I’ve taken a little bit of time away from the blogging due to a couple of things. 1) I’ve been entirely too busy and 2) I’ve been a little under the weather. Nothing specific, just a bad case of the Blah’s.
However, I wanted to take the time to take apart a post I recently saw on the blog of someone I used to call a friend. I almost never go there anymore because she has grown increasingly hostile, hypocritical, arrogant, and unwilling to listen. In other words, a female version of Orac.
So I popped over there to get a glance of what she has been up to, and I read this horrible piece that she concocted to counter a comment left by one of her readers. Now, the reason I’m taking the time to pick this apart is because my former friend has become representative of those I call the Oraccolytes. They claim to be science and evidence based. They claim to tell you the truth. In actuality, they only tell you part of the truth. They leave out the portions of the truth that counter or weaken their arguments, which means that they are not science-based, as they claim to be.
What I’m going to do is just post her responses to the commenter and pick those apart. No, I won’t link to her because I’ve determined that she is just Orac in a dress and that she doesn’t deserve any hits. I'm sure that anyone who is familiar with the vaccine/autism argument will recognize who I'm talking about.
“Why isn't it plausible to believe that giving 36 vaccines to a child might not be safe?”
You do recognize that the sheer number of pathogens we are exposed to makes the 16 diseases protected against by the recommended US vaccination schedule look like chump change, right?
It makes every bit of sense to help our children avoid illnesses that can be through vaccination. Just because you may not remember these diseases or you remember everyone you know getting them and recovering doesn’t mean that they didn’t once affect, maim, and kill many and have the potential to do so again.
Her response is only partially true. What she doesn’t tell you is that while the number of antigens has decreased, the adjuvants have increased. Adjuvants like Thimerosal (which, despite vociferous protests from the Oraccolytes, is still in vaccines) and aluminum. No one knows, really, what effects these adjuvants will have on a newborn immune system (not even the vaccine makers). No one has studied this. No one knows what synergistic effect these will have, either. But Kim doesn’t tell you that, does she?
The second paragraph is, again, only partially true. It does make sense to prevent diseases, and I agree whole-heartedly. But what she doesn’t tell you is that many of the numbers used to boost the fear-mongering of the vaccine zealots are over-inflated. Also, the current CDC vaccination schedule has never really been tested as a whole (in combination) for safety. Oh, I’m sure she will point to the recent study that looked at delayed vaccinations versus on-time vaccinations and how there is no difference between the outcomes. But what she won’t tell you is that this study is just a re-wording of another study that excludes autistic children as criteria for the study. But let’s not confuse her with facts since she’s already made up her mind.
“Why is it not plausible to believe that giving 36 vaccines to All children is safe?”
This is a strawman argument. There are individuals who are immune compromised or who have allergies to ingredients in the vaccines who cannot receive vaccines. There are infants too young to get protected who benefit from herd immunity, from healthy people in the society getting the vaccinations so that there is less likelihood of these vulnerable populations being exposed.
“Why is the vaccine schedule a one size fits all program?”
This, too, is a strawman. It’s not. These are the recommended vaccinations; an individual with his doctor will decide what and when.
I lumped these two together because the counter to the argument fits both points. While the gist of her argument is correct, she neglects to mention that there is currently no testing done to tell if these children are immune compromised before the vaccination is given. They give vaccinations for HepB on the day the child is born (in most cases) and don’t do testing for potential contraindications until a child has a reaction to a vaccine.
“Why did the autism rate start to soar (1991) when the vaccine schedule had doubled in size?”
Why did the autism rate soar when the internet really got going? When satellite television took off? When cell phones really became popular? This is not science; this is faulty conjecture that is worse than meaningless. It shows a paucity of interest in how science is conducted and in what scientists have learned.
Again, only partially true. What she doesn’t tell you is that the same faulty conjecture is used to support the whole “Autism has always been around in these numbers” crowd. Their reasoning is based on very little evidence, and that evidence has been countered in recent years by new studies that show that the increase in diagnoses for Autism is actually real and not diagnostic substitution as they would have you believe.
“Why are countless parents thought of as crazy when they say "my kid was typical" and then started to show autistic behaviors shortly after the MMR?”
Misguided, incorrect, guilty of illusory correlation, but I’ve never thought a parent was crazy for making the connection when so many others feed that idea into their heads, and when it’s such a neat and tidy explanation, and you’ve got a suave, dapper doctor telling them that.
I reserve crazy for folks who are off-the-deep-end, batshit crazy.
What she fails to mention is that many of the parents who witnessed their child regress shortly after a vaccination have been around since before this “suave, dapper doctor” was around. Many parents had not even heard of Dr. Wakefield until well after they had already come to the conclusion on their own. But, Kim has rewritten history to suit her purposes by claiming that Dr. Wakefield was the instigator of the anti-vaccine movement. She doesn’t mention that the Urabe strain mumps vaccine caused all kinds of problems (like meningitis). Nor does she mention the serious and sometimes fatal DTP vaccine reactions that helped to form the basis of the NVICP.
“Why did the gut dysbiosis, seizures, sensory disorders, loss of speech, etc start after so and so shot. Why can't can't it be a possibility that scores of parents observed something that merits investigation?”
It has received ample, exhaustive attention over the last decade and study after study have shown no connection between autism and vaccines.
What she neglects to tell you is that all of these studies that have looked at this connection have looked at only two things; the MMR vaccine and Thimerosal. How many vaccines are there? How many ingredients? She also doesn’t mention that these studies were performed and funded by the very same industry and organizations that promote vaccination; the very same companies that have been caught, repeatedly, lying about the safety of their products. Oh, right…we can trust them.
“What if a child has an inability to detoxify the formeldehyde, aluminum, thimerosol (traces still count), and all the other preservatives in the vaccines?”
Since formaldehyde is produced in our cells, the kid would be thoroughly screwed, even without the vaccines. Thank gods the formaldehyde is used in the production of the vaccines to kill viruses and other things we really don’t want growing along with the vaccine, right? It’s aluminum salts, not aluminum, and unless you’ve made darn tooting certain that you don’t eat anything made with baking powder with aluminum in it, don’t eat or drink from food and beverages stored in aluminum cans, don’t cook with aluminum cookware, I’d say you have bigger problems. I guess it’s a really good thing there are ample studies showing no connection between thimerosal and autism, huh?
Again, she only tells you part of the truth. I’ll agree with her about Formaldehyde, but the aluminum and Thimerosal bear a response. Let’s start with the aluminum first. She mentions that they are salts (true), but doesn’t mention that there have been no studies that clarify the safety of injecting said salts into the body. She goes on to mention that things like baking powder, beverages and foods in aluminum cans, etc. all contain aluminum as well. But she doesn’t seem to understand the difference between ingested versus injected. Yes, I know…2 little letters, but there is a huge difference between them. The body’s digestive tract is designed to help prevent things like metals from entering the bloodstream. But, injection bypasses that defense mechanism. Oh, and about the thimerosal? Yeah, mentioned that earlier.
“Why can't we do testing to identify those kids and hold off on the most important shots until the immune system is more fully developed?”
Because the thousands of pathogens children are being exposed to daily are far more dangerous than the vaccines.
Partially true. What she doesn’t tell you is that the thousands of pathogens children are exposed to daily are far more dangerous than the vaccines for most people. Since there are no studies that have been done to detect children that could have serious reactions to vaccines (other than one, and the Oraccolytes reject it because it shows that there are children who could have potentially serious reactions to vaccines), we can’t safely say that a process that is designed to kick a child’s immune system (which very little is known about) into overdrive is safer than the pathogens they are exposed to. Oh, and not to mention that the numbers that the CDC and Oraccolytes use to say that vaccine reactions are safer than the pathogens are gathered from a database (VAERS) that fewer than 10% of doctors and patients report reactions to.
“What is your explanation of why the autism rate in this country is 1 in 100 and more in boys?”
Well, thankfully it’s science-based, having reviewed the studies dealing with autism and prevalence. It’s way better than relying on pseudoscience and woo.
The irony and hypocrisy in this statement is so astounding that I had to read it several times to comprehend it. The “science” has, for years, been saying that the increase in diagnoses for autism is because of diagnostic substitution and is based solely on speculation and conjecture. So, in essence, she is saying that it is pseudoscience and woo. Yes, I had a great chuckle on that one at her expense.
“Why are children recovering and improving with biomedical intervention if this is a "psychiatric" genetic problem?”
I think this sentence demonstrates your completely inadequate knowledge base of autism. It isn’t a psychiatric problem. It’s a neurological disorder in which a combination of genetic and environmental factors contribute to how it manifests.
Now, I’ll gloss over the insult in her first sentence and move to the gist of her argument. For the most part, the most true statement in her little diatribe. Kudos to Kim for making such a relatively truthful comment. What she leaves out is that vaccines ARE an environmental factor.
“Why is one of the more prominent pediatricians (Dr. Sears) not closing the door on the link between vaccines in his new book, "The Autism Book" and writes about biomedical intervention? (There's actually a picture of him and Dr. Wakefield smiling broadly at a recent biomedical conference - oh no -!!!)”
Because he’s pandering to parents in order to line his pockets? Because he’s also a dumbass? Take your pick.
She offers no evidence of her claims. She offers no counter to the argument. This is an ad hominem fallacy, plain and simple. Oh, and because Dr. Sears (a trained doctor) disagrees with Kim (a nobody) then he must be a dumbass. Yay logic!
“Why is Dr. Offit so revered when he clearly has a vested interest in vaccines and has never treated an autistic child or done any investigations or studies regarding autism as a medical condition?”
He’s not; in fact the evidence-based crowd doesn’t put Offit on a pedestal and make him a saint. He is an infectious disease expert who is eminently qualified to discuss vaccine safety. He wasn’t pretending to be an autism expert, something Wakefield is, by the way.
Well, maybe not those that are TRULY evidence based. But the Oraccolytes certainly treat him like a saint. I agree with the fact that he is an infection disease expert and qualified to discuss vaccine safety, but I also take into consideration that many of his arguments are tainted by his own bias and the fact that it influences his livelihood. These things must be taken into consideration when any expert talks about their own product. Of COURSE he’s going to say they are safe, especially when he makes money off of them. And I have never once seen Dr. Wakefield claim he was an autism specialist. The only thing I have ever seen him claim is that some of the neurological problems evident in autistic children can be attributed to gastrointestinal problems. And, I do believe he is a gastroenterologist, is he not?
“History has shown that pioneers and people forcing a truth that is going to turn things upside down/rock the boat are demonized, maligned, and forced into silence.”
Oh for gods sake; it’s also shown that nutter-butter bars are too. Yeah, Wakefield isn’t being “demonized, maligned and forced into silence.” He’s an opportunist who has managed to cash in on desperate parents.
The first part of her comment; huh? That makes absolutely no sense! The second part of her comment may be true. But what you need to take into consideration is that Dr. Wakefield’s “trial” was publicized all over the world, more so than any other trial that has stripped a doctor of his license. Name one doctor that has gotten the publicity he has. Can you name any of the doctors in the Vioxx scandal? Didn’t think so. How many people did they kill? Did they lose their licenses?
“If not Dr. Wakefield, then someone else would have come along to force the discussion of vaccine safety. Get ready. It's coming-- because 1 in 100 and counting is a very, very scary thing. So, like he said, "These children aren't going away, the parents are not going away, and I am most certainly not going away." --Dr. Wakefield”
Wakefield isn’t concerned about vaccine safety.
And where is her evidence? I thought she was evidence based. Can she prove that Dr. Wakefield isn’t concerned about vaccine safety?
“Ya can't hold back a tidal wave forever!”
You’re right, there is, in fact, an endless stream of dumbasses.
Ah, again, since this person doesn’t agree with Kim, then this person must be a dumbass. And, as I’ve clearly demonstrated, it is quite apparent that Kim is a member of those “endless stream of dumbasses.”
As I said, Kim is representative of the mindset of the Oraccolytes. Most of her arguments (and Orac’s) are based on partial truths and prevarications. And, as I said before, this does not make one “Science-based.”
In the immortal words of Tyler Durden, “Sticking feathers up your butt does not make you a chicken!”