boyle-cdc-autism

These things always seem to happen on Friday. Well, not really. It’s probably just confirmation bias, but it seems that a lot of things I’d like to blog about happen on a Friday. That leaves me the choice of either breaking my unofficial rule not to blog on the weekend or waiting until Monday, when the news tidbit might not be quite so…timely anymore. This time around, I decided to wait because, well, we’re getting into grant season again, and I could use the time to work on grants.

It is, however, good news. Very good news indeed. Remember Brian Hooker’s absolutely incompetent “reanalysis” of a paper from ten years ago, DeStefano et al, that failed to find a correlation between age at MMR vaccination and autism? I’m not going to go through just what’s wrong with Hooker’s “statistical” analysis, at least not in detail. If you want the details, I provided them a month and a half ago. In brief, the biggest foul-up Hooker did was to analyze case control data as a cohort study. That was a mistake in design that doomed his study from the very beginning, guaranteeing that its results, whatever they were, would have no validity whatsoever. The next big error is that Hooker used inappropriate statistical tests and, as I like to say, tortured the data until they confessed what he wanted them to confess, namely a correlation between MMR and autism. Even then, all he could get the data to confess to him to make the pain stop was that there was an elevated risk of autism in African American boys who received the MMR between certain ages. As I put it at the time, basically Hooker confirmed the results of DeStefano et al and proved Wakefield wrong once again, given that Hooker’s result supposedly showed a correlation between the MMR vaccine and autism in no one other than African American boys and that result was very questionable indeed. I also wondered why the antivaccine movement was so fast to jump on this “reanalysis,” given that the vast majority of the leaders of the antivaccine movement are not African-American and Hooker’s reanalysis, like the original DeStefano et al analysis, found no correlation between MMR and autism for any race other than African-American.

It was a paper so bad that even a brand new journal, like Translational Neurodegeneration, considered retracting it. Basically, less than a month after the study was published, the editor published a message:

This article has been removed from the public domain because of serious concerns about the validity of its conclusions. The journal and publisher believe that its continued availability may not be in the public interest. Definitive editorial action will be pending further investigation.

Now, as I learned from Retraction Watch, the editors have finally made a decision. They’ve made it official and retracted Hooker’s paper with this message:

The Editor and Publisher regretfully retract the article [1] as there were undeclared competing interests on the part of the author which compromised the peer review process. Furthermore, post-publication peer review raised concerns about the validity of the methods and statistical analysis, therefore the Editors no longer have confidence in the soundness of the findings. We apologise to all affected parties for the inconvenience caused.

Ouch. That one’s going to leave a mark. Of course, I would argue that this is one time where the “post-publication peer review” largely consisted of bloggers like myself and several others pointing out the gaping holes in Hooker’s methodology, particularly his incompetent use of statistics. Let’s just put it this way. In this video, Hooker discusses how he reanalyzed the DeStefano et al dataset using a “very, very simple statistical technique” and brags that to him in statistics “simplicity is elegance.” He then follows up by saying that he’s “not really that smart” and therefore “likes easy things rather than much more intellectually challenging things.” So he did the “simplest, most straightforward analysis.”

Here’s a hint: In statistics, the simplest analysis is often not the correct analysis, and, boy, was this the case for Hooker’s reanalysis of the DeStefano et al dataset.

More interesting to me, however, is the other part of the justification for retracting Hooker’s paper: “undeclared competing interests on the part of the author which compromised the peer review process.” I wonder what that means. I can’t be sure, but I can speculate based on my experience with the peer review process on both sides, as peer reviewer and as someone submitting a manuscript to a journal. First note the specific wording. The editor and publisher are saying that some sort of undeclared conflict of interest somehow compromised the peer-review process. Let’s take a look at the checklist for submissions to this particular journal:

Have you prepared a covering letter for your submission, explaining why we should publish your manuscript and elaborating on any issues relating to our editorial policies detailed in the instructions for authors, and declaring any potential competing interests? This should be provided using the ‘cover letter’ section of the submission process. And do you have the contact details (including email addresses) of at least two potential peer reviewers for your paper, which you will need at the same time? These should be experts in your field of study, who will be able to provide an objective assessment of the manuscript’s quality. Any peer reviewers you suggest should not have recently published with any of the authors of your manuscript and should not be members of the same research institution. You will be asked to select the one or two Editorial Board members whose interests most closely match the subject of your manuscript.

Bingo!

Most journals instruct authors to suggest potential peer reviewers. The editor, of course, is free to accept or reject the suggestions, and an author has no way of knowing whether the editor picked one or more of his suggestions. Obviously, the editor knows that an author is going to suggest reviewers whom he views as sympathetic (or at least not hostile) to his work. Having had to do this many times before, let me tell you that it can be a difficult process, mainly because any potential peer reviewer I can think of is usually someone with whom I’ve worked or even published with before. That generally leaves people whom I don’t know and, because some of my work is a bit specialized, not very many of the to choose from.

Let me guess what might have happened. Take a look at Hooker’s recent publication record. Since 2013, he’s published four papers on vaccines and autism. All of them except for his retracted Translational Neurodegeneration paper are co-authored with Mark and David Geier. (I’m sure you remember them, don’t you? He and his son David have published a number of truly horrible papers and are advocates of chemical castration as a treatment for autism.) Also in this list are Janet Kern, an RN who used to publish on secretin and nearly all of whose publications are with the Geiers, and Lisa Sykes (an antivaccine activist whom we haven’t seen in a while on this blog but one who is closely associated with the Geiers and is known for harassing critical bloggers.)

Now, I have no way of knowing if this is what happened, but if true it would fit what the editor and publisher said about an undisclosed conflict of interest that compromised peer review. My guess is that Hooker probably named one or more of his previous co-authors, such as Mark Geier or Janet Kern, as suggested reviewers, and that the editor used one or more of them. Now, I have no idea whether the editor would have double checked to see if Hooker had recently published with these suggested reviewers. Editors deal with a lot of manuscripts and might not do PubMed searches to verify whether any of the suggested reviewers have published with the author recently. Basically, it is the honor system for the most part. You just don’t suggest a reviewer for whom reviewing your manuscript would represent an obvious conflict of interest, nor do you agree to review an article for which you have a conflict of interest. Heck, just last month I was asked to review a grant that was very similar to the sort of work I’m doing. I turned it down, as seeing the grant could easily tipped me off what a competitor is doing and, as much as I tried to be objective, I would have a very hard time. So I wouldn’t review it, and I told the committee that sent it to me why.

Yes, I think something like what I just described above is very likely what happened. Hooker probably picked one or more of his antivaccine cronies as peer reviewers, and the editor, not knowing any better, sent the manuscript to one or more of them to review. We’ll probably never know, though, although we do know that the editor can’t have sent the manuscript to a statistician to review. It never would have passed muster, unless it was the most incompetent statistician in the world reviewing it.

Speaking of incompetent statisticians, amusingly our old buddy Jake Crosby is very, very, very unhappy that his good bud and mentor Brian Hooker has been slapped down so publicly and has taken to expressing his rage on his blog. Of course, he gets it wrong. Note how he focuses on the term “undeclared conflicts of interest” but ignores the part about how those undeclared conflicts of interest compromised the peer review process. Watching Jake spar in the comments with people pointing out his flawed reasoning and then watching him defend Hooker’s utterly incompetent reanalysis of case control data as cohort data are worth a chuckle, though.

When I first heard late Friday that the retraction of this paper had been made official, I was satisfied. I really thought this paper deserved retraction. Of course, as I warned before, retracting this paper will likely feed the conspiracy theorists of the antivaccine movement in a way that almost nothing else could, particularly now that it’s official. On the other hand, I don’t really care much about changing the minds of people like Jake Crosby or the antivaccine zealots at wretched hives of scum and quackery like Age of Autism or The Thinking Moms’ Revolution, because they are such cranks that their minds really can’t be changed. What I do care about is persuading the general public, particularly the fence sitters, and a retraction of a scientific paper sends a powerful message to the public about a study.

Science wins this time. For now.

Comments

  1. #1 Andreas Johansson
    October 6, 2014

    A question from a non-academic – why don’t journals publish exactly why they feel peer review was subverted, or just what the undisclosed competing interest was?

  2. #2 lilady
    October 6, 2014

    Heh. Mr. Hooker submitted this very vague statement about his competing interests/pending claim on behalf of his child for “vaccine injury” before the Vaccine Court.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4128611/#__ffn_sectitle

    “Competing interests:

    Dr. Hooker has been involved in vaccine/biologic litigation.”

    I too, would welcome more specifics about the Journal’s decision to retract Hooker’s “analysis” of the DeStefano, et al study.

  3. #3 Narad
    October 6, 2014

    My guess is that Hooker probably named one or more of his previous co-authors, such as Mark Geier or Janet Kern, as suggested reviewers, and that the editor used one or more of them.

    Kern and Geier are both expert witnesses in his ongoing claim. The rest of the list is Boyd Haley, “Dr. Smith,” Francis Kendall, and Mary Megson.

  4. #4 Ren
    October 6, 2014

    In Crosby’s Labyrinth, conflicts of interest only apply to rationally-minded people and statistical adjustments only require stratification by a variable or two. Everyone he tries to defend ends up being a crank. Must be tough to have villains for heroes.

  5. #5 Brian Deer
    October 6, 2014

    Having the benefit of talking with an author of the 2004 Pediatrics paper Hooker critiqued and seen a version of the protocol for the study behind it, I have a personal hunch about how the story will play out with Dr Thompson.

    The first suspicious aspect of the farrago was the way Wakefield and Hooker chopped up the clandestinely-recorded conversations with Dr Thompson. In my experience, people usually do that in an effort to make it appear that the subject has said something that they didn’t quite say.

    The second is the retraction. I read that as indicating that either (a) Hooker was not on such terms that he could run his calculations past Dr Thompson, or (b) Dr Thompson, as a psychiatrist or clinical psychologist I believe, is not sufficiently up to speed to go deep into the stats. My guess, in fact, is that both are true.

    The third aspect I would throw in is a certain type of personality that you sometimes find at the rock face, or front line, of big organisations. Sometimes there are people – including myself, I will admit – who get quite a lot of emotional satisfaction from badmouthing their employers. These can be people who, via the mysteries of transference, expect their managers to be their parents. Their complaints will change from time to time, and often say more about them than the issue of the day. They only survive because they are technically good at their own jobs, rather than anybody else’s, and I think Dr Thompson probably is a good psychiatrist, or psychologist.

    My guess is that Dr Thompson has to hope that CDC will be kind to him when the paper finally gets discussed in public. The anti-vaxxers think that congressmen Darrel Issa and Bill Posey will come to their rescue – and to an extent they will try, in an effort to embarrass the administration over anything possible.

    But Issa and Posey will know that there could be electoral consequences for them if they attack the vaccine programme and there is then a significant measles outbreak in their districts. Odds are not enormous, but their political careers could be over on that long shot. And, if they criticise vaccines, they will be going against their constituents’ decisions on an important issue of family life.

    There are credible questions to be debated over whether CDC has an institutional conflict of interest, and over any possible risks involved when senior managers run boutique vaccine research projects in a bureaucracy of such political and public consequence as CDC.

    But I think the agency will show that, yes, it was a debatable judgment call as to whether they should have included race data in table 3 as well as table 5 of the study, but there was no misconduct, and Dr Thompson simply got it wrong. There is not the slightest evidence, or allegation, of fraud – a word introduced by Wakefield, and not by Dr Thompson.

    On this scenario, it would appear that when mommy at the office wasn’t paying attention to Dr Thompson’s emotional maintenance, he sought comfort in a new parent to listen to him: Brian Hooker.

    Trouble was that Hooker made the mistake that thousands of real parents have made over many years, and trusted Wakefield. Disaster struck him, like it struck all those thousands who went into litigation (spending years dreaming of multi-million settlements) on the basis of Wakefield’s laughable and dishonest claims about vaccine-strain measles virus in the gut being the cause of autism.

    Wakefield, incidentally, is the golden boy of the pharmaceutical industry. They love him. He’s the pied piper on the road to nowhere.

    The upshot now for Hooker is that he has his paper (that he probably regarded as his life’s great achievement, particularly when he has a live claim in vaccine court) retracted…

    And Dr Thompson gets to look like a very naughty boy.

  6. #6 StrangerInAStrangeLand
    October 6, 2014

    @Andreas Johansson (#1)

    That´s a very good question. Unfortunately, this kind of cryptic notice is the rule and not the exception how publishers deal with retractions. Basically, a retraction always means that the publisher/editor made a mistake, e.g. they were not careful in checking the data, chose the reviewers badly, overlooked plagiarism or faked results. Even when this can happen to all of us, it seems that admitting an honest mistake is something most editors and publishers can´t do – sadly enough – and therefore try to hide their “shame” behind retraction notes that give no information at all to the reader about what really happened and hope that nobody notices and everybody forgets about it as soon as possible.

  7. #7 Bill Price
    October 6, 2014

    Issa and Posey will know that there could be electoral consequences for them if they attack the vaccine programme and there is then a significant measles outbreak in their districts. Odds are not enormous, but their political careers could be over on that long shot.

    I find the map of Issa’s district to be difficult to read, and verging on ambiguous, but the district seems to include parts of northern San Diego county and southern Orange county.
    That part of Orange county includes, among other things, Pattimmy Bolen’s campout in the Cleveland National Forest and his mail box in San Juan Capistrano, as well as Bob Sears’ office in Capo Beach and his family’s woo center in San Clemente. There are more woo centers in San Clemente, as well, including a big supplement factory (I expect that it’s just a bottling plant and warehouse, though). Orange County has 22 measles cases this year, as I recall the most recent report I’ve seen.

    In Issa’s portion of San Diego county, we find Valley Center, home base for that recently convicted woo-fraudster whose name I can never recall. On the other hand, it also includes the high school whose student ‘film’ class produced the pro-vax documentary last year (I can’t recall which high school it was, either. Being ancient may have advantages, but memory isn’t one of them.).

    My granddaughter who is one of his SD constituents has been quite good about vaccination for her boys, FWIW.

    Yes, Issa’s constituency may have issues with any further pro-VPD activity on his behalf, particularly if the woo-meisters amongst them get loud.

  8. #8 Pete DeBalli
    Florida
    October 6, 2014

    Likewise, I suspect Rep. Posey has a strong base of anti-vaccine donors. He was initially appointed upon the retirement of Rep. Dave Weldon, who was equally anti-vaccine. Until recently, the district featured J. Jeffrey Bradstreet, MD, the “Good News Doctor,” whose questionable practices in the treatment of autism earned him a formal rebuke from the Autism Special Masters court. Dr. Bradstreet has since moved to Atlanta, but his supporters who have remained in Florida will continue to support Rep. Posey’s antics.

  9. #9 Flip
    October 6, 2014

    As I put it at the time, basically Hooker confirmed the results of DeStefano et al, proving Wakefield wrong once again, given that his result supposedly showing a correlation between the MMR vaccine and autism in African American boys.

    Methinks there is something wrong with this sentence.

    What I do care about is persuading the general public, particularly the fence sitters, and a retraction of a scientific paper sends a powerful message to the public about a study.

    I don’t know about that. So many people fall for the “science changes all the time, so they’re wrong” gambit. Fence-sitters might just think that this is just one paper and that tomorrow scientists will change their minds.


    Re: retraction notices, is there any issue of confidentiality in terms of releasing details? I can’t think of any reason why and it’s probably a stupid question… But I’m also non-academic so I have no idea how this all works.

  10. #10 mordicai
    October 6, 2014

    I assume it tends to happen on Friday for the same reason politicians dump bad news on a Friday; shorter news cycle, hopefully it will get less attention than it deserves.

  11. #11 Orac
    October 6, 2014

    I note that Issa’s district encompasses areas where measles outbreaks in California are prominent due to personal belief exemptions. Consequently, I bet he thinks there’s political mileage to be had going after the CDC.

  12. #12 Dangerous Bacon
    October 6, 2014

    Any attacks by Issa and Posey on the CDC will likely be modulated on the basis of how well the CDC is perceived to be handling the Ebola threat. If they’re seen as competent, politicians will be wary of going after them and being seen as anti-vaccine, now that Ebola vaccine development is on the front burner.

    If the CDC is seen as goofing up and not being transparent about its processes, Issa/Posey et al will have an excuse for trying to drum up publicity about the Thompson affair.

    Speaking of transparency, the CDC is so far doing a rotten job of it re Ebola. Ducking news media questions in favor of repeatedly intoning “The public health is our #1 priority” will not win most people’s confidence.

  13. #13 Todd W.
    http://www.harpocratesspeaks.com
    October 6, 2014

    Jake gets so stuck on those initial bullet points in the COPE guidelines for retraction that he apparently missed this bit (emphasis added):

    Retractions are also used to alert readers to cases of redundant publication (i.e. when authors present the same data in several publications), plagiarism, and failure to disclose a major competing interest likely to influence interpretations or recommendations.

    I also like how when Lawrence says he should’ve talked to Hooker (who should have received a letter detailing the reasons for the retraction), Jake replies, “Who says I haven’t?” I can just imagine Jake posting his reply, then immediately scurrying off an email to Hooker to ask what the letter said.

  14. #14 Chris Hickie
    October 6, 2014

    AVers of course will say it’s part of some grand conspiracy that Hooker’s paper was tossed–just like Wakefield’s. I wonder I Hooker learned a lesson from this about COI’s and reviewers.

    Probably not.

  15. #15 Chris Hickie
    October 6, 2014

    re: Ebola.–I got a ridiculously long email from a local children’s hospital telling me how they are “hardwiring” Ebola exposure an Africa travel questions into their electronic medical record so that you have to type in a response to those questions before it will let you move on with the medical history. First, it’s not really “hardwired” as that would mean it was part of the electronic circuity and not in software. Second, it’s discouraging if healthcare providers need prompting to remember to take a travel history in the ER.

  16. #16 Eric Lund
    October 6, 2014

    But Issa and Posey will know that there could be electoral consequences for them if they attack the vaccine programme and there is then a significant measles outbreak in their districts. Odds are not enormous, but their political careers could be over on that long shot.

    As others have pointed out, you are assuming facts not in evidence here. Barring a dead girl/live boy scenario, Issa can basically keep his seat as long as he wants to: the district is solidly Republican, as are the immediately surrounding areas (so redistricting isn’t likely to help), and his constituents have consistently voted for him despite the whiff of scandal in his past. I don’t know Posey as well, but I believe that district is also safely Republican. And as Orac notes @11, there has already been a significant measles outbreak in Issa’s district.

    Moreover, Issa has a history of looking for things to blame on the Obama administration. There doesn’t actually have to be a there there (see Benghazi) as long as he can convince the Republican base that there is.

  17. #17 Calli Arcale
    http://fractalwonder.wordpress.com
    October 6, 2014

    Chris Hickie:

    Yeah; “hardcoded” would be the correct term in this case. 😉

  18. #18 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    October 6, 2014

    It seems unlikely it would be hardcoded either – made mandatory, most likely.

  19. #19 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    October 6, 2014

    Of course, if it is implemented in code, it would look like:

    If travel includes (africa or dallas) then
    flash “Ebola”
    call CDC
    lock doors
    echo “It was nice knowing you”
    end if

  20. #20 EBMOD
    October 6, 2014

    Wait, wait, wait, wait . . . there is a doctor that was actually chemically castrating children and is NOT in jail? I see that his medical licenses have been revoked, but still, doing such egregious harm to children without just cause sounds criminal, not just negligent.

    As an aside, I think the Geier’s make a good counterpoint to the ‘pharma shill’ gambit. If Big Pharma was all about the Benjamins, they would embrace such protocols where large amounts of their expensive products are used.

    Could it be that, gasp, pharm companies do have some level of ethics and that anti-pharm CAMsters are wrong?

  21. #21 Chris Hickie
    October 6, 2014

    @ MOB

    Also play song over loudspeakers:

    Ebola, bola
    Whooo–oh-oh
    I said we gotta go.
    Yeah, Yeah, Yeah Yeah….

  22. #22 janet
    where the trees are beautiful
    October 6, 2014

    @ EBMOD @ #20
    Regarding pharma companies and ethics: If you watched 60 Minutes last night with the discussion of how much chemo drugs cost, you wouldn’t get the impression there are any ethics at work. Pharma’s representative didn’t do a very good job of defending their pricing, either.

  23. #23 EBMOD
    October 6, 2014

    “@ EBMOD @ #20
    Regarding pharma companies and ethics: If you watched 60 Minutes last night with the discussion of how much chemo drugs cost, you wouldn’t get the impression there are any ethics at work. Pharma’s representative didn’t do a very good job of defending their pricing, either.”

    I’m not arguing that they aren’t without fault. Just that they do have a limit, and more importantly the FDA does a pretty good job of keeping them in line and aren’t the monsters that CAMsters make them out to be.

    Regarding price of drugs, there is a lot more that goes into the price of a drug beyond what it costs to manufacture, the cost of trials, testing, and of all the other failed drugs have to be amortized in. Not saying that there isn’t some hefty markups, but that their operating costs of development are huge.

  24. #24 AT
    October 6, 2014

    New Study In Journal Of Public Health Finds Autism And Cancer Related To Human Fetal DNA In Vaccines

    Even more alarming, Dr Theresa Deisher, lead scientist and SCPI founder noted that, “Not only are the human fetal contaminated vaccines associated with autistic disorder throughout the world, but also with epidemic childhood leukemia and lymphomas.”

    Their study comes on the heels of recent breaking news that the CDC deliberately withheld evidence of the significant increase in autism among African-American boys who were vaccinated prior to 36 months of age.

    (See: http://www.examiner.com/article/whistleblower-reveals-cdc-cover-up-lin…).

    So it should come as no surprise that the FDA has known for decades about the dangers of insertional mutagenesis by using the human fetal cell lines and yet, they chose to ignore it. Instead of conducting safety studies they regulated the amount of human DNA that could be present in a vaccine to no greater than 10ng. (www.fda.gov/ohrms/dockets/ac/05/slides/5-4188S1_4draft.ppt)

  25. #25 AT
    October 6, 2014

    CDC EXPOSED

    The Center for Disease control is a rogue institution engaged in the destruction of the health of the American population . . .

    CDC is a for-profit corporation listed on Dun and Bradstreet
    CDC partners with big pharma
    CDC deceives health practitioners as well as the public
    CDC orchestrates propaganda campaigns
    CDC wastes millions of dollars
    CDC hires researchers to create bogus studies
    CDC does not answer to the people, but promotes whatever agenda those who control the White House (the internationl banksters) wish advanced
    CDC directs the public health institutions and even has employees stationed in their state offices
    CDC ignores congressional reports and/or hearings
    CDC actively discredits/destroys reputable researchers
    CDC bilks insurance companys out of billions of dollars by knowingly creating disease through their massive vaccination programs

  26. #26 Johanna
    San Francisco
    October 6, 2014

    Re: pharma costs, as the saying goes: “The *second* pill costs a nickel to make. The *first* one cost $100 million.”

  27. #27 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    October 6, 2014

    @Chris Hickie – I was thinking the song would be:
    Ebola
    The ugliest sound I ever heard.
    Ebola Ebola Ebola Ebola …
    Ebola!
    I’ve just met a guy with Ebola
    And suddenly that name
    will never the the same
    to me!

  28. #28 Uselesstwit
    October 6, 2014

    @janet

    There’s a world of difference between having an inflated profit margin and forcing children to go through potentially dangerous treatments. Especially when those treatments have never been shown to work for the kid’s condition. Don’t forget that the alt med types don’t exactly hand out freebies either.

  29. #29 Denice Walter
    October 6, 2014

    re Psychologist Thompson

    Although I am loathe to *slightly* differ with Mr Deer, doctoral programmes often FORCE candidates to study statistical analyses in great depth- although this requirement varies with the university involved
    … BUT that doesn’t mean that said candidates actually _ learn_ anything. I know only too well that those who are not mathematically challenged often find themselves badgered with late night phone calls and frantic pleas for assistance by the downtrodden in order to learn JUST enough to get through the courses.
    I did however earn real money and free dinners with drinks for several semesters. Scenarios like these do not lead to ease and proficiency in the dark arts of statistics later in life,

    Transference?
    Oh sure! I can see that. Transference phenomena reign in anti-vax/ alt med world as well. And occasionally, the parent role transmutes into that of g-d.

  30. #30 Chris
    October 6, 2014

    janet: “f you watched 60 Minutes last night with the discussion of how much chemo drugs cost, you wouldn’t get the impression there are any ethics at work.”

    All the more reason to prevent cervical and liver cancer. Plus to not smoke, and to keep up with annual medical check ups.

    AT, there is this handy dandy search box at the top of the page. You should try using it:
    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2014/09/09/religious-fundamentalists-try-to-prove-fetal-dna-in-vaccines-causes-autism-and-fail/

  31. #31 Denice Walter
    October 6, 2014

    re Jake Crosby

    Interestingly, he seems to know how to pick ‘winners’, doesn’t he?

    He has befriended/ supported/ worshipped at least 4 people** who have been struck off/ retracted/ become laughingstocks and/ or terrible examples for academically-inclined youngsters.

    That has to be some kind of a record***:

    I’m 30 years older that he is ( Yiiiii!) and only knew of one person ( a prof/ Jungian analyst) who was sanctioned for … er.. well… too actively helping his female clients get in closer touch with their animuses ( animi?).

    ** Mark and Davic Geier, AJW, Hooker.
    *** I am glad to have met with his fervent disapproval.

  32. #32 Denice Walter
    October 6, 2014

    That would be DAVID

  33. #33 Orac
    October 6, 2014

    They only survive because they are technically good at their own jobs, rather than anybody else’s, and I think Dr Thompson probably is a good psychiatrist, or psychologist.

    Well, he certainly isn’t a good epidemiologist or statistician if he actually helped Brian Hooker get “pointed in the right direction” with his reanalysis. I’m not even an epidemiologist or statistician, and I quickly recognized the utterly incompetent mess Hooker made of his reanalysis.

    But I think the agency will show that, yes, it was a debatable judgment call as to whether they should have included race data in table 3 as well as table 5 of the study, but there was no misconduct, and Dr Thompson simply got it wrong. There is not the slightest evidence, or allegation, of fraud – a word introduced by Wakefield, and not by Dr Thompson.

    Yup. Even in his statement, Thompson said nothing about “fraud.” It was a disagreement over how to look at the data for African American boys, which was a judgment call. Given Thompson’s behavior lately, I surely don’t trust his judgment.

    On this scenario, it would appear that when mommy at the office wasn’t paying attention to Dr Thompson’s emotional maintenance, he sought comfort in a new parent to listen to him: Brian Hooker.

    Perhaps. Or perhaps he just was unhappy at his job, for whatever reason, and appreciated a seemingly sympathetic ear to vent to. Unfortunately, even though Thompson knew how much the antivaccine movement wanted to “get” the CDC somehow (just look at his comments revealed in those e-mails from 2003 and 2004 that Mike Adams and others have been publicizing), for some reason he was nonetheless so gullible that he trusted Brian Hooker. He trusted him enough to vent about his job and how he thought his concerns over DeStefano et al had been given short shrift—and to do it over several months, at least—never realizing that Hooker was betraying him by recording their conversations without his knowledge.

    It’s actually rather revealing to me that the excerpts in Wakefield’s video and that followup video seem to be the “worst” things Thompson said about the CDC. You know that if Thompson had said worse or made actual concrete allegations of research fraud Hooker would have released those statements by now. Instead, the best Hooker and Wakefield could do was to edit together some very obviously highly selected snippets from the conversations between Hooker and Thompson to try to give the (not very convincing) impression that Thompson was accusing the CDC of research fraud.

  34. #34 c0nc0rdance
    October 6, 2014

    It’s time to dust off the old “What’s Wrong with Peer Review”.

    Item the First: Peer review can no longer be kept anonymous. The names of the peer reviewers should be published along with the authors.

    Item the Second: Submitting a manuscript to a journal carries with it some portion of an obligation to act as a peer reviewer, spreading the task to the right people.

    I’ll stop there. Others have done a better job of this than I can.

  35. #35 Denice Walter
    October 6, 2014

    The unhappy faithful of AoA and TMR who have criticised the media for not reporting on Hooker and Thompson because of conflicts of interest – i.e. being the puppets of the pharmatocracy, Rupert Murdock and the NWO-
    presently have grist for their mills, fuel for their fires and poison for their wells aplenty following the retraction, AJW’s lost appeal** and reports of rising rates of VPDs issued by governmental agencies. I imagine the conspiracy mongering will commence fabulously.in comment sections of AoA, TMR and AI.

    I’m very pleased to observe that Lawrence, Kreb, Narad, Dorit, Rebecca and others pass moderation at the aforementioned sites.

    ** double entendre

  36. #36 TBruce
    October 6, 2014

    New Study In Journal Of Public Health Finds Autism And Cancer Related To Human Fetal DNA In Vaccines
    Even more alarming, Dr Theresa Deisher, lead scientist and SCPI founder noted that, “Not only are the human fetal contaminated vaccines associated with autistic disorder throughout the world, but also with epidemic childhood leukemia and lymphomas.”

    Old news is SO exciting!

    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2009/07/22/thermonuclear-stupid-about-vaccines-from/

  37. #37 Shay
    October 6, 2014

    Speaking as someone who spent five years in Orange County, all Issey has to say is “evilKenyanmuslimsocialistbenghaziCDC!” and most of his electorate will buy it.

    He could even leave out “Benghazi.”

  38. #38 Shay
    October 6, 2014

    AT@25 – as my Texas grandpappy used to say, you are fuller of tripe than the belly of a cow.

  39. #39 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    October 6, 2014

    AT – you do realize that Dun and Bradstreet is a credit ratings agency, and that they’re reports are not reserved for just “for profit” companies, right?

  40. #40 Narad
    October 6, 2014

    CDC is a for-profit corporation listed on Dun and Bradstreet

    It appears that Anita Laurin (“AL Whitney”) isn’t very bright. (1) Dun & Bradstreet isn’t an exchange. (2) The “smoking gun” is hilariously stupid. Yes, a botched listing for a D&B credit report. (This is the address of the Technical Information Management Section, Procurements and Grants Office.)

  41. #41 Jeff S
    October 6, 2014

    On the subject of Darrell Issa and other anti-vax elected officials. I suspect that most of them are “true believers” who have realised that expressing their anti-vax views bring in the donations without much effort on their part. (On the true believers issue, my experience working in politics only lasted two years before I ran away, but in that time most candidates and staff people I would say were in it for a reason beyond the cynical.)
    I don’t have any evidence on the matter, but I doubt that there exists a congessional district in the country with enough people who base there votes on the candidates views on vaccines to make much of an electoral difference. There certainly are enough rich anti-vax donors in the country, however, and they can now donate to as many candidates as they want to.

  42. #42 sadmar
    Apples County
    October 6, 2014

    The saga of the re-anal-ysis and how Hooker got the hook goes outside the realm of ‘science’ as knowledge to ‘science’ as social institution.

    We might begin by considering why Translational Neurodegeneration accepted the paper for publication in the first place.

    I know TN is ‘published’ by the for-profit BioMed Central which is a subsidiary of for-profit Big Media corporation Springer Science+Business Media. I don’t really get how the Open-Access thing generates revenue. Is it just “article processing charges” or is there something else. I see in the case of TN, “The publication costs for Translational Neurodegeneration are covered by Translational Neurodegeneration, so authors do not need to pay an article-processing charge.” The FAQ has somewhat different phrasing “Translational Neurodegeneration is currently covering all APCs for articles submitted to the journal.” By “currently” I’d guess BioMed Central is operating TN as a loss-leader for now to get it off the ground, with the intent of introducing charges later once the journal’s rep is more established, making it a more desirable spot for researchers to place their work. (Please correct me if I have any of this wrong.)

    One way or the other, my guess is that TN needs notoriety to generate income. That would start with ‘name recognition,’ at which point whiffs of disrespectability are so minor a concern as to be economically irrelevant. If BioMed has any cred at all, the editors of the journals also have personal material interests in being editors in terms of promotions, salaries, release time, prestige etc. etc. dependent of the rep of the journals they edit. Unless the editors live in a cave, you’d guess they’d have at least a clue that vaccines-and-autism remain a hot topic, “sexy” in publication lingo.

    Even in a pay-to-publish model, I’d assume a journal wants the ‘best’ articles it can get. With the fees currently waived, I can imagine the editors of TN slogging through a pile of mediocre manuscripts on topics few people give a tiddly-damn about, that have already been rejected by other journals. (Been there…kinda. But not in the sciences, obviously.)

    So, I could imagine an editorial discussion going something like this.
    Ed 1: Boring… [tosses MS to pile]
    Ed 2: Boring… [tosses MS to pile]
    Ed 1: Boring… [tosses MS to pile]
    Ed 2: Boring… [tosses MS to pile]
    Ed 1: Hoo Boy! We got one about vaccines and autism!
    Ed 2: Christ. Not Wakefield…
    Ed 1: No. Re-analysis of CDC data!
    Ed 2: Lemme see… Hmm… Could be a little sketchy.
    Ed 1: No probs, dude! Peer review! It’s the reviewer’s call. If they say ‘Go’ it’s not on us.
    Ed 2: Got COI disclaimers on the suggested peers?
    Ed 1: Yup.
    Ed 2: Think we should double-check?
    Ed 1: I dunno. I just got a memo from corporate. Reminding me the free APC window isn’t going to last forever, and we should use the time well to build TN’s profile.
    Ed 2: In other words, ‘Get something hot online now, or else.’
    Ed 1: That was absolutely my takeaway. Here, take a look..
    Ed 2: [reads] Uh huh. [whistles]
    Ed 1: Whatdaya think… about the paper I mean.
    Ed 2: [sighs. blinks.] Get the reviews in ASAP. Press coverage here we come!

    The paper goes online, Hooker crows about his Great Achievement in revealing and validating whistle-blown Truth, drawing the attention of Dr.s Gorski and Novella et al, and boom goes the blog dynamite. Alas for TN/BioMed/Springer some journalists read science blogs, and smell a Story. (Some of said journalists might even be employed under corporate unbrellas that compete with Springer Science+Business Media in a market or two, not that profit would EVER come into play in choices about what gets published and what doesn’t)

    Story published. Very bad press. TN editors probably too dazed to realize they’ve just been hit by a bus. One of the big ones, like the Google shuttles. No matter, they’re not going to be major players in the damage-control loop anyway. The statements about ‘reservations’ ‘investigations’ ‘withdrawal’ and ultimately ‘retraction’ will have worked their way up the food-chain of the BioMed legal/PR department, and once the legal/PR gang at Springer Science+Business Media caught wind of the potential size of the fire, you can bet they called in The Wolf (or, for a more Continental reference, The Cleaner from La Femme Nikita).

    What is potentially at stake here? The TN FAQ notes:

    Our publisher, BioMed Central, operates a membership scheme, whereby authors submitting from member institutions have their APC covered in full or in part by their institution.

    I sh** you not, they actually use the word “scheme.”

    Anyway, ya think somebody at Springer Science+Business Media might be a little concerned the TN-Hooker flap could slow sales of those BioMed Central subscription “memberships” to self-respecting medical libraries? [Insert Mark Hyman / Cleveland Clinic joke here.] Ya think a very expensive consultant hasn’t been engaged to do a PR cost/benefit analysis on the relative merits of suing Hooker and/or the conflicted reviewers vs. just keeping mum and waiting for things to blow over?

    I agree with Orac about the retraction being a ‘win’ FOR science, though I’d frame it as a win for Public Health and/or innocents vulnerable to VPDs. It would be naive though, to consider this a win BY ‘science’ as in scientific knowledge. This win occurred because scientists acting as social agents collaborated with communication professionals and an engaged public to toss a monkey-wrench into Springer Science+Business Media’s profit machine.

  43. #43 Todd W.
    http://www.harpocratesspeaks.com
    October 6, 2014

    Interestingly, Age of Autism, for all the crowing the did when Hooker’s paper was published, has been curiously silent on this official full retraction.

  44. #44 LIz Ditz
    Where's the danged turnip truck
    October 6, 2014

    AT at #24

    New Study In Journal Of Public Health Finds Autism And Cancer Related To Human Fetal DNA In Vaccines

    The rational Catholic blogosphere has taken several very close looks at Deisher’s non-paper. I’m collating the responses on my blog:

    Critical Evaluations of “Impacts of Environmental Factors on the Prevalence of Autistic Disorder after 1979″ , Deisher et al. 2014”.

    tl;dr version: Deisher’s assertion is not biologically plausible and her statistical analysis looks like a basket of snakes.

  45. #45 herr doktor bimler
    October 6, 2014

    It appears that Anita Laurin (“AL Whitney”) isn’t very bright.

    As you would expect with a name like “anticorruptionsociety”, AT’s latest source for cut-&-pasta is heavily into Jews-control-our-money conspiracies. Also Abiotic oil, AGW-is-a-fraud, nuclear-waste-is-a-fraud, and an Expanding Earth cosmology which is new to me. Apparently new oxygen and water are being constantly added to the Earth, and all this talk of “conservation” is just another conspiracy to control the sheeple.

  46. #46 EBMOD
    October 6, 2014

    “Also Abiotic oil, AGW-is-a-fraud, nuclear-waste-is-a-fraud, and an Expanding Earth cosmology which is new to me. Apparently new oxygen and water are being constantly added to the Earth, and all this talk of “conservation” is just another conspiracy to control the sheeple.”

    Da fook is this? How on earth can any rational person come to the conclusion that the earth is creating matter? When I think that conspiracy nuts can’t go any further off their rockers, they never cease to amaze me.

    Astounding what happens when you think that unfalsifiable conjecture trumps carefully researched science. There is no limit to the idiocy you will gulp down…

  47. #47 sadmar
    Editing Class
    October 6, 2014

    Orac wrote:

    It’s actually rather revealing to me that the excerpts in Wakefield’s video and that followup video seem to be the “worst” things Thompson said about the CDC. You know that if Thompson had said worse or made actual concrete allegations of research fraud Hooker would have released those statements by now. Instead, the best Hooker and Wakefield could do was to edit together some very obviously highly selected snippets from the conversations between Hooker and Thompson to try to give the (not very convincing) impression that Thompson was accusing the CDC of research fraud.

    Exactly.

    I posted a similar comment here on 8/29/2014, noting that a close inspection of the ‘tics’ video reveals evidence of likely edit points in either the audio waveform, the voice patterns or both. I offered to explain the analysis in detail and post pix of the waveforms, but received no replies.

    On 9/4/2014, I posted a series of comments examining the technical details of the photo showing a purported text exchange between William Thompson and Andrew Wakefield, noting a series of oddities too numerous to be plausible coincidence, thus suggesting the message had been forged. Brian Deer responded “this is amongst the most barking discussions I’ve seen over vaccines in pretty much any forum” so sure was he that AJW was too slick to risk forgery that the message from Thompson must be genuine and thus:

    betting is still open on the Brian Hooker story. Just because he’s an obsessive doesn’t mean he hasn’t turned something up. In fact, given the scale of a government bureaucracy like that, it would be more surprising if he didn’t.

    To which I responded with an even more detailed itemization of the anomalies in the alleged text exchange, and a thorough rebuttal to the ‘logic’ Deer applied to AJW’s actions and likely consequences.

    To which Deer had no further comment.

    Yo! Brian! The videos edited Thompson’s remarks in grossly distorting ways. He said nothing on mic to support Wakefield, and the best AJW could do out of HOURS of recordings was paste together about 1:30 of weak sauce.

    The text message is forged, and no one cares, so Andy’s gotten away with it so far and still has a couple trap-doors to drop through if anyone did ever call him on it.

    Brian Hooker has turned up exactly bupkiss, as Thompson had exactly bupkiss to tell him about anything that mattered.

    So, how do you like your crow, Mr. Deer? Broiled? Fried? Battered on a stick?

    Woof!

  48. #48 lilady
    October 6, 2014

    Sadmar, when you have the reputation that Brian Deer has in international journalism circles, you “may have” the right to criticize him.

    Until then, I suggest you stick with this science blog and try to burnish your reputation after posting some dreadful rants against psychotherapy.

  49. #49 lilady
    October 6, 2014

    Todd W. Age of Autism is lining up the big guns, including their in-house epidemiologists and statisticians, before they post about Hooker’s downfall.

  50. #50 LIz Ditz
    United States
    October 6, 2014

    #25 wrote,

    CDC hires researchers to create bogus studies

    I snorted. Hooker’s research was bought and paid for by an organization called “Focus Autism”, which is Barry Segal’s charity. Surprise! Brian Hooker sits on Focus Autism’s board.

  51. #51 Yvette
    October 6, 2014

    “Interestingly, Age of Autism, for all the crowing the did when Hooker’s paper was published, has been curiously silent on this official full retraction.”

    I think they are trying to figure out who to blame. They want to get their conspiracy right before they all launch into it. It is the fault of Big pHARMa? Obama? Bill Gates? Orac? Lizard people?

    We’ll find out in a few days who they blame. Very exciting times we live in.

  52. #52 Viggen
    October 6, 2014

    retracting this paper will likely feed the conspiracy theorists of the antivaccine movement

    Any possible action will feed the conspiracy theorists. There’s no way out that they won’t twist to mean exactly what they want it to mean.

  53. #53 palindrom
    October 6, 2014

    Herr Doktor — Expanding Earth Cosmology?

    Coooool!

    There’s some joke to be made about crank magnetism and the fact that the SI unit of magnetic field is the Tesla, but it escapes me at the moment Must be this darn cold. Which allopathic medicine still can’t cure, dammit!

    I’ll leave now.

  54. #54 Tim
    October 6, 2014

    @ #15, #17, #18, #19

    Re: hardwired, hardcoded, mandatory, dubious conditional branching

    I believe that obnoxious mechanic of any such system ya’ll are dancing around may be more analogous to a QTE (quicktime event) such as is often encountered in shitty console ports.

    Performing the prompted action improperly or not at all results in the character’s failure at their task and often in an immediate game over.

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

    Regardless, It’s never edifying nor satisfying nor very explicable. Futhermore, I wouldn’t wan’t to waste so much as 5 seconds demonstrating to my peers my castratedness by revealing to my peers my adeptness or lack thereof at having to do it.

    Or maybe not… Carry on.
    ===============

    Sadmar,
    Planet Ferrall and

    boom goes the blog dynamite

    ? Interesting…

    p.s. I can’t believe I’d never read Valis. It’s on YouRube; Now it lulls me to sleep.

    An interview with Tessa B. Dick
    http://www.groundzeromedia.org/a-mind-cubed/

  55. #55 Narad
    October 6, 2014

    I think they are trying to figure out who to blame. They want to get their conspiracy right before they all launch into it. It is the fault of Big pHARMa? Obama? Bill Gates? Orac? Lizard people?

    My money is on this duty falling to John Stone. I suppose he’ll have to tie BMC to Murdoch and then figure out how to hitch the Chinese to the wagon. Trying to play connect-the-dots with the entire Editorial Board probably isn’t a polynomial-time search in this wetware implementation.

  56. #56 lsm
    October 6, 2014

    @51 & 55: the crickets are also chirping over at Natural News regarding the retraction, and I wondered the same thing. I can only imagine that Mikey’s recent superfood-derived burst of brilliance, that put him on a PhD level and turned him into a scientist, is failing him as he tries to understand things like how scientific studies are really published and why they fail.

  57. #57 sadmar
    In a teaching moment
    October 6, 2014

    Sadmar, when you have the reputation that Brian Deer has in international journalism circles, you “may have” the right to criticize him.

    It’s small ‘s’: ‘sadmar’.

    I could say:
    “lilady, when you have a Ph.D. from the School of Journalism of an R1 university, an established publication record in scholarly media theory and criticism in internationally recognized journals and books, and a CV with several pages of presentations at scholarly conferences, including a ‘top paper’ award from the professional association specifically devoted to journalism scholarship, you “may have” the right to criticize my criticism of Brain Deer.”

    But that would pose several problems:

    First, it would reaffirm your false premise that ‘I criticized Brian Deer.’ @#47 above I relate a variety of facts, including prior statements by Deer on this blog regarding who he thought was lying between Thompson and Wakefield and why. I referenced a previous post of mine in which I argued his rationale was faulty and inconsistent with the evidence. Then, I noted that succeeding events have not only failed to support his theses, but rather to support the opposite conclusion. In short, I have pointed out weakness in Brain Deer’s claims, which is not the same thing as ‘criticizing Brian Deer.’

    Second, it would confirm the a. Red Herring b. Argumentum Ad Populum c. Appeal to Authority d. Composition e. Genetic and f. Ad Hominem fallacies in your comment. (6 logic fails in one 21 word sentence! And so thoroughly interwoven! Quite an achievement!)
    ‘Brian Deer is considered an excellent journalist by many people, including many of his colleagues in professional journalism who are experts in judging journalistic credentials, therefore he is a reliable source of Truth, and therefore his comments on RI are valid.’
    a. Mr. Deer is not engaged in professional journalism on this blog. He is not reporting. He is not composing a story. His work is not being vetted by a series of editors, nor published under the imprimatur of a periodical. He’s expressing his opinions by dashing off personal comments on the topic de jour just like everybody else.
    b. The number of people who respect Mr. Deer’s work as a journalist is irrelevant to the merits of any specific arguments he makes on this blog.
    c. If you knew anything about the sociology of journalism, you would know that reputation in international journalism circles is no guarantee of anyone being right about anything. A lot of professional journalists are idiots about a lot of things (c.f. employees of Murdoch, Rupert.). Their evaluations of their peers are loaded with ideological assumptions, and all the subjective ‘biases’ Shermer et al. note as common to how human beings understand the world. They are also notoriously poor analysts/critics of journalism in the estimation of scholars who study journalism from a wide range of disciplinary perspectives employing a wide range of methodolgies.
    d. The characteristics for which journalists admire other journalists do not necessarily have anything to do with argumentation. Deer may highly skilled at gaining the trust of sources, doing research in the ‘morgue’, doggedly staying on the trail of the tough interview, presenting his reporting in taut compelling prose, working other reporters for leads, etc. He may also just come off as a good bloke who treats colleagues and competitors well, which matters a lot in news culture. Thus, while Deer may indeed be exemplary in specific aspects of his profession, this can not be generalized to infer that his statements are exemplary as a whole.
    f. It does not follow that because a claim comes from Brian Deer, it must have merit.
    g. Attempting to redirect the issue to my (incorrectly) presumed lack of qualifications is mere sophistry deployed as cover for the failure of your comment to address any points I offered with either evidence or argument.

    Third, it would reaffirm the outre idea that some sort of special qualifications are required to question the argumentation in a blog comment. Logic actually is what science claims to be: something anyone can do.

    Fourth, it would not address the Ad Hominem, Strawman, Red Herring, Post Hoc, Passive-Aggressive, Nasty, Talking-Asshole nature of “I suggest you try to burnish your reputation after posting some dreadful rants against psychotherapy.” Alas, I do not have time to detail those errors point by point. I shall merely grieve the fact that such seems to be necessary on what’s supposed to be a skeptic blog — you know, where people are EXPECTED to use rational argument to interrogate claims. And I’ll urge all readers to check the link earlier in the paragraph and watch out for the un-D.T.

  58. #58 Shay
    October 6, 2014

    Age of Autism is lining up the big guns,

    Large bore?

  59. #59 Narad
    October 6, 2014

    Large bore?

    I’m guessing vintage recoilless without operating instructions.

  60. #60 herr doktor bimler
    October 6, 2014

    Repeating crossbow.

  61. #61 Denice Walter
    October 6, 2014

    Wait a minute!
    Isnt ‘lining up’ stuff a symptom of… you know?

  62. #62 herr doktor bimler
    October 6, 2014
  63. #63 sadmar
    Plowman's Planet
    October 6, 2014

    Tim:
    The Tessa Dick interview seems to have removed from the Ground Zero site. The work of “shadowy government agents conducting scientific research for the US DoD” perhaps? Some conspiracy has placed the worst article on PKD I’ve read at the link you provided.

    Phil himself wrote [I’ve edited a bit]:

    Drug misuse is not a disease, it is a decision, like the decision to step out in front of a moving car. When a bunch of people begin to do it, it is a social error, a life-style. In this particular life-style the motto is “Be happy now because tomorrow you are dying.” But the dying begins almost at once, and the happiness is a memory. It is not different from your life-style, it is only faster. It all takes place in days or weeks or months instead of years.
    I myself was one of these children playing in the street; I was, like the rest of them, trying to play instead of being grown up, and I was punished. It was the bad decision of the decade. And nature cracked down on us. We were forced to stop by things dreadful.
    These people wanted to keep on having a good time forever, were punished for that. I feel the punishment was far too great. I loved them all.
    To Gaylene, deceased. To Ray, deceased. To Francy, permanent psychosis. To Kathy, permanent brain damage. To Jim, deceased. To Val, massive permanent brain damage. To Nancy, permanent psychosis. To Joanne, permanent brain damage. To Maren, deceased. To Nick, deceased. To Terry, deceased. To Dennis, deceased…
    …and so forth.
    These were comrades whom I had; there are no better. They remain in my mind, and the enemy will never be forgiven. The ‘enemy’ was their mistake in playing. Let them all play again, in some other way, and let them be happy.

    The Ground Zero guy is punishing Phil under the guise of praise, warping Phil’s psychosis to his own crackpot agenda. Phil the human being is not in his mind. He’s inviting people to come play in his street while he stands on the curb. He is not forgiven.

    1982 was too much for Phil. Don’t drag him into the crap of 2014. Let him play in private amidst the pink laser beams of VALIS. Let him be happy.

  64. #64 sadmar
    Negativland
    October 6, 2014

    hdb:
    After knolling their stuff, folks can un-knoll their soul with this other post from Cory Doctorow found at the bottom of the knoll page:

  65. #65 herr doktor bimler
    October 6, 2014

    Phil himself wrote [I’ve edited a bit]:

    I have not forgiven Linklater for omitting the whole ‘aphid sibling backstory’ episode from his cinematic version of Scanner Darkly.

  66. #66 lilady
    October 6, 2014

    (small s) sadmar: Stop trying to impress me with your CV and your degree. To date, you haven’t provided us with any indications that you understand the original DeStefano, et al study, Hooker’s analysis and the significance of the many science bloggers (including Orac) and their commenters, who tore Hooker’s paper apart:

    http://www.harpocratesspeaks.com/2014/09/mmr-cdc-and-brian-hooker-media-guide.html#more

    So…you made comments several times about Wakefield’s and Hooker’s betrayal of William B. Thompson and their possible motivations, but you are as much in the dark as any of us are, about the text messages…and none of those parties involved, have confirmed or denied whether those messages are real.

    No. I am not impressed with your CV, your “Ph.D. from the School of Journalism of an R1 university, an established publication record in scholarly media theory and criticism in internationally recognized journals and books, and a CV with several pages of presentations at scholarly conferences, including a ‘top paper’ award from the professional association specifically devoted to journalism scholarship….”

    Yes. I am calling you on your pretenses and your bloviating rants about cognitive behavior therapy and treatments prescribed by a treating physician.

  67. #67 Beana
    October 6, 2014

    Still fascinates me this is the ‘one subject to rule them all’. Republicans, Democrats, religious, non-religious, etc etc; some how they all conglomerate on hating vaccines.

    Can I use conglomerate like that? Up with a sick baby, brain not working as it should.

  68. #68 lilady
    October 6, 2014

    Still no signs of the “big gun” epidemiologists and statisticians at AoA acknowledging the retraction of Hooker’s paper.

    Stagmom’s and Stone’s attempts at humor over the Ebola virus outbreaks are running true to form:

    http://www.ageofautism.com/2014/10/cdc-to-use-entire-dod-budget-to-find-ebola-gene.html

    Is it any wonder then, why no one takes their journalism on the Clown blog seriously?

  69. #69 Tim
    October 6, 2014

    sadmar,

    That dedication (in memorium??) closed out the flick A Scanner Darkly. {I somehow get the feeling you already know that — But thx for the printed words!!} Quite the ‘tearjerker’.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=T3pdDKCIV7Y#t=133

    @2:15
    ————

    Tessa Dick had been a lurker on his facebook page and popped out last month to correct his spelling/grammar.

    The interview/caller interaction can be heard within this podcast:

    http://feeds.soundcloud.com/stream/170581317-groundzeromedia-o2014-10-03.mp3

    Or (since soundcloud is fickle) ‘A Mind Cubed’ w/ Tessa B. Dick – October 3, 2014

    http://feeds.feedburner.com/soundcloud/sBQY

    ^^ for just getting the .mp3 .

    =========================

    He describes himself as a ‘Fortean’ but sometimes goes completely off the rails. For instance, tonight he is recanting some of ‘The Probe’ where lights and a strange sound were heard by many in Tx. — I’m familiar with the sound. Again. But was unable to remember my login to point it out and Yahoo! has suspended my email accounts for ‘my security’ until I provide a working cell#. M. Meyer can go get bent. Over a rusty buick in Chicago somewhere.

    The ‘probe’ sound is that of a RASS (radio acoustic sounding system) for a 50 mHz wind profiling radar most likely located on the nearby airforce base. — It sounds a little like a mating moose. A similar sound was heard last year and that one was a ‘random sweep’ instead of the freq ramp for a much higher frequency RASS for what was probably a portable 915 mHz profiler. Without getting into the details, the sound wavelength is related to the radar wavelength and called a Bragg match. It’s a way to measure temperature remotely with the radar beam.

    ^^ (I *think*. You never know; It could be in disguise so that way nobody will recognize it.)

  70. #70 lilady
    October 7, 2014

    Beana, we are now watching the movement of those who question the value of vaccines, to the outer fringes of the outer fringes of the Republican and Democratic parties. Fortunately, they are in the minority and we still have most communities with high enough compliance with the Recommended Childhood Vaccine Schedule, to maintain herd immunity.

    I hope your little one makes a speedy recovery.

  71. #71 Alain
    October 7, 2014

    Yes. I am calling you on your pretenses and your bloviating rants about cognitive behavior therapy and treatments prescribed by a treating physician.

    you seem to be calling him/her on a lot more things than CBT and as for the treatment prescribed by his/her physician, it’s an appeal to authority. Stick to your guns (CBT) and don’t comment on any aspect that you’re unfamiliar with. For one, I’m familiar with his/her domain of knowledge regarding the evidence he/she posted about wakefield textos and I would like to see his works before having any judgement about it and you should do the same.

    Alain

  72. #72 Shay
    October 7, 2014

    “I’m guessing vintage recoilless without operating instructions.”

    I’m hoping vintage recoilless without operating instructions. Although it would be interesting to see what that lot could accomplish with a trebuchet.

  73. #73 Tim
    October 7, 2014

    I suggest you stick with this science blog and try to burnish your reputation after posting some dreadful rants against psychotherapy.

    Shiley, You’re not intimating that psychotherapy is a ‘science’? Bawhhhhhaaaa haa!

    I guess, if you were the one giving *treatments prescribed by a treating physician* we’d all need to up our SSRIs huu? Kinda a crude ‘tool’, don’cha think? Beholden to a ‘script’, non-adjustable hourXhour, has earned the well-deserved moniker ‘mass-murder, suicide pills’ when they always get it wrong or the ‘right’, for some unforseen reason, can’t be followed… <– Well, it may be *science* in being that attribute is total reproducible bluck. *Ask your 'doctor' if Fucked(tm) is right for you*. Then insult his pompous secretary/wife on the way out to the pharmacy or, better yet, the third alley behind the back water pipes.

  74. #74 denise geddes-mcclure
    United Kingdom
    October 7, 2014

    I am vehemently pro-vaccine and like many, saw the huge flaws in Wakefield’s research when it was first published, being always suspicious of research with such a small number of test subjects, I am no scientist but just have a healthy scepticism borne of too many Daily Mail-like scare stories. I am also the mother of a child with Aspergers so this subject is always of interest to me. I wonder if I could ask what is probably a very naive question though, while some of this article was a bit over my head, one part stuck out to me ; I have always supported the opinion that the link between vaccines and autism is entirely coincidental but if this new research found a correlation between vaccines and autism in African – American boys , does this mean that there is, after all, a real link? And if this link has been found in this sample, might there be a link in other races that just has not been found yet? Please don’t jump on me thinking I am an anti-vaccine or that I am desperately searching for a link, it’s just a question from a complete lay person who on reading an article(that was a bit too academic for me) has homed in on a bit that has sort of worried me!

  75. #75 Julian Frost
    Gauteng East Rand
    October 7, 2014

    Or a mangonel.

  76. […] of a ten year old study that failed to find a correlation between vaccines and autism had been retracted, I forgot to write about what I was originally planning on writing about yesterday. It actually […]

  77. #77 Brian Deer
    October 7, 2014

    sadmar: if you can show by evidence that withstands the civil standard of proof that Andrew Wakefield forged a text exchange with Dr Thompson, I would be very interested to see it.

    But, after watching the percentages of those kind of allegations playing out in evidence (not in academic theory, but in working publishable journalism), I’m not holding my breath. Even I – who although quite clear (by evidence) that Wakefield is a research cheat, fraudster and liar – do not believe it.

    So: over to you.

  78. #78 Narad
    October 7, 2014

    I am not impressed with your CV, your “Ph.D. from the School of Journalism of an R1 university

    Having never heard this term (despite, apparently, having attended such a university), I had to look it up. I’m somewhat amazed that anyone would be trotting out an obscure label that apparently shuffled off the mortal coil two decades ago.

  79. #79 Narad
    October 7, 2014

    ^ Or nine years, whatever. Am I the only one who’s never heard of the “Carnegie Classifications” in the first place? The FAQ, as it were, strikes me as something like a panoramic sugar egg with a scene inside of people being instructed that the latest APA “Publication Manual” mandates two spaces after a period.

  80. #80 lilady
    October 7, 2014

    Here, to refresh all our memories is the thread started more than a month ago, about the origins of those text messages.

    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2014/09/04/did-the-cdc-whistleblower-william-w-thompson-apologize-to-andrew-wakefield-in-a-text-message/

    As you can see, I, for the most part was MIA, because:

    – I am a Luddite, who does not claim expertise in text messaging.

    – I was otherwise engaged, posting comments on Celia Farber’s blog (the AIDS denialist), who somehow interjected herself in the mystery of those text messages:

    http://www.theepochtimes.com/n3/933954-autism-parents-reply-to-cnn-hear-this-well/?photo=2

  81. #81 Julian Frost
    Gauteng East Rand
    October 7, 2014

    @Denise Geddes-McClure:

    I have always supported the opinion that the link between vaccines and autism is entirely coincidental but if this new research found a correlation between vaccines and autism in African – American boys , does this mean that there is, after all, a real link?

    No. Significant results are thrown up by random chance all the time. One has to look at the totality of the evidence. Multiple studies looking at large numbers have been done. Enough for a metaanalysis of the studies to look at 11 million individuals. It found no link between vaccines and autism.

    And if this link has been found in this sample, might there be a link in other races that just has not been found yet/

    Highly unlikely, for the reasons mentioned above.

  82. #82 Julian Frost
    Gauteng East Rand
    October 7, 2014

    Also Denise, Orac pretty much deconstructed the study. Suffice to say that Hooker used an inappropriate technique to analyse the data.
    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2014/08/22/brian-hooker-proves-andrew-wakefield-wrong-about-vaccines-and-autism/

  83. #83 Lawrence
    October 7, 2014

    @denise – the entire take-down of that study can be found here:

    http://www.harpocratesspeaks.com/2014/09/mmr-cdc-and-brian-hooker-media-guide.html

  84. #84 Antaeus Feldspar
    October 7, 2014

    Denise:

    This might help answer your question:

    http://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/882:_Significant

    Short version: For every twenty tests you do where the correct answer is “no”, on average one will come back with a false positive “yes”.

    When you split up a sample by race AND by sex AND by age range, that’s making a LARGE number of tests, and increasing the chances that you’ll get a false positive.

    When you split up a sample by race AND by sex AND by age range, and only one of those sub-groups shows a correlation, the most likely explanation is that you’ve simply gotten one of those inevitable false positives.

  85. #85 JCL
    October 7, 2014

    @sadmar
    You sometimes write stuff that seems interesting, but lets face it, often its so long and mixed up
    with tangential comments and some kind of folksy style that its rather hard to follow. I’m not sure whether you are trying to assert
    journalistic or socialogical credentials, but I wouldn’t have thought your average comment could be said to
    show journalistic discipline or ‘sociological’ awareness assuming you are actually trying to get some interesting point
    across rather than just venting.

    Re video and text message. It seemed to me that most people on this blog easily saw the video for what it was, and didn’t
    really need a detailed break down of ‘audio tics’ etc to see that. The text message was more problematic – was it bona fide,
    a setup, a pure fake? Who can say? Personally my ‘prior’ was for a setup – reading all the stuff on this blog moved me slightly
    towards ‘fake’ but not much. Your detailed ‘analysis’ you may think provided ‘proof’ that it was fake but not so I’m afraid –
    for many reasons. It did however make me move towards BD position that the discussion was starting to look like some
    ‘conspiracy theory’ job rather than rational and proportionate discussion.

    I also fail to see how ‘no-one cared’ – seemed to me that everyone cared.

    You seem to like throwing mud at a few disciplines as well. Actually probably there is some truth what in some of what you say, in the sense that
    psychology/psychiatry are really nascent sciences – a fact that the best practioners realize, though they do have to work
    with what they have and what is currently known and try to advance, so personal attacks on these people
    and disciplines is pointless (at best). Really I think your pulling a bit of a Dawkins – I might agree with what you say but the
    manner of presentation really makes me want to argue with you (and I mean ‘argue’ in the Glasgow kiss sense…).
    Finally I think someone who pulls out ‘awareness of the sociology of journalism’ as some kind of authority is probably confused
    about what constitutes ‘hard’ science – or even ‘soft’ science tbh.

  86. #86 Denice Walter
    October 7, 2014

    @ herr doktor:

    That’s pretty good.
    ‘ I don’t *knoll*at all so my possessions lie about in heaps and piles’. True.

    re Gehry:
    I once drove around- in vain- trying to locate one of his buildings- which is rather remarkable because it was quite large and probably sparkled ostentatiously in the sunlight as it resembles a hastily crumpled sheet of foil: I usually find things like that very easily.

    re new words:
    I just ran into *ensorcelle*- in English yet- in an article about a city guy searching for a house in the country: he was *ensorcelled* by a nearby set of waterfalls so he promptly bought the house.

  87. #87 sadmar
    October 7, 2014

    @ Brain Deer
    Sincere thanks for your temperate reply.

    sadmar: if you can show by evidence that withstands the civil standard of proof that Andrew Wakefield forged a text exchange with Dr Thompson, I would be very interested to see it.

    I make no claims to have discovered evidence constituting legal proof of anything. Nor did I mean to imply, as conspiracy theorists are wont to do, that ‘This Is Something The Media Must Cover!!!’
    It is unreasonable however to suggest that an investigation that does not rise to the level of “civil standard of proof” is “barking” or merely worthless.
    For one thing, in legal proceedings, evidence that falls short of being dispositive in and of itself is routinely presented, as it may support a broader case, be a part –small or large — of ‘proof’ in toto. I have seen people who know far less than I do appear as expert tech forensics witnesses in criminal trials, testifying (often with their heads up their asses) to matters that are small but still significant components of the case at hand.
    Second, as a matter of empirically verifiable fact, “civil standard of proof” is not the functional standard of newsworthiness. Journalists chose to present suggestive but inconclusive evidence all the time. The distinction between disreputable tabloids and ‘mainstream’ press would typically be the frame or “peg” employed in the story — a screaming over-claiming of shocking revelation in the first instance, and a cautious ‘this might be important but we’ll have to wait and see’ in the latter.
    But, after watching the percentages of those kind of allegations playing out in evidence (not in academic theory, but in working publishable journalism), I’m not holding my breath
    I’m not quite clear on the referent of “those kind of allegations.” Certainly the conspiracy theories of amateur sleuths have a negligible percentage in terms of “playing out in evidence.” But it is also true that the kind of allegations presented in journalism that is actually published don’t have a stellar record of playing out in evidence, either. But here we need to observe a key distinction: it is extremely rare for news organizations in general to deal with controversy using the model of ‘investigative journalism’ in which the reporter has either uncovered or verified any evidence offered, and the publications stands by it’s veracity. Rather stories are sourced the material attributed to some person or organization whose status serves to justify its publication: e.g. ‘Nobel Laureate Says Studies Prove Blacks Have Lower Intelligence Than Whites.’ (‘We didn’t say it. He did. We just put it on the front page because we knew you’d want to buy a copy to learn more after the jump!’)

    Even I – although quite clear that Wakefield is a research cheat, fraudster and liar – do not believe it.

    The goalpost has shifted a bit from what might be publishable under what conditions to what you believe, which is fine. They’re really two completely different things. As a journalist, I might consider certain information important enough to present to the public even if I did not believe it proved anything, or exactly because I considered the information itself highly questionable, indicative of an untrustworthy source, and worthy of further public inquiry: “Dr. Publishes Study Linking Vaccines to Autism in The Lancet. Controversy Ensues.” On the other hand, most journalists believe certain things to be true about events they have covered that they would never consider suitable for publication.
    So far, the discussion has referred to the evidence of forgery in the ‘text message’ in isolation: ‘Would it prove fraud in a court of law?’; absolutely not. ‘Would it merit publication?’; maybe, depending on the framing and the status of anyone who might serve as a source — (IRL I have enough cred I could be a source, but nowhere near enough I would expect to be) — so lets say ‘probably not’.
    But moving to BELIEF takes the question of forgery out of isolation. In each case below one of two conditions must be true:
    a: the text message is authentic, or it was forged
    b. if it was authentic, it either came from William Thompson or someone posing as William Thompson.
    c. if it came from William Thompson, either it was sincere, or it was disingenuous.
    As a pragmatic matter, both of us have discounted a couple of these possibilities, perhaps too hastily, perhaps not. Your ‘logic’ would seem to follow:
    1. Either the message is forged or Thompson sent AJW an apology and endorsement.
    2. One cannot prove the message is forged.
    3. Therefore Thompson sent AJW an apology and endorsement.
    The problem being this removes from the scales everything we know about William Thompson and every plausible conclusion we might draw about his interaction with Brian Hooker, especially as we evaluate how events have unfolded since the ‘whistleblower scandal’ began in August up through today. Having dealt with these issues in previous posts, I won’t repeat the arguments here. The question is, given the dichotomies of a-c above, which are more probable based on rational consideration of the total body of evidence?

    Thus — the provenance of the supposed ‘text message’ aside — what evidence and argument can you offer to support the idea that Thompson sent AJW an apology and endorsement, and rebut the arguments that it would have been highly unlikely for Thompson to have done so?

    Back over to you. (And I do expect an answer, FWIW).

  88. #88 Flip
    October 7, 2014

    CDC does not answer to the people, but promotes whatever agenda those who control the White House (the internationl banksters) wish advanced
    CDC directs the public health institutions and even has employees stationed in their state offices

    It always makes me curious how conspiracy theorists manage to make one small department of a government the string-puller. It’s almost as if the CDC where more powerful – until inconvenient – than the FBI, CIA, army, etc etc. Somehow we’re supposed to believe that the governments of the world are not scared of the people with the tanks and guns, but the guys with the statistical analysis and health info? One wonders that in ancient times, peasants were more worried about the royal astrologer (or even occasional spy) or the men with swords who marched at the king’s command.

  89. #89 sadmar
    Too tired to put in all the blockquote tags
    October 7, 2014

    JCL:
    “You write stuff that’s so long and mixed up with tangential comments and some kind of folksy style that its rather hard to follow.”
    No argument. Guilty.

    “I’m not sure whether you are trying to assert
    journalistic or sociological credentials.”
    In general, no. Arguments should stand or fall on their merits.

    “assuming you are actually trying to get some interesting point across”
    The points I’m trying to get across are only sometimes ‘conclusions’, more often, I mean to raise questions — challenge certain conclusions without necessarily offering alternate end points, as there may be none.

    “It seemed to me that most people on this blog easily saw the video for what it was, and didn’t really need a detailed break down of ‘audio tics’ etc to see that.”
    It’s not ‘audio tics’ but audio evidence in the video where Thompson references ‘tics’ as a medical condition. I can’t speak to or for “most people” but there were posts here, and not just from trolls, that gave way to much credit to what Thompson seemed to be saying, and displayed an ignorance of what a competent audio editor can do to shape source material in a variety of ways. This being something I have actually done on documentary films that have been seen by millions of people across the US and around the world, I felt my observations might be of some use. I offered to go into more detail less as a matter of ‘proof’ to the unpersuaded, and more out of the thought readers might be curious about the details of how acoustics, recording technology etc., generate evidence, because, you know, science.

    “You seem to like throwing mud at a few disciplines as well.”
    Sometimes more than mud, I hope.

    “Probably there is some truth in some of what you say… psychology/psychiatry are really nascent sciences…”
    What I actually had to say about CBT/DBT has been so thoroughly misrepresented I hardly know where to begin. My actual positions:
    1. It’s great if it works for you.
    2. It should be offered.
    3. There are significant numbers of patients for whom it does not work.
    4. ‘CBT’ practices vary so widely that the efficacy of one does not necessarily apply to another, and global measures of efficacy are necessarily problematic.
    5. The fact that some form of CBT may be the ONLY form of talking therapy available to many patients de facto or de jure is simply morally wrong.
    6. The efficacy among the general of any form of talking therapy has essentially ZERO correlation to the legitimacy of it’s underlying philosophical principles, models of minds, etc.
    But yes, the whole kerfuffle began when some folks (perhaps over-invested in the creeds of their personal salvation, as folks are wont to be) to exception to a post in a thread inviting speculation on the future of medicine in which my purpose was to express hope that some day there will be better methods of treating mental health problems than ALL current practices…

    “Really I think you’re pulling a bit of a Dawkins”
    😉 So you chide me for being ad hominem, and in the next breath compare me to Dawkins? Isn’t that a little hypocritical? And couldn’t I reply that such hypocrisy is more than a bit Dawkins? Arrrgh! Go away until you learn how to think, and leave me tend to my bruised and twisted toes mangled under the stomp of your verbal jackboots! 😉

    “Finally I think someone who pulls out ‘awareness of the sociology of journalism’ is probably confused
    about what constitutes science.”
    Who said anything about science? I consider Social Psychology and most Quantitative Sociology to be woo, and sometimes dangerous woo. Good ol’ non-scientific qualitative Sociology on the other hand, can be very enlightening.

  90. #90 Denice Walter
    October 7, 2014

    @ sadmar:

    A word of advice-
    Don’t tempt fate.

    I do believe that you are indeed ‘asking for it’ with BD: deliberately mispelling someone’s name is not terribly polite and your tone is well… perhaps it’s better if YOU described it instead of having me do so. You discuss the minutiae of a story which the mainstream media has not deemed to be sufficiently newsworthy for the general public. The ‘whistleblower’ and AJW are only of interest to those of us who monitor the antics of alties and anti-vaxxers. Andy is very old news and I hope he fades even faster day by day.

    I would venture that most of Orac’s readers enjoy the appearances BD makes here: he has interesting material, links and is quite clever. ALSO he has contributed mightily to our cause contra pseudo-science: sceptics owe him a great deal.

    Orac’s minions have been exceedingly restrained in response to you- probably because most of us know your back story. However, Mr Deer, shouldn’t be expected to remain as tolerant as he has been. I know I would most likely be unhappy with you and express my displeasure in no uncertain terms even though I am unusually even-tempered- or so I’ve been told.

    So look, take it easy and don’t get into a row about stuff that won’t ever be investigated and that in the long run will not ever change AJW’s or any other altie rebel’s position: they are *personae non grata* to SBM and so they’ll remain.

    And take care of yourself.

  91. #91 Reality
    October 8, 2014

    Hooker & Co. will just submit it, suitably modified, to a more familiar predatory publisher with a proven track record of play-for-pay journals.
    Voila – credibility in the eyes of their target audience.
    Gotta’ keep the suckers on the hook and interested.
    Gotta’ keep the troops’ morale up so they don’t tire of going out online to do battle and promote the anti-vaccine woo that all the hucksters depend on.

    There will be dancing in the streets in Wooville once again.

  92. #92 lilady
    October 8, 2014

    @ Reality: I don’t think Hooker has any chance of ever getting his bogus study published, anywhere…not after the thorough eviscerations done by Orac and a host of others.

    There’s always the woo circuit (Wakefield’s and Tommey’s Autism Media Channel’s outlets, The Autism One Conference, AoA, Mercola and other crank media spots) for Hooker and his wealthy benefactors Jennifer Larson and the Segals for his perpetually short-of-cash expenses.

  93. #93 palindrom
    October 8, 2014

    sadmar — brevity.

    Some of us have work to do.

  94. #94 JCL
    October 8, 2014

    @sadmar
    Do I want to get into this? Well I guess so..

    “Really I think you’re pulling a bit of a Dawkins”

    😉 So you chide me for being ad hominem, and in the next breath compare me to Dawkins? Isn’t that a little hypocritical? And couldn’t I reply that such hypocrisy is more than a bit Dawkins? Arrrgh! Go away until you learn how to think, and leave me tend to my bruised and twisted toes mangled under the stomp of your verbal jackboots! 😉

    I didn’t chide you for anything – I pointed out that your method of presentation was possibly counter productive to your aims and gave a well known example of similarity. So I didn’t
    a] chide you
    b] engage in ad hominem
    and since I didn’t suggest that either you, I or anyone else *should* do anything hypocrisy simply doesn’t come into it.

    I can think passably well some of the time thank you- (one wonders here about pots and kettles). Also my post might have seemed critical but I believe was somewhat sympathetic (look it up before you go on a rant about my use of the word) and at least attempting to be mainly constructive – ‘verbal jackboots’ ?- hello godwin!

    You said in some previous thread about forming some ‘strategy’ to combat antivaxxers – I clearly haven’t read as much sociology as you, but given your ability to dismiss and piss off people who mainly agree with you and are effectively on the same ‘side’ I don’t think you’re the person to formulate it – despite your sociological enlightenment – (or maybe because of it 🙂

  95. #95 Tim
    October 8, 2014

    ‘verbal jackboots’ ?

    …. ‘voxal mouth-foots’ might fix the g-word??

  96. #96 Tim
    October 8, 2014

    Iron-clad voxtal mouth-foots n-grammed in Werniques forever.

  97. #97 Tim
    October 8, 2014

    ‘on’

  98. #98 Paul
    October 8, 2014

    To my mind only 3 sorts of people describe themselves as “not that smart”.
    1: Dumb people with enough self awareness to realise they are dumb.
    2: Average people that realise how much they don’t know about the universe and just how clever people at the top of their speciality really are.
    3: Averagely intelligent, but arrogant people, that think they are the smartest person in any room but try to hide that thought with false modesty.

    I’m guessing the guy mentioned in this blog post is a number 3.

  99. #99 Krebiozen
    October 8, 2014

    Iron-clad voxtal mouth-foots n-grammed in Werniques forever.

    Looks like Tim’s weed drought is over.

  100. #100 sadmar
    Text Communication Hater's Club
    October 9, 2014

    JCL:
    Whoops.
    Honestly, given your Dawkins reference I thought you’d get the Dawkins jokes. The entire paragraph between the 😉 marks was a parody of the ridiculous dismissals Dawkins has made of his critics. So it was RD that Godwined not me. I thought RD was already being invoked light-heartedly with the Glasgow kiss reference. As I thought you’d get the gag, I wanted you to have a laugh, not get POed. I apologize.

    I guess if anyone’s ‘Law’ is in play, it would be Nathan Poe. (Or Baudrillard, except he never made laws, just mainly satire… that more or less explained why people wouldn’t get the satire, ah “moebius spiraling negativity”!)

    I DID take your post to be sympathetic, and an attempt to be constructive, which I do appreciate, which is why I replied. As you seemed to be posting in good faith, I thought it was especially important to clarify that I had not, in fact, made personal attacks on practitioners or practices, as you suggested. I questioned the PHILOSOPHY behind the practices. I get to do that. Had I, in fact, ever suggested those practices were therefore ‘bad’ in some overall pragmatic sense, then I would truly have been acting as a thoughtless, uncaring A-hole.

    As far as anti-anti-immuno strategy goes, again the ideas should stand by themselves. I am less the source of any such ideas than a channel trying to carry things I’ve learned to this particular issue. I don’t know what kind of person Aristotle was, but he was a pretty smart dude. The majority of what I say about rhetorical strategy is re-hashed Aristotle, so it’s not like it’s emerging from my character.

    You never know what anyone’s really like until you meet them IRL, (though you might get a pretty good idea from the testimony of those who have). I can say that some of the insightful authors I know of were reportedly first class jerks in real life. I also have one personal experience that sticks in my mind: an up-close-and-personal experience with a well-known progressive activist who quickly revealed himself to be IMHO a total A-hole. Yet, when he was done speaking, I found his argument on certain points totally convincing, though my opinion of him as a person remained utterly negative… FWIW.

    In conclusion, please accept my sincere apologies for failing to indicate my appreciation for the fact you took the time to respond @ #85 in a way that was respectful, honest and sought to engage what I had to say with good will.

    Best wishes.

  101. #101 JCL
    October 9, 2014

    @sadmar
    Fair does 🙂 – my apologies too
    gl

  102. #102 sadmar
    Dyslexian Church of the Omnipresent Typo
    October 9, 2014

    @ Denice Walter
    “deliberately mispelling someone’s name is not terribly polite and your tone is well… perhaps it’s better if YOU described it”

    Agreed on the spelling, but it’s NOT deliberate. I just checked the thread, and see I typed “Brain Deer” instead of “Brian Deer” at several points.* That’s just bad typing, my two finger method not keeping up with the impulses from my brian :-). I transpose adjacent letters a lot. For example, whenever I think ‘because’ it comes out ‘becuase’ 90% of the time. I certainly see that “Brain Deer” reads as insulting. I apologize to BD and to all readers. I honestly meant ‘Brian’.

    Also, I truly appreciate the fact you questioned my tone, but asked me to explain it rather than make assumptions about it. As I think I’ve noted before, my tone does shift, sometimes in mid-stream, and in a text-based forum it’s hard to parse. I hope that its fairly self-evident when I write exclusively in ‘logic mode’, e.g. #87 above (initial typo notwithstanding). On the other hand, I clearly threw JCL for a loop by shifting into an ironic ‘voice’ after several paragraphs of straight prose, all absent of a proper framing statement. My error.

    FWIW, let me say again that in the vast majority of instances, my use of more ‘colorful’ language is theatrical. It does NOT represent my actual emotional state. If you can imagine it as being spoken in character by a Steve Allen, or John Belushi, or Bob Goldthwait etc. you’d be closer to how I hear it in my head, though I would speak it IRL in more of a Steven Wright deadpan. I doubt too many readers here are familiar with Lester Bangs or Richard Meltzer, but their prose voices ring in my head, as does that of Hunter Thompson, whose stuff I’d guess would ring a few more bells.

    All that said, the theatricality is a little more complicated when I employ it in response to what I consider an unjustified attack. It still shouldn’t be taken at face value, but there are some intentional barbs in there. E.g. I never would have gone to the, ‘Yo! Brian! How do you like your crow? Broiled? Fried? Battered on a stick?’ had not BD started the insult train rolling with the “barking” smack.

    The length of #87 (sorry palidrom, it’s my nature) was meant to give full consideration to BD’s post at #77, as a measure of respect for his work in exposing AJW. As brief as his post was, I felt a simple counter would have been inappropriately dismissive. But to put it simply, if BD believes the text message is not forged, it would seem he must believe Wlliam Thompson actually contacted AJW, apologized to AJW, and endorsed AJW’s work. I would like to know what evidence beyond the text message supports that belief. That’s the only “it” I’m asking for. Is that really a problem?

    Finally, I ask for no special dispensation from Orac’s minions or anyone else due to my history of mental illness. As I’ve noted before, my bouts of severe depression and suicidality are well behind me, as are the debilitating anxiety attacks I used to suffer. Of course, I have certain bad memories that can get dragged-up, but who doesn’t?

    What I do ask is for my comments to be treated by the ‘rules’ set forward by skepticism. If you can make a counter-argument by pointing out logical fallacies, errors in reasoning, mistakes in fact, and so on, there’s no need to get personal, yes?

    E.g. I would have no problem whatsoever with a response along the lines of my response to lilady @ #57. 682 words of dispassionate argument analysis, followed by a quick japing reference to William Burroughs that was actually gentle in response to the condescension evidenced in #48. If anybody’s got that kind of reply, bring it on.
    ………………..

    *I always transposed letters while typing, but somehow of late, my failing eyes misread words, and my brain-to-finger wiring has begun misfiring to the effect of typing a homonym when I mean the other: ‘their”they’re’; putting apostrophes before a pural ‘s’. etc… I mean, I totally know the difference; it’s just some weird geriatric pseudo-dyslexic thing… So I’m just thankful I didn’t type ‘Brian Dear’ by mistake, which would have read even snottier than ‘Brain Deer’…

  103. #103 sadasd
    October 9, 2014

    All I wanted was a Pepsi.

  104. #104 sadasd
    October 9, 2014

    All I wanted was a Pepsi.

  105. #105 notation
    October 12, 2014

    Somebody might want to inform this chick.

  106. #107 squirrelelite
    October 12, 2014

    I see Carol is back to explain why she shut off comments to her previous thread about the ABC story.

    And, just when I was trying to reply to her reply, too 🙁

    Her defense seems to be mainly freedom of speech (her own) while covering her thin skin in a thick blanket of the pharma shill gambit.

    The other thing that struck me about that post was that she wasn’t overtly anti-vaccine in the main article, or at least not explicitly so. She just kept emphasizing that they were oversold (sort of a straw man argument) and weren’t the solution to every disease (the nirvana fallacy, perhaps?).

    So far, though, the “pharma shills” seem to be slow to respond, with all the comments from her fans.

  107. #108 Narad
    October 12, 2014

    Her defense seems to be mainly freedom of speech (her own) while covering her thin skin in a thick blanket of the pharma shill gambit.

    “I think they felt they had to address it after the obvious embarrassing media blackout for nearly two months, because parents were resorting to the only outlet they had available to them – Twitter.”

    That reminds me of something.

    “I think the provax propaganda machine is ramping up because we are kicking their asses on social media. I think the #Hearthiswell campaign is very powerful and making a huge impact.”

  108. #109 Denice Walter
    October 12, 2014

    Right. I read that comment earlier and listened to the Reverend Ms Goes’ television appearance.
    Nothing new, same old tripe.

    -btw- IIRC the commentator’s mother had polio.

  109. #110 lilady
    October 12, 2014

    Heh. Lisa Goes got pwned by Ronan Farrow, when she tried to advance her agenda about vaccine injuries. (Check out the Thinking Mom’s FB page, where they are either declaring victory or declaring Mr. Farrow as bought and paid for by “Big Pharma”).

    http://www.msnbc.com/ronan-farrow/watch/debunking-the-anti-vaccine-movement-340243523842

    Ronan Farrow at MSNBC interviews Dr. Wang from Autism Speaks and respected autism researcher “Twyla” weighs in:

    http://www.msnbc.com/ronan-farrow-daily/watch/the-truth-about-vaccines—autism-339650627865#discussions

  110. #111 Narad
    October 12, 2014

    It’s hardly a specific criticism, but the notion that HASHTAGGX IZ P0W3R eludes me, particularly given that most nobody gives a rat’s ass. The only thing left is clinging to the notion that the octothorpe is connected to the Revolutionary Gland or some such.

  111. #112 Flip
    October 13, 2014

    I could easily see that if you’re an average twitter user with less than 50 followers and suddenly you’re getting masses of replies from people it might *seem* like you’re making lots of waves; totally in ignorance of the fact that you’re in reality in a small rock pool off to the side of the actual ocean.

  112. #113 notation
    October 13, 2014

    @107 “So far, though, the “pharma shills” seem to be slow to respond, with all the comments from her fans.”

    Maybe the “pharma shills” are blocked. I am.

  113. #114 Denice Walter
    October 13, 2014

    @ lilady:

    Right. They’re still sputtering over Farrow @ AoA- he’s their latest *bete noire*

  114. #115 Tim
    October 13, 2014

    all I wanted was a peptide

  115. #116 squirrelelite
    October 13, 2014

    @Narad,

    I thought John Stone’s comment just before the one you linked to was interesting.
    He mentioned this study, apparently unhappy that it was accepted and still hasn’t been retracted.

    Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2010 May;29(5):397-400. doi: 10.1097/INF.0b013e3181c40a8a.

    Lack of association between measles-mumps-rubella vaccination and autism in children: a case-control study.
    Mrozek-Budzyn D, Kiełtyka A, Majewska R.

    @notation,

    I noticed she had deleted a huge number of your comments just before shutting down comments.
    I’m not sure why you merited that treatment and not lilady or Dorit Reiss.

  116. #117 notation
    October 13, 2014

    @squirrelelite: A number of my comments were rude and crude. That was the excuse, I assume. However, a number of my posts were links to this blog concerning the retraction, since Carol didn’t seem to be aware of it. She conveniently deleted those, too.

    Funny that you mention lilady. Some jackass posting as a “Guest” is convinced that lilady and I are one and the same. He/she/it also claims to post here.

  117. #118 squirrelelite
    October 13, 2014

    @notation,
    I’ve seen that. Although the other commenters take the same tone.
    I prefer the long and detailed approach, but don’t have nearly enough time for it.
    To each their own!

  118. #119 lilady
    October 13, 2014

    I’ve just finished rereading Matt Carey’s LB/RB blog which features Brian Deer’s article published in the Sunday London Times.

    Mr. Deer’s article details what a vile so-called “warrior mom” did to gain notoriety about her child’s ASD diagnosis, by labeling him as “vaccine damaged”. No, the young adult son was not part of Wakefield’s “study”; his mother latched on to the publicity generated by Andrew Wakefield and his study participants, to advance her career as a leader of the anti-vaccine movement in the U.K.

    The link provided by Mr. Deer, to the U.K. court decision, which finally removed this smothering “warrior mom” as the legal guardian of her young adult son, is a grim documentation of how the mother (and her enabler husband) abused their son and neglected his basic medical needs.

    How many of the so-called “warrior moms” on this side of the pond, have engaged in these activities?

    http://leftbrainrightbrain.co.uk/2014/10/12/brian-deer-wakefield-mmr-mother-fabricated-injury-story/#comments

  119. #120 Matt Carey
    October 13, 2014

    Thanks for the shout out.

    Mike Fitzpatrick also has a discussion up on the news article by Brian Deer:

    The Quacks behind the Warrior Moms

  120. #121 ChrisP
    October 13, 2014

    The court case gives a fascinating (although not in a good way) of the steps the mother went to to draw attention to herself. It was also a solid indictment of the alternative health practitioners and experts.

  121. #122 Denice Walter
    October 13, 2014

    Oh boy. I imagine that the Warriors @ AoA and TMR will commence yeowling. ]
    Bring your ( metaphorical) earplugs all ye who venture within those portals:
    a mother called out and sanctioned for behaving in a manner that is commonplace, even respected, around their haunts.

  122. #123 ChrisP
    October 13, 2014

    They don’t seem to have noticed yet at AoA. I would go and poke them with it, except that is bad behaviour and in any case I have been banned from commenting there.

  123. #124 ChrisP
    October 14, 2014

    Over at AoA, they are still fixated on Hooker’s paper. Eben Plettner has an article http://www.ageofautism.com/2014/10/fanning-the-flames-of-the-cdc-whistleblower-story.html

    I don’t know what Plettner is on, or whether this is just their normal pattern of logical thinking, but apparently the blasting Hooker got in the ABC article is a big win for the anti-vaxxers, because a quote from William Thompson was used.

    My brain hurts just trying to follow the tortuous logic.

  124. #125 Ann
    October 14, 2014

    It is unreasonable however to suggest that an investigation that does not rise to the level of “civil standard of proof” is “barking” or merely worthless.

    Howsoever that may be, it would not be unreasonable to make that suggestion about an investigation the central premise of which was a forensic issue that was neither verifiable nor falsifiable under the real, extant conditions.

    Those were not the terms on which Mr. Deer’s suggestion was made, though. And neither were the terms you’re using. So it’s what one might call an academic point.

    What I do ask is for my comments to be treated by the ‘rules’ set forward by skepticism. If you can make a counter-argument by pointing out logical fallacies, errors in reasoning, mistakes in fact,

    Or a logically fallacious counter-argument, if you prefer.

    and so on, there’s no need to get personal, yes?

    Yes.

  125. #126 lilady
    October 14, 2014

    Heh. Whatever is Eben Plettner bragging about? He and his friends scored no points on the ABC blog.

    Do you remember when they were spreading the word that William Thompson was in grave danger because a government goon squad had taken Thompson to a secret location? As far as I know, Thompson is still employed at the CDC and in no physical danger.

  126. #127 Ann
    October 14, 2014

    Am I the only one who’s never heard of the “Carnegie Classifications” in the first place?

    No. Turns out I was born and raised in an R1 environment and have lived, worked and circulated in same for the whole of my life without ever knowing it.

    Where’s my MaCarthur?

  127. #128 Denice Walter
    October 14, 2014

    @ ChrisP:

    I even looked at JABS’ forums. Nothing.

    Those warrior clans will go on the war path since the ruling involves a diagnosis: if a person behaving and interacting in a manner similar to your own is labelled with a personality disorder it’s goes without saying that you may be in the same category.

    I often refer to AoA. TMR, JABS et al as ‘group therapy gone wrong’ because they encourage unrealistic interpretations of the world and maladaptive ways of dealing with their daily problems. They model bizarre modes of expression for new members and teach un-likely scenarios to explain why autism occurs and how to treat it as well.

    Sometimes when people have mental conditions- serious or not- they gravitate to relationships that allow them to remain as they are- relatively untouched by reality. The facebook pages and comment sections of anti-vax groups often resemble a form of anti-therapy.

    I do feel for these parents who have a difficult time caring for children ( and adults) with the more severe forms of autism: what they do is extremely stressful and they may be isolated from community support; in addition, some of them ( like all people) may also suffer from mental conditions which are exacerbated by their current situation.

    A few of them attempt to find ‘advantage through illness’ and style themselves as authorities and leaders amongst their cohorts- creating advocacy groups, writing blogs and books, lecturing, giving advice and gaining a measure of celebrity in the process. This probably makes them feel better but it doesn’t really help to resolve their problems.

    Another aspect of these groups is that these ‘writers’ exaggerate their problems and their responses in order to compete with the other warriors thus mis-educating their followers even further away from what is real and effective.
    Which is a shame and a waste of time, effort, money and life.

  128. #129 Johnny
    127.0.0.1
    October 14, 2014

    I don’t know what Plettner is on, or whether this is just their normal pattern of logical thinking, but apparently the blasting Hooker got in the ABC article is a big win for the anti-vaxxers, because a quote from William Thompson was used.

    Thanks for the heads up about the ABC article. I don’t often look at ABC because I think they are one of the more lightweight news organizations, and have more fluff than news.

    How anyone on the anti-vax side could think it’s a positive for them is beyond my capacity to understand, but there is one person that should be particularly upset, and that’s Jake.

    Hooker’s paper was retracted on the 3rd. ABC reports that Hooker spoke to them about the retraction in an article dated the 9th. Jake “reports” that he had reached out to Hooker on the 5th, and is still waiting for an answer as of yesterday.

    Jake is supposed to be Hookers friend, as well as a journalist, and you’d think that Hooker could find time in over a week to at least answer an e-mail. But, more likely, Hooker probably values Jake as a friend and journalist as much as I do.

  129. #130 Lawrence
    October 14, 2014

    You would think that if Hooker had any positive spin on the retraction, that he would have released it by now….more likely, the retraction criteria is so damning to Hooker personally, that he doesn’t want the real story to get out to his “fans.”

  130. #131 lilady
    October 14, 2014

    We owe Brian Deer a huge thank you, for publicizing the guardianship case in the U.K. IMO, the reason why the anonymous “warrior mom” fought the removal of her guardianship of her adult son, is because she made a career out of being a spokesperson for the anti-vaccine community….similar to all the “Thinking Moms” and of course, the original “warrior mom”, Barbara Loe Fisher.

    Then we have the commenters, such as the crank poster who diagnosed her newborn with an encephalitic cry…yet never brought the baby to a hospital emergency room for an evaluation.

    I’d give my eye teeth, for a statement from Brian Hooker with the names of the “peer reviewers” on his retracted paper.

  131. #132 Calli Arcale
    http://fractalwonder.wordpress.com
    October 14, 2014

    lilady:

    Then we have the commenters, such as the crank poster who diagnosed her newborn with an encephalitic cry…yet never brought the baby to a hospital emergency room for an evaluation.

    I had meningitis with encephalitis when I was four. My parents took me to the emergency room immediately, whereupon I was hospitalized for a couple of weeks. Anyone who *admits* to thinking their child had encephalitis and didn’t do a damn thing about it is full of baloney.

  132. #133 Science Mom
    http://justthevax.blogspot.com/
    October 14, 2014

    I’d give my eye teeth, for a statement from Brian Hooker with the names of the “peer reviewers” on his retracted paper.

    That he may not know if TN has a closed peer-review system. But Hooker would know who he either recommended for and/or against review along with the reasons for retraction. Given Jake’s stellar defence of Hooker’s methods, I’m inclined to think that Jake is the last person Hooker will give any more information to.

  133. #134 Lawrence
    October 14, 2014

    @ScienceMom – I agree. At this point, I believe Jake is probably persona non grata with just about everyone on that side of the fence…..I expect the persona of WhiteRose is about the level of “follower” that Jake can count on from now on….

  134. #135 lilady
    October 14, 2014

    Calli Arcale: That crank poster is a lawyer, who claims she never knew that she could make a claim on behalf of her child for a “vaccine injury”.

    Science Mom: I’d lay even odds that the peer reviewers are some of the co-authors on Hooker’s other papers, who are also the expert witnesses who have submitted evidence to the Vaccine Court, on behalf of Hooker’s child.

  135. #136 Flip
    October 15, 2014

    Re: the court case reported by Deer, that’s incredibly sad and worrying. I can also easily see it being used as a demoniser, on both sides. Anti-vaxxers will howl ‘conspiracy’ and turn ‘E’ into a martyr, and some pro-vaxxers will use it to condemn the anti’s. with poor ‘M’ stuck in the middle…

  136. #137 herr doktor bimler
    October 15, 2014

    the crank poster who diagnosed her newborn with an encephalitic cry…yet never brought the baby to a hospital emergency room for an evaluation.

    Ah, CIA Parker if memory serves. You may have mentioned her.
    The subject of “encephalitic cries” has come up before. When it isn’t Parker, it’s Christine English using the term in her apologetics for infanticide. With your permission I’ll quote a comment from two years ago:

    There was a lot of research into baby crying through the 1980s (and it may still be going on for all I know)… one of the goals was to work out the precise acoustic qualities that distinguish a ‘pain cry’ from a ‘hunger cry’ and both from a ‘boredom cry’. And of course there are distinctive diagnostic cries like the “cri du chat” of Lejeune syndrome.
    Suffice to say that the anti-vax concept of “encephalitic cry” did not come up at any time during that research. It is used exclusively on anti-vax websites, by ‘experts’ who give no indication of any familiarity with the baby-cry literature, solely for the purpose of convincing parents that if their babies are crying a lot in distress (i.e. colicky) then they’ve been damaged irreparably by vaccines and the parents will forever bear a burden of guilt.
    They seem to have borrowed the term ‘encephalitic cry’ from old homeopathy textbooks, which gives an idea of the expertise they’re drawing on.

  137. #138 herr doktor bimler
    October 15, 2014

    Re: the court case reported by Deer, that’s incredibly sad and worrying.

    After Dorothy Spourdalakis descended into her autism-quack-encouraged obsessive spiral and murdered her son, I imagine that courts — even courts on the other side of the Atlantic — are looking out for that mode of Munchausen-like derangement, and don’t want to get caught out with another death.

  138. #139 lilady
    October 15, 2014

    What a coincidence. Orac’s “friend” has a post up about Brian Deer’s article regarding the removal of guardianship from that “warrior mom”, by the Court in the U.K.

    sciencebasedmedicine.org/andrew-wakefield-the-mmr-and-a-mother-warriors-fabricated-vaccine-injury-story/

  139. #140 Bacchus
    Seattle
    October 15, 2014

    @lilady
    This is an interesting forum. I would like to know more about it and similar forums as well as some of the posters. I’ve been posting on the ABC thread under Bacchus. I try to remain private and respect others’ rights to the same.
    You can shoot me an email at elint-90795@mypacks.net
    This is a throwaway address.

  140. […] their central conspiracy theory that the CDC has covered up the “true” cause of autism. It’s not. Then there’s the current President, about whom conspiracy theories about his true origin (i.e., […]

  141. #142 Saturday five, 10/18/14.
    October 18, 2014

    […] The “reanalysis” of MMR data has been retracted. That’s the study that purported to show that African-American boys who received the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine at certain ages were more likely to develop autism. The whole thing was a fraud, and now the journal that let this junk slip the through the cracks has admitted its error. […]

  142. #143 lilady
    October 18, 2014

    Bacchus: I do not share my personal identity with anyone on the internet. You will find me posting comments about vaccines, infectious diseases and developmentally disabled individuals on RI, on the SBM blogs and on many other websites.

    I “don’t do Facebook” and I “don’t do Twitter”.

  143. […] biochemical engineer turned antivaccine activist and epidemiologist wannabe, published a study, recently retracted, that basically provided strong evidence that Andrew Wakefield was wrong about the MMR vaccine […]

  144. […] enterocolitis, thanks to an utterly incompetent analysis by a man named Brian Hooker (since retracted) and the utter betrayal of a rather credulous, high strung CDC psychologist. It’s a story […]

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