Autism

Respectful Insolence

Category archives for Autism

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…

I know I dump on a website known as The Thinking Moms’ Revolution (TMR), but I do so with good reason. Given what a wretched hive of antivaccine scum and quackery that website is, rivaling or surpassing any antivaccine website I can think of, even the blog equivalent of the great granddaddies of wretched hives…

I’m running out of popcorn again. I know I’ve been writing a lot about the latest internecine war among cranks. It’s a battle royale whose first shot occurred when everybody’s favorite Boy Wonder “reporter” betrayed his mentors with a missive published on a hive of scum and quackery even more wretched that the hive of…

It’s been well over two weeks since I urged everyone to get out the popcorn and sit back to enjoy the internecine war going on over in the antivaccine movement. The reason for my chuckling was the way that everyone’s favorite Boy Wonder Reporter Propagandist for the antivaccine crank blog Age of Autism, Jake Crosby,…

That the myth that vaccines cause autism is indeed nothing more than a myth, a phantom, a delusion unsupported by science is no longer in doubt. In fact, it’s been many years now since it was last taken seriously by real scientists and physicians, as opposed to crank scientists and physicians, who are still selling…

Yesterday, I wrote about how “they” view “us,” the “they” being believers in dubious medicine, pseudoscience, and outright quackery. As examples, I used believers in the unsupported claims of “brave maverick” cancer doctor Stanislaw Burzynski and antivaccine activists who are utterly convinced, against all science and evidence, that vaccines caused their children’s autism. I pointed…

How “they” view “us”

Those of us who dedicate considerable time and effort to combatting quackery generally do it because we think we’re doing good. Certainly, I wouldn’t spend so much time nearly every evening blogging the way I do if I didn’t think so. It’s true that I also enjoy it, but if I were doing this just…

It’s good to see that the organizers of the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation finally realized its mistake: Actress Jenny McCarthy has been dumped again. McCarthy won’t be in Ottawa for Bust A Move. The Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation reacted today to a public backlash in signing the anti-vaccine campaigner to the Ottawa breast health fundraiser.…

Three years ago, the influenza season was a really big deal. The reason, of course, is that the 2009-2010 flu season was dominated by fears of the H1N1 strain, so much so that it was a rare flu season that there were two recommended vaccines, one for the originally expected strains of flu and one…

Beauty and the antivaccine beast

The last couple of days have been very busy, as you might have guessed from my brief (for me) post on Tuesday and my—shall we say?—appropriation of a post to use for yesterday. Today’s going to be the same, but for more pleasant reasons than having had to go out to dinner with a visiting…