Respectful Insolence

Never look a blogging gift horse in the mouth, I always say. Well, sort of. It just figures that I could only do two posts that weren’t about vaccines before circling back around to the topic of the antivaccine movement. For that, I have Jenny McCarthy to thank. McCarthy, as anyone who pays attention to the antivaccine movement knows, is the most famous antivaccine activist in the United States, if not the world. She’s a woman who’s used her celebrity to promote the notion that vaccines cause autism, so much so that she willingly lent her name to a notorious antivaccine group (Generation Rescue), whose presidency she took over several years ago. Indeed, in 2008, she even led an antivaccine “march on Washington,” whose organizers, as they rallied behind the slogan “Green Our Vaccines,” couldn’t hide the rabidly antivaccine nature of the “protest.” Of course, since she somehow scored a sweet, sweet gig as one of the regulars on The View last fall (and even before), McCarthy’s been a lot quieter about vaccines and autism, most likely because she didn’t want to endanger her awesome regular gig, a gig far above any sort of talent or insight that she possesses.

Now, apparently, she’s trying to rewrite history.

Over the weekend, an op-ed by Jenny McCarthy, entitled The Gray Area on Vaccines, was published. “Gray area.” You keep using that term, Jenny. I do not think it means what you think it means. It’s a short article, but packed full of disingenuous nonsense masquerading as wounded self-righteous denial.

She begins by repeating the same lie that she’s been repeating for several years, now, mainly that she’s “not antivaccine but ‘pro-safe vaccine.’” Anyone who looks objectively at her statements and activities will realize immediately that such a claim is a stinking truckload of fetid dingos’ kidneys, but I’ll let McCarthy make her claims before I have some fun with them. Here we go:

I am not “anti-vaccine.” This is not a change in my stance nor is it a new position that I have recently adopted. For years, I have repeatedly stated that I am, in fact, “pro-vaccine” and for years I have been wrongly branded as “anti-vaccine.”

Let’s see. One would think that if McCarthy were truly not antivaccine and were indeed truly “pro-safe vaccine,” that she might have had something to say about the blatantly antivaccine signs and rhetoric that participants in her “Green Our Vaccines” rally were displaying. It’s not as though the signs weren’t clearly visible. Of course, one might be able to forgive such silence. Maybe she didn’t want to say something that would upset her supporters directly to her supporters, as antivaccine as they were (and still are). So let’s look at things she actively did. For example, let’s take a look at this video, which I had some fun dissecting a few years ago. It’s in two parts because the original was deleted

In it, notably, McCarthy disingenuously claims that she is “not antivaccine, but ‘anti-toxin,’” after which she says that she wants “the mercury, aluminum, ether, anti-freeze, and human aborted fetal tissue to be removed.” Holy antivaccine trope, Batman! Yes, McCarthy was repeating common antivaccine tropes, such as the claims that there are antifreeze, ether, and “human aborted fetal tissue” in vaccines. There isn’t any of the above in vaccines.

The origin of the “ether” trope, as best as I’ve been able to tell, is that some vaccines are purified by Tween-ether extractions, which might leave trace amounts of ether in the vaccine, which are harmless. Also, there’s no antifreeze in vaccines. There just isn’t. Antifreeze contains ethylene glycol. Some vaccines contain polyethylene glycol, a polymer used in many personal care products, such as skin creams and toothpaste. Continuing to parrot the “antifreeze in vaccines” line is more than intellectually dishonest. It’s just plain dishonest. Either that, or it’s evidence of an ignorance so profound that nothing can penetrate it. Finally, there is not “aborted fetal tissue” in vaccines. It is true that the virus stock for some vaccines is grown in a human cell line derived from an aborted fetus back in the 1960s. That cell line has been propagated continuously ever since. There’s a huge difference between “human aborted fetal tissue” and a cell line that’s existed nowhere other than in tissue culture growing in tissue culture media. Moreover, when the viruses are isolated, the cells are removed. There are none left in the vaccines. Moreover, she’s repeated that same trope again and again, saying:

I’m calling for cleaning out the toxins. People don’t realize that there is aluminum, ether, antifreeze, still mercury, in the shots…People are afraid of secondhand smoke, but they’re OK with injecting the second worst neurotoxin on the planet in newborns.

Of course, Jenny McCarthy thinks nothing of injecting one of the world’s worst neurotoxins into herself and has even boasted about it.

So what do you call someone who repeats common antivaccine tropes? Either she’s antivaccine or she’s so scientifically ignorant as to be uneducable. Take your pick about McCarthy. Personally, although I’m not impressed in the least by her intellectual firepower, I don’t think she’s more than a standard deviation below the mean in IQ. However, there’s no way I can see her scoring above 100 on an IQ test, either. She’s probably just below average in intelligence and makes up for it with obnoxiousness. Whatever her intelligence, to my view McCarthy is antivaccine, even more so because of how she blamed the MMR vaccine for her son Evan’s autism. She’s even been widely quoted as saying that the “lights went out” after her son Evan received the MMR vaccine. She’s also said that “Boom! Soul, gone from his eyes.” Whether or not this is antivaccine can be argued (it could just be massive confirmation bias), but what can’t so easily be argued is whether what Jenny McCarthy said a few years ago in an interview with TIME Magazine is antivaccine:

I do believe sadly it’s going to take some diseases coming back to realize that we need to change and develop vaccines that are safe. If the vaccine companies are not listening to us, it’s their fucking fault that the diseases are coming back. They’re making a product that’s shit. If you give us a safe vaccine, we’ll use it. It shouldn’t be polio versus autism.

Can you say “false dichotomy”? Sure, I knew you could. Actually, if there’s one thing I (sort of) agree with Jenny McCarthy about, it’s that she hasn’t changed her views. She was antivaccine then. She’s still antivaccine. She’s just gotten better at hiding it. Her silence on autism and vaccines is very much more likely to be part of a plan to resurrect her career. She’s become “respectable” enough to land a high profile gig on The View. She is no longer disreputable enough to be denied such a gig. Never mind that she remains a rabid defender of antivaccine icon Andrew Wakefield.

It’s also extremely disingenuous of McCarthy not to mention that quote in her TIME Magazine interview, even though she mentions the interview. Of course what she mentions shows her antivaccine proclivities:

People have the misconception that we want to eliminate vaccines. Please understand that we are not an antivaccine group. We are demanding safe vaccines. We want to reduce the schedule and reduce the toxins. If you ask a parent of an autistic child if they want the measles or the autism, we will stand in line for the fucking measles.

None of which isn’t antivaccine, given how it’s based on antivaccine misinformation and tropes, such as “too many too soon” and the “toxins gambit.” It’s a repeat of the same false dichotomy that it has to be either the measles or autism, which is a false dichotomy because there’s no scientifically convincing evidence that the measles vaccine causes autism. Of course, over the years, McCarthy has said many such things that lead reasonable people to the conclusion that she is antivaccine, such that there are a whole bunch of other such quotes, of which I will provide a small sampling right here:

  • “People are also dying from vaccinations. Evan, my son, died in front of me for two minutes. You ask any mother in the autism community if we’ll take the flu, the measles, over autism and day of the week. I think they need to wake up and stop hurting our kids.”
  • “The reason why [the medical community] is reluctant to talk about it is because there’s such a huge business in pharmaceuticals.”
  • “I look at autism like a bus accident, and you don’t become cured from a bus accident, but you can recover.”
  • “Let me see if I can put this in scientific terms: Think of autism like a fart, and vaccines are the finger you pull to make it happen.”

Sounds pretty antivaccine to me, a repeat of the same false dichotomy Instead of being antivaccine, McCarthy proclaims herself as being the only person able to see the “shades of gray” of vaccine science:

A recent column by a blogger named Nancy Colasurdo states:

“Here’s how it goes in this country, like everything else — black or white. Those are your choices. You either fall in line with 40-plus vaccines your doctor recommends on his or her schedule or you’re a wack-job ‘anti-vaxxer.’ Heaven forbid you think the gray zone is an intelligent place to reside and you express doubt or fear or maybe want to spread the vaccines out a bit on this tiny person you’ve brought into the world.”

Her words echo and articulate my concern with inflexible thinking. This is the real view I, Jenny McCarthy, hold. The gray one!

Concluding:

I will continue to say what I have always said: “One size does not fit all.” God help us all if gray is no longer an option.

Gray area. You keep using that term. I do not think it means what you think it means. No, Ms. McCarthy, people don’t call you a whack-job antivaxer because you see things in shades of gray. People call you a whack-job antivaxxer because you are a whack-job antivaxxer. You’ve proven it time and time and time again over the last six or seven years. I do have to admit that McCarthy did amuse me quite abit when she said “This is the real view I, Jenny McCarthy, hold.” This sort self-referential speech reminds very much of how a certain even crankier crank than Jenny by the name of Patrick “Tim” Bolen writes. Seriously, if Jenny McCarthy doesn’t want to be perceived as a crank, she shouldn’t write like the very crankiest crank I know, a man who makes Joe Mercola, Mike Adams, and Gary Null look downright reasonable by comparison.

Of course, McCarthy has been very good at rewriting her history and sending the inconvenient bits down the old memory hole. Before she emerged as the antivaccine “warrior mom” trying to rid the world of autism by blaming it on vaccines and promoting biomedical quackery, Jenny McCarthy promoted New Age in which she ran a website devoted to what was referred to as Indigo Moms, believing that her son Evan was a “Crystal Child.” Tellingly, her IndigoMoms.com website disappeared shortly before the release of her first autism book in 2007, Louder Than Words: A Mother’s Journey in Healing Autism. She obviously made the strategic decision that she couldn’t be seen to be associated with such New Age nonsense if she was ever going to be taken seriously as a crusader for autism. So she sent her old website down the memory hole, never to be seen again.

To be honest, I’m only surprised that she hasn’t dumped her antivaccine crusade now that she has a high profile gig as one of the hosts of The View. Certainly she’s toned it down. We rarely see her going full antivaccine on us any more; indeed, the last time I remember her doing it was in her full-throated defense of Andrew Wakefield three years ago. I don’t believe that she’s any less antivaccine than she ever was. After all, she hasn’t resigned as president of the antivaccine organization Generation Rescue. Basically, she just appears to be trying to have it both ways.

Same as it ever was.

Comments

  1. #1 Frosty
    April 14, 2014

    50 shades of gray, perhaps.

  2. #2 Helianthus
    April 14, 2014

    the second worst neurotoxin

    A few bacteria, fungi, jellyfishes, and about half of Australia critters would like a private word with this mercury fellow.

    Either she’s antivaccine or she’s so scientifically ignorant as to be uneducable.

    I would propose all of the above.
    It’s one thing to be ignorant on some topic. But to willfully stay this way after having been exposed to opposite views…

  3. #3 herr doktor bimler
    April 14, 2014

    Antifreeze contains ethylene glycol.
    Whereas the nicotine vaporizer McCarthy is paid to promote contains propylene glycol, which is also used in antifreeze.

    A recent column by a blogger named Nancy Colasurdo states:
    Calsurdo’s presentation of herself as even-handed… moderate… and above the fray of extremes would be slightly more sustainable if she just could bring herself, in the comments thread, to be slightly less approving of her frothing nutcase commenters who look forward to an apocalyptic day of vengeance and vindication — when the medical establishment recognises and compensates them for the injuries it has inflicted.

  4. #4 Bags
    UK
    April 14, 2014

    Just unbelievable

  5. #5 herr doktor bimler
    April 14, 2014

    injecting the second worst neurotoxin
    As Orac pointed out, the position of worst neurotoxin unquestionably belongs to Botulinum toxin… which Jenny McCarthy injects and endorses. The acceptability of drugs and additives seems to depend on whether or not she is paid.

    As for “second worst neurotoxin”, considering all the nasties which evolution and human ingenuity have invented, I would be surprised if any mercury compound were even in the top twenty.

  6. #6 Antaeus Feldspar
    April 14, 2014

    I frankly haven’t had the energy to spare to subject myself to first-hand contact with McCarthy’s recent drivel, but what I’ve picked up at second hand seems to indicate that her new Party line is the “too many, too soon” – as if she finally realized that making specific and false (and therefore easily falsified in public) accusations of toxins in vaccines that do not exist there does not enhance her credibility.

    I wonder if she’s realized that this contradicts her autobiography, where she refers to the MMR shot before it’s given as “the autism shot”. There’d be no reason to single out one shot and call it “the autism shot” if one truly believes that the damage is done by the accumulation of ALL the shots.

  7. #7 Adam
    April 14, 2014

    She also has no trouble pushing e-cigarettes either. I have to wonder why if she is so “anti-toxin”, or “pro-safe”. Actually I don’t – she’s a colossal hypocrite.

  8. #8 Chris Hickie
    April 14, 2014

    The only gray here is the gray-dyed wool she is trying to pull over our eyes, which isn’t happening.

  9. #9 Dangerous Bacon
    April 14, 2014

    Apparently it is one of those “shades of gray” to claim there
    are 40 vaccines given to children. I count 13, if you include the HPV vaccine.

    Should the pro-immunization slogan be “too much antivax bullshit too soon”?

  10. #10 Chris Hickie
    April 14, 2014

    The last paragraph of her propaganda piece is very telling (and it sure appears the paper in which she published it is not allowing comments).

    I’ve never told anyone to not vaccinate.
    So, I guess scaring the daylights out of parents with lies about vaccines doesn’t count?

    Should a child with the flu receive six vaccines in one doctor visit?

    Who in the world is saying this happens (besides anti-vaccine people like McCarthy)? Children aren’t to receive vaccines if they are sick, and that is part of the CDC guidelines—not to vaccinate when a child is running a fever or appears acutely ill.

    Should a child with a compromised immune system be treated the same way as a robust, healthy child?

    Again, who in the world is saying this happens (besides anti-vaccine people like McCarthy)? Again this is part of CDC guidelines—children with truly compromised immune system do not always receive the same vaccines as child who are have normal immune systems.

    Shouldn’t a child with a family history of vaccine reactions have a different plan?

    Again, who in the world is saying this happens (besides anti-vaccine people like McCarthy)?

    Or at least the right to ask questions?

    Who is saying parents don’t have the right to ask questions (besides McCarthy and other anti-vacccine people)?

    Leading, lying questions from one of the biggest liars about vaccines ever. I don’t think McCarthy is any smarter other than that maybe she has and is listening to a publicist that is vetting much more of what she says and does. Then again, when she marched on Washington and was publicly frothing-at-the-mouth antivaccine, her career was in the gutter and anything that kept a fan base and a spotlight on her was better than fading into obscurity.

  11. #11 MikeMa
    April 14, 2014

    Her celebrity has caused a lot of hurt. This disingenuous, incomplete back tracking works only too well here in the USA.

  12. #12 Lawrence
    April 14, 2014

    @Chris – from my experience, pediatricians do take into account the general health and welfare of their patients when speaking to parents about vaccine schedules…in fact, if you look at the recommended schedule (and it is merely recommended, not mandated – anti-vax people don’t seem to know the difference) they would see that various vaccines are placed in different parts of the schedule, depending on circumstances, etc.

    That this flexibility exists seems to have gone right over the heads of the anti-vax folks.

  13. #13 Ren
    April 14, 2014

    You know what else went down the memory hole? Desiree Jennings. As soon as the cameras started catching her walking, driving, and acting normal, Generation Rescue seemed to drop her like she was a bad habit. I mean, everything disappeared. Her website. Her “recovery” videos with Bhuttar.

    If any anti-vaccine people are reading this, and I know you are, be very careful of how tight you get with McCarthy and their ilk. You will become persona non grata in half a second if you cross them or if it becomes disadvantageous for you to be their friend. Just look at the wars between Jake and his former handlers.

  14. #14 Anobservingparty
    April 14, 2014

    The only uplifting part of this blatant attempt to rewrite history is that I’ve seen a world of people calling her out on her frankly lazy attempt to rewrite history. Apparently McCarthy doesn’t realize that this is 2014, and the internet hides nothing. Everyone else realizes it though. And thank science for the Wayback Machine. That’s not even including the books she wrote.

    The only way she can even begin to remove herself from the mess she called is to flat out say, “I was wrong. Vaccines don’t cause autism. Andrew Wakefield made it up.” I don’t see that happening, and I hope people are smart enough to realize in the absence of that, everything she says is just as meaningless as everything else she’s ever said.

  15. #15 Denice Walter
    April 14, 2014

    Despite their protestation to the contrary, anti-vaxxers seem to be less newsworthy and even less viable than they were a few years ago. Why do I say this?

    - Jenny has had to tone down her message in order to get a mainstream gig which tells me that demographics must be against them. She has to tread carefully or else be tossed BECAUSE the public isn’t buying the message. She rides the roller coaster of popular opinion and earlier on, it worked for her to talk about indigo children, crystal crap and Andy. now it doesn’t. She doesn’t know much but she ( or her publicist) does know what’s currently fashionable.

    -btw- I totally agree with Orac on the IQ. I’ll even add, I bet can’t- i.e. she’s weak on mathematical concepts. Not that the language part is so fabulous.

    - I’ve noticed that those wretched hives of mindless, anti-vaxx buzzing chaos have not been posting as much new material of late:
    AoA has supplied re-treads and Jameson rants whilst TMR has given nearly a week to Goes’ rant. And it’s April yet.

    Which brings me to:
    In OTHER news:

    TMR announces that Thelma and Louise.. correction: ALISON and Louise ( of ‘Fearless Parent Radio’) will do a live event with Kelly Brogan, Sayer Ji and a gaggle of health coaches in order to scare people about what’s wrong with their food. Orthorexia and food fetishism will reign unopposed and supreme. Notice that their topic is NOT vaccines.

    Science *personae non grata* have seized upon a new topic:
    Mikey seems to have embroiled himself again in looned-out politics with several posts this week about events ( “American Revolution 2.0 has begun”) in Nevada** as brave, armed patriots oppose governmental fascists. Similarly, Gary Null @ Talkback, PRN. Both claim that mainstream media will not report on this battle BUT as they are most of the time, they’re wrong again: it was very easy for me to find non-altie coverage. Thus they rant that the Police State ™ isn’t out to vaccinate you by force, they’ll only come to steal your cows and ask for taxes.

    ** which I pronounce like a Spanish speaker

  16. #16 Denice Walter
    April 14, 2014

    I bet SHE can’t.

    Two of us using *persona/e non grata*: will wonders ever cease?

  17. #17 Eric Lund
    April 14, 2014

    Science *personae non grata* have seized upon a new topic

    Crank magnetism strikes again. From what I have heard of this situation, the rancher in question appears to be one of those sovereign citizen types–he’ll admit that there is a county government, but he doesn’t recognize anything above that. There is also a rumor circulating on political fringe sites that Obama and the Chinese are negotiating to put a solar power complex on the BLM land involved in the dispute (yet another paranoid conspiracy theory in the mix).

    Nothing wrong with pronouncing Nevada like a Spanish speaker, because it is in fact a Spanish word. Specifically, the past participle of nevar, which means “to snow”.

  18. #18 TBuce
    April 14, 2014

    McCarthy has a track record of being economical with the truth. A couple of years ago, the Ottawa Cancer Foundation stupidly organized a fund-raiser in which McCarthy would lead a fitness session. After a huge uproar, they cancelled Jenny’s appearance and got a local fitness celeb to take over.

    McCarthy then announced that she had to cancel the appearance because of a “scheduling conflict”.

    BTW, ether in vaccines? As Hunter S. Thompson would probably have said: “Bonus!!!”

  19. #19 LIz Ditz
    April 14, 2014

    Jenny McCarthy’s entry at the Encyclopedia of the Anti-Vaccine Movement. Verdict: loudly anti-vaccine from 2007 to the present day.

    http://encyclopediaantivaccinemovement.blogspot.com/2014/04/jenny-mccarthy.html

  20. #20 LIz Ditz
    April 14, 2014

    A gem from the references list at the Encyclopedia post: Jenny & Jim Carrey’s statement, February 5, 2010

    http://www.donotlink.com/framed?25383

    Dr. Andrew Wakefield is being discredited to prevent an historic study from being published that for the first time looks at vaccinated versus unvaccinated primates and compares health outcomes, with potentially devastating consequences for vaccine makers and public health officials.

    It is our most sincere belief that Dr. Wakefield and parents of children with autism around the world are being subjected to a remarkable media campaign engineered by vaccine manufacturers reporting on the retraction of a paper published in The Lancet in 1998 by Dr. Wakefield and his colleagues.

  21. #21 Orac
    April 14, 2014

    I couldn’t include all the good antivaccine quotes from Jenny. There are just too many, too many even for an Orac post. But feel free to list the juiciest ones I might have missed in the comments here. :-)

  22. #22 Denice Walter
    April 14, 2014

    At one point in one of Null’s anti-vax documentaries ( from the ‘Green Our Vaccines’ rally probably), Carey says, ” How studid you you think we are?” I think that Jenny echoes him.

  23. #23 Denice Walter
    April 14, 2014

    STUPID… pardon me, my eyes seem to have become glazed over by all of the stupid AND the allergy meds.

  24. #24 MelodyRN
    United States
    April 14, 2014

    As an optimistic I hope that this opens the door to more discussion. It is through conversation that public health advocates will be able to address the misconceptions and correct the misinformation.
    As a realist, I see that perhaps this is an attempt to fix her anti-science reputation. But I do remain hopefully that some good can come out of this desire to rid the ‘anti-vax’ title in time.

  25. #25 Denice Walter
    April 14, 2014

    @ Eric Lund:

    But I’ll venture that those ranchers would find something wrong with someone pronouncing it like a Spanish speaker- esp if it is a lily-white, Anglophone woman. I think that the deliberately un-spanish pronunciation of Spanish words may be a shibboleth…ooops! that’s Hebrew- amongst this faction.

  26. #26 Mark Thorson
    April 14, 2014

    Get the nuclear reactor core coolant out of homeopathic medicines! Hey, I’m not anti-homeopathy, I’m pro-safe homeopathy. Just figure out how to make it without any nuclear reactor coolant.

  27. #27 Eric Lund
    April 14, 2014

    Mark @25: I can do that, but only if you let me use dihydrogen monoxide. Pick your poison, so to speak.

  28. #28 Denice Walter
    April 14, 2014

    Addendum to my # 15 above:

    The Nevada revolt rant @ PRN has been scrubbed.

  29. #29 Jeff1971
    April 14, 2014

    She’s telling the same lie that Wakefield tells: how she was only asking questions, calling for more research etc etc.

    These people are such liars.

  30. #30 Chemmomo
    way too close to most of these cases
    April 14, 2014

    Thank you, Orac. Poking around the web over the weekend led me to believe someone’s been sanitizing Jenny’s viewpoints.

    Guess what, Jenny? Even though someone is deleting evidence of your previously published nonsense, people do remember what you have said.

    Our shared home state is suffering the largest number of measles cases in quite some time:
    http://www.cdph.ca.gov/HealthInfo/discond/Pages/Measles.aspx
    And you, your buddy Dr Jay Gordon, and that other fool with an MD Dr Bob Sears, are a big part of the reason why.

    And, no, Jenny, you don’t get to pretend your words and actions did not contribute.

  31. #31 Roadstergal
    April 14, 2014

    Get the nuclear reactor core coolant out of homeopathic medicines! Hey, I’m not anti-homeopathy, I’m pro-safe homeopathy. Just figure out how to make it without any nuclear reactor coolant.

    You have won one Internet. This is the real view I, Roadstergal, hold.

  32. #32 AnObservingParty
    April 14, 2014

    Chemmomo, they won’t be able to sanitize anything. Too much in too many places. Plus the books! The books! So much stupid to find.

  33. #33 Todd W.
    http://www.harpocratesspeaks.com
    April 14, 2014

    I have to confess, like Jenny McCarthy, I am not anti-vaccine; I’m pro-safe vaccine.

    My question for Jenny would be, “Okay, which currently available vaccines would you recommend on which, science-based schedule?”

  34. #34 Eric Lund
    April 14, 2014

    Guess what, Jenny? Even though someone is deleting evidence of your previously published nonsense, people do remember what you have said.

    Not only that, but the internet remembers. So even if Jenny were to outlive Orac and the rest of us by several decades, people who weren’t alive when she was saying those things could find out that she said them. With documentary proof, not the he said/she said that would have been true as recently as twenty years ago. People will discover that figurative message on that figurative wall, “For good vaccine misinformation call Jenny (311)867-5309.” Even if Jenny has changed her number.

  35. #35 Todd W.
    http://www.harpocratesspeaks.com
    April 14, 2014

    Here’s another quote from her book with Dr. Jerry Kartzinel, Healing and Preventing Autism: A Complete Guide:

    Many people ask me if I had to do it all over again with a new baby, would I vaccinate? The anser is no. Hell no. Most parents who know they have a vaccine-injured child usually are that adamant about it.

    That appears on page 278. That is quickly followed by a protestation that she’s not anti-vaccine.

  36. #36 Ren
    April 14, 2014

    At least I didn’t write “persona au gratin”.

    I can’t confirm if this is true, but it is kind of reasonable… I heard from a colleague at the World Health Organization that there are some in discussions on whether or not to reverse the “eliminated” designation for measles in North America. Imagine that backlash? To have gone from having eliminated something to have it be back and endemic again?

  37. #37 Todd W.
    http://www.harpocratesspeaks.com
    April 14, 2014

    @Ren

    Well, we don’t (yet) have endemic transmission, though we do have sustained transmission following importation.

  38. #38 Lawrence
    April 14, 2014

    @Todd – that’s still not good…..damn anti-vax folks.

  39. #39 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    April 14, 2014

    Hey, I’m sure that if vaccines were shown to not cause autism and were less harmful than the diseases they protect against then Ms. McCarthy would be entirely in favor of them.

  40. #40 lilady
    April 14, 2014

    If I were Jenny McCarthy, I’d just keep my mouth shut about vaccines and her son’s autism diagnosis. We’ve got the goods on her, from multiple sources on the internet.

    It really doesn’t matter who first described McCarthy’s ignorance,

    http://quoteinvestigator.com/2010/05/17/remain-silent/

    “Better to Remain Silent and Be Thought a Fool than to Speak and Remove All Doubt”

  41. #41 lilady
    April 14, 2014

    Follow up article from TIME magazine’s Jeffrey Kluger, here:

    http://time.com/60416/jenny-mccarthy-anti-vaccine-whitewash/

  42. #42 Ren
    April 14, 2014

    @Todd

    And we probably won’t nationwide. Vaccination rates are high enough in most populations to keep it at bay. But they’re beginning to decline within populations, and that’s why herd immunity may collapse. As much as Drs. Gordon and Sears want their patients to “hide” in the herd, their herd is becoming less immune.

    We might not see it endemic in the United States, but I will bet you dollars to doughnuts that it’s already endemic in some communities… Again.

    The WHO/PAHO report, if it comes to that, should be titled “The Rise of The Return of The Revenge of The Son of Measles, Part Deux”.

  43. #43 lilady
    April 14, 2014

    The United Kingdom…from non-endemic for measles to endemic for measles, within 14 years of low MMR vaccine coverage:

    http://www.eurosurveillance.org/viewarticle.aspx?articleid=18919

    Fourteen years after the local transmission of measles was halted in the United Kingdom (UK), the disease has once again become endemic, according to the Health Protection Agency (HPA), the public health body of England and Wales. In an update on measles cases in its weekly bulletin last week, the agency stated that, as a result of almost a decade of low mumps-measles-rubella (MMR) vaccination coverage across the UK, ‘the number of children susceptible to measles is now sufficient to support the continuous spread of measles’ [1].

    In an earlier update, the HPA reported that all recent indigenously-acquired cases with a genotype in England and Wales had been found to have the same D4 sequence (MVs/Enfield.GBR/14.07), a genotype first identified in April 2007 and which is now endemic in the UK [2]. In May, a 17-year-old with underlying congenital immunodeficiency died of acute measles infection, the first such fatality in the UK since 2006. The strain was also MVs/Enfield.GBR/14.07, genotype D4. The total number of confirmed measles cases in England and Wales so far this year is 461. In Scotland, there have been 68 cases of measles reported in 2008, of which 51 have been laboratory-confirmed [3]. All of the cases in Scotland were either not immunised or of unknown immunisation status. Only two of the cases were imported from abroad, both from Pakistan.

    The HPA has recommended that health services exploit ‘all possible opportunities’ to offer MMR vaccine to children who have not received two doses. The agency also stressed the necessity for all healthcare workers in contact with vulnerable patients to have documented immunity to measles.

    Europe is facing a measles epidemic, with large ongoing outbreaks for instance in Switzerland, Austria and Italy.

  44. #44 Narad
    April 14, 2014

    frothing nutcase commenters who look forward to an apocalyptic day of vengeance and vindication

    Cynthia Parker appears to have been dialing it up lately:

    “I’m reading about how the Nazis whipped up hatred of the Jews and other minority groups enough to carry out the holocaust. Totalitarian regimes (like the pharma empire) saturate the populace with the same message repeated endlessly every day year after year. I was really interested in seeing examples of the ‘wall newspapers’ that the Nazi propaganda department produced and then plastered up by the hundreds of thousands every week on every imaginable surface: nasty, scurrilous, hateful lies with pictures of cartoon-like villains, to make ordinary Germans think that they were the victims of an invisible global Jewish conspiracy conceived to enslave and exploit them. We’re seeing exactly the same thing now: Big Pharma using its monopoly of the medical industry, legislatures, and mainstream media to crank out its lies by the hundreds of thousands, in every magazine, periodically on every news broadcast, in every school and hospital and doctor’s office, to mold the minds of the populace so that it seems like a truth as obvious as that that the sun always comes up in the east, that vaccines are safe, effective, the diseases all extremely dangerous and only held in check by the vaccines. That people who don’t vax are stupid, selfish, and that by not vaxing we’re actively consenting to the murder of innocents. That vaccines do not and never have caused autism, asthma, allergies, etc. etc. Sure, say it over and over and over, but those of us who have seen vaccine damage know the truth is ours, and that they are only motivated by vaccine profits. They manipulate people’s natural desire to protect children, but twist it so as to deny children protection from vaccine damage, and encourage hatred of the victims of vaccines. They are going to lose: how could it be otherwise, with one in 36 children rendered autistic now by vaccines? It would certainly appear that we exist in a vacuum, isolated from knowledge of the rest of the world, but there are narrow conduits with news from the outside world, where vaccines are used much less often, resulting in much lower rates of autism. The pharma center of vaccine conviction cannot hold much longer: as Michael Belkin says, the vaccine bubble will burst, and yes, then we will see Armageddon in our lifetime.”

  45. #45 Shay
    April 14, 2014

    Ren@36:

    I am utterly unable to resist commenting that McCarthy *is* pretty cheesy.

  46. #46 Todd W.
    http://www.harpocratesspeaks.com
    April 14, 2014

    @Shay

    She certainly gets whipped into a frenzy, especially when everyone is mashing her claims.

  47. #47 Denice Walter
    April 14, 2014

    @ Ren:
    @ lilady”

    Our natural curiosity – and love of maps- has us hankering to see a map of current hotspots in fhe US. UK and Europe.

  48. #48 Denice Walter
    April 14, 2014

    And skepticalraptor has a map.

  49. #49 herr doktor bimler
    April 14, 2014

    At least I didn’t write “persona au gratin”.
    It slipped through the Ren-net.

  50. #50 Ren
    April 14, 2014

    Cynthia Parker, or “CIA” as she sometimes writes her name, is in a special class. She complains a lot of how her vaccine-injured child takes up all of her time and energy, but she has enough time to write these very long, very detailed diatribes against some very specific people (and pharma). She also claims to have whatever degree she needs to have to counter any information given to her.

    At least Ms. McCarthy has not made up her resume, or tried to erase those parts of her life that are less savory. Which brings me to another point that I’d like the readers’ (and Orac’s) opinion on. Ever since my wife admonished me for starting a blog post with “Jenny McCarthy, former Playboy model,” I’ve been hesitant to write that into any description of who she is. Is it fair game? So long as that is not the one and only reason to discredit her statements, I think that it is. But I’d like to hear from you all what you think, especially the women. Is it misogyny to try and discredit her because of her nude modeling days? Is it “tricky” to try and throw in other aspects of her past to deflect from that criticism?

    Just curious.

  51. #51 Denice Walter
    April 14, 2014

    At least we’ve got that out of the whey.

  52. #52 herr doktor bimler
    April 14, 2014

    I just hope that no-one uses my nude-modelling past to discredit me.

  53. #53 Denice Walter
    April 14, 2014

    @ Ren:

    I wouldn’t call it misogyny- and I wouldn’t hesitate to call out a male anti-vaxxer if he had a similar past history of over-reliance upon *looks* as a career ( model, actor) without acquiring an education/ basic information- AS LONG AS the reason is based upon her ( his) utter lack of knowledge on the subject that is concerned. The nude modelling is just the icing on the cake (- that sounds odd-) that perhaps illustrates another aspect of her persona. Similarly, if we called out mothers( fathers) *purely* because of that. They’re parents who are WRONG.

    And -btw- you can be both SB AND vain. Tell me about it.

  54. #54 Roadstergal
    April 14, 2014

    But I’d like to hear from you all what you think, especially the women. Is it misogyny to try and discredit her because of her nude modeling days?

    An interesting topic. I think bringing up someone’s main training and background can be relevant – if someone has had no training and experience in biology/immunology/public health/statistics or the like, it’s definitely a factor in considering their ability to knowledgeably comment on something related to those fields. On the other hand, she’s done a lot of other things much more recently in her career – hosting cheesy game shows, writing books I haven’t had an interest in reading, appearing on talk shows… but she did all of these things on the strength of her notoriety as a Playboy bunny?

    To put it another way, if someone modeled nude in the past, or stripped to get themselves through college, or whatever, and subsequently had a lot of relevant training and experience to comment on a subject, then, yes, I would object to characterizing them as a stripper/model/whatever, but that isn’t the case here. Just IMO.

  55. #55 TBruce
    April 14, 2014

    As far as referencing McCarthy’s nude modelling career, why not take the high road and call her an anti-vax loon?

  56. #56 TBruce
    April 14, 2014

    At least I didn’t write “persona au gratin”.

    Would the Italian version be Long Pig Parmigiana?

  57. #57 Ren
    April 14, 2014

    @TBruce

    “As far as referencing McCarthy’s nude modelling career, why not take the high road and call her an anti-vax loon?”

    Thanks for making me laugh out loud. Yes, let’s take the high road.

  58. #58 lilady
    April 14, 2014

    “As far as referencing McCarthy’s nude modelling career, why not take the high road and call her an anti-vax loon?”

    As far as referencing McCarthy’s nude modelling career, why not take the high road and call her an anti-vax loon…who used her son’s autism to gain favor amongst credulous parents…in order to revive her all but moribund career as a D-List celebrity

    FTFY TBruce.

  59. #59 Johanna
    April 14, 2014

    . Is it misogyny to try and discredit her because of her nude modeling days?

    If the fact that she’s appeared nude in a girlie-mag is the *sole* reason for you to declare her opinion invalid, then I would consider that a sexist copout, but not misogynist.

    (Like “bullying” the word “misogyny” is being misapplied a lot these days, and I say that as a woman who frequently has fits of blithering outrage the treatment of women. It’s a hatred of women, not “just” everyday chauvinism. Also, I’m sex positive and really can’t stand how women who’ve worked in the sex trade are automatically dismissed as brainless bimbos and/or victims to be patronized. But I digress.)

    I think the context in which you used the phrase is a-okay. You don’t suggest that she’s a rabid anti-vax loon because she’s posed nude. Other folks’ mileage may vary.

  60. #60 Mewens
    April 14, 2014

    Ren, you’re going to catch flak for noting “Jenny McCarthy, former nude model” almost regardless of the context. It’s going to come across as sex-shaming, which has connotations of misogyny.

    It’d be more defensible if Jenny McCarthy’s fame derived entirely from her Playboy nudes – similar to introducing Billy Bob Thornton as yes, the Billy Bob Thornton in those movies when he was touring in his band – but I’m not sure that’s the case here. McCarthy’s kind of a fuzzy media figure; I think of her as the MTV host / VJ more than I think of her as a nubile bunny, and I’m sure there’s many who have no clue she was in Hef’s mag.

    In any case, I’m not sure underlining someone’s lack of expertise is the way to go in this fight anyway. I’d say that a layman’s explanation of how vaccines work and how they’re made, along with a showcase of just how wrong and how consistently wrong the anti-vaxxers are, would be more effective to swaying those on the fence. I mean, you don’t need to be a doctor to be right, but you have to be something pretty … eh, special, to be wrong as often as someone like McCarthy is.

  61. #61 Todd W.
    http://www.harpocratesspeaks.com
    April 14, 2014

    Good question, Ren. A lot of it really depends on context. If you’re mentioning it as part of a listing of her credentials (or lack thereof), it may be fine to bring it up. But if it’s just tossed in there without that context of (lack of) credentials, it has some element of poisoning the well.

    As a layperson who is largely self-taught on the issue, I get a little uncomfortable when anti-vaxers are denigrated for their career choices or lack of formal education and training on the subject. More important is how they go about arguing and presenting their claims, the quality of their evidence, etc. I have no formal science training, yet I can (I hope) put together a cogent argument supported by valid evidence.

    My $0.02

  62. #62 Helianthus
    April 14, 2014

    But I’d like to hear from you all what you think, especially the women. Is it misogyny to try and discredit her because of her nude modeling days?

    As a man, I’m not comfortable with it. It’s basically discrediting her by politely calling her a prostitute.

    On one hand, mentioning that her career was focused more on good looks than on getting an education is a valid basis to question the robustness of her arguments. So is pointing that, as someone who already made money out of her physical appearance, she is not stranger to playing a role to get by.

    On the other hand, it’s poisoning the well, with a dose of sl*t-shaming. Because someone, in the past, did something shady or whatever, should be no reason to automatically dismiss his/her arguments.
    It’s also annoying me because it’s too close to the usual way to dismiss vocal women: calling them either hysterical or promiscuous.
    We may be right in Jenny’s case to see her former career as evidence of poor character, but it’s a bad habit of thoughts to equate nude woman with unworthy of listening to.

    That being said, I’m not sure this would be classified as sexism as much as just being priggish (not sure it’s the right word – elitist? self-righteous?). If Jenny was a male model, nude or otherwise, his career would have been similarly thrown to his face. Remember Charlie Sheen or Matt Carey (not that the scorn wasn’t deserved – but again, bad habits).

    Now, if Jenny was a politician, her career would be fair game…

  63. #63 AnnB
    April 14, 2014

    Todd,

    I appreciate your self-education. The talking-head celebrities could very well educate themselves on any number of subjects. However, I’ve noticed out amongst all the other laypeople that they accept whatever celebrities say without independent verification or questioning their background or training.

    Why is that?

  64. #64 lilady
    April 14, 2014

    I’m very sensitive to women who have been victimized by misogynists, but McCarthy used her son’s autism, and continues to her use her son’s autism, to advance her career. She’s no different from Barbara Loe Fisher and the female “journalists” at AoA and the TMR who promote themselves, based on parenting a special needs child.

    One need only look at her activities (the TV appearances, the columns she has written and the books she has authored), since she first made those outrageous statements about her son’s purported reaction to his MMR vaccine. What kind of parent exposes her child to this type of publicity/notoriery, to advance her career?

    Why do you think I post under a ‘nym? I do so, to protect myself but also to protect my son, who is still entitled to privacy, even after his death.

  65. #65 The Very Reverend Battleaxe of Knowledge
    April 14, 2014

    It also opens up a can of worms. Amanda Peet had a “brief” (as they say in TV Guide) nude scene in The Whole Nine Yards (at least). Does that discredit her pro-vax PSAs? Hopefully not.

    (She’s a much better actress than Jenny McCarthy too, but that shouldn’t make any difference, either.)

  66. #66 The Very Reverend Battleaxe of Knowledge
    April 14, 2014

    Plus, that’s always assuming that Amanda Peet the actress and Amanda Peet the string theorist are two different people. That’s probably a safe bet, but I’ve never seen that name spelled with two “e”s anywhere else….

  67. #67 Eric Lund
    April 14, 2014

    Is it misogyny to try and discredit her because of her nude modeling days? Is it “tricky” to try and throw in other aspects of her past to deflect from that criticism?

    Better to avoid that detail if you can, because unless all of her subsequent resume derives from that, it’s not really relevant. But by all means mention the other stuff (her acting/game show host/talk show career): it shows her lack of background in medicine without getting into her past association with Mr. Hefner, or anything else that might be considered shameful in some quarters.

  68. #68 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    April 14, 2014

    It’s my opinion that her nude modeling past does not discredit her opinions. Indeed, her nude modeling is the primary reason one pays attention to her opinions at all.

  69. #69 Michael
    April 15, 2014

    The fact that she used to be a playboy bunny doesnt make her wrong and I’m uncomfortable with an inference that being a nude model is somehow wrong which is how that may come across. The fact that she is a child killing liar and a fool is background enough for me.

  70. #70 Julian Frost
    April 15, 2014

    I’m reading about how the Nazis whipped up hatred of the Jews and other minority groups enough to carry out the holocaust. Totalitarian regimes (like the pharma empire) saturate the populace with the same message repeated endlessly every day year after year.

    My hypocrisy and irony meters exploded again. “Whipped up hatred”? Like calling Dr Offitt Dr Proffitt? Or posting a picture of their opponents sitting down to dinner featuring a baby as the main course? Using language like “vaccine damaged”?
    The self-absorption and lack of self awareness is mindblowing.

  71. #71 lilady
    April 15, 2014

    @ Julian Frost: Parker’s most recent comment equating Nazis with *Big Pharma*, respected doctors and science bloggers, is not the first time, nor will it be the last time, that we will read those vile remarks from the denizens at Age of Autism and other crank anti-vaccine blogs. I suppose in their collective twisted minds, all pro vaccine individuals are similar to the evildoers who took their perfect children away from them, immunized them and left them with imperfect soulless children who they label as “vaccine damaged” and “train wrecks”. The fact that some of the most outspoken pro vaccine individuals are Jewish, has not been lost on them.

    If you go slumming at “the kid’s” blog you will see a frequent poster there who uses a rather unusual ‘nym, which is associated with a brave group of freedom fighters during the nazi era:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_Rose

  72. #72 Denice Walter
    April 15, 2014

    Seriously. As if all this isn’t enough, AoA now is asking its readers to bother Dr Offitt’s employers because he is “making up stuff” about autism.. like saying that people are ” born with it”.

    Yes. he has a wild imagination.
    Or maybe he just understands research.

  73. #73 jypsy
    April 15, 2014

    I’d go with “Jenny McCarthy, former Indigo Mom”, more a “who she was” than “what she did”….

  74. #74 Chris,
    April 15, 2014

    Ms. McCarthy is also wrong for claiming the MMR is what caused her son’s seizures several months after he had the vaccine. We don’t need to go into her past employment, but that she changes her story!

  75. #75 squirrelelite
    April 15, 2014

    Not exactly on topic, but since Jenny seems to be pushing e-cigarettes these days, I wonder if she mentions risks like this in her comments?
    http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/5567827/E-cigarette-gran-blown-up-in-hospital.html?CMP=SOC-Sun-Facebook-11_20_2013-191-0-0-0

  76. #76 Chris Hickie
    April 15, 2014

    That AoA article showing how they aren’t born with autism is very bothersome. No appreciation for developmental pediatrics. Also while a picture may be worth a thousand words, video is worth a lot more when it’s come to court cases.

  77. #77 Julian Frost
    Gauteng East Rand
    April 15, 2014

    Like the video of Michelle Cedillo several months before she received her MMR, right Chris? :D

  78. #78 Scottynuke
    April 15, 2014

    @ hdb #52 –

    Haven’t we all nude-modeled in nuclear reactor core coolant at some point in our lives?

  79. #79 Jubilee
    April 15, 2014

    I’m really loath to go around comparing things to the Holocaust, but the paranoia about “toxins” and conspiracy theories reads a lot more like German 30s-era “public health” propoganda than anything I’ve seen on the pro-vax side. And the idea that children with autism (oops, “vaccine injured”) are “souless” is a lot more dehumanizing than suggesting anti-vax people are stupid or selfish.

    FWIW, I’m not crazy about referencing McCarthy’s past, except to the extent that she has no scientific or medical training. It’s both a cheap shot and an unnecessary one.

  80. #80 Ren
    April 15, 2014

    I read that “not born with it” essay, and I find it a little troubling. The mother writing the piece seems to me to be referring to the child as an object, as piece of “evidence” of her own beliefs. To me, she objectifies the child.

    There are plenty of genetic conditions that are not expressed at birth and become apparent months or even years later. Why this is so controversial to them is beyond me.

  81. #81 Shay
    April 15, 2014

    Speak for yourself, Scotty. The Marine Corps frowns on such activity.

    Julian, not on this forum, but on Yahoo! comments and on Slate.com, I have seen posters who advocate for arresting parents who don’t vaccinate their children if their little disease vectors pass something on to a child who can’t be vaccinated for medical reasons. I’ve also seen calls for children to be removed from the custody of parents who don’t vaccinate, and for all non-vaccinators to be exiled to an island.

    Exaggeration and hyperbole, and certainly not on the scale displayed by Parker and her ilk, but there are some extreme vaccine supporters out there.

  82. #82 Sarah A
    April 15, 2014

    I usually just refer to Jenny McCarthy as a “D-list celebrity,” since that sums up her entire career and not just what initially made her famous. It shouldn’t really matter, but inevitably when you start discussing her claims, someone will say something like, “But she saw her son descend into autism after the MMR – why would she lie about something like that?” That’s the point where I feel like it’s appropriate to point out that her entire career is characterized by her willingness to do anything for attention.

  83. #83 Dorit
    April 15, 2014

    @Chris Hickie, 76 – I also found that article bothersome, among other things because it does such a disservice to the child by presenting him in a negative manner at least in some of the pictures, and also because it’s so easy to cherry pick pictures to present a happy before and an unhappy after picture.

  84. #84 Lawrence
    April 15, 2014

    Schizophrenia is a genetic condition that doesn’t usually manifest itself until late teens or early twenties…talk about a condition where someone is developing normally & all of a sudden becomes a different person altogether.

  85. #85 Narad
    April 15, 2014

    the paranoia about “toxins” and conspiracy theories reads a lot more like German 30s-era “public health” propoganda than anything I’ve seen on the pro-vax side

    Motherhood was also quite popular. Including warrior mommies.

  86. #87 Denice Walter
    April 15, 2014

    re the Jameson article to which Chris H., Ren and Dorit refer

    This is par for the course- she writes @ TMR ( as ‘Mamacita’) . I find her disquieting. She has 5 children- I feel sorry for them growing up in such a histrionic household.

    Right, she cherry picks photos- as if autistic kids aren’t ever happy and never smile. And NT kids are happy all of the time.

    As Lawrence notes, schizophrenia is a condition with genetic roots that doesn’t show up until ( usually) the teen years or early twenties. OBVIOUSLY many theories postulated causation based on parental methods, early life experience ( infancy/ childhood) as well as disappointments in adolescence, academically or romantically. All quite wrong -btw-

    If you peruse schizophrenia.com, you can find ( under causation) pictorial representation of relative risks- genetic vs environmental. I would guess that ASDs are similar- even down to the genes involved ( supposedly both affect #22 IIRC). Note that ‘environmental’ is predominantly pre- and peri-natal including things that affect the mother.

  87. #88 lilady
    April 15, 2014

    I usually refer to McCarthy as a D-List celebrity who used her child’s diagnosis to revive her career, and she still uses her son as the topic of her books, her TV interviews and at her yearly Quackfests.

    I strongly object to the mommy warriors using photographs of their children to “document” their “descent into autism caused by vaccines” and their YouTube videos showing their kids’ meltdowns.

    It is child exploitation, pure and simple.

  88. #89 Kiiri
    East Coast!
    April 15, 2014

    I have missed out on commenting for a while since we recently moved (sunny AZ to NC where there are four seasons I hear) but wanted to take a moment to bask in the glow of the comments section. I have read most of them to catch up during the tedious hours working on required HR training and paperwork for the new job.
    To address Ren’s question, I personally wouldn’t address her Playboy career unless you just said ‘modeling’ leaving out the nude part removes any implied criticism or shame for her having been nude. Good comments as always and I look forward to being part of the community again.

  89. #90 Dangerous Bacon
    April 15, 2014

    “I’m really loath to go around comparing things to the Holocaust”

    Best not to, then.

  90. #91 Politicalguineapig
    April 15, 2014

    Shay: I’ve also seen calls for children to be removed from the custody of parents who don’t vaccinate.

    Personally, I think that if the kids contract a VPD and become disabled, they should be separated from the family immediately.

    Given the rhetoric about autism/add/ adhd etc, that anti-vax parents spout, I can’t imagine that those parents would be capable of caring for a deaf, blind, or mentally disabled child.

    Frankly, I don’t even know why these parents still have custody of their autistic children. They don’t love them, they can’t care for them and they don’t even see their kids as people.

  91. #92 Stu
    April 15, 2014

    How about “Jenny McCarthy, also not famous for playing herself in the movie Baseketball…”

  92. #93 Jubilee
    United States
    April 15, 2014

    @Dangerous Bacon,
    I was commenting in response to the Cynthia Parker excerpt quoted by Narad@44, which for some reason I misremembered as being in the main post, and not marking it such was sloppy. I generally prefer to hate precisely, qua Tim Mason.

  93. #94 herr doktor bimler
    April 15, 2014

    Haven’t we all nude-modeled in nuclear reactor core coolant at some point in our lives?
    I was young. I needed the money.

  94. #95 Narad
    April 15, 2014
    Haven’t we all nude-modeled in nuclear reactor core coolant at some point in our lives?

    I was young. I needed the money.

    ObXKCD.

  95. #96 Matt Carey
    April 16, 2014

    “Also, there’s no antifreeze in vaccines. There just isn’t. Antifreeze contains ethylene glycol. Some vaccines contain polyethylene glycol, ”

    As do many e-cigarettes. I can’t recall if the ones she promotes “All the fun of smoking” contain said anti-freeze-almost-sound-alike. But there is some irony there.

  96. #97 herr doktor bimler
    April 16, 2014

    Propylene glycol is the specific kind of antifreeze used in the vaporisers that McCarthy promotes.

  97. #98 Denice Walter
    April 16, 2014

    I believe that propylene glycol has been used in certain types of cat treats.
    Because *no one* would want a frozen cat.

  98. #99 Sebastian Jackson
    Karlstad, Sweden
    April 16, 2014

    Rebecca ‘Becky’ Estepp recently appeared on the CW station (XETV) in San Diego for a softball interview. I’m posting about it (or plan to) on my Facebook blog this weekend. Estepp appears to have made a few appearances on this particular station, and one of the news reporters hyped her appearance on a local country radio station. If there is a conflict-on-interest between Estepp and someone at XETV, what is a non-invasive way of finding out?

  99. #100 Not a Jenny Fan
    April 16, 2014

    “Let me see if I can put this in scientific terms: Think of autism like a fart, and vaccines are the finger you pull to make it happen.”

    The Superficial actually made this quote up, but it was so believable everybody just ran with it. I’m not sure which is funnier.

    http://www.thesuperficial.com/jenny-mccarthy-caption-reported-as-quote-usa-today-07-2013

  100. #101 Denice Walter
    April 16, 2014

    Jenny, Andy, Jake and the rest will not like this one tiny bit:

    it appears that a prof, Carole Samango-Sprouse, @ GWU has identified “biomarkers” associated with a high risk of ASDs and language delays AT THE AGE of 9-12 MONTHS.
    At age 3, the predictions hold 93%.
    The children who exhibit a larger head circumference in relation to their height and fail the head tilt refex test are at a higher risk.

    Just the sort of thing I predicted long ago. The other types of early ID should be along shortly.

  101. #102 Denice Walter
    April 16, 2014

    AND speaking of the devils**

    It seems that Jake is being called out by Ginger Taylor ( @ Autism Investigated) – he’s a “bully” who is saying legally “actionable” things about her. She demands a retraction on his blog.

    @ AoA – a congressmanPosey thinks that Hooker’s research ( supported by Barry S) is not entirely a load *de merde*. Here we go again.

    ** figure of speech only, I don’t believe in supernatural entities- the natural ones are bad enough as they are.

  102. #103 brian
    April 16, 2014

    @100
    Yes, a simple, predictive test that can be performed before 12 months of age is a useful advance. (A simple evaluation of head lag during a pull-to-sit test at 6 months already seemed a pretty good indicator.)

    Of course, ASD risk can be assessed much earlier by other, more complex tests: for example infants who will develop ASD already differ from their typically-developing peers soon after birth, but most parents and pediatricians don’t have access to instruments needed to track eye movements, and I doubt that many parents track neonatal auditory brainstem responses, Definitively detecting in utero the physical signs that the fetus will go on to develop ASD might involve a brain biopsy that would be, um, rather invasive. (MRI of the developing fetal brain seems a promising technique that might be more acceptable to parents . . . ) Head lag and head circumference are easier to assess.

  103. #104 Denice Walter
    April 16, 2014

    @ brian:

    Prior to studying psychology I was an art student who learned how to draw people realistically. Artists – and doctors- who observe humans on a regular basis notice subtle differences in proportions as well as other indicators ( e.g. in CVD- oxygenation; hormonal stuff etc). The head size and other intra-facial proportion differences seem apparent to me often when I view photos of various anti-vaxxers’ kids.

  104. #105 Orac
    April 16, 2014

    t seems that Jake is being called out by Ginger Taylor ( @ Autism Investigated) – he’s a “bully” who is saying legally “actionable” things about her. She demands a retraction on his blog.

    I think that there is likely to be a lawsuit in Jake’s future at some point. The boy just doesn’t know when to quit and has already seemingly gone over the line before. Sooner or later, he’s going to go over the line about someone who has the will and means to sue. On that day, I will smile, pour myself a couple of fingers of single malt scotch, slowly sip it, and enjoy. Hmmm. I might have to buy a bottle of the good stuff to hide away and save in anticipation of that day.

  105. #106 Jeff1971
    April 16, 2014

    Not in a thousand years would Jake Crosby get hit with a lawsuit. In a public issue such as vaccines, the petitioner would need to prove malice, which would mean evidencing that Crosby did not believe, or entertained serious doubts, about what he said.

    He has a complete defense in his willingness to believe anything and to entertain no doubts about his utterances. If you like insanity.

    But I have to say that Ginger Taylor is a nasty piece of work, no matter how she plays the “mom” card.

  106. #107 Captain Bee Fart
    Burnaby, BC
    April 16, 2014

    McCarthy appears to be taking great offense at the notion that pretty people such as herself could possibly generate less than perfect children, ergo there must be an external cause for Evan’s disorder. I wonder if she has bothered to investigate any links between smoking or botox and birth defects.

  107. #108 Tom
    April 16, 2014

    Ginger is great for our side. She keeps providing Jake with fresh ammo.

  108. #109 Narad
    April 16, 2014

    he’s a “bully” who is saying legally “actionable” things about her

    The statement that “Ginger T.” is Ginger Taylor was based on disclosed facts. She doesn’t have a chance.

  109. #110 Sarah A
    April 16, 2014

    @ Denice Walter #101 – Good news for parents and others interested in the real cause(s) of autism and early intervention, but probably not too much of a problem for the real hard-core antivaxers, who are increasingly focusing on maternal vaccinations, the birth dose of HepB vaccine, even the vitamin K injection. They’ve already seen which way the wind is blowing and are busily engaged in moving the goalposts – again.

  110. #111 Todd W.
    http://www.harpocratesspeaks.com
    April 16, 2014

    @Jeff1971

    The way I understand it, it’s not the topic that has to be a public issue for the proof of “actual malice” to come into play as a requirement, but that the person being libeled is a public figure or official.

  111. #112 brian
    April 16, 2014

    The head size and other intra-facial proportion differences seem apparent to me often when I view photos of various anti-vaxxers’ kids.

    The atypical features that you can detect may not be apparent to parents or clinicians.

    Such minor physical anomalies are linked to errors in development early in gestation; they are commonly found (up to 60% of cases) among children with neurodevelopmental disorders including mental retardation, schizophrenia, epilepsy, and autism; they are common not only in children with both autism and mental impairment but also in children with autism and normal and above-normal intelligence.

    It’s hard to explain changes that occur early in fetal development by invoking postnatal vaccination.

    Here’s a good introduction:

    Cheung C et al. MRI study of minor physical anomaly in childhood autism implicates aberrant neurodevelopment in infancy. PLoS One. 2011;6(6):e20246
    http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0020246

  112. #113 JGC
    April 16, 2014

    It’s hard to explain changes that occur early in fetal development by invoking postnatal vaccination.

    In that case it simply must be the fault of the vaccines the mom received prior to becoming pregnant.

    Remember, it’s never not the vaccines…

  113. #114 Denice Walter
    April 16, 2014

    the plot thickens**

    we learn that Mark & co have inaugerated a new non-profit, website, facebook page, whinery etc called Health Choice- ( @ AoA see list of participants) next in the line of succession after Safe Minds, AoA, the Canary Party…
    Thus the same people calling themselves something new doing basically the same thing ( yammering and wanting court trials) and calling it something else.

    You need a score card to figure out who is alligned with whom and who owes whom what and who is trying to reach a higher level of power …
    why does this suddenly remind me of Game of Thrones- albeit without dismemberment and smart dwarves?
    ( altho’ there are chemical castrations and Jake)

    I should also keep a special bottle of gin with Queen Victoria’s image on it for occasions like this.

    ** as if it isn’t dense enough already

  114. #115 brian
    April 16, 2014

    It seems that it simply must be the fault of the vaccines the grandfather received prior to conceiving the child who became the parent of a child with autism never not the vaccines . . .

    Emma M. Autism Risk Across Generations: A Population Based Study of Advancing Grandpaternal and Paternal Age. JAMA Psychiatry. May 2013; 70(5): 516–521.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3701020/

  115. #116 Denice Walter
    April 16, 2014

    @ brian:

    I’m familair with that and other related studies.

    -btw- grandfathers’ vaccinations would also explain why unvaccinated kids in families with autism are autistic.

  116. #117 Dorit
    April 16, 2014

    Todd W., the person has to be a public figure, but you can be a public figure for a specific topic, and there are some differences in relation to damages when it’s a matter of public concerns. It’s somewhat convoluted. Let me know if you want a little elaboration.

    Jeff1971, as you know, you can bring a lawsuit even if there’s no chance of winning. It might not get very far, but it can be a nice harassment.

  117. #118 Dorit
    April 16, 2014

    I’d say Ginger is a public figure for this issue.

  118. #119 lilady
    April 16, 2014

    IANA Lawyer, but I agree with Dorit. Ginger is somewhat of a public figure (in certain circles).

    Ginger also has friends who have deep, deep pockets, who’d love to see Ginger go after Jake for his libelous statements.

  119. #120 Dorit
    April 16, 2014

    <<<< Not a lawyer either. :-P

  120. #121 Johanna
    April 16, 2014

    I’ll bring the kettlecorn.

  121. #122 lilady
    April 16, 2014

    I say we encourage Ginger to institute that lawsuit, even if Jake is execution proof. Who would ever hire the epidemiologist wannabe?

    I’ll bring the vodka, tonic and limes.

  122. #123 Orac
    April 16, 2014

    Ginger also has friends who have deep, deep pockets, who’d love to see Ginger go after Jake for his libelous statements.

    And Jake’s parents are pretty darned rich, too, from what I understand; so the lawsuit—and thus the entertainment for us—could go on for a long, long time. :-)

  123. #124 Lawrence
    April 16, 2014

    It would be an epic clash of the ages…..we can only hope, right?

  124. #125 Johanna
    April 16, 2014

    …so would a Taylor/Crosby lawsuit-fest be like the situation so eloquently described by Javier Bardem’s character in “Skyfall”?

    “…but now, they will only eat rat.”

  125. #126 Shay
    April 16, 2014

    And Jake’s parents are pretty darned rich, too, from what I understand; so the lawsuit—and thus the entertainment for us—could go on for a long, long time.

    Jarndyce vs Jarndyce, but with less couth.

  126. #127 Johnny
    127.0.0.1
    April 16, 2014

    John Best has now added a little napalm to the blaze. If (and I do mean if, because IANAL) Ginger thinks the kid’s post was actionable, then the latest should get her attention.

  127. #128 Denice Walter
    April 16, 2014

    Risibly enough, websites like Autism Investigated are *supposed* to be intent upon uncovering and airing governmental and corporate malfeasance to the public but instead appear to be a contest over who has the dirtiest laundry ( metaphorically).

    AND to make matters even worse – IF that is indeed possible- because each side is frantically courting supporters and precious page view counts, they outline all of their childish tiffs in great detail publicly. Touted as being interested in the ‘who, why, when, where, what’ ( or whatever) of autism, AI’s main concern appears to be what people Jake doesn’t like are doing and saying as well as his speculations about their motivation.
    He should change the name to “Autism Advocates Investigated”.

  128. #129 lilady
    April 16, 2014

    It’s hard to figure out what Jake wants to accomplish. He crapped on his pals at AoA multiple times…yet he is indignant that he wasn’t allowed to post his drivel on AoA. Major financial backer Jennifer Larson even offered to pay for an arbitration process to resolve the issues between Jake and his former handlers at AoA. I’m beginning to think that Jake has gone too far down that rabbit hole and the only think which will stop him would be a lawsuit.

  129. #130 a-non
    April 16, 2014

    Jake Crosby’s blog is basically unreadable. If it were a TV show, it would be the series finale of “How I Met Your Mother” on an endless loop.

  130. #131 Dorit
    April 16, 2014

    Why do you think that a lawsuit would stop him, Lilady?

  131. #132 lilady
    April 17, 2014

    Dorit: I’m trying to understand Jake and his situation. He’s unable to become a real science blogger, because he doesn’t understand simple studies, no less multi year studies about vaccine safety. He’s fast running out of the insider info he squirreled away, when he was associated with AoA…so now it is personal attacks.

    Who do you think will help Jake out with his legal expenses…certainly not the wealthy benefactors that Wakefield has tapped into for his legal expenses.

  132. #133 Julian Frost
    Gauteng East Rand
    April 17, 2014

    Orac:

    I will smile, pour myself a couple of fingers of single malt scotch, slowly sip it, and enjoy.

    Make sure its GlenFiddich.

  133. #134 Rebecca Fisher
    April 17, 2014

    @lilady

    Speaking of Mr Fraudytrousers, does anyone know if there have been any moves in his case against the BMJ? Or is he hoping it’ll just go away?

  134. #135 lilady
    April 17, 2014

    Rebecca: Narad usually provides an update about that case. IIRC, after Mr. Fraudytrousers lost his case in the lower court against Deer, Godlee and the BMJ, he appealed the decision; it is now in the Third Court of Appeals in Austin Texas.

    It’s a case of extreme arrogance on the part of Andy, my dear.

  135. #136 Narad
    April 17, 2014

    There was nothing when I looked this afternoon. It’s been about 11 months.

  136. #137 Julian Frost
    Gauteng East Rand
    April 17, 2014

    I just saw something and knew I had to fit it in here.

    I am not “anti-vaccine.” This is not a change in my stance nor is it a new position that I have recently adopted. For years, I have repeatedly stated that I am, in fact, “pro-vaccine” and for years I have been wrongly branded as “anti-vaccine.”

    hahahahahahahahahaha.
    Oh wait, you’re serious. Let me laugh even harder.
    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

  137. #138 Jeff1971
    April 17, 2014

    Speaking of Mr Wakefraud, someone just sent me a question put to a panel discussing horseriding for children with autism, at Mr Wakefraud’s sparsely-attended rally in Austin at the weekend:

    ‘Do you recommend that children have a colonoscopy before or after going horse riding?’

  138. #139 Jeff1971
    April 17, 2014

    Another one was:

    ‘Do you think Jon Tommey knows about Andy and Polly’s affair?’

    Sadly, I don’t know who Jon Tommey is.

  139. #140 Julian Frost
    Gauteng East Rand
    April 17, 2014

    @Jeff1971:
    Jon Tommey is Polly Tommey’s husband. Polly Tommey is an antivaxxer. One of the nastier anti-vaxxers (Tim Bolen, if I remember correctly) claimed that Andrew Wakefield and Polly Tommey were having an adulterous relationship. Given the source, I would treat this claim as libelous.

  140. #141 Rebecca Fisher
    April 17, 2014

    @Narad – That was what I thought. I wondered if I’d missed something. Thanks.

  141. #142 Jeff1971
    April 17, 2014

    May it please you to be announced that that Rebecca Estepp, Director of Communications, has announced Health Choice’s Executive Leadership Team.

    What a bunch of dumb farts.

    Jeff1971
    Executive President for Communications, Mah Two Fingers On Mah Keypad

  142. #143 Denice Walter
    April 17, 2014

    I must respectfully disagree with a-non: Jake’s blog isn’t “unreadable”- it’s readable- it just doesn’t say very much.

    For example, today he writes about Mark’s COI. As he has already done a few times.

    HOWEVER while I don’t call it “unreadable” I’ll admit that it is amongst the densest blog material I’ve ever encountered-he presents his *idees fixees* to his readers without much thought about how they might have to suffer through his nearly endless stylings.

    Good writers anticipate their readers’ reactions throughout the writing process and ‘answer’ the questions that may spring up in the readers’ minds as they work their way through. Obviously this requires a modicum of understanding of other people think and feel ( see person perception, taking the role of the other, recursive thought)

    Basically he vents about people he dislikes and tries to demonstrate how untrustworthy they are so that others will dislike them as well. He makes judgments about how deleterious others’ actions and words are to The Cause. He pretends to know what motivates others. Notice that he provides little evidence about his speculations- can he show just why Mr Blaxill or Ms Larson are not worthy enough to be leaders in the anti-vax movement? While I disapprove of their entire *raison d’etre*, I have to admit that they are *successful* at rallying people and getting noticed.

    Jake has expressed contempt frequently: journalists ( like Brian Deer and Seth Mnookin), scientists ( Orac and Dr Offit) and leaders in his own chosen field of perseveration ( Blaxill, Olmsted, Larson, Taylor etc). are his targets. I would venture that they all have something that he doesn’t: they are respected -either generally like those in the first two categories OR amongst their fellow and sister niche-occupiers in anti-vax world- like the last group. Jake is neither a journalist nor a scientist except in his own imagination and he has greatly lessened his chances to become a starring anti-vaxxer because he turned on his keepers- and what they gave him- exposure to a wider altie audience- they took away.

    -btw- I tried to get a businessman – who isn’t very familar with anti-vax world- to read Jake’s posts: after a few minutes, he gave up, asking, “What is this about?”

  143. #144 Ren
    April 17, 2014

    I’ve meditated a couple of times about Jake managing somehow to get the MPH degree. Is it that the degree is that watered-down that anyone can get it? Or is it that Jake knows how to play the game enough to play it to his advantage?

    The answer is neither. An MPH is a worthwhile degree to get if you’re going to work in public health as a professional non-researcher. While many MPH graduates do go into research, the degree itself doesn’t really prepare you for research, per se. It prepares you to work in the field of public health with just the bare minimum of knowledge. The rest of the knowledge you get to be an epidemiologist you get at work, studying that which comes upon the people.

    This is why Jake doesn’t seem to understand the minutiae of study design, measures of association and risk, etc. He knows the definition of them enough to fill in a bubble on an exam sheet, but he doesn’t seem to know enough to know the real-life examples of these things. Throw him into an outbreak investigation, and I will bet you anything that he drowns in it.

    Even with my six years of experience at the Maryland State Health Dept., I do not know all that there is to know about epidemiology. I still get tripped up with some concepts. I’m learning a lot in the DrPH program, which is less research and academia and more practice and executive-level epidemiology. There are a lot of tests and real-life situations for me to practice on.

    So I wonder what kind of experience Jake is getting in his PhD program if he finds it necessary to take so much time to do so much research on the people he seems to hate so much? He may be learning the basics, the things he needs to answer the questions, but solid epidemiology will likely go over his head, again.

    He’s a bright young man, with a lot of wasted potential, a “has been” before he ever was.

  144. #145 lilady
    April 17, 2014

    @ Ren: It’s the same in any profession. You need on-the-job experience to really get a feel for the field you have chosen.

    I’ve known nurses and doctors who have returned to universities to get their MPH and a huge number of MD/MPH who were assigned to my health department who did extended rotations through the Division of Communicable Diseases Control, the STD and the HIV units, our public health laboratory and with our sanitarians during food-borne outbreaks.

    According to Jake’s biography, his undergrad degree was not in any health-related field, and their is no indication that he has ever done rotations in a laboratory or a public health department. IMO, he has absolutely no work history or school assignments in the real world. With Jake it’s all theory, not relevant practical experience.

  145. […] story is that compelling? Which part was it, Tim? The part where her child was an indigo child? Or her new rewriting of history whereby she claims she is not anti-vaccine and never has been? If that’s reason #20, the rest should be really fun to […]

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