With very few exceptions, antivaccinationists labor under the delusion that they are not antivaccine. The reason is simple. Deep down, at some level, even the most dedicated antivaccine advocate knows that society quite rightly views it as a bad thing to be against a preventative intervention that has arguably saved more lives than any other medical intervention. Of course, as I've documented many times in the past, there are some who are openly antivaccine and proud of it, but they seem to be the minority. Most antivaccinationists, like Jenny McCarthy, hide behind a mantra resembling, "I'm not 'anti-vaccine.' I'm pro-safe vaccine." This rhetorical device serves two purposes. First, it camouflages a pseudoscientific belief system that demonizes vaccines, at least to those unaware of the scientific bankruptcy of the arguments used to support it. Second, it allows the antivaccinationist to see herself as the real defender of public health, compared to those evil "vaccine pushers," who, no doubt under the influence of all that filthy pharma lucre showered upon them by vaccine manufacturers to run astroturf operations against Brave Defenders of the Truth, are the real ones fighting to save The Children.
This particular bit of presto change-o prestidigitation applied to reality has been popping up a lot lately. It began with a piece that's been making the rounds on Facebook and other social media sites. Having first appeared on the website of the antivaccine group that we all know and love (actually, not Generation Rescue, but that other antivaccine group that we all know and love, SafeMinds), it's a piece by Scott Laster, a SafeMinds board member, entitled Dear Parents, you are being deceived about vaccines and autism.
It's a deeply deceptive piece, full of logical fallacies and antivaccine tropes long debunked both here and elsewhere, including the claim that the Hannah Poling case represents evidence that the government has admitted that vaccines can cause autism "in some children" (it isn't; rather it's a "rebranding" of autism on the part of the antivaccine movement) and that the government compensated 83 children for vaccine-induced autism. That latter claim is a particularly fetid mixture of rotting dingo's kidneys, based as it is on a "study" by antivaccine lawyers whose conclusions do not flow from the data they examined and who seem to have "forgotten" (or not acknowledged the need) to obtain Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval to study. It's a favorite antivaccine study cited by antivaccine "journalists" such Sharyl Attkisson and useful idiots like Rob Schneider for the Canary Party. Not surprisingly, Laster also cites the usual litany of dubious studies that don't show what he (and sometimes the authors) think they show, including a claim that the basic science has never been done to "study autism rates in children who have been given the recommended 24 doses against 9 different diseases before age one versus autism rates in children who have not received those vaccines, which is, of course, a distortion at best.
Then he provides a statement that serves as good evidence for the point I'm trying to make:
We also know that hundreds of thousands of parents, like this one and this one and this one, followed the rules, did everything their doctors told them, and had no autism in their families. Now they have children on the autism disorder spectrum. We cannot say for certainty that vaccines cause autism. We cannot say for certainty that vaccines do NOT cause autism. Nothing has been definitely proven. Despite what you read and what the government wants you to believe, this is still very much an open debate.
They call any organizations “anti-vaxxers” if they champion vaccine safety.
But the organizations are simply calling for a smart approach to vaccination in which plausible vaccine-injury theories are actually studied and parents are informed of the measured risks versus benefits. These organizations call for the science to be performed in order to have a vaccine schedule that is properly researched, as opposed to being a massive public experiment in regards to autism risk. Instead of “anti-vax”, the proper label for these organizations is “pro-science.”
Imagine if after the food-poisoning outbreak, the organizations that questioned why no other food but potato salad at the buffet was tested were ridiculed and attacked as being “anti-food”?
Imagine if doctors who call for a more judicious and safer use of antibiotics were ridiculed and attacked for being “anti-”antibiotic?
The stupid, it burnsss usss, precioussss.
But for all the burn marks across my face and body from the napalm-grade idiocy contained within that passage, I still find this passage quite useful. First, note how Laster is following the tried-and-not-so-true antivaccine playbook of trying to claim the moral high ground by claiming to be "pro-science," which is, of course, a variant on Jenny McCarthy's attempt to proclaim herself "pro-safe vaccine," lo those many years ago.
Then there's another favored technique of antivaccine activists: Use of false analogies, such as the examples of a food-poisoning outbreak or critics of overuse of antibiotics. You don't have to be a rocket scientist, just someone with half a brain (which Laster obviously lacks) and some critical thinking ability, to see the enormous holes in Laster's "logic." Obviously, in the case of a food poisoning outbreak, there is a good scientific and logical reason to suspect the food if people who ate it come down with the symptoms of food poisoning, such as nausea and vomiting with or without diarrhea, during a time frame that's clinically consistent with food poisoning. Similarly, there is abundant evidence that antibiotics are overused; so questioning current practices with respect to antibiotics is reasonable. In marked contrast, there is no convincing scientific, clinical, or epidemiological evidence to suspect that vaccines cause autism. Consequently, there is no reasonable scientific rationale to demand the investigations that Laster demands.
But don't call him "antivax." Oh, no. Don't do that! Never mind that blatantly antivaccine rhetoric with no science to back it up, Not that a lack of evidence stops laster from a massive case of projection. First, he tries to claim the mantle of science in which evidence accumulates to result in a revolutionary change in our understanding:
Science is the active pursuit of inquiry and our understanding of how diseases, the human body, and medicines interact is always changing.
Normal science tends to discover what it expects to discover, until unresolved anomalies accumulate and eventually lead some scientists to begin to question the paradigm. At this point, science enters a period of crisis characterized by explicit discontent until there is a revolutionary change in worldview in which a now-deficient paradigm is replaced by a newer one.
Well, yes and no. Sometimes science works this way. The replacement of Newtonian physics with quantum mechanics (sort of—it happened over several decades of extremely fertile experimentation in physics beginning in the late 1800s and continuing well into the 20th century). The rise of germ theory was not universally accepted at first. New science often has to prove itself. That's what science requires.
Now here's the problem with Laster's claiming the mantle of scientific change with respect to vaccines. Such radical changes, such as the transition from Newtonian physics to quantum mechanics and relativistic physics requires actual observations that can't be accounted for by existing theory, which physics had in abundance 150 years ago. More importantly, they also require copious evidence, evidence sufficient in quantity and quality to overthrow the existing paradigm of the time. Again, physics and chemistry had that in abundance between 150 and 100 years ago. In stark contrast, quite simply, there are no such observations with respect to vaccines and autism that cannot be explained by existing science, and there is no good evidence to lead us to suspect that vaccines have anything to do with autism. Indeed, multiple large studies have been carried out to determine whether there is a correlation between vaccines and autism. Not even a whiff of a hint of a link has been found, at least not by reputable scientists. Antivaccine quacks, of course, like Andrew Wakefield and Mark and David Geier, have claimed to find such a link, but the validity of the conclusions of these studies melts away under even relatively mild scrutiny. Now here's Laster's projection:
So many parents are now walking away from doctors who ignore their concerns about vaccines, and so many are speaking up against unnecessary vaccination and over-vaccination, that health officials can no longer ignore it.
Vaccine-injury deniers can make the false statement that “studies prove vaccines don’t cause autism” over and over. But repeating a false statement never makes it become true.
Yes, according to Laster, apparently because parents confusing correlation with causation or influenced by antivaccine propaganda pumped out by groups like SafeMinds have become fearful of vaccination, the tide of science is moving Laster's way. Sorry, bub. Wishing doesn't make it so. It is amusing how Laster has tried to appropriate the language of how we describe science denialism, the way that I first noticed a couple of years ago and that inspired me to retort: Denialism. You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means. As for Laster's bit about repeating a false statement never makes it become true, well, the delusional belief that repeating a false statement often enough makes it into the truth seems to underlie the antivaccine movement's entire method of promoting its pseudoscience.
Not surprisingly, Laster's bloviating broadside has—if you can call it that—"inspired" Laura Hayes over at that wretched hive of scum and antivaccine quackery, Age of Autism, to pontificate on The Oxymoron of Safe Vaccines, in which we're treated to this:
I still think it is of paramount importance for people to understand that the term "safe vaccines" is an oxymoron, and therefore, I would argue that even those who might call themselves "pro-science" would not agree that there is any "smart approach to vaccination". By their very nature, vaccines cannot be made safe, as they artificially and unnaturally stimulate the immune system (by injecting these toxic cocktails, versus inhaling or consuming them, the first part of the immune system's response is bypassed, which is essential to trigger the next parts of the immune response...it's analagous to intervening during a woman's pregnancy and forcing the process to go out of order, missing some of the critical steps, and thinking that won't matter for the end product), with unsafe ingredients (e.g. adjuvants such as neurotoxic aluminum, proteins which cannot be broken down in the circulatory system as that needed to be done in the GI tract, and known neurotoxins such as mercury and aluminum, which are injected at a time when the blood-brain barrier is still wide open), in a way that is foreign to the immune system (i.e. via the vascular system and muscle tissue versus via airways and the GI tract), etc. Thus, "safe vaccines" is an oxymoron of the first degree. Then, multiply that unsafe effect by giving multiple vaccines at once, without consideration of family history or body weight, and before any allergies or metabolic problems have been discerned, and that is a recipe for absolute disaster.
Wow. That second sentence is longer and more convoluted than even a typical lengthy Orac sentence, complete with an ellipse to make it an unnecessary run-on. Now, I'm not really one who should be criticizing grammar and sentence construction, but wow. Talk about convoluted and pretentious writing, and that comes from someone who is on occasion prone to a bit of convoluted and pretentious writing. I can't compete with that, though.
Oh, and don't call Hayes antivaccine, even though she thinks vaccines can't be made safe and are "toxic cocktails." Oh, wait. Scratch that. She has "no problem being called anti-vaccine" because she is and considers it a "barbaric practice that is not founded on any sound science." Of course, if you're scientifically ignorant enough and sufficiently devoid of critical thinking skills to lay down the howlers that Laura Hayes lays down in her piece, there's only one thing missing. Yes, Hayes "takes it to the next level," so to speak, but invoking a trope of the antivaccine movement that I've described before:
Informed consent, which includes the option to say yes or no in a coercion-free manner, is intricately related to medical choice freedom and must also ALWAYS be an essential component of any free and moral society. With regards to vaccines, it actually can't truly happen because vaccines have never been properly studied, either individually, or in the myriad combinations in which they are given, or as a complete whole over the first 18 years of a child's life. Thus, any information a doctor gives as to the benefits of vaccines is not only uninformed and not actually based on any factual information, it is strictly personal opinion...it is absolutely not based on any sound science. This is especially true when doctors and the government proclaim that there is no link between vaccines and autism, given what we now know about Paul Thorsen, upon whose study many base their claims of no link between vaccines and autism. The man STOLE the money he was given by the U.S. government to do a study about the relationship between vaccines and autism (in another country, by the way, why not in the U.S. we must ask?). He's a wanted fugitive, yet his worthless study is cited all the time. Again, talk about CRAZY! A "pro-science, smart approach to vaccination" must always include true informed consent, which of course includes the right to accept or decline any or all vaccines without any interference, coercion, or cost.
I'm sorry. I shouldn't have done that to you, my loyal readers. I shouldn't have quoted not just one but two paragraphs from Hayes' diatribe. However, I don't think you can get the full flavor of her "arguments" without seeing a generous sampling of her "reasoning," if you can call it that. In any case, what she is advocating is something I've described quite a few times before, namely what I like to call "misinformed consent." What do I mean by "misinformed consent"? Glad you asked!
Normally, in medicine, the concept of "informed consent" means that a patient needs to be informed of the risks and benefits of any procedure, to the best of medical science's knowledge and recognizing that there is always some uncertainty in any medical conclusion. Then the patient decides, after hearing the doctor's counsel. Antivaccinationists engage in a parody of this process that I've dubbed "misinformed consent," in which no true informed consent can happen. Basically, they exaggerate the risks of vaccination beyond anything supported by science and downplay—or even deny—the benefits to the point where any rational person, if she accepts the risk-benefit analysis as presented, would decide not to vaccinate her child.
The depressing thing about this latest round of antivaccine projection is that it's all so depressingly the same, a fact made even more depressing by an actual "integrative pediatrician" named "Dr. Paul" Thomas, who in response to the SafeMinds piece chimed in with a spectacularly brain dead blog post in which he proclaims Andrew Wakefield to have been right and not to have committed research fraud. Unfortunately, the tactics and tropes of the antivaccine movement never change. They might evolve somewhat, but at their core the same deceptions reign eternal.
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Perhaps not entirely OT: the analyses of febrile seizures associated with Fluvax during 2010 are in (here and here).
So, they hate being called "anti-vaccine" then turn around and say that they will never support a single vaccine or that vaccines will always be "unsafe."
Yeah, they aren't anti-vaccine....not at all.....morons.
Dr. Paul Thomas...another "vaccine friendly doctor" who doesn't take insurance payments and who sells supplements to "detoxify" yourself.
Dr. Thomas' "inspirational" post about forgiveness when one of his drug addicted patients made a complaint to the Oregon medical licensing board, here:
"....One of the most traumatic challenges I have faced in my career was an attack on my professional character and standing by the board of medical examiners (BME). One disgruntled poly-substance addict in my addiction practice went home on her first night after starting treatment and supposedly had a seizure that broke her hot tub and flooded her house, for which she wanted financial compensation.
The BME requested numerous other random charts, I appeared in front of the investigation committee, and despite my lawyer saying I had nothing to worry about, after a year of waiting, the BME sent a letter accusing me of everything they can legally accuse a physician of. I responded with a detailed report using the same charts they had requested, showing line by line how each accusation was false. All charges were ultimately dropped but the damage to my psyche and reputation was deep. How to forgive and forget?
I realize my little run-in with the board, while they threatened to end my medical career, was nothing compared to victims of physical, sexual, or emotional abuse. It nevertheless gave me insight into how hard it is indeed to put past trauma behind us. We fear that if we forget, it could happen again so we keep our guard up, but as a result we live in constant bondage to the memories of that past trauma...."
That's not quite the way it went down:
I wonder how he handles complaints to the Disney antipiracy division.
Health officials, doctors and the media are intentionally deceiving the public, Laster says. The reason being that they genuinely believe what they say - but believe with a blind religious fervour.
That's not logical, now is it? Say officials, doctors and the media were all saying what Laster believes, would it be because of blind religious fervour? Well, yes it would have to be something like that, because that directly contradicts the science, but they would not be intentionally deceiving. They would be be ignorantly deceiving themselves and others.
Incompetent "Dr. Paul" very much appears to be an unctuous liar.
Dr. Paul Thomas has a slew of YouTube videos up...about aluminum and Thimerosal. He also defends Andrew Wakefield...because, he believes what the mommies of his 157 autistic patients tell him about how their kids were "gone" after receiving the MMR vaccine:
That's not quite the same as "The board agrees not to deliver a verdict as long as the doctor promises to be more competent in future."
Sabin's oral vaccine was, what, 1960? Perhaps that is so recent that Hayes can be forgiven for never hearing about it, or about the various inhalable flu vaccines.
I should be used to reading lies from these 'safe vaccine advocates', but it still disturbs me to see the sort of nonsense Hayes writes.
Firstly, does Hayes really believe our immune systems have evolved to deal only with ingested and inhaled pathogens? What about pathogens that get into our bodies through cuts and abrasions? What "next parts of the immune response" aren't triggered by these?
Secondly, (I see HDB asks the same question) is Hayes happy with the oral polio vaccine, and inhaled influenza vaccines? If not, why aren't these safe?
I don't follow this at all. How is an immune response to a pathogen or a vaccines analogous to pregnancy in any way?
Aluminum salts don't need to be "broken down", they are readily excreted in urine, along with the other aluminum salts already in the circulatory system from our diets. There are plenty of proteases in the blood that can deal with the proteins in vaccines. How else do we deal with the 20 billion or more cells that die in our bodies each and every day? The idea that the human body, which is largely made of protein, cannot deal with a few micrograms of protein (or DNA) in vaccines is just ridiculous.
Do these people simply not understand the concept of dose?
The blood brain barrier is never "wide open". This piece of misinformation seems to be based on some studies in the 1920s that have since been proven wrong. For example, this study looked at a wide range of substances in neonatal and adult rabbits and concluded:
We have every reason to believe the same is true in humans.
This idea that inhaled and ingested pathogens are normal, and pathogens introduced to the body through other channels are unnatural or "foreign" intrigues me. There are many diseases that are contracted through channels other than inhalation and ingestion. Tetanus, hepatitis B and C, HPV, various STIs, a wide range of insect-transmitted diseases (which are injected into the body, in many cases), I could continue.
A false conclusion based on demonstrably false premises.
This is not only untrue, but anyone can look up vaccine studies in PubMed, or read the CDC pages on vaccine post-marketing surveillance to see that it is untrue.
Only if you ignore the many studies that show the efficacy and safety of vaccines. These are a serious stumbling block for Hayes and her ilk, so they have to discredit them in any way they can. Enter Poul (not Paul) Thorsen. I haven't the heart to go over the reasons why Thorsen's alleged misconduct has nothing whatsoever to do with the reliability of the research he was a minor author for, or all the other research he was completely uninvolved in that came to the same conclusions.
Why do these people keep repeating these obvious lies? More to the point, why does anyone take them seriously?
@Kreb - it just shows how out of touch & insane these people are....they continue to espouse the same lies (and ridiculous ones at that) over and over again like they were facts, even though they've been shown time and time again that their statements are patently false.
It was difficult not to get angry reading that trash - seeing a person repeat obvious lies, without a single clue about actual biology or immunology.
"Science is the active pursuit of inquiry"...until a poorly constructed version of it tells us what we want to hear, then the inquiry stops.
Bad acting, but a little humor after having to experience the
Going House of Cards on Anti-vaxxers.
I really think that they have to dig in the more information that comes out against their ideas because to believe otherwise would mean they made a horrible, dangerous, and irresponsible medical choice for their children.
Here's another trope:
TMR today blesses us with two entries-
the first is a short film ( from AutismOne) by Leslie Manookian which features several of the TMs ( most prominently, the Rev, Mamacita, Dragonslayer and Prima) who espouse the belief that "THEY KNEW" how dangerous vaccines are and still, they jabbed our children into oblivion.
This belief is echoed by Rev** Goes in the second article, which encourages TMs to spend the summer Thinking. She first presents a 1973 paper which shows how adjuvants " cause long term damage" to immunity.
Yes, THEY KNEW alright: " chronic illness is A BUSINESS MODEL" she tells us. Look how many children have ASDs, speech prolems and behave atrociously. Yet they exist on meds and junk food diets.
HOWEVER the "elites" eat "green', travel with their "personal homeopaths", avoid toxic meds like the plague they are and "suppress every word "of Truth that she and her rebellious, Thinking sisters write.
It never fails to amuse me that alt med types believe that chronic illness didn't exist in the past: Or that patient demand and quality of life issues have no effect on what products are created and marketted by pharmaceutical companies.
** observe her avatar with 1200lb gorilla.
" why does anyone take them seriously?"
Because it makes them feel better about themselves and their current situation:
it is all self-aggrandisement all of the time.
Rather than being an everyday parent and caretaker of a child with an ASD, they are suddenly Brave, Rebel Warriors and Critics of Science as well as Epitomes of Morality.
They are Saintly Fighters for their Sacred Child, destroyed by Evil personified.
I've never been a Jungian but I do see alties tap into mythological themes frequently which means that it's unrestrained emotionality and has little to do with Thinking... I mean, thinking.
Pure speculation on my part, but for those that don't have a child with ASD, the world is a big scary place and sometimes it is easier to see and fight an imaginary monster under the bed than real ones in your life.
i actually see this as the main purpose of the "I'm not anti-vaccine" stance. Rationalization, ego-boosting and all that. Most of them even believe it, I'm sure.
It's not so different than when someone said "I'm not racist, I'm just devoted to protect my fellow citizen against the criminal part of [insert ethnic group of choice]".
The usual: confirmation bias, single-study syndrome, the desire to belong to a community and thus being too emotionally invested to even consider to question the main tenets...
Plus, a very simplistic view on biology and chemistry. During a recent trip, I brought up vaccines into the conversation with my traveling fellows. A few clichés were trotted out, notably aluminium and Alzheimer.
What do you answer when people ask you "how do you know vaccines didn't hurt the poor baby in its brain? It is too young to tell you!" or someone tell you they know people who are allergic to aluminium?
(are there really people allergic to aluminium oxide?)
@Krebiozen: Looking at the anti-vaccine movement these days reminds me of a documentary I once saw on the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, after Warren Jeffs was imprisoned for polygamy and sexual abuse. Even though their prophet is in jail and his theology was exposed as a perverted, criminal sham, the people in his sect believe him now more than ever because they think he is a martyr.
Basically, with Andrew Wakefield and other discredited and their community coming under attack for causing outbreaks, the anti-vaxxer movement is going through a similar phase. They are becoming increasingly terrified as their world falls apart around them and are looking to anything to keep their reality alive, even repeating long-dunked falsehoods to themselves again and again and again.
Laura Hayes' testimony submitted when Minnesota was holding hearings to tighten up vaccination school entry admission requirements.
She's a piece of work, with her rants against Rhogam shots and the many diseases and disorders that she attributes to vaccines. She heard from a researcher at the U.C. Davis Mind Institute that the blood brain barrier does not close until a child is two years old...and she has a list of ten demands:
@Narad #1 -
Regarding the increase in FS in that vaccine, I'm kind of confused. See I keep reading that it is the number of antigens that is the critical component that determines the quality and quantity of the immune response. It gets shouted around here again and again, 'there are fewer antigens today than before'. Heck, even Paul Offit made a whole table about it in his fantastic paper:
Parents who are worried about the increasing number of recommended vaccines may take comfort in knowing that children are exposed to fewer antigens (proteins and polysaccharides) in vaccines today than in the past.
That is a relief. But it does make me wonder why the people studying FS in Australia bothered to try to understand if a combination of B/Brisbane/60/2008 and A/California/07/2009 resulted in a different immune response; don't they understand it's all about just counting the antigens up?
Curiously the analysis you link to seems to indicate that the *number* of antigens isn't what is affecting the altered immune response, but rather *characteristics and interactions of the viral RNA* contributed to the increased immune response and resulting FS in a subset of children.
It is likely that the FS reported in children <5 years were due to a combination of the new influenza strains included in the 2010 SH TIV and the CSL standard method of manufacture preserving strain-specific viral components of the new influenza strains (particularly B/Brisbane/60/2008 and to a lesser extent H1N1 A/California/07/2009). These combined to heighten immune activation of innate immune cells, which in a small proportion of children <5 years of age is associated with the occurrence of FS.
Maybe some of you fancy science guy types should go over and explain to these researchers what Paul Offit and the sciencebloggers already know; it isn't about anything except counting antigens. That's how the quality and quantity of the immune response is determined.
I've been hearing an entire *story cycle* that details the criminal activity of various malfeseants associated with vaccines of which Poul Thorsen is a relative latecomer. The details of the tale may change but usually it contains the following elements:
monkey kidney cells
cancer causing virus
Paul Offit 'made millions'
a death bed confession or two
and may be padded with charts showing that VPDs were greatly diminished before vaccines arrived.
More recently, Jake Crosby has added stories about how anti-vaccine advocates themselves "betrayed" their fellows and sisters- in fact, that's in great measure the subject of his blog.
And even more recently, David Lewis has entered the fray by appearing on PRN ( perhaps 3 times in a week) to air dirty governmental linens: the government perverts science in order to protect its own policies.-btw- he's got a new book out.
Sorry Denice, I don't understand the point of that last post. Are you proposing that we have a writing contest and see who can come up with the best Poe?
It could be fun but incorporating "monkey kidney cells" into the plot sounds iffy. Still a little judiciouis plagarism reserach probably would handle the problem.
What's the prize?
Oh no, they've already DONE the writing : they link up those elements in creative ways that usually have nothing to do with reality.
I'm sure that our incredibly talented minions could come up with Poes that make more sense than the tall tales I hear.
And -btw- monkey kidney cells may have been over-used already by Janine Roberts.
Do you really think that I'm in a position to judge "Best Poe" and aware a prize yet?
AWARD a prize
Pointing that ‘there are fewer antigens today than before’ is a response to those who claim that too many vaccines are given too soon, and that children' antibodies cannot cope. It does not equate to a claim that, " it is the number of antigens that is the critical component that determines the quality and quantity of the immune response". I have never seen anyone make that claim here, and anyone with even a basic grounding in immunology, or the slightest understanding of how vaccines are developed knows that isn't true.
This has been pointed out to you before, so I don't really understand why you are waving this tired old strawman around again.
Or even, "Pointing out that ...".
Reading the TMR blog, I must note that if the elite suppresses every word she and her friends say, they're not doing a very competent job of it.
And I'd be careful calling her sisters to think. They might learn things.
I do agree with the stand for something idea. How about standing for preventing preventable diseases?
Denice @22: I'm not familiar with Simpsonwood or Verstraten (I assume these are people), but the rest of it looks like a garden variety conspiracy theory. And I agree with Dorit that if The Man is trying to suppress this stuff, then he isn't doing a good job of it.
"Maybe some of you fancy science guy types should go over and explain to these researchers what Paul Offit and the sciencebloggers already know; it isn’t about anything except [the existing body of scientific evidence attesting to the safety and efficacy of routine vaccination]."
"This has been pointed out to (pD) before, so I don’t really understand why you are waving this tired old strawman around again."
pD: "Maybe some of you fancy science guy types should go over and explain to these researchers"
Beyond the obvious strawman argument, pD's veneer of civility seems to have worn thin.
Simpsonwood is a place, a resort which is implicated in the malfeasance mythology promulgated by RFK; and it's actually *VerstraEten*. Orac has written a great deal about this( see June 2007 esp).
Anywa,y there is a series of stories which get passed around by anti-vaxxers and keep transforming but it all boils down to:
Vaccines are dangerous and this has been known for a long time but it has been covered-up by industry in league with government and the media.
The TMs and others accept these tales as Holy Writ.
Orac, a meta note about this article:
You linked to safeminds.org using their full URL. A search engine crawling your page will count this toward the relevance of that page -- in other words, you are driving up the visibility of a bad page. There is a link shortening service (http://www.donotlink.com) which deliberately avoid this, allowing you to embed links to woo without driving up their relevance score.
More information: http://skeptools.wordpress.com/2013/08/13/do-not-link-donotlink-ethical…
Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with DoNotLink, but I have worked in the search industry.
Saunders sketches its modern history:
"There is a widespread belief amongst pediatricians, neurologists, neuroscientists, and neurotoxicologists that 'the' blood–brain barrier in the embryo, fetus, and newborn is 'immature' implying that it is poorly formed, leaky, or even absent. Statements about the immaturity of the blood–brain barrier frequently seem to be made without evidence, or by reference to an earlier review that also lacks any evidence (e.g., Järup, 2003; Costa et al., 2004; Watson et al., 2006). This seems to be particularly common in the neurotoxicology literature and in toxicology reports (see review by Ek et al., 2012)."
@Krebiozen and JGC -
pD has degrees in immunology, neurobiology, gastroenterology, genetics, metabolism, epigenetics, and knows how they all work together in the world of autism.
You do not. How dare you even hint at the suggestion that he misunderstands anything, or is in any way incorrect?
Oops on me! I didn't look at your page source until after posting the previous; you are already using the "nofollow" attribute, well done! But it isn't totally foolproof, as it is only a suggestion to the crawler.
All the links out have rel="nofollow" set, so they don't affect search rankings. Donotfollow is more of an irritating link obscurer than anything else.
@Johnny - you left out "self-awarded"
^ "Donotlink," that is. I see you noticed the attribute about the same time I commented, but I still don't care for DNL; in fact, it's so effective that I generally don't look at the payloads when people use it.
On the ViolentMetaphors site there is one mother whose son went through several medical crises in his first two years:
The poor child did not get the MMR until he was 22 months old. But a month after that she claims he went from normal to autistic. Despite everything it had to be the MMR, which she determined by looking at his shot record a while later. Or was it the other shots with thimerosal? Or perhaps the vaccine with lead?
No matter what, it had to be the vaccines. Because she knows of other kids who had medical issues that are okay, so it can't be that. And we are all rude for questioning her conclusions.
Yah, well, it's not like they're from the University of Google. Those are really worthless degrees. The degrees pD has are much better, right?
I'm not saying it didn't happen, but I've never encountered a 911 dispatcher who did Joe Friday impersonations.
I suspect that a parent's memory can get muddled over the years, especially in regards to 911 calls. I had actually forgotten about a previous 911 call to our house a couple of years ago, but the paramedic said he'd had been to our house a few months before. (thankfully no more since the open heart surgery!)
I still don’t care for DNL; in fact, it’s so effective that I generally don’t look at the payloads when people use it.
Seconded. I avoid the more traditional URL shorteners like bit.ly for the same reason. There are some dangerous neighborhoods on the internet, so I prefer to know where I'm going before I go there.
As it happens, I noticed last night that Patti Carroll submitted the SafeMinds "What Do Epidemiological Studies Really Tell Us" screed to the same hearings.
The reason I mention this (well, it's also a trope) is because I just now saw this, from Carroll in 2009:
"But Hodan knew immediately that vaccines had played a role in her daughter’s regression. She spoke out and asked questions but was scoffed at for her beliefs. By the time Hodan contacted me, she was totally disillusioned with the medical establishment and had begun her own research on how to help Geni. I was impressed with what Hodan already knew about biomedical treatments and how many of those treatments she had started already. She was fearless in her resolve to heal Geni."
Fast forward to 2011:
"In Hassan's case, she stopped vaccinating her children after she learned that her daughter, Geni, now 6, had autism. At the time, she said, she was desperate for answers. Medical experts could not explain what caused her daughter's condition, a severe communication and behavior disorder. But she quickly learned about the autism activists who blame the vaccines, in spite of medical assurances to the contrary. She began reading their books and attending their conferences, she said, and the fear took hold....
"Later, Hassan said, a local doctor challenged her to do her own research on Wakefield, who was accused of scientific misconduct in connection with the study, and ultimately stripped of his medical license in England.
"Now she is one of his biggest critics. 'I was shocked when I found out people used to die [of measles],' she said. Many still do in her native Somalia, she noted, and in other in parts of the world where vaccines are not available....
"Just this week, Wakefield returned to Minneapolis for a private meeting with Somali families. Members of the news media were barred from Wednesday's gathering, which reportedly drew only about a half-dozen Somali parents.
"But one of the organizers, Patti Carroll of Shoreview, said she doesn't believe parents are worried about the measles outbreak.
"'They'd rather have them get the measles than deal with the effects of unsafe vaccines,' said Carroll, a volunteer with Generation Rescue, an autism advocacy group....
"This week, Hassan circulated an e-mail inviting members of the Somali community to tonight's forum at the Brian Coyle Center in Minneapolis.
"'Our community has been misled about MMR causing autism,' she wrote. 'Vaccines don't cause autism and the benefit [outweighs] the risk.' She added: 'We are very much against an unlicensed doctor to make our community his scapegoat.'"
I see now that DNL does have a simple prepended form, but I've yet to encounter someone using it. Where I mostly see DNL used is on FB, where it just dumps a preview blob for DNL itself. I've even seen people use it in images they've created, where it's still too long to fit properly.
I like the line about how injection is unnatural but ingestion and inhalation are fine. So I guess OPV, rotavirus vaccine, and intranasal flu vaccine must be awesome in her book? No? I suppose internal consistency was too much to ask for, then.
i may not have degrees in degrees in immunology, neurobiology, gastroenterology, etc., but I did stay at a Holiday Inn last night. So there!
@ Chris: That Violent Metaphors poster made a major mistake when she posted a snide remark at a mom whose child died from meningitis.
She has a child who went through a traumatic birth with resuscitation, multiple major seizures with anoxia which were not post-vaccination and who is dually diagnosed with a psychiatric overlay. Her other child also has been diagnosed with an ASD and she claims on her YouTube page that she has an ASD. Her husband has epilepsy with breakthrough grand mal seizures....and she and her family have not undergone genetic testing.
She's a nasty ignorant POS and as thick as a plank.
But, lilady, why go through genetic testing when she knows it's the vaccines?
She said I was rude when I was shocked at what she said to the woman whose child died. Perhaps she will blame a vaccine.
I always liked the idea about cults undergoing evaporative cooling. Whenever something like the 'martyrship' of Jeffs happens, any people with any doubts would leave anyway, and the average fanaticism of the group will always rise. The people who were previously in the middle of the group are now only hearing arguments from the fanatics on one side, so will tend to lean more that way. Eventually the group either collapses on a single core fanaticism or explodes.
But Chris, you like I, traipsed around a bit whilst getting educated which means that we were probably vaccinated much more than is usual-
I'm sure they'd probably blame our scepticism on that..
According to much woo that I hear- genetics mean very little - it's ALL what you do and HOW you live.
Every condition is reversible if you live correctly.
Sullivanthepoop: because to believe otherwise would mean they made a horrible, dangerous, and irresponsible medical choice for their children.
You're assuming they care for their kids. That's a big leap, in my opinion.
"Every condition is reversible if you live correctly."
After my son's open heart surgery for literally having too much heart (it was kind of blocking his aortic valve), he got a call from the health insurance nurse to discuss "preventative measures." I really wanted to ask what I should have done to prevent a genetic heart disorder.
Oh, I can explain this one, pD.
The answer is that you read like you've got sh!t between your ears where brains should be.
Remember when you were burbling about how the "mantra" of the science-based community was that the incidence of autism throughout history had been a stable 2%? And those of us who considered ourselves part of that community yet never heard that "mantra" asked where you got it from?
And the answer was, you were taking it from an argument where one of the key premises was "It is *very, very unlikely* that 2% of the population has been autistic throughout history"? In other words, exactly the OPPOSITE of what you were claiming was the "mantra" of the science-based community?
Now, passionlessDrone, it's possible that you are just, in the final analysis, a feckng liar. I suppose we *could* extend the benefit of the doubt, and believe that instead of being a treacherous, smarmy, sleazy scumbag liar who deliberately lies about what he reads in order to further his agenda, you are simply a stupid sh!t-for-brains whose reading comprehension is so pathetically bad that he can't tell the difference between "A is extremely improbable" and "A is my mantra, and since I am the spokesperson for the entire science-based community, it is the mantra of the science-based community as well."
However, since this makes you functionally indistinguishable from a fecking liar, perhaps you should just go away and hope you can find people who don't know yet what an untrustworthy waste of time and attention you are.
Nominations are now open for today's Internetz Award.
Antaeus Feldspar is definitely a contender.
I teased local boss of "information" of vaccines-site. I asked "what vaccines woud You recommend to childs ?
-I don't recommend.. just scheduling info
"..to childs of Your relatives" ?
That way You can reveal them.. ;)
In related Somali measles news, this is not good.
"Most of the Somali parents [Patti Carroll] has talked with, she added, are 'thrilled' to have their children get the measles rather 'than deal with the effects of the vaccine.'" —2011 March 26
Pediatrics just published the post mortem of the 2011 Minnesota outbreak (paywalled).
I read through the Pediatrics article. A more formal write-up of what the MN Dept. of Health shared in their IDSA presentation. I wrote a bit about that here.
It's good to see, though, that some of the people who were originally gulled by DAN! doctors, Generation Rescue and Wakefield have realized that they were sold a load of crap. Hopefully the community will start turning around and we'll see the immunization rates start to climb again. I know the MDPH has been having a hell of a time trying to combat anti-vaccine misinformation among the Somali community there.
ORAC a pharma paid stooge who functions as an agent of misinformation so parents don't reject faulty vaccines.
Mr. Coe, you have returned! Hello there, it is so nice to see you here. Now, have you learned about the measles experience of Roald Dahl's daughter, Olivia? Will you finally answer a this question I asked you over three years ago? I'll repeat it for your:
Ah, thanks. People sometimes look at me funny when I sit outside the nearest dorm with an ancient laptop, which also has a display showing mainly flashing vertical lines.
I have a problem. This week, it was reported in the local newspaper that a Canadian study showed the MMRV vaccine raises a child's risk of seizures. The article was very thin on details, and I'd like to ask if anyone has a link to the actual study so that I can have a look at what it really says.
You know, I used to be impressed by the amount of verbiage you would put out on vaccine topics. I mean, in a good way.
Recently, I started having a few doubts about your debating honesty.
After your post #21 ? A massive strawman where you distort our arguments and insult our intelligence?
I'm glad you finally revealed your true colors.
Julian, I don't have a link to the actual study; the results are similar to the what the CDC has reported about MMRV vaccine when used for the first dose of the two dose series of measles, mumps, rubella and varicella vaccines.
It is explained here (thanks to AoA for the link....they are frothing over it):
Julian, here's the CDC recommendations for the first dose(s) of measles-mump-rubella-varicella vaccines, based on reports of increased risk of febrile seizures when using the combined MMRV vaccine-versus-administering MMR vaccine AND varicella vaccine during the same visit. Poor babies end up getting stuck twice.
Julian...We have to stop meeting this way. :-)
Original Canadian Study on MMRV vaccine and febrile seizures risks from the CMAJ:
Thanks lilady. I'm at work so I cant' read them now, but I'll try after work. :D
Thanks lilady. I'm at work so I cant' read them now, but I'll try after work. :D
I am more cynical about antivaccinationists. I believe that most of them do not labor under the illusion that they are anti-vaccine. I think they hide behind claims they aren't anti-vaccine in order to escape a much harsher level of criticism they'd receive if they openly copped to being anti-vaccine. They have also learned they can fool more parents into not vaccinating by wearing the camouflage of being "pro-safe vaccine". We can thank the most vile of all "pro-safe" vaccine groups, the NVIC, for that. They've learned the game and taught it well to others.
Of course, if they really were "pro-safe vaccine", they would like the TDaP because the acellular pertussis component is safer than the previous whole-cell pertussis vaccine.
And Paul Offit would be a hero, because he developed a rotavirus vaccine that was safer than the previous rotavirus vaccine which had to be withdrawn because of safety issues.
It's called quality improvement and that's how we really get safer vaccines.
But, of course that's not really what they want.
Has anybody else read this ridiculous thing? http://www.livingwhole.org/applying-pro-vaccine-mentality-baby-gas-drop…
Needling the antivaxers:
California declares whooping cough epidemic. 800 cases in the last two weeks.
I guess the anti-vaxer's plans are working. Thanks Jenny and Jake. This is on you.
Oh, Jay and Bob, too. You helped.
I don't want to not give credit where credit is due.
Oh wow! Steve Novella is coming to our NZ Skeptics' conference in December. Orac, you should come too!
I see that all the familiar names are still at it- Orac, Krebiozen, Lilollady, Narad etc- still tilting at windmills and vilifying anyone who dares to question the Sacred Cow of vaccinations.
As if germs even are THE cause of disease. Who sold the world on that one? Now I know medicine has lost its way since it climbed into bed with the drug companies, but what is amazing is that intelligent people can believe the claptrap that passes for much of SBM, which really means Seriously Bad Medicine.
Keep up the humor, guys. And keep worshiping at the altar of ModMed. A good laugh is very therapeutic.
Not sure how I would pull that off, given that I haven't been invited to any major skeptic conferences outside of the U.S.—ever.
@Krabs - too funny to see that there are people around still living in the 16th Century.......I'll put my stock on a 3 fold increase in human lifespans, increased quality of life, and the lowest infant mortality rates in the history of human civilization.
"As if germs even are THE cause of disease. Who sold the world on that one?"
Krabs worships at another altar:
@Krabsonthem - Just to make it clear, you've said something that's either misinformed or dishonest. Nobody that I can recall has ever said that germs are "THE cause of disease", though they certainly are the cause of a great many diseases. Measles, mumps, chicken pox, plague, rabies, tetanus, and pertussis are just a few of the list of diseases caused by germs. There are other diseases such as schistosomiasis or malaria that are caused by various parasites. There are diseases like scurvy or beriberi or pellagra that are caused by nutritional deficiencies. Some like type 1 diabetes or lupus are auto-immune disorders and are likely not caused by a germ. Various poisonings are caused by, well, poison. Cancer can be caused by a variety of things including but not limited to germs and exposure to certain chemicals. Heart disease may be caused by germs often is caused by a variety of diet and lifestyle issues. Some diseases are linked to being overweight, some to lack of activity. Some have a strong hereditary component.
So, no, germs are not THE cause of disease in all cases, but for a great many diseases they are the cause.
Krabsonthem is a new 'nym, isn't it? I gotta wonder whose sock puppet Krabs is.
I must note before I run:
I live in that bastion of capitalism, [redacted] which has very high population density and is now post-industrial altho' it had been involved in manufacturing from the dawn of the industrial revolution until about 30 years ago; it's extremely ethnically and racially diverse...
In other words, not exactly the picture of pristine, bucolic, natural, healthy, non-toxic charm alties worship BUT
I just looked over life expectancies for ALL residents and.....
it's 80 for men and 84 for women. I didn't even bother to look at the "white" figures (which are higher I suspect).
It's not Crete and it's not Okinawa.
@lilady, another sockpuppet of Johnny Labile from another thread?
Someone using that same "SBM really stands for" line can be found posting as "Emily"here:
And as "Greg" here:
Don't forget "Artful dodger" at SBM.
We know MMR causes febrile seizures in 2 in 10,000
Varicella vaccine (according to SPC) causes febrile seizures somewhere between 1 in 1000 and 1 in 10,000. (Let's say it is 5 in 10,00)
So sequential MMR followed by later varicella vaccination would entail a risk of about 7 in 10,000.
But we now find combined MMRV has a risk of 3.5 in 10,000.
Can someone tell me why introducing a new combination vaccine that appears to halve the overall risk of febrile seizures from these vaccinations is such a horrible thing to have happened?
Previously known as "rocketman".
Do you understand what "tilting at windmills" means? It refers to imaginary enemies. Some people spreading blatant lies about the risks and benefits of vaccines, and they have succeeded in lowering vaccine uptake to such an extent that diseases that were once almost uknown in the developed world are back, sickening children and threatening lives. These are not imaginary enemies.
As for vaccinations being a 'Sacred Cow' i.e beyond criticism, I suppose it's true that when you take an honest look at vaccinations, and how extraordinarily safe and effective they are, it's hard not to put them on a pedestal. However, if you had paid any attention around here you would have noticed a lot of discussion about various vaccines that have been withdrawn, that were found to have unacceptable risks, or that have proven less effective than hoped.
Nothing is beyond criticism here, as long as you bring some sort of compelling evidence to the table. Ranting and raving based on anecdotal accounts that are contradicted by large studies isn't taken very seriously, but valid criticism certainly is. Generally only persistent pig-headed ignorance and refusal to learn is vilified.
In any case, if vaccines really were a Sacred Cow, scientists would simply carry on using the ones we already have, and wouldn't bother developing new ones.
* Try some permethrin 1% lotion or shampoo.
Please forgive spelling and grammatical errors in previous comment. Normal service will be resumed...
dingo 199: According to the CDC studies, there is an increased risk for febrile seizures associated with the first dose (only) of the 2-dose series of vaccines protective against measles-mumps-rubella-varicella viruses, when the MMRV vaccine is administered versus two separate shots (MMR and Varicella) administered at the same time:
"....What is the risk of febrile seizures after the first dose of MMRV vaccine compared with the first dose of MMR and varicella vaccines administered at the same visit?
Two postlicensure studies evaluated the risk of febrile seizures after MMRV vaccine in children aged 12-23 months; one was sponsored by Merck and the other was sponsored by CDC and conducted through the Vaccine Safety Datalink (VSD), which is a collaboration between CDC and eight managed care organizations.
Review of findings from both postlicensure studies supports the conclusion that children who receive the MMRV vaccine when they are 12-23 months old are about twice as likely to have a febrile seizure during the 5-12 days following vaccination when compared with those who receive the MMR and varicella vaccines at the same visit. However, the overall risk of febrile seizures is very low for both options (about 8 out of every 10,000 children vaccinated with MMRV vaccine when they are 12-23 months old, and about 4 out of every 10,000 children vaccinated with the MMR and varicella vaccines at the same visit when they are 12-23 months old).
Studies of febrile seizures after vaccination with first dose of MMRV vaccine have not been done in older children, but experts agree that this increased risk of fever and febrile seizures during the 5-12 days after first dose vaccination likely also occurs in children aged 24-47 months because that is the biologic window of vulnerability for febrile seizures in children (approximately 97% of febrile seizures occur in children aged <4 years). First febrile seizures are uncommon after age 4 years...."
These studies have been used by the anti-vaccine crowd to "prove" that their hero Andy Wakefield was right when he claimed that the combined MMR vaccine was linked to increased risk of an ASD diagnosis.
In other news, Gerg demands an explanation for how autism "is not as bad or worse than cancer."
I wish to lodge a complaint:
I have observed that the level of trolling has greatly diminished in recent days;
just a short while ago, we had trolls who carried on their hackneyed ways for months; some rode their hobby horses enthusiastically ( or promoted c@nn@bis) to their hearts' content while others proudly displayed their lack of literacy as well as their general bigotry and misogyny. At least one changed genders as often as he changed 'nyms. Perhaps they commented as regularly as clockwork, eventually accumulating the remnants of a vast array of mental detritus masquerading as English. We had recognisable NAMES.. woo-meisters and their enablers and their enablers' enablers. We had chiropractors and nutritionists.
OH where are they now? Only a very few have actually been banished, where are the others?
They have gone away where their commentary is appreciated and cherished as being veritable fonts of wisdom.
Where this Land of Lost Trolls exists I can only guess. Perhaps they lurk here and wish and hope:
Step forward, trolly ones, for we are in need of target... I mean, DEBATE. Yes, debate on a highly intellectual and scientific level with NO holds barred.
Perhaps they think that our champions are TOO much for them to handle. That's probably it.
Alas, poor Emily.
I remember her well.
It seems that some tropes are harder to bury than Caesar.
We'll see if krabsonthem is into natural hygiene, AKA fasting, as a medical treatment. So far, they haven't been as persistent in defending their assertions.
Don't forge this turd that Megan (who is neither a doctor nor a lawyer) polished up recently: http://www.livingwhole.org/this-mama-isnt-scared-of-the-shmeasle-measle…
I have to hand it to her, she's quite thorough in her polishing, adding just the right amount crazy to get the perfect shine.
So, her reasoning is that since we haven't had enough cases yet for the averages to start turning up incidents of encephalitis and death, they just can't happen here because we're industrialized!
And her prime source is our dear friend Suzanne Humphries!
Recent response to Megan's interesting, creative interpretation of the facts related to MMR and measles: http://www.skepticalraptor.com/skepticalraptorblog.php/papa-scared-shme…
That was a very thorough response.
I'm perplexed by Robyn Charron's "credentials":
There appears to be no hint of her having completed law school or herself researching genetic disease. She was named as a minor/plaintiff in some suit that I am profoundly uninterested in, but I mean – Megan at least graduated from Cooley (which is a bit touchy about its reputation).
Thanks due to Skeptical Raptor.
We have a current - serious - outbreak here, and the stats are fascinating, as per this brief link - please Google 'news' for more.
The timing fits perfectly with Wakefield doesn't it? My own kids are 16 and 12 and fully vaccinated, of course, but I had no idea of the gaps in their age-group!
Ok Denice, the complaint has been accepted and filed and hopefully I can start to rectify the situation…
But first you should understand that It’s just a little demotivating/disheartening to be demeaned, mischaracterized and told you are a misfit, dining room table, living room wall and then keep coming back for more (Yes, I know I do it to myself), so hopefully you can understand why lurking in the shadows of darkness is more appealing. Also, the time thing. I just don’t have that much free time to write the timely (and lengthy) responses that would be required to have a conversation. So take this for what you will (a target) because I may not feel inclined to respond.
I was actually interested in this claim some time ago when pD and I were poking fun at the “counting antigens” paper that was published in the last year.
Kreb, I looked back through the parent survey and found that there was no evidence of parents equating “too many too soon” with an overwhelming of the humoral immune system (antibodies.)
Do you happen to have any evidence that shows that this is what parents were referring to?
I ask this because I am doubtful that this was a construct of concerned parents (to be clear—not the claim that vaccines overwhelm or too many too soon, just the specificity of these claims), but then again I have really only been looking at this info for the last 4 or 5 years and the paper that pD linked to was from 2002 so I may have missed this.
From the first reference in the paper that pD linked to I see this bit of info. How did it go from this to what Dr. Offit was writing about in the 2002 paper?
Gellin, Et al. “Do Parents Understand Immunizations? A National Telephone Survey” Pediatrics. 106 No. 5 pp. 1097 -1102
It seems that the whole antibody-antigen talk was more of a construct of the medical community, in other words an assumption based on ambiguous (rightly so, they are not experts in immunology) parental concerns, but, please point me to the evidence if I am wrong and this was specifically being conveyed by concerned parents back in the day.
Also, when you would always talk about how many less antigens there are now than before, what exactly are you implying?
To me, it seems as though you are implying that the number of antigens is somehow a meaningful metric to report and convey because somehow if you know the number of antigens then you know something about the immune response.
Are you backing away from there being any utility in the claim that “there are less antigens now than before” ??
I feel as though on several occasions I have had to patiently explain why the number of antigens trope as well as the “millions of antigens everyday” trope are a result of shoddy thinking… remember just recently when I provided evidence re: DTaP/DTP and the difference in immune response and how this stuck out above and beyond the millions of antigens every day??
I don't think anyone could forget the last time you were here.
You're currently at this part of the script:
Yea, I will get to that, I've been meaning to... Like I said I'm busy.
If I don't answer sometimes, don't mistake that for me not having something important to say.
Please, just make sure you have the definitive evidence that a vaccine has something to do with autism before coming back. Because all of the literature so far shows the only relationships that the MMR prevents autism by preventing congentital rubella syndrome.
To quote Dorothy Parker: "I've been too f*cking busy - and vice versa."
See, this would only be required of me if I were trying to prove that vaccines cause autism.
Since that is not what I am trying to do, nor have I ever then I will not be required to provide definitive evidence that a vaccine has something to do with autism.
I feel that I have made my position explicitly clear and despite these repeated explications my position still gets mischaracterized as:
"gee, let me tell you about all these mechanisms by which vaccines cause autism"
It's a strange phenomenon to me.
But I will be charitable and give you guys the benefit of the doubt. I mean, I'm no Denice Walter or Narad when it comes to eloquently conveying my thoughts, but I try (and that's all I can do--and heh--with practice I should get better, right?) so it could very easily be my lack of ability to clearly explain my position.
Let me try in the most concise way possible.
I am criticizing the current suite of evidence that is used to reassure parents that vaccines do not cause autism. I think it is weak. I think that in order to have strong evidence you have to incorporate relevant biological thinking/theory into the epidemiology and this has not been done yet.
This is very very different from "gee, the vaccines could enturbulate the immune system and somehow this enturbulation could be the cause of autism, whadda you think??"
I don't think the current epidemiological methods employed could result in any meaningful information, certainly not strong enough evidence that I would, without a shadow of a doubt, say that the VCA idea has been tested and answered.
I will elaborate with proper references in the near future, but hopefully this addresses how I feel I have been mischaracterized.
Nice... haven't heard that one before, but I like it!
And how do they "overwhelm" the immune system? Let's check with Babs Fisher:
How does vaccination "atypically manipulate" the immune system, again?
"I am criticizing the current suite of evidence that is used to reassure parents that vaccines do not cause autism. I think it is weak."
And your training and expertise to come to this conclusion is?
" I think that in order to have strong evidence you have to incorporate relevant biological thinking/theory into the epidemiology and this has not been done yet."
And your training and expertise in epidemiology is...?
By the way, you never answered my question elsewhere: What has a larger impact on the immune system, the MMR vaccine or measles?
skeptiquette: First you say stuff like this: I am criticizing the current suite of evidence that is used to reassure parents that vaccines do not cause autism. I think it is weak. I think that in order to have strong evidence you have to incorporate relevant biological thinking/theory into the epidemiology and this has not been done yet. (This is basically what every anti-vax person thinks.)
And then you say stuff like this: It’s a strange phenomenon to me. (That you then get perceived as either a troll or a jaq- er.)
Really? You use all sorts of weasel words (and a few 'words' that aren't words at all) to decry vaccines, and basically stop juuust short of saying 'I know there's a link, they just haven't found it, and you wonder why people peg you as anti-vax. Maybe if you stopped and thought about it, you'd figure it out.
At least most of our trolls have the guts to admit that they want kids to die and don't care about facts. Own your bad facts, skepti, or go learn some science. Either way, quit the weaseling and whining.
BTW, why did Kent Heckenlively feel obligated put on this display of quoting Blaxill channeling Mary Catherine DeSoto if it was all a big case of "oh, we never said that"?
Ah yes, Blaxill, someone who thinks just because he got a Master's in Business Administration thinks he is qualified in epidemiology. Because the statistics in economic forecasts are just the same as epidemiology. Le sigh.
Speaking of DeSoto, her rant about not receiving proper encouragement (and still steaming about it) in her aborted quest for one of these seems to have a pretty overblown hed in "And Now the Truth: Environmental Toxins 'Not a Good Fit' for NIH Autism Research."
Unsurprisingly, the AoA commentariat can't figure out that the E-mail exchange described took place five years ago or that the RFA in question isn't a completely different PA.
The biggest thing that struck me was Laster stating "Science is the active pursuit of inquiry". It takes the accurate idea that in certain areas (esp medicine) science can never state a conclusion with 100% confidence, and co-opts it into "It's science when you keep investigating". It's a handy redefinition that allows him to claim that if the scientific establishment wants to stop investigating a particular claim, like the vaccine-autism link, they're no longer being "scientific" because they've stopped actively pursuing that line of inquiry.
I wasn't referring to parents in general, I was referring to the antivaccine movement, which has adopted "Too many too soon" as a rallying cry. What else could they possibly be referring to? Too many injections too soon? Too many toxins too soon? To quote that phone survey, "25% believed that their child's immune system could become weakened as a result of too many immunizations". The only thing that make sense to me is that they mean a child's immune system is being exposed to too many antigens before it is mature enough to cope with them, hence the frequent references to children's immune systems being overwhelmed. Trying to pretend they mean something else by this slogan seems more than a little disingenuous to me.
We only have to take a quick look at AoA to see this idea expressed. Here's Dan Olmsted writing about a doctor who vaccinates the Amish (!):
"The current vaccine load" - what else is Olmsted referring to if not antigens?
As I understand it the "too many, too soon" claim has always been framed in terms of the child's immune system being unable to cope with multiple vaccines in the short period of time that the current schedule suggests. I think the number of antigens a child is exposed to now as compared with decades ago is very relevant, as the argument seems to be that children could cope with the oral polio vaccine and whole cell pertussis better than they can now with the IPV and acellular pertussis.
Vaccines are better designed than they used to be, and the antigens used have been carefully chosen to stimulate the child's immune system more effectively with lower risk of adverse events such as febrile convulsions. Not wishing to labor the point, but a child's immune system today has to deal not only with fewer antigens, but with antigens that are much less likely to cause adverse events than a child a few decades ago.
That certainly isn't what I have ever intended to imply. Despite the increased number of vaccinations the number of antigens a child's immune system is exposed to through vaccines has actually gone down. That's a fact. I find it hard to believe anyone thinks that all antigens are equal in terms of the immune response they elicit. That's obviously not true, so why would anyone imply it is?
I think there is some utility in pointing out to a concerned parent that vaccines today contain fewer antigens that are more carefully designed to stimulate the immune system more effectively. To use an analogy, we are using a sniper's rifle today instead of the blunderbuss that was used when variolation was practiced.
Another analogy. Someone claims that crime rates have gone up because of the number of Lithuanians* moving into the neighborhood, and I point out that the number of Lithuanians in the neighborhood has actually fallen. Does that imply that I acknowledge that Lithuanians are criminals? That the number of Lithuanians is somehow pertinent to the crime figures? I don't think it does. I think it's just one way of pointing out that the argument is flawed. If someone then claims that there may be fewer Lithuanians, but perhaps the ones who still live in the neighborhood are prolific criminals, I might start to suspect this person is somehow prejudiced against Lithuanians, especially if they are unable to produce any evidence that Lithuanians are responsible for more crime than other nationalities.
You keep explaining this as if we don't understand it, despite it being blatantly obvious. Of course there are differences in immune response to different antigens, it's the whole basis of vaccination. And of course the number of antigens we are exposed to isn't the most important factor (though the more you are exposed to, the more likely you will encounter one that provokes a greater immune response), that's precisely the point we are making by pointing out that children are exposed to millions of bacteria, many of them pathogens, the moment they enter the birth canal.
Through most of history most children have been exposed to pathogens that have infected and killed them before their first birthday. Those that survived don't appear to have been more likely to be autistic than children today. You will have a hard time convincing me that children's immune systems today are challenged by vaccines more than children historically.
I can't quite put my finger on how you (and pD) keep completely missing the point here. I don't mean to be rude, but you and pD seem to have some difficulties understanding logic, and what different statements imply. Perhaps taking a course in logic might be helpful.
* No offense intended to Lithuanians, who are among my favorite nationalities.
So the argument is made that vaccines artificially and unnaturally stimulate the immune system, and I wonder why this is stated as if it were a bad thing. Of course we want to get the immune system stimulated against polio and diptheria and tetanus and rubella etc etc. Of course there is a certain level of artificiality, because it's better to immunize against polio using something that doesn't actually give you polio. The argument against artificiality is an argument against shoes and clothing and indoor plumbing, all of which protect against injury, disease, and death. The rest of the argument about the use of intramuscular injection vs oral or respiratory is equally silly.
Perhaps a better argument to use on naive parents around the world is to point out that nations with higher levels of vaccination are doing better in the World Cup, and in winning the World Series. OK, maybe that's a little sarcastic but it's at about the same level as the rest of the anti-vaccine arguments.
@ brother and sister sceptics and minions:
I am deeply and truly sorry for what I may have precipitated yesterday by inviting our.... er... critics to come out of the woodwork ( see # 93).
Sometimes I am not as entirely confident of my powers as agent provocateur as I should be.
( Actually I was hoping for a more florid display )
I really wish you would elaborate on this; it seems to be a consistent theme you bring up.
And nor will it ever since every single person on Earth will not be included in a study to remove a "shadow of a doubt". What would a satisfactory study design and sample power be for you?
Just by the by, has anyone else – other than Gerg – trotted out this acronym as though it were common idiom?
No, as long as you want to keep talking about the possibility that maybe vaccines are causing autism, the obligation is on you to provide some mind-blowingly solid evidence to indicate that such a thing is happening.
The epidemiological evidence that vaccines don't cause autism is highly solid, so even if you "just" want to raise doubts that maybe, somehow, they are (and I think I speak for everyone in saying, if that's not your intent, then no one has any f***ing idea what you have been wasting our f***ing time all this time for) you'd sure better by God have some evidence as opposed to the 1,453,208 times before that you've raised the issue.
See, the problem with conspiracy theorists is that they reason backwards to premises that COULD HAVE birthed what they want to believe... but then they refuse to reason FORWARD again and ask "is our current state what WOULD HAVE happened?"
If greedy, conscience-free charlatans had said "Hey, we have a free hand to convince the world that 'X' is THE cause of disease and that our products are needed to combat 'X', whatever 'X' is," why on Earth would they pick germs for 'X'?
Why wouldn't they say "THE cause of disease is a deficiency in some substance that the body needs and therefore the cure is that substance, which by massive coincidence we are ready to supply"? By another MASSIVE coincidence, this happens to be exactly the basis of the hugely profitable supplement industry.
Narad - actually, I believe Gerg and Skep picked up "VCA" from me. I was giving an, ahem, lengthy explanation in which I didn't want to type out "vaccine-caused autism" all those times, so I introduced the acronym for purposes of that discussion. I was a bit surprised when it started showing up in subsequent discussions, but since everyone seemed to follow it, there seemed to be no problem.
Just to add my two cents to what Krebiozen has already said: i f antigens aren't what anti-vaxers mean by "too many, to soon," then why do they object to combination shots? After all, if what they're really worried about is the preservatives and/or adjuvants, or even just the act of sticking a needle in their kid, then combo shots like the MMR, DTaP, etc, should be the ideal solution. Instead, anti-vaxers are always calling to break up combo shots into individual ones (that is, the ones who like to see themselves a being "pro-safe vaccines" as opposed to "anti-vaccine.") Doing this actually increases the number of jabs and exposure to "toxic" vaccine ingredients; it only makes sense if you think that somehow exposure to a single antigen is less dangerous than exposure to three or four at a time.
That's a testable premise, krabs. You can prove your claim that germs aren't a cause of disease by innoculating yourself with some of the deadliest bacteria and without any prophylaxis or treatment remaining in full health.
Why not start with vibrio cholera, or clostridium botulinin?
Returning briefly to "Dr. Paul," he surfaces in the comments here.
(And yes, I heard back from Disney yesterday. Time will tell whether they give it a fair-use pass on the DMCA front.)
The real comedy gold here, however, is provided by Robin Clarke, who links to the reviewer's comments for the 11th rejection of a paper trying to pin, inter alia, autism on amalgams. The response to the observation that simply multiplying P-values of different studies doesn't work is priceless.
re: VCA as an acronym - I looked it up out of curiosity and found that Prometheus seems to have been the first to use it here.
The semi-creepy thing is, Google seems to understand the acronym; I did a search with the term "VCA" and Google returned results with "vaccines causing autism" highlighted.
Thanks. I was too tired when I mentioned it to toss in a temporal window in order to sort by date.
Thanks so much for this gem, Narad, it made my afternoon. My favorite part is
"reality"...I don't think that means what he thinks it means.
Remember, all you need is 298 results with P = 0.99 to get to significance. Beware the same number with P = 1.01, though.
Okay, my brain's a bit too tired from dealing with the Dilbertia of my day job, so I'm trying to articulate exactly why multiplying P-values is so absurd, and I keep thinking I have it and then it slips away. I have no doubt that it's wrong, I just can't articulate why. If you get a result from one study that only had 1-in-20 odds of happening that way by chance, and get a similar 1-in-20 result from a second study, isn't it correct to say that the odds of getting those results by chance is 1-in-400? I know it must be wrong, but I can't articulate it, and it's bugging me.
I also can't imagine what non-specific thing it could possibly mean.
However, if you want evidence that it means "too many antigens, too soon," here's a statement saying so by co-original-promoter-of-the-phrase, Jim Carrey:
Sorry, forgot to include link:
Also, I got those two paragraphs -- which are not back-to-back in the original -- cut-and-pasted in reverse order.
Plus I forgot to bold "too many, too soon."
I regret the errors.
Are there in fact any examples of vets using that word? As opposed to Mercola, homeopaths, Whale.to and the rest of the fraudulent parade? Right now it's not showing up in many vet textbooks
Consider testing a sample for skewness. The chosen test spits out –0.1384 with p = 0.8536, i.e., not skewed. Not reliable, either. Suppose you generate another sample in the same fashion and (for convenience) get the same result. This is no reason to believe that the combined sample is less likely to be skewed.
In this case, my impression is that it's more like suppose somebody else generates another sample in a different fashion.
Or, perhaps closer to the mark, there are different tests for normality of a data set. Doing a bunch of different ones and multiplying the p-values doesn't somehow change the data.
"If you get a result from one study that only had 1-in-20 odds of happening that way by chance, and get a similar 1-in-20 result from a second study, isn’t it correct to say that the odds of getting those results by chance is 1-in-400? I know it must be wrong, but I can’t articulate it, and it’s bugging me."
I have not read Mr. Clarke's paper, but I suspect that the problem is that he is multiplying the probabilities of unrelated results.
They have to make sense on a Venn diagram. The denominators need to be the same. Let's look at the apples and oranges, they are both fruit. Look at those who claim to like certain fruit from a list of banana, apple, orange, cherry and pear. It cannot be "favorite" because then that would be an "or" question, we need an "and" question.
I would be in the group that likes oranges, cherries and pears. My hubby would be in the group that likes banana, apple, cherries and pear.
Neither of us would be in the group who likes apples and oranges. That would be a small part of the Venn overlap. Though it would be larger than the group that likes all of the list of five fruit.
What Mr. Clarke has done is create Venn diagrams where the denominators are not the same thing. I can assume he has used thimerosal in some and amalgams in others. Or who knows what else?
Basically comparing apples to oranges.
G-ddammit. Number 1 here, No. 2 here.
Um, Narad, what are you saying? The links are very confusing.
Why would the American FDA track UK data? And what do cavity fillings have to do with vaccines?
Are you saying that Mr. Clarke knows nothing about proper Venn diagrams?
You mean the possibility that both those results were due to chance? Think about doing 20 studies, and one of them gives a positive result that is published as the first of those positive studies. Then think of another 20 studies, one of which is published as the second of those two studies.
Assuming the null hypothesis is correct, I figure you only need 40 studies to generate those two positive studies, so the odds of getting both are 1 in 40, not 1 in 400.
Krebiozen, I think Antaeus is saying something like this:
Suppose researchers ran a study for hypothesis x, and it reached the 95% confidence interval, so the hypothesis is proven (i.e. there is a 1 in 20 chance that the hypothesis is wrong). Then a second group of researchers did a study for the same hypothesis on a different dataset and also reached the 95% confidence interval. These two studies are the only two studies that exist for the hypothesis.
What are the odds that the hypothesis is wrong and that both studies are due to random chance?
Which is specific to the individual study. Unless it's somehow possible to pool (and rereduce) the results, the proposition is nonsensical.
Julian is doing a better job of explaining what I meant than I can.
I understand fully why Clarke's combining heterogenous studies makes his results absurd. I understand fully why his omitting and/or 'reinterpreting' negative studies makes his results absurd (sharpshooter falłacy, yo!)
But even though I *believe* that, even if those *other* factors were not in play, Clarke's method of multiplying P-values produces meaningless results, I don't fully *see* why. It's like the difference between knowing that a^2 + b^2 = c^2 ... and watching someone rearrange the same four scalene triangles within a square frame so that they first outline two squares with areas a^2 and b^2, then a single square with area c^2. I was hoping someone could show me the way to look at it so that the mental leap becomes more intuitive.
One word: metaanalysis.
I know Narad in particular will be interested in this: http://www.silive.com/northshore/index.ssf/2014/06/child_of_practicing_…
Looks like Dina Check lost her bid to use religion, Catholicism namely, to get out of vaccinating her child. Patricia Finn, esq. being the attorney and appealing of course.
Nope, not as far as I can see. My apologies for inadvertently/indirectly suggesting otherwise.
I guess I took it for granted that there was an implicit "according to Jim Carey" casting doubt on the assertion.
@Science Mom, speaking as a catholic (albeit a somewhat lapsed one), what the blazes? Catholicism has no restrictions whatsoever on vaccination. In my view Dina Check was simply trying it on.
@ Julian, of course she was and why she was denied the exemption. Well that and the paper trail of her assertions that her child had vaccine reactions and was "vaccine damaged" but yet couldn't find a doctor to concur and give a medical exemption.
Patricia Finn who presented at the 2014 Quackfest, is interviewed here by Drinking Mom "Tex" about the pending Federal Court cases. She describes Judge Kuntz as "a reasonable man". I wonder if she still thinks that the Judge is "reasonable": :-)
If ATLAS reports a 3.7 σ Higgs detection and CMS reports a 2.8 σ detection, you don't call your travel agent for tickets to Stockholm.
New York State has granted exemptions to MRC-5 and WI-38 vaccines (only) predicated on Roman Catholicism. Whether a particular interpretation is the Vatican's or not is a question explicitly outside whether a belief is genuinely religious and sincerely held.
One more bit of "(supposed) counter-data" here, BTW.
AoA has finally copped to one of Seneff's glyphosate slides (the entire collection is reminiscent of the "Spurious Correlations" site).
Somehow, nobody – Seneff included – seems to have paused to consider the effect that the age range has on the denominator.
^ ... "slide's being the source of the 50% prevalence by 2025 claim," that is.
Clarke has now resurfaced at AoA after over a year's hiatus.
Good Morning Antaeus,
I see that no one took the time to work through this with you. I will try (mainly because it is interesting to me, your humility is very much more inviting and becoming of you, and I think you will find interest in it as you seem to be a math/logic whiz) to work through it step by step and hopefully I can explain it clearly enough that you will understand the concept. My only formal education in statistics is one upper level Biostatistics course as an undergrad (I do not have any further degrees.) So, I have a good groundwork of understanding from this class, but I had to read a number of papers to get a good grasp on this (which I will reference throughout and list at the end)
First, let’s start with hypothesis testing. When we test a hypothesis it is customary to establish a null hypothesis (H0) that states something to the effect of “there is no difference between A and B” with the alternative hypothesis (H1) then being “there is a difference between A and B” (this being a two tailed hypothesis, because we are not concerned with the difference being in the positive or negative direction). We then set and alpha level (customarily this is set at .05), any p-value above this level leads us to “fail to reject” the null hypothesis, while a p-value below this level allows us to say that we can reject the null hypothesis (note: these are not the same as saying “it proves” or the alternative hypothesis is correct or anything of this nature, just simply fail to reject and reject.)
The p-value specifically means:
“it is the probability, under the null hypothesis, of obtaining the observed result or any more extreme result” (1)
Also, quickly, when one states that the 95% CI is x-y that doesn’t mean what I read in a comment above (and this is probably the most common misconception in all of statistics). In reality, this means that if I do 100 studies on a parameter/statistic of interest, then in 95 out of 100 of those studies the parameter/statistic will fall with in this interval (sorry for being a statistic pedant, but my biostat prof would be proud of me, he really ingrained this one in our heads.) There are some good papers on CI and p-value and misconceptions, etc. (2,3)
Ok, now that we got the basics out of the way (bear with me if this was a review) let’s move on to what you are really interested in and that is how to properly combine p-values to look at the significance of a number of independent tests taken together (one form of meta-analysis.)
On the assumption that the null hypothesis is true, this sampling distribution is a probability density function with uniform distribution on the interval from 0 to 1. (4) That means that we would expect that these independent p-values would take on a normal distribution.
And this is where you should make the connection. It is not the probability of the intersection of two independent probabilities p1 and p2 (if there are only two p-values under consideration,) but rather it is the probability of obtaining p1 and p2 or any more extreme pair of p-values. (1)
(Reference 1 really does the best job of explaining this concept… I would highly recommend reading it, I bet you will enjoy it.)
The most common way to achieve this is to use Fisher’s Method (but not the only way!)
So the presumption is that the independent P-value (P) is a random variable with a uniform distribution on [0,1]. Then we can say that Y= -ln (P) is a chi-squared with one degree of freedom.(4)
So, if there are k number of independent tests with associated p-values (P1, P2, P3, P4, … Pk) then Yi=-ln(Pi) and we get a list of independently identically distributed random variables that have a chi-square distribution with one degree of freedom (Y1, Y2, Y3, Y4… Yk).(4)
Then we need to sum these i.i.d. variables and we get W= summation symbol (Yi). W being a chi-square distribution with k degrees of freedom.(4)
Then to the final step which brings it all together… we want the area under the chi-squared curve to the right of W (this is the overall p-value) so we can use the chi-square table for this, knowing W and the degrees of freedom.
Bingo!! You got it I hope.
Let’s do a hypothetical example and then discuss some caveats.
I haven’t looked at anything Clarke actually wrote, but let’s say he was trying to combine 5 p-values and the values were:
.341, .116, .543, .222, .078. Note that there are no significant p-values in this list and finding the intersection of these we come to a p-value of .00371 (highly significant… or is it??)
Ok, now let us apply what I just explained
-ln(.341)=1.0758, -ln(.116)=2.154, -ln(.543)=.6106, -ln(.222)=1.505, -ln(.078)=2.55
And we have 5 degrees of freedom. Now let’s use the chi-squared table or calculator and plug in both the dof and W. We get an overall p-value of .1621 (not even close to .00371)
1.This is not the only method to combine p-values.
2.This is an un-weighted method to combine p-values.
I also found this source (5) that was a really brief but concise explanation (I have a feeling that you will also find this interesting) on combining p-values with a different formula, written out below (god damnit, I wish I was better at HTML and could write this how it should look)
K= product of all of the independent p-values (P1*P2*P3*P4…*Pn)
n= number of independent p-values
K * summation symbol, where i=0 is under the summation symbol and n-1 is above summation symbol and to the right of the summation symbol is ((-ln(k))^i)/i!
(can somebody (narad) please apply some HTML knowledge to this so it looks like it should, thanks.)
For a discussion on caveat 2, see source (6) as it discusses the z-test and weighted z-test in comparison to Fisher’s method and how they are superior to Fisher’s method.
Hope this helps!
1.Elston R.C. “On Fisher’s Method of Combining p-Values” Biom. J. 33 (1991) 3, 339-345
2.PMC2689604 (sorry, Im being lazy)
6.Whitlock M.C. “Combining probability from independent tests: the weighted Z-Method is superior to Fisher’s approach” Journal of Evolutionary Biology. 18 (2005) 5, 1368-1373
7.http://mikelove.wordpress.com/2012/03/12/combining-p-values-fishers-met… (more discussion on combining p-values)
Well that was a fairly condescending waste of time, skeptiquette. You don't appear to understand what was being discussed here.
Are you friggin joking me... are you really that clueless?
Are you sure it is me that doesn't understand what is being discussed?
absolutely baffling (once again)
Antaeus didn't understand why it didn't make sense to combine p-values by multiplying the products (which is totally reasonable), I explained how to properly combine p-values so that he would understand why that didn't make sense, and provided a number of references for transparency.
What was condescending about what I wrote?
please be specific
Does anybody else feel what I wrote was condescending??
Did anybody learn something from what I wrote?
WTF, do you have against me?
Skeptiquette: WTF, do you have against me?
Wow. I can't believe you have the unmitigated gall to try to fish for sympathy after stinking up the comment section time and time again. As for what we have 'against you' where would you like me to start?
You can't treat published results as statistical samples. There is such a thing as publication bias. That was the point I was trying to make in comment #144.
Actually, let's stop with it as well. You're not even looking at the same hypothesis. If you can't pool and rereduce the data, all you've got is a pile of non-results. Rather than trying to condescend, try going back and figuring the comment about Higgs detections.
^ "figuring out"
"I see that no one took the time to work through this with you. I will try (mainly because it is interesting to me, your humility is very much more inviting and becoming of you, and I think you will find interest in it as you seem to be a math/logic whiz) to work through it step by step and hopefully I can explain it clearly enough that you will understand the concept."
Not to mention different experimental conditions, leading to different systematic uncertainties.
In case anybody wants a more straightforward exposition, see here and here.
Thanks for your explanation of the statistical methods. I personally enjoyed reading it, although it's been far too long since I did any serious study of statistics.
And, Narad, also thanks to you for the good links.
Please see #134.
Don't mention it.
Look, you know I'm quite willing to scold skeptiquette when she's playing games, but this time she wasn't; she was giving the clearest explanation she could of the question *that I asked*, and I appreciate that she did so. I do not find it the least bit condescending to be complimented on my humility, since humility is in fact something I consciously strive for and have for years and I believe complimenting people on things they are doing well that make interacting with them more rewarding is, among other things, basic courtesy and basic good sense.
Narad, in particular I'm really quite peeved with you. I appreciate the links you provided, which were quite helpful and which I think helped me grasp the answer I was looking for ... but all this time, you've been trying to give me an answer *I already knew* to the question I made pretty clear, *I* thought, that I wasn't asking. You keep saying over and over again in different ways "You can't combine heterogenous tests the way Clarke is doing and expect a meaningful answer!" But I thought I made pretty clear that my question was "What is it that would make Clarke's method of assessing probability by multiplying p-values ludicrous *even if the heterogeneity of the tests wasn't a factor*?" If I ask "What were the factors that would have made Wakefield's Lancet study worthless even if he hadn't actually faked the data?" I'm looking for an answer like "He rigged his study population by pre-selecting the children for a confluence of autism and gut problems and then presented that confluence as if it was a finding." I'm not looking for "Well, because he faked his data of course!! How could anyone possibly ignore that he altered the patients' medical records to fit his hypothesis?? He faked his data! How could anyone answer anything else??"
Now I think I have grasped what eluded me before, and I'm going to state it in my own words. The reason why, even if tests ARE homogenous enough that they could be meaningfully combined WITH PROPER STATISTICAL TECHNIQUES in a meta-review, the reason that simply multiplying p-values is NOT that proper statistical technique is ....
... pause for breath ...
... it falsely assumes the same delta between the calculated p-value and the threshhold p-value always has the same significance, when that is not the case. In two studies, the p-value may be = .45 ... but in one study, that may be highly significant, and in another, just barely significant.
Frankly, if that's not close enough, I'm just going to write it off as "something I probably will not comprehend in the year 2014."
Very well, I retract with apologies.
^ In particular, I flew off the handle without realizing that I had been missing the mark all along.
Apologies accepted, and hopefully, everything"s de-escalated again. Still not sure I "got it" but I'm willing to leave it at "I gave it my best shot".
Thank you, Antaeus. The apology of course also goes to Skeptiquette for my failing to address a sincere effort in a civil fashion.