A counterpoint to Jenny McCarthy's autism narrative

There was a time when I used to blog about Jenny McCarthy a lot. The reason, of course, is that a few years ago, beginning in around 2007, she seized the title of face of the antivaccine movement in America through her "advocacy" for her son Evan, whom she described as having been made autistic by the MMR vaccine. She even described his diagnosis thusly to Oprah Winfrey in 2007:

Right before his MMR shot, I said to the doctor, I have a very bad feeling about this shot. This is the autism shot, isn’t it? And he said, “No, that is ridiculous. It is a mother’s desperate attempt to blame something on autism.” And he swore at me. . . . And not soon thereafter, I noticed that change in the pictures: Boom! Soul, gone from his eyes.

The many contradictions in McCarthy's story have been pointed out elsewhere, but, for whatever reason, she latched onto vaccines as the cause of Evan's diagnosis of autism and joined the antivaccine movement with a vengeance, being appointed President of Generation Rescue, the antivaccine organization founded by J.B. Handley. What probably most thrust her into national prominence, after her having appeared with Oprah Winfrey in 2007 was her leading the infamous "Green Our Vaccines" rally in Washington, DC in 2008, which I described as celebrity ignoramuses on parade, pointing out that it was not, as McCarthy and the organizers of the march claimed, about being "pro-safe vaccine" but rather it was about being antivaccine. As I said at the time as I showed photos from the march, you be the judge.

Since then, McCarthy has been a speaker (often keynote speaker) at the Autism One quackfest every year, a collection of the quackiest of the quacky autism "biomed" treatments and antivaccine activism; that is, until this year, when her name appears not to be on the list of Autism One speakers. One wonders whether it was due to her having scored a gig on The View and not wanting to blow it by continuing to press her antivaccine activism. Indeed, I'm sure that when she accepted the job on The View her producers made her promise to tone it down.

Whatever happened, central to Jenny McCarthy's antivaccine activism over the last six or seven years has been the story that her son Evan became autistic right after receiving the MMR vaccine. True, there have been inconsistencies in her story and indications that Evan likely had autistic symptoms at a younger age than claimed, but the core of McCarthy's story remains: Confusing correlation (if a correlation even occurred) with causation. That's why a recent interview with Joyce Bulifant published at Autism News Beat entitled Of seizures and celebrity: Evan’s grandmother speaks up. Bulifant, for those of you who don't know who she is, is Evan's grandmother. She's also an actress who is probably best known for playing Murray Slaughter's wife Marie on The Mary Tyler Moore Show and has appeared on Airplane!. What she reveals in the interview is yet another competing version of events that further calls into question McCarthy's preferred narrative. Evan was born in May 2002, yet Bulifant reports:

Bulifant said she was concerned about Evan’s months before his first birthday.

“I remember Christmas, 2002 (age seven months). I was bathing him in the sink, and trying to get him to giggle and respond to me, but he seemed detached. My family was a little concerned but I didn’t say anything to Jenny because I know children develop at different times. But I was concerned.”

And then there was the incident in the park, another example of how difficult it is to see autism in a loved one.

“We took him to the park, and he started running away from us. We called, but he didn’t even turn around. We wondered if his hearing was impaired,” she says. “That didn’t seem right. So I was testing him in the car seat on the way home. ‘Where is your nose? Where are your ears?’ I asked Evan. He didn’t respond, and I wondered what was going on. Then, when we pulled up in the driveway, Evan suddenly pointed to his mouth and said ‘mouth’, and then he pointed to his ears and said ‘ears.’ It was like he was saying ‘Silly gramma, I know where my mouth and my ears are!’”

Joyce has been active in dyslexia education and advocacy for years, and she called on her research contacts for help. “By the time Evan was 18 months old, I was convinced he had autism,” she says.

Some of what Bulifant reports is somewhat in agreement with what McCarthy has written in her books, such as when Bulifant asked McCarthy's nanny about Evan's detachment, expressing concern that Evan seemed withdrawn. The result when McCarthy heard about it was that she became incredibly angry and basically threw Bulifant out of her house:

Then John called, and said that Jenny was “very upset “about the conversation with the nanny.

“You just can’t say anything about Evan,” John continued. “She gets very upset.” He said McCarthy would not come back home until Bulifant and her husband left the house.

Which they did.

Bulifant reports that Evan's first seizure occurred in the spring of 2004, which was when he was around two years old. Jenny McCarthy describes the seizures in her books. It was apparently around this time that McCarthy started having difficulty with the medical profession, getting into arguments with Evan's doctors, and beginning to be attracted to the alternative medicine fringe that treats autism with all manner of quackery.

The one thing that disappoints me about Bulifant is her reticence in being critical of McCarthy for her embrace of quackery. ANB pointed out to her that McCarthy has repeatedly endorsed a conference at which all manner of quackery, including quackery as vile as chemical castration for autism and bleach enemas have been promoted (and are still being promoted). Other "treatments" include chelation therapy, hyperbaric oxygen, cannabis, and various other unscientific treatments. Basically, she dodged the question, saying, “I think there is value in eating right and exercise for all children." Obviously, if that's all there were to the quackery championed by the "autism biomed" movement, of which McCarthy became a prominent leader, no one would be particularly critica. But it's not.

Still, I can understand and sympathize with Bulifant's stated reason for stepping forward now:

I understand and have great empathy for parents of autistic children who want to know the reason for their children’s autism. They understandably latch onto anything they can find as a reason. That might be what Jenny did when Dr. Wakefield gave incorrect information about vaccines. I don’t think she did this maliciously. She just needed a reason.

If people know Evan showed signs of autism before his MMR vaccine, parents wouldn’t be afraid to vaccinate their children, thereby saving lives and much suffering.

I might be able to understand, but I think she's too easily dismissing the harm that her daughter-in-law has done over the last seven years that she's been promoting antivaccine views and "autism biomed" quackery. I also understand that she doesn't want to lose contact with Evan by completely alienating Jenny McCarthy. Indeed, she's taking a risk saying what she's said thus far. What she's said thus far, of course, is yet more evidence that, contrary to McCarthy's account, Evan's diagnosis of autism probably doesn't correlate with his having received the MMR vaccine and he showed signs of autism at a very young age, his symptoms enough to concern his grandmother. Unfortunately, I think it's too late. Bulifant's account would have done so much more good in 2008 or 2009 rather than 2014, when McCarthy appears to be dissociating herself from the movement she used to lead.

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That quote:

'Soul gone from his eyes.'

Really boils my piss!

Seems to imply that autistic children aren't really human.

It may be difficult to understand why Joyce Bulifant was reluctant to provide information about Evan's medical condition and diagnosis, but I'm glad that she did provide some information about Evan's progress. Evan is a lucky child to have a loving grandmother and his father in his life.

Isn't Jenny McCarthy just like the other "warrior mommies" that we encounter on Age of Autism? They are only concerned with the (negative) impact that their autistic children have had on their lives. It's always about them, not the children...and it's always the vaccines that triggered the onset of ASDs.

Unfortunately, I think it’s too late. Bulifant’s account would have done so much more good in 2008 or 2009 rather than 2014, when McCarthy appears to be dissociating herself from the movement she used to lead.

One can hardly avoid suspecting that McCarthy's lessening involvement is precisely why Bulifant feels more able to speak out.

By Andreas Johansson (not verified) on 12 Jan 2014 #permalink

I agree with Andreas.

She probably feels much more comfortable about it now that Jenny has 'moved on' somewhat from her earlier stance and the risk of Jenny withholding visitation of Evan isn't as large.

Also, what Pris said - that 'soul gone' comment really pisses me off.

In a somewhat timely coincidence, the brain trust at The Scholarly Kitchen just got around to the McCarthy rewarming on Friday.

Check this out. Wojick is not only on the masthead, he's also an AGW "skeptic" and Heartland "expert." Yes, I imagine "uncertainty typically creates a divergence of opinion."

"Soul, gone from his eyes.". Only one person in that picture has no soul, and it's not her son.

By エレン ヤエガル (not verified) on 12 Jan 2014 #permalink

Some people claim that Evan is not autistic at all, but has Landau–Kleffner syndrome.

"Soul gone from his eyes" sounds like a naive description of loss of consciousness seen in certain types of seizures (absence, etc...).

It's good to know Evan's father and paternal family are still active in his life; Jenny has all but stated he abandoned them because he couldn't handle the diagnosis and she does everything on her own.

I'm glad Evan is doing well, and I can either get angry at his grandmother not speaking up sooner, or be glad she finally did. It's clear she's worried about condemning Jenny and making her made; she's making her points but not attacking. I wonder if she'll threaten to sue like she did last week when the 4-year-old blog went viral.

By AnObservingParty (not verified) on 13 Jan 2014 #permalink

I am loth to condemn Ms. Bulifant for anything, given that she had to maintain a decent relationship with her daughter-in-law.

By palindrom (not verified) on 13 Jan 2014 #permalink

For me, the only possible redemption for McCarthy would be for her to step down as the face of the anti-vaccine movement, which she said she was going to continue being. It will be a hard landing for her if she ever does figure this one out. Here's hoping that Ms. Bulifant's recent comments will help her.

I am loth to condemn Ms. Bulifant for anything, given that she had to maintain a decent relationship with her daughter-in-law.

Yeah, I can understand. She didn't want to be cut off from Evan forever. That doesn't change the fact that this interview would have done much more good had it been given four or five years go.

McCarthy won't step/down or apologize for anything she's ever done. In their own eyes, narcissists are never wrong (everyone else is--grandma, vaccines, doctors) and you can see that in the description of McCarthy's behavior here. But I'll take her loosing her cool enough to look bad and get fired from the View as acceptable for all practical purposes.

By Chris Hickie (not verified) on 13 Jan 2014 #permalink

McCarthy won’t step/down or apologize for anything she’s ever done. In their own eyes, narcissists are never wrong (everyone else is–grandma, vaccines, doctors) and you can see that in the description of McCarthy’s behavior here

Everything is someone else's fault, someone else is to blame, it's never anything internal. This reminds me of the time she claimed to be on Oprah's "$hit list" after losing her show on her network and claimed she didn't know why. I hate Oprah for reasons you all can probably figure out, but it's pretty telling that Ms. McCarthy deems herself important enough to be on Oprah's list. I guarantee Oprah doesn't think about her at all now.

By AnObservingParty (not verified) on 13 Jan 2014 #permalink

What everybody seems to forget is that before she claimed her son was autistic, Jenny claimed he was an 'Indigo Child', one of many born to bring Humanity into a new age of enlightenment.

I wonder what changed her mind...?

No, she was the Indigo, Evan was a Crystal Child.

No Graham, Evan was a Crystal child and Jenny the Indigo mom.

Rational Wiki has a beautiful description of an "indigo child." http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Indigo_child

I particularly like how they also wants us to see "psychopath." Although I prefer the term "self-entitled a$$hole."

By AnObservingParty (not verified) on 13 Jan 2014 #permalink

@AOP: Agreed, that Rationalwiki page is a hoot.

I read that list of traits as suggesting sociopathy, rather than psychopathy. But that may be a to-MAY-to vs. to-MAH-to thing.

By Eric Lund (not verified) on 13 Jan 2014 #permalink

@Chris Hickie

In their own eyes, narcissists are never wrong

Speaking of narcissists will Jay Gordon show up in the comments?

By Militant Agnostic (not verified) on 13 Jan 2014 #permalink

Hey Orac,

Let me offer this perspective on whether Jenny's son, Evan, has autism. Perhaps it may help clear things up:

Orac, you guys need to constantly remind the public of this simple rule: 'Autism' is for kids of 'nobody' parents, while 'autism-like symptoms' or for kids of famous or distinguished parents, who having enough power and influence may threaten the denialism establishment. Since Jenny is famous, this by definition precludes Evan from having autism, so he must have autism-like symptoms.

Hey Orac, I am just here to help!

(BTW -- Sage of Autism 'Shillfying Convention' on the Influenza thread was absolutely hilarious. I couldn't stop LMAO.)

I think Jay is trying to be as inconspicuous is possible. Sears has been quiet too. But I want them to know they will never be forgiven until they publicly apologize for the immeasurable harm they have done to America's public health system: http://www.newschannel5.com/category/125220/video-landing-page?clipId=9…. Thanks a lot Gordon and Sears, you pathetically selfish jerks!

By Chris HIckie (not verified) on 13 Jan 2014 #permalink

@AOP -- I never realized it before, but after looking at the "Identifying Indigo Children" checklist at RationalWiki, one of our cats is obviously an indigo child. I've just been mis-reading her aura.

@ An ObservingParty:

I've seen that : if you follow the links there's more -including a quiz to tell which set of symtoms you ex... I mean... whether you are crystal, indigo or normal-
according to the quiz,
I am 'normal'- a blue or violet- which is EXACTLY what a New Age aura reader told me after asking me to stand before a white screen at a presentation about 15 years ago.

( it might be better to hold up a swatch of fabric or a crystal next to your face to see which compliments you more**).
-btw- wasn't indigo an alternative to wode?

I fortunately am able to participate without betraying my actual connection to reality. Occasionally I attend events like these with cohorts who vary in the aforementioned skill.. which is entertaining.

** I'm joking I think

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 13 Jan 2014 #permalink

@ Eric Lund:

Interestingly enough, one of the idiots I survey refers to all people in mainstream SBM, education, government and media as psychopaths or sociopaths,
I wonder why?

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 13 Jan 2014 #permalink

Oh, Denice, I've taken them, depending on which test it was, I'm either "normal" or an Indigo (read: borderline sociopath/self-entitled a$$hole). I do so enjoy bringing up the DSM when someone claims to be that nonsense.

Even the form of the questions in all those "tests" are geared towards appealing to the self-indulgent, self-entitled, self-righteous 25-40 something who wants to know why they don't get a participation ribbon for showing up to work everyday and thought that medieval philosophy PhD would land them their dream job with a beach house and a boat because they're SO SO special and the world is going to recognize. The world would be so much better off if these people just accepted themselves as d*cks. I'd rather deal with a diagnosed ASPD than someone who calls themself an Indigo, because usually they at least cop to the fact that they're d*cks.

My prejudice is showing. :P

By AnObservingParty (not verified) on 13 Jan 2014 #permalink

And speaking of the selfies ( s-indulgent, s-entitled, s-righteous) of various ages:
Alison MacNeil has a new rant @ TMR
Jake has a new tirade against Blaxill @ AI
Null perseverates anew since being tossed by a radio station ( @ PRN Fri- Sun-Mon) - includes personal finance advice @ yesterday's Talkback.
Mikey's in his lab

OBVIOUSLY I find much at which to laugh.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 13 Jan 2014 #permalink

"Speaking of narcissists will Jay Gordon show up in the comments?"

It depends on how much time he has for vanity searching as opposed to Saving Lives.

By Dangerous Bacon (not verified) on 13 Jan 2014 #permalink

Like others have said, that "soul gone from his eyes" quote makes me furious. Insinuating that people on the spectrum aren't human, how caring of her. What a great mom. /sarcasm

I'm glad that Evan still has some people in his life that aren't bat**** crazy like his mom. I hope that Jenny doesn't cut Joyce out of his life now that she's spoken out. Here's hoping that Jenny's need for good publicity overrides her need to live in an alt med bubble.

By cakesphere (not verified) on 13 Jan 2014 #permalink

I've experienced close hand, how vindictive parents can be with denying visitation rights to the non-custodial parent....especially when that child is a baby.

Evan's father has stated that he refused to engage Jenny in a public battle to correct the blatant lies she told about John Asher's lack of involvement in Evan's life...once Evan started to have seizures and was diagnosed with autism. John Asher wanted to protect Evan...something that was not on Jenny's radar, who pimped out Evan's story to revive her fading-fast D-list celeb career.

@ Dr. Chris: Do you really think Dr. Jay is going to show up here on RI...after we whupped his a$$ and called him out for his lies on RI and SBM?

I thought I was turning into an Indigo Child...then I started breathing again.


( it might be better to hold up a swatch of fabric or a crystal next to your face to see which compliments you more**).

Well, I tried that, but neither of them complimented me. In fact, they wouldn't say anything at all. Inanimate objects can be so *rude* sometimes!

By Calli Arcale (not verified) on 13 Jan 2014 #permalink

@AnObservingParty (#25): Maybe it's just because it's Monday, but for some reason my mind immediately replaced the "*"s with "u"s. I guess some people are just reluctant to admit that they're waterfowl...

By Richard Smith (not verified) on 13 Jan 2014 #permalink

FWIW, the last time someone checked my aura it was about a quart low. I find I need to top off every few months. I'm guessing I've either got a leak or am burning aura.

By Mephistopheles… (not verified) on 13 Jan 2014 #permalink

Denice @24: I can't be sure from the description you gave, but "projection" would be my first guess. Among alt-med types, some are True Believers, and some are sociopaths/psychopaths who are in it for the money--those two overlapping groups should pretty much cover the whole gamut. People in the sociopath/psychopath group probably assume that most or all successful people (including the groups you name) are also sociopaths/psychopaths. There are undoubtedly cases where they are correct (stopped clocks, etc.), but I've seen no evidence that the proportion of sociopaths and psychopaths among these groups is significantly larger than the population as a whole.

By Eric Lund (not verified) on 13 Jan 2014 #permalink

@Mephistopheles O'Brien
You might want to go your aura mechanic and get your pump checked out.

I had to replace mine a year or so back, luckily the psychic that lives below me says my aura is brighter than ever! I know I can trust her since she watches my indigo child cat while I'm away.

By cakesphere (not verified) on 13 Jan 2014 #permalink

@TBruce #30: Violet Beauregarde - the ultimate Indigo Child?

(Yes, I know he was Crystal, but the joke doesn't work that way...)

And yes, it's amazing how utterly shamelessly she went from Indigo/Crystal right on over to Autism Because Of The Evil Vaccines, without a word of explanation or admission that she was, even within her own twisted narrative, dead wrong. It's beyond chutzpah. It would be funny if a: a child weren't suffering because of it and b: so many people didn't hang on to her 'expert mommy advice' nonetheless.

By Roadstergal (not verified) on 13 Jan 2014 #permalink

@ Eric Lund:

Possibly; and their person perception skills are abysmal.
Which we often find @ RI w/ scoffers.
They can't understand why people do things unless they're motivated by money, power or prestige because those are the things that motivate them.

Having lessened person perception and social cognitive skills would predict lots of other problems for them also.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 13 Jan 2014 #permalink

I've seen some indigo looking children when mom use gentian violet to treat thrush (very messy).

You are right, Lilady...Goron is probably down for the count.

By Chris HIckie (not verified) on 13 Jan 2014 #permalink


Thanks for the advice. I hear that if an aura pump goes out on you unexpectedly it can cause your chakras to crash together, bending your qi beyond all recognition and require a complete karmic rebuild.

By Mephistopheles… (not verified) on 13 Jan 2014 #permalink

And that can run into serious change.

By Mephistopheles… (not verified) on 13 Jan 2014 #permalink

In both meanings of the word.

By Militant Agnostic (not verified) on 13 Jan 2014 #permalink

@ MOB,

Just don't let them tell you you need to change your aura air filter. Everyone knows that's a scam.

By AnObservingParty (not verified) on 13 Jan 2014 #permalink

-btw- wasn’t indigo an alternative to wode?

Woad and indigo (the plant) both produce the same dyestuff (also indigo), but indigo (the plant) produces more of it, and lends itself better to industrial-scale production (i.e. slave plantations).

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 13 Jan 2014 #permalink

Jenny has all but stated he abandoned them because he couldn’t handle the diagnosis and she does everything on her own.

That ranks up there with the old joke about "My client is an orphan, and deserves clemency on the charges of killing his parents."

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 13 Jan 2014 #permalink

@ herr doktor bimler:

Well, thank you for that.
This evening my outfit therefore will include a blue cotton shirt that I dyed myself totally w/o the use of natural, plant-based dyes. Some stuff in a box.

FYI- 'IndiGo' is an airline based on the sub-continent.
I swear.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 13 Jan 2014 #permalink

Isn't woad a hallucinogen, too?

I always liked to imagine my Brythonic ancestors fighting off what they took to be tentacle-bedecked aliens from Mars, rather than invading Roman centurions. No wonder they were fierce!

FYI- ‘IndiGo’ is an airline based on the sub-continent.
I swear.

I don't doubt it, and it's hardly the worst airline name I've heard about. While passing through São Paulo some years ago I saw an airliner from an airline apparently called Bra (presumably a domestic airline in that country), and I've heard reports of a Russian airline named Kras Air (presumably from the Russian word for "red", but it's tempting to add an H to that name) and an East Asian airline called U-Land. And I've actually flown on Precision Airlines (a Boston-based commuter airline that went bankrupt in the early 1990s) and JetBlue.

By Eric Lund (not verified) on 13 Jan 2014 #permalink

Isn’t woad a hallucinogen, too?
Apparently not:
-- the author also reckons that it doesn't work as body-paint. No-one has any idea what Julius Caesar had in mind when he wrote about the occupants of the British Isles painting themselves. The interpretation that they were using woad first popped up at a time when the woad industry was trying to stop imports of indigo.

The Whackyweedia informs us that woad root is used in TCM, not for its dye but for general TCM bafflegab. There is the reassuring note that "only large dosages or long term usage can be toxic to the kidneys".

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 13 Jan 2014 #permalink

@Denise Walters #27 Where is the like button? This post touched my funny bone. It reminds me of Rachel Maddow's morning FB posts titled 'here's what we're following' .... even though I only know what the last one means, Mike Adams. That was enough though, set me off :)

@ Johanna:

I really doubt that my ancient Brythonic ancestors were doing any fighting -more like selling dyes/ dyed shirts (and/ or possible hallucinogens).

@ Eric:

Doesn't *kras* in Russe mean ( somehow) both *beautiful* and *red*?

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 13 Jan 2014 #permalink

HDB, some people have speculated that the "paint" may have been tatoos. The cool Celts had spiky hair, due to putting a lime paste in it!

By sheepmilker (not verified) on 13 Jan 2014 #permalink

and I’ve heard reports of a Russian airline named Kras Air (presumably from the Russian word for “red”, but it’s tempting to add an H to that name)

C'mon, Aeroflot used to sell seats in the lav.

^ (Although it's entirely tangential to the issue of names per se.)

Surely the easiest way to produce an Indigo Child would be through copious quantities of colloidal silver?

*anticipating twitching*

By RetroPastiche (not verified) on 13 Jan 2014 #permalink

@Denice - whereas mine were no doubt up to their ankles in muck in some field and wondering what all the noise was about... ;)

Sigh. I am disappointed by the lack of Airplane! and/or MTM references in the comments. So I'll arbitrarily throw one in: "I hate spunk."

By Xplodyncow (not verified) on 13 Jan 2014 #permalink

@Denice #27
How can you survive? How do you live keeping track of so much woo? You amaze me. You suffer for the rest of us.

Isn't there a jazz standard named "Wode Indigo"?

By Mephistopheles… (not verified) on 13 Jan 2014 #permalink

Mephistopheles O'Brien - it's "Mood Indigo."

In airline fame, there's always ValuJet. They had a big billboard near my grandmother's house with a cartoon of a jet, and I remember commenting that was probably the plane they sent you on. I wasn't really surprised when one of their jets crashed because they cut corners.

By dedicated lurker (not verified) on 13 Jan 2014 #permalink

Just for Xplodyncow:

"Surely you can't be serious?!"
"I am serious, and don't call me Shirley."

By Julian Frost (not verified) on 13 Jan 2014 #permalink

Doesn’t *kras* in Russe mean ( somehow) both *beautiful* and *red*?

Close. Krasnyi (красный) means red, krasivyi (красывий) means beatiful. Similar enough to be commonly mistaken by new learners.

@puppygood: I note Wiktionary lists "beautiful" as an archaic meaning of krasnyi.

By Andreas Johansson (not verified) on 13 Jan 2014 #permalink

There is a Dutch travel-agency named Kras, which can be translated as 'scratch', but also as 'strong' 'v igorous' or 'robust' (in persons), or 'drastic'.

@ Den!s:**

Well, thank you.
Re Mikey's lab- he now tells you which products are alright- which he sells ( Green Polka Dot Box is his concern)

I understand that Null will now be doing " 100 experiments": the first with broccoli sprouts wherein he'll have a control group and two condtions where the sprouts will either have meditative music played for them or have a group of healers encouraging them to grow.
All will be covered by time-lapse photography.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 14 Jan 2014 #permalink

@ Logo:

How do I survive?
Believe it or not- surveying woo is not an imposition at all for me- it's actually fun as well as being useful. So don't worry, I don't suffer for others.

I appear to have some ability for managing large amounts of information and for doing several tasks simultaneously.
For example, when I track market prices/ trends I don't write anything down but keep updatable estimates in mind- it doesn't have to be perfect because I can always look it up and it changes constantly anyway.

With woo, I just watch a few places which lead to other places. I look at tons of material and notice particular themes that serve as organising factors and bases for predictions about further movement.
I look at things globally then pull out specifics as need be. I did do some research about how professionals make decisions in their areas of expertise but that isn't really what I follow.

I counsel people, manage money for myself and others, play tennis and try to go out and have a good time with my cohorts- I can do a lot at once.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 14 Jan 2014 #permalink

Thanks, Julian! That got my Tuesday off to a great start.

By Xplodyncow (not verified) on 14 Jan 2014 #permalink

MESSAGE BEGINS-----------------------

Really Domina Walter,
You are too, too modest, you've left all of your daily duties for the Empire off your list. Which reminds me, thanks for that tip about Canadial Allied Petroelum. We made a killing and had a good laugh in the process.

Lord Draconis Zeneca, VH7ihL
Foreward Mavoon of the Great Fleet, Grand Vitara of the Vat Racks, Less Filling-Tastes Great

Glaxxon PharmaCOM Orbital
Makers of MonkeyMist™ Soporific

-------------------------------------------------MESSAGE ENDS

By Glaxxon Pharma… (not verified) on 14 Jan 2014 #permalink

I started reading this blog and several others for the information. But, one of the things that keeps me coming back are the people. I find reading posts by people such as Denice Walter to be highly educational and entertaining. I wish I could put my thoughts down so clearly and in such a logical manner. I wish I had not wasted so much of my life on crap thinking and am actively trying to get my daughter interested in these blogs/people at an early age to offset some of the junk she hears at school and from friends. thanks everyone.

By bill smith (not verified) on 14 Jan 2014 #permalink

Bill Smith took the words out of my mouth. Every day I feel like typing 'I LOVE YOU PEOPLE'. But some may think that a little creepy.

Glad you are here Bill, so glad to see there are other parents out there concerned for their children's learning. Thanks for letting me know you are out there.

By Scared Momma (not verified) on 14 Jan 2014 #permalink

And, as I re-read that comment, you can see, I am no Denice Walter ;)

By Scared Momma (not verified) on 14 Jan 2014 #permalink

I'm sure you speak for many of us lurkers, Bill (and Scared Momma). IMHO this is the one blog to rule them all.

By Hinterlander (not verified) on 14 Jan 2014 #permalink

Hinterlander, so does that make Orac Gandalf or Sauron that scenario ;) Best lurker comment ever.

By Scared Momma (not verified) on 14 Jan 2014 #permalink

(sing) We love you Orac, oh yes, we do. We are your minions and we'll be true. Whatever you bid us, we'll do...oh Orac, we love you.

(My apologies to Bye, Bye Birdie....)

Scared Momma: Perhaps Saruman?

“For I am Orac the Wise, Orac Ring-maker, Orac of Many Colours (of blinking lights)!"

By Hinterlander (not verified) on 14 Jan 2014 #permalink

Love this blog, SBM, and Dr. Crislip's blog on Medscape. Ironically it was Dr. Crislip's blog that turned me on to SBM and on a lark one day I checked out RI. Haven't stopped since. Fight the good fight fellow minions!

@ bill smith, Scared Momma et al,

I thank you for your kind words- it is so rare that I read or hear such marvelous...
well, actually it isn't rare at all. but it's really fabulous anyway.
AND much appreciated.

re the Tolkien references- that sort of leaves me out, doesn't it? - because he didn't focus that much on female characters- and managerial-sorceresses *were* rather scarce in Middle Earth I'd venture.
Altho' I might function as a Dark Elf despite being blonde-it keeps people guessing. Great costumes too, I imagine: mauve, grey, black, filmy things and boots.

But to be truthful, I am just a dendrite in the great hive mind that is RI... probably more than a dendrite..

-btw- Lord Draconis:
the first rule of empire is that we don't talk about empire. I thought that you knew that.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 14 Jan 2014 #permalink

I am just a dendrite in the great hive mind that is RI

A pyramidal cell, I hope, because Illuminati.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 14 Jan 2014 #permalink

@ herr doktor bimler:

I was *going* to say the 'portion of the PFC found to be associated with sarcasm' but that would probably be Narad.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 14 Jan 2014 #permalink

We can pick a series with stronger females, Salvatore, Weiss/Hickman, Martin, Jordan. Has to be a managerial sorceress in one of those, or combo. And lilady can stay a paladin in those too :)

@Rich Scopie, I always pictured myself as Legolas, maybe I was jealous of his hair. Bilbo would probably fit me better, personality wise.

By Scared Momma (not verified) on 15 Jan 2014 #permalink

@ Rich Scopie:

That's another way to look at it- given that kids' books are merely gussied up life instruction manuals anyway, why not?
But I never had issues with non-gender-neutral stuff because I think my relatives put more stress on individuals' characteristics- there was also scoffing at and derision of more traditional stuff.
It wasn't the *whole* family though: I was just surprised to learn that an older cousin was pushed away from academic pursuits because of stereotyped expectations.

@ Scared Momma:

I'm not familiar with any of those BUT someone I know started watching/reading Game of Thrones so now I am trying to work through the newer shows and first book simultaneously- I don't know what to make of it yet- I am so far, of two minds about it. Too early to make a judgment. I see creativity and reasonably decent writing- lots to like- but a few details/ issues seem thrown it to get a rise out of people.

I haven't submitted it to the travel test: can I read this for 3 or 6 hours on a train or plane and have it hold my interest?
We'll see.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 15 Jan 2014 #permalink

@Rich Scopie
Thanks for the Tolkien link. I shared it with a friend who did a lot of Tolkien studies in college.
@Denice Walter
On Game of Thrones, I would suggest reading at least the first book or two before watching the show so you can get an overall feel for the background, but enjoy it in any case.
Martin is a bit like Tolkien written by Henry Miller, or at least targeted at a post-60's adult audience.
He was involved in a group written shared-universe series of stories and carries over that writing style into Game of Thrones with a huge cast of characters whose plots intertwine and diverge. And the main characters are more "mature", that is good characters have bad traits and vice versa.
And, unlike in traditional stories where you sort of know all the main characters will make it through to the end, he lets you get really invested in some of the characters so that you really feel the pain when they die.
I haven't had the luxury of taking a long trip where I had 3-6 hours to invest in a book, but I did listen to a couple of the books on audio while driving to and from work.
The series is at least one or two books away from a conclusion, but the next to last book almost turned me off about halfway through because it seems to focus almost exclusively on the characters I didn't like or care about.
There's even a bit of gender-bending with one or two of the female characters.

By squirrelelite (not verified) on 15 Jan 2014 #permalink

Denice - dark elves in Tolkien are just ones born under some aspect that I can't remember but my sister probably can. They can be blond.

By dedicated lurker (not verified) on 15 Jan 2014 #permalink

@ dedicated lurker:

Right, they didn't see the light of the trees or weren't in MagicMysticLand or suchlike -
it's not like 'Black Irish'- I know ALL about them.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 15 Jan 2014 #permalink

@ Denice Walter Oooooo, I love love love fantasy fiction. Salvatore and Weiss/Hickman are my favorites. I forgot to mention Robin Hobb earliler. Love her work as well. First three books of Game of Thrones, very fast paced. The fourth, was meh in my opinion. Still have not seen the HBO show. I get a little crabby at writers that take DECADES to write a series. Really, I started reading Martin back in '02 for goodness sakes. Weiss/Hickman are original D&D type authors, Dragonlance series. And you can never go wrong reading about the all time hero, Drizzt. :) Good luck in your discovery of Martin. I completely see your view on the books, I don't know if I will buy the fifth or sixth book, or how ever many are out there. I mentioned him because he does have a few strong females, good or bad :)

By Scared Momma (not verified) on 15 Jan 2014 #permalink

Jenny McCarthy wrote the Introduction to Andrew Wakefield's book "Callous Disregard": “I'm so glad Andy Wakefield finally has the chance to tell his story. . . . For hundreds of thousands of parents around the world, myself included, Andy Wakefield is a symbol of strength and conviction that all parents of children with autism can use to fight for truth and the best lives possible for their kids.”
An article I wrote was recently published in an online peer-reviewed medical journal. I went point by point through Wakefield's claims about vaccine safety and found that not a single one was true, not even close. Just one example, he claimed he spoke with a Swedish vaccine researcher, Dr Brith Christenson, who told him that they did not concern themselves with vaccine safety; yet, in his references Wakefield lists an article in the British Medical Journal co-authored by Dr. Christenson which discusses vaccine safety, including mandatory reporting by doctors and a minimum of a one-year follow-up of serious cases. This article is available for free download at the BMJ website. Wakefield is claiming that Sweden, a modern technologically advanced Western Democracy would begin a mandatory vaccination program with no concerns for safety and McCarthy and many others don't even stop for one minute to question if such could be possible, don't even try to verify it; but just praise the book for its "honesty." Incredible! You can find my article at:
Harrison, J.A. (2013). Wrong About Vaccine Safety: A Review of Andrew Wakefield’s “Callous Disregard”. The Open Vaccine Journal, 6, 9-25. http://www.benthamscience.com/open/tovacj/articles/V006/TOVACJ201311260…

By Joel A. Harris… (not verified) on 20 Jan 2014 #permalink

Um, Doctor Harrison, Bentham Science is known to be (shall we say) dubious.

By Julian Frost (not verified) on 20 Jan 2014 #permalink

Well, Julian, his article does reveal that Wakefield decided to consult on the Swedish experience with the MMR, but not a much larger country that had been using the MMR for lots longer: the USA.

To Julian Frost:
"Bentham Science is known to be (shall we say) dubious." First, the editor, Dr. Steven Rubin, is a well-respected virologist. Second, five anonymous reviewers (I'm pretty sure I know who some were, professors at med schools) approved the article. But, more importantly, your approach is no different than people who make ad hominem attacks. So and so is a liberal or gay or Middle Eastern or . . . or . . . or, so why bother actually reading what they have to say? My paper gives direct quotes from Wakefield's book and from peer-reviewed articles and government documents. What's more, where possible, that is, if references available on the web, I give the URLs to them and anyone can hyperlink directly to them. The UK government documents I give hyperlinks to index and one can click on the individual documents. I assumed that people following this blog would be a bit more open-minded and make a more scholarly comment; but I never allow myself to believe my assumptions are written in stone. I dare you to actually carefully read my paper and check the articles and documents with hyperlinks.

As for Bentham. First, I am a long-retired epidemiologist. Since I have a very modest income, they graciously waived the publication fee. So, they devoted a lot of time and effort without compensation. Second, my paper, together with references is more than 15,000 words. Not many journals will even consider a paper of this length. I put a lot of time and effort into this paper and am very grateful to Dr. Rubin, the editor, and Bentham for publishing my paper.

By Joel A. Harris… (not verified) on 21 Jan 2014 #permalink

AChris: Yeah...why doesn't anyone consider the USA had been using the MMR for so many years before Waker's paper and no huge upswing in autism. Why did Wakers look at Sweden and not the USA? What's wrong with US?

I suspect, Joel A Harrison PhD, MPH, that your research is a bit biased also? Since you obviously believe in the autism/MMR link, tell us, in your experience as a retired epidemiologist, why the US didn't have a huge, measureable upswing in autism once they started giving the MMR in 1971?
(BTW....we aren't impressed with listings of lots of degrees here. Most of us who have advanced degrees don't boast about them, and the fact that you feel the need to do so is a little suspect._

Typos....sorry, Chris. That was supposed to be @Chris...

I'm afraid Bentham Science Publishers really aren't a credible publishing group. They exhibit all that's bad about open-access pay-to-publish journals (the science equivalent of vanity pressess) and there are demonstrated and serious flaws in their peer review procedures: for example, they accepted for publication an article supporting 9/11 conspiracy theory ( Open Chemical Physics Journal 2009) as well as a paper composed of random computer-generated sentences using the computer program Scigen (Open Information Science Journal, also in 2009) to name two instances

MI Dawn, I don't see where Joel Harrison has argued in support of a causal link between MMR and autism. Did I miss something in his posts?

@ MI Dawn,

I think Harrison's comment portion of support was quoting someone else's support without the beginning quotation mark? His article found mistruths and pointed out blantant falsehoods in Andy's "research." He's against the link.

By AnObservingParty (not verified) on 21 Jan 2014 #permalink

Dr Harrison @94: I enjoyed your review. It deserves to be widely read, and like Julian Frost and JGC, I'm concerned that the publisher's poor reputation will get in the way of that. I will circulate the link to it.

If the editor is determined to rescue the journal's reputation, I wish him the best of luck.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 21 Jan 2014 #permalink

Ahhh...@JCG, AOP: you are both right. I misread his first comment...the line "I went point by point through Wakefield’s claims about vaccine safety and found that not a single one was true, not even close." as he found that the claims about vaccine safety (NOT Wakers claims) were were not true. Thanks for pointing that out.

@Joel A Harrison: my apologies for mis-reading your comment and jumping on you, thinking you were defending Wakefield.

Dr. Harrison, does your publishing agreement with Bentham prohibit you from publishing it elsewhere, now that it's been published through their journal?

If not, and if your paper is a solid science-based work, then perhaps Orac could forward it to his friend who posts at the Science-Based Medicine blog. I think they would welcome a well-written guest post, and I'm certain they wouldn't charge any publication fee!

By Antaeus Feldspar (not verified) on 21 Jan 2014 #permalink

Dr. Harrison, I am slowly going through your paper. I am finding the answers to the questions I have been asking for quite a while.

For instance, that Wakefield deliberately left out several studies on the MMR before 1988. Plus recently a troll elsewhere has told me "there is no European data set for vaccine adverse events." Yet, you have a discussion about the Yellow Card Scheme, the British Paediatric Surveillance Unit and the Communicable Disease Surveillance Unit. Thanks.

I am slow going through, because I get to it when I can and absorb better in short bits.


Many years ago the New England Journal of Medicine, considered the best medical journal in the world, published an article on coffee and pancreatic cancer. Turns out it was a really poorly done study and they were embarrassed. I have neither the time nor inclination to check articles on all the journals published by Bentham. I have read several articles in the Open Vaccine Journal and they are quite good. I also checked out their editorial board. Open Source Journal are not vanity press. Several of Bentham's journals are indexed in pubmed, the U.S. Library of Medicines online database. To be indexed in pubmed is not automatic; but requires passing a number of criteria, including quality of peer-review. The Open Vaccine Journal is applying to be indexed by pubmed. It takes time and they are a small, fairly new journal. In addition, some of their journals do well on various impact measures, that is, cited in other journal articles. There are a number of open-source journals and the trend is towards them. Most do not accept pharmaceutical advertising and because they are open-source they are easily accessible to more people. If I were doing research on a multi-million dollar grant and wanted the most people to read my research, paying a couple of thousand dollars to get it published is much better than being criticized for being in a journal that makes most of its money from pharmaceutical companies. In addition, open-access online journals can accept longer articles than print journals, hyperlink to appendices, and data sets, etc. But the bottom line is the quality of my paper, regardless of who published it! Bentham didn't charge me a cent and their staff put in a lot of time and effort arranging the reviewers and putting it in pdf format. I have better things to do than waste my time trying to convince someone who if they were in a college course taught by me and were asked to review an article or book and wrote the publisher wasn't the absolute best in the world, I would flunk them. Try reading my paper if you dare.

By Joel A. Harris… (not verified) on 21 Jan 2014 #permalink

@Joel A. Harrison, PhD, MPH

"Callous Disregard for the Facts" is, as you suggest, a fitting title for Wakefield's self-serving paen to misinformation. Thanks for reading Wakefield's drivel, so that I don't have to.


Do you have a link for the publication? There's no Joel A Harrison in pubmed (JC Harrison and JW Harrison are the only result that I get) and google scholar is of no help with its 10+ pages of results.


@ Joel A. Harrison: You did a great job of dissecting Andrew Wakefield's "Callous Disregard". I haven't read Wakefield's book, but I've read reviews of it written by science bloggers. I also see that you credited Dr. Harriet Hall and Dr. Paul Offit for their assistance and advice.

So why isn't your article available on PubMed, so we can link to it when we comment on other blogs? :-)

To Dr. Harrison -

Yes, you're right, the trend does seem to be toward open-access journals, so the fact that even other open-access publishers have serious concerns about Bentham should raise large flags.

Yes, you're correct that ultimately it is the soundness of the work, not the reputation of the publisher, that matters. However, if I was grading work of yours in which you tried to assert what you did here, that ignoring a paper because of the race/sexual orientation/politics of the author is just like viewing a paper with a measure of extra caution because the publisher has previously let through papers which were absolute tosh, you'd better believe that you'd be red inked for that howler. Not only is the suggested equivalence nonsensical, it's offensive.

By Antaeus Feldspar (not verified) on 21 Jan 2014 #permalink

Thanks AOP and forgive me my lack of attention but I'm running under a hectic sleep schedule and I'm feeling a migraine forming up right at this moment...


Doctor Harrison, I'd like to second the comments of Antaeus Feldspar at #102. I'm sure Orac's friend would publish your article.

By Julian Frost (not verified) on 22 Jan 2014 #permalink

Dr Harrison, thank you very much for sharing your paper. I am going to attempt to save it to share later with Mr Woo. He went through a "vaccines cause autism" phase when our one grandson was diagnosed with it, but has grown a little less convinced when all other grandchildren (thank goodness his children and their wives are not so easily misled by the interwebs!) went through childhood vaccination without incident.

Additionally, perhaps I can occasionally share the link when attempting to encourage people to consider vaccination. New parents are especially susceptible to the fear-mongering of anti-vaccinationists.

Dr. harrison, did I at any point indicate that I didn't read your paper or discount its content because of the forum in which it was published? I simply pointed out that despite your defense of the editor @ 94 describing Bentham Publishing's reputation as 'dubious' is accurate and derived wholly from their past performance.

I don't understand why you'd avoid publishing in a journal with a better reputation simply to avoid criticism for publishing in a journal that accepts pharmaceutical advertising. Surely you realize anyone who would trot out the 'pharma shill' gambit to dismiss your article will do so regardless of where it's published for no reason other than it doesn't support their preferred and predetermined conclusions regarding vaccine safety?

To Julian Frost, Herr Doktor Bimler, Antaeus Feldspar, JGC, AdamG, Lilady, etc.

Rather than answer each comment one by one, I’ll try to summarize in one comment:

1.My article is open-source which means anyone can use it for non-commercial purposes as long as they give appropriate credit. I have contacted Science-Based Medicine and others, hoping they will read my article and either write about it and/or post it. It was just published last week and I sent out dozens of e-mails.
2.I did contact several other journals. They didn’t appear interested in waiving their publication fees or asked me to cut its length considerably or some just said they didn’t think it was an important topic. Perhaps they had other reasons, no way to know. No way could I afford the publication fees. As I wrote, Bentham graciously waived their publication fees and the Editor of The Open Vaccine Journal, Dr. Steven Rubin did a great job in helping with editorial suggestions. I am somewhat of a recluse, no family, living alone with a great dog I got from a rescue group. I sent various versions of my paper to a number of people asking for editorial help. Most were just too busy; but did take the time to read it and gave me important feedback and encouragement. Some did give some minor editorial suggestions, e.g. tone done the language. I did my own research to see who Dr. Steven Rubin is and found him to be a well-respected virologist. It was Dr. Rubin and the five anonymous reviewers who really helped me hone my paper to a readable, shorter version.
3.Some time ago I read the article in Science on the intentionally fraudulent paper. Bentham publishes 116 subscription based publications and 100 open-access journals. The fact that one article on 9/11 World Trade Center has been refuted doesn’t mean they should not have published it. There were problems with the article, e.g. chain of custody of the samples and fact that very similar chemical substances could have been in construction materials; but that doesn’t automatically mean that the paper should not have been published. I’m not a chemist; but sent it to a friend who is and he thought them wrong; but not fraudulent, that they raised reasonable questions, which were answered. Would you silence any dissenting opinions? As for the intentional computer-generated fraud, there have been numerous instances of fraud. A professor at UCSD published numerous articles in prestigious journals in radiology. No one bothered to check that many had the absolute same data. An investigation found that he could not have possibly carried out so many procedures. Another researcher who wrote the book on treatment of hyperactive kids, published in numerous journals was found to have fabricated all his data. Drs. Based their treatments of vulnerable children on totally fraudulent data. I suggest the following books: William Broad and Nicholas Wade. “Betrayers of the Truth: Fraud and Deceit in the Halls of Science” 1982; Horace Freeland Judson. “The Great Betrayal: Fraud in Science” 2004; Responsible Science: Ensuring the Integrity of the Research Process: Vol. 1, National Academy of Science Press, 1992. The Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association wrote about the computer-generated fraudulent article: “inspiration for this particular prank was the well-known Sokal affair, in which a deliberately nonsensical paper created by physicist Alan Sokal was accepted for publication in 1996 by the subscription-only journal, Social Text, published by Duke University Press.” And “no system is perfect, and many reputable journals have experienced problems with scientific fraud.” (http://oaspa.org/publishing-ethics-open-access-and-oaspa/ )
4.Having read a number of the articles in The Open Vaccine Journal, having checked out the Editor and several of the associate editors, I think it an up and coming quality journal. In addition, the fact that out of almost 200 journals someone found a couple of problems doesn’t prove a think. I Googled and Googled and did not find other journals criticizing Bentham outside the one article in Science. And only the two articles were mentioned in a Wikipedia article on Bentham. Given the amount of fraud going on, the number of articles being retracted for fraud, including Wakefield’s that was published in one of the most prestigious journals, The Lancet, your continuing to harp on Bentham seems to reflect a very rigid black/white type of thinking.
5.Several asked why it wasn’t in PubMed. I already explained that a number of Bentham journals are indexed in PubMed and others, such as The Open Vaccine Journal are in the process of applying. It is a small relatively new journal and given the articles I’ve read, I anticipate it will eventually be indexed. However, it is open-source and anyone wishing to refer to it can give the URL directly to the pdf version of the article: Harrison, J.A. (2013). Wrong About Vaccine Safety: A Review of Andrew Wakefield’s “Callous Disregard”. The Open Vaccine Journal, 6, 9-25. http://www.benthamscience.com/open/tovacj/articles/V006/TOVACJ201311260…
6.Finally, as I wrote before, it is the quality of my article that counts. If Bentham hadn’t published it, all my hard work might have been in vain. Now it is published, people can read it and judge for themselves. I made sure I dotted my “I’s” and crossed my “t’s”. Every quote from Wakefield’s book is accurate and complete and every quote from articles and documents are accurate and complete. I give the URLs to any that are available online so that anyone can verify the accuracy of what I wrote. Now, I have other things to do. If any of you choose to obsess on the publisher, nothing I can do about it.

By Joel A. Harris… (not verified) on 22 Jan 2014 #permalink

They didn’t appear interested in waiving their publication fees or asked me to cut its length considerably or some just said they didn’t think it was an important topic.

I'd have described the topic not as unimportant but as already settled--that Wakefield's Lancet paper and subsequent calims regarding vaccine safety have been firmly established as fraudulent by everyone other than anti-vax 'true-believers' (and nothing will ever be enough to convince them otherwise.)

Finally, as I wrote before, it is the quality of my article that counts.

I don't think anyone's disputing this.

If Bentham hadn’t published it, all my hard work might have been in vain.

The point is that you had other options. I personally think your paper is excellent, and I also think you did yourself and your work a great disservice by publishing with Bentham.

I think you should've gone to bioRxiv.

To JGC & AdamG:

You obviously have NO idea how science works. The fact that Bentham, who publishes almost 200 journals, published one fraudulent article and one controversial article does not make them a dubious publisher. The Lancet and many other of the top journals have had to retract more than one fraudulent article. The article on the World Trade Center certainly was controversial; but I skimmed it (I'm not a chemist) and it gave a detailed description of its procedures and methodology. This allowed others to carefully evaluate their findings. This is what science is all about. They did not mention conspiracy, simply did an analysis of materials they believed came from the World Trade Center site. Their methodology appears to be better than the coffee and pancreatic cancer article published by the New England Journal of Medicine. Almost every journal at one time or another has published an article that was controversial. Most of the time the article ends up in the dustbin of history; but sometimes not. Almost every journal has published less than stellar articles, that is, poor methodology. If a couple of retractions is enough to label a journal "dubious" then most are.

As for options, I already explained that I contacted several journals and what their responses were. In addition, I submitted my article to The Open Vaccine Journal, not Bentham; but Bentham was nice enough to waive the publication fee. I also wrote earlier than several of Bentham's journals are indexed by PubMed, which means they met certain standards. I don't feel I did myself any type of disservice because, I repeat again, the Editor, Dr. Steven Rubin, is a well-respected virologist and I am pretty sure who some of the reviewers were. It was Dr. Rubin who I first contacted and he requested that Bentham waive the publication fee. Until you come up with a direct problem with Dr. Rubin and/or The Open Vaccine Journal, give it a rest. The staff of The Open Vaccine Journal did a great job of getting reviewers who really took the time to evaluate my paper (I wasn't given their names; but what they wrote) and in translating it into a professional-looking pdf. Anyone can read it, post it, forward it to friends, etc.

I was lucky after so many rejections to find someone who appreciated what I was trying to do and the quality of my efforts.

And it is not only journals who have published fraudulent stuff, so have well-respected book publishers. Read the Wikipedia article on Binjamin Wilkomirski. He wrote a totally fraudulent account of his time in a Concentration Camp and won prestigious awards. Committees review books to determine rewards; yet, none caught on. He was on talk shows, the toast of the town. His book wasn't an exaggeration; but a complete fraud. I guess the publisher is dubious and all the book awards given by the committees are dubious.

By Joel A. Harris… (not verified) on 22 Jan 2014 #permalink

Guys, the paper is published. Copyright has been transferred. Second guessing at this point is fruitless. Ask yourself, would you have donated the page charges to publish in another journal? If not, it's time to be quiet.

It's long and the author doesn't have the money for page charges as he is a private citizen, not working from a grant. The independent researcher that our "friends" who support Andrew Wakefield keep calling for.

I don't know this publisher. Not really interested at this point.

I thank the author. It's no small task to write that. It's no small task to actually read "Callous Disregard". It's very poorly written.

By Matt Carey (not verified) on 22 Jan 2014 #permalink

To Joel A. Harrison @ #115: I have no idea why you feel obligated to include me and the one comment I posted about your paper.

To refresh your memory, this is what I stated about your paper:

January 21, 2014

@ Joel A. Harrison: You did a great job of dissecting Andrew Wakefield’s “Callous Disregard”. I haven’t read Wakefield’s book, but I’ve read reviews of it written by science bloggers. I also see that you credited Dr. Harriet Hall and Dr. Paul Offit for their assistance and advice.

So why isn’t your article available on PubMed, so we can link to it when we comment on other blogs? :-)

Do you see any disparaging remarks that I made about the Journal which published your paper...or any disparaging remarks about other papers published in any other journal...that were later proven to be less than stellar?

@Dr. Joel - please don't take the criticism in the wrong light. Personally, I think your article was excellent & should be published far and wide!!!

Dr. Harrison, thank you so much for taking the time and the (painful) effort to write your article. I personally haven't been able to stomach much of Wakefield's writings.

I will look forward to quoting your well-researched article in future blog posts at Things Chiropractors Say, as many anti-vaccination chiropractors cite Wakefield's work as proof of the evils of vaccines, or as proof of how corrupt science is, or how "the man" keeps maverick doctors down.

By James True Adams (not verified) on 22 Jan 2014 #permalink

What a coincidence that Matt Carey's post and my post appeared simultaneously. (I omitted the link to this science blogger's post which dispels the myth that Wakefield never claimed that MMR vaccine actually caused autism):


Joel...chill out; there's no need for you to defend your excellent paper which dissected Wakefield's lies that appeared in his crappy book.


I only thanked you for writing it and said I would be sharing it. It is very well-written and on point.

@ Joel A. Harrison, PhD, MPH:

Thanks for your hard work- I liked the paper. You put it together and got it noticed- that's what counts now.

My only worry is that now YOU'LL become a target for vitriol by Wakefield's groupies- on the web and in RL. You might want to look over Age of Autism articles to see how other realistic, science-based people are treated- including a few who frequent this site.

I sincerely hope that that doesn't happen to you. Some of us here have already evolved means of self-protection.

And you are amongst friends ( I mean the regulars, not the interlopers, of course, although they never really leave).

You are in the proverbial 'belly of the beast'.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 22 Jan 2014 #permalink

I second Matt Carey's response. Thank you Dr. Harrison for your effort on your own time; I'm reading it now.

By Science Mom (not verified) on 22 Jan 2014 #permalink

I am slowly going through the paper, and it has some very valuable information. I just finished page 7, and have found the comparison between the Japanese and American experience very sobering.

The fact that Bentham, who publishes almost 200 journals, published one fraudulent article and one controversial article does not make them a dubious publisher.

Please don't take this the wrong way, and let me state that although I haven't had the opportunity to read you review yet, the praise from the rest of the commentariat is more than enough for me to presume that it a quality contribution to the literature. In addition, I've been in the racket of scientific journals publishing for nearly 20 years.

Bentham is, in fact, now a "dubious" publisher because of the fact that they publish 200 journals or, more precisely, because they just up and decided six years ago to sprout a massively bloated OA portfolio. This does not speak to the quality of the Open Vaccine Journal, nor does it justify jumping on you because it's a Bentham title.

The fact that one article on 9/11 World Trade Center has been refuted doesn’t mean they should not have published it. There were problems with the article, e.g. chain of custody of the samples and fact that very similar chemical substances could have been in construction materials; but that doesn’t automatically mean that the paper should not have been published.

One problem with Harrit et al. that you omitted from these examples, which is relevant when considering OVJ in the light of Dr. Rubin's credentials, is that it ran without the knowledge of the EIC.

One might of course suppose nothing more than that Prof. Poleni wasn't exactly cut out to run even a small editorial office (two associate editors, like OVJ). The fly in this unguent is the Bentham form letter:

In recognition of your outstanding reputation and contribution in the field of [INSERT FIELD HERE],we are pleased to propose your name as the Editor-in-Chief of ‘The Open [INSERT FIELD HERE] Journal’. After the selection your role as the Editor-in-Chief will not be an onerous one. You will not be expected to process any submitted manuscripts to the journal nor referee them (unless you choose to do so).

If each submission passes through Dr. Rubin's hands, as it very well should, more power to him. But as noted by others, he's got quite a bit of work ahead of him if he's going to make his journal's signal stand out from the noise surrounding its publisher.

^ Sorry, I'm simultaneously trying to deal with the unfortunate task of editing a mere eight-page table of meteor data in... Word. I never thought I'd wish for Arbortext's insane CALS implementation.

I meant to write "it is a high-quality contribution to the literature."

Dr. Harrison: Now the fun begins. Dr. Harriet Hall has a very interesting post up at the Science Based Medicine blog:


Keating Willcox posted a comment defending Andrew Wakefield (who was unfairly targeted by evildoers representing *Big Pharma's* interests). *Someone* posted a comment back at Keating Willcox and linked to your scientific paper.

Keating Willcox posted a comment

Goodness me, that Willcox is a piece of work. A libertarian forced birther, to go with the anti-vax and the reliance on spam e-mails and tabloid newspapers as a source of information. Enough crank magnetism for a MRI machine.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 22 Jan 2014 #permalink

You obviously have NO idea how science works.

Actually I do, having been a scientist for more than 30 years. The truth of the mattetr is that all journals are not created equal, and while even high-impact journals have had documented failures of peer review and have had to retract prior published articles, etc., this does not argue that all journals share the same reputability.

The fact that Lancet finally withdrew Wakefield's paper doesn't argue that J Med Hypotheses is as credible a publication.

But please note I'm not attacking you, not arguing that your paper merit, nor dismissing it because it appeared in one of Bentham's open source journals. I'm simply pointing out that characterizing Bentham Publishing as possessing a dubious reputation is accurate, and consider it unfortunate that you chose for practical reasons to publish the article in one of their journals.

Sorry--should read "not arguing your paper lacks merit".

To Matt Carey, JGC, AdamG, Narad, and lilady:

Matt Carey hit the nail on the head. “Guys, the paper is published. Copyright has been transferred. Second guessing at this point is fruitless. Ask yourself, would you have donated the page charges to publish in another journal? If not, it’s time to be quiet. It’s long and the author doesn’t have the money for page charges as he is a private citizen, not working from a grant. The independent researcher that our “friends” who support Andrew Wakefield keep calling for. I don’t know this publisher. Not really interested at this point. I thank the author. It’s no small task to write that. It’s no small task to actually read “Callous Disregard”. It’s very poorly written.”

Thank you Matt Carey! With mainly the “help” and “encouragement” of my dog I spent almost a year tracking down articles and papers, including photocopying at two university libraries, downloading from electronic databases, using interlibrary loan, and sending e-mails to Canada, UK, and Sweden. After reading through close to 250 papers and writing way too much, I then had to cut it down to size.

The following year involved attempts at getting it published. I sent inquiries to probably 20 journals, including better known open-source journals. I actually started working on the paper in September 2011.

The print journals dismissed it out-of-hand as being way too long, except one offered to publish if I could cut it to around 2,000 words. It is over 15,000 words. The reference list alone is more than 2,000 words. None indicated willingness to waive publication fees of up to $2,000. And several said it wasn’t a topic of current interest. Well, even after losing his medical license in UK, Wakefield still has a strong following and the latest reports in California is that, despite 9,000 cases of whooping cough and 10 deaths in 2010, the number of parents refusing vacations is increasing.

Maybe if I kept up for the next few years contacting every journal out there someone would have published my paper that meets whatever standards JGC and AdamG feel appropriate; but I didn’t have the time or energy and after so many rejections was getting quite discouraged. In addition, many of the more established journals receive 100s of papers for every one they publish and, historically, several articles that eventually became classics were actually rejected by the more established journals.

When I had almost reached the point of giving up, I found The Open Vaccine Journal, sent a draft of my paper to the Editor, Dr. Steven Rubin, and he responded with a very strong approval, got Bentham to waive their publication fee, and made numerous valuable editorial suggestions. The staff of The Open Vaccine Journal did a great job of finding reviewers who gave detailed critiques (indicating they actually took the time to read my rather long paper) and then made the pdf look great.

Since I now own the copyright, I am overjoyed that my paper can now get a chance to be read and personally having read a number of articles in The Open Vaccine Journal and checking out the Editor and several others, I think it an up-and-coming journal.

My paper does something that no one else has done. Whereas Brian Deer’s superb investigational reporting and the British Medical Council Fitness to Practice hearing’s findings clearly show that Wakefield lacks any credibility, case files, interviews of various people, etc. are not easily available to the public, though Brian Deer does post a number of original documents on his superb website. My paper uses publicly verifiable sources, gives accurate direct quotes from Wakefield and from articles and documents, many that can be found on the web (I give the URLs) and the others at local university libraries. So, yes, some people will never change their minds; but anyone who actually reads my paper and makes the effort to verify what I wrote will be hard pressed to still believe anything Wakefield has to say.

Lilady. I did not include your name because you made any disparaging remarks; but you did ask: “So why isn’t your article available on PubMed, so we can link to it when we comment on other blogs?” Which I answered in my comment. By the way, I assume it was you who referred to my article in a comment on Science-Based Medicine. If so, THANKS EVER SO MUCH!

Narad. While you have been “in the racket of scientific journals publishing for nearly 20 years,” I have been at it ca. 50 years. But this is irrelevant. The fact that Bentham publishes 10 or 200 journals is also irrelevant. Some may be excellent, some average, and some mediocre or any combination thereof. Even after what Matt Carey wrote, apparently you still needed to get your two cents in. Why? I own the copyright, for all intents and purposes, my article is in The Open Vaccine Journal and I find no problem with its quality. Finally, whether the Editor liked or did not like the article on the World Trade Center, it was a well-written article, not an hysterical conspiracy theory article. It wouldn’t be the first time an editor of a journal has been overruled. It’s just one man’s opinion. The article did what a good article is supposed to do, that is, give a detailed methods section, which, unfortunately many articles don’t. Too many authors focus on the discussions section; but what makes science is the ability of other scientists to critique each others work and, where possible, to replicate it. And this can only be done based on the method’s section.And the article allowed such. So, unless you just like to hear the sound of your own voice. Give it a rest.

If someone told me about an article they wrote, if it were a topic I was interested in, I would read it. If it were a good article, I would say so.

Years ago when I was living in Sweden an American friend and his wife stopped by on their trip to Europe. His wife said something to the effect that she was impressed I had become so fluent at Sweden, learning it as an adult; but, of course, it’s an easy language. Not an honest compliment. If anyone believes my article is well-written, well-documented, and can make a contribution to undermining the anti-vaccine movements illogic, unscientific, and, sometimes dishonest claims, that is all that I want to hear.

By the way Matt, you are absolutely correct “It’s very poorly written.” Sections actually sound like a petulant child sent to bed without his desert. And it is extremely poorly footnoted/documented. And what I did with Wakefield’s claims about vaccine safety I could have done with the rest of the book; but my article would have become monograph length and not even The Open Vaccine Journal would have published it and it is already too long for some to read in its entirety.

By Joel A. Harris… (not verified) on 23 Jan 2014 #permalink

I, for one, am just grateful it isn't behind a pay wall.

Just saw this today.

The question whether Kerri Rivera is going to be present was priceless.

Heh. Indeed.

By A Mom Who Can … (not verified) on 23 Jan 2014 #permalink

@ Joel A. Harrison: Where are you Dr. Harrison? Your paper is featured on the Left Brain/Right Brain blog and I posted a comment on a Forbes science blog. (Expand All Comments) scroll down to my comment on page 9...


"Run along now Twyla…tell your handlers at AoA that your links to studies that have been thoroughly debunked hundreds of times, are not impressive.

Just in case you missed Dorit Reiss’ link to an excellent recently published scientific paper that analyzed the blatant lies and fabrications contained in Wakefield’s tawdry book “Callous Disregard”, here’s the link to the blog where you can locate that paper:"



Thanks for helping get my paper noticed, e.g. leftbrainrightbrain. One thing: Just give the direct URL to the paper would be simpler:
Joel A. Harrison, PhD, MPH. “Wrong About Vaccine Safety: A Review of Andrew Wakefield’s ‘Callous Disregard.” The Open Vaccine Journal, Vol 6, 2013, pp 9 – 25.
Available at: http://www.benthamscience.com/open/tovacj/articles/V006/TOVACJ201311260…

As for "Where am I?" I try to avoid these blog exchanges as I get sucked in and it takes too much time. I am actually slowly but surely working on my next anti-vaccine debunking paper. Hopefully, it won't take two years. My approach will be the same, just take several claims made by them and do some fact-checking, juxtaposing quotes and giving extensive references with URL when available. Hopefully it will be shorter than the current paper and first draft ready by summer. I've already collected most of the articles, documents, and chapters, just have to read through them, take notes, etc. Outline already done.

By Joel A. Harris… (not verified) on 25 Jan 2014 #permalink

@ Joel A. Harrison, PhD, MPH:

I wonder what you think of another MPH's anti-vaccine activism? I am of course referring to Jake Crosby of Autism Investigated...

Perhaps you might include him- although most of his arguments rely purely upon conspiracy theorising. At the very least, you might be either entertained ( or disgusted) by his obvious lacks of scientific data, insight and self-awareness.

Altho' anti-vax isn't really my niche, I run across loads of it whilst surveying woo- esp PRN, Natural News, Age of Autism, Thinking Moms' Revolution etc.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 25 Jan 2014 #permalink

@ Dr. Harrison: Don't thank me for the LB/RB post; the blogger there is impressed with your paper.

Poor Andy. He and his pals at AoA, tried, unsuccessfully to convince staff at the U-Wisc-LaCrosse to invite him to participate (debate) Brian Deer who conducted seminars November 2012, at the University. He ended up renting a gun shed in a public park miles away, hawking his book.

Poor Andy. He's still looking to garner publicity for himself and his book.


If Dr. Harrison is still reading the comments, he might want to head over to Forbes, where John Stone is accusing him of "outright fabrication."

Stone's claim that OVJ "is edited by a leading officer of the FDA" appears to have been dealt with.

Cripes, I thought I shut down that column with my last comment on Page 19, to the woman who claimed she had a slew of doctors who diagnosed her kid with metabolic encephalopathy and a host of nonsensical diagnoses related to vaccinations

Stone readily admitted he didn't read Dr. Harrison's paper...so I posted a few comments at him. I asked him when we could expect an analysis of Dr. Harrison's paper, posted on AoA.

Hi Narad and lilady:

I just checked out John Stone's claims. First, the editor of The Open Vaccine Journal does work for the FDA; but is a well-respected researcher; but, as far as I can tell, not a "leading officer." I tried to click on reply on the Forbes site; but it didn't work? If one of you want to, just cut and paste this into the Forbes comments.

So Stone wrote: "But what Wakefield actually wrote, citing a letter PEDIATRICS from Kalet et al 1992 who reported 5 cases of anaphylaxis out 2,789 MMR booster shots http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/89/1/168.3, was :

“For the UK, this figure equated to the potential for up to 14,337 cases of potentially life-threatening complications in that campaign.” So, Harrison has Wakefield stating something preoposterous when in fact anaphylaxis is a real concern of modern life, with hundreds of thousands of children having to go to school with EpiPens. Wakefield points out that there was no mention of the risk of anaphylaxis in the leaflets accompanying the campaign, although it is real and happens. But not only does Harrison fabricate something Wakefield says in order to rebut it, his 5 anonymous peer reviewers are so biased they pass it over too. Incidentally, the journal – which does not appear to have Pubmed listing – is edited by a leading officer of the FDA.

The actual quote from Wakefield's book is: “Trying to per- suade parents of the merits of an MR campaign on the basis of up to 50 possible measles deaths while ethically warning them of the possibility of up to 14,337 anaphylaxis deaths from the MR vaccine would have doomed the campaign to failure” (Wakefield, p. 80). So it is Stone who is absolutely lying. Feel free to check it out.

Anaphylactic Shock is a life-threatening condition; but mild anaphylaxis is not. The letter in Pediatrics made it quite clear that they weren't even certain it was mild anaphylaxis; but certainly not life-threatening. As an analogy, many kids gets a slight fever following vaccination, e.g. 100 - 101, easily dealt with by children's acetaminophen. However, temperatures of 104 and higher are life-threatening. Keep in mind that after intensive sports ones temperature is also elevated, though not life-threatening. As I pointed out in my paper, international studies found not a single death from anaphylactic shock, studies easily available to Wakefield. Keep also in mind that anaphylactic shock occurs almost always within a few minutes of exposure so if it had occurred, it would have been attributed to a vaccine and reported.

Stone is doing two things typical of the illogic and unscience of the anti-vaccine movment:
1. Projecting his own beliefs into what he reads rather than carefully reading it and twisting and literally lying about what was said.
2. Attacking the source rather than a civil, scholarly critique. Though I have never worked for a pharmaceutical company nor the CDC nor the FDA, even if I had does not invalidate what I wrote. Keep in mind that just as the Pharmaceutical companies have exaggerated the benefits and underreported the adverse events of some drugs, other drugs that they sell do work exactly as promised. For people that believe automatically that everything is a lie, I suggest if they are diabetic not to purchase insulin. If they have a life-threatening infection, let nature take its course. The same with cancer. All that knowing the source should do is to get people to put on their critical thinking caps; but it doesn't invalidate the actual data, etc.

And Wakefield was paid over $600,000 as a consultant to the Dawburn law firm which was representing families who believed their children were harmed by vaccines. Wakefield, together with Dawburn applied for and received a grant for 50,000 pounds from the British Legal Aid Board to conduct research that would prove that MMR caused autism. Wakefield, when he gave a press conference saying he personally wouldn't use a trivalent vaccine until further research showed it safe had applied for a patent on a monovalent measles vaccine. And Wakefield, using his wife's name, Carmen, had applied to form a corporation for testing children which was estimated to make literally millions. If parents believed his research, then he stood to become quite wealthy.

Strange how the anti-vaccine movement only impugn's opponents motives.

By Joel A. Harris… (not verified) on 27 Jan 2014 #permalink

Dr. Harrison: You have to set up a "comments" account on Forbes, in order to comment. It is easy to set up an account and I am permanently logged in, since I set up my account. You can see which science bloggers I follow and comment by clicking my 'nym on top of any comment I've made.

Here's where you "Sign Up" to comment (upper right corner)


I am not on any social networking site, so I created my own Forbes account. Trust me on this...if I can easily create an account to post comments on Forbes...anyone can create an account.

P.S. We know all about Wakefield and his COIs, in the U.K., and how he earns money now in the United States, with his ownership of The Autism Media Channel and a funding stream from anti-vaccine organizations.

@ Joel A. Harrison, PhD, MPH:

We could take you on an internet photo tour of alt med charlatans'** estates: they live like lords ( lords in the old days, not now)- Wakefield ( Texas), Burzynski ( Texas), Mercola ( Illinois), Null ( Florida, Texas, NY), Adams ( his old place in Ecuador). I haven't looked at Young's so-called ranch in California yet. But I will.

** altho' some are actual doctors.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 27 Jan 2014 #permalink


I really don't want to be signed up for a bunch of different sites. Since you are already actively invested in the Forbes site, please either just cut and paste my comment or use parts of it to refute John Stone's claims. He either lied or just made up what he thought Wakefield wrote in his book. I spent two years on my article partly because I kept checking and rechecking every single quote and number. I know the anti-vacciners would look for any errors, regardless of how trivial. The old saying is "the exception proves the rule;" but for them the exception becomes the rule. However, there is absolutely nothing I could do to prevent them from just outright lying about what I wrote.

I just spent wasted time trying to contact Yahoo to find out how their search engine could add my article. I got to customer service line, got message that they had a high volume of calls, that every customer is important, so stay on the line and the next customer service representative available will help, then after five minutes came message that due to high volume of calls they couldn't help and they hung up. This has happened half dozen times over several days. Lousy customer service!

By Joel A. Harris… (not verified) on 27 Jan 2014 #permalink

@ Denice Walter...meet me over at today's post on quack Dr. Young, comment # 17.

I just spent wasted time trying to contact Yahoo to find out how their search engine could add my article.

That's not how it works, anyway (and Yahoo is now Bing under the hood in the U.S., Google in Japan). If you want it to rise in search results, the best you can do is have it receive organic links in other places – so, for example, if people cite the paper, it's better for you if they include a link rather than just the title.

Google has some suggestions for individual authors on getting noticed by Google Scholar, but it's looking for .edu domains; I don't know whether Bentham works directly with them to have their repository indexed. As it is, a search for 'andrew wakefield review' is turning up your paper as the ninth result on the first page.

Hi Narad:

I found an e-mail address to Bing, so I e-mailed them. Keep your fingers crossed. I did find my article when I searched "Wrong About Vaccine Safety"; but several pages down. I need it to pop up when someone searches "Callous Disregard", "Andrew Wakefield", "vaccine safety" etc. I also found a contact to Google, so, hopefully either Bing or Google will add to their search engines. I do ask everyone, including journalists, I contacted to give the URL to paper and also suggested that, since it is open-source, they can actually post on their website/blogs.

This is very frustrating. It was hard work getting this paper done. I live alone with a dog and he was not any help, just wanted his tummy rubbed, go for a walk, or play with frisby in backyard. After two years I got it published and now am trying to get it noticed. Despite what people like John Stone write, I know that every quote, every number, etc. is accurate, not taken out of context, so that anyone who bothers to check hyperlinks, etc. will not find any fault with it. Some people suggested I shorten the paper by paraphrasing; but I intentionally used direct quotes. Made it longer; but removes any suggestion that I twisted anything to push some "hidden agenda." I let the quotes from articles and documents juxtaposed with quotes from Wakefield's book to tell the story.

If you like to read I would suggest an excellent book by two respected social psychologists, Carol Tavris and Elliot Aronson. "Mistakes were made (but not by me): Why we justify foolish beliefs, bad decisions, and hurtful acts."

There are lots of books on how people use faulty logic and science to arrive at opinions; but this book explains why once decided many people stick to their guns even if it hurts them or others. It fits some of the anti-vaccine proponents; but, of course, others have more direct reasons, e.g. they make money from it or get public notice.

By Joel A. Harris… (not verified) on 27 Jan 2014 #permalink

I also found a contact to Google, so, hopefully either Bing or Google will add to their search engines.

No disrespect, but I think you're failing to understand how search engines work: things are not added by hand. The process is automated; programs trawl the Web looking for content and, especially, what it links to. The algorithms are sophisticated, so that, e.g., just peppering random sites with links to content doesn't work well.

Having links appear in highly ranked informational sites (such as here) will cause an item to rise in the search results. LB/RB was a good start, as it provides so-called organic keyword context.* You're not going to be able to do it single-handedly.

It would help if you had an institutional site where you could host a minimal home page. Right now, it looks like OVJ is very poorly indexed by Google Scholar, with the little recent stuff coming through broken Spanish-language EBSCO links.

So, there are a couple of options here. If Bentham, for G-d only knows what reason, hasn't done this, they should. Dr. Rubin could also do it on his own for OVJ.

If there are underlying technical issues that are causing this to break, you could always set up a Web site of your own. At very least, having an HTML version of the paper would be nice, and I presume you're allowed to redistribute it as you see fit. There are people here who can help with this, including myself, but this all depends on having adequate free time.

* Of course, what be be truly hilarious would be if AoA were to take it on, which would provide plenty of SEO bait.

Search engines such as Google are trying to mirror the associational links within the Interweb. So if there are enough comments on blog threads referring to "Wakefield vaccine safety review" which include hyperlinks to the OVJ, the review will rise to the top of a Google search.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 27 Jan 2014 #permalink

an excellent book by two respected social psychologists, Carol Tavris and Elliot Aronson. “Mistakes were made (but not by me): Why we justify foolish beliefs, bad decisions, and hurtful acts.”

Seconding the recommendation. Though there are infuriating and heartbreaking passages. The police and justice systems seem particularly susceptible cognitive-dissonance-reducing denial of reality, which puts people in prison on false convictions and keeps them there. A successful appeal would mean that someone had made a mistake.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 27 Jan 2014 #permalink

One thing that may not be helping here is this:

<meta name="keywords" content="“anti-vaccination” “aseptic meningitis” “anaphylaxis” “cerebellar ataxia” “gait disturbance” “MMR vaccine” “mumps meningitis” “vaccine

A search for "gait disturbance" + "vaccine approval" pull up the paper as the No. 1 hit.

Ditto "MMR vaccine" + "vaccine approval".

Hi: I just re-read sections of Wakefield's book. The quote I used in my paper was absolutely accurate; but John Stone's was also. However, I stand by what I wrote. Wakefield used a letter in Pediatrics which said five children suffered from what could have been mild cases of anaphylaxis which might have been caused by MMR and and from that Wakefield extrapolated and wrote (the quote used by Stone): "For the UK, this figure equated to the potential for up to 14,337 cases of a potentially life-threatening complication . ." So from mild reactions to "potentially life-threatening to "up to 14,337 anaphylaxis deaths from the MR vaccine (the quote ignored by Stone)." Wow! So if a letter to Pediatrics stated five kids had mild fevers of 101, successfully treated with acetaminophen, would Wakefield have written "potentially life-threatening fevers" and then "up to 14,337 fever caused deaths?"

Google has a webmaster form for entering a URL, which I did. According to the instructions it will then be added to their "spider" whatever that is, unless, for some reason, it is rejected. So, all I can do now is hope.

However, as I've written before, I e-mailed over a dozen journalists and bloggers who have written about Wakefield and/or the vaccine controversy, so, hopefully, one or more will write about my paper and I did ask them, if they write about it, to include the URL.

Since the paper was only posted in its final pdf form on January 17 it is still possible that one or more will write about it. After all, they probably have lots of e-mails to sort through and when they come to mine, they will have to read my paper, which is long and they could be working on other things, so I remain hopeful.

Ja wohl, Herr Doktor. Tavris and Aronson's book is infuriating and heartbreaking. According to the Innocence Project there are approximately 40,000 innocent people in U.S. prisons and most will serve out their terms because the various Innocence Projects can only take on serious cases like Death Penalty and Life Imprisonment. So far over 700 have been freed and in almost every case the State fought tooth and nail against opening the cases. In some cases it was found that had they opened them earlier they would have caught the real perpetrator and spared another victim; but even that knowledge doesn't seem to phase them. One thing, though only mentioned in passing, European countries are more open to admitting mistakes because in their schools they really emphasize that making mistakes are OK as long as people learn from them; but the U.S. is less likely to forgive failures. One little anecdote. If I remember correctly, only one naval officer was ever allowed to stay in the service after running a ship aground. He hardly amounted to anything. LOL His name was Chester Nimitz, the Admiral that lead the U.S. Navy against Japan. Gee, think maybe some other young officers who ran a ship aground might also have amounted to something?

By Joel A. Harris… (not verified) on 27 Jan 2014 #permalink

I tried to refrain from getting involved in these discussions, but I feel it is important to respond to those who wish to focus the discussion not on the quality of Dr. Harrison’s article, but rather on the publisher, Bentham Open. What some may not understand is that each of the 100+ open access journals published by Bentham has their own Editor-in-Chief and Editorial Board. The rigor of the scientific review can therefore vary from journal to journal. I serve as the Editor-in-Chief of the Open Vaccine Journal and I personally appointed the journal’s Co-Editor-In Chief, Associate Editors, and Regional Editors. These are all highly respected people in their field, some I have personally worked with for years, others, I know of mainly by reputation.

When Bentham Open receives a manuscript for submission to The Open Vaccine Journal, the staff at Bentham Open forwards the manuscript to either one of my two Associate Editors, or to one my two Regional Editors. The Editor receiving the manuscript will then coordinate review of the manuscript with 3 to 5 of the 88 current members of the journal’s Editorial Board (http://www.benthamscience.com/open/tovacj/EBM.htm), or in some cases to non-board members, who are also well respected scientists in the field. Comments raised by the review staff will be forwarded to the author of the manuscript with either (1) notice of rejection, (2) notice of acceptance without modification, or, most often, (3) a request for responses to each comment and submission of a revised manuscript. In the latter case, the point-by-point response to each of the reviewer’s comments and the revised manuscript will then be sent to the review team who will make a recommendation on acceptance. This recommendation, along with the reviewer’s comments and the author’s rebuttal, is then sent to me or to the Co-Editor-In Chief for final review and a final decision. We (Editors and Editorial Advisory Board members) have no financial incentive (we are not paid in any manner) and have no agenda other than to ensure publication of high quality manuscripts. Do all Bentham Open editorial boards act in this manner and strive as hard to weed out bad science from good science? I do not know. I can only vouch for The Open Vaccine Journal. This is not to say that we will never be fooled or will never make mistakes, but I assure you, the Open Vaccine Journal is completely above the board. I stand my Dr. Harrison’s work.

Steven Rubin, Ph.D.
The Open Vaccine Journal

By Steven Rubin (not verified) on 29 Jan 2014 #permalink

Dr. Rubin, I think most everyone here understands this, but if one looks at the comments on the Forbes entry, John Stone* has already insinuated this attack on Dr. Harrison's paper.** He's ill positioned to do so, as Age of Autism, of which he is an editor, is perfectly content to rely on bottom-feeders such as OMICS and SCIRP, but in this context, those of "us" who engage these types have to expect this to come up.

As such, I'd like to thank you for taking the time to elaborate on the procedures of the editorial office.

* It took someone posting a screen shot of the relevant page of Callous Disregard to get him to shut up about the "outright fabrication" business.

** As well as insinuating that your position as a high-ranking "officer" presumptively rendered OVJ an FDA front. This, too, was addressed in those comments.

^ (But if you can do something about improving those metadata tags, it could go a long way to improving Dr. Harrison's presence in search results.)

Hi Narad:

I never heard of metadata tags; but looked them up. If I'm not mistaken, they are for HTML, so I don't know how they would work for pdfs? Both Dr. Rubin and myself have contacted Bentham about arranging something with Google and Bing. In addition, as already mentioned, Dr. Rubin and Bentham are actively pursuing getting The Open Vaccine Journal indexed by the National Library of Medicine which operates PubMed. And, if any anti-vacciner comments on Dr. Rubin, I suggest you search his name in PubMed. He is a well-respected research virologist and, as he wrote above, receives no compensation for serving as Editor of Open Vaccine Journal. Given his busy work schedule I am just grateful he devoted so much time to making editorial suggestions on my rather lengthy paper.

Ask the anti-vacciner commenters the following:
1. for instance, is Age of Autism indexed in PubMed
2. how many peer-reviewed articles do they have
3. do articles posted on AoA go through some independent peer-review process

I'd love to hear their reply

By Joel A. Harris… (not verified) on 29 Jan 2014 #permalink

I never heard of metadata tags; but looked them up. If I’m not mistaken, they are for HTML, so I don’t know how they would work for pdfs?

The trick is that the PDF of your paper is ultimately found by HTML links. The tags that I noted above are exactly the ones that are attached to the abstract. That's why you're No. 1 for "MMR vaccine" + "vaccine approval"; the pages are being crawled by Google.

Without looking at the OVJ submission guidelines, I don't know for certain where these came from, but I can only surmise that they were supplied either by you or by the editorial office. This exercise is fundamentally different from supplying key words to run under an abstract.*

If you want to turn up in searches for 'Wakefield' or 'Callous Disregard', the most expedient thing to do would be to put those term in the metadata. This is also why I suggested the possibility of generating an HTML version of the paper, which would be far more straightforwardly indexed mechanically than a PDF (although I haven't looked at the actual structure of the file at hand).

* I have a separate bee in my bonnet about journals that allow free-form key words rather than a canonical list, which are a pain in the tokhes for a careful manuscript editor.

Iflscience has posted a map that sums up the damage done by the anti-vac movement. That's a lot of deaths and suffering on Wakefield's and McCarthy's hands.
No idea why Wakefield isn't in jail by now, or why McCarthy has a platform on The View. Hollywood really is full of stupid people sometimes.
BTW, my son is autistic and he has a soul. Grrr!

"Soul gone"??? What absolute, utter bull s**t! I have two autistic boys and they have the sweetest, kindest souls you could wish to meet. Talking about autistic kids like that implies that they are not human!

Reading some of the comments made by Jenny McCarthy in
the past have literally left me boiling with anger too. That woman really gripes my snot. I am just relieved she isn't in the public eye so much here.

By Arwen Woods (not verified) on 19 Feb 2014 #permalink

@Arwen - it is very sad to see these anti-vaccine activists continue to dehumanize those with autism (especially their own children).

It is a disgrace.

That woman really gripes my snot.

This one I'm going to have to deploy against my Welsh Australian Scottish friend.