Remember Elyse? She’s one of the Skepchicks, and a couple of weeks ago she did a most excellent skeptical thing. She organized a campaign to complain to the theaters that had, according to the anti-vaccine propaganda group SafeMinds and the anti-vaccine propaganda blog Age of Autism, accepted the advertisements, which SafeMinds were “framing” to be public service announcements. Her campaign met with considerable success. AMC Theaters, in particular, put the kibosh on the anti-vaccine “PSA.” This is not the only time Elyse has been a thorn in the side of the anti-vaccine movement. Back in May, she organized a counter protest against an anti-vaccine rally in Grant Park in Chicago.

After the successful campaign to keep SafeMinds’ emotionally manipulative and deceptive PSA out of theaters, I noted that the anti-vaccine groups would be at the very least keeping an eye on her and at the very most coming after her. Today, Kim Wombles informs me that the antivaxers are showing signs of starting to go after her in a typical smear campaign that they are so good at. It’s begun with posting Elyse’s picture from her Facebook profile, along with this comment:

This is the woman who fought to pull the SafeMinds PSA’s from the theatres. It’s her FB profile page photo. She is anti-choice and wants to tell you that mercury is safe and that Thimeosal is good – according to her blog. She trolls AofA regularly. As do all the pro-vaccine-injury bloggers.

Well, actually, I do admit that I peruse AoA fairly regularly, although I’ve only ever tried to comment there a handful of times in its three year existence. The moderation censorship is too complete. The reason I peruse it, of course, is because the crazy is so strong there that it provides copious blogging material about the fallacies and nastiness of Generation Rescue and the anti-vaccine movement. In any case, comments on the AoA Facebook page are typical AoA crazy.

For instance, Janette Howard says:

I pray her baby is not screaming from brain damage.

Nice.

Karen Harker says:

people like this deserve to know what its like to have a child with autism!!! I would never wish autism on anyone but she needs to spend a few hours with my son to see what we all go through before she is all pro vaccine!!! GET A FREAKING CLUE!!!!

If vaccines had anything to do with autism (they don’t), Karen might have a point. Even if vaccines did cause autism, her comment would still strike me as vindictive and self-pitying more than anything else. She sounds as though she views autism as a punishment from on high and would like to inflict that punishment on the children of those whom she views as being against her anti-vaccine views in order to get at the parent. In any case, how does she know that Elyse doesn’t have an idea what autism is like? Whether or not Elyse “knows what it’s like” to have a chlld with autism is irrelevant to the question of whether vaccines cause autism anyway.

There’s more (a lot more), but I’ll finish with this one. As pointed out by Kim Wombles, an Age of Autism editor (most likely Kim Stagliano) says:

Karen, I never go there – I never want to punish a parent, however I might disagree with them – by smiting their child. I can’t do it. I do agree that the lack of empathy and ability to see the larger picture is stunning and almost autistic itself. I wouldn’t trust my girls in her care for 5 seconds. I’d leave them with wolves first. 🙂 K

That’s right. Being against Karen and Kim’s anti-vaccine views means (to them) that automatically Elyse has no empathy, can’t see the big picture, and must be a bad mother, so bad that Kim would rather leave her children with wolves than with Elyse. Nice. Stay classy, Kim. Stay classy.

Of course, to me the fact that Elyse realizes that vaccines don’t cause autism means that she “sees the big picture” far better than Kim does. Be that as it may, in actuality, my only surprise here is that Stagliano and her cronies at AoA took so long. Their modus operandi has always been, when confronted with criticism or resistance to their anti-vaccine message, to attack the messenger, something they are quite accomplished at. I would not be the least bit surprised if tomorrow there is a post on AoA about this topic, with perhaps Kim Stagliano piously pontificating in a grating “holier than thou” attitude about how Elyse just doesn’t understand and is a horrible mother. If Jake Crosby does the post, there’ll be all sorts of “research” about Elyse designed to demonstrate that she must be a shill for big pharma, because, let’s face it, that’s all he’s got when it comes to discussing vaccines and autism.

Whatever happens, I fear that the nastiness is not over. AoA is likely try to drive Elyse from the field by smears, innuendo, and personal attacks, as it does with virtually anyone who criticizes them and stands up for vaccine science.

Comments

  1. #1 Scott
    December 7, 2010

    Neurotoxins (such as mercury) injected into babies and pregnant women = BAD.

    If you have a problem with that, get your head examined. End of discussion.

    I presume then that all these other things also “= BAD”?

    – Drinking water
    – Eating fish
    – Breathing
    – Eating a banana
    – Drinking milk
    – Smelling flowers

    After all, those all introduce substances into your body that are toxic at sufficient doses.

    Of course, anyone with even a basic layperson’s understanding of toxicology will recognize that the DOSE is crucial, and for that reason all of these activities are in fact safe because the doses are far too small to cause harm.

    PRECISELY as with thimerosal in vaccines.

  2. #2 augustine
    December 7, 2010

    “Hello, I’m an unpleasant twat who likes to call women and female scientists “skank” if they disagree with me, and thinks it’s fine to threaten to rape pro-vax women with “broken thermometers of mercury” since I am under the mind bendingly stupid impression that they believe mercury is harmless.”

    Is misogynism a turn-on for you, too? <3 <3 <3

  3. #3 Raging Bee
    December 7, 2010

    [Never]Funny: my comment #81 is only one of a HUGE number of comments correcting your blatant misunderstanding of basic principles of chemistry. Since you have ignored all of that information, and continue to repeat the same basic mistake — a mistake even high-school kids know to avoid — I am forced to conclude that you have made yourself uneducable by choice. And since you’re not paying attention to the substance of what we say, there’s no reason for us to pay any more attention to you than we would to a flat-earther. Oh well, thanks for ginning up the pageviews and helping Orac get more attention for this important message. You can go back to bed now.

    On a related note, what really stands out about the antivax trolls is not just their ignorance and emotional self-righteousness, it’s their unrelenting babyish nastiness, much of which has no visible connection to the medical issues being discussed. Seriously, when was the last time augie or Sid Offit actually said anything even remotely related to the original topic of a thread, let alone informed and useful? These people don’t give a shit about the medical issues AT ALL; they’re just here to insult people and bite ankles like junior-high trailer-trash. It seems to be all they know.

  4. #4 Funny
    December 7, 2010

    “You haven’t responded. Are you planning to respond, or should I assume you don’t know the answers?”

    Dearest Liz,

    I assume that you mean this question/s?

    “Since you are so “well versed in the topic”, Funny, can you tell me how big a 25.0 mcg drop of thimerosal would be? Imagine thimerosal was bright red, and you put a 25.0 mcg drop on a piece of white plastic — would you be able to see it with the naked eye? How big is a 25.0 mcg drop compared to say, a poppy seed?”

    How about if I ask you a question first and when I get your answer, then I will respond to yours… If you don’t mind, of course. So Liz, how much lead would you consider safe to inject into your baby? If lead was bright red and you mixed it with other substances, would you be ok with injecting it into your newborn as long as you couldn’t see any “red” left, of course?

  5. #5 MadGav
    December 7, 2010

    That’s a varient of the ‘that’s a very good question… now let me ask you a question’ gambit isn’t it, Funny?

  6. #6 ferp
    December 7, 2010

    “How about if I ask you a question first and when I get your answer, then I will respond to yours… If you don’t mind, of course. So Liz, how much lead would you consider safe to inject into your baby? If lead was bright red and you mixed it with other substances, would you be ok with injecting it into your newborn as long as you couldn’t see any “red” left, of course?”

    Equivocating that injecting thiomersal = injecting elemental mercury/lead/dead kittens into babies… This is like the 100th time you’ve used this as an ‘argument’. Be honest – are you just resorting to logical fallacies because you don’t know the answer to any of the questions people have asked you?

  7. #7 MadGav
    December 7, 2010

    Funny, that’s a varient of the ‘that’s a very good question… now let me ask *you* a question’ gambit isn’t it?

  8. #8 JohnV
    December 7, 2010

    To be fair ferp, funny probably doesn’t understand what a logical fallacy is :p

  9. #9 Liz Ditz
    December 7, 2010

    Thank you, MadGav and ferp, for writing have said what I have to say to Funny. He / she still hasn’t answered the question, and still displays a complete ignorance of toxicology.

    Latest two comments from Age of Autism at the FB page, at about 5:20 am mountain standard time.

    Age of Autism Stopping Americans unable to understand? What is she St. Skepchick? She interefered with medical choice and commerce. That’s her right to make the attempt. We dis not use her name. We pulled her public photo that she used here on FB. We ran it on FB, not the main site – our readers deserved to know who was behind (at the outer level anyway) the AMC campaign to stop the ads. We provide news. This was news.

    Age of Autism And Jake Crosby is our contributing editor. We use our real names, we don’t hide behind old BBC characters and cute avatars.

    Nice work! “Our readers deserve to know” — I guess they don’t have the skills to find out for themselves.

    Also, as Orac mentioned and I pointed out— Elyse was just the last link in the chain. The difference is that there was a call to action that was easy to do — just go to a link and click. Maybe it is slactivism, but it worked.

  10. #10 Chris
    December 7, 2010

    ferp:

    Be honest – are you just resorting to logical fallacies because you don’t know the answer to any of the questions people have asked you?

    Or if he/she actually let new information into her/his welded shut mind it might cause an aneurysm. He/she is like a robot that can only output what has been programmed, and there is no memory left to update the data.

    There seems to be trend to repeat the talking points, and then completely ignore the facts that go show that they are wrong. Notice there is no comment on the use of botox, OSR, Lupron or stem cells that are promoted on AoA, because that is not allowed. Absolutely no acknowledgment of Hewitson’s conflict of interest, because that is not allowed.

    And then one my favorite bit is the claim that the level of mercury in vaccines was the same in 2005 as it was in 1999! But if I point out that one of their queens, Sallie Bernard, was unable to procure DTaP vaccines with thimerosal in 2001 (and provide the link: http://onibasu.com/archives/am/27456.html … I noticed that if put links an “a href=” tag they completely miss it) it is totally ignored. They don’t seem to comprehend that if vaccines were full of mercury of 2005 (their fact), that it should not have been a problem getting one in 2001.

    Funny has turned into a clueless troll bot. I am going to ignore her.

  11. #11 Composer99
    December 7, 2010

    ferp wins the thread for #198. Thought you all ought to know. 🙂

  12. #12 Kristen
    December 7, 2010

    Karen Harker says (on AoA):

    people like this deserve to know what its like to have a child with autism!!! I would never wish autism on anyone but she needs to spend a few hours with my son to see what we all go through before she is all pro vaccine!!! GET A FREAKING CLUE!!!!

    Then Kim Stagliano replies:

    I wouldn’t trust my girls in her care for 5 seconds. I’d leave them with wolves first. 🙂 K

    Funny (word, not inane commentator), I wouldn’t let Kim and her ilk near my son and daughter. She would, no doubt think they needed to have industrial chelators added to their breakfast, as well as submit to a plethora of other unproven and dangerous “therapies” designed to “recover” them (the thought that autistic children need to be recovered, like they don’t currently exist is disgusting).

    The very fact that they posted a picture of Elyse with her baby is implicitly threatening. The overtly threatening comments are just icing on the shit-cake that is AoA’s response to this matter.

    I think Elyse’s reaction to this has been level-headed especially compared to the words I woud have for these people if they were mentioning my children in their hate-filled bile.

  13. #13 Kristen
    December 7, 2010

    Just wanted to clarify my comment above: I have four children, I wouldn’t let her around the two without special needs either.

  14. #14 mikerattlesnake
    December 7, 2010

    Funny: “You must be new to the discussion if you don’t think that fire is bad and you can’t see that just by virtue of it’s destructive nature it’s bad. Maybe once you’ve contemplate the issue a bit, you will understand the badness of fire.”

    RI poster: “but fire is useful and safe when handled properly and cautiously. Can you point to some evidence that supports your claim that all fire is bad under all conditions? Just show us the evidence.”

    Funny: “FIRE BAD! FIIIIIIIRE BAAAAAAAAAAAD!”

  15. #15 ferp
    December 7, 2010

    Funny’s argument is more like “flamethrowers can hurt people, which means fire is bad and therefore you shouldn’t have a furnace in your house”. His constant whining of “VACCINES HAVE THIOMERSAL AND MERCURY IS BAD SO YOU’RE ALL CRAZY” is literally a case of comparing apples to oranges.

  16. #16 Chris
    December 7, 2010

    Do you think Funny would be freaked out by this: http://dhmo.org/ ?

  17. #17 Joseph
    December 7, 2010

    I’m willing to bet that Funny is not aware that his family is exposed to lead all the time.

  18. #18 Drivebyposter
    December 7, 2010

    I’m willing to bet that Funny is not aware that his family is exposed to lead all the time.

    I’d be willing to bet Funny has been exposed to high levels of lead his entire life.

  19. #19 Antaeus Feldspar
    December 8, 2010

    SBM is not science! If it were it would be called scientific medicine. Not science BASED medicine. But what’s in a name anyways?

    If this is truly the way that Boring Auger thinks the world works, it’s no longer any mystery why he’s so muddled in his thinking. He believes his best guide to reality is reality TV, because it’s got “reality” in the name.

  20. #20 Cranberry Theophilus
    December 9, 2010

    Itching to drop some AoA dox with 4ch, may learn some manners from anon.

  21. #21 BobbyEarle
    December 10, 2010

    @222

    Rules #1 and #2, /b/ro

  22. #22 augustine
    December 10, 2010

    Anteus Feldspar

    If this is truly the way that Boring Auger thinks the world works, it’s no longer any mystery why he’s so muddled in his thinking. He believes his best guide to reality is reality TV, because it’s got “reality” in the name.

    Actually its quite the opposite. SBMers believe Science Based Medicine is science because it has “science” in it’s name. It looks like you’re the one who is muddled in thinking.

  23. #23 Antaeus Feldspar
    December 12, 2010
    If this is truly the way that Boring Auger thinks the world works, it’s no longer any mystery why he’s so muddled in his thinking. He believes his best guide to reality is reality TV, because it’s got “reality” in the name.

    Actually its quite the opposite. SBMers believe Science Based Medicine is science because it has “science” in it’s name.

    Wow, that’s just a devastating comeback, one that in no way equates to a simple boring “No, I’m not, you are!” Because, after all, it was SBM’ers and not Boring Auger who at comment #107 attempted to declare the content of something based solely on its name and expected that weak argument not to be horselaughed out of the room by anyone over the age of six.

    Oh wait.

    (What happened to the good old days when Boring Auger at least rose up to the low standards of a Goofus? Its arguments used to be mildly interesting, if trivially easy, to refute – now it’s sad to watch it flail around …)

  24. #24 Cerise
    December 12, 2010

    Augustine, science based medicine is medicine based on science. It is scientific. Just think about that, let it sink in, hopefully you’ll be able to grasp the scientific basis of science based medicine. You may need a dictionary.

  25. #25 David N. Andrews M. Ed., C. P. S. E.
    December 12, 2010

    “Augustine, science based medicine is medicine based on science. It is scientific. Just think about that, let it sink in, hopefully you’ll be able to grasp the scientific basis of science based medicine. You may need a dictionary.”

    Cerise, that one couldn’t grasp anything… not even straws!

  26. #26 David N. Andrews M. Ed., C. P. S. E.
    December 12, 2010

    Funny (who/whatever that one is) is a total twammock.

    “The only evidence that is really necessary is that mercury is a neurotoxin. It shouldn’t be injected into humans. What’s really so hard to understand there, genius?”

    Mercury is indeed a neurotoxin… in its elemental form! And on a dose-dependent basis. The amount that gets used in a vaccination does not constitute such a dose that it would cause any damage. Why don’t you understand that, twammock?

    “Neurotoxins (such as mercury) injected into babies and pregnant women = BAD.

    If you have a problem with that, get your head examined. End of discussion.”

    How much of a twammock are you??? I mean – really!!!

  27. #27 canalon
    December 15, 2010

    ‘Funny’ are you using salt when you cook? Because according to your logic it should be bad. Indeed cyanide is BAD. yet it is often used as an a food additive in salt and nobody seems to complain. So the form of the salt might be important. For mercury just as well as for cyanide.

  28. #28 Chris
    December 15, 2010

    Be careful, canalon, Funny may be of the bunch who think laetrile is a vitamin and drinking colloidal silver is better than antibiotics.

  29. #29 David N. Andrews M. Ed., C. P. S. E.
    December 16, 2010

    canalon, what you note about salt is accurate but you could go further. Common salt is sodium chloride, a compound of sodium and chlorine (I mention this for the sake of the twammock to whom I have referred earlier… because said person seems to need it all spoon-fed). Sodium is a highly reactive metal and is toxic. Chlorine is a highly reactive gas, and it is also toxic. Together they form a compound that can – in small enough doses – be safely sprinkled on fish and chips. Even with the cyanide in it. And common salt is also usually iodised, which means that iodine is added: yet another element that is toxic in high enough doses.

    So I can only imagine that the twammock will not dare eat anything with salt in it. Because there are at least four toxic chemical elements in it. The rest of us, of course, recognise dose-dependency as being crucial in understanding how chemicals can be toxic. So we can continue to use common salt in our food, safe in the knowledge that we won’t die of anything salt-related (provided that we don’t put a kilogramme of salt on our fish and chips).

  30. #30 David N. Andrews M. Ed., C. P. S. E.
    December 16, 2010

    canalon, what you note about salt is accurate but you could go further. Common salt is sodium chloride, a compound of sodium and chlorine (I mention this for the sake of the twammock to whom I have referred earlier… because said person seems to need it all spoon-fed). Sodium is a highly reactive metal and is toxic. Chlorine is a highly reactive gas, and it is also toxic. Together they form a compound that can – in small enough doses – be safely sprinkled on fish and chips. Even with the cyanide in it. And common salt is also usually iodised, which means that iodine is added: yet another element that is toxic in high enough doses.

    So I can only imagine that the twammock will not dare eat anything with salt in it. Because there are at least four toxic chemical elements in it. The rest of us, of course, recognise dose-dependency as being crucial in understanding how chemicals can be toxic. So we can continue to use common salt in our food, safe in the knowledge that we won’t die of anything salt-related (provided that we don’t put a kilogramme of salt on our fish and chips).

  31. #31 David N. Andrews M. Ed., C. P. S. E.
    December 16, 2010

    Orac, both attempts to post went through … please delete one of them, and this message also….

    Thank you…

  32. #32 canalon
    December 16, 2010

    Funny your question is:
    ‘So Liz, how much lead would you consider safe to inject into your baby? If lead was bright red and you mixed it with other substances, would you be ok with injecting it into your newborn as long as you couldn’t see any “red” left, of course?’
    Just like mercury is mixed with other substances if lead was mixed with EDTA (that would be equivalent to using ethylmercury or ferrocyanide) I would not see massive problems if 25µg of that ended up for a valid reason injected into my daughter, or me.
    So now that this has been answered, will you provide any valid references proving toxicity of thiomersal?

  33. #33 Disgusted
    February 4, 2011

    You people talk about others as being “insulting.” I suggest you take a look at ANY pro-vaccine blog and take note of the vitriol directed at anyone who dares to QUESTION the safety of vaccines. And you consider yourselves “skeptics”? And science-oriented? I think that’s incredibly ironic. When I was studying Physics in college I learned that QUESTIONING is the essence of the scientific process, and that a lot of what gets accepted in the science world as “fact” is proven to be utterly false when someone DARES to challenge the status quo. Well, being insulting and denigrating to people who do not agree with you will certainly get them on your side, and will ’cause other reasonable people who believe in the right to question to run in the other direction as well.

  34. #34 Gray Falcon
    February 4, 2011

    Interesting that you don’t provide any examples, Disgusted. Also, those who question the status quo usually provide good reason for questioning it, vague correlations that don’t pan out in the long term don’t count.

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