Respectful Insolence

Almost everyone knows the story of Victor Frankenstein and his monster. It’s such a classic tale that has been around so long and told so many times in so many ways that it’s almost impossible for someone living in this country not to have encountered it growing up. Frankenstein’s monster is also a tale that strikes me as an excellent metaphor for something that I witnessed that puzzled the hell out of me the other day, because, as everyone knows, during the tale the monster ultimately turns on its master, wreaking its revenge by killing people Victor loves and, depending on the telling, Victor himself. We’re seeing the very same thing going on in the antivaccine movement right now, a veritable Frankenstein’s monster turning his creators. I’m not sure whether to be amused or appalled. Actually, I think I’m a little of both. More importantly, in turning on his creators, this particular creation is airing some seriously dirty laundry that a lot of big name antivaccinationists (well, at least as big of a name as antivaccinationists can be) would probably rather not see aired.

I’m referring to a link that multiple readers sent me to a truly bizarre rant even by the standards of its author. Who, you might ask, is that author? Why, it’s none other than Jake Crosby, and he’s ripping into his former masters with a gusto that would frighten even the real Frankenstein’s monster.

What I’m referring to is an article that Jake mysteriously posted a link on his Twitter feed with the cryptic caption New Post, but not on @AgeofAutism: @safeminds Steals The Show, Literally…, and, indeed, the link led to a post by him not on his usual home, that wretched hive of scum and quackery, that antivaccine propaganda crank blog supreme, Age of Autism. As hard as it is to believe, Jake apparently found a hive of scum and quackery even more wretched than AoA, a crank website even more supreme than the antivaccine home on the web, with a webmaster even more detached from reality than any blogger on AoA. I know, I know, it’s really hard to believe, but it’s true. Don’t believe me? What if I told you that Jake’s latest opus appears on Patrick “Tim” Bolen’s website, the Bolen Report. So full of pure pseudoscience, quackery, and nonsense, all held together with the glue of even purer bile, is Bolen’s website, that I hesitate to link to it, even with the obligatory rel=”nofollow” tag. But link to it I will, because you just have to see how Jake has, as Science Mom tells us, thrown his former “mentors” under the bus. In the process, Jake utterly betrays them by sharing excerpts of private e-mails from the mailing list of the antivaccine group SafeMinds, as well as from private e-mails sent by “luminaries” of the antivaccine movement such as Mark Blaxill, Lyn Redwood, Sallie Bernard, Kate Weisman, and Eric Uram. It is truly a wonder to behold. No wonder Liz Ditz has saved screen shots, lest Jake be tempted to throw his screed down the ol’ memory hole. (Personally, I prefer to save web archives, but that’s just me.)

Before I go on, I can’t resist a brief aside here. Having been at the receiving end of such tactics by cranks, I’m shocked that the antivaccine “brain trust” was so foolish as to trust Jake enough to let him into their private deliberations so deeply. After all, this is a young man who is a two trick pony, having evolved from being a one trick pony. His first trick is to insinuate 6,000 degrees of separation conspiracy theories based on the flimsiest evidence, as he famously did to Adam Bly a few years ago. His second trick is to show up at talks by scientists such as Paul Offit or writers such as Seth Mnookin and either (1) get himself kicked out so that he can cry “censorship” and label his opponents as enemies of free speech who are too afraid to face him or (2) try to get them to say things that he can later use to embarrass them by publishing them on AoA. As another aspect of this topic, he likes to e-mail people and then publish their responses without their permission. Usually the story Jake ends up telling is a distorted, selective version. Oddly enough, the story that Jake tells about being shut out of the Congressional hearing rings true for a change (for him) in that it is very plausible that the leadership of SafeMinds would not want him to testify because letting Jake testify would make the organization look like the nutty antivaccine organization that it is. Ironically, Jake’s post at the Bolen Report may be the most accurate smear job he’s ever done.

So (spoilers!) when Mark Blaxill tells Jake,

Your interpretation of events is so radically wrong and the key facts you use to support your interpretation are incorrect in so many key respects, it’s not worth arguing with you anymore. So I won’t. It’s low quality work, that’s all I’ll say, and you should set a higher standard for yourself.

I nonetheless have a hard time mustering up much sympathy for Blaxill, even considering how much I detest people who violate trust as egregiously as Jake did when he publicized private communications on a website. After all, Blaxill was part of the brain trust at AoA and SafeMinds that helped create Jake and “guide” his development, making him what he now is by nurturing his radical tendencies, patting him on the back, egging him on, and using him like a trained attack poodle to go after declared enemies of the revolution antivaccine movement. To see Blaxill’s wounded anger when the viper he helped to nurture turns on him is priceless. I also can’t help but chuckle heartily that Blaxill, of all people, would be the least bit bothered by incorrect interpretations of facts when he himself (working with Dan Olmsted) is responsible for some of the most hilariously incorrect, arrogantly ignorant interpretations of facts and science found in the antivaccine movement. Just check out what he and Olmsted wrote about polio and pesticides if you don’t believe me. Really, please do.

So what brought on this schism?

Remember a couple of months ago? That was when Representative Darrell Issa, who currently chairs the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, the committee that the most antivaccine Representative ever, Dan Burton, used to chair, held one last Congressional hearing on vaccines autism. Given that Burton had decided to retire at the end of the last Congress, it was basically a last antivaccine hurrah, a farewell present for Issa’s old buddy Burton, whose tenure as chair of the Oversight Committee was remarkable for several hearings in which antivaccine “scientists” and activists were allowed to let their pseudoscience and conspiracy theories fly free in Congress. That’s because Dan Burton is a true believer, utterly convinced that vaccines caused is grandson’s autism. What a nice retirement present from a friend!

In any case, as you might expect, the hearing, held on November 29, turned into a fiasco. That, of course, was not unexpected. How could it be otherwise? What was unexpected is that it wasn’t as loony as a typical Burton vaccine hearing. Also unexpected was something that Jake revealed, namely the efforts to which SafeMinds went to try to appear sane and rational for the hearing. Where Jake wanted to go charging in with testimony laden with multiple antivaccine conspiracy theories, Blaxill and the rest of the SafeMinds leadership clearly wanted to keep Jake as far away as possible from that meeting room. At one point, Jake recounts how Kate Weisman, SafeMinds’ Communications Committee Chair, suggested that he “walk the halls”:

Shortly thereafter, SafeMinds sent out its email alerting people about the Congressional Hearing; the alert made no mention of vaccines or the cover-up, and simply asked people if they thought the government was doing a good job with regard to autism. When I raised this concern with Kate Weisman, she explained that the action alert had already been sent out.

I replied:

I understand, but how can we leave vaccines out when the government has been caught covering them up? Are we really that afraid of being labeled “anti-vaccine” – an Ad Hom attack the vaccine industry throws at anyone who threatens its bottom line?

She responded:

I think Mark will talk about vaccines, but we won’t be able to go into all the details in 5 minutes. Beth, Mark and Lyn are working on the SafeMinds written testimony. …If you have any time to “walk the halls” and help with that, it is probably the best way to ensure that some tough questions get asked.

Apparently even SafeMinds realized what a loose cannon Jake is and didn’t want him testifying under any circumstances. Undoubtedly this was a smart decision. How it was implemented might not have been that smart, but if I were an antivaccine crank running an organization that had somehow scored an invitation to speak in front of Congress along with legitimate autism groups, I’d do my damnedest to keep the loons away. It’s good tactics and good politics. And that’s exactly what Weisman tried to do, as this exchange demonstrates:

I [Jake] responded by urging that Blaxill talk about vaccines, and I asked if I could have the opportunity to testify as well. I wrote:

He really ought to talk about vaccines. Not only that, he should talk about the corrupt activities government is involved in. 5 minutes isn’t that much time, but an awful lot can still be said within 5 minutes. I don’t know what you mean by “walk the halls,” but I would really appreciate it if I could have the opportunity to testify in front of Congress. How did Mark get the chance of testifying?

Weisman responded with a long email, explaining in detail how I, a person on the autism spectrum, should go to congressional offices, talk to aides and drop off materials. Along with this insulting request, she claimed:

In-person testifying isn’t something we control. They invited SafeMinds and Mark was willing to do it, since Lyn couldn’t. Marin’s office invited 4 organizations – we are lucky that we are one of the 4. That’s all the time they have allocated for the community – it’s not like IACC where whoever signs up gets to make public comment – the committee has to invite you. That is why we have to be careful not to piss them off too much.

It is strange that SafeMinds was able to successfully lobby for Mark Blaxill’s position on the panel, but not for someone with autism. This left the opportunity wide open for others with autism who do not acknowledge vaccines’ role in the autism epidemic or even the epidemic itself to lobby to testify. The Autistic Self-Advocacy Network (ASAN) and the Global and Regional Asperger Syndrome Partnership (GRASP) were not afraid to “piss them off too much” when both groups successfully lobbied Congress to include their leaders in the hearing as representatives on the autism spectrum.

Poor Jake. It’s obvious from his account that SafeMinds wanted Blaxill and not him because, as much as Blaxill thinks he’s a scientist and isn’t, he at least knows when to keep his conspiracy theories at least somewhat in check in situations like a Congressional hearing. Jake doesn’t. Much of Jake’s lengthy post involves his description of his efforts to try to persuade the SafeMinds leadership to allow Mark and David Geier and/or Dr. Brian Hooker” to testify about the “vaccine-autism link” that doesn’t exist and about the Poul Thorsen case, a bogey man that the antivaccine activists like to flog to try to “prove” that there is a coverup of massive corruption in CDC vaccine research. There isn’t, and pro-vaccine scientists like myself make no bones about saying that Thorsen should be prosecuted if there’s sufficient evidence that he committed the fraud with federal government grant money that he’s accused of committing and sent to jail for a long time if convicted. We also point out that Thorsen’s possible fraud has nothing to do with the validity of the Danish studies, despite the most strenuous efforts of Jake and other antivaccinationists to make it seem as though Thorsen’s purported fraud invalidates all the science that shows that there is no detectable link between vaccines and autism. Shockingly, Weisman herself apparently even said that she was “not aware of any direct proof of Dr. Poul Thorsen’s role in data manipulation.” Ultimately, bringing up Thorsen was vetoed, although it is rather interesting how Weisman encouraged Jake to “keep digging” earlier but, when Jake wanted to take advantage of a huge public forum to spew his conspiracy theories about Thorsen, Weisman reined him in.

Taken as a whole, Jake’s diatribe is just another example of the tension inside the antivaccine movement. On the one side, there are the “respectable” antivaccine groups, like SafeMinds, Generation Rescue, and the National Vaccine Information Center. These groups have managed to get some mainstream traction, and their leaders are sometimes featured in reports as “vaccine skeptics” by mainstream media outlets in the name of false “balance,” as Barbara Loe Fisher was recently on NPR. Then there’s SafeMinds, which somehow managed to score an invitation to be one of the autism advocacy groups (and in Safeminds’ case I use that term very loosely) invited to testify in front of Dan Burton’s swan song of a hearing. Such publicity is a chance they don’t want to blow, which instills caution even in antivaccine zealots. On the other side are the radicals, like Jake, who view such opportunities as rare chances to proclaim their wackiest conspiracy theories to large audiences. Indeed, what this latest kerfuffle reminds me of is Jenny McCarthy’s antivaccine protest in Washington nearly five years ago. Before the protest, I monitored some of the antivaccine mailing lists, and I noted a definite tension between the antivaccine activists who weren’t afraid of the label “antivaccine” and Jenny McCarthy’s minions, who were trying to stick to the party line that the protest was all about “greening our vaccines” and that the group was “not antivaccine, but ‘pro-safe vaccine.'” Then, of course, there’s the age-old conflict between age and pragmatism versus youth and radicalism that plays out in all sorts of political organizations. Jake ended up on the losing side, and he didn’t like it. He was out, along with Brian Hooker and Mark and David Geier, because they were all too fringe and because the Geiers were suing several of the attorneys in the Petitioner’s Steering Committee for millions of dollars. Blaxill was in.

There’s another very disturbing thing that Jake reveals. His initial complaint was this:

Dr. Brian Hooker – biochemical engineer, university professor and autism parent – worked tirelessly for six months to resume the Dan Burton autism hearings, and was the key person from the autism community to set up the recent Congressional Autism Hearing. And yet, at some point prior to the hearing, his work was pushed aside by an organization pretending to represent him to Congressional Staffer Mark Marin. That organization is the Coalition for SafeMinds (Sensible action for ending Mercury-induced neurological disorders), on which I served as a member of its Government Affairs Committee. When SafeMinds’ executive director Eric Uram invited me onto the committee, he stated one of two major objectives for the organization’s presence in Washington, D.C. was, “seeking to elevate the issues related to vaccines and vaccine injury.” So I joined.

For several months, I was under the impression that SafeMinds led preparation for the hearing. However, I later learned that SafeMinds’ involvement actually began when one of Dr. Hooker’s co-organizers revealed the news about the upcoming hearing to SafeMinds’ Government Affairs Committee Chair Mark Blaxill at AutismOne. From there, SafeMinds hired external consultant Beth Clay – former Burton Staffer and experienced Washington-based lobbyist (who now also happens to be International Ambassador to the Scientology Front “Citizens Commission on Human Rights”) to lobby on SafeMinds’ behalf. Neither Clay nor Uram has a familial connection to autism, to my knowledge.

According to Marin, the congressional staffer who worked closely with committee chair Darrell Issa, Clay introduced herself as a representative of Dr. Brian Hooker when in fact that was not the case. Nevertheless, Clay succeeded in replacing Dr. Hooker’s testimony with that of Mark Blaxill. Dr. Hooker had prepared five solid minutes summarizing in devastating detail the government cover-up of thimerosal-containing vaccines’ causal role in the autism epidemic (please read it here), in contrast to Mark Blaxill’s testimony.

Now here’s the interesting thing. Hooker really did claim to have met with several members of the Oversight Committee. Moreover, Beth Clay reports on her website that from 1998 to 2003 she

…served as a Professional Staff member on the Committee on Government Reform with Chairman Dan Burton and subsequently a Senior Professional Staff Member on the Subcommittee on Human Rights and Wellness. She led oversight activities regarding health research, practices, and regulation culminating in more than 2 dozen hearings. Areas of focus included cancer research and treatment, pediatrics, vaccine injury, FDA regulation, conflicts of interest, health care disparities, disease prevention, integrative medicine, and drug re-importation.

Clay was also a founding board member of the National Autism Association, which buys into antivaccine pseudoscience. All of this means that in his heyday, Burton had at least one board member of an organization pushing vaccine-autism pseudoscience working very closely with him. Did anyone know that at the time?

In the end, I almost—almost—feel sorry for Jake. He’s just gotten his first real lesson in realpolitik. Unfortunately for him, he’s chosen to react to that defeat by burning all his bridges with his creators and masters. In fact, he hasn’t just burned the bridges, he’s soaked the bridges with napalm and then stood there with a flamethrower until nothing remains but soot by betraying the confidences of several of the leaders of SafeMinds. Indeed, it’s hard to overemphasize just how badly Jake has betrayed his friends. People do not take kindly at all to having their private e-mails aired publicly, even excerpts from them. It is a breach of trust that I view as very difficult to forgive. Do it to me, and you make me your enemy. On the other hand, as I alluded to above, I can’t believe SafeMinds and AoA couldn’t see something like this coming, given Jake’s history.

The more disturbing question is what’s going to happen next. Jake had a political battle and lost. It happens to all of us who are involved in any sort of cause. Unfortunately for him, he was so immature that he basically threw a major temper tantrum and lashed out at his allies in a near-unforgivable way, shooting himself in the foot in the process by betraying them. Jake clearly views himself as a future leader of the antivaccine movement. (After all, why else would he go to graduate school to study epidemiology if he weren’t grooming himself to be the next Andrew Wakefield, using his skills to “prove” that vaccines cause autism?) He doesn’t have any of the charisma or political savvy that would suggest a future leader, and, worse for him, he appears incapable of learning. Sadly, what’s likely to happen is that he will go further and further into the fringes, although now that I think of it I don’t see it as an easy task to go further to the fringes than he has gone. He has, after all, started posting on Tim Bolen’s website, and it doesn’t get much more fringe than that, unless you count Time Cube territory.

In the end, Jake might make up with his allies, but one thing’s for sure. Even if there ever is some sort of reconciliation between Jake and his creators in the future, they won’t trust Jake again for a very long time, even in the unlikely event that they ever trust him again.

Comments

  1. #1 Science Mom
    http://justthevax.blogspot.com/
    February 1, 2013

    Frankenstein is a very apt analogy. As for Beth Clay, it is obvious she has been the conduit between Burton’s office and the anti-vaxx braintrust and now Issa. Has anyone taken a gander at her clients? She also represents some “Big Pharma” interests.

    I too feel a bit sorry for Jake. He’s been patted on the head so many times for his conspiratorial rants and attacks on public figures, he’s come to believe he’s doing really good work only to have the rug pulled out from beneath him by people he admires and trusts and who have egged him on.

    Ironically, his best work yet has been this exposition of the dirty dealings going on behind the scenes with these incestuous anti-vaxx groups.

  2. #2 Todd W.
    harpocratesspeaks.com
    February 1, 2013

    It’s even worse than just having burned bridges with his friends (if he even considers them that anymore) at AoA and SafeMinds. He wrote all of this very publicly. He’s still in school and not yet working for a living. As many of us tried to warn him back when he first started writing diatribes at AoA, this will not reflect well on him professionally.

    In the grips of youthful naivete, I think he views himself as a champion of truth and right, and that therefore it doesn’t matter what he says. He’s right, and so he’s justified, so no one can begrudge him for that. But the real world doesn’t work like that. Politics and political savvy, for better or worse, matter. A lot. And doing something like this? If his future career wasn’t already tanked, this could do it.

    I’m torn between feeling really, really bad for Jake and feeling that any consequences are really of his own making.

  3. #3 Roger Kulp
    February 1, 2013

    So is Jake trying to make an ally of ASAN or GRASP?The enemy of my enemy and all that.It seems weird considering ASAN’s position on autism “cures” and treatment.{ike all of Jake’s screeds,this one’s a little hard to follow.

  4. #4 MikeMa
    RI
    February 1, 2013

    Jake may have difficulty getting meaningful work in his field but political work may not be so far out of range. A young, intense, and very driven graduate with some extra letters on his name may be just the ticket some politico might want to rouse a base with more fear than brains.

    As for feeling sorry for him, not so much. He has a lot of time to create havoc and will no doubt strive to do so. Children will be hurt by his efforts.

  5. #5 Julian Frost
    NOYDB
    February 1, 2013

    I recall reading somewhere (I don’t remember where) that fanatics always turn on each other.
    The AoA ringleaders brought this on themselves. Jake was always a bit of a loose cannon, and now he’s damaging them. It’s almost comical.
    Almost.

  6. #6 Science Mom
    http://justthevax.blogspot.com/
    February 1, 2013

    So is Jake trying to make an ally of ASAN or GRASP?

    Nope, not in a million years. Jake detests these groups and views them as hindrances in his “crusade for the truth and exposing the government cover-up”.

  7. #7 Science Mom
    http://justthevax.blogspot.com/
    February 1, 2013

    A young, intense, and very driven graduate with some extra letters on his name may be just the ticket some politico might want to rouse a base with more fear than brains.

    I don’t know about that. Have you ever seen him speak? http://videocast.nih.gov/summary.asp?Live=12415&bhcp=1 (go to 138 minute mark). I was waiting for him to bang his shoe on the podium and his mouth to catch on fire.

  8. #8 MikeMa
    February 1, 2013

    @Science Mom,
    I cannot view the link at work but with so little to offer, politics may be all Jake is qualified for.

  9. #9 LW
    February 1, 2013

    Perhaps the goal for Jake would be to be behind the scenes for some politician, digging up dirt and writing conspiratorial screeds featuring his politician as the only honest person among the villains.

  10. #10 Eric Lund
    February 1, 2013

    A young, intense, and very driven graduate with some extra letters on his name may be just the ticket some politico might want to rouse a base with more fear than brains.

    Some naive politico might think so, yes. A politico with enough savvy to do the due diligence will find out that our Mr. Crosby is a loose cannon. If I were playing a deep Machiavellian game, I might even try to plant Crosby on the opposition to make them look bad.

    I haven’t heard Crosby speak, but if Science Mom’s description of Crosby’s speaking voice is accurate, he’ll have a hard time being elected dogcatcher.

  11. #11 Todd W.
    harpocratesspeaks.com
    February 1, 2013

    @Eric Lund

    He started out sounding more-or-less calm, if rushing his words a bit. But as he went on, there were more and more signs (both visual and audial) of inchoate rage. If he’d had time to go on longer, I wouldn’t have been surprised if he ended with “WHAARRRGGGRBBLL!”

    But, rather than take mine or Science Mom’s word, try to watch the video.

  12. #12 I. Rony Meter
    February 1, 2013

    So Jake thought AoA would publish his article critical if another editor and their sponsors? Welcome to biased “journalism” and the bottom rung of the ladder.

    When I first read the Bolen report (seriously, the Bolen Report?) I was convinced this was a resignation. A parting shot. But he expected to publish all these internal emails on AoA. So he must not understand how serious those breaches of trust are.

    I don’t know why he might want to stay with AoA or SafeMinds after these events. If he thinks he can come back in a leadership role, good luck to him. SafeMinds hasn’t changed leadership substantially since the days when people took them somewhat seriously. And, sure, AoA is going to let him write what he wants.

    He’s never being cc’d on another sensitive email. What sort of future does that portend for him?

    He may not have intended this as a resignation, but it either is effectively one, or he’s looking at being the Jimmy Olsen of AoA forever. Never taken seriously.

  13. #13 Lawrence
    February 1, 2013

    Wow – in mainstream organizations, this would be cause for either firing or severing of whatever relationship the individual had (perhaps even legal action, depending on the sensitivity of the emails & issues, etc).

    For a group like AoA, Safeminds, etc. who really don’t like to be put under a microscope (and especially have the airing of dirty laundry in public) the repercussions could even be more severe….probably a full shunning.

    Bad news for Jake….

  14. #14 Skeptico
    February 1, 2013

    One small point. Jake writes:

    Are we really that afraid of being labeled “anti-vaccine” – an Ad Hom attack

    That’s not ad hominem. If they are anti vaccine, calling them such is just describing what they do. Describing their arguments is not ad hominem.

    Possibly not Jake’s greatest error, I agree.

  15. #15 lilady
    February 1, 2013

    Here’s another rant from Jake when he addresses *the corruption* at the IACC, because he was not chosen as an autistic member of the committee…even though he was “nominated”.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C7LKrOPFt2A

    Where’s “jen”…I know she’s lurking here and she posts on AoA about Orac’s latest blogs.

  16. #16 Ren
    Skating on the road to the charmed city
    February 1, 2013

    “Where’s “jen”…I know she’s lurking here and she posts on AoA about Orac’s latest blogs.”

    I will bet you $10 that they (AoA) will not post this or make any noise about it. This is a major embarrassment for them. Their own “contributing editor”, their “future” has turned around and bit them, hard. (If they do mention his rant or this or any other blog post about it, I’ll buy $10 worth of vaccines for Doctors Without Borders or some such.)

    But that’s how it goes when all you do is fuel fires and teach people to attack not with facts but with conspiracy theories and innuendo. I wonder if anyone ever looked at a post by Jake and said to him, “You know, this is an ad hominem, this here has no basis in science, and this, this is just stretching the truth too far”. Because that’s what he did in so many of his posts. Either they saw it or they are that deluded in their “revolution”.

    I agree with others about the email thing. No self-respecting organization will hire someone known to reveal “state secrets” like that. He’s not even being a “whistle blower”. He’s just whining that he’s so special, that he has all this “inside info” that we all have somehow missed, but that no one will give him a proper outlet to reveal the truth.

    I too feel bad for him. Someone said to me this morning that he not only had monsters under the bed now, they were in the closet, in the pantry, and, now, in the mirror. And now he’s lost a huge source of support for him.

  17. #17 DLC
    February 1, 2013

    Well he got in a good parting shot, but AoA/Safeminds gave him the ammo and loaded the gun. Not the best of analogies perhaps, but close enough for me.

  18. #18 Shay
    February 1, 2013

    What is so evident here is Mr. Crosby’s over-whelming (maybe I should write “overwheening”) sense of self-importance.

    How dare they ask anyone else to testify? How dare they?!

    (If you monitor the lunatic fringe, you would notice that Jake has a lot in common with Orly Taitz).

  19. #19 Jen
    February 1, 2013

    I don’t know if this is as exciting as Orac makes it out to be. Many organizations historically have had different opinions on how to achieve objectives – the abolishionists didn’t always agree on how to go about things but they all thought that slavery was a bad thing. Similarly, many concerned about children’s health feel that vaccine ‘safety’ has not been properly assessed (fox guarding the henhouse at CDC etc.) and this includes many respected doctors, scientists, researchers.

  20. #20 Darwy
    Røde grøde med fløde
    February 1, 2013

    Jake will be an epidemiologist about the same time my fat ass walks down the Victoria Secret runway with Gisele Bundchen.

  21. #21 lilady
    February 1, 2013

    @ Ren: I just *knew* you would be posting here about the epidemiologist-wannabe.

    For you Ren, for Orac, for Brian Deer and all the others that Jake has libeled and defamed…

    http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41xfDt2M2wL._SL500_AA300_.jpg

  22. #22 Science Mom
    http://justthevax.blogspot.com/
    February 1, 2013

    I don’t know if this is as exciting as Orac makes it out to be. Many organizations historically have had different opinions on how to achieve objectives –

    Nice try at spin Jen, maybe you can replace Jake as the next cub reporter; you have the goofy rage down. And of course, the anti-vaxx loons at all of the “organisations” are exactly like abolitionists…not.

  23. #23 MI Dawn
    February 1, 2013

    @Jen: Ok, Jen. Give us peer-reviewed, documented examples of the lack of vaccine safety assessment. You may use Canada, the UK, Australia, Germany, Japan, any other first world country you like. Make sure you account for differences in reporting structures (fetal demise, etc), heterogeneity/homogeneity of the population, reasons for variances in the vaccine schedules. I’m waiting with bated breath. (I won’t hold it because I’d be long dead before you bring anything that fits the criteria to the table).

    I never cease to be amazed at the power of the CDC, able to direct the world on how to study things and what to report.

  24. #24 lilady
    February 1, 2013

    @ Darwy: “Jake might be awarded a MPH-Epidemiologist degree, but he will never be an epidemiologist” -lilady

    @ Jen: I triple dog dare you to link to this blog at AoA.

  25. #25 Ren
    Out of the ice and into the fire
    February 1, 2013

    ” I just *knew* you would be posting here about the epidemiologist-wannabe.”

    Where else would I post? I don’t write about vaccines/science/public health on my personal blog anymore. And it’s not like I have a super-secret blog somewhere where I write about these things under a pseudonym. That’s so not very original.

    Besides our obvious counter-positions on the science/evidence scale, Jake and I are about to share an alma mater. On the one hand, I believe I’ve done my best to improve the health of a lot people. On the other, Jake seems to be planning to continue his attacks on public health once he gets the MPH. How we both ended up on such different points on the scale while studying public health from the same organization beats me.

    Then again, my parents bought me science kits at Radio Shack for gifts, encyclopedias for reading, and microscopes for toys. I shouldn’t surprise anyone that I’ll look at things objectively and weigh my public health decisions based on evidence.

  26. #26 Chemmomo
    Is "Not yet dated" ironic or insightful?
    February 1, 2013

    Jen @

    I don’t know if this is as exciting as Orac makes it out to be.

    I hope for Jake’s sake that you’re right. But your lukewarm support of Jake makes me wonder if you actually read his rant (I’ll admit I skimmed parts; I don’t enjoy his writing style).

  27. #27 Dangerous Bacon
    February 1, 2013

    For anyone who thinks comparing antivax lobbying with the antislavery movement is cucamonga, that’s nothing. Did you know that vaccination is rape?

    From another forum:

    “Our bodies are the manifestation of the divine, and if you vaccinate the divine creation before it has even developed to the point of making that decision for itself — you have essentially raped that human being in a way that literally “robs them of their personhood.”

    Wonder when SafeMinds will be inviting that person to testify before Congress.

  28. #28 Denice Walter
    February 1, 2013

    A while back, Jake informed me that I didn’t understand how conspiracies operated….

    Yes, someday he will un-earth all of the conspiracies, *sub rosa* messages and convoluted plots that underlie the foundations of the western world as well as autism organisations. And us.**

    I foresee Jake as a ‘prentice Mike Adams: he’ll have a website funded by moneyed friends or family, sell nonsensical products, books and films and also rely upon income from advertisement. And write to his heart’s delight about malfeasance in high places.*** Perhaps like the guy Jude Law played in that film.

    Like Gerald Celente, he’ll predict the downfall of western economies; like Mike Adams he’ll tell us that guns don’t kill people, governments do; and like Null, he’ll reveal how truth-tellers like himself are targetted by black ops, their fledgling careers ruined. Perhaps his secondary career, like theirs’, will be producing manuals on how to survive the crash/ police state/ GMOs/ toxins/ vaccines/ bad press.

    It’s a dreary day in mid-winter, time for us all to enjoy a good laugh before we go back to important business.

    ** Jake’s expose of Dr DG, Orac’s friend, is featured on Gary Null’s blog following the Sayer Ji apppearance.

    *** -btw- did anyone else find wading through his writing… uh, ..slow going?

  29. #29 Mu
    February 1, 2013

    I think the most insightful part of Jake’s post is the section where Safeminds wants to keep the Geiers out of their press briefing, and even advises security to keep an eye on them.
    They clearly are trying to mainstream their public opinion, and set themselves apart from the true lunatic fringe, now quite obviously to also include Jake. The only one not mentioned is Saint Andrew, will be interesting to see if they dump him too.

  30. #30 Narad
    February 1, 2013

    -btw- did anyone else find wading through his writing… uh, ..slow going?

    In the sense of pain exaggerating the passage of time, yes.

  31. #31 Liz Ditz
    February 1, 2013

    A friend I know from autist circles was at the 2013 Realscreen Summit earlier this week, promoting filming equipment to the attendees.

    Who should appear before ze wondering eye but St. Andy! Evidently he has an interest in developing an reality autism show, possibly for The Autism Channel, possibly for another network.

    The equally unhinged Curt Linderman on November 13, 2012 (link to Facebook)

    We will also be talking about a brand new opportunity that all of you have to help Dr. Wakefield help our children, it’s called The Autism Team and it’s a brand new reality show that Dr. Wakefield and Polly Tommey are working on at this time. This is Dr. Wakefield’s first time on Linderman Unleashed but I have interviewed him numerous times for my previous show and he is always controversial when we talk, today is no different.

  32. #32 ebohlman
    February 1, 2013

    Weisman responded with a long email, explaining in detail how I, a person on the autism spectrum, should go to congressional offices, talk to aides and drop off materials. Along with this insulting request, she claimed:

    The Autistic Self-Advocacy Network (ASAN) and the Global and Regional Asperger Syndrome Partnership (GRASP) were not afraid to “piss them off too much” when both groups successfully lobbied Congress to include their leaders in the hearing as representatives on the autism spectrum.

    Apparently it’s an insulting request to ask someone on the autism spectrum to visit staffers (why else would he point out that he’s on the spectrum?) but somehow the members of ASAN and GRASP who, last time I checked, were also on the spectrum, managed to do it, much to Jake’s resentment.

    I detect large quantities of ,3-dihydroxybutanedioic acid here.

  33. #33 ebohlman
    February 1, 2013

    That should be “2,3-dihydroxybutanedioic acid”.

  34. #34 Mu
    February 1, 2013

    I think it’s a consequence of his self image as hero fighter. Doing the rounds as “on the spectrum” would show him as a victim.

  35. #35 lilady
    February 1, 2013

    More background information directly from Tim Bolen about that sham autism Congressional Hearing. Me thinks Jake has been Bolen’s “source” for a very long time.

    http://bolenreport.com/Mark%20Geier/autism%20infighting.htm

  36. #36 Todd W.
    harpocratesspeaks.com
    February 1, 2013

    @lilady

    Jake has referenced the Bolen Report in past posts on AoA.

  37. #37 Denice Walter
    February 1, 2013

    LInderman Unleashed, the Bolen Report, the Gary Null Blog..
    do you know the old expression,
    ‘circling the drain?

  38. #38 Qwerty
    February 1, 2013

    This is not the first time Jake has demonstrated a complete lack of professional standards as a ‘journalist’. When he came to UPenn to do his two-bit act in Paul Offit’s seminar a close friend of mine (a fellow scientist) approached Jake after the seminar and offered to take him for coffee. This was, in part, an attempt to diffuse an increasingly tense situation between Paul and Jake, and also a genuine effort on the part of my friend to try to have a civilized conversation with someone who holds an opposing point of view. When he learned that Jake was a journalist, he requested their conversation and his name be completely off the record. Jake gave his word and promised, more than once during their conversation, that everything was off the record. Jake violated this trust, mentioning my friend by name and describing their interaction at length in the AoA article.

    It’s nice to see the mouth bite the hand.

  39. #39 Jake Crosby
    The ONLY comment I'm going to leave here.
    February 1, 2013

    @Qwerty:

    I’m always willing to keep promises with people not to publish their names or conversations with me, but I won’t if they lie about who they are.

    Your friend gave me a false last name. I easily found out his real last name along with photos of him online, but chose not to post them. Be happy I didn’t.

  40. #40 Todd W.
    harpocratesspeaks.com
    February 1, 2013

    @Jake Crosby

    You still violated journalistic ethics, Jake. Doesn’t matter if he lied about his identity. Apparently, he had good reason to considering your lack of ethics.

  41. #41 Lawrence
    February 1, 2013

    @jake – you may not leave any more comments, but you certainly lurk. You are completely unable to interact with anyone in the same rational and sane manner as the rest of us – you’ve been taught that the only way to respond to negative stimuli (whether it be real or imagined) is to launch a full-scale attack.

    Unfortunately, in this case, you’ve gone ahead & “bitten the hand that feeds you.” In releasing private emails, personal / organizational details and information, you’ve exposed quite a bit of dirt related to the organizations that you purportedly support – do you honestly expect that AoA (with its connections to SafeMinds, for example) will allow you to continue to post and participate in their activities?

    (and if they had any sense or propriety at all, the answer would be a resounding NO)

    And, related to the story in post #38 – you really need to read up on journalistic integrity – because you certainly don’t have any.

  42. #42 Narad
    February 1, 2013

    Your friend gave me a false last name. I easily found out his real last name along with photos of him online, but chose not to post them. Be happy I didn’t.

    Poor baby, somebody made him mad for no discernible reason and so he lashed out. It is demonstrably of no value when you give someone your word, Jake. Deal with it.

  43. #43 lilady
    Not the ONLY comment I'm going to leave here.
    February 1, 2013

    Ooops Jake, you made a major mistake by throwing your lot in with Tim Bolen. Have you no *gratitude* for your handlers at AoA? How about the AoA sycophant groupies who post back at you and urge you to continue posting your libelous slime?

    “Jake might be awarded a MPH-Epidemiologist degree, but he will never be an epidemiologist” -lilady

  44. #44 AdamG
    February 1, 2013

    Your friend gave me a false last name. I easily found out his real last name along with photos of him online, but chose not to post them. Be happy I didn’t.

    Sorry to be blunt, but…christ what an asshole.

  45. #45 Denice Walter
    February 1, 2013

    Why should the graduate student have given his full name?
    I certainly wouldn’t have.
    It might be different if I was shown a press pass with a photo or other ID from a recognisable, reputable newspaper, radio/ tv station or magazine.
    Jake is just a student who likes to write about people he disagrees with on a blog which publishes pseudo-science. He has no professional or legal status to question anyone. The other guy could have just turned it around and started questioning HIM.

    And yes, I’ve dealt with journalists and they behave a lot differently.

  46. #46 Ren
    Finally heading home
    February 1, 2013

    From the Society of Professional Journalists’ Code of Ethics (h_ttp://www.spj.org/ethicscode.asp):

    Journalists should:
    — Test the accuracy of information from all sources and exercise care to avoid inadvertent error. Deliberate distortion is never permissible.
    — Diligently seek out subjects of news stories to give them the opportunity to respond to allegations of wrongdoing. (Jake: “Blaxill repeatedly requested a copy of my article, but I refused; I have never shared an article in advance with anyone whom I have criticized in the piece.”)
    — Identify sources whenever feasible. The public is entitled to as much information as possible on sources’ reliability.
    — Always question sources’ motives before promising anonymity. Clarify conditions attached to any promise made in exchange for information. Keep promises. (Jake: “I’m always willing to keep promises with people not to publish their names or conversations with me, but I won’t if they lie about who they are.”)
    — Distinguish between advocacy and news reporting. Analysis and commentary should be labeled and not misrepresent fact or context.
    — Recognize that gathering and reporting information may cause harm or discomfort. Pursuit of the news is not a license for arrogance.
    — Be judicious about naming criminal suspects before the formal filing of charges.
    — Remain free of associations and activities that may compromise integrity or damage credibility.
    — Admit mistakes and correct them promptly.

    And, the kicker:
    — Abide by the same high standards to which they hold others.

  47. #47 Broken Link
    February 1, 2013

    Another interesting person in all of this is Brian Hooker. He is a former scientist at Pacific Northwest lab. His wikipedia page doesn’t mention that he no longer works there.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brian_Hooker_(bioengineer)

    I find it strange that a wiki page was even created for such a minor scientist, but note that the shadowy wiki writing, antivaccine specializing “Ombudsman” is the original author. One wonders, one really does, if “Ombudsman” IS Brian Hooked.

  48. #48 Broken Link
    February 1, 2013

    Hooker, not Hooked!

  49. #49 lilady
    February 1, 2013

    “Hooker, not Hooked!”

    Hooked on gluten-free and casein-free diets…

    http://uclbs.org/news/

  50. #50 dingo199
    February 1, 2013

    Really bizarre hearing Jake ranting on about “preconceived, evidence free conclusions” in the video. Clearly the irony was lost on him.

    Still, he has autism.
    Is it any wonder he has difficulties with insight and impaired communication skills?

  51. #51 Todd W.
    harpocratesspeaks.com
    February 1, 2013

    Well, Jake may not be posting here, but he has not problem replying to my comment over on my site. He writes:

    “You still violated journalistic ethics, Jake. Doesn’t matter if he lied about his identity.”

    No, I didn’t; yes, it does.

    “Apparently, he had good reason to [lie]…”

    Apparently, ethics of any kind doesn’t matter to you anyway.

  52. #52 Narad
    February 1, 2013

    Todd W., you’re still 404’ing without a ‘www’ on that location.

  53. #53 I. Rony Meter
    February 1, 2013

    “I’m always willing to keep my promises, except I don’t always keep my promises”.

    It isn’t good enough to “be willing” to keep promises.

    Did Mark Blaxill lie about his name? Lyn Redwood? Becky Estepp? You had a promise, explicit or implicit, to them as well.

    Your integrity was sold for such a small price.

  54. #54 Science Mom
    http://justthevax.blogspot.com/
    February 1, 2013

    The kid is hopeless; it’s just that simple.

  55. #55 lilady
    February 1, 2013

    (IANA Psychologist) but…

    http://psychology.about.com/od/personalitydisorders/a/narcissisticpd.htm

    The DSM-IV identifies the following symptoms:

    An exaggerated sense of one’s own abilities and achievements.

    A constant need for attention, affirmation and praise.

    A belief that he or she is unique or “special” and should only associate with other people of the same status.

    Persistent fantasies about attaining success and power.

    Exploiting other people for personal gain.

    A sense of entitlement and expectation of special treatment.

    A preoccupation with power or success.

    Feeling envious of others, or believing that others are envious of him or her.

    A lack of empathy for others.

    An official diagnosis can be made by a qualified mental health professional, and requires that the individual exhibit 5 of the 9 symptoms identified in the DSM-IV. Practitioners must also rule out other psychiatric disorders in order to make a diagnosis.

  56. #56 brian
    February 1, 2013

    Hooker’s proposed testimony is available at AoA. Is it any wonder that an organization that was seeking to establish even a semblance of a shred of a glimmer of credibility would prefer to exclude testimony from the likes of Jake and Hooker?

  57. #57 brian
    February 1, 2013

    Jacob Crosby wrote:

    I’m always willing to keep promises with people not to publish their names or conversations with me, but I won’t if they lie about who they are.

    What about publishing personal e-mail messages from people who happen to disagree with you, Jake? Anyone who is not an incredible asshole should understand that that’s just something that shouldn’t be done, even in the throes of childish temper tantrum–and I suspect that even your fellow travelers like Blaxill do understand that.

  58. #58 lilady
    February 1, 2013

    And…look who’s coming to the *Quackfest*

    http://www.autismone.org/content/autismone-generation-rescue-conference-2013

    @ Jake: Have you gotten your invitation yet…to speak about journalistic integrity and ethics?

  59. #59 herr doktor bimler
    February 1, 2013

    I’m always willing to keep promises with people not to publish their names or conversations with me, but I won’t if they lie about who they are.

    So Jake feels that promises of confidentiality are null and void if he believes that the other party in a conversation was not telling the full truth?
    My prediction: he will always find some reason to believe that the other party in a conversation was not telling the full truth.

    This is a familiar moral code — “I am an ethical person. Anything I do to other people does not count if I can convince myself that they were planning to do it to me first.”

    Lilady: (IANA Psychologist) but…
    I would go for BPD myself.

  60. #60 herr doktor bimler
    February 1, 2013

    Addendum… What Jake is displaying here is the attitude that “It’s not my fault that I betrayed the other guy; he made me betray him, by not trusting me enough.”

    Obviously a vile form of self-deception, but I’m not sure that it’s rare enough to hunt around for psychological labels. I am loath to pathologise normality.

  61. #61 Narad
    February 1, 2013

    Your friend gave me a false last name.

    One might note that this doesn’t match Jake’s own account:

    I didn’t get his last name; he said it too fast. He did say he was involved in vaccine research.

    Jake has thus lied twice in this matter.

  62. #62 herr doktor bimler
    February 1, 2013

    I didn’t get his last name; he said it too fast.
    See, the guy was trying to hide information from Jake. He deserved everything he got.

  63. #63 Qwerty
    February 1, 2013

    @Jake

    “Your friend gave me a false last name”

    In your AoA article you state explicitly that you never heard what his last name was (despite asking him several times). So, either you’re lying now, or you were lying in the AoA article.

    “I easily found out his real last name along with photos of him online, but chose not to post them.”

    Creepy. Ya know, if I was someone widely accused of exhibiting stalker-esque behavior for following around public figures to seminars and book signings, I don’t think I’d openly admit to tracking down a random grad student’s identity, digging up photos of them, and considering posting them on a sketchy blog. Maybe this is why your friends at AoA feel uneasy putting you in front of congress?

  64. #64 Chris
    Neither here nor there...
    February 1, 2013

    Quoting Young Master Jake:

    “I easily found out his real last name along with photos of him online, but chose not to post them.”

    If he found my last name (and I have typed it out once on a blog comment here), I suspect we will find Jake posting photos of a real estate agent who will wonder what is going on.

    Hint: I don’t sell real estate. But I am amused when I see a “For Sale” sign with my name on it.

  65. #65 Denice Walter
    February 1, 2013

    @ lilady:
    @ herr doktor bimler:

    NPD? BPD? Decisions, decisions…
    Actually, NPD is often tossed about at AoA . So are “nerd” and other lovely appellations for SB folk.

  66. #66 Qwerty
    February 1, 2013

    Of course, there is one possible explanation for how Jake got my friend’s last name, despite not hearing it clearly when he said it — he could’ve recorded all the conversations that day without informed consent. At this point, given his recent antics with posting private emails online, I think this is a highly plausible. When I sent the blog article to my friend to show him just what Jake’s word was worth, he remarked at how much it read like a transcript with verbatim quotes. Of course, it’s possible he has an incredible phonetic memory, but I doubt it.

  67. #67 Denice Walter
    February 1, 2013

    @ Chris:

    Right. Which is why I leave off the second last name ( the really posh one)..

    And I imagine that a lovely woman who works with scouting in Hobart, Tasmania might be getting some nasty facebook commentary. I am not her: she’s nice.
    There are a few others as well. One’s a trade commissioner.

  68. #68 Narad
    February 1, 2013

    Of course, there is one possible explanation for how Jake got my friend’s last name, despite not hearing it clearly when he said it — he could’ve recorded all the conversations that day without informed consent.

    Which very well might be a criminal offense in the relevant state, given the expectation that it was not on the record.

  69. #69 Chris
    Neither here nor there...
    February 1, 2013

    Denice Walter:

    There are a few others as well.

    My last name is not posh. It is slightly less common than “Jones.” The Googles bring up over twelve million pages, and adding the city I live in brings it down to three million. Of those, the real estate agent is the most prominent (his listings create more pages).

  70. #70 ABC
    February 1, 2013

    http://www.ageofautism.com/2012/11/dr-david-gorski-admits-thimerosal-might-cause-autism.html

    Well, Orac, it seems you have admitted that there is a link between thimerosal and autism and you don’t keep your promises. :D You probably know that, of course, but I finally decided to visit that wretched hive of scum and quackery for the first time and search your name.

  71. #71 Shay
    February 1, 2013

    @Chris

    There are advantages to having an androgynous moniker.

  72. #72 Chris
    February 1, 2013

    Yes, there are.

  73. #73 Narad
    February 2, 2013

    There are advantages to having an androgynous moniker.

    Hey, DJT has apparently concluded that mine is Inuit, so that’s something.

  74. #74 herr doktor bimler
    February 2, 2013

    I am impressed that Narad’s igloo has Internet access.

  75. #75 Narad
    February 2, 2013

    I am impressed that Narad’s igloo has Internet access.

    I am impressed that you’re not familiar with HAARP.

  76. #76 herr doktor bimler
    February 2, 2013

    Ah, but that would put you in Inupiat or Inuvialuk territory..

  77. #77 Narad
    February 2, 2013

    Ah, but that would put you in Inupiat or Inuvialuk territory..

    Yes, not a pedantic bone in your body. Do you think I did not consider the alternative? Did you calculate the groundwave and the skywave bounce angles?

  78. #78 Narad
    February 2, 2013

    ^ “angle”

  79. #79 Darwy
    Røde grøde med fløde
    February 2, 2013

    What a pathetic piece of trash Jake is.

    That’s right, Jake. You’re pathetic. You’re unethical. You’ll never be an epidemiologist, nor will you ever hold a ‘real’ job in public health with anyone who actually gives two sh!ts about the public.

    But then, you’ve never cared about anything but yourself and your monumental ego, have you?

  80. #80 Brian Deer
    February 2, 2013

    It’s easy to enjoy disclosures such as Mr Crosby’s for their entertainment value, but I think there’s also a serious analysis to be done. IMO, there are now really three anti-vaccine campaigns.

    In part, I think this splitting is due to how different intellects, personalities and ethical frameworks are applied to the virtual removal of thimerosal from US vaccines (leaving rising autism diagnoses and disparities between states inexplicable by the 1999 worldview), the collapse of Wakefield’s claims that MV in MMR cause bowel disease and autism (with his instructing lawyers now facing lawsuits from parents), and the performance of the Geiers and other so-called “experts” in vaccine court.

    At the top of the ethical tree would be Jane Johnson’s continuation of Bernard Rimland’s outfit in San Diego, which has now dropped “Defeat Autism Now” as a brand, and really doesn’t have much to say about vaccines at all. She also controls the renamed Thoughtful House, after Wakefield was kicked out.

    Then you get people like Mark Blaxill and JB Handley, who are educated, wealthy and not stupid. They are confronted by the above challenges, as well as, for example, their understanding of Wakefield’s misconduct. For instance, Blaxill has waxed eloquently on the matter of conflicts of interest, and must surely know how Wakefield’s involvement in all this was tainted. Indeed, if I ever need to make any more legal filings regarding Wakefield I will include documents by Blaxill as evidence of Wakefield’s relentless lying.

    Then you get the gutter, well illustrated here by Mr Crosby. These are people so greedy for money or power or a sense of personal significance that they will say almost anything, and do almost anything to sustain their profile. The extent to which they conspire is well illustrated by Mr Crosby’s disclosures.

    Take Mr Crosby’s betrayal of a confidential discussion. This is exactly what his master Wakefield did, and I have no doubt at all that Mr Crosby has looked to his master’s justification for this misconduct. For those who are not so hugely preoccupied to have seen this before, there is video (which I captured and edited for length) in which Wakefield betrays a genuine (if perhaps misguided) whistleblower over MMR. It was a British doctor who spoke to him in confidence, only to be named, belittled and betrayed in Wakefield videos.

    This is the face of what I think is the third strand of the anti-vaxxers, and I’m quite sure that anyone of integrity would want to keep well clear of such nasty individuals, and certainly not want to put them in front of Democrat congressmen who would rip them to pieces. Here’s the video:

    http://briandeer.com/solved/whistleblower-betrayed.htm

    Enjoy it Jake. These are your ethics.

  81. #81 Orac
    February 2, 2013

    It’s easy to enjoy disclosures such as Mr Crosby’s for their entertainment value, but I think there’s also a serious analysis to be done.

    You seem to be implying that my post was not a serious analysis.

  82. #82 Denice Walter
    February 2, 2013

    I try to understand the antivaxxers through looking at personal motivation and at emotional issues: often these are as transparent as crystal. We have a diverse group of leaders and followers who reveal themselves at sites like AoA, TMR and others- jockeying for attention and position through their writings. I read much of what they produce.

    People vary in cognitive and social skills and the degree of ability to control underlying emotions, as well as having differing motives. Perhaps many who are parents are attempting to exchange what they believe is
    an atrocity visited upon them ( a child with ASD)- or a medical crime perpetrated against them- for a measure of fame and recognition- a secondary gain.. They turn their pseudo-scientific speculation and memoirs into books that earn money as well. ( One editor has two books for sale currently- a bio and a murder mystery, both fictional). Others write and become quasi-celebrities, identifiable at conventions, protests and in alt media interviews and net commentary .

    Parents may feel ostracised and thus find solidarity amongst others who are in the same boat as they are. Some of their public inter-group communication ( via comments, facebook) reminds me of group therapy gone awry- instead for discovering ways to encounter reality, their peers expose them to more whimsical ideas about autism- and its treatment- and model communication, badly.

    Then we have the career builders: their relationship to the movement is a means to increase revenue or create a niche for themselves after perhaps losing another means of support. They write, lecture and may even advocate treatment. Two youngsters may have perceived AoA as a route to fame: one as a journalist and the other as an artist.
    Right.

    AS in other alt med proselytising, there is always the undercurrent of derision for professionals and experts: obviously a way to bolster flagging self-esteem without doing the study and work necessary to become expert.
    They hate what they can’t be. Conspiracies and malfeasance explain why professionals got where they are, not merit.

    I could go on- probably for days.

    The point is that their extreme beliefs are based in emotional need and its expression that will produce fireworks of varying heat and light. I have only personally communicated ( virtually, fortunately) with two of their own- Jake and John-
    while Jake practically godwinned me ( for stating that Bettelheim’s ideas were not the focus of what psychology courses offer), John was amazingly polite.
    I think he sort of liked me.

    When you paint yourself in a corner through unrealistic beliefs , you’re bound to find company there and I venture that most of it will not be too civil because it is founded in emotional conflict and personal need. Not the best ingredients for getting along with your fellows or sisters.

  83. #83 LW
    February 2, 2013

    Like Ren and others, I really do feel sorry for Jake.

    A few decades ago someone like him might have thrown a similar tantrum and told his friends confidential information in the course of ranting, and probably it would have had no effect on his future at all. Those he betrayed wouldn’t have heard him, a future employer wouldn’t know to ask his friends, and his friends probably wouldn’t have more that a general recollection of all he said anyway, so the whole thing would just fade away.

    But since Jake’s ranting is on the Internet, those he betrayed knew immediately *exactly* what he said, about whom, and how he learned it, as will every future employer. I don’t know how one recovers from an action like this. The Internet is rather dangerous for the impulsive and immature.

  84. #84 Denice Walter
    February 2, 2013

    @ LW:

    You know, about two years ago, my friend’s son was about to graduate and I was asked what I would think about his internet activities if I were a prospective employer. His field is in medical technology.

    I looked up his stuff- including twitter- and found harmless and often clever musings about music, general culture and minor commentary about his education. Other material was about friends meeting up.
    I said that there was nothing off-putting and that he came across as a smart, funny guy. Normal. No problems for me.

    Now imagine if a prospective employer did the same for Jake. Oh my.
    ALTHOUGH if he were applying for work at Natural News or a similar outlet, it might actually work to his benefit.

  85. #85 LW
    February 2, 2013

    @Denice Walter: “You know, about two years ago, my friend’s son was about to graduate and I was asked what I would think about his internet activities if I were a prospective employer. ”

    That’s guidance young people should get well before they graduate. I’m not comfortable with public schools policing students’ online activities — probability of oppression is way too high, near certainty in fact — yet somehow students should be taught to think ahead and try to imagine what an employer will think of their comments. But since they very likely can’t put themselves in an employer’s shoes, they should have their comments evaluated early by someone who can.

    I guess at minimum young people should be *very* strongly urged to comment anonymously or pseudonymously, but then that probably won’t work because they’ll want their friends to know what they’re saying.

    It’s rather sad that a young person who is arrested may have their records sealed (with varying degrees of effectiveness, I realize), but a young person who says something stupid on the Internet may be dogged by it forever. Like Jake.

  86. #86 I. Rony Meter
    February 2, 2013

    If you look back at JB Handley’s posts about Orac, you can find clear statements that he’s trying to put stuff into Google about him. Likely to harm his future employability.

    Ironically, he did the much more significant damage to someone else. Jake Crosby. By letting him write at AoA, especially in the way he did, Handley and others trashed Jake’s opportunities.

  87. #87 lilady
    February 3, 2013

    Absolutely nothing about Jake’s indiscretion on AoA, however Jake has tweeted about it.

    “The ultimate kiss of death: vaccine lobby’s media marionette @sethmnookin agrees with @safeminds’ Mark Blaxill on my findings, yet again!”

    Seth Mnookin actually agrees with Blaxill about Jake’s antics.

    “Former allies say anti-vac attack dog is “incorrect in so many key respects, not worth arguing w/you anymore.” I agree!”

  88. #88 Denice Walter
    February 3, 2013

    @ lilady:

    You were here: didn’t I- being a decent sort of person- go out on a limb and warn Jake that his views and activities might adversely affect his future employment opportunities?

    Now what’s my analysis?
    He has already taken positions spurned by science by supporting frauds and their PR engines;
    NOW he is in the process of enraging his few friends- who manage those PR engines.
    So he has accomplished the neat trick of alienating BOTH SB folk and those who despise them. The “enemy of my enemy is my friend’ doesn’t hold for Jake.
    Good thing he comes from a moneyed clan. Still, venom and sputtering jealousy are not attractive in the least.

    It’s hilarious! I spent some time yesterday at an art show opening, schmoozing and drinking wine with camembert, and thought to myself:
    ” I need to talk to people who live in the real world after reading what passes for information at the various cesspits I frequent. Thank you, artsy folk for being yourselves”

  89. #89 lilady
    February 3, 2013

    @ Denice Walter: I was here and I joined in the dialogue about prospective employers checking into your internet activities. I believe the folks in Human Resources would look askance at his stalking behaviors and his libelous blog posts. Even his parents who have beau coup money and political juice in Texas, won’t be able to help him.

    IIRC, Jake blogged that it was his mother who first blamed vaccines for Jake’s ASD diagnosis. Is it any wonder then, why they have encouraged his behaviors and his yellow journalism?

    “Jake might be awarded a MPH-Epidemiologist degree, but he will never be an epidemiologist” -lilady

  90. #90 Todd W.
    http://www.harpocratesspeaks.com
    February 3, 2013

    @Denice Walter

    A few of us warned Jake about what his writings would do for his future employment prospects. I think it was sometime in 2011 that we did so. Can’t find the comments right now.

  91. #91 Chris
    February 3, 2013

    Todd, your search might be helped with the fact that I called him “Young Master Jake.” I need to be somewhere in fifteen minutes, so I have to run.

  92. #92 flip
    February 3, 2013

    @LW

    I’m not comfortable with public schools policing students’ online activities — probability of oppression is way too high, near certainty in fact — yet somehow students should be taught to think ahead and try to imagine what an employer will think of their comments

    So the solution to encouraging employment for young people is to convince them to self-censor?

    You know, employers should be more worried about whether or not someone is hard working, enthusiastic, well-trained and curious; and less worried about what someone says or thinks in their own personal time.

  93. #93 Denice Walter
    February 3, 2013

    @ flip:

    There’s another side to this-
    beyond behaving badly or saying stupid things-

    someone who is careful about what they say- because others might read it- is exhibiting more advanced forms of communication and planning which are hallmarks of executive functioning and are important in the world of work and business.
    If you want to hire someone, you’d like them to be aware of how others might react to them, to be agile enough by anticipating this in advance, be able to negotiate with others, be diplomatic in managing social interaction, be able to control themselves…have good judgment.

    A track history like what we’ve seen speaks volumes about INabilities- rather than abilities- desirable in the workplace.
    AND amongst adults in polite society.

    If you want to be outlandish, be smart enough to use a ‘nym.

  94. #94 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    February 3, 2013

    flip,

    So the solution to encouraging employment for young people is to convince them to self-censor?

    As part of the solution, yes, and this is nothing new. Yes, you need to be hard working, motivated, communicate well, work well with others, and qualified for the particular position. However, all the good impression one may make on one’s resume and interview can easily be destroyed by knowledge the employer gains that one didn’t plan.

    An obvious and perhaps exaggerated example would be someone who admits to goofing off on the job, stealing from work, or bad mouthing his/her/its employer on social media. These kinds of behaviors are clearly relevant to the employer. Likewise, demonstrated racist or sexist attitudes could significantly hurt one’s employment chances. Naturally, posting video showing yourself participating in or encouraging a crime is likely to be not only bad for your employment but continued freedom.

    There are reasonable limits to what an employer should be able to check up. If you post things in a place that anyone can look at it, it’s fair game. The employer shouldn’t try to get data one has taken reasonable steps to keep private – for instance, the practice of demanding one’s user name and password for social media sites or stealth friending are excessive and intrusive.

    I have no idea where the idea came from that you can post anything you like publicly and somehow expect that it will be treated as private.

  95. #95 Melissa G
    February 3, 2013

    We all self-censor to a degree. It’s just part of living in a society. I am trying to teach my autistic kiddo to “think but not say,” because that part of his brain that handles what comes out of his mouth is definitely not all-the-way developed. He is only nine, though, and he is learning! :)

  96. #96 LW
    February 3, 2013

    @flip:

    You know, employers should be more worried about whether or not someone is hard working, enthusiastic, well-trained and curious; and less worried about what someone says or thinks in their own personal time.

    There’s self-censoring and then there’s self-censoring. If someone engages in violent, obscene language on their own time, or brags about drunken orgies even if they’re legal, or disclosing confidential information, or the like, may not be the best fit with the prospective employer. What someone feels free to show to the world may give a clue as to how they will behave.

    Of course, my attitude may be shaped by working for very small companies: when I was hired for my current job I was interviewed by one-fifth of the company, including the CEO, and if any of them had felt uncomfortable with me, maybe due to a lengthy obscene diatribe on a blog, I would not have been hired.

    Also, you have to consider that the Internet is worldwide and permanent. I wouldn’t tell Jake to keep quiet about his anger, but I would ask him if it is a really good idea to broadcast and memorialize it.

    It may not be fair to consider someone’s thoughts and actions on their own time, but that doesn’t mean it won’t happen and that young people shouldn’t be warned about the consequences.

    Notice, by the way, that I suggested the use of a pseudonym. A young person with a good pseudonym need not self-censor and is relatively free of consequences unless they want to work for the NSA or someone with the resources to look through the pseudonym.

  97. #97 Todd W.
    http://www.harpocratesspeaks.com
    February 3, 2013

    @flip

    In addition to what LW and others have said, I would add that there is self-censoring vs. self-editing. It’s okay to be passionate about something. It’s fine to be angry and to voice those frustrations, but a) be careful about how you word something and b) consider that there are some things that, even if you are exceedingly cautious about how you say it, will nonetheless cause more harm than good, even to yourself.

    I think the important thing to draw from it is that there are consequences to what one says and does. Some of those may be justified, others may not, but one should always consider what effect one’s words will have.

  98. #98 Denice Walter
    February 3, 2013

    @ LW:

    What I perceive about JC – and antivaxxers, like woo- spreaders- is that they do not understand how UNLIKELY it is that they are correct- if AoA’s main thesis is correct, much of what SBM knows about vaccines AND autism would have to be wrong
    ( similarly, AJW; Duesberg with hiv; various nutritionists about cancer, etc etc etc).

    Do you really think that you- alone- can overturn what thousands of researchers over decades have learned?
    It seems so unaware and highlights an inability to self-critique and curtail resident self-aggrandising tendencies..

    How likely ARE the grand, over-arching, baroque conspiracies that they rail about?

    Isn’t one person fixing data more likely than an army of entrenched interests- including scientists, governmentS and media- being implicated?
    I put that question to Jake.
    No dice. He wouldn’t budge an inch..

  99. #99 Denice Walter
    February 3, 2013

    - btw- I should note that this set of abilities USUALLY begins developing around the time that more abstract general intellectual abilities get their start – adolescence- but may only culminate in a person’s mid-twenties**.

    Which makes it understandable that some inheritances don’t kick until age 25 or 30 and you need be 21 for certain responsibilities.

    ** some never get there

  100. #100 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    February 3, 2013

    There are times when posting something online where I believe it’s appropriate to imagine Lewis Grizzard reading over your shoulder and saying, in his immortal words, “I don’t believe I’da told that.”

  101. #101 brian
    February 3, 2013

    Tools are useful. Even a complete tool like Jake Crosby is useful: I’ve used Jake as an example of how young people should NOT behave, in an effort to demonstrate that on-line behavior has consequences.

    Orac finally lost patience with Jake, as I recall, when Crosby intentionally and thoroughly misrepresented the conclusion of the authors of a particular paper with an exceptionally egregious attempt at quote mining. That could and should have consequences–and it could and should undermine the liar’s career prospects, even years later. Jacob Crosby has deserves his reputation.

  102. #102 flip
    Oh waiter, there's Popehat in my RI ;)
    February 3, 2013

    Ah, and I see I deleted the sentence from my draft comment that said “Not including stalking”… I see I shouldn’t have removed that after all because I thought it went without saying that certain things are just too stupid not to consider when hiring someone.

    @DW

    If you want to hire someone, you’d like them to be aware of how others might react to them, to be agile enough by anticipating this in advance, be able to negotiate with others, be diplomatic in managing social interaction, be able to control themselves…have good judgment.

    If someone posts something they shouldn’t have to worry about it 10 years in advance. One can’t possibly foresee every situation. Should I plan ahead now for the day when a homophobe decides not to hire me based on me tweeting something about gay rights?

    @MOB

    However, all the good impression one may make on one’s resume and interview can easily be destroyed by knowledge the employer gains that one didn’t plan.

    See above and below.

    An obvious and perhaps exaggerated example would be someone who admits to goofing off on the job, stealing from work, or bad mouthing his/her/its employer on social media.

    There is a large difference between posting stuff like that and posting personal preferences and opinions; the issue is you have no way of knowing what the employer is taking into account and what isn’t. Anyway, a web development company who has a pinball machine in their office (and I know of a few) might not care as much if you ‘goof off’ at work. It all depends on who you might work for, and you can’t predetermine that either.

    As a hypothetical, let’s say I put my own website on my resume. The website is linked to my twitter handle. I post stuff about atheism, or retweet something about unfair work practices, or poke fun at jobs I see while looking for work (ie. pretty terrible pseudoscience). I should not be doing this because FSM forbid my resume is sent out to someone who takes issue with what I tweet? And it won’t matter that I’ll be qualified, interested, dedicated or good at what I do… the only thing that will matter is what I’ve said publicly about something that does not and would not affect a future job? I hope not.

    I have no idea where the idea came from that you can post anything you like publicly and somehow expect that it will be treated as private.

    Not from me. I wasn’t advocating that. I just found the concept of teaching kids to self-censor grating. We should be teaching respect for freedom of speech and being able to discuss and debate openly, not self-censorship. I agree with most of you, it again, just grated at me.

    @LW

    Also, you have to consider that the Internet is worldwide and permanent

    And also f*ing huge where 99% of websites will never ever be seen by more than a handful of people.

    Notice, by the way, that I suggested the use of a pseudonym. A young person with a good pseudonym need not self-censor and is relatively free of consequences unless they want to work for the NSA or someone with the resources to look through the pseudonym.

    I think you missed my point that one shouldn’t have to use a pseudonym. I agree it has its uses, and I do it mainly for protecting my ident from a very real harasser, but one shouldn’t have to just to avoid lack of employment. I also think that people learn from their mistakes, and many such young mistaken people apologise and move on; but will that be taken into account?

    @Todd W

    I think the important thing to draw from it is that there are consequences to what one says and does. Some of those may be justified, others may not, but one should always consider what effect one’s words will have.

    And I summarise with: no duh. I’m not talking about consequence-free, I’m talking about spending the rest of your life freaking out about employment based on one little tweet or something, and piling on more worries when we should be advocating open discourse.

    Consider this: you’re really young, you’ve never had a job before, you go to careers counseling and get told what to wear and how to look and how to speak and how to shake hands and how to write resumes and you’re all stressed out. You go to an interview and not get the job. Do you spend a week wondering whether or not you should have posted a comment about abortion, or do you spend a week wondering whether or not you just didn’t have the right experience?

    Sigh… ironically, it’s times like these I wish I’d expressed myself better ;)

  103. #103 Melissa G
    February 3, 2013

    @Denice #98,

    Yes, you’re talking about in general terms of employing Bayesian analytical tools in everyday critical thinking. I think everyone ought to be taught the difference between being a “brave maverick” whose hypothesis is just better, and being a whackaloon who throws the entirety of current understanding to the winds.

  104. #104 Melissa G
    February 3, 2013

    Please excuse the stupid sentence structure. I am ill.

  105. #105 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    February 3, 2013

    flip – I don’t think I disagree with you – I’m not sure anyone else does either.

    Posting about controversial topics or one’s political beliefs could have consequences, but probably won’t if you a) do it well and b) don’t apply for the small class of jobs that your views will automatically disqualify you for. Worrying that your letter to the editor ten years ago saying that, say, gay marriage should be legally recognized will keep you from getting a job is pointless. Unless you’re applying for a job with Jerry Falwell, it’s not likely to be something that someone looks for.

    What people all too often post that CAN affect their future job prospects are exactly the kinds of things I mentioned and more – nude pictures you thought you were sending to someone who’d keep them private, racist rants, advocating the overthrow of government by force and violence, a description of one’s life as a constant string of drug-induced adventures, etc.

  106. #106 LW
    February 3, 2013

    @flip: “it’s times like these I wish I’d expressed myself better”

    I wish I had also. I said, “students should be taught to think ahead and try to imagine what an employer will think of their comments.” That doesn’t mean that they should be taught that under no circumstances should they say anything that an employer might take offense at — as you say, there’s no telling what might be offensive ten years from now.

    But it does mean that they should be reminded that on the Internet they are in a public place, not a private place, and that others, like employers, may take a look at their behavior in that public place. It would, therefore, be better not to show yourself to be dishonest, untrustworthy, or criminal. It would also be better not to show yourself to be violent, racist, or hate-filled. It would also be better not to be deliberately offensive (as a real-life example, some people walk around in T-shirts that have slogans or images that are violent, obscene, misogynistic, etc., in what certainly appears to be a deliberate effort to be offensive; they have a First Amendment right to do so, but I wouldn’t want to hire someone who wanted the world to see them as violent, obscene, or misogynist).

    If something is so deeply a part of you that you would feel that you were lying or self-censoring not to reveal it, then I think you should probably go ahead because in the future you probably wouldn’t be happy working for someone who would judge you on that basis anyway. But you should make that decision and not just say something stupid that you will regret later.

    As Melissa G said, “we all self-censor to a degree”. Learning to self-censor is part of growing up. The response of people around them is part of how children and young people learn to do the necessary self-censoring, but on the Internet that response may be provided too late to avoid reputational damage. Thus the suggestion that feedback should be provided early.

  107. #107 herr doktor bimler
    February 3, 2013

    employers should be more worried about whether or not someone is hard working, enthusiastic, well-trained and curious

    Employers often seem to care whether one has an extensive criminal record, even for crimes not relevant to the area of employment (or so I hear from a friend).

    Likewise, they seem to care about one’s personality and character, and one’s system of ethics, especially if those are “motivated ethics” designed to preserve a sense of superiority even while screwing other people over.

  108. #108 Narad
    February 3, 2013

    especially if those are “motivated ethics” designed to preserve a sense of superiority even while screwing other people over.

    Can’t have competition on the ladder.

  109. #109 Denice Walter
    February 3, 2013

    @ flip:

    You can’t anticipate everything BUT certain things might be off-limits for the *average* audience. And adults should be able to understand that- general mores and rules;
    for example, a teenager will figure out that what’s acceptable amongst friends is NOT what you might say in front of any of their parents and apply that to potential employers, teachers, professors and other adults.

    Believe me, most get this concept before age 12.

    @ Melissa G:

    Sure.
    I’d add that while this may sometimes be taught, there is a limit:
    certain mental conditions and illnesses place restrictions on whether this type of self-evaluation and related analyses of surrounding social conditions ( e.g. what others think of us) are likely to develop.
    You need certain basics to develop reflective thought and recursive thinking. Not everyone has them.

    I hate to say it ( but I will), surveying woo-world, I see ‘limits; everywhere I look.

  110. #110 Todd W.
    http://www.harpocratesspeaks.com
    February 3, 2013

    @flip

    I’m talking about spending the rest of your life freaking out about employment based on one little tweet or something, and piling on more worries when we should be advocating open discourse.

    But I don’t think that’s the type of thing that we’re really talking about, here. Rather, it’s stuff like what Jake has done.

  111. #111 lilady
    February 3, 2013

    Prospective employers also like to know if you have developed a moral compass…and what you are passionate about. Certainly, if you aspire to have a career path in any science or journalism field, you should have some opinions about the role of researchers, scientists and journalists within those fields…and you would not be stalking and cyber-stalking each and every person who does not agree with your warped views. Jeez, I don’t see any posts by Jake which confirm that he has a basic science education. What I do see is his colossal ego and his poor impulse control when it comes to *just making sh!t up*.

    http://www.ageofautism.com/jake-crosby/

  112. #112 Antaeus Feldspar
    February 3, 2013
    An obvious and perhaps exaggerated example would be someone who admits to goofing off on the job, stealing from work, or bad mouthing his/her/its employer on social media.

    There is a large difference between posting stuff like that and posting personal preferences and opinions; the issue is you have no way of knowing what the employer is taking into account and what isn’t.

    But “stuff like that” isn’t what we were saying young adults should be “self-censoring.” Jake’s sabotage of his own future career has nothing to do with what preferences or opinions he holds, it has to do with him revealing the kind of person he is, the kind who:

    * stalks public figures whose views he disagrees with
    * defames public figures based on sixty-degree-of-separation conspiracy theories
    * misrepresents and quote-mines what others say in an attempt to bolster his causes
    * betrays trust placed in him by others if they don’t do things his way

    Let me put it this way. Remember g724, the person who kept showing up and proposing “gray ops” campaigns against anti-vaxxers, proposing that we should sabotage the power coming to that one’s house and use this noise-generating device to sabotage that anti-vax conference, etc.

    If I was an employer looking at g724 as a prospective employee, I’d say “His preferences and opinions may match mine, but that’s hardly a good reason to hire him. What I’m looking for in my employees, though, is people who understand the importance of ethical business behavior, and what I see here is a person who actively searches out, and pounces on with glee, excuses to do unethical things. There’s no way I want such a loose cannon working for me!”

    The sad fact is, there’s all sorts of people who would be serving their own interests well to censor themselves, and thus delay people realizing that they are asshats. It’s just that when they’re doing it in their teenage years, we hope that they’ll grow into better people, and that the time they spend as asshats before they achieve that growth won’t do damage to their prospects that their later, maturer, better, less-tuchas-chapeau will then have to endure. The people still doing it as adults have to take adult responsibility for themselves. (I’m not about to suggest for example that Kim Stagliano self-censor so that no one realizes what a horrible person she is; I think people should be alerted to that.)

  113. #113 LW
    February 3, 2013

    @Antaeus Feldspar: exactly.

  114. #114 Denice Walter
    February 3, 2013

    Some people may be UNABLE to self-censor.
    Or unable to realise that their own position is very far off from what most people would even entertain as a remote possibility.
    I’m not just talking about the SMI population either.

  115. #115 herr doktor bimler
    February 3, 2013

    Prospective employers also like to know if you have developed a moral compass

    I have moved with the times and replaced mine with a moral GPS unit.

  116. #116 LW
    February 3, 2013

    @Denice Walter: “Or unable to realise that their own position is very far off from what most people would even entertain as a remote possibility.”

    Which is why they need someone like you to explain it to them, preferably before they say it too often. We all had to learn as children from adults what behavior is appropriate in public; this is just an extension of that but both more important because of your Internet persona’s permanence and more difficult because it’s less visible to actual people around you in real life.

  117. #117 Denice Walter
    February 3, 2013

    @ LW:

    One of the problems is that people with poor judgment don’t know they have it**- they feel no need of advice or seek it out from those who are similarly a few cards short of a deck.

    ** an extreme case is anosognosia in SMI.

  118. #118 Melissa G
    February 3, 2013

    Yes. I imagine Dunning-Kruger effect figures in there somewhere, and add to that that people with pronounced elements of narcissism in their personalities are only likely to listen to/accept as knowledgeable people with opinions just like their own. I think it’s difficult for narcissistic people to “grow up” to the level functional people are expected to reach, and I am biased because of family members like this.

  119. #119 Shay
    February 3, 2013

    Due to circumstances beyond my control, I currently live in a very small town.

    Very small as in 900 people.

    Everyone who grows up here carries his/her youthful mistakes into adulthood. I have had a completely sensible, sane adult warn me not to patronize a certain dentist due to an incident that happened when said adult and said dentist were seventeen years old.

    The internet has made us, in many ways, into a very small town. We may not like it, but there it is.

  120. #120 herr doktor bimler
    February 3, 2013

    One of the problems is that people with poor judgment don’t know they have it

    Chemist 1: I’ve devised an “incense of bad decisions!”
    Chemist 2: Why have you labelled it “incense of wisdom?”
    Chemist 1: …I don’t know.

    (Oglaf).

  121. #121 Phoenix Woman
    February 3, 2013

    Orac, I don’t think Brian Deer intended to diss you. He just wanted to do an analysis that was a little less schadenfreudich, I reckon. And he did bring a new wrinkle or two to the discussion.

    In the meantime, here’s an edited version of the original discussion of wretched hives of scum and villainy: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dRd_vZT6zPY&feature=player_detailpage

  122. #122 Phoenix Woman
    February 3, 2013

    This part of Orac’s quotation of Crosby’s post stood out for me:

    For several months, I was under the impression that SafeMinds led preparation for the hearing. However, I later learned that SafeMinds’ involvement actually began when one of Dr. Hooker’s co-organizers revealed the news about the upcoming hearing to SafeMinds’ Government Affairs Committee Chair Mark Blaxill at AutismOne. From there, SafeMinds hired external consultant Beth Clay – former Burton Staffer and experienced Washington-based lobbyist (who now also happens to be International Ambassador to the Scientology Front “Citizens Commission on Human Rights”) to lobby on SafeMinds’ behalf. Neither Clay nor Uram has a familial connection to autism, to my knowledge.
    According to Marin, the congressional staffer who worked closely with committee chair Darrell Issa, Clay introduced herself as a representative of Dr. Brian Hooker when in fact that was not the case. Nevertheless, Clay succeeded in replacing Dr. Hooker’s testimony with that of Mark Blaxill. Dr. Hooker had prepared five solid minutes summarizing in devastating detail the government cover-up of thimerosal-containing vaccines’ causal role in the autism epidemic (please read it here), in contrast to Mark Blaxill’s testimony.

    So one of Dan Burton’s most trusted aides is now officially on the Scientology payroll?

    Consider that Scientology is popularly known for its opposition to all modern medicines, even aspirin: http://gawker.com/5123114/time-to-audit-scientologys-anti+medicine-stance

    Most interesting.

  123. #123 Phoenix Woman
    February 3, 2013

    Oh, and Clay’s connection to the Clam Cult goes back a number of years, as this blog posting from 2007 demonstrates: http://leftbrainrightbrain.co.uk/2007/03/11/yet-more-scientology-and-autism/

  124. #124 lilady
    February 3, 2013
  125. #125 Alain
    February 4, 2013

    I’m late to the party but then, I must say that I often check on myself on Google and also, I try to not comment much on ethical issues regarding my ex-doctor but there is still that article:

    http://www.securivm.ca/2012/12/growing-up.html

    It doesn’t worry me that much except that the doctor referred in this blog post (hereafter, Dr. Mottron) has extensive medical documentation on myself including the events which lead to my resignation and the Canadian Armed Forces will ask for them (they ask for all the documentation of my doctors when applying). I will surely have some explanation to do.

    @Denice, can you check the aforementioned url and tell me if it’s cause of concern?

    Thanks
    Alain

  126. #126 flip
    February 4, 2013

    @Everyone

    Sorry for my little rant. It was towards the end of a long and frustrating day…

    You know I had several replies drafted up, but frankly I won’t bother posting them. A couple of you have quite clearly missed where I tried to clarify that I was NOT referring to behaviour that involves illegal acts (like stalking). The rest is me just being annoyed. Consider me old fashioned in this respect, but I find it strange that people go out of their way to look this stuff up. I mean, nobody went out and found your drinking buddies and listened in on your conversations with them without your knowledge, and then used the info to turn you down for a job when it might not even be relevant. Now employers actively seek out public info that they haven’t previously. I personally find it somewhat intrusive and mistrustful. But then, I’m one of those people who actually doesn’t lie on their resume…

    I’m sorry it just bugs me. I can understand it, I just don’t have to agree with it or like it.

  127. #127 Todd W.
    http://www.harpocratesspeaks.com
    February 4, 2013

    @flip

    I get where you’re coming from, and I agree that employers shouldn’t, themselves, get all stalker-y and track down things you’ve written online that are not pertinent to the job. But that is, unfortunately, the reality, and people need to keep that in mind when they’re online.

  128. #128 Ren
    Some town where some team won some game last night
    February 4, 2013

    As some of you may know, I’ve been applying to several doctoral program lately. I was talking to a friend the other day, and she gave me some good insight into a part of the admission process. She, a physician, told me that I better include in my personal statement something about my struggles with the anti-vax movement, including mention of Jake’s letter to my employers and 2011’s infamous “Epi Gate” situation. She said that the admissions people would not want to be surprised later on or during the process if they decided to google me or, worse yet, if the anti-vax people decided to contact them about my application.

    In this day and age, online activities do matter. It may seem “creepy” or “Big Brother-ish” to think that someone with a firm grasp on your professional or personal future would go looking for more information on you, but can you blame them? Even though I’ll be paying tuition, the school will still be making an investment in me. If I turn out to be someone who misrepresents the school or boasts proudly that I am attending that school while at the same time being anti-science and an “attack dog” for people who constantly misinform the public, it will reflect back on the school (or employer, etc.).

    Prospective employers and admissions committees are people, and people are curious. A couple of people who interviewed me for my job at the health department told me that they googled me and found my personal blog from years ago. They were encouraged by my “passion” about epidemiology and my master’s project on influenza surveillance. At the laboratories where I work once in a while, the managers have told me that they also read some of my writings, and liked my stories from when I was a student and had to memorize the coagulation cascade or the blood type matching steps. And at the migrant camp where I work during the picking season (as a translator and lab collector for the people needing bloodwork), they told me they liked that I would tell the story of immigrants working there and trying to make a better living for themselves and not just “smooching off” the US taxpayers.

    So, yes, it does matter what you do/say/post online, now more than ever. This is what makes me take pause about Jake. Where will he end up? A health department? A research institute? Will any professional organization (e.g. CSTE) be proud to call him a member?

    But it’s only a pause of a second or two after reading what he writes. There are bigger fish to fry. Measles is back in Washington State and California. Pediatric flu deaths continue to be reported. Polio has been found again in Egypt. There’s lots of work to do.

  129. #129 Denice Walter
    February 4, 2013

    @ Alain:

    I don’t see anything I’d worry about. It’s more about what was done to you rather than what you did to others.
    As you say, there are medical records about PTSD. You’re not trying to cover anything up.

    @ Ren:
    “There’s lots of work to do”
    And you’re the guy to do it.

  130. #130 Denice Walter
    February 4, 2013

    Today an AoA editor
    In other anti-vaccine news:

    Today an AoA editor encourages his enraged readers to e-mail selected adminstrators at Oxford University complaining about an upcoming lecture by the accomplished Mr Lawrence and then presents a long, meandering rant that includes the happy phrase “breeches** of ethics and journalistic standards” (sic) and perhaps borders on the libelous.

    I would myself encourage addressing similar exercises in futility to other universities:

    @ Cambridge: you had someone I didn’t like teach a course in cognitive psychology: you shouldn’t have, he dressed badly.
    @ Harvard: why do you waste all of that money on Astronomy when it can’t predict anything other than eclipses?
    @ Yale: you should be located closer to the water: move.
    @ Stanford: why didn’t you call yourself “Leland”- silly to name an institution about someone’s first name.
    @ Trinity, Dublin: oh, what’s the use…

    ** thought my eyes were playing tricks on me

  131. #131 Denice Walter
    February 4, 2013

    Please edit out the first phrase.
    My eyes are playing tricks on me: bad writing like his will do that to you.

  132. #132 Shay
    February 4, 2013

    “Once more into the breeches, dear friends…”

  133. #133 lilady
    February 4, 2013

    @ Phoenix Woman: Brian Deer did add a whole lot to the dialogue…minus the “schadenfreudich”. IMO, If ever there was someone who should be entitled to some gloating at Jake’s misstep, it is Brian Deer. In Jake’s absence AoA has alerted their groupies that Mr. Deer will be speaking at a University in the U.K. and has provided a *sample letter* to be sent to the University about his presentation…just another example of the tactics they used when Mr. Deer was invited to speak at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse last year.

  134. #134 Dangerous Bacon
    February 4, 2013

    Good editorial in the 2/4 USA Today suggesting that nurses who avoid getting flu vaccine to protect hospitalized patients should find other work:

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2013/02/03/flu-vaccine-mandate-nurses/1888655/

    A response by the co-president of a U.S. nurses’ association is rife with strawmen and deceptive claims, including hyping the increased incidence of narcolepsy possibly associated with an H1N1 flu vaccine that was not given in the United States, and whose purported effect involved children, not adults.

  135. #135 Denice Walter
    February 4, 2013

    @ lilady:

    I predict that my own e-mails to various institutions of higher education ( see # 130) would be more effective than AoA’s joint effort will ever be.

    “breeches of ethics” ?
    A new classic debuts .

  136. #136 lilady
    February 4, 2013

    I’m still *wondering* why these same nurses didn’t protest when the ACIP recommended Tdap vaccine for health care workers?

    http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/rr6007a1.htm?s_cid=rr6007a1_e

    “Recommendations

    Vaccination

    Regardless of age, HCP should receive a single dose of Tdap as soon as feasible if they have not previously received Tdap and regardless of the time since their most recent Td vaccination. Vaccinating HCP with Tdap will protect them against pertussis and is expected to reduce transmission to patients, other HCP, household members, and persons in the community. Tdap is not licensed for multiple administrations; therefore, after receipt of Tdap, HCP should receive Td for future booster vaccination against tetanus and diphtheria. Hospitals and ambulatory-care facilities should provide Tdap for HCP and use approaches that maximize vaccination rates (e.g., education about the benefits of vaccination, convenient access, and the provision of Tdap at no charge).

    *Perhaps we should be grateful that the Cochrane Collaboration’s Tom Jefferson hasn’t commented on the Tdap vaccine.

  137. #137 Melissa G
    February 4, 2013

    @ lilady #124

    AAAAAGH, she is a Reiki master!!!! But truly, I think Beth Clay has best summed up her work by referring to herself as a “Concept Doula.” I’m fairly certain I am bleeding from the brain just from having read that.

  138. #138 Narad
    February 4, 2013

    @ Harvard: why do you waste all of that money on Astronomy when it can’t predict anything other than eclipses?

    Off-topic, but in this vein, it is rather kewl that you can do particle physics without doing particle physics.

  139. #139 Melissa G
    February 4, 2013

    So, the AoA editor wants his followers to don their Fighting Trousers to confront Oxford about their “breeches of ethics!”

  140. #140 Denice Walter
    February 4, 2013

    @ Melissa G:

    Can you not visualise the facial expressions of the recipients of that letter when their eyes alight upon that phrase?
    I can.

    – Any guesses on how long it takes the editor to fix- or notice- it?

  141. #141 Lawrence
    February 4, 2013

    @DW – seems that AoA is ticked about Jenny McCarthy being dropped from the Cancer Charity appearance….I wonder how much fun the Oxford staff will have reading the various screeds sure to be forwarded their way.

  142. #142 Shay
    February 4, 2013

    @Melissa

    Well, one can’t expect them to fight in skirts!

    (no kilt jokes, please).

  143. #143 herr doktor bimler
    February 4, 2013

    “breeches of ethics and journalistic standards”

    Honoured more in their breeches than in the observance.

  144. #144 Ren
    February 4, 2013
  145. #145 Liz Ditz
    Jake Crosby's vitriol: It's worse than you think
    February 4, 2013

    On Friday, one of my provaccine-activist friends, relatively new to the whole issue, asked me who Jake Crosby was and what it all meant.

    I went back through the AoA archives for Crosby’s posts. It was a depressing exercise. He has a couple of standard set pieces:

    1. Go to an event featuring an eminent pro-vaccination speaker, use the Q&A session to attack some fictitious aspect of immunization, then publish a blog post casting himself as the brave maverick and the the speaker as an ignorant, bullying numpty. (see Paul Offit, Seth Mnookin, Fiona Godlee, Tom Insel, etc). Bonus points when Crosby crashes an event and is asked to leave.
    2. The 6,000 degrees of separation Conflict of Interest gambit, most famously unleashed on Our Host on June 21, 2010. The
    3. Ad hominem attacks (sometimes with sprinkles of mendacity accusations) on persons Crosby dislikes, such as Brian Deer or Amy Wallace.) One of the better examples: the repeated attacks on Matt Carey after his appointment to the IACC.

    I was aware of Crosby’s antics, of course, and had even written about some of them. But reading through them in one or two sittings, and reading Qwerty’s account of Crosby’s treatment of his friend, and Crosby’s response to criticism–the picture is really much more dire than I had previously assumed.

    I also realized in reading through Crosby’s writings that he and my daughter were born 4 days apart. When I contrast the quality of mentoring she has had since 2009 (when her father died), and the kind of mentoring and feedback Crosby’s gotten from the AoA faithful, I just feel really sad.
    2.

  146. #146 lilady
    February 4, 2013

    The misspelling at AoA has already been corrected.

    How *appropriate* that Brian Deer’s keynote presentation is about investigative journalism…

    http://www.evidencelive.org/keynotes

  147. #147 Melissa G
    February 4, 2013

    I am shocked, SHOCKED I SAY, that they actually corrected their spelling error. Probably because we were mocking them. ;)

  148. #148 Science Mom
    http://justthevax.blogspot.com/
    February 4, 2013

    @ Ren, that is awesome and bonus points for the jackboots.

    Probably because we were mocking them.

    That would probably be the only reason. Given how ludicrous and bloviated that letter is, I’m sure it will serve as a humorous break for those tasked to reading them.

  149. #149 Thomas
    February 4, 2013

    Offtopic note: Vox Day, an antivaxxer that Orac has written about (here for example http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2012/06/06/quoth-vox-day-vaccines-are-killing-babies/) has been obsessing about John Scalzi lately. Scalzi is pledging money (and inviting others to pledge) to various worthy causes for each idiotic anti-Scalzi post by Vox.
    http://whatever.scalzi.com/2013/02/02/solving-my-racist-sexist-homophobic-dipshit-problem/#comment-434578

  150. #150 MI Dawn
    February 4, 2013

    Gee…wonder if my comment was ever posted? It was in moderation…Nope, not there. Wonder who the “foul lady” from Oxford is? Glad I’m not from Oxford, even though I have an English name…

  151. #151 lilady
    February 4, 2013

    …And, still no posts on AoA from “Jen” about Jake Crosby’s rant on Bolen’s blog. :-)

    http://www.ageofautism.com/2012/12/brian-hookers-testimony-autism.html

    “Of the 8 panelists that spoke, only one (Mark Blaxill) spoke about autism causation related to vaccination, when specifically questioned by the committee members. Of the remaining panelists, Autism Speaks co-founder Bob Wright in his opening remarks, mentioned that his daughter, Katie Wright was concerned that vaccines were involved in his grandson’s autism. Four panelists did not speak to the issue and two actually denied a connection between vaccines and autism.”

    “In my opinion, this is not a balanced panel. If it weren’t for the many questions raised by the committee members (due in large part to many great parents in our community that visited, called or wrote these representatives), the vaccine autism issue would have been woefully underrepresented.”

    Thanks to Jake, we now know just how all the Congressional Committee members were wined and dined (bought and paid for), by the disgraced former doctor Wakefield. Thanks, to Autism One’s announcement about the *honored guests* at this year’s quackfest, we know that those Committee members will be wined and dined some more:

    http://www.autismone.org/content/autismone-generation-rescue-conference-2013

    “BREAKING NEWS! Congressman Dan Burton, Congressman Dave Weldon, MD, and Congressman Bill Posey are coming to the conference, Friday, May 24th.

    The Congressional Panel will present beginning at 10:00 am for an hour followed by Q&A for 30 minutes. Stay tuned. More details coming soon.”

  152. #152 Denice Walter
    February 4, 2013

    Hmmm..
    Didn’t take them long to correct that.
    I wonder who that lady is?

    I suppose someone there reads Orac.
    Orac’s minions?
    Are they mods or rockers?
    Neither one: they’re mockers!

  153. #153 Narad
    February 4, 2013

    Didn’t take them long to correct that.
    I wonder who that lady is?

    Who’s “Ed.”? I don’t follow it enough to recognize the writing style, and I don’t recall seeing this one deployed in the past.

  154. #154 brian
    February 4, 2013

    Who’s “Ed.”?

    Since the article was introduced by an “Editor’s note” and some of the replies are signed “Ed.” (the period indicates an abbreviation) I suppose that “Ed.” is an editor of the site, which lists an editor, a managing editor, an editor-at-large, a media editor, ten contributing editors, a UK editor, and a legal editor. At least one of them should be able to understand the correct spelling, in context, of breach, but none of them seem to be able to make any sense.

  155. #155 Narad
    February 4, 2013

    Since the article was introduced by an “Editor’s note” and some of the replies are signed “Ed.” (the period indicates an abbreviation)

    I know what the period indicates, thank you. Staggs has always signed her own name from what I’ve seen, and like I said, I haven’t seen this particular appellation trotted out before. I was wondering if anyone recognized the tone.

  156. #156 brian
    February 4, 2013

    Narad, I certainly didn’t mean to offend you. I thought that “Ed.” was Olmsted, but I suppose that it could have been any of the editors.

  157. #157 Narad
    February 4, 2013

    No worry, I’m not offended. I just don’t know whether Olmsted normally has such a snotty tone, perhaps because the text blobs at the top right of the page are too incoherent even to have a tone. I certainly don’t discount the possibility.

  158. #158 MI Dawn
    February 4, 2013

    I’m sad. I was hoping my comment would get through but I lost to the “foul English woman” who apparently corrected them – but whose comment never appeared. (English? Me? Nah…)

  159. #159 Science Mom
    http://justthevax.blogspot.com/
    February 4, 2013

    The 6000 degrees of separation conspiracy-mongering and “Wakefield vindicated via Walker-Smith” has the odour of Crosby and Stone.

  160. #160 THS
    February 4, 2013

    @ Narad re the physics link on #138: Thanks.

  161. #161 Narad
    February 4, 2013

    @THS: Courtesy of Peter Woit.

  162. #162 Denice Walter
    February 4, 2013

    I re-read the letter a few times**, and although I do wade through their swill on a regular basis, I can’t really pin it in anyone in particular BUT I would have to guess that Olmsted and Stone were involved. I can’t seem to “hear” anyone else ( KS is more shrill). If you peruse their links, you might see why I’d implicate Stone. I have a feeling Jake may not be hanging around there much lately.

    I could probably read 5 or 6 of each guy’s articles and might be able to discern patterns in usage or verbs or suchlike. On second thought, maybe I won’t; I’m not a masochist.

    ** believe it or not, I have an extremely high tolerance for reading material like this: I don’t become ill or depressed.

  163. #163 Melissa G
    February 4, 2013

    Denice, I really appreciate people like you and others who have this super-high tolerance for the swill. I would be too-soon depressed by slogging through AoA, but I am always cheered by you lot’s analysis! :) I THUMBS-UP EVERYONE! :)

  164. #164 lilady
    February 5, 2013

    Here’s Jake’s second of ninety blogs that have appeared on AoA, appropriately titled “Discovering I was Toxic”. Yup, twas mercury poisoning that caused his ASD. Momma Crosby confirmed that she knew it was mercury that damaged sonny boy, fully four years before Jake self-diagnosed his mercury toxicity at age 16.

    http://www.ageofautism.com/2009/01/discovering-i-was-toxic.html#more

  165. #165 brian
    February 5, 2013

    Jake’s appearance at last week’s IACC meeting (which begins about two hours and eighteen minutes into the linked video) shows why Jake’s handlers prevented him from appearing before the congressional committee. Here’s Jake: “It never ceases to amaze me how proven and unsubstantiated this cover-up is, yet instead of rectifying it, the government keeps, keeps committing it in the form of a smoke and mirrors side show like the IACC.”

    http://videocast.nih.gov/summary.asp?Live=12415&bhcp=1

  166. #166 Narad
    February 5, 2013

    Jake’s appearance at last week’s IACC meeting

    Wow. That’s like bad high-school debate team tactics gone even more wrong. There’s no way somebody who didn’t specialize in this task could even follow it. And seriously, Jake, try to dress up a little more.

  167. #167 Marc Stephens Is Insane
    February 5, 2013

    It never ceases to amaze me how proven and unsubstantiated this cover-up is…

    How can something be both proven and unsubstantialed at the same time?

    I just watched the video. That’s the big, bad Jake Crosby?!! It’s my first time seeing him in the flesh after reading his drivel for several months. Is he even old enough to drive?

  168. #168 Narad
    February 5, 2013

    I guess I’m mainly surprised because I’ve only bothered with the video of his attempts to derail Q&A sessions. Still, even this represented an improvement in small fashion. I’m starting to get a bad feeling about this.

  169. #169 Marc Stephens Is Insane
    February 5, 2013

    1) He should take some public speaking courses. I’m sure he thought he was delivering his sermon with fire and brimstone, but all his gesticulating and arbitrary word emphasis just made him look like a fool.

    2) Someone should teach him microphone technique. He “eats the mic” and most of his little speech was distorted.

  170. #170 Marc Stephens Is Insane
    February 5, 2013

    Narad,

    Any links to videos of those “derailing Q&A sessions” you can point to? Now that I’ve seen behind the curtain I’d love to see more of this little kid making a fool of himself in front of adults.

    And just an aside to the veterans here, as I’ve only been around for a year. Was there any hint of an anti-vax movement before Wakefield? Or did the entire AofA/Generation Rescue/AVN etc. kooks only spring up since Wakefield? Was autism being “blamed” on anything before vaccines?

  171. #171 Marc Stephens Is Insane
    February 5, 2013

    Speaking of AofA, our friend Jen is butthurt that we were “mysongenic” to her hero Jennie McCarthy in our discussion of her non-appearance in Ottawa.

  172. #172 Narad
    February 5, 2013

    He should take some public speaking courses.

    He’s trying to cram as much as possible into the alloted time. Everybody he’s “talking to” on the IACC already knows who he is, so the only options are offering a convincing presentation to random viewers or providing something compelling for the transcript. It’s a catastrophe either way.

  173. #173 Narad
    February 5, 2013

    Was there any hint of an anti-vax movement before Wakefield?

    Very much so. It goes in cycles.

  174. #174 Narad
    February 5, 2013

    Any links to videos of those “derailing Q&A sessions” you can point to?

    There’s this, at ~54:00. There’s at least one more that I recall, but I’m a bit weary to dig it up.

  175. #175 Marc Stephens Is Insane
    February 5, 2013

    Thanks for the link. I want to see his ambush technique in action.

  176. #176 lilady
    February 5, 2013

    @ Mark: Perhaps a glance at Seth Mnookin’s article would help you. (Now you see why Barbara Loe Fisher is referred to as the ‘grande dame’ of the anti vaccine movement)

    http://blogs.plos.org/thepanicvirus/2012/09/13/the-whole-cell-pertussis-vaccine-media-malpractice-and-the-long-term-effects-of-avoiding-difficult-conversations/

    I remember visiting her website years ago and it was a mass of pasted up articles from newspapers and such.

  177. #177 Narad
    February 5, 2013

    That said, I hadn’t seen this one-off Wakefield intro before. I will only mention 2:20 to pretend that I’m not… oh, screw it, go observe.

  178. #178 Marc Stephens Is Insane
    February 5, 2013

    Thanks again. I’m getting interested in the history of the anti-vax movement, as it’s all new to me. It all seems centered around autism.

    When I talk to many parents of school age kids I know, none of them are even aware there is an anti-vax movement. Fortunately in my circles it’s a foreign concept. Parents can’t even imagine not vaccinating their kids.

  179. #179 Rebecca Fisher
    That London
    February 5, 2013

    Well, contrary to suggestions over at AoA, I wasn’t the foul and patronising lady from Oxford. But it’s nice that they’re thinking of me.

  180. #180 Marc Stephens Is Insane
    February 5, 2013

    I want to see a video of Jake being ushered out of one of those meetings. I imagine him as the old woman/old man in this scene (I know how much we all love Monty Python):

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GS_1bzaj2fw

  181. #181 Grant
    http://sciblogs.co.nz/code-for-life/2013/01/19/vaccination-why-learn-the-hard-way/
    February 5, 2013

    @Marc Stephens Is Insane,

    Anti-vaccine groups have been around as long as vaccines have – a couple of centuries now… The reasons for them slightly differ, but some of the themes of their protests are remarkably similar despite the extent medicine and the world has moved on.

  182. #182 Krebiozen
    February 5, 2013

    MSII,
    There was a big vaccine scare in the UK in the late 70s and early 80s when a doctor linked the whole-cell pertussis vaccine to neurological damage, a link which proved to be false after extensive investigation. The fall in vaccine uptake led to large outbreaks of whooping cough, and several deaths. My son, who couldn’t be vaccinated, was hospitalized with whooping cough at this time, so I have a personal interest in that particular episode. This is an anthropological paper that discusses the sociological aspects of vaccine scares that I think is worth reading if you are interested.

    BTW, I was pleased to see a short piece on prime-time UK TV last night (The One Show) about the resurgences in measles we continue to see in the UK, as the children who missed their MMR due to the Wakefield debacle grow into teenagers.

    There was no false balance, and no equivocation. They included an interview with the mother of a young man who had a bad case of measles and footage of him getting the MMR to avoid mumps and rubella and they advised anyone who hasn’t had the MMR (or the diseases it prevents) to do so now, as it’s never too late (unless you get measles and die of course).

  183. #183 Liz Ditz
    February 5, 2013

    MSII,

    I’m getting interested in the history of the anti-vax movement, as it’s all new to me. It all seems centered around autism.

    The current obsession is with autism, but that only started in the US circa the late 1990s, in some circles. Redwood et al.’s “Autism: A Novel form of Mercury Poisoning” was published in 2001.

    Reading list (no links cause I don’t want to hang up in moderation):
    Vaccine: The Controversial Story of Medicine’s Greatest Lifesaver by Arthur Allen
    Pox: An American History by Michael Willrich
    The Panic Virus, by Seth Mnookin
    Deadly Choices, by Paul Offit

    (There’s another book, Vaccine: The Debate in Modern America
    by Mark A. Largent that I haven’t read yet, so can’t comment on.)

  184. #184 Liz Ditz
    February 5, 2013

    MSII, The History of Vaccines website is worthy of exploration.

    A History of Anti-vaccination movements.

  185. #185 Liz Ditz
    February 5, 2013

    MSII<
    jdc325 at "Stuff and Nonsense" has a helpful overview of European anti-vaccine movements, amplified in the comments. I suggest you read the Brian Deer articles that jdc325 links to as well.

  186. #186 Todd W.
    http://www.harpocratesspeaks.com
    February 5, 2013

    Liz beat me to it. I also recommend Pox: An American History and The Panic Virus. The former is good in that it gives a good overview of anti-vaccine sentiments and tactics around 1900. When I read it, I was struck by how little things have changed. Most of the current crop of anti-vaccine spokespeople would have fit quite well in that atmosphere.

    The latter looks more at the current round of anti-vaccine activism. Seth went into it not really know a great deal about the issue on either side. When he was writing it, he was also a new dad, so the topic had a very personal connection for him. Though no one on the anti-vaccine side of things thinks so, he did a very good job at humanizing them, while still concluding that they are wrong. I had the privilege of meeting him a couple months ago. Very down-to-earth, friendly guy.

  187. #187 dingo199
    February 5, 2013

    “There was a big vaccine scare in the UK in the late 70s and early 80s when a doctor linked the whole-cell pertussis vaccine to neurological damage, a link which proved to be false after extensive investigation. The fall in vaccine uptake led to large outbreaks of whooping cough, and several deaths. “

    That doctor would be Gordon Stewart, a rabid antivaccinationist and an AIDS denialist to boot.

    It would not be an exaggeration to say that the consequence of his widely publicised, unevidenced and implacable views has been the lingering painful deaths of hundreds of children and adults.

  188. #188 Grant
    http://sciblogs.co.nz/code-for-life/2012/09/18/the-panic-virus/
    February 5, 2013

    @Marc Stephens Is Insane,

    Just following on from others’ pointing that the book: if it’s of interest I have a review of The Panic Virus I wrote in the latter part of last year.

  189. #189 Marc Stephens Is Insane
    February 5, 2013

    Thanks everyone for all the reading suggestions. I wish I had a local library that carried some of the books you recommended. I’ll start with all the links you provided.

  190. #190 Grant
    http://sciblogs.co.nz/code-for-life/2010/11/04/immunisation-then-and-now/
    February 5, 2013

    @Marc Stephens Is Insane,

    If you follow the links Immunisation now and then you might find some material of relevance or interest or whatever.

    @Liz Ditz – that European source is interesting, thanks.

  191. #191 Grant
    http://sciblogs.co.nz/code-for-life/2010/11/04/immunisation-then-and-now/
    February 5, 2013

    @Marc Stephens Is Insane,

    If you follow the links Immunisation now and then you might find some material of relevance or interest or whatever.

  192. #192 herr doktor bimler
    February 5, 2013

    Grant’s link includes comments from NZ’s own Erwin Alber — who is prone to arguing his case by linking to a couple of century-old German anti-vaccine diatribes (using hand-drawn illustrations of various skin diseases to document their evil side-effects).

  193. #193 brian
    February 5, 2013

    Marc Stephens Is Insane @167 correctly quoted Jacob Lawrence Crosby’s spittle-flecked presentation to the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee

    It never ceases to amaze me how proven and unsubstantiated this cover-up is…

    and then noted

    How can something be both proven and unsubstantiated at the same time?

    Logic is clearly not Jake’s strong suit. Anyone who reads his posts or watches the video will understand that. Honestly, would you want Jacob Crosby to represent your views on anything at all?

  194. #194 Grant
    http://sciblogs.co.nz/code-for-life/2013/01/19/vaccination-why-learn-the-hard-way/
    February 5, 2013

    hdb,

    I’d forgotten about the comments when I posted that link. I recall someone rebutting Erwin very nicely ;-) Sad to say, that “evidence” isn’t the worse thing I’ve seen him do.

  195. #195 lilady
    February 6, 2013

    You’re going to love this…a statement from SafeMinds about Jake Crosby’s rant on Tim Bolen’s blog:

    http://safeminds.org/news/response-to-false-allegations.html

  196. #196 Denice Walter
    February 6, 2013

    @ lilady:

    How long until they start dragging each other into court or creating a tribunal into un-toward and un-seemly activities un-befitting an anti-vaccinationist- or suchlike?

    Random questions:
    What is the degree of overlap of Safe Minds, AoA, the Canaries …? Is Venn diagramming possible?

    What’s going on in Austin? Andy’s so-called legal actions?

  197. #197 Science Mom
    http://justthevax.blogspot.com/
    February 6, 2013

    What is the degree of overlap of Safe Minds, AoA, the Canaries …? Is Venn diagramming possible?

    Yes, just overlay the circles directly on top of another.
    And in related news, Jake calls SafeMinds liars; let the faeces-flinging begin.

  198. #198 lilady
    February 6, 2013

    Heh, heh, Jake has been “tweeting” again about SafeMinds, calling them “liars”.

    @ Denice Walter: In other news about “what’s going on in Austin”, some *background* information about the *Austin Autism Connection*:

    http://www.texasobserver.org/autism-inc-the-discredited-science-shady-treatments-and-rising-profits-behind-alternative-autism-treatments/

    “…Discredited in his native UK, Wakefield moved to Austin in 2001 with his wife Carmel and their four children. Three years later, along with a group of parents and other doctors, he founded the Thoughtful House Center for Children to further his work in autism research. Wakefield served as its executive director and was paid a salary of around $250,000 a year until, mired in controversy, he resigned in early 2010…”

    “…After resigning from Thoughtful House, he set up the nonprofit Strategic Autism Initiative in Austin to commission studies of the condition. He is still a director of the nonprofit, according to the Texas Secretary of State.

    In 2011 Thoughtful House changed its name to the Johnson Center for Child Health and Development, and Anissa Ryland was named its new executive director. At the time, Ryland told the Austin American-Statesman that the organization no longer collaborated with Wakefield, presumably enabling it to get on with its work free of its association with one of the biggest pariahs in British medicine.

    Jane Johnson, a member of the family of Johnson & Johnson health care products and services company and a relative of Betty Wold Johnson, after whom the Center is named, co-authored a book in 2007 called Changing the Course of Autism. The book controversially posits that mercury, once used as a preservative in some vaccines, is a cause of autism and concludes that chelation, which removes metals from the body, can treat it. “Since it can be argued that autistic children are demonstrating neurological and immunological symptoms as a result of low-level, intermittent heavy metal exposures,” the book contends, “carefully administered chelation therapy seems indicated.

    “The book goes on to say that from the authors’ experience “and that of many other physicians treating autistic children … children with autism improve with chelation therapy, and that it’s generally safe and well tolerated if done under appropriate medical supervision.”

    “A number of prominent Central Texans supported Thoughtful House when Wakefield launched the organization. Former Dell executive Charlie Ball and his wife Troylyn were among its founders, and filmmaker Robert Rodriguez and his former wife Elizabeth Avellan held an event at Austin’s Paramount Theatre to raise money to help fund it. In fact, reviewing Wakefield’s book Callous Disregard, Rodriguez and Avellan wrote:

    “Meeting Dr. Andy Wakefield changed our lives and … we are forever grateful. His wise and measured advice about vaccinations helped us dodge a bullet … Our fourth son [had] multiple allergies and repeated infections … We now fully realize [he] would have been a victim of immune overload had we followed the regular vaccine schedule. … [He] is [now] bright and healthy … This book provides a terrifying insight into what has been happening behind the scenes as efforts redouble to silence Dr. Wakefield … It is a wake-up call to those who think [he] is anything other than a modern day hero fighting for all of our children.”

    Need I remind you that…

    -Jake’s mother has deep roots in Austin and is the sole owner of a large company situated in Austin.

    -Jake and his parents support the Autism Trust USA, in Austin, which is a branch of Polly Tommey’s Autism Trust U.K.

    -Polly Tommey and her family have relocated to Austin, to be near to her partner in the Autism Media Channel, Andy Wakefield.

  199. #199 Lawrence
    February 6, 2013

    @lilady – looks like the chances that Jake will be “brought back into the fold” are dim and getting dimmer…..since all he knows how to do is attack, attack, attack, I really don’t see this ending well at all for either Jake or SafeMinds (not to mention the fallout potential at AoA – I mean, who’s going to do their 600 degrees of separation articles from now on?)

  200. #200 Lawrence
    February 6, 2013

    @lilady / ScienceMom – I guess Jake never heard of the saying “don’t bite the hand that feeds you.”

    How long before he’s disavowed completely?

  201. #201 brian
    February 6, 2013

    Regarding Wakefield: The case drags on. IANAL, but it seems that the median time to decision in an appeal is ca. 500 days from filing, so this may take a while. BTW, in two-thirds of the cases in which a decision is reached (decisions are reached in about 60% of the appeals filed; many appeals are withdrawn) the lower court’s ruling is affirmed. In Texas during the 2010-2011, the appellate court reversed the decision of the lower court only 31% of the time when a summary judgment was reached.

    Regarding Jake: I really thought it was amazing that Jake’s rant at the recent Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee meeting even included relating Jake’s brief private discussion (months earlier) with NIH director Francis Collins as to why Jake had been asked (more months earlier) to leave a lecture by Paul Offit–a lecture that, apparently, Collins did not attend. It’s all about Jake, all the time.

  202. #202 Krebiozen
    February 6, 2013

    @dingo199 #187,

    That doctor would be Gordon Stewart, a rabid antivaccinationist and an AIDS denialist to boot.

    It was Dr. John Wilson I was thinking of, though Stewart undoubtedly also played a major role. There’s an interesting article about this sorry affair, written by Brian Deer, here if anyone’s interested.

  203. #203 lilady
    February 6, 2013

    @ Lawrence: Disavowed completely? He’s gone and done it to himself:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jsaTElBljOE

    Jake will b!tch and moan about his plight, but with him it’s always been an *inside job*.

    https://twitter.com/JakeCrosbyAoA

  204. #204 Denice Walter
    February 6, 2013

    @ brian:

    500 days? So how many fundraisers could AJW & Cie squeeze into that timeframe?

  205. #205 I. Rony Meter
    February 6, 2013

    “how many fundraisers could AJW & Cie squeeze into that timeframe?”

    Probably doesn’t matter. I doubt their fundraisers actually raise funds.

    The “Wakefield Justice Fund” didn’t seem to work. The “Academic Integrity Fund” doesn’t seem to be much of a “fund”. I think they had one fundraiser last year. I’d bet they had fewer participants than they hoped for.

    I wonder how much money they got from the Crosby’s. I wonder how that may change as Andy has to decide if he allies with his now solo defender or the orgs that have supported him for so long. I have strong suspicions.

  206. #206 Lawrence
    February 6, 2013

    @lilady – he’s still listed as a contributor at AoA, though I expect that should change fairly soon…….

  207. #207 Todd W.
    http://www.harpocratesspeaks.com
    February 6, 2013

    Well, with SafeMinds’ having put up a damage control post essentially disavowing Jake, it looks like they’re trying to sever ties with him.

  208. #208 lilady
    Not on "Twitter"
    February 6, 2013

    The person who *tweeted* Jake is E. Nanstiel, (Erik Nanstiel), President and Administrative Director of FAIR Autism Media. Take a look at the gallery of his *clients*.

    http://www.autismmedia.org/index.html

  209. […] do feel a bit sorry for the main combatant, Jake Crosby. He’s the guy whom I likened to an antivaccine Frankenstein’s monster turning on his creators last week. The reason was that Jake had become very, very unhappy with the antivaccine leaders who created […]

  210. […] antivaccine hurrah by Dan Burton before he rode off into the sunset of wingnut retirement. So he attacked the only way he knows how. SafeMinds responded a week later, and now it’s on! Now, let me be clear. By […]

  211. […] crank blog Age of Autism, Jake Crosby, had apparently turned on his masters because he was ticked off at a perceived betrayal of purity in their antivaccine beliefs, so much so that he actually posted a screed against the […]

  212. […] royale whose first shot occurred when everybody’s favorite Boy Wonder “reporter” betrayed his mentors with a missive published on a hive of scum and quackery even more wretched that the hive of scum […]

  213. […] kid posts this to Twitter. Orac has the run-down of what it all […]

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