The fixed mindset of the anti-vaccine activist

One of my interests in skepticism and critical thinking has been the similarity in the fallacious arguments, approach to data, and general behavior of those who are--to put it generously--not so skeptical or scientific in their approach to life. I'm talking about believers in the paranormal, quacks, anti-vaccine activists, conspiracy theory mavens, Holocaust deniers, creationists, anthropogenic global warming denialists, and cranks of all stripes. Indeed, it is this similarity in mindset that led Mark Hoofnagle to coin the term "crank magnetism," a perfect description of how people who believe in one form of crankery often believe in other forms of crankery as well. Examples include Dr. Lorraine Day, who's a believer in cancer quackery (indeed, lots of other forms of quackery, too) and is a rabid Holocaust denier as well; Melanie Phillips, who is anti-vaccine and doesn't believe in AGW or evolution, either; Vox Day, who hits the crank trifecta of anti-vaccinationism, evolution denialism, and anthropogenic global warming (AGW) denialism; Nicholas Kollerstrom, who hits the different crank trifecta of Holocaust denial, astrology, and crop circles; and Mike Adams, whose crank magnetism encompasses virtually all forms of pseudoscience except for than AGW denialism.

But crank magnetism is not the only aspect of the believer in pseudoscience, and that's an extreme "us versus them" mentality. True, this is not a characteristic unique to cranks or even defining of cranks, but when you verbiage like this in combination with dubious science, chances are that you are dealing with a grade-A woo-meister, a crank par excellance:

I want to win the "Vaccine-Autism War."

It's probably why I spend inordinate amounts of my scarce free time watching History Channel specials on military battles and tactics. The books I read also tend to be about great historical struggles and what eventually happened.

And sometimes I simply can't believe we haven't already won.

These are the words of Kent Heckenlively, whom we've met multiple times before on this blog. He's one of the main bloggers for the anti-vaccine crank blog Age of Autism and, over its history, has written some truly appalling posts, such as when he described borrowing $15,000 from his daughter's grandparents to take her to a clinic in Costa Rica for a quack stem cell treatment for autism that involved injecting "stem cells" right into his daughter's cerebrospinal fluid. Another example was when he enthusiastically embraced a model of autism in which he speculated that bacteria made toxic heavy metals that caused autism. His most recent appalling post came not long before TAM, when Heckenlively quoted a passage from Psalm 94 praying to God for vengeance upon the enemies of Israel. The implication was obvious; Heckenlively was praying for the Lord to bring vengeance upon those who support vaccine science. He also cited Stephen King's novel The Stand, which featured an apocalyptic nuclear explosion in Las Vegas in its climax. Given that the post was written only a couple of days before 1,600 skeptics descended upon Las Vegas, the timing of the post was certainly concerning.

After proclaiming his love for all things military and regurgitating common anti-vaccine canards, such as confusing correlation with causation with regards to vaccines and autism and citing parental testimonials, Kent decides to get down to business trying to analyze The "Mindset" of Our Opponents. First, he cites a book by Carol Dweck entitled Mindset, which to him has special relevance to his study as a brave maverick anti-vaccinationist. Next, he absolutely obliterates yet another of my irony meters (and this was one that I wrapped in flame retardant protective armor, too!):

Sometimes it's not enough to have facts on your side, you have to understand the psychology of the other side and use it to your advantage.

Seriously. If there's a person on this planet with less self-awareness than Kent Heckenlively, I've never seen it. Kent and his fellow travelers in the anti-vaccine movement are the very definition of a group that clings to an idea regardless of evidence, facts, science, or reason. As I've learned over the last several years, while combatting the anti-vaccine movement, it is not enough to have facts on your side, which is why, ove the years, I've tried to understand the psychology of the other side. The problem is, that doesn't seem to work, either. Anti-vaccinationists cling to their beliefs that vaccines are evil and cause autism with a ferocity that a fundamentalist would be hard-pressed to match.

Kent then tries to use the thesis of Dr. Dweck's book to argue that those evil doctors are close-minded, arrogant clods, and that only he and his fellow anti-vaccine believers are open-minded and enlightened. While it's true that there are doctors out there who are close-minded, arrogant clods (and, having had to deal with my fellow doctors on a daily basis for the last 25 years, don't I know it!), it's even more true that if there's anyone off whom facts, logic, and science bounce as harmlessly as stones off a tank, it's anti-vaccine activists like Kent Heckenlively. That's why the meat of Kent's post strikes me as revealing something else very integral to the crank "mindset" (to steal Kent's terminology), namely projection. Time and time again, how often do we see cranks of all stripes projecting their mindset, their attitudes, onto defenders of science?

The relevance of Dr. Dweck's book comes in where she identifies two types of mindsets among people, the "fixed" mindset and the "growth" mindset. The fixed mindset, according to Kent, involves a tendency to avoid challenges, to give up easily when frustrated, and to ignore useful negative feedback. One key aspect of the fixed mindset is a tendency to view criticism of one's work or ideas as criticism of the person, and the reaction is invariably highly defensive. In other words, criticism of a person's ideas, skills, or results of his work is all too often taken as a direct attack or an insult. Personally, again, I have a hard time thinking of another group of people possessing these traits in more abundance than anti-vaccine activists. Another aspect of the fixed mindset that Kent doesn't mention is this:

Usually when others succeed, people with a Fixed Mindset will try to convince themselves and the people around them that the success was due to either luck (after all, almost everything is due to luck in the Fixed Mindset world) or objectionable actions. In some cases, they will even try to tarnish the success of others by bringing up things that are completely unrelated ("Yes, but did you know about his...").

In other words, ad hominems are the rule of the day. Think of how the anti-vaccine movement deals with Paul Offit. Think of how anti-vaccine loons gleefully leapt all over the fraud investigation and indictment of Paul Thorsen.

In contrast, Kent tries to paint the "brave maverick doctors" producing autism pseudoscience and quackery as possessing the opposite of the fixed mindset, namely the growth mindset, while marveling that most doctors don't view autism quackery the way they do:

By contrast, the person with a growth mindset is lead by a desire to learn and will therefore embrace challenges, persist in the face of obstacles, and try to learn from criticism. Those rare doctors you have met with this mindset are probably among your heroes, even if they haven't yet been able to fully resolve the problems of your child.

In other words, it's the DAN! doctors, the Andrew Wakefields, and the Mark Geiers of the world who are to Heckenlively the doctors with the "growth mindset." Meanwhile, he likens doctors to the executives at Enron who drove the company into the ground:

Dweck points to Enron as an example. They believed in the "talent" rather than the effort theory of hiring potential employees. In a movie about the Enron debacle they were termed "the smartest guys in the room." Nobody called them the hardest-working guys. Their brains were supposed to be their secret weapon, even if they didn't use them. They believed in themselves so much they became convinced that if they thought of an idea which could make them money they could put that amount of money in their account books as income. Those of us who live in the real world know that just because we think of a potential money-making idea doesn't mean the bank will put that money in our bank account.

Of course, this is not quite telling the whole story. The guys from Enron might have been the smartest guys in the roo,, but they were also the most deceptive guys in the room. They used highly unethical accounting practices to intentionally misrepresent the company's earnings and debts. Its accounting practices were downright dishonest. In fact, if anything, many autism "entrepreneurs" remind me more of the "guys" of Enron than any legitimate scientist. Part of being the "smartest guys in the room" at Enron was to heap contempt for being "unimaginative" or "close-minded" upon other businesses and accountants who had the temerity to point out that their accounting and business practices were risky, unethical, and even illegal. Sound familiar? Perhaps like the way that autism quacks castigate conventional autism scientists for being close-minded and unimaginative? There's also a profound anti-intellectualism and anti-science mindset embedded in these tirades against doctors and scientists. Note Kent characterizes them as acting far more out of a desire to appear smart than anything else, as viewing themselves as the "smartest guys in the room" (just like Enron executives!), or as arrogant.

The bottom line is that projection frequently is a major characteristic of cranks, every bit as much as crank magnetism and a fast-and-loose approach to scientific data. I can't begin to count the number of times I've seen creationists, quacks, anti-vaccine activists, and other cranks castigate scientists for being "close-minded" and possessing characteristics of the fixed mindset without actually mentioning the fixed mindset. While it's true that doctors are sometimes too dismissive of patient concerns and unwilling to listen, if you want to see rigid, "fixed mindsets" in action, check out the anti-vaccine movement.

And don't even get me started on how Kent accused doctors and scientists of "magical thinking."

ADDENDUM:

Another irony meter is blown by one of the commenters:

I think you are on to something here, Kent. It is the desire to "look smart" that is motivating many in this disaster. And unfortunately, the vaccine pushers know this. That is why the internet is over-run with vaccine-promoting bullies.

Verbal bullies intimidate their targets by name-calling and ridicule. Why do they do this? As I have told my daughter, who has sadly been a victim of bullying, bullies act the way they do because they are insecure about themselves. They call others names because somehow it makes them feel better about themselves to put others down. They are the ones who have mental and emotional problems--not the people they are bullying. Even though the effect of their horrible behavior is often to make those they bully feel bad or stupid or inadequate, the truth is that the bully is really the one who is bad, stupid, inadequate and most seriously in need of help.

Who later says:

So what do those who feel most threatened do? They react by calling their opponents names--ignorant, misled, anti-vaccine, baby-killers, etc. etc. etc. We have all read their bullying tirades on various blogs and comment streams. Rather than admit the limitations of their own knowledge and abilities, or of medical and scientific knowledge, they resort to bullying and threats. If you don't do what we say, then we won't treat you. (Blackmail.) If you don't follow our directions, we'll turn you in to CPS. (Extorsion) If you question vaccines, it must be because you are stupid enough to listen to a crazy Playboy bunny rather than a clearly more educated doctor. (Ridicule.)

You see, when it's J.B. Handley threatening his enemies or calling them names, he's fighting the good fight, and the anti-vaccine minions at AoA praise him for being tough, aggressive, and "giving as good as he gets." When it's a scientist criticizing J.B., that's a close-minded reaction borne out of being threatened with not appearing to be the "smartest guy in the room."

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I think your first paragraph has something of the strawman construct about it and you could find many examples to question it. To take AGW as an example, this is a concept that has been questioned by none other than James Randi, hardly known for his crank views.
http://www.randi.org/site/index.php/swift-blog/805-agw-revisited.html
Whereas one of the great proponents of AGW is that woomaster general Prince Charles.

By Bellerophon (not verified) on 01 Sep 2011 #permalink

Interestingly, for someone who prides himself on his investigative skills, Kent puts forward the example of Patton defeating Rommel by reading his book on tank warfare. It was always my understanding that Patton never actually engaged Rommel in a major battle - although there is a video game; "Patton Versus Rommel"...

By Rich Scopie (not verified) on 01 Sep 2011 #permalink

Quite right. Rommel was only defeated once in a major battle, at el Alemein, by the British under Montgomery. Even in Normandy he only really personally confronted the British, at Caen. Kent seems to have that lamentable Americocentrism that so irritates us in Europe.

By Bellerophon (not verified) on 01 Sep 2011 #permalink

Ah, the fixed mindset. An absolutely classic textbook case was observed not long ago, trying to bully rationalists into silence and going as far as trying to get a much-appreciated epidemiologist fired.

Actually, I'm not sure it's the Enron executives that are the best analogy here. The auditors, Arthur Andersen, seem to me to be a better example: again, the smartest guy in the room mindset (you didn't even get a job interview if you weren't doing an Honours degree in Accountancy). The trouble wasn't that they weren't working hard. They were. The trouble - and what destroyed the firm as it did Enron - is that they were acting contrary to everything they had learned during their long and expensive training.

Compare to a police officer who becomes corrupt, or a medical doctor who starts actively promoting woo.

He also cited Stephen King's novel The Stand, which featured an apocalyptic nuclear explosion in Las Vegas in its climax. Given that the post was written only a couple of days before 1,600 skeptics descended upon Las Vegas, the timing of the post was certainly concerning.

I think you're reading too much into that. I take it that he's saying "Big Pharma is a lot more powerful than us, but we have God on our side, so we'll eventually win". Though quoting Psalm 94 as he did is concerning.

By Matthew Cline (not verified) on 01 Sep 2011 #permalink

Bellephron @1 -- I love James Randi!

But the post you referred to is not his finest hour. The last paragraph begins "In my amateur opinion ..." -- and looking at the rest of the post, his opinion is extremely amatuerish. He really doesn't offer any arguments that have not been thoroughly refuted. This stuff has been chewed on for decades in the scientific literature, and it's still there. That doesn't mean that it's the gospel truth, of course, but it does mean that obvious objections such as those put forth by the denialist industry have long since been worked through and found wanting.

Oh, and the fact that Prince Charles believes it, even though we may disagree with his outlook in general, has no bearing on the matter. I'm sure other astute readers can supply the correct Latin name for this particular logical fallacy.

By palindrom (not verified) on 02 Sep 2011 #permalink

As I recall the Heckenlively/TAM incident, many here were concerned that he had slipped a cog and might slip much further. With this post he seems to have recovered some but made no progress toward reasoned thought or self-awareness. The person I have the most sympathy for is his daughter.

Oh, and the fact that Prince Charles believes it [AGW], even though we may disagree with his outlook in general, has no bearing on the matter.

But that is not Bellerophon's point, which was not about AGW per se. The point being that the concept of 'crank magnetism' is not strongly predictive. Knowing that a person has espoused three forms of reality-denialism (crank polygamy!) makes it more likely that the person will succumb to the attractions of a fourth form, but he or she may still resist the pull of magnetism and recognise the actual evidence rather than the consolations of fantasy.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 02 Sep 2011 #permalink

Herr Doktor @8 -- Ah, I see now. I'm so shell-shocked from front-line duty in the HuffPo climate threads that all subtlety is lost on me. Sorry about that.

By palindrom (not verified) on 02 Sep 2011 #permalink

The books I read also tend to be about great historical struggles and what eventually happened.
And sometimes I simply can't believe we haven't already won.

The strategy of "Not believing we haven't already won" has been tried frequently in great historical struggles, but the outcomes are generally poor.

you have to understand the psychology of the other side and use it to your advantage.
That's the part I don't get. I mean, if Heckenlively is correct with his psychobabble-based insights into the personalities of Orac et al., where is the advantage? It does not help him change minds... indeed, it provides a smug sense of superiority and certainty that the minds on the other side cannot be changed.

And conversely, I don't feel any better-off for understanding (or thinking I understand) Heckenlively's psychology. Apart from a smug sense of superiority -- which is not to be despised.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 02 Sep 2011 #permalink

"To take AGW as an example, this is a concept that has been questioned by none other than James Randi, hardly known for his crank views."

This doesn't prove his stance on AGW not crank.

"Whereas one of the great proponents of AGW is that woomaster general Prince Charles."

What woo?

Organic farming? We've had 10,0000 years on woo then to thank for our current state.

I suspect the actual issue is that YOU, personally, DO NOT WANT AGW.

Therefore you'll look for any case where someone you can parade as "rational" to support your case.

In counter to that, I give you Screaming Mad Lord Monckton.

That they see it as a "vaccine-autism war" and not a debate seems telling, although hardly surprising. I guess that is why we see so much anti-vaccine propaganda in place of facts in their arguments.

Bellerophon: science stands or falls on it's merits, not on who believes. Randi is an intelligent fellow, but not a god, and it is his natural "default" position to be skeptical of everything. He does however change his position to suit the facts, when the facts necessitate such changes.

Wow @11 -- That was my reaction too (post 6) but after the good Doktor's intervention (see post 8), I think -- or at least hope! -- that Bellephron's original point was that non-crank James Randi can sometimes hold somewhat crankish views, thereby showing that the 'crank magnetism' hypothesis is more of a guideline than an absolute rule.

Crank magnetism does seem to be a good rule of thumb, though. I'd think the etiology of crankish tendencies would make a great study for some enterprising psychologist, assuming it hasn't been done.

By palindrom (not verified) on 02 Sep 2011 #permalink

@Wow,
Isn't that Screaming Mad Lord Monkton?

As I recall the Heckenlively/TAM incident, many here were concerned that he had slipped a cog and might slip much further.

Indeed. Several people actually sent D.J. Grothe (the President of the JREF, for those who don't know) links to Kent's post expressing concern. In retrospect, it was probably just a coincidence and Kent had no idea TAM was happening in a couple of days in Las Vegas, but at the time it was concerning, given the combination of Kent's choice of a story in which Las Vegas is blown up with a nuclear weapon to destroy the ultimate evil plus his quoting Bible versus pleading with God to destroy his enemies.

"Whereas one of the great proponents of AGW is that woomaster general Prince Charles."What woo?

Prince Charles has been known to promote homeopathy and other forms of unproven CAM.

By Mephistopheles… (not verified) on 02 Sep 2011 #permalink

"Whereas one of the great proponents of AGW is that woomaster general Prince Charles."

What woo?

Most notably homeopathy.

Granted we haven't had rigorous research to prove that crank magnetism exists, or establish its prevalence. The statistical requirement would be that believing in crankery(sub1) is associated with increased probability of believing in crankery(sub2). Put another way, there is a higher probability of believing in 2 or more crankeries than would be predicted by a random distribution of crank beliefs in the population.

If you look at it that way, it hardly seems surprising. Whatever the etiology of any given crankery, it is likely to contribute to other crankeries. These would presumably include a predisposition, for whatever reason, to doubt scientific consensus; a self-image as a courageous dissenter against oppressive orthodoxy; perhaps a pecuniary or status interest in pretending to be a doctor without having to go through all that bother of medical school. Much crankery is associated with libertarian ideology and identification with corporate interests, and that can also create clusters. In short, so long as these phenomena share some risk factors, they are likely to be seen together.

A while back, I attempted to produce a few chips in the brick wall mindset of one Jake Crosby: needless to say, it didn't work ( although one never knows what goes on within the recesses of the private mindspace of a true believer). At the very least, I presented an alternate view of the universe: which he might remember someday if he hears a similar theme from a person he respects.

Orac mentions( last paragraph, addendum) KH's incapacity to even attempt *taking the view of the other*: this is a skill most people develop usually through adolescence ( with variable results) in the area of "person perception", "social cognition". We've all seen those old war movies where one of the soldiers reflects that the "enemy" are "guys like us with homes, families, love of country, not evil monsters" which makes his story all the more tragic. These movies targetted a general audience not the intelligentsia.

When I tried to inveigle young Jake into considering *how* we came to our own view about vaccines ( through our studies, life experiences; as *individuals*, not through mass instruction via our esteemed leader/ pharma-com): he questioned the legitimacy of my education**. He would not accept alternatives to the conspiracy novelisation he had been taught ( law of prior entry, gone mad it would seem) instead he questioned my inept education about how conspiracies work.

At risk of saying something (that has gotten another absolutely slaughtered): remember that we are dealing with individuals on the spectrum and their families: ASD involves difficiencies in social and communicative abilities. As we know from studying the SMIs, even family members unaffected by the actual disorder often have cognitive differences from the norm and that the degree of relation is reflected in liklihood of having the disorder itself or other problems.

** -btw- research re stereotypes about women who were successful ( 1970's) shows similar questioning of their legitimate education ( Carol Gilligan, others).

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 02 Sep 2011 #permalink

@ cervantes:

Might be an overarching factor that subsumes these sets of beliefs.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 02 Sep 2011 #permalink

Denice @21 -- This is off track, but your mention of Carol Gilligan reminds me of the cleverest joke I have come up with in 20 years of continual, if mostly mediocre, witticisms.

As background, Gilligan had posited at one point that women view moral and ethical questions through a more sympathetic and empathetic lens, whereas men tend to use stricter rule-based systems to decide right and wrong.

A philosophy colleague of mine was telling me that he had started an experimental collaboration (of all things) with people in the neuroscience department, in which they stuck people in an MRI, asked them to consider ethical questions, and then looked at what part of the brain lights up as they're pondering the issue.

I suggested to him that if they found that a part of the brain linked to emotion was lighting up under these circumstances, that it should be named "Gilligan's Island."

[rim shot.]

By palindrom (not verified) on 02 Sep 2011 #permalink

"If you don't do what we say, then we won't treat you. (Blackmail.)"

This drives me crazy. It was an especially popular posture from the natural childbirth folks during my pregnancy. "My mean, mean, OB! She says that if I insist that she be not allowed to get near me with a fetal monitor or an IV or antibiotics or Rhogam or any of the other life-saving treatments she spent decades learning about and putting into practice, that if I insist that she don scuba equipment and submerge herself in a fecal-matter-contaminated baby pool nowhere near an OR in order to birth my child then I have to find alternate care. It's so unfair! Why can't she just do exactly what I want her to, no matter what her vast experience and education indicates otherwise?"

Blackmail? Please.

By allie.pixie (not verified) on 02 Sep 2011 #permalink

@Denice,
Many here have tried to put a chink in Jake's armor but anytime even a glimmer of light appeared, his fellow travelers repaired the hole. They are traveling against the tides of history and will end up on the wrong side of it. A sad but seemingly insurmountable waste.

@ MikeMa:

It's very sad. I do wonder how much is due to propaganda efforts and how much to an underlying incapacity to do otherwise.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 02 Sep 2011 #permalink

@allie.pixie

Luckily in pregnancy/birth it's only mom & babes that are at risk. With vaccination, anyone in the doctor's waiting room is at risk. That's not blackmail, that's preventing an outbreak.

By LovleAnjel (not verified) on 02 Sep 2011 #permalink

If you don't do what we say, then we won't treat you. (Blackmail.)

I'm sure the Today show piece yesterday about Pediatricians excluding unvaxed kids from their practices made their precious little heads explode. Sure, 'blackmail', or, 'not putting infants and/or immunocompromised patients at risk of contracting an infectious disease when they visit their doctor'. Potayto, Potahto.

http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/44356327/ns/today-today_health/

By jenbphillips (not verified) on 02 Sep 2011 #permalink

"Quite right. Rommel was only defeated once in a major battle, at el Alemein, by the British under Montgomery. Even in Normandy he only really personally confronted the British, at Caen. Kent seems to have that lamentable Americocentrism that so irritates us in Europe."

Mr. Heckenlively may be partially remembering the movie "Patton". In it, Patton is shown with Rommel's book on his nightstand. Later, in the first confrontation between Patton and Rommel's tanks in Africa, Patton wins. He says something like "Rommel, you magnificent bastard! I read your book!"

He later learns that Rommel was in Berlin sick at the time of the battle.

With vaccination, anyone in the doctor's waiting room is at risk.

No they're not! Aren't they vaccinated? Ever heard of maternal fetal antibodies? Keep drinking the Kool-Aid of fear.

That's not blackmail, that's preventing an outbreak.

Sherri Tenpenny has a database where these pediatrician bullies can be reported. Let the free market sort them out.

Oh, but they can't handle the free market with their piss poor beside manners. They need the government to mandate and intimidate. Unbeknownst to those pediatricians they are props, not participants. The are a cog in a big system of business, propaganda, and ideology.

By augustine (not verified) on 02 Sep 2011 #permalink

MikeMa and Denise Walter -- Jake's mother, at least, is a strident member of the "autism is vaccine injury/mercury poisoning brigade". Over the last x years (I'm not sure of the value of x) he's received a LOT of positive attention and reinforcement for his beliefs and well, unpleasant way of expressing himself. I think those two factors have more to do with his inability to consider the facts than his Asperger's. People with Asperger's are perfectly capable of learning and growing.

It will be interesting to see what effect his graduate studies have upon his world-view.

I actually don't think that pediatricians should refuse to treat children whose parents refuse vaccination. The actual risk to anybody else in the waiting room is really trivial. Pediatricians waiting rooms are full of sick kids all the time, after all. And it's not the children's fault that their parents are deluded. Finally, somebody has to take care of those kids so they're just kicking the problem on to somebody else. I think that sort of behavior by a physician is unethical. They owe their patients, especially children, a duty of benevolence. Best to maintain a relationship with the family and hope to change their minds one day.

Every time I hear or read about "crank magnetism", I think about the quack magnet detox therapy my neighbors are into. Their form of therapy involves lying down on their back and having a "trained practitioner" wave strong magnets over the entire body to "draw out" the trapped mercury. When the mercury is "free", they then take oxygen supplements. Their "rationale" for this is since mercury ions are +2 and oxygen ions are -2, the mercury and oxygen will combine into a "neutral form" (HgO) thus rendering it harmless. This is so insane (or more appropriately, inane) that I can't possibly make this up. I don't know how popular this detox therapy is elsewhere, but I'm hoping this isn't popular or doesn't become so.

"If you do not know the enemy as well as you do yourself, you are a fool and will meet defeat in every battle." Sun Tzu.

Pity Heckenlively won't pay attention.

Our own ugh troll is a classic case of crank magnetism.

Indeed, his contribution on this thread combines at least two forms of crankery.

Oh, but they can't handle the free market with their piss poor beside manners.

Heh. How's it treating you, Augustine? Lot of people knocking on the door?

Medicine used to be handled under the free market. That was back when cocaine and heroin were available over the counter.

By Gray Falcon (not verified) on 02 Sep 2011 #permalink

Let the free market sort them out.

A free market requires transparency of process and symmetry of information between those conducting a transaction. Both have to know the process (though not necessarily the techniques) about equally well in order for them to agree on the best service at an equitable price.

This is why the free market serves health care services so poorly; there is a huge asymmetry, in that the buyer (termed "patient" in these transactions) knows vastly less about the process and is unable to obtain much of the information him/herself that the seller (termed "practitioner") must have in order to select the optimal service. This asymmetry means that free market practices just won't work well; it's too easy for the patient to misunderstand what's needed or even possible, and also too easy for practitioners to "game" market mechanisms to manipulate patients into unfair deals.

By all standards but those of the most strident laissez faire doctrinaires, health care cannot be adequately supported by the free market. Some other method is needed, be it regulation or other forms of state intervention or some other mechanism.

-- Steve

"Sherri Tenpenny has a database where these pediatrician bullies can be reported."

How do you boycott an office that refuses to see you?

FWIW, the AAP doesn't recommend that pediatricians stop seeing patients who aren't getting vaccines unless "a substantial level of distrust develops, significant differences in the philosophy of care emerge, or poor quality of communication persists."

@ Liz Ditz : Sure- he's gotten propaganda his whole life ( Mom plus) and has been *rewarded* for being a spokesperson for AoA *but* I wouldn't discount ASD as being a factor in his rigid way of dealing with information. His style makes him more susceptible to this type of manipulation ( not impossible, for non-ASDs, but *less likely*).

When people have problems with executive functioning ( and I venture a guess that he does) it can be difficult for them to accept others' viewpoints or veer from their own set-piece explanatory system. Also more "black-and-white" thinking, hard to judge own abilities, problems with abstractions, et al: it's a long list.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 02 Sep 2011 #permalink

Slightly OT, but probably of interest:

BMJ Editor Fiona Godlee will be speaking to the NIH on the Wakefield affair.

Description: Please join BMJ Editor Fiona Godlee for a discussion of the stunning investigation she published earlier this year that revealed the MMR scare was based not on bad science but on deliberate fraud. The three-part series was produced by journalist Brian Deer, who spent seven years investigating Andrew Wakefieldâs infamous study linking the MMR vaccine with autism, discovering Wakefield had been paid by a lawyer to influence his results and had blatantly manipulated the study data.In an editorial accompanying Deerâs report, Godlee and colleagues noted, âScience is based on trust. Without trust, research cannot function and evidence based medicine becomes a folly. Journal editors, peer reviewers, readers, and critics have all based their responses to Wakefieldâs small case series on the assumption that the facts had at least been honestly documented. Such a breach of trust is deeply shocking. And even though almost certainly rare on this scale, it raises important questions about how this could happen, what could have been done to uncover it earlier, what further inquiry is now needed, and what can be done to prevent something like this happening again.â

The talk will be videocast on Tuesday, September 06, 2011, 11:00:00 AM ET. Anyone interested should be able to watch here:

http://videocast.nih.gov/summary.asp?live=10558

Remember parents and children, just say "YES" to drugs!

Joe, what kind of comment is that? Do you deny antibiotics for strep infections?

Chris, if you are currently taking 10 anti-depressants and you are still depressed, Cybalta might be right for you. Side effects may include suicidel thoughts, suicide, liver failure, heart-attack, stroke, kidney failure, excessive weight gain, sexual death (just to name a fraction). Ask Doctor Orac if Cybalta is right for you!

Chris, Chris, Chris

Joe, what kind of comment is that? Do you deny antibiotics for strep infections?

"Antibiotics for Strep Do More Harm Than Good" - Emergency Medicine Monthly

http://www.epmonthly.com/columns/in-my-opinion/antibiotics-for-strep-do…

The administration of antibiotics for strep throat, endorsed universally by practice guidelines and professional societies, is based exclusively on data from the worldâs most concentrated epidemic of rheumatic fever. Using this to guide modern therapy is like administering antibiotics to prevent bubonic plague.

But don't let evidence change your mind.

By augustine (not verified) on 02 Sep 2011 #permalink

@ Denice Walter

Yes, when evaluating Jake's many posts it's important to remember that Jake has been diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome/high-functioning autism. Jake may have some real difficulty in, for example, understanding who to trust.

The authors of a recent FMRI study of individuals like Jake concluded that their subjects with Asperger's syndrome/high-functioning autism have "difficulties providing appropriate moral justifications and evaluating the seriousness of transgressions" that "may be explained by an impaired cognitive appraisal system that . . . fails to use relevant information."

Thus, I suppose, Jake's cheerleading on behalf of Wakefield and the Geiers while attacking Offit may be understandable: Perhaps he just can't help it. Accordingly, perhaps we should cut him some slack, regardless of how clueless and annoying he may seem.

Zalla T, Barlassina L, Buon M, Leboyer M. Moral judgment in adults with autism spectrum disorders.
Cognition. 2011 Oct;121(1):115-26.

Sure- he's gotten propaganda his whole ( Mom plus)

So have you. Except your propaganda has been rubber stamped by your experts.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8657518?dopt=AbstractPlus

From the full article text:

"The key is to write for the desired health behavior, rather than for high level knowledge."

Ie., "Trust your government and experts on this one folks, Just get your damn vaccines."

Check it out next time you're in the liberry.

By augustine (not verified) on 02 Sep 2011 #permalink

Dr. Vincent Ianelli

How do you boycott an office that refuses to see you?

Do you kick parents out of your practice if they refuse to follow the governments mandatory vaccine schedule? Are you an agent of the state or do you serve the health of your individual patients/customers?

By augustine1 (not verified) on 02 Sep 2011 #permalink

Prince Charles. What woo???

How about the Princes Foundation for Integrative Medicine?, Now superceded by the so called College of Medicine, every lunatic quack therapy you can think of under one roof

By Bellerophon (not verified) on 02 Sep 2011 #permalink

"It's probably why I spend inordinate amounts of my scarce free time watching History Channel specials on military battles and tactics. "

Seriously? The History Channel? That's where this guy gets his ideas? No wonder he's more than a bit odd. I mean, this is the channel with "Ancient Aliens" and 4 billion shows on Nostradomus/Mayan 2012/The Illuminati. (Not that they don't have some good stuff, but there's a lot of chaff.) I didn't know it was possible to take this guy less seriously.

By JustaTech (not verified) on 02 Sep 2011 #permalink

I think you're on to something in terms of general direction. Something that ties it all together is 'identity'.

It probably doesn't help to have major political parties writing Creationism and the non-existence of AGW into their manifestos, as purity tests to impose upon candidates.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 02 Sep 2011 #permalink

Sciency goodness,

thanks for that link! I just blogged it. I wish I could attend. It's a bad time to tune in here, but I'll see how much I can listen to.

Speaking from experience here, I think I understand why Heckenlively clings to his belief system...been there, done that.

But, I don't understand why he has not progressed beyond that stage of "why me and why my child" and why he has gone down that path of pseudoscience and anger directed at those who don't believe in his unique pseudoscience beliefs.

I find that parents who "early in the game" confront the realities of having a child with a disability (or multiple disabilities) and go through the stages of grief associated with that reality, eventually (sooner rather than later), find themselves in a place of profound peace and understanding. They realize that sometimes "sh** happens" and that sometimes you lose the genetic crap shoot that determines whether or not your child will have disabilities. You learn to enjoy your child, revel in your child's accomplishments and developmental milestones and would never expose an innocent child to alternative dangerous treatments to "effect a cure".

Unfortunately, Heckenlively hasn't ever really accepted his child and at this late stage, I fear he never will. He would rather seek junk science "cures", "dangerous" treatments and rail against "the forces" that caused his child's disability....sad.

asdfThe broader issue is the politicization of the scientific review process. I have been dealing with this issue since the publication of my controversial paper in 2006. I have dealt with this by addressing the editor and telling them that I expect this paper to be controversial. I list examples of reviewers on both sides of the debate that have made public statements on the topic, and requested that they not be reviewers, and requested an extra effort to identify impartial reviewers. In my two most controversial papers (most recently the uncertainty monster paper, which is now in press), this has worked well.

Gray Falcon @36: Medicine used to be handled under the free market. That was back when cocaine and heroin were available over the counter.

I read a fun little book this summer, Jane Eastoe's The Victorian Pharmacy (I think it's a tie-in to a BBC show). It listed many of the old recipes, marking the ones that you shouldn't try. Really, really, shouldn't.

I recall one for a refreshing Lemon Squash drink: sugar, oil of lemon, and shredded asbestos. Then there was Mother's Soothing Syrup "to quiet babies", basically a solution of laudanum in grain alcohol. I imagine it worked quite well.

Mercury and arsenic showed up in a lot of the recipes. Of course Agatha Christie fans will remember that one could once trot down to the chemist's and buy arsenic or cyanide over the counter, to kill rats and wasps.

Ken, you should read Deborah Blum's The Poisoner's Handbook. Similar stuff.

(in the 1970's I could buy ant killer which was just sugar water spiked with arsenic)

Laura, not really:

Dr. Humphries knows natural treatments are being suppressed since they cure the patient and, if cured, the patient no longer needs a doctor, eradicating the income of the medical-industrial complex. I presume, of the above were true, her practice is like that of an infectious disease doctor with no long term patients, because I cure the majority of my patients.

@chris-

What do you cure?
I thought MD's facilitate the natural healing capacities of the body-

No doctor ever cured me!

@chris-
But I love the absolutely dedicated Emergency Room MD' s Thank God for them!
And surgeons too.

Laura: I read that article and all I see are un-evidenced assertions, appeals to emotion, the argument from authority fallacy and the perfection fallacy. Nowhere in that article is there anything even remotely resembling an evidenced based argument. A sad, sad showing indeed.

By FossilFishy (not verified) on 02 Sep 2011 #permalink

Laura, actually read the link, it is the part that is in blue text (that means it goes to another web page). The part in the blockquote is a quote from the article. Read the article, click on the author's name, and read about what kind of doctor he is. And we are not the same person, despite the similarity between his last name and my first name.

I guess I should explain what part is the "blockquote." The "blockquote" is the part of my comment that is indented (that means it starts a bit to the right of the main area) and has a vertical line to the left (that is the up and down line next to it, and it is a line even though it is made of little dots).

#1 Science Bloggin Doctor in the World

because I cure the majority of my patients

You're also the reason we have MRSA.

You forgot to say that you also cause yeast infection, rashes, diarrhea, kidney damage, liver damage, and anaphylaxis.

I guess it's easy to take credit for self limiting infections when you give every patient an antibiotic.

Try putting your antibiotics into a maggot infested cow and see how much curing you do, Dr. Rainmaker.

Talk about a god-complex.

By augustine (not verified) on 02 Sep 2011 #permalink

FossilFishy, I looked at the article and it was indeed sad. No references, just argument by blatant assertion. That does not go very far on this blog.

It was all I could do not to keep from laughing at all the logical fallacies from the link that laura posted.

Just because I'm avoiding work: In that article the good Dr. uses 977 words of which 599 are biographical (more or less) for a whopping 61% of the total. If that doesn't set of your skeptical Octo-alert "Wooop, wooop, wooop....argument from authority ahead...wooop, wooop, wooop!" nothing will. Oh, and the needle on my irony meter is now wrapped around the high limit peg.[That'll teach me to buy an analog model] The tag line on that site is "Critical thinking for a critical problem".

One of the first things I learned about critical thinking was that without presenting evidence it doesn't matter what your credentials are, your argument isn't credible. Fail.

By FossilFishy (not verified) on 02 Sep 2011 #permalink

I was somewhat pro-vax but this blog has not held up to my expectations- too few
links, a lot of stupid comments, not too many facts. It's turned me in the other
direction where egos don't reign supreme and they actually have compassion for
the vaccine-injured.

Thanks for the laugh laura. I was totally antivax til I read your idiocy and realized there was no way I could be associated with someone like you.

@ Fossil Fish: Well Dr. Humphries, in certain circles, has some unique credentials. She was interviewed recently by Mike Adams Health Deranger and she is listed as a "friendly anti-vax doctor" in Bangor, Maine on an (in)famous mommy's blog.

Wouldn't you think that the good doctor who claims to have treated patients who went into kidney failure due to receiving the H1N1 vaccine, would publish those results?

Ah, Laura, I gave you a link! What was wrong with it? That you could not tell it was a link?

By the way, show us the how we are so wrong about the "vaccine-injured." Show us exactly how many more are injured by the MMR vaccine than are by measles (one out of a thousand get encephalitis), mumps and rubella. Show us how many are injured by DTaP compared to diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (ten babies killed last year by pertussis just in one state!).

Come on! Give us evidence! Give us the facts that you desire, because that link you gave had none!

Laura, exactly how does that show that the MMR is more dangerous than measles, mumps or rubella or that the DTaP is worse than diphtheria, tetanus or pertussis?

All it shows is that the rotavirus vaccine is safe. Yay! Remember everything is better with bacon! (it is an oral vaccine, so the little extra porky proteins are similar to eating bacon)

So, if you have some actual scientific evidence that show vaccines are evil, please present them. Because a silly doctor writing that she is so cool and all that she only needs to do argument by assertion and that one particular vaccine had some extra porky bits is not real evidence.

Have you figured out what "quotes" are, and how to click on links yet? Did you find out who wrote the quote I used in the "blockquote" I used? Were you confused by the term "logical fallacy" used by others responding to your. Those are summarized here (put your mouse over the funny colored text, see the arrow turn into a little hand, depending on your computer settings, and the click on it... it is a new web page!).

Do I need to continue the "How to use the Internet" lessons for you?

Ahhg... it is late at night: "responding to your." is supposed to be "responding to you."

And really, what do you have against pork and bacon?

Since I have had to live through real rotavirus, both in a toddler and myself... I much prefer eating bacon. You don't know what diarrhea is until you have to start wearing your kid's diapers (both the cotton and plastic varieties). Rivers of poo does not even begin to describe it!

Then there is trying to keep the toddler hydrated, especially when he gets picky about pedialyte (granted, the stuff was vile twenty years ago). But guess what? Diarrhea causes dehydration, which causes changes in brain electrolytes. Changes in brain electrolytes causes seizures!

Seeing a little tiny boy go from happy to shaking, and then full convulsions on the living room floor causes a call to "911"! Then there are large fire fighters in a teeny tiny house hunched over a tiny little unconscious boy... and a trip to Children's Hospital via ambulance.

Don't you ever tell me what joy rotavirus is, and don't even tell me how the vaccines to prevent it are it evil. I lived through it. My kid was never the same after that seizure. He is still quite disabled.

Stop being an idiot. Show us that vaccines are worse than the disease with real scientific evidence. No news reports, no random websites... but real scientific papers.

I am really sorry about your son.

I am questioning the safety of this vaccine.

PCV2 was found in RotaTeq http://t.co/vEp43TU

This is how PCV2 infects pigs-

http://t.co/CL1fCQK This is infected bacon.

So what? My son is not a pig.

And this has nothing to do with MMR nor DTaP. Did you even read those links?

Oh man. That article has the too much too sooners coming in in force.
I've never understood the too much too soon argument. It's based on a view of parenthood that is a complete fantasy.
Your perfect sterile little poppet is going to be crawling around in the dirt trying to stuff roaches in their mouth in just a few months. And you are going to be hard pressed to stop it. A few shots aren't going to phase their little immune systems.

By Tamakazura (not verified) on 02 Sep 2011 #permalink

Wait, do you not understand he (and I) got the actual disease? Not the vaccine? We did not get any of the bacon goodness, but just the runny poopy after effects from getting the full born rotavirus.

Show us exactly how both vaccines are worse than the virus in humans, not pigs. Give us the journal, title, date and authors of the papers that show both oral vaccines are worse than the disease. I've lived through the disease, I have washed the dirties from the disease, and I have been though the Children's Hospital emergency department with IV needles and all that because of that disease!

The links you post better be peer reviewed journals! If not, then you are literally full of the results of rotavirus!

I would prefer a separate pertussis vaccine since tetanus is not contagious and
diphtheria is rare.
Also separate measIes vaccine.
My son was fully vaccinated prior to 1980- he is fine.

Thank you for your comments.

Tamakazura, have you met Th1Th2?

She is presently holding her insane Htrae court over on this thread.

@ Chris: I hope "laura" doesn't get all sniffly and teary eyed because you called her out on her silly pseudoscience postings:

"I have an opinion and that is all it is -opinion- but, for example, reassurance from the FDA that PCV1 is harmless just doesn't reassure me...

http://healthomg.com/2011/04/25/doctors-can-use-rotavirus-vaccine-again…

That's my problem."

Yes, laura that would be a problem. Are we to assume that your "opinion" carries more weight than scientists at the FDA who investigated the porcine DNA viral strands...after they tested batches of the rotavirus vaccines. You do know of course that the FDA was notified by both manufacturers of the Rotavirus vaccines, that the DNA had shown up and that prompted a temporary halt in rotavirus immunizations. It also seems to me that Big Pharma did the correct thing and it seems obvious that Big Pharma and the FDA are not involved in any conspiracy.

You haven't even checked PubMed to see if the "life changing" event of purportedly treating patients with renal failure following H1N1 vaccines was ever reported by your heroine Dr. Humphries in any journal (peer reviewed or not)...it wasn't.

Laura, you have to learn that when you state something "as an opinion" it is not acceptable on this site. And, you have to learn that statements made by you should be backed up by citations and data...you don't want us to think you are another crank troll, do you?

I'm just waiting for VAERS reports stating that Little Johnny and Little Suzie, starting oinking the same day of vaccine administration and that they are now little piglets.

Laura:

I would prefer a separate pertussis vaccine since tetanus is not contagious and diphtheria is rare.

Wow, you really are stupid. What killed the brother of Henry David Thoreau?

So you don't do any gardening? There is no herd immunity for tetanus because it is a soil born bacteria! I do garden, and because of a deep gash due to a rose bush incursion the technician at the blood drive discounted that arm as candidate (the other arm was okay!).

Laura said: "My son was fully vaccinated prior to 1980- he is fine."

And that is one anecdote. Again, so what? He got the DTP and the MMR. And depending on his date of birth, he may have had at least one dose of a smallpox vaccine (we don't know if Laura's son was ten or thirty by 1980).

Explain exactly how your son surviving vaccines shows that the MMR is worse than measles, mumps and rubella and how the DTaP is worse than diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis. And really show how either the RotaTex and RotaRix vaccines are worse than rotavirus (and having lived through the actual disease, and paying the actual hospital bills... I really want to know this!).

And that is related to tetanus and rotavirus how?

Laura, is it not just a problem with using the Internet that you have, but actually an issue with basic reading?

"I would prefer a separate pertussis vaccine since tetanus is not contagious and
diphtheria is rare.
Also separate measIes vaccine.
My son was fully vaccinated prior to 1980- he is fine."

And I would have preferred to have my childhood friend still part of my life...she died of polio 58 years ago. I would have preferred that my cousin didn't contract measles that left him with lifelong neurological impairments.

I also would have preferred that vaccines that prevent rotavirus were available years ago so that each year 50,000 youngsters in the United States didn't face prolonged hospitalizations and that parents of the 40-60 babies who died each year from rotavirus before vaccines against the virus were available, didn't have to go through the unbearable grief of losing a baby to rotavirus.

I'd also prefer that smug parents whose children survived infancy and early childhood intact, don't offer up their "opinions" based on junk science.

Laura, do you understand that influenza is not the same as rotavirus, polio, Hib, tetanus, measles, mumps, rubella, diphtheria, and pertussis? Please indicate that you are not so idiotic as to confuse those diseases.

lilady:

I'd also prefer that smug parents whose children survived infancy and early childhood intact, don't offer up their "opinions" based on junk science.

You are a wonderful person. I hope to meet you in real life some day. Thank so much for being here.

Laura: You don't give us any kind of argument for your position other than a link. One has to assume that that link contains something you agree with. The article in that link contains nothing but un-evidenced assertions, no links, nothing. And then you complain that we give you no links? Do you see the irony here?

It seems clear that you are new to critical thinking so here's a link for you.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confirmation_bias

Conformation bias is a well known and studied psychological trait. We all do it even if we're aware of the phenomenon. The scientific method is our primary means of combating conformation bias. A properly designed study controls for it by double blinding among other things. Your choice and interpretation of the two links you have presented show clear signs of conformation bias. You are giving weight to the things you already believe despite the evidence presented by one and the lack of evidence presented by the other.

By FossilFishy (not verified) on 02 Sep 2011 #permalink

@ Chris: "laura" is a troll, who only pretends she doesn't know how to use the internet for research. It is quite possible she is a shill for some CAM supplements or CAM "practitioners".

I suspect that "laura" is the same "laura" that we have tangled with before...their behaviors seem to be similar. Unfortunately, when we tangled with "laura" and drove the stake in her troll heart, she resurrects herself occasionally only with a different cause. Stick a fork in this troll...she's done.

Sorry, thread moved on before I could post. Damn this gainful employment. :)

The two links I'm referring to are the un-evidenced assertions in 57 and the evidenced conclusions in 71.

I too did a search for Dr. Suzanne Humphries on pubmed and found only one paper on bone marrow transplantation. In case you don't know Laura, pubmed is an index of peer reviewed scientific papers in the medical field. If it isn't on there it's very likely that Humphries has never published any real scientific research in the medical field.

By FossilFishy (not verified) on 02 Sep 2011 #permalink

@chris @lilady@FossilFishy

When are you planning to return to school for your MD degrees?
Practicing medicine without a license is a felony.

lilady:

"laura" is a troll, who only pretends she doesn't know how to use the internet for research.

Eh, it can be worthwhile engaging even known trolls in the hope that there might be a fence-sitting lurker out there who will learn something.

By FossilFishy (not verified) on 02 Sep 2011 #permalink

@fossilfishy-
The Geiers papers are still on PubMed.

@ laura: when are you ever going to go to school for some basic science courses...better yet why don't you go to clown school...the local circus has an opening for you.

Laura only pretends to know some science and some law...the ability to research the internet and the ability to interpret scientific and medical research and make cogent comments about your drivel, does not constitute "practicing medicine without a license".

P.S. take the other trolls with you...there are always openings at the local circus...if your shilling career doesn't work out for you.

The name lilady is not appropriate-Big Goon is.
I pity you.

Laura:

Practicing medicine without a license is a felony

Since when is discussing science considered practicing medicine?

What science do you have that the MMR is more dangerous than measles, mumps and rubella? How is the DTaP carry more risk than diphtheria and pertussis?

And really, why are the rotavirus vaccines less pleasant than the vaccines to prevent rivers of poo? Truly a real mom must have some incentive to prevent that amount of laundry.

I was somewhat pro-vax but this blog has [...] turned me in the other direction

I used to be somewhat pro-Evolution until that Thomas Huxley man was so incivil to nice Bishop Wilberforce. That completely turned me in the direction of creationism.

the vaccines to prevent rivers of poo

Wait, there is a vaccine for avoiding the Second Malebolge of Inferno? Why was I not informed?

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 02 Sep 2011 #permalink

I suppose laura gets points for every post that raises a response. Logic & value from laura are sadly absent.

"I was somewhat pro-vax but this blog has not held up to my expectations- too few links, a lot of stupid comments, not too many facts. It's turned me in the other direction"

I don't think laura realizes how many tone trolls have taken this tack here before (including antivax pediatrician Jay Gordon). Ignoring solid evidence-based postings on the value of immunization in favor of obsessively honing in on "uncivil" comments from pro-vaccination posters (while overlooking the hateful nonsense spewed by the antivax contingent) is a shopworn and dishonest tactic.

If you genuinely want to be informed, filter out any and all "uncivil" remarks and stick to the evidence. It's pointing consistently in one direction - confirming the safety and value of immunization.

I am impressed by the venomous ignorance of antivaxers - but it's the ignorance (not the venom) that I find most convincing.

By Dangerous Bacon (not verified) on 03 Sep 2011 #permalink

@chris @lilady@FossilFishy

When are you planning to return to school for your MD degrees?
Practicing medicine without a license is a felony.

Laura, I do have an MD and a full license to practice medicine. My professional opinion is that you are full of shit.

@TBruce
Really helpful comment.
PCV2 virus was found in Rotateq-I posted links that negated that this would affect
humans, yet the CDC recently released info that 2 children caught the flu from
pigs. Isn't there a possibility that PCV2 can infect children.
Purely theoretical.
(The comment about practicing medicine was a lame joke.)

Oh Lord!

Via the AoA KH link and several commenters, we have possible working examples of executive dis-function in adults**:
these are higher order *variable* abilities ( plural) that develop over time and cover a lot of ground. They are the means by which adults negotiate the intricacies and subtlties of life- there's one in particular that's relevant here-

Judging one's own abilities and those of others.

Whenever I hear a woo-meister critique subject matter that he or she has never studied to any depth or a layperson suddenly become an "expert" in immunology or autism or a commenter downgrade Orac's or more expert commenters' information: a little alarm bell goes off in my head. Uh oh.

Most people have reasonable skills by adulthood. A common example : your car won't start- you try a few things you know, *then* call a mechanic. You don't persist because you need the car to get to work. You don't consult a homepathic mechanic for a few weeks or get the car's chakras re-alligned.

People who can't evaluate their own and others' skills or knowledge are prime candidates for the Big Sell by woo-meisters: I hear and read this everyday, courtesy of the usual suspects. The charlatans take advantage of their marks' inability to differentiate expertise ( and their poor judgment) as well as the *time* lag for most health concerns ( unlike the mechanic who has to show immediate results).

It is dis-heartening to me (and somewhat frightening) to listen to a trusting person call a charlatan for advice concerning a family member or themself - sometimes for serious illnesses. They choose to trust someone who simultaneously scares them off of real doctors/ professionals *and* prescribes ( yes, I will use that word) supplements and other nonsense as "cures".

I realise that what is transparently obvious to me ( sales techniques) is not clear at all to many other people ( ability is not equal). Poor science education and person perception, alone or in interaction, may conspire against them. Thus, I attempt to illustrate the warning signs that set off *my* alarm bells: suspect educational credentials, derisive comments about the scientifc consensus, and being multiply expert - in several fields- are major concerns to me.

-btw- I had a flu shot with thimerisol yesterday: could that explain my increased concern for others' welfare?

** lots of reasons why people have these problems- including SMI, development /learning disabilities, autism, stroke, head injury, etc.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 03 Sep 2011 #permalink

PCV2 virus was found in Rotateq-I posted links that negated that this would affect
humans, yet the CDC recently released info that 2 children caught the flu from
pigs. Isn't there a possibility that PCV2 can infect children.
Purely theoretical.

Laura, viable virus was never found in either of the rotavirus vaccines, DNA fragments were. Neither PCV virus has any human implications anyhow. Swine flu is not PCV, two entirely different viruses and influenza viruses have always been zoonoses, this is nothing new.

Laura - TBruce's comment to you had precisely the same meaning as your lame joke, though more directly stated.
Contamination of food and drugs is certainly something to be concerned about. These incidents should be evaluated and appropriate remedial and preventive action taken. It appears that this happened more than a year ago in the case you bring up. Could other incidents occur? Yes, of course - just as spinach could be contaminated with salmonella and sprouts with e. coli. Are they trivial? Of course not.

By Mephistopheles… (not verified) on 03 Sep 2011 #permalink

Re: DNA fragments

* Transduction: transfer of genetic material by viruses
1. Virus infects cell: host DNA degraded into fragments, viral DNA takes over control.
2. Host DNA fragment gets packed into virus progeny by accident.
3. Virus progeny infects another cell, injects previous host's DNA fragment.
4. Fragment enters cell, find its homologous counterpart, and crossover.

@Denice Walter,

-btw- I had a flu shot with thimerisol yesterday: could that explain my increased concern for others' welfare?

As that would be a homeopathic preparation of ethylmercury, it should improve your message delivery abilities, increase your speed, reduce fever, and keep you up all day. On the down side, it will prevent you from receiving deliveries of flowers and you'll have an aversion to anyone named "Ethyl", premium gasoline, and by extension sports cars.

By Mephistopheles… (not verified) on 03 Sep 2011 #permalink

Part the first:

Billy @44: thanks for sharing Fred Clarke's essay. I hadn't read it and found it useful for straightening out my thinking

http://www.patheos.com/community/slacktivist/2011/07/20/a-lamentation-f…

Part the second: Laura @ 79

I would prefer a separate pertussis vaccine since tetanus is not contagious and diphtheria is rare.
Also separate measIes vaccine.

I would prefer to have a full-time housekeeper and a personal assistant. I have neither of those things because the cost of those services exceeds the benefits.

Developing a new vaccine takes years and is highly expensive. What would be the value, the benefit, of separate vaccines for pertussis, tetanus, and diphtheria? None, nothing. In addition to the costs of vaccine development, health care providers would also bear the marginal cost of ordering and stocking these vaccines...again, for no benefit.

Why should we vaccinate children against rubella at all? According to Alison MacNeil, who said ""I have never met a parent willing to sacrifice their child for the good of the herd", we shouldn't. After all, rubella is a mild disease of childhood with very low mortality and mortality.

We vaccinate for the community immunity to protect the developing fetuses of pregnant women who lack immunity. Before widespread uptake of rubella vaccine, infections in pregnant women caused spontaneous abortion, or for infants who survived to term, Congenital Rubella Syndrome.

I would like laura to say if she supports vaccinating children against rubella.

Re: DNA fragments

Wow, a lift from mcat-review.org. Unusual choice, but I guess that takes care of that. The Snout People are coming.

I was somewhat pro-vax but this blog has not held up to my expectations- too few links, a lot of stupid comments, not too many facts. It's turned me in the other direction where egos don't reign supreme and they actually have compassion for the vaccine-injured.

Please. Don't insult my intelligence and that of my readers.

I don't believe for one minute that you were "pro-vax" or that you'd be "pro-vax" were it not for people like myself and my pro-science commenters being so mean and nasty to you. You were clearly already at the very least leaning towards the anti-vaccine position, and you just used the justified criticism you received for spewing fact-free, science-free nonsense in the comments of this blog as a convenient excuse to justify not listening to opposing viewpoints anymore.

@liz ditz-
My grandchildren are all up to date on their immunizations and in school.

@ Mephistopheles O'Brien:

Good to know!

-btw- I am supposed to attend an Irish wedding later- and the Irish love me, I have no clue as to why - so I shall rest assured that the Hg won't interfere.

...........

In other news: Mike Adams now resides outside Austin, TX, where he raises chickens, drinks raw eggs, and fights "the Man" ( NaturalNews; today)

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 03 Sep 2011 #permalink

I sincerely doubt that laura had any ability (other than providing misinformation) to affect her grandchildren's immunization status, but nonetheless laura has yet to answer liz ditz's question.

By Scottynuke (not verified) on 03 Sep 2011 #permalink

@orac -
please answer 101

then read 105 110

Much appreciated.
Respectfully yours,
Laura
I obviously have no science background and do suffer from age related(I'm a senior) memory problems. (have had 10 flu shots as least- of course no causal relationship.)

Perhaps Laura is descending into age related dementia. Her response to direct questions is to post some odd link about a different disease.

Laura, please ask your children to find a suitable care facility for you as soon as possible.

And do make sure that you are up to date on your tetanus booster. The most vulnerable persons to tetanus are older people who forget to update their protection to that particular soil born bacteria, which is literally everywhere. You might want refresh your fading memory on the difference between "contagious" and actually "everywhere"!

@laura

Although this doesn't directly address #101, it does address the scientific ignorance you demonstrate in #105 because it takes on someone who made the same sort of silly claims for a different claimed case of DNA in vaccines:

http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2011/04/the_resident_anti-vaccine_rep…

http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2011/07/joe_mercola_plays_the_religio…

Seriously, you really are out of your depth here, which is why I ask you to read the above really, really carefully. When you say you have no science background, I'm not at all surprised. Your posts make it painfully obvious that you have no science background. If you did, you wouldn't make such silly statements about homologous recombination. One wonders if you've been reading the Age of Autism spin on Dr. Ratajczak's nonsense about homologous recombination due to vaccines.

Laura, perhaps to help your age related memory problems you should pick up an active hobby. Perhaps gardening, but remember that gardeners need to be on top of their tetanus boosters. I got scratched by a rose thorn over a week ago that seemed to get a bit infected. Fortunately I got a Tdap booster a couple of months ago.

@laura

Oh, and tell me: You say your grandchildren are up to date on their vaccines. Do you agree with their mother's decision to vaccinate them according to the recommended schedule? Yes or no.

Orac

silly statements about homologous recombination.

Orac, you of all people should know that it is the homologous recombalation tiniker that is the real danger.

By Militant Agnostic (not verified) on 03 Sep 2011 #permalink

@Laura, I asked you a simple question:

Do you support vaccinating children against rubella?

Please answer yes or no. In the case of no, please provide your reasons.

Your grandchildren's vaccination status is irrelevant, unless you are their legal guardian.

And the age card: I've been a card-carrying member of AARP for a number of years now. And I too have had my annual flu shot since 1997. The latter has not only protected my health but protected others around me (my grandchildren, my even-more-elderly friends) from the risk of me transmitting the disease to them.

@laura:

Re: DNA fragments
* Transduction: transfer of genetic material by viruses
1. Virus infects cell: host DNA degraded into fragments, viral DNA takes over control.

That happens to host DNA (DNA inside of the host's cells), not DNA fragments in the vaccine.

By Matthew Cline (not verified) on 03 Sep 2011 #permalink

@ laura

The authors of the recent paper linked below estimate that in the USA a minumum of 830 ASD cases and a maximum of 6225 cases of ASD cases were PREVENTED by MMR vaccination from 2001 through 2010.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21592401

Since (as noted in the recent Institute of Medicine report) "The evidence favors rejection of a causal relationship between MMR vaccine and autism," do you think that children should skip the MMR vaccine and thus INCREASE the prevalence of ASD?

@ orac @brian @liz ditz
I am not qualified to suggest not getting vaccinated nor getting vaccinated with the MMR since the IOM also stated....

"The committee finds that evidence convincingly supports a causal relationship between some vaccines and some adverse eventsâsuch as MMR, varicella zoster, influenza, hepatitis B, meningococcal, and tetanus-containing vaccines linked to anaphylaxis."

Laura, perhaps you should try reading this very carefully. Then come back and tell us exactly how much more risk a child has from getting the MMR vaccine versus getting measles, mumps and rubella.

Laura, make sure you read the whole article and get to the end where Orac says:

The IOM report is yet another indication that serious vaccine reactions are rare and that in general most adverse reactions to vaccines are mild in nature. That is not to say that they are nonexistent, but they are much less frequent and much less severe than the impression that is intentionally promoted by anti-vaccine activists.

@chris

No time to read -at your suggestion I'm contacting my son to bring me to some spa-
I'm sure they will tell me it's a spa for commitment as suggested in 116- preferably with a garden, hopefully I will not impale myself with garden shears.

I am sure your son will find you a nice retirement home with plenty of medical support.

* Transduction: transfer of genetic material by viruses
1. Virus infects cell: host DNA degraded into fragments, viral DNA takes over control.
In which universe is this happening? Certainly not this one. A cell with "host DNA degraded into fragments" is dead.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 03 Sep 2011 #permalink

I am sure your son will find you a nice retirement home with plenty of medical support.

I'm not sure that Th1Th2 is really going to be up to it.

@Narad, Matthew Cline, and herr doktor bimler,

Re: DNA fragments...Wow, a lift from mcat-review.org. Unusual choice, but I guess that takes care of that. The Snout People are coming.

And unless I'm incorrect, that particular section referred to bacteriophages, which explains her confusion. Lambda phages can cause the fragmenting of their host's DNA. This can and sometimes does lead to homologous recombination. Laura seems a tad confused (or more likely simply does not understand the material and just copies and pastes). =P

By Poodle Stomper (not verified) on 03 Sep 2011 #permalink

@Laura,
Please see here. Thanks!

By Poodle Stomper (not verified) on 03 Sep 2011 #permalink

it's not magnetism,their stupid about everything.

I must admit I have never seen such a bigger bunch of sheep in my life.

Actually I'm lying, they abound in militant skeptik organisations ... they gather around such commentators as Dawkins and Hitchens on religion for instance.

They worship the god of 'science'to their peril for to put so much trust in one solitary concept risks manipulation that they are so vehemently opposed to.

They tend to overlook some inconvenient truths about the scientific points of view and the mistake ridden past of their professions , their organisations and the scientists they defend as 'critical thinking.'

Arise sheep and multiply ... be the first sheep to stand on their own two feet.

By Blackheart (not verified) on 04 Sep 2011 #permalink

I must admit I have never seen such a bigger bunch of sheep in my life.

Perhaps you should get out more. Try visiting the countryside.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 04 Sep 2011 #permalink

Why is there a skeptik picnic ?

By Blackheart (not verified) on 04 Sep 2011 #permalink

@Blackheart,
Sheep on 2 feet you say? Cool!

To you more lunatic assertion: Science corrects itself as part of the process. Religion and faith just go on being wrong. Which camp makes more sense?

"To you more lunatic assertion"

Sorry Mike couldn't follow that.

"Science corrects itself as part of the process"

Only a skeptik would see it that way. Most of us would just see it as 'science makes mistakes".Seems a more honest appraisal rather than denial. Next you'll follow up with the "science' has no responsibility.

"Religion and faith just go on being wrong."

That could well be right ... but how does that make you correct ?

"Which camp makes more sense?"

Depends on the individual and what they are seeking. The irrefutable fact that spirituality in some form or other is shared by nearly all humans and over it's long history seems to indicate that it is indeed part of the human condition.

By Blackheart (not verified) on 04 Sep 2011 #permalink

Only a skeptik would see it that way. Most of us would just see it as 'science makes mistakes".

Mistakes which, when they occur, are caught by...wait for it...science. Certainly they weren't caught by people who are totally ignorant of the mechanisms of science.

By The Christian Cynic (not verified) on 04 Sep 2011 #permalink

"Mistakes which, when they occur, are caught by...wait for it...science."

Not quite sure that's correct either. I'll let you think about that one.

I am interested in the "The Christian Cynic" tag some sort of bias or prejudice you'd like to express before your next commentary. I thought 'science' was based on some sort of 'objectivity".

By Blackheart (not verified) on 04 Sep 2011 #permalink

@ Blackheart: Well that's four comments you've made and will you eventually state something that adds to the discussion about vaccines...or are you a drive-by troll?

Funny, how I mentioned driving a stake through a troll's black heart...coincidence/yes or no?

"Well that's four comments you've made and will you eventually state something that adds to the discussion about vaccines...or are you a drive-by troll?"

There are many different layers to Orac's latest article. One of them happens to be contained in the opening statement that usually indicates the focus of the discussion to be presented.

"One of my interests in skepticism and critical thinking"

So far the critical thinking has gone my way ...

As far as vaccines is concerned I'm sure we will eventually get on to that subject.

"Funny, how I mentioned driving a stake through a troll's black heart...coincidence/yes or no?"

Coincidence ...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chin_Ning_Chu

So back to 'science' make mistakes does it ?

Self correcting ?

Neutral ?

There's the challenge can you critically think through those questions.

By Blackheart (not verified) on 04 Sep 2011 #permalink

The irrefutable fact that spirituality in some form or other is shared by nearly all humans and over it's long history seems to indicate that it is indeed part of the human condition.

So is schizophrenia and drunkenness.

I've made my comments on this blog associated with vaccines and immunology already and we are still waiting for yours.

Do you have anything to add to the subject of this blog or are you just being a troll?

The irrefutable fact that spirituality in some form or other is shared by nearly all humans and over it's long history seems to indicate that it is indeed part of the human condition.

The same can be said is racism, sexism, and illogical thinking such as confirmation bias and the post-hoc fallacy. Also, "spirituality in one form or another" mostly consists of mutually incompatible beliefs. Furthermore there is an inverse correlation between religiosity and societal well being.

By Militant Agnostic (not verified) on 04 Sep 2011 #permalink

@Blackheart,
So 5 comments from you. The first was simply a gratuitous insult. The second followed up on it. The third states that spirituality has a long tradition (something I don't recall anyone disagreeing with). The fourth makes cryptic comments about science not necessarily catching its mistakes, but presents neither evidence nor rationale behind that. The fifth links to an apparently irrelevant Wikipedia article and challenges people to critically think through "those" questions, but does not state what the questions, exactly, are.
If you have a point, you're doing a remarkably fine job of disguising it.

By Mephistopheles… (not verified) on 04 Sep 2011 #permalink

"they abound in militant skeptik organisations ... they gather around such commentators as Dawkins and Hitchens on religion for instance.

They worship the god of 'science'to their peril"

It's puzzling that some religious types who view science as their enemy, think that the ultimate insult they can direct at science-based individuals is to call them religious.

Saying "You bad people are just like me!" indicates a bizarre level of self-hatred.

Fortunately, there are plenty of devout folk (among them, lots of scientists) who are able to separate their religious beliefs from their ability to think clearly and rationally about the world around them.

By Dangerous Bacon (not verified) on 04 Sep 2011 #permalink

Not quite sure that's correct either. I'll let you think about that one.

What is there to think about? You made a bold assertion without anything to support it.

I am interested in the "The Christian Cynic" tag some sort of bias or prejudice you'd like to express before your next commentary. I thought 'science' was based on some sort of 'objectivity".

Right after you explain how your handle means that you either 1) are a moral monster or 2) have some sort of heart defect.

But in the meantime, feel free to join the club of people who think that my handle is in any way relevant to whatever discussion is at hand. (Not that I'm surprised by such ad hominems anymore...)

By the way, I also think that the "science makes mistakes" discussion will be fruitless (well, even more fruitless) if we don't separate out two distinct positions that could be described as such: 1) science has been incorrect on some positions in the past, and 2) science has led to things that were immoral. I'm not ultimately concerned with the latter position, but the history of the former reflects quite nicely on science's ability to adjust its theories based on new evidence and to shift paradigms where necessary.

By The Christian Cynic (not verified) on 04 Sep 2011 #permalink

Porky Pig

Fortunately, there are plenty of devout folk (among them, lots of scientists) who are able to separate their religious beliefs from their ability to think clearly and rationally about the world around them.

See what I mean, Gray? They hate you. They only tolerate you until you talk about your incongruent(dangerous irrational thinking to the skeptic like Bacon) belief in god. This is your brother? This is who you defend?

By augustine (not verified) on 04 Sep 2011 #permalink

"Science corrects itself as part of the process"

"Mistakes which, when they occur, are caught by...wait for it...science."

This irresponsible gambit is a real kicker. No accountability.

So if ORAC throws science on a table it will just eventually morph into something more perfect?

Or does science sit around with a net in it's hand waiting to catch mistakes?

I didn't know science had self-awareness built into it's definition.

Whenever someone makes this charge you can rest assured that they are believers in Scientism. They have an idol like belief in the "power" of science. It(although science really isn't an "it") is infalliable because any imperfection is ALWAYS in the past. Those who hold a social Dawinistic view of Utopia are not concerned with the past. They only believe in the Utopia that the scientific idol is leading them to.

Oh, christian ORAC believers ie Gray FAlcon, lilady, callie, etc. Metaphysical Naturalism and the belief in any god is a diametrically opposed idea. Think about that one. Think about it real deep. And then you'll see why atheists congregate here and share their congruent views while you are secretly mocked and snickered at for your immature incongruency.

By augustine (not verified) on 04 Sep 2011 #permalink

Augie, the fact that you can't distinguish "they hate you" from "they think you are wrong" says a lot about your worldview.

By The Christian Cynic (not verified) on 04 Sep 2011 #permalink

Correction Gray and LIlady. Christian Cynic doesn't hate you, it just thinks you're wrong and therefore it is right.

By augustine (not verified) on 04 Sep 2011 #permalink

Blackheart:

There's the challenge can you critically think through those questions.

You didn't leave any questions, just a wiki page about some dead dude who wrote books I have never heard of, and would never read. So this must mean you want to answer our questions.

Yay!! Finally someone who will actually and honestly answer my questions. For some reason the anti-vax folks find ways to avoid answering them, and here you come along telling us that superior to us, and all that! Okay, here they are:

1. a) Please tell us how much more dangerous the MMR vaccine is compared to measles, mumps and rubella. Remember to document your answer from real scientific literature.

b) Please do the same for the DTaP and Tdap vaccines. Show they are worse than diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis supported by the scientific literature.

2. The following is USA census data on measles incidence (which is the same as morbidity) from 1912 to the late 1990s. You will notice that the incidence of measles in 1970 is only 10% from 1960, and has not been as high since. What caused the sudden decrease of measles in the USA during that decade (and no other decade)? Remember the MMR vaccine did get approved until 1971.

From http://www.census.gov/prod/99pubs/99statab/sec31.pdf
Year.... Rate per 100000 of measles
1912 . . . 310.0
1920 . . . 480.5
1925 . . . 194.3
1930 . . . 340.8
1935 . . . 584.6
1940 . . . 220.7
1945 . . . 110.2
1950 . . . 210.1
1955 . . . 337.9
1960 . . . 245.4
1965 . . . 135.1
1970 . . . . 23.2
1975 . . . . 11.3
1980 . . . . . 5.9
1985 . . . . . 1.2
1990 . . . . .11.2
1991 . . . . . .3.8
1992 . . . . . .0.9
1993 . . . . . .0.1
1994 . . . . . .0.4
1995 . . . . . .0.1
1996 . . . . . .0.2
1997 . . . . . . 0.1

Good news and bad news from the CDC. They've released the results of their latest survey on toddler (19-35 months) vaccination rates.

The percentage of children who had not received any vaccinations remained low (less than 1%). For most vaccines, no disparities by racial/ethnic group were observed, with coverage for other racial/ethnic groups in 2010 similar to or higher than coverage among white children. However, disparities by poverty status still exist. Maintaining high vaccination coverage levels is important to reduce the burden of vaccine-preventable diseases and prevent a resurgence of these diseases in the United States, particularly in undervaccinated populations (1).

--snip--

During 2010, national coverage with all recommended vaccines increased or remained stable compared with 2009 (Table 1). Coverage with vaccines with longstanding recommendations has remained stable since the mid-1990s§§ (i.e., diphtheria, tetanus toxoids, and acellular pertussis vaccine [DTaP], poliovirus vaccine, varicella vaccine, and â¥3 doses of HepB). For MMR, after a decrease from 92.1 in 2008 to 90.0 in 2009, coverage with â¥1 dose increased to 91.5% in 2010.

--snip--

Coverage among children living below poverty levelâ â â  was lower than coverage among children living at or above poverty level for â¥3 and â¥4 doses DTaP, the primary and full series of the Hib vaccine, â¥3 and â¥4 doses PCV, rotavirus vaccine, and the 4:3:1:3:3:1:4 series with and without Hib (Table 2). Coverage with the birth dose of HepB was higher among children living below the poverty level compared with children living at or above the poverty level.

http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6034a2.htm?s_cid=mm6034a2_w

So, as before, it's important to be vigilant in assuring that government cutbacks don't include cuts to programs that make vaccines more accessible to children living in poverty. As the mother of an immunocompromised child, this concerns me more than the actions of the small numbers of anti-vaccine parents.

My Last Post-

How you all are so sure that the current vaccine schedule is safe is beyond belief. And the fact that you knock Jay Gordon MD who is clearly not anti-vax.

No I didn't want my child to suffer through measles, mumps, chicken pox and quite possibly pertussis (but that is a vague memory of a day and night of non-stop coughing) like I did.
- he was vaccinated with a sane schedule.

This report from the CDC is shocking

http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/features/birthdefects-dd-keyfindings.html

I don't remember any developmentally disabled children from my childhood but I
remember Bunny with her braces from polio.

(One of the symptoms of narcissism is an inability to tolerate other points of view
with a resulting venomous outburst against a perceived opponent -too many on this blog)

Laura,

It is one thing to tolerate another's point of view if it is valid and based on facts. It is another to claim that everyone's point of view must be equally respected, even if it is based on lack of science, lack of knowledge, and is potentially dangerous. Yours is clearly based on a lack of science background (see your link to an MCAT prep test on bacteriophages to support your point). Clearly you need to look a bit more into the whole science thing before embracing conclusions simply because it is what you want to believe. Science is about verifying facts and, if they don't equal what you want to believe, sucking it up and changing your view on life to fit the facts and not the other way around.

By Poodle Stomper (not verified) on 04 Sep 2011 #permalink

@poodlestomper-
Not refering to you but to those who called me a troll etc.
Thank you for your link to transduction.

@ cjf: I don't think you have to worry about access to vaccines for children living in poverty...the Vaccines for Children Program (VFC) is firmly in place for children living at or below the poverty level as well as children whose parents do not have insurance or children who are "under-insured"...those whose health insurance doesn't cover immunizations.

"My Last Post-

How you all are so sure that the current vaccine schedule is safe is beyond belief. And the fact that you knock Jay Gordon MD who is clearly not anti-vax."

Here is Dr. Jay Gordon's "who is clearly not anti-vax" opinion on his website regarding MMR vaccine:

Feb 23, 2010
MMR Vaccination, An Important Notice from February 2006

âI no longer give or recommend the MMR vaccine. I think that the risks exceed the benefits. Obviously, discuss this with your doctor but please know that the CDC declared rubella officially eradicated in the U.S. in 2005, measles remains a rare disease in America (30-40 cases/year) and mumps is also not very common.

Mumps can cause decreased fertility in teenage boys who get the illness and suffer testicular infection, but this is a very rare occurrence.

All three of these viruses continue to be associated with severe life-threatening complications in other countries, but the vaccineâincluding the âsplitâ vaccinesâenough risk to outweigh the benefit for healthy North American or European children.â

There are other "opinions" about all the recommended childhood vaccines on Dr. Jay's website which clearly show that he is "not anti-vax".

(One of the symptoms of narcissism is an inability to understand the science behind vaccine preventable diseases with a resulting troll-like venomous outburst against a perceived opponent -too many on this blog)

@ Blackheart: Well that's four comments you've made and will you eventually state something that adds to the discussion about vaccines...

I was`wondering whether Blackheart wanted the 5-minute argument or the 10-minute argument.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 04 Sep 2011 #permalink

Laura,

You are very welcome. The thing is, when anyone comes to threads like this and post long ago debunked ideas and other memes from the typical antivax repertoire, people are bound to label them trolls.

There is no reliable evidence that the "too many, too soon" idea has any merit at all. So, calling the vaccine schedule "insane", whilst demonstrating a lack of basic science (and please do not take this as an insult, it is not meant to be), will definitely inspire people to not take you seriously. If you truly want to get facts, feel free to ask people here. We can usually point you to reproducible studies in reputable, peer-reviewed journals.

The thing about science is that it isn't always easy to understand for lay people, meaning that you need to exercise caution when it comes to which sources are credible and which aren't. The danger is that of confirmation bias, where anything that seems to support your current ideas are held as credible and more important than those that oppose it. This is a danger to anyone, which is why science focuses so much on reproducibility. If you have honest, genuine questions and are willing to do some legwork, then ask them here. If you plan to simply quote-mine or repeat the previously debunked BS from quacks then realize that you do so at the risk of being labeled a troll, and then, in my opinion, rightly so.

By Poodle Stomper (not verified) on 04 Sep 2011 #permalink

@ laura:

DD kids were in *institutions*, and like people with SMI, were invisible to general society. Their issues became more apparent after institutions *closed*. Historians can point out vast complexes of buildings that used to house these people.

Many who were labelled DD (or MR) prior to 1994 would now be called ASD. They were out of sight *and* called something else (- not autistic-) despite their social/ communicative incapacities. A great deal of the "rise" in numbers of those with autism is due to diagnostic substitution.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 04 Sep 2011 #permalink

Dr. Jay's schedule has been discussed here before - what he is advocating is children getting vaccines after the critical period, meaning that children 0 - 12 are basically unprotected, at an age where lethality is much higher than if they received their vaccines later (i.e. a three month old has a much greater chance of dying, should they catch measles, mumps or rubella - not to mention pertussis).

Fewer & not as often is not safer.

laura: "Dr. Jay Gordon's sane vax schedule-( hardly anti-vax ) Cautious yes.

laura, that link lists no vaccine schedule at all, just Dr. Jay's allusion to being suspicious about vaccines. He has admitted previously on Respectful Insolence (see post #293 in that link) that he hardly vaccinates kids at all.

""My vaccine schedule? Either none or just a DPT in the first 24 months of life. I think that there's a greater risk vaccinating males under 24 months and would prefer not to unless there are special circumstances. I use very few other shots except the Varivax as a child approaches ten years because teen and adult pox are nasty and even a little dangerous especially during pregnancy."

So by his own words Jay has acknowledged he sees no value in immunizing children against such pathogens as Hemophilus influenzae, Pneumococcus, mumps, rubella, polio, hepatitis A and B and influenza viruses, administering (grudgingly) suboptimal protection against diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis, while minimizing the danger of measles (he has elsewhere said he gives measles shots rarely). All of the above are part of the routine childhood vaccination schedule recommended by the American Association of Pediatrics, of which Jay Gordon boasts of being a member.

If you consider that "hardly anti-vax", "sane", or sound pediatric practice, you should re-evaluate what those terms means.

By Dangerous Bacon (not verified) on 04 Sep 2011 #permalink

Definitely my last post-

Dr. Jay Gordon's sane vax schedule-( hardly anti-vax ) Cautious yes.

http://drjaygordon.com/vaccinations/vaccination-schedule.html

I doubt it's your last post but anyway, what basis does Dr. Jay Gordon use for his schedule? What testing has this undergone? Can he demonstrate that the children who use his schedule don't acquire VPDs more than responsibly-vaccinated children? This is a man who had a teenager sitting in front of him with all of the symptoms of pertussis, during a damned outbreak no less and refused to test her. By the way, I'm not a militant 'do it the CDC way or the highway' commenter. But what these 'brave maverick doctors' advocate is evidence-free and puts children at risk.

Nah, Dr. Jay isn't anti-vax...he just advocates for a "sane" vaccine schedule, as per his "follow me on twitter" page:

JayGordonMDFAAP Jay Gordon, MD, FAAP
bit.ly/SecondChildWit⦠Please delay or defer vaccines and avoid other possible, albeit unproven, triggers if first child ASD.
15 Aug

Nice, Dr. Gordon, in light of the deaths of 10 infants in California last year from pertussis.

laura:

I don't remember any developmentally disabled children from my childhood but I remember Bunny with her braces from polio.

That is because developmentally disabled children were denied an education in the public schools, and were often sent to institutions like Willowbrook in Staten Island, New York.

Dear Laura:
Since you and I are both senior citizens, I feel free to respond to you:

How you all are so sure that the current vaccine schedule is safe is beyond belief

I ask you, safe compared to what?. The risk/benefit calculation for today's vaccine schedule is clearly safer than what you and I experienced as children, when there were no vaccines against polio, measles, mumps, rubella, diphtheria...the list goes on. In terms of injury or adverse outcome, it is more risky to drive a child to the doctor's office than it is for a child to receive the recommended vaccines.

The onus is on you, Laura, to prove that the 2011 vaccine schedule is unsafe.

And the fact that you knock Jay Gordon MD who is clearly not anti-vax.

As ScienceMom relayed, Jay had a child (a teen)in his practice that with hindsight...probably had pertussis. He denied that pertussis was a problem in his practice...until he finally admitted that he had seen an unvaccinated patient who probably had pertussis. He neither tested nor vaccinated that teen. How many infants too young to be vaccinated did that teen put at risk?

And then there's the safety issue: compared to the recommended CDC schedule, how does Dr. Jay know that his approach to vaccination leads to better health outcomes -- not only for his patients, but for the children his patients come in contact with?

This is a direct question to you:

How do you, Laura, know that an "alternative" vaccine schedule, such as that recommended by Jay Gordon MD or Bob Sears MD, has better health outcomes for children than the recommended CDC schedule?

Next issue

I don't remember any developmentally disabled children from my childhood but I remember Bunny with her braces from polio.

Here's a phrase for you to remember, Laura: "Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence." In this context, it means just because you don't remember children with developmentally disabilities as peers in your childhood does not mean they did not exist.

Since we are of an age, Laura, I don't remember any developmentally delayed children from my childhood, either.

That does not mean that those children did not exist.

To my surprise, I found out when I was 14 (1965) that my best friend had an older sister with Down Syndrome who lived in an institution.

To my surprise, I found out when I was 11 (1962) that I had a second cousin who was deaf and blind who was a full-time boarder at a "school" for the deaf-blind.

To my surprise, I found out as an adult that there had been a rubella outbreak in our community when I was 6 (1957) and that my mother lost a pregnancy that year.

Since you are a grandmother and (I surmise) have school-aged grandchildren, you might want to educate yourself about the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). It began in 1975 as the Education for All Handicapped Children Act (Public Law 94-142), and has been expanded and reauthorized several times. IDEA guarantees all children, no matter their cognitive or physical capabilites, a "free and appropriate public education."

One of the symptoms of narcissism is an inability to tolerate other points of view with a resulting venomous outburst against a perceived opponent

Laura, I think you did not notice one important clue. Respectful Insolence is hosted at ScienceBlogs. "Points of view" is one thing -- but in science, evidence is paramount. It's not about "points of view" (being equal) but the evidence one marshals to support one's point of view.

I'm in my 30s, and I dare say most of my peers won't remember that many developmentally disabled children from their childhood either. I do - because my dad was their teacher; and he made a point of making sure they were visible to us, even though they were shut off from the rest of the school district in their own little classroom. They've always been there. A friend of mine in her 40s talks about a child her mother knew, in a very small community (well under 100 people), who was developmentally disabled, and because there weren't any services available his parents kept him locked up - literally padlocked - in the dining room. Given the time that occured I dare say that child wasn't vaccinated. Reading historical accounts of people in the middle ages who had 'devils' cast out of them - there is very little doubt that some of those 'devils' were actually a developmental disability for which they had no other explanation. Certainly they couldn't blame vaccinations, so they created their own boogie-men.

Many children who are now classed as 'autistic' would've been diagnosed with anything from a learning disability to full-on mental retardation in my childhood. Some were taught in a mainstream classroom (I'm sure you remember the kid who was just a little 'odd'? Perhaps he had undiagnosed autism?) and some were segregated, sent to be taught by my dad and his aides. I don't know how you can possibly teach 30+ kids with a range of disabilities, everything from Down's Syndrome to Fetal Alcohol Syndrome to autism (although in his very long teaching career, he only had one child who was diagnosed 'autistic' - he stopped teaching special ed around the time they rejigged the diagnostic definitions); but they did a pretty good job of it; and most of their former students are now living away from home - generally in a group home situation, but with jobs and social lives.

Given the very high incidence of autism in my husband's family, I worried, when my son was a baby, that he might be autistic. But then I thought - As a parent, what do you want for your children? You want to know that they'll be okay, even after you're gone. For most autistic children - indeed, for most children with Down's Syndrome, or any other sort of developmental or intellectual disability - that is an obtainable goal. A child with an intellectual disability may never become a doctor or a lawyer (insert lawyer joke here about how it could actually be beneficial to them) or a rocket scientist (although chances are strong that there are rocket scientists out there who have Asperger's) but is still quite capable of having a job he or she enjoys, contributing to society in a real and meaningful way, and having a full and rich social life. It may not be the life you imagined that child having, as you cradled them in your arms in the middle of the night; but that doesn't mean it's not worth living.

One of the symptoms of narcissism is an inability to tolerate other points of view with a resulting venomous outburst against a perceived opponent

No, not at all, if you're trying to allude to DSV-IV 301.81. On the other hand, leveling the complaint (really, it works better against individuals; just a tip) while repeatedly declaring one's imminent departure very well might be.

@ Liz Ditz: Yes, us ladies of a "certain age" rarely saw developmentally disabled children when we were growing up, for the very reason that Chris mentioned. Before the passage of PL 94-142, parents of children with developmentally disabilities were told "your child is exempt from schooling".

There were absolutely no services for children in public schools and parents did resort to placing their children in "developmental centers". They were human warehouses where the children's basic needs were sorely neglected and there was no attempt to provide them with any therapies or any educational opportunities. Oftentimes, the child became a ward of the State with "guardianship" taken over by the state.

I had never seen the inside of a developmental center until after the birth of my multiply handicapped son in 1976, but a short time after his birth, I did visit developmental centers and also psychiatric centers (where many of the institutionalized children and adults diagnosed with "classic" autism were misplaced). I cannot quite blot out the memories of those visits...the stench...the neglect...the physically impaired transported en masse in large "crib carts"... the sense that these were places of despair.

I suppose if you have never visited such places and you are completely unaware of the large number of former institutionalized developmentally disabled people now living in your own community in group homes and apartments...you could possibly make silly statements about the increase in disabilities and totally avoid the history of how far we as a society have progressed.

^ if you're trying to allude to DSV DSM-IV 301.81

@Chris,

How many years BEFORE the measles vaccine was the deaths in the thousands?

By augustine (not verified) on 04 Sep 2011 #permalink

although chances are strong that there are rocket scientists out there who have Asperger's

Are you talking about Chris? He/She's a rocket scientist and...an expert in everything else including health topics, vaccines, and mental retardation.

By augustine (not verified) on 04 Sep 2011 #permalink

lilady

"I've made my comments on this blog associated with vaccines and immunology already and we are still waiting for yours."

certainly we will get around to that subject I'm just trying to tease out any biases that may exist or some areas of critical thinking that may be amiss. Often what we believe drives how we interpret the world around us.

Perhaps a simple statement from you on vaccines may assist.

Militant Agnostic

Confirmation Bias ... I can see how that relates here.

Perhaps a simple statement from you on vaccines may assist.

Mephistopheles O'Brien

"If you have a point, you're doing a remarkably fine job of disguising it"

In critical thinking it is sometimes best not to spoon feed the possible conclusions.

Dangerous Bacon

"science as their enemy"

I use and practice science every day. I don't see science as an enemy but let's say potentially dangerous.

Any thoughts ?

The Christian Cynic

"What is there to think about?"

Well is it only science that corrects science ... has not scientific endeavour been 'corrected' by other mechanisms that stand outside 'science'.

"1) science has been incorrect on some positions in the past, and 2) science has led to things that were immoral. I'm not ultimately concerned with the latter position"

There's some critical thinking going on...

So the application of those statements can be made to religion / spirituality as well could it not...?

herr doktor bimler

"I was`wondering whether Blackheart wanted the 5-minute argument or the 10-minute argument."

I'm sure this could get quite complex....

--------------------------------------------------

So the general gist is that science is right because it self corrects even though it makes mistakes. More specifically it has no role to play in

So Orac provides quite the list of 'crank magnetism' but does "science" have any involvement in these or any other forms of 'out there ' stuff....?

Let's have a look at the Paranormal (yes we will be getting to vaccines)

Which includes Ghosts , Extra Terrestrials, Unidentified Flying Objects , cryptozoology and the usual "Uri Geller' stuff.

Paraphysical Association

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parapsychological_Association

The Nobel-prize-winning physicist Brian Josephson has studied the brain and the paranormal for 30 years.

http://www.tcm.phy.cam.ac.uk/~bdj10/mm/articles/PWprofile.html

Stanford University

SRI International, founded as Stanford Research Institute, is one of the world's largest contract research institutes. Based in Menlo Park, California, the trustees of Stanford University established it in 1946 as a center of innovation

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stanford_Research_Institute

Duke University

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parapsychology

University of Edinburgh

In 1985 a Chair of Parapsychology was established within the Department of Psychology at the University of Edinburgh.

Princeton University

Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research Lab

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Princeton_Engineering_Anomalies_Research_L…

...and on to Extraterrestrials ...

"Theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking in 2010 warned that humans should not try to contact alien life forms. He warned that aliens might pillage Earth for resources. "If aliens visit us, the outcome would be much as when Columbus landed in America, which didn't turn out well for the Native Americans,"

NASA

"Scientists at NASA and Penn State University published a paper in April 2011 addressing the question "Would contact with extraterrestrials benefit or harm humanity?" The paper describes positive, negative and neutral scenarios"

By Blackheart (not verified) on 04 Sep 2011 #permalink

"Finally someone who will actually and honestly answer my questions. For some reason the anti-vax folks find ways to avoid answering them, and here you come along telling us that superior to us, and all that! Okay, here they are"

Thanks Chris for the high praise ...

1.a) Please tell us how much more dangerous the MMR vaccine is compared to measles, mumps and rubella. Remember to document your answer from real scientific literature.

I can't Chris because according to the recent IoM report which is apparently the most comprehensive evaluation on vaccine safety for some 17 years they couldn't give a value to the risk / benefit thingy.

Here's the link ...

http://www.iom.edu/Reports/2011/Adverse-Effects-of-Vaccines-Evidence-an…

and a report from the briefing

"In the report, the committee noted that many of the adverse events it examined are "exceedingly rare in the population overall," and most often occur without being preceded by vaccination.

But in the briefing, Clayton and other committee members could not put a number on "rare."

Without numbers, it's impossible to compare the risk of an adverse event to the risk that an unvaccinated child might get seriously ill from a disease."

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2016010742_vaccines26m…

Answer - The science hasn't been done.

2. "What caused the sudden decrease of measles in the USA during that decade (and no other decade)? Remember the MMR vaccine did get approved until 1971."

Is this one of those 'trick' questions - OK wild stab in the dark.

The Measles Vaccine introduced in 1963

http://www.vaccineinformation.org/measles/qandavax.asp

By Blackheart (not verified) on 04 Sep 2011 #permalink

Orac-

Don't you see the fixed mindset in your article as well?

dan: "Don't you see the fixed mindset in your article as well?"

Let's have a look at what Carol Dweck thinks is a "fixed mindset" as viewed through the filter of Kent Heckenlively:

"The fixed mindset, according to Kent, involves a tendency to avoid challenges, to give up easily when frustrated, and to ignore useful negative feedback. One key aspect of the fixed mindset is a tendency to view criticism of one's work or ideas as criticism of the person, and the reaction is invariably highly defensive...Usually when others succeed, people with a Fixed Mindset will try to convince themselves and the people around them that the success was due to either luck (after all, almost everything is due to luck in the Fixed Mindset world) or objectionable actions. In some cases, they will even try to tarnish the success of others by bringing up things that are completely unrelated ("Yes, but did you know about his...")."

What I take from Orac's article is a sense of the enormous, irony meter-blowing levels of un-self-awareness that permit antivaxers to perceive faults in others that in reality, they overwhelmingly display themselves.

I do not perceive in the many articles on this blog (and comments from pro-immunization advocates) a tendency to avoid challenges (antivax theories, research papers, court cases and the like are openly discussed and analyzed). I don't see a tendency to frustrate easily and blame setbacks on bad luck or evil machinations requiring a resort to Biblical prophecy, and certainly negative feedback is not ignored or stifled (we may bemoan the dearth of useful feedback and spend too much time disposing of trollesque feedback, but it is certainly not ignored).

By Dangerous Bacon (not verified) on 05 Sep 2011 #permalink

Regarding the institutions where disabled children were kept, back in the day (and, in some cases, still are -- the old state institutions are not totally gone)....

My mother-in-law and her mother-in-law both know quite well that there were disabled kids in the old days. They both worked at one of those "state schools". By state school, they didn't mean a technical college or university; they meant an institution for housing the disabled. They got to see those kids, and help feed them their meals, and recognize the grim future that existed for them. Their basic physical needs were attended to, but they were kept inside all the time; it was as healthy for them as a concrete zoo is for wild animals. The institution is actually still open, though today it is branded as a school and not a lunatic asylum.

I think we forget that Arkham Asylum, from "Batman", wasn't just some kooky comic book writer's invention. Such institutions existed. There are still mental hospitals and nursing homes with locked wards, but they are far fewer than they once were. It used to be that just being a bit strange could get you locked up -- and if you weren't mad when you went in, you certainly were by the time anyone came to check up on you. If they ever did.

I've become hooked on escape games lately, flash-based games where you have to navigate around a room or building or other environment, find clues, solve puzzles, and work out how to escape. One particularly good author of these games is a fellow who goes by Selfdefiant, of melting-mindz.com. Many of his games are made using photographs of real locations. Some are exotic tropical mansions, but others are very creepy -- set in old, abandoned mental institutions. The very places where the developmentally delayed used to be warehoused. Peeling paint, abandoned papers, rust, crumbling medical equipment, occasionally an abandoned wheelchair or gurney, very narrow bedrooms with tiny little cots to sleep on . . . some of them are exceptionally creepy. And they're real. The landscape is so dotted with institutions, if you know where to look, that some people have made a hobby out of entering and photographing them (which is where Selfdefiant gets the pictures for his games). But most are difficult to redevelop, due to a combination of inconvenient location, government ownership (they're not the most convenient seller to work with), toxic materials in these old buildings (you can bet they've got asbestos insulation and lead paint that any buyer will have to deal with), and just general creepiness. They are silent testimony to the shameful way our society used to treat the disabled.

By Calli Arcale (not verified) on 06 Sep 2011 #permalink

@ Calli Arcale: I actually visited some of those "developmental centers" and locked psych wards run by the State, since closed now and every condition you describe I witnessed. I also testified at hearings for plans to deinstitutionalize these places. At one of the hearings I testified at, I met David Rothman, Professor-Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, who co-authored with his wife Sheila Rothman, "The Willowbrook Wars". It is an excellent book about the history of caring for the "febble-minded" and the "insane" in large institutions.

David and Sheila Rothman detail the conditions that were prevalent at Willowbrook that prompted the Federal Court Class Action Lawsuit, the parental involvement and the slew of lawyers that sued NY State on behalf of the "class" for humane treatment.

The Class Action Lawsuit settled in 1975 was a landmark decision that prompted other class action lawsuits in NY State and other states.

Yes, we have come a long way because of the advocacy of parents and others who want disabled people to have the basics of humane care and the opportunity for normalization, not being hidden in human warehouses.

Important legislation has been passed recently about insurance coverage for extensive (and expensive) therapies for the developmentally disabled. In this political climate and with the state of fiscal constraints, parents of the developmentally disabled should be advocating so that therapy insurance coverage is not slashed...instead of pushing an agenda of the pseudoscience theories of "vaccine injuries".

Somewhere there is a list floating around cyberspace that lists existing institutional building complexes in the US/ UK.

A 1914 short story by Jack London," Told in the Drooling Ward", documents life at these places. FYI London made his home in Glen Ellen, CA near a such an institution, which still stands and is used.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 06 Sep 2011 #permalink

"The British Medical Journal still welcomes the application of Electroconvulsive Treatment even though a review of the literature found that between 29 per cent and 55 per cent (depending on the study) of people who had undergone ECT reported persistent memory loss.

It is still given to about 11,000 people a year. About 1,500 ECT patients a year in the UK are treated without their consent under the Mental Health Acts or the provisions of common law

Apparently Geddes of Oxford University thought it had short term benefits but this qualified by most of the trials were old and conducted on small numbers of patients; some groups (for example, elderly people, women with postpartum depression and people with treatment-resistant depression) were under-represented in the trials even though ECT is believed to be especially effective for them."

It is an interesting insight into the rationalist mindset.

So that would be the paranormal plus electroconvulsive therapy.

By Blackheart (not verified) on 06 Sep 2011 #permalink

@ Chris

Anymore questions ?

Or should we continue to provide examples of the fixed mindset of the Rationalist Mind.

By Blackheart (not verified) on 06 Sep 2011 #permalink

So far in the rational mindset we have seen a propensity for the exploration of...

Telekinesis

Telepathy

Remote Viewing

Mind Control ...and a ton of other paranormal investigation that would have Randi spluttering and coughing and making all sorts of accusations.

Even the realm of rational ? physics and cosmology is tainted with flights of fantasy about extra terrestrials and alien invasion.

What about medical science and the treatment of psychiatric patients ...

Electroconvulsive Therapy where patients in Scotland 23% of the patients were not able to give confirmed consent.

20% of patients had memory problems 8% cognitive problems and 16% mental confusion ...

There were 13 severe events out of some 436 patients.

Zapping Granny (most patients are female) seems fairly reasonable ? They didn't want to zap any Great Grandmothers over 90 or Great Grandfathers over 95 which was the maximum age.

Oh 32% of the patients were 70 and over .... and finally the reason they were zapping the Little Old ladies... Resistance: Antidpressants (245)

Antidpressants .... well that would be another story entirely.

By Blackheart (not verified) on 07 Sep 2011 #permalink

examples of the fixed mindset of the Rationalist Mind

All your examples seem to involve lack of fixity. I am bemused.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 07 Sep 2011 #permalink

Which ones herr doktor ?

ECT ?

Paranormal research ?

Alien Invasion ?

The search for ET ?

By Blackheart (not verified) on 07 Sep 2011 #permalink

Hmmm......well, most of what you assert is "science" is generally looked down upon by real researchers (all of the paranormal garbage)& is firmly in the realm of the woo-tastic.

As far as the search for extraterestrial life - how exactly is that not part of basic science?

And the "alien invasion" stuff - well, mostly in the vein of Hollywood, not science (maybe some conjecture from time to time - and people do ask scientists about that stuff, are they not allowed to have opinions?)

I have yet to understand your basic premise - which isn't surprising, since you don't seem to have one.

I'm glad to see herr Doktor has an understudy to answer for him ... by real researchers you mean that Princeton , Duke , University of Edinburgh, Stanford , the Department of Defense, Oxford , Cambridge ... all those eminent institutions were ...well.

Stephen Hawking ???

"I have yet to understand your basic premise - which isn't surprising, since you don't seem to have one."

I think herr doktor got it....ask him.

So much irrationality in the scientific mind ..."the blinding ...."

...and there's a ton more stuff.

By Blackheart (not verified) on 07 Sep 2011 #permalink

Do you have a point, Blackheart? Trust me, you'd rather explain it yourself than have someone else guess it for you.

By Gray Falcon (not verified) on 07 Sep 2011 #permalink

Perhaps Lawrence and herr doktor could patch together some scientific evidence for "Alien Invasion" or Aliens in general - the ones that come in "Flying Saucers" with ray guns and take over the world ?

I realise some medical journals have been indulging in some conspiracy theory recently but even they wouldn't ...or would they ?

By Blackheart (not verified) on 07 Sep 2011 #permalink

@Gray

Post 189

"So much irrationality in the scientific mind ..."the blinding ...."

By Blackheart (not verified) on 07 Sep 2011 #permalink

I still don't get your point - are you denying the possibility of extraterestrial life?

So, your argument is "guilt by association", right? Same logic where people won't trust black or Arabic neighbors based on what they've seen on TV.

By Gray Falcon (not verified) on 07 Sep 2011 #permalink

And you pull out a Scientology book as evidence, of what exactly? Well, maybe not Scientology directly, but an LRH book? Especially one as god-awful as BA?

I still have no idea what you are trying to say.

@Gray

See how it applies withthe skeptikal argument presented here first and then get back to me.

By Blackheart (not verified) on 07 Sep 2011 #permalink

Lawrence ...

OK I'll try some visuals

Think of a van a black van with a "science rationalist" sticker on the rear bumper driving down the freeway of rational scientific empirical evidence .. watch as the driver slowly veers off from the straight and narrow and starts to give thoughts to pseudo -science watch as the driver hallucinates with dreams of moving objects by telekenesis, reading the thoughts of the enemy or exchanging information via the transference of mind.

Watch as he slumbers into a dreamworld of alien invasion ...

Crash ....smoke and ruin. Nothing damaged just the underlying credibility that science as portrayed by Orac is rational , evidenced and reasoned.

Cheers ... I'll put it on powerpoint asap.

By Blackheart (not verified) on 07 Sep 2011 #permalink

So... Guilt by association it is. Thank you, now get lost.

By Gray Falcon (not verified) on 07 Sep 2011 #permalink

One of my interests in skepticism and critical thinking has been the similarity in the fallacious arguments, approach to data, and general behavior of those who are--to put it generously--not so skeptical or scientific in their approach to life. I'm talking about believers in the paranormal, quacks, ...

So, because someone, at sometime, might have looked into an area in which you believe doesn't hold up to scientific scrutiny, all science is bunk?

WTF?

And the vast majority of scientists would agree that paranormal research is nothing but hooey (and more the realm of Deepak Chopra, really) - but I'm still really hazy on your fixation on ETs - since things like SETI & the search for potential life-bearing planets is about as mainstream as you can get.

Thanks Gray ...that's all the confirmation that was needed.

By Blackheart (not verified) on 07 Sep 2011 #permalink

Tell me, if science is so awful, how are you posting here? The Internet isn't held together with fairy dust.

By Gray Falcon (not verified) on 07 Sep 2011 #permalink

@Gray

I think you need to reflect critically on both the positive and negative aspects of 'science rationalism'.

Just as Orac does if he's going to take the 'moral' high ground on 'quackery'.

That will be interesting ....

By Blackheart (not verified) on 07 Sep 2011 #permalink

What is that supposed to mean? Nothing you said had anything to do with vaccination. Why shouldn't it apply to electronics, as well?

By Gray Falcon (not verified) on 07 Sep 2011 #permalink

One gets the impression that Blackheart is full of it.

Blackheart: if you are going to snidely assert actual researchers in physics, biochem & medicine are equivalent to UFOlogists, start providing some evidence.

Otherwise your opinions are as valuable (and as valued) as any held by the regular trolls.

Blackheart:

Anymore questions ?

No, just answer those. Since you have failed to provide an answer, or any kind of cogent discourse I have come to the conclusion you are a blow hard and should be ignored.

Blackheart, could you do us all a favor and come back when you're not black-out drunk?

Do some people attempt to use scientific methods to study things which most agree are non-existent? Yes, of course.
Do some of those people publish what they claim to be positive results based on faulty methodology, poor logic, improper analysis of the data, bad statistics, wishful thinking, or other reasons? Yes, of course.
Might they some day find reproducible results based on well thought out methods and proper analysis that proves something that most agree to be non-existent actually exists? While in many cases it seems highly unlikely, the might.
How do we determine whether results are factual or not? Science.

By Mephistopheles… (not verified) on 07 Sep 2011 #permalink

And if someone could point to the statement from Dr. Hawking showing that he seriously believes that an alien invasion either a) has happened or b) is an imminent threat, please share. His warning, on the other hand, seems like reasonable caution if you believe fast interstellar travel might be possible.

By Mephistopheles… (not verified) on 07 Sep 2011 #permalink

So, because someone, at sometime, might have looked into an area in which you believe doesn't hold up to scientific scrutiny, all science is bunk?

More than that... the point of listing these people (some of them real scientists, others not) who were open-minded enough to research in directions that turn out in retrospect to be unproductive, is to prove that research is a rigid, closed mental set.

It doesn't make a lot of sense, but since Blackheart only came here for an argument (and is becoming increasingly agitated because no-one is contradicting him), it doesn't have to.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 07 Sep 2011 #permalink

Blackheart only came here for an argument (and is becoming increasingly agitated because no-one is contradicting him)

Contradict what? Was there an actual point in there somewhere that I missed?

Think of a van a black van [...] smoke and ruin. Nothing damaged just the underlying credibility that science as portrayed by Orac is rational , evidenced and reasoned.

Um. This accident reflects poorly on the driving skills of this van's driver, but it doesn't tell us anything about the other drivers' skills, or about the qualities of the van or of the freeway. The man was at fault, but not the tools he was using.

So no, sorry, we don't get your point. Unless you mean that scientific education should be improved and generalized all around? Obviously, this driver could have done with a few more driving lessons.

By Heliantus (not verified) on 07 Sep 2011 #permalink

@Composer99

"start providing some evidence."

I did with actual quotes from the leading scientist and key science educator Stephen Hawking. Whose opinions influence directly thousands of other scientists and lay persons around the world.

Here it is again...

"Theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking in 2010 warned that humans should not try to contact alien life forms. He warned that aliens might pillage Earth for resources. "If aliens visit us, the outcome would be much as when Columbus landed in America, which didn't turn out well for the Native Americans,"

Perhaps you can can come up with your own evidence of Alien Invasion - Project Blue Book perhaps ? An Alien autopsy ?

Science loves its own brand of quackery.

By Blackheart (not verified) on 07 Sep 2011 #permalink

@ Mephistopheles O'Brien

"His warning, on the other hand, seems like reasonable caution if you believe fast interstellar travel might be possible."

Of course it does ...

@Heliantus

"The man was at fault, but not the tools he was using."

The scientist was at fault, but not the science he was using.."

Thought the second part would be debatable as well.

By Blackheart (not verified) on 07 Sep 2011 #permalink

Again, I have no idea what you are trying to say - because your attempted explanations make no sense.

Augie:

Correction Gray and LIlady. Christian Cynic doesn't hate you, it just thinks you're wrong and therefore it is right.

First, I'm not an "it"; there's no need to dehumanize me because you can't be bothered to find a personal pronoun that works. (If it helps, I'm male.) Second, are you assuming I'm an atheist? Because you might just be the first person to interpret my handle as "person who is cynical about Christianity" rather than the correct "cynic who is also a Christian."

Blackheart (not that I expect an answer):

"What is there to think about?"

Well is it only science that corrects science ... has not scientific endeavour been 'corrected' by other mechanisms that stand outside 'science'.

You don't seem to understand how this works. When you make an assertion, the burden is upon you to support that assertion with facts, evidence, etc. You have not done so, so telling me to "think about it" is useless - there is no "it" to think about.

"1) science has been incorrect on some positions in the past, and 2) science has led to things that were immoral. I'm not ultimately concerned with the latter position"

There's some critical thinking going on...

So the application of those statements can be made to religion / spirituality as well could it not...?

Again, if you have a complaint, it's best to specify it. When I say, "I'm not ultimately concerned," I really was meaning for the purposes of the discussion at hand, and when the question (#2) is appropriate, I don't think it says anything useful about science other than that it can be co-opted (which is kind of a "duh" conclusion).

And yes, those questions could pertain to religion, but I'm not sure what relevance that has here.

By The Christian Cynic (not verified) on 07 Sep 2011 #permalink

It is like someone who has taken some kind of intoxicant and thinks they are being brilliant, but is spouting pure nonsense.

(recently listened to a podcast on music, Alcohol, Drugs, and Music, where Matt Schickele admitted to writing music while on pot thinking he was brilliant, only to see that what he wrote was worthless)

@The Christian Cynic

I'm happy to apologise for my error.

You're a "cynic who is also a Christian" the word order you used can lead to ambiguity.

"You don't seem to understand how this works."

Your expectation is that you will spoon fed the argument not so ... this is not what 'critical thinking' is about.

"so telling me to "think about it" is useless"

It is called reflection and what it tries to achieve is self exploration. To look at differing perspectives of an argument.

"When I say, "I'm not ultimately concerned," I really was meaning for the purposes of the discussion at hand"

So is science undertaken in a moral or ethical vacuum. Does the application and interpretation of science have an effect outside the sphere of science.

Economics , engineering , medicine , demographics , urban planning, sociology ...

"I don't think it says anything useful about science other than that it can be co-opted (which is kind of a "duh" conclusion)."

I would imagine that was the most important part of all ...critical thinking.

Is what you being told the 'truth". Is what you believe the 'truth'.....and if you do believe then what construct / philosophy underpins those beliefs.

Science rationalism perhaps ?

By Blackheart (not verified) on 07 Sep 2011 #permalink

Is what you being told the 'truth". Is what you believe the 'truth'.....and if you do believe then what construct / philosophy underpins those beliefs.

What "construct / philosophy" do you think would be problematic? You're basically looking at a refutation of time, which is all fine and well but leaves you with certain other problems.

Blackheart: The comment about my name wasn't addressed to you, and I didn't notice you making the error.

Your expectation is that you will spoon fed the argument not so ... this is not what 'critical thinking' is about.

Critical thinking requires an object, i.e. something to direct it at. If you want me to conjure up your argument, you're barking up the wrong tree; I'm not going to be baited into accusations of straw men because you can't be bothered to actually present an actual argument to assess.

At any rate, your "argument" thus far is the equivalent of "Nuh uh!" - it's merely a negation of what I said. There are lots of examples of science self-correcting; where are the examples of other factors doing so? Even if you can find some, I'd bet two things: 1) science was involved, even if the mechanisms weren't explicitly scientific (i.e. not through the normal peer review process), and 2) they are few and far between.

It is called reflection and what it tries to achieve is self exploration. To look at differing perspectives of an argument.

That's all well and good when the subject at hand is yourself, not so much when it's something external.

So is science undertaken in a moral or ethical vacuum. Does the application and interpretation of science have an effect outside the sphere of science.

You have misconstrued - deliberately, I think - what I was saying. I was delineating two positions, the first about the accuracy/correctness of science and the second about the morality of science. Your desire to talk about the latter is a diversion. I'm not saying it's not important in the grand scheme; it's just irrelevant to any discussion about whether or not science has made incorrect claims and how those claims were corrected (i.e. science).

I would imagine that was the most important part of all ...critical thinking.

You keep using those words. I do not think they mean what you think they mean.

Is what you being told the 'truth". Is what you believe the 'truth'.....and if you do believe then what construct / philosophy underpins those beliefs.

This is weapons-grade conspiracy-mongering. That doesn't pass as critical thinking by any reasonable measure.

By The Christian Cynic (not verified) on 07 Sep 2011 #permalink

You're basically looking at a refutation of time, which is all fine and well but leaves you with certain other problems.

Problem #1 is that you have to be Jorge Luis Borges.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 07 Sep 2011 #permalink

Blackheart:

Your expectation is that you will spoon fed the argument not so ... this is not what 'critical thinking' is about.

No, the expectation of the Christian Cynic and others here is that if you are attempting to make some sort of a point, you will want to make it so that it can be understood. Otherwise, what are you here in this thread for?

You use the phrase "spoon fed", which is interesting. I'm wondering, do you think that it shows some sort of weakness to actually state your case, clearly and concisely, or to expect that cases be so stated? If so, you are probably better suited to politics, where the objective is to not be seen to lose, than to science, where the objective is increase understanding.

I suppose it suits a desire to "win" to be coy about your actual argument; after all, if you don't come out and state your case, nobody can effectively refute it. This is why the Presidential debates so far have been so infuriatingly pointless; they're avoiding being caught making actual statements that could later be held against them. But it's very childish, quite honestly, and completely opposed to what science tries to do.

You seem very hung up on the issue of scientists having erred, as if this shows a fundamental weakness of science. Do you think that admitting an error, even when there is ample evidence to prove that it is an error, is some sort of weakness? Do you prefer the scientific/skeptical approach, or do you prefer the person who refuses to ever admit to being wrong?

So is science undertaken in a moral or ethical vacuum. Does the application and interpretation of science have an effect outside the sphere of science.

Of course it is not undertaken in a moral or ethical vacuum; it is conducted by humans, after all, and while humans have a wide range of opinions on the subjects of morality and ethics, they do use those opinions to guide their actions. In this, science is really no different than any other human endeavor.

What does make science different, however, is the recognition of absolute truths that exist beyond human philosophy, and the view that these truths will remain so regardless of how anyone feels about them. Celestial mechanics works whether you believe in it or not, after all. This is not to say that science and ethics are separate; on the contrary, there is considerable overlap (in addition to being nicer, ethical studies tend to be far more reliable), and the world is best when they walk together.

By Calli Arcale (not verified) on 07 Sep 2011 #permalink

"Critical thinking requires an object, i.e. something to direct it at."

Which is 'science rationalism'.

"There are lots of examples of science self-correcting; where are the examples of other factors doing so?"

There are ... but science is also 'corrected' by moral , ethical and political dimensions.

As experimentation on human subjects is often 'corrected'. For example ECT - antidepressant medications ... seems as though further correction may be required.

"Your desire to talk about the latter is a diversion. I'm not saying it's not important in the grand scheme; it's just irrelevant to any discussion about whether or not science has made incorrect claims and how those claims were corrected (i.e. science)."

Certainly not ... the world is not a vacuum for the application of "science rationalism". People often find it's processes and implementation abhorrent from animal experimentation to human experimentation. To coersive practices and outright fraud ... thus they 'correct' the application and implmentation of science through ethics ,legislation and political advocacy.

"You keep using those words. I do not think they mean what you think they mean."

I've applied it to Orac's argument ... the argument seems to be at clear fault.

"This is weapons-grade conspiracy-mongering."

There is of course a very acute irony that you yourself give the perfect example of "science rationalism" and an inability to self correct.

By blackheart (not verified) on 07 Sep 2011 #permalink

Blackheart, if you have such a dim view of science, please send all further messages by clay tablet or telepathy.

By Gray Falcon (not verified) on 07 Sep 2011 #permalink

"attempting to make some sort of a point"

I thought the point was particularly obvious .. Orac's argument is undermined by his own philosophy of science rationalism that indulges in its own brands of 'quackery'.

"where the objective is increase understanding."

There's certainly understandings to be made ... one is not to rely on 'scientific rationalism' ...guess what it might be wrong, it might be biased, it might be driven by another agenda , it might be manipulated and it might be outright fraud.

Then of course it might be simple ignorance.... which when applied to the vaccine debate all of the above seems to apply.

Obviously I have the role of Devil's Advocate.

"You seem very hung up on the issue of scientists having erred, as if this shows a fundamental weakness of science."

Not particularly ... (nice try) but it is interesting that there is so much cognitive dissonance surrounding science rationalism.

"Do you think that admitting an error, even when there is ample evidence to prove that it is an error, is some sort of weakness?"

Do you have an example so you can clarify your point ?

Do you prefer the scientific/skeptical approach, or do you prefer the person who refuses to ever admit to being wrong?

Nice try. So who are these people that who refuse to ever being wrong ?

"Celestial mechanics works whether you believe in it or not, after all."

So which particular aspect of celestial mechanics do you think your argument applies to ?

"This is not to say that science and ethics are separate; on the contrary, there is considerable overlap (in addition to being nicer, ethical studies tend to be far more reliable), and the world is best when they walk together."

Which makes my point .... "science rationalism" cannot stand on its own ethics and moral judgement must be applied and they are not part of scientific methodology. They sit outside science.

By Blackheart (not verified) on 07 Sep 2011 #permalink

um, Blackheart, your argument is presuming many, many, things that are not in evidence.

Please lay out your premises and then explain how they lead to your conclusions.

What quackeries do you think Orac's philosophy of science rationalism engages in?

Because uh. no. Scientific rationalism cannot be be driven by an another agenda. By definition, if something is agenda-driven, it is not scientific rationalism. If there is manipulation, fraud, bias, or error *in the data* ... science might go wrong, but the same goes for ALL methods of human acquisition of knowledge. And at least science has a way to recognize bad data.

And ethics and morality very much do not sit outside of science.

I present you with a button. What is the moral thing to do? Well, that depends on what the button does. How can you know? Why, science.

By Michael Ralston (not verified) on 07 Sep 2011 #permalink

I'd really like to get a definition of "science rationalism" (which sounds like a phrase a non-native speaker of English might use, all apologies to non-native but fluent English speakers out there) before I even bother responding to anything referring to the term. (I suspect that it's "scientism" rearing its ugly stupid head again.)

There are ... but science is also 'corrected' by moral , ethical and political dimensions.

This is why I delineated the positions in an earlier post: you shifted from "corrected" in the factual sense to "corrected" in the ethical sense. Try again without a bait and switch.

Certainly not ... the world is not a vacuum for the application of "science rationalism".

And I didn't say it was, just that questions of factual accuracy are distinct from ethical quandaries. You don't seem (or want) to grasp this very simple point.

I've applied it to Orac's argument ... the argument seems to be at clear fault.

In your head, maybe, but not out here in reality where we're still waiting for an argument in the first place. All you can do is go on about "science rationalism," but if I'm understanding you right and you are alluding to a position often called scientism, your perception of what people believe here is very likely a straw man.

By The Christian Cynic (not verified) on 07 Sep 2011 #permalink

@Michael Ralston

"What quackeries do you think Orac's philosophy of science rationalism engages in?"

Michael that has already been partly covered start with Paranormal activities and Alien Invasion.

"Because uh. no."

Sorry didn't realise it was a rhetorical question.

"By definition, if something is agenda-driven, it is not scientific rationalism."

Which is indeed part of the cognitive dissonance. Are you suggesting that 'science rationalists" aka skeptiks have no agenda ? I often see them writing on subject such as religion for instance.

"And at least science has a way to recognize bad data."

I think there might be some disagreement on the perfection of the way science recognises or indeed responds to bad data. I believe the British Medical Journal is currently wrestling with research integrity and the peer review system that seem to have become hopelessly immersed in 'bad science' and politics/ agendas.

"And ethics and morality very much do not sit outside of science."

There is a 'scientific methodology' to ethics and moral application is there ?

"I present you with a button. What is the moral thing to do? Well, that depends on what the button does. How can you know? Why, science."

Which came first the button or the moral implication ?

By Blackheart (not verified) on 07 Sep 2011 #permalink

Blackheart, you have failed to explain how Hawking's concern that broadcasting messages to space to try to contact any aliens that MIGHT BE out there is more likely to have negative consequences than positive ones is quackery.

Which is because you can't, because you are engaging in pure demogoguery - you are equating something rational to the nonsense of alien abduction accounts.

As for the paranormal ... can you cite any pro-paranormal publications? Simply because something is being studied doesn't mean the outcome will be favorable to the concept, which is as it should be.

and, uh, do you propose the existence of anything that is /better/ than science at dealing with bad data?
I assume not, given that you haven't. Science is flawed, yes. So what?

And yes, skeptics have agendas. But are you arguing against skeptics, or are you arguing against skepticism? Because the former are people, and the latter is a method, and your arguments are treating them as if they were the same thing.

By Michael Ralston (not verified) on 07 Sep 2011 #permalink

@Michael

I have to explain a statement that is best summed up as "Alien with Big Ray Gun will attack Earth" ?

Demagogue - A person who champions the causes of the common people....I would suspect so.

Or should I be advancing the agendas of the 'scientific elite' as espoused by Galton. Not to my moral or ethical taste really.

"As for the paranormal ... can you cite any pro-paranormal publications?"

I think that is adequately covered previously.

"do you propose the existence of anything that is /better/ than science at dealing with bad data?"

Not only do I have to point out the problem I have to solve it ...

"Science is flawed, yes. So what?"

I'd imagine there might be some very serious implications to science that is flawed.

"But are you arguing against skeptics, or are you arguing against skepticism?"

A bit of both .... morally and ethically healthy skeptiks and skepticism is a good thing. Which is what I engage in.

I'd imagine you would disagree with that?

By Blackheart (not verified) on 07 Sep 2011 #permalink

@Blackheart:

I thought the point was particularly obvious .. Orac's argument is undermined by his own philosophy of science rationalism that indulges in its own brands of 'quackery'.

So since some scientists have indulged in quackery, the philosophy of science rationalism itself indulges in quackery?

By Matthew Cline (not verified) on 07 Sep 2011 #permalink

@Christian

"I'd really like to get a definition of "science rationalism"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rationalism

and you place the word 'science' in front of it to discriminate it from such concepts as political , economic rationalism.

"you shifted from "corrected" in the factual sense to "corrected" in the ethical sense. Try again without a bait and switch."

No bait and switch just a broader insight. Part of the problem of having a left brain propensity I'd imagine.Fortunately I see the world in a more 'ecological' perspective. Something science could gain from if it did more of.

"just that questions of factual accuracy are distinct from ethical quandaries."

...and I clearly disagree factual accuracy is often at the behest of those investigating , interpreting and reporting and has implications both morally and ethically.

"All you can do is go on about "science rationalism,"

It underpins Orac's argument as well as many other 'pro vaccination skeptiks" I'm just deconstructing it.

I thought that was fairly obvious from the first 'sheep'commentary.

"you are alluding to a position often called scientism, your perception of what people believe here is very likely a straw man."

Skeptiks seem to have their own continuum ... it would seem that some might be more on the "fixed mindset end".

That's the thing about militancy .... you get a bit of a reputation and a fixed position which is sometimes hard to extricate yourself from... especially when new facts overturn previous paradigms.

By Blackheart (not verified) on 07 Sep 2011 #permalink

"Skeptiks seem to have their own continuum ... it would seem that some might be more on the "fixed mindset end".

Really, name one example.

"That's the thing about militancy .... you get a bit of a reputation and a fixed position which is sometimes hard to extricate yourself from... especially when new facts overturn previous paradigms.

Okay, lets deconstruct that statement. The subject of this particular blog is about vaccine. Orac and the "regulars" here discuss vaccines frequenty...what "new facts" have you presented to overturn "previous paradigms"?

We also discuss psuedo-science including CAM treatments such as reiki, acupuncture, supplements and the junk science of vaccine "injuries"....what "new facts" have you presented to overturn "previous paradigms"?

(We do expect citations from peer reviewed journals...which you are loathe to provide).

Instead of providing citations for efficacy of CAM treatment and efficacy and safety of vaccine you chose to discuss a jumble of other peoples "theories"...which, I might add you quote mine from "Google" and present as your own...with (more than) a touch of plagiarism I might add.

You need to organize your disordered thinking processes and your sense of megalomania with these behaviors...it leads us to believe that you take pleasure in seeing your word salad postings, your games of semantics and your troll-like behaviors.

@Matthew

"So since some scientists have indulged in quackery, the philosophy of science rationalism itself indulges in quackery?"

I think the question should more accurately read -

"So since some (well a lot) of science has indulged in quackery, the philosophy of science rationalism itself indulges in quackery?"

That seems to be the case ...

By Blackheart (not verified) on 07 Sep 2011 #permalink

@Lilady

"Really, name one example."

Richard Dawkins

"The subject of this particular blog is about vaccine."

I disagree and it seems to be evidenced by this statement "ramblings of a surgeon/scientist on medicine, quackery, science, pseudoscience, history, and pseudohistory (and"

But if you wish to ramble on about vaccines feel free to ramble on...

"what "new facts" have you presented to overturn "previous paradigms"?"

The Institute of Medicine report was briefly mentioned.

http://www.iom.edu/Reports/2011/Adverse-Effects-of-Vaccines-Evidence-an…

"We also discuss psuedo-science including CAM treatments such as reiki, acupuncture, supplements and the junk science of vaccine "injuries"...."

An interesting list of topics ... so is it your position that the science relating to vaccine injury is 'junk'?

I'd certainly have some sympathy for that position.

What empirical evidence have you got that states vaccines are safe ? and how have you quantified that safety.

"(We do expect citations from peer reviewed journals...which you are loathe to provide)."

de riguer

"Instead of providing citations for efficacy of CAM treatment and efficacy and safety of vaccine you chose to discuss a jumble of other peoples "theories"..."

Sure you're speaking to the right person.

"You need to organize your disordered thinking processes and your sense of megalomania with these behaviors...it leads us to believe that you take pleasure in seeing your word salad postings, your games of semantics and your troll-like behaviors."

That is what you call a coherent statement is it ?

Now that you have finished perhaps you can come up with some of the necessary evidence that supports your viewpoint that vaccines are safe and efficacious.

By Blackheart (not verified) on 07 Sep 2011 #permalink

@Blackheart:

"So since some (well a lot) of science has indulged in quackery, the philosophy of science rationalism itself indulges in quackery?"

1) Is science itself and the actions/pronouncements of scientists the same thing? If not, then it would seem that you're using guilt by association.

2) How do you determine the threshold for the amount of quackery done by scientists, beyond which threshold science rationalism itself is contaminated by quackery? Is it something that's just intuitively obvious? If not, what is that threshold, and how do you determine that it's been crossed?

By Matthew Cline (not verified) on 07 Sep 2011 #permalink

Hmm, you first. Orac and the "regulars" here have presented multiple analyzes of the recent IOM report and other reports from science researchers Ad infinitum regarding the real science of immunology, disease process, vaccine safety and efficacy. We have also discussed in depth the extremely rare serious neurological events following MMR vaccine...so rare in fact 1:1,000,000...that they are statistically insignificant.

We have also referred you to textbooks on statistics, which you obviously remain obstinately clueless about; clueless also about prevalence and incidence, morbidity and mortality of childhood diseases before and after preventive vaccines became available.

I think Mephistopheles O'Brian stated it succinctly after only five of your postings, four days ago:

@Blackheart,
So 5 comments from you. The first was simply a gratuitous insult. The second followed up on it. The third states that spirituality has a long tradition (something I don't recall anyone disagreeing with). The fourth makes cryptic comments about science not necessarily catching its mistakes, but presents neither evidence nor rationale behind that. The fifth links to an apparently irrelevant Wikipedia article and challenges people to critically think through "those" questions, but does not state what the questions, exactly, are.
If you have a point, you're doing a remarkably fine job of disguising it.

Posted by: Mephistopheles O'Brien | September 4, 2011 10:52 AM

You've now posted another 100 times and we still cannot figure out from any other them whether or not you have a point and why you keep avoiding questions posed to you.

Time to man up now, stay on point, provide some citations, stop quote mining and stay off the substances you have either been drinking, sniffing or inhaling.

@Matthew

1) Is science itself and the actions/pronouncements of scientists the same thing? If not, then it would seem that you're using guilt by association.

I don't believe 'science' can be undertaken pragmatically without scientists.

Perhaps you should therefore ask Orac whether he is undertaking 'guilt by association'.

"2) How do you determine the threshold for the amount of quackery done by scientists, beyond which threshold science rationalism itself is contaminated by quackery?"

Any quackery contaminates.

"Is it something that's just intuitively obvious?"

It can be. Intuition is often actually driven by knowledge, experience and education.

Having said that "intuition' is certainly an understudied concept vague as it may be.

By Blackheart (not verified) on 07 Sep 2011 #permalink

""Is it something that's just intuitively obvious?"

It can be. *Intuition* is often actually driven by knowledge, experience and education."

And, real science is driven by those who have real knowledge, real experience and education.

*Intuition*...that explains a lot about this troll.

@Blackheart:

As far as I can tell, you seem to be saying that the problem with science is that scientists aren't 100% rational every single waking minute of their lives. Either that, or that scientists are "on the job" 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and that everything they say and do is a part of science.

By Matthew Cline (not verified) on 07 Sep 2011 #permalink

@lilady

"Hmm, you first."

You apparently have watertight evidnce on vaccine safety and are reluctant to put it forward. Wow ...

"Orac and the "regulars" here have presented multiple analyzes of the recent IOM report and other reports from science researchers Ad infinitum regarding the real science of immunology, disease process, vaccine safety and efficacy."

I think we might disagree with "the real science" part.

But off you go ...citations please.

"We have also referred you to textbooks on statistics"

You have ...give me a post number and I'll check at this time I haven't seen one and I have been reasonably good at getting back to most posters.

"I think Mephistopheles O'Brian stated it succinctly"

I think we even disagree on what succinctly means.

"You've now posted another 100 times"

I have ?

"and we still cannot figure out"

That's my fault ?

"Time to man up now, stay on point, provide some citations, stop quote mining and stay off the substances you have either been drinking, sniffing or inhaling."

Blah blah blah.

By Blackheart (not verified) on 07 Sep 2011 #permalink

lilady

Are you always so vehemently defensive about your ideals ?

By Blackheart (not verified) on 07 Sep 2011 #permalink

@Matthew

"As far as I can tell, you seem to be saying that the problem with science is that scientists aren't 100% rational every single waking minute of their lives. Either that, or that scientists are "on the job" 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and that everything they say and do is a part of science."

I can't see how you came to that interpretation.

By blackheart (not verified) on 07 Sep 2011 #permalink

@Blackheart:

Then why, exactly, is it a problem for science that Hawking said whatever-he-said about space aliens? Assuming, for the sake of the argument, that what he said was supremely irrational, so what? Is it that what he said implies the existence of faster than light travel, which is impossible according to relativity?

By Matthew Cline (not verified) on 07 Sep 2011 #permalink

@Matthew

"So what?"

It clearly undermines 'science rationalism' as espoused by Orac and other

Why - because it is based on nil evidence and is purely speculative. Quackery.

When the Space Aliens arrive with ray guns and conquer earth I will duly apologise to all concerned.

By Blackheart (not verified) on 07 Sep 2011 #permalink

@Blackheart:

It clearly undermines 'science rationalism' as espoused by Orac and other

Why does it undermine "science rationalism"? Because it was said by a scientist? If it's merely because he's a scientist, isn't that saying that scientists are supposed to be rational every waking minute of their lives?

Why - because it is based on nil evidence and is purely speculative. Quackery.

Wait, speculation in-and-of-itself is quackery? If speculation was the basis for a particular medical modality, that would be quackery, but I don't see talking about things which are speculations is a problem.

By Matthew Cline (not verified) on 07 Sep 2011 #permalink

There is speculating, brainstorming, tossing ideas about, and a whole host of other expressions that are nothing more than people fielding various ideas - examining them and seeing if there is any merit for pursuing them.

To take one expression or idea out - that you just happen to claim is nonsense & try to use that to build some sort of argument is a blatant recognition of the weakness of your overall position (which by itself is completely illogical, ill-defined & generally stupid).

Just like idiot troll, just because you say something is true, doesn't make it so. We can look at the totality of evidence to support the various scientific positions & back it up with actual evidence - or in the case of scientific conjecture, utilize understandings based on established theories and facts to speculate on what may or may not be possible (and in some cases test it out).

Unlike woo-tastic supporters and practicioners, who say a lot but provide no real basis or understanding for their proposed "solutions" or "treatments" or even understandings of how the world or things like physics work, real researchers and scientists can apply what is known and what we figured out in the past to present new ideas that do have a basis in reality.

Hawkings presented an idea, based on the historical process by which a society with superior technology, upon meeting a culture/society with lesser technology tends to act as the aggressor and take from the lesser party - since it happened historically, it is quite easy to apply that lesson to the hypothetical event should we ever be contacted by an extraterestrial species.

I don't understand how that could be considered quackery - and just because you say it is (with no evidence or rationale to back it up), doesn't make it so.

@Matthew

Thanks Matt but as I said when the Alien Invaders smoke the Earth I'll be happy to apologise to all concerned.

"Wait, speculation in-and-of-itself is quackery?"

It is if you believe...

Just like ...

Robert Ehrlich, a physicist at George Mason University agreed, further imagining that the aliens would be "adaptable robots whose mental processes reflect those of their senders."

Danger Will Robinson ... Danger.

By Blackheart (not verified) on 08 Sep 2011 #permalink

@Lawrence

"We can look at the totality of evidence to support the various scientific positions & back it up with actual evidence - or in the case of scientific conjecture, utilize understandings based on established theories and facts to speculate on what may or may not be possible (and in some cases test it out)."

OK .. which one would you like to evidence Alien Monsters with Ray Guns or the Killer Robots ?

or should we continue with

Extra Sensory Perception

Telekinesis

Mind Control

Remote Viewing

Teleportation

Unidentified Flying Objects

The Search for ET

Cryptozoology

By blackheart (not verified) on 08 Sep 2011 #permalink

@Blackheart:

Thanks Matt but as I said when the Alien Invaders smoke the Earth I'll be happy to apologise to all concerned.

Huh? I asked:

Why does it undermine "science rationalism"? Because it was said by a scientist? If it's merely because he's a scientist, isn't that saying that scientists are supposed to be rational every waking minute of their lives?

How is what you said an answer to my question?

By Matthew Cline (not verified) on 08 Sep 2011 #permalink

as I said when the Alien Invaders smoke the Earth I'll be happy to apologise to all concerned.

So it was you who INVITED THEM??!!

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 08 Sep 2011 #permalink

@Matt

It is if you believe and advise other people on what action or in this case 'inaction' to take.

By blackheart (not verified) on 08 Sep 2011 #permalink

Apparently herr doktor it was NASA and that plaque.

By blackheart (not verified) on 08 Sep 2011 #permalink

As with anyone with a weak or non-existent argument, BH (need to come up with troll moniker here) ascribes the most radical interpretation of his opponents arguments (or makes the most extreme interpretation of his evidence) to attempt to bolster his own case.

Since he won't address the logic, statistic or any other rational response to his deluded attempts to come to some kind of point, he isn't worth even responding to at this point.

Makes me wonder what he thinks about actual quakery - like Dr. Oz & his ilk.

So, to recap, we have an article on how anti-science woo-meisters are wedded to their beliefs, while science-based individuals are, generally, more open to change. Enter Blackheart, who tries to argue on this topic by discussing the ethics of hammers (metaphorically speaking).

Blackheart:

There's certainly understandings to be made ... one is not to rely on 'scientific rationalism' ...guess what it might be wrong, it might be biased, it might be driven by another agenda , it might be manipulated and it might be outright fraud.

This in fact the very point of science: our perceptions and opinions may be wrong, may be biased, may be driven by another agenda, etc. The objective of science is to recognize and account for these human foibles as we investigate the world around we inhabit. Perhaps what you are arguing against is not really science itself, but whatever you mean by "science rationalism". Whatever you mean by that, I don't think it's what Orac or others on this thread are promoting. Do you mean blind acceptance of scientific dogma, or what others have dubbed "scientism" or similar terms? There are certainly people guilty of that, but I really don't think Orac is one of them. He wouldn't be a scientist if he was; as the comedian Dara O'Brian said, if science had all the answers, then it would *stop*. Scientists are the people who know it doesn't have all the answers and consequently see a great opportunity for exploration and investigation.

"Do you think that admitting an error, even when there is ample evidence to prove that it is an error, is some sort of weakness?"

Do you have an example so you can clarify your point ?

Several have already been mentioned offhand in the thread, but one good example is the ether. I'm not talking about the stuff once used widely as an anesthetic; I'm talking about the medium through which light was proposed to propagate. We know light behaves very much like a wave, right? Today, people speak of the wave/particle duality of light. But it was not always so; light clearly behaved as a wave (there are plenty of experiments you can do to demonstrate this), with wavelengths and intensities and everything you'd expect waves to have, but there's one tricky part -- waves can only exist in a medium. In space, no one can hear you scream -- so how come they can still see you in space? Through what medium is the light wave propagating? Respectable scientists everywhere concluded that there must be a medium through which the light waves propagated, unseen and so far undetectable -- rather like our modern theories of dark matter and dark energy. Indeed, this was used as the foundations for other theories, and as it happened, those theories turned out to work well, so the ether was assumed to exist. But there was still the niggling problem that it was undetectable. As physics advanced, the value of a fixed reference frame was becoming increasingly apparent, and scientists realized that the ether would represent that fixed reference frame they really wanted. So it became vitally important to finally detect it. The idea was simple -- if the ether exists, then it should produce sort of a breeze as the Earth passes through it. Light would travel faster or slower depending on whether the Earth was moving the same direction as the ether or opposite it. The Earth changes direction all the time as it orbits the Sun, so this presented a convenient opportunity to try to measure it. Michaelson & Morlay conducted the most famous experiment to measure the ether wind -- but today, it's famous as the experiment that determined the speed of light. Why? Because the results were completely different than what they expected. Measuring the speed of light to far greater precision than anyone had ever managed before, at different times in the year, they found to their great surprise that it was always exactly the same. It took them a while to believe what they were seeing; the very tiny deflections they were expecting were so small they had to be sure they weren't just being swallowed by experimental error. They ran the experiment again at greater precision, their students ran it, others ran it -- but it became increasingly clear that everyone had been completely wrong about light. The ether wind did not exist, and the speed of light was constant regardless of one's velocity. This was a revolutionary insight which would later influence Einstein, and many have repeated the experiment through the decades, to ever greater precision, always confirming the astounding thing they'd discovered. The ether never existed; the speed of light is constant.

That's one of the more famous examples of science being wrong and those involved admitting it. It was such a massive paradigm shift (and rather a mind-bending thing to accept) that it took a while to be fully accepted by the scientific community. But in time, it was.

So, now that you have an example, does that demonstrate a weakness or strength for the scientific community to admit that the luminferous ether was never real in the first place?

Do you prefer the scientific/skeptical approach, or do you prefer the person who refuses to ever admit to being wrong? Nice try. So who are these people that who refuse to ever being wrong ?

Well, I mentioned politicians as one example; that was largely snark, but being able to dodge admissions of error seems to be practically a job requirement in that field. I've been reading too much about the presidential campaign, basically. (November of 2012 cannot come soon enough.) Better examples include John Best, Nancy Leiderer (she of "Nibiru" infamy), Andrew Wakefield, and Mike Adams. They will tell you they have the answers, and no amount of contrary evidence will budge them. It's an impressive thing to witness, sometimes; they're startlingly stubborn.

"Celestial mechanics works whether you believe in it or not, after all." So which particular aspect of celestial mechanics do you think your argument applies to ?

I was responding to your question about science operating in a vacuum. It doesn't, because scientists are people, but the overriding principles behind science indicate that something should be true whether people believe it is or not -- that is, the ethics of a situation don't change the facts of it.

Celestial mechanics is one of the more elegant examples of this, and also one of the older -- today, particle physics is where it's at if you want to be a whiz-bang physicist, but a few centuries ago it was celestial mechanics. It's all about predicting the motion of objects in space, and although there are details still to be worked out, and in some cases the math is fiendishly difficult, but when you get right down to it, it's all just extensions of a few very simple rules governing motion, thrust, and gravity. I've met a guy who seriously doesn't believe that satellites can really orbit the Earth. If you point a satellite out to him in the night sky, he actually claims it's an airplane or balloon put up there specifically to maintain the fiction that satellites exist. Yet though he doesn't believe in it, celestial mechanics keeps working. The Moon goes around the Earth, the Earth goes around the Sun, the Sun travels its wobbly course around the Milky Way.

Galileo presented some uncomfortable evidence against geocentrism; many persisted in believing in geocentrism until Kepler figured out about ellipses and about objects traveling faster at periapsis than apoapsis and was first able to accurately predict planetary motion. Even then, some kept denying it, indeed sometimes on moral grounds (though the trouble Galileo had with the Church was less about that and more about pissing off the wrong cardinal) but that didn't change whether or not it was *true*.

So while science, like any human endeavor, cannot operate in a vacuum, it expects the real facts of any matter to do so, or at least to continue passing their tests without assistance.

Which makes my point .... "science rationalism" cannot stand on its own ethics and moral judgement must be applied and they are not part of scientific methodology. They sit outside science.

Yes, and that's sort of the point -- things are true whether we want them to be or not, and we shouldn't use our own personal biases to determine that. A lot of people think homosexuality is immoral, or that polygamy is immoral, or that the death penalty is immoral; these views should not be allowed to influence scientific studies on the subjects. Some people do not like that; they think science could only have value if it produced results which conformed to their idea of morality. For instance, observe the controversies surrounding studies of human sexuality. Sometimes they discover things which are very inconvenient to certain moral codes, and these findings are then vehemently objected to. In fact, many oppose the very idea of studying things which are "immoral". Science, of course, has no opinion on morality; as far as it's concerned, any subject is fair game -- it's whatever the researchers chooses to investigate.

That said, you seem to have missed my parallel point that ethical considerations can be very important to the scientific value of a particular finding. Consider Andrew Wakefield's infamous study linking the MMR vaccine to "autistic enterocolitis". There were massive ethical problems with that study, and one of them was that Wakefield was directly benefiting financially from demonstrating that such a link existed, and failed to disclose this fact in the study itself. While this does not mean that he really did allow himself to be suborned by money, it should make people very suspicious. Suspicious enough to investigate and find that the results of the trial were, in fact, largely fabricated and it had no scientific value. So, ethical considerations are important. In fact, I would go so far as to argue that *ethics* is important to science, in particular the ethics of doing things rigorously enough to be meaningful, but morality less so, as it tends to be more a matter of codifying people's opinions and prejudices* and things. In short, scientists absolutely need a code of ethics to make sure they are doing the right things with sufficient rigor to make them meaningful.

*I know the word "prejudice" can be loaded, but here I am using it in its neutral sense: things we expect to be true before we find out. One can have "friendly" prejudices, but any kind of prejudice can be detrimental to science. One cannot allow one's prejudices to influence the results. Michelson's prejudice that the luminferous ether existed influenced his interpretation of his results, and the first paper on the subject assumed their measured drift to be real, even though it was way too small and later turned out to be experimental error; eventually, he (along with most of the community) had to accept that they weren't just finding the wind to be absurdly slight; they were finding it to be nonexistent. Some prejudices are so deeply held we don't even realize it, and if you go through your entire career believing something exists, it's hard to recognize when you find out that it doesn't. Nobody's perfect.

By Calli Arcale (not verified) on 08 Sep 2011 #permalink

I have a comment in moderation, probably due to length (I do tend to get verbose sometimes). But now I want to address Blackheart's comment at 250. And odds are, the same thing will happen to it. :-D

Blackheart, you want to know what business science has discussing crazy ideas. I think science has business discussing pretty much anything; there shouldn't be limits placed on what's fair. The only limit it can have is that the idea has to be testable in some way. Otherwise, it's just a placeholder until the idea does become testable. For instance, is there a God? Not testable. Did God create the universe 6,000 years ago? Testable. Science can discuss the limits around the idea of a God, but the idea itself is not falsifiable and therefore science isn't very helpful there. It ends up with no opinion on the subject. As for the other subjects you listed, I'll tackle them individually.

OK .. which one would you like to evidence Alien Monsters with Ray Guns or the Killer Robots ?
The existence of aliens is not presently falsifiable. The best we can do with science is try to explore the limits of the idea. Are there other worlds which might be able to support alien life long enough for an advanced civiliation to arise and develop, for instance, ray guns or killer robots? Well, first we need to figure out how long that seems likely to take and whether or not any suitable worlds have remained suitable long enough. Turns out, the answer is yes -- there are worlds where such a thing might possibly happen. Did it ever? No data. It *is* a testable claim; there are ways to look for alien civilizations. SETI is trying one, though honestly, it's a pretty faint hope -- worse than looking for a specific needle in a haystack made of needles. But it's not impossible; maybe they'll get lucky. I'm not holding my breath. Speculation about whether they'll be armed or send killer robots to render our world suitable for exploitation by them is, in my opinion, largely a reflection on humanity -- what would we do, if we were in their shoes? Since we're the only example we have of a technologically advanced civilization, it's not unreasonable. But it can't be tested yet. Possibly it never will be.

Extra Sensory Perception Wacky as the idea is, science can be used to test it. So far, it's turned up bupkis. This doesn't stop some very optimistic folks from continuing to try.

Telekinesis Pretty much the same situation as ESP. Unless you count remote control devices which read brain electrical activity (and that's cheating, IMHO), it's never been observed in a properly controlled environment. Again, there are optimists who keep trying.

Mind Control There is a great deal of motivation to find a way of doing this. Depending on what you mean by "mind control", some of it's not that crazy; a shrewd understanding of psychology allows salespeople to manipulate people's decisions to some degree (there is a reason why Coca-Cola sells considerably better than store brand cola), and tremendous amounts of money are spent to research this. There's also the rather creepy research into mind control by parasites. That actually does happen to some animals (e.g. ants, fish, and mice, where a parasite drives the animal to behave in a manner which will suit its propagation), and there's really no a priori reason to assume it can't happen to us too. There has also been considerable research into brainwashing, and how a person can be made to do things they wouldn't ordinarily want to -- and this research ranges from serious to crackpot, and from sensible to downright creepy. The good news: the scientific consensus is that the magical mind control devices depicted in science fiction don't appear to be possible (at least at present) and you can't be made to do something you don't want to do under hypnosis. The bad news: you can be made to do something you don't want to do in plenty of other ways.

Remote Viewing See what I said about ESP and telekinesis above; it's in pretty much the same boat.

Teleportation Star Trek style teleportation does not appear to be possible with any currently conceivable technology. However, quantum teleportation (which is not really the same thing, not that the mass media seems to realize it) is possible, albeit currently mostly only useful for probing the nature of the subatomic world.

Unidentified Flying Objects Strictly speaking, a UFO is just anything unidentified in the air or space. There are lots of those. Some turn out to be aircraft you didn't know about; others turn out to be weather phenomena (sprites are an interesting case to read about; they're an electrical discharge in the upper atmosphere broadly related to lightning, but were not accepted to exist by the scientific community as a whole until fairly recently, when they were finally photographed in 1989); others turn out to have not existed (radar glitches, lens flare, misidentified debris, etc); and a great many others are never identified at all. As with mind control, research into this field ranges from serious to seriously whacked out, both in terms of subject matter and in terms of quality.

The Search for ET This isn't an entirely ridiculous thing. Remember, for science to act upon a claim, it merely has to be testable. This one isn't easy to test, given the size of the universe, but not impossible either. There's no real reason to assume Earth is somehow special, so why assume life only arose here? Why assume it only achieved sentience here? We can't assume that. But we can test it, and the simplest way is by looking for some other life. I say "simple", but I just mean that in the argumentative sense; actually finding other life turns out to be pretty difficult. Even if there really is life elsewhere, our own solar system looks pretty barren apart from Earth. We haven't really adequately explored it yet, though.

Cryptozoology This is the study of creatures which may not exist. It is not considered a proper branch of science; someone who studies these creatures in a serious, scientific manner would be called simply a zoologist. There are serious zoologists who do seriously study "cryptids" (things like the chupacabra or the Loch Ness Monster); for the most part, they're not so much attempting to prove these creatures exist as they are attempting to identify whatever it was that was really responsible for the various alleged sightings. One of the more enthusiastic and accesible of these whom I've followed on the Internet is Darren Naish of the excellent blog . He's managed to identify several alleged cryptids; many are actually decayed specimens of quite ordinary species. There are also those who are more optimistic about actually finding, for instance, a pleisiosaur in Loch Ness rather than exploring how much floating logs resemble pleisiosaurs. Some are even doing good science on the subject, since after all, even a null result is a result. I think they're wasting their time, but well, it is their time to waste, and some of them have turned up some interesting but unrelated things in their surveys. There are also the outright kooks, of course, and what they do is generally not scientific.

I hope this helps. It is entirely possible to test paranormal claims using science. The results are generally null, and I would consider it a waste of time and effort to look into them further, but hey, replication is one of the crucial elements of science, so it's not a complete waste when they do the test again and find it's still zip.

By Calli Arcale (not verified) on 08 Sep 2011 #permalink

From 243:

You've now posted another 100 times"

I have ?

"and we still cannot figure out"

That's my fault ?

Yes. Yes it is your fault. You've been bloviating here for 2 or 3 days now. During that time a number of very bright, literate, thoughtful and well educated people have attempted to engage you and try to understand your point. Yet nobody here, besides yourself, actually knows what your point is. I thought Matthew Cline @242 had it figured out, but apparently he was wrong. Clearly you are failing at communicating your view. That failure is all yours. I suggest you drop the oracular/socratic mode and just spell it out.

Calli Arcale:

I have a comment in moderation, probably due to length (I do tend to get verbose sometimes).

And they are always excellent.

@Blackheart:

It is if you believe and advise other people on what action or in this case 'inaction' to take.

So, then, a scientists is always acting in the role of a scientist when giving out advice, and thus a scientist giving out irrational advice tarnishes science? What if Hawking had given out highly irrational advice on dating? Would that also tarnish science?

And is giving advice the only thing where a scientist is always acting the in role of a scientist? If so, what so special about the act of giving advice? If not, what else counts? In what ways can a scientist act irrational that doesn't tarnish science?

By Matthew Cline (not verified) on 08 Sep 2011 #permalink

@Tresmal

"I suggest you drop the oracular/socratic mode and just spell it out."

Post 135

I must admit I have never seen such a bigger bunch of sheep in my life.

Post 139

Most of us would just see it as 'science makes mistakes".

Post 139

The irrefutable fact that spirituality in some form or other is shared by nearly all humans and over it's long history seems to indicate that it is indeed part of the human condition.

Post 143

"One of my interests in skepticism and critical thinking"

One of my interests is skepticism and the lack of critical thinking.

Post 176

"I'm just trying to tease out any biases that may exist or some areas of critical thinking that may be amiss. Often what we believe drives how we interpret the world around us."

"So Orac provides quite the list of 'crank magnetism' but does "science" have any involvement in these or any other forms of 'out there ' stuff....?"

Post 177

"Finally someone who will actually and honestly answer my questions. For some reason the anti-vax folks find ways to avoid answering them, and here you come along telling us that superior to us, and all that! Okay, here they are"

Post 185

"Or should we continue to provide examples of the fixed mindset of the Rationalist Mind."

Post 190

"So much irrationality in the scientific mind ..."the blinding ...."

Post 198

"See how it applies with the skeptikal argument presented here first and then get back to me."

Post 205

I think you need to reflect critically on both the positive and negative aspects of 'science rationalism'.

Just as Orac does if he's going to take the 'moral' high ground on 'quackery'.

That will be interesting ....

Most of us would just see it as 'science makes mistakes".

By Blackheart (not verified) on 08 Sep 2011 #permalink

@Calli Arcale

"I don't think it's what Orac or others on this thread are promoting."

I have yet to see any particular cadre of 'minions' that disagree with the views of Orac and put that in writing.

"Do you mean blind acceptance of scientific dogma, or what others have dubbed "scientism" or similar terms?"

I think there is considerable dogma being displayed on these forums especially relation to Complimentary and Alternative medicine and Vaccine Safety.

"There are certainly people guilty of that, but I really don't think Orac is one of them."

I think Orac would acknowledge that. The statements he has made on vaccine safety and Complimentary and Alternative medicine place him in a very tight "dogma strait jacket".

---------------------------------------
Michaelson & Morlay Example

"So, now that you have an example, does that demonstrate a weakness or strength for the scientific community..."

It is representative of both clearly it supports my arguments for dogma and the inability to change through 'self critical thinking' rather than relying on 'outside' influences.

"but being able to dodge admissions of error seems to be practically a job requirement in that field."

You should get to know some more politicians often they are actors on the big stage when in politics and completely different when not playing the "Great Game."

--------------------------------------------

"Better examples include John Best, Nancy Leiderer (she of "Nibiru" infamy), Andrew Wakefield, and Mike Adams."

How did you come to the conclusion that the allegations against Andrew Wakefield are correct ?

-------------------------------------------

Celestial Mechanics

So do these mechanics operate in the same way from the Big Bang to the Big End ? Is it only a slice of time we perceive ? Does this operate across all alternative universes that are postulated ?

Do we know or should we be forthright and admit our ignorance ?

-------------------------------------------

"Some prejudices are so deeply held we don't even realize it, and if you go through your entire career believing something exists, it's hard to recognize when you find out that it doesn't. Nobody's perfect."

I can certainly agree with that ... so I'm still interested in how you came to your conclusions about Andrew Wakefield ?

By Blackheart (not verified) on 08 Sep 2011 #permalink

@Matthew

"So, then, a scientist is always acting in the role of a scientist when giving out advice, and thus a scientist giving out irrational advice tarnishes science?"

The circumstances surrounding the statement would indicate that.

"What if Hawking had given out highly irrational advice on dating?"

If that was an area of expertise then that may weigh more heavily and the circumstances supported this.

"And is giving advice the only thing where a scientist is always acting in the role of a scientist?"

I'd imagine there are other circumstances when he is a 'scientist' and when he is a 'private' citizen'.

"If so, what so special about the act of giving advice?"

It is often related to his leadership role in a community or a world community for example. Perhaps a world recognised leader in his field and recognised and celebrated for this.

"In what ways can a scientist act irrational that doesn't tarnish science?"

That would be very subjective.

By Blackheart (not verified) on 08 Sep 2011 #permalink

@Calli Arcale

"I think science has business discussing pretty much anything..."

Everyone has that right. But does anyone have the right to stifle debate ?

"there shouldn't be limits placed on what's fair"

So you are in direct opposition to Orac's position on subjects like CAM, vaccine safety etc

"The only limit it can have is that the idea has to be testable in some way."

I disagree ... I would point to cosmology as an example.But I get your POV.

For instance, is there a God? Not testable.

I disagree.

"Did God create the universe 6,000 years ago? Testable."

Philosophically interesting. How did you test it if you can't test for God ?

"therefore science isn't very helpful there."

There are limits to every age's knowledge.

"It ends up with no opinion on the subject."

You mean 'science' or scientists ?

Richard Dawkins speaks on behalf of science does he not ?

"As for the other subjects you listed, I'll tackle them individually."

The interesting part of this discussion is do you feel that it is right and proper for people to undertake scientific investigation into ... well some of Orac's favourite subjects...

Acupuncture
Herbal Medicine
Traditional Medicine
Indigenous Medicine
Vaccine safety and efficacy

...and religion/spirituality.

there shouldn't be limits placed on what's fair. The only limit it can have is that the idea has to be testable in some way. Otherwise, it's just a placeholder until the idea does become testable. For instance, is there a God? Not testable. Did God create the universe 6,000 years ago? Testable. Science can discuss the limits around the idea of a God, but the idea itself is not falsifiable and therefore science isn't very helpful there. It ends up with no opinion on the subject. As for the other subjects you listed, I'll tackle them individually.

By Blackheart (not verified) on 09 Sep 2011 #permalink

Blackheart, that was a whole lot of words, but no real meaning. Of course scientists are going to test telepathy and telekinesis! Just think of what kind of applications those would have if they were real!

By Gray Falcon (not verified) on 09 Sep 2011 #permalink

Blackheart is looking more and more like an upscale version of augustine. IMO too sophisticated (and full better sophistry) to be a sockpuppet, though.

Do you have anything useful to say, or just piles of unintelligible, largely off-topic BS?

Wait... what do we have here?

How did you come to the conclusion that the allegations against Andrew Wakefield are correct ?

I think someone needs to poke around this site a bit more. Do a search for 'Wakefield' and look at some of the earlier posts. Also go visit Brian Deer's website & Science-Based Medicine.

@Gray

"Of course scientists are going to test telepathy and telekinesis! Just think of what kind of applications those would have if they were real!"

Yes we could 'mind control' the Killer Robots. That's some kind of 'science rationalism" going on there.

--------------------------------------------------

It's OK everytime you propose such things you undermine Orac's original post and perhaps all the arguments he has made previously ... science rationalism / evidenced based science...

By blackheart (not verified) on 09 Sep 2011 #permalink

Blackheart:

I have yet to see any particular cadre of 'minions' that disagree with the views of Orac and put that in writing.

Th1Th2 and augustine repeatedly disagree with Orac. Other commentators also do.

How did you come to the conclusion that the allegations against Andrew Wakefield are correct?

By looking at the evidence.

Ah, answering questions with more questions; you're good at that, Blackheart. And you left a lot of my substantive points unanswered. As I'm short on time today, I'll have to do the same in return. I'll go for just this one right now, because it pertains most directly to the subject of this thread:

"Better examples include John Best, Nancy Leiderer (she of "Nibiru" infamy), Andrew Wakefield, and Mike Adams." How did you come to the conclusion that the allegations against Andrew Wakefield are correct ?

(Note: I omitted the carriage return between your quote of my text and your own text not out of malice but because the commenting software here likes to make sure HTML tags get closed; so I can't enclose the entire quote in a blockquote element unless I take out carriage returns.)

I find it interesting that you didn't blink an eye at any of the examples other than Andrew Wakefield. I could understand if you hadn't heard of Leiderer; you pretty much have to be interested in outer space kookiness to have heard of her. (And I'm a massive space geek.) Best and Adams, however, are alt med kooks, and anti-vaccine as well. Perhaps you're not familiar with them either. I enjoy reading about conspiracy theories and other kookiness, so that's why I'm familiar with them.

Andrew Wakefield has been discussed very extensively on this blog. If you're familiar with him, I'm surprised you aren't aware of his fall from grace. I know a lot of people preferred to assume there was a conspiracy than to believe he was wrong -- certainly, that's the option he chose. When presented with contrary evidence, he did not change his views. He became more entrenched. Well, he did change his *tactics* -- initially, his efforts to demonstrate that MMR causes "autistic enterocolitis" were aligned with his measles transfer factor which he was doing some business development on, looking for investors in what he proposed as both a treatment for measles and a preventative which would directly compete with existing measles vaccine. He evidently abandoned this tack, though I'm not sure whether it was because the transfer factor wasn't panning out or he wasn't getting adequate investment or the alternatives simply appeared more lucrative. In any case, he shifted to being an expert witness in court cases where parents alleged that their child had been injured by the measles vaccine.

Initially, his paper seemed a bit weak, but that was all. 12 children is not a very large sample size, after all, and it seemed a bit improbable what he was claiming. Personally, I wanted more evidence before I'd believe what he was saying. You might blame that on dogma, but it's just caution -- being open-minded doesn't mean believing everything everybody tells you, after all. Then more problem started to emerge. There were ethical issues; he had failed to disclose that not only would he benefit financially from proving a problem with MMR, but he was *already* benefiting financially from it -- in fact, the funding for the study came from an association of lawyers who were representing parents. That's circumstantial evidence, of course; just because he's being paid to come up with the evidence that will be useful at trial doesn't mean it's actually wrong. But why didn't he tell anybody about that conflict of interest? It was a cause for concern, because it's a major, undisclosed source of bias, and though he later claimed it was an honest mistake, he'd have to have been a complete idiot and incompetent to not realize that that counted as a conflict of interest, and that also should counsel one to be extra cautious in analyzing his published results.

More came out over time. One child in the study was grievously injured by the study itself, left struggling for life after his colon was perforated in multiple places during the colonoscopy required to obtain the biopsy specimens; this leads one to question the skill of the gastroenterologist who performed the procedure, which in turn casts doubt on the quality of the specimens. Then the pathologist involved spoke up; he had not read the study when it first came out, but subsequently had and discovered that what he'd found for Wakefield was not what was reported in the study -- the pathologist had found essentially normal tissue specimens in nearly all of them (11, I think, though the exact number eludes me), yet the study claimed that all 12 had abnormal results. The PCR results were also questioned; Wakefield had claimed to have isolated measles RNA from the biopsy specimens. The specimens had been retained; another group attempted to replicate his results and failed. Further, analysis of his methods revealed very sloppy work; there was a high likelihood that he'd merely detected contamination by their control sample. (A bit like when De Beers announced they'd found a diamond deposit in Canada, except it later turned out they'd just found broken-off chunks of their own drill bit. One has to be careful about that, and Wakefield was not at all careful.) And it gets worse -- not only were the biopsies normal, but there was no evidence that most of the children had any signs of GI problems before the trial, although they wound up with GI diagnoses when they presented at the hospital for their colonoscopies. They had to; if they had no symptoms of GI distress, the hospital would never have permitted the colonoscopies. It's not ethical to perform invasive tests on asymptomatic children. That ethical problem doesn't invalidate the results, but it's still important -- their own doctors had recorded no history of GI problems, leading one to seriously question why they were selected for the study. Turns out, they were referred not really because they actually had GI problems, but because they had relationships with lawyers wanting to sue vaccine manufacturers -- in other words, explicitly to produce some sort of expert evidence that an actionable harm had been done by the vaccine, despite the complete lack of any evidence that the claimed injury had even occurred to these particular children.

So, to summarize, the children mostly had normal guts, they were given colonoscopies anyway, the pathologist said the samples looked normal, yet by the time of publication all were identified as showing signs of inflammation, measles RNA was detected in a very sloppy use of PCR which nobody else was ever able to duplicate (including a woman who was actually trying to exonerate Wakefield) . . . .

And still Wakefield insists he did no wrong, and is simply the victim of a conspiracy to protect the vaccine manufacturers. He never addressed the criticisms; he didn't even appear in court when he had the opportunity to defend himself, perhaps because he really has no defense. Yes, I came to the conclusion that the allegations are correct. Given the weight of the evidence, it's very difficult to conclude otherwise without willfully deceiving oneself.

By Calli Arcale (not verified) on 09 Sep 2011 #permalink

I have yet to see any particular cadre of 'minions' that disagree with the views of Orac and put that in writing.

Comment #1 in this thread disagrees with Orac's view. How many minions make a cadre?

Richard Dawkins speaks on behalf of science does he not ?
No.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 09 Sep 2011 #permalink

"How many minions make a cadre?"

I don't know...but I'm glad I'm not commenting on an orthodox Judaism site...I would be dis-qualified.

"A minyan (Hebrew: ×Ö´× Ö°×Ö¸×â lit. to count, number; pl. ×Ö´× ×ָנִ×× minyanim) in Judaism refers to the quorum of ten Jewish adults required for certain religious obligations. According to many non-Orthodox streams of Judaism adult females count in the minyan." (Wikipedia)

@Calli Arcale

"Ah, answering questions with more questions; you're good at that, Blackheart."

You are implying that there is something wrong with questioning your position.

"And you left a lot of my substantive points unanswered."

Most of the substantive points you made just revealed that you believe the investigation of paranormal activity to be "scientifically rational" even though there is little to no evidence to back up any of the claims.

Some would call that 'woo'.

If you believe in 'woo' then that undermines the argument from Orac in regards to "science rationalism".

"I find it interesting that you didn't blink an eye at any of the examples other than Andrew Wakefield."

I don't know any of the others. I had to Google them.

"How did you come to the conclusion that the allegations against Andrew Wakefield are correct ?"

You have misunderstood the matter at hand. I'm not interested in a run down of you arguments of Wakefield's guilt or not but how you came to that conclusion.

Did you read a book ? A newspaper article ? Read a posting on a blog site ?

What critical investigation and thinking did you apply to this ?

What evidence did you did you gather to support your view ? Or was it a subjective opinion ?

* I'll note this many of the statements you made in regards to the Wakefield matter are factually wrong.

By blackheart (not verified) on 09 Sep 2011 #permalink

The interesting part of this discussion is do you feel that it is right and proper for people to undertake scientific investigation into ... well some of Orac's favourite subjects...Acupuncture Herbal MedicineTraditional MedicineIndigenous MedicineVaccine safety and efficacy...and religion/spirituality.

At this point I'd say that most such investigations into Acupuncture, Traditional Medicine, and religion/spirituality are pretty much a waste of time, just like research into homeopathy is. Herbs can be studied in a rigorous scientific way to determine whether they contain useful chemicals, and in fact are.
However, not everyone is convinced by the current evidence that acupuncture is merely a highly theatrical placebo with no real benefits (this is, of course, by way of example only). If someone wanted to conduct a study to prove that acupuncture has value in treating, say, the common cold - why not? I wouldn't pay for it, and would be willing to place a bet on the results, but if the study is well done it will provide evidence of something. That evidence can be added to the growing mountain and used, perhaps, to convince a few more people that acupuncture really won't cure what ails them.
Now, I can think of far better questions to occupy a scientist's mind, but...

By Mephistopheles… (not verified) on 09 Sep 2011 #permalink

@herr doktor bimler

eins ...

@lilady

Oxford Dictionary

"a follower or underling of a powerful person, especially a servile or unimportant one:

Example - he gets oppressed minions like me to fob them off."

"Origin:

late 15th century: from French mignon, mignonne"

Wiki

1490, from Middle French mignon (âlover, royal favourite, darlingâ),

from Old French mignot (âdainty, pleasing, gentle, kindâ),

of Germanic origin,

from Frankish *minnjo (âlove, friendship, affection, memoryâ)

from Proto-Germanic *minþiÅ, *mindiÅ (âaffectionate thought, careâ)

from Proto-Indo-European *men-, *mnÄ- (âto thinkâ).

Cognate with Old High German minnja (âlove, care, affection, desire, memoryâ),

Old Saxon minnea (âloveâ).

It's beginning to become quite 'cult' like ....

By Blackheart (not verified) on 09 Sep 2011 #permalink

@Mephistopheles O'Brien

I'm not sure how you hold that position cognitively ...

Herbs and other natural products are extensively studied by western medicine and actually are the foundation of modern pharmacology but are basically 'woo'.

Both Traditional Medicine and Indigenous Medicine have a heavy reliance on herbs and other natural products in their treatment regimes. But you consider 'woo'.

Chinese medicine of which acupuncture is a part uses extensively herbs and other natural products as part of health interventions.

...and Religion and Spirituality which permeates all of the above.

By Blackheart (not verified) on 09 Sep 2011 #permalink

I thought your big complaint about science was about how it didn't dismiss things off the bat. And it doesn't. We tested many herbs and traditional medicine, most of them simply didn't work. And as far as we can work out, God doesn't dispense favors based on popularity contests.

By Gray Falcon (not verified) on 09 Sep 2011 #permalink

@Call Arcale

"How did you come to the conclusion that the allegations against Andrew Wakefield are correct ?"

Did you read a newspaper or similar article ?

A TV show ?

Did you do your own independent research ?

Did you check the evidence ?

Did you take time to look at the researchers replies ?

Did you listen to the replies of parents and patients ?

Have you applied any critical thinking and research into that issue ?

By Blackheart (not verified) on 10 Sep 2011 #permalink

Blackheart @ 274: "I'll note this many [sic] of the statements you made in regard to the Wakefield matter are factually wrong."

How did you learn the accurate facts which enabled you to determine that Calli's statements were wrong? Newspapers? TV? Blogs? What is the appropriate "research into the issue" which you, unlike Calli, have conducted?

Did you read a newspaper or similar article ?

Yes.

A TV show ?

No. I don't normally watch TV for news, as I have found the medium no longer conveys useful information.

Did you do your own independent research ?

Yes, to the extent a non-researcher can.

Did you check the evidence ?

Yes, to the extent a non-researcher can.

Did you take time to look at the researchers replies ?

Yes.

Did you listen to the replies of parents and patients ?

Yes, though they are of limited value.

Have you applied any critical thinking and research into that issue ?

Yes. You don't seem to have done so.

"How did you come to the conclusion that the allegations against Andrew Wakefield are correct ?"

You have misunderstood the matter at hand. I'm not interested in a run down of you arguments of Wakefield's guilt or not but how you came to that conclusion.

Did you read a book ? A newspaper article ? Read a posting on a blog site ?

What critical investigation and thinking did you apply to this ?

What evidence did you did you gather to support your view ? Or was it a subjective opinion ?

* I'll note this many of the statements you made in regards to the Wakefield matter are factually wrong."

Black Heart, I read a lot about Wakefield in newspapers and on websites and watched certain TV shows...I also read the actual 9 page decision rendered by the GMC:

Andrew Wakefield: Determination on Serious Medical Misconduct

I suggest you go to the actual source as well...obviously your "sources" are not too good and you don't have the analytic background to understand why the GMC made their decision to "erase Wakefield from the register".

Here's a question for you Black Heart...Wakefield was given 28 days to appeal the GMC Decision...why didn't he?

Some very interesting responses which mostly indicate that the opinions formed were mainly based on a little bit of newspaper article reading, some blogs (Respectful Insolence etc I'd imagine). lilady went a smidgen further by actually reading the GMC decision.

I'm underwhelmed that people apparently taking a science rational stance would spend such little time on this matter.

Hope Calli has done better ...

@DT35

"What is the appropriate "research into the issue" which you, unlike Calli, have conducted?"

Well a bit more than reading a couple of newspaper articles and some blog posts.

@W. Kevin Vicklund

That's a pretty startling statement to make seeming I haven't made a statement on Wakefeild or any aspect of the research surrounding this issue.

@lilady

"I suggest you go to the actual source as well...obviously your "sources" are not too good and you don't have the analytic background to understand why the GMC made their decision to "erase Wakefield from the register"."

Another bold statement ... I've read most of the necessary documentation surrounding this issue including the material on skeptik websites.

What I can tell you is that the evidence is weak and there are obvious arguments against the decision made at the GMC.

"Here's a question for you Black Heart...Wakefield was given 28 days to appeal the GMC Decision...why didn't he?"

Andrew Wakefield actually has a lot more time than that ... which is another part of the tale to tell. I also note that John Walker-Smith has an appeal lodged but not to the GMC to the UK High Court.

By Blackheart (not verified) on 10 Sep 2011 #permalink

Blackheart,

I have read all Brian Deer's articles on Wakefield (I subscribe to the Sunday Times), I read the original paper in the Lancet and most if not all of the subsequent articles in the Lancet and the BMJ, and I also read the ruling of the GMC. I have also read most but not all of the evidence on Brian Deer's website, and many, many pages of the responses by anti-vaccinationists, including the parents of some of the children involved (who were recruited from Jabs, a UK anti-vaccination group).

I didn't notice any inaccuracies in Calli Arcale's comment, though he missed out some of Wakefield's misdeeds - the lumbar punctures that were not clinically indicated, the birthday party bloodtaking and the lack of ethics committee permission for invasive tests for example.

What do you think Calli got wrong, and what evidence do you have for thinking that?

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 11 Sep 2011 #permalink

Blackheart - I don't see how you can object to my position that scientific research into the various items you list probably won't produce positive results, but may well produce useful negative results.

By Mephistopheles… (not verified) on 11 Sep 2011 #permalink

"Herbs and other natural products are extensively studied by western medicine and actually are the foundation of modern pharmacology but are basically 'woo'."

After "herbs and other natural products" are studied and the useful aspects incorporated into medicine, the remaining dregs are, from a practical standpoint, woo.

The quoted statement illustrates a paradox with which the woo-ful are afflicted. On the one hand "herbs and other natural products are extensively studied by western medicine" and X percentage of modern drugs owe their existence to "herbs and natural products", as we hear so often from the woo-ful. The same people, however, are insistent that medicine ignores "herbs and natural products" because they can't be patented and offer no profits to Big Pharma.

Something doesn't add up here.

And if "herbs and natural products" are the basis of modern medical practice which the woo-ful loathe and deride, then those same "herbs and natural products" bear a heavy responsibility for how horrible medicine has become.

O the burden of guilt and shame that the woo-ful must endure.

By Dangerous Bacon (not verified) on 11 Sep 2011 #permalink

I just noticed that I inadvertently referred to Calli as 'he' above. Sorry Calli, that was a typo.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 11 Sep 2011 #permalink

The quoted statement illustrates a paradox with which the woo-ful are afflicted. On the one hand "herbs and other natural products are extensively studied by western medicine" and X percentage of modern drugs owe their existence to "herbs and natural products", as we hear so often from the woo-ful. The same people, however, are insistent that medicine ignores "herbs and natural products" because they can't be patented and offer no profits to Big Pharma.

Something doesn't add up here.

All it takes is a little double-think, which is not a problem for woos. They switch their story to whichever is most convenient at the moment.

"Andrew Wakefield actually has a lot more time than that ... which is another part of the tale to tell. I also note that John Walker-Smith has an appeal lodged but not to the GMC to the UK High Court."

Really? Do tell.

BTW, Wakefield sued a slew of people including Brian for libel...tried to delay the libel suits...Deer pushed to have the libel suit "heard" and Wakefield discontinued all the libel suits and was forced by the court to pay all the legal costs of all the defendants he had sued.

"I'm underwhelmed that people apparently taking a science rational stance would spend such little time on this matter."

Not sure why. Wakefield as a person is not as important to us as he clearly is to you.

The people here would rather look at the research. If you'd rather devote yourself to spending a disproportionate and functionally value-less portion of your free time looking at the researchers instead, then that is your own business.

Andrew Wakefield published an article that was a small case series on twelve children. The study did not establish that their symptoms were caused by either MMR vaccine they had received (there were two forms of the vaccine with different mumps strains, the UK changed the vaccine in 1992, and one child was an American).

The red flags on Wakefield first appeared in the video press announcement where he made statements that were not supported by the paper. This is why a researcher at the same institution, Brent Taylor, conducted and published studies that contradicted Wakefield in just a few years:

Autism and Measles, Mumps, and Rubella Vaccine: No Epidemiological Evidence for a Causal Association.
Taylor B et al.
Lancet 1999;353 (9169):2026-9

Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura and MMR vaccine.
Miller E, Waight P, Farrington CP, Andrews N, Stowe J, Taylor B.
Arch Dis Child. 2001 Mar;84(3):227-9

MMR and autism: further evidence against a causal association.
Farrington CP, Miller E, Taylor B.
Vaccine. 2001 Jun 14;19(27):3632-5.

Measles, Mumps, and Rubella Vaccination and Bowel Problems or Developmental Regression in Children with Autism: Population Study.
Taylor B et al.
BMJ 2002; 324(7334):393-6

There continue to be more in the literature, and that is only one researcher. There are also several studies in several countries covering hundreds of thousands of children that proved Wakefield wrong, wrong, wrongety wrong!

And in case Blackheart tries to pull the idiotic Gish Gallop of listing the series of studies that "independently replicated" Wakefield, well a few of us decided to tackle that list. We found it was worthless:
http://justthevax.blogspot.com/2011/05/still-no-independent-confirmatio…

Wakefield should have been forgotten a dozen years ago.

Comment in moderation. Wakefield was countered from day one, and his case series of a dozen children should have been forgotten a dozen years ago.

Also, lilady, I just put a library hold on the book you mentioned, The Willowbrook Wars. Thanks for mentioning it!

What I can tell you is that the evidence is weak and there are obvious arguments against the decision made at the GMC

Obvious? What are they?
You're bluffing - and doing a lousy job of it.

Andrew Wakefield actually has a lot more time than that ... which is another part of the tale to tell.

I doubt it. Even if this is true (note the "if"), what's he waiting for?

@ Chris: I confess, I purchased the book because I know many of the key players involved in the Willowbrook Class Action Lawsuit...the children who were named plaintiffs, the expert witnesses from both sides as well as the individuals who worked at Willowbrook. About 25 years ago, I met the Willowbrook employee who used his key to open the locked wards so that Geraldo Rivera and his film crew accurately portrayed the actual conditions that existed there. "Willowbrook: The Last Great Disgrace" a small video clip about Rivera's visit is available on You Tube.

"Andrew Wakefield actually has a lot more time than that ... which is another part of the tale to tell".

"I doubt it. Even if this is true (note the "if"), what's he waiting for?"

(As my irreverent brother used to state)

"When pigs fly and when sh** turns to apple butter."

Mephistopheles

"probably won't produce positive results"

I was interested in "probably won't"

Dangerous Bacon

"Something doesn't add up here."

That would be your 'invented argument'in regards to "The same people, however, are insistent that medicine ignores "herbs and natural products" because they can't be patented and offer no profits to Big Pharma."

Your response seems to be

lilady

Through the same process John Walker-Smith is taking. UK High Court and other justice mechanisms in the UK trump any non justice system tribunal.

Dedj

"Wakefield as a person is not as important to us as he clearly is to you."

How do you come to that conclusion . Medicine safety is a very important issue. BTW I was responding to Calli who bought up Wakefield amongst several names.

"The people here would rather look at the research."

I've asked them to present their case . There seems to be a certain reluctance to do so.

TBruce

"You're bluffing - and doing a lousy job of it."

Do you have a specific point ?

"I doubt it. Even if this is true (note the "if"), what's he waiting for?"

I'd imagine the UK High Court.

By Blackheart (not verified) on 11 Sep 2011 #permalink

I asked: "What is the appropriate "research into the issue" which you, unlike Calli, have conducted?

Blackheart @ 283: "Well a bit more than reading a couple of newspaper articles and some blog posts. . . . I've read most of the necessary documentation surrounding this issue including the material on skeptik [sic] websites."

I can't really claim to be disappointed with this "answer" because it is just the type of non-response I anticipated from you -- glittering generalities and no specifics. "The necessary documentation," not otherwise specified, is a meaningless term in this context.

You claim that Calli's account is factually wrong in multiple respects, but have not identified even one of these supposed errors. You assert that the evidence presented to the GMC was "weak," but have provided no example to justify this sweeping conclusion. You express contempt for all the commenters here because they are not nearly as well-informed about the case as you, but you decline to identify any source, much less all sources, from which you have derived your encyclopedic knowledge. This pattern has convinced me that your opinions, on the Wakefield matter at least, rest on nothing more substantial than your smug certainty of your own infallibility.

@ Black Heart: You think the evidence is weak against Wakefield I don't...nor do most of the posters here. But the important thing is that the GMC, after the longest and most expensive hearing in its history made the determination that Wakefield was guilty of multiple counts of medical misconduct.

Wakefield most egregious acts of medical misconduct were the subjecting of children to needless painful invasive procedures including gastrointestinal endoscopy, lumbar puncture and blood draws.

The monetary sleight of hand committed by Wakefield include the referrals of "patients" from a law firm that was pursuing a lawsuit against MMR vaccine manufacturers, while simultaneously setting up a corporation under his wife's name to receive royalties from a single antigen measles vaccine that he was developing. In addition, he was a hired gun expert witness of that same law firm...and would have perjured himself with any of his "espertise" using the fraudulent research that was published in the Lancet.

IMO, Wakefield's erasure from the register was proper (and long overdue). The reason why he is not appealing is that he and his lawyer offered no defense during the hearing to the indefensible acts of medical misconduct he committed and there is no new excupable evidence as a basis for appeal.

Black Heart why not give it up now. You've shown yourself to be totally clueless about medicine and now with this latest "legal" opinion totally clueless about the law.

DT35

"The necessary documentation," not otherwise specified, is a meaningless term in this context."

It is ? I would suggest that it would be a prerequisite to actually read the Lancet 12 Case Study in its entirety to begin with and the letters surrounding the issue published in the Lancet both to and from the authors. Particularly as these are primary source documentation.

I've also read the GMC transcripts which show clearly two sides of the legal debate.

"of your own infallibility."

I have no problem being presented with an alternative version of events that is reasoned and objective. When that happens we'll be able to debate this issue in a mature fashion.

By blackheart (not verified) on 11 Sep 2011 #permalink

Blackheart:

How do you come to that conclusion . Medicine safety is a very important issue. BTW I was responding to Calli who bought up Wakefield amongst several names.

Wakefield only did a tiny set of case series. Nothing else.

The paper that was retracted was a case series of only a dozen children, and it did not show autism or gut issues were related to either MMR vaccine the children had received. Not many people realize that the UK changed which MMR vaccine was used in 1992, and that one of the children in the case series was an American who received the MMR used in the USA since 1971.

I still have a comment in moderation that explains it more fully... but in short, in a video press conference on the paper in 1998 he made claims that were not supported by the now retracted paper. He lied.

This did not go unnoticed, and there several papers dating prior to 2003 that show Wakefield was wrong. And he is still wrong. As are those who think he has anything relevant to say on the matter of autism and vaccines.

Wakefield should have been ignored and gone into obscurity a dozen years ago. Two papers that showed he was wrong, from someone at the same hospital:

Autism and Measles, Mumps, and Rubella Vaccine: No Epidemiological Evidence for a Causal Association.
Taylor B et al.
Lancet 1999;353 (9169):2026-9

Measles, Mumps, and Rubella Vaccination and Bowel Problems or Developmental Regression in Children with Autism: Population Study.
Taylor B et al.
BMJ 2002; 324(7334):393-6

lilady

"You think the evidence is weak against Wakefield I don't...nor do most of the posters here."

Wow ...there's a surprise.

"Wakefield was guilty of multiple counts of medical misconduct."

...and as they are not a court of law it is rather meaningless in determining guilt or innocence. That's why the defendants and their legal teams are not wasting their time with the GMC.

Surely you yourself and other supporters would like to see testimony from Wakefiled and other key players, under oath ? Or a Parliamentary Commission perhaps ? Like the current media investigation ?

"indefensible acts of medical misconduct he committed "

For something so 'indefensible' It seems 'odd' that the parents,carers and patients continue to support the team of doctors at the Royal Free.

Any explanation for that ?

By blackheart (not verified) on 11 Sep 2011 #permalink

Chris (post 291)

"...a dozen children should have been forgotten a dozen years ago."

Twelve severely disabled children should be forgotten should they ?

Isn't that the whole point of the case study to forward medical research into why these children presented as they did ?

To examine the actual children and give them a chance at a better future regardless of cause.

By Blackheart (not verified) on 11 Sep 2011 #permalink

Chris (post 297)

"Two papers that showed he was wrong, from someone at the same hospital"

How do these two epidemiological studies counter the physiological work undertaken by the Royal Free Hospital by a team of specialists in their field ?

By Blackheart (not verified) on 11 Sep 2011 #permalink

Many people contend that Wakefield's study was "independently replicated", and then they list a long list of studies. The posting of lots of studies without explanation of a form a "Gish Gallop." After seeing it used by someone multiple times, some of us looked at the paper being presented. None of them "independently replicated" the retracted Lancet study.

It is summarized here:
http://justthevax.blogspot.com/2011/05/still-no-independent-confirmatio…

In short: Wakefield lied and children died.

@Blackheart:

"Here's a question for you Black Heart...Wakefield was given 28 days to appeal the GMC Decision...why didn't he?"

Andrew Wakefield actually has a lot more time than that ... which is another part of the tale to tell.

So, then, the time is not yet right for him to file his appeal, but when the time is right he will? Is that also why he hasn't yet sued Brian Deer for libel?

By Matthew Cline (not verified) on 11 Sep 2011 #permalink

Matthew Cline:

Is that also why he hasn't yet sued Brian Deer for libel?

Didn't he try that before? Only it kind of backfired on him. It turns out that it allowed Mr. Deer access to more data, and in the end Wakefield had to write a check to Mr. Deer!

Does anyone think that Wakefield will repeat that mistake again?

Our only hope is to catch Wakefield actually to be pretending to be a real doctor in the USA and get convicted on practicing medicine without a license (in any country!). It would be lovely to get him deported from the USA.

But, I am afraid, that is a pipe dream. Look how long it has been to get the license revoked for Mark Geier, and his son charged with practicing medicine without a license. That is still an ongoing process.

"Dedj

"Wakefield as a person is not as important to us as he clearly is to you."

How do you come to that conclusion."

Because you've spent a significantly longer time banging on about Wakefield as a person than anyone else here has in a recent timeframe. You make claims to have read pretty much all relevant material and you constantly snipe at other people for allegedly not doing sufficient work.

Excuse me for taking what you write about yourself as honest and accurate. I won't make that mistake again.

"The people here would rather look at the research."

I've asked them to present their case."

Without doing us the honour of presenting your own, I notice. You're asking people to do work that you're apparently not willing to do yourself - you keep claiming to have done research and proper work on this, yet you've demonstrated no such thing.

You're the blog equivilant of the older co-worker who berates the younger co-workers for not pulling their weight, yet seems strangely hesistant to do that actual work themselves....

Matthew

"So, then, the time is not yet right for him to file his appeal, but when the time is right he will? Is that also why he hasn't yet sued Brian Deer for libel?"

There is a UK High Court appeal in regards to senior co-author John Walker-Smith that needs to be determined before anything else.

"Is that also why he hasn't yet sued Brian Deer for libel?"

I'd imagine so. Though there are plenty of personal and family issues that I would imagine prevent this course of action as well.

I'm still wondering why the families and patients that attended the Royal Free Hospital and were looked after by John Walker-Smith and his fellow team of highly skilled and eminent medical professionals still support them.

By blackheart (not verified) on 11 Sep 2011 #permalink

@ Matthew Cline: Black Heart "hints" about some secret knowledge of what Wakefield and his lawyers will do to appeal the GMC ruling...which is totally discounted by anyone who actually verified what his pathetic (virtually non-existent) defenses were during the actual GMC hearing. I'm no expert on British laws, but am well versed in American law and the only grounds for an appeal would be new excupable evidence...which Wakefield doesn't have.

Wakefield did in fact sue Brian Deer and and newspapers that published Deer's excellent investigative reporting on Wakefield's "activities" alleging libel committed against him, before the final decision was rendered by the GMC. Wakefiled then petitioned the court for a delay (continuance) of the lawsuit during the "discovery" (put up or shut up time) phase of the libel lawsuits. As I recall Deer made a motion to the court to deny Wakefield's motion to delay and the court directed Wakefield into court to present his case. Unable to produce any evidence of libel in the face of the irrefutable non-libelous statements printed about him...truth being the only defense to an allegation of libel...Wakefield then discontinued all the libel cases. He was also was directed to pay all of Deer's legal costs and the legal costs of the other parties he attempted to sue.

While not a total admission on the part of Wakefield of his using the courts as instruments of harrassment to silence Deer and the newspapers, it certainly would be look upon unfavorably by any other jurist in the U.K. should Wakefield re-institute libelous action lawsuits against Deer and the others. It is known in American courts, that persistent crank litigants "do not have the right to two bites from the same (rotten) apple".

Days ago the ever boring troll stated that I did not provide actual proof...proof to what I might ask? Troll's ramblings only amount to vague generalities about science-based medicine and the day he makes a specific statement about the dangers of a particular vaccines, the immunology of vaccine development, the diseases they prevent, the incidence and prevalence of those diseases before and after licensing and the medical epidemiology of the diseases, is the day I will answer those specific questions or allegations.

I spite of troll's statement "I work with science ever day", he is totally clueless about the science of medicine and I don't do well with replying to troll's brain droppings. Still waiting for any definite statements backed up by citations from peer reviewed journals to take this troll on.

"BTW I was responding to Calli who bought up Wakefield amongst several names."

And then you ran with the ball, as it were. You then proceeded to berate and dismiss people for 'only' reading newpaper articles and some blogs.

You somehow - I'm sure it's pure coincidence and not a deliberate ploy to make yourself look better - managed to neglect to mention that many of those articles and blogs made direct reference to formal documents in the case, that many of them provided extensive discussion of many of those documents, and that many of them provided direct links to public documents in the case.

I'm sure this was an oversight that you will no doubt have the honesty and integrity to correct immediatly. Right after you list exactly what documents you've read and which ones gave you which idea about the case. You know, just like you expect everyone else to do.

I've a feeling I'll be a waste of my time waiting for your answer.

Dedj

"Because you've spent a significantly longer time banging on about Wakefield as a person than anyone else here has in a recent timeframe."

Apparently answering questions is impolite ?

"Without doing us the honour of presenting your own"

Am I the one making a series of allegations against a team of eminent medical researchers ? Didn't think so.

"you keep claiming to have done research and proper work on this, yet you've demonstrated no such thing."

I already have ... re the UK High Court.

By Blackheart (not verified) on 11 Sep 2011 #permalink

Dedj

"You then proceeded to berate and dismiss people for 'only' reading newpaper articles and some blogs."

Berate people ? ... interesting read.

I asked people who profess that they are science / evidenced based rationalists what information they based their views on.

Newspapers and blogs was the main source of information apparently. One had read the GMC decision but not the underlying arguments presented by both the "prosecution and the defense"

lilady also managed to fit in a television show...and 9 pages of GMC paperwork.

I can't see how this bolsters anyone's argument that they have attended to this particular issue with any sort of thoroughness that would be expected of the self styled 'skeptik".

An interesting oversight one imagines.

By blackheart (not verified) on 11 Sep 2011 #permalink

Dedj

"managed to neglect to mention that many of those articles and blogs made direct reference to formal documents in the case"

a blog is a blog is a blog ... pro and anti is not evidence and neither is the commentary within.

If you have specific evidence linked within a pro militant skeptik website I'm sure we can look at it ...

By Blackheart (not verified) on 11 Sep 2011 #permalink

About Wakefield dropping his libel case against Deer, I've seen the excuse that Wakefield was going to surprise the GMC prosecution with something, so he needed to keep that something secret, but the discovery in the libel lawsuit would have forced him to hand that secret over to Deer, so he dropped the libel lawsuit let him keep the secret secret until he sprung it in the GMC trial. The same person who made that excuse also said that there were tactical/strategic reasons for Wakefield to delay initiating a second libel lawsuit against Deer.

By Matthew Cline (not verified) on 11 Sep 2011 #permalink

"I've a feeling I'll be a waste of my time waiting for your answer."

Should read 'it'll be'.

Blackheart:

You are implying that there is something wrong with questioning your position.

Not at all. Everything is fair game for questions, IMHO. However, if all you do is ask questions without answering any, then it weakens your own position. That's your choice, of course.

Most of the substantive points you made just revealed that you believe the investigation of paranormal activity to be "scientifically rational" even though there is little to no evidence to back up any of the claims.

Again, everything is fair game for questions. That includes claims of the paranormal. There are good ways and bad ways to investigate such claims; in general, good, solid, scientific investigations tend to turn up null results. There's nothing wrong with that, scientifically speaking. Now, there *is* something wrong when *bad science* is used to uphold claims of the paranormal or quack medicine or whatever, and some scientific (as opposed to pseudoscientific) researchers of the paranormal do so expressly out of concern for people fleecing the public with bogus claims. In particular, some people get a lot of money from faith healings, seances, dowsing, etc, and it's painful to watch people enrich these con artists. Scientific studies of the subject can be helpful in demonstrating the fraud.

Of course, it's usually a waste of time to study the paranormal. It's not bad science, but with only so much grant money to go around, it's fair to question why they'd spend money on questions which honestly have already been answered. This is why the vast majority of scientists long ago abandoned research into telepathy, telekinesis, etc.

If you believe in 'woo' then that undermines the argument from Orac in regards to "science rationalism".

I have two points in response to that. First, that I think it's fair to research crazy claims doesn't mean I believe the claims are correct. In fact, if researchers only study what they already believe to be true, aren't they severely biasing their results? Second, what I believe has no bearing on Orac's arguments. He can speak for himself. ;-)

I don't know any of the others. I had to Google them.

Fair enough. You may find them interesting, though. You'll find more stuff on Leiderer these days; she's sort of latched on to the 2012 bandwagon and is back in the doom-and-gloom biz for another round.

You have misunderstood the matter at hand. I'm not interested in a run down of you arguments of Wakefield's guilt or not but how you came to that conclusion.

Essentially, from learning about the things I listed.

Did you read a book ? A newspaper article ? Read a posting on a blog site ?

I thought you wanted to know why I thought Wakefield was a fraud who refused to admit his own guilt, in my own words, so I gave you that. It came from many sources. All of the above, plus television, plus other Internet sources than blogs, and legal documents. Some were pro-Wakefield, actually. I try to avoid relying on a single source for anything as important as this.

What critical investigation and thinking did you apply to this ?

When one is evaluating a claim, any claim, one has to look at a lot of things. Is it plausible? How much evidence is there to support it? Does it come from multiple sources? How rigorous is the evidence? What is the potential for bias on each of the lines of evidence? In the case against Wakefield, it was very strong. I've already discussed the weaknesses of his own case, but for judging the case against him, we have the great advantage of it being entered into evidence in actual court cases (there was first the GMC case and then the libel case that Wakefield brought against Deer). That makes the supporting material available to the public. I've read some of it myself.

* I'll note this many of the statements you made in regards to the Wakefield matter are factually wrong.

I'd be interested to hear your corrections, then. I like to be set straight on things, since the alternative is to go on being wrong. I'm surprised you didn't set me straight right away, but maybe you were worried about your comment going into moderation. If it does, don't worry -- Orac will approve it when he gets the chance, and I'll be patient.

By Calli Arcale (not verified) on 12 Sep 2011 #permalink

There has been continuing chatter amongst the woo-meisters and anti-vaxxers whose miserable work I survey that there is indeed a Big Court Case in the works that will totally exonerate the brave maverick doctor and punish evil-doers paid by pharma/ Murdoch/ Satan himself to besmirch his pristine reputation. However, we should remember that these people have Big Court Cases in the works as frequently as most people purchase groceries.

Suing people- or confabulating grounds for cases- is a mark of desperation on their part: because their business and/or fame relies upon attacks on SBM and its defenders they need to keep their followers running on more than the fumes of paradigm-shifting science discovered to be fraudu... I mean, unfairly sullied through the machinations of paid mercenaries in opposition to the Truth.

Right now, there is also talk of suing the government ( US and EU) about restrictions on supplements.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 12 Sep 2011 #permalink

Sweet! I got a comment posted without it going into moderation! I bet one more word would've pushed it over. :-D I do note one bit of clumsiness in my post above:

Now, there *is* something wrong when *bad science* is used to uphold claims of the paranormal or quack medicine or whatever, and some scientific (as opposed to pseudoscientific) researchers of the paranormal do so expressly out of concern for people fleecing the public with bogus claims.

This sentence should've been broken up into two, because it sounds like the "some scientific researchers" are using bad science to uphold claims of the paranormal. That's not what I meant, and I'll restate it.

Now, there *is* something wrong when *bad science* is used to uphold claims of the paranormal or quack medicine or whatever. Some scientific (as opposed to pseudoscientific) researchers of the paranormal study such claims expressly out of concern for people fleecing the public with bogus claims -- they want to protect the public from false claims.

By Calli Arcale (not verified) on 12 Sep 2011 #permalink

Blackheart

I'm still wondering why the families and patients that attended the Royal Free Hospital and were looked after by John Walker-Smith and his fellow team of highly skilled and eminent medical professionals still support them.

Any fraud squad detective can answer this one. People do not want to admit they have been conned because they feel admitting they have been defrauded means admitting they are stupid. To preserve their self esteem they concoct elaborate defenses of the person who defrauded them.

As an example we once had dealings with an insurance agent in the small Mennonite town of Linden, Alberta. This town subsequently became infamous for a Affinity Fraud Ponzi Scheme which swept through the town and spread to the Mormon town of Cardston Alberta. A year or two after the scheme was exposed, I heard an interview with the RCMP fraud squad officer and our former insurance agent. The Mountie expressed his frustration at the lack of cooperation from the victims, many of whom were convinced that the perpetrators who had fled to the USA were actually trying to track down the missing money. The clung to this belief even though an American bank had managed to snag some of the money as it passed through their hands. The insurance agent mentioned he had tried to warn people about the fraud and had lost a lot of friends as a result. Very few people thanked him for trying to warn them. If people can delude themselves about something as obvious as a financial fraud it is much easier to delude themselves about a complex medical issue. Bottomline - no one wants to admit they have been conned.

By Militant Agnostic (not verified) on 12 Sep 2011 #permalink

Blackheart:

Twelve severely disabled children should be forgotten should they ?

Obviously I did not say that. What you did was only quote part of the whole sentence, and that changed its meaning. That is a form of lying.

It is sad and telling that the only way folks like Blackheart and Laura can try to make their case is by lying, and do it by using partial quotes.

What is it with the iron-fisted moderation? This comment was not that long, I did not use bad words, and it only had one little link. I'm sure it is wasting lots of Orac's time to go back and approve many of the perfectly fine comments. Anyway, here it goes again:

And to the idiot liar, Blackheart, you obviously also missed that the case series of 12 kids did not find what Wakefield claimed, even with the data fraud. Plus there have been many many more case series that showed Wakefield was wrong, wrong, wrongety wrong. (and here was the PLOS link to Mady Hornig's attempted replication to Wakefield. "Lack of Association between Measles Virus Vaccine and Autism with Enteropathy: A Case-Control Study").

Wakefield and his little paper should have been forgotten a dozen years ago. He has done nothing for disabled children, who are better served with real science.

@ Black Heart: The question you had posed was what our sources of information are about the Wakefield drama...I replied that I saw a PBS television show and read the GMC's decision. You did not ask what professional knowledge I had, yet you disparage my reply:

"lilady also managed to fit in a television show...and 9 pages of GMC paperwork."

I actually worked as a public health nurse/division of disease control in a large County health department. I have an epidemiology background and have actually investigated cases of vaccine-preventable diseases...along with dozens of other communicable diseases/food-borne and vector-borne disease outbreaks for which there are no preventive vaccines.

You on the other hand state that you "work with science every day"...without mentioning what your educational background is and your position in the "science community". By your vague statements up thread, I'm calling bullshit about your science background and bullshit about your science-based profession. Provide me and others with some (non-vague) studies and I will reply. (hint) you might want to look at "laura's" arguments both before and after she provided citations to see how we addressed her unscientific arguments against vaccines.

"Apparently answering questions is impolite ?"

I didn't say this, nor is it required to make an arguement.

Being asked a question does not validate any answer, nor does it mean any answer is proportionate and appropriate.

I notice that the original mention of Wakefield was not, in fact, even a question. You chose to go off on one concerning Wakefield, all other mentions of him spring from that.

"Am I the one making a series of allegations against a team of eminent medical researchers ? Didn't think so."

Didn't say you were, nor would I be required to be in order to notice that you haven't presented any arguement for why your opinions regarding the commentators here, the GMC, Deer and others are all wrong.

Saying 'that's not my arguement' only works if your opponent is claiming that it is. You don't get away with not properly presenting your own arguement by claiming you're not presenting another (that you weren't accused of presenting anyway).

"I already have ... re the UK High Court."

Which was entirely your own unsupported, unreferenced assertion.

"If you have specific evidence linked within a pro militant skeptik website I'm sure we can look at it .."

Not sure why you're restricting it to 'pro-militant skeptic' websites. I would suggest that you're deliberatly doing so as to limit the number of blogs that you will allow as evidence.

In a few minutes search, I have found that:

the jdc325 blog has multiple articles with links to the determinations. It has multiple links direct to Andrew Wakefields own comments and also has links to discussions involving Wakefields defenders. It also provides discussion as to how and why some of those defences are wrong,

bad science has an editorial with a formerly working link to the full determination,

Orac has made several articles concerning this, and has linked to outside sources, including direct quotes from formal documents, and to articles which have references to formal documents,

lbrb has a link to the determinations, has extensively discussed the Lancet article and the vaccine patents with comments from members of AoA, OCG, GR, CHS and others, and has extensively discussed various defences of Wakefield with direct references to the hearing transcripts.

vaccineswork has direct quotes from and discussion of the hearings, and has a link to the transcripts and determinations. It also extensively discussed various defences of Wakefield and indicates which part of the hearing demonstrates those defences to be wrong.

That's just from websites I can remember. Several others had direct links to individual days from the hearings, references to the original Dawbarns circular, references to the patents, and references to articles by Wakefield himself, and live links to presentations by Wakefield.

For someone claiming to have read material on 'skeptic' websites, you appear to have a very poor knowledge of what they actually contain.

'a blog is a blog is a blog ...' is not a sufficient answer when someone points out that various blogs have directly linked to and discussed various peices of evidence. It's rather foolish to believe that all blogs are of similar quality as the standards on, say, blogs for professional organisations is significantly higher in general than blogs about cats written by crazy cat ladies.

This niavety (snobbery?) and the apparent lack of knowledge about the breadth of quality of blogs makes the comment 'pro and anti is not evidence and neither is the commentary within.' especially foolish - as linking to the evidence in a blog is still linking to the evidence.

"as linking to the evidence in a blog is still linking to the evidence."

Of course, just because Blackheart claims to have read evidence it doesn't mean that:

a) they actually have read it,
b) that it was of any decent quality,
c) that it was in any way accurate,
d) that it was from any reliable source,
e) that it means what they think it does,
f) that is demonstrates what they would claim it does.

Blackheart @ 298 -- finally you list some of what you consider "the necessary documentation" one must review before knowledgeable discussion of the Wakefield affair is possible. The original case study and letters in response are indeed a reasonable place to start, as they are only a few pages and are readily accessible. Then you tell us, "I've also read GMC transcripts which clearly show two sides of the legal debate." I note your wording has been left vague enough that you can later claim either that you read the transcript of the entire two years of hearings, or (more credibly) admit to having read only selected portions, whichever suits your purpose better at some future point.

To excuse Wakefield's failure to pursue an appeal of the GMC ruling, you theorize that an appeal will be taken directly to the UK High Court, and that this will be a better approach all around, stating @ 300: "Surely you yourself and other supporters would like to see testimony from Wakefield and other key players, under oath?" But I've already seen that testimony, reams of it, and so have you! Don't you remember, Blackheart? When you "read the GMC transcripts," there were days and days of testimony, three weeks or more from Wakefield alone, plus several days each from Murch and Walker-Smith. While an oath was not administered at these hearings, the witnesses formally affirmed that they would tell the truth, and if they did not honor that commitment, I doubt that taking an oath would make much difference.

@307 you state:"There is a UK High Court appeal in regards to senior co-author John Walker-Smith that needs to be determined before anything else." You seem to be arguing, with your customary lack of clarity, that Wakefield is somehow precluded from pursuing his appeal, or suing Brian Deer for libel, until the Walker-Smith matter is concluded. I would be fascinated to see the legal authority from which you derived this conclusion, as it runs counter to every statute, court rule, caselaw holding and administrative regulation I have ever seen on the issue.

@ DT35: You are giving Black Heart more credit than he deserves. He has a "pretend" education in science and contrary to what he stated ("I work with science every day"), is not employed in any job that is associated with the science of immunology, such as chemistry or biology and is certainly not a licensed health care professional.

BTW, He is now using a sock puppet (Black Sheep)

Militant Agnostic

Your argument certainly sounds very contrived to me ... but I'd imagine it would be pointless arguing the toss. Except to say here's the evidence of the actual parents video presentation , signed letter and all.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DHrgYxqcU0w

By blackheart (not verified) on 12 Sep 2011 #permalink

@Calli Arcale

"Again, everything is fair game for questions. That includes claims of the paranormal."

Apparently not on this website ... there's seems to be a clear exclusion zone on CAM and vaccine safety for instance. In fact it seems that you are the only one to make a sincere attempt at least presenting a reasonable and balanced position.

"In fact, if researchers only study what they already believe to be true, aren't they severely biasing their results?"

I think they do believe. In fact I doubt there's little question of that. As long as they present the research obkectively then there is little concern other than as you indicated a 'possible' bias. Which applies to research undertaken by 'science rationalists' as well as 'woo'.

"He can speak for himself. ;-)"

...and is subject to the same scrutiny as the purveyors of 'woo'. Facts need to be facts and opinion needs to be balanced, reasonable and objective. If not then it's fair to be slightly dismissive ?

"You'll find more stuff on Leiderer..."

I'll keep it in mind. My first google attempt revealed very little of any substance but I'm wasn't really trying.

"Essentially, from learning about the things I listed."

So if this was a debate surrounding a less 'emotive' issue which evidence would you weigh more favourably.
Given that there is a clear imbalance in say various media outlets and how they present stories etc.

"When one is evaluating a claim, any claim, one has to look at a lot of things. Is it plausible? "

Certainly ... let's have a look at the allegations that Wakefield manipulated the research and that he had a very large profit motive to gain in doing so.

The first questions regards plausible ? (And applies to all members of the Royal Free team substantially)

Was Andrew Wakefield a recognised professional in the study of gastroenterology / histapathology ?

Was John Walker-Smith (University Department of Paediatric Gastroenterology) ?

Was Simon Murch (As above )?

Was Mike Thomson (As above) ?

http://www.paediatricgastroenterologist.co.uk/home.htm

Had he published and undertaken research work in this field previously and to what level ?

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=%22Wakefield%20AJ%22[Author]

Had Professor John Walker-Smith ?

Did he work for a well respected medical institution ?

Did any of the research presented previously follow quite plausible biological and research grounds ?

Were there any major controversies over previous research , other than the usual questioning, which is part of 'science' ?

By blackheart (not verified) on 12 Sep 2011 #permalink

@Chris

Sometimes hyperbole comes back to bite one.

"Wakefield and his little paper should have been forgotten a dozen years ago. He has done nothing for disabled children, who are better served with real science."

So can you outline what medical investigation surrounding these children's disability and disabling gastroenterology conditions was undertaken by medical authorities ?

Were the children ever visited by health authorities ?

Were investigations undertaken by other medical professionals with an expertise in gastroenterology ?

Were the parents ever interviewed ?

Are they continuing to receive medical care ?

... many many unanswered questions on how these children have been treated by medical authorities and others.

By blackheart (not verified) on 12 Sep 2011 #permalink

@Chris

"And to the idiot liar, Blackheart, you obviously also missed that the case series of 12 kids did not find what Wakefield claimed, even with the data fraud. Plus there have been many many more case series that showed Wakefield was wrong, wrong, wrongety wrong."

"As Academic Editor of this manuscript ...

It is true that the sample size is relatively small and the subjects were not ârandomlyâ sampled from the populations of children with and without autism."

http://www.plosone.org/annotation/listThread.action?inReplyTo=info%3Ado…

By Blackheart (not verified) on 12 Sep 2011 #permalink

DT35

GMC transcripts - I certainly have read them and even have a copy or two of them.

"or (more credibly) admit to having read only selected portions, whichever suits your purpose better at some future point."

...as they contain some 15400 pages of legal debate I imagine that there's not a person on the planet that's read them in their entirety.

Perhaps you should address that question to "skeptik" sites and even the peer reviewers of the BMJ series of articles ?

By blackheart (not verified) on 12 Sep 2011 #permalink

lilady

I could be a used car salesman / plumber (apologies) for all that matters ... deal with the arguments put forward.

So when it comes to legal arguments we will just dismiss any points you make ?

...and for the record I am not Black Sheep.

By blackheart (not verified) on 12 Sep 2011 #permalink

DT35

"You seem to be arguing, with your customary lack of clarity, that Wakefield is somehow precluded from pursuing his appeal..."

No ... that's not my argument at all. I'd imagine that if the decisions made against John Walker-Smith are overturned then ... well I think you can work it out.

By Blackheart (not verified) on 12 Sep 2011 #permalink

"No ... that's not my argument at all."

Then you need to make it clear what your arguement is.

It's not clear whether or not you think:

a) Wakefield is making a good faith effort to construct an appeal,
b) such an appeal has a reasonable chance of success,
c) that the appeal will be based on the idea of the GMC overstepping their powers under the Medical Act and others, and therefore thier decision will be judged non-legal,
d) that the appeal will be based on the GMC decision being proceedurally or evidentially unfair and therefore invalid on the grounds of being unfair and/or unjust.

Please put some effort in.

"DT35

"I doubt that taking an oath would make much difference."

Perjury Act 1911 UK legislation....

You might also be interested in

Contempt of Court Act 1981 UK legislation....."

The point made by DT35 was that Wakefield and co. were already under significant risk (delicensing, potential career end, loss of public trust) and pressure (regulatory body hearing, parental expectations, expectations of supporters, maintaining avenue of income and public fame) yet they (especially Wakefield) to 'tell the truth' yet failed to do so and did so in a significantly counter-factual way.

Expecting Wakefield to turn around and suddenly tell the truth (thereby losing the majority of his support network and likely the entirity of his earnings, quite possibly recieving threats and direct action from his former supporters to boot) simply because he *might* be found guilty of perjury if he didn't, is giving Wakefield more credibility and intergrity than he is known to have shown.

Wakefield *might* get 'up to' 7 years for perjury *if* he ever gets around to making an appeal rather than just talking about it, but as the Jeffery Archer case demonstrates, people are more than willing to commit perjury to prevent loss. Archer had less to lose in comparative terms by not committing perjury, yet he willfully did so anyway. There's no reason to think Wakefield will magically reform himself and take the non-perjury option when he has so much to lose.

With how much Wakefield potentially has to lose by launching an appeal, I would suggest that he is unlikely to ever make a good-faith effort in doing so, as his supporters seem to be willing to pay his way anyway. He could conjure up any number of reasons why he is 'sitting on the appeal' and their faith in him wouldn't budge a simdgeon. JWS already has one underway, and Wakefield does not legally or proceedurally require the JWS appeal to be concluded in order to launch his own.

I notice that, of course, you didn't actually make any form of statement as to whether or not you think Wakefield would/would not risk perjury to protect himself.

I've noticed that blackheart, like augie, stays assiduously away from making any definitive statement of his/her own opinion, opting instead to just ask vague questions and never directly address any questions put to him/her. It may be a decent approach (now and then) for a teacher in a classroom, but it wears thin pretty quickly in a conversation, online or otherwise. Ultimately, in a forum like this, it succeeds only in making the user of this rhetorical technique look as if they are intellectually bankrupt, lacking any real argument of substance. In short, blackheart, you are making yourself look like you're full o' crap.

blackheart:
Apparently not on this website ... there's seems to be a clear exclusion zone on CAM and vaccine safety for instance. In fact it seems that you are the only one to make a sincere attempt at least presenting a reasonable and balanced position.

Thank you for the kind words, though I think the main reason you're not seeing that from others is just that there have been a number of very irritating trolls recently, and this has shortened their patience. Be glad you didn't have to run into any of them. ;-)

There is no exclusion zone on this blog; I've been following it long enough to know that. However, Orac's time is limited, so he can't blog about everything. He blogs about whatever has piqued his interest on a particular day. Two of his major sources of irritation are anti-vaccination pseudoscience and Holocaust denial and cancer quackery, so those will tend to be represented more -- after all, when you're a busy man, you'll write more about the things that tick you off enough to motivate you to spend the time. But even so, he doesn't just address CAM and vaccine safety. He's written about Vioxx before, so I quick googled that; here's a good one he wrote a few years ago about a particularly sneaky and nefarious strategy used by Merck to subvert the scientific process for marketing purposes. It's a good read, and though not relevant to vaccines, I recommend it.
http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2008/08/when_clinical_trials_are_desi…

For a broader look, I suggest you look at sciencebasedmedicine.org; that one has a variety of bloggers writing for it, which allows it to cover more diverse topics.

Orac speaking for himself:
...and is subject to the same scrutiny as the purveyors of 'woo'. Facts need to be facts and opinion needs to be balanced, reasonable and objective. If not then it's fair to be slightly dismissive ?

Yeah, that's fair. My point was just that you can't assume the opinions of Orac's supporters are also Orac's opinions. And I think you agree about that.

Nancy Leiderer:
I'll keep it in mind. My first google attempt revealed very little of any substance but I'm wasn't really trying.

Well, only bother pursuing further if you want some laughs. She's not even internally consistent, and I've wondered if she's just a compulsive liar. (I hate armchair psychology though.)

So if this was a debate surrounding a less 'emotive' issue which evidence would you weigh more favourably.
Given that there is a clear imbalance in say various media outlets and how they present stories etc.

Depends on what the issue was and what evidence was available. I had problems with Wakefield's original paper, even before all the rest came out. It was such a small sample size, yet very big claims were being made. There are a lot of studies like that, totally ignoring what later came out about possible mistakes and even outright fraud. The MMR is given to millions of children every year, intestinal disorders are not that unusual, and autism strikes about 1% of the population -- even ignoring the later evidence and claims that Wakefield was manipulation the data, 12 kids who had MMR, bowel problems, and autism doesn't seem like a very unusual group, especially since they were not selected at random but referred specifically for a combination of these symptoms after the MMR (again, ignoring that they may not all have even had the symptoms). If you're looking for 12 people who meet these criteria, I'm sure you can find them even if there is no connection at all; I'd want to see these results replicated on a much larger scale. That Wakefield failed to pursue that question meant, to me, that he wasn't interested in making sure his conclusion was correct.

There are a lot of scientists who get lazy like that, and it's a big mark against their conclusion.

The first questions regards plausible ? (And applies to all members of the Royal Free team substantially)

The original hypothesis that Wakefield presented didn't seem very plausible to me (though I'm not an immunologist -- I'm a software engineer). That was a strike against it. I couldn't see how the attenuated measles virus injected intramuscularly in MMR could migrate specifically to the gut (and apparently cause no other problems en route) and set up camp there.

Was Andrew Wakefield a recognised professional in the study of gastroenterology / histapathology ?

Gastroenterology, yes. Histopathology, no. That's why he used another worker to take care of reading the specimens (a fact which proved detrimental to him later on, when the pathologist criticized the published work for being inconsistent with his findings). And he is not a recognized professional in neurology or neurodevelopment or psychology, all of which would be useful for his subsequent claims of "autistic enterocolitis".

I won't list the others individually, as my response to them is less interesting -- yes. Same for having undertaken work in this field before. They all have. Wakefield was at the time relatively young, but not a total newb or anything. (Which brings up another thought: all of those involved really should have known better than to produce a piece of dreck like this study. But advanced degrees and prior experience is no guarantee of competence. It's just a good hint.)

Did he work for a well respected medical institution ?

Yes.

Did any of the research presented previously follow quite plausible biological and research grounds ?

No, not really. (See above, where I discuss the plausibility.) If you read about the measles transfer work, it's really peculiar stuff. Almost as nutty as homeopathy.

Were there any major controversies over previous research , other than the usual questioning, which is part of 'science' ?

I'm not aware of much of a big to-do, but I'm also not sure how relevant that is. Most of the time, scientists only get one major scandal and then their careers are just about shot. Look at the South Korean cloning scientist (his name escapes me at the moment). He had a very lauded career, publishing many studies, right up until the time his fakery came out. Past lack of scandal is not a good predictor of future performance, evidently -- either they're ethical geniuses, or they just haven't been caught yet.

By Calli Arcale (not verified) on 13 Sep 2011 #permalink

"The first questions regards plausible ? (And applies to all members of the Royal Free team substantially)"

You first questions are relevant, but are not needed. We can safely assume all the people involved are actually the people involved and not imposters. Thier clinical and academic background is not in doubt.

The pertinant questions are:

Was Wakefield in a posistion to bias the sample? Is there evidence that he did so, inadvertantly or otherwise?

Yes, he is known to have prior active non-clinical contact with several parents, and several are known to have been referred with intent to be included in the sample. There is no reasonale way the sample subjests can all be deemed 'self-referred', nor - despite Wakefields protests - does calling the sample 'self-referred' make it 'obvious' that the sample was biased with researcher pre-involvement.

Was he in a posistion to bias, or change, the interpretation of test results, to produce a favourable outcome?

Yes, he was attested as being heavily involved in the pathology review sessions and review team. Yes, he was attested as having dismissed unfavourable lab results.

Was he in a posistion to immediately or consequently benefit from a biased outcome?

Yes, he intended to produce a replacement vaccine, and was involved as a paid witness for the same legal firm that obtained funding for the research, the same firm that was working for clients with prior connections to Wakefield.

Oddly, all of this is covered in the documentation you imply you have read.......

Blackheart @333: What is your point in citing the perjury statutes? Are you saying that Wakefield et al felt free to play fast and loose with the facts because they affirmed that they would tell the truth to the GMC rather than swearing an oath? The statutes also provide criminal penalties for making false statements "other than on oath," so the deterrent effect would presumably be much the same for an oath or an affirmation.

At 335, you again refuse to state your position, going instead for ellipses and "I think you can work it out." You seem to be saying that Wakefield, rather than stand shoulder to shoulder with his colleague before the High Court and reinforce Walker-Smith's arguments with his own, is leaving his associate to expend all the money and effort necessary to mount an appeal. Then, if it is successful, Wakefield can jump in and say, "Hey, me too!" Is he also going to wait and see if Walker-Smith sues Brian Deer for libel and wins before he pursues that remedy?

@ Todd W. I think that your observation sums up the lack of substance of any of Black Heart's postings.

I challenged him repeatedly to provide a succinct medical statement backed up by citations and he slithered away...only to come back with new baseless arguments.

I was pretty much on point with the legal ramifications (perjury) of Wakefield attempting an appeal of the GMC ruling or re-instituting libel suits against Brian Deer and newspapers and "Dedj" clarified how laws in the U.K. would view his worthless testimony. Again, I am uncertain if he would even have grounds for appeal of the GMC ruling. In the United States, in order to have a court even consider an appeal from a doctor for reinstatement, you would have to make a motion that is credible about administrative bias. If a lower court has made a decision and you seek redress in a higher court, an appellant would have to show new and exculpable evidence to proceed. (I'm married to an attorney and knowledge gained through osmosis.)

Blackheart:

Sometimes hyperbole comes back to bite one.

You were caught lying by selectively quoting me. It was both lame and stupid. It means you do not want to have an honest discussion. The fact you later quoted perjury statutes was pathetically ironic.

So can you outline what medical investigation surrounding these children's disability and disabling gastroenterology conditions was undertaken by medical authorities ?

No. Can you? And that does not matter, it does not involve Wakefield. He is the one that was never qualified to treat anyone, much less children (he was never a clinician). He is the one that ordered unnecessary invasive tests, one that ended up perforating the colon of one child later.

You should ask Dr. Brent Taylor who was at the Royal Free and studied the same cohort of children. Did you notice I listed some of his papers?

And the attempt to move goal posts with the Hornig paper was silly. You are not just a liar, you are just plain pathetic.

"...and as they are not a court of law it is rather meaningless in determining guilt or innocence. "

Well, apart from the fact that it's the legislated power of the GMC FTP panels to make determinations of fitness to practice, and it's their legislated power to advise professionals on what constitutes conduct and ethics.

Saying that their judgement is meaningless because they're not a court of law, when they are the legally empowered regulatory body, is.....rather stupid.

Calli Arcale

"The original hypothesis that Wakefield presented didn't seem very plausible to me..."

Physiology of autisitcs patients have shown not only inflammation in the bowel as per John Walker-Smith's clinical investigations. But also signs of inflammation in the brain and CSF of autistic patients.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15546155

There are a number of differing hypotheses that would need further investigation. But even the most hardened skeptik would have to acknowldege that vaccines that work directly on the developing infants immune system would be a highly plausible candidate (unpalatable as this position may be).

"Gastroenterology, yes. Histopathology, no."

Andrew Wakefield is a a well credentialed medical professional with memberships to both the Royal College of Surgeons 1985 and the Royal College of Pathologists 2001. Both indicate a solid professional standard in Gastroenterology, Wakefields specialist field and Histopathology.

Was John Walker-Smith (University Department of Paediatric Gastroenterology) ?
Was Simon Murch (As above )?
Was Mike Thomson (As above) ?

Let us not forget other members of the team at the Royal Free all engaged in the work undertaken particularly the Lancet paper.

All well credentialed and eminent research professionals. Walker-Smith acknoweledged as the UK's leading and pre-eminent paediatric gastroenterologist.

Recognised by a life time achievement award from
http://www.espghan.med.up.pt/

GMC transcripts

"He has an enviable international reputation with more than 300 published scientific and medical papers and publications in the field of paediatric gastroenterology.'"

Professor Allan Walker

"John is one of the most revered paediatric gastroenterologists in the world. Finally, and I believe you may already be aware of this because it was in the letters that you got, John has been given a distinguished achievement award by the European Society for Paediatric Gastroenterologist and Nutrition and, to my knowledge, this is the first time that it has ever been given, a lifetime achievement award, to a paediatric gastroenterologist. I think that underscores the view of John WalkerâSmith as a paediatric gastroenterologist on a worldâwide basis.' "

Did he work for a well respected medical institution ?
Yes - Glad to see some agreement

Did any of the research presented previously follow quite plausible biological and research grounds ?

No ? Hard to come to that conclusion of a team of UK's finest gastroenterologists thought it was well worth investigating and coming up with very positive results...

Bowel abnormalities.

"this mucosal abnormality has been apparent in 47/50 children within the autistic spectrum, whether or not there is any perceived link with immunisation. Thus the lymphoid hyperplasia/ microscopic colitis changes were found in over 90% of the autistic children studied."

Walker-Smith The Lancet 1998

Treatment Regimes.

"...we have noted important behavioural responses in several of the children when their intestinal pathology is treated. Plain radiography confirms severe constipation with acquired megarectum in almost all affected children, despite many receiving treatment for constipation."

Walker-Smith The Lancet 1998

...and further confirmed at

http://www.pediatricsdigest.mobi/content/112/4/939.full

Were there any major controversies over previous research , other than the usual questioning, which is part of 'science' ?

I'm not aware of much of a big to-do, but I'm also not sure how relevant that is.

It goes to the character of the research and the excellent character of the accussed.

By blackheart (not verified) on 13 Sep 2011 #permalink

Dedj

You are an amusing fellow...

Post 337

"Expecting Wakefield to turn around and suddenly tell the truth ..."

Is that the "skeptik version" of the truth.

Post 336

It's not clear whether or not you think:

a) Wakefield is making a good faith effort to construct an appeal.

I'm not privy to Andrew Wakefield's legal advise or opinion on this matter. But if John Walker-Smith's 'conviction' is overturned then there could be no logical way that the 'conviction' against Simon Murch or Andrew Wakefield would stand.

It's not rocket science.

b) such an appeal has a reasonable chance of success

I'd imagine so. If it was heard in a court of law such as the UK High Court where political or media manipulation would not occur

c) that the appeal will be based on the idea of the GMC overstepping their powers under the Medical Act and others, and therefore thier decision will be judged non-legal

No.

d) that the appeal will be based on the GMC decision being proceedurally or evidentially unfair and therefore invalid on the grounds of being unfair and/or unjust.

I have seen some indications that this may be so.

"JWS already has one underway, and Wakefield does not legally or proceedurally require the JWS appeal to be concluded in order to launch his own."

I thought that was quite obvious.

"I notice that, of course, you didn't actually make any form of statement as to whether or not you think Wakefield would/would not risk perjury to protect himself."

I must admit that there is a puzzling enigma that the there have been no criminal investigation as to these matters ? Strange, seeming as the skeptik evidence is apparently so strong.

Any thoughts on this Dedj ?

By blackheart (not verified) on 13 Sep 2011 #permalink

Chris

"So can you outline what medical investigation surrounding these children's disability and disabling gastroenterology conditions was undertaken by medical authorities ?"

No. Can you?"

Well no Chris I can't because to the best of my knowledge no rigorous investigation was made as to the disabling conditions these children suffered or as to it's cause.

Very troubling indeed.

"He is the one that ordered unnecessary invasive tests, one that ended up perforating the colon of one child later."

He is ? I thought it was junior doctor under the auspices of Simon Murch and I haven't seen corrobarating evidence that it was indeed related to any Lancet 12 study.

"You should ask Dr. Brent Taylor who was at the Royal Free and studied the same cohort of children. Did you notice I listed some of his papers?"

I'm not convinced that Dr Brent Taylor is an impartial figure in this debate. Plus I have already indicated very important problems associated with the methodology of his research paper at 331

By blackheart (not verified) on 13 Sep 2011 #permalink

Dedj

344

"Saying that their judgement is meaningless because they're not a court of law, when they are the legally empowered regulatory body, is.....rather stupid."

I thought there were broader issues at hand such as research fraud and monetary fraud ?

I haven't been able to understand why as a skeptik that you and others are so reluctant to have this matter heard in a UK court of law with all the checks and balances that this entails.

Any reasoned explanation for this conundrum ?

By blackheart (not verified) on 13 Sep 2011 #permalink

Blackheart:

I'm not privy to Andrew Wakefield's legal advise or opinion on this matter. But if John Walker-Smith's 'conviction' is overturned then there could be no logical way that the 'conviction' against Simon Murch or Andrew Wakefield would stand.

Wrong, Blackheart. Even if Walker-Smith successfully overturns his conviction, there is enough evidence against Wakefield to ensure he never practises medicine again.

If it was heard in a court of law such as the UK High Court where political or media manipulation would not occur.

You are insinuating that manipulation occurred in the original GMC hearing. Please provide proof of such manipulation, or shut up.

"He is the one that ordered unnecessary invasive tests, one that ended up perforating the colon of one child later."

He is ?

Yes.

I'm not convinced that Dr Brent Taylor is an impartial figure in this debate.

Evidence of lack of partiality, or STFU.

Here's something that the anti-vaxxers can never seem to explain - when it comes to the "bowel / gastro" issues Wakefield supposedly was studying (and ultimately relating back to the MMR - autism hypothesis):

If the measles vaccine was the cause of these issues & thus also to autism, why wouldn't regular measles cause this same problem (because the immune response is the same)? And why wouldn't regular measles be a cause for autism, if it was truly an issue?

I'd like to have someone try to explain the logic, because even at face value, it doesn't make any sense. Again, if the vaccines are "bad" why can't the same problems be the result of the original diseases (and potential worse, since the known complications of the diseases are a magnitude or so higher then known side-effects of the vaccines)?

And BH troll is a waste of time - he shifts goalposts & avoids questions even more so than boring troll.

Julian

Such a defensive posture ... having trouble adjusting paradigms ?

In regards to your well thought out and elucidated questions ....

meh.

By blackheart (not verified) on 14 Sep 2011 #permalink

Andrew Wakefield is a a well credentialed medical professional with memberships to both the Royal College of Surgeons 1985 and the Royal College of Pathologists 2001. Both indicate a solid professional standard in Gastroenterology

The what? Why should either membership require experience in the field of gastroenterology? My sequitur is completely nonned.

I haven't been able to understand why as a skeptik that you and others are so reluctant to have this matter heard in a UK court of law with all the checks and balances that this entails.

I don't remember any of the commenters here expressing any reluctance about Andrew Wakefield appealing his censure in a UK court of law. It would be silly to be "so reluctant", since we don't have any say in the matter. In the unlikely event that Wakefield were to ask for our opinion, I suspect that there would be general encouragement: "Go for it!"

But even the most hardened skeptik would have to acknowldege that vaccines that work directly on the developing infants immune system would be a highly plausible candidate (unpalatable as this position may be).

I consider myself a skeptic (though not particularly hardened), but No, I would not have to acknowledge any such thing. Please do not put words in my mouth. It is an unsanitary habit.

Vaccines "work directly on the developing infants immune system", but SO DO INFECTIONS. So do encounters with cats, pollen, shampoo, other people, small furry animals gathered together in a cave, clothes, and pieces of detritus picked up off the floor. This is what the immune system does. Since none of those encounters are considered "highly plausible candidates" for causing "signs of inflammation in the brain and CSF of autistic patients", then neither are vaccines.

In this issue of brain / CSF inflammation, the abstract to which you link specifically invokes "innate neuroimmune reactions". Need I explain the word "innate"? Need I explain the irrelevance of the paper to the argument you seem to be trying to make?

I note with concern that your most recent comments lack the ellipses that punctuate your earlier contributions to this thread. I hope you have not used up your quota for the month, or lost access to an elliptical trainer, or anything dire like that.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 14 Sep 2011 #permalink

herr doktor

"Why should either membership require experience in the field of gastroenterology?"

If you don't know ... then I'm certainly not going to explain the entrance , examination and auditing processes that each Fellow undertakes in regards to his or her specialist area as well as general surgery skill sets.

"Please do not put words in my mouth. It is an unsanitary habit."

I couldn't possibly manage that ... there seems to be a rather large foot impeding access.

"SO DO INFECTIONS"

Then perhaps you should read this ...

"genitourinary infections more frequently diagnosed in children with autism. In the first 30 days of life, the frequency of having an infection was slightly higher among children with autism (22.6% vs 18.7%)."

"Data suggest that children with autism may have modestly elevated rates of infection in the first 30 days and that, during the first 2 years, children with autism may be at higher risk for certain types of infections and lower risk for others. Additional studies that explore the associations between prenatal and early childhood infections and autism may help clarify the role of infection and the immune system in the etiology of autism spectrum disorder."

http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/119/1/e61.full

"A total of 7379 children were diagnosed as having ASDs. Children admitted to the hospital for any infectious disease displayed an increased rate of ASD diagnoses (HR, 1.38 [95% confidence interval, 1.31-1.45])."

ps Did you see who undertook that study ?

http://archpedi.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/abstract/164/5/470

"We demonstrate an active neuroinflammatory process in the cerebral cortex, white matter, and notably in cerebellum of autistic patients. Immunocytochemical studies showed marked activation of microglia and astroglia, and cytokine profiling indicated that macrophage chemoattractant protein (MCP)-1 and tumor growth factor-beta1, derived from neuroglia, were the most prevalent cytokines in brain tissues."

... life can get complicated for those with a rigid cognitive outlook.

By blackheart (not verified) on 14 Sep 2011 #permalink

Blackheart:

Physiology of autisitcs patients have shown not only inflammation in the bowel as per John Walker-Smith's clinical investigations. But also signs of inflammation in the brain and CSF of autistic patients.

But is it a causal connection? Again, even ignoring that the evidence in Wakefield's paper was later shown to have been altered before publication, even assuming it was all correct, bowel inflammation is more common than autism; finding the two together is not that unlikely, even in a random group of autistics, but this wasn't a random group. They were supposedly selected specifically because they had both autism and bowel problems. Of course they would all have both autism and bowel inflammation.

There are a number of differing hypotheses that would need further investigation. But even the most hardened skeptik would have to acknowldege that vaccines that work directly on the developing infants immune system would be a highly plausible candidate (unpalatable as this position may be).

Why would this be "highly plausible" and why would this be "unpalatable"? Vaccines are not really that unusual a thing as far as the immune system is concerned, and that's what makes the argument implausible -- if vaccines could routinely trigger autism, autism should be much more commonplace than it is -- and also pretty much unavoidable, since it isn't realistically possible to avoid challenges to the immune system. Heck, even when we do avoid challenges (via cleanliness, isolation, etc) our immune systems manage to find challenges -- at least, if the hygiene hypothesis is correct. (I don't think it's been adequately proven, but I find it compelling, and it appears to be at least predictive in some specific cases, such as the relationship between GI rates and parasitic load in epidemiological studies.)

Andrew Wakefield is a a well credentialed medical professional with memberships to both the Royal College of Surgeons 1985 and the Royal College of Pathologists 2001. Both indicate a solid professional standard in Gastroenterology, Wakefields specialist field and Histopathology.

Actually, they don't indicate that. They indicate membership in a professional organization. Wakefield's credentials have been somewhat inflated, especially in the US where the details of the British medical system aren't as well understood. For instance, Wakefield was not actually authorized to perform procedures; elsewhere you refer to the gentleman who performed the colonoscopies as a "junior" doctor, but that's untrue. He wasn't a subordinate of Wakefield, nor a novice in the field. He did, however, have the right authorization to perform procedures at the Royal Free. (Short version: there's more bureaucracy in British medicine.)

I don't see any reason to rehash whether I think any of the other people involved with the research project and the paper were "well-credentialed" -- they all were. Including Wakefield himself, there was no real reason to reject the paper on the basis of inadequate expertise. As I said before, these are all people who really should have known better. But this is certainly not the first time, nor the last time, bad science has been published by respected scientists and physicians -- in general, while lack of expertise can draw conclusions into question, the converse isn't very predictive.

To illustrate that point, if Wakefield's credentials are enough reason for you to believe him, why aren't Orac's? (There is a very good reason, of course; it's because credentials aren't everything. Claims should really stand on their own. If your best counterargument is a lengthy recitation of qualifications, then the claim isn't doing very well.)

No ? Hard to come to that conclusion of a team of UK's finest gastroenterologists thought it was well worth investigating and coming up with very positive results...

Your innocence is charming. ;-) I am cynical enough to remember that just because they seem so nice and earnest doesn't mean they're right. There are a lot of dead ends pursued in science. It is not at all unusual. And because of pride, it can be difficult for those involved to admit it was a dead end. But just because they are still optimistic their research will go somewhere doesn't mean we should believe it before they're done. Like the Loch Ness Monster; there are respectable scientists who study that. Doesn't mean we should think its existence is at all likely.

"this mucosal abnormality has been apparent in 47/50 children within the autistic spectrum, whether or not there is any perceived link with immunisation. Thus the lymphoid hyperplasia/ microscopic colitis changes were found in over 90% of the autistic children studied."

There has been some indications that autistic people (not just children; it bothers me that so much of the research focuses exclusively on children) have increased rates of autoimmune disorders, though I'm not sure whether it's been quantified adequately. I know it hasn't been demonstrated to be a causal connection, and what evidence I've seen has been quite preliminary. The spectrum of autoimmune disorders is so broad (and not all that uncommon) that it's a complicated question to study. You really need very large sample sizes to get above the noise. (And no, 50 is still not a sufficient sample size. That's what makes studies like this expensive.) But it is an intriguing connection. If it pans out, it could possibly lead to actionable data -- how to prevent autism, how to treat it, what other disorders to watch for in autistic patients. But it's not clear whether it really is more common in autistics, much less why. Still, if it is true, it could well explain findings such as that. Could vaccinations be involved? I don't think it's very likely; the timing is all wrong, especially with increasing evidence that autism tends to be present from birth, but not immediately apparent until they are older and have missed some crucial developmental milestones. (You can't, for instance, tell that a two-month-old can't read properly.) And if autism were triggered by an immune response, then vaccines would honestly be the least of our worries -- babies get more immune challenges just being born.

"...we have noted important behavioural responses in several of the children when their intestinal pathology is treated. Plain radiography confirms severe constipation with acquired megarectum in almost all affected children, despite many receiving treatment for constipation."

I am aware that autistic children can have bowel disorders, and that some of them have very difficult bowel disorders which are very important to treat. This doesn't mean there is something unusual going on with respect to vaccines. Remember, this sort of thing can happen to "neurotypical" children as well, but if you're only looking for it in autistics, you might be excused for thinking you've found something unusual. Of course, it still has nothing to do with measles vaccine. Even if autistics have more bowel disorders than the general population, it doesn't mean the bowel disorders cause autism (in fact, there has been some suggestion it may be the other way around in some cases, since autism can cause problematic dietary and toileting behaviors which of course affect the bowel). And it certainly doesn't mean that the bowel disorders are caused by the attenuated measles virus present in the MMR vaccine.

It goes to the character of the research and the excellent character of the accussed.

Again, character can be useful in deciding whether or not to reject a paper immediately, or at least not spend the time reading it. It can't tell you whether or not it is correct. Most scandals involve someone of very high repute (mostly because they would have been caught earlier otherwise). Martin Fleischmann and Stanley Pons were considered experts in their fields when they announced that they had detected anomalous heating that could only be explained by nuclear fusion occurring at relatively cold temperatures. What exactly happened is still unclear (though the original researchers subsequently discovered and acknowledged a measurement error that made the effect appear much larger), but efforts to replicate the experiment have been largely negative, and occasionally ambiguous.

Being highly respected and credentialed doesn't make a person infallible, nor does it give one's claims a free pass. The claims ultimately have to stand on their own. I'm actually a little surprised that you appear to give so much more weight to the credentials of Wakefield et al that to the actual material and subsequent findings. I didn't peg you for the sort of person who would do that.

By Calli Arcale (not verified) on 14 Sep 2011 #permalink

Andrew Wakefield is a a well credentialed medical professional with memberships to both the Royal College of Surgeons 1985 and the Royal College of Pathologists 2001. Both indicate a solid professional standard in Gastroenterology, Wakefields specialist field and Histopathology.

Just for the sake of accuracy, Wakefield was not formally trained as a pathologist, was not a professional pathologist and was a surgeon, not a pathologist. His membership of the RCP is (or was - I'm not sure if it is current) an honorary one. In any case, I have known plenty of members of the RCP who have no clue about histopathology, specializing in other areas of pathology, such as biochemistry, hematology or microbiology.

There's an interesting letter here regarding Wakefield, Walker Smith and autistic enterocolitis.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 14 Sep 2011 #permalink

Lawrence:

And BH troll is a waste of time - he shifts goalposts & avoids questions even more so than boring troll.

Exactly. He has already been caught lying. My feeling is that there is no way to discuss anything with a liar, and this one is particularly slimy.

Personally, all I am interested in are the answers to the questions that I posted ten days ago. He has refused to even attempt to answer them. So he will be ignored until he does.

As a histopathologist, I am very skeptical of these diagnoses of "lymphoid hyperplasia" and "microscopic colitis" made on children.

Unless a pathologist is based in a paediatric centre, I doubt that they would have adequate experience with GI biopsies in children to evaluate these specimens properly. GI biopsies are rarely performed on children and, at least in my region, would normally be referred to the pathology department of the regional children's hospital. Were the pathologists involved in this study associated with a paediatric pathology department?

The biopsy appearance of the intestinal tract in children is different from that of adults. There is a lot more active lymphoid tissue, and lymphoid follicles are frequent. "Lymphoid hyperplasia" would be a subjective diagnosis, meaning more and larger lymphoid follicles than normal. There's a lot of room for error and bias in this assessment.

"Microscopic colitis" is a fairly frequent diagnosis in adults, and there are specific abnormalities that can be assessed. There is, however, an overlap with normal, and misinterpretation is possible. These features also can be a result of artifacts like bowel preps. Interestingly, in adults, microscopic colitis is associated with chronic diarrhea, and often is associated with celiac disease. I understand that the GI symptoms in the children studied included constipation, not a characteristic of true microscopic colitis.

A while back, a "certain friend" of mine commented here on a presentation made by Wakefield about the histopathology from his studies. He stated that the "findings" were a hodge-podge of non-specific abnormalities and normal histology. Nothing I've encountered since has changed my mind on this.
(I'll get the reference later today when I have more time)

Laawrence @350

If the measles vaccine was the cause of these issues & thus also to autism, why wouldn't regular measles cause this same problem (because the immune response is the same)? And why wouldn't regular measles be a cause for autism, if it was truly an issue?

Because measles is natural and vaccines are made by Big Pharma. Natural is always is always safer which is why people lived so much longer and healthier lives during the middle ages and the only cases of autism then were due to fairy abduction replacements.

By Militant Agnostic (not verified) on 14 Sep 2011 #permalink

"I thought there were broader issues at hand such as research fraud and monetary fraud ?"

Yes, but the GMC hearing expressly covered FTP issues, as is thier power.

"I haven't been able to understand why as a skeptik that you and others are so reluctant to have this matter heard in a UK court of law with all the checks and balances that this entails."

Don't believe I've ever said or implied something like this. I would love to see Wakefield appear in court, but I'm also aware that there are multiple streams of strategic reasons why it benefits him not to risk anything.

You've even demonstrated exactly the sort of thinking that he'd be relying on. If JWS 'wins', Wakefield can easily claim it 'obviously' vindicates them all, and just leave it at that. If JWS 'loses', Wakefield can simply extend his current publically stated conspiracy theories to include agents acting to influence the court.

"I'm not privy to Andrew Wakefield's legal advise or opinion on this matter. But if John Walker-Smith's 'conviction' is overturned then there could be no logical way that the 'conviction' against Simon Murch or Andrew Wakefield would stand."

That would depend on why (if) the appeal stands.

"'d) that the appeal will be based on the GMC decision being proceedurally or evidentially unfair and therefore invalid on the grounds of being unfair and/or unjust.'

I have seen some indications that this may be so."

If the JWS appeal is granted based on the grounds that the strength of the evidence against Wakefield unfairly influenced the case against JWS, this would weaken, not strengthen, Wakefields own appeal.

If the appeal is granted on the grounds that the GMC did not give enough weight to evidence that exonerates JWS (of any or all charges), this does not mean that the self-same evidence exonerates Wakefield (of any charge nevermind all).

"'I notice that, of course, you didn't actually make any form of statement as to whether or not you think Wakefield would/would not risk perjury to protect himself.'"

I must admit that there is a puzzling enigma that the there have been no criminal investigation as to these matters ? Strange, seeming as the skeptik evidence is apparently so strong."

Bear in mind, the skeptic evidence is in regards professional misconduct and research fraud, so nothing strange at all there. Neither is a crime, but they are grounds for delicensing. The only possible crime here is monetary fraud.

Banging on about the crime element (a very small element of the Wakefield situtation overall) is merely distracting from the professional element.

"Any thoughts on this Dedj ?"

Yes, my thought are that you should start answering the questions put to you and stop going off on rather fragmented tangents.

You've been given enough chances to do so. Time for you to do so. After all, you wouldn't want to be 'impolite' for not answering questions would you?

Blackheart's argument from authority at 345: "Let us not forget other members of the team at the Royal Free all engaged in the work undertaken particularly the Lancet paper. All well credentialed and eminent research professionals."

And let us not forget that 10 of Wakefield's 12 well-credentialed and eminent co-authors were sufficiently appalled at how he had duped them that they formally retracted their support for his interpretation of the paper's findings. They didn't know the half of it then; their retraction was way back in 2004, long before his fiddling with the data had come to light.

DT35:

And let us not forget that 10 of Wakefield's 12 well-credentialed and eminent co-authors were sufficiently appalled at how he had duped them that they formally retracted their support for his interpretation of the paper's findings.

And don't forget the one PhD student who refused to have his name put on the paper and later testified in the USA Autism Omnibus trial. He showed that Wakefield lied.

@ Blackheart:
Then perhaps you should read this ...
[followed by excerpts from papers, and citations]

Sometimes a commenter at Respectful Insolence will make extravagant claims about disease etiology without providing any evidence; the result is a barrage of criticism and demands for citations.

You are doing the opposite... you are providing evidence, without stating the claims it is meant to support.
I am loath to hunt around within your comments, looking for an implicit statement. This may be because of my rigid mind-set but I prefer to ascribe it to my laziness.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 14 Sep 2011 #permalink

The statement at 346 that "if John Walker-Smith's 'conviction' is overturned then there could be no logical way that the 'conviction' against Simon Murch or Andrew Wakefield would stand" demonstrates Blackheart's apparent lack of experience with both logic and law. The charges against Walker-Smith and Wakefield had some overlap, but were far from identical, and this is even more true of the evidence upon which the charges were found proved. Specify for us, if you can, the "indications" you have seen showing the GMC decision to be unfair and unjust, other than the fact that you disapproved of the outcome.

Chris @362: Oh, yes, poor Nick Chadwicke! I've often wondered if it hampered his career to have refused to go along with the PCR scam. He looked like a hero at the Omnibus hearings, but that was 10 years down the line; I don't remember reading what he was doing in the meantime.

I, for one, would be enthusiastically in favor of bringing the issues leading to Wakefield's de-licensing before a court of competent jurisdiction for a full public airing. Still more, though I wish no ill to Mr. Deer, I would enjoy seeing the threatened libel suit actually prosecuted. Either would, I expect, produce a very edifying demonstration of the Streisand effect. Sadly, I suspect the sharp lesson of Wakefield's last venture into libel litigation will discourage a repeat of that particular idiocy.

Oh, and Blackheart, when you speak of Murch's 'conviction' at comment # 346, what was he convicted of? I understood he was found to have acted in good faith, to have committed no serious professional misconduct, and was permitted to return to his practice without sanctions or restrictions. But since, as you have told us, you are better-informed about the Wakefield Affair than anyone posting here, no doubt you can direct me to the section of the GMC transcript that details Murch's 'conviction' and the basis for it. Ta!

DT35:

Sadly, I suspect the sharp lesson of Wakefield's last venture into libel litigation will discourage a repeat of that particular idiocy.

A dramatization of the Wakefield MMR debacle has been made. It includes very dramatic running of lawyers stopping the libel suit to prevent Deer from reading the medical reports. You can see it here.

Wakefield has lost his license due to fraudulent research. It was also determined by the GMC that he medically abused developmentally disabled child by performing invasive tests on them.

Brian Deer calls him a charlatan and I would add that Wakefield is a public health menace.

I've posted before on this blog that I would contribute to any fund for Wakefield to appeal the GMC ruling. All the anti-vax websites certainly would make an appeal to their constituents for funds to send Wakefield back to the U.K. to appeal the GMC ruling...yet he steadfastly refuses to start the appeal process...I wonder why?

Thanks Chris for the excellent video.

@lilady:

All the anti-vax websites certainly would make an appeal to their constituents for funds to send Wakefield back to the U.K. to appeal the GMC ruling...yet he steadfastly refuses to start the appeal process...I wonder why?

It's obviously because The Time Is Not Yet Right. When the time is right he'll file and win his appeal, and all us pro-vaxxers will have egg on our faces.

By Matthew Cline (not verified) on 14 Sep 2011 #permalink

Calli

"They were supposedly selected specifically because they had both autism and bowel problems. Of course they would all have both autism and bowel inflammation."

This seems to be at odds with your previous statement can you clarify your position ?

"but there was no evidence that most of the children had any signs of GI problems before the trial, although they wound up with GI diagnoses when they presented at the hospital for their colonoscopies. They had to; if they had no symptoms of GI distress, the hospital would never have permitted the colonoscopies."

The evidence shows clearly they had

'mucosal abnormalities' (inflammation of the mucosal tissues) ,

lymphoid hyperplasia ( is the rapid growth proliferation of normal cells that resemble lymph tissue)

microscopic colitis - Microscopic colitis refers to two medical conditions which cause diarrhea: collagenous colitis and lymphocytic colitis.

Plus we have probably 50 independent General Practitioner GP referrals to a Gastroenterology unit and specialists.

I would imagine that your previous position is now ... untenable.

Congratulations though, you made reasonable attempt I was certainly amused when you started questioning the credentials of researchers in this field ... perhaps you didn't think out the consequences to this line of argument ?

post script - To illustrate that point, if Wakefield's credentials are enough reason for you to believe him, why aren't Orac's?

Of course I do. I would imagine that Orac's training, and experience would make him a very competent commentator on the medical field he specialises in.

Add to that any substantial evidence and reasoned debate and I'll be happy to acknowldege the 'correctness' of his position.

That's the difference between myself and a fixed mindset.

By blackheart (not verified) on 14 Sep 2011 #permalink

Chris

"Personally, all I am interested in are the answers to the questions that I posted ten days ago. He has refused to even attempt to answer them. So he will be ignored until he does."

I think post 177 adequately covered this topic. Posted in an amazing coincidence September 5, 2011 3:26 AM 10 days ago.

I try to get back to everyone as quickly as possible...they were actually good questions.You should take the answers on board.

By blackheart (not verified) on 14 Sep 2011 #permalink

@ Matthew Cline:

"It's obviously because The Time Is Not Yet Right. When the time is right he'll file and win his appeal, and all us pro-vaxxers will have egg on our faces."

I wonder what Wakefield's time frame is? I hope it is sometime in the relatively near future. After he "prevails" and his license is restored, we can arrange a press conference and publicly apologize...before the public flogging. Let me see, there is a long list of people who will owe Wakefield that public apology...Orac, me, you, Chris. Dedj, Brian Deer and....the list is endless.

Dedj

"Yes, but the GMC hearing expressly covered FTP issues, as is thier power."

Thanks I always like the acknowledgement that I was indeed correct ...again.

"If JWS 'wins', Wakefield can easily claim it 'obviously' vindicates them all ..."

It will be an interesting moment in time. But the rigid thinking of skeptik commentators will continue to forward a 'conspiracy theory' surrounding the "Medical Establishment".

By blackheart (not verified) on 14 Sep 2011 #permalink

TBruce

"Unless a pathologist is based in a paediatric centre ..."

You might have missed this ... from the General Medical Transcripts.

Professor Allan Walker

"John is one of the most revered paediatric gastroenterologists in the world.

Finally, and I believe you may already be aware of this because it was in the letters that you got, John has been given a distinguished achievement award by the European Society for Paediatric Gastroenterologist and Nutrition and, to my knowledge, this is the first time that it has ever been given, a lifetime achievement award, to a paediatric gastroenterologist.

I think that underscores the view of John WalkerâSmith as a paediatric gastroenterologist on a worldâwide basis.' "

By blackheart (not verified) on 14 Sep 2011 #permalink

Blackheart:

In regards to your well thought out and elucidated questions ....

meh.

So you admit that you have no proof that manipulation occurred in the original GMC Hearing, or that Dr. Brent Taylor is not impartial. In short, you have f-all evidence, while Wakefield's critics have hard evidence that he is a thoroughly dishonest and unscrupulous individual.

Krebiozen

Your commentary may make sense if Wakefield was a lone voice in this matter but he was one of two senior co-authors.

Personally I think you should just logically agree to the clear position that this was no ordinary team of researchers or professionals. Well credentialed very experienced and recognised.

I'm also puzzled how you can actively attack the credentials of a whole team of researchers , but counter with one person with similar qualification...

Fuzzy cognition...

By blackheart (not verified) on 14 Sep 2011 #permalink

Dedj

"Yes, my thought are that you should start answering the questions put to you and stop going off on rather fragmented tangents.

You've been given enough chances to do so. Time for you to do so. After all, you wouldn't want to be 'impolite' for not answering questions would you?"

I checked posts 359 and 360 for questions posed. I could find non. Can you clarify this ?

All I can read is some convoluted arguments regarding appeals ... It's not rocket science Dedj.

Think senior co-authors.

By blackheart (not verified) on 14 Sep 2011 #permalink

Dedj

"The only possible crime here is monetary fraud."

You have my full attention ... outline your case and evidence.

By blackheart (not verified) on 14 Sep 2011 #permalink

Chris

"And don't forget the one PhD student"

I just can't remember his name ...

DT35

"Chris @362: Oh, yes, poor Nick Chadwicke!"

ummm... that's Nick Chadwick. without the "e" and the exclamation mark.

By blackheart (not verified) on 14 Sep 2011 #permalink

Julian Frost

meh m.e.h. meh.

By blackheart (not verified) on 15 Sep 2011 #permalink

herr doktor bimler

I'm sorry I made a mistake of assuming that you were aware of a number of the major theories concerning the immune system dysfunction and autism.

Obviously next time I'll allow some further uptake time. Understanding complex matters can be taxing thus inducing a certain intellectual lassitude.

By blackheart (not verified) on 15 Sep 2011 #permalink

blackheart:

I think post 177 adequately covered this topic. Posted in an amazing coincidence September 5, 2011 3:26 AM 10 days ago.

Sorry, I missed it. It must have been held up in moderation. In the future try just using the journal, title, date and author of the paper, or just the PubMed Identification. For example: PMID: 10227304, which is:
JAMA. 1999 Apr 28;281(16):1482-3.
From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Impact of vaccines universally recommended for children--United States, 1900-1998.

You did answer mostly, except misinterpretation of the IOM the news paper article about it does not count, and did not prove that the vaccines are more dangerous than the diseases. At least you knew that the first measles vaccine was introduced in 1963.

So with your posting the IOM report you agreed that vaccines are safe, including the MMR and DTaP vaccines.

Still does not excuse the lying and moving of goal posts. Or your undying love for Wakefield.

Of course, knowing how blackheart has been operation. He probably knew that comment 177 would be held up in moderation and would be missed if he posted enough of his badly formatted barely comprehensible posts.

blackhearT:

"They were supposedly selected specifically because they had both autism and bowel problems. Of course they would all have both autism and bowel inflammation."

This seems to be at odds with your previous statement can you clarify your position ?

Note the word "supposedly"; that's the key to understanding what I was getting at. In the original paper, and in submissions to the ethics board that approved the study, Wakefield indicated that the children were all referred for a combination of neurodevelopmental delay and bowel problems. When the paper was initially published, there was no reason to assume that Wakefield's actual data was falsified. Now, of course, evidence has come out that shows that at least some of the children lacked any abnormal GI symptoms whatsoever, and that the biopsies had not shown abnormal pathology after all.

BUT . . . even if we ignore that the diagnoses have since been called into question and the evidence seriously compromised, even if we assume Wakefield's initial data to be correct, there's still the problem that if you take a group of kids with GI disorders and autism, of course you'll find GI disorders and autism in all of them. It still doesn't show a correlation, let alone causation. That was one of my problems with the study right from the outset, before any of the scientific misconduct accusations were laid.

The evidence shows clearly they had [list of findings omitted for brevity]

The evidence presented by Wakefield et al in the original paper, yes. The pathologist who actually examined the specimens later came forward and indicated that that wasn't what he found, or what he submitted to Wakefield.

Congratulations though, you made reasonable attempt I was certainly amused when you started questioning the credentials of researchers in this field ... perhaps you didn't think out the consequences to this line of argument ?

I didn't question the credentials of researchers in the field; perhaps you have me confused with someone else? I agreed that they all had good credentials, including Wakefield. Credentials aren't everything, don't you agree? Surely the actual *claims* are important to consider.

By Calli Arcale (not verified) on 15 Sep 2011 #permalink

"Dedj

"The only possible crime here is monetary fraud."

You have my full attention ... outline your case and evidence."

I'm not making an accusation of monetary fraud. It would be interesting to see how Wakefield can provide evidence for where the money he supposedly gave to charity went (despite it not being in his remit to do so), but that's about it.

You've 'somehow' managed to pick up on a single sentence in the post and have 'somehow' managed to miss out on the point that the professional misconduct aspect of the case is not dependant on any actual or potential criminal misconduct aspect. Yet, you still bang on about it anyway. Suspiciously convenient.

"Thanks I always like the acknowledgement that I was indeed correct ...again."

You were correct that there are broader issues, but that is about it. That was not what the GMC hearing was about, and is not what we're talking about when we talk about the hearing. Remember, we were talking about the appeal, and therefore the GMC hearing, not any possible future criminal hearing were Wakefield will defend himself against criminal accusations.

I'm sure you must remember, you've been talking about it for the past few days. Odd then, that you should suddenly and conveniently decide to swerve away from the subject of actual real-worl professional misconduct onto purported accusations of criminal misconduct. It's almost as if you don't want to address the subject, as your lack of any sufficient arguement indicates.

Any appeal will be based on what was heard at the FTP hearings, which concerned professional misconduct. This did include the financial mismanagement, but that was not intrinsically fraud.

"I checked posts 359 and 360 for questions posed. I could find non. Can you clarify this ?"

Yes, there aren't any in those posts.

You will note that I did not claim there was. You will note that you cannot be unaware that you have been repeatedly asked specific questions by other posters regarding particular opinions that can be inferred (indeed, have to be inferred as you deliberetly withhold from making particular statements) that you hold from your statements.

How convenient that you selected only those two posts to look at. One might almost think you did it on purpose.

"John is one of the most revered paediatric gastroenterologists in the world.

Finally, and I believe you may already be aware of this because it was in the letters that you got, John has been given a distinguished achievement award by the European Society for Paediatric Gastroenterologist and Nutrition and, to my knowledge, this is the first time that it has ever been given, a lifetime achievement award, to a paediatric gastroenterologist.

I think that underscores the view of John WalkerâSmith as a paediatric gastroenterologist on a worldâwide basis.' "

You may not be aware that a gastroenterologist has no training or expertise in interpreting histopathology specimens.

If you are aware, then you should be ashamed of yourself.

Blackheart,

Your commentary may make sense if Wakefield was a lone voice in this matter but he was one of two senior co-authors.

What a very strange response. You claimed that Wakefield has a "solid professional standard" in Histopathology. I was simply pointing out that that is incorrect as he never, to my knowledge, took the MRCPath examinations. He is an honorary Fellow of the RCP.

Personally I think you should just logically agree to the clear position that this was no ordinary team of researchers or professionals. Well credentialed very experienced and recognised.

I agree that this team of researchers was well-credentialed etc. I have had professional dealings with the Royal Free, and I have also attended the hospital as a patient, so I am well aware of its reputation. This makes it all the more shameful that two members of this team of researchers deceived the others, and abused their positions to the extent that the GMC saw fit to strike them off the medical register.

I'm also puzzled how you can actively attack the credentials of a whole team of researchers , but counter with one person with similar qualification...

You do seem to be puzzled. How is pointing out that Wakefield never trained as a pathologist, or for that matter remarking that a letter is "interesting", attacking the credentials of a whole team of researchers?

Fuzzy cognition...

You seem to be suffering from a bad case.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 15 Sep 2011 #permalink

TBruce

Perhaps then you should nip down to the local medical library and take out

Practical pediatric gastroenterology
By John A. Walker-Smith, John Richard Hamilton, W. Allan Walker

By blackheart (not verified) on 15 Sep 2011 #permalink

"Perhaps then you should nip down to the local medical library and take out "

For what purpose?

Which section is relevant?

Why do you think it is relevant?

Which part of the contents do you think substantiates your point? Why and how?

Dedj

All you have to do to answer your reflective questions is pick up the book.

By blackheart (not verified) on 15 Sep 2011 #permalink

Krebiozen

"You claimed that Wakefield has a "solid professional standard" in Histopathology."

I did and you haven't show anything to refute this.

"I was simply pointing out that that is incorrect as he never, to my knowledge, took the MRCPath examinations."

Never to my knowledge ?

Did I comment "solid professional and academic qualification" ? Well no.

Was histopathological data part of the Lancet 12 paper or any other academic papers that Wakefield published or presented ? Yes

Did Wakefield collate histopathological data and publish this material in a peer reviewed journal of the highest standard ? Yes.

I say that this shows Wakefield reached a'professional standard".

By blackheart (not verified) on 15 Sep 2011 #permalink

Except for the fact that, you know, he made it all up.

Beamup

"Except for the fact that, you know, he made it all up."

Krebiozen made it all up ... I knew there was something fishy going on.

Thanks for the heads up.

By blackheart (not verified) on 16 Sep 2011 #permalink

Blackheart:

Did Wakefield collate histopathological data and publish this material in a peer reviewed journal of the highest standard ? Yes.

Umm, no. The data completely contradicted Wakefield's hypothesis, so he cooked it. Also, I'd like to remind you that The Lancet retracted Wakefield's paper after he was found to have committed a number of ethical breaches.
You seem to think that if a paper is published by a peer reviewed journal, that's the end of it. It isn't. Papers have been retracted, and not just for fraud, when new evidence emerges.

Julian

"The data completely contradicted Wakefield's hypothesis, so he cooked it."

Jumping the gun there ... let's go back and reflect on the questions I asked previously...

*********************************************************

"Certainly ... let's have a look at the allegations that Wakefield manipulated the research and that he had a very large profit motive to gain in doing so.

The first questions regards plausible ? (And applies to all members of the Royal Free team substantially)

Was Andrew Wakefield a recognised professional in the study of gastroenterology / histapathology ? Yes proven

Was John Walker-Smith (University Department of Paediatric Gastroenterology) ? Yes proven

Was Simon Murch (As above )? Yes

Was Mike Thomson (As above) ? Yes

Had he published and undertaken research work in this field previously and to what level ? Yes including most of if not all the team members were active researchers with a list of accomplishments.

Had Professor John Walker-Smith ? Most certainly Life Time Achievement Award comes to mind from Europe's premier peak body.

Did he work for a well respected medical institution ? Yes The Royal Free (Teaching Hospital)

Did any of the research presented previously follow quite plausible biological and research grounds ?

Certainly there was and is very strong evidence of the role of immune system dysfunction and Gastro symptoms in ASD children from at least 1984 and probably longer.

Were there any major controversies over previous research , other than the usual questioning, which is part of 'science' ? No. Nice clear track record of good honest endeavour and rigorous scientific research.

*******************************************************

I know there's been some commentary on this but really ... it hasn't been of much if any merit.

What else do we know ?

Were the patients referred through their General Practitioner / Paediatrician ? Yes

Is this the normal procedure for referral in the UK ? Yes

What were the children referred for ? Gastroenterology complaints.

How do we know this ? Parent testimony / GP referral to specifically a Gastroenterology team at Royal Free.

********************************************************

Nothing wrong here ...

By blackheart (not verified) on 16 Sep 2011 #permalink

"Dedj

All you have to do to answer your reflective questions is pick up the book. "

First of all, I need you to tell me why I should even bother to look the book up. Your mere opinion isn't sufficient.

Then you need to indicate the relevent section, and why you think it answers TBruces observations.

Get to it and stop wasting time.

Dedj:

First of all, I need you to tell me why I should even bother to look the book up. Your mere opinion isn't sufficient.

Indeed. It was published in 1996 as a textbook. What I believe is that Blackheart has not even looked at it, and is just pushing it because it was co-written by Walker-Smith. He probably found it by searching for "histopathology", a word he may never had heard of before Tbruce's comment.

Being the co-author of a text book did not make Dr. Walker-Smith immune to being erased from the medical register for performing unnecessary invasive procedures on children.

Blackheart, do you also support putting disabled children through invasive and risky procedures for no reason?

You've established by pointing out the IOM report that the risks of measles, mumps and rubella are far greater than the MMR vaccine. So you have absolutely no reason to support anyone who participated in the now retracted paper.

I hate the moderation here. I've had comments go in with one link, when it should be more than two links. Here it is without the links:

Indeed. It was published in 1996 as a textbook (link to Google books). What I believe is that Blackheart has not even looked at it, and is just pushing it because it was co-written by Walker-Smith. He probably found it by searching for "histopathology", a word he may never had heard of before Tbruce's comment.

Being the co-author of a text book did not make Dr. Walker-Smith immune to being erased from the medical register for performing unnecessary invasive procedures on children (link to GMC ruling on Walker-Smith).

Blackheart, do you also support putting disabled children through invasive and risky procedures for no reason?

You've established by pointing out the IOM report that the risks of measles, mumps and rubella are far greater than the MMR vaccine. So you have absolutely no reason to support anyone who participated in the now retracted paper.

Blackheart,
I think you are nitpicking. Nevertheless, I think you are wrong about the nits you pick.

"You claimed that Wakefield has a "solid professional standard" in Histopathology." I did and you haven't show anything to refute this.

A solid professional standard in Histopathology of the level required to examine histopathological material and make diagnoses (much less to identify a previously unknown inflammatory condition of the bowel) would require a person to take and pass the MRCPath examinations specializing in Histopathology, which requires 4 years of specialist training. Wakefield has not had that specialist training and has not taken those examinations.

"I was simply pointing out that that is incorrect as he never, to my knowledge, took the MRCPath examinations." Never to my knowledge ?

Do you have evidence that he did? At the time I wrote that I wasn't entirely certain that Wakefield had not taken the MRCPath exams. Now I am certain he did not.

Did I comment "solid professional and academic qualification" ? Well no.

There is no form of "solid professional standard" in any area of medical specialities in the UK that doesn't involve academic qualifications. I can say this with some confidence as I spent 23 years working in Pathology in the UK with many people with MRCPath qualifications and with those studying for them. Wakefield was given a fellowship on the basis of published research some 3 years after the Lancet paper was published, before it was known that it was fraudulent. Such a fellowship does not qualify a person for unsupervised practice and does not make them eligible for a Consultant post.

Was histopathological data part of the Lancet 12 paper or any other academic papers that Wakefield published or presented ? Yes

Papers which included trained and qualified Histopathologists amongst their authors. Do those Histopathologists now have a solid professional standard in Gastroenterology as a result of having co-authored a paper with a Gastroenterologist? Of course not.

Did Wakefield collate histopathological data and publish this material in a peer reviewed journal of the highest standard ? Yes.

Have all but one of his fellow authors distanced themselves from the study, and has the study been retracted from the peer-reviewed journal? Yes.

I say that this shows Wakefield reached a "professional standard".

You can say what you like, but he did not train as a Histopathologist or pass any examinations on the subject, and was not qualified to practice as a Histopathologist unsupervised. That's not what I would call a "solid professional standard".

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 16 Sep 2011 #permalink

@ Chris:

"So you have absolutely no reason to support anyone who participated in the now retracted paper."

I'm not convinced the Black Heart is a totally disinterested party. We know certain facts about Black Heart:

He definitely has not science background..."I work with science every day"...is utterly untrue.

He is not a lawyer...even I was able to deconstruct some of his legal opinions.

That would leave only one possibility IMO. He has a disabled child "damaged" by vaccine and he saw the "opportunity" to "score" big time if Wakefield's fraudulent research was accepted and if Wakefield prevailed at the GMC hearing.

So, I suspect that the answer to the question you posed to Black Heart about belief in putting disabled children through invasive and risky procedures for no reason, would be yes.

The only meeting of the minds we share with Black Heart is our desire to have Wakefield return to the U.K. to appeal the GMC decision.

You may not be aware that a gastroenterologist has no training or expertise in interpreting histopathology specimens.

Perhaps then you should nip down to the local medical library and take out

Practical pediatric gastroenterology
By John A. Walker-Smith, John Richard Hamilton, W. Allan Walker

Perusing the book, the only mention of histopathology is in Chapter 20, written by a Dr. Kamath. How is this supposed to show that a gastroenterologist has training, let alone expertise, in interpreting histopathology specimens?

You seem to think that if a paper is published by a peer reviewed journal, that's the end of it. It isn't. Papers have been retracted, and not just for fraud, when new evidence emerges.

Even if a paper is published in a peer reviewed journal and isn't retracted, it doesn't mean that it must be correct. That's why scientific papers have p-values.

By Matthew Cline (not verified) on 16 Sep 2011 #permalink

390
TBruce

Perhaps then you should nip down to the local medical library and take out

Practical pediatric gastroenterology
By John A. Walker-Smith, John Richard Hamilton, W. Allan Walker

Nice snow job. There may be a job waiting for you at our local ski resort.

Krebiozen

It is disappointing to see such rigidity in thought and an unwillingness to critically examine ones arguments. This is the basis of Orac's fixed mindset post and my rebuttal to it.

You have refused such a simple element that Andrew Wakefield had as I put it reached a 'solid professional' level in histopathology. Even though the evidence I presented is thorough and clear.

The evidence for :

Membership Royal College of Pathology given in recognition of the high professional standards of Andrew Wakefield.

Senior Lecturer at Royal Free (Teaching Hospital).

Numerous professional research articles, papers, lecturers and other professional related tasks.

Supervision and mentoring of medical/research students.

Senior Author / co author in research with duties including the collation and interpretation of histopathological data and evidence.

Director Inflammatory Bowel Disease Study Group.

***********************************************

...and

Senior Lecturer in Medicine and Histopathology

Royal Free Hospital School of Medicine

Pond Street
London NW3 2QG

By blackheart (not verified) on 16 Sep 2011 #permalink

Chris

"Blackheart, do you also support putting disabled children through invasive and risky procedures for no reason?

Chris I think you need to raise the intellectual standard of your questions.

Do I think that children with a disability exhibiting serious and multiple debilitating conditions deserve the thorough examination of their conditions to enable a better quality of life for them and their parents / carers - Yes

Should that role be undertaken by UK medical authorities without prejudice or bias as laid out in their professional work standards ? Yes

Should the medical support and investigation of these children be maintained over time ? Yes

You've established by pointing out the IOM report that the risks of measles, mumps and rubella are far greater than the MMR vaccine.

Yes. I would be thoroughly discouraged that modern medicine would put forward a medicine that did more damage than good.

But do medicines ever cause or trigger disease ? Yes

Do medical authorities withdraw medicines because they have a risk to the general public ? Yes

Are all risks defined and calculated when it comes to the safety of medicines ? No

Do we know the varying interactions and complexities of the infant immune system and medicines that are given ? No

Does medicine safety investigation require robust, objective and reasoned debate and investigation ? Yes

Do we have the prerequisite data collection and additional evidence 'gathering' to obtain a clear and transparent picture of medicine safety? No

Am I satisfied that there is a thorough investigation, oversight, monitoring and release of material in medicine safety ? No

Quite frankly the science is not of sufficient quality and robustness to underscore the safety of medicine delivery to out most vulnerable population - our children.

By blackheart (not verified) on 16 Sep 2011 #permalink

I think we can all agree that you can only manipulate test results and commit other forms of misconduct if you are in a posistion to do so.

Pointing out that Wakefield was in the perfect posistion to manipulate results and get away with it (if it wasn't for those meddling kids) doesn't really do much for the arguement that he wouldn't ever do that (remember that GMC, HPC and NMWC FTP defendants are all qualified professionals by definition) and positively harms the arguement that he didn't or couldn't.

If people want to argue that Wakefield did not commit misconduct in regards to test results in spite of the evidence presented in front of the GMC, they would do a lot better than inadvertenly strengthen the arguement that he had opportunity and ability to do so.

blackheart:

Do I think that children with a disability exhibiting serious and multiple debilitating conditions deserve the thorough examination of their conditions to enable a better quality of life for them and their parents / carers - Yes

So you approved of the atrocities that went on at Willowbrook, because the vaccine tests were said to be to protect children in those institutions (they included deliberately infecting the children). Not only are you a liar (and I see you backtracking, you really did not realize what the IOM said), but that you have a cruel heartless soul that cares nothing for children.

Or you are really very stupid. You did not understand that the invasive tests were medically unnecessary. This means the children were put through painful dangerous procedures for no reason. Perhaps you should work on your English comprehension.

Blackheart, you are in absolutely no position to comment on the intellectual standard of anyone here. Especially with this idiocy: "Are all risks defined and calculated when it comes to the safety of medicines ? No"

Why are you complaining Chris? You should be grateful these disabled children were found useful in vaccine trials, yeah next to monkeys. I meant no offense but that is what Salk did in 1953.

Then who gave Salk the approval to experiment on disabled children? I smell fish.

Would Chris, Venna et al sacrifice their children to the experiment for the greater glory of good?

No child should be sacrificed for medical research, idiot1idiot2 and idiotheart.

What stupid people. They haven't even read the history of vaccines. Whatever it is, that is one of the reasons (especially the hepatitis trials) that created rules for experimentation on humans, especially children.

Those are the rules that were broken by both Wakefield and Smith-Walker, and the stated reasons to remove them from the medical registry. It is clearly stated in the Smith-Walker GMC ruling link in my approved comment #399. Try working on your reading comprehension with it.

No child should be sacrificed for medical research,[...]
They haven't even read the history of vaccines. Whatever it is, that is one of the reasons (especially the hepatitis trials) that created rules for experimentation on humans, especially children.

Maybe you're the one who needs to learn Chris. You started off with hepatitis trial and I can go back as far as 1935-1936 when children were used as guinea pigs!

You should be proud Chris and stop whining.

Big freaking deal, idiot1idiot2. Try reading for comprehension:

Because of those unethical trials that actually went back for centuries (like the royal who fed two prisoners different things and then had them executed and dissected), the rules were changed.

Both Wakefield and Smith-Walker ignored the rules and experimented on children without permission.

They were caught.

They were finally removed from the medical register.

I have a kid who had seizures from a real disease and is permanently disabled. Your stupidity, lies and heartlessness knows no bounds. Are you and idiotheart a couple?

Nasty Thingy Troll again bestows its brain droppings on us. This odious troll has an "imaginary" education in the medical sciences, an "imaginary" career in the health care field with a particular "imaginary specialty knowledge" of immunology, vaccines and the epidemiology of vaccine-preventable diseases.

Delusional hate-filled disease-promoting troll needs "terminal disinfecting".

Chris,

All I am saying is that you should be proud of your disabled child because they were among the founding pillars of vaccine experimentation.

Thingy still has not explained the link between her brilliant (imaginary) career in the hospital/brilliant (imaginary) career in medical epidemiology/suspect measles containment and "terminal disinfection"...We are all waiting for that brain dropping.

@ Black Heartless:

The GMC whose members are REAL doctors have ruled that tests ordered/performed (lumbar punctures and gastroscopy), by your hero Wakefield on the disabled children constitute medical malpractice. The GMC also ruled that Wakefield falsified the test results.

Now, we all know you "work with science every day", so what would, in your "experience", justify these invasive tests?

Heartless bastard, Chris and I have children who underwent these painful invasive procedures for REAL medical reasons.

Thingy why aren't you answering the question that I posed to you one hour ago...about your hospital/epidemiology experience and your advice about containment of a possible measles case...using "terminal disinfection"?

Thingy: It's been more than two hours since I posed the question and asked for your explanation:

"Thingy still has not explained the link between her brilliant (imaginary) career in the hospital/brilliant (imaginary) career in medical epidemiology/suspect measles containment and "terminal disinfection"...We are all waiting for that brain dropping".

Actually Thingy, you had answered the question about your brilliant (imaginary) career in health care/epidemiology and disease containment, when you were questioned about how to contain a possible exposure in a hospital emergency room. Here is your method of "containment" and my reply to your method of "containment":

"No, I don't use any timer because I don't need to. We only use that in the hospital for terminal disinfection of the room previously occupied by a known infectious patient." (Thingy at #182 above)

That statement infers that Thingy actually works in a hospital...what a joke. Terminal disinfection of a hospital room takes place after the patient is discharged from the hospital and before another patient is assigned to the hospital room. There are completely different isolation protocols put in place when a suspect case of measles may have contaminated a hospital, clinic or doctor's waiting room or examination room and it involves "a timer" that Thingy never uses.

Thingy is not qualified to work within the health care setting in even the most menial categories; uneducated and unlicensed. The closest Thingy ever gets to the health care professions is possibly his/her/its collection of scrubs that he/she/it wears in a variety of colors.

Thingy doesn't even qualify as a troll...dumbest category.

Posted by: lilady | July 15, 2011 1:37 PM

(RI blog "Joe Mercola plays the religion card against vaccine", July 11, 2001)

Perhaps Thingy would like to clarify what his/her/its (non-imaginary) qualifications are by answering a few questions:

1. What university-conferred degree does Thingy possess?

2. What licensing/credentialing in the health care field does Thingy possess?

Nasty delusional disease-promoting troll needs "terminal disinfection".

P.S. Thingy:

University degree does not include a degree from Hamburger U.

License does not include the license you have for your dog.

Blackheart,

You continue to miss my point. Wakefield is not and never has been a histopathologist. He never trained as a histopathologist and never took much less passed the Royal College of Pathology exams. Nothing you have written suggests that he did. He was not qualified to work unsupervised as a histopathologist, and if he was doing so he was stepping outside his professional remit. When and where do you think he got this "solid professional standing" that it takes real histopathologists four years of hard work to acquire? Did he get it by osmosis?

Imagine a histopathologist with no training in surgery, and who has passed no exams in surgery. He has co-authored some papers with surgeons, and has been given an essentially honorary membership of a professional body of surgeons on their basis. Would you be happy for him to perform surgery on you?

It does seem strange that Wakefield was awarded a Fellowship of the RCP on the basis of his published work at a time when red flags were being raised about his credibility, and I am surprised his Fellowship has not been withdrawn (or perhaps it has - I have just written to the RCP askng about this).

In the hospitals I have worked in someone with no training or qualifications in a medical specialty would not be considered to have a solid professional standing in that speciality. That's not rigidity of thought, that's the reality of how medical training and qualifications work in the UK medical system.

By the way Wakefield was not a "Senior Lecturer in Medicine and Histopathology", it seems he signed letters with this title, but according to the GMC he was a "Senior Lecturer in the Departments of Medicine and Histopathology" which is not quite the same thing. The first implies that he lectured on the subject of histopathology, the second does not.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 17 Sep 2011 #permalink

So you're not arguing about terminal disinfection, are you? Good. At least that's a lot better than your idiotic idea to just close the door. Wherever did you learn that?

About my "career" in the healthcare field, I'd say it's none of your business.

Thingy: You were busted repeatedly about your knowledge of an exposure to a measles case. Dumb Troll, you don't even know the difference between Universal Precautions (terminal disinefection) and the specific steps that infection control practitioners take to contain an exposure to measles and to prevent transmission of the disease in a hospital setting.

You have no education in the sciences, no professional licenses and no career in health care...your education, licensing and health care career exist only in your imagination.

I smell dying nasty delusional disease-promoting troll here, overdue for "terminal disinfection".

Krebiozen:

By the way Wakefield was not a "Senior Lecturer in Medicine and Histopathology", it seems he signed letters with this title, but according to the GMC he was a "Senior Lecturer in the Departments of Medicine and Histopathology" which is not quite the same thing. The first implies that he lectured on the subject of histopathology, the second does not.

As an illustration on how far Wakefield has descended, today this was put out on Infowars (I saw it by chance as they left a trackback at LeftBrainRightBrain), I am only going to cut and paste the verbiage due to recent moderation:

Exclusive: Forced Injection of Children Without Parents Consent â Dr. Andrew Wakefield

TheAlexJonesChannel
September 17, 2011

Guest host Mike Adams talks in-studio with Dr. Andrew Wakefield about the dangers of the Gardasil vaccine. In 1998, Wakefield and other scientists connected bowel disease, autism, and the MMR vaccine. Also in the interview is shocking audio from Merck scientists admitting that cancer viruses are added to the vaccines and laughing about it.

@ Chris:

I viewed the entire video between Adams and Wakefield and it is the same old story. Now the carney barker is pushing his junk science about the HPV vaccine.

Wakefield should go back to the U.K. and appeal the GMC ruling and he is a public health menace.

lilady, you have a stronger stomach than I do. I have no intention of watching Wakefield's smarmy excuses.

I noticed Thingy does not understand my son is most likely disabled due to a real disease. She really is an idiot.

Chris

Some interesting insights into medical ethics , if a little crudely put. #409

Life isn't as black and white as 'science rationalism' would have it.

By Blackheart (not verified) on 17 Sep 2011 #permalink

@ Chris:

Of course the Thingy Troll knows you and other posters have disabled children...she is a cold uncaring troll. We would do well to just ignore this troll and the other resident troll...they "channel" each other.

"You continue to miss my point."

No I'm quite well aware of your 'point' layered as it is.

"He never trained as a histopathologist..."

Which has little to do with my arguments as Wakefield did not conduct the histopathology nor did he have to.

"Imagine a ..."

Yes, imagine ordinary MD's and lay people making decisions on complex theories regarding gastroenterology and histopathology amongst other issues without academic or professional experience. (Extraordinary)

Yes, imagine someone making accusations against 13 professional researchers without any apparently any academic or scientific qualifications to do so. (Extraordinary)

"It does seem strange that Wakefield was awarded a Fellowship of the RCP..."

Perhaps it is because Andrew Wakefield is an excellent researcher and lecturer in his field and all that pertains to. He was also a honorary consultant in experimental gastroenterology.

"In the hospitals I have worked..."

Quite a brilliant young man rather than your 'run of the mill' pathologist.

"That's not rigidity of thought."

Yes it is .... the whole world does not revolve around your experiences and perceptions.

"By the way Wakefield was not a "Senior Lecturer in Medicine and Histopathology", it seems he signed letters with this title..."

No he didn't. Official Royal Free Hospital letterhead.

"The first implies that he lectured on the subject of histopathology, the second does not."

No ...it doesn't.

But thanks for your input.

Time to move forward unless one is perceived to be of a 'rigid mindset' ...

By blackheart (not verified) on 17 Sep 2011 #permalink

It has been bought to my attention that certain commentators are concerned at the clinical investigations on severley disabled children undertaken by a team of eminent doctors at the Royal Free. Perhaps it is time to clarify this issue.

I find it useful to refer to original documents, known as primary source material, rather than opinion from questionable alternative sources.

Professor John Walker-Smith undertook the following role

"We took histories, including details of immunisations and exposure to infectious diseases, and assessed the children. In 11 cases the history was obtained by the senior clinician (JW-S)."

The children

"12 children, consecutively referred to the department of paediatric gastroenterology with a history of a pervasive developmental disorder with loss of acquired skills and intestinal symptoms (diarrhoea, abdominal pain, bloating and food intolerance), were investigated. All children were admitted to the ward for 1 week, accompanied by their parents."

What could a clinical investigation involve that sort clear identification of the cause of the children's obvious pain and suffering entail.

In European countries inclusive of Sweden, Denmark and Norway that would be evidenced by one of Scandanavia's most well known autism experts -

"This paper reviews some of the very considerable evidence that exists which implies the need for specific medical/psychological work-up in autism. Detailed clinical guidelines for work-up are provided on the basis of this review. It is concluded that all young children with autism need a comprehensive medical/laboratory examination."

"Relevant laboratory analyses in all medium/low-functioning and certain high-functioning cases with autism and autistic like conditions.â

We see amongst the investigations a chromosomal test, an MRI scan and then we see CSF protein, EEG and various other tests. By CSF protein we get a little footnote:

âLumbar puncture for CSF analysis is a safe and relatively non-traumatic procedure. In the Scandinavian countries, it is always considered in the work-up of young children with severe developmental disorders. If there is a nearby laboratory doing CSF amino acids (phenylalanine in particular), CSF monoamines and CSF endorphins, these tests should be considered since the child has to have a lumbar puncture anyway (to exclude progressive encephalitis/encephalopathy).â

General Medical Council Transcripts

I'd like to congratulate John Walker-Smith on his professional and thorough clinical examination of these children and in starting to advance a clear treatment regime that was evidenced to give very positive results to these children. (#345).

I await the positive commentary to follow...

By blackheart (not verified) on 18 Sep 2011 #permalink

Blackheart,
Do you actually know what a histopathologist is? Have ever met a histopathologist? Have you even set foot in a histopathology laboratory, or any other UK pathology laboratory for that matter? It is clear to me that you really don't have the first idea of what you are writing about in terms of someone having a "solid professional standing" in histopathology.

Wakefield did not conduct the histopathology nor did he have to

Really? The whole autistic enterocolitis issue is quite interesting. Originally the Royal Free histopathologists reported that all but one of these children's biopsy samples showed no significant inflammation, and in that one child the inflammation had gone when a second ileocolonoscopy was performed two months later. When a second look was taken at the same samples, this time grading them on a sliding scale, Wakefield was listed as one of the four clinical and experimental pathologists taking that second look. Someone (it is not clear who but it was probably Wakefield) then interpreted these scores to show that 11 out of the 12 children had "non-specific colitis" which then transmuted into "autistic enterocolitis". This change from normal to non-specific colitis to "autistic enterocolitis" was crucial, yet we don't know for sure who made this interpretation, and the biopsy samples have now apparently disappeared. Somewhat flimsy evidence to base the discovery of a new bowel condition on, you might think. It looks to me as if "autistic enterocolitis" was entirely invented by Wakefield.

This also puts Wakefield in a bit of a quandary, as he now insists this was a clinical case series, and not research at all, yet he was not qualified to make clinical assessments of histopathological material. If it was research, unethical investigations were performed, if it was a clinical case series, investigations that were not clinically indicated were carried out, and Wakefield shouldn't have been involved as he was only allowed to do research. It was partly this Catch 22 that resulted in him being struck off.

One more thing:

"By the way Wakefield was not a "Senior Lecturer in Medicine and Histopathology", it seems he signed letters with this title..." No he didn't. Official Royal Free Hospital letterhead.

That's actually funny. Anyone can get their secretary to type a bogus title on a piece of official headed paper, it proves nothing.

Time to move forward unless one is perceived to be of a 'rigid mindset' ...

Since clearly nothing will sway you form your rigid belief that Wakefield did no wrong, despite the mountains of evidence against him and the ruling of the GMC, I agree. Time to move on.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 18 Sep 2011 #permalink

I noticed Thingy does not understand my son is most likely disabled due to a real disease. She really is an idiot.

Vaccinators would love to work on disabled children. They have done that before. Wakefield or Salk doing that is nothing new. So be proud of your child. They always have a special place in vaccine experimentation. But hey, you're a partaker, aren't you?

I can't let this slip by:

Lumbar puncture for CSF analysis is a safe and relatively non-traumatic procedure.

Have you seen a lumbar puncture being performed on a child? I have, and non-traumatic is not the phrase that springs to my mind.

I'm amazed that the same people who think vaccinations are dangerous think that casual lumbar punctures are just fine.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 18 Sep 2011 #permalink

@ Black Heartless: I await the positive commentary to follow..."

Here are my comments and they are not positive....

The subject of this discussion is the GMC ruling regarding Andrew Wakefield...not John Walker Smith.

All your posturing as of late, have been on John Walker Smith and, prior to that you were posturing about Wakefield.

The questions posed to you by me and other posters dealt with the ruling of the GMC regarding Wakefield and LPs:

The findings of the GMC with regard to Wakefield and LPs for children numbers 3, 9 and 12 are that "he caused (them) to undergo in invasive lumbar punctures (and) repeatedly breached fundamental principles...his actions in this area done were sufficient to amount to serious medical misconduct"

Being that you are not a doctor although you have stated, "I work with science every day", I posed the question why you would superimpose your "expertise" and "opinion" on the ruling of the doctors who sat on the GMC panel?

You in turn now bring up some of the evidence? from Walker-Smiths' hearing and research? from Scandivavia. Not that I want to add to your derailing of the subject of this thread, but the Walker-Smith GMC ruling stated that 7 children underwent colonoscopies and children numbers 3 and 9 underwent lumbar punctures which were not clinically indicated.

Back to the questions posed by me and other posters about
Wakefield; which you have not answered.

Have you ever assisted a physician performing a lumbar puncture...I have. Do you have a child who has undergone even one LP?...my child underwent multiple lumbar punctures to rule out bacterial meningitis and following episodes of status epilepticus and postictal Todd's paralysis. They are painful invasive procedures and the GMC's ruling in both cases were that Wakefield repeatedly breached fundamental principles and that Walker-Smith regarding 7 colonoscopies and 2 LPs were not clinically indicated.

You still have not answered our questions about the ethics of Wakefield performing/ordering painful invasive procedures.

Krebiozen

I see your 'scientific rationalism' and evidenced based arguments have deteriorated. Not surprising really.

Do you have anything else to raise ? Yes an article by a freelance journalist.

Strange cognition I thought we just finished talking about the credentials of some of the main players in this issue.

Perhaps you could outline this journalist's medical and scientific qualifications and their experience.

By blackheart (not verified) on 18 Sep 2011 #permalink

lilady

Here are my comments and they are not positive....

There's a surprise.

The subject of this discussion is the GMC ruling regarding Andrew Wakefield...not John Walker Smith.

No it's not. It is in fact anything pertaining to this issue... and in fact is very much a core issue.

The questions posed to you by me and other posters dealt with the ruling of the GMC regarding Wakefield and LPs

The evidence, Lancet 12 paper clearly shows John Walker-Smith in charge of clinical investigation was posted previously.Post 434

"We took histories, including details of immunisations and exposure to infectious diseases, and assessed the children. In 11 cases the history was obtained by the senior clinician (JW-S)."

I posed the question why you would superimpose your "expertise" and "opinion" on the ruling of the doctors who sat on the GMC panel?

It's not rocket science ... I and others disagree with the GMC decisions.

You in turn now bring up some of the evidence? from Walker-Smiths' hearing and research? from Scandivavia.

Yes ... evidence.

Back to the questions posed by me and other posters about Wakefield; which you have not answered....

These are not questions they are personal experiences.

Are you suggesting they are valid and evidence based ?

You still have not answered our questions about the ethics of Wakefield performing/ordering painful invasive procedures.

My first logical position - I have seen no evidence of Andrew Wakefield either performing or ordering said procedures.

By blackheart (not verified) on 18 Sep 2011 #permalink

Krebiozen

Have you seen a lumbar puncture being performed on a child? I have, and non-traumatic is not the phrase that springs to my mind.

I'm amazed that the same people who think vaccinations are dangerous think that casual lumbar punctures are just fine.

Perhaps then you'd be interested in this research ...

Risk of aseptic meningitis after measles, mumps,and rubella vaccine in UK children

Immunisation Division, PHLS Communicable Disease Surveillance Centre

Cases of aseptic meningitis associated with measles/mumps/rubella vaccine were sought in thirteen UK health districts following a reported cluster in Nottingham which suggested a risk of 1 in 4000 doses, substantially higher than previous estimates based on cases reported by paediatricians (4 per million).

Cases were ascertained by obtaining vaccination records of children with aseptic meningitis diagnosed from cerebrospinal fluid samples submitted to Public Health Laboratories...

By blackheart (not verified) on 19 Sep 2011 #permalink

blackheart:

Cases of aseptic meningitis associated with measles/mumps/rubella vaccine were sought in thirteen UK health districts following a reported cluster in Nottingham which suggested a risk of 1 in 4000 doses, substantially higher than previous estimates based on cases reported by paediatricians (4 per million).

Giving a generic title, no date and not specifying which MMR vaccine is another kind of lie. It is a lie from omission.

You don't help yourself by using lies.

The UK changed the MMR vaccine from those that used the Urabe strain of mumps, to the one that uses the Jeryl Lynn mumps strain in 1992. This fact made Wakefield's case series of a dozen children even less relevant. They were not given the same MMR vaccine, and it was even more muddied by including an American child.

Most of us know that, why don't you?

@ Chris:

Here is the entire citation. You nailed it and your nailed Blackheartless:

Lance (1993)
Volume: 341, Issue: 8851, Pages: 979-82

* ISSN: 01406736
* PubMed: 8096942

Available from www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
or Find this paper at:

* openurl.ac.uk
* WorldCat®
* Google Scholar
* Edit library access links

Abstract

Cases of aseptic meningitis associated with measles/mumps/rubella vaccine were sought in thirteen UK health districts following a reported cluster in Nottingham which suggested a risk of 1 in 4000 doses, substantially higher than previous estimates based on cases reported by paediatricians (4 per million). Cases were ascertained by obtaining vaccination records of children with aseptic meningitis diagnosed from cerebrospinal fluid samples submitted to Public Health Laboratories or discharged from hospital with a diagnosis of viral meningitis. Both methods identified vaccination 15-35 days before onset as a significant risk factor and therefore indicative of a causal association. With both, half the aseptic meningitis cases identified in children aged 12-24 months were vaccine-associated with onset 15-35 days after vaccine. The study confirmed that the true risk was substantially higher than suggested by case reports from paediatricians, probably about 1 in 11,000 doses. However, the possibility that the aseptic meningitis induced by vaccination was largely asymptomatic and a chance laboratory finding in children investigated for other clinical conditions, particularly febrile convulsions, could not be excluded. Comparison of national reports of virus-positive mumps meningitis cases before and after the introduction of this vaccine indicated that the risk from wild mumps was about 4-fold higher than from vaccine. Altogether, 28 vaccine-associated cases were identified, all in recipients of vaccines containing the Urabe mumps strain. The absence of cases in recipients of vaccine containing the Jeryl Lynn strain, despite its 14% market share, suggested a higher risk from Urabe vaccine. A prospective adverse event surveillance system using the study methods is currently being established to assess the risk, if any, from the Jeryl Lynn strain which is now the only mumps vaccine used in the UK.

blackheart:
Cases were ascertained by obtaining vaccination records of children with aseptic meningitis diagnosed from cerebrospinal fluid samples submitted to Public Health Laboratories...

You are presenting this in response to a question why you support performing lumbar punctures on autistic children, but there is an important point you are missing in your response. The children who had spinal taps performed in the study you reference were not asymptomatic, and the taps were not performed for the purpose of the study. They had spinal meningitis, and the taps were performed to diagnose it.

I've had spinal meningitis. It is not very much fun. I don't remember the whole two weeks in the hospital; for the first week, I was only sort of present. I was hallucinating, and what memories I do have of the time do not square well with the memories of those who witnessed it, mostly because I had a temperature of 107. For instance, I remember trying to fight off the staff when they came to perform the spinal tap; in reality I was so weak I could barely move. And everyone was simultaneously pressed in tight around me and extremely distant -- my perception of space was seriously distorted. It was a strange experience. It also left me with a deep terror of city-lit clouds at night and tall smokestacks, because out my window at night, all I could see were clouds lit by the lights of St Paul and the chimney of the NSP power plant. I got over that terror eventually, but it persisted for years.

You do a spinal tap on any child presenting with meningitis because it is *vitally* important to know what kind of meningitis they have. It is their best chance of survival. By a cruel twist of fate, the specimen taken from me disappeared en route to the pathology lab. (There was a big influenza epidemic at the same time, so the ER was seriously overloaded.) They did a second tap. That was also lost. So they decided to treat me on the assumption that it was Haemophilus influenzae B; this was before the vaccine was developed, so HiB meningitis was not terribly uncommon. I was put into isolation and given intravenous antibiotics. Eventually, I improved; the course of the disease suggests that my case was viral, not bacterial, but it's impossible to know for sure without that sample. Had the sample not gotten lost, they would have known that neither isolation nor the antibiotics were necessary. But HiB is so nasty they had to assume the worst and treat accordingly, though without a specimen they'd have to guess on the best antibiotic.

That's why they did lumbar punctures on the children with meningitis in that study, blackheart. Not to find a link to the MMR vaccine but so they'd have a decent shot at saving their lives.

In Wakefield's work, however, the punctures were done for no reason at all other than science. And that is not acceptable. Children are not guinea pigs. Lumbar punctures carry substantial risks: infection of the central nervous system, severe headache that cannot be controlled by any pain relief, damage to the cord itself with the potential for paralysis. You don't do that lightly. Spinal block for surgery is a good reason; diagnosis of meningitis is a good reason; a fishing expedition for possible problems with the MMR vaccine is not.

By Calli Arcale (not verified) on 20 Sep 2011 #permalink

Thank you for clarifying, Calli Arcale. I just noticed the lack of identifying information on the cite.

a fishing expedition for possible problems with the MMR vaccine is not.

Again, to be clear the children in Wafefield's case series were given a variety of MMR vaccines. Some had the Urabe strain of mumps (which was known to cause meningitis), and some had the Jeryl Lynn strain of mumps (which has been used in the USA since 1971). It was not "the" MMR vaccine, as there were at least two, possibly three different versions.

They had spinal meningitis, and the taps were performed to diagnose it.

Shocking? Or is it because a C-tap is second best next to an autopsy? Duh

So they decided to treat me on the assumption that it was Haemophilus influenzae B; this was before the vaccine was developed, so HiB meningitis was not terribly uncommon. I was put into isolation and given intravenous antibiotics. Eventually, I improved;

But correlation does not equal causation especially after that SWAG diagnosis, right? Must be bad hair day. Possible.

Children are not guinea pigs.

Oh yes they are especially the disabled. Vaccinators love to work with them.

True; the word "the" is a bit misleading. It doesn't change the point, though. You just don't draw CSF off of kids on a whim. I wanted to make sure people like blackheart understand that a lumbar puncture is not at all the same level of risk as, for instance, a blood draw.

By Calli Arcale (not verified) on 20 Sep 2011 #permalink

That's why they did lumbar punctures on the children with meningitis in that study, blackheart. Not to find a link to the MMR vaccine but so they'd have a decent shot at saving their lives.

Like I said, C-tap is for the living. There is always a connection between the CNS and the MMR vaccines because these vaccines are neurotropic. Whether or not encephalitis or meningitis have been ruled by a lumbar tap, the gold standard would still be an autopsy.

You just can't hide the virus.

Exactly.

Though it brings about two points about Wakefield's work:

1) the unnecessary invasive procedures

2) the lack of consistently on which MMR vaccine was being studied (the UK mother of one child who had meningitis from the Urabe component actually had to start her lawsuit over because it named the wrong pharmaceutial company)

Calli

That's why they did lumbar punctures on the children with meningitis in that study, blackheart. Not to find a link to the MMR vaccine but so they'd have a decent shot at saving their lives.

Are you denying a link with a vaccine caused the serious illness in these (meningitis)children ?

Are you suggesting that a major health crisis associated with a MMR vaccine (just a few years previously before the Lancet 12 study) should be ignored, particularly as the parents and carers were associating it with a similar vaccine ?

Perhaps you can give me the aetiology of the possible 'illness' those Lancet 12 children were suffering ?

By Blackheart (not verified) on 20 Sep 2011 #permalink

@ Chris: I found the 1993 study published in Lancet, that the citationless Blackhearted did not provide and I posted with the conclusions of the study...held up in moderation.

You nailed it Chris. The children in the study had LPs because of febrile-induced seizures, not because of any concern of vaccine induced encephalitis. Coincidentally, the children had the Urabe strain of the mumps vaccine.

Here again is the FULL abstract:

Abstract

Cases of aseptic meningitis associated with measles/mumps/rubella vaccine were sought in thirteen UK health districts following a reported cluster in Nottingham which suggested a risk of 1 in 4000 doses, substantially higher than previous estimates based on cases reported by paediatricians (4 per million). Cases were ascertained by obtaining vaccination records of children with aseptic meningitis diagnosed from cerebrospinal fluid samples submitted to Public Health Laboratories or discharged from hospital with a diagnosis of viral meningitis. Both methods identified vaccination 15-35 days before onset as a significant risk factor and therefore indicative of a causal association. With both, half the aseptic meningitis cases identified in children aged 12-24 months were vaccine-associated with onset 15-35 days after vaccine. The study confirmed that the true risk was substantially higher than suggested by case reports from paediatricians, probably about 1 in 11,000 doses. However, the possibility that the aseptic meningitis induced by vaccination was largely asymptomatic and a chance laboratory finding in children investigated for other clinical conditions, particularly febrile convulsions, could not be excluded. Comparison of national reports of virus-positive mumps meningitis cases before and after the introduction of this vaccine indicated that the risk from wild mumps was about 4-fold higher than from vaccine. Altogether, 28 vaccine-associated cases were identified, all in recipients of vaccines containing the Urabe mumps strain. The absence of cases in recipients of vaccine containing the Jeryl Lynn strain, despite its 14% market share, suggested a higher risk from Urabe vaccine. A prospective adverse event surveillance system using the study methods is currently being established to assess the risk, if any, from the Jeryl Lynn strain which is now the only mumps vaccine used in the UK.

Blackheart,

I see your 'scientific rationalism' and evidenced based arguments have deteriorated. Not surprising really.

Is that how you conduct a discussion? When someone shows that your arguments are utterly wrong you claim their "evidence based arguments have deteriorated"?

Do you have anything else to raise ? Yes an article by a freelance journalist.

Published in a peer-reviewed journal. Do you deny that the histopathology reports on those biopsy samples were signed by Wakefield? You claimed above that:

Wakefield did not conduct the histopathology nor did he have to.

Yet it says in Wakefield's retracted 1998 paper, "All tissues were assessed by three other clinical and experimental pathologists (APD, AA, AJW)" where AJW is Andrew J Wakefield. Are you suggesting this is not true?

Strange cognition I thought we just finished talking about the credentials of some of the main players in this issue.

This exchange started when I pointed out that your assertion that Wakefield had a "solid professional standing" in histopathology was incorrect because he had no training or qualifications in histopathology. You have not presented any evidence at all to the contrary. Your claim that you don't need academic qualifications to have a "solid professional standing" in histopathology is simply wrong. You clearly don't understand that histopathology is a medical specialty in its own right.

Put simply, Wakefield was not qualified to clinically assess histopathological biopsy samples. He had no training or qualifications in histopathology. Deer is a journalist and is perfectly well qualified to gather evidence and write about it.

Perhaps you could outline this journalist's medical and scientific qualifications and their experience.

What possible relevance does this have to anything? Do you think people here are so stupid they don't recognize your inept attempts to distract attention from the important issues. There is a big difference between having the training and qualifications to clinically assess a patient or a biopsy sample, and having the ability to read, understand English and put together evidence that someone has been up to no good.

Oh, by the way, is your habit of asking rhetorical questions and answering them yourself extremely irritating? Yes it is.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 20 Sep 2011 #permalink

Krebiozen

Is that how you conduct a discussion?

Well yes it is ... when you stray outside 'evidence' and start arguing with emotive and poorly constructed suppositions.

Published in a peer-reviewed journal.

Which means what ?

Do you deny that the histopathology reports on those biopsy samples were signed by Wakefield? You claimed above that: Wakefield did not conduct the histopathology nor did he have to.

Yes ... the 'grunt work' as I understand it was undertaken by Dhillon and Davies perhaps Linell. Systematically reviewed by Wakefield, Dhillon and Anthony.

I could be wrong but I'm always happy to acknowledge that ... it is how we learn and grow.

"You have not presented any evidence at all to the contrary."

I haven't ...?

Senior Lecturer in Medicine and Histopathology

Royal Free Hospital School of Medicine (Teaching Hospital)

Membership Royal College of Pathology given in recognition of the high professional standards of Andrew Wakefield.

Numerous professional research articles, papers, lecturers and other professional related tasks.

Supervision and mentoring of medical/research students.

Senior Author / co author in research with duties including the collation and interpretation / review of histopathological data and evidence.

Director Inflammatory Bowel Disease Study Group.
Major University / International Standard.

Your claim that you don't need academic qualifications to have a "solid professional standing" in histopathology is simply wrong.

I've never made that argument. In fact my argument shows that Andrew Wakefield did indeed have 'academic qualifications'and research experience that enabled him to be employed as a Senior Lecturer in Histopathology

This is quite distinct from your perception that you can only have a 'professional standard' through MCRPath and day to day 'grunt work".

You see Wakefield trained and mentored medical officers and students a far more eminent position.

Put simply, Wakefield was not qualified to clinically assess histopathological biopsy samples.

Wakefield was a brilliant man with qualifications and expertise at University / International level involved at the cutting edge of research and having a much deeper knowledge.

I would expect that this type of expertise would be of the most important benefit in examining and reviewing any material in the Lancet 12 study.

What possible relevance does this have to anything?

Well I'm not sure that I want science issues resolved by journalists.

I remember and so should you Krebiozen a number of articles by Sunday Times journalists in the early to mid 90's surrounding AIDS Denialism. One was Neville Hodgkinson I believe.

I'd be interested to hear your position on this ?

By blackheart (not verified) on 20 Sep 2011 #permalink

Chris and lilady

Most of us know that, why don't you?

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1544592/Vaccine-officials-knew-a…

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0264410X9190223S

Thanks ... you just confirmed that your position that 'vaccines are safe' is undermined by your own tacit acknowledgement that vaccines can indeed cause serious harm.

The study confirmed that the true risk was substantially higher than suggested by case reports from paediatricians, probably about 1 in 11,000 doses.

So what's your position on these vaccines being used in other countries ?

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0163445304002373

That 'Gotcha' moment didn't quite work out the way you thought it might.

By blackheart (not verified) on 20 Sep 2011 #permalink

Now that Lumbar Puncture LP has been shown to be safe and efficacious and used by clinical professionals in certain more highly developed countries perhaps we should move to other issues ...

It has been bought to my attention that certain commentators are concerned at the clinical investigations on severely disabled children undertaken by a team of eminent doctors at the Royal Free. Perhaps it is time to clarify this issue in regards to colonoscopy.

I find it useful to refer to original documents, known as primary source material, rather than opinion from questionable alternative sources or personal experiences for that matter.

Dr Williams

Bachelor Degree in physiology in 1960 and subsequently with the degrees of Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery from the University of Oxford in 1964.

Elected a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians in 1983 and the Royal College of Surgeons in 1998

Consultant physician specialising in gastrointestinal endoscopy at St Markâs Hospital, which is a hospital which in turn specialises in intestinal and colorectal disorders.

Honorary Physician in Endoscopy at both Great Ormond Street Hospital for Sick Children and Queen Elizabeth Hospital for Sick Children in Hackney.

Honorary Physician in an endoscopy role at the Royal Free Hospital following transfer of Professor Walker-Smithâs unit from Bart's to the Royal Free.

Adapted from GMC Transcript

Question

"I want you to help a bit about the set-up, the working arrangement that you had with Professor Walker-Smith. You were a dedicated endoscopist. He did not do any endoscopy himself, or colonoscopy certainly. How did the relationship work? How would you see the patients that he had decided required colonoscopy or other investigations?"

Answer

AIt was understood that there was one half-day session a week in which he and his team had the right to the endoscopy area, and I knew that in my calendar that I was booked, so to speak, for that. So it was a low pressure occasion with rather fewer patients than usual on an adult list and I would be told shortly beforehand whether this was one child or two children â I think rarely more than that. From my point of view it was a rather privileged, easy occasion and I found it a great pleasure to work with the paediatric team."

"So the maxim is anyone with bowel frequency, anyone with any slight whiff of possible inflammatory disease or anyone who is being very fully investigated for whatever reason, whether it be anaemia or other things, if in doubt, if you are going to do the job really properly, have a few biopsies that are just part of the case record and then no-one can be unhappy."

By Blackheart (not verified) on 20 Sep 2011 #permalink

Dr Christopher Williams
continued ...

Question

Of this particular procedure. To Mrs Dean I think you said that there is an insignificant risk, and I think to Dr Webster you said it is a completely safe procedure.

Answer

In the right hands.

Further

I have had no perforation in 30,000 and, to the best of my knowledge, in the St Markâs teaching hospital environment I think they have had two perforations in the last 20,000 and that is with all-comers, including all junior staff.

GMC Chairman

Thank you. I think you are very clear on that, thank you

On Simon Murch...

QDr Murch was at St Bartholomewâs before he moved to the Royal Free. Was he one of your pupils, as it were? Did you teach him endoscopy?

AYes.

QWas he, sparing his blushes, a good pupil? Did he become a good colonoscopist?

AYes, sir. I would say he was in the best three or four people I have taught in my whole time, whether for adult practice and certainly paediatric practice, simply because he is a very cautious, gentle man and he took the same approach to endoscopy. If anything, we had to give him courage to do this unlikely deed, because he was so kind and so careful. But the end result was that I knew that if I was not available, he could do anything that I did as well in practical terms as I did."

By blackheart (not verified) on 21 Sep 2011 #permalink

Blackheart,

Your mindset regarding Wakefield is clearly fixed, so I give up on that. How anyone can read the GMC transcripts and still believe him to be blameless I honestly do not understand.

However, your attitudes to colonoscopy, lumbar puncture and the Urabe mumps strain in MMR intrigue me.

A 1 in 10,000 risk of a perforated bowel is "safe" but a 1 in 143,000 risk of a mild form of meningitis after vaccination with MMR containing the Urabe mumps strain means it causes "serious harm"?

You also claim that lumbar puncture in a child that requires sedation or even general anaesthesia for no good reason is no big deal. The risk of a serious adverse event after lumbar puncture (such as headaches lasting from 8 days to 1 year, cranial neuropathies, prolonged backache, nerve root injury, or meningitis) is about 1 in 330.

You really haven't the faintest idea about any of this, have you?

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 21 Sep 2011 #permalink

Which MMR vaccine was Wakefield's withdrawn Lancet study on? Was it the one used in the UK before or after 1992?

blackheart:

Thanks ... you just confirmed that your position that 'vaccines are safe' is undermined by your own tacit acknowledgement that vaccines can indeed cause serious harm.

That is a lie. None of us have said the "vaccines are safe." We have acknowledged that there are side effects, but at rates much less than the diseases. Even the meningitis caused by the Urabe strain of mumps was less than the problems caused by the actual diseases, measles, mumps and rubella.

Plus the Jeryl Lynn strain as been used in the American MMR since 1971. If you can find data that it is more dangerous than measles, mumps and rubella that is dated before 1998, please share it with us.

Again, for at least the third time, we are asking you to stop lying.

So what's your position on these vaccines being used in other countries ?

Stop trying to deflect the discussion just because you got caught not knowing about the different MMR vaccines. If you try to tell us you knew about them all along, we will assume that is a lie. Mostly because of your recent use of blatant lies.

I do know that Japan just dropped the mumps portion, and only use an MR vaccine (not "think about", "know"). They are now experiencing large numbers of mumps, which has caused many children to lose their hearing, and more getting aseptic meningitis:

Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2009 Mar;28(3):173-5.
An office-based prospective study of deafness in mumps.
Hashimoto H, Fujioka M, Kinumaki H; Kinki Ambulatory Pediatrics Study Group.

Vaccine. 2007 Mar 30;25(14):2742-7. Epub 2006 Jan 31.
A comparative study of the incidence of aseptic meningitis in symptomatic natural mumps patients and monovalent mumps vaccine recipients in Japan.

"The incidence of aseptic meningitis was 13/1051 (1.24%) in patients with symptomatic natural mumps infection and was estimated to be 0.7-1.1% of overall infection in considering asymptomatic infection, and 10/21,465 (0.05%) in vaccine recipients. Although aseptic meningitis is a clear side effect of the mumps vaccine, the incidence is considerably lower than among those with symptomatic natural infection. Our results provide an informative data for consideration to resume mumps vaccine as a part of routine immunization schedule for Japanese children."

Auris Nasus Larynx. 2005 Jun;32(2):125-8. Epub 2005 Apr 7.
Epidemiological study of mumps deafness in Japan.
Kawashima Y, Ihara K, Nakamura M, Nakashima T, Fukuda S, Kitamura K.

Again with the moderation, and there were no links!

Here is the first part:

Which MMR vaccine was Wakefield's withdrawn Lancet study on? Was it the one used in the UK before or after 1992?

blackheart:

Thanks ... you just confirmed that your position that 'vaccines are safe' is undermined by your own tacit acknowledgement that vaccines can indeed cause serious harm.

That is a lie. None of us have said the "vaccines are safe." We have acknowledged that there are side effects, but at rates much less than the diseases. Even the meningitis caused by the Urabe strain of mumps was less than the problems caused by the actual diseases, measles, mumps and rubella.

Plus the Jeryl Lynn strain as been used in the American MMR since 1971. If you can find data that it is more dangerous than measles, mumps and rubella that is dated before 1998, please share it with us.

Again, for at least the third time, we are asking you to stop lying.

Now for the second part of the comment that is in moderation:

So what's your position on these vaccines being used in other countries ?

Stop trying to deflect the discussion just because you got caught not knowing about the different MMR vaccines. If you try to tell us you knew about them all along, we will assume that is a lie. Mostly because of your recent use of blatant lies.

I do know that Japan just dropped the mumps portion, and only use an MR vaccine. They are now experiencing large numbers of mumps, which has caused many children to lose their hearing, and more to get aseptic meningitis:

Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2009 Mar;28(3):173-5.
An office-based prospective study of deafness in mumps.
Hashimoto H, Fujioka M, Kinumaki H; Kinki Ambulatory Pediatrics Study Group.

Vaccine. 2007 Mar 30;25(14):2742-7. Epub 2006 Jan 31.
A comparative study of the incidence of aseptic meningitis in symptomatic natural mumps patients and monovalent mumps vaccine recipients in Japan.

This one says:
"The incidence of aseptic meningitis was 13/1051 (1.24%) in patients with symptomatic natural mumps infection and was estimated to be 0.7-1.1% of overall infection in considering asymptomatic infection, and 10/21,465 (0.05%) in vaccine recipients. Although aseptic meningitis is a clear side effect of the mumps vaccine, the incidence is considerably lower than among those with symptomatic natural infection. Our results provide an informative data for consideration to resume mumps vaccine as a part of routine immunization schedule for Japanese children."

Auris Nasus Larynx. 2005 Jun;32(2):125-8. Epub 2005 Apr 7.
Epidemiological study of mumps deafness in Japan.
Kawashima Y, Ihara K, Nakamura M, Nakashima T, Fukuda S, Kitamura K

Krebiozen

Your mindset regarding Wakefield is clearly fixed, so I give up on that.

I'd say from the discussions it isn't me who has difficulty with critical thinking.

How anyone can read the GMC transcripts and still believe him to be blameless I honestly do not understand.

I read the defense and the prosecution cases and make up my own mind. The natural question that follows is Have you ?

However, your attitudes to colonoscopy, lumbar puncture and the Urabe mumps strain in MMR intrigue me.

They do ... I think they are quite reasonable.

A 1 in 10,000 risk of a perforated bowel is "safe" but a 1 in 143,000 risk of a mild form of meningitis after vaccination with MMR containing the Urabe mumps strain means it causes "serious harm"?

Is this a rhetorical question ? No

Colonoscopy is surgery and Urabe vaccine (1 in 12400) is a paediatric medicine.

You also claim that lumbar puncture in a child that requires sedation or even general anaesthesia for no good reason is no big deal.

LP needed to examine CSF. In Scandanavia they are of the expert medical opinion that it should be undertaken.

That's an expert medical opinion ...not a Krebiozen says so.

LP has risks that are reasonably well defined ... severely ill children with an unknown diagnosis and aetiology ... well they need thorough clinical examination.

So you can let us know what those children were 'suffering' and the aetiology behind it ?

You really haven't the faintest idea about any of this, have you?

Another personal attack ? How very intellectually robust.

By blackheart (not verified) on 21 Sep 2011 #permalink

Chris

Which MMR vaccine was Wakefield's withdrawn Lancet study on? Was it the one used in the UK before or after 1992?

That would be Priorix. Manufactured by the same company and in the same premises I believe as Urabe Strain vaccine Pluserix / Trivirix.

See that relationship ... why wouldn't you investigate if parents and patients were making claims of a relationsip between the two.

Two very similar vaccines ... one with a clear causation and one with a proposed causation both relating to neurological complications in children.

It's not rocket science... and it's not the only time a vaccine has been show to trigger a neurological condition.

That is a lie. None of us have said the "vaccines are safe." We have acknowledged that there are side effects, but at rates much less than the diseases.

So it's not "Vaccines are Safe" it's "Vaccines are sort of Safe...well no worse than the disease they are trying to protect against".

Chris vaccines are hopefully a lot more safer than that and on the balance of evidence that would be a very good supposition to make.

But do vaccines have say side effects we do not plan for or understand ? These are called non-specific effects...

...and of course there is a public expectation that vaccines are better than actually catching the disease they are designed to prevent ...

The central question which you seem to have accidentally overlooked is - How do you determine diseases of the central nervous system ?

How do you clinically investigate a unknown condition that has obvious effects on the nuerology of a patient ?

Well just as the doctors did with aseptic meningitis and
urabe strain vaccine Pluserix / Trivirix by LP.

So do you have an adequate explanation why Public Health authoritites did not clinically investigate the claims of parents and MMR vaccine ?

By blackheart (not verified) on 21 Sep 2011 #permalink

Krebiozen

I thought you and Calli could clarify the evidence regarding that 'perforated bowel' that keeps coming up (under the heading of skeptikal Urban Myths).

and I'm yet to see any comment on those Sunday Times science journalists like Neville Hodgkinson and AIDS denialism.

By blackheart (not verified) on 21 Sep 2011 #permalink

Chris

Must be some of that science rationalist telekenesis ,/b> or some other ESP woo happening ... just out on the Skeptik Friendly press aka Daily Mail UK

"The triple jab was banned in Japan in 1993 after 1.8 million children had been given two types of MMR and a record number developed non-viral meningitis and other adverse reactions.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-17509/Why-Japan-banned-MMR-va…

Official figures show there were three deaths while eight children were left with permanent handicaps ranging from damaged hearing and blindness to loss of control of limbs.

An analysis of vaccinations over a three-month period showed one in every 900 children was experiencing problems. This was over 2,000 times higher than the expected rate of one child in every 100,000 to 200,000.

The ministry switched to another MMR vaccine in October 1991 but the incidence was still high with one in 1,755 children affected.

Tests on the spinal fluid of 125 children affected were carried out to see if the vaccine had got into the children's nervous systems. They found one confirmed case and two further suspected cases.

Dr Hiroki Nakatani, director of the Infectious Disease Division at Japan's Ministry of Health and Welfare said that giving individual vaccines cost twice as much as MMR 'but we believe it is worth it'.

However, he admitted the MMR scare (Urabe Scare) has left its mark.

With vaccination rates low, there have been measles outbreaks which have claimed 94 lives in the last five years.

The world's an amazing place ....

By blackheart (not verified) on 22 Sep 2011 #permalink

Does the Ford Pinto invalidate all forms of transportation?

By Gray Falcon (not verified) on 22 Sep 2011 #permalink

Blackheart,

We have been discussing the vaccines used in the UK, not those manufactured and used in Japan. I linked above to a study giving the risk of aseptic meningitis after vaccination with Urabe-containing MMR used in the UK, which was 1 in 143,000, not 1 in 12,400 as you have claimed. The vaccine used in Japan was not the same as the one used in the UK. Incidentally the legal aid money that Wakefield misappropriated could have been used to get compensation for the families of children who were affected by Urabe, but of course it was not.

Colonoscopy is surgery and Urabe vaccine (1 in 12400) is a paediatric medicine.

So what? If a procedure is not clinically indicated, which the GMC concluded it was not for these children, any risk is unacceptable, as there are no benefits. The benefits of vaccination are clear, and greatly outweigh the risks, even when the Urabe mumps component is used.

I honestly don't understand why you think that performing procedures with risks but no benefits is acceptable, but those with demonstrable benefits and much lower risks are not.

On to lumbar puncture.

In Scandanavia they are of the expert medical opinion that it should be undertaken. That's an expert medical opinion ...not a Krebiozen says so.

The risks of lumbar puncture are not my opinion, I gave a reference to a study that found this. We have also been discussing what is considered a clinical indication for lumbar puncture in the UK, not in Scandinavia, or anywhere else. In the UK it is not normal to investigate autism or any developmental disorder with a lumbar puncture. What they do in Scandinavia has no bearing on this.

severely ill children with an unknown diagnosis and aetiology ... well they need thorough clinical examination

Of course, but lumbar puncture is not useful as a part of this, and in the absence of any benefits its risks are not accep