It’s just disgusting. Autism spectrum disorders are an important health problem (although not the “epidemic” claimed by some). While real scientists and clinicians (and parents) are looking for causes and treatments based on evidence, fake experts are pulling “answers” out of their backsides. Studies of families with autism have shown specific genetic defects associated with autism, and while this applies only to a small percentage of cases, it is an example of a good lead. Even if a minority of people with autism have similar genetic defects, these findings can lead to more generalizable concepts.
Or you can just make shit up.
Jay Gordon, an anti-vaccination pediatrician (yes, that is somewhat oxymoronic), has another piece in the Huffington Post where he not only makes it up, but tries to invalidate all real research by the stroke of a pen (or keyboard). Part of this goes back to a recent HuffPo article by Harvey Karp, an article which was just terrific in some ways—it acknowledged the insanity of the autism-vaccine manufatroversy, but then went off the deep end by blaming “endocrine disrupting chemicals”. What’s with these pediatricians and making stuff up? Seriously!
Anyway, Gordon responds to the crazy the only way he knows how—by turning the crazy up to “11”.
Studies showing that vaccines and their many constituents do not contribute to this problem are flawed, filled with specious reasoning and, for the most part funded by the pharmaceutical industry. Even articles in reputable medical journals are often written by doctors with an economic interest in continuing the vaccination program’s status quo. This does not invalidate all of these studies but it certainly makes them suspect and a poor foundation for an argument excluding vaccines from the list of environmental influences on the increase in autism in America and elsewhere.
Wow, that’s a whole lotta crap in one small paragraph. Let’s review: “flawed”—argument by assertion, or begging the question; “specious reasoning”—ad hominem fallacy; pharma shill gambit—argument by paranoia, another flavor of ad hominem. As usual, the only argument Gordon has for his failure to follow standard of care is that he just trusts himself more than the rest of the medical and scientific community.
He goes on to spout his usual inanity:
Asking that cars be manufactured with more attention to safety and that driving is best when done safely does not make one “anti-car” or anti-driving. Asking for safer vaccinations and more judicious use of those we have does not make me or anyone else “anti-vaccine.”
Since the premise is false, his argument is absurd. We don’t need “safer” vaccines, since the ones we have are 1) already safe; and 2) constantly being monitored for continued safety. If Gordon had better morals and better reasoning skills, and wasn’t wedded to anhistorical thinking, he would realize that not only are the vaccines we have safe, but that they are several orders of magnitude safer than the alternative.
So anyway, he get’s all mad at Karp for trying to be a different kind of crazy:
Dr. Karp, if you are going to talk and blog about kitchen cleaners, furniture polish, pesticides and other toxins, how can you possibly ignore the 30-40 injections of potentially risky material we give children in their first 24 months of life?
Fanatics are nothing if not ideologically pure. “IT’S THE VACCINES SO DON’T BOTHER ME ABOUT YOUR STUPID ENDOCRINE DISRUPTORS!!”
When doctors are arrogant enough to “go with the gut” rather than the evidence, patients are harmed. Gordon even admits that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about, but then disregards it:
I have no proof that vaccines cause autism and would be very excited to have my large group of extremely healthy mostly unvaccinated children studied someday. It would be disingenuous to imply that non-vaccination might not lead to an increased incidence in vaccine-preventable illness. It would be equally disingenuous to state that this possibility poses a great threat to America’s children. The risks of vaccinating the way we do now exceeds the benefits of this vaccine program. “Scientists” who suggest that experienced doctors ignore their eyes and ears are wrong. Detractors who say that we should ignore parents who are certain that vaccines caused their children’s autism are wrong and often quite mean-spirited.
So he has no proof, but it just seems right to him, and anyone who doesn’t agree is a big meanie who ignores parents. I have news for Jay: it’s possible for a patient and a doctor to be wrong. That doesn’t mean their experiences are invalid, just their conclusions. But science by assertion is distracting from real research into autism. If people like Gordon, Karp, or David Kirby really wanted to help, they would support scientists and physicians who are doing real autism research. Fake experts make for fake science, and in medicine, fake science kills people.