Respectful Insolence

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As I hang out at the San Diego Convention Center, I can’t resist one last note on the Chili’s debacle that I wrote about yesterday. Remember how Wendy Fournier, president of the National Autism Association (NAA), the antivaccine group posing as an autism advocacy group, whined when Chili’s backed out of its deal to donate…

Here I am, sitting on the balcony of my hotel room in sunny San Diego, as I get ready to head over to the 2014 meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR). The sun is rising over the mountains, and the only sound I hear is that of running water in the swimming…

There’s a general rule that whenever you see two enemies fighting with each other that you should generally just let them. Of course, some might argue, as Gandalf did about Saruman and Sauron, that the winner of the fight would emerge stronger and free of doubt, making him harder to conquer. Fortunately, I don’t think…

Almost everyone knows the story of Victor Frankenstein and his monster. It’s such a classic tale that has been around so long and told so many times in so many ways that it’s almost impossible for someone living in this country not to have encountered it growing up. Frankenstein’s monster is also a tale that…

Believe it or not, sometimes I rather miss Jenny McCarthy and Jim Carrey. Although McCarthy is still nominally the head of the anti-vaccine group Generation Rescue, she’s really faded to a rather low profile over the last year or so. Indeed, the last time I even remember her spouting off about vaccines was way back…

An anti-vaccine protest in New York today

Blame Comcast, I say. Blame Comcast for the fact that I don’t have a typical pearl of Orac-ian logorrheic majesty for your edification this morning. And there’s so much that requires such a pearl to be thrown at it, too, in particular a study claiming that cell phone radiation alters brain metabolism in the areas…

If my post today is a bit shorter on the usual Respectfully and not-so-Respectfully Insolent verbiage that you’ve come to know and love (or hate), I hope you’ll forgive me. It’s hard not to sit back, rest a bit, and enjoy the spectacle of Andrew Wakefield being pilloried in the press in the wake of…

Pity poor Andrew Wakefield. 2010 was a terrible year for him, and 2011 is starting out almost as bad. In February 2010, the General Medical Council in the U.K. recommended that Wakefield be stripped of his license to practice medicine in the U.K. because of scientific misconduct related to his infamous 1998 case series published…

Happy Fourth of July, everyone! Since it is a holiday here in the States, I’m chilling out and recovering. I’ll try to be back tomorrow, but, worst case scenario, I’ll be back for sure on Tuesday. (Monday just so happens to be a holiday, too, this year. Gotta have those three day weekends.) In the…

One of the key claims of the “autism biomedical” movement is that something about autism derives from or is exacerbated by the gut; i.e., that there is some sort of link between GI problems, particularly inflammatory diseases of the GI tract, and autism. Although I may not be as versed in the history of this…

Many have been the times over the last five years that I’ve called out bad journalism about medicine in general and vaccines in particular, especially the coverage of the discredited notion that vaccines or mercury in vaccines somehow was responsible for the “autism epidemic.” That’s why I feel a special responsibility to highlight good reporting…

About a week and a half ago, something happened that makes me realize that the Jenny and Jim antivaccine propaganda tour that I mentioned a couple of weeks ago was clearly only phase I of Generation Rescue’s April public relations offensive. About ten days ago, courtesy of J.B. Handley, the founder of Generation Rescue, who…

This is getting to be monotonous, but it’s a monotony that I like, as should anyone who supports scientific medicine and hates the resurgence of infectious diseases that antivaccinationists have been causing of late with their fearmongering about vaccines that frightens parents into refusing to vaccinate their children. It’s the drumbeat of studies, seemingly coming…

Color me unimpressed. As I mentioned last week, that opportunist who has apparently become a paid shill for the hardcore antivaccination movement (namely Generation Rescue, Autism Research Institute, National Autism Association, Coalition for SAFE MINDS, and Talk About Curing Autism, all of whom helped to fund his recent trip to the U.K. and, according to…

My British readers, say it ain’t so! Hot on the heels of learning that, bankrolled by antivaccinationists, David Kirby is planning a trip to the U.K. in early June, I find out something even more disturbing. A reader forwarded this press release to me:

…because the author of the book that fueled the rise of the mercury militia in 2005, that indefatigable purveyor of bad science, logical fallacies and bizarre speculations, that useful idiot that antivaccinationists all know and love, is coming to the U.K next month. Yes, I’m talking about David Kirby. Credulous blogger Ginger of Adventures in…

Three weeks ago, I wrote about some truly irresponsible antivaccination propaganda masquerading as entertainment that aired in the form of a television show called Eli Stone. This show, which portrayed its hero taking on the case of an autistic boy whose mother blamed his autism on thimerosal (going under the fictional name “mercuritol”) in vaccines…

A little more than three months ago there came to pass a very bad day for antivaccinationists. On that day, in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine appeared a study that was powerful evidence that vaccines are not associated with adverse neuropsychiatric outcomes in children. Not surprisingly, the usual suspects in the mercury militia…

The mercury militia go to court

I’ve been a bit remiss when it comes to writing about the lunacy in which it is claimed that vaccines cause autism, allegedly due to the mercury in the thimerosal preservative that was in most childhood vaccines until the end of 2002, when it was removed from all but flu vaccines. It turns out that…

Those arguing the “conventional” view that sound science and epidemiological studies have failed to find a link between vaccines and autism are often tarred with the “pharma shill” brush. Meanwhile, researchers who have ever taken drug company money (particularly if it’s from a drug company that makes vaccines) are castigated for having a serious conflict…

Regular readers of this blog may have noticed that it’s been a while since I’ve written a substantive post on the fear mongering and bad science that are used by activists to support the claim that mercury in the thimerosal used as preservatives in vaccines is the cause of an “autism epidemic.” The closest I’ve…