Pharyngula

Bookclub on autism

The ScienceBlogs Book Club has started up again, and this time around the book under discussion is Paul Offit’s Autism’s False Prophets: Bad Science, Risky Medicine, and the Search for a Cure(amzn/b&n/abe/pwll). Offit has an entry over there right now, and more will be piling on soon.

This is a good subject to tackle, too: the anti-vaccination clowns are yet another outbreak of lunacy and innumeracy and anti-science nuttery, and Offit’s book fights the good fight. Expect howls of outrage from the clowns.

(By the way, one of the circuses full of clowns is trying to oppose our poll-crushing. If you haven’t voted for Amanda and science yet, get on over there and make them cry.)

Comments

  1. #1 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT, OM
    October 1, 2008

    Here is more concentrated dumb from Jenny.

  2. #2 SC
    October 1, 2008

    Hee hee – I was just going to link to Offit’s post on the McCarthy/Peet thread. I can’t stop linking.

    Look forward to reading more about it.

  3. #3 SC
    October 1, 2008

    Here is more concentrated dumb from Jenny.

    Liberally salting your scientific claims with “freakin'” makes them ever so much more convincing.

    When someone like this first-order nitwit is interviewed on national television on a question of public health, the media should be ashamed. And what’s with the “some say it’s even more dangerous not to vaccinate kids than to vaccinate them”? Like the risks are remotely comparable and there’s anything to McCarthy’s ridiculous claims. Gah.

  4. #4 Richard
    October 1, 2008

    I was really inspired to see those poll results. Jenny McCarthy is being trounced. Go Amanda! Go science!

  5. #5 moo
    October 1, 2008

    If you read the first comment or two on the age-of-autism site, the owner of the original blog (the one with the poll) states it was his intention to support McCarthy. Interesting that he hasn’t just reset the poll to get the answer he wants … perhaps he can’t for some reason.

  6. #6 Celtic_Evolution
    October 1, 2008

    @ The good Reverend at #1…

    Congrats on the OM, Rev. BDC, from a fellow IT grunt…

    I saw that McCarthy video on CNN… what a vile human being she is. She’s the easiest kind to dislike… you know, the kind who honestly believes her arguments carry more weight if she furrows her brow and says “freakin” in front of her point. OHHHHH… well, I never thought of it that way. She’s not just right, she’s FREAKIN right. If only the medical community would just FREAKIN open their eyes. Freakin idiots.

    See how much more convincing that sounds?

    I honestly hope she starts getting hounded by desperate parents of autistic children so that she can “cure” their kids just like she “cured” her son.

  7. #7 moo
    October 1, 2008

    Actually my last post isn’t quite accurate. The poll owner’s post states:

    Whoa — hold on there.

    I’m the owner of the site, and by no means do I support Peet’s position. The photos I chose were meant to convey anger on Jenny’s part, not degrade her position.

    If you look at our previous reports on this story, you’ll see we’ve been quite supportive of McCarthy’s position. I remain objective to hearing both sides — especially as a concerned future father with a kid on the way.

    Thanks to Age of Autism for the link!

    Posted by: Michael | October 01, 2008 at 11:40 AM

  8. #8 tsg
    October 1, 2008

    [Update: Welcome Scienceblogs readers! Your poll mobbing is indeed impressive.]

    Ah, Michael is complaining that the poll doesn’t mean anything because we crashed it.

    Sorry, Michael. It didn’t mean anything before we crashed it.

  9. #9 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT, OM
    October 1, 2008

    See how much more convincing that sounds?

    I’m convinced. I’m actually thinking of raising money now to find a way to de-vaccinate the population.

    And I’m not just talking about the Autistic people who were so harmed by vaccination. I mean everyone.

  10. #10 Sastra
    October 1, 2008

    “I look at (Peet) now and say to myself ‘That was me before I had autism in my life,’ and until she walks in our shoes she really has no idea.” — Jenny McCarthyL

    This interesting quote is one of the little indications that the “Green Our Vaccines” movement is more religious than scientific. Apparently, the critical factor deciding which “side” you come out on is how deeply you feel. If only Amanda Peet were more upset — and cared more about children — then she’d be able to intuit the truth, and follow the ‘right’ science.

    This is what most apologetics come down to. You have to really WANT or NEED something to be true, or you’ll never take that leap of faith which you should be taking. Objectivity is bad, a sign that your emotions are blunted and insensitive. “When you get unhappy enough, then you’ll believe in God.”

    Or, in this case, accept that there’s a connection between autism and vaccines.

    This manages to effectively demonize the other side. We think they are wrong because they are using bad reasoning. But they think we are wrong because we are bad people.

  11. I’ve had near death experiences and I know people that have too. If you aren’t a member of the near death experience community you have no right to talk about it.

    Until you walk a mile in our shoes you can’t frickin understand the issues involved. I say you need to educate yourself about all the people who have had NDEs. We’ve seen it first hand. We are eye witnesses to the truth of NDEs and their connection to heaven and God.

  12. #12 Skepdude
    October 1, 2008

    My comment is up there. Nice book by the way, I recommend it.

  13. #13 pixelfish
    October 1, 2008

    I voted. Although before this, I had no idea that McCarthy and Carrey were so…um…loose with their logic. I knew she had an autistic child and that he’d gotten involved with the kid and autism awareness movements, I just didn’t know they’d wrapped round to the “Vaccines be evil” side. It strikes me as kinda weird that they have chosen to be actively against science, which has the best chance of helping McCarthy’s child, and aligning themselves with feel-good-blame-the-vaccine rhetoric and weird Crystal Child views, which have no chance of helping the kid.

  14. #14 Felicia
    October 1, 2008

    I’m grouped in with the anti-vaccination idiots usually because I can’t get them. It is so fricking annoying. :(

    I am pro-science and pro-vaccination but apparently everyone glosses over that and focuses on the fact my doctor’s actively deny giving them to me due to my history of extremely poor reactions to them. Apparently that makes me anti-vaccination or… something. I’m called an idiot pretty frequently though I think their comprehension skills are the thing that needs re-evaluation in the actual long run.

    I will definitely check out this book club, though. Sounds extremely interesting.

  15. #15 Evolving Squid
    October 1, 2008

    On an unrelated note, is there going to be an International Cephalopod Awareness day on 8 October this year, as there was last year? Maybe it should be “Vaccinate Your Squidlings” day :)

    Surely, if anyone would know, the denizens of Pharyngula would…

  16. #16 Michael
    October 1, 2008

    Moo–

    Why would I reset the poll answers to get the response “I want”? Did you not ready my desire to remain objective on this issue.

    And yes, I realize you’ll slam me for being “objective” on an issue you’ve made your mind up over, but please — I find this to be an incredibly passionate debate and I’m very interested to hear from both sides.

    To TSG:

    “Ah, Michael is complaining that the poll doesn’t mean anything because we crashed it.”

    Where do you see my scorn here? Polls are ridiculously horrible — but they do offer a level of interaction — and occasionally do provide feedback. By acknowledging the link from this site, I thought it would benefit others to understand the passion on the OTHER side of the debate — and also learn something from that perspective in the process.

    Anyways, good discussion. Thanks for the comments.

  17. #17 Kobra
    October 1, 2008

    They can’t out-pollmob us! We have NERDS on our side. NERDS! Complete with polyhedral dice and latex swords!

  18. #18 Celtic_Evolution
    October 1, 2008

    @ Michael

    And yes, I realize you’ll slam me for being “objective” on an issue you’ve made your mind up over, but please — I find this to be an incredibly passionate debate and I’m very interested to hear from both sides.

    You say “an issue you’ve made your mind up over” like you have any idea what you’re talking about, AND like it’s a bad thing. You’re mistaken on both counts. The only thing most of us here have made up our minds about is that the OVERWHELMING (and I can’t stress that word enough) body of evidence collected so far on an issue that has been studied intensively, is that the position McCarthy is taking is one of dangerous ignorance based on personal, anecdotal data. Which is fine as long as she’s harming no-one but herself in the process… but by her actions that’s clearly not the case, now is it. So yeah, we’ve made up our minds about the huge support the data shows to there being NO link between vaccines and autism. And I hardly think that’s a bad thing. As soon as someone provides equally strong evidence in the other direction, I reserve the right to have my mind changed.

    Where do you see my scorn here? Polls are ridiculously horrible — but they do offer a level of interaction — and occasionally do provide feedback. By acknowledging the link from this site, I thought it would benefit others to understand the passion on the OTHER side of the debate — and also learn something from that perspective in the process.

    I’m afraid it’s YOU that miss tsg’s point entirely. The only thing you said in that comment that rings true is that “polls are ridiculously horrible”… yet you then went on to defend yours. Which is it, Michael? Simply stating an opinion and then opening up an open discussion thread is a MUCH better way to offer a level of constructive interaction. And polls do NOT provide any USABLE feedback, which I’m sure you should well understand as a result of this pole. You really think this poll shows anything at all useful or relevant to the discussion? No… of course not. And that was the point of tsg’s comment… a point which you sadly still don’t get.

  19. #19 moo
    October 1, 2008

    Re: Post by: Michael | October 1, 2008 12:38 PM

    I didn’t read your post carefully and I misrepresented your position, sorry. Thus I quoted you in the entirety in my second post. Your stated desire to be ‘objective’ could indicate you weren’t aware of how baseless and harmful the anti-vaccine message happens to be. Or it could mean you are guilty of a ‘teach the controversy’ type of idiocy that the scienceblog crowd knows and loves — time will tell.

  20. #20 tsg
    October 1, 2008

    To TSG:

    “Ah, Michael is complaining that the poll doesn’t mean anything because we crashed it.”

    Where do you see my scorn here?

    From your own words: “Your poll mobbing is indeed impressive.” Your choice of the words “poll mobbing” speaks volumes about your bias: many people voting against your position is “mobbing”; many people voting with your position is not.

    Polls are ridiculously horrible — but

    Replace the “but” with a period and you might have something there. “Everything before the ‘but’ is bullshit.”

    they do offer a level of interaction — and occasionally do provide feedback.

    Facts are not decided by popularity. Whether more of your readers think Jenny McCarthy or Amanda Peet is right doesn’t mean a thing.

    By acknowledging the link from this site, I thought it would benefit others to understand the passion on the OTHER side of the debate — and also learn something from that perspective in the process.

    Passion has nothing to do with it. Evidence does.

  21. #21 Bob Magness
    October 1, 2008

    It has been awhile since I read a non-fiction book. I wish it was available on the Kindle, that is unless the book has a lot of graphics.

  22. #22 Caleb
    October 1, 2008

    His book is taking a big hit on Amazon because of the anti-vax crazies, please post positive reviews once you’re done reading!

  23. #23 Nick Gotts
    October 1, 2008

    Michael,
    Being objective means taking proper account of the evidence – it does not mean giving both sides equal credence, unless the evidence is more or less evenly balanced. In this case, it is not.

  24. #24 rob
    October 1, 2008

    didn’t the dinosaurs die out because they vaccinated?

  25. #25 Michael
    October 1, 2008

    TSG: Oh please — does my use of the word “mobbing” really speak volumes about my position? I used the word based on the linking posts encouragement for “the mob from this site to vote” over on the site. I believe the choice of words was from Jenny McCarthy’s reference to the “angry mob on her side.”

    That’s all, mate. If it had been an opposing view making massive waves, I would have said the same thing.

    And yes, both you and Celtic have made the point very clear on the lunacy of polls. In the future, I’ll be much more careful about how they’re used — and with what topics. Thank you.

    And to Moo — as someone who regularly is forced to defend climate change science against “gut feelings”, I never want to be one that “teaches the controversy”. This was a celebrity news item and reported as such. It’s up to our readers to remain objective, seek out the evidence, and come to their own conclusions.

  26. #26 Michael
    October 1, 2008

    Not sure if it’s been covered already here on the site, but Salon published a great article on the anti-vaccine movement last week. You can check it out here.

  27. #27 Bob L
    October 1, 2008

    Didn’t Hitler have people get vaccines?

  28. #28 QrazyQat
    October 1, 2008

    This interesting quote is one of the little indications that the “Green Our Vaccines” movement is more religious than scientific. Apparently, the critical factor deciding which “side” you come out on is how deeply you feel.

    Warning, Superficial Pop Pysch follows: If you’ve noticed Jenny McCarthy’s talk about her child since before he was born you see what’s going on with her. According to McCarthy, he was going to be an extra special child, a Crystal Child, which shows that Jenny is an Indigo Adult. All this is extra extra special (Google for it if you want details on the woo-woo).

    So then she has the child, and instead of being a Crystal Child he’s autistic. For the parent who’d invested her inflated sense of self worth in the child being a Crystal Child (which shows she’s specially good and better), this is a heavy blow. It’s like the child is “defective”, and if the child being “better” than others shows mom is so much better than others, what does the child being “worse” show?

    So she has no recourse (other than a fit of rationality, which is unlikely for those heavily into woo-woo) except to find a culprit which isn’t her, something that “damaged” her extra special Crystal Child, something that isn’t her. Because if it’s not vaccines, or witches, or soemthing external, then it’s her, and that means she’s no longer exceptional, but “bad” and “damaged” herself.

    Now the truth is that it’s not her, the kid is not “bad” or “damaged” in a values way, the kid just has an unfortunate problem which mom has to deal with. She could deal with it the way, say, actress Laura San Giacomo dealt with, and deals with, her son who has cerebral palsy: get a job (a series) where she can work closer to home, help him, raise money and campaign for schools to help both him and kids like him. That’s the rational approach, but the rational approach is easier when you haven’t already invested in a life scenario where the child’s life and abilities demonstrate your specialness. If you choose the non-rational “specialness” approach, you run the risk of having the child “prove” your non-specialness if the poor child isn’t what you wished he were. And by then it’s hard to dig yourself out of the hole you’ve created, and McCarthy isn’t abiding by the first rule of holes. Instead, she’s commandeered that handy steam shovel and she’s been digging 24/7.

  29. #29 tsg
    October 1, 2008

    TSG: Oh please — does my use of the word “mobbing” really speak volumes about my position? I used the word based on the linking posts encouragement for “the mob from this site to vote” over on the site. I believe the choice of words was from Jenny McCarthy’s reference to the “angry mob on her side.”

    Let’s just say it doesn’t read that way.

    And yes, both you and Celtic have made the point very clear on the lunacy of polls. In the future, I’ll be much more careful about how they’re used — and with what topics. Thank you.

    Mission accomplished.

  30. #30 Nick Gotts
    October 1, 2008

    Bob L@27,
    Hitler was against smoking too! So clearly, all non-smokers are Nazis.

  31. #31 shane
    October 1, 2008

    “Age of Autism” are asking to “Bump her book up Amazon’s chart”. Um… How do we NOT buy a book and make it count?
    ;-)

  32. #32 azqaz
    October 1, 2008

    Jenny McCarthy just needs to look in a mirror and then glance at her husband to get a good feel for the source of where an autism diagnosis for her son could come from. She strikes me as being a possible Aspie or PPD-NOS (in interviews in the 90’s she refered to herself as being a nerd (yes, anecdotal, I know)), and she is married to Mr. Autistic Spectrum himself. Couldn’t be any of those factors, it must be the vaccines.

    On the orriginal topic, Dr. Offits book looks interesting and I might just have to pick up a copy. Maybe my wife will read it and stop jumping on and off the woo wagon every 6 month to a year.

  33. #33 Ryan F Stello
    October 1, 2008

    Michael (#26) whined,

    It’s up to our readers to remain objective, seek out the evidence, and come to their own conclusions.

    That’s pretty much the problem that has been pointed out by your usage of the poll.

    It’s incredibly cowardly to take a strongly stated position, free of evidence, and then expect that your readers to do your legwork in fact-checking you.

  34. #34 Jason
    October 1, 2008

    Michael in #16:
    “I find this to be an incredibly passionate debate and I’m very interested to hear from both sides.”

    And there is the problem with your attempt to be objective. It has nothing to do with being passionate, and everything to do with the evidence.
    You are not convinced that gravity is real because someone argued it passionately to you. You’re convinced because if you drop a rock in mid air, it will fall. And no amount of passionate arguing against gravity will convince you otherwise because of that.

  35. #35 Jason
    October 1, 2008

    Arguments aren’t right or wrong based on how strongly they’re believed by their proponents. The truth is still the truth even if nobody believes it.

  36. #36 tsg
    October 1, 2008

    The truth is still the truth even if nobody believes it.

    Completely off topic except that you reminded me of it. Terry Pratchett describes one of his characters as “substitious”. Superstitions are things people believe which aren’t true. Substitions are things that are true that nobody believes.

  37. #37 Michael
    October 1, 2008

    It’s incredibly cowardly to take a strongly stated position, free of evidence, and then expect that your readers to do your legwork in fact-checking you.

    Ryan — what strongly stated position did I take that you’re referring to? I only reported on what McCarthy said, nothing more.

  38. #38 Orac
    October 1, 2008

    And to Moo — as someone who regularly is forced to defend climate change science against “gut feelings”, I never want to be one that “teaches the controversy”. This was a celebrity news item and reported as such. It’s up to our readers to remain objective, seek out the evidence, and come to their own conclusions.

    A very common corollary to “teach the controversy” is “tell both sides and let the reader decide”!

    So Moo nailed it. Michael is a “teach the controversy” kind of guy with respect to vaccines, even though he realizes what an inherently intellectually dishonest position it is.

  39. #40 Celtic_Evolution
    October 1, 2008

    @ Michael –

    I feel like maybe we’re piling on you a bit, and I won’t make statements about your “strongly stated positions”, because I’m not sure you made any in your post… accepted.

    However, I think it’s fair to take issue with your seeming position of “tell both sides and let the readers decide”. That works when there are really two equally valid sides to an issue. But in this case, the evidence is so overwhelmingly in favor of one side, that supporting the other side is willful ignorance, and the only thing we really should continue to do, insofar as “presenting the other side”, is to continue to point this fact out until people get it.

  40. #41 HumanisticJones
    October 1, 2008

    JasonS @39

    We can also vote up the accurate 1 star reviews of the book and vote down the slobbering drones rating it a 5.

  41. #42 Ryan F Stello
    October 1, 2008

    Michael (#37) looked askance,

    what strongly stated position did I take that you’re referring to?

    Well, Michael, I merely took your advice:

    If you look at our previous reports on this story, you’ll see we’ve been quite supportive of McCarthy’s position.

    and found this editorialized description of the GOV event:

    Here’s a little brain candy: in 1960 children in the U.S received 5 vaccinations. By 2007 the number had reached 24 vaccine injections to protect against 16 different diseases. That’s a lot of frigin chemicals!

    What, do you really expect people to believe in your objectivity when you claim to not be objective and write non-objectively?

    I’m not saying its necessarily wrong to not be objective, but it is wrong to lie about your objectivity.

    So, how about the real issue: Why do you lay it on your readers to do your work?

  42. #43 Snitzels
    October 1, 2008

    hehehe, i think they’re just upset that people who actually have some education and not just “firmly held beliefs” have corrected them.

  43. #44 Michael
    October 1, 2008

    Well, Michael, I merely took your advice:

    If you look at our previous reports on this story, you’ll see we’ve been quite supportive of McCarthy’s position.

    Right, we’ve been supportive in showing both sides. We’ve given just as much coverage to Peet as well.

    and found this editorialized description of the GOV event:

    Here’s a little brain candy: in 1960 children in the U.S received 5 vaccinations. By 2007 the number had reached 24 vaccine injections to protect against 16 different diseases. That’s a lot of frigin chemicals!

    Those are not my words — but another writer’s. But yes, his reaction to the increase in chemicals would show bias to the investigative nature of antivax groups to search for a link.

    Look, if you want to find fault with the way that we’ve covered this topic, you’ll find it. I’m not trying to lay anything at the feet of my readers — if I say I support something, I will back it up on the site as to why. But I’ve definitely never swung one way or the other on this topic, blindly given support, and then said “good luck!” to my readers in backing me up.

    Now, given the excellent comments and information being shown to me – do I now have a better understanding of the science and history of this debate? Absolutely. In future posts, will I have a personal opinion to add to the story — certainly. But up until now, the only aspect that I have reported on is the feud between two celebrities and the topic being discussed.

  44. #45 Michael
    October 1, 2008

    @Celtic_Evolution:

    However, I think it’s fair to take issue with your seeming position of “tell both sides and let the readers decide”. That works when there are really two equally valid sides to an issue. But in this case, the evidence is so overwhelmingly in favor of one side, that supporting the other side is willful ignorance, and the only thing we really should continue to do, insofar as “presenting the other side”, is to continue to point this fact out until people get it.

    Point taken and noted.

  45. #46 Tom
    October 1, 2008

    I enjoy seeing them take a crack at those know-nothing fanatics at the American Academy of Pediatrics. Just who do those medical doctors think they are, spouting off about their own area of expertise. For Christ’s sake, Jenny McCarthy says they’re wrong.

  46. #47 Eric Atkinson
    October 1, 2008

    Those damn “Quackapractors” are pushing this anti-vaccination crap. More people need to refute this nonsense.
    Poliomyelitis sucks, I know. I came down with a case of it in 1959. I learned to walk with braces on my lower legs, luckly the effect were minor. I also came down with Bacterial meningitis, which me mostly deaf due to the effects of streptomycin. Better deaf then dead.
    So, ok new age yuppies and luddie like hippies, don’t vaccinate your kids. There is nothing bad that can happen.

  47. #48 teter
    October 1, 2008

    http://www.yahoo.com/s/963139

    An interview with Jenny from CNN.

    terrifying freak… vitamins and cleansing detox cures autism…

    I had no idea…?

    sorry, have to go and vomit now

  48. #49 Celtic_Evolution
    October 1, 2008

    Now, given the excellent comments and information being shown to me – do I now have a better understanding of the science and history of this debate? Absolutely. In future posts, will I have a personal opinion to add to the story — certainly. But up until now, the only aspect that I have reported on is the feud between two celebrities and the topic being discussed.

    I’m glad to hear that. I recommend that you continue to learn all you can about this issue, both on this site and others. And look into the number of studies that have been done… the Salon article you mentioned above is an excellent, albeit truncated, look into the issue, and the amount of data supporting the lack of a link between vaccines and autism. It’s also a very important issue that affects not only people whose lives have been touched by autism, but the rest of us poor saps whose lives will be adversely affected if people who think like McCarthy have their way. It goes far deeper than a petty feud between two Hollywood celebs, and deserves to be treated a little more seriously than your poll allowed. That’s the point behind crashing the poll, and the point behind making a big hairy stink about it as we’ve done. We’re not worried about offending people or hurting their feelings… we’re worried about getting the facts out there and shining a focused light on the dangerous ignorance of people like Jenny McCarthy.

    Ok… I’ll hop down off the pulpit now.

  49. #50 Ryan F Stello
    October 1, 2008

    But up until now, the only aspect that I have reported on is the feud between two celebrities and the topic being discussed.

    The “topic being discussed” aspect is the only aspect that I’m interested in, and yet you still continue to enshroud the topic in the celebrity part of it, as if that was even mildly important.

    Indeed,

    We’ve given just as much coverage to Peet as well.

    is still not the same as saying that you’ve given as much support to Peet’s position as you have McCarthy’s, now is it?

    The reason I can find fault with the way you and your writers have covered the topic is because you keep defending your coverage when it’s your choice of coverage that is in question.

    Or maybe I really am expecting too much from a “gossip” site.

  50. #51 Tulse
    October 1, 2008

    So she has no recourse [...] except to find a culprit which isn’t her, something that “damaged” her extra special Crystal Child, something that isn’t her. Because if it’s not vaccines, or witches, or soemthing external, then it’s her, and that means she’s no longer exceptional, but “bad” and “damaged” herself.

    Interestingly, the response many parents seem to have to autism is one of two extremes — either they child has been “damaged” in some way by external forces (e.g., vaccinations), or their child is actually “special” or “different” but not dysfunctional (e.g., the whole “facilitated communication” nonsense, and, to some degree, the “neurodiversity” movement). Neither extreme accepts the premise that their child is simply neurologically abnormal in some detrimental way through no one’s particular fault.

  51. #52 David Marjanovi?, OM
    October 1, 2008

    They can’t out-pollmob us! We have NERDS on our side. NERDS! Complete with polyhedral dice and latex swords!

    Complete with this here.

    WARNING: Don’t drink and surf. Your keyboard will thank you.

  52. #53 tsg
    October 1, 2008

    Complete with this here.

    No thanks, I already have my own.

  53. #54 Shaden Freud
    October 1, 2008

    Send in…the clowns….
    Those daffy, laffy clowns….
    Send in those soulful and doleful…schmaltz…by the bowlful, clowns….
    Send in…the…clowns…*sob*

    They’re…al…rea…dy…heeeeeeere…..

  54. #55 Badjuggler
    October 1, 2008

    Aaaaaahhhh. I never would have thought to use “biomedical” treatments on my kid. Duh!

  55. #56 Victor
    October 1, 2008

    Yes, we all agree Jenny McCarthy is better seen not heard. I liked her much better as a nude model than in her present role as a religiowacko, overly concerned (with herself) parent…

  56. #57 Pale
    October 1, 2008

    Question for antivacs:

    How would you measure the validity of any evidence that justifies the conclusion that vaccines are safe?

  57. #58 Johnny
    October 1, 2008

    To the person (I believe QrazyQat) who introduced me to the term “Crystal Child”, you’ve really turned me on to something incredible.

    After some amount of “research” on the subject,, which is really nothing more than me googling it and reading the literature with my mouth agape, I now “know” that evolution has produced a new breed of humans — the Crystal Children — and they are far more advanced than us regular old losers born in the 20th century (the Crystal Children started coming around with the new Millenium, don’t you know).

    Jenny McCarthy’s child is a Crystal Child. Jenny McCarthy herself is an “Indigo”, which apparently is another brand of superior human being, but can be older than 8. I can’t quite put my finger on what makes and Indigo an Indigo, but suffice it to say, they are better.

    My original reaction to this autism business was basically “aww, don’t be so mean, she’s dealing with something really tough, and saying some dumb things”. Now that I know she’s out there actively telling millions of people, many of them really dumb and gullible, not to have their children vaccinated, I think it’s open season on Jenny McCarthy.

    I mean come on, Jenny fuckin’ McCarthy telling people about health care? Yeah sure, and when I’m done reading her book, I’ll pick up John Stamos’ latest treatise on Constitutional law.

  58. #59 ATL-Apostate
    October 1, 2008

    Part of the reason why I left primary care pediatrics is nut-job parents like McCarthy.
    Vaccinations are THE SECOND most important scientific development in medicine. (Second only to the discovery of germ theory, imho)

  59. #60 Liz Ditz
    October 1, 2008

    Saving you the trouble of going over to the Age of Autism blog, which styles itself “Daily Web Newspaper of the Autism Epidemic” (aside to you those new to the game — there isno epidemic, and AoA is as much a newspaper as the Daily Planet. Weekly World News had more facts).

    It isn’t clear who wrote this little gem at AoA (note:
    emphasis added)

    http://tinyurl.com/3vsogj

    Caddy Day is Over at Age Of Autism

    Many of you have expressed surprise that we had the equivalent of “Caddy Day” in the comments section today on the “Jenny Vote” post. It seems the folks at Science Blogs enjoyed their time here, doesn’t it? Ecorazzi, a gossip site, announced that they’d “poll mobbed” the site. We simply repeated that. And in they came in droves to show us their best cannonballs on the topic of vaccines and autism. But don’t worry. They’re gone now. Back to their hidey holes, pharmaceutical companies (waving to Merck) and blogs. We now return to a clean pool.

    So all you Pharyngulites: now you know. You’ve all been accused of depositing fecal material in the formerly pristine AoA “pool of ideas”, and have been awarded the Pharma Shill medal.

    Goes to show how impervious to evidence and rationality the AoAistas are.

    It would be all be trivial, except that the AoAistas routinely advocate and administer dangerous, unproven “treatments” for autism.

  60. #61 Ruana
    October 1, 2008

    So, if McCarthy’s ‘mob’ support means she’s right, Peet’s much bigger mob obviously means she’s that much righter!

  61. #62 Azkyroth
    October 1, 2008

    Why would I reset the poll answers to get the response “I want”? Did you not ready my desire to remain objective on this issue.

    Among opponents of sound science, this is often said and rarely meant.

  62. #63 Azkyroth
    October 1, 2008

    She strikes me as being a possible Aspie or PPD-NOS (in interviews in the 90’s she refered to herself as being a nerd (yes, anecdotal, I know)), and she is married to Mr. Autistic Spectrum himself.

    Speaking as a person who actually falls into one or more of the categories you named, this is news to me. Perhaps you could back it up?

  63. #64 Steven Dunlap
    October 1, 2008

    Re: The Crystal Child and responsibility

    Although somewhat tangential, I suggest renting the DVD (or place it on you netflix queue):

    The Sweet Hereafter.

    After a bus accident kills almost all the children in a tiny Canadian town a lawyer shows up to convince them he can find someone to blame. It’s a very interesting study in human motivation and behavior. Reading the posts about McCarthy and the quest for someone to blame made me think of this.

  64. #65 Steven Dunlap
    October 1, 2008

    Whoa! Bad grammar, bad rhetoric.

    In my post above I mangled the sentence and failed to proof read it before posting.

    should read: After a bus accident kills almost all the children in a tiny Canadian town a lawyer shows up to convince their parents he can find someone to blame.

    Boy, that was a bad one.

  65. #66 Fedor
    October 2, 2008

    Tip for those more tech savvy: If you clear all (relevant) cookies then you can vote again and again! In Firefox this works as following:

    Tools-> Options -> Privacy tab -> Show Cookies button

    Write ‘ecorazzi’ in the search box and delete all remaining cookies.

    ;-)

  66. #67 azqaz
    October 2, 2008

    Well, let’s see. My statement was anecdotal, as was stated in my original post, but as to Mr. Carrey… Are you serious? Hmm. Lets see. What was it the Doctor told me were the signs of Aspergers when I was diagnosed? Ummm. Inappropriate social interactions. Hmmm. He seems totally within the bounds of Neurotypical behavior. (wink, wink). Average to above average intelligence. Yep. He is a complete moron. That puts my theory to rest. Oh, and coping skills. Nobody would ever use comedy as a coping skill to compensate for any inappropriate social behaviors. Dang, your right. No signs that Jim Carrey may be on the Autism Spectrum.

  67. #68 RedGreenInBlue
    October 2, 2008

    As a Green Party member (and indeed a local election candidate), I get annoyed at slogans like “Green Our Vaccines”.

    Green philosophy is fundamentally about organising society in such a way that it respects all the planet’s inhabitants, present and future. A hypothetical “green” vaccine is one which doesn’t involve harm to animals, whose manufacture and distribution produces the minimum of waste or pollutants, where all who need that vaccine have access to it and the intellectual property and so on. Just because a product is safe at the point of use does not necessarily mean it is “green”.

    The desire to protect one’s children from harm by whatever cause is perfectly reasonable (even if this is almost entirely misplaced in the case of vaccines), but has nothing to do with environmental concerns. My suspicion is that McCarthy et al. are simply using the general public’s concerns about the environment (which tend to be more prominent in parents of young children), particularly with alarm-bells like “pollutants” and “toxins” as a vehicle to get their emotive, fact-free message past people’s critical thinking skills.

    And if vaccinating (with antigens either identical or very similar to the natural versions) isn’t natural, then what the hell is natural about chelation with synthetic agents like EDTA or DMSA?

    /rant

  68. #69 Kel
    October 2, 2008

    It’s got to the stage now where not vaccinating your children should count as neglect. It’s unnecessarily putting the child at risk of debilitating diseases because of some hearsay and scaremongering.

  69. #70 Pablo
    October 2, 2008

    It’s got to the stage now where not vaccinating your children should count as neglect. It’s unnecessarily putting the child at risk of debilitating diseases because of some hearsay and scaremongering.

    Bah, I am less concerned about anti-vaxers putting their kids at risk than I am about them putting MY kids at risk.

    As I said in the other thread, the decision to not vaccinate is no more of a “personal” decision than that to drink and drive.

    We don’t make drunk driving illegal because it could harm the driver, but because it puts others at risk.

    That is the same problem with not vaccinating.

  70. #71 QrazyQat
    October 2, 2008

    I can’t quite put my finger on what makes and Indigo an Indigo

    I’ve always assumed it’s a history of holding your breath til you turn blue, then holding it a bit longer. John McCain may be one.

    It’s got to the stage now where not vaccinating your children should count as neglect. It’s unnecessarily putting the child at risk of debilitating diseases because of some hearsay and scaremongering.

    And not just your child. What the anti-vaccination mob is doing is advocating for the return of delibiltating and often deadly childhood diseases. In McCarthy’s case then, she’s trying to facilitate the deaths of thousands of children — tens of millions worldwide — to make her feel better about herself.

  71. #72 Kel
    October 2, 2008

    Bah, I am less concerned about anti-vaxers putting their kids at risk than I am about them putting MY kids at risk.

    There’s always that too

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