Autism

Respectful Insolence

Category archives for Autism

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…

A little more than a week ago, I took note of Dr. Paul Offit’s new book, Do You Believe in Magic? The Sense and Nonsense of Alternative Medicine and a story in which he was featured in USA Today about the nonsense that is alternative medicine. The news story coincided with the release of Paul…

Antivaccinationists endanger public health. They deny to high heaven that that is what they do, but they are deluding themselves. Their fear mongering about vaccines, in which vaccines in general or specific ingredients are portrayed as causing autism and a wide variety of chronic diseases, despite study after study failing to find even a whiff…

Once again, real life, mainly the eternal search (i.e., groveling) for grant money to keep my lab going, interferes with unreal life. Three grant applications due the same week will do that. Hopefully this will be the last time for a while, at least until unreal life might interfere with unreal life in a couple…

Every so often, I like to try to get into the mind of an antivaccine crank, a quack, or crank of another variety, because understanding what makes cranks tick (at least, as much as I can given that I’m not one) can be potentially very useful in my work trying to counter them. On the…

It’s been a while since I’ve written about MMS. You remember MMS, don’t you? It’s an abbreviation for “miracle mineral solution,” a solution first promoted by a man who is inaptly named Jim Humble. Basically, as I’ve described in multiple blog posts, MMS is bleach, specifically chlorine dioxide (ClO2). I first became acutely aware of…

I’ve been trying to lay off the blogging on the weekend for a long time now, and, for the most part, I’ve been successful, as I’m sure regular readers will have noticed. However, sometimes I just can’t help but take a few minutes to note particularly entertaining or important developments. This particular development falls into…

Sometimes, in the course of blogging, I come across a story that I don’t know what to make of. Sometimes, it’s a quack or a crank taking a seemingly science-based position. Sometimes it’s something out of the ordinary. Other times, it’s a story that’s just weird, such that I strongly suspect that something else is…

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. is despicable. I just wanted to get that off my chest. (Do clear Plexiglass boxes full of multicolored blinky multicolored lights even have chests?) The reason for my outburst will become painfully apparent all too soon, but I just had to say that. There’s also one other thing that I just…

I’ve never been able to figure it out. Antivaccine zealots seem to have an intense love of Nazi analogies and comparing those supporting science-based medicine to Nazis. While from a strictly nasty point of view, I can sort of understand the utility of such analogies to demonize one’s opponents. After all, to political extremists of…

As hard as it might be to believe, one time over 20 years ago I actually took the Dale Carnegie course and, as part of that course, read his famous book How To Win Friends and Influence People. I know, I know. It’s probably not obvious from my style of writing on this particular blog,…

Stem cells are magical, mystical things that can’t be explained. At least, if you listen to what docs and “practitioners” who run stem cell clinics in various parts of the world, usually where regulation is lax and money from First World clientele is much sought after, that’s what you could easily come to believe. Unfortunately,…

Well, April is over, which means that Autism Awareness Month is almost over. While antivaccinationists are saying goodbye to April and whining about the very concept of “autism awareness,” I can’t help but realize that the autism quackfest known as AutismOne is less than a month away. Yes, every year around Memorial Day weekend, the…

I had a long day in the operating room yesterday; so I was tired last night. As a consequence, I thought that today might end up being one of those rare weekdays free of new Insolence. Then, in the morning as I was doing my usual brief perusal of e-mail and blogs before heading to…

I want to thank Dan Olmsted, the editor of Age of Autism. I think. Why do I say this? After all, Olmsted is the managing editor of perhaps the most wretched hive of antivaccine scum and quackery that I am aware of. However, he’s actually done me a favor. You see, the other day, the…

Winning antivaccine hearts and minds

I’ve been writing about the antivaccine movement for a long time. The reasons are many, but they boil down to a handful. First of all, it interests me. It interests me as an example of pseudoscience and quackery, how it spreads, and how antiscience cranks attack science. More importantly, it’s dangerous. The antivaccine movement is…

I suppose that while I’m on another roll writing about the antivaccine movement I should just embrace it. I was going to start this post out again with one of my periodic laments about how blogging about the antivaccine movement has taken over and crowded out other topics that I like to write about. I…

I guess that the antivaccinationists didn’t listen to me last time when I suggested that maybe—just maybe—using Holocaust analogies when discussing autism and vaccines is just a wee bit inappropriate, such an overblown analogy that it spreads far more heat than light. At least, Kent Heckenlively didn’t, and, because his invocation of the Nazi card…

Last week, I noted a particularly loathsome trend (even for antivaccinationists) to invoke Holocaust analogies for what they view as the “vaccine-induced autism epidemic holocaust.” Now, loathsome analogies are not uncommon among antivaccinationists, who routinely refer to their children as “damaged” or “toxic” and view them as somehow not their “real” children, but this time…

It’s very clear that many antivaccinationists hate autistic children. The language they use to describe them makes that very clear. Such children are “damaged” (by vaccines, of course); the parents’ real children were “stolen” from them (by vaccines); they are “toxic” (from vaccines); the “light left their eyes” (due to vaccines). Autism is an “epidemic,”…

Last week, the Journal of Pediatrics published a study that did a pretty good job of demolishing a favorite antivaccine trope used to frighten parents. In fact, it’s one of the most effective of antivaccine tropes, as evidenced by a large number of parents who are generally pro-vaccine expressing doubts when asked about this particular…

There are some days when I know what my topic will be—what it must be. These are times in which the universe gives the very appearance of handing to me my topic for the day on the proverbial silver platter with a giant hand descending from the clouds, pointing at it, and saying, “Blog about…

Three weeks ago, a certain “friend” of mine gave a talk to the National Capital Area Skeptics at the National Science Foundation in Arlington, VA. The topic was one near and dear to my heart, namely quackademic medicine; so I couldn’t resist posting a link to the video. Amusingly, Jake Crosby makes an appearance in…

“Common sense” that isn’t

“Common sense” is not so common. Actually, that’s not exactly right. What I meant was that what most people think of as “common sense” has little or nothing to do with what science concludes. Evidence talks, “common sense” walks. I saw a fantastic example to illustrate this point on a certain blog that I’ve found…

I don’t always blog about stories or studies that interest me right away. Part of the reason is something I’ve learned over the last eight years of blogging, namely that, while it’s great to be the firstest with the mostest, I’d rather be the blogger with the mostest than the firstest. I’ve learned this from…