The return of the revenge of the "CDC whistleblower"

A couple of weeks ago, I first took note of a new conspiracy theory that's been brewing in the antivaccine crankosphere, namely the claim that big pharma has been systematically murdering alternative medical doctors, starting with autism quack Jeff Bradstreet, who committed suicide the day after the FDA raided his office. Of course, it didn't take long for various supporters of quackery to conclude that it was a hit job. Heck, just yesterday, Julie Wilson, a staff writer working for uber-crank Mike Adams, posted a whopper of a conspiracy theory in which Bradstreet and other alternative docs were executed because vaccines supposedly increase the level of an enzyme called nagalase, which blocks the activity of a compound called GcMAF, which was the "treatment" for autism that Bradstreet was peddling, leading to autism, cancer, and practically every disease under the sun. According to this whopper, because GcMAF is a universal cure for cancer (which, by the way, it is not), big pharma couldn't let him live, particularly since he "discovered" that vaccines induce nagalase production and thus cause cancer.

From there, the slaughter apparently began, the most recent victim being cancer quack Nicholas Gonzalez. That's the new conspiracy theory. However, never let it be said that the antivaccine movement is incapable of concentrating on more than just one conspiracy theory at a time. In fact, they're capable of concentrating on many. So it's no surprise that an older conspiracy theory has been resurrected. I'm referring, of course, to the "CDC Whistleblower" conspiracy theory, which is a variant of the central conspiracy theory of the antivaccine movement, namely that the CDC is covering up smoking gun evidence that vaccines cause autism.

The so-called CDC whistleblower is a CDC psychologist named William Thompson. He was an author on several pivotal papers examining whether vaccines cause autism. All of the studies were negative, of course, but that just adds to the conspiracy. Basically, nearly a year ago, Thompson was featured in a short film by Andrew Wakefield as a "whistleblower" who had "confessed" to a biochemical engineer named Brian Hooker that for one of the studies for which he had been a coauthor in 2004 (Destefano et al) investigators had "covered up" a correlation between MMR vaccination and autism in African-American males and had not followed the protocol as written. He based this claim on a truly incompetently done "reanalysis" of Destefano et al, which he later touted for its "simplicity," not realizing that simplicity in statistical analyses of epidemiological data. Suffice to say, the original correlation was based on small numbers and disappeared when proper corrections for confounders was made. Not surprisingly, Hooker's reanalysis was ultimately retracted. None of this has stopped Hooker and Wakefield from trying to make hay about this "CDC Whistleblower" scandal or antivaccinationists from swarming Twitter on the #CDCWhistleblower hashtag. Thompson himself has been silent since last fall, when this whole kerfuffle erupted, and probably wisely so. Whatever his motivation, he has caused considerable damage with his foolishness in having trusted Brian Hooker.

So yesterday, an antivaccine legislator that you might or might not heard of before, Rep. Bill Posey (R-Florida) apparently got up on the floor of the House to speak at something called Morning Hour, where members can basically say what they want for a few short minutes. (Given that there are 435 voting members of the House, there isn't time to let every Representative blather on interminably.) Posey's speech is about 1:02 in:

I know this because the team behind the antivaccine crankfest of a propaganda "documentary," The Greater Good, sent out a missive touting what Posey said:

US Congressman Bill Posey spoke today on the floor of the US House quoting CDC whistleblower Dr. Bill Thompson stating that CDC DESTROYED DOCUMENTS to cover their tracks when they concealed their own study's findings that MMR vaccine caused a huge risk of autism in black boys when given before 3 years of age.

Thanks to our friends at Age of Autism who broke this story.

PLEASE EMAIL CONGRESSMAN POSEY:
Send EMAILS of support directly to Bill Posey’s assistant Patricia Febro at Patricia.Febro@mail.house.gov.

PLEASE ALSO EMAIL/CALL/WRITE YOUR OWN CONGRESSPERSON. Include the link to the C-SPAN video. Find your Representative here: http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/

Emails become permanent records, unlike faxes or postal mail, which might become 'lost'. Emails do NOT have to be long, just say "I support Bill Posey and thank him for his testimony today regarding the CDC's intentional destruction of documents. I am grateful William Thompson retained hard copies documenting the truth and as a parent of a vaccine injured child, I am requesting a full investigation into this issue." or something like this. Request that Congress subpoena Dr. Thompson to testify in front of Congress.

First of all, I'm not sure about that claim that postal mail is less "permanent" than e-mail. Be that as it may, what's far more important is what Posey said, rather than what cranks who made an antivaccine movie are urging their fellow cranks to do; so let's take a look at that. Age of Autism helpfully has provided a transcript, so that I don't have to do the painful thing I've sometimes done and make a transcript myself.

I'll also dispense with Posey's denial that he is antivaccine, stated thusly, "To begin with, I am absolutely, resolutely pro-vaccine. Advancements in immunization have saved countless lives and have greatly benefited public health." This is almost as risible as Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. characterizing himself as "fiercely pro-vaccine." It's nonsense. Posey is a man who has been on the side of the antivaccine fringe for quite some time. Heck, he even appeared at the antivaccine quackfest Autism One in 2013 as part of a "Congressional panel"! He even introduced legislation that's gone nowhere requiring the CDC to do a retrospective "vaccinated vs. unvaccinated" study. As I put it, Posey appears to be vying to take over the title of most antivaccine legislator in the U.S. Congress since Dan Burton retired. Not surprisingly, he has received not-insubstantial donations from prominent members of the antivaccine movement, several with names that, if you typed them into the search box of this blog, would bring up multiple posts packed with pristine Insolence. Whenever someone who is a associated with the antivaccine movement and has demonstrated antivaccine proclivities through his actions so piously denies being antivaccine, a good rule of thumb is that he is almost certainly antivaccine, and in this case Posey is just that.

After citing Thompson's one and only public statement on the issue since Wakefield's, issued nearly a year ago, Posey read a new statement allegedly made by Thompson. Most of it is stuff I've heard before and blogged about, but this part was new:

At the bottom of Table 7 it also shows that for the non-birth certificate sample, the adjusted race effect statistical significance was huge. All the authors and I met and decided sometime between August and September ’02 not to report any race effects for the paper. Sometime soon after the meeting, we decided to exclude reporting any race effects, the co-authors scheduled a meeting to destroy documents related to the study. The remaining four co-authors all met and brought a big garbage can into the meeting room and reviewed and went through all the hard copy documents that we had thought we should discard and put them in a huge garbage can. However, because I assumed it was illegal and would violate both FOIA and DOJ requests, I kept hard copies of all documents in my office and I retained all associated computer files. I believe we intentionally withheld controversial findings from the final draft of the Pediatrics paper.

If this is a legitimate statement actually by Thompson, which is certainly possible, given that it's known that Thompson has been in contact with Posey, this is the first time Thompson has alleged anything actually unethical or illegal. All his previous accusations before could easily be explained as being disagreements based on Thompson's misunderstanding of statistics, how to control for confounding variables, and the perils of relying on such a small subset to make any conclusions. This is the first time he's accused his coinvestigators of outright destruction of data, which is a very serious charge. Destruction of the primary documents for a government-funded scientific study is not only scientific fraud, but a federal crime as well.

I'm sure his former co-investigators are very happy to hear this. I'm also sure that saying such things will make Thompson even more popular at the CDC than he is now, which is almost certainly not very after what he did last year, taking his disagreements with co-investigators public, speaking to an antivaccine loon like Bill Hooker, and giving Andrew Wakefield ammunition to make more trouble. (One wonders what he does all day at the CDC these days.) Be that as it may this story doesn't sound very credible at all. For one thing, the data for an epidemiological study would be not just on paper records, but in many computer files, in particular SPSS files used to do the statistical analysis and perhaps spreadsheets and databases storing all the data on the subjects. These would be stored on government servers, which are backed up every day, with backups kept for a long time, if not indefinitely. In other words, it's not that easy to do what Thompson is accusing his co-investigators of doing. There would be both an electronic and paper trail that would be difficult to erase. Surely Thompson knows that; his co-investigators almost certainly did as well. Does that mean these allegations shouldn't be investigated? At this point, there is probably little choice, but, given Thompson's track record, my guess is that there is nothing to his charges, which would make him truly despicable to have made them.

Another rather curious issue is why Posey called for the Appropriations Committee to investigate. This makes no sense at all to me, given that the most appropriate committee to investigate charges of major research fraud at the CDC would be, as much as I hate to say it, Dan Burton's old committee, now chaired by that tool of the supplement industry, Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. The Appropriations Committee isn't the usual committee to look into allegations of governmental wrongdoing of this type.

That's not the only curious issue, though. I also find it very strange that posey didn't produce any actual documents. After all, if the documents are as damning as claimed and Thompson has given Posey his copies, why not be specific about what was destroyed? Why say only that he would provide the documents to any Congressional representative who asked? That's still not all, though. If, as Posey claims, this scientific fraud is so bad, why did he bring it up during a Morning Hour session. Morning Hour Debates are usually held on Mondays and Tuesdays and are dedicated to members speaking about whatever topic they like. Of course, this being Congress, it's more complex than that, with rules over who is chosen to speak for an individual session, and the like, but that's basically it. Another pertinent fact is that this is the last week Congress is in session before the August recess. So why give this speech in a Morning Debate the week before everyone in Congress heads back to his district for five weeks?

My guess is that Posey is doing this as a favor for his paying supporters in the antivaccine movement, but doing it in such a way that he's on C-Span giving a speech asking for an investigation of Thompson's allegations, but at a time when no one in Congress is paying attention to anything but getting major work done in time to be able to blow out of town. Given that Andrew Wakefield is working on a movie (oh, joy!), as we learn from this interview:

Hilariously (or sadly, depending on your point of view), in the section about the CDC Whistleblower, starting at about the 31:00 mark. In between the rants about big pharma, pharma shill gambits, and attacks on the CDC, Wakefield claims that he has all the documents as well. He claims that Thompson is a statistician and epidemiologist. Thompson is neither. He's a psychologist. He also claims that he "outed" Thompson to protect him, because otherwise they were going to be dredging the river for him. That's right. Wakefield actually claimed that he was looking out for Thompson's best interests, rather than Wakefield's best interests. Anyone who has studied Wakefield knows how ridiculous that claim is, because Wakefield is about nothing if not his own self-interest. But damn if it doesn't add spice to the conspiracy theory. Maybe with all the excitement among antivaccinationists about the conspiracy theory in which alternative medicine docs are being systematically murdered by big pharma, Wakefield had to come up with a claim that William Thompson would be murdered by the government if it weren't for his intervention. Who knows?

Whatever the case, Wakefield is continuing to flog the CDC whistleblower fiction, and Thompson appears to be going along with it while Posey is using it to keep antivaccinationists funding his campaign. What I highly doubt is that there is any malfeasance to be found. Indeed, if this statement from Thompson turns out to be genuinely from him, I'd wonder how long it will be until DeStefano and the other co-authors of the original sue Thompson for libel because he just accused them of a major federal crime.

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It's always the same: the antivaxxers dramatically overstate the risks of vaccine use, they scoff at the risks of disease and sneer at the possibility of an epidemic, and they hint at some dark government/pharma conspiracy to keep the true dangers hidden from the American People.

No matter how hard they try to sound reasonable, no matter how fervently they swear their love of Science and their dedication to keeping their own children vaccinated (except for a few, that they chose to disregard, because they have questions), they always come around to these core points the moment they feel safe.

As an example of crank magnetism, the issue of electronic voting fraud has - inexplicably - reared its ugly head again in the political blogs. This time around, a statistician is making certain claims about anomalies in the voting data: claims that I am finding unsubstantiated, but the CT people are eating it up like pudding. Digging into the matter a bit more deeply, I find that this statistician is a bonafide antivaxxer fanatic - fitting exactly the profile outlined above.

The world is a sad place, some times.

By Robert L Bell (not verified) on 29 Jul 2015 #permalink

I wonder if one thing these conspiracy theories supply is some excitement to jazz up the rather boring lives of these people? Like living inside a novel, an adventure story, though some side of the brain must believe that, really, one is quite safe. Otherwise they'd do something genuinely adventurous, like join Doctors Without Borders. Here they can get their emotional high without any real risk of being shot.

Though of course he is anti-vaccine and anti-Obama.

@ Kathy

Here they can get their emotional high without any real risk of being shot.

There is definite ego-boosting component, yes. After all, the core of many CT is that their proponents were smart enough to see beyond the facade of lies.
There is also a strong current of anti-conformism* in many CT. There are not sheep following the herd, but lone rangers making their own trail**.

* and as Umberto Eco once wrote, there is plenty of conformism in anti-conformism, to the point of being its own mainstream.
** actually they often end up following the trail of another herd of brainless sheep, but don't tell them that. They are part of no-one's herd.

though some side of the brain must believe that, really, one is quite safe.

You know, it's actually the only way I could explain one of the inconsistencies of many CTs: here are people believing that there are these nefarious, powerful people hell-bent into hiding something, through threats and murders of people in the know if needs be. So black helicopters should be coming for them any time now. But CT believers don't even try to hide. Somehow, it's just make-believe.

Well, in the case of Wakefield, another explanation is that he is very well aware he is full of sh!t and no-one is going to come to terminate him. Presenting himself as a martyr is just an ego-boosting trip, with the nice benefit of allowing him to rake a living.

By Helianthus (not verified) on 30 Jul 2015 #permalink

Regarding the allegation of document destruction, it's a pretty serious charge, but we need a bit more context. Human subjects research regulations require retention of certain, but not all, documents for a minimum of 3 years. Protocols may also require the destruction of certain documents (e.g., subject keycode and identifiers) as soon as they are no longer needed, in which case, keeping those documents would be an ethical (and potentially illegal) lapse. Then there are HIPAA and state regulations that could also play a role in this.

We should also remember Thompson's been burned regarding FOIA and DOJ before. That could have colored his approach to document retention/destruction.

True, but this is the federal government we're talking about. Such documents wouldn't be shredded by the principal investigator and his team. They'd be turned over to a document shredding service. Similarly, that still leaves the issue of electronic records, which are harder to get rid of given how extensive backups are. Sure, you can delete them off the server, but what about all the backups going back to the creation of the documents? Now, I don't know how long the government keeps its server backups, but there are policies. For instance, this is the policy document for grantees wanting to use the CDC Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention:

http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/pdf/policies_funding_ps13-1310_Attachment_IV.pdf

For example:

Many states have laws or regulations concerning how long client records must be stored, and also when and how they must be destroyed. Agencies must develop policies and procedures that comply with these state regulations. When client records are to be destroyed, these should include not only the paper records but also the electronic records. Please note that “deleting” a file or record does not actually remove the data from the system. Even overwriting or formatting may not sanitize it; special sanitization programs or physical destruction of the storage media may be required. Agencies must be sure to sanitize or destroy hard drives of computers scheduled for disposal or transfer to staff not authorized to use CDC data systems.

You get the idea.

@Orac

True, they would be turned over to a shredding service. But I note that Thompson didn't say that the authors were shredding, but rather putting documents into a garbage can. That most likely was a receptacle that is picked up by the shredding service.

Re: electronic records, one place I've worked had a policy that any computers that were to be recycled had to have the hard drives removed and smashed with a sledge hammer; only way to be certain the data would no longer be accessible.

The story would've been a lot more dramatic if Thompson had the researchers piling all the documents on the floor in the meeting room, pouring lighter fuel on them and striking a match.

It may yet come to that.

By Dangerous Bacon (not verified) on 30 Jul 2015 #permalink

One other thing regarding the timing of events: does Thompson have documentation of these meetings (e.g., dated minutes) at which document destruction was allegedly discussed or conducted, or is he recalling from memory?

The remaining four co-authors all met and brought a big garbage can into the meeting room and reviewed and went through all the hard copy documents that we had thought we should discard and put them in a huge garbage can

Yes. Speaking as a former AND current government employee, this is a major WTF?

We'll just have to wait and see what kind of statement -- if any -- Thompson chooses to make about this.

Apparently, the only one that has documented proof of everything. Well, if I were just accused of committing federal crimes, I'd like to face my acuser and this massive body of evidence that shows I was a part of a huge coverup.

This is great news.
Finally we will get to the bottom of this so-called "CDC whistleblower" controversy, and I expect someone will have their ass handed to them as a result: Dr. Thompson for bringing libelous charges against his co-authors, the co-authors themselves for destroying data records, or Rep. Posey for lying on the House floor.

I'm pretty sure there is no law or rule against telling lies on the House Floor. Otherwise, there would be very few, if any, members of Congress left. I believe a member could be censured for, say, impugning the integrity of another member. But lying? Nah.

@kathy #4
I can attest to that. I remember before my life was changed by Randi and Novella, I was one of those people. I remember the vivid "us vs the world" felling. Believing that you "know" suppressed information gives you an empowered feeling. It really just takes the right person to show you the way. I have realized that the deeper the person is into it the harder they are to reach. But if they are lucky, the right person will come along and say something that makes them question things. Of coarse i am talking about the followers who are misinformed....not the ones just using people to make money.

By jonnybdead (not verified) on 30 Jul 2015 #permalink

The Appropriations Committee isn’t the usual committee to look into allegations of governmental wrongdoing of this type.

What the Appropriations Committee can do is insert language in the CDC funding authorization that requires or prohibits it from taking certain actions, such as requiring a follow-up of all vaccine injuries. IINM the CDC is currently prohibited by law from engaging in or funding systematic studies injuries from gunfire, and that rider is probably inserted by either the Appropriations Committee or whatever committee is in charge of marking up the CDC budget. So if Posey happens to be on the Appropriations Committee, he is in a position to do major damage.

Unfortunately, if Posey is lying he is likely to get away with it. Who has the ability to do anything about him? The House Ethics Committee (excuse me while I laugh) and the voters in his district (of which those who know about what Posey is up to probably approve of it). And Thompson would have the upper hand if his co-authors sue him for libel: he can argue that they are public figures, and it is very difficult (almost impossible) to libel a public figure in the US.

By Eric Lund (not verified) on 30 Jul 2015 #permalink

"Andrew Wakefield is working on a movie" - Orac.

If you ask me , Andrew Wakefield is ALWAYS working on a movie and has been for the last 20 years.

Seriously, his tales have all the elements of a thriller- dirty dealings in high places, a cover up, an intrepid investigator who finds clues and later is threatened, his brilliance and fortitude enabling him to persist despite being tarred himself...
all that's missing is the *femme fatale*..

I've been an aficionada of noir since age 10 or so. Really
Perhaps Andy will send a script to Mssrs McConaghey and Harrelson, producers of True Detective.

As you may know, two anti-vax authors have written up detective novels for Skyhorse ( Stagliano and Conte) which unravel the mystery of vaccines and autism.

I imagine that Andy is thinking of films as he plans to document the march- including RFK and Hooker linking arms with the black leaders. Great visual. Bacon's idea is a nice touch as well- tossing lighter fluid on the documents *et voila* they're engulfed by flame!

I've frequently discussed the Big-Man-in-a-Small-Car- threatening-a-Brave-Maverick-Scientist-Reporter-Filmmaker.

Spinning yarns to engage your audience may be fine if you're a fiction or screen writer but it is ludicrous if you purport to be interested in reality. But they don't have data so they need flashy scenes and an imbroglio of plots.

Perhaps many of their readers can't discern the difference.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 30 Jul 2015 #permalink

AND the plot thickens...
Heckenlively ( AoA) believes that his presentation was cancelled because he included 'whistleblower' material.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 30 Jul 2015 #permalink

Interesting that today The Guardian has an article on the efforts to recall Richard Pan and reverse SB277 by referendum (not that either are likely to succeed...) http://tinyurl.com/ovc8bud

Coincidence or.... Conspiracy?!! ;-)

Well, Pan has a FB page for opposition to the recall – https://www.facebook.com/keepdrpan – and lo and behold the most upvoted negative comments include two referencing Posey 'CDC Whistleblower' speech.

In light of Todd's #8, the 'new' quote allegedly from Thompson stinks of sophistry:

Sometime soon after the meeting, we decided to exclude reporting any race effects, the co-authors scheduled a meeting to destroy documents related to the study.

I'm guessing the grammar Fail comes from Posey's reading, not anything Thompson had written as a formal statement – it should be something like 'after the meeting in which we had decided to exclude' – but it compounds the problem: the sentence structure seems to imply a connection between the two things, but none is stated. That is: 'Thompson' does NOT say the documents dumped into the bin had anything to do with the excluded racial data. Also, note the verb 'scheduled', which could refer to a routine always-planned clean-up of the type Todd mentioned. not any covert cover-up of the supposedly bogus 'exclusion'. No relation AT ALL is stated between the decision-to-exclude and the document-destruction. The statement merely notes one happened after the other.

IMHO, this at a spot where any competent rhetor would drop the hammer if he had the ammo to support an explicit connection in any way whatsoever. The careful insubstantiality of the wording smells of a conscious attempt to gin-up an appearance of malfeasance where none is actually in evidence. (If this statement is indeed from Thompson, I'm now thinking he may have gone off his nut in response to some persona inter-office issue with the DeStephano and used Hooker as a tool for payback.)

So... Birther Bill Posey reads a seemingly inflammatory statement that actually says nothing, produces not a single document the shredding of which would appear hinky, and calls for an investigation he knows can't be taken up for 5 weeks, on the same day the petition drive for Pan's recall get's the go ahead from the CA secy of state, which then immediately appears in the comment threads on Pan's Facebook...

Connect the dots, sheeple!!! ;-)
____

FYI: In addition to the FB page, Pan also has a keepdrpan.com website and an assortment of Twitter tags for supporters...

"He based this claim on a truly incompetently done “reanalysis” of Destefano et al, which he later touted for its “simplicity,” not realizing that simplicity in statistical analyses of epidemiological data."

Is "is a terrible idea" or "generally gets you worse results" or the like supposed to be on the end?

Whenever I see Bill Posey's name, I think of Buster Posey, which makes me sad, as the latter is adorable.

By Roadstergal (not verified) on 30 Jul 2015 #permalink

" Connect the dots, sheeple!!!" - sadmar

Perhaps that's part of woo-meisters'/ anti-vaxxers' appeal:
they invite people to play detective- enabling them to feel momentarily superior because they believe that they can ferret out hidden threads that few others even realise exist.

It's another variety of Brave Maverickism.
Brave Sherlockism?

Occasionally those with less fevered mental proclivities may turn their attention to more realistic activities like my cousin who is investigating her heritage across 3 countries and more than two centuries- complete with official documents, company papers, letters and photos.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 30 Jul 2015 #permalink

Ironically, even some of the antivaxxers over at AoA realize that this is largely a token statement meant to throw them a bone rather than get any real action taken, and are castigating Posey for prefacing his remarks with the obligatory protestation that he's "pro-vaccine." I guess that's what he gets for trying to play both sides against the middle.

Seriously though, the researchers brought a big garbage can into the meeting room to destroy the evidence of their evil plot? Did this shadowy meeting end with a cannibal feast in honor of Satan? And I suppose Thompson went along with all this in spite of his private misgivings because he was afraid of being "suicided" by the CDC death squad. Sheesh.

I suspect that he's just trying to make a routine disposal of unneeded hard copies sound sinister, but why? Has he well and truly gone over to the dark side? Or was he coaxed to make statements that could be taken out of context in order to sound incriminating?

At this point, I hope they do have a congressional hearing - I'd like to hear the other researchers' take on all this.

@ Orac, Ben, Eric...

"Thompson's" statement isn't defamatory as it doesn't actually say anything. It's less of an accusation than a 30C dilution of an accusation :-). "I assumed it was illegal..." per FOIA is mighty thin gruel given that these events happened years ago, and he (and his attorney) have had plenty of time to actually check what laws or regulations may have been violated by dumping anything into "a garbage can".

I'm guessing this little drama will play out as follows:
1) CDC issues a response that nothing pertinent was destroyed, and DeStephano et al were merely following standard policy.
2) Posey knows CDC will say that, and has an excuse prepared for ducking the calls to produce a 'smoking gun'.
3) Meanwhile, the anti-vaxers will just write off anything the CDC says, and any supporting evidence of proper procedure it provides, as part of The Great Conspiracy.
4) If/when Posey releases any document he acquired from Thompson, it won't meet the claims of possible evidence of malfeasance he makes for it — but his claims will be seen as 'his subjective interpretation' as is his right as a Representative. And the eye of the news cycle will be so far past this kerfuffle it will barely be noticed and Posey won't feel any more than a tiny gnat-buzz of political heat.
_____

I have here in my hand a list of 205 that were known to the Secretary of State as being members of the Communist Party and who nevertheless are still working and shaping the policy of the State Department. Sen. Joseph McCarthy, Wheeling WV, 2/9/1950

The next day, McCarthy flew to Reno NV, where reporters asked him to produce his list. He said it was in a suit pocket packed in luggage that was still aboard the plane. He was able to successfully continue his witch-hunt for four more years, despite never producing a 'list' of any sort...

Now Jake ( Autism Investigated) is on the case.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 30 Jul 2015 #permalink

So while I doubt it will ever happen, what would be the downside to Thompson and the other involved parties testifying, I assume under oath, before Congress?

I wouldn't expect anything earth shattering to come out of this and realize that even if Thompson was discredited, it would do nothing to shatter the faith of the autism from vaccine true believers.

[With apologies to Richard Condon - The Manchurian Candidate.]

Posey: "I have here a list of 57 card carrying, lying pharma shill, pro-vaccine government researchers in the Department of De . . . the CDC at this time!"

"...it would do nothing to shatter the faith of the autism from vaccine true believers.

Apparently. And not just autism; it seems those most against vaccines hop from one disease/disorder to the next and align themselves with other movements in an ever changing morphology against the one ring of evil.

A question to all of you who have been at this for so long, why do those not profiting from fear-mongering hate vaccines so much?

Is it a sense of control over circumstances which they can not control? A place for their anger to land over bad things that happened to them? A mission in life to fight for others?

For those profiting from attacking vaccines, it is a pathetic way to make a living, but at least I can grasp that motivation. Heck, I even understand the motivation of the anti-psychiatrists whose comments I read. But the anti-vax thing is so irrational to me that I am at a loss to understand it.

By Not a Troll (not verified) on 30 Jul 2015 #permalink

To me it seems more likely that Thompson has said nothing new at all, and is indeed continuing to keep his head down. This statement may be carefully edited extracts, removed from context, from what he's previously said to Hooker and Wakefield about CDC procedures, and fed to Posey.

@ Not a Troll:

I'd guess that it serves to enhance self esteem:
- they're not the parent of a disabled child but a "damaged'
( by external forces) child not because of heredity or accident
- they can inaugurate a secondary career as a warrior, freedom fighter, brave maverick investigator, journalist, author, speaker, whatnot..
- they can believe themselves superior to others in ability ( to find the Truth) and morality ( as a victim of shadowy forces).
- they can win friends and influence others - playing counsellor, teacher, health advocate on facebook and elsewhere- creating a niche of likeminded cohorts.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 30 Jul 2015 #permalink

He also claims that he “outed” Thompson to protect him, because otherwise they were going to be dredging the river for him.

I can't help but wonder whether Wakefraud came up with this all by his lonesome or ripped it off from the Jim Stone Forums* and hoped that nobody would notice.

* Again recall "Dr." Megan Heimer.

Seriously, his tales have all the elements of a thriller- dirty dealings in high places, a cover up, an intrepid investigator who finds clues and later is threatened, his brilliance and fortitude enabling him to persist despite being tarred himself…

There are elements of that plot in Wakefield's real life, except for the minor insignificant detail that Wakefield is the villain in that plot. So he projects like a cinema.

“I assumed it was illegal…” per FOIA is mighty thin gruel given that these events happened years ago, and he (and his attorney) have had plenty of time to actually check what laws or regulations may have been violated by dumping anything into “a garbage can”.

Indeed, if it was so obviously illegal, why didn't Thompson object at the time? If this statement is genuinely from him, he has just admitted to being an accessory in any crimes that may have been committed. I'm not aware of him being subpoenaed or granted immunity to date, so this would be a dumb thing for him to say--admittedly, he has said other dumb things about this case previously, despite his highly paid lawyer's advice to STFU. If said lawyer is worth a tenth of his hourly fee, he would have taken particular care to give his client this advice if anything criminal had actually taken place.

By Eric Lund (not verified) on 30 Jul 2015 #permalink

All it needs is either an underground car park or getting his nose cut open.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 30 Jul 2015 #permalink

Thanks, Denice. Yours is a very well rounded answer.

I've always been able to understand why someone who thought they were harmed in a specific way would take issue with them (however misguided) but struggled with why they would hop on the crazy train of ever more harms attributed them. At some point I would think it would become obvious that the leaders of the movement are just casting a wide net of disorders to keep the movement going.

But, it should come as no surprise to me that after someone has become so self-invested in a cause that they would suspend critical thinking after that.

By Not a Troll (not verified) on 30 Jul 2015 #permalink

@Denice Walter
#22
This is exactly what i feel goes on. Before i was enlightened by the great Randi and Dr. Novella, i believed in a lot of bs. I remember feeling smarter than all those people that didnt see through the cover up. The problem is that it seems that most of thees people don't know how to think critically. I remember...I was one. I always hated that section of the book. It always meant more work. In that respect i feel the school system has failed us. However, all it takes is the right person to help you question how you think. That is what happened to me, and i was in the thick of it.

By jonnybdead (not verified) on 30 Jul 2015 #permalink

Indeed, if it was so obviously illegal, why didn’t Thompson object at the time? If this statement is genuinely from him, he has just admitted to being an accessory in any crimes that may have been committed.

Yup. By his own reports, he didn't try to stop this alleged serious crime, and he didn't report it. Instead, if he is to be believed, he saved copies of the destroyed documents for over 12 years before handing them out to Brian Hooker and Andrew Wakefield (and now Bill Posey).

all it takes is the right person to help you question how you think.

jonny, if you don't mind me asking, what approach did this right person take that was successful in terms of getting you think critically? I'm always interested in these types of stories.

why do those not profiting from fear-mongering hate vaccines so much?

Is it a sense of control over circumstances which they can not control? A place for their anger to land over bad things that happened to them? A mission in life to fight for others?

I'd say all of the above, plus everything Denice Walter said in #30, plus a growing number of "natural lifestyle" types who see them as unnatural, plus all of the alt-med types who simply hate them because they're part of "Western" medicine (obviously, lots of overlap between those two groups.)

Of course, that brings up the question of why vaccines seem to get so much more hatred than other "unnatural," "Western" medical interventions. I can think of a few different factors. Firstly, of course, is the fact that vaccines are preventative, so skipping them doesn't typically have obvious, immediate consequences, which serves to reinforce the idea that they're just a money-making scheme and you can get along just fine without them (because of your awesome, superior immune system, of course, not because everyone else is getting their shots.) Then there's the natural parental instinct to protect one's child from harm - having to watch your kid get stuck with needles, often literally kicking and screaming, is obviously unpleasant; that feeling can easily be interpreted as your "Mommy instinct" telling you that shots are bad, especially in retrospect when your trying to figure out why your kid regressed, or developed diabetes, or whatever. Lastly, I suspect there's a Freudian element involved in the penetrative aspect of getting shots - notice how ubiquitous the comparison to rape is among antivaxxers. In addition, many antivaxxers also object to the Viamin K shot, which isn't a vaccine at all, and some recommend the nasal flu vaccine over the injected version even for age groups its not indicated for. That, to me, indicated that its much more about the needle itself than what's actually in the syringe.

All the authors and I met and decided sometime between August and September ’02 not to report any race effects for the paper. Sometime soon after the meeting, we decided to exclude reporting any race effects, the co-authors scheduled a meeting to destroy documents related to the study. The remaining four co-authors all met and brought a big garbage can into the meeting room and reviewed and went through all the hard copy documents that we had thought we should discard and put them in a huge garbage can.

Note that not a single thing is said about anyone's motivation or the reasons for any decision. The potential criminality is left to be inferred by the reader.

However, because I assumed it was illegal and would violate both FOIA and DOJ requests

Did he think to mention that to his colleagues? Surely if he had, he would say so in his own defence.

What does he gain by doing this?

By Rich Woods (not verified) on 30 Jul 2015 #permalink

"At some point I would think it would become obvious that the leaders of the movement are just casting a wide net of disorders to keep the movement going."

This. I remember when they took thimerosal out of childhood vaccines - I was thinking, this will unfairly demonize a perfectly good preservative, and do nothing to change people's minds. Sure enough, down the road, now that autism diagnoses have gone up instead of down after that removal - not only are the anti-vaxxers still at it, but from what I see online, most are still playing the thimerosal tune... it's not just the leaders, _everyone_ is just too invested now to give an inch.

By Roadstergal (not verified) on 30 Jul 2015 #permalink

I think rs @ #30 has hit the nail on the head. This is Thompson réchauffé.

Roadstergal, agreed. There is a lot of investment here.

Also, I forgot to include that it is not only a wide net of disorders but a wide net of political positions. Any movement that can join libertarians with the au naturel with the Nation of Islam really is taking advantage of their opportunities.

Sarah, it does seem that vaccines are being unfairly targeted.
And, I agree it seems a large part of this is not being acquainted with the consequences of communicable diseases even though it isn't that hard to connect the dots if you wanted to. It reminds me of those who think cougars in suburbia are a good thing or that any individual bear won't eat you if you do your bear-whisperer thing.

By Not a Troll (not verified) on 30 Jul 2015 #permalink

But, wait - maybe Thompson is just "delusional" again, as Hooker and company reported Thompson had become when he was supposed to present the results of the 2004 study previously.

I do wonder what was going through Thompson's mind when he was conferring with Hooker.

By Heather Vee (not verified) on 30 Jul 2015 #permalink

"Sometime soon after the meeting, we decided to exclude reporting any race effects, the co-authors scheduled a meeting to destroy documents related to the study."

So, when did they change their mind, in this story? I ask because the study does include race effects

By Matt Carey (not verified) on 30 Jul 2015 #permalink

The instance of Annie Lee Moss comes to mind, and trial by sound-bited hearsay.

It's difficult to strike statements such as Posey's as once you plant such a thing in the public mind, that's where it stays. That's the evil of his statement.

Posey --- have you no sense of decency.

Re: Why is there an irrational hate of vaccines?

1) I'd start guessing via a few observations rooted in concepts of 'evolutionary biology':
A) It makes sense that human beings are more likely to have survived through many many generations by compartmentalizing 'rationality' for some purposes and relying on 'instinct' or 'emotional response' for others. Our reactive 'lizard brains' have primary access to our CNS with the more contemplative cerebral cortex more-or-less only coming into play when and how the lizard brain is chill enough to hand off tasks to the Rationality Processor Unit.
B) Our hard-wired 'habits of mind' evolved when human experience was largely defined by the struggle to survive in the natural world, with threats from other humans taking the form of overt physical aggression, and 'the social' essentially confined to the immediate interpersonal realms of kin and clan.
C) Surviving through those many generations has left the lizard brain with a strong 'reflex' aversion to being stuck with sharp things that then inject fluid into our bodies. (Think snakes, scorpions, wasps yada yada yada...)

2) It's a general principle of Cultural Studies (the caps indicating the tradition of 'The Birmingham School') that sub-cultural obsessions are typically driven by Something Else unspoken under the surface (though not exclusively, directly, or simplistically so...). A certain amount of 'projection' is just the way modern homo sapiens tend to roll, especially when dealing with forces that may seem to intractable to face directly. In industrialized societies, many key forces we encounter in everyday life are no longer questions of 'nature' but the end-products of complex and distant social institutions, reflected and 'naturalized' by our almost wholly manufactured environments, including mass media. Thus, Cultural Studies actually EXPECTS 'real issues' to manifest themselves most often lurking under apparently irrelevant or insubstantial surfaces, and EXPECTS apparently irrelevant or insubstantial cultural phenomena to be rooted in deeper stuff. These 'modern mythologies' function not-so-much to explain social situations, as to provide conceptual tools for negotiating them and living with/under them. This is typically seen as neither 'good' nor 'bad' in general, but always cutting both ways, with any judgement of where the balance falls always potentially in flux and only fully assessable on a case-by-case basis. And, indeed, issues of control, self-determination, identity, harm, justice and so on are typically found in the mix.

3) Moving out from the particular case of Fear and Loathing of Parenting an Autistic Child (which has a lot of specific broader social metaphor of its own to unpack) – and applying the above to vaccine dread in general – we might imagine the subcultural apparatus of injection paranoia, pseudo-science, and CTs as a sort of catch-all vehicles for 'dealing with' a variety of different issues, and the reasons it's adherents land there instead of some other subcultural formation fairly varied as well. But while we're unlikely to find one-size-fits-all answers, some more common 'clusters' might emerge. For example, there's a pretty clear gender and class imbalances in anti-vax, which we might trace to changing social and economic pressures on economically empowered, middle-aged, middle-class women (including imperatives to retain MILF-dom) coming into conflict with traditional models of femininity and motherhood, including 'women's intuition', 'mom knows best' and so on.

The apparent irony of the 'Thinking Moms' is that the bleating about 'MY child' is coming mostly from professional women who are NOT tied to traditional domestic roles of 'Quiverful' stay-at-home-housemoms. That is, they're asserting the limited perks of traditional gender definitions at the same time they're abandoning them. Among the sources of the angst they're asserting 'mom-ism' against could be the tenuous foothold of whatever authority they possess in the still-patriarchal realm of the professions. Like the drunk looking for the keys he lost in a dark alley under a streetlight a block away "because the light's better" professional issues having nothing at all to do with vaccines or health could be projected into 'mom fights to keep kids safe' narratives simply because that's where middle-aged-middle-class women get the most attention and cred. Totally 'irrational' in one sense, it also 'makes sense' in another...

But, of course, I'm just playing with some hypotheses I don't have the time and other resources to check against the (non-scientific) evidence, so this post doesn't even qualify as MHO, just 'blue sky' offered up fwiw as possible discussion points.

@AdamG
#38
Oh no problem, very proud of it. For me...it was the Brian Dunning. I know, and i thing everyone should, that there is fraud and that some people do take advantage of others. However, i was under the impression that you couldn't just say something works or helps people with it having no basis in reality. I thought that it couldn't be legal to do that, that's lying. Oh how wrong I was. When i first got my ipod i herd of podcasts. This new thing at the time that was like a radio show but on demand. I was looking for something about science, one of my early loves in life. I was this one called Skeptoid on there. The episode that was the most recent was "Organics". I really didnt know many facts about it. I did "know" it was better for you, had less pesticides, better for the environment...ect.. Why would this be in the science section. It was a short pod cast, and i thought this guy was full of shit. I worked for a large company that sole business was organics. At the end of the episode Brian said "you dont have to believe me, the information is out there". So i did. Before this point I had never really done any research on claims. I just believed people that i thought were in authority of the "expertise". What i found where the real studies. Mainly the Select studies, but there were more.
As i started listening to the show, and doing my own research, i was slowly being taught how to ask critical questions. My whole world was turned upside down. When you believe those things....it becomes part of you. I felt like i had been manipulated in a lot of ways. That show lead me to the SGU(skeptics guide to the universe) This show just took it one step further. I finally got the Critical thinking skills that the school system should have given me.

Didnt mean for it to be so long, but thats how it happened to me. A lot of thees people believe in more than one thing that is based off bad information. If someone can show you how to be critical in one area...it will spill over at some point. Also if myself, and the majority of people, would have been taught how to think critical in school, we would be a little harder to convince. Im not saying it wouldn't happen, it just would have been harder. This is why i feel proper education would go a long way is stopping a lot of bad science.

By jonnybdead (not verified) on 30 Jul 2015 #permalink

@AdamG

and you? Do you have a story. Or were you taught how to think critically in college?

By jonnybdead (not verified) on 30 Jul 2015 #permalink

@sarah
#39
and that leads back to education. No real skepticism or critical thinking taught in school. I feel it is extremely important, and its not there.

By jonnybdead (not verified) on 30 Jul 2015 #permalink

However, because I assumed it was illegal and would violate both FOIA and DOJ requests, I kept hard copies of all documents in my office and I retained all associated computer files.

So Thompson has the wherewithall to keep all the documents that he alleges were destroyed and not only says nothing (because there isn't some kind of protections for that sort of thing right?) for over a decade but when he does it's Brian Hooker and Andrew Wakefield he seeks out?

I believe we intentionally withheld controversial findings from the final draft of the Pediatrics paper.

He believes?! Either they did or they didn't. Thompson was a co-author in on study design, data collection, data processing and drafting the article.

The CDC does have much to answer for, one of them being why did they hire a buffoon like Thompson and why did they keep him on for so long?

By Science Mom (not verified) on 30 Jul 2015 #permalink

@ jonnybdead

Can you say more about how you think the school system failed you? What sort of schools did you attend? What classes or courses of study that you took do you think SHOULD have cultivated critical thinking skills? Why do you think they didn't, and what kind of pedagogy did they offer instead? H.S.? College? Passive neglect in favor of other concerns? More active 'we don't go there' taboos? Some of both?

@johnnybdead,

Good for you! Those are both good podcosts that I have listened to a lot. I always had a skeptical bent in my thinking, but they helped to hone it. Regrettably, I no longer have enough sit and listen time to keep up with them.

@sadmar,

It almost doesn't matter. Courses on logic and the scientific method have never been part of the core curriculum in U.S. high schools and the sort of in depth teaching that might help students develop them has been set aside in favor of teaching the answers the kids need to pass their annual Federal and state exams so the school gets a good rating and the teacher gets to keep their job and, maybe, get a raise if revenues are up and the state legislature (or perhaps the local school board) thinks they can afford it.

By squirrelelite (not verified) on 30 Jul 2015 #permalink

Todd @10
You can write garbage data to the drives, but you have to write it to the entire drive and do it several times over which can take days or more. But since drives are cheap, a hammer is faster and has a satisfying smash to it.

On the motivations of anti-vaxers, here is another theory: http://gas.sagepub.com/content/28/5/679

Short version: some anti-vaxers are acting out the tension between modern feminist ideals and the traditional, family-centric mothering role they have chosen. By taking the stance that they, and they alone, know what is best for their children, their decision to be stay-at-home moms shifts from being a personal choice to one of necessity; from being an "abandonment" of the hard-fought progress of feminism to a noble sacrifice.

In order to maintain this delusion, though, they have to deny that anyone, including doctors, can know more than they do about what is best for their children. Looked at in this light, vaccine denial is actually a pretty safe way for them to "prove" their superiority as care-givers, because they can rely upon the rest of us (via herd immunity) to keep their children mostly safe. And if something bad does happen, they can simply attribute it to "God's will" or (better yet, for them) blame it on the vaccinated. Either way they can easily side-step the blame.

I don't know how applicable this is across the entire range of anti-vaxers. The not-insubstantial narcissism that such a thought process would require certainly rings true.

By Dan Welch (not verified) on 30 Jul 2015 #permalink

An anti-vax group has been cited, along with The Church of Scientology for influencing Greg Abbott - the Tea Party governor of Texas - into vetoing a bill that would have allowed hospital officials to detain a person with mental illness "for no more than four hours if they felt that that person was a threat to themselves or others." http://tinyurl.com/nrp3ttp

The Scientology-backed group behind the campaign opposed to the bill is:

dedicated to taking a stance against "the biological/drug model of 'disease' that is continually promoted by the psychiatric/pharmaceutical industry as a way to sell drugs," The Texas Tribune

Irony watch: the major pharmaceutical companies are big donors to ALEC, which spends its massive war chest supporting right-wing 'anti-government' clowns like Abbott.

I have to say that what Wakefield says about me on that video is - line by line - a pack of lies. The depths to which this man has sunk astonish even me.

One fascinating moment is where he says he has something I wrote to the BMJ characterising myself. This material is the best thing he found in thousands of pages of litigation discovery from me and the BMJ, and 6.5 hours of tape recorded deposition of me by his attorney. He said he would give it the woman interviewing him - who seemed to boast that she hadn't read anything I've written - like it was some gem of deceit.

And you wanna know what it was? The great unmasking of Brian Deer after hundreds of thousands of dollars were expended investigating in litigation my conclusivee proof that Wakefield is a research fraudster ad career cheat?

I say words to the effect that I am "semi-notorious" for packing into simple articles what I call "a rat's nest of complexity".

In other words, I take very difficult, technical subjects and write about them clearly and simply. Indeed, such that Wakefield's comrade-in-crookery David Lewis argued that my journalism was so accurate and well-written that I couldn't have done it.

I might assume that Wakefield knows so little about the American language that he doesn't know that a "rat's nest" is any kind of intense complexity, particularly in Southern usage (and I did used to live in Atlanta).

But I won't make that assumption. He'd simply a lying scumbag, feeding himself on the profits of desperation.

Read his patent, for instance, which he says is for a dietary supplement.

http://briandeer.com/wakefield/vaccine-patent.htm

By Brian Deer (not verified) on 30 Jul 2015 #permalink

"I also find it very strange that posey didn’t produce any actual documents."

One answer from Sharyl Attkisson

"In an untainted news environment, the allegations would make headlines in most legitimate publications and would trigger federal inquiries. However, the interests of the powerful pharmaceutical industry reach deeply into Congress and the news media through lobbyists, propaganda and advertising dollars.

[Damning quote here]

That’s why Congressman Posey resorted to simply reading some of Dr. Thompson’s statement today on the House floor…including the part in which Dr. Thompson says he retained the evidence that had been thrown in the garbage can, in the unlikely event that a neutral investigative or scientific body would like to see it today." Emphasis mine.

Some convoluted logic there and I guess it goes back to the lack of critical thinking to accept that reasoning on face value.

By Not a Troll (not verified) on 30 Jul 2015 #permalink

@ Dan Welch:

I certainly can see how old and newer roles could be in conflict. Intriguing idea.

At any rate, I feel that some of the loudest women believe that their past university education/ occupation (non-medical) somehow bleeds over into other realms- including medicine -and that they use their advocacy as a replacement for a career. They enjoy being consulted and asked to write or give talks. A few are published authors.

Perhaps they studied writing, finance, PR, computers, education, physics or ((shudder)) social science** and thus, believe that their grasp of any subject is immediately excellent: we witness the know-it-alls who speaks of Dr @sshat, of how the media doesn't know how to report, about how researchers don't understand statistics and then call opponents stupid.

I think that the invention of Rube Goldberg-like conspiracies in another way for them to pretend abilities that deserve recognition. These women- and it's mostly women- also resemble the ( mostly) male woo-meisters like Adams and Null who posture and preen in order to demand attention and even obeisance. They're compensating for their own deficiencies by calling names and attributing malfeasance to people who are successful in more demanding and scientific fields than those which they pursued. They refuse to admit that anyone else can be expert except themselves.

To me, this suggests that they have problems with relating to others maturely and that they have impoverished ability to self-evaluate themselves realistically.

Every tennis player has seen the phenomenon: a stranger claims to be an intermediate ( or expert or a particular level) and then you play them - and the you see that they know nothing. Incompetent and unaware.

** education of actual TMs and AoA contributors

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 30 Jul 2015 #permalink

NaT:

Attkisson har har har.

If she bothered to look up where the pharmas' political spending actually goes, she'd find Bill Posey is a proud ALEC alumnus (as is Dan Burton) and former recipient of ALEC's "National Legislator of the Year" award for "his efforts to bring greater accountability to government."

I can't speak for Ms Atkisson, since she doesn't appear to have a clue about much in this life, but any professional journalist would know that if you had secret documents - indeed documents it is alleged that senior government scientists have destroyed in a conspiracy potentially subjecting them to federal incarceration - you would take them to ONE journalist of reputation at virtually ANY media outlet.

Giving them out to politicians virtually guarantees that no media claims ownership of the story, and it's impact is reduced.

ANY journalist of experience and competence would know that.

This obviously doesn't include Ms Attkisson, who evidently hasn't been favoured with the proofs of this allegedly heinous criminal conspiracy to cover up injuries to black children.

By Brian Deer (not verified) on 30 Jul 2015 #permalink

Frauds and charlatans - including the novices at TMR/ AoA- really despise smart, articulate people who can figure things out on their own- the latter are a threat to the former's existence and livelihood.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 30 Jul 2015 #permalink

sadmar nailed it with noting what a high level of sophistry this exhibits.

I've had several conversations with friends/family members who are anti-vaxx and the CDC/Thompson thing comes up EVERY time. Yet no matter how much I try to explain sample size, confounders, analyzing cohorts vs case studies, their eyes always glaze over and they think it is just some convoluted excuse.

Which is precisely why such sophistry works so well. The person putting it forth claims to be 'for the truth' and 'persecuted' and thus garners sympathy and hero worship for 'going out on a limb'. Whoever then responds comes across as a de facto wet blanket.

This also plays into the Dunning-Kruger intellectual narcissism that is so often seen.

I've noticed that a good gauge of true intellect is if someone understands that there will be things they dont' understand, and that is OK. For the Dunning-Krugers of the world, if they can't understand, it is instantly marginalized, they think it must just be a bunch of dense gobbledy-gook.

For example, when I read up on the LHC, even the 'dumbed down' versions of how quantum mechanics largely fly over my head. If I were to try and understand physics on the level of a Hawking, I would invariably fail because I just don't think my brain has the horsepower to get there.

Not so for Dunning-Krugers. They simply reject the understanding that is beyond their own and substitute their pet bastardized version in an act of enraging intellectual narcissism.

Now that this story is out, the great irony is that any technical explanations such as what Orac stated about how records/data is handled by the CDC will simply come across as desperate sophistry...

@sadmar

I am talking about high school mainly. I took all the science classes i could. I was taught the scientific method but that's it. Not once, that i can remember, was there a mention of pseudoscience or just bad science. It wasn't a topic in my household so i didnt know about it. When you are taking advanced bio and chem there should defiantly be mention of bad science. Or better yet more in depth study of evaluating evidence and the importance of evidence. I understand that anyone can be fooled, but its a lot easier if you don't know what to look for. I also think logical fallacies should be taught. I learned maybe 3 or 4 in science.

squirrelelite brought up the reason why i feel it is this way. The classes taught established facts and established theories, but not the "establishing" part. The test cores are the focus. Hell, just knowing how to establish credibility would make a big difference.

I can tell you what, i'm getting ready to have a baby girl, and i will be as involved with the school as possible. I have a sneaking suspicion they are going to hate me.

By jonnybdead (not verified) on 30 Jul 2015 #permalink

have to say that what Wakefield says about me on that video is – line by line – a pack of lies. The depths to which this man has sunk astonish even me.

Wakefield astonishing you surely must be rhetorical. Unless of course he were to have an attack of conscience and admit to his monumental wrongdoings. Think about it; it must stick in his craw that you won The British Press Award for your work on him and he is relegated to begging for money to produce shoddy, melodramatic drek not likely to be seen outside his sad rump of disciples.

By Science Mom (not verified) on 30 Jul 2015 #permalink

So Thompson has the wherewithall to keep all the documents that he alleges were destroyed

And the office space for "a big garbage can's" worth.

@ EBMOD:

What you describe is part of executive functioning- self-evaluation- knowing that you don't understand something- which is *supposed* to develop during adolescence but doesn't always.
This problem sometimes accompanies other issues.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 30 Jul 2015 #permalink

@Denice Walter
67
Isn't that where argument from ignorance comes from?

By jonnybdead (not verified) on 30 Jul 2015 #permalink

@Denice Walter
what other issues? if you dont mind me asking

By jonnybdead (not verified) on 30 Jul 2015 #permalink

@ jonnybdead:

I don't know.

Kids learn, as they develop, to deal with the world in more and more abstract ways- Piaget called it 'formal operations' - you don't see much of it prior to adolescence altho' its roots are there much earlier.

Self-evaluation, self- regulation and self-control are aspects of this complex of abilities as are symbolic speech ( including metaphor), interpersonal savvy, witticism and sarcasm- it's a huge, rich area of inquiry worth surveying.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 30 Jul 2015 #permalink

jonny, let's just say that mental illness, immaturity and intellectual issues can interfere with these skills.
Probably also impoverished experience.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 30 Jul 2015 #permalink

Brian Deer wrote

I did used to live in Atlanta

Proof! Atlanta is, or course, the site of the CDC headquarters! Well, no wonder that you went after Wakefield, as your masters commanded!

@ squirrelelite

More irony: the only education in something like 'scientific method' I got as an undergrad (class of '75) was in the required two-term "Intro to Secondary Education" course that went into analyzing the 'validity' and 'reliability' of testing, so we'd know how to use 'critical thinking' to evaluate the ways we were evaluating the students. I wonder if they still teach that stuff now that the Feds and states are writing all the exams that count...

Though skeptics seem to define the concept somewhat differently, my UG curriculum included many courses focused on cultivating 'critical thinking' – in the sense of being able to construct a sound argument and pick apart the flaws in weak arguments – mostly in the domain of 'rhetorical criricism/public speaking' for me, with some English comp and lit crit in addition to a couple upper level Ed classes.

When I got to grad school in what then went under the rubric "Mass Communication" that 'field' was undergoing a shift from narrow foci on quantitative research and policy analysis to include politcal economy, social theory, and cultural studies in at least token capacities, and 'paradigm dialogues' were a big thing at conferences and in the journals. In my (somewhat unusual) PhD program, we were expected to be familiar with ALL the major approaches: their methods, their 'theoretical foundations', their epistemological assumptions, the arguments between them... So, despite the fact my own work wasn't 'scientific' at all, when we out to grad student conferences and encountered doctoral candidates from purely social-science-based programs, I found they had just been taught to 'do', not to understand or (mercy sakes!) interrogate their own premises, and I knew more about how their process worked and it's intellectual history than they did. (They could do stats, though, which I certainly couldn't.)

For a taste of the sort of critical thinking that accompanied 'Ferment in the Field ' check Todd Gitlin's 1978 critique of "Media Sociology: The Dominant Paradigm".
http://tinyurl.com/p7pvgdc [N.B: Quantitative media research has long produced very different views from sociologists and social psychologists - with the former finding 'no' or 'weak' political effects, and the later finding 'strong' effects in monkey-see-monkey-do cultivation of violence tied to whatever moral panic is on the burner of the time (videogames most recently).]

My old Department has long since changed it's direction, and my sense is that now the different approaches to media studies have quit trying to argue with each and just concentrate on doing "their own thing". So young scholars just keep heading wherever they've pointed themselves, and certainly don't do much critical thinking about their own first principles, or anybody else's. The debates were never going to get settled, of course, and weren't conducive to creating publishable original scholarship, but engaging them was a valuable process in 'learning how to think', and it's too bad that now seems largely gone.

@ jonnybdead

The few science classes I took in college just "taught established facts and established theories, but not the 'establishing' part" and that was back in the 70s. But we had a unit on logical fallacies in my sophomore H.S. English class, and they're covered (along with other stuff relating to valid argumentation) in this classic Intro to Public Speaking text (link to older edition on Amazon for 1¢ +postage): http://tinyurl.com/pcquaus

Check it out! (I can't vouch for the newer editions, as the primary authors have shifted.) And don't let your daughter skip those Humanities classes! :-)

But... Wouldn't reporting on race have given at least some credence to a genetic element to autism? And the anti-vax cult is complaining that documentation related to this was shredded? Wouldn't they WANT that suppressed?

There needs to be a complete and thorough investigation into this matter. The allegations are far too serious to ignore. Thompson has seemingly no motivation to say something like this if it weren't true. Integrity is what science is all about so if the facts bear some inconvenient truth, then so be it.

By curtis sherwood (not verified) on 30 Jul 2015 #permalink

@sadmar
73

well i graduated high school ten years ago and i can tell you how it was then. There is a chance some thing were covered on elective classes. I just may not have been in them. But that is it.

I think i only feel this way because i was taken by so much misinformation. It doesn't help that many of thees ideas that are publicly excepted due to misinformation are being offered at colleges now. I know i would have thought that if a college teaches it that its real. I just feel that some very reasonable things can be done to help prevent the spread of bad info. A lot of us are not in a position to do them. Furthermore, I dont feel that there are enough to vote change, on some issues, either.

By jonnybdead (not verified) on 30 Jul 2015 #permalink

I tried very hard to think of when/how I was instructed in critical thinking. I know my teachers in the '70's would ask us a lot of questions about what we had read and there was one English class where all we did was logic puzzles but nothing more strikes me.

I'm left with believing it is something my parents did when I was very young and an overwhelming desire to know the truth about things.

Of course this desire to know the truth could have resulted in me following some real weirdos, and I have come close, but I think I gained some skepticism along the way by being a student of history.

And on that note, I certainly have a lot of reading to do from exploring Dan Welch's mentioned theory to sadmar's and other's thoughts on my question to Brian Deer's work and legal wranglings (which will probably horrify me about A. Wakefield).

It's a good thing I don't have month-end deliverables due [inside joke for those who happen to be on the "After SB 277, medical exemptions to vaccine mandates for sale, courtesy of Dr. Bob Sears" thread].

By Not a Troll (not verified) on 30 Jul 2015 #permalink

@sadmar
74

oooh. thanks. looks interesting. i do believe an English class of mine touched on a few. We didnt do any activities with them. I am sure the debate class they offered covered and utilized them in class. Most people didnt take that class.

Thank you for the suggestion. I will give that a read.

By jonnybdead (not verified) on 30 Jul 2015 #permalink

AND the plot thickens…
Heckenlively ( AoA) believes that his presentation was cancelled because he included ‘whistleblower’ material.

He also makes an inadvertent revelation:

"Here is the text of the program we developed for the April 9, 2015 event: American Whistleblowers: The Perils and Promise of Science: Whistleblowers from Daniel Ellsberg in the 70s to Edward Snowden in recent years...."

However, in the original,

"I have to admit that being compared to whistle blowers like Edward Snowden who revealed the creation of a vast surveillance state in our country, or Daniel Ellsberg, whose revelation of how the United States was waging a tragically flawed war in Vietnam and led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon, has left me a little overwhelmed. But that's exactly how I'm being described in the advertising for a panel discussion in which I'm participating in on April 9, 2015 at 6:00 p.m. at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco."

The remaining four co-authors all met and brought a big garbage can into the meeting room and reviewed and went through all the hard copy documents that we had thought we should discard and put them in a huge garbage can.

Well, so what?

Imagine that you are a CDC research scientist in 2003, and that you and your colleagues have just completed a study that you expect will be published early the next year. You understand that your data will be made freely available to qualified researchers. What do you do with all the paperwork?

1. Keep every single printed document (e.g., every email that you've printed out, printouts of your telephone log, your handwritten notes, etc.) to be hauled away to one of the vast network of warehouses that CDC maintains to hold every single printed-out email and telephone log and handwritten note.

2. Toss what you don't think is important, and assume that each of your colleagues will independently do the same, but with perhaps some variance in what each of you think should be stored in CDC warehouses full of printed copies and handwritten notes.

3. Meet with your colleagues to jointly decide what printed material should be stored.

Posey's feeble effort reminds me of the Omnibus Autism Proceedings, in which the Petitioners' Steering Committee chose as test cases those that were regarded as the strongest cases. The rational reaction: "Really? That's the best you've got?"

@ Narad:

Heckenlively gets comments from TMs ( MacNeil, Spencer and Tex, perhaps) who disagree with his complaints. The TMs spoke at that venue sans cancellation- altho' I think that eventually they waived admission fees.

@ brian:

I'm also far from Atlanta and glad of it!

I was only at the airport**, never in town BUT my friend had to work there on and off and complained about flying there with constant thunderstorms and high heat and humidity.

It's bad enough here next to [redacted] with a hot, humid DAY or two but weeks or months of it?

** seems like I've been in many airports without ever seeing the towns.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 30 Jul 2015 #permalink

What's this about Heckenlively speaking as part of a panel (that was thankfully canceled) "April 9, 2015 at 6:00 p.m. at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco"? The Commonwealth Club is usually a high-credibility forum and its presentations are routinely aired on KQED, which is the San Francisco affiliate of National Public Radio.

The timing of all of this suggests that the publicity around SB 277 in California had something to do with raising awareness about Heckenlively's BS. The bill was introduced in mid February, so it's likely that the conference was booked months before that, and the rest as they say is history;-)

--

Motives for anti-vaxers:

Probably all of the above and more, as anti-vax movements have been going on as long as vaccines existed. At root, I'm inclined to think that much of it, a critical mass of it, is rooted in the fear of needles due to early experiences with pain while getting shots.

So: Why not undertake a concerted effort to make needles completely painless? This really ought to be easy: for example rub some topical anesthetic on the skin, develop an anesthetic coating for the exterior surface of the needles themselves, try using a TENS machine, etc.

I'm quite convinced that painless needles will eliminate much of the anti-vax stuff in a single generation. Parents will see their kids behaving normally as they get their shots, those kids will grow up without a fear of needles, and the atavistic instincts about snake bites and suchlike won't be triggered. This will reduce vaccine paranoia to below the critical mass threshold, to the level of a rare phobia that can be treated with anti-anxiety meds.

How'bout it?

By Gray Squirrel (not verified) on 30 Jul 2015 #permalink

All the comments and most to obfuscate the actual topic at hand. 81 comments on: lies critical thinking, bone throwing,sophistry, Wakefield, and most laughable...,grammar/sentence structure. Seriously, what does Posey have to gain? #58 is the only rational thought bubble

By christina (not verified) on 30 Jul 2015 #permalink

If vaccinations don't hurt anyone, why did that fund pay out over three billion dollars for vaccines?

How’bout it?

I really don't think that fear of needles is that prevalent or that overwhelming in the population of anti-vaxxers that eliminating that aspect would do any good. Remember they are just as against Rotavirus vaccines and nasal Influenza vaccines. Even moreso because they are live-viral vaccines.

It's the vaccines. Period. They can't comprehend what goes on from sticking that needle in to immunity. To them it's voodoo and as such causes whatever they believe it causes if something bad should happen temporally-associated with the vaccine. Sadly, it doesn't appear if we are any better off in terms of falling for repetition confirmation and we just have a better way of spreading the FUD farther and faster.

By Science Mom (not verified) on 30 Jul 2015 #permalink

The author of this article claims Posey is only bringing this up to get the antivaxer vote. That he is a liar when he says he advocates vaccines. Robert Kennedy is lying. That Hooker has fabricated documents.

What I always found humorous is how often people ostracize "conspiracy theorists," while at the same time, becoming one.

When I worked for a government agency we had a similar exercise where we had to throw various reports and data in the trash (a big cardboard box on the table). In our case though it was because there were numerous printed duplicate reports. We had to go through all the files, determine how many copies we had, keep 2(?) of them, and all the rest went into the trash.

It was simply to make room in overcrowded file cabinets. Nothing nefarious. No idea if that is the case here, but it was the first thing to jump to mind based on my experience (this was early 2000s).

By Dan Andrews (not verified) on 30 Jul 2015 #permalink

Laughed out loud at the title of the article ''the return of the revenge''.
So when's the sequel?
''CDC whistleblower reloaded: resurrection''

Some interesting comments about critical thinking and how people arrive at certain ideas - thanks all!

Just to throw a couple of other things in: over here much school science education, going back to when I was in school in the '60s and '70s and continuing now, is based around rote learning of established facts with a tip of the hat to methodology and stats. It was, for me, only at the pre-university stage (A-levels) that greater examination and practice of experimental method (chemistry and biology for me) came in. As an under-grad in environmental sciences I was encouraged to question and taught how to read scientific papers thoroughly and by my final year we were replicating/falsifying experiments.

Subsequently I have taken a jump to the left in career terms and re-trained as a MH nurse. This has, along with knowing a load of medical students at university, shown me that many medics are not much good at science. More worryingly many of my clinical colleagues over the years of various disciplines are prone to saying "research says" which means they read it in a book, and have no tools for critically evaluating any evidence to support what is claimed (all I will say is NLP...).

Trying to get some of these colleagues to learn how to evaluate evidence or how to actually read a paper was like getting blood from the proverbial stone: many complained it was too hard and just wanted the simple version. Sorry, that is not how it works.

And these are health professionals...

Also, there is what I term "cute, fluffy bunny syndrome", which is exemplified by my niece.

Niece decided she wanted to do an environmental science degree also, so my sister asked me to talk to her about it. Turns out she didn't want to do too much, if any science (I was recommending chemistry and biology as necessary underpinnings pre-university) as it was "too hard", which meant she was woefully under-equipped for the sort of degree I did and ended up doing one with next to no actual science, but a load of fluffiness and "naturalness" and a whole lack of critical thinking and ability to evaluate evidence...

This is a pretty decent university she attends.

Brian Deer @ 57

The Wakefield interview here is painful to listen to.In addition to all the lies,slander,and name calling he slings at you,it's one sided.Wakefield is clearly manipulating this poor woman's mind like Silly Putty.He comes across like a classic con artist,setting up one flaming straw man after another,Wakefield is the sociopath here,not you.

I am as white as the wind driven snow,.Swedish,French,German ancestry,and I have the same genetic issues with Vitamin D metabolism.It is an autism thing,not a black thing.I have a long family history of rickets or osteoporosis.Autism is entirely medical,but it is also a collection of different types of inborn disorders.I have been diagnosed with a few of these,and successfully treated them.I would love to be able to debate Wakefield,or any other prominent antivax leader someday..

Colostrum supplements are snake oil,BTW.

By Roger Kulp (not verified) on 30 Jul 2015 #permalink

I really don’t think that fear of needles is that prevalent or that overwhelming in the population of anti-vaxxers that eliminating that aspect would do any good. [...] It’s the vaccines. Period.

This goes back to cowpox variolation. "They are contaminating my Purity of Essence. They are Mixing the Bloodlines." It is hard to argue with the magical medieval mentality.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 30 Jul 2015 #permalink

@ 89 Roger:

Another fascinating feature is that he spent years rallying his ranks, like the co-conspirator parents Rosemary Kessick and Isabella Thomas, with false claims that the British government had indemnified the drug companies. He knew this was untrue because he billed hundreds of thousands of pounds to help sue drug companies.

In the video, he changes his story, and now says that in the UK, it was the drug companies who were sued, and that it was the US where they had the "indemnity".

It's always the problem for people like him. They can't keep their story straight. But he knows that nobody notices or cares what he says. As his interviewer made clear, she was impervious to fact. Her mind was made up.

By Brian Deer (not verified) on 30 Jul 2015 #permalink

I recommend this author be removed for writing on this blog. The posts are biased and offensive. I'm almost certain the author is being paid to write these posts in such as harsh way. Reader Beware!

There needs to be a complete and thorough investigation into this matter. The allegations are far too serious to ignore. Thompson has seemingly no motivation to say something like this if it weren’t true. Integrity is what science is all about so if the facts bear some inconvenient truth, then so be it.

I can point you to people who "seemingly have no motivation" to claim that the US government is covering up contact with space aliens "if it weren't true" and yet claim that. And no one can deny that if the allegations were true it would be far too serious to ignore.

Do you think we should be devoting lots of time and attention to those space alien claims, on that basis?

By Antaeus Feldspar (not verified) on 31 Jul 2015 #permalink

Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Antaeus Feldspar that is a dopey comment if there ever was one – and you know it.

The most likely scenario is Dr. Thompson is telling the truth. That’s what disturbs me and should disturb every one of the readers on this site.

(pardon the error on the previous message, please delete the previous post and edit this one if possible)

By Curtis Sherwood (not verified) on 31 Jul 2015 #permalink

Lee@85

"If vaccinations don’t hurt anyone, why did that fund pay out over three billion dollars for vaccines?"

Who said they never hurt anyone? Anyone credible believes that the benefits of vaccination far outweigh the harms, not that they never cause harm. Nice strawman.

HKG@95

"I recommend this author be removed for writing on this blog. The posts are biased and offensive. I’m almost certain the author is being paid to write these posts in such as harsh way. Reader Beware!"

http://qph.is.quoracdn.net/main-qimg-41ef4bc3c47a2f6df24b449bcd2791a9?c…

What I always found humorous is how often people ostracize “conspiracy theorists,” while at the same time, becoming one.

What I always found humorous is how often people comment on one of Orac's posts when they clearly didn't read it.

Looks like they're talking about you over on Mothering, Orac.

"It has got to be one of the lamest articles written on a skeptic blog, and that is saying a lot. It essentially amounts to Thompson is lying, with no proof he is lying - just supposition. Oh, and Posey is doing this because "anti-vaxxers" (all 0.3% of us) fund his campaign.

Also, for kicks, and in this rather short article by Orac, I counted the number of times Orac said crank/quack and conspiracy theory. Ready for it?

quack or Crank: 7
conspiracy theorist (for the win) 8

I guess ad hominem attacks are all you have got when you've got nothing"

To which someone name Mirzam responded: "Thanks for reading the article Kathy. I had assumed that this issue was going to be a tough one for the skeptics."

Haha.

http://www.mothering.com/forum/47-vaccinations/1522529-congressman-pose…

# 81 Brian & Dan Andrews

Meet with your colleagues to jointly decide what printed material should be stored?

Exactly what I was thinking. I remember my group shutting down a major evaluation project for a Crown Corp. We sent about 5-6 record’s boxes to government archives,made official deposits of reports to the library and intended recipients such as TB, I managed to flog a fair number of backgrounder items to the library, and still had a garbage cart (4m X 2m X 1M) just about filled with old computer runs, extra copies of drafts 1 to 17, 107 index cards (don't ask), duplicate copies of memos and so on. This is not conspiracy just survival. A researcher down the corridor from me had our Health and Safety people condemn his office cubicle as a fire hazard.

We almost lost a research assistant but someone fished him out before the cart was taken away. :)

By jrkrideau (not verified) on 31 Jul 2015 #permalink

"It essentially amounts to Thompson is lying, with no proof he is lying – just supposition."

Ties in with what I'm sure we were all expecting them to say, since they have no friggin clue how real science is performed, they didn't realize that their bullsh!t detectors should have squawked vociferously at the 'trash can' story...

And obviously, Mikey ( Natural News) has a story on Garbage Can Gate and refers his readers to Attkisson.

Why, I ask, do we need to purchase over-priced crappy suspense novels for summer reading when we have Mike, Gary, Kim, Jake and the TMs to entertain us?

Occasionally I either pass an article on or narrate its contents to one of my not-officially-sceptical cohorts in order to provoke gales of laughter and stunned amazement: it is usually highly effective.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 31 Jul 2015 #permalink

The Posey video is being flogged around a lot on Facebook. For the most part, Thompson's statements are being taken at face value because the readers don't understand, or are completely unaware, of the backstory.

Quoting from Thompson's statement as read by Posey:

avoid the debacle that occurred with the Verstraeten thimerosal study

This quote (and actually, other passages in Thompson's statement) leads me to think that Thompson was not referring to his notes from say 2002, but recalling, in 2014, what he thought in 2002. We all know how unreliable memory is.

For those of you who think, "Verstra WHO? WHAT? What debacle?" -- there wasn't one. In February 2014 (well before the Thompson -Hooker -Wakefield circus), Emily Willingham summarized the story of the Verstraeten studies:

In spite of the openness of this process and the adherence to an original two-phase plan for the study, Verstraeten found himself (and continues to find himself, it seems) the target of accusations of manipulating or hiding data, particularly when the peer-reviewed paper from this study was published in 2003 (abstract here).

http://www.forbes.com/sites/emilywillingham/2014/02/22/is-the-cdc-hidin…

Readers who want even more detail about the Verstraeten study are directed to a June, 2005 article by Lindsay Beyerstein:

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. claims that the transcript of the CDC's Scientific Review of Vaccine Safety Datalink Information (hereafter, Simpsonwood) is definitive proof of a government/industry conspiracy to conceal the health effects of thimerosal in vaccines.

http://majikthise.typepad.com/majikthise_/2005/06/simpsonwood_thi_1.html

Why, I ask, do we need to purchase over-priced crappy suspense novels for summer reading when we have Mike, Gary, Kim, Jake and the TMs to entertain us?

Because the plots of those crappy suspense novels are so much more credible than anything they've written. Things like dinosaurs being recovered from fossil DNA in Jurassic Park require far less suspension of disbelief than embracing world wide conspiracies to conceal a universal cure for cancers or evidence that vaccines are worse than the diseases they protect against, etc.

And the idea that homepathy (i.e., magic water) could cure anything? Men in Black is more believable.

@ Gray Squirrel #83

I don't think pain is the issue with vax-dread, and though 'painless' needles might reduce immediate angst in the doctor's office, folks would still freak over the concept of injection. Humans tend to rely on clear semiotic oppositions in everyday life, among the strongest of which are interior-self/exterior-world, living/dead, etc. Structuralist anthropology observes that taboo arises where category boundaries become liminal; and indeed some of our most common taboos involve the points where inanimate exterior matter enters the body and becomes part of us, and stuff that was inside the living body exit and become inanimate exterior matter: i.e. eating and sh!tt!ng.

If people freak out about what they put in their mouths to the point of engendering ongoing multiple fallacies about 'natural food' – despite nothing tasting better than fat, salt, and sugar – just taking the pain out of fluids being injected RIGHT INTO YOUR BODY isn't going to chill THAT taboo out of existence in one generation (or ten). Now, obviously, most adults are able to employ cognitive processing to recognize the health benefits of medical procedures, and value them enough to overcome taboo that they manage to swallow awful tasting meds, supply stool samples in little plastic cups, and accept injections on a routine basis, but that doesn't mean they don't feel icky about those things down in the amygdala.

But, but, but... I don't think anti-vax hangs on the experience of getting stuck, but the idea of vaccination. And my hypothesis is that this is just a hook on which other social anxieties get hung. This projection is so deep that 'vaccines cause harm' becomes an unquestionable first principle around which every other thing must revolve for the true-believing anti-vax mind. But then if projection didn't thoroughly conceal itself to the conscious mind, it wouldn't be projection, yes?

Finally, while we may be fascinated by the psychology of the ant-vax faithful, we ought to consider that these folks are few in number, and way too fringey to pose a public health risk. The threat to community immunity comes from the prevalence of the behavior of not-vaxing-on-schedule, which can be nothing more than hesitancy resulting from misinformation and more casual and vague uptake of cautions floating around in the Twitter-sphere. In short, I'd guess most non-vaxing behavior stems from a different sort of psychological profile – one less invested and less... well... weird. It will be interesting to see if/how vax rates change in the wake of SB277 and the continuing movement of anti-vax rhetoric to the hard right. Demonizing Planned Parenthood won't play well in Berkeley...

@ sadmar:

About the 'psychology of the anti-vax faithful':

we should always keep in mind, that most of the well-known ones are PERFORMING in order to garner an audience and create a career for themselves.
How much of their own spiel do they believe:?
Who can tell?

Come to think of it, that sounds like Andy.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 31 Jul 2015 #permalink

@ JGC:

Actually I enjoy the naïve, unsophisticated quality of their prose and lack of reality testing that allows them to construct such unlikely theories and conspiracies. How does this occur? Why?

It's like visiting a bizarre, floridly hallucinogenic cult totally unlike the modern SB world I know: I often feel like Gulliver.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 31 Jul 2015 #permalink

I guess ad hominem attacks are all you have got when you’ve got nothing”

Odd that they don't seem to realise that no one has anything ... except for, on the anti-vax part, wishful thinking ... because Thompson has yet to provide anything in the way of evidence to support what he "believes".

I haven't followed this for the length of time that others here have or read everything written on it.

What I have read gives me the feeling that there's just something off about Thompson.

I have to wonder why this guy is still employed at the CDC, assuming that he hasn't been put off in an office somewhere with no real duties and ignored because it might be more aggravation than it's worth to get rid of him.

As a purely rhetorical question, why, in this era of wiki leaks and such, aren't Thompson supporters questioning the fact that no documents ... which he's now claiming to have kept ... have appeared on-line to provide evidence of the cover-up Thompson implies to have occurred?

I mean, if If anyone was concerned about Thompson's safety, wouldn't bringing these documents into the public realm be the first thing they'd suggest?

Liz Ditz, How do you know what someone watching the video of the senator does or does not understand? In what scenario would not understanding a back story justify throwing away safety data tested on children? Yes those precious little children that you think vaccinating California is going to protect. Who is protecting them in the CDC? Obviously it's you that does not understand. These vaccines have to go through 3 phases (and sometimes 4) to get approved by the FDA. They are not tested on anyone who is not healthy, meaning a large population of the public (ie. autistic children, adhd children, children with epilepsy, heart disease, diabetes, asthma, allergies, metabolic conditions, mastocytoma, and anything that might be "risky or unethical" by the standard so the FDA. So they don't test them on autistic children (I am just going to use that one as an example) but when it's approved they mandate it for school. They were never tested on a large population of the public and NEVER tested on babies less than 37 weeks (considered full term), or babies with jaundice (that would be risky to test them on) but not risky to vaccinate California with. Just based on the pre-marketing exclusion criteria for the pre-marketing studies on vaccines there should be medical exemptions given to anyone with any condition that was excluded from the study.

They're still at it on that Mothering thread.

"So Thompson would be having to make it all up and collaborate with the anti-vax-funded Posey. Both are lying about damning evidence getting shredded because . . . . why exactly? To bring down somebody from the inside? To create a problem with vaccines that doesn't really exist in order to convince the public to stop vaccinating? And we get called the conspiracy theorists?"

When a poster mentioned that the onus is on Thompson to provide evidence, someone responded "It's called the burden of rejoinder, and rejoinder needs to be more substantive that, "I'm choosing not to believe it." But that doesn't interest me as much as the evidence to his case. He's ready to provide just that--by calling for a hearing in which the responsible parties testify under oath. If you're as interested in evidence as you claim, I certainly hope that you will urge Congress to hold this hearing."

He also allegedly has immunity according to someone on that thread. Does anyone know if that is true or not?

IANAL, but as I understand it, you can't be granted immunity until you've actually been asked to testify.

Which he hasn't so he doesn't.

Ker - vaccinating does protect children. Or do you have another explanation for why we don't see smallpox anymore?

@Keri

Vaccines have been tested in pre-term infants.

As for no testing in a large population of the public, while a controlled trial of that scale has not been done (largely due to funding...that size would be expensive!!!), studies have been done looking for adverse events (those are the phase 4 studies you mentioned). Plus, there is the Vaccine Safety Datalink (a real-time surveillance database) and the passive VAERS database, which can be used to trigger more in-depth studies looking at safety. And studies are done on those who are not healthy. For instance, this study looks at a HepB vaccine in those with chronic kidney disease and type 2 diabetes.

As for jaundice, I imagine that a doctor might recommend waiting until it is resolved before immunizing, but I haven't seen anything, yet, indicating an elevated risk in that population. If you have anything, I'd love to read it.

@shay

He is protected from reprisal for revealing any wrongdoing or suspected wrongdoing, if he is acting in good faith. So, if he has the goods, he can simply release it without fear of being fired or suffering other job-related actions.

It's funny (and sad) to read the comments about "anti-vaxxers". I suppose you could call me that even though my kiddo was vaxxed. Vaccinations were never even a blip on my radar until his 15 months shots put him in the er with seizures. He met all his prior milestones ahead of time but that all changed. He was diagnosed with Autism. Was it because of the shots? We certainly could never say this definitively but there are way two many stories like ours to say "the science has spoken". (and interesting enough, a lack of data on the current schedule. 2013 IOM report - Key elements of the immunization schedule—for example, the number, frequency, timing, order, and age at the time of administration of vaccines—have not been systematically examined in research studies) The mothers that I know who you would call anti-vaxx all VACCINATED their children. They ended up on this side because of a terrible reaction to a vaccine. It is disingenuous to lump us into a lunatic fringe without acknowledging that a large percentage actually got the vaccines.

In what scenario would not understanding a back story justify throwing away safety data tested on children?

Keri, please do tell us how you know that the allegedly binned documents were "safety data tested on children"? Your claim is strange since there was no testing involved.

Just based on the pre-marketing exclusion criteria for the pre-marketing studies on vaccines there should be medical exemptions given to anyone with any condition that was excluded from the study.

How does after market testing on various sub-populations, like the ones you described factor into your precious snowflake exemption?

By Science Mom (not verified) on 31 Jul 2015 #permalink

In what scenario would not understanding a back story justify throwing away safety data tested on children?

Of course DeStafano, Thompson et al. have for years made their data readily available to qualified researchers (as well as to BS Hooker.) They did not throw away "safety data tested on children."

@Tamivo #119

Just because you once did something doesn't mean you can decide that you will never ever do it again to yourself or your children or future children

or that you will passionately advocate that no one ever do it to anyone ever

or that we should stop doing it completely

or proclaim that all people who do it are sheeple

or all people who tell you to do it are part of an evil conspiracy who are determined to do something terrible (like make all people autistic or kill off large percentages of the population) and fight to get them recalled, out of office, lose their jobs, etc.

Which is all different from I regret I did it, but I would do it again every time and I'm not going to stop getting vaccinations on schedule as required.

Although how can you be 100% totally and completely certain that had your child been ill with the disease (or ill over and over and over again like the days before vaccination) and the usually higher fever that they could not have possibly ever had a seizure.

Because some people are sure that all natural diseases are harmless and can't ever do severe damage or kill children and the only risk is vaccination. Or if they do damage a kid it is the parent's fault for giving them a snack with gluten in it, or not breast feeding them until they were 12 or whatever must be the fault of the parent and can't ever be because the disease is inherently dangerous for a good portion of people who get it no matter what they do or don't do.

Wow! Does anyone actually believe this author? How dare you call yourself a member of scientific community! You're saying "oh this is a ridiculous [tag: Conspiracy Theory] we should just ignore it!"—What a joke! Having worked in Medical Research myself I can tell you that the rarest thing you'll ever find is a legitimate study. That's the way it is! The Doctors from medium to high levels go right into the software and just change results all willy nilly like it's nothing to them in order to show the data they want to show to get their donor's products approved—they have no fear of indictments. I don't know if you're just naive or you really trust the system that much but you need to be taken out of any sort of position of influence until you learn some critical thinking.

By Justin Cooke (not verified) on 31 Jul 2015 #permalink

Justin, do you have any evidence for your claims other than empty appeals to authority? Or, you know, any complaints about the content of the actual article?

IANAL, but did Mr. Cooke just admit in a public forum that he was an accessory to fraud?

Having worked in Medical Research myself

Whatever was tested on Mr Cooke seems to have had deleterious side-effects.

Justin Cooke is also an in depth researcher of truth in all areas while specializing in The Illuminati, The Occult, secret societies, 911, symbolism, natural health issues, Co-Intelpro, the wars in the Middle East and much more!

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 31 Jul 2015 #permalink

did Mr. Cooke just admit in a public forum that he was an accessory to fraud?
Talk about an own goal.
So you are completely convinced that your employers regularly commit fraud...and yet you continue to work for them.

IANAL, but did Mr. Cooke just admit in a public forum that he was an accessory to fraud?

I suspect it doesn't count as an admission of fraud if you have only invented it out of whole cloth.

But then Justin Cooke, as others have stated, has very special knowledge - that is for the very most part also made up.

Heckenlively gets comments from TMs ( MacNeil, Spencer and Tex, perhaps) who disagree with his complaints.

Blaxill has been moved to say something vague.

Having worked in Medical Research myself I can tell you that the rarest thing you’ll ever find is a legitimate study.

Hi Justin Cooke. Cleaning the loos in medical buildings does not constitute "having worked in Medical Research [sic]" just so you know.

By Science Mom (not verified) on 31 Jul 2015 #permalink

Dan Welch @55

This makes sense and probably applies to many anti-vaxxers. In fact, every anti-vaxxer that I know personally fits this profile - half a dozen women who know better than anyone else what is good for their kids, doing whatever that thing is with no real proof that their choice is correct, openly defiant, expressing no consideration for what the long-term consequences might be, etc.

But this reminds me of millennials in general and certainly describes millennial members of my own extended family. I'm surrounded by them, with 5 kids and 19 nephews and nieces all between 21 and 30 (my wife and I come from large families); 6 are college students, 2 are graduate students, the rest are post college except for the 2 who didn't go. When I read the anti-vaxxer generalizations without anything backing up the claims, I'm right at home with millennials making (or not) important choices and openly declaring that they don't care the consequences. All of my kids' generation's parents are seeing the same to some extent.

By Ernie Gordon (not verified) on 01 Aug 2015 #permalink

Science Mom @ 86:

Agreed, opposition to oral & nasal vaccines is a counterexample to my needlephobia hypothesis. I didn't intend to convey that needlephobia accounted for all or even most anti-vax attitudes, only that I thought it might be the largest single component in the mix.

I'll concede "largest single component" but I still think that needlephobia is a factor. Personal anecdote dep't (anecdote N = 1 is datum;-) I can remember being quite averse to needles as a kid, including a couple of memories between ages 3 - 4. Conventional parental response to that (or at least what I experienced as a kid, N = 1 again;-) is to explain that the needle is necessary and comfort the kid for the pain & upset.

An over-indulgent parent might instead identify with the kid's point of view, and see the doctor as an oppositional figure, all purely emotionally and subconsciously. Then the parent seeks a "reason" for their feeling (people always seek "reasons" for feelings, as if the "reason" _caused_ the feellng: in reality, feelings _cause_ rationalizations), and blames the vaccines. That "reason" becomes partially satisfying and seeks further satisfaction by reinforcing the feeling that the doctor is an opponent, and that in turn leads down the trail to the wild world of conspiracy thinking.

But to be very clear about this, I think there are a large number of "reasons" and smaller number of "feelings" (emotional mechanisms) at work here, and _all of them_ contribute some percentage of the total.

So I'll float another hypothesis:

That arguements and policies seeking to address some of the "reasons" may further reinforce a different subset of the "feelings," and that these sets of "address a reason, reinforce a different feeling" add up to being meta-stable with respect to the entire complex of "reasons" and "feelings" among anti-vaxers.

For example: Fear of thimerosal leads to removal of thimerosal from most vaxes. But the anti-government people in the mix will react to that by saying "government is just using thimerosal as a distraction-squirrel, the real conspiracy is about government telling people what to do!" Attempting to address one avenue of anti-vax ends up stimulating the feelings that contribute to another avenue of it.

In any case, what I'm seeking here is for someone to do a thorough and systematic analysis of the various types of anti-vax "feelings" and "reasons," to try to disentangle the various threads that make up the subculture. That could lead to more effective interventions against it, some of which might turn out to be entirely unexpected or apparently indirect.

I don't have any preference as to what the data turn out to show about where the anti-vax attitudes come from: I just want to see a more systematic effort to figure out what's going on there so we can fight those attitudes with increasing effectiveness over time.

By Gray Squirrel (not verified) on 01 Aug 2015 #permalink

Cooke - research at google u dept of conspiracy doesn't count.

Sadmar @ 109:

You've got some very interesting ideas there, that I want to give more thought to and reply to later today.

The animate/inanimate // inside/outside issue is intriguing in particular. But anyway, more later this evening.

By Gray Squirrel (not verified) on 01 Aug 2015 #permalink

In August 2014, while my 3yo was in his 9-day intensive care stay for pneumonia, hooked up to a ventilator, several doctors strongly urged me to get him a flu shot when he was recovered. One pediatrician said "If he ends up getting the flu after this, he'll end up right back in here or worse."

A couple of months later, I brought this up during a debate on flu shots when defending our decision to get him the shot. In response, one antivax acquaintance said "The doctors lied."

During his stay, he was treated by no less than 6 pediatricians, 3 pumonologists, numerous RTs (for round-the-clock breathing treatments), etc.

That's quite a web of deception.

Short of nearly losing a child, like I did, I have no idea how most antivaxers' minds can be changed.

By Still Shaking Mama (not verified) on 01 Aug 2015 #permalink

"Having worked in Medical Research myself"

Oddly, neither I nor anyone I ever knew who actually held a research position referred to the field using Capital Letters.

"Cleaning the loos in medical buildings does not constitute “having worked in Medical Research [sic]” just so you know."

Be fair - he might've delivered pizzas to the lab.

By Dangerous Bacon (not verified) on 01 Aug 2015 #permalink

But this reminds me of millennials in general and certainly describes millennial members of my own extended family. [...] When I read the anti-vaxxer generalizations without anything backing up the claims, I’m right at home with millennials making (or not) important choices and openly declaring that they don’t care the consequences.

Not this nonsense again. Listen, I could say some highly unflattering things about many of the baby boomers I have personally known - selfishness, lack of consideration of consequences, etc. (o hai mom) - but I try not to make sweeping and probably incorrect judgments of entire cohorts of people.

It really does stick in my craw when boomers, who benefited from a pretty unique economic situation that's likely never going to exist again, have the gall to spit at my generation for being a bunch of "Peter Pans" or something, though.

“Having worked in Medical Research myself”

Oddly, neither I nor anyone I ever knew who actually held a research position referred to the field using Capital Letters.

“Cleaning the loos in medical buildings does not constitute “having worked in Medical Research [sic]” just so you know.”

Be fair – he might’ve delivered pizzas to the lab.

By Dangerous Bacon (not verified) on 01 Aug 2015 #permalink

In other anti-vax news...

-Dan O has whittled his weekend wrap down to a single word- Garbage!- illustrated with photos of CDC miscreants yet ( AoA) - commenters include Barry Segal and Ms Cedillo.

-If you want insight into the mind of an avowed anti-vaxxer, please peruse our benevolent host's twitter account** wherein Jake Crosby irritates him and all concerned for an extended period of time. This fascinates me. His density is astounding. Orac is extremely patient and tolerant.

A few years ago, I had an exchange with Jake myself: his graduate education since then, and experiences in the world at large ( if he has any) did not improve his abilities to converse with adults and understand words like 'evidence', 'belief', 'bias' and suchlike . ( continued)

** this may be a test for some- g--gle his real name + twitter.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 01 Aug 2015 #permalink

I know that newer participants ( like JP) may have missed Jake's presence at RI so I'll recount my own part in this storied era a few years ago in August IIRC:

I often counsel students who have emigrated from Third World countries, who are EFL/ESL, usually women who may have a background in which they were never expected to attend university. Some are quite young but many are middle-aged and have children who have already left home; others are considering changes in employment which require additional education. I help them get up to speed so to speak,

Thus, I feel especially endowed to consider students' issues and problems, even when they are privileged white boys like Jake**, so I decided to step up to the thankless task

First of all, he had odd ideas about how psychologists were educated about autism so I discussed my own experiences.

Then, I went about questioning his beliefs in conspiracies concerning Andy and asked: Is it more likely that there is a vast conspiracy and cover-up that has persisted for decades around the world involving thousands of people OR a single guy who cheated?

You can imagine his answer. He questioned my own knowledge of history.

Then, I asked if he ever considered that his views about vaccination and his history of writing for AoA ( this was prior to his split with them) might endanger his chances for a career when he completed his studies.

He seemed rather cavalier about his loss of future opportunity.

So, I've formed impressions about him in addition to reading his material lately and following his progress across university campuses since then.

I don't understand how he is able to continue accumulating degrees in areas that require understanding and initiating SB research.

His relationship to the world seems based upon chasing chimerae and falling down rabbit holes on a regular basis. Our friend @ the Poxes calls it "Jake's Labyrinth" appropriately.

HIs exchanges with Orac and others at twitter illustrate his current state of being.

As an aside, one of my gentlemen callers has a nephew who writes - oddly- about his day-to-day existence which frequently is staggeringly dense and clueless. He has no concept that other people are usually somewhat informed about general information so he goes about 'teaching' those he e-mails about the simplest nonsense that most of us learn about prior to age 10. However, no family member seeks out help for him which he apparently needs.

"Look at this crap!' says my companion.
Indeed. I feel the same way about Jake's effusions.

** he may be wealthy but in many ways, he may also be disadvantaged because he was brought up in an anti-vax home and fed nonsense there and by AoA prevaricators.
No one steps up to introduce him to the reality that exists outside his shelter except Orac and those outside his bubble..

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 01 Aug 2015 #permalink

Dan O has whittled his weekend wrap down to a single word- Garbage!

It's not tagged "Mary Hartm Dan Olmsted, Dan Olmsted."

"...please peruse our benevolent host’s twitter account**"

Funny you should mention this. I spent a fair part of my caffeine induced insomnia last night doing this very thing. I started at the coconut water and ended at the "Step up boy". A very interesting exchange with a lot of patience shown from a trauma surgeon also, and a women who couldn't wait to get off of the thread.

Then I started reading about the history of Jake Crosby and found when the term "Jake's Labyrinth" was created, an Encyclopedia of American Loons, tales of stalking, fingers poked in chests, efforts to get people fired and wondering who was lying where.

I haven't started reading about Andrew Wakefield because it all seems rather dry and intellectual and I know it will involve me having to concentrate a great deal. The Jake Crosby saga, however, is far from dry. In fact it had me thinking of it as a really poorly written soap opera that could only happen in real life.

I ended my early morning night with playing a music video by the flash-in-the-pan band, Extreme. You know, the one with the lyrics "Stop the world, I wanna get off".

Somehow it seemed very fitting.

By Not a Troll (not verified) on 01 Aug 2015 #permalink

@ Not a Troll:

If you would like to understand more about anti-vax partisans, Thinking Moms' Revolution has a media kit/ video page / Q&A which shows the TMs up close as they explain why they believe as they do - it's best described as 'startling'- amongst other adjectives I'll presently omit.( 10 questions- about 1 hour total split into 10 sections).

Andy? Dry? No, Andy is a genius at demanding attention and finding excuses as well as fictionalising his experience. His faux research is only his best known work. You need to see videos that he's made. Or listen to tapes of him before you dive into analysis and explication.

I suggest looking at Orac's ( many) takes on AJW and then, OBVIOUSLY, Brian Deer.com. There's also a wikip-----.

I'm glad though that you've already got the dope on Jake. His website is Autism Investigated.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 01 Aug 2015 #permalink

@ Denice Walter #59
“They’re compensating for their own deficiencies by calling names and attributing malfeasance to people … They refuse to admit that anyone else can be expert except themselves.”

A decent descriptor (except that I’d add “neuroses” to “malfeasance”) of what you and this gaggle of sarcastic scions of sciolism are doing in this blog, purporting to be the ultimate purveyors of truth. You and the other self-styled “smart, articulate people” are stroking each other with clever rhetoric, while begging the question at every other turn. And we can add to the self-descriptor the gobbledygook in your #31 comment.

“Ooooh! Why is there an irrational hate of vaccines?” coos sadmar. As IF there is no other distaste for the poison needle but the irrational. Or course, it suits the disingenuous purpose of this blog to focus upon the irrational and to float elaborate theories like “evolutionary biology” or the feminist crap or whatever, while ignoring rational aversions. This is being passed off as a scientific, or “critical thinking” exercise. What a load of crap.

You should be asking, why the irrational hate of conspiracy theory, when so many have been proven historically. You all sound as if there’s no such thing as a conspiracy, when, truth be known, history (not conventional history) is virtually the procession of one conspiracy after another.

While #36 jonnybdead swoons over his emancipation from bs to mainstream ‘truth,’ my anti-vax stance arises from having gone from unquestioning faith in the mainstream to finally learning enough to understand it as the grand psyop it is. Finally realizing that there is a no more institutionally corrupt venue of science than medicine - with the possible exception of climate “science.” In medicine, what is passed off as science is pure indoctrination under the auspices of the Holy Robes of Scientific Authority, aka the warping of unsuspecting immature minds into a meticulous system of commercial superstition.

Medicine is the story of downright LIE sold as gospel. To whit: “Cholesterol causes heart disease!” “Saturated fat is bad for you - eat polyunsaturated fats!” When they say there’s no cure for something, what they mean is, no method of which they have financial control.

And it has been told in the excellent book “Fear of the Invisible,” by Janine Roberts, that the 4 original Gallo-Popovic papers purporting to prove that HIV causes AIDS were proven by no less than 3 high-level government reviews in the 1990’s to be absolute JUNK. Gallo was forced out of NIH for that reason, but the revelation itself was in turn covered up - to ‘protect’ science! Moreover, the author shatters virology and vaccine “science” for the sham they are.

Some rise above the brainwash and embrace natural medicine, while most just succumb and genuflect before the Master. It’s where the real money’s at, after all. They believe themselves participants in a “health care” system which is, in fact, a system of iatrogenic disease management. Of what interest is widespread wellness to an industry whose financial boom depends upon widespread illness?

Nor can the fact be refuted that there is much more money in research and half-baked treatment (such as in cancer) than in any cure which might be found. Cure, of course, means game over, and that’s why safe and effective protocols are relentlessly persecuted and suppressed—as is any truth that threatens the bottom line.

When it comes to VAX, its true history—as opposed to the PR version—is laced with disasters, such as in the Philippines just before the turn of the 20th century with smallpox. It’s also true that in every case where a vaccine is claimed to have quelled an epidemic, the vaccine was introduced well into the downturn of the infectious cycle. Nor did the Salk polio vaccine work. Although it did deploy a cancer-associated virus, SV40, worldwide.

The vaccine paradigm is false, because it erroneously holds that antibody-mediated immunity is primary, or the first line of defense. The very existence of the anamnestic response is proof that something else is primary - all the rest of immune function, while antibody response is the backup. Most critical is full development of the intestinal flora, where 80% of immunity resides. This is what we should be focused on, not poking kids with toxic soups.

VAX, especially that introduced by needle because it does not represent a normal path of infection and bypasses the immunoglobulins, weakens and unbalances immune response. And it is total fallacy that presence of antibody automatically means immunity. Yet, this false notion is cited as proof of vaccine efficacy. And don’t get me started on the humongous and egregious animal abuse and sacrifice attendant to the industry.

Nor is there a single, controlled, long-term study on the deleterious effects of vaccines. We know the nasty short-term effects exist, even if played down by the drug pushers, Pharma, who control the medical establishment. Moreover, VAX can cause brain inflammation by upregulating the brain’s own, separate immune response. No one is tracking these effects. That would be bad for biz. Yet, we mass vaccinate indiscriminately and call it science. What a laugh.

Not to mention that VAX safety tests are a joke: The manufacturers are allowed to conduct them (in ways a 5th grade science student would be ashamed of) and then convey the “results” to the corrupted FDA. Pretty neat setup, no? Much like the mutual scratch among the gang of arrogant, condescending, self-satisfied pissbangers that dominate this blog.

Denice Walter,

Thanks so much for the information and advice. I have a limited science background and take longer to review these things than most but I will tackle this in chunks to make it more manageable.

After having read the anti-psychiatry boards for years, I have to say that I have see much more vitriol there than in the anti-vax crowd (so far) and I'm largely immune (no pun intended) to analogies of rape, slavery and the Holocaust. I was literally seeing these daily at one point. I countered some commenters in the beginning, and my giving up on the fight may be the wrong approach, but in that arena I found it largely pointless.

What struck me about the anti-vax crowd is their behaviors I was astonished at the level of politics, grandstanding, lying, creepy stalking/firing attacks. You don't see that in the anti-psy crowd. Granted they are a small, marginalized movement and if they acted out I do think their fears of being lead to a hospital are all too real.

You know the thing I found most interesting in the Twitter thread yesterday was that Jake Crosby passed on supporting the AllTrials effort. I'm curious to know why. Maybe I'll get that out of him in a Tweet someday.

By Not a Troll (not verified) on 01 Aug 2015 #permalink

Gray Squirrel:

• Seeking thorough analysis of anti-vax “feelings” and “reasons,” disentangling the various threads that make up the subculture to inform more effective interventions against it... •

But the interventions need to occur at the points of articulation between hard-core anti-vax ideology and the actual behavior of avoiding or delaying immunization. So first we need to know how many parents who DO that are actually inside the bubble of anti-vax crazy to some significant degree, and how many are more 'normal' folks who have just been influenced by it more casually and at degrees of remove. This is very hard to estimate since the former do ALL the sqwaking while the later are just going on about the business of everyday life. If, as I suspect, the 'casuals' are the public health problem, the psychology involved is likely to be different enough from the bubble-heads that knowing what makes them tick won't explain how their ideas work their way out through the social and why they get picked up by sectors of J. Doe Public large enough to create epidemic-breakout clusters.

I'd still like to know more about the hard-core ati-vax mind, if only for curiosity, but the 'performance dimension' Denice mentions makes that a tough nut to crack. Also, studying this sort of contemporary subculture has the added layer of complexity of operating both IRL at various conferences and confabs between embodied human beings, and in cyber-exchanges between web personae – which can be drasatically different and have weirdly detailed interrelationships... Whatever, the best way to gather 'data' on subcultures is good old ethnography, and I don't know what poor researcher we'd expect to endure hanging-out and interacting as a 'participant-observer' in this particular fun house of scary clowns.

That said, taking the whole 'performance' aspect into account, IMHO your hypothesis of solisistic feedback loops between 'reasons' and 'feelings' has a lot of merit not just for explaining how the anti-vax bubble, but how the many bubbles proliferating amidst the fragmentation of social-media-age pomo culture operate in general. (And if i may say, it's not that far from Baudrillard's concept of 'the precession of simulacra'). Thus, perhaps we could learn a lot from ethnographies of somewhat less noxious bubbles. (??)

Denice:
Believing and not-believing one's speil aren't mutually exclusive. Harold Hill: "I always think there's a band, kid."

tl:dr of what follows below the break: people do wind up believing their own BS, but once someone assumes an ati-vax stance, this doesn't matter much as BS becomes functionally indistinguishable from 'Truth' regardless of the extents to which the BSers are aware of what's 'authentic' and what's 'performed' in their own schtick – not that they have an accurate handle on the distinction. On the other hand, since 'performance' figures in the kind of feedback loop GS framed, it might be useful to consider it's role in how folks move from 'vague wariness of immunizations' to 'hard core anti-vax partisans' adding to the amount of discourse that floats out to the wider public, potentially leading more 'regular folks' into wariness and ultimately behavior that threatens public health.

Which is to say: the reason to figure out where anti-vax rhetoric comes from is that we'd be better off if fewer people were generating it.
____

Kurt Vonnegut said the moral of his novel Mother Night was, "We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful what we pretend to be." That moral, and the story that illustrates it, reflect what Baudrillard would call 'the second order of simulation' the fake has no functional distinction from the real, and operates in the world to the same effect - though from some perspective of internal knowledge it's still verifiably fake. In the book, an American spy under-cover as a Nazi propagandist in WWII struggles with the fact that his faked behaviors had the same IRL effects as an 'authentic' Nazi propagandist.

But long before I encountered any 'high theory', I'd thought Vonnegut's moral could be extended to, "Be careful about what you pretend to be, as that's what you'll tend to actually become." This corresponds to JB's 'third order of simulation': the 'real' remodels itself in the image of the fake. Or as one JB explainer put it, "The representation precedes and determines the real."
['Real' here has nothing to do with the reality the physical sciences seek to describe, though it has some limited relevance to the descriptions, since utterances are 'real' material things, and the utterances of scientists are produced by human subjects trapped within the representational limits of language... oh, hell, we're just talking about the 'reality' of anti-vax presentations, so let's just limit the concept to social/cultural stuff, OK? :-) ]
For a disturbing real-world example, see Susan Bordo's discussion of body transformations in the essay "Material Girl: The effacements of postmodern culture". [http://tinyurl.com/nfosdvr]
Anyway, applying the idea of 'the-pose-turning-to-authentic-belief' to contemporary fringe bubbles, again we come to the question of how web personae might reshape meatspace 'real people', not just be extensions of them. I don't have the mental energy at the moment to think through historical counter-factuals, so for now anyway I have a hard time imagining anti-vax could have become what it is before the advent of social media, the blogosphere, yada yada yada...

Anyway, all this blah blah blah has to return to the issue I posed to Gray Squirrel: what we need to look for are strategies to cut down the influence of anti-vax rhetoric in the behaviors of folks who aren't yet wigged-out lost causes. As I noted above, just having fewer anti-vaxers would help. How do we help keep folks from getting sucked into the bubble? If 'performing' anti-vax reproduces more anti-vax, we might dig into those motives and rewards for performance you mentioned (and perhaps others?) and see if we can think of ways to toss monkey-wrenches into those...

On Jake, I notice that his much trumpeted stint at Epoch Times seems to have come to an end.

Jake (along with some others) has spent the best part of a year fantasizing over what Posey was going to do with all the 100,000 pages of evidence that Thompson turned over to him.

It seems to have ended with a whimper rather than a bang. If all Posey could glean from that material was a bit of hand-waving, then it must have been pretty small gruel.**

So this speech will be lauded within the anti-vaccine echo chambers for years, but ignored by most other people. SB 277 is getting much more traction in the media than Garbage-Cangate.

**To be fair, being forced to read all the printouts of my statistical analyses that can go to dozens of pages each, would make you run around waving your hands in the air.

Sadmar @ 109: (Getting back to you on this finally;-)

Taboo is a prohibition sealed behind a no-talk rule, that can be broken down into three steps:
a) Don't do X.
b) Don't talk about X.
c) Don't talk about rules (a), (b), or (c).

I should mention, I detest taboos: they are the opposite of rational thinking applied to moral and behavioral issues. Also I've learned to spot "category violations" and acknowledge or address them explicitly, which may or may not be a common social ability (it's fairly common in my peer group). So the idea that when a category violation becomes visible, people seek to push it back down below the surface of awareness, strikes me as odd and frankly primitive behavior.

The counterexample to your point about inside/outside, is that most anti-vaxers do accept injections for other purposes, such as to administer medicines urgently rather than waiting for a pill or liquid to get into the body, or for medicines that would be deactivated by stomach acid. And, they are perfectly willing to eat yogurt with "live cultures," in other words ingest active bacteria. Perhaps these contradictions are nothing more than normal human self-contradiction behavior.

Anti-vax psychology vs. behavior: I agree that much non-vaxing is the result of various forms of laziness: "convenience," poor civic attitudes ("free-riding" on herd immunity), etc., as distinct from fanaticism. Though, the fanatics provide "cover," just as Donald Trump's outrageous screeching provides cover for the predatory policy positions of other Republicans in the race. And if nothing else we should seek to understand these aberrations in a manner similar to seeking to understand other forms of personality and psychological disorder. Some day there'll be a cure. Hopefully it can be administered as a pill or a liquid by teaspoon, rather than by injection;-)

By Gray Squirrel (not verified) on 01 Aug 2015 #permalink

You should be asking, why the irrational hate of conspiracy theory, when so many have been proven historically.

Do go on. I'm afraid that such details are necessary before proceeding to the HIV/AIDS denialism. (I presume that the defense of "poison" in "poison needle" comes later; unfortunately, I'm not particularly interested in random weltanschauung tastings.)

Peter T @ 145:

So, not only are vaccines poison, but climate change is nonsense and HIV doesn't cause AIDS. I have a few more for you:

JFK was assassinated by Magic-13 because he was going to reveal that the US had diplomatic relations with the Pleiadians and was about to intervene in their war with the Reptilians.

Dick Cheney flew the planes into the buildings by remote control from his undisclosed location. WTC had been pre-loaded with explosives by janitors organized by the Service Employees' International Union.

Everything else that happened was caused by Teh Jews working behind the scenes with the Queen of England.

The water you have been drinking for the past four years has been spiked with LSD by the Obama Administration to get you to believe three impossible things a day and make you look like a complete fool. Apparently it worked.

By Gray Squirrel (not verified) on 01 Aug 2015 #permalink

"Sarcastic scions of (was that supposed to be socialism?)"

It's been a while since someone channeled Spiro Agnew here, hasn't it?

This is truly hilarious, though:

The vaccine paradigm is false, because it erroneously holds that antibody-mediated immunity is primary, or the first line of defense. The very existence of the anamnestic response is proof that something else is primary

Dayumm Peter T just schooled the cozy self absorbed circle jerk here. Fyi Peter they are medical industry people on this blog. All trained the same myopic way. They are not free thinkers I linken them to privates in the army getting marching papers from their captains. They will never question their formal training from medical school just like a private wouldn't question his military training. It's exactly equivalent.

Hey, crazy theo showed up. Good to see you're watching out for the safety of us all, captain america.

"They are not free thinkers..."

That's a convenient way to win an argument, and I ask you what exactly are people to be freely thinking.

I have major issues with the current state of healthcare but what do you offer? Something to prevent me from contracting measles?

By Not a Troll (not verified) on 01 Aug 2015 #permalink

Sadmar @ 147:

I'm inclined to agree with you that the "casuals" are the primary public health problem, and the "bubbleheads" are a small minority that, by themselves, would not otherwise become a menace to public health. I tend to think that most if not all "casuals" are basically "plankton," people who drift with the social currents rather than acting on the basis of "strong" commitments to anything in particular.

Free-riding may be a large factor here, in which case the independent variable might be "amount of effort expended." If that's the case, then: policy measures that alter the comparative efforts required, would tend to reduce the population of casuals. SB277 would count as a "strong" measure, since home-schooling requires much more effort than getting one's kids properly immunized.

Another measure worth considering, is to reduce the effort required to immunize, as occurs with flu shots being available inexpensively at most pharmacies. Ideal case being that getting one's shots should be as easy as buying a candy bar, something that could be facilitated with universally-accessible electronic medical records.

For example you go to any pharmacy, give them your driver's license or ID, they check your records and see, for example, that you're overdue for a DPT. You get the shot, it costs you nothing, the pharmacy adds your name to their list for the month and sends it through to a government agency that pays for the shots. The pharmacy benefits by a small profit on the shots, and primarily by getting more customers who buy other things and might get their prescriptions transferred.

VERY interesting point about looking for the points-of-connectivity between bubbleheads and casuals. Generalization: interconnections between networks. This is potentially a powerful paradigm and method. For this we might look at research conducted by advertising & marketing agencies, on the subject of how "influencers" affect their peers in making brand choices. Public health authorities ought to be able to get at that research by signing NDAs with the ad agencies, or perhaps what's needed is legislation enabling them to do so.

Re. ethnography: easier than field research in parts of the world where one has to eat and sleep under conditions that are actively hazardous, e.g. places with poor sanitation or with things in their diet that one finds distasteful ("mmm, caterpillars!" "eeek!").

Re. emotion/rationalization loops: thanks;-) BTW, what's the definition of "solisistic," all I find is "solecism," a grammatical or behavioral error and "solipsism," the belief that only things in one's own mind are certain to exist.

I go a bit further, and hypothesize that in general, emotion determines behavior and reasoning is used as an explanation after-the-fact to satisfy the "consistency-checking function" in the mammalian brain. (Peer-reviewed research shows that dogs demonstrate behavior from which we can infer that they have a "sense of social fairness," and other research on rats demonstrates that exposing them to double-bind "damned if you do / damned if you don't" conditions causes them to behave in a manner that suggests extreme anxiety or mental breakdown. For which sorts of reasons I tend to extrapolate from humans to mammals generally.)

For rationalists, people with any kind of decent science training, and people who practice mindfulness, the relationship is slightly different: the "consistency-check" function is stronger and probably co-equally determinative along with emotion. In these individuals, reason intervenes between emotional cause and behavioral effect.

Normal untrained mind: "I perceive X, I feel Y, I behave Z, and then I explain the behavior with reason Q to satisfy a consistency-check." In this case the subjective need to satisfy the consistency-check is relatively weak and arises after the feeling or behavior has occurred.

Trained mind: "I perceive X, I feel Y, I consistency-check Y with principles Q and R, and if Y passes Q and R, then I make a choice between behavior Z or behavior W." In this case the consistency-check itself becomes (through training) an emotional need with sufficient strength to occur earlier in the process. In turn, it triggers other cognitive mechanisms that are conducive to free will, thus inserting a choice-point into the sequence before the behavior.

Mindfulness meditation: the basic technique is: concentrate on something, spot every distraction and name it as it occurs, then return to concentration. Intervening in distractions is similar to intervening in emotional reactions. Arguably this is nothing more than practicing a variation of the "trained mind" sequence over and over again until it becomes routine.

Science education and professional experience can produce the same or similar result, with a better basis in knowledge than mindfulness alone provides. Ideal case is to combine both: so one has the "trained reflex" of mindfulness to intervene in emotion/behavior loops, _and_ the in-depth knowledge of science to have a firm basis in facts and theories as grounds for evaluating beliefs and behaviors.

Ethnographies of less-noxious bubbles may provide insight into how memes propagate through social networks, but I'm inclined to think that noxious bubbles differ in form as well as in content. For example consider warrior culture as it exists in the US military, vs. as it exists in fringe militia groups. In the former case, there is an emphasis on lawfulness; in the latter case there is an "outlaw" aspect. Generalizing this somewhat, subsets of a mainstream culture are more likely to behave in accord with mainstream norms, and subsets of an "oppositional" culture are more likely to behave in accord with "oppositional" norms in which emotional signifiers are radically different or even inverted as compared to the mainstream culture.

Internet interactions in general may only be verbalizing certain attitudes that are conveyed nonverbally in face-to-face communication. Anonymity is an overrated aspect (as forums such as this one demonstrate: people can be civil even where their legal names etc. are not used as registration); I'm inclined to think that a more relevant aspect is adaptation to a text-based environment where implicit communication has to be made explicit in words. Also, "emotions are contagious," so the use of emotionally-provocative language stimulates others to respond in kind, and this can become a positive feedback loop that strengthens the emotions involved, for better or worse.

By Gray Squirrel (not verified) on 01 Aug 2015 #permalink

Peter T @145
(my emphasis)

You and the other self-styled “smart, articulate people” are stroking each other with clever rhetoric

Jealous, are you?

Go coo, swoon, and genuflect before the Master elsewhere.

And it has been told in the excellent book “Fear of the Invisible,” by Janine Roberts, that the 4 original Gallo-Popovic papers purporting to prove that HIV causes AIDS were proven by no less than 3 high-level government reviews in the 1990’s to be absolute JUNK. Gallo was forced out of NIH for that reason, but the revelation itself was in turn covered up – to ‘protect’ science! Moreover, the author shatters virology and vaccine “science” for the sham they are.

Why does the word 'sciolism' come to mind when I read this?

t has been told in the excellent book “Fear of the Invisible,” by Janine Roberts, that the 4 original Gallo-Popovic papers purporting to prove that HIV causes AIDS were proven by no less than 3 high-level government reviews in the 1990’s to be absolute JUNK. Gallo was forced out of NIH for that reason, but the revelation itself was in turn covered up

Let's see if I understand correctly. Supposedly there were three "top-level government reviews" which refuted the HIV/AIDS theory but they have been SUPPRESSED and no longer exist. But a book by Janine Roberts tells us that the vanished reviews were decisive. But the book is hard to obtain, so we should accept the word of an anonymous summary of its description of non-extant reviews.

PeterT isn't trying really hard to convince anyone.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 01 Aug 2015 #permalink

Why am I not surprised that theo is back to make an utter fool of himself again?

Or is it Animals In Digestive System?

She swallowed a horse
(she died, of course).

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 01 Aug 2015 #permalink

the excellent book “Fear of the Invisible,” by Janine Roberts

Excellent? I've read that book and excellent is not the word that first springs to my mind to describe it. That was where I first encountered the ludicrous theory that polio was actually due to lead arsenate insecticides, not to a virus at all, which simply contradicts vast swathes of established science, not least that scientists have made polioviruses from scratch and infected mice with them, making the etiology of the disease a bit hard to deny, and especially since lead arsenate poisoning does not remotely resemble paralytic polio.
It was very clear to me that Roberts was completely out of her depth writing that book, struggling to understand complex technical material and completely misconstruing much of it, and resurrecting ancient antivaccine material that was debunked decades ago just as whale.to does - for example the idea that the 1918 influenza epidemic was caused by a bacterial, not a viral infection. Ultimately she concludes (IIRC) that viruses don't cause illness at all, and that the entire field of virology is mistaken. It's a triumph of pseudoscience over evidence.

Roberts used to have a website displaying the evidence that Gallo's work was nonsense (it revolved around a heavily annotated draft of Gallo's paper as I recall), but it appears to have vanished.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 02 Aug 2015 #permalink

Hey not a troll measles is benign in a well nourished child.and it's proven by science to help regulate the cellular arm of the innate immune system. You people think there is zero cost to injecting 69 doses of 14 vaccines? Every single prescription drug has a side effect yet were led to believe that vaccines are free of side effects. Do you really think bulking up on antibodies to VPD is a blank check without consequences? Tampering with the normal immune system programming that is built into infants is naive. Nothing is free in life. Simple logic and common sense. I'm sure medical school didn't teach you that

Oh....so THAT'S why I was so sick for so long with measles. I wasn't "well nourished." Yeah, those of us born before 1970 never ate fruits and vegetables, or washed our hands, or knew anything about nutrition and hygiene. Glad that next generation came along to vaxsplain it to us old stupid people.

THEO hates children, which is why she prefers them to suffer from measles. SSPE gives her the giggles.

Krebiozen is correct:

Roberts' book is rife with bizarre theories which never were supported by data. Hiv/aids denialists often cited it when they discussed the many ways in which science has been 'wrong' about aids. Perhaps some anti-vaccinators were inspired by her as well.

But we aren't hearing much about it from her lately. Interestingly, we aren't hearing much from entrenched aids denialists these days as well- I wonder why that is?
In fact, a few of them have even hitched their train of fixed alternative ideas to anti-vaccination ( Farber, Ruggiero, Montagnier). There aren't many new books being written about alternatives to hiv theory, are there?

Why has that once thriving alternative movement just _died_ out?

Could it be that they were quickly losing spokes people and advocates- like Maggiore ( and others)- who died of ( untreated) aids?
Could it be that people who followed a SBM approach with anti-retrovirals began to live longer and in a much better way?
Could it be that the long list of celebrities who died of aids somehow just got cut short?

I remember decades back, we would all worry when we heard that someone ( either someone we knew or a celebrity) was 'sick'? Could it be aids? An actor, an artist, a fashion designer, a musician, a performer would be reported to be ill or wouldn't look well and then, months later perhaps, there would either be an announcement of illness or death.

Why aren't we hearing those announcements so much any more?

Why are all the stage plays and films about aids either revivals or period pieces?

Could it be that people who are hiv+ can manage their condition with ARVs/ HAART and live increasingly normal lives with lifespans that resemble people without hiv?

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 02 Aug 2015 #permalink

Over educated Big Pharma drones straight out of 1984.
Pro choice to murder an unborn child but anti pro choice to vaccinate your child. Go figure. Shills.

By Four Horse Squad (not verified) on 02 Aug 2015 #permalink

Hey not a troll measles is benign in a well nourished child.and it’s proven by science to help regulate the cellular arm of the innate immune system.

Horse droppings.
Horse, freaking, droppings.
http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2015/05/15/the-benefits-of-the-measle…
Measles doesn't "regulate the immune system". It disables it, leaving victims at risk of reacquiring diseases they previously had immunity to.

By Julian Frost (not verified) on 02 Aug 2015 #permalink

THEO is as unacquainted with the military as he/she is with the effects of the measles.

You say to your soldier, 'Do this' and he does it. But I am obliged to say to the American, 'This is why you ought to do this' and then he does it. ~ Baron von Steuben

Whoever came up with the "water spiked with LSD" part of the conspiracy theory clearly knows nothing about the effects of that substance. People really do notice when they're tripping. Also, I am told* that even if someone keeps taking acid every 12 hours or so, they won't trip continuously: the brain goes "enough, I need a break" before more LSD will have the same effect. It's not like aspirin in that regard.

*meaning I haven't tried this part myself, nor been tempted to do so.

[I am not a pharmacologist; read Hoffman's book if you want more information.]

Vicki is correct:
you DO know that you've taken LSD.
Actually, I didn't experience anything earthshattering or any really intriguing hallucinations. I did notice visual effects like enhanced contours -edges- of objects and people and blue-violet shadows as well as a sense of foreboding and air hunger which fortunately quickly passed. Mescaline was more interesting in both visual and non-visual aspects.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 02 Aug 2015 #permalink

PeterT

Most critical is full development of the intestinal flora, where 80% of immunity resides. This is what we should be focused on, not poking kids with toxic soups.

The reason we (as a society) "poke" kids with "toxic soups" is because vaccines have been shown to be effective at reducing both the incidence and severity of disease. The risks are low compared to the risk of the actual diseases. Please describe how we could adjust intestinal flora to provide immunity to, say, polio or malaria. Please provide sources for the research that shows that to be true. Thanks.

By Mephistopheles… (not verified) on 02 Aug 2015 #permalink

You should be asking, why the irrational hate of conspiracy theory, when so many have been proven historically.

There have been actual conspiracies. The number of conspiracy theories significantly outnumbers the number of actual conspiracies. The people who present these theories generally (but not always) are happy to introduce more and more rococo elements to accommodate inconvenient observations, or to deny those observations entirely, which creates a structure that's no only untrue but immensely improbable. At the same time they claim support of facts not in evidence or which have been soundly debunked. That's why calling something a conspiracy theory is nearly synonymous with saying it's untrue.

This is not intended to belittle those of you involved in an actual conspiracy. You know who you are and who you work for.

By Mephistopheles… (not verified) on 02 Aug 2015 #permalink

Whoever came up with the “water spiked with LSD” part of the conspiracy theory clearly knows nothing about the effects of that substance.

No, I'm pretty sure that the Yippies did, not that it helped much. But I'm also pretty sure that the remark was tongue-in-cheek.

Vicki is correct:
you DO know that you’ve taken LSD.
Actually, I didn’t experience anything earthshattering or any really intriguing hallucinations.

I've never really hallucinated much at all on psychedelics myself, except for surfaces getting weird - "the walls are breathing" type thing. The rest is fairly similar to pretty intensive zazen, except for being incapacitated, everything being hilarious, slight euphoria (!), maybe a few other differences. Actually, those things are not entirely uncommon during or after meditation, also, except for the "incapacitated" part.

But we aren’t hearing much about it from her lately. Interestingly, we aren’t hearing much from entrenched aids denialists these days as well- I wonder why that is?

Most of them have moved on to some other form of grifting.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 02 Aug 2015 #permalink

Even so, writer Orac isn't to be objectively trusted. His/her "research" is so littered with name-calling and insults for anyone who dares question the pharmacological status quo that, were any new and contrary information ever to surface, Orac would reflexively quash and belittle it before giving it an objective read -- let alone a review.
If this it going to be "ScienceBlogs," even unpopular points of view should be examined dispassionately. I don't trust people whose default response to differing POVs is to toggle on Auto-Insult.

By Carrie McCann (not verified) on 02 Aug 2015 #permalink

I've seen the anti-vaccine sites, and I thought they were crazy. This blog is every bit as crazy as Age of Autism, but on the other spectrum. No punn intended. Vaccines do save lives, you win. Unfortunately, this scientific truth has absolutely nothing to do with the current schedule being standardized and mandated. An unfortunate truth that is completely ignored here. This site doesn't actually adhere to science, or it would acknowledge reality. Instead, it encourages that we demonize any individual who questions the scientific consensus of our time regarding the current vaccination schedule. That equals red flag, and not as a result of a conspiracy theory. It's quite interesting if you explore scientific consensus and those who questioned them in history. It's noteable that the science deniers were often correct. I hope it 's realized that any "moderates" who visit this site will most likely subscribe to the anti-vaccine lunatics you so deplore. During the next outbreak from a vaccine preventable disease, you can thank yourself.. This site denies science every bit a much as someone who identifies as anti-vaccine. If someone adheres to science, then they also understand that there is no such thing as pro or anti vaccine in regards to the current vaccination schedule being standardized and mandated. To support it is as unscientific and simple minded as those who advocate to refuse all vaccinations. You might be surprised how small that group actually is, but you can thank yourself for growing their numbers.

By Brooke Paist (not verified) on 02 Aug 2015 #permalink

@carrie

Did you even read the title of the blog? Doesn't speak well for your reading comprehension.

@brook

Hmm... one side presents evidence and science, the other resort to name calling, false accusations, and outright threats. I wonder who I am going to trust.

@Brooke

If you feel that Orac's post is unscientific, I'm sure everyone would welcome any corrections you have. Feel free to quote the portions which are presented as scientific evidence, why you feel those portions are incorrect, and the evidence that you have to support your contention.

We welcome rational critique, here, even if the tone may occasionally wax offensive (the regulars do get rather tired of countering the same flights of fancy over and over, so tempers can be a bit short).

Instead, it encourages that we demonize any individual who questions the scientific consensus of our time regarding the current vaccination schedule.

I didn't read it that way, but that may just be me. If you have data to support a different vaccination schedule, please share. Thanks.

By Mephistopheles… (not verified) on 03 Aug 2015 #permalink

@ herr doktor #162
Let’s see if I understand correctly. Herr doktor a) mis-construes what I said about the reviews of Gallo-Popovic, and b) claims in a bald-faced LIE (or monumental stupidity) “Fear of the Invisible” to be hard to obtain, when it’s easily obtainable on Amazon. He can’t even quote accurately (“top-level” for “high-level”). It’s much easier to post such disingenuous swill than to actually peruse the book, read the conclusions of the ORI, OSI on these papers, and make a judgement from there. So it’s quite clear that herr doktor does not understand correctly.

I’m not going to make the argument here. Roberts has the proof. She even has a copy of one abstract hand-scribbled by Gallo to change the purpose and conclusion of the study just before submission. So they were not even designed to prove HIV/AIDS. The reviews concluded that the studies were so poorly conducted and recorded that no one could ever repeat them. That enormous embarrassment was sidestepped, however, by the stipulation that if you wanted money for AIDS research, you must NOT attempt to repeat - the very sine qua non of “science.” Thus, the papers the entire world used and still cite as proof of HIV/AIDS were apparently never even peer reviewed!

@Krebiozen # 166.
Thanks for your input, if a bit disingenuous. According to the pesticide link, there is “Peripheral neuropathy, paresthesia, paresis and ataxia. Inability to coordinate voluntary muscular movements.” Not remotely, you say? But of course, there is more to it. But you are doing your best to defend a reckless and contaminated Medical Industry. Roberts makes a good case for a toxic etiology of polio in the article linked after the long quote. And there is nothing to say that there can’t be more than one cause for a given symptomology (and conversely).

Just for general kicks, here’s a bit of history on the polio PR scam:
“Medical Fraud”

“The triumph following the launch of the Salk vaccine was short-lived. The medical historian Dr M Beddow Baily recorded what happened next: ‘Only 13 days after the vaccine had been acclaimed by the whole of the US press and radio as one of the greatest medical discoveries of the century, and two days after the British ministry of health had announced it would go right ahead with the manufacture of the vaccine, came the first news of disaster. Children inoculated with one brand of the vaccine had developed poliomyelitis. In the following days more and more cases were reported, some of them after inoculation with other brands.’ 19

“Within two weeks of the launch the number of cases of polio in vaccinated children had nearly reached 200. This created near panic in the White House. President Eisenhower had publicly endorsed the vaccine at its launch, so he sent the US health secretary Oveta Hobby to make it very plain to the Surgeon General that the president needed to be spared the embarrassment of further such cases.

“On 8 May 1955 the Surgeon General suspended the entire US production of the vaccine. After hurried meetings between Salk, manufacturers and the surgeon general, distribution of the vaccine was resumed five days later, with new regulations in place to ensure better standards in the vaccine laboratories. The general consensus was that these cases had been caused by viruses in the vaccine that had survived the formaldehyde, despite evidence that repeated injections can cause paralysis. However, despite these new regulations, four months later more than 2,000 cases of infantile paralysis were recorded in Boston, despite the vaccination of 130,000 children in the city. The previous year it had seen only 273 cases. The number of cases doubled in vaccinated New York State and Connecticut, and tripled in Vermont. They increased by five times in both Rhode Island and Wisconsin. Many were paralysed in the injected arm.

“It seemed that the vaccine would soon be totally discredited. So, to protect the President, Salk, the vaccine manufacturers and themselves from the humiliation of an unmitigated failure, the US health authorities had to dramatically slash the incidence of poliomyelitis. They managed this by simply changing the way they recorded the incidents of poliomyelitis. It worked like this: Prior to 1956, the authorities recorded a patient as having paralytic polio (infantile paralysis) if they suffered from paralytic symptoms for 24 hours. After 1956 patients had to have these paralytic symptoms for at least 60 days to be counted as having polio. As many people recovered within 60 days, this measure alone dramatically cut the official number of cases. This ‘drop’ in polio cases was publicly credited to the vaccine. Furthermore, all cases of polio occurring within 30 days of vaccination (such as the first 200 cases that had so alarmed the White House) were in future not to be blamed on the vaccine but to be recorded as ‘pre-existing’.

“But Salk continued to worry. Despite its regulatory and statistical ‘success’, the reputation of his vaccine was plummeting. In June 1955 the British doctors’ union the Medical Practitioners’ Union wrote: ‘These misfortunes would be almost endurable if a whole new generation were to be rendered permanently immune to the disease. In fact, there is no evidence that any lasting immunity is achieved.’ 21

“The following month Canada suspended its distribution of Salk’s vaccine. By November all European countries had suspended distribution plans, apart from Denmark. By January 1957 17 US states had stopped distributing the vaccine. The same year The New York Times reported that nearly 50 per cent of cases of infantile paralysis in children between the ages of five and 14 had occurred after vaccination.”
http://www.theecologist.org/investigations/health/268596/polio_the_viru…

Another article on polio hi jinx:
“Vaccines The Polio Epidemic Scam Revisited | From Hell To Veins - 9/19/06”
http://gdsajj.wordpress.com/2011/04/15/the-polio-epidemic-scam-revisite…

And here’s the Perth Group on HIV/AIDS
http://www.theperthgroup.com/index.shtml
There is also question whether the virus even exists.

PeterT: "The medical historian Dr M Beddow Baily recorded what happened next: "

That is hilarious. The author of that eleven year article did not even spell the right for that anti-vivisection activist, and anti-vaccination campaigner. So why should we believe anything she wrote?

The renaming of the polio virus is an old anti-vax technique. It goes back decades. People who use it don't realize that modern testing can figure which of the three strains of polio a person has been infected with, and they can tell if it is a wild or vaccine strain.

You should really update your stories.

Is the Perth Group still around? I had heard about them in ages. I thought they had started to die out, like Christine Maggiore.

“Fear of the Invisible” to be hard to obtain, when it’s easily obtainable on Amazon.

Cynical readers might suspect that PeterT is just here to sell copies of Roberts' book, rather than present evidence or an argument himself. I don't think he comes here for the hunting to convince anyone.

I’m not going to make the argument here.

AH, he' has come here to chew bubble gum and kick ass, and the good news is, he has plenty of bubble-gum.
[RIP Roddy Piper]

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 03 Aug 2015 #permalink

hdb: "he has plenty of bubble-gum."

And it is as stale and old as his "arguments."

I had a deja vu moment with them. It was just like the Newsgroups postings of John Scudamore over a decade ago.

I'm trying to figure this HIV denialist out. To be able to state, with a straight face, "There is also question whether the virus even exists" in reference to HIV when we've identified two distinct subtypes of it and can tell which a person has kind of baffles me. It feels like the equivalent to walking into a zoo and telling a lion keeper that there's some doubt as to whether lions exist.

How does the denialism work? Is such testing all supposed to be part of a vast global conspiracy? Is every detail about the virus which is being studied to attempt to come up with either a cure or a vaccine an invented fiction which every single researcher working on it has agreed to follow?

How does the denialism work?

You repeat the same mantra over and over again, only ever look for evidence, no matter how poor, that supports your position and make some up if none is available, and ignore all evidence to the contrary, preferably with fingers in ears.

Is such testing all supposed to be part of a vast global conspiracy?

Yes, and only the denialist and their fellow travelers see through the conspiracy. All others are sheeple.

Is every detail about the virus which is being studied to attempt to come up with either a cure or a vaccine an invented fiction which every single researcher working on it has agreed to follow?

Apparently. Strange as it may appear. Not only that, they are all in the pay of Big Conspiracy.

It’s quite interesting if you explore scientific consensus and those who questioned them in history. It’s noteable that the science deniers were often correct.

As a scientist who's final model of how the world worked in their Ph.D. thesis was somewhat against the current orthodoxy, and was blown out of the water a mere 2 months later by a publication that won the authors a Nobel Prize, I don't see science working like this at all.

Most models that question the consensus sink without a trace because they are wrong. Every so often a new idea is correct and the consensus shifts to embrace it. Most scientific research plays around with which way a particular piece of the jigsaw puzzle should be put in. It is exceedingly rare for an idea that fills in a whole corner to come up.

As to the vaccine schedule, it is a compromise. It is based on data regarding how many vaccines are required to provide community immunity to a disease, so when measles cases started to rise in the 1990s (due to people forgoing the vaccine as well as due to waning immunity) an additional vaccination was mandated that stopped measles vaccinating in the US. Now all outbreaks come in from overseas and if more people would have both vaccinations, it would be possible to stop these introductions in their tracts, rather than after they have infected 100 or so people.

Where I live, varicella vaccine has only recently come on to the schedule, mostly due to concerns about the cost/benefit of having it there. Once additional evidence was provided about safety and benefit it went on.

That should be:

"It is based on data regarding how many vaccines are required to provide community immunity to a disease, so when measles cases started to rise in the 1990s (due to people forgoing the vaccine as well as due to waning immunity) an additional vaccination was mandated that stopped measles being endemic in the US."

I was clearly distracted.

"There is also question whether the virus even exists."

Somebody better tell the RNs in our STD clinic. They're sure as hell treating something.

#171

(Apologies to regular readers for repeating this one)

As you seem to be very familiar with the "Big Pharma" conspiracy, who are apparently our paymasters, can you chivy them along a bit? They are awfully slow at sending the cheques out and I have some car repairs to pay for...

I discussed real world consequences surrounding the theory that a virus causes aids and how anti-virals would have an impact on that virus.
.
In the 1980s, western societies experienced an ( at first) unknown assailant that was killing people quickly and horribly: this fact was reflected in both news stories, law and popular culture. .It sparked simmering, prejudiced hate, fuelled by fear, against groups of people who were at higher risk. Several popular plays and films dealt with these issues.

Then there was a theory and a resulting treatment which changed the landscape. People with hiv are no longer pariahs who are waiting out their death sentences but patients with a serious but largely controllable condition.

As the prophet wrote ( and sang): 'Things have changed'

If the denialists were correct, ( and they weren't) why did we see those changes? Why do less people progress to the highly visible, heartbreaking late stages of aids that we observed in the 1980s, prior to ARVs? Why has society become more accepting of people who test positive? Why is hiv no longer an irrevocable death sentence?

If altie theories were correct- did everyone just clean up their act? ( They blamed aids on how gay men behaved not on a virus). Or did people in Africa suddenly get clean water, more food and supplements? ( Although with supplement salesmen on their case, many DID get supplements).
If their theories were correct why have so many of their faithful died?

This exercise can be applied to other pseudoscientific controversies:
right now, the anti-vaxxers believe that the CDC suppressed data that the MMR selectively harmed black male children who receive it on schedule but not white children or black girls. Does other research show this trend? Do we see this in the real world? If true, we should see relatively more black boys with ASDs. I don't think we do. It would be obvious when we looked at the figures. Research and school services figures would reveal it as well. It would have social consequences.

And white kids should be safe, despite whatever Andy, Dan, Mark, Kim,, Ginger, Jake, Boyd and Mamacita say..

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 04 Aug 2015 #permalink

AS IF the CDC whistleblower brouhaha weren't awful enough, now ShamROCK** of TMR gives details about the new book which includes transcripts of Thompson's conversations with Hooker. Oh joy.
I'm that that will be just enlightening

** I prefer real rocks

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 04 Aug 2015 #permalink

@ Robert Bell #1
It’s always the same: The pro-vaxxer fanatics dramatically overstate the benefits/safety of vaccines; they scoff at the risks of vax-induced disease and sneer at the epidemics known to have been caused by vaccines; and they flatly deny, despite the known history to the contrary, that a multibillion-dollar industry could have any untoward influence in Government. Just not possible. But give them credit, it takes some real brass ‘scallones’ to so doggedly deny the obvious. In their indoctrination for vaccine damage control, they must be issued glasses that filter out elephants.

Government and the corporate monolith are totally above reproach, get it? Listen to your masters, people!

Yes, folks, this is the kind of utter nonsense the pro-vax banshees use to excoriate anyone who has rational concern. Even qualified MD’s and other trained professionals who have seen through the scam and advise caution or avoidance—even when such advice is based upon research—suddenly and magically become cranks. And the research becomes junk science. It’s the same formula every time, especially when it comes to the conspiracy angle, which is accorded the possibility of the sun rising in the west.

History, of course, puts the banshees to shame on conspiracy per se, since so many big ones have been proven beyond doubt. But that doesn’t deter these dissemblers from their appointed task of making “conspiracy” sound a like a dirty word—the very tactic of the conspirators—with such puerile rhetoric as “…some dark government/pharma conspiracy to keep the true dangers hidden from the American People.” As if that has never happened!

See, there was no conspiracy when industrygovernment said asbestos was fine. No conspiracy when people were encouraged to have tobacco-smoking parties. No conspiracy when Merck murdered some 60,000 people globally with VIOXX. No conspiracy in the Tuskegee Syphilis Study. No conspiracy when the U.S. sold weapons to the enemy of its ally and used the money to finance terrorism. None when Kissinger/Nixon sabotaged the Paris Peace Talks, extending the Vietnam War (another conspiracy) 4 years, costing millions of innocent lives. When government/intelligence experimented on the public without its knowledge or consent. No conspiracy in the BCCI scandal. No conspiracy to create the housing bubble that burst in 2008. No conspiracy with CIA drug running in SE Asia and within the U.S. No conspiracy in the Gulf of Tonkin incident. No conspiracy when FDR and a few cronies knew well in advance of the impending attack on Pearl, but let it happen. When giant drug maker Pfizer was ordered to compensate Nigerian families after conducting illegal medical experimentation that left scores of Nigerian children either dead or damaged: etc, etc, etc.

So all you bullfece-spinning pro-vaxxers in this blog should really shut up about conspiracy; your flimsy, transparent tactics are so very worn out. They serve only to provide fodder for intellectual masturbation.

Indeed, 'Bobby,' “The world is a sad place some times (sic).” And this blog is a clear reflection of it, although I think ‘pathetic’ better describes it.

So all you bullfece-spinning pro-vaxxers in this blog should really shut up about conspiracy; your flimsy, transparent tactics are so very worn out. They serve only to provide fodder for intellectual masturbation.

Irony meter destroyed. Again.

No conspiracy when people were encouraged to have tobacco-smoking parties.

Boringest party idea EVER.

Yes, folks, this is the kind of utter nonsense the pro-vax banshees use to excoriate anyone who has rational concern.

Please state a rational concern to test this theory. Thanks.

By Mephistopheles… (not verified) on 04 Aug 2015 #permalink

@ Mephisto # 176
The reason we (as a society) poke kids with toxic soups is entirely socio-economic, or merely profit-generating policy, based on a dangerous medical half-truth, namely the Germ Theory of Disease. Brilliant Pasteur contemporary Antoine Béchamp said of the theory, “It is all the moire dangerous because it can be proven scientifically.” Hope you appreciate the wry humor there. Pasteur even recanted on his deathbed, admitting that terrain is primary, not the presence of the bug.

Vaccination was developed when virtually nothing was understood about the hugely complex immune response (it’s not even sufficiently understood now). Thus, there could be no credible science in the development of an invasive procedure that replaced variolation (which actually makes more sense than the needle). It became policy-based “science,” and that’s what it is today, when there is not a single, credible controlled study showing that it works, and not one long-term study on deleterious effects. Belief in it is based mostly upon statistics that have been ‘fixed.’ That is, in every case, the vaccine was introduced well into the downturn of the infectious cycle (that cycle being another convenient ‘secret’ of the pokers, who like to ignore the fact that epidemics burn themselves out with no interference from Dr Frankenstein).

One truth is, that vaccines have been shown, via massive breakouts post-vaccination, to increase both the incidence and severity of disease. The apparently positive risk/benefit ratio arises from very incomplete records on short-term damage, plus the complete lack of long-term information (no accident, of course :-) Some physicians hold that the childhood diseases ‘exercise’ and strengthen immunity. People hold ‘chicken pox parties’ for example, where the kids go to contract the illness for that purpose.

Another truth is that we are ‘made of’ myriad bacteria whose intelligence so far exceeds that of “scientists” it just ain’t funny. But scientific arrogance takes hold, and when that is accompanied by profit-driven malfeasance, the result is “medical nemesis” to quote Ivan Illich (and all you system-genuflecters ought to read that book).

With a healthy gut, there is more serotonin going from gut to brain than the other way round. It’s a mass of extraordinary intelligence, some call a ‘second brain’ (whereas, especially in the case of conventional medical scientists, it could be called the first brain).

When disease is very severe, it usually indicates an array of deficiencies, none of which are a vaccine (or drug), but which are imbalances in the terrain of the individual. For example, most bugs like an acid condition. This is the hypothesis that needs to be tested in a controlled way: With a healthy gut, a body pH in the neutral zone, proper hydration, proper nourishment, and toxin management, it is virtually impossible to become seriously or fatally ill. Exceptions would be in a range lower than that claimed for vaccine risk/benefit.

Of course, this has not been tested, because it gravely threatens the money-supply such that the folks with the money would never fund it. Now, did medicine endeavor to determine if vaccines themselves would damage/unbalance gut flora? Or, for that matter, any of the meddling it was doing? Not on your life. In fact, “scientific” medicine has virtually ignored the flora for a good century while proceeding to damage it in multiple ways. Not done, they then strut like peacocks, calling themselves scientists. On the other hand, ‘alternative’ docs have been warning about this for decades. But the light is beginning to dawn for Dr Frankenstein, who will now deign to advise you to eat a yogurt after he assaults you with fungal dung. I’ve got a new term for it: science-based meddlcine.

An article in Science Daily says:
“The microbes in the human gut belong to three broad domains, defined by their molecular phylogeny: Eukarya, Bacteria, and Achaea. Of these, bacteria reign supreme, with two dominant divisions -- known as Bacteroidetes and Firmicutes -- making up over 90 percent of the gut's microbial population. In contrast, the Achaea that exist in the gut are mostly composed of methanogens (producers of methane) and specifically by Methanobrevibacter smithii -- a hydrogen-consumer.

“Within the bacterial categories however, enormous diversity exists. Each individual's community of gut microbes is unique and profoundly sensitive to environmental conditions, beginning at birth. Indeed, the mode of delivery during the birthing process has been shown to affect an infant's microbial profile.

“Communities of vaginal microbes change during pregnancy in preparation for birth, delivering beneficial microbes to the newborn. At the time of delivery, the vagina is dominated by a pair of bacterial species, Lactobacillus and Prevotella. In contrast, infants delivered by caesarean section typically show microbial communities associated with the skin, including Staphylococcus, Corynebacterium, and Propionibacterium. While the full implications of these distinctions are still murky, evidence suggests they may affect an infant's subsequent development and health, particularly in terms of susceptibility to pathogens.”
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120606102710.htm

What you and your indoctrinated, biased, and misinformed (or disinforming?) cohorts in this blog need to do is come down off your mushrooms, open your minds, and do some homework to get some brain food from outside the bowl of conventional pablum you are being fed. There’s a whole, great miraculous world out there beyond the rectangular-brained prison you bounce around in.

PeterT: How many smallpox deaths were there last year?

By Gray Falcon (not verified) on 04 Aug 2015 #permalink

"Government and the corporate monolith are totally above reproach, get it?"

Good luck finding anyone on this board who has ever said that.

PeterT, the 1990s called. They want their UseNet trolls back.

Though for a moment I thought this was the same guy from UseNet who inspired the Pharma Shill Gambit. But that was "PeterB" not "PeterT."

PeterT - while that certainly appears rational, it includes statements that are in contradiction to fact as well as unsubstantiated (so far as I can tell) speculation.

You mention "a dangerous medical half-truth, namely the Germ Theory of Disease." What makes it a half truth? What part of it is false? Are you claiming that germs don't cause diseases, despite the tremendous success of germ theory in fighting disease? If so, why can it be shown repeatably that a creature will only catch a certain disease in the presence of the specific pathogen?

You state, "When disease is very severe, it usually indicates an array of deficiencies, none of which are a vaccine (or drug), but which are imbalances in the terrain of the individual. For example, most bugs like an acid condition." How do you know this? What evidence do you have? Can you suggest how to change the balance of my terrain so that I would not succumb to, say, rabies?

You say "Of course, this has not been tested." Great - how do you know it's true?

Your quote from Science Daily about difference in gut flora based on vaginal vs. cesarean birth is interesting but says nothing whatever about how that gut flora would affect disease resistance.

As to getting off my mushroom, I'm afraid I don't have one at the moment.

By Mephistopheles… (not verified) on 04 Aug 2015 #permalink

Oh great, another bright spark who is uncritically channeling whale.to and telling everyone else to "open your minds". Peter T, please learn some critical thinking skills, ask yourself how you know any of what you assert is true, and go check some facts. Maybe start with the incidence of measles in the US before and after vaccination was introduced. Take a look at the incidence of chicken pox in the US and the UK currently too. That might puzzle you.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 04 Aug 2015 #permalink

@Mephisto # 177
You have tied yourself up in a logical fallacy. That there are more theories than actualities is not a valid reason for virtually automatic dismissal of suggested conspiracies. While poor conspiracy researchers might even outnumber the good ones, this is not a condemnation of the area of study itself. Yet, that is the pervasive attitude of this blog and its denizens. In maintaining this attitude almost as policy, they do the truth a great disservice. Such dishonesty cannot be called a “clear-thinking” or scientific exercise, but more of a witch hunt based in a religion-like fanaticism, even a desperate effort to avoid any revelations that could put a chink in their ’statusquovian’ armor.

I agree with what you say about poorly constructed theories. But if you stop and think for a minute, you realize this will greatly offend the genuine researchers even more than it does categorical conspiracy deniers. And when you say, “The number of conspiracy theories significantly outnumbers the number of actual conspiracies,” this is a crass assumption, since it’s entirely possible that a myriad of conspiracies has not yet been uncovered, or has not become general knowledge. I suggest that this is the case and that if the entire truth were known, the numbers would reverse in a huge ratio. Thus, maybe you haven’t done your homework, but have succumbed to peer pressure—or cognitive dissonance.

It is a fact that propaganda is much more necessary for controllers in an open society than it is in an totalitarian one. In the latter, force and threat are the main tools. In the open society, to maintain control, you must be able to engender belief systems that keep the people in line, nose to the wheel. Here’s a very good documentary on this, one that’s instructive about the Founding as well: metanoia-films.org/psywar/

The most pertinent quotes I can recall in this case are, “Only the small secrets need to be protected. The big ones are kept secret by public disbelief.” - Marshall McLuhan

And, “It's easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled.” ― Mark Twain

If you think something is untrue, say so straight out and provide something to support that opinion, don’t just sit back and lazily call it a name, such as conspiracy theory. That’s simply a low-brow tactic belying intelligence.

@novalox
In both of novalox' insults to others' opinions—telling in itself—she misses commenters' points. There are far too many of her persuasion on the right AND the left:
Whenever opposed, insult, belittle, and insert hatefulness.
Now that she has drawn me into her unproductive game—although our side is much more mannerly—I repeat my original point:
The article above is so littered with editorialized venom that you instantly mistrust the writer as prejudiced and therefore untrustworthy to give you the straight scoop.

By Carrie McCann (not verified) on 04 Aug 2015 #permalink

PeterT, I don't need words, I need numbers. How many deaths were from smallpox last year?

By Gray Falcon (not verified) on 04 Aug 2015 #permalink

I second Gray Falcon!

PeterT: How many cases of smallpox were there last year? In the last decade? Come on, it's not hard. It's not like smallpox is a subtle disease.

Also, what theory do you have to replace the germ theory of infectious disease? How do you explain a whole group of people coming down with the same symptoms at the same general time, if not by an infectious agent?

By JustaTech (not verified) on 04 Aug 2015 #permalink

“It’s easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled.” ― Mark Twain

The funny part is that you were fooled into thinking this is a legit Mark Twain quote.

The article above is so littered with editorialized venom

Carrie, would you care to discuss the actual contents of the article, rather than your own 'editorializing?'

@Gray #152
Here we have another self-styled intellectual masturbator and know-it-all who can’t read, or who superimposes his own impression on the words. Did I say ‘climate change is nonsense’? No, I said climate science is corrupt. Did I say HIV doesn’t cause AIDS? No, I said that the papers purporting to prove cause were junk. If you can’t make these logical distinctions, I won’t even waste my bytes arguing with a such a bonehead, even though it would give me great pleasure to introduce you to the toilet.

@shay #153
Why don’t you try the dictionary, effete, impudent snob.

Should I even bother with my measles incidence census data and accompanying question?

Ms. McCann, you noted you did not like the article but you did not say why. You just complained about the tone, even this block has "Insolence" in its title. Instead of providing any kind of useful criticism you just use insult.

A wee word of advice: if you don't like the tone, then don't use a worse one. If you don't like folks questioning your statements then get off the Internet.

PeterT - The race is not always to the swift nor the contest to the strong, but that is the way to bet. While it is obvious that conspiracy theories exist, the odds of any particular effective conspiracy theory being true in the absence of significant evidence are not good.

I'm perfectly willing to believe that a bunch of guys (mostly) who called themselves "patriots" entered into a conspiracy to overthrow British rule by force of arms, since there is a lot of evidence for that. I'm less willing to believe that vaccinations are only required because of a vast conspiracy to enrich the pharmaceutical companies at the expense of the people who are poisoned by untested chemical soups.

By Mephistopheles… (not verified) on 04 Aug 2015 #permalink

My congratulations on your cat-like reflexes, Peter. Does this mean that everyone else who disagrees with you can expect, in due time, a string of irrelevant and oddly Edwardian insults?

It has evidently escaped your notice that nearly everyone who posts here (most particularly our esteemed host) is far more qualified by education and job experience to comment on the subject than you have shown yourself to be.

(And you still haven't answered the smallpox question).

No, I said that the papers purporting to prove cause were junk.

Actually you said "And it has been told in the excellent book “Fear of the Invisible,” by Janine Roberts, that the 4 original Gallo-Popovic papers purporting to prove that HIV causes AIDS were proven by no less than 3 high-level government reviews in the 1990’s to be absolute JUNK." Given the context, what was that supposed to mean? Were the papers junk (though the basic conclusion that HIV causes AIDS is true), were the government reviews incorrect, or are you claiming that the papers were junk and HIV doesn't cause AIDS?

By Mephistopheles… (not verified) on 04 Aug 2015 #permalink

@Orac #202
Ooop. Father Disinformer chimes. Ding dong.

My only question is: How can we NOT demand more evidence?

With enough data and scientists looking at it, we shuold get a clearer picture.

Anyways, guessing this is a non-event.

P.S. Measles kill 5x as many people globally than the flu does in the USA, which seems on the surface that the flu is more dangerous per capita.

So, if/when the flu vaccine is developed, it will become a priority as well for everyone. I mention this because its interesting.

Now, once we've eliminated larger affecting risks like these, we will progressively dive into smaller and smaller risks like salmonella (400 deaths annually), down to deaths that kill 1 person a year because we will feel it to be "high risk" relative to all existing risks.

Not sure this is the only long term direction out there, but sure seems like it.

PeterT,

Really? Is that anyway to treat the host. It's his sandbox.

By Not a Troll (not verified) on 04 Aug 2015 #permalink

True, but I'm ridiculously tolerant if idiots and assholes, as longtime readers know, to the point of regulars having to beg me repeatedly to ban particularly irritating trolls before I'll consider doing it. :-)

Now, once we’ve eliminated larger affecting risks like these, we will progressively dive into smaller and smaller risks like salmonella (400 deaths annually), down to deaths that kill 1 person a year because we will feel it to be “high risk” relative to all existing risks.

John - I suspect that there will need to be periodic risk/benefit conversations as diseases are controlled and new vaccines become available.

BTW, this is what the WHO says about salmonella:

Salmonellosis is one of the most common and widely distributed foodborne diseases and is caused by the bacteria salmonella. It is estimated that tens of millions of human cases occur worldwide every year and the disease results in more than hundred thousand deaths.
By Mephistopheles… (not verified) on 04 Aug 2015 #permalink

By the way, every death kills one person at a time.

By Mephistopheles… (not verified) on 04 Aug 2015 #permalink

John: "My only question is: How can we NOT demand more evidence?"

For what?

What it was supposed to mean is what it (gulp!) said! I’m just repeating what Roberts has provided much evidence for, that the papers were junk, according to the OSI and ORI. The purpose of my remark, if I must spell it out for you, was to demonstrate a very significant case of science fraud, something not uncommon in medical science (especially when it comes to vaccines).

Logically, it is possible that even though the papers were junk, their conclusion was correct. But in all science, when the method etc is flawed, the conclusion comes into question, and then the whole matter must be repeated. But to allow the entire world to operate on a conclusion derived from junk, with millions of lives heavily affected, seems a bit irresponsible, wouldn’t you say?

Another fraud occurred in the study that “proved” AZT useful against HIV. Originally a cancer drug, AZT was shelved for its extreme toxicity (DNA-chain termination). At the time, AIDS was “universally fatal in five years.” Medicine plays a roulette game called the Therapeutic Index, wherein the more deadly the ‘disease,’ the more toxic the drug is allowed to be. Thus, the Gallo-Popovic fraud was excuse to revive AZT.

Our wonderful government leaped at the chance to provide a huge amount of the reagent thymidine to Burroughs-Wellcome, with no requirement for repayment. Pharma then turned around and was charging $150/shot, or $18k/year per patient. One main problem was that the ONE drug trial to prove AZT against HIV was aborted mid-stream, because, due to the outrageous side effects, subjects knew they were getting the real thing and not the placebo. This was considered sufficient to market AZT. Of course, when you died from drug consequences indistinguishable from AIDS…

Roberts (and others, such as the Perth Group) goes on to conclude that HIV is not the cause of AIDS. I came to this opinion after reading several books on AIDS (not the least of which was Jon Rappoport’s “AIDS Inc.”) and after seeing what the august NAS and the system did to the world’s foremost retrovirologist, Peter Duesberg for simply submitting a long paper refuting the hypothesis. I have a copy of it, which he was kind enough to send me. It contains no less than 196 references, for what that’s worth. Instead of anyone replying in kind, Duesberg’s money dried up and he became an outcast (this is what I said to Robert Bell - it’s always the same thing: Anyone who bucks policy, the system, and Pharma’s bottom line, suddenly and magically becomes a crank spewing junk science. That’s the prevailing attitude in this blog, which is not interested in truth, but only in defending policy.

It was at that point that Gallo-Popovic should have been peer-reviewed, but it was not allowed to happen. And anyone who wanted to do research practically had to write “I believe in HIV” across the top of the application, and, of course, get their cell lines from NIH/Gallo’s lab. At one point, we had 10,000 researchers on the planet operating on a fraud.

The Perth Group is posting a methodical approach to settling this one way or the other. But, lo and behold! The criminal establishment is not listening. Knock me over with a feather.

@ Not #226
Really? Was he respectful to me with his irony-meter remark? Or is reciprocity not required in the King’s Sandbox called Respectful Insolence? I can’t imagine that he’s unaware that his handle is an acronym for the antioxidant strength of food and supplements, which is truly ironic for one who causes inflammation. :-))

PeterT, [citation needed]. Also, how many people died from smallpox last year? You still haven't answered that.

By Gray Falcon (not verified) on 05 Aug 2015 #permalink

@ shay #222
Thanks! I was inspired by your irrelevancy. Remaining first paragraph: false accusation. Or give examples of irrelevant insult.

Credentials go only so far. The most educated (and one can say in this case, indoctrinated) individual can actually be wrong, or worse, be exploiting an esteemed place to disinform. More important is the cogency of what’s being said, as well as its disparity in re other sources of information. Almost universal in this forum, however, is not discourse aimed at the rational concerns of professionals and others about vaccines, based upon specific points, but a collection of disdainful wisecracks in intellectual clothes. What I call intellectual masturbation.

Not sure what you mean by “the smallpox question.” Please use # ref, since I’m speaking to 10 people at the same time here.

PeterT,

I will never know how deeply offended you are/were at his comments but he is providing a service to you for free. To not consider this and stay respectful is an oversight on your part. For all I know he enjoys the sparring, but it is grating to me to watch blogs hosts treated w contempt.

If you had a blog I would say the same thing in your defense.

By Not a Troll (not verified) on 05 Aug 2015 #permalink

Out of date off topic troll is stale and boring.

I can’t imagine that he’s unaware that his handle is an acronym for the antioxidant strength of food and supplements, which is truly ironic for one who causes inflammation

I am aware of it now and have been for some time, but did not know that at the time I chose my pseudonym, which was chosen based on the name of a computer on an obscure British SF series from the late 1970s.

I always find it hilarious when woo-meisters hawk products with "14000 ORAC". or "high in ORAC"
Although clueless in other ways, they DO know who Orac is.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 05 Aug 2015 #permalink

Orac: "but did not know that at the time I chose my pseudonym,"

Which you have been using for at least fifteen years or so, since it is how I first noticed you on misc.health.alternative. I just don't quite remember if it was before or after the turn of the century.

I do remember where I first saw the lame polio, germ denier, HIV not causing AIDS nonsense, etc that PeterB is enamored with was still the 1990s.

Peter -- how many people died of smallpox last year?

PeterT: Orac's real name and the reason he uses Orac are a simple test of intelligence we use here. You fail.

Tell us, why has smallpox disappeared as a disease? I'm sure you can do it; many people HAVE asked you.

@PeterT

The purpose of my remark, if I must spell it out for you, was to demonstrate a very significant case of science fraud

Yes, you need to spell it out. In context, this was not obvious. Your previous paragraph started with "Medicine is the story of downright LIE sold as gospel." You never stated what the lie was - you made 2 overly simplistic comments (one about saturated fat and one about cholesterol) then went to the comment I quoted above. You never stated what the lie is that medicine is based on. The reference to Roberts's book came completely out of left field and did not tie into your thesis in any relevant way. I will suddenly quote W.C. Fields as saying "Never give a sucker an even break."

The current scientific consensus remains that HIV causes AIDS. This is not "a conclusion derived from junk"; it is based on 30 years of research and observation. I agree that had only those papers ever linked HIV to AIDS that would have been insufficient to be a basis for action or treatment. That's not the situation we find here.

You are correct that AZT is sufficiently toxic that if people weren't dying quickly of AIDS it would likely not have been used. There are better antiviral drugs now. AZT may well have been the best choice at the time, though I claim no special knowledge there.

Roberts (and others, such as the Perth Group) goes on to conclude that HIV is not the cause of AIDS. I came to this opinion after reading several books on AIDS (not the least of which was Jon Rappoport’s “AIDS Inc.”) and after seeing what the august NAS and the system did to the world’s foremost retrovirologist, Peter Duesberg for simply submitting a long paper refuting the hypothesis.

So when Grey Squirrel said above th"So, not only are vaccines poison, but climate change is nonsense and HIV doesn’t cause AIDS.", he was accurately stating your view.

Instead of anyone replying in kind, Duesberg’s money dried up and he became an outcast

How do you know nobody replied in kind? People published multiple papers about AIDS, which Duesberg would frequently attempt to rebut. As to his funding, it is not unreasonable to decide to fund research you believe is going somewhere rather than ideas that don't appear to have a future. I'm not acquainted with Dr Duesberg personally, but wouldn't be surprised if he saw things differently.

It was at that point that Gallo-Popovic should have been peer-reviewed, but it was not allowed to happen.

Who prevented it? What keeps anyone from reviewing and, if desired, replicating their work? Besides needing funding, which you claim cannot be obtained (though you provide no evidence for same). And how do you fit the work of Dr Luc Montagnier, which pre-dates Gallo's but finds remarkably similar results, in your scheme of things?

By Mephistopheles… (not verified) on 05 Aug 2015 #permalink

My apologies - I wrote "AZT is sufficiently toxic that if people weren’t dying quickly of AIDS". I should have written "AZT is sufficiently toxic that if people had not been dying quickly of AIDS"

By Mephistopheles… (not verified) on 05 Aug 2015 #permalink

@ Kreb #211
It’s a double-edged sword, Kreb, meaning how does any of us, including you, know what we know. Your fallacious premise seems to be that VAX info from the mainstream is infallible. But what if it’s just propaganda you’ve fallen for? I’ve already checked my facts. For example, in all cases of major epidemics claimed to have been quelled by VAX, the VAX was introduced well into the downturn of the infectious cycle. It’s just appearances, and that’s no accident. I’ve already cited for you, apparently in vain, a couple of articles on the polio scam, wherein statistical milling was used to make it look like Salk worked. It did not.

Also, before the measles VAX was introduced in 1963, in the period 1915-1958, there was already a 95% reduction in the death rate.

I’m not puzzled at all, because your measles/chicken pox argument is purely correlative and really beneath you, not scientifically conclusive by any means. After all, how much Black Plague has there been since the Middle Ages, without a vaccine till about 2008. Or Spanish Flu, for which there was never a vaccine. Typhoid, TB, scarlet fever - no vaccines. These things come and go all by themselves. Improvements in public health practice and nutrition have also played an important role.

Speaking of flu, the Cochrane Collaboration has declared flu vaccine virtually useless.

In the Philippines shortly before the turn of the 20th century, was a massive smallpox outbreak after 99% vaccine saturation. This is only one of several such incidents.

Moreover, the measles vaccine has never been subjected to rigorous testing for safety, and not even to non-rigorous testing when in combination with other vaccines. And I suppose it doesn’t make any diff to entities like you that many of the folks with measles in the recent “outbreak” (about a whole 150?) had been vaccinated. Or that all the polio cases in one decade were caused by the oral VAX. Or that recipients of live-virus vaccines can shed the virus just like normally infected people. I suggest you read this report by Barbara Loe Fisher http://www.nvic.org/CMSTemplates/NVIC/pdf/Live-Virus-Vaccines-and-Vacci…

CDC: “From December 9, 1983, to January 13, 1984, 21 cases of measles occurred in Sangamon County, Illinois.* Nine of the cases were confirmed serologically. The outbreak involved 16 high school students, all of whom had histories of measles vaccination after 15 months of age documented in their school health records. Of the five remaining cases, four occurred in unvaccinated preschool children, two of whom were under 15 months of age, and one case occurred in a previously vaccinated college student (Figure 5).

“The affected high school had 276 students and was in the same building as a junior high school with 135 students. A review of health records in the high school showed that all 411 students had documentation of measles vaccination on or after the first birthday, in accordance with Illinois law.

“Editorial Note: ***This outbreak demonstrates that transmission of measles can occur within a school population with a documented immunization level of 100%.*** This level was validated during the outbreak investigation. Previous investigations of measles outbreaks among highly immunized populations have revealed risk factors such as improper storage or handling of vaccine, vaccine administered to children under 1 year of age, use of globulin with vaccine, and use of killed virus vaccine (1-5). However, these risk factors did not adequately explain the occurrence of this outbreak.”
http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/00000359.htm

The stale troll: "Also, before the measles VAX was introduced in 1963, in the period 1915-1958, there was already a 95% reduction in the death rate."

So what? That is just a measure of improved hospital care. Since about one in five who get measles end up with pneumonia from either from the virus itself or another pathogen because the disease suppresses the immune system. Inventing a way to keep people breathing when their lungs fill with fluid tends to keep them alive, but it is expensive.

The following is 20th century American census data on measles incidence. You need to tell us, with references (and not NVIC!) why measles cases went down 90% in the USA between 1960 and 1970. Please do not mention deaths, any other decade, any other disease nor any other country (neither England nor Wales are American states):

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

"CDC: “From December 9, 1983, to January 13, 1984, 21 cases of measles occurred in Sangamon County, Illinois.* "

Has that happened since the second dose of MMR was implemented?

PeterT: Seriously? After all, how much Black Plague has there been since the Middle Ages, without a vaccine till about 2008. Or Spanish Flu, for which there was never a vaccine. Typhoid, TB, scarlet fever – no vaccines. These things come and go all by themselves. Improvements in public health practice and nutrition have also played an important role.

All those things still exist. They just don't spread over a population as fast due to better treatments (hospitals, antibiotics), nutrition, and public health such as water and sewage. Plague occurs in the US even now.

Scarlet fever? Why do you think we give antibiotics for strep throat? To PREVENT Scarlet fever and the possible cardiac infection it can lead to.

And I'd love to see your citation for the smallpox epidemic in the Philippines in the early 20th century, with 99% vaccine saturation, when the US didn't even have that high of levels.

Typhoid, TB, scarlet fever – no vaccines.

I've had the typhoid vaccine, so if it doesn't exist then something is seriously wrong. There's also a tuberculosis vaccine, though it is not routinely given in the US.

Since typhoid is transmitted by contaminated food and water, it is perfectly reasonable to credit water treatment and sanitary sewers for the reduction in typhoid in the first world.

By Mephistopheles… (not verified) on 05 Aug 2015 #permalink

In addition to being a boring AIDS and germ theory denialist, poor Peter T continues to demonstrate his stellar epi skillz with the stupid notion that immunsation rate = immunity rate.

By Science Mom (not verified) on 05 Aug 2015 #permalink

"After all, how much Black Plague has there been since the Middle Ages, without a vaccine till about 2008. Or Spanish Flu, for which there was never a vaccine. Typhoid, TB, scarlet fever – no vaccines. These things come and go all by themselves. Improvements in public health practice and nutrition have also played an important role."

He doesn't know that the "Spanish Flu" is H1N1, which is still very much around does he? Nor does he know that immunization is part of "public health practice", does he?

It's always been amazing to me how people claim to have epidemiological knowledge and then epically fail at interpreting epidemiology.

@ Mephisto 243
Again we have an R&C problem. I didn’t say “a” lie told as gospel, but generic LIE, with 3 examples, including the reference to Roberts’ description of a monstrous lie. Perhaps I should have said LIES, which might have cleared it up.

In re ’30 years of research…’ If it gets off on the wrong foot, it can continue that way. Please also refer to the Perth Group on HIV/AIDS.

In re Squirrel, I made myself clear in reply #218. And in 232, but, apology, I didn’t include the number to your 223. so you might have missed it.

In re Duesberg funding evaporation: A very cute rationale you give for a guillotine by the system - of, I repeat, the world’s foremost retrovirologist at the time. Duesberg’s ideas simply didn’t support the giant financial windfall that was brewing. He had to be silenced and discredited. He also published a paper in “Cancer Research,” which Gallo refused to address, but said, according to Duesberg, “With friends like you, who needs enemies.”

“Gallo’s claims were not helped by his subsequent behavior. He adamantly insisted that his approval was necessary before anyone received a sample of his virus to research it. He denied samples to many scientists, and, when he did agree to share, he imposed conditions that specifically forbad the researchers from repeating or trying to verify the experiments done by Gallo’s team to prove it caused AIDS!” “Fear of the Invisible,” Roberts, p. 117.

Montagnier now says that HIV alone cannot cause AIDS. BTW, the story of the discovery of HIV is a convention hammered out by roundtable agreement after Gallo attempted to call his own a virus sent to him by Montagnier (which he pulled out of a lymph node of a Parisian fashion designer—who went on to live a normal life). This story is told in a book “AIDS: The HIV Myth” Apr 1989, by Jad Adams. Bottom line, Gallo is a sleaze bag who should still be hanging by his thumbs.

Rappoport interviewed Duesberg for “AIDS Inc.” It might give more insight into establishment hate for him: “I think vaccine research is more silly than dangerous. Maybe the people doing the research could be dangerous. I don’t know. On the one hand, they say, look how wonderful we are, we’re going to give you protection agains HIV by producing antibodies in you. On the other hand, when people develop antibodies to HIV on their own and that is detected in a blood test, other people burn down their houses and people commit suicide.” “AIDS Inc,” P. 130.

"I think vaccine research is more silly than dangerous."

No cause for hate there -- profound contempt, yes. Hate, no.

Montagnier now says that HIV alone cannot cause AIDS.

Given that you don't believe in germ theory in the first place, there's no telling why you're belaboring it with a moron like Rappoport.

Go test it out, already.

@ Chris 246.
Thank you for making my case, namely that the VAX is always introduced on the downturn of the infectious cycle—and that’s what infectious epidemics are, cycles that wind themselves down. This is in the literature.

The VAX was introduced in 1963, when measles incidence had dropped overall from 310 per 100k to somewhere between 245.4 and 135.1. Your problem, of course, is proving that incidence drop is more than correlation and would not have continued the trend without the vaccine. What you are implying is a wishful conclusion from what a is a totally uncontrolled experiment, and there is not one controlled experiment proving vaccine efficacy.

Your stipulation about no NVIC is utter bullsh*t, so I respond no further. Sayonara.

Montagnier now says that HIV alone cannot cause AIDS.
And he talks to homeopathic bacteria DNA with radio waves.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 05 Aug 2015 #permalink

@ MI Dawn 247
Many of you in this forum seem to have reading and comp problems or the propensity to twist words to your liking (this, of course, is a rhetorical tactic). I never said ‘these things don’t exist,’ did I. But I did say that improvements in sanitation, etc have made a big difference. Impossible to differentiate this effect from that attributed to vaccines.

An antibiotic is not a vaccine.

http://www.naturodoc.com/library/public_health/truth_re_smallpox_vaccin…

@ Mephisto 248
I stand corrected on typhoid VAX.

@ AdamG
Sorry, left out the word ‘measles.’ Thought it was clear, since that was the subject.

But the study you cite is a Sanofi Pasteur, or Pharma, one, which I tend not to believe a word of. However the Conclusion is not particularly stellar, with no quantification in the Abstract on “lower” incidence.

But the study you cite is a Sanofi Pasteur, or Pharma, one, which I tend not to believe a word of.

Perhaps everyone's time could be saved by providing a short list of sources which are acceptable.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 05 Aug 2015 #permalink

PeterT: "The VAX was introduced in 1963, when measles incidence had dropped overall from 310 per 100k to somewhere between 245.4 and 135.1"

So how exactly are those anywhere near 23.2 per 100K?

Let's look at those particular numbers in context:

1950 . . . 210.1
1955 . . . 337.9
1960 . . . 245.4
1965 . . . 135.1
1970 . . . . 23.2
1975 . . . . 11.3
1980 . . . . . 5.9

Yes, measles is cyclical. During the entire twentieth century, which decade did measles incidence fall 90% and never go any higher again? I don't see it, especially before 1960s. Point it out to us.

Then tell us with PubMed indexed studies by reputable qualified researchers that it would have happened with the introduction of vaccines. Qualified means they have the relevant experience and education. So none written by lawyers, finance professors, journalist, Russian translators (Harris Coulter), computer scientists or public relations persons (Barbara Loe Fisher).

"Your stipulation about no NVIC is utter bullsh*t, so I respond no further. Sayonara."

Coward.

@ Narad 253
Well, I’d rather belabor it with a Rappoport than a moron like you, who can’t even read, like so many in this forum.

By Peter Tocci (not verified) on 05 Aug 2015 #permalink

Well, gang, it’s been fun, but I have no more time to ride on this merry-go-round. You can all get back to scratching each others arses with no interruption. Oh, wait a minute - you never stopped :-)
Bye bye.

And there he goes right back Down Under, right as the actual evidence comes out. Stick the flounce.

PeterT:

Typhoid, TB, scarlet fever – no vaccines.

There IS a vaccine against tuberculosis, you champion ignoramus. It's called B.C.G and I have a scar on my right arm just below my shoulder from when I received it.

By Julian Frost (not verified) on 05 Aug 2015 #permalink

Please also refer to the Perth Group on HIV/AIDS.

And the Perth Group's research is what, exactly?

I didn’t say “a” lie told as gospel, but generic LIE

Ah, I failed to notice you didn't have the article before "LIE" (is that an acronym for something?). It would have been a clearer statement if you'd said "“Medicine is the story of downright lies sold as gospel.” though I suppose once explained your version has a certain colloquial sense to it.

In re ’30 years of research…’ If it gets off on the wrong foot, it can continue that way.

Possibly, but unlikely given the number of people - including the ones you mention - who continue to insist that HIV doesn't cause AIDS. Presumably some of them could get a country such as South Africa to fund research to test their ideas.

By Mephistopheles… (not verified) on 05 Aug 2015 #permalink

And just like Brave Sir Robin, PeterT has bravely run away.

Darn. I was wondering how many people died of smallpox last year. I guess now I'll never get my answer.

It's quite amazing how PeterT managed to answer most of my statement and STILL missed the question about smallpox. Nor did he answer about the Philippines question. Shocking!

Getting back to PeterT's question about why calling something a conspiracy theory is a bad thing (since we know that conspiracies do exist), let's look at his comments on AIDS and HIV.

Based on what he said:
- Some researchers published papers that no less than 3 government panels called "junk".
- The makers* of an obscure drug named AZT destined for the dustbin saw an opportunity to profit and seized it.
- They started a shadowy cabal** to get widespread acceptance of the HIV = AIDS concept so their drug would be approved and demanded for the cure.
- The Cabal put its tendrils*** into all the governments, science funding sources, and scientific journals around the world.
- Anyone who goes against the new orthodoxy gets their funding cut of**** and is called a crank because of The Cabal's shady machinations.
- Now the concept of HIV causing AIDS can not be challenged - not even questioned*****

Sure. Makes sense to me.

* Burroughs-Wellcome Company
** Possibly in the inky shadows.
*** Octopoid overlords? What will Lord D. ever think?
**** The unkindest cut of all.
***** Ugarte, Casablanca, 1942

By Mephistopheles… (not verified) on 05 Aug 2015 #permalink

shay, probably thousands - it's just been renamed to hide the truth

Dolts like PT invariably ignore the widespread and successful use of vaccines in beasts other than humans. While animal health care has benefited from many of the same advances as human health care (a small justice), it is pretty hard to make much of a case for improved sanitation across the board - in the case of "livestock" the opposite is often true. I really doubt that hoof washing or improved sewerage systems had much to do with the elimination of Rinderpest.

The oral rabies vaccine used for wildlife and feral dogs has been quite successful. But maybe foxes, raccoons and the dogs got on the tea tree oil paw sanitizer bandwagon just about the time the vaccine was being introduced. Or someone is slipping them liposomal vitamin C or colloidal silver.

PeterT #205:

Thus, there could be no credible science in the development of an invasive procedure that replaced variolation (which actually makes more sense than the needle).

Variolation wasn't invasive?  PeterT thinks variolation was better than vaccination?  *boggle*

Each individual’s community of gut microbes is unique and profoundly sensitive to environmental conditions, beginning at birth.

Unique and profoundly sensitive to environmental conditions. So, um, the only way to be healthy is to find an environment that brings my unique gut microbes to perfection, and then stay in exactly that environment, without any alteration, forever. Good plan. Very practical.

#245

Typhoid, TB, scarlet fever – no vaccines.

Going through my grandmother's papers, I happened across my mother's certificate proving she had been immunized against typhoid -- in the 40s.

After all, how much Black Plague has there been since the Middle Ages, without a vaccine till about 2008.

Ah, interesting question. If diseases aren't caused by germs, why did the environments of a third to a half of the population of Europe suddenly change so that they developed certain suites of symptoms from which they died? And why is it that the changes in environments progressed across the continent exactly as if by contagion?

As to why the plague went away ... it didn't. There were outbreaks -- there are still outbreaks. Ground-dwelling rodents in the United States can carry plague, though oddly enough there was a time when they didn't ... I don't know how PeterT can explain that. Anyway, there are two reasons plague isn't a big problem these: we have lots better houses than people in the Middle Ages and therefore don't live cheek-by-jowl with rats, and plague responds to antibiotics. Which is strange if it isn't caused by bacteria.   

I happened across my mother’s certificate proving she had been immunized against typhoid — in the 40s

Typhoid vaccination was used in the Boer War, and had become standard for British and US troops well before WW1, with the result

that for the first time, casualties due to combat exceeded those from disease.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 05 Aug 2015 #permalink

hdb: "Typhoid vaccination was used in the Boer War, and had become standard for British and US troops well before WW1, with the result"

And is still being used, as these troops (and their dependents) often get stationed in places with less than adequate water and sewage treatment. As an Army brat I have been vaccinated for typhoid more than once.

The CDC has a page on it:
http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd-vac/typhoid/

As an Army brat I have been vaccinated for typhoid more than once.

Part of my childhood education included exposure to old 'Punch' cartoons from the 1940s, from which I learned (inter alia) that the typhoid inoculations were the ones associated with the sorest arms afterwards.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 05 Aug 2015 #permalink

Peter Tocci a.k.a. Gemini Press, scourge of the Elite Agenda?

It's cute that he blew it right before the second flounce.

Your first link's broken, though.

I see he does not so well when he is not in an echo chamber. He must hate being questioned.

It’s cute that he blew it right before the second flounce.

I imagine that Peter Tocci realised belatedly that he had doxxed himself, and decided at that point that (discretion) > (valor / 2)

Your first link’s broken, though.

Whoops. Search for "Peter Tocci" + CIA + "weather manipulation" and it will narrow things down a little bit.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 05 Aug 2015 #permalink

@Mephistopheles O'Brien, i have to take you to task.

Possibly, but unlikely given the number of people – including the ones you mention – who continue to insist that HIV doesn’t cause AIDS. Presumably some of them could get a country such as South Africa to fund research to test their ideas.

You wouldn't. Thabo Mbeki, our smart but very foolish former president, was forced to resign in 2008. The people who pushed him out fortunately don't hold his deranged views on AIDS. AIDS Denialists are about as welcome in South Africa now as neo-nazis.

By Julian Frost (not verified) on 06 Aug 2015 #permalink

Climate Change CT + Smart Meter CT?

Maybe PeterT and Eric H are a tag team. An imagined web version of pro wrestling's 'Ministry of Darkness' (starring The Undertaker, managed by Paul Bearer).

The minions came to kid ass and chew trolls. Unlike bubllegum, the supply of trolls never runs out. Gosh, you guys jaws must be sore! Maybe you should try bubblegum as an aternative. Blow into it hard enough, and it actually pops eventually.

@Julian Frost

i have to take you to task

I should simply admit that my knowledge of South African attitudes and government policies are clearly out of date and apologize for giving offense. However, I have thought a clever out:

I intended to use a speculative form, as in "Presumably some of them could have gotten a country such as South Africa to fund research to test their ideas."

I wish I'd said "a country like South Africa" instead, as then I could say "Not South Africa itself, just a country like it." But I didn't.

By Mephistopheles… (not verified) on 07 Aug 2015 #permalink

Thank you Peter, you were right to move on. Ironically (as it seems to create so much frustration here), it doesn't matter how much logic and science is presented. When someone has chosen to egotistically identify with a stance, it appears he or she can no longer discern information. It is true of both "sides". I personally wish there was a site that actually addressed the reality surrounding the topic of standardized and mandated vaccination, which is the actual issue, instead of the propagated insanity of the "pro and anti movements" over and over again ad nauseam.

Age of Autism points out it has been a year since the Great CDC Whistleblower (manufactroversy) broke and ..... nothing has happened.

Here's Tanner's Dad (Timothy Welsh) call to action to get things done:

https://animoto.com/play/0oPb6n6EGewpdFhWHzDviQ

Is "b1less" pronounced "boneless"? Just curious.

By Mephistopheles… (not verified) on 21 Aug 2015 #permalink

I think it's Be One Less MOB. As in one less "vaccine damaged" person.

By Science Mom (not verified) on 21 Aug 2015 #permalink

@Science Mom - Thanks for straightening me out.

By Mephistopheles… (not verified) on 21 Aug 2015 #permalink

We learn at AoA, that Ginger Taylor is initiating a Thunderclap via Twitter- I guess the Storm didn't produce.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 21 Aug 2015 #permalink

I think that it would only be polite for the crew here at RI to give Ginger the clap she so richly deserves.

That's what I get for being clever -- should have read

"...figure out a way to give Ginger the clap she so richly deserves."

Sorry, can't, I'm busy tonight.