Respectful Insolence

Whenever I call an anti-vaccine activist “anti-vaccine,” frequently there will be an indignant response along the lines of either, “I’m not ‘anti-vaccine'; I’m pro-safe vaccine” or “I’m not ‘anti-vaccine'; I’m a vaccine safety activist.” (This latter retort is a favorite of Barbara Loe Fisher.) Another favorite retort is, “I’m not ‘anti-vaccine'; I’m for ‘informed consent'” or “I’m not ‘anti-vaccine'; I’m for freedom!” (Imagine the person saying this looking like this the photo below.)

i-9409b27ae5a9b7f4db8c0b84836f2a37-braveheart.jpg

Anti-vaccine warrior crying “Freedom!!!!! (from vaccines)”

Not infrequently, it doesn’t take very long to put the lie to these claims. All you have to do is look at the websites or delve into vaccine discussion forums. Or look at their blogs. For instance, take The Refusers. The Refusers first rose to infamy among the anti-vaccine movement about a year ago, when at last year’s anti-vaccine “American Rally for Personal Rights” they combined bad music with bad science and a healthy dollop of conspiracy theories to bring us gems like “Vaccine Gestapo” (complete with comparing supporters of science-based medicine to Adolf Hitler) and “Get Your Mandates Out of My Body.” After that, I didn’t hear much from The Refusers (a fact for which my ear drums are profoundly grateful). Unfortunately, The Refusers appear to be back to demonstrate their pro-personal rights cred:

i-f4ecc75db21b3535abaf41167f9ac12c-Toxicvaccines.jpg

Yes, unlike many anti-vaccine activists, The Refusers are right up front about where they’re coming from. Let’s see. Vat of vaccines with worker whose head is a skull? Check. Vat looking like a toxic waste container? Yep. Logo of the World Health Organization on the vat, in order to provide insinuations of a New World Order or threats of a one-world government? Check.

Bad music and paranoid conspiracy-mongering back elsewhere on the blog and website? Check.

Indeed, it looks as though The Refusers have a fresh batch of new songs, with catchy titles like “Crazy Cult” (in which pro-vaccine advocates are predictably and tiresomely compared to–yes–a cult or a religion, which is the message they repeat time and time again). Never mind that it’s not the science-based medicine supporters who are comparing their heroes to Jesus, as J.B. Handley did with Andrew Wakefield less than two months ago, likening him to “Nelson Mandela and Jesus Christ all rolled up into one.”

I will give Michael Belkin a mild degree of credit for shamelessly stealing from the Dead Kennedys in naming one of his songs “Vaccination Über Alles,” but after listening to it I think I’ll stick with the Dead Kennedys. They’re far easier on the ears.

But if you really want to see over-the-top, check out this video for The Refusers’ “Mad Hatter Blues”:

Nice touch, using a guy doing a bad Dr. Strangelove impersonation portraying a representative for the “Centers for Autism Creation.” The video then segues into a storyline where a scientist wearing a huge Nazi-esque cap (apparently he is a cross between the Mad Hatter and, well, a Nazi) is chasing a cute little girl through a forest, brandishing enormous syringes, all accompanied by mediocre rock music. Meanwhile, we’re treated to lyrics like:

They’re so self-righteous
But doctors haven’t got a clue
Vaccines with mercury
Will make a Mad Hatter out of you

Never mind that mercury was removed from childhood vaccines other than the flu vaccine nine years ago, that no childhood vaccine other than some flu vaccines contains more than trace mercury, and that there are many thimerosal-free flu vaccines out on the market now. Also never mind that there is no convincing scientific evidence that mercury in vaccines was ever responsible for autism or other neurological conditions. I mean, really. Mercury? That’s soooo 2004.

As I said a year ago, the anti-vaccine movement has degenerated to the point where it has become almost impossible to distinguish real from parody. It’s just like Poe’s law with fundamentalists, only this time with antivaccinationists. If I hadn’t known that The Refusers and “Mad Hatter Blues” were real, I would have had a hard time knowing for sure whether they were real or parody. They also lead me to repeat my proposed corollary to Poe’s Law, first suggested a year ago:

Without a winking smiley or other blatant display of humor, it is utterly impossible to parody anti-vaccinationists in such a way that someone won’t mistake for the genuine article.

The Refusers lead me to conclude time and time again that this law is a good description of the anti-vaccine movement.

Comments

  1. #1 MartinM
    June 9, 2011

    Vaccines with mercury
    Will make a Mad Hatter out of you

    Yet again revealing exactly what the anti-vax movement actually thinks of autistic people.

  2. #2 Todd W.
    June 9, 2011

    The Refusers aren’t the only ones showing what they think. I got wind of a protest of GAVI and wrote about it over at Harpocrates Speaks (linked in my name).

    I understand that the parents of autistic kids are very emotionally involved, and rightly so. But they really need to take a step or four back and try to instill just a smidge of objectivity and rationality into their inquiries.

  3. #3 Jacob
    June 9, 2011

    What happens when the anti-anti-vax movement don’t like an asperger?

    They relabel it as an ‘SMI’ with word salad.

    The only thing that makes an aavax better then an avax is that an aavax has a chance of looking like they like autistic people, even if they don’t.

    AV people have no chance of looking like they like autistic people.

  4. #4 Rejistania
    June 9, 2011

    So very right, MartinM. It is a freaking shame!

  5. #5 Roadstergal
    June 9, 2011

    The Refusers? It sounds so… petulant. Why do I see five-year-old kids folding their arms and refusing to eat their vegetables when I hear that name?

    (No offense intended to five-year-old children or vegetables.)

  6. #6 Krebiozen
    June 9, 2011

    Interesting that the only “Press” they have is a quote from Orac, and a quote from Jake Crosby about Orac. Are you sure this isn’t a joke?

  7. #7 Edith Prickly
    June 9, 2011

    OK, so my judgment is probably impaired by vaccine and tooth-filling-related mercury poisoning, but…holy mother, what business do these guys have calling anybody else crazy?

    I think they’ve got the wrong Lewis Carroll reference here too – the alt-med/anti-vax view of medicine is more Through the Looking Glass (cf the Red Queen: “You may call it “nonsense” if you like,” she said, “but I’ve heard nonsense, compared with which that would be as sensible as a dictionary!”). They insist complex diseases like cancer or AIDS can be cured with herbal teas, vitamins, weird diets, faith healing, etc, but a simple, safe preventative measure like getting vaccinated is a deadly threat.

  8. #8 René F. Najera
    June 9, 2011

    I was going to go to their web page, facebook page, or twitter feed and write something crazy… But I kept reading the comments and couldn’t top any of it off. The amount of nuts they post only proves that it’s not mercury that makes you a “mad hatter”, only a misplaced sense of government-is-going-to-get-us-itis.

  9. #9 Raka
    June 9, 2011

    Apparently anti-vaxer Lowell Hubs had his site hacked, and part of that was a hoax implying that the government had shut down his site. Ars Technica put up an article, focusing on the legal and technological aspects of the incident. Lowell shows up to chat in the comments.

    Much to everyone’s surprise, the anti-vax advocate displays poor reading comprehension, zero grasp of formal logic, and a gargantuan persecution complex. Hilarity ensues.
    http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2011/06/no-the-feds-didnt-seize-your-domain-youve-just-been-punked.ars?comments=1#comments-bar

  10. #10 powerslave22
    June 9, 2011

    Well, considering that music and science are both passions of mine, this may well be the most horrific thing I’ve ever seen. I’m talking “keep me up at nights” awful…

  11. #11 Chris
    June 9, 2011

    The visuals are insane enough with the speakers off.

  12. #12 JoeKaistoe
    June 9, 2011

    Fools! All of them!

    They don’t realize just how bad these vaccines are. Not only are these evil doctors giving our children vaccines that they know cause autism, they’re also doing it because lucifer tells them to!

    He’s trying to make as many autistic children as possible, so when they die he can devour their souls! (Autistic souls taste the best)

    What if the autistic people were religious you ask?

    Mercury! The mercury in the vaccines bond to the soul, making it too heavy to go to heaven, instead sinking to hell. He then dissolves the souls in water to remove the mercury (souls are water-soluble) and then distills out the souls into a powder that he can sprinkle on his meals. (6 of them brunch)

  13. #13 Lawrence
    June 9, 2011

    Joe’s conspiracy theory makes as much sense as any of the others that have been pandered about around here….too funny (and sad at the same time).

  14. #14 Sauceress
    June 9, 2011

    @12 JoeKaistoe
    Needs random capitalization, some misspellings and less punctuation.

  15. #15 Jacob
    June 9, 2011

    Fools! All of them!

    They don’t realize just how bad these vaccines are. Not only are these evil doctors giving our children pashminas that they know cause autism, they’re also doing it because lucifer tells them to!

    He’s trying to make as many autistic children as possible, so when they die he can devour their souls! (Autistic souls taste the best)

    What if the autistic people were religious you ask?

    Mercury! The mercury in the pashminas bond to the soul, making it too heavy to go to heaven, instead sinking to hell. He then dissolves the souls in water to remove the mercury (souls are water-soluble) and then distills out the souls into a powder that he can sprinkle on his meals. (6 of them brunch)

    Fixed.

  16. #16 EJ
    June 9, 2011

    Aw, I was expecting them to be a hardcore band. At least that would be fun to jump up and down to.

  17. #17 Skeptiverse
    June 9, 2011

    So the song is just one giant Godwin? seriously how freaking obvious can you get with your imagery

    dude with bad rug and really bad fake german accent, and another dude with a milatary style peak cap which actually looks like it has the eagle and swatstika on it.

    oh the singing is pretty bad as well :). And i call POE on @JoeKaistoe, its to obvious joe it needs a bit more subtelty.

  18. #18 Venna
    June 9, 2011

    I just don’t know what to say to that. I don’t think words by themselves can justly express the height of awful that has risen to. And it isn’t a joke? How can anyone take it seriously? I kept expecting the gestapo guy to bust up laughing in the beginning, when he didn’t I got shivers of fear. I couldn’t watch the whole music video, it was just too ridiculous to allow any more of my time to be taken up by it.

    On a completely off topic note, I recently watched a short video interview on YouTube of Dr. Eric Courchesne who was keynote speaker at IMFAR. I’ve been trying to find blogs and articles regarding his presentation/speech but I’ve not been successful in finding any. Perhaps I’ve missed some but if anyone has any links to additional information, I’d love to read more about it. Anyone?

  19. #19 Narad
    June 9, 2011

    I do love me some Bainbridge Island, and I say this from the position of knowing some dear and entirely rational people there. But if you’re going to make crazy, it’s best to be crazy of the first water.

  20. #20 Matthew Cline
    June 9, 2011

    Wait, wait, how can “nerve disease” be an ingredient?

  21. #21 Hinterlander
    June 9, 2011

    …as J.B. Handley did with Andrew Wakefield less than two months ago, likening him to “Nelson Mandela and Jesus Christ all rolled up into one.”

    Oh I missed that post, and wish I missed this one too. How… nauseating.

    Thanks to Wakefield and his sycophant disciples we have a resurgence of the measles here in NZ. Now many anti-vax parents are crying foul at having to keep their children home from school. Some of them have to take unpaid leave from work, you know! I watched an article on local tv here and felt like gouging my eyes and ears such was the tripe one particular self-titled ‘informed’ mother was saying (usual stuff – aborted fetuses, mercury). She then went on to say (in some failed leap of logic) that keeping her children home was damaging to the community.

    None of them seem to think beyond their own family at all. It’s quite scary. My daughter has just reached one and I’m completely dependent on herd immunity until she’s old enough to have the MMR jab.

    /end rant

  22. #22 Jarred C
    June 9, 2011

    Fools! All of them!

    Jacob, that was hilarious.

  23. #23 John C. Welch
    June 9, 2011

    Mercury! The mercury in the pashminas bond to the soul, making it too heavy to go to heaven, instead sinking to hell. He then dissolves the souls in water to remove the mercury (souls are water-soluble) and then distills out the souls into a powder that he can sprinkle on his meals. (6 of them brunch)

    mmm…soul sprinkles.

  24. #24 Medical Supply
    June 10, 2011

    Nice information about vaccine part of 8th and congratulation for ref user come back from dead..
    Thanks for sharing with us..

  25. #25 Pete
    June 10, 2011

    Unbelievable. You’d think people would actually want to read all of the research about something they’re so emotionally invested in.

  26. #26 Christopher Wing
    June 10, 2011

    My band (linked) is pro science, and we actually know how to write what some might consider “music.”

  27. #27 Jacob
    June 10, 2011

    Pashmina replacement therapy can reduce the offensiveness of the word ‘vaccine’ in scripto by up to lol%

    PRT for noun-based propaganda disorder
    I stole the idea, I must confess!

  28. #28 lilady
    June 10, 2011

    @ Venna: Here you go, key in:

    The Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism IMFAR 2011 Eric Courchesne

    Thanks for the heads up; it is the complete presentation..minus some visuals and has some interesting research into brain structure and brain development.

    The video??? Probably the worst cacophony I’ve ever heard. The kids next door who had a teen “band” and practiced 2 X a week, were even better than this…and they were the pits.

  29. #29 Cool
    June 10, 2011

    What do you call a person who vaccinated on schedule and followed doctors orders whose child was injured by that schedule and they now decide to question vaccines and/or spread them out and/or not allow certain vaccines? I guess you call that anti-vaccine? Ok… I consider it a person capable of rational thought.

    There are grey areas on the other side too. A doctor, such as (Pr)Offit, who will defend any vaccine, any time, no matter what (ie a vaccine whore).. As opposed to a doctor who can carefully and selectively work with a parent/child to do what is best based on that child’s immune system, family history, common sense, etc. etc… That doctor will recommend and push for certain vaccines but also understands that vaccine “safety” is overrated.

  30. #30 Beamup
    June 10, 2011

    What do you call a person who vaccinated on schedule and followed doctors orders whose child was injured by that schedule and they now decide to question vaccines and/or spread them out and/or not allow certain vaccines?

    In most cases, mistaken since the injury was most likely not related to vaccination. Nevertheless, if we assume that it actually was, then (a) spreading out vaccines provides no benefit and is actually more likely to cause further reactions, and (b) not giving further doses of the same or related vaccines is completely standard practice.

    I guess you call that anti-vaccine? Ok… I consider it a person capable of rational thought.

    It becomes anti-vaccine when the injury has no relationship to the vaccine, the reasons given why vaccines are dangerous bear no resemblance to reality, and the actual risk/benefit ratio is grossly distorted.

    A doctor, such as (Pr)Offit, who will defend any vaccine, any time, no matter what (ie a vaccine whore)

    Please provide evidence that Dr. Offit – heck, ANY doctor – “will defend any vaccine, any time, no matter what.” Completely standard and accepted practice is to consider whether particular patients have a contraindication (e.g. someone with an egg allergy shouldn’t get vaccines grown in eggs), and what the benefits vs. risks of the particular vaccine are. That’s why we no longer vaccinate for smallpox, or use the older-style polio vaccine (more effective, but more risk of complications).

    As opposed to a doctor who can carefully and selectively work with a parent/child to do what is best based on that child’s immune system, family history, common sense, etc. etc

    99.9% of the time, what is best is vaccination according to the CDC schedule.

    That doctor will recommend and push for certain vaccines but also understands that vaccine “safety” is overrated.

    Please provide evidence that vaccine safety is overestimated.

  31. #31 augustine
    June 10, 2011

    Beamup

    99.9% of the time, what is best is vaccination according to the CDC schedule.

    Citation Please. There doesn’t seem to be any scientific literature to back this opinion up. Do you know what the NNT for a vaccine is? Do you know how many people do not benefit from a vaccine?

    In most cases, mistaken since the injury was most likely not related to vaccination.

    It’s nice that the vaccine injury deniers admit their assumptions before they even consider a case. This is a bias. No way around it. It’s not an objective view on the case. At least parents can be assured that you’ll shout “It’s not the vaccine that’s for sure” before ever looking at one single fact. It’s a dismissive bias and disrespectful to parents who observe vaccine damage.

    That’s why parents are turned away from this type of arrogance. No matter how much “science” you think you have.

    “I don’t understand why we can’t communicate to them”. Because you don’t listen, you have little to no tolerance, and therefore little to no compassion.

    “But, But we’ve studied the subject of compassion and communication techniques. I still don’t understand.”

    You just don’t get it. No listening, no tolerance, no caring, no compassion. It’s that simple.

  32. #32 Gray Falcon
    June 10, 2011

    Augustine, I have yet to see you show concern for anyone’s well-being but your own. Questioning whether someone is correct is not cruel in and of itself. You make claims, you have to provide evidence. No definition of compassion includes “agrees with everything you say”. Too often, the only evidence provided is a vague sense of temporal correlation, and that’s about it. Not enough evidence, then to prove anything.

  33. #33 Beamup
    June 10, 2011

    Citation Please. There doesn’t seem to be any scientific literature to back this opinion up. Do you know what the NNT for a vaccine is? Do you know how many people do not benefit from a vaccine?

    I’ll freely admit that this was one of the 87.2% statistics made up on the spot. Take it as “the great majority” if you like.

    It’s nice that the vaccine injury deniers admit their assumptions before they even consider a case. This is a bias. No way around it.

    Nope, it’s based on the observation of how common it is to attribute injury to a vaccine when there is no such relationship. Particularly common among people who say things like Cool.

    It’s not an objective view on the case.

    Well, DUH. Since when is something prefixed with “in most cases” EVER a view on a specific case?

    At least parents can be assured that you’ll shout “It’s not the vaccine that’s for sure” before ever looking at one single fact.

    “In most cases” is CLEARLY equivalent to “that’s for sure.” If you’re a lunatic, anyway.

  34. #34 ike solem
    June 10, 2011

    Simplistic arguments like “vaccines are (un)safe” are ludicrous. This is a highly complex topic involving some of the more complicated biological topics, immunity and infection.

    Mindless pro- or anti-vaccine posters (possibly in the employ of pharmaceutical corporations or lawyers in class-action vaccine-related lawsuits) should read the CDC fine print on their vaccination schedule:

    “Considerations should include provider assessment, patient preference, and the potential for adverse events.”

    Are the CDC also anti-vaccine advocates? Why are they talking about the potential for adverse effects, if they’re not?

    Too many vaccinations can in many cases lead to serious, long-term health effects – this has been well-documented in the case of scientists working on biological warfare programs in the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. in the past:

    “I have lost all sense of smell and have the broadest range of allergies of anyone I know. I can’t eat butter, cheese, eggs, mayonnaise, sausages, chocolate or candy. I swallow two or three pills of anti-allergy medicine a day – more on bad days, when my sinuses start to drain. Every morning, I rub ointment over my face, neck and hands to give my skin the natural lubricants it has lost. The countless vaccinations I received against anthrax, plague, and tularemia weakened my resistance to disease and probably shortened my life.” – Ken Alibek, Biohazard.

    However, no vaccinations at all can lead to serious childhood and adult health risks related to polio, diptheria, pertussis, tetanus, measles, mumps, rubella, rotavirus.

    So, what rational informed people do is find a doctor who understands both sides of the issue, and who carefully screens patients (typically children) for adverse reactions both before and after giving any injections.

    So yes, vaccines can be dangerous and can have negative health effects, but isn’t this also true of infectious microorganisms and viruses? It is a balancing act that must be informed by scientific information.

    It’s also true that the (now banned) practice of using organomercury preservatives in vaccines was perhaps the stupidest thing the pharmaceutical industry has ever done, and it points to a problem of low quality standards (especially with all the pharma manufacturing being outsourced to India, Mexico, etc.). Caveat emptor.

  35. #35 Beamup
    June 10, 2011

    Too many vaccinations can in many cases lead to serious, long-term health effects – this has been well-documented in the case of scientists working on biological warfare programs in the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. in the past:

    Then you should have no trouble providing actual citations. That demonstrate an actual causal link, as opposed to an entirely unsubstantiated assertion as in your quotation.

    It’s also true that the (now banned) practice of using organomercury preservatives in vaccines was perhaps the stupidest thing the pharmaceutical industry has ever done, and it points to a problem of low quality standards (especially with all the pharma manufacturing being outsourced to India, Mexico, etc.). Caveat emptor.

    Given that there was no actual health concern, it resulted in a superior product, and the only drawback was that it happened to be the thing the fraudsters chose to latch onto, that was far from the stupidest thing they’ve done. Indeed, it wasn’t even vaguely stupid at all.

  36. #36 augustine
    June 10, 2011

    Beamup

    Given that there was no actual health concern, it resulted in a superior product…

    You should put your foot down and boycott all inferior vaccine products until the mercury is put back in to establish it’s previous superiority.

    To think that vaccine manufacturers and the government appointees would recommend withdrawal of a life saving, necessary ingredient such as mercury and risk the quality and safety of vaccines is preposterous. And to do it without any merit whatsoever. ugh.

    You should shout to the top of your blogging lungs, “No more inferior products. Bring back the mercury!”

  37. #37 Beamup
    June 10, 2011

    @ augie:

    Complete reading comprehension fail and/or deliberate lie. CHEAPER does not equal LIFE SAVING, NECESSARY.

    Yet again, you prove yourself to be either the greatest moron in existence, or a compulsive liar.

  38. #38 augustine
    June 10, 2011

    beamup

    Complete reading comprehension fail and/or deliberate lie. CHEAPER does not equal LIFE SAVING, NECESSARY.

    Ah, you so you agree that it’s major purpose was financially driven? Higher profit margin with multi use vial.

  39. #39 Gray Falcon
    June 10, 2011

    So let me get this straight. Thimerosal was supposedly responsible for a massive increase in autism, but when it was removed, the increased rate did not stop. Why is this, augustine?

  40. #40 Beamup
    June 10, 2011

    Ah, you so you agree that it’s major purpose was financially driven? Higher profit margin with multi use vial.

    Lower costs benefit both the producer and the consumer (precise proportions depending on how much competition causes the produce to lower prices).

    Of course, even if it was pure profit for the manufacturer, so what? That would just mean that they’d be utter morons not to use it, since it was safe and there was no downside.

  41. #41 René Najera
    June 10, 2011

    Beaumup, Augustine… Chill out! You’re both pretty, and I’ll take you both to the prom!

    Okay, maybe not Auggie. He’s got two left feet.

  42. #42 Venna
    June 10, 2011

    Right on Rene! That made me giggle.

    This thimerosal debate is old and dry and nothing will be accomplished by bringing it up other then making yourselves dizzy.

    At this point in time, routine children’s vaccines don’t contain it and haven’t since 2002. Autism rates have continued to rise since it’s removal therefore, contrary to unpopular belief (as it isn’t the majority of the population, or even the majority of parents of children or people with autism that believe it) Thimerosal had no effect on autism either to cause it while it was used, or to prevent it after it was removed.

    I’m sure the trolls will take issue with this but the fact that it’s no longer present and autism rates continue to rise should be at least a little convincing to the average ‘thinking’ person.

  43. #43 Venna
    June 10, 2011

    @lilady
    THANK YOU for the info! I think I’ll go submerge myself in it now!

  44. #44 Slartibartfastibast
    June 10, 2011

    The Journal of Evolutionary Psychology just published a paper that supports the hypothesis that the confirmed neanderthal admixture event(s) provided cognitive variations that were subsequently selected for, sometimes causing a locus of deleterious recombinations in the genomes of children with parents who had selected one another for those characteristics.

    An excerpt: “The autism continuum could represent a remnant of genetic introgression that took place before humans were the lone species in our genus. Perhaps some of the genes for autism evolved not in our direct ancestral line but in a solitary subspecies which later merged genetically with our line of descent through gene flow.”

    The paper is titled “Conceptualizing the Autism Spectrum in Terms of Natural Selection and Behavioral Ecology: The Solitary Forager Hypothesis” and it can be found here: http://www.epjournal.net/filestore/EP09207238.pdf

    More info can be found in the Wikipedia discussion of the “Causes of Autism” page (including two neanderthal genes strongly implicated in autism (CADPS2 and AUTS2), as well as evidence of neanderthal art and communication (they shared FOXP2)): https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Talk:Causes_of_autism#Neanderthal_Admixture_Hypothesis

  45. #45 LibraryGuy
    June 10, 2011

    Wow. They are from Bainbridge Island. For those of you who don’t know, it’s right across the water from Seattle. For those of us who live in the same county, it’s where all the wealthy, privileged folk live.
    I love their “hip,” “edgy,” “extreme,” “in-your-face attitude.” Bunch of rich white-boy poseurs.

  46. #46 herr doktor bimler
    June 10, 2011

    An excerpt from Slartibartfastibast’s reference at #44:

    Hunter-gatherer children need to laboriously and perseveringly learn a language along with social morays

    I am easily amused. Watch out for those eels!

  47. #47 Chris
    June 11, 2011

    LibraryGuy:

    For those of us who live in the same county, it’s where all the wealthy, privileged folk live.

    And many moved there from other places like New York, just like Michael Belkin (who is the main “Refuser). He was a financial analyst who used to put out a stock investment newsletter. Which we all know is exactly the right kind of education to counter anyone in public health. Just like JB Handley, Mark Blaxill and Gayle DeLong. The latter is a business school professor, who says any kid with a Specific Language Impairment is autistic.

  48. #48 Venna
    June 11, 2011

    @Slartibartfastibast

    You used a lot of jargon in that post. Were you trying to impress someone? Can you say it again but remove the stick from your anus please? Thanks ;D.

  49. #49 Krebiozen
    June 11, 2011

    I’m guessing that Slartibartfastibast is actually Jacob replying to my question about the Neanderthal/autism theory on another thread. Thanks Slarti, again interesting, but still in my opinion speculating way beyond the data. I’ll dust off my social anthropologist hat and have a closer look.

    @herrdoktor
    It’s the antisocial morays you really need to watch out for. It doesn’t say much for the peer review process of that paper, does it? Spellcheckers have a lot to answer for.

  50. #50 Jacob
    June 11, 2011

    @Slartibartfastibast

    That’s a nice link, thank you for that. It is going to be a threat to a lot of people here.

    The implication is rather critical. Neanderthal admixture suggests that autism is some kind of hominid mulatto, (me, a hominid mulatto? Sure.), so interventions like ABA could be considered a teeny weeny bit politically incorrect.

    @Krebiozen please do, this is such a curious area of research it’s irresistible to any real anthropologist!
    ORAC! Please confirm that it is not me posting as Slartibartibast. The wording is not nearly as saladified as mine yis!

  51. #51 lilady
    June 11, 2011

    How does one even get through the Journal of Evolutionary Psychology? Reads like a lot of gibberish to me and also sounds like Jacob is using another pseudonym.

    Moray eels…thanks for the chuckle Herr Doktor Bimler.

  52. #52 Mamasatvic
    June 11, 2011
  53. #53 Mamasatvic
    June 11, 2011

    Your Being Watched.

    and no, it’s not “You’re”, We really mean, “Your” this time.

  54. #54 Mamasatvic
    June 11, 2011

    Autism and Language?

    Phonic Lure and Nature.

  55. #55 Mamasatvic
    June 11, 2011

    Autism and Language?

    Phonic Lure and Nature.

  56. #56 lilady
    June 11, 2011

    Guess it didn’t work for Jacob, et alia; I went into attack mode against the troll hundreds of posts ago, when it first posted about nutrition causing/curing autism, when it dismissed ABA, when it claimed a recent diagnosis of ASD, when it posted many “studies” it allegedly was involved in, threw ambiguous sexual identity into the word salad, and finally its addictions. Just a lying pothead jerk.

    I’ve had some fun with the phony Jacob, now it simply bores me.

  57. #57 herr doktor bimler
    June 11, 2011

    It doesn’t say much for the peer review process of that paper, does it?

    There’s also an entire repeated paragraph. Not good.
    I had to abandon a promising career as a proofreader because after the third misplaced apostrophe I would be all BIMLER ANGRY!! BIMLER SMASH!!!

  58. #58 https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawkK3Cosm9nnFw8tuX2VjPQYU5NY0754clw
    June 11, 2011

    How sad that Refused might have their reputation tarnished by association with these purveyors of woo.

  59. #59 Mamasatvic
    June 11, 2011

    Food is the cause of life.
    Therefore food is the cause of Autism.

    Food is the effect of life.
    Therefore you will be unable to resolve autism until you can resolve the philosophical paradox of unity.

    Define ‘One’ without referring to any number as a basis for your definition.

    Obesity is a serious disorder. Autism is the least of your worries.

  60. #60 Jacob
    June 11, 2011

    Certainly not me. If you cannot use your head use your googles..

    http://www.google.co.uk/search?sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8&q=Slartibartfastibast

    The simplest of checks can reduce paranoid delusions more effectively than narcoleptic medications.

    I am with APANA – Autistic people against neuroleptic abuse. There is only one person on amongst this commentariat who is pushing neuroleptics on autistic people and that is lilady.

  61. #61 Denice Walter
    June 11, 2011

    We see that our young gentleman has become focused on *skills*( Sanskrit; “linguistics”) that have little application in everyday life. This is common in certain disorders- where a person might spend much of the day immersed in one-sided “conversations” about the exotic, the unlikely, the idiosyncratic, the fanciful, and the irrelevant. Similarly to many woo *aficionados*, a flirtation with the “Mysterious East” exists as well.

    I have an alarm that goes off when I read material like this: concern about skills for daily living ( divided roughly into- self-care; communication/ social; academic/ vocational) usually signals a degree of ( for lack of a better word) “normalcy”. Its lack can be problematic.

    Notice that the language is *not* one spoken frequently- outside of yoga class. Hence, it’s not primarily concerned with communication. I know a non-Indian who can speak some Hindi: he learned from schoolmates and has found it to be very useful in his career and when ordering food in restaurants. His focus is communication-oriented.

    In short, don’t expect dialogue because you hear words. Ain’t gonna happen.

  62. #62 Chris
    June 11, 2011

    Orac, can you ban this annoying juvenile troll for excessive sock puppetry, please?

  63. #63 Antaeus Feldspar
    June 11, 2011

    What do you call a person who vaccinated on schedule and followed doctors orders whose child was injured by that schedule and they now decide to question vaccines and/or spread them out and/or not allow certain vaccines?

     

    What do you call someone who visits a city with one of the lowest crime rates in the entire nation, and is the victim of a crime while there, and now decides to declare to the entire world that the city is a hotbed of corruption and crime and that to set one foot inside its borders is to take your life in your hands?  I call such a person possibly intelligent, but misguided.  One can understand why that person generalizes inacccurately from one thing that happened to them to a rule, but it doesn’t make their generalizations correct or reasonable.

    If such a person then goes on to make pronouncements that obviously are not reasonable extrapolations from their own experience, I say that the person has let fear and superstition rule them, which is again, an understandable reaction to a terrible occcurence but not a rational one.  “I went to New Puppyleg, Connecticut and stayed there two days, and on the second day I got mugged!  You should never go to New Puppyleg, but if you do, space your visit out!  Don’t go on two consecutive days; visit for one day, go back to the far less crime-ridden New York City for a week or so, and then brave the horrors of New Puppyleg again!”  The idea that “spacing out” vaccines actually provides some benefit is not a conclusion that derives from the evidence; it’s a superstition adopted by people who in other times would have grabbed at rabbit’s feet or other talismans to try and ward off the unpredictable.

    Personal experience, even painful personal experience, does not make an expert.  

    There are grey areas on the other side too. A doctor, such as (Pr)Offit, who will defend any vaccine, any time, no matter what (ie a vaccine whore)..

    Wow, you trot out an easily debunked personal attack like that and still claim not to be anti-vaccine?  That’s like saying “How dare you call me an anti-Semite!  I’m merely opposed to the cabal of Jewish bankers that’s manipulating the world economy!”

    If you’d actually done real research as opposed to just swallowing propaganda whole, you’d never have told such an easily debunked lie about Offit.  In 2002 Paul Offit was the only member of the CDC advisory panel who recommended against widespread usage of the smallpox vaccine, precisely on the basis that the risk from the vaccine, small though it might be, was still larger than the general threat posed by smallpox at the time.

    As opposed to a doctor who can carefully and selectively work with a parent/child to do what is best based on that child’s immune system, family history, common sense, etc. etc…

    If you go to see a real doctor and say “Give me something that will make sure I never, ever get cancer,” the doctor will tell you “I’m very sorry, but there isn’t anything that would give a guarantee like that.  There are things you can do to lower the risk of getting cancer, and I’d be happy to explain them to you, but there’s nothing that will take away the risk altogether.”

    If you go see a quack doctor and ask the same thing, he’ll say “Sure!  We’ve got that on special!  Just pay me $1,000 per treatment and I’ll set up a combination of special diet, proprietary vitamin supplements, colored light exposure, binaural sounds and hyperbaric oxygen tank use that, if followed precisely, will guarantee you never to get cancer!  Of course, if you do get cancer,it means you deviated from my instructions somewhere along the line and therefore it’s your fault that you got cancer.”

    Which of those two people actually has your best interests at heart?

  64. #64 David N. Andrews M. Ed., C. P. S. E.
    June 11, 2011

    “There is only one person on amongst this commentariat who is pushing neuroleptics on autistic people and that is lilady.”

    Not so.

    Grow up. Or piss off.

  65. #65 lilady
    June 11, 2011

    Oh Jacob: Where, or when have I EVER push neuroleptics on people with autism?

    Do I sense some major “projection” here from the drug addled cannabis-pushing pothead?

    BTW Jacob, Orac left a message for you on “The bride of the son of the revenge of cell phones and cancer rises from the grave…again”. You might want to look at it before you send any more posts.

  66. #66 herr doktor bimler
    June 11, 2011

    The paper is titled “Conceptualizing the Autism Spectrum in Terms of Natural Selection and Behavioral Ecology: The Solitary Forager Hypothesis” and it can be found here: http://www.epjournal.net/filestore/EP09207238.pdf

    More info can be found in the Wikipedia discussion of the “Causes of Autism” page (including two neanderthal genes strongly implicated in autism (CADPS2 and AUTS2), as well as evidence of neanderthal art and communication (they shared FOXP2)):

    It’s a seriously flawed paper that takes 32 pages to say F-all. It soon became obvious that autism is NOT the author’s specialty. He cites review papers rather than original sources. He’s done a cursory literature search, and cherry-picked points that fit his hypothesis, but is spectacularly wrong on a number of things like gaze-avoidance in autism. At the same time there are pages of info-dumps about neurochemistry which sit there awkwardly, interrupting his argument and having no relevance to it, but the author has done the reading and doesn’t want to waste it.

    What he’s trying to do is fit autism into the Procrustean bed of evolutionary psychology. When his theory that autism once had adaptive value is contradicted by the fact that the #1 identified genetic cause of autism is Fragile-X syndrome (not very adaptive!), he is less than honest, preferring to call Fragile-X a “rare co-morbidity”.

    Anyway, it’s an Ev-Psych journal so no-one is expecting high standards.

    The relevant point here is that the paper flatly contradicts the “Neandertal hypothesis” — it postulates that the ‘solitary forager’ autistic genotype far predates the human migrations out of Africa and the subsequent encounters with Neandertals. The author notes that autism is present in all human populations (including African groups).
    So why does Slartibartfastibast at #44 tie it in with “Neanderthal genes”? Why do people hate reading comprehension?

  67. #67 Chris
    June 11, 2011

    herr dokter bimler:

    So why does Slartibartfastibast at #44 tie it in with “Neanderthal genes”? Why do people hate reading comprehension?

    Because it is one of Jacob’s sock puppets, and he seems to have issues with reading comprehension. I think I saw a couple other sock puppets he has been using lately (one that has a link to Todd W’s blog). His morphing has been noticed, and our kind overlord is not pleased.

  68. #68 Julian Pursll
    June 11, 2011

    We know a handful of the autism genes where inherited from neanderthals and have been around for aeons so there must be some survival advantage to parts of those mutations.

    ‘Stealing from the gut to pay for the brain’ would appear to be the cause of many of the genetic changes in autism.

    Every time the human race improves it’s food supply (cooking, processing, chopping it up, selectively breeding etc), all these improvements mean we don’t need such a long gut to digest our food, so evolution makes us loose some gut and grow more brain, in turn we develop more language and share more.

    This process is happening all the time and it always has. When we see autism in some of the less functional kids, we can see where evolution has gone too far – we get overgrown brains that seize up and a gut with holes in it, and an immune system that eats us!

  69. #69 herr doktor bimler
    June 11, 2011
  70. #70 Julian Pursell
    June 11, 2011

    We know a handful of the autism genes where inherited from neanderthals and have been around for aeons so there must be some survival advantage to parts of those mutations.

    ‘Stealing from the gut to pay for the brain’ would appear to be the cause of many of the genetic changes in autism.

    Every time the human race improves it’s food supply (cooking, processing, chopping it up, selectively breeding etc), all these improvements mean we don’t need such a long gut to digest our food, so evolution makes us loose some gut and grow more brain, in turn we develop more language and share more.

    This process is happening all the time and it always has. When we see autism in some of the less functional kids, we can see where evolution has gone too far – we get overgrown brains that seize up and a gut with holes in it, and an immune system that eats us!

  71. #71 Krebiozen
    June 11, 2011

    @Julian Pursell

    We know a handful of the autism genes where inherited from neanderthals and have been around for aeons so there must be some survival advantage to parts of those mutations.

    Do we really know this? Which autism genes were inherited from Neanderthals? I have seen this claimed by various people, but I can’t find any actual evidence this is true. There have been some guesses about how Neanderthals might have behaved, based on burials, tools, art etc. that some claim are similar to autistic behaviors, but as the good Doktor Bimler suggested, this is a bit of a stretch.

    Just because genes have been around for aeons doesn’t necessarily mean they have a survival advantage. There are plenty of genes and phenotypes that don’t confer any survival advantage, but as long as they don’t confer too much of a disadvantage, they remain in the gene pool. For example male nipples, the human appendix, I’m sure there are many more.

    As far as I know what you claim about shortening guts and enlarging brains isn’t actually true. I don’t think humans have significantly changed genetically in 40,000 years at least. Please correct me if I’m wrong.

    I like evolutionary psychology as it generates interesting ideas to play with, but I really don’t think we should take it too seriously. I don’t see how we can falsify these theories, and I’m not sure how they help us to understand or help autistic people.

  72. #72 David N. Andrews M. Ed., C. P. S. E.
    June 11, 2011

    “Do I sense some major ‘projection’ here from the drug addled cannabis-pushing pothead?”

    I think, lilady, you’re sensing a shitload of said.

    S/he’s making autistic people look bad, and I’m not convinced at all that s/he’s anywhere near the spectrum.

  73. #73 Julian Pursell
    June 11, 2011

    @Krebiozen From reading meand23 forums, so maybe not a great source? I read somewhere that we were as different ~2Kyr ago genetically as the diff between us and neanderthals too. I’m as confused as anyone. What does ~2% Neanderthal genes mean? I thought we were 99.8% chimp?

    Who’s slagging off autistic people? Where’s the bitch-fight?

  74. #74 Venna
    June 11, 2011

    @Julian

    Your hypothesis is assuming that all people with autism have immune system issues and that all people with autism have intestinal or digestive issues when in fact that isn’t the case. These other conditions are separate from autism and need to be treated separate from autism. I doubt anyone has been able to treat IBS with ABA successfully. Am I wrong?

    My son has autism but has no immune issues or digestive issues. While some people with autism may have other disorders, they aren’t mutually exclusive and there are also people who have these other disorders without having autism (e.g. epilepsy, IBS, ADHD, OCD, tourettes, etc.)

    Essentially, assuming autism is the result of evolution gone haywire, doesn’t account for or explain all cases of autism, therefore it doesn’t fit very well into the realm of figuring it all out. IMHO of course ;D.

  75. #75 Lawrence
    June 11, 2011

    So, we’ve identified “autism” genes, have we?

    Would be news to the hundreds of researchers that are actively attempting to track them down….

  76. #76 Poodle Stomper
    June 11, 2011

    Julian,

    If you are referring to Svante Pääbo’s work, I’ve heard him speak and he stated that at most, these genes were suggestive and an interesting possibility. Unless there is new data, this is merely that; an interesting and suggestive possibility. Nothing more.

  77. #77 Poodle Stomper
    June 11, 2011

    @Lawrence,

    There are actually a few genes and/or SNPs associated with autism, though I don’t think anyone considers this to be a monogenic trait. Even if one or more genes are found to contribute to autism, it’s clearly a quantitative trait which will be affected by more than one genes.

  78. #78 lilady
    June 12, 2011

    There has been progress studying possible genetic causes of autism. In the studies I’ve read, oftentimes it is a combination of genes, not just a single gene. Actual genetic profiles have been done on the child affected by autism and compared with the genetic profiles of both parents and the profiles of all unaffected siblings, which show de novo mutations of certain genes that are associated with classic-type autism.

    There are many foundations that are funding research studies to investigate genetic links and they have enrolled families to do genetic profiles of family members. Some of the foundations are:

    Autism Speaks

    SFARI (Simons Foundation Autism Research Institute)

    SFARI has a terrific web site and very interesting sections: Simons Simplex Collection and Simons Gene which has the largest gene database of affected by autism families, in the world…geneticists and researchers can access that database.

    Hi to Venna: (These sites should keep you busy for a while)

  79. #79 The Very Reverend Battleaxe of Knowledge
    June 12, 2011

    I never thought of Bainbridge Island as anything more than something you have to drive across to get from the ferry landing to the Hood Canal bridge. Guess I need to drive faster from now on.

    (I really miss that 2 1/2-hour ferry ride from Edmonds to Port Townsend when the Hood Canal bridge was down—a nice excursion, and Port Townsend is a much nicer place than Kingston, which is barely a “place” at all.)

  80. #80 Chris
    June 12, 2011

    The Very Reverend Battleaxe of Knowledge:

    I never thought of Bainbridge Island as anything more than something you have to drive across to get from the ferry landing to the Hood Canal bridge.

    Well there is the presence of the US Navy in Navy Base Kitsap. I have a friend who spent his Naval Reserve weekends protecting Hood Canal. Though you would not have seen him from the bridge since he was in a submarine.

    I wonder how the members of The Refusers feel about nuclear subs so close to them? I’d just love to see them protest against one of the largest local employers. That is the third largest Naval base in the USA.

  81. #81 herr doktor bimler
    June 12, 2011

    We know a handful of the autism genes where inherited from neanderthals and have been around for aeons

    I respectfully submit that in the absence of a Neandertal genome, we know nothing of the kind.
    It’s worth repeating that this absurd claim was made in the context of an Evo-Psych paper that speculates about the autism phenotype once having survival value in a specialised ecological niche, but dates it to much earlier than the Neandertals. So again, complete reading-comprehension FAIL.

    Don’t start me on the amount of bullshit surrounding the FOXP2 gene or Orac will have to stop the car and go home.

  82. #82 Chris
    June 12, 2011

    herr doktor bimler:

    Don’t start me on the amount of bullshit surrounding the FOXP2 gene or Orac will have to stop the car and go home.

    Oh, yeah! I am with you there! I am also not much of a fan of Stephen Pinkler, which is due to actually talking to the guy.

  83. #83 Chris
    June 12, 2011

    Oops, “Pinker.” Yeah, I have that autographed book by him somewhere.

  84. #84 Venna
    June 12, 2011

    Thanks lilady! I’m always interested in reading stuff like this. I think I might hold it until tomorrow though, my brain is a bit of mush tonight.

    On a completely unrelated note, has there been any peer reviewed research into food allergens used as adjuvants in vaccines? Someone brought this up in another blog and I was just wondering. None of my children have any food allergies, even though the father of 5 of them was allergic to hazelnuts and his father was allergic to all nuts. I know that it’s recommended for people with egg allergies not get get vaccines with egg in them. But we don’t really know if a two month old has any food allergies, unless it’s a protein allergy found by the PKU test done on all newborns, because generally they are consuming breast milk or formula at that time and not really eating scrambled eggs and peanut butter (not together of course, that would be nasty). This is more just out of curiosity then anything else, I’m not looking for a villain.

  85. #85 Julian Pursell
    June 12, 2011

    Is there something in Hazelnuts which can cause psychosis?

    Autistic populations have something like ten times the normal rate of bowel and skin and immune system problems. Up to 30% are clinically interesting.

    There are about 2000 autism ‘genes’ but only 200 are needed to produce autism.

  86. #86 Chris
    June 12, 2011

    Venna:

    On a completely unrelated note, has there been any peer reviewed research into food allergens used as adjuvants in vaccines?

    About the only adjuvants approved in the USA are aluminum salts like alum, which has been used to make pickles for ages, and aluminum phosphate which are used in baking powder. Aluminum is very common, it is the most common metal in our planets crust, it is in the most common mineral, feldspar, that makes up the soil where food is grown.

    Have you checked http://www.pubmed.gov? Or better yet, have you asked the person who brought it up on another blog what evidence they have? If they counter with something to do with IV nutritional supports (like “ASPEN”), tell them to restrict their answer to vaccines.

  87. #87 Chris
    June 12, 2011

    Julian Pursell, we will consider everything you post to be made up out of thin air unless you post actual evidence to support your claims.

    That evidence can be either the journal, title, date and authors of the studies, or just the PubMid Identification numbers (PMID) of the papers. Your choice.

  88. #88 Chris
    June 12, 2011

    Or, Julian Pursell, you are just another of Jacob’s sock puppets. To which I say: Good bye!

  89. #89 Julian Pursell
    June 12, 2011

    I’m not a scientist, I’m quoting from memory, I hoped there’d be more info coming here?

    Jacob?

  90. #90 Venna
    June 12, 2011

    Chris,

    Actually she was asking me if I knew of anything. She said she read that 8 of the top ten most common allergens are in vaccines (didn’t cite where she got her info from and I’m really kind of tired of talking to her so didn’t want to ask her). I know eggs are in flu vaccines and those with egg allergies are advised to avoid them. Her question was essentially what if the injection of non-viral proteins with the vaccines caused allergies to develop. I haven’t ever heard of that and wondered if anyone had looked into it. I’ve found many people here are better informed then I am so thought I would ask if anyone has heard anything. I’ll check PubMed, thanks.

  91. #91 lilady
    June 12, 2011

    @ Chris & Venna: The Complete ACIP Guidelines for 2011 at available at:

    MMWR January 28, 2011 General Recommendations on Immunization

    Egg allergies regarding immunization have been loosened up considerably and you will find that section under “Severe Allergy to Vaccine Components”. The two vaccines that this applies to are seasonal influenza vaccine and yellow fever vaccines. Influenza vaccine is not administered until the infant is 6 months of age.

  92. #92 Poodle Stomper
    June 12, 2011

    herr doktor bimler,

    I respectfully submit that in the absence of a Neandertal genome, we know nothing of the kind. It’s worth repeating that this absurd claim was made in the context of an Evo-Psych paper that speculates about the autism phenotype once having survival value in a specialised ecological niche, but dates it to much earlier than the Neandertals. So again, complete reading-comprehension FAIL.

    We do actually have a rough draft of the neanderthal genome. Svante Pääbo is one of the big names in that area and I’ve had the chance to hear him present his work in person. He did state that some of the 4% of the neanderthal genome found in modern humans does include areas containing suspected autism-associated genes so Julian is not entirely off base there. However, this is nothing conclusive. He stated himself that it was an interesting possibility but (and Julian should pay attention to this part rather than stating that this is a solid fact) that is was purely speculative and that there was no solid data to show those alleles contribute significantly to autism-spectrum phenotypes.

  93. #93 Poodle Stomper
    June 12, 2011

    As an FYI, I had to go back and look up on his staff page but here is the paper regarding the Neanderthal draft. The alleles he found inherited from neanderthals that are also implicated in autism were CADPS2 and AUTS2 (see page 9). Again, though, it is not a certainty but simply an interesting possibility.

  94. #94 LibraryGuy
    June 12, 2011

    I will say that Bainbridge Island has some of the nicest people you would ever want to know, in addition to the poseurs.
    We don’t really have Naval Base Kitsap. We have the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard (with about 4 old aircraft carriers parked in the bay), Keyport (where they test torpedoes), and Naval Submarine Base Bangor.
    We have all (as far as we know) the West Coast nukes, and if we declared ourselves our own country, we’d be the 6th largest nuclear power in the world.
    But it is the nicest place to live in America, IMHO.

  95. #95 Jacob
    June 12, 2011

    “A recent extraction of DNA from Neanderthal bones indicates that Neanderthals had the same version (allele) of the FOXP2 gene as modern humans.” doi:10.1016/j.cub.2007.10.008

    Is the shared modern / Neandertal version of FOXP2 the same as the pre-Neanderthal admixture version that humans had?

    Have San and Yoruba FOXP2 been looked at? How can we control for convergent evolution? Having normal speech is a very selectable trait, almost mandatory.

  96. #96 Jacob
    June 12, 2011

    Schuster SC and many others. 2010. Complete Khoisan and Bantu genomes from southern Africa. Nature 463:943-947. doi:10.1038/nature08795

    So we maybe *did* get the current version from admixture?

  97. #97 Chris
    June 12, 2011

    LibraryGuy:

    We have the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard (with about 4 old aircraft carriers parked in the bay), Keyport (where they test torpedoes), and Naval Submarine Base Bangor.

    Those all together are now called “Navy Base Kitsap. I found that out when I was trying to find a website to keep the names straight (my neighbor works a night shift in Keyport). It is kind of like the Bon Marche is now Macy’s in a way. Or more accurately, how the Sand Point Navy Station was actually called Navy Base Seattle (they have a base in Sand Point, ID), and we still call it Sand Point even though it is officially Magnuson Park.

    Several years ago we had fun as a family visiting the historic battleship Missouri before it went to Hawaii, and then taking the foot ferry across to Port Orchard to watch a parade. I’d love to live over there, but we have a policy of not commuting over water (unlike my next door neighbor).

  98. #98 lilady
    June 12, 2011

    @ Venna: There have been some “interesting” articles in the popular media about de-sensitizing children with peanut allergies. Some are not from reliable sites, IMO.

    I did find a real good recent (March, 2011) citation at:

    Pubmed 21281959 Sublingual Immunotherapy for Peanut Alergy…..”

    I suspect that other studies may be forthcoming “challenging” the allergic youngster with peanut protein…done under strict medical supervision.

  99. #99 Poodle Stomper
    June 12, 2011

    Jacob,

    “A recent extraction of DNA from Neanderthal bones indicates that Neanderthals had the same version (allele) of the FOXP2 gene as modern humans.” doi:10.1016/j.cub.2007.10.008

    That paper actually suggests that the version of FOXP2 evolved prior to the split between modern humans and Neanderthals, not that we inherited it from them, them from us, or due to convergent evolution. It merely suggests that that version arose in a shared ancestor. If it were inherited from Neanderthals, we would expect that version of the gene to be absent from non-migrated African populations (as the other Neanderthal alleles are). This does not seem to be the case (unless you have studies to show otherwise). The authors themselves conclude that “ These results suggest that these genetic changes and the selective sweep predate the common ancestor (which existed about 300,000–400,000 years ago) of modern human and Neandertal populations.

  100. #100 Jacob
    June 12, 2011
  101. #101 Jacob
    June 12, 2011

    And we do love to see people who are not from Botswana and surrounding areas trying to reproduce all five !Kung dental click vocalisations.

    With our version of FOXP2? Sorry, not possible. Now who is ignorant?

  102. #102 Poodle Stomper
    June 12, 2011

    And we do love to see people who are not from Botswana and surrounding areas trying to reproduce all five !Kung dental click vocalisations. With our version of FOXP2? Sorry, not possible. Now who is ignorant?

    You. I’ve read the link you provided but even the author there states that the effect (if any) of the variant is unknown.

    I’m not sure where you get the idea that it would be impossible with the common variant of FOXP2 to vocalize in their language, especially since there is no data as to how prevalent it is in their population. If it is a recessive mutation then the dominant (common variant) phenotype would still be the same as ours, causing your hypothesis to fail. Even if it were a dominant mutation, unless the entirety of their population were homozygous for that variant (which was not established), your hypothesis would fail as they seem to be able to communicate quite well (and homozygous recessives would be expected as well).

    Rather, it is more likely that it is simply a matter of the way the brain develops when learning that language at a young age (kind of like the vast majority of English-only speakers not being able to make a Spanish “R”).

    So you have to ask yourself; where do you get the idea that 1) all bushmen carry that variant of FOXP2, 2) where is your data to support the idea that it is nature (genetics) rather than nurture that allows them to use that language?

  103. #103 Billy Goat Gruff
    June 12, 2011

    Please do not feed the troll.

    He is ‘Jacob’, ‘Mamasatvic’, ‘Julian Pursell’, and ‘Slartibartfastibast’, all one and the same

  104. #104 Poodle Stomper
    June 12, 2011

    Also, we should note that since the variant found there is not present in the Neanderthal DNA, it fully supports the idea that the modern FOXP2 sequence originated in a pre-Neanderthal/Human split ancestor.

  105. #105 Poodle Stomper
    June 12, 2011

    Billy,
    I’m giving him my one-time-only benefit of the doubt that if it is explained to him/her that perhaps it will be able to understand its error. Depending on the answer to my longer post at #100, I will either continue being nice or join ORAC in dispensing insolence.

  106. #106 lilady
    June 12, 2011

    @ Poodle Stomper: You could either pile on the insolence now or take the advice of Billy Goat Gruff…I suggest the latter scenario for sock puppets.

  107. #107 BraselC5048
    June 12, 2011

    Anyone else think that CannabisAntiTumor is probebly Jacob’s sock puppet?

    Hey Ocac, I think you need to sort out who is a sock puppet on this thread. It’s starting to get really bad.

  108. #108 triskelethecat
    June 12, 2011

    Oh, yeah. I’m really going to take a Youtube video as proof that cancer is prevented by cannabinoids. How about posting some REAL proof, like a link to a peer-reviewed medical journal? (and no, Medical Hypotheses does not count).

    Orac is a very patient guy, and usually doesn’t ban idiots, even those who sock puppet several times. However, some kind of note as to who actually is real and who is a sock puppet would be nice so we know whom we wish to ignore and whom we wish to educate.

  109. #109 triskelethecat
    June 12, 2011

    Oh, and I went to the NCI website and searched for cannabinoids and cancer prevention. No hits (surprise, surprise). There were hits that referred to research on cannabinoids helping with nausea and vomiting prevention during cancer treatment, as we are well aware of its use for that. NO hits on cannabinoids preventing cancer. Try again, pothead.

  110. #110 herr doktor bimler
    June 12, 2011

    As an FYI, I had to go back and look up on his staff page but here is the paper regarding the Neanderthal draft.

    Thanks, Poodle Stomper. Nice paper.

  111. #111 The Very Reverend Battleaxe of Knowledge
    June 12, 2011

    Sorry, LibraryGuy. I was just joking. I’m sure if I stopped on Bainbridge Island and looked around, it would be great. Don’t take the fact that it’s in my way as a put-down. Usually the Olympic Mountains are in my way as well. When I cross the Sound, I’m almost always on the way to La Push or Kalaloch or somewhere like that on the other side of the peninsula. The only place over there I really don’t like is Port Angeles, but that’s just me!

  112. #112 lilady
    June 12, 2011

    Orac, Sock Puppet Alert!

  113. #113 JohnV
    June 12, 2011

    Someone fed jacob after midnight and now we got this shit all over the place.

  114. #114 MI Dawn
    June 12, 2011

    Umm…Jacob. I said peer-reviewed research, not a web site maintained by people who want to reform marijuana laws.

    There is NOTHING there that I saw which says that cannabinoids PREVENT cancer (your point I questioned earlier).
    I want to see the peer-reviewed literature written by reputable researchers.

    And this has nothing to do with vaccines, autism, OR the Refusers. Now, please stay on subject. And, there was definitely no research listed there about cannabinoid use by autistic persons.

  115. #115 Calli Arcale
    June 12, 2011

    Venna:

    ut we don’t really know if a two month old has any food allergies, unless it’s a protein allergy found by the PKU test done on all newborns, because generally they are consuming breast milk or formula at that time and not really eating scrambled eggs and peanut butter (not together of course, that would be nasty).

    Offtopic, but . . . when I was growing up, we would make all kinds of crazy omelets. I have actually eaten a peanut butter omelet. It’s not anywhere near as nasty as you might expect, and for quite a while, it was the absolute favorite of two of my brothers. We also loved peanut butter on toast, dipped in orange juice. Surprisingly fantastic. Alas, I have developed a citrus allergy (mild, but I try to avoid poking it with a stick) so I have not had that in a long time.

    As far as vaccines containing the “top ten allergens,” I’ve heard this claim given before but never have I seen the claimant actually list these allergens — or define “ten most common”. Most common allergies? Most common *severe* allergies? Dietary or all allergies? I think the most common allergies are airborne (pollen, dust mites, mold spores) and would not be found in any vaccines. Egg albumin is the heavy hitter as far as allergies to vaccines, but as already noted, that’s not actually in very many vaccines. It’s just in the ones grown in fertilized chicken eggs. There can certainly be allergies to other vaccine components, but I doubt they’re as common as, say, peanuts or ragweed pollen.

  116. #116 lilady
    June 13, 2011

    @ Venna & Calli Arcale: Months ago when serious reactions to vaccines where being debated here, I stated that I had administered thousands of vaccine, especially flu vaccines in large clinics. Several times in recent history, the United States, experienced seasonal influenza vaccine shortages, due to manufacturing problems with some major flu vaccine manufacturers. Shortages resulted from lack of potency discovered the rather lengthy process of growing the virus in chicken eggs…not contaminants of any sort.

    We were forced to ration distribution to physicians and clinics with emergency protocols to target very vulnerable populations…healthy children and adults had their seasonal vaccine deterred until enough was available for normal distribution. Once the manufacturing process was “up to speed” and ample vaccine was released by the manufacturers, we received orders from the Feds, and State Health Departments to run special clinics on the weekend at local colleges auditoriums. Working 10 hour days, my local health department immunized over 8,000 people over two days. There was never a severe reaction.

    My local health department also operated 7 busy local health clinics and during my tenure there, we administered hundreds of thousands of vaccines, to infants, children and adults and there was never a report of a serious reaction, never a need to us epinephrine to abort an anaphylaxis attack. Furthermore, health department staff met frequently with physicians in private practice, hospital based physicians, nurses in emergency medicine and school based nurses and nary a report of anaphylaxis following any immunization. In fact the one and only anaphylaxis occurrence I ever heard of was following an antibiotic shot giving by a physician to a young child where the doctor did not observe the child right after the shot and sent the child home with the mother. Mommy fortunately, on the way home found an open doctor’s office, ran into the other doctor’s office and this physician saved the child’s life by administered epinephrine immediately.

    Years ago, I had an overall body urticarial rash after taking a second penicillin pill. Now this penicillin first became widely available after WW II. We often joke about about how many millions units of penicillin was contained in those pills and if their were properly manufactured…but this was over sixty years ago!

    Still, the memory of those allover urticarial lumps stays in my mind and I would want a guarantee that penicillin, its analogs (amoxicillin, ampicillin) and cephalosporins would not trigger an even more severe anaphylactic reaction, knowing the limitations of RAST testing, skin testing, etc. Consequently, I wear a medical alert pendant on a chain and all my medical records are prominently marked with allergy alerts. I have never taken Penicillin, analogs or any cephalosprins, since that severe dangerous reaction…I ramain quite healthy nevertheless.

  117. #117 Venna
    June 13, 2011

    Calli,

    Thanks for that lesson on omelets, but I think I still prefer mine with mushrooms and cheese ;D. I’m sorry you are allergic to citrus, no more swamp water for you, eh? As for the most common allergens, I believe she meant that these are what most people are found to have allergies to (other then air born allergens, but food). She said she read somewhere (didn’t cite and I didn’t want to get into it with her) that at least one vaccine contains peanut oil. I’ve not heard that and since that is a fairly common allergen, it doesn’t make a lot of sense that it would be contained in a routine infant’s vaccine… But that’s just my take on it.

    I believe she was asking if other proteins, besides the virus proteins, that are in vaccines, could somehow cause an immune response when they aren’t supposed to, but because they are given with the virus proteins, and kind of kick start allergies. I couldn’t answer that other then to say that immune reaction to benign protein is I believe what auto immune disorders are and people who have auto immune disorders are cautioned not to get vaccines. Please correct me if I’m wrong. Am I mistaken in understanding an auto immune reaction and is it possible that an immune response to other proteins in the vaccines could kick start allergies for that particular protein?

    @lilady, I did see your post, but I’ve not yet had an opportunity to check it out yet. I was gone most of the day at my grand son’s birthday party and am on the verge of falling asleep now so I need to call it a night. Take care everyone.

  118. #118 Venna
    June 13, 2011

    lilady

    Wow, what a story! I’ve not ever had an allergic reaction to anything like that. Granted when I was growing up my mom only took us to see a doctor or dentist if it was an emergency situation (I’ve never had a well child visit in my life, but I’ve been in the emergency room more times then I can even remember).

    I am aware that any reactions to vaccines are few and far between and that most of those parents who have children with a reaction are way too loud and unfortunately sound like a lot more people then they really are. Given the numbers from the autism omnibus trials, that was 5,000? How many millions or even billions of children have received vaccine without any reaction? These omnibus parents are a very small number given how many others there are and since vaccines don’t cause autism, whose to say they were actually vaccine injured to begin with? I’m curious how many of these children has any kind of notation in their medical records about a vaccine reaction/injury, from a reputable doctor and not someone like the Geiers, and how many are just parents claiming it without any documentation to back up their claims. I think it’s far more common for people to have reaction or allergic response to antibiotics then to vaccines.

  119. #119 lilady
    June 13, 2011

    Hi Venna: Again, who knows how that early available penicillin that I took so many years ago (late 1940s), was manufactured? But, I’ve always opted to not chance it…because second exposures to an allergen are always more dangerous. I do fine with “other” antibiotics for the rare times I have needed them.

    Also, see my posting at # 91 for all the updated (2011) recommendations for immunizations, including new information about “egg allergies” that have changed…to afford more people protection against diseases with the few vaccines that contain egg protein.

    BTW, all human have reactions to “foreign” proteins. I know of no one bitten by mosquitoes or ticks which are not infected vectors of diseases such as Malaria, West Nile Virus, Lyme Disease, Babesiosis or Erlichiosis who don’t have a reaction (itching at the bite site). The “itch” is a reaction to the foreign protein contained in the mosquitoes or tick’s saliva. A very small number of people may have a more extensive reaction…antihistamines usually are “curative”.

    I’ve never heard of people who have auto immune disorders such as diabetes, thyroid disorders, lupus, MS and others (short list) who have been cautioned to not get immunized. In fact, they are considered somewhat immune suppressed, as are the elderly, the very young with immature immune systems, pregnant women, people with functional or anatomical asplenia…all at higher risk for vaccine-preventable diseases. Perhaps you are confusing immune-suppressed with immune-compromised people? Immune compromised people with congenital immune system disorders, people with full blown AIDs and those whose immune systems are temporarily compromised due to treatment for cancer, may have some restrictions to some live vaccines.

    There are no peanuts, walnuts, cashews, peanut oil, sesame oil or motor oil in any vaccines…being facetious here.

    Fortunately, the 2011 CDC Pink Book is on line again. You can read the contents of every vaccine including the excipients, growth medium, adjuvants and antibiotics (neomycin usually, never penicillin) on line, available at:

    Entire Contents of Pink Book Appendix B

  120. #120 Slartibartfastibast
    June 14, 2011

    I’m not a troll. I’m Paul. I live in Troy, NY. The admixture event happened. Autism is caused by clusters of CNVs in specific parts of the genome (linked to neurological development, among other things). Coalescent theory explains the preservation of the 1-4%, even if the admixture happened only a single time. A small founder population would mean that later recombinations of this DNA would be more susceptible to CNVs.

    More info is cited here: http://www.wrongplanet.net/postt163462.html

    And here: https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Talk:Causes_of_autism#Neanderthal_Admixture_Hypothesis

    Also, @Venna:
    There’s no substitute for brains but, in a pinch, your silence will suffice.

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