How do we resist the rising tide of antiscience and pseudoscience?

The impetus for the creation of this blog, lo these 12+ years ago, was growing alarm at the rising tide of pseudoscience then, such as quackery, antivaccine misinformation, creationism, Holocaust denial, and many other forms of attacks on science, history, and reality itself. I had cut my teeth on deconstructing such antiscience and pseudoscience on Usenet, that vast, unfiltered, poorly organized mass of discussion forums that had been big in the 1990s but were dying by 12 years ago, having turned into a mass of spam, trolls, and incoherence. So I wanted to do my little part (and I'm under no illusion that I'm that influential) in my little way to combat what I perceived to be real problems. The biggest surprise to me is that, more then twelve years later, I'm still at it. I don't deal with non-medical topics (like the aforementioned evolution, Holocaust denial, and general skeptical topics) so much any more, but I'm still here, and I still post nearly every day.

In 2017, however, the sorts of misinformation I set out to combat in 2004 seem downright quaint, given how much more effectively bullshit was weaponized last year than in years past. It's basically gotten so bad that once-stodgy journals have been stung enough to see a need to chime in with articles about "What It All Means" and "How Do We Deal with This?" Just yesterday, it was the New England Journal of Medicine chiming in with an article by Lisa Rosenbaum, M.D. entitled Resisting the Suppression of Science. Make no mistake about it; the suppression of "inconvenient" science is what we as scientists and science advocates are dealing with in 2017. She begins by making an analogy that will resonate with physicians:

All doctors encounter patients who express preferences for non–evidence-based therapies — organic food for coronary disease or detox cleanses for cancer, for example. Personally, I’ve never come up with an effective response. I offer facts, and then, sensing that I’m getting nowhere, I offer more facts. I blink rapidly to avoid rolling my eyes. Eventually, I resort to the “I statements” taught in medical school: “I understand that’s what you believe,” though my body language surely gives me away. Not surprisingly, I haven’t had much success in overcoming disbelief of science. And though many physicians may approach this challenge more skillfully one on one, as a scientific community, we often seem trapped in a similar dynamic. Whether it’s the science of vaccines, climate change, or gun control, we tend to endlessly emphasize the related evidence, and when that fails, exude a collective sense of disgust.

This is actually not a bad analogy. I myself occasionally see patients like this. The most dreaded patient for me, as a breast cancer surgeon, is the woman who felt a lump a year or two ago, had a biopsy and was diagnosed with breast cancer, but, instead of choosing standard-of-care conventional science-based medicine to treat it at a time when it had a high probability of long term survival (or, more colloquially, cure), decided to go to a naturopath quack (but I repeat myself) or some other alternative medicine practitioner. A year or two (or three) later, she shows up in the surgeon's office, with a huge, bleeding, ulcerated mass in her breast that stinks because it's outgrown its blood supply, leading to tissue death, and because it's been colonized or even outright infected with bacteria. Fortunately, such patients are few and far between, at least for me. (I understand from conversations with colleagues in other parts of the country that they are not so uncommon for some of my colleagues, such as those in some parts of California and, for example, Scottsdale or Sedona in Arizona, I often wonder what, if anything, anyone could have told such patients when they first presented with their cancers that might have persuaded them to accept science-based medicine.

Still, Dr. Rosenbaum seems to admit that she's not very good at dealing with patients like this. In fact, as hard as it is to believe, I'm probably better one-on-one. Yes, I'm sarcastic as hell on the blog because I'm venting and being sarcastic is entertaining—and, more often than I would have guessed, effective. In contrast, you'll never see me act that way dealing one-on-one with a patient. No, I don't claim to be any sort of expert at persuading the quack-seeking cancer patient to forego elaborate placebo medicine because cancer, unlike diseases with subjective symptoms, laughs at placebo medicine, but I seem to be better able to control my body language and facial expressions better than Dr. Rosenbaum when confronted with these patients. I can even occasionally persuade one at least to consider surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. Part of the reason, I think, is that, unlike most physicians, I am intimately familiar with pretty much all forms of cancer quackery under the sun and can deconstruct exactly why they are nonsense and drill right in to the ridiculousness of the claims. I suppose that's one benefit of 12+ years of blogging about these topics.

But back to the issue of how to deal with the science denial running rampant now. Rosenbaum asks the question:

In the face of suppression of science, should scientists resist, or quietly proceed with their work? Resistance seems essential. That the CDC postponement prompted a coalition to form and organize an alternative meeting (see article by Hunter et al.) reminds us that resistance is as much about ensuring effective dissemination of findings as about continuing to conduct science. But it’s critical to recognize that suppressing science does not cause disbelief; rather, disbelief, particularly of science pertaining to highly politicized topics such as climate change, creates a cultural environment in which suppression of science is tolerated. So the real question is how do we resist effectively? How do we convince a skeptical public to believe in science?

Answering that question requires that we as scientists recognize that the same sorts of deeply embedded characteristics of the human psyche that lead cancer patients to pursue quackery are also the characteristics that fuel science denial. In particular, scientists and science advocates frequently assume that science denial can be remedied by just laying out the facts. It's a common misconception. In reality, just laying out the facts, while an essential part of any campaign science denial, is not by itself enough. Not nearly. Not by a long shot. Just laying out the facts and deconstructing the nonsense behind a claim rarely work by themselves in isolation.

A huge (yuge?) part of the reason that pseudoscience resonates is because it speaks to something in people, usually a deeply ingrained part of their identity. For instance, quackery is appealing in people who value the "natural" over the "artificial" and particularly among those who distrust the institutions associated with medicine, such as the government, pharmaceutical companies, large corporations and health insurance companies, and the like. Facts alone won't overcome that. Indeed, thanks to the phenomenon of the backfire effect, just laying out the facts can, in fact, backfire. Basically, when people are forced to confront information that conflicts with their deeply held beliefs, it often results in their holding on to those beliefs even more strongly, a phenomenon known as the backfire effect. Then there's motivated reasoning, it is often the most intelligent people who are the best at cherry picking evidence that supports their pre-existing beliefs and refutes attacks on them.

Indeed, when it comes to persuasion, it's often the intelligent who are the hardest to persuade:

First, we need to stop assuming that disbelief necessarily reflects a knowledge deficit and can thus be remedied by facts. When doubt is wrapped up in one’s cultural identity or powerful emotions, facts often not only fail to persuade, but may further entrench skepticism. This phenomenon, often referred to as “biased assimilation,” has been demonstrated across a range of issues, from the death penalty to climate change to vaccines.2 One study found that parents hesitant about vaccinating their children became even less inclined to vaccinate when given information debunking the myth that vaccines cause autism. Somewhat counterintuitively, this tendency does not reflect lack of intelligence; in fact, when it comes to climate science, people who demonstrate higher levels of science comprehension are actually also the most adept at dismissing evidence that challenges their beliefs. Moreover, the propensity to dismiss evidence that threatens our identity or beliefs is nonpartisan: liberals, for instance, are far more likely than conservatives to dismiss science suggesting that genetically modified foods are safe. Even within the medical community, whether we’re debating mammography screening, statins, or the credibility of a drug-company–sponsored study, our ideologies affect our assimilation of data.

Indeed, they do. It's often intelligent, educated people who cling to pseudoscience the tightest and are the hardest to convince. Some of it is a sense of overconfidence that to which intelligent people fall prey in which they think they can master any topic by themselves, but it's also motivated reasoning. In a way, thinking skeptically and scientifically about various topics is not natural; rather, people tend to start with beliefs and then seek out confirming information and discount disconfirming information. Basically motivated reasoning is confirmation bias on steroids, in which people confirm what they believe and ignore contradictory evidence and data—or actively seek to discredit it. Not surprisingly, educated, intelligent people tend to be better at both activities, which are key to motivated reasoning. As Hugo Mercier and Dan Sperber once put it, "Reasoning was designed by evolution to help us win arguments," and as Chris Mooney once put it, "We apply fight-or-flight reflexes not only to predators, but to data itself."

At times it seems like the proverbial Kobayashi Maru scenario, the no win situation. However, it helps to remember that most science doesn't threaten deeply held beliefs undergirding identities:

This risk of adding an identity-laden valence to otherwise neutral scientific matters makes resisting science denialism in the Trump era particularly tricky. Because we pay far more attention to contested than to generally accepted science, it’s easy to forget that most scientific facts, and related policies, don’t induce tribalism. You don’t see partisan battles over treatment for myocardial infarction, say, or the dangers of radiation exposure. But as Kahan points out, Trump thrives on making nonpartisan issues polarizing. The indication that he might appoint a vaccine skeptic to head a commission to review vaccine safety is a worrisome example, since vaccine skepticism has thus far been limited to a minority, albeit vocal, fringe. “I have never seen someone so aggressively intent on just increasing the number of issues that feature that sort of antagonism,” Kahan told me. “He is our science communication environment polluter in chief.”

And that's what we have to beware of. As I've pointed out before, support for vaccines and vaccine mandates has been historically bipartisan. For many decades, conservatives and liberals, Republicans and Democrats, supported vaccination, and those who didn't were, quite rightly, viewed as being cranks, with antivaccine beliefs being largely equally prevalent on both sides. Antivaxers are still cranks, but, thanks to social media, their arguments are finding wider purchase. But what to do? One thing I agree that we should be careful not to do is this:

This constant quest for identity preservation helps explain why calling vaccine skeptics idiotic or dangerous is, as others have pointed out, likely to backfire, particularly as we face a cultural backlash against academic “elites.” It’s also why, when Trump issues an antiscience provocation over a nonpartisan subject, we should avoid being so strident in correcting misinformation that we further galvanize skepticism based on political identity alone. Even with already-polarizing topics, more measured resistance may be the most effective approach. To that end, circumspect resistance like the rallying of a coalition to relatively quietly reorganize the postponed climate-science meeting may end up being the most effective in these divisive times.

Yes, antivaccine views, for example, are also increasingly caught up in political, ideological, and cultural identity. Basically, thanks to a successful co-optation of the sorts of cultural grievances that led to the election of Donald Trump as President, increasingly the antivaccine movement has become aligned with Trump-friendly politics and the right wing. It is true that this shift in the politics of the antivaccine movement predates Trump, as over the last several years antivaxers have increasingly co-opted the language of "personal freedom," "parental rights," and "health freedom," but the rise of Trump put the transition on steroids. There's a reason why antivaxers, by and large, love Donald Trump. Even those predisposed to despise him have, for the most part, put aside their distaste to embrace him because he talks the antivaccine talk.

That being said, I'm not entirely sure that being less strident is the answer. Some things are too important. For example, reorganizing the postponed climate meeting feels like a defeat, like giving in to antiscience forces. It will be very difficult to rally the mot enthusiastic boosters of science using tactics like that. It's also a bad example. Climate science was never truly a nonpartisan topic and has been highly politicized for at least 25 years, with business-friendly conservatives viewing the science of anthropogenic climate change and global warming as a profound threat to their world view and profits, while resonating with environmentalist-friendly liberals. So when Trump blathers his idiocy about climate science—oh dear, was that too strident?—he's exploiting political division, not creating it. Where he Trump is really issuing antiscience provocations over a nonpartisan subjects is over vaccines, and, worse, he's contributing to something I fear, the politicization of vaccine policy. If Trump supporters really start viewing antivaccine beliefs and distrust of vaccines as part of their identity, our children will be in serious trouble, and vaccine-preventable diseases will make horrific comeback.

What's the answer? I don't claim to be an expert, but I've always thought that a wide variety of techniques should be used, each tailored to the strengths and weaknesses of individual groups and people. Not everyone is a diplomat, for instance, and sometimes mockery works. Not everyone is a flamethrower, and calm building of alliances and finding common ground likely works even better. Jacqueline M. Vadjunec, a climate scientist who moved from Massachusetts to take a job at Oklahoma State University, the heart of Trump country, notes that her colleagues warned her that she was destroying her career because of Oklahoma's history with anti-evolution and opposition to climate science, notes that she's doing well, but recognizes that she's in a minority when it comes to supporting climate science. She recommends channeling Woody Guthrie:

I realize that in my day-to-day actions in the classroom and in my research with family farmers and ranchers, I probably hold a minority viewpoint on human-induced climate change. In the classroom, I am sensitive to the fact that many of my students have family ties to the oil and gas industry. I regularly see them struggle with the local contradictions. I try to create a place of mutual respect to embrace this struggle on their own terms, while also trying to focus on our role as global citizens facing global challenges. It is not always an easy balancing act; these experiences have taught me that most students care about global environmental change, but often have little previous exposure to such issues — in part because of the decisions of local politicians and school boards. In our debriefing at the end of the semester, students often express frustration that they weren’t exposed to many of the issues surrounding climate change at a younger age.

I also learned that actively listening to (instead of talking at) farmers and ranchers who care about sustaining their land and livelihoods is a good way to open dialogue. We can then find common ground on pressing environmental issues, such as the depletion of the Ogallala Aquifer, encroachment of invasive and nuisance woody-plant species on pasture lands, and the compounding impacts of long-term cyclical drought. People in Oklahoma care about the long-term sustainability of their natural resources, but they often use language that is different from that of climate scientists and elected officials.

And:

In resisting the mood of anti-science, researchers need to reach out to a diverse public in more accessible ways. We also need to accept different ways of knowing or even talking about climate change: ways that open doors to start a conversation; ways that are more context specific, culturally sensitive and nuanced than science in general might be comfortable with.

This is not and will not be easy, but trying to find common ground is a start. After all, strategies to mitigate climate change tend to align with preserving the environment and sustainability, which many people support, at least in the abstract. No one wants disease outbreaks. We can rarely change the minds of the truly committed, but the vast middle, those "on the fence" are reachable.

I do agree with Rosenbaum that physicians are really not well trained in countering quackery, antiscience, and pseudoscience, or, as she put it "empirically and effectively navigating assaults on truth." If there's one good thing about Trump's victory, it might be that we're finally shaken out of our complacency and learn to do it right. But first we have to know what "right" is.

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How about "I know that's what you been taught, but I would urge you to examine all the evidence, think for yourself, and not go along with the crowd?"

By Christine Rose (not verified) on 03 Mar 2017 #permalink

@Christine Rose

Telling people to "think for yourself and not go along with the crowd" isn't a very effective way to convince people who are arguing for the 'crank' positions of anti-vax or against global warming because you are actually asking them to go along with the current consensus.

By Beth Clarkson (not verified) on 03 Mar 2017 #permalink

@Beth Clarkson

Actually, that's my point. The current consensus is anti-science. Not among actual science, but among the social circles these people move in.

By Christine Rose (not verified) on 03 Mar 2017 #permalink

I was thinking the same thing as @2. Part of the person's identity that makes, for example, antivax appealing is that it's not "going along with the crowd." It's sold as "thinking for yourself" and being "independent" enough to buck the scientific consensus. Unlike all those other sheeple. :-)

We have, indeed, seen many instances where "Do your own research" (in more or less those words) means, "Look at these websites and come to the same conclusion I have come to." It won't convince pseudo-skeptics to adopt a scientific viewpoint because it's precisely the argument they deploy.

It's a hard problem because you can't reason somebody out of an opinion he didn't reason himself into.

By Eric Lund (not verified) on 03 Mar 2017 #permalink

This blog is pretty hilarious. Sure, there are a lot of scientists pointing out the gaping flaws in conventional paradigms--but they're just intelligent, educated people clinging to pseudoscience, right? All the "official" experts say so. :D

The answer is pretty simple, and it's not finding more and better ways to manipulate beliefs: Examine the evidence objectively and civilly, instead of resorting to ad hominem attacks, smear campaigns and selective promotion to manufacture "consensus." Science doesn't rely on consensus, not even remotely.

"It may be hoped that in time anybody will be able to persuade anybody of anything if he can catch the patient young and is provided by the State with money and equipment... The social psychologists of the future will have a number of classes of school children on whom they will try different methods of producing an unshakeable conviction that snow is black." -- Bertrand Russell, The Impact of Science on Society (1952)

By NWO Reporter (not verified) on 03 Mar 2017 #permalink

@Christine #3

Aside from making an unwarranted assumption about someone's social circle and it's norms based on solely on a single issue, you are determining whether or not someone is thinking for themselves by judging which crowd they follow. Admonitions for other people to 'think for themselves' are often offensive because of the implication they haven't yet done so.

Dismissing someone else's opinion as 'unthinking' is generally not a persuasive strategy, particularly if it's an issue they feel they have put serious thought into and have reached a conclusion opposite to that of the general social consensus.

By Beth Clarkson (not verified) on 03 Mar 2017 #permalink

First we must eliminate antiscience from scientific institutions. Conflict of interests, technicism, dogmatism, bureaucracy, managerialism and competition are not good for science, and lay people are smart enough not to believe what they are told.

By Daniel Corcos (not verified) on 03 Mar 2017 #permalink

I must protest this blog's snide allusion to Sedona, AZ.

There is an Naturopathic Doctor there who offers a New Patient Comprehensive Consultation for $200-250, but the New Patient Homeopathic Consultation costs $360.

http://sedonanaturopathic.net/services.php

This demonstrates that massively diluting medical care makes it even more valuable, which proves homeopathy's core principle.

By Dangerous Bacon (not verified) on 03 Mar 2017 #permalink

I now invariably take the "do your own research" admonition to mean:
Bore a tap in the intertoobz.
Collect a bucket of effluent.
Process the effluent through Dunning-Kruger and confirmation bias filters.
(and since my hobbyhorse is in need of a canter around the paddock - Ryan Lovett is dead in no small part because his mother did her own research in just such a fashion)

The implication is always that someone who does their own research will become one of the select few cognoscenti who haven't been mislead by so-called experts who are uniformly greedy and corrupt.

A certain person who produces more socks than Hanes & Fruit of the Loom combined, and shall on this occasion remain nameless, is a fine example of someone who does his own research so he can tell all the rest of us how we're wrong. He's pretty good at finding at least reasonably relevant stuff on the net, but time after time has demonstrated that he lacks sufficient general relevant knowledge to understand what he's found. He typically shows that lack with just a a few words.

My apologies if this is a duplicate post. Something odd happened and it seemed to go off to alt-dimension.

I now invariably take the "do your own research" admonition to mean:
Bore a tap in the intertoobz.
Collect a bucket of effluent.
Process the effluent through Dunning-Kruger and confirmation bias filters.
(and since my hobbyhorse is in need of a canter around the paddock - Ryan Lovett is dead in no small part because his mother did her own research in just such a fashion)

The implication is always that someone who does their own research will become one of the select few cognoscenti who haven't been mislead by so-called experts who are uniformly greedy and corrupt.

A certain person who produces more socks than Hanes & Fruit of the Loom combined, and shall on this occasion remain nameless, is a fine example of someone who does his own research so he can tell all the rest of us how we're wrong. He's pretty good at finding at least reasonably relevant stuff on the net, but time after time has demonstrated that he lacks sufficient general relevant knowledge to understand what he's found. He typically shows that lack with just a a few words.

When I was very young, I got a reprint of " A Study of the Anti-Scientific Attitude" from the February 1955 issue of Scientific American, and have had it close at hand ever since with its glorious yellowed edges. This study was my first serious introduction at the time to science, and I have to admit, I have no better answers to the problem than I did in 1955. It reads as if written today where one only has to substitute the word vaccination for fluoridation.The introduction is: "It has been clearly demonstrated that fluoridation tends to prevent tooth decay and does no harm. Then why are many people violently against it? How the question was investigated in Northampton, Mass.

The study is available online behind a paywall: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/a-study-of-the-anti-scientif…

Even without institutional access, or an existing subscription it is worth the $7.99 to have the digital issue.

By Ross Miles (not verified) on 03 Mar 2017 #permalink

Some of this antivaccine and antiscience rhetoric comes from the idea that current science is not based on facts, but rather conspiracies to keep certain parties in positions of power and/or profit. The funny thing is that Trump is the individual in the US with the most power and wealth combined, yet he is still pretending to be this renegade fighting corruption. I stand by my old stance, this won't go away until something really bad happens, along the lines of a flu epidemic comparable to the early 1900s.

Also quotes aren't evidence, nor are they logical arguments...just for the record.

"This blog is pretty hilarious."

Thank you for your contribution.

This demonstrates that massively diluting medical care makes it even more valuable, which proves homeopathy’s core principle.

To paraphrase Dave Barry: Homeopathy rests on a proven scientific principle, namely that if you can convince somebody that diluting an ingredient to the point where it is no longer contained in the mixture makes a more powerful medicine that will treat his condition, you can get this person to give you money.

(The original version is about astrology, and appeared, IIRC, in Dave Barry's Guide to Marriage and/or Sex.)

By Eric Lund (not verified) on 03 Mar 2017 #permalink

Orac writes,

But first we have to know what “right” is.

MJD says,

In my opinion, medical science continues to disrespect humanity by using and reporting LD50.

Lethal dose (LD50) is the amount of an ingested substance that kills 50 percent of a test sample (i.e. non-human). It is expressed in mg/kg, or milligrams of substance per kilogram of body weight. Common name. Toxin. Lethal doses.

In a more humane and compassionate world, wouldn't reporting LD10 or LD01 be more appropriate?

My point being, if the dose makes the poison, isn't it better for medical science to be more sensitive to potential loss-of-life?

Everyone matters, therefore, toxicity studies should be reported to more readily convey this message.

By Michael J. Dochniak (not verified) on 03 Mar 2017 #permalink

“It has been clearly demonstrated that fluoridation tends to prevent tooth decay and does no harm. Then why are many people violently against it?"

That one is still around, alas. Not too long ago, voters in Portland, OR, turned down an attempt by the city to finally get around to fluoridating its water supply, half a century after Doctor Strangelove ridiculed the idea (spoiler alert: it's the pretext Gen. Ripper uses to start WWIII).

By Eric Lund (not verified) on 03 Mar 2017 #permalink

Edward @15
Thanks for that and is the one. Did not think to check that source.
I have always found the study a fascinating parallel to events from then to today.

By Ross Miles (not verified) on 03 Mar 2017 #permalink

In the context of autism I think pseudoscience and outright quackery have always been able to take a strong hold because real science is still honestly fuzzy and uncertain. It is easy to make bold claims about cause and effect when the real cause is less certain. I do wonder though if an attraction to 'natural remedies' and ancient exotic treatments such as TCM and Ayurveda is an attempt to fulfill a spiritual void. I find any attempt to engage with or debate with parents opposed to vaccination is scarliy reminiscent of my experience with a classmate at school whose father was minister for a fundamentalist Christian church. Andrew Wakefield and the Vaxxed team arrived in the U.K.recently drumming up support like an evangelical mission and the supporters all talk like converts to a cult. It is fascinating how they totally ignore any information about autism that does not relate to vaccines and 'severly injured', very sick children. Those of us who have a different experience of autism are dismissed and I'm often to.d to 'wake up' and stop being a sheeple. The fact that I am a healthy survivor ( 6 years ) of conventional treatment for breast cancer with two autistic children who did not have any reaction to vaccines and are now healthy young adults who are neither damaged or diseased is of absolutely no interest to them. It's obvious that I am a pharma shill. I wish knew how to reach these people, but evidence and logic appear to be of no use.

By Catherine Hall (not verified) on 03 Mar 2017 #permalink

I often find that the cover up concerning the dangers of Hydrogen Dioxide to be effective. I mean people literally spray this stuff about, it can cause death and there have been zero long term exposure studies.. Wake up Sheeple!

@ Zach:

Even more ridiculously:
woo-meisters I survey CONSTANTLY tell their thralls that they themselves are battling corrupt and powerful corporate interests that rule the world.
They're brave, maverick freedom fighters/ paradigm shifters.
( and -btw- corporations themselves)
And loaded down monetarily with ill gotten gains.

I should display Homes of the Woo-fraught Grifters-
so far I've seen Wakefield's, Burzynski's, Dr Oz's, Mercola's and Gary Null's estates.(Photos easily obtainable on the net)

HOWEVER I think that the rebel identity is very attractive to many people as is the trendy, first-on-your-block innovator.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 03 Mar 2017 #permalink

-btw- I find it hilarious that woo-meisters like Adams and Null are bemoaning the harm that fake news does.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 03 Mar 2017 #permalink

Unfortunately, much of the medical research out there simply can't be trusted due to conflicts of interest, according to many in a position to know. Such as Dr. Marcia Angell, a longtime editor of the New England Journal of Medicine. She wrote: "It is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published, or to rely on the judgment of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines. I take no pleasure in this conclusion, which I reached slowly and reluctantly over my two decades as an editor of The New England Journal of Medicine.” http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2009/jan/15/drug-companies-doc…

By NWO Reporter (not verified) on 03 Mar 2017 #permalink

I wish I could say that, after perhaps a few more large vaccine-preventable disease outbreaks in the US, parents won't be fooled by anti-vaccinationists. My concern now with the distortion from our nation's capital is that such outbreaks will be spun as proof that vaccines don't work rather then evidence that vaccination rates have gone to low. But remember folks, none of those opposing vaccines are anti-vaccine.

And, as a native and resident of Arizona, I wish I had an explanation why so much woo resides here. Perhaps because Arizona schools are almost always dead last in every rating scale there is, but still a lot of people move here from elsewhere, so there's something else that draws the kooks and quacks.

By Chris Hickie (not verified) on 03 Mar 2017 #permalink

Ok, for the record, I did not put any strike through tags on post #26.

By Chris Hickie (not verified) on 03 Mar 2017 #permalink

@ Chris Hickie; ( I'm responding to your cross-out)

Unfortunately, woo thrives and exists even in centres of art, fashion and culture, jam-packed with universities and international trade.
Money draws woo-meisters.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 03 Mar 2017 #permalink

Admonitions to "think for yourself" or the classic anti-vaccine ploy, "I did my own research" represent an ideal that is essentially impossible for most people. It's not because they all lack the ability to reason, but that they lack the background in the sciences and the specific knowledge to evaluate an argument such as "vaccines are nearly entirely safe and save many more lives than they take."

This is one case where elitism is required, in the sense that the specialist professionals are best suited to make recommendations based on a huge amount of information and experience.

If Trump supporters really start viewing antivaccine beliefs and distrust of vaccines as part of their identity, our children will be in serious trouble, and vaccine-preventable diseases will make horrific comeback.

I think that one of the things which helps to sustain antiscience views is that as people interact with what science is telling them, there are no clearly perceivable penalties for being wrong in their judgment about it. They are never faced with a circumstance where a misjudgment truly causes them to question their own competence. With much of science, this is the case: it really doesn't hurt a creationist to be wrong about evolution because being wrong can never backfire in an existentially threatening manner... there is no way for the revelation of our origins to be a threat, except perhaps in the antibiotic crisis, which is still very slow compared to the passage of one person's life and can be explained away by splitting hairs, like trying to differentiate macro-evolution from micro-evolution. It also really doesn't hurt people on the spot to misjudge climate change (again, very slow consequences) or even crazy crankery, like flat-earth beliefs or quantum mysticism since there are no clear outcomes that could affect anybody's health. This is one place where vaccine science is actually fairly different: there is a potential for a very clear, immediate outcome which could paint the floor red.

The vaccine mandate went through the California legislature because a failure to vaccinate was revealed to have an immediate outcome to the common man. Vaccine preventable diseases can very readily reveal themselves to be non-equal to autism and totally change a value based judgment. I would suggest that the ballooning of antivaccine views is, in many ways, a consequence of the success of vaccination: it does not clearly hurt these days to avoid vaccination. So, the perceived boogieman of autism is as bad or worse than measles.

I think that maybe the failure of herd immunity would have the consequence of reinforcing for the majority of people why herd immunity is necessary. Maybe, it would also lend some credibility to scientists in general. If a large portion of the public finds humiliation in the self-revelation that a failure of herd immunity is easily preventable, maybe they would be more inclined to listen to people who actually know better. At some point, scientists are going to be saying "I told you so," about climate change... maybe we can soften the need for that day to come by having a huge measles outbreak as soon as possible. Hopeful, I know, but maybe it would work. Nothing like casualties to galvanize action: 3,000 people died in 9/11, and yet the government has had two wars with tens to hundreds of times more casualties as a direct result since.

What is the saying? A small fire is necessary for the health of the forest?

@Jay #22:

You mean Dihydrogen oxide, right? HO2 would be a deprotonated, anionic form of peroxide, which is a superoxide and pretty dangerous.

@Viggen

Will confess to being a bit tipsy. :D

@ John Marley

It's the UK's Friday night, I freely admit to borking that right up. Enjoy your little moment, it will probably be your one and only on here :)

"The impetus for the creation of this blog, lo these 12+ years ago, was growing alarm at the rising tide of pseudoscience then, such as quackery, antivaccine misinformation, creationism, Holocaust denial, and many other forms of attacks on science, history, and reality itself."

-Such as the idea that there are more than two sexes.

Never mind!
http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2015/02/18/the-idea-of-two-sexes-is-…

By Jake Crosby (not verified) on 03 Mar 2017 #permalink

it will probably be your one and only on here

Are you suggesting that Marley is actually Travis J. Schwochert alias Fendlesworth, commonly known as Fucklesworth?

Yes he was..."was" being the operative word. He's gone now.

Bwahahaha! The Gnat appears to be buzzing about something written by someone other than I. Hilarious. It's as if he thinks I'm responsible for everything that goes on over on the other blogs in the Sb network.

Wow! Fasted ban hammer EVAH!

I'm getting better. I'm also working in my office; so I see when the e-mail notifications for the comments come in almost as soon as they do. :-)

@Jay #33

Lucky you. I'm still at work...for another hour. No Friday night for me this week. I might get half a cornflake tart when I get home.

By NumberWang (not verified) on 03 Mar 2017 #permalink

For whatever reason, Mr. Crosby has become fully trans-phobic.

Sad, really.

It seems to be common among Trump supporters. Mike Adams, for instance, has also gone all-in on the trans-phobia as well. Some of the posts he's written about transgendered people are truly disgusting.

Orac, you burst my bubble. I thought that you wrote everything at SB.

Of course a gnat probably can't tell the difference between SB and bs. He probably likes bs (especially really fresh bs) more because it is warm and sticky. Of course most of us just wipe it off our boots.

I think we could have a real fun contest among the minions: who can best impersonate Travis J. Schwochert.

Please don't. It causes me enough irritation as it is to keep on stomp on his socks as soon as he finds a new way in. The last thing I need to do is to be dealing with attempts to impersonate him.

"It’s as if he thinks I’m responsible for everything that goes on over on the other blogs in the Sb network."

No, just when it comes to "attacks on science, history, and reality itself” since your blog supposedly takes those on. Are you going to take on the most heavily trafficked "Science"Blogger's attack on science, history and reality itself? Or are you too scared that you'll lose your own platform?

By Jake Crosby (not verified) on 03 Mar 2017 #permalink

@ Viggen #30: The UK has only just recently returned to pre-Wakefield vaccination rates despite a lot of measles since his fraudulent 1998 Lancet paper. That's almost 20 years. I'd like to think people in the US would learn from a few vaccine-preventable disease outbreaks sooner than that, but I suspect not. I feel like too many people now, have this attitude that if you or your child gets sick and dies from one of these vaccine-preventable diseases that somehow it was your "weak immune system" or imperfect (by their perfect standards of purity and "natural") lifestyle that led to the downfall--and that somehow you or your child deserved it. And conversely they believe that if they give their child a perfect diet and toxin-free upbringing that their child will never catch measles/etc, or if their child does catch the infection, their child with, with his/her perfect immune system, just laugh it off like no big deal.

People believe in what they feel works for them (whether it really does or not). Too many people are thinking not vaccinating is working for them, and I think it will take a lot to dissuade them otherwise. So much so that this is why vaccine laws like California's SB277 arise--which unfortunately then inflames people who would otherwise probably vaccinate into protesting what they will feel is increasing government interference in their lives. I think anti-vaccinationists have cleverly enhanced their membership by appealing to the libertarian streak in Americans when they holler "no forced vaccinations". That's not really what anti-vaccinationists are about (and there are not any "forced vaccinations"), but as Orac has shown here many times, anti-vaccinationism makes for the strangest of bedfellows with people who would otherwise not want to be in the same room together standing side by side to promote pseudoscience.

By Chris Hickie (not verified) on 03 Mar 2017 #permalink

@Jake Crosby

Your response proves you have such limited truth & science to respond with that you're forced to resort to such a ridiculous reach of an "attack." It's kind of desperate and sad, even for you.

By The Real Truther (not verified) on 03 Mar 2017 #permalink

Pathetic is a better description, to be honest. The Gnat can buzz, but that's about it. He clearly doesn't understand biology.

True. I was just trying to be nice. :)

By The Real Truther (not verified) on 03 Mar 2017 #permalink

For whatever reason, Mr. Crosby has become fully trans-phobic.

Sad, really.

Jake has always been intimidated by girls, transgender is just another he is ignorant and fearful of.

By Science Mom (not verified) on 03 Mar 2017 #permalink

who can best impersonate Travis J.

I guess that would be OK as long as we aren't doing it as sockpuppets. Any more socks around here and we'll be conjuring up the ghost of Jack Kerouac, saying to himself A donde es me sockiboos? Of course if we might, happily, conjure The Uncommon Sock Eater from the cellars of The Unseen University.

DO. NOT. DO. THIS.

Seriously, don't. My banhammer has become mighty smashing Travis socks, and I will not think too hard over a suspected Travis sock or example of what looks like Travis impersonating someone because if someone sounds enough like Travis it might well be Travis.

Orac, I retract the idea about fendlesworth.

Please no one do this.

I found this that I thought is appropriate for this post:

Iowa State Senator Chelgren said Thursday he had not thought there was much difference between a degree and a certificate. He said he worked at a Southern California Sizzler in the 1980s, when he was about 19.

A Sizzler certificate now equals a degree, no wonder we have problems.

The Gnat,

Did it not occur to you that sex chromosome mosaicism do exist with plenty of published articles about such? Yes, in humans. Perhaps you should have done a degree in cell & molecular biology instead of wasting your time on a history degree during your undergrad. That said, doing a biology degree wouldn't garantee that you wouldn't have wasted your time as you evidently do currently while wasting a perfectly good PhD in epidemiology by trying to validate a bunch of cranks as well as your mother :)

Good luck Gnat,

Al

Does anyone else think that this from MJD at (currently) #17 qualify as one of the stupidest things to ever flow from his fingertips?

In a more humane and compassionate world, wouldn’t reporting LD10 or LD01 be more appropriate?

My point being, if the dose makes the poison, isn’t it better for medical science to be more sensitive to potential loss-of-life?

Everyone matters, therefore, toxicity studies should be reported to more readily convey this message.

What next? Should we stop using hertz to describe cycles per second, because it sounds like 'hurts', and we shouldn't want anybody to be hurt?

Johnny, George Carlin still strikes even from the grave. In instead of the crude terms LD50, LD10 or LD1 we should use NLD (Non-Lethal Dose).

It is so much nicer to say NLD99, NLD90 or NLD50. Doesn't it sound so much better than saying at LD50, 50% of the subjects die versus NLD50 where 50% of the subjects live.

Johnny @55: You know, I do believe that's the most amazingly stupid non sequitur MJD's ever had. It's almost like he doesn't even know what an LD50 is.
(Though I did once entertain myself by looking up the LD50 of sugar to refute a FoodBabe thing.)

Here, MJD, have a nice bunch of balloons!

By JustaTech (not verified) on 03 Mar 2017 #permalink

Rich@53: The story is even worse than that snippet. Sen. Chelgren is the sooper genius who introduced a bill requiring political balance among professors at state universities in Iowa. Seriously.

I am aware that Republican academics exist, but there is a reason there are so few of them. As Stephen Colbert said, facts have a well-known liberal bias.

By Eric Lund (not verified) on 03 Mar 2017 #permalink

Eric, you know you have balance when flip a steak at sizzler.

@#34

Although The Gnat apparently clings to binary classifications, disorders of sex development are common: for example, about 1 in 250 people have congenital genital anomalies. Despite recent efforts, considerable controversy still attends concerns including the assignment of male or female sex (and the older practice of very early sex reassignment surgery), how to preserve fertility, and predictors of gender identity development. The Gnat has long supported the lunatic Geiers' chemical castration, but he seems to have a problem with the fact that, not surprisingly, some people with ASD have gender dysphoria-related issues. My wife, an endocrinologist, works with psychologists to try to help people whose existence The Gnat denies.

This debate has been going on for many years, see "persistence of myths" for instance.

What really doesn't help is when the medical profession itself falls for the pseudo-science and actively promotes things which damage public health, like cycle helmets. All the long term, large scale, reliable data shows clearly that cycle helmets at best make no difference and and worst, increase risk, but the vast majority of medical people and organisations prefer their own opinions, backed up by the pseudo-science of helmet zealots.

This wouldn't be so bad if all that happened was that the helmet manufacturers made billions (for a product that doesn't work and can't be taken back when it fails) but there is a massive impact on public health. The continual emphasis on the dangers of cycling and the inconvenience of carrying a helmet deter many people from cycling, thus losing the overwhelming health benefits: regular cyclists live two years longer on average and suffer less from all forms of illness, including cancer. In the middle of an obesity epidemic largely caused by lack of exercise, helmet promotion and laws are literally insane, but many doctors promote helmets and demand laws.

Physicians heal thyselves perhaps?

By Richard Burton (not verified) on 04 Mar 2017 #permalink

It is so much nicer to say NLD99, NLD90 or NLD50. Doesn’t it sound so much better than saying at LD50, 50% of the subjects die versus NLD50 where 50% of the subjects live.

What is even more hilarious is that LD50 is only one value used in toxicology and only for comparative purposes. When the interest is in human risk, the figure used is the LOAEL and NOAEL.

But then MJD.....

Oh and by the way can I third or fourth the not impersonating Travis? I really suck at distinguishing between a few of our regulars and Travis impersonating them - until he completely gives the game away.

By Chris Preston (not verified) on 04 Mar 2017 #permalink

Chris Preston from Australia (# 61) writes,

When the interest is in human risk, the figure used is the LOAEL and NOAEL.

MJD says,

In a definition from The Free Dictionary it is written, "lowest observed adverse effect level (LOAEL) (lowest observed effect level (LOEL)) in studies of the toxicity of chemicals, the lowest dosage level at which chronic exposure to the substance shows adverse effects; usually calculated for laboratory animals."

@ Chris Preston from Austrailia,

If a vaccine safety advocate wanted to estimate the LOAEL of a known allergen, present in a vaccine, is this usually calculated for laboratory animals?

Maybe now Johnny and Just-a-Pig (abbreviation for JustaTech and Politicalguineapig) understand the unpredictable effect of allergens in vaccines?

By Michael J. Dochniak (not verified) on 04 Mar 2017 #permalink

The article you study is so incredibly flawed I'm surprised it was published.

"He points out that there are a lot of emotion involved, and that epidemiologic studies, because of their inherent imperfections, are probably not capable of resolving the debate."

It isn't epidemiological studies which are inherently flawed, it is the case control studies. I think you've just proved the basis of the original article above, both with your comment and the article you quote.

By Richard Burton (not verified) on 04 Mar 2017 #permalink

In reply to by TBruce (not verified)

According to the Insurance Information Institute:

"(The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says) in 2015 motorcycle helmets saved 1,772 lives. Helmets are estimated to be 37 percent effective in preventing fatal injuries for motorcycle riders (operators) and 41 percent effective for motorcycle passengers."

http://www.iii.org/issue-update/motorcycle-crashes

Not perfect, but a hell of a lot better than nothing.

I'd be interested in seeing what evidence exists that exercise involving in motorcycle riding is as safe and beneficial to health as forms of exercise that don't involve the risk of getting pancaked in traffic. But it probably won't be forthcoming from the fanatical anti-helmet crowd.

By Dangerous Bacon (not verified) on 04 Mar 2017 #permalink

Dangerous Bacon, you seem to have got hold of the wrong end of the stick, as I was talking about cycle helmets, not motorcycle helmets. There is no exercise benefit from riding a motorcycle, but since I never claimed there was, your point is rather irrelevant.

That said, the evidence for motorcycle helmets is similarly questionable though, and quoting the people who were responsible for introducing the motorcycle helmet law and thus have a massive vested interest, is hardly irrefutable proof.

Pretty much the kind of response I'd expect from the fanatical helmet crowd, but thanks for proving the argument in the article though.

By Richard Burton (not verified) on 04 Mar 2017 #permalink

In reply to by Dangerous Bacon (not verified)

It isn’t epidemiological studies which are inherently flawed, it is the case control studies. I think you’ve just proved the basis of the original article above, both with your comment and the article you quote.

What do you think case-control studies are?

By Science Mom (not verified) on 04 Mar 2017 #permalink

Anti-helmet claims made in reference to bicycle riding don't stand up any better than the ones cited by some motorcycle riders.

"A new study has put to bed the notion that helmets can make cycling injuries worse or prevent people from riding, researchers say.

The University of NSW study presented to an injury prevention conference in Finland this week showed helmets reduced fatal head injuries by about 65 per cent.

Statistician Jake Olivier presented the findings and told 774 ABC Melbourne's Libbi Gorr the results were overwhelming.

"We collected data from 40 different studies using data from over 64,000 injured cyclists," he said.

"We found that helmet use was associated with about a 50 per cent reduction in head injuries of any severity, about a 70 per cent reduction in serious head injuries and those are usually skull fractures and inter-cranial injury or bleeding in the brain."

There was no association between helmet use and neck injuries, Dr Olivier said.

"Most specialists, we've known for a long time that bicycle helmets are effective. Usually the arguments against come from groups that are on the fringe."...

Many who argue against the laws say helmets prevented people from cycling, particularly commuters.

Dr Olivier said there was no credence to the idea.

"We published a study right before this one in the Medical Journal of Australia where we looked back at some really good high-quality studies ... before and after helmet laws, and we found there was no change in the number of people cycling," he said."

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-09-22/cycling-helmets-save-lives-resear…

Excuse me for initially assuming that Mr. Burton* was referring to motorcycle helmets, but some motorbike riders make similar claims about health benefits for their activity.

*loved your performance in "Where Eagles Dare".

By Dangerous Bacon (not verified) on 04 Mar 2017 #permalink

In my practice, it is indeed the most educated clients who can be the most difficult. While they know a lot, they can overgeneralize what they know, and discount my expertise over their confidence in their own understanding.

As a behavior analyst, this can be especially difficult when my recommendations, based in science, run up against their folk wisdom. It becomes hard to convince them because I can see the discomfort activating their defensiveness, and I can't quite have them go out and take multiple courses in behaviorism to catch up.

By Eli Rector (not verified) on 04 Mar 2017 #permalink

What issue are you talking about here--where your recommendations as a behavioral analyst are stymied by the most educated clients allegedly basing their decisions on "folk wisdom"?

By NWO Reporter (not verified) on 04 Mar 2017 #permalink

In reply to by Eli Rector (not verified)

Consequences--financial and possibly criminal--might help. You don't want to vaccinate? Fine. But if your unvaccinated child contracts and is harmed by a vaccine-preventable disease and/or spreads it to others, you will be required to cover the cost of medical care yourself. Taxpayers and insurers should not have to bear the financial burden of your poor decision making. If it leads to death, you will be criminally prosecuted.

“natural” over the “artificial”... distrust the institutions...
And person/family business over government/big company.

I recognised these deep core divisions in opponents minds myself, too. But it's not so easy to use it for spreading scientific truth.

Anyway I got my opponent falter or hesitate about GMO when I asked if he would accept it from Your local small family company/neighbour (organic) farm instead of huge Monsanto. Former sounds more "natural" and less "secret" than latter.
And I think many antivaxxers would accept vaxx's developed by local family business if they are known neighbours. (Theoretical question, not practical of course).

@Viggen #30, I suspect that it'll take both herd immunity failure and a return of polio in the US, in a large, multi-state outbreak to convince them.

@Richard Burton, I have a friend, who invested mightily upon a high quality motorcycle helmet.
One day, he was riding with a friend and encountered an improperly crowned bend in the road, which caused a loss of control and upset of his motorcycle at highway speeds.
He slid along the pavement and his helmet split in two upon contact with the curb. He suffered a skull fracture and was comatose for several days.
Upon recovery, he related as to how severe his injuries would've been had he not been wearing that quality helmet - he would have had a depressed skull fracture.

You assume that accident rates remain unchanged that there is no benefit, ignoring that complacency would occur in those protected by those helmets and thereby increase their risk exposure by increasing their risky behaviors.
You fall for the nirvana fallacy, where if all risk isn't avoided, the efforts to mitigate the risk should be abandoned. By that standard, we should abandon fire departments, police forces, prosecution of criminals, law enforcement in general and shutter every medical practice in the land, as none are 100% effective.
Well, that would be effective in mitigating overpopulation.
Or, we could continue using what mitigation we have, compensate as we can for shortcomings and have a larger part of the population survive.

I didn't enjoy wearing a 7.5 pound helmet and 48 pound Kevlar vest and ESAPI plates in the army. I didn't object after fragments that would've shredded my lungs only broke a few ribs.

"I understand from conversations with colleagues in other parts of the country that they [cancer patients who delayed science-based treatments and turn up with advanced disease] are not so uncommon for some of my colleagues . . . I often wonder what, if anything, anyone could have told such patients when they first presented with their cancers that might have persuaded them to accept science-based medicine".

If a high number of these cases were published, complete with all the non-effective treatments used by the patients in the course of their disease, would make a bit of difference? I would like to think it would. But if 'Big Media' alerted the general public to the results, as crazy thing is, there are those who would cry "conspiracy". Whether they reached publication in a medical journal or not, a repository of the cases would be a good start. I recall someone mentioning the existence of a similar repository, but don't recall the name.

By Lighthorse (not verified) on 04 Mar 2017 #permalink

Pardon the botched wording in my last response (#77).

Some of you may already be aware of "Calling Bullshit in the Age of Big Data”, a new course offered at the University of Washington that was filled in 20 minutes. If more colleges offered the course, so much the better. The originators are encouraging others to do so. You can read the syllabus at the site, along with other very useful resources.

By Lighthorse (not verified) on 04 Mar 2017 #permalink

BigHeathenMike
March 4, 2017

Go away Fendlesworth.

Pathetic try Travis Schwochert. Please get help; this hobby of yours is really self-destructive.

By Science Mom (not verified) on 04 Mar 2017 #permalink

Travis J. Schwochert = shit for brains is back again.

Orac, would you prefer NOT to have forced-to-moderation comments drawing your attention to his presence?

Fendlesworth does serve a purpose though, keeps the site looking busy, brings lots of noise and ultimately easily beaten.

That and the fact he is such an obviously malignant slimeball, I think, persuades more of the fence sitters to our cause.

@ Lighthorse

A great find! Loving the disclaimer:

"Disclaimer: This website is intended for personal educational use and should be employed for informational purposes only. Accordingly, all warranties and forms of liability from your use of this website are disclaimed to the extent applicable in your jurisdiction. Nothing on this website constitutes guaranteed accuracy of any kind. Calls of bullshit represent the opinions of the instructors and are not intended as definitive judgements of fact. Callingbullshit.org is not liable for any loss of credulity you may suffer as a consequence of reading the information herein. Viewer discretion advised. May cause drowsiness. Void where prohibited. No animals were used during testing. May cause excitability. Not recommended for children under the age of 12. Use only as directed. Any similarity to any person living or dead is merely coincidental. Live, except on West Coast. Do not drive or operate heavy machinery while using this website. Objects on this site may be closer than they appear. Additional taxes may apply in some jurisdictions. Individual results may vary. Not to be used with alcoholic beverages. I bet you think this website is about you, don't you? Don't you? "

@ Jay
The whole site is biased toward easy victories (homeopathy, acupuncture) and does not filter dumb commenters, whereas it
imposes limitations on justified criticism.

By Daniel Corcos (not verified) on 04 Mar 2017 #permalink

@Richard Burton--I bicycle (well, now I ride an elliptical bicycle as my neck doesn't like being hunched over the drops on a tradition road bike). I've worn a helmet on rides since my teen years. I've had falls where I'm glad the helmet hit the ground first including one where my chain snapped climbing a steep hill and I went over the handlebars. Better that helmet cracked than my head. And I do see patients who've had falls on scooters, skateboards and bicycles, both with and without helmets. I would say as a whole the helmeted kids do better though I will admit none of them have been serious enough to have resulted in hospitalization for either group.

By Chris Hickie (not verified) on 05 Mar 2017 #permalink

@ Denice Walter, #28

Money draws woo-meisters

Indeed it does, and often in rather appalling ways. Here in the Netherlands too, we have a problem with quackery growing out of control, in part due to the fact that there's gold in them mountains alternative believers, and one of the really bad ones is the way that homeopaths here have jumped on the antivaccine bandwagon over the past decade. Instead of just limiting themselves to treating all sorts of minor ailments with placebos (which already is ethically objectionable), quite a few homeopaths now actively proclaim that vaccines are the cause of all kinds of very serious harm, including autism, brain damage, life-threatening auto-immune diseases and lots more. But nil desperandum, these valiant proponents of 'natural health' can save you and your family, providing dilutions solutions for the aforementioned dangers from Evil Vaccines! For kids with a spell of somewhat less-than-optimal health, they offer homeopathic 'vaccine damage reversion', costing several months and a few hundred dollars. For those with more severe conditions such as autism they offer a homeopathic 'treatment' that can last up to two years(!), costing up to several thousand dollars. And last but not least, they also offer 'homeopathic prophylaxis', which is advertised as "just as effective as regular vaccination, but much safer!"
All this is utterly despicable -- these horrible quacks make money through antivaccine fear mongering, leaving unvaccinated children in their wake, whilst convincing parents that yes, their precious offspring are fully protected against potentially deadly diseases.

And the worst part is that nobody here seems to care and/or is willing to put an end to this -- I informed the Dutch Health Care Inspectorate about this, but they said that in the case of alternative practitioners, they can only intervene after actual health damage has occurred.
To put it like this: I were to offer, for instance, life jackets made from cardboard, insisting that they were just as good as the real thing, I would expose myself to prosecution for criminal endangerment, attempted fraud and several other criminal offenses.
Yet homeopaths and other quacks can make the most egregious claims thinkable, offer an endless gamut of ineffective and potentially harmful treatments, and scam the general public year after year -- completely legal, without fear of any repercussions.

To me, his is a clear sign that there's something seriously wrong with our health laws...

@Science Mom

"What do you think case-control studies are?"

I think they are small scale comparisons of two groups of people which are rated lowest in reliability terms by international scales for the reliability of research; they are most definitely not epidemiological studies.

They are inherently unreliable because it is extremely difficult to ensure that the two groups are identical apart from the one criterion being studied. They have been proved wrong so many times that most researchers will not accept their validity unless confirmed by other, more reliable research e.g. epidemiological.

In the case of cycle helmets, the epidemiological evidence shows at best no benefit, and at worst an increase in risk with helmet wearing, but people still believe the case control studies, because it fits their belief. This is a prime example of what the original article was proposing.

By Richard Burton (not verified) on 05 Mar 2017 #permalink

You do realize, don't you, that the earliest study outside of Nazi Germany to show that smoking was associated with lung cancer (the Germans actually demonstrated this more than a decade earlier, but because it was the Nazis it was forgotten in the postwar years) was a case control study by Sir Richard Doll?

@ Bob G, #29

This is one case where elitism is required, in the sense that the specialist professionals are best suited to make recommendations based on a huge amount of information and experience.

Absolutely, and there's quite a bit more to be said about this. First off, we rely on other people's authority and competence literally all the time -- quite unthinkingly, even in matters of life and death. E.g. when taking a flight, do you step up to the flight crew, demanding that they show you their credentials, their rest schedule preceding the flight, and demand that they prove that they're sober and of sound mind? Do you doubt their competence à priori for even one second? No, of course not. And it's even worse on the road: chances are that even on a small trip, you encounter thousands of other drivers, each single one a potentially deadly hazard if he or she made just one mistake, or fell ill behind the wheel. But no, you simple assume that each and every one of these people knows what they're doing, and won't pose a threat to you.
Then in the case of these antivaccine people who 'did their own research': when they express their doubts about vaccine safety, claiming that the 'toxins' (e.g. formaldehyde) in vaccines cause harm, they actually rely on the exact same science that they dismiss when they say that scientists are wrong about 'vaccine injury' etcetera. It's a safe bet that not one of these people has actually carried out any toxicological research; they simply point to the scientific data describing any potentially hazardous effects of exposure -- yet ignore the exact same data where it says how much of a substance is hazardous. This is hypocritical to say the least: trusting an authority insofar their information supports your beliefs, yet claiming to know better whenever the information is not in line with belief...

There's a reason why more highly educated people are less likely to vaccinate their children--and it's not because they are delusional about their capacity to comprehend medical research. Any person of average intelligence--whether highly educated or not--can easily become more knowledgeable about vaccines than a typical doctor or nurse, if they are willing to devote a few dozen hours to study, and are willing to venture outside the vaccine miracle echo chamber.

Doctors receive very little training about vaccines in medical school--even pediatricians. What little training they do receive is mostly limited to indoctrination with the importance of adhering to CDC guidelines. They don't have time to study such issues in depth independently in medical school, and afterward, most choose not to. Those who do often change their position on vaccines, and will choose to either tailor the vaccine schedule to individuals, or rejected vaccination altogether. But don't expect to hear about the vast majority of them on the evening news.

By NWO Reporter (not verified) on 05 Mar 2017 #permalink

In reply to by Richard (not verified)

@ Dangerous Bacon

The study by Dr Oliver that you quote is highly suspect. First, his employment and pretty much everything else he values, is dependent on the state which introduced the helmet law. Second, this is a meta-study, so the results are entirely dependent on what original studies were selected, and putting lots of bad science together doesn't somehow make them reliable. Thirdly, other, rather more objective statisticians have analysed the data and come to the conclusion that there is no detectable effect from helmets.

http://www.badscience.net/2013/12/bicycle-helmets-and-the-law-a-perfect…

There's really no need to keep proving the argument of the article right so comprehensively by quoting bad science and ignoring the reliable stuff which doesn't support your beliefs.

By Richard Burton (not verified) on 05 Mar 2017 #permalink

@ Wzrd1

Nice anecdote! You do know the difference between anecdote and data, don't you? The plural of anecdote is not data, and a single anecdote even less so.

You assume to much when you claim that I assume that there is no change in collision rates because of risk compensation by helmetted cyclists. I know full well that helmetted cyclists have more collisions and have never stated anything different. Please stop assuming that I am making assumptions.

You then go off into some kind of fantasy world, with a nirvana fallacy, whatever that may be, and make more invalid assumptions about what I think. You then dive off into irrelevant absolutes with similar lack of evidence or justification.

At no point do you mention any actual evidence, data or research to support your wild, bizarre proposals. Until you can provide some, and without ridiculous, invalid assumptions, please refrain from posting about things you know nothing about.

By Richard Burton (not verified) on 05 Mar 2017 #permalink

@ Chris Hickie

I have to say, I'm impressed by the number of people quite so keen to prove the thesis of the original article, that people prefer pseudo-science that supports their beliefs to real science, so comprehensively, utterly, completely correct. Anecdotes are not data.

You produce a nice selection of anecdotes to support what you believe, and ignore all the long term, large scale, reliable, scientific evidence which shows that helmets do not reduce the risks of cycling. One is science, the other is anecdote, but you believe the latter.

By Richard Burton (not verified) on 05 Mar 2017 #permalink

Jay, it's easy for us to find Schwochert entertaining after a fashion, but every time he shows up Orac has to waste time approving him as a "new" commenter then waste more time responding to alerts of his presence and blocking him. Sometimes I think there needs to be a way to have people like him declared as vexatious commenters.

Here's a judgment against a vexatious litigant that is quite entertaining to read (just the excerpts from the applicant's written submission to the Court). Nothing whatever to do with medicine or other science, just a good chuckle.

It's worse than that now. For the most part, I've become pretty good at spotting a new Fendlesworth sock at its first comment. He doesn't get through too often that way, at least not any more. The unfortunate side effect of that is that I've probably refused to approve some new commenters who aren't Travis, which saddens me, but I don't know how to prevent it other than by letting everyone through and then dealing with the Fendlesworth socks afterward. Been there, done that. It's way too much work. So a few are blocked by mistake.

Now Travis is digging deeper and deeper into previous commenters whose e-mail address he can find or guess. (If the name and the e-mail address match a previously approved comment, then the comment goes through without my ever getting a chance to moderate it.) First he did that with current commenters, but regular commenters, particularly active ones, are pretty fast to notice and to tell me they were being impersonated, allowing me to stomp down hard on those socks. So now he's going back to commenters from long ago, some of whom haven't commented for years (going as far back as 2009), finding or guessing their e-mail addresses (I'm guessing that if they have blogs that's how he does a lot of it, or he just guesses "@gmail.com.") That means that, when a Fendlesworth sock is suspected, I now have to search the comments database to see if it's an impersonation by comparing the IP address to previous comments and looking at how long it's been since the commenter posted. It's time consuming and annoying, which is what he wants.

@ Orac

"You do realize, don’t you, that the earliest study outside of Nazi Germany to show that smoking was associated with lung cancer (the Germans actually demonstrated this more than a decade earlier, but because it was the Nazis it was forgotten in the postwar years) was a case control study by Sir Richard Doll?"

Are you suggesting that because one case control study was valid, they all are? Or that this one case means that we should just accept what international scales of reliability of research show as the lowest reliability should should be accepted over much more reliable research?

I think you'll find that Doll's research wasn't accepted as reliable until the epidemiological results came in.

By Richard Burton (not verified) on 05 Mar 2017 #permalink

@ Orac
If you were presented with a case control study showing an association between mammograms and breast cancer, you would not believe it.

By Daniel Corcos (not verified) on 05 Mar 2017 #permalink

@Daniel

I disagree with your statements concerning this site, all three are your projections, it's Orac's blog, he owes you nothing.

Plus I've seen older threads with you relentlessly threadjacking with your mammogram theory, if that's the "justified criticism" he is suppressing... I can understand.

"Jay, it’s easy for us to find Schwochert entertaining after a fashion, but every time he shows up Orac has to waste time approving him as a “new” commenter then waste more time responding to alerts of his presence and blocking him."

All true. Maybe Orac should think about appointing a Mod to share the load, I would nominate JustaTech. For being an all round good egg. :)

@ Jay
I don't say that Orac owes me something, it's just an observation. What's the point of discussing easily discarded beliefs, if not to let people think that you are right in much more controversial topics like the increase in autism incidence and the cause of the breast cancer epidemics?
On the second point, I can refer you to Gofman's work:
https://www.ratical.org/radiation/CNR/PBC/
Gofman was one of the fathers of the LNT model, he was MD and PhD in nuclear and physical chemistry:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Gofman
His results were censored by the nuclear lobby. The weakness of his model was that he could not produce epidemiological data.
I have obtained clear epidemiological data that I can send you upon request (the paper is submitted) and I can tell you that it is not theory but facts.

By Daniel Corcos (not verified) on 05 Mar 2017 #permalink

May I would, then, that you shut up until your paper is actually accepted for publication in a decent peer-reviewed journal and can be evaluated by your peers?

On the subject of fighting antiscience: Each of us should commit to watching the comments in our local media (print and broadcast) plus one or two national media sources, and posting comments & responses as needed. I'm inclined to think that mockery works in places where antiscience comments are few, by preventing a social critical mass from forming. "Explaining" is useful for reaching fence-sitters who are truly neutral. For those who are tending toward antiscience but not hardcore, _emotional narratives_ are the most effective persuasion. Often these arguments aren't won by better facts, but by more attractive emotional narratives.

By Gray Squirrel (not verified) on 05 Mar 2017 #permalink

Perhaps an actual civil debate about the evidence might be in order? Nah...who am I kidding? "The science is settled" is the only reasonable premise to proceed from. Ridicule, emotional appeals, ad hominem attacks and appeals to authority are the new logic in our brave new world. Bertrand Russell is smirking from his grave. :D

By NWO Reporter (not verified) on 05 Mar 2017 #permalink

In reply to by Gray Squirrel (not verified)

I'm doing my bit in the UK, have to be careful though as I use my real name.

I'm totally battering any cancer quackery with what I've learned here.

We don't get much anti vax though, partly because our media hasn't forgotten being misled by the WakenFraud

Richard Burton: "The study by Dr Oliver that you quote is highly suspect. First, his employment and pretty much everything else he values, is dependent on the state which introduced the helmet law."

Ah, the old shill gambit. Always convincing (not).

"Second, this is a meta-study, so the results are entirely dependent on what original studies were selected, and putting lots of bad science together doesn’t somehow make them reliable."

And one would have to actually, you know, cite chapter and verse on why all those studies constituted "bad science". Saying it does not make it so.

"Thirdly, other, rather more objective statisticians have analysed the data and come to the conclusion that there is no detectable effect from helmets."

The definition of "objective" is not "agrees with me".

By the way, your badscience link is several years old, and the comprehensive review I cited is new.

"ignoring the reliable stuff which doesn’t support your beliefs."

My triply-shielded irony meter withstood that comment (barely), but I should warn you that if further comments by you should succeed in exploding it, you'll be getting a bill in the mail.

By Dangerous Bacon (not verified) on 05 Mar 2017 #permalink

@ Dangerous Bacon

OK, OK, we get it! Your belief in pseudo-science is so strong you cannot conceive that you might be wrong, and you're desperate to prove the article's argument right, that once people believe pseudo-science, it is almost impossible to change their mind by using facts.

All I can do is thank you for so graphic a demonstration that the author is right.

By Richard Burton (not verified) on 05 Mar 2017 #permalink

In reply to by Dangerous Bacon (not verified)

Any person of average intelligence–whether highly educated or not–can easily become more knowledgeable about vaccines than a typical doctor or nurse, if they are willing to devote a few dozen hours to study.

That's an inspired riff on the nonsensical anti-vaccine material posted at your namesake site. Thanks for demonstrating the Dunning-Kruger effect so perfectly!

No, thank YOU for demonstrating the Milgram effect so perfectly. :D

By NWO Reporter (not verified) on 05 Mar 2017 #permalink

In reply to by brian (not verified)

MJD: The reason we aren't concerned about allergens in vaccines is because there is precisely ONE allergen, and the research has been done on that. Also, wow, you are even more of a dick than usual. Wife leave you, or are you just normally a sexist pig? I have repeatedly pointed out where I get my name. Apparently you are too dim to do any reading.

By Politicalguineapig (not verified) on 05 Mar 2017 #permalink

"Your belief in pseudo-science is so strong you cannot conceive that you might be wrong,"

No, I think he wanted you to "cite chapter and verse on why all those studies constituted “bad science".

Maybe if you did that, he might change his mind.

Any person of average intelligence–whether highly educated or not–can easily become more knowledgeable about vaccines than a typical doctor or nurse, if they are willing to devote a few dozen hours to study, and are willing to venture outside the vaccine miracle echo chamber.

Hahahahahaha! You're a very funny person.

Right. Just like the many doctors, nurses, scientists and educated parents who are challenging vaccine doctrine. But no worries--there will always be plenty of people who will do whatever someone in a white coat tells them to. Stanley MIlgram established that decades ago. :)

I think they are small scale comparisons of two groups of people which are rated lowest in reliability terms by international scales for the reliability of research; they are most definitely not epidemiological studies.

What you think and what you know are entirely different Travis Schwochert. Epidemiological studies are an umbrella for numerous study types, case-control being a subset of epidemiological studies numbnuts.

By Science Mom (not verified) on 05 Mar 2017 #permalink

@ Richard Burton
This is a typical situation where people prefer to rely on published "scientific facts" rather than on logic and judgment.
1) Helmet may be protective, it makes sense.
In a reasonable world, it should be the end of it, and people should be free to use an helmet or not.
2) People are dissuaded from cycling, because they have to wear a helmet.
If they are dissuaded from cycling, they will not die in a cycling accident. You don't have to make any study to conclude that.
3) You rightly conclude that if they don't do cycling, they won't get the beneficial effects of cycling. One may also think that they could have other accidents, as pedestrians or car drivers.
In conclusion, a long series of useless and costly articles does not answer a question, because people want to put numbers on something, but they don't agree on what to measure. What is required for science is logic and judgment, not people counting the articles for or against a statement.

By Daniel Corcos (not verified) on 05 Mar 2017 #permalink

Any person of average intelligence–whether highly educated or not–can easily become more knowledgeable about vaccines than a typical doctor or nurse, if they are willing to devote a few dozen hours to study

A few dozen hours of study?
BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!
Sure, Jen.

By Julian Frost (not verified) on 05 Mar 2017 #permalink

What is REALLY hilarious is that is more hours than doctors spend learning about vaccines in medical school. Unless maybe they are a little slow, and require more time than usual to memorize the CDC's vaccine schedule. :D

By NWO Reporter (not verified) on 05 Mar 2017 #permalink

In reply to by Julian Frost (not verified)

Any person of average intelligence–whether highly educated or not–can easily become more knowledgeable about vaccines than a typical doctor or nurse, if they are willing to devote a few dozen hours to study

I am a person of at least average intelligence who has spent well over a few dozen hours becoming more knowledgeable about vaccines, both for professional reasons and my own interest.

Using this knowledge I have come to the conclusion that you are full of shit.

BTW, if you want to know what kind of training doctors receive about vaccines in medical school, the guy who did this short video wanted to find out for himself. So he purchased all the required textbooks. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=buQvtnQ7VXA

He's done a couple of follow-up videos to address some of objections he received about this video, so I hope you will check those out on his channel too, before you cover old material. :)

By NWO Reporter (not verified) on 05 Mar 2017 #permalink

Argumentum ad YouTubium?
So a guy just bought a bunch of textbooks.
If you think that's evidence, well...

By Julian Frost (not verified) on 05 Mar 2017 #permalink

Lol. No--he bought ALL the books required in a prestigious medical school. You know--the things doctors get their education from? :D

By NWO Reporter (not verified) on 05 Mar 2017 #permalink

In reply to by Julian Frost (not verified)

"@Jay: "I’m doing my bit in the UK, have to be careful though as I use my real name.

I’m totally battering any cancer quackery with what I’ve learned here."

I wish you every success. The cancer quack is particularly nasty and slippery pest. I may devote more time to the same task in future. If you establish a site, let us know. Some of us will be happy to come to your aid.

By Lighthorse (not verified) on 05 Mar 2017 #permalink

No–he bought ALL the books required in a prestigious medical school. You know–the things doctors get their education from?

Silly me. I thought that doctors also had to attend practical lessons like anatomy, go to lectures, work under an attending doctor...
Oh wait, they do all those things.
The fact that you believe that buying and reading through several textbooks is all it takes to become a doctor speaks volumes.

By Julian Frost (not verified) on 06 Mar 2017 #permalink

Lol. I take it you didn't watch any of his follow-up videos, where he addresses those issues. Did you really believe you were the first to think of them? And I asked so nicely. :)

By NWO Reporter (not verified) on 06 Mar 2017 #permalink

In reply to by Julian Frost (not verified)

Medical schools also require a substantial background in biology, chemistry and other hard sciences as part of their admissions standards.

I find the vast majority of anti-vaxers understand none of the hard sciences - they can't tell the difference between an element and a compound, biologic reactivity, basic immunology, the Blood Brain Barrier, or most of the baseline anatomical functions of organs like the Liver, Spleen or Kidneys.

It's funny to watch them rail against science, then underscore their own ignorance by not even understanding the fundamentals of human biology.

Undergraduate vaccine training? Lol. I don't recall that offering. :D

By NWO Reporter (not verified) on 06 Mar 2017 #permalink

In reply to by Lawrence (not verified)

“Your belief in pseudo-science is so strong you cannot conceive that you might be wrong,”

No, I think he wanted you to “cite chapter and verse on why all those studies constituted “bad science”.

Maybe if you did that, he might change his mind."

I'm afraid I have neither the time nor the inclination to check every one of the studies used for that meta study, but having seen other meta studies which claim the same thing, and used research which supported helmet wearing and excluded any which didn't, I'm pretty confident that is what was done here. Especially since, as I've already pointed out, there is some doubt about the author's objectivity, since his livelihood depends on getting the right answer, and other world-renowned statisticians with no interest in the outcome have found no benefit from helmet wearing.

Really, I'm beginning to think that Orac is paying people to come on this site to demonstrate that he is right, and once people believe pseudo-science, their minds are very much closed.

By Richard Burton (not verified) on 06 Mar 2017 #permalink

@ Science Mom

I think they are small scale comparisons of two groups of people which are rated lowest in reliability terms by international scales for the reliability of research; they are most definitely not epidemiological studies.

What you think and what you know are entirely different Travis Schwochert. Epidemiological studies are an umbrella for numerous study types, case-control being a subset of epidemiological studies numbnuts.

Thanks for the information, and you are of course right, case control studies are a subset of epidemiological studies. Still doesn't make the any more reliable though.

I'm new here so who is "Travis Schwochert"? Whoever he may be, I'm very definitely not him.

I decided against returning the insult, as you'd probably just use to continue and get worse.

By Richard Burton (not verified) on 06 Mar 2017 #permalink

@ Daniel Corcos
“This is a typical situation where people prefer to rely on published “scientific facts” rather than on logic and judgment.”
I’m an engineer, I use data, not logic and judgement, or opinion as I refer to it.
“1) Helmet may be protective, it makes sense.
In a reasonable world, it should be the end of it, and people should be free to use an helmet or not.”
The world is flat, it makes sense and in a reasonable world that should be the end of it, and people should be free to fall off the edge if they wish. Unfortunately, all the good data about helmets says one thing, but many people have opinions which contradict the data. Which is right? The data or people’s opinions?

“2) People are dissuaded from cycling, because they have to wear a helmet.
If they are dissuaded from cycling, they will not die in a cycling accident. You don’t have to make any study to conclude that.”
I have to say, I admire your utterly irrefutable logic. The benefits of cycling outweigh the risks by at least 20:1 with some studies putting it as high as 80:1, and regular cyclists live two years longer than average, and the risks of cycling are almost the same as walking. So it is more dangerous not to ride a bike than to ride one. People who give up cycling may not die in a cycling collision, but their life expectancy and health will be considerably diminished.
“3) You rightly conclude that if they don’t do cycling, they won’t get the beneficial effects of cycling. One may also think that they could have other accidents, as pedestrians or car drivers.”
Baffling! Unless you mean that life has a 100% death rate and we’re all going to die of something? Which is patently obviously true, but hardly illuminating. As I’ve pointed out above, not cycling is considerably more dangerous than cycling, and regular cyclists suffer less from all forms of illness.
“In conclusion, a long series of useless and costly articles does not answer a question, because people want to put numbers on something, but they don’t agree on what to measure. What is required for science is logic and judgment, not people counting the articles for or against a statement.”
I’ve no idea what that means or how it could possibly be relevant. How much does Orac pay to come on here and prove him right?

By Richard Burton (not verified) on 06 Mar 2017 #permalink

I’m new here so who is “Travis Schwochert”? Whoever he may be, I’m very definitely not him.

He's a particularly malicious troll who dons used socks to keep trolling here. As it appears you are not the troll, you have my apology.

Thanks for the information, and you are of course right, case control studies are a subset of epidemiological studies. Still doesn’t make the any more reliable though.

It would be unwise to dismiss a study because of the design. Evaluating the methods and results is preferable to dismissing a study out-of-hand.

By Science Mom (not verified) on 06 Mar 2017 #permalink

Hilariously, Travis also tried to impersonate John Best last night. Bwahahahaha! I almost let that one through, just for yucks.

@ Science Mom

"It would be unwise to dismiss a study because of the design. Evaluating the methods and results is preferable to dismissing a study out-of-hand."

But case control studies have been proven wrong a number of times, so many that some researchers do not consider them reliable enough to base any decisions on, unless supported by other, more reliable research. And they are rated lowest on international scales of reliability of evidence.

No, idiot - undergraduate science classes, including advanced biology, chemistry, anatomy and others.....

Something you don't seem to know much about.

So you are claiming that undergraduate science classes, including advanced biology, chemistry, anatomy and others, are an adequate replacement for specific study about vaccines. I'd have to disagree with you there--and I think most patients would to, if they knew their doctor only studied a few measly pages of vaccine information in medical school.

By NWO Reporter (not verified) on 06 Mar 2017 #permalink

In reply to by Lawrence (not verified)

@ Richard Burton
"How much does Orac pay to come on here and prove him right?"
He pays me a lot each time I prove him right ;-) . Unfortunately, this does not happen.

By Daniel Corcos (not verified) on 06 Mar 2017 #permalink

Daniel Corcos
March 6, 2017
@ Daniel Corcos

"@ Richard Burton
“How much does Orac pay to come on here and prove him right?”
He pays me a lot each time I prove him right ? . Unfortunately, this does not happen."

Well, obviously I've no idea whether this has happened before, but it has this time. 'Fess up Orac, how much did you pay him?

By Richard Burton (not verified) on 06 Mar 2017 #permalink

In reply to by Daniel Corcos (not verified)

I've spent a lot of time around highly educated people. When it comes to science, I can confidently say that the area that most of them know the least about is biology, and that includes people with a degree or two or three in other science(s). Once you get into people with degrees in things like the arts or the money changing trades (which often seems to be what those "highly educated" people who think they can learn all about vaccines in a few hours actually have expertise in), I typically find they know nothing of chemistry or biology beyond what they got in high school - and many did the absolute minimum requirement in biology. Biology smells bad and you have to touch icky things! They need to spend many many hours simply to pick up some vocabulary and rudimentary understanding of what the words mean. Even engineers (i.e. degree'd engineers - I don't count those who've been to microsoft corresposndence school as actual engineers) outside of chemical engineering typically seem to know remarkably little chemistry, though they do have reasonable understanding of the basics. Of biology they know nothing.

The "'highly educated' people who think they can learn all about vaccines in a few hours" is an accurate description of doctors--since that is all the training they get about vaccines in all their years of medical school.

By NWO Reporter (not verified) on 06 Mar 2017 #permalink

In reply to by doug (not verified)

@Richard ( from the Netherlands):

I think that your countryman, Tinus Smits, perfected a form of homeopathy- CEASE therapy- that has been popular amongst anti-vaxxers like the Thinking Moms.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 06 Mar 2017 #permalink

I am much in agreement with what Lawrence and doug say immediately above.

We can only also look at the success DJT has had with *some* college graduates - perhaps even that separates out into those who focus on business vs natural science and other fact-based disciplines.

Then therer's Jake.....

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 06 Mar 2017 #permalink

As if to illustrate my point:

Mike Adams, Natural News, yesterday, presents the intersection of woo and fantasy-based politics AGAIN
by declaring that 'fake news' filtres out important studies that illustrate how vaccines cause autism THEN
presents studies by Haley, Geier, Redwood and similar.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 06 Mar 2017 #permalink

I think I'm going to spend the evening researching astrophysics. Having just watched 'The Black Hole', I reckon I can set Stephen Hawking on the right track.

By NumberWang (not verified) on 06 Mar 2017 #permalink

Why don't you study vaccines instead? If you spent a good long night on it, it would be just as much time or more as the average doctor spends studying them in medical school. :)

By NWO Reporter (not verified) on 06 Mar 2017 #permalink

In reply to by NumberWang (not verified)

Even chemistry majors tend to take more physics and calculus than they do biology. I did. Maybe Orac of MJD can chime in here?

I used to give people too much credit, but just yesterday I saw a Gallop Poll in which about 30% of Americans believe the Bible is the literal word of god.

Facepalm. Double facepalm.

I wish I was Shiva so I could do and eight-handed facepalm!

Stinking sock Schwochert / Fucklesworth seems to be back.

Orac, would you prefer NOT to have forced-to-moderation comments regarding His Repugnant Stinkyness?

Oh, no. I appreciate the heads up, although sometimes I find that commenters are mistaken. It's using the f*ck word that's one thing that drives into moderation. (I have filters that throw any post with profanity in it into moderation.) Anyway, when I have to moderate the comment, it makes it impossible for me to miss.

@ Richard Burton # 134
To my knowledge, Orac is not one of those helmet manufacturer shills ;-). Read again the thread, I am not sure he wants to support them.

By Daniel Corcos (not verified) on 06 Mar 2017 #permalink

But case control studies have been proven wrong a number of times, so many that some researchers do not consider them reliable enough to base any decisions on, unless supported by other, more reliable research. And they are rated lowest on international scales of reliability of evidence.

A single study, even of the best study design is not sufficient to base policy on. Your earlier statement is no more credible now than it was then; you are merely trying to walk-back.

By Science Mom (not verified) on 06 Mar 2017 #permalink

"A single study, even of the best study design is not sufficient to base policy on."

But that is exactly what happened with cycle helmets. The Thompson, Rivara and Thompson case control study of 1989 confidently predicted an 85% reduction in deaths to cyclists from helmet wearing. This figure has never been replicated by any other research, nor demonstrated in real life, but helmet laws were enacted and propaganda campaigns were run because of that single study. It is still the most quoted study in the history of cycle helmet research even though it has been torn to shreds on peer review. Much more reliable large scale, long term, reliable studies of the same period e.g. Rodgers 1988, which showed a small but significant increase in risk with helmet wearing, were, and still are, ignored.

There could hardly be a clearly case of pseudo-science dominating the debate and proper science being ignored.

"Your earlier statement is no more credible now than it was then; you are merely trying to walk-back."

I've no idea what this means, could you elucidate please?

By Richard Burton (not verified) on 06 Mar 2017 #permalink

In reply to by Science Mom (not verified)

@NWO Reporter:

One way to recognize an idiotic troll is their frequent interjection of "LOL".
One way to recognize an even more idiotic troll is when they spell it "Lol".

Well, there is a lot to laugh at here, and I don't want to overuse the laugh emoticon. I'll try to refrain in this response, but...if you think someone outside the echo chamber would consider me an "idiotic troll," well...that is pretty funny. Haha.

By NWO Reporter (not verified) on 06 Mar 2017 #permalink

In reply to by TBruce (not verified)

I blame the Romantics and Naturphilosophie. The idea of the heroic individual, feelings over facts and an appeal to antiquity and nature as pure and good. There is also no small appeal to religiosity - modernity as a fall from grace, a loss of paradise for a fast-paced world of sin and impurity.
Add to this a large dose of historical ignorance - who remembers the sepsis wards before antibiotics where your chances of surviving were about 50% or the reality of VPDs sweeping through the population? Maybe the old PSAs on these issues need to be dusted off to remind folks of the good old days, when all these were treated 'naturally'.

Ridiculous. Deaths from common diseases in the industrialized world declined dramatically from 1900-1950 and were still steadily declining, long before the vaccines for those diseases were ever licensed. The same declines also occurred for common diseases for which there has never been a vaccine, like scarlet fever. Maybe before you pompously accuse others of historical ignorance and putting feelings over facts, you should get the facts straight. :)

By NWO Reporter (not verified) on 06 Mar 2017 #permalink

In reply to by JDK (not verified)

That is an old anti-vaccine trope, NWO. You should try harder, the facts are there.

Hardly. I'm copying a comment below that I posted in another story on this blog. Not a single person yet has presented the very basic evidence requested. Why don't you be the hero and do what no one else has been able to do? :)

Link us to a graph or chart of mortality rates from common diseases in the US or UK starting around 1900, and/or a graph/chart of lasting serious morbidity for the same period.

Please do not try to mislead with: (1) partial data that does not address the dramatic declines in mortality from 1900-1950; (2) data regarding incidence rates, which are irrelevant to the issue of mortality or lasting serious morbidity; (3) polio data, since the criteria for diagnosis changed shortly after the vaccine was licensed, resulting in a dramatic but illusory reduction in cases that would skew the results; or (4) data that conflates rates from the third world and the industrialized world.

And preferably include diseases, like scarlet fever, for which there has never been a vaccine, so we can compare how mortality dramatically declined from 1900-1950, the same as it did for common diseases which are now allegedly “vaccine preventable,” long before the vaccines were licensed.

I can do what I have requested of you, at least with regard to mortality. But rather than deal with the inevitable flood of unsupported ad hominem attacks against the researchers, I thought it would be easiest to start with your evidence concerning the above and go from there.

By NWO Reporter (not verified) on 06 Mar 2017 #permalink

In reply to by JDK (not verified)

You mean the same Scarlet Fever which we take care of today using antibiotics?

All one has to do is take a look at the Project Tycho data, which includes comprehensive health data from the last century.

I'm sure you can run exactly what you are looking for, using the Project Tycho datasets....

Nice try, but the most dramatic declines in deaths from scarlet fever occurred well before the widespread use of antibiotics.

And I have no need to look for the data. I have it already. :)

By NWO Reporter (not verified) on 06 Mar 2017 #permalink

In reply to by Lawrence (not verified)

There is no information there pertaining to measles mortality, only incidence rates, which are irrelevant to mortality or serious morbidity, as I already pointed out. Besides, measles was such a benign disease in the US by 1950 or so, many cases weren't even reported, since there was no need to seek medical care.

By NWO Reporter (not verified) on 06 Mar 2017 #permalink

In reply to by Lawrence (not verified)

Irrelevant? Seriously?

If people don't get infected by measles, then they don't die of measles...they also don't get SSPE or go blind either.

And in speaking with my parents and grandparent (plus other living relatives), measles was never considered "benign" - it was considered inevitable.

The thing is, the vast majority of people recovered just fine from measles, with no complications. So if you are saying to avoid it just for the sake of avoiding a mild illness, then you certainly have to weigh it against the benefits of natural infection and recovery. The is evidence that natural infection with measles is associated with lower rates of cancer later in life, as well as a strong immune system and growth spurts afterward.

By NWO Reporter (not verified) on 06 Mar 2017 #permalink

In reply to by Lawrence (not verified)

Hardly. First, it deals mostly with incidence rates, and in doing so, conflates rates from the third world and the industrialized world--which I specifically pointed out is a way to mislead. Second, to the extent is deals with mortality, it completely ignores the critical period from 1900-1950--again, a common way to mislead.

I did not visit all of the links listed in that paper, but if you find one that actually has the info I requested, post it and I'll take a look.

By NWO Reporter (not verified) on 06 Mar 2017 #permalink

In reply to by Lawrence (not verified)

You can't be serious. "17 cases of SSPE in California between 1998 and 2016" in unvaccinated kids. No mention whatsoever of how many serious adverse effects from vaccination in vaccinated children. Typical scaremongering propaganda.

By NWO Reporter (not verified) on 06 Mar 2017 #permalink

In reply to by Lawrence (not verified)

Again, this is about "worldwide" measles. Children living in the third world, where chronic malnutrition, poor sanitation and contaminated drinking water are common, are vulnerable to everything--even infection from a pin prick to could kill them. Measles has not been a dangerous disease in the industrialized world for ordinary healthy children since at least 1950.

By NWO Reporter (not verified) on 06 Mar 2017 #permalink

In reply to by Lawrence (not verified)

See my second comment above. It was intended to be in response to this article.

By NWO Reporter (not verified) on 06 Mar 2017 #permalink

In reply to by Lawrence (not verified)

And by your reckoning, you might also consider Shingles to be benign...since hardly any dies from it.

Of course, I just had a bout of Shingles & despite a "full recovery" I certainly wished I'd been able to miss the month long agony of having to suffer through it.

Why don't you just post a simple chart or graph of the DATA requested, instead of flooding this thread with the usual propaganda articles, Lawrence? That should be a simple matter if your beliefs are correct, no?

By NWO Reporter (not verified) on 06 Mar 2017 #permalink

In reply to by Lawrence (not verified)

And yet kids still die of measles in the US - particularly from SSPE.

Not seeing any citations from you on the "benefits" of measles infections.

Richard Burton: Well, here's a nice prospective epidemiological study you could perform. Repeal all bicycle helmet laws and simultaneously make organ donation opt-out rather than opt-in. Observe the rate of organ transplantation before and after the change. If bicycle helmets do not prevent fatal injuries there should be no change in the rate of death and organ transplantation.

By JustaTech (not verified) on 06 Mar 2017 #permalink

“Richard Burton: Well, here’s a nice prospective epidemiological study you could perform. Repeal all bicycle helmet laws and simultaneously make organ donation opt-out rather than opt-in. Observe the rate of organ transplantation before and after the change. If bicycle helmets do not prevent fatal injuries there should be no change in the rate of death and organ transplantation.”

What an interesting suggestion, and I can’t think why you haven’t implemented it yourself.

Quite what the rate of organ transplantation, a rather obscure and difficult thing to measure, actually has to do with the safety of cycling or the efficacy of cycle helmets is beyond me however. I’d rather directly examine the death rate of cyclists before and after helmet laws were implemented, which seems slightly more logical, but hey, that’s just me and if you want to measure some secondary effect of limited usefulness, please feel free to carry on.

What happened in Australia when the helmet law came in was that the absolute number of cyclists dying fell, so it was declared a success. Unfortunately, the number of cyclists fell by more than the fall in deaths, so cycling actually became more dangerous, not safer.

By Richard Burton (not verified) on 06 Mar 2017 #permalink

In reply to by JustaTech (not verified)

What are the odds that NWO reporter has had a full set of childhood vaccinations and is therefore protected against the diseases we've been discussing?

By JustaTech (not verified) on 06 Mar 2017 #permalink

Aren't you the one who brought that up earlier? Anyway, if you think a vaccine means you are "protected," sounds like you have a lot of research to do. :)

By NWO Reporter (not verified) on 06 Mar 2017 #permalink

In reply to by JustaTech (not verified)

Lawrence is just trying to flood the comment section with the usual scaremongering articles, to cover up the fact that he cannot produce the simple, basic historical mortality DATA that was requested.

By NWO Reporter (not verified) on 06 Mar 2017 #permalink

I have a feeling that Travis is back.

And I can't help the Troll above, if it ignores all of the scientific evidence....I doubt it can read the graphs it references anyway.

And still seeing no citations on the benefits of measles....

I'm guessing Anthony McCarthy is a sock.

I told you, I HAVE the data to support my position on this already. I asked to see yours. :)

By NWO Reporter (not verified) on 06 Mar 2017 #permalink

In reply to by Lawrence (not verified)

Go away Travis.

Estimates of incidence rates. Geez, this is really getting tiring. When are you just going to admit you don't have any basic historical US mortality data to support your claims?

By NWO Reporter (not verified) on 06 Mar 2017 #permalink

In reply to by Lawrence (not verified)

And Travis - tell that to the 6000 women who die each and every year from HPV-derived Cervical Cancer.

Yes, Anthony above is another Travis sock.

NWO @178: And I see that you have not answered the question again!

Yes, I used "protected" as shorthand for "increased probability of having developed a robust immunological memory for a specific pathogen" because that is kind of wordy.

NWO, since you are so educated in immunology, what do you think of the 7th edition of Janeway's Immunobiology? Do you find the probabilistic nature of the mammalian immune system bizarre?

By JustaTech (not verified) on 06 Mar 2017 #permalink

Immunology typically deals with natural infection--pathogens that enter through the normal pathways, and the defensive responses of the body. Vaccines are a very specialized area of immunology, as they bypass all the body's usual natural defenses. This is a pretty good video by immunologist Dr. Tetyana Obukhanych discussing this issue. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8h66beBrEpk

By NWO Reporter (not verified) on 06 Mar 2017 #permalink

In reply to by JustaTech (not verified)

Still no citations on the "benefits" of measles.

And we go from hundreds of thousands of cases of measles per year to near zero....despite measles being the most contagious disease on the planet.

This is why people like NWO are not living in reality.

Skidmark on the underpants of humanity Travis J. Schwochert appears to be dumping shit as Jennifer and Anthony (I have vague memories of Anthony - as I recall he's an even more revolting ass than Travis J.

Her? Really?

You quote a woman who doesn't even know the real definition of her chosen profession....

And yes, she's already been addressed here.

In December of last year I sat through the trial of a woman whose 7 year old son died as a result of infection with type A strep - same type that causes scarlet fever. She is awaiting sentencing for her convictions for failure to provide the necessaries of life and criminal negligence causing death.

NWO @191:
How does the oral polio vaccine "bypass all the body’s usual natural defenses"?
How does vaccinia "bypass all the body’s usual natural defenses"?

I'm starting to think you're not actually all that familiar with immunology.
No, I won't watch your video, but don't take it personally, I won't watch any video anyone links to here on principle. Do consider this please: I took two full semseters of immunology, one undergraduate level and one graduate level and I *know* that we only scratched the surface. To think that a video could cover something as complex as immunology in any depth is outlandish.

What's you're favorite TLR?

By JustaTech (not verified) on 06 Mar 2017 #permalink

I see. Well, with all due respect, I have no interest in engaging in discussion with someone who, by his own admission, is uninterested in expanding his knowledge of the subject. Good luck with your vaccines. :)

By NWO Reporter (not verified) on 06 Mar 2017 #permalink

In reply to by JustaTech (not verified)

Lawrence@196: But we should state for the record that the BCG vaccine is crap and only used in places where the alternative is death.
*And* it messes you up for skin TB tests forever, which is really annoying for some immigrants.

(Oooh, look at that, pro-vaccine people admitting that not all vaccines are great!)

By JustaTech (not verified) on 06 Mar 2017 #permalink

... something as complex as immunology ...

I've said it before and I'll say it again: Immunology is not rocket science. It's way more complex.

Very true! :)

By NWO Reporter (not verified) on 06 Mar 2017 #permalink

In reply to by doug (not verified)

NWO @200 You said "uninterested in expanding his knowledge of the subject." in response to my comment wherein I described taking several semester-long classes in immunology. Reading comprehension much?
If you think the person who's video you linked is a great resource, please provide a link to some of their written content.

I'm very fond of TLR3. How about you?

By JustaTech (not verified) on 06 Mar 2017 #permalink

Anthony McCarthy@ 202: Mumps is a virus, and therefore can not be treated with antibiotics.

Pertussis is caused by bacteria and can be treated with some antibiotics. However this treatment does not significantly reduce how long a person is sick, only how severe the illness is.

By JustaTech (not verified) on 06 Mar 2017 #permalink

Why am I not surprised that Travis doesn't know the difference between viruses and bacteria (and what is available to treat either of them).

Kids still get strep all the time, but it doesn't turn into Scarlet Fever because of treatments available via antibiotics.

Unfortunately, some strains of Strep are becoming resistant to readily available antibiotics, which means we could see a resurgence of the disease in the future.

Or the Rotavirus vaccine, which is also given orally....how exactly is that "bypassing" the body's defenses?

Or explain why kids just don't drop dead from scratches, scrapes and cuts...which by your definition "bypass" the body's defenses....

Well, Travis J. Schwocert The Dim, scarlet fever is usually a sequel to an infection that first appears as strep throat. With antibiotic treatment, which is very successful for group A strep, progression to scarlet fever can usually be prevented. Mumps and pertussis are primary infections, not sequelae. Someone with pertussis begins to be contagious before distinguishing symptoms appear and therefore before antibiotics would be administered. And mumps is viral, so antibiotic are irrelevant.

The [sic] is evidence that natural infection with measles is associated with ... a strong immune system.

You might be interested to learn that measles is powerfully immunosuppressive over months or years. Perhaps you need to host a video related to this: Mina MJ et al. Long-term measles-induced immunomodulation increases overall childhood infectious disease mortality. Science. 2015 May 8;348(6235):694-9.

Of course, improved health care and sanitation did reduce mortality from vaccine-preventable diseases--an anti-vaccine talking point that attempts to minimize or negate the effect of vaccination. However, since the rinderpest virus of cattle spilled over to humans as measles perhaps only a thousand years ago, the eradication of rinderpest should be of special interest to anti-vaxxers: clearly, rinderpest (which approached 100% fatality in naive populations) became only the second viral disease eradicated not only because cattle in Africa began to be intensively treated and provided appropriate supportive care in modern medical facilities following the coincident development and widespread availability of the rinderpest vaccine, but also because of improved sanitation: indeed, the disease would have disappeared earlier if only the bulls could have been persuaded to avoid leaving the toilet seat up.

In some parts of the world kids do drop dead from scratches, scrapes and cuts. They don't in many other parts of the world because of vaccination against tetanus. If an unvaccinated person in a developed country is diagnosed with tetanus they will land in intensive care, even if it means transfer from one hospital to another, and require pretty extraordinary effort to try to keep them alive. Antepartum maternal vaccination against tetanus in undeveloped countries has saved many infants from death due to neonatal tetanus from umbilical infection.

Tetanus vaccine is rather cool in that it can be effective even when administered (promptly!) after initial infection with C. tetani, though typically such vaccination would be a booster.

In one episode of the old All Creatures Great and Small TV series, veterinarian James Harriot shoots his daughter's friend's beloved horse because it has contracted tetanus and would suffer a slow horrible death.

I have yet to find a vaccine advocate who can present basic mortality data to back up the contention that vaccines saved the industrialized world from deadly diseases. Simple, basic mortality data from common diseases 1900-present. It's fundamental to the foundation of the vaccine paradigm.

You can bring up all the other arguments you want--other health effects, etc.--but can't even present basic historical mortality data? That's just not credible.

I have mortality data from this period for many common diseases. Deaths declined dramatically from 1900-1950, long before the the vaccines were ever licensed, and continued to gradually decline up to and after the vaccines Death rates declined just as dramatically for diseases for which there has never been a vaccine--well before the the widespread use of antibiotics. The data is clear: vaccines did not save us from these diseases.

By NWO Reporter (not verified) on 06 Mar 2017 #permalink

"First, it is important to realize that anti-vaccers are correct that death rates from measles had declined greatly prior to vaccines." I think the author's contention that had to do with better medical care is completely wrong, but at least he acknowledged the elephant in the room. He's trying to spin it to support vaccine doctrine, not very successfully IMO, and doesn't mention the same thing happened for many diseases, but the data for measles deaths seems accurate.

Your article appears to deal only with incidence rates, which is not the issue.

Sigh. Your antivax bullshit has become quite tiresome, particularly given the prolific number of your comments and the same tired antivax arguments. You can't win on science; so you try to win by drowning us in repetitive verbiage until commenters get tired of refuting the same nonsense over and over again.

The data speaks for itself. The spin speaks for the author. I think you can guess which is important to me, Mr. Science. :)

The last article only has one truncated mortality graph (1950 forward) which is misleading.

@NWO Reporter: How do we know you don't have a profit-driven agenda? From what I can gather, one case of measles-related encephalitis costs far more to treat than ten thousand measles vaccines? How do we know you're not trying to bring a resurgence of vaccine-preventable diseases to line your own pockets?

By Gray Falcon (not verified) on 06 Mar 2017 #permalink

@NWO Reporter hasn't offered a single new point that other anti-vax loons haven't tried in the past. I completely agree with Orac. He wants US to do research to prove him wrong when I'm afraid that's not how it works in life. He needs to prove science wrong. We owe him NOTHING. A very simple google search would destroy his "data" in two seconds (assuming he wasn't clicking on anti-vax industry propaganda sites) but he has the audacity to ask us to do such a simple task? How about a big N.O.?

He clearly didn't read (or understand) the full articles that Orac, who apparently has more patience for anti-vax trolls/shills/propagandists than I would ever.

He wants to engage us because by engaging it legitimizes his views. That's not something I've ever going to offer him. For that that are trying, god bless you.

By The Real Truther (not verified) on 06 Mar 2017 #permalink

Oh, really? Interesting theory. Because after contending repeatedly that deaths from common diseases declined dramatically long before the vaccines, and being told over and over that I'm a crazy anti-vaxxer for saying such stupid things, Orac posted an article that did, in fact, confirm that I was correct, at least with regard to measles.

You seem to be under the impression that falling back on appeals to authority is an adequate substitute for evidence. It's not surprising--it seems to be the norm these days, where ridicule, ad hominem attacks, straw men, etc. so often pass for logic. :)

By NWO Reporter (not verified) on 06 Mar 2017 #permalink

In reply to by The Real Truther (not verified)

BTW, it's the EVIDENCE in the article that was important--not the unsupported spin. :)

By NWO Reporter (not verified) on 06 Mar 2017 #permalink

In reply to by The Real Truther (not verified)

I’ve no idea what this means, could you elucidate please?

I've got no dog in the actual subject of your disagreement. I objected to your claims about what studies are valid and the classifications. And out of curiosity that there was only a single study, I looked and it appears as though that's also false: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2598379/ hence my comment.

By Science Mom (not verified) on 06 Mar 2017 #permalink

@Orac:

So I'll take that to mean you support confused "trans-autistic" patients hacking off their genitals to "change" genders. So you have no problem with a "trans-autistic" woman hacking off healthy breasts to "become" a man? Would you actually refer your own patients to plastic surgeons who performed such operations?

By Jake Crosby (not verified) on 06 Mar 2017 #permalink

Basic good nutrition handles complications of measles just fine in normal, healthy children, especially adequate vitamin A. This has been known for decades. And nerve deafness, encephalitis and pneumonia are all potential risks from the MMR vaccine. http://www.merck.com/product/usa/pi_circulars/m/mmr_ii/mmr_ii_pi.pdf

By NWO Reporter (not verified) on 06 Mar 2017 #permalink

In reply to by Gray Falcon (not verified)

@NWO Reporter

Thanks for proving my point. I will not do what you can do in two minutes of google searching and leaving out anti-vax propaganda sites. Stop asking US for what YOU can find yourself just to be relevant. You're not. And never will be.

But go on and continue to prove me right if you want! Maybe you can talk to the families of the 500+ children infected/9 dead who were almost all unvaccinated in Philadelphia in the nineties to convince them that the measles vaccine doesn't work.

I'm not appealing to any authority. You're trying to goat people into doing work you need to do yourself. Good luck.

P.S. Jake, it's just getting sad now.

By The Real Truther (not verified) on 06 Mar 2017 #permalink

I asked you for NOTHING except evidence to prove your contentions--the burden is on you to come up with it. As I stated, I had the mortality data--I just knew what the response would be. Instead of refuting it with your own data, it would be "discredited" with a barrage of tiresome ad hominem attacks on the researchers. I was just trying to save time and cut to the chase. :)

By NWO Reporter (not verified) on 06 Mar 2017 #permalink

In reply to by The Real Truther (not verified)

I have mortality data from this period for many common diseases. Deaths declined dramatically from 1900-1950, long before the the vaccines were ever licensed, and continued to gradually decline up to and after the vaccines Death rates declined just as dramatically for diseases for which there has never been a vaccine–well before the the widespread use of antibiotics. The data is clear: vaccines did not save us from these diseases.

These data are where exactly? Mortality did decrease at the first half of the 20th century but then stabilised until the introduction of the vaccine. The case fatality rate is still the same but we just don't have as many because cases have been reduced so much.

By Science Mom (not verified) on 06 Mar 2017 #permalink

There are a lot of graphs on this site, or in the book, if you are up for some heavy reading. If you find one you care to refute with your own data, please do. Just please don't bother with ad hominem attacks on the researchers, or truncated graphs of the same data, or graphs of incidence rates, etc. :) http://www.dissolvingillusions.com/

By NWO Reporter (not verified) on 06 Mar 2017 #permalink

In reply to by Science Mom (not verified)

... but then stabilised ...

Exactly! Vaccines have moved the asymptotes down. Two diseases no longer even have asymptotes - they've hit the X axis. And these things have happened with, at least in the US, dramatic increase in population, dramatic increase in the urban fraction of the population, and increased mobility, all of which are conducive to higher transmission rates.

I don't remember where, but I was looking at a graph of measles in the UK a few days ago. The peaks in the graph were remarkably periodic prior to introduction of the vaccine. At the time the vaccine was introduced, a change from a negative slope to an approximately magnitude-equal positive slope was expected. Instead there was a continuing negative slope of greater magnitude.

Oh FFS, not Humphries doctored graphs. If you can't produce original sources then you don't have an argument. If you already know your sources are shite then why bother?

By Science Mom (not verified) on 06 Mar 2017 #permalink

@NWO Reporter sorry but that's a big deflect/dodge. You ARE asking us to do work and since you are arguing with science, you need to prove science wrong. I am NOT doing your work for you. I promise it would take you under 2 minutes with a simple google search to find what you are asking. So stop being so lazy and resorting to name calling and childish games.

Have some self respect and/or go back to your echo chamber where nobody would bother to search google (except for anti-vax sites.)

By The Real Truther (not verified) on 06 Mar 2017 #permalink

And BTW, these aren't "my" contentions. They just ARE. Nobody owns truth and science.

Of course, people like you may try to hijack it. Thankfully they'll always be people like me to put you in your place.

Remember, 2 minutes or less using google. Don't say I didn't tell you so. :)

By The Real Truther (not verified) on 06 Mar 2017 #permalink

And BTW, for someone to come on here and claim NOT to be working in the anti-vax industry but pimping one of the biggest anti-vax industry propaganda books ever written by one of the biggest AV nutters ever to be born, you have to either be A) doing a parody act or B) making money off this or C) a "true believer" in the cult with no hope.

Dissolving Illusions? Seriously? What's next, mein kampf as an example of tolerance?

I've seen it all.

By The Real Truther (not verified) on 06 Mar 2017 #permalink

The "anti-vax industry." :D "Subject yourself to endless smear campaigns and personal attacks! Turn your medical or scientific career into mud! Join the anti-vax industry!" :D

By NWO Reporter (not verified) on 06 Mar 2017 #permalink

In reply to by The Real Truther (not verified)

BTW, How did "basic nutrition" and "vitamin A" do for those 9 healthy unvaccinated children who died in Philadelphia?

You'd never say that to their parents faces.

By The Real Truther (not verified) on 06 Mar 2017 #permalink

@Beth:
World Nut Daily?
Quoting the past president of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons?
Basing her conclusion on raw data from the VAERS?

"You get nothing! You lose! Good day, Ma'am!"

From Beth's brain-dead citation:

The death statistics are recorded by Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System, or VAERS, which captures only a small percentage of the actual number of deaths and other adverse reactions to the vaccine. In addition, 96 of the 108 deaths in that 12-year time period were a result of the MMR vaccine, now the preferred shot for measles immunization.

In addition, CDC statistic show measles deaths were rare in the U.S. before the vaccine became widely used.

Bwahahahaha! Anti-vaxxers know no depths of stupidity.

By Science Mom (not verified) on 06 Mar 2017 #permalink

Are Beth & Forrest (I'm sorry "NWO Reporter") the same person?

By The Real Truther (not verified) on 06 Mar 2017 #permalink

OMG! Two people singing off-key notes in the echo chamber! They must be one and the same! :D

By NWO Reporter (not verified) on 06 Mar 2017 #permalink

In reply to by The Real Truther (not verified)

If there were an award for "Most Dedicated Chorus in a Hostile Echo Chamber" the comment section on this blog would definitely be a contender! :D

By NWO Reporter (not verified) on 06 Mar 2017 #permalink

It took you two hours to come up with that response?

You could have had your answer you were requesting in less than 2 minutes using google with my method and saved 1:58 to watch (almost all of) Die Hard.

Although it's cute is you think "we're" an echo chamber Forrest. Now run back to yours. :)

By The Real Truther (not verified) on 06 Mar 2017 #permalink

Well, much as I would love to hang out all the time on this site, waiting to jump at every new demand and challenge, I had my own work to do. :)

By NWO Reporter (not verified) on 06 Mar 2017 #permalink

In reply to by The Real Truther (not verified)

And Mr. NWO, what is this nonsense?

“Subject yourself to endless smear campaigns and personal attacks! Turn your medical or scientific career into mud! Join the anti-vax industry!”

How about "stop slaving away 12-16 hours a day including 1-2 call weekends a month and never seeing your children growing up to make under 130K after taxes to sit at home all day and make youtube videos, write "books" and sell fake "documentaries" while touring the country lecturing and selling "natural" supplements on your website while raking in 5x your previous salary. AND NO ON-CALL WEEKENDS BABY!"

"Did I mention you go from nobody knowing your name to instantly being idolized and adored by thousands of people who will worship you as a god?"

SOUNDS HORRIBLE! I can't imagine why anyone would want to do that.

By The Real Truther (not verified) on 06 Mar 2017 #permalink

I noticed Mr. NWO conveniently didn't mention if he would tell the parents of those 9 dead unvaccinated children his theory about how the measles vaccine doesn't work.

The sad thing is I wouldn't put it past him. After all he probably would call an autistic person damaged, injured and diseased to his/her face also before going on a rant about some fantastical autism epidemic he believes is happening.

A spade is a spade.

By The Real Truther (not verified) on 06 Mar 2017 #permalink

And how many children are dead, or have had their lives destroyed, by the MMR vaccine? Oh, that's right--no one is really keeping track. Given that doctors are not even trained in how to recognize vaccine damage, it's likely the numbers are much, much higher than anyone realizes.

I'm old enough to remember when must of us got measles, and mumps, and chicken pox. You know what? No one was afraid of any of them, no kids or parents. Interesting how perceptions change, and how disease terror is manufactured.

By NWO Reporter (not verified) on 06 Mar 2017 #permalink

In reply to by The Real Truther (not verified)

The only difference between this site & your twitter feed Forrest is you can't run and block me here when you get frustrated that I'm asking you tough questions you can't answer and when I'm letting the world see who you truly are.

What do they say about Karma?

By The Real Truther (not verified) on 06 Mar 2017 #permalink

NWO, you have to be doing a parody act of an anti-vaccine loon, come on now nobody is truly this ignorant? Give me hope for the sake of my children!

"And how many children are dead, or have had their lives destroyed, by the MMR vaccine?"

HUH? Can you name a single child dead from the MMR? So now you go from hating on us to hating on doctors? My wife is a doctor so now you're insulting my family. Do you know anything about doctors besides what you write on anti-vax industry sponsored sites? Your ignorance is astounding. And your seething hate and bias of doctors is showing.

So you can't name a single person who died from the MMR but I can name MILLIONS who were saved by it. Of course many of them aren't in your white privileged bubble so maybe you don't care about their lives.

To say nobody is keeping track of TRUE vaccine injuries is one of the most ignorant statements in HUMAN HISTORY.

Because the injuries are so few your only "play" is to pretend doctors are at fault for not reporting most of them. I get it, that's your only shot. You're desperate and you don't have facts, numbers, science or humanity on your side. Your cultists need some hope. I get it. I would do the same if I had no morals like you are. It's a smart play. But it don't work here because we're not sheep!

I'll admit vaccines are about 99.997 safe, which means there is some risk. But NOT vaccinating has a LOT more risk. So when you only get two choices for your children and you choose the one with more risk, you're a horrible parent (and person.)

Hundreds of people die from wearing seat belts each year. But we still wear ours each time right? Because it's the law and it's been PROVEN that the life saving benefits outweigh the risks. You could die from wearing a seatbelt but you'll more likely die from not.

Can you show me a SINGLE study that proves it's safer to NOT vaccinate than to vaccinate?

As Bill Paxton would say...game over man.

By The Real Truther (not verified) on 06 Mar 2017 #permalink

I'm sure you are well aware there are no long-term US studies comparing overall morbidity and mortality of fully vaccinated and fully unvaccinated children. And by overall morbidity, I mean diseases like asthma, arthritis, diabetes, severe chronic allergies, learning disabilities, etc.--not a temporary rash from something like measles.

I remember when children were much, much healthier than they are today. Schools were not filled with children on drugs and with learning disabilities, with epi-pens and asthma inhalers at the ready. I knew one child who got cancer during all my K-high school years, and one child with asthma. Do you remember those days? If so, you may have theories about why things have changed so much--and there are likely multiple reasons why--but you don't know for certain. There is a lot of research suggesting that vaccines should be very high on the list of suspects. If you aren't aware of that research, you haven't really looked.

By NWO Reporter (not verified) on 06 Mar 2017 #permalink

In reply to by The Real Truther (not verified)

Ha! I notice you said "US studies." Sneaky. It's a frequent talking point among antivaxers that there are no "vaxed/unvaxed" epidemiological studies, when in fact there have been several, which were carried out in the UK, Argentina Germany, Canada, Australia, and the Philippines. In general, they show either (1) equivalent health outcomes or (2) superior health outcomes in terms of chronic diseases. Oh, and of course, unvaccinated children suffer from way more vaccine-preventable diseases.

Basic good nutrition handles complications of measles just fine in normal, healthy children, especially adequate vitamin A.

Like it did with Olivia Dahl? Or Aliana?
Nutrition is not a Panacea.

By Julian Frost (not verified) on 06 Mar 2017 #permalink

I have a copy of a newspaper article that came out around the time the measles vaccine was newly licensed in 1963. It's very interesting. They are encouraging parents to get the vaccine, of course. But at the same time, the pediatricians interviewed acknowledge that most children don't even require medical attention for it, and they recommend the usual--rest, fluids, low light, etc. Today when parents hear "measles," it seems to send them into a cold terror sweat.

Now some parents are getting much more sophisticated about marketing strategies, realizing that vaccines have inherent risks, and that diseases like measles are typically mild, and others as well are low risk. They are questioning whether the risks of a vaccine are worth it to avoid a low-risk illness, particularly when vaccines do not appear to confer lifelong immunity like natural infection usually does. That's a good thing. But there are powerful elements in society that hate it and will do everything in their power to stop it--and they have billions of dollars and a lot of influence to do it.

By NWO Reporter (not verified) on 06 Mar 2017 #permalink

,

NWO Reporter: "The data speaks for itself."

The following is US Census data on measles morbidity (reported incidence) of measles during the 20th century. Now this is only reported incidence. which were only the worst cases. Measles was everywhere, and pretty much every kid got it before age sixteen.

But why did the reported incidence plummet by 90% in the USA between 1960 and 1970? What the freak happened!!! Seriously.

Oh, that is the question that needs to be answered with PubMed indexed studies by reputable qualified researchers. Just post the PMIDs.

Some limitations.... the data is only only on morbidity, so done change the subject by mentioning morality. Mortality only measures improvements in medical, not the effects of prevention. Do not mention any other country, England, Wales and Japan are not American states. Do not mention any other disease because this is changing the subject. Also do not mention any other decade unless the drop was at least 90% and did not increase in later years.

Okay dokay... the actual data... I wait with baited breath how you attempt wiggle around the data with idiocy about "mortality!" and other such nonsense:

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

NWO Reporter: "And how many children are dead, or have had their lives destroyed, by the MMR vaccine?"

Oh, please tell us! A version has been used in the USA since 1971, and then last version was modified in 1978. Just give us the evidence in the form of PubMed indexed studies by reputable qualified researchers.

Raw VAERS reports do not qualify, and will only make us laugh at you even more,

vaccines have inherent risks, and that diseases like measles are typically mild, and others as well are low risk.

From Wikipedia:

Complications with measles are relatively common, ranging from mild complications such as diarrhea to serious complications such as pneumonia, bronchitis, otitis media, acute brain inflammation and very rarely SSPE — subacute sclerosing panencephalitis, and corneal ulceration...
Between 1987 and 2000, the case fatality rate across the United States was three measles-attributable deaths per 1000 cases, or 0.3%...Even in previously healthy children, measles can cause serious illness requiring hospitalization. One out of every 1,000 measles cases will develop acute encephalitis, which often results in permanent brain damage. One or two out of every 1,000 children who become infected with measles will die from respiratory and neurologic complications.

Doesn't sound that mild to me.
So here's my question: what are the risks of getting two MMR Vaccines versus the risks of getting Measles? Which is more dangerous? Oh, and you have to list genuine sequelae. That means no mention of autism.

By Julian Frost (not verified) on 06 Mar 2017 #permalink

NWO Reporter: "I have a copy of a newspaper article that came out around the time the measles vaccine was newly licensed in 1963"

And that has relevance to the 1978 approved American MMR vaccine how?

By the way there was more than one measles vaccine approved in 1963, though (as far as I know) none made it into the 1971 MMR vaccine. So your point?

Given that doctors are not even trained in how to recognize vaccine damage

It's so hard to distinguish it from the effects of witchcraft.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 06 Mar 2017 #permalink

@llamapotamos #250:

You can’t name one person who was saved by it. There is simply no way to tell whether or not a vaccine actually would have prevented a death.

And for people who have been killed by it, just Google search for MMR and Japan (where it was banned for killing babies).

From Measles vaccine coverage and factors related to uncompleted vaccination among 18-month-old and 36-month-old children in Kyoto, Japan

In 1993, the Ministry of Health and Welfare (MHW) withdrew the domestically produced MMR vaccine. As of 1994, an amendment to the Immunization Law made vaccination voluntary and not mandatory. According to the present law, a single dose of measles vaccine is recommended for children over one year of age. Children are eligible to receive measles vaccination after 12 months following birth but not beyond 90 months. Until January 2004, administration of measles vaccine was recommended between 12 and 24 months of age, instead of between 12 and 15 months when children have the greatest risk of contracting measles. In Japan, measles vaccine coverage has remained low, and either small or moderate outbreaks have occurred repeatedly in communities. According to an infectious disease surveillance (2000), total measles cases were estimated to be from 180,000 to 210,000, and total deaths were estimated to be 88.

So, not a ban. And children died from not being vaccinated.

By Julian Frost (not verified) on 07 Mar 2017 #permalink

@llamapotamos: A single strain of mumps vaccine was banned. Tell me, does the Ford Pinto recall mean that all cars should be eliminated?

By Gray Falcon (not verified) on 07 Mar 2017 #permalink

MMR and Japan (where it was banned for killing babies).

Banned? Please elucidate. What are the penalties for possession?

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 07 Mar 2017 #permalink

I, once again, notice that our new resident troll has yet to provide actual citations for its assertions...especially the one where measles infection is "beneficial."

An infectious disease which hospitalizes 20% of those who contract it, kills (from the immediate infection) 1 in 1000 who contract it and eventually (from SSPE) kills another 1 of those 1000 who contract it is not "mild".

Anyone who calls this disease "mild" is a liar and/or a fool.

By Chris Hickie (not verified) on 07 Mar 2017 #permalink

According to an infectious disease surveillance (2000), total measles cases were estimated to be from 180,000 to 210,000, and total deaths were estimated to be 88.

And now for something almost completely different from the OP...

"You don’t see partisan battles over ... the dangers of radiation exposure."

I'd have to say Dr. Rosenbaum needs to get out more, at least in regard to the PERCEIVED dangers of radiation exposure. *SIGH*

By Scottynuke (not verified) on 07 Mar 2017 #permalink

There are a couple of important issues people way want to check out regarding MMR vaccine whistleblowers.

The first concerns two Merck scientists who alleged their employer engaged in research fraud for years to make the mumps vaccine appear to be more effective than it is. The lawsuit is still ongoing. http://ahrp.org/former-merck-scientists-sue-merck-alleging-mmr-vaccine-…

The second concerns a CDC researcher who alleges that the CDC engaged in research fraud to make it appear the MMR vaccine did not cause autism. The story is in the movie Vaxxed. But if you want to hear the original recordings of the whistleblower, and hear everything he said in his own words, the recordings are available here: http://fearlessparent.org/cdc-scientist-connects-vaccines-to-tics-langu…

By NWO Reporter (not verified) on 07 Mar 2017 #permalink

That's the good thing about listening to his recorded calls yourself--you don't have to believe anyone else's spin on the story. I posted a link above so people can do that. Obviously there is going to be a lot of damage control. :)

By NWO Reporter (not verified) on 07 Mar 2017 #permalink

In reply to by brian (not verified)

Thompson? Really?

That story is so two years ago. We've heard all about it & most of us have even read the actual documents that Thompson provided (in fact months before Wakefield decided to make them public).

It certainly isn't what the anti-vaxers have made it out to be - and I'll point to Thompson's own statement, where he reaffirms his support of vaccines.

And for the ongoing Court case involving Merck, it is telling that the Government decided not to join the lawsuit, citing lack of tangible evidence.

if you want to hear the original recordings of the whistleblower, and hear everything he said in his own words

That would include this exchange, in which "the whistleblower" and BS Hooker both suggest in their own words that socioeconomic effects, rather than vaccination, correctly explain the results in the 2004 DeStefano paper in which Thompson's CDC colleagues indicated that their observations were explained by--wait for it--socioeconomic effects:

W Thompson: "among the blacks . . . the ones getting vaccinated earlier are the ones from higher-income backgrounds. . . . You could argue that it's the educated black moms that are getting their kids vaccinated earlier and that's why you found that effect [i.e., higher rates of diagnosed ASD among African-American boys who were vaccinated earlier.]"

BS Hooker: "And they're getting that effect and the ones that are getting vaccinated later are underdiagnosed [with ASD.]"

W Thompson: "Yes."

“You don’t see partisan battles over … the dangers of radiation exposure.”

There are is that hard core of climate-change denialists who progress to "radiation hormesis" and the idea that moderate levels of background radiation are actually good for you (apparently this alternative fact has been suppressed by liberal-fascist scientists in their campaign against freedom, open markets and nuclear power). This guy, for instance.. The idea could easily become part of the Republican party platform.

Ra-di-a-tion. Yes, indeed. You hear the most outrageous lies about it. Half-baked goggle-box do-gooders telling everybody it's bad for you. Pernicious nonsense. Everybody could stand a hundred chest X-rays a year. They ought to have them, too.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 07 Mar 2017 #permalink

But if you want to hear the original recordings of the whistleblower, and hear everything he said in his own words, the recordings are available here: h[]tp://fearlessparent.org/cdc-scientist-connects-vaccines-to-tics-language-delay-recording-4/

An amusing choice, given that Thompson's bright idea was that given the lack of demonstrable harm to be found anywhere, maybe this "tics" thing could be used to bootstrap a semblance of one.

NWO Reporter
That’s the good thing about listening to his recorded calls yourself–you don’t have to believe anyone else’s spin on the story

Can you give an indication of which recorded call, and when, Thompson "alleges that the CDC engaged in research fraud"?

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 07 Mar 2017 #permalink

Don't recall. Thompson indicates he and is co-researchers were instructed to throw adverse data in a trash can. He refused, believing it was violation of the Freedom of Information Act.

By NWO Reporter (not verified) on 07 Mar 2017 #permalink

In reply to by herr doktor bimler (not verified)

Hahahaha. You really don't think I haven't covered that claim before multiple times, do you? Seriously, dude. You're like a trip down memory lane of antivax conspiracy theories that I've covered over the last 12 years. And you're not even that clever or original about repackaging them.

Wow, if you believe that, then I have a couple of bridges and some swampland to sell you.

The only "data" which was disposed of was extraneous hard copies of materials which were duplicated (and preserved) in electronic format.

In fact, all of the data was sitting on CDC servers, per standard policy - which is how Hooker managed to get his hands on it to conduct his "botched" attempt at strangling the datasets.

I really think people are capable of listening to Thompson and discerning for themselves what was said, as long as they speak English. They don't need you (or me) to draw their conclusions for them. :)

By NWO Reporter (not verified) on 07 Mar 2017 #permalink

In reply to by Lawrence (not verified)

Having listened to the conversations (I assume you have listened to them) can you confirm that he "alleges that the CDC engaged in research fraud”?

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 07 Mar 2017 #permalink

I've read his documents, listened to the tapes and even read the transcripts....

And yet, they don't say what you say they do.

Thompson indicates he and is co-researchers were instructed to throw adverse data in a trash can. He refused, believing it was violation of the Freedom of Information Act.

I too have listened to the recordings, read the transcripts and have read the alleged doco dump. There is nothing there to support your audacious claims but please feel free to point to specific recordings and documents for our entertainment.

I really think people are capable of listening to Thompson and discerning for themselves what was said, as long as they speak English. They don’t need you (or me) to draw their conclusions for them.

Already done so where is this incriminating evidence? I see you've shifted from measles case fatalities to this, right out of the anti-vaxx playbook.

By Science Mom (not verified) on 07 Mar 2017 #permalink

NWO Reporter alleged:

Thompson indicates he and is co-researchers were instructed to throw adverse data in a trash can.

That's nonsense. All of the data collected for the 2004 DeStefano study were retained on CDC servers and made available to qualified researchers as well as to BS Hooker, who noted in his since-retracted "reanalysis" of CDC data: "Cohort data were obtained directly as a “restricted access data set” from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) via a Data Use Agreement" even though, of course, Hooker was so hilariously incompetent that he couldn't understand the difference between a cohort and a case-control study design.

And you’re not even that clever or original about repackaging them.

It's always the same with the Useless Eaters.

True that. And he was caught on tape saying that he thought in epidemiology simplicity was best. That's probably why he never bothered to correct for obvious confounders. :-)

@Jaques Hughes:

It's Hooker's competence that is in question--not the CDC's. The 2004 DeStefano paper clearly stated that "A case-control study was conducted in metropolitan Atlanta." Nonetheless, Hooker (who once, I think, stood on an Atlanta street corner near the CDC, wrote in his failed and retracted "reanalysis" of the DeStefano data that "In this paper, we present the results of a cohort study using the same data from the Destefano et al. analysis." Big oops there.

NWO:
Smallpox
Rinderpest

*mic drop*

By JustaTech (not verified) on 07 Mar 2017 #permalink

Go away Travis, you're boring.

I substantially contribute to the discussion....you are a constant series of poor sockpuppets.

NWO, you really are a parody of the "greatest hits" of debunked anti vax lunacy.

Even most rabid anti-vaxxers have given up on the "CDC Whistleblower" story at this point after all that's come out since crushing literally every fragment of that story. For you to continue to believe it just makes you look even worse.

Why would a pro-vaccine autism advocate release the documents online for all to see if they didn't prove there was never any fraud or cover-up? Why would Vaxxed never mention the documents in the film?

For that matter, why does Vaxxed, a film which claims to be about autism, not allow a single autism expert or even AUTISTIC PERSON to be interviewed?

I went in depth on this disgrace on a blog a while back. This keeps it simple for you. Scroll down to the vaxxed section. Maybe you'll learn something.

http://linkis.com/wordpress.com/uN2K6

By The Real Truther (not verified) on 07 Mar 2017 #permalink

Shit head Travis J. Schwochert is back as Sid Schwab.

Yep. I know. Bad choice on his part. I knew Sid and recognized immediately that it wasn't him.

He refused, believing it was violation of the Freedom of Information Act.

That's a pretty comical misunderstanding of the not just the act itself, but its very name.

This may help your understanding, Narad. On the off-chance you weren't being intentionally deceptive. :) https://www.cdc.gov/od/foia/

By NWO Reporter (not verified) on 07 Mar 2017 #permalink

In reply to by Narad (not verified)

This may help your understanding, Narad. On the off-chance you weren’t being intentionally deceptive.

Perhaps you could specify the portion of the law that has fυck all to do with document retention. I mean, you did look at it before compulsively shіtting out another emoji, right?

Oh, lord. If you aren't trying to deceive people, you might want to understand the basics of FOIA before you comment, so you don't look foolish.

By NWO Reporter (not verified) on 07 Mar 2017 #permalink

In reply to by Narad (not verified)

None of that has anything to do with what was or was not done with study documentation.

Since all relevant study materials were kept in digital format & were available, the whole "trash can" story is nothing but anti-vax frothing.

Oh, lord. If you aren’t trying to deceive people, you might want to understand the basics of FOIA before you comment, so you don’t look foolish.

Then what is the portion?

By Science Mom (not verified) on 07 Mar 2017 #permalink

@ Science Mom
Me “I’ve no idea what this means, could you elucidate please?”
You “I’ve got no dog in the actual subject of your disagreement.”
I’m afraid that I find that response as baffling as your original statement. When I suggested that you elucidate, I used the word in the sense that it is defined in most dictionaries, to make something clear, to explain it. What do you understand the word to mean?
“I objected to your claims about what studies are valid and the classifications. And out of curiosity that there was only a single study, I looked and it appears as though that’s also false: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2598379/ hence my comment.”
Nothing false about my statement, which was that laws have been enacted and propaganda campaigns undertaken with the sole justification of a single case control study, which has subsequently been destroyed on peer review, while other, much more reliable research is ignored.
The link to the article you provide perfectly illustrates the problem: you think it supports what you say when it actually refutes it. The article quotes three studies of cycle helmets, all of which reported long after helmet laws were passed in Australia and New Zealand (still the only countries with comprehensive helmet laws) and they could not therefore have affected the arguments for or against those laws.
The first “Helmets for preventing head and facial injuries in bicyclists.” (Thompson DC1, Rivara FP, Thompson R., 2000) is by the most vociferous helmet zealots on the planet, the very same people who produced the pseudo-scientific case control study with the 85% effectiveness figure for cycle helmets, which has been destroyed on peer review. Although this is supposed to be a Cochrane Review, it is that in name only as it did not follow the criteria for such reviews, which state that the authors must be objective and independent and that the studies selected must be wide-ranging and from all types of research. The authors were patently biased and the studies they selected for review were mostly their own, and they specifically excluded any study which didn’t support their already decided conclusions.
The second “Non-legislative interventions for the promotion of cycle helmet wearing by children.” (Royal ST1, Kendrick D, Coleman T., 2005) measures only the wearing rates of cycle helmets, it does not measure whether they have reduced deaths or serious injuries, and is therefore irrelevant.
The third “Bicycle helmet legislation for the uptake of helmet use and prevention of head injuries.” (Macpherson A, Spinks A., 2007) uses selection criteria apparently deliberately designed to exclude the most reliable evidence.

By Richard Burton (not verified) on 08 Mar 2017 #permalink

In reply to by Science Mom (not verified)

Perhaps you could specify the portion of the law that has fυck all to do with document retention. I mean, you did look at it before compulsively shіtting out another emoji, right?

Oh, lord. If you aren’t trying to deceive people, you might want to understand the basics of FOIA before you comment, so you don’t look foolish.

No, seriously, put up or fυck off. This horseshіt posturing is even more painful than your usual prattling.

@NWO Reporter: Why should we believe you?

By Gray Falcon (not verified) on 08 Mar 2017 #permalink

Nothing false about my statement, which was that laws have been enacted and propaganda campaigns undertaken with the sole justification of a single case control study, which has subsequently been destroyed on peer review, while other, much more reliable research is ignored.

It appears as though you suffer from the opposite bias as you accuse the authors of the studies in the Cochrane review as having. A quick perusal of PubMed demonstrates numerous helmet efficacy studies and even a corrected meta analysis while nothing compelling to support your claim that there is only a single case-control study that supports helmet safety and numerous studies which refute that.

By Science Mom (not verified) on 08 Mar 2017 #permalink

@ Science Mom

I'm sorry, I had no idea your comprehension skills were so low. When I've got time I'll repost my argument using single syllable words. Either that or you are being deliberately obtuse.

By Richard Burton (not verified) on 08 Mar 2017 #permalink

In reply to by Science Mom (not verified)

Sez the person who doesn't know what epidemiological studies are.

By Science Mom (not verified) on 08 Mar 2017 #permalink

"Sez the person who doesn’t know what epidemiological studies are."

But I do now! and I'm more than happy to acknowledge that I was wrong and you were right. Only arrogant people refuse to admit their mistakes and move on. Remind you of anybody?

Have you looked up the meaning of "elucidate" yet?

By Richard Burton (not verified) on 08 Mar 2017 #permalink

In reply to by Science Mom (not verified)

The problem is Richard that if you didn't even know what epidemiological studies are then you aren't exactly qualified to rate their quality. Merely admitting your ignorance on that part doesn't automatically qualify you as an authority on a subject and certainly justify your petulant attempt at condescension.

By Science Mom (not verified) on 08 Mar 2017 #permalink