David Kirby smacked down--and not by me!

As you may have guessed, I'm tired of David Kirby. I've slapped down his nonsense so many times before, but, like the Energizer Bunny, he keeps going and going and going, spewing his pseudoscientific antivaccine nonsense, all the while asking that we really, truly believe that he isn't "antivaccine." He just repackages standard antivaccine tropes in clever and dense verbiage to make them somewhat less obvious--but not to those of us familiar with them.

Most recently, he attacked Dr. Rahul K. Parikh, a pediatrician who wrote an excellent and largely favorable review of Dr. Paul Offit's latest book Autism's False Prophets for Salon.com. His attack, on Age of Autism, was hilariously inept and disingenuous.

Now, Dr. Parikh has called Kirby out on his crap, firing back with a devastating salvo on his own Salon.com blog. Read it. Savor it. Enjoy it. It is indeed a joy to behold. I just wish I had some popcorn.

In the meantime, I can't resist pointing out that David Kirby once again destroyed yet another of Orac's irony circuits with this sentence in his attack on Dr. Parikh:

Misinformation is a dangerous thing.

I tell ya, I need to buy a warehouse full of these circuits if I'm going to stay in this fray. David Kirby, propagandist and master of antivaccine misinformation, pointing out that misinformation is dangerous?

No irony meter or circuit could withstand that.

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NOTE: This review of Dr. Offit's book Autism's False Prophets originally appeared over at The ScienceBlogs Book Club. However, now that the book club for this particular book has concluded, I am free to repost it here for those who may not have seen it and to archive it as one of my own posts.…
Please allow me to introduce myself, I'm a man of wealth and taste... Well, not really. I might have one of the two. Or not. Be that as it may, I'm Orac, and I blog regularly at Respectful Insolence. In the more than two and a half years I've been with ScienceBlogs (not to mention the more than a…
One of the advantages of having been a blogger for nearly five years is that you gain a sense of perspective after having written about various issues over and over for a long time. True, the disadvantage is that it sometimes becomes difficult to think of something new to say about longstanding…
You know, I'm really, really beginning to like this Dr. Rahul Parikh guy. Yesterday, he delivered an absolutely delicious smackdown of that chief propagandist for the mercury militia and antivaccine movement, David Kirby. It was at least seven kinds of awesome, and I was truly grateful to Dr.…

No irony meter or circuit could withstand that.

A simple cutout modification when you encounter "Kirby" might help. It won't help neural apoptosis, but at least you won't be spending your Big Pharma checks on replacements.

By D. C. Sessions (not verified) on 24 Sep 2008 #permalink

Oh, he's good! Nicely written!

I am anxious to see if Kirby responds. I know the clowns at generation rescue and AoA will. And, as usual, they will utilize the same strategy and techniques Dr. Parikh described in his response (funny, how they'll read it and it will pass right through without any conscious recognition they keep beating that same old decayed horse).

Some how, some way, it just has to be someones fault!

And as for Kirby...yeah, he rolled the dice. I think he thought he was on to something way back when and put all of his 'investigative journalism' chips on that bet. Well, turned out to be wrong, but he's pot-committed now. He'll do whatever it takes to drag this out, confuse, and mislead as many as he can for his cause and to save face. And, probably keep those checks rolling in. He's getting paid somehow and it's not any other works of 'investigative journalism' that are paying his rent.
I'll go out on a limb and make a bet here myself. I bet that there will be so much headway made in the roll(s) of CNV/de novo mutations, particularly those that affect the stage-specific expression of Shank3 (including, but not limited to, a handful of transcription factors and epigenetic contributors) that will demonstrate to the public that the underlying cause of autism is NOT vaccines, and that these narcissistic journalists and google Ph.D.s will be seen for what they are...ignorant conspiracy theorist hacks.

I can't resist pointing out that David Kirby once again destroyed yet another of Orac's irony circuits with this sentence in his attack on Dr. Parikh:

Wow. That's right up there with lawyer Philip Johnson claiming the required skill to critique evolution, then saying in his anti-evolution book Darwin on Trial that:

"Practicing scientists are of necessity highly specialized, and a scientist outside his field of expertise is just another layman."

Oh, and then proceeding to quote mechanical engineers and inorganic chemists on what's wrong with evolutionary theory.

By wolfwalker (not verified) on 24 Sep 2008 #permalink

I also think Kirby is being paid well for his flacking for the mercury moms. I also suspect that he is at his heart he has some kind of personal hatred for the CDC. He takes every opportunity to bash and smear the CDC with half-truths while always trying to portray himself as a neutral observer. He used to be an AIDS advocate, I suspect that he blames the CDC for deliberately causing or exacerbating the AIDS epidemic. I think he fancies himself as a sort of Randy Shilts, though my impression of Shilts from his book, "And the Band Played On," is that he was extremely honest and seems to have been fair in his criticism of the CDC as well as other agencies and individuals.

By Ms. Clark (not verified) on 24 Sep 2008 #permalink

In reading the comments on Dr. Parihk's blog I note the presence of one "behindblueeyes"--a name I seem to recall seeing elsewhere ...

bhbe starts off with the usual chimp technique used by anti-vax adherents: Throw everything and hope some of it sticks. Once he gets his well-earned logical beat-down, he proceed to move directly to abuse.

As do they all, because they have no ammo.

...and then "behind blue eyes" (we'll just call him 'behind' from now on) goes on to insult a pediatrician who addressed his issues (rather eloquently I would say). What does 'behind' do? Of course! Resort to the "you are a doctor and you think you are so smart but I am just a smart as you because I am educated". Please, spare me the self-glorification of the two years of general education college classes you barely made it through.

The best line "cure the common cold yet?". As if medical doctors invest there time in virology research to 'cure' the cold, or that the fact that it hasn't been cured as of yet validates his opinion that doctors are just stupid and medical science a joke.

It's amazing how some people inflate themselves to levels of professionals when all they do is talk about it and form opinions.

David Kirby, propagandist and master of antivaccine misinformation, pointing out that misinformation is dangerous?

He's working from empirical data...

Kirby deserves all the smack-down he gets.
I notice it was very quick into the replies when someone brought out the "pharma shill" gambit.
No surprise there.

thank you for the link to those articles on salon.com. they were very well written, presented, and understandable by a layman.

too bad there or those who continue to sit with hands over their ears, eyes closed and muttering, "la, la, la, la. i can't hear you." over and over again.

The evil emanations of this dirty electricity are making our kids autistic.

It's not dirty electricity that's the problem, it's heavy electricty, falling out of the wires like tonnes of lead soup!

RJ, in my opinion, correctly identifies the "best line" in the rant by "Behind Blue Eyes":

"Cure the common cold yet?"

I always get a chuckle when people trot out that old canard (usually expressed as "...doctors can't even cure the common cold..."). As a virologist (among my other jobs), I have to laugh, because "the common cold" is caused by hundred (if not thousands) of different viruses from several different families.

Saying "Cure the common cold yet?" is as much of a "dig" as saying "Cure cancer yet?" or "Created world peace yet?" or "Parted the Red Sea with just a staff yet?".

Only a person with a great depth of ignorance could think that saying "Cure the common cold yet?" would be humbling or embarassing to a physician.

Perhaps I've made my point.