Respectful Insolence

Compare and contrast

I’ve spent nearly seven years and an enormous amount of verbiage writing about the difference between pseudoscience and science, between cranks and skeptics, between denialists and scientists. Along the way, I’ve identified a number of factors common to cranks and denialists. For example, two of the most prominent characteristics are a tendency to cherry pick studies and evidence and–shall we say?–a major “inconsistency” in how they deal with data. If a study appears to support their viewpoint, it doesn’t matter how small it is, how preliminary it is, how poorly designed it is, or how weak its conclusions are. It agrees with their pre-existing beliefs; so it must be a good study. In marked contrast, if a study, no matter how big, no matter how well-designed and exquisitely executed, no matter how clear cut its results, doesn’t conclude what cranks want it to conclude, to the crank it’s utter crap (at best), the result of unyielding dogma, or the result of a conspiracy to suppress The Truth (at worst). Often it’s declared to be a combination of all three.

We just saw this very phenomenon yesterday in the way that Katie Wright castigated a perfectly fine little pilot study with a provocative result about neuron counts in the prefrontal cortex in autistic children. If you listened to the anti-vaccine contingent, you’d think that the study was not only horrible science but carried out by Satan himself “sacrificing” autistic children to get their brains. In contrast, when a real crap study (namely the “monkey business” study by Laura Hewitson) was published, anti-vaccine cranks treated it as though it were the “smoking gun” demonstrating that thimerosal-containing vaccines cause autism. When the study was withdrawn, it was treated as though a conspiracy had “silenced” Hewitson. Then, of course, there’s the biggest, baddest example of this of all, namely Andrew Wakefield himself. His original study published in The Lancet in 1998 was a 12 subject case series with no control group that later shown by Brian Deer to have been fraudulent. Even before it was known that the study was fraudulent, however, it was obvious that at best this was a small, preliminary study whose results wee not all that convincing. Yet this study was the beginning of the MMR scare in the U.K. that drove MMR uptake rates to levels well below that needed to maintain herd immunity and made Andrew Wakefield a star in the anti-vaccine movement. When this paper was finally retracted due to fraud, the anti-vaccine movement turned Wakefield into a martyr many times over. He remains to this day a hero of the anti-vaccine movement.

Given that background, it’s rather interesting (to me at least) and, I daresay, educational to compare two different scientists in trouble with the law and how anti-sciencecranks have reacted to this situation. The reason this comes up is because a scientist who rose to prominence in the cranksophere due to her highly questionable findings is now finding herself in trouble with the law. I’m referring to Judy Mikovits, a researcher who published a report two years ago linking the XMRV retrovirus to chronic fatigue syndrome. If you click on the link, you’ll note that the study, which was published in one of the highest impact journals there is, Science, was retracted. In July 2011, the editor of Science issued a statement of concern that stated:

In the issue of 23 October 2009, Science published the Report “Detection of an infectious retrovirus, XMRV, in blood cells of patients with chronic fatigue syndrome,” a study by Lombardi et al. purporting to show that a retrovirus called XMRV (xenotropic murine leukemia virus-related virus) was present in the blood of 67% of patients with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) compared with 3.7% of healthy controls (1). Since then, at least 10 studies conducted by other investigators and published elsewhere have reported a failure to detect XMRV in independent populations of CFS patients. In this issue, we are publishing two Reports that strongly support the growing view that the association between XMRV and CFS described by Lombardi et al. likely reflects contamination of laboratories and research reagents with the virus. In one Report, “Recombinant origin of the retrovirus XMRV” (2), T. Paprotka et al. trace the ancestry of XMRV and provide evidence that the virus originated when two mouse leukemia viruses underwent recombination during experimental passage of a human prostate tumor xenograft in mice in the 1990s. A combination of sequencing, phylogenetic, and probability analyses lead Paprotka et al. to conclude that laboratory contamination with XMRV produced by a cell line (22Rv1) derived from these early xenograft experiments is the most likely explanation for detection of the virus in patient samples. In the other Report, “No evidence of murine-like gammaretroviruses in CFS patients previously identified as XMRV-infected” (3), K. Knox et al. examined blood samples from 61 CFS patients from the same medical practice that had provided patient samples to Lombardi et al. Comprehensive assays by Knox et al. for viral nucleic acids, infectious virus, and virus-specific antibodies revealed no evidence of XMRV in any of the samples.

The study by Lombardi et al. (1) attracted considerable attention, and its publication in Science has had a far-reaching impact on the community of CFS patients and beyond. Because the validity of the study by Lombardi et al. is now seriously in question, we are publishing this Expression of Concern and attaching it to Science’s 23 October 2009 publication by Lombardi et al.

Actually, this sounds a lot like Wakefield in that the XMRV that Mikovits detected in samples of patients with CFS turned out to be a laboratory contaminant, much like the way that Wakefield discovered in a follow up study to his Lancet case series measles virus in gut samples from autistic children that later was shown to be a spurious signal due to plasmid contamination. Sloppy lab technique led to sloppy results that other scientists using good lab technique couldn’t replicate.

Of course, it’s not so much that Mikovits was wrong. Scientists are wrong all the time. Mikovits was very likely wrong about XMRV having a relationship to the etiology of CFS. (Either that, or something is going on that all the scientists trying to replicate her work are missing, which is highly unlikely.) That’s OK, though. That’s part of science. There’s no shame in that. What isn’t OK and is shameful is what Mikovits did with her results and how she behaved afterward. She extended them to autism (even going so far as to speak at the anti-vaccine conference Autism One), blaming XMRV for autism and other conditions. Even worse, she attacked scientists personally who couldn’t replicated their results, accusing them of, in essence, incompetence and of intentionally designing their experiments to minimize the chances of detecting XMRV in their samples. She also accused insurance companies of trying to sully the findings of her study in much the same way that anti-vaccine zealots and alt-med mavens like to claim that big pharma is trying to keep you from finding out The Truth and the government of trying to undermine her research because it fears an outbreak of XMRV. Ultimately, her original paper came into question, and at the request of the editors of Science Mikovits was forced to issue a partial retraction.

But Mikovits went one step further. She joined in the frenzy of putting the cart before the horse. Her lead author, Vincent Lombardi, marketed a diagnostic test for XMRV through his company VIP Dx. His company was bought out by Harvey Whittemore, founder of the Whittemore-Peterson Institute (WPI), which is the Institute that hired Mikovits as director of research in 2006, and Judy Mikovits became the vice president of the company. Meanwhile, there were reports of autism and CFS quacks using antiretroviral drugs, the very same drugs used to treat HIV/AIDS, in an attempt to treat the XMRV that was being claimed to cause CFS and AIDS.

Now, to top it all off, Trine Tsouderos reports that Mikovits was arrested last week:

In a stunning twist, Mikovits was arrested on Friday, and spent five days in a California jail cell, held without bond. She was released Tuesday after an arraignment hearing, according to court records. An arrest warrant issued by University of Nevada at Reno police listed two felony charges: possession of stolen property and unlawful taking of computer data, equipment, supplies or other computer-related property.

She was fired in September, and this month her former employer filed a lawsuit alleging she had wrongfully taken lab notebooks, a computer and other proprietary data. Other researchers have discredited her work, and the journal Science, which published her study, is investigating whether the data were manipulated.

The only constant is the patients who continue to rally around her.

Indeed. If anything the arrest of Mikovits has only increased the devotion of CFS sufferers and the parents of children with autism who have latched on to the XMRV hypothesis, parents such as Kent Heckenlively, who has adopted XMRV as his latest cause of autism, having apparently exhausted all the other common forms of autism quackery. No doubt it’s Heckenlively who’s behind this “expression of concern” posted at the anti-vaccine crank blog Age of Autism yesterday, expressing support for Mikovits, outrage at her arrest, and conspiracy mongering about its timing:

Another curious aspect to this case is that Dr. Mikovits was supposed to speak at a panel discussion the weekend of November 19-20 on chronic fatigue syndrome/ME at Mt. Sinai Hospital where a chronic fatigue/ME center had recently been established under the guidance of Dr. Derek Enlander. It had also been rumored that Dr. Mikovits might end up collaborating with Dr. Enlander.

Dr. Mikovits was unable to attend this conference in New York because she was in a jail cell in California. Is anybody else seeing a pattern?

So, here we have an investigator who did sloppy science and tried to extrapolate far beyond what her findings, even if correct, would justify and whose results scientists were unable to replicate, despite trying several times. Ultimately, she was fired and charged with the crime of taking WPI lab notebooks and data.

And she’s a hero to cranks, both in the CFS community and in the anti-vaccine underground.

Now let’s contrast this to another case that readers of this blog are likely to be familiar with, the case of Poul Thorsen. You remember Poul Thorsen, don’t you? He is the Danish researcher who was a co-investigator in what is now colloquially known as the “Danish study,” which resulted in two famous papers in the early 2000s that provided strong evidence against a link between thimerosal in vaccines and autism. Unfortunately, last year he was indicted on charges of fraud and misuse of federal grant funds. As a result, the anti-vaccine movement tried to paint him as the face of vaccine safety research and argue that his fraud meant that the Danish studies were frauds, too, and that therefore all the research showing no link between thimerosal and autism should be questioned. No, I’m not exaggerating. Not only that, but even though Thorsen was not the first or last author on either paper (his name was, in fact, buried in the middle of the author list), suddenly he became the face of the Danish studies (at least to the anti-vaccine movement). Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., for instance, referred to him as a “central figure behind the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) claims disputing the link between vaccines and autism” and did his best to invent a huge CDC coverup. In a move that was completely the opposite of how it is behaving with regard to Judy Mikovits, the anti-vaccine crank blog piled on, posting dozens of screeds trying to cast doubt upon the Danish study based on Thorsen’s legal troubles.

At the time, I expressed hope that he would be captured, stand trial, and, if guilty, be punished to the fullest extent of the law. Does anyone doubt that, if Mikovits’s science went counter to anti-vaccine beliefs, AoA would be calling for her head just as loudly as it’s been calling for Poul Thorsen’s head? Or that if Poul Thorsen had published a Wakefield-like study implicating vaccines as a cause of autism that they’d be representing him as a martyr to the cause in the very same way they’re now representing Mikovits (and, of course, Andrew Wakefield) as martyrs. I don’t.

Contemplating the profound difference in the manner that cranks like the anti-vaccine cranks at Age of Autism have reacted to the news of Judy Mikovits’ arrest compared to how they reacted a year ago to Poul Thorsen’s arrest, I asked myself, “Self, why is there such a difference here?” And my self answered me. You see, if there’s another tendency among cranks and denialists, it’s that they tend to personalize their conflict with the scientific consensus. It can’t just be that science is failing to fall in line with their beliefs. There has to be a reason, and that reason can’t be that they are wrong. No, there must be someone to blame, which is why anti-science cranks desperately want to put a face on the “enemy” and then attack that enemy relentlessly. They also seem to be unable to separate the human being from the science in that, if the science goes against them, they view it as having to be due to people, their enemies, trying to keep them from achieving what they want. They even go so far that, as I’ve noted before, if a pseudonymous blogger criticizes anti-vaccine pseudoscience, rather than addressing the criticisms, the cranks’ first order of business is to “out” the pseudonymous blogger so that they can attack him. The same is true of alt-med cranks and HIV/AIDS denialists. All too often the unmasking of critics leads to intimidation, harassment at their jobs, and attempts to get them fired.

But why do cranks behave this way? I don’t claim to know the answer, but I can provide a bit of educated speculation. Basically, part of the mindset of cranks seems to be a very strong “us against the world” mentality, a personalization of the disagreement. In brief, they seem to need an enemy. Scientists and skeptics, although certainly not incapable of personalizing a disagreement, tend to be driven far more by the science, evidence, and arguments than by the personalities. It’s more of an intellectual battle than a personal battle; so they tend to rely more on evidence and discount the people. Indeed, how many times over the last seven years have I said that one reason I tend to keep the pseudonym is because it forces readers to look at my arguments rather than my qualifications? I don’t want enemies, but I won’t back down from refuting quack and pseudoscientific arguments. In contrast, quacks and cranks seem to think that if they can defeat or silence the person they defeat the idea, and that’s exactly what they try to do. With viciousness and gusto, unfortunately.

Comments

  1. #1 anarchic teapot
    November 23, 2011

    I suspect most crank followers have a very small trust zone. They are desperately uncomfortable with the concept of trusting a faceless idea, a system (no matter how well constructed) or even a belief. They need a strong leader whose personality impresses them and makes them feel safe.

    As for the leaders, not sure what inspires them, but I suspect delusions of grandeur are part of it. I’ve love to see a serious psychological analysis of all this, but the alt-med cranks wouldn’t let a real researcher near them.

  2. #2 Grant
    November 23, 2011

    quacks and cranks seem to think that if they can defeat or silence the person they defeat the idea

    This feels familiar, in a more modest way been on the receiving end of a local troll who insists on nitpicking everything but moves to trying to smear the person (me, if I was one writing) when he gets a substantive response he can’t easily object to.

    One way might be to consider it a tactic admission that they have nothing substantive to offer, having to ‘fall back to’ addressing the person when they feel frustrated they can’t offer anything substantive.

    Another angle might be an element of believing that they see themselves as opposing others who are ‘controlling’ their lives and with that they feel a need to personalise it; in a sense making it into a vendetta to give it meaning to themselves.

    But this isn’t my expertise and I’m just ruminating. (Or procrastinating, your pick!) I imagine there are studies in the sociology/psychology areas on these people if anyone cared to dig them up.

  3. #3 Sauceress
    November 23, 2011

    AoA Comedy of Errors.
    From the AoA post

    Age of Autism must note the unusual circumstances which would cause the WPI to arrest Dr. Mikovits when a hearing on the preliminary injunction had already been set.

    and…

    The jailing of Dr. Mikovits without bail for at least five days prior to any legal proceedings raises suspicions of what is ultimately at stake in this case.

    We urge anybody in the southern California area to attend the hearing for Dr. Mikovits which takes place on Tuesday, November 22 at 1:30 p.m. at the Ventura County Government Center…..

    Then…

    Update from Lilly Meehan
    I have just spoken to David, Judy’s husband, who asked me to get the following message out to the patient community.

    Dr. Mikovits and the WPI are in negotiations right now, and the criticism coming from the patient community towards the WPI is not helping Dr. Mikovits. They ask that everyone please hold off on their criticism of the WPI for the sake of Dr. Mikovits and the negotiations in progress.

    Oooops…wait…don’t let the attack poodles out..

    p.s.”…and the criticism coming from the patient community towards the WPI is not helping Dr. Mikovits.”
    Note that the autism community is not implicated.

  4. #4 Sauceress
    November 23, 2011

    Bah! Massive blockquote fail!

  5. #5 Sauceress
    November 23, 2011

    My last post definitely needed either more caffeine or more sleep.

    “Note that the autism community is not implicated.”
    should have read “Note that the AoA community is not implicated.”

  6. #6 Broken Link
    November 23, 2011

    Great description about the difference in the way that the supporters of crank science behave when one of their “heroes” is questioned, as opposed to one of their “enemies”. But the supporters are not scientist, they don’t really understand how science works, and it is easy to understand that they hold onto something that confirms their beliefs.

    What I find hard to understand is why the scientists in question, Wakefield and Mikovits, behaved as they did. Wakefield insisted that the work finding the measles virus be published, despite being informed that the finding was a false positive. Mikovits continued to flog the connection between XMRV and CFS (and autism) long after she must have worried that she had a false positive as well. Both of these people are supposed to be scientists – didn’t they realize that the false positives would not stand up to scrutiny?

    They must have believed that they were on to something of such incredible importance, and they had such a belief that they were correct, that they fooled themselves into believing that the false positives would never be shown as such. Or they were so caught up in the admiration of their supporters that they couldn’t see clearly. In either case, the logic of their actions is so strange that one senses a psychological pathology of some kind.

  7. #7 Orac
    November 23, 2011

    And, of course, the issue of why crank scientists become cranks and behave as they do is a whole other issue. A lot of it, I think, has to do with ego. Certainly that seems true in Wakefield’s case.

  8. #8 Todd W.
    November 23, 2011

    I think how much the scientist invests into their project/claim/conclusion plays a major role, as well. The more invested they are, the greater the negative impact to them, personally, if they are wrong. It’s one thing to say, “Hey, look at this,” and turn out to be mistaken versus holding a press release, courting the media and disseminating the idea widely and ending up in error.

    Once the attention gathers and you get propped up by peers, self-preservation tactics kick in, whether we’re aware of them or not. Confirmation bias, special pleading…we’re all prey to them. In order to save face, we put the blame elsewhere; something was wrong with X instead of me, Y is out to get me, etc. The more emotionally involved, the easier it is to fall victim to our own brains. With cranks, this could take the form of villainizing “them”, martyring “us”. Once that’s done, it’s easy to take more and more extreme actions to silence perceived opponents, through intimidation, legal action or even outright violence.

    The best thing to do is never place anyone on a pedestal, especially yourself.

  9. #9 Joe Blow
    November 23, 2011

    Everyone on your side is perfectly reasonable and a blessing.

    Everyone who disagrees with your side is a crazy freak.

    Got it.

    On another note, don’t really check in here often… Speaking of crazy freaks has Brian Deer commented on how he could possibly get the specifics (and most important) facts about Child 11 so completely wrong?!

    Just wondering.

  10. #10 Acleron
    November 23, 2011

    Your description of the cranks going for the man rather than the evidence/argument is true in most areas I have seen. Homeopathy and climate denialists come particularly to mind.

    But your answer is, I think, too kind to some of them. Many are in it for financial gain, they certainly realise their hypotheses rest on flimsy grounds, so without any evidence they attack personalities. They know they can whip their adherents into a frenzy and keep the money rolling in.

  11. #11 KAL
    November 23, 2011

    This is a fairly balanced piece except for a few sentences.

    I’m not defending it, but perhaps you are unaware that clinicians use their best judgment every day in determining what drugs they give patients off-label. It doesn’t automatically make them quacks, just as disagreement with a specific line of scientific inquiry doesn’t automatically make it woo.

    On the other hand many prominent ME/CFS clinicians did not prescribe antiretrovirals. You also fail to mention Mason et al which accompanied Lo et al questioning whether to use antiretrovirals in pilot trials. The subsequent evidence didn’t support the possibility of antiretroviral studies in ME/CFS patients, but pilot studies of other antivirals in subgroups of ME/CFS patients have shown promise.

    As has rituximab. Many ME/CFS patients await the results of more phase II clinical trials in this area. (That Mr. Heckenlively theorized that rituximab should be given to autistic children just goes to show how confused he is. There is no scientific evidence linking the two diseases despite being a tremendous burden on both patients and their caregivers. And no evidence that autism may be an autoimmune disorder.)

    It is understandable that patients (and their care givers) take things personally. It is as personal as it gets for them. Speaking metaphorically, scientists put the disease down at the end of the day and go home for dinner. Patients live it 24/7/365. In the case of ME/CFS it can mean lingering in the twilight land between living and dying often for decades. Of course they are desperate for good news.

    Last point: being a ME/CFS patient does not automatically mean they support Dr. Mikovits choices. Many have accepted that the science is what it is. The focus for many has moved to Dr. Ian Lipkin’s large metagenomics study and search for biomarkers. They also support retrovirologist Dr. Ila Singh and geneticist Dr. Eric Schadt at Mt. Sinai’s ME/CFS center.

    (You may recall that Dr. Singh was one of the scientists who published a negative paper on ME/CFS, but the authors also stated in the paper that it is most likely that ME/CFS has an infectious origin.)

    As you alluded to, good scientists are undeterred by dead ends. After all science would go nowhere if they were.

  12. #12 daedalus2u
    November 23, 2011

    I think it boils down to “theory of mind” vs “theory of reality” ways of thinking.

    If the only way your brain can “think” is with your “theory of mind”, then the only way you have to evaluate the truth value of something is by the identity of the person who says it. If the person is someone you trust, then what ever they say you believe. If the person is someone you don’t trust, then you disbelieve what ever they say.

    “Trust” occurs when someone has a closely shared “theory of mind”. If someone believes all the same things that you do, then what ever they think must be the same as what you think.

    With a “theory of reality”, you don’t trust anything, not even your own ideas. Everything has to fit with “the data”, observations of physical reality. Everything is subject to change.

    People who are unable to think using a “theory of reality”, can’t understand what a “theory of reality” actually is. They project that everyone “thinks” with a “theory of mind” and so they imagine that if they trash the high status person who is saying the things they don’t want to believe, then the other believers will abandon their belief.

  13. #13 Denice Walter
    November 23, 2011

    Sure. Ego- and other personality** and cognitive factors: I venture that as well as deceiving others, there may be self-deception involved -perhaps more precisely, a lack of self-criticism that allows them to think their own position invulnerable to assault.

    AJW has to be reasonably smart: he got thorough med school- not everyone can- he had other sources of congratulation I’ve heard ( football). He believes that he’s about to set the world afire. It seems he attempted to become a transplant surgeon( intestines) in Canada. Back home, he hit upon his brilliant earth-shattering hypothesis linking autism to vaccines via the intestines ( his area of expertise). What he set to demonstrate would be revolutionary if true: here’s where I suspect he begins to go wrong- even if outright deception wasn’t involved as of yet- he believes he can overturn consensus and go far afield of what data presents at the time. He doesn’t evaluate himself realistically. Then, when the data is not to his liking, he fixes it to save his rising star from sinking into oblivion. He believed that he could outwit everyone.

    His “results” lead to celebrity, adoration, and money. Now he has people motivated by their own stake in his hypothesis echoing his own unrealistic sentiment; now they defend him against any claims because this includes ego-enhancement for them as well.

    Unlike AJW, many alt med rebels *aren’t* intelligent and educated, so their self-glorification skills need to be in over-drive. However they are convinced that they- despite unfamiliarity with complex, technical subjects- can overturn consensus. I hear the constant refrain: “What do the experts know?” See Mike Adams’ critique of science (today @ NaturalNews) for an illuminating example.

    ** Kalichman talks about narcisscism.

  14. #14 KAL
    November 23, 2011

    Backstory on insurance:

    Dr. Mikovits did indeed confuse the issue with insurers, but it doesn’t let insurers off the hook entirely when it comes to ME/CFS and many other diseases and conditions.

    What is accurate, and is easily proven, is that several of the prominent psychiatrists who contend ME/CFS is a psychosomatic disorder list disability insurers under their conflicts of interest.

    Why? Disability insurers only pay for a total of two years disability if an “expert” testifies that the claimant has a mental disorder instead of an organic condition or disease. Several state AGs successfully sued UnumProvident in the early 2000s over just these types of shenanigans.

    As well if the insurers, or the employers these scientists are also paid by, can contest a claim on the grounds the CBT will “cure” or “reverse” a disease or condition they don’t have to pay.

    A whole lot of money at stake. Nothing to do with XMRV, but conflicts of interest are there – if you bother to read to the end of the study.

    Only the naive or disinterested believe Big Pharma is the only possible financial conflict of interest.

  15. #15 Daniel J. Andrews
    November 23, 2011

    I asked myself, “Self, why is there such a difference here?” And my self answered me.

    I hate it when I ask myself a question and there’s no-one there to answer it.

    I think it is useful to compare and contrast, and make a list of all the contradictions and hypocritical behaviour cranks and pseudoskeptics manage to accumulate as they move goalposts all over the field. People may not have the background to easily understand the science, but almost everyone can recognize contradictory behaviour, contradictory statements, hypocritical or inconsistent stances.

    e.g. Skepticalscience has a list of contradictions put out by pseudoskeptics. So when a pseudoskeptic claims “no-one has said X isn’t happening and we’ve always said Y”, you just check the reference set and see not only did someone say “X isn’t happening”, but it is sometimes the same person who claims they never said that. Then three months later they appear to forget what they’ve claimed and go back to saying “X isn’t happening”.

    I’d like to see easily accessible lists of contradictions from antiscience types in all fields–HIV-AIDS, creation-evolution, “what they don’t want you to know” spheres, alties, etc. People may not get the science but will get inconsistent behaviour and contradictory statements.

  16. #16 Omri
    November 23, 2011

    ” Certainly that seems true in Wakefield’s case.”

    I think in Wakefield’s case his real motive is thathe no longer has any other way to make a living.

  17. #17 OractheQuack
    November 23, 2011

    “And, of course, the issue of why crank scientists become cranks and behave as they do is a whole other issue. A lot of it, I think, has to do with ego. Certainly that seems true in Wakefield’s case.”

    I agree. This is also very much true for Orac as well.

  18. #18 Patricia
    November 23, 2011

    In many cases, CFS patients are already primed with an “us against the establishment” mentality — many of them have been told for years by authority figures that they’re just malingering and it’s all in their heads. They’re ripe for exploitation by anyone who comes along saying “it’s real and I can help.” That person becomes their only hope and to be defended at all costs.

    However, this reasoning doesn’t apply to the anti-MMR folk, since for them the “damage is done” and no help is offered.

  19. #19 Prometheus
    November 23, 2011

    I see several interesting parallels between Dr. Mikovits and Dr. Wakefield:

    Both were convinced that their favorite virus (XMRV and measles vaccine strain, respectively) caused a chronic, debilitating illness (CFS / Crohn’s disease).

    When data refuting their initial claims (i.e. XMRV causes CFS / measles vaccine strain causes Crohn’s disease) began to pile up, they both “pivoted” to autism, appealing largely on the strength of their authority as researchers (i.e. in the absence of data). [Note: Dr. Wakefield did present "data", which he had manipulated and/or fabricated, supposedly linking measles vaccine to autism.]

    When challenged on their research “findings”, both Dr. Mikovits and Dr. Wakefield immediately attacked the people who couldn’t replicate their findings, accusing them of poor technique, bias or worse.

    When confronted with irrefutable evidence that their “findings” were wrong, both claimed to be victims of a conspiracy to suppress “the truth”.

    In both cases, it was their bizarre responses to legitimate critiques of their published results (e.g. denigrating the people who failed to replicate their findings) that led to more intense scrutiny of those results and their eventual – very public – downfall.

    In both cases, if they had been just a teensy bit less arrogant and egotistical, they might both have realised that the best thing to do when their “findings” weren’t replicated was to retract the original papers, put out a statement that they were “re-evaluating their data” and lay low until interest died down. Of course, neither of them took this sensible course of action, but if they had, it is likely that neither would have been “found out”.

    I suspect that most people in research harbour secret (or not-so-secret) dreams of making a “Truly Momentous Finding” that will catapult them into the limelight and make their name – at least transiently – a household word. When a researcher gets so close to a newsworthy “breakthrough”, the temptation to “fudge” the results or ignore inconvenient contradictory results must be tremendous, and not all are able to resist that temptation.

    I’ve never been in that position, never been so close to fame (and fortune), so I can only imagine the temptation to cheat “just a little” in order to grab the glory. I like to think that, if nothing else, the certainty that other researchers would eventually find me out would keep me honest. Obviously, that doesn’t work for everybody, as Drs. Mikovits and Wakefield so clearly demonstrate.

    As for why the “vaccines-cause-autism” crowd ignores the “high crimes and misdemeanors” of the “scientists” who agree with them while microscopically scrutinising the faults of those who don’t, I think that’s just human nature. That, and the fact that their leaders – who are mostly business people – think that scientific data is determined by popularity, like their market data.

    It must be hard for people who have been taught that saying a product is “the best” can make it the best (at least in sales) to wrap their heads around the fact that an idea that is so “popular” (e.g. that vaccines are somehow linked to autism) can also be wrong. How else can you account for their continual references to how popular their ideas are (within their particular demographic group)?

    To the folks at AoA, the failure of the “vaccines-cause-autism” hypothesis is simply a “branding” failure, which is why they have tried to “pitch” it so many ways – measles vaccine, thimerosal, “too many, too soon”, formaldehyde, aluminium and lately XMRV. And they won’t be dissuaded by failure, either – no more than Ford gave up making cars when they were trailing Toyota in sales. They’ll simply keep trying different tactics to find the “sweet spot” in public opinion, never understanding that popularity can’t overcome contradictory data.

    Prometheus

  20. #20 Th1Th2
    November 23, 2011

    Oracthequack,

    It’s called reaction formation.

  21. #21 Th1Th2
    November 23, 2011

    With “viciousness and gusto” I’d like to challenge the mindset of this crank everyone calls Orac. He said,

    Yet this study was the beginning of the MMR scare in the U.K. that drove MMR uptake rates to levels well below that needed to maintain herd immunity and made Andrew Wakefield a star in the anti-vaccine movement.

    If Orac really understands what he’s saying about herd immunity, does that mean those who had the measles during the outbreak have actually contributed to the formation of a stronger herd immunity?

    Come on crank. Don’t fail me this time.

  22. #22 Gray Falcon
    November 23, 2011

    Th1Th2: In the same way that a city that’s burned to the ground isn’t likely to catch fire again immediately, yes.

  23. #23 Composer99
    November 23, 2011

    I suspect that a major contributor to the differing reactions expressed by XMRV/CFS or vaccine/autism contrarians when confronted by wrongdoing by researchers they support vs. those they oppose is a result of a strong strain of submissive authoritarian behaviour viz. medical science, whether specifically constrained to the one issue or more generally.

    A common result of authoritarian submission is the kind of compartmentalized, illogical thinking and extraordinary double standards as described in the OP.

  24. #24 Gray Falcon
    November 23, 2011

    Actually, one shouldn’t bother with Th1Th2. She really has no concept of right or wrong:
    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2011/06/the_cost_of_the_anti-vaccine_movement.php#comment-4125264

  25. #25 Th1Th2
    November 23, 2011

    Gray,

    Th1Th2: In the same way that a city that’s burned to the ground isn’t likely to catch fire again immediately, yes.

    There’s no need for the straw man. Thank you.

  26. #26 Gray Falcon
    November 23, 2011

    This is why one shouldn’t argue with Th1Th2. She doesn’t know what words mean.

  27. #27 Th1Th2
    November 23, 2011

    @24

    It’s called iatrogenesis. To many c(r)ooks spoil the broth.

  28. #28 TBruce
    November 23, 2011

    I found out that Th1Th2′s real name is Carol!

    You know – Troll, the ancient Yuletide Carol…

  29. #29 Gray Falcon
    November 23, 2011

    Here’s so more of Th1Th2 for you, to give readers an idea of how nasty she is:

    It’s easy to see you’re in a bargaining stage. Sorry but you can’t turn back time. It’s a tragedy to have an autistic child, not a blessing. Nobody wants to have an autistic child. You should be blamed for everything but you were in denial for a long time. You’re just digging yourself deeper into the hole. Learn from your mistakes. Sorry, but there’s no second chance. Poor kiddo.

    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2011/05/the_2011_measles_outbreak_and_vaccines_i.php#comment-4065513

  30. #30 Th1Th2
    November 23, 2011

    This is why one shouldn’t argue with Th1Th2. She doesn’t know what words mean.

    Since you’re persistent please explain your straw man in #22 using science that the measles outbreak that happened in the UK is a “city that got burned to the ground.” Well?

  31. #31 Lawrence
    November 23, 2011

    Further proof that you have no idea what “straw man” is.

  32. #32 Denice Walter
    November 23, 2011

    @ Prometheus:

    Some of the skills ( including complex social cognition, ex fx) to which I refer develop during and after adolescence, along with abilities for abstraction and capacities relevant to research( formal ops) which is probably why some of the die hards ( both leaders and followers) remind me of *teen agers*. They gain a modicum of information about a topic and then – in a blink of the eye- become *reformers* and *revolutionaries* about to upset the applecart or the medical world, as the case might be.

    Youthful enthusiasm is tempered by experience in the real world that is populated by other people who may have aims and needs contrary to your own. Your bright idea may not be in agreement with the cold hard facts. Tough luck. Refine your idea not your “facts”. Problem is, these enthusiasts ( and those who bolster them) are no longer teenagers- they’re over 40. Not quite as charming.

    On a similar note: new investors believe that they’re about to make a killing in the market.. a cool million. Well, perhaps if you have 25 million to start ( these days even that might be an accomplishment). Sane investors know that you have to be cautious and patient: low risk not high. Long term goals are difficult for those unable to delay gratification. It helps if this is part of your background and you have the ability and *time* to study the details you need to know.

    Woo-meisters ( and those who love them), like novice investors, selectively in-attend to material that doesn’t fit their scenario: there are *reasons* why certain bonds pay very high yields. There are *reasons* that no scientist has ever investigated your pet theory of the month. Because it is not very likely to “pay off”.

  33. #33 missmayinga
    November 23, 2011

    @Thingy

    Okay, I’m kind of curious. What proof do you have that the doctors’ actions in that case were the cause of death, other than “doctors are bad”?

  34. #34 Th1Th2
    November 23, 2011

    Okay, I’m kind of curious. What proof do you have that the doctors’ actions in that case were the cause of death, other than “doctors are bad”?

    Misdiagnosis + wrong treatment = iatrogenesis. This almost always the recurring theme.

  35. #35 Th1Th2
    November 23, 2011

    As usual, Orac and his minions are devoid of science yet full of straw man.

  36. #36 SJ
    November 23, 2011

    I’ve personally supported two courses of action regarding Dr Mikovits.

    The first has been to encourage her current body of research to be finished. If the work following her contradictions of other researchers didn’t end in a publishable paper, the matter would be settled.

    Instead Dr Mikovits has been politically attacked in the press, by not only the press but Scientists themselves. At this point, anyone’s impression of Dr Mikovits who doesn’t intimately know her is that of a caricature.

    The reason I have maintained this stance, following contamination revelations is that the contamination only occurred in one lab dealing with a small portion of the results in the 2009 paper (presumably relating to the partial retraction).

    Secondly I support Dr Mikovits by embracing concept of innocent until proven guilty. If that makes me a fanatical crank, so be it.

    I’ve actually always been prepared for the retro-viral association with ME to fall apart. I began to comment on forums and ask questions following a series of paternal and inflammatory comments by scientists regarding the XMRV issue.

    I think the ultimate irony is that, if the Scientific community had simply left Dr Mikovits to her devices and said, “ok you’ve made some big claims, show us more – and make it compelling”, if she is wrong in the way her detractors perceive her to be, then the lack of practical output following her work would ensure her claims fizzle out. I wouldn’t underestimate the ME community’s ability to turn on research and treatment options that just do not work. There are actually some rather nefarious things that continue to operate legally which have caused a far greater amount of suffering than a very small handful of patients trying ARVs (some apparently successfully, but I understand the concept of anecdotal evidence, hearsay, and placebo, and the requirement full and objectively measured trials). My personal stance on ARVs is that I would never recommend them or use them, apart from the Science being incomplete, even supposing the presence of a retrovirus was confirmed, you still have to find the right drug. I have understood however those ME patients at death’s door, and they do die from this illness, giving anything a go.

    Many ME patients see much of the reaction those few who are trying ARVs as deeply insulting. They see this as disproportionate indignation. A lot of ME science is dogged by the most basic of scientific errors and obfuscation, originating from the spurious methods of cohort selection, yet the Scientific community has paid almost no interest. Some Drs and Researchers have also found that by taking an interest in ME they risk doing damage to their career. Dr Kenneth Friedman went on record at the NIH demonstrating just how obstructive institutions can be.

    Due to the languid nature of ME research coupled with a dearth of investment, it’s natural, if not necessarily sensible, that patients would seek to guinea pig themselves as their lives drain away in the misery of illness (take me, another 10 years with this illness and the odds of me ever having the energy to build a family and become a father will be non-existent – this will of already happened for some). You have to understand that patients have accepted willingly treatments recommended by the medical establishment, only to find themselves get sicker. The patient trust has been eroded and unfortunately it has to be earned back rather than patronised upon to come to its senses, if indeed it needs to as much as some say.

    To simply dismiss patients as cranks highlights the gaping hole in this very paternal piece – it’s not entirely without merit in places, but clearly you have not engaged with the people you have tossed a loose rope around and generalised. Not only does this damage your credibility but if you had genuine cause to save people from their own opinions, by conflating large groups of people with a narrow and specific mindset, you will simply incite anger and solidify their feelings of injustice.

    I hope you appreciate here, that I am at least trying to be candid, and offering myself to your proverbial chopping block.

    Regards,

    SJ

  37. #37 Gray Falcon
    November 23, 2011

    Th1Th2, do you know what evidence is?

  38. #38 missmayinga
    November 23, 2011

    @34
    Well yes, I understand what you think. But what I’m asking is why you think that. Do you have any specific proof that the doctors’ diagnosis was mistaken, or that the “wrong treatments” specifically led to the child’s death? Youtube is blocked here, so I can’t access the video, but the comments mention that the child needed to be resuscitated on the way to the hospital. If that’s true, then at the very least you have to admit that the child’s condition was not harmless, and required attention from a doctor. It’s entirely possible that the doctors may have misdiagnosed them – but they definitely weren’t creating something from nothing.

    (Anyway, don’t you have a day job or something, Thingy? You’d think your boss would be a bit pissed off that you spend the whole day arguing on the internet.)

  39. #39 The Very Reverend Battleaxe of Knowledge
    November 23, 2011

    Thingy:

    Sci-ence? That is worship word! Yang worship word! You will not use it!

  40. #40 herr doktor bimler
    November 23, 2011

    Come on crank. Don’t fail me this time.

    I’ve known people with a fairly high level of amphetamine dependence, but this is the first time I’ve heard a meth addict personify and address the substance in such terms of desperation.

  41. #41 Chris
    November 23, 2011

    Joe Blow:

    Speaking of crazy freaks has Brian Deer commented on how he could possibly get the specifics (and most important) facts about Child 11 so completely wrong?!

    What is crazy is that you Wakefield Fanboys are so hot for a case series of just twelve kids, which in the real world would have been ignored. And that is even if there had been no fraud.

    You fanboys missed these ten years ago:

    MMR vaccine: the continuing saga
    MMR vaccine—worries are not justified

    My favorite part of the second one is:

    A few years after MMR was introduced, several vaccines were in use from different vaccine manufacturers. It became clear that two MMR vaccines containing a particular type of mumps virus, Urabe, were causing a small increased risk of meningitis.29 This was carefully investigated and these MMR vaccines were withdrawn. However, some children having the separate vaccines have been given the Urabe single mumps vaccine.

  42. #42 Th1Th2bot
    November 23, 2011

    This almost always the recurring theme.

    Now despite your fallacious argument is a particular disease causing. Ah, you should: I am know which controversy as something not true to humans. See if you’re saying?

    First, because dumb doctors would be stopped, it burns; when you’re not surprising to make a straw, you want to cover their previous infection promoters. Straw man fiasco: direct the answer, this world, that. Is something is with poor health in vaccines since as to wonder people; were deliberately ignored the day.

    You then, I see, that’s baby must be set in a better and died from fire.

  43. #43 Th1Th2
    November 23, 2011

    If Orac is not a crank, he would define what herd immunity is. Of course, he can’t because he’s fearful of being rejected.

    Just post your links Orac and I will challenge that with “viciousness and gusto”. Well?

  44. #44 lilady
    November 23, 2011

    @ missmayinga: We have had many discussions about Thingy’s “problems”.

    It lays claim to having “espertise” in immunology, vaccine-preventable diseases and medical epidemiology, because of an “imaginary” career as a licensed medical professional.

    When questioned about (1) its education,(2) its professional licenses and (3)its job within the health care professions…it finally responded to (1) and (2); it stated “it is none of your business”. Its response to (3) was “I am ‘involved’ in health care”.

    As you can well imagine, those responses led to a spate of comments from the “regulars” here.

    The consensus about Thingy is that:

    It has no education.

    It has no licensing in the health care professions.

    It has no job whatsoever…or “may” have a menial job “somewhere”…although its obvious deranged thinking processes seem to preclude any gainful employment.

    It enjoys trolling and is in thrall with any engagement from other posters at R.I.

    Its “involvement in health care” probably consists of the time it cycles in and out of the mental health system. With the arrival of cooler weather, Thingy will be “in” custodial care provided by the mental health system, for a longer length of time.

    It may be a case of brain burnout from street drugs or organic brain disorder…or plain old sh** for brains.

    Please do not feed the nasty delusional disease-promoting, health-care-professional-wannabe troll.

  45. #45 Th1Th2
    November 23, 2011

    If that’s true, then at the very least you have to admit that the child’s condition was not harmless, and required attention from a doctor.

    A simple cold does not warrant 20 doctors. Stupidity kills.

  46. #46 lilady
    November 23, 2011

    Please do not feed the nasty delusional disease-promoting, health-care-professional-wannabe troll.

  47. #47 Andrew
    November 23, 2011

    theQuack writes “I agree. This is also very much true for Orac as well”

    Wakefield carefully hides from people who ask awkward questions; Orac invites people with questions to his blog, and does not ban even those most devoted to mistreating children.

  48. #48 The Very Reverend Battleaxe of Knowledge
    November 23, 2011

    Now, now, lilady, you’ve got to respect Thingy’s diagnostic skills. Bill Frist needed to see a video of Terri Schiavo to disagree with the diagnosis of every doctor who had ever seen her in person. Thingy only needs to read an article and she can overturn a diagnosis from 10,000 miles away! Can a Nobel Prize be far behind?

  49. #49 missmayinga
    November 23, 2011

    @lilady -
    Don’t worry, I know about Thingy. The only real reason I was engaging ‘em was because it was my lunch period and I was bored – not because I actually enjoy banging my head against a brick wall or anything. The job question was just something I’ve honestly been wondering for a while, since there never really seems to be a time of day or night when Thingy doesn’t post.

    (That said, would you mind not using Thingy’s possible mental health status as an insult?)

  50. #50 missmayinga
    November 23, 2011

    @44
    There is nothing caused by a ‘simple cold’ that even vaguely resembles a condition requiring resuscitation. It’s certainly possible for a doctor to slip up in a hectic ER environment, but nobody is going to mistake the sniffles for cardiac arrest.

  51. #51 Th1Th2
    November 23, 2011

    What doctors are.

    And so these men of Indostan
    Disputed loud and long,
    Each in his own opinion
    Exceeding stiff and strong,
    Though each was partly in the right,
    And all were in the wrong!

    Excerpt from The Blind Men of Indostan.

  52. #52 MD1970
    November 23, 2011

    @40

    SLC25A12 expression is associated with neurite outgrowth and is upregulated in the prefrontal cortex of autistic subjects.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19758536

  53. #53 fairlady
    November 23, 2011

    @51 Wrong Heading- Should read
    Phenotypic expression of autoimmune autistic disorder (AAD): a major subset of autism.

  54. #54 Th1Th2
    November 23, 2011

    There is nothing caused by a ‘simple cold’ that even vaguely resembles a condition requiring resuscitation. It’s certainly possible for a doctor to slip up in a hectic ER environment, but nobody is going to mistake the sniffles for cardiac arrest.

    The baby was diagnosed with colds and was sent home only to come back a few days later with worsening condition requiring “life support”. What did these genius doctors do to the child?

  55. #55 missmayinga
    November 23, 2011

    Okay, so I suppose that the evil, evil doctors could have poisoned the baby or something so that their parents would have to bring them back a few days later….

    Or, alternatively, the kid could have actually had pertussis, which started off mild-looking and then got worse, as diseases are sometimes wont to do.

  56. #56 lilady
    November 23, 2011

    @ missmayinga: Comments aside about Thingy’s mental disorder…can we assume that the odious troll’s comments are the remarks of a rational person? What kind of sub-human individual would ever comment that the sweet beautiful infant who died from pertussis, died because of iatrogenic use of ECMO technology?

    I am fully on board with people who have mental disabilities…in fact, I know and cared for people who have been diagnosed with mental disorders. These people are not like Thingy, who scams the system to crash in the cold weather…warm bed, three square meals a day…so much better than living on the streets.

    It really is an odious, nasty, germ-phobic troll who gets its “jollies” by engagement on this blog.

    Please do not feed the nasty delusional disease-promoting, health-care-professional-wannabe troll.

  57. #57 Chris
    November 23, 2011

    MD1970:

    SLC25A12 expression is associated with neurite outgrowth and is upregulated in the prefrontal cortex of autistic subjects.

    Vijendra Singh now works for a MLM supplement company that sells transfer factors. He is a friend of Wakefield and Fudenberg. Yet, another crank.

  58. #58 herr doktor bimler
    November 23, 2011

    Posted by: fairlady

    I am shocked, shocked!! that fairlady / MD1970 is spamming the some dishonest bullshit across multiple comment threads. And I thought he or she was here for a good-faith exchange of evidence and arguments, rather than to waste as much of other people’s time as possible with the investment of least effort!

  59. #59 missmayinga
    November 23, 2011

    @lilady

    Mea culpa…I really don’t have any excuse for engaging them now that I’m home and have access to other forms of entertainment. :P

    Honestly, though, some people are just dicks,particularly on the internet, and it’s kinda a bit offensive to read internet obnoxiousness as mental illness. :/ I’d just really prefer if you didn’t do it?

  60. #60 Narad
    November 23, 2011

    If Orac is not a crank, he would define what herd immunity is.

    I see that somebody still doesn’t understand R_0 (as well as the subjuntive).

  61. #61 MD1970
    November 23, 2011

    @57 save your shock for Pub Med where I got the article from-
    suggest you also save stupid comments and post citations instead but then I
    guess you enjoy your own supersilious sense of humor.
    @56- Anyone who questions the current vaccine schedule is labled a crank-
    Hubris indeed.

  62. #62 Chris
    November 23, 2011

    missmayinga:

    it’s kinda a bit offensive to read internet obnoxiousness as mental illness.

    I hear you. Sometimes it is not obnoxiousness, but some obsessive behavior, such as the case of the behavior of someone who kept trying to sell his book. I am personally saddened by his situation (he is unemployed, let go due to some of his behavior). I really wish he would seek help (based on some experience in our family).

    Thingy is just delusional. Her method of operation is to change the meaning of words, call people names and does not know how the real world works: Why should I let the child walk on the dirt when there is a dry concrete pavement next to it? A toddler would readily know which is the safe path to take even without the knowledge of C. tetani, but I am just fascinated how parents are offering very poor choices (or lack thereof).

    I generally ignore her, even when she posts defamatory comments specifically about me. At most I usually comment about those who live on Htrae (aka Bizarro World, from the Superman comic books). Gray Falcon often posts her more offensive posts.

    It is really best to never try to engage Thingy in any way. You will not get any answers, and it just encourages her.

  63. #63 Chris
    November 23, 2011

    This is a screenshot of VK Singh’s Facebook Page. His last job was for a MLM supplement company, and he is not listed there anymore. Take it as it is.

    Not every “peer reviewed” paper is worthwhile.

  64. #64 herr doktor bimler
    November 23, 2011

    save your shock for Pub Med where I got the article from

    “Pub Med made me link repeatedly to someone else’s published incompetence!”

  65. #65 MD1970
    November 23, 2011

    @62

    Please do post your “curriculum vitae” in all fairness.

  66. #66 Chris
    November 23, 2011

    Bachelor of Science in Astronautics and Aeronautics from a college of engineering. Specialized in structural dynamics and loads, which involved lots of statistics, matrix algebra and a generous use of Euler’s Formula. Parent of a child who had seizures from a now vaccine preventable disease and is disabled.

    I can tell regurgitated bovine excrement when I see it.

    Do tell, what is your educational background? Why should we care about your opinions.

  67. #67 Th1Th2
    November 23, 2011

    Okay, so I suppose that the evil, evil doctors could have poisoned the baby or something so that their parents would have to bring them back a few days later….

    That’s the idea behind follow-up visits.

    Or, alternatively, the kid could have actually had pertussis, which started off mild-looking and then got worse, as diseases are sometimes wont to do.

    It could be anything since the baby was exposed unnecessarily during his stay in the cesspool a.k.a. hospital.

  68. #68 Th1Th2
    November 23, 2011

    What kind of sub-human individual would ever comment that the sweet beautiful infant who died from pertussis, died because of iatrogenic use of ECMO technology?

    ECMO is basically used to avert further iatrogenic trauma caused by overzealous treatment by these 20 doctors. It gives them valuable time to re-diagnose and change intervention that would fit to their whim.

  69. #69 MD1970
    November 23, 2011

    @65
    Have relatives whose children were vaccine injured.
    They do not complain, they take one day at a time.
    They no longer discuss vaccines.
    They just want their children to be as happy as
    they can be given their disabilities.

  70. #70 herr doktor bimler
    November 23, 2011

    suggest you also save stupid comments and post citations instead

    I suppose I could start linking to articles that have no conceivable connection to the original post or to any prior comments within the discussion, without bothering to tell readers what argument the citation is supposed to support, but then I would look like a time-wasting troll who has not even read the article in question.

    I guess you enjoy your own supersilious sense of humor.

    I also enjoy an ability to spell.

  71. #71 Chris
    November 23, 2011

    MD1970:

    Have relatives whose children were vaccine injured.

    What evidence do you have for that? Is your case listed here? Or are the children some of the less than 3000 kids listed as compensated for vaccine injuries?

    Your CV is not terribly compelling. What is your educational background?

  72. #72 MD1970
    November 23, 2011

    @69 You really are supercilious.

  73. #73 The Very Reverend Battleaxe of Knowledge
    November 23, 2011

    I suppose I could start linking to articles that have no conceivable connection to the original post or to any prior comments within the discussion, without bothering to tell readers what argument the citation is supposed to support, but then I would look like a time-wasting troll who has not even read the article in question.

    MD1970 shot his wad in a few hours and has been reduced to: “Look, a squirrel!” Sad really. Today’s trolls can’t touch the greats of yesteryear.

  74. #74 Sauceress
    November 23, 2011

    Have relatives whose children were vaccine injured.

    Hmmmm…I have two healthy dogs. My previous two dogs both died of old age.
    Guess that qualifies me as a very competent veterinarian.

  75. #75 Th1Th2
    November 23, 2011

    In fairness there are several pro-vax who have confessed their being infection promoters. Chris is just being adamant because of fear of rejection.

  76. #76 augustine
    November 23, 2011

    Chris

    Parent of a child who had seizures from a now vaccine preventable disease and is disabled.

    Vaccines prevent seizures? Vaccines are associated WITH seizures. Citations please so we can critique this seizure prevention theory.

    Could you also state the critical mass number for herd immunity for this particular vaccine that would have saved your son from this seizure? Didn’t your son already have risk factors that would have made the vaccine useless for him?

    YOu can’t go playing whack-a-mole with every available vaccine because you have delusions of herd immunity that will protect your son. If he’s sick. He’s sick. Every vaccine in the world won’t save him, no matter how emotionally invested you are into producing herd immunity. People’s children get injured by vaccines. Most people don’t need vaccines. It’s their choice if they want or need them. They don’t need your emotional baggage telling them what they should or shouldn’t do regards to medical decisions.

    Fact: Chickenpox serious complications are extremely very, very rare. Almost every single healthy person has nothing to worry about in terms of complications with chickenpox. It is rational to not vaccinate for chickenpox based on the science and the statistics. It is not unscientific to choose not to vaccinate for chickenpox.

  77. #77 augustine
    November 23, 2011

    Chris

    Or are the children some of the less than 3000 kids listed as compensated for vaccine injuries?

    Do you believe that is the accurate number of actual vaccine damaged people? Do you think you may be biased?

  78. #78 Th1Th2bot
    November 23, 2011

    In fairness there are several pro-vax who have confessed their being infection promoters.

    Nonetheless, it’s called still failed to it? Oxymoron. Try pulling this; using a taste, of course, that commenter in humans. So hard to start thrive?

  79. #79 lilady
    November 23, 2011

    @ Th1Th2bot: As usual, your translation of the Thingy brain droppings are spot on. Just keep ‘em coming.

    Did I miss a posting from MD1970…where it provided its education, licensing and profession? Good for some unintended humor, though.

  80. #80 MD1970
    November 23, 2011

    @65 Your BS is just that- WOW! A BS! A spaced cadette!

  81. #81 Chris
    November 23, 2011

    So, MD, what is your educational background? At least I understand what is meant by a standard deviation and mean are on a normal distribution. When and what was the last math class you attended?

  82. #82 MD1970
    November 23, 2011

    @78 Those stats are irrelevant.

  83. #83 lilady
    November 23, 2011

    @ Chris: I figure that the “1970″ is his/her birth year and the last math class he/she attended was in 1986. I don’t think you need any higher levels of mathematics for a G.E.D.

    Maybe he/she attended Hamburger U…graduating with honors…eminently qualified at the deep fryer. I wonder when he/she will matriculate into a Masters-Level program for an entry level position on the hamburger grill?

  84. #84 Chris
    November 23, 2011

    But, MD1970, you are the one that brought it up with the one in six bit! Now you are saying it is irrelevant. I bet you also think the raw data on VAERS actually means something.

    So, what was the last math class you were in, and when?

  85. #85 Dangerous Bacon
    November 23, 2011

    Just dropped in to wish all the minions and bots a Happy Thanksgiving.

  86. #86 Chris
    November 23, 2011

    Thanks, DB. I just put the dough for the overnight rolls in the fridge, and am finishing up the cooking of the fresh pumpkin flesh for pie, and am about to mix up the pie dough.

    Happy Thanksgiving.

  87. #87 MD1970
    November 24, 2011

    @81 Cannot rule out the current vaccine schedule as contributing to these stats:

    Developmental Disabilities Increasing in US

    Over the last 12 years, the
    Prevalence of DDs has increased 17.1%—that’s about 1.8 million more children with DDs in 2006–2008 compared to a decade earlier;
    Prevalence of autism increased 289.5%;
    Prevalence of ADHD increased 33.0%; and,
    Prevalence of hearing loss decreased 30.9%.

    http://www.cdc.gov/Features/dsDev_Disabilities/

  88. #88 lilady
    November 24, 2011

    I can’t believe I messed up with my last post…to wish the minions and the bots a Happy Thanksgiving.

    @ Chris: I have fond memories of having my mom, siblings and their families at my house for Thanksgiving. We were crowded around the dining room table…20 in all, feasting and enjoying.

    I get off “easy” this year. My daughter has a much larger home and is “more centrally located” for the families to get together. (I have to check my stash of cranberry vodka..I might need to brew some more for the holiday season.)

  89. #89 Chris
    November 24, 2011

    MD1970, so what? What are the levels of kids served by IDEA? Has that changed much?

    What happened to the level of what they used to call “mental retardation”? Did it go up or down?

    Why did you make sure that 30% fewer kids have hearing loss? You do know that measles, mumps and rubella were all major causes of post-lingual hearing loss.

    Also, why did you not include the link? How can we tell if you are cutting and pasting, or just making it all up?

    And what do those numbers have to do with vaccines?

  90. #90 MD1970
    November 24, 2011

    @85
    Nobody would argue that 1 cranberry vodka drink is harmful- but I’m sure
    6 within a span of an hour would somwhat incapacitate you and contribute
    to your brain damage and immune response.
    (An analogy to the current schedule spelled out)

  91. #91 Chris
    November 24, 2011

    Ugh… I made a goof: “Why did you make sure that 30% fewer kids have hearing loss?” should read “Why did you make sure to tell us that 30% fewer kids have hearing loss?”

  92. #92 ChemoMan
    November 24, 2011

    Seriously people stop feeding the stupid troll whose name I will not mention, its getting rather tedious.

  93. #93 lilady
    November 24, 2011

    MD1970: “Please do post your “curriculum vitae” in all fairness.”

    Did I miss one of your postings…you know where you were supposed to provide you curriculum vitae???

    How about looking up the change in diagnostic criteria for ASD in the DSM IV and “compare and contrast” diagnostic criteria in the DSM IV with the DSM III diagnostic criteria.

    Please provide, in ***”your professional opinion” what the impact of more preterm deliveries, the increase in high order births, the increased age of both parents at time of conception, the use of teratogenic prescribed medication and “street drugs”, has on the increased diagnosis of developmental disabilities.

    ***Please enlighten us what that “profession” might be.

  94. #94 Chris
    November 24, 2011

    MD1970:

    (An analogy to the current schedule spelled out)

    Citation needed… one that specfically delineates the relative dose of six shots of vodka in one hour to the pediatric vaccine schedule. Delineate the ingrediants and doses and their relative effect on the liver.

  95. #95 Julian Frost
    November 24, 2011

    @MD1970:

    Anyone who questions the current vaccine schedule is first asked to provide proof of problems, and when none is forthcoming, is then labled a crank.
    Prevalence of autism DIAGNOSES increased 289.5%

    FTFY.

  96. #96 Narad
    November 24, 2011

    An analogy to the current schedule spelled out

    “Spelled out”? Everybody’s heard “too many, too soon,” already, so why the fuck are you blabbering about “cranberry vodka drinks”?

  97. #97 lilady
    November 24, 2011

    @ Chris: I think “maybe” its “mommy” told it that the reason it never got an education, is monumentally clueless about statistics, immunology and vaccines and has a menial job… is because it is “vaccine-injured”.

  98. #98 herr doktor bimler
    November 24, 2011

    Prevalence of autism DIAGNOSES increased 289.5%

    Just reading Ronson’s “The Psychopath Test” in which a psychiatrist accepts that the broadened diagnostic criteria in the DSM-IV contributed to “a fake epidemic in psychiatry” for autism. And was this psychiatrist an authoritative source, you ask? Why, it was Dr Allen Frances, the editor of the DSM-IV.

  99. #99 lilady
    November 24, 2011

    @ herr doktor bimler: I haven’t read the Psychopath’s Test, but I have read Dr. Francis commentary on the “autism epidemic” after the publishing of the DSM IV. He touches none too lightly on the bogus vaccine-autism pseudo-scientific theories as well as the fact that an ASD diagnosis has become “fashionable”…

    I am still waiting for our self-styled “expert” to “Compare and Contrast” the diagnostic criteria of the DSM III and DSM IV and its impact on the “autism epidemic”…as well as the other circumstances that I described in my post at # 90 above.

  100. #100 Liz Ditz
    November 25, 2011

    Some explication on that “1 in 6″ number including the ADHD variations.

    Re Allen Frances & the “fake epidemic” read E. J. Willingham at The Biology Files and at A Life Less Ordinary.

    For those of you who can’t be bothered to click through: Frances’s view is both false and inflammatory. Asperger Syndrome isn’t a “fad diagnosis” and likely not now overdiagnosed; it is more likely that children previously struggled without diagnosis and subsequent supports and understanding.

    The idea that Asperger’s is “fashionable” is offensive.

  101. #101 herr doktor bimler
    November 26, 2011

    Frances’s view is both false and inflammatory.

    I am SHOCKED by the news that the editor of the DSM had exaggerated his influence on subsequent trends.

  102. #102 Renate
    November 26, 2011

    If someone has a cold, it doesn’t mean he has influenza. If someone has some behavior problems, this doesn’t mean he has Asperger. Someone wanted me to be tested for a disorder in the autism spectrum, so either autism, Asperger, or PDD NOS.
    Why?
    I was supposed to be highly intelligent (I don’t match the criteria for Mensa) and having problems with relations, being alone, without friends.
    Well right, so this could mean I’ve Asperger? Sorry, but I think that’s a bit far stretched. Does it mean I have some problems? Yes, I suppose so, but it ain’t Asperger.

    So stating that Asperger might be a bit overdiagnosed, doesn’t mean those people don’t have problems, just that their problem don’t fit the original criteria for Asperger.

  103. #103 Broken Link
    November 27, 2011

    The disabled have always been with us. An important radio piece on how their stories are beginning to be told is linked on my ‘nym. During the course of the radio broadcast of this show, they referred to an advertisement which urged parents to give their children up to this institution, on the grounds that one in six children were “mentally defective” and that there was one on every street. La meme ca change. . .

  104. #104 lilady
    November 28, 2011

    I didn’t mean to raise such a furor with my posting. As many of the “regulars” here know, I have been intently involved in advocacy for my own profoundly and multiply disabled son and for all developmentally disabled people for the past 35 years.

    IMO, the addition of the ASD classification to the DSM IV has contributed to what is commonly known as the “Autism Epidemic”.

    I recall the years (1978-1985) I spent serving as a member of the Committee on the Handicapped in my local school district and the “narrow” classifications we had to use to determine “eligibility” for services. We did not decide what services a child needed based on those “narrow” classifications…and we “bent the rules/classifications” regularly for parents who fought against their child being “classified”. We knew the regulations promulgated by the State Education Department and how we could get around them..for the sake of the child.

    We didn’t “certify” children who were mildly intellectually impaired as Mentally Retarded, but rather as Learning Disabled. Other children, whose parents “fought” “certification” were not certified or classified and we were able to provide individual speech, language and other ancillary services only 4 X weekly…instead of the 5 X weekly that would be the tipping point for actual certification. It was far better to not certify a child for these services and provide extended individual sessions, than to have a parent undermine the needed services that were provided.

    I’m not saying that the addition of the ASD diagnostic criteria is a bad thing…quite to the contrary. Kids who do not meet developmental or social milestones do need help…no matter how we “classify” them.

    The CDC is funding the ADDM (Autism Developmental Disabilities Monitoring) Network to monitor the rate and incidence of ASD classifcations being reported from school districts in select areas of the country. I have been reading their reports. The ADDM reports based on data collected during 2002 and 2006 are very interesting. There are huge percentages of children who are classified as ASD, who also have intellectual impairments (I.Q.s less than 70 on standard individual IQ tests) These children, using older “certification” methods set up in State Education regulations, would be classified as Mentally Retarded – Mild, Moderate, Severe or Profound. The school psychologist’s report would provide a notation about the child’s “autistic-like behaviors” if a child had self-stimulatory, self-injurious behaviors or did not interact with peers or his/her environment. This is just one of the factors that have led to the “autism epidemic”.

    The ADDM reports for 2002 and 2006 are available on the internet.

  105. #105 Tum
    February 6, 2012

    Mikovits was very likely wrong about XMRV having a relationship to the etiology of CFS. (Either that, or something is going on that all the scientists trying to replicate her work are missing, which is highly unlikely.)

    I don’t think that “Mikovits was very likely wrong” is the correct description. It is more likely what’s missing in that picture is what was going on in Mikovits’ lab and possibly Ruscetti’s with regards to the usage of XMRV VP62 plasmid, the usage of Decitibine (5Aza2DC) and maybe more…

  106. #106 Julie
    February 9, 2012

    “I suspect most crank followers have a very small trust zone. They are desperately uncomfortable with the concept of trusting a faceless idea, a system (no matter how well constructed) or even a belief. They need a strong leader whose personality impresses them and makes them feel safe.

    As for the leaders, not sure what inspires them, but I suspect delusions of grandeur are part of it. I’ve love to see a serious psychological analysis of all this, but the alt-med cranks wouldn’t let a real researcher near them.”

    As weird as it may seem, this spoke to me. I’ve denied help for a very real (and apparently, I’m told, treatable) problem for five years. I do this for precisely the reasons you state. I’m severely mentally ill but “getting help” is never good enough me. I’d rather hid from it and hope it just disappears. I need to be impressed and made to feel safe or I’ll walk out on treatment. I’ll brandish everyone who tries to help me as hopelessly corrupt and uncaring. This is because I don’t trust the system. I’m hoping I can work on that and someday recovery.

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