Respectful Insolence

I’ve been an observer and student of the antivaccine movement for nearly a decade now, although my intensive education began almost seven years ago, in early 2005, not long after I started blogging. It was then that I first encountered several “luminaries” of the antivaccine movement both throughout the blogosphere and sometimes even commenting on my blog itself. I’m talking about “luminaries” such as J.B. Handley, who is the founder of Generation Rescue and was its leader and main spokesperson; that is, until he managed to recruit spokesmodel Jenny McCarthy to be its public face, and Dr. Jay Gordon, who, although he swears to high heaven he is not antivaccine, sure could have fooled me. At the very minimum, “Dr. Jay” is a credulous apologist for the antivaccine movement; at the worst, he is practically a card-carrying member. Then there were many more through the years: Barbara Loe Fisher, Sallie Bernard, various bloggers from the antivaccine crank blog Age of Autism, and even the new generation of antivaccine activists, such as Jake Crosby, who is, if anything, even more annoying than the old generation.

Why am I mentioning this? The reason is simple. Over the years, I think I’ve come to learn just about every antivaccine trope, canard, strategy, and argument there is. At least, I know all the major ones, nearly all of the minor ones, and even quite a few of the obscure ones. As a result, I’m rarely surprised anymore, even when of late antivaccinationists have taken to referring to supporters of science-based medicine as “vaccine injury denialists,” a term antivaccine activist Ginger Taylor notably used in “The Role of Government and Media,” a chapter in the anti-vaccine book Vaccine Epidemic: How Corporate Greed, Biased Science, and Coercive Government Threaten Our Human Rights, Our Health, and Our Children, which was edited by Louise Kuo Habakus and Mary Holland. Now, Taylor uses the term frequently on her blog in a hilarious bit of Pee-Wee Herman-like, “I know you are, but what am I?” (That actually might be a topic for another post entirely.) So when I see people writing about the tropes and tactics favored by the antivaccine movement, I know I’m quite qualified to judge whether they know what they’re talking about or not, as I’ve spent nearly a decade in the trenches on Usenet and in the blogosphere.

Anna Kata of McMaster University appears to know what she’s talking about.

Kata is the author of a recent article in Vaccine entitled Anti-vaccine activists, Web 2.0, and the postmodern paradigm – An overview of tactics and tropes used online by the anti-vaccination movement. Her opening sets the stage:

Vaccinations are a significant public health achievement, contributing to dramatic declines in morbidity and mortality from vaccine-preventable diseases [1]. However, by reading certain websites, one might be persuaded to think the opposite – that vaccines are actually ineffective, useless, or even dangerous. These are merely some of the arguments posed by the anti-vaccination movement, an amorphous group holding diverse views that nevertheless shares one core commonality: an opposition to vaccines. The popularity and pervasiveness of the Internet today has facilitated the transmission of such beliefs.

Many people search online for health information, and the information found impacts patient decision-making; it is therefore essential to understand what is shared online. This paper provides an overview of how the new generation of the Internet (Web 2.0) and its emphasis on user-generated content has combined with characteristics of the current postmodern medical paradigm, creating a new environment for sharing health information. The anti-vaccination movement has taken advantage of this milieu to disseminate its messages.

She immediately launches into a discussion of how Web 2.0 has proven to be a two-edged sword in medicine. While, as I’ve discussed before, paternalism is on the decline and medicine is moving towards a model of shared decision-making between the physician and patient, a process facilitated by the availability of more high quality information about health on the web than has ever been so easily available before, that movement can easily be hijacked by the dark side of Web 2.0. While 20 years ago, medical knowledge was largely bound to textbooks, journals, and medical institutions, today, not only is it available on many websites but even the primary literature is in many cases available to the public, thanks to laws requiring that NIH-funded research be deposited in PubMed Central and that clinical trials and their results be deposited in ClinicalTrials.gov. Unfortunately, the power of the Web 2.0 to empower patients is also the power to confuse and misinform. As Kata points out, postmodern attitudes, in which science-based medicine is just “another way of knowing” can combine with new “expert systems” in which people without advanced training come to think themselves just as much “experts” as the real experts. Although Kata doesn’t mention it, it’s the Dunning-Kruger effect writ large, the arrogance of ignorance.

Kata also correctly identifies most of the common tropes and tactics of the antivaccine movement. First, the tactics:

  1. Skewing the science. This involves cherry picking studies, denigrating science that doesn’t support an antivaccine viewpoint, and endorsing bad science that supports antivaccine agendas.
  2. Shifting hypotheses. Otherwise known as moving the goalposts, this involves continually changing the standards of evidence deemed necessary to convince antivaccinationists of vaccine safety so that they can’t be met and constantly coming up with new causation hypotheses that share only one thing in common: it’s always about the vaccines.
  3. Censorship. This is an extreme characteristic of the antivaccine movement. For instance, Age of Autism does not allow dissenting comments. The Autism One yearly quackfest routinely kicks out those its organizers perceive as enemies, even though they follow the rules and don’t disrupt anything. In the meantime, they go absolutely–if you’ll excuse the term–apeshit when one of their own is asked to leave a scientific function. We’re seeing this in action right now, as AoA and its hanger-on Ginger Taylor are both going nuts over Paul Offit’s and Seth Mnookin’s having asked AoA’s one trick pony irritant to leave and Offit’s accurately characterizing him as a “stalker.” I’d take their complaints slightly more seriously if the antivaccine movement didn’t so ruthlessly censor its perceived enemies and refuse to let them anywhere near their crank venues.
  4. Attacking the opposition. The antivaccine movement is particularly incessant in this tactic, in my experience. I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve been attacked or had antivaccine cranks try to cause me annoyance at my job by e-mailing my bosses. A year and a half ago, a bunch of antivacicne cranks, “inspired” by a false accusation of an undisclosed conflict of interest from Jake Crosby, tried to get me fired from my job through a campaign of e-mails, phone calls, and letters to the board of governors at my university. And what I’ve experienced is minor indeed compared to what someone like Paul Offit has experienced.

One tactic I think Kata left out is one that I’ve noted before. It’s not a tactic unique to the antivaccine movement, but antivaccinationists certainly use it. I’m referring to crank conferences gussied up to look like legitimate scientific conferences. For example, we have the yearly quackfest known as Autism One every year in Chicago around Memorial Day. Recently, Autism One has joined forces with the health freedom movement, combining an Autism One conference with the Health Freedom Expo from March 2-4, 2012 in Long Beach, CA. In this, we might be seeing an even more obvious sign of the scientific bankruptcy of antivaccinationists in that Patrick “Tim” Bolen will be featured on a “Vaccine Panel.” I thought that having Dan Olmsted chair a panel called Malfeasance in the Media that includes Tim Bolen, David Lewis, and Andy Wakefield was bad enough. After all, that’s a group that could give the masters’ how-to-do-it course on media malfeasance.

Oh, and “movie night” is going to feature the Burzynski movie, as well.

Now, here are the tropes:

  1. “I’m not antivaccine; I’m pro-safe vaccines.” Yes, indeed. This one is the biggest, baddest, most irritating trope of all, repeated by everyone from Jenny McCarthy to J.B. Handley to Barbara Loe Fisher. A variant of this is to liken vaccines to cars and say that “I’m not ‘anti-car,’ I just want safer cars.” Not a good analogy. A better equivalent would be if they demanded absolute safety of cars and refused to use them unless GM, Ford, Chrysler, Toyota, Honda, et al swear that they’ll never be injured in a car crash.
  2. Vaccines are toxic. A.k.a. “the toxin gambit.”
  3. A demand for absolute safety.
  4. A demand for absolute “proof” that vaccines are safe.
  5. “Vaccines didn’t save us,” one of the more intellectually dishonest of many intellectually dishonest tropes used by these cranks.
  6. Vaccines are “unnantural.”
  7. Choosing between “vaccine injury” and disease. Jenny did this famously when she said vaccination are a choice between autism and infectious disease and that she’d take the measles.

Kata lists more of these tropes, and this is one case where I can’t think of any that she missed, at least not major ones, except for perhaps the recent coopting of the term “denialism” for their own, as Ginger Taylor does when she uses “vaccine injury denialist” as a trope. Kata also didn’t emphasize the concept of “misinformed consent” enough, in which under the guise of “informed consent” antivaccine pseudoscience is used to make vaccines seem more dangerous and less effective than they actually are.

Kata closes by remembering a famous quote by J.B. Handley, in which he likened Andrew Wakefield to “Nelson Mandela and Jesus Christ all rolled up into one,” after which she concludes:

Such a statement is a reminder that finding common ground with those who question, fear, or crusade against vaccines is no easy task. Their arguments are constantly shifting and evolving – this has been furthered by the fluidity of the Internet and social media. While acknowledging and correcting flawed arguments is important, an approach that moves beyond providing “the facts” is likely needed. With the anti-vaccination movement embracing the postmodern paradigm, which inherently questions an authoritative, science-based approach, “facts” may be reinterpreted as just another “opinion”. This issue is as much about the cultural context surrounding healthcare, perceptions of risk, and trust in expertise, as it is about vaccines themselves. For these reasons it is possible the minds of deeply invested anti-vaccine activists may never be changed; therefore it is for both the laypersons with genuine questions or worries about vaccines and the healthcare professionals who work to ease their fears that keeping abreast of the methods of persuasion discussed here is essential. Recognizing anti-vaccine tactics and tropes is imperative, for an awareness of the disingenuous arguments used to cajole and convert audiences gives individuals the tools to think critically about the information they encounter online. It is through such recognition that truly informed choices can then be made.

If there’s one thing I’ve tried to do on this blog, it’s to hammer away at each and every one of these common anti-vaccine tropes, as well as the not-so-common ones as well. The reason is that I don’t want them to be able to spread these tropes unopposed and unanswered, although the antivaccine movement is so protean and I have a day job that it seems like a Sisyphean task in which progress appears minimal. Yet the skeptic movement and physicians like Paul Offit appear to have had some effect, particularly in the wake of Andrew Wakefield’s downfall. At least anecdotally, I see less antivaccine propaganda making it into mainstream media reports, less blatant false “balance,” in which antivaccine propagandists are given equal voice with scientists as though there were two equivalent sides to the argument, and more skeptical articles that refute antivacicne myths and expose antivaccine autism quacks. Kata is right. The basis for such progress is the wide dissemination of good science about vaccines, refutation of the misinformation spread about vaccines, and shining the light of day on the various quacks who take advantage of the antivaccine movement. It’s not enough in and of itself, but it’s a start.

Comments

  1. #1 MikeMa
    January 24, 2012

    Nice to use this venue to promote an article from Vaccine. It deserves the wider audience and it should flush some anitvax fools out to the defense of the indefensible.

  2. #2 Tim Farley
    January 24, 2012

    Evgeny Morozov wrote a piece at Slate posted yesterday that commented on the same paper, and proposed what I thought was a rather naive reaction to anti-vaxers focused on Google. He somehow manages to get through the whole piece without noticing that there are skeptics like yourself who have been on top of this issue for years.

    I commented at length on his article (but not the Vaccine paper, which I can’t read due to lack of access) in a blog post over at my Skeptools blog.

  3. #3 reasonablehank
    January 24, 2012

    As Orac well knows, Meryl Dorey of the anti-vaccine Australian Vaccination Network has now insisted that she is the real skeptic, coopting the term to make a fool of herself on Twitter by initiating the #skepticfail hashtag. Check it out. Something is awry in Doreyland, and it’s getting bizarre. Great post: it describes the AVN to a tee.

  4. #4 NotTelling
    January 24, 2012

    David, who is opposed to censorship, praises an article that calls for censorship.

  5. #5 palindrom
    January 24, 2012

    NotTelling @3 — I don’t see any call for censorship in this. What I do see is a call for vigorous refutation of specious, scaremongering propaganda.

  6. #6 palindrom
    January 24, 2012

    Incidentally, I have to share a zinger I let loose in the HuffPo comments on the actual pro-vax article that Orac touted a few days ago.

    In the back-and-forth, one of the anti-vaxxers replied to me:

    “It’s obvious that you don’t know anyone who was injured by vaccines.”

    To which I replied,

    “It’s a pretty safe bet that you don’t, either.”

  7. #7 Adam
    January 24, 2012

    I’ve read Peter Bowditch’s tweets about AVN and Meryl Dorey and he is quick to point out the complete hypocrisy when they whine about censorship. AVN stamps on any dissenting comments in its own forms but mewls pitifully when their platforms are taken away from them.

  8. #8 Lawrence
    January 24, 2012

    @NT I would love to have you point out the specific language in the article that calls for censorship. I see a call for a more rigorous refudiation of false information being spread by the anti vaccine online crowd.

  9. #9 Orac
    January 24, 2012

    What I do see is a call for vigorous refutation of specious, scaremongering propaganda.

    But, to the antivaccine movement, “vigorous refutation of specious scaremongering propaganda” = “censorship.”

    After all, the antivaccinationists, like all cranks, appear to believe that they should be able to spew their misinformation and pseudoscience without refutation. Any attempt at refutation is attacked as somehow “impinging on their freedom of speech.” Of course, the right to free speech does not mean the right not to be criticized for your speech. Antivaccine cranks seem profoundly unable to understand this.

  10. #10 Science Mom
    January 24, 2012

    Any attempt at refutation is attacked as somehow “impinging on their freedom of speech.”

    Let’s not forget the pharma shill gambit which they regularly trot out in response to a measured, scientific refutation. Whenever I see this I can only think they are actually saying, “you know more than I do so you must have an inside line”.

  11. #11 ConspicuousCarl
    January 24, 2012

    Tim Bolen? TIM BOLEN??? Does this gang truly have no membership requirement other than despicability? It’s like the Super Best Friends Club, but for assholes.

  12. #12 Shay
    January 24, 2012

    But, to the antivaccine movement, “vigorous refutation of specious scaremongering propaganda” = “censorship.”

    Substitute any extremist organization (to include birthers, religious fundamentalists, and the sovereign citizens bunch) for “antivaccine movement” and you’ve pretty well got it covered.

  13. #13 Mike
    January 24, 2012

    Orac,

    Another good post. But, well, “Every time you use the term ‘Web 2.0′ God kills a kitten.”

  14. #14 antidenialism
    January 24, 2012

    the recent coopting of the term “denialism” for their own

    Throwing opponents arguments back at them seems to be a common denialist tactic. Ken Ham wrote in 1987 that evolution was a religion. I’m sorry for going OT, but on a slightly related note could people check out this video I’ve made and give me any criticisms? I’m hoping to use it and others in talks about skepticism.

  15. #15 Th1Th2
    January 24, 2012

    If there’s one thing I’ve tried to do on this blog, it’s to hammer away at each and every one of these common anti-vaccine tropes, as well as the not-so-common ones as well.

    I’d like to see you try, infection promoter.

  16. #16 Bronze Dog
    January 24, 2012

    This pro-authoritarianism confusion between criticism and censorship was really annoying when Sarah Palin whined about people criticizing her statements. Not surprising that anti-vaxxers would take that trope and run with it.

    If you say something, I have the right to criticize it. Criticism is also speech, just like the original speech was. To deny my right to criticize other people’s statements is to deny me my freedom of speech.

  17. #17 JGC
    January 24, 2012

    Th1Th2, can I ask you to do two things before the discussion proceeds further? Define the word “infection” as you’re using it here as precisely as you’re able, and explain why you characterize administering vaccinations, which have been clinically proven to reduce incidence of infection can reasonably be characterized instead as ‘infection promotion’.

    Two simple requests, to ensure we’re on the same page.

  18. #18 Th1Th2
    January 24, 2012

    Th1Th2, can I ask you to do two things before the discussion proceeds further?

    I can “hammer away at” Orac in three letters: OPV.

  19. #19 Beamup
    January 24, 2012

    “I’m not antivaccine; I’m pro-safe vaccines.” Yes, indeed. This one is the biggest, baddest, most irritating trope of all, repeated by everyone from Jenny McCarthy to J.B. Handley to Barbara Loe Fisher. A variant of this is to liken vaccines to cars and say that “I’m not ‘anti-car,’ I just want safer cars.” Not a good analogy. A better equivalent would be if they demanded absolute safety of cars and refused to use them unless GM, Ford, Chrysler, Toyota, Honda, et al swear that they’ll never be injured in a car crash.

    IMO it goes further than that. Not only would the carmakers have to guarantee that no car crashes will ever occur, the car would also have to pay your mortgage.

    This would be the analogy to the effective requirement that vaccines not only have no side effects, but also cure autism. After all, unless they do, the antivax loons will continue to exist that they’re causing autism.

  20. #20 Thom Denick
    January 24, 2012

    So the best the entire movement has at this point to counter Orac’s thoughtful rigouprous daily posts on his uncensored blog are a few random thingies that come in to troll with random non-sequitur insults? This movement is in a sad state.

  21. #21 Th1Th2
    January 24, 2012

    Define the word “infection” as you’re using it here as precisely as you’re able, and explain why you characterize administering vaccinations, which have been clinically proven to reduce incidence of infection can reasonably be characterized instead as ‘infection promotion’.

    Here’s the reality: Primary infection either by natural infection or vaccination is clinically proven to reduce the incidence or subsequent infection. Now you know why vaccinators are the leading infection promoters.

  22. #22 Th1Th2
    January 24, 2012

    Should be “of” not “or”.

  23. #23 Marry Me, Mindy
    January 24, 2012

    If you say something, I have the right to criticize it. Criticism is also speech, just like the original speech was. To deny my right to criticize other people’s statements is to deny me my freedom of speech.

    This is the last refuge of the indefensible position, the “I am entitled to my opinion (but you are not)” retort. It goes pretty much as you’ve described, someone says something completely idiotic, others criticize, and since they can’t defend their position, they assert protection from criticism on the ground it is their right to have and express their opinion.

    Lost on them, however, is the fact that they are implying that the others should NOT express THEIR opinion, and that offering a critical opinion is just as valid as the original statement.

    This is a very common scenario in discussion groups. So much so that I have asked to have it addressed in groups’ FAQs, something like, “Your opinion is welcome, but so is someone else’s opinion that your opinion is wrong.”

    As I said, it is the last refuge of the indefensible position.

  24. #24 T-reg
    January 24, 2012

    @Th1Th2:

    khwakhwakhwakhwakhwakhwakhwakhwakhwakhwakhwakhwakhwakhwakhwakhwakhwakhwakhwakhwakhwakhwakhwakhwa
    yup… you are absolutely right.

  25. #25 lilady
    January 24, 2012

    Please do not feed delusional, disease promoting, uneducated, unemployable, health care professional wannabe SFB troll. It needs “terminal disinefection”

  26. #26 trrll
    January 24, 2012

    Throwing opponents arguments back at them seems to be a common denialist tactic

    Also known as the “I know you are, but what am I?” defense.

  27. #27 Sheepmilker
    January 24, 2012

    @18

    …and we’re off for another 50 posts of circular argument…

  28. #28 Th1Th2
    January 24, 2012

    khwakhwakhwakhwakhwakhwakhwakhwakhwakhwakhwakhwakhwakhwakhwakhwakhwakhwakhwakhwakhwakhwakhwakhwa

    a few random thingies that come in to troll with random non-sequitur insults? This movement is in a sad state.

    yup… you are absolutely right.

  29. #29 Denice Walter
    January 24, 2012

    The leaders of the anti-vaccine movement are masters of emotional manipulation and diversion: they capitalise on their audience’s fears and present them with exactly what they want. Blame is externalised ( pharma, the medical establishment) and their own noble suffering is held up for praise: this adds up to a net gain emotionally.

    Right now, they are doing the PR equivalent of “churning” ( when a broker sells and re-sells purely to generate commissions): they make the rounds of all the antivax sites ( which have a great overlap of personnel) as well as alt med sympathisers’ sites , making it apppear as if there is more going on than there really is.

    AJW is a *cause celebre* amongst the woo-meisters: the Progressive Radio Network had a 6 hour diatribe** featuring David Lewis ( Progressive Commentary Hour; last night @ 8pm-will be archived) also Lewis’ Whistleblower bud has a show there ( the so-called PRN is mentioned in AJW’s suit) . Natural News also talks up vaccines fears on a regular basis while neglecting to mention benefits.

    So what’s in it for them? Plenty. Woo-meisters’ income depends upon public mistrust of the medical establishment ( and more recently, mistrust of the media and governments): vaccines represent a triumph of SBM- this cannot be represented accurately. If the audience accepted vaccines’ ( or ARVs for HIV/AIDS, other medical marvels) safety and efficacy in eradicating disease, *other* woo-meisterly claims ( and products) might be suspected as well, which would lead to a downturn in sales.

    While the potentates of the empire of woo mislead their advocates into envisioning them as altrusitic, revolutionaries of science we can ( and will) reveal them as the salesmen ( and liars) they truly are.

    ** I didn’t listen in.

  30. #30 trrll
    January 24, 2012

    Here’s the reality: Primary infection either by natural infection or vaccination is clinically proven to reduce the incidence or subsequent infection. Now you know why vaccinators are the leading infection promoters.

    Thingy knows “infection” is a scary word, so he insists that vaccination constitutes infection, even though most vaccines do not carry an intact infectious agent capable of reproducing in the body, which is required under the scientific definition of infection. This does not trouble Thingy, because he is an ardent practitioner of the Humpty Dumpty school of argumentation:

    When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less

    –”Lewis Carroll”

  31. #31 Another Science Mom
    January 24, 2012

    This is just a side note, but reading the troll comments made me think of last week’s 30 Rock episode. It was about “idiots” and among the list of idiots (frat guys, investment bankers, etc.) were “anti-vaccination crusaders”. Yeay Tina Fey!

  32. #32 Brandon
    January 24, 2012

    Here’s the reality: Primary infection either by natural infection or vaccination is clinically proven to reduce the incidence or subsequent infection. Now you know why vaccinators are the leading infection promoters.

    What in the world is this even supposed to mean, and what is the point intended to be? I can’t remember, are you another germ theory denialist?

  33. #33 Th1Th2
    January 24, 2012

    Thingy knows “infection” is a scary word, so he insists that vaccination constitutes infection, even though most vaccines do not carry an intact infectious agent capable of reproducing in the body, which is required under the scientific definition of infection.

    No problem. You also have vaccines that cause nonreplicating and nontransmissible infection.

  34. #34 Brandon
    January 24, 2012

    You also have vaccines that cause nonreplicating and nontransmissible infection.

    By definition, this is not infection.

  35. #35 kruuth
    January 24, 2012

    I’m a little green on this one Orac. How does one view the complete article?

  36. #36 kruuth
    January 24, 2012

    Just another note; Wakefield’s malfeasance has gotten so widely known that Cracked.com is using him in jokes.

  37. #37 JGC
    January 24, 2012

    TH1,Th2, telling me you can “hammer away” with an acronym doesn’t comprise a definition for the term infection as you’re using in the phrase “infection promoter”–can you be more precies?

    As for

    Primary infection either by natural infection or vaccination is clinically proven to reduce the incidence or subsequent infection. Now you know why vaccinators are the leading infection promoters.

    First, it’s good to know you agree that vaccines can effectively reduce the incidence of infection post immunization. Given that both natural and vaccine induced infection result in protection, but that the health risks attendent to ‘vaccine’ infection is orders of magnitude less than ‘natural’ infection, in the future you would be wise to accuse people of being ‘SAFE vaccine promoters’ and anti-vax propoenents as ‘UNSAFE infection promoters’.

    Note that invasion and multiplication of microorganisms in body tissues (the medical definition of primary infection) isn’t necessary to generate protection against subsequent infection, and that we have long had the ability to generate vaccines which though efficacious do not incorporate live attenuated virus or bacteria and cannot cause infection.

    May I conclude therefore that you have objection to including acellular vaccines in the routine schedule, as they cannot cause infection but still generate a protective immune response (e.g. tetanus, which incorporates the tetanus toxin itself; Gardisil, which incorporates non-infectious VLP’s; Hepatitus B, which incorporates only the viral envelope protein HBsAg, etc.?

  38. #38 lilady
    January 24, 2012

    When I worked in public health, I did receive calls from parents concerned with the safety of vaccines. Before Jenny McCarthy was promoted by Handley, before the pediatrician to the stars Dr. Jay had his shot at stardom…and before the yellow journalism tactics of AoA…there was the NVIC.

    Way back then, Loe-Fisher had her own crude website with a pastiche of paste-up articles culled from various tabloid- type newspapers.

    Back then IIRC, the main concern was the small “study” published by medical students supposedly “linking” infants who received post exposure prophylaxis with hepatitis B vaccine/HBIG at birth and a higher incidence of multiple sclerosis. A main concern for parents was thimerisol.

    No sooner were these issues and “linkages” totally debunked, then we were dealing with Wakefield’s fraudulent study and his hero status with notorious anti-vax sites.

    At AoA we have Boy Wonder Ace Reporter Jake Crosby…whose mother Nicole latched on to a new diagnosis for Jake, Asperger Syndrome. Jake’s one trick pony antics of stalking people in person are lauded by the AoA bloggers and their sycophants. Jake is no innocent kid being used by his handlers. He is a vicious, nasty person who has no inner constraints who seeks the approval of his supporters. He may graduate with an MPH-Epidemiology degree, but he will never be an epidemiologist, employed in the health care field.

    When Jake is asked to leave meetings that he disrupts, it is the subject of many articles at AoA. Ginger Taylor on her blog, now composes indignant letters and sends them to the very people that Jake has stalked and actually posts these same letters on her blog.

    I love how Dr. Jay, Ginger Taylor and the editors at AoA all think that the mere act of sending “indignant” rambling letters to popular media and mass media outlets, medical journals and those on their “enemies list”…are deserving of consideration and deserving of replies.

  39. #39 Science Mom
    January 24, 2012

    Tim Bolen? TIM BOLEN??? Does this gang truly have no membership requirement other than despicability? It’s like the Super Best Friends Club, but for assholes.

    It’s not unexpected after all their numbers are dwindling, the media aren’t paying them any credible mind and their “experts” falling in disgrace so they have to take whatever they can get, even if it means dredging swamps.

  40. #40 JGC
    January 24, 2012

    Thingy, there’s no such thing as a ‘non-replicating infection’. Surely you’re not so confused as to consider ‘infectious’ and “immunogenic” as synonymous?

  41. #41 nastylittlehorse
    January 24, 2012

    I don’t know exactly how I got there from here, I think I may clicked on one of the links under skepticism at the side, but I have just spent the last several hours reading about (and reading the debunking of) chemtrail theory. There goes my evening!

    *shakes fist angrily at Orac*

    To be vaguely on topic though – those guys seem to use the same set of tactics. Instead of cherrypicking studies it’s ranting about aluminium toxicity (wait, doesn’t that happen here?) but the moving of goalposts, censorship and attacking the opposition are identical.

    I think Anna Kata has hit upon more than the antivax strategy, I think she’s hit upon the evasive thought patterns of conspiracy groups. The same patterns can be observed (for instance) in anthropogenic climate change deniers too.

    But oh god the chemtrailers…. I think I may need brain bleach.

  42. #42 Heliantus
    January 24, 2012

    @ JGC

    Thingy, there’s no such thing as a ‘non-replicating infection’. Surely you’re not so confused as to consider ‘infectious’ and “immunogenic” as synonymous?

    You will be surprised.

    Please don’t continue this inquiry. We already have a few 500+ threads on Thx special views on immunology.

  43. #43 Th1Th2
    January 24, 2012

    Brandon,

    By definition, this is not infection.

    By definition, it’s infection.

    Because inactivated vaccines do not replicate within the host, they cannot revert to a pathogenic variant and cause clinical disease.

    It’s because inactivated/killed vaccines cause asymptomatic or subclinical infection.

    Infection – Agent is present in  the host tissues without signs, symptoms or laboratory evidence of tissue damage.
    Alternative Term: asymptomatic infection, subclinical infection

  44. #44 Anton P. Nym
    January 24, 2012

    Surely you’re not so confused as to consider ‘infectious’ and “immunogenic” as synonymous?

    JGC, be advised that there is no bottom to that particular well. (ie; as far as I can tell, s/he is at least that confused… if one is granting the benefit of the doubt on whether these are genuinely reasoned opinions, and not merely assuming that the Great Wall of objections is raised solely to fortify an assumed conclusion.)

    — Steve

  45. #45 kruuth
    January 24, 2012

    lilady:

    I’ve never gone to Ginger’s blog before. After reading the front page I thought that I was reading something written by a ten-year-old. Once I saw that she’s an adult, and one with a child as well, I just sighed. If she needs a reason why anyone in the real medical field doesn’t take her seriously she needs to look no further than her own blog.

  46. #46 Th1Th2
    January 24, 2012

    First, it’s good to know you agree that vaccines can effectively reduce the incidence of infection post immunization. Given that both natural and vaccine induced infection result in protection, but that the health risks attendent to ‘vaccine’ infection is orders of magnitude less than ‘natural’ infection, in the future you would be wise to accuse people of being ‘SAFE vaccine promoters’ and anti-vax propoenents as ‘UNSAFE infection promoters’.

    Yeah, why don’t you tell that to those innocent children got VAPP-ed and VDPV-ed, well?

    Note that invasion and multiplication of microorganisms in body tissues (the medical definition of primary infection) isn’t necessary to generate protection against subsequent infection, and that we have long had the ability to generate vaccines which though efficacious do not incorporate live attenuated virus or bacteria and cannot cause infection.

    That’s not the medical definition of primary infection.

    May I conclude therefore that you have objection to including acellular vaccines in the routine schedule, as they cannot cause infection but still generate a protective immune response (e.g. tetanus, which incorporates the tetanus toxin itself; Gardisil, which incorporates non-infectious VLP’s; Hepatitus B, which incorporates only the viral envelope protein HBsAg, etc.?

    All vaccines you’ve mentioned above do cause asymptomatic or subclinical infection.

  47. #47 Krebiozen
    January 24, 2012

    Conspicuous Carl,

    Tim Bolen? TIM BOLEN??? Does this gang truly have no membership requirement other than despicability? It’s like the Super Best Friends Club, but for assholes.

    I wish to indignantly object to this. This is unnecessarily insulting to assholes, which after all serve an important function, unlike Bolen.

  48. #48 Denice Walter
    January 24, 2012

    Because they have been frequently cited for habitual censoring, AoA allows a few critical comments to pass through thought-control: Mike Stanton** discusses Dr Offit, correcting Jake and Jake responds in his usual fashion.

    I wonder what the ratio of censored critical comments to accepted critical comments is? Any guesses? Bets?

    ** Woo hoo for Mike!

  49. #49 Th1Th2
    January 24, 2012

    Thingy, there’s no such thing as a ‘non-replicating infection’. Surely you’re not so confused as to consider ‘infectious’ and “immunogenic” as synonymous?

    Yeah, how could I possibly forget the rule?

    General Rule

    The more similar a vaccine is to the disease-causing form of the organism, the better the immune response to the vaccine.

  50. #50 trrll
    January 24, 2012

    Thingy, there’s no such thing as a ‘non-replicating infection’. Surely you’re not so confused as to consider ‘infectious’ and “immunogenic” as synonymous?

    Ah, but you see, in Thingy’s world, words mean what he wants them to mean, not what they are normally understood to mean, or what the definitions in those elitist textbooks tell you. This is classic crank reasoning:

    Problem: Vaccines protect against infection. And infection is a scary word, based upon the properties of infections (as they are normally understood)–there is something harmful in the body growing and reproducing, and causing damage and death. People associate infection with things like polio and smallpox that kill, maim, and cripple huge numbers of people, which makes them willing to accept the much smaller risks of vaccination.

    Solution: We’ll just redefine “vaccination” as an infection. That way, we can muddy the waters any time anybody brings up the fact that vaccines protect against infection, and we can leverage the fear that people feel toward real infections, and hope that maybe some of it will rub off on vaccines.

    Thingy is a bit clumsier about it than most, but this sort of misleading language is the basic stock-in-trade of the antivaccine movement (see, e.g. the “toxin” gambit, in which even nutrients such as amino acids end up getting relabeled as “toxins”).

  51. #51 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    January 24, 2012

    Vaccines protect against disease. I think this is an important distinction.

  52. #52 Brandon
    January 24, 2012

    It’s because inactivated/killed vaccines cause asymptomatic or subclinical infection.

    This is a mindbogglingly stupid claim. A subclinical infection still requires living organisms.

  53. #53 Prometheus
    January 24, 2012

    JGC (#40):

    “Thingy, there’s no such thing as a ‘non-replicating infection’. Surely you’re not so confused as to consider ‘infectious’ and “immunogenic” as synonymous?”

    Boy, are you in for a surprise!

    Th1Th2 (#43):

    “It’s because inactivated/killed vaccines cause asymptomatic or subclinical infection.”

    Yep, we’re not making that up. Th1Th2 actually thinks that a killed/inactivated virus or bacteria – even isolated viral or bacterial proteins made by recombinant organisms – cause “infections”.

    Truth is stranger than fiction, but Th1Th2 is stranger than both.

    Prometheus

  54. #54 Mu
    January 24, 2012

    I wonder if thingy considers death by stabbing dieing from a non-replicating steel infection. Might explain a lot of it’s iatrogenic death numbers.

  55. #55 Beamup
    January 24, 2012

    Also keep in mind that, in the Thing’s version of reality, no child would ever walk on the grass when there is a sidewalk available. And any exposure to any antigen is necessarily due to gross parental negligence. And rooms which have had a measles patient in them within the past hour are immediately identifiable from a distance, so exposure can be trivially avoided.

    Therefore vaccines are useless because the transmission of any infectious disease can be completely and reliably avoided by exercising normal care in not deliberately exposing oneself to them.

    I really wish I were making this up, but these are things the Thing has actually claimed in the past. Truly, it is either the most incredible Poe in the history of the universe (past or future, and all parallel timelines included; The Doctor couldn’t find anything better) or someone who is profoundly unhinged and disconnected from reality.

  56. #56 missmayinga
    January 24, 2012

    See, this sort of conversation is where the “nailing jello to the wall” metaphor really applies to Thingy. You can chase her around all day trying to get her to stick to one definition of a word, but the second you think you’ve got her down, and try to argue with her using the one definition you’ve stuck her on…. Bam, there she goes again.

  57. #57 MikeMa
    January 24, 2012

    Just heard a podcast from Things you missed in history class about Thingy’s OPV. It actually covered the polio epidemics that spurred the development of vaccines. Salk & Sabin hit on 2 different routes. IPV was more expensive and (slightly) lower in risk. OPV was way cheaper and conferred some protection to as yet unvaccinated populations. As such, OPV was the foremost choice to be used worldwide to begin the eradication of all polio which is now almost complete, Thingy notwithstanding.

    Sorry I couldn’t immediately find the podcast link as I am usually many weeks behind. It may still be on iTunes.

  58. #58 palindrom
    January 24, 2012

    nastylittlehorse @41 — If you liked chemtrails, you’d love HAARP, another of the great gods in the crank pantheon. There is a real HAARP, just as there are real airplanes, but the powers attributed to it are at least as implausible as the chemtrail theory.

  59. #59 Narad
    January 24, 2012

    As such, OPV was the foremost choice to be used worldwide to begin the eradication of all polio which is now almost complete, Thingy notwithstanding.

    Oh, great, now it’s time to be treated to the “exit strategy” subspiel again.

  60. #60 Calli Arcale
    January 24, 2012

    palindrom — and now the Russians are suggesting that HAARP brought down Phobos-Grunt. Except it went nowhere near Alaska, where HAARP is situated, so it sort of changed to suggesting that a radar facility NASA uses for studying asteroids from Kwajalein Atoll was to blame, except it wasn’t in use at the time…. Yeah.

    I’ve met a number of HAARP nuts before. It’s one of the standard crank conspiracies; they don’t understand why the USAF would be interested in the auroras and the ionosphere, so they figure it must really be something else. Funny thing is, there’s a real conspiracy associated with a project of almost the same name: HARP. Google “Gerald Bull” for more on that one; it’s a more interesting story, but more along the James Bond line than the Area 51 line.

  61. #61 Narad
    January 24, 2012

    At least HAARP has sent QSLs. Of course, before that there was Project ELF (Project Sanguine for those who like to really hoke things up) to freak out about. And thus one winds up with stuff like this on PrisonPlanet:

    The worlds biggest antenna is part of the earth itself ! They can use ULF waves to turn actual roack and granite into a massive array ! I kid you not read this i urge you ! Do you all see what they could be doing with a transmitter as big as haarp et al? They could be turning the entire planet into a transmitter

    THE ENTIRE PLANET!

  62. #62 JGC
    January 24, 2012

    Thingy @47,

    There’s an old adage that goes “While you’re certainly entitled to your own opinion, you’re not entitled to your own facts.” This post makes it clear you’re speaking a language other than English, where your preferred definition of “primary infection” is different than that of the rest of the world, and that you inhabit a fantasy world where a vaccine which incorporaates only a viral surface antigen is capable of somehow causing a “subclinical infection” (however you idiosyncratically elect to define that term).

    I’m afraid I must agree with the opinion of all the others advising me to ignore your posts and conclude its impossible to have a meaningful discussion with you.

    You simply can’t fix crazy.

  63. #63 lsm
    January 24, 2012

    Sorry to wander, but I have to share this thing I just found out: Twenty five years ago my husband was doing his post-doc at the NIAID (National Institute for allergies and infectious diseases) in Hamilton, MT. They had a visitor, a young up-and-coming researcher, whom we invited to dinner. We were in our poor years, and sat on folding chairs at a makeshift plywood table, with our 3 pre-schoolers. This guy was so pleasant, so well spoken, that he left a mark on me all of these years.

    I was telling my husband about this post, as I often do, and he sat up and said “Paul Offit? That’s the guy we had to dinner up in Montana!” I remembered his name was Paul, but forgot the “Offit”.

    So while I am not a scientist like y’all, I did have Paul Offit to dinner!

    Back to the conversation.

  64. #64 Narad
    January 24, 2012

    Incidentally, I have to share a zinger I let loose in the HuffPo comments on the actual pro-vax article that Orac touted a few days ago.

    @palindrom: You know that Smith is plainly Blackheart, right?

  65. #65 ConspicuousCarl
    January 24, 2012

    > Th1Th2 actually thinks that a killed/inactivated
    > virus or bacteria – even isolated viral or
    > bacterial proteins made by recombinant organisms
    > – cause “infections”.
    >
    > Posted by: Prometheus

    “Cause?” No, it is much crazier than that.

    th1th2 is not just saying that vaccines cause infections–that would be incorrect, but not insane. He is saying that the presence of the vaccine itself qualifies for his concept of an infection, and he freaks out just as he would if he had contracted a disease. His objection to vaccines is based on drug junkie get-the-bugs-off-of-me aesthetics.

  66. #66 Science Mom
    January 24, 2012

    @palindrom: You know that Smith is plainly Blackheart, right?

    That obvious to you too eh?

  67. #67 ConspicuousCarl
    January 24, 2012

    Some nut on Prison Planet asked,
    > Do you all see what they could be doing
    > with a transmitter as big as haarp et al?

    [raises hand]
    Sending a coherent signal above the noise level for a pathetically inadequate fraction of the distance required to reach another star?

    Or maybe sending a signal many times further than is required to reach any of the black helicopters operating on Earth?

  68. #68 palindrom
    January 24, 2012

    Narad @64 – “You know that Smith is plainly Blackheart, right?”

    No, I didn’t know that. I spend most of my online efforts on the climate denialist struggle, where I have deeper expertise, with the occasional foray into battling crank theories in physics and astronomy; vaccine denialism is a sideline, so I don’t know these characters intimately.

    But does anyone know what happened to the indomitable Sheldon 101 over on HP? He was a real stalwart, and then he disappeared. I fear that this did not turn out well for him.

  69. #69 ConspicuousCarl
    January 24, 2012

    > they have to take whatever they can get,
    > even if it means dredging swamps.
    >
    > Posted by: Science Mom

    I guess so, but this seemed like such a gratuitous crossover episode. It is as if they have Boba Fett hanging out on the deck of a Romulan warbird, and that is somehow acceptable because both franchises have a loose science-fictiony theme even though their styles and technology suggest incompatible universes.

  70. #70 Andreas Johansson
    January 24, 2012

    Prometheus wrote:

    Yep, we’re not making that up. Th1Th2 actually thinks that a killed/inactivated virus or bacteria – even isolated viral or bacterial proteins made by recombinant organisms – cause “infections”.

    Truth is stranger than fiction, but Th1Th2 is stranger than both.

    Last week it was approving of slaughtering infected human populations as a means of disease control. It apparently thinks killing people is preferable to vaccinating them.

  71. #71 lilady
    January 24, 2012

    @ palindrom: I saw your post at Ho-Po. I think we did a commendable job of handling Stagmom and the Anne Dachel bot.
    Sheldon 101 seems to have disappeared from Ho-Po.

    Another article that appeared on the AoA website recently was about a three year old girl with Wolf-Hirschhorn Syndrome, whose parents have embarked on campaign to smear a doctor and CHOP for refusing to consider the child as a candidate for a kidney transplant.

    As we all know, Dr. Paul Offit is the medical director of the Infectious Diseases Department at CHOP, so this child’s situation was the “perfect” opportunity for AoA to crusade against CHOP.

    There are two blogs up at Ho-Po. One is written by a mother of an autistic child (“Everyone Deserves a New Kidney”) and the other blog by Lisa Belkin, former NY Times science writer (“Denying a Transplant to a Retarded Child?).

    The mother of the autistic child is adamant that the child was denied the transplant due solely to be classified as mentally retarded. Lisa Belkin, who has actually observed the deliberations of hospital transplant committees, defends the decision of the CHOP committee.

    I have posted twice on Belkin’s blog. The majority of comments on both blogs seem to support the decision of CHOP.

    Clearly the attitude of the parents of the child, the statements that they made and the lack of transparency by disclosing other medical problems that their child has, prevented the physicians at CHOP from defending their decision.

  72. #72 Michelle
    January 24, 2012
  73. #73 Narad
    January 24, 2012

    It apparently thinks killing people is preferable to vaccinating them.

    Greatest hits time:

    I don’t think rinderpest was ever eradicated hence you call people “herd”. Make sense?

  74. #74 dedicated lurker
    January 24, 2012

    Thingy also seems to believe there is a foolproof way of determining who’s infected with disease, and all you need to do is avoid those people. Thingy never tells us precisely what this is, and when you try to bring up someone infected with, say, measles, Thingy questions whether they have it. Also, Thingy said a child who died of whooping cough died of “iatrogensis” because the child just had a cold and didn’t need any doctors.

  75. #75 Antiquated Tory
    January 24, 2012

    Some of the commenters on this blog must be programmers, or at least scripters? Can’t one of you code the equivalent of the FF Greasemonkey killfile script for Chrome? You could even name it Th1Th2, it would be appropriate.

  76. #76 Chris
    January 24, 2012

    Tim Farley:

    I commented at length on his article (but not the Vaccine paper, which I can’t read due to lack of access)

    Sometimes you have to ask a person who works in academia very nicely.

    I was thinking that Anna Kata should go to TAM2012.

  77. #77 Krebiozen
    January 24, 2012

    Sometimes you have to ask a person who works in academia very nicely.

    A polite email to one of the authors asking for a PDF usually works for me.

  78. #78 Roadstergal
    January 24, 2012

    Just the other day, I was out for my morning run, and came across two places where someone had thrown a glass booze bottle out of the window of a moving vehicle, leaving glass fragments scattered across the sidewalk. It made me think of Thingy…

  79. #79 Narad
    January 24, 2012

    It made me think of Thingy…

    There’s always the lone boot upside-down on a fencepost.

  80. #80 Matthew Cline
    January 24, 2012

    About HAARP: many HARRP conspiracy theorists don’t really understand what a “carrier wave” is, and think that electromagnetic radiation can act as a carrier wave for other kinds of energy. So if you point out that the electromagnetic radiation HAARP is pumping out can’t possibly do [whatever], they’ll say that the Conspiracy has discovered a fifth fundamental force which can do [whatever], and HAARP’s EF is merely acting as a “carrier wave” for that new force. (Of course, they never put it in terms of “discovered a fifth fundamental force”, but that’s what it amounts to)

  81. #81 Cath of Canberra
    January 24, 2012

    “It’s obvious that you don’t know anyone who was injured by vaccines.”
    To which I replied,
    “It’s a pretty safe bet that you don’t, either.”

    I WAS VACCINE INJURED!!!elebenty!!!

    No seriously, I was, I have the scar to prove it. About the size of my little fingernail. It’s on my left upper arm. It’s cool, I’m kinda proud of it. Not even the cool kids nowadays have smallpox vax scars.

  82. #82 Liz Ditz
    January 24, 2012

    lilady: As it turns out, Age of Autism was late to the party about Amelia. Their article about the petition was posted January 15 2012.

    Amelia’s story was posted by her parents on January 12,2012. An autism parent, Sunday Stillwell of the blog Adventures in Extreme Parenting, a twitter-storm on the 12th, and started the petition campaign either on the 12th or the 13th. It gained traction among parents of children with multiple disabilities and/or intellectual disabilities (nothing to do with autism or Age of Autism).

    Another part of the story that has been buried: I believe that a family member had planned to donate a kidney for Amelia.

    Until AoA weighed in, I recall seeing few comments referring to Dr. Offit but there was plenty of criticism of CHOP.

  83. #83 Narad
    January 24, 2012

    About HAARP: many HARRP conspiracy theorists don’t really understand what a “carrier wave” is, and think that electromagnetic radiation can act as a carrier wave for other kinds of energy.

    Oh, dear.

    Scalar;

    My understanding from Tom Beardons website (all the other sites seem to refer to him) is that it is an energy kind of like orgone, chi, life force or something. Is that right? I have heard it said that space waponry is used to shoot beams of it at the earth. Is this right? I have read that ‘they’ lay down a chemtrail in the sky first as a marker for the sateliites. This doesn’t make sense to me, why wouldn’t they just use a ground based landmark or gps? What exactly are they trying to do with it? Who built the satellites?

    I have found a site that says you can heal yourself with scalar which makes sense if it is the ‘life force’. I’ll read it over this weekend.

    And now I’ve heard of Tom Bearden. Oh, and that the Sirians are using HAARP to try to escape Earth, or something. Thanks, man, thanks a whole freakin’ lot.

  84. #84 Lyr
    January 24, 2012

    I’ve said many times that, if all this stuff the anti-vaccine people say was true, we would see the same types of problems in domestic animals that receive vaccines (dogs, horses, cows, etc.). But we don’t!

  85. #85 Candy
    January 24, 2012

    I had one of those HAARP theorists on my Facebook briefly. I say briefly because, although I rarely unfriend anyone, you have to draw the line somewhere and this guy was so batguano crazy that I had to give him the boot.

    I’ve tried to decide whether the HAARPists or the chemtrails people are the nuttiest of all conspiracy theorists, and have come to the conclusion they’re pretty much tied for first place.

  86. #86 Glaxxon PharmaCOM Orbital
    January 24, 2012

    MESSAGE BEGINS——————

    Minion Narad,

    Sirians? It’s the Emvolphactii who are using the energy of HAARP to weave the tear in the universe together to seal out invaders from the fifth dimension. Haven’t you ever heard of the Project HAARP Seal? Read your manual minion. Read your manual! Besides, the Sirians are terrible navigators and probably couldn’t find Earth, let alone escape from it.

    Yours in pure PharmaEvil™

    Lord Draconis Zeneca, VIi7hL

    Foreward Mavoon of the Great Fleet, Grand Vitara of Toledo, Pharmaca Magna of Terra, Disser of The Sirian Invection

    PharmaCOM Orbital
    0100000001001011011010111

    ——————MESSAGE ENDS

  87. #87 Narad
    January 24, 2012

    I’ve said many times that, if all this stuff the anti-vaccine people say was true, we would see the same types of problems in domestic animals that receive vaccines (dogs, horses, cows, etc.). But we don’t!

    Have you met Catherine Diodati? The exact same routine is reenacted on the veterinary front. (This isn’t to say that there aren’t some legitimate concerns; feline vaccine-associated sarcomas are real.)

  88. #88 nastylittlehorse
    January 24, 2012

    @palindrom 58 – wow, the rabbithole just keeps getting deeper.

    Apparently they’re all linked. chemtrails can contain (killer) vaccines, or alternately be used to bounce HAARP waves around. The forces behind this are also the same ones behind flouride in drinking water (OMG evil!), 9/11 and god knows what other schemes.

    Of course what you really need to overcome the toxins and mind control is a bottle of homeopathic chemtrail detox formula.

    God I wish I was joking.

  89. #89 Pareidolius
    January 24, 2012

    Ugh. Chemtrails. I had a chemtrail “discussion” with a woman in the dog park the other morning. It went a little somthing like this . . . Even if you released biohazards at 35,000 feet, and they survived the thousand degree exhaust (only to freeze solid in the -50º temperatures), the likelihood of a molecule of the vapor reaching you on the ground would be infinitesimally small seeing as the vapor trails don’t exactly plummet to earth. We never even got into the whole “how could they get the toxins into the airliners without the ground crew or pilots knowing” thing. But why would I even try logic on a conspiracy nut? Now, that would be crazy . . .

  90. #90 Candy
    January 24, 2012

    The subject of animal anti-vax makes me think of something I got to wondering about the other day: If an anti-vaxer is bitten by a bat, would they get the rabies vaccine? Or would they just go ahead and die of rabies?

  91. #91 Narad
    January 24, 2012

    If an anti-vaxer is bitten by a bat, would they get the rabies vaccine? Or would they just go ahead and die of rabies?

    There is a small minority that believes rabies is a fiction and death is caused by panic among those who don’t know better, but most that I’ve encountered seem to think that it is real.

  92. #92 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    January 24, 2012

    Sirians? They’re a decoy from the aid given to the Red Lectroids in their war on planet 10 across the eighth dimension.

  93. #93 Bronze Dog
    January 24, 2012

    Sirians? Is Sludge Vohaul back from the dead, again?

  94. #94 Candy
    January 24, 2012

    Narad, so you think they’d get the vaccine? How would they ever ‘splain that to their anti-vax friends?

  95. #95 alison
    January 24, 2012

    Candy, it would probably be their dirty little secret…

  96. #96 Narad
    January 24, 2012

    Narad, so you think they’d get the vaccine?

    I suspect that the free-wheeling attitude (MDC warning) probably starts and stops at the fence-gossiping level. The real doozy from that item is this:

    Thomas Levy in his book Vitamin C,Infectious Diseases and Toxins says that rabies can be killed with vitamin c.

    And hydrogen peroxide destroys tetanus spores, etc.

  97. #97 Anj
    January 24, 2012

    In my experience, HAARP CTers are the most fervent. I think it’s because it’s almost completely faith based. You can see chemtrails, vaccines are everywhere – but something that you can’t see, touch, hear, smell or even prove exists…?

    PERFECT.

    On a side note, I’m attending CENTS this week. We have discussed the Imprelis fiasco without any conspiracy theories or stalkers. I feel a bit let down. Doesn’t anyone care enough about trees mysteriously dying to create a CT about it?

  98. #98 Chris
    January 24, 2012

    Another Science Mom:

    It was about “idiots” and among the list of idiots (frat guys, investment bankers, etc.) were “anti-vaccination crusaders”. Yeay Tina Fey!

    Cool! I just watched in online. It even starts with one of the characters asking if Jenny McCarthy was dead, and she was denying poisoning. Plus it also includes a side plot of dropping and breaking fluorescent lights with the panic about the mercury that is released.

    Thank you. I may have to record the next one.

  99. #99 Narad
    January 25, 2012

    Oh, and apropos of Emily, Shelton puts rabies in scare quotes. And, ah, do not visit “30BaD” without a supply of strong drink to hand.

    Ive been bitten by a few potentially rabid cats/ dogs and other than a bit of a shake up/lost skin, no hassles. I personally wouldnt do malaria, rabies vaccines. The only thing I would use would be snake antivenom, b12 shots and surgical drugs. Humans produce rabies antibodies remember so we can relax on that front. Its not like a snake bite.

  100. #100 lilady
    January 25, 2012

    @ Liz Ditz: Actually I did read all the articles and the mother’s relating the story of the transplant meeting, before I commented twice, on Lisa Belkin’s blog on the Ho-Po.

    Again, we have only the mother’s “side” of the encounter and her emphasis on the child’s “mental retardation” as the only bar to transplant and the “Peruvian” physician as being intransigent.

    I think for me, what was especially repugnant, was this, from the mother’s blog:

    “Rage fills the room. I point in his little, brown pudgy face. “Do not talk about her quality of life. You have no idea what she is like. We have crossed many, many road blocks with Amelia and this is just one more. So, you don’t agree she should have it done? Fine. But tell me who I talk to next because SHE WILL HAVE IT DONE AND IT WILL BE AT CHOP.”

    Really, was there any need to smear the “Peruvian” physician with the “little brown pudgy face” and to allow a petition to be put online to convince CHOP to transplant a kidney? A CHOP spokesperson has stated that CHOP has transplanted children who have developmental disabilities. Both the “Peruvian doctor with the brown pudgy face” and CHOP are put in the unenviable position of not being able to defend themselves, due to patient confidentiality.

  101. #101 adelady
    January 25, 2012

    “Humans produce rabies antibodies remember so we can relax on that front.”

    Oh goody. Yet another worry off my list.

    Must let the rest of the family know. They’ll be thrilled. (Esp if their next holiday is in Bali. http://www.abc.net.au/local/stories/2012/01/05/3402703.htm)

  102. #102 Skepacabra
    January 25, 2012

    My list of antivax tropes:
    -Big Pharma Shill Gambit aka ad hominem attacks
    -The “science was wrong before” Gambit, Galileo Gambit & other anti-intellectualism
    -The “we have a list of doctors who agree with us” gambit
    -The Science is Religion Gambit
    -The Arrogance of Ignorance
    -The Annecdotal Evidence trumps carefully controlled Studies (or Correlation equals causation or the “Coincidence??!”) Gambit

    http://www.dangeroustalk.net/a-team/Vaccines
    -The “Autism is a rising epidemic” Gambit
    -The general toxins in vaccines Gambit
    -THE MERCURY IN VACCINES GAMBIT
    -Formaldehyde in vaccines Gambit
    -The “antifreeze” in vaccines Gambit
    -The ether in vaccines Gambit
    -Aluminum Adjuvants in Vaccines Gambit
    -Aborted fetal tissue in vaccines Gambit
    -The “Squalene/adjuvants in vaccines are bad” Gambit
    -The “polysorbate-80″ in vaccines” gambit
    -The pork in vaccines gambit
    -The DNA or RNA in vaccines gambit
    -The Potassium Chloride in vaccines gambit
    -The Phenol in vaccines gambit
    -The Triton X-100 in vaccines gambit
    -The Green Our Vaccines or “Too Much Too Soon” Gambit
    -The 36 vaccines gambit
    -The alternative vaccine schedule gambit
    -The “Potassium chloride, calcium chloride, and sodium chloride in vaccines” Gambit
    -The “vaccines ingredients cause cancer and death” Gambit
    -The not vaccinating MY child won’t hurt YOUR child gambit (aka: herd immunity is a myth gambit)
    -The “Why do you hate mothers?” Gambit
    -The “Hygiene and Better Nutrition Are Responsible for the Reduction in Disease Rates, Not Vaccination” Gamibt
    -The Misrepresenting VAERS gambit
    -The vaccines weaken “natural immune system” gambit
    -The Mandatory Vaccination (or “informed Consent” or “Health Freedom”) Gambit
    -The Guillian Barre Syndrome Gambit
    -The No Vaccinated vs. Unvaccinated Studies Gambit
    -The Amish don’t vaccinate & don’t have autism Gambit
    -The “We’re not anti-vaccine” Gambit
    -The Teach The Controversy (aka Tell Both Sides aka Manufactroversy) Gambit
    -The 1976 Swine Flu Vaccine Gambit
    -The equating vaccination with Nazis gambit (aka Godwin’s Law)
    -The Vaccines Are Just For Profit Gambit
    -Dr. Paul Offit is an industry spokesperson or profiteer and other Offit accusations gambit
    -Government vaccine courts prove a conspiracy Gambit
    -Manufactured Legitimacy Gambit
    -The “Fight Flu With Vitamins Instead Of Vaccines” Gambit
    -The “Tamiflu And Relenza Are Useless” Gambit
    -The “Conflict of Interest” or “Reject any study out of hand because it was funded by a group with an agenda”) Gambit
    -The “36,000 annual flu death denial” Gambit
    -The “vaccine doesn’t work” Gambit
    -The “vaccine is untested” Gambit
    -The “Vaccines Cause Diabetes” Gambit
    -The “Vaccines Are Unnecessary” Gambit
    -The “Appeal to Fear” Gambit
    -The “U.S. has high infant mortality therefore it’s the vaccines that kill babies” Gambit
    -The “Vaccine manufacturer whistleblowers have denounced the vaccine” Gambit
    -The “I’m not getting a flu shot because I never get the flu” Gambit (or “hot hand” or “reverse gambler’s” fallacy)
    -The “Medical science uses a one-size-fits-all approach” Gambit
    -The diseases the vaccines prevent against aren’t dangerous Gambit
    -The vaccine is dangerous for pregnant women gambit
    -The Vaccines can have side effects gambit
    -The You’re safe if everyone else is vaccinated gambit
    -Gastrointestinal (GI) disorder linked to autism Gambit
    -The high hospital death rate gambit
    -Vaccines Cause Infertility/Miscarrages Gambit
    -Vaccines Cause Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) Gambit
    -The Vaccine Isn’t 100% Safe Gambit
    -The “virus is mutating therefore vaccines are useless” gambit
    -The Vaccines cause narcolepsy gambit
    -The Schopenhauer Gambit or “our faith will be vindicated one day” gambit
    -The doctors don’t get vaccinated because they know vaccines are harmful gambit
    -The Bill Gates called autism advocacy groups “child killers” gambit
    -The vaccines as eugenics plot gambit
    -The health officials deny vaccnes can cause any harm gambit
    -The Samali community in Minneapolis prove vaccines cause autism gambit
    -The Poul Thorsen is corrupt gambit
    -The there’s no risk to not getting vaccinated gambit
    -The there’s no harm in delaying vaccines gambit
    -The nations with highest vaccination have highest infant mortality gambit
    -The “More Vaccinated Than Unvaccinated People Get Sick” Gamibt
    -The Hannah Poling gambit

  103. #103 herr doktor bimler
    January 25, 2012

    Humans produce rabies antibodies remember so we can relax on that front. Its not like a snake bite.

    People will do anything to win a Darwin award.

  104. #104 lilady
    January 25, 2012

    @ Narad: Thanks for the “MDC Warning”…the posts there are ridiculous. Even when they find themselves at a reliable site for rabies information…they still “debate” the recommendations from the local health department for post-exposure prophylaxis for bat exposure in a closed room…”mommy intuition” trumps all.

    @ adelady: Wow, that is some article about the prevalence of rabies in Bali and the 132 known human deaths since 2008. There is also some concern that if rabies are not eliminated in the feral dog population in Bali that (eventually) rabies will be infecting wild dog populations in Australia.

  105. #105 rokujolady
    January 25, 2012

    Well, lilady, your reply on the huffpo was eloquent and ethically correct, I think.
    Several things struck me about the article and the subsequent comments:
    a)The mother pretty much admits she only actually heard a fraction of what that doctor had to say before yelling over him and accusing him of discrimination, and forcing him to admit that her daughter had been singled out because she was “mentally retarded”. At least from the huffpo articles, we don’t know if he was an insensitive jerk or not because she didn’t give him the time to be one.
    b)As you pointed out, accusing the doctor of discrimination in the same breath as slurring his ethnicity is a bit rich.
    c)Amelia has already had heart surgery and has a very short life expectancy
    d)The above three things seem to have totally eluded most of the commenters.

    Also, John1313 has no idea what we ought to do about people who need a kidney from a limited supply right NOW, but does know that the damned elitist doctors and eugenics-supporting commie LIEberals need to drop everything and stop doing God’s job. He might be advocating starving yourself in a hermitage until either God tells you who ought to get a kidney or all of them die waiting.

  106. #106 rokujolady
    January 25, 2012

    Sorry for the terribly OT post. I should have posted it at the HuffPoo, but I find the discussion around here to be a little more intelligent.

  107. #107 Kemwen
    January 25, 2012

    Slightly back on topic, I wish I’d known of all the tropes when I started. I remember the first father to confront me on vaccines. He mentioned autism and some pseudoscientific jargon he’d picked up from somewhere. I knew it was junk but had not read or even heard of the papers he was referencing and totally unaware of the antivax movement ( this was ’99 or so) so I seriously said I would look into the articles he was referencing ( it was vintage mercola or something) and see if there were any good studies out there. Then he said something which stopped me short. He had this soft-spoken rural drawl, and I had sort of been just humoring him, but then he said “Awww, it don’t matter what them other studies say, big Pharma (first time I’d heard that term) buys all doctors off anyway.” I must have given him a sharp look, because he seemed to realize what he’d just said, so he quickly added. “Oh, I don’t mean you, Dr. M, we trust you. Those drug companies have just been able to hide the truth from you.”. Again, probably the same look from me, only by now, my eyelid was twitching. So I said “I see. So you are saying I’m either a crook who is fooling everyone else or an idiot who is being fooled?”. And he sat there, grinning at me. I was hot, so I told him to leave in no uncertain terms. Good times. My last innocent day.

  108. #108 Ender
    January 25, 2012

    “But, to the antivaccine movement, “vigorous refutation of specious scaremongering propaganda” = “censorship.”

    Substitute any oversensitive group(to include birthers, gnu atheists, religious fundamentalists, and the sovereign citizens bunch) for “antivaccine movement” and you’ve pretty well got it covered.”

    FTFY

  109. #109 KWombles
    January 25, 2012

    @lilady,

    The transplant committee never met to discuss Amelia’s case–this was a preliminary meeting. Age of Autism was woefully late at coming to the story, and in no way should Amelia’s story be thought of as coming out of that venue. I’ve kept track of all the posts on the story: http://kwomblescountering.blogspot.com/2012/01/when-disability-community-works.html

    No, we don’t know the whole story–we can’t know CHOP’s without the family allowing CHOP to speak about the case. But even then, we still wouldn’t know. It’s one reason I advocated in a later post parents recording important meetings so that the meetings can be listened to again, and miscommunications might be lessened in that way.

  110. #110 Narad
    January 25, 2012

    People will do anything to win a Darwin award.

    I suspect it’s related to the mentality that has no problem asserting that tetanus vaccines can’t work because there’s no such thing as “immunity to poison” and therefore one should only use TIG if tetanus prophylaxis is indicated.

  111. #111 lilady
    January 25, 2012

    @ Kwombles: I never stated that AoA originated the story…I saw the article on AoA and then read other articles on the internet…before I commented twice on Ho-Po.

    And, I do not agree with your opinion about “recording” all important meetings, especially meetings with a doctor (or doctors). This opinion is based on my 35 years of personal advocacy on behalf of my son and advocacy on behalf of all developmentally disabled children and adults.

    My first post clarified (for Ho-Po readers) why the term “mentally retarded” is used in clinical settings. It is not a pejorative term, but rather a clinical diagnosis…further defined as “mild, moderate, severe or profound”. I then related that my older child received donor tissue for restoration of her knee function and that my younger developmentally disabled child’s eyes and heart valves were donated, upon his death at age 28.

    While my son’s genetic disorder was not Wolf-Hirschhorn Syndrome, he had many of the comorbidities that children with that disorder have and he was definitely not a candidate to withstand a kidney transplant and the post surgical life-long regimen to avoid rejection. I am a registered nurse and know only too well that serious comorbidities are a bar to transplantation of organs.

    I have great compassion and empathy for parents faced with this dilemma of wanting to “cure” a beloved child…but sometimes the “cure” in the form of extraordinary medical intervention for a medically frail child is not appropriate.

    I chose to take the stand that the lack of transparency on the part of the parents and the permitting of a “petition” to go online that smears the physician and CHOP, put the physician and CHOP in the untenable position of not being able to discuss the situation, due to patient confidentiality.

  112. #112 Krebiozen
    January 25, 2012

    I remember some years ago browsing through a hefty text book about liver transplantation (like you do) and being surprised at the long and detailed chapter about psychological assessments for potential recipients, and when they should be rejected as psychologically unsuitable. A transplant is not a walk in the park and requires long-term compliance with immunosuppressive medication as Lilady points out, quite apart from other psychological considerations. That’s leaving aside medical issues that have a bearing on a person’s suitability as a transplant recipient.

  113. #113 Candy
    January 25, 2012

    The idea of refusing a rabies series because one thinks one’s body can “fight it off” made me want to start drinking and it’s not yet noon here.

  114. #114 Science Mom
    January 25, 2012

    @ Candy, these parents didn’t see fit to provide their daughter with medical care after a bat bite: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milwaukee_protocol And she is a lucky one. It’s amazing that one could have gotten 3 jabs, RIG and never become symptomatic as opposed to intensive medical treatment and lifelong neurological problems.

  115. #115 Sick sauce
    January 25, 2012

    Tactics? I wonder what Kata thinks of the tactics used by the Dent idiots who have evaluated the Leroy girls with the tics. I mean it isn’t necessarily vaccines that have caused their problems yet they sure haven’t got any straight answers. So much for your shit hot” science-based” medicine.

  116. #116 Calli Arcale
    January 25, 2012

    Science Mom — I seem to recall the parents in that case didn’t believe the bite was serious, especially when she failed to develop any symptoms from it within the next week. While her case demonstrates the danger of not taking wild animal bites seriously, I’m not sure their mistake was all that unreasonable. Time was, rabies used to be mainly transmitted by domestic animals; we’ve pretty much vaccinated those, and increasing urbanization has reduced our contact with wild mammals. How many people have ever known someone who got rabies? Hardly anyone. It’s more a case of a tragic underestimation of the danger than any kind of willful neglect, I suspect.

    What’s more, she had gone an unusually long period of time between the presumed exposure and becoming symptomatic — it usually takes not more than two weeks, but she went over a month. I could understand her family thinking there was nothing amiss by that point. Of course, the unusually long incubation period may relate to her ultimate survival; she definitely did not have a typical case, and it’s possible the particular strain was unusually weak.

  117. #117 JGC
    January 25, 2012

    Sick sauce, are you really arguing since the cause of the Tourette-like syndromes these girls are exhibiting hasn’t been identified all of science based medicine is of no value–that antibiotics, antivirals, ACE inhibitors, surgical anesthesia, anti-inflamatories, etc. (And that’s just the A’s off the top of my head) represent meaningless achievements?

  118. #118 Dem Dent Docs
    January 25, 2012

    Oh wait I got it – it’s genetic or something happened in- utero. Ya that’s it, it’s gotta be in-utero.

  119. #119 Lawrence
    January 25, 2012

    I’d think, rather than jumping to some scare-mongering conclusions, we let the science take its course so we can see what’s really going on.

    See, unlike the anti-vaccinationists or woo-pedlers, SBM (doctors and researchers) don’t just grasp at straws or fit a diagnosis to a confirmed bias (like blaming vaccines).

  120. #120 Cosmac
    January 25, 2012

    Censorship. It is perhaps the most powerful tool they have for keeping their heads in the sand.

    I have(now had) a facebook “friend,” really an acquaintence, but one I see in real life a lot. An anti-vax zealot at times, she posts links to all the current and not so current propaganda.

    Just last night, one of her other friends had the nerve to reply to one of her rants with a well articulated, scientifically sound dissent. Within hours, the comment was gone, and she gleefully posted about how much she likes the unfriend button. Sigh. I guess I like the unfriend button too.

  121. #121 JMH
    January 25, 2012

    *grinds my teeth*
    The thing I hate most about these people is how well they’ve polarized the issue.
    I like to think of myself as someone who is “pro safe vaccines”, in the same way people pushed for seatbelts in cars.
    I love most vaccines. I’m grateful they exist, and I am glad I’m immunized. I will immunize my children, regardless.
    But I would also like to have a conversation about how they can be made better, out of better stuff, the pros and cons of semi-live versus dead vaccines, how I don’t really trust drug companies to have my best interests at heart, and whether or not it might be better for a healthy child’s developing immune system for them to actually get sick sometimes.
    But I can’t, because these people have co-opted reasonable conversation points to make extreme conclusions.
    That’s frustrating as hell for me.

  122. #122 Science Mom
    January 25, 2012

    I seem to recall the parents in that case didn’t believe the bite was serious, especially when she failed to develop any symptoms from it within the next week. While her case demonstrates the danger of not taking wild animal bites seriously, I’m not sure their mistake was all that unreasonable.

    I can’t understand why you would not pursue medical treatment after being bitten by a bat given the attention that bats have received as transmitters of rabies. It’s one thing when a bite isn’t apparent, another when it is in my opinion.

    It’s more a case of a tragic underestimation of the danger than any kind of willful neglect, I suspect.

    Agreed but I still can’t get my mind around it.

    What’s more, she had gone an unusually long period of time between the presumed exposure and becoming symptomatic — it usually takes not more than two weeks, but she went over a month.

    No, actually human incubation is typically 2-3 months with a range of days to a year. Rabies prophylaxis must be administered within a week to avoid progression though.

  123. #123 Lawrence
    January 25, 2012

    @JMH – exactly. There is always room for reasonable discussion. Drug safety is a matter of concern – across the board. Of course, the woo-peddlers love it when the FDA steps in and tags a drug manufacturer for a production problem (recalls galore), but they don’t subscribe to the same scrutiny themselves (screaming HEALTH FREEDOM at the tops of their lungs).

    In the case of the anti-crowd, they have become completely unreasonable – making any discussion with them impossible – since their positions aren’t supported by any actual evidence, only pure emotion.

  124. #124 Orac
    January 25, 2012

    Note: Sick Sauce and Dem Dent Docs are sock puppets for Jen. Jen is now on probation; all of her comments will have to be approved by me until such a time as she either promises not to use sock puppets again or I decide that she’s not likely to. In the meantime, when I approve her sock puppet posts, I will change her name back to Jen.

    Yes, I’ve finally decided to crack down on sock puppets. People using pseudonyms, please pick a ‘nym and stick with it and don’t keep switching. I don’t “censor” based on content. Personally I don’t care what you call me or how you try to refute what I say. However, I’ve gotten more and more annoyed with sock puppets that aren’t easily identified (i.e., a variation on previous ‘nyms that everyone recognizes or ‘nyms that are obviously jokes), and you’ll only get one warning. Try to evade the ban with more sock puppets, and you’re banned permanently.

  125. #125 Jen
    January 25, 2012

    JGC doesn’t Dent know about all the A’s ??????

  126. #126 Jen
    January 25, 2012

    So HGC doesn’t Dent know about the A’s? Why are they sticking with conversion disorder if it’s a diagnosis of exclusion- then seemingly all their science-based theories were exhausted?

  127. #127 lilady
    January 25, 2012

    Just as a slight aside, the child who first underwent the Milwaukee protocol in 2004, would have received 5 sequential jabs of rabies vaccine, along with RIG. Recently (2010) ACIP recommended that 4 sequential jabs of sequential rabies vaccine and RIG, be administered. I believe this new recommendation is based on epidemiological follow-up studies of people in the United States who received less than 5 rabies vaccine shots, and studies from the WHO about the protocols in place in other countries.

    Sicko, now derails the topic by mentioning the series of articles authored by (Doctor) Dan Olmsted at AoA, regarding girls who attend a school in upstate New York. The girls have a “mysterious” and sudden onset of tics. Some of the parents of the girls have “volunteered” information that real neurologists who have seen the girls have determined that their “affliction” is psychogenic in origin.

    (Doctor) Dan Olmsted has “analyzed” the cases and has advanced some of his own “theories” of the origin of the girls’ symptoms.

    Sicko…IMO, “Doctor” Olmsted’s medical opinion is just as valid as his analysis and linkage of cranberry bogs causing the polio epidemic during the early part of the last century.

    “So much for your shit hot “Dr. Olmsted Medicine”

    -FTFY

  128. #128 Ren
    January 25, 2012

    Coming from a third world country myself, I received about a dozen (or more) shots right in the belly button when I was bitten by a dog as a child. I remember how we would ride the bus a couple of hours a day to go get it. Those were fun times.

    The dog bit me on my left hand, ending my little league baseball career.

    And look at me now… No rabies!

    (FYI: Yes, the dog was rabid. It died about three days after it bit me.)

  129. #129 Science Mom
    January 25, 2012

    Sick Sauce and Dem Dent Docs are sock puppets for Jen.

    Why on Earth would you do that Jen? You’ve never had comments deleted here.

    @ lilady, yes thank you for the correction on post-exposure rabies jabs.

  130. #130 Calli Arcale
    January 25, 2012

    I can’t understand why you would not pursue medical treatment after being bitten by a bat given the attention that bats have received as transmitters of rabies. It’s one thing when a bite isn’t apparent, another when it is in my opinion.

    That’s just it, though — we know better. Not everybody does. I mean, how many people do you, personally, know who have had rabies? It’s not very common anymore. And heck, given how many people think that bats are some sort of bloodsucking rodent, I think it’s fairly clear the average man on the street is fairly oblivious to much real information relating to bats. That’s part of a bigger problem, of course, but my point is that I’m not sure rabies awareness is as good as folks like us might expect it to be.

    No, actually human incubation is typically 2-3 months with a range of days to a year. Rabies prophylaxis must be administered within a week to avoid progression though.

    Really? I thought it was much faster. Okay, this source says usually 3-7 weeks, which is shorter than what you said (3-7 weeks is more like 1-2 months) but puts her experience well within the typical window.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0002310/

    Still, look at it this way — if someone who tries to keep informed is wrong about that, is it reasonable to expect Joe Schmoe to be right about it? Most people, if they don’t have any problems in a couple of days, would assume the wound is fine. A lot of people avoid going to the doctor unless they’re in pain or obvious danger, not because of woo but because of money, convenience, or just the “wimp” factor (“I’m tough, I don’t need to go to the doctor just for a band-aid”). It makes for a good cautionary tale in that light.

  131. #131 herr doktor bimler
    January 25, 2012

    Sick Sauce and Dem Dent Docs are sock puppets for Jen.

    A question for Jen (at the risk of further derailing the thread), for I am genuinely interested in ‘sockpuppetry’ behaviour.
    Jen, in the cause of disinterested knowledge, can you describe the rationale for operating multiple pseudonyms within a single comment thread? Evidently it is not that each pseudonym is an outlet for a different facet of your personality, for they are all singing from the same hymnbook.
    Do you feel that your assertions and beliefs are more likely to convince readers if they appear to be shared by multiple people? Or is it that they are less likely to ignored by readers whose eyes glaze over when they see certain familiar names? Or some other reason?
    TIA.

  132. #132 Jen
    January 25, 2012

    Herr doctor, you’re more along the correct line with the eye glaze rationale as well it’s harder to hear really nasty stuff said to your real name. Live and learn when participating using your real name, I guess. At the risk of de-railing more, I do find it weird that Dent gives conversion disorder as a diagnosis of exclusion when they didn’t even do a seemingly thorough work up per some of JGC’s comments. Why do more experts need to be called in? It just seems odd and offensive to those girls that more wasn’t done initially.

  133. #133 lilady
    January 25, 2012

    @ Ren: I remember an “incident” that took place in one of our local schools ~ 15 years ago.

    A young boy brought a live bat into the school for his classmates to see (and touch). One of the teachers, fortunately, acted quickly and as the sickly bat was on the ground, put an upturned trash basket on top of the bat.

    We sent an animal control staff member to the school to retrieve the bat and transport the bat to our local public health lab to euthanize it. The dead bat was then transported to the state public health lab to test the bat. No, it was not infected with rabies, but early accurate dissection of the bat brain eliminated the need for prophylaxis against rabies for the twenty or so kids who “handled” the bat.

  134. #134 Chemmomo
    January 25, 2012

    @herr doktor bimler re Jen & @Jenn @130

    Or is it that they are less likely to ignored by readers whose eyes glaze over when they see certain familiar names?

    This would be ironic, since I for one am more likely to glaze over “Sick sauce.” Has Sick sauce always been the even more inane and less indepently thinking version of Jen or did she borrow the handle from another AoA regurgitator?
    I’m curious, too, Jen.
    I honestly don’t see why you would need an extra handle, say to vent or something like that, since you already do plenty of that under your “Jen” handle.

  135. #135 Chris
    January 25, 2012

    Jen, you need to answer a question about something you said as “Sick Sauce” over here. So which “vacc VS unvacc studies from around 1980″ are you referring to? Please post where I made the comment you are basing that claim on by telling us which RI article and the comment number.

    Answer it on the “Wakefield is a fraud” thread. The one where Ms. Natural Hygiene, Emily, is ignoring another one of my questions.

  136. #136 evilDoug
    January 25, 2012

    About a year ago, my brother’s dog was poisoned with strychnine by some deranged person. The dog bit one of the people who were trying to care for it as it was dying (death by strychnine is incredibly horrible – essentially death by exhaustion from convulsions and suffocation, while fully concious – the best care for an animal in such a case, if it can’t be euthanized promptly, is to keep it in a darkened, very quiet place – any stimulus can trigger convulsions). Even though the possibility of rabies being involved was infinitesimal, the dog’s head was taken for examination. The person who did it felt terrible about having to do that under the circumstances. There are still places and people who take the risk of rabies very seriously. (this was in essentially rural central Alberta, Canada)

  137. #137 Agashem
    January 25, 2012

    @evilDoug: Rural Central Alberta? Isn’t that statement a little redundant??? ;)

  138. #138 Prometheus
    January 25, 2012

    JMH (#121):

    “But I would also like to have a conversation about how they can be made better, out of better stuff, the pros and cons of semi-live versus dead vaccines, how I don’t really trust drug companies to have my best interests at heart, and whether or not it might be better for a healthy child’s developing immune system for them to actually get sick sometimes.”

    For starters, there are no “semi-live” vaccines – they are either “dead” (“killed”, “inactivated” or “subunit” vaccines) or “live” (also called “live-attenuated”). The live-attenuated vaccines (all are viral vaccines, as far as I know) are strains of pathogenic viruses that have far less effect on their host but still stimulate an immune response that is effective against the wild-type virus.

    Secondly, there is ongoing research into making existing vaccines more effective and safer. That’s how the accellular pertussis vaccine was developed (part of the DTaP) and is why some people are trying to find better attenuated strains of mumps and measles virus. The problem with researching improvements on the “mandated” vaccines is that those vaccines are already thousands of times safer than the diseases they prevent and are already very effective (mumps and pertussis being two glaring exceptions).

    Add to that the fact that the profit margin for selling these vaccines is paper thin and you get some idea of how hard it is to get anyone interested in funding research, yet it is still going on. As for “trusting” drug companies to have your best interests at heart – how, exactly, do they profit by hurting their customers?

    Yes, there have been some well-publicised examples of individuals and groups of people within the pharmaceutical industry trying to hide adverse outcomes, but the backlash from those incidents have consistently cost more than the drug companies could have saved – both in money and reputation. Drug companies lose in fines, lawsuits and market share if they make products that don’t work or – worse yet – hurt people. The profit motive is what keeps them honest – they stand to make more by selling safe and effective drugs than by selling dangerous and ineffective ones. There’s almost always another company with a “me too” drug that is waiting to scoop up market share if one company stumbles.

    Finally, the only studies that suggest children (and the adults they grow up to be) would do better to have more infections seem to point to parasitic infections as “what’s missing”, not viral or bacterial infections. Even with a full complement of vaccines, children still get dozens (if not hundreds) of viral and bacterial infections. Vaccines have only been developed against the more life-threatening viral and bacterial infections – children get plenty of others.

    And it’s not vaccines that have decreased children’s exposure to parasites – it’s our modern obsession with cleanliness and our removal from the rural farming lifestyle. Perhaps if they spent some of their “playdates” crawling around the pasture or in the pigsty…. but no, mama would simply come unglued over that.

    On the whole, I agree that the antivaccinationistas have poisoned the dialogue about vaccines and how to improve them. However, there are people working to do just that – the antivaccinationistas haven’t scared them off, although they may have made the researchers reluctant to talk to parents and other members of the community about their work.

    Prometheus

  139. #139 Proscientifica
    January 25, 2012

    Here is my gambit: I vaccinated my children, so I am not anti vaccine.

    Took two days and listened to Gary Null host Isabella, Deer, Wakefield, Yazbak, Miller, etc etc etc. I thought it would be monotonous but it was strangely captivating.

    Null gave Deer a good 40 minutes plus to describe his investigative journalism pertaining to Wakefield. Null than played the exact accusations from Deer to Wakefield and allowed Wakefield to respond.

    The valid criticism I see of the Null show on Progressive Radio Network is that the guests were predominantly in the vaccines cause harm camp. When I say predominantly, I mean that the only voice I heard presenting the case against Wakefield was Deer. After (and before) Deer, it seems each guest was on the show to debunk Deer.

    My prediction based on listening to the show: my view has not changed. UCL, Royal Free, and BMJ are eventually going to have to make nice as they are the British medical establishment. Deer and Dr. Godlee will be thrown under the bus. The evidence is simply overwhelming that Deer has no credible sources for his allegations. Wakefield described the actions of BMJ in publishing Deer’s allegations as “reckless.” Perhaps that is true.

    I simply cannot comprehend how the team of 13 (or 14) co-authors of Lancet 1998 (retracted) committed the fraud as described by Deer. Nor do I comprehend how Wakefield could have engineered the entire situation by himself.

    I wonder if the resident psychologist Denice could opine as to possible personality triaits, defects even, that may be evidenced in Deer’s writings and radio and TV interviews. In particular, I notice that Deer assigns nefarious motives to virtually everyone who challenges or disagrees with him. Does this signal some discernible pathology?

    I have read Denice’s deconstruction of Wakefield’s character, with the usual caveats that one cannot diagnosis from a distance, yadda, yadda, yadda. She might be correct- Wakefield suffers from a character defect where he delusionally believes himself to be correct with tragic consequences for himself and others, or perhaps he is a deliberate charlatan.

    My I restate that I have no expertise in medicine or any other pertinent field such as law, ethics, biology, sociology, phrenology, urology, gastroenterology, or even histology. I rarely read books and much of what I know I learned from TV.

  140. #140 Lawrence
    January 25, 2012

    @Pro – I’m confused where you would say that Deer has no evidence for his allegations? Do you mean that the study authors were just complete imbeciles & not knowingly committing fraud?

    As far as saying Deer assigns nefarious motives towards anyone that disagrees with him – I’ll turn that question around, why do the anti-vaccinationists claim that all of their opponents are “pharma-shills?” What pathology do that imply?

    Given that Wakefield didn’t even supply a defense or appeal the decision of the GMC board, it seems that he has no problem with its decision.

  141. #141 Thom Denick
    January 25, 2012

    I’ll assume Pro is for real since he can string together a sentence. I ask you sir, if someone had sued you for libel and in turn lost that case against you, but continued to tell everyone that would listen that you are lying, and even go so far as to mount an not-winnable civil litigation against you… Would you assign malice to that person’s motives?

    “Everyone” who disagrees with Deer consist entirely of Wakefield’s disciples and those who have a vested interest in the Anti-Vax movement or “natural” scammers like Null. Do you know different? I wouldn’t want to be accused of playing a “reverse pharma-shill” gambit here, but really if you are going to make wild accusations like that the BMJ didn’t fact-check Deer’s article, you’re going to need real, solid evidence.

    Deer specifically outlines how the fraud was committed by Wakefield in the Lancet paper. Wakefield was struck down in the UK for his actions by the GMC. The Lancet retracted the paper. It has been repeatedly demonstrated that Wakefield has had a financial interest in perpetrating this fraud. The case has been made repeatedly, and the man has lost repeatedly.

  142. #142 Science Mom
    January 25, 2012

    My prediction based on listening to the show: my view has not changed. UCL, Royal Free, and BMJ are eventually going to have to make nice as they are the British medical establishment. Deer and Dr. Godlee will be thrown under the bus. The evidence is simply overwhelming that Deer has no credible sources for his allegations. Wakefield described the actions of BMJ in publishing Deer’s allegations as “reckless.” Perhaps that is true.

    You gleaned that from listening to a Null broadcast with a stacked deck of rather invested players? The evidence is most certainly not “overwhelming” against Deer or perhaps you missed the part that Wakefield sued Deer for defamation and withdrew (having to pay Deer), missed the part where Wakefield was struck off the GMC registry with over thirty proved charges of dishonesty, ethics violations and abuse of special needs children, missed the part that Wakefield didn’t appeal the GMC ruling and then missed the part where Deer’s BMJ pieces were heavily scrutinised by legal and editorial reviewers with the expectation of a defamation suit? But Gary Null and Wakefield managed to convince you otherwise? Nice scepticism there.

  143. #143 alison
    January 25, 2012

    @Pro – well, of course, it’s just just Deer, is it? Wakefield’s case was thoroughly examined by the General Medical Council, which was able to access information not previously available to Deer until that point (although once read in during the Council’s examination, it became a matter of public record). Wakefield had plenty of opportunity to provide the GMC with evidence in support of his case – any thoughts on why he didn’t?

    evilDoug – that is such a terrible, sad story.

  144. #144 Krebiozen
    January 25, 2012

    Proscientifica,

    I rarely read books and much of what I know I learned from TV.

    Since the subject clearly interests you I suggest you download the GMC transcripts. With a little imagination reading them is almost as good as a TV courtroom drama. If you download them in PDF format you can easily search all of them at once for key words and phrases that interest you. Keep a Google/Wikipedia tab open for any terminology you don’t understand and you will learn a lot. I suspect that if you spend a bit of time at this you will come to similar conclusions to the GMC, the BMJ and Brian Deer.

  145. #145 Proscientifica
    January 25, 2012

    @Thom-
    Not clear to me that Wakefield lost the first libel suit, though obviously he did not win. I acknowledge he paid Deer’s legal fees. So I concede the point with reservations that Wakefield lost that suit. Is there a legal difference between “withdrawn” and “won?” To the litigants, I suppose not.

    Well, not everyone who disagrees with Deer is a scammer, I don’t think. What prompted my observation in that regard is Deer’s rebuttal to Lewis, which I read. In the rebuttal, Deer attacks the Nature reporter as having made up quotes attributed to Deer and Dr. Godlee. So this is a conundrum- did the Nature reporter make up quotes, as Deer says? Nature article states that the vaccine autism hypothesis is disproven, yet the reporter is not credible according to Deer.

    I did not accuse BMJ of not fact checking their article. Lancet certainly “fact checked” Wakefield’s 1998 piece- sometimes even the big boys get it wrong. Could it have happened here? Maybe. Did it happen here? I don’t know.

    Deer’s specific outline does not seem to me to be credible. In Wakefield’s words, which may or not be true, Deer is holding the 13 co-authors of Lancet 1998 responsible for working up the children and coming to conclusions that differ from data contained in medical records of earlier work ups. I question why the co-authors did not raise an immediate stink that the results of their work ups of the children was misrepresented the day the article appeared in print. Lancet 1998 did not purport to report on data based on the earlier work ups, according to the radio show that prompted my post, which I have already characterized as biased in favor of Wakefield. The fact remains that the team at Royal Free independently (according to Wakefield) took detailed histories and performed medical assessments on the children. That data was faithfully reported in Lancet 1998 (again- according to Wakefield). The data that Deer cites as evidence that Wakefield altered clinical findings to support his theory is based on Deer comparing the children’s medical histories prior to Royal Free with the Royal Free work up. Is that fraud? BMJ thinks so. If I understand the Deer construct, Wakefield had access to the pre Royal Free work ups and the specific fraud was altering the work ups at Royal Free to agree or disagree with the pre Royal Free work ups as necessary to support the MMR/gut disease hypothesis.

    The financial interest for Wakefield was described by Deer on the radio show as being on the order of $1.5mm in legal consulting fees. When asked directly, Wakefield said that the funds were paid out over 9 years, it was an amount less than Deer claims, and that he donated all to Royal Free gastro unit. Not saying it is true, just reporting the words that issued forth from Wakefield’s (some would say festering) gobbutit.

    A very interesting point on the radio show that I would enjoy having vetted is the measles vaccine Wakefield was developing. Here, Null went to Clifford someone, or someone Clifford, who explained in excruciating detail that Wakefield was developing a “transfer factor (is there such a thing?)” to ameliorate measles infection after the infection has occurred. According again to this demonstrably pro Wakefield source, the measles transfer factor was being developed to clear measles infection and could only be prophylactic in immuno compromised children if administered days or weeks before exposure to measles. Is this true? I have no idea. If it is true, Wakefield was working on a a medication to help children already stricken with measles, as there is apparently not now any medicine to give to children so affected.

    As far as the civil litigation being unwinnable….perhaps. I don’t predict the future. The radio show quoted again Clifford saying that Deer had in his possession letters of ethical clearance for the Royal Free team which Deer for whatever reason chose to not give to GMC. Is this true? I have no idea. I will offer odds that the whole thing is shut down if it gets in front of a judge. Wakefield has nothing to lose, so he wins either way. BMJ cannot stand even the remotest chance of a runaway jury verdict in favor of Wakefield.

    Denice- why does Deer say what he says, and why does he say it the way he says it?

  146. #146 Denice Walter
    January 25, 2012

    @ Proscientifica:

    Oh crap, what did I start?

    While I cannot diagnose people, like everyone else on the planet, I form impressions: on AJW, though I wouldn’t attach any labels to his personality I would not trust him any further than I could kick him and as he’s quite a big boy and I’m 5’6” that means I wouldn’t trust him at all. I believe he engineered the fix all on his own and possibly one or more persons “looked the other way.” However, you have to be relatively bright to get through med school but I can’t imagine how he thought he’d get away with his fix- not realistic at all.

    When a person deals directly with the public- interviewing people for a living, dealing with editors- usually he or she needs to have good person perception skills, read people well or else will generally wind up totally lost; BD has great verbal skills, overview and attention to detail- could have done well in grad school, no problem with mathematics, I would guess. I doubt that a person with serious psychological issues would last for 30 years in a career like that: it just doesn’t happen- unless your parent owns the newspaper.

    Null, like other HIV/AIDS denialists, has been described as “narcissistic” by Kalichman. I actually met him- something is very wrong there, pressured speech, hyperactive motion, bizarre use of language, not so great in the prosody dept, as solipcistic as the day is long- which tells me volumes. Not a pretty picture. Altho’ he liked me. The Progressive Radio Network basically *is* Null- a platform, an advertisement masquerading as a liberal talk outlet. The reason the guests ( most from past shows since last year)- save one- are all anti-vax is because the aim is to support that biased, unrealistic view.

    I think it’s important, rather than focusing on personality, to understand people through their skills- because who we are in the world has a lot to do with how we function in it- what we *do* and how we relate to other people. Skills aren’t limited to the strictly cognitive quantitative/ verbal but encompass styles, social, motivations,et al- I think none of us can really hide who we are- we’re open books.

  147. #147 Ren
    January 25, 2012

    @Lilady

    The owners of the dog that bit me were reluctant to have it euthanized until the third day, when it was showing signs of being very sick. They were neighbors. The dog had gotten out of their fenced-in yard and was wandering the neighborhood, acting weird. I went over to pet it, as I had done many times before, and it grabbed onto my hand and wouldn’t let go. I still have the scars.

    When animal control got there, the owners had hidden the dog somewhere, maybe with a friend. Anyway, they finally came forward and said that they had it euthanized. It was then that animal control took the carcass to the vet school and analyzed it, confirming it had rabies. My parents didn’t wait, though. Mom and Dad took me to the “anti-rabies center” and I was started on the shots the same day I was bitten. It was very, very painful, but I am certain it saved my life. With the new vaccine formulation, post-exposure prophylaxis is no fun anymore.

    I wish I would have known about the “too many, too soon” gambit back then.

    I mean, shots right into the belly button, and many of them, not just five. (I think it was, like, 20, but I could be exaggerating.) Why would Big Pharma go from multiple shots to less shots, I wonder? If they’re so big and so bad?

  148. #148 brian
    January 25, 2012

    Why would anyone believe anyone who has been proven to lie?

    Now, of course I’m thinking about Wakefield, but let me digress a bit; although this isn’t a political blog, consider the recent news regarding presidential candidate Newt Gingrich, a champion of conservative family values. It’s clear that Gingrich made a solemn vow with his first wife, lied to her, and then broke that vow. It’s equally clear that Gingrich made a solemn vow with his second wife, lied to her, and then broke that vow. Now, beyond wondering how his third wife, who had a prolonged affair with Gingrich while he was married to his second wife, I really do wonder why the fact that a proven liar told the children of the first wife that he had lied to that the second wife that he had deceived was not telling the truth about how he lied about the relationship that culminated in his third marriage carries any weight: If he lied to his first wife, their mother, and lied to his second wife, why believe what the children of his first wife reported that a proven liar told them? But, I suppose, that’s just fodder for divorce courts and the Republican primaries.

    On to Wakfield. Why would anyone choose to believe a man who was proved to lie to a criminal standard of evidence?

    The Bold Maverick Doctor Who Listened to the Parents in fact ignored the evidence presented by the parents of three of the twelve children in his now-retracted Lancet study. Wakefield reported, “Onset of behavioural symptoms was associated, by the parents, with measles, mumps, and rubella vaccination in eight of the 12 children . . . ” Of course that’s just not true, and the evidence shows that Wakefield knew that. If Wakefield had not selectively eliminated the reports of the parents of three of the eleven children whose parents associated MMR with autism from his calculated “interval from exposure to first behavioural symptom” and had he not further influenced that calculated result by conveniently deciding that a respiratory infection one week following vaccination was a “behavioural symptom” of autism, you would never have heard of Wakefield.

    The results for Child 5 were included in Wakefield’s August 1997 draft of his paper, but Wakefield removed that data from the published version. Wakefield wrote “autistic spectrum disorder and bowel disorder following MMR” above his signature in the Child 12′s chart, but he indicated in the paper that there was no “exposure [to MMR] identified by parents or doctor” that the parents or doctors associated with the development of symptoms. Wakefield ignored that the mother of Child 9, like the parents of Child 5 and Child 12, clearly indicated that she believed that MMR caused her child’s autism, but Wakefield again indicated that there had been no “exposure [to MMR] identified by parent or doctor.” Amazingly enough, these omissions dramatically reduced the calculated average time and longest time between exposure to MMR and the development of behavioral symptoms. (Considering a respiratory infection one week after vaccination helped out, too, although that child’s father indicated that the first symptoms of ASD developed months, rather than one week, after vaccination.)

    Now recall that the essential element of the case that Wakefield was paid to make absolutely required a temporal link between the receipt of MMR and the onset of the symptoms of “disintegrative disorder.” Without that, he had nothing — and, as Brian Deer noted, simply massaging the data to ignore the claims of the parents of three children and considering a respiratory infection (counter to the claims of the child’s father) as first behavioral sign of autism brought him home. I suppose Wakefield didn’t have much to say about that on the radio broadcast.

    As Fiona Godlee noted in her editorial in the BMJ: “A great deal of thought and effort must have gone into drafting the paper to achieve the results [Wakefield] wanted: the discrepancies all led in one direction; misreporting was gross.” [BMJ 2011; 342:c7452]

  149. #149 evilDoug
    January 25, 2012

    Yes, Agashem, you weisenheimer, it is, for the most part, redundant. That’s what makes it a nice area.

  150. #150 ConspicuousCarl
    January 25, 2012

    > I simply cannot comprehend how the team of 13 (or 14)
    > co-authors of Lancet 1998 (retracted) committed the
    > fraud as described by Deer. Nor do I comprehend how
    > Wakefield could have engineered the entire
    > situation by himself.
    >
    > Posted by: Proscientifica

    The co-authors were not all involved in the fraud, which is why they later wanted nothing to do with it. The paper itself suggested a bad conclusion, but not nearly as strong as what Wakefield and his followers would claim after it was published. The official letter they wrote said that they were retracting the interpretation, not the work itself.

    I think Wakefield had shady help from only one or two people. Wakefield was the practicing doctor for these kids, not just a researcher, and most of the fraud amounted to paperwork and failing to disclose stuff which only he (within the group) necessarily knew.

    Note that the 13 people were AUTHORS of the final paper. They were not the kids’ personal doctors, and did not necessarily carry out much/any physical testing. Wakefield could have handed them the BS records, fed them a few pieces of nonsense, and then they all write the paper to document it. It’s not a scheme which required extensive conspiracy.

  151. #151 lilady
    January 26, 2012

    @ Ren: The painful shots in your belly did save your life. That “old” vaccine was derived from embryonated duck eggs. The “new” vaccine is the human diploid rabies vaccine, administered in the deltoid muscle, resulting in temporary muscle ache and with exceedingly rare side effects.

    Yeah, post exposure prophylaxis is “no fun anymore”…thanks to Big Pharma.

  152. #152 lilady
    January 26, 2012

    @ Proscientifica:

    “Here is my gambit: I vaccinated my children, so I am not anti vaccine.”

    And, here is my opinion of your statement. You’re full of it.

  153. #153 Chris
    January 26, 2012

    Proscientifica:

    I rarely read books and much of what I know I learned from TV.

    Then you should watch these videos: A video dramatization of the Wakefield scandal. Plus there is a fifteen page graphic novel: The Facts In The Case Of Dr. Andrew Wakefield. If you had the energy to read an entire book, I suggest you read Bad Science by Ben Goldacre. Well, you actually don’t have to read the whole book, just the part on the MMR vaccine.

    By the way, did you know that the USA has had an MMR vaccine since 1971? Don’t you think that if there was a problem we would have known before 1998?

    Then, there are these studies that were done at the Royal Free hospital that you should be aware of (check the date):

    Lancet. 1999 Jun 12;353(9169):2026-9.
    Autism and measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine: no epidemiological evidence for a causal association.

    BMJ. 2002 Feb 16;324(7334):393-6.
    Measles, mumps, and rubella vaccination and bowel problems or developmental regression in children with autism: population study.

    Arch Dis Child. 2003 Aug;88(8):666-70.
    Prevalence of autism and parentally reported triggers in a north east London population.

  154. #154 Chemmomo
    January 26, 2012

    Proscientifica@144 – with friends like you and Clifford someone Wakefield doesn’t need enemies!

    A very interesting point on the radio show that I would enjoy having vetted is the measles vaccine Wakefield was developing. Here, Null went to Clifford someone, or someone Clifford, who explained in excruciating detail that Wakefield was developing a “transfer factor (is there such a thing?)” to ameliorate measles infection after the infection has occurred.

    The conflict of interest is a bad enough if Wakefield is marketing an alternative vaccine. If the product the guy patented is a treatment for the disease that the vaccine he’s discrediting prevents – my mind boggles that you don’t see this –the conflict of interest is even worse!

  155. #155 Chris
    January 26, 2012

    Ooooh, speaking of Clifford Shoemaker, let us not forget that he tried to shut up a blogger who he found annoying: Asshat Anti-Vaccine Lawyer Clifford Shoemaker Sanctioned, Humiliated.

    Ms. Seidel’s blog entry “Welcome to My Conspiracy” is a piece of high art. Be sure to click on the links.

  156. #156 lilady
    January 26, 2012

    “A very interesting point on the radio show that I would enjoy having vetted is the measles vaccine Wakefield was developing. Here, Null went to Clifford someone, or someone Clifford, who explained in excruciating detail that Wakefield was developing a “transfer factor (is there such a thing?)” to ameliorate measles infection after the infection has occurred.”

    “Clifford Someone or Someone Clifford” is “noted” antivax lawyer and crank scientist Clifford Miller…and who’s other “half” of the trolling tag team is John D. Stone. Also “known” for the development of a bogus graph on measles incidence on the SafeMinds anti-vax website.

    Clifford whatshisname is one of Wakefield’s errand boys as is Dr. Lewis and the other quack doctors that were featured on Null’s radio broadcast.

    Isabella whatshername is Isabella Thomas, who was referred to Wakefield with her two children by the lawyer Richard Barr…in preparation of her children being part of the lawsuit to sue the vaccine manufacturer. Ever hear of “shyster” lawyers, Proscientifica? They are bottom feeders who hire doctors in advance, like Wakefield to be “expert witnessses” in tort lawsuits. They also send their “clients” like Isabella Thomas to their “expert witnesses”.

    Of course, Wakey had to come up with a plausible diagnosis for these children sent his way by Mr. Barr…and he did, after subjecting his patients to invasive, painful procedures that were not medically indicated…hence Wakefield identifying a new disorder “Autistic Enterocolitis”.

    Proscientifica…you’re still full of it.

  157. #157 lilady
    January 26, 2012

    Proscientifica: Did they “happen to mention” the offshore company incorporated in Ireland under Wakefield’s wife’s name “Carmel”? Carmel Health Care was an umbrella corporation to set up a laboratory to test for “autistic enterocolitis” and to license and market the specific test kits for sale to other “autism specialists”?

    Tell us again, what your gambit is…”You’re not anti-vaccination”, eh?

  158. #158 Thom Denick
    January 26, 2012

    @Pro I appreciate the fact that you seem to be genuinely skeptical of Deer and seem to be a rational person. What I don’t understand is how a rational person could look at these two sides fairly and attribute any chance of sincerity to Wakefield.

    I could see forming these opinions before Wakefield’s amazing series of disgraces, but I just don’t understand how you could ascribe anything that falls out of the AJW’s mouth as truth. Especially considering his A.) court-demonstrated long history of lying in the past, and B.)his vested interest in lying in the present.

    If he really did give away 1.5M dollars, I’m sure he’s wishing he held onto that these days.

  159. #159 herr doktor bimler
    January 26, 2012

    I will offer odds that the whole thing is shut down if it gets in front of a judge. Wakefield has nothing to lose, so he wins either way. BMJ cannot stand even the remotest chance of a runaway jury verdict in favor of Wakefield.

    The Google informs me that the BMJ editors have been happy to defend themselves in court against libel charges in the past. Perhaps they were poorly advised.

  160. #160 Chris
    January 26, 2012

    A quick Google search shows that Clifford Miller seldom shows up as “Cliff Miller”, but the lawyer who went after a blogger, Mr. Shoemaker, is easily found with a Google search of “Cliff Shoemaker.”

    Mr. Shoemaker refers to himself as himself as “Cliff” on his own website. Unlike Mr. Miller.

    I contend with this rather dubious evidence that the “Clifford” referenced in previous comments was the UK lawyer who is part of the Childhealthsafety blog and actively slanders Mr. Brian Deer. He is not really someone I would believe.

  161. #161 Krebiozen
    January 26, 2012

    Proscientifica,
    It’s interesting that you seem to have acquired a very distorted view of all this. I’ll just pick up on one point.

    In the rebuttal, Deer attacks the Nature reporter as having made up quotes attributed to Deer and Dr. Godlee. So this is a conundrum- did the Nature reporter make up quotes, as Deer says?

    Where in the rebuttal does Deer say anything of the sort? All I can find is, “Nature has never quoted me.” and “Dr Godlee wasn’t quoted in Nature. The words are the reporter’s.” Deer agrees with what the Nature reporter says (in his own words) that Deer and Godlee “never accused Dr. Wakefield of fraud over his interpretation of pathology records” and that “the journal’s conclusion of fraud was not based on the pathology but on a number of discrepancies between the children’s records and the claims in the Lancet paper.”

    Nature article states that the vaccine autism hypothesis is disproven, yet the reporter is not credible according to Deer.

    Where does Deer suggest the reporter is not credible? It is Lewis who appears to have misread or misinterpreted the BMJ articles and then expressed outrage that Deer and Godlee deny his mistaken interpretation of what they wrote. The BMJ articles are freely available. Please show me anywhere in those articles they accuse anyone of fraudulently misinterpreting pathology records. Deer concludes, “if Dhillon is right in saying the slides can’t be found, the ultimate proof is missing. All we have are the pathology reports, which independent specialists seem to agree are largely unremarkable”.

    I can understand Deer’s exasperation with this kind of attack, accusing him of saying something he didn’t, and then accusing him again of lying when he denies he ever said it. If Deer was lying it would be so easy to simply quote from the BMJ articles to show this, but he isn’t so Lewis can’t, but he continues with this nonsense anyway.

  162. #162 W. Kevin Vicklund
    January 26, 2012

    Lancet 1998 did not purport to report on data based on the earlier work ups, according to the radio show that prompted my post, which I have already characterized as biased in favor of Wakefield.

    Then the radio show was lying. From the paper:

    Children underwent gastroenterological, neurological, and developmental assessment and review of developmental records… Developmental histories included a review of prospective developmental records from parents, health visitors, and general practitioners.

    The fact remains that the team at Royal Free independently (according to Wakefield) took detailed histories and performed medical assessments on the children. That data was faithfully reported in Lancet 1998 (again- according to Wakefield).

    Yet Brian Deer documents numerous instances where the data from those histories and assessments were not faithfully reported.

    The data that Deer cites as evidence that Wakefield altered clinical findings to support his theory is based on Deer comparing the children’s medical histories prior to Royal Free with the Royal Free work up.

    While this is true for some of what Brian Deer cites, it is not true for all his cites. Further, many of his cites are from data that Wakefield claimed in the paper to have access to and we know he received. For example, the referral letters to Wakefield from the GP’s of children 4 and 8 noted symptom onset prior to vaccination, yet this was left out of the paper.

    Either Brian Deer is lying (or somehow grossly misinterpreting the documents), or Wakefield committed fraud.

  163. #163 Proscientifica
    January 26, 2012

    What I am posting about, and this will be my last foray into this subject, is Null’s radio show. It consisted of about 5 hours 20 minutes of pro Wakefield commentary interspersed with about 40 minutes of Brian Deer. Denice has explained the context of the show.

    Of course I am aware that Wakefield was found guilty by GMC of multiple counts of misconduct up to and including performing unnecessary medical procedures on children. Certainly that is despicable. Why did Wakefield not offer a defense or ask for a an appeal? Perhaps because 1) he is guilty; 2) his defense was based on advice of counsel and he did what he was told; or 3) a form of passive resistance? a la Ghandi? I really have no clue but those are my best guesses.

    GMC stopped short of finding that Wakefield committed deliberate research fraud. The allegation of research fraud is the product of the fact checked article in BMJ.

    My question to Denice after listening to the Null show was to take a stab at describing Deer’s character, which she graciously did. My interest was prompted by Deer suggesting that Null was lying after Null said he had interviewed 2000 parents. Null than said that he saw no reason for a personal attack, and that the dialog should be elevated. In a similar manner, Deer suggests in his response to Lewis that literal quotes (in quotation marks) attributed to him and Dr. Godlee in Nature are inaccurate or did not happen. If my recollections are accurate, than Deer is presenting a pattern of suggesting that those with whom he disagrees (Null and Nature) are deliberately lying. This was the precise question I posed to Denice- is Deer presenting signs of a pathology, and Denice clearly says he is not, with appropriate explication.

    In any event, allow me please to toss a bouquet to the gentle readers and posters on Respectful Insolence. I (though often accused of being “obtuse”) do not detect viciousness or even “closemindedness” in the replies to my queries. In fact, quite the contrary. If anything, the replies have been downright respectful, informative, and to my mind presented objectively. Like it or not, the radio show did air, and it did say the things I report, subject to my memory and interpretation biases. It seems this community is exactly what is describes itself to be- healthy skeptics. What better community to present my skepticism regarding Deer’s motives and behavior patterns?

  164. #164 Lawrence
    January 26, 2012

    @Pro – very well spoken and reasoned response. It also leads one to wonder, since libel laws are so much stricter (and plantiff-friendly) in England – and Wakefield dropped his case there (and paid his opponents’ legal fees), why would he bring a new case in the US, where the court’s use a much stricter burden of proof & are defendant-friendly, but also in a state that has enacted a SLAPP law to prevent frivilous lawsuits (with stiff penalties attached)?

    That is certainly something I would love to hear more about…because all it really looks like is Wakefield attempting to keep up appearances & refine his martyrdom to his fanbase.

  165. #165 Denice Walter
    January 26, 2012

    With material like this it’s easy to get stuck on details- not see the forest for the trees- so here is my own vast panoramic view that led me to my own position:

    I saw the original paper early on and it didn’t fit in with what I had studied previously- I can put a date on it- my cousin feared vaccines because of AJW when his son was born in the *autumn of 2001*- I told him not to worry.

    Going through BD’s materials as well as other sources- including Orac and the anti-vaxxers I’ve read/ heard over the years- a few things jump out at me:
    *Information about AJW has already been vetted- by a newspaper, television station, medical journal- they don’t just let a person write anything- by many people at each outlet- plus AJW went to court already and was called to the GMC- all of this has been gone through with a fine tooth comb already. Many times.
    *AJW had multiple irons in the fire: he was trying to patent a new vaccine, had formed a company and was being paid handily for his work – all of this is well-documented. His work brought him international fame and opportunity.
    *Criticism comes primarily from a motivated anti-vaxx community who have a vested interest in believing AJW was shafted: it serves emotional needs ( vaccine injury) and their own claims to fame, and fortune: most of these people have no appropriate background in medicine or psychology- but there is over-representation by students of the law. I wonder why that is?

    Critics pick away at details to distract their audience from the larger picture. They ask, “What if?” That’s how real data is often countered by the alt med crowd- focus on the edges and make up stuff to fill in the gaps.

  166. #166 Krebiozen
    January 26, 2012

    Proscientifica,

    In a similar manner, Deer suggests in his response to Lewis that literal quotes (in quotation marks) attributed to him and Dr. Godlee in Nature are inaccurate or did not happen.

    This is getting a bit weird. Am I looking at a different Nature article and a different rebuttal from Deer? As I explained in #161 above there are no quotes from either Deer or Godlee in the Nature article. Here’s what it says:

    Deer notes that he never accused Wakefield of fraud over his interpretation of pathology records. But he says that records read to him from the Royal Free pathology service clearly stated that the children’s gut biopsies were within normal limits, even though they were reported in the Lancet paper as having enterocolitis.
    Fiona Godlee, the editor of the BMJ, says that the journal’s conclusion of fraud was not based on the pathology but on a number of discrepancies between the children’s records and the claims in the Lancet paper.

    Having read the BMJ articles in question, that is clearly true. The facts are stated and the reader is left to make up his or her own mind about whether these discrepancies are fraudulent or not.

  167. #167 Krebiozen
    January 26, 2012

    To clarify, in #166 by “the reader is left to make up his or her own mind about whether these discrepancies are fraudulent or not” I mean the discrepancies between the gut biopsy results as clinically reported and the gut biopsy results as reported in Wakefield’s paper.

  168. #168 Proscientifica
    January 26, 2012

    @Krebiozen: you are absolutely correct- I am mistaken. I just re-read the Nature piece

    http://www.nature.com/news/2011/111109/full/479157a.html

    There are not direct quotes attributed to Deer and Dr. Godlee,I am at a loss to explain why I thought there were.

    Mea culpa and thank you for correcting my error!

  169. #169 Krebiozen
    January 26, 2012

    Proscientifica,

    Mea culpa and thank you for correcting my error!

    You’re welcome – I was beginning to think I had been reading the wrong articles!

  170. #170 Chris
    January 26, 2012

    Proscientifica, does the radio show ever go into the papers published before 2004 that Wakefield was wrong? Do they every mention Dr. Brent Taylor?

    And really, why would would a small case series of a dozen kids trump the studies done on hundreds of kids?

    (I love it how these questions are also ignored, it is like for some people the world did not exist before a certain year, and in this case that year is 2004)

  171. #171 Phoenix Woman
    January 26, 2012

    Finally, the only studies that suggest children (and the adults they grow up to be) would do better to have more infections seem to point to parasitic infections as “what’s missing”, not viral or bacterial infections. Even with a full complement of vaccines, children still get dozens (if not hundreds) of viral and bacterial infections. Vaccines have only been developed against the more life-threatening viral and bacterial infections – children get plenty of others.

    Anyone who doubts the role played by vaccines should visit the older parts of a cemetery that’s at least a hundred and fifty years old and play “count the baby headstones”. Aside from that, one can get a similar effect by reading the online biographies of famous 18th and 19th-century citizens and noting a) how many kids they had and b) how many kids didn’t make it to adulthood.

    And it’s not vaccines that have decreased children’s exposure to parasites – it’s our modern obsession with cleanliness and our removal from the rural farming lifestyle. Perhaps if they spent some of their “playdates” crawling around the pasture or in the pigsty…. but no, mama would simply come unglued over that.

    Hell, city life prior to the invention of modern sanitation and the internal combustion engine was if anything far filthier than country life. Draft animals and humans all jammed together and using the street as a sewer — eeeewwwww. At least in the country it was spread out a bit.

  172. #172 Prometheus
    January 26, 2012

    Proscientifica (#138 and #144):

    “Here is my gambit: I vaccinated my children, so I am not anti vaccine.”

    Strangely enough, most of the hard core of anti-vaccination movement also vaccinated their children. As they say, “Past performance is no guarantee of future actions.”

    “My prediction based on listening to the show: my view has not changed. UCL, Royal Free, and BMJ are eventually going to have to make nice as they are the British medical establishment. Deer and Dr. Godlee will be thrown under the bus. “

    So, based on a grotesquely slanted and biased radio talk show, you think that Wakefield is going to somehow “win” his libel suit? I suppose that only makes sense, because that’s the way the show was scripted.

    I’m sorry to burst your bubble, but the outcome of most (if not all) of the fringe talk radio (and daytime television talk show) “panel discussions” is known well in advance – it’s about as real as professional wrestling.

    “The evidence is simply overwhelming that Deer has no credible sources for his allegations.”

    And that evidence is…? If you’re relying on the “word” of Andy Wakefield that there is no evidence of fraud, I’m afraid you’ve been caught in circular reasoning. If a liar says “I’m telling the truth.”, it’s just not that convincing.

    “I simply cannot comprehend how the team of 13 (or 14) co-authors of Lancet 1998 (retracted) committed the fraud as described by Deer. Nor do I comprehend how Wakefield could have engineered the entire situation by himself.”

    Your failure to comprehend does not mean that it isn’t possible. In addition, given the way scientific research works, not all of the authors have to be in on the conspiracy. In fact, most scientific fraud is perpetrated by only one or two researchers in a team who alter or manufacture data, which they then pass on to other members of the research team. It’s that simple.

    You then set up a “false dilemma” in which it was either all 13 (or 14) co-authors or Wakefield alone. It could just as easily (in fact, more easily) have been Wakefield and one other person who, while maybe not “in” on the whole fraud, could have been “nudged” to overstate what was on the pathology slides – for a “good cause”.

    The evidence – which oddly enough was not presented on Mr. Null’s show – shows that the 1998 Lancet study was “flawed” (I’m being deliberately vague) in several ways:

    [1] The subjects were described in the paper as being sequential patients arriving at the GI clinic with a diagnosis of autism and a complaint of GI problems. In reality, many of the subjects were recruited through the office of a solicitor who was preparing a lawsuit for vaccine injuries.

    This means the subjects were not simply random children with autism and a tummy problem. Wakefield not only knew that what was written in the paper was false, since he was working with the solicitor in question, he was the only member of the research team – so far as we know – who was aware of this.

    [2] Records disclosed in the GMC hearing revealed that the temporal relationship between the MMR vaccine and the onset/diagnosis of autism was…erroneously stated in several of the children, the errors being consistently to place the onset of autism closer to (and after) the MMR jab.

    [3] Histopathology worksheets released by Dr. Lewis revealed that the findngs that supposedly supported the “autistic enterocolitis” diagnosis were, in fact, not unusual in children with constipation or diarrhea and probably not even abnormal.

    This evidence isn’t based on testimony from Mr. Deer and it is all in the public record.

    “The financial interest for Wakefield was described by Deer on the radio show as being on the order of $1.5mm in legal consulting fees. When asked directly, Wakefield said that the funds were paid out over 9 years, it was an amount less than Deer claims, and that he donated all to Royal Free gastro unit.”

    So, if Wakefield was paid less than $1.5 million (I’d also heard a smaller figure), it would have been “OK” to not report that conflict of interest? And even if he later donated it all to the Royal Free Clinic, how much of that “donation” ended up in his research budget?

    And for that matter, when I’ve been offered honoraria (not of the same magnitude, mind you) that I wanted donated to charity, I had the organisation donate it directly, to avoid the tax headache. Having a large sum deposited into one’s account and then dontated to charity would be an excellent way to attract unwanted attention from Inland Revenue (UK).

    “…Wakefield was developing a “transfer factor (is there such a thing?)” to ameliorate measles infection after the infection has occurred.”

    It exists (sort of) but was also billed as a preventative agent – a replacement for the vaccine (as Proscientifica notes in later comments). It really doesn’t matter if it was being touted as a treatment or a prevention, it was another area where Wakefield had a financial conflict of interest that should have been reported.

    “…measles transfer factor was being developed to clear measles infection and could only be prophylactic in immuno compromised children if administered days or weeks before exposure to measles.”

    First off, it’s not clear that “transfer factor” would work at all in immunocompromised patients, since it acts by “alterting” the immune system. Secondly, what use is a prophylactic agent that has to be given “days or weeks” before the exposure? If you knew when you would be exposed, wouldn’t the prudent action be to avoid the exposure? Especially for someone who is immunocompromised?

    “The radio show quoted again Clifford saying that Deer had in his possession letters of ethical clearance for the Royal Free team which Deer for whatever reason chose to not give to GMC.”

    Think this one through – why would Brian Deer have “letters of ethical clearance” (whatever tthose might be, presumably IRB approval or its equivalent) that Andy Wakefield didn’t have? Those documents (again, assuming that “Clifford” meant IRB approval) are public records and should have been in Wakefield’s possession before he started the study. In fact, if he didn’t have them in hand, he shouldn’t have started the study.

    Seriously, just use simple logic on this. If there were “letters of ethical clearance” (I don’t know why I keep wanted to read this as “Letters of Marque”), why wouldn’t Wakefield have them? Was his study some sort of “black op” that the Royal Free wanted to be able to deny? Medical research isn’t like an episode of Mission: Impossible; there aren’t secret permission letters.

    “Wakefield has nothing to lose, so he wins either way.”

    Well, according to legal experts (i.e. lawyers) in Texas, if the BMJ et al can show that the purpose of the lawsuit was to “punish” them for legitimate public speech (something much broader in the US than it is in the UK), Wakefield stands to lose their legal costs plus a mandatory large fine, which the Texas SLAPP law defines as being large enough to discourage repeat offenses.

    Granted, Wakefield gets to burnish his “martyr” credentials either way, but he stands to lose a lot, also.

    “I rarely read books and much of what I know I learned from TV.”

    To rephrase Tevye (from Fiddler on the Roof):

    There is no shame in being ignorant…but it’s no great honour, either.

    Prometheus

  173. #173 Prometheus
    January 26, 2012

    Phoenix Woman (#171):

    “Hell, city life prior to the invention of modern sanitation and the internal combustion engine was if anything far filthier than country life.”

    Parish records from London and its surrounding rural areas highlight this nicely. Prior to the mid-20th century, infant mortality was higher and life expectancy was shorter by significant amounts in London compared to rural parishes. During the middle of the 20th century, this began to reverse itself (except during the Blitz).

    Given the complexities of immune system maturation and function, I think it is still to early to claim that reduced exposure to “germs” in modern times is responsible for the rise (or apparent rise) in diseases such as asthma. There are still many differences between city and rural life that may yet account for the small differences in asthma and other allergic diseases seen in some studies.

    Prometheus

  174. #174 Denice Walter
    January 26, 2012

    @ Proscientifica:

    Are you beginning to realise how these folks play with language, numbers and facts to present their case? You quote the “2000 parents” claim- this guy tends to toss about numbers as if they were confetti. Welcome to Confabulation Alley- where fiction trumps reality !

    I’ll leave you on a personal note: I owned commercial property that I rented to a small business; I decided to sell because prices went through the proverbial roof, thus I did not re-new the lease but gave the tenants time to sort out their affairs. They tried to take me to court claiming that they had a lease! It was totally imaginary!
    It didn’t exist except in their fevered imaginations. Desperate people do amazing things.

  175. #175 lilady
    January 26, 2012

    “In any event, allow me please to toss a bouquet to the gentle readers and posters on Respectful Insolence. I (though often accused of being “obtuse”) do not detect viciousness or even “closemindedness” in the replies to my queries. In fact, quite the contrary. If anything, the replies have been downright respectful, informative, and to my mind presented objectively. Like it or not, the radio show did air, and it did say the things I report, subject to my memory and interpretation biases. It seems this community is exactly what is describes itself to be- healthy skeptics. What better community to present my skepticism regarding Deer’s motives and behavior patterns?”

    Please do not include me as a “gentle reader and poster on Respectful Insolence”, Proscientifica. Why do you persist in “(your) skepticism regarding Deer’s motives and behavior patterns”?

    I submit that your claim of not being “anti-vaccination” is false. You claim to get most of your information from watching television, yet you listened to the dreck presented by Gary Null on his “special” radio program with a pastiche of interviews from the disgraced Andrew Wakefield, anti-vaccination lawyers from the U.K., a host of “expert witnesses” hired by these same anti-vaccination lawyers and other assorted rogues from the anti-vaccination crowd.

    Your supposed “skepticism regarding Deer’s motives and behavior patterns” is lifted directly off the notorious anti-vaccination websites. They all constitute the smear campaign initiated by AoA, against Brian Deer…which you have chosen to perpetuate by posting here.

    Proscientifica, you are full of it.

  176. #176 Proscientifica
    January 26, 2012

    @Chris- do not recall discussion you reference. The Deer/Wakefield donnybrook centered more on BMJ, nothing I recall pre-2004, but obviously I could be wrong.

    @lilady- “Why do you persist in “(your) skepticism regarding Deer’s motives and behavior patterns”?

    My initial post/query after listening to Null was based on an inaccurate perception on my part that Deer said that he and Dr. Godlee were both misquoted in Nature. All I can say is, sorry about that, I was wrong, did not mean to waste anyone’s time. I am still suspicious that Wakefield could have concocted a fraud of this magnitude and that it escaped notice until Deer dug it up. Like I said, what about the other co-authors? Why were they not screaming bloody murder from day of publication? That is an example of why I still am questioning the issue of deliberate fraud.

    However Lilady I respect your skepticism regarding the authenticity of my skepticism. Are you being sincere in your disbelief or just blowing smoke? Either way- thanks for the compliments! It’s nice to not be trusted by a proven skeptic such as yourself….

  177. #177 OracIsAQuack
    January 26, 2012

    “Proscientifica, you are full of it”

    lilady doth protest too much, methinks….

  178. #178 Science Mom
    January 26, 2012

    Like I said, what about the other co-authors? Why were they not screaming bloody murder from day of publication? That is an example of why I still am questioning the issue of deliberate fraud.

    You really really need to read the BMJ pieces and the GMC transcripts. Deer didn’t uncover all of this in one go you know; it took years beginning in 2003 when he was assigned the case. Two of Wakefield’s co-authors were also brought before the GMC, Dr.s Murch and Walker-Smith, the latter was also struck off but is appealing. Wakefield was the lead author; he wrote the publication so between that and some help from some of the other co-authors, namely Dr. Walker-Smith, he was able to pull it off.

    Oh, you will also want to read the OAP transcripts HHS v. Cedillo, Dr. Nicholas Chadwick (Wakefield’s grad student at the time of the Lancet study) couldn’t find measles, but rather contamination. He told Wakefield that but positive results were published anyhow. Part of Wakefield’s allure is his seeming sincerity; he is really good at projecting the brave maverick martyred doctor who is only doing it for the children and suffering for it. The man has made his shtick into an art form.

  179. #179 W. Kevin Vicklund
    January 26, 2012

    My initial post/query after listening to Null was based on an inaccurate perception on my part that Deer said that he and Dr. Godlee were both misquoted in Nature.

    Actually, your initial post got it right. Lewis attributed text in Nature as direct quotes, when they were not direct quotes. Normally, this would be somewhat minor, but it bears directly on the charges of libel.

  180. #180 Krebiozen
    January 26, 2012

    Actually, your initial post got it right. Lewis attributed text in Nature as direct quotes, when they were not direct quotes. Normally, this would be somewhat minor, but it bears directly on the charges of libel.

    Sorry to nitpick but I don’t think that’s quite right. Pseudoscientifica wrote in his initial post:

    What prompted my observation in that regard is Deer’s rebuttal to Lewis, which I read. In the rebuttal, Deer attacks the Nature reporter as having made up quotes attributed to Deer and Dr. Godlee. So this is a conundrum- did the Nature reporter make up quotes, as Deer says?

    In Deer’s rebuttal to Lewis he does not attack the Nature reporter, and he does not accuse him of making up quotes. He merely points out these were not direct quotes and that “this is, indeed, my position”.

    I still don’t really understand why Lewis made a big deal out of what was attributed to Deer and Godlee by Nature, when it was clearly true, and neither of them dispute it. Maybe I’m missing something, but I suspect it is of no real consequence.

  181. #181 Chris
    January 26, 2012

    Proscientifica:

    @Chris- do not recall discussion you reference. The Deer/Wakefield donnybrook centered more on BMJ, nothing I recall pre-2004, but obviously I could be wrong.

    That is my point. Wakefield being out in left field and completely wrong was already known by 2004. All Deer did was figure out why Wakefield’s little case series was so flawed.

    Despite all of the moaning, groaning and gnashing of teeth about what Deer may or may not have done, Wakefield’s case series of a dozen kids was wrong. It was not replicated, and subsequent studies (like the ones I posted) all showed exactly the opposite of what Wakefield claimed.

  182. #182 Mumbo
    January 26, 2012

    Speaking of ill gotten tactics of the enemy-Just when things could not get any worse. Pepesi goes and adds fetus fluid to their drinks. I guess they grew ill of complaints of aspartame. Also looks like Chris has commented about conservaphobia on certain sites.

  183. #183 lilady
    January 26, 2012

    @ Proscientifica: You first came to RI when Wakefield instituted suit against the BMJ, Fiona Godlee and Brian Deer…all the while stating that you have no expertise in the law, in science, in medicine and minimal or no knowledge of the GMC’s administrative hearing, the GMC’s decision and the investigation/articles written by Brian Deer.

    You then proposed a wager, based on your lack of “expertise” of the law that the BMJ, Godlee and Deer would “settle” with Wakefield. Posters here provided you with links to internet sites, so that you could begin to understand the case against Wakefield. Brian Deer also posted here about the “Nature” article in question and how he and Fiona Godlee were misquoted.

    So, you come back here and proclaim you are not anti-vax and boldly make this statement…after listening to crank radio, “The evidence is simply overwhelming that Deer has no credible sources for his allegations. Wakefield described the actions of BMJ in publishing Deer’s allegations as “reckless.” Perhaps that is true.”

    And,”…I wonder if the resident psychologist Denice could opine as to possible personality triaits, defects even, that may be evidenced in Deer’s writings and radio and TV interviews. In particular, I notice that Deer assigns nefarious motives to virtually everyone who challenges or disagrees with him. Does this signal some discernible pathology?”

    Where, aside from AoA and the Null Radio “special”, has Brian Deer’s credibility and honesty ever been questioned?

    Where, aside from AoA and the Null Radio “special” has Deer ever been viciously slandered, libeled and defamed with accusations that question his “personality traits, defects and pathology”?

    Now that Proscientifica has been informed about his “parroting” of slurs directed at Brian Deer…why doesn’t he admit his mistake and apologize to Mr. Deer?

    I’ll be waiting for that apology. In the meantime Proscientifica is still full of it.

  184. #184 Mumbo
    January 26, 2012

    Chris why use alcohol when Pepsi uses dead baby parts in their products? cracking down on sock puppets? Why? Does he have a hole in his socks or something? Suppose we make a vaccine to make people immune to fetus Pepsi drinks? I am glad you commented about conservaphobic people on a certain site though. it was thoughtful of you.

    Now, if you will excuse me, i shall retire for the night. I unlike many others have to get up at 5:00 in the morning and go to work. Millions on welfare depend on me going to work. After all I am in the 45% of america that pays taxes. It must be nice to be a bum. I do not have the heart ot give it a try.

  185. #185 Sauceress
    January 26, 2012

    #177 @OIAQ

    psst…the void inside your skull is showing.

  186. #186 Denice Walter
    January 26, 2012

    While it’s kind of fun to be referred to as “the resident psychologist”- I’m not- it’s important to ask,” What makes you suspect someone?” What is there about how they behave or speak that gets you to stop in your tracks:

    Obviously there are non-verbal cues- which people are sensitive to in varying degrees- tone of voice, gaze, do they seem nervous or too studied? Do they seem as if they are setting a scene? Also, they may present something that’s too good to be true or something that is very far from the norm- extraordinary claims as they say- and they stand to benefit immensely from their project.

    Salemen may have this done to a science but why would certain folks fall prey to manipulations like these? Why do some people take alt med claims ( including “persecuted martyr”) seriously when some of us might just laugh? I venture that in the case of anti-vaxx, AJW’s followers benefit emotionally from his line of bull: it makes them feel better about themselves as parents of a child with ASD- blame can be cast out and their own noble suffering can be recognised. So as AJW goes, so go they. Other charlatans like Null must prop up AJW because if he remains a pariah, their own brand might be suspect next: a threat to their identity and livlihood. For AoA, AJW is a cottage industry now under threat.

  187. #187 W. Kevin Vicklund
    January 26, 2012

    Sorry to nitpick but I don’t think that’s quite right. Pseudoscientifica wrote in his initial post…

    Oops, I parsed it wrong. Anyway, the point I was trying to make was that it was Lewis, not Nature, that presented the quotes as direct.

  188. #188 Antaeus Feldspar
    January 26, 2012

    Shorter Proscientifica:

    “I vaccinated my children!  Therefore, you should ignore any evidence of blatant bias in my writing!

    “Gosh golly wow!  It turns out that if you believe any accusation against Deer, no matter how specious, and pooh-pooh any of the charges against Wakefield, even those already confirmed by the GMC to be true, Deer really looks like the bad guy!!  What *possible* explanation could there be for that, except for him truly being the bad guy and certain to lose this case??”

    If I thought that Proscientifica was honest enough, and able enough to accept reality, that they could be trusted to pay up a losing bet on the outcome of this case, I would gladly bet a few hundred bucks against their improbable scenario of BMJ settling and throwing Deer and Godlee under the bus, and in fact against any other outcome that a *reasonable* person would construe as a victory for Wakefield and a loss for BMJ/Deer/Godlee.

    But sadly I cannot trust someone to concede a loss for Wakefield in this case when they cannot even accept that Wakefield’s previous libel action was a net loss for him.  Who paid all the money for the suit?  Wakefield, who paid both his own legal fees and Deer’s.  What did Wakefield get out of the suit that he wanted?  The privilege, for a short time, of publicizing his unsubstantiated accusations against Deer.  What did he get out of the suit that he *didn’t* want?  Sharp public chastisement from the judge, for abusing the legal suit as a propaganda tool, and putting right into Deer’s hands many of the records that, once exposed to the light of day, further proved Wakefield’s dishonesty and resulted in Wakefield’s being struck off.  Anyone who’d try to say that wasn’t a loss for Wakefield, purely because he terminated it before it was officially resolved against him, would probably also spin a prison term for Wakefield as an “all-expenses paid sabbatical.”

  189. #189 Krebiozen
    January 26, 2012

    Anyway, the point I was trying to make was that it was Lewis, not Nature, that presented the quotes as direct.

    Agreed. I find the whole thing odd, and I don’t really get what Lewis thought it would achieve. Earlier I read through the whole of Lewis’s ‘Apparent Egregious Ethical Misconduct by British Medical Journal, Brian Deer’ and the many attachments, and it left me with the distinct impression that Lewis is a few sandwiches short of a picnic. I would love to know if his impressive-sounding credentials are for real.

  190. #190 Denice Walter
    January 26, 2012

    @ Krebiozen:

    Maybe a few screws loose as well, I’d say. Lewis may have worked for the EPA but I doubt that his area of expertise was gastro-enterology. I am also suspect whenever these manifesti (manifestos?} reach impressive lengths filled with arcane details which may or may not be related to the central issue. I think that the guy was looking for work and AJW was looking for a new excuse to keep the show on the road. After all, they both have axes to grind against “The System”- and misery loves company.

    Really, if one of us sat down and wrote this saga up as a short story, no one would believe it- too far-fetched.

  191. #191 Chris
    January 26, 2012

    Brave Sir Robin Wingnut, Orac has said he is going to be cracking down on sock puppets. While your rantings used to be amusing, you have lost your touch. Perhaps you need to address your issues with alcohol.

  192. #192 herr doktor bimler
    January 26, 2012

    Lewis may have worked for the EPA but I doubt that his area of expertise was gastro-enterology.

    Recall this exchange:
    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2012/01/the_antivaccine_crankosphere_rallies_aro.php#comment-6210128
    in which Deer describes Lewis as a “retired environmental microbiologist”. The expertise in bowel histopathology was something he only started claiming after the EPA fired him; it allows him to supplement his pension by testifying in legal cases.

    Another of Lewis’ claims emerged in the same thread: “”Editors at Annals of Internal Medicine rated him in the top 10 percent of reviewers in 2010″ — to which lilady responded, “There is no “rating of the top 10 percent of reviewers” in 2009 or any other year”.

    The man has kangaroos loose in the top paddock.

  193. #193 lilady
    January 26, 2012

    I see scat-talking smelly morphing sock puppet is back.

  194. #194 lilady
    January 26, 2012

    See also my post above that about Lewis’ work with the EPA.

  195. #195 Denice Walter
    January 26, 2012

    @ herr doktor bimler:

    Well, there’s poop in sludge and poop in GI systems, so why not?

  196. #196 lilady
    January 26, 2012

    Science Mom found two cases where Lewis supposedly testified as an “expert witness” on behalf of a doctor facing charges from a licensing board. I located one of the cases at the New York State OPMC (Office of Professional Medical Conduct) and posted about his “expertise”:

    “Science Mom has provided a link to the New York State Office of Professional Medical Conduct in the matter of Dr. Goldweber. Dr. Goldweber, whose medical license was revoked due to multiple instances of infecting multiple patients because of his improper handling of vials of Propofol…a hypnotic commonly infused during colonoscopy and endoscopy procedures. It was proved to the satisfaction of the OPMC hearing officers, that Dr. Goldweber used a multi-dose vial of Propofol for multiple patients and on at least one occasion did contaminate the vial by drawing up additional medication with a contaminated used syringe. “Double dipping” with a contaminated syringe into a multi-dose vial has been implicated in other cases of transmission of hepatitis B and hepatitis C by physicians.

    In an effort to defend himself against these charges, Dr. Goldweber used an “expert witness”. Dr. Lewis claimed credentials as “a micro-biologist with expertise in hepatitis surveillance involving colonoscopy and endoscopy infected scopes and re-use of contaminated forceps and cleaning brushes used to clean off the gross material before sterilizing of equipment used in a procedure”. He was disqualfied as an expert witness in these areas by the OPMC.

    I think Science Mom has provided information for the impeachment of Wakefield’s “expert witness”, Dr. Lewis, should the case go forward in the Texas courts.”

    Posted by: lilady | January 11, 2012 11:28 AM-”The anti-vax crankosphere rallies around its hero, and Brian Deer strikes back”

  197. #197 Narad
    January 26, 2012

    I do not have the heart ot give it a try.

    Given your other options, Rob Hood, KE5BMP, I don’t imagine that you do. Mississippi’s Finest Junk doesn’t grow on trees.

  198. #198 alison
    January 26, 2012

    when Pepsi uses dead baby parts in their products?

    I know I’m probably going to regret this, but good grief, what a pile of steaming bovine excrement!

    For those genuinely interested, one of the companies doing product development (flavours etc) for Pepsi uses human cell lines in this research (specifically, HEK 293T cells). These cell lines have been maintained in the lab for many years. Yes, the original cells may well have come from an aborted foetus. This is not the same as using ‘dead baby parts’ in their research.

    ERV has covered this one in her characteristic fashion :-) http://scienceblogs.com/erv/2012/01/oklahoma_senator_concerned_abo.php

  199. #199 lilady
    January 26, 2012

    “I know I’m probably going to regret this, but good grief, what a pile of steaming bovine excrement!”

    Alison…mumbo is a scat-talking sock puppet stalking troll, from Eupora, Mississippi. He gets his “jollies” by talking about excrement. Orac needs to put this turd in permanent “moderation”.

  200. #200 alison
    January 27, 2012

    Thanks, lilady :-) I though from Narad’s comments that might be who we were dealing with. Makes my comment even more apt I guess!

  201. #201 Krebiozen
    January 27, 2012

    Reading through Lewsis’s list of credentials again, it seems clear to me that he may have some expertise in colonic biopsy procedures and infection control associated with these procedures. Expertise in collecting biopsy samples is a very long way from being an expert on interpreting those biopsy samples once they have been sectioned and examined microscopically.

    It requires years of training to be able to differentiate the normal inflammation found in gut biopsy samples from the abnormal inflammatory processes found in inflammatory bowel diseases. I see no evidence at all that Lewis has had any such training.

  202. #202 lilady
    January 27, 2012

    “Reading through Lewsis’s list of credentials again, it seems clear to me that he may have some expertise in colonic biopsy procedures and infection control associated with these procedures.”

    Not according to the NY State OPMC in the matter of Dr. Goldweber…see my posting above at # 194. Lewis was “disqualified” as an “expert witness” in the basics of infection control practices.

    Lewis also lied on his CV about his being rated as a “top ten reviewer” by the “Annals of Internal Medicine” Journal. He did “review” some articles, but “reviewers” are required to be Medical Doctors, which he isn’t.

  203. #203 Linder
    January 27, 2012

    I see narad the canadian flouride inhaler is drunk again. Still seeing kesbumps are we? I told you to try the vaccum cleaner. Narad are you drinking pepsi fetus drinks again? If you lay off the floride and the pepsi fetus drinks, you will be normal like me.

    My brother Sir Brave Robin Wingnut, the most holy knight of kesbumpville shall smite thee with his charm,dimples, chesthair, and chainmail. Thou art herefore cursed. Henceforce thou shalt drinketh colloidal floridated fetus pepsi from a lead cup and shall be known as Huge Hairy Hoghead from the depths of liberalville. Thou shalt inject thinself with all maners of evil aluminum vaccinations and shall become autistic upon the first injection. Henceforth the future of narad will be composed of little hoghead brats with an IQ of 7 due to their father’s ingestion of scientific marvels.

    Chemtrails and camp fema not included. This has been a paid advertisement from the Intersteller Evolutionary Hairy Gay Communist Flouride detainment Brigade, a paid subsidiary of Ted Turner’s Foundation for the Advancement of Fetal Fluid Soft Drinks and the Aspartame Consumption Agency.

  204. #204 Jerry Atric Jr.
    January 27, 2012

    “Orac has said he is going to be cracking down on sock puppets”

    I see Chris has beeing talking to his imaginary friends again. I bet Chris loved Mr. Rodgers Neighborhood. Let’s make believe!
    I see narad is still seeing kesbumps in his sleep again. Must be either the floride level in his canadian water or some of America’s fetus pepsi has made it to canada already.

  205. #205 Jerry Atric
    January 27, 2012

    NJ the floridated canadian does not seem to understand that I get my meds at GNC like normal people. I blame most of my mental illness on the long time struggle to free my self from the prescence of left wingers. In the 1980s it wasn;t much of a problem, but ever since AL GORE invented the internet, marxist has either tripled or has the appearance of tripling. That in and of itself can drive a sane mind mad. The only cure is to fixing the mental illness of liberalism is to annoy them into submittance and then chnage their mind back to the way normal people think.

    THese liberals seem to think that Europe is some type of sin free utopia, lest they forget that Europe is the bastion of sin filled demonic marxist ideals that has caused more problems than has solved. This idea of one man working to pay another man to sit on his butt at home and play the victim card has gotten old. Time to put the bum to work or make the bum hungry. And we aint; talking union labor either. Let him come down south and see how the real world is. That yankee labor union gestapo crap only raises prices for everyone else and cuases headaches for everyone else. so called wall street protestors protest “the rich” and “greedy” all day. Little do they realize that union bosses are among the richest greediest bastards on the planet.

    NJ is nice. Methinks he shares the same symptoms as chris in that he lacks a few chromosomes. Not to mention that I believe our fetal fluid soft drinks has reached his glorious european empire by now. That much is evident by the way people think over there. They always think that someone owes them something. Socialists are so greedy. They always want what belong to someone else. Actually they could be prosecuted for stealing. Thou shalt not steal, mr commie man. Instead thou shalt partake of fetal fluid soft drinks laced with aluminum and sodium floride. Make you even stupider than you already are.

  206. #206 Remnant of Justice
    January 27, 2012

    Just so that you all know, you have made a contribution to my cause at my own site. Thank you.

  207. #207 Chris
    January 27, 2012

    Brave Sir Robin Wingnut, you are still an idiot. Your obsession with Narad and myself is obvious. Get help, and not from those cans of beer you are presently downing.

  208. #208 NJ
    January 27, 2012

    Chris, Rob Hood has a long history of sharing his undertreated symptoms at Greg Laden’s blog and has started haunting Jason Rosenhouse’s of late:

    http://scienceblogs.com/evolutionblog/2011/11/twenty_years_after_darwin_on_t.php#comment-6218756

  209. #209 Agashem
    January 27, 2012

    Is it just me or are the trolls getting more insane?

  210. #210 Narad
    January 27, 2012

    This idea of one man working to pay another man to sit on his butt at home and play the victim card has gotten old. Time to put the bum to work or make the bum hungry. And we aint; talking union labor either. Let him come down south and see how the real world is.

    OK, so let me get this straight. You tired of paying other men to sit on your butt, so you want something more in exchange or to starve the “help.” OK, this is very good, Rob Hood, KE5BMP, there’s definitely a niche market for this sort of writing. You might want to move the union bit to a different paragraph where it might flow better, though, because it interrupts the natural progression to the figurative masterstroke in which your disobedient servant must ultimately “come down south” and “see the real world.”

  211. #211 lilady
    January 27, 2012

    “Is it just me or are the trolls getting more insane?”

    The redneck from Eupora Mississippi has been been drinking too much of his bathtub gin.

  212. #212 Chris
    January 27, 2012

    Narad, you are a very scarey person. That was hilarious.

  213. #213 lilady
    January 27, 2012

    Yes Narad is superb…but then there is so much “material” to work with.

  214. #214 Chris
    January 30, 2012

    Yesterday this conspiracy trope was posted:

    … I had a friend who we all thought was nuts. He kept going on about the CFR, the Bilderbergers, the Council of Rome, the Rockefellers and the like. We thought he was a raving lunatic and made fun of him behind his back. All you have to do now is read the papers to see that he was actually right. Well, maybe not US papers, but European papers and news outlets freely talk about, not only the existence of these societies, but how they influence public policy against the will of democratic process. They operate behind closed doors and secretly plan policies that elected governments implement against the will of the people. Conspiracy? Yes. Exaggerated? No. If you think for a minute that government agencies are trying to help Americans live healthier, then why do they perform unethical experiments without consent? Why do they attack raw milk producers and do nothing about prescription drugs that are killing 10′s of thousands? Why do they attack supplement companies while allowing GMO to infiltrate the food supply without any labeling when their own scientist have reported the dangers and been ignored? The evidence is so overwhelming that it beggars belief that you can ignore it all!

    How many can squares does that cover in anti-vax bingo?

  215. #215 Grant
    February 7, 2012

    I’m experiencing an interesting run of flipping anecdote/evidence as a troupe in an article over at my blog (linked on my name). This guy is basically making out that skeptics (his label) are using anecdote in defence/attack (when most often they’re not when read correctly) and that by implication that this somehow justifies the stances of those pushing for various ‘natural’ or ‘alternative’ remedies. (Anyone is welcome to—politely—join in.)

  216. #216 Katherine V.
    February 10, 2012

    In my psychology class we just learned about pseudoscience and the tactics people use to scam others. I also went to http://www.avn.org.au/ where I was instructed to look under that “Vaccination Information” portion on the website. Some of the things these people state to be true is just unbelievable. I encourage you to look as well. I am not saying that there aren’t some harmful vaccines out there, but I do believe that many of them are wonderful. I must admit that looking at my “Ways of Recognizing Pseudoscience Checklist” which has conisisted of things like having claims for things that cannot really be tested, multiple reasons why they might have been wrong, and having testiomonials other than real evidence, the website I listed above was a huge offender. I think it is wrong to try to make others fear something with such little evidence and especially if it is something that could help them in the long run.

  217. #217 Chris
    February 10, 2012

    Katherine V., many of us are very familiar with that website. It is even mentioned a couple of times in the first ten comments to this article.

    You may be interested in this article: AN anti-vaccination group that spread false information and risked the safety of children is fighting efforts to force it to warn parents that its claims are not medical advice.

The site is currently under maintenance and will be back shortly. New comments have been disabled during this time, please check back soon.