Respectful Insolence

The fallout from Brian Deer’s further revelations of the scientific fraud that is anti-vaccine hero Andrew Wakefield continues apace.

Remember last week, when I wrote about the first article of the two-part series enumerating the various ways that Andrew Wakefield committed scientific fraud in putting together the case series that became the basis of his now infamous 1998 Lancet paper (now retracted)? Remember how, in describing the crazed manner in which Wakefield apologists immediately started circling the wagons to defend their hero?, I wondered what had happened to the celebrity spokesmodel for the anti-vaccine group Generation Rescue. Where had Jenny McCarthy gone to? After all, when the GMC first found Wakefield to have committed professional misconduct and major breaches of medical ethics during the conduct of his investigations, she and her then-boyfriend Jim Carrey wrote a post defending him that was so full of burning stupid that it formed a firestorm that sucked the oxygen out of the air for a hundred miles surrounding Jenny’s southern California abode. Yet, this time around, Jenny refused to be interviewed for various stories that erupted Wednesday night and Thursday in the wake of the release of the BMJ articles. My first thought was that, maybe, just maybe, she had gotten a bit of sense. After all, she hasn’t been nearly as vocal about vaccines and vaccine-autism conspiracy mongering in recent months compared to the height of her reign as queen of anti-vaccine quackery promotion in 2008 and 2009.

Or not.

It turns out that McCarthy was apparently waiting for talking points from her handlers at Generation Rescue. Yesterday afternoon, what to my wondering eyes should appear in–where else?–that wretched hive of scum and anti-vaccine quackery The Huffington Post, a post ostensibly penned by McCarthy entitled In the Vaccine-Autism Debate, What Can Parents Believe? Although the stupid is just as strong as it was nearly a year ago, it’s recycled stupid; so it doesn’t burn quite as hot. Consider it smoldering stupid that produces a black, oily stench that sucks IQ points from the brains of those who inhale it faster than McCarthy can find her way into another sleazy role on Two and a Half Men. Basically, view it as a concentrated amalgamation of the same dubious arguments that have been flying fast and furious over at Generation Rescue’s propaganda blog, Age of Autism, which is–surprise! surprise!–being pimped on that very same blog.

Let’s see how much nonsense Jenny can lay down in less than 700 words. Actually, let’s see how much nonsense whoever Jenny’s ghostwriter from AoA is can lay down in less than 700 words:

Last week, parents were told a British researcher’s 1998 report linking the MMR shot to autism was fraudulent — that this debate about vaccines and autism is now over, and parents should no longer worry about giving their children six vaccines at a single pediatric appointment or 36 by the time they are five years old.

While it’s true that last week parents were told that Andrew Wakefield’s 1998 paper was fraudulent, what we’re dealing with is not a “debate.” It’s a pseudodebate. It’s a manufactroversy. The actual scientific debate over whether vaccines cause autism was over years ago. Unfortunately, dim-witted celebrities like Jenny McCarthy, who thinks that her Google University education trumps the knowledge accumulated by scientists who have spent their careers studying autism and/or vaccines, keep it alive, science be damned, medicine be damned. In her arrogance of ignorance, Jenny McCarthy thinks that her ill-informed opinion about whether or not vaccines cause autism and whether or not they are safe and effective should be taken as seriously as the science-based views of real scientists. That’s why she’s apparently happy to lend her name to the same misinformation that her handlers want her to promote, including the “36 vaccine” canard, which exists mainly to scare parents.

McCarthy then continues with her greatest hits of anti-vaccine canards:

Is that the whole story? Dr. Andrew Wakefield’s study of 12 children with autism actually looked at bowel disease, not vaccines. The study’s conclusion stated, “We did not prove an association between measles, mumps and rubella vaccine and the syndrome described [autism].”

I’ve addressed this claim before, most recently about a year ago. Let’s take a look at some of what Wakefield said in his paper, shall we? For example, Wakefield asserted:

We identified associated gastrointestinal disease and developmental regression in a group of previously normal children, which was generally associated in time with possible environmental triggers.

What could that trigger be, pray tell? I wonder. Hmmmmm. Oh, yes:

We have identified a chronic enterocolitis in children that may be related to neuropsychiatric dysfunction. In most cases, onset of symptoms was after measles, mumps, and rubella immunisation. Further investigations are needed to examine this syndrome and its possible relation to this vaccine.

Well, that certainly sounds as though Wakefield is–wink, wink, nudge nudge–not exactly saying that vaccines cause autism associated with enterocolitis, if you know what I mean, but he’s just saying, you know? Just like he was saying here in the manuscript:

If there is a causal link between measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine and this syndrome, a rising incidence might be anticipated after the introduction of this vaccine in the UK in 1988.

Anyone who’s been in science a while and read a lot of scientific papers can rapidly recognize statements and passages of text that reviewers probably forced the authors of papers to insert in order to water down statements that aren’t well-supported by the data. We can recognize reviewer-mandated hedging, and the statement cited by McCarthy sounds just like such a reviewer mandate. Reading between the lines, specifically the statements I just cited above compared to the statement that Jenny McCarthy and her fellow anti-vaccine loons love to cite as evidence that Wakefield never tried to argue that vaccines cause autism or autistic enterocolitis, I sense the heavy hand of the reviewers. It’s just too bad that their hands weren’t a hell of a lot heavier, to the point of checking the “reject” box on the summary sheet they had to fill out after reviewing the manuscript.

Then, of course, let’s not forget that Wakefield appeared in a 20 minute video promoting his work released by the Royal Free Hospital in which he went far beyond the measured, caveat-laden language of medical academia. Here is a taste:

INTERVIEWER: So you’re saying that a parent should still ensure that their child is inoculated but perhaps not with the MMR combined vaccine?

DR ANDREW WAKEFIELD: Again, this was very contentious and you would not get consensus from all members of the group on this, but that is my feeling, that the, the risk of this particular syndrome developing is related to the combined vaccine, the MMR, rather than the single vaccines.

And:

WAKEFIELD: And I have to say that there is sufficient anxiety in my own mind of the safety, the long term safety of the polyvalent, that is the MMR vaccination in combination, that I think that it should be suspended in favour of the single vaccines, that is continued use of the individual measles, mumps and rubella components.

These assertions were certainly not contained in Wakefield’s Lancet paper. More importantly, even if Wakefield’s work had not been utterly fraudulent, even if they had been the result of rigorously and ethically performed clinical investigation, his assertions to the press in the wake of the publication of his Lancet article were most definitely not supported even by the data presented in that paper. There was no evidence in Wakefield’s paper to support the recommendation that the MMR be broken up into its three component vaccines because somehow together these vaccines caused Wakefield’s syndrome of regressive autism associated with enterocolitis. There was no evidence presented that would suggest that breaking up the MMR into its three component vaccines would be somehow safer than administering the combined vaccine. That just came out of nowhere. Or maybe not, given that Wakefield was working on his own measles vaccine at the time.

In other words, it’s a load of fetid dingo’s kidneys when McCarthy tries to point Wakefield as a responsible scientist who wasn’t at all trying to show that the MMR vaccine causes autism.

McCarthy can’t resist stinking up the joint even more by letting the dingo’s kidneys sit in the sun a while longer to ferment a bit before before she regurgitates this gem:

Dr. Wakefield did something I wish all doctors would do: he listened to parents and reported what they said. His paper also said that, “Onset of behavioral symptoms was associated, by the parents, with measles, mumps and rubella vaccination in 8 of the 12 children,” and that, “further investigations are needed to examine this syndrome [autism with gut disease] and its possible relation to this vaccine.”

Since when is repeating the words of parents and recommending further investigation a crime? As I’ve learned, the answer is whenever someone questions the safety of any vaccines.

The burning stupid starts producing even more oily, stinky smoke, the better to complement the aroma of the fetid dingo’s kidneys. Oh, I suppose that it could be said that Wakefield “listened to the parents,” at least insofar as they, with their human, fallible memories confused correlation with causation, while some of them failed to note that their children had exhibited signs of developmental delay and disorders before they ever received their first dose of the MMR vaccine or that some of the children never actually received a diagnosis of regressive autism. The evidence from the BMJ paper is damning in the extreme in this respect. As this table shows, not one of the original twelve children exhibited all three of the characteristics described by Wakefield: regressive autism, nonspecific colitis, and first symptoms occurring days after the MMR, even though Wakefield reported that 6/12 had all three of these features. In “listening to the parents,” Wakefield heard what he wanted to hear rather than what the evidence showed. He also falsified data in order to shoehorn those stories to fit his hypothesis.

As for “listening to the parents,” actually Wakefield was more than happy t to discard subjects from his analysis when their parents’ stories didn’t suit his narrative of the MMR causing some sort of syndrome of regressive autism and enterocolitis. That’s what he did when he reduced the number of children to 8/12 showing symptoms within days of vaccination in order to eliminate the embarrassment of the children who supposedly didn’t show signs of autism and enterocolitis until weeks or months after vaccination, which, without the exclusion of these children, produced, as Deer drily put it, an “unhelpful” maximum of 56 days between vaccination and onset of symptoms. Put briefly, it can’t be repeated often enough that Wakefield falsified data in order to produce the result he wanted.

Not that any of this stops McCarthy from moving on to this:

For some reason, parents aren’t being told that this “new” information about Dr. Wakefield isn’t a medical report, but merely the allegations of a single British journalist named Brian Deer. Why does one journalist’s accusations against Dr. Wakefield now mean the vaccine-autism debate is over?

No, these “new” allegations are based on the proceedings and report of the General Medical Council, which investigated Andrew Wakefield for two and a half years before rendering a verdict, characterizing him as irresponsible and dishonest. Indeed, Brian Deer himself explained right here in the very comments of a post of mine:

To clarify a point I have clarified many times. I read the children’s hospital records, under legal supervision, as the result of an order against Andrew Wakefield issued by a High Court judge. Thus there can be no question of any wrongdoing whatsoever.

Since Wakefield abandoned his action against me and, very sadly, we didn’t get him to trial, I could make no collatoral use of the knowledge I had obtained by reading the records.

However, one cannot un-know something. I determined that the best course of action would be to attend the Wakefield GMC where, as it happens, those medical records, plus a great deal more were introduced in public. I think I was the only non-participant who took any notice, although the anti-vaxxers paid someone to sit through the hearing.

This is how the critical patient data has come to be published in the BMJ, after staff checking, independent of me, and peer review.

Indeed. In Deer’s BMJ article, it is explained that reports by Deer in the BMJ were “commissioned and paid for by the journal” and that his work was externally peer reviewed. Moreover, contrary to the talking point parroted by Jenny McCarthy from her handlers at Generation Rescue that Deer’s allegations of fraud are the product of a single man’s unhinged obsession with Wakefield, Brian Deer wasn’t the only person who suspected fraud, and the GMC discovered research improprieties. What this latest BMJ set of papers demonstrate is that Wakefield’s fraud was worse than previously thought, even more egregious than previously thought. I know I’ve said it before, but I still can’t understand why anti-vaccine loons cling so tightly to Wakefield even after he’s been utterly discredited beyond any chance of scientific redemption. If I believed that vaccines cause autism, I would have dropped Wakefield like a load of radioactive waste a long time ago and turned my attention elsewhere to try to support my belief. Wakefield is such a disgrace that he does far more harm to the anti-vaccine movement then good. Yet he remains a hero, most recently being featured at a cushy anti-vaccine conference in Jamaica.

The allegations against Wakefield keep drip, drip, dripping, like some sort of bizarre Chinese water torture. Every time you think that everything’s been found out, it seems, more revelations show just how much lower Wakefield went. Thae anti-vaccine movement can’t counter them with facts and evidence; so it does what it does best. It launches ad hominem attacks, like this one by J.B. Handley attempting to smear Brian Deer, even going so far as to add petty little digs at him as referring to him contemptuously as an “unmarried, childless man” and claiming that the parents of the 12 children in Wakefield’s case series view him of being “unhinged, dangerous, and able to cause harm to their families,” and quoting someone named Jane Bryant, who describes Deer as a “nasty, aggressive man, completely out of control and rapidly developing own-goal status for the pro vaccine lobby.”

Yes, J.B. predictably uses the pharma shill gambit liberally, even going so far as to insinuate that because the BMJ journals accept advertising from the pharmaceutical industry it must mean that the industry leaned on BMJ editors to go after Wakefield.

Perhaps the most hilarious attack on Brian Deer comes from an old “friend,” Ginger Taylor, who decided to take this opportunity to pimp her upcoming anti-vaccine book and rant about Brian Deer. In this post, while promoting her book, cowritten with Louise Kuo Habakus (whom we’ve met before), Vaccine Epidemic: How Corporate Greed, Biased Science, and Coercive Government Threaten Our Human Rights, Our Health, and Our Children, Taylor says one of the most amusingly un-self-aware things I’ve ever seen in the blogosphere:

If it is not clear to you this far, let me be frank about it. The coverage of the vaccine/autism debate that you see in the media, is not scientific debate or earnest investigation… it is a dog fight. And Pharma plays dirty.

Comedy gold! After all, no one I’ve met plays as dirty as the anti-vaccine movement, with smear campaigns, attempts to get certain bloggers fired, all topped off with huge helpings of sheer nastiness mixed with lunacy.

I wonder if I can get a review copy of the book.

On second thought, no I don’t. I’m not sure I could tolerate the massive waves of neuronal apoptosis that might result. (Look it up, Ginger.) I do, however, very much look forward to part 2 of Brian Deer’s expose, due to be published this Thursday. You can be sure I’ll be commenting on it when it is.

ADDENDUM: Mike also comments.

Comments

  1. #1 Damien
    January 11, 2011

    I guess it’s true what South Park said, Gingers have no souls.

    ::rimshot::

  2. #2 Militant Agnostic
    January 11, 2011

    I know I’ve said it before, but I still can’t understand why anti-vaccine loons cling so tightly to Wakefield even after he’s been utterly discredited beyond any chance of scientific redemption.

    As someone pointed out on one of the previous Wakefield threads – Sunk Costs Fallacy

  3. #3 Hey Zeus is my Homeboy
    January 11, 2011

    “Look it up, Ginger.”

    lmao – I smell a new FARKesque meme.

  4. #4 Ge
    January 11, 2011

    Why are we still so surprised that people in the vaccine-movement won’t reconsider their positions, now that bad science has been exposes as fraudulent science? They lie about research-results all the time. Why should now be any different?

  5. #5 BigHeathenMike
    January 11, 2011

    My favorite part of McCarthy’s piece (favorite?) is this line: “I know children regress after vaccination because it happened to my own son.”

    Nothing else demonstrates the gap between science and nonsense like this. It shows that she and others like her value anecdote(s) over twelve years of scientific inquiry that disagrees with her pet idea. We will never change her mind.

    Hopefully the majority of people seeing the recent reporting will be swayed to the rational side.

  6. #6 Anonymous
    January 11, 2011

    Damn Arianna Huffington and her editors for this. Random people on Twitter have more ethics than they do.

    Jan 6
    “Jenny McCarthy under fire on Twitter”
    http://content.usatoday.com/communities/entertainment/post/2011/01/jenny-mccarthy-under-fire-on-twitter-/1

  7. #7 mikerattlesnake
    January 11, 2011

    “I know children regress after vaccination because it happened to my own son.”

    And isn’t this contradicted by her own book?

  8. #8 Anonymous
    January 11, 2011

    And look who is kind enough to help Jenny stay in the public eye! Oprah ran a repeat episode of a McCarthy episode yesterday.
    http://www.oprah.com/showinfo/Jenny-McCarthy-After-the-Big-Breakup-Plus-Author-Terry-McMillan_1
    What unbelievable hubris to run this and never address what Jenny’s done to the public health.

  9. #9 daedalus2u
    January 11, 2011

    What non-scientists don’t realize is that the most important (only important?) part of a scientific paper is the data, not the conclusions. If the data is wrong, the paper should be withdrawn because it is of zero scientific value. It doesn’t matter what the conclusions are, if the data is wrong, the conclusions do not follow from the data.

  10. #10 Jojo
    January 11, 2011

    I’m not sure why they hang on to Wankers, but personally, I think this trait is actually a win/win for reason. If AoA and Jenny did give up on him, it would show that they know their argument is weakening. That would help erode the confidence of the fence sitters. If AoA and Jenny don’t give up on Wakers, it helps to revel their conspiracy theory thinking, which in turn helps erode the confidence of the fence sitters. Anything the anti-vaxers do to hurt their credibility is a win in my book.

  11. #11 Caudoviral
    January 11, 2011

    Sheesh people, stop linking to HuffPo! They give these people a forum because they (HuffPo) are desperate for attention, and bad attention is significantly better than no attention. They don’t care if you click that link because you are a McCarthy supporter or because you are, y’know, sane. They just know that letting her spout dribble gets them pageviews, and pageviews = money, and money > journalistic ethics and responsible reporting. So the more views that article gets, the more likely they are to just continue this trend.

    McCarthy really should go back to touting her kid as an indigo child, at least that delusion didn’t cause deaths.

  12. #12 SC (Salty Current)
    January 11, 2011

    If I believed that vaccines cause autism, I would have dropped Wakefield like a load of radioactive waste a long time ago and turned my attention elsewhere to try to support my belief.

    The defensive claim doesn’t make sense, anyway. They can’t argue that the [retracted, fraudulent] paper didn’t show or seek to show an association between the MMR vaccine and autism and simultaneously use it in support of their cause of trying to show an association between the MMR vaccine and autism.

  13. #13 MI Dawn
    January 11, 2011

    @Caudoviral: IIRC, Orac usually uses a “nofollow” tag when he links to such things, so they don’t get credit for the views. (Disclaimer: I am not a computer html geek so I could be wrong as to how “nofollow” works but I know he has mentioned that he uses it.)

  14. #14 Calli Arcale
    January 11, 2011

    “nofollow” is meant to stop robots from following the link. It’s aimed mainly at things like the Googlebot, so that the link doesn’t count towards the target site’s Google ranking. Bots are not obligated to honor “nofollow”, but the Googlebot does, and I’d expect the other high-profile search engines to likewise honor it. It doesn’t stop the target site (in this case HuffPo) from knowing that you came from here if you click the link, though, and a click on the link will boost their ad revenue marginally.

  15. #15 superdave
    January 11, 2011

    @ Mike
    I read her book, and she does indeed in a alter chapter explain that she noticed autism symptoms in her child from a very early age, but then doubles back to say that it must have been at the start of the vaccine.

    The reason they cling to Wakefield is simple. They start with the conclusion they want and look for the data to support it. I have seen posts on the AoA that amount to the thought of “Well even if his actual data was wrong, there are still many kids who fit the description of the paper so the paper is still right”

  16. #16 Liz Ditz
    January 11, 2011

    I’m just updating my list of positive responses to the BMJ (Yes Wakefield is a fraud, and here are the implications…) and negative responses (Wakefield’s research IS TOO valid and vaccines cause autism anyway) at A roundup of responses to the BJM & Wakefield’s research was motivated by fraud.

    Some observations
    1. The positive responses come from a broad range of sites — politically left and right; people who are skeptics/ people who have heretofore (to my knowledge) never commented on vaccines or autism before, and so on. The negative responses are from a predictable set of sites and people.
    2. The news coverage in the US has (perhaps inadvertently) perpetrated the idea that all parents of children with autism believe in the vaccine causation myth. It is a complete falsehood. Many parents of children with autism and adults with autism robustly reject the myth.
    3. Kev Leitch, whose daughter has intense autism, has a moving post on how Wakefield’s actions have damaged everyone affected by autism.

  17. #17 Denice Walter
    January 11, 2011

    Mr. Wakefield himself defends his “contribution” to science while concurrently sliming Brian Deer (and all other reasonable people involved) as Gary Null’s guest yesterday; while I was fortunate enough to miss it live, I heard as much as I could tolerate this morning on “tape” (progressiveradionetwork archives; the Gary Null; 1/10/11, 3PM)- needless to say, minutes of Andy and Null go by like hours- ” faux-sincere, soft-spoken Brit” meets “sonorously self-aggrandizing twit”- conspiracy mongering ensues post-haste: a tsumani of arrogance-cum-ignorance engulfs all surviving listeners. Words nearly fail (even) me, although “Garn!” and “Oy!” rapidly come to mind.

  18. #18 MI Dawn
    January 11, 2011

    @Calli Arcale: Thanks! I knew there would be someone who could explain it.

  19. #19 akatsuki
    January 11, 2011

    I thought McCarthy’s baby turned out not to even have autism but Landau-Kleffner syndrome. And all her screwing around with anti-vaxxers – well I can’t image that helped getting the proper diagnosis.

  20. #20 James
    January 11, 2011

    Circle jerk articles like this are no better than the circle jerk articles about problems with vaccines from the other side. Wakefields paper has finally been declared fraud. Good, that’s progress. Meanwhile, there are piles of reasonable and relevant questions and concerns about specific vaccines, specific combinations of vaccines and specific combinations of vaccines given to children at specific ages which really don’t have solid and conclusive scientific studies. You lot all masterbating each other while talking about ‘how stupid the “others” are’ and how ‘they don’t listen to scientists’ as a blanket statement is doing a lot to harm actual scienticif progress towards a resolution. Blind faith in someone wearing a lab coat isn’t science, it’s religion. Read real world concerns from parents. Read them. Understand them. Look at the work they are questioning, who conducted it, what their credentials are, what thier potential conflict of interestes are, how they did the research, and how conclusive the research was. Look at the effective rate of vaccines. Look at how long they last. Look at what the risks of the vaccines are. Now look at the risks of the diseases. There is a huge amount of grey area. There aren’t vaccines which 100% detroy risk, and there aren’t vaccines which don’t come with risks. Therefor it cannot be black and white. Now put your dick away and stop using the word science when what you mean is blind faith in unidentified scientists.

  21. #21 Militant Agnostic
    January 11, 2011

    @20
    It has been looked at many times. It is time to move on.

    Re real world concerns of parents – look up confirmation bias & post hoc fallacy.

  22. #22 Chris
    January 11, 2011

    James:

    Look at what the risks of the vaccines are. Now look at the risks of the diseases. There is a huge amount of grey area. There aren’t vaccines which 100% detroy risk, and there aren’t vaccines which don’t come with risks.

    Known risk for measles of something bad: 1 per 1000

    Known risk for MMR (after 40 years of use): 1 in 1,000,000

    Well, not really black and white. More like really dark gray and a bit off white.

    Of course you can read an article about them here, where the measles bit is summarized as:

    The Disease: measles.

    The historical disease: 400,00 cases a year in the US with 400 deaths.

    World Wide disease: Measles infects 25 to 30 million children each year and kills 345,000 (15).

    Vaccine efficacy: 90-95%.

    Vaccine Side effects: not autism, allergic reaction in 1 in a million.

  23. #23 Heather
    January 11, 2011

    @21 – “It has been looked at many times. It is time to move on.”

    Good thing all science doesn’t work this way – we found the answer, now let’s except it as truth and not look back! There are a lot of things that science saw as conclusive in past that were later refuted as inaccurate.

    As far as many are concerned, even among the scientific community, legitimate questions about vaccines remain. Even if you don’t think that’s true it should still be considered a good thing that scientists continue to evaluate vaccines in order to improve the methods we use to give them, their safety, the ingredients used, how we might more efficiently produce them, etc.

  24. #24 Chemmomo
    January 11, 2011

    James @20

    there are piles of reasonable and relevant questions and concerns about specific vaccines

    If you have a specific concern, ask your doctor.
    If you have general concerns, I suggest taking a look at the CDC website or Every Child by Two, where they gather together links to studies on specific vaccines: http://www.ecbt.org/parents/vaccinesafety.cfm

    And exactly which side is displaying blind faith right now?

  25. #25 T. Bruce McNeely
    January 11, 2011

    Circle jerk articles…circle jerk articles…You lot all masterbating…Now put your dick away…

    Happeh, is that you?

  26. #26 T. Bruce McNeely
    January 11, 2011

    Even if you don’t think that’s true it should still be considered a good thing that scientists continue to evaluate vaccines in order to improve the methods we use to give them, their safety, the ingredients used, how we might more efficiently produce them, etc.

    It is considered a good thing, and it is being done. It is the anti-vaxers who dispute the results because they don’t support their fixed delusions.

  27. #27 james
    January 11, 2011

    22 – Taking a small portion out of context of my post and offering a reaction to it doesn’t invalidate my point. That is one example of one piece of what I said. Posted without a source. Not really science.

    There is a problem here. The problem is that a lot of parents have concerns about vaccines. The people who claim to be representing science in this realm are really insult-throwing ego-centric jackasses who are practicing nothing near science, but rather blind faith in what a few people have told them. If your goal is to further worsen the problem, congratulations you are succeding.

  28. #28 james
    January 11, 2011

    @Chemmomo

    I don’t have specific concerns, but a lot of parents do.

    I was talking about them, and the fact that calling them names and them telling them that you represent science isn’t going to further this cause.

    I am conerned for the parents, and specifically their children. They have concerns but when they try to voice them or do research all they kind find is apes throwing shit at each other, much like this article. No real civil, scientiic discussion going on anywhere dealing with it in the public eye. !”

    “Take a look at the CDC website” – ” who is showing blind faith” – you are. Because you trust the statements on the CDC website as fact and when someone tells you they have a question about them you blindly tell them that it cannot be valid. The scientific method would suggest that you look at what the CDC is basing their decisions on, who did the research, if they potentially have conflicts of interests, if the research was possibly tainted, how conclusing it was, etc, etc. Re-evalution. Not blind faith in the words a total stranger has put into an html file.

    Where do you see me displaying blind faith?

  29. #29 Chris
    January 11, 2011

    James, the blue letters were a link, go to the link. You posted a rant, I saw no reason to work any harder to make you happy.

    Okay, is this link better?

    Now, do you also like this link:

    About one out of 10 children with measles also gets an ear infection, and up to one out of 20 gets pneumonia. About one out of 1,000 gets encephalitis, and one or two out of 1,000 die.

    If you have other real verifiable evidence that the problems caused by the MMR in forty years of use is worse than measles, please present it. And stop whining.

  30. #30 Heather
    January 11, 2011

    @25 “It is considered a good thing, and it is being done. It is the anti-vaxers who dispute the results because they don’t support their fixed delusions.”

    I guess I was looking at this from a broader perspective. In all the reading I do on various sites, the majority of people who questions vaccines are dismissed out of hand. Concerns are not approached as if they were a good thing or something to evaluate. They are shot down and attacked.

    Among the scientific and medical communities it needs to be better recognized that parents have what they feel are legitimate concerns and treat them as such, rather than vilifying, name calling, and scaremongering.

    At a simple level, parents are basically deciding whether they fear the disease or the vaccine more. For those that haven’t done any research on their own, outside influences like media have the opportunity to bring to their attention information that will sway their decision one way or another.

    This is where I think Wakefield has caused the most damage. He would have been no different than any other scientist that falsified info in his studies if it weren’t for the attention the media brought to his work. They preyed on the natural fear that parents have about keeping kids safe in order to boost their ratings/readership/etc, with potentially disastrous consequences.

    It is hard to understand why the anti-vax movement doesn’t see it as a good thing that Wakefield’s research has been debunked, and turn their focus elsewhere rather than circling the wagons around him. They are instead choosing to continue to believe what most closely matches their views rather than look at things objectively.

    But I think posts like this one just fan the flames. It makes it easy for them to continue to see this as a character attack rather than a victory against bad science. Perhaps it could be argued that they wouldn’t listen to reason anyway, however I think continuing to make this about Wakefield is the wrong approach.

  31. #31 Art Tricque
    January 11, 2011

    The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) Radio One programme “The Current” had a half-hour segment on today called “Panic Virus – Seth Mnookin” about Wakefield. A win for science to have it broadcast on the flagship national morning news magazine programme.

  32. #32 Steve
    January 11, 2011

    People who don’t vaccinate are really selfish , like so selfish that they don’t care if someone else dies because of their actions.

    Vaccines work when we all take them . The reason for this is simple to understand , there is a small percentage of the population that the vaccines will not work on when they are taken and the person will still be vulnerable to the disease throughout their lives . The only way for these vulnerable people to stay safe is to reduce the prevalence of the disease in the environment , that is achieved by everybody when everybody gets vaccinated .

    If this is hard to grasp here is a good analogy .

    Its like peanut allergy . Some kids are deathly allergic to peanuts . If these kids even smell peanut butter they can go into shock .
    If it is known that a child with peanut allergy is in your class you can expect a peanut ban in that classroom .

    All it takes is one selfish child or parent to break that ban and bring peanuts to class and the allergic childs life could be lost .

    People like Jenny Macarthy are equally selfish .

  33. #33 Chemmomo
    January 11, 2011

    James,
    seriously? “apes throwing shit”?
    Why don’t you look at the Every Child by Two website. It doens’t have “apes throwing shit.” It has links to research papers. You and your friends with concerns can read them for yourself/themselves. Reading and attempting to understand the actual scientfic papers is what I’m recommending – this is not “blind faith.”

    Oh, and unless you’re a hard core anti-vaccine-Wakefield-worshipper (you claim you’re not, in your original post), I did not accuse you of having blind faith.

  34. #34 Scott
    January 11, 2011

    In all the reading I do on various sites, the majority of people who questions vaccines are dismissed out of hand. Concerns are not approached as if they were a good thing or something to evaluate. They are shot down and attacked.

    This is because the overwhelming majority of “concerns” about vaccination are mindless repetition of what some unqualified fool (e.g. Jenny) decided to spout without the slightest understanding of the subject. REAL concerns are treated as good and something to evaluate.

    “Evaluating” claims that aborted fetal cells are in vaccines is a complete waste of time.

    Among the scientific and medical communities it needs to be better recognized that parents have what they feel are legitimate concerns and treat them as such, rather than vilifying, name calling, and scaremongering.

    Confused parents should be treated with respect, I’ll agree. And sometimes that doesn’t happen. But there are some crucial differences.

    Concerns that are NOT legitimate (i.e. virtually all of them) should not be treated as if they are. It should simply be baldly stated that they’re hokum.

    And the attempted mass murderers like Wakefield and McCarthy who SPREAD the lies deserve not the faintest shred of respect. They are evil, despicable, and should be locked up for their callous disregard for the megadeaths which would result were they to get their way.

    At a simple level, parents are basically deciding whether they fear the disease or the vaccine more.

    The trick is that this is similar to deciding whether the sky is blue or yellow. There is only one answer which comes even vaguely close to contact with reality.

  35. #35 james
    January 11, 2011

    @chris – I missed the embeded link the first time. You had a source, my mistake. You are still taking the time to post replies to my post, now complaining that it is taking too much of your time (don’t reply then?), all the while ignoring my point.

    “If you have other real verifiable evidence that the problems caused by the MMR in forty years of use is worse than measles, please present it. And stop whining.”

    Can you see how you are still catagorizing it as black and white? ” I think black. He said gray. GRAY IS NOT BLACK! GRAY MUST BE WHITE! THIS PERSON IS ON WHITES TEAM!”

    I don’t think MMR is worse than measles, but I do think that MMR is regarded as a 100% safe and 100% effective solution to measles. It is not. It is not black or white. It is gray. As are all vaccines, and the numbers and judgement calls are different for each one. It is further compounded when you start combining them.

    There are other comments to this article saying things like ‘anti-vaxers dispute the results’. Clearly this is a massive blanket statement. There are facts, there is reasearch, there is ongoing research, there are extremists on both sides. Most importantly there are a lot of people stuck in the middle with concerns and questions trying to make sense of it all. Calling them names, issuing blanket statements about them, leaving them mountains of circle jerk articles about how awesome you are, etc, etc is counter-productive. That’s all. That’s my point.

  36. #36 Pablo
    January 11, 2011

    In all the reading I do on various sites, the majority of people who questions vaccines are dismissed out of hand. Concerns are not approached as if they were a good thing or something to evaluate. They are shot down and attacked.

    For an important reason: they are generally ignorant. Not ignorant as in “stupid,” but in that they come from a completely unaware/uninformed perspective. And I don’t necessarily hold that against them. Most of them either haven’t the background to know where to look or what to look for, and therefore just don’t know about what has been done, and a good chunk of them have been misled by lies of the anti-vaxxers. Hence, it is not surprising that they have unfounded concerns. However, when “concerned parents” express these ignorant concerns, what can you honestly say aside from, “Your concern is baseless”? I mean, when parents are worried about the amount of mercury in the MMR vaccine, where do you start, and how do you address it without appearing to come of condescending and dismissive? I mean, it DESERVES to be dismissed, because it is so far removed from reality that it is not a legitimate question.

    Sure, there are some questions that are more sophisticated, but in the same way, they are as grounded in ignorance. As such, the best response is to tell the person to get informed (like the, “talk to your doctor” response”). Again, it may sound dismissive, but seriously, why are we expected to do all the work for them? I mean, Chris can provide her stack of references every time the question comes up, but why should she have to in the first place? Is it too much to ask for people to actually do some checking into it themselves? And, more importantly, is it too much to ask for people who haven’t bothered to try to even try to find out what is known to do that before complaining that nothing is known? “I am not aware of any work that has been done to test the effectiveness of the CDC recommended vaccination schedule” is not the same as “There has not been any work done to test the CDC schedule,” especially when the first statement is made by someone who hasn’t even looked to see what has been done in the first place.

    Of course, then there are folks like our friend James, who complains that no one will address the concerns of parents, while at the same time, complains that we put too much faith in scientists. Aside from the poisoning the well that happens with his choice of language, it begs the question, well how SHOULD we address the concerns of parents then, if not by using science? This is why James is so deceitful, because he has stacked the deck to make it impossible to answer the question.

    James: No one will address the concerns of parents
    Response: Well, these questions are addressed in these scientific studies that have been reported
    James: You put too much faith in scientists. Now, why won’t anyone address the concerns of parents?
    Interpretation: Waaaaaaaaaaah! No one listens to my blatant assertion that vaccines are evil. Waaaaaaaah!

  37. #37 Todd W.
    January 11, 2011

    @james

    I don’t think MMR is worse than measles, but I do think that MMR is regarded as a 100% safe and 100% effective solution to measles. It is not. It is not black or white. It is gray. As are all vaccines, and the numbers and judgement calls are different for each one.

    You will not find anyone here, or at the CDC, or at FDA, or at the makers of the vaccines, who would say that any vaccine, singly or in combination, is 100% safe. That is a strawman. The only ones who seem to have this opinion are those who are anti-vaccine.

    Now, if someone comes with questions, they are generally treated with respect and have their questions answered. If they persist in repeating the same questions after repeatedly having the answer explained to them, then patience tends to drop somewhat and answers become a bit more terse.

    Let me just ask, what is a valid concern that you have heard brought up that has not yet been adequately explained or answered?

  38. #38 Yojimbo
    January 11, 2011

    @29 Heather

    “I guess I was looking at this from a broader perspective. In all the reading I do on various sites, the majority of people who questions vaccines are dismissed out of hand.”

    I guess you look at different sites than I do. In my experience the majority of people who honestly question vaccines are treated respectfully and an attempt is made to steer them to established data that addresses their concerns. It is not the ones who question that get flamed, it is the ones with nothing but unsupported assertion presented as unassailable fact.

  39. #39 Gray Falcon
    January 11, 2011

    James, do you know what risk management is? It’s not really possible to erase risk completely, only to reduce it to manageable levels. I’d give some examples, but my best examples are from computer security, and I’d just be giving people ideas.

  40. #40 Orac
    January 11, 2011

    I don’t think MMR is worse than measles, but I do think that MMR is regarded as a 100% safe and 100% effective solution to measles. It is not.

    Who states that the MMR is “a 100% safe and 100% effective solution to measles”? I want specific examples and names, preferably with links.

    [Crickets chirping.]

  41. #41 T. Bruce McNeely
    January 11, 2011

    There are other comments to this article saying things like ‘anti-vaxers dispute the results’.

    Well, maybe not ALL of the antivaxers. However, I can’t seem to find the antivaxers who acknowledge that there is no valid research showing that vaccines are involved in causing autism. Can you help me?

  42. #42 Julian Frost
    January 11, 2011

    James:

    I do think that MMR is regarded as a 100% safe and 100% effective solution to measles. It is not.

    Nobody here has said that MMR is 100% safe. Heck, no one here has said that of any vaccine. Your comment is a strawman.

  43. #43 Pablo
    January 11, 2011

    Let me just ask, what is a valid concern that you have heard brought up that has not yet been adequately explained or answered?

    With the key word being “valid” concern. Not some made-up concerned based on nothing, or, more importantly, based on misinformation fed to them by an anti-vaxxer.

  44. #44 Orac
    January 11, 2011

    I guess you look at different sites than I do. In my experience the majority of people who honestly question vaccines are treated respectfully and an attempt is made to steer them to established data that addresses their concerns. It is not the ones who question that get flamed, it is the ones with nothing but unsupported assertion presented as unassailable fact.

    Precisely. The reason Jenny McCarthy and J.B. Handley come in for special opprobrium here is because they keep repeating the same misinformation over and over and over again, despite having been pointed to scientifically valid evidence and shown why their assertions about vaccines are wrong on many occasions. Worse, they promote anti-vaccine views to a wide audience. History matters, as do consequences. Children can die if their parents follow the “advice” of people like Jenny McCarthy.

    If someone shows up asking questions and appears not to have completely drunk the Kool Aid about vaccines, you will find a much different reception, from both me and my readers. Indeed, many of my regular readers are quite knowledgeable and patient and will take a lot of time trying to lead such parents to reliable, scientifically sound sources of information. Contrast this to James’ first entry into the comment section here:

    Circle jerk articles like this are no better than the circle jerk articles about problems with vaccines from the other side. Wakefields paper has finally been declared fraud. Good, that’s progress. Meanwhile, there are piles of reasonable and relevant questions and concerns about specific vaccines, specific combinations of vaccines and specific combinations of vaccines given to children at specific ages which really don’t have solid and conclusive scientific studies. You lot all masterbating each other while talking about ‘how stupid the “others” are’ and how ‘they don’t listen to scientists’ as a blanket statement is doing a lot to harm actual scienticif progress towards a resolution. Blind faith in someone wearing a lab coat isn’t science, it’s religion.

    And James wonders why he got a hostile reception much like what is written about Jenny McCarthy.

  45. #45 Militant Agnostic
    January 11, 2011

    Blind faith in someone wearing a lab coat isn’t science, it’s religion.

    It seems to me it is the supporters of Wakefield and anti-vaxxers as well as alties in general who have blind faith in a particular individual wearing a lab coat. Visit a few supplement peddling sites and you will see this.

  46. #46 Dangerous Bacon
    January 11, 2011

    james: ” I do think that MMR is regarded as a 100% safe and 100% effective solution to measles.”

    As noted previously, no one makes this claim. On the other hand, many antivaxers claim that vaccines are dangerous and ineffective because they, like all other medical interventions are less than 100% safe and effective.

    Fallacious absolutist thinking is a problem among antivaxers, not advocates for immunization.

    “There are facts, there is reasearch, there is ongoing research, there are extremists on both sides. Most importantly there are a lot of people stuck in the middle with concerns and questions trying to make sense of it all.”

    This is another fallacy. The facts, backed up by research and extensive clinical experience overwhelmingly support the physicians, scientists, public health experts and parents who are pro-immunization. This idea that “some say one thing, some say another, we need more research?” is a construct favored by antivaxers (and gullible news media sources, who are learning better following the Wakefield debacle). The reality is far different.

  47. #47 Scott
    January 11, 2011

    Can you see how you are still catagorizing it as black and white? ” I think black. He said gray. GRAY IS NOT BLACK! GRAY MUST BE WHITE! THIS PERSON IS ON WHITES TEAM!”

    Except it IS black and white. Either the risk is worth the benefit, or it is not. And it is.

    I don’t think MMR is worse than measles, but I do think that MMR is regarded as a 100% safe and 100% effective solution to measles. It is not. It is not black or white. It is gray. As are all vaccines, and the numbers and judgement calls are different for each one. It is further compounded when you start combining them.

    Leaving aside the already-repeatedly-rebutted strawman, do you not see how inconsistent this is? Unless the MMR is a greater risk than measles, mumps, and rubella, the only rational choice is to use it.

    And while it’s strictly true that all vaccines have different risk/benefit profiles, it is ALSO true that all vaccines on the recommended schedule have that balance come out overwhelmingly on the benefit side.

    There are facts, there is reasearch, there is ongoing research

    Around the edges, certainly. Not about any of the central key issues, which are quite settled.

  48. #48 Jud
    January 11, 2011

    james writes:

    The people who claim to be representing science in this realm are really insult-throwing…

    Agreed that people throwing insults rather than engaging in reasoned discussion are a problem.

    …ego-centric jackasses who are practicing nothing near science, but rather blind faith in what a few people have told them.

    Wow. Complains about insult-throwers, then hurls insults with his very next words. This must be in the running for a world record in self-contradiction (or if not strictly logical self-contradiction, at least ironic lack of self-awareness).

    If you really do wish to engage in reasonable, productive discussion, please do what others have invited you to do in this thread: Find current medical or governmental information purporting to support vaccine safety or efficacy, and reliable evidence calling that information into question, and present them. And don’t complain that it’s impossible. It’s been done before on this very blog by folks who are urging caution re particular vaccines or the vaccine schedule, and actual reasonable discussions have ensued. So it can be done, has been done, and if you fail to do it the blame lies nowhere else but with yourself.

  49. #49 DerelictHat
    January 11, 2011

    You know James, if you can’t accept the word of those who are specifically educated in the field under discussion (like the ladies and gents at the CDC), perhaps you should go get a degree yourself, so that you can start your own research?

    Or you can whine some more about not being about to trust doctors and scientists.

  50. #50 Ichthyic
    January 11, 2011

    I read her book, and she does indeed in a alter chapter explain that she noticed autism symptoms in her child from a very early age, but then doubles back to say that it must have been at the start of the vaccine.

    I’m sure this has been posted here before, but, might as well keep the recall fresh :)

    Recall Bias

  51. #51 David
    January 11, 2011

    The reason that Jenny McCarthy and others cling so tightly to these unconscionable lies is that either they stand to make a lot of money by talking about it, like the people writing books, or they face years of at least partially good faith charitable effort flushed down the drain and humiliation, like Jenny McCarthy. I wouldn’t describe them as stupid so much as bitterly, futilely entrenched. They cling to him because his was the only supposedly scientific finding in support of the problem they have spent so much time energy and money trying to fight. Admitting they are wrong is admitting that they’ve wasted all of that. And they don’t want to admit that to themselves, let alone anyone else.

  52. #52 Marie
    January 11, 2011

    This rant is addressed to Jenny McCarthy:

    Sure, most of society feels bad for your son having Autism but the vaccine didn’t cause it: your DNA did. Crow is usually best eaten warm.

    I hope you (Jenny) read this and stew about in your own stupid juices. Likewise goes for anyone who supports the anti-vaccine movement. You should leave your “science” to the wayside as it is false and deadly. Your “Vaccines Cause Autism” scares have killed thousands if not millions of babies in the past couple of years. How do you sleep, Jenny?

    The reason for any vaccine is to strengthen the herd immunity. Children, elderly and the immune-compromised are susceptible to infections, disease, and bacterial issues that society comes in contact with. By getting the vaccine, you are not only protecting yourself and your children, you are creating a stronger possibility for your gene propagation in the future. By not getting a vaccine, you are exposing yourself, your children and the people around you who have weaker immune systems to an earlier death.

    So good job, numb-nuts McCarthy! You are mentally fucking up people who cannot think for themselves because of your personal, stupid, selfish choice to not protect your children and your community. Unfortunately, people look up to celebrities like you, Jenny McCarthy. You are doing medical science, California and the rest of the world a disservice by telling people what to do through your ignorant, pompous declarations! Do you have a degree in Science and work directly with vaccines? Do you understand the workings of DNA and how disease affects them? Do even know how Autism works? I highly doubt it. Whomever your PR person is needs keep you off of the internet, newspapers, magazines and television until you get your facts straight.

    It has been proven that the controversial theorem and public dissertation on Vaccines causing Autism is a well-funded LIE. Good ol’ Dr. Wakefield and you have been horrible people to spread that kind of stupidity through greed to prey upon the general, under-educated public. He was paid by a group of lawyers to fund his ‘research’ to prove that vaccines would cause autism! He also asked for others to help him develop this abomination of all that science and medicine to make money, not realizing how many lives he would take in the process. Then you, Jenny McCarthy, jump on this bandwagon and spread the fear-mongering further and end up with murder by proxy on your hands with a cult of mindless minions to ensue.

    How do you feel knowing you killed a child? What about a million or more? Do not think that your husband is free of this murderous guilt either for supporting your unfettered research and force-feeding the media of your horseshit.

  53. #53 jenbphillips
    January 11, 2011

    Circle jerk articles…circle jerk articles…You lot all masterbating…Now put your dick away…

    H*ppeh, is that you?

    Posted by: T. Bruce McNeely | January 11, 2011 12:48 PM

    T.Bruce–Nah. I can’t believe that H*appeh would misspell masturbation.

  54. #54 Ichthyic
    January 11, 2011

    There’s been a site that states it has been using CDC data to estimate the number of deaths and illnesses attributable to the decline in vaccination rates in the US over the last few years:

    http://www.jennymccarthybodycount.com/Jenny_McCarthy_Body_Count/Home.html

    What’s the consensus on this? the FAQ explains the methods used, and while I only glanced at it, it seemed reasonable.

  55. #55 Ichthyic
    January 11, 2011

    heh, nevermind, I see Orac has given it the seal of approval previously:

    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2009/04/get_yer_jenny_mccarthy_body_count_widget.php

  56. #56 Tim
    January 11, 2011

    > I’m not sure I could tolerate the massive waves of neuronal apoptosis that might result.

    I’m glad I remember enough university biology to get that joke. I laughed out loud

  57. #57 MartinM
    January 11, 2011

    I don’t think MMR is worse than measles, but I do think that MMR is regarded as a 100% safe and 100% effective solution to measles. It is not. It is not black or white. It is gray.

    Like seatbelts.

  58. #58 cynic
    January 11, 2011

    Orac,

    Not that you care of course, but you lost me right here:

    After all, when the GMC first found Wakefield to have committed scientific fraud

    There may have been others that have accused him of such, but not the GMC. I’m happy to be wrong though, so please direct me to this finding in the transcripts from the hearings. I don’t see how the rest of your piece (or the comments) is/are worth combing through if you are content to shower passers-by with intentional deceit under the guise of “science”. Don’t cry pedantry here either, you know the distinction.

  59. #59 Scott
    January 11, 2011

    Various of the points the GMC ruled on do constitute scientific fraud, regardless of whether they used the term. I specifically reference paragraphs 32 through 37 in particular. Many other of the charges could be so construed, as well.

  60. #60 Ichthyic
    January 11, 2011

    Don’t cry pedantry here either

    he doesn’t need to.

  61. #61 james
    January 11, 2011

    I’m sorry I am so unpopular.

    “Why don’t you look at the Every Child by Two website. It doens’t have “apes throwing shit.” It has links to research papers. You and your friends with concerns can read them for yourself/themselves. Reading and attempting to understand the actual scientfic papers is what I’m recommending – this is not “blind faith.”

    Absolutely. This is a great example of the kind of response I would support. Only it should be directed at people who are questioning vaccinations (which I am not one of) rather than people are are commenting on the insane way a lot of people react publicly to people questioning vaccines.

    “Leaving aside the already-repeatedly-rebutted strawman, do you not see how inconsistent this is? Unless the MMR is a greater risk than measles, mumps, and rubella, the only rational choice is to use it.”

    Really? So no gray at all? A case where the risk of dying from the disease is 50% and the risk of dying from the vaccine is 51% is just as solid a slam dunk as a 0%/100^ that anyone questiong whether they should get the vaccine should immediatly be called an idiotoc anti-vax religious zealot?

    “You will not find anyone here, or at the CDC, or at FDA, or at the makers of the vaccines, who would say that any vaccine, singly or in combination, is 100% safe. That is a strawman. The only ones who seem to have this opinion are those who are anti-vaccine.”

    I know I won’t at the CDC or the FDA. I don’t know the userbase of the comments section on this blog – maybe I am addressing the wrong group. A majority of the userbase on sites such as reddit and digg certainly seem to labor under this mindset. Again, I don’t really think it is one side vs. the other. I don’t accuse everyone who thinks vaccines are good of doing this. For example, I think vaccines are good and I don’t do this. Alot of commentors seem to assume I am anti-vax. I’m not. I’m not asking challenging any vaccine or anything like that. I have only commented on the shitty way so many people react to any vaccine news while calling it science. There are a lot of good comments with solid science behind them in the comments here, and many in response to my posts.

    “If you really do wish to engage in reasonable, productive discussion, please do what others have invited you to do in this thread: Find current medical or governmental information purporting to support vaccine safety or efficacy, and reliable evidence calling that information into question, and present them”

    I won’t waste my time doing that, you and I both know it isn’t there. Now that we have established we agree on that, please feel free to read my post and note that I am not talking about vaccines efficiency, suggesting that vaccines cause autism or any disease, or otherwise claim the sky is falling. Rather talking about the way lots of people respond to discussions or questions about it.

    “You know James, if you can’t accept the word of those who are specifically educated in the field under discussion (like the ladies and gents at the CDC), perhaps you should go get a degree yourself, so that you can start your own research?

    Or you can whine some more about not being about to trust doctors and scientists.”

    I’m glad to trust a doctor once I have looked at and evaluated who they are and what their credentials are. When I had a child and noticed the massive war being waged over vaccines, I looked at the CDC recomendations, who at the CDC was responsible for them, what their credentials were, what research they did and if they might have conflicts of interests. Then based on that research I concluded they were trustworthy in the field. Am I understandign correctly that you took it on faith that you could trust the people you knew nothing about? How does that make what I did unscientific and what you did scientific? I needed to know if somethign was true. I gathered data until it gave me a good indication that it was. You made an assumption.

    “Like seatbelts.”

    A hell of a lot like seatbelts. They are likely to save lives a majority of the time, but there are circumstances and gray areas which mean there is room for discussions and attempts to look for better solutions.

  62. #62 Lorne Marr
    January 11, 2011

    I dont’t think that it’s true that vaccines cause Autism but it definitely affects certain people because every single person is different.

  63. #63 Scott
    January 11, 2011

    Really? So no gray at all? A case where the risk of dying from the disease is 50% and the risk of dying from the vaccine is 51% is just as solid a slam dunk as a 0%/100^ that anyone questiong whether they should get the vaccine should immediatly be called an idiotoc anti-vax religious zealot?

    Straw man. 50%/51% is still a slam dunk for the vaccine, yes. Note that this would mean 30,000 or so lives saved in the US alone. The idiotic anti-vax religious zealot is characterized by (a) a MUCH better ratio for the vaccine than that and (b) complete disregard for facts.

    To sum up – there is no gray area. Vaccines have one of the best risk/benefit ratios of any medical intervention ever. Barring a known medical contraindication, vaccine refusal is STRICTLY wrongheaded.

  64. #64 Todd W.
    January 11, 2011

    @james

    I don’t know the userbase of the comments section on this blog

    Perhaps you should have done a bit of lurking/research before coming in, guns a-blazin’, then? You know, checked out who was making the statements, what statements they were actually making, and so forth, much like you suggested we do.

    Alot of commentors seem to assume I am anti-vax.

    It could have something to do with the first impression you made…you know, calling this post a “circle-jerk” and being generally insulting of the commenters here.

    Next time, read more, shoot your mouth off less. Or, more briefly, don’t be a dick.

  65. #65 ejds
    January 11, 2011

    It is human nature to find personal experience and personal stories far more compelling than numbers and abstractions. How many of us remember off the top of our heads the incidence and severity of measles before and after the vaccine was introduced? And how many of us remember Jenny McCarthy’s personal story about discovering her son’s problems?

    Today’s parents are completely risk-adverse. Combine the fact that almost none of us know or have heard of anyone with measles; the fact that most of us have heard quite frequently about children with autism attributed by their parents to vaccines; and the handy handout of side-effects and risks we get from doctors at each immunization visit. What’s the resut? A sense of risk about vaccines that looms much larger than the sense of risk about measles. Skipping the vaccine feels like a win-win to some parents: no risks from the vaccine, and no bad diseases either. To help parents make good decisions for their children and their communities, we need to couch scientific knowledge in ways similar to what people already find compelling. We should be trolling the internet for stories of measles outbreaks in the U.S. and so on. And we should know the symptoms and severity of the diseases, if possible. Those doctor handouts should remind parents of what they are protecting their children (and everyone else) from.

  66. #66 herr doktor bimler
    January 11, 2011

    And how many of us remember Jenny McCarthy’s personal story about discovering her son’s problems?

    Which one?

  67. #67 madder
    January 11, 2011

    @James–

    Yes, let’s continue the seatbelt analogy. McCarthy et al have been saying, in effect, that seatbelts are made of Toxic Chemicals and Baby Parts, and that even though they’re standard equipment, they’re actually quite dangerous. They won’t use them, and demonize those who do, and encourage others likewise not to use them until all seatbelts are made of inert substances (whatever those might be– Green Our Seatbelts!) and render vehicle passengers invulnerable to all kinds of harm (they must be 100% effective). Since engineers are working to improve seatbelt effectiveness, that’s obviously evidence that they’re currently worthless, right? They make these claims despite solid, convincing evidence of safety and effectiveness along the lines of what you have found. They continue to make these claims after their errors have been pointed out. Sane people, on the other hand, are made upset by this behavior.

    The analogy fails, though, because people who refuse seatbelts don’t put the rest of us in greater danger.

    So I don’t understand what you’re after– should we regularly invite AoA posters and commenters here for (ahem) reasoned discussion? Should we tell McCarthy and her ilk, “Ah yes, I see why you might think that, but for the 4012th time, here is that large list we’ve already shown you of reasons why you’re wrong, with full citations to the peer-reviewed literature?” Should every hypothesis be weighed with equal merit, even after repeated and well-supported rejection? How many times must the same unsupported claims be rejected before we can get upset that these people are responsible for lives needlessly lost?

  68. #68 Fuzzzone
    January 11, 2011

    @james

    “A majority of the userbase on sites such as reddit and digg”

    But this isn’t a content-aggregator site like reddit or digg. It is a targeted blog written by a practicing scientist/doctor/professor of medicine and read by a self-selecting group of people who are interested in the topics and the tone. I don’t know why you would assume that there would be any similarity between the readership of a topic-specific site and a general “I’ve got 15 minutes to waste before my next meeting, entertain me” hodgepodge.

    “I needed to know if somethign was true. I gathered data until it gave me a good indication that it was.

    I certainly hope you are aware that the process described in your quote has nothing to do with a scientific approach. While we’ve come to the same conclusions, you implied what looks like a cherry-picking expedition which would be as different from the scientific method as deferral to authority. I figure you just worded that poorly though.

  69. #69 UberFubarius
    January 11, 2011

    @Scott #63

    Straw man. 50%/51% is still a slam dunk for the vaccine, yes. Note that this would mean 30,000 or so lives saved in the US alone. The idiotic anti-vax religious zealot is characterized by (a) a MUCH better ratio for the vaccine than that and (b) complete disregard for facts.

    A little nitpick here, if the statistics is as followed (based on death rate).
    Vaccine – 51% death.
    Disease – 50% death.
    I would say that’s the one instance where vaccine should not be applied.
    Thou more realistically, real world vaccines has an obscenely high rate-of-return for the danger they pose (I think smallpox is something like around 1% death from vaccine, compared to a 50% mortality of smallpox infection).

    And EVEN if MMR increases cases of autism, which one would you rather have? A marginal chance of having an autistic child or a likely chance of having a dead child?

    The analogy fails, though, because people who refuse seatbelts don’t put the rest of us in greater danger.

    In a way it still does, have you ever been hit by a flying person?
    Also, in an accident, I would argue that front-seat passenger/driver is at greater danger if the back-seat passengers are not wearing seat-belts.

    I could sort of understand why parents choose MMR as scape-goat. Since compared to other diseases, the MMR combo doesn’t seems to be that dangerous (compared to other stuff we get vaccinated for).

  70. #70 Manon
    January 11, 2011

    While the seat-belt comparison is really good, I believe that a more timely comparison would have been to that of the baby crib bumper pads which Jenny has included in her new “Too Good” baby collection. The AAP does not recommend the use of bumper pads, but apparently Dr. McCarthy doesn’t agree with them. Imagine that.

  71. #71 lilady
    January 11, 2011

    I tried to post on H-P and apparently my labeling of Ms. McCarthy as an opportunist who used her son who may (or may not) have been diagnosed with autism and his miraculous “cure”, failed to meet their strict journalism criteria.

    I’d rather post here, where differences of opinion, including the most specious arguments, are printed. Jenny McCarthy used her son and her “cure” in the most outrageous fashion. She, Wakefield and other “experts” have caused innumerable illnesses and deaths because of their anti-vax intransigence. They have blood on their hands.

  72. #72 Luke
    January 11, 2011

    There’s nothing wrong the MMR vaccine, much in the same way there’s nothing wrong with penicillin, peanuts, shellfish, latex, perfumes, etc…we just don’t inject those products into toddlers. Children too young to even talk and tell you they feel funny or what’s going on in their heads afterwards.

    I imagine it’s hard for parents to digest the cause of their flesh and blood’s “developmental inequality” might just be inherent to the child and not an environmental factor. Good thing the internet army is always ready to tell them.

  73. #73 Sid Offit
    January 11, 2011

    @Chris

    and one or two out of 1,000 die.

    We’ve been over this Chris. It’s 1 – 8,000. Please try to be more attentive

  74. #74 Sid Offit
    January 11, 2011

    @Steve

    People who don’t vaccinate are really selfish , like so selfish that they don’t care if someone else dies because of their actions.

    Not vaccinating isn’t an action

  75. #75 Ron
    January 11, 2011

    Simple question:
    If the Autism rate of the general population is around 1 in 150 and the general population is approximately 95% immunized; What is the rate of Autism in un-vaccinated children?

    Please site the source of your statistic.

  76. #76 JustaTech
    January 11, 2011

    Luke @72: Uh, since when is penicillin not used on people who need it? Penicillin is a *drug*, used to treat *disease*, and sometimes it is injected, and sometimes the patients are toddlers, or even babies. In fact, there are times when it would be criminally negligent to not do so.

    And I’ve heard of virtually no medical reason to inject any of those other things (some of which are common allergens) into anyone ever, unless maybe as part of an allergy treatment.

    So, essentially, what’s your point? MMR doesn’t cause autism, nor do we have any evidence that any of the other items you have listed might cause autism either.

    Honestly, I don’t understand what you are trying to say.

  77. #77 LW
    January 11, 2011

    Mortality from smallpox vaccination was not remotely 1%. It was something under 0.001%. Mortality from variolation (deliberate infection with a mild strain of smallpox itself, via a scratch on the skin) was about 1%, and people still subjected themselves and their children to that risk. Smallpox was that bad.

  78. #78 Matthew Cline
    January 11, 2011

    @James:

    There is a problem here. The problem is that a lot of parents have concerns about vaccines…

    … Meanwhile, there are piles of reasonable and relevant questions and concerns about specific vaccines, specific combinations of vaccines and specific combinations of vaccines given to children at specific ages which really don’t have solid and conclusive scientific studies …

    So, what, the medical research community should do massive studies on each and every vaccine, and each and every vaccine combination? Wouldn’t those research resources be better spent elsewhere?

  79. #79 SC (Salty Current)
    January 11, 2011

    Now that we have established we agree on that, please feel free to read my post and note that I am not talking about vaccines efficiency, suggesting that vaccines cause autism or any disease, or otherwise claim the sky is falling. Rather talking about the way lots of people respond to discussions or questions about it.

    I don’t know the userbase of the comments section on this blog – maybe I am addressing the wrong group.

    In other words, James is not only doing nothing but tone trolling, but can’t even be bothered to base that on any specific remarks in the post or comments in context, admitting that he doesn’t in fact know if his criticisms (and why anyone would feel a need to defend themselves against his nebulous and spurious charges I have no idea) even apply to the commenters here. He has nothing substantive to say. I don’t know why anyone would pay him any attention at all.

    Hey, James – you’re talking to the wrong group. Now piss off.

  80. #80 Loralai
    January 11, 2011

    @Offit “Not vaccinating isn’t an action”.

    You’re right Offit, it’s not an action. It’s inaction. Which is selfish, harmful and on top of it all… lazy.

  81. #81 Chris
    January 11, 2011

    Sid Idiot, the italics were quotes of the links (the stuff with blue type). And 1/8000 is still a whole lot bigger than 1/1000000.

  82. #82 augustine
    January 11, 2011

    justatech

    So, essentially, what’s your point? MMR doesn’t cause autism, nor do we have any evidence that any of the other items you have listed might cause autism either.

    You have to be careful with what you say.

    “Family to Receive $1.5M+ in First-Ever Vaccine-Autism Court Award”

    http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-31727_162-20015982-10391695.html?tag=contentMain;contentBody

  83. #83 marcia
    January 11, 2011

    Dr. Paul Offit posted two videos today on Medscape

    Response to Wakefield
    http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/735439?src=mp&spon=34
    Homeopathy response
    http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/735358

    You may well need to join Medscape (free) to view.
    (If you haven’t, you should.)

  84. #84 Anthro
    January 11, 2011

    I told a friend to read this when we were talking about vax and pseudoscience and stuff. She thought it was all great, but still said she couldn’t see why they have to “give them so much all at one time”? (Too many, too soon!). She had heard this from Jenny on Oprah. I blew up and she got upset that I was mad at her.

    Can anyone give me a link to something clear and concise about the immune system being perfectly capable of dealing with the number of vaccines given to infants. I know I heard Mark Crislip say in one of his podcasts that the amount kids get is nothing at all to the immune system but I can’t seem to find the right one and am sick of re-listening to them. My friend thinks that I’m being a “know-it-all” and I need to show her that I am right and not just pontificating.

  85. #85 Gerald Posner
    January 11, 2011

    Why is it those most inclined to describe themselves as “pro-science” and engage in vigorous, online circle-jerking pesudodebates resort so frequently to name calling and other infantile methods of discourse? I would never self-identify as an atheist or realist in real life because of the decidedly adolescent image both groups have acquired online.

    I’ve heard the argument that the untold misery caused by un-vaccinated children is so great that any amount of opprobrium is justified…is that even an argument, though? If you claim you only want to change the minds of those who linger in ignorance and rationalize their behavior, well, so do I. But do you honestly claim that calling them stupid, idiotic, full of “the stupid” and any other tired, hackneyed insult changes any one’s behavior? Real advocacy isn’t just preaching to the choir and pissing on your inferiors, it’s making change.

    The tone of articles like this sadden me, especially as someone who wants to see anti-scientific viewpoints disappear entirely. All you do is create a useless, us-them relationship that solves nothing. Maybe all you really want are hits?

  86. #86 augustine
    January 11, 2011

    anthro:

    Can anyone give me a link to something clear and concise about the immune system being perfectly capable of dealing with the number of vaccines given to infants.

    Try this:

    “Each infant would have the theoretical capacity to respond to about 10 000 vaccines at any one time”

    Throw this loose leaf copy at her and walk away.

    http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/cgi/content/full/109/1/124

    Works every single time.

    I blew up and she got upset that I was mad at her.

    Having a hard time communicating there chief? HMM. I wonder why?

    My friend thinks that I’m being a “know-it-all” and I need to show her that I am right and not just pontificating.

    I think you resonate with all science blogger when you say this.

  87. #87 Ichthyic
    January 11, 2011

    You have to be careful with what you say.
    “Family to Receive $1.5M+ in First-Ever Vaccine-Autism Court Award”

    Five bucks says YOU don’t base your medical decisions on a single court case.

    but, wtf… go ahead, genius, point out the SCIENCE that was used to determine that award.

    well?

    we’re waiting.

  88. #88 TedY
    January 11, 2011
  89. #89 Robert Goldberg
    January 11, 2011

    Wakefield wannabes now overrun scientific discourse, dominate medical journals , flood the blogs, intimidate public health officials. They shape public perception of medical innovation’s risks and benefits and damage the public health. David Healy, another British physician doctor published a small study matching Wakefield’s 1998 research for shoddiness to spread panic about the link between suicide and a class of antidepressants c alled SSRIs. It lead to a decline in the use the drugs and an increase in teen suicide. David Graham, a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) researcher circulated an unpublished study through the Web claiming Vioxx was responsible for 100,000 deaths. The rest is history.

    In 2007, cardiologist Steve Nissen in the online version of The New England Journal Medicine claimed the oral diabetes drug Avandia was linked to heart attacks (though a NIH clinical trial found Avandia managed diabetes well and reduced heart risks). Overall use of oral diabetes drugs has declined. Millions of women are avoiding hormone replacement therapy and mammograms because of misleading claims about the dangers of both. As a result, the risk of breast cancer is higher than it should be.

    Wakefield is discredited. But as long as the Web is manipulated to inspire fear about medical innovations — and as long as researchers, journalists and politicians spread this misperception – Wakefield’s lethal legacy will endure.

  90. #90 Chris
    January 11, 2011

    Little Augie, haven’t you been paying attention?

  91. #91 Orac
    January 11, 2011

    The tone of articles like this sadden me, especially as someone who wants to see anti-scientific viewpoints disappear entirely. All you do is create a useless, us-them relationship that solves nothing. Maybe all you really want are hits?

    Ah, yes. Another concern troll. [Yawn]

  92. #92 adam smith
    January 11, 2011

    Whoever taught Orac to write should be fired.

  93. #93 Gerald Posner
    January 11, 2011

    > Ah, yes. Another concern troll. [Yawn]

    Yes, your formulaic non-response is triumphant! I have been exposed as an agent of irrationality, irrevocably. Your sardonic, content free response is the perfect challenge to my post, and your wholesale dismissal of my meanderings is logically unassailable. I salute your rationality and retire forever from debating on the internet. Also, my pants just fell down!

  94. #94 Orac
    January 11, 2011

    Actually, you’ve been exposed as a wanker with nothing at all of interest to say.

  95. #95 Ichthyic
    January 11, 2011

    According to BMJ, Wakefield received more than 435,000 pounds (about $674,000) from lawyers trying to build a case against vaccine manufacturers — a serious conflict of interest he failed to disclose. Most of his co-authors abandoned the study in 2004, when those payments were revealed.

    The now-discredited paper panicked many parents and led to a sharp drop in the number of children getting the vaccine that prevents measles, mumps and rubella. Vaccination rates dropped sharply in Britain after its publication, falling as low as 80% by 2004. Measles cases have gone up sharply in the ensuing years.

    In the United States, more cases of measles were reported in 2008 than in any other year since 1997, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than 90% of those infected had not been vaccinated or their vaccination status was unknown, the CDC reported.

    source:

    http://www.cnn.com/2011/HEALTH/01/11/autism.vaccines/index.html?hpt=T2

    I guess there’s no reason NOT to post this again…

    http://www.jennymccarthybodycount.com/Jenny_McCarthy_Body_Count/Home.html

    Also, my pants just fell down!

    liar. We all know you post without pants on.

  96. #96 Travis
    January 11, 2011

    Gerald Posner, do a little searching, I am sure you can find a suitable reply. You are hardly the first person to complain about tone. People get sick of answering the same points over and over again.

  97. #97 Chris
    January 11, 2011

    Travis, this is why I have been complaining to the anti-vax crowd that they need a new shtick. It has gotten repetitive, and they need something new.

    Not that long ago Little Augie pulled the Poling Gambit. And today one guy was going on about vaccines being “injected into the bloodstream” and another claiming that we thought the MMR was “100% safe and effective.” Gah! Can’t they find a new tune?

  98. #98 Orac
    January 11, 2011

    Yep, and I’ll add to that by saying to Mr. Posner what I frequently say to concern trolls: If you don’t like my “tone” or what I write here, no one’s forcing you to read it. Seriously. No one is making you read this. If it irritates you so much, one wonders why you bother. At least, I do.

  99. #99 maydijo
    January 11, 2011

    I don’t think Orac is really in the game of trying to convince anti-vaxxers. He and his posters do a very good job convincing fence-sitters who are interested in science; and he and his posters do a great job providing accurate information for those of us who have, in our circle of friends and family, anti-vaxxers or people who lean that way. We can then take that information into our interactions with these people and speak up when they start with their mind-vomit. And even though there is practically nil chance of persuading them – well, at least we can shut them down before they can peddle their nonsense to other people. And that is the brilliance of Orac.

    My MIL is a prime example – her daughter is convinced that it was ‘the shot’ that gave her son autism (although she can’t say which shot, or how the shot gave her autism). In the past, before I found Orac, I would respond with emotion – after all, it was her idiotic anti-vax daughter who exposed my daughter, when I was in my first trimester of pregnancy, to rubella, and when it involves my kids, I tend to go to emotion. Since I’ve started reading this blog, I can respond with studies and statistics. In fact the last time she raised the issue with me I spoke (quite calmly, I will add) for so long that she eventually just shrugged her shoulders and walked away. I know I’ll never convince my MIL that vaccines are good; but at least I no longer respond purely with emotion, and I think last time I bored her so much that she is unlikely to bring it up to me again. In my world, that’s a victory.

  100. #100 LW
    January 11, 2011

    Why is it those most inclined to describe themselves as “pro-science” and engage in vigorous, online circle-jerking pesudodebates resort so frequently to name calling and other infantile methods of discourse? …

    <

  101. #101 Travis
    January 11, 2011

    Chris, I saw those posts. I did not have a chance to go back to see if augie has brought up Poling before and had already been corrected or if this was their first attempt. Either way, that argument is so dated. I have been rather disappointed by the quality of anti-vaxers lately. Something new is needed to make this fun again.

  102. #102 LW
    January 11, 2011

    Something is wrong with my HTML too. First two paragraphs were quotes from Gerald Posner. Only the last line was my comment. I’m not concern-trolling!

  103. #103 Chris
    January 11, 2011

    LW, the software on this blog seems to forget the tags if you hit the enter key. So you have to repeat them. Though I discovered with the one in italics that I only needed to use [i] in front of each paragraph, and have only one ending [/i]. I plan to try it with blockquote soon.

  104. #104 LW
    January 11, 2011

    Thanks, Chris. Usually I get the blockquote right, but it’s kind of hard to type on this iPhone so I must have messed something up. It looks like I actually managed to blockquote the whole comment, really.

  105. #105 jre
    January 11, 2011

    Apart and distinct from any on-topic comment I may or may not offer, I want to mildly admonish Orac and Damien for their lack of sensitivity. Dudes, only a ginger can call another ginger ginger, OK?

  106. #106 augustine
    January 11, 2011

    maydijo

    after all, it was her idiotic anti-vax daughter who exposed my daughter, when I was in my first trimester of pregnancy, to rubella, and when it involves my kids, I tend to go to emotion.

    So??? What happened to her? Did she get congenital rubella syndrome?

    Weren’t you vaccinated? Were you emotional for no good reason or did something happen to your daughter?

  107. #107 Melissa G
    January 11, 2011

    Anthro, I was going to say check the Science-Based Medicine blog and do a search for Mark Crislip’s excellent rundown on the immune system, and how very few antigens a vaccine introduces into your system compared to the huge onslaught of antigens caused by a simple skinned knee.

    Except I can’t get Science-Based Medicine to load. Server problems?

  108. #108 Gerald Posner
    January 11, 2011

    @mayadijo

    Thanks for providing an actual response, although if the guy who’s called me several names so far is your exemplar for brilliance, you might be slumming it, eh?

    The point I came here to make is that I understand groupthink and piling on the outsider/dissenter on the internet, it’s the same in every online community, whether ostensibly “rational” or otherwise. What I don’t understand is the triumphalist gloating and loutish, ignorant bile spewers who somehow envision themselves as modern Voltaires. The pre-internet skeptical community wouldn’t, in my experience, consider calling someone a “wanker” really “brilliant” at anything, especially persuasion. Oh well, I disagree with the resident shouter, so I must be a concern troll. Q.E.D.

  109. #109 Gerald Posner
    January 11, 2011

    @mayadijo

    Thanks for providing an actual response, although if the guy who’s called me several names so far is your exemplar for brilliance, you might be slumming it, eh?

    The point I came here to make is that I understand groupthink and piling on the outsider/dissenter on the internet, it’s the same in every online community, whether ostensibly “rational” or otherwise. What I don’t understand is the triumphalist gloating and loutish, ignorant bile spewers who somehow envision themselves as modern Voltaires. The pre-internet skeptical community wouldn’t, in my experience, really consider calling someone a “wanker” to be brilliant repartee. I’m betting most in the real world would not consider that especially brilliant persuasion, either. So if it’s not to persuade those who disagree, what role does it play besides the pathetic e-peen burnishing I said it was? But, since I disagree with the resident shouter, I must be a concern troll. Q.E.D., so saith the logician Orac, right?

  110. #110 Orac
    January 11, 2011

    Oh, please. I’ve seen your kind in the comments so many times before during the last six years of bloggin that, quite frankly, I no longer have patience for you and your self-righteous whining and your priggish assertion of your own moral superiority through your call for “civility” coupled with attacks on my supposed boorishness. When it comes to accusing me of being more about asserting my intellectual superiority more than persuading, I have one response for you: Pot. Kettle. Black. The only difference is that your whining is all about asserting your moral superiority by painting yourself as so much more reasonable than those of us who freely use sarcasm when it is warranted.

    Let me ask you a question: How many of my posts have you actually read here? I bet you’ve only read this one or maybe handful of recent posts. I could easily produce for you a list of hundreds of posts I’ve written over the last six years that are reasonable, science-based, analyze peer-reviewed literature. You focus on this one because criticizing its sarcasm lets you feel superior and oh-so-good about yourself.

    Yeah, pot, kettle, black.

    No wonder I don’t really care if you think I’m a jerk.

  111. #111 Chris
    January 11, 2011

    LW:

    type on this iPhone

    ;-p

    I have no concept.

    jre:

    Dudes, only a ginger can call another ginger ginger, OK?

    Though Ms. Taylor’s first name is really Ginger! It actually demeans the gingers! Yes, I am a ginger.

    Milissa G.:

    Except I can’t get Science-Based Medicine to load. Server problems?

    It has been off and on for the past couple of days. Obviously Big Pharma has not been paying its shills enough.
    :-)

    Thank you, I’ll be here all week. Try the chicken!

    And good night.

  112. #112 Loralai
    January 11, 2011

    @augustine

    Hannah Poling does not have autism. The statement is correct.

    “MMR doesn’t cause autism, nor do we have any evidence that any of the other items you have listed might cause autism either.”

  113. #113 Mandrellian
    January 11, 2011

    Mr Posner, perhaps you would find it interesting to visit Age of Autism, mercola.com, the Health Ranger or one of the innumerable other crank “medicine” blogs and see how warmly your criticisms about civility are received – especially if you’re not towing the party line. Even if your comments did pass moderation, attempting to rationally engage the denizens of such places is a futile and infuriating endeavour. The groupthink – the “stupid” – is so dense it cannot be penetrated – not by reason, not by polite appeals to rationality and not even by exposing the fraudulent science perpetrated by their heroes. Obviously “they do it too” is no defense, but I’m not attempting to mount one as there’s nothing to defend. When you host your blog you can write and respond as you wish; Orac is doing no more and no less.

    If you dislike this place so much, close the tab and move on. I don’t see Orac changing his ways at the behest of you or anyone else and, knowing the “tone” here, the best you’ll receive for your efforts is a polite exhortation to sod off.

  114. #114 Militant Agnostic
    January 11, 2011

    I think this comment by Raging Bee at Dispatches from the Culture Wars is applicable to the tone moan going on here.

    Quibbling about tone allows liars, con-artists and hatemongers to say whatever they want to say with a pleasant smile and a soothing voice, then sneer down at the “negative tone” of whoever tries to call them out on their lies.

  115. #115 Mandrellian
    January 11, 2011

    Comment 114 wins the thread.

  116. #116 Skeptiverse
    January 11, 2011

    @James and @Gerald Posner i assume from your posts that neither of you have read the Who (or what) is Orac? section at the top of each page (partially reproduced below).

    Respectful Insolence™ is a repository for the ramblings of the aforementioned pseudonymous surgeon/scientist concerning medicine and quackery, science and pseudoscience, history and pseudohistory, politics, and anything else that interests him (or pushes his buttons). Orac’s motto is: “A statement of fact cannot be insolent.” (OK, maybe it can be just a little bit insolent. Sometimes. OK, fairly often. Orac tries to keep his insolence respectful most of the time, but readily admits that he sometimes fails in cases of obvious quackery and pseudoscience, responding to personal attacks on him, examining poor critical thinking skills, bigotry or racism, and just general plain stupidity. When the stupidity to which Orac is responding reaches a certain very high level, he just can’t help it and makes no apologies. You will know this is happening when Orac uses the phrase “the stupid, it burns” or some variant thereof.

  117. #117 Skeptiverse
    January 11, 2011

    Friggen post button aaaaaggghhh

    that post was supposed to end with:

    given that the description of the website clearly states that insolence is a given how can you then complain. if you want to participate in more formal discussions try science based medicine or neurologica. and if you want to read a truly insolent blog try Pharyngula (awesome) i think you will find that Oracs insolence is really quite respectfull.

  118. #118 Damien
    January 12, 2011

    I used to sit on the board of the Colorado Autism Society, and I was exposed routinely to anti-vaccine outbursts that made me question whether the developmental regression had jumped generations; people claiming that autism didn’t exist before the worldwide smallpox wipeout, that clearly the genetics of the fetus bits was creating autism, and loads of other things that tested every bit of self-control I possessed not to facepalm at every event we held.

    But resist I did, and I spoke calmly and quietly and gently with those parents, because they were clearly in pain. However, I refuse to abide people repeating information which has been conclusively disproven (or as conclusively as science can). Those are the people who referred to as “stupid” and the other such insults. If you don’t like what science has to say, and you persist in saying things that are utterly discredited…well, you’re stupid.

    The question of vaccines’ pro/con ratio has been decidedly settled on the “pro” side of that equation. What science is doing now is working to make vaccines better. It doesn’t mean that what we have now is terrible, but science wouldn’t be the magnificent tool of human development that it is if scientists saw a currently solution to a problem and said “meh, good enough.”

    But, just to be very specific, if you think there is a question of whether vaccinating is a good thing or a bad thing, and after being repeatedly shown data and studies and information showing that it is……you. are. stupid. And there is no need to be politic in saying so.

  119. #119 Militant Agnostic
    January 12, 2011

    @118
    Exactly – the pattern we see here repeatedly is this:

    Anti-Vaxxer posts absurd claim

    Absurdity of claim is pointed out and/or evidence is requested.

    Anti-Vaxxer responds with list of references (either from a simple google search for say mercury & autism or copied and pasted from an anti-vax site).

    One of the regulars points out that the references actually contradict the Anti-Vaxxer’s claim.

    Anti-Vaxxer plays Pharma shill card or the conventional medicine kills umpteen thousand people a year.

    Antivaxxer eventually gives up.

    Antivaxxer (the same one or a different one) returns a week later and makes the same absurd claim.

    Repeat ad infinitum.

    Apparently it is considered poor form to call such a person an liar, a loon or an idiot in spite of the clear evidence that they are one or more of these. Seriously, Gerald Posner, you would be happier at The Intersection.

  120. #120 Finn
    January 12, 2011

    McCarthy may be an idiot, or maybe just misinformed and easily manipulated, but she put forth a more convincing argument than you (Orac) despite her complete lack of evidence. How? She states what she has to say plainly whereas you bury good information under a virtual ton of vitriol and hate.

    If your intention was to write an article primarily concerned with letting people know you hate this woman then I concede that you have succeeded. If your intent was to properly inform the antivac-lunatics, then you failed miserably.

  121. #121 herr doktor bimler
    January 12, 2011

    How about a special thread devoted ENTIRELY to Tone Trolls, so they can farf around to their hearts’ content — complaining about Orac’s style and ignoring the stream of previous comments which explain that “properly inform[ing] the antivac-lunatics” is not his intention — without irritating the good-faith readers?

  122. #122 Travis
    January 12, 2011

    A tone troll appears.

    Again.

    Please read the comments about this very topic a few posts above yours. As others have mentioned, I doubt this is really to convince the anti-vaxers, they are not going to be convinced by anything. This is about addressing fence-sitters. Also, if you read many of Orac’s other posts they are full of lots of information. This is just a single post about McCarthy. One of many. Everything she has written here has been dealt with many times before on this very blog. Do you always have to play nice and correct the same things each time?

    McCarthy may be an idiot, or maybe just misinformed and easily manipulated, but she put forth a more convincing argument than you (Orac) despite her complete lack of evidence. How? She states what she has to say plainly whereas you bury good information under a virtual ton of vitriol and hate.

    I am going to be blunt. This is stupid. It might be true some are turned off by people making fun of others and the tone taken in this post. But I would still consider such reasoning to be silly. If you judge an argument by the tone then you are an irrational fool. I am not even saying you have to like the tone but to find one more convincing because of it is just insane.

    Anyway, perhaps you should actually read the many, many posts on this very subject, about her statements in the past. They have been addressed many times. She no longer deserves kind words and gentle correction.

  123. #123 Ichthyic
    January 12, 2011

    She states what she has to say plainly whereas you bury good information under a virtual ton of vitriol and hate.

    LOL

    that’s gotta be the lamest argument I’ve seen all day!

    congrats!

    good luck deciding your reality based on the attractiveness of the person you are listening to.

  124. #124 Damien
    January 12, 2011

    Finn, out of curiosity, exactly how many hours/days would you like us to attempt civility with the die-hard “it’s the fetal stem cells! No, wait, it’s the mercury! No, wait, it’s the toxins! No, wait…I’m pro-safe vaccine!” crowd before we resort to ridicule?

    I have just finished reading two books which drive home something very basic for me, and you might find them enlightening as well: The Great Influenza and Death of a Disease, which is about eliminating smallpox. Both are excellent books, and I would go so far as to say that The Great Influenza may be in contention for best book I’ve ever read on any subject.

    The stories that each books tell of diseases being beaten down by human ingenuity both make one very, very basic point: vaccines save lives. Not only preventing mortality, but keeping children from the deafness or neurological complications from measles; keeping them from the iron lungs of polio; the scarred lungs and possible permanent damage from pneumonia.

    D.A. Henderson, the man who led the army that finished off wild smallpox (possibly the crowning achievement of modern humanity thus far) has credited the vaccines and advances in the creation of vaccines for helping wipe out that scourge. The RotaTek vaccine has helped to prevent the deaths of millions (MILLIONS) of children worldwide.

    A point that I think gets lost among the discussions here is the extremely basic one that Jenny McCarthy and AoA are quite literally helping lead the most vulnerable among us to microbial slaughter.

    So once again, Finn and the other tone trolls, how long should we attempt to deal with entrenched ignoramuses who live in a inverse world where Dr. Paul Offit, a man whose work has saved conservatively saves hundreds of thousands of lives, is the death-dealing antichrist? I’d like an answer more specific than “always.”

  125. #125 jenbphillips
    January 12, 2011

    Finn@120:

    She states what she has to say plainly

    ORLY?

  126. #126 Matthew Cline
    January 12, 2011

    @Damien:

    people claiming that autism didn’t exist before the worldwide smallpox wipeout,

    Wait, there’s people who blame autism on the smallpox vaccine? How does that work?

  127. #127 Militant Agnostic
    January 12, 2011

    When I read post 120, I expected to see “Posted by: Mad the Swine” at the bottom. For those who are unfamiliar with Mad the Swine, he/she is the undisputed champion Poe of Scienceblogs.

    Jenny McArthy never expresses vitriol and hate? You must be from an alternative reality or you are letting the little head do the thinking for the big head.

  128. #128 LW
    January 12, 2011

    The Great Gerald Posner intoned, “The pre-internet skeptical community wouldn’t, in my experience, consider calling someone a ‘wanker’ really ‘brilliant’ at anything, especially persuasion.” So I guess The Great Gerald Posner thinks that accusing people of masturbation is neither brilliant nor persuasive. I agree with him, and likewise believe that the pre-internet skeptical community wouldn’t, in my personal experience, consider it particularly brilliant or persuasive to begin a criticism of other people’s language by accusing them of mutual masturbation: “vigorous, online circle-jerking”. In my personal experience, online skeptics don’t find that brilliant or persuasive either.

    I also find it intriguing that The Great Gerald Posner didn’t find it necessary to chastise James@20, whose language was even worse than that of The Great Gerald Posner. Oh, and I am particularly impressed by the casual sexism of both James@20 and The Great Gerald Posner.

  129. #129 Orac
    January 12, 2011

    It’s particular funny that the Great Gerald Posner wasn’t annoyed by James’ circle jerk remark, given that James was arguing on his side. Apparently, Mr. Posner is outraged–outraged, I tell you!–when someone criticizing pseudoscience gets a bit insulting, but he doesn’t mind it at all when someone criticizing those criticizing pseudoscience for being insulting amps up the masturbatory imagery to 11 by using the term “circle jerk.”

  130. #130 Calli Arcale
    January 12, 2011

    Honestly, I have my doubts he even read James’ post, or indeed, any of the comments. It is interesting, though, how frequently concern trolls tend to offer no substantive criticisms of the points made, yet are frequently very effective at hijacking the discussion away from the actual topic and into a discussion of propriety. I think often this is innocent — they have a pet peeve about civility, which has been triggered, and now they’re having trouble getting out of their state of high dudgeon. But other times, I suspect it is not so innocent, with the complaints about tone *intended* to divert the discussion away from an area where the troll knows it cannot win. This is the strategy being employed by Wakefield et al, particularly as they try to turn the discussion away from the clear evidence of fraud and to the question of how Deer got access to patient records (ignoring that he only got access via the legal discovery process triggered by Wakefield’s own lawsuit — hoist on his own petard, Wakefield was).

    And thus we come back around to the actual topic of this discussion, for I believe Jenny McCarthy to be in the latter group. As she lacks any substantive response to the well-supported allegations of fraud, she is following along with the rest of the Wakefield camp by diverting attention with accusations that Deer may have committed mischief of his own. We should not allow them to sidetrack discussions of this nature. I’m not suggesting censorship; just don’t let them draw you off the topic. Deer got access to the files in a legitimate manner; parents might not like it, but if Wakefield hadn’t sued, it wouldn’t have happened. Deer had a right to defend himself, and to defend himself, he needed that information in order to prove that the word “fraud” was indeed justified. But it doesn’t matter as far as judging what Wakefield did. I don’t care whether the information came from the legal process or from an under-the-table leak to Wikileaks — what Wakefield did was still wrong, and it boggles the mind that anyone would knowingly defend it.

  131. #131 Militant Agnostic
    January 12, 2011

    jenbphilips @125
    Did you have to post that link? I made to 1:30 before I had to stop so I wouldn’t punch the screen. What a smarmy self-righteous no-mind. She states what she has to say plainly whereas you bury good information under a virtual ton of vitriol and hate my back behind.

  132. #132 Enkidu
    January 12, 2011

    Calli said: “what Wakefield did was still wrong, and it boggles the mind that anyone would knowingly defend it.”

    Sadly, parents in the anti-vax thread on the parenting site I frequent (disguised by the using the words “Vaccine Research” in its title) are saying things like this: “The pro-vaxers will say anything to discredit any and all info that shows they [vaccines] are anything but safe. Sadly those on the fence about vaccines are very quick to believe cases like those against Wakefield.”

    So, as usual, when they have no other course of action, they claim conspiracy.

  133. #133 Damien
    January 12, 2011

    To be fair, I only heard the smallpox thing from one guy specifically, but it’s really no crazier than any of the other things anti-vaxers have argued.

    In essence, he said that because the vaccine was made from cows, that the bovine DNA had altered the virus enough that it warped the DNA of the children it was given to. I honestly don’t know what he was talking about.

  134. #134 Militant Agnostic
    January 12, 2011

    In essence, he said that because the vaccine was made from cows, that the bovine DNA had altered the virus enough that it warped the DNA of the children it was given to.

    [tinfoilhat]So that is where the term Herd Immunity comes from. I knew there was something sinister behind it.[/tinfoilhat]

  135. #135 lilady
    January 12, 2011

    Just a clarification here about modern day smallpox vaccine.

    Live variola (smallpox) hasn’t been used in any smallpox vaccine for several hundred years. The vaccine now contains vaccinia (from the Latin for cow “vacca”) It became state of the art because scientists recognized that milkmaids who contracted the mild disease “Cowpox”, developed natural immunity to smallpox. The history of smallpox eradication worldwide is an interesting story…the worldwide effort by health care providers was a triumph of public health initiatives and the WHO (World Health Organization), declared it “eradicated” in 1977.

    I remember going to a local firehouse in NYC for vaccine because I hadn’t received it, prior to entry into school..I was four or five years old which would date that firehouse visit to 1947 or 1948. There were reports of actual cases of smallpox which prompted the initiative to vaccinate all unprotected children.

    In 1971, my daughter age one received the vaccine and in 1972 pediatricians were not providing it as part of the immunization schedule. It was still required for foreign travel in 1972 and I received my booster vaccine for travel to Europe during that year.

    During the “weapons of mass destruction” scare…let’s not go there…I volunteered to be among the small group of health care workers to be immunized. Once we were vaccinated, we set up vaccination dates to immunize a select group of health care workers in area hospitals so that the “vaccinators” could administer the smallpox vaccine to a wider group of health care workers…and the general public…if WMDs were found to exist.

    The smallpox vaccine we used was in powder form in vials and was reconstituted on site and was the vaccine used by the NYC Health Department more than 40 years prior, tested for strength and released by the CDC. The remainder of the vaccine is still kept in a high security laboratory, one of only three laboratories in the world that has a stockpile.

    Vaccination is not done with a “simple scratch”, it is done with a small sharp metal implement with ten tiny punctures in the upper arm. The site is then watched for the appearance of a small scab, which is proof that you are immunized against smallpox.

  136. #136 not Imogen
    January 12, 2011

    Anthro

    Quackcast 45 The Vaccine Pseudo-controversy. What you Are after starts somewhere around The third third (third quarter? last third?).
    Also, more extensive:
    Quackcast 30 Lets Kill The Children or A Defence Of Vaccines (wonder how the tone trolls like that title…)

    Because The world needs more Mark Crislip

  137. #137 Damien
    January 12, 2011

    @135, The defeat of small is really one of the peaks of human achievement in my estimation. Being able to overcome an ancient and horrific disease, to the point that it is, in essence, vanquished? Incredible.

    I’m interested in the fact that they immunized you against smallpox during the WMD scare. Are you referring the 2001 anthrax time period? Or the 2003 Iraqi Debacle?

  138. #139 MartinM
    January 13, 2011

    Sadly, parents in the anti-vax thread on the parenting site I frequent (disguised by the using the words “Vaccine Research” in its title) are saying things like this: “The pro-vaxers will say anything to discredit any and all info that shows they [vaccines] are anything but safe. Sadly those on the fence about vaccines are very quick to believe cases like those against Wakefield.”

    So, as usual, when they have no other course of action, they claim conspiracy.

    That’s not a conspiracy theory, so much as weapons-grade projection.

  139. #140 Sharon
    January 13, 2011

    This is not a black and white issue. While Wakefield’s findings may or may not be based on the best evidence, the elephant in the debate is that several parents report changes in demeanor of their children after vaccines. There is a yet explained phenomenon occurring of an alarming increase in the number of children being found to have autism.

    Is it possible that it is not a single vaccine responsible for this increase, or any one particular toxins found in any one vaccine? Is it possible that the increase in the number of vaccines that children have today is causing a compounding, synergistic effect indicative of neurotoxicity, that mimics autism? Children used to have 3 vaccines before kindergarten. Now they have something like 27. That’s alot of toxins for a little body to handle in a short period of time.

  140. #141 Lawrence
    January 13, 2011

    Sharon – there are also changes in demeanor that occur in teenagers, right around the age of 12 or 13 – it seems to happen right around them going to High School (agitation, physical changes, aggression, questioning of authority, misbehavior, interest in boys or girls).

    As such, I demand that millions of dollars in research be done to prove that High School does or does not cause Puberty!

  141. #142 Travis
    January 13, 2011

    Sharon,
    It really is not an elephant at all. Many parents have said they observed this change around that time. They have also been shown to be mistaken over and over again. For instance, in the autism omnibus case parents said this only to have it shown that changes were evident long before the vaccines were administered. But even if they did happen around that time, that does not mean there is a link.

    As for your second point. Yes, as with anything it is possible there might be an effect but this has been studied to death now and none has been found. It is not enough to simply posit a guess. You might as well replace toxins with kool-aid or oranges. What is required is evidence that this is the case. So far there is plenty of evidence vaccines are safe (far safer than the diseases they prevent) and are not linked to autism.

  142. #143 brian
    January 13, 2011

    Children used to have 3 vaccines before kindergarten. Now they have something like 27. That’s alot of toxins for a little body to handle in a short period of time.

    When my family vacationed at the beach I used to sometimes pour into the ocean a bottle or two of water that I’d brought from home. Last year my daughter brought along a dozen bottles of water, but I wouldn’t let her open them: That’s a lot of water for the ocean to take in in a short period of time.

  143. #144 lilady
    January 13, 2011

    @137. That would have been during the “Iraqi Debacle” (the justification for Iraqi for invading Iraq). As I stated in my post “let’s not go there…”. No political comment coming from lilady!

    I was also in public health during the anthrax…which, as it turned out, was a valid concern. Anthrax immunization was debated for public health workers, but not implemented.

  144. #145 Scott
    January 13, 2011

    There have also been several studies looking into the question of whether parents really are more likely to notice such changes in close proximity to vaccination. The answer is no, there is no correlation.

    People talk about the cases where there seems to be a correlation (even when it’s due to the fallibility of human memory), but not the more numerous cases where there isn’t. There are some coincidences, but no correlation.

    Similarly, many cases of autism have the symptoms first noticed around the time of the full moon. Obviously the tides are responsible!

  145. #146 Ichthyic
    January 13, 2011

    There have also been several studies looking into the question of whether parents really are more likely to notice such changes in close proximity to vaccination. The answer is no, there is no correlation.

    I’m a bit confused by your terminology here.

    Recall Bias IS an example of correlation; mistaken correlation, but correlation nonetheless.

    the key point is that it is not evidence of causation

    just wanted to clarify that…

    oh, and toss out the link to one of the clearer studies on Recall Bias.

    Did I mention Recall Bias?
    :)

  146. #147 Ichthyic
    January 13, 2011

    There have also been several studies looking into the question of whether parents really are more likely to notice such changes in close proximity to vaccination. The answer is no, there is no correlation.

    I’m a bit confused by your terminology here.

    Recall Bias IS an example of correlation; mistaken correlation, but correlation nonetheless.

    the key point is that it is not evidence of causation, between what the parents reported and the actual symptoms observed.

    just wanted to clarify that…

    oh, and toss out the link to one of the clearer studies on Recall Bias.

    :)

  147. #148 Ichthyic
    January 13, 2011

    That’s a lot of water for the ocean to take in in a short period of time.

    five bucks says when you say that to a rabid antivaxxer, they just stare at you blankly.

    OTOH, a homeopath might accuse you of insufficient dilution.
    ;)

  148. #149 Scott
    January 13, 2011

    @ Ichthyic:

    My point is that there is no correlation when reliable data is used (i.e. not subject to recall bias). There can be an apparent correlation due to bias, but not an actual correlation.

  149. #150 Damien
    January 13, 2011

    @144 – Yeah, the anthrax thing was legitimate, but I don’t think it’s a political statement to say that the fact that there have been literally no indications of any WMD existence in 7 solid years is a “debacle.” Whatever else your feelings about Saddam Hussein and the war in general, I would call the evaporation of our primary raison d’guerre a debacle whether it was the WMDs for Iraq, 9/11 for Afghanistan or Pearl Harbor for WWII.

    I applaud you, incidentally, for your work in public health. I feel that it is too often overlooked as a worthy and noble profession. You aren’t be chance affiliated in any way with the EIS or CDC?

  150. #151 Christine
    January 13, 2011

    When my son received his first MMR, I was made to sign a paper that the vaccine can cause sterility and that I am accepting that risk. How come no one talks about that? Is that why there are so many fertility problems today? Whether it causes autism is irrelevent. What concers me is that the pharmaceutical companies have NO LIABILITY for any health problems or deaths they may cause. That was put into the Homeland Security Bill. If they are so “harmless” why was that necessary? My son had a bad reaction to his first DPT shot at 8 weeks. He was hospitalized for 5 days. I continued to vaccinate him. He is a high functioning Autistic. Do I think vaccines caused it? Don’t know. All I know is that vaccines contain potent neurotoxins. If you look up the MSDS of Mercury, Aluminum, Formaldehyde, and Phenol to name a few, you would see these do not belong in the human body even in trace amounts. I’m not against the idea of vaccination, I’m just disturbed by the toxic additives/preservatives.

  151. #152 raincitygirl
    January 13, 2011

    If you look up the MSDS of Mercury, Aluminum, Formaldehyde, and Phenol to name a few, you would see these do not belong in the human body even in trace amounts.

    Uh, Christine, you may want to cut out your liver for safety reasons, in that case. The human body makes formaldehyde. You are sitting at your computer right now with significantly more formaldehyde in your body than is in a vaccine.

  152. #153 Chris
    January 13, 2011

    Whoa! The MMR causes sterility? That is a new one. How does one know if a vaccine given in childhood causes something that is only discovered after the person becomes an adult?

    Actually I suspect Christine mistook the risk of the diseases, since it is mumps that can cause sterility.

  153. #154 JohnV
    January 14, 2011

    “If you look up the MSDS of Mercury, Aluminum, Formaldehyde, and Phenol to name a few, you would see these do not belong in the human body even in trace amounts.”

    Google University degree fail.

  154. #155 Sauceress
    January 14, 2011

    If you look up the MSDS of Mercury, Aluminum, Formaldehyde, and Phenol to name a few, you would see these do not belong in the human body even in trace amounts.

    Oh noes…not the dreaded phenol.

    Quick, someone get this news out to Mike Adams and other “natural living foods only” cults.

  155. #156 Ichthyic
    January 14, 2011

    I was made to sign a paper that the vaccine can cause sterility and that I am accepting that risk. How come no one talks about that?

    uh, because you made it up?

    next you’ll be asking us why nobody talks about your 6ft tall invisible rabbit.

  156. #157 Ichthyic
    January 14, 2011

    If they are so “harmless” why was that necessary?

    because of crazy people like you, who lawyers will predate upon to try and file false class action lawsuits?

    Yes, that’s right.

    the lowered liability pharmaceutical companies wanted was because of YOU.

    pharmaceutical companies have NO LIABILITY for any health problems or deaths they may cause.

    do YOU feel that antivaxxer should share the liability for the deaths THEY cause?

    well?

  157. #158 Triskelethecat
    January 14, 2011

    @Sharon:

    Children used to have 3 vaccines before kindergarten. Now they have something like 27. That’s alot of toxins for a little body to handle in a short period of time.

    Hmmm…so, you are going back to about 1943? My mom, born in 1937, only had about 3 vaccines by kindergarten (my grandfather, a GP, was very pro vaccine and anytime new vaccine became available my mom and her siblings were the first ones to get it so she had at least Tetanus and Smallpox before starting kindergarten).
    I was born in 1962, and can happily show you my vaccine record which shows many more than 3 vaccines by kindergarten. I had 3 DTP, 3 polio, and Measles, mumps, and rubella as separate vaccines. Oh, and I forgot, I also had smallpox vaccine – twice – because the first time I didn’t get a “take”. Granted, the M, M, and R were not required vaccines, but they were available and people were getting them for their kids.

    So, how far back are you going? Want to talk to my mom about her friends who died from measles? The polio scares every summer? The horrible year she missed 4 months of school due to mumps and then measles? She would tell you that she’d happily have vaccines.

  158. #159 HMathewson, MD
    January 14, 2011

    Andrew Wakefield has been revealed as a true quack. “Let’s Call a Quack a “Quack”.
    http://www.hubslist.org

  159. #160 Chris
    January 14, 2011

    Sharon, I was born in 1957 in Gorgas Hospital in what was then the Panama Canal Zone. As an Army brat I also got to move back there in junior high, a year after we left Venezuela. This is my vaccine record (I have something in common with Triskelethecat!):

    Smallpox:
    23 Jan 58 (no take)
    20 Mar 58
    13 Aug 59
    30 Mar 68
    6 Apr 68
    7 Sep 71
    20 Jun 74

    Typhoid:
    18 Jul 59
    26 Aug 59
    31 Aug 59
    6 Apr 68
    14 Jun 74

    Diptheria/Pertussis/Tetanus:
    23 Jan 58
    20 Feb 58
    20 Mar 58
    21 Jun 59
    3 Aug 62

    Diptheria/Tetanus:
    30 Mar 68
    14 Mar 74

    Typhus:
    13 Apr 68
    18 May 68

    Polio:
    29 Jun 59
    12 Oct 59
    16 Aug 61
    3 Aug 62
    17 Jun 68

    Yellow Fever (Panama and Venezuela):
    26 Aug 59
    3 May 68

  160. #161 lilady
    January 14, 2011

    @150 No, I worked for a county health department, not the CDC or the EIS (Epidemic Intelligence Service). Public health practitioners (colloquially)refer to the EIS as the “flying squad” due to their quick response when an emerging epidemic occurs in the United States. The CDC and the EIS have also assisted with investigations in other countries, as well. Local health departments report all “reportable infectious diseases” through computer programs to State Health Departments as well as the CDC.

    Local health departments and hospital personnel get frequent updates about infectious diseases, immunizations and disease outbreaks from the CDC via printed material such as the MMWR (Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report)… which is easily locatable on the internet. We also attended teleconferences (in our office) broadcasts from the CDC for updates on vaccines, vaccine-preventable diseases, WMDs and Anthrax. Our “bible” reference material for vaccines was, and continues to be, “The Pink Book”, a 500 page reference book, which is also available for internet users.

    @151 You misread the VIS (Vaccine Information Sheet) that was given to you prior to your child receiving the MMR vaccine. The first… and only paragraph…on the VIS that mentions “sterility” describes what consequences might ensue from Mumps infection… if children are not immunized with the MMR vaccine. The current VIS(s) for the MMR vaccine and all vaccine-preventable illnesses is readily available on the internet.

  161. #162 Todd W.
    January 14, 2011

    @Christine

    If you look up the MSDS of Mercury, Aluminum, Formaldehyde, and Phenol to name a few, you would see these do not belong in the human body even in trace amounts.

    Oooh! The MSDS game! Hey, look up the MSDS for sodium chloride (that’s table salt). Pretty scary stuff!

    As far as trace amounts of things like aluminum or formaldehyde not belonging in the body…well, you’re screwed, there. Just about every breath you take has aluminum in it in some measure, as do bananas and other foods. As for formaldehyde, your body makes the stuff as part of its metabolic processes. Once you learn a bit more, there’s a lot less to fear.

  162. #163 Damien
    January 14, 2011

    @160 – I love the MMWR. I’m fascinated by epidemiology, even if I’m too innumerate to do the work myself. I’ve been trying to figure out how to get the MMWR to be sent straight to my Kindle, but for some reason Amazon doesn’t stock it. :P

  163. #164 Calli Arcale
    January 14, 2011

    Todd W:

    Oooh! The MSDS game! Hey, look up the MSDS for sodium chloride (that’s table salt). Pretty scary stuff!

    And, like the formaldehyde you mentioned, a normal component of a healthy human body. It’s amazing how hazardous some of the chemicals making up our bodies can be, really.

  164. #165 lilady
    January 15, 2011

    @163 Kindle?.. Sorry Damien, I cannot be your resource for that. I just plod along on my five year old laptop with technical assistance from my mate. One of our techie colleagues on this site should be able to offer assistance.

  165. #166 Zetetic
    January 15, 2011

    @ Damian post #163:

    Perhaps this might help….
    Sending Personal Documents to Kindle

    Please note that there is a fee for transferring the file by 3G, but not over WiFi or USB. Now all you need is a pdf (or other Kindle compatible format) version of the MMWR.

    Hope that helps!

  166. #167 Zetetic
    January 15, 2011

    My last post apparently fell into the “moderation” black hole. Guess I’ll just have to repeat it.

    @ Damian post #163:
    Instructions for help with transferring supported file types to a Kindle can be found here…
    Sending Personal Documents to Kindle

    All you just need is a copy of the MMWR in to correct file type (according to Amazon they are “unprotected Microsoft Word, PDF, HTML, TXT, RTF, JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP, PRC and MOBI”) to be imported! Please be aware that if you send it by 3G data that there is a fee involved, but not if you transfer it by USB or WiFi.

    I hope that helps!

  167. #168 Zetetic
    January 15, 2011

    Heh… Guess my first post finally cleared moderation, sorry about repeating the info.

  168. #169 Keith
    January 30, 2011

    And Dr Andrew Wakefield has lost literally everything. I suppose he’s telling the truth for the money? That’s absurd.
    More money to be made in debilitating children and keeping your mouth shut. My cousins son has autism and she has determined it was directly related to vaccines. Process of elimination, whatever is left standing at the end of the day is the culprit and it was mercury adjuvant. This world is going to hell, thank God for people like Andrew Wakefield who still gives a damn.

  169. #170 tresmal
    January 30, 2011

    More money to be made in debilitating children and keeping your mouth shut.

    Well I guess that Wakefield is going to have to find a new source of income. Oh, wait.

    My cousins son has autism and she has determined it was directly related to vaccines.

    And she has the relevant training and skills to do that?

    Process of elimination, whatever is left standing at the end of the day is the culprit and it was mercury adjuvant.

    No, that’s not how it works. A process of elimination always leaves “we don’t know” as a possible answer. In this case it’s a much more plausible answer than mercury for a couple of reasons. One, multiple studies, careful studies, have failed to find a whisper of a link between vaccines and autism. Two, depending on when your cousin’s son was vaccinated, his vaccines would not have had any mercury in them. The reality is, is that autism may not have a single discrete cause. It may not even be a single discrete syndrome. It is very possible that a number of genetic, epigenetic, developmental and environmental factors interact in complex ways to generate a number of different neurological disorders.

    This world is going to hell, thank God for people like Andrew Wakefield…

    For speeding the process along?

    …who still gives a damn.

    Only about himself.

  170. #171 adelady
    January 30, 2011

    And if we had a vaccine against autism?

    Would you use it? I would.

  171. #172 Chris
    January 30, 2011

    We do, adelady. It is the “R” part of the MMR. Congenital Rubella Syndrome is one known cause of autism.

    The problem is that the developmental condition known as “autism” is not one thing. It would like trying to get a vaccine for the common cold, since over two hundred viruses have been identified that can case colds.

  172. #173 Antaeus Feldspar
    January 30, 2011

    Process of elimination, whatever is left standing at the end of the day is the culprit and it was mercury adjuvant.

    Mercury adjuvant, eh? Since mercury isn’t an adjuvant, whoever claimed that it was “mercury adjuvant” clearly doesn’t know what they’re talking about.

  173. #174 novalox
    January 30, 2011

    @169

    Obviously, judging from your comments, you don’t have any idea of what you are talking about.

  174. #175 Marie Hutchinson
    February 7, 2011

    I don’t think the insulting and inflammatory language used in the article enhances the author’s argument one bit.

  175. #176 Chris
    February 7, 2011

    Concern troll is concerned. Perhaps you should detail which phrases you find particularly insulting.

  176. #177 Main Man
    February 15, 2011

    hmmm, I wonder who funded the studies that disproved Andrew Wakefield’s initial study? I smell a conflict of interest if the big pharmaceutical companies funded those… maybe we should look at that angle first… I also wonder why France has not reinstated the mandatory Hepa B vaccination that they suspended back in 98? Maybe because the pharmas couldn’t buy out a whole government. I also wonder why I don’t have Hepa b, have no TB, am not autistic, have no MS, never been admitted to a hospital… but then again I do all my thinking while running 7k or when eating my barley and oats (with no sugar or milk)…

  177. #178 Wow
    February 15, 2011

    So the actual meat of the arguments are valid, then, Marie.

  178. #179 Chris
    February 15, 2011

    I wonder how you find the keys on the keyboard to peck at. What is it about using ellipses and cranks?

    By the way, the first study that disproved Wakefield was by Brent Taylor at the same hospital, Royal Free, and was funded from the same source as Wakefield: the UK taxpayers.

    Also the USA has never used a vaccine for TB, so what does that say for your silly speculations?

  179. #180 Chris
    February 15, 2011

    My comment is for “Main Man”.

  180. #181 You Guys Are Funny
    February 15, 2011

    170

    tresmal and the others – I can inject you with all the vaccines in this world for free, you have a fully developed immune system so you should be able to take it. But wait, that wouldn’t be scientifically valid! Maybe we should first weaken your immune system to the level of a day old baby, or at least a child less than 6 years. Probably could do that with the right combination of drugs (preferably illegal – you might as well have fun while flushing your health down the drain) – then we stick everything in you in one go and see how it goes. Any of you guys could do this to yourself, then just report whatever happens. I mean a baby can’t give us feedback about what they actually feel when we stick all that shit in their underdeveloped immune system, but you are all adults so if you do it to yourselves you probably could give feedback (something like: Oh shit, why did I do that…)

  181. #182 Chris
    February 15, 2011

    Is this STY back from the dead? So when will we get that big revelation STY promised back a few months ago?

  182. #183 Main Man
    February 15, 2011

    Cris, I am not based in the USA, been there though. Too much fat lazy people who couldn’t run a mile even if their lives depended on it (which in a way it does) I bet more people die there of heart attack than due to vaccines, hope your heart is healthy cause mine surely is. Oh, I frequent a high risk area for TB, south east asia but I don’t have TB vaccine. Oh by the way here is more for you… … … … … … … … … and its not ellipses and cranks though. There is a term for those things but you probably don’t know… … :)

  183. #184 Main Man
    February 15, 2011

    Run the mile guys, your life really does depend on it…

  184. #185 Calli Arcale
    February 15, 2011

    Main Man — I can definitely agree with you about one thing: way more people die of heart attacks than vaccines in this US. This is also true worldwide; heart disease is the leading cause of death excluding communicable disease, trauma, malnutrition, poisoning, and other external factors. (Interestingly, it is also a major cause of death in gorillas, perhaps something we share with them.) It is definitely aggravated by body fat content and an indolent lifestyle, but it is such a scourge of humanity that it can even strike the seemingly healthy, usually due to a previously unknown defect.

    Vaccines, meanwhile, very rarely cause any significant side-effects, much less death. (That’s not to say death never happens; it’s just extremely rare. All the ones I’ve read about as being conclusively linked to a vaccine were due to anaphylactic shock, underscoring the importance of asking patients about allergies before administering any vaccine — it’s a real and serious risk that is easily avoided with a proper history.)

    BTW, if you want to look for conflict of interest surrounding Wakefield-related studies, make sure you also look at Wakefield himself. He stood to make significant financial gain off of lost confidence in the MMR vaccine (through litigation, which paid for his research direction, through a competing measles preventative, and through a proposed measles treatment which he was in the process of making a business case for) yet did not disclose this when he published.

  185. #186 Forbidden Snowflake
    February 15, 2011

    Main Man, I’m glad your efforts at keeping yourself healthy are working out well, though I wonder what on Earth that has to do with anything.
    A few question:
    1. Why are you willing to ignore the studies disproving Wakefield’s on the basis of a hypothetical possibility of conflict of interests, but overlook Wakefield’s own blatant conflict of interests?
    2. What is your response to Chris’ point about some of the disproving studies being government-funded?
    3.

    Oh, I frequent a high risk area for TB, south east asia but I don’t have TB vaccine.

    Why do you pride yourself on your irresponsibility?

  186. #187 Chris
    February 15, 2011

    Forbidden Snowflake, the USA did not use the BCG even for military personnel stationed in Asia. My father was stationed in Vietnam and in Korea (twice for the latter), and never had the BCG. Though the last time he was in Korea in the early 1970s his skin test came up positive.

    So, Main Man is just using his limited experience. He does not realize different countries have different schedules for their own reasons. In some countries, and areas where many of that population immigrants settle in other countries, Hepatitis B is endemic. Which is why France does use the HepB for certain populations.

    By the way, Main Man, I hate running. I swim, usually between a mile and 2000 yards. The average lifespan in this country is almost 80 years old, of course more people die of heart troubles and cancer than vaccines. They are older! Your point?

    (And one reason there are more older people is that they did not die from pertussis, diphtheria and tetanus as children! Do you know why?)

  187. #188 Vicki
    February 15, 2011

    I, on the other hand, did have the BCG vaccine for TB. My parents, or maybe my pediatrician, were just being cautious. Not surprising: they were born around 1930, and both my grandfathers were born in 1898, so TB and epidemics were very real to them.

    I don’t know if it’s made any difference—my only real risk factor is that I lived in New York City during the 1980s and 1990s. But I’m middle class, and did not live in an overcrowded or poorly ventilated home or with anyone who had TB or HIV.

  188. #189 Beamup
    February 15, 2011

    Forbidden Snowflake’s questions are well founded, but I would add another:

    4. Why do you demand that Wakefield’s study be refuted, after it’s been shown that it was fraudulent? Manufactured data needs no refutation other than the observation that it was manufactured.

  189. #190 Chris
    February 15, 2011

    Myself:

    Though the last time he was in Korea in the early 1970s his skin test came up positive.

    I forgot to add, it turned out to be a false positive. The problem with the BCG vaccine is that makes the skin test worthless, it will always come up positive.

  190. #191 darker
    April 26, 2011

    it’s only a matter of time before we figure out that autism is really caused by excessive cocaine use and hugh hefner’s wang.

    The direct causal link is perfectly clear in mccarthy’s case. more research might help.

  191. #192 Todd W.
    April 26, 2011

    @darker

    Mate, I don’t care for McCarthy at all, myself, but not cool.

  192. #193 Venna
    May 9, 2011

    As a mother of a child with autism, as well as a mother of children without autism, I feel that the time has come for the anti-vaccine movement to die. For too long too many people have been too vocal about this thing they claim is absolute truth even though they can’t have absolute proof.

    If any of them understood science (Read Seth Mnoonkin’s book, Panic Virus, he explains it very well) they would know, in any scientific study, it’s impossible to prove anything conclusively one way or the other. All they can do is try to disprove a theory, that’s how science works. Have they been able to find a causal link between vaccines and autism? No, they haven’t, therefore they have disproved this theory, several times over I might add, and yet because they haven’t been able to produce unequivocal proof that vaccines don’t cause autism, these anti-vaxers continue to cling to that thin thread of disbelief. Eventually that thread will break and they will all come tumbling down.

    There are two arguments they keep using: the MMR vaccine combination is the culprit as characteristics of autism begin to manifest (sometimes, but not always) around the same age that the vaccine is given. The other argument is the thimerosal preservative in the vaccines is the culprit. Do they realize by having two different arguments they are actually weakening both arguments? First off, there are many children, even in the same families who have gotten the MMR vaccine and NOT developed autism. Secondly, thimerosal hasn’t been in routine childhood vaccines since 2002 and yet the numbers of children with autism continue to climb, going from 1 in 166 in 2002, to 1 in 110 in 2010 and I’ve heard recently those numbers again increased to 1 in 90 in 2011. And yet from the number of reported occurrences of the disease that have a vaccination to prevent them, the number of children that are being vaccinated has dropped severely over the past decade, to the point where ‘herd immunity’ is threatened and those who have weakened, or compromised immune systems are at risk from these diseases because they can’t get the vaccines and rely on herd immunity.

    I’d like to know if there has been a study, or even a poll on how many children have developed autism WITHOUT vaccines? My son did (don’t worry, he is vaccinated now), yet my other 5 children who were all vaccinated on schedule and would have also received vaccines with thimerosal in them are neurotypical. To me, their argument, both sides of it, holds no water. Too many studies have been shown science is not able to find a causal link. Why is it so difficult for these anti-vaxers to see this?

    Their voracity and vocal antics and shrieking have taken attention away from those children who developed autism without the vaccines and some how have made us feel as though because our children didn’t get vaccines and we don’t believe their spin on things, that our children’s autism is somehow not real autism so they don’t count. It has also removed focus from much more promising research into causes and treatments. I’ve said it over and over, the horse is dead, stop beating it and find another ride!

  193. #194 johnny appleseed
    November 22, 2011

    you terds should read this article (http://www.naturalnews.com/031116_Dr_Andrew_Wakefield_British_Medical_Journal.html). it brushes the surface to show that wakefield was railroaded. also, it shows this deer douchebag lied and did some shady stuff in his attempt to discredit wakefield. u people need to read the arguments from both sides. then, make an informed decision instead of being so narrow-minded/brainwashed. to correct the record jenny mccarthy and her movement are not anti-vaccine. they are pro-safe vaccines. big pharma pays money to the govt to control u and u people buy into it. a few points to ponder:
    1) the rate of autism in US is somewhere around 1 in 100.
    2) the rise started rising in the 90′s when vaccines started becoming mandated.
    3) all vaccines have some toxins in them. these r usually metals b/c the metals r what binds the vaccine to ur body and makes it last a long time.
    4) if all vaccines have some toxins in them, how can they be safe?
    5) regardless of whether u think vaccines cause autism, big pharma even concedes that there r some side effects. therefore, why can’t autism be a side effect?
    I could go on forever, but those r just a few. There r too many parent testimonials/video evidence, coincidences, research studies that show vaccines are unsafe, and contribute to autism/neurological disorders along with other environmental factors.

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