A bit of antivaccine misinformation from the left and the right

Thanks, Daily Kos.

Well, not really. You'll see why in a minute, but first here's the background. There's a general impression out there that the political right is associated with the antiscience that includes anthropogenic global warming denialism, denial of evolution, and denial of aspects of reproductive biology that don't jibe with their religious beliefs, and that consensus while the political left's brand of antiscience includes antivaccine beliefs and fear mongering about genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Of course, as I've discussed many times before, it's more complicated than that, with there being no strong evidence, for instance, that antivaccinationism is more strongly associated with liberal political views than conservative political views, and there's plenty of evidence of right-wing opposition to GMOs and to vaccines based on the same pseudoscience that launched nonsensical studies like those by Gilles-Eric Séralini at the University of Caen and Judy Carman from the Institute of Health and Environmental Research in Australia. It just tends to be the reasons that differ. For instance, antivaccinationists on the left tend to fear vaccines because they view them as somehow "unnatural" and products of big pharma, which they hate and fear, while antivaccinationists on the right tend to oppose not so much vaccines themselves, but any sort of vaccine mandate, as "big government" overreach. Indeed, there was an excellent example of this just the other day with Rush Limbaugh's less talented and intelligent wannabe doppleganger, Sean Hannity, ranting against the recent school flu vaccine mandate by New York City as "forced vaccination":

Note that it's Hannity and the Republican strategist who are against this mandate, while the Democratic strategist is the voice of reason. And, of course, Sean Hannity has promoted "health freedom" with respect to cancer quackery in the past. Hannity also notes that other conservative "luminaries" like the ever-despicable Mark Levin are into "holistic" therapy as he defends the rights of homeopaths not to vaccinate.

But back to Kos. Earlier this week, there was a brain-numbingly stupid antivaccine screed by a Kos diarist with the 'nym carolinewriter entitled Beef heart, human diploid tissue, air bags--I tie it all together .. The only reason I didn't get to it earlier this week is because of rapid-fire developments in the case of Sarah Hershberger, Stanislaw Burzynski, and the Katie Couric show about HPV vaccines. This Kos article begins with one of the most brain dead of antivaccine arguments ever, one that I've heard time and time again in various forms:

If I witnessed my child get bruised and harmed immediately after he was hurt by an air bag, and a journalist reported on it so that we could make them safer, no one would accuse the journalist or me of being "anti-air bag" or try to reframe our argument that we were "against air bags" or "anti-science". Instead, we would be applauded for trying to make the air bags as safe as possible. After all, I BOUGHT a car with an air bag, right? I was PRO-AIR BAG . But they didn't work as expected. I want them to work better. I want my son's suffering to prevent another child's suffering. I want air bags to save children but at the same time, be designed in a way that hurts as few as possible. If the injury is not acknowledged, how can we make the air bag better? If I am silent, they will not continue to refine the air bags or test them or find out why my son was hurt --what was different about him-- so that they can prevent future injury.

Only one source would try to make that bogus straw man argument. The car manufacturer, who did not want to go to the trouble to make the air bags safer. And agencies that actually think the populace is so stupid that if they knew air bags could harm some kids, they wouldn't buy cars with air bags.

Be careful. There's a black hole of stupidity embedded in this post so powerful that it's likely to suck the intelligence embedded in even the hardiest collection of neurons past its event horizon into its massive ignorance. Yes, this is the same disingenuous "I'm not 'anti-vaccine'; I'm pro-safe vaccine" argument beloved of antivaccinationists since time immemorial (or at least since before I started paying attention to the issue). Here's the problem. These "injuries" that carolinewriter attributes to vaccines are not due to vaccines. They are, as antivaccinationists have an amazing propensity to latch onto, a classic example of confusing correlation with causation. It's not as though these questions haven't been studied time and time and time again. The result is always the same in studies that have been conducted rigorously with large numbers of subjects: There is no correlation between vaccination and autism, developmental delay, autoimmune disease, or any other of the conditions antivaccinationists frequently associate with vaccination.

But carolinewriter is all about the science, maaaan, so much so that she has to convince people with her bona fides as a science-loving liberal:

Katie Couric just got shamed into retracting a story that reported on vaccine injuries from the HPV vaccine. She was accused of being "anti-science". Tell me. I have a B.S. from Carnegie Mellon. I am VERY far left life time liberal. I respect science. SO I know that nothing is 100% safe and if an industry is bullying us by demanding we say it is, or get shamed into silence, they are trying to hide something. This is not new to Pharma. They have done this with product after product. The only difference is that even the left has been duped by their accusation that any questioning of vaccine ingredients, policies, or side effects, is "anti-science". How is it "anti science" to point out that no medical product is perfect, and that we need to make them as safe as possible? How is it "anti-science" to say, I witnessed this from my child, and there are MANY credible studies that explain why this could have happened, why it is plausible: http://www.fourteenstudies.org/...

Yes indeed. Given how cold it is in my neck of the woods these days, along with a threat of significant snow beginning tonight, I do so love a giant burning straw man that you can see from space. Maybe it'll help keep me warm. Of course, no one is saying that it is "antiscience" to point out that all pharmaceutical products have a risk-benefit profile. That is not, however, what carolinewriter and her fellow antivaccinationists are doing. The are doing what I like to call "misinformed consent" in that they inflate the risks of vaccines and downplay their benefits, citing a website by a bunch of the most passionate antivaccinationists on the planet as her "evidence" to support her claims. These studies are either horrible studies or misrepresented. Either way, they do not show what the antivaccine group behind the website (Generation Rescue) claim that they show. Not at all, not now, not ever. In fact, carolinewriter, by citing those papers, pretty much invalidated any claim she might have to be "science-based."

carolinewriter also can't resist using an old antivaccine trope so hoary that she probably had to brush the fossilized dinosaur feces off of it before trotting it out, namely what I like to call the "toxins" gambit. I've written about it many, many times. For all her claims of being pro-science, carolinewriter appears not to understand something so basic as the concept of dose-response curves and the well-known medical maxim that the dose makes the poison. Instead she trots out the same old trope of scary-sounding ingredients in some vaccines:

The following ingredients are in the DTaP-IPV/Hib (Pentacel) vaccine, just for example. This is from the CDC site. Is it not plausible that SOME infants might get a dangerous reaction from these? The package inserts on each vaccine, and on GARDISIL!, also mention that some patients may have allergic reactions, and worse, and if they do, you should stop vaccinating that patient with followup vaccines. Read this from the DTP 5-way shot:

aluminum phosphate, polysorbate 80, formaldehyde, gutaraldehyde, bovine serum albumin, 2-phenoxethanol, neomycin, polymyxin B sulfate, Mueller’s Growth Medium, Mueller-Miller casamino acid medium (without beef heart infusion), Stainer-Scholte medium (modified by the addition of casamino acids and dimethyl-beta-cyclodextrin), MRC-5 (human diploid) cells, CMRL 1969 medium (supplemented with calf serum).

Here's a hint. Think dose. I suppose I should be grateful that she didn't do what our old bud Dr. Jay Gordon did and try to compare vaccine manufacturers to tobacco companies back in the day when tobacco companies were doing everything they could to deny the emerging science showing how harmful cigarette smoke is to human health.

I will admit, however, that it was a mildly clever ploy to try to link vaccines to other complaints about big business and big pharma. The woman knows her audience, and no one is saying that we should trust big business and big pharma unconditionally or that criticizing big pharma is "anti-science." What is antiscience is making claims for harm from vaccines that are not only not supported by science but refuted by science and making them using pseudoscientific arguments from antivaccine activist groups. That'd do it. So would her referring to a study listed on PubMed as an "NIH study" just because, apparently, it is listed in PubMed, even though they are not actually NIH studies. In fact, the study she cites is from Brazil.

So would a passage like this:

Mothers Against Drunk Driving were not against cars or even drinking. They were for safer drinking. Nearly everyone I have ever known personally who fights for vaccine safety fight for vaccines to be SAFER not to eliminate vaccines. Yes, there are a few who are simply "against" vaccines with no coherent reason. But they are the straw men and they don't represent parents who have seen serious harm come to their infants, who just happen to have different, more sensitive metabolisms. Their only motivation is to prevent others from suffering as their family did, to acknowledge this occurs so that we can treat it accordingly, to identify who is at risk, and to make vaccines safer for others. What other product on the face of the earth is purported to be one hundred per cent safe? It is anti science to suggest that Vaccines are perfectly safe! That is it acceptable to allow harm to some "for the greater good" without acknowledging it, trying to identify who might be at risk, or trying to prevent it.

Ah, more straw men set afire with flamethrowers of burning stupid. No one says anyone is simply "against" vaccines with no coherent reason. They are, however, against vaccines for reasons that seem coherent to them but are rooted in the cognitive quirks that all humans share that lead us to be too quick to confuse correlation with causation, along with a heaping helping of motivated reasoning. Also, no one who is pro-vaccine claims that vaccines are "perfectly safe." We point out that the scientific evidence indicates that they are incredibly safe and that their risk-benefit ratio is incredibly favorable, but we do not claim that adverse reactions to vaccines never happen or that it is antiscience to question whether vaccines are "perfectly safe." We do point out that it is antiscience to deny vaccine science, cherry pick studies, and promote misinformed consent by claiming vaccines cause adverse events that science shows they almost certainly don't cause.

Finally, if you really want a reliable indicator of someone who is antiscience on an issue, it's when that person tries to turn the "antiscience" charge around and falsely level it at her critics:

You cannot imagine my frustration as a lefty who has seen this happen with my own eyes and my own son, having my motives and experience attacked and misrepresented, by my fellow liberals. I know global warming happens and in fact, I equate vaccine injury deniers to global warming deniers. (The pharma industry flipped that analogy on its head and everybody bought it . . . . ) I think GMOs are dangerous. I campaigned for Obama. I love Alan Grayson and Elizabeth Warren. And my child WAS injured by a vaccine. A vaccine that is sold at great profit by a giant corporation that uses tobacco science tactics to silence those who have been harmed. Please start listening and stop attacking parents and vaccine injury victims. Support us in our quest for safer vaccines. For the good of your own future infant, or your teenager, so that his or her vaccines can be as safe as possible, just in case he or she has the metabolism that can't process heavy metal adjuvants or other odd ingredients. This is not anti-science. It's common sense. I know some of you will attack this. I am willing to pay that price in honor of my son's struggle. I hope others will start to wake up. Thank you.

I find it amusing that carolinewriter tries to convince her readers that she's not antiscience by claiming that she thinks GMOs are dangerous. Here's a hint: That's even more evidence that she's probably antiscience. I bet she probably cites the same sort of pseudoscience and antiscience to justify her fear of GMOs, such as the studies I mentioned above. Of course, then she uses a tactic beloved of the antivaccine crowd over at AoA, to try to co-opt the term "denialism" to use against those who argue science by referring to them as "vaccine injury denialists" or "vaccine injury deniers." Unfortunately, she chose one of the worst examples imaginable. The science showing that AGW is happening is very strong, consisting of studies from a wide variety of sources and disciplines all converging on the same conclusion: That human activity is a major contributor to global climate change. The "science" supporting vaccine injury, at least as viewed by antivaccinationists, consists of a flimsy patchwork of bad science, pseudoscience, and antiscience "studies." There is no comparison.

All of us feel sympathy for a parent, like carolinewriter, who has a special needs child. That sympathy sometimes even causes us to hold back and sometimes even not to refute pseudoscience. It shouldn't, particularly when one promotes dangerous pseudoscience. As far as I'm concerned, it doesn't matter whether it's Sean Hannity or carolinewriter promoting dangerous antivaccine pseudoscience. It needs to be countered.

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In some ways, it's scarier when somebody like carolinewriter does it than when a Hannity or Limbaugh does it. Most of the population, even those on the right, know that Limbaugh and Hannity are idiots. People are going to be more prone to take someone like carolinewriter seriously, which is scary, given the black hole of derp written above.

(Two other notes: First, I've read some studies that show that people on the political left are nearly as likely to have a disbelief in evolution as people on the political right (which I'm guessing is due to religious African-American and Hispanic Democrats). And second, MADD is anti-drinking, nowadays. But that's not really relevant)

By Andrew S. (not verified) on 13 Dec 2013 #permalink

I forgot to mention that. It's true. These days MADD is very obviously anti-drinking at least as much as it is anti-drunk driving.

The worst part about that rant--and it's all pretty bad--was the poll and how it was worded. "Keep quiet" implies the only way to work towards change is to scream inflammatory things that don't have real meaning. I personally don't see someone like John Salamone as "antivaccine." This chick and those who follow her? Yeah.

Does she ever say how her son was "damaged?" What does he have?

By AnObservingParty (not verified) on 13 Dec 2013 #permalink

I had this thought: Back when Katie Couric was big on colon cancer, what would she have said if another journalist had brought on the wife of a man who died of a heart attack during the colonoscopy? Does that mean all colonscopies are unsafe and should be avoided? Or given the number of colonoscopies there are bound to be folks that have heart attacks during the procedure.

We need another logical fallacy about the abuse of the anecdote.

A. I'm adopting - with proper citation, of course - your "misinformed consent" language for future use.
B. Several of the commenters on the Couric threads have been banging the Vioxx drum very hard. Is this a new approach?

By Dorit Reiss (not verified) on 13 Dec 2013 #permalink

Carolinewriter didn't try to compare vaccine manufacturers to tobacco manufacturers "back in the day"..

BUT Mikey sure did! .
Yesterday he ranted, railed and ragged on about the NYC policy embelllishing his post with the usual sparkling but brain-dead declarations and analogies:
" No legitimate scientist would ever argue that mercury is safe to inject *at any dose*"
"Why there is no such thing as a safe vaccine"
"New York City to become the capitol of autism in America"
"".. parental rights trump the state"
It will become a "medical police state"
Similar material at PRN.

Both he and the other idiot cum laude attempt to appeal to BOTH ends of the political spectrum by speaking about a return to natural life and - of course- natural products which they hawk- conservatives might interpret this Rorshachian meme as a return to a by-gone era of g0dliness and purity whilst liberals interpret it as being about less interference from the Man( the Woman?) and the 1% corporatocracy towards their crunchy commune. Null even talks about starting a political party called "Progressive Libertarianism" and his "radio station" is the PROGRESSIVE Radio Network, unlike the "corporate" left and right media cited by Orac above- which he aims to replace- his media rises above their fascistic information control-
Oh, will delusion ever cease?

BUT they both reveal their inner clockwork- which probably runs low tax, *laissez faire*, low regulatory, de-centralised government- by the issues they support and their vehement antipathy for Mr Obama. I would assume that most US liberals support him ( and voted for him) and would be turned off by the increasing levels of vitriol and hatred gainst him spewed by these loons.

So perhaps, like the Canary Party, their message is aimed at libertarians more than the left- which could cut into sales.
They probably figure that those hippies are broke anyway.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 13 Dec 2013 #permalink

This sounds like something out of TMR.

That poll is a serious push poll.

Did she ever link to her son's story?

That kos article was idiotic from sentence one. I'll take a bruise from an airbag and a lap/shoulder belt any day over a dirt nap from flying out windshield.

I wonder if Gordon will come out of his shell for a good thrashing.
.

By Chris HIckie (not verified) on 13 Dec 2013 #permalink

I was very excited to check out the "our studies" part of FourteenStudies.org. Unfortunately, I tried opening all of the thirty-something studies, and only two were still up! I'd say it's a total fail, but of course anyone who buys into this nonsense isn't reading the actual studies, so it's just as effective either way.

By Interdimension… (not verified) on 13 Dec 2013 #permalink

I might venture that various proselytisers against vaccines who cry out against the injustice of governmental interference above parental rights are also opposed to governmental interference with business in general- such as regulation, taxation et al. Two of the Canary Party's leaders, Larson and Blaxill, run/ own rather large businesses as do woo-meisters Adams and Null. This might influence their political leanings as much as medical issues- and probably preceded the latter.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 13 Dec 2013 #permalink

Dear Carolinewriter,

"Lefty". You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

By Rich Scopie (not verified) on 13 Dec 2013 #permalink

carolinewriter's screed inspired me to write a diary there at 5 in the morning yesterday, whale.to is not a credible source (one of her Gish Gallops contained links to whale.to). It actually made the Recommended list about an hour after it was published. So there's plenty of pushback against antivax tropes at DKos nowadays (several years ago that wasn't the case).

AOP: It's mentioned in the comments that her son has autism, and he had difficulty nursing. Another attack of the plastic people.

By Politicalguineapig (not verified) on 13 Dec 2013 #permalink

Caroline's air bag analogy would have been more accurate had she described an accident where the air bags deployed and saved the vehicle occupants' lives with nothing more than minor bruising. Then, a month later, one of them develops swollen lymph nodes, is found to have lymphoma, and the family sues the airbag manufacturer for causing cancer, while supporters proclaim:.

"We're not anti-airbag, we're just pro-safer airbags!!!"

By Dangerous Bacon (not verified) on 13 Dec 2013 #permalink

It occurred to me recently that in a way, left-leaning nature-woo types actually share one of the beliefs they hate so much in conservatives: the idea that nature is designed for the comfort and convenience of human beings. Of course, they'd say that its the exact opposite, that they think humans should adapt themselves to nature and not vice-versa, but I've never heard any of these people advocate for going back to eating only what we can hunt or gather, having as many children as possible as soon as possible, and resigning ourselves to the fact that most of us will die young of injury or disease. Rather, they think that "Mother" nature will provide for all our wants, that there's an herb to cure every illness, that ripe fruit will simply fall at our feet year-round as we romp through the forest with no fear of predators, etc. Obviously this Disney-esque view of nature isn't based on reality, but on the unconscious assumption that the world was designed to meet our needs.

That user was banned from dailykos for spreading conspiracy theories.

The false equivalence is laughable. You've got 1 banned user posting to a social networking site where any user can post, and are comparing it to Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, and Republican politicians? Give me a break...

By Beelzebud (not verified) on 13 Dec 2013 #permalink

Is the article gone now?

I was frightened by Hannity's ideas of people's rights. And how he just makes them up.

@ Sarah A:

Sure. That's the common denominator- "Back to Eden"- although their edens aren't the same.

HOWEVER Mercola and others like him DO advocate a "Paleo" diet wherein one eats only what one ( could have) gathered and hunted- like unprocessed fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds and game. Of course, all of their hunting and gathering is restricted to the interior of a posh, squeaky clean natural foods super mart. Or proceeds by mail order from woo-meisters' GMO-free, organic cornucopia of powdered, dried high ORAC superfoods and supplements web-based stores.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 13 Dec 2013 #permalink

Science is a well-crafted, constantly improving system for obtaining and interpreting evidence about the natural world. What makes someone anti-science is when they reject this system and choose to accept ideas based on no evidence or poor quality "evidence." Whether it is about vaccines, GMOs, AGW, whatever...you are anti-science if you ignore the evidence. And the proof of the pudding is that science and what has come from it, including vaccines, has DOUBLED human life expectancy in about 150 years. Has anyone got anything to match that?

When I first read that Kos post yesterday, I had to stop after the airbag analogy. My mind got stuck in a loop of "how can you think that's an equivalent analogy?" I was worried if I read on that my brain would rebel, liquify and dribble out my ears and nose. It helps to read it in chunks interspersed with rationality. Thanks, Orac, for risking your sanity for the sake of ours.

@ Sarah A @ Denise
Sure. That’s the common denominator- “Back to Eden”- although their edens aren’t the same

WHY on earth would anyone want to go back to Eden/nature?!? It SUCKED.

And thanks PGP. I missed it.

As for airbags and bruises, ANECDOTE, but I've experienced airbag deployment and HOLY CRAP. My face was swollen for a week. Isn't it pretty par for the course to be bruised by an airbag? They're not gentle, at all, injury is FAR more common than from a vaccine. And also, better than having a steering wheel imprinted on my face.

By AnObservingParty (not verified) on 13 Dec 2013 #permalink

Denice Walter wrote:

Of course, all of their hunting and gathering is restricted to the interior of a posh, squeaky clean natural foods super mart.

I guess that in a sense a grimy Lidl is significantly more natural than a typical natural food store - Mother Nature is not noted for keeping house, what with bear poop in the woods and what not.

By Andreas Johansson (not verified) on 13 Dec 2013 #permalink

I like how while everyone is having fun getting their hippie punching in, no one has acknowledged that this random anonymous blog post does not represent "the left", and the user was banned from dailykos shorter after that post.

By Beelzebud (not verified) on 13 Dec 2013 #permalink

@ Beelzebud

No one is saying that carolinwriter is representative of the Left or for that matter even the Daily Kos. In fact, it is impressive how quickly carolinwriter was banned from the Kos after her post. However, the implication from your comment is that the the Left is somehow more immune to cognitive error that the Right. If you want to balance the nutbaggery of Hannity, Levin, Alex Jones ... just go over to Huffpoo and start reading some of the posters there.

By Moderation (not verified) on 13 Dec 2013 #permalink

How do you know she was banned Beelzebud? Her profile does not sat anything like that.

By Kelly M Bray (not verified) on 13 Dec 2013 #permalink

Look at the profile again. Notice that the "karma" is a skull and crossbones, and when you hold your mouse over it, it says "Banned".

By Beelzebud (not verified) on 13 Dec 2013 #permalink

Moderation:

Yes, but the problem with this line of argument is that on the right you can find many prominent people, with very loud public voices. On the left, all you can point to are random quotes from anonymous people on websites.

The left is definitely prone to cognitive error, but in this particular case it is a false equivalency.

By Beelzebud (not verified) on 13 Dec 2013 #permalink

Oooh, I just came online to see that Orac posted a piece about Caroline's Daily Kos "diary". I think Caroline has been banned and her pal who libeled me repeatedly has had her comments removed.

Someone linked to Orac's post just now and I just posted links to the CHOP-Vaccine Education Center and the Autism Science Foundation.

Apparently, Caroline thought that her voting record (Democratic) gave her unique qualifications to post that article...because ya know...she isn't a Conservative.

@ Beelzebud

Oprah, Dr. Oz, Bill Maher, are just 3 "liberals" off the top of my head, who have a lot of anti-science cultural influence. I am sure Orac has posted about others. The point is that the Left's anti-science is not limited to anonymous posters on blogs and websites.

Chris Mooney and Michael Shermer had some interesting back and forth on this topic.

By Moderation (not verified) on 13 Dec 2013 #permalink

I was looking at US death rates by age over the past several decades, and thought others might find it interesting. We are constantly told that the expanding vaccine schedule has been killing children. Looking at the figures (PDF), we see that from 1935 to 2010 infant mortality fell by around 90%, as we all know. However, mortality in children aged 1-4, and those aged 5-14 also fell by about 90%, and fell by over 70% in those aged 15-24.

I suppose someone will pop up and claim that this is all down to improved hygiene, but Thomas Crapper's plumbing company was building flush toilets in the 1880s, and germ theory was widely understood by the end of the 19th century. I don't believe that hygiene made much difference to mortality over this period (apart from paradoxical effects on vulnerability to paralytic polio). I think it's improved medical care, particularly antibiotics and vaccines, that have made the greatest difference.
Clearly our evil Big Pharma paymasters are failing miserably. We must try harder.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 13 Dec 2013 #permalink

Hippie punching? All I saw was an argument that idiocy is no respecter of political affiliation.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 13 Dec 2013 #permalink

Re: airbags - Perhaps carolinewriter should note that if her child is left "bruised and harmed immediately after he was hurt by an air bag", then perhaps it did work as expected. While his bruises are certainly regrettable, the it may (I don't say is, just may) be that this is the minimum harm that the product can do while still providing the full expected benefit.

By Mephistopheles… (not verified) on 13 Dec 2013 #permalink

"Obviously this Disney-esque view of nature isn’t based on reality, but on the unconscious assumption that the world was designed to meet our needs."

Religious teachings reinforce this view. While is commonly associated with Christianity, a lot of the herbs-were-put-on-earth-to-serve-us types seem to be heavily into mystical eastern religions and philosophies (not all of which, I'd bet, are that mankind-centered).

By Dangerous Bacon (not verified) on 13 Dec 2013 #permalink

Perhaps carolinewriter should note that if her child is left “bruised and harmed immediately after he was hurt by an air bag”

A little OT, but children aren't supposed to ride in front with the air bags for that reason. Makes the analogy even worse.

By AnObservingParty (not verified) on 13 Dec 2013 #permalink

I don't know (or care) what the political leanings of Drs. Gordon and Sears are, because that is secondary to the fact that their anti-vaccine views expressed on facebook pages, web sites, speeches. books, blogs, webinars and you tube videos are, IMHO some of the most damaging things done to hurt vaccine rates in this county. Those two have no shame.

By Chris HIckie (not verified) on 13 Dec 2013 #permalink

A few things.

This comes back to what I was saying last time I stopped by, Are these cases of vaccine injury ever objectively investigated? What is the frequency of so called events?

It seems like both sides are making assumptions, one, the parent of a child assumes the vaccine did the injuring, and the other, SBM community assuming that the parent is confusing correlation with causation.

It seems like a good recipe for a continuing impasse.

The "dose makes the poison" is a oft used mantra here, but it makes much more sense to consider the other variables, like the underlying genetics or metabolism. This is just a more nuanced way of thinking about it.

The other thing I wanted to say is that what is important about "natural" is discerning when it is important or not to take this route. In some cases taking a natural approach makes sense, other cases maybe not.

Parents want what is best for their children. Common sense (rightly so) has told them that reducing chemical exposure is a good thing for their childrens' development. Considering most of the chemicals that are used today are untested and have no real toxological profile, the cautionary principle should prevail.

Also, It is wise to feed your child a wholesome diet, one that may emulate that of our ancestors is probably not that bad of an idea. In fact, it is generally in line with mainstream medical advice, eat many whole vegetables fruits, legumes and a variety of lean meats (from what i can gather this is basically a paleo diet) Funny thing is around here that just means buying local produce and meat and isn't about going to "posh" supermarkets, but rather food co-ops.

Buying meats from animals heavily laden with antiobiotics is also promoting the proliferation of antiobiotic resistant bacteria. Hopefully, this practice will be curtailed here in the states due to the recent FDA action, but we will have to see if it has any demonstrable impact. If you source your meat, or verify and trust your local co-op, then you can find farmers that use antibiotics in a responsible way--only treating sick animals that need it.

By skeptiquette (not verified) on 13 Dec 2013 #permalink

Beelzebud, I'm a dyed-in-the-wool leftie (member of the NDP here in Canada) and yet I see this all too often amongst some of my fellow lefties.

Here's another example for everyone's edification - there's a dispute here in my home province of BC about health care workers being required to get the flu vaccine. While I support the union's position to advocate for their members, I'm not a fan of them using junk science to back it up, like with this article from a prominent writer/activist: http://thetyee.ca/Opinion/2013/12/03/Evidence-Against-Flu-Shots/

As a pro-science leftie, I have no problem calling out the anti-vaccine, anti-gmo, alt-health types who try to lump in progressive beliefs with their particular form of woo.

@ Beezlebud:

If you stick around you might discover that quite a few very vocal liberals, leftists, socialists and probably a few communists number amongst Orac's minions- including yours truly.
I'm not joking and have never run a SB poll but I'd guess that the average is NOT conservative at all and that includes people from far more left-leaning countries than the US.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 13 Dec 2013 #permalink

Interdimensional Shape-Shifting Lizard-People,

Re studies cited on the "Fourteen Studies" website, on the page that starts,

You never hear about the science that has been published that helps support a connection between vaccines and autism and other disorders, and yet the list grows every day. Below we provide examples of some of that research.

Most of the papers have been analyzed and found severely wanting. A list with a great deal of overlap with the "Fourteen Studies" list was debunked, starting here

http://lizditz.typepad.com/i_speak_of_dreams/2013/08/-those-lists-of-pa…

@ AOP:
@ Andreas:

Right. I think that their ideas about the natural world may reflect what they read describing how the elves live in Tolkien or from19th century Romanticists' notions about antiquity or the pre-industrialised world.

Prior to Industry and Government, people lived in Freedom and Purity, eating of the santified fruits of the earth uncontaminated with poisons, drinking pristine water and living in harmony with Mother Nature and their Fellows.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 13 Dec 2013 #permalink

@skeptiquette - yes, adverse reactions to vaccines are thoroughly investigated...which is why we have a good sense at the rate at which they occur.

There are both pre and post-release safety surveillance programs - both here in the US & also overseas....and we certainly don't dismiss all claims out of hand, but both the number & seriousness of the claims that are made by anti-vax nut-jobs just aren't borne out by the actual research.

That's what they can't get through their thick skulls - that if reactions (serious ones) occurred at the rate they claim, it would be easy for research to show it - but instead, we see nothing of the sort.

@Denise - and died in droves from things like Cholera, the Plague, Malaria, and the other whole host of diseases that have been the bane of mankind since the beginning.....

Sarah A: To a large extent, the difference between lefty nature-woo types and righty fundie types is the difference between having a deity who sits to pee and one who stands.

DB: after "heavily into" I'd insert "Western interpretations (often created by charlatans) of". A lot of "indigenous spirituality" is related to Gerald Gardner in much the same way that "traditional Chinese medicine" is related to Mao Zedong.

Are these cases of vaccine injury ever objectively investigated?

Yes, skeptiquette. That's why we have VAERS. That's why DTP was replaced with DTaP.

The “dose makes the poison” is a oft used mantra here, but it makes much more sense to consider the other variables, like the underlying genetics or metabolism.

Vaccines are tested in large groups of people before being added to the schedule. If there were genetic or metabolic factors that provoked/worsened bad reactions, they would be picked up.

Common sense (rightly so) has told them that reducing chemical exposure is a good thing for their childrens’ development. Considering most of the chemicals that are used today are untested and have no real toxological profile, the cautionary principle should prevail.

Every single ingredient used in vaccines is thoroughly tested, and vaccines are thoroughly tested also. In addition, there is constant surveillance done on vaccines after they are added to the schedule.
You are JAQing off and concern trolling, skeptiquette. Stop it.

By Julian Frost (not verified) on 13 Dec 2013 #permalink

I think GMOs are dangerous

And I think my farts smell like roses, but that doesn't make it so.

Oprah, Dr. Oz, Bill Maher

Bill Maher and Penn Jillette are two names that spring to mind when I think of Prominent Atheists Who Make Us Look Like Asshats. To follow up Denise - I feel very strongly about calling out anti-science lefties/progressives, as I think we have a responsibility to be better - that progressivism has to include scientific progressivism, or it's meaningless.

By Roadstergal (not verified) on 13 Dec 2013 #permalink

@Roadstergal - Bill Maher really pisses me off...the guy wouldn't know real Science if it came up and bit him....

“Western interpretations (often created by charlatans)”. A lot of “indigenous spirituality” is related to Gerald Gardner in much the same way that “traditional Chinese medicine” is related to Mao Zedong.

There's a general pattern there... some indigenous group might have been robbed of all their *material* possessions by colonists, but the appropriation doesn't stop here -- if they still have *cultural* assets, the New Agers will take that too.

"These people must be spiritual -- after all, they no longer own any physical assets -- so let's steal their spirituality too."

This is part of my theory (and it is mine) that the New Age movement is libertarianism under another name. "These tribes have something we want, which they can't defend? OK, we're grabbing it."

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 13 Dec 2013 #permalink

I am staunchly pro-vaccine and I think a point that the article was making has been overlooked and I believe doing so undermines our case.

I have a friend whose son had a LEGITIMATE serious reaction to the DTAP vaccine. Legitimate as in where the DTAP says "Rare side effect: brain damage: 1 in 1 million". Their child collapsed within 30 hours after the vaccine and after a few days' coma emerged severely disabled, unable to walk, speak, lift his head. Permanently. They were compensated by the vaccine fund or whatever it is, but obviously that's pretty inadequate.

Anyway, my point is an extremely rare reaction can happen with a majority of drugs and clearly the statistics are vastly on the side of benefit over harm. I was hoping that my friend was one of those rare thinkers who would be able to see this, despite his personal loss, but understandably, they are now anti-vaccine. I think we as humans are not really great at imagining ourselves as part of a statistic once personal tragedy strikes.

Now, this is not to say the science-based community should accept dubious links to autism, etc, but that ANY industry can have consumers calling for "greater safety and oversight" and you can't characterize everyone doing so as a science-denier.

The tone of this article is overlooking that this person is not calling for an end to vaccines or encouraging anyone to refuse vaccines. So when there is a tone on the pro-vaccine side of dismissal: "Nothing bad EVER happens" it undermines our case by seeming defensive and disingenuous. There ARE cases of severe problems-- even if that's 1 in a million. You should state that up front before the other side tries to use your omission against you or imagines a cover-up conspiracy. Yes, 1 in a million will be severely brain damaged. There are very rare cases. If there were 2 cases a year of seat belts killing people in a crash but 500,000 cases of them saving lives, the seat belt industry should state the 2 cases up front, not downplay it. And then say "Yes, we always want to make them safer, we have a department working on improving the safety of the seat belts". That is good PR, but it's also what consumers ask of EVERY product's manufacturer.

I KNOW my pee smells like a vitamin shop (Vitamin B complex prescribed by my doctor).

Caroline accused me of being a "teabagger", because I commented back at her.

"Are these cases of vaccine injury ever objectively investigated?"

You bet they are. That's why Rotashield vaccine was voluntarily recalled by the manufacturer, once CDC started to investigate an uptick in cases of intussusception...and removed permanently from distribution.

http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd-vac/rotavirus/vac-rotashield-historical…

@Lawrence and Julian.
apparently you didn't understand my questions.

I am wondering if the claims, like the author's of the Kos article, are actually ever investigated?

Did she ever take her child that was allegedly vaccine injured in for a check up after the injury? if so, what did they find? In any of these cases where parents report an change/injury subsequent to vaccination, Is there a medical examination that either refutes this or validates this on a case by case basis? This is what I am wondering. That isn't concern trolling, I am genuinely curious.

Julian, when I was clarifying the "dose is the poison" mantra, I wasn't specifically applying it to vaccines, just in general, touting the "dose makes the poison" doesn't seem to be a thorough way to look at it.

I for one think we could do a better job testing vaccines, which may ultimately help solve the issues of today. But I also, think that this will require more advanced technology that is currently being developed. It's just the way of the world, you can always make something better.

By skeptiquette (not verified) on 13 Dec 2013 #permalink

@zaster - that's why a Vaccine Information Sheet is given to each and every person (parents of children, for example) before any vaccine is given....it clearly states what the risks are....

@Julian Frost

From a research standpoint, the more pertinent registry is the Vaccine Safety Datalink, which is constantly being mined for near-real-time data on vaccine safety and reactions. VAERS reports are investigated, but may not always be used for as in-depth research as the VSD.

"I for one think we could do a better job testing vaccines, which may ultimately help solve the issues of today. "

What, exactly, do you see as significant shortcomings in the current vaccine testing process? And what are your suggestions for improvement? Not being snotty here, I'd like to know.

Zaster, I actually see it differently.
I agree with you that we should openly acknowledge real vaccine injuries. It's a horrible tragedy for a family facing that. No compensation can reverse it, but they should at least be compensated. But I don't think that's what the article is saying. I think the article's author is exactly one of those who is asking us to accept any vaccine injury claim with no evidence or against the evidence. I think by doing that, she is actually hurting those with real vaccine injuries, because she is creating a situation that casts doubt on their stories. I think it's fair to call her out.

@skeptiquette

Every report to VAERS is investigated by CDC. Where medical records are available, they can usually determine whether or not the reported injury is connected to the vaccine. However, the entries are not updated after investigation, so whatever you see there may not represent subsequent information that has been gained after investigation.

So when there is a tone on the pro-vaccine side of dismissal: “Nothing bad EVER happens”

Zaster, I dare you to show us a single instance of any pro-vaccine person saying this at any point, ever.

@ skeptiquette: If you read Caroline's posts, she claimed that her child was given the hepatitis B vaccine birth dose and was hospitalized in the NICU for 4 days (for some unknown reason).

She also claimed she did not sign permission for her child to receive that vaccine and she was too busy to file a claim for vaccine injury...because she was busy changing her child's diapers for six years....all anecdotal.

Too bad you didn't see the nasty comments made by Caroline and her pal directed at me, accusing me of being a "big phama shill" and having other COIs as well as lying about being a Registered Nurse. Those comments and my replies were removed by the moderator.

apparently you didn’t understand my questions.

I am wondering if the claims, like the author’s of the Kos article, are actually ever investigated?

You didn't understand my answer. They ARE investigated. A problem was found with the original DTP, so the whole-cell pertussis component was replaced with an acellular pertussis component. That wouldn't have happened if the claims weren't investigated.

By Julian Frost (not verified) on 13 Dec 2013 #permalink

P.S. Thanks Todd W for that info on the VSD.

By Julian Frost (not verified) on 13 Dec 2013 #permalink

Todd,

No, every report to VAERS is not investigated... I just read your post about it that CH linked to and it clearly says that selected serious cases are investigated further (which definitely does not mean ALL), which is also what I just read on the CDC website.

Julian,

Ok, so sometimes in selected serious cases the CDC will attempt to get further records to investigate a case(we are not talking about an actual medical examination here), but many times situations like Caroline's will not be investigated and then we are all left making assumptions...

There has to be a way to make it better than that.

By skeptiquette (not verified) on 13 Dec 2013 #permalink

@lilady

I saw the comments (on the DK post) directed at you, before they were removed, and rolled my eyes so hard, I think I strained something. I admire your tenacity and thick skin!

@skepticette - no, all "serious" reports are investigated, if they are able to get medical records and / or real contact information (there are several Gardisil reports that list out as "Respondent saw on the Internet that someone died) - not exactly the kind of report you can follow up on, can you?

A problem was found with the original DTP

Didn't that turn out to be Dravet Syndrome, as discovered not too long ago?

By AnObservingParty (not verified) on 13 Dec 2013 #permalink

skeptiquette,

Julian, when I was clarifying the “dose is the poison” mantra, I wasn’t specifically applying it to vaccines, just in general, touting the “dose makes the poison” doesn’t seem to be a thorough way to look at it.

Here's an example: I have often seen people complaining that some vaccines contain formaldehyde, and saying it is insane injecting a known carcinogen into children etc. etc..

However, when we look at this more closely, we find that the largest amount of formaldehyde in any vaccine is 0.1 milligrams, and our bodies naturally produce and metabolize large amounts of formaldehyde; one study estimated that the daily turnover of formaldehyde is 31,000-59,000 milligrams per day, mostly from the breakdown of methylated amino acids and methanol in our diets.

If our bodies metabolize over 31,000 milligrams of formaldehyde each and every day, it is clearly ridiculous to claim that injecting 0.1 milligram could possibly be harmful.
Not only that, many foods naturally contain formaldehyde such as apples which contain up to 22.3 mg/kg, pears up to 60 mg/kg and dried shiitake mushrooms with up to 406 mg/kg.

We inevitably find a yawning gulf of several orders of magnitude between the amount of a "toxin" in a vaccine and the minimum amount we know it would take to possibly do any harm. It is very difficult to see how anyone could be so sensitive to formaldehyde, for example, that a quarter of a millionth of the amount their body naturally deals with every day could hurt them.

That's what is meant by "the dose makes the poison": some doses cannot plausibly be poisonous, no matter how "sensitive" a child might be.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 13 Dec 2013 #permalink

To build on what Krebiozen is saying: yes, skeptiquette, the dose certainly does make the poison. Vaccinations also contain water, which in sufficient doses (smaller than many people think) is certainly life-threatening to infants and toddlers. If you don't believe me, look up "water intoxication."

So yes, the dose makes the poison is a "thorough way to look at it," because generations of toxicologists have established and continue to revise our understanding of the safe exposure levels for these substances. Throwing up your hands in horror at OMG! Chemicals! is the opposite of thorough.

Kreb,

Traditionally, the phrase just means that all things are poisonous and it depends on the dose. I was just stating that this mantra is often used without considering the other side of the equation.

In your specific case, yes, the dose is too small to have any toxic effect, and you can probably interpret the phrase to mean what you are suggesting.

By skeptiquette (not verified) on 13 Dec 2013 #permalink

The following ingredients are in the DTaP-IPV/Hib (Pentacel) vaccine, just for example. This is from the CDC site. Is it not plausible that SOME infants might get a dangerous reaction from these? The package inserts on each vaccine, and on GARDISIL!

1. No doubt it is possible to use the "Gardisil" spelling and not be a frothing loon, but it's hard to find evidence of this on the Interweb. Frothing loons seem to be attracted to the misspelling as if it is a shibboleth, a badge of membership.

2. With the Pentacel description, carolinewriter managed to single out the one entry in the Pinkbook appendix which lists 'gutaraldehyde' as a possible contaminant -- an obvious typo for 'glutaraldehyde' in all the entries above and below. Does the former just sounds scarier?

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 13 Dec 2013 #permalink

No doubt it is possible to use the “Gardisil” spelling and not be a frothing loon

No offense intended to Lawrence @65.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 13 Dec 2013 #permalink

Madder,

why is it difficult to understand that there is another part to the equation?

Not to mention that some substances don't follow a normal dose/response relationship or linearity.

Im not throwing up my hands saying OMG chemicals are bad, I am saying that the large majority of chemicals are un-tested and do not have a toxological profile and therefore a precautionary principle is the best way to go.

So, would it be better to have a general toxological profile of a substance or one that recognizes how that profile interacts with specific genomics?

By skeptiquette (not verified) on 13 Dec 2013 #permalink

According to the NIH and CDC, it is incorrect to say that "1 in a million will be severely brain damaged" by the DTaP vaccine.

Their conclusion is that severe allergic reactions occur after less than one out of a million doses, and that: "Several other severe problems have been reported after DTaP vaccine. These include: long-term seizures, coma, or lowered consciousness; permanent brain damage. These are so rare it is hard to tell if they are caused by the vaccine."

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/meds/a682198.html

Zaster: "So when there is a tone on the pro-vaccine side of dismissal: “Nothing bad EVER happens” it undermines our case by seeming defensive and disingenuous."

As already indicated, there is no vaccine expert, public health organization or medical society making any such claim, and I have never seen _any_ pro-vaccine advocate no matter what their education level say such a thing either.

I am therefore getting a flavor of concern troll from your post, i.e. "Gee, I'm pro-vaccine and all, but we have to stop behaving so badly."

Sure you are.

Thanks for your input though. ;)

By Dangerous Bacon (not verified) on 13 Dec 2013 #permalink

Damn.....okay, I will do a better job of checking my spelling next time....

As a researcher and not an MD, I used to point out that when somebody is brought into the emergency room with chest pain, the response by the physician on duty is not to say, "Ah, this is interesting. Let me write a grant application to study this problem in depth."

No, the doctor has to do something about the immediate problem. It's similar for the case of potentially fatal, infectious diseases. If you look at how many people diptheria used to kill, or the suffering and long term effects of pertussis, you begin to understand that perfection is not the immediate aim, but the highest level of prevention absent a large number of serious side effects is. Luckily for humanity, vaccines are pretty close to the imagined perfection in terms of serious side effects, and fairly good in conferring immunity.

The comments by Dangerous Bacon @73 above lead the rationalist to conclude that the DTaP vaccine probably never causes the most serious effects, because they are seen in that one-in-a-million even without the vaccine. Maybe they do, but probably they don't.

The serious question for the rest of us, parents and non-parents alike, is whether it is better for our society to accept that enormously small risk in order to obliterate a very large level of suffering by a large number of people and a lot of dead infants. The argument is strong for polio vaccine and equally strong for measles vaccine, since the ubiquity of measles in an unvaccinated population does more overall damage to more people than polio does. I've been lectured on this by a friend who is a retired pediatrician, who had to deal with sick children during a time when some of these vaccines were not yet available.

So yes, I find the argument that vaccines are not yet perfect to be a perfect case of concern trolling, illogical and unconvincing.

The interesting point in an age of vaccine denialism is that the more the anti-vaccine trope spreads, the more danger there is to the unvaccinated children of the denialists. I think we see that more in Europe and Britain at the moment, but the number of deaths from pertussis in California alone last year ought to give one pause.

@ Zaster: I don't recall anyone, anywhere, who is pro-vaccine state that (exceedingly) rare adverse events (on the order of 1:1,000,000 doses administered, or less) have not occurred. Side effects, including seizures, were reported, when DPT vaccines were given. That's the reason why DTaP vaccine was phased in, beginning 1991.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8620224

I also provided Caroline with a link to the study which determined that many (not all), children who developed siezures/encephalopathy after DPT vaccines, and who were compensated by the "Vaccine Court" for vaccine injury, were tested for gene mutations and found to have Dravet Syndrome, a degenerative genetic disorder which causes severe myoclonic epilepsy.

http://www.healio.com/pediatrics/vaccine-preventable-diseases/news/prin…

Genetic testing advised in alleged vaccine-induced encephalopathy

Infectious Diseases in Children, January 2012

"....SMEI caused by spontaneous mutations

In the first study, which appeared in Lancet Neurology in 2006, researchers evaluated 96 children with unexplained encephalopathy and seizures identified at 1 year of age or younger. Fourteen of these children who had symptom onset within 72 hours of receipt of the diphtheria-(whole-cell) pertussis-tetanus (DPT) vaccine were further evaluated. Eleven who met the criteria for post-vaccine encephalopathy corresponded to the phenotype for severe myoclonic epilepsy of infancy (SMEI), or Dravet syndrome, and 10 of these 11 children had mutations in the gene, Pickering said.

The researchers further found no family history of severe epilepsy, nor did they find the mutation among parents from whom they collected blood — a finding that the researchers said provided “a compelling explanation of the cause of the encephalopathy.”

“The results show that alleged vaccine encephalopathy appears to be a genetically determined epileptic encephalopathy that arose de novo,” Pickering said. “This article reported that SMEI is caused by severe and often spontaneous mutations in SCN1A gene (neuronal sodium channel subunit).”

If you read Caroline's post, her claim was the Hepatitis B birth dose caused her child's autism. And, she never filed a claimed with the U.S. Court of Federal Claims.

(Watch for the anecdote)

My children were born 1970 and 1976 and they both received whole cell pertussis vaccines (DTP). My daughter was born healthy and had quite significant reactions to DPT shots (high fevers and inconsolable crying).

My son was born with a rare genetic disorder which caused multiple profound physical and intellectual impairments and a grand mal seizure disorder that was only partially controlled by anticonvulsant medication (first seizure in the NICU at 20 hours old and resuscitated). You bet your sweet a$$, I was reluctant to have him vaccinated with the whole cell DTP vaccine. He never had any reactions to the DPT shots...or any other vaccines.

I do understand your point, skeptiquette. What I'm saying is that the minimum threshold for a poisonous dose of any vaccine ingredient is not met for nearly all humans. The risk is not zero, as you seem to prefer, but small enough that it is outweighed by vaccination's benefit to the recipient.

But please name even one of the "large majority of chemicals" used as vaccine ingredients that are "untested and do not have a toxicological profile."

@lilady--they remove shill claims? Wow. I left there years ago after I got called a Monsanto shill all the time. Oddly that was approved by management.

(mem from somerville)

Madder,

I actually wasn't referring to any vaccine ingredients...

In my first post, I talked both about vaccines and "natural" tendencies. The statements that you are referring to were IRT "natural" parents avoiding chemicals. I wasn't making any claims to the ingredients of vaccines. Sorry for the misunderstanding.

By skeptiquette (not verified) on 13 Dec 2013 #permalink

@ Mary (mem) I hereby nominate you for today "Internets Award", for posting on Caroline's DK diary...and linking to Orac's post. :-)

This comes back to what I was saying last time I stopped by, Are these cases of vaccine injury ever objectively investigated? What is the frequency of so called events?

Yes they are investigated in multiple ways. If an alleged vaccine injury is recorded into VAERS then it is followed up on by the CDC. If a frequency of events with commonality (e.g. Rotashield and intussusception) is detected then more action is taken such as pulling the vaccine from the market until a thorough investigation is completed. In the case of a vaccine-autism causation claim well that was rather dispensed with in the OAP. There is also the VSD which constantly monitors vaccine safety and adverse events. Those detected are placed in the NVICP as table injuries e.g. ITP and measles vaccination or transient arthritis and rubella vaccination post-puberty. There are also academic studies which contribute to the body of knowledge regarding vaccine adverse events. If you feel as though monitoring could be improved, I'm sure examples would be interesting discussion.

It seems like both sides are making assumptions, one, the parent of a child assumes the vaccine did the injuring, and the other, SBM community assuming that the parent is confusing correlation with causation.

I don't agree. Given what I outlined above and the copious data available along with the experience (at least my own) in following numerous parental claims of "vaccine damage", it is not simple assumption dismissing such claims. If you want to examine this phenomenon I would highly recommend reading some NVICP decisions especially of those making the most noise on this front; I have no doubt you will find them illuminating.

It seems like a good recipe for a continuing impasse.

Yes but what of it? The same exists with AGW deniers, creationists and young-earthers. You just can't reason with some true believers and you will always have them. Just because a belief exists doesn't mean it's valid.

The “dose makes the poison” is a oft used mantra here, but it makes much more sense to consider the other variables, like the underlying genetics or metabolism. This is just a more nuanced way of thinking about it.

All right such as? If a child is so exquisitely sensitive to vaccine excipients as to cause whatever malady is asserted then how could they possibly survive living? What about biological plausibility? Are you considering a claim versus what makes sense biologically?

The other thing I wanted to say is that what is important about “natural” is discerning when it is important or not to take this route. In some cases taking a natural approach makes sense, other cases maybe not.

Quite true as far as I understand but what can you provide for an example? "Natural" is often overdone and not really understood by those who abuse it. I have found that those who worship "natural" don't consider the negative aspects of natural.

Parents want what is best for their children. Common sense (rightly so) has told them that reducing chemical exposure is a good thing for their childrens’ development. Considering most of the chemicals that are used today are untested and have no real toxological profile, the cautionary principle should prevail.

To some extent I agree with you; I've certainly taken this approach with my own children. However you would have to provide some examples of what you claim by chemicals used today are untested to fully understand what you refer to.

Also, It is wise to feed your child a wholesome diet, one that may emulate that of our ancestors is probably not that bad of an idea. In fact, it is generally in line with mainstream medical advice, eat many whole vegetables fruits, legumes and a variety of lean meats (from what i can gather this is basically a paleo diet) Funny thing is around here that just means buying local produce and meat and isn’t about going to “posh” supermarkets, but rather food co-ops.

I'm afraid you don't fully appreciate the "types" we refer to. Denice Walter does an excellent job of describing the disparity between all of the "health" experts, e.g. Null, Adams and Mercola et al's claims. Funnily, the former two have been stricken rather ill or "toxic" by their own recommendations.

Buying meats from animals heavily laden with antiobiotics is also promoting the proliferation of antiobiotic resistant bacteria. Hopefully, this practice will be curtailed here in the states due to the recent FDA action, but we will have to see if it has any demonstrable impact. If you source your meat, or verify and trust your local co-op, then you can find farmers that use antibiotics in a responsible way–only treating sick animals that need it.

I couldn't agree more and if only people would pursue such a sensible and demonstrably harmful issue rather than just screed against everything "unnatural" then something may have been accomplished by now.

By Science Mom (not verified) on 13 Dec 2013 #permalink

Beelezebud: I assume you're either a former or current hippie. Well, guess what, bud, it was your generation that left things half finished and vanished into smug suburbs, raising yuppie kids who shop organic and whine on the 'net about how the perfect kids they wanted aren't the kids they got.

By Politicalguineapig (not verified) on 13 Dec 2013 #permalink

Don't any of these people remember the kids crippled by prenatal rubella, the army of kids who lived in iron lungs, the kids in my elementary school class who had to wear braces of polio. the closing of swimming pools because of the polio epidemics. I spent much of my internship sitting with a tracheotomy set at the bedside of kids with pertussis or hemophyllus epiglottitis. I saw two deaths from tetanus in a year. Is this worth it?
BTW I am an AGW denialist because I don't think the evidence is all in and we need to keep looking at the evidence. It is not "settled science ( http://dailycaller.com/2013/12/13/study-earth-was-warmer-in-roman-medie…). To me the AGW people have more in common with the anti-vaccine people. But that is just my viewpoint. I think that we need to keep looking at the evidence on all of these things. Maybe there are improvements to be made in the vaccines but they will be made based on the evidence, not on correlation=causation, same as AGW.

@ Lawrence:

Sure.
I searched and found material (from medicins sans frontieres/ drs without borders) that shows that many of these illnesses still percolate amongst us. Their "medical activities" in 2013 include care for infectious diseases :
Malaria 1642 K
Cholera 57 K
TB 30 K
Measles 716 K
Meningitis 499 K

These diseases ( and polio) are not eradicated yet although the average 'thinking mom' in her insulated, well-appointed living room would never know it as decries the h3ll vaccines have wrought on mankind.
She never witnessed outbreaks of measles etc because all of her classmates were vaccinated.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 13 Dec 2013 #permalink

Tdoc --
(1) No, they don't remember those horrible consequences. They're almost all too young.
(2) Why the hell do you think you understand climatology better than climatologists and atmospheric physicists? Because you took physics in college? Please.

By palindrom (not verified) on 13 Dec 2013 #permalink

No, every report to VAERS is not investigated… I just read your post about it that CH linked to and it clearly says that selected serious cases are investigated further (which definitely does not mean ALL), which is also what I just read on the CDC website.

Every credible (an even incredible e.g. a vaccine turning the recipient into the Incredible Hulk) entry with sufficient identifying information is followed up on. A second or third hand report is not or those with which an undeniable alternate cause of death/illness is listed are not. What more do you want?

Traditionally, the phrase just means that all things are poisonous and it depends on the dose. I was just stating that this mantra is often used without considering the other side of the equation.

What is the other side of the equation?

Not to mention that some substances don’t follow a normal dose/response relationship or linearity.

Absolutely true but how do the piteously small concentrations of any vaccine excipient skew response to the point of injury but eating, living and breathing do not?

Im not throwing up my hands saying OMG chemicals are bad, I am saying that the large majority of chemicals are un-tested and do not have a toxological profile and therefore a precautionary principle is the best way to go.

I know you aren't saying that. But what vaccine excipients do you feel as though fall under the auspices of "not tested" and should therefore be subject to the precautionary principle? I would also add that the precautionary principle is a broad term which can mean a rather large number of interventions so what precisely do you mean?

So, would it be better to have a general toxological profile of a substance or one that recognizes how that profile interacts with specific genomics?

And someday we will be there or close to it but how does that help us now? The technology you suggest isn't exactly there yet let alone applicable on a population basis.

By Science Mom (not verified) on 13 Dec 2013 #permalink

"B. Several of the commenters on the Couric threads have been banging the Vioxx drum very hard. Is this a new approach?"

Yeah Gang -- what should be our united defense when the quacks keep throwing pharma's Vioxx debacle in our face? Should we just dismiss it as, 'that was then and this is now'? (Hee hee hee).

@skeptiquette

I just read your post about it that CH linked to and it clearly says that selected serious cases are investigated further (which definitely does not mean ALL), which is also what I just read on the CDC website.

I was writing quickly from memory and oversimplified, so I did mistake about "all events" being investigated. That said, you also make a mistake. It does not say "selected serious cases". It says that "VAERS staff follow-up on all serious" adverse event reports, as well as "other selected" adverse event reports (i.e., selected non-serious events). So all of those reports that anti-vaccine activists freak out about (e.g., seizures, paralysis, and, yes, deaths) are investigated. Why? Because if it turns out that they actually were caused by a vaccine, then it may be cause to reevaluate recommendations, suspend certain lots or brands, or revoke approval for a vaccine. Non-serious events are investigated selectively, partly due to resource availability and partly because whether the event is caused by the vaccine or not, if it is not serious, it is less likely to affect recommendations or approval of the vaccine.

These days MADD is very obviously anti-drinking at least as much as it is anti-drunk driving.

It doesn't look as though anyone else has done it, so... ObDebraOberlin. Founder Candy Lightner has noted the issue.

I wonder (though not with a great deal of curiosity) how caroline the crazy Kos lady's poll turned out (with its limited and loaded choices).

Naturally I voted for the sacrifice-your-kid-to-the-greater-good-and-STFU option, which seemed eminently reasonable compared to the other hairbrained choices.

By Dangerous Bacon (not verified) on 13 Dec 2013 #permalink

Hippie punching? All I saw was an argument that idiocy is no respecter of political affiliation.

Hippie-punching is a bad thing now? You know who else felt the need to coopt the Lebensreform? Of course you do.

Skeptiquette:
I for one think we could do a better job testing vaccines, which may ultimately help solve the issues of today. But I also, think that this will require more advanced technology that is currently being developed.

You seem to be arguing that the anti-vaccine lobby is motivated by deficiencies in the present tests of vaccines, and that more definitive tests of safety would allay their concerns. I am not seeing this. All I see is a lot of motivated reasoning, and people completely ignoring the tests which have been conducted, preferring to stick their fingers in their ears. Could you be more specific about the inadequacies of existing studies, or how future technologies and statistical analyses could be made more informative?

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 13 Dec 2013 #permalink

The Vioxx thing is another part of the evidential deficit. In an effort to make good on their allegations about vaccines, they try to plug the holes with information about anything else. HIV denialists do the same.

This line of approach eventually leads to the Bilderberg Group and the Illuminati.

Considering most of the chemicals that are used today are untested and have no real toxological profile, the cautionary principle should prevail.

I cannot help but be reminded of an underappreciated food-combiner who warned against excessive dietary carbon.

Well, my mother is one of those people who get extreme negative reactions to flu vaccine (including fever so high that she was delirious) - in a way, following the flu shot she got something like flu, only squared. That does not stop the rest of the family from getting the shot, also for her sake, so that we would not spread the virus to her, if possible.

Well, guess what, bud, it was your generation that left things half finished and vanished into smug suburbs, raising yuppie kids who shop organic and whine on the ‘net about how the perfect kids they wanted aren’t the kids they got.

I guess I'm missing the part where Beelzebud's "generation" is identified. Or what "half finished" means. Or how "smug suburbs" is defined. Or how the producers of "yuppie kids" who then "whine about" not having "perfect kids" created exurbia.

Let's think about this for a second. Jerry Rubin was born in 1938. Abbie Hoffman, 1936. Ed Sanders, 1939. These "Yuppie children" to which you refer would be about 50 years old. And your surmise is that this group comprises those complaining "on the 'net about how the perfect kids they wanted aren’t the kids they got"?

^ (Then again, the outside shot preceding the Brady Bunch's "Time to Change" is of the "Mercola Building.")

BobG says: "The serious question for the rest of us, parents and non-parents alike, is whether it is better for our society to accept that enormously small risk in order to obliterate a very large level of suffering by a large number of people and a lot of dead infants. "

Yes I think the whole argument would be better if it were cooler-headed and probability-based. Unfortunately, the problem is we can't say "You have a 1 in a million chance of brain damage, but X chance of life-threatening disease if you don't vaccinate" because when people don't vaccinate, they are free-loading off of everyone else's immunity. They want to live in a healthy society, but they don't want to take any part of the risk that that requires. So, in effect, other people are taking on their share of the risk for them. This is the proper way to understand what's going on. Often times these people say "Yeah, but this is MY kid," defaulting to the instinctual imperative to protect their own child above others. So it's anti-social and should be framed as such.

What I would like to see is more foolproof mandating of vaccination at schools, children's programs, etc. with more stringent requirements for exemption. I believe we need laws requiring these kinds of environments to publicly disclose the year's vaccination rate. Like the disclaimer on a cigarette-pack. Make it undesirable to have a low number. I don't want to send my kid to a school and find out later that I was putting her in an environment every day with a 20% vaccination rate. A lot of these are private schools with large amounts of wealthy people seeking exemptions. So make the school with $30,000/year tuition have to prominently display their 50% vaccination rate along with their advertising.

Or maybe how about a law that any such institution has to arrange whatever exemptions it gives so that it hits a 90% rate for example. So: "sorry, we can't accept your child because we have maxed out our exemptions for this year."

Or maybe how about a law that any such institution has to arrange whatever exemptions it gives so that it hits a 90% rate for example. So: “sorry, we can’t accept your child because we have maxed out our exemptions for this year.”

It might be more straightforward to just blanket Craigslist with solicitations for work-at-home positions under the "Obananacare" category signed by the Secretary of Education.

Zaster,
The vaccines=autism crowd (supported by the author of the criticized Daily Kos post) is not on the same side as “LEGITIMATE serious reaction[s]” to vaccines.”

Zoster

What I would like to see is more foolproof mandating of vaccination at schools, children’s programs, etc. with more stringent requirements for exemption. I believe we need laws requiring these kinds of environments to publicly disclose the year’s vaccination rate.

I don’t know where you live. The state of California provides the reported data school by school: http://www.cdph.ca.gov/programs/immunize/Pages/ImmunizationLevels.aspx
Downloadable excel spreadsheets, organized by county.

If your state doesn't -- ask your legislators.

Palindrome: no, I had a minor in ecology and the prof's kept warning about the coming ice age that was inevitable because of pollution. And I read both sides of the question, which seems to be uncommon.

Zaster notes (#99): What I would like to see is more foolproof mandating of vaccination at schools, children’s programs, etc. with more stringent requirements for exemption. I believe we need laws requiring these kinds of environments to publicly disclose the year’s vaccination rate. Like the disclaimer on a cigarette-pack. Make it undesirable to have a low number. I don’t want to send my kid to a school and find out later that I was putting her in an environment every day with a 20% vaccination rate. A lot of these are private schools with large amounts of wealthy people seeking exemptions. So make the school with $30,000/year tuition have to prominently display their 50% vaccination rate along with their advertising.

Or maybe how about a law that any such institution has to arrange whatever exemptions it gives so that it hits a 90% rate for example. So: “sorry, we can’t accept your child because we have maxed out our exemptions for this year.”

Here in AZ in 2012 a bill was introduced mandating all school disclose their immunization rates. It never got out of committee, and I don't know of any states that have such a bill, but I sure do wish there was, because I think it would wake that sleeping giant of parents who do vaccinate but just don't realize how bad vaccination rates really are in a lot of these schools.

By Chris Hickie (not verified) on 14 Dec 2013 #permalink

@ Zaster

Exactly. What these groups don't understand is that nobody is against informed consent, these parents just need to be properly informed of the actual risks. If a group such as Generation Rescue really was interested in informed consent--as they now claim to be--the page indicating it wouldn't use inflammatory language, link to the NVIC, or list ways to take advantage of exemptions, or the the very least would include links to the ACIP, AAP, etc right next to the others. They also wouldn't advocate getting around exemptions with fake claims; informed consent means knowing the right information and understanding the consequences of making a decision to reduce harm to others. Much like if I choose to drink--my choice as a legal adult--I am not allowed to operate a motor vehicle and will suffer consequences if I'm caught doing so.

My state doesn't have, that I know of, data available to the public about school district rates, as we really haven't had problems the way other states like CA have. Going forward, flu shot uptake in hospitals will be available through the public report card.

Interestingly, aside from a quote in a CNN article from the Autism Action Network about pursuing a lawsuit, I have seen much kerfluffle re: NYC's new flu shot requirement for daycare/preschool. Granted, I don't wade in the stupid the way a lot of the posters here do (it hurts me)...has anyone seen an uproar?

By AnObservingParty (not verified) on 14 Dec 2013 #permalink

Tdoc,

I had a minor in ecology and the prof’s kept warning about the coming ice age that was inevitable because of pollution. And I read both sides of the question, which seems to be uncommon.

At risk of derailing this thread:

a) It's a myth that in the 70s mainstream science was warning about an ice-age due to pollution and
b) there is no other side of the question that I can see. It is certain beyond reasonable doubt that the earth is warming and that greenhouse gases generated by man are largely to blame.

There are arguments about the extent of the warming and its repercussions, about what impact reducing carbon emissions will have and if we would be better spending money on dealing with its effects rather than preventing them, but that's about the extent of any controversy.

AGW denialism has been discussed by Orac here before.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 14 Dec 2013 #permalink

Tdoc @103 --

I had a minor in ecology and the prof’s kept warning about the coming ice age that was inevitable because of pollution. And I read both sides of the question, which seems to be uncommon.

OK, then. I'm an astronomer with over 30 years of research experience. I know how radiation transfer and molecular spectroscopy work. In my own field I've published well over 100 refereed articles, and continue to publish as I approach retirement.. I have long had an interest in earth sciences -- sometimes I wish I'd decided to look down rather than up -- and have many earth scientist buddies. I've been following this "debate" for years.

You apparently were educated back in the 1970s -- I remember an atmospheric physics course I took back then in which the possibility that particulate pollution would cause overall coolin was mentioned, but EVEN THEN this was known to be balanced against a CO2-driven warming. At that point it wasn't entirely clear which was going to predominate.

The last 40 years have brought both a clearer understanding of the physical picture, and 40 more years of data. And there is, at this point, not a single credible expert on the question who disagrees with the consensus that has resulted -- the current warming is in fact happening, it is driven primarily by anthropogenic CO2, and it is likely to be very problematical for the systems we have come to depend on.

Apologies to all for derailing the thread, but as many have pointed out, this is the physical-science equivalence of vaccine denialism. In this case, though, the anti-science is being pushed not by a ragtag band of folks out in the boonies, but by an incredibly clever propaganda effort run out of lavishly-funded, well-connected think tanks. They have brilliantly created a manufactoversy around this and, with almost diabolical cleverness, made it so that you can't be a cool kid in right-wing circles unless you think the scientists are all wrong. The scientific community is up against an 800-pound gorilla in this case, with the future of civilization very possibly hanging in the balance.

By palindrom (not verified) on 14 Dec 2013 #permalink

@ palindrom:

Even I was aware of CO2-driven warming in the mid-to-late 1970's - I was a liberal arts student with an interest in natural and social science.
-btw- detours like your own are as worthwhile as they are entertaining. PLUS it's Saturday. Fire away.

In other anti-vax news:

Olmstead's Weekly Wrap** opines that Couric caved to "pharma pressure" to recant on the HufPo but he's grateful to her anyway. I guess it's better than nothing- i.e. what's he's getting from mainstream media generally.

2013 was "The Year of Taking It All Back" because of the aforementioned fiasco and
- the Columbia School of Journalism "dis-inviting" AoA to a conference of special focus bloggery
- the much anticipated congressional hearing was "postponed indefinitely"

** which should be wrapped tightly and tossed, weekly.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 14 Dec 2013 #permalink

2013 was “The Year of Taking It All Back” because of the aforementioned fiasco and
- the Columbia School of Journalism “dis-inviting” AoA to a conference of special focus bloggery
- the much anticipated congressional hearing was “postponed indefinitely”

Yet they still can't take the hint can they?

By Science Mom (not verified) on 14 Dec 2013 #permalink

@ Science Mom:

Oh, I know.
I'm intrigued by their perseverance- not to mention their perseveration.
So how long is it now since AJW was ceremoniously struck off and discarded upon the dustheap of history? The die-hards are hanging on by their fingernails amidst dissent, splintering ( Jake, Barry), competition ( TMR, Fearless Parent) , name-changes ( the Canary Party) and dis-interest by the mainstream- both by the media and the general public- except for this minor glitch.

Most of the leaders are aged 40-60+ - given the fact that life expectancy for white, middle class and above people in the (so-called) western world is edging towards 80- we can expect that they'll be around for a while.

Now I have to go back and finish researching which Scotch is the best as a gift for some elite perfectionist.
I suspect that "glen" will be part of the name.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 14 Dec 2013 #permalink

I've been slumming at AoA and Dan is in a snit because this year has been a disaster for him personally, and for his groupies.

Meanwhile at Jake's blog; he's been caught red-handed telling porkies about Matthew Herpers Forbes blog and the Katie Couric fiasco...thanks to "Larry" and Rebecca Fisher.

Skeptiquette said, "Parents want what is best for their children. Common sense (rightly so) has told them that reducing chemical exposure is a good thing for their childrens’ development. Considering most of the chemicals that are used today are untested and have no real toxological profile, the cautionary principle should prevail."

This isn't really correct - chemicals introduced to the market today MUST be tested for toxicology, etc - that's the law in both the US and under REACH in the EU.

But besides that, the compounds in vaccines are known - both in quantity and toxicology. They have been tried and tested.

Formaldehyde? Our bodies produce, metabolize and excrete more HCHO than you'll find in any vaccine. 22 mg per minute are metabolized in our livers.

If parents want to 'reduce' chemical exposure, they can start with throwing out their furniture, floorings, removing wallpaper and paint - no sealants on the hardwoods, no clothes, etc.

Complaining about the compounds in vaccines (which are given only occasionally) being dangerous is like complaining your kitchen faucet is leaky while your house is underwater.

Olmstead’s Weekly Wrap
Is this a euphemism for "straitjacket"?

researching which Scotch is the best
You'll never get two Scotch-drinkers to agree on that. Glenfarclas is good. Highland Park, or Scapa.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 14 Dec 2013 #permalink

A disasterous year for anti-vaxxers?

Again guys let me give you my honest take -- being the straight shooter that I am. The anti-vaxxers are starting to win the PR battle. And perhaps the foremost impetus for this is the fact that vaccine adverse events are becomming so common and ttsalient. 1 in 5O kids with autism--more than 1 in 10 with ADHD--the allergies, asthma,diabetes -- now we have Gardasil ruin the livee of teenage girls?

Seriously guys--did you expect the public to remain asleep for ever? They are starting to wake up and listen to the quacks.
Sure there are the aforemented push-backs by vaccine defenders, but there is a sense of futility to it. It may prevent the immediate destruction of the vaccination campaign. But, such heavy handed tactics breed more distrusts, giving the impression that you guys really have something to hide.
I told you before and will tell you again -- it's a hopeless game. You are bound to get your butts whooped (or as Edith Prickly puts it --'open a can of ass-whooped). And, the longer you wait expect the worst thrashing!

Now I have to go back and finish researching which Scotch is the best as a gift for some elite perfectionist.

Maritime or Highland?

@ herr doktor bimler:

I believe that you are correct - altho' 'wrapping paper for throwing out old fish" or suchlike is where I was leading.

re the Scotch:
I was thinking Glenfiddich, Glenlivet or Glenmorangie. Needs to have 'glen' in there- makes the bottle looks better.

I have no idea which would taste better as I'm only reading about them, not sampling. Scotch gives me a wicked headache.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 14 Dec 2013 #permalink

@ Narad:

Please, do you honestly think that I know?
Although they do list highland, island etc. and I understand that- e.g. taste of sea salt or whatnot.
It needs to look impressive and get someone roaring drunk.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 14 Dec 2013 #permalink

Dan's "Weekly Wrap: Any Reasonable Person" is a hoot.

"Any reasonable person, reading story after story by parents and teenage girls alike about the amazingly similar onset of amazingly similar problems, would set aside the "correlation is not causation" defense and realize what we're really dealing with here: vaccine injury and vaccine injury denial."

Sure. You bet Dan.

Glenfiddich has brand recognition but it will not impress the whisky hipsters simply *because* it has brand recognition... the company works hard on that, with the exposure in duty-free shops and such as. Not a bad malt -- there are NO bad malts -- although a Scottish friend rather cruelly refers to it as a"a cooking whisky".Glenmorangie is good -- though then you are faced with a plethora of 'finishes' (sherry-cask-aged version, port-aged version, and so on), which is *their* marketing approach which gives me eyes-glaze-over.
I rate for Islay malts, particularly Bowmore, which has a hint of the peat phenolics but is not so smokey as to turn it into a display of the drinker's masculinity.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 14 Dec 2013 #permalink

Bimler, I actually understood that!
I suppose my gin/ wine/ perfume lore is transferable to other realms. So thanks.
But the look of the bottle remains a major concern. I'll have to go look at the goods in person.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 14 Dec 2013 #permalink

“Any reasonable person, reading story after story by parents and teenage girls alike about the amazingly similar onset of amazingly similar problems, would set aside the “correlation is not causation” defense and realize what we’re really dealing with here: vaccine injury and vaccine injury denial.”

That's the problem for Danno et al. as the onset and symptoms have no commonality. All of these maladies are also observed in girls who haven't had any HPV vaccine or any other vaccine for that matter at the same rates. It's also interesting to note how the parents (almost always mothers) claim some renowned physician and/or institution proclaimed that their daughters were HPV vaccine-injured but either won't give names or said physician/institution don't seem to ever appear as expert witnesses for them. Funny that.

By Science Mom (not verified) on 14 Dec 2013 #permalink

It needs to look impressive and get someone roaring drunk.

Sadly, I don't think you can actually buy this (and it's "blended," anyway).

Of those 'glen' choices, the Glenmorangie Nectar d'Or (Sauternes casks) might make an interesting diversion for a Scotch drinker, but it also might be too sweet for the roaring-drunk part. Clynelish comes highly recommended if you can break that attachment.

@ Science Mom: Once in a while, one of those mommies of Gardasil-injured daughters, will post just enough *information* (name of hospital, etc,), and post the supposed symptoms/diagnosis to figure out who that person is. Those mommies' stories can be located on SaneVax.

If you want to move out of the Glens, there's Balvenie, Macallan, or Laphroaig. Then there's the Famous Grouse.

By Mephistopheles… (not verified) on 14 Dec 2013 #permalink

@Denise Walter I'd suggest finding a well-stocked liquor store or calling up a barman at a high-end watering hole in your neck of the woods and asking for some recommendations. Visits to a newly opened whisk(e)y bar with a mind-boggling 1,500 bottles of the stuff has had me questioning what I thought I knew on the matter!

Must it be Scotch? Clear Creek's Pear Brandy is one of the most lovely things I have had the pleasure of drinking (although it might be something you would be more interested in with your stated appreciations of gin and perfume!) Don't let the brandy part fool you... this is some seriously classy stuff. Bright pear, very clean, and packs a punch. Also, amazing in champagne.

Of all the lurking (more like learning!) I've been doing over the past few months, who knew that the subject of alcohol would be my first comment!

Cheers to everyone! I'm astounded by the relentless energy and smarts all you regulars display, well, regularly. It's been delightful to piece together hints of people's personalities and backgrounds in their posts to boot.

By Maned Wolf (not verified) on 14 Dec 2013 #permalink

Olmstead’s Weekly Wrap
Is this a euphemism for “straitjacket”?
Or maybe "circle jerk?"

@ ScienceMom @lilady

Too, the "commonality of symptoms"? The symptoms tend to be so vague of course there's a commonality, with anything! Or you know, also, I guess two deaths from car accidents might share common symptoms...

By AnObservingParty (not verified) on 14 Dec 2013 #permalink

"Any reasonable person, reading story after story by educated and uneducated people alike about their amazingly similar experiences of alien abduction, would set aside the “drunk rednecks” defense and realize what we’re really dealing with here: alien abduction and alien abduction denial."

Or perhaps they would conclude that all of the people telling these stories had seen the same movies/ heard the same stories and were unconsciously altering their memories to fit the standard scenario.

And perhaps the foremost impetus for this is the fact belief that vaccine adverse events are becoming so common and salient.

FTFY.

1 in 50 kids with autism

The 6 best candidates were selected to be used as test cases before Vaccine Court. They lost. Badly.

more than 1 in 10 with ADHD–the allergies, asthma,diabetes

Once again Greg, what evidence do you have that vaccines are causing these things? Allergies, asthma and diabetes were known to the ancient Romans.

now we have Gardasil ruin the lives of teenage girls?

As was pointed out on the other thread, the evidence points to Christina Tarsell having an undiagnosed heart condition. Just because an adverse event happened after a vaccination doesn't mean the vaccine caused the adverse event.

By Julian Frost (not verified) on 14 Dec 2013 #permalink

@Frank Furter #116:

Whipworm parasite reduces symptoms of autism.

I read an article on that. My response? Colour me unimpressed.

By Julian Frost (not verified) on 14 Dec 2013 #permalink

Does Danny Boy think that we are unreasonable, because we don't believe mommies' unsubstantiated stories?

Still no instances of Danny or any of his groupies finding any posts of mine on Katie Couric's websites, to claim the offer ($1,000 apiece) for those "multiple posts".

Tdoc, how come you call Hemophilus "Hemophyllus"?
We learn how to spell bugs at med school. Are you really a doctor?

Frank Furter,
Why would these findings be so controversial and proof of what exactly? The former is consistent with the hygiene hypothesis and the latter is kind of duh to those with some microbiology chops. Not to say it isn't an interesting find but...

By Science Mom (not verified) on 14 Dec 2013 #permalink

Too, the “commonality of symptoms”? The symptoms tend to be so vague of course there’s a commonality, with anything! Or you know, also, I guess two deaths from car accidents might share common symptoms…

AOP, I once had a years long debate with a very nice albeit clueless woman on a mummy forum about aluminium. She insisted that it caused her daughter's autism and is a cause of autism along with every other disorder known to humankind. We argued about some VAERS reports and the HPV-car accident deaths you mentioned. She (in all seriousness) insisted that it was the aluminium in the vaccine which caused syncope that lead to the girls fainting at the wheel and dying in a vehicle accident. Oy vey.

By Science Mom (not verified) on 14 Dec 2013 #permalink

The anti-vaxxers are starting to win the PR battle.

Uh-huh

Gut Bacteria Vary with Diet
That is about as surprising as the observation that flora and fauna vary with altitude and latitude.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 14 Dec 2013 #permalink

Visits to a newly opened whisk(e)y bar with a mind-boggling 1,500 bottles of the stuff
Full disclosure: I spent some time at the Bon Accord in Glasgow but only drank the real ale.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 14 Dec 2013 #permalink

There's a blogger from New Brunswick Canada who is mighty impressed with the researchers who determined that Aluminum adjuvants pass the blood brain barrier, which caused the Gardasil vaccine death of Jasmine Renate. The blogger provides us with this entry in the 2014 Edition of Springer's Comprehensive Guide to Autism:

http://link.springer.com/referencework/10.1007/978-1-4614-4788-7/page/5

And in a quick skimming of just the first page I picked up several that were clearly NOT related to the vaccine just from the brief write up without further investigation. Not that the others are, of course.

Holy crap at the cocktail in the one urine sample. :/

By AnObservingParty (not verified) on 14 Dec 2013 #permalink

@ Narad:

Well, one of the Scotches I read about- forget which one- said that it had a 'hint of pea'

@ Maned Wolf:

I am extremely pleased that you stopped forth from the dark and shady realm of lurkdom: I try very hard to lure people out in the transplendent light of the screen where minions cavort and stomp on scoffers ( metaphorically, of course).
The more, the merrier.

Yes. It has to be Scotch- it's for my guru. Not the kind of guru you're probably imagining.

About pear: I don't think that I'd drink pear HOWEVER a perfume I occasionally wear has pear in it: it's one of the scents I wear when I am interacting primarily with women.
Men are a different story. Thankfully.
Then I need either oakmoss or patchouli.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 14 Dec 2013 #permalink

"did you expect the public to remain asleep for ever? They are starting to wake up and listen"

This is an article of faith among conspiracy theorists - those of the vaccine persuasion, aspartame fearmongerers, 9/11 Truthers, Kennedy assassination conspiracy devotees etc.
Any day now the public will rise en masse to demand answers and the Conspirators will be unmasked. One day soon...next year...next century...but it'll happen, you betcha.

Just now I was watching an episode of the TV show "Cops" in which officers are called to a domestic disturbance. The woman who phoned in the complaint answers the door wearing a T-shirt which says:

SORRY
There is no vaccine against
STUPIDITY

:)

By Dangerous Bacon (not verified) on 14 Dec 2013 #permalink

"This is an article of faith among conspiracy theorists – those of the vaccine persuasion, aspartame fearmongerers, 9/11 Truthers, Kennedy assassination conspiracy devotees etc.
Any day now the public will rise en masse to demand answers and the Conspirators will be unmasked. One day soon…next year…next century…but it’ll happen, you betcha."

DB, I think we need to put things into perspective. As I mentioned on another article, you guys have the mainstream media in your beds. Many scientists (not all) are in your pockets. Public health officials are lapping at your hands. DB, you guys have all the big guns but what have they got you?

A quarter of the population believes that vaccines cause autism. 1 in 10 parents are delaying or skipping at least one of their child's vaccines. Exemption rates are increasing across the nation.

DB, point to a comparable example of efforts and resources being channeled into defeating 'the aspartame fearmongerers, 9/11 Truthers, Kennedy assassination conspiracy devotees', yet things continuing to slide in the 'wrong' direction?

DB, as I asked, what does the 'David' quacks have going for them? We all know the answer DB: The truth!

@Sarah

“Any reasonable person, reading story after story by educated and uneducated people alike about their amazingly similar experiences of alien abduction, would set aside the “drunk rednecks” defense and realize what we’re really dealing with here: alien abduction and alien abduction denial.”

Or perhaps they would conclude that all of the people telling these stories had seen the same movies/ heard the same stories and were unconsciously altering their memories to fit the standard scenario.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Don't know how well the alien abduction analogy fits there Sarah. With alien abduction there is no documented evidence of aliens. Compare this to documented cases of healthy kids before Gardasil, and sick kids immediately after Gardasil.

Last I checked also there is not a special court set-up to compensate victims of aliens abduction.

I've been reading some of those VAERS reports and many of them are filed by absolute strangers who read about a purported death from Gardasil vaccine in the newspaper, on the internet or while chatting with "someone" in the supermarket. The absolute strangers filed multiple reports for each death they heard about. I guess I don't get around that much; never heard of a death from any vaccine when I worked in public health or within my social circle.

Maned Wolf, welcome aboard.

@Darwy

Complaining about the compounds in vaccines (which are given only occasionally) being dangerous is like complaining your kitchen faucet is leaky while your house is underwater.

By the power vested in me by the state of confusion, I hereby award you one internet.

By Militant Agnostic (not verified) on 14 Dec 2013 #permalink

in the context of the carolinewriter quotes above, isn't the irony that "pro safe vaccine" is just a wordier name for "pro vaccine"?

Complaining about the compounds in vaccines (which are given only occasionally) being dangerous is like complaining your kitchen faucet is leaky while your house is underwater.

In a scaled-down version, I like to use the analogy of someone who daily drinks a bottle of strong beverage (e.g. Scottish whiskey :-) ) but refuses to take a tablespoon of cough syrup because it contains a bit of alcohol. If you are really intent on cutting down on alcohol, it's not the cough syrup you should forgo...

Re: airbags leaving bruises
Like other previous posters, this analogy left me aghast all by itself. Except about bruises resulting from an unnecessary deployment, getting mere bruises instead of a lacerated skin and maybe brain commotion is a big improvement.

Another point where the analogy fails: I suppose, in the case of airbags, that the author would still be driving an airbag-equipped car, while campaigning for their improvement. With vaccines, it's stop using them altogether.
Unless she prefers the risks of her child smashing his/her head in the windshield over the risks of airbags-given bruises. In this case, it will be coherent with the usual anti-vax mindset: better risking illness sequels than risking the side-effects of vaccines. Again, the illusion of control.

I sort of get her main point, that we shouldn't dismiss out of hand possibilities of a technology doing harm, and we should be careful not to become rigid in our thinking. But again, if the supposed harm is at best poorly supported by evidence or at worst just hearsay, we are stepping into witch-hunting territory.

For many of us, technology is still magic.
Including me, I'm afraid. But while in my case I see it mostly as beneficial magic (so I tend to be over-optimistic about it), for other people it's the opposite: it seems that technology easily becomes "the evil eye".

By Helianthus (not verified) on 15 Dec 2013 #permalink

Yet again I find myself wondering what planet Greg lives on. It certainly isn't the same one I inhabit.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 15 Dec 2013 #permalink

Sorry - off topic. But is anyone else having problems loading the SBM site?

It might be the same planet but a different culture.

Actually a cult:
the biggest clue is that information is severely restricted. For example, while we might search out studies in journals, anti-vaxxers must reject most of them as being *compormised* ( see Cat Jameson @ AoA today). An entire class of research is summarily dismissed because it contradicts the vaccines-autism hypothesis. It has nothing to do with the syudies' quality or the methodology used the research.

Jameson scoffs at studies that show variables like parental age, maternal physiology, physiognomic factors and location being unlikely because most OBVIOUSLY vaccines are the factor that cuts across all social, environmental and physiological data. Or so she believes.

HOWEVER I always wonder what mechanism they propose to explain exactly how vaccines "destroy" a child's brain ( or to be realistic, what in vaccine might cause growth rather than death of neurons or change interconnections). Variables like father's age and mother's weight and hormonal profile could conceivably affect what occurs in a child's brain ( see esp *de novo* mutations).

They believe it because it makes them feel better.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 15 Dec 2013 #permalink

Re DW's Scotch whisky hunt:
My vote goes to Ardbeg.

By DrBollocks (not verified) on 15 Dec 2013 #permalink

@ DrBollocks:

Thanks; but here's the problem- single malts are more chic but what if I choose a great-looking bottle with an impresssively Celto-centric name that tastes weird.
Altho' this guy would probably drink it anyway.

Hilariously, I just noticed that my gifts seem restricted to:
alcohol ( Scotch, gin, wine)
perfume, cologne ( various)
shirts ( dress, sport)
miniaudieres,eye glass cases, small leather goods
purse mirrors
What does that say about my cohorts?

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 15 Dec 2013 #permalink

@Denice Walter:

That they've got more varied tastes than mine. My gifts this time consists of books, books, more books, and a gift card for jewelry.

By Andreas Johansson (not verified) on 15 Dec 2013 #permalink

What does that say about my cohorts?

I'd love to be part of your cohorts.

Alain

I prefer Andreas cohorts. Two things I never have enough of: books and CD's.

I'd like to be part of Andreas' cohort also, as long as included in the boodle was a gift of time (to read all those books and play all those CD's).

Agreed. Never can have enough jewelry, books or cds- or chocolate.

By Politicalguineapig (not verified) on 15 Dec 2013 #permalink

Renate: "Two things I never have enough of: books and CD’s."

Except when we run out of storage. I have lately been taking boxes of books to a used book store, and using the library more often.

I was thinking of sending my family books, but decided instead to write a "Chris' Reading List" addendum to my annual letter. Then I sent homemade goodies, like like liqueur soaked pound cakes.

What does that say about my cohorts?

That they don't wear French cuffs? (I really rue the day one of my enamel-on-copper cufflinks cracked.)

what if I choose a great-looking bottle with an impresssively Celto-centric name that tastes weird.

Yep, Ardbeg tastes weird. Send it to me instead.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 15 Dec 2013 #permalink

@ Alain:

You're more than a cohort- you're a fellow minion! None of my gentlemen, friends or relatives are minions.

@ Narad:

One does occasionally.

My late father was very fond of French cuffs and cufflinks: as I inherited his collection I really should get a shirt so I could wear them.... wait...
There's a very fetching pair of sterling ovals with incised linear detail that would work for me. Must be 1930s.
Also gold hexagons which I'd have to dig for. Nothing with garnet cabochons or suchlike unfortunately.

One might wear them.
My later father was known for his collection

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 15 Dec 2013 #permalink

EDIT omit those last two lines.

Bimler:
I'll send it right out.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 15 Dec 2013 #permalink

Yet again I find myself wondering what planet Greg lives on. It certainly isn’t the same one I inhabit.

Hilariously, he just had this and this (PDFs) dropped in his lap at AoA (well, a recommendation for the abstract of Paper I, which isn't even the payload). I hadn't heard of the dynamic duo of Herbert & Sage before, but I can happily imagine the typical AoA commenter cipherin' over this collection.

mailonline - Brit newspaper reporting today how laughing can kill you. Actually has cases of people who were as happy as Larry and died from it.

Apparently chuckling is a major killer.

^ (I'm only skimming these, as I have less than six hours to spackle something for Computational Statistics, but check out reference 74 in Paper II for a chuckle, given the source of the recommendation.)

Right. Martha Herbert has appeared at Null's woo-ateria ( google Martha Herbert , Gary Null Show PRN- probably last year) she also presented @ AutismOne I believe, 2013.
They loooooove her at AoA. Get to say 'Harvard".

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 15 Dec 2013 #permalink

Martha Herbert has appeared at Null’s woo-ateria
Is there any reason why her corresponding address on that paper is a g-mail account, rather than through her academic affiliation?
Only one reference to Persinger in the paper! I am sad now.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 15 Dec 2013 #permalink

Interesting op-ed in the Sunday New York Times co-authored by Paul Offit, about parents who want their hospitalized children to continue to receive "dietary supplements":

"Our hospital has acted to protect the safety of our patients. No longer will we administer dietary supplements unless the manufacturer provides a third-party written guarantee that the product is made under the F.D.A.’s “good manufacturing practice” (G.M.P.) conditions, as well as a Certificate of Analysis (C.O.A.) assuring that what is written on the label is what’s in the bottle."

So - if the parent of an autistic child wants him/her to continue to receive industrial bleach enemas to leach out "toxins" while in the hospital, will Children's Hospital of Philadelphia OK the practice, as long as the bleach manufacturer certifies that what's in the bottle matches what's written on the label?*

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/15/opinion/sunday/skip-the-supplements.h…

*the article does not specify the extent to which CHOP will be complicit, but it does note that a very high percentage of supplement companies either are unable or unwilling to supply the required information.

By Dangerous Bacon (not verified) on 15 Dec 2013 #permalink

Narad,

Hilariously, he just had this and this (PDFs) dropped in his lap at AoA

I await his learned analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of these studies' designs with bated breath. There must be something seriously wrong with them since EMFs don't cause autism, as everyone at AoA knows, vaccines do.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 15 Dec 2013 #permalink

Dingo #134 Actually I am really a doctor. I just can't spell and sometimes post before proofreading. I even passed the SPEX exam with an 85 after 35 years. Really.

Sorry to remain off topic but choosing a good whisky is important.

@Denice

single malts are more chic but what if I choose a great-looking bottle with an impresssively Celto-centric name that tastes weird

I guess you have to decide what is more important, the fancy bottle or what's inside. If your friend genuinely likes Scotch whisky, he won't be disappointed if you get him a decent single malt. Personally, I'm very partial to the Islay malts: peaty and smoky flavoured.

By DrBollocks (not verified) on 15 Dec 2013 #permalink

@Dangerous Bacon: very interesting Op Ed piece. I'm actually surprised that CHOP - or any hospital - ever allowed supplements from outside.
When I worked in hospitals, you could never give medications that came from outside (i.e. the patient's home) unless the Pharmacy approved it. The Joint Commission of American Hospital Organizations (JCAHO - I think that's what it still is...) was every hospital's worst nightmare - and they come around every few years announced and occasionally unannounced - and you *don't* want to get on their wrong side...

I do hope people observed that the piece received only 7 recommendations and had 4 HRs (hide ratings, a vote that the diary was so bad that it should be hidden). This is reflection of it being very badly received.

@ narad
depending on how the cufflink is constructed, you might be able to find an enamel artist/jeweler who could redo the enamel, or make you a new pair that is very similar.

@ DrBollocks:

I usually allow my choices to reflect the 'best of both worlds'. I'll buy a quality single malt that comes in a nice bottle... being advised as I am by an 'international panel of experts'**.
Merci beaucoup, all.

**One of the many benefits of minionhood.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 15 Dec 2013 #permalink

@ MI Dawn: You are correct. If JCAHO auditors make a planned visit (or an unannounced visit), the hospital is screwed, because supplements (which JCAHO considers medicines), are located at patients' bedsides.

When I attended Dr. Offit's seminar in June at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, he specifically mentioned kids who are hospitalized undergoing extensive treatments at CHOP, whose parents bring in slew of supplements. See here, how parents were dosing a child with these supplements, which led to pancreatitis:

http://www.livescience.com/40322-philadelphia-childrens-hospital-bans-d…

(Watch for the anecdote) Whenever my son was hospitalized, I brought along my supply of his anti-convulsants. I would speak directly with the hospital pharmacist to ascertain if the hospital formulary had brand name Dilantin Infatabs/ phenytoin sodium salt (different than free acid Dilantin liquid or Kapseals or generic phenytoin), Mysoline and Tegretol brand names only, to maintain therapeutic ranges. If the formulary didn't have the brand names, then the pharmacist permitted the nurse to keep his drugs locked in the medicine cabinet to administer them during his hospital stay.

Denice: Caroline has been banned from The Daily Kos and many of her comments and the comments of her pal were removed because of their personal libelous attacks on me.

"protectspice's comment hide rated due to abusive (7+ / 1-)

personal attack and strongly advocating a discredited conspiracy theory."

If your friend genuinely likes Scotch whisky

A bottle of Sheep Dip is also a flattering choice; it shows that you know your friend values the quality of the contents enough not to be deterred by the deliberately naff label.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 15 Dec 2013 #permalink

@ narad
depending on how the cufflink is constructed, you might be able to find an enamel artist/jeweler who could redo the enamel, or make you a new pair that is very similar.

The remnants are long gone, I'm afraid, presumably victims of the same sort of vortex that takes in individual socks during laundry and vernier chains for analytical balances during moves. There's a decent market for inexpensive vintage cufflinks, but I should probably worry first about being able to pay for the broadcloth to put them through to start with. I'm stuck with some silly glass dumbbells for the time being.

Greg:

As I mentioned on another article, you guys have the mainstream media in your beds.

And as was pointed out to you by me, horse apples. The mainstream media supported and reported on Wakefield for years, even after Deer's investigations exposed his dishonesty.

A quarter of the population believes that vaccines cause autism.

Citation please.

Compare this to documented cases of healthy kids before Gardasil, and sick kids immediately after Gardasil.

Citation needed for "sick kids immediately after Gardasil".

By Julian Frost (not verified) on 15 Dec 2013 #permalink

What does that say about my cohorts?
That they are not gleaming in purple and gold. TRY HARDER.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 15 Dec 2013 #permalink

Because the old saying goes, inside of the specialist’s thoughts there are few scenarios, however for an individual possessing a learner’s mind, the world is open up.

A quarter of the population believes that vaccines cause autism.

Citation please.

Presumably the same source that placed the belief slightly behind a Roswell cover-up and both well behind the New World Order. I doubt it bothered to untangle this, what with all the action-potential stuff to chew on.

@Narad

"Presumably the same source that placed the belief slightly behind a Roswell cover-up and both well behind the New World Order. I doubt it bothered to untangle this, what with all the action-potential stuff to chew on."

I am chewing on it alright, Narad. Yet, I must repeat the same question that I asked Sarah up-thread. In what other examples of conspiracy theories are special courts set-up to compensate victims of the 'bogus' conspiracies.

Further, let me point out Krebiozen argument that one is delusional for believing vaccines cause autism. Yet, he is willing to concede that in extremely rare cases it's possible. Seriously -- let me try this thinking out:

'You are delusional for believing The Stork delivers baby.... but, in extraordinarily rare circumstances it does."

Not finished yet, there Narad, let's try this thinking again:

'You are delusional for believing the earth is flat......
yet, in extraordinarily rare circumstances it actually is.'
(hee hee hee)

BTW Guys,

Reading the comment section of Katie Couric's 'HPV conversation continued', someone, 'openid', is handing Dorit her ass on a platter with his/hers 'top 9 blatantly misleading and incorrect argument from Dorit et al'.

Dorit, deary.....if you are listening, I think it's time to wave the white flag.
http://katiecouric.com/features/hpv-conversation-continued/

I just took a quick look at this article cited by Narad above -- it's entitled.

"Autism and EMF? Plausibility of a pathophysiological link – Part I"

Eu weh. Here we go again.

By palindrom (not verified) on 16 Dec 2013 #permalink

Ach, I'm not sure the link works, but for reference Narad @167 has them.

And "Eu Weh" is often rendered in English as "Oy Vey". German and hence Yiddlsh have an extremely regular orthography, but with many differences in the correspondence of sounds to letters.

By palindrom (not verified) on 16 Dec 2013 #permalink

Mary: Accusations of shilling usually get HR'd in vaccine diaries nowadays, but usually get a pass in GMO or nuclear diaries.

I badly miss you.

lilady: Those comment threads are still present but they're only visible to long-term users who have a history of productive commenting.

Greg,
You do struggle with probabilities, don't you? Things have to be true or false, black or white on Planet Greg. Living with such a rigid intolerance of ambiguity must be uncomfortable.

I don't really believe you are so intellectually challenged that you can't tell the difference between questions that require a yes/no answer and others that are almost always answered "no" but in some very rare cases might be answered "yes".

You and your chums do like to play silly semantic games like this, presumably because you have no real arguments to bring to the table.

Let me rephrase your statement, with free added grammar:
"Further, let me point out Krebiozen's argument that one is delusional for believing vaccines are a significant cause of autism. Yet, he is willing to concede that in extremely rare cases it’s possible. "

Greg is not a useful source of accurate information, but in extremely rare cases it's possible he might write something that is true.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 16 Dec 2013 #permalink

Krebiozen: "Yet again I find myself wondering what planet Greg lives on."

He probably lives next door to Thingy on Htrae.

The Troll is misreading the comments posted by "openid", who requested that all the crank anti-vaccine, anti-science posters provide citations/links to internet sources for all their ignorant statements.

Troll, in addition to being utterly ignorant about any subject, is in desperate need of some reading comprehension skills.

The utterly despicable John D. Stone, UK Editor at AoA, is again libeling Law School Professor Dorit Reiss and added two more young female targets, who are active within the pro-vaccine/pro-science community.

What's going on with this man?

lilady: At a guess, I believe John Stone is a very old school Tory, who is astonished that women might have brains, and even more flabbergasted that some might understand math and science- both of which are beyond his ken.He hails from the equivalent of the Stepford suburbs in England, probably.

By Politicalguineapig (not verified) on 16 Dec 2013 #permalink

I am chewing on it alright, Narad. Yet, I must repeat the same question that I asked Sarah up-thread. In what other examples of conspiracy theories are special courts set-up to compensate victims of the ‘bogus’ conspiracies.

There isn't one in this example of a conspiracy theory, either. The fact that there is a court that compensates victims of vaccine injury only supports the claim that such a thing as vaccine injury exists - not that it is widespread, or that it is caused by the machinations of a conspiracy, or any other of the other articles of faith of the antivaxer creed.

We might as well have a UFO True Believer saying "Cancer is caused by aliens trying to eliminate those who have learned of their plans! Why on earth would every hospital have an oncology department, if not because so many people are given cancer by aliens every year??" It's exactly the same (il)logic.

By Antaeus Feldspar (not verified) on 16 Dec 2013 #permalink

A quarter of the population believes that vaccines cause autism.

Yes, that's a sad comment on our system of education in the sciences. Similarly, a quarter of the population believes in astrology, in clairvoyance, and in telepathy. In fact, three in four American adults have at least one paranormal belief.

http://www.gallup.com/poll/16915/three-four-americans-believe-paranorma…

@Herr Doktor: did Assyrians have vaccines and autism? I think NOT, with all the purple and gold... :)

An internetz to MI Dawn and the doctor for the Byron reference.

Yet, I must repeat the same question that I asked Sarah up-thread. In what other examples of conspiracy theories are special courts set-up to compensate victims of the ‘bogus’ conspiracies.

Rather a poor reuse of the question, given that the OSM hasn't compensated anyone for autism.

Boring troll is still boring

By Delurked Lurker (not verified) on 16 Dec 2013 #permalink

I know I'm late to the party when it comes to the Scotch discussion, but years ago (when I could still enjoy distilled adult beverages) I had a shot of single malt called Bruichladdich. It was so smooth, I went on the hunt for more. I found several versions, and while they were all wonderful, I never found the "one" for which I would have sold my first-born. (There was a time I would have sold her for a lot less than that Scotch, but that's beside the point.)
Anyway, I like Laphroaig too. And Macallan. And Glenfiddich. And.....

Macallan 30 is lovely if you have that kind of cash. I don't, but ...

By Mephistopheles… (not verified) on 16 Dec 2013 #permalink

I am chewing on it alright, Narad. Yet, I must repeat the same question that I asked Sarah up-thread. In what other examples of conspiracy theories are special courts set-up to compensate victims of the ‘bogus’ conspiracies

You didn't ask any questions in your response to me (comment #146), but I'll answer this one anyway. The fact that there is a court set up to compensate real vaccine injury doesn't mean that every unsubstantiated claim is true, anymore than the fact that the criminal justice system recognizes "abduction" as a crime means that alien abduction is real. It's funny you should bring that up, though, since I was just about to comment that a probable reason that other bogus "causes" of autism such as the EMF papers referenced in #167 don't seem to get any traction is the fact that there's no free, no-fault court system that awards money to anyone who can convince a special master that the probability is 50% plus a feather that EMF caused their child's autism.

I'd suggest that you give Talisker a try--it's not an Islay malt is 'peatier' than most non-Islay's, and has a very smooth finish.

And if you're thinking about getting an Islay malt, don't overlook Lagavulin.

Speaking about excellent beverages, what do you all recommend for alcoholic beverage for a Christmas supper for 3 persons (2 russian of very good tastes as well as myself who have very tastes)?

Alain

@Alain

I don't know how, er, classy it is, but my default Xmastime cocktail is a brandy alexander - 2 oz brandy, half oz dark cream de cocoa and half an ounce of heavy cream (or half-and-half if you want something not quite so rich)

Yummy and deceptively lethal...

Another update from and AoA poster, about the Daily Kos blogger and her pal, who have been banned now, from the Daily Kos:

“cia, Dorit and Lilady both created an account on Dailykos the other day just to shout someone (Caroline, posts here, can't rememer last name) and when I(a member in good standing, of 6+ years) pointed out the 'new arrivals' and their affiliations, I was banned within a few hours, after the professional site trollhunters deemed my behavior disruptive. Since that diary was posted, no comment there from Lilady or Dorit. Of course this is the standard site BS, but the rapid response and universal shunning wrt 'antivaxxers' is illuminating, to say the least.
Yes, Dorit is literally doing this full-time, and not only on the behalf of the US Pharma, but Israel's as well. You can see it really is a globally coordinated campaign. Is there a way to collate her internet activity? I think it would reflect an OVERTIME rate.

Posted by: Joy B | December 16, 2013 at 01:20 PM”

Yup, I've been "outed" by Joy B a.k.a. "pocketspice" on AoA. I'm part of that *Big Pharma, Big Gubmint International Conspiracy*.

@ Alain:

They're Russians so are probably bored to death with vodka so investigate drinks ( see websites for each product line) made with either Grand Marnier or Tanqueray gin. Trust me.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 16 Dec 2013 #permalink

especially for the lactose intolerant

Does sound yummy. Alain, I would recommend a winter beer (Smith's?), an Innis & Gunn or maybe a Nostradamus, but then I'm partial to mmm, beer. Ceasar's maybe with a good vodka...

By al kimeea (not verified) on 16 Dec 2013 #permalink

@Science Mom, Dawry, Narad and others RE: chemical exposures.

Im pretty sure I made it clear that I was not talking about the excipients found in vaccines. I wasn't, so, If it was not clear, now it should be, right?

While current regulations may call for a specific toxicological profiles on all new chemicals introduced to the market, the TSCA of 1976 allowed 60,000 chemicals to be grandfathered in requiring no testing. According to some sources I have read, only 200 of these have been tested and profiled.

Being concerned about this is not akin to being concerned about eating excessive dietary carbon (although I did find that snarky comment funny...you are good at the snark, my friend and I do appreciate it.)

Here is a decent article to bring you up to speed:

http://www.sehn.org/tccpdf/The_Health_Case_for_Reforming_the_Toxic_Subs…

There are a number of specific peer reviewed articles discussing the potential implication of toxins in development of autism and other developmental disorders as well. Not from kooky loons, either.

Lastly,

you can educate yourself and:

-buy products such as paints and sealers that have very low to no VOC's.
-buy furniture with finishes that are non toxic
-buy carpeting that is low off-gassing.
-use make-up, skin care, household cleaner, etc. products that have known non-toxic constituents
-buy a crib mattress that is natural and not laden with flame retardants.
-wash clothes before use using detergents that do not have dyes and fragrances.
-many other ways to avoid unnecessary chemical exposures, plenty of resources to help educate you if you are inclined.

Or you could throw all of that stuff in your front lawn and burn it and live in an empty shell of a house without clothes.

Oh, Science mom, the other part of the eqn I was referring to is the human part. The toxic substance has its properties, but the human that it is exposed to also has its properties that are usually not considered when the blanket term "dose makes the poison" is used.

I want to get to the other questions that have been asked, but I am not big on free time. I will try to make an effort to answer Shay, Bimmler, and SM's other ?'s, since they are related.

take care,

Skeptiquette

By skeptiquette (not verified) on 16 Dec 2013 #permalink

Lastly,

you can educate yourself and:

Hey, skeptiquette! Why don't you educate yourself about the burden of proof, which I and several other have tried to explain to you on many, many occasions??

If you still have absolutely no evidence correlating vaccines with autism but are still speculating about possible mechanisms by which it could happen, well, obviously you haven't managed to comprehend the issue of burden of proof yet. If so, just let us know what we can do to help you understand it - I'd hate to think you were giving up on your own education, especially when you're trying so hard to 'educate' the rest of us.

By Antaeus Feldspar (not verified) on 16 Dec 2013 #permalink

212 makes more sense when bumped up against 208, slow fingers

By al kimeea (not verified) on 16 Dec 2013 #permalink

or maybe 209

By al kimeea (not verified) on 16 Dec 2013 #permalink

They’re Russians so are probably bored to death with vodka so investigate drinks ( see websites for each product line) made with either Grand Marnier or Tanqueray gin. Trust me

I'm going with Canadian specialty Yukon Jack, if you can't get any Jeppson's Malört.

Or you could tell us about the menu.

Oh, Science mom, the other part of the eqn I was referring to is the human part. The toxic substance has its properties, but the human that it is exposed to also has its properties that are usually not considered when the blanket term “dose makes the poison” is used.

Skeptiquette,

Did you measure the probability of the "dose makes the poison" does not apply? Did you also measure the lack of variance in the genetic code of humans on the earth?

Take these two together and find an extreme corner case where the genetic code of the human in question differ enough that the dose make the poison does not apply but yet, the human is not dead on arrival or a stillborn. My opinion is that the human body of the pregnant woman meet enough standard of toxicity that the baby will be dead on arrival should the rule of the dose make the poison does not apply to the baby.

You want to know more on that, please do a google search for the evolutionary genetics textbook at washington university (it's a pdf file) and get acquainted with it.

Alain

Or you could tell us about the menu.

That'll be the job of my flatmate chef (Russian MSc on food preparation) but I'll guess it will be a fine Russian speciality.

Alain

Oh and I budget 100 to 150$ on food + drink.

Alain

There are a number of specific peer reviewed articles discussing the potential implication of toxins in development of autism and other developmental disorders as well. Not from kooky loons, either.

All well and good but would be of tremendous value if you would provide some citations to have a better grasp of the point.

you can educate yourself and:

Don't you think it might be a bit presumptuous (not to mention smacks of an anti-vaxx meme for those who don't "know" you) to think that none of us haven't "educated" ourselves on potential sources of environmental toxins and take measures to limit our exposures?

Oh, Science mom, the other part of the eqn I was referring to is the human part. The toxic substance has its properties, but the human that it is exposed to also has its properties that are usually not considered when the blanket term “dose makes the poison” is used.

Then again I will ask how do you reconcile this with compatibility with life? The topic is vaccines and the claim that vaccines cause autism and every other disorder that plagues humans so how can someone be so exquisitely sensitive to the amounts of substances found in vaccines so as to cause X, Y and Z? Even with differences found in kinetics, metabolism and excretion patterns, there is a rather large margin of safety found within those parameters.

By Science Mom (not verified) on 16 Dec 2013 #permalink

Greg:
Further, let me point out Krebiozen argument that one is delusional for believing vaccines cause autism. Yet, he is willing to concede that in extremely rare cases it’s possible. Seriously — let me try this thinking out:

You are delusional for believing The Stork delivers baby…. but, in extraordinarily rare circumstances it does.”

Kreb:
Let me rephrase your statement, with free added grammar:
“Further, let me point out Krebiozen’s argument that one is delusional for believing vaccines are a significant cause of autism. Yet, he is willing to concede that in extremely rare cases it’s possible. ”

Greg is not a useful source of accurate information, but in extremely rare cases it’s possible he might write something that is true.

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

First, thanks for pointing out the missing apostrophe -- not signifying possession. (hee hee hee)

Yet seriously Kerb, must I search the records and point out your words stating that I am delusional for believing that vaccines cause autism -- (period)? There was no mention of a 'significant cause' in your initial assertion.

Further Kreb, 'delusional' was the key word that you initially used, and it's now conspicuously missing from your rephrasing of my statement. I will now include it to once again show how ludicrous your reasoning is:

'Anyone one who thinks Greg is a useful source of information is 'delusional'. Yet, in extremely rare circumstances he may write something that serves as a useful source of information.'

Finally Kreb, I am presuming that you're thinking that anyone believing that vaccines are causing the 1 in 50 autism rate is delusional. Yet Kreb, what is the contemplated 'extraordinary circumstances' rate that would move one from the delusional category and place him in the sane realm? Is it 1 in a thousand, ten thousand, a million, a billion? Really -- do tell Kreb! Maybe you may also choose to enlighten us as to the science behind this rate.

@Narad

Yet, I must repeat the same question that I asked Sarah up-thread. In what other examples of conspiracy theories are special courts set-up to compensate victims of the ‘bogus’ conspiracies.

Rather a poor reuse of the question, given that the OSM hasn’t compensated anyone for autism.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

How about victims suffering from an extremely rare medical afflictions that may predisposed them to being abducted by aliens? HAAA!!

'medical affliction'...

Reading the comment section of Katie Couric’s ‘HPV conversation continued’, someone, ‘openid’, is handing Dorit her ass on a platter with his/hers ‘top 9 blatantly misleading and incorrect argument from Dorit et al’.

This is hilarious. Gerg's reading comprehension has left him in the lurch once again. A quick scan of the comments immediately reveals that "openid" is countering the sad efforts of "mrose8465," albeit with poor quoting skills.

More clueless sleuthing @ AoA (@ John Stone's post about "Nurse Melody..."):

a commenter wonders if "Lilady" (sic) has "something to do with Eli Lilly... since it looks so much like that . Eli Lilly, proud purveyor of Thimerisol..."

Seriously. I, who have insight into the many arcane 'nyms @ RI , can assert confidently that it has NOTHING at all to do with Eli Lilly. I know what it means and d-mned if I talk.

HOWEVER this comment is important because it neatly illustrates a particular mode of thinking that often rears its empty head @ AoA. Very little information + superficial similarities= jumping to conclusions

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 16 Dec 2013 #permalink

@ Narad: I think The Troll is projecting what is happening to him and his sorry a$$ here on RI...or else he really is lacking basic reading comprehension skills.

@ Denice Walter: Eli Lilly, eh?

My offer still stands for Danny Boy or any other AoA critter to produce any and all comments I made on Couric's websites ($1,000 apiece).

How about victims suffering from an extremely rare medical afflictions that may predisposed them to being abducted by aliens? HAAA!!

How I love the smell of foolish cocksuredness aka hoist by his own petard. By your assertion Greggums, vaccines cause autism at a rate of 1:50 in the population. That wouldn't exactly qualify as "extremely rare" now would it.

By Science Mom (not verified) on 16 Dec 2013 #permalink

A quarter of the population believes that vaccines cause autism.
A quarter of the population believes the president was born in Kenya. Unhappily, a quarter of the population is just crazy.

A quarter of the population believes that vaccines cause autism.
A quarter of the population believes the president was born in Kenya. Unhappily, a quarter of the population is just crazy.

Actually, it's 27%.

By The Very Rever… (not verified) on 16 Dec 2013 #permalink

Oh and I budget 100 to 150$ on food + drink.

Well, you need to figure on aperitifs, wine for the meal, and digestifs afterward. You can certainly have a good dry sherry or sparkling wine for the first item for under $20 (did somebody say caviar and blinis?). A decent port, say, for the last item might ding you for a bit more, but you still have at least half the budget for appropriate wines. No need to break the bank.

I have an excellent wine guy to hand, but if you want to do pairings with food, it's necessary to know the food. The general rule is that one goes from lighter to heavier beverages over the course of a meal.

How about victims suffering from an extremely rare medical afflictions that may predisposed them to being abducted by aliens? HAAA!!

"HAAA!!" what? You tried for a second bite at the apple and said something transcendently stupid.

@ The Very Reverend Battleaxe of Knowledge:

Interesting about that 27%- yesterday ( @ the Dr Oz thread IIRC) brian linked to the *other* 27% who did not believe in any parapsychology/ New Age crap.

Today Is a full moon and as usual, anti-vaxxers and woo-meisters fall under its sirenic spell ( that's a myth -btw- )

@ AoA, a Ms Waldman explains ALL about Dorit Reiss's** 'ties' to companies like Kaiser Permanente and Merck via her employer-
although I doubt she's heard of Bayesian analysis because she rigorously applies Crosbyan analysis:
i.e. see how much you can stretch the unlikliest of possibilities, then, assume they're all real.

Speaking of the wanker, Jake reveals that Boyd Haley sent him a note about Mark Blaxill saying that the latter doesn't have the
"biological science and medical training of the Geier's" (sic) to criticise them as he did.

Will the irony ever cease?

And, lastly, Mike Adams takes on the mainstream media who merely echo whatever their corporate masters tell them about how ineffective multiple vitamins are-
but, says Mikey, they used cheap synthetic vitamins, not EXCELLENT ones like those I sell!

** Prof Reiss: thanks for your terriific work.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 17 Dec 2013 #permalink

If you can judge by the quantity and quality of the nasty remarks/trolls that go after her, Prof. Reiss certainly is doing a superb job.

Gerg,

I needed a little light relief, and here it is.

Yet seriously Kerb, must I search the records and point out your words stating that I am delusional for believing that vaccines cause autism — (period)? There was no mention of a ‘significant cause’ in your initial assertion.

More silly semantic games? You have made it very clear, repeatedly, that you believe that vaccination is the cause of most or even all autism. This is untrue beyond any reasonable doubt, as it is contradicted by large amounts of good quality evidence, as you very well know; it has been pointed out to you often enough.

A false belief strongly held in spite of invalidating evidence is a delusion, and a person who insists on clinging to such a belief is delusional, in the vernacular sense of the word, not the psychiatric sense. Whether your attachment to this delusional belief that all or most autism is caused by vaccination has implications for your mental health is not a judgment I am qualified to make, but that is the delusional belief I have referred to in the past.

In this comment, for example, I pointed out that you had fabricated a correlation that did not exist in a study and then claimed that the study authors had controlled for a known confounder with the sole intention of hiding the non-existent correlation. That seems like very odd behavior to me, and I think it strongly suggestive of a delusional attachment to your beliefs, as are many of the comments you have made here.

Anyway, I'm glad you are backing away from that belief, it is a positive sign, but you will have a hard job convincing anyone that you never held it in the first place, when you have argued it here over and over, in black and white for all to see.

Further Kreb, ‘delusional’ was the key word that you initially used, and it’s now conspicuously missing from your rephrasing of my statement.

No, it's definitely still there, look, between "is" and "for"; my rephrasing was: "Further, let me point out Krebiozen's argument that one is delusional for believing vaccines are a significant cause of autism. Yet, he is willing to concede that in extremely rare cases it’s possible. "

I will now include it to once again show how ludicrous your reasoning is:
‘Anyone one who thinks Greg is a useful source of information is ‘delusional’. Yet, in extremely rare circumstances he may write something that serves as a useful source of information.’

That isn't the statement I was rephrasing, is it? How can you include it "once again" in a statement that didn't contain it in the first place? Nevertheless, I see little wrong with its reasoning, since I have plenty of evidence that would invalidates anyone's false belief that you are a useful source of information. A great deal of what you have written here either isn't true or is deliberately misleading.

Here's just one example: your 'summary' of Madsen's paper for AoA contained untrue statements, presumably knowingly and deliberately, since I had repeatedly pointed their lack of veracity out to you, and you repeated a complaint about Madsen's use of a term that you knew perfectly well appears nowhere in his paper. I think trusting the words of someone who has been shown to have knowingly, deliberately and repeatedly lied would definitely be delusional.

Finally Kreb, I am presuming that you’re thinking that anyone believing that vaccines are causing the 1 in 50 autism rate is delusional.

I think that if that person has looked at the available evidence, and has the education to understand it, and still believes this, then they are delusional by definition. Especially if that person is so attached to their idée fixe that they invent hidden correlations in a paper, and attack a scientific paper for using words that don't even appear in it, in a desperate attempt to support their false belief.

Yet Kreb, what is the contemplated ‘extraordinary circumstances’ rate that would move one from the delusional category and place him in the sane realm?

Nothing can move someone who believes that vaccines are responsible for all autism out of the delusional category, since it is impossible, as evidenced by a number of unvaccinated individuals with autism, even 'most autism' is untenable. However, I have never suggested that you are insane, just that you hold a deluded belief. I personally think that most people hold one or more deluded beliefs, but are perfectly sane. I still believe you are reachable, for example.

Is it 1 in a thousand, ten thousand, a million, a billion? Really — do tell Kreb! Maybe you may also choose to enlighten us as to the science behind this rate.

Judging by that rather nauseating flourish of premature triumph, I suppose you think this is an unanswerable question. It isn't. The various studies that have looked at the possible links between vaccination and autism all have a statistical power that can be calculated.

For example, the Madsen study we have discussed before is very large, over half a million children, and is thus has a great deal of statistical power. If children vaccinated with MMR were just 4% more likely to be diagnosed autistic than those not vaccinated with MMR, I would expect Madsen's study of over 500,000 children to detect this easily with a 95% degree of confidence. In fact, since it looks at nearly half a million unvaccinated person-years, I think it would detect an even lower effect than this.

It doesn't, so we can conclude that if any cases of autism are caused by MMR, it must be fewer than that. When you add in the other studies that have found a similar lack of any correlation, I think we can be very confident in stating that fewer than 1 in 100 cases of autism are caused by vaccination, if any are caused at all, which is far from certain.

It would require an impractically large sample size to extend this much further, but since the important question is answered, there is little need. Regardless of those poor deluded souls that still refuse to accept this, it's time to move on and explore more fruitful areas of research.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 17 Dec 2013 #permalink

@ Krebiozen:

I think that you were correct to differentiate *delusion* in common parlance from its medical definition. I would assume that, medically, delusions can be attributed to physiological differences, both anatomical and chemical.

But how about the average anti-vaxxer? Do you think that there is a physical basis for their unrealistic beliefs? I don't.
I think that the vast majority ( there may be a few exceptions) don't have a SMI but are conveniently choosing beliefs that make them feel better. That's the value of the hypothesis and why savvy connivers like AJW as well as various bloggers and legal experts choose to serve as enablers for parents with these ideas.

Certain beliefs are ego-enhancing and lift flagging self- esteem and lowered feelings of personal value. There's nothing wrong with having a child with autism- it's no one's fault- but still some people feel stigmatised and want to blame someone for the condition to feel better about themselves. Also, it's a way to "one-up" the experts.

Perhaps some people view children as an avenue towards personal achievement; they can say so-and-so is my child and is VERY successful. Some of the parents ( @ AoA, TMR) often bemoan 'what might have been': Lisa Goes even writes about her dreams of her son's alternate reality as a young adult who is successful both academically and socially. Kim writes about how "beautiful" her daughters are. It's how they compensate for what they believe is a slight by the universe upon them. ( -btw- all kids are beautiful).

I don't think that they are SMI BUT I do think that quite a few of the more entrenched contributors and commenters at these sites should, as we say, "see someone". AND they shouldn't be giving coping, parenting or medical advice

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 17 Dec 2013 #permalink

@ Denice Walter: I saw that latest "hit piece" about Professor Dorit
Reiss. I've tangled with that poster...many times on blogs and she knows diddly squat about vaccines and even less about vaccine mandates...in spite of her being an *attorney.

Look at this "petition" which was linked to on AoA. There's a ground swell of people who are against the implementation of California AB 2109//sarcasm:

https://www.change.org/petitions/california-legislature-absolute-power-…

* Is Christina Waldman part of the AoA "Legal B Team"...which now includes CIA Parker and Kent Heckenlively? This should be fun.

I know Ms. Walter writes out of her shill obligations, but why does she have to be so damn boring and repetitive? Ok, here it is Orac: If you tell Denice to cease and desist, I will leave and never return to these blogs.

@ AoA, a Ms Waldman explains ALL about Dorit Reiss’s** ‘ties’ to companies like Kaiser Permanente and Merck via her employer-

I'm puzzling over this comment, which complains about "double negatives" in a paragraph that doesn't seem to have any. (As for "clumsy verbiage," I'd say that "Be that as it may, the institutional activities of Hastings have latterly become bound up in partnerships between UCSF/UC Hastings and Kaiser Permanente, the largest managed health care organization in the US , the head office of which is just across San Francisco bay in Oakland" fits right in there. "Latterly"? The entire piece is a monument to poor flow.)

Krebozien: I still believe you (greg) are reachable, for example.

Funniest comment I've read all day.

DW: Perhaps some people view children as an avenue towards personal achievement; they can say so-and-so is my child and is VERY successful.

I think this is especially endemic in older mothers-since they had a career and gave it up, plus they spent a lot of time preparing, they tend to be more susceptible to arguments that absolve them and their family of any responsibility. Plus, former career women tend to have a lot of frustrated energy; if they don't get the 'perfect kid' in exchange for their time and financial investments, someone's going to be hearing about it.

By Politicalguineapig (not verified) on 17 Dec 2013 #permalink

Greg said:

I know Ms. Walter writes out of her shill obligations, but why does she have to be so damn boring and repetitive?

Let me repeat: Greg said that.

Once more: Greg said that.

Nothing else to add.

@ Narad:

Poor flow indeed -amongst other problems.
Perhaps "not protecting reliance is unjustified" is what s/he means. I have no problem understanding that: complex sentence construction is apparently beyond her/ him.

@ PGP:
Sounds about right.

@ TBruce:
I imagine I hit a nerve. Not the first time.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 17 Dec 2013 #permalink

Greg - i find Denice Walter to be well written, informative, and, overall, a delight. Sorry you don't agree.

By Mephistopheles… (not verified) on 17 Dec 2013 #permalink

Sorry you don’t agree.

I can't bring myself to be (sorry that is) for such a miserable, lying little tosspot who thinks he can dictate terms of who posts here.

By Science Mom (not verified) on 17 Dec 2013 #permalink

Wasn't The Troll voted off the island months ago?

But for Orac's liberal moderation policy, The Troll would have been banned from posting his inanities here.

You're needed at Age of Autism, Troll. They are one clown short for the their 4 Ring Circus.

This is fantastic. They're really letting their freak flags fly:

Yes, Dorit is literally doing this full-time, and not only on the behalf of the US Pharma, but Israel's as well. You can see it really is a globally coordinated campaign.

I am a bit bothered by their inability to understand my articles. I'm not sure if it's an indication I should write simpler even when writing professionally or if the problem is with them.

@ Mephistopheles:
Remind me to buy you a drink at the next pharma soiree.

@ Narad:
Oh yes! Dorit has them whipped up in a frenzy nearly to the levels Brian Deer had a few years ago. " a globally coordinated campaign" is it?
Unfortunately, they can't confabulate as much about Orac because that might lead their readers back to Jake's posts.
And then, to Jake's blog etc.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 17 Dec 2013 #permalink

I am a bit bothered by their inability to understand my articles.

Which article? As a law newbie, I can proofread if it's too complicated.

Alain

I’m not sure if it’s an indication I should write simpler even when writing professionally or if the problem is with them.

I'm pretty sure that "Joy B" wouldn't know estoppel from a hole in her head. If it were me, I'd subtly start dropping global domination agenda crumbs.

This exchange, however, is one for the ages:

So, if you had a damaged BB barrier from eating contaminated rye then you might be set up to have BB barrier leakage with only a mild hit to the head. Another significance of the leaky blood brain barrier is that injected viruses would be more likely to get to the brain. So the moral for me would be not to get a flu shot when you have a leaky BB barrier (of course, I wouldn't get one anyway). I don't think we have to worry about ergot contaminated grains, but what else in our food supply do we need to worry about (like polysorbate 80)?

Thank you, Alain, what a lovely offer. Really. I don't want to waste your time, so font do this unless you want to - this is the where you can find latest they misunderstood: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2309145. If you're bored, the first few pages should make the topic clear...

By Dorit Reiss (not verified) on 17 Dec 2013 #permalink

Tsk, tsk. Who could have predicted that my posts and Professor Reiss' posts got Carolinewriter and her pal banned from the Daily Kos?

P.S. I did post additional comments, after they got themselves banned.

Hi Dorit,
I'll read the paper tomorrow and comment back but I must say, I appreciate the double-interlines of the paper :) make it easier to read.

Alain

sk, tsk. Who could have predicted that my posts and Professor Reiss’ posts got Carolinewriter and her pal banned from the Daily Kos?

Did "CIA" Parker ever get unstymied?

Joy B,
I went to the Daily Kos but, probably because I don't have an account, I wasn't able to post there. That's probably why there were dozens of asinine comments, birds of a feather stick together. All I can hope is that people of good will, researching vaccines before making a decision, will not stop at a pharmaganda site like that.

I dunno if CIA ever got unstymied...but Twyla managed to hijack the other post at the DK. There are over a hundred "new comments" posted by Twyla.

There are over a hundred “new comments” posted by Twyla.

Cynthia's house must be in "complete dis a ray."

At least the Dachelbot's subscription to Searing Irony Daily is in good standing.

^ Er, Twyla's. I seem to have lost track of the routine declarations of war against introspection.

That comment was made by Benedetta, Narad. When I first went slumming at AoA, I was dumbfounded by the English language mangling, grammatically challenged Benedetta. I thought she had some intellectual disabilities; turns out that Benedetta is college educated and a teacher.

All the AoA crank posters carpet bombed Steven Salzberg's post about an expensive genetic test being marketed to determine risks factors for having a child with an ASD.

CIA goes on a rant about her child's vaccine injury, her vaccine injury and the multiple members of her family who were injured by vaccines, here:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/stevensalzberg/2013/09/23/cashing-in-on-fea…

"ciaparker2 2 months ago

It would be much more sensible to say no to both the test and the vaccines. The most the test could do would be to show if there are genetic factors which predispose the child to reacting to vaccines. My baby reacted to the hep-B vax at birth with encephalitis, got the DTaP at 2, 4, and 6 months, caught pertussis anyway at 8 months (and gave it to me), recovered fine, started saying two words, both were wiped out forever as soon as she got the DTaP booster at 18 months, and she was diagnosed with autism at 20 months. I reacted to a tetanus booster with both arms being paralyzed the same day, brachial plexus neuropathy, and went on to develop MS. I reacted to the DPT at 3 months with days of screaming, presumably encephalitis, and grew up with Asperger’s. My father reacted to a flu shot with losing his voice for a month and paralysis for the last three years of his life. My nephew reacted to vaccines with Asperger’s, and my cousin’s daughter also reacted and is institutionalized for autism. No one in my family in earlier generations had autism. It is usually caused by vaccines, either through brain damage caused by vaccine encephalitis or by toxicity from vaccine ingredients like mercury or aluminum (mercury is still in many flu shots). So I know without spending $800 that it would be a bad idea for any of us to get shots, it’s just too bad I didn’t realize soon enough. Is it safe for everyone without these factors to get vaccines? I wouldn’t bank on it, but I guess we’d need to ruin a lot more lives to get data for the study on it."

They are all wrapped up in their conspiracy theories and blaming teh ebil vaccines for their kids' ASD diagnoses.

@ lilady

Re: ciaparker post

Taken at face value, her family story is disturbing on many levels. Reading it, I understand why so many people may wonder about vaccine risks.

But that I found also disturbing is that, obviously, whatever ails her, there seems to be a strong genetics component: I mean, she has a long list of close relatives who got it, or something like it, whatever "it" is.
And yet, she is not interested in genetic testing. Which is precisely what should be done in the context of an existing susceptibility to vaccines or fairy dust or whatever, if only to get a chance to determine who is susceptible to what and who is not. It makes me cringe.
"Hi! I have bubonic plague but I don't want to be tested so you can figure out if other people may catch it".
I'm willing to listen to these vaccine injuries stories and give them a chance to prove me wrong, but they are less than forthcoming with evidence. When given a chance to present evidence, they won't do it. D*mn it.

I'm also annoyed by " No one in my family in earlier generations had autism." How does she know? Go back three generations (as she is doing), and mental illnesses (to use a broad, if inaccurate, definition) were not diagnosed systematically and even less talked about. Especially if you were just a bit socially inept. Go back four generations, Autism did not exist as a word (which is not the same as no-one being autistic).

By Helianthus (not verified) on 17 Dec 2013 #permalink

whatever ails her, there seems to be a strong genetics component: I mean, she has a long list of close relatives who got it, or something like it, whatever “it” is.
And yet, she is not interested in genetic testing.

I believe Cia has convinced herself that vaccinesdidit, but on a subconscious level she knows that the evidence is against her. Genetic testing could prove her belief wrong, so she refuses to do it. People, even highly intelligent people, don't like it when a cherished belief is overturned and Cia cherishes that belief.

By Julian Frost (not verified) on 17 Dec 2013 #permalink

@Helianthus - I'm sure, if most people went back into their own family histories & were told the truth, they'd find cousins, aunts, uncles or even siblings from previous generations (hope that makes sense guys - its still early here) that weren't "talked about" or just disappeared....quietly shunted off to the sanitarium because of mental illness (i.e. autism or the like).

In the "Good Old Days" mental illness wasn't discussed, it wasn't in the public eye & it certainly wasn't understood the way that we understand it today - of course, if someone was a bit "eccentric" it was okay - you know, the kooky Uncle who was just a bit "off" that today we'd see as a high-functioning autistic, but pretty much everyone else was kept out of the public eye.

I'm not quite sure how people like our odious troll can ignore the history of mental health in this country - where tens of thousands of people with all classes of mental disorders were locked away in sanitariums all over the country.....all one needs to do is pick up some history books & see how bad things used to be (and where all of those people were that these trolls claim never existed).

@MOB

"Greg – i find Denice Walter to be well written, informative, and, overall, a delight. Sorry you don’t agree."

C'mon MOB! As I didn't have a tough enough time convincing you guys that vaccines cause the vast majority (not 'extraordinarily rare' cases, Kreb) of autism cases. Denice is a bore, and she follows the same script.

It's always about the 'quack' parents who are disappointed with their shortcomings, so they use their autistic kids as a pretext to lash out at the more educated, 'successful' authority figures. Occasionally she will intermingle this with talk of snake-oil, woo-meisters salespersons, weaving their web of deceits to lure the 'quack' parents.

It's boring MOB -- boring! Would it kill her to try a different script? (Hee hee hee)

Prof. Reiss, I wouldn't fret a second over the criticisms of your writing. This law-ignorant science wonk can understand you perfectly and appreciate the way you can present complex legal concepts cogently. The AoA ignorati will find anything to criticise, particularly that which does not even exist when it comes to hit pieces on their target du jour.

By Science Mom (not verified) on 18 Dec 2013 #permalink

@Kreb

"I think we can be very confident in stating that fewer than 1 in 100 cases of autism are caused by vaccination, if any are caused at all, which is far from certain."

So your argument of vaccines causing autism in 1 in 100 cases is entirely conjecture? Again Kreb, please don't point to the Madsen study to justify pulling this figure out of your arse.

The Madsen study was a croc! You keep boasting about how they studied 500,000 kids, Kreb? Of these kids, a disproportionate amount were to young -- not even reaching the median age of 4.3 year for autism detection. Perhaps only the 6 and 7 years old in the study served as useful cases. So Kreb, brag that they studied 200, 000 kids, since this is closer to the truth!

Further Kreg, I made it clear my belief that autism is the result of the cumulative build-up of vaccines. To the extent that the Danish study represents the examination of one extra vaccine, the MMR, then theoretically we would expect it to find a link (though again Kreb, we would still have to wonder if the 200,000 sample size offer enough statistical power). Yet Kreb, I said 'theoretically' because even though we may expect the MMR kids to had receive one extra vaccine this may not have necessarily been the case. Perhaps some parents passed on the MMR for their kids but replaced it with two extra vaccines, and representing a surplus. So there again, Kreb, we see how problematic it is to engage in wild, speculative argument that the MMR group should have yielded a correlation over the non-MMR kids. In fact Kreb, generally we see how asinine it is to speculate on this 'vaccine causing autism in extraordinary circumstances' rate, based on studies comparing vaccinated kids to vaccinated kids.

Finally Kreb, you are suggesting that I'm 'reachable' and may be converted? If truth be told Kreb, you are the one appearing 'convertible'. Before it was talk of one is delusional for believing vaccines cause autism, to now being open to the possibility that it may be the case in 'extraordinary circumstances'.

Kreb, I haven't moved one inch! I believe that vaccines are causing the vast majority, definitely over 90%, of autistic cases that we are seeing. Yes, there are documented cases of non-vaccinated autistic kids, but to the extent that the vaccine-autism link is so clear one would have to think that this is just a strange anomaly. When 'the admission' is finally made (hee hee hee), I am really looking forward to an explanation of how this is possible.

! As I didn’t have a tough enough time convincing you guys that vaccines cause the vast majority (not ‘extraordinarily rare’ cases, Kreb) of autism cases.

You'd have a much easier time if you had these things known as "relevant facts" to prove that vaccines cause autism.

By Julian Frost (not verified) on 18 Dec 2013 #permalink

It’s boring MOB — boring! Would it kill her to try a different script? (Hee hee hee)

Would it kill you?

By AnObservingParty (not verified) on 18 Dec 2013 #permalink

Would it kill her to try a different script? (Hee hee hee)

Giggles, your cluelessness is awesome.

@Science Mom, # 263: Their conspiracy theories and the rest are their problem, but there's always potential room for professional improvement. :-)

By Dorit Reiss (not verified) on 18 Dec 2013 #permalink

And thank you, Science Mom.

By Dorit Reiss (not verified) on 18 Dec 2013 #permalink

As I didn’t have a tough enough time convincing you guys that vaccines cause the vast majority (not ‘extraordinarily rare’ cases, Kreb) of autism cases.

Far more than simply having had a tough time, you have yet to convince anyone this is the case.

Might have something to do with the fact that to date you've offered absolutely no actual evidence this is the case.

I've followed Professor Reiss' comments at Katie Couric's website and on many of the other science blogs, and she has an amazing grasp of the science of immunology, disease processes and the law/regulations.

There is a new comment up at AoA which chastised them for their unprovoked and unwarranted attacks on Dorit Reiss' knowledge of the law and her integrity.

I'm sorry that Professor has been subjected to this abusive yellow journalism.

The Madsen study was a croc! You keep boasting about how they studied 500,000 kids, Kreb? Of these kids, a disproportionate amount were to young — not even reaching the median age of 4.3 year for autism detection. Perhaps only the 6 and 7 years old in the study served as useful cases. So Kreb, brag that they studied 200, 000 kids, since this is closer to the truth!

Just as a reminder to anyone wondering how much sh!t Gerg is full of - the Madsen study included pretty much every child born in Denmark during a seven-year period.

Even if we gave credence to Gerg's claim that only 2/7ths of that study population was a suitable population in which to detect autism, that 2/7ths still a huge population. If the vast majority of autism cases in that population were caused by the vaccination, which is what Gerg claims, there wouldn't be any way to hide the massive difference in autism rates that would be visible at that population size.

By Antaeus Feldspar (not verified) on 18 Dec 2013 #permalink

Greg -

After reading a great many of your posts on this board, I have come to an inescapable conclusion that I would like to present to you. I do not mean this to be insulting or hurtful, but I can certainly see how it could be taken that way. However, I hope you will see past that likely initial reaction and take what I am going to say in the spirit in which it is intended: as a way to give you an important observation about you that, I am quite sure, you will never be able to make about yourself.

You simply are not intelligent enough to form a reasonable judgment on the topic at hand. Your profound struggles with logic, simple math, and even the forming of coherent and correct English sentences (and words) all point to a core deficit in your ability to think. You simply do not have the brainpower to take information and understand it, much less to feed it into a reasoning process and draw conclusions. Your mental abilities top out well below the minimum needed to have even an elementary grasp on the issue under discussion.

You're just not smart enough.

As often happens with people at your low level of intelligence, you perceive yourself to have, instead, a high level of intelligence; this has been referred to as the Dunning-Kruger effect. One of the consequences of suffering from this delusion is the complete inability to assess your own shortcoming in this regard. You have no ability -- due, at the root, to your lack of intelligence -- to perceive your lack of intelligence. A terrible irony. But there you have it.

I suspect that if you reflect back on your life, you will see a pattern wherein you have struggled academically once you reached a certain level. I'm sure you would have numerous rationalizations to explain this away; that's to be expected. But you might want to consider how that matches up with what I've explained above.

I admire others' persistence in attempting to use information and reasoning to show you the basis for conclusions and positions. However, I have sadly decided, based on the mountain of evidence that you have provided here, that you're just not very smart. So much so that you are intellectually unqualified to provide thoughts of any value, other than as serving as an example of the alarmingly low intelligence of many who share your stance.

By OccamsLaser (not verified) on 18 Dec 2013 #permalink

@274: There's value in combating Greg's continued word dumps beyond trying to correct it -- the rebuttals are seen by anyone who cares to scroll down.

Even if Greg never realizes how excruciatingly incorrect it is, there's an electronic trail of refutations anyone can follow. It's one of the reasons why many of these "health freedom" and "autism awareness" sites don't allow conflicting opinions and their leaders don't put their views out on sites like this -- they want to appear as though their pronouncements have no dissenters except for a faceless, immoral "them."

Besides, I like reading Krebiozen's take down of its arguments. I learn something new most every time, and Kreb provides links that I can browse and disassemble; it's a nice counter to Greg's factless assertions and propaganda-posing-as-information links.

@ Mewens:

You are correct. In fact, a few of us even *use* contrarian comments as a way to introduce material to a general audience- which includes lurkers and newbies. Kreb presents a master class in this artform.

I try to add material about how alt med operates/ alt med news as well as search-able information about general psychology that few people know exists and which has relevance to the topic at hand.

About the differences in censorship policy on sites like AoA vs RI:
the former has been so severely criticised that they do occasionally let a few critical comments through as does Autism Investigated. HOWEVER a few of their critics who comment here report about the number of their comments which never show up at these sites. Orac allows criticism, insults and drivel - all which can serve as jumping off points for the regulars.
You see, there is a plan.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 18 Dec 2013 #permalink

Greg: It’s always about the ‘quack’ parents who are disappointed with their shortcomings, so they use their autistic kids as a pretext to lash out at the more educated, ‘successful’ authority figures. Occasionally she will intermingle this with talk of snake-oil, woo-meisters salespersons, weaving their web of deceits to lure the ‘quack’ parents.

I suppose you avoid your reflection's eyes in the morning? Frankly, that's a spot on description of most of your fellow denizens.

By Politicalguineapig (not verified) on 18 Dec 2013 #permalink

@OccamsLaser, #274

Wow! So Occam, you really think I am too stupid to form a logical position on the vaccine/autism issue?

I never really thought of it that way! I guess now should have been the prime opportunity for me to feel embarrassed and exit this stage with my tail between my legs. It should have been, but, anyway, you guys know how totally shameless I am. (Hee hee hee.)

Anyway Occam, let's see what you have to say about my intellectual savvy and I will give you my honest take:

'Lacking simply math?'
Not really. Perhaps lacking the math to do rocket science, but adequate for analyzing vaccine studies.

'Occasional awkward sentence constructions, with poor choice of words?'
Yes. Also, with periodic sloppy spelling, and especially when I am typing fast. You forgot that Occam.

'Deficit in logical and critical thinking'?
Must disagree. Without meaning to be boastful, I consider I excel in this area. In addition, I possess extraordinary instincts in reading between the lines, and which makes me good at spotting BS.

So there you have it, Occam. I don't consider myself a genius, but far from stupid. Maybe I am too stupid to know that I am stupid, as you said? (Hee hee hee.) I don't know about that possibility, Occam, since I am here contemplating that I am too stupid to know that I am stupid.
Maybe I could be aware that I am stupid, but I am too embarrassed to admit it, so I try to pretend that I am not stupid? But again, Occam, I am openly discussing the possibility, and which would suggest that I am not at all embarrassed about the prospect of being stupid.

Occam, this is too much to thinking for me (stupid?), so let's move on.

Occam, if truth be told, I think very little intelligence is required to assess the vaccine/autism matter and come to sensible conclusion. In fact, I believe the vast majority of high school drop-outs have enough intelligence to form a sensible opinion. Reaching such an opinion is not so much contingent on intelligence, but on honesty, integrity and courage; and sadly, I feel your side is lacking in these areas.

Occam, now that I am being straight with you, perhaps you may choose to reciprocate and answer a question: What other pseudonyms do you go by?

Also BTW, has anyone seen or heard from Kreb? I haven't heard from him since I accused him of talking out of his arse in response to his claim of 1 in 100 cases of autism may be the result vaccine injury!

Kreb, come out and PLAAAYYY! Kreb, come out and PLAAAYYY! *Cling...ka cling..* Indeed -- Narad does it better.

Gerg,

We're a team players...oh, me, not so much since I decided for a long time to not engage with you more than once every....well...full moon....(look up the sky, no full moon...too bad)....but anyone, you're solo and we're a team. Why don't you bring your team to play with? We could play team whack-a-mole that way?

pretty please?

Alain

anyone === anyway (gotta take care of php).

Drunkass in somewhere...

"So Occam, you really think I am too stupid to form a logical position on the vaccine/autism issue?"

That seems to be the majority position here.

"Maybe I am too stupid to know that I am stupid, as you said?"

Trick question?

"I am not at all embarrassed about the prospect of being stupid."

Yes, you certainly seem to be quite proud of the fact

"I believe the vast majority of high school drop-outs have enough intelligence to form a sensible opinion."

If they were that sensible they would have stayed in school.

" Reaching such an opinion is not so much contingent on intelligence"

But reaching a correct opinion on a scientific issue is contingent on intelligence.

By Kelly M Bray (not verified) on 18 Dec 2013 #permalink

Greg:

'Lacking simply math?’
Not really. Perhaps lacking the math to do rocket science, but adequate for analyzing vaccine studies

I refer readers to this post where you demonstrated you lacked the mathematical skills to properly analyse said studies.

Deficit in logical and critical thinking’?
Must disagree. Without meaning to be boastful, I consider I excel in this area.

Anyone looking at the post i mentioned above would quickly realise that you don't. Dunning-Kruger indeed.

Maybe I am too stupid to know that I am stupid, as you said? (Hee hee hee.)

Yes. Yes you are.

I think very little intelligence is required to assess the vaccine/autism matter and come to sensible conclusion. In fact, I believe the vast majority of high school drop-outs have enough intelligence to form a sensible opinion.

It's not enough to have intelligence. You need critical thinking skills and the ability to spot bad arguments.

Reaching such an opinion is not so much contingent on intelligence, but on honesty, integrity and courage; and sadly, I feel your side is lacking in these areas.

Antivaccine quacks include Andrew Wakefield, who subjected 12 children to needless and distressing tests and tried to set up businesses to profit from the scare he created, the Geiers, who falsely diagnosed autistic children with precocious puberty to chelate them, and people who subject children to bleach enemas, and our side lacks "honesty, integrity and courage"?
OccamsLaser nailed it.
You simply are not intelligent enough to form a reasonable judgment on the topic at hand.

By Julian Frost (not verified) on 18 Dec 2013 #permalink

Perhaps lacking the math to do rocket science, but adequate for analyzing vaccine studies.

I take that anyone who understands what "rocket science" is will find this comment appropriately hilarious. (And I say this with all due respect to E. Myles Standish, the IERS, and all the realizers of the ICRF, with a particular note of fondness for Toshio Fukushima's footnoting habits.)

Occam, now that I am being straight with you, perhaps you may choose to reciprocate and answer a question: What other pseudonyms do you go by?

Uh-oh, Gerg is now demanding to see people's papers.

Seldom have I seen one so cognitively challenged yet who holds such a high opinion of his intellectual abilities as Gerg.
A scan back to his ridiculous HIV/AIDS witterings should have been sufficient to indicate his failings, but to read his nonsense about the diseases "caused" by vaccines and his notions about what causes autism have definitely removed all doubt.

@dingo - If I was truly conspiracy-minded, I would suspect that Gerg & his ilk are actually in the pay of Big Pharma....they are paid to be so crazy and idiotic as to make the entire anti-vaccine movement look so bad as to ensure they are never taken seriously.....

Of course, that's total bollocks....it is just that those people truly are that stupid and crazy.

You know Lawrence, some of his stuff is so asinine, and so perfectly scripted to what the loons at AoA say, I've occasionally wondered if he plays the troll to get reasonable responses that he then passes off to others. But that's a conspiracy so convoluted the Kid could have dreamed it up.

By AnObservingParty (not verified) on 19 Dec 2013 #permalink

Deficit in logical and critical thinking’?
Must disagree. Without meaning to be boastful, I consider I excel in this area.

That's pretty much the foundation of Dunning-Kruger, that people deeply deficient in an area consider themselves to excel in it.

Someone who really did excel in the area of logical thinking would have little trouble presenting their arguments in syllogism form. Gerg most likely doesn't even know what a syllogism is; if he tried, I'm certain he'd do his best to ape the outward form after a bit of hasty Googling, but he'd probably just assemble three statements that do not even share common referents, thinking that was all there was to it. Gerg is an excellent logician, like the cargo-cult tribesman assembling the elaborate wooden plane is a top-class aerospace engineer.

By Antaeus Feldspar (not verified) on 19 Dec 2013 #permalink

Greg,

So your argument of vaccines causing autism in 1 in 100 cases is entirely conjecture? Again Kreb, please don’t point to the Madsen study to justify pulling this figure out of your arse.

Are you incapable of understanding even the simplest explanations? I explained that the Madsen study alone has sufficient statistical power to detect a 4% difference in the incidence of autism in vaccinated and unvaccinated children. I even linked to a statistics website that allows you to calculate this for yourself. You seem to dismiss anything you don't understand as speculation, which is sad.

The Madsen study was a croc! You keep boasting about how they studied 500,000 kids, Kreb?

It wasn't a "croc" (I think you mean "crock"), it was an excellent study with a robust design, and they did study over half a million children. In any case, this is one of many studies that all find no hint of any link between vaccination and autism. I only referred to this specific study as we have discussed it before.

Of these kids, a disproportionate amount were to young — not even reaching the median age of 4.3 year for autism detection. Perhaps only the 6 and 7 years old in the study served as useful cases.

Don't you remember claiming that "tens of thousands" of parents have reported "their child dramatically regressed into autism following vaccination"? Yet there is no sign of any difference in autism in incidence 6 months, 12 months, 18 months, 24 months 30 months, 36 months and even more than 5 years after vaccination. Your claims cannot possibly be true.

So Kreb, brag that they studied 200, 000 kids, since this is closer to the truth!

I fail to see how pointing out that the facts falsify your claims is bragging. Anyway, even a sample size of 200,000 has sufficient statistical power to detect a 5% difference in autism incidence at the 95% confidence limit level.

Whatever way you look at this you are simply wrong.

Further Kreg, I made it clear my belief that autism is the result of the cumulative build-up of vaccines. To the extent that the Danish study represents the examination of one extra vaccine, the MMR, then theoretically we would expect it to find a link (though again Kreb, we would still have to wonder if the 200,000 sample size offer enough statistical power).

We don't have to wonder, we know what statistical power the study has. Even if MMR was the final straw that breaks the camel's back, after other vaccines have damaged the child, we would still be able to detect this. To extend the metaphor, we have looked at camels before MMR and camels after MMR, and the proportion of broken backs is the same in both groups, even if we look at them immediately after MMR or up to 6 years later. You are railing about an alleged effect that is undetectable, even in a study using a huge number of children. This effect, if it even exists, simply cannot be large enough to be clinically significant.

By the way, as far as I know this started with claims that MMR causes autism, and when studies failed to support this antivaxxers moved onto thimerosal, and when studies failed to support this they moved onto "too many too soon", and now at least one study has failed to support this, there isn't much left. I think you are is the only person I have come across claiming that the cumulative effects of vaccines cause autism. Not only is there no evidence at all to support this claim, but also it suggests that all those parents claiming their child regressed into autism immediately after vaccination were mistaken, just as SBM has been suggesting for years.

Yet Kreb, I said ‘theoretically’ because even though we may expect the MMR kids to had receive one extra vaccine this may not have necessarily been the case. Perhaps some parents passed on the MMR for their kids but replaced it with two extra vaccines, and representing a surplus.

That is a fine example of the extraordinary mental gymnastics and special pleading you have to go through to hold on to your delusional belief in the face of overwhelming evidence it is false. Somehow all the MMR unvaccinated children in this study had extra vaccinations with other vaccines that the MMR-vaccinated didn't get? Don't you see how silly this is?

So there again, Kreb, we see how problematic it is to engage in wild, speculative argument that the MMR group should have yielded a correlation over the non-MMR kids. In fact Kreb, generally we see how asinine it is to speculate on this ‘vaccine causing autism in extraordinary circumstances’ rate, based on studies comparing vaccinated kids to vaccinated kids.

The only wild speculative argument I see here is from you, making up ridiculous scenarios in which large numbers of Danish parents take their child to the doctor and say they don't want MMR but they would like "two extra vaccines" instead. Which "two extra vaccines" are they asking for? Cholera and typhoid perhaps? Yellow fever?

I am saying that this evidence excludes any causative effects except at a difference in rate too low for this study to detect, that difference being around the 4-5% level. That's not asinine speculation, that's statistics based on solid math.

Finally Kreb, you are suggesting that I’m ‘reachable’ and may be converted?

I suggested I was deluded in thinking that, but never mind.

If truth be told Kreb, you are the one appearing ‘convertible’. Before it was talk of one is delusional for believing vaccines cause autism, to now being open to the possibility that it may be the case in ‘extraordinary circumstances’.

That's a position I have always held, as that is what the scientific evidence tells us. We cannot rule out the possibility that vaccines cause autism in very rare circumstances, because the sample size required is impractical. We can say that vaccines are not a significant or important cause of autism, as I have repeatedly stated.

Personally I don't believe that vaccines have anything to do with autism, and it has all been a stupendous waste of time and money that has been to the great detriment of everyone, especially individuals with autism.

Kreb, I haven’t moved one inch! I believe that vaccines are causing the vast majority, definitely over 90%, of autistic cases that we are seeing.

That's a shame. I don't understand how you can ignore all the evidence that tells us that this cannot possibly be true, beyond any reasonable doubt whatsoever. Even a sample size of 1,000 should be enough to detect an effect this large. That's why I described you as delusional; it is an accurate description based on what you have written here.

Yes, there are documented cases of non-vaccinated autistic kids, but to the extent that the vaccine-autism link is so clear one would have to think that this is just a strange anomaly.

In what way is the vaccine-autism link "so clear"? What evidence are you basing this on? Why do you believe this?

When ‘the admission’ is finally made (hee hee hee), I am really looking forward to an explanation of how this is possible.

You must know this isn't going to happen. Everything we know about autism points to a prenatal cause. The epidemiological evidence shows not a hint of a link with vaccines. There is no plausible mechanism by which vaccines could cause autism. The only thing that really interests me is why people like you cling to a belief that has been so thoroughly discredited.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 19 Dec 2013 #permalink

"I’ve followed Professor Reiss’ comments at Katie Couric’s website and on many of the other science blogs, and she has an amazing grasp of the science of immunology, disease processes and the law/regulations.

There is a new comment up at AoA which chastised them for their unprovoked and unwarranted attacks on Dorit Reiss’ knowledge of the law and her integrity."

The last resort for wooists who are unable to respond to well-reasoned arguments, is to come up with some variation on "you sure have lots of time on your hands/someone must be paying you to post".

Much easier than actually addressing the points that were made. And always hilarious coming from people who obviously spend a significant amount of time spamming comments sections with the same old glurge.

By Dangerous Bacon (not verified) on 19 Dec 2013 #permalink

@Kelly M Bray
“I believe the vast majority of high school drop-outs have enough intelligence to form a sensible opinion.”

"If they were that sensible they would have stayed in school"

I think your comment is overly offensive to high school drop-outs at large. An important distinction should be made between being intelligent and wise. Perhaps, the majority of high school drop-outs are relatively intelligent, and would do well on standardized IQ tests. Still, they may not have been wise in seeing the benefits of staying in school. Not to mention, there may had been other pressing, precipitating factors that led to their decision.

@Alain

"We’re a team players…oh, me, not so much since I decided for a long time to not engage with you more than once every….well…full moon….(look up the sky, no full moon…too bad)"

But aren't you contradicting yourself by engaging me here? Or, are you taking a page out of Lilady's book and ignoring me by telling me you are ignoring me?

@VCADODers
Speaking of engaging me, I asked before and I will ask again, what does it say the you guys are so obsessed with responding to my 'mad', 'stupid' rantings? Who in their right might would engage the stupid, lunatic madman on the street? (Hee hee hee).

@DB

"The last resort for wooists who are unable to respond to well-reasoned arguments, is to come up with some variation on “you sure have lots of time on your hands/someone must be paying you to post”.

Actually DB, regardless of whether it's relevant to the topic at hand of vaccines and their adverse events, I too am genuinely curios about how Dorit is supporting herself, spending so much time on her pro-vaccine propaganda. Yes, indeed, if she does concede that she is a shill then it should not necessarily have any bearings on the strength of her arguments. But, c'mon DB -- how the hell is she supporting herself? She has to be a shill!

As to her 'well reasoned arguments', I have to say that 'morse' did I find job on the Katie Couric's HPV blog, blowing those arguments out of the water with his/hers, 'Top 9 blatantly misleading and flawed arguments from Dorit et al'.

@greg

"Wow! So Occam, you really think I am too stupid to form a logical position on the vaccine/autism issue?"

Without a doubt. In fact, you have admitted as much. You have stated that you your position cannot change no matter what evidence was presented. That is, you have decided that you will hold a belief that is contradicted by reality. You choose not to believe in facts and logic if the conclusion of applying logic to facts conflicts with a belief you have pre-selected. That is one mark of very low intelligence. But that is only one of the many extremely strong indicators of your intellectual deficit which has been extensively displayed in your many posts here.

"I never really thought of it that way! I guess now should have been the prime opportunity for me to feel embarrassed and exit this stage with my tail between my legs. It should have been, but, anyway, you guys know how totally shameless I am. (Hee hee hee.)"

No; people who have so little intelligence that they are unable to assess themselves in that regard are rarely embarrassed by their lack of intellect, because they simply can't perceive it. They're not smart enough, ironically. You've just demonstrated that nicely.

As to the "hee hee hee" business, I do want to state that I took into account your apparent age when forming my judgment regarding your lack of intelligence. That little riff, along with many other of your linguistic tropes, make it clear that you are likely in the 14-17-year-old range. People older than that, even if they are of limited intelligence, don't write in such an immature style.

"Anyway Occam, let’s see what you have to say about my intellectual savvy and I will give you my honest take:"

I already told you my assessment of your "intellectual savvy" (?). You've amply demonstrated that you're not mentally equipped to examine the evidence and apply logic to it.

"‘Lacking simply math?’
Not really. Perhaps lacking the math to do rocket science, but adequate for analyzing vaccine studies."

You have misquoted me; that's another mark of someone who doesn't have the mental ability to understand even straightforward discourse. I didn't say you were "lacking simple math" -- I stated that you had profound struggles with simple math. This was conclusively demonstrated -- repeatedly -- in your excruciating interchange with Kreb. My point was regarding your lack of intelligence, not your lack of education (though the latter may be a factor as well in your inability to follow simple lines of reasoning).

"‘Occasional awkward sentence constructions, with poor choice of words?’
Yes. Also, with periodic sloppy spelling, and especially when I am typing fast. You forgot that Occam."

You err. Sloppy spelling is not an indicator of low intelligence, per se. I was addressing your language deficit, which renders you unable to consistently form proper sentences. This seems to stem from a belief that precision in written expression is unimportant, but that is a typical rationalization of individuals like you who are unable to do better.

"‘Deficit in logical and critical thinking’?
Must disagree. Without meaning to be boastful, I consider I excel in this area. In addition, I possess extraordinary instincts in reading between the lines, and which makes me good at spotting BS."

Again, I point out that you are providing a fabricated quote. I never wrote, "Deficit in logical and critical thinking". As I explained, your failure to distinguish reality (what I actually wrote) from that which you desire (what you quoted me as writing) is telling. It's another form of your placing a chosen belief over truth. This is also, informally, a type of delusional behavior.

One of the most honest things you have ever written on this board is "must disagree". Indeed, it is essential to your self-image to protect yourself from recognizing your inability to engage in even moderately rigorous thinking. You have no self-perception; your claim here ("Without meaning to be boastful, I consider I excel in this area") is truly painful to read; it's actually quite sad, especially in view of your monumental struggles to understand even simple concepts of study design and statistics, and your ultimate failure to comprehend either. But, as I previously explained, you do not have the intelligence to perceive how unintelligent you are, so you wrongly conclude, using your very limited intellect, that you are very smart. But you're wrong, of course.

"So there you have it, Occam. I don’t consider myself a genius, but far from stupid."

Again, you do not have the intelligence to make that judgment. You, therefore, can never come to that realization.

"Maybe I am too stupid to know that I am stupid, as you said? (Hee hee hee.)"

That's correct. Hey, when you turn 15, will you consider yourself grown-up enough not to put giggles into your writing?

"I don’t know about that possibility, Occam, since I am here contemplating that I am too stupid to know that I am stupid.
Maybe I could be aware that I am stupid, but I am too embarrassed to admit it, so I try to pretend that I am not stupid? But again, Occam, I am openly discussing the possibility, and which would suggest that I am not at all embarrassed about the prospect of being stupid."

It's not really a matter of embarrassment. You can't think well enough to analyze your own lack of intelligence, as you are demonstrating right now.

"Occam, if truth be told, I think very little intelligence is required to assess the vaccine/autism matter"

Here is a sign that at some level, you realize you have very little intelligence, but you are rationalizing that nonetheless you are mentally competent to form a position on this issue. You're wrong, but the admission is important.

"In fact, I believe the vast majority of high school drop-outs have enough intelligence to form a sensible opinion."

Why do you make reference to a level of education? Some high school dropouts are very intelligent, and some people with college degrees are fools. I'm specifically discussing your lack of intelligence, not your educational level. There is a minimum amount of mental power needed to apply logic to the facts of this issue. You don't have that amount of mental power.

"Reaching such an opinion is not so much contingent on intelligence, but on honesty, integrity and courage"

Thank you for admitting that you do not believe in evidence and logic as mechanisms for discerning reality, and that conclusions about what is true can be reached by applying "honesty, integrity and courage." Again, you're wrong, but the admission is appreciated, and it fits perfectly with my assessment of how you view the world and yourself. I have made reference to the rationalizations that you need to employ to preserve your self-image; here is a great example of that mechanism.

"Occam, now that I am being straight with you, perhaps you may choose to reciprocate and answer a question: What other pseudonyms do you go by?"

I don't understand the basis for the question, nor its relevance. I started the exchange by being straight with you, and you reciprocated. So now we're even, right?

"Kreb, come out and PLAAAYYY! Kreb, come out and PLAAAYYY! *Cling…ka cling..*"

Again, I have taken into account your apparent age of early teens as indicated by this sort of statement when forming my opinion of your intelligence, so there can be no claim that your inability to perform simple mental tasks is excused by your youth.

By OccamsLaser (not verified) on 19 Dec 2013 #permalink

Who in their right might would engage the stupid, lunatic madman on the street?

You're not a stupid, lunatic madman, you have just been misled by the kinds of cognitive biases we all have, seem unwilling to examine these, and have a grossly over-inflated view of your own abilities and intellect.

Personally, I'm curious about how you manage to ignore the facts right in front of you, and in how you go through such incredible mental contortions to avoid the truth (those who didn't get MMR must have gotten two other vaccines instead!).

I'm hopeful this might help me to understand why people believe this nonsense, and to find ways of better persuading those whose idées are less fixe. I also find explaining this stuff to you helps me to think this through better and to get it better organized in my mind.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 19 Dec 2013 #permalink

Kreb, I haven’t moved one inch! I believe that vaccines are causing the vast majority, definitely over 90%, of autistic cases that we are seeing.

There is a saying I once read: A wise man changes his mind, a fool never will. That you stick to your beliefs despite being shown how unlikely they are does you no credit. Quite the opposite, in fact.

By Julian Frost (not verified) on 19 Dec 2013 #permalink

Reaching such an opinion is not so much contingent on intelligence, but on honesty, integrity and courage; and sadly, I feel your side is lacking in these areas.

This coming from the person who repeatedly scoffed at the fact that a prospective blinded vax-vs-unvax study is unethical. Dunning-Kreuger indeed.

@ OccamsLaser:**

You touch upon a few issues that people actually DO study- I'll give you a few topic names that might be of interest to you;

-metacognition refers tor what a person knows about cognition ( attention, memory, learing, problem solving) including how it works, how to improve performance and strategies. Obviously, this ability is something that develops over childhood and in adulthood and is highly variable across populations BUT you might expect students to pick it up. It can be taught or learned through interaction with real world tasks.

- executive function refers to how a person understands and 'programmes' his or her own mindstuff ( cognition, emotions, personality, social) and encompasses many abilities INCLUDING knowledge about one's own various abilities as well as those of others', self-evaluation, self control, sarcasm, jokes, metaphor, planning, dealing with others, social aplomb etc.

Many issues can interfere with the development of these abilities in adults. I'm sure that you can guess a few.

** I like the nym.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 19 Dec 2013 #permalink

@ Denice Walter -

Thank you for the information. I have some familiarity with these areas, but not deep knowledge. It is a fascinating subject, and in certain types of situation, applying principles of these disciplines can be both enlightening and, in a way, relieving.

I perceive that one of the most powerful emotions experienced by people who encounter individuals like Greg, after the relatively immediate feelings of frustration, is despair -- the terrible fear that there are large numbers of people who can never be gotten through to, regardless of how clear the issue is and how clearly and logically it is explained. I think that is a pall that lies over many of the discussions here, though it is rarely articulated; I certainly feel it deeply. While not quite at the level of catharsis, there is at least a certain closure one can attain by accepting that, sadly, some people, such as Greg, are simply not candidates for learning subjects that require a minimum mental capacity that they do not possess, and therefore that it is not a failure of the power of rationality that these people cannot get it.

That is really the core message of my post. I certainly do not begrudge Greg's right to post his thoughts, such as they are, nor do I object in the least to the efforts of many here to counteract all the errors he posts. I simply wanted it recorded that I have observed that Greg is neither smart enough to follow along, nor is he smart enough to recognize his limitation in this regard. That helps set expectations with regards to influencing Greg's position (not possible), as opposed to educating all the third parties who are reading (a practical and noble cause).

By OccamsLaser (not verified) on 19 Dec 2013 #permalink

@ OccamsLaser:

That's what we're here for!
There are a vast number of silent and unseen lurkers who read and benefit. Occasionally, one will step forward and speak to us. Then we rejoice.
Because lurkers rule cyberspace.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 19 Dec 2013 #permalink

I even linked to a statistics website that allows you to calculate this for yourself. You seem to dismiss anything you don’t understand as speculation, which is sad.

One might note that Gerg has been invited on multiple occasions to provide the 1−α, β, and signal threshold that would satisfy him in a vaccinated/unvaccinated trial (i.e., dismissing any ethical issue and merely obtaining the sample size) and had nothing in response.

As to her ‘well reasoned arguments’, I have to say that ‘morse’ did I find job on the Katie Couric’s HPV blog

"Morse"? You think someone "did I find job" and can't even reproduce their pseudonym (which, oddly, seems to exist nowhere else)?

Greg -

I missed pointing out one of your fabricated quotes.

You wrote,

" ‘Occasional awkward sentence constructions, with poor choice of words?’ "

I never wrote that; you made it up.

It is extremely revealing that you changed my characterization -- "profound struggles with the forming of coherent correct English sentences (and words)" -- to "occasional awkward sentence constructions, with poor choice of words," and you then addressed the quote you made up, not what I actually said. And, crucially, the quote you decided to make up and address is materially different in its core assertion. What I said related to your lack of ability, which is not something that comes and goes. Your fabricated quote, instead, mentions "occasional" "awkward" writing -- nothing about your ability. This provides another outstanding example of the constant rationalization process that less-intelligent people employ as part of their self-image maintenance. You were uncomfortable even repeating my assertion as I wrote it, so you converted it to a completely different statement that does not pertain to your intellectual deficit.

Here's another example of your inability to grasp even your own thoughts. You wrote,

"I think very little intelligence is required to assess the vaccine/autism matter and come to sensible conclusion. In fact, I believe the vast majority of high school drop-outs have enough intelligence to form a sensible opinion..."

Here, you specifically select high school dropouts as an example of a class of individual with limited intelligence. However, very shortly thereafter, you state,

"Perhaps, the majority of high school drop-outs are relatively intelligent, and would do well on standardized IQ tests."

Now, I know you will not understand the direct contradiction in those two thoughts of yours. That's due to two reasons: First, you are not intelligent enough to even perceive it. Second, you cannot allow yourself to be open to perceiving it, because you must preserve your self-image. But regardless, this serves as yet another neat demonstration of the severe limits of your thinking abilities.

By OccamsLaser (not verified) on 19 Dec 2013 #permalink

I'll tell you who doesn't want people to have vaccines. Big Funeral.
of course, you realize that all vaccines have some quantity of the dangerous industrial solvent DHMO in it.

@Occam

"After reading a great many of your posts on this board, I have come to an inescapable conclusion that I would like to present to you"

and.....

" I have sadly decided, based on the mountain of evidence that you have provided here, that you’re just not very smart."

"you are likely in the 14-17-year-old range"

and....

"Again, I have taken into account your apparent age of early teens"
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Now Occam, let me get this straight: You perused a great deal of my posts, and paying attention to their contents, as well as my writing style, to give your 'expert' opinion that I am intellectually challenged. Yet Occam, after reading these posts, could you not have found anything in them that suggested I am a grown-up moron and not a teen-aged one?

Occam, did you not stumble on the comments where I admitted being a university and college grad? What about the other posts where I explained that I am married and have kids? Or Occam, the numerous times where I reported working as a counsellor with special needs clients? Even after exploring the 'mountain of evidence', and by the sheerest, incredible chance missing the personal information in the 'mountain', could you not have found any other subtleties that indicated my age? Hee hee hee! HAAA!!!!

Seriously Occam -- in your spirit, are you a blooming imbecile?? I don't think you are -- there has to be a better explanation!

Just where the hell does pharma find you guys? Hey Orac, I would really appreciate seeing the operation behind the scene -- can you arrange me a tour of Pharma Shill Headquarters? Please Orac -- pretty please!

@Kreb

"Somehow all the MMR unvaccinated children in this study had extra vaccinations with other vaccines that the MMR-vaccinated didn’t get? "

I am not at all suggesting that 'all' the MMR-unvaccinated children had extra vaccines. I was merely pointing out that without weighing for the total vaccine toxicity amounts that each groups were exposed to, we really don't know their net toxicity exposure. While it is reasonable to assume that the MMR group had a greater exposure, the really important matters of how much and was it significant enough to cause a correlation are, nevertheless, left unanswered.

Initially you speculated 6% greater autism cases for the MMR group. How did you reach this figure? Without actually weighing for the toxicity exposure for each of the groups, I don't see how you could have arrived at it.

@Narad

As to her ‘well reasoned arguments’, I have to say that ‘morse’ did I find job on the Katie Couric’s HPV blog

“Morse”? You think someone “did I find job” and can’t even reproduce their pseudonym (which, oddly, seems to exist nowhere else)?

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

Here is the entire post Narad. Perhaps the best smack-down of a vaccine zealot and her ilk -- ever!

mrose8465 (signed in using yahoo)
Top 9 misleading or blatantly incorrect points from Dorit et al:

Dorit rightly points out that parents have important decisions to make for their children. Unfortunately, she continues to peddle misinformation (with lots of URL spamming) in the face of contradicting evidence, and inconsistent arguments.

It turns out Dorit et al insist they argue on the side of science, but in reality, their positions are far more akin to dogmatic faith in the system. Lets review the most egregious examples:

1) Parents whose children have been vaccine damaged have formed opinions without "medical evidence"
2) Anecdotal evidence of harm is not scientific and are mostly "faith" based
3) Population based studies prove that individual instances of harm are not due to the vaccine

These top three fallacies belie a fundamental misunderstanding of both the science of medicine and epidemiology. The first problem is that adverse event reports (i.e. anecdotes) and case reports are most certainly considered "medical evidence". The fact that there are multiple published case reports involving HPV vaccines is a very strong scientific indicator of evidence of harm from the vaccine. In fact, anecdotal evidence forms the key component in a safety study.

If you are looking at safety for a new vaccine, you are actually interested in unexpected results, not something that was predicted. That means you are looking for "new discoveries", not testing for a measurable outcome. The best "study design" for finding new discoveries is anecdote followed by observational studies and lastly RCTs. Ironically, Dorit et al are completely dismissing the former in favour of the latter or least effective.

Population based medical studies are never definitive because there are so many limitations in studying a particular medical intervention across huge population given the number of variables involved. They always have significant limitations because of design constraints and the fact they exclude many situations that happen to exist in real life. The results from a population based study can not override the results of an analysis of an anecdotal incident despite the numerous attempts by others here to do exactly that. It is a logical fallacy to do so (deductive fallacy).

Even more egregious is the fact that Gardasil was only studied on less than 1500 children between the ages of 9 and 14 prior to being licensed. The current CDC recommendation is that we vaccinate every child between those ages. That's over 4 million children per year and a study of only 1500 children is not only considered adequate but definitive by Dorit et al.

4) Medical investigations into vaccine damage are definitive

When faced with the strong anecdotal evidence in direct conflict with their proclamations of safety, the defence by Dorit et al always goes back to the fact that some magical medical entity determined that the problem was not related to the vaccine. The first major issue here (which should be pretty obvious) is that we are all expected to take Dorit et al's and big pharma's word for it. There is no evidence provided for us to substantiate those very critical claims. I think everyone would agree that taking the salesman's word on their product safety is a pretty dumb thing to do. It's even dumber when there are billions of dollars at stake.

The second major issue with this idea is that the methodology for determining "correlation" in medicine is often flawed. Imagine, an MD will go through a known list of causes for a condition (evidence based medicine folks), and if you don't meet them, then the other event must not be "causal". Of course, this presumes you have a huge amount of information gathered from years of history across a large population. In the safety study of a new compound, such a thing does not exist. Reading Merck's safety studies you'll note that they pre-classify reactions into a group of "expected" reactions which they quantify across both the study and placebo arms (soreness at injection site, fever, etc). If it falls into this category and some arbitrarily determined timeline (i.e. you got a fever within 14 days of vaccination) then it is deemed related. Sudden onset of juvenile diabetes clearly wouldn't fit into one of these categories. An investigator might look into possible causes of juvenile diabetes, and determine that vaccination isn't on the list. Juvenile diabetes also has some genetic correlations. Investigation complete: vaccination was not related to onset of juvenile diabetes. It must have been caused by the genetic predisposition. Case closed, send a note to Dorit, the vaccine wasn't the cause. I won't even go into the pseudo science of determining the genetic predisposition brought to you by the seller of a very expensive genetic test of course.

Even if the genetic predisposition was true, that does not actually rule out the vaccine as a causal factor because it could easily have been the triggering event. "Genetic risks" almost always have to be combined with an environmental factor to trigger disease but these interactions are very complex and not well understood. Since the occurrence is rare and our understanding is so limited, there will be no further investigation because the case is already closed. Medicine has it's nicely packaged explanation (or non-explanation). The cause is "Undetermined" but despite the lack of determinination, it is definately NOT the vaccine.

What will be completely ignored is that several aluminium containing vaccines have been suspected of causing auto-immune problems for decades and that juvenile mellitus diabetes is actually an autoimmune triggered disease.

No doubt there will be some cases where serious events occur that were not vaccine related, but all of them? That in itself is highly unlikely. Without clear evidence, the claims by Dorit and Pharma -- that all serious events were unrelated to the vaccine -- are as credible and reliable as those produced by a marketing department. I don't think I need to explain the credibility of marketing do I?

Reply · 10 ·
· December 14 at 4:31pm

mrose8465 (signed in using yahoo)
Top 9 misleading or blatantly incorrect points from Dorit et al:

Dorit rightly points out that parents have important decisions to make for their children. Unfortunately, she continues to peddle misinformation (with lots of URL spamming) in the face of contradicting evidence, and inconsistent arguments.

It turns out Dorit et al insist they argue on the side of science, but in reality, their positions are far more akin to dogmatic faith in the system. Lets review the most egregious examples:

1) Parents whose children have been vaccine damaged have formed opinions without "medical evidence"
2) Anecdotal evidence of harm is not scientific and are mostly "faith" based
3) Population based studies prove that individual instances of harm are not due to the vaccine

These top three fallacies belie a fundamental misunderstanding of both the science of medicine and epidemiology. The first problem is that adverse event reports (i.e. anecdotes) and case reports are most certainly considered "medical evidence". The fact that there are multiple published case reports involving HPV vaccines is a very strong scientific indicator of evidence of harm from the vaccine. In fact, anecdotal evidence forms the key component in a safety study.

If you are looking at safety for a new vaccine, you are actually interested in unexpected results, not something that was predicted. That means you are looking for "new discoveries", not testing for a measurable outcome. The best "study design" for finding new discoveries is anecdote followed by observational studies and lastly RCTs. Ironically, Dorit et al are completely dismissing the former in favour of the latter or least effective.

Population based medical studies are never definitive because there are so many limitations in studying a particular medical intervention across huge population given the number of variables involved. They always have significant limitations because of design constraints and the fact they exclude many situations that happen to exist in real life. The results from a population based study can not override the results of an analysis of an anecdotal incident despite the numerous attempts by others here to do exactly that. It is a logical fallacy to do so (deductive fallacy).

Even more egregious is the fact that Gardasil was only studied on less than 1500 children between the ages of 9 and 14 prior to being licensed. The current CDC recommendation is that we vaccinate every child between those ages. That's over 4 million children per year and a study of only 1500 children is not only considered adequate but definitive by Dorit et al.

4) Medical investigations into vaccine damage are definitive

When faced with the strong anecdotal evidence in direct conflict with their proclamations of safety, the defence by Dorit et al always goes back to the fact that some magical medical entity determined that the problem was not related to the vaccine. The first major issue here (which should be pretty obvious) is that we are all expected to take Dorit et al's and big pharma's word for it. There is no evidence provided for us to substantiate those very critical claims. I think everyone would agree that taking the salesman's word on their product safety is a pretty dumb thing to do. It's even dumber when there are billions of dollars at stake.

The second major issue with this idea is that the methodology for determining "correlation" in medicine is often flawed. Imagine, an MD will go through a known list of causes for a condition (evidence based medicine folks), and if you don't meet them, then the other event must not be "causal". Of course, this presumes you have a huge amount of information gathered from years of history across a large population. In the safety study of a new compound, such a thing does not exist. Reading Merck's safety studies you'll note that they pre-classify reactions into a group of "expected" reactions which they quantify across both the study and placebo arms (soreness at injection site, fever, etc). If it falls into this category and some arbitrarily determined timeline (i.e. you got a fever within 14 days of vaccination) then it is deemed related. Sudden onset of juvenile diabetes clearly wouldn't fit into one of these categories. An investigator might look into possible causes of juvenile diabetes, and determine that vaccination isn't on the list. Juvenile diabetes also has some genetic correlations. Investigation complete: vaccination was not related to onset of juvenile diabetes. It must have been caused by the genetic predisposition. Case closed, send a note to Dorit, the vaccine wasn't the cause. I won't even go into the pseudo science of determining the genetic predisposition brought to you by the seller of a very expensive genetic test of course.

Even if the genetic predisposition was true, that does not actually rule out the vaccine as a causal factor because it could easily have been the triggering event. "Genetic risks" almost always have to be combined with an environmental factor to trigger disease but these interactions are very complex and not well understood. Since the occurrence is rare and our understanding is so limited, there will be no further investigation because the case is already closed. Medicine has it's nicely packaged explanation (or non-explanation). The cause is "Undetermined" but despite the lack of determinination, it is definately NOT the vaccine.

What will be completely ignored is that several aluminium containing vaccines have been suspected of causing auto-immune problems for decades and that juvenile mellitus diabetes is actually an autoimmune triggered disease.

No doubt there will be some cases where serious events occur that were not vaccine related, but all of them? That in itself is highly unlikely. Without clear evidence, the claims by Dorit and Pharma -- that all serious events were unrelated to the vaccine -- are as credible and reliable as those produced by a marketing department. I don't think I need to explain the credibility of marketing do I?

Reply · 10 ·
· December 14 at 4:31pm

Top 9 misleading or blatantly incorrect points from Dorit et al (part II):

It turns out Dorit et al insist they argue on the side of science, but in reality, their positions are far more akin to dogmatic faith in the system. Lets continue reviewing the most egregious examples:

5) Evidence provided by the editors of the NEJM lack quality control
6) Evidence from experts in HPV PCR are flawed
7) Opinion by internet bloggers are definitive criticisms of published peer-reviewed science

I think the contradictions here are pretty obvious. When faced with extensive evidence that the studies that Dorit keeps quoting are limited in their ability to detect serious product issues, she responds that there is no quality control in that assessment. This is despite it being written by the editors of a prestigious medical journal, it contains 70 footnotes and reference evidence, and it was more than 40 pages in length. Dorit dismisses this as mere "opinion" implying that real scientific studies don't involve "opinion", an idea that is ludicrous. It again belies a fundamental lack of understanding that the study design, analysis and conclusions are heavily influenced by opinion and that these need to be fully understood in order to interpret the conclusions appropriately. But to Dorit et al, none of this matters when the conclusion agrees with their belief.

Why is this information so important to dismiss for Dorit? Because it strikes at the heart of her assumption: That industry published clinical trials contain definitive safety information. Unfortunately, her assumption is literally based on faith and flies totally contrary to decades of evidence which is so elegantly summarized by the NEJM editors.

In another thread, Dorit dismisses a landmark paper by Dr. Lee providing evidence that vaccine created HPV DNA fragments persisted in the body of an unfortunate girl who died from medically "unexplainable" reasons after HPV vaccination.

What "scientific" evidence does Dorit use? A blog article on the internet written by Orac, a breast cancer surgeon. It's ironic because if you read the comments in that article it becomes pretty clear Orac was being his usual armchair researcher self and didn't really understand what he was reading. His own suggestions in the blog article also belie a general lack of understanding of the problem.

Dr Lee has published the most downloaded article (over 19,000 downloads) on HPV DNA sequencing at Infectious Agents and Cancer. Orac has not published a single paper related to HPV. I'm pretty sure that not even the pharmaceuticals have managed to correlate breast cancer with HPV infection in their attempts to increase sales. Maybe Orac spends tons of time researching HPV on the side? Not likely. It's pretty obvious he spends most of his time writing blog articles that all start with a minimum of 2 full paragraphs of personal insults, usually more.

This is who Dorit et al place their faith in, not science. READER BEWARE

8) There is no question the vaccine is safe and effective
9) There is lots of evidence that the vaccine is safe and effective

I have already covered this one several times but we can do a quick summary again. Lets review the facts that contradict these pie in the sky proclamations:
A) The only safety studies done to date were done by the sellers of the vaccine and we know from past evidence, these are not adequate to properly identify serious risks let alone being considered definitive.
B) There is not a single study that measures the outcome of cervical cancer
C) Passive monitoring systems are not capable of replacing long term population based study -- none of which have been done -- one of the funniest (and dumbest) things I've seen posted here by Kathy is that she thinks a passive system over-reports serious adverse events. Someone please explain to me how that is possible in a passive system?
D) There are serious questions regarding the theory of HPV vaccination
E) There are serious questions regarding the implementation of the HPV vaccine in the US which will ultimately affect its effectiveness

See my earlier posts for far more information on these points.
Reply · 10 ·
· December 14 at 4:32pm

Oh -- there is also this Narad:

mrose8465 (signed in using yahoo)
Dorit,

Clearly you haven't wasted any time reading any evidence either. We're not talking about a single editor either. Let me excerpt from the brief so that people can understand who Dorit is dismissing in favour of her blog articles.

"Amici curiae, all of whom hold degrees in medicine and related fields, are ten current and former editors and contributing authors of the New England Journal of Medicine (“NEJM”), including each editor-in-chief of NEJM since 1977.1 NEJM is the oldest continuously published medical journal in the world, and has published numerous scholarly articles on, among other things, advances in drug therapy, prescription drug side effects, and the role of the United States Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) and the pharmaceutical industry in our health care system. For nearly 200 years, physicians have turned to NEJM as a source of important new information to guide their medical practice."

I might just remind the readers here that the editors of a scientific journal are the gatekeepers of quality and yet Dorit calls a heavily referenced paper by them as "partisan" and lacking quality control. Good grief.

You also have a very weird definition of scientific evidence Dorit. A set of scientific studies and documents that support the hypothesis that the public is not protected by industry funded regulatory clinical trials most certainly qualifies as evidence. I know you work for a college of law, perhaps you skipped on some science classes?

"it’s not a trivial matter to get recombinant DNA into human cells and expressing the protein that its sequence codes for..."
That commentary is meaningless. We are looking at an unexpected result which is why it is alarming. What Dr Lee did was find something which was effectively confirmed by subsequent press releases by the FDA who admitted that the DNA fragments exist in the vaccine despite prior assurances from Merck that they were filtered out during manufacturing.
Orac and you can't argue that the result is wrong by saying you can't figure out how something ended up that way. Next...

It also appears that neither you nor Orac read the references. There are four papers referenced by Dr Lee that talk about ways that DNA can insert itself into cells.
[36] Würtele, H., Little, K.C. and Chartrand, P. (2003) Illegitimate DNA integration in mammalian cells. Gene Therapy, 10, 1791-1799. doi:10.1038/sj.gt.3302074
[37] Milot, E., Belmaaza, A., Wallenburg, J.C., Gusew, N., Bradley, W.E. and Chartrand, P. (1992) Chromosomal il- legitimate recombination in mammalian cells is associated with intrinsically bent DNA elements. European Molecular Biology Organization Journal, 11, 5063-5070.
[38] Doerfler, W., Schubbert, R., Heller, H., Kämmer, C., Hilger-Eversheim, K., Knoblauch, M. and Remus, R. (1997) Integration of foreign DNA and its consequences in mammalian systems. Trends in Biotechnology, 15, 297- 301. doi:10.1016/S0167-7799(97)01061-5
[39] Bergen, J.M., Park, I.K., Horner, P.J. and Pun, S.H. (2008) Nonviral approaches for neuronal delivery of nucleic acids. Pharmaceutical Research, 25, 983-998. doi:10.1007/s11095-007-9439-5

"Even in the highly unlikely situation that the tiny amount of recombinant DNA alleged to be left behind in Gardasil could get into human cells and actually make detectable amounts of VLP, the only place it’s likely to be able to do that is in the muscle in the immediate vicinity of the injection site."

This was addressed directly in Dr Lee's paper, maybe you and Orac missed it? "Naked viral and bacterial DNA fragments firmly bound to insoluble aluminum salts can be carried into tissue macrophages through phagocytosis to initiate a series of DNA-related immune reactions [31-34]."

Please note the four references provided. We don't really know where Orac got his information since alas, he didn't provide any references. I suppose we just have to have FAITH?

"Before anyone takes the claim that there is HPV DNA left in HPV vaccines and,..."
Earth to Orac and Dorit... the FDA confirmed the HPV DNA fragments were in the vaccine AFTER Dr. Lee published his study.

"Before anyone takes the claim that there is HPV DNA left in HPV vaccines and, more importantly, before anyone does anything (if, indeed, anything even needs to be done), an external laboratory needs to replicate Dr. Lee’s results..."
In order to publish a unique case report, no one needs external laboratory confirmation. Additionally, how do you figure that Merck/FDA confirmed that the fragments were indeed in the vaccine (AFTER Dr Lee published his paper and sent them the results) without confirming it within their own labs?

"I challenge Dr. Lee and SANE Vax to publish in full the complete methodology used to make this finding, along with the results."

Dorit: The methodology and results are fully published and anyone can replicate them at any time. A commenter posted that information when Orac published his article. The silence from Orac and other critics is deafening. Since he is such an expert and has access to a lab, you would think it would be a simple thing for him to reproduce no?

"After all, the HPV vaccine is tested for the presence of recombinant DNA, and it’s below the limit of detection of standard techniques; otherwise, Merck, the FDA, and other scientists would have detected it before"
Apparently not before, but certainly after Dr Lee published the paper and they looked a little more carefully.

So Dorit, you seem to be missing the point. Orac didn't make a single comment about the methodology, or the science of the paper. Like I asked earlier, did you miss some science classes somewhere along the way?

It is astounding that you claim his rant was "scientific" compared to a peer reviewed article with 40+ references.
Can you tell us again, how many papers Orac has published on HPV? How many references did he provide in his rant? ZERO.

Case closed. Please keep up next time.
Reply · 5 ·
· December 15 at 5:11pm

without weighing for the total vaccine toxicity amounts that each groups were exposed to, we really don’t know their net toxicity exposure.

Given the miniscule quantities of "toxins" in each vaccine, I don't see how this is germane to the discussion.

While it is reasonable to assume that the MMR group had a greater exposure, the really important matters of how much and was it significant enough to cause a correlation are, nevertheless, left unanswered.

Shifting the goalposts again, Greg? First it was MMR, now it's all the vaccines cumulatively?

By Julian Frost (not verified) on 20 Dec 2013 #permalink

Occam, did you not stumble on the comments where I admitted being a university and college grad? What about the other posts where I explained that I am married and have kids? Or Occam, the numerous times where I reported working as a counsellor with special needs clients?

Since Gerg is an admitted liar, there is no reason to believe any of those claims.

Remember, Gerg is the one who chose to claim (no one pressed him into a corner; he volunteered this lie all on his own) that he knew of a vax/unvax study design which would avoid all the ethical pitfalls of the vax/unvax studies that have been proposed before, and would settle the issue so definitively that even antivaxxers would have to accept its results, even if they didn't like the results. Gerg said that there could be no possible reason for science-based people to oppose doing this study, other than fearing what the results would show.

But then he admitted he was lying, and that all his claims that "Oh, the only reason they're not following my study design is that they don't want THE TWOOF to come out" were founded on that lie.

And then there's the time where he claimed to know of an ingredient that causes "autism, SIDS, learning disability, asthma, diabetis, degenerative diseases in the elderly ... allergies, cancers, ADHD, deaths, and so and so on", and claimed to know that a hypothetical vaccine which has not even been made yet would have to include that awful ingredient, and so could safely be judged before it even existed. But when challenged, he admitted that to be a lie as well.

So, yeah, I've certainly seen posts from Gerg where he purports to have graduated high school, where he claims to have gainful employment in a respectable profession, et cetera. But if Gerg wanted us to actually believe that those are more than the daydreams and boasting of a high-school dropout, then probably it wasn't a good idea for him to lie to us all those other times, was it?

By Antaeus Feldspar (not verified) on 20 Dec 2013 #permalink

@Orac

Hey Orac, I am serious about a tour of Pharma Shill Headquarters. In the morning could sit at Lilady's desk and watch her use her computer to do battle with Dachel. As well, I could observe Dorit as she goes about her 'non-obligatory work' *wink wink* of countering the misinformation and lies that are being spread by the 'quacks'. We all know that she does this solely out of the goodness of heart, having so much time on her hands! For lunch, I could break and watch The Warriors in the lunchroom with Narad. After lunch, I could resume lending a hand, perhaps helping Lawrence copy his kids' vaccine exemption forms. It would be so much fun!

Happy Holidays everyone - perhaps Santa Claus will bring Gerg a brain for Christmas.....

Greg,

I am not at all suggesting that ‘all’ the MMR-unvaccinated children had extra vaccines. I was merely pointing out that without weighing for the total vaccine toxicity amounts that each groups were exposed to, we really don’t know their net toxicity exposure. While it is reasonable to assume that the MMR group had a greater exposure, the really important matters of how much and was it significant enough to cause a correlation are, nevertheless, left unanswered.

So your main complaint about this Madsen study is that it only answers the question it was designed to answer i.e. "Is there any correlation between MMR vaccination and diagnosis of autism?" To which the answer is a resounding, "No". It is a "croc" [sic] because it doesn't answer the question you have simply made up, based on no evidence and with no plausible mechanism, after the results didn't fit with your delusional beliefs.

A few years ago you and your fellow anti-vaccine proponents were frothing at the mouth, claiming that MMR was causing an epidemic of autism, that "tens of thousands" of parents were reporting their children immediately regressing into non-verbal autism after MMR, that anyone who couldn't see this was an idiot, or a monstrous Big Pharma shill covering it all up, and that Wakefield's study of 12 children proved MMR caused autism.

So scientists like Madsen did the science required to test the 'MMR causes autism' hypothesis. Can you imagine the amount of work it must have taken to do this study of over half a million children? You probably have no clue. Anyway, the results are in, and show not a hint of any link between MMR and autism, in several studies with enough statistical power to detect even the slightest effect. The same is true for thimerosal and for antigen exposure.

Do you and the other antivaxxers admit you were wrong, and look for some other plausible cause, other than vaccines? Of course not. Suddenly you are all claiming that Wakefield never said his study proved anything about MMR and autism, and (bafflingly) that it wasn't a study at all it was just a paper. You shift your claims from MMR to aluminum, to formaldehyde, too many antigens too soon, to traces of viral DNA and aborted fetal cells, and now we see the "cumulative toxicity" hypothesis.

Which specific toxins do you think are accumulating? Why can't we measure these toxins? What cumulative damage do you believe vaccines are doing and how? Why can't we measure this damage or at least detect it somehow? And I'll ask you again, why do you believe this? What evidence do you have for thinking this is true?

I have no doubt that even if your "cumulative toxins" hypothesis was destroyed by a large well-designed study, your fertile imagination would concoct some other way in which vaccines are to blame, despite any evidence to believe that they have anything whatsoever to do with it, and continually accumulating evidence that they do not. As Orac often says, it is always the vaccines, and it will always be the vaccines, no matter what evidence appears to the contrary.

Initially you speculated 6% greater autism cases for the MMR group. How did you reach this figure?

I have already explained this twice, this being the third time. I did not speculate, I calculated the statistical power of the study based on the sample size. I even linked to a website that allows you to put in your own figures and it calculates this for you.

It seems I was over optimistic in expecting you to understand what "statistical power" means. In simple terms it is a measure of the ability of an experiment to detect differences. If you don't have many subjects in your study you will only be able to detect large differences i.e. it will have low statistical power. The more subjects you have, the larger your sample size, the smaller the differences you will be able to detect i.e. it will have higher statistical power. This is why very large numbers of subjects are required to detect rare side effects of vaccines and drugs, and why these don't show up in smaller preliminary studies.

Using that statistics website I looked at the approximate difference a sample of 500,000 would be able to detect when looking at a condition that affects around 1% of the sample as autism does (it's a bit lower than this in the Danish study, but I'm looking for a ball-park figure). The website told me that a study with a sample size of 500,000 could be expected to be able detect the difference between 1.00% and 1.04% that is a 4% difference (not 6%, I don't know where you got that from).

If you prefer to look at only those children followed up for 4 years or more, a sample of 200,000 could detect the difference between 1.00% and 1.05% i.e. a 5% difference. So if MMR increased the incidence of autism in those Danish children by 5% or more, that Madsen study would have been able to detect this. It didn't, therefore I conclude that if MMR has any effect on MMR incidence it is less than 5% (or, more probably, it is zero). No speculation required. Get it?

Without actually weighing for the toxicity exposure for each of the groups, I don’t see how you could have arrived at it.

This is the sort of comment that makes me despair of ever getting through to you. You clearly don't have the faintest idea what we are talking about. Anyway, you seem to be proposing that MMR could be the final toxic challenge that pushes an already poisoned child over the edge into autism. Yet you also propose that the MMR makes such a slight difference that even a large study like this couldn't have detected it. You can't have it both ways. Either MMR has an important effect on children that can be detected, or it doesn't. This study, and several others, is good evidence that it doesn't.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 20 Dec 2013 #permalink

Even after exploring the ‘mountain of evidence’, and by the sheerest, incredible chance missing the personal information in the ‘mountain’, could you not have found any other subtleties that indicated my age?

Well, this could take some time...

Hee hee hee! HAAA!!!!

Ah, there we go. At least 10 years old. Although I should say, most teenagers are much better at sarcasm than you are.

Seriously, if you've managed to get a college degree, both you and the college should be ashamed.

Here is the entire post Narad. Perhaps the best smack-down of a vaccine zealot and her ilk — ever!

/Users/Narad> wc gerg
     151    3670   22770 gerg

Three thousand, six hundred, and seventy words, and not a drop of original content. Here's a tip, Giggles: I wouldn't have been mocking you for being unable to spell the pseudonym of your newfound object of admiration if I didn't know where katiecouric-dot-com was in the first place. As with Squidymus, you do not get to have a do-over by proxy here.

Greg: the numerous times where I reported working as a counsellor with special needs clients?

And yet, every time you talk about autistic people, you fall back on lazy stereotypes and refuse to admit that autistic people can grow up and have careers. When you first showed up here, I said you'd never met an autistic person in your life- I still think that's true.

,What parent would let a person with that level of contempt for the people they 'counsel' work with their kids? Seriously, your disdain for them would be so palpable the kids would smell it.

By Politicalguineapig (not verified) on 20 Dec 2013 #permalink

someone must be paying you to post
I suspect that Gerg is paid in Dunning-Krugerrands.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 20 Dec 2013 #permalink

Here is the entire post Narad. Perhaps the best smack-down of a vaccine zealot and her ilk — ever!

Apart from the part that you pasted twice (looks so much bigger, after all), all that I see is a lot of irrelevant ranting about how much better anecdotes are than scientific studies, followed by a lot of huffing and puffing about how a study of how DNA fragments might be inserted into cells is the Bee's Knees because it was published in the NEJM with lotsa refs. Please explain to us why this is TEH BEST SMACKDOWN - EVAR!!!111!!!

Perhaps you could also tell us why you dismiss other articles confirming the safety of vaccines that are published in prestigious journals with lotsa refs.

I suspect that Gerg is paid in Dunning-Krugerrands.

Allow me.

I see is a lot of irrelevant ranting about how much better anecdotes are than scientific studies, followed by a lot of huffing and puffing about how a study of how DNA fragments might be inserted into cells is the Bee’s Knees because it was published in the NEJM....

IIRC, the NEJM angle is about an amicus brief. Sin Hang Lee has not been published there.

What Narad posted @318.

OT I know, but some pillock of an antivaxxer made a poster, then a proper scientist showed up and tore the "information" on it to pieces. Details on cheezburger.
http://cheezburger.com/7962411520

By Julian Frost (not verified) on 20 Dec 2013 #permalink

My favorite part of Gerg's new girlfriend's deranged rant is this:

Dorit rightly points out that parents have important decisions to make for their children. Unfortunately, she continues to peddle misinformation (with lots of URL spamming) in the face of contradicting evidence, and inconsistent arguments.

Coupled with this:

It also appears that neither you nor Orac read the references. There are four papers referenced by Dr Lee that talk about ways that DNA can insert itself into cells.

<snip>

When their nuts cite papers, they're "references". When we cite them they're "URL spamming".

By The Very Rever… (not verified) on 20 Dec 2013 #permalink

Greg wrote,

“you are likely in the 14-17-year-old range”

and….

“Again, I have taken into account your apparent age of early teens”
——————————————————————————-

Now Occam, let me get this straight: You perused a great deal of my posts, and paying attention to their contents, as well as my writing style, to give your ‘expert’ opinion that I am intellectually challenged. Yet Occam, after reading these posts, could you not have found anything in them that suggested I am a grown-up moron and not a teen-aged one?

The weight of the evidence you've provided strongly favors the latter.

Occam, did you not stumble on the comments where I admitted being a university and college grad?

A puzzling claim; it is profoundly unlikely you would have "admitted being a university and college grad," because, for obvious reasons, no one here would have accused you of achieving that level of education.

Can you provide a link to the post where you stated you were a graduate of a university and also a graduate of a college? I must have overlooked it.

What college did you attend, and what degree(s) did you earn? Then, what University did you attend, and what degrees did you earn there? I would be extremely interested in knowing which institutions would grant degrees to you.

What about the other posts where I explained that I am married and have kids? Or Occam, the numerous times where I reported working as a counsellor with special needs clients? Even after exploring the ‘mountain of evidence’, and by the sheerest, incredible chance missing the personal information in the ‘mountain’, could you not have found any other subtleties that indicated my age? Hee hee hee! HAAA!!!!

A few things. Note that I referred to your "apparent" age. Your writing, larded with such childlike outbursts as "Hee hee hee! HAAA!!!!," is inconsistent with that of someone who is older than about 17, from a maturation standpoint. Indeed, to compare your level of maturity to that of a 17-year-old is an insult to 17-year-olds. I did see your claim that you worked as a "counselor", but as you've demonstrated significant dishonesty, I put a great deal more weight on what is indisputable -- your early-teens level of written expression.

Certainly it is possible that you are a biological adult, and you merely express yourself like a child. In that case, I would further lower my assessment of your intelligence, and it would further bolster my conclusion regarding your inability to grasp the concepts needed to form a reasoned position on the issue at hand.

Seriously Occam — in your spirit, are you a blooming imbecile?? I don’t think you are — there has to be a better explanation!

I agree on both counts. The better explanation is very simple: I'm correct.

Just where the hell does pharma find you guys? Hey Orac, I would really appreciate seeing the operation behind the scene — can you arrange me a tour of Pharma Shill Headquarters? Please Orac — pretty please!

This is another outstanding example of your stunted emotional and intellectual development. I've read a good deal of writing by children from the third-grade level through high school, and your writing is most consistent with that of kids in the 13-14 range. If you are, in fact, a young person, there would be no shame in admitting it.

By OccamsLaser (not verified) on 20 Dec 2013 #permalink

@OccamsLaser - unfortunately, there has been a general cheapening of the language. People now admit to all kinds of things without reluctance and without it being a confession of any sort. The news talks about murders as executions. I'm convinced that some day they'll start talking about someone's 50th year birthday.

By Mephistopheles… (not verified) on 21 Dec 2013 #permalink

@ M. O'B.,
Don't get me started on language. I recently read that "literally" no longer necessarily means "literally", so when someone uses the word they may be indicating hyperbole. I know people often misuse it in this way, but I was saddened to see it accepted as part of normal usage by Merriam-Webster and others.

Another little bit of pleasure in mocking the functionally illiterate has been snatched away.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 21 Dec 2013 #permalink

I've been having a whole lot of fun at the Bloomberg blog, which details how Princeton students have overwhelming accepted meningitis vaccine to protect themselves during the meningitis outbreak on campus. The usual suspects are posting their ignorant pseudoscience and the Princeton students are pushing back.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-12-19/princeton-students-get-smart-o…

Danny Boy's Weekly Wrap is up and it's comedy gold.

"Weekly Wrap: The Year Ahead

AofA Red Logo Ayumi YamadaEditor's note:

"This week Contributing Editor Dan Burns and I discuss the year ahead at Age of Autism and in the parent-led vaccine injury advocacy movement. Thanks to Dan B. for facilitating this. And thanks to all of you for your readership in 2013. The image from the cover of Kyoto magazine is one I reference in the video. It represents where the medical-industrial complex and mainstream media are right now -- thinking that they've fired winning salvos in their total war on microbes (and people like us!), but in line to receive an unpleasant surprise of their own making. -- Dan Olmsted"

Oh J-sus! #324: do I spy BAG spam ( Longchamps)?

@ All:
Agreed. Don't get me started on language.
Fortunately I frequently deal with EFL/ESL students who have an excuse. BUT the OTHERS?

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 21 Dec 2013 #permalink

@ lilady:
re the two Dans' video**-
Do they really expect the government to pay out because children have autism? Yes, Dan-O, the situation is all about to turn around- we're on the verge of Paradigm shift. And how about that Austin ranch/ living arrangement for young adults by Burns?

** I watched it all- the things I do for scepticism!

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 21 Dec 2013 #permalink

@ Denice Walter:

"Do they really expect the government to pay out because children have autism?"

Yes, they do. That was the reason for Jennifer Larson's buying a congressman. That was the reason for the "Congressional briefing" for the hearing that is now "indefinitely postponed". That was the reason for Rolf Hazlehurst's b.s. statement about the Poling case. And, that was the reason for Terry Poling's long post directed at Hazlehurst to "correct" his bullsh!t. Terry Poling stated that Hannah received compensation for a Table Injury...not autism.

(That was also the reason why I posted back at the Dachel bot on the Bloomberg blog, linking to the AoA thread and copy/ pasted Terry Poling's entire post). :-)

In other anti-vax news:

Lisa Goes ( the Rev) rants at St Nick today @ TMR. It'll probably show up at AoA in a few days.

I have to go I am expected elsehere.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 21 Dec 2013 #permalink

It wouldn't be Christmas...or any other holiday or day of National remembrance...- without some fool at AoA or TMR going on a rant.

Actually, I have no problem with the government offering decent support to families of children with autism, though it's fine to do that in the form of generous services rather than money. Then again, I'm probably much further to the left than the Canary Party, as highlighted by another RI post. But offering support to families who need it should not be done through a compensation mechanism. Adjudicatory forums are just not a good way to provide mass social services; they have a different goal and different expertise than what is needed. The U.S. courts, in particular, would be, I'm sure, really bad at it. It would be nice if our friends at AoA and the Canary Party actually applied the same energy they apply to attack vaccines to promoting needed services for families. That might actually do good rather than harm.

Totally agree: focus on needs.

@ Dorit: You stated my position exactly as I have, for many years.

AoA is an anti-vaccine, anti-science group, which provides a forum for their "journalists" to spew their animus directed at every one who is on their hit list. They never have advocated for improved services and a steady funding stream to provide those services.

lilady: They never have advocated for improved services and a steady funding stream to provide those services.

Why would they? You're assuming these people love their kids.

By Politicalguineapig (not verified) on 22 Dec 2013 #permalink

Fortunately I frequently deal with EFL/ESL students who have an excuse. BUT the OTHERS?

The nonnative speakers that I very regularly deal with generally exhibit a much better grasp of English than the bulk of the AoA commentariat.

MESSAGE BEGINS--------------------------------

Greg, old thing, if we did let you in to our little enclave for a look around, surely we'd have to kill you, wouldn't we? Well, of course we would, and we wouldn't want that, would we Shills and Minions? You see, we have our hands full here at Glaxxon PharmaCOM™ what with our chemtrail and "vaccine" programs to make life on Earth better . . . for us. Now go away and play, the mean, old lizards and their lackeys have evil and nefarious things to do.

Lord Draconis Zeneca, VH7ihL
Forward Mavoon of the Great Fleet, Pharmaca Magna of Terra, Overlord of the Year, 2013

Glaxxon PharmaCOM Orbital
01001100011100001111000001111100000011111100000001111111

--------------------------------------------MESSAGE ENDS

By Glaxxon Pharma… (not verified) on 22 Dec 2013 #permalink

@Kreb

"Judging by that rather nauseating flourish of premature triumph, I suppose you think this is an unanswerable question. It isn’t. The various studies that have looked at the possible links between vaccination and autism all have a statistical power that can be calculated."

"For example, the Madsen study we have discussed before is very large, over half a million children, and is thus has a great deal of statistical power. If children vaccinated with MMR were just 4% more likely to be diagnosed autistic than those not vaccinated with MMR, I would expect Madsen’s study of over 500,000 children to detect this easily with a 95% degree of confidence. In fact, since it looks at nearly half a million unvaccinated person-years, I think it would detect an even lower effect than this."
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Whoa Kreb! Sometimes I feel a little guilty for not reading you more closely. So you are saying we can plug a few variables into an automated formula calculator to obtain the minimum sample size that will give us optimum statistical power?

Also, does your '4% more likely' equate to the 'test value' in the formula? Also, please explain a little 'sample average'.

@PGP

"And yet, every time you talk about autistic people, you fall back on lazy stereotypes and refuse to admit that autistic people can grow up and have careers. When you first showed up here, I said you’d never met an autistic person in your life- I still think that’s true."

For the sake of keeping your sanity, and not sinking to the lowest depths when reality smacks you in the face, it's best to see things for what they are. In my experience, do you know which parents I find are most likely to abuse their special needs kids?........

Those that think most highly of them!

@Tbruce

"Please explain to us why this is TEH BEST SMACKDOWN – EVAR!!!111!!!"

So why is it the best smackdown --ever??

Typically vaccine zealots present the issue of vaccines and their adverse events as a conflict between anecdotal evidence and ‘science’. (I put ‘science’ in quotes to indicate we are discussing ‘their’ science.) ‘Science’ is seen as a better way of reaching truth. Anecdotal evidence, on the other hand, is considered to be unreliable and untrustworthy. This conflicting arrangement serves the vaccine zealots well since the anecdotal evidence lose by default, in that they are pitted against ‘science’. For instance, parents reporting that vaccines harmed their kids can simply be dismissed as wrong, because ‘science’ says otherwise. A further advantage of the strategy is by devaluing anecdotal evidence and propping up science, it forces vaccine doubters to make their case in the ‘scientific’ arena. Ordinary laypersons lacking scientific expertise will feel intimidated and don’t even bother to mount a challenge. Those who are ‘foolish’ to do so are mocked and treated with contempt; and feeling completely embarrassed, they retreat.

Recently, Occamlaser demonstrated this intimidation in action, as he made his case for my intellectual shortcomings and unfitness at forming a sensible position on the issue. Occamlaser, nevertheless, messed up with his asinine blunder of failing to report accurately the obvious matter of my age, and hence proving that he was not at all interested in understanding me, never mind assessing my abilities. He was simply out to shame me.

(Think about Occamlaser, I still get quite a chuckle. Imagine Occamlaser as a psychologsist….

Occamlaser: Sue, you’ve been coming here for years, and after listening and studying you, I have reached the inescapable conclusion that you are suffering from abandonment issues.

Client: (looking completely stunned) My name isn’t Sue.

Occamlaser: (clears his throat) Now how did I make such a silly mistake? Anyway, I still believe you have abandonment issues. What is your name again?

Hee hee hee.)

Anyway, I digressed. Yet, had Occamlaser not executed the ‘you’re too stupid’ tract so poorly, and if I were not so entirely shameless, would it not have made a sound strategy? Which layperson would be foolish enough to continue a debate with you ‘intellectual giants’, and after being reminded how woefully unqualified he is to do so?

So to recap, we have pro-vaxxers basic ‘winning strategy’ of pitting anecdotal evidence against ‘science’, and devaluating anecdotal evidence while propping up ‘science’.

Enter mroses8465 and his/hers ‘top 9 blatantly dishonest and misleading arguments from Dorit et al’(see posts #306 and #307): S/he did simply a phenomenal job at blowing this strategy out of the water. And, to the extent that you guys have dismissed her/his arguments as ‘the same old --same old’ without, to date, offering any rebuttal whatsoever, I would have to consider that even you know this true.

Mroses8465 provided a withering, relentless three-pronged assault on your ‘science’. First, s/he addressed the matter of trust, and rightly pointed out that you guys have notoriously proven yourself to be untrustworthy, and hence others should be weary of your ‘science’. Secondly, she repeatedly highlighted the actual, theoretical problem with your ‘science’. I particularly liked the passage where she described how HPV vaccine trials assessed vaccine side effects by considering only those effects that matched pre-determined ones. Others that were not determined as those that could have been caused the vaccine are neglected. Thirdly, mroses8465 did an excellent job at show how badly you guys can sometimes get the scientific facts wrong. In regard to Dr. Lee’s research demonstrating how DNA fragments gets into the HPV vaccines, she provided a scathing rebuttal of Dorit’s and Orac’s challenge of his work. The reader needs not grasp the complete technical argument to appreciate the merits of his/her criticisms. In all, mroses8465 conclusively exposed your ‘science’ as serious lacking and not real science. S/he summed it up as more akin to ‘dogmatic faith’.
Discussing anecdotal evidence, mroses8465 also did an exceptional job of reaffirming the value of anecdotal evidence. Anecdotal evidence is argued as not really outside the realm of science, but actually is a part of the scientific enterprise. Where science uncover truths that are confine to the artificial setting of the lab, anecdotal evidence exposes broader truths in reality, including the exceptional findings that escapes the lab setting. Anecdotal evidence essentially advances science.
We need only to reflect on the following example to see the validity of this point: In the ‘hard science’ we had Newtonian physics that did an exceptional job at explaining ordinary, everyday motion. Still, it could not account for the puzzling matter of an unexplained time lag in Mercury’s orbit. Along came Einstien and his theory of relativity, explaining that the curvature of space-time resulted in this lag. Essentially a curious observation aided a revolution in science.
Reflecting on this, it seems all the more ridiculous when vaccine zealots chide vaccine doubters for requesting more studies to be conducted to account for the ‘unexplained’ phenomenon of parents blaming vaccines for their kids adverse reactions. The ‘anti-vaxxers’ are often accused of shifting the goalposts. Yet, one must ask -- so what? So what if scientists humour the anti-vaxxers and after studying aluminium, or formaldehyde, or the total cumulative load of vaccines, they do indeed find a culprit? Who will be the worst off if such a discovery is made and we can stop the carnage? (Sorry – that was a silly question – we all know the answer.) Yet again, why didn’t anyone fault Einstein for not resting on his laurels and seeking out revolutionary theories that improved on Newton’s ideas? Why didn’t anyone accuse him of shifting the goalposts? How truly anti-science can you guys be?

Considering that anecdotal evidence is a valuable part of science, we find the true jewel in mroses8465’s arguments. There is no inherent conflict between anecdotal evidence and science. The one that vaccine zealots are ceasing on is a fabricated to serve their purpose. And, once we reaffirm the value of anecdotal evidence and consider it a part of the scientific enterprise, it’s not such an easy matter to dismiss the arguments of the layperson. As a pointed out to Occamlaser, anyone with a modicum of critical thinking skills can advance sensible arguments pertaining to vaccines and their adverse events. They do not need to be especially scientifically savvy to do so.
I for one, out of entertainment, have engaged in discussions with Kreb regarding study designs. Yet, even if I have proven myself woeful inept at such discussions, this in itself does not automatically disqualify me from being able to debate the matter of vaccine and their adverse events. You may laugh all you want at my ‘ignorance’ of science, and even prod me to do better, and maybe I will give you a ‘hee hee hee’ while I coolly solicits mrose8465 to do my bidding, but I will always feel confident that I can argue successfully in the realm of anecdotal and observable evidence.
And, I already provided these arguments, which I will do here again: To the extent that anecdotal evidence incriminates vaccines and there are no plausible resolutions, we have every right to consider vaccines as suspect. ‘Resolution’ is the operative word because even though it can be argued that there is no ‘inherent’ conflict between science and common sense, anecdotal evidence ( and in fact, I believe the vast majority of such evidence concur with science), actual ‘rare’ conflicts may still occur. And when they do, we need to ‘resolve’ them by showing where they are wrong and science is right.

Previously, I gave the example of the earth appearing flat when science says it’s round. We can resolve the conflict, appealing to common sense, by showing that scanning a ship on the distant sea will reveal the sails before we see the mast, and proving that the curvature of the earth obstructs the mast. The matter is thus thereby resolved.
If we cannot resolve the conflict, however, then this is a good indication that the science is suspect. And, with the anecdotal stories of vaccines’ harm, there are no plausible resolutions because those that are usually given have shown themselves extremely problematic. The ‘bad remembering’ claim is a poor excuse, and especially when parents can verify their claims with video footage, or when such reports of harm are conceded in vaccine courts. Likewise, the coincidental argument is meritless. With the coincidental claim, and preceding event can be seen as coincidental with an ensuing event, when there are one or more other candidates events that are more closely tied to the ensuing event. With vaccines and their adverse events, however, no plausible preceding events are often to be found. In the case of vaccines and autism, genetic predisposition is offered as an ensuing factor that explains autism. Yet, with the utter failure in identifying these problem genes, this explanation remains mere, wild speculation.
In addition to the fail1ure in providing a sensible resolution to the anecdotal evidence, there is also the matter of observable phenomena converging from different directions to incriminate vaccines. And speaking of Ocamlaser, there is occam razor logic that posits that this too powerfully incriminates vaccines. We have the autism spike occurring precisely in time with the expanded vaccination schedule. We have vaccines targeting the immune system and autism appearing to be an immune-mediated condition. There are vaccine courts compensating for damages leading the autism. And, yes, there are indeed the countless cases of parents reporting how their children dramatically regressed into autism following vaccines. Occam razor logic stipulates that one should go with the simplest explanation and accept vaccines as the true culprit.

So in all, we see the brilliance in mroses8465 arguments and how they open the door for others to seriously challenge the vaccine zealots’ denialism. Moses8465’s did not merely take shots at this ‘house’ of denialism. S/he successfully attached its very foundation, showing it for the flimsy ‘shack’ that it really is.

@Greg - hello there.

Here is something you might have to clarify for me. I could be easily confused. Is it your assertion that every possible chronic illness or developmental delay has to be caused by vaccination?

I just want to be sure I 'get' you - it seems to be suggested in a few of your posts.

There are several illnesses in my family tree (shake us and diagnoses fall out like so many dry leaves). Is it your premise that the older people in my family did NOT have heart disease, cancer, diabetes or senile dementia? You know, the ones who acquired their immunity the old-fashioned way before vaccinations were commonplace?

Mrs Woo

Wow, Greg almost figured something out!

So you are saying we can plug a few variables into an automated formula calculator to obtain the minimum sample size that will give us optimum statistical power?

"Optimum" isn't really the right word there -- "desired" is the word to use. What would be optimum for one purpose might not be for another. But Greg actually finally caught on that scientists don't just randomly decide how many subjects they need!

Greg:

In my experience, do you know which parents I find are most likely to abuse their special needs kids?……..

Those that think most highly of them!

Supporting evidence definitely needed for this claim.

Typically vaccine zealots present the issue of vaccines and their adverse events as a conflict between anecdotal evidence and ‘science’. (I put ‘science’ in quotes to indicate we are discussing ‘their’ science.)

Firstly, nice ad hominem. Secondly, please point out what you think is wrong with the ""science"", as you call it.

Anecdotal evidence, on the other hand, is considered to be unreliable and untrustworthy. This conflicting arrangement serves the vaccine zealots well since the anecdotal evidence lose by default, in that they are pitted against ‘science’.

Anecdotal evidence is unreliable. Numerous convictions based on eyewitness testimony have been overturned when forensic science showed that the accused could not have committed the crime. Jenny McCarthy's version of events about how her son became autistic after his MMR changed several times. Michelle Cedillo's parents were adamant that she wasn't autistic before the MMR and presented video as evidence, only for an autism expert to point out that Michelle's behaviours were autistic.

[B]y devaluing anecdotal evidence and propping up science, it forces vaccine doubters to make their case in the ‘scientific’ arena. Ordinary laypersons lacking scientific expertise will feel intimidated and don’t even bother to mount a challenge. Those who are ‘foolish’ to do so are mocked and treated with contempt; and feeling completely embarrassed, they retreat.

They retreat because their errors are shown up.

[I]t seems all the more ridiculous when vaccine zealots chide vaccine doubters for requesting more studies to be conducted to account for the ‘unexplained’ phenomenon of parents blaming vaccines for their kids adverse reactions.

Literally dozens of studies have been done, including that Danish study of over 500,000 children (which you tried and spectacularly failed to discredit). None found a link. There comes a point where further research is just flogging a dead horse. That point was reached a long time ago.

Anecdotal evidence is argued as not really outside the realm of science, but actually is a part of the scientific enterprise. Where science uncover truths that are confine to the artificial setting of the lab, anecdotal evidence exposes broader truths in reality, including the exceptional findings that escapes the lab setting.

As we have told you before, anecdotal evidence is a starting point, not an end point. While you make an interesting point about Einstein, you overlooked the fact that it was experimentation that showed he was correct.

If we cannot resolve the conflict, however, then this is a good indication that the science is suspect.

There are people who believe in the sasquatch, ghosts, and other phenomena. Science has been unable to "resolve the conflict". Your argument is what's suspect.

The ‘bad remembering’ claim is a poor excuse, and especially when parents can verify their claims with video footage, or when such reports of harm are conceded in vaccine courts.

My irony meter just melted. As I mentioned above, video evidence introduced by the Cedillos to bolster their case wrecked it. As for Vaccine Court, you forget that it's set up to favour the victims. A lot of payouts were given for harm supposedly caused by the old DTP, only for research to discover that something else was causing the damage.

Likewise, the coincidental argument is meritless.

How many doses of vaccines are given a year? Millions. By sheer random chance, some bad events will occur soon after vaccination that were not caused by the vaccination.

it seems all the more ridiculous when vaccine zealots chide vaccine doubters for requesting more studies to be conducted to account for the ‘unexplained’ phenomenon of parents blaming vaccines for their kids adverse reactions. The ‘anti-vaxxers’ are often accused of shifting the goalposts. Yet, one must ask — so what? So what if scientists humour the anti-vaxxers and after studying aluminium, or formaldehyde, or the total cumulative load of vaccines, they do indeed find a culprit?

The Danish study looked at over half a million children. If there was anything in vaccines that caused autism, it would have shown up. It didn't. If the evidence says a phenomenon does not happen, there is no point in demanding research to see if something is causing said non-existent phenomenon.
The science did not give you anti-vaxxers the proof that you wanted, so now you want more studies in the hopes that one of them will.

With vaccines and their adverse events, however, no plausible preceding events are often to be found. In the case of vaccines and autism, genetic predisposition is offered as an ensuing factor that explains autism. Yet, with the utter failure in identifying these problem genes, this explanation remains mere, wild speculation

Several genes which may have a role in autism have been identified. You are either lazy, lying, or too closed-minded to look for the data.

We have the autism spike occurring precisely in time with the expanded vaccination schedule.

Could somebody put up that graph showing the correlation between organic food sales and the increas in autism rates, please.

We have vaccines targeting the immune system and autism appearing to be an immune-mediated condition.

Citation needed for autism being an "immune-mediated" condition.

And, I already provided these arguments, which I will do here again: To the extent that anecdotal evidence incriminates vaccines and there are no plausible resolutions, we have every right to consider vaccines as suspect.

The evidence is in. Just because you don't like the answers does not give you the right to dismiss them and say that there are "no plausible resolutions".
Somebody shred the rest of Greg's rubbish. I'm not up to it.

By Julian Frost (not verified) on 26 Dec 2013 #permalink

Whoah, a wall of text from Greg.
See how supporting your position cannot be done in three lines and a joke?

My turn.

rightly pointed out that you guys have notoriously proven yourself to be untrustworthy

Yeah, "we" are just a big lump of amorphia. Because some of us could be wrong (or so you say), no way some of us could be right.
About trust, what about anti-waxer leaders and scientists like Wakefield? Oh, let's not look at it.

when vaccine zealots chide vaccine doubters for requesting more studies

Well, studies do have been done. Chris already posted many times a long list in past vaccine threads.
So yeah, same old

The ‘anti-vaxxers’ are often accused of shifting the goalposts.

Because they do.
First it was MMR.
Then it was mercury.
The it was formaldehyde.
Then it was the DNA
Then the cells from the poor aborted human foetuses we evil vaccine-pushers are grinding alive to prepare our nefarious brews.
Then it was a newly introduced vaccine.
Then it was whatever was left in the vaccine composition (sodium chloride, anyone?)
Then repeat from a random point.

Why is this a valid criticism? Because, again, anti-vaxers are pooling together and ascribing the same issues to vastly different products. Not all vaccines have mercury, or formaldehyde, or even DNA. Or the same mode of introduction.

No matter what, it is always the vaccines.

what if scientists humour the anti-vaxxers and after studying aluminium, or formaldehyde, or the total cumulative load of vaccines,

Scientists did humor the anti-vaxxers.

Cumulative load has decreased in the 80's with the phasing-out of the smallpox vaccine and the shift of the pertussis vaccine to the acellular version. Mercury has been removed from almost all vaccines (the remaining ones being some flu shots, and flu shots are not a prevalent vaccination).
Yet the autism rate keep "spiking".

they do indeed find a culprit?

So far, not found. But guilty until proven otherwise, eh?
I'm glad you are not working in the judiciary system.

[flat earth disproven] The matter is thus thereby resolved.

And yet you have the Flat Earth Society. I say we need more satellites launched by an independent observer with no tie to NASA aka Big Space. (what do you mean by India, China? shhh)
Please note I never qualified people from this FES as clinically insane. I am actually pretty sure most of them are perfectly sane on most topics, bare this one. Most could be simply either misinformed or choosing not to trust the other side, no matter what.
If this trivial geographic issue cannot be resolved to everybody's tastes, what are the chance of resolving something more complicated, like a biological issue?

We have the autism spike occurring precisely in time with the expanded vaccination schedule.

So does piracy in the Red Sea, internet use or the consumption of organic veggies.
Also, depends on where you decide to start the spike and the increased schedule.
So, [Citation needed]

We have vaccines targeting the immune system and autism appearing to be an immune-mediated condition.

[Citation needed]

There are vaccine courts compensating for damages leading the autism.

One case, Hannah Poling.
It was not the same form of autism, and the underlying cause, mitochondrial disorder, has likely been identified, but is a very rare condition. I fully accept that people with such a mitochondrial disorder should be wary of vaccination (but more reasons for other people to vaccinate)
That doesn't explain the "spike" of autism.

there are indeed the countless cases of parents reporting how their children dramatically regressed into autism following vaccines.

Indeed, with video footage. Some of them showing signs of autism before vaccination. The best cases presented to court have been dismissed.

genetic predisposition is offered as an ensuing factor that explains autism. Yet, with the utter failure in identifying these problem genes,

Don't look at us.
As reported by Lilady in #258, people for which autism obviously run in the family don't want to hear about genetic screening.
If genetic markers were found, they very likely would not want to hear about them either.

And you know what, Mr Smartypants? I, and I'm sure many of us, would be perfectly willing to accept the hypothesis that some vaccines may cause autism in a subset population with a genetic predisposition. Eh, we already have people with egg allergy, people with mitochondrial disorders (Hannah Poling), and a few more who have to be careful about vaccines. Discovering a new population which has solid ground to demand vaccine exemption is no skin off my nose.

I actually don't need a genetic marker to be isolated to believe in this. A nice epidemiological study would do.
Wild talks about sodium chloride or aluminium, that I don't need.

Talk about wanting to resolve the conflict. No, for the core anti-vaxers, it's "us" against "them".

To summarize your points, you are claiming that:
a - your science is better than our science (same for anecdotal data on both sides)
b - our position is pure denial: we don't care whatever you say, we know we are right.
All together now: YOU ARE PROJECTING.

By Helianthus (not verified) on 26 Dec 2013 #permalink

Greg,

Whoa Kreb! Sometimes I feel a little guilty for not reading you more closely. So you are saying we can plug a few variables into an automated formula calculator to obtain the minimum sample size that will give us optimum statistical power?

The fact that you have only just realized this, after all the discussions we had before about that Madsen study shows just how ill-equipped you are for this. There are mathematical formulae that will calculate what sample size is required to detect specific differences, yes, and someone has kindly set up an automated calculator to perform some of these calculations, on a site I linked to, yes.

Also, does your ’4% more likely’ equate to the ‘test value’ in the formula? Also, please explain a little ‘sample average’.

Learn some statistics and figure it out for yourself, like the rest of us have had to. I've had enough of trying to teach you this stuff; you have made it very clear that you have no interest in truly understanding it, you are just looking for anything at all you can seize upon to support your delusions. As soon as you start to understand just how wrong you are, you make some stupid retort, like claiming that the person-year isn't a valid epidemiological measure, or that because 'only' 200,000 children were followed for more than 4 years after MMR the study isn't valid.

Even though Madsen compared vaccinated to unvaccinated at every age and time period after MMR, you claimed that the existence of younger children in the study somehow invalidates the whole thing, betraying a total ignorance of how the study was carried out, not just that, you claimed that this had been done deliberately to hide the vaccine-autism link that very clearly doesn't exist.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 27 Dec 2013 #permalink

@Kreb - in Gerg's world, 12 > 500,000.....and statistics don't matter.....

@Kreb

Learn some statistics and figure it out for yourself, like the rest of us have had to. I’ve had enough of trying to teach you this stuff; you have made it very clear that you have no interest in truly understanding it, you are just looking for anything at all you can seize upon to support your delusions. As soon as you start to understand just how wrong you are, you make some stupid retort, like claiming that the person-year isn’t a valid epidemiological measure, or that because ‘only’ 200,000 children were followed for more than 4 years after MMR the study isn’t valid.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

C'mon Kreb! Stop being such a Scrooge. It's Christmas time and even the Scrooge changed around this time. What -- do I need to send some ghosts after you? Please explain 'sample average', and why the 'beta error level' is set at 50%.

@Mrs Woo

"Here is something you might have to clarify for me. I could be easily confused. Is it your assertion that every possible chronic illness or developmental delay has to be caused by vaccination?"

I would say pretty much many of them that are seeming to spike around the time of the expanded vaccination schedule. They would include autism, ADHD, allergies, childhood diabetes and cancers, asthma, and so on. Yes, it's possible that other causes may produce these outcomes, but I am a firm believer in the notion that the simplest explanation is usually the correct one. There are no other 'umbrella' causes appearing to be so closely tied to these afflictions as vaccines.

@Giggles:

TL;DR.

I have to go to work soon and Helianthus and Julian Frost have reduced your Wall-O'-Text to smoking rubble. Maybe later...

Here's an anecdote - in my experience, some antivax activists are scientifically illiterate, paranoid and dumb. Others are fraudulent and venal. Which are you? Shall we do a study? If you don't like the results, shall we do another? If you still don't like the results, can I just say incessantly that you're dumb? Or would you rather I said you're a fraud? After all, anecdotes don't lie!

Greg, you ignorant slut. Growing up in Canada in the last century, there were no mangoes to be had. Never in the grocery stores. Now, mangoes are available all year round. My daughter has autism. I never knew anyone with autism when I was young, therefore mangoes caused my daughter's autism. Disprove that, you twat.

I blame the proliferation of electronic broadcasts. How many TV channels were there in the 1970s? And how many autism diagnoses? Ha! It's simple.

And that's before you get to these darn cellphones. No wonder kids are getting sick.

What about automatic transmissions? 50 years ago they were uncommon, now 90% of cars have them. Coincidence? I think not!

Besides, I drive a stick, and neither of my kids is autistic. So there.

Ah, the old "if we didn't recognize it back then, it didn't exist" gambit.

Because we couldn't identify exo-planets until just recently, they certainly didn't exist before then - as evidenced by Gerg's logic.

Another example of why he probably can't chew gum & tie his shoes at the same time.

Even though Madsen compared vaccinated to unvaccinated at every age and time period after MMR, you claimed that the existence of younger children in the study somehow invalidates the whole thing ...

And let's not forget that at first, Gerg was 100% approving of including those same children in the study. Why? Because he swallowed a line of BS from some nudnik at AOA, claiming that if you looked at the data the "right way" it was damning evidence that vaccines were harmful.

That's our Gerg - if he likes the conclusion, he's sure the data is A-OK. But if the data leads to a conclusion he doesn't like, suddenly he starts tossing accusations that collecting the data in the first place was a "fast one".

By Antaeus Feldspar (not verified) on 27 Dec 2013 #permalink

Please explain ‘sample average’, and why the ‘beta error level’ is set at 50%.

I linked to the home page of all Sample Size Calculators. You are using the wrong test. I suggest you use the Statistical Power Calculator, using the menu to the left of the page.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 27 Dec 2013 #permalink

Sorry I meant "a Statistical Power Calculator".

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 27 Dec 2013 #permalink

Greg,

Typically vaccine zealots present the issue of vaccines and their adverse events as a conflict between anecdotal evidence and ‘science’.

We know that anecdotal evidence is unreliable, that's one of the main reasons the scientific method was developed. If anecdotal evidence isn't supported by several scientific studies, the science wins. How else do you think it should work?

For instance, parents reporting that vaccines harmed their kids can simply be dismissed as wrong, because ‘science’ says otherwise.

When we look at hundreds of thousands of children and find the rate of 'harm' is the same before and after the vaccine concerned, what else can we possibly conclude? With millions of children being vaccinated, and thousands getting sick for completely unconnected reasons, some will get sick shortly after vaccination, by pure coincidence. That is absolutely certain by the laws of probability.

A further advantage of the strategy is by devaluing anecdotal evidence and propping up science, it forces vaccine doubters to make their case in the ‘scientific’ arena. Ordinary laypersons lacking scientific expertise will feel intimidated and don’t even bother to mount a challenge. Those who are ‘foolish’ to do so are mocked and treated with contempt; and feeling completely embarrassed, they retreat.

I don't think that's true when people are making an effort to understand something difficult. The great majority of scientists are happy to explain difficult concepts to someone who is willing to learn.

Recently, Occamlaser demonstrated this intimidation in action, as he made his case for my intellectual shortcomings and unfitness at forming a sensible position on the issue.

I and others have tried very hard to explain some concepts about study design and statistics to you, but you have behaved appallingly. If I had a student who had behaved the way you have, I would have had them removed from my class. You have mocked well-established science, made moronic corrections to perfectly correct examples, and then accused me of being foolish for not making the corrections you had just painstakingly removed. To top it all you ran away to give a hopelessly inaccurate 'summary' to AoA, that included several deliberate falsehoods that had been repeatedly pointed out to you already. Remember "life-years"?

If you don't want people to think you are a hopeless idiot, stop behaving like one.

So to recap, we have pro-vaxxers basic ‘winning strategy’ of pitting anecdotal evidence against ‘science’, and devaluating anecdotal evidence while propping up ‘science’.

Anecdotal evidence that is not supported by multiple studies can be safely discarded. That's the winning strategy that has taken us out of the Dark Ages.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 27 Dec 2013 #permalink

Greg,

Enter mroses8465 and his/hers ‘top 9 blatantly dishonest and misleading arguments from Dorit et al’(see posts #306 and #307): S/he did simply a phenomenal job at blowing this strategy out of the water.

That's funny. S/he got the hierarchy of evidence completely upside down, putting anecdotal evidence above RCTs which is mind-numbingly wrong. What kind of person could so fundamentally misunderstand this? It's as if the last 200 years of science never happened.

First, s/he addressed the matter of trust, and rightly pointed out that you guys have notoriously proven yourself to be untrustworthy, and hence others should be weary of your ‘science’.

Yet independent investigators all over the world have produced exactly the same results. I'm weary of your antiscience.

Secondly, she repeatedly highlighted the actual, theoretical problem with your ‘science’. I particularly liked the passage where she described how HPV vaccine trials assessed vaccine side effects by considering only those effects that matched pre-determined ones. Others that were not determined as those that could have been caused the vaccine are neglected.

Yet post marketing surveillance looks for all side effects, and any that appear to occur more frequently in the vaccinated, in VAERS for example, are investigated more closely, and added to the list of those looked for in future trials. What s/he wrote is simply not true, not just here but in many places.

Thirdly, mroses8465 did an excellent job at show how badly you guys can sometimes get the scientific facts wrong.

About the vanishingly tiny DNA fragments found in Gardasil? I don't think so. The four references in Lee's paper s/he refers to as supporting the idea that these fragments could get inside a cell, into the nucleus and then express proteins do no such thing. Allow me to explain:

The first study is about gene therapy, in which DNA is deliberately introduced to the nucleus of a cell. That isn't the case with Gardasil, obviously

The second is about chromosomal illegitimate recombination in genetic engineering, again nothing about how DNA fragments in a vaccine might get inside a cell, into the nucleus and then express proteins.

The third is also mostly about genetic engineering, but mentions that some DNA ingested by mice survives digestion and may combine with mouse DNA. Most food we eat contains large amounts of DNA, so this study suggests that we are constantly exposed to fragments of foreign DNA, some of which may combine with our DNA. Doesn't that suggest we should be far more worried about food than about barely measurable quantities of DNA fragments in Gardasil? Or perhaps it means we have mechanisms that can deal with such bits and pieces of foreign DNA. I do wonder how much HPV DNA is present in the blood of anyone with warts, for example. More than there is in a shot of Gardasil I'd wager.

The fourth study is about nonviral delivery of nucleic acids to neurons, which mentions using naked DNA and electroporation methods to get it into cells. It does also mention an in vitro rat study that managed to get DNA into ischaemically hypoxic cells, but this is hardly similar to an i.m. injection of Gardasil, which doesn't involve neurons, much less hypoxic ones.

S/he summed it up as more akin to ‘dogmatic faith’.

Yet on closer examination, the science s/he claims supports Lee does no such thing.

Discussing anecdotal evidence, mroses8465 also did an exceptional job of reaffirming the value of anecdotal evidence.

No s/he didn't, she tried to contradict a very well known and accepted scientific axiom by merely asserting its opposite without any supporting evidence or even any rational explanation.

In the ‘hard science’ we had Newtonian physics that did an exceptional job at explaining ordinary, everyday motion. Still, it could not account for the puzzling matter of an unexplained time lag in Mercury’s orbit.

The alteration in Mercury's orbit was repeatedly measured by independent observers and was as predicted by General Relativity. The incidence of autism in children before and after various vaccines has been repeatedly measured and is exactly as predicted by chance. See the difference? Probably not, sadly.

Reflecting on this, it seems all the more ridiculous when vaccine zealots chide vaccine doubters for requesting more studies to be conducted to account for the ‘unexplained’ phenomenon of parents blaming vaccines for their kids adverse reactions.

There is no "unexplained phenomenon"; we would expect a number of parents to observe their children showing signs of autism after MMR by chance and this is exactly what we do see. Humans tend to ascribe a causal relationship to two events that happen in close temporal proximity, even when they are completely unrelated. We know this, it has been observed and proven a thousand times.

The ‘anti-vaxxers’ are often accused of shifting the goalposts. Yet, one must ask — so what? So what if scientists humour the anti-vaxxers and after studying aluminium, or formaldehyde, or the total cumulative load of vaccines, they do indeed find a culprit?

The shifting of goalposts we complain about isn't a matter of changing the suspected culprit, it's about changing the crime. It's like Bill saying "Fred stole my wallet!", and claiming that he has thousands of witnesses who will testify that they saw Fred steal it. Yet when we point out that Bill's wallet is still in his pocket, he then claims that Fred stole his watch, and when we point out his watch is on his wrist, he claims Fred stole his trousers. Can you blame us for wondering if Fred stole anything at all in the first place, when claim after claim of his dishonesty proves misplaced? How long do we continue checking through Bill's possessions before we conclude that Fred hasn't stolen anything, and Bill is either mistaken, deluded or dishonest himself?

Yet again, why didn’t anyone fault Einstein for not resting on his laurels and seeking out revolutionary theories that improved on Newton’s ideas? Why didn’t anyone accuse him of shifting the goalposts?

Einstein did seek out revolutionary theories that did improve on Newton's ideas. He made predictions that were proved to be correct and which thus supported these theories, perturbations in Mercury's orbit being one of them. I don't see anything remotely similar about the anecdotal evidence about vaccines and autism that experimental evidence has markedly failed to support. Einstein didn't shift any goalposts; he didn't come up with a claim that was proven to be incorrect, then come up with another one that was also proven to be wrong and so on ad infinitum.

How truly anti-science can you guys be?

You and mroses8465 have demonstrated that you are utterly clueless about the very basics of science. You are the pseudoscientists here.

Considering that anecdotal evidence is a valuable part of science, we find the true jewel in mroses8465’s arguments.

Look again at the hierarchy of evidence I linked to above, and notice that case reports, i.e. anecdotal evidence, have the very lowest value. Do you understand the concept of a hierarchy like this? I don't think mrose8465 does.

There is no inherent conflict between anecdotal evidence and science.

Unless the anecdotal evidence contradicts something supported by evidence higher up the hierarchy, like systematic reviews and meta-analyses, randomized controlled trials with definitive results, randomized controlled trials with non-definitive results, cohort studies, case-control studies or cross sectional surveys. That is precisely the case with vaccines and autism (and other conditions like ADHD and allergies).

The one that vaccine zealots are ceasing on is a fabricated to serve their purpose.

The one what? Do you mean "seizing on"? What has been fabricated and by whom? Where is the evidence for this fabrication?

And, once we reaffirm the value of anecdotal evidence and consider it a part of the scientific enterprise, it’s not such an easy matter to dismiss the arguments of the layperson.

No one has reaffirmed "the value of anecdotal evidence". You and mrose8465 have simply asserted that it is valuable with nothing to support this. In fact mrose8465 has completely misunderstood the hierarchy of evidence by inverting it. If the layperson claims that a single anecdote is more compelling than a large RCT then I feel justified in calling them an idiot.

As a pointed out to Occamlaser, anyone with a modicum of critical thinking skills can advance sensible arguments pertaining to vaccines and their adverse events. They do not need to be especially scientifically savvy to do so.

I suppose that might be true, but I have seen no evidence of this from you and mrose8465.

I for one, out of entertainment, have engaged in discussions with Kreb regarding study designs. Yet, even if I have proven myself woeful inept at such discussions, this in itself does not automatically disqualify me from being able to debate the matter of vaccine and their adverse events.

It doesn't seem to stop you from arrogantly dismissing the work of other people, even when you clearly don't understand it at all.

You may laugh all you want at my ‘ignorance’ of science,

I'm sincerely saddened by it. I love science, and I get a great deal of pleasure out of it. Trying to explain it to you is like trying to teach music to someone who is tone deaf.

maybe I will give you a ‘hee hee hee’ while I coolly solicits mrose8465 to do my bidding,

You might get mrose8465 to take some basic science classes too, starting by reading about the hierarchy of evidence. They badly need it.

The rest of your comment just reiterates the nonsense you wrote before. There is no conflict between anecdote and science to resolve. We understand how and why these anecdotes occur, and we can even estimate how often they will occur.

but I will always feel confident that I can argue successfully in the realm of anecdotal and observable evidence.

In the realm of cognitive bias and misinterpretation that had humans blundering around in the dark for millennia? Good luck with that. Pick me up some phlogiston while you're there would you?

So in all, we see the brilliance in mroses8465 arguments and how they open the door for others to seriously challenge the vaccine zealots’ denialism. Moses8465’s did not merely take shots at this ‘house’ of denialism. S/he successfully attached its very foundation, showing it for the flimsy ‘shack’ that it really is.

S/he got the hierarchy of evidence upside down, and claimed that 4 scientific papers said something they didn't. His/her shots didn't just miss, they blew up in his/her face. If that's the best you've got it's pathetic; and it really is the best you've got.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 27 Dec 2013 #permalink

Hopefully my blockquote hiccup is obvious. Sorry.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 27 Dec 2013 #permalink

There was a time when medicine was supported largely by anecdotal evidence. Bleeding was a major component of it. The scientific process exists for a reason.

By Gray Falcon (not verified) on 27 Dec 2013 #permalink

My brother and sister minions, bright and sparkling as glittering orbs in the darkened firmament:

occasionally, I, like the Mother of Dragons**, must step forth and *do my thing*.

Over the past days, our visitor has revealed himself through his comments ( abilities will always out, I say).

Such as:
- Krebiozen demonstrates he hasn't studied statistics
- he shows that he doesn't understand how memory works and the unreliability of eyewitness accounts ( forgive him, Prof L, he knows not what he does)
- he has no experience or training in psychotherapy, as his recent and earlier attempts to portray therapy illustrate: they sound like something in a television comedy or a movie.
- at other times, he has shown a paucity of knowledge in areas like developmental and physiological psychology. I'm sure others have noticed this. Correct?

Which leads me to wonder if he does have ANY degree/ education AT ALL in psychology. In the ( so-called) western world, a bachelor's degree would have to include study in several of the aforementioned areas. While my own undergraduate degree is not in psychology, I studied it and economics while getting another degree prior to grad schoolS AND I often counsel potential undergraduates on these matters.

A person acquiring said degree would be forced to have at least *introductions* to statistics, clinical, cognitive and developmental psych. What is psychology composed of anyway? So what DID he study?

Counsellors and therapists usually have training, classes and practicums/ internships- at their university or at an off-site institute that is based on particular methods of therapy- like CBT, Psychoanalytic, Rogerian etc.

Do people without these degrees work with clients? Sometimes. Here's an example:
a woman got a teaching degree from a mediocre university and then took "professional training"( 6-8 courses) at a good U for teaching in "special situations" ( esp for children in improverished cities- a noble cause). Later, she got a mail-away grad degree in psych. She was employed with SMI out-patients as a counsellor, coach, whatever- although she called herself a therapist. I believe that her teaching in special situations education was useful training and why she got the job. There's overlap between that and the problems of the SMI.

If you look at Jennifer Larson's 'Holland Center' website, you'll find that many of her workers have only BA degrees.

After all, it is the internet and anyone can pretend to be anything but *usually* your abilities ( or lack of abilities) will slip right through your presentation and show everyone what you can or can't do. And -btw- verbal ability is predictive of many other things.

** that's for Orac

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 27 Dec 2013 #permalink

Greg: In my experience, do you know which parents I find are most likely to abuse their special needs kids?……..

Those that think most highly of them!

Oh, yes, because they don't run them through an exhaustive regimen of biomedical interventions, poison them with bleach, or force them onto punitive diet plans.

Or in the old days, the abusive parents were the ones who worked themselves to the bone to keep their kids home- or if they had no choice but to place them elsewhere, they made sure to visit them and made lots of noise if the places weren't fit to house humans.
Excuse me while I laugh. I have to say that the parents I've met here actually seem to love their kids, while the parents you hang out with-well, I've seen no real evidence. They claim to love their kids, but at the same time they weep and wail and gnash their teeth over not having perfect little clones.
As for your wild claims, I'd just like to point out that both my grandpa and my father had mumps and measles and both would probably be diagnosed with ADD. Grandpa also had numerous medical problems, including cleft palate. I suppose you think that's also caused by..oh, I don't know, time-traveling vaccines.

By Politicalguineapig (not verified) on 27 Dec 2013 #permalink

Please explain ‘sample average’, and why the ‘beta error level’ is set at 50%.

I see why you repeatedly ignored very basic questions about your incessant babbling about a vaccinated/unvaccinated trial, such as what signal level would satisfy you. Seriously, what kind of jackass does this while tittering "hee hee hee" and can't determine what the f*ck the words "sample" and "average" mean in combination?

Here. Read it and understand it. Figure out what Type I and Type II errors are.

In the ‘hard science’ we had Newtonian physics that did an exceptional job at explaining ordinary, everyday motion. Still, it could not account for the puzzling matter of an unexplained time lag in Mercury’s orbit. Along came Einstien and his theory of relativity, explaining that the curvature of space-time resulted in this lag.

Good L-rd. Mercury's perihelion precesses by an extra 43 arcseconds per century. There is no "lag," and it has nothing to do with the orbital period.

Narad, I'm still trying to decipher the analogy:
I suppose that we are Newton and Jake, Blaxill, Kim, Andy, Boyd, TMR et al are 'Einstien'.
Sounds about right.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 27 Dec 2013 #permalink

Greg--

Try the Cartoon Guide to Statistics. It's clear and assumes only basic high school math (so it's okay if you never studied or have forgotten trigonometry and calculus). And it's fairly cheap, if your library doesn't have a copy.

The mere fact that it's December doesn't entitle you to endless free tutoring from people who know, from experience, that you will respond by attacking them.

In classic disease severity denial, I just saw on AoA that Kim Stagliano now claims measles was not deadly because of a certain doll sold in 1962. It is apparently a baby with multiple faces on a spinning head. One was sleeping, and another that was awake and finally one covered in spots.

This apparently proves that measles was not dangerous and did not kill an average of four hundred children and disabled thousands more each year in the USA before 1963. And, it seems along with ignoring that her youngest child with autism has not been vaccinated, Ms. Stagliano is ignoring that the recent measles in Wales put about one in ten cases in the hospital.

As it turns out measles was known to be dangerous, despite what toy companies sold, and silly sitcoms said:

Am J Public Health (N Y). 1914 April; 4(4): 289–309.
A STATISTICAL STUDY OF MEASLES (1914)

The Benefits From 10 Years of Measles Immunization in the United States

By the way, the 1939 autobiography of S. Josephine Baker, MD, Fighting for Life, had a mention on how perceptions changed between scarlet fever and measles. Just a few decades before she said scarlet fever was greatly feared and measles was not... but by the late 1930s that perception had changed.

That is because even though there were no antibiotics, there were treatments. From horse derived serums (much like the early diphtheria serums) and some phage treatments. And now we have antibiotics.

It also appears that neither you nor Orac read the references. There are four papers referenced by Dr Lee that talk about ways that DNA can insert itself into cells.

It appears that "mroses8465" [sic] also didn't read Lee's paper too closely.

"These naked non-proliferating HPV- 16 L1 gene DNA fragments appeared to be in the macrophages of the postmortem blood and spleen, and were protected from degradation by binding firmly to the particulate aluminum adjuvant used in vaccine formulation."

In other words, the alleged DNA fragments were still in their mysterious aluminum complex six months later, and hanging around in the spleen. Oh wait, maybe s/h/it simply didn't understand it:

This was addressed directly in Dr Lee’s paper, maybe you and Orac missed it? “Naked viral and bacterial DNA fragments firmly bound to insoluble aluminum salts can be carried into tissue macrophages through phagocytosis to initiate a series of DNA-related immune reactions [31-34].”

What comes next?

"Intramuscular injection of free HPV-16 L1 plasmid DNA in BALB/C mice without adjuvant has been known to induce a strong CD8 T cell response [35], indicating that under certain conditions non-replicating HPV L1 gene DNA can activate the immune system. However, to be detectable 6 months after intramuscular injection, the naked foreign DNA in the host must be in a stabilized physical condition, either by remaining bound to the AAHS nanoparticles or by integration into the human genome through hitherto poorly understood mechanisms [36-40]."

Why he bothers with "hitherto" is anybody's guess, since he certainly doesn't offer any. So they're completely, stably bound to aluminum, something that he doesn't seem to demonstrate, or they're magically "integrated into the human genome," which he doesn't claim and can't explain, with no proposed mechanism for getting them unstuck.

"mroses" also seems not to have paid particularly close attention to other parts of paper:

What Dr Lee did was find something which was effectively confirmed by subsequent press releases by the FDA who admitted that the DNA fragments exist in the vaccine despite prior assurances from Merck that they were filtered out during manufacturing.

Hey, what's this?

"The recent revelation that Gardasil® does contain recombinant HPV L1 gene DNA fragments [8,9] which appear to be firmly bound to AAHS nanoparticles [9]....

"8. US Food and Drug Administration (2011) FDA information on gardasil-presence of DNA fragments expected, no safety risk. http://www.fda.gov/BiologicsBloodVaccines/Vaccines/ApprovedProducts/ucm…"

Oops. Where were those "prior assurances," again?

"Since the early development of Gardasil, FDA and the manufacturer (Merck and Co., Inc.) have known that after purification of the vaccine, small quantities of residual recombinant HPV L1-specific DNA fragments remain in the vaccine."

What she was confusing the paper with is <a href="http://sanevax.org/gardasil-vaccine-found-to-be-contaminated/ (which does omit the "hitherto"), which ultimately appeared in Lee's JIB article, which also appeared after the press release and doesn't demonstrate the aluminum.

What of the claim that "The vaccine maker Merck, has claimed for the last five years on the package insert that the vaccine contains NO viral DNA"? Really? Here's the 2009 version:

www.rho.org/files/rb3/Gardasil_Package_Insert_Merck_2009.pdf

In earlier versions, this was "the Patient Product Insert." Here's April 2007:

tulane.edu/health/upload/Gardasil-Patient-Information.pdf

Found it yet? Wanna know what phrase commonly does appear? "VLPs contain no viral DNA." Guess what? It's perfectly true and still appears in plenty of places, for instance, in the 2013 Canadian product monograph:

www.merck.ca/assets/en/pdf/products/GARDASIL-PM_E.pdf

Wonder whether "SANE" Vax was aware of this? Sure looks like it:

sanevax.org/freda-birrell-sane-vax-letter-to-committee-for-medicinal-products-for-human-use-gardasil-contamination/

Where did they finally manage to find it? In one documents, which is not a package insert, but a 2010 briefing document for a supplementary application (anal cancer):

sanevax.org/health-authorities-admit-gardasil-contains-residual-recombinant-hpv-dna/

Note also that their fourth entry doesn't say what they claim. The same boilerplate also occurs in another briefing document from 2006, which would have made more sense to point at. This is some sort of smoking gun? A single boilerplate sentence in a 60-page briefing document for a meeting?

Hmph. Apparently, WP automatically inserts "http" whenever it sees a "www" but not otherwise.

AoA wouldn't know historical significance if it bit them on the ass....back in the day, Measles was ubiquitous - there was no way to avoid it...it wasn't "not scary" it was inevitable...as a parent, you just hoped your kid didn't die or got some serious, permanent side effect.....

Morons.

In classic disease severity denial, I just saw on AoA that Kim Stagliano now claims measles was not deadly because of a certain doll sold in 1962

Ugh - I saw that too. I'm just old enough to remember Cabbage Patch Preemies - I wonder if 20 years from now someone will try to use their existence to argue that premature birth is no big deal.

I've been wondering lately if it would be possible to build something like the Holocaust Museum for infectious diseases. Right now, there are still people who can remember when vaccine-preventable diseases were a real threat; the denialism is only going to get worse as that generation dies off (sorry - can't think of a more diplomatic way to say that.)

@ Sarah A:

I don't think that denialism will get worse in the next few decades because ( unfortunately) I think that the diseases will first return locally wherever coverage is low.

One year Wales, the next California, then NY, Spain and Toronto etc.We;re already seeing this.
Eventually sane people will understand.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 27 Dec 2013 #permalink

Somewhat interestingly, Milford Hospital isn't the only place to have canned Sin Hang Lee. Before that 2010 December event, he was tossed by Pathology Associates and Consultants, PC, in 2003 May. Three years later, he sued the lawyers that prepared the employment agreement for the corporation. After four amended complaints, he was tossed on summary judgment, kicked to the curb by the appeals court, and denied cert. by the final arbiter.

I only noticed this for one reason: Remember "SANE" Vax's mention that a "lawsuit addressing the wrongful termination claim has been brought against the Milford Hospital"? The suit itself was an unmitigated disaster:

2013 March 6 (emphasis added):

On June 17, 2011, plaintiff filed an Application for Temporary Injunctive Relief ... claiming imminent, irreparable harm flowing from his termination as an at will employee of Milford Hospital Incorporated ... and the resultant shuttering of Molecular Diagnostic Laboratory....

Based on the evidence ... the claimed "express oral contract" or "implied joint venture agreement" is so lacking in essential terms as not to constitute an enforceable agreement that forms the basis of the first five counts.... Plaintiff's expectations ... were creations of his desires....

Neither is the court able to find a likelihood that the plantiff will prevail on Counts 6–10....

2013 April 23:

All parties indicated a willingness and interest in a court annexed mediation as a possible alternative resolution to the disputed claims. Plaintiff's counsel has been unresponsive to the court's efforts to arrange same. Plaintiff's counsel is hereby ORDERED to identify on which of the three proposed mediation dates, May 1, May 3, or May 8, the plaintiff and counsel are available to meet with Judge Agati.

Finally settled by mediation August 1. Over two years of this crap and he didn't even have a contract to start with?

In fact, in his four trips to Connecticut state court, he's never won. Including the time he was a defendant.

@Kreb

"S/he got the hierarchy of evidence completely upside down, putting anecdotal evidence above RCTs which is mind-numbingly wrong. What kind of person could so fundamentally misunderstand this?"

Get a grip Kreb! Seriously -- who created this hierarchy and what are the criteria for their rankings. Seriously -- maybe RCTs are more reliable, but are they more predictive. Let's say we conduct a well controlled clinical trial on a drug, and it's indeed determined to be safe. Yet, when we test the drug in the general population, we find men who are of sub-Sahara African descent, between the ages of 25-27, with high blood pressure, who are underweight, smoke, and divorced suffer serious adverse reactions from the drug. Further Kreb, when we reexamine the sample from our clinical trial, we find that indeed there were no men of sub-Sahara African descent, between the ages of 25-27, with high blood pressure, and who were underweight, smoked, and divorced.

Get the picture Kreb? Although clinical trials may produce more reliable results than anecdotal evidence, their design constraints will always curtail their predictive value. Anecdotal evidence, on the other hand, taps into reality at large and is not hampered in this way.

And again Kreb, look at the vaccine-autism studies that have been done to date, and tell us if they do not suffer design limitations. Let me ask you more pointedly; other than studies looking into thimerosal, MMR, and one study on antigen, what other studies are there?

Kreb, mroses8465 nailed it when s/he argued that we simply cannot ignore the anecdotal evidence of vaccine harms, based on studies done on an extremely small sample of the population and with inherent design limitations. Further, I added then whenever anecdotal evidence is in conflict with the scientific evidence a plausible explanation or resolution is needed.

You accused me of being a pseudo-scientist? Actually I believe that the real pseudo-scientists are those who accept either the anecdotal evidence or the scientific evidence without seeking this resolution. In regards to vaccines and their adverse events, sadly, there are pseudo-scientists on both sides -- anti-vaxxers as well as pro-vaxxers.

@Krebiozen - thank you for your deconstruction of all of those article references - I wasn't sure if I'd be able to track down (or understand) the complete articles if I found them, and was hoping someone would tackle them.

@Greg - human beings tend to want to explain how the inexplicable happens. For one, it gives us a sense of security in a world where we really can't control much. So, you have a baby and start watching milestones and they are kind of flexible, etc., so it's easy to explain away or miss early signs of autism or other developmental delay. Lots of immunizations happen in early childhood to prevent childhood diseases, so one really easy thing to blame when it becomes obvious that your child isn't meeting milestones is medical intervention. It is really easy to notice that Baby Greg isn't making eye contact like his cousin and geez - he just got such and such vaccine at his well baby check a few days ago! All that crying and low grade fever (not terribly uncommon after a vaccination) was a sign that the vaccine was damaging my precious child!

Truth - it was probably a normal vaccination reaction, and probably just a coincidence in timing as far as noting the child's lack of development (though with all of the press anti-vaccine people get, plus all the internet coverage, it is also likely that parents are watching for signs of developmental delay around those vaccinations now.

Why do I assert the second - that parents are watching with worry to see if maybe vaccines ARE causing problems for their child? Human behavior and my personal experience with it. I have a 50% chance of having a neurodegenerative illness. Early symptoms can happen to anyone on a given day - stumbling, falling, dropping things, etc. We all so that. However, in my case, every fall, every broken glass, I found myself wondering, "Do I have it?"

It was a hard thing to not assign more significance to those moments and/or not watch for them.

So more parents insisting that their child's developmental delay obviously happened when they were vaccinated is also just part of human nature and our need to find a "why."

A fascinating thing on the inheritance of the gene mutation that causes my familial illness: each new inheritance tends to increase the mutation, making onset earlier and progression more quick. This suggests that the mutation could have been going through a large number of generations before finally showing up early enough in life to become noticeable to us... ;-)

Obviously no one granted my preview Christmas wish - please forgive missed typos and the missed closed parentheses - I'm going to blame the thumb spica!

It's clinical trials and after-market surveillance that will find that hypothetical problem Greg mentions. If you prioritize anecdotal evidence, you announce "this drug made my friend sick" and seven other people say "I've felt so much better since I started on this drug," and I probably ask for a prescription because I'm more likely to know one of the seven people who did well on it. With one anecdote, you have no way of knowing whether it's that person's age, marital status, ancestry, weight, history of bronchitis, dosage of vitamin B, or any number of traits that you haven't bothered to mention is relevant to his having had those side effects. It takes a very large trial indeed to find something that is going to be problematic only for "men who are of sub-Sahara African descent, between the ages of 25-27, with high blood pressure, who are underweight, smoke, and divorced." Without that sort of epidemiology and RCTs, you may wind up saying the drug is dangerous for underweight 26-year-old Cub fans with high blood pressure who smoke cigars and drive trucks for a living."

Sometimes the reasons that your anecdotes don't match the larger-scale studies is because there's a random factor somewhere. Sure, "Cub fans" sounds ridiculous, but maybe the reason that one guy got sick isn't the drug by itself, it's an interaction between the drug and the toppings on his hot dog. Maybe he would have had those symptoms that you're labeling as a side effect even if he hadn't taken the drug.

Yet, when we test the drug in the general population, we find men who are of sub-Sahara African descent, between the ages of 25-27, with high blood pressure, who are underweight, smoke, and divorced suffer serious adverse reactions from the drug.

That's actually a really good analogy - for the type of torturous, biologically implausible, absurd-on-its-face special pleading antivaxers will resort to rather than admit they're wrong. It should be obvious that there couldn't possibly be enough people fitting all of those criteria and taking the same medication to be able to make a meaningful determination of their unique rate of adverse events.

Just out of curiosity, though, what subset of children do you propose to be uniquely susceptible to vaccine-induced autism? What evidence supports your claim, and what observations could disprove it? If you can't answer those three questions, then you don't have a testable hypothesis - you're just grasping at straws.

Sarah A: Just out of curiosity, though, what subset of children do you propose to be uniquely susceptible to vaccine-induced autism?

Well..judging from photos and other evidence, I'd say children of white, fairly affluent parents who were both college educated, with one parent (usually maternal) being a type-A controlling personality. So if I used Greg's methods, I'd be forced to conclude that only white kids develop autism. I hope we all know that's bunk.

By Politicalguineapig (not verified) on 27 Dec 2013 #permalink

Sure, “Cub fans” sounds ridiculous,

That's just because nobody says "Cub fan."

but maybe the reason that one guy got sick isn’t the drug by itself, it’s an interaction between the drug and the toppings on his hot dog bologna sandwich.

Al Yellon bait is Al Yellon bait.

You accused me of being a pseudo-scientist?

He was probably being overly generous.

Now, Gerg, since you've seen fit to try to rehash Sin Hang Lee, and clearly have the acumen to perceive the scientific superiority of "mroses8465," perhaps you could answer some questions:

1. Why does Lee refer to the AAHS as "nanoparticles"? What does this word mean? Is it a problem that AAHS aggregates are roughly 3 μm in size?

2a. The kinetics of aluminum IM adjuvants are pretty well understood: the Al immediately starts to be solubilized by interstitial lactic, malic, and citric acid and overwhelmingly takes the lymph road to the blood to the kidney to the toilet. Do the DNA fragments stabilize the Al that stabilizes the DNA fragments (after it is or isn't turned into "nanoparticles")?

2b. "SANE" Vax and Lee try to get around this by claiming that AAHS-adsorbed HPV vaccine is stabilized by ligand-exchange rather than electrostatic interactions. Granting that AAHS has roughly zero charge at neutral pH, does anybody else make the claim that it's this simple without radiolabeled data? Moreover, wouldn't that mean that one would use less Al, thus reducing the budget available for "detection" of a mystery complex from a tiny sample? And cause it to stay put, thus reducing the budget further? Does this evasion cause any problems with Lee's justification for the necessity of his sooper sekrit proprietary technique, viz., "Aluminum, unlike other metals, is known to stabilize and destabilize portions of a dsDNA molecule at different pHs, cause intrastrand cross-links, and create a 'non-cooperative melting profile' for the bound DNA molecule"?

3. What is this concoction doing in spleen macrophages? Does it program circulating monocytes to leave the injection site, where they're supposed to hang around, and take up residence as tissue-specific spleen macrophages? Does Lee actually provide any evidence for this "macrophage" business? Are they "snowballing" the stuff? What's the life span of the relevant cells, Gerg? You don't think that the aluminum reproduces, Gerg, do you?

The most fascinating thing about the pseudoscience dance is this: The more the pseudoscientist shouts, "We simply don't know how this happens!", the surer the pseudoscientist is of his or her position.

It's a marvelous thing -- as if the truth of a hypothesis is inversely related to how fantastic it is.

"You don’t think that the aluminum reproduces, Gerg, do you?"

Why not? Mercury does. That's why you can chelate mercury out of autistic children for years and years after a single vaccination -- even one that doesn't contain any mercury.

Just when I thought Greg couldn't say anything less intelligent, he proves me wrong. We have been writing for weeks and weeks and weeks about post approval monitoring. So issues in the general population that were not seen in the clinical trials groups who use a drug/get a vaccine/whatever are noted. (i.e. Vioxx, which the anti-vaxxers love to point to) and the use of the drug either re-evaluated (black box warning) or it's pulled from the market. But somehow he missed every reference we made to it.
So my conclusion is either he is very unintelligent (of which he's given up plenty of proof) or he lacks reading comprehension (of which he's given plenty of proof, too).

@Kreb

"The shifting of goalposts we complain about isn’t a matter of changing the suspected culprit, it’s about changing the crime. It’s like Bill saying “Fred stole my wallet!”, and claiming that he has thousands of witnesses who will testify that they saw Fred steal it. Yet when we point out that Bill’s wallet is still in his pocket, he then claims that Fred stole his watch, and when we point out his watch is on his wrist, he claims Fred stole his trousers. Can you blame us for wondering if Fred stole anything at all in the first place, when claim after claim of his dishonesty proves misplaced? How long do we continue checking through Bill’s possessions before we conclude that Fred hasn’t stolen anything, and Bill is either mistaken, deluded or dishonest himself?"

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Actually, I don't think anti-vaxxers really changed the suspected culprit. As far as I can see, vaccine doubters have always maintained vaccines as the culprit. They just have faulted different components of vaccines. I don't think your analogy fits. Here is a better one:

Bill with an obvious damaged car claimed, 'my car was struck by the bumper on Fred's car.' Then after an investigation was done, it was determined that there was no mark on Fred's bumper, so it could not have been the bumper. Then Bill claimed, 'it was the fender that struck me'. And, after another investigation, it was determined it wasn't the fender. Then Bill said, 'it was his side-door that struck me.' And, yet again, it was determined that it could not have been the side-door. Finally, after all these inquiries, it was determined that Fred's car did not strike Bill's car, despite Fred reporting that he was in a collision at an intersection at a certain time. This being the same intersection and time that the 'victim' claimed. Heck -- their immobile vehicles were still there! (Hee hee hee).

Hey Kreb, do you think they should have closed the case, or do more investigations until they sort out the particularities of how the accident really did occur?

0k -- so I am getting a lot of flack for my 'sub-Saharan African fellow' example.

Supposedly after-market surveillance will catch these problems. Yet, as Vicki pointed out, after the reports of harm, it's usually extremely difficult to tweak out the variables (be they age, race, blood pressure, sex, and so on) that are contributing to the problems, and this will impact the strength of any post studies that are conducted. So, this leaves us with VAERS, and this is my whole argument: VAERS is not trusted because it's considered unscientific, anecdotal reports.

And, again, I argue that it should never be a matter of not trusting the VAERS report. We need to show conclusively how those reports are wrong, rather than simply dismissing them as anti-science.

@Kreb

"I and others have tried very hard to explain some concepts about study design and statistics to you, but you have behaved appallingly. If I had a student who had behaved the way you have, I would have had them removed from my class. You have mocked well-established science, made moronic corrections to perfectly correct examples, and then accused me of being foolish for not making the corrections you had just painstakingly removed. "

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BTW -that rant reminded me of a science prof I once had. In the midst of one his lectures he noticed some students in the upper level of the lecture room were reading the newspaper. (I wasn't one of them -- I swear.) He then stopped abruptly and lit right into them. He explained that his class was not for reading the newspaper, or eating, or talking to friends. They were there to learn, and they shouldn't even bother showing up if they weren't prepared to do so! Then --(this part still kills me)-- without as much as fanfare, he stopped, gave a look, cleared his throat, and with a 'now where were? resumed his lecture. The juxtapoz between screaming at the students, and calmly collecting himself to continue the lecture was a thing of beauty. 'Now where were we'? Hee hee hee.

@MI Dawn - an interesting case study that details why anti-vax individuals are able to hold to such misguided & mis-informed opinions....we find an individual that has only the most tenuous grasp on the Scientific Method, almost no understanding of basic biology, and certainly no understanding or education around statistical models or statistics in general.

Because of this gross ignorance, these individuals are able to hold beliefs that no rational or educated person would - since they lack the education or understanding necessary to hold those beliefs into the light & see where they are mistaken.

Using this ignorance as a weapon, these groups are able to convince the gullible and uneducated (their target audience) that their positions are in fact "true" regardless of the amount of evidence presented to the contrary (like trying to convince someone that the world is round, only to have them insist that because they can't see its "roundness" that the world most certainly is flat).

Pretty much sums up why these people can continue to believe what they believe & no amount of evidence will ever convince them that they are wrong (because they are too ignorant & proud of it, to ever change).

Lawrence mentions a few important things.
Over the years I've had to explain scientific findings to people who weren't really well-educated in that area ( work related / friends, family etc- mostly business people).

Anecdotes may be useful in initiating research ( e.g. a few doctors notice that a new drug has side effects that are useful in treating conditions other than that for which it was designed)- this would lead to larger studies. HOWEVER the anecdotal 'evidence' cited by the anti-vaccine movement is different from that:
these aren't just random events that pop up in a group of doctors' offices.

In the 1990s, AJW took on subjects who came from a parents' group who had ideas of their own and already had a legal rep. Similarly internet surveys involving self-selection and self-diagnosis.

Commenters on sites like JABS, AoA, TMR, AI etc were already searching out like-minded parents- notice how the internet's rise enabled them to get together.

In other words, these groups are united by external factors, like a belief system, an axe to grind and lawyers.

Research would ideally predict events in populations and seeks out samples that are random and representative of the whole population. So if we are interested in ALL children's reactions to vaccines ( large population) looking at ALL children in one particular place, say, Denmark, is a better way to approach and estimate the reality of the larger population ( ALL) than looking at 12 children who were not selected at random ( even if it WERE 12 children who were random in a large hospital, it wouldn't tell us much/ -btw- the Danish study is not the only large study).

So groups like AoA want to 'stack the deck' and prefer NOT to look at large studies AND try to find ways to get their readers' to dismiss them and instead FOCUS on stories( anecdotes). They 'load the dice' by presenting highly emotional stories and also over-estimate how many people are included in their group of believers. They set up SEVERAL groups wherein the same people are represented several times ( see AoA, SafeMInds, the Canary Party,TMR). They speak about 'thousands' of vaccine injuries.

Any source that investigates large numbers is automatically reduced to being part of a conspiracy to "hide the truth" and is dismissed. They also strectch weakly related studies to support their ideas. Yet the anti-vaxxers can show NO large studies that support their claims. I wonder why that is?

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 28 Dec 2013 #permalink

Sigh, not SH Lee's nonsense again. At least his Pink avatar seems to be gone for good.

Hilariously, both Mike Adams and AoA are crowing about fraud in research for an hiv/aids vaccine.
I guess that that proves that ALL vaccines are based on fraud.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 28 Dec 2013 #permalink

@Greg #376:

Get a grip Kreb! Seriously — who created this hierarchy and what are the criteria for their rankings[?]

If you had looked at Krebiozen's comment #360, you would have seen underlined blue text. That underlined blue text is a hyperlink. If you click on it you will go to the Wikipedia article on the hierarchy of evidence.
In answer to your question re criteria, the article links through to Qualification of Evidence on the article about Evidence based medicine. The money quote:

the strongest evidence for therapeutic interventions is provided by systematic review of randomized, triple-blind, placebo-controlled trials with allocation concealment and complete follow-up involving a homogeneous patient population and medical condition. In contrast. patient testimonials, case reports, and even expert opinion...have little value as proof because of the placebo effect, the biases inherent in observation and reporting of cases, difficulties in ascertaining who is an expert and more.

I hope that answers that.

mroses8465 nailed it when s/he argued that we simply cannot ignore the anecdotal evidence of vaccine harms, based on studies done on an extremely small sample of the population and with inherent design limitations.

Excuse me? Excuse me? You don't have a clue about statistics, do you? If your sample is properly representative and large enough (e.g. the Madsen study you dismally failed to discredit), then the data gleaned from it can be extrapolated to a huge population. Oh, and please list those "inherent design limitations". Otherwise you're just FUDding around.

[W]henever anecdotal evidence is in conflict with the scientific evidence a plausible explanation or resolution is needed.

And as I pointed out, there is anecdotal evidence of bigfoot and ghosts. As to vaccines, we have a plausible explanation: random chance and cognitive biases including selective editing of memories.
The fact that you don't like the answers science has given you does not give you the right to try and handwave it away.

By Julian Frost (not verified) on 28 Dec 2013 #permalink

Greg,

Get a grip Kreb! Seriously — who created this hierarchy and what are the criteria for their rankings.

Really, it is this sort of comment that makes me wonder if you are just pretending to be dumb for some perverse reason. If you don't understand why a controlled randomized clinical trial of thousands of people gives us a lot more useful information than any number of random anecdotes, I don't know where to start explaining it.

Seriously — maybe RCTs are more reliable, but are they more predictive.

Yes of course they are! If one person, or even a hundred, reports getting sick after Gardasil, for example, we have no way of knowing if it was the vaccine that made them sick or if it was something else. If we take a large group of women, randomly assign them to two groups, one of which gets the vaccine and the other gets a placebo, and the same number of women report getting sick in each group, we can be sure that the Gardasil isn't making people sick, within the limits of the statistical power of the study, which largely depends on the size of the sample.

See for example PMID: 23027469 which is a cohort study, not as powerful as an RCT, but much more predictive than case studies (anecdotes). They studied 186,629 women who received at least 1 dose of Gardasil and compared possible reactions on the same day, within 14 days and within 60 days of vaccination to a time period distant from the date of vaccination. They found no difference. Yet there are still those claiming that their anecdotal evidence trumps large studies like this.

Let’s say we conduct a well controlled clinical trial on a drug, and it’s indeed determined to be safe. Yet, when we test the drug in the general population, we find men who are of sub-Sahara African descent, between the ages of 25-27, with high blood pressure, who are underweight, smoke, and divorced suffer serious adverse reactions from the drug. Further Kreb, when we reexamine the sample from our clinical trial, we find that indeed there were no men of sub-Sahara African descent, between the ages of 25-27, with high blood pressure, and who were underweight, smoked, and divorced.

Then it wasn't a well-designed clinical trial by definition. The sample used in an RCT is supposed to be representative of the population it is taken from; that's the whole point of a sample. You can't claim that RCTs don't work because people might carry them out very poorly. I don't think you understand what 'sample' means in this context.

It is true that very rare side effects may not show up in RCTs because of practical sample size constraints, and only show up later in post marketing surveillance. But you aren't claiming a rare reaction to vaccines, are you? You are claiming that "vaccines are causing the vast majority, definitely over 90%, of autistic cases that we are seeing", i.e. that autism is ten times more common in the vaccinated than in the unvaccinated.

Get the picture Kreb? Although clinical trials may produce more reliable results than anecdotal evidence, their design constraints will always curtail their predictive value. Anecdotal evidence, on the other hand, taps into reality at large and is not hampered in this way.

That's nonsense. A well-designed double blind RCT takes all your criticisms into account. That's one of the beautiful things about it. I'm amazed and amused that instead of retreating in embarrassment at mrose8465's appalling blunders, you are still trying to justify them.

Anecdotal evidence suffers from the same shortcomings that RCTs do, but is also severely hampered in numerous ways that RCTs are not. An anecdote is essentially a sample with a size of one, with no statistical power to tell us anything meaningful at all. Repeated anecdotal accounts can lead to a hypothesis that can be tested using methods above them in the hierarchy. Often they are found to be wrong.

As an interesting example, 30-40 years ago a number of doctors came to believe renal dialysis had beneficial effects on schizophrenics. This was based on a number of anecdotal reports of schizophrenic improving after renal dialysis. Further research, including double blind RCTs failed to find any effects. The anecdotal evidence was wrong, as it very often is.

And again Kreb, look at the vaccine-autism studies that have been done to date, and tell us if they do not suffer design limitations. Let me ask you more pointedly; other than studies looking into thimerosal, MMR, and one study on antigen, what other studies are there?

What design limitations? What other studies do we need and why? We know beyond any reasonable doubt that thimerosal, MMR and antigen exposure have no effect on autism incidence, and that those making those claims were wrong. What reason do we have to believe that other vaccines or vaccine ingredients cause autism? I don't see any evidence that vaccines cause autism, and a lot of evidence that points elsewhere. Why waste yet more time and money on this red herring?

Kreb, mroses8465 nailed it when s/he argued that we simply cannot ignore the anecdotal evidence of vaccine harms, based on studies done on an extremely small sample of the population and with inherent design limitations.

Every child born in Denmark over a 7 year period, for example, is not "an extremely small sample of the population", and what "inherent design limitations" are you referring to? Don't you realize that anecdotal evidence provides the smallest sample size possible? Would you better be able to decide whether a coin was fixed to come up heads based on 1 toss, or on 100 tosses? Isn't it obvious that what you and mrose8465 suggest is ludicrous?

Further, I added then whenever anecdotal evidence is in conflict with the scientific evidence a plausible explanation or resolution is needed.

We have very plausible explanations for the anecdotal evidence you are referring to. We also have good evidence to support these explanations. I know you keep claiming that we don't, but you are very clearly wrong.

You accused me of being a pseudo-scientist?

The cap fits, does it not? You are the one trying to claim that a well established scientific axiom is bogus.

Actually I believe that the real pseudo-scientists are those who accept either the anecdotal evidence or the scientific evidence without seeking this resolution. In regards to vaccines and their adverse events, sadly, there are pseudo-scientists on both sides — anti-vaxxers as well as pro-vaxxers.

But we have a resolution. Widened diagnostic criteria, greater awareness and diagnostic substitution certainly explain most if not all the increase in autism diagnoses. Coincidence and cognitive biases explain parental evidence, especially when we have video evidence that shows a child displayed autistic behaviors before vaccination contrary to parental claims.

Numerous scientific studies support a genetic susceptibility, and point to autism beginning before birth. I see a whole raft of signposts pointing in one direction, and a few people like you who simply refuse to see these, and insist on the vaccine-autism link in the face of overwhelming evidence for reasons I truly don't understand.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 28 Dec 2013 #permalink

That’s just because nobody says “Cub fan.”

Says the person who obviously doesn't live with one.

Greg, I just took a closer look at your comments. Despite Krebiozen, Helianthus and me dismantling your comment #342, you repeated yourself at #376. You are arguing by assertion. Worse, you are using the very arguments that were already refuted.
OccamsLaser said in #274 that you are too incompetent to recognise your own incompetence. I wholeheartedly agree.

By Julian Frost (not verified) on 28 Dec 2013 #permalink

I believe that the vaccines-autism belief is bound up with stigma in the following way:

people attribute causality both internally or externally- if you ask a person why s/he failed/ passed an exam, you'll get a variety of answers ( ability, effort, task difficulty, luck), singly and in combination; similarly illnesses/ conditions can be attributed to various factors- internal/ external, controllable/ uncontrollable, etc.

Some people may look at heredity as a factor as a black mark against them- they have tainted genes**- an imperfection- which may also reflect upon their own abilities. Other person-related factors like age, weight, occupation ( see Baron-Cohen), area of residence also may carry a lesser stigma

Thus looking for external causes like vaccines shifts the blame to others- unseen, malevolent, corporative/medical greed- and also makes a good story which garners *sympathy* for them. Vaccines and those who create, administer and support them- are all external factors- where the problem lies.

Altho' I'm not a 'believer' in object relations theory ( Melanie Klein) this sounds a lot like it: cast out the bad, incorporate the good- not for developong personality but for forming hypotheses about how self-image- and the world- works.

** altho' in reality *de novo* mutation is important

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 28 Dec 2013 #permalink
S/he got the hierarchy of evidence completely upside down, putting anecdotal evidence above RCTs which is mind-numbingly wrong. What kind of person could so fundamentally misunderstand this?

Get a grip Kreb! Seriously — who created this hierarchy and what are the criteria for their rankings. Seriously — maybe RCTs are more reliable, but are they more predictive.

Absolutely - RCTs are valued in the hierarchy of evidence above anecdotal evidence because their predictive value is so much higher.

Predictive value is not a measurement of "makes lots of predictions"; if it was, we'd be constantly praising the predictive value of Ouija boards and tabloid psychics. Predictive value comes from making predictions that, as much as possible, avoid false negatives and false positives - and the reason anecdotal evidence is ranked so low on the hierarchy is because, unlike RCTs, anecdotal evidence does absolutely nothing to eliminate false positives.

Let's say we conduct a well controlled clinical trial on a drug, and it's indeed determined to be safe. Yet, when we test the drug in the general population, we find men who are of sub-Sahara African descent, between the ages of 25-27, with high blood pressure, who are underweight, smoke, and divorced suffer serious adverse reactions from the drug. Further Kreb, when we reexamine the sample from our clinical trial, we find that indeed there were no men of sub-Sahara African descent, between the ages of 25-27, with high blood pressure, and who were underweight, smoked, and divorced.

We could, indeed, construct a hypothetical situation in which that happened, but then again, we can construct a hypothetical situation in which a ten-member family each got one ticket for a lottery in which the chance of winning was 1 in 1,000,000,000, and each member of that family happened by chance to get a winning ticket. Unrealistic hypothetical situations tend not to tell us very much about reality. We could consider a hypothetical situation in which a Ouija board correctly predicts the winner of every race at a particular racetrack on a given day, but would even the fiercest advocate of anecdotal evidence think we have thus proven Ouija boards to have great predictive value?

In this particular hypothetical situation, it's not even clear that "the anecdotal approach" succeeded as well as we're supposed to think it did. We're supposed to think that anecdotal evidence correctly determined that, for men of sub-Sahara African descent, between the ages of 25-27, with high blood pressure, and who were underweight, smoked, and divorced, this drug poses a high risk of a serious side effect - and that anecdotal evidence is better than RCTs, because anecdotal evidence determined it when RCTs didn't.

Yet everything hinges on that "correctly". What if the fact that the men were divorced had nothing to do with how they reacted to the drug? (We could have easily seen a false positive connection to divorced status, for example, if it happens that the kind of men who develop high blood pressure while still in their mid-20s are likelier than other men to get married and divorced by that age.) Anecdotal evidence would tell men of sub-Sahara African descent, between the ages of 25-27, with high blood pressure, and who were underweight, and smoked, but who were not divorced, "Hey, you should be fine with this drug! Anecdotal evidence says it's being a man of sub-Saharan African descent between the ages of 25-27 with high blood pressure who's underweight and smokes and who's divorced that poses a risk - if you're single, or happily married, you're not at risk!" But that would be wrong, if the connection between divorced status and the side effect of the drug was illusory. Unless every single one of those criteria has an actual role in the mechanism by which the serious side effect actually occurs, or a connection to some trait that has such a role, then "the anecdotal approach" has failed - it's telling people who aren't at risk that they are, or people who are at risk that they're not.

Anecdotal evidence has its place. It allows us to generate hypotheses that can then be tested by more reliable methods. But "the anecdotal approach" is never going to be our best tool for getting at the truth, because pursuing the truth absolutely requires recognizing one's own errors - saying "Well, this looked to be very plausible, but it doesn't hold up when you examine it more closely, so I guess it's not true after all". The anecdotal approach is to say "Do we think we see a connection? Then there is a connection. No other possibilities. No ifs, ands or buts. There must be a connection, because if we think we see something, we could not possibly be wrong about it."

Of course, there are people with severe personality disorders, who cannot face the idea that they might ever be wrong, and who will twist facts and logic into the most unbelievable shapes, just so that they never have to admit being wrong even in the most understandable circumstances. I suppose those people, as deeply damaged as they are, would certainly prefer the anecdotal approach, and certainly would argue fervently for nonsensical hierarchies of evidence where anecdotal evidence rules all.

By Antaeus Feldspar (not verified) on 28 Dec 2013 #permalink

In the 1990s, AJW took on subjects who came from a parents’ group who had ideas of their own and already had a legal rep. Similarly internet surveys involving self-selection and self-diagnosis.
Commenters on sites like JABS, AoA, TMR, AI etc were already searching out like-minded parents- notice how the internet’s rise enabled them to get together.
In other words, these groups are united by external factors, like a belief system, an axe to grind and lawyers.

...and then there is the methodology of science, with the possibility of learning something new and breaking outside one's solipsistic bubble of self-confirming beliefs. I know which I prefer.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 28 Dec 2013 #permalink

While reviewing the earlier record on Lee, I was reminded that he had also dipped his toes into federal litigation. As by HDB, he lost. Twice.

But I'm further reminded that it's a bit tricky to try to argue simultaneously against HPV vaccination on the basis of Lee's output and in favor of status quo screening, as the whole idea behind suing over the desired reclassification of LoTemp was Lee's rejection of the status quo.

^ "As noted by"

I don’t see any evidence that vaccines cause autism, and a lot of evidence that points elsewhere. Why waste yet more time and money on this red herring?

Moreover, T&S lie not too far from Lee. Vaccines potentiated with aluminum have been around for 70 years, which is more than enough time to pick up a signal. I was going over this last night (and Hogenasch has published with Hem), and as I had just had a rescue spayed and vaccinated, I figured I might as well follow down the injection-site sarcoma data.

This suggestion of a signal provoked immediate investigation, which is ongoing. When the purportedly overwhelming signals advanced by the likes of Gerg ("over 90% of autistic cases," or at least 1% of children) fail to turn up, suddenly the problem is instead that one is failing to find obscure, imaginary populations of sub-Saharan divorcés.

Denice,

Some people may look at heredity as a factor as a black mark against them- they have tainted genes**- an imperfection- which may also reflect upon their own abilities.

That whole purity and pollution thing does seem to affect many people at a deep emotional level. I'm thinking not only of the obvious historical examples of racial purity (which we now know is a fiction) leading large numbers of people to mass insanity (not just Nazis, but Rwanda, Kosovo and many others), but also the notions of toxins that are so important in CAM circles.

All those desperate attempts to detoxify, whether by chelation, eating nothing but raw juices, coffee enemas and/or various other methods, seem to me to be functionally identical to efforts of the religious to restore ritual purity. I'm sure all these things run on the same brain circuitry.

I think a great deal also depends on what metaphors people use to understand things. For example, I think scientists tend to think of the human body as a very complex machine, that can go wrong in various ways, and eventually wears out, despite some self-repairing mechanisms. The CAMster, in contrast, often has the idea that if we only eat pure, nutritious foods, breath clean air, and think pure and positive thoughts*, illness will never trouble us. A genetic defect may seem like a toxin that can never be removed.

I have said before that I think they see the human body that we chuck things (food, drink etc.) into ("you are what you eat"), and that overflows as urine, instead of as a collection of very efficient homeostatic mechanisms. A few years ago I had an argument with a CAMster who insisted that blood and urine are practically identical. I had to explain that blood contains red and white cells, protein and glucose, whereas healthy urine does not (very little anyway), and that the kidneys actively excrete some substances and retain others, so the concentrations of practically anything you care to mention are different. I happen to know this for certain, having measured these concentrations many times.

The same chap also claimed that salivary pH is a useful measure of blood pH, whereas it is actually a moderately good measure of bacterial activity in the mouth, so there probably is some correlation with health, but it isn't going to replace arterial blood pH any time soon.

There's also the "terrain is everything" refrain of the anti-germ theorists, who claims that diseases are our bodies desperately trying to detoxify. That reminds me of the Herxheimer effect, which enables CAMsters to claim that if you are getting worse you are really getting better.

Anyway, enough of this speculative musing, I must get some sleep.

* I just started reading a book called 'The Power of Negative Thinking' - I couldn't resist it when I saw the title.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 28 Dec 2013 #permalink

Narad,

When the purportedly overwhelming signals advanced by the likes of Gerg (“over 90% of autistic cases,” or at least 1% of children) fail to turn up, suddenly the problem is instead that one is failing to find obscure, imaginary populations of sub-Saharan divorcés.

Greg believes, it seems, by some phenomenal feat of mental gymnastics, that these tiny subgroups are responsible for tsunamis of autism, ADHD, allergies etc.. Vaccines cause effects so tiny they cannot be detected by numerous large studies, yet so huge they threaten the very future of mankind. Maintaining that level of cognitive dissonance has got to hurt.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 28 Dec 2013 #permalink

a CAMster who insisted that blood and urine are practically identical.
I do not trust this person to make black pudding. OTOH, there are some possibilities for vampirism / fetish fictional cross-overs.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 28 Dec 2013 #permalink

@ Krebiozen:

Sometimes when I read CAMsters I think I'm re-reading Frazer or Campbell- ritual purity, taboo items,
blood, mana, ingesting magical susbstances etc.

re the brain circuitry thing:
did ya see about the sense of being observed/ religious presences and right hemispheric
loci recently? No worry. One of us will find it. Equivalence of sense-of-self area in left or suchlike. I can't search now.

@ HDB:
Ha ha.
About that black pudding ( ugh):
I just ate at a place earlier where black pudding would probably be the most forbidden substance in the universe - a Bangladeshi Halal Kebab Palace with killer curries. They did have goat however. No alcohol but goat.

At any rate, this last soiree nearly brings my holiday festivities to a close. Hurrah. Tuesday night will do it
Hallelujah. I can't wait. Trumped up cheerfulness always almost always makes me morose.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 28 Dec 2013 #permalink

@Kreb

"A well-designed double blind RCT takes all your criticisms into account. That’s one of the beautiful things about it. I’m amazed and amused that instead of retreating in embarrassment at mrose8465′s appalling blunders, you are still trying to justify them."
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Aaarrghhh!!! I don't what is more frustrating Kreb, arguing with you, or my wife, or mother. Hold up -- it has to be my four year old daughter! Yes -- my daughter!

Kreb, let's not talk about pharma's CTs' designs. Your buddy, Goldacre. already hashed out what jokes they are in his Bad Science.

And Kreb, indeed you are showing me to be so correct with my earlier depiction of you guys as only interested in harping on about what evidence is better and hierarchies. Kreb, why does it always have to be about conflict, and not about resolution?

Again Kreb, let me spell things out to you one syllable at a time: The par-ents are claim-ing vac-cines chang-ed their chil-dren, and out-side of call-ing all of them li-ars or lun-atics, we have no ex-plan-a-tion of how this is poss-i-ble, with phar-ma sci-ence say-ing o-ther-wise. There Kreb, I spelled it out.

Now please explain to me how I am anti-science for calling for a resolution. Here again Kreb are our positions:

Kreb: Tell the parents to go screw themselves and stick with pharma's science.

Greg: Go with the scientific motto of 'question, question, and more questions' until we exhaust all options in hopes of coming up with a resolution to the conflict.

Again Kreb, I am the one accused of being anti-science by asking for more science.

Kreb, just curious: For centuries now scientists have been searching for a unifying theory for the four forces that govern the universe, do you think they should give up?

Actually, I don’t think anti-vaxxers really changed the suspected culprit. As far as I can see, vaccine doubters have always maintained vaccines as the culprit. They just have faulted different components of vaccines.

Then "as far as [Greg] can see" is not far enough. The "vaccine doubters" wouldn't have to keep changing their story in any respect if they had actually, at any point, worked out the right answer - as they've claimed to have done at every point. If MMR was the real culprit (and if you don't think MMR is the real culprit yourself, then WTF was all your useless perserveration on the Madsen study, which continues to this day, supposed to be about??) then why are the antivaxxers changing their story to "Oh, no, it's aluminum that does it"?

I don’t think your analogy fits. Here is a better one:
utterly bad analogy snipped

Here's an analogy just as good as Greg's. It's an analogy about Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. Guildenstern says "Rosencrantz, you are an evil guy who's been doing evil things!" Rosencrantz says "Why would you say a thing like that?" Guildenstern says "I'm only saying that because I'm a friendless loser with no education who has nothing better to do than spout off stupid lies against people who, unlike me, have actually done good things with their lives."

Now, in this analogy, Guildenstern represents Greg. Therefore, Greg has admitted to all the things Guildenstern admitted to, right? Like being a friendless loser with no education who has nothing better to do than spout off stupid lies? No, actually. Even though that characterization may be completely true (evidence certainly points in that direction) Greg has not actually ever made a statement to that effect, so any analogy which is dependent upon his having made such a statement is a bad analogy, lacking any force.

Just as Greg's supposedly "better" analogy, since it relies so heavily upon a damning admission "Fred" made in Greg's little fantasy world, an admission that has no correspondence to any element of the real-world situation, is not actually a better analogy at all, but rather what logicians would term a goat-blowingly bad analogy.

By Antaeus Feldspar (not verified) on 28 Dec 2013 #permalink

Anyway, to try to finish draining the inflamed boil that is Gerg's channeling of "mroses8465," there's one item in the JIB paper that I've been wondering about, aside from the obvious ones, such as whether "LoTemp" does the same thing regardless of whose spleen is used:

[T]he physical conditions of these HPV DNA fragments in the final vaccine products have not been characterized. It is not clear if they are in the form of free HPV DNA molecules in the aqueous phase of a suspension, encapsulated inside the VLPs [18,19], reversibly bound tothe insoluble AAHS adjuvant as the VLPs, or irreversibly bound to the mineral aluminum.... This article reports the results of HPV DNA testing performed on 16 samples of Gardasil® – each bearing a different batch lot number received from 9 countries – and shows that the residual HPV L1 gene DNA fragments are probably firmly bound to AAHS nanoparticles.

OK, so he centrifuges out a bunch of 100 microliter Gardasil samples twice, washes, feeds it to proteinase K, rinse, lather, etc. Now, he was starting with 0.5 ml samples, so this is simple enough to repeat.

The ultimate conclusion is that the insoluble portion "presumably" is bound to AAHS "nanoparticles." As already mentioned, the aggregates are about 3 microns. The Gardasil VLPs, per Lee, are 30–50 nm (55 nm from Czechs and tobacco mosaic virus, BTW). The basic AAHS particle size, from memory, is about 50 nm.

Whatever; hell, in JIB, Lee claims that the DNA fragments themselves "exist[] in aggregation." The point is that there's a size boundary. Not only should the "aluminum nanoparticles" be detectable per se, it should be possible to see them.

Greg: Go with the scientific motto of ‘question, question, and more questions’

OK Greg, so propose a study design that would help us answer some of these questions that you still have.

Again Kreb, let me spell things out to you one syllable at a time: The par-ents are claim-ing vac-cines chang-ed their chil-dren, and out-side of call-ing all of them li-ars or lun-atics, we have no ex-plan-a-tion of how this is poss-i-ble, with phar-ma sci-ence say-ing o-ther-wise.

Great, you don't understand syllables, either, Flakey Foont.

Greg @409

why does it always have to be about conflict, and not about resolution?

we have no ex-plan-a-tion of how this is poss-i-ble

We could have a resolution if you would just admit that one explanation is that the parents may be mistaken. Not “all of them li-ars or lun-atics” – just that some are mistaken.

Greg:

I am the one accused of being anti-science by asking for more science

No. You are being described as anti-science for refusing to understand the science that has already been done.

Kreb, let’s not talk about pharma’s CTs’ designs. Your buddy, Goldacre. already hashed out what jokes they are in his Bad Science.

Anybody want to play book cipher?

Anybody want to play book cipher?
Come now, Narad, you can't expect Gerg to know the difference between Goldacre's two books, let alone to have read them. That would involve effort.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 28 Dec 2013 #permalink

I'm working through this piecemeal, sorry.

Kreb, just curious: For centuries now scientists have been searching for a unifying theory for the four forces that govern the universe, do you think they should give up?

I can answer this from my own perspective: Yah, a bunch of them should, particularly the ones who are so wedded to SUSY, string theory, and friends that the failure to make any testable predictions is of no particular consequence, and failure to find a hint of supersymmetry is just because people haven't looked hard enough yet.

Sound familiar?

(^Oh, and you might want to work on your understanding of "centuries," Gerg.)

Greg, December 28, 2013, #409

Kreb, why does it always have to be about conflict, and not about resolution?

The foundational conflict here, the one you have created and maintained, is strictly between your 'druthers about reality, vs reality itself. Kreb and others have given you the benefit of the doubt, acting as if your disconnect from reality is honest, derived from a lack of education. They have spent much time trying to teach you (how) to deal with reality. (Some others have decided that your misrepresentations are not honest or ignorant, but have some darker motive, and have rightly given up on you.)
The only resolution of your conflict with reality will come from you: reality isn't going to budge a micron – reality does not ever adapt to the 'druthers of us mere mortals. The easiest approach (for you) is to just cut it out – stop quixotically trying to impose your 'druthers upon an unyielding reality. This has the added advantage of allowing you to play victim (in typical antivaxxer style), defeated by forces beyond your influence and control. The preferable choice would be to get educated: to learn what Kreb et al are trying to teach you. That may be too difficult for you and doesn't show much promise of emotional or fiscal gain.

The par-ents are claim-ing vac-cines chang-ed their chil-dren, and out-side of call-ing all of them li-ars or lun-atics, we have no ex-plan-a-tion of how this is poss-i-ble [extraneous hyphens in original]

Then you come up with misrepresentations like this, which calls into serious question whether you are honestly ignorant or a blatant liar. We know that you know that most such parents are just untrained observers, and have made partial observations that have allowed the antivax brigade to lead them (for fun or profit) into erroneous conclusions. We know that you know that even qualified observers will observe onset of serious symptom at the same temporal relationships to vaccinations as random onset, showing precious little (if any) chance of a causation. We know that you know that all phenomena you hint at here are well explained. We know that you know that your utterances are false.

By Bill Price (not verified) on 28 Dec 2013 #permalink

(^^ Last correction: SUSY does make predictions. They haven't panned out. Yet, it must be there somewhere.)

@ Krebiozen #405

All those desperate attempts to detoxify, whether by chelation, eating nothing but raw juices, coffee enemas and/or various other methods, seem to me to be functionally identical to efforts of the religious to restore ritual purity.

Indeed, in most religions there are established rituals to purify oneself or, in extreme but not-so-rare cases, to force-purify a not-so-willing poor lost brother or sister in religion.
A good number of these rituals go beyond mere symbolic gestures like prayers and hand-washing. Especially rituals specifically targeting "tainted" people: they have to suffer to become pure again.
A few example which came to my mind
- fasting
- force-feeding of water (fresh or salted) as part of an exorcism, practiced on christian or muslim worshippers
- vomiting is the end part of Navajo purification rituals, according to Tony Hillerman.

See some common pattern? It's all about what goes in or out of our physical body.

You nailed it down: CAMs' purification treatments are not different from religious purification, in purpose and method.
Although the CAMs go further: to my knowledge, religions concern themselves mostly about what happens around your mouth. Most priests would be embarrassed to have worshippers so obsessed with the lower parts of the digestive business.

By Helianthus (not verified) on 28 Dec 2013 #permalink

It is not clear if they are in the form of free HPV DNA molecules in the aqueous phase of a suspension, encapsulated inside the VLPs [18,19], reversibly bound tothe insoluble AAHS adjuvant as the VLPs, or irreversibly bound to the mineral aluminum

Lee's scenario requires a kind of quantum duality on the part of the putative HPV DNA. Some of the time it is bound irreversibly to the AlO particles (allowing it to linger around in the body indefinitely); sometimes the bond is weak and reversible (allowing it to be show up every time he tests for it, or if a vaccinee's health is the issue). It is like a wavicle.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 28 Dec 2013 #permalink

vomiting is the end part of Navajo purification rituals, according to Tony Hillerman

If I recall Weston La Barre correctly, peyotism, in which vomiting is a sign that You're Doing It Wrong, was something of a syncretic latecomer to the Navajo, despite later popularity.

the four forces that govern the universe

OK, there's stupidity, and there's duct tape. What are the other two?

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 28 Dec 2013 #permalink

@Kreb

"Bill with an obvious damaged car claimed, ‘my car was struck by the bumper on Fred’s car.’ Then after an investigation was done, it was determined that there was no mark on Fred’s bumper, so it could not have been the bumper. Then Bill claimed, ‘it was the fender that struck me’. And, after another investigation, it was determined it wasn’t the fender. Then Bill said, ‘it was his side-door that struck me.’ And, yet again, it was determined that it could not have been the side-door. Finally, after all these inquiries, it was determined that Fred’s car did not strike Bill’s car, despite Fred reporting that he was in a collision at an intersection at a certain time. This being the same intersection and time that the ‘victim’ claimed. Heck — their immobile vehicles were still there! (Hee hee hee)."

I forgot to add that when Bill looked into things, it turned out that the guy doing the investigation was Fred's best friend that Fred paid to do so. Now isn't that a real kicker, Kreb?

@Orac

(hushed voice)
Orac -- Orac -- Ssshh! I noticed there was an add on this site for Twinrix. Orac, with the likes of Jake snooping around and always wanting to start crap, we need to be more careful. Tell the pharma guys that you will no longer accept their ads. This of course does not prevent them from greasing your palms behind the scenes with random acts of kindness with no expected strings attached -- if you no what I mean -- *wink wink*! Ok -- ok -- Orac, if you must have pharma's ads, balance them with adds for bleach enemas, and chelation treatments' products.

Does anyone know if any work has been done on what percentage of petitioners in product liability and personal injury suits are reckoned to be lying.

I would think the figure is very high.

I seem to recall that in the recent Couric episode (or it may have been elsewhere) a woman said she could not say what happened to her daughter because she had not taken legal advice.

Greg,

Aaarrghhh!!! I don’t what is more frustrating Kreb, arguing with you, or my wife, or mother. Hold up — it has to be my four year old daughter! Yes — my daughter!

She probably has a better grasp of basic logic than you do.

Kreb, let’s not talk about pharma’s CTs’ designs.

You do seem to have some serious problems grasping the fundamentals of RCTs. What you really means is, "let's ignore the large body of evidence that completely contradicts what I already know to be true". Yet you haven't put forward anything resembling an argument for why we should ignore RCTs or the other types of evidence that are better than anecdotes.

Your buddy, Goldacre. already hashed out what jokes they are in his Bad Science.

That's funny, since Goldacre is one of the most vocal proponents of well-designed RCTs around. He regards the systematic review RCTs as the very pinnacle of the evidential hierarchy. His complaints mostly concern negative studies not getting published, and drug companies exaggerating the efficacy of their products. You haven't read 'Bad Science', have you?

And Kreb, indeed you are showing me to be so correct with my earlier depiction of you guys as only interested in harping on about what evidence is better and hierarchies.

Dismissing one of the most important breakthroughs in science as "harping on about what evidence is better" is breathtakingly arrogant. How can we be sure of anything if we can't weigh up evidence?

If we hadn't figured out how to assess evidence, how to produce better evidence, and how to determine which anecdotal observations were correct and which were due to various cognitive biases, we would sill be in the Dark Ages. We would still be burning witches, using bloodletting for every illness, (and treating schizophrenics with renal dialysis). We would accept the reality of alien abduction, flying saucers, telepathy, telekinesis, Bigfoot and lake monsters, ghosts, communication with the dead, faith healing, therapeutic tough. All of these things have far more convincing anecdotal evidence for them than vaccines causing autism.

Kreb, why does it always have to be about conflict, and not about resolution?

You tell me! You're the one who refuses to accept the facts right in front of his face. You are the one who is insisting on conflict when doctors and scientists around the world have accepted the evidence and moved on.

Again Kreb, let me spell things out to you one syllable at a time: The par-ents are claim-ing vac-cines chang-ed their chil-dren, and out-side of call-ing all of them li-ars or lun-atics, we have no ex-plan-a-tion of how this is poss-i-ble, with phar-ma sci-ence say-ing o-ther-wise. There Kreb, I spelled it out.

I don't think "spelling things out" means what you think it means.

I'm going to repeat something I wrote earlier about Gardasil, to see if you can understand it.

The death rate for females at the usual age they are vaccinated with Gardasil is about 20 per 100,000 per year (according to the CDC). This means that if 1 million females were vaccinated with Gardasil during the course of 1 year we would expect to see 200 deaths that had nothing at all to do with Gardasil. The chances of one of these deaths happening within 5 days after vaccination is about 200 times 1 in 73 (365/5) i.e. 2.7. So among this sample of a million females, we would expect to see 3 deaths during the 5 days following vaccination by chance alone.

Since severe illnesses are much more common than death in this age group, we would expect to see a lot more severe illnesses shortly after Gardasil again by chance alone. In fact we know from several very large studies that serious adverse events are no more common after Gardasil than chance would dictate.

Say a teenage girl is vaccinated with Gardasil and two days later she dies or gets very sick. Perhaps she is an overweight smoker on the oral contraceptive pill, and she suffered a thrombosis, or she has a serious undiagnosed heart condition. Sadly teenage girls do sometimes die unexpectedly. It is quite understandable that her parents might make a connection between the vaccination and their daughter's death or illness. Yet they would be wrong, the association is merely a coincidence. Would it be appropriate to respect the parents' beliefs, accept that the Gardasil had caused their daughter's death or illness? Even though we know that it isn't true?

Now please explain to me how I am anti-science for calling for a resolution. Here again Kreb are our positions:

For the umpteenth time, we have a resolution. There is no conflict. How about yet another example you won't understand?

In 1974 a doctor in the UK published a paper about an association he had noticed between the whole cell pertussis vaccine and severe neurological complications. This led to a national panic, and pertussis vaccine uptake fell to an all-time low. As a result there were several large outbreaks of whooping cough, one of which involved my son, who couldn't be vaccinated for medical reasons. He spent weeks in the hospital, but he was lucky; estimates vary, but at least 30 other children died. The Association of Parents of Vaccine-Damaged Children campaigned for compensation, and 638 families were compensated for the encephalopathy caused to their children by this vaccine.

However, when large numbers of cases were examined carefully, the association was found to be due to post-hoc errors. Some cases were due to Dravet Syndrome, symptoms of which can be triggered earlier than usual by whole cell pertussis vaccination, though this does not affect their clinical outcome.

This study looked at more than a million children, and proved beyond any reasonable doubt that the whole cell pertussis vaccine was not responsible for the cases of encephalopathy that had previously been blamed on it:

Four-hundred fifty-two cases were identified. Cases were no more likely than controls to have received either vaccine during the 90 days before disease onset.

If we had followed your logic, we would still be researching that vaccine, to try to resolve the 'conflict' between the reports of those 638 children's parents and doctors and further studies of the vaccine. It wouldn't surprise me if you believe that the whole cell pertussis vaccine really was responsible for those cases of encephalopathy, despite the evidence to the contrary.

Kreb: Tell the parents to go screw themselves and stick with pharma’s science.

Firstly, I wouldn't tell parents to "go screw themselves", I think all parents who require additional help with their children should be given that help, regardless of the cause. Secondly, several of the studies that exonerate vaccines are independent, and are not "pharma' science" at all; for example the pertussis vaccine study I linked to above was funded by the American Association of Health Plans as part of the CDC Vaccine Safety Datalink Project. The AAAHP is motivated to keep their clients healthy, and falsely exonerating a vaccine would cost them a lot of money.

Greg: Go with the scientific motto of ‘question, question, and more questions’ until we exhaust all options in hopes of coming up with a resolution to the conflict.

More like fixate on a single prior belief, and dismiss any evidence that contradicts it. That's the antithesis of science.

Again Kreb, I am the one accused of being anti-science by asking for more science.

What's the point of doing more science when you won't accept the existing science because it doesn't support your delusional beliefs? That's anti-science by definition.

Kreb, just curious: For centuries now scientists have been searching for a unifying theory for the four forces that govern the universe, do you think they should give up?

You come up with the most extraordinarily asinine analogies and examples. How is this problem in any way analogous to the vaccine-autism question? In the case of physics, repeated observations have confirmed that the equations that describe the various fields are correct. As I understand it there is no real reason there should be a unified field theory at all, but physicists continue to pursue it because a) it would be elegant and b) the discoverer would no doubt get a Nobel prize.

In the case of vaccines and autism, repeated observations have failed to find any evidence at all to support your claims. Coincidence and cognitive biases explain the observations you claim are "unresolved".

Do you think we should continue looking for an explanation for the perturbations in Mercury's orbit, despite Einstein's theories explaining them perfectly? Just curious.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 29 Dec 2013 #permalink

So, in Gerg's world - all of those men and women who were found guilty of crimes (and in some cases, sentenced to death) because of eye-witness testimony, but were later exonerated by Science....should instead still be rotting in prison (or put to death) because eye-witness testimony is "always" 100% accurate?

By itself, it shows just how delusional he is (on top of everything else he's said in the past).

Indeed, I would say the "conflict" Gerg perceives as neverending stems pretty directly from a delusion he possesses - did I say "possesses"? "Clings to with the desperation of a drowning man" might be more accurate. The delusion can be stated as such:

Scientific truth must come from observations that are visible to the naked eye, and comprehensible to a high-school dropout. If any of the answers I want require actual work to understand, the universe has defaulted on its obligations to me.

Needless to say, the universe doesn't give a flying fig what Gerg wants. He goes back and forth between pretending that what little is within his intellectual grasp is all there is, and taking out his frustrations on those who can actually understand things he doesn't.

He might actually be less frustrated if he could actually apply himself to learning the things he does not know - the way the people whom he envies do. But he can't do that, because it would be an implicit admission that his delusions of entitlement, that the universe should be delivering all the things he wants on a platter, are just delusions.

By Antaeus Feldspar (not verified) on 29 Dec 2013 #permalink

herr doktor bimler - According to Doctor Science ("he knows more than you do!"), the most powerful of the fundamental forces is the force of habit.

By Mephistopheles… (not verified) on 29 Dec 2013 #permalink

@ herr doktor bimler:

"What are the other two?"
Free association is definitely the third one.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 29 Dec 2013 #permalink

I forgot to add that when Bill looked into things, it turned out that the guy doing the investigation was Fred’s best friend that Fred paid to do so. Now isn’t that a real kicker, Kreb?

Like Andrew Wakefield investigating children with autism?

As I understand it there is no real reason there should be a unified field theory at all, but physicists continue to pursue it because a) it would be elegant and b) the discoverer would no doubt get a Nobel prize.

QFT's vacuum isn't diffeomorphism invariant, and GR's gravitational field is a dynamical field, so QM says that it has to be quantized. Something's gotta give.

Oh, wow, I blew the link above. Let's just say that I have Shelly Manne's "Li'l Abner" on vinyl and forget about it.

Greg,
“Bill claimed, ‘my car was struck by the bumper on Fred’s car.’ Then after an investigation was done, it was determined that the damage to Bill's car was consistent with normal wear and tear, and that Bill's car was so small and made of such soft material that it was extremely unlikely it could have damaged Bill's car."
FTFY

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 29 Dec 2013 #permalink

What’s the point of doing more science when you won’t accept the existing science because it doesn’t support your delusional beliefs? That’s anti-science by definition.

Man prefers to believe what he prefers to be true. ~ Francis Bacon

Does anyone know if any work has been done on what percentage of petitioners in product liability and personal injury suits are reckoned to be lying.

I don't know about lying per se, but in 2005, in the U.S., about 80.4% of nonasbestos product-liability suits failed.

Seriously. Easier unified field theory: 'the universe is all in your minds'. Prize, please.
Oh wait. It's already been done.

In other anti-vaccine news:
one of Orac's most fawning and perfected minions, Larry, has a discussion about the merits of the Geiers' work with Jakey ( @ Autism Investigated) who continues to insult those** without the "background in medicine and biology" ( paraphrase- I don't want to go back for the exact quote- spare me) to understand Mark and David's science- also there are legal issues swarming.

** Mssrs Blaxill and 'Sullivan'

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 29 Dec 2013 #permalink

Or perhaps:
“Bill claimed, ‘my car was struck by the bumper on Fred’s car.’ An investigation found a video that showed the 'damage' to Bill's car was there before the claimed collision, and was probably the result of one of the workers in the factory where the car was assembled making some unauthorized changes to the design."

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 29 Dec 2013 #permalink

So if a stupid person has a habit of using duct tape while free associating, are the forces unified?

Like Andrew Wakefield investigating children with autism?

Not to mention the SaneVax / Sin Hang Lee conflict of interest, in which they benefit from a higher incidence of HPV because they seek a profit stream from selling a test for it. Hence the episode when they forgot their anti-vaccine focus and tried to drive a rival, non-vaccine-related test out of business.

Beam, meet eye... eye, meet beam... but I see you're already acquainted.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 29 Dec 2013 #permalink

Seriously. Easier unified field theory: ‘the universe is all in your minds’. Prize, please.
Oh wait. It’s already been done.

But then your "mind" put all this stuff there.

Is this the truth?

@post #426
Ooops...'if you (know) what I mean'

@Kreb, post#428

Definitely my daughter!

I am done for now arguing with you. If you feel a few studies by vested interests on thimerosal, MMR, and one on antigens, effectively settles the biggest controversy in modern day medicine, then that's just your prerogative. Without meaning to insult you though, I honestly must say that I feel sorry for you. You're so very intelligent, yet so very wrong.

Also, what baffles me about you is this: It's obvious that you are passionate about science, yet you have sold-out your profession. I sense guilt, and perhaps a little shame, from the other VCADODers here who have done the same -- yet you seem to hide this remorse so well! It's really amazing.

Anyway, I must bid you guys adieu for now while I attend to other matters. Sadly, another year is closing in which we witnessed 40,000 plus severely maimed kids in just the US alone, from the greatest man-made disaster of our time. Even more sad, another year is likely to commence with the disaster running unabated, as we continue to turn our backs to it.

Happy New Year!

Anyway, to try to finish draining the inflamed boil that is Gerg’s channeling of “mroses8465,” there’s one item in the JIB paper that I’ve been wondering about

The writing of the paper is so sloppy that I wonder about the peer reviewing. Page 86 features three consecutive paragraphs explaining the same thing in slightly different words about centrifuging and protease digestion.

I just noticed this press release from Dr Lee in August:
http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20130805006118/en/Milford-Hospita…
in which he announces the resumption of his Lyme-disease-detection scam "at the Milford Hospital-affiliated Milford Medical Laboratory [...] as soon as certain administrative arrangements are completed".

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 29 Dec 2013 #permalink

Sadly, another year is closing in which we witnessed 40,000 plus severely maimed kids in just the US alone

Since it's impossible that someone of Gerg's insight could still not understand the difference between incidence and prevalence, I can only take it that he just asserted that autism is present at birth.

@ Denice Walter: I saw that post on Jake's blog where he claims that the Geiers have the "expertise" to analyze data:

"Summaries by bloggers who, like Mark Blaxill, do not have the biological science and medical training of Dr. Mark and David Geier and who agree with Blaxill’s remarks about the Geiers’ work. IOW, not very good summaries of the Geiers at all."

Jake, when he was contributing to AoA, posted 92 articles. He tried only one time to analyze prevalence rates of ASDs in California after the removal of Thimerosal from childhood vaccines. It was a disaster:

http://www.ageofautism.com/2010/03/the-fallacy-of-thimerosal-removal-au…

Here's my attempt at the Bill and Fred analogy:

Bill reaches into his pocket where he is sure there was a $20, and finds there isn't one. Just a few minutes earlier (or maybe an hour, or several hours, or perhaps a few days) Bill remembers that Fred passed by, and politely asked if Bill could let him pass.

Bill, being a disturbed individual, immediately decides there is no other possible explanation for the absence of a $20 in his pocket, except for Fred being a vile thief who stole the $20. Bill cannot even entertain the idea that the $20 might have slipped out of his pocket while he was walking, or that he might have forgotten to put that $20 in his pocket when he left the house - even though these are obviously legitimate possibilities, they are not possibilities that Bill wants, because then he doesn't have someone else to blame and perhaps to shake a replacement $20 from. So Bill immediately decides that all possibilities that don't involve Fred being a thief have been utterly debunked and proven false, by the logic of hey look over there at that big distracting thing!!

Bill grabs the nearest cop and lies to him. "He stole a $20 from me, Officer! I saw him do it! I saw him reach into my pocket, pull out my $20, and tuck it into his own pants pocket!" Like we said, that's a lie. Bill did not see Fred with any money at all; he just jumped to a conclusion based solely on the fact that he noticed his $20 wasn't where he thought it should be, and his noticing of that fact happened after he moved aside for Fred.

But Fred and the cop are both far more obliging than they have any obligation to be, so Fred turns out his pants pockets under the cop's careful observation. "Did I say pants pocket?" Bill says. "Obviously, it was his shirt pocket. Yes, definitely his shirt pocket, and you shouldn't conclude from me changing my mind that I'm lying, saying I saw something when the truth is that I only guessed at it."

So Fred proves that nothing is in his shirt pocket, either. Bill's story now become that Fred rolled the $20 up and tucked it under his watchband (and Bill is still lying, claiming he saw this happen when he did not.) The watchband is now examined, and of course, the $20 isn't there either - so Bill now asserts that he watched Fred stick the $20 in his shoe, even though that wasn't what he claimed to have seen before.

By the time Bill has gone through six different contradictory versions of his supposed "eyewitness testimony" and Fred has effectively been strip-searched, the cop is starting to think that maybe Bill is an emotionally disturbed person, the kind who is so insistent that someone else must be to blame for whatever happens that he doesn't like that he will lie, and say "I witnessed my pocket being picked!" when the truth is, the $20 might well never have been in Bill's pocket at all. At the first indication the cop gives that he thinks Fred might be falsely accused by Bill, Bill expands the range of people he's falsely blaming for his problems. "You corrupt cop! Obviously, you must be in cahoots with this thief! There is no more reasonable explanation, like me being wrong - that could never happen!!"

By Antaeus Feldspar (not verified) on 29 Dec 2013 #permalink

@lilady - actually, given the actions that removed Dr. Geier's medical license (and the other one never had a license or medical training, at all) - Jake's statement really doesn't make a whole lot of sense.

The writing of the paper is so sloppy that I wonder about the peer reviewing.

Want a double dose of SCIRP hilarity? The "special issue" (the date of which the press release manages to get wrong) is here.

@lilady

I was interested in Jake's comment in the post that you linked:

That is the final and main problem I found with this paper, which has been used to support the untrue claim that autism rates have continued to go up.

There you go: all of the angst at AoA is misplaced, because, as Jake indicated almost four years ago, it's "untrue" that "autism rates have continued to go up."

Narad's first link leads to Gene-Eden-VIR and its makers, who seem to be working the same side of the street as SaneVax and Sin Hang Lee. Except PolyDNA has its own unique scientific method based on Computer Intuition, which puts them one step ahead.

polyDNA is a biotechnology company that develops dietary supplements using the unique scientific method developed by Dr. Hanan Polansky, which is based on Computer Intuition.

In addition to his unique scientific method, Dr. Polansky published the highly acclaimed scientific discovery, called Microcompetition with Foreign DNA. The discovery explains how foreign DNA fragments, and specifically, DNA of latent viruses, cause most major diseases.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 29 Dec 2013 #permalink

Greg,
Please read 'Bad Science', or get hold of an audio book copy if that's too difficult for you. I just dug out my copy, and part of the introduction might have been written with you in mind:

At the time of C.P. Snow’s famous lecture on the ‘Two Cultures’ of science and the humanities half a century ago, arts graduates simply ignored us. Today, scientists and doctors find themselves outnumbered and outgunned by vast armies of individuals who feel entitled to pass judgement on matters of evidence—an admirable aspiration—without troubling themselves to obtain a basic understanding of the issues.

At school you were taught about chemicals in test tubes, equations to describe motion, and maybe something on photosynthesis—about which more later—but in all likelihood you were taught nothing about death, risk, statistics, and the science of what will kill or cure you. The hole in our culture is gaping: evidence-based medicine, the ultimate applied science, contains some of the cleverest ideas from the past two centuries, it has saved millions of lives, but there has never once been a single exhibit on the subject in London’s Science Museum.

This is not for a lack of interest. We are obsessed with health—half of all science stories in the media are medical—and are repeatedly bombarded with sciencey-sounding claims and stories. But as you will see, we get our information from the very people who have repeatedly demonstrated themselves to be incapable of reading, interpreting and bearing reliable witness to the scientific evidence. [...]

You cannot reason people out of positions they didn’t reason themselves into. But by the end of this book you’ll have the tools to win—or at least understand—any argument you choose to initiate, whether it’s on miracle cures, MMR, the evils of big pharma, the likelihood of a given vegetable preventing cancer, the dumbing down of science reporting, dubious health scares, the merits of anecdotal evidence, the relationship between body and mind, the science of irrationality, the medicalisation of everyday life, and more. You’ll have seen the evidence behind some very popular deceptions, but along the way you’ll also have picked up everything useful there is to know about research, levels of evidence, bias, statistics (relax), the history of science, anti-science movements and quackery, as well as falling over just some of the amazing stories that the natural sciences can tell us about the world along the way.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 29 Dec 2013 #permalink

Ah, I see that Dr Hanan Polansky has already received a dose of Respectful Insolence (along with his Computer Intuition research method and the resulting anti-viral cancer-curing herbal Gene-Eden-VIR). I did not realise that SaneVax have already tried to co-opt his scam.