Respectful Insolence

I’m sometimes asked why I do this. Why, people ask me, do I spend so much time generating post after post after post day after day after day? Obviously, one reason is that it interests me. Another reason is the passion that drives me to support science and science-based medicine and to detest the damage the pseudoscience, particularly pseudoscience in medicine, can do. There is, however, at least one more reason.

I’m referring, of course, to the adoration of my “fans.”

Yes, the more I’m attacked, the more I know I’ve been effective against the forces of irrationality and pseudoscience. When someone like, say, J.B. Handley of the antivaccine crank organization Generation Rescue attacks me, I know I’ve hit a nerve. True, there is the problem that the forces of pseudoscience and quackery all too often prefer to attack through proxies; i.e., trying to get their enemies fired by harassing them at work. Be that as it may, there is no sweeter music than the outraged howls of a quack whose quackery has been punctured by the lance of reason, with the possible exception of Led Zeppelin.

It’s even better when the quackery supporter in question is from a famous, high profile repository of woo, and the other day I hit the motherlode. Well, not quite. It wasn’t NaturalNews.com, and it wasn’t Mercola.com. No, it wasn’t Whale.to either (although I have achieved the “honor” of having a page on Whale.to devoted to me.) It wasn’t even Age of Autism (although I must really be falling down on the job; AoA hasn’t mentioned me in quite a while). No, in some ways it’s better. I’ve managed to annoy a blogger whose posts show up both on that all-purpose crank, Lew Rockwell, and–even better, Prison Planet, the all purpose conspiracy theory website. It’s a hilarious post by someone named Karen De Coster entitled The Vaccination Nation Aggressors Are the Neocons of the Health World. (Here’s the Prison Planet version and the version posted on De Coster’s very own personal blog.) At least now I know what the comment thread after that nine month old post started perking up again with antivaccinationists taking me to task.

And so it begins:

This imbecilic article, written by some unknown, crazed Vaccination Nation aggressor, was posted on my Facebook page, and it’s only worth my comment because it is … so utterly impotent. I don’t even care about the homeopathic nut who is the subject of the rant, or the unnamed author who can’t take on hard science, but instead, picks out the outlier dolts as a focus of his deranged attacks.

Note that the writer is named “Orac.” Really? Orac? And this moron is so unconvinced of his own trash writing that he can’t even put his name to the crap he writes, and this is supposed to be taken seriously? Apparently, some people who parrot this tripe just like to see their own opinions in print, no matter what the source. My real name, my biography, where I live, and my job/career are clearly conveyed along with every single thing I publish.

I’m supposed to be impressed with this? My real name is posted on many of my posts, and it takes very little effort to find out who I am even here. This De Coster character cracks me up. She seems to think that using a pseudonym somehow invalidates everything I write. Of course, as I’ve pointed out before, one thing about blogging under a pseudonym is that it means that my arguments have to stand or fall on their own. I can’t rely on any reputation I have other than what I’ve built under this pseudonym, and I don’t need to point to my qualifications as a physician and a scientist. In fact, my use of a pseudonym is not to me a sign of weakness but a device that forces my arguments to stand or fall on their own.

As always, I consider criticisms based on the use of a pseudonym to be very silly indeed. Even sillier is bragging about how you use your real name on “every single thing I publish.” In fact, it amuses the heck out of me to the point that I suggest that De Coster adopt a pseudonym. She’s making herself look like a fool with this post. Actually, she made herself look like a fool on her Facebook page, where she posted a rant about vaccinations from that font of all quackery, NaturalNews.com, after which someone actually posted a link to this post by me.

The post that set De Coster off is the story of a German homeopath trying to run a “study” that I had, I must admit, a great deal of fun deconstructing. It’s basically a worthless Internet survey, completely unscientific to the point of sheer risibility. (Certainly it made me laugh at the time.) I explained why in my usual painstaking detail That De Coster apparently thinks it is evidence of anything other than how little homeopaths understand science just goes to show that she doesn’t understand anything about science either. Of course, that is painfully obvious from a quick perusal of her blog, her website, and her Facebook page. She actually believes that this homeopath Andreas Bachmair has produced evidence that vaccines don’t work. I kid you not. The best that she can come up with is this:

Now, back to the article. I love how the tediously conventional, pro-state vaccination nation mongers in the mainstream media deem individual thinkers and dissenters of the non-scientific, vaccine-pushing, Big Pharma state to be “anti-vaccine” and … “alternative medicine quackery.” Can they get any more idiotic than this? Oh, and those folks of choice who own their bodies and make decisions regarding their bodies are deemed to be “anti-vaccine loons” because they they don’t want their healthy body, or the healthy bodies of their loved ones, to be stuffed with the government-patented, high-profit, untested, unproven, toxin-loaded drugs of the Big Government-Big Pharma, corporate-state regime? How dare they!

Ah, yes. I bask in the adoration of my fans! Or, in this case, fan. Could there be anything more antivaccine canards and quack apologia packed into a single relatively short paragraph? The stupid, it burns. It burns brightly. Or, maybe not so brightly, given that it’s a black hole of stupid. And, yes, De Coster is an antivaccine loon. Big time. All it takes is a brief perusal of her Facebook page to realize this. Then, of course, there’s the ever-popular “health freedom” straw man, in which those who defend vaccination are portrayed as fascists who want to force them to inject poisons into their bodies. Of course, the problem is that people like De Coster spread the purest misinformation and pseudoscience. Indeed, if you want to see the depths of De Coster’s ignorance, just check out the black-and-white thinking in this particular picture she shared on her Facebook page:

i-8183429ea238ce25b3f42890b75be71d-524336_436465529698569_173551695989955_1698488_1942420449_n.jpg

It takes black and white thinking (i.e., believing that vaccines must be 100% effective) coupled with a gross misunderstanding of herd immunity to ask such a question. It really does. Then, in the comments, one person takes De Coster to task for her antivaccine pseudoscience, and the retort is to call those who accept the science of vaccination “fucking retards and mindless automatons” (direct quote) and how “people love to be slaves.” Meanwhile, back in her article, De Coster winds up with a line that made me laugh out loud:

Looking at this article, is anything more funny than attacking “alternative medicine?” Really? The definition of alternative is “something available as another opportunity,” or “choice,” or “behavior that is considered unconventional and is often seen as a challenge to traditional norms.” And the problem with that is…? The problem is that the pushers of collective thinking can’t stand a dissident outlier.

If “dissident outlier” equals “anti-science loon” (which it does in the case of Ms. De Coster), then the answer is yes. I can’t stand anti-science, anti-vaccine loons. Here’s a hint: There’s a difference between “thinking for yourself” and mindlessly swallowing and regurgitating easily refuted antivaccine tropes and portraying yourself as a brave champion of freedom. The former is to be praised. The latter is to be opposed and/or ridiculed.

Even a the proverbial blind squirrel does find the occasional nut, though. De Coster is almost on to something when she tries to define “alternative.” In fact, those sorts of definitions were the very reason that quacks first latched onto the phrase “alternative medicine” to describe their quackery. Of course, it didn’t take long before they realized that “alternative” was not good enough. “Alternative” implied using this quackery instead of scientific medicine. That’s why “alternative” medicine evolved into “complementary and alternative medicine” (CAM) which still wasn’t good enough and is why CAM is now evolving into “integrative medicine.”

I can now only conclude with a part of De Coster’s post that is so hilariously ironic after all the vitriol she poured on me, those who defend vaccination, and those who defend scientific medicine:

The crazed vaccination pushers are to the health and wellness paradigm what the neocons are to foreign policy, and what the jack-booted, machine-gun thugs in black are to the community of “serve and protect.” They are sick, crazed, and obsessed with the decisions others make regarding their own lives, and they couch their aggression and defense of the conventional garbage in collective, unscientific terms (such as “herd immunity”). The folks who wish to avoid vaccines churn out no such aggression or hostility. They just want to be left alone, and always, they are forced to defend themselves, and their bodies, from the agents of the government-medical-Big Pharma establishment.

The folks who wish to avoid vaccines churn out no such aggression or hostility? Seriously? De Coster can write this with a straight face after referring to “crazed vaccination pushers” and likening them to neo-cons, calling them “sick” and “crazed,” and labeling the as “agents of the government–medical-Big pharma establishment”? Damn if another irony meter of mine hasn’t been demolished. Then I looked at this post by De Coster, in which she expresses approval and happiness that her company had sent an ergonomics expert to help her with her workstation because after hip surgery sitting at her workstation is causing her pain. Does she even realize that the reason many companies have ergonomics experts these days is in order to comply with OSHA regulations. Apparently all that rampant government regulation is just fine with De Coster when it benefits her.

I am, however, amused by De Coster’s claim that I don’t take on hard science. I’d point her in the direction of any of hundreds of posts I’ve done analyzing the peer-reviewed literature, but clearly that would be a waste of time. Mixing snark with hard science is what I do. I’m just grateful that, in addition to educating, it can occasionally ruffle the feathers of someone like De Coster. It’s icing on the cake.

Now if I can only get a mention on NaturalNews.com. I know Mike Adams knows who I am…

Comments

  1. #1 herr doktor bimler
    May 18, 2012

    The Vaccination Nation Aggressors Are the Neocons of the Health World.

    You have to imagine these words as semi-sung, semi-chanted as the lyrics of a thrash metal band.

  2. #2 Agashem
    May 18, 2012

    Let’s ratchet up the vitriol! Some fun, huh? Can’t argue the science so let’s resort to name calling. Super :/

  3. #3 Anj
    May 18, 2012

    Nice find!

    These are people I wouldn’t imagine sparring with unless I wanted to see how far I could wind someone up. It can be amusing, but is usually pointless.

  4. #4 novalox
    May 18, 2012

    I had a good laugh at karen de costa’s doubling down of the stupid, out there for all the world to see.

  5. #5 Science Mom
    May 18, 2012

    “fucking retards and mindless automatons”

    Seriously!? What kind of detached-from-reality, adolescent fantasy of war and oppression is this braintrust living in? I guess there must be enough like-minded militia-type rednecks to keep her employed if she’s putting her craxxy on FB for all to see.

  6. #6 Todd W.
    May 18, 2012

    If the believers of this Orac person would have dared to check further, they might have discovered an entire archive written under a pseudonym attacking every and any choice outside of the mainstream medical establishment, from acupuncture, to chiropractic, no any non-chemotherapy cancer treatment, to … yes, supplements.

    And that’s a bad thing? Oh, and they might also have found criticisms of mainstream medicine, too, not that Ms. Blinded-by-ignorance would notice it.

    Let’s think of the others who are considered to be lunatics by the pro-state aggressors…and, oh … (6) and Ron Paul.

    Should’ve known.

    I love how she ends with (emphasis added)

    I just live my own life peacefully, and I’ll be damned if my beautiful, healthy body will ever be their slave, or their experimental pincushion, or a collective victim of their hysterical, hateful hyper-aggression.

    Someone’s projecting a bit.

  7. #7 Adam
    May 18, 2012

    That picture is ripe for parody. How can people still die in car crashes if seatbelts work?

  8. #8 Composer99
    May 18, 2012

    I find the complaint against pseudonymity to be, in addition to a fallacy of argumentum ad hominem, a strong marker of irrational thinking and perhaps even a form of tribalism.

    Notice what a big deal Karen De Coster makes of

    My real name, my biography, where I live, and my job/career are clearly conveyed

    to which the rebuttal is – who cares? If you don’t have the data, analysis, or logic to back up your claims (as indeed De Coster does not), using your real name does you no credit whatsoever.

    I should also adds that it very effectively puts the lie to any accusations of fascism or tyranny against the “Big Gov’t-Big Pharma” complex. Since if indeed such an agency were, fascist-like, attempting to crack down on anti-vaccine “dissidents”, De Coster would have long ago been made to disappear.

  9. #9 Ren
    May 18, 2012

    Congratulations, Orac. You have arrived.

    These are the people to whom “The Matrix” is a prophecy, “1984″ is here in 2012, and “Brave New World” is just one election away. They are the people that actually believe politicians who say that this election, or any election, is the “most important election of our generation”. They don’t want to live by any rules. They would be perfectly happy watching the world burn if it meant being “free”.

    All my opinion, of course.

  10. #10 Marry Me, Mindy
    May 18, 2012

    I’ve often thought about starting my own bkog, “Disrespectful Insolance” where I’d mirror RI but without any restraint at all.

    Think this is insults and vitriol? Thats nothing compared to the insults and vitriol I’d lay out

  11. #11 sheepmilker
    May 18, 2012

    Any one who uses the image of something that is at least in some way related to Lord Draconis for their own anti-Pharma reason can expect some sort of retribution!

  12. #12 Johnny
    May 18, 2012

    @7 and @11

    The Philosoraptor is a well known meme. It is far from original in De Coster’s use of it.

    http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/philosoraptor

  13. #13 MikeMa
    May 18, 2012

    DeCoster’s projection is hard to top. World class.

  14. #14 JGC
    May 18, 2012

    The definition of alternative is “something available as another opportunity,” or “choice” …

    And the definition of “alternative medicine” is “something that has not be shown to work” or “something that has been shown not to work”.

  15. #15 Eric Lund
    May 18, 2012

    There’s a difference between “thinking for yourself” and mindlessly swallowing and regurgitating easily refuted antivaccine tropes and portraying yourself as a brave champion of freedom.

    A point which, as palindrom pointed out on yesterday’s post, is lost on not just anti-vaxers but adherents of a host of other types of denialism/conspiracy-mongering.

    And the irony of somebody putting this kind of stuff on Facebook while fearing that they might soon be singing “They’re Coming to Take Me Away, Ha Ha” as something other than a joke is just the icing on the cake.

  16. #16 Calli Arcale
    May 18, 2012

    Oh, and those folks of choice who own their bodies and make decisions regarding their bodies are deemed to be “anti-vaccine loons”

    Because you’re only a person of choice if you’re making a choice that she agrees with.

    It’s sad, but so often I find the people most frequently chanting about freedom of choice and being openminded are really only interested in freedom for *their* choices and are the most closed-minded people around. They are oblivious to the irony.

    Well, that’s not always true. Sometimes they just don’t understand what freedom of choice (or freedom of speech) actually means. They think it means not having to pay any consequences for their choices and not being publicly disagreed with. These are the ones who, when they encounter someone expressing a contrary opinion, proclaim that the contrary opinion infringes their right to free speech. They confuse “free speech” with “universal approval”.

    I’m fine with people choosing not to vaccinate their children. I disagree with it, but at least in the current situation, it is not an imminent threat to the welfare of these children, or at least not any more of a threat than, say, taking them canoeing in the wilderness (an activity I wholeheartedly endorse for kids old enough to hike along a portage and who know how to swim). But choices do have consequences, and one of them is that their child may not be welcome in environments with high densities of children, for liability reasons, such as schools. (Thanks to ADA, kids with medical exemptions would be accommodated to the extent practical, which means that if there were an outbreak, they’d have to stay home. An antivaxxer might see that as thuggery, but it’s for the child’s own protection to send them home during an outbreak if they are unprotected.)

  17. #17 FilipinoMDstudent
    May 18, 2012

    Actually, aside from the spectacular stupid emanating from her statements, what I found very amusing was that she was “liking” her own replies on her Facebook thread. That is pretty much like giving yourself a hi-five.

  18. #18 Dr. Smith
    May 18, 2012

    Why don’t you devote more time to understanding why there has been an increase in autism instead of ridiculing people who are searching for a reason.

    I know you nerds like having a place to congregate and make fun of all the “unscientific” minds of the world, but why don’t you go and create something, do something to better the world instead of reading this distraction of an article.

    Can any of you understand how frustrating it is to have a child with autism and not have a good explanation for why it happened? Can you think of what it is like is someone else’s shoes or do you just mock and ridicule others in a demeaning way?

  19. #19 FilipinoMDstudent
    May 18, 2012

    “Why don’t you devote more time to understanding why there has been an increase in autism instead of ridiculing people who are searching for a reason.”

    Dr. Smith, you must be new here.

  20. #20 Ren
    May 18, 2012

    @DrSmith (if that’s your real name)

    Please link to your comments on anti-vax pages where you state the same thing, where you demand people who spread misinformation and fear of legitimate scientific interventions to “devote more time to understanding why there has been an increase in autism instead of ridiculing people who are searching for a reason”.

    Because I can point you to an entire blog (AoA) that devotes itself to ridiculing – and trying to get fired – people who are searching for a reason.

  21. #21 meg
    May 18, 2012

    Well, this ‘mindless automaton’ made a health choice of her own free will last week and got her whooping cough booster (finally) as her sister is pregnant, and well, I’m protecting that baby in any and all ways possible, dammit.

    Still waiting on any signs of regression, toxicity and other ickiness. So far only can report a sore arm and a slight cold, which has passed.

  22. #22 Lawrence
    May 18, 2012

    @DrSmith – unfortunately, the anti-vaccine crowd has already made up its mind regarding what causes autism. For them, it will always be vaccines & if one part of their theory is proven wrong, they will always find some other part of vaccines to blame (mercury, too many too soon, the toxins, etc, etc, etc).

    On this side of things, we are always open to new evidence – whereas they obviously are not.

  23. #23 Todd W.
    May 18, 2012

    @Dr. Smith

    why don’t you go and create something, do something to better the world

    You mean like combating ignorance and misinformation that has the potential to erode public health and put others at increased risk of illness, injury and death?

    Oh, and by the way, I put my money where my mouth was and supported research into improving vaccines (as well as past support for autism research). What’ve you done lately?

  24. #24 Denice Walter
    May 18, 2012

    If I’m not mistaken Orac may have been mentioned casually at Natural News by Mike himself. He has definitely been mentioned by ‘nym at PRN – as being amongst the elite quackbusters. Maybe he’ll be deconstructed in their up-coming documentary about ‘medical tyranny’.

    I personally knew I had arrived when I was attacked by Jake Crosby ( @ RI) and told not to write any more by JB ( @ LBRB). Mr Stone was actually respectful.
    Success tastes very sweet, doesn’t it?

    However, I recently have been questioning my own delving into propaganda efforts created by parents ( @ AoA and TMR)- are they fair game? I sometimes feel that I’m being cruel to people who are suffering. A fellow I know suggested that I waltz directly into their lairs- like Daniel in the lions’ den- to counsel them . I don’t think so.

    After mulling this over, I’ve decided that anyone who publicly broadcasts mis-information which might have serious consequences IS a target. Even if they have a difficult life or have been deprived of a reasonable education. Because their words and influence can harm people. Many of these parents also are creating careers based on their involvement in the anti-vaccine movement: writing books, being speakers and enjoying celebrity in their own cohort.

  25. #25 Composer99
    May 18, 2012

    Dr Smith:

    Your talking-down misses a few key points and IMO is inappropriate, indeed, amounts to tone-trolling.

    Why don’t you devote more time to understanding why there has been an increase in autism instead of ridiculing people who are searching for a reason.

    First, there is a lot of research on autism/ASDs going on (see here, for example).

    Second, the apparent increase in prevalence of autism may be more of a case of increased awareness, diagnostic substitution, and a widening (through the classification of autism spectrum disorders) of the term rather than a real increase in prevalence. This is discussed on this blog, at Science-Based Medicine and A Photon in the Darkness, among other online locations.

    Third, anti-vaccine activists are notably not searching for a reason. They have wrongly concluded vaccines are responsible for autism (or at least, their children’s autism). Their false conclusion leads to misplaced advocacy against vaccines which puts their and others’ children at risk of disease. Where their advocacy succeeds it reduces overall vaccine uptake and increases the risks, which is one of the reasons why there are thousands of cases of, say, measles in Europe and why localized outbreaks of pertussis have been occuring in the US.

    I know you nerds like having a place to congregate and make fun of all the “unscientific” minds of the world, but why don’t you go and create something, do something to better the world instead of reading this distraction of an article.

    What presumption! Do you think people spend all day, every day, here at Respectful Insolence making fun of quacks, cranks, and anti-vaxxers?

    Orac is a surgical oncologist who spends his days doing just as you exhort, bettering the world by curing or treating individuals’ cancers and researching better treatments.

    Others are themselves doctors or research scientists.

    Indeed, even the direct work of Respectful Insolence ‘betters’ the world: the less people waste money, effort, and hope on quackery, the healthier, wealthier, and happier they will be.

    Can any of you understand how frustrating it is to have a child with autism and not have a good explanation for why it happened? Can you think of what it is like is someone else’s shoes or do you just mock and ridicule others in a demeaning way?

    First, many parents who comment at Respectful Insolence themselves have autistic, developmentally-delayed, or other disabled children, so again you display rather condescending presumption.

    Second, anti-vaxxers are not solely parents of children with autism. Indeed, many alt-med proponents agigate against vaccines as a consequence of their false conclusions of disease. Other anti-vaccine advocates do so because they have axes to grind or products to sell.

    Third, IMO individuals such as, say, Karen De Coster, who are advocating for policies which are very harmful to others’ children (such as, say, the McCaffreys of Australia, who lost their daughter to pertussis due to low vaccination rates in their community) are not terribly deserving of sympathy.

  26. #26 Dr. Smith
    May 18, 2012

    What is your explanation for autism? I spoke to my wife’s OBGYN who questions the dogma that there is no connection between vaccines and autism, because her sister’s child experienced adverse reactions to the vaccine. The child experienced a fever and then lost its ability to speak, well make audible sounds.

    I understand that the anti-vaccine people might be stubborn, but it seems that the pro-vaccine people don’t have a good explanation for the cause, they only say keep moving along, nothing to see here. What is the prevalence of Hep B that it is prescribed before the child leaves the hospital? Why does a child receive a Hep B vaccine before they leave the hospital? I am not trying to be combative, so please take a couple of deep breathes before you write something hostile.

  27. #27 Lancelot Gobbo
    May 18, 2012

    I doubt Ms De Coster will win herself friends among the antivaccinationist parents of autists by slinging around stigmatising terms like ‘fucking retard’.

  28. #28 Anonymous
    May 18, 2012

    OT:

    DAN! and ILADS physician Dr. Lynn Durand will have a patient on ABC’s 20/20 tonight. http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/health/2012/05/18/teen-blames-russian-accent-violent-seizures-on-lyme-disease/

    This appears to be her mother’s YouTube channel, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vTUSJFG-VN8

  29. #29 JGC
    May 18, 2012

    Why don’t you devote more time to understanding why there has been an increase in autism instead of ridiculing people who are searching for a reason.

    That just might be because the reason for the increased incidence of autism is already understood–the perception on an increased incidence of autism is a results from diagnostic substitution following revision of the diagnostic criteria for autism specturm disorders beginning with DSM-III (1980) and continuing through DSM-III-R (1987) and DSM-IV (1994), coupled with improved surveillance.
    (See PMID: 17513984)

    If it’s any comfort, diagnostic criteria for ASD is again being revised with the publication of DSM-V, at which point it’s predicted incidence of autism will decline.

  30. #30 Todd W.
    May 18, 2012

    @Dr. Smith

    Just because no clear cause is currently known doesn’t mean that vaccines are the reason. In fact, current research points to vaccines not being a cause.

    As to Hep B, see the CDC’s FAQ on Hep B vaccine.

  31. #31 JGC
    May 18, 2012

    After mulling this over, I’ve decided that anyone who publicly broadcasts mis-information which might have serious consequences IS a target. Even if they have a difficult life or have been deprived of a reasonable education.

    I see it as similar to drinking and driving: while anyone who suffers from alcoholism has my sympathy–they’re dealing with a disabling disease–but their behavior must be addressed where it places others at risk.

  32. #32 Dangerous Bacon
    May 18, 2012

    The only thing missing from De Coster’s rant is a condemnation of Orac and other pro-immunization advocates for a lack of “civility”.

    Or as she might put it, a lack of “f___ing civility”.

    Wishing a pleasant weekend to all of my fellow pharma shills.

  33. #33 Denice Walter
    May 18, 2012

    And here’s a story that should be music to Orac’s ears:
    from, of all places, AoA:

    the times-tribune.com:

    Children who are not vaccinated or do not have an exemption will kept out of class. There are about 160 in and near the Scranton area in Pennsylvania and 200 more in each of two other nearby areas.

    If you’ve been wondering where Louise Kuo Habakus has been:

    she has landed a position as Executive Director of a large foundation, Focus Autism, Inc, which appears to fund worthy educational and research efforts worldwide BUT if you look closely at their website ( focusautisminc.org), also funds Generation Rescue, SafeMinds, NVIC and LHK’s own project, Personal Rights. Their mission statement looks dodgy and some of their information sources include BLF, Viera Scheibner and Dr Sears.
    The foundation seems to be loaded down with money. I sure that that will be music to many anti-vaxxers’ ears.

  34. #34 Composer99
    May 18, 2012

    I understand that the anti-vaccine people might be stubborn, but it seems that the pro-vaccine people don’t have a good explanation for the cause,

    Why? The best research done to date shows no causal relationship linking vaccines to autism.

    Given that, there is IMO no requirement for defenders of current immunization practice to account for the etiology of ASDs, any more than they would have to account for, say, the causal factors of lightning strikes.

  35. #35 demandabanana
    May 18, 2012

    This is going to be a bit rambling, but I think it makes a point. I have 2 young girls (3 and 5). I have a PhD in Cell Biology, so I’m pretty strong on sciency stuff. But I can clearly remember questioning in hospital vaccinations with one of my girls. I have no idea WHY, but some little worm crawled into my brain and made its presence known. I did (and do) have both of my girls vaccinated on schedule, and I keep up my own vaccinations, as does my spouse. I also participate in an HIV vaccine trial in grad school. Again, I remember so much fear. Obviously they weren’t injecting me with HIV, but with coat proteins (IIRC), but still, there was that fear. I can COMPLETELY understand the fear of vaccines, because I felt it. I didn’t act on it because I was able to logically counter it. Others can’t do that, and those worms are crawling through the brains of most if not all parents. The only thing to do is counter, counter, counter the crazy/misguided/mistaken claims. But be warned, that fear worm is deeply rooted. And if you try to grab and pull, it will root deeper. While I can tolerate the abrasiveness of these types of blogs, others need kid gloves. Be gentle. Be kind. Be understanding. (I say this as someone who is decidedly not gentle, kind, or understanding, so I know how hard it is!)

  36. #36 Beamup
    May 18, 2012

    What is your explanation for autism?

    Mostly genetic. The remainder isn’t known. But there are some things we know it ISN’T, and vaccines are among them.

    I spoke to my wife’s OBGYN who questions the dogma that there is no connection between vaccines and autism

    It’s not dogma. It’s evidence.

    because her sister’s child experienced adverse reactions to the vaccine. The child experienced a fever and then lost its ability to speak, well make audible sounds.

    Oh boy, an anecdote that has no relationship to autism! Really good proof there.

    I understand that the anti-vaccine people might be stubborn, but it seems that the pro-vaccine people don’t have a good explanation for the cause, they only say keep moving along, nothing to see here.

    One does not have to know what the cause IS in order to demonstrate what it IS NOT.

    What is the prevalence of Hep B that it is prescribed before the child leaves the hospital? Why does a child receive a Hep B vaccine before they leave the hospital?

    High enough that the vaccine is safer than taking the risk of the disease, and so that they don’t get the disease, respectively.

    When a disease is dangerous, and can be effectively and safely prevented, it need not be terribly common for it to make sense to pursue that prevention.

  37. #37 JGC
    May 18, 2012

    And when one thinks of the actual good the money going to Generation Rescue, Safeminds, etc. could accomplish if spent funding productive research instead of propagating misinformation…

  38. #38 Anton P. Nym
    May 18, 2012

    “Danger, Will Robinson, argument by anecdote!”

    (Sorry the “Dr. Smith” ‘nym triggered some old childhood memories.)

    No OBGYN worth his/her/its salt would come to a conclusion based on one case. In particular, none would do so on the basis of “if we don’t know what caused it, it’s vaccines.”

    There is a mountain of research on autism and vaccines by reputable researchers (ie: not Wakefield) that has shown absolutely no correlation between the vaccine schedule (or vaccine ingredients) and the triggering of autism. Some studies suggest genetic or chromosomal causes, but thanks to the Wakefield Panic there hasn’t been as much follow-up on those studies as there should’ve been. (Research dollars being drawn off into the unproductive efforts to prove or disprove Wakefield’s fraudulent claims; losing his medical license is too good for the S.O.B.)

    I do so very much wish that the anti-vax mob would drop this stupid argument, as it gets in the way of those researchers who really are looking for the cause of autism.

    (I also wish the anti-vax mob would shut up in general because they’ve been wrong for nigh-on three centuries and it’s time for them to let go of the 18th century, but that’s peripheral to the point in question.)

    — Steve

  39. #39 Dr. Smith
    May 18, 2012

    Thank you composer 99 for your thoughtful comment. I spoke to my wife’s OBGYN and several RN’s at the hospital where my child will be born about my concern for my son.

    Is it worth waiting for a lawsuit to find that there is a danger that was known about for years but covered up for financial reasons? Is it worth risking the future cognitive ability of your child for a small benefit of being protected against a disease that does not exist in the developed world? Is it worth risking the adverse reaction that compromises the child’s immune system leaving them more vulnerable to another illness which causes a fever which stunts the child’s cognitive development?

    Reformulate your arguments and come up with something more convincing than we all know that vaccines are like scripture and there is nothing bad that could come from good intentions. Something is going wrong and what harm could come from delaying certain vaccines? Why can’t there be a reasonable conversation instead of two sides hurling attacks? Wouldn’t it be better to show grace to anti-vaccine attacks and respond with the reason and logic for which science is so well known?

    How are you any better than the people you criticize? I wanted to check the article before I wrote this, because I didn’t want to wrongly accusing you of being a bully. Now you might laugh, because many of you might have been picked on when you were young by ignorant stooges, but now that you are in positions of influence, why encourage the same abusive behavior you were subject to in your youth? Why set out with the intention to harass people with differing views? Oh, they threw the first stone, well suck it up and march on with your head held high knowing that you are pursuing knowledge and that their petty attacks show what classless people they are. You’ll win more converts with logic and reason. Just like the proverbial use of honey to attract instead of vinegar.

  40. #40 demandabanana
    May 18, 2012

    Dr. Smith, every single one of those questions has been answered here time and time again. The answers won’t change, just as your mind won’t change. You seem pretty convinced of your own questions and answers. What do you expect of people here? To change their minds? Based on what? Your gut feeling, your OB’s anecdote? Or do you want to have your mind changed? Do you want to be right? Do you want people to be more contrite? Why are you here?

  41. #41 FilipinoMDstudent
    May 18, 2012

    “Something is going wrong and what harm could come from delaying certain vaccines?”

    It increases the chance that your child could catch vaccine-preventable diseases. How the hell do you think the vaccine schedule was developed?

    “Wouldn’t it be better to show grace to anti-vaccine attacks and respond with the reason and logic for which science is so well known?”

    You think scientists and public health officials haven’t tried that yet?

    “Why set out with the intention to harass people with differing views?”

    There is no harassment here. This is just refutation of the nonsense they churn out. Furthermore, the problem is not just a “differing view”. This is dangerous nonsense that has the capacity to take lives of children. Vaccine-preventable diseases are not supposed to be a burden anymore in developed countries, yet here they are, back because of the antivax idiocy.

  42. #42 nastylittlehorse
    May 18, 2012

    Dr Smith,

    do you have any evidence that vaccination causes any of the things you talked about?

    If not, and you don’t because there is none, you might want to consider the mountains of evidence that vaccines save lives. And not just a few lives but millions of lives, that would otherwise be lost to preventable disease.

    I’m also not quite sure why you consider responding to you with details of how you’re misguided constitutes harassment, bullying or abuse. Do you think all forms of disagreement are abusive?

  43. #43 Denice Walter
    May 18, 2012

    @ JGC:

    It seems as if the foundation has done good work but if LHK is around, you can be assured that more money will be diverted into lost causes and vanity non-profits.

    Their website is quite horrible because of its non-SBM. While it mentions *reasonable* theories of causation, vaccines get spot-lighted. Take a peek at it.

  44. #44 demandabanana
    May 18, 2012

    Sorry, one more thing and I’ll go away!

    “You’ll win more converts with logic and reason.”

    I completely disagree. You, Dr. Smith, will not be won over with logic and reasoning. There is no way you’re letting go of the anti-vaccination stance. You’ve made up your mind. No amount of logic will convince you. In fact, I’d wage the opposite is true. You will only respond to fear. That’s clear from your posts. Not that logic and reasoning shouldn’t be sprinkled in in hopes that it makes it past your reptilian fear (I have this, too, it’s not an insult.)

  45. #45 Chemmomo
    May 18, 2012

    Paging Dr. Smith

    Why can’t there be a reasonable conversation instead of two sides hurling attacks? Wouldn’t it be better to show grace to anti-vaccine attacks and respond with the reason and logic for which science is so well known?

    You do realize you opened (OK, your second paragraph) your first post this morning with

    I know you nerds like having a place to congregate and make fun of all the “unscientific” minds of the world

    and followed your most recent complaint with the following

    because many of you might have been picked on when you were young

    same abusive behavior you were subject to in your youth?

    You’ve answered your own questions.

    In case this isn’t clear to you: if you are criticizing the use of insults, don’t use them yourself.

  46. #46 Todd W.
    May 18, 2012

    What’s the harm in delaying or forgoing vaccines in “the developed world”? Why don’t you do a news search for pertussis or measles. In the former, lapses in boosters (among other factors) is leading to large outbreaks and deaths. In the latter, vaccine refusal has led to outbreaks around the country.

    Keep in mind that even though many diseases have been eliminated (or mostly eliminated) from the U.S., all it takes is a single vulnerable person traveling to a region with endemic disease to bring it back.

    I’d also recommend that you stop and think about the effect of not vaccinating on those who cannot be vaccinated (e.g., infants too young for vaccination, the immunocompromised, the elderly, etc.). Your decision affects more than just yourself and your immediate family.

  47. #47 Lawrence
    May 18, 2012

    @DrSmith – which vaccine-preventable diseases don’t exist in the developed world? Because there are still tens of thousands of HepB cases here in the US alone, plus the current measles epidemic in Europe, not to mention the various outbreaks of pertussis occurring around the country.

    Trust me when I tell you that, time and time again, research has shown that vaccines are at least a magnitude or more safer (in terms of side-effects) as the diseases they prevent.

    Unfortunately, the anti-vaccine crowd will continue to ignore the mountains of evidence against their “theory” and put out false and misleading information to the general public that can and will ultimately effect the general welfare of our children. They respond to any attempt at engagement with shrill cries of the “Pharma-Shill Gambit” & even trying to engage with them also lends them credibility they don’t deserve.

    There was the infamous cartoon at AoA where public vaccine proponents (including Dr. Offit) were shown gathered around a Thanksgiving Day Table, preparing to eat a child.

    These are not people who can be reasoned with, and we cannot ignore them either, because they will continue to spread their lies – again, which could have a negative impact upon us all.

    Luckily, their number is small – vaccine rates are either fairly stable or actually increasing in some areas. What we are finding, however, is that a lot of these people of like minds (anti-vaccine) are now congregating together, creating pockets of non-immunity or low immunity, that can be the cause or suffer severely from outbreaks of disease.

  48. #48 Marion Delgado
    May 18, 2012

    My experience is the dead opposite right now. I may need an attitude adjustment. Everyone I tell about Natural News thinks I’m “mean,” “arrogant,” a “know-it-all” and “intolerant.” I am in no way, shape or form enjoying the flack.

    If Joe Smith and I were 2 vitamin sellers, storefront, and I had the idea to put “Natural News” on my blog I would suddenly become a trusted news source and he’d stay just another vitamin seller. That’s how depraved the current environment is.

  49. #49 JGC
    May 18, 2012

    Is it worth waiting for a lawsuit to find that there is a danger that was known about for years but covered up for financial reasons?

    What bsis would there be for such a lawsuite, givener there is no evidence that risks associated with vaccination have are known but have been covered up? In fact, given that the potential for revenue from marketing and distributing vaccines is orders of magnitude less than the potential for revenue from treating the diseases they protect against if any cover-up for financial reasons were attemtped logic argues it would be efficacy and safety of vaccines that would be targeted.

    Is it worth risking the future cognitive ability of your child for a small benefit of being protected against a disease that does not exist in the developed world?”

    Yes, when there’s a) no evidence that vaccination poses a risk to the future cognitive ability of your child and b) there is evidence that the diseases vaccines protect against pose a risk to your child.

    Is it worth risking the adverse reaction that compromises the child’s immune system leaving them more vulnerable to another illness which causes a fever which stunts the child’s cognitive development?

    Yes, when the likelihood of serious adverse reactions is orders of magnitude less than the likelihood of serious adverse reactions resulting from teh diseases they protect against.

  50. #50 Landru
    May 18, 2012

    @Dr Smith 26

    I am not trying to be combative,

    Things that aren’t exactly peaceful: Tone-trolling, attempting to mislead about your antivax mindset, and pretending that this blog and its commentariat–a tiny proportion of the science-based voices on the Internet–haven’t provided overwhelming evidence of the risk/benefit success of vaccination as a public health intervention.

    It’s always amazing to me how many people want to pee on my leg and tell me it’s raining.

  51. #51 Science Mom
    May 18, 2012

    Why don’t you devote more time to understanding why there has been an increase in autism instead of ridiculing people who are searching for a reason.

    What does this blogpost have to do with autism? The subject of the blogpost is hardly questioning autism aetiologies what with her use of “fucking retard” and all.

    I know you nerds like having a place to congregate and make fun of all the “unscientific” minds of the world, but why don’t you go and create something, do something to better the world instead of reading this distraction of an article.

    Do you read books? Magazines? Watch movies? What do you have against us “nerds congregating” to read a blog? We are a collection of physicians, scientists, engineers, nurses and even parents of special needs children who are trying to do something better for this world. Our host is a cancer surgeon/researcher. Let me guess, you must be a chiropractor.

    Can any of you understand how frustrating it is to have a child with autism and not have a good explanation for why it happened? Can you think of what it is like is someone else’s shoes or do you just mock and ridicule others in a demeaning way?

    Why yes, many here do know first hand about having a child with autism and have chosen to steer clear of the vaccinesdidit groups because they know how to parse the literature, have rational brains to begin with and know who to seek out for help. People who make it their objective to disseminate blatant misinformation for their own nefarious purposes should be mocked and ridiculed when all attempts at rationalising with them fail. People don’t get to make up their own facts you know.

  52. #52 Chris
    May 18, 2012

    Dr. Smith:

    What is your explanation for autism?

    Sure, if you can come up with an explanation for my son’s hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. He did get a genetic test, but he did not have any of eighteen known gene sequences for HCM. Can you explain why the same child had seizures when he was a newborn (before any vaccine)?

    Sometimes there are no real answers. You have to move on and provide the best you can for your child. And that also involves protecting them from diseases.

  53. #53 Dianne
    May 18, 2012

    Something is going wrong and what harm could come from delaying certain vaccines?

    What harm could come from delaying vaccines? Let’s see…the child could die of a preventable infectious illness. The child could get same illness and survive, but infect another child who is either not vaccinated or in whom the vaccine is sub-optimal in efficacy, perhaps due to an immunodeficiency. The child could get same illness and survive, but with damage such as polio related paralysis, mental retardation after measles, blindness from measles, etc. The child could infect a woman who is pregnant with a virus that is damaging to the fetus and the fetus die or be born with problems.

    Enough examples of “what’s the harm” to start with?

  54. #54 Chris
    May 18, 2012

    Some vivid videos of what happens when you skip or delay vaccines: PKIDs PSAs. PKIDs stands for Parents of Kids with Infectious Diseases.

  55. #55 Dianne
    May 18, 2012

    What is your explanation for autism?

    The one thing we can be fairly certain does not cause autism is vaccination. There have been numerous studies on the issue and they’ve virtually all been negative. Wakefield’s original data has been shown to be fabricated. It’s a dead hypothesis. Move on. Blame society. Blame TV. Blame global warming. Blame liberals. Blame 9/11. At least come up with a conspiracy theory that hasn’t definitively been proven false.

  56. #56 Shay
    May 18, 2012

    re comment@26

    I spoke to my wife’s OBGYN who questions the dogma that there is no connection between vaccines and autism, because her sister’s child experienced adverse reactions to the vaccine.

    I guess I’m missing something. Which vaccine caused the reaction?

  57. #57 Glaxxon PharmaCOM Terrabase DIA
    May 18, 2012

    MESSAGE BEGINS—————————-

    Shills and Minions,

    May I take a moment out of my exhausting morning schedule of baby and kitten torture to commend our cybernetic scion? You have truly been baptized with fire. You have made yourself the prime target of those who mount a courageous-yet-futile campaign to protect their perfect, yoga-toned bodies from our eeeeevil Pharma products. They may have scratched your once blemish-free carapace, but this shall accomplish nothing except to harden your resolve. My shills and minions, nay, my friends in planetary subjugation, this spunky woman is why I get up in the morning. It is the pluck and verve of Ms. de Costa and her suspicious ilk that, aside from torturing small mammals with vaccines and kitchen implements, makes my time here on this chilly backwater bearable.

    Now, the the good Baron de R, Egg Mother L’izz, and the non-voting members of the Planetary Subjugation Committee have noted that we have truly fallen behind schedule in implementing GPSV 42.5 which states “Glaxxon PharmaCOM, it’s Overlords, Subcommanders, Suzerains, Agents, Shills and Minions shall make every effort to pollute, commandeer, control, poison, delapidate, depilate and denegrate all, firm, organically-fed, pharma-free, yoga-toned bodies on Terra Prime whenever possible.”

    Yes my malevolent monkeys, we have been so obsessed with making sure that your mewling hatchlings are turned into obedient, docile Corporate Pincushions™ that we have forgotten to focus on the strapping, flexible human pretzels of the rebellion. They are wary and crafty. They know of our plans. They avoid our mind control beams, our Nanobamas™, our Zexorvytorin™ soporifics in all of our artificial sweeteners, and our lovely Phoxoclamidogril Asparartate Mists™ distributed by our minions in commercial aviation. These rebels rail against our “Smart Meter” program with it’s brain altering mindwaves.

    Getting them to take our delightfully eeeeeeevil pharma products will take all of our resources. We’ll need all of our Shills and Minions to achieve total planetary domination. We are, however, not the Kthraax or the Vermixen Demipentium. We don’t resort to employing traitorous jack-booted lackeys and gun-toting goons to achieve our aims and I resent the human de Costa’s implication that the Glaxxon Corpus would resort to such base and obvious mechanisms.

    In any case, I am rambling now, I spent the night trying to find 2548, a particularly naughty hatchling just out of her swarming phase and up to all kinds of mischief. She figured out the security interlock on the creche access panel. I think I’m going to simply adore her if she survives the Hech Pr’aat and comes to domination of the final Clique. But enough of this sentiment, back to the vivisection lab, there is pointless cruelty to be inflicted and I’m just the lizard to do it.

    Stay frosty, my pugnacious primates,

    Lord Zeneca Draconis, VH7ihL
    Foreward Mavoon of the Great Fleet, Pharmaca Magna of Terra, Terrible Envoy of H.I.H. Clopidogra Invicta XXIII of the Glaxxon Corpus, Best Dad in the World, Inquisitor General of the Primate Coucil

    Glaxxon PharmaCOM Terrabase DIA
    0001011100100101111010101010111101010010101010010

    —————————————-MESSAGE ENDS

  58. #58 trrll
    May 18, 2012

    @ Dr Smith

    Is it worth waiting for a lawsuit to find that there is a danger that was known about for years but covered up for financial reasons?

    You’ll have a long wait, because there have already been plenty of lawsuits. But such lawsuits ultimately end up going before a judge who is sworn to consider the evidence in a rational, impartial way, who inevitably concludes (as will any rational person who actually examines the evidence) that there is strong scientific evidence against the notion that vaccines contribute in any appreciable way to the incidence of autism.

    By the way, as a scientist who researches autism and attends scientific meetings on autism, I can tell you that there are a great many researchers actively researching the causes of autism. At the annual meeting of the Society of Neuroscience, you will find rows and rows of posters studying the causes of autism. Every possibility is considered. While vaccination has been ruled out based on numerous studies, environmental causes remain the subject of active research, as well as genetic causes (some forms of autism have been clearly demonstrated to be genetic, but that does not prove that all autism is genetic, or exclude environmental triggers interacting with genetic defects) and autoimmune causes.

    The consensus among autism researchers with whom I’ve discussed the question is that there may or may not be a real increase in autism prevalence, but that much, if not all, of the apparent increase is the result of changes in diagnosis. A recent late survey of adult autism in England, using modern diagnostic criteria for autism, found that autism prevalence was not greatly different in older adults than in young adults, arguing against any large change in incidence.

  59. #59 Th1Th23
    May 18, 2012

    De Coster can write this with a straight face after referring to “crazed vaccination pushers” and likening them to neo-cons, calling them “sick” and “crazed,” and labeling them as “agents of the government–medical-Big pharma establishment”?

    Typical drunk bastards who are also on meth.

    Unvaccinated children should stay far away.

  60. #60 Tietch1
    May 18, 2012

    De Coster can write this with a straight face after referring to “crazed vaccination pushers” and likening them to neo-cons, calling them “sick” and “crazed,” and labeling them as “agents of the government–medical-Big pharma establishment”?

    Typical drunk bastards who are also on meth.

    Unvaccinated children should stay far away.

  61. #61 Thomas
    May 18, 2012

    “Can any of you understand how frustrating it is to have a child with autism and not have a good explanation for why it happened?”

    Yes. Until you have an autistic child, you’ll never know how infuriating it is to hear antivaxxers call your child “soulless” or “better off dead.” Do you support children’s health or do you support the haters of children?

  62. #62 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    May 18, 2012

    Dr. Smith – You may not have noticed, but the screed that Orac is commenting on is tasteless, rude, insulting, dismissive, and laced with profanities. By contract, Orac and the vast majority of posters on this thread have been the very model of civility and decorum.
    I, for one, would like an apology for certain of your more insulting remarks.

  63. #63 Leo Kanner
    May 18, 2012

    “Why don’t you devote more time to understanding why there has been an increase in autism instead of ridiculing people who are searching for a reason”

    Hear, hear. Since no one knows what the cause of autism is, it must be refrigerator mothers!

  64. #64 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    May 18, 2012

    Furthermore, Dr. Smith, I believe you owe a special apology for those who read this thread who are in the mental health fields (psychiatrists, psychologists, and so on) for your particularly inept attempts at armchair psychiatric diagnosis.

  65. #65 Matt F
    May 18, 2012

    @Thomas
    If you think that’s bad, trying being the one being called soulless and better off dead. Thankfully my parents never bought in to that crap. Now as an adult It is just infuriating to hear the anti-vaxxer say this.

  66. #66 Todd W.
    May 18, 2012

    Oh, and since we’re talking about civility and certain individuals’ lack thereof, did anyone else pick up on Dr. Smith calling his wife’s OBGYN’s sister’s child “it”:

    The child experienced a fever and then lost its ability to speak, well make audible sounds.

  67. #67 lilady
    May 18, 2012

    @ Dr. Smith:

    “I understand that the anti-vaccine people might be stubborn, but it seems that the pro-vaccine people don’t have a good explanation for the cause, they only say keep moving along, nothing to see here. What is the prevalence of Hep B that it is prescribed before the child leaves the hospital? Why does a child receive a Hep B vaccine before they leave the hospital? I am not trying to be combative, so please take a couple of deep breathes before you write something hostile.”

    Take a look at this decision to provide post-exposure hepatitis B prophylaxis to an infant exposed at birth to the virus:

    http://www.canberratimes.com.au/national/judge-orders-hep-b-mum-to-vaccinate-20120518-1ywg2.html

    Scroll down the article to see why the parents did not want to protect their infant:

    “The parents opposed the application on the grounds they did not agree with vaccination because of religious beliefs. The father also had philosophical concerns about the financial agendas of pharmaceutical companies.”

    Scroll further down to see how Meryl Dorey, the head of a notorious anti-vaccine organization, viewed the ruling to protect the infant:

    “But the Australian Vaccination Network – which campaigns about the risks of vaccination – said the order violated the rights of the parents to decide if their child should be vaccinated.

    ”I believe this is starting down a very dangerous path and hopefully one that will stop right here,” president Meryl Dorey”

    Do you now question Dr. Smith, why all infants should be vaccinated against the virus, before they leave the birthing hospital? You might want to research “horizontal transmission”…or you could read this:

    http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/rr5416a1.htm

    Scroll down Dr. Smith, for the reason for the recommendation of the universal birth dose of the hepatitis B vaccine:

    “Children who are not infected at birth remain at risk from long-term interpersonal contact with their infected mothers. In one study, 38% of infants who were born to HBsAg-positive mothers and who were not infected perinatally became infected by age 4 years (64). In addition, children living with any chronically infected persons are at risk for becoming infected through percutaneous or mucosal exposures to blood or infectious body fluids (e.g., sharing a toothbrush, contact with exudates from dermatologic lesions, contact with HBsAg-contaminated surfaces). HBV transmission rates to susceptible household contacts of chronically infected persons have varied (range: 14%–60%) (65,66). High rates of infection also have been reported among unvaccinated long-term residents of institutions for the mentally handicapped (67,68), and, in rare instances, person-to-person transmission has been reported in child care settings (69,70).”

  68. #68 Thomas
    May 18, 2012

    “If you think that’s bad, trying being the one being called soulless and better off dead. Thankfully my parents never bought in to that crap. Now as an adult It is just infuriating to hear the anti-vaxxer say this.”

    Yes – I should have mentioned the way that antivaxxers attempt to erase even the concept of an autistic person who can speak for him- or herself. It might be enlightening (and accurate) to take an antivax screed and apply the dehumanizing language to the antivax parents.

  69. #69 Calli Arcale
    May 18, 2012

    And just to add to lilady’s post, not all HepB chronic carriers are aware of their status. Especially the ones who got it from *their* mothers and thus don’t think they’re in a special risk group.

    And to respond to Dr Smith’s first post:

    Can any of you understand how frustrating it is to have a child with autism and not have a good explanation for why it happened? Can you think of what it is like is someone else’s shoes or do you just mock and ridicule others in a demeaning way?

    Someone else’s shoes? I take you don’t realize there are parents of children with autism posting here? My daughter got her diagnosis a few years ago. Frustrating? Oh yes. That doesn’t mean I’ll believe any old whim that comes my way. I don’t know what caused her autism (though it runs in my family, presenting one obvious suspect: genetics). Truthfully, that isn’t the frustrating part to me. How it happened is of academic interest at this point; I’m more concerned with taking care of her, raising her, teaching her how to get long with other people, so that some day she can be in a mainstream classroom successfully, and eventually get a career and an independent adult life. Unlike the causation question, that part is very frustrating many days. But it’s very much worth pressing on.

  70. #70 E. Harding
    May 18, 2012

    Curiously enough, Karen De Coster probably lives within 20 miles of Orac.

  71. #71 lilady
    May 18, 2012

    “Can any of you understand how frustrating it is to have a child with autism and not have a good explanation for why it happened? Can you think of what it is like is someone else’s shoes or do you just mock and ridicule others in a demeaning way?”

    I can indeed Dr. Smith. My son was born in 1976 with a rare genetic disorder with pronounced autistic-like behaviors. His medical and educational diagnosis was “multiply handicapped” because of the multiplicity of his disabling physical, intellectual and behavioral disabilities. (And, he really was immune-suppressed with a bleeding disorder, due to his pancytopenia.)

    We underwent genetic counseling and his chromosomal karyotype was *normal*…the genes implicated in his syndrome were not identified until a few months before his death in 2004. They were identified through funding from the NIH and through financial support of parents like me, who gave generously to the charitable foundation set up to provide information about the syndrome and to fund genetic research.

    You might want to compare what parents who have developmentally disabled children and who post here do for the advancement of research-versus-what parents who support anti-vaccine websites do, Dr. Smith.

  72. #72 lilady
    May 18, 2012

    “Curiously enough, Karen De Coster probably lives within 20 miles of Orac.

    I’m not familiar with the landscape surrounding Detroit. Is this Karen, with a rifle…aimed at Detroit?

    http://charliebroadway.blogspot.com/2011/02/weakness-of-karen-de-coster.html

    (Skip the comments, but read how vicious she is when it comes to body image)

  73. #73 Marry Me, Mindy
    May 18, 2012

    “Why set out with the intention to harass people with differing views?”

    I’m late to the party, but I am trying to understand how Orac is “harassing” people with different views. Is he sending them emails, or stalking them, or even posting comments on other people’s blogs?

    Because what he is doing here is…well, at HIS blog, and if anyone is upset by it, it is because they chose to come here and read it. Orac can clarify for me, to what extent he is commenting in places where people have differing views.

    Wouldn’t it be better to show grace to anti-vaccine attacks and respond with the reason and logic for which science is so well known?

    Says the guy who basis his belief on an anecdote from his OB?

    As the others have said, reason and logic won’t work on you, because you have no reasonable or logical basis for your beliefs in the first place.

  74. #74 Science Mom
    May 18, 2012

    @ lilady, Yes that’s her all right. I’ve come across the type many times and “macho bitchiness” is spot on.

    “paleo-halitosis” *snort*

  75. #75 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    May 18, 2012

    I’m not familiar with the landscape surrounding Detroit. Is this Karen, with a rifle…aimed at Detroit?I don’t believe’ that’d Detroit. That looks like the Cincinnati skyline taken from Devou Park. So her rifle is aimed at Covington, KY. http://www.panoramio.com/photo/52848447

  76. #76 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    May 18, 2012

    oops – blockquote fail.

  77. #77 elburto
    May 18, 2012

    “Dr” Smith – honey may catch more flies than vinegar, but shit catches more flies than anything else. So I’m going to offload some. OK?

    I’m physically disabled, I have brain damage, and I’m non-Neurotypical. The arguments of the anti-vax crowd. are essentially “You have no worth, you are broken. My child would be better off dead, than like you” Their apparent insistence that they’d rather risk their child dying of a VPD, than take a minute risk of vaccine damage, is disgustingly callous. Again, it sends a clear message to disabled and non-NT people (and those who love them) “You’re damaged, horrible creatures”

    As a cruel irony, many of us cannot be immunised against common VPDs. We desperately rely on herd immunity, because even a mild case of something like flu can kill some of us. But what are we told? “Why should we protect you? It’s not like you’d be any great loss. My child has potential, I won’t risk it for a retard* like you”

    What’s even more soul-destroying and heartbreaking is to hear this coming from the parents of disabled/non-NT kids. I can virtually guarantee that, whatever a child’s level of function, they pick up on how their caretakers feel. Poor kids.

    I suppose the four dead babies (here in the UK) who died of pertussis are just collateral damage. Perhaps their devastated parents should rejoice in getting a clean break. instead of ending up with a “broken” child, eh?

    There needs to be an end to this sick rhetoric that privileges the children of the anti-vax lobby over the babies too young to be immunised, those too ill or immunocompromised to be vaccinated, and those of us simply too “damaged” to be of any worth.

    *as per Cruella de Coster

  78. #78 harold
    May 18, 2012

    Dr. Smith

    Why don’t you devote more time to understanding why there has been an increase in autism instead of ridiculing people who are searching for a reason.

    1) The increase is largely due to greater recognition.

    2) Nevertheless, understanding the condition is a highly valid area of research. Since evidence strongly suggests that vaccines are not related to autism, therefore one of the many harmful aspects of anti-vaccine hysteria is that it detracts from finding and understanding actual causes of autism.

    I know you nerds like having a place to congregate and make fun of all the “unscientific” minds of the world, but why don’t you go and create something, do something to better the world instead of reading this distraction of an article.

    Countering dangerously false medical claims is doing something to better the world.

    Can any of you understand how frustrating it is to have a child with autism and not have a good explanation for why it happened?

    Of course.

    Can you think of what it is like is someone else’s shoes or do you just mock and ridicule others in a demeaning way?

    No-one here is mocking people with autism or their parents. The name-calling and anger that I see came from you and Karen de Coster.

    What is your explanation for autism?

    I do not have a single explanation for every case of autism. As someone mentioned, many cases may well turn out to be mainly genetic in nature. However, there may be and probably is more than one cause for autism spectrum conditions.

    However, the possibility of an association with vaccines has been addressed extensively. So far, the evidence suggests that there is no such association.

    I spoke to my wife’s OBGYN who questions the dogma that there is no connection between vaccines and autism, because her sister’s child experienced adverse reactions to the vaccine. The child experienced a fever and then lost its ability to speak, well make audible sounds.

    First of all, no-one said that vaccines can never have any side effects. Such side effects are rare – so rare, in fact, that many of them are merely associations and may not be related to vaccines. Pathogens such as the one you mentioned, hepatitis B virus, are far more dangerous than vaccines, even if we are excessively cautious and attribute all associations directly to vaccination. But again, no-one is claiming that vaccines are magically, impossibly free of all side effects. The two points being made are that vaccines do not seem to be associated autism, and that vaccines are less dangerous than the diseases they protect against.

    This case, in addition to not being a case of autism, does not sound, based on your brief description, like something that it would be logical to ascribe to the vaccination at all. Correct me if I am mischaracterizing due to incomplete information, but one likely cause of a fever coupled with difficulty making audible sounds is viral laryngitis, a common and usually mild and self-limiting disease. There are a large number of things in the differential diagnosis, some serious, almost none related to vaccines. Laryngitis and most of the other things in the differential diagnosis were well-known before widespread vaccination and are not increasing in incidence.

    I understand that the anti-vaccine people might be stubborn, but it seems that the pro-vaccine people don’t have a good explanation for the cause, they only say keep moving along, nothing to see here. What is the prevalence of Hep B that it is prescribed before the child leaves the hospital? Why does a child receive a Hep B vaccine before they leave the hospital? I am not trying to be combative, so please take a couple of deep breathes before you write something hostile.

    The reported incidence is 1.5/100,000 for 2009, the lowest on record, thanks to the vaccine, according to the CDC. Since it is usually a chronic condition, the prevalence is much higher.

    Hepatitis B is potentially a very dangerous disease. It can lead to liver failure and predispose to liver cancer.

    I haven’t included links because doing so will cause my comment to be moderated, however, Google or Wikipedia should be good starting points if anyone wants to learn more.

  79. #79 Composer99
    May 18, 2012

    De Coster’s attempted riposte at Orac would seem to qualify for Charlie Broadway’s classification of her having a glass jaw.

  80. #80 lilady
    May 18, 2012

    More from Karen De Coster…

    http://lewrockwell.com/decoster/decoster193.html

    Here’s the gun-totin’ libertarian, anti-vaccine idiot on twitter:

    http://twitter.com/#!/karendecoster

    @ Science Mom…you were *directed* to not read the comments :-)

  81. #81 lilady
    May 18, 2012

    @ Anonymous #28 above: Thanks for the “heads up” for tonights 20/20 Program on “Chronic Lyme disease”. I’ve set my DVD to record it at 10 PM EDT. It’s sure to be a *gem* with DAN!/ILADS specialist Lynn Durand describing this rare (non-existent) chronic disease.

  82. #82 E. Harding
    May 18, 2012

    As far as I can tell from her blog, Karen De Coster lives in Clinton Township, MI, and works in Detroit.

  83. #83 herr doktor bimler
    May 18, 2012

    Why don’t you devote more time to understanding why there has been an increase in autism instead of ridiculing people who are searching for a reason.

    I am sure that Dr Smith is living by this credo and not merely preaching it to others, and I look forward to hearing the details of his or her research discipline.

    I also hope that he or she comments at websites such as AoA, trying to change their contributors’ minds each time they decide that autism research (e.g. Courchesne’s work) is “junk science” that should be defunded.

  84. MESSAGE BEGINS——————————

    To the Great Lakes Away Team: I left the rebel de Coster this friendly warning on the Facebooks thing . . .

    My shills and minions inform me that you are a formidable warrior for your species, rebel de Coster. I see from your brilliant writings that they are correct. The planetary subjugation council will have to think twice before tangling with such a towering intellect. Our Eeeeeeevil™ vaccines and conventional soporific pharmaceuticals are clearly out of the question in your case. The HAARP Division’s aerosol dispersal will be our only hope to make you more pliable. Watch the skies . . .

    I’m sure she’ll appreciate the “heads up.”

    Lord Zeneca Draconis, VH7ihL
    Foreward Mavoon of the Great Fleet, Pharmaca Magna of Terra, Terrible Envoy of H.I.H. Clopidogra Invicta XXIII of the Glaxxon Corpus, Best Dad in the World, Inquisitor General of the Primate Coucil

    Glaxxon PharmaCOM Terrabase DIA
    0001011100100101111010101010111101010010101010010

    —————————————-MESSAGE ENDS

  85. #85 Narad
    May 18, 2012

    Here’s the gun-totin’ libertarian, anti-vaccine idiot on twitter

    Vaccination lovers: feel free to ignore the corporate-socialist $$$ trail & the interests of Big Guv, & poke YOUR OWN fkids. I’ll pass; thx

    Am I the only one inclined to doubt that she has kids?

  86. #86 Orac
    May 18, 2012

    O Lord Draconis, as always, you are a benevolent pharma overlord, providing even our enemies a “heads-up” so that they might have a fair shot.

  87. #87 lilady
    May 18, 2012

    @ Narad:

    “Am I the only one inclined to doubt that she has kids?”

    Short Answer: No

    Long Answer: Good Cripes! Am I the only one to doubt that she has any hold on sanity?

  88. #88 MikeMa
    May 18, 2012

    @elburto
    Not a bad ‘load’ and far less a dump than anything DeCoster spews. In fact, very well spoken. Passion from the heart and personal experience carries a lot more weight.

  89. #89 Denice Walter
    May 18, 2012

    I could certainly comment about her fashion choices but I would rather stick to her poor comprehension of science ( i.e. vaccines/pharma) and – as if to prove crank magnetism- her comments on economics at her blog- she’s an Austrian School of Ec fan grrl!…. I shall, because I am kind, spare you the details about her idols. Suffice it to say that, like woo-meisters, their reliance upon data and statistics often takes a back seat to *other ways of knowing*… They just KNOW that their ideas will work! And these people hate any sort of governmental intervention. Apparently, their acolytes have had influence in both the US and the UK recently, despite the sluggish economies. They just KNOW.

    She also likes Paleo dietary regimes, like Mercola.

  90. #90 Infuriatingly Moderate
    May 18, 2012

    I am not a parent, but I am an aunt – and that includes my partner’s family. He has a nephew with Down’s syndrome, now 17. He may never be completely independent, but he’s delightful – except when he asked the size of my underwear. I begged off on that one. But he LOVES vacuum cleaners. If we weren’t so far away I’d be thrilled to have him visit anytime he wants – I HATE vacuuming. :)

    And the cousin who has a child with such severe autism he had to go into a semi-institutional home when he grew to 6’2″ and his 5’4″ mom couldn’t handle him anymore – though I did meet him at a family reunion. He was having a good day – and his Mom was SOOO proud of him being able to handle all of us strange people.

    And the other cousin who had twins – one healthy, the other severely disabled, almost completely non-responsive, in a wheelchair, with her parents having to “intuitively guess” if she’s happy, sad, hungry, bored, in pain…. But she’s wheeled to the family reunions and she’s just another part of the family.

    All these parents’ lives were turned upside down, but best I can tell as a semi-outsider none of them went off the rails. They don’t “blame” anything or anyone, and handle the crappy hand life dealt them with supreme grace and supreme patience. Not to mention getting by with the help of all those “ebil gubmint” programs with their “ebil social worker/special ed” shills. And those “ebil doctors” who keep them alive and as comfortable as is possible.

    Life’s a bitch and then you die. Sometimes you’re the windshield, sometimes you’re the bug. And on that note, an excellent anti-anti-vaxx video I managed to stumble across somewhere:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u1xw0Ob5bqs&feature=youtu.be

  91. #91 Shay
    May 18, 2012

    In re photo in link @ 77: Oh God how I hate Rambettes.

  92. MESSAGE BEGINS——————-

    Unfortunate tidings Shills and Minions,

    Yours truly has been unceremoniously “unfriended” my the nefarious rebel de Costa. As the hatchlings say, “I haz a sad:(”

    Deploy the aerosols!

    Lord Zeneca Draconis, VH7ihL

    Foreward Mavoon of the Great Fleet, Pharmaca Magna of Terra, Terrible Envoy of H.I.H. Clopidogra Invicta XXIII of the

    Glaxxon Corpus, Best Dad in the World, Inquisitor General of the Primate Coucil

    Glaxxon PharmaCOM Terrabase DIA
    0001011100100101111010101010111101010010101010010

    —————————————-MESSAGE ENDS

  93. #93 Chris
    May 18, 2012

    Ms. De Coster:

    Note that the writer is named “Orac.” Really? Orac? And this moron is so unconvinced of his own trash writing that he can’t even put his name to the crap he writes, and this is supposed to be taken seriously?

    Isn’t it lovely when it is revealed that Orac’s identity is the worst kept secret on the Internet? Or that Ms. De Coster cannot find the bit on the upper part of this page that is titled “Who (or what) is Orac?”. Perhaps she was confused that the link to the full “about” page was in blue text, and not the red text of her own webpage (or she may be a rare women with colorblindness). She is a classic case of the Dunning-Kruger effect.

  94. #94 herr doktor bimler
    May 18, 2012

    Orac? And this moron is so unconvinced of his own trash writing that he can’t even put his name to the crap he writes, and this is supposed to be taken seriously?

    Don’t start me on that anonymous ‘Pharyngula’ guy.

  95. #95 Denice Walter
    May 18, 2012

    In our *Through the Looking World* world:

    pseudo-scientists like Mike Adams decry the lack of REAL science in industrial societies;

    under-educated hacks like Gary Null complain about the decline of educational systems;

    fraudsters like Andrew Wakefield call accurate reportage
    ‘defamation’;

    and inarticulate ranters like Ms De Coster have the f@cking nerve to criticise Orac’s pearls of wisdom, exquisitely set in finely wrought settings of immaculately conceptualised *Nouveau Anglais*:
    Madam, I have seen better writing than yours spray-painted on abandoned buildings and heard more sensitive, reflective analyses shouted out of the windows of speeding automobiles by 14 year olds.

  96. #96 Marg
    May 18, 2012

    Why do you keep generating post after post? Maybe because medicine doesn’t take up that much of your time? Perhaps you are retired?

  97. #97 Narad
    May 18, 2012

    Perhaps you are retired?

    Perhaps you are dim?

  98. #98 Chris
    May 18, 2012

    Marg, do you read books or watch TV? Do you have a hobby? Do people disparage your hobbies or how you spend your time?

    Does Orac really need your approval for his hobby?

  99. #99 brian
    May 18, 2012

    Marg, do you read books or watch TV? Do you have a hobby? Do people disparage your hobbies or how you spend your time?

    I suppose a better question would be something like this: Marg, do you perform life-altering and potentially life-saving surgery as well as directing a research laboratory with significant competitive funding and dedicated to the treatment of an important disease in addition to posting on the internet, or do you just post on the internet?

  100. #100 augustine
    May 19, 2012

    Why do you keep generating post after post? Maybe because medicine doesn’t take up that much of your time? Perhaps you are retired?

    Orac, the one who refers to himself in third person, isn’t know for his science. He has no meaningful contributions to speak of. He isn’t known in oncology for his breast cancer cutting abilities. Nothing show’s that he is anything more than average. What he’s known for is his ability to manipulate the English language and “blog” exceptionally well. He has a gift for gab. It is great for rhetoric. Not so great for clinical science.

  101. #101 Captian Quirk
    May 19, 2012

    “high-profit, untested, unproven, toxin-loaded drugs of the Big Government-Big Pharma, corporate-state regime?

    I would’ve gone with “low-profit, tested, proven, toxing-guarding drugs,” but then again, statistics comes fairly easily to me. (And, seriously, does anyone think pharmaceutical companies are raking it in with vaccines considering all the Viagra and Prozac they sell?)

    “How is my unvaccinated kid a danger to your vaccinated kid if vaccines work?”

    Maybe because there are lots of babies too young for many of the vaccinations, and VPDs are frequently much more dangerous to the very young than to the moderately young, like many other infectious diseases. Maybe because no medical intervention works 100% of the time, and some vaccines work better than others (flu vaccines work 70-some percent of the time, while MMR works 90-some percent of the time IIRC).

    If something has to work 100% of the time to qualify as “working,” then vaccines don’t work. But neither do seatbelts or computers or Tylenol. If everything that has even a minute risk is “dangerous” or “deadly,” then it’s a terrible idea to cross a street (car crash), go outside when it’s sunny (skin cancer), or eat a salad (food poisoning). The vast majority of people judge (accurately, IMO) that the benefits to doing these things greatly outweigh the risks. Those who avoid them for fear of these remote risks end up on reality TV shows about people with OCD and related anxiety disorders (I have pretty strong obsessive compulsive tendencies, so I have to monitor my reasoning behind various fears and avoidance behaviors to check and re-check whether I’m overestimating the risk, whether the fear is rational, whether the benefit outweighs the risk, etc. Looking at the numbers of well-designed studies is a good way for me to counter emotional instincts that can backfire majorly when wrong, even though in a different environment some degree of excessive caution would’ve likely been a great asset for survival, and there are some situations I permit a little extra caution – I don’t have a great void in my life if I never skydive or climb to the summit of a mountain and no one else has to suffer for it.)

    The arguments of the anti-vax crowd. are essentially “You have no worth, you are broken. My child would be better off dead, than like you” Their apparent insistence that they’d rather risk their child dying of a VPD, than take a minute risk of vaccine damage, is disgustingly callous. Again, it sends a clear message to disabled and non-NT people (and those who love them) “You’re damaged, horrible creatures”

    Very much agreed. As someone on the autism spectrum, this is what has always screamed loudest from the anti-vax/autism camp when I first heard about it as a teenager. Since a lot of anti-vax rhetoric hinges on convincing people that the risk is greater than the benefits, most arguments work on inflating the risk of vaccines, or minimizing the benefits. So they go on and on about how horrible autism is, calling it a “train wreck” or “tsunami” etc. High-functioning autistics chip away at that scaremongering tactic, so they say, “well, that’s not really autism”. But are more than happy to use 1 in 100 or 1 in 88 figures, which include the entire spectrum as currently defined. Yes, even the Sheldon-esque kids who are ahead in academics, but socially unskilled. (Sheldon Cooper from Big Bang Theory has more and stronger autistic traits than I do, and I was officially diagnosed over ten years ago).

    Incidentally, my dad was informally diagnosed with AS, and he struggles more with social difficulties than I do but holds down a job and is very intelligent, though not highly educated. Back when he was a kid no one thought of giving him a diagnosis other than putting him in the gifted program. If I was born in the 60s I might’ve gotten a diagnosis along the lines of speech/language impairment, general anxiety, or maybe elective mutism. Or maybe because I obeyed rules most of the time and was quiet and got good grades, I wouldn’t have gotten any diagnosis. It’s valid to argue that some of the higher-functioning autistic conditions have a totally different etiology to other forms of autism and should be classified as a completely different thing (it seems apparent to me that there are multiple autisms but that we just don’t know enough yet to draw the lines precisely and accurately), but when you use the ASD figure, that means all ASD, not your personal definition of what is and is not autism.

    And I seriously feel bad for those kids who struggle to communicate, who feel their parents’ grieving as though they aren’t really in there or the “real” child has died with them as the tragedy of a changeling filling the role of child, but cannot use language to explain how it makes them feel. That conversation would be tough enough for a kid with advanced language skills.

    While difficulty reading body language is common aspect to ASD, very often we perceive the emotions of the other, but struggle to figure out the appropriate response (“what can I do that will comfort them instead of making them angry or more sad”) or, even if figured out the appropriate response, struggle to implement it (“I intend to show my sympathy for the situation, but unbeknownst to me I am smiling and using an insincere-sounding tone which makes me look like I have no sympathy and intend to mock them”).

    As a kid, whenever there was a fight between parents, or a parent was disappointed in me for misbehaving, or one of my siblings was throwing a fit, I picked up on the emotions very quickly and experienced them very intensely. I’m pretty good at reading tone of voice and broad body gestures, but am still poor at reading subtle facial cues without context, probably in large part because I avoid looking at human faces, and did so when I was young and had the best opportunity to rapidly learn to read such cues.

  102. #102 delurked lurker
    May 19, 2012

    marg @ 93 Wrong not retired at all SFB . I wonder if David sleeps like us mortals ;) Perhaps he writes in his sleep

  103. #103 Marry Me, Mindy
    May 19, 2012

    How is my unvaccinated kid a danger to your vaccinated kid if vaccines work?”

    I propose we never answer this question directly anymore, becasause as far as I can see, it is never asked in good faith.

    A person who honestly asks this clearly has not done any even periphery reading about vaccines, and therefore should be advised to learn a little more basic vaccine information before jumping into this geroup. We can provide them with good resources, but this does not need to be a vaccine tutorial site.

    More often is the case is that the question is asked dishonestly by people who know darn well what the answer is but deny it, or just think their strawman is clever.

    Either way, it’s not worth indulging with an answer. Either the poser is completely ignorant about vaccines, at which point they should go look for more information, or they are dishonest.

  104. #104 Ren
    May 19, 2012

    @Marg

    I’ve been typing since I was in first grade. Mom taught me how to use a typewriter. Add on top of that the fact that I love to write and that I am passionate about what I write, and I can generate for you a multi-thousand word treatise on issues that I care about. I’m sure Orac is the same with regards to writing about what he cares for, though I don’t know when he started writing.

    If you like your hobby (or work), and if you know how to type fast, you can write something up real fast, even under an hour.

  105. #105 Denice Walter
    May 19, 2012

    @ Marg:

    I manage to scan alt med and write while I am at the computer ( altho’ my work involves speaking with people, my side-line necessitates monitoring via computers etc). I can type at more than 60 words at my other machine/ 50 on this ( *with* errors already accounted). I have been writing- for various pruposes- for a really long time.

    I think that our collective hobby is important: Orac provides a meeting place for like-minded people who are often aghast because pseudo-science has been encroaching upon what we grew up thinking was our modern, reality-based culture ( and by that, I don’t mean any particular country or the so-called ‘west’ but modern, industrial, literate society which exists all over the globe).

    Like Ren, I believe that my own areas of expertise contribute significantly to the general discussion. Also my material springs directly from a pet topic of my own: how goods and ideas are sold through advertising. I also have a great time playing with language and expression.

    Plus, I really hate seeing charlatans and fast-talkers manipulating people emotionally and becoming rich as they masquerade as experts without ever doing the very HARD WORK of studying and developing their abilities.

  106. #106 lilady
    May 19, 2012

    Still pondering how Orac manages to write about topics of interest, eh Marg?

    Well he does manage to do surgery and also is the director of breast cancer research center.

    If you go to the grocery story and purchase two boxes of Wheaties cereal, remove the boxtops and mail those boxtops along with $3 for shipping and handling, you will receive the secret decoder device. Put the device on a sunny window sill “to activate it”, then follow the directions written in the code book…and you will *discover* the real life identity of Orac. Or, you could peruse the upper left box above “Who (or what) is Orac?”

  107. #107 gpmtrixie
    May 19, 2012

    I visited Karen’s fb page. Other than being a narcissistic blowhard, I see she’s a CPA. As a CPA, count me as embarrassed. CPA’s are trained to understand statistics and to be skeptical, particularly to function as auditors. I’ll venture a guess that she’s a tax accountant-type CPA.

  108. #108 Glaxxon PharmaCOM Terrabase DIA
    May 19, 2012

    MESSAGE BEGINS————————

    Larg Marg,

    Retired? Moi? If only. I rise, semi-rested, with the screeching of either hatchlings or alarms from the battle bridge when I’m in orbit. When I’m here at Terrabase, my delicious naps are interrupted by workers, drones, shills, minions, Illuminati, Royals, Bankers and various other traitors to your species or shapeshifted client offworlders. Each sqwaking sleep-killer has a question, a question only I can answer. Cindy tries to intercede whenever she can, but often it’s a launch code only I possess or a plea for amnesty only a Mavoon can grant. I never have a day off. The life of an Eeeeeeevil™ Pharma Overlord is not all private Greek islands, glamour and paparazzi, despite Mike Adams’ best efforts to portray us that way.

    Still I don’t know how our esteemed host does it. He’s no ordinary cybernetic entity in a translucent case. He has a mate and offspring to please. He has “research” to engage in and Sooper Seekrit™ All-Natural, Non-Toxic, Kancer Kures© to suppress so yours truly can continue to subjugate your species and make a decent profit on my Eeeeeeevil™ Pharmaceuticals. He goes to conferences and and still finds time to produce what amounts to a small novel a day mocking and discrediting the rebels with their abovementioned, threatening, Soooper Seekrit™ All-Natural, Non-Toxic, Kancer Kures©.

    So no, Marg. We are not all “retired” here. I have a lovely mate who I only see every couple of weeks because she is out subduing other worlds, hundreds of ravenous offspring to distract with shiny objects, and a planet full of quarrelsome monkeys to subjugate. I do hope we have been of some help in disabusing you of the notion that we are angry, shiftless layabouts, drinking “energy” beverages whilst conuming maternally-prepared snacks in subterranean chambers. Well, at least the subterranean chamber part is true . . .

    Yours in Pharma Eeeeeeeevil,
    Lord Draconis Zeneca, VH7iHL

    Foreward Mavoon of the Great Fleet, Pharmaca Magna of Terra, 8744 Glaxxon of the Year, MonkeyMaster of Mars

    Glaxxon PharmaCOM Terrabase DIA
    0001011110101010111101010010101100101010101

    —————————————–MESSAGE ENDS

  109. #109 bad poet
    May 19, 2012

    Pony de Coster did very well at tapping hooves to make it appear she was adding and subtracting. This pleased the audience. However, she was unable to complete the course work in which she was supposed to appear as if she was carrying on a conversation. Extra homework was given, in the form of Mr. Ed DVDs. We attempted to place multiple tutors with her, but her unpleasant demeanor made it impossible to do so. We recommend she attend The Glue Factory, where the environment will be far more suited to her needs.

  110. #110 malia
    May 19, 2012

    @Mephistopheles O’Brien, @lilady
    That is definitely devou park in NKY…i just walked my dog right past that spot. OMG, she could be my neighbor!

  111. #111 lilady
    May 19, 2012

    @ malia: more from Karen De Coster…

    http://karendecoster.com/friendly-fascism-and-the-overlords.html

    Also, try Linkedin.com under her name. She *might be* the Karen De Coster who is a CPA and works for Detroit Blue Cross Blue Shield as a financial expert. She certainly hasn’t got a science/medical background.

  112. #112 malia
    May 19, 2012

    @lilady – well, I’m now hoping she was just on vacation and truly *does* live in MI? I work in ped onc, so I’m a bit passionate about this whole herd immunity business. That site you linked to made my blood boil. Not super excited about drill practice in (practically) my backyard either.

  113. #113 Darwy
    May 19, 2012

    Regarding Ms. De Coster, after reading through some of her Twitter and what she calls a blog, I can only say that the following line from “A Fish Called Wanda” applies.

    “How very interesting. You’re a true vulgarian, aren’t you?”

    @gpmtrixie You’re probably spot on with the tax accountant thing. She’s apparently very good at making numbers say what she thinks they should say.

  114. #114 Savannah
    May 19, 2012

    Can we say “double standards” or this nut case. She can’t spell as well. LOL

    “aren De Coster All of you who “liked” this post deserve to step on a rusty nail, you mothafuckers!”
    May 12 at 9:06pm · Like · 1

  115. #115 Savannah
    May 19, 2012

    My point is that people like De Coster invite other people on to her page and when she does not like their comment she then curses at them and calls them names.(“mothafuckers!”)Really!! Is she serious!! Maybe she is snorting the dirty moonshine or something. LOL. If she wants to be left alone with her way of thinking then she should crawl under a rock with all the other rattle snakes. Or at least respect other peoples life choices. Seems she wants other people to respect hers. Just saying she is truly a nut case.

  116. #116 Darwy
    May 19, 2012

    @Savannah That’s typical of folks that are incapable of debate. The ‘sure, come on over and we’ll discuss things’ actually means, ‘come over here so I can hurl invectives at them while patting myself on the back because I’m so damn witty’

    She’s absolutely vile.

  117. #117 janerella
    May 19, 2012

    Marry Me Mindy @ 104 – p’haps it needs to be a new Internet Law… Invoking Orac’s law – When during an anti vax discussion, asking the question “How is my unvaccinated kid a danger to your vaccinated kid if vaccines work?” automatically invalidates the asker’s claim to having done valid research and they are henceforth ignored from said discussion.

  118. #118 Marry Me, Mindy
    May 20, 2012

    Janerella – I already consider the question illegitmate, and just wish others would also recognize that. I do understand that sometimes it could be really be a neophyte who hasn’t actually looked into anything about vaccines, but in those cases, they should just be directed to simple sources. Most of the time, however, it’s from blowhards who think they are “informed” and have done their “research”. Yin that case, damn right they should know it.

  119. #119 Candy
    May 20, 2012

    She’s apparently a fan of the thoroughly vile “Advice Goddess.” Color me unsurprised . . .

  120. #120 DigitalAtheist
    May 20, 2012

    First time reader/commenter.

    My mother was a survivor of polio, when there was no vaccine for it. Her doctor woas a guy who read every thing he could get his hands on when it came to fighting such a malicious disease. She made sure that each of her children, me included, had every available vaccine there was… ya know… just because she’d been through the real thing herself.

    Thanks for taking the fight to the idiots who never had to deal with the real stuff… because vaccines and such… ya know? Kudos!

  121. #121 Matt f
    May 20, 2012

    The thing that got me the most was that she thinks that the Articles of Confederation is a superior form of government. She thinks despite all of the gostoricke evidence of how horrible it was and the fact that the founding fathers found that it was not fixable and threw it out. Plus all of the historical example of how badly confederations work as countries.

  122. #122 kruuth
    May 20, 2012

    How nice…she’s deleted all the comments that she didn’t like. She’s been called repeatedly and just keeps removing comments.

  123. #123 Science Mom
    May 20, 2012

    Her blog is crawling with completely credulous conspiracy theorists who sound like they are about 14 years old. I guess the gun-toting, faux libertarian, “badass” chicka won’t venture outside her cosy den of adolescent ass-kissers.

  124. #124 lilady
    May 20, 2012

    @ All You Futher Muckers *out there*:

    I’m so disappointed that we haven’t, as yet, convinced Karen to come and post here. I was so looking forwarded to engaging the gun totin’ libertarian moronic twit.

  125. #125 Pareidolius
    May 20, 2012

    I’m also disappointed that she can evidently dish it out, but is incapable of taking it. If she’s such a hardbodied, gun totin’, know-it-all, badass, why not come over here and school all the shills and minions? Give us the 411 on Teh New Werld Orderz. Pretty pleeeeeeeze?

  126. #126 Thomas
    May 20, 2012

    kruuth: “How nice…she’s deleted all the comments that she didn’t like. She’s been called repeatedly and just keeps removing comments.”

    Subtle distinctions are often illuminating. Orac freely allows comments that strongly disagree with him to be posted, due to his _confidence_ that in an open discussion, the truth will win out. I suspect Ms. De Coster deletes opposing comments due to her _fear_ that in open discussion the truth will win out…

  127. #127 DW
    May 20, 2012

    We at Illuminata Ltd have been highly entertained by the antics of yet *another* rebel riot-grrl- and lord almighty- haven’t we had a fierce crop this past week?

    Let’s review: lots of revolting mothers, the return of Louise Kuo Habakus spending other people’s money( @ Focus Autism Inc), Mesdames Taylor, Stagliano *et les autres* gearing up for the festival of St Andy next weekend. Now Annie got her gun. Obviously, these ladies are confusing feminism with wishful thinking and self-aggrandisement. Pity.

    Yours truly only yesterday spoke with a woman in the small- but extremely hip- town of -REDACTED- who was marketting her very own programmed crystals and programmed water- she had charged both of these transparent substances with her very own manna, prana or suchlike- upon questioning, she informed me that they would therefore exert powerful healing effects as well as attracting love, luck and money.
    I was about to ask her why all of that healing power did not allow her to leave her motorised chair but knew that that might have been a tad rude.

    She did nevertheless display some lovely quartz crystal necklaces- 3-4″ long pointed, arranged on a silver wire, at choker length- they had a ‘Queen of Outer Space’ scifi opera look about them. Not my style, but interesting.

    At least the science-based ladies of RI have the common sense and good taste to rely upon data and smarts, not high spirits and wishes.

    Sincerely, DW

  128. #128 lilady
    May 20, 2012

    @ DW: They are all *revolting*! I’m so sorry I will be missing the Quackfest where all the *revolting* mothers and other Autism One glitterati will be gathered:

    http://www.autismone.org/Saturday-Fund-Raising-Dinner-Autismone-Conference-2012

    “In a defining moment without fanfare or notice, Dr. Wakefield filed suit in Texas on January 3rd to reclaim his good name and redeem his work. The lawsuit strikes at the heart of the matter – the lies, corruption, and continuing cover-up. We are fighting back – at last. The battle has been joined. Dr. Wakefield’s science is sound and points the way to begin healing our children and ending the epidemic.

    Those who declared war on Dr. Wakefield, and by extension, any parent of a vaccine-injured child now stand accused as the perpetrators of the greatest suppression of science campaign in the history of medicine. The British Medical Journal, Fiona Godlee, the journal’s editor, and Brian Deer, the reporter will need to answer in a court of law – with discovery, depositions, testimony, cross examinations and witnesses – for their part in a campaign to subvert science and destroy Dr. Wakefield.

    Join us for this important dinner celebration. You will learn how we are winning and what comes next in our battle for justice. You will be feted, entertained, and empowered. You will laugh & cry, and you will help make the difference that charts the future course of our community out of darkness.”

    See…it isn’t just Andy’s “Justice Fund” it is the Autism Super PAC Justice Fund.

    Someone please report on the “Swanky” celebs.

  129. #129 Glaxxon PharmaCOM
    May 20, 2012

    MESSAGE BEGINS——————–

    Cadre Leader DW,
    Your new venture is the talk of the planetary subjugation council. Illuminata Ltd. is attracting a lot of attention from a certain Baron and his wife who I strongly suggest you invite to serve on your board in some perfunctory capacity. She doesn’t like to actually do anything, mind you, she just likes titles, accolades and being fawned over. well, she is fond of torturing poor people with kitchen utensils, but that’s more of a hobby than an actual job, no?

    In any case, a word to the wise.

    Appreciatively,

    Lord Draconis Zeneca, VH7iHL

    Insert accolades here.

    Undisclosed Location.

    00101110010100111001010001001011110010101

    ——————————-MESSAGE ENDS

  130. #130 Narad
    May 21, 2012

    Yours truly only yesterday spoke with a woman in the small- but extremely hip- town of -REDACTED- who was marketting her very own programmed crystals and programmed water-

    It would make my day if this involved the Seneca Encampment. They had the bestest logo back in the day.

  131. #131 g724
    May 21, 2012

    Darn, late to the party again, especially when it’s so much fun!

    Glaxxo @ 84, “aerosols… watch the skies!” Just brilliant! Absolutely brilliant. It would not surprise me if DeCoster freaked out and duct-taped her windows.

    DeCoster needs a serious lesson in the kind of paranoia that’s truly realistic and rational:

    “My real name, my biography, where I live, and my job/career are clearly conveyed along with every single thing I publish.”

    Conveyed right into the hands of identity thieves!

    Really! Name + date of birth = identity theft. Name + “where I live” address = burglars and home-invasion robbers. Name + job/career = bad PR for her employer. Any idiot knows to avoid posting personal information like that.

    Notice this: “herd immunity” is equated with “collectivism” which is to say, communism: “…they couch their aggression and defense of the conventional garbage in collective, unscientific terms (such as “herd immunity”).”

    So now we have the latest extreme-right-wing meme, as in “way out there in John Birch / Koch territory”, that the entire concept of herd immunity is some kind of collectivist propaganda. OK, whatever, we’re all socialists! Next!

    Re. early comment to the effect that not getting vaccinated is a personal risk: Shot down sufficiently well by everyone else here, that I hardly have to peep about it, but suffice to say that those who refuse to get vaccinated without medical reason (immunocompromised etc.) are walking disease vectors who put others at risk too. And unlike ambient tobacco smoke, the risk is immediate and acute.

    Re. this blog: And we don’t all agree about everything, either: for example there are atheists and theists here who routinely make mention of their beliefs about the existence or non-existence of a deity.

    Re. Denise @ 105, “fast-talkers…” Please let us get rid of that execrable stereotype. I’ve been a “fast talker” all my life, due to having no “sense of time passing.” I can tell you to within five minutes “what time it is” but I can’t tell you “when five minutes have passed” unless I’m paying close attention to counting the seconds. Presumably this is a minor glitch in my brain wiring, but it produces a nasty social consequence due to the damn stereotypes.

    What you’re probably trying to say is “slick-talkers,” as in, “charming” as in “sociopaths.” That’s what con-artists and fraudsters do: charm, charm, charm, as slowly as needed, as slick as can be, and with the victim feeling “understood” and “special.” Let’s be on guard against the real deal, and not promote a pernicious stereotype. Thank you.

    Lastly but not leastly, next time Orac posts about homeopathy, I have a very special treat for him: links about a false advertising claim for what amounts to homeopathic floor-cleaner. By a major manufacturer of industrial cleaning equipment no less. It’s a real hoot. Stay tuned…!

  132. #132 herr doktor bimler
    May 21, 2012

    g724: ambient tobacco smoke
    Not a bad analogy.
    “How are my cigarettes a problem for your cigarette abstinence, if non-smoking reduces lung-cancer risk?”

  133. #133 Militant Agnostic
    May 21, 2012

    delurked lurker

    I wonder if David sleeps like us mortals ;) Perhaps he writes in his sleep.

    That would explain the frequent incomplete sentences and other WTF level grammatical errors in a lot of his posts. Either that or he doesn’t have time to proofread with his day job and his other day job along with flying up to orbit for meetings with Lord Draconis.

  134. #134 Denice Walter
    May 21, 2012

    @ g724:

    I’m sorry – I didn’t intend that figure of speech to be taken literally- it is Old School slang for a salesman who has a bill of goods to sell you and has all of your questions answered in advance- e.g. altho’ I might refer to AJW as a ‘fast-talker’, because he covers his a-se with a great deal of fabricated nonsense, I can attest that his speech patterns are not rapid but studied and *sincere*- as if he worked them out in advance. Similarly, Adams might be so characterised as well- even tho’ he’s in print. I don’t just mean slick.

  135. #135 Pareidolius
    May 21, 2012

    Yes, M.A., our esteemed host is indeed quite prolific and yes, he does make the occasional lexical slip-up from time to time . And as a regular commenter you also know how much he simply loves grammatical pedantry. Watch the skies, indeed . . .

  136. #136 Phoenix Woman
    May 21, 2012

    Ah, Dr. Smith! You’re like a petty thief who accidentally wandered into an FBI picnic and made the mistake of trying to boost somebody’s wallet.

    What I really love is when some anti-vaxer adopting the JAQoff pose comes a-callin’ to this site and thinks he or she is the very first person ever to try the JAQoff Gambit — and is shocked, shocked, when the assembled scientists and smart layfolk, having seen this maneuver eleventy-five-billion times before, proceed to spank the would-be JAQoff artist so hard that he or she (if possessed of any sense or any shame) slinks off, never to be seen again in these parts.

    A warning to all would-be JAQoffs attempting to JAQoff on this site: We can generally tell legitimately questioning folk from JAQoffs right from the get-go. (How do we know when “I’m just asking questions” is just a pose? It’s when it’s as obvious as a barn door — via the JAQoff’s use of antivax jargon and/or cites, or just how his/her questions are set up to be leading questions — that the JAQoff’s mind is already made up and no amount of actual facts, logic or science could affect it.)

  137. #137 Science Mom
    May 21, 2012

    Thank you Phoenix Woman for a new vernacular that will enter my lexicon.

  138. #138 Roadstergal
    May 21, 2012

    Dammit, I missed out on a fun one…

    ‘Glass-jawed’ is something I’m going to have to use. Along with ‘paleo halitosis.’

    Re: Fast talker – I’m a fast talker in the literal, non-deceptive sense, too. I’ve had to work hard to slow down my speech to make myself understandable. And to speak more loudly, too. I remember playing Paranoia, and the distinction between being a fast talker (not giving someone time to think) and conning someone – a succesful ‘fast talk’ would get you out of a situation, but the person would inevitably think things over after you’ve left, and realize they were duped, while a successful con means the person wouldn’t get that they had been duped. On those grounds, I’d put Wakers in the category of ‘con man’ rather than ‘fast talker.’

  139. #139 Levitra
    http://www.generic-levitra-vardenafil.com/
    May 23, 2012

    Wow what a amazing story

  140. #140 Jamaal Lekas
    May 25, 2012

    Attractive section of content. I just stumbled upon your web site and in accession capital to assert that I get actually enjoyed account your blog posts. Any way I will be subscribing to your feeds and even I achievement you access consistently rapidly.

  141. #141 John H
    UK
    May 26, 2012

    If De Coster has (in her own words) a “beautiful, healthy body” could I ask why she needed a hip operation with subsequent pain which required an ergonomics professional to help her.

  142. #142 John H
    May 26, 2012

    Not to mention the “three shoulder surgeries” she refers to on her web site.

    So two fails out of three on the “beautiful, healthy body” then.

  143. #143 Politicalguineapig
    May 26, 2012

    JohnH: Perhaps she’s also of the opinion that traffic rules and regulations do not apply to her? I messed my shoulder up pretty good in a traffic accident once. Didn’t need surgery, but I couldn’t lift my arm above my shoulder for a month.

  144. #144 DLC
    May 30, 2012

    wow. this mook doesn’t understand the scientific evidence so they assume anyone who does is incapable of understanding science *and* a minion of Big Pharma. Project much ?

  145. #145 Jinx_of_Century
    Atlanta, GA
    June 1, 2012

    You DID get a mention on naturalnews, Orac: http://www.naturalnews.com/031337_vaccine_epidemic_book.html
    Apparently you’re a “pharma-paid minion.”

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