Dog_whistle

Oh, no, here we go again.

In fact, before I get started, I feel obligated to show this clip, saying, just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in again:

Yes, I know I’ve used this clip on multiple occasions before over years. However, sometimes it’s just so completely appropriate to how I’m feeling about a topic I’m about to write about that I just don’t care and have to use it again. This is one of those times. I’m referring, of course, to Robert, “Dr. Bob” Sears, MD, the antivaccine-friendly (if not fully antivaccine) pediatrician from Capistrano Beach who has lately been digging himself in deeper and deeper over the rapidly expanding Disneyland measles outbreak that started over the holidays. I’ve been hitting the topic of the Disneyland measles outbreak fast and furious over the past, both here and at my not-so-super-secret other blog, that, quite frankly, I was getting tired of it, particularly after Dr. Bob’s petulant whine the other day in which he complained about how mean skeptics have been to him over his utterly inane mutterings on his Facebook page trying to “reassure” his patients that the measles just isn’t that bad a disease. (Wrong.) I was looking for a nice bit of tasty quackery to deconstruct or a good scientific study to write about, when people started sending links to this post on Facebook:

Here we go again. I figured I might as well just give in and finish out the week on this topic. I can start fresh next week.

And, yes, that’s Dr. Bob, who had just written a sarcastic diatribe against “stupid people” that tried to be tongue-in-cheek but failed utterly, seriously entitling his post: WHEN WE STOP LISTENING TO EACH OTHER, WE LOSE OUR HUMANITY. One of my readers who sent it to me told he recommended vodka while reading it. Unfortunately, I have to give a talk and lead a workshop discussion tomorrow morning. Even though the groundwork and slides are done, vodka tonight is out of the question. So I settled for a nice brown ale. Very refreshing, and perfect for a cold winter night. So join me as we wade in. Because this is one of Dr. Bob’s longest posts ever, I’m only going to selectively quote from it, unlike past posts, where I quoted the whole thing. Sorry, people who don’t have Facebook accounts.

First off, he tries to position himself as the voice of reason telling people to “calm the F- down!”, the Rodney King lamenting, “Can’t we all just get a long?” Try to keep the rising tide of bile in your stomach from getting past your epiglottis as you read this opening volley:

Why does the vaccine debate have to get so ugly? Why are some people on both sides of the issue so harsh to each other? Why can’t we all just get along? If the Beatles were still around, I’m sure they’d write a song. I don’t know if they’d call it “We All Live in Two Separate Submarines” or “Lucy in the Sky With Red Spots All Over.” Whatever it would be, the chorus would include “Everybody Calm the #$*@%!& Down.”

If both sides could calm down and start listening to each other, everybody would be able to get along.

Sadly, no. No, we probably wouldn’t. The reason is simple and is known as irreconcilable differences. You see, we on the pro-vaccine side have listened to the antivaccine side. We’ve listened to them ad nauseam. The problem is that, nearly always, they’re spouting pseudoscientific quackery that is completely resistant to evidence, science, and reason. Indeed, that’s why I, at least, no longer even attempt to persuade the hard core antivaccinationists. Doing so is simply an exercise in frustration, every bit as much as trying to deprogram a cult member. What I hope to do, and have had some success at times in doing, is persuading the fence sitters, parents who have heard the pseudoscience of the antivaccine movement and have become frightened enough to consider not vaccinating. The idea is to counter the pseudoscience, not to win friends and influence people among the antivaccine movement.

The most frustrating thing about Dr. Bob’s little invitation to join hands and sing Kumbaya is that there are parts where he shows just glimmer of actual insight but just can’t bring himself to take the next step. To be honest, it’s hard for me to tell if this is just posturing on his part or if it’s really what he believes. Probably a little of both, but I can’t tell which is which. In fact, he states bluntly that “I firmly believe that vaccines do work” and “they do provide immunity.” He even says, “I do believe that vaccination is immunization.” So far so good. Then he immediately bends over backwards to emphasize how “imperfect” this immunity is:

I don’t believe it’s perfect immunity, and neither does anybody else on the pro-vax side. Some vaccines provide a very high level of immunity, like 99%. Some really suck, like this year’s flu shot. DTaP vaccine is somewhere in between – maybe 85 to 90%, but it wanes quickly. To say that vaccines don’t work at all is incorrect, in my opinion.

OK, so different vaccines have different efficacies, and this year’s flu vaccine is a bit of a dud compared to past years. We know this. Dr. Bob even recognizes the reason why antivaccine activists try to downplay the efficacy of vaccines:

How do anti-vaxers attack these goals? By claiming that vaccines don’t work. If vaccines don’t work, then all the pro-vaxer attempts at disease prevention are fruitless, and the anti-vaxers don’t pose any risk because the vaccines they didn’t get wouldn’t have helped anyway. This makes pro-vaxers understandably angry.

So what does Dr. Bob do? He invokes the fallacy of the Golden Mean, in which it is assumed that the correct answer to a controversy always lies somewhere between the two extreme views, although he does it by casting doubt on the efficacy of vaccines, just not as badly as antivaccinationists do:

But what’s tough is that some vaccines wear off quickly, within just a few years, as is the case with the whooping cough portion of the DTaP. Many 4 to 5 year olds are susceptible before they get the booster, and many 8 to 11 year olds even more so. That doesn’t mean the vaccine doesn’t work well for a couple to three years after the initial series and each booster. To say that vaccines don’t work doesn’t accomplish anything useful, in my opinion. I’ve studied so much data that show vaccines work, and I am convinced. That’s why I offer them in my office. If I didn’t think they worked, I wouldn’t bother.

He’s actually fairly clever here, but he might be too clever by half. He’s saying that vaccines work, in the hopes that those supporting science-based medicine will take him seriously and think that perhaps he’s not an antivaccinationist after all. At the same time, he’s casting doubt on the efficacy of vaccines by emphasizing the shortcomings of certain vaccines. It’s basically an antivaccine dog whistle, a notice to his antivaccine patients that he’s really one of them, regardless of what he said earlier in his post.

He then reinforces his identification with the antivaccine movement by saying that most of them, like him, believe vaccines work too. The real reason they are hesitant, according to him, is because they “aren’t willing to risk the side effects, but they do acknowledge that they at least work.” Of course, at this point, someone making an honest effort to understand both sides would point out here that the risks of vaccines are so infinitesimally tiny that it simply makes no sense not to vaccinate. He doesn’t go there. Instead, he says that severe vaccine reactions are rare while implying that maybe they’re not so rare after all. First up:

Now for the other side, because there are always two sides. How do the non-vaxers feel? I think that their number one issue is this: They want a choice. They don’t want to be forced into a medical treatment they are not comfortable with. That’s probably the number one freedom that they want preserved. IF vaccines were 100% harmless to every single person that got them, I think that we could insist on vaccination. BUT because they are not, because occasional severe and even fatal vaccine reactions do happen, it is unethical to force them on anyone. Yes, I know they are safe for MOST people, but not for all.

Of course, what is totally lacking here is any sort of risk-benefit consideration. By any conceivable stretch of the imagination, vaccines are far safer than the risk of illness. Moreover, Dr. Bob misrepresents the situation. He describes “forced vaccination,” but there is no such thing as forced vaccination in this country. Really, there isn’t. There are vaccine mandates that require certain vaccinations before children are allowed in school or day care, and these serve a very reasonable societal purpose, namely to prevent outbreaks in institutions where lots of children are packed together. Non-vaccinators or antivaccinationists don’t have to vaccinate, but their children pay a price. They can’t attend school or be in day care. Of course, these vaccine mandates are more porous than the average sponge, the rise of religious and “personal belief” exemptions having made not vaccinating and still getting your kid into school as easy as signing a form in some states, but antivaccinationists object to even these often toothless mandates. And Dr. Bob, through his use of another antivaccine dog whistle (“forced vaccination” instead of “school vaccine mandate”) and painting the issue as one of personal freedom, just as many antivaccinationists do, is letting antivaccinationists know that he’s really one of them.

To hammer that point home, Dr. Bob immediately starts harping on the risks of vaccination. He does it in a manner that uses another antivaccine dog whistle, in which he says these reactions are “rare, but…” This is then interspersed with claims that it is really doctors who are close-minded because they were raised not to believe that serious vaccine reactions even exist! I kid you not!

Behold:

Back in the 70s and 80s, when severe (but rare) vaccine reactions began to be reported, victims were crying out for help and no one was listening. The medical community was in complete denial that severe vaccine reactions were even possible. These victims were ignored. A generation of doctors were trained that severe vaccine reactions can’t happen. So, it’s taken many many years, but now almost everyone in the medical community agrees that they CAN happen. They aren’t common, but they can happen. They are still some naysayers, however, who use pseudoscience to demonstrate that those who have severe vaccine reactions have genetic problems which would have eventually caused the same problems anyway, given time. The vaccine just happened to trigger the problem sooner, or triggered it coincidentally. Yet the vaccine isn’t the cause. So, these naysayers continue to make victims and their families angry and up in arms. Those doctors are the minority, but they are a vocal minority, and families are worried that more and more doctors will once again believe that severe vaccine reactions can’t happen. And, will that lead to forced universal vaccination? Such parents are worried it will. So, families who feel their children are victims of a vaccine reaction will continue to be very vocal, as they should be. As long as the right to choose is threatened, which it currently is in the back rooms of the legislatures in most states, vocal anti-vax parents will continue to fight back.

So many antivaccine dogwhistles, so little time. That bit about “genetic problems which would have eventually caused the same problems anyway, given time”? That’s a straw man argument aimed at discussions of the Hannah Poling case and mitochondrial disorders and/or at Jasmine Renata, a young woman who died after the HPV vaccine, almost certainly due to an inherited cardiac conduction problem. Doctors who are “trained that severe vaccine reactions can’t happen”? He’s almost certainly referring to pro-vaccine champions like Dr. Paul Offit, caricaturing their views beyond recognition. Straw men this enormous can be seen from space when set aflame with burning stupid, and set this straw man ablaze Dr. Bob does, after which he then repeats the antivaccine dog whistle about “forced universal vaccination.” His empathy with the paranoid fears of antivaccinationists that there will soon be jack booted thugs from the government coming to vaccinate their children against their will is the loudest blowing on the whistle yet, particularly when coupled with his reference to nefarious secret cabals meeting in the back rooms of state legislatures.

Dr. Bob then asks how “pro-vaxers” can respond (rhetorically, of course), and answers the question by telling them, “Acknowledge that bad vaccine reactions can happen, that’s how. Stop trying to tell these parents and their children they are wrong. Have a little empathy.” More dog whistling. “Pro-vaxers” do acknowledge that bad vaccine reactions can happen.” The problem is that “bad vaccine reactions” do not constitute what antivaccinationists claim they do. They do not include autism. They do not include neurodevelopmental disorders. They do not include most of the evils attributed to vaccines by antivaccinationists. The vast majority of claimed cases of “vaccine injury” are not, in fact, actually due to vaccines. Certainly, as I’ve documented more times than I can remember, “vaccine injury” does not encompass autism, but most antivaccinationists believe that it does. Another whistle sounds when Dr. Bob dismisses the “pro-vax vocal minority” who won’t “have a heart” or show empathy. He even tries to turn the pro-vaccine against each other by trying to urge the “quiet, majority pro-vaxers” to “get louder about it.”

Yeah, that’ll work.

At the end, while seeming “reasonable,” Dr. Bob keeps those antivaccine dog whistles blowing. In fact, in the end, he goes a bit beyond that, making it very clear where his sympathies lie. He tries to accuse “vaxers” of a double standard in which they lambaste antivaccinationists for “hiding in the herd” (Dr. Bob’s term is appropriate here), taking no risk but gaining the benefit of herd immunity, as though “pro-vaxers” actually claim vaccines have no risks. I have never seen such a claim. I have only seen explanations why what antivaccinationists consider to be “vaccine injury” are not. Yet, Dr. Bob twists that into a straw man and then twists it again into a straw man pretzel saying that “pro-vaxers” claim there is no such thing as a vaccine injury. It is intellectual dishonesty more naked than even most antivaccine loons.

It’s also a cynical appeal to “rights” that all antivaccinationists who use it know will appeal to Americans:

A final bit of food for thought. Let’s talk about rights. Which right is more important, the right to not get sick with a disease or the right to make health care decisions for yourself and your child? The way I see it, the diseases were here first. They are ubiquitous to our world. Whether created by God or by evolution, they are here. They are the status quo. Because we have invented a medical treatment to try to change the status quo, yet that treatment can cause harm to a very small percentage of people, it is my belief that we shouldn’t force anyone into accepting this treatment. Life happens, death happens. It’s terribly tragic when death happens before it’s time. Nobody wants anyone to die. And no one wants their child to suffer a severe vaccine reaction. So, it is my opinion that ethically speaking, we must give precedence to what the status quo was or is, that diseases exist and cause some casualties, and those who decide they want to take part in the disease prevention can enter into vaccinations by their own free choice.

The stupid, it burns. It goes beyond setting a gargantuan straw man aflame with burning stupid into the realm of forming a black hole of stupid so dense that all medical knowledge threatens to be sucked in beyond its event horizon.

To call this thinking “muddled” is to be far too kind, the naturalistic fallacy at its most mind-meltingly boneheaded. Dr. Bob is seriously arguing that, because the bacteria and viruses that cause diseases were “here first” they are the status quo, and that ethically we must give precedence to the status quo? On what planet? The exact same “logic” (such as it is) could be used to justify letting parents fail to obtain medical care for their children for treatable diseases because, you know, those bacteria that caused the children’s pneumonia were there before us and penicillins and some other antibiotics demonstrably cause severe allergic reactions in a small number of children. Besides, by Dr. Bob’s “logic,” those bacteria causing pneumonia are the status quo. Life happens. Death happens. Shit happens. No big whoop. Time is a flat circle.

Dr. Bob probably thinks this is profound. It’s anything but. He is, however, as always, a master of the antivaccine dog whistle.

Comments

  1. #1 Steve
    January 25, 2015

    Bacon, I love you like a brother, but really? The responses to my first post were “quite civil and to the point?” To what point?

    Oh, Steve, what about antigens these kids get exposed to every second?

    Oh Steve, these kids will have a far worse outcome with the actual disease.

    Oh Steve, the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.

    Those were thrown up as contortions of my simple inquiry about immune response…and sorry, but the tone was hardly civil. And yes, I felt it was a cult response because…the responses were NOT on point, but were all in alignment of attack: seemed like a mantra of everything but my point
    …how do we disprove the “immune response over the top” thing?

    How do we disprove immune response:

    NO “well, the kid gets exposed to antigens all the time”
    NO “well, the kid will suffer far less if he gets the real thing”
    NO “well, 1 million sick kids with the real thing outweigh that risk”

    I got as frustrated as I am now with your need to tack on the shot on my hahaha ratio and responses to…what should I call it…the typical cheerleader crowd who taunt the new girl but when she tries to leave says “oh yeah, run off now new girl”

    But you keep on coming with that superiority.

  2. #2 Denice Walter
    January 25, 2015

    OT ** but is good news in print – which I hadn’t seen as yet- EVER truly OT @ RI?

    From BD.com:
    re Wakefield’s lawsuit

    QUOTE Case closed 18 December 2014 UNQUOTE

    Woo hoo..

    ** well, maybe not entirely because it involves anti-vaccination, Texas and lawyers

  3. #3 Lawrence
    January 25, 2015

    Actually Steve, you were the one who came in here & made a bunch of vague pronouncements, without a single citation or even context….given the venom that the anti-vax crowd normally throws out, what else were we supposed to think?

    And truly, the antigen challenge experienced by a baby who experiences even the common cold, is far and away more challenging than all of the vaccines combined that they would otherwise receive.

    My son got the flu when he was three months old – so trust me, I know what high fevers can do – disease is much, much worse than the vaccines we use to prevent them.

    And “flounce” isn’t a word of the urban dictionary – Websters will do just fine:

    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/flounce

  4. #4 JP
    January 25, 2015

    @Steve:

    All I ever said was “how do you disprove that the occasional kid gets cooked?” That’s a question that ALL OF YOU should be working on: it needs a simple answer and not a “who cares, she’ll be cooked if she doesn’t get vaccinated” or a “who cares, other kids will die” utilitarian argument.

    Well, first of all, nobody can prove a negative. The onus is on you to prove that the occasional kid does get “cooked,” i.e., does suffer lasting neurological harm as a result of a vaccine-induced fever.

    Second, what ethical system would you suggest in lieu of utilitarianism when it comes to vaccination? Fewer deaths and permanent disabilities of children from VPD, especially with such vanishingly small risks involved, is a good thing. Which ethical system are you going by in which its not?

    Actually, I agree that there are times when utiltarianism is at best insufficient for making moral choices. The choice to hide a Jew (or Jews) in your home in Nazi-occupied Poland, for instance, when getting caught would mean the deaths of you, your family, and probably everybody on your street, clearly can’t be made on the basis of a risk/benefit analysis. The human experience isn’t always or entirely reducible to numbers.

    But when it comes to public health, utiltarianism makes a lot of sense. Less suffering, death, and permanent disability is a Very Good Thing. I’m curious as to your ethical argument against that statement.

  5. #5 Steve
    United States
    January 25, 2015

    Lawrence, here’s what I got from my dictionaries:

    “go or move in an exaggeratedly impatient or angry manner.”
    “an exaggerated action, typically intended to express one’s annoyance or impatience.”

    Flounce isn’t always connected with leaving. It is always connected with being exaggerated. As in, I still think the initial reactions to me were exaggerated, although now I know why. It’s just not worth the ongoing effort trying to make me sound like a dumbass regarding verbiage.

    But look, I obviously was the gadfly that landed in the wrong place today. Looking around the site, I see the same people posting on multiple entries, so yeah, sorry I’m the ugly new kid.

    I think I’ve cleared up the substance of what I was trying to say. Apparently Bacon thinks he needs to rehash the form rather than the substance and get in the last word. So I am mocked for wanting to get in the last word by “the community” who want the last word. But see, I always lose that fight because hey, I’m the new ugly guy in the room.

    The truth is that a stranger (me) blundered in here and got some people moved to the point of a biblical stoning, and yes, I fired back at “the community” and was dealt with via utter contempt and even links to me. Then it de-escalated, and now it seems to be re-escalating. It’s your place…your virtual place away from home, not mine. You are regulars, not me. Now…make fun of me for your version of “flouncing”…or a simple “hahahahahaha I just want to get the $%@! out of here, so let me go”

  6. #6 Steve
    January 25, 2015

    Ugh, really, JP, are we starting all over again at 2 pm or so CST? All I said was “disprove immune caused brain damage.”

    I never said “don’t vaccinate.” NOT ONCE. While I do love a good utilitarian analysis, I never once said “don’t vaccinate.”

    I mean, I can see the frustration if I did…but you all created that frustration by reading into what I said. Now, before a smart boy like Bacon makes fun of that (“oh, sure you backtracker”), remember, I came to this site for the first time today about a flu vaccine article that I liked. I then clicked over here…I had no idea that you all get anti-vax hacks on here all the time.

    So I understand how I was misinterpreted, but you all need to acknowledge that I did not say what you claim I said.

  7. #7 Lawrence
    January 25, 2015

    @steve – or, you can talk the virtual ribbing for what it is, an education that was learnt by dealing with the worst anti-vaxxers in the world, and settle in and be prepared to have a lively discussion based on science and evidence.

    We really aren’t that harsh, if you give us a chance.

  8. #8 JP
    January 25, 2015

    @Steve:

    Well, here’s your first comment, or the salient part, anyway:

    I have long frowned upon alarmist who say that there is something in ONE vaccine. So easy to disprove. But the immune reaction to 6 vaccines in and of itself is postulated to cause destruction of brain cells in, say, the percentage of babies who among other things hit 105 degrees reacting to a boatload of vaccines that just have to be shoved into them in one day at the pediatrician’s office.

    So what are you saying? That all vaccines should be offered a la carte and parents should choose there own vaccination schedules? I mean, sure, that might work okay for a well-off stay-at-home mom who has the time and money to go to 6 Dr.’s appointments instead of one. But five extra afternoons off of work and five extra co-pays (or out-of-pocket visits) is not trivial for a whole lot of families. You might not have encountered poor people before, so I guess I can give you the benefit of the doubt that that just didn’t occur to you.

    It’s much the same as people who engage in extreme fear-mongering about food – the GMOs, the pesticides, yadda yadda! I get that it’s mostly directed at an affluent audience who probably isn’t actually being hurt by it, but it trickles down (forgive the economic metaphor) to the less affluent among us, who then either end up shelling out money they don’t have for organic, GMO-free food, or feel like they’re not doing right by their children. It puts an extra burden on poor and/or working-class Americans, and it’s based on falsehood. That bothers me.

    Your original comment on vaccines is based on just as little evidence as the Food Babe’s fearmongering. Show us that 6 vaccines at once is more dangerous than 6 separate vaccines over a longer time period. Please.

  9. #9 Todd W.
    http://www.harpocratesspeaks.com
    January 25, 2015

    @Steve

    YOU give me the PubMed that backs up your being certain that brain damage is never caused by vaccines.

    If you are going to complain about people misrepresenting your comments, it would be helpful if you do not misrepresent theirs. Please point to anywhere in the comments that anyone has claimed that “brain damage is never caused by vaccines”. Thanks.

    Also, complaining about the insults? Please go back and re-read the comments. The first person to start throwing out insults was you, Steve. Up until that point, people questioned your premise, as you were a bit vague and your phrasing implied that you shared the belief that 6 vaccines at 2 months was too much. Perhaps you weren’t aware of the history people have here of dealing with anti-vaxers who make similar pronouncements, so your ignorance on that matter can be forgiven (note, this is meant seriously, not as derision, since you seem particularly sensitive to snark).

    Getting back to your original post:

    Orac, as a fellow surgical oncology-trained guy (I’m from Hopkins), let me point you to this “questionable” data source, the CDC, which shows that the number of vaccines a baby gets at 2 months went from 3 in 1995 to 6 in 2013. I have long frowned upon alarmist who say that there is something in ONE vaccine. So easy to disprove. But the immune reaction to 6 vaccines in and of itself is postulated to cause destruction of brain cells in, say, the percentage of babies who among other things hit 105 degrees reacting to a boatload of vaccines that just have to be shoved into them in one day at the pediatrician’s office.

    There are some basic assumptions/premises in the “postulation”:

    1. The immune response to 6 vaccines at 2 months in 2013 is greater than the response to 3 vaccines at 2 months in 1995.
    2. This immune response is greater than the immune response to daily antigen exposure.
    3. Such a strong response is bad because it can damage the brain through 105+F fever.
    4. The risk of such a fever following vaccination is greater than the risk of such a fever following natural infection with one or more of the diseases prevented by the 2-month vaccinations.

    Lawrence’s initial reply to you (and some of the similar responses) was not off-topic, as it covers premises 1 and 2. The total antigen load in 2013 is less than it was in 1995 and is less than the total antigen load from daily exposure.

    Premise 3 is true insofar as extremely high fever carries the potential (though not the certainty) of causing brain damage. However, such a strong immune response can occur after natural infection, as well (and, indeed, natural infection can produce a much stronger immune response than vaccines). So then the question is, which is a greater risk: vaccine or natural infection? Which leads us to premise 4.

    Natural infection produces a much stronger immune response than vaccination. We know this because of the symptoms/signs produced following infection that do not occur following vaccination, as well as from the fact that for some vaccines, immunity following infection is slightly longer-lasting than immunity following vaccination. The risk of getting an extremely high fever is therefore greater following infection than it is after immunization.

    So to those who are afraid of extremely high fever following immunization and therefore want to space things out, I would say that the risks are greater from the diseases prevented, and spacing out the vaccines means that the child will be left vulnerable to those diseases for a longer period of time. Furthermore, whether they space the vaccines out or put them all together in the same visit, the risk of suffering an extremely high fever from the vaccines remains roughly the same, except that spacing things out means more doctor visits. There is a net increase in risk with no commensurate increase in benefit.

    BTW, if you want people to start being nice to you, why not make the first move and tend to your own tone. Take a breather.

  10. #10 JP
    January 25, 2015

    parents should choose there own vaccination schedules

    Their, not there, obviously.

  11. #11 lilady
    January 25, 2015

    Steve, let me remind you; this is your comment:

    “…. But the immune reaction to 6 vaccines in and of itself is postulated to cause destruction of brain cells in, say, the percentage of babies who among other things hit 105 degrees reacting to a boatload of vaccines that just have to be shoved into them in one day at the pediatrician’s office….”

    Is this the type of comment one would expect from a physician?

    I’ve provided you with references to answer your concerns and you have yet to prove to any of us that the febrile seizures associated with vaccination(s) lead to last neurological sequelae.

    I replied to your comment about “too many, too soon” and you have yet to answer my question about the two month old scheduled vaccines in place, currently:

    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2015/01/23/dr-bob-sears-perfecting-the-art-of-the-antivaccine-dog-whistle/#comment-382580

    You don’t trust the CDC and the “gubment”, yet you refer to the CDC for what you believe to be ammunition for your cause. Big fail there, Steve.

    You failed to make a cogent argument for your point of view…as a physician…and as a lawyer.

  12. #12 Sarah A
    January 25, 2015

    Those were thrown up as contortions of my simple inquiry about immune response

    Oh puh-leeze, no one’s impressed with your JAQing off (unlike the word “flounce,” that one is internet slang, so you might want to look it up before you try to use it in a sentence and potentialy hurt yourself.) You didn’t “simply inquire” anything; your original comment was:

    But the immune reaction to 6 vaccines in and of itself is postulated to cause destruction of brain cells in, say, the percentage of babies who among other things hit 105 degrees reacting to a boatload of vaccines that just have to be shoved into them in one day at the pediatrician’s office.

    You were clearly implying that receiving 6 vaccines at a time is inherently more dangerous than getting those vaccines separately, which is false for all of the reasons explained in the multiple comments you claim aren’t “to the point.” (oh and, pro tip: if you object to angry, “spittle-flying attacks” you might want to refrain from calling people “cultist close minded freaks.”) You invoke the “irrational parents” who supposedly won’t be satisfied with those explanations, but what makes them irrational? Fear stoked by people like you making unsubstantiated insinuations that vaccines are dangerous.

    How do we disprove the “immune response over the top” thing?

    Why would we want to disprove it? We know that it happens, its a well-quantified risk associated with vaccines and, no matter how much you pummel that straw man, no one has ever denied that.

    Why do I need to do a comparative risk? I never argued that kids should not get vaccines.

    You don’t need to post anything at all, but if you want to start talking about the risks of vaccinating, than the rest of the commenters are entitled to point out that the risks of not vaccinating, or even of spreading out the schedule, are far greater.

    As for your pathetic whining about all the snark: sarcasm is the body’s natural defense against stupid.

  13. #13 Chris
    January 25, 2015

    Sarah A: “… your JAQing off (unlike the word “flounce,” that one is internet slang, so you might want to look it up before you try to use it in a sentence and potentialy hurt yourself.)”

    Hence the link in my Comment #189.

  14. #14 Sarah A
    January 25, 2015

    @Chris – Thanks, I knew someone put it up, but I didn’t want to look for it again; every time I post a comment it ends up 10 comments below the one I was responding to.

  15. #15 animalcule lover
    January 25, 2015

    Dr. Sears has unwittingly given the perfect defense of vaccinations. Because they prevent infection from happening rather than killing an already established infection, vaccines are respectful of the lives of germs. Far from damaging these ancient and resilient beings, vaccines foster the harmonious co-existence of germs with humans. We should embrace them out of reverence for microscopic life.

  16. #16 Denice Walter
    January 25, 2015

    Just out of curiosity…
    Steve’s firm’s website ( which was linked earlier) notes that he , as ” an ‘insider’ in the world of medicine gives the firm an advantage when crafting innovative claims and litigation strategies”
    Lots more there.

    So I wonder, Steve, why the sudden interest in vaccines?

  17. #17 Science Mom
    http://justthevax.blogspot.com/
    January 25, 2015

    All I said is that occasionally a kid gets messed up in a temporal relationship to a bunch of vaccines.

    How very medical. And Steve wonders why he’s being mocked.

  18. #18 Science Mom
    http://justthevax.blogspot.com/
    January 25, 2015

    So I wonder, Steve, why the sudden interest in vaccines?

    If his medical prowess is any indication of his legal skills then the sudden interest may be hearing about the easy payouts for legal fees in vaccine court to less-than-stellar lawyers.

  19. #19 Dangerous Bacon
    January 25, 2015

    “Oh Steve, the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.”

    Steve, if you can show me where anyone in this thread said that to you, I will give you a kewpie doll.

    It is generally considered good form in any discussion not to make up stuff and pretend your opponents said it (another example is claiming someone here said that brain damage can never occur as a vaccine reaction).

    As to form triumphing over substance, it is also a classic tactical fail to ignore many substantive posts and the excellent questions they raise in order to focus on a few instances of snark.

    “Show us that 6 vaccines at once is more dangerous than 6 separate vaccines over a longer time period. Please.”

    Yes, that’d be nice. Or will your response again fall along the lines of “Prove to me it isn’t so”?*

    *Any lawyer should be well acquainted with the concept of burden of proof (and the fallacy of wrongly assigning it to an opposing party), but if a refresher is needed:

    http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/burden-of-proof.html

  20. #20 Denice Walter
    January 25, 2015

    Sarah A:
    ” sarcasm is the body’s natural defense against stupid”

    And strange as it ay seem, those who utilise sarcasm frequently have an area of the brain that’s enlarged.

    At least that’s what the MRI person told me.
    ( I’m joking! I read it in a journal. Probably true as well)

  21. #21 Steve
    United States
    January 25, 2015

    Oh look, the group raises their collective voice “get out! get out! get out!” Quite a pubescent response for a bunch of hard core scientists.

    Nice to know that someone saw links to me on a site that claims an absolute ban on such behavior.

    And you know, there is no “sudden interest in vaccines” and certainly as an “insider” I know enough NOT to include vaccines in some quest for $. You know nothing of the patients (and doctors) that I represent, so try to avoid defamatory stuff.

    And speaking of that, there’s enough recent shrill harpy activity here to make me alarmed at the ability for some of you to control emotions. Glad to give you your proverbial punching bag. Is this where I quote Dr. Greenfield about the vindictiveness, Dr. G?

  22. #22 JP
    January 25, 2015

    Oh look, the group raises their collective voice “get out! get out! get out!” Quite a pubescent response for a bunch of hard core scientists.

    You’re imagining things, I’m afraid. Nobody’s crying “get out” – just about everybody who’s replied to you has simply posed questions. Which you have failed to answer, I’ll add.

    BTW, I’m not a “hard core scientist” at all. I study literature. I’m also not pubescent, though I am younger than most of the folks around here, I’d wager.

    And speaking of that, there’s enough recent shrill harpy activity here to make me alarmed at the ability for some of you to control emotions.

    Projection much?

  23. #23 Steve
    January 25, 2015

    Your problem as a group is the inability to recognize that I don’t do your research until you do mine. WAAAHHHHH, the MD, JD isn’t searching for what we say he said.

  24. #24 Steve
    January 25, 2015

    Burden of proof? On a friggin web page comment section. How weak can you be at making excuses for your smugness amongst friends. The crowd chants…outsider! Is he like we? Not stud? We cast out! And then there’s s you, .smug boy, who knows details about me that I don’t know about you because your fearless leader posted links and comment now taken down.
    Even though, you know Steve, we NEVER out anyone on this site.

  25. #25 JP
    January 25, 2015

    Sigh. You came here with the (implausible) hypothesis that six vaccines at once is bad and dangerous, and the implication that they should be spaced out instead, or something. You get to provide the evidence to back up your hypothesis if you want it to be taken seriously.

    I’m not being mean, that’s just how science works. I mean, cripes, you, a surgeon, apparently need to be informed of this by a lowly literature PhD candidate. I’d be embarrassed, myself.

  26. #26 Steve
    January 25, 2015

    That wasn’t my hypothesis. You, a literature guy, should learn to read.

  27. #27 JP
    January 25, 2015

    Actually, I know it’s your hypothesis because I can bloody well read. Or what’s this?

    But the immune reaction to 6 vaccines in and of itself is postulated to cause destruction of brain cells in, say, the percentage of babies who among other things hit 105 degrees reacting to a boatload of vaccines that just have to be shoved into them in one day at the pediatrician’s office.

    But please, do enlighten us as to what your hypothesis, in fact, is.

    Incidentally, I’m not a guy, though you could hardly call me a lady.

  28. #28 Narad
    January 25, 2015

    Mass numbers of oral virus?

    Yes, attenuation can do that. Let’s work the numbers for the hell of it:

    From PMID 9015109, one finds ≳10¹² rotavirus VPs per gram of stool, with Dennehy (Pubmed links out to a paywall) citing PMID 6411227 for 10¹¹.

    Thus endeth the tracking down of the Medscape references.

    Taking these fellows (PDF) at their word, that becomes about 2 to 20 million infectious units (IU) per gram, with an infectious dose of… 10–100 IU.

    Taking Rotarix for simplicity, one has no less than 10 median CCID50 per milliliter of RIX4414, which could be half-assedly* taken to represent 7 × 10 PFU = monovalent IU.** Only the Phase III trials reported both FFU (which, at this point, might as well be monovalent IU) and CCID50.

    And that, folks, is the human infectious dose.

    * Poisson, ln 0.5 multiplier.
    ** Cochrane reports Rotarix as “10[^6.5] PFU CCID50” in PMIDs 20464766 and 22336845 for “RV1 Steele 2010b-ZAF,” which is PMID 20684724 and [http://www].gsk-clinicalstudyregister.com/files2/d2396f6d-7322-432b-974f-91ba2095b90c (PDF). They also helpfully provide a URL in the references that is invalid HTML. The combination is apparently meaningless.
    *** It turns out that the Unicode brain trust forgot a superscript period.

  29. #29 Steve
    January 25, 2015

    Anyone here claim that was my hypothesis?

    “…is postulated…” makes it my own? Literature my arse.

  30. #30 palindrom
    January 25, 2015

    Incidentally, I’m not a guy, though you could hardly call me a lady.

    Love it.

    This whole exchange is getting rather tiresome, no? It increasily appears that Dr. law-talking guy resides under a bridge.

  31. #31 Narad
    January 25, 2015

    ^ The third footnote was left over from an earlier revision; it still applies to the first footnote.

  32. #32 JP
    January 25, 2015

    Actually, “is postulated” is an incredibly vague and tortured passive construction. People use wording like that all the time to avoid taking responsibility for the statements they make.

    But again, what is your hypothesis? Or your point?

  33. #33 Steve
    January 25, 2015

    As I am a guy, I’m going to watch a movie with my wife…I suppose you can now mock that and giggle amongst yourselves some more. Good night, oh coral reef community.

  34. #34 JP
    January 25, 2015

    @palidrom:

    I think you may be right. It might be prudent to disengage, but I do find it diverting at the moment. 🙂

  35. #35 JP
    January 25, 2015

    As I am a guy, I’m going to watch a movie with my wife.

    And I’m going to finish the laundry. BTW, some women have wives, and some guys don’t, but most people like to watch movies. 🙂

  36. #36 Orac
    January 25, 2015

    You know, it’s rather depressing to see which way Steve’s decided to go. I had thought that perhaps I had been to hard on him, but after seeing him in action the last few hours…whoo boy.

    I hate to see a fellow surgeon turn troll.

  37. #37 Narad
    January 25, 2015

    ^^ Having reviewed the record, it appears that Steve might need a “tl;dr” version:

    The reason that there are “mass[ive] numbers of oral virus” in Rotarix is that the wild-type virus is about 10,000 times as infectious as the attenuated* one. I’ve leave Rotateq as an exercise for the reader.

    * That being 33 passages of wild-type 89-12 in Vero cells.

  38. #38 Science Mom
    http://justthevax.blogspot.com/
    January 25, 2015

    “…is postulated…” makes it my own? Literature my arse.

    Postulated by whom? And why would you repeat it? Also what JP @ 232 said.

  39. #39 Todd W.
    http://www.harpocratesspeaks.com
    January 25, 2015

    @Steve

    I realize my comment was a bit long, but I do hope you go back and read it. At any rate, glad that you are taking some time away from the computer to watch a movie. It may give you some time to sit and reflect on your experience here. Maybe you’ll come to realize that if you want to be treated nice and with respect, you may try giving that to others. Perhaps apologize for being the first one to fling insults and admit that you were wrong to do so.

    At any rate, enjoy the movie.

  40. #40 palindrom
    January 25, 2015

    JP@232 — My favorite passive construction: “Mistakes were made”. Matt Groening has a wonderful cartoon with that title.

  41. #41 Sarah A
    January 25, 2015

    At least he’s a topically appropriate troll. If you think about it, this interlude with Steve has essentially been a reprise of the original post: like Dr. Bob, Steve doesn’t have to balls to come out and say what he thinks, so he just “passes along” antivax misinformation that “some people” think/postulate/have concerns about (not that I’m saying that – wink, wink; nudge, nudge) and then tries to play the innocent, misunderstood victim when people aren’t fooled and demand he defend what he’s obviously implying. And he does it all in the name of “reassuring” the poor, frightened, irrational parents, who wouldn’t be frightened and irrational if it weren’t for him and his ilk “just passing along” frightening misinformation in the first place.

  42. #42 JP
    January 25, 2015

    Haha, I love that cartoon! I have a copy of it in The Big Book of Hell which is in fact sitting atop the bookshelf nearest to where I’m sitting. 🙂 (Groening and I share an alma mater, by the way.)

  43. #43 Narad
    January 25, 2015

    Good night, oh coral reef community.

    OK, if you insist. G-d help us if somebody tries to outpace evolution by developing a highly competitive yet relatively benign strain.

  44. #44 palindrom
    January 25, 2015

    JP @241: “Grad School: Some People Never Learn”.

  45. #45 JP
    January 25, 2015

    @palindrom:

    OH GOD YES. 😀 It’s hanging on the inside of my office door.

  46. #46 Narad
    January 25, 2015

    Your problem as a group is the inability to recognize that I don’t do your research until you do mine.

    That’s a keeper.

  47. #47 Chemmomo
    Missed most of the fun while playing games with my kids on a lazy sunday afternoon
    January 25, 2015

    Steve: 22% of the comments on this thread since lunchtime PST today. For future reference: it was about 8 hours, and just over one hundred comments.

    I think he beats MJD back in 2011, and that’s without having a book to plug.

  48. #48 Todd W.
    http://www.harpocratesspeaks.com
    January 25, 2015

    Your problem as a group is the inability to recognize that I don’t do your research until you do mine.

    I’ve already done my homework. Why don’t you do your own?

  49. #49 Vicki
    a notional coral reef
    January 25, 2015

    I am happy to be compared to a coral reef community, personally: symbiotic organisms providing a habitat for a variety of other species, and a bit more sensitive than I would like to hot weather.

    Since I’m human, all the symbiotes I have living on and in my body are smaller than I am, and I suspect none are as colorful as some of the tropical fish found in a coral reef. But if that’s someone’s idea of an insult, I will wear it with slightly confused pleasure.

  50. #50 Narad
    January 25, 2015

    @Denice:

    Steve’s firm’s website ( which was linked earlier) notes that he , as ” an ‘insider’ in the world of medicine gives the firm an advantage when crafting innovative claims and litigation strategies”

    Given what I’ve seen so far, Daubert doesn’t seem to have sunk in too deeply. Then again, it’s a “a friggin web page comment section,” “smug boy.”

  51. #51 JP
    January 25, 2015

    Then again, it’s a “a friggin web page comment section,” “smug boy.”

    It turns out that everyone on the Internet is male, especially if they’re interested in science-y things. Even if they’re named Denice.

  52. #52 lilady
    January 25, 2015

    Sarah A @ 241: Great, super great, post about Steve’s sterling comments.

    Steve really should e-mail Orac’s blog and his own comments to his medicine colleagues and his law colleagues, so that they might critique his style and his content-free posts.

  53. #53 Steve
    United States
    January 25, 2015

    You all still postgaming it? Smug boy wasn’t directed at Denise. Narad, you know dick all about Daubert from a practical and applicable manner, but think it’s really about reliability (since you read that online somewhere or read the case but nothing since) and not judges as amateur scientists, and sarah…crawl back into your shinebox, don’t tell me what I do re discussing vax, or chime in after I’m out to say I don’t have balls. Since you engaged in the imagery, I will say that I’ve been waving my balls in your faces all day. Your group even compromised its no outing rule because of mere words from a guy passingly interested in vax who blundered in here. Again, go back to your group hugs and high fives, but it’s a hollow victory when all you can say is your friends are still on your side.

    Goodnight and more giggles to you, little ones.

    BTW, did not expect The Interview to be funny, but it was.

    • #54 Orac
      January 25, 2015

      Pathetic.

  54. #55 Steve
    January 25, 2015

    Oh ——–, super duper awesome post…slurp slurp. Pathetic.
    And providing these posts to colleagues? Don’t worry, it’s not my credibility shot here…I entered with none and exit with none in your group. But the alleged integrity of what was here is a joke and will be addressed “with my colleagues.”

    • #56 Orac
      January 25, 2015

      Nope. “Pathetic” is just an accurate description of your behavior here.

      Maybe I’ll see you at the SSO.

  55. #57 Steve
    January 25, 2015

    Yeah, pathetic indeed.

  56. #58 JP
    I really should stop, but gosh darn it, the fun never ends.
    January 25, 2015

    Since you engaged in the imagery, I will say that I’ve been waving my balls in your faces all day.

    This from a man who accuses others of behaving in a pubescent manner…

  57. #59 Narad
    January 25, 2015

    Narad, you know dіck all about Daubert from a practical and applicable manner

    Leaving aside the abuse of the Mother Tongue here, Counselor, I’d be fascinated to know how you arrived at that conclusion.

    Hell, what would be even better would be a list of cases in which you’ve been at bar and this was relevant. PACER IDs will suffice.

  58. #60 Narad
    January 25, 2015

    You all still postgaming it?

    “It”? You’re now invoking Been Down So Long?

    Smug boy wasn’t directed at Denise.

    I know, Smug Boy, but I think the coinage is a fertile one.

  59. #61 Sarah A
    January 26, 2015

    it’s not my credibility shot here…I entered with none and exit with none in your group

    That’s the first honest statement you’ve made since you started commenting here. As far as “chiming in after I’m out” goes, no one is taking your revolving-door flounces seriously at this point – I knew perfectly well that you were still reading the comments and that you’d be back. But since you’re so eager to prove your testicular fortitude, perhaps you could answer the question I asked you way back at comment #157, when I was still acting on the assumption that you were arguing in good faith (I started writing it before you made the “cultist close minded freaks” comment, though it ended up posting after it.) Since you seem to have a hard time remembering your own words, let me remind you. You said:

    But the immune reaction to 6 vaccines in and of itself is postulated to cause destruction of brain cells in, say, the percentage of babies who among other things hit 105 degrees reacting to a boatload of vaccines that just have to be shoved into them in one day at the pediatrician’s office.

    Whereupon I asked:

    So your saying you’d rather your child get any or all of the 6 (or more) diseases the vaccines prevented against rather than having one fever? Or are you saying you’d rather get the shots one at a time and take the chance of developing a fever (or other, rarer, side effects) 6 times rather than once?

    So which is it? Or are you willing to acknowledge that the balance of the evidence is that getting multiple shots at once (at least, the ones that have been approved by the CDC to be given together) is less risky than either a) the diseases the vaccines prevent or b) getting the shots separately.

  60. #62 Narad
    January 26, 2015

    But the alleged integrity of what was here is a joke and will be addressed “with my colleagues.”

    If nothing else, I’ve learned that Cecilia Chicken was well preceded by Garfield Goose.

  61. #63 Chris
    January 26, 2015

    palindrom: “This whole exchange is getting rather tiresome, no? It increasily appears that Dr. law-talking guy resides under a bridge”

    Where the only comments he finds challenging that he then assumes are from someone who possesses a Y-chromosome. Truly pathetic.

    And truly quite amusing. The question in: will he really stick the flounce this time, because Orac’s minions are just toooo meeaan, and former surgeon lawyer guy can’t take the evil questions!

    Ooooh, they killed him with questions! Questions are the worst thing ever!!!

    Good grief, how does he handle himself in front of a judge?

    (Sorry, Narad, your references are getting too elusive, try to dial it back to reality… most of the folks who read this were born after the 1970s)

  62. #64 Narad
    January 26, 2015

    Sorry, Narad, your references are getting too elusive, try to dial it back to reality… most of the folks who read this were born after the 1970s

    It’s not my fault that there are no <appendix> tags. I’d be perfectly satisfied with an answer to the first entry.

  63. #65 Narad
    January 26, 2015

    ^ And I don’t expect that nobody’s going to understand the comments, and they’re brief, so perhaps you could skip the “tone trolling.”

  64. #66 Pareidolius
    January 26, 2015

    Steve, how can we miss you if you won’t go away?
    What an odd, angry person you turned out to be. So desperately invested in . . . something.

  65. #67 Lawrence
    January 26, 2015

    Someone who doesn’t know the definition has once again proven it, by not sticking to his original “flounce.”

  66. #68 Antaeus Feldspar
    January 26, 2015

    There is a certain mentality which believes that the person who can say, and get others to believe, “THEY started it!!!” has won the argument forever and is thereafter justified in behaving as crudely and aggressively as they can.

    This mentality is actually rather rare after high school. The majority of people, whether they ever think it out consciously or not, realize that someone who enthusiastically PERPETUATES a state of hostility is just as responsible for that state, if not more, than whoever originated it.

    Steve has had plenty of calm, wholly non-insulting comments to reply to. Todd W.’s at 209 is only one notable example. From what I can see, Steve has ignored all of them, choosing instead to reply to a construction mostly of his own imagination, a “cult” that cries “Get out!” because it can’t deal with his questions … a “cult” that would never have produced those calm responses to his questions, those responses which he appears to have entirely overlooked.

    On the issue of the purported “outing”, which as far as I can see the only complaint of Steve’s which is founded on objective basis… a perfectly reasonable explanation has already been offered, namely, that his computer misbehaved and filled in the name field with his full name. Since it’s been less than half a year since we experienced a bug here that resulted in many people seeing the name field filled in with other people’s names (I cannot link the example I looked up, for reasons of my computer misbehaving ironically enough, but it’s rather easy to find with a Google search on “name field”) that explanation seems quite plausible.

    The idea that the alternative explanation, “Orac found the comments of a first-time commenter, saying pretty much nothing that hasn’t been said before, so utterly threatening that he used information available only to him as the moderator to do detective work and ascertain that first-time commenter’s identity, then tamper with that commenter’s comments to make it cleverly look like he’d revealed himself, only to willingly remove all that information again at the commenter’s request”, is more plausible, you basically need to be coming at the issue with a massive bias: “Deliberate, deceptive and malicious behavior on Side A is far more probable than that the computer or its user on Side B could have made a simple mistake.”

    I would advise Steve to look up “principle of charity” and contemplate how it applies to his decisions of what to respond to here, and how. Of course, if he declines to believe that that principle applies to a discussion, when that discussion takes place in a “web page comment section” – as he seems to have previously asserted about the burden of proof – then I’m afraid it will be very obvious why Steve’s participation is not receiving a good reception. One doesn’t get much respect by swaggering onto a soccer field and declaring “All right, I’m better than all of you, and I’m gonna prove it, but I’m not gonna follow that sissy rule about not touching the ball with your hands”, after all.

  67. […] skewed. There’s duck-calls like “Dr. Bob” dispensing medical knowledge like diseases are the status quo, so I can almost understand where the ignorance comes from. […]

  68. #70 Steve
    United States
    January 26, 2015

    And yet you now anonymously swagger in to your group of friends and say “I know what did not happen?” You missed links to me posted by the site moderator, now deleted. And yes, he can change the name appearing…he did so.

    This only exemplifies that the minions are sure, without foundation, of their own narrative. Yet I’m guilty of the same and must be ridiculed?

  69. #71 Todd W.
    http://www.harpocratesspeaks.com
    January 26, 2015

    @Steve

    If you bothered to take the time to do a bit of research, you’d find that “outing” people is something that Orac takes very seriously. He’s even censured some of the regulars and removed their comments when they have outed people in the past, even though he disagreed with the person who was being outed.

    Apparently, taking time away didn’t help you cool down and reassess this comment exchange from a calmer, more rational point of view. I’m sorry you are having such difficulty with this.

  70. #72 Steve
    January 26, 2015

    Never be hasty to attribute to stupidity what can be adequately explained by someone knowing something you don’t.

    Double-check your own work, if you can. If you’re going to be calling someone else wrong, it’s a good idea to triple-check to make sure that you are in fact right. If you have the bad judgement to be snotty about calling someone else wrong, have the good judgement to quadruple-check.

  71. #73 Steve
    January 26, 2015

    If you have the basic desire to act ethically in the first place, then you have to take second place in line to a whole lot of other people out there who can do a lot better of a job twisting your good intentions into bad deeds than you can. To be hoist by one’s own petard is not necessarily the easiest or most common way to go, only the one with the most irony.

    Beware of approaching a problem by trying to find its identifying characteristics. What is truly needed, and what should be the goal of your search, is distinguishing characteristics.

  72. #74 Todd W.
    http://www.harpocratesspeaks.com
    January 26, 2015

    @Steve

    I think you got Hanlon’s Razor a bit mixed up. I believe it goes:

    Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.

  73. #75 Steve
    January 26, 2015

    Todd, first off, the hits keep coming “in the time off,” yet you ignore that…I mean friendlies right?

    Second, the fact that Orac takes outing seriously blah blah doesn’t make me a liar any more than “I never raped anyone before” makes one innocent of rape. In this case, these vaunted rules were broken…apparently for the first time…and I don’t think my comments came close to the screed I’ve read elsewhere from any “opponent” of this gruopthink.

    So rather than “lessons learned on all accounts” the drum beats on…against me.

    But right, I’m the bad guy.

  74. #76 Steve
    January 26, 2015

    Todd, yet I’m quoting Antaeus Feldspar, by literal cut and paste, which was the point, not what AF has “not quite got right” himself, which includes yesterday’s history

  75. #77 Todd W.
    http://www.harpocratesspeaks.com
    January 26, 2015

    The first place I see the word “stupidity” is in your comment, so it seems you’re working with a different definition of “cut and paste” than I’m used to.

    Now, do you care to respond to my comment at #209? It may help clarify this whole back-and-forth that’s been going on.

  76. #78 Lawrence
    January 26, 2015

    It would be nice if Steve, in plain language, would explain what his original intent was, other than just coming in & clutching at pearls….

  77. #79 Orac
    January 26, 2015

    What an odd, angry person you turned out to be. So desperately invested in . . . something.

    Indeed. It’s just that he won’t tell us what it is.

    In any case, if he’s this easily provoked in the comments of a blog, which most of this blog’s readers don’t read intensively, if at all, and concludes we’re all “cultish” from just some criticism, the dude has a seriously thin skin.

  78. #80 Todd W.
    http://www.harpocratesspeaks.com
    January 26, 2015

    Also, on the topic of “outing”, what evidence do you have, Steve, that Orac was responsible and that it was not simply a mistake on your part? Furthermore, what motive would Orac have to out you, considering you haven’t said anything particularly compelling or threatening to Orac.

    But please answer that after you’ve addressed my comment at #209.

  79. #81 Orac
    January 26, 2015

    And yet you now anonymously swagger in to your group of friends and say “I know what did not happen?” You missed links to me posted by the site moderator, now deleted. And yes, he can change the name appearing…he did so.

    Yes, to correct your mistake. There were three comments you made that included your full name. After it became clear that you hadn’t intended to post under your full name, I changed them back to just “Steve.” The server logs will show this to be true, if you still won’t believe me. Contrary to your insinuation, I did not (and do not lie) about this.

    One of two things happened. Either you have some sort of autofill going on that automatically put your full name in and you didn’t catch it (which is quite possible), or you yourself put your full name in. I don’t know which happened, but I fixed it.

  80. #82 Denice Walter
    January 26, 2015

    Alright, I DO have an idea about what type of clients Steve’s firm represents because the ( now forbidden but highlighted on my computer) website discusses them. In truth, it says NOTHING about “vaccine injury’- which is, -btw- a frequent topic at anti-vaccine sites, and it does discuss several types of very serious problems that patients may develop.

    HOWEVER Steve ( @ 142) himself brings up ( in the same sentence) ” immune reaction to 6 vaccines” and ” destruction of brain cells”.

    We know that many anti-vaccine parents attempt legal suits because they believe that their children have been injured by vaccines which affects their brains- often citing Blaylock.

    Is it any great leap of my imagination to think that there may be possibility that Steve and/ or his colleagues COULD represent/ have represented people who believe in vaccine injury?

    Later on, he says he doesn’t if I read him correctly.

  81. #83 Denice Walter
    January 26, 2015

    which AFFECT their brains

  82. #84 Steve
    January 26, 2015

    Orac, you ignore the links that you put in previous and now deleted posts. We can go the autofill route with full name if that matters, but putting in links and an “aha!” that was all you. There are a great many Stephen B____ [full name] out there, but the links were direct to THIS Stephen B, and I appreciated that you pulled them. But for others to come on here now and rewrite history is just a silly waste of time.

    Said differently: I don’t know how many Dr G’s there are out there, but a Google shows you (and I know this from your own internal link…you aren’t hiding a thing), an OB doc, a researcher at UT in Austin, and others. But I do know that a link to any of those person’s bio sites removes the remaining anonymity…what do we call that to be semantically correct for all here? The “Final Outing?”

    I’ve moved past this except for the reconstructionists coming in late. I appreciated what you did and still are doing. Let me respond below to Lawrence and get to work.

  83. #85 Antaeus Feldspar
    January 26, 2015

    Todd W., what Steve is doing is going back to my long-ago unused Wikipedia user page and copying-and-pasting what he finds there.

    If I apply the principle of charity to that action, the most reasonable explanation I can find for what that has to do with anything is that Steve is essentially protesting “Even if I have provided you with enough information about myself that you can easily find more about me from elsewhere on the web, it is unfair for you to do so.” This would be more reasonable than what previously seemed to be his position, in which he seemed to be insisting that it could only be through unjust means that his full name was revealed to us.

    Contrary to his assertion, I did not miss the fact that his full name appeared yesterday, or that additional information about him was turned up by those who thought he had voluntarily revealed that full name, and combined that with what he DEFINITELY volunteered of his own free will about his training.

    I simply didn’t think there was anything improper about it. Of course, part of why I have that view is because of previous experiences here, where doing a modicum of research of someone who shows up to comment often turns up information which they should clearly have disclosed themselves, if they were participating in good faith. The most notorious example that comes to mind is “Emily”, who wrote of the obvious merits of the Natural Hygiene philosophy saying that it was just something she’d come to appreciate as the mother of a variable number of children; it was detective work which revealed that “she” was in fact Dr. Greg Fitzgerald, who purveys “Natural Hygiene” as part of his alternative medicine practice. Similarly, I recall a few people who came in insisting that their opinions on whether vaccines could cause shaken baby syndrome or whether Brian Deer would be found to have defamed Andrew Wakefield were particularly trustworthy opinions because they were complete newcomers to the debate … and detective work demonstrated that they had in fact chosen their sides long ago.

    I’m not sure what Steve thinks he’s demonstrating by showing that I once edited Wikipedia. He wouldn’t be the first person to invoke my Involvement with Wikipedia here; he wouldn’t even be the first person to do so assuming that “participated on Wikipedia” would be taken as “sign of something bad”, if that was his intent.

    —-

    Upon reviewing, I find that I was mistaken in what I wrote above. Steve is clearly NOT asserting merely that it’s unjust to do detective work on facts that have already been revealed; he IS asserting positively that Orac deliberately, deceptively and maliciously ascertained his last name and altered Steve’s comments to include it. “yes, he can change the name appearing…he did so.” Inherent in concluding this to be the case is the presumption that neither Steve, nor his computer, could possibly have made a mistake.

    Even if I knew neither of the parties in this incident, I think that I would tend to look skeptically upon “I could not POSSIBLY have made a mistake, and therefore it must be him not only doing something vicious and sneaky but doing so in the most dishonest manner possible, because he perceives me as just that much of a threat!!”

  84. #86 Steve
    January 26, 2015

    Lawrence, Denice, and really all:

    Lawrence, your comment that maybe I should reveal my intent struck me as an excellent one. Then I read Denice’s comment akin to “you can see why we would think you, lawyer, would…” and it’s like a “oh, so that’s the snowball effect.” I have posted before about my side of what happened. That was ridiculed, particularly by Sarah, as “oh yeah right, you are as passive voice dangerous as [insert “Dr.” Antivax Loudmouth here]…you really are another [insert “Dr.” Antivax Dickhead” here. So let me give you some backstory in addition to what I already posted re: what went down yesterday.

    1. At brother-in-laws for breakfast. BIL is coughing like a cat with multiple hairballs and feeling like crap. I asked if he and the kids got the flu shot. He said no.
    2. Me being me, I launched in about him being an idiot, now the kids will get sick, WTF?
    3. BIL says “in your face, the flu shot doesn’t work this year, and I saved my kids the exposure and risk”
    4. I ask “what risk other than at most feeling a little off for a few days”
    5. BIL says “immune response…kids got over 6 shots in one day as far back as first few months of age…it’s BS.”
    6. Me being me, I think “that is horse___ it’s at most three in one day”…but more importantly drive home at 90 mph and get on the internet to search for “flu vaccine did not work this year” [i’m actually better at Google than typing in that]
    7. I read a few articles and then one from this site. I liked the article…said that yesterday.
    8. I blundered over to this Dr. Bob Sears entry as it was new. I read it and was like “holy crap” and then, and this is important…
    9. Identified myself as a fellow surg onc guy to Orac and thought I was asking him a question: WHAT DO I STUFF IN THE PIEHOLE OF MY BIL ABOUT VACCINES AND IMMUNE RESPONSE, because when I look up the schedules I will be damned it is 6 in one day now as opposed to when my son was vaccinated. I want to be thorough in putting this shite to bed.
    10. A bunch of pseudonyms respond…I have no idea that they are credentialed to address the question…and I asked Orac…but in any event the pseudo’s respond with “show us the research about 6 in one day” and “utilitarianism” and “kids will be sicker if not vaccinated.”
    11. I feel attacked by what I believe are a non-credentialed cult -groupthink response — don’t give me a good answer to stuff in BIL’s face about immune response/brain damage/cooked babies/105 etc….whatever he was ranting about and I re-ranted for him… just deflect onto other tangents like “the other babies will be at risk.” Trust me, BIL gives two shites about other kids.
    12. Me being me, I have to be obnoxious in swatting what I perceive are flies away from my prize answer: “Orac, you are the anti-anti-vax lecturer…let me know about this immune response argument.” So I say “away, cult!” WTF is with that answer, groupie. Admittedly callous (as an understatement).
    13. When I’m asked “show me the studies backing up YOUR hypothesis” I react internally as such: “MY hypothesis, Jesus H. C., I came on here for help in crushing that hypothesis…YOU GUYS SHOW ME.”
    14. I’m outted as a “lawyer” who “may be sniffing around to sue vax companies” which really pisses me off as that “lawyer” card is thrown in my face a lot to NEGATE ANY SCIENTIFIC INQUIRY I ever have…”what, you need to know for a LAWSUIT?” Uh, no. I need to know because before Harvard Law School (they apparently let anyone in), I went to Duke, U of Michigan Med School, and Johns Hopkins for my residency and fellowship. Yeah, believe it or not, in addition to suing the occasional drug-addled doc, or the nurses who left a first time mom alone in a room for over two hours, at 25 weeks GA, with twins, “intermittent abdominal pain” (i.e. preterm labor), and vaginal discharge, until she bled and now we have two premies — in addition to suing that sort of thing, and suing over “insider” based novel claims (such a claim is not “vax causes brain damage” a claim is still negligence or product liability…a novel claim is “negligence per se for violating the nurse practices act and injecting Lovenox into a post spinal tap patient while admitting under oath that you have no idea it’s a blood thinner…patient now paralzyed due to epidural hematoma as you then waited 12 hours to call the doctor…” whew but I digress.
    15. A feeding frenzy ensues, and me being me, and as Orac says, a surgeon who has to have the last word, I keep plugging along, and I get more and more callous and base (but so do you guys).
    16. My least favorite entry was my balls in your face, but you know that was after being told I had no balls.
    17. I did start sensing, and participating in, a downward spiral of insults that I found oddly enjoyable (and don’t tell me that you all were angrily typing and not laughing, too).

    So my intent, Lawrence? My intent was to ask the Big Guy how to stuff my BIL. Looking back, I should have said “how do I stuff my BIL” and I guess risk Sarah saying “waiiiiiit a minute, you are the cloaked ANTIVAX SATAN” but I nevertheless wish I had been more clear. And more clear that I was not antivax…but I tried.

    As best as a fellow arrogant science guy/gal can try.

    Now, lest you jump me for some internet maneuver I have not heard of called “the Big MISUNDERSTANDING” let me end with this: now that you all know the backstory, regardless of your experiences with true quacks I am not one, and perhaps the feeling of misunderstanding can be mutual.

    Enjoy your Mondays. I never do but will try.

    Steve

  85. #87 Steve
    January 26, 2015

    Antaeus…just let it go, it’s not worth it. No need to justify things.

  86. #88 Todd W.
    http://www.harpocratesspeaks.com
    January 26, 2015

    @Antaeus Feldspar

    Even if I knew neither of the parties in this incident, I think that I would tend to look skeptically upon “I could not POSSIBLY have made a mistake, and therefore it must be him not only doing something vicious and sneaky but doing so in the most dishonest manner possible, because he perceives me as just that much of a threat!!”

    If your assessment of him is correct, then it also speaks to an inflated sense of self-worth.

  87. #89 JP
    January 26, 2015

    @Todd W and Antaeus Feldspar:

    Yeah, I was just going to say the incident smacks of megalomania.

  88. #90 lilady
    January 26, 2015

    I really don’t care what type of client Steve represents. I care that he came on here with major issues and looking for a fight. That, and the phrasing of his fact-free comments, his massive distrust of “gubment” and the CDC, led me to believe that Steve was not a physician.

    I still don’t know how a physician could be so ignorant about any topic in the medical field…even if he doesn’t represent clients before the United States Court of Federal Claims (Vaccine Court).

    His directive to other commenters to do his research for him is preposterous.

    Nothing that Steve has posted since then is impressive.

  89. #91 Steve
    January 26, 2015

    Orac, you ignore the links that you put in previous and now deleted posts. We can go the autofill route with full name if that matters, but putting in links and an “aha!” that was all you. There are a great many Stephen B____ [full name] out there, but the links were direct to THIS Stephen B, and I appreciated that you pulled them. But for others to come on here now and rewrite history is just a silly waste of time.

    Said differently: I don’t know how many Dr. Gorski’s there are out there, but a Google shows you (and I know this from your own internal link…you aren’t hiding a thing), an OB doc, a researcher at UT in Austin, and others. But I do know that a link to any of those person’s bio sites removes the remaining anonymity…what do we call that to be semantically correct for all here? The “Final Outing?”

    I’ve moved past this except for the reconstructionists coming in late. I appreciated what you did and still are doing. Let me respond below to Lawrence and get to work.

  90. #92 Steve
    January 26, 2015

    Dr. G, I don’t really care about the links ongoing discussion…it’s counterproductive. I did send in a rather large missive describing yesterday in an effort to get this all put to rest.

  91. #93 Steve
    January 26, 2015

    A rather large and non-confrontational missive is apparently awaiting moderation, lilady. I don’t mistrust the CDC and government…I quoted the CDC as a basis for my comments more than anyone. That’s because I have to deal with a brother in law who reads into the CDS website (e.g. brain damage); and no, I came here looking for a way to stuff him, not advocate for him, which is why i was doing the asking in the first place.

  92. #94 Orac
    January 26, 2015

    You know, I find it rather ironic that Steve was chastising me for spending time on my blog on a “lazy Sunday afternoon,” dismissing me by asking if I had some patients to save or some important research work to do, but here it is a Monday morning and he seems to have boatloads of time to write 1000+ word comments. Good thing Monday isn’t one of my OR days…

  93. #95 Steve
    January 26, 2015

    Oh rats…lilady, please see 286 above. And I’m sorry for getting caught up in my own misunderstanding of who is actually commenting on here (all of you are very smart).

  94. #96 Steve
    January 26, 2015

    I know…law is a lot slower than medicine.

  95. #97 Todd W.
    http://www.harpocratesspeaks.com
    January 26, 2015

    @Steve

    Thank you for providing the backstory at #286. There is information there that you finally provided that, had you included it from the beginning, may have saved a lot of the heated rhetoric flying back and forth. Certainly, if you had provided some of that information when people made reasonable, insult-free comments responding to you, rather than breaking out the “hack”, “cult” and “freak” comments, things would have gone differently.

    I think my comment to you at #209 addresses the situation, as do a few of the other comments here.

  96. #98 Orac
    January 26, 2015

    Note that I just removed Steve’s last name from two posts again because I don’t know whether his posting under his full name was intentional or not.

  97. #99 Orac
    January 26, 2015

    Certainly, if you had provided some of that information when people made reasonable, insult-free comments responding to you, rather than breaking out the “hack”, “cult” and “freak” comments, things would have gone differently.

    Indeed, it started with Steve’s first response to anyone, which he dismissively concluded with, “Don’t be a hack.” The very next comment by him included the “cult” comment. And Steve wonders why it took so little time for regular commenters to react very badly to him.

  98. #100 Denice Walter
    January 26, 2015

    Well, at least he thinks we’re smart.

  99. #101 MI Dawn
    January 26, 2015

    @Orac – either you missed 292 and 293, or that’s another Steve…(I did refresh the screen before saying this to make sure!)

  100. #102 Peter Dugdale
    January 26, 2015

    awrence :”It would be nice if Steve, in plain language, would explain what his original intent was”

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many flounces in one thread before …. three and still counting…and still he comes back firing popcorn from all barrels.

    Steve: “Your problem as a group is the inability to recognize that I don’t do your research until you do mine.”
    I just wonder if, despite his protestations, whether he’s got an interest in some related litigation, and he’s just hoping to shake out a reference he can use.

  101. #103 Todd W.
    http://www.harpocratesspeaks.com
    January 26, 2015

    @Peter Dugdale

    I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt with post #286. And even if he were involved in litigation, I doubt he’d get any reference that would benefit an anti-vaccine case from this group, seeing as how legitimate science doesn’t support any anti-vaccine claims.

  102. #104 Narad
    January 26, 2015

    A bunch of pseudonyms respond…I have no idea that they are credentialed to address the question…

    And you presume that before you posted with your full name, the credentials that random “Steve” claimed were supposed to have been taken on faith?

  103. #105 Narad
    January 26, 2015

    ^ Argh, blockquote fail.

  104. #106 Steve
    January 26, 2015

    Peter, I don’t know who you are, but asking for a reference to “six shots in one day is not anything worse than spreading them out…or no shots at all” hardly would assist me in any litigation regarding vaccinations. In fact, it would do the opposite.

    Again, I’m just looking for a counter “in your face” to a BIL who thinks he knows better.

    I already have the CDC saying this:
    “A number of studies have been conducted to examine the effects of giving various combinations of vaccines simultaneously. These studies have shown that the recommended vaccines are as effective in combination as they are individually, and that such combinations carry no greater risk for adverse side effects. ”

    But of course, I get the “show me the studies” response.

    I haven’t found those studies readily available. I’m obviously not a vaccine expert, and you all know that when I search for “multiple vaccines are safe” the first X hits are all conspiracy theorists. Looking for “multiple vaccines safe study” I got this:

    https://www2.aap.org/immunization/families/faq/vaccinestudies.pdf

    which is a great summary that I air dropped in multiple leaflet form over my BIL’s house.

    But I was just being obsessive…imagine that. All I was asking was “hey, you all know this stuff, can you tell me to what the CDC is referring re: studies ?

    When I’ve looked to the CDC before for, say, how long does a broken hip put you at risk for earlier death, a simple Google “CDC hip fracture” takes you, first result link to a CDC page with this:

    One out of five hip fracture patients dies within a year of their injury. [footnote 9]. Footnote 9 is a Swedish study that actually shows the risk of earlier death after a hip fracture may last up to 6 years in some.

    But references for multiple vaccines are not on the CDC page.

    There’s nothing shady going on. And it’s OK…I’m mindful that I pushed my research onto strangers and came off like the haughty “you don’t even comprehend what I am thinking, you fools!” which was wrong.

    Do you need a solemn pledge that I have never, am not, and will never, represent a vax case, and that I am not an anti-vax stooge? That’s an easy “I swear” to make.

  105. #107 BA
    Make Each Short Orac-directed outing
    January 26, 2015

    Your own Angst-producing Nonsensical Guffaws

  106. #108 Steve
    January 26, 2015

    Narad, your comment about my last name being needed (and links to my web page) to identify me first before accepting my credentials is odd to me seeing how I have accepted all of the posters on this comment board without more than vague references to specialty or “lot in life.”

    But I can see how it is not odd to all of you to question newbies because you are apparently used to posers coming in here and doing dirty work.

  107. #109 Chris
    January 26, 2015

    Steve: ” Looking for “multiple vaccines safe study” I got this:”

    A word of warning, the first paper’s link is bad. You should replace it with:
    http://www.jpeds.com/article/S0022-3476%2813%2900144-3/pdf

  108. #110 Narad
    January 26, 2015

    I already have the CDC saying this:
    “A number of studies have been conducted to examine the effects of giving various combinations of vaccines simultaneously….”

    I haven’t found those studies readily available

    If the question is combining vaccines, the first G—le result I get for “safety of combinations of vaccines” is this JID paper.

    Click on the plus sign by “PubMed,” click on “Pubmed citation,” and look at the “Related citations.” There’s a reason the phrase “a number of studies” was used.

    Now that you’re there, try searching for, say, concurrent administration of vaccines, and examine “Titles with your search terms.”

    Once again, the advice of Mr. Natural is apropos.

  109. #111 Steve
    United States
    January 26, 2015

    Thanks Chris and Narad. The “good link” DeStefano article that Chris sent works and the paper is excellent. Narad’s JID paper…I’m holding back from BIL as it has buzzwords he will key in on, even in the abstract. But the related citations are great.

    In any event, I’m sorry for being lazy about finding citations…I thought I’d get a quick answer before I drove off the cliff. Then I became obstinate in not doing it…wasted all of our time (and a huge part of Sunday) when I should have just searched on my own.

    As for Mr. Natural’s advice: he says a lot of good and/or funny stuff. I hope you weren’t thinking of one that isn’t “idiot” oriented.

    Thanks again.

  110. #112 Steve
    January 26, 2015

    “weren’t thinking of one that IS [not isn’t]“idiot” oriented”

  111. #113 Chris
    January 26, 2015

    “I thought I’d get a quick answer before I drove off the cliff.”

    Medical stuff is always complicated. Dr. Ben Goldacre has a key phrase “I Think You’ll Find It’s a Bit More Complicated Than That.” (which also happens to be title of his latest book)

    And he has been selling shirts with the saying:
    http://www.badscience.net/2009/07/one-of-my-t-shirts-is-in-the-in-the-daily-mail/

  112. #114 Lawrence
    January 26, 2015

    @Steve – glad to have you back from the brink (who knew you could drive off the cliff & still find a way to recover? Kudos!!!)

  113. #115 Narad
    January 26, 2015

    You can also try “concomitant” in the search terms, which will pull in this sort of stuff, etc.

    The Mr. Natural was one I mentioned recently, “At home or at work, get the right tool for the job.” It’s been a while since I’ve used Lexis or Westlaw, but Pubmed is a far less nightmarish interface than I recall from those two.

    It becomes more useful if you sign up for a free account, which adds the ability to save custom filters and create sharable collections of papers.

  114. #116 shay
    Cranky from listenting to yet another excuse in re "why I didn't get the flu shot this year"
    January 26, 2015

    Ah, but when you cite the JPeds or the Oxford articles, what you get back is “Tainted! The authors work for the CDC and/or the FDA!”

    Other than taping all of these papers into a very large club, weighting it with a bag or so of lead shot, and using it to whack anti-vaxxers over the head with, I’m not sure what impact they have on the debate.

  115. #117 shay
    January 26, 2015

    To make matters worse, deStafano et al thanked Dr Offit for his help.

  116. #118 Steve
    January 26, 2015

    All good. And Narad, Westlaw is a huge pain. We get it free here since I and the senior partner edit the Texas caselaw update book every year (published by Westlaw). But even with the relatively new “natural language” search method, Westlaw is a pain.

    I admittedly lost my PubMed expertise a while back since, as hard as it may be to master, Westlaw just has a ton of fun stuff (if “fun” is “reading how judges threaded a needle on what was thought to be a done deal in law”).

    But PubMed and medical research…thanks, Mr. Natural!

  117. #119 Steve
    January 26, 2015

    Love the club idea. I won’t tell him that the some say “tainted, authors work for the CDC or FDA” he’s not smart enough to figure that out on his own. And after his idiocy and my personality disorder combined to ruin a Sunday, I’ll just stick with papers without disclosing author employment. That would be UGH.

  118. #120 lilady
    January 26, 2015

    I, for one, am glad that Steve has clarified his position. I think Steve will find that the RI Regulars who post here are very knowledgeable about vaccines, and all the other topics that Orac tackles.

  119. #121 Ren
    Waking up from a biostats slumber
    January 26, 2015

    *Yawn*

    What did I miss?

  120. #122 Bob G
    Los angeles
    January 26, 2015

    Ren@321:

    Six diseases vaccinated against with one injection are not appreciably different than the one worst shot, or getting six separately. It may be hard to convince some people of this.

  121. #123 Sarah A
    January 26, 2015

    Steve – I’m mildly surprised that you’re so concerned about my opinion, but since you are then I will state for the record that I’m perfectly willing to take your word for it that you’re not asserting that getting 6 vaccines at once carries a greater risk than getting them separately, or getting the diseases they prevent instead. After all, it would have been a waste of time for me to ask you (twice) to answer that very question if I wasn’t going to believe your answer. I’m not going to apologize for comparing you to Dr. Bob Sears, because it was justified based on your behavior at the time. I do, however, apologize for using the phrase “he doesn’t have the balls” instead of “he doesn’t have the guts/courage of his convictions,” since it seems (again, to my mild surprise) that you found this particular phrase uniquely offensive compared to all of the other comments making more or less the same point. I’m not always good at judging the level of vernacular appropriate to a given situation: a result of lack of socialization and positive reinforcement (IRL I’m a short, rather baby-faced young woman, so people typically just laugh when I use bad language.) I’m glad the conversation is back on track; I don’t think I have much to add to what others have already posted other than my original comment at #157, except to recommend that you let go of the idea of using studies to “shove in [your BIL’s] piehole” or “in his face.” At this point I don’t think you need me or anyone else to tell you that that isn’t likely to change anyone’s mind.

  122. #124 JP
    January 26, 2015

    Well, glad things have been cleared up.

    I’m keeping “smug boy,” though.

  123. #125 JP
    January 26, 2015

    @Sarah A:

    As another baby faced young woman, I can relate. I’m also sort of burly, though, and I shave my head and wear combat boots and usually all black. So mostly I just confuse people.

    IRL I actually tend to swear more around people who are offended by it, I guess because I find the attitude parochial and stupid. (Also, people who actually find swearing “immoral” typically have pi$$-poor moral compasses when it comes to things that actually matter, I’ve found.)

  124. […] petulant one trying to downplay the seriousness of measles and then letting out a whole bunch of antivaccine dog whistles to his patients to let them know that, despite his assertion that the measles vaccine works, […]

  125. #127 Steve
    United States
    January 27, 2015

    Well, I should have known better about the initial response from BIL. So I email him the DeStefano article and a few more. And I get this (exact quote but caps are my emphasis):

    “Well, as a LAWYER I’m sure you just picked out the papers supporting your position.”

    So I said I’m “give him more” and thought of the club made of dozens of articles suggested by Shay #317. Here is a pic of my office staff working on it (OK, not really but it’s all I could find):

    https://www.google.com/search?q=paper+club&espv=2&biw=2133&bih=1205&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=rKHHVNaFG4atyQSX1oGAAw&ved=0CAgQ_AUoAw&dpr=0.9#tbm=isch&q=caveman+club+made+of+paper&imgdii=_&imgrc=zKA4rnBjRIvB5M%253A%3BhTNDsvwbN-0MdM%3Bhttps%253A%252F%252Fcantisabadword.files.wordpress.com%252F2010%252F10%252Fimg_6534.jpg%3Bhttps%253A%252F%252Fcantisabadword.wordpress.com%252Ftag%252Fpaper-mache%252F%3B2048%3B1536

  126. #128 LIz Ditz
    Measles near me now, thanks Bob & Jay
    January 27, 2015

    Bob’s missive today on Facebook

    DR. BOB’S DAILY:
    THE STORY THAT WON’T GO AWAY, BUT AT LEAST IT’S NOW ACCURATE
    I know, I know. You’re all tired of hearing about measles. But I wanted to throw out this story since it came out where I live in the OC Register. Many bloggers, tweeters, and reporters have been misrepresenting my ideas on this, and I was at first leery about communicating with the Register too. But this reporter nailed it. Sure, this story doesn’t cover ALL my thoughts on the matter, and it doesn’t discuss all the possible pros and cons of the vaccine, but it’s the first story that I’ve seen that at least presents part of both sides and accurately reports my statements and ideas on the matter. So, I won’t expand on it. Enjoy! And send her some love on the Register’s page on the story.

    On a related note, Cheryl is planning to hit Disneyland on Friday with Joshua, since he doesn’t have school and we have two free passes. So, she asks me, “Do you think it’s now safe to go?” Ya, she did ask me that. I was like, “You’re one of THOSE people?” But then she looked at me squarely and said, “Don’t just give me your quick answer like you always do when I ask you a medical question about a family member. Stop and think seriously – do you think any of the employees there could be part of the next wave and possibly spread it?” She’s the best mom, and wife, and she’s so right – I usually blow off medical questions about my own kids and don’t consider them seriously. I deserved that. So, I stopped and thought. Yes, that could happen. But you should go anyway. Respect the disease, but don’t fear it, right? They are SO going. And the place is probably still deserted. Or is it? Does anybody know? Anyone been there in the last week?

    Dr. Bob

    In other news, somewhere around 30 children younger than 12 months are quarantined. Putting aside the risk to the babies’ health, imagine the economic consequences. It is unlikely that all the families have stay-at-home parents or dedicated caregivers — can you imagine what that is going to do the families’ finances?

  127. #129 LIz Ditz
    January 27, 2015

    Sears was referring to this article in the Orange County Register, which quoted him:

    Sears said he advises his patients to weigh the complications of vaccines, but ultimately leaves the choice to them.

    Five percent to 10 percent of those who get the vaccine develop a low fever and a mild rash, according to the CDC. Severe side effects are so rare that public health officials say it’s difficult to tell whether they were caused by the vaccine. They include deafness, permanent brain damage and serious allergic reaction.

    On his Facebook page, Sears posted recently that more pediatricians in his area have begun discriminating against parents who don’t vaccinate.

    “The answer won’t be to make everyone vaccinate; neither should the answer be to allow diseases to run rampant and kill people left and right,” he posted. “The answer needs to be somewhere in the middle, and it needs to include love, understanding, and calm-headed people who will actually stop and listen to each other.”

  128. #130 Renate
    January 27, 2015

    Respecting the disease would mean take your precautions, in other words: “Vaccinate”.

  129. #131 shay
    January 27, 2015

    Steve, you probably need to be aware that as a retired Marine, my initial response to any situation is blunt force.

    That doesn’t mean it’s the correct response.

  130. #132 sadmar
    Way up the thread, before Steve;
    January 27, 2015

    CONSERVATIVES AND NOT CONSERVATIVES
    Orac #140 asked:

    If the Dr. Bob phenomenon depends on the conservative politics of OC, then how do you explain Dr. Jay, who is at least as well known as Dr. Bob as far as antivaccine-friendly pediatricians go, and whose practice is ensconced nicely in Santa Monica? Or any number of antivax docs in California I could name who are not in what would be considered conservative areas of the state? As I’ve said many times before, antivax is the quackery that transcends political boundaries.

    Anti-vax practice absolutely transcends ideological boundaries, being especially high in non-conservative granola-crunchy Marin and Sonoma counties in NoCal (though I wouldn’t call the folks there liberals — long story…). And I can only make a fairly wild guess about that area to the effect that a different kind of ‘leave me alone” attitude seems to prevail there, along with a sort of magnet for the new-agey. I think it’s about the isolation and ‘nature vibe’ of hills and forests. Other places with similar topography I’ve been have similar ‘alternative’ cultures.

    As for ‘Dr. Jay’. I’ve never been in Santa Monica long enough to get a feel for the place, but my impression is he’s a Hollywood guy, and the central piece of the ‘Dr. Jay phenomenon’ would be a kind of media-image-related narcissism that is pretty apolitical. As Steely Dan put it:

    Show biz kids making movies of themselves
    You know they don’t give a ƒvck about anybody else
    While the poor people sleepin’ with the shade on the light
    While the poor people sleepin’ all the stars come out at night

    So ‘Dr. Bob’, ‘Dr. Jay’ and the NoCals are all different cultural phenomena, but leading to similar material outcomes of unvaccinated kids.

    My argument is that the most political powerful, most obstinate, and most dangerous of these phenomena — and thus the greatest public health concern — is the OC/SD conservative version. I take no real issue with you, Orac, as you have repeatedly said anti-vax is a cross-ideological thing and you have noted it’s underpinnings in libertarian ideology. However the notion that ‘anti-vax=granola crunchers’ still seems to remain the dominant trope on the web in general, and shows up often in the comments here.

    The VPD outbreaks are in Orange and San Diego counties. This is a historically overwhelmingly conservative area, but many people unfamiliar with California don’t know that. The big-time anti-vax supporters in Congress have been Dan Burton, Bill Posey, and Darrell Issa, arch-conservatives all. The science hating and AltMed business loving pols are all Republicans. What little ability the Florida authorities might have had to go after HHI was scuttled by new legislation pushed by Jeb Bush…

    [I’ll put further comment on the ‘Dr. Bob’ thing at my off-RI page at some point, and drop a link back here.]
    ………….
    RAMBLING WIND
    “When people can’t be bothered to read you, look first within before blaming without.” is a fair point. Taken. I’m glad you turned on the TV instead of responding to the Issa comments. That would have been a waste of your time. However when people flame w/o making any effort at comprehension, yes, I have a problem with that. If folks can’t find the point through the verbiage, expend the effort to try to figure out what I’m getting at, I can hardly complain just at that. Everyone has only so much time and energy, and how they chose to make best of that is certainly not for me to say. So skip or skim-and-ignore as you will. NP here. But if you chose to engage, and think you might not be getting it, just ask for clarification or elaboration as Orac did #140 (I’m assuming the ‘Dr. Jay’ question wasn’t entirely rhetorical…). I can do that, and it takes less bandwidth than a flame war.

  131. #133 Vicki
    January 27, 2015

    Steve:

    Is it worth pointing out in so many words that your BIL has just said that you are inherently dishonest and that he will ignore any possible evidence you present?

    For what it’s worth, when someone jumps that fast to that sort of accusation, without previous evidence of behavior, I suspect projection.

  132. #134 Steve
    January 27, 2015

    Vicki, not sure but I think you are saying that he is projecting…not clear since you said “jumps that fast to that sort of accusation” and I never accused him of anything. Did you mean that BIL jumps that fast to my evidence? I agree!

    As for me, my only “jump” to the lawyer label thrown in my face is the dread that I’m lumped in with the majority of lawyers. That’s from my own inherent distrust of…lawyers…knowing that I’m not one that was farm raised as one in my 20’s but instead taught to be honest by my parents and science. I think it was too late for me when I graduated from law school at age 42 to become yet another shady lawyer.

    Apparently not too late to become bellicose, though. Ugh.

  133. #135 Vicki
    January 29, 2015

    Yes, I was suggesting that he is projecting: that someone who is so quick to accuse you of being dishonest on this subject may be intellectually dishonest himself.

  134. […] he lays down a diarrheal drip of antivaccine misinformation while trying to portray himself as being the “reasonable” among “vaccine skeptics” or of Katie Tietje’s “s ” […]

  135. #137 LIz Ditz
    United States
    February 3, 2015

    In which science writer Tara Haelle takes Gordon and Sears to pieces — at Forbes Sears and Gordon: Should misleading vaccine advice have professional consequences?

    Perhaps one could argue that Sears himself, and Gordon, cannot fairly be labeled truly “anti-vaccine” if they give vaccinations in their practices. But here’s the thing: I met and interviewed Sears several years ago, when I first started reporting on vaccines and wanted to explore every avenue, including that of the anti-vaccine side. And so I met Sears at the Dallas Film Festival screening of the anti-vaccine movie The Greater Good. He was serving on a panel there with anti-vaccine doctor Lawrence Pavlevsky, anti-vaccine Texas advocate Dawn Richardson, and anti-vaccine NVIC founder Barbara Loe Fisher. And Gordon has regularly spoken publicly with Jenny McCarthy, anti-vaccine celebrity extraordinaire. From my perspective, the company you keep says a lot about you and your beliefs. Perhaps that’s what fellow AAP members are so concerned about.

    I wonder what is going to happen next?

  136. […] that’s been used of late by everyone from antivaccine-sympathetic pediatricians like “Dr. Bob” Sears to Rand Paul to the aforementioned Oregon Sen. Robert Kruse to, yes, Robert F. Kennedy, […]

  137. […] Dr. Bob really wants to claim he’s not anti-vaccine – as he did in previous posts – following in these footsteps is a bad idea. It is also unprofessional. Dr. Sears does not […]

  138. […] In any case, worrying about the bipartisan support for vaccines rather misses the point, which is that it’s not pushing for laws like SB 277 that undermines the bipartisan support for vaccine mandates. Rather, it’s antivaccinationists who have successfully co-opted the message of “freedom” (as in “health freedom”) in order to link tie vaccine mandates to a narrative of an overweening state seeking to control everything in the lives of its citizens and an affront to parental “choice.” It’s also certain elements of the Republican Party since the Tea Party became such a force. If you want to see detailed explanations and particularly annoying examples of this phenomenon, look no further than the recent bleatings of everyone’s favorite antivaccine pediatrician who claims he’s not “antivaccine,” Dr. Bob Sears, who fuses antivaccine rhetoric with anti-government rhetoric to perfect the antivaccine dog whistle. […]

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