Orac post-publication note: There is reason to believe that one point I made below could well be incorrect. However, even leaving that point out, there are still many reasons to doubt the authenticity of the text exchange I discuss below. See the first 10 comments for a discussion. Unlike AoA and other antivaccine groups, if I am wrong about something, I will admit it and discuss what might have led me to an incorrect conclusion. Oh, and I missed something obvious (see comment #11). D’oh!

There’s something that’s been bothering me the last couple of days. I tried not to blog about it, but the more I looked at it the more it bugged me. It didn’t help that it’s also about this whole “CDC whistleblower” issue that’s been consuming about 90% of this blog’s posts for the last two weeks, thus risking tiring my readership (not to mention me) of the whole topic. So, when I noticed what I noticed, I sat back and waited, hoping that someone else would write about it, so that I wouldn’t have to. So far, as far as I can tell, no one has. I even hinted about it on Twitter, but no one took the bait. So here we are, once again, revisiting the story of CDC senior scientist William W. Thompson, who apparently helped biochemical engineer turned incompetent antivaccine pseudo-epidemiologist Brian Hooker produce an execrable “reanalysis” of one of a paper on the safety of the MMR vaccine on which Thompson was a co-author ten years ago that allegedly showed that there was an increased risk of autism in African-American males. It didn’t. For all his trouble Thompson was “outed” as the “CDC whistleblower” by Andrew Wakefield in an incredibly vile video likening this “deception” to the Tuskegee syphilis program and the crimes of Hitler, Stalin, and Pol Pot all rolled into one in a piece de resistance of race baiting combined with Godwin. Later, Thompson issued a statement that is being trumpeted as “proof” that the “CDC lied,” when it is nothing of the sort.

The latest salvo from the antivaccine crank contingent came two days ago, when HIV/AIDS denialist Celia Farber published on her “Truthbarrier” website an article entitled BREAKING NEWS: CDC WHISTLEBLOWER TEXT MESSAGES TO ANDY WAKEFIELD: STUDY WOULD HAVE “SUPPORTED HIS SCIENTIFIC OPINION.” In it there was a grainy photo of what is purported to be an iPhone screen with the following text exchange:

photo402-e1409680426456-225x300

A bigger version can be found here. (Why waste my benevolent overlords’ bandwidth by hosting a 4.6 MB file, when I can host a small version of it and waste Farber’s instead if you want to see the full size version?) In any case, here’s the alleged exchange:

AJW: “Is the press release real?”

WT: “Yes”

AJW: Thank you. This was the right and honorable thing to do. Andy.

WT: I agree. I apologize again for the price you paid for my dishonesty.

AJW: I forgive you complete and without any bitterness.

WT: I know you mean it and am grateful to know you more personally.

Although there is no text exchange shown, it is also claimed that Thompson texted Andrew Wakefield’s wife Carmel on August 20, saying:

I do believe your husbands career was unjustly damaged and this study would have supported his scientific opinion. Hopefully I can help repair it.

One notes, however, that there are no visuals of this particular text. One wonders why.

In any event, it all sounds damning, doesn’t it? Thompson actually apologized for everything to Andy and his wife? If true, it would indicate to me that Thompson was—shall we say?—less than sincere when he issued his press release in which he stated that Brian Hooker had recorded their conversations without his knowledge and that Andrew Wakefield had released his name without his permission, given that this text exchange is supposed to have come from the evening of August 27, which is the day that Thompson’s press release was issued. Having spoken to William Thompson’s lawyer, Rick Morgan, on Friday, I figured I’d send him an e-mail asking if he could confirm or deny whether his client ever had such an exchange. I figured that he’d be annoyed if his client were communicating with Wakefield after having issued that press release or would be anxious to deny the authenticity of the exchange if not. Rick Morgan never responded. I presume he had gotten whatever message he had wanted to get to me and then, not needing me any more, decided to ignore future communications. He’s a lawyer. I expect little else.

But something about that text exchange, more specifically the image of that text exchange, bothered me. It even bothered some antivaccinationists, because I saw complaints about it. Why is it a photo of an iPhone? Doesn’t Andy even know how to take a screen shot on his iPhone? (Just press the Home and Sleep buttons at the same time and release. There’ll be a fake camera shutter noise, and you’ll have a screenshot. So, not long after, a real-seeming screenshot appeared:

wakerscreenshot

Better, right? (The full size original is here.) Well, no. Something kept bothering me about this screenshot. Something didn’t look right. No, it wasn’t necessarily just that there were apparently 130 unread text messages still on Wakefield’s phone, as indicated by the number 130 in parentheses. (Either Wakefield doesn’t check his texts that often, or he’s got a lot of groupies he communicates with.) It was something else. Something odd. So I looked at my own iPhone. Then I looked at this screenshot. Then I looked at my iPhone again. The iPhone in the screenshot is clearly running some version of iOS 7, as is mine. Then it hit me. Take a look at this part of Wakefield’s screen shot, the top of the screen:

photo-3 copy

Now take a look at the same header from mine. (I blocked out the name of the person texting me.) Notice any difference? Take another look:

oractext2

Now, do you notice the difference? I did? Notice how in Andy’s screenshot, the word “Back” appears by the arrow in the upper left hand corner. Notice how, in mine, the word “Messages” appears in the upper left hand corner. That’s what had been bugging me when I first looked at the screenshot and it didn’t look quite right to me! I had finally put my finger on it!

So does this anomaly mean that these text messages are faked? I don’t know. That’s why I waited two days to say anything about it. I was asking around to see if there were any versions of iOS 7 that displayed the word “Back” instead of “Messages” to indicate going back to the main list in the Messages app. (Maybe the UK version of iOS used “Back” instead of “Messages,” although Wakefield’s lived in Austin so long that I highly doubt he’d have a UK-sold iPhone or, if he did, that Thompson would be texting it. Oh, wait. Nope.) I couldn’t find any, but, even though I’m a pretty major Apple fanboi in many respects and have used an iPhone since I got the very first iPhone a few months after it had been released (I waited until my previous contract was up), I don’t claim encyclopedic knowledge of the iPhone. I could be wrong, and I’m sure one of you in the comments will tell me so if I am. If I’m not wrong, to me this anomaly strongly suggests that this screenshot in which Thompson allegedly “apologizes” to Andrew Wakefield is a fake.

Of course, even if the screenshot isn’t a “fake” (in that it was created on one of those text message generator apps or something like that), it could still be a fake, if you know what I mean. All it would take to make a “real” screenshot that is in reality faked would be for Andy to put a friend’s iPhone number into his Contacts app, give that contact the name “William,” and then have that friend text Wakefield whatever texts Wakefield wanted him to, to create the exchange. We have nothing other than Celia Farber’s and, apparently, Andrew Wakefield’s word (given that Wakefield Tweeted a link to Farber’s article) for it that this is really William Thompson texting him, and, as we’ve learned from his long history, anyone who relies on Wakefield’s word alone for anything is taking a huge risk of being burned.

So in the end, we’re left with three possibilities. First, this text exchange might legitimate, all the anomalies of not using a proper screenshot at first and “Back” instead of “Messages” appearing in the upper left hand corner notwithstanding. I doubt this possibility very much, because, for all his foolishness, naivete, and gullibility Thompson appears to be honest to a fault and his having communicated with Wakefield after accusing him of “outing” him without his permission would imply that Thompson was less than truthful—to put it mildly!—in his press release. Also, I doubt very much that his lawyer would be happy with his having communicated with Wakefield in a manner that could be publicized; my guess is that Morgan has Thompson under very strict instructions not to communicate with Brian Hooker, Andrew Wakefield, or anyone associated with them. Even if that weren’t the case, why would Thompson, having been burned once, give Wakefield a chance to burn him again? If Thompson really did communicate with Wakefield after becoming his client, I can see Rick Morgan tearing his hair out over the extreme stupidity of the move. Still, given Thompson’s past behavior, this possibility cannot be entirely discounted.

The other two possibilities are either that this screenshot was faked (which seems possible, although I could be mistaken, given that, despite extensive Googling I haven’t been able to find a screenshot that uses “Back” instead of “Messages” my search is not comprehensive) or that Wakefield faked a text exchange and made it appear to be someone named “William,” the implication being that that’s William Thompson, something that is incredibly easy to do. All you need is a friend with an iPhone to do it. There’s no concrete evidence to argue for or against this last possibility, but I also note that there’s no concrete evidence (just Farber’s and apparently Wakefield’s word) that the screenshot represents a real text exchange between William Thompson and Andrew Wakefield, either. That doesn’t even take into account the content of the text exchange, which is bizarre and stilted, to say the least. Even if it is real, it’s no doubt highly cherry picked.

Whatever the true case, this whole “CDC whistleblower” thing just keeps getting stranger and stranger. Now can the developments stop for a day so that I can write about something else tomorrow?

Comments

  1. #1 Antaeus Feldspar
    September 6, 2014

    if you’re a lawyer, Ms. Karen, you’re the kind that give the profession their bad reputation.

    Thompson CANNOT make an “admission” that clinically significant findings were covered up. Why? Because he is not the arbiter of what is clinically significant and what is not.

    The most he can do is ALLEGE that the findings which could have been presented AS IF they were meaningful were, in his eyes, meaningful – and in fact, he HAS made exactly that allegation (which means that treating the supposed text messages from him as an “admission” to anything is a laughable blunder on your part – I’d say it makes me doubt your claim to be a lawyer, but since the antivax movement has plenty of incompetent lawyers, that doesn’t prove much.)

    Follow me for a little thought experiment, here. Let us suppose that Thompson was NOT part of the group that conducted the study in question – suppose it was another person entirely (let’s call him John Jones.) And let’s suppose that John Jones makes allegations similar to the allegations made by Thompson – that the finding of ONE statistically significant results in ONE very thinly sliced subgroup is NOT the sort of spurious looks-like-a-result-but-isn’t that you get very easily by slicing your data up too much, but instead a clinically significant finding.

    Do you think the judge would accept William Thompson as an expert witness to testify on that issue? Remember, in this gedanken he’s not part of the original group, so he cannot be called as a witness of fact. Would the judge really say “Oh, well, he’s a psychologist, so he must be an expert in interpreting epidemiological findings”? “He’s a psychologist, so he must understand all the difficult statistical issues involved”?

    I think the answer is a clear “no”. Thompson may sincerely believe that the anomalous finding which showed up ONLY in boys, and ONLY in African-American boys, and ONLY in boys in one very narrow age bracket, was signal and not statistical noise. But just because someone believes something doesn’t mean they’re right. I’d be surprised if you got all the way through law school without learning that.

  2. #2 Karen
    Australia
    September 6, 2014

    Ah, but what is “right” is nothing more than collective subjectivity. I did not say that Thompson’s admission, on its own, was conclusive evidence of a coverup, or falsified data, or anything in face. But his evidence IS evidence.

    But I see what you are doing.
    Step 1. The text messages are fake.
    Step 2. If they are not fake, Thompson is either mad or corrupted (either way he cannot be telling the truth)
    Step 3. Make a personal attack on anyone who does not conform to the common thought process in the blog.

  3. #3 lilady
    September 6, 2014

    I think it is fairly obvious that Karen has not been following the science bloggers and and the posters, who were able to review the original DeStefano, et al study (which is a case-control study) and Hooker’s “analysis” of the DeStefano et al study which is a cohort study.

    Mr. Hooker is not a medical researcher and he does not have a graduate degree in epidemiology…and he most definitely is not a medical statistician. He sliced, diced and minced the data from the DeStefano et al study and came up with a statistically insignificant number of black males who supposedly had a reaction to the MMR vaccine…which, according to Mr Hooker might have caused their ASD diagnoses.

    What a silly comparison you made about Pluto, to justify your allegations that something is amiss with the authors of the DeStefano, et al study.

    Karen…need I remind you that the design and implementation of various types of studies are universal and that the mathematics/statistics are universal throughout the sciences…even if you live in Australia?

    https://onlinecourses.science.psu.edu/stat507/book/export/html/2

  4. #4 Narad
    September 6, 2014

    The first picture was of a picture taken at
    latitude 40; 47; 53.02 longitude 73; 58; 6.65
    Weston Observatory

    I have 40.°798064, −73.°968514,* 67 m ASL, which is roughly the 10th floor of someplace in Manhattan.

    BTW, Farber failed to survive summary judgment in her defamation suit against Richard Jefferys and ain’t going nowhere with the other two. Perhaps it’s part of the affinity.

    * Yes, the Unicode geniuses forgot \fdg, \farcm, and \farcs.

  5. #5 Narad
    September 6, 2014

    Ah, but what is “right” is nothing more than collective subjectivity.

    I was just thinking that what was needed here was some Postmodernism. Oh, wait, no, I wasn’t.

  6. #6 Chemmomo
    Finding the irony
    September 6, 2014

    Karen

    But his [Thompon’s] evidence IS evidence.

    Sure, but where is it? All we’ve got coming from Thompson is the press release issued by Morgan Verkamp on August 27th. And that’s not much in the way of evidence.

    Most of the claims are coming from Hooker and – including the texts which are the topic of this blogpost – Wakefield.

    Do you consider Andrew J. Wakefield a credible source? If so, why?

  7. #7 ChrisP
    September 6, 2014

    Karen, perhaps it would help if you used a bit of logic in your argument.

    1. William Thompson made an allegation in his letter (it is just an allegation as he provided no evidence) that an analysis was left out of the paper.

    2. The allegation was quite specific: viz. data pertaining to a sub-group of African-American boys receiving their first MMR vaccination between 24 and 36 months of age.

    3. It is possible to go back to the original paper and determine this sub-group comprised a relatively small number of cases (somewhere around 14).

    4. The small numbers would be a clear reason for not including the analysis in the paper, because the probability of a Type I or Type II error would be large.

    5. The most likely explanation for what we are seeing is that Thompson has misunderstood how statistics works.

  8. #8 Narad
    September 6, 2014

    3. It is possible to go back to the original paper and determine this sub-group comprised a relatively small number of cases (somewhere around 14).

    How are you calculating this? I’ve got 45 cases and 124 controls in the signal bins for the total sample. Applying the blanket pigmentation modifier of 36%, that’s ~16 cases and ~45 controls.

  9. #9 Narad
    September 6, 2014

    ^ Which of course doesn’t even connect to the purportedly “covered up” signal, which was in 30% of the 3–10 age spread.

  10. #10 ChrisP
    September 6, 2014

    Applying the blanket pigmentation modifier of 36%, that’s ~16 cases and ~45 controls.

    Of which 79% were boys.

  11. #11 Narad
    September 6, 2014

    But his evidence IS evidence.

    Is hearsay admissible in this imaginary court?

  12. #12 Narad
    September 6, 2014

    Of which 79% were boys.

    Gotcha. Thanks.

  13. #13 Karen
    Australia
    September 6, 2014

    I was going to bow out after the personal attacks began, but a few interesting questions have been raised, so I’m happy to continue on.

    I have no opinion about Wakefield. I know he has been almost universally discredited, but I have no personal opinion on his credibility. I have not red the Lancet journal, nor anything about him on the Internet. I am interested in the vaccination debate, but Wakefield has not been a factor. I have no opinion on whether MMR causes autism. I KNOW that the empirical evidence is that there is no link, but I am also aware that there are a lot of differing agendas out there. I have no opinion on any link.

    What I have found interesting about Thompson is that, if what he said in the secret recordings is true, then that calls into question the independence of the CDC. I have no opinion on whether what he said is true or correct or not. I thought his press release was the best that could have been made of a bad situation. He had been caught out in secretly recorded conversations saying some things that the CDC would not have been happy with, so he could not deny that, and yet in that statement he clearly aligned himself with the CDC and also promoted vaccines. (As an aside, he is not a whistleblower, he was “outed” which means he had no option but to make a statement, almost certainly at the direction of the CDC).

    Yet it only became really interesting when the text messages came out. Those texts are clearly inconsistent with the press release. His statement did not mention anything about falsifying information nor did he draw a link between vaccines and autism. And yet in the texts he says “the price you paid for my dishonesty” , suggesting that he believes his actions covered up a link between MMR and autism.

    I initially thought the texts were fake because they just don’t make any sense. Why would you be communicating something so damning to a man who has just shafted you by making public, private conversations. And why would you accept responsibility for your “disloyalty” being responsible for ruining the credibility of an internationally discredited man? Especially when your employers have extricated you from a professionally embarrassing situation by funding a press release that saves your face??

    But now, 4 days after the press release, there has been no further statement. Orac says he called the lawyer to specifically verify the texts, without response. As I have previously said, this can only be because Thompson can’t deny the texts (that is, that e sent them, not the truthfulness of the texts).

    I can guarantee that this is what is going on at Morgan Verkamp. They are screaming at Thompson for not following their advice. The texts are irreconcilable with the press release, which means that either his press release was manufactured. There has been no denying of the texts, which would have been done immediately had they been faked. I’m betting that Morgan Verkamp have terminated acting for him due to a conflict.

    My point on this blog is that it did not start off with “Thompson is a crackpot”. It started off with “the texts must be fake because Thompson is a good guy and works for the CDC” and only when it became obvious that the texts were not faked (although almost certainly edited), that the argument has now become one of Thompson being crazy.

    I was just asking, what if he isn’t? What if the CDC is manipulating data? So far on this blog there are two theories, that Thompson has been set up and that he is crazy. There is a third option, that he is telling the truth. And when I asked the question, what if, there was a barrage of childish insults thrown my way.

    Just to clarify, I don’t believe that accuses cause autism, I don’t believe there is a big government conspiracy to poison our children and I don’t believe that what Thompson did, if it is true, suppressed evidence of a link between MMR and autism. I just don’t know. But I find it fascinating that the messenger is always shot down, rather than stopping to consider whether they could possibly be telling the truth.

  14. #14 Narad
    September 6, 2014

    I know he has been almost universally discredited, but I have no personal opinion on his credibility. I have not red the Lancet journal, nor anything about him on the Internet.

    One doesn’t see that sort of carefully crafted invitation to cross-examination every day.

    What I have found interesting about Thompson is that, if what he said in the secret recordings is true, then that calls into question the independence of the CDC.

    How? Independence from what?

  15. #15 Narad
    September 6, 2014

    (As an aside, he is not a whistleblower, he was “outed” which means he had no option but to make a statement, almost certainly at the direction of the CDC).

    “Whistleblower” is an operationally, statutorily defined term of art here.

  16. #16 Narad
    September 6, 2014

    I’m betting that Morgan Verkamp have terminated acting for him due to a conflict.

    What would you like to make the stakes?

  17. #17 lilady
    September 6, 2014

    Karen, I suggest you reread your own prior comments, to find why other posters here jumped on those comments. Your comments were quite provocative and indicated to us that you have not, read Orac’s multiple posts and the links he provided to other science bloggers.

    You have to remember that Brian Hooker and Andrew Wakefield have, from the onset, been controlling the flow of information about Mr. Thompson’s personal involvement with Mr. Hooker (and possible personal involvement with Andrew Wakefield).

    The first videotape released by Wakefield’s media company, had Thompson’s voice disguised; Hooker and Wakefield hung that “whistleblowe” label on Thompson.

    The next move was orchestrated by Wakefield and Hooker where they named the “whistleblower”.

    Within a short period of time, Mr. Thompson’s statement came from his attorney which stated that:

    – He did not know, nor did he give consent, for Hooker to record the telephone conversations.

    – He did not give consent for Hooker and Wakefield to identify him; they “outed” their informant.

    Within a few days, a new character, Celia Farber provides screen shots of what are purported to be text messages between Wakefield and Thompson, where Thompson apologizes to Wakefield for lying about his being recorded by Hooker and being “outed” by Hooker and Wakefield.

    – Who provided (Thompson, Wakefield, Hooker or someone else) those screen shots to Celia Farber?

    – Are those screen shots real…or were they in some way doctored and calculated to deceive?

    Just before Farber publishes those text screenshots, Hooker states publicly (admits) that he recorded private telephone conversations without Mr. Thompson’s consent.

    You claim to know nothing about Wakefield’s history, Hooker’s history and the DeStefano et al study and Hooker’s study…yet there you go running off at the mouth with your opinion that there is a distinct possibility that DeStefano and the other researchers at the CDC, deliberately skewing the results. I hope you realize how ridiculous your prior posts are.

  18. #18 Narad
    September 6, 2014

    Hooker states publicly (admits) that he recorded private telephone conversations without Mr. Thompson’s consent.

    I seem to have missed out on this one.

  19. #19 Chemmomo
    Land without preview and way past my bedtime
    September 6, 2014

    Karen, I do agree with some of your points (particularly about what might be going on with Thompson and his lawyers). However, in light of your concluding statement:

    But I find it fascinating that the messenger is always shot down, rather than stopping to consider whether they could possibly be telling the truth.

    I have to ask you a question: whom do you think is the messenger?

    I’m guessing from all of your posts, you think the messenger is William Thompson. Yet, all the public information (with the exception of the Aug 27 press release) on this issue has come from persons other than William Thompson.

    I see the messenger as Andrew J. Wakefield.

    You claim

    I have no opinion about Wakefield. . . I have not red the Lancet journal, nor anything about him on the Internet.

    Perhaps you should. You continue:

    I am interested in the vaccination debate, but Wakefield has not been a factor.

    Really? Not a factor? Try starting your reading here: http://www.theguardian.com/society/2010/jan/28/mmr-doctor-timeline
    Pay extra attention to the vaccine uptake numbers reported, and when measles returned to the UK. Now in 2014 the US may be following suit.
    For further reading, full transcripts of Wakefield’s GMC hearings can be found here:
    http://sheldon101blog.blogspot.com/
    Maybe you’ll see why what you seem to be considering “evidence” some of the rest of us are taking with more than one grain of salt.

  20. #20 ChrisP
    September 6, 2014

    Nice bit of tone trolling, Karen.

    I don’t have a specific position over the reality or unreality of the texts, and I certainly won’t base that on whether there has been a response to them or not.

    However, if they are real then both Wakefield and Thompson are living in fantasy land. Wakefield’s paper was withdrawn, not because it could not be verified with other research, but because he had an undeclared conflict of interest and he faked the data.

    Even if the Georgia study had a sub-group with a significant correlation, that would not mean that MMR caused autism. There is a huge amount of other data out there showing MMR doesn’t cause autism.

  21. #21 Narad
    September 6, 2014

    Pay extra attention to the vaccine uptake numbers reported, and when measles returned to the UK.

    In handy graphical format, compare this with the notifications by age here.

  22. #22 Narad
    September 6, 2014

    I was just asking, what if he isn’t? What if the CDC is manipulating data? So far on this blog there are two theories, that Thompson has been set up and that he is crazy. There is a third option, that he is telling the truth.

    No, you just didn’t bother to read the other entries.

  23. #23 Rebecca Fisher
    That London
    September 6, 2014

    I see Dan Olmsted has picked up on this (Here: http://www.ageofautism.com/2014/09/age-of-autism-twilight-of-the-apologists.html) and has posted a screenshot of his own text conversation with Wakefield.

    It struck me that the language used by Wakefield in this exchange is completely different to the tone used in the supposed Thompson exchange – far more “texty”. Which makes me think that the Olmsted conversation is real, the Thompson one has been faked (not necessarily by Wakefield), but Wakefield is stringing everyone (including Olmsted) along claiming it’s real, knowing that Thompson’s legal advisers will be telling him to keep quiet and wait for the whole thing to blow over.

    Now, where’s my tinfoil hat? 😉

  24. #24 Rebecca Fisher
    That London
    September 6, 2014

    “Different from“, obviously. Not “to”.

  25. #25 Michael J. Dochniak
    The great state of Iowa
    September 6, 2014

    Lawrence,

    “CDC whistleblower” aside, here’s an example of a disconnect (i.e., misguided independence) when it comes to vaccine safety:

    The CDC (NIOSH) website “How to Prevent Latex Allergies” states – If you are diagnosed with latex allergy, before receiving any shots (such as a flu shot), be sure the person giving it uses a latex-free vial stopper.

    http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/2012-119/pdfs/2012-119.pdf

    In an FDA website “There’s No Guarantee of Latex Free” it states – To avoid giving a false sense of security to people who are allergic to natural rubber latex, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is recommending that manufacturers of FDA-regulated medical products stop using statements on labels such as ‘Latex-free’ or ‘does not contain latex’.

    http://www.fda.gov/forconsumers/consumerupdates/ucm342641.htm

    So, the CDC says use a vaccine if it says “latex free” and the FDA recommends not labeling vaccines “Latex free”.

    In my opinion, in a world of information overload and government disconnect, with respect to vaccines, we need medical science to step it up .

  26. #26 Lawrence
    September 6, 2014

    Go home Mr. Dochinak – you’re old news & an old troll, we were done with you a year ago (or more).

  27. #27 Tim
    September 6, 2014

    @Michael J. Dochniak

    I’m allergic to latex. My earliest memories of balloons at parties was that I did not like them because my mouth and face would burn for hours. *latex allergy* was not asked about in hospitals until the late ~90’s early 2000’s or so, If I remember correctly, so that I and my mother would always have to inform them before hand. They would hang a big white caution sign on the door — But the room would still be full of latex.

    I’m *assuming* the latex is somewhat in solution in the vile and not just the top?

    Would that not be expected to increase inflammation beyond that expected?

    What would be the percentage of boys(and their testosterone tendency to invite ethylmercury to sleep on the couch) with latex allergies?

    And to think; I’d not have made that possible connection if Lawrence hadn’t pointed out you’re a troll. Good Lawrence! *grins*

  28. #28 Michael J. Dochniak
    Far from the CDC
    September 6, 2014

    @Orac

    I was recently in the emergency trauma-room after a friend fell off his scooter. The two Dr.s were wearing latex gloves while stitching him up even though the signage at the hospital clearly states “Latex-Free Zone”.

    Unfortunately, the medical community still can’t grasp the natural-latex glove problem (i.e., Iatrogenic allergies)

    Oh by-the-way Orac, natural latex is still a component in some vaccine packaging and delivery systems triggering allergy induced regressive-autism. We don’t need a whistleblower to substantiate the harm done from natural latex.

  29. #29 Lawrence
    September 6, 2014

    Jeez, we went through this before….your evidence amounts to absolutely zero….please, just go away!

  30. #30 Michael J. Dochniak
    Closer to the FDA
    September 6, 2014

    Lawrence,

    Here’s a refresher course on vaccines and natural latex. I won’t quiz you about it and there are nice pictures to keep you interested.

    https://www.facebook.com/autismfile/posts/10152370346072769

  31. #31 Johnny
    127.0.0.1
    September 6, 2014

    Dochniak’s evidence-free posts are annoying, sure, but I’ll be happy as long as he doesn’t post his Vogon-like poetry.

    For the newbies, see
    http://youtu.be/H2WPJQPo0kI
    Skip to about 2:15

  32. #32 Lawrence
    September 6, 2014

    They are – the man has serious mental issues, as evidenced by his completely one-track mind & ascribing all the ills of the world to the use of latex…..

  33. #33 Krebiozen
    September 6, 2014

    Perhaps Tim and Mr. Dochniak would like to argue over whether autism is due to ethylmercury or to latex allergy on Mr Dochniak’s Facebook page.

    The last lab I worked in didn’t have any latex gloves, just those purple nitrile ones.

    Tim might also be interested to see the paper that apparently convinced the Geiers that mercury binds testosterone here. If humans had benzene instead of blood and a normal temperature of 50C (122F), the Geiers might have been onto something regarding testosterone and mercury chloride (not ethylmercury). But they don’t and they weren’t.

  34. #34 Todd W.
    http://www.harpocratesspeaks.com
    September 6, 2014

    @Krebiozen

    I can’t recall the last time I saw latex gloves in a medical setting. It’s always nitrile. I wonder how Dochniak knew the gloves were latex and not nitrile.

  35. #35 Tim
    September 6, 2014

    Lordy, no Krebiozen! I don’t really ‘do’ papers…I’m a pothead.

    However, I’d like to point out that many reactions which are not expected to occure do, in fact, occure in the presence of some catalyst (whether it modifies expected temp, pressure, concentrations,…, time) or other and that living systems are very very good at contributing to the total entropy of the universe by maintaining against certain otherwise thermodynamically unfavorable situations.

    I’d certainly agree that the testosterone claim would need to be verified in vivo.

    As for benzene?? I’ve got too much blood in my benzene-stream, at the moment to even know what that is. But I *thought* it was used in organic chemistry to simplify modeling certain criteria inside cytoplasm.

  36. #36 Tim
    September 6, 2014

    We don’t need a whistleblower to substantiate the harm done from natural latex

    Certainly not. And, I *think* what finally brought it to light were hospital workers suddenly dropping dead from it which they had never noticed before due to asymptomatic sensitization. I *seem* to remember they first blamed it on the ‘donning agent’…

  37. #37 Michael J. Dochniak
    Under the EPA's skin
    September 6, 2014

    Respectful Insolence banter:

    …evidence-free posts are annoying… (#232);
    …completely one track mind…(#233);
    …didn’t have any…(#234);
    …it’s always…(#235); and
    …I’m a pothead (#236).

    If this is the typical respectful insolence on this Scienceblog it’s clear Prometheus is dearly missed.

  38. #38 Tim
    September 6, 2014

    Michael,

    I hope you are not somehow insinuating that I’m not a pothead just because if someone were to look right now there seems to be a lack of it just laying around or otherwise being employed in a manner consistent with its’ labeling.

  39. #39 Antaeus Feldspar
    September 6, 2014

    But now, 4 days after the press release, there has been no further statement. Orac says he called the lawyer to specifically verify the texts, without response. As I have previously said, this can only be because Thompson can’t deny the texts (that is, that e sent them, not the truthfulness of the texts).
    (emphasis added)

    Except you can’t say that. You can tell us and all the world “Well, this is what I would do if I was in that situation, and every way I look at it, I think it’s the only smart thing to do” but frankly, that doesn’t even prove that it is a smart thing to do, let alone the only smart thing to do, let alone a thing to do so smart that anyone who doesn’t do it doesn’t have the option available to them.

    You claim that we must be blinded because we’re not weighing the evidence correctly. I say that’s a beam that needs to come out of your own eye first. You say that you have not read “anything about [Wakefield] on the Internet” and therefore that prevents you from having any personal opinion about his credibility. Are you ignorant of one of the longest and most expensive proceedings in the history of the General Medical Council, which found Wakefield guilty of irresponsible and dishonest conduct and struck him off the medical register? Or do you have some private rationale why only opinions on the Internet are worthy of consideration – and then, only so marginal that if you don’t look at them then they aren’t relevant? (I can’t help noting that Wakefield called no witnesses in his defense during the GMC proceedings. By your own logic, that must prove that he was entirely dishonest and knew that no witness could possibly refute that, right?)

  40. #40 Gotta love science.
    September 6, 2014

    I don’t vaccinate. I’m against them…and even I can admit this txt is fake!
    I really don’t know why people think it’s real.

  41. #41 Tim
    September 6, 2014

    @Johnny,

    That poem was pretty, um, … it’s just in the presentation, I’m sure it’s quite good, really. Besides, she’s probably somebody’s mother — Throw her into the vacuume of space, anyways.

    It reminds me of the old Puff ‘n’ Stuff I’d watch at the doctor’s office while waiting for the brainswelling to go down every time I got an ‘allergy shot’.

  42. #42 Gotta love science.
    September 6, 2014

    And it’s weird he ends one of his txts with “Andy”. Wouldn’t Thompson know it’s Andy? Who ends txts with their name?

  43. #43 Gotta love science
    USA
    September 6, 2014

    And lastly. Who in their right mind apologizes in a txt?

  44. #44 Narad
    September 6, 2014

    “Different from“, obviously. Not “to”.

    Fowler goes so far as to call this not just a superstition, but also “mere pedantr[y]” based on the rationale advanced.

  45. #45 Johnny
    127.0.0.1
    September 6, 2014

    If this is the typical respectful insolence on this Scienceblog it’s clear Prometheus is dearly missed.

    Too true.

    Again, for the newbies, Dochniak has been here in the past, spouting his assertions, but not the evidence. He said everything was in his book.

    Prometheus, the keeper of A Photon In The Darkness, finally had enough, and procured a copy of the silly thing, so that we don’t have to. Prometheus wrote a rather uncomplimentary review.

    Alas, A Photon In The Darkness is no more.

    However, we have the Wayback Machine.

    https://web.archive.org/web/20120104114416/http://photoninthedarkness.com/?p=243

    Don’t forget to check out parts 2 and 3. The links on the left side of that page will take you there.

    I promise the review is better than the poetry.

  46. #46 Narad
    September 6, 2014

    Clearly all those scientists who for 75 years classified Pluto as a planet were drinking from the crazy conspiracy Kool Aid too.

    I’m having a hard time imagining what sort of relevant “changes in knowledge or understanding over time” you suppose are going to occur in the field of statistics, because the data set isn’t going to change. Hooker’s paper based on it is just plain shoddy.

    P.S. I’ve probably said this before, but as an undergrad, I worked in the same lab where one of the discoverers of Sedna was doing his Ph.D. Fantastic guy; I wish I had gotten that level of support from the one that was nominally supervising me.

  47. #47 Tim
    September 6, 2014

    I wish I had gotten that level of support from the one that was nominally supervising me.

    You need to stop letting others grade your fellatio writeups… first subpressions are often correct…

  48. #48 sadmar
    Building the list
    September 6, 2014

    @Gotta love science
    “And lastly. Who in their right mind apologizes in a txt?”

    Thanks! Good point.

    Of course, Orac suspects William Thompson may not be in his right mind.

    Which goes to show that no matter what’s actually going on with WT, it’s not going to be a PR coup for the anti-vaxers. They’ll have a spin that works for the faithful, regardless: Thompson as hero or traitor. But if WT stays with the Morgan Verkamp statement, there’s no there there, vaccines are safe, and everybody realizes this is a quibble about how research data a presented in professional minutiae that no one cares about outside the field. And if WT actually DID text that stuff to Wakefield and wife, he’s a loon who’ll lose the ‘scientific credibility’ that makes his supposed ‘whistleblowing’ noteworthy in the first place.

  49. #49 Rebecca Fisher
    That London
    September 7, 2014

    @Narad:

    Our advice is to write different from and averse to.
    – H.W. Fowler (1858–1933). The King’s English, 2nd ed. 1908.

  50. #50 cia parker
    September 7, 2014

    Eric Lund,
    I disagree that it was naive and gullible for Thompson to have made his admissions and apologized to Wakefield, even against the advice of his lawyer. Many people have a conscience which eventually rebels in such circumstances from continuing to play the game: it is what makes us human, in the more elevated sense.

  51. #51 Lawrence
    September 7, 2014

    @Ms Parker – perhaps you could shed some light on exactly what Thompson was apologizing for? Because it wasn’t as if the CDC was involved in the Wakefield affair….the whole flow of the text messages is just plain odd & doesn’t even make sense in context.

    Perhaps you should call Wakefield (don’t you have his direct number?) and have him release all of the texts plus the audio recordings….wouldn’t that set the record straight & get the rest of us to shut up?

  52. #52 lilady
    September 7, 2014

    Thanks for that comment CIA Parker.

    Would you like to share with us your opinion of the DeStefano et al case control study-vs-Hooker’s cohort study, Professor Parker?

    Would you like to share with us the reasons why Hooker’s publisher removed Hooker’s study from their website (undeclared conflicts of interests on the part of Hooker and the peer reviewers), Professor Parker?

    Could you ask Dan Olmsted and the other editors at AoA…or Andrew Wakefield, why they have not analyzed the both studies, to justify their support of Brian Hooker, Professor Parker?

  53. #53 Denice Walter
    September 7, 2014

    I wonder if Ms Parker can explain why I keep reading and hearing about Hooker-Thompson-Wakefield on AoA, PRN, TMR, NN but haven’t yet seen anything on standard sources ( CNN, CBC, BBC, Al Jezeera etc) ?

  54. #54 Dorit Reiss
    September 7, 2014

    @Denice Walter:

    Well, there were the CNN and Times.com article that highlighted the problems with Hooker’s article and how unconvincing the whole thing is.

  55. #55 Dorit Reiss
    September 7, 2014

    Citing the esteemed Orac’s analysis, I should add.

  56. #56 Denice Walter
    September 7, 2014

    @ Dorit Reiss:

    You’re correct. Also there was Ms Cohen.

    I suppose it’s been such a long time since the mainstream noticed the gist and failed to register all the convolutions of the tale on which others have perseverated that I just forgot.

  57. #57 Narad
    September 7, 2014

    Our advice is to write different from and averse to.
    – H.W. Fowler (1858–1933). The King’s English, 2nd ed. 1908.

    “Before writing this dictionary, Henry Fowler and his younger brother, Francis George Fowler (1871–1918), wrote and revised The King’s English (1906), a grammar and usage guide later superseded by A Dictionary of Modern English Usage in the 1930s.”

    I cited the first edition, 4th U.S. printing (1950).

  58. #58 Narad
    September 7, 2014

    I disagree that it was naive and gullible for Thompson to have made his admissions and apologized to Wakefield

    You also “disagree” with overt demonstrations of the frank falsehood of your robotic assertions, Cynthia, so this doesn’t exactly carry much weight.

  59. #59 Rebecca Fisher
    That London
    September 8, 2014

    @Narad

    The man clearly couldn’t make up his own bloody mind. I’ll stick with “from”. 🙂

  60. #60 Gusto Buckshot
    Washington DC
    September 8, 2014

    Are you people serious? The authenticity of a screenshot? My children were vibrant before vaccination, now they’re light is dim. You guys know this stuff is poison and Thompson was the head of that panel that said it was safe. He’s come out admitting he lied implicating himself in a crime.

    How could you not believe a man when he places himself in such a bad plight. Regardless to that, even Bill Gates said that, “We can reduce the CO2 footprint if we do a really good job with vaccinations and healthcare.”

    That’s a weird statement if you don’t understand that there is an actual program to reduce human population. But for those of us who know, well it makes perfect sense. Shame I found out too late. My kids’ brains have been destroyed.

  61. #61 Lawrence
    September 8, 2014

    @Gusto – anti-vax bingo again…any chance that you might be able to think for yourself and not just parrot anti-vax lies from places like AoA….of course, the whole “Thompson was in charge” lie is new….the guy was just part of the team, certainly not the lead (hence why the study isn’t the “Thompson Study”).

    As to the Bill Gates reference – seriously, don’t you have any brains at all?

    Improved medical care, less disease & better standard of living = less births (and a lower birth rate) which means slower population growth – you know, since parents know that their kids aren’t going to die before age 5.

    What an idiot.

  62. #62 herr doktor bimler
    September 8, 2014

    We can reduce the CO2 footprint if we do a really good job with vaccinations and healthcare

    Is there any chance of Gusto looking up Gates’ TED talk and citing the words he actually used, rather than coming out with an unsourceable sentence?
    My guess is “No”.

  63. #63 Krebiozen
    September 8, 2014

    That’s a weird statement if you don’t understand that there is an actual program to reduce human population. But for those of us who know, well it makes perfect sense. Shame I found out too late.

    Is anyone really dumb enough to believe this? Why would Bill Gates want to reduce the world’s population anyway? Surely the more people who buy his products the better.

    My kids’ brains have been destroyed.

    Destroyed? Presumably they are dead if their brains have been “destroyed”. That’s awful, but why do you blame vaccines?

  64. #64 herr doktor bimler
    September 8, 2014

    My kids’ brains have been destroyed.

    OK, but what’s Gusto’s excuse?

  65. #65 Dangerous Bacon
    September 8, 2014

    Gusto: “You guys know this stuff is poison and Thompson was the head of that panel that said it was safe. He’s come out admitting he lied…How could you not believe a man when he places himself in such a bad plight.”

    You’re seriously asking why anyone wouldn’t believe a liar?

  66. #66 Calli Arcale
    http://fractalwonder.wordpress.com
    September 8, 2014

    After a very enjoyable weekend with the inlaws (and one of the funniest Dr Who episodes I can remember), I’m catching up on this thread again. *Pluto* came up? Is this some new replacement to the Galileo Gambit, perhaps? The IAU reclassified Pluto, therefore scientists can be wrong and should be trusted or something? Never mind the Pluto argument is really a much older argument that’s been going on since the discovery of 1 Ceres. I seriously wonder if Pluto would’ve even received planet designation in the first place had Disney not promptly named a popular character after it.

  67. #67 Krebiozen
    September 8, 2014

    If the evidence that Pluto was a planet was unreliable, how can we trust anything scientists say about vaccines? Or something.

  68. #68 Tim
    September 8, 2014

    @Gusto Buckshot

    — Their official stance on the statement is as Lawrence has pointed out. However, past UNICEF program vaccines (polio, tetanus) did have the effect of sterilizing women.

    http://lifesitenews.com/news/unicef-nigerian-polio-vaccine-contaminated-with-sterilizing-agents-scientis

    “If you improve health in a society … surprisingly, population growth goes down,” Gates told CNN in 2008. “And that’s because a parent needs to have some children survive into adulthood to take care of them when they’re old.”

    http://lifesitenews.com/news/gates-foundation-explains-bill-gates-re-vaccines-reducing-population

    CO2= P x S x E x C
    http://co2psec.com/

  69. #69 lookinglass
    canary islands mid atlantic.
    September 8, 2014

    Dorit Reiss
    ….’citing the esteemed orac’…………Oh my.
    How infinitely sad is such a description – of such a malignant narcissist.
    The truthof this whole affair went skimming right over his head. Because he was never looking for it. This whole blog is his raison d’etre. It is an ego driven expression of his need for constant attention and applause.
    You have shown your truest colors Dorit.

  70. #70 Julian Frost
    Gauteng East Rand
    September 8, 2014

    Tim, your source is a site called “Life Site News”. Already I’m suspicious.

  71. #71 Krebiozen
    September 8, 2014

    The best explanation I have ever seen of how improving education and health leads to reduced population growth is <a href="https://www.ted.com/talks/hans_rosling_on_global_population_growth"here

  72. #72 Krebiozen
    September 8, 2014

    Why can’t WordPress have the intelligence to close a missing tag? Other platforms seem to manage it. Sigh.
    This should work.

  73. #73 LiamsDadTim
    NC
    September 8, 2014

    I just did a test on my IPhone. I looked at a text from a non-contact (when I had unread messages showing) where just the phone number showed up in the middle top of the screen. It said “back” I looked at a message from a contact.. it said “message”. I also had a text message from an email address (a rather long email address). It did not say either “back” or “message” just showed a back arrow. So it seems to me it changes based on number of characters it tries to display. I’m no scientist though just an engineer so my little scientific study probably needs to be looked at more just like the CDC’s. You should quit spouting off conspiracy theories when you are supposed to be a scientific type. I have only followed your blog since the break of this news because I wanted a scientific view of the information that has come to light. You shout insults and no tolerance at the other side like a grade schooler. I used to sit on the same side of the fence as you but I’m not naive enough to think the government is always on the up and up and will do what is necessary to keep itself intact. That includes omitting data on a subject that is as big as this. To me this is bigger than the Snowden whistleblowing. I never would doubt big brother spying on its citizens but covering data on disease issues by the CDC should anger anyone and at least be a wakeup call for investigation of any fraud that might be happening. Smallpox was found mishandled in a lab and within 3 weeks a congressional hearing. Why not in this case? Because it’s being intentionally covered with sand as fast as the media and government can shovel it. It’s a real crisis for them if this became mainstream news that the average person could see.

    I have to ask this question. If you are so sure you are correctly basing your beliefs on vaccines are you calling every parent a liar that has seen their child regress the same day they take their child to “well visits” for their vaccine shots? Just curious. I wonder if you would be singing the same tune if you took your normal child to a “wellness visit” and came out with your child not being the same person. I bet you would be trying to scientifically prove what just happened to your kid. Also if enough people are saying this has happened don’t you think it should be studied or looked into even more? I mean an official at the CDC who was a co-author of the study has said its not on the up and up. Don’t you think we owe it to a generation of children and the public itself to do more independent studies on the subject? It only makes sense. I say quit burying your head in the sand and look for the truth and not what you are told is the truth. I trust the thousands of parents with a story to tell than I do a government scientist telling me I have to jab this syringe full of weird crap into my newborn child. Open your eyes and mind Orac and quit being so rude to parents that are obviously hurt and struggling to cope with why their children have to be injured. If this subject ever happened to become mainstream and lies were admitted by the government.. I would hope this blog becomes a great big apology to the folks you have tried to demonize by calling them cranks, whacks and whatever other terms you have used to classify these folks. It’s sickening listening your back peddling trying to explain away what has happened whether you agree with Wakefield or Hooker or you don’t.. Bottom line is William Thompson a co-author of the study says its BS. I guess he is lying about his part in a bad study? Why would he lie about that and jeopardize his career or worse put his life in jeopardy? I think you need to put yourself in someone else’s shoes for a moment.

  74. #74 Julian Frost
    Gauteng East Rand
    September 9, 2014

    @LiamsDadTim:

    I have to ask this question. If you are so sure you are correctly basing your beliefs on vaccines are you calling every parent a liar that has seen their child regress the same day they take their child to “well visits” for their vaccine shots?

    No. We are saying that they misremembered. It’s known that after Wakefield’s “Case Study” came out, a number of parents said that regression had happened, even when the medical records contradicted their version of events. People can edit their memories.

    I wonder if you would be singing the same tune if you took your normal child to a “wellness visit” and came out with your child not being the same person.

    See comment about labile memory above.

    Also if enough people are saying this has happened don’t you think it should be studied or looked into even more?

    Funny thing: we hear all these claims, and there are compensation mechanisms in place, but when we ask for details, we get nothing. It’s as if these injuries are just a game of “broken telephones”.

    I mean an official at the CDC who was a co-author of the study has said its not on the up and up.

    Incorrect. He has said that he disagreed about the exclusion of some data. His own comments acknowledge that the others had valid reasons for excluding that data.

    Don’t you think we owe it to a generation of children and the public itself to do more independent studies on the subject?

    We have DONE the studies. There has been a metaanalysis looking at all the studies and it totalled in excess of 11 million individuals. In a sample size that enormous, if vaccines caused even a minority of cases of autism, it would have been detected. The vaccines cause autism hypothesis is as sound as phlogiston and geocentricity.

    It only makes sense. I say quit burying your head in the sand and look for the truth and not what you are told is the truth.

    Wakefield is a known and proven liar, and Hooker is dodgy.

    I trust the thousands of parents with a story to tell [more] than I do a government scientist telling me I have to jab this syringe full of weird crap into my newborn child.

    See my comments about labile memory, broken telephones and the surprising absence of parents who witnessed regression above.

    Open your eyes and mind Orac and quit being so rude to parents that are obviously hurt and struggling to cope with why their children have to be injured.

    Okay, now you listen up you plonker. I have an official diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome. A lot of other commenters here are autistic, have autistic spouses or offspring, or two or all of the above. We do NOT appreciate being labelled damaged goods. Do try to remember that.

    Bottom line is William Thompson a co-author of the study says its BS.

    Thompson did NOT say the study was BS. He said he was unhappy about the exclusion of a subgroup. That’s a big difference.

    I guess he is lying about his part in a bad study? Why would he lie about that and jeopardize his career or worse put his life in jeopardy?

    Once again, this was a disagreement over the exclusion of a subgroup. You are being melodramatic.

  75. #75 Julian Frost
    Gauteng East Rand
    September 9, 2014

    Apologies for the blockquote fail.

  76. #76 ChrisP
    September 9, 2014

    So what is this business about William Thompson delivering a truckload* of documents to Bill Posey’s office.

    *A metaphorical truckload, I have no information that an actual truck was involved, it might have been a sack truck used numerous times.

    On a related and far more mundane question, what happened to my post from yesterday. It seems to fallen into the black pit of moderation never to be seen again, despite their being only two links in it.

  77. #77 Krebiozen
    September 9, 2014

    LiamsDadTim,

    You should quit spouting off conspiracy theories when you are supposed to be a scientific type.

    The people releasing this information have recently produced a video comparing the CDC to Tuskegee, Pol Pot and Stalin that contains a scientist’s voice recorded without his knowledge or permission. One of the parties in the text exchange behaved so appallingly he was struck of the British medical register. These are people we should trust not to manipulate information for their own ends? Wouldn’t that be more than a little naive?

    I have only followed your blog since the break of this news because I wanted a scientific view of the information that has come to light. You shout insults and no tolerance at the other side like a grade schooler.

    That’s odd. I have found the explanations of the science here very useful. Where are the insults in the post above? The only ones I can see describe the Hooker/Wakefield video as “vile” and Hooker’s study as “execrable”, both of which insult objects, not people, and both of which are entirely justified, in my view.

    I used to sit on the same side of the fence as you

    Of course you did.

    but I’m not naive enough to think the government is always on the up and up and will do what is necessary to keep itself intact.

    I don’t think anyone is suggesting anything of the sort. Conversely, I think it is unwise to attribute anything to sinister machinations when incompetence or foolishness are equally viable explanations. Look at the evidence, always.

    To me this is bigger than the Snowden whistleblowing.

    To me this is a storm in a teacup. It seems obvious that there is no story here, unless Hooker and/or Thompson have more actually damning revelations to come.

    I never would doubt big brother spying on its citizens but covering data on disease issues by the CDC should anger anyone and at least be a wakeup call for investigation of any fraud that might be happening.

    That isn’t what has happened. I suggest you read Orac’s posts on the subject, and read some of the comments. Omitting data that is unreliable or correcting for known confounders is normal scientific practice.

    Smallpox was found mishandled in a lab and within 3 weeks a congressional hearing. Why not in this case?

    Because those that understand the science involved can see there has been no wrongdoing here? I would welcome a congressional hearing, as it might put a stop to some of this fuss about nothing, but I imagine they have more important things to worry about.

    Because it’s being intentionally covered with sand as fast as the media and government can shovel it. It’s a real crisis for them if this became mainstream news that the average person could see.

    I don’t think so. I hope that most people could understand the science if explained properly, those who aren’t already blinkered by their convictions that vaccines cause autism anyway.

    I have to ask this question. If you are so sure you are correctly basing your beliefs on vaccines are you calling every parent a liar that has seen their child regress the same day they take their child to “well visits” for their vaccine shots? Just curious.

    Not liars, mistaken, or assuming causation from a temporal association, the post hoc fallacy. Autism begins much earlier but is often first noticed at the same time vaccines are given. It is understandable that some parents might leap to the wrong conclusions.

    In Madsen’s MMR study, out of over half a million children that included 738 cases of autism and other ASDs recorded in the study, only 11 were diagnosed within 6 months of being vaccinated with MMR.

    There is also the study that Julian alluded to, this study done in North East London in 2003, five years after Wakefield’s fraudulent paper was published. In only 12 of the 118 cases of regressive autism did the parents blame vaccines. It was also clear that some parents had changed their view on what had caused their child’s autism only after Wakefield’s study was published:

    Widespread public concern about the possible relation between autism and MMR began in August 1997, with the pre-publication release of information about the Wakefield study, which attracted considerable and ongoing media attention.[…] From August 1997 the reported presence or timing of regression changed in 13 cases. For six of these, regression was mentioned for the first time after August 1997, even though many health professionals had seen these children before this date. In seven cases the recorded timing of onset of regression changed in relation to MMR: six closer, one further away.

    This is good evidence that some parents have edited their memories of the timing, and even the occurrence, of their child’s autistic regression after they became aware of the claim that MMR causes autism.

    I wonder if you would be singing the same tune if you took your normal child to a “wellness visit” and came out with your child not being the same person. I bet you would be trying to scientifically prove what just happened to your kid.

    As distressing as this experience might be, assuming that the vaccinations caused the apparent changes in the child is a mistake. Look at the omnibus autism proceedings, where Michelle Cedillo was claimed to be developmentally normal before she received the MMR vaccine. But, “… displayed early signs of autism clearly visibly on family video taken prior to her receiving the MMR vaccine.”

    Also if enough people are saying this has happened don’t you think it should be studied or looked into even more?

    Even more? Just how many more negative studies do we need?

    I say quit burying your head in the sand and look for the truth and not what you are told is the truth.

    Right back at you. Have you read the DeStefano study? Hooker’s hopelessly incompetent “reanalysis”? Do you understand the difference between a case control study and a cohort study? If not, you should learn some statistics and read the blog posts here on the subject. I think you will see that the truth is not what you have been told it is. It is those who refuse to accept the large and continually growing body of evidence that vaccines do not cause autism who have their heads in the sand.

    I trust the thousands of parents with a story to tell than I do a government scientist telling me I have to jab this syringe full of weird crap into my newborn child.

    I don’t think “weird crap” is a very scientific way of describing a medical intervention that has saved millions if not billions of lives. If you understood anything about vaccines you wouldn’t use such emotive terms.

    Open your eyes and mind Orac and quit being so rude to parents that are obviously hurt and struggling to cope with why their children have to be injured.

    Where has Orac ever been rude to the parents of a disabled child? Please link to it, as I have never witnessed such a thing.

    If this subject ever happened to become mainstream and lies were admitted by the government..

    That’s not going to happen. I think it will become clear that Thompson has grossly misunderstood the statistics involved in the studies he coauthored.

    I would hope this blog becomes a great big apology to the folks you have tried to demonize by calling them cranks, whacks and whatever other terms you have used to classify these folks.

    Where has Orac called the parents of disabled children “cranks” or “whacks”? Please be specific, or I will be forced to conclude you are lying.

    It’s sickening listening your back peddling trying to explain away what has happened whether you agree with Wakefield or Hooker or you don’t..

    I haven’t seen any explaining away, I have seen cogent analysis of the science involved that has convinced me that Thompson is mistaken.

    Bottom line is William Thompson a co-author of the study says its BS. I guess he is lying about his part in a bad study? Why would he lie about that and jeopardize his career or worse put his life in jeopardy? I think you need to put yourself in someone else’s shoes for a moment.

    Based on what I have read and heard (which may be incomplete or taken out of context) I think he has made a terrible mistake based on his misunderstanding of the statistics involved in the studies he has been involved in.

    Oh, and if you seriously think his life is in danger, it seems to me that you are somewhat hypocritical complaining that Orac’s speculations about the authenticity of some texts is “spouting off conspiracy theories”!

  78. #78 Krebiozen
    September 9, 2014

    Bleugh, “struck off“, I meant

  79. #79 Denice Walter:
    September 9, 2014

    @ ChrisP:

    I don’t know about a ‘truckload’ but AoA says’ 100,000′ pages.
    Recently, Hooker said that he had “tens of thousands of pages”** so who knows! These people aren’t exactly the best with numbers though. Possibly it involved 12, 000.

    -btw- if you peruse AoA, you’ll notice that the references to the whistleblower story include Natural News, Breitbart, BenSwann etc.
    OBVIOUSLY the mainstream media has blocked this earth-shattering news as it is but an enabling servant of Big Pharma and Big Government.

    ** on the Gary Null Show PRN a few weeks ago where he was a guest yesterday as well.

  80. #80 Orac
    September 9, 2014

    Maybe they’re going the direction of Stanislaw Burzynski, who claimed (through his minions and shills) to have submitted “millions” of pages to the FDA on antineoplastons. 🙂

  81. #81 Denice Walter
    September 9, 2014

    well, el Honcho Grande** de PRN claims to have “counselled” 70,000 people-
    which REALLY means *throw 3 zeroes after any number to impress the marks*
    similarly, he has 5000 studies about ginseng, 2 million listeners and has invented thousands of new products.

    ** right, I know it’s bad Spanish- what you think I pick up from *las Latinas* dance class?

  82. #82 DLC
    A place without black helicopters.
    September 9, 2014

    So, LiamsDadTim @274 : you don’t believe that 2 people would form a conspiracy to ruin Thompson’s reputation, but you believe that the entirety of the CDC conspired to keep valuable information (sic) out of the hands of the antivaccine public’s hands ? Really ? Nothing lopsided there, is there ?

  83. #83 Lawrence
    September 9, 2014

    100,000 pages is about 50 bankers boxes or so of documentation – which is actually very small when compared to the amount of paperwork normally generated.

    Given the lack of scientific knowledge usually exhibited by the typical Congressman and staff, I don’t know if they’d even know what they were looking at….

  84. #84 Tim
    September 9, 2014

    I would, DLC. It is a federal agency and that *fed* part is an occupying falsehood of a criminal *government* — Ya bunch of self-loathing anarchists. **grins**

  85. #85 Bill Price
    September 9, 2014

    Denice, wouldn’t it be el Queso Grande de PRN?

  86. #86 ann
    September 10, 2014

    And you think, after all that, he would step into the noose by endorsing a fake text exchange on a mobile phone? It would be bound to come out, and about 200 journalists would be upon it in about 25 minutes.

    I agree that it makes little sense, thus phrased. But if it were restated as…

    “If he thought he could make large sums of money from it, would there be any dishonest act that was too crude or corrupt or clownish for Andrew Wakefield?”

    …it kind of acquires a different complexion.

    (I don’t actually have any opinion about the specific issue of the veracity of the exchange, beyond that it can’t be definitively established by internet detective work/DIY forensics.

    But the involvement of Morgan Verkamp suggests that someone somewhere thinks he or she can use this to generate a qui tam suit. Or an excuse to raise funds for one. And AW appears to have some proprietary feelings about the story.

    I don’t know. I know that I know nothing, in fact. But based on presently available information, Thompson’s actions just seem inexplicable to me in a way that’s doubtless capable of many explanations that are beyond my capacity to imagine.

    I wouldn’t rule a mad, conspiratorial scheme of some kind out, though. Early days. But at least potentially, it looks kinda fair-game-y.. .

    A lot of stuff does when you don’t know much about the terrain or the players, however. I do admit.

    Having no dog in the causality race, I think betting is still open on the Brian Hooker story. Just because he’s an obsessive and makes mistakes, it doesn’t mean that in ten years harassing CDC he hasn’t turned something up, even if it’s not quite all he thinks.

    In fact, given the scale of a government bureacracy like that, it would be more surprising if he didn’t.

    Agree.

  87. #87 Michael Brent
    Hastings
    October 13, 2014

    What a bunch of smug wankers . You’re seriously siding with CDC and drug companies . Are you all at work ?

  88. #88 Lawrence
    October 13, 2014

    @MB – as opposed to quacks, discredited doctors & a bunch of uneducated nitwits?

    Sorry, I side with Science and Facts.

  89. #89 novalox
    October 13, 2014

    @michael

    So, got any evidence for your assertions?

    Or are you a smug wanker, like you seem to be, posting without any evidence?

  90. #90 notation
    October 13, 2014

    “You’re seriously siding with CDC and drug companies .”

    As opposed to “siding” with a wanker like you? You bet.

  91. #91 Celia Farber
    New York City
    November 4, 2014

    Dr. Gorski,

    You and your readers have spent an inordinate amount of time and energy speculating about the veracity of the text message exchange I posted to my website The Truth Barrier, seen here:

    http://truthbarrier.com/2014/09/02/breaking-news-cdc-whistleblower-text-messages-to-andy-wakefield-study-would-have-supported-his-scientific-opinion/

    On your blog, people even Google mapped my building,published my address, and speculated about my son’s age and computer equipment.

    But you never thought to contact me, and ask me.

    It’s Nov 4, 2014, and this is a matter of public record:

    I am inviting you to engage in a resolution of this, so that the questions raised can be answered. Typically, as a journalist. when you want to find something out, you start by contacting people close to the story. You ask questions. Unless, of course, you don’t really want to know the answer.

    Journalists don’t rely on comments from readers of their blogs to find things out, nor merely consult their own thoughts and suspicions. They investigate.

    So let’s find out of the texts are fake.

    I challenge you to go to the source–to write to Dr. William Thompson at the CDC and ask him if he had these exchanges with Dr. Wakefield and his wife.

    Then I’d like you to ask me anything you like, about the texts.

    Present me with terms of proof that would satisfy you and your readers that they are real not fake.

    You want to know that beneath the name “William” on Dr. Wakefield’s phone, there is a cell phone number belonging to Dr. Thompson, correct? We all understand that we are not at liberty to make this number public.

    Let us agree that if the texts are proven real, you will publish the results, and apologize to me for the false and slanderous accusations that I published falsified materials.

    My question to you is this: If they ARE proven real, what does that mean?

    It means that Dr. William Thompson is a real, as opposed to “fake” CDC Whistleblower. It means that he was not at all “taken out of context” by Dr. Wakefield and Dr. Hooker. It means that he stands by what he said in his press release, namely that the CDC significantly altered (falsified) data, and deliberately sought to eliminate the link between MMR vaccines given at a certain time in neurological development, and autism.

    If you do not think this is what Dr. Thompson means to convey, please say so here and now, and we will answer that question next. I am inviting you to pose, investigate, and weigh evidence to three questions, publicly:

    1. Are the texts real?
    2. Does Dr. Thompson confess to partaking in scientific fraud at the CDC?
    3. Does Dr. Thompson feel Dr. Wakefield’s career was unjustly destroyed, and that his own study, done right, would have backed up the paper Dr. Wakefield lost his career over?

    Your reputation is at stake. I await your reply.

  92. […] This link must be viewed first, to make sense of the text below, which I posted this evening at Respectful Insolence. It offers the context of this journalistic challenge. […]

  93. #93 Antaeus Feldspar
    November 4, 2014

    Journalists don’t rely on comments from readers of their blogs to find things out, nor merely consult their own thoughts and suspicions. They investigate.

    And what exactly is your basis for promoting Orac from a blogger, who can publish whatever the hell thoughts and suspicions he wants on his blog because it’s his blog, to a “journalist”? Oh, because it’s convenient to you? Sorry, not a good enough reason.

  94. #94 ChrisP
    Australia
    November 4, 2014

    So let’s find out of the texts are fake.

    Actually most of us don’t really care that much. There are much more interesting questions, such as:

    Why would Andrew Wakefield release this information through a completely unknown and conspiracy-mongering AIDS-denialist blog?

    What was he thinking?

  95. #95 Narad
    November 4, 2014

    On your blog, people even Google mapped my building,published my address, and speculated about my son’s age and computer equipment.

    I seem to have missed this, but that may have something to do with my not giving a flying fυck about dime-a-dozen media nonentities, much less their sons’ “equipment.”

  96. #96 Narad
    November 4, 2014

    This, however, is the real paydirt:

    I challenge you to go to the source–to write to Dr. William Thompson at the CDC and ask him if he had these exchanges with Dr. Wakefield and his wife.

    One might think that, two months after the fact, Farber might have had the time to do this herself. Then again, perhaps he sensibly wants nothing to do with self-promoting riffraff.

    My question to you is this: If they ARE proven real, what does that mean?

    Not this:

    It means that Dr. William Thompson is a real, as opposed to “fake” CDC Whistleblower.

    What it actually would “mean” is that Thompson was an idiot to wander into a snake pit that led from the incompetent Hooker to the rapacious Wakefraud to frank gutter dwellers such as yourself.

  97. #97 Narad
    November 4, 2014

    Silly me… two months? No, six years.

    Say France, Celia.

  98. #98 Narad
    November 5, 2014

    Typically, as a journalist. when you want to find something out, you start by contacting people close to the story.

    Heh.

    In the book you compare [heterosexual HIV transmission] to Y2K.

    “Well, it’s as nonexistent. It did not happen as much as Y2K did not happen. It was a classic mass panic.”

    Kind of an upside-down version of Great White Hope Thompson, eh?

    “I don’t think I’ve ever said that HIV does not cause AIDS. I took one semester of journalism in college.”

  99. #99 Celia Farber
    New York City
    November 5, 2014

    The text exchange was given to more than one journalist. I posted it first. Then it was out and that was that.

    Please don’t change the subject. I only want to hear from Orac. I know you are no fans of mine but that shouldn’t interfere with our quest to examine whether the texts are real. We’re not reviewing my career here. I covered the HIV debate extensively, yes. That’s not relevant here.

    You want ME to contact Dr. Thompson to prove that your accusations that the texts are false are baseless?

    Blogs count as journalism.

    But that’s fascinating. You’re arguing that this blog should not have to perform any fact finding because it’s a blog?

    I doubt that will be Orac’s position.

  100. #100 Narad
    November 5, 2014

    Please don’t change the subject. I only want to hear from Orac.

    Then you should have sent an E-mail, Spongecake.

  101. #101 Narad
    November 5, 2014

    The text exchange was given to more than one journalist.

    ZOMG, please tell me that Attkisson was the one who had the sense to not stomp on a flaming bag clearly labeled “WARNING: Contains Dog Shіt” on the doorstep.

  102. #102 Celia Farber
    New York City
    November 5, 2014

    Narad:

    I’m not a spongecake.

    Why should I send a private email after my credibility is blasted all over this site, publicly? You’re not making sense, again.

    Is it “dog shit” if it is real too, or only if it is fake? This is why I want to have it out. You all should have no problem saying: “We have indeed speculated and even stated that the texts are fake. No reason we shouldn’t be asked to come to the table to determine the truth, then.” That would be honest discourse.

  103. #103 herr doktor bimler
    November 5, 2014

    I remember this comment from I. Rony Meter @105 in response to Sadmar’s exegesis of the auxiliary information distributed via EXIF fields:

    By the way, you are posting too much information about her. We don’t need to know that for this discussion. No reason to post such details.

  104. #104 Narad
    November 5, 2014

    I remember this comment from I. Rony Meter @105 in response to Sadmar’s exegesis of the auxiliary information distributed via EXIF fields:

    By the way, you are posting too much information about her. We don’t need to know that for this discussion. No reason to post such details.

    The payload of Celia Farber’s appearance (Fazzm) is Celia Farber.

  105. #105 Narad
    November 5, 2014

    ^ I now see where the typo was. This one I’m going to do over:

    I remember this comment from I. Rony Meter @105 in response to Sadmar’s exegesis of the auxiliary information distributed via EXIF fields:

    By the way, you are posting too much information about her. We don’t need to know that for this discussion. No reason to post such details.

    The payload of Celia Farber’s appearance (Fazzm) is Celia Farber.

  106. #106 Antaeus Feldspar
    November 5, 2014

    Blogs count as journalism.

    No. Blogs can count as journalism. That doesn’t mean that all blogs are journalism. Exactly how do you purport yourself to be a journalist without being able to grasp such a concept?

    But that’s fascinating. You’re arguing that this blog should not have to perform any fact finding because it’s a blog?

    A blog is simply some person or group expressing their thoughts through the medium of the Web. Are YOU saying that John Smith cannot be allowed to post to the world “I think the official story of what happened in Ferguson is damn fishy” unless he goes “fact-finding” and contacts the Ferguson police?

    I’m sure it would be convenient for you if no one were allowed to point out the fishiness of YOUR stories unless they jumped through the hoops you say they should, but that ain’t the way it works.

  107. #107 Rebecca Fisher
    That London
    November 5, 2014

    I was unaware that Celia Farber had any credibility to be blasted.

  108. #108 Broken Link
    November 5, 2014

    Celia Farber,

    Thompson has had two months to publicly confirm that those texts were from him. He`s been remarkable silent in those months. If he wanted to confirm your blog posting, he could have replied in the comments there. He could have replied here. Or he could have issued a statement through his lawyer. OR – you could have contacted him and asked him to confirm or deny. You are the one “breaking” this story – isn’t it your responsibility as a “journalist” to confirm your story?

    The fact that you have his cell phone number is meaningless. It was available on his LInkedIn profile for weeks after Wakefield released his first video. At least he’s had the sense to take that profile down now.

  109. #109 Science Mom
    http://justthevax.blogspot.com/
    November 5, 2014

    Why should I send a private email after my credibility is blasted all over this site, publicly?

    You’re an AIDS denialist. What credibility do you think you possibly have?

    You want ME to contact Dr. Thompson to prove that your accusations that the texts are false are baseless?

    Considering you were the one to publicise the texts to begin with, you should have done your due diligence and confirmed the veracity yourself.*

    *This coming from someone who doesn’t give a flying fig whether the texts are real or not.

  110. #110 Todd W.
    http://www.harpocratesspeaks.com
    November 5, 2014

    Let me get this straight. Celia Farber is handed a text exchange. It happens to align with her beliefs, so she just posts it, accepting at face value that it is real. Then, when the veracity is questioned, rather than doing the investigation that she ought to have done right from the start, she says that those questioning her need to do the investigation?

    How ever did this woman make it through school? I presume she did not take that attitude on papers. I can just imagine it now, the teacher takes points off because she did not properly cite and support her claims, but rather than revise, she tells the teacher to find the sources. Laughable.

  111. #111 Denice Walter
    November 5, 2014

    Funny that someone who made a career of denying science and spreading mis-information about hiv/aids refers to Orac’s ‘reputation’ being ‘at stake’.

  112. #112 Orac
    November 5, 2014

    Unfortunately, I couldn’t get back to Ms. Farber before now, given that I work for a living and that the post that she’s complaining about is over two months old. Even now, I should probably not have allowed this silliness to have intruded on my work day. Hopefully, I can be forgiven because, I must confess, rarely have I been so amused by a “challenge.” Its hilarity is epic.

    It’s hard for me not to note that Ms. Farber has things exactly backwards (as usual given her history as a notorious HIV/AIDS denialist). She apparently received an a screenshot of an alleged text exchange between William Thompson and Andrew Wakefield from Andy Wakefield and immediately took it at face value, based only on evidence that, boiled to its essence, consisted of, “Andy says it’s legit.” The image goes viral, and the best she can come up with when people note that she’s sending around a picture of a computer screen showing the alleged text exchange. Then, when I (and others) point out reasons to doubt its authenticity and that it would be incredibly easy to spoof such a text exchange just by having an exchange with someone else and then assigning Thompson’s name to the phone number or e-mail address from which the iMessage was sent (or using various other methods), what does she do? Does she provide corroborating evidence demonstrating the authenticity of the messages? Of course not! Instead, she shifts the burden of proof to me!

    Seriously, though, Ms. Farber: You posted it first without bothering to check whether it was legit or not. That was your job if you wanted to be taken seriously. I’m not going to do your work for you, and I’m certainly not going to try to contact Dr. Thompson. Having briefly been in contact with his lawyer, I know that he’s aware of the things I’ve written about him; so it’s highly unlikely that he would agree to talk to me anyway. As for my “credibility,” let’s just put it this way. I was measured and discussed a lot of alternate explanations, conceding that the text exchange might actually be real. Let me reemphasize the point near the end of my post:

    The other two possibilities are either that this screenshot was faked (which seems possible, although I could be mistaken, given that, despite extensive Googling I haven’t been able to find a screenshot that uses “Back” instead of “Messages” my search is not comprehensive) or that Wakefield faked a text exchange and made it appear to be someone named “William,” the implication being that that’s William Thompson, something that is incredibly easy to do. All you need is a friend with an iPhone to do it. There’s no concrete evidence to argue for or against this last possibility, but I also note that there’s no concrete evidence (just Farber’s and apparently Wakefield’s word) that the screenshot represents a real text exchange between William Thompson and Andrew Wakefield, either. That doesn’t even take into account the content of the text exchange, which is bizarre and stilted, to say the least. Even if it is real, it’s no doubt highly cherry picked.

    Note the conclusion: I don’t know whether this text message was faked. There’s no slam dunk evidence that it was, but there are lots of anomalies to lead me to doubt its authenticity. More importantly, there’s no slam dunk evidence that it’s real, either. Unless you—yes, you, not I—can provide really strong evidence for the iMessage exchange’s authenticity, such as a public statement or affidavit by Dr. Thompson that he had that exchange, then I stand by my conclusions, which are that there are plenty of reasons to doubt the authenticity of this exchange. Also note that I never accused you of faking the text, just of being gullible and accepting “evidence” sent to you by Andy Wakefield at face value without any further investigation because its content aligns with your beliefs.

    Finally, regarding my “reputation,” I am incredibly amused that someone who is an HIV/AIDS denialist who has misrepresented the science of AIDS for many years and posted a BS explanation denying that fellow HIV/AIDS denialist Christine Maggiore actually died of AIDS and then took it down after she realized that her “explanation” was actually very consistent with a death due to an AIDS-defining pneumonia, would lecture anyone about “reputation.” Hubris, apparently, thy name is Farber.

    In any case, I suggest that you go up to comment #59: “Hey, worst case scenario, I get a little mud on my face, but such is life. I’m willing to risk being wrong sometimes.” I’ve already straightforwardly admitted that I might be wrong (although I still doubt that I’m wrong about this exchange’s complete authenticity). And guess what? If you—or someone else other than Andrew Wakefield, who lies, or Brian Hooker, who is complicit in Wakefield’s lies—were to provide evidence irrefutable evidence that the iMessage exchange is legit, I’d admit my mistake and move on. The only change I’d have in my opinion is that Thompson has gone antivaccine; it wouldn’t demonstrate that there was a conspiracy to “cover up” the “true” results of DeStefano et al. It would just demonstrate that Thompson has gone off the deep end, which is a conclusion I’ve pretty much come to since September anyway.

  113. #113 Denice Walter
    November 5, 2014

    @ Todd W.:

    Well, obviously her work passes muster at PRN where she hosted an internet radio show ( Radio Free Science)** and appeared in support of that outlet’s host on a panel for his anti-vax film ‘premier’ amongst anti-vax experts somewhere on Long Island as well as on his broadcasts.

    My mother always said be careful of what company you keep, it informs people about your qualities or lack thereof.

    ** amongst that network’s conglomeration of luminaries like David Lewis and David Crowe.

  114. #114 Renate
    November 5, 2014

    Radio Free Science? Would it be far off to consider Science Free Radio would be more appropriate?

  115. #115 Chris
    November 5, 2014

    Ms. Farber: “Your reputation is at stake. I await your reply.”

    And later: “Why should I send a private email after my credibility is blasted all over this site, publicly?”

    One thing about being on the west coast is seeing this exchange just as I start my day. It was hilarious.

    Since Ms. Farber tossed away her reputation and credibility years ago, perhaps she should stop pretending to be a “journalist” and go into comedy.

  116. #116 ChrisP
    November 5, 2014

    Is it “dog shit” if it is real too, or only if it is fake?

    It remains dog shit regardless of whether it is real or fake. Andrew Wakefield has told so many lies that touching anything Wakefield is involved in is going to leave a nasty smelling stain on your hands. This is something the William Thompson has no doubt discovered to his cost.

    Your decision to post this exchange (other than garnering a bit of mirth from Orac’s minions) has gained you no advantage except among the denizens of AoA and Natural News. At least there you are in company appropriate to the quality of your ‘journalism’.

    Enjoy the dog shit.

  117. #117 Celia Farber
    New York City
    November 5, 2014

    You make an assumption that I did not know the veracity of the texts before I published them. I did.

    They are real, and you know it, and yes, I did note the third possibility, that the texts are real.

    You’re the one who has a relationship with Dr. Thompson’s attorney. The challenge is that you take any steps of any kind to FIND OUT if YOUR OWN published suspicions are valid. You can’t publish wild suspicions and accusations and then expect the recipient of the accusations to jump around and attempt to extinguish all your concerns.

    A journalist takes responsibility for trying to find answers to their own questions. The way you do that is by contacting the parties involved and asking for comment on or off the record.

    So, we’ve established that you don’t do journalism. That you react with indignation upon being asked to lift a finger to find out whether any of your conspiracy theories are valid. That all your reader’s brain bubbles about the interfaces of iPhones were and are absurd. That the only journalist present here, Brian Deer, tried to set you straight, but even that had no sobering effect on your thought processes.

    That you can’t even stick to the point enough NOT to throw Christine Maggiore’s corpse into this. (Her cause of death was renal failure. And she had pneumonia and bronchitis at death.)

    I am not in a position to start demanding affidavits from William Thompson.

    In two months, he has in no way denied either sending the texts, nor objected to their being published.

    Does that tell you anything?

    I urged you to contact him, as a means of showing you that I DO know they are real, and inviting you to ALSO learn that they are real.

    If you care, if you want to know the truth, try to find out. All I can do is state publicly that were you to unearth a shred of real evidence, from Thompson or anybody else, that the texts are false, I would heartily participate in the process of correcting the record. But they are real, so that won’t happen.

    You also have no evidence Thompson ever said his comments were taken out of context. Note the wording: “Taken out of context.”

    Where does he say that?

    The context is given BY Thompson IN his own press release on Aug 27, in which he states that he regrets partaking in the research fraud at the CDC.

    You can hear his voice on those recordings, can’t you?

    It doesn’t matter what you think. The matter is moving toward congressional hearings and there are criminal implications in this.

    Dr. Thompson expressed clearly that his conscience had become unbearable.

    In your mystification about what “motivates” Dr. Thompson, I don’t know how to translate to you what it means to have a conscience. That’s the story.

    Read or listen to his own words, maybe, as a start?

    Journalism is nothing if not this: Listening.

  118. #118 Lawrence
    November 5, 2014

    @Celia – I, for one, would demand that all of the recordings be released, so that those “snippets” could be heard in context…I would also demand that all information be released at once, instead of this “drip, drip, drip” which only seems to enhance the desperate nature of the leaked information (i.e. that it was massaged to look like something it wasn’t).

    And why don’t you quote Thompson’s statement directly – because the word “fraud” is never used….

    That’s just bad journalism….go back to denying AIDS, you hypocrite.

  119. #119 Narad
    November 5, 2014

    I urged you to contact him, as a means of showing you that I DO know they are real, and inviting you to ALSO learn that they are real.

    Is there any reason why anyone would be interested in the contents of your head in the first place? Jesus Christ, that thing on top of your neck-stalk led you to pitch a fit over a two-month-old post in the first place.

  120. #120 Narad
    November 5, 2014

    This, at least, is a refreshing admission from Ms. Farber:

    the only journalist present here, Brian Deer, tried to set you straight

  121. #121 herr doktor bimler
    November 5, 2014

    Read or listen to his own words, maybe, as a start?
    That would be nice.

  122. #122 Denice Walter
    November 5, 2014

    Most of Orac’s commenters may not be journalists but they can certainly read so I suggest that they peruse the very informative website, *Truth Barrier* where they will learn that

    – Ms Farber is such a successful journalist that she needs to solicit assistance in order to pay her bills ( see ‘I need help’/ Donate button) Sept 2014
    – She received an award from Clark Baker’s organisation
    – She had a show on PRN
    – She appears to communicate with Mr Wakefield et al
    – The posts about Thompson occured around the time as the aforementioned plea for financial aid.

    ( -btw- Baker, Null and Wakefield : Trifecta!)

    Lawrence, perhaps soliciting from anti-vaxxers is more lucrative than hiv/aids denialism these days.

  123. #123 Matt Carey
    November 5, 2014

    Celia Farber–

    let me start with this: don’t do to my community (autism) what you’ve done to HIV/AIDS. We don’t need more people causing us harm.

    Your claim to fame in this whole story is, what, again? Andrew Wakefield sent you something purporting to be text messages and you posted them. Wow. And you are still on this topic months later? And still haven’t provided actual evidence that they are real? Don’t lecture people on journalism. Show your evidence. Stop blameshifting.

    What if the text messages are real? What then? Then Bill Thompson should resign all work on autism at CDC. Because a researcher shouldn’t be engaged in fixing someone’s reputation. That’s a clear bias.

    If he had stated that he wanted to bolster the reputation of someone pro-vaccine, there would be just criticism.

    Let’s look at that one purported text message now:

    “I do believe your husbands career was unjustly damaged and this study would have supported his scientific opinion. Hopefully I can help repair it.”

    If you understand research, you understand why that would disqualify him from performing autism research at CDC.

    “Does that tell you anything?”

    Yep. He’s not talking about anything to do with this topic. Not confirming. Not denying. Not running up attorney bills.

    Should we just assume that you have the evidence because you say so? Trust you? Why? You assert you have evidence. Maybe you do. You don’t share your evidence.

    Trust Andrew Wakefield? Why? Andrew Wakefield has proven repeatedly that he lies.

    I am aware of one person who attempted to contact Mr. Thompson. Thompson declined to speak. He declined to respond to emails. I believe Orac is aware of these attempts as well. Orac did contact Thompson’s attorney. Should he keep calling the attorney? Because, we all have the right to run up Thompson’s legal bills, even if we know that the information his attorney will give out is limited?

    Again, I see a lot of blameshifting. And a huge focus by you on a very minor matter.

    I’m a bit more interested in the fact that Andrew Wakefield has decided to ally with an HIV/AIDS denialist than the veracity of these texts. He’s gone on lecture tours with New World Order types and 9/11 truthers, so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised.

    http://blogs.plos.org/thepanicvirus/2011/06/07/its-official-wakefield-joins-the-ranks-of-truthers-new-world-order-conspiracists/

    “The matter is moving toward congressional hearings and there are criminal implications in this.”

    Because congressional hearings have helped he autism community in the past? (answer: no).

    If there are criminal implications in this, it would be based on some evidence not yet made public. Andrew Wakefield and Brian Hooker’s complaint shows a lack of substance.

    And I like the vague and leading “moving towards congressional hearings”. Really? By what measure? It’s nice that you have an out in that you never said there would be a hearing, much less plural hearings, while implying that this has the attention of congress.

    By the way, You did notice where Wakefield and Hooker had to change the wording of a key phrase in the analysis plan in order to make their argument work, didn’t you? You did piece together the sequence of events and see that Wakefield and Hooker misrepresented them, didn’t you? As a journalist and all, you did check the facts, right? You read the complaint and checked what was stated?

    You asked what evidence Orac would accept as proof. And when given a response you build straw man arguments:

    “I am not in a position to start demanding affidavits from William Thompson.”

    No one asked you to demand. You inserted that word. Orac stated that a public statement or an affidavit would demonstrate proof. Among other evidence.

    And, let’s also move on to goal post shifting. On October 2nd you were fine with the idea of a statement by Mr. Thompson being used as proof:

    @doritmi @oracknows @littlepowder @DrWakefield Can I take that as a formal agreement? Statement OR phone records?— Celia Farber (@CeliaFarber) October 3, 2014

    Now when that is repeated, you retreat behind “I am not in a position to start demanding affidavits from William Thompson.”

    You can go ahead and argue with Orac all you want. I don’t care. Just stop using my community as your hammer for this and whatever other purposes you have. You, Wakefield and others are a bunch of carpetbaggers causing harm to a community to which you don’t belong.

  124. #124 Chris
    November 5, 2014

    I think I found a way for Ms. Farber to make some cash. 😉

  125. #125 Xerocky
    here
    November 5, 2014

    It’s sad how those who disagree with Celia Farber always come across as being so defensive. It reeks of weakness and fear.

    “Is there any reason why anyone would be interested in the contents of your head in the first place? Jesus Christ, that thing on top of your neck-stalk led you to pitch a fit over a two-month-old post in the first place.”

    If you’re willing to say they’re false, then why wouldn’t you? You must be very frightened.

  126. #126 Bennett
    November 5, 2014

    Seems to me that Orac has it exactly backwards. If he doubted/doubts the authenticity of the text exchange, he should have shown a little gumption and simply asked this Thompson fellow to verify or deny. Posting a nearly infinite stream of obsessive-compulsive blather and ad-hominem attack instead hardly qualifies as a substitute for the minimal research it would have required.

  127. #127 Julian Frost
    Gauteng East Rand
    November 6, 2014

    Celia Farber:

    They are real, and you know it, and yes, I did note the third possibility, that the texts are real.

    There are serious doubts about that.

    The context is given BY Thompson IN his own press release on Aug 27, in which he states that he regrets partaking in the research fraud at the CDC.

    You are now lying through your teeth. He didn’t use the word “fraud”.
    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2014/08/28/a-bad-day-for-antivaccinationists-a-retraction-and-the-cdc-whistleblower-issues-a-statement/

    You can hear his voice on those recordings, can’t you?

    Umm, you did read Orac’s comments about “taken out of context”, didn’t you? It’s very easy to slice up words so that what a person says can be made to sound like the opposite. As an old saying goes, “Even the devil can quote scripture to further his aims”.
    We’re not denying that that’s Thompson’s voice, we’re saying that, given Wakefield’s record of deception, these texts should be taken with more than a pinch of salt.

  128. #128 Lawrence
    November 6, 2014

    @Bennett – why do typical anti-vaxers believe that statements need to be proven false, before they are proven true?

    The whole idea is that it is up to the first party to prove the positive, not for someone else to come along and prove the negative….we just don’t accept things at face value, unlike the anti-vax brigade, which is why we like to see evidence first.

    I know that’s a hard concept to understand…although it shouldn’t be.

  129. #129 ChrisP
    November 6, 2014

    Bennett, you are completely wrong. If someone has doubts about a claim, the only responsibility is to voice those doubts and the reasons why. It is up to the person making the claim to provide the evidence for the claim.

    As for Xerocky, their comment is simply nonsense. I don’t care that much whether the texts are real or fake. Either way it provides a clear insight into the agenda of Andrew Wakefield and clearly demonstrates his narcissism and greed.

  130. #130 Antaeus Feldspar
    November 6, 2014

    You make an assumption that I did not know the veracity of the texts before I published them. I did.

    They are real, and you know it, and yes, I did note the third possibility, that the texts are real.

    Well, just to really rub our noses in it, why don’t you spell out exactly how you know the texts to be real, in the form of a syllogism? You know, something like:

    1) I have Andrew Wakefield’s personal word on it that the texts are real.
    2) Andrew Wakefield would never lie to me.
    3) Therefore, the texts must be real.

    Of course, that syllogism’s just an example to show you the form we’re looking for. If you tried presenting that as your proof, it would be tantamount to assault, as surely one or more of us would die from laughter due to 2).

    Of course, the way you assert in the same sentence something you COULDN’T know, and don’t even have reason to believe (“… and you know [the texts are real], …”) – why would Orac have to “know” the texts are real when you haven’t even revealed what evidence makes YOU so sure they’re real?? – definitely suggests that, when you say something is “real”, you mean only that you’ve chosen to believe it hell or high water, not that it earned such belief.

  131. #131 lilady
    November 6, 2014

    Wow, just wow. Did I just read Celia Farber’s comments about challenging Orac to prove the text messages are real, when she is the individual who posted them on her blog?

    How did Farber get those screen shots? Did they arrive in snail mail in a plain brown envelope. Did someone hand deliver the text messages?

    Hooker’s paper has been fully retracted and the “CDC Whistleblower” story is very old news.

  132. #132 Todd W.
    http://www.harpocratesspeaks.com
    November 6, 2014

    @Celia Farber

    Perhaps you can point to the bit in your post where you report that you verified the texts were real. I can only see you reporting that the texts were provided to you by Andrew Wakefield and his wife.

    Do you understand, now, why there is some question about the veracity of the texts? They could be real, but they could also be faked. And, given what we know of Wakefield’s propensity to, shall we say, play a bit loose with truth, the latter is the more likely explanation.

    And now, two months later, you come in here telling Orac to do what you should have done and what you still refuse to do: back up your own reporting. In your comment above, you imply that you did determine the veracity of the texts. Here’s your chance to share with us what that evidence is, since you did not share it in your original report of the issue.

  133. […] Apparently Farber still doesn’t get it. Overnight in my comments, she responded: […]

  134. #134 EB
    November 8, 2014

    Surely the key point is made in comment #69. Even if Thompson does believe (counter to the evidence) that there was a real association in this specific subset of African American boys (the n seems to be uncertain – 14?), that would not alter the fact that the far more robust finding of a lack of an association in the rest of the study flat-out refutes Wakefield’s claims. So if Thompson is saying otherwise, he’s wrong. End of.

  135. #135 Joe
    November 10, 2014

    Narad, you are a fucking cunt, and a miserable excuse for a human being. May you contract a fatal illness and die a miserable death you pathetic cretin.

  136. #136 Lawrence
    November 10, 2014

    @Joe – stay classy…..and we’re the “bullies?”

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