Respectful Insolence

Check out the latest Andrew Wakefield tweet. Yep, that’s him Tweeting out a link to the infamously intellectually dishonest post by Dr. Raymond Obomsawin entitled Proof That Vaccines Didn’t Save Us, just as Australian anti-vaccine loon Meryl Dorey posted the same link on her blog about a month ago and Obomsawin himself is continuing to promote the same intellectually dishonest, graphs of cherry-picked data. To me, that puts Wakefield in the same low league as Dorey herself.

Once again, Andrew Wakefield, meet Orac and his deconstruction of Obomsawin’s tour de force of anti-vaccine misdirection. Please Tweet the link to @DrWakefield. It’s the least we can do. After all, I’m sure he would want to know when an information source he is touting is not only deceptive but intellectually dishonest.

On the other hand, Wakefield is Tweeting links to Autism Recovery With Homeopathy. He’s clearly hopeless. Still, he might just have given me a nice bit of blogging material for the near future.


  1. #1 Todd W.
    November 11, 2010


  2. #2 Corina Becker
    November 11, 2010

    totally tweeted. was polite about it too. “Dear @DrWakefield, please check your facts”

  3. #3 SarniaSkeptic
    November 11, 2010

    As instructed :)

    @DrWakefield – is “Dr” really appropriate? – Either way, Wakefield – it’s time you met the truth –

  4. #4 Scottynuke
    November 11, 2010

    Oh Corina, you japester you… Wakefield and facts, coexisting?? *ROFL* :-)

  5. #5 novalox
    November 11, 2010

    If this doesn’t show Wakefield’s true character (anti-vaccine) to other people, almost nothing else will.

  6. #6 Anon
    November 11, 2010

    If a lack of mercury in Vaccines causes autism, maybe a lack of medicine in homeopathic remedies can cure it?

  7. #7 Pablo
    November 11, 2010

    But what do you expect? He has no credibility left to protect, so why should he bother pretending?

  8. #8 Vicki
    November 11, 2010

    Considering some of what the quacks do to autistic children, maybe we should be grateful if they’re moving on to homeopathy.

  9. #9 Corina Becker
    November 11, 2010

    @Scottynuke, well, I figure “might as well be polite even if he doesn’t listen” and that was the politest thing I could think of.

    and “japester”? I don’t think I’m too familiar with that word…

  10. #10 MikeMa
    November 11, 2010

    Wakers is supporting this due to the homeopathic remuneration scheme. As facts are succussed away, the money just rolls in. The fewer facts, the more cash.

  11. #11 Scottynuke
    November 11, 2010


    Jape and joke are synonymous, I was just saying you were being very humorous at putting Wakers and “facts” in the same sentence. :-)

  12. #12 Liz Ditz
    November 11, 2010

    Two more pieces of evidence: — the notorious Generation Rescue “survey” — really just a telephone poll of Northern California parents, and — a Faux “News” report on a child becoming ill after a flu vaccination.

    MikeMa — excellent.

  13. #13 hadr0n
    November 12, 2010

    - SarniaSkeptic

    Considering the honorific title of “doctor” relates to licensure in the UK, I think his use of the title is highly inappropriate, as I don’t believe Wakers has a doctoral degree or a licence to practice – Just a BM or BS. Also, interestingly, in the UK, surgeons (like Wakefield) don’t traditionally use the title of Doctor.

    Quacks and cranks do tend to be obsessed with credentialism, so none of this really surprises me in the slightest.

  14. #14 Matthew Cline
    November 12, 2010

    And yet he still has a patent on a measles vaccine.

  15. #15 Kristen
    November 12, 2010

    I dusted off my Twitter account. I chose to go with dripping sarcasm: “Have you seen this?”.

  16. #16 Adam
    November 12, 2010

    Andrew Wakefield has burnt all his bridges. He has nowhere left to go except full blown woo.

    The funny thing is looking how the anti-vaccination idiots fete him, conveniently ignoring a major reason he got himself in a mess in the first place. Aside from his breach of ethics, he was trying to patent a single dose vaccine on the one hand while discrediting a multi dose on the other.

  17. #17 MikeMa
    November 12, 2010

    Wakers isn’t anti-vaccine, he’s pro money. Fawning sycophants aren’t bad either, but cash is king.

  18. #18 Todd W.
    November 12, 2010

    Speaking of people that are anti-vaccine and proudly show it, Dan Olmsted has a new article up over at AoA whining about Progressives not “getting” autism. One bit he said jumped out at me, and I decided to deconstruct it over at Silenced.

  19. #19 MikeMa
    November 12, 2010

    Nice deconstruct. Near the beginning you wrote ‘vaccines cause mercury’. I’m sure that isn’t quite what you meant but otherwise, nicely done.

    Olmstead must be smarting over the slow sales as there is ample evidence for pre-1930s autism, especially with the wider definition in use this century.

  20. #20 Todd W.
    November 12, 2010


    Hehe. Oops. Fixed.

  21. #21 Dr Aust
    November 12, 2010

    @SarniaSkeptic, HadrOn:

    For info:

    “MBBS” (Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery, typically a 5-yr undergrad degree) is the basic medical qualification in England, and the one with which students finish UK medical school. To be licensed to practise as a physician you then have to complete 1 or 2 years supervised practise in hospital, following which you get on the General Medical Council list (the “Medical Register”). Any “specialist training” (cf. US residency) comes after that.

    It is this medical register (the list of those licensed to practise as medical doctors in the UK) that Wakefield’s name was erased from by the GMC. He still has his MBBS degrees.

    Though the UK medical degree is not formally a doctoral degree, in the way that a PhD or an MD is, people with an MBBS are almost invariably addressed as “Doctor”, at least in the UK. So one could debate whether “Saint Andy” is still entitled to the title “Dr”. As I said, the GMC didn’t have the power to revoke his MBBS.

    Whether his continued use of the title “Dr” is misleading would depend on the context. If he started up a “holistic detox” clinic and billed himself on the letterhead as “Dr”, then it would arguably be highly misleading. This is because it would imply to most people – prospective customers – that be was a licensed physician, which he no longer is. Just calling himself “Dr” on a book jacket – less clear-cut.

    Re. UK surgeons going by “Mister”, this is a relic of the days of the barber-surgeons, and has a kind of inverted snobbery attached to it. You would only call youself “Mr” if you were a consultant surgeon (i.e. an attending, in US parlance, having completed all your general and specialist surgical residency training). Wakefield never did complete surgical training. So he wouldn’t, under British medical custom, be entitled to call himself “Mr” in that surgical sense.

    All a bit confusing, I know. But it is a fact that Wakefield never completed medical or surgical training in any speciality – including GI surgery. And he didn’t train as a gastroenterologist either. In the UK he would have been classified as a junior doctor – one who never had formal “named” responsibility for a patient, since this rests with the attendings/consultants – who went into full-time research in his mid-to-late 20s.

  22. #22 sheldon101
    November 13, 2010

    RE #20 by Dr.Aust.

    I just checked again, Andrew Wakefield is still on the register of the UK GMC. The GMC has decided to erase his name from the register, but it is not in force, presumably because Wakefield filed an appeal to the High Court. His precise status is “registered without a license to practice.” I don’t think that Wakefield has had a license for a few years in the UK. Amongst other reasons would be paying for malpractice insurance which he wouldn’t need as he wasn’t practicing.

    Interestingly, there is no longer a real register used by the GMC. I emailed them and asked if they would have a ceremony where is name is erased. Sadly, I learned that they would merely change a value on the database.

    I am surprised that you have Wakefield never having any surgical specialization I thought that was what he did for some time. I know that at the Royal Free he was not allowed to have patients.

  23. #23 Corina Becker
    November 13, 2010

    scottynuke @ 10
    Ah, thanks. I wasn’t entirely sure about what it meant, and so didn’t want to jump to conclusions. Thanks for explaining to me!

    And yes, yes it is funny.

  24. #24 Rogue Medic
    November 13, 2010

    I suppose that Dr. Obamsawin will be able to come up with some sort of correlational proof that vaccines cause mercury. Most likely the number of papers written about mercury has increased as the number of vaccines given has increased.

    This must be distressing for those using the periodic table of elements.

    Clearly this is a conspiracy almost as great as the conspiracy that prevents anti-vaxers from being rational.

  25. #25 Brian Deer
    November 13, 2010

    Sheldon101: It’s an understandable confusion. He used to prowl the autism conference circuit being reported talking about “my patients” and telling parents that concern over vaccination was grounds to give their child a colonscopy. eg:

    However, it’s a fascinating fact that he has never had lawful care of a patient at any time in his career. He was once a trainee surgeon (and around that sprang the myth that he was a transplant surgeon, when in fact he was a student in the department of people cutting up dogs and rodents), but, as Dr A points out, he never became a consultant surgeon.

    And, as for his claims to be a histopathologist, he insisted under oath before the GMC that he never did that either. What he mostly did at the Royal Free was suck up drug industry and lawyers’ money. His colleagues point out that he never wore a white coat unless a TV crew came round.

    It’s all a bit academic now, because he’s finished, but he never really was anything in the first place but a lying, greedy buffoon.

  26. #26 VD
    November 13, 2010

    speaking of lying greedy buffoons being outed…here’s some real justice…

    “This is absolutely precedent-setting — this is really going to set people’s hair on fire,” said Douglas B. Farquhar, a Washington lawyer who recently presided at a panel on law enforcement during a drug industry conference where federal officials warned they were focusing on individuals. “This is indicative of the F.D.A. and Justice strategy to go after the very top-ranking managing officials at regulated companies.”

  27. #27 VD
    November 13, 2010

    one more woohoo! a great day for patient/consumer safety is upon us.

  28. #28 VD
    November 13, 2010

    re: mikema, “The fewer facts, the more cash.”

    you must have your head buried in the sand or in your ass to not know reality. it’s the more “facts” (not the quotation marks…they’re intended), the more the cash (thanks to sally for this quote):

    “Novartis joins a growing list of pharmaceutical companies that have settled government investigations into health care fraud in the last few years, including Pfizer, which paid $2.3 billion; Eli Lilly, $1.4 billion; Allergan, $600 million; AstraZeneca, $520 million; Bristol-Myers Squibb, $515 million; and Forest Laboratories, $313 million. Pfizer, Lilly, Allergan and Forest pleaded guilty to crimes in the cases.”

  29. #29 Dave The Happy Singer
    November 13, 2010

    I went with:

    “O hai, @drwakefield! Here’s a cute picture of penguins. Only kidding, it’s @oracknows serving your arse. Again.

    Do I win a prize?

  30. #30 Todd W.
    November 14, 2010

    Wakefield, once again showing that he’s not up with the times, tweeted a link to an article about Generation Rescue’s 2007 phone survey. I sent replied with a link to Orac’s dissection of the survey.

  31. #31 hadr0n
    November 14, 2010

    @Dr Aust

    Thanks for clearing that up for me.

  32. #32 Travis
    November 14, 2010

    Todd W.
    I keep seeing that people reply to Wakefield’s tweets but I was wondering if he ever responds to them in any way. Or does he just ignore it?

  33. #33 Todd W.
    November 14, 2010


    Well, I only just tweeted to him, but looking at his tweets, it seems he mostly just posts links to anti-vaccine stuff: articles, youtube vids, etc.

  34. #34 Science Mom
    November 14, 2010

    re: mikema, “The fewer facts, the more cash.”

    you must have your head buried in the sand or in your ass to not know reality. it’s the more “facts” (not the quotation marks…they’re intended), the more the cash (thanks to sally for this quote):

    “Novartis joins a growing list of pharmaceutical companies that have settled government investigations into health care fraud in the last few years, including Pfizer, which paid $2.3 billion; Eli Lilly, $1.4 billion; Allergan, $600 million; AstraZeneca, $520 million; Bristol-Myers Squibb, $515 million; and Forest Laboratories, $313 million. Pfizer, Lilly, Allergan and Forest pleaded guilty to crimes in the cases.”

    @ VD, such an apropos name by the way. I’m afraid that you not only missed MikeMa’s homeopathy pun but you don’t seem to understand that you are engaging in a Tu Quoque fallacy. The fact that federal regulators are tightening their oversight (and punishment) on pharmaceutical companies is welcome news and a sign that the system is working better. Their (pharma) unethical misdeeds don’t exonerate the malfeasance of someone like Wakefield or any other charlatan that preys upon desperate people and visa versa. They are both worthy of criticism.

  35. #35 Erwin Alber
    November 17, 2010

    Well, what’s a terrorist to one person is another person’s freedom fighter. In my humble opinion, Andrew is the latter.

    I have just watched his 2010 address on autism to the European Parliament. He got a well-deserved standing ovation at the end of it.

  36. #36 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    November 17, 2010

    So you have no problems with him subjecting children to unnecessary procedures to collect data of dubious significance that was erroneously interpreted?

  37. #37 Chris
    November 17, 2010

    Erwin Alber:

    I have just watched his 2010 address on autism to the European Parliament.

    Obviously you have been hoodwinked. That was not the full parliament. Dr Wakefield did not address the European Parliament. He addressed a meeting hosted by a single member of the European Parliament, United Kingdom Independence Party member, Marta Andreasen.

  38. #38 Passing thru
    November 18, 2010

    Can you imagine anything more pathetic than a group of Wakefield’s acolytes and sexual partners gathering together and pretending to be the European parliament?

    How low and rediculous can the Wakefield/Tommey alliance get?

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