Respectful Insolence

It’s no secret that I’ve been highly critical of The Huffington Post, at least of its approach to science and medicine. In fact, it was a mere three weeks after Arianna Huffington launched her blog back in 2005 that I noticed something very distressing about it, namely that it had recruited someone who would later become and “old friend” (and punching bag) of the blog, Dr. Jay Gordon, as well as the mercury militia stalwart David Kirby, among others. As a result, antivaccination lunacy was running rampant on HuffPo, even in its infancy. Many, many, many more examples followed very quickly. More followed, with Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and even Jenny McCarthy joining the stable of HuffPo antivaccine bloggers. Indeed, the antivaccine slant at HuffPo has been so pronounced for so long that it’s irredeemable, as far as I’m concerned.

Nor are antivaccine screeds the only pseudoscience promoted by that wretched hive of scum and quackery. If you have any doubt that HuffPo is soundly dedicated to only the rankest forms of pseudoscience, I give you two words: Deepak Chopra, who’s regularly laid down his “quantum” quackery for nearly as long as antivaccine pseudoscience has reigned supreme at HuffPo. Still not enough? How about the amount of attention to that quackiest of quackery, homeopathy, in the form of Dana Ullman. Heck, just last week a homeopath named Judith Acosta completed a two-part “personal case for homeopathy.” (Part one is here.) None of this even includes other woo-meisters, such as Robert Lanza, whose quantum woo is even more embarrassing–if such a thing were possible–than Deepak Chopra’s quantum woo, Dr. Nalini Chilkov’s promotion of a breast cancer testimonial in which a woman named Hollie Quinn eschewed adjuvant therapy for quackery after surgery for breast cancer, or Dr. Christiane Northrup’s promotion of thermography, an unproven technique, for breast cancer screening. It was for that and many other reasons that HuffPo’s medical posts have been characterized as a war on medical science and I scoffed contemptuously at the idea of a science section for HuffPo and HuffPost Health as “soon to be a one-stop shop for quackery.” My reaction was similar to the concept of a science section for HuffPo, a concept that I characterized as a pseudoscience section.

I guess it’s now time to see if I was right or not.

The reason is this e-mail, which I received yesterday, apparently because I’m a registered commenter over at HuffPo. The e-mail announces:

I’m delighted to announce the launch of our newest section, HuffPost Science, a one-stop shop for the latest scientific news and opinion. From the farthest reaches of space to the tiniest cells inside our bodies, HuffPost Science will report on the world’s greatest mysteries, most cutting-edge discoveries, and most thought-provoking ideas.

The initial part of the announcement looks pretty generic and unobjectionable, but then there are these two passages:

I’m particularly looking forward to HuffPost Science’s coverage of one of my longtime passions: the intersection of science and religion, two fields often seen as contradictory — or at least presented that way by those waging The War on Science. A key part of HuffPost Science’s mission will be to cut through the divisions that have resulted from that false war.

Rather than taking up arms in those misguided, outdated battles, HuffPost Science will work in the tradition of inquisitive minds that can accommodate both logic and mystery. It’s a tradition exemplified by Brown University biology professor Kenneth Miller, who, when I visited with him last year, told me that he sees Darwin not as an obstacle to faith but as “the key to understanding our relationship with God.”

That sure sounds to me like an opening for quantum woo of the kind favored by Deepak Chopra and Robert Lanza big enough to pilot an aircraft carrier through. Quantumly, of course.

The advent of a HuffPo Science Section, of course, begs the question of whether HuffPo is no longer a denialist site, as Mark Hoofnagle asked. My perspective with respect to that question is that even if HuffPo Science features only the hardest of the hard science, the most scientifically rigorous blog posts, it doesn’t matter. HuffPo is still a denialist site, through and through. Here’s the reason. Let’s take a look at what happened when HuffPo introduced HuffPo Health. The content there is not obviously quacky on the surface, and there are even regularly some halfway decent health articles there from time to time. There are also articles with titles like Five Foods That Kick Your Metabolism Into Overdrive Naturally, which features gems like claims that apple cider vinegar increases your body’s metabolic rate “allowing you to burn calories more efficiently,” that drinking high quality cold water can “help to flush toxins and fat from the cells in your body, which in turn will help you lose weight,” and that cayenne pepper can help to “clean fat out of the arteries.” If that’s not enough there are articles like this one, which touts supplements slow aging, prevent Alzheimer’s disease,

I rather suspect that that’s just like what the HuffPo Science Section will be.

Not everyone agrees with me. Or perhaps not everyone is as cynical about HuffPo as I’ve become over the last six and a half years. Seth Mnookin, author of The Panic Virus, for instance, is ready to let antivaccine bygones be bygones and give HuffPo Science a chance, asking Has the Huffington Post embraced science & closed the door on anti-vaccine quackery? This, even though Mnookin acknowledges:

For whatever reason, HuffPo seemed to have a particular bee in its bonnet about vaccines and autism: If you made a list of the most irresponsible, misinformed people on the topic, it was a safe bet the majority of them had been given space for their rantings on the site. David Kirby? Check. Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.? Check. Jim Carrey, Jenny McCarthy, Jay Gordon, and Kim Stagliano? Check, check, check, and check. There were days when the site’s main prerequisites for getting published seemed to be either a hatred of Republicans or a love of pseudoscientific quackery.

Mnookin’s first foray into posting for the HuffPo Science section is a post entitled The Autism Vaccine Controversy and the Need for Responsible Science Journalism. It’s a perfectly fine piece discussing the damage that antivaccine pseudoscience can do and how journalists’ fetishizing “balance,” even when it’s false balance, contributes to the problem. Not surprisingly, given HuffPo’s readership, the comments are crawling with antivaccinationists, including Anne Dachel, Media Editor for the antivaccine propaganda blog Age of Autism, flooding the comments with her usual cut ‘n’ paste jobs. True, the more recent comments are less dominated by antivaccine loons, but there’s still a lot of nonsense there, and it’s hard to combat. One also can’t help but wonder why Mnookin was invited to join the science section, rather than the medicine section, which is where he’d be more appropriate.

Dont’ get me wrong. I’m not being critical of bloggers who accepted Freeman’s offer to blog for the HuffPo Science. I understand the temptation. It’s flattering to be asked to join a large and famous blog network as a way of trying to repair its reputation for pseudoscience. It’s easy to think that you might be part of something bigger than yourself, that you can do some good by helping to move a blog like HuffPo away from its current orientation towards pseudoscience and quackery. Who knows? Maybe you will. However, I would ask the scientists and science-based bloggers to think a bit before joining up (or even after having joined up). The quackery is all still there. So is the antivaccine propaganda. It hasn’t gone away. It’s just (mostly) not the medicine section, Apparently the editors tried to keep things science-based in the beginning, but it’s infiltrated the section since then. At least, the soft woo has, such as supplements, diet woo, and acupuncture. The hardcore stuff like homeopathy, antivaccine pseudoscience, and the like is posted elsewhere on HuffPo. It’s still there, though, and it still taints the reputation of the entire enterprise.

That’s why my advice to bloggers (and readers) would be to wait before concluding that HuffPo has changed its ways. Make its editors prove it. For example, as long as RFK, Jr., homoepaths like Judith Acosta or Dana Ullman, antivaccinationists like Kim Stagliano and other refugees from Age of Autism, Deepak Chopra, and Robert Lanza are still blogging for HuffPo, you don’t want to be associated with it. If HuffPo were really serious about cleaning up its act with respect to science, it would clean house and get rid of all the quacks and pseudoscience boosters before undertaking a medicine or science section. At the very least, it would start the process, and there would be evidence that the level of promotion of quackery and pseudoscience were decreasing. It didn’t, there isn’t, and I suspect that’s because HuffPo wants to have its cake and eat it too. It wants to keep pleasing Arianna with a heapin’ helpin’ of quackery but segregate the “real” science in the science section as a means of “damage control” for its image, which has been hurt by its enthusiastic embrace of quackery and pseudoscience. The problem, of course, is that there is no firewall between the science section and the rest of HuffPo, just as there is no firewall between the medical section and the rest of HuffPo. As the example of HuffPo’s medical section has shown, the woo bleeds through, at least the “softer” woo, like supplements and acupuncture, does. I fully expect that the same thing will happen in the science section under the guise of “exploring the interface between science and religion,” which no less a person than Arianna Huffington herself has declared as a major focus of this newborn science section.

It’s up to HuffPo’s editors to prove me wrong, at least if they want to be taken seriously.

Comments

  1. #1 Lawrence
    January 6, 2012

    @Orac – the proof will certainly be in the pudding. They have a long way to go to convince anyone that they aren’t just a location for the latest anti-science, woo, fad thing that comes along….

  2. #2 Mu
    January 6, 2012

    Just so that no one can say you can’t learn something new from HuffPo: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/04/new-girl-scout-cookie_n_1184573.html?ref=mostpopular
    Didn’t see anything nearly as important in the new science section so.

  3. #3 palindrom
    January 6, 2012

    I’ve been a longtime commenter over there (largely fighting the global warming deniers).

    Frequently on science articles there have been comments calling for a science section; my response has been that if they were to do that, they’d have to hire some editors who knew something about science. And that if they did, there would probably be fistfights in the cafeteria between the science editors and the health and living editors, because that side of the post is so ludicrously bad.

  4. #4 Beamup
    January 6, 2012

    HuffPoo doesn’t care in the least about facts or truth. Just what supports Ariana’s particular beliefs. That’s been repeatedly proven. Arguably worse than Fox News, in the other direction.

  5. #5 JohnV
    January 6, 2012

    With regards to whether or not huffpo will remain a denialist website, I present the soon to be parable of the bucket of poop and icecream.

    If I have a bucket of icecream in 1 hand and a bucket of poop in the other and just the tiniest spec of poop gets in the icecream, the whole bucket is ruined.

    Yet no matter how much icecream you put in the bucket of poop, its still just a bucket of poop.

    (modified from John Calipari on the Jim Rome show a couple of years ago).

  6. #6 Dana Ullman
    January 6, 2012

    One would hope that someone who teaches media at a major university would know the importance of full disclosure, and yet, Seth Mnookin seems to think that he should not do so.

    It seems important to know that Seth Mnookin’s father was named Hedge Fund Consultant of the year. (does anyone really think that there are no Big pharma connections there?). Also, Seth’s Uncle is a long time friend of the Singer family – as in Alison Singer who joined vaccine industry spokesman Paul Offit in forming a pharma front group to discourage autism/vaccine research.

    One must therefore wonder what else should people know about Seth?

    Just grist for the mill.

  7. #7 lilady
    January 6, 2012

    Well, I felt it was my “duty” to comment on Seth Mnookin’s blog and I did. I think my one comment about the activities of (an unnamed) notorious anti-vax website and their “journalist’s” defamatory and slanderous blogs about scientists, researchers and science reporters including Mnookin, and the stalking activities of Boy Wonder, served its purpose…it shut down Anne Dachel.

    Yes, one troll, did try to lamely defend “the young man” who tried to ask Dr. Offit a question and I quickly responded. I think Dachel declined to respond because she didn’t want me to name the (unnamed).

    If we want more quality articles from real science bloggers, we should be willing to post at Ho-Po, to offer support and a counterbalance to the trolls.

    At other times, I have offered up some well-deserved snarky comments when the subject is pseudoscience and there are a number of commentators who support me.

  8. #8 Antiquack Scene
    January 6, 2012

    http://www.facebook.com/CFourA/posts/316041341752049

    Anti-vaccine kid demonstrates on-line presentation skills.

  9. #9 Composer99
    January 6, 2012

    Glenn Beck would be proud, Ullman.

    No substantial case against Mnookin whatsoever. Just six degrees of Kevin Bacon I mean, separation in an attempt to smear him.

  10. #10 Bruce of Canuckistan
    January 6, 2012

    @Dana

    A member of my family knows Canada’s prime minister, Stephen Harper. Harper meets with Obama on a regular basis…

    ZOMG I’m only 3 degrees of separation from the nuclear suitcase! Move over Rothschilds, ZE WORLD IZ MINE!

  11. #11 Colin Day
    January 6, 2012

    I remember Ms. Huffington coming out with a book after her husband lost a Senate race. It mentioned something about a third epistemological way between “Eastern” and “Western” ways of knowing. I wondered if this new way would help you determine if your nanny was undocumented (such lack of knowledge possibly costing her husband the election).

  12. #12 lilady
    January 6, 2012

    Oh cripes Ullman…is that your game now? How about dissected Seth Mnookin’s blog with um, you know, some real science?

    All your bullshit copy pasta that you posted on Judith Acosta’s blog didn’t impress anyone. Was it you that “moderated my comment out of existence” about the ethics of Acosta’s offer for an huge fee, to “diagnose” and provide “treatment” through an internet “consultation”?

    My comment did not appear, so what is your opinion about Acosta’s diagnose/treatment via the internet? Please be specific…I am especially interested in your opinion of the ethics of this licensed social worker cum internet homeopathic “practitioner”.

  13. #13 Antiquack Scene
    January 6, 2012

    Me and my house-mate just had an argument about yoga. I take 5 breaths, he was told to take 7. I told him I knew why it was 5 breaths and asked why it was 7. He said he didn’t know.

    I’m English he’s Polish, I’m west he’s east. I do yoga daily he doesn’t.

    The mystery of yoga isn’t a mystery to an engineer who practices.

  14. #14 Reuben
    January 6, 2012

    It seems important to know that Seth Mnookin’s father was named Hedge Fund Consultant of the year. (does anyone really think that there are no Big pharma connections there?). Also, Seth’s Uncle is a long time friend of the Singer family – as in Alison Singer who joined vaccine industry spokesman Paul Offit in forming a pharma front group to discourage autism/vaccine research.

    And my great-great-great-grandfather was a Supreme Court Justice in Texas (http://www.laits.utexas.edu/txp_media/html/just/justices/05.html). So, if the Wakefield lawsuit doesn’t go as planned, feel free to blame me.

  15. #15 Rowrbazzle!
    January 6, 2012

    All is not yet lost: recent HuffPo posts re: evolution v creationism/ID have mostly (if not completely) favored Darwin.

  16. #16 Narad
    January 6, 2012

    does anyone really think that there are no Big pharma connections there?

    Ah, but Dana, you tout occult water, which means that you’re connected rather directly to… Satan.

  17. #17 Orac
    January 6, 2012

    With regards to whether or not huffpo will remain a denialist website, I present the soon to be parable of the bucket of poop and icecream.

    If I have a bucket of icecream in 1 hand and a bucket of poop in the other and just the tiniest spec of poop gets in the icecream, the whole bucket is ruined.

    Yet no matter how much icecream you put in the bucket of poop, its still just a bucket of poop.

    Not if sufficient ice cream is used to dilute the poop to homeopathic levels; i.e., 30C. Of course, that’d be a hell of a lot of ice cream.

  18. #18 Glaxxon PharmaCOM
    January 6, 2012

    MESSAGE BEGINS—————

    Shills and Minions,

    The Ullman rebel is clearly on to Minion Mnoonkin’s (I love saying that, so euphonious) connection to us. I shall alert the Hive Queen of the Kthraxxx, The Rothchilds and other Terran Subjugation Council members about this breach of cover. Instigate plan code name: Clown of Trafalgar. Instructions shall be forthcoming.

    This is Code Vermillion——–

    Lord Draconis Zeneca VHiL7
    000100000000001

    Foreward Mavoon of the Great Fleet, Pharmaca Magna of Terra, John-Rogers’s Worst Nightmare

  19. #19 Science Mom
    January 6, 2012

    One must therefore wonder what else should people know about Seth?

    You are only one of a hand full of psychos who see “dead people everywhere”. Make up tenuous connections and you think anyone will give a shit?

    Just grist shit for the mill.

    FTFY.

  20. #20 Science Mom
    January 6, 2012

    Yes, one troll, did try to lamely defend “the young man” who tried to ask Dr. Offit a question and I quickly responded. I think Dachel declined to respond because she didn’t want me to name the (unnamed).

    @ lilady, that would be our very own hysterijen and AoA fangurl. Her need for conspiracies has her deluded into thinking I am Allison Singer (as a rather humorous aside).

  21. #21 Narad
    January 6, 2012

    Her need for conspiracies has her deluded into thinking I am Allison Singer

    Hell, I was once accused of being “BRAIN DEER” [sic], a very peculiar conclusion to leap to, unless one makes a habit of that sort of thing.

  22. #22 jre
    January 6, 2012

    I saw lilady and others in the comments, fighting the good fight. For my own part, I broke down and registered with HuffPo so I could comment. What forced me to it was a comment by an anti-vaccine activist parroting the canard that there has never been a comparison of autism rates between vaccinated and unvaccinated, and smugly challenging the previous commenter to

    “provide a link to even one peer reviewed study which compares vaccinated children to unvaccinated children with respect to ASD rates. Unfortunately, you can’t. Such research does not exist.”

    I cited Mrozek-Budzyn et al. 2010 in refutation. The anti-vaccine commenter immediately acknowledged his error, apologized, expressed his embarrassment at having been so bamboozled by the anti-vaccine movement, and announced his intention to do volunteer work for Every Child by Two in penance.

    No; wait. That was in some alternate universe. What actually happened was that my interlocutor responded that those unvaccinated children in Poland weren’t really unvaccinated, and so there was no reason for him to change his views. These people are, truly, immune to shame — but they must have gotten that way naturally.

  23. #23 Jolo5309
    January 6, 2012

    @Bruce of Canuckistan
    ZOMG I’m only 3 degrees of separation from the nuclear suitcase! Move over Rothschilds, ZE WORLD IZ MINE!

    In that case, could you get me better seats at the hockey rink?

  24. #24 Jeff
    January 6, 2012

    Give it a chance! If the President of CalTech writes for this new science setion, it’s worth reading. See: http://scienceblogs.com/deanscorner/2012/01/huffpost_science_off_to_a_good.php

  25. #25 Lawrence
    January 6, 2012

    I used to play paintball with Senator (Dr.) Bill Frist’s kids – so I obviously must be in the pocket of Big Pharma as well……

  26. #26 lilady
    January 6, 2012

    @ Science Mom and Narad: Who could EVER forget the efforts of the anti-vax crowd to prove that a science blogger was in reality Bonnie Offit…and the hilarity that ensued when the posters on RI declared “I am Bonnie Offit”?

    When I worked in public health, I never invested in any health care stock…although some of the large cap and mid cap mutual funds that I invested in, might have contained some of the stock.

    Fancying myself as a savvy investor, I ventured into some small positions in drug companies and Ford stock. The Ford stock paid off…invested at $7.50/share and divested at $ 17.00/share. Last year I got hammered on one of the drug manufacturer’s shares, but did pretty well on the other drug manufacturer’s shares…a “wash”. I think I should stick with large and mid cap, no-load mutual funds and the “pros” who manage them.

    Besides, I am expecting that Lord Draconis will reward me for all my efforts for Big Pharma.

  27. #27 lilady
    January 6, 2012

    @ jre: I welcome your participation on the Ho-Po blogs. Please excuse me if I post some well-deserved snark on the crappy science bloggers at Ho-Po. A girl’s gotta have some diversion and fun…occasionally.

  28. #28 Prometheus
    January 6, 2012

    D.Ullman (#6):

    “It seems important to know that Seth Mnookin’s father was named Hedge Fund Consultant of the year. (does anyone really think that there are no Big pharma connections there?). Also, Seth’s Uncle is a long time friend of the Singer family – as in Alison Singer who joined vaccine industry spokesman Paul Offit in forming a pharma front group to discourage autism/vaccine research.”

    So, “it seems important” that Seth Mnookin’s dad invests people’s money in stocks, bonds and arcane financial instruments, some of which might be pharmaceutical companies.

    “Seems important” to whom? Some of the companies Seth’s dad invests in might make toilet tissue – would that pose a conflict of interest if Seth did a report on cholera? I have a cousin who is operates construction equipment – does that invalidate anything I might say about the state of the public roads?

    Mr. Ullman, it appears that some paranoid schizophrenic has hacked into your e-mail account – you might want to do something about that.

    Prometheus

  29. #29 DW
    January 6, 2012

    My dearest Lord Draconis,

    I have thought long and hard about this: because we face formidable opposition from the rebels on several fronts *simultaneously*, there is a pressing need to rally our loyal troops through stirring *language*. I therefore initiate the use of good, old-fashioned, solid Anglo-Saxon code names for our most important efforts- the first being, Operation “Up Yours!”
    and to illustrate my total and entire lack of prejudice, I will call the follow-up – in Gaelic- Operation “Pog mo thoin”.

    So glad I’m not being paid by the word.
    Love ya!
    Sincerely,
    DW ( whatever I’m titled these days)

  30. #30 lilady
    January 6, 2012

    I hope M’Lordship Draconis deems my other “activities” at the Ho-Po when he considers my remuneration. I’ve just posted again about the vax-vs-unvaxed study that “our sworn enemies” are advocating.

    Lordship, I turned the argument about somewhat, posting about the retrospective epidemiological investigation of the measles outbreak in Minneapolis, conducted by the local and State Health Departments. I also made “mention” of Wakefield’s part in the epidemic and his appeal to Somali parents to not vaccinate their children.

    @ DW: Yes, “Up yours” should be the name of our nefarious operation. How about the “other” interpretation of “FTFY”, as our rallying cry?

  31. #31 Timothy Caulfield
    January 6, 2012

    I recently started contributing to the Canadian HuffPo. I was hesitant because I knew of the flaky vibe. I am a skeptic and an advocate of “thinking scientifically.” But, after a bit of stewing, I decided to jump in. In part, this was motivated by the knowledge that a new science section was coming. My contributions thus far have been all “pro-science” and my experience has been positive. See, for example,http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/timothy-caulfield/cloning-stem-cell-researc_b_1140100.html. But the above (excellent) commentary and follow up comments have caused me some anxiety about my decision! More stewing is obviously required…

  32. #32 Roadstergal
    January 6, 2012

    I therefore initiate the use of good, old-fashioned, solid Anglo-Saxon code names for our most important efforts- the first being, Operation “Up Yours!”

    Another forum I participate in has, as its motto, “We’ve upped our standards – now up yours!”

  33. #33 Narad
    January 6, 2012

    I will call the follow-up – in Gaelic- Operation “Pog mo thoin”

    So glad I’m not being paid by the word.

    One may recall the sometimes lethargic habits of Conchobar and turn generally to Old Irish: “A chacc cuirre uidre ittige” has a certain ring to it. And it’s longer.

  34. #34 Shay
    January 6, 2012

    So HuffPo has a science section. Reminds me of the Common Market joke:

    Recently, a new arrival at Market headquarters in Brussels introduced himself as a Minister for the Swiss Navy. Everybody laughed. The Swiss delegate retorted, “Well, why not? Italy has a Minister of Finance.”

  35. #35 Science Mom
    January 6, 2012

    One may recall the sometimes lethargic habits of Conchobar and turn generally to Old Irish: “A chacc cuirre uidre ittige” has a certain ring to it. And it’s longer.

    Careful now, you might invoke a certain faecal-obsessed, fundie redneck if you say that three times.

  36. #36 Antiquack Scene
    January 7, 2012

    Bah. Age of Autism didn’t approve my comment:

    British journalists love being sued. They wear libel judgements like battle scars.

    Spoilsports.

  37. #37 Antiquack Scene
    January 7, 2012

    The bias against the null hypothesis

    Classic Study. Dreher loved it :)

  38. #39 Antaeus Feldspar
    January 7, 2012

    Hey, Orac, the pothead troll’s back puppeting as Antiquack Scene.

    Dana must be a disappointment to his Big Homeopathy paymasters, if this is the kind of half-assed job he does. “Let’s play Connect-The-Dots to reveal the big conspiracy!! Seth Mnookin, Dot 1, is connected to his own father, Dot 2! And Seth Mnookin’s father … ah, fuggit, Big Pharma’s Dot 3 and you can pretend I connected it, Imma go off and play pool for the rest of the afternoon.” Hey, DUllman, y’ever heard of something called the null hypothesis? No, of course you haven’t; if you did you could have figured out that homeopathy is the least plausible explanation for everything you think you’ve observed it doing.

  39. #40 Leon
    January 7, 2012

    Looks like an antivax site. Report it? Credible threat of harm?

  40. #41 Leon
    January 7, 2012

    Looks like an antivax site. Report it? Credible threat of harm?

  41. #42 lilady
    January 7, 2012

    Well “jened” has replied to the comment I posted yesterday about “contamination” of the VAERS system and the far more useful Vaccine Safety Data Link.

    The twit is still defending VAERS, hasn’t addressed the issue of “dumb” inane reports on the VAERS…and totally ignored my question directed at her about which scientists should be appointed to the ACIP, the FDA and the CDC…because “twit” thinks there are COIs.

    I shall be having some fun with her today. I just replied questioning why she defames Dr. Offit, her non-science background and her parroting what she reads at “notorious anti-vax websites”.

  42. #43 oakfarm
    January 7, 2012

    jre But the paper mentions only MMR and measles vaccines. Isn’t it so that “your” anti-vaccine parrot meant that the children could be vaccinated against for example polio, and therefore was not fully unvaccinated? Do not misunderstand me, I would love if the vaccine-autism meme could disaper. But are there any study comparing completely unvaccinated children with vaccinated.

  43. #44 Chris
    January 7, 2012

    oakfarm, yes, Vaccination Status and Health in Children and Adolescents. Use the search box on the upper left hand side of this page to find where Orac discussed it on March 11, 2011 in an article titled For the anti-vaccinationists out there: The results of a real “vaxed versus unvaxed” study.

    The PubMed index also have several listed from before the 1980s, before the Belmont Report came out. There were several studies done in developing countries (like Nigeria), and in the USA using children who were warehoused in institutions (some that were deliberately infected with hepatitis b). Though, it does seem your question is a form of “moving the goalposts.”

  44. #45 resim
    January 7, 2012

    Lordship, I turned the argument about somewhat, posting about the retrospective epidemiological investigation of the measles outbreak in Minneapolis, conducted by the local and State Health Departments. I also made “mention” of Wakefield’s part in the epidemic and his appeal to Somali parents to not vaccinate their children.

    @ DW: Yes, “Up yours” should be the name of our nefarious operation. How about the “other” interpretation of “FTFY”, as our rallying cry?

  45. #46 Chris
    January 7, 2012

    Leon, all I is “You must log in to Facebook.” Does that website have any significance to this discussion, other than pushing people to a certain social network?

  46. #47 Lawrence
    January 7, 2012

    For those non-Facebook people:

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    – This is NOT a place for people who want to stir things up and give us a lesson on the benefits of vaccines. We have plenty of data and info and are headed in a different direction.

    NOTE: Admins. have the right to remove a member at any time without question if inappropriate behavior or language occurs.

    Please note we have a webpage with lots of data – it is located at http://www.greatmothersquestioningvaccines... This is where we store links to information.

  47. #48 Chris
    January 7, 2012

    Thank you, Lawrence. So they want to discuss vaccines, but those with real facts need to stay away, because using actual facts is a form of offensive language. That way they can cover their ears and yell “LA LA LA LA, I can’t hear you!”

  48. #49 Lawrence
    January 7, 2012

    @Chris – did expect anything less? If it isn’t an echo-chamber, it couldn’t possibly be anti-vax.

    It scares me that parents (especially mothers) can be so cavalier about the health of their children.

    I am extremely happy that both my sons are up to date on their shots.

  49. #50 lilady
    January 7, 2012

    …not that any rational person would visit their site, no less take “screenshots” of the “great mothers” names, or any of the drivel-masquerading-as-science, that they post.

  50. #51 Glaxxon PharmaCOM Orbital
    January 7, 2012

    MESSAGE BEGINS—————

    Shills and Minions,

    Operation Codename: Schveek M’vaak (Up Yours) it shall be. I have informed CentPharmaCOM and the MPS back on Glaxxon Prime and your new codes will be transprexed to you by 0:700 UT.

    Up Yours!

    Lord Draconis Zeneca VHiL7
    000100000000001

    Foreward Mavoon of the Great Fleet, Pharmaca Magna of Terra, Founder, greatlizardsquestioninghumanintelligence.com

  51. #52 Chris
    January 7, 2012

    Leon, who would you report them to? Though, they would be appropriate to mock.

  52. #53 lilady
    January 7, 2012

    Who the hell is “resim” posting at # 43? It lifted by comment at # 30 above.

    lilady

  53. #54 Sick sauce
    January 7, 2012

    @41: LOL, vacc VS unvacc studies before the /80’s – before there were many vaccines on the schedule!

  54. #55 Chris
    January 7, 2012

    Actually, SS, there was smallpox, DTP, MMR and OPV. Plus other countries had BCG for tuberculosis, Japanese Encephalitis, yellow fever, typhoid and others. There is more than a couple of countries on this planet, and the vaccines are often not the same (I had vaccines for typhus, typhoid and yellow fever in another country).

    Which is why in the late 1990s that your hero Wakefield decided that MMR was a new vaccine. Sure, new in the UK, but not elsewhere.

  55. #56 Antaeus Feldspar
    January 7, 2012

    I think Leon means, can we report it to Facebook for a credible threat of harm, and I’d say the answer would be no. They aren’t directly threatening harm; they’re advocating risky behavior that puts people in the line of harm. The distinction might seem strange, but it’s necessary to strike the balance between protecting free speech, and curbing speech that inhibits others’ civil rights.

  56. #57 oakfarm
    January 8, 2012

    Thanks Chris. As high-functioning autistic, I myself have been negative affected by anti-vaccine movement. I know that there is no reason to believe that vaccines are dangerous, and there is every reason to believe vaccine saves countless lives. It’s just that I would feel a little better if the anti-vaxx could be disproved once and for all.

    But I also know that you can not disprove a negative, science does not work that way. The antivaccines movement certainly dont work so, they are driven by fanatical faith and are immune to science.

  57. #58 Chris
    January 8, 2012

    oakfarm:

    I would feel a little better if the anti-vaxx could be disproved once and for all.

    Well they gave been by over a dozen studies, and as you will notice, they keep moving the goal posts. It has been a game of “whack a mole” for several years. All one can do is insist that there be a certain quality of data, and that we stick to real facts.

    And to not forget history, or you are doomed to repeat it. No one wants to repeat the number of babies who died of pertussis last year, nor the over 120 Americans who died from measles about twenty years ago.

    Plus enough money has been wasted in the vaccine/autism goose chase. There needs to be some left over for special education, and programs for disabled adults.

    Thanks for being understanding.

  58. #59 Leon
    January 8, 2012

    With prescription drugs just overtaking road traffic accidents as the number one cause of accidental death in the US…

    It’s not surprising that some get confused and think that ‘big pharma’ is out to make us sick while using the scientific community to lie about everything.

    An elaborate scam to keep people sick and poor so the banksters can profit!

  59. #60 Leon
    January 8, 2012

    Yes LW, deaths from traffic have gone down, but that still leaves deaths from PDs as the old second biggest cause of accidental death. You seem to be missing the wood for the trees.

    I’m sure many times more people would have died sooner and suffered more if they never had any prescription drugs, I’m just saying the way the figures are presented in the media it looks like a lot of deaths. It’s less than the number that starve in one day globally.

  60. #61 Leon
    January 8, 2012

    Yes LW, deaths from traffic have gone down, but that still leaves deaths from PDs as the old second biggest cause of accidental death. You seem to be missing the wood for the trees.

    Mephistopheles that’s the same data as the article I saw.

    “From 1980 to 2008, the percentage of poisoning deaths caused by drugs increased from 56% to 89%. In 2008, about 77% of the drug poisoning deaths were unintentional, 13% were suicides, and 9% were of undetermined intent ”

    Don’t know what your point is about whether or not people were legal or getting high or whatever? I don’t think the general public really look at things that deeply. Drug poisonings are on the rise, just look at that graph (the one where motor accidents reduce, thankfully.)

    I’m sure many times more people would have died sooner and suffered more if they never had any prescription drugs, I’m just saying the way the figures are presented in the media it looks like a lot of deaths. It’s less than the number that starve in one day globally.

  61. #62 Leon
    January 8, 2012

    Solution? I guess that there needs to be less need for white middle aged men to reach for opiate painkillers in the first place. So I guess whatever works in the preventative sense is sensible.

    I don’t suppose anyone ever had the bright idea of researching safer painkillers?

  62. #63 Leon
    January 8, 2012

    Can anyone explain the difference between states?

    Why only heroin and cocaine? Surely there are a few deaths from meth and weed?

  63. #64 Leon
    January 8, 2012
  64. #65 Leon
    January 8, 2012

    Why the differences between the states and where are the deaths from meth and weed?

  65. #66 Leon
    January 8, 2012

    You guys have a strange way of discussing things. Bye.

  66. #67 The Cannabis Troll
    January 8, 2012

    It’s got a name.

  67. #68 Chris
    January 8, 2012

    Leon:With prescription drugs just overtaking road traffic accidents as the number one cause of accidental death in the US…

    [citation needed]

  68. #69 Denice Walter
    January 8, 2012

    @ Chris: ” citation needed”

    I’ll give odds on the source:
    Progressive Radio Network: 3 to 2
    Natural News: 4 to 1
    The Economist: 1000 to 1

  69. #70 Antaeus Feldspar
    January 8, 2012

    The statistic appears to have a legitimate source: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2011/jun/10/prescription-drug-abuse However, what Leon ignores is that the statistic clearly includes the very large pool of people who die from taking prescription medication that wasn’t prescribed for them in order to get high. Concluding that Big Pharma must be trying to make people sick because they can’t stop their products from being misused is like suggesting that Big Auto wants people to die in car accidents, and deliberately makes bad cars in order to cause accidents, and accidents never, ever happen because people are driving drunk or distracted or carelessly.

  70. #71 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    January 8, 2012

    Chris,
    Leon is probably referring to http://www.consumeraffairs.com/news04/2011/12/leading-cause-of-accidental-death-drugs.html which states that according to data from the CDC more people were killed by poisoning than by automobiles. 9 out of 10 poisonings are caused by drugs according to the CDC. A story in the LA Times says that much of this is due to the recreational use of certain prescription pain killers and anti-anxiety drugs such as OxyContin, Vicodin, Xanax, Soma and Fentanyl.

    Leon’s “not surprising” conclusion comes as a surprise to me. One might just as easily conclude that “the big three” is out to kill and cripple us and to change the composition of the atmosphere to make our planet suitable as a nursery for Sontaran clones.

  71. #72 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    January 8, 2012

    The authoritative source for Leon’s comment appears to be http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db81.htm.

  72. #73 LW
    January 8, 2012

    I note that the reason there are more deaths from drugs (both legal and illegal) than from motor vehicles is that the death rate from motor vehicles has gone down substantially. If the death rate from motor vehicles had remained as high as it was in 1980, the death rate from drugs (both legal and illegal) would be nowhere near it.

  73. #74 Chris
    January 8, 2012

    Mephistopheles O’Brien, I clicked on the link and only got “Resource Not Available”.

    Antaeus Felspar, I’d give more credence to the Guardian article if there was a link to the actual data. Leon makes it sounds like most deaths are from prescription drugs, not a subset (which is what the Guardian seems to be saying). It does say 30000 died of an overdose, about half were misued.

    I looked and got:
    http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/deaths.htm

    It seems that since the average lifespan is close to 78 years, many of the prescription medications errors could be those near the end of a very long life. And the 30000 mentioned in the Guardian article is out of over two million, in a nation of over 350 million. It looks like someone is making a mountain out of a molehill.

    Also, when one form of a tragedy is no longer Number #1, then something else must take its place.

  74. #75 Chris
    January 8, 2012

    Leon:

    Yes LW, deaths from traffic have gone down, but that still leaves deaths from PDs as the old second biggest cause of accidental death. You seem to be missing the wood for the trees.

    [citation needed]

  75. #76 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    January 8, 2012

    Chris,
    My apologies, apparently the . at the end of the sentence got included in the URL.
    Try: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db81.htm

    In 2008, poisoning became the leading cause of injury death in the United States and nearly 9 out of 10 poisoning deaths are caused by drugs.

  76. #77 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    January 8, 2012

    Leon,
    I have a comment in moderation, but a substantial percentage of poisonings from prescription drugs are a result of deliberate misuse by people who have not been prescribed those drugs.

  77. #78 ArtK
    January 8, 2012

    @ Leon

    So, what’s your point? What would you have us do, stop using drugs at all? What do you think would happen then?

    Here’s a hint: A new problem would come to the top of “leading cause of death” and it wouldn’t be automobile accidents. It would be “treatable disease.”

    As others have pointed out, the statistics you cite include misuse of drugs resulting in death. Do you have any relevant figures of deaths related to appropriate use of drugs? Can you compare those figures with what happens if the drugs aren’t used?

    Instead of posting “lookeee, lookee, drugs are bad,” why not say what you think the alternative should look like?

    Nothing in life is without risk, whether it’s driving a car or taking a prescribed medication. Living life means assessing relative risks and making decisions.

  78. #79 Chris
    January 8, 2012

    Thank you, Mephistopheles O’Brien. What is really telling is the graph, especially the drop of vehicle deaths.

    I found:
    http://www.cdc.gov/NCHS/data/nvsr/nvsr58/nvsr58_19.pdf

    It has this more detailed explanation that Leon is ignoring:

    In 2007, a total of 38,371 persons died of drug-induced causes in the United States (Tables 21 and 22). This category includes not only deaths from dependent and nondependent use of legal or illegal drugs, but also poisoning from medically prescribed and other drugs.

    The next section is interesting:

    In 2007, a total of 23,199 persons died of alcohol-induced causes in the United States, 1,126 more deaths than in 2006 (Tables 23 and 24). This category includes not only deaths from dependent and nondependent use of alcohol, but also accidental poisoning by alcohol.

    Leon is still making a mountain out of a molehill.

  79. #80 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    January 8, 2012

    Leon,

    My point was in reference to your comment that “It’s not surprising that some get confused and think that ‘big pharma’ is out to make us sick while using the scientific community to lie about everything.” The articles I read in the mainstream press made a clear point that overdoses are often associated with abuse and with accidental overdoses. I notice many articles in the CAM world take a different spin. If people are getting their news from traditional media, one would expect most to conclude “maybe I should be careful with these drugs I’ve been prescribed” not “‘big pharma’ is out to make me sick.”
    But that’s just me.

  80. #81 Chris
    January 8, 2012

    Another interesting thing in the page that Mephistopheles O’Brien linked to is that motor vehicle deaths were about 23 out of 100000 in 1980, but in 2008 were down to about 12 per 100000.

    It also says:

    In 2008, there were more than 41,000 poisoning deaths, compared with about 38,000 motor vehicle traffic deaths. In 2008, 89% of poisoning deaths were caused by drugs.

    Now, Leon, is this demonizing of drugs going to go so far that you want people to stop taking their medications for epilepsy, Type 1 diabetes, bacterial infections and blood pressure. Should I have not given him phenobarbital twice a day when he was a baby to stop his seizures?

    Really, do you have a point, or are you just clutching your pearls?

  81. #82 Sick sauce
    January 8, 2012

    Chris@ 41: your post would he a good example of clutching you pearls!

  82. #83 Chemmomo
    January 8, 2012

    Leon @74

    I don’t suppose anyone ever had the bright idea of researching safer painkillers?

    Nope, never!
    What do you think Codeine and Demerol are? safer than morphine
    Per my screen name, I understand how they’re all related. I will now go back to my regularly scheduled reading of the blog comments. This (#74) was the first one I read today and it ticked me off.

  83. #84 LW
    January 8, 2012

    “Now, Leon, is this demonizing of drugs going to go so far that you want people to stop taking their medications for epilepsy, Type 1 diabetes, bacterial infections and blood pressure.”

    That’s by no means an exaggeration. Several schoolchildren have died of asthma over the years because of idiotic zero tolerance policies that treat Albuterol the same as heroin. Other schoolchildren have been labelled drug dealers for the crime of saving an asthmatic friend’s life with a contraband inhaler.

    Not an exaggeration at all.

  84. #85 Orac
    January 8, 2012

    Leon, as several have surmised, is the cannabis troll. He’s gone for now, at least until he morphs again. Sockpuppets irritate me.

  85. #86 Chris
    January 8, 2012

    Leon:

    Solution? I guess that there needs to be less need for white middle aged men to reach for opiate painkillers in the first place.

    What about the American Indian and Alaska Natives mentioned in that article?

    LW, that is horrible.

    I know people who have chronic pain, sometimes back pain from from doing manual labor, and some who are debilitated with migraine headaches. I can imagine some of them would accidentally overdose (and one I know did it on purpose).

  86. #87 Chris
    January 8, 2012

    LW:

    Several schoolchildren have died of asthma over the years because of idiotic zero tolerance policies that treat Albuterol the same as heroin. Other schoolchildren have been labelled drug dealers for the crime of saving an asthmatic friend’s life with a contraband inhaler.

    Do you have an article on that?

    The diabetes and epilepsy stories can be found at the WhatstheHarm website.

  87. #88 LW
    January 8, 2012

    Chris: Here’s a report from 2005.

    I’m happy to say that I live in a State where schools are required by law to allow asthmatics to keep their rescue inhalers.

  88. #89 Patrick
    January 8, 2012

    Would you really consider the Huffington Post to be a legitimate news source? I read the New York Times and found this interesting snippet concerning Western Medicine:

    Report Finds Most Errors at Hospitals Go Unreported
    By ROBERT PEAR

    WASHINGTON — Hospital employees recognize and report only one out of seven errors, accidents and other events that harm Medicare patients while they are hospitalized, federal investigators say in a new report.

    Yet even after hospitals investigate preventable injuries and infections that have been reported, they rarely change their practices to prevent repetition of the “adverse events,” according to the study, from Daniel R. Levinson, inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services.

  89. #90 Chris
    January 8, 2012

    Thank you, LW. It occurred to me that I should ask everyone who makes claims.

    Patrick, did you read the article? HuffPo gets no respect around here. Oh, and in general no news agency gets a free pass here. If it is a federal report, it might be better to bypass even the NY Times and just post the link to the actual federal report.

  90. #91 Antaeus Feldspar
    January 8, 2012

    Solution? I guess that there needs to be less need for white middle aged men to reach for opiate painkillers in the first place. So I guess whatever works in the preventative sense is sensible.

    I don’t suppose anyone ever had the bright idea of researching safer painkillers?

    Well, I guess it’s somewhat progressive for Leon to be stereotyping drug abusers as white middle aged men rather than as young non-white ghetto dwellers, but it’s still him taking a simple statistic, pulling from his nether regions five other “facts” that we have no reason to assume are true, and combining them all to reach the conclusion he wants independent of whether it has any connection to reality.

    As for his not supposing that anyone ever thought of researching safer painkillers, I’m not surprised. Antivaxxers love to demonize supporters of mainstream medicine, painting them as evil and subhuman in morality and intelligence; Leon probably really believes that out of all the people who have ever actually worked on developing pharmaceutical products over all the decades, not one them ever had the brilliant insight “safer is better” until he came on the scene.

  91. #92 LW
    January 8, 2012

    Chris, no complaints from me. I had to google this myself before making the claim. I distinctly remember these deaths being reported, particularly Catrina Lewis, who literally died in front of the security guard who was blocking her from the school nurse’s office where her inhaler was (she was required to wait until the nurse’s lunch hour was over, or something like that) and the only person with two brain cells to rub together was her little sister who called 911, but too late. My blood still boils thinking of that. But I would not ask anyone here to take my word for it.

  92. #93 LW
    January 8, 2012

    Well, Antaeus Feldspar, if painkillers were safer, then fewer people would die from them, and killing people is what Big Pharma is all about, don’t you know. Just like Big Pharma’s deliberate decision not to make vaccines safe, not to release safe cancer treatment …

    But alt-med sees though it all.

  93. #94 Chris
    January 8, 2012

    Antaeus Feldspar:

    Well, I guess it’s somewhat progressive for Leon to be stereotyping drug abusers as white middle aged men rather than as young non-white ghetto dwellers, but it’s still him taking a simple statistic,

    Well white men between were mentioned in the article:

    The population groups with the highest drug poisoning death rates in 2008 were males, people aged 45–54 years, and non-Hispanic white and American Indian or Alaska Native persons.

    Did you notice something that Leon missed?

  94. #95 lilady
    January 8, 2012

    @ Patrick: The article you linked to does not provide the actual report issued by the Inspector General of HHS.

    Let me point out a few things about Medicare patients:

    Many Medicare patients reside in long term care facilities and they do tend to “cycle” in and out of hospitals. Not all Medicare patients are over 65 years of age…there are younger patients covered by Medicare because of serious chronic debilitating conditions.

    Patients who “cycle” in and out of hospitals from their long term care residence often acquire MRSA (methicillin-resistant staph aureus) colonization from another hospital where they were hospitalized or at their long term care residence. Most hospitals have in place a “best care protocol” to test these patients, and other patients who are at risk for MRSA colonization (dialysis patients), upon admission with a notation in their charts “POA” (present on admission). This “best practice” policy serves two purposes; to alert care personnel about the patient’s colonization and to “cover the hospital” should the patient develop a wound infection due to preexisting MRSA colonization.

    “Severe bedsores” is a surprising finding…which most commonly are found in crappy long term care facilities. Of course, without the full report, I wouldn’t venture a comment, except that I have only seen severe bed sores on a hospital patient with cachexia and close to death.

    I did locate another recent report that described the 52/ 200 critical access hospitals in Illinois that do not have full time ICPs (Infection Control Practitioners) on staff, which IMO, is mind-boggling. ICPs usually are registered nurses with certification in infection control in a hospital setting. The hospitals I dealt with, when I worked as a public health nurse, all had a staff of full-time ICPs.

    We have learned a lot about hospital acquired infections and have implemented a number of protocols and procedures. Peripheral venous access lines are changed every 72 hours…or before, if there is evidence of infiltrate or redness, tenderness at the site. Physicians are now ordering the removal of urinary catheter lines once the need to measure urinary output is past. Wound cultures are done at the first sign of infection and appropriate various types of dressings and treatment ordered by the “wound care team” in the hospital.

    With the advent of minimally invasive surgery and procedures and same day surgical units, patients are put at far less risk for a nosocomial infection.

    More needs to be done to decrease/eliminate nosocomial infections, to decrease/eliminate serious side effects/deaths from hospital treatments and prescribed medication…no one is denying that. What is your point by posting a comment and a link to a small article in the New York Times?

  95. #96 lilady
    January 8, 2012

    I have a long comment about the NY Times article…stuck in moderation, again.

    I tried locating the actual report from HHS and couldn’t find it…anyone locate it?

  96. #97 Anne
    January 8, 2012
  97. #98 lilady
    January 9, 2012

    Thanks Anne for the Medicare Report Link. I read it and it is full of regulatory jargon. It reports on hospital accreditation by outside agencies, Medicare team surveys, as well as hospital-based “event” monitoring specialists. It is a very similar type of report put out by all centralized bureaucracies and it is very technical in nature. The report is directed to all these varied certification agencies (which are “private” companies whose fees are paid for by the hospitals) as well as government Medicare survey teams and to hospital administrators

    The report merely points out the lack of systems to monitor systemic problems within the hospitals and the very confusing and different manner in which each “private” certification team and government Medicare teams actually do their hospital record auditing.

    The report asks for comments and they were forthcoming. I suspect the very next “step” will be to set up regional “task forces” to meet and propose systems to make sense out of the confusing and confounding regulations and the consistent monitoring of “events”.

    There are new Medicare regulations that stipulate no additional reimbursement for the hospitals for treatment of “HACS” (Hospital-Acquired Conditions). It is incumbent on HHS to finally revise the regulations where they make sense and to take the lead to bring all stakeholders to the table, to develop systems of monitoring and reporting of “events”.

    IMO, the Times Reporter did a lot of cherry-picking from the report for the sensational headline and short article.

  98. #99 lilady
    January 9, 2012

    Oops…brain fog…and I also read that 65 page report. Sentence should read:

    I suspect the very next “step” will be to set up regional “task forces” to meet and propose systems to make sense out of the confusing and confounding regulations and the INCONSISTENT monitoring of “events”.

  99. #100 Gripper Stebson
    January 9, 2012

    Pardon my ignorance, do you class diet and exercise as alt-med? Isn’t herbal medicine really just a load of old terpenes?
    It seems anything that reduces the need for constant attention from underpaid professionals is rendered demonic in the grand schema of Oracism.
    Where’s your perspective? 200 vaccine preventable deaths a year vs 20,000 preventable opiate deaths?

    Can’t see Leon’s posts anymore? What are you censoring?

  100. #101 Tom Herling
    January 9, 2012

    The Huff Post reminds me of Joe Jackson’s classic “Sunday Papers,” originally written about tabloids like the UK’s News of the World, but now fitting Ariana’s site very well.

    http://youtu.be/GnaUL8OpBck

    Especially the line, “if you want to read about the other suckers.”

  101. #102 Vicki
    January 9, 2012

    Note that the CDC article doesn’t actually say “white males”: it separately identifies “males” and “non-Hispanic whites and American Indian or Alaska Native persons.” It’s plausible that the death rate is especially high for those who fit both of those categories—non-Hispanic white, American Indian, and Alaska Native males—but that’s not in the data. Also, the use of “persons” rather than “men” or “males” suggests that the relevant category is either male OR in one of these ethnic groups, not male AND in one of those groups.

    [I have other thoughts on the general topic, including wondering how many of those people who are using non-prescribed opiates are doing so for chronic pain that they can't get a doctor to prescribe for, and thus without proper monitoring or appropriate dosage. It's easy to assume that people buying prescription drugs on the street are doing so recreationally, and that's certainly true sometimes, but probably not always. But that's separate from this demographic note.]

  102. #103 Comment
    January 20, 2012

    When someone misuses the phrase “begs the question”, it suggests both that they’re ignorant/misinformed, and that they may be trying to appear to be more intelligent/educated than they really are. http://begthequestion.info/

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