” of the latest thimersosal article:”

    I did, you just never addressed their criticisms and said the study was good for a whole lot of irrelevant reasons as I make clear here:
    http://www.ageofautism.com/2010/09/safeminds-response-to-thimerosal-and-autism-pediatrics-study.html?cid=6a00d8357f3f2969e2013487740624970c#comment-6a00d8357f3f2969e2013487740624970c

    “As for your accusation that I have “undisclosed pharma ties,” that’s just a bald-faced lie.”

    You are more than welcome to post your concerns in the comments section, here:
    http://www.ageofautism.com/2010/06/david-gorskis-financial-pharma-ties-what-he-didnt-tell-you.html#more

    “In fact, it’s arguably libelous.”

    There’s a ton of stuff on your blog that’s arguably libelous so I really wouldn’t be talking if I were you.

    And btw, what’s the name of that private foundation that is funding your riluzole research?

  96. #96 herr doktor bimler
    October 5, 2010

    If your idea of not being so obtuse is using grammar as bad as “stopping being,” than no.

    Orac’s construction is not euphonious, but it is perfectly grammatical.

  97. #97 Julian Frost
    October 5, 2010

    Jake,
    1) I suggest you get your hands on a copy of the book “Kluge” by Gary Marcus, and read it through cover to cover. That will explain to you why the people here are distrustful of “the parents say X, so X it must be”.
    2) As has been pointed out to you, Poul Thorsen did not abscond. He was at his old address.
    3) “Tobacco Science”. You keep using that phrase. I don’t think it means what you think it means. A certain researcher was asked by a lawyer to gather data on MMR to be used in a lawsuit. Said researcher used individuals referred to him by the lawyer, subjected them to invasive procedures without obtaining the proper permission to get his data, and finally, when the data did not support his hypothesis, “altered” it. That’s Tobacco Science.
    4) Related to point 1: the Cedillos were adamant that Michelle was developing normally until her MMR jab. Videotape of Michelle before she received her jab was admitted by the Cedillos to Vaccine Court. An expert on autism then showed that Michelle was already showing signs of autism.

  98. #98 Matthew Cline
    October 5, 2010

    @Jake Crosby:

    Not to poorly and untested vaccines and/or vaccine ingredients.

    So vaccines receive less testing than other FDA approved drugs? Or they receive the same amount of testing, but all FDA approved drugs are poorly tested? Or maybe vaccines, compared to other drugs, require a larger amount of testing to be considered adequately tested?

  99. #99 realmotk
    October 5, 2010

    In terms of Net Warriors, I think of Jake more as a palooka.

  100. #100 herr doktor bimler
    October 5, 2010

    And organic mercury compounds are about 100X more toxic than elemental mercury. What’s your point?

    Jake, you really don’t seem to be keeping up. Is this something you work at? At 275, you complained that
    “And yet neither you nor Arthur Caplan can tell us how” [every single point Anne Dachel made was fallacious].

    In response, Squirrelelite @282 pointed out that whereas Dachel had described mercury as “the second deadliest element on Earth”, a lot is known about the toxicity of mercury compounds, which show this claim to transcend the bounds of ‘extravagant hyperbole’ and to enter the realms of ‘absolute bullshit’. In other words, an example of a fallacious point from Anne Dachel.

    Squirrelelite’s point seems perfectly clear to me, and perfectly cogent. How can we spell it out more clearly?

  101. #101 squirrelelite
    October 5, 2010

    @Chris,

    Thanks for the link in 285.

    My vote would be for one of the “18 out of 20” described by “Len from Las Cruces” (probably New Mexico State).

    What good comes of it? What good comes for the 18 out of 20 students who sorrowfully spend 16 weeks with me each term? Those 18 kill my spirit, make me want to set myself (or them) on fire. And they fight me from day one to day last. They don’t want to be in college, and have 999 reasons for it that I can’t even begin to defeat or answer.

    Those 18 come in dumb, go out dumb, too. And they’ve been sold a bill of goods by their parents, the culture, the media, their high school counselors, etc. The way college has devolved is into a sort of grade 13/14 mess of bullshit remediation, caretaking, and babysitting. We don’t challenge them because – my god – the customer in them won’t stand for it. And after 10 years of fighting this – modestly, I’m no hero – I have fallen into the groove dug for me by my colleagues.

  102. #102 triskelethecat
    October 5, 2010

    Wow. Jake really perservates about Poul Thorsen, and he obviously doesn’t read what he posts. From above (#273)(bolding mine):

    Poul will be leaving on Thursday to travel to Denmark where he will be meeting with the PIs for the proposed study on June 6th.

    It says RIGHT THERE that Dr Thorsen was NOT one of the PIs for the study. From reading the quote, it is more like Dr Thorson is being reached out to for funding. Not as one of the investigators (and where his name is listed in the authors list supports that he was not involved in the research).

    MI Dawn

  103. #103 squirrelelite
    October 5, 2010

    Our “conversations” with Jake would provide good material for one of the videos from xtranormal.com.

    I especially like this one on orthopedics vs anesthesia.

    It even includes the brick wall!

  104. #104 Joseph
    October 5, 2010

    With the current autism rates, lots of state and insurance money will have to be set aside to support this new population of young disabled people.

    OK Jake, demonstrate that there are trends in the population of developmentally disabled people who don’t live at home or independently. Surely, you must have data on this.

  105. #105 Todd W.
    October 5, 2010

    Notice that Jake’s problem with the Willowbrook study was that the kids were injected with vaccines, not that they were intentionally infected with a pathogen.

    And, on the grammar flame thing, yeah, it is pretty lame, especially when your target didn’t actually make mistakes in grammar. It’s even worse when your grammar flame contains several grammar mistakes of its own. Best to just stay away from them.

    Just out of curiosity, Jake, which of the following vaccines do you think should be given on-schedule, which should be given on a delayed schedule, and which should not be given at all:

    DTaP
    MMR
    HepA
    HepB
    Rotavirus
    HiB
    Pneumococcal
    IPV
    Influenza
    Meningococcal
    HPV
    Varicella

  106. #106 Science Mom
    October 5, 2010

    Since Jake has offered nothing resembling a shred of evidence for his claims, most recently Thorsen as a ‘central figure’ in the Danish MMR and thimerosal studies and the ‘vast majority’ of peer-reviewed published literature demonstrates a thimerosal-autism causation, I can only conclude that he can’t exist outside of his hive of propaganda at AoA. The mental gymnastics that Jake needs to perform to torture the literature and facts is daunting and tiresome. He’s a lost cause in the realm of logic and reason.

  107. #107 Prometheus
    October 5, 2010

    Jake Crosby (#256) asks:

    “So, does that mean then, that if for example a drop in prevalence came within the next five years or so, thimerosal would not be the cause because the drop would have come too late to be correlated according to you?”

    Short answer – yes. Right now, we have an autism prevalence of about 1%. At some point – even if the cause of the “autism epidemic” is simply broadening diagnostic criteria and greater awareness – the increase will have to slow down. It is also reasonable to assume that, with time, the diagnostic criteria for autism will be “tightened up” when it becomes apparent (as it should be right now, with 1% of all children being classified as “autistic”) that the diagnosis has become meaningless.

    Even leaving aside purely administrative and sociological impacts on autism prevalence, it is far too late for a drop in autism prevalence to be attributable to the removal of thimerosal from children’s vaccines. Five years from now will be even later still.

    The “thimerosal-causes-autism” hypothesis is dead. Even Blaxill and Olmsted admit as much in their latest sci-fi fantasy book (Age of Autism). Even they have moved the goalposts to “mercury in general”.

    At comment #262, Jake repeats his unsupported claim:

    “Yes, parents who’ve found the preservative in their kids’ shots in and past 2003.”

    Can Jake substantiate this claim? Apparently not, since he immediately launches into an unrelated diatribe about “corruption” in medicine. Let me make it a bit easier – I won’t ask for evidence, just that Jake provide a little more information:

    [1] How do these un-named parents know that the vaccines their children received had thimerosal?

    Did they read the package insert (from the actual vial their children received) or are they assuming the vaccine had thimerosal? Did they also check the expiry date of the vial? If the vaccine was expired, why did they let their child receive that vaccine and have they filed a complaint against the doctor?

    [2] Which vaccine contained the thimerosal?

    Was this vaccine a children’s vaccine or was it an adult vaccine that was given to their child? If this was an influenza vaccine, then it is hardly evidence that children’s vaccines still had thimerosal after 2002.

    [3] How many parents have claimed that their children received thimerosal-containing children’s vaccines after 2002?

    [4] What documentation do these parents have to support their claims?

    This should be easy enough for Jake to provide – if he’s not making it all up. If, as I suspect, Jake is simply parroting others who have made this claim, he could admit that and refer us to his original source. Failing that, this is nothing more than another “Urban Legend”.

    Your turn, Jake.

    Prometheus

  108. #108 Orange Lantern
    October 5, 2010

    I’ll give you credit, Jake, for at least finding evidence TCVs were distributed after 1999, though you have not provided evidence that they were manufactured after 1999.

    You have still not provided a sufficient argument that:

    1.) The press release contains falsifications. I will agree that taken in isolation, the lines you quote can be misleading. In the context of the press release, it is clear to me they are detailing the rollout of their new product and phaseout of existing stock. Certainly, it is likely that the PR department knew that the lines would be quoted out of context and wanted to de-emphasize the existing stock. I’m not saying it is entirely acceptable to do that, but it is not inaccurate.

    2.) A misleading statement by press release casts serious suspicion that there is a large-scale coverup of TCV production. You have devolved from “it discredits you on that topic completely” to:

    Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

    If you were fooled by the press release, you will no doubt be fooled a thousand times over. Oh, wait, this has already happened.

    3.) There is any rational reason to believe that TCVs were manufactured after 1999, or that non-expired TCVs were ever given after 2002. It is possible they are accurate, but it is possible that they are imaginary on the part of the blogger, falsifications on the part of the parent, or erroneous. However:

    *You have not been able to provide anything verifiable, including lot numbers.
    *Indeed, no one had the presence of mind to so much as take a cell phone photo of their findings.
    *No doctor’s offices reported TCVs after 2002.
    *Safeminds was unable to find TCVs in 2001 despite their efforts including a request directed to groups most interested in such a finding.
    *Science Mom has demonstrated above that several of the small number of reports you have linked to are erroneous.

    Given these points, there is no reason for a rational person to believe that the parent reports are accurate. And speaking of lot numbers:

    “you had lot numbers, then retracted that claim.”

    Never made such a claim, and that was only one example I gave of how parents could check their kids’ vaccine ingredients.

    Back up, cowboy. I said “You insinuated you had lot numbers, then retracted that claim.” Which you did, when you stated parents verified lot numbers and Todd requested, “Hey! That is something that can be checked! Let’s have those lot numbers.” You replied:

    Can you tell me where they can be checked first?

    Emphasis mine. The clear implication here is that first, Todd tells you how to check them, and next, you provide the lot numbers. Note that I had given you the benefit of the doubt and did not say you were lying. But you were certainly misleading.

    Fool me once…

  109. #109 Orange Lantern
    October 5, 2010

    My apologies to Sauceress, who was the one who evaluated the TCV reports, not Science Mom. Lots of shared letters. See, I’m a parent and I make mistakes!

  110. #110 Mu
    October 5, 2010

    And don’t feel bad you were fooled by a press release while in junior high in 1999 Jake, many of us were mislead about important facts of life at that age.

  111. #111 Sauceress
    October 6, 2010

    No worries Orange Lantern. While I spent almost my entire meal break looking up that info, hurried ad hoc formatting resulted in a rather messier presentation to what I would have preferred, so perhaps it’s actually Science Mum to whom you should be apologising. 🙂

    @Jake
    If the Olympic games had an event for cognitive dissonance I’m sure you could have been a serious contender. Your closest rivals would have been the cdesignproponentists, especially in Heat 11.

    11) When an explanation shows you to be absolutely wrong, ignore the explanation and reassert the original claim.

    I’m sure you would have been a shoo-in for heats #6,#7and #8 as well.
    Face it Jake you could have become famous.

    Also, I want to thank Jake for linking that AoA page @291
    Interesting comment by Ginger Tayler there…
    Ginger Taylor |October 03, 2010 at 11:44 AM

    After my son regressed into autism following his 18 month shots, I was told it was not the shots. So I looked for research to back that up. I found MMR/autism research, but my son didn’t get MMR. I found thimerosal research, but he had not gotten thimerosal at that visit either.

    But of course, as a following poster corrects, Ginger must be mistaken as to there being no thimerosal in her son’s shots.

    Random thought: I haven’t heard much of the evils of MSG in recent years.
    Is MSG out of flavour now?

  112. #112 Chris
    October 6, 2010

    Is MSG out of flavour now?

    Giggle!

  113. #113 Jake Crosby
    October 8, 2010

    “The clear implication here is that first, Todd tells you how to check them”

    Except that he never did, although I think this misses the point completely.

    The prevailing point is that everybody here is asking me for verification with information I clearly don’t have but other people have to disprove completely unverified claims made by some pharma press releases. You’re all demanding verification when you all have none, which is totally unfair not to mention a double-standard and therefore not worth wasting my time on.

    Thanks for the Ginger Taylor posting, though, as it shows that thimerosal isn’t the only thing to worry about with vaccines given her son’s reaction to them. However, we are most certainly on the right track with thimerosal.

    Anyway, I’m done here, you may discuss this under my article further if you want:
    http://www.ageofautism.com/2010/08/do-reliable-thimerosal-estimates-exist.html

  114. #114 Scouser Scott
    October 8, 2010

    Dear Jake
    When you make the claim that parents have evidence for the use of TCV’s post 2002, then the onus is on you to provide evidence to support that claim. As the saying goes, put up or shut up.
    I am really thankful that you are not a student in my research methods class; but to be honest, you have been a part of my class for the past week.
    You have provided an endlessly humorous example of how to loose a scientific argument and make a fool of yourself in the process. I wish that I could say that we were laughing with you as we detailed your unsupported claims, deflections, paranoid rants, and evasions of the questions put to you, but sadly we were laughing at you.
    If nothing else, you did succeed in illustrating to my students the importance of making a coherent, evidence based argument when engaging in public dialogue; lest, like you, they wished to look a fool.

  115. #115 Todd W.
    October 8, 2010

    @Jake

    “The clear implication here is that first, Todd tells you how to check them”

    Except that he never did, although I think this misses the point completely.

    I think you misunderstood Orange Lantern. He was saying that the implication is that you are demanding that I tell you where the lot numbers can be checked before you will tell us what the lot numbers are.

    And Orange Lantern’s comment does not miss the point. You came in here stating that Merck was wrong and that they lied. You failed to substantiate that claim and have been shown, repeatedly, how you were wrong. You brought up “looking up the lot numbers” in support of your claim that thimerosal-containing vaccines were still being administered after 2002. The onus is on you to back up your claim. If you say that parents looked up the lot numbers, then prove it.

  116. #116 Orange Lantern
    October 8, 2010

    Hey, Jake:

  117. #117 Dedj
    October 8, 2010

    “The prevailing point is that everybody here is asking me for verification with information I clearly don’t have but other people have to disprove completely unverified claims made by some pharma press releases.”

    If they have it, then you can tell us where. If you don’t know, then it’s ‘completely unverified’ under even your own idiosyncratic criteria as well as the rest of the worlds.

    This process of providing your sources is called ‘referencing’. You should already be familiar with the concept.

    “You’re all demanding verification when you all have none, which is totally unfair not to mention a double-standard and therefore not worth wasting my time on.”

    It’s not really a double standard under your criteria. If you expect us to believe you due to the say-so of some parents, then the say-so of some pharma-companies is just as good. Thus, under your criteria, we have verification.

    Of course, we also have “a reliable authourity using the expected methods to extract the relevant information from the entities that would – by the nature of being the producers of the product – be most expected to hold the most comprehensive data.” as a means of verification.

    Your dismissal of this verification at approx #93 was based on the accusation that the sources had lied, an accusation that was clearly spelt out to you as originating from your own failure to properly and competantly understand a run-of-the-mill press release.

    Your dismissal of the CDC and FDA verification is not only unsupported, highly contentious, but also perfectly circular in logic. You, in effect, failed to understand the situation despite repeated correction and guidance and reference to the original source.

    Don’t pretend your failure is our fault.

    “Anyway, I’m done here”

    Yes, run away brave Sir Robin!

    Again.

  118. #118 Jake Crosby
    October 8, 2010

    “I am really thankful that you are not a student in my research methods class; but to be honest, you have been a part of my class for the past week.”

    Maybe you ought to actually teach your students real research methods instead of blogging with them.

    “You failed to substantiate that claim and have been shown, repeatedly, how you were wrong.”

    Merck’s press release was not honest. You can’t honestly say your vaccine line is free of all preservatives and then go about distributing vaccines preserved in thimerosal for the following years. It’s not logical.

    “He was saying that the implication is that you are demanding that I tell you where the lot numbers can be checked before you will tell us what the lot numbers are.”

    To be honest, I briefly thought about weeding out some the lot numbers on the shots parents claim their kids received with thimerosal, but I wasn’t going to without knowing where, if anywhere, they could be checked out. So I asked you, and your lack of response ultimately defeats his point altogether.

    “The onus is on you to back up your claim. If you say that parents looked up the lot numbers, then prove it.”

    I did not say they did, I said they said they did. If you want to find out the lot numbers for yourself, ask them. It isn’t hard to find a parent whose found thimerosal-containing vaccines on the shelves after 2002 online either by checking the lot numbers or otherwise. I, for one, don’t have a problem with their claims and I’m not going to grill them on it for flame war ammunition. You do, so you should go and ask them yourself. I’m not saying thimerosal was on the shelves after 2002, only that some parents say so from what they’ve found in their kids’ vaccines either by checking the lot number or otherwise, that FDA later changed their story to say it was the beginning of 2003 and not in 2002 at all, and that according to David Kirby, the Council of State Governments says the last lots expired at the beginning of 2004. And that none of these claims are any less verifiable than claims of drug companies like Merck saying their last lots expired in 2002, after Merck already put out a dishonest press release. I hope I’ve made myself clear, although I think I’ve made myself pretty clear already.

  119. #119 Orange Lantern
    October 8, 2010

    I did not say they did, I said they said they did.

    I hope I’ve made myself clear, although I think I’ve made myself pretty clear already.

    Priceless.

  120. #120 Orange Lantern
    October 8, 2010

    BTW, Jake, now you have definitely lied. Twice.

    Anyway, I’m done here, you may discuss this under my article further if you want:
    http://www.ageofautism.com/2010/08/do-reliable-thimerosal-estimates-exist.html

    You weren’t done here, and we can’t discuss this at AoA. Or are you going to sneak us in past the bouncers?

  121. #121 Dedj
    October 8, 2010

    “Merck’s press release was not honest.”

    They said that they had new product approval.
    They said they would be making the new product.
    They said that this means thier range will be preservative free.

    They mentioned nothing about this announcement applying to existing stock.

    It would also be illogical and against all normal processes for the announcement to be presumed to apply to existing stock.

    This has been explained to you over and over.

    “You can’t honestly say your vaccine line is free of all preservatives and then go about distributing vaccines preserved in thimerosal for the following years.”

    It’s also not what they did. They announced a new product that would make thier range preservative free. No mention was made of existing stock. Indeed, the context of the announcement appears to imply that preservative containing stock was still available.

    “It’s not logical.”

    What is illogical is assuming the announcement applied to the old range, when the existing units of old range was not mentioned as being covered by this change, and the production-to-use time is sufficient enough for it to be reasonable to assume that preservative containing units of the old range would still be in existance.

    That you thought they were saying what you thought they did is your fault, not Mercks.

    Stop blaming other people for your own mistakes.

    “If you want to find out the lot numbers for yourself, ask them.”

    We can’t as you’ve failed to indicate who they are and how they may be contacted. If you have, you will quote it in your reply.

    It’s unfair to expect people to know who your sources are if you don’t/won’t/can’t tell us.

    “that FDA later changed their story to say it was the beginning of 2003 and not in 2002 at all,”

    Source? An URL will do fine.

    “the Council of State Governments says the last lots expired at the beginning of 2004”

    Source?

    Come on Jake, stop being lazy. Pony some decent stuff up or run away again.

  122. #122 Chemmomo
    October 9, 2010

    Jake,
    Two things.

    One, in Post #318 you say

    I’m not saying thimerosal was on the shelves after 2002, only that some parents say so from what they’ve found in their kids’ vaccines either by checking the lot number or otherwise

    However, back in post #132 you said (my emphasis added)

    Ultimately, if thimerosal is found as a preservative in vaccines after 2002 – and it is – than the FDA’s claim that thimerosal exposure ended in 2002 is simply incorrect.

    You did say it.

    Two, I asked you before, and since you ignored the question, I’ll ask again:

    Why do you find parents who claim that their children received thimerosal containing vaccines after 2002 so credible?

  123. #123 Jake Crosby
    October 9, 2010

    That’s cute, but it’s the most recent comment that matters, like comment #146:

    “No, but rather that the claim that thimerosal was not in use after 2002 is not substantiated.

    Okay, fine. You did not make an overt claim. However, from your very first post you have been implying that thimerosal
    was in use after 2002.”

    So, we straightened that out already with Todd W.’s comment #146. I may have implied it by saying it was found in vaccines after 2002 – not by me – but by others whose findings you can consider valid or invalid, but I did not say it was actually in use after that year. Not that I don’t think it was…

    “BTW, Jake, now you have definitely lied. Twice.”

    No, I changed my mind, and there are plenty of critical comments under my articles.

    “Why do you find parents who claim that their children received thimerosal containing vaccines after 2002 so credible?”

    Perhaps the same reason why you find drug companies so credible.

  124. #124 Chemmomo
    October 9, 2010

    Jake,

    “Why do you find parents who claim that their children received thimerosal containing vaccines after 2002 so credible?”
    Perhaps the same reason why you find drug companies so credible.

    I asked you the question. You haven’t answered it. The question is about your belief, not mine.

  125. #125 Chemmomo
    October 9, 2010

    And Jake,

    That’s cute, but it’s the most recent comment that matters, like comment #146

    Does this mean that you stand corrected by Todd’s comment #146?

    If so, why would you follow that up with

    but I did not say it was actually in use after that year. Not that I don’t think it was…

    Which one is it? Or are you just trying to avoid saying what you really believe again?

    Oh wait, that’s been answered. Since you told me “it’s the most recent comment that matters,” I guess we have to go with you don’t think it was not in use.
    And to be more clear, avoiding the double negative: you think it was in use after 2002. Correct me if I’ve misinterpreted you.

  126. #126 Orange Lantern
    October 9, 2010

    I may have implied it by saying it was found in vaccines after 2002 – not by me – but by others whose findings you can consider valid or invalid, but I did not say it was actually in use after that year. Not that I don’t think it was…

    My goodness, you’re fluent in doublespeak. I’d like to get back to those few findings you were able to dig up for us, and continue what Sauceress had started in #189 and #190. Here are the links again for everyone, from #96 – I will add Q’s to the beginning and ends to avoid the filters (I hope) so you can cut and paste them if into your browsers:

    QQQhttp://www.vaccinationnews.com/boyd_haley_1-8-08.htmQQQ
    QQQhttp://adventuresinautism.blogspot.com/2005/08/still-finding-thimerosal-in-doctors.htmlQQQ

    The first link is Boyd Haley stating that he has talked to mother who have seen thimerosal in infant vaccines. No links to any testimonies are given. There’s not much we can discuss there.

    The second link is Ginger Taylor’s blog from 2005. Ginger had watched Meet the Press the day before when David Kirby was interviewed. She states “One point that was repeatedly stated was that except for the flu shot, all vaccines that have been offered to parents since 2003 have been thimerosal free. This is not the case.”

    Well, if this was stated in the episode, then it was in error. Only the vaccines in the routine infant schedule have been thimerosal-free or containing trace thimerosal. This will be important later.

    She then lists five parent testimonies. They are addressed to Mr. Russert or ABC news, so I presume she culled them from comments posted on the Meet the Press site after the episode aired. But she does not state explicity.

    The one by Vera has already been investigated by Sauceress above. In that case, one of the vaccines she listed had been completely discontinued in 2000, and one had never contained thimerosal, even before everyone went T-free. One might have been a candidate, but without a lot number we can’t determine if it was a vaccine that was supposed to have had the thimerosal removed, or if it is another one that had never contained thimerosal. But given the fate of the other two, I wouldn’t put money on an outcome that Jake likes.

    I’m going to blockquote excerpts from the other three here to make things easier, but don’t hesitate to use the link above to check my work. I apologize for the long post. Emphases will be mine.

    Beth writes:

    I would like to correct a statement that Dr. Fineburg made. He stated that thimerosal had been removed from all vaccines for children with the exception of some flu vaccines. On July 25, 2005, just two weeks ago, I took my 18 month old daughter in for her well check and vaccines. I asked the Dr. about the thimerosal in the shots and he did tell me that the DTP still contained a trace of it. He mentioned to me that he may have some thimerosal free DTP and that he could give hr that one. I told him that of course I wanted the one without thimerosal as I have an autistic son and am terrified that my daughter might become autistic as well. Several minutes went by and he came back in the room to tell me that all they had at that time was the DTP with thimerosal; but that he would be glad to order the thimerosal free shot for me. He also mentioned to me that he just recently found out that there was even a DTP without thimerosal available. This is a very well respected Dr. in my community and he has been a pediatrician for nearly 30 years.
    When the doctors office called several days later to tell me that they had the thimerosal free version in stock now and from now on that would be all that they would order. I asked the nurse why this was just now becoming an option. she told me that the state of NC just recently – in the past month or so began paying for the thimerosal free version.

    This testimony has nothing to do with full dose TCV’s, but rather, her desire to find T-free over trace thimerosal.

    Next, Sue writes:

    Just last month, I had my older son at the doctor’s office for a checkup, and was told that he needed a tetanus booster shot. Since I already have one son with mercury poisoning, I requested a mercury-free version. The doctor assured me that they ONLY use mercury-free vaccines in her practice. However, when I checked the vial that the nurse brought in, it clearly said “Contains thimerosal”.

    The doctor in this case made the same error that the mother did: tetanus boosters are not necessarily thimerosal free. They are not infant vaccines.

    Similarly, Janice writes:

    In May of 2005 my daughter was offered a tetanus shot with the full 25 micrograms of thimerosal at her doctor’s office in Old Saybrook, CT.

    I don’t know how old Janice’s daughter was, but the strong impression here is that this is a tetanus booster, not a routine infant immunization. Tetanus shots still contain thimerosal.

    Finally, Holly writes:

    First, Dr. Fineberg was dead wrong when he stated, and you reiterated at the end of the show, that vaccines have been mercury free as of 2003. On the contrary, you can walk into doctor’s offices across the USA today and find full-dose mercury containing vaccines still in use.
    I run a large support group and I am still getting many emails and calls from parents who went to their doctor’s office and upon asking to see the label on the vial, found full dose vaccines with expiration dates as late as 2007.

    This is testimony quite abstracted from the original source, and Holly does not indicate whether or not the stories in question were infant vaccines, or if they are making the same mistakes as the above parents.

    That’s all the testimonies on that page. Jake, the paltry evidence that you have provided thus far, that non-expired infant TCV’s were used past 2002, does not hold up to simple scrutiny. Certainly you can see that.

  127. #127 Jake Crosby
    October 9, 2010

    “My goodness, you’re fluent in doublespeak.”

    No, you and everybody else on here has said that just because people have found vaccines preserved in thimerosal after 2002 does not mean thimerosal was used as a preservative in vaccines after 2002 because those people are probably just mistaken.

  128. #128 Jake Crosby
    October 9, 2010

    “because those people are probably just mistaken.”

    …which I think is utterly ridiculous, given the dishonesty of the drug company Merck.

  129. #129 Jake Crosby
    October 9, 2010

    I gather your response will be the whine “that’s not finding, that’s claiming!!!” And our pointless little argument will veer off from thimerosal altogether to one about dictionary definitions.

  130. #130 madder
    October 9, 2010

    @JC:
    No, not dictionary definitions so much, but perhaps we can review the use of language in general. Note that the press release in question, and all of the commenters here, specifically made the claim with respect to vaccines for infants. Please do try to keep up.

  131. #131 Dedj
    October 9, 2010

    Indeed, as madder has indicated (which I think was said directly to Jake before), the discussion is about whether a particular range of updated vaccines were found to contain pre-announcement levels of preservative, or other non-neglible levels, equivilant to the content of the older range.

    Jake has repeatedly received reminders and clarification of what the discussion is about, yet he gets it wrong at every turn and even shows confusion over what he has said and implied.

    Pull yourself together Jake. Only you appear to show any difficulty with the distinction here – so what gives?

  132. #132 Orange Lantern
    October 9, 2010

    “because those people are probably just mistaken.”

    …which I think is utterly ridiculous, given the dishonesty of the drug company Merck.

    The honesty of the Merck has absolutely nothing to do with whether or not the parents are mistaken. Above, I demonstrated for you how the parents you have submitted as evidence are indeed mistaken.

    Don’t rag on us for not personally contacting families and asking for lot numbers. We have no reason to do so, because we have no reason to suspect that infant TCVs were in use after 2002 in the first place. Not only have you not provided any verifiable evidence that infant TCVs were used after 2002, the testimonies that you have tried to use as evidence are erroneous.

    We’re just blog commenters, Jake – you’re the one who is playing journalist. It is not our job to fact check for you. It is your job to research your topics to the best of your ability so you can provide accurate information to your readers. If, as you believe, the facts are on your side, then you have nothing to fear by digging in to and confirming these testimonies. Anything less is sloppy journalism and your readers deserve better.

    If you believe in your cause, treat it with respect.

  133. #133 Kimberly Kramer
    October 10, 2010

    While I respect your opinion, I have to disagree with you considering that I have a lab document that shows elevated levels of metals that presented much like autism. So I would have to say metals do and will cause neuroinflammation that if allowed to continue without interruption can cause problems with neurotransmission and alterations in gene expression. Metals may not be the only factor that causes autism but they sure do contribute to it. Unfortunately, many females that are of child-bearing age have bioaccumulation from being exposed to lead paint and dust that may offload to their unborn child just like it does in animals that have high toxic loads from eating contaminated prey. As far as vaccines — an inflammatory response may develop that contributes to aggravation of autistic symptoms but I do not believe that they cause autism — but from what I see another study is being performed to see if this is the case. So I guess the jury is still out on that one too!

  134. #134 Chris
    October 10, 2010

    I have a lab document that shows elevated levels of metals that presented much like autism.

    A lab document? One? Just one?

    What about the study done in the Faroe Islands? Those kids born to mothers who ate lots of mercury laden seafood had high levels of mercury, but did not express symptoms of autism.

    You have a point about lead, since it is still in the environment even after it was removed from gasoline. But still, our mothers and grandmothers would have had even more exposure. So if there is a connection, autism should have started to decline a while ago.

  135. #135 Orange Lantern
    October 12, 2010

    “I have a lab document that shows elevated levels of metals that presented much like autism.”

    A lab document? One? Just one?

    Hey, that’s one more piece of verifiable evidence than Jake has.

  136. #136 Prometheus
    October 13, 2010

    Ms. Kramer (#333) claims:

    “…I have a lab document that shows elevated levels of metals that presented much like autism.”

    With all due respect to Ms. Kramer and her lab report, what she has is a report that shows (blood, urine?) “levels” of “metals” (mercury, aluminium, tin, sodium?) that are outside of the “normal range” reported by the lab that did the testing. In addition, the person from whom the sample was taken has been diagnosed with autism or has “presented much like autism” – which is pretty much the same thing, these days.

    Let’s parse this claim:

    [1] If the normal range was for urine tests done without chelation [hint: they all are] and the test was done after chelation, the results are not valid (they are, in fact, uninterpretable).

    [2] If – as has been shown with several of the mail-order labs – the “normal range” is not consistent with the normal range used by most labs, the interpretation of the level is possibly incorrect. A true normal range is derived by testing a large number (usually more than 1,000) healthy, normal people and setting the normal range at the mean plus and minus two standard deviations (for results that follow a normal distribution). Some of the mail-order labs use either a low mean or one standard deviation or both. These non-standard “normal ranges” are meaningless.

    [3] “Metals” (even “toxic metals”) have not been shown to cause autism, although some can cause other neurological disorders, none of which happen to look anything like autism.

    [4] The presence of “elevated levels of metals” in a person with autism is no more evidence of causation than an elevated blood pressure (which can also cause “neurological disorders”) would be.

    It’s time for the “mercury-causes-autism” rank and file to wake up and smell the data. They are on a sinking ship (in the sense that Titanic is a sinking ship) and it is time to move on to a more plausible hypothesis.

    Just because mercury or cadmium or arsenic (or aluminium) can cause “neurologic disorders” doesn’t mean that they can cause any neurologic disorder (e.g. autism or “autism-like” disorders). This is as ludicrous as saying that since high blood pressure can cause “neurological disorders” (e.g. stroke) that it can also cause autism (or, more precisely, can “present much like autism”).

    I understand that a lot of parents are desperate for answers, but that doesn’t mean they should settle for b******t answers like “mercury-causes-autism”. Have a little respect for youselves – insist on real data, not “Just So” stories and sci-fi/fantasy tales.

    Prometheus

  137. #137 Scott
    October 13, 2010

    It’s time for the “mercury-causes-autism” rank and file to wake up and smell the data. They are on a sinking ship (in the sense that Titanic is a sinking ship) and it is time to move on to a more plausible hypothesis.

    You’re being too kind. Their ship hasn’t just sunk, it’s been melted, blown up, vaporized, and the resulting atoms annihilated with antimatter. Then the resulting photons redshifted and dispersed until they disappeared in the CMB.

  138. #138 Sauceress
    October 13, 2010

    Their ship hasn’t just sunk, it’s been melted, blown up, vaporized, and the resulting atoms annihilated with antimatter.

    Yet, using imaginary oars, they still row away madly in an attempt to keep afloat their anti-vaxx ideology as if their entire self-perception of life depends on it.

  139. #139 Prometheus
    October 14, 2010

    I don’t hold out any hope that the hard-core believers (e.g. Mark “I just want civil discourse” Blaxill) will ever change their minds – they can’t, not without admitting to their followers that they were wrong (something that business people never willingly do, apparently).

    My only hope is that some of their hapless followers, wondering why they are ankle-deep in ice-water will finally start heading for the lifeboats (to continue the Titanic theme).

    I see this as a matter of self-respect. It’s time for parents of autistic children to stop being satisfied with bulls**t answers and start asking for real answers – answers with data behind them. For too long, the rank and file have accepted simplistic, fairy-tale, sci-fi/fantasy explanations for complex medical problems. It’s time they stood up and asked “Show me the data that supports your claims!”

    Prometheus

  140. #140 squirrelelite
    October 14, 2010

    A former co-worker of mine posted this link today on his Facebook page.

    I cite it as a reminder of how lucky I was not to get this disease (polio) before an effective vaccine was available to protect against it. Also, immediate fatalities are not the only important consequences of disease.

    R.I.P Thomas.

    http://hosting-24467.tributes.com/show/Thomas-Campbell-89545239

  141. #141 Jake Crosby
    November 6, 2010

    @madder:

    “No, not dictionary definitions so much, but perhaps we can review the use of language in general. Note that the press release in question”

    So a blog commenter who is just stating his opinion should be held to the same standard as your drug company which probably lied about the ingredients of its product.

  142. #143 Dedj
    November 6, 2010

    “So a blog commenter who is just stating his opinion should be held to the same standard as your drug company which probably lied about the ingredients of its product.”

    Is this supposed to be a question or a statement? As a question, it has no little relation to the content of post it was posted in response to. Indeed, a suspicious person could assert that you avoided dealing with the content as it indicates that your arguement is derived from a simple error that you have failed to correct despite having it repeatedly explained in quite painful detail by multiple people, including some who have experience in dealing with people with language and communication difficulties.

    The standard that you are being held to is a basic one, that is: you should deal with what was actually said, not what you wish had been said.

    The errors in your reading of the press release have been extensively pointed out. The errors you have made subsequently have been pointed out. Your only response so far has been to make further claims which rely – in part or in whole – on your misunderstanding of the press release and the subsequent discussion.

    Kindly shape up or stop bothering people.

  143. #144 Jake Crosby
    December 16, 2010

    Orac,

    If you’re so concerned about verification, you can start by telling your pharmaceutical industry to cut the lies before claiming the experiences of honest people have to be “verified.”

    You also misinterpreted (spun?) what I said in your linked to post, as always:
    http://www.ageofautism.com/2010/10/how-vaccine-damage-deniers-threaten-us-all.html?cid=6a00d8357f3f2969e20133f5b57e17970b#comment-6a00d8357f3f2969e20133f5b57e17970b

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